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Unknown armed men kill 3 in Afghanistan

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Unknown armed men kill 3 in Afghanistan

Kandahar, July 11 (IANS) Unidentified armed men killed three people in Kandahar province in south Afghanistan on Wednesday night, provincial police spokesman Mullah Asadullah Jamshid said Thursday.

The incident took place in Police District 7 of the provincial capital Kandahar city at 11:00 pm local time, leaving three members of a family including two women dead, Jamshid added, saying the perpetrators had escaped after the attack.

Without providing more details, the official asserted that efforts are underway to bring the culprits to justice, reports Xinhua news agency.

Afghan police have apprehended 23 people on the charge of involvement in criminal activities such as theft and murder in Helmand, Kunar, Samangan, Balkh, and Panjshir provinces recently, the Ministry of Interior Affairs said.

–IANS

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S. Korean medical professors warn of boycotting junior doctors' training

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S. Korean medical professors warn of boycotting junior doctors' training

S. Korean medical professors warn of boycotting junior doctors' training

Seoul, July 20 (IANS) Some medical professors vowed on Saturday to boycott training programmes for junior doctors in protest of the government’s push for accepting the resignations of striking trainees and the medical school admission quota hikes.

Professors of the radiology department at Catholic University of Korea said in a statement that they will not take part in education and training programs for trainee doctors set to join the course in the second half of this year as long as the government goes ahead with “wrongful policy measures”, Yonhap news agency reported.

More than 90 per cent of around 13,000 junior doctors walked off their jobs in February in the form of resignations against the government’s plan to sharply raise medical school admissions, and hospitals accepted resignations from 7,648 trainees upon the government’s request this week.

The government is recruiting new trainees to minimize the impact of the mass resignations, and hospitals have sought 7,707 training doctors combined for the training program set to be launched in September, according to the health ministry.

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“We’ve made it clear that we will never replace training doctors who are fighting against wrongful state policy with other trainees,” the professors said. “If the government and the hospital push ahead with the recruitment plan, normal training will never be possible.”

Catholic University professors serve as senior doctors at St. Mary’s Hospital in Seoul, one of the five major general hospitals in the capital city, as well as seven training hospitals.

More professors are expected to follow suit as the school’s emergency response committee for professors said it will announce an official stance next week.

Amid deepening medical service disruptions, the government had presented a set of measures to convince the striking doctors to return to work but a majority of them refused to return to work.

Doctors have urged the government to revisit the quota hike decision, claiming that medical schools will not be able to handle the increased enrollment, which will compromise the quality of medical education and ultimately the country’s medical services.

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Despite strong opposition from doctors, the government has already finalized an admissions quota hike of some 1,500 students for medical schools for next year in an effort to address problems stemming from the shortage of doctors.

–IANS

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Teenager arrested after man fatally stabbed in Sydney

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Teenager arrested after man fatally stabbed in Sydney

Teenager arrested after man fatally stabbed in Sydney

Sydney, July 20 (IANS) A 15-year-old boy has been arrested after a man was stabbed to death in Sydney’s inner-west on Saturday, local police said.

Australia’s New South Wales Police said on Saturday that emergency services were called to a home on Spring Street, Concord, at about 12:30 a.m. local time following reports a man had been stabbed, Xinhua news agency reported.

A man in his 30s was found outside the property with multiple wounds to his chest and died at the scene. The man has not been identified yet.

Police have established a crime scene and detectives are investigating the incident.

–IANS

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Torrential rain alerts issued in S. Korea

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Torrential rain alerts issued in S. Korea

Torrential rain alerts issued in S. Korea

Seoul, July 20 (IANS) Heavy rain alerts were issued across southern regions in South Korea on Saturday.

The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) issued heavy rain alerts for some areas in North and South Jeolla provinces, including the city of Gwangju, as the rainfall is forecast to exceed 60 millimetres over a three-hour period or 110 mm for 12 hours, Yonhap news agency reported.

As of 9 a.m., more than 90 mm of precipitation per hour had been pounding the southwestern city of Gimje, and the adjacent city of Gunsan had received around 76.5 mm of rain. Gwangju had received 50 mm of rain, according to the KMA.

No casualties or facility damage have been reported.

“There is the possibility of heavy rain in a short time span. Please be prepared for flooding, landslides and other damage,” a KMA official said.

–IANS

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AU official says Africa faces shortage of 15 million teachers

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AU official says Africa faces shortage of 15 million teachers

AU official says Africa faces shortage of 15 million teachers

Accra, July 20 (IANS) Africa faces a deficit of 15 million in the supply of teachers, which hinders the continent’s development, a senior African Union (AU) official has said.

Mohammed Belhocine, the AU commissioner for education, science, technology and innovation, made the remarks on Friday at a press briefing at the ongoing 45th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the AU in Accra, the Ghanaian capital, warning that this deficit has a negative impact on the continent’s ability to meet its education and development aspirations, Xinhua news agency reported.

The commissioner, therefore, called on the continent to take steps to bridge this gap to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in education by 2030 set by the United Nations.

