French parliament calls on EU to list Wagner as ‘terrorist group’

French parliament calls on EU to list Wagner as ‘terrorist group’
Founder of Wagner private mercenary group Yevgeny Prigozhin makes a statement as he stand next to Wagner fighters in an undisclosed location in the course of Russia-Ukraine conflict on May 5, 2023. (Reuters)
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Updated 09 May 2023

French parliament calls on EU to list Wagner as ‘terrorist group’

French parliament calls on EU to list Wagner as ‘terrorist group’
  • The resolution, which is non-binding and symbolic, passed with unanimous support across the political spectrum
  • Its author, ruling party MP Benjamin Haddad, has said he hopes it will encourage the 27 members of the EU to put Wagner on its official list of terrorist organisations

PARIS: The French parliament adopted a resolution Tuesday calling on the European Union to formerly label Russian mercenary force Wagner a “terrorist group.”
The resolution, which is non-binding and symbolic, passed with unanimous support across the political spectrum.
Its author, ruling party MP Benjamin Haddad, has said he hopes it will encourage the 27 members of the EU to put Wagner on its official list of terrorist organizations.
“Wherever they work, Wagner members spread instability and violence,” he told parliament on Tuesday. “They kill and torture. They massacre and pillage. They intimidate and manipulate with almost total impunity.”
He said they were not simple mercenaries driven by an “appetite for money” but they “follow a broad strategy, from Mali to Ukraine, of supporting the aggressive policies of President (Vladimir) Putin’s regime toward our democracies.”
Being listed as a terrorist group means EU members could freeze assets of the Wagner group and its members, while European companies and citizens are barred from dealing with the organization.
But Wagner and its businessman leader Yevgeny Prigozhin have already been repeatedly sanctioned by the European Union, in February for human rights abuses in Africa and in April for participating in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Prigozhin is a close ally of Putin, and his recruits have been fighting for months to capture the battle-scarred city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.
He had his assets in the European Union frozen in 2020 and was placed on a visa blacklist over the deployment of Wagner fighters to war-torn Libya, a decision he unsuccessfully appealed.
He claimed at the time that he had “no knowledge of an entity known as Wagner Group.”
The group has been blamed by Paris for running anti-French propaganda operations in west Africa, particularly Mali.
The EU’s terrorist list, which is approved by leaders of the bloc’s member states at their regular meetings, currently includes 13 people and 21 groups or entities including Al-Qaeda and Daesh group.
The parliaments of Lithuania and Estonia have also labelled Wagner a “terrorist organization.”


Young Indonesians training to care for Japan’s elderly

Young Indonesians training to care for Japan’s elderly
Updated 9 sec ago

Young Indonesians training to care for Japan’s elderly

Young Indonesians training to care for Japan’s elderly
  • East Asian nation has 340,000 vacancies for ‘specified skilled workers’
  • Third of Indonesia’s unemployed are aged 20-24

JAKARTA: Looking after the elderly, which is part of Indonesian tradition, was not something new for Rizka Putri Yulianti, but when she decided to become a caregiver, it came with unfamiliar territory that she had to learn to navigate: Japanese culture.

The 23-year-old has already spent months at a nursing school in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, learning how to read, write and speak Japanese, and understand and adhere to the country’s unique customs.

“I have been training to get accustomed with Japanese culture, which means getting used to greeting others regularly, maintaining cleanliness and also to be more disciplined,” Yulianti told Arab News.

She is among some 70 students at Onodera User Run, a vocational institution catering to Indonesians looking for employment in Japan, a country that has the highest proportion of people aged 65 and above.

With the elderly comprising nearly a third of its population, Japan is experiencing a labor crunch. A survey conducted last year by Tokyo-based research company Teikoku Databank showed that more than half of Japanese companies were suffering from a shortage of full-time employees.

Indonesia, on the other hand, has a much younger population, with millennials and Gen Z making up more than half of its 270 million people.

“Indonesia has plenty of young workforce who are known for being hardworking, polite and courteous,” Yulianti said.

“Young workers from Indonesia are capable of taking care of the elderly.”

They can be legally employed under a new visa scheme for “specified skilled workers,” which gives foreign nationals easier access to work in Japan in sectors like food service, agriculture and nursing care.

