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Trump to announce China sanctions after intellectual property theft claims

The Trump administration plans to announce sanctions against China on Thursday after determining that the country is encouraging the theft and transfer of intellectual property from US businesses.

The White House said the actions come after years of talks about the issue that failed to produce change.

The actions are expected to include tariffs, as well as other measures.

The plans have stoked fears of a wider trade war.

Trump: Political heir to Abe Lincoln?

The White House is reported by US media to be considering between $30bn-$60bn in tariffs as well as measures that would restrict investment.

The US may also seek to bring complaints to the World Trade Organisation, trade officials said.

America’s top trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, told members of Congress on Wednesday the US is looking to put “maximum pressure on China and minimum pressure on US consumers”.

Mr Lighthizer said protecting intellectual property is critical to the US economy.

“It’s an enormously important issue,” Mr Lighthizer said at the House Ways and Means hearing. “We think it is perhaps the most important thing that will have been done in terms of rebalancing trade.”

What is behind the tariffs?

A US trade official, who spoke to reporters as part of a briefing, said the US has evidence that China requires firms to create local partnerships to enter the Chinese market, as a way of pressuring them into technology transfer.

The US also found evidence that China steers investments in the US to strategic industries, and conducts and supports cyber attacks.

The findings come from a review of China’s practices that Mr Trump ordered in August, called a 301 investigation.

In section 301 of the trade act, the government has given itself the power to unilaterally impose sanctions against countries which it decides are not trading fairly.

Mr Trump has repeatedly railed against the massive US trade deficit with China.

Does the move have wider support in the US?

There is growing concern in America that China is seeking technology that could be deployed for military purposes.

Congress is also weighing legislation that would boost the government’s power to review foreign business deals, citing the threat posed by state-backed acquisition of US firms.

But some politicians and industries, including retailers, have expressed concern about possible retaliation.

“I’m all for targeting Chinese intellectual property violations, holding them accountable – but let’s be targeted in what we want China to change,” Erik Paulsen, a Republican who represents Minnesota, urged Mr Lighthizer on Wednesday.

“Let’s not shoot ourselves in the foot.”

Mr Lighthizer acknowledged the possibility of retaliation, noting that US agriculture is especially vulnerable. But he said that should not stop the US from taking action.

“I don’t think it is a sufficient worry that therefore we’re not going to stand up for intellectual property but we’re trying to do everything in a measured and appropriate way,” he said at a congressional hearing on Wednesday.

“If there is retaliation, then the United States is going to have to take action to stick up for our farmers.”

What has China said?

China has said there would be no winner from any trade war.

On Tuesday, the last day of the annual sitting of the National People’s Congress, China’s Premier Le Keqiang said he hoped both sides could remain “calm”.

He also said he hoped the US would ease restrictions on exports of high-tech goods to China.

Source: BBC

Facebook’s Zuckerberg ‘sorry’ over Cambridge Analytica ‘breach’

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that the social network “made mistakes” that led to millions of Facebook users having their data exploited by a political consultancy.

Cambridge Analytica is accused of improperly using the data on behalf of political clients.

In a statement, Mr Zuckerberg said a “breach of trust” had occurred.

In a later interview with CNN he said he was “really sorry”, and pledged to take action against “rogue apps”.

He added that he was “happy” to testify before Congress “if it’s the right thing to do”.

In his statement posted on Facebook, he promised to make it far harder for apps to “harvest” user information.

“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you,” Mr Zuckerberg said.

What has Zuckerberg pledged to do?

To address current and past problems, Mr Zuckerberg said his company would:

  • investigate all Facebook apps that had access to large amounts of information before the platform was changed “to dramatically reduce data access” in 2014
  • conduct a “full forensic audit” of any app with suspicious activity
  • ban any developer that did not agree to a thorough audit
  • ban developers that had misused personally identifiable information, and “tell everyone affected by those apps”

In future, he said Facebook would:

  • restrict developers’ data access “even further” to prevent other kinds of abuse
  • remove developers’ access to a user’s data if the user hadn’t activated the developer’s app for three months
  • reduce the data that users give an app when they sign in to just name, profile photo, and email address
  • require developers to obtain approval and also sign a contract in order to ask anyone for access to their posts or other private data

Mr Zuckerberg added: “While this specific issue involving Cambridge Analytica should no longer happen with new apps today, that doesn’t change what happened in the past.

