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Mahathir sworn in as Malaysia’s seventh Prime Minister

Gorkha Post

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KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia’s former authoritarian leader Mahathir Mahathir has been sworn in as country’s seventh Prime before the country’s King hours after former premier Najib Razak said that he accepted the will of the people that handed Barisan Nasional (BN) a shock defeat.

The ceremony at the official state palace in Kuala Lumpur ended a day of uncertainty during which rumours swirled that the National Front, Malaysia’s ruling party for 60 years, would try to stay in power.

Dr Mahathir, following a series of press conferences in which he asserted that his Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition clearly won Wednesday’s vote and agreed to back him as Prime Minister, was granted an audience with the King, Sultan Muhammad V, at 5pm.

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Dr Mahathir,92, was dressed in a traditional black “baju melayu” tunic and sarong, with an Islamic cap on his head.

Hundreds of Malaysians lined the road leading to the palace, waving party flags and cheering the 92-year-old Dr Mahathir.

At a press conference after being sworn in, Dr Mahathir reassured the financial community and said he would prioritise stabilising the economy and returning billions of dollars lost in a corruption scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Agencies

 

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Former UN chief and Nobel peace laureate Kofi Annan dies aged 80

Thompson Reuters

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ACCRA/GENEVA — Former United Nations Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kofi Annan has died at the age of 80, his foundation said on Saturday.

Annan, a Ghanaian national, died in hospital in Bern, Switzerland, in the early hours of Saturday, two of his close associates said.

In Geneva, the Kofi Annan Foundation announced his peaceful death with ‘immense sadness’ after a short illness, saying he was surrounded in his last days by his second wife Nane and children Ama, Kojo and Nina.

Annan served two terms as U.N. Secretary-General in New York from 1997-2006 and retired in Geneva and later lived in a Swiss village in the nearby countryside.

“”In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations. He rose through the ranks to lead the organization into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, whom Annan had chosen to head the UN refugee agency, said in a statement.

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As head of UN peacekeeping operations, Annan was criticized for the world body’s failure to halt the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s.

As U.N. boss he was linked to peace efforts to reunite the divided island of Cyprus. He submitted a reunification blueprint for Cyprus which was rejected in a referendum by Greek Cypriots in 2004.

“The UN can be improved, it is not perfect but if it didn’t exist you would have to create it,” he told the BBC’s Hard Talk during an interview for his 80th birthday last April, recorded at the Geneva Graduate Institute where he had studied.

“I am a stubborn optimist, I was born an optimist and will remain an optimist,” Annan added.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, paid tribute to Annan as “humanity’s best example, the epitome, of human decency and grace”.

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Zeid, who has criticized major powers and other countries during his four-year term that ends later this month, said that whenever he felt “isolated and alone politically”, he would go for long walks with Annan in Geneva.

“When I told him once how everyone was grumbling about me, he looked at me — like a father would look at a son — and said sternly: “You’re doing the right thing, let them grumble.” Then he grinned!

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