Tag Archives: Iran

Shaded gray: On FATF mandated tasks | Instant News


Pakistan has little choice but to complete the FATF mandated task in the next four months

The decision of the Paris-based supervisor, the The Financial Action Task Force, last week defended Pakistan on its greylist clearly a disappointment to Imran Khan’s government. His cabinet has projected confidence that the country will be excluded from the greylist – a jurisdiction that is monitored on terror financing and money laundering activities – to have been exempted on 21 of the 27 action points mandated. Pakistan will now face international restrictions on its market and its ability to secure loans into the future FATF plenary By February 2021, it is expected to resolve six pending issues. The bigger problem for Islamabad is that Turkey is the only other country out of 39 FATF members to push for Pakistan to be dissolved, making the suggestion that the last six points be resolved by an “on the spot” visit by the FATF team. The proposal was scrapped even when other traditional Pakistani supporters such as China, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia did not support it. Clearly, Pakistan has little choice but to complete its work in the next four months, which includes: more actions against terrorists and terror groups banned by the UN Security Council, action against charitable organizations (Non-Profits) associated with these banned entities, tracking fugitive terrorists and pursuing convictions against them, revising the list of banned entities under the Anti-Terrorism Act to reflect all that the UN Security Council prohibits, and cracking down on other channels of financing terror through narcotics and smuggling.

For those in New Delhi witnessing the outcome of the FATF decision, there are several broader advantages to consider from this process. First of all, the fact that The FATF has kept Pakistan on the greylist side for the third time this year, and not automatically blacklisting him (with Iran and North Korea) when the deadline for action expires in September 2019, has ensured pressure continues to hold Pakistan accountable for terror. Khan’s government has been forced to make a real legislative push to bring Pakistan’s anti-terror laws in line with international standards, while, at least temporarily, also ensuring sufficient pressure on groups like the LeT and JeM targeting India to exercise restraint. of public comments and raising funds publicly. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s support for the US-led Afghanistan process and talks with the Taliban are essential to the peace process, and the FATF process has made Islamabad more amenable to helping Afghanistan. It remains to be seen whether the measures taken will permanently change the course of Pakistan in supporting and protecting terror groups across borders. India’s ultimate goal is not only to stop attacks by these groups, but for Pakistan to completely dismantle its terror infrastructure in the understanding that it is in Pakistan’s own interest to do so. It is hoped that the prolonged FATF process will enable this realization in Islamabad.

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Brazil surged to supplier No. 3 China in September | Instant News


BEIJING / SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Brazil jumped to China’s third-largest crude supplier in September, import data showed on Sunday, as independent Chinese refiners scooped up cheap supplies of relatively high-quality South American exporter oil.

FILE PHOTO: A VLCC oil tanker is seen at a crude oil terminal in the port of Ningbo Zhoushan, Zhejiang province, China May 16, 2017.Image taken May 16, 2017. REUTERS / Stringer

Imports from Brazil totaled 4.49 million tonnes, up from 2.96 million tonnes a year earlier, data from the General Administration of Customs of China showed. Brazil took over Iraq, which fell to the fifth largest supplier.

China’s January-September imports from Brazil were 33.69 million tonnes, up 15.6% from a year earlier, according to a Reuters calculation based on the data. China makes up 70% of Brazil’s oil exports, state oil company Petrobras said in July.

Saudi Arabia regained the top spot in Chinese oil purchases last month after losing that ranking to Russia over the previous two months, data showed.

Imports from the kingdom reached 7.78 million tons or equivalent to 1.89 million barrels per day (bpd), an increase from August’s 1.24 million barrels per day.

Russia supplied 7.48 million tonnes last month, or 1.82 million barrels per day, up 18.6% from a year earlier and up 32.8% from August, according to Reuters calculations.

During the first nine months of 2020, Russia remained the top seller with a total supply of 64.62 million tonnes, 16% above last year’s levels. Saudi Arabia trailed at 63.57 million tonnes, which was 6.5% higher year on year.

US shipments jumped to 3.9 million tonnes in September, compared with a year earlier of 517,982 tonnes.

China took in 13% more crude oil in the first nine months than a year earlier, as refiners ramped up production to meet the rapid recovery in demand from the pandemic and hoarded record low oil prices.

Below is a breakdown of imports from major suppliers, by volume in metric tons.

