PM Hasina opens Bangladesh’s longest bridge over River Padma | News

Dhaka, Bangladesh – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has inaugurated a landmark bridge over the turbulent Padma River after years of delay as a consequence of allegations of corruption that pressured the World Financial institution to stroll away from the practically $4bn mega mission, which is able to join Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka to the underdeveloped northwestern area of the nation.

The opening on Saturday of the eponymous Padma Bridge – Bangladesh’s longest bridge so far which has been dubbed a “image of nationwide delight” – marks a momentous event within the South Asian nation’s historical past.

The development of the 6.15km (3.82 miles) bridge started in November 2015 to attach 21 districts of the nation’s southwestern area with Dhaka through highway and rail, thereby chopping journey time significantly.

It often takes 15 to 22 hours to cowl a distance of 180-300km (111-186 miles) between the districts of the northeast area and Dhaka.

The double-layer metal truss bridge incorporates a four-lane freeway on an higher stage together with a single-track railway on the decrease stage.

With a building price of $3.87bn, this is among the largest mega tasks Bangladesh has ever undertaken and all the quantity is financed by the Bangladesh authorities.

In 2012, the World Financial institution had withdrawn from a $1.2bn mortgage settlement for the mission following allegations of corruption. Following swimsuit, different donors, together with Asian Improvement Financial institution (ADB) and Japan Worldwide Cooperation Company (JICA), additionally pulled out of the mission.

Hasina, who spearheaded efforts to construct the bridge, famously declared that her authorities would self-fund the mission.

Her determination confronted a battery of scepticism from the nation’s economists in addition to political opponents since Bangladesh didn’t have any expertise in constructing such mega infrastructure with out monetary assist from multilateral donors.

“Some folks mentioned we’d at all times be beholden to others, however our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman taught us the significance of self-respect,” Hasina mentioned, addressing a sea of individuals on Saturday.

Sheikh Rahman was Bangladesh’s founding father who led the motion to secede from Pakistan in 1971.

“This Padma Bridge just isn’t a pile of brick and cement, however an emblem of Bangladesh’s delight, honour and skill,” she mentioned.

“Now we have proven the world that we will.”

An engineering marvel

Terming it as an “engineering marvel”, consultants say the development of the bridge is a good feat because the Padma is essentially the most “treacherous and unpredictable” river after the Amazon River of South America.

China’s state-owned Railway Main Bridge Engineering Group (RMBEG) was tasked to guide the development of the bridge with the assistance of about 1,200 Bangladeshi engineers.

With metal piles being pushed 122 metres (400 ft) deep into the river mattress, Padma Bridge has the document of getting the deepest piling amongst all of the bridges on the earth.

The bridge mission director, Shafiqul Islam, advised Al Jazeera that the water that flows at Mawa level (one finish of the bridge) each 20 seconds is the same as the full quantity of water utilized in Dhaka metropolis a day.

“After Amazon, Padma has the strongest present [roughness in water] on the earth. So we needed to go for piling that’s the thickest and deepest on the earth,” he mentioned.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday inaugurated a landmark bridge over the turbulent Padma River.
‘Now we have proven the world that we will,’ PM Hasina mentioned addressing a sea of individuals on Saturday [Mahmud Hossain Opu/Al Jazeera]

Mentioning one other distinctive function of the bridge, Islam mentioned, fashionable friction pendulum bearings (FPB) have been used to assist the metal superstructure and the concrete pier basis.

“Such bearings have by no means been used wherever on the earth earlier than they usually can stand up to a magnitude 9 earthquake,” he mentioned, including that the bridge bearings can maintain greater than 10,000 tonnes, exceeding the restrict of every other construction on the earth.

Islam mentioned as they confronted a plethora of engineering challenges, the price of the mission rose to nearly 3 times the preliminary estimate of $1.2bn.

“Apart from, the devaluation of Bangladeshi forex Taka has performed a serious function in elevating the associated fee, as greater than half of the mission’s expenditure has been paid in overseas forex.”

Why a major construction?

Situated some 68km (42 miles) from Dhaka, the Padma Bridge will work as a gateway to the nation’s southwestern area and can considerably cut back journey time between Dhaka and main southeastern districts, together with Khulna, Jessore and Barishal.

It can additionally slash the gap between Dhaka and Bangladesh’s second-largest seaport, Mongla, by 100km (62 miles).

The mighty Padma separates the southwest area from Dhaka and individuals are pressured to journey on ferries or launches that make gradual journeys. Perishable items transported to Dhaka from southwestern districts by truck usually rot as a result of on the lengthy journey that may typically take 22-24 hours as a result of lengthy tailback in ferry stations.

In keeping with a examine by the government-run Bridge Division, the Padma Bridge will save a complete of 187,727 hours of ready for ferries per day for two,620 autos. It’s estimated that with the opening of the bridge, about 24,000 autos will cross the river day by day – a major soar from the present variety of 2,620.

The examine additionally identified that the financial affect of the bridge will assist enhance the annual gross home product (GDP) of the southwest area by 2.5 % and the general GDP of the nation by greater than 1.23 %.

