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Belarus demands Russian explanation of ‘Wagner mercenaries’ | Instant News


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Jeddah – Yasmine El Tohamy – KARACHI: Every year leading up to the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, hundreds of Pakistanis visit the Shaikh Rafi shop on the busy Jin Jin Road in Karachi to buy prayer mats and ihram clothes, two pieces of fine cloth that Muslims wear during Hajj.

But not this year. Since last month’s announcement by Saudi authorities that the pilgrimage will be limited to several thousand pilgrims living in the Kingdom, to prevent the spread of coronaviruses, Rafi has spent days cleaning dust from unsold items as he anxiously waits for customers who never arrive . .

“This has been our routine for the past few months,” said Rafi, whose shop is in the Karachi Allahwala Market.

The plan for around 2.5 million Muslims around the world was canceled when this year’s pilgrimage was dramatically lowered. In Pakistan, nearly 180,000 people canceled their trips, and its influence on the country’s hajj industry 160 billion rupees ($ 1 billion) was devastating. Rafi’s shop is only one of at least 5,000 small businesses in Karachi that have been severely affected.

“Because of the Kingdom’s decision to postpone Umrah flights and limit hajj, almost all related businesses experienced a decline in sales,” he said. “We opened our shop hoping someone would come but that day ended without customers.

Wholesaler Muhammad Rizwan said: “Under normal circumstances, ordinary people buy prayer mats and hats, before or after performing the hajj or umrah, as gifts for their relatives and friends – but since they have been locked, the industry has been completely shut down.”

Traders said it was not only the lack of sales that caused the problem, but also delayed payments.

“There has been no business for about the past five months and our payments from retailers and shop owners who have bought on credit have been put on hold,” said Muhammad Hanif Katlia, a wholesale supplier of ihram clothing. “Many shopkeepers have failed to pay (because of their bills) and have not paid rent, and many have fled without paying what is due.”

Some factories that produce goods for the Hajj and Umrah industries have been forced to close down completely, work costs, while others have switched to producing other goods.

“Production has been stopped for the past five months and we have laid off workers,” said Jannat Gul, whose business produces ihram clothing and other hajj-related products. “There is no buying and selling, and borrowers have not paid back what they owe since Umrah was suspended because of a coronavirus.”

This year is the first time in the modern era that pilgrims from other countries are not permitted to enter Mecca. According to Pakistan’s Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, which oversees the country’s hajj arrangements, 179,210 Pakistanis have registered to attend this year: 71,684 with private tour operators and 107,526 through cheaper packages, supported by the government.

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Pakistan urges worshipers to buy sacrificial animals online to prevent Covid-19 surges | Instant News


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Nevin Al Sukari – Sana’a – People clean a bull before selling it on the cattle market, ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Adha sacrifice festival, in Karachi, Pakistan July 26, 2020. – Reuters pic

KARACHI, July 28 – The Pakistani government encourages people to buy sacrificial animals online or at least wear a mask when visiting the cattle market, fearing preparations for the Muslim Eid festival can reverse the decline in Covid-19 infection rates.

The social restrictions imposed by the government this year including half-day closures have caused a decline in customers in markets that are usually crowded, as in other Muslim countries, established in city centers in front of one of the most important Islamic festivals.

Karachi’s main cattle market, Pakistan’s largest city, is less busy on Sundays compared to previous years with only six days before the celebration, Reuters witnesses said. Trader Allah Ditta, who traveled hundreds of miles to sell his stock, told Reuters that his customers were almost half.

Most visitors derided the requirements for wearing masks, and many were accompanied by children who were banned this year.

“I don’t understand this coronavirus. I have not seen anyone dying from it, “said trader Muhammad Akram. “Look around you: Nobody wears a mask.”

Pakistan has reported more than 270,000 Covid-19 cases with nearly 6,000 deaths. New infections every day number below 1,200 on Sunday versus a peak last month approaching 7,000 around another festival, Eid.

