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UN rejects U.S. bid to extend Iran arms embargo



Iraqi court issues arrest warrant against U.S. president, Trump

…As Britain marks 75 years since Japan’s defeat in World War II***

The United Nations Security Council on Friday rejected a proposal by the United States that sought indefinite extension of an arms embargo on Iran.

Amb. Dian Djani, Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the UN and President of the council for August, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the council’s meeting on the issue.

Djani said China and Russia, two veto power holders in the 15-member council, voted against the US-sponsored resolution, while 11 countries, including the United Kingdom, France and Germany, abstained.

“Only two countries, the U.S. itself and the Dominican Republic, voted in favour,” he said.

The weapons ban is due to expire in October under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

In a statement after the meeting, China’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Amb. Zhang Jun, said the result of the voting showed that “unilateralism receives no support and bullying will fail’’.

Germany said it abstained because it was clear from the beginning that the proposal would fail due to opposition from China and Russia.

While noting that it shared concerns about the forthcoming expiration of the ban, it said more time was needed to find a common ground on the issue.

The Permanent Representative of U.S. to the UN, Amb. Kelly Craft, said her country would stop at nothing to extend the arms embargo.

Also read: Israel’s historic peace deal with UAE could be just the beginning

Her Iranian counterpart, Amb. Majid Ravanchi, warned the U.S. against any further move for sanctions against his country.

“Imposition of any sanctions or restrictions on Iran by the Security Council will be met severely by Iran and our options are not limited.

“An the United States and any entity which may assist it or acquiesce in its illegal behaviour will bear the full responsibility,” Ravanchi said in a statement.

Also reacting, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, described the Security Council’s decision as “inexcusable’’, saying it had failed in its primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security.

“The United Nations Security Council is charged with the responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. It failed today to uphold its fundamental mission set.

“It rejected a reasonable resolution to extend the 13-year old arms embargo on Iran and paved the way for the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism to buy and sell conventional weapons without specific UN restrictions in place for the first time in over a decade.

“The Security Council’s failure to act decisively in defense of international peace and security is inexcusable,’’ he said.

In a statement, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin proposed a summit with the U.S. and other parties to the Iran nuclear deal to avoid further “confrontation and escalation” at the United Nations over Iran.

In another development, Britain was on Saturday set to observe the 75th anniversary of the defeat of Japan in World War II, with many events held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Celebrations of the 75th anniversary of Victory in Japan (VJ) Day include a fly-past by jets from Britain’s Red Arrows air force display team over the capitals of the four nations in the United Kingdom – Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff and London.

VJ Day marks 75 years since Japan surrendered to the Allied forces, ending hostilities.

A formal surrender ceremony was held on Sept. 2 on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

Fighting in the Asia-Pacific had continued for several months after the defeat of Nazi Germany – Japan’s ally – in May 1945.

Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, and his wife, Camilla, are on Saturday to attend a VJ Day national service of remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum.

Some war veterans are also to be present at the televised event.

The couple are at 11.00 a.m. (1000 GMT) to lead a national two-minute silence and review a fly-past by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Britain’s Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II and father of Charles, is also expected to appear on screen.

Philip, 99, was present in Tokyo Bay in 1945.

Fighting in Europe ended in May 1945.

This is commemorated on May 8, Victory in Europe (VE) Day.

Many VE Day events across Europe were cancelled this year due to the pandemic.

The Imperial War Museums are also to release war-time testimonies under the headline “Voices of War” and have published historic photos and films.





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EU planning to send more migrants back to home countries



EU planning to send more migrants back to home countries

 European Union migration ministers met on Thursday to discuss visa restrictions and better coordination inside the bloc.

The meeting focused on ways to be able to send more people with no right to asylum in Europe back to their home countries including Iraq.

Three years after the 27-nation EU agreed to restrict visas for countries deemed failing to cooperate on taking their people back, only Gambia had been formally punished.

The EU’s executive European Commission proposed similar steps vis-a-vis Iraq, Senegal and Bangladesh, though two EU officials said cooperation with Dhaka on returning people has since improved.

Still, the EU’s overall rate of effective returns stood at 21 percent in 2021, according to Eurostat data, the latest available.

One of the EU officials said “that is a level that member states consider unacceptably low.

“Immigration is a highly politically sensitive topic in the bloc where member countries would much rather discuss stepping up returns, as well as reducing irregular immigration in the first place.

“It will be better than to revive their bitter feuds over how to share out the task of caring for those who make it to Europe and win the right to stay.’’

The commission said in a discussion paper for the ministers, which was seen by Reuters that “establishing an effective and common EU system for returns is a central pillar of well-functioning and credible migration and asylum systems.’’

Some 160,000 people made it across the Mediterranean in 2022, according to U.N. data, the main route to Europe for people fleeing wars and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia.

On top of that, nearly 8 million Ukrainian refugees were also registered across Europe.

The ministers meet two weeks before the 27 EU national leaders gather in Brussels to discuss migration, and are also expected to call to send more people away.

