BAGHDAD, 22 January, 2021, (TON): Iraqi authorities say two suicide bombers blew themselves up in Tayaran Square in the centre of Baghdad clothing market, killing at least 35 people and wounding over 100. After a suicide-bomber blew himself up at the market in Baghdad Thursday, a second bomber blew himself up as a crowd of bystanders gathered, causing further casualties.
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi held an urgent meeting with top security commanders to discuss Thursday’s attacks, the premier’s office said in a brief statement. Iraqi security forces were deployed and key roads blocked to prevent possible further attacks.
Following the urgent meeting, Kadhimi sacked key security and police commanders, deputy interior minister for intelligence affairs, director of counter terrorism and intelligence in the interior ministry and commander of federal police forces, said a military spokesman in a statement.
An interior ministry spokesman told Reuters the death toll was at least 23, with that number expected to rise as some of those wounded were in critical condition.
Baghdad Security Operations Chief Gen. Tahseen al-Khafajy told state TV that the second bomber deliberately tried to draw a large crowd to the scene of the first explosion to cause a maximum number of casualties.
Iraqi armed forces spokesman General Yehya Rassoul claimed that the two suicide bombers "blew themselves up as military intelligence forces were closing in on them."
The United States embassy in Iraq also strongly condemned the attack saying it reprehensible act of cowardice that underscores the dangers of terrorism that millions of Iraqis continue to face.
Iraqi authorities did not immediately say who they believed was behind the bombing, but called it a terrorist incident.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Suicide bombings have been rare in the Iraqi capital since the defeat of the State militant group in 2017. This is the first major such incidents in the Iraqi capital in the past 18 months.
KHARTOUM, 22, January, 2021, (TON): Dominic Raab, British Foreign Secretary landed in the capital of Sudan to have bilateral talks and to review the tensions along the Sudan-Ethiopia border on Thursday.
The functionary met General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of Sudan's ruling sovereign council, Sudan's prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, and acting foreign minister Omar Qamar al-Din said the media.
Potential military conflict has been going on as violent clashes between the Sudanese forces and Ethiopian militias are going on the border of the neighboring counties.
Along with the discussion on the border tensions, water dispute between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia was expected to be discussed. The dispute is over Ethiopia's construction of a controversial dam on the Blue Nile River, the main tributary of the Nile.
The aftermath of the tenure of the autocratic Omar al-Bashir in April 2019, Sudan is now the democratic path after nearly three decades with a military-civilian government in power.
"Sudan is passing through a critical juncture in its transition to democracy," Raab was quoted by the media as, "The U.K. takes pride in standing by the side of the Sudanese people."
Raab announced a provision of 40 million pounds to the Sudan Family Support Program, which will provide 1.6 million people with direct financial support, in a move to support the economic reforms of the Sudanese government.
Although U.K. is offering a handsome financial aid to the Sudanese people, the people in the United Kingdom is facing the recession and consequences related.
NEW DELHI, 22 January, 2021, (TON): A Muslim shrine was vandalized and painted with saffron colour in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur city of India on 17th January by some miscreants belonging to Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal.
As per reports, some locals said these miscreants were coming to the shrine area for three days and causing mischief in the area. The shrine was vandalized and ‘Jai Shri Ram’ was written on the walls, but till now no action has been taken by the police of Uttar Pradesh.
The Qazi of Kanpur city, Qari Abdul Quddos said that individuals belonging to Hindu right-wing organisations were involved in the attack. Complaints were lodged with the Bithoor police station. But no action was taken. Had the police acted upon, the mosque would have been saved.”
The police have lodged a case against 40-50 people but no one has been arrested over the incident so far.
SHO of Bithoor police station, Kushalendra Pratap Singh denied Shrine vandalizing and said only the outer wall of the grave has been painted with saffron. But other sources contradict the SHO.
Religious intolerance in India is growing under PM Modi's right-wing government. Religious symbols are being destroyed and the religious and cultural rights and freedoms are being trampled with impunity in the Indian.
UGANDA, 22, January, 2021, (TON): U.S. and the European Union have asked for probe into Uganda’s election violence albeit of the house arrest of the opposition leader, Bobi Wine.
Wine, 38, came second in the presidential election, which returned Yoweri Museveni to power for a sixth term, and has said he is cut off from his lawyers and party as the days tick by for him to challenge the vote in the courts.
The sixth term declared President Museveni amid an internet blackout and allegations of abuse, the opposition leaders and supporters have pointed out harassment by the state security through and after the elections.
