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Renard ‘posterboy’ for coaches seeking route home

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July 17, 2019 by admin

Rarely have any returned home to coach a leading club but it is on the back of taking Zambia to the 2012 African Nations Cup title that Renard is suddenly catapulted from overseas exile into the coaching hot seat at Sochaux.

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They sit second bottom of the standings and have taken a gamble in a bid to get out of their current quagmire – hiring a coach who might be local but is in many ways foreign to the French league.

The move back home comes with fortuitous timing as his contract at Zambia had just months to run with the country already eliminated from the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

Among his last jobs in France was running a garbage collection company, cleaning empty offices at night and dreaming of a chance to make a career in football.

When he realised as a teenager he was never going to make the grade as a top professional player, Renard coached at amateur level but never got a chance with a top division team.

“I am not in the who’s who,” he told Reuters in an interview two years ago on the eve of the victorious Nations Cup final.

“I took out the rubbish for eight years and now I’m about to coach in the African Nations Cup final. Football is magical right?”

A chance encounter with Claude Le Roy, another Frenchman better known in Africa, saw him offered the opportunity to be his assistant in China, at Cambridge United in the fourth tier of English football and with Ghana’s national team.

Renard’s first solo job was in the anonymity of club football in Vietnam but his break came when Le Roy recommended him to Zambia.

WHITE SHIRT

He became their national coach in 2008 and took them to the Nations Cup quarter-finals in the tournament in Angola two years later.

They were bundled out in a penalty shootout by Nigeria but Renard got a lucrative offer to stay on as Angola coach.

That proved a brief and disappointing tenure but he bounced back in Algeria at top club USM Alger and had no hesitation when Zambia asked him to return in late 2011.

Months later they were African champions and Renard an international figure, his chiselled good looks and trademark tight white shirt marking him out.

“I always had Ligue 1 as an objective,” he told reporters as he prepared this week for his first game at home to table-topping Monaco on Sunday.

“But I’m not a magician, I can only offer hard work,” he told France Football magazine.

His progress will be closely watched by a posse of expatriate coaches around the developing world with similar ambitious of returning home in glory, as well as many admirers across Africa.

His mentor Le Roy had a similar chance at Paris St Germain but his stay was all too brief.

Philippe Troussier, who made his name in West Africa as the “white witch doctor” and took Japan to the World Cup quarter-finals in 2002, went home to a surprise post at Olympique Marseille in 2004 but lasted a half-season and has not had a major post since.

(Additional reporting by André Assier; Editing by John O’Brien)


Salary cap for youngsters would help England – Campbell

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July 17, 2019 by admin

Campbell, 39, who made 73 appearances for England during a 20-year playing career, said too many foreign youngsters in English academies were hampering the development of local players.

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In an interview with Reuters ahead of the publication of his autobiography “Sol Searching” next year, the former Tottenham, Arsenal and Portsmouth centre-back, said: “You cannot stop overseas players playing in the Premier League.

“But I think there should be a salary cap for younger, youth team players.

“Youth team players from overseas are coming into the academies and earning too much money too young and English youngsters are suffering.

“Their salaries should be capped until there are 18 or 19 or they get to the first team.

“It would make coming to England less attractive for foreign youngsters and give some of the English players time to learn their trade. They would not be under such severe pressure and it would allow them time to grow.

“It would mean we could get them up to the standard to play at the highest level. It would give them time and space to develop.

“Everyone else, the Germans, for example, have time and space. In Germany, there may be a couple of Swiss guys, or Austrian. You are not going to have 60 or 70 percent non-German youngsters at youth team level.

“In Spain, you might have a couple of Portuguese or South Americans but you are not going to have 60 or 70 percent of players from around the world in youth teams in Spain.”

LONG CAREER

Campbell’s career spanned the first 19 seasons of the Premier League from the time he made his debut with Spurs as an 18-year-old in 1992 until he retired in 2012 after a handful of games with Newcastle United.

