Items filtered by date: Friday, 31 May 2019
President Donald Trump announced a punitive five percent tariff on all Mexican goods on Thursday, starting on June 10 until illegal immigration across the southern border is stopped.
 
“The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied, at which time the Tariffs will be removed,” Trump said on Twitter.
 
In a statement issued by the White House, Trump said the tariff would increase to 10% on July 1, 15% on Aug. 1, 20% on Sept. 1 and to 25% on Oct. 1.
 
“Mexico’s passive cooperation in allowing this mass incursion constitutes an emergency and extraordinary threat to the national security and economy of the United States,” Trump said in the statement.
 
“Mexico has very strong immigration laws and could easily halt the illegal flow of migrants, including by returning them to their home countries,” he said.
 
Published in Business
A spokesperson of the United Nations has revealed that the international body received 37 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse against its personnel in the first quarter of 2019.
 
According to the News Reports Mr Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General of the organisation, disclosed this at a news conference in New York on Thursday.
 
The alleged offenders, according to Haq, include civilian and uniformed personnel from peacekeeping as well as personnel of agencies, funds and programmes.
 
He quickly noted that not all the allegations reported had been fully substantiated, and that many were in the preliminary stage of assessment.
 
“Of the 37 allegations, there are 49 victims: 28 women and 11 girls, one boy, seven females of unknown age, one unknown adult and one unknown child.
 
“Sixteen of these allegations are categorised as sexual abuse, 27 as sexual exploitation, four are of an unknown nature, and two have been categorised as “other”, of which one was closed.
 
“Of these 37 allegations, one has been substantiated through an investigation and has been referred to the Member State,’’ the spokesperson said.
 
He added that four of the allegations were not substantiated; 26 at various stages of investigation, and six under preliminary assessment to determine if there is sufficient information to investigate.
 
Haq stated that the world body also received 33 allegations, involving 37 victims and 38 perpetrators, against non-UN personnel working as implementing partners.
 
Meanwhile, the UN has continued to intensify efforts to implement the Secretary-General’s strategy to combat sexual exploitation and abuse, according to Haq.
 
“In March, the 2018 Secretary-General’s special measures for protection from sexual exploitation report was released, which contains updates to the information provided in the previous reports.
 
“This includes prioritising the rights and dignity of victims, ending impunity, engaging with member states, civil society and external partners and improving strategic communication for education and transparency.
 
“We are also continuing our efforts to engage with member states and encourage their Heads of State and Government to join the Secretary-General’s Circle of Leadership, on prevention of and response to sexual exploitation and abuse in UN operations, which now stands at 74 members.
 
“The Secretary-General also continues to encourage member states to become signatories to the Voluntary Compact with the Secretary-General of the UN on the Commitment to Eliminate Sexual Exploitation and Abuse,’’ he said.
 
Haq said so far, 101 out of the 193 members of the UN have committed to the Voluntary Compact.
 
Published in World
A car bomb targeting a U.S. convoy exploded in Kabul, the Afghan capital on Friday, wounding four U.S. service members and causing a number of other casualties, officials said, in the second attack in the city in two days.
 
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast, which came a day after the Islamic State militant group claimed a suicide attack outside a military training academy that killed at least six people.
 
A spokesman for U.S. Forces in Afghanistan said a car bomb hit a U.S. convoy and four service members had suffered minor injuries but gave no other details.
 
However, there were conflicting reports about the total number of casualties caused by the blast.
 
An Afghan security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak publicly, said as many as nine people had been killed and six civilians wounded in the blast.
 
The Taliban’s main spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said in a statement the attack targeted a convoy of foreign forces, killing 10 of them and destroying two vehicles.
 
The explosion, which sent a plume of white smoke into the sky, occurred on the busy Jalalabad road in the city’s east, an area with several large security compounds which has seen repeated attacks over the years.
 
Photographs circulating on social media showed a heavily damaged white armoured Land Cruiser of a type often used by international organizations, surrounded by fire fighters.
 
Kabul has been on high alert, with security checkpoints reinforced across the city, in recent days.
 
Friday’s attack, shortly before next week’s Eid holiday, came as a delegation of Taliban officials met senior Afghan politicians in Moscow for discussions about a possible peace process to end 18 years of war in Afghanistan.
 
The Taliban have been talking with U.S. diplomats for several months about plans to agree a withdrawal of more than 20,000 U.S. and NATO coalition troops in exchange for an agreement to prevent Afghanistan from once again being used as a base for militant attacks.
 
Published in World
In a clear solidarity for their Palestinian brothers, tens of thousands of Iranians marking the annual “Quds (Jerusalem) Day” in the Islamic Republic on Friday condemned a planned Middle East peace plan touted by U.S. President Donald Trump as the “deal of the century.”
 
According to news reports, state television said state-sponsored marches were being held in 950 communities across Iran and showed demonstrators carrying banners with slogans such as “Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Palestine” and “Death to America”.
 
