Tag Archives: President

Gambia president declares country an Islamic republic

BANJUL Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh on Friday declared the formerly secular nation an Islamic republic in a move he mentioned was designed to distance the West African state additional from its colonial past.

The tiny sliver of a country, named soon after the river from which British ships after allegedly fired cannonballs to fix its borders, joins the ranks of other Islamic Republics such as Iran and Afghanistan.

“In line with the country’s religious identity and values, I proclaim Gambia as an Islamic state,” mentioned Jammeh on state tv. “As Muslims are the majority in the nation, the Gambia cannot afford to continue the colonial legacy,” he added.

Gambia’s population of 1.eight million individuals is 95 % Muslim. He stated that other citizens of other faiths would nevertheless be in a position to practice.

Jammeh, an animated orator who has earned the reputation for creating surprise declarations over the course of his 21-year presidency, pulled Gambia out of the Commonwealth in 2013, calling it neo-colonial. In 2007, he claimed to have discovered a herbal remedy for AIDS.

In spite of powerful commercial ties with Britain and other European nations whose citizens are regular guests to Gambia’s white-sand beaches, relations with the West have deteriorated in current years.

The European Union temporarily withheld aid income to the nation final year over Gambia’s poor human rights record. Gambia, whose principal industries are agriculture and tourism, ranks 165 out of 187 countries on the U.N. improvement index.

“Starved of improvement funds simply because of his deplorable human rights record and financial mismanagement, Jammeh is hunting toward the Arab world as substitute for and source of development help,” mentioned blogger Sidi Sanneh, a former foreign minister who has turn out to be a U.S.-primarily based dissident.

(Writing by Emma Farge Editing by James Dalgleish)

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Outgoing president entreats Argentines to shield her legacy

BUENOS AIRES In her last speech as Argentine president, Cristina Fernandez on Wednesday entreated the thousands of supporters gathered to bid her farewell in the center of Buenos Aires to make certain that her legacy is not destroyed.

The rally marked the end of 12 years of leftist populism beneath Fernandez and her late husband and predecessor, Nestor Kirchner. On Thursday, conservative Mauricio Macri, who won a run-off election last month, will be sworn in as president.

“We believe in what we have achieved so we need to have to have a good attitude to guarantee that these issues will not be destroyed,” Fernandez told a sea of supporters in the Plaza de Mayo in front of La Casa Rosa presidential palace.

For the duration of her speech, the divisive leader also expressed outrage at Macri for seeking a court injunction affirming her term ends at midnight in the wake of their row over the location of the handover ceremony.

“I cannot speak extended simply because at midnight I turn into a pumpkin,” she quipped.

Fernandez will skip Macri’s swearing-in, government officials stated. It would be the first time since the 1983 end of Argentina’s military dictatorship that a president has not attended the inauguration of an elected successor.

Fernandez is revered by numerous Argentines for expanding welfare advantages, nationalizing some companies and introducing new civil rights like gay marriage. A single supporter held aloft a heart-shaped cardboard cutout saying: “Thank you for 12 years of equality, egalitarianism, inclusion and sovereignty.”

Her critics say she developed a handout culture and choked Latin America’s third largest economy with interventionist policies. Macri has vowed to get rid of state controls on the economy and conduct a lot more orthodox policies.

Martin Sosa, an 18-year-old student, mentioned he feared Macri would return Argentina to the neoliberal 1990s.

“I am grateful to this government due to the fact it gave us back our dignity by helping the poor. It gave us perform, opened factories, improved access to public education and healthcare,” he said.

“I am worried Macri will undo all this. He represents wealthy people.”

Fernandez’s celebration, the Front for Victory, nevertheless holds the most seats in the legislature and could make it difficult for Macri to implement wholesale adjust.

Macri will also struggle to reel in unsustainable state spending without having bringing Argentines onto the streets.

That said, some modify is inevitable, according to private economists. Foreign reserves in Argentina are operating precariously low, capital controls have stunted investment and inflation is around 25 percent.

