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Macedonia, Greece sign historic deal on name change

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June 18: Greece and Macedonia setting aside the 27-year-old dispute over the latter’s name, signed a historic agreement that changed Macedonia’s name to the Republic of Northern Macedonia on Sunday, thus paving the way for Macedonia’s admission to the European Union and NATO.

The agreement led to violent protests in the Macedonian capital Skopje . Protestors threw flares, rocks and bottles at police outside the national parliament and chanted “Macedonia, Macedonia as they view deal as a national sellout.” Officers dispersed the protesters with tear gas and flash grenades.

The foreign minister of Greece Nikos Kotzias and his Macedonian counterpart Nikola Dimitrov signed an accord to rename the former Yugoslav republic.

The deal was sealed in the presence of European and United Nations officials.

“Our two countries should step out of the past and look to the future,” said Macedonia Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

This move comes a day after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras survived a no-confidence vote mounted by Greece’s opposition in parliament over his handling of the dispute.

The agreement requires nod from parliaments of both the countries  and a referendum in Macedonia.But Macedonia’s president has also vowed to block the deal.

Election

United States Presidential Election on Nov 3 as planned: WH officials

Election Day takes place on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, as determined by federal law. Moving the date would require an act of Congress.

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Trump rally

Washington, Aug 3 : White House officials have confirmed that the upcoming US presidential election will be held as planned on November 3 after President Donald Trump raised the possibility of delaying it.

Speaking to CBS News on Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said the President was only raising concerns about mail-in ballots when he floated the idea of delaying election in a tweet last week.

“We’re going to hold an election on November 3 and the President is going to win,” Xinhua news agency quoted Meadows as saying to CBS News.

The Chief of Staff added that Trump “has not looked at delaying any election”.

Meadows’s remarks were echoed by presidential campaign adviser Jason Miller, who told Fox News on Sunday that “the election is going to be on November 3 and President Trump wants the election to be on November 3”.

In his tweet on July 29, Trump claimed — without providing any proof or evidence — that “universal mail-in voting” would make November’s vote “the most inaccurate & fraudulent election in history”.

“It will be a great embarrassment to the USA,” he said.

“Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

But later in the day, Trump said that he did not want to delay the election, saying: “I don’t want a delay. I want to have the election… But I don’t want to see a crooked election.

“But I also don’t want to have to wait for three months and then find out that the ballots are all missing and the election doesn’t mean anything. That’s what’s going to happen… that’s common sense. Mail-in ballots will lead to the greatest fraud.”

Trump’s delay tweet immediately ignited a political firestorm and drew bipartisan pushback from Capitol Hill, as legal analysts agreed that Trump has no authority to delay the election as the US Constitution gives Congress the power to set the date.

Election Day takes place on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, as determined by federal law. Moving the date would require an act of Congress.

Top Republicans — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — both dismissed the idea.

Trump ally Senator Lindsay Graham meanwhile said a delay was “not a good idea”.

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Health

Pakistan’s Punjab province lifts COVID-19 lockdown

Punjab has reported 24 new cases of the coronavirus and four more fatalities, according to the government’s COVID-19 portal.

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Pakistan Lockdown
Main Market Islamabad Lal Chowk (Picture @listenAashiq)

Lahore, Aug 3 : Pakistan’s Punjab province, the second worst-hit in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic, has lifted a lockdown amid a continued fall in the number of positive cases, it was reported on Monday.

The lockdown was imposed till August 5 across the province ahead of Eid-ul-Adha in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus, reports The Express Tribune.

But it was lifted on Sunday, a day ahead of the given date.

In a notification, the provincial health department said all business except those which fall in “negative list” will be allowed to operate from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday to Friday

The new directives came into effect on Monday.

Punjab has reported 24 new cases of the coronavirus and four more fatalities, according to the government’s COVID-19 portal.

This has taken the total cases in the province to 93,197 while the death toll has risen to 2,148.

More than 82,000 people have recovered from the virus in the province so far.

Pakistan has so far recorded a total of 279,966 cases, with 5,982 deaths.

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World

Iranian prez voices hope for durable peace in Afghanistan

Rouhani also highlighted the boost of ties between Tehran and Kabul on different fronts and called for tapping into the existing economic, trade and transit potentials.

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Theran, Aug 3 : The Iranian president expressed hope that dialogue among Afghan political groups will result in durable peace in Afghanistan, official IRNA news agency reported.

In a phone conversation with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday, Hassan Rouhani welcomed the cease-fire in the neighboring country and expressed hope that a temporary truce will lead to standing tranquility and drop of violence in Afghanistan, Xinhua news agency reported.

He announced Iran’s consistent support for the peace process led by the Afghan government.

Rouhani also highlighted the boost of ties between Tehran and Kabul on different fronts and called for tapping into the existing economic, trade and transit potentials.

For his part, Ghani expressed satisfaction with the interaction of the private sectors of the two countries and the economic ties between Iran and Afghanistan.

He also thanked Iran for backing peace efforts in Afghanistan.

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