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FOREIGN

Syria: UN Security Council meets over US-led air strikes

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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday urged countries to uphold international law as the Security Council met to discuss military strikes carried out by the United States, France and Britain on Syria.

Addressing the council, Guterres said: “At this critical juncture, I call on all member states to act consistently with the charter of the United Nations and with international law, including the norms against chemical weapons.”

He renewed his call for an investigation to identify the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks after Russia this week vetoed a US proposal to create such a mechanism.

DAILY POST reports that air strikes by the United States, France and Britain on Saturday hit three targets that Western officials said were linked to chemical weapons development in the Damascus and Homs areas.

The three allies took military action in response to an alleged chemical attack in the rebel-held town of Douma a week ago that killed at least 40 people.
However, Russia circulated a draft resolution calling for condemnation of the military action.

However, Britain’s UN ambassador Karen Pierce defended military action against Syria, saying it was “both right and legal” to launch strikes to alleviate humanitarian suffering.

The United States, Britain and France have argued that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces had used toxic gases multiple times in violation of international law.

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FOREIGN

South Korea’s ex-president Park given eight more years in prison

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Disgraced former South Korean president Park Geun-hye was convicted of charges including illegally receiving funds from the country’s spy agency on Friday and given eight more years in prison, on top of her current term.
Park, the South’s first female president, was impeached last year after huge street protests over a sprawling scandal, and was jailed for 24 years for corruption and abuse of power in April.
Friday’s penalty — issued in her absence after she refused to attend the Seoul Central District Court — came after a separate trial for pocketing money from the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and improperly intervening in 2016 in the selection of her ruling party’s parliamentary candidates.
READ ALSO: South Korea jails ex-spy chiefs for bribing former president
The Seoul Central District Court gave Park six years for taking 3.3 billion won ($2.9 million) from the spy agency, and two years for the electoral offence.
The penalties apply consecutively, meaning the 66-year-old now faces a total of 32 years in prison.
“The accused received some three billion won over three years from the three NIS chiefs. Through this crime, the accused incurred a considerable amount of loss to the state treasury,” said senior judge Seong Chang-ho.
Three former NIS chiefs testified they had funnelled the funds to Park on her orders, the court said.
The judge rebuked Park, who denied the charges, for being “un-cooperative” throughout the court hearing and questioning by prosecutors.
Park allegedly squandered the taxpayer money on maintaining her private house, financing a boutique where her secret confidante Choi Soon-sil — the central figure in the corruption scandal — had Park’s clothes made and other private purposes, including massage treatment.
Choi was found to have taken advantage of her “long private ties” with Park to extort bribes worth millions of dollars from businesses including telecommunications giant Samsung and retail conglomerate Lotte.
She is serving a 20-year sentence for abuse of power, bribery and meddling in state affairs.
‘Never repented’
Earlier Friday, prosecutors asked an appeals court to extend Park’s sentence for her corruption and abuse of power conviction to 30 years, arguing the original penalty was too lenient.
They also asked for her fine to be multiplied sixfold to 118.5 billion won.
“The accused has never repented or made any sincere apology before the people,” prosecutors said in a statement. “And since October 2017, she has never made any appearance at court.”
Park’s own lawyers asked for her conviction to be overturned, saying she made no gains herself when businesses “donated” funds to foundations controlled by Choi, and that her impeachment and ouster meant she had already taken “political responsibility” for the case.
The Seoul High Court will issue its decision on August 24.
At her first trial, Park was convicted of receiving or demanding more than $20 million from conglomerates, sharing secret state documents, “blacklisting” artists critical of her policies, and firing officials who resisted her abuses of power.
Park is the eldest daughter of late dictator Park Chung-hee, who oversaw human rights abuses but is also credited with driving the country’s economic development in the 1960s and 1970s.
After her father was assassinated in 1979 by his spy chief, Park isolated herself and was befriended by Choi, the daughter of a shady religious figure, who went on to act as a secret mentor throughout her political career.

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FOREIGN

Cameroon’s President Biya to run for seventh term in office

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President Paul Biya of Cameroon will run for re-election in October, he said on Friday.
He is aiming to extend his 36-year rule and maintain his place on a shortening roster of long-standing African leaders.
Mr Biya, who came to power in 1982 when his predecessor, Ahmadou Ahidjo, retired, is seeking a seventh term in office that could see the 85-year-old rule well into his 90s.
It would leave him in rare company after former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh were ousted in 2017.
Of Africa’s living rulers, only Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has ruled uninterrupted for longer.
“I am willing to respond positively to your overwhelming calls. I will stand as Your Candidate in the upcoming presidential election,” Mr Biya said in a tweet on Friday.
Mr Biya, who has ruled virtually by decree since taking office, scrapped term limits from the constitution in 2008, allowing him to run again and sparking riots in which over 40 people were killed.
The election, scheduled on October 7, comes at a turbulent time for the Central African country and for Biya.
A separatist insurgency in the western English-speaking regions has killed 84 troops in September 2018, while a drop in the price of its key cocoa and oil exports has weighed on the economy.

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FOREIGN

Ghana orders Nigerian traders out of markets

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The government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana has issued a two-week ultimatum to non-Ghanaian traders, including many Nigerians to vacate markets across that country. According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, non-Ghanaians engaged in retail trading have up to July 27 to move out of the markets or they would be prosecuted.
“Notice is hereby given to all non-Ghanaians who are engaged in retail trading activities contrary to the provisions of the Act (GIPC Law 2013) to desist from doing so. All persons engaged in such practices are therefore advised to stop to avoid legal actions being taken against them. Offenders are entreated to move out of the markets by Friday 27, 2018,” the statement said.
The ministry said Ghanaian law prohibits non citizens from engaging in any retail business, including the hawking or selling of goods.
“Section 27 (1) of the GIPC Law 2013, (Act 865) says, A person who is not a citizen or an enterprise which is not wholly owned by a citizen shall not invest or participate in the sale of goods or provision of services in a market, petty hawking or selling of goods in a stall at any place,” it said.
This is not the first time government has expelled foreigners from markets in the country. Shops owned by foreigners, mostly Chinese and Nigerians were shut by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in 2012 and 2013, largely due to complaints by the locals that their businesses were being stifled by the presence of foreigners in the markets.

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