“Swift action is needed to ensure effective returns from the European Union to countries of origin using as leverage all relevant EU policies,” read a draft of their joint statement, which was also seen by Reuters.

Inside the EU, however, there are insufficient resources and coordination between different parts of government to ensure each person with no right to stay is effectively returned or deported, according to the Commission.

“Insufficient cooperation of countries of origin is an additional challenge,” it added, naming problems including recognising and issuing identity and travel documents.

However, pressure from migration chiefs to punish some third countries with visa restrictions has in the past run against the EU’s own foreign and development ministers or failed due to conflicting agendas of various EU countries.

There had therefore, not been enough majority among EU countries so far to punish another country apart from Gambia, where people can no longer get multiple entry visas to the bloc and face a longer wait.

While EU countries including Austria and Hungary loudly protest against the mainly Muslim, irregular immigration from the Middle East and North Africa, Germany is among those seeking to open up their job market to much-needed workers from outside the bloc. 

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Killing of journalists up by 50% in 2022 – UN



Killing of journalists up by 50% in 2022 – UN

The United Nations (UN) said on Tuesday that the killing of journalists worldwide significantly increased by 50 per cent in 2022 following a decline over the previous three years.

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), in its 2021-2022 freedom of expression report, released on Tuesday said 86 journalists were killed in 2022.

Accounting to the agency, the figure amounted to the killing of one journalist every four days.

The report added that the number of killings rose from 55 in 2021.

The findings highlight the grave risks and vulnerabilities that journalists continue to face in the course of their work, the agency said.

“Authorities must step up their efforts to stop these crimes and ensure their perpetrators are punished because indifference is a major factor in this climate of violence,” UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, said.

The UNESCO chief described the findings as “alarming”.

The United Nations culture agency noted that nearly half of the journalists killed were targeted while off duty.

It stated that some were attacked while travelling, or in parking lots or other public places where they were not on assignment, while others were in their homes at the time of their killing.

The report warned that this implies that “there are no safe spaces for journalists, even in their spare time”.

Despite progress in the past five years, the rate of impunity for journalist killings remains “shockingly high” at 86 per cent.

Combating impunity remains a pressing commitment on which international cooperation must be further mobilised, the organisation said.

In addition to killing, journalists in 2022 also were victims of other forms of violence.

This included enforced disappearance, kidnapping, arbitrary detention, legal harassment and digital violence, with women particularly being targeted.

The UNESCO study highlighted challenges for journalists, pointing out that the weaponisation of defamation laws, cyber laws, and anti “fake news” legislation, are being used as a means of limiting freedom of speech and creating a toxic environment for journalists to operate in.

UNESCO found that Latin America and the Caribbean were the deadliest for journalists in 2022 with 44 killings, over half of all of those killed worldwide.

Worldwide, the deadliest individual countries were Mexico, with 19 killings, Ukraine with 10 and Haiti with nine. Asia and the Pacific registered 16 killings, while 11 were killed in Eastern Europe.

While the number of journalists killed in countries in conflict rose to 23 in 2022, compared with 20 the previous year, the global increase was primarily driven by killings in non-conflict countries.

This number almost doubled from 35 cases in 2021 to 61 in 2022, representing three-quarters of all killings last year.

Some of the reasons the journalists were killed ranged from reprisals for their reporting of organised crime and armed conflict to the rise of extremism.

Others were killed for covering sensitive issues such as corruption, environmental crime, abuse of power, and protests

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U.S., UK vow to maintain Ukraine support ‘for as long as it takes’



U.S., UK vow to maintain Ukraine support ‘for as long as it takes’

The United States has signalled readiness to further step up its military assistance for Ukraine as Britain and America vowed to maintain their support in the struggle against Russia “for as long as it takes.”

Following talks in Washington with British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, U.S.  Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed UK’s decision to supply Kyiv with British Army Challenger 2 main battle tanks.

He indicated that the U.S. would be making further announcements in the coming days, with Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin due to host talks with key allies in Ramstein in Germany later this week.

“We have continuously provided what Ukraine needs and we are doing it in a way that makes sure we are responsive to what is actually happening on the battlefield as well as projecting where it might go,” he said.

“We are determined to make sure that Ukraine has what it needs to succeed on the battlefield.”

While Britain has promised to send 14 Challenger 2s, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for some 300 modern Western battle tanks to enable his forces to take the offensive against the Russian aggressor.

In practice, this is likely to mean US Abrams tanks and German Leopard 2s – or a combination of the two – which are potentially available in far greater numbers than the Challenger 2.

Cleverly, who is in Washington to urge the Americans to go “further and faster” in their support for Ukraine, praised U.S. efforts to date pointing out that it was the biggest single supplier of assistance – both military and economic – to Ukraine.

He said the U.S. and UK have worked “hand in glove” – along with other allies – since the start of the conflict to ensure Ukraine had the support it needed.

“Never in living memory has Russia been more isolated and the Atlantic alliance more united,” he said.

“If Putin believed that the world would succumb to Ukraine fatigue and lose the will to resist his ambitions then that was once again another colossal misjudgment on his part.”

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