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Biden, Putin to hold summit, Russia begins invasion.

The White House revealed that US President Joe Biden agreed in principle to hold a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the crisis over Ukraine. The summit proposed by France talks will only take place if Russia does not invade its neighbor.

The proposed summit was announced by the French presidency after two three-hour long phone calls between President Emmanuel Macron and Putin.

The second exchange happened in the early hours of Monday Moscow time, and followed a 15-minute conversation Macron had with Biden.

President Macron’s office said details of the possible summit would be discussed during a meeting between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday.

In a statement that confirmed the proposal, the White House also said Russia appeared to be “continuing preparations for a full-scale assault on Ukraine very soon”, and that the US was ready to impose “swift and severe consequences” should it happen.

A US company Maxar also revealed that new satellite imagery showed multiple deployments of armoured equipment and more than 150,000 troops from Russian garrisons near the border with Ukraine, indicating increased military readiness.

Russian troops pictured portraying readiness.(Courtesy Photo)

US officials say intelligence suggests Russia is ready to launch a military operation, which Moscow denies. 

It is hoped that such talks could offer a possible diplomatic solution to one of the worst security crises in Europe in decades.

Tunisian President Kais Saied dissolves the Supreme Judicial Council

The Supreme Judicial Council is an independent and constitutional institution, formed in 2016. Its powers include ensuring the independence of the judiciary, disciplining judges and granting them professional promotions.

Saied who has repeatedly criticized the judiciary’s delay in issuing rulings in cases of corruption and terrorism says he would not allow judges to act as if they are a state, instead of being a function of the state. Last month, Saied revoked all financial privileges for the council members.

Saied called the council a thing of the past, adding he will issue a temporary decree whose details he did not reveal to the council.

Last month, a plan to redraw the constitution was disclosed when the president initiated an online public consultation and he says drafting a new constitution will be put to a referendum.

In July last year, Saied dismissed the government and suspended parliament, a move his opponents described as a coup. He has been broadly criticized after seizing power and rejecting dialogue with all political parties.

Dissolving the body that deals with judicial independence is a move that has raised fears about the independence of the judiciary and cast doubt on Tunisia’s decade-old democratic system.

Sudan’s prime minister resigns; calls for fresh talks with military

Days after he was reinstated as prime minister of Sudan, Abdalla Hamdok quit after day of violent protests demanding democratic progress.

In a televised speech on Sunday, Hamdok said that his efforts to bridge the widening gap and settle disputes among the political forces have failed. He called for a fresh round of talks about a stalled transition to democracy is needed with the military.

“I decided to give back the responsibility and announce my resignation as prime minister, and give a chance to another man or woman of this noble country to complete the leadership of the dear homeland and pass through it during the remaining life of the transition towards reviving a civil and democratic state,” said Hamdok.

The resignation of the prime minister, a technocrat and former UN banker, comes after a deteriorating economy and mass street protests against a military coup last October.

Security forces have continuously violently dispersed crowds calling for an end to military rule and at least 56 people have been killed since the October coup.

It should be noted that the 2019 street demonstrations, led by women and professionals, prompted the military to oust Omar al-Bashir; a longtime autocrat who had been in power for 30 years.

A new set of military leaders led by Abdel Fattah Burhan, who is now de facto head of state, set up a hybrid military-civilian council charged with moving the country towards democracy. Sudan has since plunged into economic crisis, exacerbated by Covid-19 and the need for deep structural reforms after decades of misrule and profligate spending on the military.

As the transitional council lost popularity, the generals moved against Hamdok last October, placing him under house arrest. They reinstated him in November following international pressure, particularly from the US, which has linked aid and debt forgiveness with progress towards democracy.

The military says it is committed to holding democratic elections in 2023, but progress towards that goal has been slow and Hamdok’s position in the government is without doubt untenable.

Fire breaks out at South Africa’s parliament.

There has been a fire outbreak at South Africa’s Parliament Cape Town. Early reports indicate flames rising from the Old Assembly Building. A huge column of smoke has been witnessed by hundreds in the sky.

City authorities say the fire caught the third floor, roof area, with initial reports indicating that it started in the office space of the building and was spreading towards the gym area at the site. It is also reported that the Old National Assembly building was on fire too.

A spokesman for the city’s emergency services told the press that although firefighters were already at the building trying to contain the fire, the fire was not under control and cracks in the walls of the building had been reported.

The cause of the fire is yet to be established.

The security personnel at the scene told press that no injuries have been recorded.

The Houses of Parliament in Cape Town are made up of three sections, with the oldest dating back to 1884. The newer sections built in the 1920s and 1980s house the National Assembly.

Somalia’s president suspends Prime Minister over corruption.

Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed; the president of Somalia, has suspended the Prime Minister; Mohamed Hussein Roble from office following allegations of corruption and misconduct tabled against him.

In a statement issued yesterday by Villa Somalia, the official residence of the President, Roble is accused of illegal purchase of public land and interfering with investigations into cases of land grabbing.

The president decided to suspend Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and stop his powers worsening the political rift between two of Somalia’s top leaders.

Roble’s suspension comes a day after both parties engaged in verbal war with counter accusations where the two parties accused each other of sabotaging the country’s ongoing parliamentary elections.

The election, which began on November 1, was expected to climax on December 24. However, a newly elected parliamentarian said that only 24 out of 275 lawmakers had been elected by Saturday.

The feuding leaders had reached an agreement earlier this year that would allow 101 delegates to select members of parliament, who would choose the next head of the state.

At the moment, it is reported that security forces have been deployed around Roble’s offices.

Observers however warn that the feud between Farmajo and Roble might distract the government from the ongoing threat of the al-Shabaab insurgent group, which has fought the central government trying to seize power and impose sharia law in Somalia.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu bows outs at 90.

Iconic South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has died at the age of 90.

In a statement made by Dr Ramphela Mamphele; the acting Chairperson of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu IP Trust, he said on behalf of the Tutu family that this iconic leader of the anti-apartheid movement died peacefully at the Oasis Frail Care Centre in Cape Town this morning.

It is reported that Archbishop Desmond was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the late 1990s and has been in and out of hospital in recent years to treat infections associated with his cancer treatment.

Dr Mamphele however did not give details on the cause of death.

The South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on his Twitter Account that the passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is another chapter of bereavement in their nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed a liberated South Africa.

Desmond Mpilo Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his campaign of non-violent opposition to South Africa’s white minority rule.

He will be remembered as an outspoken critic of the country’s previous brutal system of oppression against the country’s Black majority.

Over 45 farmers in Nigeria killed in violent confrontation.

The Nigerian office of the president says dozens of people have been killed in violent attacks between farmers and herders in the country’s central Nasarawa state.

The statement released yesterday by office of the President; Muhammadu Buhari said at least 45 farmers were killed and several others injured.

Buhari expressed grief over the heart-wrenching killings and said his government would leave no stone unturned in fishing out the perpetrators of this senseless and barbaric incident, and bring them to justice.


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