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International news brief: WHO alert for four Indian syrups as 66 children die in Gambia and more

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Washington, Oct 06: The World Health Organization has issued an alert for four ''contaminated'' medicines manufactured by an Indian pharmaceutical company that have been ''potentially linked'' with acute kidney injuries and 66 deaths among children in The Gambia.

International news brief: WHO alert for four Indian syrups as 66 children die in Gambia and more

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters Wednesday, ''The four medicines are cough and cold syrups produced by Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited in India. WHO is conducting further investigation with the company and regulatory authorities in India,'' he said, adding that the loss of young lives due to the products is ''beyond heart-breaking for their families''.

Lula receives fresh endorsements ahead of Brazil election

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva received two symbolic endorsements Wednesday as he seeks new allies ahead of an October 30 runoff against incumbent Jair Bolsonaro to return to the country's highest office.

Simone Tebet, a centre-right candidate who came third in Sunday's election with 4% of the votes, and former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who remains highly respected in business circles, have both announced they will back da Silva, who is universally known as Lula.

"For my love for Brazil, for democracy and for the constitution, for the courage I never lacked, I apologize to my friends and companions who begged for neutrality in this second round,'' Tebet said at a press conference in Sao Paulo. "What is at stake is far greater than each of us." Citing a country "divided by hate speech and ideological polarization," she called her nearly 5 million voters to join her in supporting democracy, adding that she will be actively campaigning for da Silva.

17 dead in accident, 6 dead in shooting in Guatemala

A pickup truck carrying 30 people crashed Wednesday in rural Guatemala, killing 17 and leaving 13 injured, according to local officials, who said the dead included two children.

The mayor of the township of Jocotan, near the Copan ruins in neighbouring Honduras, confirmed the deaths. The area, located east of Guatemala City, is poor and people frequently ride in the back of pickup trucks.

Mayor Juan Ramón Díaz said the truck suffered a breakdown and the driver got out to fix it. But he may have forgotten to set the emergency brake, because the truck rolled backwards and plunged into a small canyon.

Probing Indian cough syrup after 66 children die in Gambia: WHOProbing Indian cough syrup after 66 children die in Gambia: WHO

At 15 least dead as 2 migrant boats sink in Greek waters

At least 15 people have died as two boats carrying migrants sank in Greek waters late Wednesday, and rescuers were looking for dozens still missing, authorities said early Thursday. The coast guard said 15 bodies had been recovered near the eastern island of Lesbos after a dinghy carrying about 40 people sank. Five people were rescued and three had been located on a rocky outcrop near the site of the sinking. A second rescue effort was launched several hundred kilometers (miles) to the west, near the island of Kythira, where a sailboat carrying about 100 migrants hit rocks and sank late Wednesday.

Officials said 30 people had been rescued after that boat hit rocks off the village port of Diakofti on the east of the island. Winds in the area were up to 70 kph (45 mph).

North Korea launches more missiles as US redeploys carrier

North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles toward its eastern waters Thursday after the United States redeployed an aircraft carrier near the Korean Peninsula in response to Pyongyang's previous launch of a nuclear-capable missile over Japan.

The latest missile launches suggest North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is determined to continue with weapons tests aimed at boosting his nuclear arsenal in defiance of international sanctions. Many experts say Kim's goal is to eventually win US recognition as a legitimate nuclear state and the lifting of those sanctions, though the international community has shown no sign of allowing that to happen.

The latest missiles were launched 22 minutes apart from the North's capital region and landed between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. The first missile flew 350 kilometers (217 miles) and reached a maximum altitude of 80 kilometers (50 miles) and the second flew 800 kilometers (497 miles) on an apogee of 60 kilometers (37 miles).

UN peacekeeping chief to visit India

The United Nations peacekeeping chief is undertaking a visit to India, among the largest troop contributing countries for its operations. Under Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix will visit India, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and Japan. The multi-nation trip starts Thursday and will continue until October 15.

Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, told reporters Wednesday that in New Delhi, Lacroix will participate in a two-day meeting organised by the Challenges Forum, which brings together leading policymakers, practitioners and academics on key issues linked to peace operations. The head of the UN peacekeeping will then travel to Abu Dhabi, Islamabad and Tokyo.

Dujarric said the purpose of Lacroix's visit is to thank the countries for their contributions and support to UN peacekeeping as well as to update on progress enhancing the effectiveness of peacekeeping.

(with PTI inputs)

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