United Nations, Nov 20 (AP/UNB) — The United Nations is still aiming to send invitations to 150 Syrians by mid-December to participate in a committee that would draft a new constitution for Syria, which is key to holding elections and ending the country's civil war, a U.N. envoy said Monday.
Staffan de Mistura, the U.N. special envoy for Syria, told the Security Council that the U.N. also aims to hold the committee's first meeting before Dec. 31.
But de Mistura said the Syrian government is objecting to 50 members of the committee representing civil society, experts, independents, tribal leaders and women that he was authorized to put together at a Russian-hosted Syrian peace conference in Sochi on Jan. 30.
Under the Sochi agreement, the committee is to comprise 150 members. There is already agreement on the 50-member delegation from the government and the 50-member delegation from the opposition.
But De Mistura warned that if there is no agreement on the remaining members, the U.N. may have to conclude that it's not possible to form a "credible and inclusive" constitutional committee at this stage.
He said the U.N. welcomes "constructive and moderate suggestions" to change the list of the disputed 50 members. But de Mistura said they must "maintain the same spirit of credibility, balance and international legitimacy," and he stressed that the list can't be filled with political leaders who are already represented.
The U.N. envoy said that at his last briefing to the Security Council in December "it will be my duty to explain where we are on the constitutional committee, and leave a clean and clear ground to my successor regarding it."
De Mistura was supposed to step down at the end of December but U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Monday he will be staying on "for a bit longer" to make sure there is no gap "at an extremely critical time in the Syria talks." He will be succeeded by veteran Norwegian ambassador Geir Pederson.
"The weeks to come will be of crucial importance" in attempts to form a constitution-drafting committee, de Mistura said.
U.S. deputy ambassador Jonathan Cohen urged the constitutional committee to be convened in December — "if not sooner."
He said de Mistura has been "more than patient and flexible" in accepting input on the list of committee members.
"Any further deliberation must be seen for what it is: an artificial delay, a transparent attempt to distract and delay progress toward a political solution in Syria," Cohen said.
He said the Syrian government and its allies Russia and Iran can't be allowed to veto de Mistura's decision on the committee's membership.
"The burden is on Russia to show that it wants its own diplomatic initiative to succeed," Cohen said. "Russia must bring the Syrian regime to the table. If it truly wants a political solution, Russia must end the obstruction of this process."
Dhaka, Nov 20 (UNB) - Two men lead a herd of camels through a brutal sandstorm and a haze of rain in a dramatic video that’s gone viral for both its drama, and its beauty.
The video looks like a scene from an apocalyptic movie. It shows two men leading a camel through a haze of rain and sandstorm and over flooded, sandy terrain. After a moment, the camera turns and reveals a row of about twenty camels following behind.
Saudi Arabia’s eastern region experienced “code red” weather over the weekend, with heavy rains, thunderstorms and strong winds turning the Saudi sands into a wet marshland by Monday.
The video was taken on a road near Tumair, north of Riyadh and filmed by photographer Fahad Al-Osaimi. The camels belong to Ayedh Al Massoud and the video was first shared by his son, Abd El-El Massoud.
المقطع أكثر تداولاً لإبل والدي : عايض بن سعد آل مسعود القحطاني ، في شرق تمير وشكراً لصاحب الموقف والمصور فهد بن سبلان العصيمي .. pic.twitter.com/63EWYN7VcM— عبدالاله آل مسعود (@boode_m) November 14, 2018
“I saw camels stranded and trapped by heavy rains and floods in the central region of Tamir,” Al-Osaimi told al Arabiya. The men led the camels more than 3 kilometers, trying to calm the scared animals as they went.
The video was widely shared on social media and was featured on local news channels, as many admired the dramatic footage. Unfortunately, Saudis are facing more miserable weather this week.
Chicago, Nov 20 (AP/UNB)- Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says the four dead in the shooting at Mercy Hospital include two hospital employees, a Chicago police officer and the suspected gunman.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the two hospital employees were a doctor and a pharmacy assistant.
