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Sudan General Dissolves Government in Apparent Military Coup

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Sudan’s top general has declared a state of emergency and dissolved the country’s transitional government – as the prime minister’s office said a “complete coup” was under way.

Sudan’s interim prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, and at least five senior officials are understood to have been detained by military forces.

Thousands have taken to the streets in protest in the capital, Khartoum.

General Abdel Fattah al Burhan, head of the Sovereign Council, said in a televised address that he was dissolving the power-sharing body as well as the government.

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The general announced on TV that he was dissolving the government. Pic: AP

He said the military was intervening due to arguments among political factions and that a new technocrat government would steer the country towards elections.

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Mr Hamdok’s office said on Facebook that he and his wife had been detained early on Monday in a “complete coup”.

Sudan‘s information ministry said he had been taken to an undisclosed location after refusing to support the military’s actions.

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In a statement to Reuters, it called it a “coup attempt”.

The country’s main pro-democracy group, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), called on people to resist.

“We urge the masses to go out on the streets and occupy them, close all roads with barricades, stage a general labour strike, and not to cooperate with the putschists and use civil disobedience to confront them,” it said.

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Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and his wife have been detained, his office said

Thousands in Khartoum and twin city Omdurman responded, with video appearing to show protesters blocking streets and setting tyres on fire as security forces used tear gas.

Chants of “the people are stronger, stronger” and “retreat is not an option!” could be heard.

The information ministry said some people had faced gunfire near the military’s headquarters in Khartoum.

Officials said others being held included industry minister Ibrahim al Sheikh, information minister Hamza Baloul, Mohammed al Fiky Suliman, a member of the ruling Sovereign Council, and Faisal Mohammed Saleh, a media adviser to Mr Hamdok.

Ayman Khalid, the governor of the state containing Khartoum, was also arrested, according to his office’s Facebook page.

Significant internet and mobile phone outages have also been reported in the country.

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People gathered on the streets of Khartoum amid calls to resist any coup attempt

The arrests come after weeks of rising tensions between Sudan’s civilian and military leaders following a failed coup attempt in September.

A coup would be a major setback for Sudan, which has struggled with a move to democracy since protests ended Omar al Bashir’s long reign two years ago.

Civilian and military groups have been sharing power since then and elections were due to be held by the end of 2023.

Leadership of the joint Sovereign Council was meant to be passed from the military to a civilian figure in the coming months.

Sudan remains in the grip of an economic crisis, with high inflation and shortages of basic goods. However, there were signs international aid was starting to help.

Josep Borrell, the EU foreign affairs chief, tweeted his “utmost concern” over the situation, while US special envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman said Washington was “deeply alarmed”.

AU Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat called for Sudan’s political leaders to be released and human rights upheld.

The United Nations and Arab League also expressed concern.

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Source: news.sky.com

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WHO Estimates 15m People Have Died Directly or Indirectly From COVID – More Than Double Official Death Toll

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The World Health Organisation estimates that 15 million people worldwide have now died of coronavirus – or as a result of its impact on health services.

WHO data shows the number of excess COVID mortalities to be somewhere between 13.3 million and 16.6 million people from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2021. This is more than double the official death toll of around six million.

Excess mortality refers to the number of people who have died of the virus either directly or indirectly by being unable to access health services for other conditions.

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The figures were compiled using country-reported data and statistical modelling, the WHO said.

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There were 14.9 million excess deaths associated with COVID-19 by the end of 2021, the UN body said on Thursday.

Most excess COVID deaths (86%) happened in Asia, Europe and the Americas, according to the figures.

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Middle-income countries accounted for 81% of deaths, with 28% occurring in upper-middle-income countries and 4% in low-income ones.

Some 68% of all excess deaths worldwide happened in just 10 countries.

There was a higher rate for men (57%) than there was for women (43%), with more excess deaths among the elderly than younger generations.

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WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus commented: “These sobering data not only point to the impact of the pandemic but also to the need for all countries to invest in more resilient health systems that can sustain essential health services during crises, including stronger health information systems.

“WHO is committed to working with all countries to strengthen their health information systems to generate better data for better decisions and better outcomes.”

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Original Source: news.sky.com

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Pope Francis Seen Using Wheelchair for the First Time for Mobility Reasons

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The Pope has been pictured using a wheelchair – the first time he’s used one in public due to the knee pain that’s made it hard for him to walk and stand.

Francis, 85, was wheeled on stage and helped into a seat during an audience with a group of nuns and religious superiors from around the world at the Vatican.

He appears to be having a flare-up of sciatica, a nerve condition he suffers with that he’s called his “troublesome guest”.

The Pope has had to cancel or cut short activities several times in the last month because of pain in his right knee.

He was pictured in a wheelchair last July after major intestinal surgery, but this is believed to be the first time he’s used one in public due to his mobility problems.

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Before Thursday’s event, he was able to walk the roughly 10 metres or so from the side entrance of the stage to his seat with some help.

He recently received some injections to try to relieve the pain but has continued to struggle.

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His impaired movement was apparent over Easter when he attended but did not take charge of masses at St Peter’s Basilica, instead delegating a cardinal or archbishop to preside.

During a trip to Malta in April he was also pictured using an elevator platform to get on and off the plane.

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Original Article: news.sky.com

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Woman Pulled Alive From Rubble Six Days After Building Collapsed

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A woman has been found alive in the rubble of a building that partially collapsed almost six days earlier, Chinese state media has said.

At least five people are confirmed to have died and possibly dozens are still missing following the disaster in the city of Changsha, in central China‘s Hunan Province, on 29 April.

The unidentified woman has become the 10th survivor and was rescued shortly after midnight today, about 132 hours after the rear of the six-storey building suddenly caved in, the official Xinhua News Agency has reported.

The woman was conscious and told rescuers how to pull her out without causing further injury, Xinhua added.

Teams had used dogs and hand tools as well as drones and electronic life detectors in the search.

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All the survivors were reportedly in good condition after being treated in a hospital and it is thought intermittent rain showers over the last few days may have helped their chances of survival without food or water.

At least nine people have been arrested in relation to the collapse of what Xinhua has described as a “self-built building”.

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This includes its owner, on suspicion of ignoring building codes or committing other violations.

Three people in charge of design and construction were also held, along with five others who allegedly gave a false safety assessment for a guest house on the building’s fourth to sixth floors.

The building also housed residences, a cafe and shops.

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An aerial photo shows the site of the collapsed residential building in Changsha, central China’s Hunan Province

There has been increase in the number of collapses of self-built buildings in recent years.

Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for additional checks to uncover structural weaknesses.

Following the building collapse at the weekend, he urged for more victims to be found in the rubble “at all costs”.

Poor adherence to safety standards, including the illegal addition of extra floors and failure to use reinforcing iron bars, is often blamed for similar disasters.

China also suffers from decaying infrastructure such as gas pipes that has led to explosions and collapses.

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Source: news.sky.com

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