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Canadian foreign minister presses China over detainees, Hong Kong | China News

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Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne met his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in Rome on Tuesday and urged Beijing to release two Canadian citizens it detained late in 2018.

Champagne also raised Canada’s opposition to China’s treatment of Hong Kong, said a government official who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation.

Champagne, in Europe on an official trip, met Wang in a hotel for 90 minutes. The two men previously held face-to-face talks in Japan in November 2019.

Wang was in Rome to attend events marking the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Italy and the People’s Republic of China, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

Ties between the two countries deteriorated in December 2018 after Canadian police arrested Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, on a US extradition warrant.

Soon after, China detained Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig and charged them with spying. It also blocked imports of some canola seed.

“Minister Champagne again reiterated that the cases of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor remain a top priority … and that Canada continues to call on China to immediately release both men,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Earlier this month, a Chinese court in Guangzhou also sentenced Canadian national, Xu Weihong, to death for drug-related charges.

Last year, two other Canadians, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg and Fan Wei, were also sentenced to death in separate drug cases.

Prisoner swap?

China has denied that the detentions of Spavor and Kovrig, or the death sentences of the three Canadians are linked to Meng’s case and Huawei.

Spavor, 44, is a businessman with ties to North Korea, while Kovrig works for the International Crisis Group (ICG), a non-governmental organisation that focuses on conflict resolution.

No further details were released regarding the meeting between Champagne and Wang. But earlier reports said there have been some proposals of a prisoner swap of sorts, with one senior Canadian official suggesting intervention in the extradition process to release Meng in exchange for the repatriation of the two Canadians.

According to the Canadian foreign ministry, the two diplomats also “discussed the importance of global collaboration in the face of COVID-19, including the search for a vaccine”, as well as Hong Kong.

Last month, Canada suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong following new Chinese national security legislation and said it could boost immigration from the former British colony.

In response, China said Canada had “grossly interfered” in Chinese affairs, adding that the new legislation would safeguard security in Hong Kong.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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India’s COVID ’emergency’ amid record jump in virus infections | India News

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India has recorded the world’s highest daily tally of 314,835 new COVID-19 infections as a second wave of the pandemic raised new fears about the crumbling health services’ ability to cope.

Health officials across northern and western India including the capital, New Delhi, said they were in crisis, with most hospitals full and running out of oxygen on Thursday.

Some doctors were advising patients to stay at home, while a crematorium in the eastern city of Muzaffarpur said it was being overwhelmed with bodies and grieving families had to wait for their turn. A crematorium east of Delhi built funeral pyres in its parking lot.

“Right now there are no beds, no oxygen. Everything else is secondary,” Shahid Jameel, a virologist and director of the Trivedi School of Biosciences at Ashoka University, told Reuters news agency.

“The infrastructure is crumbling.”

Some hospitals in New Delhi had run out of oxygen and authorities in neighbouring states were stopping supplies being taken to the capital to save it for their own needs, the city’s deputy chief minister, Manish Sisodia said.

“It might become difficult for hospitals here to save lives,” Sisodia said in a televised address.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said there was a shortage of intensive care unit (ICU) beds, with the city needing about 5,000 more than it could find.

“We can’t call this a comfortable situation,” he told reporters.

India’s Supreme Court has likened the situation to a “national emergency” and directed the federal government to prepare a national plan on oxygen supply, essential drugs and vaccinations.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Museveni: New Cabinet to Study White Paper on Land Inquiry

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NALI, KYANKWANZI: The report compiled by the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters led by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire will be studied by the new cabinet and also be recommended as a white paper to enable government tackle the issue of land management in Uganda.

“The the new Cabinet will study the report and write a white paper in response. The report shall be taken back to the public to feed in their views before implementation. That is why the team on the commission of inquiry into land issues came to enlighten the MPs elect at the retreat about land issues,” he said.

The President was on April 21, contributing to a paper delivered by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, the Chairperson of the Commission of inquiry into Land Matters to the NRM MPs Elect, attending a political induction training course at NALI in Kyankwanzi district.

The paper titled the Commission of Inquiry into the Effectiveness of the law, policies and Processes of Land Acquisition, Land Administration, Land Management and Land Registration in Uganda gave an overview of the key findings and recommendations of the land inquiry whose recommendation require bold action by government on land issue.

The President, who was flanked by the First Lady Janet Museveni, who is also the Minister of Education and Sports, noted that when the colonial government apportioned land in Uganda into Mailo land, Crown land and gazetted areas of swamps, forests and water bodies and game reserves, Uganda had no challenge of land fragmentation, which he said was caused by population increase and poor land inheritance practices.

According to Museveni, the report, once implemented, shall cure both current and historical land problems which have existed since the colonial era citing the mailo land  that the british gave to chiefs and their collaborators  in areas of Buganda and Bunyoro.

“I think, this report shall help us to dismantle the old and barbaric laws that for long have hard-pressed our people, please help me to stabilize the situation once and for all,” he said.

The President also decried the increasing land fragmentation that has been a common practice in areas of Kigezi, Rwenzori, Mbale, Busoga among others where people have continuously divided land into tiny pieces.

Museveni makes a presentation at NALI

He blamed some of the NRM leaders who give a deaf ear to the advice of government against this vice.

“The issue of land fragmentation in the country should be addressed by law and also be properly legislated by the 11th Parliament. The MPs should sensitize their people that land should not be fragmented,” he said.

The President advised the people that to avoid any possibility of land fragmentation on family land, the members of a family should instead form a trust/foundation for them to use the land jointly and later share the profits as shareholders of the enterprise.

