Global superpowers agree at UN to press Taliban to form more inclusive govt

News Network
September 23, 2021

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The five permanent UN Security Council members found common ground Wednesday on Afghanistan with officials saying all the powers would press the Taliban to be more inclusive after their military takeover.

China and Russia have described last month's Taliban victory as a defeat for the United States and moved to work with the insurgents, but no country has moved to recognise a government that includes international pariahs.

The Security Council powers all want "a peaceful and stable Afghanistan where humanitarian aid can be distributed without problems and without discrimination," Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters after the meeting during the annual General Assembly.

They seek "an Afghanistan where the rights of women and girls are respected, an Afghanistan that is not a sanctuary for terrorism, an Afghanistan with an inclusive government representing all sections of the population," he said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the foreign ministers of Britain, France, and Russia met in person while their Chinese counterpart Wang Yi joined them virtually for the talks of just over an hour.

A US official described the meeting called by British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss as "constructive" and with "a lot of convergence," including hopes that the Taliban respect the rights of women and girls.

"I don't think anybody is satisfied with the composition of this interim government, including the Chinese," the official said.

Speaking to AFP before the meeting, China's ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, agreed that the five powers all wanted an inclusive government.

"Unity is everywhere," he said.

China has previously criticised the United States for freezing billions of dollars in Afghan assets.

But Beijing is also keen for the neighboring nation not to be a base for outside extremist groups.

Afghanistan was also the subject of virtual talks by the Group of 20 major economies that included the participation of several other nations including Qatar, the hub for Taliban diplomacy.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, addressing the G20, renewed concern about the Islamists' caretaker government which includes no non-Taliban and no women but has ministers blacklisted by the United Nations on terrorism allegations.

"The announcement of a non-inclusive government was a tactical mistake by the Taliban, as it will make it harder for us to engage with them," Maas said.

"It is important that they hear this from all of us. And we should also speak with one voice when it comes to the basic political parameters and benchmarks for any future engagement with them."

The Taliban have requested to speak at the UN General Assembly but the United States, which sits on the credentialing committee, has made clear that no decision will be made before the summit ends early next week. 

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News Network
October 16,2021

Mangaluru, Oct 16: Two youth lost their lives when their motorbike crashed into a road median last night at Talapady K C Road near Dakshina Kannada-Kasaragod border.

The victims have been identified as K Prajith (23) and Krishna Prasad (25), both residents of Kumble in Kasaragod district.  

It is learnt that they were on their way home after paying a visit to Gokarnanatheshwara Temple in Kudroli Mangaluru. 

While reaching K.C. Road, the rider lost control over the two-wheeler and crashed into the divider. 

A case has been registered at jurisdictional police station and investigations are on.

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News Network
October 16,2021

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British Member of Parliament David Amess, 69, has died after being stabbed several times during a meeting with his constituents at a church in eastern England. A 25-year-old suspect has been arrested.

Reports said a man walked into Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, south Essex, where Amess was holding a surgery with locals on Friday and attacked the politician.

“He was treated by emergency services but, sadly, died at the scene,” police said. “A 25-year-old man was quickly arrested after officers arrived at the scene on suspicion of murder and a knife was recovered.”

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police has said that the murder Amess has been declared as a “terrorist incident”, with the investigation being led by its Terrorism Command, the agency said in a statement posted on social media.

 Detectives said they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident. There was no detail about the motivation for the attack but the chief constable of Essex police later said counterterrorism officers are leading the investigation.

“The investigation is in its very early stages and is being led by officers from the specialist counterterrorism command,” Ben-Julian Harrington told reporters.

“It will be for investigators to determine whether or not this is a terrorist incident.”

Colleagues from across parliament expressed their shock and sorrow and paid tribute to Amess, who held regular meetings with voters on the first and third Fridays of the month, saying he was diligent in his duties to his local area. Amess leaves behind a wife and five children.

Flags in Downing Street were lowered in tribute.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he and his cabinet were “deeply shocked and heart-stricken”.

“David was a man who believed passionately in this country and in its future, and we’ve lost today a fine public servant and a much-loved friend and colleague,” Johnson said.

The prime minister would not say whether the attack meant politicians needed tighter security, saying, “We must really leave the police to get on with their investigation.”

Amess has been a member of parliament for Southend West, which includes Leigh-on-Sea, since 1997, but has been a lawmaker since 1983.

He was a well-liked member of parliament, best known for his ceaseless campaign to have Southend declared a city.

His website lists his main interests as “animal welfare and pro-life issues”.

Violence against British politicians is rare, but two other British lawmakers have been attacked this century during their “surgeries”, regular meetings where constituents can present concerns and complaints.

In June 2016, Labour Party lawmaker Jo Cox was fatally stabbed and shot in her northern England constituency. A member of the far right was convicted of her murder.

In 2010, Labour lawmaker Stephen Timms survived a stabbing in his constituency office.

Jacqui Smith, chair of the Jo Cox Foundation, said in a statement on Twitter that Amess’s death is a “tragic loss for those who knew and loved Sir David”.

“I knew him as a generous and dedicated colleague in Parliament. Public life must be safe for those we ask to serve in our democracy – that is a responsibility for us all.”

Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer said on Twitter that David was a “dedicated public servant”.

“Informed by his faith, David had a profound sense of duty, that I witnessed first hand in parliament,” Starmer said.

“We will show once more that violence, intimidation and threats to our democracy will never prevail over the tireless commitment of public servants simply doing their jobs.”

Chris Doyle, the director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding – who knew both Amess and Cox – said that the killing of Amess would have a “chilling effect on British politics – the way in which you get that vital interchange between an elected member of parliament, part of the legislature, and the constituents that they represent.”

“There are 650 British MPs that will now be thinking ‘that could have been me’,” he said.

“They will be looking over their shoulders, they will be thinking ‘how can we improve our security. But above all of course the main sentiment is for David’s family and friends – to have lost him in such a way is just beyond belief.”

British lawmakers are protected by armed police when they are inside Parliament, but have no such protection in their constituencies. Amess published the times and locations of his open meetings with constituents on his website.

“Questions are rightly being asked about the safety of our country’s elected representatives and I will provide updates in due course,” Home Secretary Priti Patel said on Friday. 

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News Network
October 25,2021

Former India cricketer Virender Sehwag on Monday expressed his support in favour of Mohammed Shami.

The fast bowler has been subjected to abuse on social media after the Indian team lost against Pakistan by 10 wickets on Sunday.

The match finished in the 18th over bowled by Shami as Pakistan chased down a target of 152 runs with relative ease at the Dubai International Stadium.

Following the game, irate and unruly fans left distasteful comments on Shami’s social media handles.

On Monday afternoon, Sehwag tweeted, “The online attack on Mohammad Shami is shocking and we stand by him. He is a champion and Anyone who wears the India cap has India in their hearts far more than any online mob. With you Shami. Agle match mein dikado jalwa.”

Earlier on Monday, Sehwag also tweeted his displeasure about crackers being burst after the India-Pakistan game.

Sehwag though also congratulated the Pakistan team for their win against India soon after the game on Sunday.

While India wait a week to play New Zealand next Pakistan take on the Kiwis on Tuesday.

The Indian cricket team also took the knee ahead of the match, a gesture against racism. However, there has been no official comment from the team as of Monday afternoon about the abuse directed at Shami.

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