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World News Today - Turkey threatens to block Finland, Sweden’s Nato bids

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a meeting on Islam in Eurasia in Istanbul. (Kayhan Ozer, Presidential Press Service, Pool photo via AP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a meeting on Islam in Eurasia in Istanbul. (Kayhan Ozer, Presidential Press Service, Pool photo via AP)

Published May 17, 2022


Here’s why Turkey threatens to block Finland, Sweden’s Nato bids

Following Sweden and Finland’s official bid to join Nato, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opposed the two Scandinavian countries' bids to join Nato.

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According to Indo-Asian News, Erdogan told reporters during a press briefing on Monday that Sweden is a “hatchery” for terrorist organisations.

“Neither of these countries have a clear, open attitude towards terrorist organisation. How can we trust them?” Erdogan questioned before accusing the two nations of harbouring members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which is a group he views as a terrorist organisation.

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North Korea Covid-19 outbreak could have 'devastating' impact on human rights

Measures taken in North Korea to fight the first reported Covid-19 outbreak could have “devastating” consequences for human rights in the country, a spokesperson for the UN human rights office said on Tuesday.

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New restrictions could have dire consequences for people to meet their basic needs, including getting enough food, Liz Throssell told a briefing, adding that any measures taken against the pandemic should be proportionate and necessary.

The isolated country confirmed its first acknowledged Covid-19 outbreak last week, fuelling concerns over a major crisis due to lack of vaccines and medical infrastructure.

New measures to fight the spread, which include putting people into isolation and further restrictions on travel, could open the door to greater political and civil repression, Throssell said.

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"In the absence of any vaccination rollout, the pandemic's reported spread may have a devastating impact on the human rights situation in the country," she said.

(Source: Reuters News)

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses his supporters at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters in New Delhi, India. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Experts hail PM Modi's 5G roadmap, thrust on mobile manufacturing

Industry experts on Tuesday welcomed the launch of the self-made 5G test bed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that the transformative power of 5G will provide a significant thrust to the country's economic growth across industries and sectors.

Prime Minister Modi dedicated an indigenous 5G Test Bed, in the form of 5Gi, to the nation during an event organised by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

“The launch of India's first 5G Test Bed will spur an ecosystem centred around innovation in next-gen technologies. Start-ups will now be able to test and validate their technological prototypes, products, and solutions locally in a 5G network,” Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR, told IANS.

Modi said that the 5G technology will facilitate governance and make a positive change in ease of doing business in many fields, creating more jobs in many sectors.

(Source: IANS)

Finland's Parliament likely to vote on Nato application on Tuesday

Finland's Parliament is likely to vote on Tuesday on a proposal to apply for membership of the Nato military alliance, in a historic policy shift prompted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

President Sauli Niinisto and the government decided officially on Sunday that Finland would apply for membership but the decision is pending Parliament's approval, which is expected with an overwhelming majority.

Debate in the legislature began on Monday and the first session finished more than 14 hours later, after midnight, after members gave 212 addresses on the topic, the vast majority in favour of joining.

Early on Tuesday, the foreign affairs committee decided to join the state leadership in proposing to Parliament that the Nordic country should apply for Nato membership.

“Having heard a very large number of experts and having received the opinions of 10 (parliamentary) committees, the foreign affairs committee agrees with the government that Finland should apply for membership in Nato. This decision is unanimous,” its chairman, Jussi Halla-aho, told reporters.

(Source: Reuters News)

In Buffalo, Biden to meet victims' families after white supremacist shooting

President Joe Biden will travel to New York State on Tuesday to console families of victims of a white teenage gunman who targeted a Black community, as the racist violence that inspired his presidential run continues to plague the United States.

Biden will travel to Buffalo, New York, where authorities say Payton Gendron, 18, carried out an act of “racially motivated violent extremism” when he opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle on Saturday at the Tops Friendly Market in a predominantly African-American neighbourhood of Buffalo.

He struck 13 people with gunfire, killing 10.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday Biden would “comfort the families of the ten people whose lives were senselessly taken in this horrific shooting,” and meet with members of law enforcement and first responders to express gratitude for their bravery.

(Source: Reuters News)

Japan Atomic Power Co.'s Tsuruga Nuclear Power Plant No.2 reactor is seen in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture. REUTERS/Kyodo (JAPAN)

Japan not considering new nuke plants despite energy security issues

Japan is not considering building any new nuclear power plants, the country's industry minister said Tuesday, despite concerns over the nation's energy security.

“Taking into account the Ukraine crisis and concerns over a power supply crunch, we will make the most of what we have, including nuclear power,” Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Koichi Hagiuda told a press briefing.