(Additional Reporting by Richard Lough and Hugh Bronstein Editing by Grant McCool and Leslie Adler)

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Yemen president confirms proposed 7-day ceasefire for peace talks

UNITED NATIONS Yemen’s president told the United Nations on Monday that he has asked the Saudi-led coalition to start a 7-day ceasefire on Dec. 15 to coincide with U.N.-sponsored peace talks aimed at ending months of fighting that has killed almost six,000 individuals.

“I have notified the leadership of the Coalition of our intention to cease fire for a period of seven days, beginning December 15 till December 21,” President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi said in a letter to U.N. Secretary-Common Ban Ki-moon.

“This will coincide with the beginning of consultations and will automatically be renewed upon commitment by the (Iran-backed) Houthis,” he added.

An unofficial English translation of Hadi’s letter to Ban was attached to the Arabic original.

Hadi’s letter, which it said was also sent to the U.N. Security Council, confirmed remarks created earlier on Monday by U.N. particular envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who mentioned Hadi’s Saudi-backed exiled government and the Houthis were committed to the peace method laid down by the Security Council in April.

“I hope you would inform the U.N. envoy of the require to ensure that the Houthis would respect the ceasefire, and to take practical steps to guarantee adherence to the permanent ceasefire, so that the Coalition forces would not deal with any breach of the ceasefire,” Hadi said.

He added that the ceasefire came “out of our want to develop an atmosphere for the good results of the U.N.-led consultations that the government intends to participate (in) in the coming days, and in order to assist avoid additional bloodshed and expand the healthcare and humanitarian relief efforts.”

Forces loyal to Hadi, backed by air strikes and ground forces from a mostly Gulf Arab coalition, have been locked for nine months in a civil war with the Houthis, who rule the capital Sanaa and other cities.

Preceding U.N.-mediated negotiations to end the conflict via dialogue failed as battles rage across the country and Saudi-led warplanes bomb positions of the Houthi group and its Yemeni army allies.

Earlier attempts at ceasefires in the conflict fell apart after the two sides accused each and every other of violations.

Senior U.N. officials have stated that Yemen, which was already in dire need of help before the conflict, is facing a serious humanitarian crisis, which has been exacerbated by a Saudi-led naval blockade.

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau Editing by Sandra Maler and Ken Wills)

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Philippine crime-fighting mayor tops opinion polls for president

MANILA A challenging-speaking, seven-term mayor, who has constructed a reputation for fighting crime in the insurgency-plagued southern Philippines, has become favorite to succeed President Benigno Aquino in May possibly elections, an opinion poll showed on Monday.

Rodrigo Duterte, 70, mayor of Davao City, was the top-rated contender for 38 percent of 1,200 respondents, the Social Weather Stations poll stated.

Senator Grace Poe, who topped surveys in June and September, slid down to second spot with 21 percent in a tie with Vice President Jejomar Binay, who led opinion polls early this year. Poe had 26 percent support in September and Binay had 24 %.

Poe final week was barred for operating because she fails to meet the 10-year residency requirement but she is hopeful that choice will be reversed on appeal.

The elections will be closely watched by investors, who fear the political succession in one particular of Asia’s fastest-developing economies could derail gains produced in the course of Aquino’s rule.

Below Aquino, the Philippines has observed annual financial growth of much more than six % on average, its ideal 5-year record in four decades. He has also battled to rein in corruption.

About 54 million Filipinos are eligible to vote to decide on a president, vice president and much more than 18,000 regional government executives and lawmakers in the common elections, which occur every single six years.

Aquino’s chosen successor, former interior minister Manuel “Mar” Roxas, was fourth in the poll, falling from 20 percent support in September to 15 %.

Political analysts stated the rise in support for Duterte could be attributed to his anti-crime crusade. As mayor, Duterte has turned about the reputation of Davao, as soon as 1 of the most crime-plagued cities in the country.

(Reporting By Manuel Mogato Editing by Nick Macfie)

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Lebanon’s Maronite leader urges factions to pick a president

BEIRUT Lebanon’s Maronite patriarch on Saturday urged the political factions to elect a new president, successfully throwing his weight behind a energy-sharing plan that would make an ally of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad head of state.

