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Algerians rally against ailing president as opposition activist arrested in Switzerland

Masses of Algerians have protested demanding hospitalized President Abdelaziz Bouteflika drop his bid for a fifth term. One opposition member went to great lengths to obtain details on the president's current condition. Tens of thousands of Algerians marched through the streets of Algiers and other cities across the country on Friday, protesting 82-year-old Abdelaziz Bouteflika's candidacy for a fifth term as the country's president. Read more: As Algeria protests grow, France keeps a silent, watchful eye Bouteflika, who has not been seen since he checked into a Swiss hospital for "routine medical tests" on February 24, issued a warning to protestors, calling on them to be vigilant and cautious, "in case this peaceful expression is infiltrated by some insidious party … which could cause chaos." Warnings of civil war and terrorism Bouteflika, who is rarely seen in public, has been confined to a wheelchair since suffering a stroke in 2013. In his message to protesters, he warned of a return to civil war — which gripped the country in the 1990s — as well as the "crises and tragedies caused by terrorism" across North Africa. Despite being officially banned since 2001, demonstrations have been growing in size across the country for the past two weeks. Still, organizers have been extremely clear about the fact that their protests are peaceful, going so far as to organize first-aid stations and clean streets after protests end. Friday's protests were the biggest the country has seen since citizens began taking to the streets in large numbers on February 22. State news agency APS reported that protesters were demanding "regime change" as demonstrations grew Friday afternoon. As darkness fell Friday, the celebratory mood of the day's demonstrations shifted, as smaller groups of young men faced off with police, who fired tear gas to disperse them. Meanwhile in Geneva Away from the mass protests in Algeria, Swiss police confirmed they had arrested businessman and opposition activist Rachid Nekkaz for trespassing at the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) where Bouteflika is being treated. Nekkaz, who sought to run against Bouteflika but has been barred due to the fact that he once possessed French citizenship, told onlookers outside the HUG, "40 million Algerians want to know where the president is." Bouteflika, who has been Algeria's president since April 27, 1999, announced his intention to run for a fifth term on February 10. The country's Constitutional Council now has until March 13 to approve candidates for the April 18 election.

Masses of Algerians have protested demanding hospitalized President Abdelaziz Bouteflika drop his bid for a fifth term. One opposition member went to great lengths to obtain details on the president’s current condition. Tens of thousands of Algerians marched through the streets of Algiers and other cities across the country on Friday, protesting 82-year-old Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s candidacy for a fifth term ... Read More »

German forest reveals clues to Nazi-murdered victims

German forest reveals clues to Nazi-murdered victims

Shoes, a comb and buttons of mostly female Polish and Russians captives massacred by Nazi troops have been excavated in central Germany. Forensic teams have identified only 14 of the 208 people murdered there in 1945. Historians and archeologists in Germany’s Westphalia-Lippe (LWL) region on Friday presented 400 artifacts excavated in recent months at three rural sites where in March ... Read More »

Prime Minister Imran Khan to address in World government Summit in Dubai.

Karachi: By Rizwan Aftab PM Khan leaves for World Government Summit in Dubai on a one day visit, Where he will participate in the World Government Summit, the Foreign Office spokesman. Imran khan visiting Dubai on invitation of United Arab Emirates Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, According to the Foreign Office. Khan is expected to meet International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde on the sidelines of the summit to discuss the conditionalities that have held up the accession to fund's bailout programme. He is also expected to meet UAE leadership. Along with the prime minister Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Finance Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary also visiting World government Summit.

Karachi: By Rizwan Aftab PM Khan leaves for World Government Summit in Dubai on a one day visit, Where he will participate in the World Government Summit, the Foreign Office spokesman. Imran khan visiting Dubai on invitation of United Arab Emirates Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, According to the Foreign Office. Khan is expected to meet International Monetary ... Read More »

Going to met Kim Jong in Hanoni, Trump.

