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Attack on Iranian military parade : 24 killed, 53 wounded

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Tehran, Sep 22 : At least 24 people have been killed and 53 wounded in an attack when  terrorists disguised as Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and Basiji (volunteer) forces opened fire at a military parade in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz.

The parade was part of nationwide celebrations in Iran to mark the 30th anniversary since the end of the eight-year war with Iraq that started in September 1980 and ended in August 1988.

Those killed in Saturday’s attack included members of the Revolutionary Guard and “women and children” who had come to watch the parade, the Iranian state-run IRNA news agency said.

“The terrorists disguised as Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and Basiji (volunteer) forces opened fire during the parade,” Governor of Khuzestan Gholam-Reza Shariati was quoted as saying by IRNA news agency.

Fars news agency said the attack started at 9 a.m. and appeared to involve four gunmen. The attackers shot from a park near the parade and were wearing military uniforms.

“The terrorist team was annihilated, two of them were killed and other two were arrested. One of the detained terrorists was injured,” said Shariati.

Military personnel and a journalist were among those killed.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed “a foreign regime” backed by the US for the attack. “Terrorists recruited, trained, armed and paid by a foreign regime have attacked Ahvaz,” he said in a tweet, adding: “Iran holds regional terror sponsors and their US masters accountable for such attacks.”

Earlier, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani used the occasion of the military parade to compare US President Donald Trump to the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, according to Press TV.

Speaking at a military rally in Tehran, he said Trump will fail in the “economic and psychological war” he’s launched against Iran, just as Hussein failed in his 8-year war against the Islamic Republic”.

“Iran will neither abandon its defensive weapons nor will reduce its defence capabilities,” Rouhani said.

“Rather it will increase its defence power day by day. The fact that they are angry at our missiles shows that these are the most influential weapons Iran has.”

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France’s Macron urges UN mission to visit China’s Xinjiang region

“This is the reason why … France has requested that an international mission under the aegis of the United Nations go to Xinjiang in order to take into account the concerns that we collectively have on the situation of the Muslim Uighur minority,”

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Uighur Muslim rights

PARIS : France’s president on Tuesday called for an international mission under the auspices of the United Nations to visit China’s Xinjiang due to concerns over the Muslim Uighur minority.

U.N. experts and activists say at least a million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held in detention centres in Xinjiang. China describes them as training centres helping stamp out terrorism and extremism and giving people new skills.

“Fundamental rights are not a Western idea that one could oppose as an interference … these are the principles of our organisation, enshrined in texts that the member states of the United Nations have freely consented to sign and to respect,” Emmanuel Macron said in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

“This is the reason why … France has requested that an international mission under the aegis of the United Nations go to Xinjiang in order to take into account the concerns that we collectively have on the situation of the Muslim Uighur minority,” he said.

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Israel reports 2,445 new Covid-19 cases; 193,374 in total

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israel coronavirus

Jerusalem, Sep 23 : Israel’s Ministry of Health reported 2,445 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total confirmed cases to 193,374.

The total count of deaths from the coronavirus in Israel rose by 12 to 1,285, while the number of patients in serious condition rose from 653 to 668, out of 1,352 patients currently hospitalised, Xinhua news agency reported.

The number of recoveries in the country increased by 3,971 to 140,751, while the number of active Covid-19 cases stood at 51,338.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Israeli government approved a plan to expand the national economic safety net to deal with the pandemic’s impact.

“Expanding the plan will enable immediate economic assistance for businesses and wage-earners who are expected to be hurt by the current Covid-19 nationwide lockdown,” said a joint statement by the Prime Minister’s Office and Finance Ministry.

The expansion includes the lowering of damage threshold for businesses to receive fixed expenditure grants to 25 per cent, providing advances against the fixed expenditure grants, a comprehensive worker retention plan, and deferring the reduction in unemployment benefits.

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Disaster

United States Covid deaths top 200,000 as questions linger over halting virus spread

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Coronavirus Death US

The US death toll from the coronavirus exceeded 200,000, as some guidelines and practices for stopping the disease’s spread have been called into question.

While the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University indicated that 52,000 new cases had been reported on Monday, some 21,800 of those new cases came from the release of backlogged data in Texas.

The US logged 36,695 new cases on Sunday, Johns Hopkins reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caused uncertainty Monday when it removed from its website newly posted guidelines saying the coronavirus could be transmitted by tiny particles that linger in the air.

The agency said a draft version of proposed changes was posted in error.

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