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News ID: 103223
Publish Date : 31 May 2022 - 22:18
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OTTAWA (Reuters) -- Allegations of sex crimes in the Canadian military should be investigated externally by civilian authorities and the armed forces should establish clear targets for the promotion of women, a former supreme court justice said in a report. Former justice Louise Arbour, who was tasked last year with leading a probe into military harassment and sexual misconduct claims in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), laid out 48 recommendations aimed at changing the culture inside the military. The Canadian military has been under pressure over allegations of sexual misconduct by senior officers, including Canada’s former top soldier. Arbour said the handling of sexual offences by military court in the past 20 years “has done very little to improve efficiency, discipline and morale ... therefore, I see no basis for the Canadian Armed Forces to retain any jurisdiction over sexual offences.”
 
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TBILISI (AFP) – The leader of Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia scrapped plans to hold a referendum on joining Russia which his predecessor had scheduled for July 17. South Ossetia was at the centre of the Russian-Georgian war in 2008 after which the Kremlin recognized the territory as an independent state and stationed military bases there. In a decree issued Monday, the Moscow-controlled enclave’s president Alan Gagloev invoked “uncertainty of the legal consequences of the issue submitted to a referendum”. On May 13, Gagloev’s predecessor, Anatoly Bibilov, signed a decree on holding the referendum, citing the region’s “historic aspiration” to join Russia, his office said at the time. Bibilov lost his bid for re-election earlier this month. Russia has expressed hope that Gagloev will preserve “continuity” in ties with Moscow. Tbilisi has previously denounced as “unacceptable” plans by South Ossetia to hold a referendum on joining Russia.
 
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SHANGHAI (AFP) – Shanghai authorities said Tuesday they will lift more restrictions in steps to return the Covid-hit city to normality, after two months of heavy-handed restrictions that throttled businesses and locked down residents. The commercial hub of 25 million was shuttered in sections from late March, when an Omicron-variant spread in China’s worst outbreak since the virus first emerged in the country in late 2019. China is wedded to a zero-Covid strategy of hard lockdowns, mass testing and long quarantine periods to wipe out clusters. But after gradually relaxing some rules over past weeks, officials said on Tuesday that residents living in areas deemed low risk will be allowed to move around the city freely, a major step toward ending the curbs. The easing of restrictions will apply to around 22 million people, deputy mayor Zong Ming told reporters. 
 
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YAOUNDÉ (AFP) -- Twenty-four civilians have been killed and around 60 wounded in an attack by separatist gunmen in a troubled anglophone region of Cameroon, the local mayor said on Tuesday. The toll is one of the bloodiest in a nearly five-year-old conflict pitching armed militants against government forces in the breakaway region. Separatists on Sunday attacked the village of Obonyi II in the Southwest Region near the border with Nigeria, mayor Ekwalle Martin told AFP. “After the attack, some people fled into Nigeria and others into the forest,” a local administrative official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said. The village, lying 560 kilometers (350 miles) northwest of the national capital Yaounde, “is hard to get to. Armed groups exploit this isolation in order to hand down the law,” the source said. The Southwest Region and neighboring Northwest Region are home to a large anglophone minority in the majority French-speaking country.
 
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LONDON (AFP) -- Four consecutive seasons of poor rains have left millions of drought-stricken people in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia facing starvation, aid agencies and meteorologists said, warning that the October-November monsoon “could also fail”. Insufficient rainfall has destroyed crops, killed livestock and forced huge numbers of people to leave their homes in search of food and water, with the prospect of a fifth failed monsoon threatening to plunge the troubled region even deeper into catastrophe. The drought has already wiped out 3.6 million livestock in parts of Kenya and Ethiopia where local populations rely heavily on pastoralism to eke out a living. Meanwhile, one in three animals have died in Somalia since mid-2021. More than 16.7 million people in the three countries are experiencing acute hunger with the number projected to rise to 20 million by September. The dire conditions have been exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine, which has contributed to soaring food and fuel costs, the statement added.
 
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TUNIS (Reuters) -- Tunisia’s powerful UGTT union on Tuesday called a national strike in June in public services and state firms after the government refused to increase wages, an escalation that may hinder the government’s efforts to reach a deal with the International Monetary Fund. Tunisia faces its worst financial crisis and is seeking a $4 billion loan from the IMF seen as necessary to ward off national bankruptcy, in exchange for unpopular reforms, including food and energy subsidies cuts and wage freezes. With more than a million members, the UGTT is Tunisia’s most powerful political force. The strike on June 16 will present the biggest challenge yet to President Kais Saied after his seizure of broad powers and moves to one-man rule. The UGTT has rejected proposed spending cuts and instead wants wage increases for state workers as inflation reached a record level of 7.5% in April, from 7.2% in March and 7% in February.

 

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