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South Sudan To Pay Sudan $1.2bn Oil Debt

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South Sudan will pay its outstanding oil debt of 1.2 billion dollars to neighbouring Sudan as oil output increases with reopening of more oilfields, the country’s petroleum minister, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, said on Tuesday.

The debt emanated from a 2012 deal that ended a dispute between the two countries over oil payments following the South’s independent from Sudan in July 2011.

Under the agreement, Juba agreed to pay three billion dollars to Khartoum as compensation for oil reserves Khartoum lost to Juba after independence.

Gatkuoth said South Sudan had paid off nearly 2 billion dollars, but the remainder was delayed after the east African country plunged into civil war in 2013 and oil production was subsequently suspended in the northern parts of the country in 2014.

He said with the recent reopening of the Unity oil fields, the country will use its increased oil proceeds to finish the debt.

“We have paid almost two billion already to Sudan. And this 1 billion that is left, with the production (oil) resuming now, we will clear it,” Gatkuoth told reporters at the sidelines of an event for renewal of oil exploration contracts in Juba.

According to the World Bank, South Sudan is the most oil-dependent nation in the world, with oil accounting for almost the totality of exports, and around 60 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

But after the young nation descended into civil war in late 2013, oil production declined from 350,000 in 2011 to less than 130,000 barrels per day in 2014 amid soaring inflation.

In June, Juba and Khartoum agreed to jointly repair oil infrastructure damaged during the civil war.

Gatkuoth said some of the suspended oilfields reopened early this month and production is expected to peak the 300,000 barrels per day mark in 2019.

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US Formally Withdraws From World Health Organisation

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The Trump administration has formally withdrawn the United States from the World Health Organisation (WHO), breaking ties with the international health body as the country’s death toll from coronavirus surpassed 130,000.

The US notice of withdrawal, effective from July 6 2021, was formally submitted to the United Nations secretary-general, the depository for the WHO, on Monday, a senior administration official told The Telegraph of UK.

Bob Mendez, a Democratic senator for New Jersey, revealed Congress had been notified of the decision on Tuesday as he criticised the move, pointing out that the country was still “in the midst of a pandemic.”

“Congress received notification that POTUS (President of the United States) officially withdrew the US from the @WHO in the midst of a pandemic,” Senator Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, wrote on Twitter.

The withdrawal follows through on a threat by Trump earlier this year and comes as the country continues to see tens of thousands of new coronavirus cases each day.

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Ex-UK Politician Eric Joyce Pleads Guilty To Making Indecent Videos Of Children With His Phone

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A former UK politician, Eric Joyce has pled guilty to making indecent videos of children using his phone.

The Former Labour MP, Eric Joyce, arrived at Ipswich Crown Court today Tuesday before he admitted the child sex offence.

Joyce, from Worlingworth, Suffolk, was arrested in November 2018 for allegedly containing child porn on his phome but was soon released and put under investigation.

Last month he was summoned to appear before magistrates last month in the UK after he was accused of making a video of the most serious sex offenders category on his phone between August 2013 and November 2018.

Joyce, 59, who was MP for Falkirk in Scotland between 2000 and 2012, has been ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register.

Speaking today, Judge Emma Peters said that the single 51-second clip ‘depicts a number of children’.

She added: ‘Some are quite young, one is said to be 12 months old. clearly a category-A movie.’

Judge Peters told the court that Joyce claimed he accessed the video ‘via an email which he says was a spam email’.

She added: ‘At the time he was drinking heavily and he has now undergone work with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation and a psychotherapist.’

Judge Peters added: ‘It’s going to be a question of whether it’s immediate or suspended. ‘You will be required to sign paperwork today acknowledging that you are immediately on the sex offenders register.’

She said the court ‘takes such incidents very seriously’ as they ‘fuel the abuse of children’.

After details of the charge emerged, a statement published on the Joyce’s website said: ‘I will make no comment from now until all legal processes are at a close. At that point, I will make a full statement.’

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Soleimani: US Killing Of Iran’s Top General ‘Unlawful’, Says UN Expert

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The US drone strike that killed Iran’s top general Qasem Soleimani was “unlawful”, the United Nations expert on extrajudicial killings concluded in a report released Tuesday.

Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, concluded it was an “arbitrary killing” that violated the UN charter.

The US had provided no evidence that an imminent attack against US interest was being planned, she wrote.

The independent rights expert does not speak for the United Nations but reports her findings to it.

Her report on targeted killings through armed drones — around half of which deals with the Soleimani case — is to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva on Thursday.

The United States withdrew from the council in 2018.

US President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Soleimani in a January 3 drone strike near Baghdad international airport.

Soleimani, a national hero at home, was “the world’s top terrorist” and “should have been terminated long ago”, Trump said at the time.

Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed in the drone strike.

“In light of the evidence that the US has provided to date, the targeting of General Soleimani, and the deaths of those accompanying him, constitute an arbitrary killing for which, under IHRL (international human rights law), the US is responsible,” Callamard said in her report.

‘No evidence’ imminent attack planned

She said the strike violated the UN Charter, with “insufficient evidence provided of an ongoing or imminent attack,” she wrote.

“No evidence has been provided that General Soleimani specifically was planning an imminent attack against US interests, particularly in Iraq, for which immediate action was necessary and would have been justified,” Callamard said.

“No evidence has been provided that a drone strike in a third country was necessary or that the harm caused to that country was proportionate to the harm allegedly averted.

“Soleimani was in charge of Iran’s military strategy, and actions, in Syria and Iraq. But absent an actual imminent threat to life, the course of action taken by the US was unlawful.”

The killing of Soleimani, who headed the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, provoked massive outpourings of grief in Iran.

Tehran retaliated by firing a volley of ballistic missiles at US troops stationed in Iraq. While the attack on the western Iraqi base of Ain Al-Asad killed no US soldiers, dozens suffered brain trauma.

Callamard’s report addresses targeted killings through armed drones, in light of the proliferation in drone use and their expanding capability over the last five years.

It makes recommendations designed to regulate their use and enhance accountability.

Callamard said that while incidents like the killing of Soleimani and the September 2019 hit on Saudi Arabia’s oil processing facilities generated strong political reactions, “the vast majority of targeted killings by drones are subjected to little public scrutiny”.

Drone technologies and drone attacks were generating fundamental challenges to international legal standards, she added.

 

(AFP)

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