ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will chair an important meeting of senior ministers today (Monday) to discuss moves by the European Parliament to review Pakistan’s GSP Plus status.
The European Parliament adopted the resolution on Thursday, calling for a review of the GSP Plus status granted to Pakistan, saying it had been observed that legislation (which it said was discriminatory) against minorities and fundamental rights, was on the rise.
The resolution was presented by Renew Europe, the pro-European liberal political group of the European Parliament. It was adopted with a majority of 681 votes against six.
The prime minister will hold development consultations with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, his trade adviser Abdul Razak Dawood, Minister for Religious Affairs Noor ul Haq Qadri, Home Minister Sheikh Rasheed and other ministers.
The meeting is expected to discuss resolutions and take important decisions on the European Parliament’s call to review Pakistan’s GSP Plus status.
The European Parliament resolutions reflect a lack of understanding, said the FO
Responding to the European Parliament’s resolution, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had expressed disappointment over this development.
“The discourse in the European Parliament reflects a lack of understanding in the context of the blasphemy laws and related religious sensitivities in Pakistan – and the wider Muslim world. The unwarranted comments about Pakistan’s justice system and domestic law are deeply regrettable, ”read the FO statement.
“Pakistan is a parliamentary democracy with a dynamic civil society, free media and an independent judiciary, which remains fully committed to promoting and protecting human rights for all its citizens without discrimination,” added the Foreign Office.
The FO said Pakistan was proud of its minority who enjoyed the same rights and full protection of the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Constitution. Judicial and administrative mechanisms and remedies are in place to protect against any violation of human rights.
“Pakistan has played an active role in promoting freedom of religion or belief, tolerance and interfaith harmony. At a time of increasing Islamophobia and populism, the international community must demonstrate a shared determination to fight xenophobia, intolerance and incitement to violence based on religion or belief and work together to strengthen peaceful coexistence. “
Health director general Dr Ashley Bloomfield provided the Covid-19 update. Photo / Mark Mitchell
There are three new Covid cases to report today in managed isolation facilities.
Two of the three new cases came from Pakistan before travel restrictions from there were imposed yesterday. The origin of the third case has not been determined, the Health Ministry said in today’s update.
There are currently 23 active Covid cases in the country.
Meanwhile, officials are continuing their investigation into a traveler from Perth who flew to New Zealand despite being isolated in Western Australia.
The man managed to get on a plane bound for Sydney in Perth when the city was locked and then traveled to Auckland.
Today it was revealed the border agent system matched the traveler’s name to his real destination before he landed in New Zealand, but at that point it was confirmed that the plane had been on the ground for an hour and he had left the airport.
If prosecuted, he could face a $ 4000 fine or six months in prison.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced last week that permanent residents of New Zealand would not be allowed to return directly from India, Brazil, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea starting today.
New Zealand permanent residents in the four countries must spend at least 14 days in a country that is not at particularly high risk before returning home.
New Zealand citizens will still be allowed to travel home directly from any country.
The new rules are expected to reduce the number of travelers from these countries by up to 75 percent. It also means there will be around 140 fewer arrivals per week from India compared to the period from March 1 to mid-April.
Yesterday there were two new cases of Covid-19 reported in managed isolation – one from the United States and one from Japan.
Association Health Minister Ayesha Verrall yesterday said about 232,000 vaccines had been administered in New Zealand so far.
There were 172,564 people who had received the first dose, and about 60,024 who had received both doses.
In the last seven days, 47,981 doses of vaccine have been given.
He said there are enough doses to vaccinate the entire country, although some people will have to be patient.
As of yesterday, 95 percent of MIQ workers have been vaccinated. Those not vaccinated will be removed from the front lines from the end of the month.
Health director general Dr Ashley Bloomfield said 488 initial vaccination applications had been received from Sport NZ and included the Black Caps and Olympians. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has also submitted seven applications.
Karachi is set to host the much-awaited by-election for the NA-249 (West-II) constituency, which includes Baldia City, on Thursday (today). Candidates representing Pakistan’s main political parties are expected to benefit each other well in what appears essentially to be nothing less than contention.
The National Assembly’s key seat has been vacant after Pakistan’s Faisal Vawda (PTI) Tehreek-e-Insaf resigned after casting his vote in Senate elections in March.
The 2018 general election has seen stiff competition in the NA-249, with Vawda securing 35,344 votes to beat Pakistan Muslim League candidate-Nawaz (PML-N) and former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, who has amassed 34,626 votes.
