China Calls Expulsion Of Diplomats From US A ‘Mistake’

 

China on Monday called the expulsion of diplomats from the US a “mistake” following reports that Washington quietly expelled two embassy officials in September after they drove onto a sensitive military base in Virginia.

The incident is the latest spat between the world’s two biggest economies and comes days after they announced a truce in the form of a mini-deal to reduce some tariffs in a bruising trade war which has weighed on both sides.

Commenting on The New York Times report, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang called the accusations “completely contrary to the facts” and said they “strongly urge the United States to correct its mistake”.

Beijing has lodged “solemn representations and protests to the US”, said Geng, who called for Washington to “protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese diplomats”.

The incident appeared to be the first time in more than 30 years that the US has expelled Chinese diplomats on suspicion of espionage, the newspaper said Sunday, citing people familiar with the episode.

At least one of the diplomats was believed to be an intelligence officer operating under cover, the Times said.

‘Reciprocal’ measures 

Weeks after the incident at the Virginia base, the State Department placed restrictions on the activities of Chinese diplomats, in what it said was a response to years-old Chinese regulations limiting the movements of US diplomats.

It is not clear if the restrictions were linked to the incident in Virginia.

In turn, China announced measures against US diplomats in the country earlier this month which it said were “reciprocal”, ordering them to notify the foreign ministry before meeting with local officials.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the move was a “countermeasure” to Washington’s decision in October to restrict Chinese diplomats.

The United States and China remain at odds over a number of issues including the situations in Hong Kong and China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang.

Earlier this month the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation seeking sanctions against senior Chinese officials over Xinjiang, where a security crackdown has detained an estimated one million mostly Muslim minorities in re-education camps.

Last month, Washington drew the ire of the Chinese government by enacting a law supporting pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, where six months of increasingly violent demonstrations have rocked the semi-autonomous financial hub.

In response to the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, China suspended US warship visits to the territory and said it had imposed sanctions on American NGOs, though it has not released any details on what they entail.

AFP

 

African Union Threatens To Suspend Sudan Over Coup

Egypt’s President and current Chairperson of the African Union, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. SEYLLOU / AFP

 

The African Union on Monday threatened to suspend Sudan following last week’s coup that saw Omar al-Bashir ousted by the military after nearly three decades in power.

If the junta fails to hand power to civilians within 15 days, the AU will suspend “the participation of Sudan in all AU’s activities until the restoration of constitutional order,” the body’s Peace and Security Council (PSC) said in a statement.

Bashir ruled Sudan with an iron fist for 30 years before he was deposed last week following mass protests that have rocked the country since December.

READ ALSO: Sudan’s New Military Council Chief Steps Down

The protesters have remained in the streets, demanding a return to civilian rule from the military council that’s replaced, Bashir.

The AU echoed the protesters’ demands, calling the military intervention a “coup d’Etat, which (the PSC) strongly condemns.”

The body, which has 55 member states, added that “a military-led transition would be completely contrary to the aspirations of the people of Sudan.”

AFP

Varsity Overturns Expulsion Of Student Over Hug

A female student hugs her male colleague. Credit: @ganobi

 

An Egyptian university has overturned its decision to expel a male student over hugging his female friend on campus, in an incident that sparked controversy in the conservative country.

The young man appeared in a video carrying a bouquet of flowers kneeling before a woman and then hugging her, in what was meant to be a marriage proposal.

The footage was widely circulated online earlier this month and initially prompted the expulsion of both students from their respective universities.

But late Tuesday the Mansoura University in northern Egypt, where the video was shot, reversed its decision to exclude the male student for two years.

The student’s appeal against the expulsion included “his apology for the act committed, a pledge to not repeat it and to commit to the university’s values and ethics,” a university statement said.

It cited the student’s young age, concern for his future and his unfamiliarity with the university’s rules, deciding instead to ban him from taking the semester’s exams.

On Sunday he was interviewed by telephone by a prominent talk show host on channel MBC Masr and said that he had brought the flowers to propose to the woman.

“We were supposed to be engaged but after what happened her parents are refusing this completely,” said the young man, a first-year law student who was identified only by his first name Mahmoud.

A day later, Al-Azhar University in Cairo scrapped the expulsion decision against the young woman who appeared in the video.

The move followed the intervention in her favour of Egypt’s top Muslim cleric, Ahmed al-Tayeb, who is the institution’s grand imam.

Issuing a lesser penalty, the university said the female student would be prevented for taking the first half of her exams.

Al-Azhar is the most prestigious seat of Sunni Islamic learning in Egypt, a predominantly Muslim country which is largely conservative society.

Al-Azhar is touted as standing for Islamic moderation, but critics often accuse the institution of failing to modernise its teachings in order to counter extremism.

AFP

Female Student Expelled From Varsity For Hugging Male Friend

A female student hugs her male colleague. Credit: @ganobi

 

Egypt’s Al-Azhar university on Sunday said it had expelled a female student after she appeared in a video hugging a male colleague, accusing her of undermining the school’s reputation.

