25 November 2017

English

Erdogan does not rule out contact with Assad

KONFRONTASI - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has not ruled out possible contact with Bashar Assad, signaling a break with his long-held opposition to the Syrian president’s role in the Arab country’s future.   

"The political doors are always open until the last minute," Erdogan said when asked about a possible contact or cooperation with Assad.

Netanyahu hails ‘secret’ but ‘fruitful’ ties with Arab governments

KONFRONTASI - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the regime has “secret” but “fruitful” ties with Arab governments, noting that peace between one-time adversaries would “happen in the end.”

"Our fruitful cooperation with Arab countries is in general secret, but I am confident that relations with them will continue to mature and that this will allow us to enlarge the circle of peace," Netanyahu said Thursday, in a speech to mark the 44th death anniversary of Israel's so-called founder David Ben Gurion.

Embattled Senator Franken apologies for sexual misconduct

KONFRONTASI - US Democratic Senator Al Franken, who is facing a growing number of allegations of sexual misconduct, has apologized for his past behavior on Thanksgiving Day.

In an apology statement issued on Thursday night, Franken promised to win back the trust of voters in Minnesota, a day after two more women stepped forward with sexual assault accusations against the top Democrat.

Cambodian opposition's parliament seats reallocated to smaller parties after ban

KONFRONTASI-Parliamentary seats held by Cambodia’s recently banned opposition party were reallocated on Thursday to smaller parties that had failed to win any seats in the last election, the National Election Committee said.

The Supreme Court outlawed the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Nov. 16 at the request of authoritarian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government in a move that prompted a U.S. cut in election funding and EU threats of action.

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Syria welcomes results of Sochi summit between Iran, Russia, Turkey

KONFRONTASI-Syria has welcomed the closing statement of a trilateral summit of Iran, Russia, and Turkey which called for a political settlement of the conflict in the war-torn country.

Zimbabwe's Mnangagwa to return home after Mugabe resignation

KONFRONTASI-Zimbabwe’s former vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is expected to be sworn in as president following the resignation of Robert Mugabe, will return home on Wednesday, a ruling party ZANU-PF official said.

Mnangagwa, whose sacking this month prompted the military takeover that forced Mugabe out, was expected to land in Zimbabwe at 1130 GMT, Larry Mavhima, an ally of the former vice president, told Reuters.

Zimbabwe's parliament starts impeachment process against Mugabe

KONFRONTASI-Zimbabwe’s parliament began an impeachment process against President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday that looks set to bring his domination of a country he has ruled since independence nearly four decades ago to an ignominious end.

In the last week, Mugabe has clung on in the face of a collapse of his authority and a Monday deadline to quit.

Millions in Yemen face death due to Saudi blockade: WFP

KONFRONTASI-The World Food Program (WFP) says Saudi Arabia's continued blockade threatens the lives of millions in Yemen as aid deliveries cannot get to the needy.

Stephen Anderson, the head of the World Food Program, on Monday described as "heartbreaking" the fact that millions in Yemen depend on sustained access to humanitarian assistance.

Of a population of 26 million, some 17 million Yemenis do not know where their next meal is coming from and seven million are totally dependent on food aid.

Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF sets Mugabe impeachment ball rolling

KONFRONTASI- Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF will discuss the impeachment of President Robert Mugabe on Monday, its chief whip said, after a noon deadline expired for the 93-year-old to end his nearly four decades in power by resigning.

Impeachment could see Mugabe kicked out by a vote in parliament in under a day and would represent an ignominious end to the career of the “Grand Old Man” of African politics, who was once lauded across the continent as an anti-colonial hero.

ZANU-PF chief whip Lovemore Matuke told Reuters the party’s members of parliament would meet at 1230 GMT (7.30 a.m. ET) to start mapping out Mugabe’s impeachment.

On paper, the process is relatively long-winded, involving a joint sitting of the Senate and National Assembly, then a nine-member committee of senators, then another joint sitting to confirm his dismissal with a two-thirds majority.

However, constitutional experts said ZANU-PF had the numbers and could push it through in as little as 24 hours.

“They can fast-track it. It can be done in a matter of a day,” said John Makamure, executive director of the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust, an NGO that works with the parliament in Harare.

Mugabe’s demise, now almost inevitable, is likely to send shockwaves across Africa, where a number of entrenched strongmen from Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni to Democratic Republic of Congo’s Joseph Kabila are facing mounting pressure to step aside.

Mugabe was once admired, even in the West, as the “Thinking Man’s Guerrilla”, a world away from his image in his latter years as the stereotypical African dictator proudly declaring he held a “degree in violence”.

As the economy crumbled and opposition to his rule grew in the late 1990s, Mugabe tightened his grip around the southern African country, seizing white-owned farms, unleashing security forces to crush dissent and speaking of ruling until he was 100.

SANITISED COUP

ZANU-PF’s action follows a weekend of high drama in Harare, culminating in reports that Mugabe had agreed on Sunday to stand down -- only for him to dash the hopes of millions of his countrymen in a bizarre and rambling national address.

Flanked by the generals who sent in tanks and troops last week to seize the state broadcaster, Mugabe spoke of the need for national unity and farming reform, but made no mention of his fate, leaving the nation of 16 million people dumbstruck.

“I am baffled. It’s not just me, it’s the whole nation,” shocked opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai told Reuters. “He’s playing a game.”

Two senior government sources told Reuters Mugabe had agreed on Sunday to step aside and CNN said on Monday his resignation letter had been drawn up, with terms that included immunity for him and his hot-headed and unpopular 52-year-old wife Grace.

It was her tilt at power via the purging of former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa this month that forced the army to send in the troops.

Two other political sources told Reuters on Monday Mugabe had indeed agreed to resign but ZANU-PF did not want him to quit in front of the military, an act that would have made its mid-week intervention look like a coup.

“It would have looked extremely bad if he had resigned in front of those generals. It would have created a huge amount of mess,” one senior source within ZANU-PF said.

Another political source said the speech was meant to

“sanitise” the military’s action, which has paved the way for Mnangagwa, a former security chief known as The Crocodile, to take over.

Moments after his address, war veterans’ leader Chris Mutsvangwa, who has spearheaded an 18 month campaign to unseat Zimbabwe’s only leader, called for protests suggesting a potential popular uprising if Mugabe refused to go.

Billions of US dollars belonging to Indonesian taxpayers have allegedly been spirited out of Indonesia

By: John Berthelsen

 Billions of US dollars belonging to Indonesian taxpayers have allegedly been spirited out of Indonesia and into bank accounts in Singapore, Lebanon, Russia, Cyprus, the UK and Bermuda by some of the most powerful financial figures in Jakarta with the help of an international cabal of money launderers, according to a lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court of Mauritius on Sept. 29.

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