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Musings From Abroad

Jacinda takes charge of New Zealand after maternity leave

New Zealand Prime Minister and new mum Jacinda Ardern, only the second world leader to give birth while in office, ended her maternity leave Thursday

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New Zealand Prime Minister and new mum Jacinda Ardern, only the second world leader to give birth while in office, ended her maternity leave Thursday.

After six weeks bonding with her daughter, the 38-year-old said she was looking forward to getting back to work.

She told TVNZ as she marked her first day back with a round of media interviews.

“Of course, this is a unique circumstance and I’m really very keen to get back to work.”

Ardern has opted to work from home in Auckland until the weekend when she will relocate to the capital Wellington.

Read Also: Dozens dead as wildfires force people to flee into the sea

She said that while she and partner Clarke Gayford want to protect the baby’s privacy “at the same time we want to be a family and I do a very public job”.
Gayford, a television fishing show host, plans to be a stay-at-home dad and the main caregiver for their daughter.

The birth capped an eventful year for Ardern, who became prime minister in October just three months after taking charge of the Labour Party as it languished in the polls.

While she announced her pregnancy five months before the birth, Benazir Bhutto — the first world leader to have a child while in office — told almost no one she was pregnant until her daughter was born in January 1990.

Unlike Ardern, who was able to take maternity leave, the Pakistani prime minister underwent a caesarean section and then returned to work.

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Musings From Abroad

Russia’s African influence grows as envoy claims 1,890 ‘instructors’ in Central African Republic

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The Russian ambassador to the Central African Republic, Alexander Bikantov has revealed that the country’s military presence in the insurgency-plagued African country.

Bikantov said in an interview published on Friday that 1,890 “Russian instructors” were present in the country. He mentioned that a focus of operations for the Kremlin-linked Wagner Group mercenary outfit.

“Today, there are 1,890 Russian instructors in the C.A.R.. The government is interested in increasing their number. Relatively recently, Bangui sent the relevant application to the UN Security Council”. Bikantov was quoted by the state-owned news agency RIA.

Russia’s influence among African countries battling insurgency has been on the rise lately, with solidified ties with West African country, Mali and much more recently its neighbours Burkina Faso. Both countries, which are under military dictators have reportedly engaged Russian mercenaries – the Wagner Group in the bid to overcome the uprising in their territories.

There are however reports of likely cases of crimes against humility by the government of Mali in its fight against terrorism in connection with its engagement with the Wagner group.

Although it is mineral-rich, the Central African Republic is one of the poorest countries in the world.

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Musings From Abroad

Israel, Sudan advance talks normalise relations

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Following a transfer of power from the military to a civilian government in Khartoum, Israel, and Sudan have finalized a deal to normalise relations.

The Israeli foreign ministry made the revelation on Thursday, noting that the deal was agreed upon during a visit by Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to “move forward towards normalising relations between the two countries.”

The visit is the first by an Israeli official acknowledged by Sudanese authorities, though there had been a series of exchanges by officials in recent years.

According to a statement by the Israeli foreign ministry, “… the visit, which was made with the consent of the United States, the parties finalised the text of the agreement.”

“The signing ceremony is expected to take place after the transfer of power in Sudan to a civilian government that will be established as part of the ongoing transition process in the country,” it said.

“We definitely look forward to signing the agreement and then to having diplomatic representatives both in Israel and in Sudan,” Lior Haiat, spokesperson for the foreign ministry who took part in the delegation, Cohen told newsmen.

“We are (now) building a new reality with the Sudanese, in which the ‘Three No’s’ will become the ‘Three Yeses’,” he said. “Yes to negotiations between Israel and Sudan, yes to recognition of Israel, and yes to peace between the states and between the peoples.”

In January 2021 Sudan said its then-justice minister Nasredeen Abdulbari had signed the Abraham Accords during a visit by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

A joint statement issued by the governments of Israel, Sudan, and the United States said that “The leaders agreed to the normalisation of relations between Sudan and Israel and to end the state of belligerence between their nations.”

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