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Tackle Mediterranean migrant deaths:UN to European leaders

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Geneva, Oct 18 :Concerned over the record rate of drownings in the Mediterranean Sea,the United Nations called on European leaders to tackle  migrant deaths.

UNHCR and IOM urged European leaders to focus this week’s summit discussions “on the practical solutions that are urgently needed and ensuring responsibilities are properly being shared among European States.”

“Arrival numbers are falling but the rate at which people are losing their lives is on the rise,” said Filippo Grandi, chief of the UN refugee agency UNHCR.

The two UN agencies voiced concern over the “dangerously toxic” political rhetoric on refugees and migrants being touted in some countries even as arrivals to Europe have plunged since last year.

“The current tenor of the political debate – painting a picture of Europe under siege – is not only unhelpful but completely out of touch with reality,” said Grandi. “Debate is welcome – scapegoating refugees and migrants for political gain is not,” he said.

With more than 1,700 lives lost since the start of 2018, the rate at which people are perishing while trying to cross the Mediterranean – the world’s most perilous waterway – has risen sharply this year.

The current political climate is stoking groundless fears and hampering progress towards solutions by making it harder for countries to work together, according to Grandi and International Organisation for Migration boss Antonio Vitorino.

“Perilous irregular migration is in no one’s interest,” said Vitorino.
“Together we must invest more in regular migration, enhanced mobility and integration to foster growth and development that benefits both sides of the Mediterranean.”

Besides strengthening search and rescue capacity, UNHCR and IOM said they have proposed “a workable regional arrangement” that would make disembarkation and processing predictable and swift.

 

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President Trump Leaves Out Hindus in Diwali Tweets

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Washington, Nov 14 : It took President Donald Trump three tweets, one deletion, and a fact check from Twitter before he acknowledged Hindus in a White House celebration of Diwali on Tuesday.The blunder by Trump caused widespread outrage on Twitter, with many asking why Trump would name Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains, but not Hindus.

After people  pointed out on social media that he glaringly omitted Hindus as Diwali is a major Hindu holiday  — a billion people throughout the world for whom Diwali is a major holiday — the tweet was deleted, only to be replaced by a second one that again left out Hindus.

Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted: “Today, we gathered for Diwali, a holiday observed by Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains throughout the United States & around the world.”

That post was then deleted and re-posted with a new link to a YouTube clip of Trump’s remarks on the Festival of Lights.

 

About 15 minutes later,  the president posted a new tweet acknowledging that the holiday is associated with Hinduism.

“It was my great honor to host a celebration of Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, in the Roosevelt Room at the @WhiteHouse this afternoon. Very, very special people!”

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Trump labels North Korea’s secret missile bases as ‘Fake News’

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Washington, Nov 14 : United States President Donald Trump has labelled reports about North Korea’s undeclared operating missile bases as “fake news” as some American analysts claim they have identified at least 13 of an estimated 20 undeclared missile bases inside Pyonyang.

Referring to the New York Times article, Trump tweeted,” The story in the New York Times concerning North Korea developing missile bases is inaccurate. We fully know about the sites being discussed, nothing new – and nothing happening out of the normal. Just more Fake News. I will be the first to let you know if things go bad!.”

The article was written on the information on a study published by the Beyond Parallel program at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

South Korean officials sought to play down the report, by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in’s spokesman said it would be wrong to characterise the missile bases as a “deception” on North Korea’s part, saying that neither declaring them nor shutting them down was a part of an agreement reached between the two countries in September.

The study claims to have located 3 out of 20 undeclared North Korean missile operating based on satellite images and interviews with North Korean defectors, along with government and intelligence officials internationally.

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and the US’s president Donald Trump in June declared they would work towards denuclearisation . Since that summit, Pyongyang says it has closed its Punggye-ri nuclear testing site and the Sohae missile engine test facility.But analysts have questioned why Sakkanmol , the site closet to the South Korea is active when Kim Jong un is trying to mend its ties with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The detailed report of North Korean nuclear sites comes amid stalled denuclearisation talks between North Korea and US after the meeting between Secretary of State Michael pompeo and Kim yong chol  has been postponed .

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Michelle Obama’s memoir ‘Becoming’ out, an instant hit

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Washington, Nov 14 : A new memoir titled “Becoming” by Michelle Obama was out Tuesday, in which the former U.S. first lady revealed her family life, some thoughts about her husband’s successor Donald Trump, as well as her reflections on various challenges in her personal life.

The book is already No. 1 among best sellers on Amazon, Xinhua reported.

Her comments about Trump include accusations that his “birther” conspiracy put her family in danger and that she “stopped even trying to smile” at Trump’s inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20, 2017.

“I had to share my vulnerability and also learn to love differently,” she wrote about some bumps during her marriage with Barack Obama, including a period she felt frustrations over being “a working full-time mother with a half-time spouse.”

The couple once attended marriage counselling and Michelle miscarried before giving birth to her two daughters through in vitro fertilization, according to excerpts of the book revealed by local media reports.

Michelle administered the IVF shots herself while her husband was away serving in state legislature. Local media said the candid talk helps dispelling the taboos around such struggles.

She also said of her discomfort of being a hyperaccomplished woman only recognized through her connection to a powerful man, and deep frustration of being misunderstood and labelled as an “angry black woman.”

“I hate when people who are in the public eye — and even seek the public eye — want to step back and say, ‘Well, I’m not a role model. I don’t want that responsibility.'” she explained in an interview with Oprah Winfrey why she revealed such details of her private life in the new book.

“Too late. You are. Young people are looking at you. And I don’t want young people to look at me here and now and think: Well, she never had it rough, she never had challenges, she never had fears.” said the former first lady.

Michelle signed a joint book deal with Barack for a reported $65 million deal soon after they left the White House last year.(IANS)

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