Azerbaijan arrests six suspects over ‘coup plot’

Azerbaijan arrests six suspects over ‘coup plot’
It announced the arrests in a joint statement by the Interior Ministry, state security service and prosecutor-general’s office. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 07 April 2023
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Azerbaijan arrests six suspects over ‘coup plot’

Azerbaijan arrests six suspects over ‘coup plot’
  • Baku said the six Azerbaijani nationals were “recruited by Iranian secret services to destabilize the situation in the country”

BAKU: Azerbaijan has arrested six men it said were linked to Iranian secret services and were plotting a coup in the Caspian nation.

Baku said the six Azerbaijani nationals were “recruited by Iranian secret services to destabilize the situation in the country.”

It announced the arrests in a joint statement by the Interior Ministry, state security service and prosecutor-general’s office.

It said the group was plotting to “set up a ‘resistance squad’ aimed at establishing a Shariah state in Azerbaijan through armed unrest and violent overthrow of Azerbaijan’s constitutional order.”

It accused them of being “engaged in a pro-Iranian propaganda of religious radicalism, fulfilling orders from abroad to undermine Azerbaijan’s tradition of tolerance.”

According to Azerbaijan, they promoted radicalism using money from drug profits.

In January, Azerbaijan suspended the operation of its embassy in Iran, days after a gunman stormed the mission, killing one guard and wounding two others.

Baku has claimed that Tehran’s secret services were behind the attack.


Germany’s government and Elon Musk spar on X over migrant rescue ships

Germany’s government and Elon Musk spar on X over migrant rescue ships
Updated 30 September 2023
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Germany’s government and Elon Musk spar on X over migrant rescue ships

Germany’s government and Elon Musk spar on X over migrant rescue ships
  • “Is the German public aware of this?” Musk wrote in his repost
  • The German Federal Foreign Office replied to Musk directly on X, writing: “Yes. And it’s called saving lives”

BERLIN: Germany’s government rebuked X owner Elon Musk after he criticized the recent work of migrant rescue ships that German humanitarian groups operate in the Mediterranean Sea.
Musk late Friday shared a video that showed migrants and aid workers on a boat. The right-wing account that first put the content on X, formerly known as Twitter, praised the populist far-right Alternative for Germany party, which has taken a hard line on migration issues.
“Is the German public aware of this?” Musk wrote in his repost.
The German Federal Foreign Office replied to Musk directly on X, writing: “Yes. And it’s called saving lives.”
Musk responded that he doubted the German public supports the actions of non-governmental organizations that take asylum-seekers from unseaworthy vessels in the Mediterranean. He also asserted it was “surely” a violation of Italy’s sovereignty for German-operated ships to bring rescued migrants to Italian territory.
“So you’re actually proud of it. Interesting,” he wrote to the Foreign Office, adding that he thinks such maritime operations have “invasion vibes.”
The exchange comes as migration has returned to the political forefront in Germany and other European countries, with government officials and opposition politicians sparring about how best to handle an increasing number of arriving migrants.
Cities and communities across Germany have sounded an alarm, saying they are running out of room to accommodate them and to provide kindergarten and school places.
More than 220,000 people applied for asylum in Germany from January to August this year. In all of 2022, about 240,000 people applied for asylum. In 2015-16, more than 1 million people applied for asylum in Germany.


Moving mango trees to Dubai, Bangladeshi farmers take wing in Middle East

Moving mango trees to Dubai, Bangladeshi farmers take wing in Middle East
Updated 30 September 2023
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Moving mango trees to Dubai, Bangladeshi farmers take wing in Middle East

Moving mango trees to Dubai, Bangladeshi farmers take wing in Middle East
  • Farmers are tapping into afforestation programs in Gulf countries
  • Bangladeshi growers started exporting saplings to UAE and Qatar in 2019

DHAKA: After long research and trials at his nursery in Cumilla, some 100 km from Dhaka, Shamsul Alam started to bring tiny mango, jackfruit, and fig trees to the Gulf region. The efforts — and trees — have recently started to yield fruit, inspiring other Bangladeshi farmers to follow in his footsteps.

