The world in brief – Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Internationally, UNCRC finds Finland violated the rights of children in Syria and US dismisses idea of talks with Russia over Ukraine:

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has accused Finland of violating the rights of Finnish children by leaving them in life-threatening conditions in Syrian camps. The committee of 18 independent experts issued the findings on Wednesday after considering a case filed on behalf of six Finnish children held at al-Hol camp in Syria’s northeast region. The children belong to parents suspected of fighting for armed group ISIL (ISIS). The committee said the prolonged detention of child victims “in life-threatening conditions” amounted to “inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment”. “Finland has the responsibility and power to protect the Finnish children in the Syrian camps against an imminent risk to their lives by taking action to repatriate them,” the CRC said in a statement. The case was brought to the committee in 2019, after which three of the children were able to leave the camp with their mother, and eventually arrived back in Finland. “The remaining three child victims, currently between five and six years old, are still detained in closed camps in a war-like zone,” the experts said. The committee said it was the second time it had examined the detention of children in the northeast refugee camps. Previously it investigated three cases filed against France.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday said that Moscow was open to talks with Western powers as Turkey is looking to broker negotiations. Lavrov also said that Russia would consider a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Biden if one was proposed. “We have repeatedly said that we never refuse meetings. If there is a proposal, then we will consider it,” he said. A potential venue for talks between Biden and Putin could be the sidelines of the upcoming summit of G20 leaders that will be held in mid-November in Indonesia. But according to Lavrov, Russia has not received any serious proposals from the US to negotiate. The US was quick to dismiss Lavrov’s comments, accusing him of “posturing” and calling for Russia to stop launching strikes across Ukraine. “We see this as posturing. We do not see this as a constructive, legitimate offer to engage in the dialogue and diplomacy that is absolutely necessary to see an end to this brutal war of aggression,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said. Despite the US dismissal of potential talks, Turkey appears eager to broker negotiations between the two sides. The Kremlin said that Putin will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday, and it’s “possible” that the two leaders will discuss a Turkish proposal to host talks between the West and Russia.

In U.S.A., foreign policy on shaky footing after OPEC+ decision and ‘Women’s Wave’ demonstrations take place across the country:

The old adage is that a good foreign policy is the reflection of the national policy. A perfect storm is brewing on the foreign policy front in America triggered by the OPEC decision on Thursday to cut oil production by 2 million barrels a day, which will on the one hand drive up the gas price for the domestic consumer and on the other hand expose the Biden Administration’s lop-sided foreign policy priorities.  At its most obvious level, the OPEC decision confirms the belief that Washington has lost its leverage with the cartel of oil-producing countries. This is being attributed to the deterioration of the US’ relations with Saudi Arabia during the Biden presidency. But, fundamentally, a contradiction has arisen between the US interests and the interests of the oil producing countries. 

Make no mistake: The hundreds of thousands of marchers in more than 1,000 “Women’s Wave” rallies, demonstrations, and teach-ins from coast to coast had one specific target on October 8: Defending the right to abortion by defeating, next month, the right-wingers who destroy it. In protests from Anchorage and Los Angeles to Boston, Washington, New York, Chicago, and Miami, women’s rights advocates—female, male and other—made their voices and their views heard loud and clear, with four weeks to go before the November 8 balloting. Summarizing the crowds’ views of the right-wingers and their campaign to ban abortion nationally, one handwritten D.C. sign read: “Unless it is your body, shut up!” “Roe, Roe. Roe your vote!” was one of the milder signs at one of the largest of the rallies, in D.C., referring to the 1973 Roe v Wade Supreme Court ruling that abortion is a constitutional right—a right the current court’s Republican five-Justice majority revoked at the end of June. The majority’s decision, and Republican senators’ and presidents’ role in constructing it, set off a furor and upended the nation’s electoral arithmetic for the coming mid-term voting—and the anger hasn’t abated since, either among speakers or the rank-and-file interviewed. The D.C. march drew more than 10,000 people parading from a park southeast of the Capitol to its reflecting pool on the west—though not to the Supreme Court. Before its ruling, the court majority ordered high black fences erected around the court building, too.

In India, Trinamool Congress MLA arrested in teacher recruitment scam investigation:

Trinamool Congress MLA and former chairperson of West Bengal Board of Primary Education (WBBPE), Manik Bhattacharya was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday on charges of being ‘non-cooperative’ with regard to the ongoing investigation into the alleged West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) Recruitment Scam. Bhattacharya, MLA from Palashipara in Nadia district, was sent to 14-day custody by a special PMLA court after being interrogated for 15 hours. The ED has alleged that he was involved in the “irregularities” in the so-called teacher’s recruitment scam and claimed that he dodged continued summons from the ED over a few months. The MLA had initially refused to sign the arrest memo, claiming that he had received interim “protection” from the Supreme Court from being arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI); he had undergone interrogation by the CBI last month. The ED, along with the CBI, is currently probing the alleged multi-crore money laundering scam around the recruitment of teachers for state-sponsored schools in West Bengal as ordered by the Calcutta High Court. The scam, allegedly helmed by the former West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee, revolves around recruiting teachers in exchange for money, which had incited widespread protests by candidates who appeared for the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) in June this year.