WASHINGTON: By Rizwan Aftab Donald Trump and Kim Jong are going to meet for the second time in Summit in Hanoni. Trump announce the meeting location on Twitter،“It will take place in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27 & 28. I look forward to seeing Chairman Kim & advancing the cause of peace! He Added “My representatives have just left North Korea after a very productive meeting and an agreed upon time and date for the second Summit with Kim Jong Un,”

WASHINGTON: By Rizwan Aftab Donald Trump and Kim Jong are going to meet for the second time in Summit in Hanoni. Trump announce the meeting location on Twitter،“It will take place in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27 & 28. I look forward to seeing Chairman Kim & advancing the cause of peace! He Added “My representatives have just left North ... Read More »

UK’s Brexit bubble spells domestic gridlock

The UK government has spent the past two-and-a-half years in a bubble that has left it paralytic and unable to tackle the domestic problems that haven't magically disappeared into the Brexit vortex. Rob Mudge reports. Given the government's fixation on Brexit, it's almost a surprise the country hasn't come to a standstill. But how long can the government get away with this form of escapism? Emily Andrews, associate director at the Institute for Government in London, a think tank that explores the key challenges facing the government, says the lack of progress is and isn't because of Brexit. "I think we've reached the point where a lot of this is now directly Brexit related. And since the general election [in 2017] the domestic agenda has been really stymied by the fact that the Conservatives are only in a minority government and by the fact that the Cabinet is very divided. Theresa May hasn't had the authority to push forward a united vision for domestic policy." But as Brexit reaches its potential endgame, it's not just the focus that has shifted. "In terms of civil servants we've got loads more people being moved across to think about a no deal [Brexit]," Andrews told DW. And those personnel gaps mean that very often other important policy issues are being dealt with in a cursory manner at best. What's happened to social care? One of the key areas that has ended up on the back burner is social care. A so-called green paper was originally due to be published in autumn 2017. Since then it's been put off repeatedly. Regardless of Brexit, there is no ideal time to deal with such a crucial issue, said Andrews. "Politically, it's a toxic question of how to fund social care in a sustainable manner. Whereas there's been a rise in National Health Service spending, funding for social care has fallen." Indeed, the issue caused problems for the Conservatives at the last election when the opposition accused them of proposing a "dementia tax." The Conservative Party's manifesto at the time set out plans for more pensioners to contribute to the cost of their care. The elderly would have to pay for their own care if their combined savings and property amounted to more than £100,000 (€114,000, $130,000). Under the proposal, people would be forced to sell their homes to pay. The plans were dubbed a "dementia tax" because people with dementia living at home would be forced to pay while people with cancer in hospital would not. Since then there's been little movement. While that can be put down partly to standard political prevarication, the focus on Brexit has stalled any meaningful progress. "Now Brexit is totally in the way and I've got no idea when are we going to have this national conversation about how we fund social care and what that means is that we're probably going to keep seeing this emergency cash being pumped in," said Andrews. Neglecting public services Trying to make public services efficient and cost-effective is difficult at the best of times. In 2010 the coalition government of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats presented a plan to cut costs, spend frugally and provide public services that actually work. And for a while, this less-is-more approach paid off, albeit with a caveat. "They didn't do that by making the services cheaper to run. They held down public sector wages through a freeze and then a pay cut. And they cut staff numbers and asked existing staff to do more," said Andrews Now, with Brexit casting its long shadow, neglect to tackle those areas could backfire badly. "It means that public services are going to limp forward and people will notice that. People want better employment, better access to housing, better access to public services. And people are looking for answers to those questions." No progress on 'burning injustices' And they've been looking for a good while. When Theresa May became prime minister in 2016, she stood outside 10 Downing Street and pledged to tackle the country's "burning injustices." But her track record does not reflect her holistic approach. Reductions in public health spending have made access to addiction services much harder, not to mention mental health service reductions. Homelessness has gone up which means more and more people are forced to sleep rough. Another major disappointment is the lack of tangible progress on one her key promises. "One of her big things was a pledge to draw up new legislation to support survivors and victims of domestic abuse. There is now a draft bill, but it hasn't actually been introduced in parliament. And we know of other bills that are just sitting there. There's one that's sat there for two years," said Andrews. Inertia coupled with a lack of transparency are proving to be a major predicament for the government and the country. Getting anything other than Brexit onto the legislative timetable is proving difficult, if not impossible. "And so actually passing any new laws is going to be difficult. And in reality, we don't know what the civil servants who have been moved on to no-deal preparations have been doing beforehand. We don't know what programs have been paused or cancelled precisely in order for the people who are working on them to go and do other things. The government hasn't been transparent about it," said Andrews.

