Tag Archives: Civil

Libya fighting could trigger new refugee crisis, says EU, amid fears of civil war

Libya fighting could trigger new refugee crisis, says EU, amid fears of civil warForces loyal to Libya’s beleaguered UN-backed government carried out airstrikes on Saturday to try to stop rebel troops advancing on Tripoli, raising fears the country may be heading back to full-blown civil war.  As the army of Khalifa Haftar, a military strongman in control of eastern Libya, claimed to have seized control of Tripoli's airport, EU officials warned that instability could trigger a fresh flow of migrants and refugees heading towards Europe.  A meeting of G7 foreign ministers called on Gen Haftar to halt his offensive and even his traditional supporters Russia and Egypt expressed concern that his sudden advance would plunge Libya into chaos.  The 75-year-old general’s advance on Tripoli appears to be a power play designed to strengthen his negotiating position ahead of a UN-brokered conference on Libya’s future scheduled for later this month.  Since the fall of Gaddafi in 2011, the country has been fractured and its government divided. A UN-backed government controls Tripoli with the support of several militias from western Libya while Gen Haftar is in charge of most of the east.  Territorial control in Libya The UN hoped that the conference would pave the way for national elections but Gen Haftar decided to use military force against his western rivals.   “Haftar felt that Tripoli players had not submitted enough to him ahead of the national conference," said Jalel Harchaoui, research fellow at the Clingendael Institute. "So he chose military force to change the facts on the ground.” The UN’s envoy for Libya, Ghassan Salame, said he hoped the conference would still go ahead as planned.  Gen Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) said Saturday they had seized control of Tripoli’s main airport, which has not been functional since large parts of it were destroyed in fighting in 2014.   Militia forces supporting the government carried out at least one airstrike south of Tripoli against his troops. No casualties were reported. The LNA said it would shoot down any aircraft over western Libya and target the airfields from which they took off.  Up to 1 million refugees and migrants are estimated to be in Libya, many being held in horrific conditions in militia-run detention centres. The EU has supported Libyan militia coastguards to stop migrants crossing the Mediterranean towards Europe.  The U.N. Envoy for Libya, Ghassan Salame, speaks during a news conference in Tripoli, Libya April 6, 2019.  Credit: REUTERS/Hani Amara Antonio Tajani, president of the European parliament, warned that fighting in Libya would “risk generating a new migratory crisis, with increased flows heading mainly towards Italy and other Mediterranean countries”. He called on the EU to “intervene immediately” to prevent a chaotic escalation.  The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) also raised concerns about the fate of migrants being held in detention centres if fullscale fighting broke out around them. “The safety of migrants in detention is especially concerning should there be an escalation in military action,” the IOM said.  G7 foreign ministers meeting in France called on Gen Haftar to “halt all military activity and movements towards Tripoli”. Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French foreign minister, said: ”There is a fundamental principle in Libya. There will be no military victory. The solution can only be a political solution.” The foreign ministers of Russia and Egypt, which have both backed the military strongman, met in Cairo on Saturday and also said there needed to be a political solution in Libya.  However, Russia also warned against efforts to blame Gen Haftar for the insecurity in the country.  While Gen Haftar’s troops have advanced rapidly over 48 hours, it is not clear they have the strength to defeat the coalition of militias supporting the government and seize control of Tripoli.  Nearly 150 of his soldiers and dozens of vehicles were captured by pro-government forces on Friday as they tried to join the offensive towards Tripoli.



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Jussie Smollett update: Lawyer for 'Empire' actor responds to Chicago's civil suit threat, says he will depose Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Jussie Smollett update: Lawyer for 'Empire' actor responds to Chicago's civil suit threat, says he will depose Mayor Rahm EmanuelA lawyer for actor Jussie Smollett has issued a response to the city of Chicago's threat to sue the actor.



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Democrats' civil war between progressives and moderates will bring 2020 Trump victory

Democrats' civil war between progressives and moderates will bring 2020 Trump victorySince the 2016 election, progressive and moderate Democrats have been unified by hatred of President Trump, but the cracks in the party are opening.



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Iran bans Boeing 737 MAX from airspace: civil aviation

Iran bans Boeing 737 MAX from airspace: civil aviationIran’s civil aviation authority said Friday it had banned Boeing 737 Max jets from its airspace, the latest in a series of countries to do so after a deadly crash. The decision was announced by civil aviation spokesman Reza Jafarzadeh, in a bulletin published by the transport ministry. “Following the banning of the 737 MAX from the airspace of many countries, including America, which is the country that builds it, this type of plane is now banned from Iranian airspace,” Jafarzadeh said.



