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Palestinians slam US slashes $200 million aid to Gaza, West Bank

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Washington, Aug 25 : Top Palestinian officials slammed US President Donald Trump for slashing $200 million in economic aid to the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank  and  accused Washington of “blackmail”.

“This administration is dismantling decades of US vision and engagement in Palestine,” said the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s envoy to the US, Husam Zomlot, after the US State Department’s announcement on Friday.

which was to be allocated to Gaza and the West Bank be redirected elsewhere.

A State Department official said the decision was made after a review “to ensure these funds are spent in accordance with US national interests”, BBC reported on Friday.

It has already withheld $65 million from the UN relief agency for the Palestinians.

Relations between the Palestinians and the US have been difficult since Trump took power.

They hit a low point after the US recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017. As a result, the Palestinians said the US was unable to continue its mediation role in the peace process and suspended contact.

The US administration, meanwhile, suspended aid to the Palestinians pending a review in the light of the Taylor Force Act back in June.

The act aimed to force the Palestinian Authority to cease paying stipends to families of individuals convicted of terrorism against Israel.

On Friday, a State Department spokesman said the decision to “redirect” the funds to other “high-priority projects” was made as a result of the review, but did not say where the money would now go.

Both the Palestinians and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency warned cutting funding would make everyday life harder for the territories’ citizens

However, the US official said the decision took into account “the challenges the international community faces in providing assistance in Gaza, where Hamas control endangers the lives of Gaza’s citizens and degrades an already dire humanitarian and economic situation”.

Disaster

7 killed in Karachi rain

The provincial disaster management authority of Sindh province, where Karachi is located, issued a warning of urban flooding in parts of the city and other areas.

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Pakistan Rains Flood
Pakistan Rains (File Picture)

Karachi, July 7 : At least seven people were killed and several others injured in Pakistan’s Karachi city in separate rain-related incidents.

After weeks of extremely hot weather, the residents of Karachi on Monday found solace when the first monsoon rain in the ongoing summer season hit the port city of over 20 million people, but at the same time the unfortunate incidents of electrocution, roof collapse and uprooting of trees and billboards claimed seven lives, reports Xinhua news agency.

According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), rainfall up to 43 mm was recorded in the city, and it wreaked havoc in the areas where it was coupled with heavy winds.

Rescue teams said that the rainwater inundated several low-lying areas of the city, creating trouble for the residents.

Road traffic was also disrupted in several areas after rainwater submerged highways and other roads.

Electric poles also uprooted in several areas of the city, resulting in hours-long suspension of electricity supply.

The provincial disaster management authority of Sindh province, where Karachi is located, issued a warning of urban flooding in parts of the city and other areas.

The authority said heavy rainfall is expected in the province due to the monsoon and the residents and concerned departments of the urban areas should remain alert and take necessary precautionary measures during the forecast periods to avert any unfortunate incident.

The PMD forecast more rains on the same pattern in the city for the next two days.

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Situation ‘really not good’ as new COVID-19 cases break records: Fauci

The worst-hit states due to the fresh outbreak are California, Arizona, Texas and Florida.

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Anthony Fauci

Washington, July 7 : America’s top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci warned “the current state is really not good” due to the fresh spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

“We had been in a situation (where) we were averaging about 20,000 new cases a day,” Xinhua news agency quoted Fauci, Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as saying on Monday.

In a livestream with Director of the US National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, Fauci said a series of circumstances associated with various states and cities trying to open up, in the sense of getting back to some form of normality, has led to a situation where the country now has record-breaking cases.

He said the average age of people getting infected now is 15 years younger than it was a few months ago, but young people must understand they are not “in a vacuum”.

“Innocently, they could infect someone who’d infect someone, and then all of a sudden someone’s grandmother or grandfather, or aunt who”s getting chemotherapy for breast cancer gets infected.

“You’re part of the propagation of the pandemic so it’s your responsibility to yourself, as well as to society, to avoid infection,” Fauci added.

The US currently accounts for the world”s highest number of infections and fatalities at 2,935,008 and 130,277, respectively, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

The worst-hit states due to the fresh outbreak are California, Arizona, Texas and Florida.

Nearly two dozen states have paused their reopenings to combat the virus spread while others have taken extra measures to keep it out of their borders, said a CNN report.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut issued a travel advisory that requires people arriving from eight states with high coronavirus rates to quarantine for two weeks.

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Disaster

6.1-magnitude quake jolts Indonesia, no tsunami alert issued

Indonesia has been frequently jolted by earthquakes as it lies on a vulnerable quake-hit zone called “the Pacific Ring of Fire”.

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Earthquake Strong

Jakarta, July 7 : An earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale rocked Indonesia’s western Central Java province on Tuesday morning, the meteorology and geophysics agency said. It, however, did not issue a warning for tsunami.

The quake struck at 5.54 a.m. with the epicentre at 53 km northwest Jepara of the province and a depth of 578 km under the sea bed, Xinhua reported.

Indonesia has been frequently jolted by earthquakes as it lies on a vulnerable quake-hit zone called “the Pacific Ring of Fire”.

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