Libyan forces has set conditions for lifting blockade on oil production.
Forces loyal to a Libyan commander said they will only allow the reopening of oil fields and terminals once a mechanism has been set up to fairly distribute revenue across the country, which is split between rival, warring factions.
Powerful tribes in eastern Libya loyal to Khalifa Hifter closed export terminals and choked off major pipelines at the start of the year.
The move was aimed at pressuring their rivals in the U.N.-supported government in the capital, Tripoli, in the country's west.
In a statement late Saturday, Ahmed al-Mosmari, a spokesman for Hifter's forces, called for oil revenues to flow into a bank account in a foreign country with a “clear mechanism” to distribute funds fairly among Libya’s regions.
He did not name a country to host the account.
He also demanded international guarantees that oil revenues would not to be used to fund “terrorists and mercenaries.”
He was apparently referring to the mercenaries, mostly Syrians, that Turkey brought in recent months to fight on the side of the Tripoli government, which is backed by an array of local militias as well as Turkey, Qatar and Italy.
Hifter's forces are also backed by a patchwork of armed groups as well as foreign patrons, including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Russia and France.
Al-Mosmari also called for an audit to Libya’s central bank in Tripoli to review the spending in the past years.
Oil, the lifeline of Libya’s economy, has long been at the center of the civil war, as rival authorities jostle for control of Africa’s largest reserves.
The closures have deprived authorities of over $6.5 billion.
Hifter’s supporters say the Libyan Central Bank, which is based in the capital and collects oil revenue, only uses it for the benefit of the Tripoli government.
Last month, the tribes offered to end the closure as part of a political settlement. They mandated Hifter’s forces to negotiate the opening of the oil facilities.
The state-run National Oil Corporation said Friday it has resumed crude exports, shipping 730,000 barrels to Italy. Al-Mosmari said the shipment, which was contracted before the closures, was allowed in order to ease the strain on storage facilities.
In recent weeks, “regional countries” have been quietly negotiating with the Tripoli-based government over the distribution of oil revenues in talks supervised by the U.N. and the U.S., according to the state-run oil company.
Two police officers were shot dead by a suspect after responding to a domestic disturbance call on Saturday.
The authorities said the suspect later fatally shot himself.
McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez identified the slain officers as Edelmiro Garza, 45, and Ismael Chavez, 39.
Garza was an officer with the police department for more than eight years while Chavez had over two years of experience.
“We have lost two brave public servants who sought only to keep peace in our City," Rodriguez, visibly distraught, told The (McAllen) Monitor.
The officers first met with two people who reported assaults that took place inside a nearby home on the south side of McAllen around 3:30 pm on Saturday, Rodriguez said. But the alleged shooter, whom police identified as 23-year-old Audon Ignacio Camarillo, opened fire when officers attempted to enter the home.
“They were doing their job. That is what they were supposed to do. The person was a suspect of the incident, met our officers at the door, and shot at both officers," Rodriguez said. “Both officers suffered fatal wounds, they have both passed away as a result. The officers never had a chance to suspect deadly assault on them, much less death.”
Camarillo shot and killed himself shortly after opening fire on the officers, Rodriguez said, adding that the suspect hid behind a vehicle after other officers responded to the scene. Camarillo had a few run-ins with police beginning in 2016 to his most recent arrest last month on assault charges, according to public records.
More details surrounding the domestic disturbance Garza and Chavez responded to were not immediately known. Rodriguez said the attack happened suddenly and fellow police officers didn’t learn of the officers' deaths until arriving to the area moments later.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who spoke with Rodriguez, offered the full backing of the state and expressed his support via social media.
U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez of McAllen said in a statement that receiving news of the two officers' deaths was “devastating.”
Law enforcement from several cities in Hidalgo County gathered Saturday evening at McAllen Medical to honor Garza and Chavez. More than 50 police cars were part of a procession that accompanied the bodies of the officers, who were taken to Hidalgo County pathology for an autopsy.
India has reported the highest single- day spike in the number of fresh Covid-19 cases on Sunday with the detection of 28,637 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number to 849,553.
India's federal health ministry reported 551 new deaths from COVID-19 during the past 24 hours across the country, taking the number of deaths to 22,674.
