News ID: 97438
Publish Date : 06 December 2021 - 21:36

KHARTOUM (AFP) – Sudanese police fired tear gas Monday as thousands of protesters rallied against the military-dominated government near the presidential palace in Khartoum, witnesses told AFP. The demonstrators marched from various districts of the capital, many carrying national flags or chanting, “No to military rule” and, “The army might betray you, but the street will never betray you”. Protesters, in the latest of many rallies in recent weeks, set up road barricades with rocks and burning car tires, the black smoke billowing into the sky. Sudan’s top general, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, seized power and detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on October 25 but, after international condemnation and mass protests, reinstated him in a deal signed on November 21. Critics lambasted the agreement and accused Hamdok of “betrayal” as pro-democracy activists vowed to maintain pressure on the military-civilian authority. Nearly 45 people were killed in street rallies between October 25 and November 22 in clashes with security forces, and hundreds more wounded.

BRUSSELS (Dispatches) -- European Union states spent nearly 200 billion euros ($225 billion) on military in 2020, the most since records began in 2006, but joint investment by governments fell, the European Defense Agency (EDA) said in a report on Monday. The EDA, an EU agency that helps the bloc’s governments to develop their military capabilities, said the total spending of EU countries except for Denmark - which opts out of EU military projects - reached $198 billion, a 5% increase on 2019. The military expenditure amounted to 1.5% of the 26 EU states’ economic output, a welcome figure for the U.S.-led NATO alliance, which has sought a 2% spending goal for its allies. Most EU members are also part of NATO but want to able to act independently of the United States when necessary. Proponents of stronger EU military say the warnings have been many, from Britain’s departure from the bloc to former U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” priorities and failing states on Europe’s frontiers. However, the EDA report noted a slump in collaborative spending despite an EU military pact signed in late 2017 to try to pool resources and end the competition between national industries that has weakened past defense efforts.

VIENNA (Reuters) -- Austria’s third conservative chancellor in two months, Karl Nehammer, took office on Monday seeking to bring the coalition government out of months of scandal-tainted turmoil and guide the country out of its current coronavirus lockdown. Nehammer, 49, was sworn in by President Alexander Van der Bellen soon after 1 p.m. (1200 GMT). As interior minister since last year, he was the enforcer of former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s hard line on immigration and of four national lockdowns. He is now the first head of government of the post-Kurz era. Conservative star Kurz, 35, stunned much of the country by announcing on Thursday that he was quitting as leader of the People’s Party (OVP) and leaving politics, saying he had lost interest since the birth of his son last month. The party picked Nehammer to succeed him as its leader on Friday. Kurz quit as chancellor in October at the behest of his coalition partner, the left-wing Greens, because he had been placed under criminal investigation on suspicion of corruption offences.

ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) -- Twenty people, including two French nationals, were charged on Monday with plotting to kill Madagascar’s president and other offences as their trial began in the Indian Ocean island nation. Madagascar has a history of political violence. Former coup leader Andry Rajoelina, 44, was sworn in as president in 2019 after a hard-fought election and a constitutional court challenge from his rival. The suspects, all of whom were present in court, were formally charged with counts including criminal conspiracy, criminal association, rebellion against the president and possession of illegal weapons. Some of the accused were arrested in July, others in August. Officials have not given details publicly on the extent of the plot or how far advanced it was when the suspects were apprehended.

YANGON (AFP) -- Myanmar’s junta jailed ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday for four years for incitement against the military and breaching Covid rules, the first of a series of possible sentences that could see here imprisoned for decades. Suu Kyi, 76, has been detained since the generals staged a coup and ousted her government on February 1. She has since been hit with a series of charges, including violating the official secrets act, illegally importing walkie talkies and electoral fraud. On Monday Suu Kyi was sentenced to two years for incitement against the military and another two years for breaching a natural disaster law relating to Covid, junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun told AFP by phone. Former president Win Myint was also jailed for four years on the same charges, he said, but added they would not yet be taken to prison.

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (AFP) -- Russia on Wednesday will send Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa to the International Space Station in a move marking Moscow’s return to the now booming space tourism business after a decade-long break. One of Japan’s richest men, Maezawa, 46, will blast off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan accompanied by his assistant Yozo Hirano. The mission will end a decade-long pause in Russia’s space tourism program that has not accepted tourists since Canada’s Cirque du Soleil co-founder Guy Laliberte in 2009.

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