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France’s Sarkozy likely to avoid jail despite new conviction



(Last Updated On: September 30, 2021)

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was handed a one-year prison sentence by a Paris court on Thursday after being found guilty of illegal campaign financing over his failed 2012 re-election bid, Reuters reported.

Sarkozy, 66, is unlikely to go to jail. He will appeal the sentence, a move that in effect suspends it, and the judge said he could serve the sentence at home with an electronic tag.

But the second conviction this year for Sarkozy is a stunning fall from grace for the man who led France from 2007 to 2012 and retains influence among conservatives.

According to the report the two convictions could force Sarkozy to play a more discreet role in next year’s presidential election. He had not planned to be a candidate but, as a popular figure on the right, he would be expected to support his party’s candidate.

Sarkozy’s conservative party, prosecutors said, spent nearly double the 22.5 million euros (currently $19.2 million) allowed under electoral law on extravagant campaign rallies and then hired a friendly public relations agency to hide the cost.

Sarkozy has denied wrongdoing. He said he was not involved in the logistics of his campaign for a second term as president or in how money was spent during the election run-up, read the report.

“Can you imagine me going into a meeting to discuss the cost of flags?” he told the court in June. “I had too much to do.”

“From the moment I was told things were in order, I had no reason to give it more thought.”

But the court said Sarkozy was made aware of the overspending, that he did not act on it, and that it was not necessary for him to approve each individual spending to be responsible.


Several others who faces charges were found guilty of fraud over the campaign financing and sentenced to up to 3-1/2 years in jail and hefty fines.

Sarkozy was found guilty in a separate trial in March of trying to bribe a judge and peddle influence in order to obtain confidential information on a judicial inquiry. He also denied any wrongdoing in that case.

The former president was sentenced to three years in jail in that trial – two of which were suspended – but has not spent time in prison yet, while his appeal is pending, Reuters said.

The son of a Hungarian immigrant father, Sarkozy debuted in politics as mayor of the wealthy district of Neuilly outside central Paris, before serving as President Jacques Chirac’s finance minister.

As president, Sarkozy’s high-energy style and abrasive manner polarised voters. His modest attempts at tax and labour reforms and limited success in creating jobs disenchanted both free-marketeers and centrist voters.

Outside France, he brokered a ceasefire to the Russia-Georgia war in 2008, and in 2011 championed a NATO-led military intervention in Libya to support an uprising against its autocratic leader, Muammar Gaddafi, Reuters reported.


Saudi-led coalition denies targeting detention center in Yemen



(Last Updated On: January 22, 2022)

The Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen denied targeting a detention centre in Yemen’s Saada province, saying the facility hit was not a site restricted from strikes, the Saudi official news agency SPA reported on Saturday.

A Reuters witness said several people, including African migrants, died in the Friday attack that reportedly killed at least 60 people.

“The coalition will inform the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen (OCHA) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the facts and details,” the state news agency said, citing a coalition spokesman.

He said the target in Saada was not on no-targeting lists agreed upon with the OCHA, was not reported by the ICRC and did not meet the standards stipulated by the Third Geneva Convention for Prisoners of War, Reuters reported.

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Bomb blast kills 3 people in eastern Pakistan



(Last Updated On: January 21, 2022)

A bomb blast ripped through a crowded market in eastern Pakistan on Thursday (January 20), killing three people and wounding over 20, police said, Reuters reported.

A police spokesman, Arif Rana, told Reuters it was a bomb, saying a time device rigged to a motorcycle exploded outside a shop in the market.

A nine-year-old boy is among the three dead, he said.

“I was around 12 feet or so away from the place, but the blast was so severe that we didn’t know what had happened. Then the fronts of some shop caught fire, and a couple of the shop assistants were injured. A man in the house over there died. A child was passing by, both his legs were blown off. I picked him up, but he was dead. It was a very severe blast,” said a resident who witnessed the explosion.

According to Reuters a newly formed separatist group based in southwestern Balochistan province claimed responsibility in a text message sent to a Reuters reporter.

It said a bank was the target of the attack. Police said they were investigating, saying it was premature to link this to Pakistan Super League (PSL) Twenty20 cricket tournament scheduled to start in a week or so.

Baloch separatists have been fighting a low-key insurgency against the Pakistani government to demand a greater share in the local mineral rich resources, Reuters reported.

They usually attack government interests or Chinese projects in the province bordering Afghanistan and Iran, but an attack in a city like Lahore is rare.

China is involved in the development of the Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea and other projects in the province as part of a $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is itself part of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative, read the report.

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Russia’s Putin hosts Iranian counterpart in Kremlin



(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted on Wednesday (January 19) his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi for talks in Moscow as Russia tries to help salvage a nuclear deal between world powers and Tehran, Reuters reported.

Putin and Iranian Raisi held discussions on the issues of bilateral cooperation Kremlin said, Reuters reported.

Raisi said that a visit to Russia could be a turning point in political, trade and economic relations between the two countries, Russian News Agency RIA Novosti reports.

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