At the start of the 1992-93 season when he began his career there were less than 40 overseas players in the Premier League, and the latest estimate is that now only around 30 percent of players are English.

Campbell, who was one of the relatively few English players to regularly feature for Arsenal during his first five seasons there after his move from Spurs, added: “When I was growing up at Tottenham, we had one overseas player, Quinton Fortune from South Africa.

“Everyone else was British, they were English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish. If you want to get into an academy now you are competing against kids from all over the world and that’s why the money for young players should be capped.”

He also said that England manager Roy Hodgson should play the younger players in his squad at the World Cup finals next year.

“Win, lose or draw, it will be a fantastic experience for them. I always wished I had played in South America.

“It will also be fantastic for the younger lads to get that experience and of playing in that tournament, so I hope they play.

“For the younger lads to get there and not to play in it, is not the best way.

“You have got to blood these guys in tournament play because that is how they get better. If you keep the younger guys on the bench, that’s not the best thing to do.

“You want to get them playing, because next time around they will have the confidence and know what its all about.”

(Reporting by Mike Collett)


One dead and 80 homes destroyed in fires

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July 17, 2019 by admin

They have been described as apocalyptic, devastating and some of the worst we have ever seen.

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The fires in NSW have left one man dead and hundreds of homes feared destroyed, while emergency services warn there may be worse news to come.

More than 1500 firefighters were on the ground across the state on Friday as more than 90 fires scorched through 91,000 hectares and destroyed at least 80 homes.

A 63-year-old man collapsed from a heart attack while defending his house at Lake Munmorah on the NSW central coast on Thursday – marking the first fatality in the crisis.

Walter Linder collapsed in his yard and despite attempts to revive him, died at Wyong Hospital.

As residents and emergency services began returning to affected areas, Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons warned more casualties may be discovered.

“There is a possibility that we might find people who haven’t been able to get out of harm’s way,” he told reporters.

The fires, he said, were some of the most damaging and destructive the state has ever seen.

Mr Fitzsimmons became visibly emotional as he addressed the media, stopping to compose himself as he praised the work of his colleagues.

“We have the best firefighters in the world,” he said.

But for some people’s homes, the ferocity of the fires were too great.

Eighty-one properties are confirmed to have been destroyed and 37 damaged by blazes in the Blue Mountains communities of Springwood and Winmalee.

But with only 30 per cent of the area so far being inspected, the RFS expects the numbers to rise.

One local, Helen Walton, who has lived through three major bushfires since moving to the mountains said the fire – which scorched almost 2000 hectares – was by far the worst she had seen.

But her house remains, and she vows to as well.

“We’ll stay. Of course we’ll stay. We might have to re-landscape, though,” she told AAP.

Springwood resident Catherine Hubbard made a terrifying escape from the bushfire that destroyed her home, seeking refuge with strangers.

“The sun was totally blocked out and houses were burning down to the ground all around us,” she said.

Without running water, the neighbours used buckets and wet towels – “whatever we could get our hands on” – to douse embers, knowing the house was their only refuge.

Then came a change in the wind which cleared a path through the smoke.

“It was a miracle, actually,” Ms Hubbard said.

While the Blue Mountains was the worst hit region, residents of Lithgow, the Southern Highlands and the central coast also faced another tough day as blazes flared up across the state, with the fire in Balmoral running rapidly.

In the quaint Catherine Hill Bay village near Lake Macquarie, resident Wayne Demarco surveyed the destruction caused by Thursday’s fire.

“It looks very apocalyptic … It looks horrible with telephone poles burned to the ground and things just destroyed.”

Two firefighters are in hospital with burns and a Winmalee man is being treated for smoke inhalation.

But there was some good news on Friday night, with all blazes downgraded to a watch and act alert or below as humidity rises and winds drop.

Firefighters were strengthening containment lines and getting out of control blazes in check before worsening weather conditions on Sunday and Monday.