“No to the deal of the century” read a banner splashed across the news screen on state TV, which also showed a Quds Day march in neighboring Iraq’s capital Baghdad.
 
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Wednesday that Washington’s long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan was doomed to fail and that the Palestinian resistance movement would respond firmly to those who proposed it.
 
Palestinian officials have already spurned the plan, believing it will be heavily biased in favor of Israel.
 
Opposition to Israel is a cornerstone of Shi’ite-led Iran. It backs Palestinian and Lebanese Islamist militant groups opposed to peace with Israel, which Tehran refuses to recognize.
 
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said the Trump plan would fail, and President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that the deal of the century would be the “bankruptcy of the century” for its proponents.
 
Israel, the United States and its chief Sunni Arab ally Saudi Arabia accuse Iran of fomenting tension in the Middle East and of sponsoring terrorism. Tehran denies this.
 
Quds Day was launched by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, and is held on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
 
Published in World
South Korean newspaper, Chosun Ilbo claimed North Korea executed its special envoy to the United States following the collapse of the second summit between leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.
 
The newspaper said Kim Hyok Chol, who laid the groundwork for the Hanoi meeting and accompanied Kim on his private train, was executed by firing squad for “betraying the supreme leader” after he was “won over to the US” during pre-summit negotiations.
 
“Kim Hyok Chol was executed in March at Mirim Airport along with four senior foreign ministry officials following an investigation,” the newspaper quoted an unidentified source as saying.
 
The other officials executed were not identified.
 
Kim Hyok Chol was the North’s counterpart of US special representative Stephen Biegun in the run-up to the Hanoi summit in February.
 
South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean relations, declined to comment on the report.
 
Some previous South Korean reports of North Korean purges and executions have later proved inaccurate.
 
The paper also said Kim Jong Un’s interpreter Shin Hye Yong was sent to a prison camp for a mistake at the summit.
 
She failed to translate Kim’s new proposal when Trump declared “no deal” and walked away from the table, Chosun reported, citing another unnamed diplomatic source.
 
Kim Jong Un and Trump left the Vietnamese capital without a deal after they failed to reach agreement on rolling back Pyongyang’s nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.
 
The North has since sought to raise the pressure and carried out two short-range missile tests in May.
 
Senior party official Kim Yong Chol, the North’s counterpart to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in nuclear talks, was also sent to a labour camp, the paper said.
 
In April, South Korea’s parliamentary intelligence committee said Kim Yong Chol had been censured over his handling of the Hanoi summit, despite the fact he had recently been named a member of the State Affairs Commission, a supreme governing body chaired by Kim Jong Un.
 
The Chosun Ilbo itself incorrectly reported in 2013 that Hyon Song Wol, head of the North’s Samjiyon Orchestra, was executed by firing squad for distributing and watching pornographic content.
 
And the Unification Ministry also mistakenly announced in February 2016 that Ri Yong Gil, chief of the general staff of the North Korean People’s Army, had been executed.
Published in World
The Federal Government of Nigeria on Thursday advised South African Government to invest in the Nigeria’s gas sector, which it said is currently worth $50 billion (N18 trillion) with a lot of opportunities.
 
Giving the advice at the Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce meeting, Director, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Mr Ladan Modecai, said “his action was ignited by the conviction that there was prospect for gas in Nigeria beyond its shores"
 
He noted that such investment prospects abound in the development of upstream gas fields with a total of 37.4 trillion cubic feet, Trans-Nigeria gas pipeline project.
 
Also in gas revolution industrial park at Ogidigben FTZ, three power plants for additional 3.2GW capacity, licensing and establishment of several modular refineries.
 
Others include collocating a refinery within Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company, rehabilitation/upgrade of the refineries, revamp of liquefied petroleum gas and building of new CNG plants across the country as well as pipeline and storage tank construction.
 
The DPR boss, represented by the Deputy Manager, Gas Exploration and Production, Mr Joseph Ogunsola, said Nigeria must leverage its gas potential for sustainable development of the country.
 
“The National Gas Policy, Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme and Gas Network Code are key enablers in charting our path toward optimum Gas Development and Gas-Based Industrialisation.
 
“Most of the erstwhile constraints are being addressed in a holistic manner through government policies, reforms, and gas monetisation drive.
 
“Hitherto, absence of robust legislative, physical and commercial structures for gas and mono-product nature of the economy have militated against the achievement of gas utilisation’’, he said.
 
Modecai called on stakeholders in the nation’s economy to shun blame game over the lingering incidence of gas flaring in the country.
He said that Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme remained the best panacea to stop flaring in Nigeria.
 
The director, who disclosed that there were over 170 flare locations spread across the Niger Delta, reiterated that achieving zero flares in Nigeria by 2020 would require up to USD 3 billion in investments.
 
Published in Business
Chinese newspapers warned on Wednesday in strongly worded commentaries that China was planning to use rare earths to strike back at the United States, a move that would escalate tensions between the world’s two largest economies.
 
