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Taliban, Afghan president declare three-day Eid ceasefire from Sunday

Evan Lewis

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Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on sports events around the world

KABUL (Reuters) – The Taliban declared a three-day Eid ceasefire in Afghanistan starting Sunday, via a tweet on Saturday from the hardline Islamist group, and the country’s president said the government would reciprocate.

The move came as fighting between the two sides had intensified despite the coronavirus pandemic.

“Do not carry out any offensive operations against the enemy anywhere, if any action is taken against you by the enemy, defend yourself,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, tweeted. He added that the ceasefire was declared solely for Eid festivities marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani welcomed the Taliban’s ceasefire announcement and extended the offer of peace.

“As Commander-in-Chief I have instructed ANDSF (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces) to comply with the three-days truce and to defend only if attacked,” he said in a tweet.

Last month, the Taliban rejected a government call for a ceasefire across Afghanistan for Ramadan, saying a truce was “not rational” as they ramped up attacks on Afghan forces.

At least 146 civilians were killed and 430 wounded by the Taliban during Ramadan, Javid Faisal, a spokesman for the country’s main intelligence and security office in Kabul, said on Saturday.

Reporting by Abdul Qadir Sediqi, Orooj Hakimi; Writing by Rupam Jain; editing by Jonathan Oatis

With a knack for storytelling, Evan started News Brig about a year ago. Covering substantial topics under the Sports,, he helps information seep in deeper with creative writing and content management skills.

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France tells China it still backs ‘one country, two systems’ for Hong Kong

Evan Lewis

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France tells China it still backs 'one country, two systems' for Hong Kong

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with China’s President Xi Jinping after a joint news conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China November 6, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron has told Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping he is following events in Hong Kong closely and continues to back the “one country, two systems” principle for Beijing’s rule over the city, an Elysee official said.

“The President said he was monitoring the (Hong Kong) situation closely and reiterated France’s support for the principle of ‘one country, two systems’,” the official told Reuters on Saturday.

China has approved security legislation for Hong Kong that democracy activists, diplomats and some in business fear will jeopardise its semi-autonomous status and its role as a global financial hub.

The legislation has reignited tensions between Washington and Beijing, and led the European Union to express “grave concern” last week.

Hong Kong was discussed during an hour and a half phone call on Friday between Macron and Xi, the official said.

The Elysee had reported the call in a statement late on Friday without mentioning Hong Kong.

The statement also referred to cooperation in tackling the coronavirus pandemic, saying Macron stressed the essential role of the World Health Organization, blamed by Washington for mishandling the crisis.

Reporting by Michel Rose, writing by Gus Trompiz, editing by Mark Potter

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Malaysia reports 38 new coronavirus cases, one new death

Evan Lewis

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Malaysia reports 38 new coronavirus cases, one new death

FILE PHOTO: A health worker wearing a protective suit arranges hospital bed at Emergency Department in the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia May 23, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian health officials reported 38 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, taking the cumulative total to 8,304.

The health ministry also reported one new death, raising total fatalities to 117.

Reporting by Mei Mei Chu; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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NYPD loses its 6th detective to coronavirus

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NYPD loses its 6th detective to coronavirus

The NYPD has lost its sixth detective to the coronavirus pandemic, The Post has learned.

Christopher McDonnell, a 54-year-old first-grade detective in the Intelligence Division, was confirmed Friday as the 44th member of the department, and the sixth detective, to succumb to COVID-19, according to the president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association.

McDonnell left behind a wife and 14-year-old son Trevor — both of whom his friend and former partner said the detective adored.

“Not only [was he] one of the finest detectives I’ve ever worked with, but one of the kindest human beings I’ve ever met,” Detective Jeffery Ward told The Post.

McDonnell joined the NYPD in 1991 and worked in Staten Island, lower Manhattan and the Narcotic Division, according to the union.

Ward, who worked with McDonnell in the late 1990s through the early 2000s, said McDonnell “definitely earned the distinction of a first-grade detective.

“We call ourselves the greatest detaches in the world, and Christopher truly exemplified that,” he said.

The detective died May 6, but his positive-test result for the virus didn’t come back till  Friday.

DEA President Paul DiGiacomo described McDonnell as a “constant professional” and the union will help his family as if he died on the job.

“This COVID virus is the invisible bullet, and we will treat [it] no different than if he was shot in the line of duty,” DiGiacomo said.

Seven uniformed members of the force, as well as 37 civilian employees of the department, have died from COVID-19, according to the NYPD.

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