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UN Agrees First-ever Global Compact for Migration July 14, 2018 11:45

The United Nations member states, for the first time except the United States have agreed, on a deal to better manage international migration, address its challenges, reinforce rights of migrants and contribute to sustainable development. The agreement, which is known as the Global Compact for Migration will be officially in the month of December adopted by world leaders in Morocco. The text of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was finalized yesterday after talk about and consultations among member states, local officials, civil society, and migrants themselves, for more than a year. Calling it a significant achievement U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the agreement. He said it reflected the shared understanding by governments that cross-border migration is, by its very nature, an international phenomenon and that effective management of this global reality requires international cooperation to enhance its positive impact for all. It likewise recognizes that every individual has the right to safety, dignity, and protection. The U.N. chief said in a statement said this comprehensive framework comprises a range of objectives, actions, and avenues for follow-up, review, and implementation…all aimed at facilitating safe, orderly and regular migration while reducing the incidence and impact of irregular migration. Calling it a historic moment, U.N. General Assembly president Miroslav Lajcak, highlighted the agreement's enormous potential. He said It does not encourage migration, nor does it intend to halt it. It is not lawfully binding. It does not dictate. It will not impose. And it fully respects the sovereignty of States. It can guide us from a reactive to a proactive mode. It can aid us to reach out the migration benefits and mitigate the perils. It can render a new platform for cooperation and it can be an asset, in finding the accurate balance between the rights of people and the sovereignty of States, Lajcak added. He said in December the deal will formally become the first comprehensive framework on migration the world has ever seen. By Sowmya Sangam

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Thai Cave Rescue: Boys to be Discharged from Hospital Next Week July 14, 2018 10:20

13 Thai soccer team boys, including their coach who were reclaimed from a Thailand flooded cave, are recovering well from their ordeal and will be discharged from hospital following week, according to health minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn. The rescue has been safely ended evoking international relief and joyousness. The last of the 12-member "Wild Boars" soccer team and their trainer were brought out of the Tham Luang cave, in Northern Thailand on Tuesday night. Since the day of their rescue, the boys and their coach have been in the hospital undergoing care. On Saturday, the boys appeared fit thanking their rescuers in a video played at a news conference. "I am in good health now," said one of the boys, a 14-year-old nicknamed Note. "Thanks for saving me." The boys mostly aging 11 to 16 old, and their 25-year-old coach after soccer practice on June 23 had planned to look into the cavern complex for about an hour. But a rainy season cloudburst flooded the tunnels consequently trapping them. On July 2, the trappers were found by two British divers squatting on a mound in a flooded chamber several kilometers inside the complex. Then the difficulty became how to get them back out through the tunnels, some entirely full of fast-flowing flood water. The Thai Navy SEALs endeavor to rescue boys have come to end over the course of a three-day rescue, organized by Thai Navy SEALs and an international team of cave-diving experts. Piyasakol told reporters the health of all 13 had improved. Some had pneumonia when they were brought out of the cave but were recovering, he said. He added that all will be discharged from hospital in the northern town of Chiang Rai on Thursday. The tale is already geared up for a retelling by Hollywood, with two production companies looking to put together movies about the boys and their rescue. By Sowmya Sangam

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Hundreds Gather in Scottish City for Anti-Trump Protests July 14, 2018 09:20

Hundreds of people have protested in Scotland's largest city to dissent against United States President Donald Trump's visit to the United Kingdom. Pensioners, students, families, and activists from a broad variety of pressure groups attended the demonstration in Glasgow. A do-it-yourself banner was carried by Stirling-based Emily Bryce, with pride written in Gaelic, as an acknowledgment of Trump's Highland roots, which interprets as "Donald Trump, son of the devil." The 67-year-old Bryce said, "it's a disgrace that (British Prime Minister) Theresa May has allowed Trump to visit the U.K. and to meet the queen." Police approximated the crowd in Glasgow's St. George Square at less than 1,600 people. The Contempt the widespread anti-Trump state, there was an irresistible understanding that the U.K. protests are not anti-American. Jonathon Gillies, a 27-year-old bar worker from Glasgow, said that "nobody here is against Americans. They are welcome to come here anytime. It's just Trump we have a problem with." Trump's visit to Britain is one of the sizable operations in recent years for police, necessitating akin resources to the 2014 NATO summit in Wales. Matthew Bonner, one of the organizers, says "depicting Trump as a baby is a great way of targeting his fragile ego, and mocking him is our main motivation." He says Trump "doesn't seem to be affected by the moral outrage that comes from his behavior and his policies. You can't reason with him but you can ridicule him." By Sowmya Sangam

