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Six Afghan refugees suspected of having set fire to Moria camp

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(Last Updated On: September 16, 2020)

Six young Afghan men including two minors were expected to face a prosecutor on Greece’s Lesvos island Wednesday on suspicion of setting fires to the Moria refugee camp last week. 

The fire destroyed what was Europe’s largest migrant camp, leaving close to 13,000 people without shelter. 

The suspects, aged 20 and below, are all Afghan nationals and were arrested in the past few days, local officials told Greece’s Athens News Agency (ANA).

Greek officials had insisted from the start that the fires had been the result of arson.

Earlier Wednesday, 13 migrants were detained on the island of Samos after a fire broke out near the local camp that houses over 4,700 people.

Most were later released but three remain under questioning, a local police source told AFP.

 

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Zakhilwal says govt is being ‘forced to compromise’

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(Last Updated On: January 14, 2021)

Former Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan, Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal said President Ashraf Ghani has violated 80 percent of the constitution during his presidency.

In an exclusive interview with Ariana News, Zakhilwal stated: “The President himself has violated the constitution at different stages.”

Zakhilwal said that so many opportunities have been missed and now the Afghan government must compromise with the Taliban in order to secure peace.

He also stated that the Taliban could run in Afghan elections. “Why should we have to reject it (participation of the Taliban in elections), we have logic…when it is about Afghanistan’s sustainability and durable peace it is defensible.”

Referring to an interim government that a number of Afghan politicians are calling for, Zakhilwal said that some of these figures are pursuing their own interests.

Zakhilwal said the Afghan peace process is a US initiative that has caused concern for Ghani.

He said the ceasefire over Eid in 2018 was a deal between the US and the Taliban not the outcome of Ghani’s efforts.

“The president is worried about this imposition. The president says another person can hand over the power to an interim government and that is why he is so worried,” Zakhilwal said.

He also called on negotiating sides to reach an agreement as soon as possible and the warring parties to stop the bloodshed.

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US House impeaches Trump for a second time; 10 Republicans vote yes

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(Last Updated On: January 14, 2021)

Donald Trump on Wednesday became the first president in US history to be impeached twice, as 10 of his fellow Republicans joined Democrats in the House of Representatives to charge him with inciting an insurrection in last week’s violent rampage in the Capitol.

The vote in the Democratic-controlled House was 232-197 following the deadly assault on American democracy, although it appeared unlikely the swift impeachment would lead to Trump’s ouster before his four-year term ends and Democratic President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20.

The Senate’s Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell, rejected Democratic calls for a quick impeachment trial, saying there was no way to conclude it before Trump leaves office. But even if he has left the White House, a Senate conviction of Trump could lead to a vote on banning him from running for office again, Reuters reported.

Biden said it was important that a Senate impeachment trial in the early days of his term not delay work on his legislative priorities, including Cabinet confirmations, and urged Senate leaders to find a way to do both at the same time.

The House passed a single article of impeachment – a formal charge – accusing Trump of “incitement of insurrection,” focused on an incendiary speech he delivered a week earlier to thousands of supporters shortly before the pro-Trump mob rampaged through the Capitol.

The mob disrupted the formal certification of Biden’s victory over Trump in the November 3 election, sent lawmakers into hiding and left five people dead, including a police officer.

During his speech, Trump repeated false claims that the election was fraudulent and exhorted supporters to march on the Capitol, telling them to “stop the steal,” “show strength,” “fight much harder” and use “very different rules.”

In a video statement released after the House’s action on Wednesday, Trump did not mention the impeachment vote and took no responsibility for his remarks to supporters last week, but condemned the violence, Retuers reported.

“Mob violence goes against everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for. No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence. No true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law and order,” Trump said.

“The president of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion against our common country,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said on the House floor before the vote. “He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”

At a later ceremony, Pelosi signed the article of impeachment before it is sent to the Senate, saying she did it “sadly, with a heart broken over what this means to our country.”

Democratic congressman Joaquin Castro called Trump “the most dangerous man to ever occupy the Oval Office.” 

Congresswoman Maxine Waters accused Trump of wanting civil war and fellow Democrat Jim McGovern said the president “instigated an attempted coup.”

Under the US Constitution, impeachment in the House triggers a trial in the Senate. A two-thirds majority would be needed to convict and remove Trump, meaning at least 17 Republicans in the 100-member chamber would have to join the Democrats.

McConnell has said no trial could begin until the Senate was scheduled to be back in regular session next Tuesday, one day before Biden’s inauguration. The trial would proceed in the Senate even after Trump leaves office, Reuters reported.

McConnell, who is reported to be furious with Trump, said in a memo to his fellow Republicans that he had not made a final decision on how he will vote on impeachment in the Senate.

The Capitol siege raised concerns about political violence in the United States once considered all but unthinkable. The FBI has warned of armed protests planned for Washington and all 50 US state capitals ahead of Biden’s inauguration.

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Top US military leaders condemn Capitol riot in rare joint message

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(Last Updated On: January 13, 2021)

The US military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the uniformed leaders of the military branches, on Tuesday put out a rare message to service members saying the violent riots last week were an assault on America’s constitutional process and against the law.

The joint message broke nearly a week of silence by the military leaders after the assault on the Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump sent lawmakers into hiding and left five people dead.

While a number of Trump’s cabinet members including acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller condemned the storming, the top US general, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, was silent until now.

But in a memo to troops issued Wednesday night, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said: “The violent riot in Washington DC on January 6, 2021 was a direct assault on the US Congress, the Capitol building, and our Constitutional process.” 

They also said the military remained committed to protecting and defending the Constitution.

“The rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection,” the memo, seen by Reuters, said.

The military leaders said that President-elect Joe Biden would be inaugurated on January 20 and would be their next commander in chief.

“Any act to disrupt the Constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values, and oath; it is against the law.”

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