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Guterres Urges Paradigm Shift in Israel’s Gaza Strategy

Guterres demanded an investigation into those killings, noting that investigation can only work with the cooperation of the Israeli authorities….reports Asian Lite News

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for a paradigm shift in Israel’s military strategy in Gaza and in aid delivery to save lives.

Following this week’s appalling killing of seven humanitarian workers from World Central Kitchen, the Israeli government has acknowledged mistakes and announced some disciplinary measures, Guterres said on Friday. “But the essential problem is not who made the mistakes, it is the military strategy and procedures in place that allow for those mistakes to multiply time and time again.”

Fixing those failures requires independent investigations and meaningful and measurable change on the ground, he said at a press encounter as the Gaza conflict is about to become six months old.

In its speed, scale and inhumane ferocity, the war in Gaza is the deadliest of conflicts — for civilians, for aid workers, for journalists, for health workers, and for UN staff. Some 196 humanitarian aid workers, including more than 175 UN staff members, have been killed, Guterres was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying.

An information war has added to the trauma, obscuring facts and shifting blame. Denying international journalists entry into Gaza is allowing disinformation and false narratives to flourish, he said.

Guterres demanded an investigation into those killings, noting that investigation can only work with the cooperation of the Israeli authorities.

“One hundred and ninety-six humanitarian workers have been killed, and we want to know why each one of them was killed,” he said.

In the aftermath of the killing of World Central Kitchen staff, the United Nations was informed by the Israeli government of its intention to allow a substantial increase in humanitarian aid distributed in Gaza, said Guterres. “I sincerely hope that these intentions are effectively and quickly materialized because the situation in Gaza is absolutely desperate.”

Dramatic humanitarian conditions require a quantum leap in the delivery of life-saving aid — a true paradigm shift, he said.

Guterres repeated his urgent appeals for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire, the unconditional release of all hostages, the protection of civilians, and the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid.

Last week, the Security Council called for just that in its Resolution 2728. In December, the council demanded, in another resolution, accelerating the delivery of life-saving aid under a UN mechanism. All those demands must be implemented. Failure would be unforgivable, he said.

“Six months on, we are at the brink of mass starvation, of regional conflagration, of a total loss of faith in global standards and norms. It’s time to step back from that brink, to silence the guns, to ease the horrible suffering, and to stop a potential famine before it is too late,” said Guterres.

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Guterres calls for global order that works for everyone

Guterres says the multipolarity has created important opportunities for balance and justice for new leadership on the global stage…reports Asian Lite News

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said global politics is in a deadlock and does not work in favor of anyone. In his opening speech at the 60th Munich Security Conference on Friday, Guterres addressed diplomats around the world at a panel titled Growing the Pie: A Global Order That Works for Everyone.

“As the title of our discussion implies, today’s global order is not working for everyone. In fact, I will go further and say it’s not working for anyone. Our world is facing existential challenges, but the global community is more fragmented and divided than at any time during the past 75 years,” the UN chief said.

Guterres said there is no justification for the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7 or Israel’s military response, which included collective punishment of the Palestinian people.

“The situation in Gaza is an appalling indictment of the deadlock in global relations. The level of death and destruction is shocking in itself, and the war is also spilling over borders across the region and affecting global trades.”

The UN chief said the humanitarian aid operation is no longer on life support in Gaza but is barely functioning.

“Humanitarians are working under unimaginable conditions, including live fire, multiple physical obstacles — and these are all restrictions — as well as the breakdown of public order.”

Commenting on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vowing to carry out an extensive military offensive on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Guterres said the military action on the densely populated city should never take place.

“Rafah is at the core of the entire humanitarian aid operation. An all-out offensive on the city will be devastating for the 1.5 million Palestinian civilians there, who are already on the edge of survival.”

The UN chief reiterated his call for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages and a humanitarian cease-fire in the besieged enclave, saying: “That is the only way to massively scale up a delivery in Gaza. And this must be the foundation for concrete and reversible steps toward a two-state solution based on international law and UN resolutions.”

The UN chief later commented on the war in Ukraine, saying the cost of human lives is appalling.

“The war triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in clear violation of the UN Charter has no place in Europe of the 21st century. Two years in, the cost of human lives and suffering is appalling and the impact on the global economy has been particularly devastating for developing countries.

“We desperately need a just and sustained peace for Ukraine, for Russia and the world; but a peace in line with UN Charter and international law, which establishes the obligation to respect the territorial integrity of sovereign states.”