Chicago police superintendent says gunman shot and killed female doctor, with whom he was in a relationship with, in parking lot.— ABC News (@ABC) November 20, 2018
Police exchanged fire with suspect after he entered the hospital. A pharmacy tech, an officer and the suspect were killed. https://t.co/KvKad5iM4C pic.twitter.com/vwdD9JzdMA
Johnson says the shooting began outside the hospital with a “verbal altercation” in the parking lot between people who knew each other. A friend tried to intervene and the suspected gunman pulled up his shirt and showed a weapon. Gunfire erupted and the shooter ran inside the hospital, where police confronted him.
He says that one of the women killed was in a domestic relationship with the gunman.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office says it has been notified that four people have died in the shooting at Chicago’s Mercy Hospital & Medical Center.
The Chicago Police Department says Monday that one of its officers was shot in the attack and later died at a hospital.
Earlier, witnesses said a gunman repeatedly shot a woman near a parking lot outside the building before entering the hospital and opening fire. Police say. Police say the suspected gunman is dead, but it’s unclear if he took his own life or was killed by police.
Chicago police have secured a hospital following a shooting that left the suspected gunman dead and four others critically wounded.
Mercy Hospital & Medical Center released a statement late Monday afternoon saying police officers have secured the facility and that patients are now safe.
Witnesses say a gunman repeatedly shot a woman near a parking lot outside the building before entering the hospital and opening fire Monday afternoon .
Police say an officer and at least one hospital employee are among the four people critically wounded in the attack. Police say those patients are being treated at other hospitals.
Police say the suspected gunman is dead, but it’s unclear if he took his own life or was killed by police.
Police haven’t released details about the suspected gunman, the victims or a possible motive.
A witness says he saw a gunman repeatedly shoot a woman outside a Chicago hospital before making his way inside and opening fire.
James Gray tells KABC-TV he was inside Mercy Hospital on Monday when the shooting unfolded . He described the scene as “mass chaos.”
Gray says the man was walking with a woman near a parking area when he turned and shot her in the chest multiple times. He says the man then stood over the woman and continued shooting.
Gray says the man then entered the hospital, and “just started shooting at random.”
Chicago police say the suspected gunman was later killed. Police say four people were critically wounded, including a police officer and at least one hospital employee.
Police issued an earlier statement saying there were “reports of multiple victims” after shots were fired near the hospital on Chicago’s South Side.
Police say the suspected gunman is dead and four people are in critical condition following a shooting at a Chicago hospital.
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says a police officer and at least one hospital employee are among those hospitalized in critical condition following the Monday afternoon shooting at Mercy Hospital.
Guglielmi says the gunman was killed, but it’s unclear if he took his own life or was killed by police.
The department issued a statement earlier on Twitter saying there were “reports of multiple victims” after shots were fired near the hospital on the city’s South Side. Police are asking people to avoid the area.
A spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the mayor and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson are monitoring the situation.
Chicago police say an officer has been shot during an active-shooting incident at a hospital on the city’s South Side.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says the officer is in critical condition. He says one “possible offender” has also been shot, and that officers are now searching the hospital.
The department issued a statement on Twitter saying there were “reports of multiple victims” after shots were fired Monday afternoon near Mercy Hospital. Police are asking people to avoid the area. No other details were immediately released.
A message left for hospital officials wasn’t immediately returned.
Television footage shows several people, including some wearing white coats, walking through a parking lot with their arms up.
Chicago police say officers are searching a hospital after a reported shooting and that one “possible offender” has been shot.
The department issued a statement on Twitter saying there are “reports of multiple victims” after shots were fired Monday afternoon near Mercy Hospital on the city’s South Side.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says officers are searching the hospital. He says at least one “possible offender is shot,” but no details were immediately released. Police are asking people to avoid the area.
A message left for hospital officials wasn’t immediately returned.
Television footage shows several people, including some wearing white coats, walking through a parking lot with their arms up.
Chicago police say they are responding to a shooting near a Chicago hospital with “reports of multiple victims.”