But Mr Fitzsimmons warned the situation remained “very active, dynamic and dangerous.”

“The fight will continue night and day for days and, on some fire grounds, for weeks,” he said.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, an RFS volunteer himself, thanked those working on the NSW emergency.

“I just want to say how sorry we are on behalf of the people and the parliament of Australia for the heartache which so many hundreds of people in NSW are currently dealing with, but how proud we are of the thousands of volunteers and full-time professionals (fire fighters),” he said at Winmalee fire station.


Norwegian named as Kenya mall gunman suspect

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July 17, 2019 by admin

The 23-year-old was named as Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow, who the BBC said is suspected of helping to plan and carry out the attack on the upmarket Westgate mall.

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Dhuhulow was born in Somalia, but he and his family moved to Norway as refugees in 1999, according to relatives who spoke to the BBC from the Norwegian town of Larvik, some 135 kilometres southwest of the capital Oslo.

However, other relatives denied it was Dhuhulow who appeared in security camera footage of the attack.

“None of the men in the video is the 23-year-old,” a relative told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

The relative’s name or links to the suspect were not disclosed, but they reportedly live in Larvik.

The BBC quoted one of Dhuhulow’s former neighbours Morten

Henriksen, who described the young man.

“He was pretty extreme, didn’t like life in Norway… got into trouble, fights, his father was worried,” Henriksen told the BBC, speaking of Dhuhulow as a teenager.

Last week Norway’s PST intelligence agency said it had launched a probe after it obtained information about the possible involvement of a Norwegian of Somali origin in both planning and carrying out the attack.

Norwegian investigators have been sent to Nairobi to work with their Kenyan counterparts, Norway’s PST said.

Neither the intelligence services nor the family responded to AFP phone calls on Friday morning.

Witnesses in the mall described how the fighters stormed the complex around midday on September 21 when it was crowded with shoppers, firing from the hip and hurling grenades at shoppers and staff.

The gunmen coldly executed scores of people, with witnesses recounting how in some cases they called out to those wounded, then finished them off at close range.

The siege was declared over four days later.

Kenyan police have named four of the attackers as Abu Baraal Al Sudani, Khatab Ali Khane and one man known simply as Umayr – reportedly all Somalis, plus a Kenyan of Somali origin, Omar Nabhan. However, the names are noms de guerre.


White says guilt-free after Brumbies walk-out

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July 17, 2019 by admin

White took the Canberra-based side to the final of the southern hemisphere competition this season and had two years left on his contract but quit abruptly last month to return to South Africa where he has been appointed director of rugby with Durban’s Sharks.

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White had been in the running to succeed Robbie Deans as head coach of Australia after the New Zealander was moved on in the wake of the British and Irish Lions series loss, but former Queensland Reds coach Ewen McKenzie was preferred despite having no experience at test level.

White, who guided the Springboks to the 2007 World Cup win, told Fairfax media he had become “disillusioned” with the Brumbies job after being overlooked for the Wallabies.

“I told (the Brumbies) I was feeling disillusioned with where my career was going in Australia,” White said in comments published on Friday.

“And who says I can’t coach Australia after the World Cup? I’ve not turned my back on Australia.

“I don’t feel guilty at all about wanting to chase an international dream, players do it all the time.”

White, who helped turn the Brumbies from cellar-dwellers into contenders in his two years in charge, said he had felt “heartsore” to leave.

“I know that in my heart I did my bit and I gave my 100 per cent and there was no malice or skulduggery,” he said.

“The bottom line is I just wanted to move on. Families allow family members to move on. It happens. A lot of the guys I’ve spoken to, they all understand why it had to happen.”

White’s walk-out left the Brumbies with two caretakers in charge in assistants Laurie Fisher and former Wallaby Stephen Larkham. The club has little prospect of finding a replacement from outside the club with pre-season training already under way.