In his comparison of today’s “world order” to the previous eras, the UN chief said: “Even the Cold War era was in some ways less dangerous. The threat of nuclear war was real and existential. That’s why the United States and the Soviet Union agreed on arms reductions and controls and other mechanisms to prevent mutually assured destruction.”

“Today, in our multipolar worlds, we still face nuclear dangers and we are dealing with two more threats with existential dimensions, the climate crisis and the risks of uncontrolled artificial intelligence and we have been unable to take effective steps to respond to any of these existential challenges.”

Guterres says the multipolarity has created important opportunities for balance and justice for new leadership on the global stage.

“But the transition to multipolarity without strong global institutions can create chaos. When power relations are vague, the dangers of aggressive opportunism and miscalculation grow and today we see countries doing whatever they like, with no accountability. Impunity seems to be the name of the game. And so we must all be determined to reestablish the primacy of the rule of law.”

World leaders gather in Munich

Meanwhile, political leaders from some 40 nations will open the Munich Security Conference on Friday where US Vice President Kamala Harris, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz are expected to speak.

The annual event, which is often called the “Davos for Defense,” will focus on the war in Ukraine and Western policy toward Russia, according to the organizers.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to make the opening speech via videolink and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba will be at the conference in person.

Earlier, Munich Security Conference’s chairman Christoph Heusgen said the official representatives of Russia are not invited so as “not to give them a platform for their propaganda.”

Germany’s Scholz is scheduled to deliver a speech Friday on Berlin’s new foreign and defense policy, followed by a speech by French President Emmanuel Macron on his foreign policy vision.

Harris and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will address the conference on Saturday on the issues of transatlantic security and cooperation.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis​​​​​​​ and British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace are among the participants.

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Guterres reiterates call for UNSC reforms

Guterres introduced last year the New Agenda for Peace with five major points to deal with problems of peace and development….reports Asian Lite News

Setting out his priorities for the year, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has reiterated his call to reform the Security Council to make it more representative in a multi-polar world that “is entering an age of chaos”.

Outlining the failures of the UN’s highest decision-making body, he said on Wednesday, “Indeed our world badly needs: Reform of the Security Council.”

In the New Agenda for Peace that he proposed for dealing with the challenges, “first and foremost, the United Nations Security Council must be able to take decisions and implement them, and it must become more representative,” he said in his address to the General Assembly on his priorities for the year.

In particular, he said that “it is totally unacceptable that the African continent is still waiting for a permanent seat” — a continent where most of the Council’s edicts on peace-keeping are focused.

Guterres introduced last year the New Agenda for Peace with five major points to deal with problems of peace and development.

In his critique of the Council, the UN Chief said, “The primary platform for questions of global peace is deadlocked by geopolitical fissures.” This is the “worst” it has been and “today’s dysfunction is deeper and more dangerous,” he warned.

In overhauling the Council, its “working methods must also be updated so that it can make progress — even when members are sharply divided,” he said.

In one to the efforts in this direction, France, a permanent member of the Council, and Mexico have proposed that the permanent members voluntarily not use their vetoes in cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and large-scale war crimes.

Mechanisms that were used to manage superpower relations during the Cold War are missing now, “and so our world is entering an age of chaos” creating “a dangerous and unpredictable ‘free-for-all’ with total impunity,” Guterres warned.

The polarised Council riven by rival vetoes of the permanent members from the East and the West, has been deadlocked on dealing with the many crises like the Ukraine War, the Hamas-Israel conflict and the Red Sea terrorism.

On a more positive note, he said that he sees “a truly dynamic effort to build a more effective, inclusive and renewed multilateralism tuned to the 21st century and our increasingly multipolar world”. Guterres also called for reforming the international financial system.

In a tour of the troubled horizon, he pointed to the conflicts in the Red Sea, Gaza, Ukraine, and numerous spots in Africa, the dictatorship in Myanmar, the “lawlessness” in Haiti, the ethnic tensions in the Balkans, the climate crisis and the backsliding in moving towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

He suggested solutions to these multifarious problems and appealed for international cooperation.

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Gaza: Guterres Warns of ‘Flames of Wider War’

The General Assembly adopted a resolution last month calling for an immediate ceasefire, which has been ignored and the body has no enforcement powers….writes Arul Louis

Pleading for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned on Monday about the risk of “flames of wider war”.

“I am profoundly worried by what is unfolding,” he told reporters surveying the heightening tensions from Gaza and the West Bank to Lebanon and the Red Sea.

