Bank of England staffs to hold first strike in 50 years


Trade union members at the Bank of England, Britain’s Central Bank, will go ahead with the first strike action by staff for over 50 years on Tuesday, the Unite union said on Monday.

Last-minute talks facilitated by a government-run arbitrator failed to resolve the pay dispute with the bank, the union said after it agreed to delay start of strike action “in a gesture of goodwill.”

Some 95 per cent of staff in maintenance, security and other service roles voted earlier this month for four days of strike action from Monday over a long-running pay dispute.

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49 migrants arrested while trying to leave Greece with fake passports

Greece Authorities said on Monday that 49 migrants have been arrested while trying to fly from airports on Greek islands to destinations elsewhere in Europe using forged passports.

“At Crete’s Heraklion airport, 49 people from Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, Libya, Pakistan, Haiti, Congo and Algeria were caught with false documents between July 21 and July 30.

“Six others were held at the airport on the island of Santorini,’’ police said.

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Head of IT at Kenya’s electoral commission murdered days to general elections


The man in charge of Kenya’s computerised voting system has been murdered, just days before the country goes for a general election on August 8.

Chris Msando, the electoral commission’s IT manager, had been reported missing on Friday, according to a report by the BBC.

“There was no doubt he was tortured and murdered,” said the chairperson of the country’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, IEBC, Wafula Chebukati.

Tension is high in the East African country as the presidential election is expected to be a close race between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his long-time opponent, Raila Odinga.

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Iraq War: British Court rejects bid to sue Tony Blair


Britain’s High Court on Monday rejected a bid by a former Iraqi general to file a case against former prime minister Tony Blair for a “crime of aggression” in joining the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Lawyers for former Iraqi army chief of staff, Abdul Rabbat, wanted to sue Mr. Blair and his foreign minister and attorney general at the time.

Britain’s House of Lords, the unelected upper house of parliament, ruled in 2006 that English law has no “crime of aggression” despite its existence in international law.

The High Court rejected Mr. Rabbat’s petition for a judicial review of a lower court’s decision last year.

It said there was no prospect of Britain’s highest court, the Supreme Continue reading “Iraq War: British Court rejects bid to sue Tony Blair”

China hits back at Trump criticism over North Korea


China hit back on Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted he was “very disappointed” in China following Pyongyang’s latest missile test, saying the problem did not arise in China and that all sides need to work for a solution.

China has become increasingly frustrated with American and Japanese criticism that it should do more to rein in Pyongyang.

China is North Korea’s closest ally, but Beijing is angry with its continued nuclear and missile tests.

North Korea said on Saturday it had conducted another successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that proved its ability to strike the U.S. mainland, drawing a sharp warning from Mr. Trump and a rebuke from China.

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33 Palestinians arrested after stand-off at Jerusalem holy site

Israeli police on Monday arrested 33 Palestinians on suspicion of violently protesting, and state prosecutors filed indictments against an additional five suspects for alleged incitement to violence.

Police said among the arrests were seven minors, aged 13 to 17. All of the suspects are from neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem.

Police also accused the Palestinians of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails, setting off firecrackers and blocking roads, among other disturbances.

Meanwhile the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office filed indictments against five East Jerusalem residents for allegedly calling for acts of violence against civilians and Israeli authorities on Facebook.

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Death penalty: Iranian parliament receive law meant to spare 5,000 drug smugglers


A bill making its way through the Iranian parliament could spare 5,000 convicted drug smugglers from the death penalty, the ILNA news agency reported on Monday.

“As soon as the new drug law is passed, the death sentence of more than 5,000 prisoners could be converted into prison sentences,” said Hassan Norouzi, a spokesman for parliament.

Mr. Norouzi said lawmakers are still reviewing the draft legislation, and it will not be in its final form until after they return from summer recess.

Scepticism has grown in Iran over the effectiveness of the death penalty in deterring drug smuggling, with government reports showing it has had no impact on reducing the volume and variety of drugs in Iran.

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Oil price hits two months high $53


Oil prices hit a two-month high on Monday lifted by a tightening US crude market and the threat of sanctions against OPEC-member Venezuela.

Brent crude futures were 52.90 dollars per barrel earlier in the day, their highest since May 25.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were up 16 cents or 0.3per cent at 49.87 dollars per barrel.

The entire WTI curve is close to moving back over 50 dollars per barrel, with only September and October a notch below that level.

The price rise put both crude benchmarks on track for a sixth consecutive session of gains.

Prices have risen around 10 per cent since the last meeting of leading Continue reading “Oil price hits two months high $53”

UN agencies call for urgent intervention in Yemen amid cholera outbreak, malnutrition

The international community has been urged to redouble support for the people of Yemen as the country as a protracted political conflict has pushed the country into one of the the world’ largest humanitarian crisis.

This call was made on Wednesday in a joint statement by the heads of three United Nations agencies after their representatives visited Yemen to examine the scale of the humanitarian crisis and to step up assistance to the people.

UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake; the World Food Programme (WFP), Executive Director, David Beasley; and and World Health Organisation, WHO, Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, signed the statement.

Yemen is currently facing a cholera outbreak in the midst of one of the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

In the last three months alone, 400,000 cases of suspected cholera and nearly 1900 associated deaths were recorded in the country, Mr. Lake said.

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Indonesia ombudsman finds rights violations in execution of Nigerian

The office of Indonesia’s ombudsman has unearthed evidence of rights violations in the execution of a Nigerian drug convict in 2016, an official said on Friday.

Humphrey Jefferson was still seeking clemency from President Joko Widodo at the time of his execution, which meant he still had a chance of being pardoned, said Ninik Rahayu, an official of the ombudsman’s office who is overseeing the case.

Mr. Jefferson, sentenced to death in 2004, had also sought a second judicial review of his case by the Supreme Court, but his request was denied by the Central Jakarta court without proper explanation, Rahayu said, in what she called maladministration.

If the court had taken on Mr. Jefferson’s case, his execution would have had to be delayed until its final verdict. Continue reading “Indonesia ombudsman finds rights violations in execution of Nigerian”