Weekly Global Newscast |02 December – 08 December, 2019


Pakistan Believes in Regional Cooperation for Development in South Asia

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that Pakistan believes in eliminating poverty from South Asia and the potential of regional cooperation for the region’s development. In his message on 35th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Charter Day, the premier said that December 8 marks the day when SAARC Member States worked together for the development and prosperity of South Asia.


“The prime minister said Pakistan believes that it is possible to achieve effective and fruitful regional cooperation while adhering to the principles of equality and mutual respect. The SAARC charter was signed in Dhaka on 8 December 1985, by seven member states – Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives and Nepal” quotes Business Recorder.

“In his message on the occasion of 35th SAARC Charter Day, the Prime Minister said Pakistan believes that effective and result-oriented regional cooperation can be achieved only by adhering to the cardinal principles of sovereign equality and mutual respect as enshrined in the SAARC charter. He said this day reminds us of the enormous responsibility placed on our shoulders by our peoples and their expectations from their leaders to address the common challenges of poverty, illiteracy, disease and under-development” said Radio Pakistan.

Ukraine to Issue Diplomatic Response over Kazakh President’s Denial of Crimea’s Annexation

Ukraine has voiced concern over Kazakh President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev’s description of Russia’s takeover of Crimea, when he said it wasn’t an annexation. “Ukraine has always viewed Kazakhstan as its partner and friend,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.


“Following the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said in its statement that ‘Kazakhstan reiterates its commitment to the fundamental principles of international law in accordance with the UN Charter’ and that in Kazakhstan ‘they treat the decision of the Russian Federation with understanding’” said Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

“International organizations, including the UN, have condemned the occupation of Crimea by Russia. The United States, EU, Canada, Japan, as well as other countries have imposed economic sanctions on Russia over Crimea. Russia calls its annexation of the peninsula a ‘restoration of historical justice.’ Ukraine has said it will issue an official note of protest to Kazakhstan over Toqaev’s statement” said Kiyv Post.

Middle East & North Africa

Saudi Arabia Ends Gender Segregation in Restaurants

Saudi Arabia will no longer require restaurants to have separate entrances segregated by sex, the government says. Previously, it was mandatory to have one entrance for families and women, and another for men. The restrictions had already been quietly eased in practice, with many restaurants, cafes and other meeting places no longer enforcing segregation.


“Earlier this year, a royal decree allowed Saudi women to travel abroad without a male guardian’s permission, and in 2018 the Gulf kingdom ended a decades-long ban on female drivers. But activists complain that many laws discriminatory against women remain in place. And several prominent women’s rights advocates have been arrested even as the government has made reforms” said BBC.

“Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most gender-segregated nations, has also been chipping away at a guardianship system which requires all women have a male relative’s approval for important decisions, though some key restrictions remain. Social openness has been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent that has seen the arrests of dozens of clerics, intellectuals and activists, including women who had campaigned for some of the freedoms that have lately been granted” said NDTV.

Sub Saharan Africa

23 Dead, 130 Injured in Sudan Factory Fire

At least 23 people died and more than 130 were injured in Sudan after a fire triggered an explosion at a factory in northern Khartoum on Tuesday, according to the state news agency SUNA. The incident happened while a tanker truck was offloading gas at a ceramics manufacturing company in an industrial area of the city, SUNA reported. Sudan’s Council of Ministers said it had set up a committee to investigate the circumstances that led to the fire and how such accidents could be prevented, the agency said.


“The council also directed the Ministry of Health to launch a public appeal for blood donations for survivors who are in need of blood transfusions. The preliminary death toll from the fire was 15, according to the Sudanese Doctors Union, which called on their colleagues that were off-duty to rush to the hospitals to help. The Central Committee of Sudan Doctors (CCSD) in a post in Arabic on Facebook said many of the wounded in the fire had been taken to several hospitals in the capital for treatment” said CNN.

“CCSD, which led a protest movement calling for a civilian rule in Sudan, pleaded with other health workers in the city to prepare for more casualties as people were being evacuated from the scene of the accident. Videos shared on social media showed fire and black smoke billowing from the factory as paramedics and rescue workers at the scene searched for victims and tried to put out the inferno” said Local News 8.


New Drive to Honor Europe’s Forgotten Muslim Soldiers

Millions of Muslim soldiers fought for European powers during World War I, but their contribution has been largely forgotten. New research has uncovered tales of courage and comradeship that could counter anti-Islamic sentiment.


“The giant Menin Gate in the Belgian town of Ypres echoes with the mournful tune of the Last Post played by buglers from the local fire brigade. The ceremony, watched by hushed school groups, has been repeated every night at eight o’clock since 1928 apart from the years of German occupation during the Second World War. It commemorates soldiers who fought and died for Britain in the First World War” said Deutsche Welle.

“The walls of the gate are covered with the names of 54,607 soldiers who were killed in Belgium and have no known grave. Among them are 412 soldiers from India including Muslims such as Bahadur Khan of the 57th Wilde’s Rifles, who fell during the First Battle of Ypres on October 28, 1914, and Nur Alam of the 40th Pathans, killed on April 26, 1915, during the Second Battle of Ypres. The role played by these soldiers and their 2.5 million fellow Muslims who fought for Britain, France and Russia in a war not of their making has been under-researched in comparison with the extensive accounts of Western troops in poems, diaries and histories” said Taiwan News.


White Island Volcano Erupts; Tourists Injured, Several ‘Unaccounted for’ in New Zealand

New Zealand’s White Island volcano erupted suddenly, prompting fears for a group of visitors seen walking on the crater floor moments before. There were hundreds of People near the volcano when it erupted, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. The country’s National Emergency Management Agency said a “moderate volcanic eruption is occurring on White Island and is hazardous in the immediate vicinity of the volcano.”


“Cameras providing a live feed from the volcano showed more than half a dozen people walking inside the rim at 2:10 pm local time (0110 GMT), before images went dark when the eruption occurred minutes later. The local mayor said she feared there had been injuries in the eruption” said Asianage.

“St John Ambulance said that up to 20 people were believed to have been injured. Ambulance officers were traveling to the island with the coast guard and seven helicopters had also been dispatched with paramedics on board. A spokeswoman said the service’s medical director would establish a triage unit on the island when he arrived” said The Guardian.


Trump to ‘temporarily hold off’ Declaring Mexican Cartels Terror Organizations

President Donald Trump announced Friday that he will “temporarily hold off” designating Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations as he said he would last week. “All necessary work has been completed to declare Mexican Cartels terrorist organizations. Statutorily we are ready to do so,” the President tweeted. But Trump said he would hold off the designation at the request of the Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, whom he called “a man who I like and respect and has worked so well with us.”


“Marcelo Ebrard, the country’s foreign minister, thanked Trump via his Twitter account for postponing the designation. CNN has reached out to López Obrador’s office for comment. He wrote that the US and Mexico would ‘step up our joint efforts to deal decisively with these vicious and ever-growing organizations!’ Designating cartels as foreign terrorist organizations could lead to tougher financial penalties and legal ramifications in the US against those involved” said CNN.

“A growing chorus of conservative voices in the United States has called for the designation after the killing in Mexico last month of nine mothers and children with dual American-Mexican nationality. While it would not directly give the United States authority for military operations in Mexico, many Mexicans were nervous their northern neighbor could use it as a pretext for a unilateral intervention” said Reuters.


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