In China, red-crowned cranes spotted at Zhalong National Nature Reserve:

Covering an area of 210,000 hectares, Zhalong National Nature Reserve, in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, provides an excellent habitat for rare waterfowl, including red-crowned cranes. As the largest habitat for wild red-crowned cranes in the world, the number of wild red-crowned cranes in the reserve has grown to about 300. Of the world’s 15 species of cranes, six can be found in the reserve. It is home to 468 species of higher plants and 269 species of birds, including 15 under first-class state protection and 43 under second-class state protection, dubbing it the “paradise of birds and hometown of cranes.” As one of China’s first nature reserves included in the List of Wetlands of International Importance, Zhalong National Nature Reserve has become one of the 17 best preserved wetlands of international importance in the world.

In Russia, President Putin hints at US culpability in Nord Stream pipeline attacks:

Those who benefit the most from the damage caused to the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea are the ones responsible for it, Russian President Vladmir Putin has said. “Everybody understands who is behind this and who is the beneficiary. One can now force the liquefied natural gas from the US on to European countries on a much larger scale,” Putin said in a speech at the Russian Energy Week forum in Moscow on Wednesday. The president pointed out that US liquefied natural gas (LNG) is “definitely less competitive than Russian pipeline gas” due its higher price. Regarding the explosions on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, Putin said: “all the facts have been proven and documented. And the ideologues and the sponsors of those crimes are their eventual beneficiaries; those, who profit from instability and conflict.” “Who stands behind the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines? Obviously, those who are looking to completely sever the ties between Russia and the EU, undermine Europe’s political sovereignty, weaken its industrial capacity and gain control of its markets,” the president said.

In Chile, Senate approves entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership:

The Chilean Senate approved on Tuesday the entry of this South American country to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP11), an economic integration agreement involving 11 countries. “The Senate approved by 27 votes in favor, 10 against and one abstention, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, known as TPP11. The draft agreement passes to the Chamber of Deputies to communicate to the Executive the approval of the National Congress,” indicated the Senators’ Twitter account. The support of the upper chamber approves the project, which, however, must be ratified by the Executive Power. The CPTPP or TPP11 is a plurilateral economic integration treaty in the Asia Pacific region. It involves 11 countries: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam and its objectives include promoting economic integration, establishing predictable legal frameworks for trade, facilitating regional trade, promoting sustainable growth, among others. Initially, the United States was one of the member countries, but in 2017 the newly inaugurated President Donald Trump (2017-2021) signed an order to withdraw his country from the agreement.

In DPRK, military exercises conducted:

There were the striking drills of long-range artillery sub-units on the front and flying corps of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) on Oct. 6 and 8 according to the decision of the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea to stage military exercises for neutralizing the enemy’s provocation to cope with the grave situation in the Korean Peninsula. Kim Jong Un , general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and chairman of the Central Military Commission of the WPK, guided the military drills on the spots. Members of the Party Central Military Commission watched the drills. There took place a joint striking drill of KPA long-range artillery sub-units on the western front and flying corps in the western part of the country on Oct. 6. According to the drill plan, the flying corps discharged the missions of striking an islet, which was supposed to be the enemy’s military base, with air-to-surface medium-range guided bombs and cruise missiles, and the missions of close raids and bombing flights. And then the long-range artillery sub-units on the front struck the islet in due order. Through the drill, the artillerymen and combat pilots’ preparedness for taking part in operation and combat abilities were strictly inspected without notice. As a result, the accuracy of the state of preparedness for operation to cope with an emergency and the high actual war capacity were clearly proved. Now that the combined forces’ naval forces, including a carrier of the U.S. Navy redeployed in the East Sea of Korea on Oct. 8, are staging the naval combined maneuvers, the KPA Air Force carried out a large-scale combined air-attack drill during which more than 150 fighter planes of different missions took off simultaneously for the first time in history.

In South Africa, diesel prices soar:

While there has fortunately been some reprieve for motorists driving petrol cars, following the recent fuel price decrease, the same cannot be said for those using diesel. Motorists are now forking out between 89 cents and R1,20 cents less per litre for petrol, while diesel costs between 10 and 15 cents more per litre, effective from 5 October 2022. Since September 2022, diesel has become dramatically more expensive than petrol – for the first time in 14 years. According to Top Auto, the last time the cost of diesel surpassed petrol was in 2008 during the April global financial crisis. At the time, motorists living in coastal areas paid R9,25 cents per litre, while petrol was R8,67. According to Peter Morgan, the CEO of the Liquid Fuel Wholesalers Association, the rise in the diesel price is as a result of the demand for it in the global market. Speaking to CapeTalk, Morgan said traders purchase the product from refineries at a flat rate and then sell it into the market. Meanwhile in Europe, many market participants have been stockpiling diesel to use for home heating, machinery, and emergency supply, particularly as the winter period approaches. In addition, there are other factors which contribute to the country’s fuel crisis, including the Ukraine-Russia conflict which began in February 2022, when President Vladimir Putin sent in over 200 000 troops into the neighbouring country.

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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