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Daily Archives: January 24, 2021

ICC Arrests CAR War Crimes Suspect Said Abdel Kani

The International Criminal Court on Sunday said it had taken into custody a former Central African Republic commander of the Seleka faction suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In a statement, the court said Mahamat Said Abdel Kani had surrendered to the court Sunday and had been arrested under a warrant issued under seal January 7, 2019, relating to alleged crimes from 2013. A date for his initial appearance in The Hague has not yet been set.

The arrest comes against the backdrop of a state of emergency in the Central African Republic, with fighting between the country’s army, backed by U.N., Russian and Rwandan troops, and rebels seeking to overturn a December 27 vote in which President Faustin-Archange Touadera was declared the winner.

A judge for the court said there were reasonable grounds to believe that Said, 50, was responsible for crimes, including torture, persecutions, enforced disappearances and other inhumane acts.

The Central African Republic has been mired in violence since a coalition of mostly northern and predominantly Muslim rebels known as Seleka, or “alliance” in the Sango language, seized power in March 2013. Their brutal rule gave rise to the opposing “anti-balaka” Christian militias, several of whose former leaders also face charges at the ICC.

“I welcome today’s transfer of the suspect, Mr. Mahamat Saïd Abdel Kani … to face justice for his alleged crimes as charged before the ICC,” said prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in a statement.

“As I have previously stated, my office will relentlessly pursue justice for the victims of atrocities in the Central African Republic … irrespective of which side of the conflict they may be on.” 

Five people, unborn child killed in Indianapolis shooting – New York Post

  1. Five people, unborn child killed in Indianapolis shooting  New York Post
  2. 5 killed, 1 wounded in Indianapolis home shooting  Associated Press
  3. 5, including pregnant woman, fatally shot in Indianapolis, police say  WJW FOX 8 News Cleveland
  4. Person found dead at scene of shots fired on east side  WISHTV.com
  5. Five people including a pregnant woman were killed in Indianapolis’ ‘largest mass casualty shooting’ in more than a decade  CNN
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Asian shares rise as U.S. stimulus plans offset virus woes – Reuters

  1. Asian shares rise as U.S. stimulus plans offset virus woes  Reuters
  2. Asian shares near record highs as US stimulus plans offset virus woes By Reuters  Investing.com
  3. Asian shares under pressure on rising coronavirus cases  Taiwan News
  4. Asian shares near record highs as U.S. stimulus plans offset virus woes  Reuters
  5. Asian shares under pressure on rising COVID-19 cases  CNA
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Estonia to Have First Female PM as Government Deal Clinched

Estonia’s two biggest political parties clinched a deal Sunday to form a new government to be led by a female prime minister for the first time in the Baltic country’s history, replacing the previous Cabinet that collapsed in a corruption scandal earlier this month.  

The party councils of the opposition, center-right Reform Party and the ruling, left-leaning Center Party, voted in favor of joining a Cabinet headed by Reform’s prime minister-designate and chairwoman, Kaja Kallas.

Both parties are set to have seven ministerial portfolios in addition to Kallas’ prime minister post in the 15-member government, which would muster a majority in the 101-seat Riigikogu Parliament.

A joint statement said the Reform Party and the Center Party “will form a government that will continue to effectively resolve the COVID-19 crisis, keep Estonia forward-looking and develop all areas and regions of our country.”

Earlier this month, President Kersti Kaljulaid, who is expected to appoint Kallas’ Cabinet in the next few days, said tackling Estonia’s worsening coronavirus situation and the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic should be an immediate priority for the new government.  

Kaljulaid tasked Kallas to form the government as her pro-business and pro-entrepreneurship Reform Party emerged as the winner of Estonia’s March 2019 general election.  

Pending approval from lawmakers, Kallas, 43, will become the first female head of government in the history of the small Baltic nation of 1.3 million, which regained its independence amid the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.  

A lawyer and former European Parliament lawmaker, Kallas is the daughter of Siim Kallas, one of the Reform Party’s creators, a former prime minister and a former European Union commissioner.  

Kaja Kallas took the reins at the Reform Party in 2018 as its first female chair. Her first Cabinet will see women in other key positions too as Reform’s Keit Pentus-Rosimannus takes over the finance minister post and diplomat Eva-Maria Liimets becomes the foreign minister.  

The government formation marks the second such attempt for Kallas in less than two years as she failed to bring about a Reform Party-led government after the 2019 election. That paved the way for the archrival Center Party and its leader, Juri Ratas, to form a three-party coalition without the Reform Party.

Ratas and his Cabinet resigned on Jan. 13 over a scandal involving a key official at his Center Party suspected of accepting a private donation for the party in exchange for a political favor on a real estate development at the harbor district of the capital, Tallinn.  

Ratas’ government, which took office in April 2019, was shaky from the start as the coalition included the populist EKRE, the nation’s third-largest party, which runs on a nationalist, anti-immigration and anti-EU agenda.  

The strong rhetoric of the EKRE leaders, Mart Helme and his son Martin Helme, created several embarrassing situations for Ratas’ government with public statements that were seen as insulting to Estonia’s international allies and tarnishing the country’s image, and which brought the government to the brink of collapse at least twice.

Kallas rejected including EKRE members in her Cabinet, citing considerable differences in values. Reform Party defines itself on its website as “the leader of the liberal worldview in Estonia.”

Kallas acknowledged earlier to Estonian media that her Cabinet would embark on a diplomatic mission to regain trust among the country’s allies and assure them of Estonia’s new political course.

Estonia has been a member of the European Union and NATO since 2004.

SpaceX Falcon 9 boosts record 143 satellites into orbit on “rideshare” mission – CBS News

  1. SpaceX Falcon 9 boosts record 143 satellites into orbit on “rideshare” mission  CBS News
  2. Need a lift? SpaceX launches record spacecraft in cosmic rideshare program  Reuters
  3. SpaceX launches 143 satellites on one rocket in record-setting mission  CNN
  4. SpaceX completes largest-ever cargo launch of 143 satellites  Fox News
  5. SpaceX Just Launched ‘Most Spacecraft Ever Deployed on a Single Mission’  ScienceAlert
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