Category Archives: World

Kazakhstan: Borrell calls for restraint

Brussels 09.01.2022 “We are concerned by the violence which has erupted, following peaceful protests, in Kazakhstan, which is an important partner for the European Union, with an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement in force, and for the stability of the region” reads the Declaration by High Representative Josep Borrell on behalf of the European Union on the situation Kazakhstan.(Image: social media).

“We deeply regret the loss of life and strongly condemn the widespread acts of violence. It is important to prevent further escalations, to avoid any incitement to violence, to exercise restraint at all times, and to avoid exploitation of unrest for other purposes.

“We stand ready to provide assistance for a peaceful resolution of the crisis. Outside military support should respect the sovereignty and independence of Kazakhstan as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens.

“We urge Kazakhstan’s authorities to uphold their commitments at this challenging time, including respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of their citizens, particularly, the freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and of the media”.

More than 160 people were killed and 5,000 arrested in Kazakhstan after the riots that shook Central Asia’s largest country over the past week. The interior ministry, quoted on Sunday, January 9, by local media, said initial estimates put property damage at about 175 million euros ($198m) after the wide-spread violence.

Kazakhstan: killed protesters in morgues

Brussels 06.01.2022 “Dozens” of protesters were killed by police on Wednesday night, 5-6 January, as they tried to seize administrative buildings in Kazakhstan, police said.

“Last night, extremist forces tried to storm administrative buildings, the Almaty city police department, as well as local departments and police stations,” police spokesman Saltanat Azirbek was quoted as saying by the Interfax-Kazakhstan, TASS and Ria Novosti agencies.

!!! WARNING! DISTURBING GRAPHIC!!!

“Dozens of assailants have been eliminated and their identities are being identified,” he added.

Azirbek said an “anti-terrorist” operation was underway in one of the districts of Almaty, the economic capital of the Central Asian country, where the riots were most violent.

The announcement comes after the arrival in the country of peacekeeping troops from a Russian-led military alliance (Collective Security Treaty Organization -CSTO) following a request from the President Tokayev as anti-government protests continued.

Demonstrations across Kazakhstan started on Sunday, January 2, over a near-doubling of liquid gas prices widely used for cars, but have since grown to include other grievances including poor living conditions in some areas, as well as 30 years under the rule of the same party since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Kazakhstan: President Tokayev vows to stay

Brussels 06.01.2022 Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in his televised address to the nation vowed to stay in the capital no matter what as it is his duty under the Constitution to be together with the people.
“No matter what, I will stay in the capital. This is my duty under the Constitution to be together with the people. We will overcome this dark period in Kazakhstan’s history. We will come out of it being strong,” Tokayev said.

President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said that he remains committed to consistent reforms and will soon present proposals for the political transformation of the country.

“Soon I will present new proposals for the political transformation of Kazakhstan. I maintain the same position of consistent reforms,” he said.

Kazakhstan has been engulfed by protests for the fourth day in a row. The protests flared up on January 2 in the cities of Zhanaozen and Aktau in the Mangystau Region, in southwestern Kazakhstan, and then swept across other centers.

The President imposed a two-week state of emergency in the Mangystau Region and in the Almaty Region, as well as the republic’s largest city of Almaty and the capital Nur-Sultan. On January 5, the head of the state also accepted the government’s resignation.

The demands of the crowds are sounding increasingly political, according to reports from the region.
However they began with something very pointed: the price of liquified petroleum gas, or LPG, the fuel that many use to power their cars.

Kazakhstan in state of emergency

Brussels 06.01.2022 The law-enforcement personnel have launched a special counter-terror operation in Almaty where chaos and looting continues, the Almaty commandant’s office reported on Wednesday, January 5. (Image: social media).

“A special counter-terror operation has been launched in the city to establish order,” the statement reads.

The commandant’s office also called on Almaty residents “to remain calm and render assistance to the law-enforcement agencies in establishing the Constitutional order and public security.”

As the statement says, “radically-minded supporters of riots have caused huge damage to the city, put up resistance to the legitimate actions of law-enforcement agencies for establishing order and providing security.”

The commandant’s office also reported that “the extremists are on a looting spree, causing damage to business.” Moreover, “they are endangering the lives and health of civilians, obstructing the work of medical workers and causing damage to polyclinics and hospitals.”

“Bandits who are on the rampage in Almaty are highly organised, which is evidence that they were seriously trained abroad” and “their attack on Kazakhstan is an act of aggression and an attempt to disrupt the state’s integrity,” the text continues.

