News in Brief

Global trade union leader sacked over EU graft scandal

AFP – The general secretary of the international union ITUC has been dismissed from his post, the confederation said, over his links to a European Parliament graft scandal implicating Qatar.
Luca Visentini was arrested in December as part of the investigation into suspected corruption among MEPs involving Qatar and Morocco.
The 54-year Italian – who was detained for two days then released, but remained a suspect – was suspended by the board of the International Trade Union Confederation in December.

China names US-sanctioned general as defense chief

Bloomberg – China named a general sanctioned by the US to be its new defense minister, setting up a potentially awkward encounter if he’s ever paired up with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for a meeting.
General Li Shangfu was unanimously appointed minister of national defense and a state councilor — China’s equivalent of a cabinet member — at the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Sunday.

Swiss president defends neutrality, Ukraine
arms ban

AFP – Swiss neutrality is more important than ever, President Alain Berset said in an interview published Sunday, defending the controversial ban on transferring Swiss-made arms to Ukraine. "Swiss weapons must not be used in wars," he told the NZZ am Sonntag weekly.
The long tradition of neutrality has been hotly debated since Russia's military operation in Ukraine in February 2022.
While the country, which is not a member of the European Union, has followed the bloc's lead on sanctions targeting Moscow, it has so far shown less flexibility on its military neutrality.


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