“We will learn from this experience to secure our platform further and make our community safer for everyone going forward.”

Source: BBC

Africa agrees deal for Continental Free Trade Area

The leaders of 44 African countries have signed a deal to create one of the world’s largest free trade blocs.

The agreement was signed at a summit in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.

It is hoped the deal will come into force within six months, and increase prosperity for 1.2 billion Africans.

But 10 countries, including Nigeria, have refused to sign the deal, and it will need to be ratified by all the signatories’ national parliaments before the bloc becomes a reality.

Forty-four countries sign historic African Union free trade agreement

The African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) would remove barriers to trade, like tariffs and import quotas, allowing the free flow of goods and services between its members.

In theory that should boost commerce, growth and employment.

African Union Commission head Moussa Faki Mahamat called it a “glorious challenge… which calls for the courage to believe, the courage to dare… the courage to achieve”.

He then recognised that to succeed the countries will “need to summon the required political will”.

An EU for Africa?

Trade between African countries is relatively low. It accounts for only 10% of all commerce on the continent – compared with 25% in south-east Asia – according to news agency Reuters.

Once the free trade area is established, the ambition is to take further steps that echo the creation of the European Union – like a customs union, a common market, and even a single currency, says Matthew Davies, editor of the BBC’s Africa Business Report.

He says many obstacles still have to be overcome.

One is the relatively low level of manufacturing that takes place on a continent where trade often means selling raw materials to the outside world.

Another is getting Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, on board. President Muhammadu Buhari pulled out of the summit, after “certain key stakeholders” – thought to mean trade unions and businesses – complained they had not been consulted.

The African Union said it hoped those countries with reservations would be persuaded to sign at a later date.

 

Source: BBC

Egypt ‘bans Uber’ after complaints from taxi drivers

Egypt suspended the licenses of ride-hailing companies Uber and Careem on Tuesday, in a court ruling after taxi drivers sought to shut down the two firms’ operations in the country, judicial sources said.

Forty-two Egyptian taxi drivers filed a lawsuit a year ago against U.S.-based Uber and its Dubai-based competitor Careem, arguing they were illegally using private cars as taxis. They also claimed that the two firms were registered as a call center and an internet company, respectively.

Khaled al-Gammal, a lawyer acting for the taxi drivers, said the court suspended the two companies’ licenses, banned their apps and suspended the use of private cars by the two ride-hailing services.

Tuesday’s decision was effective immediately, meaning the companies must suspend services pending a final ruling, although the companies have 60 days to appeal, the judicial sources said.

Uber said it would appeal and it was not immediately clear when a final ruling would be issued.

Careem said it had not yet received any official request to stop operations in Egypt, and continued to operate as normal.

Uber intends to appeal any court decision to suspend ride sharing licenses in Egypt, an Uber spokesperson said.

“We will do all we can to ensure millions of Egyptians can continue to enjoy the benefits of on-demand transportation,” the Uber official said.

“We are fully committed to working with the entire sector – including taxis – to improve mobility in Egypt together. We will appeal this decision, and continue to be available in Egypt in the meantime.”

Uber said Egypt is its largest market in the Middle East, with 157,000 drivers in 2017 signed up and 4 million users having used the service since its launch there in 2014.

The San Francisco-based company said last year it was committed to Egypt despite challenges presented by sweeping economic reforms and record inflation. In October Uber announced a $20 million investment in its new support center in Cairo.

It has had to make deals with local car dealerships to provide its drivers with affordable vehicles and adjust its ride prices to ensure its workers were not hit too hard by inflation.

Egypt is one of Uber’s fastest-growing markets, its general manager in the country, Abdellatif Waked, has said, according to state news agency MENA.

Egypt’s investment ministry said last year that a draft law regulating web-based transport services would provide a legal framework for companies like Uber, but did not say when that bill was likely to be passed.

Uber has faced regulatory and legal setbacks around the world amid opposition from traditional taxi services. It has been forced to quit several countries, such as Denmark and Hungary.

Last year, London deemed Uber unfit to run a taxi service and stripped it of its license to operate. Uber is appealing against the decision.

Source: Reuters

Trump accepts ‘milestone’ meeting with Kim

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has invited Donald Trump to meet him, an unprecedented overture which the US leader has said he will accept.

