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Two-month ceasefire in Yemen starts with Ramadan

The truce deal includes stopping military operations, opening Sanaa International Airport to a number of flights, and opening the port of Hodeidah to a number of oil derivatives ships, reports Asian Lite News

Yemen’s Houthi militia have welcomed an announcement of a two-month ceasefire agreement by the UN Special Envoy for the country, Hans Grundberg, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

“We welcome the announcement by the UN envoy for Yemen of a humanitarian truce for two months,” Xinhua news agency quoted Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam as saying in a statement.

“The truce deal includes stopping military operations, opening Sanaa International Airport to a number of flights, and opening the port of Hodeidah to a number of oil derivatives ships,” he said.

On Friday, the UN envoy announced earlier the truce between the warring parties in Yemen.

“The parties accepted to halt all offensive military air, ground and maritime operations inside Yemen and across its borders; they also agreed for fuel ships to enter Hodeidah ports and commercial flights to operate in and out of Sanaa airport to predetermined destinations in the region; they further agreed to meet under my auspices to open roads in Taiz and other governorates in Yemen,” Grundberg said.

“The truce can be renewed beyond the two-month period with the consent of the parties. The aim of this truce is to give Yemenis a necessary break from violence, relief from the humanitarian suffering, and most importantly hope that an end to this conflict is possible,” he added.

The envoy also said that he would work during the truce with the aim to reach a permanent ceasefire, addressing urgent economic and humanitarian measures and resuming the political process.

This is the first breakthrough in the seven-year civil war in Yemen.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthi militia seized control of several northern provinces and forced the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.

The war has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced 4 million and pushed the country to the brink of starvation, according to UN.

ALSO READ: Saudi blacklists 25 individuals entities over financing Houthis

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Russia resumes ‘offensive’ as ceasefire collapses

The offensive operations are resuming due to the unwillingness of the Ukrainian side to influence the nationalists or extend the ‘silence regime’, Russian defence ministry said, reports Asian Lite News

The official representative of the Russian Defense Ministry, Igor Konashenkov, said that due to the unwillingness of the Ukrainian side to influence the nationalists or extend the silence period, offensive operations have been resumed.

“Due to the unwillingness of the Ukrainian side to influence the nationalists or extend the ‘silence regime’, offensive operations have been resumed,” Konashenkov said, RT reported.

According to him, the nationalist battalions took advantage of the “silence regime” to regroup and strengthen their positions.

Russia had announced a silence regime so that civilians in Mariupol and Volnovakha could use the humanitarian corridors.

Russia’s Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov.(Photo:@mod_russia)

The Russian army took control of a military base near Kherson, the Ukrainian military “left their positions in a hurry”, leaving their positions with equipment, weapons and ammunition, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

“Russian military personnel took control of the military base of the armed forces of Ukraine near the village of Radensk in Kherson region. The Ukrainian military left their positions in a hurry, leaving the base with equipment, weapons and ammunition,” the ministry said.

Among the trophies discovered were Ukrainian T-64 and T-80 tanks, as well as armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, and Ural vehicles.

Presumably, various units were trained at this base, including marines, sappers, signalmen, tankers and artillerymen. In total, about 4,000 people could be accommodated at the base.

Konashenkov said that the troops of the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics took control of eight new settlements.

ALSO READ: ‘Russia won’t forget Britain’s weapon supply to Kiev regime’

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Russia declares partial ceasefire in Ukraine

The humanitarian corridors will allow the exit of civilians from the two cities, the Ministry said, without disclosing how many days the ceasefire will remain in place, reports Asian Lite news

Russia on Saturday declared a temporary ceasefire in the two southern Ukrainian cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha to facilitate the evacuation of civilians via humanitarian corridors, the Defence Ministry in Moscow announced.

The ceasefire went into effect from 10 a.m. (about 1.30 p.m. IST), reports Xinhua news agency.

Photo taken on March 1, 2022 shows armed personnel in Donetsk. (Photo by (Victor_Xinhua_IANS)

As was agreed by the Ukrainian side, the humanitarian corridors will allow the exit of civilians from the two cities, the Ministry said, without disclosing how many days the ceasefire will remain in place.

During their second round of peace talks on Thursday, Russian and Ukrainian negotiators agreed on the establishment of humanitarian corridors for the exit of civilians and on a temporary cessation of hostilities along the evacuation routes.

In Ukraine, head of the Donetsk region’s military administration, Pavlo Kirilenko has confirmed the temporary ceasefire and said that his administration is currently working on the details of the evacuation, the BBC reported.

