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North Korea’s virus outbreak ‘getting worse, not better’: WHO 

The WHO lamented that it had no access to data about North Korea's Covid-19 outbreak, but assumed the crisis was deepening, contrary to Pyongyang's reports of "progress"   

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North Korea’s virus outbreak ‘getting worse, not better’: WHO 
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Geneva: A top official at the World Health Organization (WHO) said the U.N. health agency assumes the coronavirus outbreak in North Korea is “getting worse, not better,” despite the secretive country’s recent claims that it is slowing down.

The WHO lamented that it had no access to data about North Korea's Covid-19 outbreak, but assumed the crisis was deepening, contrary to Pyongyang's reports of "progress"   

At a news briefing on Wednesday, WHO’s emergencies chief Dr. Mike Ryan appealed to North Korean authorities for more information about the virus outbreak there, saying, “We have real issues in getting access to the raw data and to the actual situation on the ground.”

He said WHO has not received any privileged information about the epidemic — unlike in typical outbreaks when countries may share more sensitive data with the organization so it can evaluate the public health risks for the global community.

“It is very, very difficult to provide a proper analysis to the world when we don’t have access to the necessary data,” he said.

Previously, WHO has voiced concerns about the impact of the virus in North Korea’s population, which is believed to be largely unvaccinated and whose fragile health systems could struggle to deal with a surge in cases prompted by the highly infectious omicron and its subvariants. 

It is pertinent to mention here that WHO had offered technical assistance and supplies to North Korea multiple times, including offering Covid-19 vaccines on at least three separate occasions—however, country’s officials refused. 

Regional

Polling underway for Swat PK-7 byelection

Four major candidates compete for the KP assembly seat

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Polling underway for Swat PK-7 byelection

Swat: The polling process is underway for the byelection in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa constituency of PK-7 in Swat.

The seat, which fell vacant after the demise of ANP MPA Waqar Khan, is being contested by four major candidates: Hussain Ahmed from ANP, Fazal Mullah from PTI, and two independent candidates.

A total of 183,308 registered voters in the constituency are expected to exercise their electoral rights, including 102,088 male and 91,220 female voters.

The ECP completed its arrangements Saturday evening, setting up 124 polling stations with 308 booths.

The polling started without any delays Sunday morning and will continue until 5 pm.

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World

Afghan health official warns of disease outbreak among earthquake survivors

"The people are extremely needy for food and clean water"

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Afghan health official warns of disease outbreak among earthquake survivors

Kabul: Thousands affected by a deadly earthquake in eastern Afghanistan are in need of clean water and food and are at risk of disease, an Afghan health ministry official said on Sunday, days after a U.N. agency warned of a cholera outbreak in the region.

At least 1,000 people were killed, 2,000 injured and 10,000 homes destroyed in Wednesday s earthquake, after which the U.N. humanitarian office (OCHA) warned that cholera outbreaks in the aftermath are of particular and serious concern. 

"The people are extremely needy for food and clean water," Afghanistan s health ministry spokesperson Sharafat Zaman told Reuters, adding officials had managed medicines for now but handling those who had lost their homes would be a challenge.

"We ask the international community, humanitarian organisations to help us for food and medicine, the survivor might catch diseases because they don’t have proper houses and shelters for living," he said.

The disaster is a major test for Afghanistan s hardline Taliban rulers, who have been shunned by many foreign governments due to concerns about human rights since they seized control of the country last year.

Helping thousands of Afghans is also a challenge for countries that had imposed sanctions on Afghan government bodies and banks, cutting off direct assistance, leading to a humanitarian crisis even before the earthquake.

The United Nations and several other countries have rushed aid to the affected areas, with more due to arrive over the coming days.

Afghanistan s Taliban administration called for a rolling back of sanctions and lifting a freeze on billions of dollars in central bank assets stashed in Western financial institutions. read more

In Kabul, hospitals more used to treating victims of war have opened their wards to earthquake victims, but a majority of people remain in the areas destroyed by the earthquake.

"Our houses were destroyed, we have no tent... there are lots of children with us. We have nothing. Our food and clothes...everything is under rubble," Hazrat Ali, 18, told a Reuters team in Wor Kali, a village of the hardest-hit Barmal district.

"I have lost my brothers, my heart is broken. Now we are just two. I loved them a lot," he said.

SOURCE: Reuters

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Pakistan

New ‘storm of inflation’ is impending: Imran Khan

Imran Khan takes a dig at government over super tax; terms it 'economic murder' of people

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New ‘storm of inflation’ is impending: Imran Khan

Islamabad: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan Saturday slammed the incumbent government for imposing new taxes on the industrial sectors, saying that the taxes on the production sectors would further increase ‘inflation’ and ‘unemployment’. 

While addressing a news conference in Islamabad today, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan banged the coalition government for imposing a 10% super tax on large-scale industries— saying that the decision would lead to the “closure of industries”, increase unemployment, inflation, and push Pakistan further into economic crisis. 

“With the imposition of 10% super tax, the tax on 13 large-scale industries will reach 40%,” he stressed, adding that the decision would led to the shutting down of several industrial units.

The cricketer-turned politician stated that the tax exemption on the salaried class has been reversed which would batter them down financially. 

“They [salaried class] were earlier given a tax exemption on an income of Rs100, 000; but now the slab has been reduced to Rs 50,000,” added Khan.  

Referring to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) amendment law, Imran Khan expressed confidence in the judiciary, saying it would not allow such oppression—terming it “attempt of corrupt rulers to save themselves”. 

“If the government succeeds, Pakistan wouldn’t need enemies,” said PTI chairman, adding that these NAB amendments will destroy the country as the "thieves will be exempted". 

It is pertinent to mention here that PTI has challenged the amendments in the Supreme Court and today the former prime minister gave a call for nationwide protests on July 2 against the amendments in NAB laws.

He further added that his government collected record tax in Pakistan’s history and was working to broaden the tax net.

The main protest would be organized in Islamabad’s Parade Ground where Imran Khan would address. 

Khan also urged the people to protest peacefully against what was being done with Pakistan, asking them to take to the roads simultaneously. 

 

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