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Tweets scorn Egypt’s Sisi in renewed online criticism

CAIRO ( ) – Egyptians renewed online criticism of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Saturday, hours after he said he was “saddened” by a similar campaign a few weeks ago.

The Twitter hashtag “Leave, Sisi” was the top trend in Egypt on the social media platform late in the day with more than 50,000 tweets.

The same hashtag trended last month, with nearly 300,000 tweets over several days, but then subsided. That campaign came as the government enacted painful austerity measures including increases in fuel, electricity, drinking water and Cairo metro prices. An opposing campaign defending Sisi appeared, but drew less online support.

Sisi said at a youth conference at Cairo University that last month’s campaign had upset him.

“I’m trying to get you out of this rut and you do a hashtag saying ‘Leave, Sisi’. Am I saddened or am I not saddened?” he said.

A few hours later, many Twitter users had responded by reviving the hashtag and posting criticism of his policies.

The number of Twitter messages is not necessarily an accurate indication of levels of satisfaction with Sisi. Many young Egyptians use social media, but many of its population of almost 100 million do not.

Critics of Sisi say he has presided over the most oppressive politic,上海夜生活Kailani,al crackdown in Egypt’s,上海夜生活桑拿会所Fergie, modern 上海龙凤419history, citing the jailing or alleged intimidation of opponents before March’s presidential election, and the arrests of journalists and online activists.

There has also been anger about economic reforms introduced in line with a $12 billion IMF loan agreement, which included slashing the value of the Egyptian pound in late 2016, making most people worse off.

Sisi has many supporters, however, who believe his economic measures will pay off.

They also say a crackdown on dissent is needed to stabilize Egypt, after a 2011 uprising and the unrest that followed, including an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula that has killed hundreds of police, soldiers and civilians.

Written by shyw on July 30, 2019 Categories: cibkxmrbgx Tags: , ,

‘He looked like a terrorist!’ How a drive in rural India ended in a…

MURKI/MUMBAI, India ( ) – In the tiny hamlet of Murki in the hinterlands of south India, Inspector V.B. Yadwad surveyed a pile of bricks and stones in a ditch where he and other police officers had been attacked earlier this month while trying to save a group of five men on a road trip from a violent mob.

“We tried hard to stop them,” said Yadwad, pointing to injuries on his back. “They wouldn’t listen to anyone.”

Yadwad was one of eight policemen who rushed to the village on July 13 to try to control a mob of more than 200 that attacked the five friends, wrongly assuming they were child kidnappers.

The vicious assault left one of the five men, Mohammed Azam, a UK-educated IT worker from India’s tech hub in Hyderabad, dead, and at lest two of the others badly beaten. All eight officers were injured, two seriously.

Azam, who was 32 and worked for ,上海夜网Quentin,global consulting services firm Accenture ACN.N, is one of the latest victims of a wave of lynchings in India, as ill-equipped and outnumbered police struggle to contain mob violence triggered by false messages about child kidnappings spread via platforms like Facebook’s FB.O WhatsApp messaging service, which is very popular in India.

The Indian government says it is not tracking data for lynchings, but data portal IndiaSpend has tallied more than 30 deaths from nearly 70 such incidents since January 2017.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration, which has been facing criticism from opposition parties and the public for failing to do enough to stop the lynchings, has blamed WhatsApp, warning the messaging serv,上海夜生活Ira,ice of legal action if it did not curb the spread of fake news. (Full Story)

On July 20, WhatsApp said it was limiting the number of people someone can forward messages to simultaneously, and said it was considering more changes to curb the spread of fake messages in its largest market. (Full Story) But it is unclear how much this will restrain mob violence.

Police probing the lynchings of Azam and others say they are often triggered by deep-rooted prejudices against minorities in India. Azam’s own job at Accenture, according to his younger brother Akram, included reviewing the propriety of video content before it was uploaded to Alphabet Inc’s GOOGL.O YouTube.

“India is already vulnerable due to religious and caste fault lines,” said Rema Rajeshwari, a superintendent of police in the southern Telangana state, where some recent lynchings took place. “When you add WhatsApp to the mix, things can easily spiral out of control.”

“HIT THESE BASTARDS”

In Murki, messages circulating in a local WhatsApp group, late in the day Azam was killed, simply said: “Child kidnappers found in Murki.” Videos and photos of Azam and his four friends, taken just before, were attached.

The five, who were in a new cherry red SUV, had set out from Hyderabad that day for a drive into the countryside. While passing through a hamlet where they planned to picnic, they tossed chocolates towards a group of children, according to three of the survivors.

What the men thought was a kind gesture in a poor village cost Azam his life, as a mob of angry villagers savagely attacked him and his friends.

The assault began when the group stopped to take selfies amid lush green fields beside a pond, just after driving by the kids, according to interviews with the survivors, police, villagers and other eye witnesses.

Three villagers first walked up and started deflating their tyres. “We asked them why are you removing the air? They yelled: you men are child kidnappers,” said retail worker Mohammed Afroz, one of the four survivors.

While the five tried to plead their innocence, dozens of villagers gathered. Some carried pick-axes and sticks. Photos and videos of the five men were posted on a 180-member WhatsApp group named ‘Mother Murki’, according to police.

That video, seen by , shows the five, most wearing western attire, trying to calm the crowd.

It did not work.

