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Biden expects Gaza ceasefire by March 4

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Biden expects Gaza ceasefire by March 4

US President Joe Biden has stated that he anticipates a ceasefire in Gaza by next Monday, March 4, upon reaching an agreement to release Israeli hostages held by Hamas. Biden expressed his hopes during a visit to an ice cream store in New York.

The Israeli negotiators are currently in Doha engaging in discussions with mediators from Egypt and Qatar, who are also in talks with Hamas representatives. The Israeli war cabinet has approved terms for releasing 40 hostages in exchange for a six-week truce, potentially commencing at the start of Ramadan.

Biden’s national security adviser has informed him that negotiations are close to completion, but there are still pending details. The President’s optimism suggests that a ceasefire is within reach. The situation is fluid, and developments are expected to unfold in the coming days.

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The international community remains closely monitoring the situation in Gaza as efforts are underway to secure the release of the Israeli hostages. The delicate negotiations involve multiple parties striving towards a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Stay tuned for further updates on this developing story.

IANS, established in 1986, is India's largest independent news service, offering 24x7 news from India and South Asia, and a preferred source for diverse content across six business verticals.

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Death toll in Pakistan reaches 50 due to rain-related incidents

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Death toll in rain-related incidents in Pakistan rises to 50

At least 50 people have been killed in rain-related incidents in Pakistan in the past four days, as reported by IANS/DPA. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is on high alert as more severe weather is expected to hit the region. The casualties include 21 people in central Punjab, 21 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and 8 in Balochistan.

The recent rain and lightning strikes have halted the harvesting of wheat crops in Punjab, posing a threat to agricultural livelihoods. The upcoming spell of rain is likely to further delay the harvesting process and potentially damage the crops. This unexpected weather pattern has caused concern among farmers and residents in the affected areas.

In a region where heavy rainfalls, thunderstorms, and flooding are uncommon outside of the monsoon season, the impact of the extreme weather events is particularly devastating. Despite being responsible for less than 1% of global carbon emissions, Pakistan is among the top 10 most climate-vulnerable nations, facing the brunt of climate change with catastrophic consequences.

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The recent history of natural disasters in Pakistan, such as the catastrophic floods in 2022 that affected millions of people, underscores the urgent need for climate action and disaster preparedness. The government and relevant authorities must take proactive measures to mitigate the impact of extreme weather events and protect vulnerable populations from harm.

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Historic stock exchange in Copenhagen, Denmark, destroyed by fire

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Denmark's historic stock exchange in Copenhagen goes up in flames

Copenhagen, April 16 (IANS/DPA) The historic stock exchange in the Danish capital Copenhagen is on fire with the top of the building’s tower collapsing in flames on Tuesday morning. The cause of the fire is still unclear as the area remains cordoned off for safety.

Parts of the roof have collapsed and the fire is not yet under control. Around 120 firefighters and 60 armed forces members were deployed. The blaze has torn through half of the building, with historical paintings being carried away by individuals.

Denmark’s Defence Minister Troels Lund Poulsen expressed shock over the fire, comparing it to the Notre Dame incident. The Provianthuset, a wing of Christiansborg Palace, was evacuated, affecting parliament operations. Meetings at the Ministry of Finance were also canceled.

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The stock exchange, a tourist attraction, is on the island of Slotsholmen. The building, completed in 1625, was undergoing renovations. The restoration aimed to bring back the original appearance of the façade, correcting 19th-century work. The spire is a symbol of the city.

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Israel initiates diplomatic campaign against Iran

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Israel launches 'diplomatic offensive' against Iran

Tel Aviv, April 16 (IANS/DPA) Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz has initiated a “diplomatic offensive” against Iran in response to a major Iranian attack on Israel. Katz reached out to 32 countries and numerous foreign ministers, urging for sanctions on Iran’s missile programme and the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization.

Katz believes that imposing sanctions and designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization would weaken Tehran and prevent further escalations. He emphasized the urgency of taking action, stating, “Iran must be stopped now – before it is too late.”

In addition to the diplomatic efforts, Katz also called for a military response to Tehran’s recent attack, which included over 300 missiles, cruise missiles, and drones. Israel and its allies successfully intercepted the majority of the incoming projectiles, but Katz stressed the need for a comprehensive approach to the situation.

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Following the major Iranian attack, Israel’s military leadership has indicated that a response is imminent. The attack, which occurred on Saturday night, was reportedly in retaliation for a suspected Israeli strike on an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria, resulting in casualties among Iranian military personnel.

The escalating tensions between Israel and Iran have raised concerns about the potential for further violence in the region. Katz’s diplomatic offensive aims to address these tensions and prevent further hostilities through a combination of diplomatic and military measures.

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