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Coups only make crises worse– UN chief

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has said coups only make crises worse, emphasising the need for durable governance and the rule of law.

Guterres said this on Thursday while highlighting the succession of military coups unfolding across Africa at a press encounter at UN Headquarters, in New York.

Wednesday’s military takeover in Gabon came on the heels of July coup in Niger, Burkina Faso in 2022, and Chad, Guinea, Sudan and Mali in the years prior to that.

Overall, all recent coups except Myanmar, in 2021, have taken place on African soil.

The announcement of the takeover in Gabon came shortly after election results were announced saying incumbent president Ali Bongo had been re-elected, amid reports of irregularities at the polls.

“Many countries face deep-seated governance challenges. But military governments are not the solution.

“They aggravate problems. They cannot resolve a crisis; they can only make it worse,” Guterres said.

The UN chief called on all countries to urgently establish credible democratic institutions and rule of law.

Guterres highlighted the need to strengthen international bodies such as the African Union, in their diplomatic efforts to foster peace, stability and democracy on the continent.

At the same time, conditions need to be created that allow African citizens to address the root causes of political instability; lack of development being a major factor, he said.

“Development is a central objective if we want to create conditions for peace and stability in Africa,” the secretary-general said, in response to a question from a journalist.

The Africa has experienced seven coups since August 2020, before the one on Wednesday in Gabon.

Others are Niger · Sudan · Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, Chad.

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Putin Registers As Candidate For Russia’s Next Presidential Election

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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.

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Hong Kong court grants Chinese real estate giant reorganisation postponement

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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.

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