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UN: Escalating war in Yemen fuels hunger and economic collapse

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Hundreds of civilians were killed and thousands displaced in Yemen over the past month, and conflict continues to escalate, while aid is coming short.

Escalating military action in Yemen has left the Arab world’s poorest nation facing growing hunger and economic collapse with no political solution in sight.

More than 15,000 people were displaced over the past month, and more than 350 civilians were killed or injured in December, senior UN officials said on Wednesday.

In the seventh year of conflict, the warring parties seem to be seeking military victory, UN special envoy Hans Grundberg told the UN Security Council.

“There is no sustainable long-term solution to be found on the battlefield” and both sides must talk even if they are not ready to lay down their arms, he added.

358 civilians were reportedly killed or injured in December, “a figure that is tied for the highest in three years,” Ramesh Rajasingham, the UN’s deputy humanitarian chief, said.

READ MORE: Civilians killed in Houthi missile attack on Yemen fuel station

“An escalatory cycle”

“We appear to once more be entering an escalatory cycle with predictable devastating implications for civilians and for the immediate prospects of peace,” Grundberg told the council.

Iranian-backed Houthi rebels are pressing their assault on the key city of Marib, the last government stronghold in northern Yemen, Grundberg said, as he expressed concern that battles could intensify on other fronts.

There is already renewed fighting in the southern province of Shabwa. Elsewhere, airstrikes have increased and fighting continues along dozens of front lines, as attacks have increased on neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

He also called accusations that ports in mainly Houthi-controlled Hodaida – a lifeline for delivering aid, food and fuel to the country – are being militarised “worrying.”

READ MORE: Saudi-led coalition pushes against Houthi gains in Yemen

Funding shortages

Moreover, programs providing food, water, protection for civilians and reproductive health services were forced to scale back or even close due to funding shortages in 2021, Rajasingham said.

Last year’s UN appeal for about $3.9 billion to help 16 million people was only 58 percent funded, the lowest level since 2015, and UN expects this year’s aid operation to need roughly as much money.

Rajaingham urged donors to sustain and if possible increase their support this year, while especially calling on the Houthis to improve access for humanitarian staff and to stop attempts to interfere with their work.

While humanitarian aid is essential, Rajasingham stressed that the biggest drivers of people’s needs are economic collapse accelerated by conflict.

Humanitarian needs could be reduced by a resumption of foreign exchange injections through the Central Bank, and policy decisions to lift import restrictions, Rajasingham added.

READ MORE: New realities in the Gulf: What’s in store for 2022?

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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England lifts COVID-19 pandemic restriction-Omicron marks end of the pandemic.

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England has lifted its restrictions implemented in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking at a press conference at Downing Street, Health Secretary Sajid Javad stated that the England will be lifting the restrictions implemented in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic but the legal requirement to self-isolate if tested positive for the virus will continue.

While Health Secretary Sajid Javad stated that it was a major milestone, he also stated that “It’s not the end of the road and we shouldn’t see this as the finish line because we cannot eradicate this virus and its future variants. Instead we must learn to live with Covid in the same way we have to live with flu”.

This has also meant that the work-from-home guidance would be ending with the majority of the nation’s workforce reverting to pre-pandemic work schedules. Additionally, students will also be no longer required to wear masks at schools.

Moreover, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also confirmed that the Government plans to end the legal requirement for positive cases to isolate by late March, but may move the date forward.

The U.S. has also hinted that the pandemic may be heading towards an end. Chief Medical Advisor to the President of the United States, Dr. Anthony Fauci has stated that the Omicron variant may mark the end of the pandemic.

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New Japanese Ambassador Takeuchi Midori presents her credentials to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

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The new Japanese ambassador to the Maldives, Takeuchi Midori has presented her credentials to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

Ambassador Takeuchi Midori presented her credentials to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih at a special ceremony held earlier today at the President’s Office.

Speaking at the ceremony President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih noted on the Ambassador Takeuchi Midori’s predecessor Keiko Yanai’s work in enhancing bilateral relations between the two nations. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih expressed hope in continuing to further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two nations under Ambassador Takeuchi Midori tenure.

Ambassador Takeuchi Midori also spoke at the ceremony, noting that this year marks the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the Maldives and Japan. She expressed hope that the two nations would work together on regional and global issues.

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China’s homemade C919 passenger plane to be delivered this year

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China’s self-developed C919 large passenger aircraft will be delivered within this year, The Paper reported on Wednesday, citing its developer.

Wu Yongliang, deputy general manager of the Shanghai-based Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), said the pandemic’s impact on the C919 project has been controllable, and the work is progressing in an orderly manner.

American aerospace manufacturer Boeing and France-based Airbus have long been the so-called duopoly in the commercial airline market worth trillions of U.S. dollars.

The C919, as part of China’s goal to develop homemade civil airplanes, is trying to rival with medium-range aircraft from the two global giants, such as Airbus’s A320 and Boeing’s 737 MAX.

C919 has 158 to 168 seats, a standard range of 4,075 kilometers and a maximum range of 5,555 kilometers. It had its successful maiden flight in 2017.

China Eastern Airlines, one of the country’s largest airlines also headquartered in Shanghai, signed a contract to buy five C919 jetliners from COMAC in March 2021.

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