As the U.S. ambassador Natalie Brown was accused of breaching diplomatic norms and failed in an attempt to meet the arrested leader, who cast his ballot in last Thursday’s dated 14th January, 2021, presidential elections which he said was riddled with fraud, the ambassador was up to some mischief said the government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo.
"We expect her to write to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to adhere to diplomatic norms. We don't think that a friendly country or someone who wants to help out in a difficult situation would act in this way," the spokesman told the media.
The embassy of the United States said Uganda's election campaign had been "marred by the harassment of opposition candidates, campaign staff, and supporters; suppression of the media and civil society organization activities; and a nationwide internet shutdown before, during, and after voting day."
"These unlawful actions and the effective house arrest of a presidential candidate continue a worrying trend on the course of Uganda's democracy."
In response, Opondo said he is "under the protection of the Uganda government" because he is the "target of many forces".
"It's in the interest of the Government of Uganda for him (Wine) not to be harmed in any way."
A hearing has been set for Thursday morning by the lawyers for Bobi Wine have asked the Ugandan High Court to order security forces to produce the opposition leader and either show a legitimate reason for his confinement or release him.
The European Union (EU) says it is concerned about the continued harassment of politicians and civil society activists in Uganda after last week's general election.
In a statement, the EU Council of Ministers called on the government to restrain its security agencies, investigate allegations of abuses and bring to account all those responsible for violations.
The EU ministers said the internet shutdown disrupted the work of journalists, observers and polling agents expected to monitor the election.
Election observers from the regional East African Community have echoed the concerns of the EU in their preliminary report. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) and the African Union said the elections were peaceful.
GUANTANAMO, 22, January, 2021, (TON): Three men suspected of being involved in the deadly bombings in Indonesia (2002 and 2003) will stand military trial at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where they are being held.
"The charges include conspiracy, murder, attempted murder, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, terrorism, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, destruction of property, and accessory after the fact, all in violation of the law of war," the Pentagon said in a statement Thursday.
Multiple tourist hotspots were targeted, killing 202 people, mostly foreign tourists in the bombings. A year later, an attack on the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta killed 12.
The suspects spent more than 14 years in the U.S. military detention in Guantanamo Bay and were caught in Thailand in 2003. The three suspects were captured in Thailand in 2003. They have spent more than 14 years in the US military detention facillity in Guantanamo Bay.
Malaysian nationals and Encep Nurjaman, also known as Hambali alleged to be the leader of al-Qaida’s top affiliate in Southeast Asia is expected to aid the accused attackers in the incident.
The prison held around 780 detainees when there was a peak of Washington's "War on Terror". After a push by the Obama administration, where President Joe Biden served as vice president, only 40 detainees remained at Guantanamo.
It goes vague to comprehend the reason of delay in the charges announced over 14 years after their detention but military proceedings at the navy-run prison are often delayed due to logistical difficulties and legal challenges.
NEW YORK, 22 January, 2021, (TON): UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday welcomed the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty.
António Guterres said that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) also represents a “strong demonstration of support for multilateral approaches to nuclear disarmament” overall.
In a video message and statement, the UN chief said, "I am pleased to recognize today's entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the first multilateral nuclear disarmament treaty in more than two decades. The treaty is an important step towards the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons and a strong demonstration of support for multilateral approaches to nuclear disarmament."
The UN chief commended the States that have ratified the Treaty and welcomed the “instrumental role of civil society in advancing the TPNW’s negotiation and entry into force”.
“The survivors of nuclear explosions and nuclear tests offered tragic testimonies and were a moral force behind the Treaty. Entry into force is a tribute to their enduring advocacy”, he said.
Mr. Guterres added that he was looking forward to guiding the UN’s response according the Treaty, including preparations for the first official Meeting of States Parties.
“Nuclear weapons pose growing dangers and the world needs urgent action to ensure their elimination and prevent the catastrophic human and environmental consequences any use would cause”, adding that the “The elimination of nuclear weapons remains the highest disarmament priority of the UN. I call on all states to work together to realize this ambition to advance common security and collective safety."”
The accord was approved initially by 122 nations at the UN General Assembly in 2017, but it was civil society groups led by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) which had put in the “decades of activism” to secure the number of countries required to make it a reality.
So far however, the main nuclear powers of the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China and France, have not signed the accord.
NEW YORK, 22, January, 2021 (TON): At the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Pakistan and India sparred over the situation of minority rights in each other's countries as the assembly adopted a resolution, co-sponsored by Pakistan.
