Jorge Mesa

Jorge Mesa

We won’t sell out our allies or principles to strike Syria deal with US, says Putin

Russia will not reach any agreement with the United States on the future of Syria at the cost of Syria itself or Moscow’s interests and principles, President Vladimir Putin has said.

During his annual Q&A session on Thursday, a journalist asked Putin if there would be a “grand deal” with the US on Syria as the country begins to recover from years of hostilities and destruction.

“What do you mean ‘a grand deal’? Sounds like some commercial act. No. We don’t sell out our allies, our interests or our principles,” Putin said.

He said that Russia is willing to negotiate a political transition in Syria with various stakeholders. “Can it be done? I believe it can, provided there is goodwill of everyone involved in the conflict.”

Also on Russian Air Force targets militants in Syria’s Idlib at request of Turkish military...

Putin highlighted Turkey and Iran as Russia’s immediate partners in resolving the Syrian crisis, but said countries like the US, Israel, Egypt, and Jordan have legitimate interests in what happens in Syria as do the European nations, which were hurt by mass migration triggered by it. “We have to work together on it,” he stressed.

  • Published in World

Colombia's AG Says FARC Leader Case Being 'Blown Out of Proportion'

The Special Jurisdiction for Peace has a mandate on former FARC guerillas, but the attorney general doesn't believe this is one of those cases.

Colombia’s Attorney General appeared Saturday before the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) to argue its appeal against a JEP’s review board’s ruling on May 15 which released Jesus Santrich and guaranteed the former FARC leader protection from extradition.

RELATED Colombia's Supreme Court to Weigh on Case of FARC Leader

The Public Ministry announced its intention to appeal the ruling in the case of Seuxis Paucias Hernández Solarte, or Jesus Santrich, as soon as it was carried out, on grounds that the jurisdiction for such a guarantee belongs to the Supreme Court. The office is also arguing that the crime for which the extradition was requested and for which Santrich was arrested, was committed after Dec. 1, 2016, the day the Colombian government considers the start of the peace accords.

The Attorney General of Colombia Fernando Carrillo then gave a press conference before the JEP in Bogota in which he outlined the office’s reasons for the appeal. In his speech, he claims that the “Attorney General’s office hasn’t and wouldn’t ever hope for the JEP to fail, and that “the peace process is worth more than just an individual case.”

The top attorney also said that the guarantee of protection from extradition is not a “fundamental right” but rather “a parole benefit” and that people shouldn’t “blow it out of proportion.”

The Colombian government arrested a leader of the Revolutionary Alternative Forces of the Commons (FARC) in April 2018 at the request of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration who accused him of narcotics trafficking. He had a tumultuous time in prison with the courts denying him his right to habeas corpus three times, essentially holding him in detention for almost a year without proving any charges.

During that year, Santrich went on hunger strike for 41 days and was injured several times. The JEP issued an order on May 15 to release Santrich but he was immediately rearrested at the prison gates by Colombia’s ESMAD forces on new charges.

Referring to the illegal nature of Santrich's detention FARC has issued several statements asserting that the peace accord, as well as the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, have been the “subject of multiple attacks meant to undermine their character, limit their scope and ignore their capacities” by the Colombian government.

In addition, former FARC members all over Colombia, are being killed at alarming rates despite having laid down their arms in search of peace.

  • Published in World

47 Dead, 640 Injured In Chemical Plant Explosion In China

YANCHENG, China: An explosion at a pesticide plant in eastern China has killed 47 people and injured as many as 640, the state media said on Friday, the latest casualties in a series of industrial accidents that has angered the public.

The blast occurred on Thursday at the Chenjiagang Industrial Park in the city of Yancheng, in Jiangsu province, and the fire was finally brought under control at 3.00 a.m. on Friday (1900 GMT), state television said.

Survivors were taken to 16 hospitals with 640 people being treated for injuries. Thirty-two of them were in a critical condition, it said.

The fire at a plant owned by the Tianjiayi Chemical Company spread to neighbouring factories. Children at a kindergarten in the vicinity were also injured in the blast, media reported.

The cause of the explosion was under investigation, but the company - which produces more than 30 organic chemical compounds, some of which are highly flammable - has been cited and fined for work safety violations in the past, the China Daily said.

Police, some wearing face masks, sealed off roads to the plant. The power of the blast smashed windows in the village of Wangshang two kilometres away, and shocked villagers likened it to an earthquake.

"There have been little accidents before but nothing like this," one resident, who gave his family name as Wang, told Reuters.

"There was one loud bang followed by a long rumble. All the windows were smashed. I went to have a look. Near the site there was blood everywhere. People were crushed," he said.

The village, overlooking a murky mildewed pond, has not been evacuated despite its proximity to the blast site.

President Xi Jinping, who is in Italy on a state visit, ordered all-out efforts to care for the injured and to "earnestly maintain social stability", state television said.

Authorities must step up action to prevent such incidents from happening and find out the cause of the blast as quickly as possible, Xi added.

"There have recently been a series of major accidents, and all places and relevant departments must fully learn the lessons from these," the report cited Xi as saying.

The Jiangsu environmental protection bureau said in a statement late Thursday that the environmental monitoring station in the area had found no abnormal concentrations of toluene, xylene or benzene.

Concentrations of acetone and chloroform outside the perimeter of the explosion zone were also within normal limits, it added.

Jiangsu will launch inspections on chemical producers and warehouses, according to an emergency notice published by official media on Friday.

The notice, published on the news website of Jiangsu province's Communist Party, said the government would shut down any chemical firms found not complying with regulations on dangerous chemicals.

Public anger over safety standards has grown in China over industrial accidents ranging from mining disasters to factory fires that have marred three decades of swift economic growth.

In 2015, 165 people were killed in a series of explosions at a chemical warehouse in the northern city of Tianjin.

The explosions at Tianjin, one of the world's busiest ports and not far from the capital, Beijing, were big enough to be seen by satellites and register on earthquake sensors.

Despite repeated pledges by the government to tighten safety, chemical plants in particular have been plagued by disasters.

In November, a series of blasts during the delivery of a flammable gas at a chemical manufacturer killed 23 people.

  • Published in World

Secretary of Council of State says Cubans see themselves reflected in new Constitution

Havana, February 23(RHC)-- Homero Acosta, Secretary of the Council of State, said the people see themselves reflected in the country’s new Constitution, which they helped to write.

More than eight million Cubans are called to the polls this Sunday, February 24th to either ratify or reject the country’s new Magna Carta, which was approved by the National Assembly of People’s Power in late December.

Acosta, who is also a Cuban deputy, insisted that if ratified by the people, the new Magna Carta would be enforced, replacing the one enacted since 1976.

Nearly nine million Cubans on the island -- those serving abroad and Cubans residing abroad participated in the public debates -- contributed more than 700 thousand proposals for modifications, additions or eliminations, most of which were later included in the final version that will be submitted to Sunday’s referendum.

Edited by Jorge Ruiz Miyares


  • Published in Cuba
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