French writer calls for ban on Muslim names

French writer calls for ban on Muslim names
Eric Zemmour has created a cult of personality through calls to drastically cut immigration and enforce integration in France. (File/AFP)
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Updated 15 September 2021

French writer calls for ban on Muslim names

French writer calls for ban on Muslim names
  • Eric Zemmour rumored to be preparing presidential campaign
  • “What upsets me is that after three generations, people are still calling their children Muhammad”: Zemmour 

LONDON: A far-right polemicist and writer expected to run for the French presidency has sparked fresh controversy by calling for a ban on traditional Muslim names such as Muhammad.

Famed for his strident TV appearances and essays, Eric Zemmour has created a cult of personality through calls to drastically cut immigration and enforce integration in France. He often calls for Muslims to adopt traditional French customs and culture.

Ahead of the launch of his latest book “La France N’a Pas Dit Son Dernier Mot” (France has not yet said its last word), Zemmour said if he was elected president, he would restore a law — introduced by Napoleon Bonaparte and abolished by socialist President Francois Mitterrand in 1993 — that only permitted names from the Christian calendar of saints and those from “ancient history.”

Zemmour added: “I will re-establish the 1803 law. A French man will no longer have the right to call his son Muhammad.”

He said: “I think that we have to make French people again. Previous generations of immigrants changed their names (to adopt French ones). There is no reason why the new ones should not do the same. What upsets me is that after three generations, people are still calling their children Muhammad.”

Abdoulaye Kanté, a Mali-born French police officer, phoned a radio station to react to Zemmour’s comments.

“Would Eric Zemmour be capable of saying that to Ahmed Merbet (a police officer killed by Islamist terrorists in 2015 in Paris) or to Imad ibn Ziaten (a soldier shot dead by an Islamist terrorist in Toulouse in 2012)?” said Kanté.


Russia offensive will end when Ukraine surrenders: Kremlin

Russia offensive will end when Ukraine surrenders: Kremlin
Updated 6 sec ago

Russia offensive will end when Ukraine surrenders: Kremlin

Russia offensive will end when Ukraine surrenders: Kremlin
MOSCOW: The Kremlin said Tuesday that Russia would halt its offensive as soon as Ukraine surrenders, urging Kyiv to order its troops to lay down their arms.
“The Ukrainian side can stop everything before the end of today,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
“An order for the nationalist units to lay down their arms is necessary,” he said, adding Kyiv had to fulfil a list of Moscow’s demands.
On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged world powers to do their utmost to help end Russia’s intervention by the end of the year.
He also said the time had not yet come to hold talks with Russia, as Kyiv is seeking to consolidate its positions, France said.
Asked to comment on Zelensky’s statements, Peskov said: “We are guided by the statements of our president — the special military operation is going according to plan and achieving its goals.”

G7 condemns Russia’s ‘illegal’ war on Ukraine: draft statement

G7 condemns Russia’s ‘illegal’ war on Ukraine: draft statement
Updated 28 June 2022

G7 condemns Russia’s ‘illegal’ war on Ukraine: draft statement

G7 condemns Russia’s ‘illegal’ war on Ukraine: draft statement
  • ‘We reemphasize our condemnation of Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable war of aggression against Ukraine’

ELMAU CASTLE, Germany: G7 leaders, after meeting emerging powers at a summit in Germany, condemned Tuesday Russia’s invasion as “illegal and unjustifiable.”
“We, the leaders of the Group of Seven ... were joined by the leaders of Argentina, India, Indonesia, Senegal and South Africa, as well as Ukraine,” they said in their draft final statement.
“We reemphasize our condemnation of Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable war of aggression against Ukraine.”


Erdogan says will meet Biden on sidelines of NATO summit

Erdogan says will meet Biden on sidelines of NATO summit
Turkey is a NATO member and could veto both countries’ applications at the summit. (File/AFP)
Updated 28 June 2022

Erdogan says will meet Biden on sidelines of NATO summit

Erdogan says will meet Biden on sidelines of NATO summit
  • Analysts believe the meeting could play a crucial role in lifting Turkey’s resistance to bids by Sweden and Finland to join the Western defense alliance