Economist Selim Raihan, who carried out a examine on the financial affect of the bridge, mentioned its primary profit is that it’s going to join southwestern districts – recognized for fishing and agriculture – to the financial lifeline of Bangladesh – the Dhaka-Chattogram financial hall.

“As communication and transportation over Padma River had been solely reliant on ferries, a lot industrialisation didn’t happen within the southwestern districts to date,” he advised Al Jazeera.

“Readymade garment sector – Bangladesh’s most outstanding business and primary export earner – has remained utterly absent from these districts.”

“I imagine, traders and industrialists shall be to take a position there that may spark an enormous financial progress.”

Afghanistan’s remote and poor villages hardest hit by earthquake | News

Gayan, Paktika – Within the early morning hours of Wednesday June 22, the mud houses on this distant a part of southeastern Afghanistan started to tremble and collapse beneath the drive of a 5.9 magnitude earthquake.

Panicked residents tried to wake their sleeping kinfolk. However for tons of of households, there was no time.

Inside minutes the mud roofs on the houses in Gayan district, the place poor households of as much as 15 individuals lived collectively, got here crashing down on these nonetheless inside.

Within the hours that handed after these first terrifying tremors, the dying toll climbed.

By the point residents within the Afghan capital, Kabul, awoke to the information of the earthquake within the distant jap areas of the nation, the variety of lifeless had already reached 90. It will exceed 1,000 lifeless, together with at the very least 121 kids, by the night.

Three days later, the dying toll has exceeded 1,100, and tons of are injured.

“Each home right here has misplaced a number of individuals; everybody’s homes are destroyed. No matter we had is now gone,” mentioned Ali Khan, recounting how 10 relations had been killed within the earthquake, together with kids.

Having grown up in Gayan, the 35-year-old mentioned the financial situations of native villagers had been an element within the scale of the destruction and the dying toll.

Nestled in rocky, unpaved mountains and hillsides, the remoteness of those poor villages and their rudimentary houses of mud and wooden had been cited as a significant reason for the fatalities amongst residents in Khost and Paktika – the 2 provinces that had been most affected by the earthquake.

“Everyone seems to be poor right here, they construct easy homes with what they’ve,” mentioned Khan, as he surveyed the cracked partitions of his household’s mud house atop a dry, dusty hill on this distant area of the nation.

‘You don’t know who to assist first’

The Afghan Ministry of Defence started deploying helicopters to the affected districts on Wednesday morning, however by mid-afternoon these flights needed to be halted as a consequence of torrential rain, hail, and closely clouded situations over Kabul and neighbouring provinces.

Well being staff in Paktia province, house to the regional hospital for Afghanistan’s southeastern zone, advised Al Jazeera that the delayed helicopter flights drastically affected the flexibility of support staff and medical professionals to help these most in want.

When the helicopter flights did resume, the demand was overwhelming.

One pilot conducting flights between Paktika and neighbouring Paktia province, mentioned he couldn’t imagine what he noticed every time his helicopter landed in one of many affected areas.

“You don’t know who to assist first, it’s only a rush of individuals making an attempt desperately to get on board,” he mentioned, restarting the engine of his helicopter for yet one more flight.

Samira Sayed Rahman, communication and advocacy coordinator on the Worldwide Rescue Committee (IRC), mentioned her organisation had deployed cell medical models to Khost and Paktika, however that the necessity remained nice.

IRC was lucky that that they had groups within the two provinces and in Kabul who had been aware of the communities and the geography of the affected areas, Sayed Rahman mentioned.

“Our cell well being staff in Spera (district) reported that many of the deaths, and the victims they’re treating within the district, are of girls.”

Haji Mirwais has been on the bottom since Wednesday, main an evaluation staff and dealing with a number of native NGOs to convey help to survivors of the earthquake.

When Mirwais initially arrived in Gayan district, he was shocked by what he noticed. Nothing, he mentioned, might have ready him for the extent of destruction he witnessed.

“We counted 1,700 houses that had been in want of whole rebuilding. There weren’t houses anyplace, it was simply items of mud and wooden splattered all over the place,” he advised Al Jazeera by cellphone.

“Paktika is in an terrible state,” Mirwais mentioned, including that support has been pouring in from worldwide organisations, companies, native NGOs, and personal donors, but it surely nonetheless was not sufficient to deal with the extent of want.

Native sources advised Al Jazeera that at the very least 4 of 19 districts in Paktika skilled extreme injury. In keeping with the United Nations, at the very least 200 individuals died in Gayan.

A Taliban helicopter takes off after bringing aid to an area affected by an earthquake in Gayan, Afghanistan, June 23, 2022 [Ali Khara/Reuters]
A Taliban helicopter takes off after bringing support to an space affected by an earthquake in Gayan, Afghanistan, on June 23, 2022 [Ali Khara/Reuters] (Reuters)

‘I really feel that ache, even right here in Europe’

Afghans at house and overseas have launched their very own support campaigns to help victims of the quake.