India highlighted Pakistan for co-sponsoring the resolution under the agenda of culture of peace and safeguarding religious sites.
India, at the Adoption of Resolution on promoting culture of peace & tolerance to safeguard religious sites, at the United Nations, said," The resolution cannot be smokescreen for countries like Pakistan to hide behind."
India’s representative at the UN assembly stated various incidents from the history of Pakistan and stated that it is a matter of great irony where the most recent attack and demolition of a Hindu temple took place.
As per the media, the ambassador also clarified India’s position on safeguarding religious establishments saying the country has stringent laws against violence or discrimination based on religion and referred to the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act of 1991.
Exercising right of reply, the Pakistani delegate Chheena said, "The clear difference between India and Pakistan with respect to minority rights can be gauged from the fact that the accused in the Karak incident were immediately arrested, orders were issued for repairing the temple, the highest level of judiciary took immediate notice, and the senior political leadership condemned the incident.
"Whereas in India, blatant acts of discrimination against Muslims and other minorities take place with state complicity," he added.
As a matter of fact, the most recent incident took place on 17th January, 2021, in the Kanpur city, Uttar Pradesh India, where a Muslim shrine had been vandalized by some miscreants and certainly no justified action has been taken since then.
Mishandling a single brick of some property is said to be encroached in one way or another.
JAKARTA, 22 January, 2021, (TON): Auto throttle expected to be responsible for Sriwijaya Air crash investigators claim.
Sixty two people were travelling on the plane when it plunged into the sea minutes after taking off from Jakarta on 9th January, 2021.
According to the officials, a few days before the crash, a problem with the Boeing 737's autothrottle that controls the engine power of an aircraft had been reported.
The throttle can also be manually handled and it remains unclear whether this became the cause of crash.
"There was a report of malfunction on the autothrottle a couple of days before to the technician in the maintenance log, but we do not know what kind of problem," National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) investigator Nurcayho Utomo told the media.
"If we find the CVR (cockpit voice recorder) we can hear the discussion between the pilots, what they talked about and we will know what the problem is."
From the debris in the Java Sea only the aircraft’s flight data recorder has been recovered, while divers are still on to find the cockpit voice recorder.
In line with the international standards, a preliminary report is expected within 30 days of the crash.
The airline itself said it would not comment on the investigation before the official statement.
DAMASCUS, 22 January, 2021, (TON): Syrian air defences confronted “an Israeli aggression” in the region of Hama on Friday that killed four people from the same family at Syria's central province of Hama, state media reported.
A father, mother and two children were killed and four others were wounded in the attack, said SANA. It added that three residential homes were destroyed.
The Israeli warplanes fired their missiles from over the Lebanese city of Tripoli, targeting military targets in the vicinity of Hama, media reported, citing a military source.
It added that the air defenses intercepted most of the missiles.
The attack is the latest in a series of Israeli strikes targeting military sites in Syria. It was Israel’s first strike on Syria since Biden took office.
Earlier this month, an intense Israeli missile strike against a series of military positions in eastern Syria killed more than 57 fighters, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor.
The "intense" missile strike targeted positions of Syrian forces and allied Iranian-backed fighters in the area extending from the city of Deir al-Zour to the al-Bukamal area on the Syrian-Iraqi border said the Observatory.
According to the observatory group, Israel has carried out a total of 39 attacks on Syrian military sites. These strikes killed at least 217 Syrian soldiers and pro-Iranian fighters.
Israel has been carrying out airstrikes against Hezbollah and Iranian targets in the war-torn country. Syria accuses Israel of “state terrorism” for airstrikes.
The war in Syria has killed more than 387,000 people and displaced millions.
TOKYO, 22 January, 2021 (TON): Japan denied of the reports of cancellation and maintains on hosting the Tokyo Olympics this year.
Tokyo Olympic organizers have gone ahead with the re-scheduled games that are due to be held on 23rd July, 2021 after being postponed for a year.
A government spokesman said that there was “no truth” to a media report in the renowned newspaper that the government had privately concluded the Games would have to be cancelled because of the pandemic.
The media, citing an unidentified senior member, said the government’s focus was now on securing the Games for Tokyo in the next available year, 2032.
“We will clearly deny the report,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Manabu Sakai told a news conference.
The governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, said there had been no talk of cancelling or delaying the Olympics and a protest should be lodged over the false reporters.
At last the world is returning to life as the information suggesting the Games would not happen as planned falls incorrect.