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Mali Protest Coalition Offers To Work With Junta On Transition

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A Malian protest coalition that had campaigned against former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said Wednesday it was willing to work with the junta which ousted him in a process to restore civilian rule.

The new military rulers formally received the leaders of the June 5 Movement for the first time since seizing control of the crisis-hit country in a largely bloodless coup on August 18.

“We are willing to work with this process, we came here to exchange views and to reaffirm that we have the same positions” as the military, said Issa Kaou Djim, a leading figure in the protest movement.

“We have been reassured (by the fact) that these troops are soldiers, great intellectuals. Mali, across the entire spectrum, is in a drive to bring everyone together,” he said.

Keita, 75, was forced out by young army officers who led a mutiny at a military base at Kati, 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Bamako.

They headed into the capital where they detained the president, along with Prime Minister Boubou Cisse and other leaders.

The putsch — the second in eight years — has once more placed the spotlight on one of Africa’s most unstable countries, which is battling a jihadist revolt and economic slump.

The coup leaders were cheered by a large rally on Friday organised by the June 5 Movement, although they have been condemned by the country’s neighbours, the United States, African Union, the UN and European Union, with Brussels saying Wednesday it was suspending its programme of army and police training in Mali.

– ‘Substantive discussions’ –

Named after the day and month that it was launched, the June 5 Movement comprises a diverse association of grassroots groups, political parties and religious figures cemented by the demand for Keita’s resignation.

Following the roughly hour-long talks, the protest leaders were keen to present themselves as joint partners in forging a “new Mali”.

“We told the junta that it would be useful to have substantive discussions afterwards. They agree, and they said they will consult the people,” said Modibe Kone.

The next meeting is scheduled to take place on Saturday, attended by the junta’s leader, Colonel Assimi Goita, who did not take part on Wednesday, according to people at the talks.

Within hours of the coup, the junta, which calls itself the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, promised to enact a political transition and stage elections within a “reasonable time”.

A mediation mission by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) failed to reach a deal on the details of the transition, but said the junta had vowed to return the country to civilian rule within less than a year.

ECOWAS is due to hold a summit on Friday to decide whether to maintain sanctions imposed after the coup, including a ban on travel and trade with Mali which threatens to deepen the country’s social and economic troubles.

Keita was elected in 2013 as a unifying figure in a fractured country and was returned in 2018 for a second five-year term.

But his popularity nosedived as he failed to break a bloody jihadist campaign that has claimed thousands of lives and driven hundreds of thousands from their homes and to reverse the country’s downward economic spiral.

Despite international opposition to the coup, analysts say Keita’s return to power is now highly unlikely.

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Think Tank Releases an Analytical Report on the Global Situation of the COVID-19 Pandemic

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As the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has not yet subsided, the CGTN Think Tank has released the Analytical Report on the Global Situation of the COVID-19 Pandemic (the “Report”) by sourcing data from the Johns Hopkins University website, Our World in Data and Pharmaceutical Technology that have not been comprehensively processed, analyzing research literature from the academic community and referring to the known impact of the pandemic on global economic and social development as well as the recommendations on its prevention and control from renowned public health experts. The Report puts together the data on pandemic prevention and control measures in 51 sample countries to make rankings as a way of reflecting the current situation of pandemic control in these countries. It focuses on the importance that countries attach to personal safety, social and environmental stability, thereby providing ideas and directions for countries around the world to fight the pandemic.

The Report analyzes and evaluates the current status of pandemic prevention and control in the 51 countries based on five indicators, including the total number of confirmed cases, the number of newly confirmed cases, the total number of deaths, the number of vaccinations and the full cycle from pandemic outbreak to control as of 14 July.

The data shows that the United States has the worst performance on three of the five statistical indicators. The U.S. has over 34 million confirmed cases in total, the highest in the world, and over 600,000 deaths in total, also the highest in the world; and the number of days with less than 5,000 daily new cases in the full cycle from pandemic outbreak to control is only 62, still the worst among the sample countries.

According to the data, the situation in main European countries is not encouraging. When it comes to the total number of confirmed cases and deaths, France, the UK and Italy all rank high.