The UK government has spent the past two-and-a-half years in a bubble that has left it paralytic and unable to tackle the domestic problems that haven’t magically disappeared into the Brexit vortex. Rob Mudge reports. Given the government’s fixation on Brexit, it’s almost a surprise the country hasn’t come to a standstill. But how long can the government get away ... Read More »

Yellow vests look to capitalize on protest momentum

As President Macron's approval bounces back, yellow vest protesters hope to convert notoriety into electoral success. The movement has brought hundreds of thousands of people out into the streets across France. At least one demonstrator was injured as France's yellow vest protests entered their 13th week on Saturday. At least 10 protesters were arrested after scuffles broke out with police near the Palais Bourbon, where the National Assembly meets. While many demonstrators marched peacefully, some masked activists tried to break down barriers outside the parliament. Others threw projectiles at police, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades to disperse crowds Others vandalized bus shelters and set fire to garbage cans and vehicles, mostly luxury cars. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner expressed his "indignation and disgust," considering at least one vehicle belonged to France's anti-terrorism police. The protests have brought hundreds of thousands of people out onto the streets all over France. Initially voicing opposition to President Emmanuel Macron's planned tax hikes on fuel, protesters temporarily suspended action on roads, businesses, and even the government. Scores of people have been injured and hundreds arrested since the protests began in November. Paris police said a demonstrator lost four fingers when riot officers stopped protesters from storming the National Assembly. Witnesses told the French AFP news agency that the man's hand had been torn apart when a flash-ball grenade exploded. Another man, who was reportedly seen in front of a line of riot police, had blood streaming down his face. Thousands of protesters also turned out in the French cities of Marseille and Montpellier, as well as in Bordeaux, Toulouse, and several cities in France's north and west. Interior Ministry figures released at 2:00 p.m. local time put the turnout across France at 12,100, of whom 4,000 marched in Paris, down on the previous week's figures. Macron bounces back The demonstrations appeared to be losing steam as Macron acquiesced to some demands and has embarked on a nationwide town hall tour to learn more about people's grievances. Recent polls have suggested that his approval rating is back on the rise. At the same time, some yellow vest participants have been looking to capitalize on the movement's momentum and turn it into electoral success, which could prove tricky as they are very loosely organized and have no specific leadership. To that end, some yellow vest demonstrators met with Italy's populist Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio, who said he offered them advice on turning a citizen's movement into a political party. The meeting touched off a row between France and Italy, marking a low point in relations between the two founding EU nations. On Friday, Di Maio refused to apologize and accused Macron of playing "political games."

As President Macron’s approval bounces back, yellow vest protesters hope to convert notoriety into electoral success. The movement has brought hundreds of thousands of people out into the streets across France. At least one demonstrator was injured as France’s yellow vest protests entered their 13th week on Saturday. At least 10 protesters were arrested after scuffles broke out with police ... Read More »