Meanwhile, the Mariupol City Council said the ceasefire will last from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and evacuations started at 11 a.m.

It added that the route of the corridor is from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia, a city to the west.

The Council further said that buses will leave three locations in the city, and private transport will also be allowed to travel along the designated route.

While it urged drivers to make full use of all the space they have in their vehicles, the Council said that travelling away from the agreed route is strictly forbidden, the BBC reported.

In response to the ceasefire announcement which came on the 10th day of Russian invasion of Ukraine, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko said in a statement: “Mariupol is not streets and houses… It is its residents.

“Under the conditions of constant, ruthless shelling from the occupiers, there is no other choice but to give residents…the opportunity to safely leave Mariupol.”

ALSO READ: If Ukraine falls, Europe falls, warns Zelenskyy

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UAE welcomes ceasefire in Tigray

A constructive dialogue within the framework of state institutions along with the rule of law and the constitution is the only way to bring lasting peace,said statement…reports Asian Lite News

The UAE has welcomed the declaration of a ceasefire in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, stressing that a political solution is the only way to end the conflict in the country.

In a statement today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation affirmed that this decision is an important step to achieve a political settlement and the aspirations of the Ethiopian people to build a future that meets their aspirations for peace and prosperity.

The statement added that a constructive dialogue within the framework of state institutions along with the rule of law and the constitution is the only way to bring lasting peace and stability to the country.

The Ethiopian government, in a statement published late Monday night by state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC), said the move followed a request by the Tigray regional state interim administration.

The unilateral ceasefire is said to facilitate humanitarian assistance, peaceful livelihood in the region as well as agriculture activities amid the approaching rainy season.

ALSO READ: US, UK, Ireland seek UNSC meet on Tigray

Since the early hours of November 4, 2020, the Ethiopian government has been undertaking military operations against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which used to rule the regional state.

“Fighters loyal to the TPLF, who are presently dispersed in the desert will return to peace if conditions are made conducive for it, the Ethiopian government has accepted the Tigray interim administration’s request for ceasefire positively,” the statement read.

“For the farmer to till the land peacefully, for the aid work to be distributed free from military pressure, for TPLF remnants to return to peaceful road, an unconditional unilateral ceasefire has been declared from June 28 to last until the end of farming season,” the statement added.

Earlier, the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland had sought an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss the issues in Tigray, where rebel fighters were able to enter the regional capital of Mekele on Monday.

The reports suggested that the UNSC meeting could be held on Friday. However, the decision to set up a date and time is up to France, which holds the Security Council Presidency in July.

Meanwhile last week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had expressed shock at the killing of three staff members of Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders in Ethiopia’s conflict-hit Tigray region.

ALSO READ: Israel’s Foreign Minister begins historic UAE trip

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UN Chief urges maintaining Israel-Hamas ceasefire

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also expressed concern over the most recent round of violence…reports Asian Lite News

.United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for the full respect of the ceasefire agreed between Israel and the Islamic Hamas movement which brought an end to the 11-day bloodshed in Gaza Strip late last month.

Responding to a question about the Secretary-General’s reaction to Tuesday’s escalating violence, Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for Guterres, said at a regular press briefing on Wednesday that the UN chief “expresses concern over the most recent round of violence”, reports Xinhua news agency.

Haq added that Guterres “would like to see the cessation of hostilities be maintained and solidified in order to give space for the relevant parties to work out arrangements to stabilize the situation”.

The Israeli army said on Wednesday that it had carried out the first airstrike in the Gaza Strip since the ceasefire which came into effect on May 21.

Thick smoke rises above buildings in Gaza City, following several Israeli airstrikes. (Photo Mohammed Talatene_dpa_IANS)
ALSO READ: Israel strikes Gaza in response to arson attacks

In the overnight attack, Israeli war jets struck military compounds belonging to Hamas in the city of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, the military said in a statement.

The statement accused Hamas of being responsible “for all events transpiring in the Gaza Strip” and warned that the group “will bear the consequences for its actions”.

“The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) is prepared for any scenario, including a resumption of hostilities, in the face of continuing terror activities from the Gaza Strip,” the statement read.

Hundreds of Israeli ultra-nationalists marched on Tuesday in East Jerusalem, waving Israeli flags.

Some of them chanted “Death to Arabs” and other anti-Arab slurs.

Militants in Gaza responded to the march by launching “arson balloons” that caused at least 13 fires in southern Israel.

