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UN Calls For Intensified Efforts To Combat Locust Outbreak In Horn Of Africa

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UN Calls For Intensified Efforts To Combat Locust Outbreak In Horn Of Africa

There are concerns over locust swarms invasion in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, causing unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods in the Horn of Africa. Locust swarms are reported to have spread to 14 counties. Somalia is the first country in the region to declare a state of emergency over the infestation.

As of now, the upsurge is contained to three countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. But it is the worst locust situation Somalia and Ethiopia have seen in 25 years, and 70 years for Kenya. Experts warned of a high risk of further deterioration of the situation as this is a key season for farmers across the east Africa region.

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Media report, the locusts are now within 50 km of the northeast part of Uganda. There is reported locust activity in the broader red sea area as well as the southwest Asia. Along both sides of the Red Sea, swarms are nearing the Sudan/Egypt border, the Sudan/Eritrea border and the coast of Yemen. Several swarms also recently arrived on the eastern coast of Oman and moved south to Yemen. In southwest Asia, residual adult groups and swarms are still present along both sides of the India-Pakistan border.

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Horn of Africa governments are conducting aerial and ground control operations, spraying pesticides to kill the large swarms. The desert locust is the most dangerous migratory pest in the world.

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United Kingdom: Snow And Rain Force Closure Of 250 Schools

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United Kingdom: Snow And Rain Force Closure Of 250 Schools

Storm Dennis has continued to ravage parts of England as more than 250 schools were closed across northern England because of heavy snow and rain.  Warnings of further flooding have been issued.

Across county Durham, more than a hundred fifty nurseries, schools, and colleges, were shut on Monday because of inclement weather. In north Yorkshire, more than fifty schools either started late or remained shut.  The stories were similar in Cumbria, Northumberland, and Leeds where some schools started late to allow students and staff more time to get in.

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Roads were blocked across the region as vehicles got stuck in the snow.

Further south, a severe flood warning that spells imminent danger to life continues. The environment agency has warned of the continuing danger of flooding across England.

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Kuwait, Bahrain Announce First Coronavirus Cases

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Kuwait, Bahrain Announce First Coronavirus Cases

Kuwait and Bahrain have both confirmed novel coronavirus cases in their countries.  Kuwait has identified three infections and Bahrain one.

Kuwaiti health ministry said in a statement posted on twitter, cases have been identified of a 53-year-old Kuwaiti man, a 61-year-old Saudi citizen and a 21-year-old stateless Arab coming from the Iranian holy city of Mashhad.

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The health ministry said all three cases are under constant observation.

Kuwait banned entry of all ships from the Islamic republic and suspended flights to and from the country.  The country has also banned non-citizens from Iran from entering the gulf state.  Kuwait had flown back hundreds of Kuwaiti shiite pilgrims from Iran.

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Malaysia’s Mahathir Quits But Asked To Stay As Interim PM

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Malaysia's Mahathir Quits But Asked To Stay As Interim PM

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has on Monday unexpectedly announced his resignation but was asked to stay on as interim leader by the country’s monarch until a successor is appointed.

The resignation of the 94-year-old came after months of rising tensions in the “Pact of Hope” coalition, which stormed to a shock victory in 2018 against a corruption-plagued government that had ruled Malaysia for six decades.

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According to Reuters news agency, Mahathir also reportedly resigned from his own party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

Mahathir’s party also announced that it was quitting the ruling government coalition, Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope), casting doubt on the future of the partnership.

At the 2018 polls Mahathir and his old rival Ibrahim Anwar put their differences aside and joined forces to take on a corruption-plagued government.

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Mahathir, who previously served as premier from 1981 to 2003, had made a pre-election pledge to hand power to Anwar but has repeatedly refused to fix a date.

On Monday, Chief Secretary Mohd Zuki Ali said in a statement the king accepted Mahathir’s resignation after meeting with Mahathir.

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Mohd Zuki said “His Highness has given his assent to appoint Mahathir Mohamad as interim prime minister, while waiting for the appointment of the new prime minister. Hence until then, (Mahathir) will manage the country’s affairs until a new prime minister and cabinet are appointed.”

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