By Gistflash News
Aug 21, 2021
The Taliban will be accountable for its actions and will investigate reports of reprisals and atrocities carried out by members, an official of the Islamist militant group told Reuters on Saturday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that the group planned to ready a new model for governing Afghanistan within the next few weeks.
It has been just a week since the Taliban completed a lighting fast takeover of the country, finally walking into Kabul last Sunday without firing a shot.
Since then, individual Afghans and international aid and advocacy groups have reported harsh retaliation against protests, and roundups of those who formerly held government positions, criticised the Taliban or worked with Americans.
“We have heard of some cases of atrocities and crimes against civilians,” the official said, adding: “If Talibs (members) are doing these law and order problems, they will be investigated.
“We can understand the panic, stress and anxiety.
“People think we will not be accountable, but that will not be the case.”
Although the group has sought to present a more moderate face since its takeover, the Taliban ruled with an iron fist from 1996 to 2001, before being toppled by U.S.-led forces for sheltering al Qaeda militants behind the Sept. 11 attacks.
Former officials told harrowing tales of hiding from the Taliban in recent days as gunmen went from door to door. One family of 16 described running to the bathroom, lights off and children’s mouths covered, in fear for their lives.
The new framework for governing the country would not be a democracy by Western definition, but “It will protect everyone’s rights,” the official added
“Legal, religious and foreign policy experts in the Taliban aim to present the new governing framework in the next few weeks,” he said.
The official declined comment on domestic media reports that
Mullah Baradar, the chief of the Taliban’s political office, had arrived in Kabul.
The chaos at Kabul airport, besieged by thousands of people desperate to flee, was not the responsibility of the Taliban, he added.
“The West could have had a better plan to evacuate,” he said.
Gun-toting Taliban members around the airport have urged those without travel documents to go home. At least 12 people have been killed in and around the airport since Sunday, NATO and Taliban officials said.
A NATO official told Reuters on Saturday that about 12,000 foreigners and Afghans working for embassies and international aid groups have been evacuated from Kabul airport since Taliban insurgents entered the capital.
“We don’t want to start a blame game regarding the evacuation plan.”
As Western nations struggled to ramp up the pace of evacuations amid the chaos and reports of Taliban violence, U.S. President Joe Biden confronted criticism about the planning for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and the Islamist militants’ swift takeover.
“I have seen no question of our credibility from our allies,” Biden told reporters after making a speech from the White House on Friday.
“As a matter of fact,” he continued, “the exact opposite I’ve got … we’re acting with dispatch, we’re acting, committing to what we said we would do.”
Biden has not backed off that deadline, despite calls – internationally and at home from fellow Democrats as well as opposition Republicans – to keep troops in Afghanistan as long as necessary to bring home every American.
Biden said he could not predict the final outcome in Afghanistan, where the United States and allies have waged a 20-year war.
“They’re looking to gain some legitimacy; they’re going to have to figure out how they’re going to retain that country.
“And there’s going to be some harsh conditions, strong conditions we’re going to apply that will depend on … how well they treat women and girls, how they treat their citizens,” he said.
Magnitude 5.8 earthquake hits Greek island of Crete
By Gistflash News
Sept 27, 2021
A magnitude 5.8 strong quake hit Greece’s Crete island on Monday, according to the Geodynamics Institute of the National Observatory of Athens.
The tremor’s epicentre was located at a depth of 10 km, some 25 km south of the city of Heraklion, the capital of Crete island, while aftershocks up to 4.3 magnitude have followed, according to Greek scientists.
Material damage has been reported, with no injuries until now, local officials told Greek national news agency AMNA.
Earlier, the Euro Mediterranean Seismological Centre put the quake’s magnitude at 6.2, which was later revised to 6.0.
WHO investigators seeking COVID-19 origin going back to China
By Gistflash News
Sept 27, 2021
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is launching a new investigation into the origins of COVID-19, months after an earlier probe ended without drawing firm conclusions, according to a report published.
WHO was putting together a team of some 20 scientists, who will be charged with finding new evidence in China and other locales, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The group will examine whether the virus emerged from a laboratory, a theory that has been angrily rejected by China.
In December 2020, WHO investigators began visits to Wuhan, China, where the first known outbreak of the virus took place.
But their March 2021 report said they had gotten insufficient information from Chinese scientists to answer key questions about COVID-19’s origin.
In August, U.S. intelligence agencies issued a separate report saying they also could not make firm conclusions about COVID-19’s origins.
Florida Gov. appoints Nigerian-American, Joseph Ladapo Surgeon-General
By Gistflash News
Sept 25, 2021
Ron DeSantis, Florida Governor, U.S. has appointed a Nigerian-American, Dr Joseph Ladapo, as Florida Surgeon-General and Secretary of the Department of Health.
DeSantis in a statement posted on the Florida Department of Health website, stated that he was pleased to announce Ladapo for the position.
“I am pleased to announce that Ladapo will lead the Florida department of health as our state’s next surgeon-general
“Ladapo comes to us by way of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, with a superb background.”
According to him, Ladapo has had both a remarkable academic and medical career with a strong emphasis in health policy research.
The governor said: ” Ladapo will bring great leadership to the department of health, ” thanking both Dr Scott Rivkees and Dr Shamarial Roberson for their hard work on behalf of all Floridians.
Lieutenant-Governor, Jeanette Nuñez described Ladapo’s as, “an excellent choice to serve as our next surgeon general.
“Ladapo has impeccable credentials and a strong vision to effectively serve the people of Florida at the helm of our public health agency.
“Through his service to our state, we will continue Florida’s work to advance our public health goals,” Nuñez said.
Ladapo said he is honored to have been chosen by DeSantis to serve as Florida’s next surgeon-general.
“We must make health policy decisions rooted in data and not in fear.
“From California, I have observed the different approaches taken by governors across the country and I have been impressed by DeSantis’ leadership and determination,” he said.
The new surgeon-general said he was impressed by DeSantis’ leadership to ensure that Floridians were afforded all opportunities to maintain their health and wellness, while preserving their freedoms as Americans.
“It is a privilege to join his team and serve the people of Florida,” he said.
Ladapo was recently granted a professorship at the University of Florida (UF) College of Medicine.
Prior to joining UF, he served as an associate professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA),caring for hospitalised patients.
He is a graduate of Wake Forest University, who also holds an MD from Harvard Medical School and a PhD in Health Policy from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
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