The head of the Maronite Christian neighborhood, Patriarch Beshara al-Rai, met leaders of Christian political parties this week, like the touted candidate Suleiman Franjieh, right after Saudi Arabia lent its backing to the program.

“I contact on the political blocs to move responsibly, objectively and mindfully toward this new, significant initiative in order to elect a president,” he said at a mass north of Beirut and quoted by Lebanon’s National News Agency.

Rai urged parties to “rise above individual and factional interests” in order to fill the post, which has been vacant for 18 months. He hoped progress could be wrapped up by the finish of the year.

The lack of president has contributed to a political crisis that has paralyzed state institutions, such as the government which has been unable to take basic decisions. Political rivalries have been exacerbated by the war in neighboring Syria.

The proposal, tabled by Sunni politician Saad al-Hariri, would see him return to Lebanon as prime minister and make Maronite politician Franjieh president. Hariri is backed by Saudi Arabia, while Franjieh is a family members friend and close ally of Assad, who is backed by Saudi’s regional rival Iran.

Under Lebanon’s sectarian power-sharing technique, the president need to often be a Maronite Christian. Two other politicians, Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea, have been vying for the post, but neither has been able to garner the cross-celebration consensus required.

Franjieh stated late on Wednesday his candidacy was not but official but he was waiting for Hariri to formally endorse it.

(Reporting by John Davison Editing b y Richard Balmforth)

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Iraqi president says Turkish deployment violates international law

BAGHDAD Iraqi President Fouad Massoum on Saturday known as the deployment of numerous hundred Turkish troops near the northern city of Mosul “a violation of international norms and law” and said it would raise regional tensions.

In an on the web statement, Massoum named on Turkey to withdraw the forces and asked Iraq’s foreign ministry to take the essential measures to preserve the country’s sovereignty and independence.

A Turkish security source mentioned on Friday that a number of hundred Turkish troops had been deployed to give instruction for Iraqi troops near Mosul, a city of far more than a single million folks which Islamic State militants overran in July 2014.

(Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed Writing by Stephen Kalin Editing by Toby Chopra)

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China’s AgBank president resigns for private reasons – Shanghai exchange

BEIJING Dec five The president of China’s third-most significant lender by assets, Agricultural Bank of China Ltd (AgBank) resigned for personal reasons, the Shanghai Stock Exchange stated in a statement on Friday.

Zhang Yun, who was each the president of the bank and the vice chairman, was taken away to assist with an investigation, Bloomberg reported in November, citing men and women familiar with the matter.

AgBank’s board authorized the bank’s current chairman Liu Shiyu to be the acting president, the exchange stated, in a separate statement on Friday.

Corruption investigations instigated by China’s President Xi Jinping have ensnared best politicans, state enterprise leaders and a cast of senior bankers, which includes AgBank’s former vice president, who was jailed for life for graft. (Reporting by Sue-Lin Wong and Huang Kai Editing by Richard Pullin)

Brazil’s Congress opens impeachment proceedings against president

BRASILIA The speaker of Brazil’s reduced house of Congress opened impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff on Wednesday, deepening a political crisis as the economy nosedives.

Opposition parties first filed a request to impeach Rousseff in September, accusing the unpopular president of violating Brazil’s fiscal laws and manipulating government finances to assist her win re-election final year.

Reduced house speaker Eduardo Cunha finally stated he had agreed to open proceedings.

A particular committee with members from all parties will make a decision on the merits of the request, which needs two-thirds, or 342, of the votes in the reduce house. She would then be suspended pending a 180-day trial by the Senate.

It is not clear if Rousseff’s foes have the votes to eliminate her from office but the approach could force further political wrangling and uncertainty, complicating her efforts to push austerity measures through Congress and encourage investment.

Brazil’s political establishment is already close to paralysis due to an investigation into a huge graft scandal at state-run oil business Petrobras.

The $ 1.five trillion economy, the largest in Latin America, is also expected to contract steeply this year and subsequent in what could turn out to be Brazil’s longest recession given that the Great Depression of the 1930s.

In a televised address to the nation, Rousseff expressed her “outrage” at Cunha’s choice and mentioned there was no evidence of any wrongdoing by her.

