Connect with us


Top U.S. diplomat meets leaders of Niger military junta



Victoria Nuland

Senior U.S. diplomat Victoria Nuland has met with senior leaders of the military junta in Niger, the U.S. State Department said on Monday.

Nuland, the acting deputy secretary of state, travelled to Niamey to meet with the armed forces’ new chief of staff, General Moussa Salaou Barmou, and three other members of the military junta.

She expressed Washington’s “grave concern regarding developments in Niger and our resolute commitment to supporting democracy and constitutional order,” U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

During the meeting Nuland outlined what was at stake if Niger did not “respect its own constitutional order,” Miller said.

“This includes the potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in economic and security support for the people of Niger,” she highlighted.

She described the more-than-two-hour conversation as “extremely frank and at times quite difficult” in a call with reporters.

Nuland’s request to meet with ousted and detained President Mohamed Bazoum was denied, she said.

“The United States continues to call for the immediate release of President Mohamed Bazoum, his family, and all those detained as part of the extra-constitutional attempt to seize power,” Miller said.

Nuland was also not able to see new self-declared ruler Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani.

Bazoum was ousted in a military coup on July 26.

Tchiani, the commander of Niger’s presidential guard, then claimed power as the country’s new ruler.

He and his group of officers suspended the constitution and dissolved all constitutional institutions.


Putin Registers As Candidate For Russia’s Next Presidential Election



Russia on Monday officially recognised Vladimir Putin as a candidate for the presidential elections in March, a vote that he is all but certain to win.

The 71-year-old has led Russia since the turn of the century, winning four presidential ballots and briefly serving as prime minister in a system where opposition has become virtually non-existent.

The Central Election Commission said it had registered Putin, who nominated himself, as well as right-wing firebrand and Putin-loyalist Leonid Slutsky as candidates for the vote.

The election will be held over a three-day period from March 15 to 17, a move that Kremlin critics have argued makes guaranteeing transparency more difficult.

Following a controversial constitutional reform in 2020, Putin could stay in power until at least 2036.

Rights groups say that previous elections have been marred by irregularities and that independent observers are likely to be barred from monitoring the vote.

While Putin is not expected to face any real competition, liberal challenger Boris Nadezhdin has passed the threshold of signatures to be registered as a candidate.

However, it is still unclear if he will be allowed to run, and the Kremlin has said it does not consider him to be a serious rival.

Continue Reading


Hong Kong court grants Chinese real estate giant reorganisation postponement



Hong Kong’s Supreme Court has once again granted the highly indebted Chinese real estate giant Evergrande a postponement for its reorganisation plan.

Judge Linda Chan surprisingly postponed the decision until Jan. 29, the South China Morning Post reported on Monday.

The property developer, which has liabilities estimated at more than 300 billion dollars, is threatened with liquidation.

However, creditors from abroad had taken the company to court because of its missing several payments.

Chan had already said at the previous hearing that this would be the last postponement and that she would very likely agree to liquidation if China Evergrande did not find a plan for restructuring with its creditors.

According to reports, however, the lawyers of the Hong Kong-listed group had now held out the prospect of being able to reach an agreement with the lenders in the coming weeks.

In the case of liquidation, an insolvency administrator would monetise the company and pay out the creditors.

Meanwhile, some experts were of the opinion that liquidation would return less money to creditors than a reorganisation, China Evergrande argued the same in court, according to reports.

The group had been trying to submit a restructuring plan since 2022, without success. Its founder and once China’s richest man, Hui Ka Yan, is being investigated by the Chinese authorities.

Like many other property groups, the company had been in a serious crisis for some time because it is earning significantly less on the slumping property market.

The company is finding it more difficult to obtain state support and is no longer able to service its loans.

“The Evergrande case also shows that the era of large private property developers in China is coming to an end,’’ says Max Zenglein from the Merics China Institute in Berlin.

If Chan decides to wind up China Evergrande, this could also have an impact on other companies.

“One challenge for the government will be to prevent domino effects in the economy caused by major bankruptcies,’’ says Zenglein.

Continue Reading