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U.S., South Africa to lead UN security council visit to Juba – Craft

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(Sputnik/) The U.S. and South Africa will soon lead a United Nations Security Council delegation to the South Sudanese capital of Juba, U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, Kelly Craft said on Wednesday.

“I am pleased to share that in partnership with South Africa, the United States plans to lead a Security Council visit to Juba in the near future,” Craft said.

Craft called on members of the Security Council to participate in the visit to ensure that South Sudan is on the path toward peace and stability.

She added that the visit would provide South Sudanese leaders with an opportunity to show that they have developed a successful foundation for the establishment of a credible, inclusive and accountable transitional government.

South Africa currently occupies the seat of a non-permanent member state of the UN Security Council.

Earlier in the month, South Sudan President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar, agreed to establish a transitional government by Nov. 12 following a meeting in Juba.

In Sept. 2018, Kiir signed a power-sharing deal with Machar to end the nation’s five-year civil war, and the two leaders signed a formal peace agreement. (Sputnik/)

YEE

(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)

Foreign

South Africa eases lockdown level

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A horse rider practices at a horseback riding site in Johannesburg, South Africa, June 3, 2020. South Africa imposed the lockdown on March 27 to curb the spread of COVID-19. The lockdown was lowered from level five to level four on May 1, and again eased to level three on June 1. (Xinhua/Chen Cheng)

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WHO especially worried about Central and South America: WHO chief

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World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday said that his organization is especially worried about Central and South America, where many countries are witnessing accelerating epidemics.

He said during a virtual press conference that more than 100,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported to WHO for each of the past five days, and the Americas continues to account for the most cases.

“For several weeks, the number of cases reported each day in the Americas has been more than the rest of the world put together,” he said.

WHO continues to work through our regional and country offices to monitor the pandemic, to support countries to respond, and to adapt our guidance for every situation,” he added.

According to the latest WHO figure, globally as of Wednesday afternoon, there have been 6,287,771 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 379,941 deaths, reported to WHO.

The United States of America remains the hardest-hit country by the virus, with a total of 1,798,330 confirmed cases and 105,008 deaths being reported to WHO. Brazil, the second on the list in terms of the confirmed cases, has so far reported 526,447 infections with 29,937 deaths.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

IOM partners with South Sudan to enhance COVID-19 border surveillance

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The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Wednesday that it has entered into a partnership with the South Sudanese government and other United Nations agencies to ramp up surveillance at the country’s borders to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The UN migration agency said a joint team led by government officials recently completed assessment on the establishment of an entry point in Wunthou, Renk, a county bordering the Blue Nile state of Sudan.

“Renk is an important and busy trade and humanitarian corridor,” Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM South Sudan‘s chief of mission, said in a statement issued in Juba.

With 40 to 50 trucks moving across the border each week, Renk has proven to be an important trading hub and is vital to the humanitarian aid lifeline connecting South Sudan and Sudan, Chauzy said.

“As a first step and before establishing a fully-fledged point of entry, infection prevention and control measures such as the installation of handwashing stations must be in place as well as proper management of suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19,” he said.

Chauzy said the team assessed the preparedness and capacity to carry out border management, and found that protracted disputes over demarcation between Sudan and South Sudan due to lack of shared intelligence, leaving movement across the borders uncoordinated.

Zacharia Modi, director of public health in the ministry of health, said: “It is an important step to ensure that while we keep borders open for essentials and humanitarian relief, we do so while taking precautions that protect the public from COVID-19 transmission.”

Modi noted the need to strengthen the capacities of local authorities, frontline officers and local partners in responding to the pandemic, including improving the current infrastructure that is not yet adequate to respond to the health crisis.

“We are very pleased that this joint assessment with the International Organization for Migration and other partners took place,” Modi said.

South Sudan has 1,317 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with six recoveries and 14 deaths, as of Tuesday.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Five killed in renewed South Sudan violence

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At least five people were killed in South Sudan’s capital Juba during renewed violence that erupted Wednesday morning, the presidential spokesperson said.