“Tensions are also sky-high in the Red Sea and beyond – and may soon be impossible to contain,” he said.

“To tamp down the flames of wider war because the longer the conflict in Gaza continues, the greater the risk of escalation and miscalculation,” he said, adding: “We need an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.”

The General Assembly adopted a resolution last month calling for an immediate ceasefire, which has been ignored and the body has no enforcement powers.

The Security Council, which can enforce its decisions, cannot demand a ceasefire because of the US veto.

Last month, the US vetoed a Council resolution calling for a ceasefire that was opposed by Israel.

The conflict originated with a terrorist onslaught by Hamas from Gaza on Israel on October 7, 2023 in which over 1,200 people were killed and about 240 people were taken hostage.

Guterres demanded the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages and said that meanwhile they should be treated humanely and the Red Cross should be allowed to visit them.

“The accounts of sexual violence committed by Hamas and others on October 7 must be rigorously investigated and prosecuted,” he added.

In Israel’s continuing retaliation since the terror strike, over 30,000 people have been killed, according to the Hamas-controlled Gaza health ministry.

“I am deeply troubled by the clear violations of international humanitarian law that we are witnessing,” he said.

“The onslaught on Gaza by Israeli forces over these 100 days has unleashed wholesale destruction and levels of civilian killings at a rate that is unprecedented during my years as Secretary General,” he said, pointing out that the vast majority of those killed are women and children.

“Nothing can justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people,” he said.

Although 152 UN staff members have been killed in Gaza — “the largest single loss of life in the history of our organisation” — aid workers continue to work there, he said.

Asking for increasing access for humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza, Guterres warned: “The long shadow of starvation is stalking the people of Gaza – along with disease, malnutrition and other health threats.”

As Gaza conflict continues, “the cauldron of tensions in the occupied West Bank is boiling over”, Guterres said.

The daily exchanges of fire across the Blue Line separating the two countrie “risks triggering a broader escalation between Israel and Lebanon and profoundly affecting regional stability”, Guterres said.

“Stop playing with fire across the Blue Line, de-escalate, and bring hostilities to an end,” he said.

The conflict there is between the Israeli forces and Hezbollah, a militant Shia group that controls parts of Lebanon.

And in the Red Sea region — a vital link connecting Asia and East Africa with Europe and beyond through the Suez Canal — rebels from Houthis, a Shia group supported by Iran, have attacked shipping asserting that their actions were in support of ending Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

The US and its allies retaliated by bombing several targets in Yemen, some of them civilian.

The only solution to end the spreading crisis is a ceasefire, Guterres said.

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Guterres Invokes UN Charter, Formally Refers Gaza to UNSC

Guterres’s Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric described the invocation of Article 99 as a “very powerful move” by Guterres….Writes Arul Louis

In a bid to push the paralysed Security Council to act on Gaza, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday invoked a rarely used provision of the Charter to call its attention to the looming “human catastrophe” there and to request a humanitarian ceasefire.

In a letter to Council President Javier Dominguez, Guterres wrote, “I am writing under Article 99 of the United Nations Charter to bring to the attention of the Security Council a matter which, in my opinion, may aggravate existing threats to the maintenance of international peace and security”.

“I urge the members of the Security Council to press to avert a humanitarian catastrophe”, he wrote, “I reiterate my appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire to be declared.”

He warned, “Amid constant bombardment by the Israel Defence Forces, and without shelter or the essentials to survive, I expect public order to completely break down soon due to the desperate conditions, rendering even limited humanitarian assistance impossible”.

Guterres’s Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric described the invocation of Article 99 as a “very powerful move” by Guterres.

Calling it a “constitutional move” by Guterres, Dujarric said it was the exercise of the “only the real power” given to the Secretary-General by the Charter.

Article 99 has been invoked directly only three times, the last 34 years ago in 1989 by Javier Perez de Cuellar regarding the fighting in Lebanon, although Secretaries-General have alerted the Council to crises, including the Bangladesh War, at least ten times without referring to the article.

Article 99 states, “The Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.”

The Secretary-General does not have any powers to directly act on crises or take action against countries and only the Council has the power under the Charter.

Dujarric expected the Council, which is headed by Ecuador this month, to meet regarding the letter and for Guterres to speak to it.

After four resolutions on Gaza were vetoed at the Council, it finally managed to pass one last month calling for a “humanitarian pause” in the fighting rather than a ceasefire.

