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Haley warns UN: Russia may use chemical weapon on New York 

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Nikki Haley,File Photo

United Nation, March 15: Expressing solidarity with the UK, US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has warned that if concrete measures were not initiated, “Russia will use chemical weapons here in New York or in cities of any country that sits on this Council”.

Haley said the Donald Trump administration “stands in absolute solidarity with Great Britain” following a nerve agent attack against a Russian double agent and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury last week, the CNN reported.

In the strongest statement yet from the US administration on the affair, Haley said Washington shared the UK’s assessment that the Russian state was behind the poisoning and demanded a firm international response.

“The US believes that Russia is responsible for the attack on two people in the UK using a military-grade nerve agent,” Haley said in her remarks at a UN Security Council emergency session on Wednesday, blasting the Russian government for flouting international law, the CNN report said.

“If we don’t take immediate concrete measures to address this now, Salisbury will not be the last place we see chemical weapons used,” said Haley.

“They could be used here in New York or in cities of any country that sits on this council.”

Russia, however, has dismissed the accusations as “fairy tales” and denied any involvement in the attack which landed the Skripals, along with a British police officer, in the hospital.

The UK believes Russia was behind the attempted murders of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia because of the nerve agent used. Novichok, was developed in the Soviet Union and could not be replicated by non-state actors, CNN quoted UK officials as saying.

London on Wednesday announced it would expel 23 Russian diplomats after Moscow failed to meet a UK deadline to give a “credible response”.

Moscow’s Ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, even suggested the UK might have been responsible for the attack in an attempt to smear Russia. “In the Russian Federation, no scientific research or development work under the title Novichok were carried out,” he told the Security Council.

Laying the blame firmly at Russia’s door and highlighting Moscow’s support of the Assad regime in Syria following that government’s use of chemical weapons against civilians, Haley told fellow diplomats the world had reached “a defining moment”.

“Time and time again, members states say they oppose the use of chemical weapons under any circumstance,” said Haley. “Now one member stands accused of using chemical weapons on the sovereign soil of another member.

“The credibility of this Council will not survive if we fail to hold Russia accountable,” she said.

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Middle East

Palestinians protest against normalisation agreement between Israel, UAE

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Palestinians protest UAE-Israel deal

GAZA/RAMALLAH, Aug. 14 : Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated in the West Bank and Gaza on Friday against the United States’ sponsored normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Islamic Jihad Movement and other Palestinian factions organized the demonstration in Gaza city. Leaders of the factions, including the Hamas movement, joined the protest.

The crowds went out from al-Omari main mosque in Gaza city, waving flags and chanting slogans against the UAE. They marched the main street and gathered at Palestine square in the city’s downtown.

They carried banners writing “Palestine is not for sale” “No for normalization and no for those who lead normalization with the occupation” and “normalization is a knife in the back of the Palestinian people.”

Member of the Islamic Jihad Movement’s political bureau Khaled Al-Batsh renewed the Palestinian people’s condemnation and rejection of the agreement, calling on the UAE to withdraw its recognition of Israel immediately.

Hamas movement leader Mushir al-Masri addressed during the demonstration on behalf of the other factions’ leaders that the Palestinian people described the declaration of the agreement as “a black day for our people and cause.”

“The agreement is a total betrayal of the Palestinian cause and an unpardonable diplomatic action that no one forgives. It is a stab in the back of the Palestinians and gives free services to the occupation,” al-Masri said.

Protests also took place in some West Bank cities.

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CDC forecast projects 200,000 COVID-19 deaths in US by Sept 5

If the United States allowed the coronavirus to spread unchecked in an attempt to try to achieve so-called herd immunity, the “death toll would be enormous,” Anthony Fauci, U.S. top infectious disease expert, warned.

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Coronavirus Death US

WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 : A new ensemble forecast published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has projected up to 200,000 total COVID-19 deaths in the United States by Sept. 5.

The projection published Thursday forecast that 4,200 to 10,600 new COVID-19 deaths will be reported during the week ending Sept. 5 and that 180,000 to 200,000 total COVID-19 deaths will be reported by that date.

“State- and territory-level ensemble forecasts predict that the number of reported new deaths per week may increase over the next four weeks in Colorado and may decrease in Arizona, the Northern Mariana Islands, Vermont, and Wyoming,” the CDC said on its forecasting website.

If the United States allowed the coronavirus to spread unchecked in an attempt to try to achieve so-called herd immunity, the “death toll would be enormous,” Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned on Thursday.

“If everyone contracted it, even with the relatively high percentage of people without symptoms … a lot of people are going to die,” Fauci said during a live Instagram session.

“Testing continues to fall, especially in the South, one of the areas where the country needs it the most. Cases, too, are falling, which remains hard to interpret, given the testing decline — but fewer people are now in the hospital with COVID-19 than last week,” said a new report of The COVID Tracking Project.

This is the second week in a row that hospitalizations seem to have dropped, which suggests that infections may be declining independently of testing reductions, according to the report.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States topped 5.29 million as of Friday afternoon with more than 168,100 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

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Turkey may suspend ties with UAE over Israel deal, Erdogan says

The deal makes UAE the third Arab country to establish full relations with Israel, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

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ISTANBUL : Turkey is considering suspending diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates and withdrawing its ambassador over the Gulf state’s accord to normalise ties with Israel, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

The Turkish foreign ministry said history would never forgive the UAE’s “hypocritical behaviour” in agreeing such a deal, which recasts the order of Middle East politics.

Under the U.S.-brokered, the first between Israel and a Gulf Arab, the Jewish state agreed to suspend its planned annexation of areas of the occupied West Bank. Palestinian leaders have denounced it as a “stab in the back” to their cause.

“The move against Palestine is not a step that can be stomached. Now, Palestine is either closing or withdrawing its embassy. The same thing is valid for us now,” Erdogan said, adding he gave orders to his foreign minister.

“I told him we may also take a step in the direction of suspending diplomatic ties with the Abu Dhabi leadership or pulling back our ambassador,” he told reporters after Friday prayers.

The Foreign Ministry had earlier said Palestinians were right to reject the deal in which the UAE betrayed their cause.

“History and the conscience of the region’s peoples will not forget and never forgive this hypocritical behaviour,” it said. “It is extremely worrying that the UAE should, with a unilateral action, try and do away with the (2002) Arab Peace Plan developed by the Arab League.”

Turkey has diplomatic and trade ties with Israel, but relations have been strained for years. In 2010 Israeli commandos killed 10 Turkish activists trying to breach a blockade on the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.

The deal makes UAE the third Arab country to establish full relations with Israel, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

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