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Taliban attack security outposts in Logar, killing 9

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(Last Updated On: April 16, 2020)

The Taliban militants attacked security outposts in Logar province, killing at least nine Afghan soldiers, the Defense Ministry confirmed in a statement.

The incident happened in the Qal-e-Dasht area in Charkh district of the province on Wednesday night.

According to MoD’s statement, the Afghan forces have imposed heavy casualties on the insurgents.

“Taliban’s dead bodies have remained in the battlefield as Afghan forces inflicted heavy casualties to the militants,” the statement said.

The Ministry did not provide further details on Taliban casualties.

In southern Helmand, the militants stormed outposts of Afghan security and defense forces in Grishk district of the province, the ministry said, adding that Taliban’s attacks faced resistance by Afghan forces.

At least five militants – including a commander of the group known as Mawlavi Mahmoud – were killed and four others wounded in the clashes.

The Taliban militant group yet to make a comment in this regard.

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Study finds growing gaps in equality for women in conflict zones

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2020)

A study by the International Rescue Committee has found that women and girls in conflict settings have not experienced global rates of progress in terms of gender equality over the past 25 years. 

The study found that despite global gains, rates of school enrollment, literacy, access to birth certificates, and more are deteriorating among women and girls in conflict settings.

The analysis looked across more than a dozen measures indicative of gender equality in ten “high-hosting countries” for refugees and internally displaced peoples — Afghanistan, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Iraq, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Thailand, and Uganda.

The findings indicated there has been a nearly 44 percent increase in refugees since 1995, with more than 26 million people registered as such in 2019. 

Across the ten countries selected for analysis, Afghanistan has the largest number of displaced persons at 2.7 million, with over a 350 percent increase in the number of internally displaced people. 

In some areas, gains for women and girls have been encouraging and in the past 25 years, there has been a 38 percent worldwide reduction in maternal mortality, with 211 deaths per 10,000 live births in 2017. 

Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and Pakistan have all seen declines in maternal deaths of more than 50 percent.

The study found that although the world has seen an 11 percent increase in gender parity within primary and secondary school enrollment, countries including Afghanistan have never met this global standard. 

While literacy has improved more for women than men since 1995 (18 percent vs. eight percent respectively), Myanmar has seen decreases in female literacy over time, and despite improvements, Iraq, Uganda, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, and Afghanistan have never met global rates.

Country-specific data on gender-based domestic violence found Afghanistan has experienced the highest increase in reports (46 percent), followed by Ethiopia (40 percent) and the DRC (37 percent). 

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UN calls for global action against spread of COVID-19 misinformation

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2020)

The United Nations and its partners have called on countries to take urgent action to address what they describe as the “infodemic” around the COVID-19 pandemic and put in place national action plans to promote science-based health information.

In a statement issued by the UN on Thursday, the organization said the pandemic is the first in history in which technology and social media are being used to both inform people and keep them connected but also to undermine global response to the crisis and jeopardize measures to contain the disease.

“WHO and partners are calling on all countries to put in place national action plans to promote science-based health information and to combat misinformation.

They also called on the media, tech companies, civil society, researchers and people everywhere to keep the infodemic from spreading”.

“Misinformation costs lives. Without the appropriate trust and correct information, diagnostic tests go unused, immunization campaigns (or campaigns to promote effective vaccines) will not meet their targets, and the virus will continue to thrive”, the partners said in a statement. 

“We call on Member States to develop and implement action plans to manage the infodemic by promoting the timely dissemination of accurate information, based on science and evidence, to all communities, and in particular high-risk groups; and preventing the spread, and combating, mis- and disinformation while respecting freedom of expression.” 

Authorities also were urged to empower communities to develop solutions and resilience against the infodemic. 

Stakeholders such as the media and social media platforms were called on to collaborate with the UN system, and each other, “to further strengthen their actions to disseminate accurate information and prevent the spread of mis- and disinformation.” 

 

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Trump expects election battle to end up in Supreme Court if he loses

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2020)

US President Donald Trump would not commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the November 3 election and said he expects the election battle to end up before the Supreme Court. 

“We’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump, a Republican, told reporters at the White House when asked whether he would commit to transferring power.

The president, who trails Democrat candidate Joe Biden in national opinion polls, has repeatedly cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election, asserting without evidence that mail-in voting would lead to fraud and a “rigged” outcome, Reuters reported.

“The ballots are a disaster,” Trump said.

Democrats have encouraged voting by mail as a way to cast ballots safely during the coronavirus pandemic – something that has been done for years by millions of Americans, including military personnel. 

Biden, meanwhile, told reporters that Trump’s comments on the transition of power were “irrational.”

His campaign said it was prepared for any “shenanigans” from Trump, and reiterated comments from July that “the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”

Trump, who is moving quickly to nominate a successor to liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday, said on Wednesday he thinks the election “will end up in the Supreme Court and I think it’s very important that we have nine justices.” 

Trump plans to announce his nominee on Saturday, Reuters reported.

 

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