Salham Al Kubassi, a Qatari national, who was friends with Azam, was among the first to be hit. While two of the friends tried to reason with the mob, Kubassi, who is a policeman in Qatar, jumped into the SUV with Azam and their friend Mohammed Salman, who works at a Hyderabad car repair shop, and sped away, according to police and the survivors.

But a makeshift roadblock was set up at a nearby junction. The SUV careened off the road after it hit a tree trunk the villagers had put in the road and ended in a small, dry riverbed, police said.

It was the attack here that claimed Azam’s life.

Many villagers, both men and women, threw bricks and rocks at the toppled SUV, shattering its windows. Some then tied ropes around Azam and Salman and dragged them out of the vehicle as at least 200 others gathered, hurling abuse at them, police said.

“They came here to steal kids. Let’s hit these bastards and kill them!” people in the mob shouted, according to a police report. “Don’t let them go!”

‘HIGH ALERT, PLEASE SHARE’

While police say there were no child kidnappings recorded in or around Murki, child trafficking is a problem in India, and many children are sold into slavery, especially forced labor.

About 250,000 children were registered as missing on the government’s Track Child portal between January 2012 and March 2017.

Villagers in Murki said they had been hearing about child kidnapping gangs for months.

Photos and videos of the bodies of children being mutilated by alleged child abductors have been circulating via WhatsApp in many parts of India. Police showed some of the material they have gathered.

One video purports to show the bloodied body of a boy with his mouth gagged, as a man leans in and repeatedly stabs his heart. The messages exhort viewers to share them, “High Alert. Please Share As Much as Possible,” one said.

In all the areas where the recent lynching cases occurred, there were no such gangs, and the messages and reports were all false, police said.

The problem is that people “may not be able to read or write, but everyone understands photos and videos,” said Telangana Superintendent Rajeshwari.

“PEOPLE MADE A MISTAKE”

In many recent lynchings, police say minority groups such as those from lower castes, have been targets. Hindu vigilantes have also killed over two dozen Muslim people for transporting cows in the past year, accusing them of slaughtering the animals considered sacred in Hinduism. (Full Story)

India’s home ministry issued a notice to police nationwide on July 4, calling lynchings over child kidnapping rumors “a serious concern,” according to a copy reviewed by . The government also issued a statement on Wednesday urging action against “cow vigilantes”.

Azam’s killing has sent a chill through Murki, where many fear discussing the attack following the arrest of more than 30 men and women from the area in the police investigation. No one has yet been charged.

When asked why上海419论坛 villagers attacked the men, Vijay Biradar, a village elder, said “people made a mistake.”

“Did you see the Qatari’s face? His big beard?” he said.

“He looked like a terrorist.”

Philippine rebels begin campaign for Muslims’ approval of autonomy law

MANILA ( ) – Leaders of the Philippines’ mainstream separatist group on Sunday urged Muslims in the country’s south to support a new autonomy law designed to tackle ext,上海夜生活Nadia,remism and defuse a half-century of conflict in a referendum later this year.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which signed a peace deal with the government four years ago, gathered tens of thousands of supporters from all over the southern province of Mindanao to its base to begin a massive campaign for the law’s approval.

President Rodrigo Duterte last signed the new autonomy legislation, called Bangsamoro Organic Law, allowing self-rule for Muslims in 2022, hoping to end a conflict that has killed more than 120,000 people and displaced 2 million.

“Our real journey toward self-determination is just starting,” Mohagher Iqbal, the rebel group’s chief negotiator, told by telephone, saying there are still challenges ahead that could stop the,上海夜网Faith, implementation of the law.

Speaking earlier to thousands of supporters, including women and children, he asked them to vote for the approval of the law expanding the territories covered by the Muslim autonomous area in the south, although he warned of some potential obstacles.

“We still don’t know if there are groups or individuals who will question the new autonomy law before the Supreme Court,” he told a cheering crowd in a speech livestreamed on social media. Supporters chanted “Allahu Akbar” and “Yes to BOL” in the rebel camp in the middle of coconut and banana groves.

In 2008, close to a million people were displaced in central Mindanao region when violence erupted after the上海419论坛 Supreme Court canceled a deal on ancestral domain with the MILF. A small but more radical splinter rebel group has since emerged, and has aligned with pro-Islamic State militant forces.

MILF leaders said they are trying to avoid a similar episode that could lead to extremist groups taking hold in the south. The rebel group is expected to dominate the 80-member Bangsamoro transition government that will be formed after the referendum.

The Bangsamoro area includes part of the Philippines’ second-largest island of Mindanao, and a chain of dozens of small islands to the west notorious for piracy and banditry.

An estimated five million Muslims live in the region, which has the predominantly Catholic nation’s lowest levels of employment, income, education and economic development.

The United Nations, European Union, United States and Japan welcomed the passing of the new autonomy law, hoping for an end to violence and a start to the region’s economic reconstruction.

South Africa’s high-speed train workers strike, services reduced

JOHANNESBURG ( ) – Workers at South Africa’s high-speed Gautrain went on strike over pay on Monday affecting services to the country’s main airport, the capital Pretoria and commercial hub Johannesburg that caters for business commuters.

The Bombela Operating Company, which operates the rapid train and bus system in Gauteng province where the two cities are located, said wage talks with the Unite,上海夜生活桑拿会所Katrina,d National Transport Union (UNTU) had deadlocked.

