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Canada first ally to ratify NATO membership bids from Sweden, Finland

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OTTAWA — Canada has become the first country to ratify Sweden and Finland’s request to join NATO, bringing the two countries closer to full membership.

The Prime Minister’s Office says Justin Trudeau met with Finland’s president, Sauli Niinistö, and Sweden’s prime minister, Magdalena Andersson, at the NATO Summit last week.

In a statement, Trudeau says Canada champions the alliance’s open door policy for any European country in a position to “advance the commitments and obligations of membership.”

The Finnish and Swedish ambassadors submitted official letters of application to NATO on May 18, and Canada’s federal cabinet issued orders-in-council on May 26 authorizing the foreign affairs minister to ratify accession protocols for both countries.

The House of Commons also voted unanimously this spring to support the membership bids.

All 30 NATO allies signed off on the accession protocols for Sweden and Finland on Tuesday, sending the membership bids to the alliance countries for legislative approval.

Canada deliberately issued the orders-in-council on May 26 to speed through the ratification process and get it done within hours instead of the usual months.

The move further increases Russia’s strategic isolation in the wake of its invasion of neighbouring Ukraine in February and military struggles there since.

“This is truly a historic moment for Finland, for Sweden and for NATO,” said alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

The 30 ambassadors and permanent representatives formally approved the decisions of last week’s NATO summit when the alliance made the historic decision to invite Russia’s neighbour Finland and Scandinavian partner Sweden to join the military club.

Despite the agreement in the alliance, parliamentary approval in member state Turkey could still pose problems for their final inclusion as members.

Last week, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Ankara could still block the process if the two countries fail to fully meet Turkey’s demand to extradite terror suspects with links to outlawed Kurdish groups or the network of an exiled cleric accused of a failed 2016 coup in Turkey.

He said Turkey’s Parliament could refuse to ratify the deal. It is a potent threat since NATO accession must be formally approved by all 30 member states, which gives each a blocking right.

Stoltenberg said he expected no change of heart. “There were security concerns that needed to be addressed. And we did what we always do at NATO. We found common ground.”

Every alliance nation has different legislative challenges and procedures to deal with, and it could take several more months for the two to become official members.

“I look forward to a swift ratification process,” said Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has given the process added urgency. It will ensconce the two nations in the Western military alliance and give NATO more clout, especially in the face of Moscow’s military threat.

“We will be even stronger and our people will be even safer as we face the biggest security crisis in decades,” said Stoltenberg.

Tuesday’s signing-off does bring both nations deeper into NATO’s fold already. As close partners, they already attended some meetings that involved issues that immediately affected them. As official invitees, they can attend all meetings of the ambassadors even if they do not yet have any voting rights.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2022.

— With files from The Associated Press

 

Sarah Ritchie, The Canadian Press

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Mike Tyson up in arms with Hulu claims it stole his story

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Los Angeles, United States of America (USA)- Former heavyweight boxing champion, Mike Tyson, has accused American streaming service, Hulu, of making a biographical series about his life without his approval and providing him with compensation.

In an Instagram post, Tyson made it clear that he doesn’t support the series, called Mike, and said that Hulu is the streaming version of the slave master.

“Don’t let Hulu fool you. I don’t support their story about my life. It’s not 1822. It’s 2022. They stole my life story and didn’t pay me. To Hulu executives, I am just a n—– they can sell on the auction block.

Hulu tried to desperately pay my brother (UFC president) Dana White millions without offering me a dollar to promote their slave master take-over story about my life. He turned it down because he honours friendship and treats people with dignity. I will never forget what he did for me just like I will never forget what Hulu stole from me.

Hulu stole my story. They are Goliath and I am David. Heads will roll for this. Hulu is the streaming version of the slave master. They stole my story and didn’t pay me. Hulu’s model of stealing the life rights of celebrities is egregiously greedy.

(Neither) Hulu nor any of their supercilious team ever tried to engage in any negotiations with this black man. In their eyes, I am still just a n—– on the auction block ready to be sold for their profit without any regard for my worth or my family. They say this story is an exploration of a black man. It’s more like an exploitation of a black man.

Hulu thinks their tracks are covered by hiring black sacrificial lambs to play the part of frontmen for their backdoor robbery is appalling, but I will always remember this blatant disregard of my dignity.

Someone should get fired from Hulu. Producers were lying to my friends saying I supported the unauthorized series about my life,” said Tyson in an Instagram post.

