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Nine U.N. Security Council Members Ask To Discuss Myanmar Inquiry

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Nine U.N. Security Council Members Ask To Discuss Myanmar Inquiry

The chair of a United Nations inquiry that accused Myanmar’s military of genocide is likely to brief the Security Council this month after Britain, France, the United States and six other members requested the meeting, diplomats said on Tuesday.

The move comes as global pressure mounts on Myanmar to act on accountability after a Myanmar military crackdown in the western state of Rakhine last year drove some 700,000 of the largely stateless minority over the border into Bangladesh.

The crackdown followed attacks by Rohingya militants on security posts. Myanmar has denied committing atrocities against the Rohingya, saying its military carried out justifiable actions against militants.

The U.N. inquiry’s report, released in August, called for the U.N. Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Myanmar, impose targeted sanctions and set up an ad hoc tribunal to try suspects or refer them to the International Criminal Court.

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Diplomats say council veto powers China and Russia are likely to protect Myanmar from any push for such measures.

However, they cannot block the briefing on the U.N. report because a minimum nine of the 15 council members support the move, which cannot be vetoed. Diplomats say China and Russia believe the report should first be addressed by the U.N. General Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with human rights.

The letter requesting the briefing was signed by Britain, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, Peru, Kuwait, Ivory Coast and the United States.

Myanmar’s U.N. Ambassador Hau Do Suan wrote to the Security Council on Tuesday to object to the chair of the inquiry being invited to brief the body, warning that it “will only exacerbate mistrust and polarization among different communities in Rakhine” state, where the military crackdown occurred.

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“Putting accountability above all else without regard to other positive developments is a dangerous attempt that will face utter failure,” he wrote.

The U.N. inquiry, established by the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council, said the military carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya with “genocidal intent.” Myanmar rejected the findings as “one-sided” and said it was a legitimate counterinsurgency operation.

The European Union is considering trade sanctions on Myanmar over the Rohingya crisis, potentially stripping the country of tariff-free access to the world’s largest trading bloc, three EU officials said earlier this month. The EU has already imposed travel bans and asset freezes on several military members.

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The United States imposed sanctions on four military and police commanders and two army units in August. New sanctions are under consideration for half a dozen other individuals and at least two military-run businesses, U.S. officials have said.

“Unilateral coercive measures without regard to the situation in Myanmar and imposition of politically motivated external pressure will be detrimental to the existing good will and cooperation of the Myanmar Government with the international community,” Myanmar’s U.N. envoy wrote to the Security Council.

Separately, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has begun examining allegations of forced deportation of Rohingya to Bangladesh. Myanmar has said it wants to repatriate Rohingya who fled.

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World News

Brexit Will Not Happen Next Week

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Brexit Will Not Happen Next Week

Brexit will not happen next week.  The United Kingdom has been granted a bit more time to figure out the terms of its departure from the European trading bloc.  The date could be April the twelfth or may the twenty-second.

European Council President, Donald Tusk, says he would push the departure date to May the twenty-second if the UK parliament approves a withdrawal agreement next week.

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Parliament’s failure to approve the Brexit deal next week would mean deadline for departure from the European Union will be April the twelfth.

The decision to grant the delay came a day after may delivered a televised speech blaming parliament for the Brexit impasse. That speech angered the political spectrum.

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May hopes with this European Council next decision, the House of Commons would pass a Brexit deal next week.  She says that would help bring an end to the uncertainty and would help the UK to leave Europe in a smooth and orderly manner.

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Chemical Factory Explosion In China Kills 47, Injures Over 600

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Chemical Factory Explosion In China Kills 47, Injures Over 600

An explosion at a chemical plant that occurred on Thursday in China’s eastern Jiangsu province has killed 47 people and injured over 600, among which 90 are critically injured, state media reported.

The fire which happened at a plant that contained highly inflammable chemical owned by the Tianjiayi Chemical Company spread to neighbouring factories was finally brought under control at 3.00 a.m. on Friday.

President Xi Jinping, who is in Italy on a state visit, ordered all-out efforts to care for the injured and to “earnestly maintain social stability”, state television said.

Authorities must step up action to prevent such incidents and determine the cause of the blast as quickly as possible, Xi added.

Reuters disclosed that some police at the scene were wearing face masks, sealed off roads to the plant. The blast smashed windows in the village of Wangshang two kilometres (1.2 miles) away, and shocked villagers likened it to an earthquake.

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New Zealand Bans Sale Of Assault Rifles, Semi-Automatic Weapons

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New Zealand Bans Sale Of Assault Rifles, Semi-Automatic Weapons

New Zealand has banned the sale of assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons after the country’s worst-ever attack in which fifty persons were killed in two mosques.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference the ban is in the national interest and it’s about safety… To prevent an act of terror from ever happening again in New Zealand.

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Ardern said she expects the new law to be in place by mid-April.  Buy-back schemes will be established for banned weapons.

Ardern said the suspect arrested in the attacks had purchased his weapons legally and enhanced their capacity by using 30-round magazines “done easily through a simple online purchase.”

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The changes in New Zealand’s gun laws are expected to curtail future acts of random violence like the mass mosques shootings in Christchurch.

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