Wednesday 20 January 2021
News ID: 86574
Publish Date: 13 January 2021 - 21:45
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The UN counter-terrorism chief warned Tuesday that terrorists are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic and appealing to new "racially, ethnically and politically motivated violent extremist groups.” Vladimir Voronkov spoke at the UN Security Council’s 20th anniversary commemoration of the pivotal resolution to fight terrorism adopted after the 9/11 attacks on the United States -- and six days after a violent assault on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. He said that throughout the past two decades, "the threat of terrorism has persisted, evolved and spread.” Al-Qaeda, which was responsible for the 9/11 attacks that killed almost 3,000 people from 90 countries, is still proving resilient despite the loss of numerous leaders, Voronkov said. The Daesh extremist group, which lost its self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria, is still carrying out attacks in the two countries "and seeking to reconstitute an external operations capability.”
 
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TORONTO/OTTAWA (Reuters) -- Ontario declared an emergency on Tuesday after latest modeling put Canada’s most populous province on track to have more than 20,000 new COVID-19 cases per day by the middle of February, a nearly ten-fold increase from the current count. Ontario, which is battling a coronavirus surge that has swamped its hospitals and triggered a province-wide lockdown, could also see roughly 1,500 more deaths in its long-term care homes through mid-February under a worst-case scenario, according to modeling from experts advising the government. New restrictions that take effect on Jan. 14 mandate that residents must stay at home except for essential activity, while outdoor gatherings will be limited to five people, and non-essential construction work will be restricted.

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) -- Indian farmers were due to burn copies of the government’s new agricultural laws on Wednesday as they press on with their protest against the reforms despite the intervention of the Supreme Court, which said their grievances should be heard. Tens of thousands of farmers have been camped on the outskirts of the capital, New Delhi, for almost two months, protesting against what they say are laws designed to benefit large private buyers at the expense of growers. The government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi denies this, saying the legislation is required to reform an agricultural sector beset by wastage. The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered a temporary suspension of the laws while a four-member committee looks into the protesters’ grievances. But farm leaders have refused to cooperate with the committee and planned on Wednesday to torch copies of the legislation on bonfires at their protest sites to drive home their opposition and mark the Lohri mid-winter festival.
 
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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Wednesday received the first shot of a Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccine after Indonesia approved it for emergency use and began efforts to vaccine millions of people in the world’s fourth most populated country. After Widodo, top military, police and medical officials were vaccinated, as well as the secretary of the Indonesian Ulema Council, the clerical body that last week ruled the vaccine was halal and could be taken by Muslims. Others such as a health care worker, businesspeople and a social media influencer also received the shots to encourage people to get the vaccine when it is available to them. Conditional use of the Sinovac Biotech Ltd. vaccine is scheduled to be rolled out in the coming months with health care workers, civil servants and other at-risk populations prioritized. It will be free for all Indonesian citizens.
 
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PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix Police Department is investigating after a virtual funeral for civil rights icon and city leader Calvin Coolidge Goode was interrupted Tuesday by hackers yelling racist slurs. "The Phoenix Police Department has been made aware of the incident and after speaking with the FBI, the department will be the lead investigative agency,” spokeswoman Maggie Cox said in an email. "This type of language and disruption is unacceptable and only divides our community. We are committed to working with our community in identifying the person(s) responsible for this act.” Mayor Kate Gallego on Twitter condemned the comments and said the city does not tolerate hate crimes. "I condemn the racists who disrupted Vice Mayor Goode’s funeral services. This is horrific and does not represent the values & commitment of our community. I am determined to continue Vice Mayor Goode’s fight,” Gallego said.

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MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said on Wednesday he would fly back to Russia on Jan. 17 from Germany where he has been convalescing after being poisoned. Navalny, one of President Vladimir Putin’s leading critics, was airlifted to Germany for treatment in August after collapsing on a plane in what Germany and other Western nations claim was an attempt to murder him with a Novichok nerve agent. Russian authorities deny any involvement in the incident. Navalny wrote on Instagram that he had probably almost fully recovered his health now and said it was time to return to Russia despite various legal threats hanging over him.


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