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Mali Junta Slams West African Border Closures, Trade Embargo

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Mali Junta Slams West African Border Closures, Trade Embargo

Mali’s military regime on Monday strongly condemned West African sanctions including border closures and a trade embargo over delays to a return to civilian rule, saying regional leaders were allowing themselves to be “exploited” by foreign powers.

The junta also announced the recall of its ambassadors and the closure of its borders in a tit-for-tat move.

The leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) meeting on Sunday agreed to cut financial aid and freeze Mali’s assets at the Central Bank of West African States, according to a final declaration.

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They also decided to recall their ambassadors to Mali during the unusual closed-door gathering in Ghana.

A proposal by Mali’s military rulers to hold elections in December 2026 “simply means that an illegitimate military transition government will take the Malian people hostage during the next five years”, said ECOWAS.

The meeting followed months of increasing tensions over the schedule for restoring civilian rule in Mali after two coups and a military takeover. ECOWAS insisted that Mali hold elections in February.

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Philippines’ Duterte Blocks Bill to Register Social Media Users

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Philippines’ Duterte Blocks Bill to Register Social Media Users

Author: Peace Salifu

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has rejected a proposed law requiring social media users to register their real names and phone numbers, citing threats to free speech and privacy, his spokesman said Friday.

The legislation which was approved by both houses of Congress in February, is intended to combat fake news, online abuse, text scams and militant bombings, also required mobile phone users to provide their personal details when buying SIM cards.

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While supporting efforts to tackle cybercrime and other online offences, Duterte said he opposed the inclusion of social media user registration in the bill.

He called for “a more thorough study” of the provision, citing concerns it could lead to “dangerous state intrusion and surveillance threatening many constitutionally protected rights” such as individual privacy and free speech, presidential spokesman Martin Andanar said in a statement.

Filipinos rank among the world’s heaviest users of social media, But the country has become a key battleground for misleading or fake news.

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Nearly 3.9 million people flee Ukraine says UN

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Nearly 3.9 million people flee Ukraine says UN

Author: Peace Salifu, Abuja

Nearly 3.9 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion a month ago, UN figures showed Monday, with the flow continuing to slow.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said 3,862,797 Ukrainians had fled the country, an increase of 41,748 from Sunday’s figures.

Around 90 percent of them are women and children, it added.

Of those who have left, 2.2 million have fled for neighbouring Poland, while more than half a million have made it to Romania. Nearly 300,000 have gone to Russia.

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Before the crisis began a month ago, EU member Poland was home to around 1.5 million Ukrainians.

In total, more than 10 million people, over a quarter of the population in regions under government control before the February 24 invasion, are now thought to have fled their homes, including nearly 6.5 million who are internally displaced.

Ukraine’s refugee crisis is Europe’s worst since World War II.

Read Also: UAE Welcomes UN Resolution Labelling Yemen’s Houthis as Terrorists for The First Time

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Pakistan, Foreign Developer Reach Agreement on Massive Gold, Copper Mine

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Pakistan, Foreign Developer Reach Agreement on Massive Gold, Copper Mine

Author: Peace Salifu, Abuja

Two International mining companies have settled their long-running dispute with Pakistan in a deal that officials said will revive work on developing one of the world’s largest gold and copper deposits in the South Asia nation.

Canada-based Barrick Gold corp. and Chile’s Antofagasta had suspended work on the Reko diq mine in the impoverished southwestern Balochistan province in 2011 after Pakistan refused to grant them a license to develop the project, leading to a decade long legal battle.

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s office said in a statement that under the new agreement signed with Barrick on Sunday, the nearly 11 billion dollars’ penalty meted against Pakistan by a World bank arbitration court would be waived.

Barrick will invest nearly 10 billion dollars in Balochistan which will create more than 8,000 jobs.

It added that about 1 billion dollars of the investment would go into building roads, schools, hospitals and the creation of technical training institutes for mining in the sparsely populated Pakistani region.

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