The shock announcement that a meeting could take place as early as May was made by South Korean officials in Washington.

They passed a verbal message from Mr Kim to Mr Trump and said North Korea’s leader “committed to denuclearisation”.

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said it was “a milestone for peace”.

“If President Trump and Chairman Kim meet following an inter-Korean summit, complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula will be put on the right track in earnest,” he said.

South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong, who earlier this week met Mr Kim in Pyongyang, announced the development after briefing Mr Trump at the White House.

North Korea has not yet issued any official comment on the week’s developments.

Mr Trump said the development was “great progress” but that sanctions on North Korea would remain in place until a firm agreement is reached.

His press secretary Sarah Sanders said they would meet “at a place and time to be determined”.

However analysts remain sceptical about what such rapidly arranged talks – normally the culmination of years of diplomacy – can achieve.

How did we reach this point?

North Korea has been isolated for decades because of its well-documented human rights abuses and its pursuit of nuclear weapons, in defiance of international laws.

Kim Jong-un, his wife and sister have dinner with South Korean officials in Pyongyang (5 March 2018)Kim Jong-un had what appeared to be a cordial dinner with South Korean officials this week

It has carried out six nuclear tests, and has missiles which could reach the US. It says it needs these to ensure its survival.

But South Korea’s hosting of the Winter Olympics gave an unexpected window for diplomacy. Rare inter-Korean talks were held to facilitate the North’s carefully choreographed attendance.

South Korea then held landmark talks with Mr Kim in Pyongyang this week, returning home saying the North was willing to give up its nuclear weapons if it felt it had no reason to keep them.

  • Analysis: Did sanctions push North Korea into talks?
  • What missiles does North Korea have?

What has North Korea pledged?

There were four main elements to the statement:

  • Mr Kim is prepared to sit down with the US president
  • It is “committed to denuclearisation”
  • It will halt all nuclear and missile tests
  • It understands that US-South Korean military drills “must continue”.

The BBC’s Laura Bicker in Seoul says it is important to note that North Korea has not yet promised to abandon its nuclear weapons completely. It also remains unclear exactly what it is asking for in return.

  • North Korea: Does a nuclear test mean war?
  • Are North and South Korea friends again?

The North has halted missile and nuclear tests during previous talks before, only to resume when it lost patience or felt it was not getting what it demanded.

US and South Korean troops conduct training drills in South Korea (file image)The South Korean-US drills are a source of intense frustration for Pyongyang

The last point is also significant. The US has had tens of thousands of military personnel in South Korea since the end of the Korean War. The massive annual joint war games infuriate the North, because it believes they are preparation for invasion.

They were due to take place during the Olympics but have been suspended for now.

Is this a victory for Trump?

Mr Trump has repeatedly belittled Kim Jong-un, and last year threatened him with “fire and fury” if North Korea continued to threaten the US. He has at times said there is no point in talking to North Korea.

North Korean cheerleaders at the Winter OlympicsNorth Korea’s charm offensive during the Winter Olympics included deploying its famed cheerleading squad at matches

But Mr Chung made a point of saying it was Mr Trump’s “maximum pressure policy” which had brought the parties to this point, a gesture which the president is likely to appreciate.

Our correspondent says Kim Jong-un has also scored a propaganda win, first with the Olympics and now by being seen to reach out to the US.

What about the other major players?

The South’s statement also credited “international solidarity” for reaching this point.

Soldiers at the DMZ (file image)The heavily guarded DMZ has been the location of landmark talks in the past

That is likely in part a reference to international sanctions, which have increased with each North Korean show of force.

China, North Korea’s main economic supporter, has in recent months toughened up its dealings with the North, including on key areas like petroleum and oil. This is thought to be putting a major strain on the North.

It has consistently pushed for all parties to talk so will welcome this development.

Japan, which saw North Korean missiles fly over its territory twice last year, welcomed news of a Trump-Kim meeting.

But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan would “keep putting maximum pressure until North Korea takes concrete actions toward denuclearisation”.

Have talks like this happened in the past?

No sitting US president has ever met a North Korean leader, but there have been repeated attempts to get North Korea to denuclearise.

The last major effort – the Six Party talks – collapsed in 2008, largely because North Korea refused to allow inspectors to verify that it had shut down its nuclear programme.