“Wherever it could be on the map, if individuals in Afghanistan are struggling, I really feel that ache, even right here in Europe,” mentioned Shafi Karimi, an Afghan journalist primarily based in France, who has began a web-based fundraising marketing campaign hoping to lift 10,000 euros to assist victims.

“We could also be distant now, however we will’t overlook our individuals,” mentioned Karimi, explaining that he wished his fundraising effort to function a mannequin for Afghans overseas whether or not they left the nation within the final 12 months – because the Taliban retook energy – or a long time in the past.

“I do know it’s not a lot, however possibly I may also help a household rebuild one in every of their rooms, or on the very least put some meals on their desk,” he mentioned.

Pashtana Durrani, an schooling rights advocate presently finding out in america, mentioned she had initially “sworn off” humanitarian work, however mentioned that the reviews of devastation popping out of essentially the most affected zones had pushed her to start out fundraising efforts and to accomplice with native grassroots teams and NGOs in Afghanistan. She hopes her support effort will attain these most in want.

“There have to be people who find themselves making an attempt their greatest to serve the affected individuals as an alternative of categorising them primarily based on ethnicity or which aspect they fought on,” Durrani mentioned.

“The least I can do is present some small assist in order that they don’t have to fret about the place they sleep or what to eat.”

Persevering with sanctions and restrictions on banking in Afghanistan because the Taliban takeover are additional complicating the fundraising efforts of each Durrani and Karimi.

They each wish to concentrate on elevating as a lot cash as attainable, and getting it on to individuals in want with out having to take care of the restrictions positioned on banking in Afghanistan.

Durrani mentioned she wished to make use of an app to ship cash, however that the charges can be too excessive. Karimi mentioned that even once-reliable providers similar to Western Union and MoneyGram are proving overly difficult on account of the worldwide restrictions placed on banking after the Taliban returned to energy final August.

“It’s so tough to get cash into the nation these days, however we are going to discover a strategy to do it. We now have to, for the individuals, this once they want us essentially the most,” he mentioned.

Durrani and Karimi will not be alone of their fundraising efforts. Afghans all over the place have began to assist, together with Rashid Khan, Afghanistan’s star cricket participant, who has began a web-based assortment, promising that each cent collected will go on to the victims of the earthquake.

Juul appeals to US federal court to end ban on e-cigarettes | Health News

Firm has been extensively blamed for surge in underage vaping, however latest survey exhibits a drop in teen vaping price in US.

Juul, the digital cigarette maker, has requested a federal courtroom in america to dam a authorities order to cease promoting its merchandise within the nation.

The corporate on Friday requested the courtroom to pause what it calls an “extraordinary and illegal motion” by the Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) that might require it to right away halt its enterprise.

The corporate filed an emergency movement with the US Court docket of Appeals in Washington because it prepares to enchantment the FDA’s choice.

The FDA mentioned on Thursday that Juul should cease promoting its vaping system and its tobacco and menthol flavoured cartridges.

The event comes amid a sweeping effort by the company to convey scientific scrutiny to the multibillion-dollar vaping trade after years of regulatory delays.

Juul product
The FDA mentioned earlier this week that Juul should cease promoting its merchandise within the US [File: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters]

To remain available on the market, firms should present that their e-cigarettes profit public well being. In apply, meaning proving that grownup people who smoke who use them are prone to give up or cut back their smoking, whereas teenagers are unlikely to get hooked on them.

The FDA mentioned Juul’s utility left regulators with important questions and didn’t embody sufficient data to guage any potential well being dangers.

Juul mentioned it submitted sufficient data and information to handle all points raised. The corporate mentioned the FDA refused its request to place its order on maintain to keep away from a large disruption to its enterprise.

Whereas Juul stays a high vendor, its share of the US e-cigarette market has dipped to about half. The corporate was extensively blamed for a surge in underage vaping a number of years in the past, however a latest federal survey confirmed a drop within the teen vaping price and a shift away from Juul’s merchandise.

The gadgets warmth a nicotine answer right into a vapor that’s inhaled, bypassing lots of the poisonous chemical compounds produced by burning tobacco.

The corporate mentioned in its Friday courtroom submitting that it submitted a 125,000-page utility to the FDA practically two years in the past. It mentioned the appliance included a number of research to guage the well being dangers amongst Juul customers.

Juul mentioned that the FDA can not argue that there was a “vital and pressing public curiosity” in instantly eradicating its merchandise from the market when the company allowed them to be bought throughout its evaluation.

It additionally mentioned the FDA’s choice to dam gross sales of its merchandise was “extraordinary and illegal”, citing, amongst different issues, the company authorising related e-cigarette merchandise made by competing producers.

Woman smoking
The e-cigarette gadgets warmth a nicotine answer right into a vapor that’s inhaled [File: Craig Mitchelldyer/AP Photo]

Juul added that the ban was a departure from the company’s regular practices, which usually contain permitting a transitional interval, and questioned the company’s “immense political strain from Congress”.

In 2019, Juul was pressured into halting all promoting and eliminating its fruit and dessert flavours after they grew to become in style amongst center and highschool college students. The following yr, the FDA restricted flavours in small vaping gadgets to simply tobacco and menthol.

