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Passenger jet with 71 on board crashes in Russia

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Photo credit CTGN

Moscow, Feb 12: A passenger plane with 71 people on board crashed shortly after leaving Moscow, with no hope of survival of the crew and passengers, media reported on Sunday.

The Antonov-148 of Saratov Airlines with 65 passengers and a crew of six was en route from Domodedovo Airport in Moscow to Orsk of the Orenburg Region in western Russia, Xinhua cited the Interfax news agency as saying.

Radio contact with the seven-year-old Russia-made plane was lost at 14:21 Moscow time (1121 GMT), several minutes after the takeoff.

“Tentatively, the plane has crashed near the village of Argunovo. The crew and passengers had no chance to survive,” the source said.

Witnesses in the village of Argunovo told news media that they saw a burning plane falling from the sky.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered “his profound condolences to those who lost their relatives in the crash” and issued an order to set up a government commission to probe into the crash, Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying.

The Russian Investigative Committee has opened an investigation into the crash and Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov has flown to the scene.

The Russian Transport Ministry said that several reasons of the crash are being considered, including weather conditions and human factors.

IANS

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Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan dies at 80

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Geneva, Aug 18: Former UN Secretary-General and Nobel Prize Laureate Kofi Annan died on Saturday at the age of 80, his family said.

Annan passed away after a short illness, with his wife and three children by his side, a statement shared on Twitter by the UN Migration Agency (IOM) said. He died in the Swiss city of Geneva, where he had been living for several years.

“It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation announce that the former Secretary General of the UN and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on Saturday 18th August after a short illness,” his family said.

Annan was the first black African to take up the role of the world’s top diplomat, serving two terms from 1997 to 2006. He later served as the UN special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

His family described him as “a global statesman” who fought for fairness and peace throughout his life, as well as “a son of Ghana” who felt a “special responsibility” to Africa.

“He will be greatly missed by so many around the world, as well as his staff at the Foundation and his many former colleagues in the UN system,” the statement said.

The IOM said: “Today we mourn the loss of a great man, a leader and a visionary: Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. A life well lived. A life worth celebrating.”

Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the UN in 2001 “for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world”.

His tenure as the UN chief coincided with the Iraq War and the HIV/Aids pandemic.

IANS

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Imran Khan takes oath as 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan

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Islamabad, Aug 18: Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan on Saturday took oath as Pakistan’s 22nd Prime Minister, three weeks after his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party won the highest number of seats in the general election.

Khan, who outvoted opposition and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate Shahbaz Sharif in the Prime Minister’s election on Friday, was administered his oath by President Mamnoon Hussain at the President House here, reports Dawn news.

Clad in a black sherwani, Khan was accompanied by his wife Bushra Imran.

After taking his oath, Khan and his wife, Bushra Imran, greeted various guests.

Khan then proceeded to the Prime Minister’s Office, where he was presented a Guard of Honour.

The oath-taking ceremony commenced at 10.10 a.m., with the national anthem followed by recitation of verses from the Holy Quran.

High-profile guests including outgpomg caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan and Naval Chief Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi were in attendence.

Other notable guests present include former Indian cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, cricketer-turned-commentator Rameez Raja, legendary paceman Wasim Akram, newly-elected Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, singers Salman Ahmed and Abrarul Haq, actor Javaid Sheikh, former National Assembly speaker Fehmida Mirza and senior PTI leaders.

On Friday, the National Assembly (NA) elected Khan as the Prime Minister of Pakistan, more than two decades after the former captain of the Pakistan cricket team entered politics, reports Geo News.

Of the total NA members, 176 voted in favour of the PTI chairperson, while his opponent, Shahbaz Sharif, received 96 votes.

IANS

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US sanctions Myanmar military personnel, units over human rights abuse

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Washington, Aug 18 (IANS) The US Treasury Department on Friday announced to sanction four commanders and two military units in Myanmar, accusing them of being related with human rights abuse cases in the country.

In a statement, the Treasury said the targeted commanders were from Burmese military and Border Guard Police (BGP), Xinhua reported.

Together with the 33rd Light Infantry Division (LID) and the 99th LID, the commanders were punished over the alleged involvement in ethnic cleansing in Rakhine State and “other widespread human rights abuses” in Kachin and Shan States.

These individuals and entities were designated according to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act of 2016 that targeted “perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption.”

Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in the statement that the US government “will continue to systematically expose and bring accountability to human rights abusers in this region.”

As a result of these actions, any property, or interest in property, of those designated within U.S. jurisdiction is blocked.

Additionally, US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with blocked persons, including entities 50 percent or more owned by designated persons.

Building upon the act, US President Donald Trump signed Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, or “Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption.” To date, 84 individuals and entities have been sanctioned under the order.

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