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Unicef chief ‘horrified’ at airstrike hitting school bus

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Henrietta Foree

United Nations, Aug 10 : The chief of the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) has strongly condemned the airstrike against a school bus in Yemen in which killed more than two dozen children.

“Attacks on children are absolutely unacceptable,” said Unicef Executive Director Henrietta Fore on Twitter on Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported.

“I’m horrified by the reported airstrike on innocent children, some with Unicef backpacks. Enough is enough.”

At least 43 people, mostly children believed to be under the age of 10, were killed and several injured when Saudi-led coalition airstrikes hit buses in northern Yemen on Thursday, officials said.

The buses were targeted as they were passing through Dahyan market in the rebel-held province of Saada, according to the Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV.

Some reports said that the number of casualties could be well above 60, with dozens severely injured. Many of the children were reported to be under the age of 10, according to UN News.

According to the UNICEF, since conflict between pro-government forces and Houthi rebels escalated in 2015, about 2,500 children have been killed and 3,600 maimed in Yemen.

Yemen’s conflict has its roots in uprisings that date back to 2011, but fighting escalated in March 2015, when an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened militarily at the request of its government.

Attacks against civilians have been the scourge of this conflict. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), “tens of civilians were killed in violence in several governorates” in the past 10 days alone.

IANS

India

Nepal bans use of Indian currency notes

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India Rupee

New Delhi, Dec 14: The Nepal government has declared the use of Indian currency notes of Rs 2,000, Rs 500 and Rs 200 denominations illegal in the country.

So, the government has decided to ban the use of high denomination Indian currency notes and use only Rs 100 notes in the country now onwards, according to a report in the Kathmandu Post.

The decision was announced by Nepal government’s spokesperson and Minister for Information and Communications Gokul Prasad Baskota.

The decision, which will affect middle and low-income Indian tourists, was taken at the last Cabinet meeting, said Gokul Baskota.

The Nepal government has urged the people of its country to refrain from keeping or carrying Indian bank notes higher than Rs 100 notes as it has not legalised the India bank notes of denomination Rs 200, Rs 500 and Rs 2000, the report said.

When the Indian government introduced the new denominations in the months following demonetisation in 2016, the Nepal government did not make any announcement on the status of the new currency notes. The new denominations were being used freely in Nepal over the last two years, but the latest decision will affect Nepalese labourers working in India, as well as Indian tourists frequently visiting Nepal.

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World

Kim Jong-un face mask stirs controversy

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kim jong un nuke masks
Thousands of controversial "nuke masks" have been sold in South Korea. (Image Credit-5149/Instagram)

Seoul, Dec 14: A South Korean fashion and cosmetics firm has stirred controversy with a facial mask featuring Kim Jong-un prompting many stores to pull the product of the shelves.

The so-called “nuke masks” were created by 5149, a South Korean fashion and cosmetics company. It said it has sold more than 25,000 “unification moisture nuclear masks” since June, the BBC reported.

Many South Korean stores, though, halted the sales amid a public backlash and concerns over the masks’ legality.

In South Korea, it is illegal to speak favourably of the North Korean government, though the law is rarely enforced.

Dozens of Koreans have posted pictures of themselves on social media with the masks, which cost 4,000 won, the BBC said.

Propaganda-style slogans claim the masks contain mineral water from Mount Paektu, the sacred, active volcano, which is the birthplace of Dangun, founder of the first Korean kingdom more than 4,000 years ago, according to Korean mythology.

“Personally, I don’t like merchandise promoting a certain political agenda,” Irene Kim, a South Korean skincare expert, told the South China Morning Post.

“A few years ago, North Korea was the largest threat to our country… Kim Jong-un was seen as a dictator and a tyrant who would stop at nothing to disrupt world peace, now he’s become the face of a popular face mask,” she added.

The North Korean leader and his regime have been criticised by the UN for “systematic, widespread” human rights abuses.

Both North and South Korea are still technically at war, but leaders from both countries attended talks this year over denuclearisation.

In an interview with the New York Times, 5149 CEO Kwak Hyeon-ju said she wanted the masks to celebrate the “once in a lifetime” Korean summits held earlier this year.

Kim has led North Korea since the death of its former dictator, his father Kim Jong-il, in 2011.

The country’s communist regime has been criticised by the UN and human rights groups for “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations”.

IANS

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America

Bomb Threats Across United States – reports

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crime

Law enforcement authorities around the United States were reponding to a wave of bomb threats, many of them sent by email NBC reported.

A spokesman for the Oklahoma City police told NBC News that individuals in and around that city have gotten 10 to 13 specific email bomb threats, with specific addresses.

Bronx Science said it evacuated its building at 11 a.m. after it received a bomb threat by phone. The school said students were “currently well supervised at neighboring schools.”

The New York police department confirmed it received a call about the threat and responded to the school. The department later tweeteed it was monitoring “multiple bomb threats that have been sent electronically to various locations throughout the city.”

Nearly a dozen threats were received at businesses throughout South Florida, including in Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach. At least three others were reported in Orlando.

Massachusetts State Police are investigating after multiple bombs threats were allegedly mailed to “numerous businesses in the state.” Authorities said the MSP Fusion Center is tracking the activity.

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