The as soon as red-hot vape firm has additionally been working with its authorized advisers on choices that embody a doable chapter submitting whether it is unable to get reduction from the federal government’s ban, the Wall Road Journal reported on Friday, citing individuals conversant in the matter.

The FDA declined to touch upon Juul’s submitting when contacted by the Reuters information company.

Juul additionally declined to touch upon the WSJ report.

Roe v Wade: US Supreme Court overturns landmark abortion ruling | Women News

US prime court docket overturns landmark 1973 determination, upending practically 5 a long time of abortion entry within the nation.

The US Supreme Courtroom has overturned Roe v Wade, the landmark ruling that granted the best to abortion for practically 5 a long time in america.

Within the determination on Friday, the nation’s prime court docket dominated in a Mississippi case that “The Structure doesn’t confer a proper to abortion.” The justices voted 6-3 alongside ideological traces.

The anticipated rollback of Roe had sparked widespread protests and condemnation throughout the US, with reproductive rights advocates saying tens of millions of girls will not have entry to abortion companies.

Greater than two dozen US states are more likely to ban abortion now that the 1973 authorized precedent has been overturned, in line with reproductive rights group Guttmacher Institute, a transfer that rights teams say disproportionately harms low-income ladies and communities of color.

This can be a breaking information story. Extra to comply with.

UK by-elections: Johnson suffers blow as Tories lose two seats | Boris Johnson News

Polls in Wakefield, and Tiverton and Honiton had been first since prime minister narrowly survived a vote of confidence this month.

The UK’s Conservative Social gathering has been defeated in two parliamentary by-elections, in losses that dealt a blow to the management of embattled Prime Minister Boris Johnson and prompted the resignation of the celebration’s chairman.

The polls on Thursday within the West Yorkshire seat of Wakefield and the South West seat of Tiverton and Honiton had been the primary since Johnson narrowly survived a vote of confidence this month, through which 41 % of his parliamentary colleagues voted to take away him.

The Conservatives misplaced a majority of greater than 24,000 votes in Tiverton and Honiton, in a deeply Conservative a part of England’s South West, defeated by the centrist Liberal Democrats who secured a majority of greater than 6,000. In the meantime, the primary opposition Labour Social gathering reclaimed Wakefield in Northern England.

The losses recommend the electoral coalition Johnson introduced collectively on the 2019 nationwide election could also be fracturing whereas rising jitters amongst restive Conservatives who already fear the ebullient however erratic and divisive Johnson is not an electoral asset.

Johnson has come below intense strain to resign after he was fined for breaking COVID-19 lockdown guidelines after a police investigation into gatherings at his Downing Avenue places of work.

Following the losses in Tiverton and Honiton, and Wakefield, Conservative Social gathering Chairman Oliver Dowden resigned, saying issues needed to change within the celebration. The contests had been triggered by the high-profile resignations of Conservative politicians – one who admitted watching pornography in parliament, and one other discovered responsible of sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

“Yesterday’s parliamentary by-elections are the most recent in a run of very poor outcomes for our celebration. Our supporters are distressed and dissatisfied by current occasions, and I share their emotions,” Dowden mentioned in a resignation letter to Johnson.

“We can’t keep on with enterprise as ordinary. Anyone should take duty and I’ve concluded that, in these circumstances, it might not be proper for me to stay in workplace.”

Though below his celebration’s guidelines he can’t be challenged with a no-confidence movement for an additional 12 months, MPs fearing for their very own futures might resolve to scale back the grace interval to result in one other vote.

Labour party candidate Simon Lightwood
The winner of the Wakefield by-election, Labour celebration candidate Simon Lightwood [Phil Noble/Reuters]

The Liberal Democrats mentioned their win at Tiverton and Honiton was the largest ever majority to be overturned at a British parliamentary by-election, suggesting that different Conservative politicians could also be susceptible to shedding their seats within the celebration’s southern heartlands.

Successful candidate Richard Foord mentioned in his victory speech that Johnson ought to “go, and go now”.

“With each day Boris Johnson clings to workplace, he brings additional disgrace, chaos and neglect,” he mentioned.

Johnson on Thursday rejected the suggestion that he may resign if the Conservatives misplaced each seats, saying it was frequent for governing events to lose mid-term by-elections.

In the meantime, Labour chief Keir Starmer mentioned in a press release the lead to Wakefield was “a transparent judgement on a Conservative Social gathering that has run out of vitality and concepts”.

“Wakefield has proven the nation has misplaced confidence within the Tories,” he mentioned, referring to the Conservative Social gathering.

Johnson led the Conservatives to their greatest majority in three a long time on the 2019 nationwide election, profitable reward from his celebration for his means to win in historically Labour-voting areas in north and central England.

Nonetheless, the lack of Wakefield may point out that his means to win once more in these areas on the subsequent nationwide election, anticipated in 2024, has additionally been compromised.

5 key takeaways from fifth January 6 Capitol riot hearing | Politics News

US legislators investigating the lethal riot at the USA Capitol on January 6, 2021 have turned their consideration to the strain President Donald Trump exerted on the US Division of Justice to overturn the 2020 election.