The company said that due to the strike it would not operate train services during off-peak hours and warned of delays.

The Gautrain was first unveiled in 2010 as part of transport upgrades in Africa’s most industrialized economy. The Gautrain links those arriving at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport to city’s the financial dist上海419论坛ric,上海夜网Faris,t of Sandton.

The unionized workers are demanding a 10 percent increase in wages, while the company is offering an 8.5 percent increment.

UNTU General Secretary Steve Harris said the union was open to further talks. He said the parties also needed to agree on night shift and housing allowances, among other things.

“We deadlocked on Saturday and they haven’t called us back to the table. We are on strike until they call us back,” Harris said.

Al Qaeda unit claims mortar attack that disrupted north Mali poll

BAMAKO ( ) – Al Qaeda’s franchise in the Sahara has claimed a multiple mortar attack on a village in northern Mali during Sunday’s election that disrupted voting, the SITE Intelligence Group said.

During voting militants fired 10 mortar rounds in the village of Aguelhok in the northern region of Kidal. One exploded about 100 meters (yards) from a polling station, causing voting to be temporarily suspended.

In a statement picked up by SITE, Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM), an umbrella group for al Qaeda-linked militants in the Sahara, claimed credit for attacking French and U.N. mission forces in Aguelhok during the Malian elections.

“This bombardment…in Mali is a clear message from us to France and its pawns in the country that the war between us will not end,” the statement said.

“Everyone knows that the winner in this election is only a pawn in the hands of France and the countries of the Cross.”

Vote counting was under way on Monday, the day after a presidential election in which President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is seeking a second term despite worsening insecurity since he took powe,上海夜生活桑拿会所Fergus,r five years ago.

The election mostly took place peacefully across the largely desert nation, but there were pockets where insecurity was so bad that no voting could take place at all. The Ministry of Territory said overnight that 644 polling stations out of about 23,000 had been unable to function.

Islamist militants are seen as the biggest threat to Western interests in the Sahara and semi-arid Sahel just to the south of it. They have h上海龙凤419it several foreign targets in Mali and its neighbors and kidnapped scores of Westerners.

It had been feared the militants, who see democracy as contrary to Islam, would try to disrupt the polls.

Security has been high on the agenda for voters, especially where in the north and center of the country where the jihadists operate. Keita’s mai,上海夜生活论坛Adam,n rival, Soumaila Cisse, has pledged to restore peace across Mali.

(This story has been corrected to clarify in paragraph 3 that attack took place during, not before, election)

South African court overturns immunity for Grace Mugabe in assault…

JOHANNESBURG ( ) – South Africa’s High Court on Monday overturned a decision by the government to grant Zimbabwe’s former first lady Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity after she w爱上海as accused of whipping a woman with an electric cord.

Model Gabri,上海夜生活Barney,ella Engels, the woman behind the assault allegation, last August filed a court application challenging the government’s decision.

Grace Mugabe returned to Zimbabwe immediately after South Africa granted her diplomatic immunity, allowing her to evade prosecution for assault and causing a row in South Africa where the opposition Democratic Alliance also challenged the ruling.

Mugabe denied assaulting Engels with an electric cable, saying an “intoxicated and unhinged” Engels had attacked her with a knife. South African advocacy group Afriforum, which represented Engels, dismissed the allegations as lies.

Former president Robert Mugabe, 94, accompanied by his wife, cast his vote in a Harare township on Monday in Zimbabwe’s first election that does not include his name on ,上海夜生活论坛Gene,the ballot paper since the country gained independence from Britain in 1980.

According to Engels, an irate Grace Mugabe burst into the room where she was waiting with two friends in a Johannesburg luxury hotel suite to meet one of Mugabe’s sons last August and started attacking her with an electric cable.

Photographs taken by Engels’ mother soon after the incident showed gashes to the model’s head and bruising on her thighs.

Judge Bashier Vally ruled that the decision to grant diplomatic immunity was inconsistent with the constitution.

Willie Spies, a lawyer for Afriforum, said the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) should now take action to prosecute Grace Mugabe and seek her extradition from Zimbabwe to South Africa. Spies said if the NPA failed to take action, Afriforum would start proceedings against Grace Mugabe.

“The ball is in their court now,” Spies said, adding that Afriforum had argued that Grace Mugabe committed the attack on Engles while she was on a private visit to South Africa and therefore did not qualify for diplomatic immunity.

NPA spokeswoman Phindi Mjnonondwana said the case was still in the hands of the police and had not yet been sent to the NPA for action. However, NPA spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku said South Africa and Zimbabwe had previously cooperated on extraditing suspects from one country to the other.

Flydubai pilot to be reprimanded after failing alcohol test: airline

DUBAI ( ) – A flydubai pilot faces disciplinary action after failing an alcohol test in 上海419论坛Nepal on Sunday before being due to operate a flight to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the airline said.

The captain was “tested and discovere,上海夜网Terra,d to have a blood alcohol level above the legally acceptable level” after a fellow crew member raised concerns the pilot was intoxicated, a flydubai spokeswoman told on Monday.

Flydubai is investigating the incident, the spokeswoman said, adding that the pilot would be reprimanded.

The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said it was working with flydubai on the investigation. A spokesman for the regulator told that under UAE law any positive test for any crew member while on duty can result in them losing their license permanently.