White will return to Canberra in May when the Brumbies host the Sharks.

“I will enjoy it,” he said. “I’ll catch up with a lot of my friends that I’ve got in Canberra. It’s not like I’m sitting here in trepidation thinking I’m going to have to go back to Canberra,” he said.

(Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Patrick Johnston)


Aussie Hull-Kirk shares Korean golf lead

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June 17, 2019 by admin

Australian golfer Katherine Hull-Kirk was in a four-way tie for the lead on Friday after the opening round of the LPGA KEB-HanaBank Championship on Ocean Course in Incheon, west of Seoul.

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Hull-Kirk shot a five-under-par 67 which included seven birdies and two bogeys.

She was joined on top of the leaderboard by Swede Anna Nordqvist and South Koreans Amy Yang and Ju Young Pak. Another Swede Caroline Hedwall was one stroke back in outright second in the $US1.9 million ($A1.98 million) event.

“I had a hot putter on the first nine holes,” said Hull-Kirk, who began her round on the back nine.

“I had 11 putts the first nine holes. That was really what got my round going.”

Defending champion Suzann Pettersen of Norway put herself in early contention for her second straight LPGA victory, the world No.2 shooting a three-under 69.

That put her in a seven-way tie for sixth, two shots off the lead.

At last year’s tournament, Pettersen defeated Catriona Matthew in a playoff. She went on to pick up four more US wins and another in Europe, climbing second in the world rankings behind South Korea’s Park In-Bee.

Pettersen mixed five birdies with two bogeys on the par-72, 5820-metre course. Three of her birdies came on par-5 holes.

Pettersen was joined at 69 by six others, including former world No.1 Shin Ji-Yai of South Korea and American Michelle Wie.

World No.1 Park played with Pettersen in the opening round, and shot a 70 to stay within striking distance. She started off with three birdies on the back nine but had back-to-back bogeys on the 12th and 13th. She picked up her final birdie on the par-3 17th.

Lexi Thompson, winner last week in Malaysia, shot a 70, along with world No.6 Choi Na-Yeon, a two-time champion at this event.


Bodies found after Laos air disaster

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June 17, 2019 by admin

Laos said Friday at least 17 bodies had been recovered after a plane plummeted into the Mekong River killing all on board in the country’s worst known air disaster.

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Forty-nine passengers and crew, more than half of them foreigners from nearly a dozen countries, were onboard the Lao Airlines turboprop ATR-72 when it went down in stormy weather on Wednesday.

Volunteers searched the swollen river on boats of all sizes, mustered for the grim task of plucking the dead from the turbulent waters and its muddy banks.

The aircraft sank to the bottom of the river. Rescuers said that recovering the wreckage would be an extremely difficult task, complicated by raging currents.

Soubinh Keophet, a former national footballer and volunteer with a Laos rescue foundation, said one body was discovered some 30 kilometres (19 miles) away from the crash site.

“We travelled 50 kilometres (31 miles) along the river and found four bodies,” he said, after he pulled a recently discovered limb from the water.

“It is very shocking. I am so sad about the incident. It should not have happened,” he said.

Sommad Pholsena, Laos minister of public works and transport, told reporters that 17 bodies had been found so far.

“We have to investigate about the cause of the accident but initially I think it was caused by bad weather,” he said.

A large Laos naval vessel, several smaller Thai and Laos rescue boats, dinghies and a jet ski were seen on the waters on Friday.

The flight from the capital Vientiane was carrying 44 passengers and five crew, including 28 foreigners, when it crashed near Pakse airport in Champasak province, according to officials.

Rows of wooden coffins were seen at a mortuary in Pakse.

Lao Airlines said the aircraft hit “extreme” bad weather while witnesses described seeing the plane buffeted by strong winds.

According to an updated passenger list from the airline, there were 16 Laotians, seven French travellers, six Australians, five Thais, three South Koreans, three Vietnamese, and one national each from the US, Malaysia, China and Taiwan.

