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First ever Indian-American to head World Bank

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Former Mastercard boss Ajay Banga has been elected to lead the World Bank as it strives to help low-income countries overcome debt and combat climate change.

Mr Banga, nominated by President Joe Biden for the post, is the first-ever Indian American to head the bank.

He will replace David Malpass, who had sparked outcry by appearing to question the role of humans in climate change.

He begins his five-year term on 2 June.

Now a US citizen, Mr Banga started his career in his native India, where his father was an officer in the army. He worked at Nestle and Citigroup before joining Mastercard where he stayed for more than a decade.

US President Joe Biden called him “a transformative leader” who had the experience to run the World Bank.

“He will help steer the institution as it evolves and expands to address global challenges that directly affect its core mission of poverty reduction — including climate change,” Mr Biden said.

In announcing Mr Banga’s confirmation, the bank’s executive directors said in a statement that they looked forward to working with him “on all the World Bank Group’s ambitions and efforts aimed at tackling the toughest development challenges facing developing countries.”

The US, the World Bank’s biggest shareholder, has traditionally been in charge of selecting the person to lead the institution, which lends billions of dollars to countries each year.

Developing countries have in the past complained about this, but Mr Banga was the only candidate for president.

“Ajay was elected with resounding approval from the executive directors, and will start his mandate with incredibly strong support from the membership of the World Bank,” a senior US official said about the vote.

Mr Banga’s appointment comes at a consequential moment for the development organisation.

The US and other wealthy nations have been pushing the bank to increase its lending to fight climate change. The bank’s $100bn (£80bn) per year or so of loans to help developing countries cope with climate change falls far short of the $1tn they say is needed.

Many developing nations are worried the focus on climate change will divert attention away from its anti-poverty efforts.

Developing countries have been hard hit by the pandemic, rises in food and in energy prices, and unsustainable levels of debt.

As president of the World Bank, Mr Banga will have to address these issues – all without any clear additional money on the table.

In an interview with the BBC in in March, when Mr Banga was on a listening tour in Africa, he said he wanted the bank to be a “catalyst” and “thought leader” for action,

“We also need to bring in the private sector to be able to reach these ambitious targets that we all have,” he said.

(BBC News)

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11 dead after bridge collapses in China (Video)

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Eleven people were confirmed dead as of Saturday morning following the partial collapse of a highway bridge in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, local authorities said.

The bridge, located at Zhashui County in Shangluo City, collapsed at approximately 20:40 on Friday due to a sudden downpour and flash floods, according to the provincial publicity department.

By 10:00 on Saturday, rescue teams had recovered five vehicles that had fallen into the river.

Rescue operations are still underway.

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105 killed in Bangladesh protests; nationwide curfew imposed

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At least 105 people have been killed in Bangladesh as police cracked down on unrelenting student-led protests against govt job quotas despite a ban on public gatherings.

The govt has decided to impose a nationwide curfew and deploy the army.

Earlier in the day, telecommunications were disrupted and television news channels went off the air.

Authorities had cut some mobile telephone services the previous day to try to quell the unrest. 

According to reports, police and security officials fired bullets and tear gas at protesters and banned all gatherings in the capital Dhaka. 

The protests, which began weeks ago but escalated sharply this week, represent the biggest challenge to PM Sheikh Hasina since she won a fourth consecutive term in office after the January polls.

The government has deployed police and paramilitary forces across the capital to lock down campuses and break up protests. 

On Wednesday, universities including the country’s largest suspended classes and closed dormitories, and on Friday police in Dhaka said they were banning all gatherings and demonstrations in the capital. 

According to foreign media, border guard officials fired at a crowd of more than 1,000 protesters who had gathered outside the head office of state-run Bangladesh Television, which was attacked on Thursday. 

The border guards shot at the crowd with rifles and sound grenades, while police officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets. Bullets littered the streets, which were also marked by smears of blood. 

Internet services and mobile data were widely disrupted on Thursday night and remained down on Friday in the capital, Dhaka. 

Social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp were also not loading. A statement from the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission said they were unable to ensure service after their data center was attacked by demonstrators, who set fire to equipment. 

Student protesters said they will extend their calls to impose a shutdown on Friday, and urged mosques to hold funeral prayers for those who have been killed.

Source: Times Of India

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Crowdstrike blames software update for worldwide IT chaos

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Major IT outages are hitting industries across the world, with airlines, shops and healthcare affected.

Australia’s home affairs ministry and American Airlines have both said the outage appeared to be related to an issue at global cyber-security firm Crowdstrike.Crowdstrike says a “content update” for its Windows hosts was to blame

“This is not a security incident or cyberattack. The issue has been identified, isolated and a fix has been deployed,” the firm says.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has said, “We’re aware of an issue affecting Windows devices due to an update from a third-party software platform. We anticipate a resolution is forthcoming.”

(Excerpts : BBC)

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