ALSO READ: Israel Launches Air Strikes against Palestine


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Pakistan concerned over more demographic changes in Kashmir

Pakistan had banked its relations with India over the August 5, 2019 decision by the Narendra Modi-led government, which abrogated Article 370 and 35A, changing the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmi, reports Hamza Ameer

Amid reports circulating that India may be looking into bringing about more bifurcation and demographic changes in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan has warned New Delhi against any attempt to further make demographic changes in what it calls Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) to “perpetuate its illegal occupation”.

“No new instrument of occupation shall have any legal effect. India cannot change the disputed status of IIOJK, as enshrined in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, nor can it force Kashmiris and Pakistan to accept illegal outcomes,” the Pakistan foreign office said.

While the Pakistan foreign office did not mention what new changes are being brought into Jammu and Kashmir by the Indian government, the statement certainly has faded the hopes of a dialogue, which were recently shared by Prime Minister Imran Khan, who said that Islamabad could resume talks with New Delhi if India gives a roadmap to reverse the changes it brought almost two years ago to the ‘disputed’ region.

Indian Army Chief reviews security situation along LoC in Kashmir.

he recent restoration of ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) eased tensions between the two nuclear powered archrivals, which had been eyeball to eyeball against each other for some time.

And the recent statement of Khan also seemed to move the hopes forward towards a dialogue between the two countries. However, the foreign office statement has made it clear that hopes of any positive forward movement in Indo-Pak relations may just remain as hopes.

“We urge India to reverse its unlawful and destabilising actions, ensure full compliance with the UN Security Council resolutions, and refrain from any further steps that might imperil regional peace and security in South Asia,” the statement from Pakistan foreign office maintained.

“We call upon the international community, including the United Nations, world parliaments, international human rights and humanitarian organisations and the global media to take immediate cognizance of the situation. India must be stopped from any further illegal action in the occupied territory,” the statement added.

Pakistan had banked its relations with India over the August 5, 2019 decision by the Narendra Modi-led government, which abrogated Article 370 and 35A, changing the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, bifurcating it into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Pakistan has made it clear that there can be no talks until India reviews and reverses its decision of August 5, 2019.

Onus is on Pakistan’

Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General M.M. Naravane had earlier said that the ceasefire is holding along the Line of Control, and the onus to sustain it lies with Pakistan.

On the second day of his two-day visit to Kashmir to review the security situation along the LoC and in the hinterlands, General Naravane told mediapersons, “We entered this (ceasefire) understanding with Pakistan at the end of February. The ceasefire is holding as of now. The responsibility and the onus of making the ceasefire hold are squarely on Pakistan. We are willing to observe the ceasefire as long as long as they do.”

General Naravane also said the terror infrastructure across the LoC is intact and forces cannot lower their guard.

“While the ceasefire is on, the other activities they are indulging in are continuing, i.e., the terror infrastructure which is there on the other side of the LoC, the terrorist camps etc. Therefore, there can be no slackening as far as we are concerned in our levels or preparedness,” the army chief said.

The ceasefire agreement along the LoC between India and Pakistan militaries was revived in February this year.

Indo-Pak border

Earlier, the COAS, accompanied by Northern Army Commander Lt Gen Y.K. Joshi and Chinar Corps Commander Lt Gen D.P. Pandey, visited different formations and units, where the local commanders briefed General Naravane on the existing security situation and the measures taken to foil infiltration by terrorists from Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK).

The COAS interacted with the troops and complimented them for their high morale and the state of operational preparedness.

While appreciating the current state of peace prevailing along the Line of Control, General Naravane cautioned all the commanders and troops to not let their guards down and to remain prepared to meet any emerging security challenges effectively, the army said.

The army chief also complimented all the government agencies for their close coordination in maintaining peace in the region and for reaching out to the people wholeheartedly to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

ALSO READ: Afghan NSA’s remark triggers diplomatic row with Pakistan

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Hamas calls on Islamic nations to fight for ‘Muslim lands’

Jamaat chief Sirajul Haq and other senior leaders of the party also addressed the rally where the participants chanted slogans of “Death to Israel”…reports Asian Lite News

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh has urged the Islamic nations to forge strategic partnerships to fight for seizing control of Muslim lands across the world.

Pakistani newspapers reported that in a recorded speech played in a Jamaat-i-Islami rally in Peshawar on Sunday, Haniyeh urged the Prime Minister Imran Khan-led Pakistan government to support the Palestinian cause with concrete actions. The rally was organised in support of Hamas and Palestine.

