Germany has decided to stop exports of arms to Saudi Arabia because of “instability in the region,” German daily Bild reported yesterday.
Weapons orders from Saudi Arabia have either been “rejected, pure and simple,” or deferred for further consideration, the newspaper said, adding that the information has not been officially confirmed.
The decision was taken on Wednesday by the German Federal Security Council, a government body that includes German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel and seven other ministers, it said.
“According to government sources, the situation in the region is too unstable to ship arms there,” added the daily.
Saudi Arabia follows a strict and highly conservative form of Islam, and, as home to some of the religion’s holiest sites, plays a key role as a spiritual leader for Sunni Muslims and mediator in the Middle East.
Its importance was made clear on Saturday when world leaders converged on Riyadh to offer condolences following the death of King Abdullah, including Britain’s prime minister and France’s president.
Germany was represented by former president Christian Wulff.
The kingdom is “one of the most important clients of Germany’s arms industry,” with 360 million euros (US$403 million) of arms shipments authorized in 2013, Bild said.
However, it has also come under fire from human rights groups for its harsh treatment of religious minorities and women, as well as the lack of transparency in its legal system.
A survey carried out for Bild found that 78 percent of Germans believe Berlin should stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia — and a further 60 percent want to break off trade ties all together — due to human rights violations.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable