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Tens of thousands of anti-Netanyahu protesters hit Israel streets | Israel News

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Thousands of Israelis demonstrated in Jerusalem in a continuation of months-long weekend rallies demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who faces a corruption trial and accusations of mishandling the coronavirus crisis.

Media reports say some 20,000 took part in the demonstration in Jerusalem on Saturday, while organisers, citing bracelets they hand out to all participants, said attendance was at 37,000.

Images on social media and the news organisations showed several protesters being dragged by police near Netanyahu’s residence. It’s the 11th week that protesters hit the streets of Israel to demand Netanyahu’s resignation.

Smaller protests also took part in other parts in Israel, including overpasses and outside Netanyahu’s private house in the upscale town of Caesaria.

At the main rally in Jerusalem, protesters gathered at the entrance of the city and marched to Netanyahu’s official residence, holding Israeli flags and black flags symbolising one of the protest movements.

“Enough with Division!” and “This is not politics, this is crime,” read some of the placards.

Netanyahu’s governing coalition temporarily survived collapse this week after an agreement with “alternate prime minister” Benny Gantz, his rival and main coalition partner, to delay a budget vote until December.

If the two coalition partners had failed to agree on delaying the budget’s approval, the government would have collapsed and Israel would have gone to its fourth general elections in less than two years.

Netanyahu of the Likud party and Gantz’ Blue and White formed the coalition in May after three inconclusive elections, but differences between the two remain.

Netanyahu’s handling of the coronavirus crisis is driving the protest movement. After controlling the virus in its first stages in the spring, Israel reopened its economy too quickly in May, leading to a spike of cases. Israel is struggling with a number of confirmed infections exceeding 113,000 cases and the death toll is approaching 1,000.

Business owners, day-to-day workers and smaller, vulnerable entrepreneurs who were hit hard by the pandemic-triggered closures take part in anti-Netanyahu demonstrations. The unemployment rate is hovering above 20 percent.

Netanyahu’s three corruption cases also have added momentum to the protests. Last year, he was charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Many protesters say Netanyahu should not serve as a prime minister at a time when he is on trial for serious charges.

In January, his trial will move to a witness phase with three sessions a week.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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NGOs call for urgent aid as millions on brink of starvation | Human Rights News

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More than 250 NGOs have urgently called on international governments to increase aid and save more than 34 million people on the brink of starvation this year.

In an open letter (PDF) addressed to world leaders on Tuesday, groups working to fight against inequality said up to 270 million people are acutely food insecure with millions “teetering on the very edge of famine”.

“The combined impacts of conflict, climate change and inequality, coupled with the COVID-19 crisis, have led to an acute food insecurity situation around the world,” the letter, whose key signatories include Oxfam, Save the Children, and the International Rescue Committee, read.

“Needs already cannot be met, and we are increasingly likely to face multiple famines if we do not respond now,” the letter, which came in conjunction with the UN’s call for action to avert famine, added.

In a joint statement, the aid groups noted that a year on since the UN warned of “famine of biblical proportions”, donors have only funded five percent of this year’s $7.8bn food security appeal.

The statement said that the amount of additional funding called for by the UN’s World Food Programme amounts to $5.5bn, which is equivalent to less than 26 hours of the $1.9 trillion that countries spend per year on the military.

“The richest countries are slashing their food aid even as millions of people go hungry; this is an extraordinary political failure,” Oxfam’s executive director, Gabriela Bucher, said.

“They must urgently reverse these decisions. And we must confront the fundamental drivers of starvation – global hunger is not about lack of food, but a lack of equality.”

‘I thought about suicide’

While at least $5.5bn is needed in urgent food and agricultural assistance to avert the imminent risk of famine, millions more is needed to provide health care, clean water and other essential, basic services, the statement said.

At the end of last year, the UN estimated that 270 million people were either at high risk of, or already facing, severe levels of hunger. Some 174 people in 58 countries have reached that level and are at risk of dying from malnutrition or lack of food, the groups said.

They warned that this figure will likely increase in the coming months if no actions are taken, and noted that conflict is the biggest driver of global hunger.

Key conflicts in Yemen, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Northern Nigeria are forcing millions to the brink of starvation.

The joint statement included testimonies from people living in conflict zones and dire humanitarian conditions.

Fadya, from Lahj governorate in Yemen, recalled how she considered suicide “several times”.

“When humanitarian workers came to my hut, they thought I had food because smoke was coming from my kitchen. But I was not cooking food for my children – instead I could only give them hot water and herbs, after which they went to sleep hungry,” she said.

“I thought about suicide several times but I did not do it because of my children.”

The open letter further warned that funding alone is not sufficient.

“The situation requires urgent action, at a scale we are simply not seeing. If no urgent action is taken, lives will be lost.”

Countries need to take immediate political action to stop these conflicts from continuing, and need to address rising inequality, the groups said.

“It is imperative that we raise our collective voices to secure the international attention this cause deserves before it is too late,” they said in closing remarks.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Mudoma to Replace Ministerial Positions with Commissions in Bugisu Cultural Institution

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Jude Mike Mudoma, one of the elected leaders of the Bugisu Cultural Institution (Inzu Ya Masaaba) has announced he will scrap off all ministerial positions and replace them with Commissions immediately after being gazetted as the next Umukuuka.

Following endless wrangles on the rightful next Umukuuka of Bamasaaba between two conflicting factions; one affiliated to the former cultural leader Bob Mushikori and another to the Chairman of the Board Stephen Mungoma, Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister of Gender, Labor and social development instructed them to reconcile and come up with one leader.

Tumwebaze ordered the two elected leaders; Mudoma of Mungoma’s side and John Amram Wagabyalire of Mushikori’s to hold roundtable discussions and decide on one leader whose name should be forwarded to the Ministry for gazettement.

However, Mudoma has come out to declare he is the rightful Umukuuka and the likely winner in this reconciliation drive.

Addressing journalists on Sunday, Mudoma said he plans to scrap off what he called redundant and dormant ministerial positions and replace them with commissions, “which will serve the people appropriately.”

“I am going to create 24 commissions and do away with the system of ministers, in the last regime they have been having 72 ministers in an institution where there is no money,” he said.

These Commissions, he said, are going to create “super human resource” and develop a working module.

“For example, Bugisu Coffee/Cotton Commission will organize Bamasaaba for growing high quality coffee and quantities which will lead to better market. This way, we shall have improved on social economic development of our people than appointing someone as a minister but they don’t have anything lined up for the people,” Mudoma said.

On optimism of becoming the next leader, Mudoma said he is the true elected Umukuuka according to the Laws governing the cultural institutions and the Inzu Ya Masaaba constitution because he followed all procedures “and the government should gazette me so I can start serving my people.”

“The Committee of the General Assembly made a consultation with all the Bamasaaba clans and a list of individuals with their qualifications was compiled. The list was then presented to the cultural council, the candidates were shortlisted and their names submitted to the general assembly for elections where I emerged the winner,” he said.

He told journalists that he was personally surprised to hear that another faction also emerged led by Wepondi after three months in office and even went ahead to elect Wagabyalire, “which has brought all these fights but I am the rightful Umukuuka III who started from grassroot up to General Assembly but I think politics has entered in our IYM issues,” he said.

The post Mudoma to Replace Ministerial Positions with Commissions in Bugisu Cultural Institution first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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‘Unprovoked escalation’: US slams Russian plan to block Black Sea | Russia News

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US state department says the move is part of ongoing campaign to destabilise Ukraine amid Russian troop build-up in the region.

The US State Department has branded as an “unprovoked escalation” reported Russian plans to block parts of the Black Sea, which could ultimately impact access to Ukrainian ports amid heightened tensions over Moscow’s military manoeuvres.

The US and its European allies have expressed concerns regarding Russia’s military build-up in recent weeks and fear Moscow might be planning to invade Ukraine. Russia, which backs separatists in eastern Ukraine, annexed Crimea in 2014.

Russian state media have reported that Moscow intends to close parts of the Black Sea to foreign military and official ships for six months, which could affect access to Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov, which is connected to the Black Sea through the Kerch Strait.

Russia has temporarily restricted the movement of foreign warships and what it called “other state ships” near Crimea.

“This represents yet another unprovoked escalation in Moscow’s ongoing campaign to undermine and destabilise Ukraine,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

“This development is particularly troubling amid credible reports of Russian troop buildup in occupied Crimea and around Ukraine’s borders, now at levels not seen since Russia’s invasion in 2014,” he added.

Sanctions

Last week, Washington slapped sanctions on Russia and expelled its ambassadors over Moscow’s interference in last year’s US presidential election, cyber-hacking, bullying Ukraine and other alleged “malign” actions.

Days later, Russia expelled US diplomats in a tit-for-tat move.

Ukraine and Russia have traded blame over a spike in violence in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian troops have battled Russian-backed separatist forces in a conflict that Kyiv says has killed 14,000 people since 2014.

The US Federal Aviation Administration on Monday urged airlines to exercise “extreme caution” when flying near the Ukraine-Russian border, citing potential flight safety risks.

EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said on Monday that more than 100,000 Russian troops have amassed on Ukraine’s border and in annexed Crimea.

He said no new economic sanctions or expulsions of Russian diplomats were planned for the time being.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, after addressing EU foreign ministers, called on the EU to impose new sanctions on Russia.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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