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Myanmar reconstitutes Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee

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Nay Pyi Taw, May 27 : The Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC) in Myanmar will be reformed with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi heading the 18-member body, said official sources on Friday.

At least three vice chairmen were nominated to the committee, namely U Kyaw Tint Swe, Padoh Saw Kwel Htoo Win and U Thu Wai, while former government peace negotiator U Hla Maung Shwe of the previous Myanmar Peace Centre will serve as secretary of the committee, Xinhua reported.

Suu Kyi said on the first day of the UPDJC meeting that the reconstituted committee will include some old members who are representatives from ethnic groups, political parties and the government.

Discussions on details of the reform will be continued during Saturday’s meeting, which will also touch upon issues including the establishment of the new National Reconciliation and Peace Centre (NRPC) and preparation for the 21st Century Panglong Ethnic Conference in Nay Pyi Taw.

The previous Myanmar government and eight ethnic armed groups out of 15 signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Accord (NCA) on October 15, 2015.

After that a union-level joint ceasefire monitoring committee was formed along with the tripartite UPDJC to draft a framework for holding political dialogue as part of the implementation of the NCA.

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Indian COVID-19 survivor falls to death in Dubai

The victim had tested positive for COVID-19 on April 10. On May 7, he was discharged from a Dubai hospital after clearing all tests.

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Dubai, May 26 : An Indian expat, who recently recovered from COVID-19, fell to his death from a building in Dubai, police said.

The 26-year-old Indian national from Kerala, fell from the seventh floor balcony of his building where he stayed with six others, including a relative.

A Dubai Police official confirmed the incident to Gulf News on Monday and said it had been a suicide.

“He was suffering from a mental disorder and there is no criminal suspicions behind his death,” said the official.

“The incident happened on Sunday,” the official confirmed.

The victim’s relative said: “(He) awoke early to perform prayers and everyone was getting on with their daily morning chores when he walked to the balcony and jumped.

“He was suffering from a mental disorder and had been disturbed for some time. He thought everyone was out to attack him and had stopped eating his food as he thought people were feeding him poison. He was refusing to even take water from us.”

The victim had tested positive for COVID-19 on April 10. On May 7, he was discharged from a Dubai hospital after clearing all tests.

The relative told Gulf News that he had registered the victim in the Department of Non-Resident Keralites Affairs (NORKA) last month in order to repatriate him, however he was unsuccessful in procuring a ticket.

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Sourth Korea’s 2nd phase of school reopening set for Wednesday

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Seoul, May 26 : South Korea is on track for its second phase of school reopening on Wednesday, bringing back more than 2 million students to their schools nationwide amid the new coronavirus pandemic.

School reopening is considered one of the most important steps in the government’s “everyday life quarantine” scheme, which was introduced on May 6, Yonhap News Agency reported on Tuesday.

The scheme is designed to help people learn to live with the virus and resume normal life amid relaxed social distancing.

Under the government’s phased school reopening plan, schools are scheduled to resume in-person classes for the two lowest grades of elementary school, kindergarten students, middle school seniors and second-year high school students.

The estimated number of affected students amounts to 2.37 million.

About 440,000 high school seniors returned to school last week after more than two months of delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The resumption of in-person classes, however, has faced hurdles.

The latest came on Monday when a six-year-old kindergarten boy tested positive for COVID-19.

Last week, dozens of schools in Incheon and Daegu were also closed following several infections involving high school students.

To monitor and tackle potential outbreaks at schools, the Education Ministry is in close coordination with the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) and provincial education offices, said the Yonhap News Agency report.

The government is also expected to unveil a set of revised quarantine and disinfection guidelines on Wednesday in time for the second phase of the reopening.

It reassured the public that the second phase will go off without a major hitch.

As of Tuesday, South Korea has 11,225 COVID-19 cases, with 269 deaths.

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Japan’s Abe lifts state of emergency

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Tokyo, May 25 (IANS) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday lifted the countrys nationwide state of emergency, ending restrictions in the remaining areas where the order was still in effect due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had very stringent criteria for lifting the state of emergency. We have judged that we have met this criteria,” the BBC quoted Abe as saying said in a televised address to the nation on Monday.

He said the country had managed to control the spread of COVID-19 since issuing the order in some areas on April 7, then later extending it nationwide.

Japan has been easing restrictions since mid-May, but kept several areas, Tokyo included, under watch to ensure the outbreak had been contained.

Unlike other major economies, Japan has endured a relatively limited outbreak of OVID-19, recording 820 coronavirus-related deaths and 16,550 infections as of Monday.

Initially, Japan was criticised for its handling of the pandemic, prompting the prime minister to declare a state of emergency in metropolitan areas on April 7, later expanding it nationwide.

Monday’s decision came after the number of infections and the situation of the health system in Tokyo, the three neighbouring prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama and the northern Hokkaido, the only ones where the state of emergency remained in effect, reports Efe news.

The group of experts advising the government appreciated the efforts made by citizens to comply with the recommendations to achieve the target of reducing interpersonal contact by 80 per cent, top government spokesperson Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference on Monday.

The recommendation for citizens to avoid unnecessary trips outside and the request for non-essential businesses to close were not mandatory nor accompanied by fines or other penalties for non-compliance, unlike the stricter containment measures implemented in other countries.

The government had already decided to lift the emergency in 39 prefectures on May 14 after they reported a marked decrease in the number of infections, leaving out the more populated regions such as Tokyo and Osaka.

To avoid new outbreaks of the virus, Abe has urged people to become accustomed to a “new lifestyle” that includes maintaining social distancing, the use of masks outside as well as a series of guidelines for the reopening of shops, restaurants and public facilities.

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