World Inside

Stop the war, PM tells UNGA

Publish: 03:37 PM, 24 Sep, 2022


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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today gave utmost importance on dialogue to resolve crises and disputes, urging the world community to stop arms race, war and sanctions for building a peaceful world.

"My urge to the conscience of the world community- stop the arms race, war, and sanctions, ensure food and security of the children; build peace," she said.

The Premier made this call while delivering her speech at the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) here in the UN headquarters.

"We believe that antagonism like war or economic sanctions, counter-sanctions can never bring good to any nation," she said, adding "Dialogue is the best way to resolve crises and disputes."

She continued that "We believe without addressing root causes of conflict, we cannot sustain peace."

Wanting to see a peaceful world with enhanced cooperation and solidarity, shared prosperity and collective actions, Sheikh Hasina said "We share one planet, and we owe it to our future generations to leave it in a better shape."

She went on saying that "We want the end of the Ukraine-Russia conflict."

She noted that in punishing one country with sanctions, counter-sanctions, the entire world including women and children are being punished.

"Its impact is not limited to a country, rather puts the lives and livelihoods of the people in greater risk, infringe their human rights; people are deprived of food, shelter, healthcare and education," she said, adding, "Children suffer the most in particular. Their future is lost in darkness."

The 77th session of the UNGA is taking place from September 13 to 27 at the UN Headquarters in New York, in the first in-person format since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic with heads of states and governments from 193 Member States.
 
The UNGA session is taking place at a time when overlapping crises unfold around the world with food insecurity is looming, humanitarian needs are deepening, climate goals remain largely unmet, inequality is worsening.
 
The world leaders will exchange statements in-person in the General Assembly Hall, on the theme "A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges" to consider and debate how they can collectively solve the shared problems of present time-and create a more sustainable, more just future for all.

Alongside the Russia-Ukraine war, the peace and stability, climate change, food insecurity, Covid-19 pandemic, Palestine and migration issues among others concerning the global as well as Bangladesh perspectives were prominently featured in Sheikh Hasina's speech in the 77th session of the UNGA.

"Growing food insecurity, energy and economic crisis are affecting us all," she said.

She observed that countries that are already in vulnerable situations needing support to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will now face even more challenges to achieve the SDGs.

"Today we've reached a critical time, when mutual solidarity must be shown more than at any time in the past. We need to prove that in times of crisis, the UN is the cornerstone of the multilateral system," she said, adding "Therefore, in order to gain the trust and confidence of the people at all levels, the UN must lead from the front and work to fulfill the expectations of all."

In this context, she mentioned about the Global Crisis Response Group (GCRC) and said "as a champion of this group, I am working with other world leaders to determine a global solution commensurate with the gravity and depth of the current situation".

The Prime Minister said that Bangladesh is fully committed to complete disarmament, including the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and that is why it has ratified the landmark Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 2019. "We've consistently implemented our commitment to peacekeeping operations", she added.

As a reflection of our peace-centric foreign policy, she said Bangladesh has consistently demonstrated its commitment to UN peacekeeping operations as the leading troops and police contributing country, presently being the largest.

They (peacekeepers) help maintain peace, support capacity building of national and local institutions, protect the civilians from harm, empower women and other vulnerable communities and build a sustainable society, she said, adding that while performing their duties, many of them died.

The Bangladesh Premier said as the current Chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, her country is doing their part by creating a platform for multi-stakeholder engagements in support of the conflict affected countries.

"We are committed to continue our efforts in strengthening the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda," she said.

Mentioning that Bangladesh has adopted a "zero tolerance" policy on terrorism and violent extremism in its land, she said "We do not allow our territory to be used by any party to incite or cause terrorist acts or harm to others."

She also called upon the member states to work together for the conclusion of an internationally binding instrument to tackle cyber-crimes and cyber-violence.

Mentioning the brutal and pathetic tragedy of her life on 15 August 1975 when her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with most of family members were killed, she said "So, myself as a sufferer, I can rightly realize the pain and agony that people endure due to the horrors of war, killings, coups and conflicts."

She said "Therefore, I don't want war, I want peace, I want welfare for humankind. I want economic development for people. I want to ensure a peaceful world, developed and prosperous life for future generations."

She continued "My earnest appeal to you, 'stop war, stop arms race'. May the values of humanity be upheld."

"Let us join our hands together and build a better future leaving no one behind," she added.

