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CAR: outbreak of violence in Bangui

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BANGUI – At least 135 people have been injured in the worst outbreak of violence in years in the Central African Republic’s capital, aid agencies said on Friday, straining hospital trauma centres. At least 21 people died in clashes this week when United Nations peacekeepers and local security forces battled armed groups in Bangui’s PK5 neighbourhood – a Muslim enclave of the majority Christian city – over three days, a local official said. 

Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said it had treated 83 people since the weekend at a hospital and a health centre, while the Red Cross said 52 injured had arrived at another hospital.It is the worst violence seen in the capital since 2015, said MSF’s operational manager William Hennequin.”We are worried to see such level of violence and the impact it could have outside Bangui,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. 

The head of U.N. peacekeeping said civilians killed were young people who had been “manipulated” and armed by criminal gangs to confront the peacekeepers and Central African Republic forces. 

Report: Facebook data scandal linked to the 2016 Duterte’s election

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A London-based behavioral research and strategic communication company assisted President Rodrigo Duterte’s victory in the May 2016 national elections, according to SCMP report. Strategic Communications Laboratories or SCL Group, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, helped portray Duterte as a “strong, no-nonsense man of action” on social media, according to a report from South China Morning Post. The London-based company has removed the content but SCMP posted an archived version of the report. “SCL used the cross-cutting issue of crime to rebrand the client as a strong, no-nonsense man of action, who would appeal to the true values of the voters,” it added. The web content, however, did not identify Duterte as its Philippine client but the brief pointed to the former Davao City mayor. Late last year, Facebook faced criticism for sending out teams to train politicians around the world, including Duterte, on how to use the platform as a campaign tool. Malacañang, however, has shrugged off reports linking Facebook to Duterte’s presidential campaign. “All candidates did so, unfortunately for his detractors, President Duterte appeared to have been the best candidate who utilized Facebook the most,” Roque said. 

Aguirre accuses Cebu City mayor of drug trade

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Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is involved in the illegal drug trade, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said yesterday. Aguirre said they have a witness who submitted an affidavit who named Osmeña as a “protector of drug lords.”  The witness surfaced last year, but he did not divulge it because they were still building the case. Aguirre said the NBI would file charges against Osmeña once the information is verified. Asked about the specific charges to be filed against Osmeña, Aguirre said, “Something like protection of drug lords together with police officials.” Last week, Osmeña threatened to file graft and disbarment cases against Aguirre over his supposed interference in the tax evasion charges filed by the Cebu City government against executives of SM Prime Holdings and BDO Unibank Inc. Aguirre said the respondents requested the transfer because they feel they could ”hardly expect fairness since the people (in Cebu) will favor the mayor” and there was nothing irregular in his order to transfer the cases against SM and BDO executives to the Department of Justice from the Cebu prosecutor’s office.

MP: Iran, Russia, China must close ranks as US toughens line

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The chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy Alaeddin Boroujerdi says the Islamic Republic should strengthen relations with Russia and China to counter tougher US policies expected after President Donald Trump’s appointment of John Bolton as national security adviser. “The use of hardline elements against to the Islamic Republic of Iran shows that the Americans seek to exert more pressure on Iran”, he said. He added that the harsher US stance vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic is mainly aimed at appeasing the Israeli regime and Saudi Arabia to solve Washington’s economic issues: “Therefore, it was predictable that we would witness toughened US policies in this regard”. He pointed out: “China and Russia are two important and influential members of the UN Security Council and the expansion of relations will help neutralize and reduce the impact of US pressure”.

Airport security: soon a multifunctional hall for the formation of the security forces of Central African Republic

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BANGUI – Little more than 50 years after the opening of the airport of Bangui Mi poko, the infrastructure no longer fulfils the requirements and the standards recquired by the International Civil Aviation Organization(ICAO). The challenges include the training of a personnel that operates in the airport perimeter; it is for winning this challenge that a training center will be built, the first one of this kind in Central African Republic, for police, customs and armed forces. The opening ceremony took place Friday March 23rd 2018, in the presence of Minister of the Transports, Theodore Jousso, the Commissioner of police component of MINUSCA, the brigadier general Roland Zamora, the airport Authorities and the officers of airport police. “The various assessments conducted from ICAO and from our partners of the civil aviation of CAR have underlined serious lacks in our safety systems. Today we have the challenge to adjourn our safety system to satisfy the requisite of the attached 17 of the Convention of Chicago about the international civil aviation “Minister of the transports has said The estimated cost of this project is 25 million francs CFA. Its purpose is to fight fraudulent actions against civil aviation, passport control, bomb and drugs sniffer, Control of passengers and baggages, etc.

The US appreciates the government’s strong commitment: Striving to support you

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On the third day of his visit to Washington, Interior Minister Fatmir Xhafaj was received by the Assistant Secretary of State in the State Department and Responsible for Narcotics and Law Enforcement Matters James A. Walsh. Albanian Minister thanked for the support that US has given to judicial reform through the US Embassy in Tirana and the OPDAT assistance program, adding that is very necessary that US support and assistance continue to be present, especially during this delicate phase of the reform process.
Xhafaj also talked about the challenge to fight against radicalism, violent extremism and terrorim. Further on, he focused on the first results of the “Force of Law” operation and the need for more qualified assistance to the Special Task Force set up for this purpose. In this context, he requested that the following US assistance be expanded and at the same time be further oriented towards the realization of the above mentioned priorities. Walsh appreciated the progress made in the reform process in Albania, the strong commitment of the current government, stressing that “US engagement has not changed and will continue to be intensive even in the future”. He supported Xhafaj’s vision of reforming criminal justice, adding that the prison system should be included in this process.

Trump may expel Russian diplomats in response to nerve-agent attack in Britain

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U.S. and European officials said Saturday that President Trump is close to expelling 20 or more Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. The move, which could prompt a new wave of retaliatory expulsions of U.S. diplomats in Russia, may come as early as Monday. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement that the United States is considering a “range of options to respond to Russia’s outrageous actions in the UK, both to demonstrate our solidarity with our ally and to hold Russia accountable for its clear breach of international norms and agreements.”

Former Afghan intelligence chief against safe zones for Taliban

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After Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s demands for the establishment of the safe zones for the Taliban, the former Afghan intelligence chief and leader of the Afghanistan Green Trend movement Amrullah Saleh reacted negatively in an online statement posted on his official Twitter account. He warned that the deal would create a national issue similar to Durand Line agreement. He underlined that the deal would mean that the Durand Line would further pushed to the gates of Kabul and the agreement will be similar as that of the Gandomak treaty. Speaking during a press conference in Kabul, the leader of Hezb-e-Islami pointed towards his recommendations for the safe zones for Taliban and said such zones should be created to help protect the Taliban group members and their families who are willing to join peace process. He rejected the notion that Hezb-e-Islami supports the handover of the control of certain provinces to Taliban.
However, the Taliban group has refused to partecipate in direct peace talks with the Afghan government and insists on direct talks with the US, even if the Afghan government prepared to identify the group as a political group if it refrains from insurgency and join peace talks.

Egypt opens Rafah crossing Friday for 2 days

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The Rafah Crossing was opened in both directions for two days starting March 23 to allow the passage of humanitarian cases. This crossing is specialized for individual movements across borders and was being prepared for the transfer of goods between the two countries.

Egypt, Italy cooperate for fighting illegal migration

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Egypt and Italy are cooperating for training cadres from African countries on fighting illegal migration. A workshop of a training program was held in the Egyptian Police Academy. The workshop was attended by Tunisia, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Senegal, Niger, Morocco, Mali and other African countries along with Spain and France.

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