Over 340,000 job vacancies were opened under the scheme in 2019 but according to Hiroki Sasaki, labor attache at the Japanese embassy in Jakarta, only about 130,000 of them have so far been filled, mostly by Vietnamese and Indonesians.

“We’d like more and more young Indonesians to be interested in Japan and thinking about working in Japan,” Sasaki told Arab News. “Japanese society needs more Indonesian young power.”

For young Indonesians, the Japanese market is an opportunity to escape unemployment at home. While Indonesia’s overall unemployment rate is lower than 6 percent, about a third of those unemployed are aged 20-24.

Working in Japan, whose development is widely looked up to in Indonesia, comes with the chance of a better future.

“This might be my chance to have a career in Japan,” said Andini Fadiyah Putri, a 21-year-old who, like Yulianti, is studying at Onodera User Run in Jakarta.

She started her course in October and is now waiting for exams that will determine if she qualifies for employment in the East Asian country.

“After I finished with the Japanese curriculum, we were taught caregiving skills, both practical and theory, such as how to bathe seniors and how to feed them,” she said.

“It’s been really helpful … to see what my future might look like.”

Onodera User Run also has branches in Cambodia and Vietnam, offering training in language and sectors like caregiving and food processing under the Japanese government’s foreign employment program.

For the school’s principal, Kamila Mansjur, caregiving, in particular, is a good fit for Indonesian workers.

“Indonesians are known for their hospitality and manners, and then to take care of the elderly you need hard workers,” she said.

“We hope that our program can give a positive impact to both countries, wherein Japan can meet their need of foreign workers and in Indonesia we can reduce the unemployment rate.”


Passenger trains derail in India, killing at least 50, trapping many others

Passenger trains derail in India, killing at least 50, trapping many others
Updated 4 min 54 sec ago

Passenger trains derail in India, killing at least 50, trapping many others

Passenger trains derail in India, killing at least 50, trapping many others
  • About 400 people were taken to hospitals after the accident, which happened in eastern India
  • Nearly 500 police officers and rescue workers with 75 ambulances and buses responded to the accident

NEW DELHI: Two passenger trains derailed in India on Friday, killing at least 50 people and trapping hundreds of others inside more than a dozen damaged coaches, officials said.
About 400 people were taken to hospitals after the accident, which happened in eastern India, about 220 kilometers (137 miles) southwest of Kolkata, officials said. The cause was under investigation.
Dattatraya Bhausaheb Shinde, the top administrator in the Balasore district, said at least 50 people were dead.
Nearly 500 police officers and rescue workers with 75 ambulances and buses responded to the accident, said Pradeep Jena, the top bureaucrat of the Odisha state.
Rescuers were attempting to free 200 people feared trapped in the wreckage, said D.B. Shinde, administrator of the state’s Balasore district.
Amitabh Sharma, a railroad ministry spokesperson, said 10 to 12 coaches of one train derailed, and debris from some of the mangled coaches fell onto a nearby track. It was hit by another passenger train coming from the opposite direction.
Up to three coaches of the second train also derailed.
The Press Trust of India news agency said the derailed Coromandel Express was traveling from Howrah in West Bengal state to Chennai, the capital of southern Tamil Nadu state.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was distressed by the accident.
“In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon,” tweeted Modi, who said he had spoken to the railway minister and that “all possible assistance” was being offered.
Despite government efforts to improve rail safety, several hundred accidents occur every year on India’s railways, the largest train network under one management in the world.
In August 1995, two trains collided near New Delhi, killing 358 people in the worst train accident in India’s history.
Most train accidents are blamed on human error or outdated signaling equipment.
More than 12 million people ride 14,000 trains across India every day, traveling on 64,000 kilometers (40,000 miles) of track.