A number of bids to restart the talks also collapsed, including in 2012 when North Korea launched another rocket, two weeks after announcing a “leap day” agreement with the US.

Source: BBC

Top economic policy adviser for Trump resigns

US President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn is resigning, the White House has said.

It is the latest in a series of high-profile departures from President Trump’s team.

There has been speculation that Mr Cohn, a supporter of free trade, was angered by Mr Trump’s plans to impose tariffs on aluminium and steel imports.

In a statement released by the White House, Mr Cohn said it had been “an honour to serve my country”.

The 57-year-old former president of the Goldman Sachs bank helped Mr Trump push through his sweeping tax reforms late last year.

However, the two were not believed to be close.

In August 2017, Mr Cohn criticised Mr Trump over his reaction to a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, saying the administration “can and must do better”. He was reported to have drafted a resignation letter after the event.

“It has been an honour to serve my country and enact pro-growth economic policies to benefit the American people, in particular the passage of historic tax reform,” Mr Cohn said in his statement.

“I am grateful to the president for giving me this opportunity and wish him and the administration great success in the future.”

Analysis by Anthony Zurcher, BBC News, Washington

Gary Cohn was a bit of a stranger in a strange land. He was a Democrat in a Republican White House; an economic globalist working for a president who campaigned on economic nationalism. Now, it seems, Donald Trump’s protectionist bent has pushed the top administration economic adviser to the exit.

This was not an unexpected development. By many accounts, there had been a contentious White House fight over whether to impose sweeping sanctions on US steel and aluminium imports – a tug-of-war that was settled, precipitously, by the president himself last week.

There were the rumours that Mr Cohn was only sticking around to see last year’s tax bill over the finish line, after his extreme discomfort following the president’s warm words about some of the white nationalist marchers involved in violent clashes in Charlottesville last August.

Mr Cohn was reportedly viewed by many Trump loyalists in the White House as an unwelcome interloper. Some on the outside, particularly in the financial world, welcomed him as a moderating influence – along with son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka.

Now the former is leaving and the latter two seem greatly weakened. All this could mark sharp new direction in White House policy.

The White House said Mr Cohn’s exact departure date had yet to be determined.

“For several weeks Gary had been discussing with the president that it was nearing time for him to transition out,” an official said.

In a statement, Mr Trump described his outgoing economics adviser as “a rare talent”.

“Gary… did a superb job in driving our agenda, helping to deliver historic tax cuts and reforms and unleashing the American economy once again,” he said .

“He is a rare talent and I thank him for his dedicated service to the American people.”

Mr Trump later tweeted that he would pick Mr Cohn’s replacement “soon”.

“Many people wanting the job – will choose wisely!” he added.

Possible candidates mooted by US media include White House adviser Peter Navarro and Larry Kudlow, a conservative commentator and 2016 campaign adviser.

Earlier on Tuesday, President Trump tweeted that there was no chaos at the White House but there were “still… some people that I want to change”.

The White House has seen a string of senior figures leave since Mr Trump took office.

Last week, one of his closest aides, Hope Hicks, resigned. She was the fourth person to have served as the president’s communications chief.

It came a day after she had testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee investigating possible Trump campaign ties to Russia, but White House sources said this was not the reason.

Source: BBC

UK company linked to laundered Bitcoin billions

A UK company has been linked to the laundering of 650,000 stolen bitcoins worth £4.5bn, a BBC Radio 4 investigation has found.

The coins were taken by hackers from Tokyo-based Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox, leaving tens of thousands of customers out of pocket.

It’s not clear who is in control of the London-based firm Always Efficient LLP.

Mt Gox operator Mark Karpeles apologised to investors and said he was co-operating with the investigation.

The FBI has charged a Russian national with laundering the stolen bitcoins.

Mt Gox matched up those who wanted to buy the crypto-currency with dollars, pounds and other international denominations with those wanting to sell bitcoins, and handled an estimated 70% of the world’s Bitcoin trade.

The exchange was originally set up to trade cards from a game set in a world of wizards, spells and monsters. When it turned its focus to crypto-currencies, it appeared to be a huge success story.

Almost half of Bitcoin trading is done in Japanese yen, and there’s even a Japanese girl group, the Virtual Currency Girls, which reflects Japan’s growing craze for virtual money.