Rohingya Crisis:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called upon the United Nations and the global leaders to take effective measures for sustainable repatriation of the Rohingyas, warning the global community that if the problem persists further it may affect stability and security beyond its region.

"The ongoing political turmoil and armed conflicts in the country has made the repatriation of the displaced Rohingyas more difficult. I hope the United Nations will play an effective role in this regard," she said.

 The premier told the gathering of world leaders that last month Bangladesh has witnessed the five years of the 2017 mass exodus of the Rohingyas to Bangladesh from their home country.

"Not a single Rohingya was repatriated to their ancestral home Myanmar, despite our bilateral engagements with Myanmar, discussions with partners in trilateral format and engagements with the UN and other partners to assist Myanmar to create necessary conditions for safe and dignified repatriation," she said with great concern.

To ensure a permanent solution to the Rohingya issue, she said "I shall now seek your attention to the forcibly displaced Rohingya peoples from Myanmar."

The Prime Minister said the prolonged presence of the Rohingyas in Bangladesh has caused serious ramifications on the economy, environment, security, and socio-political stability in Bangladesh.

"Uncertainty over repatriation has led to widespread frustration. Cross border organized crimes including human and drug trafficking are on the rise. This situation can potentially fuel radicalisation. If the problem persists further, it may affect the security and stability of the entire region, and beyond," she warned.

Climate Change:

The Prime Minister said that the impact of climate change is one of the biggest threats for humankind. "In the past, we have seen a vicious cycle of promises being made and broken. We must now change this course."

In Bangladesh, she said, the government has led to many transformative measures to tackle perilous impacts of climate change consistent with implementing the Paris Agreement and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

During Bangladesh's Presidency of Climate Vulnerable Forum, Sheikh Hasina said that they've launched "Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan", which aims to put Bangladesh on a sustainable trajectory from "one of vulnerability to resilience to climate prosperity".

She said "Our national plans and policies on climate change and natural disaster are gender responsive and take into account the critical role of women in adaptation and mitigation."

She added that "We are ready to support other vulnerable countries to develop their own prosperity plans. I call on world leaders to promote inclusive climate action."

Covid-19 Pandemic:

Since the beginning of the pandemic in Bangladesh, the Prime Ministe said that her government has taken strategies to contain this crisis mainly focusing on three aspects.

Firstly, the government expanded national health care to prevent the transmission and spread of the infection, she said,

Secondly, she said, they have provided strategic fiscal stimulus to safeguard the country's economy.

And finally, the government has secured people's livelihood, she added.

She said that these initiatives have helped reduce the number of deaths due to pandemic as well as reduce public suffering.

Mentioning that vaccination is the key to safe transition from the pandemic, Sheikh Hasina thanked the World Health Organization and its COVAX system and partner countries for providing this vaccine.

As of August 2022, 100 percent of the eligible population of Bangladesh have been vaccinated, she added.

The greatest lesson, learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic is that "Until we all are safe, no one is safe," she said, adding "We must use the hard-earned lessons to stimulate critical and much needed reforms of our institutions, including of the United Nations, to better prepare for such calamities in the future."

The Premier said that Bangladesh is interested in looking for transformative solutions to poverty alleviation, mitigating climate change effects, preventing conflicts and finance, energy and fuel crises that the world is grappling with now.

"However, we need to understand the fact that socio-economic development cannot be achieved without ensuring peace and stability," she added.


PM   UNGA   UN   Ukraine War   Rohingya Crisis  


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World Inside

North Korea fires over 100 artillery rounds in military drill - South Korea

Publish: 03:27 PM, 05 Dec, 2022


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North Korea fired around 130 artillery shells into the sea off its east and west coasts on Monday, South Korea's military said, in the latest apparent military drill near their shared border.

Some of the shells landed in a buffer zone near the sea border in what Seoul said was a violation of a 2018 inter-Korean agreement designed to reduce tensions.

The South Korean military sent several warning communications to the North over the firing, the ministry of defence said in a statement.

North Korea did not immediately report on the artillery fire, but it has been carrying out an increasing number of military activities, including missile launches and drills by warplanes and artillery units.

South Korea and the United States have also stepped up military drills this year, saying they are necessary to deter the nuclear-armed North.

The 2018 Comprehensive Military Agreement (CMA) was the most substantive deal to come from the months of meetings between leader Kim Jong Un and then-South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

With those talks long stalled, however, recent drills and shows of force along the fortified border between the Koreas have cast doubts on the future of the measures. South Korea has accused the North of repeatedly violating the agreement with artillery drills this year.