Mufti Abid Mubarak from Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and the Muttahida Qaumi-Pakistan Movement (MQM-P) Aslam Shah were in third and fourth place after bagging 23,981 and 13,534 votes, respectively.
Syed Ataullah Shah of Jamaat-e-Islami took fifth place securing 10,307 votes, while Qadir Mandokhel’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) garnered only 7,236 votes to take sixth place in the competition.
Unlike many other constituencies in Karachi, it is difficult to predict a clear winner from the by-election for NA-249. However, most political analysts believe that the real fight will happen again between the three main contestants: PML-N, PTI and TLP.
Meanwhile, MQM-P, PPP, and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) also emerged as the main contenders by intensifying their respective election campaigns ahead of the polls.
The PML-N fielded Miftah Ismail, the former minister of finance and the party’s provincial secretary general, for the by-election, and managed to win support from the Awami National Party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan. PTI has deployed its district president Amjad Afridi, while the TLP has fielded Mufti Nazeer Kamalvi.
Mustafa Kamal, former mayor and head of PSP, is also running in the election, while MQM-P has fielded Mursaleem Ahmed for the general election. PPP again deployed Mandokhel, and managed to get support from Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen.
The TLP, however, is facing an internal crisis as one of its top leaders, Maulana Ahmed Bilal Qadri, has independently challenged the party’s nominated candidate. He is a former TLP candidate for the NA-248 constituency consisting of Lyari and the son of slain Sunni Tehreek founder Saleem Qadri.
NA-249 has a population of 782,776, of which only 339,591 (over 43 percent) are registered to vote. There were 201,656 (more than 59 percent) male voters in the region, while the number of female voters was 137,935.
Ittehad City, Saeedabad, Mominabad, Swat Colony, Afridi Colony, Qaimkhani Colony, Delhi Colony, Mujahid Colony, Rasheedabad, Turkish Colony, Junagarh Muhallah, Kokan Colony and other areas of City of Kokan are included in the constituency, which is ethnically divided between Punjabi, Pashtuns , Hazarewal and Urdu speaking population. He also has
Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Multan during this day to announce an important welfare and development project.
The prime minister will also lay the foundation stone of the South Punjab Secretariat during his visit to Multan, Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Twitter.
In his tweet, Chaudhry said that the prime minister would also announce Kisan Cards which would be a milestone for the Multan farmers.
The South Punjab Secretariat was established in August 2020. It is seen as a major government initiative to address the sense of deprivation among the southern Punjab people.
Last week, CM Punjab’s Special Assistant for Information, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, said the South Punjab Secretariat was an important development towards South Punjab province as it would usher in a new era of development.
An Academy Awards crew member looks over the red carpet background elements at Union Station. Photo / AP
An Oscar like never before will take place today, with history at stake in major categories and television replays for the Covid-19 pandemic.
Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s ceremony.
When to watch
The 93rd Academy Awards will kick off at 12 noon NZ time today. Live red carpet coverage will start from 10.30am.
Where to watch
Thanks to the Monday public holiday, you can watch Oscars right from your couch. TVNZ 2 will start broadcasting the red carpet live from 10.30 and the ceremony from 12.00. You can also watch it via TVNZ On Demand.
How will everything unfold
There will be no hosts, spectators or face masks for the nominees attending the ceremony at Los Angeles’ Union Station – the center of this year’s event that usually broadcasts from the Dolby Theater.
In contrast to the largely virtual Golden Globes, Zoom’s box has closed – although many international hubs and satellite feeds will connect candidates who are unable to travel.
That #Oscars the red carpet was ready and TV crews from around the world gathered at Union Station LA for what producers thought would be an “intimate” celebration of the film. pic.twitter.com/hhF9h5Z6Hc
There will be one more live audience but only 170 attendees will be allowed into the station at any one time, and they will be screened in and out during commercial breaks.
The show’s producers hope to return traditional charm to the Oscars, even in a pandemic year. The red carpet was back, although it wasn’t the crowd; only a handful of media will be allowed on the site.
No sweatpants will be allowed and the actors must wear their best skirts. “Formal is really cool if you want to go there, but not really relaxed,” said the organizer in a leaked email.
The pre-show will include pre-recorded performances of five Oscar nominated songs.
The ceremony will look ‘more like a movie’
Pulling a musical interlude (though not an in memoriam segment) from the three hour broadcast – and drastically reducing the time it takes for the winner to reach the podium – will free up a lot of time in the ceremony. And the producers, led by filmmaker Steven Soderbergh, promised reruns.