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UN Backs Migration Pact Despite Opposition from U.S., Hungary July 14, 2018 06:42

Despite a protest from the United States, United Nation member states have backed a global pact on migration, pledging to boost cooperation in addressing the world's thriving flows of migrants. Yesterday, an applause broke out at a UN conference room when the concluding text was sanctioned following 18 months of talk terms on what is billed as the introductory international document on managing migration. However, The floaty environment shifted when Peter Szijjarto, Hungarian Foreign Minister took the floor to say his country is probably to pull out of the non-binding statement. The foreign minister uttered concern that the understanding could lead to stronger measures that would force governments to open their borders to migrants-a move Hungary sees as a menace to stability. "We don't think that anyone has a right to pick a country where he or she would like to arrive at a country of destination and in order to do so to violate a series of borders," said Szijjarto. He added saying: On Wednesday, the Hungarian authorities will decide whether to draw back from the global compact for migration. Hungary would follow Washington if it quits the deal which proclaimed in December that it was withdrawing from negotiations on the pact because of provisions "inconsistent with U.S. immigration and refugee policies." On a visit to Britain, President Donald Trump criticized European immigration policies, saying allowing "millions and millions of people to come to Europe is very, very sad." "I think you're losing your culture," he said in an interview to a British tabloid. The 23 objectives were laid out by global pact in order to open up legal migration and better manage the influx as the number of people on the move worldwide has increased to 250 million. The negotiations faced hurdles over how to address illegal migration with some governments insisting that migrants who go wrong to be decently registered be returned to their countries of origin. The document has been delineated as "the beginning of a conversation" to face up to what she termed as the new "human mobility" in the world by Louise Arbour, UN special envoy for international migration. "We are going to have to revisit some of these issues, possibly with more robust mechanisms," Arbour said, but the document is a "launching pad to do much, much better. "UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has argued that governments should recognize that "migration is a positive global phenomenon" and that migrants are needed to keep labor markets afloat. He cited his individual experience of hiring migrant workers to care for his elderly mother in Portugal, at a news conference on Thursday, "I've never seen a Portuguese taking care of my mother," said Guterres. The document will be formally adopted during a conference in Morocco on December 10-11. By Sowmya Sangam

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National Strike Empties Streets in Nicaragua After Deadly Protests July 14, 2018 05:31

The across the nation strike in most of Nicaragua led to empty streets on Friday as businesses shut their doors, heeding the call of civil society groups that have demanded President of Nicaragua Daniel Ortega's resignation after more than three months of bloody civil agitation. The general strike followed mass protests that spread-out across the Central American nation on Thursday. When its leftist president proposed a reduction in pension benefits to cover a social security deficit, Nicaragua has been convulsed by unrest since April. Yet, the plan was subsequently dropped, intense deadly demonstrations and led to demands for Ortega's resignation and early elections. In clashes between pro-Ortega forces and demonstrators, nearly 300 people have been killed rights groups say, in the fatal protests in Nicaragua since its civil war ended in 1990. "I invite (protesters) to end the confrontation and that all of us unite to give people the peace that Nicaragua needs," he said, flanked by supporters. Ortega, a Cold War-era United States foe, is presently serving his third consecutive term which runs until 2021. According to local media reports, a few students were barred later on Sunday inside the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, located in the capital, as pro-Ortega paramilitary groups shot at the building from outside. It was not clear-cut how many people had been injured at the university. Representatives of civil society organizations have called for early elections to end the deadlock, while Ortega's top diplomat fired the possibility during a session of the Organization of American States in Washington. "You can't strengthen the country’s institutions, you can't strengthen the country’s democracy by violating its constitution…and impose the will of groups that seek a change of government," said Foreign Minister Denis Moncada. By Sowmya Sangam

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Zakir Naik Deportation Shouldn't be Decided by 'One Man', Say Indian-origin Malaysian Ministers July 14, 2018 04:37