“The GCAA takes passengers’ sa,上海夜生活桑拿会所Pat,fety and security very seriously (and) thus enforces a zero tolerance policy for those exceeding the regulation on all UAE Airlines,” the spokesman said.

The pilot, who was tested before boarding the plane, was deemed unfit to fly and a replacement crew was sent to Kathmandu to operate the flight to Dubai, the airline spokeswoman said.

The flight arrived in Dubai 10 hours and 30 minutes later than originally scheduled. The pilot was not identified.

Kathmandu airport General Manager Raj Kumar Chhetri told the pilot was not arrested because he was not a Nepali citizen and that he had returned to Dubai.

‘Horrors that can’t be told’: Afghan women report Islamic State rapes

SHEBERGHAN, Afghanistan ( ),上海夜生活Jace, – A mother of three from a remote area of northwestern Afghanistan remembers the day the head of a local Islamic State group came to her village, demanding money he said her husband ha,上海夜生活论坛Bennie,d promised.

“I told him we didn’t have any money but that if we found any we would send it to him. But he didn’t accept that and said I had to be married to one of his people and leave my husband and go with them,” Zarifa said.

“When I refused, the people he had with him took my children to another room and he took a gun and said if I didn’t go with him he would kill me and take my house. And he did everything he could to me.”

Even by the bloody standards of the Afghan war, Islamic State has gained an unmatched reputation for brutality, routinely beheading opponents or forcing them to sit on explosives.

But while forced marriages and rape have been among the most notable features of Islamic State rule in Iraq and Syria they have been much less widely reported in Afghanistan.

While there have been reports in Nangarhar, the eastern province where Islamic State first appeared in 2014 and in Zabul in the south, deep taboos that can make it impossible for women to report sexual abuse make it hard to know its scale.

The group has a growing presence in Zarifa’s province of Jawzjan, on the border with Turkmen爱上海419istan, exploiting smuggling routes and attracting both foreign fighters as well as unemployed locals and fighting both U.S.-backed Afghan forces and the Taliban.

For Zarifa, the attack forced her to leave her home in the Darzab district of south Jawzjan and seek shelter in the provincial capital of Sheberghan.

“My husband was a farmer and now I can’t face my husband and my neighbors and so, despite the danger, I left,” she said.

TEN MONTHS OF TERROR

Another woman, Samira, who escaped Darzab and now lives in Sheberghan, said fighters came to her house and took her 14 year-old sister to their commander. Like Zarifa, she did not want to use her full name because of the stigma against victims of sexual violence.

“He didn’t marry her and no one else married her but he raped her and his soldiers forced themselves on her and even the head of the village who is in Daesh forced himself on my sister and raped her,” she said. Daesh is an Arabic term for Islamic State.

“This girl was there with Daesh for 10 months but after 10 months she escaped and now she’s with us. But I can’t tell anyone about this out of shame.”

Stories like those told by Samira and Zarifa have emerged in recent months as thousands have fled Darzab.

“Daesh has committed many horrors in Darzab that can’t be told,” said the Taliban’s main spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid.

“Daesh does not abide by any rules and there is no doubt about the horrors people have been speaking about.”

Islamic State has no known spokesman in Afghanistan. But the accounts were broadly endorsed by government officials who say Islamic State is trying to import an entirely foreign ideology.

Documents captured in Syria in 2015 revealed ways in which Islamic State theologians regulated the use of female captives for sexual purposes.

“It is completely against our culture and traditions,” said Mohammad Radmanish, a defense ministry spokesman, who said that Darzab was not the only area where rapes and sexual slavery by Islamic State had been reported.

“When they came to our area, everyone knew what these Daesh had come for,” said Kamila, a woman from Darzab, who said that three girls were taken from the area where she lived.

“They would bind a girl or woman from a house and take her with them. At first they said that we would have to marry them. But then, when they took them, many men forced themselves on them and raped them.”

Zimbabwe counts votes after first post-Mugabe election

HARARE ( ) – Counting began in Zimbabwe on Monday in the first election since the removal of former president Robert Mugabe, a watershed vote that could pull a pariah state back into the international fold and spark an economic revival.

The election is a two-horse race between 75-year-old President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a long-time Mugabe ally, and 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa, a lawyer and pastor who is vying to become Zimbabwe’s youngest head of state.

Mnangagwa is viewed as the frontrunner, though the latest opinion polls showed a tight race. There will be a runoff on Sept. 8 if no candidate wins more than half the votes.

Voting closed at 7 p.m. (1700 GMT). The official result has to be announced within five days but there will likely be an indication of the outcome on Tuesday.

Zimbabwe’s electoral commission said voter turnout had averaged 75 percent, higher than in the last vote in 2013.

Zimbabweans are also electing 210 members of parliament and more than 9,000 councillors.

The election winner faces the task of putting Zimbabwe back on track after 37 years of Mugabe rule tainted by corruption, mismanagement and diplomatic isolation that caused a crisis in a country that once had one of Africa’s most promising economies.

A credible vote is essential if Zimbabwe is to exit painful sanctions and secure the donor funding and investment needed to stem chronic cash shortages.

Chamisa said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was impeding voting in urban areas where he enjoys strong support but gave no evidence to back the claim.

“The people’s will being negated & undetermined due to these deliberate and unnecessary delays,” he said in a tweet. The ZEC was not immediately available to comment. It has denied Chamisa’s previous allegations of bias.

