The Latest: BLM gets first mention at UN's virtual gathering

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Latest from the UN General Assembly (all times EST):

11:50 a.m.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is the first world leader at the United Nations''annual gathering to mention the Black Lives Matter movement.

“As a country that has known too well the anguish of institutional racism, South Africa supports the demands for swift actions against racism” whether it be perpetrated by companies, states or others, he said in his pre-recorded message to the U.N. General Assembly.

South Africa last year marked a quarter-century since the end of the racist system of apartheid, and Ramaphosa worked closely with Nelson Mandela, the country’s first Black president.

South Africa remains one of the most unequal countries in the world. Like many African nations, it has not escaped the problem of police brutality.


10 a.m.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says the United Nations must hold China “accountable” for failing to contain the coronavirus, which has killed about 200,000 Americans and nearly 1 million around the world.

Trump is accusing China of not sharing timely information with the world on the new disease in a taped address to the virtually gathered United Nations General Assembly.

Trump says: “The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions.”

Trump is also using his address to tout a pair of recent international accords he helped to broker— one between Kosovo and Serbia and the other between the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel — as the United States “fulfilling our destiny as peacemaker.”

Trump has repeatedly used his appearances at the international gathering to oppose “globalization” and promote his “America First” foreign policy. His 2020 address is not different, as he admonished other nations that “only when you take care of your own citizens, will you find a true basis for cooperation."


9 a.m.

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N.’s first virtual meeting of world leaders started Tuesday with pre-recorded speeches from some of the planet’s biggest powers.

They’ve been kept at home by the coronavirus pandemic that will likely be a dominant theme at their video gathering this year. The pandemic has killed over 960,000 people worldwide.

In the opening speech, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the world is facing an “epochal” health crisis. He also noted the biggest economic calamity and job losses since the Great Depression, dangerous threats to human rights -- and the threat of a new Cold War between the U.S. and China.

Those who spoke Tuesday included U.S. President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, whose countries have reported the highest and second-highest coronavirus death tolls, respectively. China, where the virus was first reported, also was set to speak.

Also on deck are China, where the virus originated, and Russia, which has raised international eyebrows with its rapid vaccine development.

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