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UN chief urges int’l support for Pakistan’s reconstruction

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GENEVA, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) — United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday urged the international community to reaffirm solidarity with Pakistan and to support the country’s reconstruction after last summer’s devastating floods.

Co-hosted by the government of Pakistan and the UN, the International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan took place here on Monday.

“If there is any doubt about climate loss and damage, go to Pakistan,” Guterres said. “There is loss. There is damage, and you will see our common future,” he told a press conference after delivering a speech at Monday’s conference.

In the summer of 2022, a combination of heavy rains and riverine, urban and flash floodings has led to an unprecedented natural disaster in Pakistan.

According to official figures, the floods affected 33 million people, with more than 1,730 lives lost and two million housing units impacted. Thousands of schools and hospitals were also damaged or destroyed.

The poverty rate in the country is estimated to steadily increase, pushing a further 9.1 million people below the poverty line.

“South Asia is one of the world’s climate crisis hotspots — in which people are 15 times more likely to die from climate impacts than elsewhere,” Guterres said.

He told reporters that the 1.5 degrees Celsius warming limit — universally agreed as the only way to safeguard the planet and the future — is increasingly unattainable.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif told Monday’s press conference that his government has prepared a comprehensive framework plan for Resilient Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (4RF).

“The first part of the 4RF plan reflects the priorities for recovery and reconstruction, bearing in mind the minimum funding requirement of 16.3 billion U.S. dollars, half of which is proposed to be met from domestic resources and the other half from our development partners,” the prime minister said.

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Brazilian deported after found carrying drugs worth MVR 6.5M

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ABrazilian traveler has been deported after Maldives Customs officials found 2.6 kilos of cocaine in her luggage.

According to Customs, the traveler, identified as a 23-year-old Brazilian woman, had arrived in Maldives via Doha on Monday, February 6.

Customs officials flagged the traveler for suspicious behavior, and conducted a search of her luggage, during which they found a suspicious substance – which tested positive for cocaine.

The cocaine seized in the operation weighed 2.6 kilos.

The street value of the drugs is estimated to be MVR 6.5 million.

According to Customs, the drugs seized in the operation has been handed over to the police, while the traveler was deported following discussions with law enforcement agencies.

Customs reserves the right to bar entry to people based on intel they use or may use Maldives as a transit point to traffic drugs.

Source(s): sun.mv

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U.S. long-arm jurisdiction harms int’l order, rule of law

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BEIJING, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) — The United States has a longstanding practice of exerting frequent long-arm jurisdiction over other countries, which severely harms the international political and economic order and the rule of law.

In essence, long-arm jurisdiction is an arbitrary judicial practice wielded by the U.S. government on the strength of the U.S. hegemony to enforce extraterritorial jurisdiction over entities and individuals of other countries on the ground of its domestic law.

In line with international law, the exercise of a country’s jurisdiction over an extraterritorial person or entity generally requires that the person or entity or its conduct has a real and sufficient connection to that country. Yet the United States exercises long-arm jurisdiction on the basis of the “minimum contacts” rule, constantly lowering the threshold for application.

Meanwhile, to exercise long-arm jurisdiction, the U.S. government has further developed the “effects doctrine,” meaning that jurisdiction may be exercised whenever an act occurring abroad produces “effects” in the United States, regardless of whether the actor has U.S. citizenship or residency, and regardless of whether the act complies with the law of the place where it occurred.

Long-arm jurisdiction has become a means by which the United States abuses unilateral sanctions, especially secondary sanctions. According to the Treasury 2021 Sanctions Review, by fiscal year 2021, the number of active U.S. sanctions designations had increased to more than 9,400.

U.S. sanctions have strained relations between countries and undermined the international order. So far, the “long arm” of U.S. jurisdiction has reached China, Russia, Iran, Syria, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Cuba, France, Britain, Germany, Japan, among others.

Long-arm jurisdiction has become a tool for the U.S. authorities to interfere with normal international commercial exchanges and competition.

In 2013, in order to beat Alstom in their business competition, the United States applied the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to arrest and detain then Alstom’s senior manager Frederic Pierucci on charges of bribing foreign officials. He was further induced to sign a plea deal and provide more evidence and information against his company, leaving Alstom no choice but to accept General Electric’s acquisition, vanishing ever since from the Fortune 500 list.

In an article published in Foreign Affairs magazine, Professor Daniel Drezner of Tufts University criticized successive U.S. administrations for abusing economic coercion and economic violence, and using sanctions as the preferred solution to diplomatic problems, which have been causing humanitarian disasters.

When COVID-19 was raging across the world, the U.S. government did not relent in imposing unilateral sanctions on Iran, Syria and other countries, making it difficult for these countries to obtain the much-needed medical supplies to fight the virus. As a result of the sanctions, Iran has been cut off access to essential medicines and medical equipment, putting the health of millions of Iranians in jeopardy.

Long-arm jurisdiction not only undermines the principle of sovereign equality, violates international law, and erodes the multilateral order with the United Nations at its core, but also creates and intensifies tensions and conflicts among major countries, and poses a threat to the international security system established after World War II. It also interferes with and distorts normal international commercial exchanges and trade order, disrupts the supply chain of global trade, damages the interests of enterprises and raises their operating costs.

The United States should renounce its illegal unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction measures, and truly take up its international responsibilities as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

Source(s): Xinhua

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Death toll rises to 3,381 in Türkiye after massive quakes

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ANKARA, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) — The death toll from Monday’s earthquakes in Türkiye has risen to 3,381, the country’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority said Tuesday.

At least 20,426 people were injured after the devastating earthquakes, which destroyed 5,775 buildings, the AFAD said.

A magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck Türkiye’s southern province of Kahramanmaras at 4:17 a.m. local time (0117 GMT), followed by a magnitude 6.4 quake a few minutes later in the country’s southern province of Gaziantep and a magnitude 7.6 earthquake at 1:24 p.m. local time (1024 GMT) in the Kahramanmaras Province.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday declared seven days of national mourning for the victims.

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