The pilot was a Cambodian national said to have “many years” of flying experience.

French-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR said the twin-engine turboprop aircraft was new and had been delivered in March.

Impoverished Laos, a one-party communist state, has seen 29 fatal air accidents since the 1950s, according to the Aviation Safety Network.

Previously its worst air disaster was in 1954 when 47 people died in an Air Vietnam crash near Pakse, the organisation said.


Concerns over pregnant asylum seekers

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June 17, 2019 by admin

Medical practitioners and advocacy groups are calling on the federal government to urgently review its policy of overseas detention of pregnant asylum seekers.

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The calls follow criticism from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which reported last week that two women at the Nauru detention centre had “high risk” pregnancies.

And there are reports that eight pregnant Vietnamese asylum seekers are being transferred to Nauru, with more expectant women are tipped to be sent there in coming days.

Thea Cowie reports.

The UNHCR visited Nauru last week, reporting back it was highly concerned about a 30-year-old Rohingya woman pregnant with twins, who had the added complication of having diabetes.

The other pregnancy characterised by the UNHCR as “high risk” involved a 22-year-old Iranian woman – also carrying twins.

President-elect of the Royal Australiasian College of Physicians Professor Nicholas Talley says he has serious concerns about pregnant women being sent to Nauru.

“My advice has been there will not be sufficient levels of care and neonatal care particularly if there is a problem with the baby. I think we are putting these people at increased risk.”

Advocates say the pregnant women being sent to Nauru have to put up with tropical heat, limited privacy, and toilets hundreds of metres away.

But Pamela Curr from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre says discomfort may be the least of the concerns of pregnant women being sent to Nauru, and to the other detention centre on Manus Island, in Papua New Guinea.

“If we look at the statistics on Nauru and Manus Island they have infant mortality rates for children from birth to five years that are forty times higher than the mortality rate of babies born in Australia.”

Under the Labor government earlier this year, three out of six pregnant women transferred from detention on Manus Island, miscarried.

The Australian Medical Association is calling for an urgent independent review of the medical and birthing facilities on Nauru.

President Steve Hambleton says right now, the federal government isn’t providing enough information for him to be satisfied the women and babies will be safe.

“What the AMA’s said all along is that once we take responsibility for anyone in this country we should be providing adequate levels of health care. That becomes more difficult the more remote you are and the further you are offshore. Right now we just don’t know what is happening and we do need to make sure on a humanitarian basis we’re supporting people.”

Sophie Peer from Children Out of Immigration Detention agrees the women are Australia’s responsibility and they should have access to an Australian standard of health care.

“It’s absolutely not good enough. Why do we need to put more women in this position. Why do we need to send women who are Australia’s responsibility, who have sought the protection of Australia as they are entitled to, why are we sending them away? And to put the lives of unborn children at risk like this is just cruel, unnecessary and could be fatal.”

And Pamela Curr from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre says if and when the babies are delivered safely, they will not necessarily be out of danger.

“They’re going to a tent. A vinyl tent, a communal tent where it is 50 degrees in the middle of the day. Anybody who knows the care of babies knows that maintaining their temperature is really important and you put a baby in 50 degree heat and you have a good chance of a dead child.”

Ms Curr says she has confirmation a further eight pregnant Vietnamese women are being transferred to Nauru, with more to be sent offshore in coming days.

In his weekly media briefing Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to overseas processing for all asylum seekers who arrive by boat, with no exceptions.

But Mr Morrison says the UNHCR reports are inaccurate.

“This suggestion that there is a pregnant women with twins on Nauru is simply not true. // Reporter: They’re not there? // Morrison: It’s actually not true. There is not a pregnant woman with twins on Nauru.

Mr Morrison says on Nauru there are nine widwives and a paediatrician, two delivery beds, six postnatal beds, a special baby unit and the capacity to perform caesarean sections.