Germany ‘not spending enough’ on defense, US ambassador says

Richard Grenell has accused Berlin of failing to meet its defense spending commitments under the alliance. While the German government has backed plans to gradually increase spending, some see it as a waste. US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell on Sunday criticized Germany's pledge to incrementally raise its defense spending to 1.5 percent until 2024 in an interview with German Sunday newspaperWelt am Sonntag. "Germany's NATO promise to raise defense spending to 1.5 percent is not enough," Grenell said. "Again, it is not US standards that have to be met here, but NATO commitments that Berlin has already agreed to. The US is simply reminding its great German ally that now is not the time to undercut or weaken NATO." Defense spending is a contentious subject that has strained relations between Washington and Berlinsince Donald Trump assumed the US presidency in 2016. Trump has repeatedly accused the German government of failing to meet its defense spending commitments. Read more: How does Germany contribute to NATO? Polarizing debate In 2014, NATO member states agreed to meet the alliance's defense spending target of 2 percent by 2024. The German government has pledged to follow through with its commitment. But some German politicians are increasingly against it in its current form, saying other factors should be added to the calculation, including humanitarian aid and stabilization programs in conflict zones. Others have suggested alternative routes for Germany. "I fully understand that the German public wants more domestic spending instead of increasing their military budget," Grenell said in the interview. "The US taxpayer would like to spend more domestically as well. But the US taxpayer is paying for 33,000 US troops in Germany. This debate of domestic spending versus defense is happening in the US too." Under Trump, the White House has warned NATO allies that it would "moderate" its commitment to the alliance if member states failed to spend more for defense. "The US is totally committed to NATO," Grenell said. "Donald Trump has made that clear, but he also seeks to improve it. And what is wrong about wanting to fix something that you believe in?

Richard Grenell has accused Berlin of failing to meet its defense spending commitments under the alliance. While the German government has backed plans to gradually increase spending, some see it as a waste. US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell on Sunday criticized Germany’s pledge to incrementally raise its defense spending to 1.5 percent until 2024 in an interview with German ... Read More »

Trump Address in State of Union

WASHINGTON — BY –RIZWAN AFTAB President Trump address second time the State of the Union address Tuesday night, the address delayed two weeks because of shut down in US. He urges to be united in his speech. He said to reject the politics of revenge, confrontation to his nation. He also added to embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common well,” Trump told Congress and nation Regarding to build a wall on the Mexican border he states "I will get it built," vowed Trump, promising a "smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier." In his speech another high lightened part was Economy, he states he added jobs to boost economy. He also states “The only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous one-sided investigations,” he said, in an apparent swipe at the special counsel investigation into ties between Russia and Trump's 2016 campaign, as well as the upcoming congressional investigations.

WASHINGTON — BY –RIZWAN AFTAB President Trump address second time the State of the Union address Tuesday night, the address delayed two weeks because of shut down in US. He urges to be united in his speech. He said to reject the politics of revenge, confrontation to his nation. He also added to embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, ... Read More »

