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UN calls for more support to tackle humanitarian crisis in North East

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The United Nations (UN) has renewed its call for more interventions to address the nagging humanitarian crisis caused by the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East.

The call was contained in a statement issued in Maiduguri by the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA).

The UN said a team of senior officials had conducted a five-day assessment tour of Borno state and visited Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps in Damboa, Dikwa, Maiduguri and Rann.

It said the team observed that the humanitarian crisis in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe needed renewed support to face the recent upsurge in violence and growing humanitarian needs.

The UN quoted Mr Vincent Houver of the International Organization for Migration (IMO) as saying that “the crisis in the Lake Chad Region is far from over. The humanitarian community cannot spare any effort at this time.

“This week, we met women, children and men who were forced to flee multiple times and urgently need protection and assistance to survive and rebuild their lives. We cannot let them down.”

According to the UN agency, more than 134,000 persons had been displaced since January due to upsurge in violence and military counter-operations in the sub region.

It revealed that about 7.1 million people needed lifesaving assistance, including food, nutrition and healthcare interventions, while about three million others, including one million children, were vulnerable to food insecurity and malnutrition.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, disclosed that aid agencies had scaled up humanitarian response to address the situation.

“Aid agencies have significantly scaled up and reached some two million people with aid this year.

“However; much more supports are urgently needed. We are worried about the tens of thousands of people who have recently fled due to rising violence and are still sleeping outside in the open.

“With the rainy season progressing, they will face increased risk of diseases and will need immediate protection,” Kallon said.

The UN also quoted Mr Christian Gad of the Danish Refugee Council as adding that “some of the people we met have been living in IDP camps for several years.

“All actors, including government and the private sector in Nigeria, need to join forces to help those affected by the crisis to recover in dignity and restart their lives.”

It explained that the UN and its partners have appealed for 848 million dollars to enable it to provide urgent life-saving assistance to 6.2 million people in 2019, adding that the response plan was so far 32.6 per cent funded.

It stressed that more funding was urgently needed to sustain the humanitarian response.

During the visit, the team met with the officials of Borno Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Gov. Babagana Zulum, a wide range of UN agencies and humanitarian organisations.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that members of the team included Ms Reena Ghelani, Director, Operations and Advocacy Division (UN-OCHA) and Ms Sheila Grudem, Deputy Director, Emergency Preparedness and Response Support Division, World Food Programme (WFP).

Others were Mr Christian Gad, Head, Emergencies, Danish Refugee Council, Mr Vincent Houver, Deputy Director, Department of Operations and Emergencies, IMO and Mr José Barahona, Director, Emergency Response, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

Mr Andrew Mbogori, Principal Emergency Coordinator, Division of Emergency Services, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Dr Renee Van de Weerdt, Acting Director, Emergency Operations, World Health Organisation (WHO) were also part of the team.

Foreign News

Putin Demands Ukrainian Troop Withdrawal in Exchange for Peace

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the territories annexed by his country is a prerequisite for any settlement of the ongoing war.

Putin said this during a visit to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow ahead of the Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland at the weekend.

If Ukraine also renounces membership of NATO, Russia would be prepared to cease fire and enter negotiations immediately.

His speech was clearly aimed at the current G7 summit in Italy and the Ukraine event opening on Saturday in the Swiss mountain hotel resort of Bürgenstock.

The affiliation of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson to Russia is no longer in question, Putin said.

Ukraine should withdraw its army from the parts of these regions that it still controls, he added.

The Kremlin leader said he was stating Russia’s minimum demands in order not to freeze the conflict but to resolve it once and for all.

At the same time, Putin repeated the demands he made when he ordered the invasion of the neighbouring country in February 2022: The creation of a neutral, non-aligned and nuclear-free Ukraine.

The country should also be disarmed and “denazified,” said Putin, using a term widely interpreted in the West as meaning the instalment of a Russia-approved leadership in Kiev.

Russia currently occupies around a fifth of Ukraine’s territory, including the Crimean peninsula, which it illegally annexed in 2014.

Ukraine has so far adhered to its stated goal of retaking the occupied territory, including Crimea.

President Volodymyr Zelensky is also calling for the prosecution of Russian war crimes and Russian reparations for the destruction caused. (dpa/NAN) 

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Biden Accuses Trump of Using ‘Hitler’s Language in Newspaper Mock-up

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U.S. President Joe Biden has accused his predecessor and likely election opponent Donald Trump of using Nazi rhetoric following the publication of a video referencing a “unified Reich.’’

Trump is using “Hitler’s language’’.

That’s not America’s, Biden said in a campaign video released.

In the short clip, the Democrat held a phone in his hand and said, referencing the video, is this on his official account? Wow.

Earlier, on Monday, Trump had shared a video which was later deleted on his social media site Truth Social, showing mocks of newspaper articles that would be written if Trump won the presidential election in November.

Among the bits of text featured was a subheading referring to the creation of a unified Reich.

The term, empire in German, is often associated with the Third Reich under Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime from 1933 to 1945.

The word Reich in the video presumably refers to the founding of the German Reich in 1871, with the text being taken from a Wikipedia entry on World War I, according to U.S. media.

The video was created using a ready-made newspaper article mask.

According to the reports, it has also been used in other clips circulating online,.

Other newspaper headlines in the video published on Trump’s platform also make reference to World War I.

Trump’s team later confirmed that the clip had been removed from his account.

A spokeswoman for his campaign team said that “it was not a campaign video, it was created by a random account online and reposted by a staffer who clearly did not see the word.’’

Biden also attacked the Republican, who is hoping to return to the White House, at a campaign event in Boston on Tuesday.

The 81-year-old said that “the threat that Trump poses is greater in the second term than it was in the first,’’ according to reporters travelling with him.

He called Trump a little unhinged and accused him of seeking revenge after losing the 2020 presidential election.

Biden and Trump were all but guaranteed to face off on Nov. 5 in a rematch of the 2020 vote.

They both achieved the required number of delegates to be nominated as candidates of the Democratic and Republican parties respectively.

Trump has been using radical rhetoric in his election campaign, including hateful and dehumanising language, as well as making racist statements and inciting hatred against minorities.

The 77-year-old also compared Biden’s government to the Gestapo, the official secret police of Nazi Germany. (dpa/NAN)

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France Rejects Recognising Palestinian state at Present

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France’s Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné has rejected the idea of recognising Palestine as a state at the moment.

“Our position is clear:  recognition of Palestine is not taboo for France,” the minister said on Wednesday after a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Israel Katz in Paris.

The minister, however, said that  decision in favour of the recognition must be beneficial and would be made at the right time.

He said that such a decision should  enable decisive progress at the political level.

“It is not just a symbolic question or a question of political positioning, but a diplomatic instrument in the service of a solution with two states living side-by-side in peace and security.

“France does not believe that the conditions have been met to date for this decision to have a real impact on this process,” Séjourné said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Norway, Ireland and Spain said they would recognise Palestine as a state on May 28.

Katz’s visit to Paris followed France’s position in favour of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which chief prosecutor applied for arrest warrants on Monday against Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant.

The Paris Foreign Ministry stated that it supported the ICC, its independence and the fight against impunity in all situations.

After the meeting with Katz, Séjourné wrote on X: “I reaffirmed France’s priorities: immediate release of the hostages, ceasefire, massive humanitarian aid and two states living in peace and security.”

(dpa/NAN)

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