Venezuela: Who will the military support?; Venezuela’s army has declared its support for Nicolas Maduro. But differences between top officers and the rank and file could weaken the military’s loyalty to the president — with far-reaching consequences.After opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself interim president of Venezuela, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez declared on Twitter: “Our armed forces will never accept a president appointed by dark powers.” Padrino Lopez labeled Guaido’s self-appointment a coup d’etat. Immediately afterward, the commander of the army, Jesus Suarez Chourio, declared his “absolute loyalty” to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Other leading military figures then went on television and echoed the pledge to Maduro.
Germany to stop using coal by end of 2038: commission; A government commission has agreed that Germany should phase out all coal-fired power plants by the end of 2038. The government is already planning to shut down nuclear power plants over the next three years.A government-appointed commission has agreed that Germany will stop producing energy from coal-fired plants by 2038, sources told local media early on Saturday.A final agreement was reached after 21-hour talks that lasted well into the night, with only one opposing vote in the 28-member body. The decision aims to reduce Germany’s carbon emissions from coal, which drive climate change.
Pro-Brexit MP criticized for ‘anti-German’ remarks about Airbus chief; The comments from Mark Francois came after Airbus CEO Tom Enders urged lawmakers to avoid a no-deal Brexit. Taking aim at Enders, Francois referenced D-Day and said he wouldn’t submit to “bullying by any German.” Conservative, pro-Brexit member of Parliament Mark Francois raised eyebrows on Friday for using World War II references to criticize Airbus chief executive Tom Enders, who is German.
On Thursday, Airbus posted a video message from Enders who implored the British lawmakers to avoid a no-deal Brexit, saying “there are plenty of countries out there who would love to build the wings for Airbus aircraft.” “Please don’t listen to the Brexiteers’ madness, which asserts that ‘because we have huge plants here, we will not move and we will always be here.’ They are wrong,” Enders said in the video.Speaking to the BBC on Friday Francois hit back at the CEO, emphasizing Enders’ German nationality and criticizing his video message.
Pope Francis: Viewing migrants as threat to society is ‘senseless’; The leader of the Catholic Church told hundreds of thousands of young pilgrims that they should welcome migrants, not stigmatize them. He said it was “senseless” to condemn every immigrant “as a threat to society.” n remarks made to hundreds of thousands of young Catholics at World Youth Day in Panama, Pope Francis said Friday it was “senseless and irresponsible” to view migrants as a blanket threat to security. “We want to be a church that fosters a culture that welcomes, protects, promotes and integrates, that does not stigmatize, much less indulge in a senseless and irresponsible condemnation of every immigrant as a threat to society,” the pope said.He spoke about learning “how to welcome and take in all those abandoned, and forced to leave or lose their land, their roots, their families and their work.”
Two UN peacekeepers killed by mine in Mali; The two casualties come after an attack on the UN mission in northern Mali that killed 10 peacekeepers last weekend. The UN has urged a swift investigation to “bring the perpetrators to justice.” Two Sri Lankan peacekeepers with the UN’s force in Mali have been killed and six others injured when their vehicle hit an explosive device in the central Mopti region, the UN said Friday. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council condemned the attacks. “The secretary-general recalls that attacks targeting United Nations peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law,” his office said in a statement. No group has claimed credit for the attacks, but they bore all the marks of al-Qaida linked militants operating in the Sahel region. The 15,000-strong UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA) has been deployed in the West African country since 2013 to support stabilization, a political transition and counter jihadi militants. It is the UN’s deadliest peacekeeping mission, with nearly 180 peacekeepers killed. The latest casualties come after militants linked to al-Qaida attacked a UN camp on Sunday, killing 10 peacekeepers from Chad and wounding 25 others. It was one of the deadliest attacks on the UN mission to date.
Zimbabwe’s president guilty of ‘gross human rights abuses,’ says opposition;
Opposition figure Tendai Biti says President Emmerson Mnangagwa is to blame for the alleged human rights abuses being carried out against people in Zimbabwe. In an interview with DW, he urged the UN to intervene. Zimbabwean opposition politician Tendai Biti has accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of orchestrating the violence gripping the southern African country.”He is the author of the current crackdown,” Biti told DW in an interview. “He is the author of the gross human rights abuses that have been committed against the civilian population.” Nationwide protests, rioting and looting erupted in Zimbabwe last week after a steep rise in the cost of fuel. Security forces responded with a brutal crackdown to disperse the demonstrators. At least 12 people have died in the unrest, according to NGOs operating in the country. More than 1,000 people have been arrested, including several opposition activists and politicians.