The video, which went viral earlier this month, showed a young man carrying a bouquet of flowers kneeling before a young woman and then hugging her in what appeared to be a marriage proposal.

The video was apparently not filmed at Al-Azhar — a branch of Egypt’s highest Sunni Muslim authority — but at another establishment, Mansoura University in the country’s north.

Nevertheless the disciplinary council of the Al-Azhar University campus in Mansoura on Saturday “decided to expel the young girl definitively”, university spokesman Ahmed Zarie told AFP.

He said the video had caused a “public outcry” and that the university’s decision to expel her was because she had presented a “bad image” of Al-Azhar University, which strictly segregates the genders.

He said hugging between unmarried men and women violates “the values and principles of society”.

The woman, however, can appeal the expulsion decision, Zarie said.

The young man who appeared in the video could also face sanctions, a spokesman for Mansoura University said, adding that the school’s disciplinary council will meet on Monday to decide his “punishment”.

Egypt, a predominantly Muslim country, is a largely conservative society.

Last year, prosecutors detained a female singer for four days for “incitement to debauchery” after an online video clip which included sensual oriental dances and suggestive gestures went viral.

And in 2017 another female pop singer was sentenced to two years in prison on similar charges, also over a video deemed provocative. Her sentence was reduced to a year on appeal.

AFP

Canada ‘Seriously Surprised’ As Saudi Expels Diplomat

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks after receiving Foreign Policy’s 2018 Diplomat of the Year award in Washington, DC. NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP

 

Canada said Monday it is “seriously concerned” after Saudi Arabia announced it is expelling Ottawa’s ambassador and recalling its own envoy in protest over “interference” in its internal affairs.

The shock Saudi move, announced by the foreign ministry on Twitter, came in response to Ottawa’s vigorous demands that jailed human rights activists be released.

“We are seriously concerned by these media reports and are seeking greater clarity on the recent statement from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said Marie-Pier Baril, a Canadian foreign ministry spokeswoman.

“Canada will always stand up for the protection of human rights, very much including women’s rights, and freedom of expression around the world. Our government will never hesitate to promote these values and believes that this dialogue is critical to international diplomacy.”

The kingdom earlier said it had declared Canadian Ambassador Denis Horak persona non grata and given him 24 hours to leave the country, and that it was recalling its ambassador from Ottawa for consultations.

The ministry also announced, “the freezing of all new trade and investment transactions with Canada while retaining its right to take further action.”

“The Canadian position is an overt and blatant interference in the internal affairs of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the Saudi foreign ministry tweeted.

Canada last week said it was “gravely concerned” over a new wave of arrests of women and human rights campaigners in the kingdom, including award-winning gender rights activist Samar Badawi.

“We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #humanrights activists,” the foreign ministry tweeted on Friday.

AFP

UNILAG Expels 125 Students, Rusticates 198 Others

UNILAG, Rustication, Protest, Expulsion
The school says it will not tolerate any form of vice or misconduct

 The University of Lagos has ordered the immediate expulsion of 125 students of the institution for forgery and academic misconduct.

Authorities of the school also rusticated 198 students over various offences including examination malpractice, academic and social misconduct.

A list of the over 300 affected students was published on the school’s website on Sunday afternoon.

UNILAG’s Deputy Registrar in charge of information, Toyin Adebule, says beyond the list posted on the institution’s website, the names and photographs of the affected students will soon be published in the media and pasted in different areas of the school.

He added that UNILAG’s action aligns with its commitment to rid the school of all forms malpractices and vices.

According to him, the penalties meted out to the students were based on the severity of the offences. Some of those rusticated were caught smoking Marijuana on campus, while others were engaged in various forms of misdemeanor.

The offences of those expelled were mainly for forged results while the rest were for academic misconduct.

Mr. Adebule said some of the affected students were caught impersonating, writing examinations for others, while others were caught with ‘micro-chips’ during examinations.

He urged the remaining students of the institution currently writing exams to abide by the rules and regulations of UNILAG. He said such rules and regulations were usually accompanied by various sanctions for defaulters.

Mr. Adebule, however, insists that this rustication and expulsion of these 323 students of the institution had anything to do with the recent students’ riot.

Students Protest

In September, some students who were earlier rusticated from the school carried out a peaceful demonstration, over what they termed an alleged violation of their rights by the school’s authority.

Unilag protestThe protest resulted from the suspension of members of the students’ union and the rustication of a student from the environmental sciences department, identified as Adeyeye Olorunfemi, who criticized the management of the institution.

In his open letter to the management which he shared on Facebook, Olorunfemi called out members of the school’s management board, bluntly accusing them of being irresponsible, insensitive and irresponsive to the welfare of the students.

The students claim they are being punished for merely protesting against poor living conditions on campus. They described the punishment meted on members of the Students Union as unjust, meanwhile the acting Dean has dismissed the issue.

He said beyond the issue of the protest, the rusticated students had other charges levied against them which they had refused to acknowledge.

This has made the students agitated about the plight of their fellow students, as it appears that only the school’s highest decision making body, can change the fortunes of the affected students.

Those fortunes, according to Mr. Adebule, have already been sealed.

See full list of rusticated and expelled students here