The Home committee on Thursday held its fifth public listening to this month, as soon as once more laying out what it is aware of about Trump’s efforts to overturn the outcomes of the US presidential election he misplaced to Joe Biden.

This time, the listening to targeted on Trump’s try and get the Division of Justice to “legitimise his lies” about electoral fraud, panel chair Bennie Thompson mentioned.

“When these and different efforts failed, Donald Trump sought to switch Mr [Jeffrey] Rosen, the performing lawyer basic, with a lawyer who he believed would inappropriately put the total weight of the Justice Division behind the trouble to overturn the election,” Thompson mentioned.

Here’s a have a look at 5 key takeaways from the fifth public listening to this month:

‘Simply say the election was corrupt,’ former US official says Trump instructed him

The panel featured a hand-written notice by former US Deputy Lawyer Basic Richard Donoghue, wherein he quoted Trump as saying: “Simply say the election was corrupt and go away the remainder to me and the Republican congressmen.”

Donoghue confirmed to the panel that the assertion was a precise quote from Trump.

Donoghue mentioned the Justice Division appeared into varied claims however didn’t discover any cases of fraud that will have come near altering the election outcomes. The division communicated that to Trump, he added.

“There have been remoted cases of fraud; none of them got here near calling into query the end result of the election in any particular person state,” Donoghue instructed the US legislators.

Trump contacted Justice Division every day on fraud claims, Jeffrey Rosen testifies

Former performing US Lawyer Basic Jeffrey Rosen testified on Thursday that Trump contacted him every day within the weeks earlier than the Capitol riot and “asserted that he thought the Justice Division had not accomplished sufficient” to research his false claims of voter fraud.

“Between December 23 and January 3, the president both known as me or met with me just about day-after-day, with one or two exceptions, like Christmas Day,” Rosen, who held the put up within the last days of the Trump administration, instructed the committee.

Rosen mentioned that Trump raised the prospects of getting a particular counsel for election fraud, holding a gathering along with his private lawyer Rudy Giuliani, submitting a lawsuit within the US Supreme Court docket, and making a public assertion on the fraud claims, amongst different issues.

“I’ll say, the Justice Division declined all of these requests … as a result of we didn’t assume that they had been acceptable primarily based on the info and the legislation as we understood them,” Rosen mentioned.

Former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen
Former performing Lawyer Basic Jeffrey Rosen testified on Thursday earlier than the Home panel [Jim Bourg/Reuters]

Trump’s crew floated naming Jeffrey Clark as lawyer basic to overturn vote

The panel mentioned it has been analyzing efforts to put in former Justice Division official Jeffrey Clark as performing lawyer basic to assist overturn the election.

Legislators and witnesses argued that Clark was not certified for the place and was solely urged as a result of he would have backed Trump’s fraud claims.

In a video from his testimony to the committee, Giuliani mentioned: “I do recall saying to folks that someone must be put in command of the Justice Division who isn’t afraid of what’s going to be accomplished to their repute.”

Donoghue mentioned Republican Congressman Scott Perry, of Pennsylvania, talked about Clark throughout a name on December 27 wherein Perrry raised claims of voter fraud within the state. “On the outset of the decision, Congressman Perry mentioned he was calling on the behest of the president,” Donoghue instructed the panel.

“He mentioned one thing to the impact of, ‘I feel Jeff Clark is nice and I feel he’s the form of man who can get in there and do one thing about these items.’ And this was approaching the heels of the president having talked about Mr Clark within the afternoon name earlier that day.”

Donoghue additionally testified on Thursday that Trump appeared to threaten to fireplace him together with performing lawyer basic Rosen for refusing to again his baseless election fraud claims. “He mentioned, ‘Folks inform me I ought to simply eliminate each of you. I ought to simply take away you and make a change within the management, put Jeff Clark and perhaps one thing will lastly get accomplished,’” Donoghue mentioned.

He recalled telling Trump in response: “Mr President, you must have the management that you really want, however perceive the USA Justice Division features on info, proof and legislation.

“And people should not going to vary, so you’ll be able to have no matter management you need, however the division’s place is just not going to vary.”

Draft letter at coronary heart of Clark’s effort to undo Trump election loss: Panel

A draft letter by Clark and his adviser, Ken Klukowski, falsely alleging election fraud that was set to be despatched to the Georgia state legislature emerged on the coronary heart of Thursday’s listening to.

“Had this letter been launched on official Division of Justice letterhead, it could have falsely knowledgeable all People, together with those that may be inclined to come back to Washington on January 6, that President Trump’s election fraud allegations had been possible very actual,” the committee’s co-chair Liz Cheney mentioned.

Donoghue mentioned Clark emailed him and Rosen the draft letter on December 28. “It was so excessive to me [that] I had a tough time getting my head round it initially,” Donoghue testified.

Donoghue mentioned he instructed Clark that “for the division to insert itself into the political course of this fashion … would have had grave penalties for the nation. It could very effectively have spiralled us right into a constitutional disaster, and I needed to ensure he understood the gravity of the scenario”.

