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UN chief urges the world to emulate Mandela’s legacy

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The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, has called on the world to emulate the legacy of late Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black President.

Guterres said this on Sunday, in his message to mark Nelson Mandela International Day, globally celebrated on July 18, to shine light on the legacy of a man who changed the 20th century and helped shape the 21st.

According to the secretary-general, the day is an opportunity to reflect on the life and legacy of “a legendary global advocate for dignity, equality, justice and human right.

“Each year, on this day, Nelson Mandela’s birthday, we pay tribute to this extraordinary man who embodied the highest aspirations of the United Nations and the human family’’.

“Affectionately known as Madiba, his calls for solidarity and an end to racism are particularly relevant today, as social cohesion around the world is under threat of division.

“With hate speech on the rise and misinformation blurring the truth, questioning science and undermining democratic institutions, societies are becoming more polarised,’’ the UN chief said.

And the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has not only made these ills more acute, but also rolled back years of progress in the global fight against poverty.

“As always in times of crises, it is the marginalised and discriminated against, who suffer the most, often while being blamed for problems they did not cause.

“The pandemic has shown the vital importance of human solidarity and unity, values championed and exemplified by Nelson Mandela in his lifelong fight for justice,’’ the UN chief added

He urged the world to honour Mandela’s call to action and be empowered by his legacy.

The UN chief scribe said: “Let us be inspired by Madiba’s message, that each of us can make a difference in promoting peace, human rights, harmony with nature and dignity for all”.

In 2015, the General Assembly extended the scope of Nelson Mandela Day, to promote humane conditions of imprisonment, raise awareness about the need to ensure prisoners remain part of society, and to value the work of prison staff, as a social service of particular importance.

Through its resolution A/RES/70/175, the Assembly not only adopted the revised UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, but also approved that they should be known as the “Nelson Mandela Rules” to honour the legacy of the late President of South Africa, who spent 27 years in prison, during his struggle. (NAN)

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International

Bin Laden’s Deputy Al-Zawahiri Killed In US Drone Strike

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Al Zawahiri
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A United States drone strike killed Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri at a hideout in Kabul, President Joe Biden said Monday, declaring that “justice had been delivered” to the families of the 9/11 attacks.

Zawahiri’s assassination is the biggest blow to Al-Qaeda since US special forces killed Osama bin Laden in 2011 and calls into question the Taliban’s promise not to harbour militant groups.

It was the first known over-the-horizon strike by the US on a target in Afghanistan since Washington withdrew its forces from the country on August 31 last year, days after the Taliban swept back to power.

“Justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said in a sombre televised address, adding he hoped Zawahiri’s death would bring “closure” to families of the 3,000 people killed in the US on September 11, 2001.

Zawahiri was believed to be the mastermind who steered Al-Qaeda’s operations — including the 9/11 attacks — as well as bin Laden’s personal doctor.

A senior administration official said the 71-year-old Egyptian was on the balcony of a three-storey house in the Afghan capital when targeted with two Hellfire missiles after dawn Sunday.

“We identified Zawahiri on multiple occasions for sustained periods of time on the balcony where he was ultimately struck,” the official said.

The house is in Sherpur, one of Kabul’s most affluent neighbourhoods, with several villas occupied by high-ranking Taliban officials and commanders.

The interior ministry previously denied reports of a drone strike circulating on social media, telling AFP a rocket struck “an empty house” in Kabul, causing no casualties.

Early Tuesday, however, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that an “aerial attack” was carried out.

“The nature of the incident was not revealed at first,” he said.

“The security and intelligence agencies of the Islamic Emirate investigated the incident and found in their preliminary investigations that the attack was carried out by American drones.”

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African Union Hails Landmark Russia-Ukraine Grain Deal

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The African Union on Saturday hailed a landmark deal between Ukraine and Russia that will allow Kyiv to resume exports of grain through the Black Sea and relieve a global food crisis.

Ukraine’s farms are a major source of grain for the world market, in particular in the Middle East and Africa, where food supplies are critically tight.

Cereal prices in the world’s poorest continent have surged because of the slump in exports, sharpening the impact of conflict and climate change and sparking fears of social unrest.

“The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat welcomes the signing by Russia and Ukraine of agreements,” a statement said, praising Senegalese leader and AU chair Macky Sall “for having called for the urgent need for the resumption of cereals from Ukraine and Russia to global markets as made to President Vladimir Putin during a joint AU mission to Sochi” in early June.

Ukraine and Russia and two of the world’s largest grain producers.

But Ukrainian mines laid across the Black Sea to avert an amphibious assault, as well as Russian warships, have blocked exports from Ukraine, leaving up to 25 million tonnes of wheat and other grain in danger of rotting in ports and silos.

Sall thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who oversaw the signing ceremony in Istanbul on Friday, as well as presidents Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.
“This was the objective of the mission I led in Sochi on June 3,” Sall tweeted.

The International Rescue Committee, which helps people affected by humanitarian crises, also welcomed the accord, saying countries in East Africa relied “on Russia and Ukraine for over 90 percent of their wheat imports”.

“The lifting of these blockades will go some way in easing the extreme hunger that over 18 million people in East Africa are facing, with three million already facing catastrophic hunger conditions,” Shashwat Saraf, IRC’s East Africa emergency director, said.

AFP

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Boris Johnson Agrees To Resign As Prime Minister

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British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, on Thursday finally agreed to step down as Britain’s prime minister.

The Tory leader announced his resignation this afternoon at 10, Downing Street, London.

His agreement to step down comes after several weeks of intense calls for his resignation and a loss of party support, borne out of his mishandling of damaging scandals including parties held at Downing Street in defiance of coronavirus lockdowns and the appointment of Chris Pincher into his government despite knowing of past allegations of sexual misconduct.

“It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader of that party and therefore a new prime minister,” Mr Johnson announced.

“I have agreed with Graham Brady, the Chairman of our back bench MPs, that the process of choosing that new leader should begin now.”

More details soon

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