This year North Korea resumed testing of its long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) for the first time since 2017, and South Korea and the United States say it has made preparations to resume nuclear testing as well.

- Reuters



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World Inside

G7 begins to press Russia on Ukraine with oil price cap

Publish: 01:57 PM, 05 Dec, 2022


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A Group of Seven (G7) price cap on Russian seaborne oil came into force on Monday as the West tries to limit Moscow's ability to finance its war in Ukraine, though Russia has said it will not abide by the measure even if it has to cut production.

The G7 nations and Australia on Friday agreed a $60 per barrel price cap on Russian seaborne crude oil after European Union members overcame resistance from Poland. Russia is the world's second-largest oil exporter.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the world had shown weakness by setting the cap at that level while Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Sunday it was a gross interference that contradicted the rules of free trade.

"We are working on mechanisms to prohibit the use of a price cap instrument, regardless of what level is set, because such interference could further destabilise the market," said Novak, the Russian government official in charge of its oil, gas, atomic energy and coal.

"We will sell oil and petroleum products only to those countries that will work with us under market conditions, even if we have to reduce production a little," he said.

The G7 agreement allows Russian oil to be shipped to third-party countries using G7 and EU tankers, insurance companies and credit institutions, only if the cargo is bought at or below the $60 per barrel cap.

Industry players and a US official said in October that Russia can access enough tankers to ship most of its oil beyond the reach of the cap, underscoring the limits of the most ambitious plan yet to curb Russia's wartime revenue.

According to Zelenskiy, the $60 cap would do little to deter Russia from waging war in Ukraine. "You wouldn't call it a serious decision to set such a limit for Russian prices, which is quite comfortable for the budget of a terrorist state."

The United States and its allies have imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia since it invaded Ukraine on February 24 and sent billions of dollars in aid to the Ukrainian government.

French President Emmanuel Macron, however, drew criticism from Ukraine and its Baltic allies over the weekend for suggesting the West should consider Russia's need for security guarantees if it agrees to talks to end the war.

Zelenskiy's aide, Mykhailo Podolyak, said the world needed security guarantees from Russia, not the other way around.

PLANNED BLACKOUTS

In Ukraine, Russia has been pounding power infrastructure since early October, causing blackouts and leaving millions without heating as temperatures plummet.

Russia says the assaults do not target civilians and are meant to reduce Ukraine's ability to fight.

Ukraine says the attacks are a war crime.

Zelenskiy, in a video address on Sunday, urged citizens to be patient and strong in resisting the rigours of winter.

"To get through this winter, we must be even more resilient and even more united than ever," he said.

Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said on Telegram that blackouts would be confined from Monday to planned "stabilisation" cutoffs to get the grid working again, but added the situation remained "difficult".

Ukraine's largest power supplier, DTEK, said blackouts were planned for three other regions - Odesa, Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk in Ukraine's south and east.

In Kherson, largely without power since Russian forces abandoned the southern city last month, the regional governor said 85% of customers had electricity.

SHELLING ALONG FRONT LINES

On the battlefront, Zelenskiy said Ukrainian forces were holding positions along the front line, including near Bakhmut, viewed as Russia's next target in their advance through Donetsk.

Ukraine's military said Russian forces were pressing for improved tactical positions to advance in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions. About 16 settlements, including Bakhmut and Avdiivka, were shelled by tanks, mortars, barrel and rocket artillery, the General Staff of Ukraine's armed forces added.

Russian forces are on the defensive along the Zaporizhzhia frontline while hitting four settlements in the Donetsk region and six in the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine's army added.

Russia's defence ministry said its troops were conducting successful operations in the area of Bakhmut and had pushed back Ukrainian attacks in the Donetsk direction.

Russian-installed officials in the occupied Donetsk said Ukraine fired at least 10 Grad rockets into the city. There was no word on casualties.

In Kryvyi Rih, among the largest cities in southern Ukraine, Russian rockets killed one person and wounded three just after midnight, the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, Valentyn Reznichenko, said.

"They aimed at an industrial enterprise," Reznichenko said on the Telegram messaging app without giving details.

Reuters could not independently verify battlefield reports.

The head of US intelligence said fighting in Ukraine was running at a "reduced tempo" and that militaries on both sides were looking to refit and resupply to prepare for a counter-offensive after the winter.

