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Boutros Boutros-Ghali, first UN chief from Africa, passes away

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Former United Nations secretary general Boutros Boutros-Ghali died at a hospital here on Tuesday, officials said. He was 93. UN chief Ban Ki-moon hailed him as a “respected statesman” and a “memorable leader who rendered invaluable services to world peace and international order”.

Boutros-Ghali was earlier admitted to the hospital with a broken pelvis, BBC reported citing Egypt’s state news agency.

His death was confirmed by Rafael Dario Ramirez Carreno, the Venezuelan ambassador to the UN and current president of the UN Security Council.

A former Egyptian foreign minister, Boutros-Ghali was the first Arab to serve as UN chief.

He took office in 1992 at a time of increasing influence for the world body following its decisive role in the Gulf War, serving a five-year term.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of my predecessor, Boutros Boutros-Ghali,” Ban said in a statement.

Boutros-Ghali “was a respected statesman” and a “well-known scholar of international law and brought formidable experience and intellectual power to the task of piloting the United Nations through one of the most tumultuous and challenging periods in its history, and guiding the Organization of the Francophonie in subsequent years”.

Ban said that as secretary-general, Boutros-Ghali “presided over a dramatic rise in UN peacekeeping”, and when the world “increasingly turned to the UN for solutions to its problems, in the immediate aftermath of the cold war”.

“His commitment to the UN — its mission and its staff — was unmistakable, and the mark he has left on the organisation is indelible,” Ban said.

Boutros-Ghali led the UN during one of its most difficult times, with crises in Somalia, Rwanda, the Middle East and the former Yugoslavia.

Born on November 14, 1922 into a Coptic Christian family in Cairo, he was educated at Cairo University and in Paris.

He later studied international relations at Columbia University in New York and became Egypt’s foreign minister in 1977 under then president Anwar al-Sadat.

After leaving the UN, Boutros-Ghali served from 1998 to 2002 as secretary general of La Francophonie, a grouping of French-speaking nations.

In 2004, he was named president of Egypt’s human rights council, a body created by then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. Ghali resigned in 2011, the year Mubarak was ousted by a popular uprising.

India

US offers to mediate between China, India on border row

The offer for arbitration came a day after both China and Pakistan issued blatant threats of war on India’s both fronts. The Pakistan Army also initiated an unprovoked ceasefire violation with intense mortar-shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Balakote sector of Poonch district in Jammu & Kashmir, early Tuesday.

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Donald Trump

New Delhi/Washington, May 27 : The US on Wednesday revealed that it has offered to mediate in the ongoing standoff between India and China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Union Territory of Ladakh.

In his morning tweet, US President Donald Trump said that the White House has “informed both India and China that the United States is ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their now raging border dispute.”

Though China has been aggressive against India at the border in the eastern sector in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, its latest offensive at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the western sector in Ladakh has resulted in Indian and Chinese soldiers locked in a face-off in Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie.

The offer for arbitration came a day after both China and Pakistan issued blatant threats of war on India’s both fronts. The Pakistan Army also initiated an unprovoked ceasefire violation with intense mortar-shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Balakote sector of Poonch district in Jammu & Kashmir, early Tuesday.

On Tuesday, China’s President Xi Jinping, was quoted by state news agency Xinhua, saying “It is necessary to explore ways of training and preparing for war” and “to step up preparations for armed combat, to flexibly carry out actual combat military training, and to improve our military’s ability to perform military missions.” His statement was preceded by a decision to increase the budget for the Chinese military by 6.6 per cent.

China’s close ally, Pakistan expressed similar views threatening war. Pakistan’s army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa during his second visit in a month, to the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) on Sunday, said “Kashmir is a disputed territory and any attempt to challenge disputed status, including any political-cum-military thought related to aggression will be responded with full national resolve and military might,” threatening that “disturbing strategic stability matrix in South Asia can lead to dire consequences”.

“Pakistan Army is fully alive to the threat spectrum and will remain ever ready to perform its part in line with national aspirations,” he warned.

Both China and Pakistan which have occupied portions of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir have aggressively opposed India’s bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories last year.

Though China has already built heavy infrastructure on the occupied territory, it is now suddenly objecting to the infrastructure development work that India has been carrying out on its side of the LAC.

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Disaster

Global COVID-19 cases cross 5.6 mn: Johns Hopkins University

The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are Italy (32,955), France (28,533), Spain (27,117), and Brazil (24,512).

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COVID-19 cases

Washington, May 27 : The overall number of global coronavirus cases have crossed 5.6 million, while the death toll increased to 350,876, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Wednesday evening, the total number of cases stood at 5,609,079, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US is also reaching a grim milestone of 100,000 COVID-19 deaths.

Currently, the country has 1,681,418 confirmed cases and 98,929 deaths, both tallies accounting for the highest in the world, according to the CSSE.

In terms of cases, Brazil comes in the second place with 391,222 infections.

Meanwhile, the UK ranked second after the US with 37,130 COVID-19 deaths, the highest fatalities in Europe.

The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are Italy (32,955), France (28,533), Spain (27,117), and Brazil (24,512).

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Disaster

Bangladesh Covid toll mounts to 544

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

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Coronavirus in South Korea

Dhaka, May 27 : With 22 fresh deaths due to the pandemic , Bangladesh Covid-19 toll surged to 544, health authorities said on Wednesday.

The total corona cases in the country soared to 38,292 after 1,541 COVID-19 cases were detected in the 24 hours till 8 a.m. (local time) on Wednesday, according to the health directorate.

As per bd news 24, another 246 patients were released by hospitals in the same period, raising the number of recoveries to 7,925, DGHS Additional Director General Nasima Sultana said in a media briefing on Wednesday.

The rate of recovery from the disease in Bangladesh currently stands at 20.70 per cent while the mortality rate is 1.42 per cent, according to government data.

A total of 8,015 samples were tested at 48 authorised labs across the country in the last 24 hours, Nasima added.

Globally, over 5.6 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus and 350,752 have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

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