Trial of Myanmar’s Suu Kyi to begin next Monday: lawyer

Trial of Myanmar’s Suu Kyi to begin next Monday: lawyer
Myanmar migrants in Thailand hold up pictures of detained Myanmar civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi at a protest against the military coup in their home country. (File/AFP)
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Updated 07 June 2021

Trial of Myanmar’s Suu Kyi to begin next Monday: lawyer

Trial of Myanmar’s Suu Kyi to begin next Monday: lawyer
  • Myanmar has been in uproar since Suu Kyi was deposed in a Feb. 1 coup, with near-daily protests

MYANMAR: The trial of ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi will begin next week, her lawyer told AFP Monday.

Myanmar has been in uproar since Suu Kyi was deposed in a Feb. 1 coup, with near-daily protests and a nationwide civil disobedience movement, and almost 850 civilians killed according to a local monitoring group.

The Nobel laureate has been hit with a string of criminal charges including flouting coronavirus restrictions during last year’s election campaign and possessing unlicensed walkie-talkies.

“We will get testimonies from plaintiff and witnesses starting from next hearing,” scheduled for Monday June 14, lawyer Min Min Soe said Monday after meeting the detained Suu Kyi in the capital Naypyidaw.

“She asked all (people) to stay in good health,” Min Min Soe added.

Suu Kyi’s lawyers have met with her just twice since the junta placed her under house arrest, with weeks of delays to her legal case and her lawyers struggling to gain access to their client.

Myanmar’s junta has also threatened to dissolve her political party the National League for Democracy, which swept elections in 2020, over alleged voter fraud.

An AFP reporter said there was a heavy police presence around the Naypyidaw council compound, close to the court, with roadblocks along streets leading to the area.


Denmark aims to scrap all COVID-19 curbs by February

Denmark aims to scrap all COVID-19 curbs by February
Updated 23 sec ago

Denmark aims to scrap all COVID-19 curbs by February

Denmark aims to scrap all COVID-19 curbs by February
COPENHAGEN: Denmark aims to scrap all remaining COVID-19 restrictions next week, the most far-reaching easing of curbs yet seen among the Nordic countries.
In a letter addressed to parliament, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said the government intends to follow recommendations issued by an expert panel on Tuesday to scrap all restrictions.
The proposal is still subject to parliamentary approval.

Russia puts jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s brother on wanted list

Russia puts jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s brother on wanted list
Updated 14 min 4 sec ago

Russia puts jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s brother on wanted list

Russia puts jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s brother on wanted list
  • Oleg Navalny, whose whereabouts are unknown, was last year held under house arrest between January and April
  • He was handed a one-year suspended sentence for violating safety regulations linked to the COVID-19 pandemic

MOSCOW: Russia has put the brother of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on a wanted list, according to interior ministry records, as he faces a summons for a court hearing that could convert a suspended sentence against him into a prison term.
Oleg Navalny, whose whereabouts are unknown, was last year held under house arrest between January and April and handed a one-year suspended sentence for violating safety regulations linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those charges were filed after he took part in a Moscow rally against his brother Alexei’s arrest.
The Federal Penitentiary Service will petition a Moscow court on Feb. 18 to sentence Oleg Navalny to jail time for failing to comply with restrictions imposed against him for violating safety regulations, his lawyer said on Wednesday.
The 38-year-old was released from prison in 2018 after serving three-and-a-half years for an embezzlement conviction that critics say was designed to pressure his brother and smother dissent.
Alexei Navalny was given a suspended sentence in the same case, converted into a prison term last year because of alleged parole violations. He says the charges against him are politically motivated.
An anti-corruption campaigner and high-profile critic of President Vladimir Putin for the past decade, he survived being poisoned with a nerve agent in 2020 and his political network was banned as “extremist” last year.


UK says not ruling out sanctions on Russia’s Vladimir Putin

UK says not ruling out sanctions on Russia’s Vladimir Putin
Updated 26 January 2022

UK says not ruling out sanctions on Russia’s Vladimir Putin

UK says not ruling out sanctions on Russia’s Vladimir Putin
  • Western leaders step up military preparations and made plans to shield Europe from a potential energy supply shock

LONDON: Britain is not ruling out sanctions targetted at Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin in person if Russia invades Ukraine, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Wednesday.
US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday he would consider personal sanctions on Putin if Russia invades Ukraine, as Western leaders stepped up military preparations and made plans to shield Europe from a potential energy supply shock.
Russia has massed more than 100,000 troops around Ukraine and the West fears it may invade in an attempt to annex its former Soviet republic.
Asked about possible sanctions on Putin, Truss told Sky: “We’re not ruling anything out.”
“We’ll be bringing forward new legislation to make our sanctions regime tougher so we are able to target more companies and individuals in Russia. We will be bringing that forward in the next few days. I’m not ruling that out.”
Truss said the United Kingdom was supplying defensive weapons to Ukraine.
Russia has repeatedly said it has no intention of invading Ukraine, that it can deploy troops wherever it wants on its own territory and that the West is gripped by Russophobia.


