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News Making International Headlines: 3 November 2021

Dozens Killed and Wounded in an Attack on Afghanistan’s Biggest Military Hospital


PHOTO: AMBULANCE ARRIVING AT EMERGENCY HOSPITAL TALIBAN SOLDIERS AND MEDICS STANDING IN FRONT OF HOSPITAL WOUNDED BOY LAYING ON STRETCHER TAKEN TO HOSPITAL SOUNDBITES FROM EYEWITNESS AND A RELATIVE OF THE VICTIM

INTERNATIONAL: At least 25 people were killed and more than 50 wounded in an attack on Afghanistan's biggest military hospital on Tuesday which saw two heavy blasts followed up by gunmen assaulting the site in central Kabul.

Among the injured was a young boy who was carried on a stretcher to the Italian aid group Emergency hospital in Kabul.

The explosions hit the entrance of the 400-bed Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan hospital and were followed with an assault by a group of Islamic State gunmen, all of whom were killed within 15 minutes, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has confirmed.

He added that Taliban special forces dropped by helicopter had prevented the attackers from entering the hospital and all four were killed at the entrance or in the courtyard a fifth was captured.

The blasts add to a growing list of attacks and killings since the Taliban completed their victory over the Western-backed government in August, undermining their claim to have restored security to Afghanistan after decades of war.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the operation was typical of the complex attacks mounted by Islamic State. It follows a string of bombings by the group which has emerged as the biggest threat to Taliban control of Afghanistan.

A health worker at the hospital, who managed to escape, said he heard a large explosion followed by a couple of minutes of gunfire. About ten minutes later, there was a second, larger explosion, he recalls. He was unclear whether the blasts and the gunfire were inside the hospital complex.

The abrupt withdrawal of international support following the Taliban victory has brought Afghanistan's fragile economy to the brink of collapse just as a severe drought has threatened millions with hunger.

Hail Reach 4.92 Feet in Southern Bolivian City


PHOTO: BUS DRIVING THROUGH FLOODED STREET, STREETS COVERED IN HAIL, DESTRUCTION CAUSED BY HAIL STORM, PEOPLE CLEARING HAIL STORM DAMAGE

A strong hail storm hit Taija on Sunday, causing floods and damage across the southern Bolivian city.Hail reached as high as 4.92 feet in some places, heavily affecting private residences and businesses near Taija´s commercial area.

Local authorities worked non-stop to help those affected by the storm. The mayor's office reported the collection of 5,000 tons of ice from the streets. Crops around the area were reported as ‘complete losses’ due to the heavy rains.

Global Leaders Pledge to End Deforestation by End of the Decade


PHOTO: FILE AERIALS OF DEFORESTATION AT PALM OIL PLANTATION FILE FIRE IN DEFORESTED AREA

And…More than 100 global leaders have pledged on Monday to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by the end of the decade, underpinned by $19 billion in public and private funds to invest in protecting and restoring forests.

The joint statement at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow was backed by the leaders of countries including Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which collectively account for 85% of the world's forests. According to the statement from United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office on behalf of the leaders, the Glasgow Leaders' Declaration on Forest and Land Use will cover forests totaling more than 13 million square miles. The UK Prime minister has stated that the world will have a chance to end humanity's long history as nature's conqueror, and instead become its custodian. He calls it an unprecedented agreement.

Some additional government and private initiatives were also launched on Tuesday to help reach that goal, including billions in pledges for indigenous guardians of the forest and sustainable agriculture. Forests absorb roughly 30% of carbon dioxide emissions, according to the nonprofit World Resources Institute. The forests take the emissions out of the atmosphere and prevent them from warming the climate. Yet this natural climate buffer is rapidly disappearing. The world lost 258,000 square kilometers of forest in 2020, according to WRI's deforestation tracking initiative Global Forest Watch. That is an area larger than the United Kingdom.

Monday's agreement vastly expands a similar commitment made by 40 countries as part of the 2014 New York Declaration of Forests and goes further than ever before in laying out the resources to reach that goal. Under the agreement, 12 countries including Britain have pledged to provide $12 billion of public funding between 2021 and 2025 to help developing countries, including in efforts to restore degraded land and tackle wildfires.


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