UN Counter-Terrorism Office

On  the creation of the new UN Counter-Terrorism Office,  the appointment of veteran Russian diplomat Vladimir Ivanovich Voronkov as the Under-Secretary-General for the newly established office on Sunday.

The new office to play an important role to improve coordination in counter-terrorism related capacity building assistance to the member states, Under-Secretary-General in the implementation of the mandate provided to him by the General Assembly.

The new UN Office of Counter Terrorism (OCT), was established following the adoption by the General Assembly of a resolution by consensus on June 15, 2017. Its creation represents the first major reform of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to be implemented since his assumption of office.

On June 21, 2017, the Secretary General appointed Vladimir Ivanovich Voronkov, the Russian Ambassador in Vienna, as the Under-Secretary-General to lead the OCT.

 

UNCCT to develop a greater understanding of various terrorist movements, their specific motivations, objectives, organisations and modus operandi.

 

The UNCCT’s wide-ranging programmes including border security and management, assistance to member states in terrorist designations and assets freezing, youth empowerment initiatives and various other programs have helped build the technical capacity of Member States in combating terrorism.

UNCCT’s projects and programmes keep pace with the rapidly evolving and multi-faceted threat posed by terrorist and extremist ideologies. The following states are the Pakistan, the members of the Advisory Board include Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, US, and the EU (as guest member).

Forest fire near Spain’s Donana nature reserve

Spanish authorities say a forest fire has forced the evacuation of camp sites and houses near a national park famous for its biodiversity.

Donana National Park,  123,550 acres of wetlands and woods, is one of the country’s most important nature reserves and a UNESCO World Heritage site.A joint military-civilian operation involving more than 150 firefighters, 11 water-dropping planes and 10 helicopters has been launched to tackle the blaze as it threatened to destroy a nature reserve.

The emergency services for the Andalusia region say 68 firefighters and 11 air units have mobilized to combat the fire that broke out late Saturday near the village of Moguer on Spain’s southern coast.

The fire is just west of Donana National Park, one of Spain’s most important nature reserves and home to the highly endangered Iberian lynx.

The evacuations took place Sunday. Images on Spanish television showed trees engulfed by flames during the night. Media agencies

Japanese to use more of titanium

Japanese steelmakers are on the path for developing new uses for titanium as their core business struggles because of Chinese overproduction.

Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation has developed a titanium roof tile. These will be installed at the 5-story pagoda at Sensoji Temple, one of Tokyo’s popular tourist sites. Titanium is about 40 percent lighter than iron and is twice as strong. The firm says it can make titanium in more than 100 colors. It plans to develop other products for the auto and home electronics sectors.

Tetsuma Chiken works for the company’s titanium and special stainless steel business unit. He says the firm hopes to create new demand with designs that make maximum use of the metal’s ductile and malleable and flexible properties.

Kobe Steel plans to boost its titanium production capacity. It expects increased demand from the aircraft industry, which is constantly looking for ways to build lighter planes. NHK

Five tower blocks N-London evacuated

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from five tower blocks in north London over concern that the buildings’ cladding poses a fire threat.

Authorities began evacuating 800 households to allow for “urgent fire safety works” on Friday. They said the tower blocks don’t meet safety regulations.

The evacuations came after inspections of high-rise buildings following the Grenfell Tower fire in west London.

A massive fire engulfed the 24-story building, killing at least 79 people. Nine are receiving treatment in hospitals. Police are investigating whether the fire spread quickly because material in the outer walls of the building was flammable.

Local authorities found during their inspections that similar materials are used for the external cladding of at least 14 buildings in Britain.

They said changing the exterior cladding at the five tower blocks is expected to take 3 to 4 weeks. Residents in the blocks will be placed in hotels or other temporary accommodation.

The authorities acknowledge the inconvenience to residents, but they say the Grenfell Tower fire changes everything and that they cannot take any risks with safety.But some residents have refused to move out of their homes.

Regarding  fire in Grenfell Tower fire in west London, Police in London said on Friday that a fire in a refrigerator is believed to have led to the destruction of a high-rise residential building in the city last Wednesday.

Nearly  79 people are presumed dead in the fire, and 9 are receiving treatment in hospital.

The police also suggested that the fire spread quickly because material in the outer walls of the building was flammable. They said the exterior cladding did not appear to have met fire safety rules.

The police plan to investigate how the cladding material came to be used, and whether fire-fighting equipment in the high-rise was sufficient.

They added manslaughter charges are among the possibilities being considered.

The British government has carried out urgent safety checks on about 600 high-rises throughout England. As of Friday, 11 of them have been found to be covered in combustible material.

Premier Li Keqiang for innovation-driven development

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Premier Li Keqiang has called for efforts to promote innovation-driven development as a new technological and industrial revolution brings profound changes to the world.

China should promote innovation-driven development and reach the world’s technological forefront, Li said Thursday while chairing a symposium on the new industrial revolution.

Li said the new revolution will reshape the economic and political landscape, rearrange global competitiveness and significantly change existing industries.

China should come up with more original research in areas such as artificial intelligence, quantum science, gene editing, new materials and new energy, he said.

Importance should be attached to innovation capability, upgrading traditional growth engines and fostering new growth drivers to maintain a medium-to-high pace of growth and achieve a medium-to-high level of development in the long run, the premier said.

China needs to support fundamental research and encourage businesses to undertake fundamental research, Li said, calling for better integrating fundamental research and application of that research to transform research into productivity.

Li also underlined the importance of reform and opening up, focusing on minimizing administrative procedures, improving regulations and services, while expanding international cooperation. Xenhua

China races to save landslide victims

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Nearly 3,000 rescuers are searching for at least 118 people trapped under rocks and mud by a landslide in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.The landslide engulfed 62 homes in Xinmo village in Maoxian County Saturday morning, blocking a 2-km section of river and burying 1,600 meters of road. It is estimated about eight million cubic meters of hillside descended on the village.

Rescuers recovered 10 bodies and were still searching for 93 other people on Sunday, a day after a massive landslide buried a picturesque mountain village in southwestern China.

More than 3,000 rescuers with detection devices and dogs were looking for signs of life amid the rubble of massive boulders that rained down on Xinmo village in Sichuan province’s Mao county early Saturday.

As of Sunday afternoon, only three people – a couple and their month-old baby – had been rescued from the disaster site.

The provincial government lowered an earlier figure of 15 bodies retrieved that had been reported by state media.

Further also lowered the number of missing to 93, saying 15 people on an initial list of the missing were accounted for.

Maoxian county is located on the Minjiang River, a major tributary of the Yangtze. The area is prone to earthquakes: A 7.5-magnitude earthquake in 1933 destroyed many villages.

In 1976, two strong earthquakes struck places about 100 km from the current disaster. The town is about 150 km from the epicenter of the 2008 earthquake, which left over 80,000 people dead or missing. Xenhua & Media agencies

Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath held in Puri

The world famous Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath was held in the pilgrim town of Puri in Odisha today with religious fervour and enthusiasm amid tight security. Undeterred by rains, lakhs of devotees from across the country and abroad descended on the seaside town to witness the nine-day journey of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra to the Gundicha Temple and back to their abode.

Devotees from all walks of life made a beeline to the seaside town to have a glimpse of the presiding deities of the 12th century shrine of Lord Jagannath as the trinity mingled with the sea of humanity during the annual festival of chariots.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Odisha Chief minister Naveen Patnaik, BJP president Amit Shah, Union Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan and other dignitaries greeted the people on Lord Jagannath’s annual car festival.