Blast in Greek capital damages buildings, one injured

Blast in Greek capital damages buildings, one injured
Updated 26 January 2022

Blast in Greek capital damages buildings, one injured

Blast in Greek capital damages buildings, one injured
  • Debris littered the street a day after a severe snowstorm swept the capital disrupting traffic and stranding thousands of people

ATHENS: One person was injured and several buildings were extensively damaged by an explosion in central Athens that led to a fire early on Wednesday, officials and witnesses said.
One person who suffered burns was taken to hospital, Giorgos Mathiopoulos, the head of workers at the National Center for Emergency Care, told Skai TV.
The blast smashed windows and wrecked the facades of buildings along the major traffic artery of Syngrou Avenue, which links the city center to the southern suburbs, while damaging buildings up to 200 meters (656 ft) away.
Debris littered the street a day after a severe snowstorm swept the capital disrupting traffic and stranding thousands of people.
At least 18 firefighters used seven engines to battle a blaze at one buildings and have nearly brought it under control, the fire brigade said.
It was not immediately clear what triggered the blast or the fire, officials said.
“We have a fire, there was a blast before that,” said a fire brigade commander at the scene.


Coronavirus-hit Australian warship delivers disaster aid to Tonga

Coronavirus-hit Australian warship delivers disaster aid to Tonga
Updated 26 January 2022

Coronavirus-hit Australian warship delivers disaster aid to Tonga

Coronavirus-hit Australian warship delivers disaster aid to Tonga
  • Crew of the HMAS Adelaide would follow drastic health protocols to ensure Tonga remains free from COVID-19

NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga: A coronavirus-hit Australian warship docked in Tonga on Wednesday, delivering desperately needed aid to the volcano-and-tsunami-struck nation under strict “no-contact” protocols.
Tongan Health Minister Saia Piukala said the crew of the HMAS Adelaide would follow drastic health protocols to ensure the remote Pacific kingdom remains one of the few places in the world still free of COVID-19.
“The ship will berth and no contacts will be made. Australians from the ship will unload their cargoes and sail from port,” he told reporters.
The Adelaide was deployed as part of an international aid effort after the January 15 eruption that generated massive tsunami waves and blanketed the island nation in toxic ash.
The warship is carrying about 80 tons of relief supplies, including water, medical kits and engineering equipment.
Despite all crew members testing negative before departing Brisbane, officials in Canberra on Tuesday said 23 coronavirus cases had been detected on the vessel.
Piukala said that number had increased to 29 by Wednesday.
The ship’s 600-plus crew are fully vaccinated, and the Australian Defense Force said Tuesday that the initial 23 patients were asymptomatic or only mildly affected.
It said the ship has a 40-bed hospital, including operating theaters and a critical care ward.
Piukala said contactless protocols were being applied to all relief supplies, including those aboard the HMAS Adelaide, meaning all goods offloaded from foreign planes or ships would be left in isolation for three days before being handled by Tongans.
The ship is said to be loaded with about 250,000 liters (66,000 US gallons) of water, buckets, jerry cans and portable field-testing kits that can now be offloaded.
“We can do that in a contactless way, spray the equipment so that the chance of passing on the virus is obviously negligible,” Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton said Tuesday.
“Under no circumstance will we compromise the health and well-being of those Tongans who have already had a concerted effort against the virus by protecting themselves, and the virus is not present on the island.”
But coronavirus restrictions are already hampering the aid effort in other ways.
Japan has announced its aid aircraft will pause trips between Australia and Tonga due to four COVID-19 cases among the mission’s staff.
“We are making sure that the impact on the mission is minimal, and once our review of anti-infection measures is completed, we’ll continue the mission,” a defense ministry official said.
Tonga closed its borders in early 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic swept the globe.
Since then, the nation of 100,000 has recorded just one COVID-19 case, a man who returned from New Zealand in October last year and has since fully recovered.
However, the devastating blast from the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano, which lies about 65 kilometers north of the capital Nuku’alofa, has created what the Tongan government describes as an “unprecedented disaster.”
Entire villages were washed away by tsunamis, while ash has poisoned water supplies and destroyed crops.
Remarkably, there have been only three reported fatalities, which the UN humanitarian agency OCHA said was thanks to effective early warnings issued by the Tongan government.
OCHA said communications severed by the eruption were slowly being restored and assessment teams were visiting hard-to-reach areas to gauge the full scale of the disaster.
It said 85 percent of Tonga’s population had been affected, with access to safe water, ash clearance and food supplies the main priorities.