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Archive for February 5, 2022

Newsline: Former U.S. ambassador to China says diplomatic boycotts ineffective

Former Ambassador to China Max Baucus questioned wisdom of the U.S. diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics. Diplomatic boycotts ‘have no effect on Chinese behavior’ whatsoever, he argued. (https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/other/fmr-ambassador-to-china-diplomatic-boycotts-have-no-effect-on-chinese-behavior/vi-AATu34L) Diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics was announced by the U.S. and some other nations over the alleged mistreatment of Uyghurs.

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Newsline: Thousands in Mali celebrate expulsion of French ambassador

Thousands of anti-French protesters took to the streets of Mali’s capital on Friday waving Russian flags and burning cardboard cut-outs of French President Emmanuel Macron in celebration of the expulsion of France’s envoy in Bamako. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-02-04/thousands-take-to-the-streets-of-bamako-in-anti-french-protest) Mali expelled the French ambassador last week over what the country’s transitional government described as “hostile and outrageous” comments by the former colonial power. Relations between Mali and its former coloniser have turned acrimonious after the junta, which seized power in August 2020, reneged on a promise to organise elections in February and proposed holding power until 2025. The failure to hold elections has led to punishing economic and financial sanctions backed by France and other European Union (EU) countries.

Newsline: Vatican Opens its First Embassy in Abu Dhabi

The Vatican opened its first embassy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Friday. Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, the Substitute (Sostituto) of the Vatican Secretariat of State, traveled to Abu Dhabi to inaugurate the diplomatic post on the Arabian Peninsula. “The presence of this new apostolic nunciature is a further sign of the Holy Father’s solicitude and concern for all the people in this land,” Archbishop Peña Parra said at the opening on Feb. 4. “It is Pope Francis’ sincere desire that this edifice will assist the papal representative in carrying out his mission to the United Arab Emirates and to the local Catholic community,” he said. (https://www.ncregister.com/cna/vatican-opens-its-first-embassy-in-abu-dhabi) An apostolic nunciature is a diplomatic mission of the Holy See. It is led by a nuncio, who is a papal legate accredited to the civil government.

Newsline: Man charged after spy cams found in women’s bathrooms at Australian embassy in Bangkok

A former staffer at Australia’s embassy in Bangkok has been charged after multiple spy cameras were found in women’s bathrooms at the mission, a Canberra official said Saturday. Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed that Royal Thai Police had arrested a local former staff member last month. “The welfare and privacy of all staff remains a priority for the department and we continue to provide appropriate support,” a department spokesman said in a statement to AFP. (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/man-charged-after-spy-cams-found-in-women-s-bathrooms-at-australian-embassy-in-bangkok/ar-AATux1L) The spokesman declined to comment further on the ongoing legal matter. Khemmarin Hassiri, commander of the foreign affairs division of the Royal Thai Police, said that the Australia embassy filed a complaint against a man on January 6. Thai police said the investigation was ongoing. It’s unclear how long the cameras had been in the bathroom, with the matter only coming to light after a camera SD card was found on the bathroom floor last year, according to a report by ABC Australia.

Newsline: Mexican gang members found guilty of murdering U.S. consulate employee

A federal jury has convicted two members of the Barrio Azteca gang on felony charges related to the murders of a U.S. Consulate employee in Juarez, Mexico, her husband, and the husband of another consulate employee. Jurors in El Paso found Jose Guadalupe Diaz Diaz and Martin Perez Marrufo guilty of conspiracy counts for racketeering, narcotics trafficking, narcotics importation, money laundering, and murder in a foreign country. The two men from Chihuahua, Mexico, were also found guilty of three counts of murder in aid of racketeering, and three counts of murder resulting from the use and carrying of a firearm in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking. Charges stem from the March 13, 2010, murders of Leslie Enriquez, Arthur Redelfs, and Jorge Salcido Ceniceros. “Although 12 years have passed since these senseless murders, our office has only strengthened its resolve to seek justice for victims of cartel violence,” said Ashley C. Hoff, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas. “These guilty verdicts demonstrate the diligent pursuit of our prosecutors and our commitment to protecting communities from ruthless brutality.” (https://www.borderreport.com/hot-topics/border-crime/mexican-gang-members-found-guilty-of-murdering-u-s-consulate-employee-two-others/) Diaz was extradited from Mexico in 2019 and Marrufo in 2020. Sentencing is scheduled for May 9. Diaz and Marrufo face a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison.