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UN seeks to Investigate Abbas critic death in Palestinian custody

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UN seeks to Investigate Abbas critic death in Palestinian custody
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UN seeks to Investigate Abbas critic death in Palestinian custody

A Palestinian parliamentary candidate who criticised the internationally-backed Palestinian Authority died on Thursday after being arrested by PA security forces, drawing international demands for an investigation.

According to a relative, Nizar Banat was beaten as he was taken away by Palestinian security forces in Hebron overnight. The PA-appointed governor of the city, located in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, said Banat had died when his health detiorated following his arrest, without elaborating on the cause.

Mr Banat, 43, was a well-known social activist who had accused the PA of corruption, including over President Mahmoud Abbas’ postponement of a long-delayed election in May and a short-lived Covid-19 vaccine exchange with Israel this month.

He had planned to stand for parliament in the election, before Mr Abbas postponed it.

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A family member who told Reuters he witnessed Mr Banat’s arrest, said a large security force stormed a house where Mr Banat was staying and assaulted him. Mr Banat was alive when he was taken away and screaming as he was beaten, said the relative, who asked not to be identified.

UN seeks to Investigate Abbas critic death in Palestinian custody

Hebron Governor Jibrin Al-Bakri said in a statement that Mr Banat’s arrest was on the orders of the PA attorney-general. Officials did not immediately give a reason for the arrest.
As Mr Banat was taken into custody, “his health condition deteriorated, and he was immediately transferred to Hebron’s governmental hospital. He was checked by doctors who pronounced him dead,” Mr Bakri’s statement said. Reuters contacted a spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority asking for more details of the arrest but there was no immediate reply.

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The United Nations Middle East peace envoy, Tor Wennesland, said on Twitter he was alarmed and saddened by the death, and called for a transparent investigation.

“The perpetrators must be brought to justice,” Mr Wennesland said, offering condolences to Mr Banat’s family.

The European Union delegation to the Palestinians said on Twitter it was “shocked and saddened” by the death. A “full, independent and transparent investigation should be conducted immediately,” it added.

Lynn Hastings, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator, called the news “disturbing” and also called for those responsible to be brought to justice.

The PA exercises limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, home to 3.1 million Palestinians.

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On Monday, Mr Banat, who had 100,000 Facebook followers, condemned PA officials as “mercenaries” over the Covid-19 vaccine exchange deal, which the PA swiftly cancelled.

The Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights said it viewed Mr Banat’s death with “great severity” and had launched an investigation.

Mr Banat had planned to run for the Palestinian parliament on 22 May Mr Abbas called off that election, citing Israeli controls over Palestinians in East Jerusalem. Opponents accuse Mr Abbas of cancelling the election to avoid losing to Islamist rivals.

Independent.co.uk

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China Releases Two Canadian Detained For Morethan 1000 Days

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China Releases Two Canadian Detained For Morethan 1000 Days
Michael Kovrig (left) and Michael Spavor (right), two Canadian citizens detained in China on espionage charges, have been released after nearly three years, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
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China Releases Two Canadian Detained For Morethan 1000 Days

Two Canadians detained by China for nearly three years have been released, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday night.

Trudeau said Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor boarded a plane headed for Canada at about 7:30 p.m. ET Friday night and would land in Canada sometime Saturday.

“These two men have gone through an unbelievably difficult ordeal for the past 1,000 days, they have shown strength, perseverance and grace and we are all inspired by that,” said Trudeau at a late evening news conference in Ottawa.

Trudeau would not discuss details about how their release came about but he thanked Canadian
Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have been held in China since late 2018. They were arrested on espionage charges in China shortly after the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on a US warrant related to the company’s business dealings in Iran. However, China has consistently denied that the cases were in any way connected.

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Earlier Friday, the United States Department of Justice and Meng reached an agreement to defer prosecution of US charges against her until late 2022, after which point the charges could be dropped.

China Releases Two Canadian Detained For Morethan 1000 Days

The US case centered on whether Meng misled HSBC bank about Huawei’s relationship with an Iranian subsidiary, Skycom, which the US alleges would have violated US sanctions against Iran.

Meng appeared virtually in a court in Brooklyn, New York, and pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and wire fraud.

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However, as part of the deal, Meng confirmed the statement of facts in the deferred prosecution agreement are true. Those facts include that she misrepresented Huawei’s relationship with Skycom to HSBC, according to court documents. If she says or implies otherwise, it could violate the terms of the deal and result in her prosecution.
CNN affiliate CTV News says it has confirmed that Meng left Canada aboard a private jet Friday evening.

Cnn.com

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UNGA: Boko Haram Still Functional in Nigeria But Too Weak Now – Buhari Tells World Leaders

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UNGA: Boko Haram Still Functional in Nigeria But Too Weak Now - Buhari Tells World Leaders
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UNGA: Boko Haram Still Functional in Nigeria But Too Weak Now – Buhari Tells World Leaders

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has said that Nigeria will spare no efforts at getting rid of Boko Haram terrorists, especially in the North-East part of the West African nation.