Three Indian-origin Malaysian ministers this week raised the matter of deporting Indian Islamic preacher Zakir Naik to India at a cabinet meeting, with one of them saying the matter of the arguable preacher should not be decided by "one man". The remarks made by M Kulasegaran, Minister of Human Resource came a week after Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia ruled out handing over Naik to India as long as he does not create difficulties in Malaysia. In January, a formal petition has been made to Malaysia by India to deport Naik, sought by New Delhi for financial irregularities and allegedly encouraging youngsters to join terrorism. Naik moved to largely Muslim Malaysia, where he was acknowledged permanent residency after reportedly leaving India in 2016 Communications minister Gobind Singh Deo and Kulasegaran both told the Malaysian media they at a cabinet meeting on July 11 that they had raised the issue of Naik along with natural resources minister Xavier Jayakumar. "We, unlike the previous Barisan Nasional government, raised the matter in the cabinet. We discussed it and concluded that we will ask the attorney general if there is any formal request from India (for extradition)," Kulasegaran said in a statement. "Let the Indian government make the necessary deportation order, and we will follow the rule of law. The bottom line is that the Indian government must make that request," he added. "This is the right way of doing things, it is not right for the government nor one man to decide this matter. It should be decided by law in the courts as they have the duty to dispense justice," said Kulasegaran, who is a known critic of Naik. Deo said on Thursday the government will act on the basis of "rule of law" in the case of Naik. "So, I think what needs to be done is once the case is put forward, the decision will be made whether to send him back or not," he added. Deo further said, "As far as I am concerned, if India or another country is able to make out the case that warrants a person to be sent back, the government should act accordingly." Kulasegaran also said that when he goes to India and "if I have the chance to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, I will discuss this matter with him as well". Naik stated his gratitude to the prime minister for letting him stay in the country and analyzing his lawsuit from an "unbiased perspective". By Sowmya Sangam

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Missouri Jury Orders J&J to Pay $550 Million in Asbestos Cancer Case July 13, 2018 11:47

On Thursday, a Missouri jury ordered Johnson & Johnson (J&J), a pharmaceutical company to pay a record $4.69 billion to 22 women who alleged the company's talc-based products, involving its baby powder, comprise asbestos and caused them to develop ovarian cancer. The company is battling some 9,000 talc cases. It has denied both that its talc products cause cancer and that they ever contained asbestos. It says decades of studies show its talc to be harmless and has with success overturned previous talc verdicts on technical legal grounds. According to an online broadcast of the trial by Courtroom View Network, the massive verdict on Thursday, which was handed down in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, comprised of $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages. J&J in a statement called the trial "fundamentally unfair" and said it would appeal the judgment. The jury's judgment followed more than five weeks of evidence by nearly a dozen experts on both sides. The women and their families said the decades-long use of Baby Powder and other cosmetic talc products caused their diseases. They assert the company knew its talc was contaminated with asbestos since at least the 1970s merely failing to warn consumers regarding the hazards. "Johnson & Johnson is deeply disappointed by the verdict, which was the product of a fundamentally unfair process," the company said in a statement. The company said it remained confident that its products do not contain asbestos or cause cancer. "Every verdict against Johnson & Johnson in this court that has gone through the appeals process has been reversed and the multiple errors present in this trial were worse than those in the prior trials which have been reversed," J&J added, saying that it would pursue all available appellate remedies. Of the 22 women in the St. Louis trial, 17 were from outside Missouri, a state by and large regarded as friendly towards plaintiffs. The attorney for the women Mark Lanier, in a statement, said following the verdict called on J&J to pull its talc products from the market "before causing further anguish, harm, and death from a terrible disease." "If J&J insists on continuing to sell talc, they should mark it with a serious warning,” Lanier said. The United States Food and Drug Administration accredited a survey of various talc samples from 2009 to 2010, including of J&J's Baby Powder. The agency said no asbestos was found in any of the talc samples. By Sowmya Sangam

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ND Summit Focuses on Improving Outcomes for Native American Students July 13, 2018 10:19