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday he would meet US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid for talks on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Analysts believe the meeting could play a crucial role in lifting Turkey’s resistance to bids by Sweden and Finland to join the Western defense alliance in response to the war.
The two leaders have had a chilly relationship since Biden’s election because of US concerns about human rights under Erdogan.
“We spoke with Mr.Biden this morning and he expressed his desire to get together tonight or tomorrow. We said it was possible,” Erdogan said.
He was speaking to reporters before flying to Madrid for talks that will start with his meeting with the leaders of the two Nordic countries and the NATO secretary general.
Erdogan said he wanted to see the results of preparatory talks held on Monday in Brussels before deciding whether Sweden and Finland had done enough to lift his objection to their membership of the military alliance.
Turkey is a NATO member and could veto both countries’ applications at the summit.
“We are a 70-year-old member of NATO. Turkey is not a country that randomly joined NATO,” Erdogan said.
“We will see what point they (Finland and Sweden) have reached,” he added. “We do not want empty words. We want results.”
Ankara has accused Finland and more particularly Sweden of providing a safe haven for outlawed Kurdish militants, whose decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state has resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of lives.
The Turkish leader has also called on Sweden and Finland to lift arms embargoes imposed on Turkey in 2019 over Ankara’s military offensive in Syria.


China halves quarantine time for overseas travelers

China halves quarantine time for overseas travelers
Updated 28 June 2022

China halves quarantine time for overseas travelers

China halves quarantine time for overseas travelers
  • New guideline is drastic reduction from 21 days of quarantine and home monitoring combined

BEIJING: China on Tuesday reduced the length of mandatory quarantine for inbound travelers, in the biggest relaxation of entry restrictions after sticking to a rigid zero Covid policy throughout the pandemic.
The new guideline cuts the length of mandatory quarantine for overseas travelers to seven days plus three more of home monitoring — a drastic drop from about 21 days of quarantine and home monitoring combined.
China closed off its international borders at the beginning of the pandemic and the number of international flights is still tightly restricted in an effort to tamp down “imported” virus cases as the pandemic rages elsewhere.
Since then overseas arrivals have faced weeks of strict monitoring and costly quarantine in hotels and designated centers.
Under the latest Covid prevention and control policy guidelines announced by the National Heath Commission and the State Council, inbound travelers entering China will now be required to quarantine centrally for just seven days.
Starting from April, a growing number of “pilot” cities have already slashed mandatory centralized quarantine for overseas travelers to 10 days, with Beijing reducing quarantine as well last month.
However, scarce international flights are frequently subject to cancelations, as Beijing operates a “circuit breaker” system where routes are temporarily canceled if enough positive passengers are discovered on board.
According to the latest guidelines, the new quarantine requirement also applies to people identified as close contacts inside China, where strict quarantine is imposed on communities with positive cases.


North Korea on high alert for torrential floods amid COVID-19 crisis

North Korea on high alert for torrential floods amid COVID-19 crisis
Concerns about the downpour come as North Korea is battling its first domestic coronavirus outbreak. (File/AFP)
Updated 28 June 2022

North Korea on high alert for torrential floods amid COVID-19 crisis

North Korea on high alert for torrential floods amid COVID-19 crisis
  • Concerns about the downpour come as North Korea is battling its first domestic coronavirus outbreak

SEOUL: North Korea said Tuesday it is making all-out efforts to prevent potential damages caused by heavy rains this week that outside observers worry could aggravate the country’s economic hardships amid its COVID-19 outbreak.
Summer floods in North Korea, one of the poorest countries in Asia, often cause serious damage to its agricultural and other sectors because of its troubled drainage and deforestation.
Typhoons and torrential rains in 2020 were among the difficulties that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said had created “multiple crises” at home, along with strict pandemic-related restrictions and UN sanctions.
North Korea’s weather authorities predicted this year’s rainy season would start in late June and issued alerts for torrential downpour in most of its regions from Monday through Wednesday.
The official Korean Central News Agency said Tuesday that authorities in the North’s central and southwestern regions are mobilizing all available resources to cope with possible flood-related damage.
Officials and workers there were engaging in works to protect crops, factory equipment, power plant facilities and fishing boats from heavy rains, KCNA reported. It said the country’s anti-disaster agency was reviewing readiness of emergency workers and medical staff.
KCNA said North Korean officials are urging residents and laborers to abide by pandemic-related restrictions during the country’s monsoon season.
It said more than 106,000 medical workers and hygienic workers have been ready to deal with potential major health issues caused by flooding. KCNA said officials are taking steps to ensure anti-epidemic security at shelters for those evacuated from flood-damaged areas.
South Korea’s weather agency said most of North Korea has been receiving heavy rains since Sunday.
Concerns about the downpour come as North Korea is battling its first domestic coronavirus outbreak. Since North Korea last month admitted to the outbreak, it said about 4.7 million out of the country’s 26 million people have fallen ill with feverish symptoms, but only 73 died, a fatality rate that is widely disputed by outside experts.
Given its entire population officially remains unvaccinated and its health care system is broken, observers speculate that North Korea must have suffered greater deaths and that it’s likely manipulating its death count to help Kim avoid any political damage.