Alam began to export fruit saplings to Qatar in 2019, and soon also to the UAE and Oman.

“Since 2019, I have exported around 150,000 saplings to UAE, Qatar, and Oman,” he told Arab News. “All these plants are grown now and offer the taste of Bangladeshi fruits to Arabs. Bangladeshi fruit orchards are now seen in Qatar, Oman, and the UAE.”

He tapped into the market at the right moment, as in recent years afforestation programs have been gaining momentum in Gulf countries.

This year, Alam is focusing on mango trees and has already prepared several varieties at his Green World Nursery.

“Dubai ordered some Bangladeshi mango saplings from me. I have prepared 400 mango saplings with seven varieties of Bangladeshi mangoes, and these plants are ready now,” he said. “I hope to make the shipment in October.”

Dr. Reza Khan, principal wildlife specialist at Dubai Safari Park, who ordered the saplings from Alam, told Arab News that they will be planted in the Dubai desert as part of an “experimental” initiative.

“If rice can be grown in the desert, I hope that with proper care mangoes could be cultivated here as well,” he said.

For Bangladeshi growers, the business has potential. While it costs them about $2 to prepare a tree sapling in nurseries in Bangladesh, they sell them in the Gulf market at a price about four times higher.

According to Bangladeshi government data, Qatar has been the largest export destination for Bangladeshi fruit saplings, but the UAE is quickly gaining pace.

“The UAE is a big potential ... Especially saplings of mangoes are very popular,” said Kamrul Hasan, commercial counselor at the Bangladeshi Consulate General of Bangladesh in Dubai.

He believes that the UAE could become a hub for Bangladeshi sapling trade, as exporters have already scored phytosanitary certificates and environmental clearances.

“We have been exporting saplings in larger volumes for the last four-five years,” Hasan told Arab News.

“A lot of nurseries are there in Bangladesh involved in this sapling business and they are very efficient in their work, supplying quality saplings to Middle Eastern countries.”

Mohammad Khadim, who has been exporting saplings to the UAE since last year, says the main competitors for Bangladeshi exporters are Pakistan and India, which have easier access to the Gulf.

“For us, it takes around one month to reach the ports in Gulf countries,” he said. “Our competitors require only one week.”

But he is not discouraged and already plans to expand business to Saudi Arabia, which under the Middle East Green Initiative targets the planting of 50 billion trees across the whole region.

“I am in discussion with some buyers from Saudi Arabia,” Khadim said. “I hope to get positive results in the near future.”


Armenia says over 100,000 refugees flee Nagorno-Karabakh

Armenia says over 100,000 refugees flee Nagorno-Karabakh
Updated 30 September 2023
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Armenia says over 100,000 refugees flee Nagorno-Karabakh

Armenia says over 100,000 refugees flee Nagorno-Karabakh
  • Nearly all the official population of the ethnic Armenian enclave has left since Azerbaijan launched an offensive to regain control

YEREVAN: Armenia said Saturday that over 100,000 people have fled Nagorno-Karabakh, meaning nearly all the official population of the ethnic Armenian enclave has left since Azerbaijan launched an offensive to regain control.
Nazeli Baghdasaryan, a spokeswoman for Armenia’s prime minister, said the number of refugees entering the country over the past week had reached 100,417, out of Nagorno-Karabakh’s estimated population of 120,000.