He says he’s absolutely satisfied that there are professional medical staff on Nauru providing the asylum seekers with an appropriate standard of care and monitoring.

 

 


Red Sox on brink of World Series

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June 17, 2019 by admin

Mike Napoli homered and the Red Sox tagged Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez for four runs on Thursday in a 4-3 win that put Boston on the brink of returning to baseball’s World Series.

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The victory gave the Red Sox a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series, which shifts to Boston for game six on Saturday and game seven, if necessary, on Sunday.

The Red Sox are trying to get back to Major League Baseball’s championship showcase for the first time since 2007, when they won their second World Series in four years.

The Tigers were swept by the San Francisco Giants last year in the Fall Classic.

Napoli smacked a towering solo homer over the centre field wall in the second inning to give Boston a lead they never surrendered.

Napoli, who also hit the solo homer that was the only run of game three, also had a double and a single, and scored Boston’s fourth run in the third inning on a wild pitch from Sanchez.

Boston’s starting pitcher Jon Lester allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings and the Red Sox bullpen allowed just one run before Japanese closer Koji Uehara got the final five outs for his second save of the series.

“He’s been a stud for us all year,” catcher David Ross said of Uehara. “He’s our horse at the end of that thing.”

The Tigers lost catcher Alex Avila with what the team said was a left knee strain. Avila was hurt in a collision at the plate with Red Sox catcher David Ross in the second inning and was taken out after the fourth.

Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, battling the nagging effects of a groin injury, cost Detroit a chance to score in the first inning when he ran through a stop sign from third base coach Tom Brookens and tried to score from second on Jhonny Peralta’s two-out single to left field.

He was thrown out standing up by Jonny Gomes.

Napoli homered on a 3-1 fastball to lead off the second frame, sparking a three-run outburst by Boston.

Ross hit an RBI double off the bottom of the left field wall and Jacoby Ellsbury plated a run with a drive that was deflected on the mound by Sanchez.

Napoli hit a ground-rule double to left in the third, moved up on a ground out and scored on the wild pitch to give Boston a 4-0 lead.

Detroit chipped away with one run each in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but couldn’t get any closer.

It was the fourth game of the series to be decided by just one run.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said his team’s task now was to focus on Saturday’s game, and not worry about what might come after.

“We have to win one game, that’s obvious,” Leyland said, “win one game and take it from there.”

However, he admitted before the game that a defeat could spell trouble for his team, with the last two games to be held at Boston’s Fenway Park.

“They’re pretty good there, obviously,” Leyland said.


Saudi Arabia turns down UN council seat

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June 17, 2019 by admin

Saudi Arabia has rejected a seat on the UN Security Council to protest what it says is a lack of international efforts to end world conflicts.

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“The kingdom believes that double standards in the Security Council prevent it from performing its duties and assuming its responsibilities towards keeping peace and security in the world,” the Saudi Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

The oil-rich kingdom, which was elected on Thursday as a non-permanent member to replace Pakistan in representing the Asia-Pacific region, said the Security Council “allowed the Syrian regime to kill its people and burn them using chemical weapons”.

The five permanent, veto-wielding members of the 15-nation council had been deadlocked for months on any action over Syria and its 31-month civil war with Russia blocking statements even on humanitarian issues.

But on September 27, it unanimously approved a resolution ordering the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons.

Saudi Arabia has backed the rebels fighting to oust the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Security Council seat would have been the first time Saudi Arabia would have had a place on the United Nations’ highest decision-making body.

The oil-rich country, a major power player in the Muslim world, also on Friday criticised the council on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The continuation of the Palestinian issue without a just and lasting solution for 65 years … is clear evidence of the Security Council’s inability to perform its duties and carry out its responsibilities,” it said.

Four other countries – Chad, Chile, Lithuania and Nigeria – have also been elected unopposed to seats on the council by the 193-member UN General Assembly.

They will replace Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo on the 15-nation council on January 1.