Monday, 12 March, 2018
china Makes historic Move to allow Xi to rule inDefinitely BEIJING
HINA’S lawmakers on Sunday passed a historic constitutional amendment abolishing a presidential two-term limit that will enable Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely. The amendment upends a system enacted by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1982 to prevent a return to the bloody excesses of a lifelong dictatorship typified by Mao Zedong’s chaotic 19661976 Cultural Revolution. “This marks the biggest regression in
China’s legal system since the reform and opening-up era of the 1980s,” said Zhang Lifan, an independent, Beijing-based political commentator. “I’m afraid that this will all be written into our history in the future,” Zhang said. Voting among the National People’s Congress’ nearly 3,000 hand-picked delegates began in the mid-afternoon, with Xi leading members of the Communist Party’s seven-member all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee in casting their votes. He placed his orange ballot paper in a red box bearing the official seal of state placed front and center on the stage inside the cavernous hall.
Rank-and-file deputies then rose to vote on the floor of the hall as jaunty instrumental music played. Ten minutes later, the process had ended and delegates were asked to return to their seats while the votes were counted. Shortly after 3:50 pm, the results were read out over the public address system and flashed briefly on a screen in the hall. The delegates voted 2,958 in favor, with two opposed, three abstaining and one vote invalidated. “The constitutional amendment item has passed,” the announcer declared to polite applause. The 64-year-old Xi appeared to show little emotion, remaining in his seat with
FOREIGN NEWS 09
other deputies to listen to a report on the work of the congress delivered by its outgoing chairman. The slide toward oneman rule under Xi has fueled concern that Beijing is eroding efforts to guard against the excesses of autocratic leadership and make economic regulation more stable and predictable. The amendment also inserted Xi’s personal political philosophy into the preamble of the constitution and phrasing that emphasizes the leadership of the rul-
ing Communist Party. “It is rare nowadays to see a country with a constitution that emphasizes the constitutional position of any one political party,” said Zhang, the political commentator. In a sign of the issue’s sensitivity, government censors are aggressively scrubbing social media of expressions ranging from “I disagree” to “Xi Zedong”. A number of prominent Chinese figures have publicly protested the move, despite the risk of official retaliation.
Ethiopia says 9 civilians mistakenly killed in military operation iran urges france not to side with us over nuke, missile issues TEHRAN: An Iranian atomic official on Sunday discouraged France from following the pace of the United States over Iran's 2015 international nuclear deal and missile program. "France has tried to side with the United States in recent years" but, it will have a hard time if it chooses to side with US interests and stand against Iran, said spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi. Besides, France would not succeed in creating a "coalition" among the European countries against Iran's defense power, Kamalvandi was quoted as saying by Iran Daily. Kamalvandi also undermined the likelihood of reapplying sanctions by the United States against Iran over its missile program. "The Islamic Republic will never agree to negotiations over its missile program," he added. US President Donal Trump has criticized a deal sealed between Iran and the world powers in 2015 which put an end to the country's controversial nuclear program. He has urged negotiations on some parts of the deal. Pushed by the US, Europe has stepped up its pressure on Iran to start negotiations on the country's developing missile program. AGENCIES
iraq seeks weapons to defeat is remnants: PM BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that his government is seeking weapons to defeat the remnants of the Islamic State (IS) in the country. Abadi made the remarks during his speech at the opening ceremony of the sixth edition of International Defense Exhibition held in the capital Baghdad. "Terrorism has ended militarily, and we must eliminate its ideologies and its sectarian methodology. The weapons that we need now is not for war, but for peace and reconstruction," Abadi said. He also vowed to support Iraqi security forces so they can continue their mission to uproot the sleeper cells of IS terrorists. "Iraq has special needs for its security, and we have expertise in combating terrorism and eliminating it," the Iraqi prime minister noted. The four-day exhibition was held on the spot of Baghdad International Fair in the west-central part of the capital, with the participation of 18 countries and more than 70 weapons production companies. The exhibition showcases products such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), missiles, associated airborne equipment, and different ground support equipment. AGENCIES
nepali PM secures vote of confidence in parliament
ADDIS ABABA AGENCIES
The Ethiopian government said Sunday nine civilians were mistakenly killed and 12 injured by soldiers in Southern Ethiopia in an operation to sniff out rebels. In a press statement, the Ethiopia Command Post Secretariat said the incident happened on Saturday when an army unit deployed around Moyale city on the border
with Kenya to intercept suspected Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) fighters opened fire on civilians on a basis of mistaken information. The press statement further said a colonel and five other soldiers have been disarmed and put under arrest pending investigation regarding the deadly incident. Moyale is in Oromia regional state, which has been a state of unrest since late 2015 that has left hundreds dead and thousands jailed. The unrest has forced the
Ethiopian government to impose a six-month martial law starting February 16, saying it was to protect the country's constitution, citizens and their property from the dangers that would arise from the ongoing violent demonstrations in different parts of the country. The current martial law period is the second the East African country has imposed since the second half of 2016. Ethiopia had witnessed a 10-month long state of emergency period since October 2016.