“In the last four weeks there has been a significant slowdown in the spread of pandemics, with an 80 percent reduction in deaths,” State Minister for Health Zafar Mirza said on Sunday – three weeks after he himself tested positive for Covid-19.

“Eid al-Fitr last, because meetings increased, people traveled, and this interaction caused cases to escalate,” Mizra said. “People must take it very seriously and act responsibly. There is a possibility that the case will rise again, like Spain. ”

While market visitors have fallen, more people pay charity to slaughter cattle on their behalf and give their pieces to them or donate them to the needy.

Shakil Dehelvi, secretary general with the Alamgir Welfare Trust, said the charity had received a booking target twice as fast as last year. – Reuters

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‘Nothing is safe’ from COVID-19, Abhishek Bachchan said after a positive family test | Instant News


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Jeddah – Yasmine El Tohamy – KARACHI: Investigations into a spate of recent attacks in southern Sindh province have led Pakistani officials to believe there is an increasing connection between Sindhi separatists and militant groups from the rebellion-hit Balochistan province, officials with knowledge the investigation has been to Arab News.

However, experts warn that it might be too soon to assume “relationships” between groups.

Late last month, gunmen attacked the Pakistan Stock Exchange building in the city of Karachi, the capital of Sindh, killing two guards and a policeman before security forces killed the four attackers.

Counterterrorism officials said that the attack had been claimed by the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), a separatist group from the southwestern province of Balochistan, which had been designated a terrorist organization by the US and European Union.

Just a few weeks earlier, three consecutive explosions killed four people, including two soldiers in Sindh. A shadowy separatist organization, the Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army (SRA), which wants the province to break away from the Pakistani federation, claimed responsibility for the attacks. This week, the SRA also claimed a grenade attack on a Karachi bakery where a retired paramilitary Rangers official was killed.

The SRA and two other Sindhi groups were banned by the government in May this year.

Speaking to the media after the attack on the stock exchange building, Sindh Rangers General Chair Omer Ahmed Bukhari said that the attack proved that “hostile intelligence agents” worked to establish “relations” between the rebel groups of Sindhi and Balochi, adding that he believed the investigation this time will prove this without a doubt.

In a statement emailed to the media after the stock attack, the BLA acknowledged that they had “full support” from Sindhi groups.

“Today both countries (Baloch and Sindhi) are fighting for the independence of their homeland against Pakistan,” the BLA statement said. “We have the full support of the Sindhi state in today’s attack, and that shows the strong bond of brotherhood between the two countries.”

Separatists have fought against security forces for years in Balochistan over what they see as an unfair exploitation of the province’s vast mineral wealth. The guerrillas also oppose – and attack projects related to – China’s Road and Belt infrastructure initiatives in the resource-rich province.

Pakistan regularly blames India for supporting Baloch separatists, a charge denied by Delhi.

Last month, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan told parliament that he had no doubt that India was behind the attack on the stock exchange building, which India immediately denied. Khan did not provide evidence of his allegations, but he said that there were intelligence reports warning of an attack in Pakistan and he had told his cabinet about the threat.

Sindhi separatists such as the Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army have carried out low-intensity attacks in the past, including blowing up railroad tracks. Their attack, however, was not as severe as what had happened in neighboring Balochistan where separatists attacked the Chinese consulate, a leading hotel chain and on many occasions killed security officers who patrolled the coastal highways.

Now, officials are worried that the Sindhi groups might be able to increase their capacity to carry out our deadly attacks with help from Baloch militants and other enemy groups.

“This could be a source of lawlessness in the future if this relationship is not broken,” said a police officer involved in the investigation “of possible links between Sindhi and Baloch rebel groups, supported by India.” He asked for anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media about this issue.

The police official said that Baloch groups already had “some ability” to carry out destructive attacks, “but once a nexus was present, it could also help the nationalists of Sindhi, and that was alarming.”

A senior intelligence officer, who also declined to be named, said there had been an increase in the frequency of attacks by Sindhi groups, which showed the fact that they might have more experienced helpers.