“I do not have any accounts abroad,” she stated, in a dig at Cunha who is under investigation for graft and has bank accounts in Switzerland.

Rousseff is Brazil’s most unpopular president in a generation and has faced mounting calls for her resignation for operating the as soon as-booming economy to a standstill. Recent opinion polls show that most Brazilians would like to see her impeached.

In Rio de Janeiro’s upmarket neighborhood of Copacabana, residents reacted with disdain to Rousseff’s televised address, banging pots and pans in their homes.

“This will be a sort of plebiscite in the nation,” Senator Jose Serra, of the principal opposition PSDB party, mentioned of the impeachment efforts.

Even though Rousseff is not below investigation in the Petrobras scandal, a lot of the corruption happened when she was chair of its board. Her opponents say she must be held accountable.

Dozens of politicians, like Cunha, have been implicated in Brazil’s greatest ever corruption investigation into a price tag-fixing and political kickback scheme at the state oil business.

Cunha, from the centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement Celebration (PMDB), a fractious partner in the governing coalition, is himself fighting for his political survival in the face of calls for his dismissal for taking bribes.

The reduced home ethics committee is expected to open an investigation of Cunha next week with the backing of Rousseff’s Workers’ Party. That could lead to his ouster nicely before a presidential impeachment procedure can be concluded.

The Workers’ Celebration plans to appeal to the Supreme Court to cease the impeachment proceedings, which are not anticipated to be place to a vote in the lower house just before February and, if approved, take yet another six months in the Senate.

The Eurasia political danger consultancy stated pro-impeachment forces do not have the two-thirds votes in Congress to oust Rousseff, and gave her a 60 percent likelihood of serving out her term. But some analysts think the president is vulnerable.

“The probabilities of her opponents impeaching Rousseff are pretty good due to the fact she has lost a lot of allies,” stated David Fleischer, politics professor emeritus at the University of Brasilia.

Unemployment and higher inflation are expected to worsen in the initial half of subsequent year as Brazil’s recession deepens, which will produce well-liked stress and even street demonstrations to push Congress to impeach Rousseff, he stated.

Government officials worry that plea bargain evidence from defendants in the Petrobras scandal could implicate Rousseff and ultimately fuel the case for impeachment.

Even if her opponents fail to muster enough votes to unseat Rousseff, their impeachment bid could not come at a worse time for her weakened government as it heightens political uncertainty and market volatility.

The proceedings will take more than the agenda in Congress, leaving little space for fiscal austerity measures required to balance Brazil’s overdrawn accounts and avert the loss of its coveted investment grade credit rating.

(Extra reporting by Tatiana Ramil in Sao Paulo and Paulo Prada in Rio de Janeiro Writing by Brad Haynes and Anthony Boadle Editing by Frances Kerry and Tom Brown)

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Brazil speaker opens impeachment proceedings against president

BRASILIA The speaker of the lower property of Brazil’s Congress opened impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff on Wednesday, deepening a political crisis as the economy nosedives.

Opposition parties filed a request to impeach Rousseff in September, accusing the unpopular president of violating Brazil’s fiscal laws and manipulating government finances to support her re-election final year.

Reduce home speaker Eduardo Cunha said he had agreed to open proceedings. A unique committee with members from all parties will decide on the merits of the request, which then wants two-thirds, or 342, of the votes of the chamber to suspend the president pending a 90-day trial by the Senate.

Brazil’s political establishment is currently close to paralysis due to an investigation into a enormous graft scandal at state-run oil firm Petrobras that has heightened political tensions and produced gridlock in Brasilia.

The $ 1.5 trillion economy, the biggest in Latin America, is also anticipated to contract steeply this year and subsequent in what could become Brazil’s longest recession given that the Wonderful Depression of the 1930s.

In a televised address to the nation, Rousseff expressed her “outrage” at Cunha’s decision and stated there was not a grain of evidence or suspicion of any wrongdoings by her.

“I do not have any accounts abroad,” she said, in a dig at Cunha who is beneath investigation for graft and getting bank accounts in Switzerland.