EU and Japan create world’s biggest free trade zone

Almost all tariffs on trade between the European Union and the world's third-biggest economy have been removed. European companies could save around a billion euros in duties each year. A free trade agreement between Japan and the EU entered into force on February 1, covering 635 million people and almost one-third of the world's economy. Dubbed the world's largest free trade agreement, the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement removes duties on almost all agricultural and industrial products and opens up the service sector and procurement. It also moves to eliminate non-tariff barriers to trade. The highlights of the deal Japan will have scrappped duties on 97 percent of goods imported from the EU once the agreement is fully implemented. Open access to the Japanese market will save EU companies from paying €1 billion ($1.14 billion) of duties annually. The EU will eliminate tariffs on 99 percent of imports from Japan. In the automotive sector, the EU will eliminate duties over a seven-year transition period. Both sides will eliminate duties on nearly all food and agricultural products. The service market will be opened, including financial services, e-commerce, telecommunications and transport. For the first time, the trade agreement includes countries' Paris climate deal commitments. The text also addresses sustainable development and sets standards for labor, safety, environmental and consumer protection. 'Protecting brand names' EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said: "This agreement has it all: it scraps tariffs and contributes to the global rulebook, whilst at the same time demonstrating to the world that we both remain convinced by the benefits of open trade." The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said: "The new agreement will give consumers greater choice and cheaper prices; it will protect great European products in Japan and vice-versa, such as the Austrian Tiroler Speck or Kobe Beef; it will give small businesses on both sides the chance to branch out to a completely new market; it will save European companies 1 billion euro in duties every year and turbo-boost the trade we already do together." Trade groups also welcomed the move. "This agreement is the perfect example that building bridges is better than raising walls," said Pierre Gattaz, president of BusinessEurope. "When protectionism is on the rise, the EU and Japan show to the world they remain open to modern and rules-based trade." Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, said the agreement "will stimulate additional growth and create jobs for both sides." What is the status of EU-Japan trade? Japan is the EU’s second-largest trade partner in Asia after China. EU businesses export €58 billion in goods and €28 billion in services to Japan every year. The EU estimates exports to Japan will increase 13 percent, or €13 billion, as a result of the free trade zone. Japan exports €69 billion in goods and €18 billion in services to the EU annually. How did we get here and what’s next? The EU and Japan began negotiations for a free trade agreement in 2013. The European Parliament and Japan’s parliament approved the deal last year after both sides finalized negotiations in December 2017. EU and Japan are continuing investment protection negotiations and hope to reach an understanding as soon as possible.

Almost all tariffs on trade between the European Union and the world’s third-biggest economy have been removed. European companies could save around a billion euros in duties each year. A free trade agreement between Japan and the EU entered into force on February 1, covering 635 million people and almost one-third of the world’s economy. Dubbed the world’s largest free ... Read More »

EU to grant Britain visa-free travel even with no-deal Brexit

EU nations have agreed to give the UK citizens visa-free travel even at the event of a no-deal Brexit. However, London responded with anger after the bloc described Gibraltar as a British "colony." If Britain leaves the European Union without a deal, UK citizens should still be able to visit the bloc visa-free for up to 90 days, ambassadors of the remaining 27 EU nations said on Friday. The 90 days can be taken in any 180-day period, the envoys said in Brussels. In a statement published on the European Council website, ambassadors said that the visa exemption was "granted on condition of reciprocity," meaning that the UK was also expected not to demand visas from EU citizens for short stays. "In the event that the United Kingdom introduces a visa requirement for nationals of at least one member state in the future, the existing reciprocity mechanism would apply and the (EU) would commit to act without delay in applying the mechanism," they warned. If adopted, the legislation would put British nationals in line with citizens of Canada and Australia, who are also allowed to visit the EU Shenghen area without visas for 90 days. However, the proposal is separate from a long-term EU regulation, effective in 2020, that sets up a "pre-authorization" for travel by visitors from countries where the EU does not require a visa, at present more than 60. Under this system, visitors can travel in and out of the EU for three yearrs for a €7 ($8). Britain will join this group after Brexit. At the same time, the document irritated London by imposing new distinctions between UK citizens living in Gibraltar and the ones living on the British Isles, according to the Reuters news agency. The proposed legislation also described Gibraltar as a "colony of the British Crown" and said its sovereignty was disputed by Spain. "There is a controversy between Spain and the United Kingdom concerning the sovereignty over Gibraltar, a territory for which a solution has to be reached in light of the relevant resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly of the United Nations," the document said. London regards the strategically important region at the tip of the Iberian Peninsula as a British Overseas Territory. "Gibraltar is not a colony and it is completely inappropriate to describe in this way," a spokeswoman for London said on Friday. With the UK set to leave the EU on March 29, Spain is increasing its claims to the neighboring territory.

EU nations have agreed to give the UK citizens visa-free travel even at the event of a no-deal Brexit. However, London responded with anger after the bloc described Gibraltar as a British “colony.” If Britain leaves the European Union without a deal, UK citizens should still be able to visit the bloc visa-free for up to 90 days, ambassadors of ... Read More »

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