Connect with us

Foreign News

Democracy Needs ‘Courage and Cooperation,’ says German President

Published

on

Share

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on citizens to embrace democracy, rather than turn their backs on it, in a Christmas address coming at the close of a turbulent year.

“Yes, we yearn for clarity. Yes, it is reasonable to expect those in positions of political responsibility to struggle for the right course, but also to give answers that help us as a country,” said Steinmeier.

“You as citizens should be able to expect democrats to work together when what is at stake is our common whole,” Steinmeier told the public.

His reference to democrats comes amid growing support for the far right in Germany, and burgeoning discontent with the government.

“Many have missed that. Some turn away, others complain about everything and everyone,” he said, in a speech shared in advance by his office.

But in a democracy, “when the going gets tough, there are better counsellors than anger and contempt,” Steinmeier said.

“Better counsellors than those who pretend that there is always one simple answer to the questions of the future. They include courage and cooperation,” he added.

It is also important to keep everyone in mind, young and old alike, whether they come from Germany or other countries, the German president said.

“We will only ever make progress if we work together – and not if everyone shrinks back into their own worlds.”

Recent months have been especially turbulent in Germany. Just weeks before the turn of the year, a landmark court ruling left the coalition government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz scrambling to find ways to plug a huge budget gap.

Germany’s Constitutional Court ruled in mid-November that €60 billion ($66 billion) in emergency loans to combat the coronavirus pandemic could not be reallocated to a climate fund, sending the Berlin government’s budget planning into disarray.

Meanwhile, the growing strength of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which has traditionally been on the fringes of German politics, has raised alarm among many who view the party as extremist, anti-democratic and xenophobic.

The year leaves with many unresolved issues in Germany, Steinmeier noted. “Some people are looking sceptically at government and politicians. And some are worried about the future.”

With Russia’s war on Ukraine and the war in the Middle East, 2023 presented its dark side, Steinmeier said, pointing to “images of suffering and destruction, images of hatred and violence.”

“My wish for you today and in the days ahead is that you can close
your front door and enjoy this time with your loved ones,” Steinmeier said.

He also thanked those working on Christmas to enable people to celebrate “safely and in peace,” mentioning the police, fire brigade and armed forces.

He also paid tribute to those working “in hospitals, care homes and other institutions that look after people even on this day – people who are in distress, people with no roof over their heads. Thank you for being there.”

Steinmeier said people who are committed to community gave him strength and courage. “They bring warmth to our country,” he said.

Next year, Germany celebrates the 75th anniversary of its democracy, he added, noting the constitution is something to be proud of. “I want to encourage us all to trust in this foundation,” also in the future, he said. “Germany is and remains a good country.” (dpa/NAN)

Foreign News

Flames, Smoke Continue to Emerge from Massive Landfill in Delhi

Published

on

Share

Flames and columns of thick smoke continued to emerge from a massive landfill in the Indian capital city of New Delhi on Monday, officials said.

Fire fighting operations were underway and fire-fighters were splashing water on the burning mounds of garbage.

The fire has continued at the colossal landfill site since it broke out on Sunday evening.

Meanwhile, toxic fumes emanating from the landfill have left residents in the neighbourhood to gasp for breath.

“There is a pungent smell all around. The smoke is poisonous and causes irritation in the eyes,’’ Dileep Pandey said.

Pandey is a local resident, living within the area.

“We are also facing difficulty in breathing.

’’

While the cause of the fire remained undetermined, authorities have initiated legal proceedings against unidentified individuals in relation to the incident.

According to the Delhi Fire Services department, the landfill caught fire because of the methane produced in the heaps of waste.

Officials listed hot and dry weather conditions as the reason behind the blaze. (Xinhua/NAN)

Continue Reading

Foreign News

Israeli Forces Vow Response to Iran’s Attack Despite Calls for Restraint

Published

on

Share

Israelis awaited word on how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would respond to Iran’s first-ever direct attack as international pressure for restraint grew amid fears of an escalation of conflict in the Middle East.

Netanyahu on Monday summoned his war cabinet for the second time in less than 24 hours to weigh a response to Iran’s massive weekend missile and drone attack, a government source said.

While the attack caused no deaths and little damage, thanks to the air defences and countermeasures of Israel and its allies, it has increased concerns that violence rooted in the Gaza war is spreading, and fears of open war between the long-time foes.

Israeli military chief of staff Herzi Halevi said on Monday that “this launch of so many missiles – cruise missiles and drones – into Israeli territory will be met with a response” but gave no details.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani told state TV on Monday night that Tehran’s response to any Israeli retaliation would come in “a matter of seconds, as Iran will not wait for another 12 days to respond”.

But the prospect of Israeli retaliation has alarmed many Iranians already enduring economic pain and tighter social and political controls since protests in 2022-23.

Iran launched the attack in retaliation for an airstrike on its embassy compound in Damascus on April 1 attributed to Israel, and signalled that it did not seek further escalation.

U.S. President Joe Biden told Netanyahu at the weekend that the United States, which helped Israel blunt the Iranian attack, would not participate in an Israeli counter-strike.

Since the war in Gaza began in October, clashes have erupted between Israel and Iran-aligned groups based in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.

