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Need India as partner in fight against climate change: Austrian President

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Vienna, July 10 (IANS) Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen said on Wednesday that the country needs India as a partner in a structurally sustainable transformation towards climate neutrality.

“We have a long friendship and strong bilateral relations with India, especially in the economic area. We now want to expand these further,” the Austrian President said after holding discussions with PM Narendra Modi in Vienna.

Thanking the Indian Prime Minister for visiting Austria, Van der Bellen stated that both countries can work in several areas, including the fight against climate change.

“As the most populous country in the world and a global economic power, India plays an important role in the common fight against the climate catastrophe. We need India as a partner in a structurally sustainable transformation towards climate neutrality,” he said. He highlighted that the two leaders also talked about the current geopolitical challenges, especially the Russia-Ukraine war.

“We agreed that Ukraine urgently needs peace and that we will support efforts in this direction,” the Austrian President posted on X.

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India said that both leaders deliberated ways to strengthen India-Austria relations in a host of sectors.

“Had a very good meeting with Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen and we discussed the possibilities for expanding Indian-Austrian cooperation,” stated PM Modi.

Earlier, PM Modi held talks with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer as both countries identified “new possibilities” to further strengthen mutual cooperation and also decided to give a strategic direction to their bilateral ties. PM Modi and Chancellor Nehammer also met business leaders from India and Austria with the Indian PM emphasising that both nations are confident of leveraging “the many opportunities” ahead to boost commercial and trade linkages.

This is the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Austria in 41 years.

–IANS

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12 Palestinians killed in Israeli air raid on school in Gaza: Sources

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Gaza, July 15 (IANS) At least 12 Palestinians were killed and dozens of others wounded in an Israeli air raid on a school housing displaced people in the central Gaza Strip, said Palestinian security and medical sources.

Israeli aircraft bombed a school in the Nuseirat refugee camp run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) with at least one missile, security sources told Xinhua news agency on Sunday.

Some video footage circulated on social media platforms shows the moment the school was bombed, parts of which were destroyed, Xinhua news agency reported.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli army on the raid.

UNRWA condemned the Israeli raid, stressing that there is no safe place in Gaza.

“The UN agency sends the coordinates of its facilities daily to the Israeli army, yet the army insists on targeting it and the United Nations headquarters,” the UN agency advisor Adnan Abu Hasna told Xinhua.

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The attack came a day after Israeli warplanes bombed the tents of displaced people in the Mawasi area in Khan Younis, killing at least 90 Palestinians and wounding 300 others, most of them women and children, according to the health authorities in Gaza.

–IANS

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Police seize arms, ammunition in Afghanistan

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Kabul, July 15 (IANS) Police have seized a variety of arms and ammunition from across north Afghanistan’s Balkh province over the past four months, provincial police spokesperson Mohammad Eisa Wasiq said.

The counter-terrorism police have collected 29 pieces of different types of arms and ammunition during a series of operations in different districts of the province, Wasiq added on Sunday.

Calling upon Afghans to help police in recovering arms and ammunition from the illegal possession of any person, the official added that the police are trying to recover and register any arms illegally kept by individuals over the past 20 years, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Afghan caretaker government has recovered a lot of arms and ammunition, including battle tanks and missiles, since taking over power following the withdrawal of the US-led forces from the war-ravaged Asian country in August 2021.

–IANS

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Philippine Airlines plane overshoots runway in Philippines

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Manila, July 15 (IANS) A Philippine Airlines (PAL) propeller plane overshot the runway at an airport in Palawan province, the airline company said.

All 53 passengers and four crew members were safely deplaned, the company added on Sunday.

The plane, travelling from Cebu to Palawan, overran the runway upon landing at Busuanga airport before 3 p.m. local time amid poor weather conditions, PAL said.

The aircraft stopped on a grassy area beyond the concrete runway, causing the airport’s closure, and forcing incoming flights to be diverted to other airports, Xinhua news agency reported.

PAL said it is working with related authorities to restore normal operations in Busuanga airport.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines is expected to investigate the incident.

–IANS

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7 missing following water barrier breaching in Myanmar

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Yangon, July 15 (IANS) Seven construction workers were missing following a water barrier breaching at a construction site near the bank of Ayeyarwady River in central Myanmar’s Mandalay region, said an official from the Myanmar Rescue Organisation.