In his letter, Guterres reiterated his call for a ceasefire, which would put an open-ended stop to the fighting, rather than a pause of a limited duration.

“With a humanitarian ceasefire, the means of survival [for the people of Gaza] can be restored and humanitarian assistance can be delivered in a safe and timely manner across the Gaza Strip”, he wrote in his letter, which was circulated to all the 15 members of the Council.

The eight weeks of fighting “have created appalling human suffering, physical destruction and collective trauma across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory”, he said.

He condemned the 7/10 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel during which more than 1,200 people were killed, about 250 taken hostage and several women sexually attacked.

He also said that in the retaliatory attacks about 15,000 people, 40 per cent of them children, were killed and 80 per cent of the population of 2.2 million was “forcibly displaced”.

ALSO READ: ‘This must stop’: Guterres On Spiraling Deaths In Gaza

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‘This must stop’: Guterres On Spiraling Deaths In Gaza

Since Oct. 7, over 11,000 individuals have lost their lives in the beleaguered region of Gaza…reports Asian Lite News

In response to the spiraling deaths in Gaza amid the raging Israel-Hamas war, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has reiterated his call for a humanitarian ceasefire in the besieged enclave.

“This war is having a staggering and unacceptable number of civilian casualties, including women and children, every day,” Xinhua news agency quoted the UN chief as saying in a statement on Sunday.

“This must stop. I reiterate my call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire,” he added.

Since Oct. 7, over 11,000 individuals have lost their lives in the beleaguered region of Gaza.

Spikes in casualties, attacks on schools and shelters, including the death of a UN worker, and crippling fuel shortages blocking aid deliveries rippled across Gaza over the weekend, as the World Health Organization helped to evacuate 31 babies in critical condition at the besieged Al-Shifa Hospital.

“I am deeply shocked that two UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) schools were struck in less than 24 hours in Gaza.

“Dozens of people — many women and children — were killed and injured as they were seeking safety in United Nations premises,” the Secretary-General said.

He added that hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians are seeking shelter at UN facilities throughout Gaza due to the intensified fighting.

“I reaffirm that our premises are inviolable,” the UN chief asserted.

As of Monday, the death toll in Gaza stood at 11,078, of which 4,506 were said to be children and 3,027 women.

About 2,700 others, including some 1,500 children, have been reported missing and may be trapped or dead under the rubble, awaiting rescue or recovery.

Another 27,490 Palestinians have reportedly been injured.

Since the war erupted on October 7, more than 1.7 million people in Gaza are estimated to be internally displaced, including almost 900,000 who are staying in at least 154 UNRWA shelters.

In Israel, authorities said that more than 1,200 people have died, which include Israeli and foreign nationals.

Till date, the names of 1,162 fatalities in Israel have been released, including 859 civilians and police officers.

Of those whose ages have been provided, 33 are children.

Meanwhile, 237 people are held captive in Gaza, including Israelis and foreign nationals.

So far, four civilian hostages have been released by Hamas, one Israeli soldier was rescued by Israeli forces, and three bodies of hostages have reportedly been retrieved by Israeli forces.

In the West Bank, the death toll has reached 212.

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Guterres Meets Nepal Politicos, Ministers

The first day eventually ended with a heritage walk along Patan Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Lalitpur….reports Asian Lite News

United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, met Nepali politicians and ministers on the first day of his visit on Sunday. The first day eventually ended with a heritage walk along Patan Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Lalitpur.

“I see that it is important for Nepali people to understand that a country that has this tradition, this culture, and these monuments is a country that is spiritual. Based on these rules, which are wonderful culture and well-known architecture, I am seeing Nepal–the peace process being completed and graduation to not be the least developed country–have a future for the upcoming generation,” said the Secretary-General after touring the ancient palace built before the unification of modern Nepal.

Though devastated by the earthquake of April 2015, Patan Dubar Square has stood back quickly in comparison to other heritage sites in Nepal. The visiting Secretary General congratulated the authorities for being able to restore the temples and monuments as he stood next to the Mayor of Lalitpur, Chiribabu Maharjan.

“I want to congratulate you on the way you restored this complex after the earthquake. This restoration is a masterpiece in itself. Temples are masterpieces; the efforts that have been made to stand up are another masterpiece,” applauded Guterres.

The Secretary-General arrived in Kathmandu in the early hours of Sunday at the invitation of Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. After hours of rest, the UNSG (United Nations Secretary-General) called on Nepali Foreign Minister Narayan Prakash Saud and Defence Minister Purna Bahadur Khadka at their offices.