Reporting by Muyu Xu in Beijing and Chen Aizhu in Singapore; Edited by William Mallard

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Highlights of the Corona virus: Deaths in Germany pass 10,000 | Coronavirus and Covid-19 – the latest news around COVID-19 | DW | Instant News


Germany on Saturday became the sixth European country to pass a dismal 10,000 COVID-19 death toll. The country, which avoided the most severe outbreak of the first wave of the virus earlier this year, also recorded nearly 15,000 new infections.

Global

Head of that World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned of difficult times to come for the countries of the Northern Hemisphere.

“The coming months are going to be very difficult and some countries are on a dangerous path,” the WHO director general said at a news conference on Friday, warning that the Northern Hemisphere was at a “tipping point”.

He called for immediate action, warning of an “exponential increase in cases” in many countries.

Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical chief for the coronavirus, said the WHO recorded around 445,000 new cases in the past 24 hours, nearly half in Europe. He said “ICU capacity will be reached in the coming weeks” in cities across Europe.

America

Former United States of America Vice President Joe Biden, who is running as a Democratic candidate for the 2020 US Presidential election, said on Friday that if he was elected president he would mandate that the vaccine be free for all Americans.

“Once we have a safe and effective vaccine, it should be free for everyone – whether you are insured or not,” Biden said in his speech, 11 days before election day.

US President Donald Trump also said vaccines should be free for Americans.

AstraZeneca said on Friday that they have continued with it WE experimental COVID-19 vaccine trial. The trial was suspended on 6 September following reports of serious neurological disease in patients during a company trial in England. The drugmaker resumed trials after the US Food and Drug Association (FDA), which monitors vaccine manufacture, said it was safe to do so.

Temporarily stopping drug and vaccine testing is very common, as studies involving thousands of participants suggest some may get sick. The US AstraZeneca study involved 30,000 people with some getting the actual vaccine and others receiving a placebo. Final testing has continued in the UK, Brazil, South Africa and Japan.

Read more: The US could see half a million deaths from coronavirus by the end of winter, the study warned

Brazil Anvisa’s regulator allowed the biomedical center to import 6 million doses of the Sinovac coronavirus vaccine, although President Jair Bolsonaro said the country would not buy China’s vaccine.

The product is currently in phase 3 trials, which were carried out with the help of a local university. It is not yet approved for widespread use in Brazil.

Brazil Pharmaceutical company Uniao Quimica said on Friday that it signed an agreement with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to start producing Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine next month.

This is the second agreement to produce a vaccine in Brazil, where four other vaccines have already been tested.

The Brazilian state of Bahia also signed an agreement to conduct phase 3 trials of the Sputnik V vaccine and plans to purchase 50 million doses for the northeastern Brazilian market.

Europe

German reached the bleak milestone of 10,000 coronavirus deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to figures released by the country’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) – the government body responsible for disease control and prevention.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 14,714 to 418,005, the RKI reported. It’s the highest number of new infections every day in the country.

A Netherlands hospitals began sending COVID-19 patients to German to reduce tension in the hospital. Flevoh Hospital in Almere, 30 kilometers (20 miles) east of Amsterdam, is sending patients to Germany by helicopter. This is the first air transport of this type from the Netherlands to Germany since the pandemic began.

Read more: Corona virus trend: The pandemic is far from over

Italy The Campania region said it would impose a lockdown to stem the flow of the coronavirus. Campania has closed most schools and imposed a curfew.

Police used tear gas in Naples to harass hundreds of people who were protesting the urge to take tougher measures. Daily cases in Italy have jumped sevenfold since early October, surging to 19,143 on Friday and raising fears that the pandemic is escalating out of control. Daily deaths also increased throughout the month, totaling 91 on Friday, but far less than the height of the first wave in the spring when the daily peak of deaths hit 900.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said he wants to avoid another national lockdown that could hurt a fragile economy, but regional leaders can set their own rules when it comes to lockdowns.

Bulgaria Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and three ministers in his government will remain in isolation after the deputy ministers they contact tested positive for the virus on Friday.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov was isolated on Friday after a minister tested positive

“I am awaiting orders from the health authorities and until then I will isolate myself. I last got in touch with him five days ago,” Borissov wrote in a post on his Facebook page.

Borissov said he tested negative from a test he took Friday morning before meeting US Deputy Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and Environment Keith Krach.

