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1.4m People Migrate To Cities Weekly – UN

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The UN says no fewer than 1.4 million people migrate every week to cities around the world.

Secretary-General António Guterres warned that the weekly migration could contribute to “disasters”.

The UN chief said the development “can strain local capacities, contributing to increased risk from natural and human made disasters”.

In his message for World Cities Day, celebrated annually on Oct. 31, Guterres stressed that “hazards do not need to become disasters”.

“The answer is to build resilience – to storms, floods, earthquakes, fires, pandemics and economic crises,” he said.

Guterres explained that cities around the world were doing just that, forging new ways to increase resilience and sustainability.

He noted that the capital of Thailand, Bangkok has built vast underground water storage facilities to cope with increased flood risk and save water for drier periods.

In Quito, the capital of Ecuador in South America, local government has reclaimed or protected more than 200,000 hectares of land to boost flood protection, reduce erosion and safeguard the city’s freshwater supply and biodiversity, he noted.

The UN chief also indicated that the city of Johannesburg in South Africa “is involving residents in efforts to improve public spaces so they can be safely used for recreation, sports, community events and services such as free medical care”.

Guterres said a range of UN-backed international agreements provided “a roadmap for a more sustainable and resilient world”.

The agreements include the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the New Urban Agenda

World Cities Day was established by the UN to promote the international community’s interest in global urbanisation, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanisation, and contributing to sustainable urban development around the world.

Maimunah Sharif, Executive Director of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat), flagged the importance of investing in resilience or face growing “economic, social, political and human” risks.

“It has been estimated that without action on climate change – which accounts for just one facet of resilience – some 77 million urban residents risk falling into poverty,” she warned.

Sharif elaborated that human-made and environmental threats ranged from droughts, floods and fires to economic shocks, disease outbreaks, war and migration.

“Investing in resilience is a wise investment,” the UN Habitat chief said.

The theme of the 2018 commemoration, ‘Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities’, focuses on the need to preserve human life and limit damage and destruction while continuing to provide infrastructure and services after a crisis.

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Pope Urges Calm In Protest-Hit Ecuador

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Pope Francis on Sunday called on all sides to refrain from violence in Ecuador, which has been rocked by nationwide protests against rising fuel and living costs.

“I am following with concern what is happening in Ecuador,” the Argentine pontiff said after his weekly Sunday Angelus prayer at the Vatican.

“I encourage all parties to abandon violence and extreme positions. Let us learn — only through dialogue can social peace be found, I hope soon.”

The 85-year-old urged particular attention to be paid to “the marginalised populations and the poorest, but always respecting the rights of all, and the institutions of the country”.

Ecuador’s National Assembly is due to vote on whether to oust President Guillermo Lasso over the protests that have left five people dead and dozens injured in 13 days of revolt.

Pope Francis also highlighted the death of sister Luisa Dell’Orto, an Italian missionary who he said was killed on Saturday in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

“Sister Lucia (Luisa) lived there for 20 years, dedicated above all to the service of street children,” he said.

“I entrust her soul to God and pray for the Haitian people, especially for the youngest, so they may have a more peaceful future without misery, and without violence.

“Sister Lucia made her life a gift for others, to the point of martyrdom.”

Finally, the pope urged those listening not to forget the war in Ukraine.

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War: Ukraine Will Be Coerced To Make ‘Bad Peace’ With Russia – UK

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The United Kingdom has expressed fears that Ukraine will be coerced to make a ‘bad peace’ with Russia.

The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said Ukraine could face pressure to agree to a peace deal with Russia over the global food crisis.

According to him, Volodymyr Zelensky’s side will enter a peace deal that will not be in the interests of his country as a result of the economic consequences of the ongoing war in Europe.

The British Prime Minister is in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, with leaders of Commonwealth nations for a summit

He told reporters, according to BBC, that “Too many countries are saying this is a European war that is unnecessary … and so the pressure will grow to encourage, coerce, maybe, the Ukrainians to a bad peace.”

The UK Prime Minister then warned that there would be consequences if Russian President Vladimir Putin has his way in Ukraine.

Johnson noted that this would be dangerous to international security and “a long-term economic disaster”.

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Obama Rues U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision To Overturn Roe v Wade Abortion Rights

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Former American President Barrack Obama says the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade abortion rights ruling “reverses 50 years precedent, attacking the essential freedoms of Americans.”

“Today, the Supreme Court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent, it relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues—attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans,” Mr Obama said in a tweet.

On Friday, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), a U.S. Supreme Court judgment that ruled that United States Constitution protects pregnant women’ liberty to decide to have an abortion.

Justice Samuel Alito on Friday wrote the majority opinion that tossed out the case. Mr Alito was joined by the five other conservatives on the high court, including Chief Justice John Roberts.

“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives,” the opinion said.

The case was met with a 6-3 decision, with the court’s three liberal justices filing a dissenting opinion to the ruling.

The decision has been widely anticipated after a draft of the ruling was exclusively reported by Politico in May.

Following the leak, Oklahoma passed a near-total ban on all abortions, starting “at fertilization” pending the signature of Republican Governor Kevin Stitt, it would be the most restrictive abortion ban in the U.S.

President Joe Biden had urged Congress to pass legislation codifying Roe v. Wade, saying a woman’s right to have an abortion is “fundamental.”

“If the court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose,” Mr Biden said in May.

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