“This teacher deficit is huge, and we need strong efforts to bridge the gap and make the best use of what we are already investing in our educational systems,” Belhocine said.

Africa needs an investment of about $90 billion to bridge the gap, improve infrastructure in education, and meet the SDGs on schedule, observed the commissioner.

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The situation in Africa is due to the diminishing social status of the teaching profession, according to Belhocine. “Today, it is more flamboyant to be a businessman than to be a teacher. This is what is creating the gap in the supply of teachers.”

He urged the rebranding of the teaching profession to motivate more competent people to embrace the profession.

“The other solution is to use digitalization as a shortcut so that with digital infrastructure in place, one teacher can reach more children at the same time using the electronic platform and reduce the burden of the deficit,” Belhocine said, adding that information and communications technology proficiency should be part of teacher training for this solution to succeed.

He also called for global support for improving educational systems in Africa to achieve better outcomes, because the entire world might need to depend on African youth in the next 20 years due to the low population growth in other parts of the world.

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The AU Executive Council’s 45th Ordinary Session, a meeting of foreign ministers of AU members, is a prelude to the 6th Mid-Year Coordination Meetings of the heads of state of AU members.

–IANS

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India draws attention to roles of Pakistan, China in undermining SCO

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India draws attention to roles of Pakistan, China in undermining SCO

India draws attention to roles of Pakistan, China in undermining SCO

United Nations, July 20 (IANS) While extolling the importance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) for the region, India has drawn attention to the roles of Pakistan and China that could undermine it.

Although neither country was named, the references to terrorism were aimed at Pakistan and China and at the need for respecting territorial integrity to China in the address to the Security Council on Friday by R. Ravindra, the charge d’affaires of India’s UN Mission.

“Certain countries are using terrorism as an instrument of state policy (and) such an approach has the potential to affect cooperation in multilateral platforms including at the SCO,” he said.

“Inda has also consistently advocated respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity for connectivity and infrastructure projects,” he said in what is seen as a reference to Chinese projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

He was speaking at a Council meeting convened by its current president Russia on cooperation between the UN and the regional and sub-regional organisations like the SCO, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) for maintaining international peace and security.

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“India accords high priority to the consolidation of trust in the security domain within SCO as well as strengthening ties with SCO partners on the basis of equality, respect, and mutual understanding,” Ravindra said.

“India’s priorities in SCO are shaped by Prime Minister’s (Narendra Modi’s) vision of a ‘SECURE’ SCO, he said, explaining that ‘SECURE’ stands for Security, Economic cooperation, Connectivity, Unity, Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and Environmental protection”.

The Security Council resolutions and targeted sanctions on terrorists and groups must be fully implemented, he said.

“The July 4 SCO summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, said in its declaration that the international community must isolate and expose those countries that harbour terrorists, and condone terrorism,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, participating virtually in the summit, had made the case for making combating terrorism an important element of the declaration.

He had told the leaders at the summit, “Let us be clear that if left unchecked, it can become a major threat to regional and global peace”.

US Permanent Representative Linda Thomas-Greenfield, however, took issue with the SCO’s counter-terrorism efforts.

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She accused the SCO of repressing “peaceful dissenters” and ethnic and religious minority minorities “under the guise of combating ‘terrorism, separatism and extremism'”.

“I think about the SCO Member States that have prosecuted individuals for speaking out about the importance of regional political autonomy. That have forcibly repatriated asylum seekers fleeing repression in other SCO Member States,” she said.

Thomas-Greenfield said that the regional organisations were “cynically promoting concepts such as ‘dialogue among civilizations’ or ‘civilizational diversity’ in an attempt to justify restrictions on the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

The SCO is a ten-member international group focused on Central Asia, which India formally joined in 2015.

Its other members are Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran, the four Central Asian nations, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, and Russia’s European ally Belarus from further afield that joined this month.

“India shares deep civilizational ties with the people of Central Asia,” Ravindra said.

India has offered a $1 billion Line of Credit for developmental projects in addition to grants for High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP) for Central Asian countries, he said.

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The India-Central Asia Dialogue platform works to strengthen cooperation between India and the Central Asian countries, he added.

He further said that India’s contract to develop the Chabahar Port in Iran “is a testament of our commitment towards realising the potential of the place as a connectivity hub for Afghanistan and Central Asia”, which are landlocked countries.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin, who presided over the meeting, said that the SCO, CIS and CSTO “have achieved significant results, including in boosting integration processes, preventing conflicts and combating terrorism”.

“A constant priority of the SCO is combatting the threats of terrorism, separatism, extremism, drug trafficking and transnational organised crime, especially those emanating from Afghanistan,” he added.

China’s Permanent Representative Fu Cong also touched on the dangers of terrorism, even though his country provides cover against UN sanctions for Pakistan-based terrorists.

“Terrorism, separatism, and extremism are major threats to global security,” he said.

China, he said, wants the UN to work with the SCO to “strengthen dialogue and cooperation in counter-terrorism”.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at arul.l@ians.in and followed at @arulouis)

–IANS

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