Rousseff, the most unpopular Brazilian president in a generation, has faced mounting calls for her resignation for running the when-booming Brazilian economy to a standstill. Recent opinion polls show that most Brazilians would like to see her impeached.

In Rio de Janeiro’s upmarket neighborhood of Copacabana, residents reacted with disdain to Rousseff’s comments, banging pots and pans in an effort to drown out her televised address.

    “This will be a sort of plebiscite in the country,” mentioned Senator Jose Serra, of the principal opposition PSDB celebration.

Even though Rousseff is not below investigation in the Petrobras scandal, much of the corruption happened when she was chairman of the board and her opponents say she need to be held accountable.

Dozens of politicians, including Cunha, have been implicated in Brazil’s largest ever corruption investigation into a cost-fixing and political kickback scheme at the state oil organization.

Cunha, from the centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), a fractious companion in the governing coalition, is himself fighting for political survival in the face of calls for his dismissal for taking bribes.

But his energy to begin impeachment proceedings has offered him a trump card against Rousseff and the governing coalition, which is splintering beneath the weight of the recession and Petrobras scandal.

The Eurasia political danger consultancy stated pro-impeachment forces do not have the two-thirds votes in Congress to oust Rousseff, and gives her a 60 % possibility of serving out her term. But some analysts think the president is vulnerable.

“The possibilities of her opponents impeaching Rousseff are pretty great since she has lost a lot of allies,” stated David Fleischer, politics professor emeritus at the University of Brasilia.

Unemployment and high inflation are expected to worsen in the initial half of subsequent year as Brazil’s recession deepens, which will create popular pressure and even street demonstrations to push Congress to impeach Rousseff, he stated.

Government officials be concerned that plea bargain proof from defendants in the Petrobras scandal could implicate Rousseff and eventually fuel the case for impeachment.

(Extra reporting by Tatiana Ramil in Sao Paulo and Paulo Prada in Rio de Janeiro Writing by Brad Haynes Editing by Frances Kerry and Tom Brown)

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In unexpected twist, Assad ally may possibly be Lebanon’s subsequent president

BEIRUT Lebanon’s political crisis has taken a dramatic turn with the possibility that a pal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could grow to be president in a power-sharing deal aimed at breathing life back into the paralyzed state.

The notion of Suleiman Franjieh, a childhood buddy of Assad, becoming head of state has taken aback a lot of Lebanese, not least because of who tabled it: Saad al-Hariri, a Sunni politician who leads an alliance forged from opposition to Syrian influence in Lebanon. He would turn out to be prime minister below the deal.

It is no less startling simply because of the backing it would need from Saudi Arabia and Iran, rival states that wield decisive influence more than Lebanon’s competing factions and which are in conflict elsewhere in the area, which includes in Syria.

As the war escalates in Syria, with Iran and Saudi Arabia growing their support for Assad and his enemies, a new deal for Lebanon seems unlikely to signal any broader understanding to settle regional conflicts.

But it would point to a want to preserve a minimal degree of stability in Lebanon. Whilst badly impacted by the Syrian war that has triggered militant attacks, driven a million refugees over the border, and fueled a political crisis, Lebanon has avoided the sort of civil strife some had feared.

However the nation has been with no a president for 18 months and a unity government led by Prime Minister Tammam Salam is barely functioning. The Hariri proposal is the most critical effort however to resolve that political stalemate.

Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to Iran’s supreme leader who was on a go to to Beirut on Monday stated soon after meeting Salam that hopes for the election of a president had improved.

“We hope to witness in the instant future the selection and election of a president of the republic,” a statement from Salam’s workplace quoted Velayati as saying.

But the appointment of Franjieh faces huge challenges such as resistance from politicians who campaigned against Syrian influence in Lebanon, and winning over other leaders who also covet the post reserved for a Maronite Christian, notably Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea.

If it fails, analysts think the chances of a settlement will be even a lot more remote, which means no imminent finish to a crisis of government that has in current months left trash to pile up in the streets and the army without salaries.