According to Reuters, President Xi Jinping’s visit to a rare earths plant last week had sparked speculation that China would use its dominant position as an exporter of rare earths to the United States as leverage in the trade war.
 
Rare earths are a group of 17 chemical elements used in everything from high-tech consumer electronics to military equipment. The prospect that their value could soar as a result of the trade war caused sharp increases in the share prices of producers, including the company visited by Xi.
 
Published in Business

The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, popularly known as Afcon, is the biennial championship in which Africa’s top men’s teams compete for the gold-plated African Nation Cup trophy. The winner will hoist that trophy after the final on Friday 19 July at the Cairo International Stadium.

This tournament, organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), will be the 32nd edition of the competition and the first in which the format has been expanded from 16 to 24 teams. All 24 teams have now confirmed their places.

According to a recent report by Nielsen Sports, Africa is one of the most engaged football markets globally. It matches even regions like Europe and South America. This supports the CAF’s decision to increase the competitiveness of the tournament.

Key things you need to know

Current title holders Cameroon were stripped of hosting rights last year due to delays with preparations and security concerns. Egypt was then selected as the host nation.

The timing of the competition is good news for fans of European teams. For the first time in the tournament’s history it’s being held during the European summer. This means African players who play for European clubs such as Liverpool’s Sadio Mané (Senegal) and Mohamed Salah (Egypt), or Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez (Algeria) will not be withdrawn from club duty mid-season to participate in the tournament.

The 24 qualifying teams have been drawn into six groups of four teams each:

  • Group A: DR Congo - Egypt - Uganda - Zimbabwe

  • Group B: Burundi - Guinea - Madagascar - Nigeria

  • Group C: Algeria - Kenya - Senegal - Tanzania

  • Group D: Ivory Coast - Morocco - Namibia - South Africa

  • Group E: Angola - Mali - Mauritania - Tunisia

  • Group F: Benin - Cameroon - Ghana - Guinea Bissau.

The teams in each group will play in a single round robin format. After the group stage, the top two teams and the four best third teams will advance to the round of 16. The winners will advance to the quarterfinals stage, and from then on, progress to the semifinals. The semifinal losers will contest a third-place match, while semifinal winners will advance to the final.

The full schedule of fixtures can be found on the CAF website.

Egypt is being tipped as the tournament favourite going into the competition. They have been champions of Africa more times than any other nation, and have lost only twice in their last 25 home games against African opponents. And of course they have the prolific goal-scoring machine, Mohamed Salah, who is rated as being one of the best players in the world, both on club level for Liverpool and for Egypt.

Top 10 facts

  1. Only three countries (Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia) took part in the first tournament in February 1957 and there was no qualifying competition. Egypt won.

  2. 2019 will be the first time the tournament features 24 teams, after CAF decided to expand the tournament to enhance competitiveness.

  3. Egypt will be hosts for a record fifth time. They previously staged the Cup of Nations in 1959, 1974, 1986 and 2006, winning three of those four tournaments and finishing third in the other.

  4. Egypt has been the most successful nation, with seven titles, followed by Cameroon (five), Ghana (four), Nigeria (three) and the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Ivory Coast (two each).

  5. Madagascar, Burundi and Mauritania will be making their debuts at the tournament in 2019. Madagascar was a surprise qualifier and was among the first to qualify in October 2018, while Mauritania secured their ticket a month later with a game still to play. Burundi was definitely the biggest surprise. It currently occupies 138th spot out of 211 in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. Twelve teams are yet to qualify for Africa’s biggest football tournament, including the Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Eswatini, Gambia, Lesotho, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles, Somalia and South Sudan.

  6. Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto'o is the leading overall Cup of Nations scorer, notching 18 goals in six tournaments between 2000 and 2010.

  7. Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary became the oldest player at 44 years and 21 days to feature in the tournament when he faced Cameroon in the 2017 final in Libreville.

  8. Shiva N'zigou of Gabon is the youngest player to feature and score at the tournament. He was 16 years and 93 days old when he played at Afcon in 2000, scoring for his team in a 1-3 defeat against South Africa.

  9. The tournament has been switched to being held in odd-numbered years so as not to clash with the FIFA World Cup. Afcon will also, for the first time, be held mid-year, away from the traditional January – February window. This will alleviate the club-versus-country battles that have marred previous editions.

  10. Three different trophies have been awarded during the tournament’s history. This is the third trophy, with the first and second awarded to Ghana and Cameroon in 1978 and 1984 respectively. Both won the trophy three times and therefore earned the right to keep it.

The current trophy was first awarded in 2002, and Egypt won it indefinitely after completing their historic treble of titles in 2010. Unlike Ghana and Cameroon, Egypt were presented with a replica, albeit a special full size one that they were allowed to keep.The Conversation

 

Jo Clarke, Lecturer in Sport Business Management, Sheffield Hallam University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published in Opinion & Analysis
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