“An increase in capability (through links with Baloch groups) will only be proven if they launch more sophisticated attacks,” he said. “Law enforcement agencies are truly aware and alert of the dangers posed by the growth of this transportation.”

Raja Umar Khattab, a senior anti-terrorism officer in Karachi, said that while working with other groups could increase the nationalist capacity of Sindhi, he did not see the nexus posing a significant threat in the near future.

“Nexus can add to the sub-nationalist capacity of Sindhi,” Khattab said, “but they will not be able to create a great law and order situation because of the readiness of law enforcement agencies.”

Rangers chairman from Sindh also said that Baloch and Sindh separatists were ready to face the London faction of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a Pakistani political party whose leader Altaf Hussain lived in exile in London.

“Hostile intelligence agencies are trying to establish cell liaison, sleeping cells and facilitators from the remaining (separatist) terrorist organizations, which include remnants of the MQM,” Bukhari said in a press conference after the stock exchange attack.

MQM, one of the most prominent political parties in Pakistan, consists mostly of descendants of Urdu-speaking Muslims who migrated to Pakistan around the time of the division of India in 1947.

Having been able to control the Sindh province with an iron grip, the party’s wealth has shrunk in recent years, especially since 2013 when the military launched a crackdown on criminal and militant groups when the murder rate surged and mutilated corpses were dumped in the hallway every day. Many saw the operation, based in Karachi, as an excuse to wrest control of the port city from MQM, an accusation denied by security forces.

While Karachi’s crime rate has dropped sharply and many local businesses have welcomed the operation, accusations of brutal and illegal methods remain.

The UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearance or Forced Disappearance in the past has referred many cases of illegal abductions of MQM workers to the Pakistani government, concluding the Rangers’ MQM “special targeting pattern”, which was denied by paramilitary forces.

Prior to the 2013 operation, law enforcement agencies and many Karachi residents accused the MQM of extorting, kidnapping, torturing and killing opponents and holding the city for ransom by carrying out mass strikes at will.

On Wednesday, Qasim Ali Raza of MQM denied that the party had links to separatists or attacks in Sindh and urged the country to stop the “blind and fraudulent” process of blaming the party.

Karachi-based political analyst Mazhar Abbas said that relations between the MQM and separatist groups, if any, would not work.

“MQM workers have not accepted an alliance with nationalist Sindhi (in the past),” he said, “they also will not accept the idea of ​​friendship today.”

Other analysts say that there is no “strong” evidence to claim the nexus exists.

“Politically, there is a closeness between Sindhi and Baloch nationalists, but speaking of military relations, people need to have strong evidence,” said Sohail Sangi, a Karachi-based analyst who is closely watching separatist groups.

However, Anwar Sajjadi, a security analyst based in Quetta, said that he believed that a developing nexus was a possibility, and added that it was no coincidence that the Sindhi groups had recently begun to voice opposition to Chinese projects that were being built under the umbrella China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which has long been opposed by the Baloch group.

“We have seen uniformity in their attitude,” Sajjadi said. “The same attitude towards CPEC and other (rights) issues brings all these groups closer.”

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Imran Khan said the country would be reopened | Instant News


Thank you for your reading and interest in Pakistani news: Imran Khan said the country will be reopened and now in detail

Aden – Yasmin Abdel Azim – The public filling the market for shopping in Karachi ignored government instructions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 after the locking was reduced. Image Credit: APP

Islamabad: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced Monday that his government will end several months of limiting coronavirus, even when cases of the disease appear likely to be much higher than previously thought.

In a televised address, Khan said Pakistan was unable to close down business and said nearly all sectors – including domestic tourism – would be reopened.

His announcement came shortly after an alarming government report leaked to the media that showed new cases of the corona virus in the eastern city of Lahore were estimated at around 670,800.

“There are no workplaces and residential areas in any city (in the Lahore region) free of disease,” the report notes.

Officially, around 72,000 people tested positive, with 1,543 deaths, throughout Pakistan. The daily rate of new cases is accelerating.