Protests have been raging in Kazakhstan for the fourth day in a row. On January 2, crowds took to the streets in the cities of Zhanaozen and Aktau in the Mangistau region in the country’s southwest, protesting against fuel price hikes.

Two days later, riots erupted in Almaty where police used stun grenades to disperse crowds and also in other cities, in particular, in Atyrau and Aktobe, Uralsk, Taraz, Shymkent and Kyzylorda, Karaganda and in the capital of Nur-Sultan.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev earlier declared a state of emergency in the Mangistau and Almaty regions and also in Almaty and Nur-Sultan for two weeks. After that, a state of emergency was declared on the entire territory of Kazakhstan. On January 5, the head of the Kazakh state dismissed the government.

Its members continue discharging their duties until a new Cabinet is approved.

Pontifex Urbi et Orbi

Brussels 25.12.2021 Pope Francis gave his traditional Xmas message, followed by his “Urbi et Orbi” blessing to the city and the world to crowds of pilgrims gathered in a Saint Peter’s Square under the rain and to the world via a broadcast and streaming around the globe.

In his opening words he announced “the Word of God, who created the world and who gives meaning to history and to humanity’s journey, became flesh and came to dwell among us.” This event that fills the heart with wonder, he noted, shows how “the Word became flesh in order to dialogue with us,” since “God himself, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is dialogue, an eternal and infinite communion of love and life.” Through Jesus, God showed us the way to encounter and dialogue, “so that we might know it and follow it, in trust and hope.”

Patient dialogue for unity and peace
The Pope observed that our world needs dialogue, especially in these pandemic times where unity and solidarity are essential to overcoming the hurt in social relationships, putting them to the test. Imagine what our world would be like if it were not for the patient dialogue of so many generous persons trying to keep families and communities together, preventing and resolving conflicts, he said.

Decrying the “great number” of seemingly unending conflicts, crises and divisions we are witnessing today, the Pope contrasted them with how today we celebrate the message of the Saviour’s birth, “source of true peace” that “resounds in our hearts” and the world. The Christmas message calls on us to respond to the tragedies in our world, he stressed, recalling the people of Syria who have suffered from ten years of war, and Iraq struggling to recover from decades of strife. He asked the world to hear the cry of the children of Yemen, suffering terribly as a result of a years-long conflict.

The Pope recalled the ongoing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, the town of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, struggling from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, as well as the nation of Lebanon’s unprecedented economic and social crisis.

Despite these shadows, there is “the sign of hope”, the Pope underscored, “the Love that moves the sun and the other stars” became flesh, sharing in our plight and breaking down the walls of indifference. The little child “in need of everything”, came “to give us everything”. The Pope encouraged everyone then to ask the Lord for “the strength to be open to dialogue” and create in our hearts a real desire for “reconciliation and fraternity,” turning to Him in prayer.
Peace for the Middle East, Myanmar and Ukraine
Looking at areas of the world in special need of our prayers and solidarity, the Pope’s thoughts turned to all working to provide humanitarian aid to those fleeing their homelands for various reasons, including Afghanistan suffering from more than forty years of war. He remembered the people of Myanmar where intolerance and violence are rampant, affecting even the Christian community and places of worship. The Pope prayed for all people working to advance encounter and dialogue in these places, also remembering the people of Ukraine and its ongoing conflict.

Reconciliation and solidarity in Africa and the Americas
The Pope prayed for Ethiopia and that it might find the path to peace once again remembering first the needs of its suffering people. He also remembered those living in the Sahel region affected by the violence of international terrorism, for North Africa struggling to overcome social and economic instability, and for those suffering from conflicts in Sudan and South Sudan. May dialogue, mutual respect, solidarity and reconciliation prevail in the hearts of peoples in the Americas, the Pope prayed.

China: EU committed to support Lithuania

Brussels 08.12.2021 “The EU has been informed that Lithuanian shipments are not being cleared through the Chinese customs and that import applications from Lithuania are being rejected. We are in close contact with the Lithuanian government and are gathering information via the EU Delegation in Beijing in a timely manner” reads the Joint Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell and Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis on China’s measures against Lithuania. (Image: illustration, China)

“We are also reaching out to the Chinese authorities to rapidly clarify the situation”.

“Unity and solidarity within the EU remain key to upholding our interests and our values in our relations with all countries. The EU is ready to stand up against all types of political pressure and coercive measures applied against any Member State. The development of China’s bilateral relations with individual EU Member States has an impact on overall EU-China relations.

