Russian police arrest more than 100 Navalny supporters -group

Police officers detain a demonstrator in Pushkinskaya Square in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, June 4, 2023. (AP)
Police officers detain a demonstrator in Pushkinskaya Square in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, June 4, 2023. (AP)
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Updated 05 June 2023
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Russian police arrest more than 100 Navalny supporters -group

Police officers detain a demonstrator in Pushkinskaya Square in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, June 4, 2023. (AP)
  • Navalny, who rose to prominence by lampooning President Vladimir Putin’s elite and alleging vast corruption, said in April that an “absurd” terrorism case had been opened against him that could see him sentenced to a further 30 years in jail

MOSCOW: Russian police on Sunday arrested more than 100 people who had taken to the streets to mark the 47th birthday of Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, a protest monitoring group said.
OVD-Info said in a statement that 109 people had been detained in 23 cities as of 10:42 p.m. Moscow time (1942 GMT). Authorities have clamped down heavily on signs of dissent since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and in most cities, only a handful of people were held.
Navalny is serving combined sentences of 11-1/2 years for fraud and contempt of court on charges that he said were trumped up to silence him.
Footage from Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia’s two largest cities, showed police arresting individual demonstrators. One man could be seen briefly holding up a sign before Moscow police ushered him away, bent over, as he groaned in pain.
Another man, who held up a sign in English that read “Free Navalny,” was also arrested in Moscow.
In St. Petersburg, a woman accompanied by a child told reporters that “I’m against the war, that’s why they detained me with my underage kid.”
Navalny, who rose to prominence by lampooning President Vladimir Putin’s elite and alleging vast corruption, said in April that an “absurd” terrorism case had been opened against him that could see him sentenced to a further 30 years in jail.

 

 


Ukraine says Kharkiv hit by several Russian missiles

Ukraine says Kharkiv hit by several Russian missiles
Updated 11 sec ago
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Ukraine says Kharkiv hit by several Russian missiles

Ukraine says Kharkiv hit by several Russian missiles
KYIV: Several Russian missiles hit the city of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, wounding one person and damaging residential buildings, Ukrainian authorities said Thursday night.
“The occupiers hit Kharkiv six times,” the head of the regional military administration, Oleg Synegubov, wrote on Telegram, adding that one person had received medical treatment on the spot.
The districts of Kholodnohirskyi and Shevchenkivskyi were hit and residential buildings in the area were damaged, he said.
Initial information suggested the projectiles were S-300 missiles, he added.
The mayor of Kharkiv, Igor Terekhov, counted “at least five strikes” and one person wounded.
A coal mine in the eastern town of Toretsk was also hit on Thursday afternoon in a separate attack, according to the Ukraine’s energy ministry.
One person working on the site was injured and taken to a hospital, according to the ministry, which reported “significant damage.”

Hunter Biden hit with federal charges for evading tax

Hunter Biden hit with federal charges for evading tax
Updated 11 min 30 sec ago
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Hunter Biden hit with federal charges for evading tax

Hunter Biden hit with federal charges for evading tax
  • Presidential son faces up to 17 years in prison if convicted
  • US justice department says its investigation into Biden is ongoing