- Reuters


Oil price cap   Oil price   G7   Russia   Ukraine crisis  


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World Inside

Gunmen kidnap worshippers in Nigeria mosque attack

Publish: 01:54 PM, 05 Dec, 2022


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Gunmen abducted 19 Muslim worshippers after attacking a mosque in the restive northwest of Nigeria, police said Sunday.

The attackers stormed the mosque in Maigamji village, in Katsina state, during evening prayers Saturday and carried out the kidnappings after shooting and wounding the imam and another worshipper, said local police spokesman Gambo Isah.

"Our men mobilised and went after the bandits and succeeded in rescuing six of the worshippers from their abductors, while efforts are underway to free the remaining 13," he added.

The two people wounded were being treated in hospital, he added.

Northwest and central Nigeria have been terrorised by criminal gangs locally known as bandits, who village raids steal cattle, kidnap for ransom and burn homes after looting supplies.

Hostages are usually released after a ransom is paid to the gangs, which take refuge in the vast Rugu Forest. It straddles four states in northwest Nigeria, including Katsina.

Last month, 15 people were killed and several others wounded in a series of bandit attacks on villages in neighbouring Kaduna state, say the authorities.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has been under intense pressure to end the violence before he leaves office next year at the end of his eight-year tenure in office.

There is growing concern over an alliance in the northeast between the bandits and jihadists waging a 12-year insurgency to establish a Caliphate.

– BSS/AFP


Gunmen   Nigeria mosque attack  


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World Inside

Nearly 20 dead, 300 injured in Indonesia's 5.6 magnitude quake

Publish: 03:25 PM, 21 Nov, 2022


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More than a dozen people were killed in a 5.6-magnitude quake that rattled Indonesia's West Java province on Monday, a local official said.

Herman Suherman, a government official from Cianjur, the town in West Java where the epicentre of the quake was located, told news channel MetroTV that up to 20 people had died at one hospital in the area.

The epicentre was on land in Cianjur in West Java, about 75 km southeast of Jakarta, and at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), BMKG said, adding there was no potential for a tsunami.

Some people evacuated offices in the central business district of Jakarta, while others reported feeling buildings shake and seeing furniture move, Reuters witnesses said.

Muchlis, who was in Cianjur when the quake hit, said he felt "a huge tremor" and the walls and ceiling of his office building were damaged.

"I was very shocked. I worried there will be another quake," Muchlis told the Metro TV news channel, adding that people ran out of their houses, some fainting and vomiting because of the strong tremors.

BMKG chief Dwikorita Karnawati, speaking to reporters at parliamentary building, advised people to stay outdoors in case of aftershocks.

Suko Prayitno Adi of the BMKG said authorities were checking the extent of the damage caused by the quake.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) recorded the earthquake at a magnitude of 5.4 on the Richter scale.

– Reuters



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World Inside

Turkey launches airstrikes over northern Syria

Publish: 12:21 PM, 20 Nov, 2022


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Turkey launched airstrikes over several towns in northern Syria on Saturday, U.S.-backed Kurdish-led forces reported.

The airstrikes occurred a week after a bomb rocked a bustling avenue in the heart of Istanbul, killing six people and wounding over 80 others. Turkish authorities blamed the attack on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, as well as Syrian Kurdish groups affiliated with it. The Kurdish militant groups have, however, denied involvement.

Ankara and Washington both consider the PKK a terror group, but disagree on the status of the Syrian Kurdish groups, which have been allied with the U.S. in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria.

Following the strikes, the Turkish ministry of defense posted a photo of a fighter plane with the phrase, “The treacherous attacks of the scoundrels are being held to account."

The airstrikes targeted Kobani, a strategic town near the Turkish border that Ankara had previously attempted to overtake in its plans to establish a “safe zone” along northern Syria. SDF spokesperson Farhad Shami in a tweet added that two villages heavily populated with displaced people were under Turkish bombardment. He said the strikes had resulted in “deaths and injuries.”

Syrian opposition media reported that Turkish airstrikes targeted Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces positions.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, reported that the strikes had also hit Syrian army positions and that at least 12 had been killed, including both SDF and Syrian army soldiers.

The observatory said about 25 air strikes were carried out by Turkish warplanes on sites in the countryside of Aleppo, Raqqa and Hasakah.

The Kurdish-led authority in northeast Syria said Saturday that if Turkey attacks, then fighters in the area would have “the right to resist and defend our areas in a major way that will take the region into a long war.”

Turkey has launched three major cross-border operations into Syria since 2016 and already controls some territories in the north.

– AP/UNB


Turkey   Airstrikes   Northern Syria  


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