The Virtual Currency Girls

But a group of amateur investigators, WizSec, found that hackers had targeted Mt Gox.

They had systematically pilfered users’ accounts, hiding their tracks from Mt Gox operators for years.

And in 2014, the site’s chief executive, Mark Karpeles, made the horrifying discovery that hundreds of thousands of coins were missing.

When customers found themselves unable to withdraw funds, the site collapsed.

Speaking for the first time about the collapse to BBC Radio 4’s File on Fourprogramme, Mr Karpeles said: “It felt like… when you fall from a building and you see the ground getting closer, and you feel like you are about to die.”

He said the site had rapidly grown beyond his expectations.

“Mt Gox went from interesting project to being, I would say, a daily nightmare of dealing with banks, governments, people I never knew existed.”

How the coins had gone missing was initially a mystery.

But now investigators say almost half the stolen coins from Mt Gox ended up at rival exchange BTC-e.

‘Cyber-crime hub’

The FBI says BTC-e was a hub for cyber-crime and helped to launder money from hacks, including ransomware attacks of the kind that hit the NHS and other organisations last year.

But trying to find out who operates BTC-e isn’t easy. The exchange claimed to be operated by a British company called Always Efficient LLP.

Always Efficient’s registered office is in east London, but the address is shared by several other firms, some of which are thought to be involved in money laundering.

Duncan Hames, of anti-corruption group Transparency International, said it’s likely to be a shell company.

“People laundering money will set up a network of companies to create layers between the original crime and their attempts to then integrate the proceeds of their crime into the economy,” he said.

“They simply enable a series of transactions to take place to create this distance and to obscure the trail of the proceeds of crime.”

French bitcoin exchange operator Mark Karpeles

In an attempt to regulate these so-called shell companies, new rules introduced in June 2016 now stipulate that companies must publish a list of “persons with significant control” (PWSC).

Always Efficient doesn’t currently have a PWSC. The person most recently listed, Alexander Buyanov, is a DJ in a Moscow nightclub.

According to Andrei Zakharov, a Russian journalist who tracked him down, Mr Buyanov claims he “knew nothing” of the business.

Companies House told the BBC it had a dedicated team dealing with PWSCs, and took action when irregularities were identified.

‘Real risk’ to UK

The FBI says the man behind BTC-e is another Russian national, Alexander Vinnik.

Documents seen by the BBC detail how the stolen Mt Gox money was laundered through various accounts, usernames and email addresses allegedly controlled by Mr Vinnik.

Mr Vinnik was arrested while on holiday in Greece in July 2017, and is currently being detained in Thessaloniki.

Bitcoin graph showing number of coins

The US Department of Justice now wants to extradite him to face 21 counts of money laundering and other financial crimes in the US.

Mr Zakharov said: “They were on the beach and his wife was swimming, and when she turned back she saw a lot of people with sunglasses near her husband, and that’s how he was arrested.”

Russia has also filed an extradition request for Mr Vinnik on lesser, unrelated charges.

The Greek government is now in the process of deciding between the two requests.

Via his lawyer, Mr Vinnick told the BBC he denies having any connection to Always Efficient.

He added: “BTC-e is just a web platform for buying and selling Bitcoin – not an exchange. As such it cannot be held responsible for the source of money used to buy Bitcoin, no more than a bureau du change can be held responsible for exchanging a stolen $100 note into pounds sterling.”

A National Crime Agency (NCA) spokesman said it didn’t “routinely confirm or deny investigations” but recognised “the very real risks to the UK and the UK’s financial sector from large-scale, complex money laundering.”

He added: “Tackling money laundering is a high priority for the NCA, and we have a number of national and international operations running against the criminals involved, working in close partnership with partners in law enforcement and financial regulation.”

Mark Karpeles was arrested and charged with embezzlement related to payments worth £1.7m. He says these were legitimate loans signed off by an accountant.

He’s also charged with manipulation of data. He denies all the charges – none of which relates to the loss of the 650,000 bitcoins.

He told the BBC he was doing all he could to return funds to customers and added: “I am very sorry that when I was in charge things happened the way they did.”

‘Unprecedented’ rise

Mt Gox is not the only Bitcoin currency exchange to be hacked. Even the Virtual Currency Girls have lost money following another recent Bitcoin exchange theft.