LOS ANGELES: The Department of Justice on Thursday filed new criminal charges against US President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, accusing him of failing to pay $1.4 million in taxes while spending millions of dollars on a lavish lifestyle.
Hunter Biden, 53, was hit with three felony and six misdemeanor tax offenses, according to an indictment filed in US District Court, Central District of California.
He faces up to 17 years in prison if convicted. The Justice Department said its investigation into Biden is ongoing.
“The Defendant engaged in a four-year scheme to not pay at least $1.4 million in self-assessed federal taxes he owed for tax years 2016 through 2019,” the indictment read.
It added that he had instead spent huge sums “on drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing, and other items of a personal nature” including over $70,000 on drug rehabilitation.
A lawyer for Hunter Biden did not immediately reply to a request for comment. The White House declined to comment.
It was not clear when Hunter Biden would appear in court.
The indictment says Hunter Biden “earned handsomely” while serving on the boards of Burisma, a Ukrainian industrial conglomerate, and a Chinese private equity fund.
Prosecutors said that between 2016 and October 2020, he received more than $7 million in total gross income.
That included nearly $2.3 million from his position on the board of directors of Burisma between 2016 and 2019, the filing says.
Hunter Biden’s affiliation with Burisma has been the focus of years of attacks from Republican lawmakers who have accused him of leveraging his family name to make money overseas.
“The Defendant had a legal obligation to pay taxes on all his income, including income earned in Ukraine from his service on Burisma’s Board, fees generated by deal-making with the Chinese private equity fund, as well as income derived from his work as a lawyer and other sources,” the indictment said.
Adding to Hunter Biden’s income was work for CEFC China Energy Co. Ltd, a Chinese energy conglomerate.
As Hunter Biden’s income increased, so did his spending, according to the filing.
In 2018 alone, the indictment read, Hunter Biden “spent more than $1.8 million, including approximately $772,000 in cash withdrawals, approximately $383,000 in payments to women, approximately $151,000 in clothing and accessories.”
The indictment added: “The Defendant did not use any of these funds to pay his taxes in 2018.”
Hunter Biden in October pleaded not guilty to charges in Delaware that he lied about his drug use while buying a handgun, in the first criminal prosecution of a sitting US president’s child.
US Special Counsel David Weiss, who is leading the probe into Hunter Biden, was appointed Delaware US attorney by former President Donald Trump. He was made special counsel by Attorney General Merrick Garland in August.
He brought charges in Delaware against Hunter Biden after the unraveling of an earlier proposed plea deal that had called for him to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges for failing to pay taxes in 2017 and 2018, an agreement which likely would have allowed him to avoid prison.
US District Judge Maryellen Noreika rejected the proposed plea deal in July, raising concerns over its legality and the scope of immunity it offered.
Trump, the leading contender to be the Republican Party’s nominee in next year’s presidential election, said the plea deal amounted to favorable treatment for the president’s son.


ASEAN strongly condemns Sunday’s ‘heinous terrorist attack’ in Philippines

ASEAN strongly condemns Sunday’s ‘heinous terrorist attack’ in Philippines
Updated 28 min 4 sec ago
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ASEAN strongly condemns Sunday’s ‘heinous terrorist attack’ in Philippines

ASEAN strongly condemns Sunday’s ‘heinous terrorist attack’ in Philippines
  • A bomb went off on Sunday during a service at a university gymnasium in Marawi
  • City was left in ruins in 2017 by a five-month military campaign to end an occupation by Daesh loyalists

MANILA: The Southeast Asian bloc ASEAN on Friday strongly condemned what it called a “heinous terrorist attack” in the southern Philippines at the weekend in which four people were killed in a bombing at a Catholic Mass.
The bomb went off on Sunday during a service at a university gymnasium in Marawi, a city left in ruins in 2017 by a five-month military campaign to end an occupation by Daesh loyalists that triggered alarm in Asia about the group’s influence.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the bereaved families,” the Association of Southeast Asian Nations said in a statement.
Daesh militants claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said “foreign terrorists” were behind it and police said they were investigating the incident and validating the claim by the Daesh group.
Police had identified as suspects two members of Daulah-Islamiyah Maute, a local group involved in the 2017 seizure of Marawi alongside fighters from Indonesia, Malaysia and beyond.
The Philippine military on Friday announced the Dec. 6 arrest in Marawi of a man suspected of placing the bomb in the gymnasium having been being identified by witnesses.


WHO says more contaminated medicinal syrups found in new regions

WHO says more contaminated medicinal syrups found in new regions
Updated 08 December 2023
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WHO says more contaminated medicinal syrups found in new regions

WHO says more contaminated medicinal syrups found in new regions
  • The affected products were manufactured by Pharmix Laboratories in Pakistan
  • The medicines, liquids containing active ingredients to treat various conditions, contained unacceptable levels of contaminant ethylene glycol