The Secretary-General then called on Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, aka Prachanda, at his office to hold a joint Press conference where he condemned the attacks on Gaza by Israel and hostage situation by Hamas. He called on all the parties to end the ongoing escalation, which, as per him, has invited a humanitarian catastrophe.

“These are difficult and tense times. I know that even though the conflict in the Middle East is thousands of miles away, it has hit very close to home for the people of Nepal. I extend my deepest condolences to the families of the ten Nepali students killed in the terror attacks by Hamas in Israel on October 7 and my best wishes for the safe return of Bipin Joshi, who is missing,” Guterres said

Reiterating calls for ceasefire and peace in the region, the chief of the world body called on all parties to sit at the table and end the ongoing crisis.

“I have just arrived here from Qatar and will continue to insist on the immediate and unconditional release of all the hostages in Gaza. I repeat my utter condemnation of the appalling attacks perpetrated by Hamas. There is no justification, ever, for the killing, injuring, and abduction of civilians. The situation in Gaza is growing more desperate by the hour. I regret that instead of a critically needed humanitarian pause, supported by the international community, Israel has intensified its military operations. The number of civilians who have been killed and injured is totally unacceptable. All parties must respect their obligations under International Humanitarian Law,” Guterres stressed.

Warning that the world is on the brink of collapse, he called on the warring sides for a ceasefire.

Soon after the media briefing, Guterres held a separate meeting with former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who is also the President of the Nepali Congress and the chairman of the main opposition CPN-Unified Marxist Leninists, KP Sharma Oli.

Later in the evening, the visiting chief of the United Nations called on Nepali President Ram Chandra Paudel. (By Binod Prasad Adhikari/ANI)

Prachanda Seeks UN Role in Nepal Peace Process

Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, widely known as ‘Prachanda,’ met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during the latter’s four-day visit to Kathmandu. Prachanda sought the UN’s role in concluding Nepal’s peace and transitional justice process, a move likely to spark discussions within the country’s political spheres.

Guterres assured the UN’s assistance but outlined specific conditions. He emphasised that the process must align with international standards, comply with Nepal Supreme Court rulings, and address the fundamental needs of victims from the decade-long conflict involving Maoists, which claimed the lives of 17,000 people.

Guterres’ conditions followed Prachanda’s efforts both domestically and internationally to secure a general amnesty for himself and Maoist combatants for human rights violations. A draft bill advocating blanket amnesty was rejected by a House committee about six weeks ago.

Guterres will address the Joint Session of the Federal Parliament on October 31, 2023, as well as have first-hand observation of the impacts of climate change on Nepal and meet affected communities as he travels the Himalayan nation.

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Guterres calls on Hamas to ‘immediately’ release hostages  

Defence Minister Gallant said that on an estimate, 150-200 Israelis are being held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, adding, “We are making every effort to locate them even in this great complexity.”…reports Asian Lite News

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres has called on Hamas to “immediately” release the hostages without keeping any sort of conditions.

In a post on social media platform X, Guterres made two humanitarian appeals amid the present situation in the Middle East.

“As we are on the verge of the abyss in the Middle East, I have two humanitarian appeals: To Hamas, the hostages must be immediately released without conditions,” he posted.

“To Israel, rapid & unimpeded access for humanitarian aid must be granted for the sake of the civilians in Gaza,” he added.

“Each one of these two objectives is valid in themselves. They should not become bargaining chips and they must be implemented because it is the right thing to do,” Guterres said in a statement, adding that “Gaza is running out of water, electricity and other essential supplies,” The Times of Israel reported.

According to the latest update, 1300 people have been killed, with over 3600 injured, reported The Jerusalem Post.

Defence Minister Gallant said that on an estimate, 150-200 Israelis are being held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, adding, “We are making every effort to locate them even in this great complexity.”

According to the latest update, 1,300 people have been killed and over 3600 injured in the Hamas attacks, reported The Jerusalem Post. As Israel continues to retaliate against Hamas, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said that Hamas thought Israel would break, but “We will break Hamas,” reported The Times of Israel.

During the weekly cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister along with ministers stood in silence for a minute and paid tribute to those who lost their lives in the deadly Hamas attack.

“Hamas thought we would break; we will break Hamas,” Netanyahu said.

He further stressed that Israel is working in unity and it conveys a clear message to Hamas and to the world.

