Wed, 20 Jan 2021

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday reiterated his proposal of debt suspension or cancellation for developing countries to avert economic collapse due to the COVID-19 pandemic till the end of the pandemic.

Khan was addressing a UN General Assembly's two-day special session via a video link on the response to the pandemic. (Pakistan-PM-Debt Relief)

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DHAKA -- Chinese-built factory has begun manufacturing concrete sleepers for a mega rail link project in Bangladesh connecting to the country's largest Padma bridge which was also being constructed by Chinese firms.

Built by the China Railway Group Limited (CREC), a world-leading construction conglomerate, the assembly work of the sleeper factory, the first of its kind in Bangladesh, was completed on Aug. 22 when it started production on a small scale. (Bangladesh-China-Factory)

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UNITED NATIONS -- Equitable access to COVID-19 vaccine, medicines and medical equipment shall be secured in global response to the pandemic, according to speakers at a special session of the United Nations General Assembly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The world's response to the crisis caused by the pandemic must be equally born, said Munir Akram, president of the Economic and Social Council on Thursday. (UN-Pandemic-Vaccine)

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BEIRUT -- Lebanon's Higher Defense Council decided on Thursday to extend general mobilization period to the end of March 2021 in light of COVID-19 outbreak with a set of health, economic and security measures, the National News Agency reported.

The council said that the money requested by the Ministry of Health for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines is ready. (Lebanon-COVID-19)

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WASHINGTON -- U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday announced that he has selected Brian Deese, a former Obama administration official and currently head of sustainable investing at BlackRock, to serve as the next director of the National Economic Council.

"Brian is among the most tested and accomplished public servants in the country -- a trusted voice I can count on to help us end the ongoing economic crisis, build a better economy that deals everybody in, and take on the existential threat of climate change in a way that creates good-paying American jobs," Biden said in a statement. (Biden-National Economic Council)

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UNITED NATIONS -- An additional 207 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty by 2030, due to the severe long-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the total number to more than a billion, a new study from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has found.

According to the study, released on Thursday, such a "high damage" scenario would mean a protracted recovery from COVID-19, anticipating that 80 percent of the pandemic-induced economic crisis would continue over a decade. (UN-UNDP-Report-Poverty)

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