A department spokesman issued a statement on Twitter saying officers are responding after shots were fired near Mercy Hospital on the city’s South Side. The department says there are “reports of multiple victims.”
The police department says it didn’t immediately have more details. A message left for hospital officials wasn’t immediately returned.
Yokohama, Nov 19 (AP/UNB) — Nissan Motor Co.'s high-flying chairman Carlos Ghosn was arrested Monday and will be dismissed after he allegedly under-reported his income and engaged in other misconduct, the company said Monday.
The Japanese automaker's CEO Hiroto Saikawa confirmed that Ghosn was arrested after being questioned by prosecutors following his arrival in Japan earlier in the day.
It was a stunning development that will pose a daunting test for the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance, one of the world's biggest automakers.
The Yokohama-based company said the alleged violations involving millions of dollars by Ghosn, 64, and another executive were discovered during a months' long investigation that was instigated by a whistleblower.
"Beyond being sorry I feel great disappointment, frustration, despair, indignation and resentment," Saikawa said, apologizing for a full 7 minutes at the outset of the news conference. "I want to minimize the bewilderment and the impact on the operation and our business partners."
Nissan said it was providing information to the prosecutors and cooperating with their investigation. The allegations also concern a Nissan representative director, Greg Kelly, who was also arrested.
Saikawa said Nissan's board will vote Thursday on dismissing both Ghosn and Kelly, who he described as the "mastermind" of the alleged abuses.
"This is an act that cannot be tolerated by the company," he said. "This is serious misconduct."
Saikawa said three major types of misconduct were found, including under-reporting income, using investment funds for personal gain and illicit use of company expenses.
Asked why the company had failed to spot the illicit activity for so long, Saikawa said it was because a "system in the company" allowed a lack of transparency that made the wrongdoing possible.
Throughout the news conference he repeatedly said he was constrained by the ongoing investigation from disclosing many of the details of the case. But he promised to beef up corporate governance, adding that the problems may have happened because too much power was concentrated in one person.
"We need to really look back at what happened, take it seriously and take fundamental countermeasures," he said.
Already at Nissan for 19 years, Ghosn signed a contract earlier this year that would have run through 2022. His compensation, high by Japan's moderate standards for executive pay, has been an issue over the years.
According to NHK and the Kyodo News Service, Nissan paid Ghosn nearly 10 billion yen ($89 million) over five years through March 2015, including salary and other income from the company, but reported as if he only made 5 billion yen ($44 million), or half of what he had received.
Nissan's annual securities report shows Ghosn received annual remuneration exceeding 1 billion yen ($8.9 million) until fiscal 2016, when shareholders voted against his pay package and his annual pay dropped to 735 million yen ($6.5 million) in 2017, down more than 30 percent.
Shares in Renault SA of France plunged 14 percent early Monday. The news of Ghosn's troubles broke after Japanese markets had closed for the day.
The allegations are a serious blow at a time when Nissan and Mitsubishi Motor Co. are still overcoming scandals over their quality testing reporting.
Ghosn is credited with helping engineer a remarkable turnaround at Nissan over the past two decades, resuscitating the Japanese automaker from near bankruptcy after he was sent in by Renault.
For the past two decades, he has maintained an unusually high profile in a nation where foreign chief executives of major Japanese companies are still relatively rare.
He looms similarly large in France, where the business world saw him as a trailblazer from outside the traditional French mold who turned Renault around and made it into a global player, notably in electric vehicles. He also led the French carmaker through massive job cuts and a costly, contentious bailout amid the world financial meltdown a decade ago and what he called a "crisis of massive proportions" for the auto industry.
Ghosn has also been a nemesis for French unions and left-wing politicians, who saw him as a symbol of globalized, U.S.-driven capitalism and its excesses — and notably its executive pay packages.
Shareholders at Renault voted in 2016 against Ghosn's pay package, seeing it as too generous — but the board ignored the vote. That prompted the ire of then-President Francois Hollande. Hollande's socialist government imposed limits on executive pay at state-run companies and tried to do the same in the private sector but backed down amid concerns that it would scare away foreign investment.