Under Japanese bankruptcy law, the remaining 200,000 Mt Gox bitcoins are valued at £300 each, the price they held when the exchange collapsed in 2014.

Since then, the value has increased to around £7,000 each.

Many investors are now pushing to see their Mt Gox bitcoins refunded at the current price, and a decision is expected within the next few months.

So regardless of the outcome in Mr Vinnik’s case, Mt Gox creditors who lost out might still turn a profit, thanks to Bitcoin’s unprecedented rise.

Source: BBC

Saudi king replaces military chiefs in shake-up

Saudi Arabia has sacked its top military commanders, including the chief of staff, in a series of late-night royal decrees.

Saudi King Salman also replaced the heads of the ground forces and air defences.

The news was published by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA), but no reason for the sackings was given.

They come as the war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is fighting rebels, is nearing the end of its third year.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also the defence minister, is believed to be behind various recent shake-ups in the country.

Last year dozens of prominent Saudi figures, including princes, ministers and billionaires, were locked up in Riyadh’s five-star Ritz-Carlton hotel as the prince led a drive against corruption and abuse of power.

Saudi soldiers at an airfield where military cargo planes land to deliver aid in Marib, Yemen January 26, 2018

Who is out? Who is in?

The service of the chief of staff, General Abdul Rahman bin Saleh al-Bunyan, is among those “terminated”, said the SPA.

Various military figures have already been promoted to replace those sacked.

A series of political appointments were announced at the same time, including the rare appointment of a female deputy minister of labour and social development, Tamadar bint Yousef al-Ramah.

People at site of air raid in Yemeni capital Sanaa on February 5, 2018

Prince Turki bin Talal was appointed new deputy governor of the south-west Asir province. He is the brother of billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who was detained in the anti-corruption drive and released two months later.

Source: BBC

Nigeria steps up search for 110 kidnapped schoolgirls

Nigeria has deployed extra troops and planes to search for 110 schoolgirls believed to have been abducted by Boko Haram militants last week.

The girls went missing after jihadists stormed their school in the town of Dapchi in the north-eastern Yobe state on 19 February.

President Muhammadu Buhari said it was a “national disaster” and apologised to the girls’ families.

The attack has revived memories of the Chibok schoolgirl abduction in 2014.

A relative of one of the missing school girls cries in Dapchi. Photo: 23 February 2018

Anger has been growing among the girls’ parents amid reports that soldiers had been withdrawn from key checkpoints in Dapchi last month.

Dapchi, which is about 275km (170 miles) north-west of Chibok, came under attack last Monday, causing students and teachers from the Government Girls Science and Technical College to flee into the surrounding bush.

Residents say that Nigeria’s security forces, backed by military jets, later repelled the attack.

Authorities initially denied the students had been kidnapped, saying they were hiding from their attackers.

But they later admitted that 110 girls were missing after the attack.

Boko Haram militants have been fighting a long insurgency in the country’s north in their quest for an Islamic state in the region.

Nearly four years ago they abducted 276 girls from a school in Chibok, leading to a worldwide #BringBackOurGirls campaign. The location of more than 100 of those girls is still unknown.

The conflict is estimated to have killed tens of thousands of people, and led to the abduction of thousands.

Source: BBC

DR Congo protests: Protester killed in Kinshasa demonstration

Security forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo have used live bullets to disperse a demonstration, killing one protester.

The protests against President Joseph Kabila in the capital Kinshasa were organised by Catholic clergy.

Fifteen people, three of whom are thought to be members of the clergy, have been arrested.

Mr Kabila’s term ended in 2016, but he remains in power and many are angry about the political situation.

Church leaders have led a campaign calling on Mr Kabila to stand down.

Many Christians had planned to take to the capital’s streets after church services on Sunday.

But early on Sunday, security forces surrounded Kinshasa’s main churches and used teargas and gunfire to try to halt the protests.

One man was killed by a live bullet from security forces, staff at St Joseph’s hospital in the city told the BBC.

Several people are reported to have been wounded as a result of the actions of the security forces.

Mr Kabila became president when his father Laurent was assassinated in 2001.

His final mandate expired at the end of 2016.

However, the government and opposition groups have failed to agree on a date for elections.

Source: BBC

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