Hagiuda also said that along with new talent, resources will be directed at developing a new type of nuclear reactor.

Hagiuda's remarks apparently run contrary to a recently released interim report on a clean energy strategy for achieving a carbon-neutral society, which focuses in part on rebooting Japan's nuclear power plants to bolster energy security.

(Source: Xinhua News Agency)

Putin bugles call for collective defence of Eurasia citing Nato's expansion in region

As the situation along the entire perimeter of their borders from Ukraine to Afghanistan remains tense, members of the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) have vowed to raise cooperation to a “qualitatively new level of allied relations” to counter “a wide range of modern challenges and threats”.

While Moscow's “special military operation” continued in neighbouring Ukraine, all eyes were on the Kremlin where Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted a meeting of the leaders of the CSTO member states late Monday.

The leaders also noted that the number of challenges and threats to security are steadily growing, not just in the area of responsibility of the organisation but also in the whole world.

“All means are being used, including those in the area of responsibility of our organization: from Nato saber-rattling near our western borders to a full-scale hybrid war unleashed against us, primarily against Russia and Belarus,” the Belarusian President said in his lengthy opening speech.

“Nato is aggressively building up its muscles, drawing Finland and Sweden, which were neutral yesterday, into its net, acting on the principle 'who is not with us is against us', hypocritically continuing to declare its defensive orientation,” he added.

(Source: Indo-Asian News Service)

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is handed a wreath of flowers from his supporters after arriving in Colombo.

People should be ready to face economic challenges in forthcoming months

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in an address to the nation on Monday gave an account of the grave economic situation facing the island nation and said that the people need to be prepared to make sacrifices.

The Sri Lankan PM's address came a day after his talks with the representatives of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), where he discussed the possible course of action to address the economic crisis in the country.

“The next couple of months will be the most difficult ones of our lives. We must prepare ourselves to make some sacrifices and face the challenges of this period,” Wickremesinghe said.

“Last Thursday, I accepted office as the Prime Minister. I did not request this position.

“In face of the challenging situation facing the country, the President invited me to take up this position. I assumed this duty not only as a political leader, but also as national leader who has benefited from free education at the Faculty of Law of the University of Colombo,” PM Wickremesinghe said.

(Source: Asian News International)

All EU countries will support applications of Sweden, Finland to join Nato - Borrell

All EU member states will support Sweden and Finland in joining Nato, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Tuesday.

“We will talk also about the demand from Finland and Sweden to become members of Nato, they will receive a strong support, I am sure, form all member states because it increases our unity and makes us stronger,” Borrell said ahead of a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council.

The diplomat also expressed the hope that the alliance will overcome Turkey's objections to the Nordic countries' bid to obtain NATO membership.

(Source: Sputnik News)

Director General of WHO Tedros Adhanom says China's zero-Covid goal is unsustainable. EPA/SALVATORE DI NOLFI

Covid-19-hit Chinese cities seek exit from painful lockdown

Plans by Covid-19-hit Chinese cities to exit or avoid lockdown are more fraught and uncertain than ever as the pursuit of zero cases grows more prolonged, taxing and complex, with the highly infectious Omicron variant demanding quicker and tougher steps.

The lockdowns have led the World Health Organization chief to describe China's zero-Covid goal as unsustainable, but China says its approach will protect the lives of its people and economy in the longer run.

(Source: Reuters News)

Ankara expects Putin to pay visit to Turkey in coming days

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin for a working meeting in Turkey, with the visit expected in the coming days, media reported on Tuesday.

A high-level delegation from Russia led by Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak will arrive in Turkey on Wednesday to hold talks with economic departments, the Yeni Safak newspaper said, noting that Turkey is currently having difficulty entering northern markets due to the operation in Ukraine.

During the meetings, the sides will work out the ground for a high-level business meeting between Turkey and Russia, the newspaper said. In this regard, Putin is expected to visit Turkey in the coming days.

(Source: Sputnik News)

US eases sanctions on Cuba

The administration of US President Joe Biden announced Monday that it is lifting some sanctions on Cuba, making it easier for families separated between the two countries to reunite and creating a more conducive business environment for Cuban entrepreneurs.

US State Department Spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that the Biden administration “will reinstate the Cuban Family Reunification Parole (CFRP) Program and further increase consular services and visa processing, making it possible for more Cubans to join their families in the United States via regular migration channels.”

The CFRP allows up to 20,000 US immigration visas to be issued to Cuban nationals annually. However, the CFRP processing has been suspended since 2017 due to the significant personnel drawdown at the US embassy in Cuba ordered at the time by then-President Donald Trump's administration, citing security reasons.

As a result, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services has not issued invitations to participate in the program since September 2016.

(Source: Xinhua)