The incident occurred in Amarapura township of Mandalay around 8.30 a.m. local time on Sunday, Xinhua news agency reported.

When the water barrier broke and river water flooded the construction site, seven workers went missing as a result, the official told Xinhua.

The river water only overflowed the construction site and did not reach the villages, he added.

Search and rescue efforts are underway with the Myanmar Rescue Organisation and Myanmar Fire Services Department working together, the official said.

–IANS

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Trump assassination bid: Biden orders 'independent review'

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Washington, July 15 (IANS) US President Joe Biden on Sunday announced an independent review of the security at the election rally at which a shooter made an assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump who is also the putative Republican nominee for the White House.

The US President also said that he has ordered a continued heightened level of security for his Republican rival and a review of the security arrangements at the Republican party’s presidential convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In a short speech after meeting top security officials in the Situation Room, Biden also said he spoke to Trump.

“An assassination attempt is contrary to everything we stand for as a nation, everything. It’s not who we are as a nation, it’s not America, and we cannot allow this to happen,” he said, adding: “Unity is the most elusive goal of all but nothing is important right now, Unity. We will debate and will disagree. It’s not that’s not going to change. But we’re gonna not lose sight of who we are as Americans”.

Biden said the shooter’s motive remains unclear and appealed to Americans to not speculate and wait for the FBI’s investigation. The FBI is leading the probe into the shooting. He did not specify who or which agency will conduct the “independent review”, but promised to share its findings.

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While the FBI is leading the investigation into the shooting, the US Justice Department’s National Security Division is also involved in it, as Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

This indicates the US is treating the assassination attempt as also a threat to national security.

While the shooter has been identified as Thomas Matthew Crooks, officials have said nothing yet about his motivation. According to news reports, he was a registered Republican but had donated $15 to a liberal voter mobilisation group in 2021. The gunman used an AR-15 military-style assault rifle that has been the weapon of choice for most mass shooting perpetrators. New reports now suggest the shooter was carrying two explosive devices in the car and a possible third at his residence.

Earlier in the day, Trump struck a defiant note the morning after surviving the assassination attempt, writing on social media, “We will FEAR NOT”.

He also announced he would be speaking at the Republican party convention.

Trump is recovering at his home in New Jersey, where he reached last night from Butler, Pennsylvania when a 20-year-old white man opened fire on his election rally, wounding the former President and killing an attendee.

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The shooter was killed by snipers of the US Secret Service that protects past and present American Presidents and their immediate families.

“We will FEAR NOT, but instead remain resilient in our Faith and Defiant in the face of Wickedness,” Trump wrote on Truth Social, a social media platform he launched after he was banished from Twitter, now called X.

He added: “I truly love our Country, and love you all, and look forward to speaking to our Great Nation this week from Wisconsin.”

The Republican party convention kicks off Monday in Milwaukee to anoint Trump formally as the party’s nominee for the White House. He will announce his pick for his running mate over the next few days, if he doesn’t do it on Sunday.

Political violence in US politics has become a new threat, from both the right and the left.

Trump’s supporters attacked the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, to stop a joint sitting of the Congress from certifying Biden as the winner of the 2020 election and the next President. Several people, including a police officer, were killed during or after the rampage.

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An armed man was arrested from outside the house of Brett Kavanaugh, one of the six conservative justices of the Supreme Court.

Biden said: “There is no place in America for this kind of violence. It’s sick. It’s sick. It’s one of the reasons why we have to unite this country. We cannot allow this to be happening. We cannot be like this. We cannot condone this.”

Trump has posted several statements on Truth Social but has not expressly addressed the question of political violence. “In this moment, it is more important than ever that we stand United, and show our True Character as Americans, remaining Strong and Determined, and not allowing Evil to Win,” he wrote on Sunday morning.

But his campaign leaders Chris Lacivita and Susie Wile confronted the issue directly. “Please do not comment publicly on the occurrence of today,” they wrote in a memo to staff. “We condemn all forms of violence, and will not tolerate dangerous rhetoric on social media.”

–IANS

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