The report by Punjab health officials, which was seen and confirmed by AFP, cited a limited random sample test that found that in some parts of the city of around 11 million people, nearly 15 percent of the population was positive.

“I ask all of you to follow the SOP (standard operating procedure), because we open everything up to the requirements of this SOP,” Khan said in his speech, warning people would suffer if they did not take preventative measures.

The Khan government has struggled to present a cohesive national strategy to control the corona virus.

Khan was reluctant to call for a massive lockdown, so instead of the four provinces the country ordered its own closure.

“Unfortunately, the way lockouts occur, it is very painful for our lower class,” Khan said, adding that lockdowns have affected the collection of state tax revenue.

He defended his decision to reopen, arguing the locking did not stop the virus.

“You have to understand this coronavirus, it will not go away unless a vaccine is found. We have to live with coronavirus. The whole world has reached this conclusion,” Khan said, pointing to easing restrictions in US states.

“Today, America, the richest country in the world, where 100,000 people have died of corona, they have also decided that their economy will collapse if they (continue) lockdown,” Khan said.

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COVID-19 mutations help spread the virus in humans: British scientists | Instant News


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ISLAMABAD: Iran forced about 5,000 Pakistani citizens across the border into Balochistan, although Islamabad asked to wait until quarantine facilities were ready to accommodate them, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Monday.

“I spoke with the Iranian foreign minister and asked for time to make arrangements (for pilgrims) but they could not do so because of economic sanctions,” Qureshi said during the National Assembly session, the first to be held in two months. He added that Pakistan had no choice but to recognize its citizens.

Iran, a popular destination for Shiite pilgrims, is one of the countries worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Islamabad blamed Iranian authorities for accelerating the spread of the virus by sending pilgrims home without filtering COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

At the end of March, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special assistant on public health, Dr. Zafar Mirza, said: “Eighty percent of patients confirmed with COVID-19 in Pakistan are from Iran, who do not have the capacity to handle international public health. emergency state.”

During Monday’s parliamentary session, which was held to discuss the latest development of the corona virus, opposition parties argued that the error of the spread of the virus was in the hands of the Pakistani government itself.

“You failed to test them, you cannot quarantine them,” Pakistani People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said. He condemned the government’s inability to ensure proper arrangements took place at the main border in Taftan, and accused the prime minister of not having a strategy to limit the spread of the virus.

Pakistan Muslim League (N) Senior Politician Khawaja Muhammad Asif criticized the government for its lack of testing capacity, and the prime minister’s “confused policy” about locking.

“We are bored,” he said. “He doesn’t provide leadership, he gives confusion.”

Khan did not attend the session. The government began to loosen preventive lockout measures across the country on Saturday, and Qureshi defended this decision by stating that if not done, around 71 million people would be forced into poverty. He added that the testing capacity had increased to 20,000 a day.

“I admit that this capacity is still low but we will improve it gradually,” he said. Infections in the country have not yet peaked, but he noted, the national death rate is 2 percent lower than the global average of 6.8 percent.

There were nearly 31,000 confirmed cases of the corona virus in Pakistan on Monday, and 667 deaths were related to COVID-19. The country, which has a population of 210 million, has conducted around 295,000 tests, including around 11,400 in the past 24 hours.

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This is the future of a pandemic | Instant News


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Aden – Yasmin Abdel Azim – Plastic circles seen on the ground indicate where to stand to respect social distance at the Gare du Nord train station during the COVID-19 outbreak in Paris, May 5. Image Credit: REUTERS

New York: Now we know that the novel coronavirus will be with us for quite a long time.

“Exactly how long remains to be seen,” said Marc Lipsitch, an infectious epidemiologist at Harvard’s T.H. Chan Public Health School. “This will be a matter of managing it for months to several years. This is not a matter of crossing the peak, because some people seem to believe. “

One round of social exclusion – closing schools and workplaces, limiting the size of meetings, locking in various intensities and durations – will not be enough in the long run.

