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Deaths reported after new earthquake in Indonesia

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…As Reports say: Malaysia plans to end death penalty for all crimes***

At least three people were killed Thursday after a 6.0 earthquake struck just off the coast of a popular tourist island in Indonesia, officials said. The deaths come just weeks after a magnitude-7.5 earthquake and tsunami left more than 2,000 people dead.

Authorities said that the latest earthquake hit early Thursday morning just 100 miles northwest of Bali, at a depth of 6 miles.

Indonesia’s disaster agency, BNPB, is asking for tents, water treatment units, generators and transport from other countries as it still recovers from the previous earthquake and tsunami, which struck Sept. 28.

A spokesman with the agency said Wednesday that the death toll from that disaster has risen to 2,045. Thousands more are possibly buried in areas where the force of the quake liquefied the soil and sucked houses into the earth.

Several homes were also lost in Thursday’s earthquake, which affected parts of Bali and East Java.

In the meantime, Malaysia’s government reportedly plans to abolish the death penalty for all crimes and halt all pending executions, a rare move against capital punishment in Asia that human rights groups hailed Thursday as a major advance.

More than 1,200 people are on death row in Malaysia, which mandates hanging as punishment for a wide range of crimes including murder, drug trafficking, treason and acts of terror.

Law Minister Liew Vui Keong announced Wednesday that the Cabinet had agreed to abolish the death penalty and that amendments to laws with capital punishment were expected to be tabled when Parliament resumes Monday, local media reported.

Liew and other officials couldn’t be immediately reached for comment Thursday.

Amnesty International said the move would be a major advance but urged the government to “completely abolish the death penalty for all crimes, with no exceptions.” It said the death penalty has been a “terrible stain” on Malaysia’s human rights record, and death row prisoners often have to wait years for their appeals to be processed.

“There is no time to waste, the death penalty should have been consigned to the history books long ago,” Amnesty secretary-general Kumi Naidoo said in a statement, adding that 142 countries worldwide have rejected capital punishment.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s alliance won a stunning election upset on May 9, ousting a scandal-tainted coalition in the first change of government since independence from Britain in 1957. Its promises included eradicating corruption and bolstering human rights in Malaysia.

Lawyers for Liberty praised the government’s decision, saying the death penalty is barbarous and pointless as it has never been proven to deter serious crime. Its adviser N.Surendran said the new government has shown that “it is a force for moral good, and an example for the region and the world.”

Many Asian countries such as China and neighboring Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, still impose capital punishment.

Surendran urged the government to not forget the hundreds of Malaysians who are also languishing on death row in Singapore and other countries, particularly for being drug mules.

“We call upon the government to vigorously speak up for our citizens facing death in distant shores. Having rejected the death penalty in this country, we now have the moral authority to fight for the lives of our citizens abroad,” he said in a statement. “The death penalty is abhorrent, and we must try and save our countrymen and women from judicial murder abroad.”

Fox News with additional report from ABC

Foreign News

Sri Lankan President Thanks Seychelles Defence Forces For Rescuing Sri Lankan Vessel From Somali Pirates

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President Ramkalawan says Seychellois military boarded boat with utmost courage to take complete control

 The Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF) Special Forces and Seychelles Coast Guards on board Coast Guards vessel Topaz led a successful operation to regain control of a Sri Lankan vessel hijacked by armed Somali pirates.

Seychellois special military forces boarded the boat with utmost courage to take complete control of the vessel and rescue our Sri Lankan brothers.

The Commander in Chief of the Seychelles, President Wavel Ramkalawan has spoken to the Chief of Defence Forces, Brigadier Michael Rosette to congratulate the Special Forces and Coast Guards team on a well-executed and successful mission.

“This is the spirit of the Seychelles Defence Forces. Professionalism, courage, and bravery are the tenets of the new spirit in the force. Though small, we will make our contribution to attaining maritime security, peace, and determination in the fight against terrorism to ensure that the world, especially in our part of the Indian Ocean remains a safe and peaceful region. Once again, I reiterate the  pride and confidence of the Seychellois nation in the Seychelles Defence Forces.”

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GoG: Promoting Trans-boundary Management For Sustainable Socio-Economic Development

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…Mission builds upon previous efforts by AU-IBAR in the beneficiary countries (Benin and Togo) for the national validation of the report on the State of the Transboundary Marine Environment (SoME)

NAIROBI, Kenya, January 23, 2024/ — From January 21st to 27th, 2024, AU-IBAR is on a mission in the republics of Benin and Togo. The mission is dedicated to supporting the implementation of a Transboundary Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) initiative between the two nations. Funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), under the project “Conservation of Aquatic Biodiversity within the Framework of the Africa Blue Economy Strategy,” this initiative holds the promise of fostering socio-economic development through the judicious use of marine resources.

Collaborative Efforts: AU-IBAR is collaborating with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) body, the Abidjan Convention, and the World Bank-funded West African Coastal Area Management (WACA) Project. The SIDA-funded project, implemented by AU-IBAR, involves an assessment to map the extent of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) usage in Africa as a management tool for the conservation of aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems in the west, central, and northern regions of Africa.

Mission Objectives: This mission builds upon previous efforts by AU-IBAR in the beneficiary countries (Benin and Togo) for the national validation of the report on the State of Transboundary Marine Environment (SoME). The current objective is to secure joint expert validation of the SoME report and obtain high-level political endorsement for the provisions of the jointly validated report, demonstrating the commitment of both countries to the cause. Participants in the joint validation workshop include WACA project-nominated committee members from Benin and Togo, representatives from the Abidjan Convention, and government authorities from both nations, alongside relevant AU-IBAR staff.

Political Commitment: The opening statements during the joint meeting saw representatives from the Governments of Benin and Togo, the Executive Secretary of the Abidjan Convention, and the representative of the Director of AU-IBAR express unwavering commitment to the transboundary marine management process. Both the Director of AU-IBAR and the Executive Secretary of the Abidjan Convention reiterated their support for the Governments of Benin and Togo in realizing their shared vision for the sustainable management of coastal and marine resources in the designated shared maritime boundary.

Key Outcomes: The pinnacle achievement of the joint meeting is the validation of the study report on the state of the marine environment between Benin and Togo. This validation marks a significant milestone towards establishing the transboundary MSP between the two countries. AU-IBAR Director, DR Huyam Salih, emphasized that this accomplishment is a crucial step forward in enhancing aquatic biodiversity conservation and environmental protection in the Gulf of Guinea.

Conclusion: The joint expert consultation workshop serves as a testament to the collaborative efforts aimed at promoting transboundary management of shared marine aquatic ecosystems in the Gulf of Guinea. The validated report and political commitment from Benin and Togo are integral to realizing the socio-economic development potential inherent in the sustainable use of marine resources. As AU-IBAR continues its mission, the hope is that this initiative will serve as a model for other regions seeking to harmonize efforts for the conservation and management of their shared marine ecosystems.
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U.S.-British Strikes In Yemen Left 5 Dead, Say Houthi Rebels

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The U.S. and British military strikes in Yemen have left five Houthi fighters dead and six others injured, the Iran-aligned rebels said on Friday, vowing retaliation.

“The American and British enemy bears full responsibility for its criminal aggression,’’ the Houthi military spokesman Yehya Saree said in a statement.

Saree said the massive attack had targeted several Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen including the capital Sana’a.

“It will not pass unanswered and without punishment.

“The Yemeni Armed Forces will not hesitate to target sources of threat and all hostile targets on the ground and in the sea,’’ he said. 

  • dpa
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