This past fall, the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction to better understand the needs of their Native American students, as well as incorporate more Native culture into their classroom instruction for the first time, administered a survey to identify Native students needs to teachers and paraprofessionals in 29 schools in the state. Previously, it was only sent to principals and superintendents. The survey as well was sent to four urban school districts in North Dakota—Bismarck, Mandan, Fargo, and Grand Forks—who serve a large number of Native students. The survey results and action plan were discussed during the North Dakota Indian Education Summit on Thursday, July 12, at the state Capitol. More than 160 educators, administrators and others registered for the summit, which continues Friday. The survey, formally called the Native American Needs Assessment, was first sent out three years ago, according to Lucy Fredericks, director of DPI's office of Indian and multicultural education. DPI held a focus group with teachers from Native American schools to determine how the survey could be improved. The focus group was asked about what topics should be addressed: In response, it was suggested that the survey is expanded to include questions about family engagement, bullying, mental health and other topics. At the summit, some attendees discussed the survey results and needs of their schools. A group of administrators from Spirit Lake and Turtle Mountain spoke about the lack of behavioral health professionals in their schools. Two administrators said they have had to transport students themselves to get them the help that they need. The survey was divided into four categories: Culturally responsive curriculum and instruction, school climate, social, mental and behavioral well-being and professional development opportunities. An action plan was created based of the results on the survey, and it includes resources for teachers. Fredericks said the theme of the summit was to help teachers learn how they can integrate Native American cultures into their classrooms. By Sowmya Sangam

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India Invites Donald Trump to be Republic Day Chief Guest in 2019 July 13, 2018 08:57

The government of India has invited United States president Donald Trump to be the chief guest at next year's Republic Day celebrations, says a report. According to a news report, India is awaiting the U.S. government's response where the latter has indicated that Trump administration is favorably considering the invite that was sent in April this year. The invite was reportedly followed up with multiple rounds of diplomatic negotiations. The President of India Narendra Modi's government hosted Trump's predecessor Barack Obama at the Republic Day celebrations in 2015. If Trump accepts the invite, his visit will possibly be more dramatic and closely-watched than Obama's was, considering his mercurial nature and the uncertain India-U.S. ties at the moment. In 2016, (now former) French president Francois Hollande was the chief guest at the Republic Day parade, while the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was the guest in 2017. This year, in an unprecedented move, 10 leaders of ASEAN countries — Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Laos, and Brunei — attended the celebrations. The invite to the Trump administration comes amid differences with U.S.over trade tariffs, India's ties with Iran and New Delhi's proposed deal with Russia over S-400 defense missile system. The India-US ties likewise took an uncertain turn when the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo canceled the crucial '2+2' dialogue in June. Earlier, Minister of External Affairs of India Sushma Swaraj and Minister of Defence were scheduled to travel to the U.S. in order to take part in the meeting with Pompeo and U.S. Secretary of Defence James Mattis on July 6. But Pompeo on June 27, has proclaimed of postponing the dialogue for "unavoidable reasons." However, they agreed to reschedule the meet at a later date. By Sowmya Sangam

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Thousands Rally for Solution to Pension Crisis at Ohio Statehouse July 13, 2018 12:17

Nearly 5,000 people rallied outside the Ohio Statehouse on Thursday to urge Congress to aid more than 200 multi-employer pension program at risk of failing. People carried signs and sang union songs. And they shouted their message over and over again: Fix it. They came from as far as Utah. The pension funds cover more than 1.3 million retirees nationwide and more than 60,000 in Ohio, including truck drivers, bakers, musicians, miners and flight attendants. If the funds' obligations exceed their assets, pensioners benefits will be slashed. Taxpayers could be on the hook if they fail because the plans are backed by the federal Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. Ohio's Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown chairs the House and Senate Joint Select Committee on the Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans; Republican Sen. Rob Portman is also on the panel. The committee has 16 members: four senators from each party and four representatives from each party. The committee is holding only one field hearing, in Ohio, and it faces a Nov. 30 deadline to reach a bipartisan deal to prevent the pensions from going under. Ten of the 16 must agree to a fix to send a plan to the House and Senate. Employers who have been paying more to shore up the plans also want Congress to act. Ohio workers, retirees, and employers are scheduled to testify on Friday. The United Mine Workers of America pension plan is on the brink of collapse. UMWA International President Cecil Roberts said the government needs to step in after creating the conditions for the funds struggles and bailing out the banks behind the financial crisis that led to the funds' investment losses on Wall Street. "They should do the same for the retirees who lost their benefits and in some cases their health care," Roberts said. Umpteen employees and retirees at the rally supported Brown's proposal to offer low-interest loans, called the Butch Lewis Act after a Cincinnati-area trucker and veteran who died from a stroke while fighting pension cuts. By Sowmya Sangam

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