For the sake of managing our expectations and organizing ourselves, it might be beneficial, for our pandemic state of mind, to imagine this difficulty – existentially, at least – as a soliton wave: a wave that continues to roll and roll, continuing under its own strength for great distances. .

First seen in 1834

Scottish naval engineer and architect John Scott Russell first discovered a soliton in 1834 when he traveled along the Union Canal. He followed him on horseback and, when he wrote in “Report on Waves,” followed him rolling around 8 mph, 30 feet long and about one foot high. “His height gradually decreased, and after a mile or two of the chase I lost it in the windings of the channel.”

A wave of pandemics, too, will be with us for the foreseeable future before diminishing. But depending on location and policies, it will show a variety of dimensions and dynamics through time and space.

Simple mathematical description

“There is an analogy between weather forecasting and disease modeling,” Lipsitch said. Both, he notes, are simple mathematical descriptions of how the system works: describe physics and chemistry in the case of meteorology; and about behavior, virology and epidemiology in the case of infectious disease modeling. Of course, he said, “we cannot change the weather.” But we can change the direction of a pandemic – with our behavior, by balancing and coordinating psychological, sociological, economic and political factors.

Lipsitch is the co-author of two recent analyzes – one from the Center for Research and Policy on Communicable Diseases at the University of Minnesota, the other from the Chan School published in Science – which describes various forms of pandemic waves that may occur in the coming months.

The Minnesota study illustrates three possible futures:

The first describes the initial wave of current cases – followed by consistently wavy peaks and valleys that gradually decrease over a year or two.

Smaller waves

The second presupposes that the current wave will be followed by a larger autumn peak, or perhaps a winter peak, followed by the next smaller wave, similar to what happened during the 1918-19 flu pandemic.

The third shows the peak of intense spring followed by “slow burns” with ups and downs that are not too pronounced.

The authors conclude that any reality is realized (assuming mitigation measures are taking place, as we wait for the vaccine), “we must prepare for at least 18 to 24 months of significant COVID-19 activity, with hot spots popping up periodically in various diverse geographical areas. “

In the Science paper, the Harvard team – epidemiologist of infectious diseases, Jonathan Grad Grad; his postdoctoral colleague, Stephen Kissler; Lipsitch; her doctoral student, Christine Tedijanto; and their colleague Edward Goldstein – take a closer look at the possibilities by simulating transmission dynamics using the latest COVID-19 data and data from related viruses.

Peaks and valleys

The authors present the results in a series of graphs – compiled by Kissler and Tedijanto – that project a similar undulating future marked by peaks and valleys.

What is clear overall is that a one-time distance social effort will not be enough to control the epidemic in the long run, and that it will take a long time to reach an acceptable percentage of herd immunity.

“This is because when we succeed in making social distance – so we do not overwhelm the health care system – fewer people are infected, which is the real goal,” Tedijanto said. “But if infection leads to immunity, success in maintaining social distance also means that more people remain vulnerable to disease. As a result, after we take the steps away from the social, the virus is very likely to spread again as easily as before locking. “

So, because we don’t have vaccines, our pandemic state of mind can last until 2021 or 2022 – which is surprising even to experts.

“We anticipate a period of prolonged social distance that will be needed, but at first didn’t realize that it could be this long,” Kissler said.

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Air Arabia opens regular flight reservations starting June 1 | Instant News


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Aden – Yasmin Abdel Azim – Sharjah: In a surprising move, Air Arabia, a low-cost airline based in Sharjah, has opened regular passenger flight bookings on the online reservation portal that takes effect starting June 1.

The airline had previously stated on its website that flights were suspended until May 30. Every passenger can now book flights by visiting the Air Arabia website to destinations including Karachi and Peshawar in Pakistan; Mumbai, Delhi, Tribandrum in India; Dhaka in Bangladesh; Beirut, Lebanon; Cairo, Egypt; Moscow, Russia; and several other European and Eastern European countries.

Bookings are also open for return flights, according to the online portal.

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