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Modi receives Global Goalkeeper Award

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New York, Sep 25 Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on Tuesday conferred the Global Goalkeeper Award by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the Swachh Bharat mission. The PM said the honour bestowed on him was for the millions of Indians who participated in the mission.

He said receiving the award on Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th anniversary is especially significant for him, for it shows people’s power – of the determination of 1.3 billion people to achieve any goal.

Modi said that when he first talked about the Clean India campaign five years ago, there were “different reactions”, but “if you are committed to your goal then these are of no importance”.

“What is important is the united efforts to make India clean and the development of a mindset in 1.3 billion Indians, and every single effort that people make for this effort. I therefore dedicate this award to those who made cleanliness the highest priority in their daily lives,” he said.

He said though the Swachh Bharat mission was begun by his government, the people took charge of it. “I think of the woman who sold her sheep to build a toilet, of the retired man who donated his pension for a toilet, or the lady who sold her mangalsutra to build a toilet. Such a campaign has been unheard of in recent times,” the PM said.

When he took over in 2014, less than 40 per cent homes had toilets in the country, and now it is close to 100 percent.

He said the success of the Clean India mission has benefited women the most, as in rural areas women had to wait for it to get dark to venture to the fields to relieve themselves. “For mothers and sisters, not having a toilet at home is the biggest difficulty, it also goes against their self-respect,” the PM said.

He said lack of toilets in schools would force girls to give up their studies and sit at home.

He said the Clean India Mission has also helped save thousands of lives, and cited a WHO report that said building toilets in homes helped save 300,000 lives. He cited a UNICEF study that said that every family with a toilet will be able to save Rs 50,000 a year, while a Bill and Melinda Gates report said that increase in sanitation has improved the BMI of women.

“I recall that Mahatma Gandhi said he believes that cleanliness is more important that independence. I am very happy that the dream of Mahatma Gandhi of cleanliness is going to become a reality.”

He said the main objective of the UN is to make peoples’ lives better and the Clean India Campaign plays an important role in achieving the UN goal.

He said that the construction of so many toilets had also generated employment opportunities for poor people in rural areas.

“Our government has tried to change governance to cooperative federalism in the way different states have taken part in the campaign, through creating awareness, constructing toilets, through training. The states were given full assistance to fulfil the resolution,” he said.

Modi said that states now compete among themselves to rank higher in a cleanliness survey competitions.

Modi said that India is ready to share its experiences with other countries.

“India is very close to achieving its goals, we are working at a fast pace. Through Fit India movement for preventive healthcare, and we have made 2025 the target to make India Tuberculosis free. We are making fast progress in the National Nutrition Mission, and will be able to overcome malnutrition. The Jal Jeevan Mission has been launched to provide regular supply of clean water to every home. We have also decided to stop single use plastic by 2022,” said Modi.

“I have complete faith in 1.3 billion Indians,” he said. He was conferred the award by Bill Gates at an event on the sidelines of the UNGA.

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Children face an assault on human rights: UN chief

The UN chief added that gender equality and women’s rights, as well as the empowerment of civil society, were all areas without which human rights could not be guaranteed.

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Antonio Guterres

Geneva, Feb 24 : Young people and children face an assault on human rights and a range of development crises if nations do not rally and commit to an agenda of protection of fundamental freedoms and rights, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday.

Guterres made the remarks at the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, reports Efe news.

The gathering is known as the council’s “high-level segment” and is widely regarded as the most important of the three meetings that take place yearly.

Over the course of three days experts, heads of state and prime ministers, as well as dozens of state dignitaries, will present the urgent needs and priorities of the countries they represent.

Guterres made a call to action with a seven-point plant, in which he addressed human rights issues across several areas including, sustainable development, gender equality, challenges in the digital age, crisis prevention and freedom of expression.

“I have come to the Human Rights Council, the fulcrum for international dialogue and cooperation to advance all human rights, to launch a call to action.

“Human rights are the birthright of every person and in the interest of every country. They ensure stability. They build solidarity. They promote inclusion and growth,” Guterres said.

Hr launched his call to action with the right to sustainable development which is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The second area Guterres flagged was the need to protect human rights in situations of violence, particularly when it comes to vulnerable groups such as minorities and indigenous peoples.

The UN chief added that gender equality and women’s rights, as well as the empowerment of civil society, were all areas without which human rights could not be guaranteed.

Guterres concluded by saying that human rights should be at the core of multilateralism, and that modern technologies and societies had to accommodate essential rights and freedoms.

The UN will promote human rights on the Internet and in the realm of data protection, particularly data that is personal and relates to a person’s health, Guterres added.

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‘Minorities have complete freedom in Pakistan’

According to the London-based Minority Rights Group International, ethnic minorities in Pakistan include Sindhis (14.1 per cent), Pashtuns (15.42 per cent), Mohajirs (7.57 per cent), Baluchis (3.57 per cent).

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PESHAWAR

Karachi, Feb 24 : Members of minority groups in Pakistan can practice their religion openly and move about with complete freedom in the Muslim-majority country, a Minister has clamed.

While visiting the Swami Narayan Temple in Karachi on Sunday, provincial minister Nasir Hussain Shah vowed to protect the rights of minorities, reports The Express Tribune.

He commended the role and contribution that minorities have played in the development and progress of Pakistan, adding that he had come to the temple with a message of peace.

On behalf of the government, he also announced that 10,000 copies of the Bhagavad Gita would soon be distributed.

According to the London-based Minority Rights Group International, ethnic minorities in Pakistan include Sindhis (14.1 per cent), Pashtuns (15.42 per cent), Mohajirs (7.57 per cent), Baluchis (3.57 per cent).

Religious minorities include Christians (1.59 per cent), Ahmadis (0.22 per cent), Hindus (1.6 per cent), Shias, Isma’ilis, Bohras, Parsis and Sikhs.

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Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son apologises over social media comments

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Mahinda Rajapaksa

Colombo, Feb 24 (IANS) Rohitha Rajapaksa, one of three sons of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, has issued an apology over comments he made on social media that drew strong criticism, a media report said.

“I recently made a statement as a result of a targeted offensive comment. It was not my intention to deliberately cause distress to any individual and/or community. Therefore, I sincerely apologise,” the Colombo Gazette newspaper quoted Rohitha as saying in a tweet on Sunday.

The apology came after an individual had tweeted saying: “All what we have achieved is to see you three brothers get married in the same year with nine ceremonies and your in-laws become most eligible for state positions and you live out of public money…”

To this, Rohitha responded by saying: “There is no clause I have to declare my private assets and show off. But trust me no public fund is used for our personal benefits. Why don’t you get ur self a proper job and an education so you won’t be jealous of another persons success. Get a wife and make children.”

To another tweet, he replied: “You seem to know a lot more than the CID, please join and make them finish these cases soon so you can find ur self a boyfriend who can keep you company.”

The Prime Minister’s son received widespread criticism due to these two tweets.

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