Novartis drug cuts recurrence risk by 25 percent in early-stage breast cancer

Novartis drug cuts recurrence risk by 25 percent in early-stage breast cancer
Updated 02 June 2023

Novartis drug cuts recurrence risk by 25 percent in early-stage breast cancer

Novartis drug cuts recurrence risk by 25 percent in early-stage breast cancer
  • The company on Friday said the relative risk reduction of cancer recurrence was 25.2%
  • The results were broadly consistent regardless of patients' menopausal status or cancer progression status

FRANKFURT: Novartis breast cancer drug Kisqali cut the risk of recurrence by more than 25 percent in a pivotal trial on women diagnosed at an early stage, positioning the Swiss drugmaker to win new patients and but facing strong competition from Eli Lilly.
The company on Friday said the relative risk reduction of cancer recurrence was 25.2 percent and that the results were broadly consistent regardless of patients’ menopausal status or cancer progression status. The results were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.
The Swiss drugmaker’s shares rose, even as the efficacy read-out fell short of that of a drug by Lilly, but a more favorable side effect profile might swing the balance in favor of Kisqali.
The drug was used in the trial together with standard endocrine therapy to treat a type of cancer that grows in response to hormones and it was compared to endocrine therapy alone.
The Novartis treatment has been approved to treat hormone-driven breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, where Novartis has taken market share from Pfizer’s Ibrance.
But an earlier diagnosis, when tumors can still be surgically removed, is much more common, representing about 90 percent of patients.
Still, better drugs are needed after surgery because the cancer later returns in between a third and one half of cases.
Eli Lilly is ahead with the approval of rival drug Verzenio in the early setting. But that is in a subset of women who are at high risk of recurrence after surgery, typically diagnosed based on signs of cancer in the lymph nodes.
Here, Novartis will face tough competition because the US drugmaker has said Verzenio reduces the risk of recurrence by 35 percent in that group.
But Kisqali looks set to be a pioneer in a wider market because it was tested successfully in both high-risk and medium-risk patients, a population that is twice as large.
Analysts have said investors could be disappointed if the Kisqali read-out fell well short of Verzenio’s efficacy and Jefferies analysts said on Friday the efficacy read-out was “closer to our downside scenario.”
But Novartis stressed very low rates of symptomatic side effects in its trial, important to patients facing years-long treatment, with severe diarrhea affecting only 0.6 percent of participants on Kisqali.
That compares with 8 percent-20 percent of the women in trials with Eli Lilly’s Verzenio being affected by severe diarrhea.
“This may be very relevant commercially,” said Evercore ISI analyst Umer Raffat.
Novartis shares were up 1.5 percent at 1430 GMT, rebounding from initial losses after the news. Lilly shares gained 0.9 percent.
“We know diarrhea can be a very troublesome, burdensome adverse event for patients taking anti-cancer medicines,” said Jeff Legos, Head of Oncology & Hematology Development at Novartis.
The March trial update boosted market confidence in targets issued by CEO Vas Narasimhan for annual sales growth of 4 percent through 2027 and a core operating income margin of 40 percent from 2027, analysts have said.
Novartis will request approval for wider use in the US and Europe before the end of the year, it added.
Novartis gave a brief preview of the Kisqali data in March, boosting its shares and growth prospects.


Ukraine’s Zelensky: NATO membership ‘impossible’ until Russia war ends

Ukraine’s Zelensky: NATO membership ‘impossible’ until Russia war ends
Updated 02 June 2023

Ukraine’s Zelensky: NATO membership ‘impossible’ until Russia war ends

Ukraine’s Zelensky: NATO membership ‘impossible’ until Russia war ends
  • Western governments are wary of any move that might take the alliance closer to war with Russia

KYIV: President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday he knew it would be “impossible” for Ukraine to join NATO while Russia was waging war on his country.
Zelensky has pressed for Ukrainian membership of the military alliance but allies are divided over how fast that should happen. Western governments are wary of any move that might take the alliance closer to war with Russia.
In a joint briefing in the Ukrainian capital with Estonian President Alar Karis, he said joining the alliance was still the best security guarantee for Kyiv.
“But we are adequate people and understand that we will not pull any NATO country into a war,” Zelensky said. “And that’s why we understand that we won’t be a member of NATO while this war is ongoing. Not because we don’t want to, because it’s impossible.”


Russian shelling kills two in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region — governor

Russian shelling kills two in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region — governor
Updated 02 June 2023

Russian shelling kills two in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region — governor

Russian shelling kills two in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region — governor
  • Yuriy Malashko said on the Telegram messaging app that Russian forces had hit a multi-storey residential building in the small village

KYIV: Two people were killed and four others were wounded on Friday in Russian shelling of the village of Komyshevaha in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, the regional governor said.
Yuriy Malashko said on the Telegram messaging app that Russian forces had hit a multi-story residential building in the small village close to the front line in southeastern Ukraine.