The eight-episode season of Mike which is set to premiere on the 25th of August stars Michael Jai White, George C. Scott, Paul Winfield, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, and Tony Lo Bianco. The show is directed by Uli Edel.

According to Hulu, Mike is an eight-episode limited series, which explores the tumultuous ups and downs of Tyson’s boxing career and personal life from being a beloved global athlete to a pariah and back again.

 

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Chad’s military junta signs ceasefire agreement with over 40 rebel groups

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Doha, Qatar- Chad‘s military junta has signed a ceasefire agreement with more than 40 rebel groups.

The national reconciliation talks are planned for August 20. Ahead of those talks, the military government in Chad vowed to not take any military or police operations against the signing groups in countries neighboring Chad.

Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, told those at the national reconciliation talks that other groups will join the march of reconciliation and peace, with a view to achieving the aspirations and dreams of the Chadian people.

“The initial peace agreement we are celebrating today will be an important turning point towards stability and prosperity for the Chadian people,” said Al Thani.

Besides the ceasefire, the agreement signed on Monday includes a disarmament program, amnesty and the safe return of rebels outside Chad, the end of recruitment by rebel groups, and the release of prisoners on both sides.

Nevertheless, the signing of the agreement was overshadowed by the absence of Chad’s most powerful armed group, the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), which refused to join in the accord, making any prospects for a return to stability all the more uncertain.

FACT said in a statement ahead of the ceremony that it rejects the accord that will be put to signatories on Monday, calling for a new committee to organize new talks and saying participants in the national dialogue would not be treated equally.

The Union of Resistance Forces, which tried to oust the elder Déby in 2019 by sending a column of fighters in 50 pickup trucks from Libya only to be beaten back by French airstrikes signed the agreement, but another powerful group, the Military Command Council for the Salvation of the Republic, rejected the pledge.

After Chad’s longtime autocratic ruler, Idriss Déby, died while fighting against rebels in April last year, his son Gen. Mahamat Idriss Déby seized power and vowed to lead the country through an 18-month transition period.

Human rights organizations have criticized Déby for a broad crackdown on peaceful protests and the arrests of hundreds of members and supporters of the opposition.

“Chad’s significant military commitments in the fight against terror have meant that the international community has felt comfortable turning a blind eye to the serious human rights violations in the country,” said Human Rights Watch’s director for Central Africa, Lewis Mudge.

 

 

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Israel and Palestine agree to a ceasefire

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Cairo, Egypt- Israel and Palestinian militants have agreed to a ceasefire truce following the intervention of Egypt.

Over the past three days, at least 44 civilians and militants have been killed making it the worst flare-up between Israel and Gaza militant groups since Israel and Hamas fought an 11-day war last year.

The fighting has badly damaged Islamic Jihad, Gaza’s second-largest militia. Two of its key leaders are now dead and many of its bases and weapons factories have been destroyed, factors that allowed Israel to claim victory in this round of fighting.

In an official statement, the Jewish State’s Public Diplomacy Directorate said that it would halt its air campaign on Gaza, but would strike back forcefully if the truce is broken.

The terms of the agreement were not immediately made public. However, Egypt’s official State news agency reported that in the push for a truce, Cairo was working to see the release of an Islamic Jihad militant captured by Israel six days ago, as well as ensure a Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike in an Israeli jail would be transferred to a hospital for medical treatment.

“Our fight is not with the people of Gaza. Islamic Jihad is an Iranian proxy that wants to destroy the State of Israel and kill innocent Israelis. The head of Islamic Jihad is in Tehran as we speak. We will do whatever it takes to defend our people,” said Israeli interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

Israeli aircraft have pummelled targets in Gaza since Friday, while the Iran-backed Palestinian Jihad militant group has fired hundreds of rockets at Israel in response.

Islamic Jihad has fewer fighters and supporters than Hamas, and little is known about its arsenal. Both groups call for Israel’s destruction, but have different priorities, with Hamas constrained by the demands of governing.

Since the last war, Israel and Hamas have reached tacit understandings based on trading calm for work permits and a slight easing of the border blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt when Hamas overran the territory 15 years ago. Israel has issued 12 000 work permits to Gaza labourers and has held out the prospect of granting another 2000 permits.

Before the cease-fire was agreed to, Israeli analysts largely portrayed the episode as a victory and even a warning to Israel’s other enemies in the region particularly Hezbollah, the Islamist militia in Lebanon of the fate that awaits them should they also enter into full-scale combat with Israel in the near future.

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