Egyptian forces kill 16 militants in Sinai operation CAIRO AGENCIES
The Egyptian forces have killed 16 extremely dangerous militants since Wednesday as part of the ongoing Operation Sinai 2018, the army said in a statement on Sunday. "Three leaders of terrorists were arrested in mountainous areas in Central Sinai, based on intelligence provided by the honorable citizens
of Sinai," said Tamer al-Refaay, the military spokesman. A non-commissioned officer and a private soldier from the army were killed and other six army men were wounded in the fire exchange, al-Refaay added. The statement added the air forces' raids have destroyed nine targets used by terrorists including a hideout, a water tanker and three booby-trapped 4x4 vehicles.
Also, a storehouse used to manufacture improvised explosive devices in North Sinai's Sheikh Zuweid city with around 130 explosive devices were destroyed, it added. More than 120 militants and terrorists have been killed since the country's anti-terror military operation began on Feb. 9. The operation, dubbed "Sinai 2018," comes weeks before Egypt starts its 2018 presidential elections scheduled for late March, where incumbent President Abdel-Fattah alSisi is expected to make an easy win for a second term. The operation was launched as part of the efforts to reach the threemonth deadline set by President Sisi to eliminate terrorism after the mosque attack that killed 310 people in the northern Sinai city of Arish in November, 2017. Egypt's army has been struggling to uproot the strongholds of militants, now belonging to the Islamic State branch in Sinai, since the ouster of the Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi, in response to mass protests against his rule in 2013.
KATHMANDU: Prime Minister of Nepal K.P Sharma Oli secured Sunday the majority of the vote of confidence from the House of Representatives (HoR), the lower house of the Federal Parliament. Oli bagged 208 votes out of the 268 votes in the lower house of the Federal Parliament, HoR Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara said during the parliament session in the Capital. Sixty members of parliament voted against the prime minister, while seven remained absent in 275-member HoR. Addressing the Parliament session, the prime minister expressed confidence that his government would work to steer the country toward political stability and economic prosperity. Oli also vowed to control corruption in the country, saying that his government will have a policy of "zero tolerance toward corruption." The prime minister also urged the main opposition Nepali Congress to make a fair judgment toward his government. According to existing constitutional provisions of Nepal, the new prime minister must secure the vote of confidence from the Parliament within 30 days of his/her appointment. AGENCIES
israeli PM warns of nuclear arms race in Mideast JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Sunday of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East if the nuclear deal to limit Iran's nuclear program would not be changed or revoked. During remarks at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said his discussions with United States President Donald Trump and other officials in Washington last week focused mainly on Iran. "I said that the nuclear agreement with Iran contains within it many dangers for the world, including the special danger of the nuclearization of the Middle East," Netanyahu said, according to a statement released on his behalf. "Many countries in the Middle East are saying that they are also allowed to enrich uranium if Iran is allowed to do so; therefore, the way to prevent this danger, the nuclearization of the Middle East, is to either thoroughly correct the agreement or abrogate it," he said. Netanyahu reportedly referred to Saudi Arabia, which is in talks to buy nuclear reactors from the United States. "Moreover, I remind you that Iran declares, on an almost daily basis, its intention to wipe out the State of Israel. It is hardly worth saying that we will not allow this, to put it mildly," he added.