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Sudan Protests: UN Chief asks Military to ‘Show Restraint

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UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has urged the military to show restraint and not to create any more victims as mass civil protests against the military coup planned for Saturday in Sudan.

Guterres made the appeal while speaking to journalists in Rome on Friday, ahead of the weekend’s G20 Summit in the Italian capital.

He said people must be allowed to demonstrate peacefully, noting that this is essential.

Guterres reaffirmed his “strong condemnation of the coup,” which saw civilian leaders detained, stressing “the need to reestablish the transition system that was in place.

Pro-democracy demonstrations have been held across the country’s capital, Khartoum, since the army dissolved the transitional government and detained civilian Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, and his cabinet on Monday.

According to news agencies, at least 11 people have died. Latest reports suggest that Hamdok may be willing to negotiate the formation of a new government, if the military reverses its power grab, and releases detainees.

In light of Saturday’s planned protests, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the country, Volker Perthes, reminded everyone of the fundamental right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

“I reiterate my call for the military and security forces to respect the rights of the protestors, to show restraint, and to refrain from excessive use of force,” he said in a statement.

The Special Representative urged those coming out to demonstrate “to do so peacefully, and to remain committed, as in the past, to the spirit of silmiye,” using the Arabic expression for peacefully.

Perthes, who also serves as the head of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), continued to call for a return to constructive and inclusive dialogue among all stakeholders, to get the transition back on track in line with the Constitutional Document.

“UNITAMS remains ready to offer its good offices in this regard,” he said.

Long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir was overthrown by the military following months of popular protest in April 2019.

A transitional government was set up comprising both military and civilian leadership, after a power-sharing agreement, that was due to lead to full democratic elections in 2023.

The country is also going through a humanitarian crisis.

This year, humanitarians have been seeking 1.9 billion dollars for Sudan, but their appeal is only 30 per cent funded.

Aid agencies reached 7.4 million people across the country with protection and humanitarian assistance, during the period from January to June.   (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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Saudi Arabia places Orders for 120 Helicopters with Airbus

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Saudi Arabia’s The Helicopter Co. (THC) has ordered up to 120 Airbus helicopters.

Also, the German helicopter emergency medical services operator, DRF Luftrettung, placed orders for up to 10 Airbus H145 helicopters.

The airline manufacturer made the disclosure on Wednesday.

The companies signed the deals at the HAI Heli-Expo currently taking place at Anaheim Convention Centre in southern California, according to Airbus.

Airbus’s framework agreement with THC, a premier provider of commercial helicopter services and fully owned by the Public Investment Fund, will include up to 120 Airbus helicopters of various types.

These will be delivered over the next five years to seven years.

The deal included a firm order for eight H125s along with 10 H145s that were converted options from an earlier contract.

This brought THC’s total Airbus helicopter fleet to 60. Twenty-five of the 60  are already in service.

The new H125 helicopters would support the delivery of THC’s range of services in areas including aerial work and tourism.

Furthermore, DRF Luftrettung’s orders for up to 10 H145 helicopters include seven firm orders and three options. (dpa/NAN)

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