“If the information received were to be confirmed, the EU would also assess the compatibility of China’s action with its obligations under the World Trade Organisation.

“The EU remains committed to its One China Policy and recognises the government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole government of China. Within the framework of this long-established policy, the EU will pursue cooperation and exchanges with Taiwan in areas of common interest”.

Kabul: EU remains committed to people

Brussels 02.11.2020 “A terrorist attack was carried out on Tuesday, November 2, against the Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan military hospital in Kabul, resulting in at least 25 dead and many wounded inside the hospital” reads the statement by the European External Action Service spokesperson on the attack against Kabul military hospital.

“Attacking a hospital is illegal under international law, goes against fundamental human rights and is a grave breach of Islamic values. The perpetrators of this despicable crime must be brought to justice”.

“Continued terrorist attacks in Afghanistan are a serious obstacle to peace and security. The European Union remains committed to peace and stability in Afghanistan and to supporting its people, including through stepped-up, safe delivery of humanitarian assistance to Afghans in need”.

The explosions hit the entrance of the 400-bed Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan hospital and were followed with an assault by a group of Islamic State gunmen, all of whom were killed within 15 minutes, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

He said Taliban special forces dropped by helicopter had prevented the attackers from entering the hospital itself, with all killed at the entrance or in the courtyard. Earlier another spokesman said one of the attackers was captured.

WHO: Dr.Tedros re-appointment

Brussels 29.10.2021 The appointment of the next Director-General of the World Health Organization will take place at the Seventy-fifth World Health Assembly in May 2022 (WHA75). The Director-General is WHO’s chief technical and administrative officer.

The election process began when Member States, through a circular letter sent by the WHO Secretariat in April 2021, were invited to submit proposals for candidates for the Director-General position. The deadline for submission of proposals was 23 September 2021. The date on which WHO is scheduled to publish information on candidates, including the curricula vitae and other particulars of their qualifications and experience as received from Member States, is to follow the closure of the last WHO Regional Committee meeting of the year.

As today marks the closure of the last Regional Committee meeting, WHO can announce that a single candidate was proposed by Member States by the 23 September 2021 deadline: Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is the incumbent Director-General.

Proposals from 28 WHO Member States, from all WHO regions, were received by the deadline: Austria, Bahrain, Barbados, Botswana, Cook Islands, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Oman, Portugal, Rwanda, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Tonga, and Trinidad and Tobago.

During the 150th session of the Executive Board in January 2022, the Board will conduct an initial screening to ensure that the candidate meets the criteria decided by the Health Assembly, interview him and then decide on the nomination by secret ballot. The nomination will be submitted to WHA75.

The appointment will take place at WHA75 in May 2022, also by secret ballot. The term of office of the next Director-General will start on 16 August 2022.

A Director-General can be re-appointed once. Therefore, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the incumbent Director-General, is eligible to be proposed for a second term of five years.

American X-gender passport

Brussels 28.10.2021 The U.S. State Department announced Wednesday, October 27, it had issued its first passport with an “X” gender designation to add to male or female for those who do not identify as either one.

The State Department expects to be able to offer the option more broadly next year on passports and birth certificates of U.S. citizens born abroad.

In June, the State Department announced it was working on adding a third gender option for the nonbinary, intersex and gender-nonconforming individuals but noted it would take time as it required extensive technological upgrades to existing computer systems.

While a first passport has been issued, the passport application and system update will still need to be approved by the Office of Management and Budget which approves all government forms prior to their issuance. The State Department hopes by early next year to have the option widely available.

Kunduz: EU mourns victims

Brussels 09.10.2021 “People were gathered for Friday prayers in a Shiite mosque in Kunduz, when a cowardly attack struck, killing more than 40 believers and reportedly injuring over 100. The European Union mourns with the families of the victims and wishes those injured a full and speedy recovery” the statement of the European External Actions Service reads.

“The perpetrators of this despicable crime, for which the terrorist group ‘ISIS-Khorasan’ claimed responsibility, must be brought to justice. The human rights of all Afghans, including the right to life and the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, have to be protected and respected”.

“Continued terrorist attacks are a serious obstacle to a stable and peaceful Afghanistan, where all Afghan citizens can feel safe and secure. The European Union remains committed to peace and stability in Afghanistan and to supporting its people”.

Dozens of people have been killed in a suicide bombing attack at a Shia mosque in Afghanistan’s northeastern city of Kunduz during Friday prayers on October 9, the country’s worst bloodshed since the Taliban took over control in August.

The Islamic State of Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K) claimed responsibility for the attack through the same day via online communicatins.

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