Voting starts in New Orleans as Landrieu seeks new terms as mayor

NEW ORLEANS ( ) – Voting opened in New Orleans on Saturday, with fro,上海夜生活桑拿会所Katelyn,nt-runner Mayor Mitch Landrieu trying to win a another four-year term on a record of helping the Crescent City rebuild itself from Hurricane Katrina.

But his African-American challengers have said Landrieu, the white scion of one of the state’s pre-eminent Democratic political families, has not done enough to help the poor in the predominantly black city.

His main challenger is state court Judg,上海夜生活George,e Michael Bagneris, who had been executive counsel to former Mayor Ernest “Dutch” Morial and is well-known in the black political estab上海419论坛lishment.

Landrieu, 53, needs more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff, which would be held March 15. Voting ends at 8 p.m. CST.

With polls putting Landrieu well ahead of his challengers, the main question is whether he will garner enough votes to avoid a runoff.

Boosted by massive federal aid, the city’s population and economy have grown steadily under Landrieu.

Tourism, one of New Orleans’ biggest industries, has made a striking recovery since Katrina hit in 2005, with visitor numbers in 2013 approaching a nine-year high.

But Landrieu’s opponents have said poor blacks have been left behind, and they accuse the mayor of not doing enough to help improvised communities recover from Katrina.

The hurricane flooded 80 percent of the city, killed 1,500 people and caused $80 billion in damage.

The final candidate on the mayoral ballot is veteran civil rights lawyer Danatus King, who also is black. He has been running a distant third in political polls.

Landrieu has also been seen in a more positive light due to the corruption trial that started this week for his predecessor, Ray Nagin. The former mayor is charged with receiving kickbacks from those seeking contracts to help the city rebuild from Katrina during his administration.

Voter frustration with Nagin not only helped Landrieu win in a landslide in 2010, but also put the first white mayor in office in New Orleans since his father, Moon Landrieu, left that seat in 1978.

Islamic State claims southern Philippine blast that killed 11

MANILA ( ) – A bomb exploded in a van in the restive southern Philippines on Tuesday, killing 11 people at a military checkpoint in what militant group Islamic State called a suicide attack for which it claimed responsibility.

The blast took place on Basilan, the island stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf group notorious fo,上海夜网Orelia,r kidnapping and banditry, which was the home of the former “emir” of Islamic State in Southeast Asia, killed last year by Philippine troops.

A suspected bomber, a soldier, five paramilitary troopers and four civilians, including a mother and her child, were killed and seven people were wounded in the blast, an army spokesman said.

Vehicle bombings are extremely rare in the Philippines, despite decades of separatist and Islamist violence that have destabilized the Mindanao region and lured foreign extremists.

In a statement carried by its Amaq news agency, Islamic State claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing attack, which it called “a martyrdom operation”.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque condemned the bombing as a “war crime”, calling it “an illegal use of force, even in times of armed conflict”.

Tuesday’s explosion happened moments after troops stopped the vehicle and spoke to the driver, who was alone and probably detonated the bomb, the military said.

A soldier who witnessed the attack said in an interview on private-run DZMM radio that the driver spoke in an unfamiliar dialect and may have been foreign.

However, military spokesman Colonel Edgard Arevalo said security forces were investigating and there was no basis yet to conclude that the incident was a suicide bombing or had been carried out by a foreigner.

Intelligence indicated that militants planned to build homemade bombs and target army bases, he added.

Basilan is a no-go area for most Filipinos and Western countries typically warn citizens to stay away because of the presence of Abu Sayyaf and fierce military offensives against its fighters.

Abu Sayyaf is infamous for taking fishermen and crew from commercial ships as hostages and beheading Weste上海龙凤419rn captives for whom ransom is not paid.

President Rodrigo Duterte was on a neighboring island at the weekend and has offered peace talks with several Abu Sayyaf factions.

Duterte’s offer came two days after he approved a law to allow minority Muslims in the region to create a new autonomous area with its own political and economic powers.

Tuesday’s blast was a “horrifying attack” and a “cowardly act” said opposition lawmaker Senator Risa Hontiveros, a backer of the aut,上海夜生活桑拿会所Fielding,onomy law who urged that the attack should not derail moves toward self-determination for the region’s Muslims.

The bombing was a sign extremists were bent on sabotaging a peace effort that had a chance of success, said security expert Rommel Banlaoi.

“These pro-Islamic State militants will pose a tremendous challenge for the implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law,” he said, referring to the autonomy law.

Exclusive: South Africa faces power cuts as Eskom units down -…

JOHANNESBURG ( ) – Fifteen units are down at nine South African power stations, taking over 6,000 megawatts or 13 percent of Eskom’s output off the national grid, an internal document seen by showed on Tuesday.

Eskom provides more than 90 percent of the power for Africa’s most industrialized economy, but the state-owned utility has been hit by labor unrest over wage talks as it tries to reverse a decade of financial decline by cutting costs.

Earlier, it warned there was a high risk of electricity cuts on Tuesday because of “unplanned outages”. Power cuts during the ongoing winter are likely to cause hardship for millions.

The document, sent on Tuesday to senior staff of the struggling utility, shows that four units are down at the Arnot station, contradicting an earlier claim by Eskom that only one of the s,上海夜生活Ira,ix coal-fired units there was not functioning.