The data shows that some Asian countries have performed well in pandemic prevention and control, thanks to effective measures such as entry bans, quarantine and stringent testing at the border. China has the lowest number of confirmed new cases among the sample countries and the highest number of vaccinations in the world; Singapore and Vietnam rank low among all sample countries for the total number of COVID-19 deaths; and South Korea has adjusted the level of pandemic response in a timely manner, resulting in 537 days with less than 5,000 daily new cases.

In terms of the number of vaccinations, China is one of a few developing countries with the highest number of COVID-19 vaccinations due to its ability to develop and manufacture its own vaccines. At present, over 1.4 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in China. China has also supplied more than 500 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and stock solutions to more than 100 countries and international organizations worldwide, equivalent to one-sixth of the total global vaccine production. However, the statistics also lay bare that the vaccination progress in developing countries is significantly worse than that in developed countries, due to the severe inequality in the global distribution of vaccines. Countries with a poor vaccination record, such as Vietnam and Iraq, are still far from reaching herd immunity due to various limitations, such as poor health service and vaccine hoarding by certain developed countries.

The polarization in the number of confirmed cases, the number of deaths and the number of people vaccinated in different countries and regions of the world, as shown by the objective statistics, is very much related to national pandemic prevention and control policies and measures, and highlights the crucial role played by a country’s government in pandemic prevention and control.

COVID-19 tracker: the latest figures by country

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Xi Jinping Inspects Southwest China’s Tibet

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President Xi Jinping visited the city of Nyingchi in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. He arrived at Nyingchi Mainling Airport on Wednesday and was welcomed by local residents and officials of various ethnic groups. 

He then visited the Nyang River Bridge to inspect ecological preservation in the basin of the Yarlung Zangbo River and its tributary Nyang River. 

In the afternoon, President Xi visited an urban planning center, a village and a park to learn about urban development planning, rural revitalization, urban park construction and other work. 00:37

On Thursday, he went to Nyingchi Railway Station and inspected the overall planning of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway and the construction and operation of the Lhasa-Nyingchi section. He then took a train to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.

In Lhasa, Xi visited the Drepung Monastery, Barkhor Street and Potala Palace square to learn about the work on ethnic and religious affairs, the conservation of the ancient city, and the inheritance and protection of Tibetan culture. He also chatted with residents. 

Xi’s visit came as Tibet celebrates its 70th anniversary of peaceful liberation. 

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Peng Liyuan Addresses SCO Forum on Fomen’s Education, Poverty Alleviation

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Peng Liyuan, the wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, on Tuesday addressed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) forum on women’s education and poverty alleviation via video.

Peng, who is also a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) special envoy for the advancement of girls and women’s education, said eliminating poverty and embracing happiness are the common aspirations of all women. By receiving education, knowledge and skills, women can have the power to lift themselves out of poverty.

Thanks to China’s unremitting efforts, the country has achieved a victory in the fight against extreme poverty, and hundreds of millions of Chinese women have been lifted out of poverty, she said, adding that China has adopted a series of measures to ensure women’s equal access to education and make them beneficiaries, participants and contributors in poverty alleviation.

Peng said reducing poverty through women’s education will have a strong impetus if a country attaches great importance to it, social organizations actively support it and people from all walks of life make selfless contributions.

She mentioned how Guizhou’s provincial government motivated more than 500,000 women to work at home by developing a women-tailored handcraft industry, how more than 3 million poor girls were able to complete their education under the nationally funded Spring Bud Project, and how a teacher named Zhang Guimei founded a free high school in an impoverished area that helped nearly 2,000 girls enter college.

With 435 million women still living in poverty in the world, the gender gap in education remains clear, Peng said, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic poses new challenges to reducing poverty for women.

Over the past 20 years, since the establishment of the SCO, women from member states have followed the “Shanghai Spirit,” exchanged experiences on women’s development, promoted cooperation in various fields and contributed their share to advancing SCO cooperation, Peng said.

We need to unite our love and make long-lasting efforts, continue to deepen cooperation in women’s education and poverty reduction, let education shine a light of hope on women and make more women enjoy opportunities to live a beautiful life, she said.

The forum is jointly organized by the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF), the Committee of Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation of the SCO and the Secretariat of SCO.

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