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College admissions scandal: Stanford students file civil lawsuit amid 'bribing scheme' controversy

College admissions scandal: Stanford students file civil lawsuit amid 'bribing scheme' controversyTwo Stanford students have filed a civil lawsuit alleging they were denied a fair opportunity to be admitted to Yale and the University of Southern California – amid the ongoing college admissions scandal in which 50 people are accused of participating in what authorities have described as a large-scale bribery scheme. Lawsuits began emerging on Wednesday, a day after federal prosecutors said a California company made about $ 25m from parents seeking spots for their children in top schools including Georgetown University, Stanford University, the University of Southern California and Yale University.



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'Wonder Woman' urges calm in Israeli civil rights fight

'Wonder Woman' urges calm in Israeli civil rights fightHollywood star Gal Gadot has leapt to defend a fellow actress who was chided by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for challenging his party’s treatment of Arab citizens. Netanyahu and his Likud party have been accused of using scare tactics and demonising Israel’s Arab population ahead of April 9 elections in a bid to motivate their right-wing base. “Love your neighbour as yourself,” Israeli-born Gadot wrote on Instagram late Sunday after popular Israeli model and television actress Rotem Sela received online abuse from the public and a personal reprimand from Netanyahu.



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SCOTUS Cracks Down on Civil Asset Forfeiture

SCOTUS Cracks Down on Civil Asset ForfeitureThe Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Wednesday that state and local governments are not exempt from the Constitutional prohibition against imposing “excessive fines” on citizens, significantly constraining the ability of law enforcement to seize the property of criminal suspects.Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for eight of the nine justices, argued that state and local governments unconstrained by the Eighth Amendment's excessive-fines clause are likely to abuse their power.“For good reason, the protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history: Exorbitant tolls undermine other constitutional liberties,” Ginsburg wrote. “Excessive fines can be used, for example, to retaliate against or chill the speech of political enemies. . . . Even absent a political motive, fines may be employed in a measure out of accord with the penal goals of retribution and deterrence.”The case in question concerned Tyson Timbs of Marion, Ind., who had his $ 42,000 Land Rover seized after pleading guilty to selling less than $ 1,000 of heroin. Tyson's property was seized via civil asset forfeiture, which allows the authorities to confiscate property they suspect was used in criminal activity before a suspect is found guilty or even charged with a crime.A trial court subsequently rejected the civil-forfeiture suit brought by the state, holding that the fine should be considered excessive because the vehicle was purchased for more than four times the maximum penalty of $ 10,000 that Timbs could be subjected to for selling heroin under state law.The Indiana Supreme Court then reversed that decision on the grounds that the excessive-fines clause of the Constitution applied only to the federal government in a ruling that was vacated by the High Court on Wednesday.Civil-liberties advocates celebrated the ruling as a reversal of a trend in which state and local governments increasingly rely on asset forfeiture to fund their operations.“Increasingly, our justice system has come to rely on fines, fees, and forfeitures to fund law-enforcement agencies rather than having to answer to elected officials for their budgets,” Scott Bullock, the president and general counsel of the Institute for Justice, said in a Wednesday statement. “This is not just an ominous trend; it is a dangerous one. We are grateful that the U.S. Supreme Court established that the U.S. Constitution secures meaningful protections for private property and limits the government’s ability to turn law enforcement into revenue generators.”



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Trump says one of America’s greatest accomplishments is the ‘abolition of civil rights’

Trump says one of America’s greatest accomplishments is the ‘abolition of civil rights’Donald Trump has accidentally told an audience of global religious leaders that America’s greatest accomplishments include the “abolition of civil rights” during the National Prayer Breakfast. “Since the founding of our nation, many of our greatest strides, from gaining our independence to abolition of civil rights, to extending the vote for women, have been led by people of faith and started in prayer,” the president said on Thursday. The president attended the breakfast in Washington, where speakers addressed the level of division in the country and what one described as a “fracturing of the American family”.



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President Trump's gaffe touts 'abolition of civil rights' at National Prayer Breakfast

President Trump's gaffe touts 'abolition of civil rights' at National Prayer Breakfast"Many of our greatest strides … have been led by people of faith," Trump said.



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Trump credits people of faith for 'abolition of civil rights' at National Prayer Breakfast

Trump credits people of faith for 'abolition of civil rights' at National Prayer BreakfastSpeaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., Thursday, President Trump stumbled while crediting America’s God-fearing citizens for the country’s historic achievements.



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