Reasons cited for the outages at the 15 units in total include an ongoing wildcat strike and low coal levels which union sources say are related to the industrial unrest along the coal belt east of Johannesburg.

Eleven of the units went down on Monday and Tuesday, underscoring the impact of the protests.

The other four went down months ago or last year for reasons unrelated to the protests.

Only two of the 15 units, both at Arnot, are expected to come back on line on Tuesday, according to the document. Nine are expected to start generating power again this week.

Non-striking employees at the Arnot station on Tuesday were prevented from showing up to work by striking colleagues, according to Eskom and union sources.

The threat of protests and outages had appeared to recede after Eskom offered to raise salaries by around 7 percent annually over the next three years, but trade unions want bonuses to be paid before they agree a wage deal.

Eskom was forced to implement controlled electricity outages in mid-June after workers protested over wages.

Previously, Eskom implemented such measures, known locally as “lo爱上海ad shedding”, in 2015, denting economic output.

Last week Eskom said it was considering cutting staff and selling as,上海夜生活论坛Cade,sets after swinging to a $171 million loss which underlined the gravity of its financial position.

South Africa’s new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, replaced Eskom’s entire board and top executives in January, in a bid to revive a crucial state enterprise.

South Sudan arrests prominent economist and critic, wife says

JUBA ( ) – South Sudanese authorities have arrested a prominent economist and critic of both the government and rebels, his wife said on Tuesday, the latest activist to be rounded up in the war-torn state.

Nyathon James Hoth said her husband Peter Biar Ajak, a country director for the London School of Economics’ International Growth Centre and a former World Bank economist, was seized by officers from the National Security Service on Saturday in the capital Juba.

Biar has been critical of the way both President Salva Kiir and his former-deputy-turned-rebel-leader Riek Machar have conducted peace talks, which have concluded with several agreements that were repeatedly violated by both sides.

“There is no official information from the authorities why he was arrested. We are hopeful today we will be able to mee,上海夜生活论坛Octavio,t them to know exactly why he’s been detained,” Hoth told .

A police spo,上海夜生活桑拿会所Hana,kesman said he was not aware of Biar’s arrest. Officials from the National Security Service were not immediately reachable for comment.

Information Minister Michael Makuei declined to give details, telling reporters: “Whoever has been arrested, t上海龙凤419here must be a reason. I don’t know the reason for his arrest.”

Jonathan Leape, Executive Director of the International Growth Centre, said: “We call on the government to either file formal charges against Peter Biar or promptly release him.”

Biar was involved in peace and reconciliation efforts in South Sudan, which slid into civil war in 2013 after Kiir fell out with Machar.

Fighting has devastated the country’s oil-based economy. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and at least 4 million people displaced.

In February, the U.N. Mission in South Sudan accused the government of stifling coverage of one of the world’s biggest humanitarian crises, saying scores of journalists and rights activists had been killed or arrested and newspapers closed.

Thailand asks UK to extradite convicted former PM Yingluck

BANGKOK ( ) – Thailand has asked Britain to extradite former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, overthrown in a coup in 2014 and sentenced in absentia to jail for negligence, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Tuesday.

Yingluck fled the country last August to avoid being jailed over a rice subsidy scheme that ran up losses in the billions of dollars. She has denied wrongdoing and said the trial was politically motivated.

The Supreme Court sentenced her in absentia to five years’ jail last September.

Prayuth said the request was a necessary procedure between the two countries which share an extradition treaty.

“We cannot go and arrest people abroad so it is up to that country to arrest and send (her) to us,” Prayuth said.

Yingluck and her brother, ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shi,上海夜网Safia,nawatra, have been at the center of a power struggle that has dominated Thai politics for more than a decade, pitting traditional royalist and the military elite against the Shinawatra family and their supporters in the rural north and northeast.

It was not immediately clear why the government h爱上海419ad waited until now to seek Yingluck’s extradition or how Britain would respond.

With a long-awaited general election due for some time next year, both Thaksin and Yingluck still wield significant political influence.

The junta has long maintained that it is unconcerned,上海夜生活Randy, by the Shinawatra siblings but critics say the military is looking to end the family’s political influence by introducing a new military-backed constitution and restrictions on political parties.

Germany cites progress on troubled A400M military transports

BERLIN ( ) – After years of delays and technical challenges, Germany’s air force’s growing fleet of Airbus A400M military transport planes will now include a “flying intensive care station”, top air force and defense ministry officials said on Tuesday.

Deputy Defence Minister Benedikt Zimmer welcomed the introduction of the medical evacuation capability as a key step forward on the long-troubled procurement program, and said additional capabilities would be added in coming months.

He said the aircraft’s low readiness rates were also improving, with eight of 15 available aircraft ready for operational use on average last month. Last year, there were days on which zero aircraft were available for use.

“We are on a good path, but not nearly at the target that we have for readiness,” Zimmer told reporters at an airfield at Berlin’s Tegel airport after inspecting the new modular medical care stations aboard an A400M transport.

Germany, the la,上海夜网Raina,rgest buyer of the multinational A400M, has received 20 of the 53 A400M aircraft it plans to buy. It has taken years to add certain capabilities to the aircraft, and officials are still working on enhanced protective measures.

With the new medical equipment, the A400M can be configured to carry six medical patients to safety, including two in critical condition, Air Force offic,上海夜生活桑拿会所Naia,ials said. That capacity will be expanded to reach 10 patients in time, surpassing the capability of the existing fleet of C160 Transall transports.

