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UN Indicts China, S/Arabia Over Death Penalty

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UN Indicts China, S/Arabia Over Death Penalty

As the world marks the 16th World Day Against the Death Penalty, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has indicted China, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia for carrying out majority of death penalties.

The UN envoy noted the that majority of executions today were carried out in China, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Noting that about 170 UN Member States have put on hold, the death penalty, he said progress made toward eliminating the death penalty had been “marred by setbacks”.

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He noted that hundreds of offenders – often impoverished, women or hailing from minority groups – have been executed without legal representation or transparent criminal proceedings.

The UN chief argued that legal representation or transparent criminal proceedings might have spared them from the death penalty.

Some 170 Member States have abolished or put a stay on executions, since the UN General Assembly’s first call for a moratorium on its use in 2007.

Guterres noted the lack of transparency in some countries, where the death penalty was still used, underscoring its incompatibility with human rights standards.

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The UN scribe said he was “deeply disturbed” in particular, by the number of juvenile offenders being executed.

“Only last week, Zeinab Sekaanvand Lokran of Iran, was executed for killing her husband, when she was 17, despite a trial marred by irregularities.

“In some countries, people are sentenced to death in secret trials, without due process, increasing the potential for error or abuse,’’ the UN chief regretted.

Guterres called for all nations to abolish the practice of executions adding: “I call on those remaining, to join the majority and put an end to the death penalty now’’.

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UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Andrew Gilmour, had echoed Guterres concerns.

Gilmour said there was “far too much secrecy, and it’s quite indicative of the fact that although many countries are giving up the practice.

“Those that retain it, nevertheless, feel that they have something to hide’’.

World News

Israel Hits Targets Across Gaza After Rocket Attack

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Israel Hits Targets Across Gaza After Rocket Attack

Israeli forces have struck targets across the Gaza strip through Tuesday, including the offices of Hamas supreme leader, in response to a surprise rocket attack from the Palestinian territory.  The military has bolstered its troops and rocket-defense systems in anticipation of a new round of heavy fighting with the Islamic militant group.

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Israel opened public bomb shelters in most major cities and civil defense authorities canceled sports events and public transportation in southern Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had hurried back to Israel from Washington because of the rocket attack, said Israel will not tolerate this, and that he, personally, would not tolerate it. He said Israel will respond forcefully to the rocket attack he called wanton aggression.

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Israeli military said it had retaliated to the latest rocket attacks with fifteen airstrikes.  It also said Hamas military sites and those for smaller jihad group had been hit.

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Hamas has been leading weekly protests along the Israeli border for the past year in hopes of easing an Israeli-Egyptian blockade, but the demonstrations in which nearly two hundred persons have been killed by Israeli fire, have done little to improve conditions.

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World News

Theresa May Loses Control Of Brexit Negotiations, Parliament Takes Over

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Theresa May Loses Control Of Brexit Negotiations, Parliament Takes Over

British Prime Minister, Theresa May, could not be said to have had a good day on Tuesday as she lost control of the Brexit negotiations.  The Prime Minister says parliament’s decision to take control of the stalled process of leaving the European Union underscores the need for lawmakers to approve her twice-defeated deal.

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The House of Commons voted on Monday to take control of the parliamentary timetable on Wednesday so lawmakers can vote on alternatives to the withdrawal agreement the prime minister negotiated with the EU.

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Health secretary, Matt Hancock said on BBC news on Tuesday the government won’t “pre-commit” to accepting the option backed by lawmakers.  He wants lawmakers to support the prime minister’s agreement because, as he put it, the best way through the impasse is the one deal the prime minister has already negotiated with the EU.

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Tuesday’s events are sure to further complicate the process of Britain leaving the bloc.

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African News

UN Says Around 1.85 Million People Affected By Cyclone In Mozambique

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UN Says Around 1.85 million People Affected By Cyclone In Mozambique

The United Nations’ humanitarian agency OCHA has on Tuesday disclosed that close to 1.85 million people have now been affected by Cyclone Idai and its aftermath in Mozambique alone.

“Some will be in critical, life threatening situations. Some will sadly have lost their livelihoods, which whilst an appalling tragedy is not immediately life threatening,” OCHA coordinator Sebastian Rhodes Stampa said.

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Relief organizations, including the international federation of the red cross and red crescent societies, say some cases of cholera had already been reported. Meanwhile, in Zimbabwe the country’s entertainment stars have organized a concert to raise funds to help victims.  There is growing fear of starvation in communities that have been cut off by smashed bridges or destroyed roads.

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The United Nations is also making an emergency appeal for $282 million for the next three months to help Mozambique start recovering.

The UN funding will be used to provide water, sanitation, education and restoring the livelihoods of the hundreds of thousands of displaced people, UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said Monday.

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