2019, February, Newsletter

World News Issue Feb 27, 2019

World News Feb 27

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY ASKS INDIA-PAKISTAN TO EXERCISE RESTRAINT

As India conducted pre-emptive airstrikes on a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp
in Pakistan’s Balakot on Tuesday morning, the global community expressed
concern and urged India to “exercise restraint”.
The European Union has called for ‘maximum restraint’ from India, Pakistan
after the airstrike.
France has also called for restraint but also supported India’s “legitimacy
to ensure security” and asked Pakistan “to put an end to the operations of
terrorist groups established on its territory”.
In a press release, the Australian government said, “Pakistan must do
everything possible to implement its own proscription of Jaish-e-Mohammed.
It can no longer allow extremist groups the legal and physical space to
operate from its territory.”
Australia also urged both India and Pakistan to exercise restraint.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told the media in Beijing that
the country has “taken note of relevant reports”. “I want to say that India
and Pakistan are both important countries in South Asia. A sound
relationship and cooperation between the two serves the interests of both
the countries and peace and stability in South Asia,” he said. “We hope that
both India and Pakistan can exercise restraint and do more to improve mutual
their bilateral relations,” Lu Kang said.
Reacting to what it described as India’s violation of the LoC between
Pakistan and India, the general secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic
Cooperation condemned the action against an OIC founding member state. “The
OIC condemned the Indian incursion and aerial violation and dropping of four
bombs today, February 26, 2019. It urged India and Pakistan to exercise
restraint and avoid any steps that would endanger peace and security in the
region,” it said.
Notably, this comes after the OIC invited India as a ‘Guest of Honour’ for
the inaugural plenary of its meeting of foreign ministers to be held next
week.

THERESA MAY OFFERS MPS BREXIT DELAY VOTE

Theresa May has promised MPs a vote on delaying the UK’s departure from the
EU or ruling out a no-deal Brexit, if they reject her deal next month.
Mrs May made a statement to MPs about Brexit on Tuesday, amid the threat of
a revolt by Remain-supporting ministers.
The PM has promised MPs a meaningful vote on her Brexit deal by 12 March.
But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused the prime minister of another
“grotesquely reckless” Brexit delay.
The prime minister said she will put her withdrawal agreement – including
any changes she has agreed with the EU – to a meaningful vote by 12 March.
If that fails, MPs will be offered two separate votes:
One, on the following day, on whether MPs support a no-deal Brexit – so the
UK would “only leave without a deal on 29 March if there is explicit consent
in the House for that outcome”
If that fails, then MPs will get a vote by 14 March on requesting an
extension to the two-year Article 50 negotiation process to delay EU
withdrawal beyond 29 March
“Let me be clear, I do not want to see Article 50 extended,” she told MPs.
“Our absolute focus should be on working to get a deal and leaving on 29
March.”
Any extension should not go beyond the end of June and “would almost
certainly have to be a one-off”, she added.
Mrs May said an extension “cannot take no deal off the table”, adding: “The
only way to do that is to revoke Article 50, which I shall not do, or agree
a deal.”

US HOUSE VOTES TO BLOCK DONALD TRUMP’S BORDER EMERGENCY DECLARATION

The House voted Tuesday to overturn President Donald Trump’s declaration of
a national emergency on the Mexican border, with more than a dozen
Republicans joining Democrats to try to block his effort to divert funding
to a border wall without congressional approval.
The resolution of disapproval, which passed 245-182, must now be taken up by
the Senate, where three Republicans have already declared their support,
only one short of the number needed for Congress to ratify a rebuke of
Trump’s efforts.
It remains unlikely that opponents will muster the votes to overturn a
promised veto of the resolution. But passage of a measure to assert
Congress’ constitutional authority over spending is sure to bolster numerous
lawsuits that maintain Trump’s declaration is an unconstitutional end run
around Congress’ power of the purse.
“Is your oath of office to Donald Trump or is it to the Constitution of the
United States?” Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked her Republican colleagues in a
speech on the floor before the vote.
House Republican leaders kept defections low after working to assuage
concerns among rank-and-file members about protecting congressional powers
and about the precedent Trump could be setting for Democratic presidents to
use national emergencies for their own purposes. Ultimately, 13 Republicans
defected from the party line to vote for the one-page resolution.
Before the Senate vote, lawmakers have not said what their next steps would
be if the resolution to stop the emergency declaration fails.
Some Republican lawmakers and aides said they were unconcerned because they
were confident they could prevent the two-thirds majority needed in both
chambers to override a presidential veto.