That #Oscars producers promised a “much more intimate affair” on Sundays with Hollywood’s biggest stars and a new location: Union Station Los Angeles. pic.twitter.com/zNxdhJJ1qr
The Oscar will look more like a movie, said Soderbergh. The show will be shot at 24 frames per second (not 30), appearing over the big screen and presenters – including Brad Pitt, Halle Berry, Reese Witherspoon, Harrison Ford, Rita Moreno and Zendaya – are considered “cast members”.
The first 90 seconds of the broadcast, Soderbergh claims, will “immediately announce our intentions”.
But even a good show may not be enough to save Oscar from the expected ranking slide. Award show ratings have declined over the course of the pandemic, and this year’s nominations – many of them smaller dramas and lower budgets – won’t come close to the power of past Oscar heavyweights like Titanic or Black Panther.
Last year’s Oscar, when Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite film became the first non-English language film to win best picture, it was watched by 23.6 million, an all-time low.
Small screen films were a hit during a pandemic
Netflix dominated this year with 36 nominations, including the main nominee for Mank, David Fincher’s black-and-white drama about Citizen co-writer Kane Herman J Mankiewicz. The streaming service is still chasing its first best film win; This year, his best film is Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7.
But the night’s top prize, the best picture, is widely expected to go to Nomadland Chloé Zhao, a contemplative character study of a traveling woman (Frances McDormand) in Western America. If it wins, it will be one of the best picture winners with the lowest budget ever. The film Zhao, populated by non-professional actors, was made for less than $ 5 million. (His next film, Marvel’s Eternals, had a budget of at least $ 200 million.)
Zhao was also nominated for best director, a category nominated by two female directors for the first time. Also nominated is Emerald Fennell for the scathing revenge drama Promising Young Woman. Zhao will become the second woman to win best director at the 93-year-old academy (after Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker), and the first woman of color.
History is also possible in the acting category. If the winner of the Screen Actors Guild Awards holds – Chadwick Boseman of Black Bottom from Ma Rainey for best actor, Viola Davis for best actress; Yuh-Jung Youn (Minari) for best supporting actress; and Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah) for best supporting actor – this is the first time a non-white actor has swept the acting category – and a dramatic reversal from the recent “OscarsSoWhite” years.
Some of the awards appear to be key, especially for the late Boseman, who will become the third actor to ever win a posthumous Academy Award after Peter Finch and Heath Ledger. Taylor Simone Ledward, the widow of Boseman, often received previous awards on her behalf.
If one category is less certain, it’s best actress. Davis, who previously won over her performances at Fences, will face Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman) and two-time winner McDormand. Prognosticators call this the three-way throw.
The pandemic-postponed Oscar Cup on Sunday will close the longest-ever awards season – turning an industrial complex of cocktail parties and film screenings virtual. Eligibility was extended to February this year, and for the first time, theater performances were not a requirement for nominations. Some films – such as Sound of Metal – premiered in September 2019.
The pandemic pushed some of the anticipated films out in 2020, but some of the larger budget releases could still take home the accolades. Pixar’s Soul emerges as best animated film, and Christopher Nolan’s Tenet – who last September tried to lead a failed film revival when virus cases soared and many theaters were unable to reopen – will likely win over the visual effects.
But for the first time ever, Hollywood’s most prestigious awards will go to films barely screened on the big screen. The biggest ticket seller of best film nominations is Promising Young Woman, with a box office revenue of $ 6.3 million.
Lately, with the spread of vaccinations, signs of life are beginning to appear in theaters – most of which are operating at 50 percent capacity. Warner Bros. Godzilla vs Kong has made an estimated $ 400 million worldwide, which theater owners point to proof that moviegoers are eager for studios to re-release the regular diet of big films. Currently, the date circled on the cinema calendar is May 28, when Paramount’s A Quiet Place Part II and Disney’s Cruella arrive in theaters – although Cruella will simultaneously stream for $ 30.
But that’s a punishing year for Hollywood. Around the world, cinema tents are replacing film titles with requests to wear masks. Streaming services are rushing to fill the void, pulling back the balance between studio and theater – and likely ending three months of theater exclusivity for new releases forever. Just weeks before Oscar, one of Los Angeles’ most iconic theaters, the Cinerama Dome, along with ArcLight Cinemas, went out of business.
After the pandemic, Hollywood – and Oscar – may never be the same again. Or as WarnerMedia’s new chief executive, Jason Kilar, put it when he announced plans to shift studio films to streaming: “We’re no longer in Kansas.”