“We are working around the clock as a team, with a united front,” he says. “Our unity conveys a clear message to the people, the enemy, and to the world,” he added.

The ministers shared a moment of silence, during which, Netanyahu said, “In memory of our brothers and sisters who were murdered in cold blood, and our heroic warriors who fell in battle.”

Netanyahu noted that it was the first meeting of the emergency war government and that five members of the National Unity Party were present Benny Gantz, Gadi Eisenkot, Chili Tropper, Gideon Sa’ar, and Yifat Shasha-Biton.

Moreover, he emphasized that the entire nation is behind the front-line warriors of Israel.

“I saw our wonderful warriors who are now on the front line. They know that the entire nation is behind them,” he said.

“They understand the magnitude of the task. They are ready to act at any moment, to exterminate the bloody monsters that rose up against us,” he added. (ANI)

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Guterres asks Pakistan to respect rule of law in Imran Khan case

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on all parties to refrain from violence”…reports Asian Lite News

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urges the Pakistan government to “respect due process” in the case against former Prime Minister Imran Khan and calls on all parties to avoid violence, his spokesperson Farhan Haq said on Monday.

Haq said: “The Secretary General urges the authorities to respect due process and the rule of law in the proceedings brought against the former prime minister”.

Guterres has “taken note of the ongoing protests that have erupted on the rest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad, and he calls for all parties to refrain from violence”, Haq said.

“He stresses the need to respect the right to peaceful assembly,” the spokesperson added.

Khan, the leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party, was arrested in Lahore on Saturday after a court found him guilty of selling state gifts illegally and sentenced him to three years in prison.

Khan’s conviction bars him from contesting the upcoming National Assembly election due within months. He and his party have called for peaceful protests but the response has been feeble and the expected mass demonstrations have not materialised so far unlike in May when he was arrested on corruption charges.

At that time, massive protests erupted in several places in Pakistan with death and injuries reported from clashes between his supporters and security forces. He was released soon after on the orders of the Supreme Court only to be rearrested after his conviction in a different case.

The multi-millionaire former cricket star was transferred to a prison in Attock, 80 kilometres from the capital Islamabad, where his party says he is treated as a common “C-Class” prisoner with few amenities in a cramped cell.

Khan was Prime Minister from 2018 to 2022 when he was ousted by a non-confidence motion and was succeeded by Shehbaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, who heads the Pakistan Democracy Movement coalition.

Pakistan Assembly’s term ends next Saturday but there is uncertainty about when the nation would go to the polls. According to media reports, Sharif may dissolve the National Assembly before Saturday and hand over power to a caretaker government. That would allow a 90-interval for the elections instead of the 60 days if the Assembly ran its course till the five-year term’s end.

But Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, according to TV, has raised the possibility of even more delays because a new census would be taken and constituencies written on that basis.

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Climate change is out of control: UN Chief

That metric showed that Earth’s average temperature on Wednesday remained at the record high of 17.18 degrees….reports Asian Lite News

As world temperature records were broken on two consecutive days this week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that “climate change is out of control”.

“If we persist in delaying key measures that are needed, I think we are moving into a catastrophic situation, as the last two records in temperature demonstrates,” the Guardian quoted Guterres as saying in referrence to the global temperature records that were broken on Monday and Tuesday.

The average global air temperature was 17.18 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, according to data by the US National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), surpassing the record 17.01 degress recorded the previous day.

Data from the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer showed that for the seven-day period ending Wednesday, the daily average temperature was .04 degree, higher than any week in 44 years of record-keeping.

That metric showed that Earth’s average temperature on Wednesday remained at the record high of 17.18 degrees.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at a news conference on Thursday, July 12, 2018, at the UN headquarters in New York. (Photo: UN/IANS)

But the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday that it could not validate the Reanalyzer data, reports the Guardian.

“We recognise that we are in a warm period due to climate change, and combined with El Nino and hot summer conditions, we’re seeing record warm surface temperatures being recorded at many locations across the globe,” the NOAA said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the UN confirmed the return of El Nino. 

The last major El Nino was in 2016, which remains the hottest year on record.

Various parts of the world have been experiencing heatwaves and on Thursday the EU’s climate monitoring service said the world had experienced its hottest June on record last month, the Guardian reported.

The southern US has been sweltering under an intense heat dome in recent weeks, including on the national 4 July holiday on Tuesday. 
In parts of China, a scorching heat wave has continued, with temperatures reaching above 35 degrees.

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