TRUMP, KIM JONG UN ARRIVE IN VIETNAM FOR SECOND SUMMIT

After long journeys to Vietnam, U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean
leader Kim Jong Un are in place for their second summit to address perhaps
the world’s biggest security challenge: Kim’s pursuit of a nuclear program
that stands on the verge of realistically threatening targets around the
planet.
Although many experts are skeptical Kim will give up the nuclear weapons he
likely sees as his best guarantee of continued rule, there was a palpable,
carnival-like excitement among many in Hanoi as the final preparations were
made for the meeting. There were also huge traffic jams in the already
congested streets.
The two leaders are to meet over two days, first at dinner on Wednesday
followed by meetings on Thursday.
Trump arrived late Tuesday in Air Force One after a flight that included
refueling stops in England and Qatar. He shook hands with dignitaries on a
red carpet that was flanked by members of the Vietnamese armed forces
dressed in crisp white uniforms. The route to his hotel was decorated with
American, North Korean and Vietnamese flags, and adults and children peered
out upper floor windows holding up cellphones to capture Trump’s arrival.
After long journeys to Vietnam, U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean
leader Kim Jong Un are in place for their second summit to address perhaps
the world’s biggest security challenge: Kim’s pursuit of a nuclear program
that stands on the verge of realistically threatening targets around the
planet.
Although many experts are skeptical Kim will give up the nuclear weapons he
likely sees as his best guarantee of continued rule, there was a palpable,
carnival-like excitement among many in Hanoi as the final preparations were
made for the meeting. There were also huge traffic jams in the already
congested streets.
The two leaders are to meet over two days, first at dinner on Wednesday
followed by meetings on Thursday.
Trump arrived late Tuesday in Air Force One after a flight that included
refueling stops in England and Qatar. He shook hands with dignitaries on a
red carpet that was flanked by members of the Vietnamese armed forces
dressed in crisp white uniforms. The route to his hotel was decorated with
American, North Korean and Vietnamese flags, and adults and children peered
out upper floor windows holding up cellphones to capture Trump’s arrival.
“Tremendous crowds, and so much love!” the U.S. president tweeted.

IRAN FM QUITS AS HIS N-DEAL TEETERS

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif resigned without warning late
Monday, offering an “apology” to the nation as the nuclear deal he
negotiated with world powers is on the verge of collapse after the US
withdrawal from the accord.
Zarif’s resignation, if accepted by Iran’s relatively moderate President
Hassan Rouhani, would leave the cleric without one of his main allies in
pushing the Islamic Republic toward further negotiations with the West.
It remains unclear why Zarif chose to leave his post now and what effect it
will have on the atomic accord, which Iran has been complying with. He
likely briefed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei before offering his
resignation. Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters, previously
backed the American-educated envoy through the nuclear negotiations. “We’ll
see if it sticks,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted about Zarif’s
resignation. “Our policy is unchanged – the regime must behave like a normal
country and respect its people.”
The veteran diplomat first hinted at his resignation with a vague Instagram
post in which he offered an “apology” for his “inability to continue to his
service.” The post included a drawing honouring Fatima, the daughter of the
Prophet Muhammad, as Iranians commemorate her birth on Tuesday. A Foreign
Ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, confirmed to the state-run IRNA news
agency minutes later that Zarif had resigned but gave no reason for his
departure.
Reaction to Zarif’s resignation was swift. A prominent reformist lawmaker,
Mostafa Kavakebian, wrote on Twitter that Rouhani should reject Zarif’s
resignation as his departure would only “make enemies of Iran’s dignity
happy.”

NIGERIA’S MUHAMMADU BUHARI WINS SECOND TERM AS PRESIDENT

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday won a second term at the helm
of Africa’s largest economy and top oil producer, a tally by Reuters based
on electoral commission results showed.
Buhari faces a daunting to-do list, including reviving an economy still
struggling to recover from a 2016 recession and quelling a decade-old
Islamist insurgency that has killed thousands of people in the northeast,
many of them civilians.
Buhari of the All Progressive Congress party proved wrong those who doubted
he could survive the blows of recession, militant attacks on oilfields, and
Islamist insurgency that blighted his first term.
He won by 56 percent compared with 41 percent for the other candidate,
businessman and former vice president Atiku Abubakar of the People’s
Democratic Party.
The president won by 3.9 million votes, having garnered 15.2 million to
Atiku’s 11.3 million.
The turnout, based on valid votes, was 33.2 percent. In the 2015
presidential election, turnout was 44 percent.
Garba Shehu, Buhari’s spokesman, said the president’s office would have no
comment until the electoral commission announces the winner.

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