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Australia win ICC Men’s T20 World Cup

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(Last Updated On: November 14, 2021)

Australia won the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 on Sunday after Mitchell Marsh and David Warner hit half-centuries to chase down 173 with ease at the Dubai International Stadium.

Marsh and Warner’s brilliant knocks came after New Zealand captain Kane Williamson had responded to losing the toss with a classy innings of his own, with his 85 off 45 helping the Black Caps to 172/4.

But Australia started the chase well and rarely took their foot off the gas as they raced to the World Cup title with eight wickets and seven balls to spare, sparking jubilant celebrations in the UAE.

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UN, aid agencies cut Afghanistan aid plan budget to $3.2 billion

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(Last Updated On: June 6, 2023)

The United Nations and humanitarian agencies have revised the budget for Afghanistan’s aid plan for 2023 to $3.2 billion, down from $4.6 billion earlier in the year, the UN humanitarian office said on Monday.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement that a “changing operating context” in the wake of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) restrictions on female aid workers had contributed to the revised plan, Reuters reported.

IEA authorities have issued several orders barring many Afghan female NGO and United Nations employees from being able to work, which aid agencies have warned would severely hamper delivery in the religiously conservative nation.

“The recent bans on Afghan women working for… NGOs and the U.N. have added yet another layer of complexity to what is already an incredibly challenging protection environment, and further constrained the operational capacity of partners,” the UN statement said.

Afghanistan remains one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, the statement added, with more than two-thirds of the population in need of humanitarian assistance.

Some humanitarian officials and diplomats have warned of a potential decline in funding to Afghanistan due to the IEA restrictions on female workers and donor governments assessing competing global crises and economic priorities.

It was not clear how much of the revised budget would be funded by foreign donors.

Global humanitarian appeals often fall short of the total amount requested. In 2022, the humanitarian response plan was budgeted at $4.4 billion and received around $3.2 billion. The UN says the number of people in need has grown since last year.

The United Nations’ development agency in April predicted Afghanistan’s economy would contract and inflation would rise if there were a 30% drop in aid.

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Badakhshan’s deputy governor killed in car bomb

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(Last Updated On: June 6, 2023)

A car bomb in Afghanistan’s northern Badakhshan province on Tuesday morning, killed two people including the provincial deputy governor.

Six others were injured in the blast which happened around 8:15 am near the court building in the provincial capital, Faizabad, said Muezuddin Ahmadi, the provincial director of information and culture.

He said that the official was traveling in his car when the explosion happened.

The injured were taken to hospital for treatment.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

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NRC resumes operations in parts of Afghanistan with male and female staff

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(Last Updated On: June 5, 2023)

Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) announced on Sunday that the council has resumed humanitarian operations with “equal participation” of male and female staff in different regions of Afghanistan.

“I am glad to confirm that we have been able to resume most of our humanitarian operations in Kandahar as well as a number of other regions in Afghanistan,” Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, tweeted.

Egeland further stated that: “All our work is for women & men, girls & boys alike, & with equal participation of our female & male humanitarian colleagues.”

The IEA has not yet commented on the NRC’s announcement.

This comes after Egeland said last month that key Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) officials told him in meetings that they are close to finalizing guidelines that will allow Afghan women to resume work at nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

But they were unable to give a timeline or details when pressed, he said.

The IEA last December barred Afghan women from working at NGOs, allegedly because they were not wearing the hijab correctly and were not observing gender segregation rules.

In April, they extended the ban to UN offices and agencies in Afghanistan. There are exemptions in some sectors like health care and education.

In January, the IEA said they were working on guidelines for women to return to work at NGOs. They previously said they were working on guidelines so that girls and young women could return to education but these have yet to materialize.

During his visit to the country in May, Egeland hoped to persuade the IEA to reverse the ban on the organization’s female staff.

Egeland met the Kandahar deputy governor, Mawlawi Hayatullah Mubarak, who he described as having “direct contact with and links” to the IEA’s supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada, who ordered the education and NGO bans. He also met the head of Kandahar’s Economy Directorate, Mawlawi Abdul Salam Baryali.

“The authorities in Kandahar have a special position since the emir (Akhundzada) sits in Kandahar,” he said at the time.

“Whatever agreement we can get in Kandahar can have a national impact. These guidelines are close to being finalized and should soon be put into effect that is what was conveyed.”

Egeland said he pressed the officials for a timeline and clarity on the word “soon” but they didn’t elaborate.

He was told the IEA couldn’t guarantee anything as everything needed to be put to the supreme leadership. They also told him they had been working on the NGO matter for months and that most issues have been resolved.

The guidelines are likely to cover dress codes, gender segregation in the workplace, and a chaperone for travel.

The Norwegian Refugee Council stood to lose 40% of its funding for Afghanistan because of the bans on female employment and education, he said.

He said the potential loss meant a 40% drop in the number of people reached.

The agency has also laid off 220 of its 1,500 workforce and closed five offices. But it retains male and female Afghan staff who have been unable to work because of the bans. The agency is not deploying male-only teams.

“I believe their promises,” he said last month of the IEA. “But I can only accept the facts.”

The IEA has repeatedly told senior humanitarian officials visiting Afghanistan since December that the NGO restrictions are temporary suspensions, not a ban.

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