The World Health Organization on Thursday said several contaminated syrups and suspension medicines had been identified in countries in the WHO regions of the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean, South-East Asia and the Western Pacific.
The affected products were manufactured by Pharmix Laboratories in Pakistan, the WHO said, and were first identified in the Maldives and Pakistan. Some of the tainted products have also been found in Belize, Fiji and Laos. Pharmix was not immediately available for comment.
The medicines, liquids containing active ingredients to treat various conditions, contained unacceptable levels of the contaminant ethylene glycol, WHO said.
The alert is the latest in a line of warnings from WHO about similarly contaminated medicines made in India and Indonesia, which were linked to the deaths of around 300 children worldwide last year.
No adverse events have been reported to the WHO regarding the Pakistan-made syrups, the agency’s statement said, but it urged countries to step up vigilance and test products made by the company between December 2021 and December 2022.
The contamination was found in Alergo syrup in a routine examination by the Maldives Food and Drug Authority in November, and confirmed by the Australian regulator.
A follow-up inspection at Pharmix manufacturing facilities, conducted by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan, found that a number of other products were also contaminated. It has ordered the company to stop making all oral liquid medicines and issued a recall alert in November.
A total of 23 batches of Alergo syrup, Emidone suspension, Mucorid syrup, Ulcofin suspension and Zincell syrup are affected, the WHO said. Only Alergo so far has been found outside Pakistan.
The contamination levels ranged from 0.62 percent to 0.82 percent, compared to the accepted level of not more than 0.10 percent, according to the alert. The products are variously designed to treat allergies, coughs and other health issues.
“The substandard products referenced in this alert are unsafe and their use, especially in children, may result in serious injury or death,” the WHO warned.


Denmark’s parliament adopts law banning Qur'an burnings

Denmark’s parliament adopts law banning Qur'an burnings
Updated 08 December 2023
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Denmark’s parliament adopts law banning Qur'an burnings

Denmark’s parliament adopts law banning Qur'an burnings
  • Over the summer, Denmark and neighboring Sweden became the focus of anger across several Muslim countries after a slew of protests involving burnings and desecrations of the Qur'an

COPENHAGEN: Denmark’s parliament on Thursday adopted a law criminalizing the “inappropriate treatment” of religious texts, effectively banning Qur'an burnings after a series of desecrations of Islam’s holy book sparked anger in Muslim countries over the summer.
The bill, which prohibits “inappropriate treatment of writings with significant religious importance for a recognized religious community,” was passed with 94 votes in favor and 77 opposed in the 179-seat Folketing.
“We must protect the security of Denmark and the Danes. Therefore, it is important that we now have better protection against the systematic insults we have seen for a long time,” Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard said in a statement.
In practical terms, it will be forbidden to burn, tear or otherwise defile holy texts publicly or in videos intended to be disseminated widely.
Those who break the law, which will be evaluated after three years, risk a fine or up to two years in prison.
Over the summer, Denmark and neighboring Sweden became the focus of anger across several Muslim countries after a slew of protests involving burnings and desecrations of the Qur'an.
Nearly a thousand protesters attempted to march to the Danish embassy in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone in late July following a call by firebrand cleric Moqtada Sadr.
In response to the worsened security situation, the Scandinavian country temporarily tightened border controls, but returned to normal on August 22.
Between July 21 and October 24 this year, 483 book burnings or flag burnings were recorded in Denmark, according to national police figures.

Initially announced at the end of August, the bill was amended following criticism that its first draft limited freedom of expression and would be difficult to enforce.
It was originally planned to cover objects of significant religious importance.
The first draft was also criticized by some — including politicians, artists, media and freedom of speech experts — as a return to a blasphemy law that Denmark abolished in 2017.
During a lengthy debate in parliament ahead of the vote, opposition lawmakers railed against the government, accusing it of sacrificing freedom of expression.
“It is a betrayal. A huge failure on the part of the government,” Inger Stojberg, leader of far-right Denmark Democrats, told parliament.
In 2006, a wave of anti-Danish anger and violence erupted in the Muslim world following the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
“Imagine that we are becoming the generation that curtailed freedom of speech. I hadn’t actually thought this would be — and certainly not after the Muhammad crisis. Back then, we stood firm,” Stojberg said.
In neighboring Sweden, the government has condemned desecrations of the Qur'an at protests while upholding the country’s constitutionally protected freedom of speech and assembly laws.
It has vowed to explore legal means of stopping protests involving the burning of holy texts in certain circumstances.
Denmark is not the only European country to have banned burnings of the Qur'an.
According to Denmark’s justice ministry, eight European countries — Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Poland and Romania — do so to varying degrees.
In Greece, for example, the burning of a sacred text can be banned if the act takes place in or near a religious site.