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Assad must step down for stability in Syria,says Obama

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President Barack Obama has said that President Bashar al-Assad must step aside in order to achieve stability in Syria and end the brutal civil war in the country.

Stressing on the importance of an actual government that has policing capacity and structure at areas in Syria that currently aren’t governed, Obama said the long-term US goal was to to stabilise lawless regions so that IS does not have any safe haven.

“It is my firm belief and the belief of the experts in this administration, that so long as Assad is there, we cannot achieve that kind of stability inside of Syria,” Obama told reporters at his year ender news conference yesterday.

“That’s going to continue to be a top priority for us, moving aggressively on the military track and not letting ISIL take a breath, and pounding away at them with our Special Forces and our airstrikes, and the training and advising of partners who can go after them,” he said.

Obama said the capacity of the IS to infiltrate Western countries with operatives who’ve traveled to Syria or Iraq, and the savviness of their social media with their ability to recruit disaffected individuals, will continue to make them dangerous for quite some time.

“But, in the same way that al Qaeda is pinned down and has much more difficulty carrying out any significant attacks because of how we’ve systematically dismantled them, they still pose a threat,” Obama said.

“There are still operatives who are interested in carrying out terror attacks because they still operate in areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan, or more prominently right now, in Yemen, that are hard to reach,” he said.

Obama said they planned to defeat IS by systematically cutting off their supply lines, cutting off their financing, and taking out their leadership, forces, and infrastructure.

Disaster

6.8-magnitude quake hits Indonesia, no tsunami alert

Indonesia is frequently hit by earthquakes as it sits on a vulnerable quake-impacted zone called “the Pacific Ring of Fire”.

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Earthquake Strong

Jakarta, June 4 : An earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale jolted Indonesia”s North Maluku province on Thursday, but did not trigger a tsunami alert, the meteorology and geophysics agency said.

The agency initially issued the quake at 7.1 magnitude before revising it down to 6.8, Wahyu Kurniawan, official in charge at the agency, told Xinhua news agency.

The quake jolted at 3.49 p.m. with the epicentre at 89 km northwest Daruba village of Pulau Marotai district and the depth at 112 km under sea bed, the official said.

“For this quake, we did not issue a tsunami warning,” he added.

Indonesia is frequently hit by earthquakes as it sits on a vulnerable quake-impacted zone called “the Pacific Ring of Fire”.

–IANS

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George Floyd Death: Numerous arrests in NYC as protests continue

Floyd”s deaths has also triggered protests around the world including in France, the UK, New Zealand, Finland, Denmark, Greece, South Africa and Germany.

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George Floyd Death Protest

New York, June 4 : New York City police officials have made numerous arrests and even resorting to force after a curfew began amid continuous protests against the death of the unarmed African-American man, George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis last week.

Faced with a third night of demonstrations involving thousands of New Yorkers who defied the curfew to protest against the Floyd”s death, the police on Wednesday night decided to act more harshly after giving them an hour”s notice when curfew came into force at 8 p.m., reports Efe news.

New York Police Department (NYPD) Chief of Department Terence Monahan told reporters that the police had adopted a more aggressive approach in order to quickly disperse the groups of protesters.

The police resorted to force in Brooklyn, using batons, rubber bullets and tear gas with the aim of dispersing protesters and arresting numerous people to enforce the curfew.

The detainees were then loaded onto buses of the city”s Department of Correction.

After protesting peacefully for more than an hour in front of the Mayor Bill de Blasio”s”s residence in Manhattan”s upper east side, the demonstrators began marching south of the city, until the police began charging through the crowd at Third Avenue and 50th Street at about 9 p.m.

It was police officials on bicycles who first charged the protesters and then those on foot began to arrest dozens as loudspeakers on police vehicles reminded the demonstrators of the curfew orders and demand everyone leave the area.

Arrests also took place in Union Square.

The marches on Wednesday seemed to be more organized than the chaotic protests of recent days with private vehicles offering water and food as well as hand gel and masks to try to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

“Hands up, don”t shoot” and “Justice Now” were some of the most heard slogans on the streets.

Protests were also held in other cities around the country, including Washington D.C., Oakland, Chicago, Miami, Tampa and Orlando.

Floyd”s deaths has also triggered protests around the world including in France, the UK, New Zealand, Finland, Denmark, Greece, South Africa and Germany.

–IANS

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India-Aus ties have always been close: Modi on summit

The two leaders are likely to review the broad framework of bilateral strategic ties and explore ways to expand cooperation in areas of trade and defence.

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Modi Scott Morrison

New Delhi, Jun 3 : India-Australia ties have always been close, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said ahead of his first-ever virtual summit with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison on Thursday.

“Glad to be joining the first India-Australia Virtual Summit with you, PM @ScottMorrisonMP. India-Australia ties have always been close,” Modi wrote on Twitter.

“As vibrant democracies, from Commonwealth to cricket to even cuisine, our people-to-people relations are strong and the future is bright,” he said.

Modi was responding to a tweet by Prime Minister Morrison, who said he is looking forward to catching up with his Indian counterpart for the virtual summit.

The two leaders are likely to review the broad framework of bilateral strategic ties and explore ways to expand cooperation in areas of trade and defence.

The two countries are also expected to finalise a landmark agreement for reciprocal access to military bases for logistics support in the summit besides sealing a number of other pacts.

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