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Uyghurs have urged UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet to avoid falling victim to a public relations stunt as her trip to China enters a delicate new phase on Tuesday with a visit to the remote Xinjiang region.

The ruling Communist Party is accused of detaining over one million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the far-western region as part of a years-long security crackdown the United States has labelled a “genocide.”

China vehemently denies the allegations, calling them the “lie of the century.”

Bachelet is expected to visit the Xinjiang cities Urumqi and Kashgar on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of a six-day tour.

“I hope she can also ask the Chinese government for the whereabouts of my mother,” said Jevlan Shirememet, adding that he had not been able to contact her in four years.

The Turkey-based 31-year-old — from the province’s northern reaches near the border with Kazakhstan — also said he hoped Bachelet would venture further than her itinerary.

“I don’t know why she can’t visit these places,” he told AFP.

Nursimangul Abdureshid — another Uyghur living in Turkey — was “not very hopeful that her trip can bring any change.”

“I request them to visit victims like my family members, not the pre-prepared scenes by the Chinese government,” she told AFP.

“If the UN team cannot have unlimited access in Xinjiang, I will not accept their so-called reports.”

Regional capital Urumqi — population four million — houses major government bodies believed to have orchestrated the province-wide campaign China described as a crackdown on religious extremism.

It is home to a sizeable Uyghur community and was the site of deadly ethnic clashes in 2009 as well as two terrorist attacks in 2014.

Meanwhile, Kashgar — home to 700,000 people — lies in the Uyghur heartland of southern Xinjiang.

An ancient Silk Road city, it has been a major target of Beijing’s crackdown, researchers and activists say, with authorities accused of smothering the cultural hub in a high-tech security blanket while bulldozing Uyghur homes and religious sites.

The outskirts of both cities are pockmarked with what are believed to be detention camps, part of a sprawling network of recently built facilities stretching across the remote province.

Campaigners have voiced concern that Chinese authorities will prevent Bachelet from conducting a thorough probe into alleged rights abuses and instead give her a stage-managed tour with limited access.

The US has said it is “deeply concerned” that she had not secured guarantees on what she will see, adding that she was unlikely to get an “unmanipulated” picture of China’s rights situation.

Speaking in Guangzhou where she met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday, Bachelet said she would be “discussing some very important issues and sensitive issues.”

“I hope this will help us build confidence, and enable us to work together,” she added.

Bachelet also gave assurances on her access to detention centers and rights defenders during a Monday virtual meeting with the heads of dozens of diplomatic missions in China, according to diplomatic sources in Beijing.

Caroline Wilson, the UK’s Ambassador to China, was on the call and said she stressed “the importance of unfettered access to Xinjiang and private conversations with its people.”

“There is no excuse for preventing UN representatives from completing their investigations,” Wilson wrote on Twitter.

Bachelet’s office has also said she will meet with civil society organizations, business representatives and academics.

In addition to mass detentions, Chinese authorities have waged a campaign of forced labor, coerced sterilization and the destruction of Uyghur cultural heritage in Xinjiang, researchers and campaigners say.

Uyghurs overseas have staged rallies in recent weeks pressing Bachelet to visit relatives believed to be detained in Xinjiang.

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Netanyahu: I will not sit with the anti-Jewish Mansour Abbas

Today, Sunday, Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the Israeli opposition, announced his opposition to sitting with Mansour Abbas, head of the United Arab List, claiming that he is anti-Jewish.
And the Hebrew channel “The 12”, this evening, Sunday, quoted Netanyahu as saying that he was shocked by the statements of David Amsalem, a member of his Likud party, in which he said that if the party wins 61 seats to form a government, Netanyahu will agree to the unified list joining the ruling coalition under Netanyahu’s leadership.
“The Ra’im [United Arab List] party is anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist, and supports terrorism,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu was not satisfied with that, but stressed that Mansour Abbas, the leader of the United Arab List, represented the “Muslim Brotherhood” group that seeks to destroy Israel, he said, adding that the Likud party under his leadership would never agree to include Ra’em in the coalition.
Netanyahu’s statements came against the backdrop of what Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced last Monday, that a bill to dissolve the Knesset would be proposed and voted on next week, in a step that is heading the country towards a fifth election in 3 and a half years.
Israeli reports indicated that the date set for holding these elections is next October 25.
During this period, Lapid will assume the position of prime minister in accordance with the rotation agreement, while Bennett will become the alternate prime minister and responsible for the Iranian file in that transitional government.

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Seventeen people found dead in S.African nightclub

At least 17 young people were found dead at a nightclub in a township in South Africa’s southern city of East London on Sunday, police said.

“We got a report about 17 (people) that died in a local tavern in Scenery Park which is based in East London,” a provincial police chief brigadier Thembinkosi Kinana told AFP.

“We are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident,” he added.

He said the victims were aged between 18 and 20 years.

Unverified pictures shared on social media showed bodies with no visible signs of injuries, strewn on the floor of the club.

Local television showed police officers trying to calm down a crowd of people gathered outside the club in the city, which lies on the Indian Ocean coast, nearly 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) south of Johannesburg.

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Explosions shake Kyiv’s center, fire at residential building – officials

Four explosions were heard in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv early Sunday, with AFP journalists reporting a residential complex near the center of the city had been hit, causing a fire and cloud of grey smoke.

The blasts occurred around 6:30 a.m. (0330 GMT), half an hour after air raid sirens sounded in the capital, which has not not come under Russian bombardment for nearly three weeks.

There was no immediate information on casualties.

An AFP colleague living in the same residential complex heard a loud buzz preceding the explosions.

“Several explosions in the Shevchenkivsky district,” Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram.

“Ambulances and rescuers are on site. In two buildings, the rescue and evacuation of residents is underway,” he added.

Thick smoke was seen in the affected residential area, which was cordoned off by police.

At the end of April, a Ukrainian journalist from Radio Liberty was killed in her apartment by a Russian strike on Kyiv during a visit by UN chief Antonio Guterres.

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