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Death toll rises to 12 in Mali hotel attack

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A French-speaking Special Forces NCO watches weapons marksmanship training for a member of a Malian counter-terrorism unit during one of over 30 pre-scheduled military training engagements planned, coordinated and managed by SOCAFRICA’s JSOTF-TS. Keen in the myriad of different weapons used around the world, Special Forces teams provide capacity development training and advisement to pre-designated host nation units whose mission is to provide for the security of the vast and barren northern territories. Planned, coordinated and managed under the auspices of the State Department’s Trans-Saharan Counter Terrorism Partnership, Department of Defense TSCTP activities in the region are planned, coordinated and conducted under the auspices of Operation Enduring Freedom (Trans-Sahara) and are managed by SOCAFRICA’s Joint Special Operations Task Force (Trans-Sahara). (Photos are provided by JSOTF-TS Public Affairs)

Bamako: At least 12 people, including five soldiers, two civilians and one UN staff, have been killed after unknown militants attacked a hotel in central Mali on Friday, Malian officials said.

Photo credit: today.ng
Photo credit: today.ng

Four hostages have been freed from the Byblos hotel used by UN staff, according to the Directorate of Information and Public Affairs of the Malian Army on Saturday, adding that four militants were also killed in the raid, Xinhua reported.

Radhia Achour, a spokesman for the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA, confirmed that the released hostages were UN contractors — two South Africans, one Russian and one Ukrainian.

Choguel Kokala Maiga, spokesperson of the Malian government, said the Malian troops are searching for surrounding buildings of the hotel in order to capture fleeing militants.

Maiga said the identities of the attackers have not yet been confirmed.

(IANS)

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UN: World Showing Lack of Ambition in Reducing Inequality, Countering Climate Change

The natural environment is deteriorating at an alarming rate: sea levels are rising; ocean acidification is accelerating

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climate change, reducing inequality
UN document stresses that 75 per cent of children who suffer from stunted growth and physical development live in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Pixabay

The world’s governments are showing a lack of ambition in pursuing the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially in terms of reducing inequality and countering climate change, the United Nations said in a report published Tuesday.

The findings were presented at the opening of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, which brings together some 2,000 participants from around the world to evaluate progress toward meeting the 17 SDGs that the world body’s 193 member-states set in 2015, the Efe news reported.

Time is running short to take effective action on climate change, the head of UN Economic and Social Affairs, Liu Zhenmin, said. “The challenges highlighted in this report are global problems that require global solutions. Just as problems are interrelated, the solutions to poverty, inequality, climate change and other global challenges are also interlinked,” he said.

climate change, reducing inequality
The natural environment is deteriorating at an alarming rate: sea levels are rising; ocean acidification is accelerating. Pixabay

While the report notes some progress, including lower levels of extreme poverty, expanded immunization, improved access to electricity and a 49 per cent reduction in mortality among children 5 and under, the emphasis is on the need for greater urgency.

“It is abundantly clear that a much deeper, faster and more ambitious response is needed to unleash the social and economic transformation needed to achieve our 2030 goals,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement.

“The natural environment is deteriorating at an alarming rate: sea levels are rising; ocean acidification is accelerating; the last four years have been the warmest on record; one million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction; and land degradation continues unchecked,” Guterres said.

climate change, reducing inequality
Climate change it says is worsening the ability of people to get enough to eat. Pixabay

Liu said that climate change remains the greatest obstacle to “our shared prosperity,” as extreme weather affects agriculture and, by extension, efforts to reduce hunger.

ALSO READ: Sanders and Ocasio- Cortez Teaming Up on Plan to Designate Climate Change as Emergency

The UN document stresses that 75 per cent of children who suffer from stunted growth and physical development live in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, while people residing in at-risk states are twice as likely to lack basic sanitation and four times more likely to be without reliable access to potable water.

Looking forward, the report said that steps to combat climate change can also help in reducing poverty and inequality. In that regard, Liu said that moving toward renewable, non-polluting sources of energy will in turn begin to reverse deforestation, just as sustainable agriculture can ease both hunger and want, as nearly 80 per cent of people living in extreme poverty are residents of rural areas. (IANS)