Nicknamed "Le Cost Cutter," Ghosn's appointment inspired fears of social and economic upheaval amid plant closings, mass layoffs and the potential damage his reforms might inflict on Nissan's ties with its suppliers. But his triumph in turning the company around and introducing greater efficiency made him something of a national hero.
Ghosn served as Nissan's chief executive from 2001 until April 2017, becoming chief executive of Renault in 2005, leading the two major automakers simultaneously. In 2016, Ghosn became Mitsubishi Motors' chairman.
Asked if Ghosn was a charismatic leader or a despot, Saikawa said that as an outsider, "He achieved much that many others could not do in reforms, especially in the beginning."
"This is the negative outcome of the long regime of Mr. Ghosn. But over these 19 years we have been developing many things," Saikawa said. "He was a part of that but it was the result of hard work by many people."
Tel Aviv, Nov 19 (AP/UNB) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he would take on the defense minister portfolio, rejecting calls to dissolve his government even as early elections appeared increasingly likely.
Netanyahu said heading to elections now, amid repeated violent confrontations with Gaza militants, was "irresponsible" of his coalition partners, who have been pushing for early polls since the resignation last week of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman over a Gaza cease-fire.
"Today, I take on for the first time the position of defense minister," said Netanyahu, speaking from Israel's defense headquarters in Tel Aviv in a statement broadcast live at the top of the evening newscasts.
"We are in one of the most complex security situations and during a period like this, you don't topple a government. During a period like this you don't go to elections," he said.
The sudden coalition crisis was sparked by the resignation of the hawkish Lieberman, who had demanded a far stronger response last week to the most massive wave of rocket attacks on Israel since the 2014 Israel-Hamas war. He alleges the cease-fire agreement reached with Gaza's Hamas rulers will put southern Israel under a growing threat from the group, similar to that posed to northern Israel by Lebanon's heavily armed Hezbollah group.
The departure of Lieberman and his Yisrael Beitenu party leaves the coalition with a one-seat majority in the 120-member parliament. Netanyahu's other partners say that makes governing untenable and would leave the coalition susceptible to the extortion of any single lawmaker until elections scheduled for November 2019.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, of the pro-settler Jewish Home party, has already threatened to bring down the government if he is not appointed defense minister. He and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, also of Jewish Home, are set to deliver a statement to the media Monday. If the party leaves the coalition, it would strip Netanyahu of his parliamentary majority.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, another senior partner, says another year of such instability will harm the economy. A meeting between him and Netanyahu Sunday meant to convince Kahlon to stay ended with no results.
Netanyahu's Likud allies are already preparing to pin the blame on coalition partners if the effort to salvage the government fails.
"I think that there is no reason to shorten the term of a national government, not even for one day, and at this moment it's in the hands of the education minister and the finance minister," said Gilad Erdan, the minister of public security.
No Israeli government has served out its full term since 1988. Since then, elections have almost always been moved up because of a coalition crisis or a strategic move by the prime minister to maximize his chances of re-election.
Though Netanyahu has been reportedly flirting with the idea of moving up elections himself in recent months, the current timing is not ideal for him.
He has come under heavy criticism for agreeing to the Gaza cease-fire, especially from within his own political base and in the working-class, rocket-battered towns in southern Israel that are typically strongholds of his Likud Party. But with Lieberman forcing his hand and the other coalition partners appearing eager to head to the polls he may not have a choice.
Most opinion polls show Netanyahu easily securing re-election, which would secure him a place in Israeli history as the country's longest serving leader. But several factors could trip him up, including a potential corruption indictment that could knock him out of contention.
Police have recommended he be indicted on bribery and breach of trust charges in two cases and have questioned him at length on another. The country has long been eagerly awaiting the attorney general's decision on whether to press charges.
Netanyahu has angrily dismissed the accusations against him, characterizing them as part of a media-driven witch-hunt that is obsessed with removing him from office.