India’s Jaishankar says Canada has ‘climate of violence’ for Indian diplomats

India’s Jaishankar says Canada has ‘climate of violence’ for Indian diplomats
Updated 30 September 2023
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India’s Jaishankar says Canada has ‘climate of violence’ for Indian diplomats

India’s Jaishankar says Canada has ‘climate of violence’ for Indian diplomats
  • Relations between India and Canada have been tense of late over killing of a Sikh separatist leader
  • Presence of Sikh separatists in Canada who demand separate homeland for Sikhs has infuriated India

WASHINGTON: Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said on Friday there was a “climate of violence” and an “atmosphere of intimidation” against Indian diplomats in Canada, where the presence of Sikh separatist groups has frustrated New Delhi.
“Because there is freedom of speech, to make threats and intimidate diplomats, I don’t think that’s acceptable,” Jaishankar told reporters on Friday evening in Washington.
Relations between India and Canada have been tense of late, mostly due to the presence of Sikh separatists in Canada who have kept alive the movement for Khalistan, or the demand for an independent Sikh state to be carved out of India.
Canada’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Earlier this month, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged that Indian agents may have had a role in the June murder of Sikh separatist leader and Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was labeled a “terrorist” by India.
New Delhi dismissed the allegations as absurd. Washington has urged India to cooperate with Canada in the murder probe.
In 2018, Trudeau assured India that Canada would not support anyone trying to revive a separatist movement in India, while repeatedly saying that he respects the right to free speech and assembly of protesters to demonstrate.
Canada is home to an influential Sikh community, and Indian leaders say some fringe groups there remain sympathetic to the cause of an independent Sikh state. The cause hardly has any support in India.
The demand for Khalistan has surfaced many times in India, most prominently during a violent insurgency in the 1980s and 1990s which paralyzed the state of Punjab for over a decade.
The insurgency killed tens of thousands of people and the Khalistan movement is considered a security threat by the Indian government. Sikh militants were blamed for the 1985 bombing of an Air India Boeing 747 flying from Canada to India in which all 329 people on board were killed.
Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984 by two Sikh bodyguards after she allowed the storming of the holiest Sikh temple, aimed at flushing out Sikh separatists.
 


Robert Kennedy Jr. to run as independent, could complicate Trump, Biden 2024 contest

Robert Kennedy Jr. to run as independent, could complicate Trump, Biden 2024 contest
Updated 30 September 2023
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Robert Kennedy Jr. to run as independent, could complicate Trump, Biden 2024 contest

Robert Kennedy Jr. to run as independent, could complicate Trump, Biden 2024 contest
  • Kennedy has said he would challenge Biden for the Democratic nomination to run against the Republican nomineeee, expected to be Trump
  • However, a poll showed Republicans like Kennedy more than Democrats do by a wide margin, suggesting Trump’s campaign could be impacted as well

US presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will announce he is running as an independent instead of pursuing his long-shot bid to oust President Joe Biden as the Democratic Party nominee, a shift that could complicate the 2024 election.

Anti-vaccine activist Kennedy, a member of a storied US political dynasty, posted a video on YouTube on Friday asking Americans to join him for a “major announcement” in Philadelphia on Oct. 9.

“I’ll be speaking about a sea change in American politics,” he said, decrying corruption in “both parties.”
“How are we going to win against the established Washington interests?” he asks. “It’s not through playing the game” by the current rules, he said.
Kennedy is nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963, and the son of former US Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968 during his own presidential bid.
Kennedy said in April he would challenge Biden for the Democratic nomination to run against the Republican nominee, expected to be former President Donald Trump.
Since then, Kennedy has complained that the Democratic Party has “essentially merged into one unit” with the Biden campaign, denying him a fair shot in the nominating contest. Several opinion polls put Biden way ahead of Kennedy in single digit percentages or low double digits.
Kennedy’s plan to run as an independent instead was first reported by Mediaite, a politics website.
Asked about the report, Kennedy’s campaign emailed Reuters a link to Kennedy’s video.
Democrats have expressed concern that any third-party bid could draw votes away from Biden, 80, who faces concerns about the economy and his age in an expected rematch against the Republican frontrunner and presumed nominee Trump, 77.
However, Republicans like Kennedy more than Democrats do by a wide margin, opinion polling compiled by FiveThirtyEight showed, suggesting Trump’s campaign could be impacted as well. Trump faces four criminal prosecutions, including charges he illegally tried to overturn Biden’s 2020 election victory, and his campaign is bleeding cash for legal expenses.