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Ethiopia and rebel forces reach cease-fire agreement after two-year conflict

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The Ethiopian government has agreed to end the two-year conflict with rebel forces in the country’s northern Tigray region.

The agreement on the “permanent cessation of hostilities” was reached on Wednesday, at a meeting in South Africa, after the latest round of peace talks convened by the African Union (AU).

Olusegun Obasanjo, former Nigerian president and AU envoy, who led the on-and-off negotiations for more than a year, described the agreement as the beginning of peace.

“The two parties in the Ethiopian conflict have formally agreed to the cessation of hostilities. This moment is not the end of the peace process but the beginning of it,” he said.

“Implementation of the peace agreement signed today is critical to the success of the process.”

Millions of people have been displaced by the fighting between both parties, which started in November 2020.

The fighting began after forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which was the nation’s pre-eminent power broker for decades before being sidelined by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, reportedly attacked a federal army base.

The conflict has drawn in neighbouring Eritrea, which supports Ahmed, and spilled over into Sudan, where thousands of civilians have taken refuge.

All combatants have committed abuses, according to United Nations human rights investigators, who recently singled out the Ethiopian government as using “starvation of civilians” as a weapon of war.

Meanwhile, months after an earlier cease-fire, violence broke out again as both sides traded accusations of staging new assaults.

In a statement issued following the agreement, the Ethiopian prime minister said the country remains committed to peace.

“The agreement signed today in South Africa is monumental in moving Ethiopia forward on the path of the reforms we embarked upon four and half years ago. Our commitment to peace remains steadfast. And our commitment to collaborating for the implementation of the agreement is equally strong,” the statement reads.

“On behalf of the people and Government of Ethiopia, I would like to express my gratitude to the African Union Commission and the AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa His Excellency former President Olusegun Obasanjo, together with esteemed members of the high representative’s team; His Excellency former President Uhuru Kenyatta and Her Excellency Dr. Phumuzile Mlalmbo, former Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa.

“I would also like to thank His Excellency Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission for spearheading the AU’s principled position of ‘African Solutions to African Problems’.

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Donald Trump’s Organization found guilty of tax fraud

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Two The Trump Organization companies have been found guilty on multiple charges of criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records connected to a 15-year scheme.

The Trump Corp. and Trump Payroll Corp — the two companies — are owned by former United States President Donald Trump.

Juan Merchan, the justice who presided over the trial in state court in New York on Monday, said the Trump Organization — which operates hotels, golf courses, and other real estate outfits around the world — was found guilty on all charges of tax fraud.

The case centred on charges that the company paid personal expenses like free rent and car leases for executives — including Allen Weisselberg, former chief financial officer — without reporting the funds.

Trump was not charged in the case.

However, according to testimony during the four-week trial, the former president had a hand in the fraud as he reportedly signed bonus checks annually, paid private school tuition for Weisselberg’s grandchildren, authorised the lease for his luxury Manhattan apartment and approved a salary deduction for another executive.

While the company is not at risk of being dissolved, the charges could impact its ability to do business such as obtain loans or contracts.

“This was a case about greed and cheating,” said Alvin Bragg, Manhattan’s district attorney.

“The Trump Corporation and the Trump Payroll Corporation got away with a scheme that awarded high-level executives with lavish perks and compensation while intentionally concealing the benefits from the taxing authorities to avoid paying taxes.

“Today’s verdict holds these Trump companies accountable for their long-running criminal scheme.”

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Peru’s president, Pedro Castillo impeached and arrested after attempting to dissolve congress

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Peru swore in a new president on Wednesday following a day of political turbulence that saw former President Pedro Castillo arrested after making a last-ditch bid to cling to power.

Dina Boluarte, Castillo’s vice, was eventually sworn in, making her Peru’s first female president.

She was elected after a majority of 101 members in the country’s 130-person legislative body voted to impeach Castillo.

Earlier on Wednesday, the former president said he would shut down the opposition-controlled congress, launch a “government of exception,” and call for new legislative elections.

In a televised speech, he said “a new congress with constituent powers to draw up a new constitution” would be convened “within no more than nine months”.

“In response to citizens’ demands throughout the length and breadth of the country, we have decided to establish an exceptional government aimed at re-establishing the rule of law and democracy,” the leftist leader said.

His speech sparked outrage and angry accusations from both opposition politicians and his allies that he was attempting a coup. Many ministers also resigned from their positions.

Castillo attempted to dissolve congress hours before it was scheduled to begin the third round of impeachment proceedings against him since he took office in July 2021, but he was unsuccessful.

Boularte called for a political truce in her acceptance speech as the nation’s new leader.

She also announced the formation of a new cabinet that would include members of all major parties.

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German police arrests 25 people on suspicion of plotting coup

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The police in Germany have arrested 25 individuals across the country over an alleged plot to overthrow the government.

The suspects were alleged to be members of the Reichsbürger (Citizens of the Reich) movement.

The Reichsbürger is a far-right movement that does not believe in the legitimacy of the modern German state.

According to the BBC, reports from Germany suggest that the far-right group was planning to attack the Reichstag, the parliament building, and seize power.

Heinrich X111, a 71-year-old man, is alleged to have been at the heart of the movement’s alleged plot to overthrow the government.

Marco Buschmann, Germany’s justice minister, posted on Twitter saying the federal prosecutor-general is investigating a suspected terrorist network with ties to the Reichsbürger movement.

Buschmann said there is suspicion that the movement is planning an armed attack on constitutional bodies.

“Democracy is well defended: Since this morning, a major anti-terror operation has been taking place,” the minister said.

“The Federal Public Prosecutor is investigating a suspected terrorist network from the Reich citizen milieu. There is a suspicion that an armed attack on constitutional bodies was planned.”

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