Venezuela opposition leader Guaido calls for ‘major demonstration’ next week; Guaido said the public would remain in the streets “until we achieve an end to the usurpation, a transitional government and free elections”. Guaido and Maduro have been locked in a power struggle since the 35-year-old leader of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled legislature, proclaimed himself “acting president” Wednesday, declaring that Maduro’s inauguration this month for a new six-year term was illegitimate. Reacting to a statement by Maduro that he was open to holding talks with “this young man”, Guaido said he would not attend a “fake dialogue”.”When they don’t get the results they want through repression, they offer us fake dialogue instead,” he told a separate news conference in a Caracas square.”I want that to be clear to the world and to this regime: nobody here is signing up for a false dialogue.”
Former Sudanese PM calls for Bashir to quit as protests mount; “This regime has to go immediately,” Mahdi told hundreds of worshippers at a mosque in Omdurman, the twin city of the capital Khartoum, which has seen near daily anti-government protests. Hundreds of protesters then marched through Omdurman after Friday prayers, until police fired teargas to try to break up the rally. Mahdi said that since the protests against Bashir’s government erupted on December 19, “more than 50 people have been killed” in violence during the demonstrations. Officials say 30 people have died in the protests, while rights groups have put the death toll at more than 40.
Turkish court orders release of Kurdish MP after 11 weeks on hunger strike; Leyla Guven, 55, launched a hunger strike on November 8 in protest at the prison conditions for Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan and her deteriorating health has sparked concerns and rallies to support her cause.The MP will be monitored after she is freed, the court in Diyarbakir in the Kurdish majority southeast said, although few further details of the terms of her release are yet available. Guven, whose party has said is suffering a “life-threatening” medical condition, did not attend the hearing, according to an AFP journalist in the court.
Magnitude 4.3 quake hits Kumamoto; A strong earthquake has jolted southwestern Japan. There is no danger of tsunami. The magnitude 4.3 quake struck Kumamoto Prefecture on the island of Kyushu. It registered an intensity of five-minus on the Japanese scale of zero to seven in the town of Nagomi. It reached an intensity of four in Yamaga City and the town of Gyokuto. Intensities between three to one were felt across the Kyushu region. The Japan Meteorological Agency says the quake occurred at around 14:16 on Saturday, Japan Time. The agency estimates the focus at a depth of about 10 kilometers in Kumamoto Prefecture.
Govt. to access home devices in security survey; apan will attempt to access Internet-connected devices in homes and offices to find their vulnerabilities. The first-of-its-kind survey is aimed at beefing up cyber-security. The government approved the survey on Friday. It will be carried out by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology. Starting mid-February, the institute will generate IDs and passwords in its attempt to randomly break into about 200 million devices, such as routers and webcams. Owners of the devices that are breached will be informed that they need to improve safeguards. The institute found that Internet of things devices were targeted in 54 percent of the cyber-attacks it detected in 2017. A revised law that went into effect last November gives the institute the authority to gain access to people’s devices over a five-year period. A communications ministry official asked the public for its support and understanding, citing the need to improve cyber-security in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics next year. Institute of Information Security professor Harumichi Yuasa said it’s possible that researchers might unintentionally gain access to webcam images or stored data. He said this would violate the device owners’ constitutional right to privacy if their identities were revealed.
Merkel to visit Japan in February, meet with Abe; German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Japan early next month to meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. On Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced Merkel will arrive for a two-day visit on February fourth. She will hold talks and have dinner with Abe. Suga said he hopes the meeting will signal that the two countries are committed to maintaining the international order and ensuring global prosperity. He also said he expects cooperation and goodwill between the countries to deepen. The visit will be Merkel’s fifth to Japan since she took office in 2005. The leaders are expected to discuss free trade and other global issues ahead of the G20 summit scheduled to be held in Osaka in June.
Tibetan leader calls for dialogue with China; A Tibetan political leader has urged the Chinese government to resume dialogue, saying that is the only way Beijing can guarantee true autonomy for the Tibetan people. The prime minister of the Tibetan government in exile Lobsang Sangay gave an exclusive interview to NHK. Sangay said, “I think the Chinese government should listen to the voices and the cries of the Tibetan people. 153 Tibetans have committed self-immolation. And many are demanding the same thing. They want to see the return of his Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and basic freedom for the Tibetan people. I think this something that is fundamental as far as Tibetans are concerned. If the Chinese government listens to their voices, then I think it will be good for the Chinese government and good for China as well.” This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising that caused thousands of refugees and the Dalai Lama to flee to India. Sangay and the government in exile want talks with China to negotiate more autonomy. But Beijing refuses such talks, saying that the aim is separatism. Sangay says that in the six decades of Chinese rule, Tibetans have not been allowed to hold peaceful demonstrations and have faced other suppression under the Chinese government. He also says, “They destroyed 98 percent of Tibetan monasteries and nunneries. They disrobed 99.9 percent of monks and nuns. They disallow the practice of Buddhism. They disallow possession of the photograph of the Dalai Lama.”