Jamaat chief Sirajul Haq and other senior leaders of the party also addressed the rally where the participants chanted slogans of “Death to Israel” and “We are ready to sacrifice our lives to liberate Al-Aqsa Mosque”, the Dawn newspaper reported.

“I hope Prime Minister Imran Khan would take practical steps for supporting the cause of Palestine,” Haniyeh said, urging the Muslim countries to establish strategic partnerships to get complete control over Al-Quds in Jerusalem.

In response to Haniyeh’s appeal, Jamaat chief Sirajul Haq endorsed him and said that the “existing circumstances have proved that the issue of Palestine and Kashmir could not be resolved through resolutions”.

“Time has come to move forward to liberate Palestine and Kashmir from the clutches of Israel and India,” Haq said.

“A small group of Afghan Talibans defeated the US allied forces in Afghanistan while the Muslim countries, including Pakistan, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia having a 7.4 million strong army, are unable to deter the Israeli aggression,” Dawn quoted Haq as saying at the rally.

ALSO READ: US pledges support to Gaza without aiding Hamas

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Egypt, Israel FMs hold talks on Gaza truce

The trip is the first formal visit by an Israeli Foreign Minister to Egypt in nearly 13 years….reports Asian Lite News

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his visiting Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi discussed solidifying the ongoing ceasefire in place between Israel and the Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip, as well as ways to revive the Israel-Palestine peace process.

The trip is the first formal visit by an Israeli Foreign Minister to Egypt in nearly 13 years.

During their meeting on Sunday, Shoukry and Ashkenazi agreed to continue consultations between the two countries and the Palestinian Authority “to explore ways out of the current stalemate in the peace track”, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The talks also addressed the necessary measures to facilitate the reconstruction of Gaza Strip following the recent Israeli bombings that caused massive damages to the enclave’s infrastructure.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (R) meets with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi in Cairo, Egypt, May 30, 2021. (Str/Xinhua/IANS)

Egypt has allocated $500 million for the reconstruction.

Ashkenazi’s visit came 10 days after the Egypt-brokered ceasefire on May 21 that ended the 11-day bloodshed in and around the Gaza Strip, which left at least 248 Palestinians and 12 Israelis dead.

During the meeting, Shoukry called for taking further measures during the current truce to reinforce calm and provide the necessary conditions for “creating an atmosphere conducive to reviving the desired political path”.

ALSO READ: France, Egypt, Jordan move UNSC for Israel-Gaza ceasefire

He also reiterated Egypt’s fixed position in support of the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital based on the 1967 borders.

The Foreign Minister also referred to the two-state solution as “the only way to achieve just and lasting peace, as well as the desired regional security and stability”, emphasizing the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (R) meets with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi in Cairo, Egypt, May 30, 2021. (Str/Xinhua/IANS)

On his part, Ashkenazi said that “Egypt is an important regional ally, committed to security and stability, and the maintenance and expansion of peace in the region”.

“We all need to act to prevent strengthening extremist elements that threaten regional stability, and to ensure the return home of the missing persons and prisoners held by Hamas,” he said.

The top Israeli diplomat added that he and Shoukry also “discussed enhancing economic and trade cooperation, including the renewal of direct flights between our countries”.

Ashkenazi’s trip to Cairo coincided with Egypt’s sending of a high-profile security delegation to Israel and Palestine to discuss related issues and thetruce.

The security delegation will discuss ways to reach a comprehensive truce in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

ALSO READ: Israel FM in Egypt for Gaza ‘permanent ceasefire’ talks


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Israel FM in Egypt for Gaza ‘permanent ceasefire’ talks

Egypt played a pivotal role in brokering a ceasefire earlier this month between the Israelis and Gaza’s Palestinian Islamist rulers Hamas, bringing an end to 11 days of fighting….reports Asian Lite News

Israeli foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi arrived in Cairo Sunday to discuss with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry the establishment of a “permanent ceasefire” between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

Ashkenazi tweeted in Arabic, English and Hebrew that his Cairo trip is “the first formal visit of an Israeli FM in 13 years”.

“We will discuss establishing a permanent ceasefire with Hamas, a mechanism for providing humanitarian aid & the reconstruction of Gaza with a pivotal role played by the intl. community,” he added.

He also noted that his government was “fully committed” to repatriating Israeli prisoners held by Hamas.

