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  • Sudan’s ex-president receives 2-year detention for corruption

    Former Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir has been sentenced to two years in a “rehabilitation facility” for possession of illegal foreign currency, after the ex-leader stood trial on corruption charges.

    Bashir was overthrown by the army in April after months of unrest triggered by growing economic instability. He was accused of stashing away millions of dollars’ worth of foreign currency, as well as 5.7 million Sudanese pounds ($128,000). The trial, which began in August, did not touch upon the war crime allegations against Bashir brought by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

    The ex-president is wanted by the ICC on charges of war crimes and genocide linked to the Darfur war, which started in 2003. The Sudanese military, however, said it would not extradite him.

  • US sanctions targeting Iran violate international law – Malaysian PM

    The United Sates’ unilateral sanctions regime imposed on Iran violates the UN charter and international law, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said.

    Speaking at a conference in Qatar on Saturday, Mahathir stressed that his country does not support Washington’s measures against Tehran, and that the sanctions have resulted in a “big market” loss for Iran’s trading partners.

    “Such sanctions clearly violate the United Nations charter and international law; sanctions can only be applied by the United Nations in accordance with the charter,” he noted.

  • Hezbollah calls for ‘broadest possible’ Lebanese govt, including Christian party, to tackle crisis

    As Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun conducts backroom negotiations aimed at naming a new prime minister, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned that forming a government “will not be an easy process.”

    In a televised address on Friday, the Islamist leader extended a surprise hand to supporters and opponents alike, declaring that he has no wish to serve in a “one-sided government,” and calling for a government with “the broadest representation possible.”

    Nasrallah insisted that Gebran Bassil’s Free Patriotic Movement – a party supported predominantly by Lebanese Christians – take part in the government, stating that the country’s current crisis requires all Lebanese to “stand together.” Bassil had previously refused to take part in a government led by Prime Minister Saad el-Hariri, currently serving in a caretaker role since his resignation in October.

    Lebanon is currently engulfed by anti-government protests, brought on by rising unemployment and poverty, and perceived corruption among the country’s ruling elite. Demonstrators have called not just for a change in leadership, but for a wholesale purge of Lebanon’s top political leaders.

  • Algerian President-elect Tebboune offers dialogue to protest movement, will look at new constitution

    Algeria’s President-elect Abdelmadjid Tebboune said in his first public statement on Friday that he would start “consultations” on drawing up a new constitution that would be put to Algerians in a referendum. He also offered a “serious dialogue” to the opposition mass protest movement, saying he would institute reforms to reduce spending on imports and promised to “open a new page” for Algeria, Reuters reports.

    The former prime minister was elected Algeria’s new president in a vote the authorities hope will end months of turmoil. However, protesters who toppled his predecessor marched again on Friday, vowing their movement would not stop.

    Tebboune, 74, campaigned as a technocrat who had proven his integrity by being sacked for falling out with powerful business tycoons after just three months serving as PM in 2017 under veteran ruler Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

    According to official results, Tebboune won the election with more than 50 percent of the vote, avoiding the need for a run-off against any of four other senior former officials sanctioned to stand.

  • US Treasury excludes 3 Russian companies from its sanctions list

    The US Department of the Treasury has excluded three Russian companies from its sanctions list. The sanctions were lifted from companies Yunikom, Vertikal and TSAO (Tsentr Avtoobsluzhivaniya), according to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

    Restrictive measures were imposed on December 5. The US officials then said that the three companies were linked to Denis Gusev, and the agency alleged that he had helped hackers conduct financial operations.

    Gusev, the owner of Yunikom and Vertikal, said that he had nothing to do with Evil Corp, adding that sanctions could have been imposed against his companies by accident, Vedomosti daily reported.

    The owner of TSAO, Aleksandr Lelekov, also said he initially took the sanctions as a spoof.

  • Macron warns Britain against ‘unfair’ competition with EU after Brexit

    French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday warned Britain against “unfair” competition with the EU after Brexit. The statement came following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resounding election win and amid fears London will seek to lower taxes and regulations after Brexit, AFP said.

    “My hope is that the United Kingdom remains an ally, a friend and an extremely close partner. The condition is to define the rules of a fair relationship,” Macron said after an EU summit in Brussels. “We do not want Britain to be an unfair competitor.”

    Macron also warned Britain that the more it chose to deregulate its economy after Brexit, the more it will lose access to the EU’s market, Reuters reports.

    “I don’t think that you can have a strong relationship with Europe’s single market with substantial regulatory differences on climate, environmental, economic or social regulations. That’s not true,” Macron said.