CHRISTIAN RIVALRIES

Though the proposal has not been created public by Hariri, it has been reported in Lebanon and confirmed by political sources. Franjieh has said the proposal for him to become president is severe, but not official. The deal is anticipated to incorporate an agreement on arrangements for new parliamentary elections.

Any energy-sharing deal demands to reconcile Lebanon’s two major camps: the March eight alliance dominated by the Iranian-backed Shi’ite group Hezbollah, and the Hariri-led March 14 alliance.

The toughest portion is winning more than other Christians on each sides. Geagea and Aoun are the official candidates of the rival alliances, and a Franjieh presidency risks exacerbating historic rivalries amongst the Christians.

Hezbollah has repeatedly stated its help for the candidacy of Aoun, 80, its ally given that 2006 and head of the most significant Christian bloc in parliament. But Franjieh, whose ties to the group are significantly older, may be a preferable decision for the group as Hezbollah wages war in Syria in assistance of Assad.

By backing Franjieh, Hariri meanwhile risks fracturing the March 14 alliance which was forged a decade ago out of opposition to Syria in the wake of the assassination of his father, Rafik al-Hariri.

“The ones with a constructive view of this settlement argue that a Franjieh presidency will reassure March 8 and Hezbollah, although the presence of Hariri in the palace as prime minister will reassure the other camp. This is what is being marketed behind the scenes,” said Nabil Boumonsef, a political commentator.

“There has currently been wonderful harm, particularly in the March 14 camp – far more than in March eight – simply because Franjieh is the clearest ally of the Syrian regime and the Assad loved ones in Lebanon,” Boumonsef mentioned. Hezbollah was meanwhile like “a father being asked to decide on amongst two sons”, he added.

HUNTING WITH BASIL AL-ASSAD

Franjieh’s ties to the Assad loved ones date to his childhood when his grandfather, the late President Suleiman Franjieh, took him on trips to Damascus to go to his pal, the late President Hafez al-Assad. Franjieh utilized to hunt with Bashar al-Assad’s older brother, Basil, who died in a 1994 auto crash.

He was orphaned in 1978 when a Christian militia attacked his household house in northern Lebanon, killing his father, mother and sister. Geagea has been accused of duty for that civil war time attack, though he has denied participating.

Franjieh, 50, featured prominently in the period of Syrian domination of Lebanon that followed the 1975-90 war, serving as a government minister several times. That era ended with the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon in 2005 following an international outcry at the Rafik al-Hariri assassination.

Franjieh was serving as interior minister at the time.

Hariri, 45, assumed the mantle of Lebanon’s most influential Sunni politician following his father’s death. He left Lebanon in 2011 following his government was toppled by the March 8 coalition. He has created only two, brief trips to Lebanon because then.

Boutros Harb, a March 14 politician with presidential ambitions, said he had no personal issue with Franjieh. “But will he bring Bashar al-Assad with him to Baabda Palace, or will he be president for all Lebanese?” he asked on Twitter.

Baabda is the location of the presidential palace.

Speaking last week, a senior figure in Hariri’s Future Movement, his cousin Ahmad al-Hariri, mentioned the only option for Lebanese was a “brave settlement” to end the repercussions of political “obstruction” which he mentioned had turned into a time bomb, the Hariri-owned al-Mustaqbal newspaper reported.

Franjieh’s candidacy would undoubtedly be welcomed by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, a strong Hezbollah ally who heads the Shi’ite Amal Movement and whose fractious connection with Aoun is no secret.

Franjieh was in search of to win the help of other Maronite politicians, a senior March eight politician mentioned. “Saad al-Hariri has turned every little thing upside down by announcing his support for the candidate closest to President Bashar al-Assad and Hezbollah, and has thrown the ball into the others’ court.”

Franjieh held a “friendly meeting” with Aoun’s son-in-law, Gebran Bassil, on Sunday evening, a statement from Franjieh’s Marada celebration mentioned.

Franjieh told Bassil he nonetheless supported Aoun’s candidacy “if there was a true desire to agree on Common Aoun”. “But if (Aoun’s) nomination continues basically to obstruct Franjieh’s nomination, this is an additional matter.”

(Writing by Tom Perry editing by Janet McBride)

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