Cases in Bulgaria have been surging since the start of the month. The country recorded 1,595 new cases as of Friday. Health authorities have banned planned operations in regions where infections exceed 120 per 100,000 people and are demanding that hospitals ensure 10% of their bed capacity is available to COVID-19 patients.

the middle East

Iran national airline IranAir resumed European flights after they were suspended due to the pandemic. A spokesman told state news agency IRNA that scheduled flights to Britain, France, Austria, Germany and Italy would resume.

kbd / dj (AP, dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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Coronavirus: Masters students applying for a German visa | Germany | News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | Instant News


It’s 1am when Valentina Sanchez’s alarm goes off. There may be time to make a quick coffee and set aside notes to make room for the laptop on the table. Then the 24-year-old woman immediately entered her first lecture that day.

All of her classmates are sitting in a room at Berlin’s University of Applied Sciences, at the better 9:30 am. But Sanchez is stuck in his hometown of Puebla, Mexico. He could only watch the class through Zoom, his face on the laptop screen put on the table by someone else social distancing students.

Read more: Mexico is ‘flying blind’ in pandemic response

On the other side of the world, Roozbeh Irandoost is battling another problem to attend classes at the Dresden University of Technology from his bedroom in Sari, northern Iran.

The time difference isn’t that bad – he’s only 1 1/2 hours faster than Germany – but Iran’s poor internet connection and blocks on websites like Zoom and YouTube make following courses that much more difficult.

Ultimately, both Sanchez and Irandoost have the same problem: Nobody can get an appointment at the German embassy for an interview to get their student visa, nor can they know when they can get one.

Roozbeh Irandoost said waiting for news of visa appointments added to the pressure on students

Students face ‘pressure’, ‘uncertainty’

They are not alone. Hundreds of prospective master’s students in Mexico and Iran are in the same situation.

When the coronavirus pandemic sparked worldwide closures in March, German embassies stopped taking nearly all visa appointments. Seven months later, in Mexico City and Tehran, appointments have not yet restarted for master’s students.

“We try to contact the embassy every day,” Sanchez told DW by telephone. “But most of the time we don’t get an answer, and when we do, they can’t tell us when they’ll reopen to our pledge.”

“Uncertainty and anxiety are the worst feelings possible. You keep writing and expect them to respond soon.”

Read more: Iran’s coronavirus strategy divides health experts, the government

“We have several social media groups [in Iran] and no one has a visa appointment, “said Irandoost in a phone call.” We understand the pandemic is a big problem, but we can bring negative test results, wear masks and face shields.

“We are facing so much pressure and have no news.”

Other German embassies have acted

Until a month ago, Iranian and Mexican students had support. Hundreds of other masters students from Nigeria, India, Colombia, Bangladesh and Turkey with offers from German universities are in a similar situation.

They joined together online, using the hashtag #EducationIsNotTourism, to bombard the German embassy, ​​ambassador, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas with messages, urging them to provide clarity on visa designations.

Read more: COVID-19 halts studies in Germany for African students

For some, it worked. The embassy reaches out to students and starts looking for solutions. The German Ambassador to India posted the video to social media, personally speaking to students and updating them about the new embassy measures.

Students in Mexico and Iran, however, claim they received sporadic stock replies at best, or none at all, despite the numerous tweets and emails.

“I accepted the university offer in July and immediately tried to make an appointment, but received no reply,” said Mehran Mirmiri, 27, from Tehran. He hopes to study music therapy in Heidelberg.

“I’ve written 15 emails since then and I got no response, not even yes or no. I don’t know why it was so difficult.”

Student Mehran Mirmiri at the O-Fest Festival in Ukraine receives an award

Mehran Mirmiri (center left) is eager to continue his academic career in Germany

Students make sacrifices for studies

There is much at stake for students. Many gave up their jobs hoping they would be in Germany now, and some were unable to work because they had to try and attend classes online. They have € 10,000 ($ 11,800) held in a locked account to prove to the German government they can support themselves – but it’s money they can’t touch.

In addition, expensive language test certificates, which prove that they have a sufficient level of English for international courses, are time-limited and running low.

“It was a huge effort for me and my parents to pay for it,” says Sanchez, “and it is very difficult when your plans are interrupted and so much money is involved.”

Read more: International students have to wait months to get a German visa

In Iran, the situation is arguably worse. Currency is struggling, making studying in Europe more expensive month-to-month, and male students only have six months after completing their bachelor’s degree to move abroad before they are required to start 24 months of military service.

