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UN losing support from countries, says outgoing top official

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The UN’s outgoing political chief expressed concern Thursday in a parting message that the United Nations was losing support from a growing number of countries.

Jeffrey Feltman, an American who served as under-secretary-general for political affairs since 2012, said it was “quite worrying” that leaders were questioning the value of the United Nations.

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“I do leave here concerned about making sure that we maintain in addition to the excellent leadership we have… that we maintain member-state support,” said Feltman.

There are “an increasing number of leaders, increasing number of countries that are questioning whether the multinational system that this organization represents is the right way forward, is the answer,” he said.

His remarks were directed in part at the United States where President Donald Trump has cut funding to the world body and his new national security adviser John Bolton has expressed skepticism about the UN’s work.

Feltman described the United Nations as a “force multiplier” in addressing issues including terrorism and climate change that concern US national interests and those of other countries.

“We need to show that we can be effective,” he said in a farewell press conference.

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Feltman, who oversaw UN efforts to end conflicts worldwide, said Syria “remains the most tragic example of the failures of the international community to address a peace-and-security, humanitarian and human rights catastrophe.”

Now in its eighth year, the war in Syria has killed more than 350,000 people with no breakthrough in sight for diplomatic efforts that have been undermined by divisions in the Security Council.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in December dispatched Feltman to North Korea to push for dialogue as fears of a nuclear war gripped the region.

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It was the highest-level UN visit to Pyongyang in six years, a mission undertaken with Trump’s approval.

Despite signs that the United States is opting for diplomacy on North Korea, Feltman said it was “important to manage expectations.”

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“The issues are extremely complicated,” he warned, adding that summit meetings between North and South Korean leaders as well as between Trump and Kim Jong Un would be the “start of the process”.

Feltman will be replaced by another American, Rosemary DiCarlo, who becomes the first woman to hold the top post.


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WATCH: Franklin Graham tells Jeanine Pirro coronavirus pandemic is because of people sinning

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Franklin Graham blamed sinners for the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic during a Saturday night appearance on Fox News.

Host Jeanine Pirro noted the growing death toll and wondered how God could let that happen.

"Well, I don't think it's God's plan for this to happen," Graham said.

"It's because of the sin that's in the world, judge," he argued.

"Man has turned his back on God, we have sinned against him, and we need to ask for God's forgiveness and that's what Easter's all about," he continued.

"This pandemic, this is the result of a fallen world that has turned its back on God," he added.

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Drought causing water shortage amid coronavirus crisis in Chile

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With historically low river flows and reservoirs running dry due to drought, people in central Chile have found themselves particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic.

Years of resource exploitation and lax legislation have allowed most reservoirs in that part of the country to run dry.

"There are now 400,000 families, nearly 1.5 million people approximately, whose supply of 50 liters of water a day depends on tankers," Rodrigo Mundaca, spokesman for the Movement for the Defense of Water, the Earth and the Protection of the Environment, told AFP.

One of the main pieces of advice to protect people against coronavirus is to wash your hands regularly.

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Trump warns of ‘tough week’ ahead — after the United States surpassed 300,000 coronavirus victims

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US President Donald Trump warned Americans on Saturday to brace for a "very horrendous" number of coronavirus deaths in the coming days as the total number of global fatalities from the pandemic soared past 60,000.

As confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States surpassed 300,000 with more than 8,300 deaths, there was some encouraging news in Italy and Spain.

Europe continues to bear the brunt of the epidemic, however, accounting for over 45,000 of the worldwide deaths, and Britain reported a new daily high in fatalities.

There are now more than 1.17 million confirmed coronavirus cases around the world and there have been 63,437 deaths since the virus emerged in China late last year.

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