Weekly Global Newscast |11 November – 17 November, 2019


Altaf Hussain Seeks Asylum, Aid from India

Altaf Hussain, the founder of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) who has been charged with a terrorism offence, has requested Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for help by giving asylum and financial help to him and his companions. On October 10, 2019, Hussain was charged by the UK’s Crown Prosecution Services with the terrorism offence in a case related to his incendiary speech relayed from the UK to his followers in Pakistan in 2016, Geo News said in a report. He is due to stand trial in June 2020 and his passport remains with the UK police as part of his bail conditions and he is not allowed to apply for any travel document unless permitted by the court.


‘Hussain’s MQM is influential in urban areas of Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh, including its restive port city of Karachi. The MQM claims to represent the Urdu-speaking migrants who moved to Pakistan with the partition of India in 1947’ said Gulf News.

‘“If India’s Prime Minister Modi allows me to come to India and provides me asylum with my colleagues, I am ready to come to India along with my colleagues because my grandfather is buried there. My grandmother is buried there and thousands of my relatives are buried there in India. I want to go to India to their graves”’ said Altaf Hussain as quoted by Daily Times.

Tajik Opposition Activist Odinaev Seeks EU Asylum after Being Released in Belarus

Tajik opposition activist and journalist Farhod Odinaev says he will seek political asylum in the European Union after learning the authorities intend to arrest him if he returns home. Odinaev told RFE/RL by phone on November 10, 2019 that he was currently in Germany on a one-year visa after Belarusian authorities freed him last week and rejected a Tajik request to extradite him.


‘Odinaev added that before his arrest in Belarus, he did not know that Tajikistan was seeking his extradition and that he understands now how dangerous it would be for him to travel to post-Soviet republics. Odinaev was detained by Belarusian migration officials while on his way to the Polish capital, Warsaw, to attend a human rights conference. Rights group Human Constanta in Belarus said that Odinaev risked torture or other ill-treatment if extradited to Tajikistan’ said Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty.

‘Odinaev, who holds Tajik and Russian passports, used to belong to the banned Islamic Renaissance Party (IRPT) and for several months in 2013 led Safo TV, an opposition television channel based in Moscow. The channel was shut down by Russian authorities the same year’ said Watchdog RFERL.

Middle East & North Africa

Saudi Aramco Flotation Values the Oil Giant at $1.7tn

Saudi Arabia has placed a preliminary valuation on state oil company Aramco of between $1.6tn (£1.22tn) and $1.7tn. The company has published an updated prospectus for its initial public offering (IPO), seeking more than $25bn for the sale of 1.5% of its shares. That would make it potentially the world’s biggest IPO, coming from the world’s most profitable company.


‘It is short of the $2tn valuation that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was reportedly keen to achieve. “The base offer size will be 1.5% of the company’s outstanding shares,” the state-owned energy giant said in a statement that set the price range at 30-32 Saudi riyals per share ($8-$8.5)’ quotes BBC.

‘Aramco has scrapped plans to market the float to US investors in favour of a careful focus on Middle Eastern institutional investors and ultra-high net worth individuals in the region where the company is confident of support’ said The Guardian.

Sub Saharan Africa

Fears over Crackdown on Free Speech as Nigeria Refuses to Release Prominent Journalist

A former presidential candidate and journalist is being held by Nigeria’s security forces despite being twice granted bail, his lawyer told CNN. Omoyele Sowore, is an investigative journalist and founder of the New York-based news site Sahara Reporters, who was arrested in August by the country’s intelligence agency, the Department of State Services (DSS). He is charged with treason felony for organizing a Revolution Now protest, which the government said was an attempt to disrupt peace in the nation.


‘He is also charged with cyber stalking President Muhammadu Buhari and money laundering. Sowore has pleaded not guilty to the charges. One week after meeting his bail conditions, the journalist is still being held’ said CNN.

‘DSS officials said in a statement sent to CNN that Sowore was yet to be released because the appropriate persons — his sureties– had not come to pick him up and those that have shown up are not his recognized sureties’ said Editor and Publisher.


Tory Donor Alexander Temerko Calls for Russia Report to be Published

The Conservative donor Alexander Temerko has called for the publication of a parliamentary report on Russian influence in British politics, suppressed by Boris Johnson, and has denied claims he is a Kremlin agent.


‘Temerko, who has given the Conservatives more than £1.3m, said he had no idea whether he featured in the dossier, which was completed by the intelligence and security committee and includes secret evidence from MI6. The 50-page document examines the flow of money from Moscow as well as Kremlin cyber-attacks and assassinations’ said The Guardian.

‘Temerko said he had raised the report’s non-appearance with senior Conservatives and they had not yet offered an explanation for why Downing Street was withholding it. The committee’s chairman, Dominic Grieve, has said the UK’s spy agencies have already vetted it for release’ said Press News.


Water-bombing Helicopter Crashes in Wildfire-Hit Australia

A water-bombing helicopter crashed in Australia as it was being used to battle a forest fire west of Brisbane. The pilot escaped with minor injuries, according to Queensland Fire and Emergency Services. Officials ordered people to leave areas in the path of fast-approaching flames, as wildfires rage on the east and west coasts of the country.


‘While cooler weather overnight brought some relief for firefighters in New South Wales, attention shifted to its northern neighbour, Queensland, where more than 80 fires threatened lives and homes. Authorities issued a “leave immediately” warning, the highest level, for several areas, including around Pechey, where the helicopter came down’ said Euro News.

‘Homes and cars in Turramurra, nine miles north of the central business district, were coated in pink fire retardant dropped from above. Aerial footage showed a nearby eucalyptus forest succumbing to the flames as the temperature hit 38C. More than 300 new bushfires started across New South Wales according to Shane Fitzsimmons, the rural fire commissioner in Australia’s most populous state’ said The Times.


Donald Trump Defends Joe Biden after North Korea Calls Him ‘rabid dog’

Donald Trump took to Twitter on Sunday to defend an unlikely target: Joe Biden. The president is responding to North Korea calling the Democratic candidate a ‘rabid dog’ who ‘must be beaten to death with a stick’. Mr. Trump says in a tweeted message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that Mr. Biden ‘may be Sleepy and Very Slow’, but says, ‘he is not a rabid dog’  and ‘is actually somewhat better than that’.


‘The tweet comes amid an impeachment investigation into Mr. Trump’s push for Ukraine to announce an investigation into Mr. Biden and his son, Hunter’ said The Independent.

‘The Democrat has accused Trump of cozying up to embattled foreign leaders and has been highly critical of his diplomacy with Kim, calling the meetings “three made-for-TV summits.” North Korea similarly criticized Biden in May, labeling him a “fool of low IQ” after Biden called Kim a tyrant during a speech’ said NBC News.


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