The President said the commission’s report gives government what he described as a ‘soft landing’ to handle cases of eviction, tackling wetlands management, road reserves provisions when connecting water pipes, lying cables of any kind and passing electricity installations.

President Museveni said that land matters need to be handled with keen interest, adding that Uganda’s accelerated move towards industrialization has made land as a resource gain more value.

“Industrial revolution in the country has enabled land to have value. I want to thank Justice Bamugemereire and team for the findings into the land issues that have affected many people in the country,” he said.

Justice Bamugemereire said the report findings and observations hinged on aspects of land administrations and registration processes, Uganda land commission and the land fund that were not operated in accordance with the law, mismanagement of wetlands, forests, wildlife reserves, fraudulent surveys and issuance of land titles in protected areas, targeted compensation on government projects, land acquisition and land dispute resolution.

The Commission among other things wants government to addresses the challenge of the perceived subservient position of customary land by ensuring that all land including customary land is registered.

“All land in the country should be put on a register after an adjudication process,” Bamugemereire said.

The Commission also recommends the establishment of an institutional framework for administration of customary land within Uganda Land Services Bureau framework.

The Land dispute situation, according to Bamugemereire was found by the commission to be a pandemic, in which mostly the well-to do persons have obtained land through illegal means, bribing their way through all systems of land administration and registration.

Former Buganda minister, Owek Robert Kasule Sebunya, who was part of the 7-member committee asked President Museveni and MPs Elect to rebuke judges who simply issue court orders to court bailiffs to evict people in ackward hours.

The President later thanked the day’s facilitators for their far enriching presentations including the Commander of Defense Forces Gen. David Muhoozi who presented a paper on ‘Understanding Uganda’s National Interests and Security Paradigm’ for promoting Pan-Africanism and regional integration, the Minister of Security  Gen. Elly Tumwine who presented a paper on the ‘Historic Mission of  NRM Revolution and the Role of a Member of Parliament in Securing the Future’ and Major Emmy Katabazi, the Deputy Director of ISO who presented a paper on the roles of security organizations ESO and ISO as rendering a service but not acting as force like UPDF.

The topics on Security and Sovereignty of the country were discussed by Major General Kahinda Otafiire the Minister of East Africa Community Affairs.

The post Museveni: New Cabinet to Study White Paper on Land Inquiry first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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Vienna talks: US gives Iran ‘examples’ of sanctions it could lift | Nuclear Energy News

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A US official said details on which sanctions could be lifted, and which sanctions are being reviewed, have been shared.

The United States has shared with Iran details of sanctions it is prepared to lift under a return to the 2015 nuclear accord, a senior US official has said, but there will be difficulty in untangling some sanctions imposed by former President Donald Trump.

The update comes as the US and Iran completed their second round of indirect talks in Vienna on how to restore a nuclear accord, which Trump withdrew from in 2018. The agreement saw Tehran curtail its nuclear programme in exchange for relief from some sanctions.

Upon walking away from the deal, the Trump administration pursued a campaign of “maximum pressure” sanctions against Iran. Meanwhile, Iran has continued to violate provisions of the agreement, citing Washington’s withdrawal.

“We have provided Iran with a number of examples of the kind of sanctions that we believe we would need to lift in order to come back into compliance and the sanctions that we believe we would not need to lift,” the US official told reporters late on Wednesday.

The official added that the US, through intermediaries, presented Iran with three baskets of sanctions: those it is prepared to lift, those it is not prepared to lift and those that will require further study to determine if they are in fact appropriate for relief under the nuclear deal.

The third category constitutes “difficult cases”, including sanctions the Trump administration appeared to reimpose “purely for the purpose of preventing” Biden from re-entering the deal, the official said.

The 2015 agreement – which also includes the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, Russia and the European Union – allowed countries to continue to impose sanctions on Iran for non-nuclear reasons, such as “support for terrorism” and human rights abuses.

While many of the sanctions that Trump imposed on Iran were clearly related to the nuclear programme, others imposed on “terrorism” and “human rights” grounds are being reviewed to determine if they were legitimately related to those alleged abuses, or were also punishment for Iran’s nuclear activity, the official said.

The official said there are still “pretty important” disagreements over returning to the deal, adding the talks were expected to be a multi-round process.

‘Open to different kinds of sequencing’

Iran has pressed for the US to lift all sanctions imposed under Trump before it rolls back the steps it has taken away from the deal, however, the US official said Washington and Tehran have not yet gone into detail during the indirect talks on the question of who makes the first move.

“We’re open to different kinds of sequencing which meets our interest – which is to see both sides in full compliance,” the official said.

He declined to confirm a Wall Street Journal report that the Biden administration has voiced a willingness to ease sanctions on the Iranian finance and oil sectors.

The European parties to the agreement had last week expressed “grave concern” over Iran’s move to boost uranium enrichment to 60 percent purity in response to what Tehran says was an attack by Israel against the key nuclear facility of Natanz. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied its involvement.

The step will bring Iran closer to the 90 percent purity threshold for military use and shorten its potential “breakout time” to build an atomic bomb – a goal Tehran denies.

Nevertheless, Russia’s representative Mikhail Ulyanov said this week after a meeting of the deal’s so-called Joint Commission of senior officials from France, Germany, Britain, China and Iran that they had noted “with satisfaction the progress in negotiations to restore the nuclear deal”.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, for his part, has voiced optimism about the talks, saying that negotiations have made “60-70 percent progress”.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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