Egypt played a pivotal role in brokering a ceasefire earlier this month between the Israelis and Gaza’s Palestinian Islamist rulers Hamas, bringing an end to 11 days of fighting.

Senior Egyptian security officials confirmed to AFP Sunday that Hamas’s leader Ismail Haniyeh would also be in Cairo for discussions but would not provide further details.

Concurrently, Egypt’s intelligence chief Abbas Kamel leading a high-level security delegation is expected in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, the officials added.

“President (Abdel Fattah) al-Sisi instructed the general intelligence chief to discuss with the Israeli Prime Minister (Benjamin Netanyahu) and concerned authorities the fixing of a permanent ceasefire and the latest developments on the Palestinian front,” they said.

Sisi, who has has restored his country’s role as a regional heavyweight, also tasked Kamel with ending political divisions between rivals Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank, the officials said.

ALSO READ: US lauds UAE’s effort to de-escalate Israel, Hamas tensions

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LoC truce led to sense of peace: Army chief

General Manoj Mukund Naravane says this is the first step on the long road to normalisation of ties between the two countries, reports Asian Lite News

Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane has said that the restoration of ceasefire in February between Indian and Pakistani militaries along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir is holding, has led to a significant drop in infiltration by terrorists from Pakistan and contributed to the overall sense of peace and well-being in border areas.

“This is the first step on the long road to normalisation of ties between the two countries. We would like the ceasefire to continue. It has definitely led to an improvement in the security situation and benefited civilians living in forward areas,” Naravane said.

In a surprise development, Indian and Pakistani militaries announced on February 25 that they had begun observing a ceasefire along the LoC from the midnight of February 24. India and Pakistan had agreed to a ceasefire on the LoC in November 2003, but it was frequently violated.

The army chief said the ceasefire violations by the neighbouring army were aimed at providing cover to infiltrators. No ceasefire violations by the Pakistan army indicated that infiltration attempts were not being supported, Naravane said.

“Counterterrorism operations will continue. We have no reason to believe that terror infrastructure along the LoC has been dismantled by the Pakistan army,” Naravane said.

India Pakistan border

Peace along the LoC is mutually beneficial, Naravane said. “The population living on either side suffers due to violence along the LoC. I am sure the Pakistan army is also concerned about the population and hopefully the ceasefire will hold,” the army chief said.

After February 24, there has been a solitary instance of cross-border firing along the international border in Jammu sector between the Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers.

Of the 30 terrorists killed by security forces in Kashmir during the last three months, only one was a foreigner, said officials familiar with the developments. “It’s an indicator that infiltration by Pakistani terrorists has dropped notably. We will have to wait and watch how things unfold as three months is a short window to confirm a pattern,” said one of the officials.

The escalation in ceasefire violations coincided with the first anniversary of the Centre’s move in August 2019 to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its semi-autonomous status that Islamabad reacted sharply to.

‘Troops on high alert at LAC’

Naravane said that the troops are on high alert at Line of Actual Control (LAC), keeping a close watch on the activities of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

The army chief also pointed that India wants the status quo ante of April 2020 to be restored.

Naravane stated that India has made it clear to China that de-escalation will only be considered once disengagement is completed to the mutual satisfaction of both sides.

He said that Indian troops are on high alert and deployments have not thinned after the disengagement in Pangong Lake.

The army chief maintained that China has deployed around 50,000 to 60,000 troops in Eastern Ladakh in immediate depth, so India has also made mirror deployments in depth.

Naravane also said that India is keeping an eye on the developments on the Chinese side.

He said India is currently concentrating on resolving the outstanding problems at other friction points like Hot Springs, Gogra and Depsang along the LAC.

He also pointed out that India’s stand in the disengagement agreement in the Pangong Lake area remained the same, i.e., the status quo ante of April 2020 must be restored.

The army chief also stated that trust levels between the two countries are low, but pointed out that the trust deficit should not hinder the negotiation process.

The 12 rounds of military commander-level talks between India and China to resolve the border issue will take place soon. It has been delayed due to the surge in the number of Covid cases.

General Naravane recently reviewed the operational preparedness of the force along the borders with China in the Arunachal Pradesh region. He went to Dimapur in Nagaland on May 20 on a two-day visit to review the operational readiness along the northern borders of Arunachal Pradesh, and the security situation in the hinterlands of the Northeast region.

India and China are engaged in a year-long standoff along the LAC. The confrontations began on the north bank of Pangong Lake, both in the waters and the bank, as Chinese incursions increased in early May last year.

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