“I only have two out of six months before I have to enter the military,” said Mirmiri. “I sold my house to support my studies and the economy here is unstable.”

“It is very stressful. I need to tell the military what is going on.”

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wears a face mask (Michael Sohn / Getty Images)

Students bombard Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, and others, with messages for help

The German government blames security measures, logistics

Students do not feel the embassy is following the advice of the German government. “Foreign students who can prove that their studies cannot be carried out entirely from abroad, for example because they are obliged to attend, can enter the country to start their studies,” Research Minister Anja Karliczek said in an August statement.

They are also frustrated that other countries hard hit by COVID-19, such as the United States and Brazil, have not closed visa appointments for master’s students.

“Whether and when the application or visa can actually be applied or issued in such a case remains a matter of the local situation,” the German Foreign Ministry said in an emailed response to questions from DW.

“As a result of the dynamic pandemics in Mexico and Iran, the embassy ‘s ability to work has been greatly reduced since spring for reasons of infection protection for visitors and employees.”

The statement added that the ministry was working to ensure students received visas, and said a total of 310 academic visas had been issued in Mexico City and Tehran in the third quarter of this year. That figure, however, is not specifically limited to master’s students.

Back in Puebla, Sanchez hopes that the number will enter it soon. “I chose Berlin because I wanted to help make a difference in the world,” he said. “I just hope the German government can see that.”

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Australia is no longer sending navies to the Middle East, shifting focus to Asia-Pacific, China | Instant News


Australia’s three-decade naval presence in the Middle East is coming to an abrupt end this year as the Federal Government grapples with an increasingly uncertain strategic environment that is getting closer to home.

Defense Secretary Linda Reynolds announced Australia would no longer send Australian Navy ships to the Middle East every year.

The last Australian Navy ship to deploy to the region, HMAS Toowoomba, returned to Australia in June this year.

Australia will also withdraw from the US-led naval coalition patrolling the Strait of Hormuz by the end of 2020.

That means Australia’s 30 years of maritime operations in the Middle East – largely focused on counter-terrorism and counter-piracy operations – are coming to an end.

In a statement, Senator Reynolds said the Government’s priorities had shifted.

“This year is already visible [the] The Navy is responding to the wildfires and the COVID-19 crisis, five ship deployments across Southeast Asia and the Pacific, ongoing commitments to initiatives under Pacific Step Up, and some very successful activities with our regional partners, “said Minister Reynolds.

“As a result, the Australian Defense Force will reduce its naval presence in the Middle East to allow more resources to be deployed in our region.”

The shift is marked on Government’s most recent Defense Strategic Update, arguing that the deteriorating strategic situation will force the military to focus more on the Indo-Pacific region and directly on Australia.

The Australian Navy will also rejoin the Malabar naval exercise with the US, Japan and India.(Supplier: DoD / Chris Cavagnaro)

China has been involved in massive naval building over the past decade, and has asserted increased control over the waters of the disputed South China Sea by building a series of military fortifications.

Relations between the United States and China have also become increasingly hostile, sharply increasing the risk of conflict in the region.

Australia has participated in a growing number naval exercises in the region with a range of allies and partners, including the United States and Japan.

Earlier this year Australian warships confront the Chinese Navy while sailing near the disputed island claimed by Beijing on its way to the trilateral exercise.

Next month The Australian Navy will also rejoin the Malabar naval exercise with the US, Japan and India after being absent for more than a decade.

Senior officials, military officers and Morrison Government ministers have been contemplating transitioning away from the Middle East for several years.

Last year there was debate within the Federal Government when the Trump Administration asked Australia to join a US-led naval coalition to protect ships in the Strait of Hormuz near Iran.

Eventually, The Morrison government agreed to send reconnaissance aircraft and frigates to join the mission.

A gray plane sits on the airport runway
An Australian reconnaissance aircraft joins the US-led coalition in the Strait of Hormuz.(Provided: Department of Defense / Brenton Kwaterski)

But one government source told the ABC the decision was “hotly debated.”

The head of Joint Naval Operations, Lieutenant General Greg Bilton, said the changes announced by the Government were “historic” and Senator Reynolds said Australia could be “proud” of its naval contribution.

“For more than 30 years we have supported freedom of navigation, maritime security and free trade flows in the Middle East,” he said.

“Working closely with our partners, our commitment is invaluable in disrupting the global drug trade, supporting reducing funding channels for terrorism activities and building the capacity of regional forces.”

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