Clark has declined to say whether or not he mentioned his Justice Division draft letter with Trump. In a video from his testimony to the committee, Clark invoked the Fifth Modification and “government privilege” to keep away from answering questions.

“Fifth and government privilege once more, simply restated for the abundance of warning,” he instructed the panel.

Jan6
Consultant Liz Cheney speaks throughout the fifth public listening to on the January 6 assault, June 23 [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

Republican legislators requested pardons: Ex-Trump White Home official

Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to ex-White Home chief of employees Mark Meadows, instructed the committee throughout an interview that Republican Congressmen Matt Gaetz and Mo Brooks “advocated for there to be a blanket pardon” in relation to January 6.

“Mr Gaetz was personally pushing for a pardon and he was doing so since early December. I’m undecided why,” Hutchinson instructed the panel, in response to a video of her testimony performed throughout Thursday’s listening to. “Mr Gaetz had reached out to me to ask if he might have a gathering with Mr Meadows about receiving a presidential pardon.”

Requested if different lawmakers contacted her about pardons, Hutchinson mentioned Congressmen Andy Biggs, Louie Gohmert, and Scott Perry additionally did. Congressman Jim Jordan “talked about congressional pardons, however he by no means requested me for one. It was extra for an replace on whether or not the White Home was going to pardon members of Congress”, she mentioned.

Hutchinson added that Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, a prime Trump ally, requested White Home counsel for a pardon.

“The one motive I do know to ask for a pardon is since you assume you’ve dedicated a criminal offense,” Home committee member Adam Kinzinger mentioned on Thursday.

Germany moves closer to rationing gas as Russia cuts supply | Oil and Gas News

German financial system minister says the step mirrored the ‘vital deterioration of the gasoline provide state of affairs’.

Germany has moved nearer to rationing gasoline because it raised the alert stage underneath an emergency plan after Russia slashed provides to the nation.

“Gasoline is now a scarce commodity in Germany,” financial system minister Robert Habeck advised reporters at a press convention on Thursday.

Triggering the second “alarm” stage underneath its motion plan brings Germany a step nearer to the third and remaining stage that would see gasoline rationing in Europe’s prime financial system.

The event mirrored a “vital deterioration of the gasoline provide state of affairs”, Habeck mentioned.

Germany, like a number of different European international locations, is extremely reliant on Russian vitality imports to satisfy its wants.

Russian vitality big Gazprom final week lowered provides to Germany through the Nord Stream pipeline by 60 % because of what the corporate mentioned was a delayed restore. However Germany has brushed apart the technical justification for the transfer, as an alternative calling it a “political resolution”.

Russia was utilizing gasoline “as a weapon” towards Germany in retaliation for the West’s help for Ukraine following Moscow’s invasion, Habeck mentioned, with the purpose of “destroying” European unity.

Al Jazeera’s Dominic Kane, reporting from Berlin, mentioned the implications for the federal government’s resolution will range between family customers and business.

“For these residential owners, for individuals dwelling in rented lodging it doesn’t imply that their gasoline provide is threatened proper now,” Kane mentioned.

“For these customers in industries it’s extra critical as a result of the federal government right here is saying ‘We consider {that a} time is coming the place we should probably ration gasoline provide’ and keep in mind that in summer time in Europe, residential gasoline customers should not going to be heating their homes a lot, however the industrial sector will use and is utilizing a considerable amount of gasoline all the yr spherical,” he added.

Gazprom has already stopped deliveries to quite a few European international locations, together with Poland, Bulgaria, Finland and the Netherlands.

Provides of gasoline to Europe’s largest financial system had been “safe” because it stood, with vitality firms nonetheless able to “handle” the disaster, Habeck mentioned. The upper alert stage would lead above all to elevated monitoring of the availability state of affairs however motion was nonetheless required to organize for the winter forward.

“If we do nothing now, issues will worsen,” Habeck mentioned.

In April, Germany mandated gasoline storage services be crammed to 90 % by the start of December to mitigate the dangers from a provide lower.

At present, the nation’s shops stand at just below 60 % full, above the typical stage of earlier years. The targets would, nonetheless, be exhausting to hit if exports onwards to different international locations, exhausting to justify inside Europe, weren’t restricted.

Have been these to return to the extent they had been at earlier than the newest provide squeeze, Germany might face an acute gasoline scarcity in February 2023, whereas an additional discount in provides through the Nord Stream pipeline might make the state of affairs even worse.

Already, the German authorities expects provide to cease between July 11 and July 25 for upkeep on the pipeline.

If deliveries don’t resume after the service interval, Germany might face a scarcity of gasoline as quickly as “mid-December”.

Despairing teen refugee found hanged in Libya detention centre | Migration News

WARNING: The next story incorporates pictures which may be disturbing to some readers.

The image of a 19-year-old’s physique hanging lifeless from the ceiling in one of many halls-cum-dorms of the Ain Zara detention centre, south of Libya’s capital, Tripoli, is the most recent proof of the human price of the nation’s detention centres.

Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, a refugee from Sudan’s war-torn area of Darfur, is believed to have killed himself on June 5 after being launched and apprehended once more within the span of two weeks.

Hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers in Libya are languishing within the centres, trapped in infinite cycles of detention and abuse with dire repercussions for his or her psychological well being and security.

Asylum seekers who spoke to Al Jazeera from inside Ain Zara stated Abdel Aziz’s physique was left hanging for hours within the room the place he lived with a whole lot of others.

Mustafa, one other Sudanese asylum seeker who requested that his title be modified to guard his id, advised Al Jazeera the picture of Abdel Aziz’s physique was taken covertly by detainees on the centre. Libyan authorities later confiscated telephones to forestall the picture from spreading, and dozens weren’t returned.

Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, 19, hanged himself in Ain Zara detention centre.
Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, 19, is believed to have hanged himself in Ain Zara detention centre, close to the Libyan capital Tripoli. [Al Jazeera via sources]

Mustafa stated individuals trapped within the detention centre are rising more and more determined as they see little or no hope for the longer term.

“We now have been right here for 5 months,” he stated. “Mohamed acquired uninterested in this till he reached this stage and he [killed himself].”

Let out, then detained once more

Abdel Aziz and Mustafa had been arrested in an in a single day raid whereas peacefully demonstrating for relocation, safety, and evacuation from Libya outdoors the United Nations’ refugee company (UNHCR) on January 10.

Greater than 600 individuals had been violently arrested and detained that day. The protests adopted a serious crackdown within the western city of Gargaresh, a hub for asylum seekers from African nations, that displaced 1000’s of individuals and resulted within the detention of a minimum of 5,000.

Abdel Aziz was let out on Could 23 as a part of a gaggle of 99 asylum seekers, together with 46 kids, evacuated from Ain Zara with the assist of UNHCR.

He possible spent days on the streets earlier than being apprehended once more by Libyan authorities and brought again to the centre, the place he’s believed to have taken his personal life shortly after.

Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Aziz.
Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Aziz [Al Jazeera via sources]

“He was given 500 dinar ($104) but it surely was not sufficient to hire any room to remain in,” Mustafa stated. “The UNHCR makes you signal a paper saying they can not assist with lodging.”

The UNHCR advised Al Jazeera in a written assertion that it was “saddened by the tragic dying of the younger asylum seeker”. It didn’t affirm the sum of help allotted however stated {the teenager} had “acquired money help in several instalments by means of our city programmes”.

The company offered a replica of the consent kind for switch, which states: “UNHCR is NOT offering lodging NOR can it organize for lodging.”

As of Could 22, the UNHCR estimates that there are 2,772 individuals held in detention centres throughout Libya.

The company stated it doesn’t maintain observe of how many individuals are re-apprehended after being launched with its assist.

The Libyan authorities didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Little oversight

Hussein Baumi, Libya and Egypt campaigner at Amnesty Worldwide, advised Al Jazeera detention centres in Libya function with more and more scarce oversight on the a part of worldwide organisations, together with the UNHCR and the Worldwide Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Libyan authorities have closed centres run by the Directorate for Combatting Unlawful Migration (DCIM) that had been rife with abuse, however comparable patterns of violations have been reproduced in newly opened or re-opened centres which can be run by militias away from scrutiny.

Amnesty has documented torture, merciless and inhuman detention circumstances, extortion and compelled labour, in addition to invasive, humiliating and violent strip searches inside detention services.

Even when somebody is launched, freedom will not be assured for lengthy.

“Lots of people who’re launched are captured once more, generally by the identical militias,” Baumi stated, including that detention is commonly profitable for armed teams who ask for ransom. “It’s not a secure house for migrants and asylum seekers.”

For individuals who had been hoping to cross by means of Libya on their solution to Europe, that’s usually not an choice.

The European Union has spent greater than 57.2 million euros ($64.8m) in Libya, with the declared goal of “sav[ing] the lives of these making harmful journeys by sea or land”, in response to a reality sheet printed by the European Fee in June 2021.

It has educated and geared up the Libyan coastguard to intercept boats of refugees and migrants hoping to make it to Europe and return them to Libyan shores. Human rights watchdogs have lengthy decried the alleged conduct of the coastguard, together with using firearms and the deliberate damaging of boats. 

To date in 2022, a minimum of 8,860 asylum seekers, refugees and migrants have been reported as intercepted by the Libyan coastguard and different naval authorities.

“Folks take boats understanding that they could die,” Baumi stated.

“That is the one approach for them to flee mistreatment in Libya.”

When you or somebody you realize is susceptible to suicide, these organisations might be able to assist.

WNBA names Brittney Griner as honorary All-Star starter | Russia-Ukraine war News

Russian state-run information company Tass reported that Griner’s detention was prolonged till not less than July 2.

Brittney Griner, the US basketball star detained in Russia for months, can have a spot on the Girls’s Nationwide Basketball Affiliation’s (WNBA) All-Star Sport as an honorary starter.

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert stated on Wednesday that starters had been chosen by a mixture of fan, media and participant voting.

“Throughout every season of Brittney’s profession wherein there was an All-Star Sport, she has been chosen as an All-Star,” Engelbert stated.

