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An unprecedented assault on democracy says U.S President-elect Joe Biden

Washington, jan 07: President-elect Joe Biden has said that the democracy in America was under an “unprecedented assault” as thousands of supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol in an unprecedented breach of security resulting in temporary suspension of the US Congress’ counting and certification of presidential election results.”At this hour, our democracy is under an unprecedented assault.

An assault on the Capitol itself. An assault on the people’s representatives, on the police officers sworn to protect them, and the public servants who work at the heart of our Republic. An assault on the rule of law. An assault on the most sacred of American undertakings: The doing of the people’s business,” Biden said on Wednesday.In a nationally televised address, Biden said that the scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect the true America. “This is not who we are. What we are seeing is a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent. It is disorder. It is chaos. It borders on sedition. And it must end. Now,” he said.


The police, outnumbered by the protesters, had a tough time in managing the crowd on Wednesday, as hundreds of protesters breached security and entered the Capitol building, where members of the Congress were going through the process of counting and certifying the Electoral College votes.


Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers were evacuated to safe locations. Both the House and Senate and the entire Capitol were placed under a lockdown.


Calling on the mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward, Biden said that the words of a President matter, no matter how good or bad that president is.
“At their best, the words of a president can inspire. At their worst, they can incite,” he said, calling on President Trump to go on national television, now, to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege.


“To storm the Capitol, to smash windows, to occupy offices, and to threaten the safety of duly elected officials is not protest. It is insurrection. The world is watching – and like so many other Americans, I am shocked and saddened that our nation, so long a beacon of light, hope, and democracy has come to such a dark moment,” Biden said.


“Through war and strife, America has endured much. And we will endure here and prevail now. The work of the moment and the work of the next four years must be the restoration of democracy and the recovery of respect for the rule of law, and the renewal of a politics that’s about solving problems – not stoking the flames of hate and chaos,” he said.


“America is about honour, decency, respect, and tolerance.

That’s who we are. That’s who we’ve always been. The certification of the Electoral College votes is supposed to be a sacred ritual in which we affirm the majesty of American democracy. Today is a reminder, a painful one, that democracy is fragile,” he said.


Biden said that to preserve it requires people of good will, leaders with the courage to stand up, who are devoted not to pursuit of power and personal interest at any cost, but to the common good.


Watching the scenes from the Capitol, the president-elect said he was reminded of Abraham Lincoln’s words in an annual message to the Congress whose work has today been interrupted by chaos.


“President Lincoln said: ”We shall nobly save or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth….The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just – a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless”,” Biden recalled.


“Our way is plain here, too. It is the way of democracy, of lawfulness, and of honor – respect for each other, and for our nation. Notwithstanding what we’ve seen today, I remain optimistic about the incredible opportunities. There has never been anything we can’t do when we do it together. And this God-awful display today is bringing home to every Republican, Democrat, and Independent in the nation that we must step up,” Biden said. (Agency)

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US asks Pakistan, India to work towards stable relationship

(Asian News Hub) – Just before the all-important visit of Secretary of State Antony Blinken to India and other destinations of South Asia and the Middle East, the US has issued a statement, encouraging arch-rivals India and Pakistan to work for a more stable relationship.

Blinken is scheduled to visit India and other countries between July 26-29 in what is being said is an important tour in reference to the developing situation and increasing Afghan Taliban control in Afghanistan.

As per Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Affairs Dean Thompson, Blinken would be discussing different options for what he called a “negotiated settlement” in Afghanistan.

Blinken is going to be landing in New Delhi on July 28 and is scheduled to meet External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

As per details, India’s role in Afghanistan and relations with Pakistan is going to be on Blinken’s agenda during his visit to India.

“We strongly believe that India and Pakistan’s issues are ones for them to work out between themselves. Washington would continue to encourage better ties between South Asia’s two nuclear-armed neighbours,” said Thompson.

“We are pleased to see that ceasefire that went into place earlier this year has remained intact, and we certainly always encourage them to continue their efforts to find ways to build a more stable relationship going forward,” he added.

The US played an important role in engaging both Pakistan and India to come down to an agreement and abide by the 2003 ceasefire after backdoor meeting between top military leadership of both countries in the Middle East.

On the other hand, the US seems to have keen interest in engaging India in seeing its increased role in Afghanistan, especially after the withdrawal of all foreign forces.

“We expect that all the countries in the region have a shared interest in a stable and secure Afghanistan going forward. We will certainly be talking to our Indian partners about how we can work together to realise that goal, to find ways to bring the partners together, and continue to pursue a negotiated settlement to the longstanding war,” said Thompson.

Interestingly, Blinken’s visit does not include a visit to Islamabad. However, the Biden administration has invited Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf and Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt General Faiz Hameed to Washington during next week for talks with the American counterparts.

IANS

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Over two million people died of drowning in last decade: WHO

(Asian News Hub) – The World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that more than 2 million died due to drowning in the last decade, a number which exceeded fatalities caused by maternal conditions or protein-energy malnutrition.

Ahead of the first World Drowning Prevention Day to be marked on July 25, the WHO, in a statement released on Friday, said at least 236,000 people drown every year, and drowning is among the 10 leading causes of death for children and youth aged one to 24 years.

More than 90 per cent of drowning deaths occur in rivers, lakes, wells and domestic water storage vessels in low- and middle-income countries.

Half of all drowning deaths are in the Western Pacific and South-East Asia regions, according to the WHO.

Rates of drowning deaths per 100 000 population are highest, however, in the Western Pacific region followed by the African region.

“Anyone can drown, no one should,” noted Etienne Krug, Director of the Department of Social Determinants of Health, World Health Organization (WHO).

“I welcome the opportunity of this first World Drowning Prevention Day to increase attention and hasten action by governments and their partners to avert the pain and suffering caused by drowning, a largely preventable killer.”

World Drowning Prevention Day was called for by member states through adoption in April 2021 of UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/75/273, which also invited the WHO to coordinate drowning prevention actions.

To mark World Drowning Prevention Day, WHO and partners will host a virtual event on July 28, entitled “Global, national and local reflections on World Drowning Prevention Day 2021”.

IANS

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Pakistan deploys Army at Afghan border amid deteriorating situation in Afghanistan

(Asian News Hub) – Amid the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan due to US drawdown, Pakistan’s regular army has been deployed at the border areas with the neighbouring country as a security measure.

“Now regular army troops are manning the border after replacing the paramilitary forces,” the Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed was quoted by the Dawn.

There are two key border crossings between Pakistan and Afghanistan; at Chaman in Balochistan and Torkham in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In recent weeks, large-scale violence has been on the rise as the Taliban stepped up its offensive since the start of US troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the Afghan government has repeatedly accused Pakistan of supporting the Taliban and preventing the Afghan forces from carrying out military operations against them.

The decision to deploy the army was made amid the uncertain situation in the war-torn country.

“Paramilitary troops including the Frontier Constabulary, Levies, Rangers are deployed at the borders to deal with regular issues including illegal border crossing, smuggling etc,” the Interior Minister said. “However, the current volatile situation (in Afghanistan) demands that regular military troops be deployed along the border.”

Afghanistan is witnessing clashes between the government and the Taliban who have seized significant territories throughout the country and launched an offensive against big cities.

The growing Taliban offensive has created a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan which is leading to a refugee problem. Meanwhile, the Pakistani government announced that it will no longer welcome Afghan refugees.

The ties between the two sides have further deteriorated since the daughter of the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan was briefly kidnapped on her way home in Islamabad on July 16. Thereafter, Kabul recalled its ambassador from Islamabad, demanding punishment for those responsible.

ANI

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