Israel said four of its soldiers were wounded hundreds of metres inside Lebanese territory overnight, the first known Israeli ground penetration into Lebanon since the Gaza war erupted, although it has traded fire with the Lebanese Hezbollah militia.

“We’re on the edge of the cliff and we have to move away from it,” Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign affairs chief, told Spanish radio station Onda Cero.

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron made similar appeals.

Washington and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also have called for restraint.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby declined on Monday to say if Biden had urged Netanyahu in talks on Saturday night to exercise restraint in responding to Iran.

“We don’t want to see a war with Iran. We don’t want to see a regional conflict,” Kirby told a briefing, adding that it was for Israel to decide “whether and how they’ll respond”.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz said he was “leading a diplomatic attack” alongside Israel’s military response, writing to 32 countries to place sanctions on Iran’s missile programme and proscribe its Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organisation.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Iran’s actions threatened stability in the Middle East and could cause economic spillovers.

The U.S. would use sanctions, and work with allies, to keep disrupting Iran’s “malign and destabilising activity”, she added.

However, some analysts said the Biden administration was unlikely to seek to sharpen sanctions on Iran’s oil exports due to worries about boosting oil prices and angering top buyer China.

In a call between the Chinese and Iranian foreign ministers, China said it believed Iran could “handle the situation well and spare the region further turmoil” while safeguarding its sovereignty and dignity, according to Chinese state media.

Russia has refrained from publicly criticising its ally Iran but has also warned against further escalation.

Iran’s retaliatory attack, involving more than 300 missiles and drones, caused modest damage in Israel and wounded a 7-year-old girl.

Most missiles and drones were shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome defence system and with help from the U.S., Britain, France and Jordan.

In Gaza itself, where more than 33,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli offensive according to Gaza health ministry figures, Iran’s action drew applause.

Israel began its campaign against Hamas, the Iranian-backed Palestinian militant group that runs Gaza, after Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and taking 253 hostages, by Israeli tallies.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the Group of Seven major democracies were working on a package of coordinated measures against Iran.

Italy, which holds the rotating G7 presidency, said it was open to new sanctions and suggested any new measures would target individuals.

Iran’s attack prompted at least a dozen airlines to cancel or reroute flights, with Europe’s aviation regulator still advising caution in using Israeli and Iranian airspace. (Reuters/NAN)

Continue Reading

Foreign News

50 killed in Afghanistan Road Accidents During Eid Holiday

Published

on

Share

No fewer than 50 people died and 185 others injured in road accidents during the four-day Eid el Fitr holiday
across Afghanistan.

The country’s General Directorate of Traffic Police on Monday said a total of 102 road accidents occurred across Afghanistan in the period, killing 50 commuters, including eight women and 13 children, and injuring 185 others.

Herat, Ghazni, and Paktika were among 34 provinces of the country where most of the road accidents took place, the department said.

Overspeeding, reckless driving, non-compliance to traffic rules, and lack of traffic signals on highways were the main causes of the deadly accidents, the government agency said.

(Xinhua/NAN)

Continue Reading

Read Our ePaper

Top Stories

NEWS27 mins ago

FG Revokes 924 Dormant Mining Licences as Minister Decries Racketeering

Share The Federal Government has revoked additional 924 dormant mining licenses. Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake announced...

NEWS31 mins ago

Sokoto Assembly Adopts Motion to Establish Skills Centre for Displaced Widows

Share The Sokoto State House of Assembly, on Wednesday, approved a motion advocating for the establishment of an Educational and...

NEWS39 mins ago

Undertake Reforms for Functional Justice System – Tinubu Tells Judiciary 

SharePresident Bola Tinubu has called on the nation’s Judiciary to embark on reforms that will ensure functional justice system and...

NEWS44 mins ago

EFCC Withdraws Appeal Against Former Kogi Gov. Bello

ShareThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has filed a notice of withdrawal to discontinue an appeal against an order...

NEWS49 mins ago

Establish Base in Sambisa Forest, Zulum Tells Army

ShareGov. Babagana Zulum of Borno has urged the Nigerian Army to establish a military base in Sambisa Forest, to effectively...

NEWS52 mins ago

Alleged N80bn Fraud: Bwala Faults EFCC’s Media Trial, Disregard for Rule of Law

Share Mr Daniel Bwala, Former Spokesman of Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Wednesday faulted the Economic and Financial Crime...

NEWS1 hour ago

NCAA Suspends Dana Airline’s AOC Effective April 24

ShareThe Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has written to the management of Dana Airlines, informing it of the suspension of...

Education1 hour ago

Borno Varsity Secures Accreditation in all Programmes – VC

Share The outgoing Vice Chancellor of Borno State University (BOSU), Prof. Umar Sandabe, says the five-year old institution has secured...

NEWS1 hour ago

FRSC Apprehends 222 Trailers Conveying 3,169 Passengers

ShareThe Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) inter-agency task force, has apprehended 222 trailers conveying 3,169 passengers in Niger, Bauchi, Taraba...

NEWS1 hour ago

Rivers Finance Commissioner Resigns.

ShareRivers Commissioner for Finance, Mr Isaac Kamalu, resigned his appointment on Wednesday. He is the second commissioner to resign from...

Copyright © 2021 Daily Asset Limited | Powered by ObajeSoft Inc