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At least 58 people shot over long weekend in Chicago

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By Gistflash News

Sept 7, 2021

The summer of 2021 ended on a violent note in Chicago this Labor Day weekend, with close to 60 people having been shot between Friday afternoon and Monday morning.

The weekend’s total of 58 shooting victims was the most since 2016, and seven more than Labor Day weekend 2020, suggesting the troubling double-digit spikes in violence Chicago experienced last year have continued to be a formidable challenge for the city.

Many of the neighborhoods where the shootings happened have for decades been under-resourced and lacking in jobs and opportunities, conditions that allowed violence to take a deep hold, even before the pandemic adversely affected the very same communities with job losses and stress.

The weekend’s shootings were devastating: a 4-year-old boy visiting Chicago killed as he had his hair braided inside a Woodlawn apartment, a 14-year-old boy injured after being shot on a street in Little Village, and a CTA bus driver beaten and wounded by a gunshot in the downtoon Loop area.

Last year, Chicago saw a 50 per cent increase in both shootings and homicides.

Other large cities, including New York and Los Angeles, have also experienced worrisome spikes in gun violence since 2020.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot in August called on all city departments to collaborate on reducing gun violence and to take a “whole of government approach” to finding solutions to the persistent problem.

On Monday morning Chicago police Superintendent David Brown held a news briefing with top commanders to outline the efforts by police over the weekend, including partnerships with community organisations, as well as the continued seizure of of handguns, weapons that drive most of the city’s violence.

Brown spoke candidly and personally about the risks youth in Chicago face when they are in the vicinity of those who are swept into or engaging in violent conflicts, which are retaliatory in nature.

“I have family members that I don’t invite over for family gatherings, just because of some of the issues that come with that family member that is living a life of crime.

“I don’t want to bring it to my home,” he said, before directly addressing families, adding that he was not trying to “condescend” to anyone.

“I would encourage you, as a family, to protect your children from people in the family that are on the wrong side of the law,” he said.

Brown also spoke directly to those who are engaged in the conflicts.

“You know the life you lead. You know that you are being targeted. … Why are you continuing to be around young children? That’s on you. … Stay away from children if you want to live that life,” he added.

Meanwhile, Brown pledged his department would be “relentless” in pursuing offenders.

Deputy Chief Angel Novalez, charged with improving relations in a city where trust in police has frayed and criticism of the department is constant, sounded a hopeful note in his remarks.

“I wanted to make sure I give out a special thanks to the hundreds and thousands of people in Chicago that in a lawful manner enjoyed all the city had to offer this Labor Day weekend,” Novalez said.

“The thousands of folks who biked the (Lake Shore) Drive, enjoyed concerts at Soldier Field, patronized local entertainment businesses, enjoyed the weather at the wonderful parks and those that stayed home and enjoyed their backyards and their neighborhoods.”

“We at the Chicago Police Department thank you for doing your part in maintaining order so we can use the resources to concentrate on crime reduction,” Novalez said.

dpa/NAN

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UNGA: DRC president seeks actualisation of promises on global warming to Africa

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By Gistflash News

Sept 22, 2021

The President of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo has urged UN  Member States to “materialise all the promises made to Africa in compensation for the sacrifices agreed to protect humanity against global warming.”

Tshilombo made the appeal at the annual gathering of world leaders for the UN General Debate of the 76th session of the General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York.

“There are less than six weeks left before COP26 and nine years before 2030.

“For Africa, the year 2030 will be marked by a drop in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of up to 15 per cent reduction in agricultural yields and a sharp increase in the risk of coastal flooding and in island countries,” the president said.

He noted that in order to cope with the negative impacts of climate change, the African continent will need $30 billion dollars a year to adapt.

This amount should increase to around $50 billion dollars by 2040.

“Africa does not need charity,” but constructive win-win partnerships to make better use of its collective national wealth and improve the living conditions of its people, he stressed.

Speaking on the COVID-19 pandemic, the President said Africa had not folded its arms and does not intend to capitulate to the virus, but stressed all the difficulties the countries are facing.