Buhari also said that though the insurgent group has been weakened by the defence forces, it is still active in the country, preying on soft targets.

He stated this on Friday while addressing over 80 world leaders at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Addressing the world leaders including the new UNGA President, Abdulla Shahid of Maldives, Buhari said, “Mr President, terrorism continues to dominate security discourse worldwide. In Nigeria, Boko Haram terrorist group though fragmented by internal strife and weakened by our defence forces is still active and preying on soft targets.

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UNGA: Boko Haram Still Functional in Nigeria But Too Weak Now – Buhari Tells World Leaders

“Nigeria will continue to work closely with the UN Counter-Terrorism bodies and entities with a view to bringing this scourge to an end.

“Nigeria has spared no efforts in addressing the challenges of terrorism posed by the activities of Boko Haram in North-East Nigeria, the Lake Chad region as well as banditry in the North-West and the North-Central. The Nigerian Security Forces have recorded considerable success in the fight against terrorism. As a result of the renewed vigour of our military, many terrorist fighters are voluntarily surrendering to our security forces.”

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The President lamented that Nigeria was concerned about illicit trading and movement of small arms which he said has been increasing criminality and insurgency in the country.

Buhari added, “Mr President, Nigeria remains deeply concerned about the illicit transfer and circulation of small arms and light weapons. Their excessive accumulation and uncontrolled spread in many regions of the world have had socio-economic consequences, especially on the continent of Africa.

“It is on this note that my delegation calls for the worldwide application of the arms trade treaty to curb and define accountability in conventional arms trading which is critical to the security of nations.

“This is in recognition of the need for a broad-based global partnership in the ongoing battle against trans-border crimes including terrorism and piracy.

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“Mr President, we must deal not only with the symptoms of conflict but also the causes that started the conflict in the first place. These include poor and undemocratic governance, human rights abuses, poverty, ignorance, injustice and inequality.

“There are no easy solutions to these problems, they require long-term investments and more effective international cooperation.”

Buhari also said that the democratic gains recorded in West Africa are now being eroded by the activities of power grabbers in the region, a thinly veiled reference to recent military takeovers in Mali and Guinea, both in West Africa.

He, however, restated that Nigeria supports the efforts of the continental and regional blocs including the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States at solving the issue.

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Boris Johnson Warns World Leaders They Have 1000 Hours To Tackle Climate Change

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Boris Johnson Warns World Leaders They Have 1000 Hours To Tackle Climate Change
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Boris Johnson Warns World Leaders They Have 1000 Hours To Tackle Climate Change

He told them they face “the most important period in the history of the planet” as he prepares to get them to thrash out an agreement to save the world.

The PM faces an uphill struggle ahead of his summit as India, the US, China and dozens of our own allies are still failing to do enough to tackle climate change – or cough up enough cash to stop it.

Top experts slammed big beasts for dragging their heels in setting tough emissions targets to stop the planet changing beyond all recognition.

Mr Johnson turned his fire on his own pals in the G20, urging them “show the leadership the world needs” and “do our duty by others less fortunate than ourselves” to make his COP26 summit a roaring success.

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He told the Major Economies Forum yesterday they must come together with “rock solid commitments” to “protect our planet and protect humanity for a thousand years to come”.

And rich nations must “get serious about filling the $100billion pot that the developing world needs to do its bit”, he demanded, after it was revealed it was still $20billion short.

Boris Johnson Warns World Leaders They Have 1000 Hours To Tackle Climate Change

Experts at the UN said that the goals set so far this year will not close the emissions gap – meaning the world is likely to miss targets to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

Under countries’ current pledges, global emissions will be 16 per cent higher in 2030 than they were in 2010 – far off the 45 per cent reduction by 2030 that scientists say is needed to stave off disastrous and irreversible climate change.

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Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India and China were among a handful of countries rated “critically insufficient” or “highly insufficient” by a recent climate tracker.

Even the EU, Germany and Norway were rapped as not doing enough to meet the Paris agreement goals.

The PM and President Biden will twist arms at the UN General Assembly summit in New York next week, where climate change is expected to be the number one issue on the agenda for the UK, which is hosting the global summit.

The PM and climate tsar Alok Sharma have been rallying countries to raise cash and submit new plans in the run up to the summit, where 100 world leaders have said they will attend, but efforts have been hampered by big nations dragging their feet.

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Mr Sharma said yesterday the frank reports were a “stark reminder of how urgent our work is ahead of COP26”.

He stressed: “This is a clear wake-up call for all of us – we need to act.” Downing Street said the PM was “disappointed there hasn’t been as much progress recently as there should have been”.

The Prime Minister also set out that the UK will be among the first signatories of the Global Methane Pledge, a US-EU initiative to reduce global methane emissions by 30% by 2030 compared to levels during the 2020s.

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