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Guterres Opens UN General Assembly

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 United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres is set to open the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.

The UN chief will welcome the incoming General Assembly president Tijjani Muhammad-Bande of Nigeria to his new role as head of the 193-member body.

As is tradition, the new session begins one week before the assembly’s high-level debate kicks off on September 24 with the participation of world leaders.

In a fast-changing world where humanity’s issues are “increasingly interlinked,” the General Assembly is “our universal platform to build consensus for the common good,” Guterres said at the closing of the 73rd session on Monday.

“From the climate crisis to migration flows and rising inequality, from waves of intolerance to harnessing technology for good, one thing is certain: global issues require global solutions,” the UN chief said.

The 74th session will be presided over by Muhammad-Bande, who will hold the mainly ceremonial position for one year.

Muhammad-Bande takes over from Maria Fernanda Espinosa of Ecuador, who was the fourth woman to lead the UN’s parliament-style body.

The General Assembly is the main representative body of the UN, and all 193 member states have equal voting rights in its chamber.

It adopts treaties and passes resolutions, but they are not legally binding. (dpa/NAN)

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Cambodia Arrests 2 Foreigners for Smuggling 2.27 kg Narcotics

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Cambodian customs police at the Phnom Penh International Airport said they have arrested two South Korean nationals for an attempt to smuggle 2.27 kg narcotics to South Korea.

The duo, a man and woman, were caught Sunday night while they checked in for a ZA215 flight bound for Seoul.

The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia said in a news release on Monday.

In their body searches, our customs officials found many packs of drugs wrapped around their waists, the news release said.

“As a result, some 1.29 kg of crystal methamphetamine and 0.98 kg of ketamine were seized from the two suspects’ possession.’’

The Southeast Asian country has no death sentence for a drug trafficker.

Under its law, someone found guilty of trafficking more than 80 grammes of illicit drugs could be jailed for life.

According to the country’s Anti-Drug Department (ADP), Cambodia nabbed 3,899 drug-related suspects, including 106 foreigners, in 1,659 cases from Jan. 1 to March 3, 2024.

According to the report they confiscated a total of 2.79 tonnes of narcotics.

Most of the seized drugs were ketamine, crystal methamphetamine, methamphetamine tablets, heroin, ecstasy, and cocaine. (Xinhua/NAN)

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February Ends with Extreme Heat – WMO

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The UN weather agency, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), says February saw more extreme heat and unusually high temperatures in both hemispheres.

Summarising the state of the climate, it said the month ended with extreme heat in the southern hemisphere where it is summer, while high temperatures atypical of the northern hemisphere winter prevailed.

Parts of North and South America, northwest and southeast Africa, southeast and far eastern Asia, western Australia and Europe all saw record-breaking temperatures, either on a daily basis or for all of February.

“The anomalous heat is consistent with the persisting warming observed since June 2023, with seven consecutive new global monthly temperature records, including January 2024,” Alvaro Silva, a climatologist working with the WMO, said in a statement.

Global sea surface temperatures were record high. While the El Niño weather pattern “has stoked temperatures in some parts of the world, human induced climate change is the long-term major contributing factor,” he added.

Conversely, a large part of northwestern Canada, central Asia – and from southern central Siberia to southeastern China – witnessed exceptional cold during the last week of the month.

The meteorological winter in the northern hemisphere and summer in the southern hemisphere finished officially at the end of February.

Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) raised increasing concern on Friday that more refugees would cross into Chad from Darfur in the coming weeks amid a worrying lack of food and other essentials.

Almost a year since the start of the civil war between rival militaries in Sudan, neighbouring Chad urgently needs more humanitarian aid and significant development investment, the agency reported, especially in its eastern areas which are hosting the refugee influx.

This investment will allow the country to continue its generous open-door stance towards refugees.

“Chadian officials are concerned that many more hungry Sudanese families will come in the next weeks,” said Kelly Clements, UNHCR’s Deputy High Commissioner, who is in the country to review the relief operation.

“The country is committed to keeping its borders open, despite the fragility of this region.

“But, doing so will put even more strain on Chad, which has so graciously been hosting refugees from Sudan’s war – now raging almost a year – and other refugees still here from earlier emergencies.” (NAN)

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More Than 30,000 Killed in Gaza Strip War – UN Officials

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More than 30,000 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Israel launched its military offensive in October, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Thursday.

Volker Türk quoted the number during a meeting of the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The head of the UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, also used the figure in a post on X, formerly twitter.

“The death toll in Gaza has surpassed 30,000 a large majority women and children.

Over 70,000 Palestinians have been injured,” he wrote.

“This horrific violence and suffering must end. Ceasefire.”

Neither Türk nor Tedros quoted a source.

An official confirmation from the health authorities in Gaza, who usually post the figures daily, is expected later.

Israel launched its assault on the Gaza Strip in response to Palestinian militants from Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organisations killing of more than 1,200 people inside the Jewish state on October 7. (dpa/NAN)

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