The presidential spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny said four men and one woman died in the shooting incident, which broke out in the Sherikat neighborhood.

The latest violence was sparked by wrangles over a disputed piece of land.

“The killing of five people is a very serious criminal act and the perpetrators must be punished. Our sympathy to the families of the victims,” Ateny said in a statement issued in Juba

Ateny said the South Sudanese leader was saddened by the loss of lives, adding that perpetrators would be punished.

“The president condemns this in the strongest terms possible and has directed authorities to investigate the incident and press charges against the perpetrators,” Ateny said.

Relative calm has since returned to Juba after tribal and government authorities intervened to stop hundreds of rioting youth who earlier blocked roads with barricades and burning tires.

Ateny said one suspect, believed to be a distant relative of President Kiir, was arrested during the clashes.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Roadside bomb blast kills 9 civilians in southern Afghanistan

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Nine Afghan civilians were killed and five others wounded after their vehicle touched off a Taliban roadside bomb in southern Kandahar province on Wednesday, local police said.

“The incident occurred in Khoshak locality of Arghistan district at mid-day. The injured were shifted to a district hospital,” Jamal Barakzai, provincial police spokesman, told Xinhua.

He blamed Taliban militants for planting the improvised explosive device (IED) on the dusty road in the province, 450 km south of the country’s capital, Kabul.

The Afghan civilians continue to bear the brunt of armed conflicts as more than 3,400 civilians were killed and over 6,900 others injured in conflict-related incidents in 2019, according to the figures released by the UN mission in the country.

Out of the total casualties, more than 880 civilians were killed and over 3,450 others wounded in suicide and non-suicide IED explosions in 2019.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Confirmed COVID-19 cases mounting in South, Southeast Asia as India total infections surpass 200,000

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South and Southeastern Asian countries continued to report spikes in COVID-19 cases Wednesday as India recorded its highest daily increase of 8,909 new cases, bringing the total to cross the 200,000 mark.

The number of confirmed cases rose to 207,615 in India, and the death toll reached 5,815, said the federal health ministry.

As many as 217 new deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, added the ministry’s data.

Bangladesh reported 2,695 more positive cases, bringing the total to 55,140.

A total of 37 deaths including 28 men and nine women were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 746.

In Indonesia, the total cases rose by 684 within one day to 28,233, and the death toll increased by 35 to 1,698.

The number of coronavirus cases in the Philippines surged to 19,748 after the Department of Health reported 751 more infections.

The number of recoveries further climbed to 4,153 after 90 more patients have recovered, and the death toll also increased to 974 after eight more deaths were reported.

Malaysia recorded 93 newly-confirmed cases, pushing the national total to 7,970.

Health ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said at a press briefing that all the new cases are local transmissions, with 91 being foreign nationals and two are locals.

No new deaths had been reported, with the total standing at 115.

The Afghan Ministry of Public Health confirmed 758 new cases, bringing to 17,267 the total number of patients in the country.

Twenty-four patients died within the period, taking the death toll to 294.

South Korea reported 49 more cases compared to 24 hours ago as of 0:00 a.m. Wednesday local time, raising the total number of infections to 11,590.

The daily caseload stayed above 30 for three straight days due to small cluster infections from religious gatherings in the metropolitan area.

One more death was confirmed, leaving the death toll at 273.

South Korea unveiled the country’s biggest-ever supplementary budget plan Wednesday to tackle an economic fallout from the pandemic.

The extra budget plan worth 35.3 trillion won (28.5 billion U.S. dollars) will be submitted to the National Assembly for approval, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

In New Zealand, restrictions on businesses will be removed under COVID-19 Alert Level 1, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern explained the details as New Zealanders are seeing their lives returning to normal.

The country reported no new cases for 12 consecutive days.

The decision to move down to Alert Level 1 will be made on June 8, Ardern said, adding it was possible that New Zealand could move down to Alert Level 1 by June 10.