“It’s not troublesome to think about that if BG [Griner] had been right here with us this season, she would as soon as once more be chosen and would, little question, showcase her unimaginable abilities. So, it is just becoming that she be named as an honorary starter at the moment and we proceed to work on her secure return to the US.”

The event comes amid Griner’s continued detention since February 17, when authorities at an airport outdoors of Moscow stated she had vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her bag.

Brittney Griner
Griner’s spouse, Cherelle Griner, has spoken to the WNBA star within the 4 months since her arrest in Moscow [File: Rick Scuteri/AP]

The State Division in Could designated Griner as wrongfully detained, transferring her case below the supervision of its particular presidential envoy for hostage affairs, who’s successfully the federal government’s chief hostage negotiator.

Griner tried to name her spouse Cherelle Griner practically a dozen occasions via the American embassy in Russia on their fourth anniversary on Saturday, however they by no means linked because the cellphone line on the embassy was not staffed.

“It was a logistical difficulty that was compounded partially by the truth that our embassy in Moscow is below vital restrictions when it comes to its staffing,” State Division Spokesperson Ned Worth stated, including the decision has been rescheduled.

Russian state-run information company Tass reported final week that Griner’s detention was prolonged till not less than July 2. One other American, Paul Whelan, has been held in Russia since December 2018 on espionage costs he and the US authorities say are false.

Brittney Griner greeted by fans.
The US State Division in Could designated Griner as wrongfully detained [File: Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP]

In the meantime, Breanna Stewart and A’ja Wilson obtained probably the most votes from followers and had been chosen as co-captains for the WNBA occasion. They are going to be joined by Sue Chicken and Sylvia Fowles, who each have introduced they may retire on the finish of the season. Chicken will set a document along with her thirteenth All-Star look. Fowles, who’s injured proper now, was chosen for her eighth recreation.

Stewart and Fowles will likely be paired up as co-captains, as will Wilson and Chicken, and can select their groups.

The league’s coaches will vote for the 12 reserves and the co-captains will draft their rosters on July 2. The sport will happen on July 10 in Chicago with a 3-point competitors and abilities problem the day earlier than.

Two more abducted Chibok girls freed in Nigeria, military says | Boko Haram News

The ladies have been discovered on June 12 and 14 in two totally different areas by Nigerian troops.

Nigerian troops have discovered two former schoolgirls who have been kidnapped by Boko Haram eight years in the past, the army has stated, releasing a few of the final victims of the 2014 Chibok abduction.

The 2 ladies every carried infants on their laps as they have been introduced by the army on Tuesday, eight years after members of the armed group stormed their faculty within the Chibok neighborhood within the northeast Nigerian state of Borno in April 2014.

The mass kidnapping – of them and 274 others – sparked worldwide outrage.

Main-Common Christopher Musa, the army commander of troops within the area, advised reporters the ladies have been discovered on June 12 and 14 in two totally different areas by troops.

“We’re very fortunate to have been in a position to recuperate two of the Chibok women,” Musa stated.

Dozens of Boko Haram members stormed the Chibok women’ boarding faculty in 2014 and packed 276 pupils, aged 12-17, on the time into vans within the group’s first mass faculty abduction.

Fifty-seven of the ladies managed to flee by leaping from the vans shortly after their abduction whereas 80 have been launched in trade for some detained Boko Haram commanders following negotiations with the Nigerian authorities.

Within the latest releases, one of many ladies, Hauwa Joseph, was discovered together with different civilians on June 12 round Bama after troops dislodged a Boko Haram camp, whereas the opposite, Mary Dauda, was discovered later exterior Ngoshe village in Gwoza district, close to the border with Cameroon.

On June 15, the army stated on Twitter that that they had discovered one of many Chibok women named Mary Ngoshe. She turned out to be Mary Dauda.

“I used to be 9 after we have been kidnapped from our college in Chibok and I used to be married off not way back and had this baby,” Joseph advised reporters on the army headquarters.

Joseph’s husband and father-in-law have been killed in a army raid and he or she was left to fend for herself and her 14-month-old son.

“We have been deserted, nobody cared to take care of us. We weren’t being fed,” she stated.

Hundreds of Boko Haram fighters and households have surrendered during the last 12 months, fleeing authorities bombardments and infighting with the rival Islamic State West Africa Province.

The battle has killed greater than 40,000 individuals and displaced 2.2 million extra since 2009.

Dauda, who was 18 when she was kidnapped, was married at totally different occasions to Boko Haram fighters within the group’s enclave within the Sambisa forest.

“They’d starve and beat you if you happen to refused to hope,” Dauda stated about life beneath Boko Haram.

She determined to flee and advised her husband she was visiting one other Chibok woman in Dutse village close to Ngoshe, near the border with Cameroon.

With the assistance of an outdated man who lived exterior the village along with his household, Dauda trekked all evening to Ngoshe the place she surrendered to troops within the morning.

“All of the remaining Chibok women have been married with youngsters. I left greater than 20 of them in Sambisa, she stated. “I’m so joyful I’m again.”

After the Chibok faculty mass abduction, different armed teams carried out a number of mass abductions and lethal assaults on faculties within the northeast.