This is said to be the highest single day spike in the number of fresh cases in the country so far.
So far 534,621 people have been discharged from hospitals after showing improvement, according to the ministry.
"The number of active cases in the country right now is 292,258, according to the ministry.
The country has entered "Unlock 2.0" phase, though restrictions remain in full force inside the COVID-19 containment zones.
Last week the country's civil aviation watchdog -- the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) announced that commercial international flights to and from India shall remain suspended until July 31.
On Thursday, the government of Uttar Pradesh, the country's biggest state in terms of population, decided to impose a weekend lockdown from Friday night till Monday morning, to cut the chain of transmissions of COVID-19.
Wildlife crime like selling of wild animals in open markets is a threat to both environment and human health as it can increase the transmission of diseases that spread from animals to humans.
The findings were revealed in ‘World Wildlife Crime Report 2020’, produced by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), reports UN News.
The report disclosed that zoonotic diseases represent up to 75 percent of all emerging infectious diseases and include the new coronavirus that caused the global pandemic.
Ghada Waly, executive director, UNODC, said “Transnational organized crime networks are reaping the profits of wildlife crime, but it is the poor who are paying the price.”
Most trafficked mammal Pangolins
The report highlights the trafficking of wild species such as pangolins, which has been identified as a potential source of coronaviruses.
Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) are on their way to China, in efforts to determine the animal source of COVID-19.
Seizures of pangolin scales increased tenfold between 2014 and 2018, making them most trafficked wild mammals in the world.
In the last decade, about 6,000 species were seized, which include mammals but also reptiles, corals, birds and fish.
No single country was identified as the source of more than 9 percent of the total number of seized shipments, while suspected traffickers represented roughly 150 nationalities, underscoring the global nature of these crimes.
Illegal tropical wood on the rise
The UNODC report also analyzed the markets for illicit rosewood, ivory, rhino horn, pangolin scales, live reptiles, big cats and the European eel.
According to the report, trends show demand for African ivory and rhino horn is in decline, indicating that the market for them is smaller than previously suggested.
It is estimated that these two items generated more than $600 million annually between 2016 and 2018, it said.
Meanwhile, demand for tropical hardwood timber has risen significantly over the past two decades. Illegal African rosewood has even entered legitimate supply chains for the furniture trade.
At the same time, seizures of tiger products have also been on the rise, alongside traffickers’ interest in other big cat parts that can serve as substitutes.
Wildlife trade has also gone digital, with traffickers selling live reptiles and tiger bone products, among other products, through online platforms and encrypted messaging apps.
Critical cross-border coordination
UNODC believes stopping wildlife crime is critical to protecting biodiversity and the rule of law, but also for preventing future public health emergencies.
The report underscored the need for stronger criminal justice systems and improved international cooperation and cross-border investigations, among other measures.
Ms Waly, the UN agency’s chief, said “To protect people and planet in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, and to build back better from the COVID-19 crisis, we cannot afford to ignore wildlife crime.”
She also said that “The 2020 World Wildlife Crime Report can help to keep this threat high on the international agenda and increase support for governments to adopt the necessary legislation, and develop the inter-agency coordination and capacities needed to tackle wildlife crime offences.”
Taiwan held various public events after keeping its coronavirus outbreak to a few hundred cases and wrapped up an annual film festival with an awards ceremony Saturday night.
Actors and others lined up for photo shoots with no social distancing, and participants didn’t wear masks in historic Zhongshan Hall in Taipei.
Taiwan, with a population of about 23 million people, has had 451 confirmed cases and seven deaths.
A baseball game in the city of Taichung on Saturday drew more than 10,000 fans for the first time this season, the official Central News Agency said.
Health authorities said last month that fans would be allowed to sit in alternate seats and no longer would have to wear masks, except when leaving their seats. Authorities have been gradually allowing larger crowds since play began in April with no fans.
The horror film “Detention,” set during martial law in Taiwan in the 1960s, was the biggest winner at the Taipei Film Festival, taking six awards including the Grand Prize and Best Actress for 22-year-old Gingle Wang.
Chang Jung-chi, the Best Director winner for “We Are Champions,” said the virus outbreak had forced him to slow down his work. “This comes to me like a friend patting my shoulder and saying, ‘Hang in there,’ ” he said.