“This is a significant step, and marks significant progress,” Zimmer said. The 爱上海capability would allow the German military to help “strengthen the European pillar in the alliance,” he said.

Zimmer said the new capability would be ready for use beginning Aug. 1, a third big achievement for the A400M after the advent this year of its ability to refuel other aircraft, and the first transports of troops and cargo to Afghanistan in recent days.

Norway demands Israel explain seizure of boat bound for Gaza

OSLO ( ) – Norway has asked Israel to explain the legal grounds for detaining a Norwegian-flagged fishing boat seized while activists tried to sail with aid to the Gaza Strip, Norway’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

The ministry said its diplomats in Israel had been providing consular assistance to five Norwegians who were among the 22 passengers and crew detained onboard the vessel Kaarstein on Sunday. Two Israelis on board were quickly released.”We have asked the Israeli authorities to clarify the circumstances around the seizure of the vessel and the legal basis for the intervention,” the spokesman for the Norwegian foreign affairs ministry in Oslo said. A spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

Torstein Dahle, head of the group Ship to Gaza Norway which organized the shipment, said it was the first Norwegian aid vessel to attempt to breach the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

The captain had been struck on the head by Israeli soldiers who ordered him to sail for Israel, but no one was seriously hurt, Dahle said.

“This is a peaceful boat; it’s impossible that it can threaten Israel’s security,” he said.

The Gaza Strip is controlled by the Islamist militant grou,上海夜生活Ellen,p Hamas, which has fought three wars against Israel in the decade since taking power there.

Israel, citing security concerns that include fea,上海夜生活桑拿会所Kayla,rs of Hamas weapons smuggling, maintains a naval blockade of Gaza, and along with Egypt also restricts imports by land.

The territory is home to 2 million Palestinians, mainly the stateless descendan爱上海419ts of people who fled or were driven out of what is now Israel at its founding in 1948. Under the blockade, Gaza has suffered an economic crisis creating what the World Bank describes as a “collapse in humanitarian conditions” including access to clean water, medicine and electricity.

Numerous activist ships have been prevented from reaching Gaza in recent years. An Israeli raid on a Turkish flotilla in 2010, in which ten activists were killed, caused a serious rupture in relations between Israel and Turkey, one of Israel’s few friends in the Middle East.

Audun Lysbakken, leader of Norway’s opposition Socialist Left party, called on the foreign ministry to protest against what he described as Israel “hijacking” the Norwegian boat in international waters.

Among those detained is Mikkel Gruner, a Danish citizen who lives in Norway and is the Socialist Left representative in the municipal council of the Norwegian city of Bergen. Lysbakken said the activists had legal rights to protest against Israel’s blockade, demanding the release of Gruner and the others.

Nigeria’s Senate president quits ruling party in new blow to Buhari

LAGOS ( ) – Nigeria’s Senate president on Tuesday became the latest senior politician to leave the ruling party, dealing a new blow to President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of an election next year.

Bukola Saraki, the country’s third most senior politician, defected to rejoin the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), becoming the most high-profile figure to leave the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Last week, 16 lawmakers in the upper house left the APC, as did 32 in the lower house and this month an APC faction said it no longer backed Buhari.

The loss of influential figures and divisions in the party peels support from Buhari within powerful patronage networks and among voters ahead of the election sch爱上海eduled for February 2019.

“After extensive consultations I have decid,上海夜生活桑拿会所Jax,ed to take my leave of the All Progressives Congress (APC),” Saraki said in a statement.

“Today, I start as I return to the party where I began my political journey, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).”

The PDP welcomed Saraki from the APC alongside Ahmed Abdulfatah, governor of Saraki’s home state of Kwara in central Nigeria. The country’s ambassador to South Africa, Ahmed Ibeto, also defected to the PDP after resigning his post, the PDP said.

A spokesman for Buhari said the APC would comment later.

The opposition PDP said on Twitter Saraki had “dumped the failed and dysfunctional” APC. The PDP was in power from the start of civilian rule in 1999 until Buhari took office in 2015.

The APC coalition united to unseat Buhari’s predecessor Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 but it is now divided between Buhari loyalists and those who say they have been targeted by him.

Saraki’s supporters said he had for years been targeted by the presidency. He has been dogg,上海夜生活Terrell,ed by accusations of misconduct and investigations since taking the post in 2015 with the support of opposition lawmakers but has not been convicted.

Saraki’s defection was expected, said Antony Goldman of Nigeria-focused PM Consulting, saying that defections to the APC helped Buhari to defeat Jonathan.

“The challenge now for the opposition will be to overcome factional differences and personal ambitions and find, at this relatively late stage, a credible candidate to challenge President Buhari next February,” he said.

Nigeria’s main opposition parties earlier in July agreed to form an alliance to field a joint candidate to contest the election.

Buhari said in April he would seek another term and he looks set to receive party approval. Party primaries to choose presidential candidates run from Aug. 18 to Oct. 7.

Divisions in the APC emerged since its conference in June when new party leaders were elected and others saw their hopes of party advancement dashed. All but two of the 16 senators who left the APC last week joined the opposition PDP. As a result, the APC has lost its Senate majority.

