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UN Security Council denounces Taliban restrictions on women in Afghanistan
The UN Security Council on Tuesday called for the full, equal and meaningful participation of women and girls in Afghanistan, denouncing a ban by the Taliban-led administration on women attending universities or working for humanitarian aid groups. In the latest blow to women’s rights in Afghanistan since the Taliban reclaimed power last year, on Saturday the hard-line Islamist rulers banned women from working in non-governmental organizations, sparking international outcry. The Taliban have already suspended university education for women and secondary schooling for girls. The 15-member UN Security Council said in a statement agreed by consensus it was “deeply alarmed” by the increasing restrictions on women’s education, calling for “the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women and girls in Afghanistan. It urged the Taliban “to reopen schools and swiftly reverse these policies and practices, which represents an increasing erosion for the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms. In its statement, the Council also condemned the ban on women working for NGOs, adding to warnings of the detrimental impact on aid operations in a country where millions rely on them.
dennis2020 Wed, 12/28/2022 - 09:43
UNICEF: 20 million children suffering in the Horn of Africa as drought intensifies

According to UNICEF, the number of children suffering dire drought conditions across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia has more than doubled in the past five months. Currently, an estimated 20.2 million children are facing the threat of severe hunger, thirst and disease, which is a stark increase from the 10 million reported in July. Climate change, conflict, global inflation and grain shortages have all contributed to the devastating conditions in the Horn of Africa.

Maximiliaan va… Tue, 12/27/2022 - 11:02
Opinion: Azerbaijan is intensively engaged in new projects that aim to contribute to energy security, especially in Eastern Europe
Over the last month, the diplomatic traffic between Azerbaijan and the Eastern European countries has intensified in a remarkable way. The mutual high-level visits between Albania and Azerbaijan, as well as between Serbia and Azerbaijan in a short period of time over the last few months were a sign of the sides’ interest in bilateral cooperation in various fields, particularly in the field of energy. Azerbaijan is also involved in projects with the countries of the region within multilateral formats together with the European Union (EU). In this context, two major agreements signed this year provide a good basis for this cooperation both in the imports of natural gas and importantly green energy, writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed for These developments in the relations between Azerbaijan and the Eastern European countries brings with it also geopolitical approximation between the sides. As President Aliyev stated following the signing of the electricity deal in Bucharest, Azerbaijan’s contribution to European energy security creates an important bridge between the EU and Azerbaijan. The bridge between the two shores of the Black Sea forms a larger security architecture which increase the resilience of the regional countries in the face of national security challenges they face.
dennis2020 Mon, 12/26/2022 - 10:59
Editor's choice
Season's Greetings

Season's Greetings

The editorial team, associates and contributors at extend their best wishes for the festive season to all our readers and subscribers around the world. Happy holidays!
President Zelensky addresses US Congress
The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, on his first foreign visit since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24th February 2022, has addressed the US Congress in person. This followed being welcomed to the White House by US President Joe Biden and the First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, and a wider American-Ukrainian discussion on the ongoing war during which US Vice-President Kamala Harris and Secretary of Defence Lloyd J. Austin III were also present. During his address to the US Congress, President Zelensky delivered a defiant speech in which he said that "against all odds and doom and gloom scenarios, Ukraine did not fall. Ukraine is alive and kicking", adding that his country would never surrender. Referring to other conflicts in Russia's so-called "near abroad", Zelensky said that "this battle cannot be frozen or postponed. It cannot be ignored hoping that the ocean or something else will provide a protection." Zelensky's visit comes amid concerns from Republicans over the cost of American military aid to Ukraine. His address can be seen in large part as an attempt to assuage those worries and make the case for long-term American support for Ukraine's military. He notably said that "Your money is not charity, it's an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way."
patrickn97 Thu, 12/22/2022 - 09:48
Uzbekistan sends first cargo train to Europe through "the middle corridor"

Uzbekistan's state-owned railway company Temir Yullari has announced that for the first time, a cargo train carrying copper concentrate has been sent from Uzbekistan to Europe via the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, also known as the Middle Corridor.

This route bypasses Russia, and offers Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries an alternative connection to European markets.

Maximiliaan va… Tue, 12/20/2022 - 15:16
Ukraine to increase Belarus border defence after Putin-Lukashenko meeting

Ukraine has announced on Monday (19 December) that it is increasing defenses along its northern border with Belarus amid concern that Russia may be preparing a second assault on Kyiv.

In conversation with BBC Ukraine, Deputy Interior Minister Yevhen Yenin said: "We are building up our defence lines all across the border with Russia and with Belarus." An increase in Russian military hardware and personnel in Belarus has been noted over the past few weeks.

patrickn97 Tue, 12/20/2022 - 11:32
Editor's choice
EU continues to develop its tools in support of its objective to contribute to peace in the South Caucasus.

EU continues to develop its tools in support of its objective to contribute to peace in the South Caucasus.

The European Union continues to develop its tools in support of its objective to contribute to peace and security in the South Caucasus.  On Monday (19 December), the EU Monitoring Capacity in Armenia (EUMCAP), launched in October, completed its mandate. Based on the agreement between the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan, European Council and France, the EUMCAP was deployed on 20 October along the Armenian side of the international border with Azerbaijan with the objective of monitoring, analysing and reporting on the situation on the ground. EU leaders, meeting in Brussels last week, assessed the wotk of the mission and the way forward. A statement by the European External Action Service on Monday stated that, "the Council – in agreement with Armenia’s authorities - decided that the existing EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM Georgia) will deploy a transitional planning assistance team in Armenia to enhance the EU’s awareness of the security situation, and contribute to the planning and preparation of a possible civilian CSDP mission in the country. The transitional planning assistance team is also expected to support the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, in the EU-facilitated normalisation process between Armenia and Azerbaijan."
Taliban publicly flog 30 persons in two Afghan provinces
On Monday (19 December), 30 people were publicly flogged in two different provinces in Afghanistan as Taliban's head Hibatullah Akhundzada ordered all Afghan judges to strictly comply with Islamic sharia law. In the province of Jowzjan, 22 people were flogged publicly for drug dealing and theft, according to a report from the Russian news agency Sputnik. The public flogging took place following an order from the chief judge of the Jowzjan province, Abdul Wahab Zahid. Meanwhile, in the province of Kapisa, eight people were flogged for theft and drinking. On 14th December, 20 people were lashed in the Helmand province.  Hibatullah Akhundzada is a senior Taliban leader who was appointed as the group's leader after the death of Mullah Omar in 2015. He is a cleric and a former member of the Taliban's governing council, and is believed to be in his 60s. Akhundzada has been involved with the Taliban for many years and is known for his hardline stance. On 24th November, Taliban conducted its first public flogging in a football stadium since the 90s. “Fourteen people, including three women were lashed in the presence of scholars, authorities and people… for different sins including adultery, robbery and other forms of corruption in a football stadium in Logar [province],” read a statement from Taliban's Supreme Court.
dennis2020 Mon, 12/19/2022 - 16:05