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US meets goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees

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The United States would reach its target of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees by October 1, a month ahead of the goal  the Obama administration set to accept refugees  from war-torn country,National Security Adviser Susan Rice has said.

“On behalf of the President and his Administration, I extend the warmest of welcomes to each and every one of our Syrian arrivals, as well as the many other refugees resettled this year from all over the world,” Rice said.
Rice acknowledged that there was much more work to be done in the region but called the move a “meaningful step that we hope to build upon”.

“While refugee admissions are only a small part of our broader humanitarian efforts in Syria and the region, the President understood the important message this decision would send, not just to the Syrian people but to the broader international community,” Rice said.

The US ambassador to Jordan, Alice Wells, on Sunday described the resettlement numbers as “a floor, not a ceiling”.

America had previously pledged to bring at least 10,000 individuals from the war-torn country during the current fiscal year, which ends next month.

David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, used similar language Monday in welcoming the American milestone, adding that he hopes it is a prod to further action.

“IRC encourages the White House to consider this 10,000 milestone ‘a floor and not a ceiling,'” he said. “The achievement of the 10,000 target proves what is possible, and there remains an urgent need to further strengthen US leadership in resettling refugee families — with appropriate vetting — fleeing violence and war.”

He urged the Obama administration to up its acceptance rate to 1,40,000 refugees in 2017.

The influx of Syrian refugees, however, has been a major domestic political flashpoint over the past year. That could prove an obstacle to any significant increase in the program.

Critics of the resettlement effort — including Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump — have long expressed concern about the potential for ISIS or other terrorist groups to exploit refugee flows to reach the West, CNN reported.

Wells maintained that America’s absorption of Syrians did not come at the cost of the country’s rigorous screening processes.

“The United States government is deeply committed to safeguarding the American public, just as we are committed to providing refuge to some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” Wells said, adding, “we do not believe these goals are mutually exclusive.”

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Nine drug addicts killed in Afghanistan shooting

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Kabul, Nine drug addicts were shot to death in an overnight shooting in a non-residential area in western side of Kabul, Afghanistan, the capital police said on Sunday.

“The shooting occurred at side of Qurugh Mountain in Police District 6 roughly at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday. Personnel of Kabul Criminal Investigation Police Department shifted the bodies to Forensic Science Service Department near Kabul University shortly after the shooting was reported,” Ferdaus Faramarz from Kabul police told Xinhua.

One arrest was made after the shooting and the motive behind the incident remained unclear. Further investigation is on, police added.

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31 civilians killed in Yemen airstrike: UN

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An airstrike in the Yemeni northeastern province of al-Jawf has killed at least 31 civilians and injured 12 others, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen said in a statement on Sunday.

“We share our deep condolences with the families of those killed and we pray for the speedy recovery of everyone who has been injured in these terrible strikes,” Lise Grande said in the statement obtained by Xinhua.

“Under international humanitarian law parties which resort to force are obligated to protect civilians. Five years into this conflict and belligerents are still failing to uphold this responsibility,” she added.

The victims were killed in the airstrike on Saturday that targeted a gathering of people at the site where a Tornado warplane of the Saudi-led coalition crashed in al-Masloub district in the southwest of al-Jawf, according to a local tribal source.

The victims were members of three relative families, the source said on condition of anonymity. The strike came hours after the Houthi rebels claimed to have shot down the Tornado warplane.

Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition confirmed that a Tornado warplane crashed in al-Jawf during an operation to support Yemen’s government forces. The coalition held Houthis responsible for the lives and safety of the plane’s crew, according to a statement carried by the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television.

The Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the Iran-allied Houthi rebels since its intervention in the Yemeni conflict in March 2015 to support the internationally-recognized government of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

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Japan confirms 70 new coronavirus cases from cruise ship

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Toky, Another 70 people aboard the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Japan’s Yokohama have been tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the total to 355 cases, Health Minister Katsunobu Kato confirmed on Sunday.

The health ministry said that the 70 new cases came out of 289 people tested, bringing the total number of those who have undergone tests to 1,219, Japan Times reported.

The cruise ship arrived in Japan earlier this month with more than 3,700 passengers and crew members from more than 50 countries and regions.

With global attention increasingly focused on the situation, the US Embassy sent a letter on Saturday to Americans aboard saying that a chartered aircraft, set to arrive in Japan on Sunday, would repatriate those who wished to leave the ship.

The US aircraft is set to depart from Haneda Airport in Tokyo on Monday, according to Japanese official japan will also cooperate with other countries that make similar arrangements to evacuate their citizens on the ship, Japanese government officials said.

More than a week has passed since the cruise ship was put under a two-week quarantine at Yokohama port after a passenger who disembarked in Hong Kong was found to be infected with COVID-19, the pneumonia-causing coronavirus.

Japan’s health ministry had initially planned to keep all of the passengers and crew confined on the vessel until Wednesday, when the quarantine is scheduled to end.

But the ministry decided last Thursday to let passengers 80 and older, as well as their traveling companions, leave before the end of the quarantine after they were screened for infection.

Those with pre-existing conditions or who were staying in cabins without windows were prioritized for disembarkation.

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