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‘Indo-Japan strategic partnership aimed at counter balancing China’

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The ‘Special Strategic Global Partnership’ struck by India and Japan during the recent visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India is aimed at counter balancing China to emerge as regional powers, a state-run Chinese daily said today.

“Behind this special partnership is the ambition of the two countries to become regional powers and even global powers. It also reveals their intention to counterbalance a rising China,” an article in the state run Global Times said.

“The Japan-India ‘Special Strategic Global Partnership’ is becoming a reality. However, such special partnership seems to be fragile, given China’s firm economic ties with both, the two’s different preferences for strategic security and economic technologies and the gambling mentality of the leaders from both sides,” it said.

Tokyo and New Delhi are hoping to impose pressure on China by clinging to the other, but at the same time, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Abe are making efforts to improve ties with China.

“Neither wants to be the first one to clash with China, while both are prepared to seek gains from the other side’s conflicts with Beijing,” it said.

Referring to a number of agreements such as high-speed rail and defence technology and civilian use of nuclear power, it said, “Abe has achieved all his aims from his India visit and described the agreements as heralding a new era of cooperation between the two nations.”

“Whether this is a new era for the two is open for discussion. But what’s clear for India and Japan watchers is that Abe is pushing forward bilateral ties regardless of the costs,” it said in apparent reference highly concessional loans offered by Japan to bag the first high speed rail deal between Mumbai and Ahmedabad putting pressure on China, which is also trying to bag the bullet train contract in India.

“Knowing Abe’s intentions, Modi has made contrived promises to lure Abe making more compromises or even abandoning his principles,” it said.

“The cooperation of India and Japan on nuclear power and defence may exert a huge impact on the Asian landscape. The signing of the MoU indicates that Japan has steered away from its persistent principles by cooperating for the first time with a country that has not joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It means Japan admits that a country without joining the NPT can own nuclear weapons.

“This is a turning point in Japan’s nuclear policy,” it said

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Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Germany approach 90,000

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Berlin, April 5 More than 89,300 COVID-19 cases and at least 1,250 deaths have been registered as of Saturday afternoon across Germany, according to evaluations of a local media outlet which took into account the latest figures from all federal states.

The confirmed cases increased by 5,600 from the previous day, and the deaths by 147, Xinhua reported.

Helge Braun, head of the Federal Chancellery, told the Saturday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine that the peak of the COVID-19 crisis in Germany has not yet been reached, and “the time with the highest infection numbers is still ahead of us.”

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Iran urges EU to defy US sanctions amid COVID-19 pandemic

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday censured US for maintaining its sanctions against Iran despite the outbreak of COVID-19 across the country.

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Tehran, April 5 : Iran’s envoy to Belgium on Saturday asked the European Union to oppose US sanctions on Iran amid the surge of COVID-19 pandemic, state TV reported.

The “unilateral and illegal sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran under the guise of its maximum pressure campaign undermine the country’s ability to effectively battle the virus without any international support in the long run,” Gholam Hossein Dehqani said in a letter to Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Xinhua reported.

Dehqani urged the European Union to defy “the inhumane” US sanctions as they infringe on the ordinary citizens’ rights to meet their basic needs.

On Friday, Iran’s envoy to the UN office in Geneva Esmaeil Baqaei Hamaneh said that the US “cruel and illegal” sanctions against Iran have resulted in difficulties for ordinary Iranians’ access to medicine and medical equipment and services as the country is engaged in the combat with the novel coronavirus.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday censured US for maintaining its sanctions against Iran despite the outbreak of COVID-19 across the country.

Iran’s health ministry on Saturday announced 55,743 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country and a total of 3,452 deaths.

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CoronaVirus: US COVID-19 deaths surpass 8,000

Globally, the death toll is more than 59,100, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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The total deaths of COVID-19 in the US topped 8,000 as of 2.30 p.m. on Saturday (local time), according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

President Donald Trump said at the daily White House coronavirus press briefing on Saturday, “This will be the toughest week” in the U.S. fight against the pandemic.

“There will be a lot of death, unfortunately,” he said.

The president’s comments came as the total number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose to over 300,000, with the number of deaths at more than 8,000, according to NBC News’ tally.

Globally, the death toll is more than 59,100, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The CDC is recommending now that Americans wear cloth masks when out in public. And, New York, by far the hardest-hit state, is gearing up for the pandemic to peak there in an expected in four to 10 days. China is donating 1,000 ventilators to the state, and another 140 are coming from Oregon.

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