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World breaking news today (January 5): U.S. judge blocks Trump sanctions targeting human rights lawyers

January 05, 2021 | 10:28

World breaking news today (January 5): U.S. judge blocks Trump sanctions. Meanwhile, Touadera wins re-election, Mexican president offers Assange asylum, and gold price also make headlines today.

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks about a Trump administration executive order on the International Criminal Court as Defense Secretary Mark Esper listens during a joint news conference at the State Department in Washington, U.S., June 11, 2020

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks about a Trump administration executive order on the International Criminal Court as Defense Secretary Mark Esper listens during a joint news conference at the State Department in Washington, U.S., June 11, 2020 (Photo: Reuters)

U.S. judge blocks Trump sanctions targeting human rights lawyers, war crimes tribunal

U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla in Manhattan issued a preliminary injunction against the White House from imposing criminal or civil penalties against four law professors under an executive order from President Donald Trump last June.

Trump had authorized economic and travel sanctions against employees of the Hague-based ICC and anyone supporting its work, including a probe into whether U.S. forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan between 2003 and 2014, as reported by Reuters.

Failla said the plaintiffs would likely succeed in showing that Trump’s order unconstitutionally stifled their speech, resulting in irreparable harm.

A Department of Justice spokesman declined to comment.

The lawsuit was brought by the Open Society Justice Initiative, a New York-based human rights group, and the professors.

Administration officials have accused the ICC of infringing U.S. sovereignty and allowing Russian manipulation to serve Moscow’s interests, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo labelling the tribunal a “kangaroo court.

The central African Republic President Touadera wins re-election

President Faustin-Archange Touadera has won Central African Republic’s Dec. 27 presidential election by securing more than 53% of votes in the first round, according to provisional results announced by the electoral commission on Monday.

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President Faustin-Archange Touadera (Photo: BBC)

Faustin-Archange Touadera, having received the absolute majority of the vote in the first round with 53.9%, is declared winner,” Mathias Morouba, president of the electoral commission, told a news conference in the capital, Bangui.

The election was marred by a coordinated offensive by rebel groups who tried to disrupt the vote after former President Francois Bozize’s candidacy was rejected by the country’s highest court.

Attacks and the destruction of voting materials, including on election day, prevented voting in several towns.

Morouba said about half of the country’s electorate, or around 910,000 people, had registered to vote and turnout among the registered voters was 76.3%, Reuters said.

Mexican president offers Assange asylum after U.S. extradition bid thwarted

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday offered political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a move that could anger the United States, which is seeking his extradition.

Celebrating a decision by a British judge on Monday to deny a request to extradite Assange to the United States, Lopez Obrador said he wanted his foreign minister to ask Britain if it could release Assange so Mexico could offer him asylum.

U.S. authorities accuse Assange of offenses during the administration of former President Barack Obama relating to the release by WikiLeaks of confidential U.S. military records and diplomatic cables which they say put lives at risk.

2259 mexico
(Photo: Yahoo News)

Although the Obama administration opted not to prosecute Assange, Lopez Obrador’s offer drew criticism as an undiplomatic gesture given that Obama’s former vice president Joe Biden is about to assume the U.S. presidency.

Lopez Obrador has said he expects to have good relations with Biden as president. Still, he upset Democrats by waiting weeks to recognize Biden’s election victory over Republican President Donald Trump.

The British judge denied the U.S. extradition request on the grounds that Assange’s mental health problems made him a suicide risk. U.S. prosecutors are set to appeal the ruling.

A leftist who took office two years ago, Lopez Obrador has long railed against ruling elites. Casting his presidency as a radical departure from establishment politics, he has previously spoken out on behalf of Assange, 49.

Islamic State claims responsibility for the attack on Pakistan’s Shi’ite minority that killed 11

Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack on Sunday that killed 11 miners from Pakistan’s minority Shi’ite Hazaras in Baluchistan province.

The attack took place early on Sunday morning in the Mach area of Bolan district around 100 kms southeast of Baluchistan’s capital Quetta, killing the miners who were in a shared residential room near the coal mine where they worked, officials said.

The throats of all coal miners have been slit, after their hands were tied behind their backs and (they were) blind folded,” a security official told Reuters, requesting anonymity as he is not allowed to speak to media.

A video clip making the rounds on WhatsApp groups, apparently shot by a first responder, showed three bodies lying outside the room and the rest inside in pools of blood.

The condemnable killing of 11 innocent coal miners in Mach Baluchistan is yet another cowardly inhuman act of terrorism,” Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a tweet.

2107 is
(Photo: NBC News)

Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the attack, through its Amaq news agency via its Telegram communications channel.

The attack came after a relative lull in nearly a year of violence against the mainly Shi’ite Hazara minority in the province.

Following Sunday’s attack, members of the Hazara minority in Quetta blocked the western bypass and set fire to tyres to protest against the killings, Hindustan Times reported.

Gold price prediction – prices rally breaking out as riskier assets slide

Gold prices started 2021 on a positive note breaking out and closing near a 2-month high. Risk-off sentiment ahead of Tuesday’s US Senate runoff in Georgia helped buoy the yellow metal. The dollar continued to trend lower, hitting a fresh 34-month low while US yields edged lower. A stricter lockdown in the UK and a slower rollout of COVID vaccines weighed on riskier assets. Housing prices are rising significantly in the middle of the US as people turn away from the coasts due to COVID.

2208 gold
(Photo: Khaleej Times)

Gold prices moved higher, breaking out above trend line resistance and testing resistance near the November highs near 1,950. A close above this level will lead to a test of the August highs at 2,075. Support is near the 10-day moving average near 1,885. The 10-day moving average crossed above the 50-day moving average, which means a medium-term uptrend is now in place. Short-term momentum has turned positive as the fast stochastic generated a crossover buy signal.

The current reading on the fast stochastic is 91, above the overbought trigger level of 80, foreshadowing a correction. Medium-term momentum is positive as the MACD (moving average convergence divergence) histogram prints in the black with a positive trajectory, which points to higher prices, according to FX Empire.

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Jasmine Le