Tunisian energy minister and officials sacked over graft accusations

first_imgCorruption was one of main catalysts of the 2011 revolt against autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. Many Tunisians complain graft remains widespread despite a democratic transition since 2011 with free elections.Last year, the government confiscated the property and froze bank accounts of about 20 prominent businessmen arrested on suspicion of corruption.Chafik Jaraya, who maintains political contacts in Tunisia and Libya and helped finance the Nidaa Tounes ruling party during the last elections in 2014, was among those arrested last year.He is in jail awaiting trial. His lawyer has said the charges are politically motivated.Tunisia’s anti-corruption committee has said graft is still widespread in all business sectors and causes losses worth billions of dollars every year.Related BERLIN, GERMANY – FEBRUARY 14: Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (not pictured) arrive to lay flowers at a memorial to the December Berlin terror attack on February 14, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. Earlier in the day the two leaders discussed the acceptance by Tunisia of Tunisians in Germany up for deportation due to failed asylum applications. The issue has become sensitive in light of the December terror attack in Berlin by Tunisian national Anis Amri, whose deportation was pending but had been delayed due to the slow response by Tunisian authorities. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images) Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)Tunisia’s Prime Minister Youssef Chahed sacked the energy minister, Khaled Kaddour, and four other senior officials linked to that ministry on Friday over corruption accusations, an official source said.Chahed ordered the merger of the ministries of energy and industry and launched an investigation into the accusations, the official source told Reuters.There was no immediate comment from Kaddour – the first minister targeted in a crackdown on corruption that Chahed launched last year. So far only mid-level officials have lost their jobs.One of the other officials dismissed on Friday – secretary of state for energy, Hachem Hmidi – told Reuters he denied the accusations.“My exit from the government helps me to devote myself to the case and prove that I am innocent of these malicious charges,” he said. Somali auditor general sacked after bodyguards kill minister There were no immediate statements from the other officials named by the source – the director general of fuel, the head of the national oil company, ETAP, and the ministry’s director general of legal affairs.center_img Former Zambian minister facing graft charges Nigerian minister, top officials summoned over immigration dealslast_img read more


The Sevastova US Open will start against the talented housewife Gofu…

first_imgSevastov is 44th in the WTA rank, but Gofa is in 50th place.The two tennis players have not played each other in their previous careers.It has already been reported that several tennis stars, including Latvia’s first racket Alona Ostapenko, will not be able to be seen at the US Open Championship due to the Covid-19 pandemic.Several favorites have withdrawn from this year’s tournament, such as last year’s champion Bianka Andrescu, Simon Halep, Ashley Barthy, Kiki Bertens, Jelena Switolina and other high-level tennis players.Last year’s men’s tournament winner Rafael Nadal also did not go to New York to defend his title won last year.New York was one of the worst-hit U.S. cities in March and April, when the Covid-19 epidemic took over the United States. The temporary hospital was even set up on the indoor courts of the US Tennis Center.The US Open tennis championship tournament will start on August 31.last_img read more


‘Onward’ tops box office with disappointing $40 million weekend

first_imgWalt Disney Studios(NEW YORK) — Disney-Pixar’s Onward delivered an estimated $40 million in its opening weekend, but while it was good enough to top the box office, the animated feature, starring Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, came in on the low end of expectations.Overseas, the film earned an estimated $28 million.  Pixar is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.The weekend’s other new release, the Ben Affleck-led sports drama The Way Back, also failed to meet expectation, taking third place with an estimated $8.5 million opening.  Emma, the period film based on Jane Austin’s novel of the same name, expanded nationwide on Friday, finishing just outside the top five at number six with an estimated $5 million.The Invisible Man, the new take on the H.G. Wells classic science fiction novel, dropped to second place in its second week of release, delivering an estimated $15.1 million, bringing its stateside totals to over $52 million.  Worldwide, the horror flick has grabbed just shy of $100 million to date.Sonic the Hedgehog landed in fourth place with an estimated $8 million weekend.  In its fourth week of release, the animated film has collected north of $40 million.  It’s worldwide tally now stands at $295 million.Rounding out the top five was The Call of the Wild, closing out the weekend with an estimated $7 million.In limited release, First Cow, the drama John Magaro, Orion Lee, Toby Jones, Ewen Bremner, Alia Shawkat and René Auberjonois in one of his final film roles, opened in four locations and earned an estimated $96,059. The crime drama The Burnt Orange Heresy, starring Mick Jagger, Donald Sutherland, Claes Bang and Elizabeth Debicki, nabbed an estimated $18,296, also from four locations. Lastly, the Annette Bening and Bill Nighy-led drama Hope Gap opened at 18 theaters, grabbing an estimated $32,655.Here are the top 10 movies Friday through Sunday, with estimated domestic box office earnings:1. Onward, $40 million2. The Invisible Man, $15.1 million3. The Way Back, $8.5 million4. Sonic the Hedgehog, $8 million5. The Call of the Wild, $7 million6. Emma, $5 million7. Bad Boys for Life, $3 million8. Birds of Prey, $2.16 million9. Impractical Jokers: The Movie, $1.8 million10. My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising, $1.5 millionCopyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more