He welcomed initiatives related to financing of the economies, in particular those of the G20 on the suspension of debt service and the common framework for debt restructuring, pointing at the allocation of $650 billion in special drawing rights (SDRs) from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

For him, the $33 billion dollars allocated to Africa “are insufficient in view of the immensity of its economic stimulus needs.” The African Union supports the objective of the Paris Summit, $100 billion dollars in SDR for the continent.

Regarding the withdrawal of the UN Mission (MONUSCO) in his country, he agreed to the timeline approved by the UN Security Council, with a transition period that expires in 2024.

He asked for the process to be “gradual, responsible and orderly”, saying that he expects “the United Nations and the Security Council to give all the necessary means to MONUSCO and its Rapid Intervention Brigade so that they fulfil their mandates.”

“This is to ensure that the troops deployed have the required capabilities and means, including the necessary training to meet the requirements of the reality on the ground and the asymmetric warfare currently waged by armed groups and Islamist terrorists,” Tshilombo said.

On the elections scheduled for 2023, he said, he hoped to contribute to “the organisation of a free, transparent, inclusive and credible” vote.

Speaking on peace and security, the President said: “the scourge of insecurity caused by the cohorts of terrorists, armed groups, mercenaries and criminals of all stripes is undermining the institutional stability of young democracies and destroying the efforts of many African leaders to develop their countries.”

He argued that the fight against DAESH was won in the Middle East, but in Africa “AQIM and other groups affiliated with DAESH are gaining more ground every day”, in places like Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Burkina Faso.

He said that “Islamist” fundamentalism had reached the east of his country, which is “paying a heavy price in the provinces of Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu and Maniema.”

“Africa refuses to serve as a base for international terrorism”, he added.

Recently, political crises had erupted in a few Member States, but Tshilombo argued that “these crises cannot obscure the enormous progress made by the majority of African countries in terms of democracy and good governance.

“This is how the Congolese people continue their noble and exhilarating struggle against dictatorship, autocracy and the values ​​that still structure our actions,” he said.

In June, the DRC entered into a programme with the IMF and is currently benefitting from the assistance of the World Bank to carry out major social projects and basic infrastructure.

Tshilombo spoke of “courageous reforms” that should accelerate economic growth to over five per cent a year.

He concluded his speech by addressing the “endless problematic reform of the UN and of the representation of Africa on its Security Council.

“It is a question of the effectiveness of the United Nations and of justice to a continent, an entire section of humanity whose role continues to increase every day,” he said.

The UN correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria quoted Tshilombo as saying that his country supported the proposal that adds two additional non-permanent members for Africa and two seats as permanent members, with the same rights, including veto.

NAN

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India’s Zee Entertainment announces merger with Sony Picture Networks

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By Gistflash News

Sept 22, 2021

Indian Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited, on Wednesday announced its merger with Sony Picture Networks India, making it one of the largest entertainment networks in the country.

The board made the announcement in a statement attached to a notice on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Sony and Zee together run about 75 television channels and digital media platforms in India, some of which are beamed globally.

Sony Picture Networks India is a subsidiary of Japan’s Sony Corporation.

Zee said Sony will invest 1.57 billion dollars in the merged entity and will be the majority stakeholder with a 52.93 per cent stake.

Zee Managing Director, Punit Goenka would retain the position in the merged entity, and it would hold 47.07 per cent stake.

The statement said the two companies will combine their linear networks, digital assets, production operations and programme libraries.

It added that Zee’s expertise developed over three decades and Sony’s success in the entertainment, gaming and sports genres would give significant value to the merged entity.

The two firms plan to conduct due diligence and obtain the required regulatory approvals for the merger over the next three months.

The new entity is expected to be publicly listed in India.

dpa/NAN

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UN Chief to appoint special envoy for future generations, create UN Youth Office

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By Gistflash News

Sept 21, 2021

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday that he would appoint a special envoy for future generations and set up UN Youth Office.

Guterres said that the young people across the world needed more than support.

“We expect 10.9 billion people to be born by century’s end. We need their talents, ideas and energies, young people need more than support.

“They need a seat at the table. I will appoint a Special Envoy for Future Generations and create the United Nations Youth Office,’’ Guterres said.

He disclosed this during his address at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in the united States on Tuesday.

Sputnik/NAN

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