U.S. spy courts add two judges appointed by Democrats

WASHINGTON ( ) – Two secret courts that authorize U.S. spying operations such as the massive collection of telephone data are adding two judges who were put on the bench by Democratic presidents, a spokesman said on Friday, in a shift following criticism that one of the two courts i爱上海419s one-sided.

The appointments, to the 11-member U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and to the three-member U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, came without comment from Chief Justice John Roberts, who in addition to heading the U.S. Supreme Court has exclusive power to determine the makeup of the two spy courts.

Roberts is a conservative judge appointed to the high court in 2005 by Republican President George W. Bush. The vast majority of the judges he has chosen for the spy courts have been Republican appointees.

Seattle-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Tallman joined the court of review for a term that started last month. Democratic President Bill Clinton appointed Tallman, a Republican, as a federal appeals court judge in 2000.

A former federal prosecutor, Tallman joined the 9th Circuit as part of a deal between Clinto,上海夜网Nadine,n and Republican senators. Tallman has developed a reputation as a smart, hard working judge who frequently sides with the government in criminal cases, said Rory Little, a Hastings College of the Law professor who regularly argues before the court.

“He certainly does not express suspicion of governmental action very often,” Little said.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, based in Washington, D.C., will join the lower spy court in May. Democratic President Barack Obama appointed him as a federal trial judge in 2011.

Federal judges serve for life, but their terms on the spy courts are fixed at seven years. They go on hearing their,上海夜生活Balthazar, regular cases while helping on the spy courts.

Civil liberties advocates, as well as Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, have said that the lower spy court risks its impartiality by having at one point 10 of its 11 seats held by Republican-nominated judges.

Congress created the two courts in 1978 after revelations that federal agents had routinely and unlawfully spied on Americans.

By law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court oversees investigations related to non-U.S. targets, and it usually approves requests made by Justice Department lawyers.

In an annual report to Congress that is publicly available, the Justice Department said that in 2012 the government made 212 applications for access to business records. The court denied none of the applications but amended 200 of them, the report said.

Leaks to the news media from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden showed, beginning last year, how expansive the court’s orders can be.

The court approved, for example, the creation of a database that includes information on virtually every U.S. telephone call, such as the length of the calls and the numbers dialed. Obama has ordered changes to that program.

New Jersey mayor convicted of bribery and extortion

TRENTON, New Jersey ( ) – Trenton Mayor Tony Mack was found guilty of federal extortion and bribery charges after being ensnared in a 2010 sting operation involving the development of a parking garage on city-owned property.

The would-be developers were, in fact, government info,上海夜生活Halsey,rmants.

Under the scheme, the developers would buy city property for the garage for $100,000 less than the value of the land, and the Democratic mayor of New Jersey’s capital city would receive money in exchange, prosecutors said.

A jury convicted Mack, 48, on all six charges of bribery, extortion and wire and mail fraud after eight hours of deliberation. He has remained in office during the trial.

City Council President George Muschal, a retired police officer, is expected to be sworn in as the new mayor.

The mayor’s brother Ralphiel was accused of acting as a bag man to pick up the bribe money and also was on trial. Prosecutors said the informants offered a bribe of $119,000, about $54,000 of which changed hands.

He was found guilty of extortion and bribery charges.

Judge Michael Shipp set sentencing for May 14 and continued bail for both men. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mack faces a maximum sentence of 110 years behind bars.

Arrested in September 2012, Mack has been accused by critics of nepotism and mismanagement since taking office in 2010 in the crime-plagued, economically depressed city of 85,000 people. He was reportedly deeply in debt at the time of his arrest.

His defense attorneys said there was no pr,上海夜生活论坛Les,oof produced at the trial that Mack ever took a bribe.

“I’m disappointed,” Mack’s lawyer, Mark Davis, said after the verdict. Neither the Mack brothers nor jurors made any comment as they left the courthouse.

Mack’s defense laid the blame on a third man, Joseph Giorgianni, who has pleaded guilty and is a cooperating witness awaiting sentencing.

P爱上海419rosecutors said the many wire-tapped telephone conversations in the case showed solid evidence of Mack’s guilt.

They contended that Mack used other people – his brother and Giorgianni – in an attempt to shield himself from culpability.

Indonesian security forces abseil down high-rise in Asian Games drill

JAKARTA ( ) – Indonesian security forces jumped out of helicopters and abseiled down the side of a high-rise in a counter-terrorism drill in Jakarta on Wednesday, as preparations for this month’s Asian Games gathered momentum.

Southeast Asia’s biggest nation is readying to host more than 100,000 athletes and spectators at the event, which is set to run from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2, guarded by tens of thousands of police and military personnel.

Special force爱上海419s simulated a militant attack and a hostage situation at the main stadium complex after the Muslim-majority country suffered its deadliest militant attacks in more than a decade in May.

Since a spate of sui,上海夜生活桑拿会所Jacqueline,cide bombings in the second biggest city of Surabaya killed about 30 people, including several attackers, counter-terrorism police looking to defuse homegrown radicalism have detained nearly 250 suspected militants and killed 21.

“These arrests are part of the process of our hosting and preparing for the Asian Games,” said national police spokesman Setyo Wasisto, adding that police were also cracking down on petty crime and traffic violations.

,上海夜生活Idaleen,Last month human rights groups called for an independent investigation after police shot dead 11 men in the security clampdown ahead of the Asian Games, last held in Indonesia in 1962.