(XINHUA)

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Libyan gov’t forces kill dozens of eastern-based army soldiers in southern Tripoli

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Libya’s UN-backed government forces said Tuesday that they have killed 48 soldiers of the rival eastern-based army in the south of Tripoli.

“The heavy artillery of the 307 Artillery Battalion destroyed a mortar company of Haftar’s terrorist militias (commander of eastern-based army) in Wadi al-Rabee axis (southern Tripoli),” Mohamed Gonono, spokesman of the UN-backed government’s forces, said in a statement later Tuesday.

“Our brave forces counted 48 bodies of the fleeing terrorists left behind before they escaped from the battlefields,” the statement added.

The spokesman also said that the UN-backed government’s forces has seized eight armed vehicles of the eastern-based army, captured four soldiers, and destroyed 10 military vehicles.

Despite repeated international calls for cease-fire, the eastern-based army and the UN-backed government have been fighting for more than a year over the control of Tripoli, which killed and injured hundreds of civilians and displaced more than 150,000 others.

(XINHUA)

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General news

APC has done well for South East, says Igbokwe

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A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, Mr Joe Igbokwe, on Tuesday said the South East had benefited immensely under the APC government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He made the statement in Ikeja while speaking with newsmen during the inauguration of new executives of Ndigbo APC in Lagos State.

Igbokwe, who is the leader of the group, said the South East had gotten more projects under the APC government than any other government since 1999.

He said the APC government would soon deliver the Second Niger Bridge after several failed promises by previous governments.

Igbokwe, also the Special Adviser to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Drainage and Water Resources, urged more people from the South East to join the APC as the party meant well for the region and the country in general.

“I want more of our people to join the APC given what is happening in the South East now in terms of development.

“I do not think there is any project bigger than the Second Niger Bridge in Nigeria now; the bridge is getting to completion.

“I know that by next year, the government would have finished the bridge. The same bridge that was used to dupe our people for 22 years will soon be completed,” he said.

Igbokwe said the inauguration of the executives was to further strengthen Ndigbo in APC Lagos to take the party to greater heights both in the state and at the national level.

He added that the group had the mandate to mobilise Ndigbo for the APC to ensure the party’s continued foothold in Lagos and the nation.

Igbokwe charged the new executives to discharge their duties without let or hinderance and ensure the growth of the party “from strength to strength”.

He dismissed reports in some quarters that there was division in Ndigbo APC in Lagos State.

The governor’s aide said that whoever was parading himself as apex leader of Ndigbo in Lagos APC outside of the group was an imposter as the group was not factionalized.

Igbokwe said he was the face of Ndigbo in Lagos APC as he had done a lot for the party and that he was recognised as leader by all Igbo political stakeholders in APC.

He called for support for Gov. Sanwoolu, saying the governor was doing his best to take the state to greater heights.

Speaking on behalf of the newly inaugurated executives, the Coordinator, Chief Uche Dimgba,  thanked all members of the group, particularly Igbokwe, for the confidence reposed in them.

He also thanked the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, for giving all members of the party a sense of belonging.

Dimgba promised that he and other executive members of the Ndigbo in Lagos APC would do their best to move the party forward.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports the 15-member executive include Chief Chris Ekwulo(Deputy Coordinator);Princess Oby Onu(Women Leader);Chief Uche Babatata(Organising Secretary);and Mr Leo Obasi(Assistant Youth Leader).


Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Foreign

South Sudan’s minister of East African Affairs dies

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South Sudan’s minister of East African Affairs in the current unity government, John Luk Jok has died, a government spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday.

Michael Makuei Lueth, minister of information and broadcasting, described the deceased as a liberator and scholar who helped write the country’s Constitution in 2011.

“It was this Tuesday morning when I received a telephone call and informed that brother John Luk Jok has passed on. So it is true that it has happened,” Makuei told Xinhua in Juba.

He said there was no official confirmation of the cause of the death.

“We have lost a great man who contributed a lot in a liberation struggle and after liberation. He had ever been a servant of people, and with his death, we have lost a great man,” said Makuei.

(XINHUA)

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