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India bans single-use plastic to combat pollution

Plastic waste has become a significant source of pollution in India.

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India bans single-use plastic to combat pollution
GNN Media: Representational Photo

New Delhi: India has imposed a ban on single-use plastics on items ranging from straws to cigarette packets to combat worsening pollution in country whose streets are strewn with waste.

Announcing the ban, the Indian government dismissed the demands of food, beverage and consumer goods companies to hold off the restriction to avoid disruptions.

Plastic waste has become a significant source of pollution in India, the world's second most populous country.

Rapid economic growth has fuelled demand for goods that come with single-use plastic products, such as straws and disposable cutlery.

But India, which uses about 14 million tonnes of plastic annually, lacks an organised system for managing plastic waste, leading to widespread littering.

Streets across towns are littered with used plastic goods that eventually choke drains, rivers and oceans and also kill animals.

India's ban on single-use plastic items includes straws, cutlery, ear buds, packaging films, plastic sticks for balloons, candy and ice-cream, and cigarette packets, among other products, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government said in a statement.

PepsiCo (PEP.O), Coca-Cola Co (KO.N), India's Parle Agro, Dabur (DABU.NS) and Amul had lobbied for straws to be exempted from the ban. 

In a relief to consumers, the government has for now exempted plastic bags but it has asked manufacturers and importers to raise the thickness to promote reuse.

Other than the food and beverage and consumer goods companies, plastic manufacturers have also complained about the ban that they say did not give them adequate time to prepare for the restriction.

Some experts believe that enforcing the ban might be difficult. The government has decided to set up control rooms to check any illegal use, sale and distribution of single-use plastic products.

According to the United Nations, plastic waste is at epidemic proportions in the world's oceans, with an estimated 100 million tonnes dumped there. 

Scientists have found large amounts of micro plastic in the intestines of deep-dwelling ocean mammals like whales.

SOURCE: REUTERS

Pakistan

President, PM express resolve to build an inclusive society in line with vision of Quaid-i-Azam

The Government of Pakistan had declared 11 August as National Minority Day in 2009.

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President, PM express resolve to build an inclusive society in line with vision of Quaid-i-Azam

Islamabad: President Dr. Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif have expressed the government's resolve to achieve the noble objective of building an inclusive society in line with the vision of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

In their separate messages on the occasion of National Day of Minorities, they resolved to make all efforts to safeguard minorities' rights and work for their well-being as their rights have been enshrined in the Constitution.

The President lauded the role being played by minorities, especially in the fields of education, health, and social welfare.

He said 11th August is celebrated as Minorities' Day in Pakistan to acknowledge the invaluable contribution made by our minorities to the development of Pakistan and to reaffirm our commitment as a nation to safeguard their rights.

In his message, Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif said freedom of religion and sanctity of the person and properties of minorities have been statutorily formalized in our constitution.

He said National Day of Minorities serves to highlight the contributions that our non-Muslim Pakistani citizens are making to national development.  

Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Mufti Abdul Shakoor has said that Islam is a religion that respects humanity.

In his message on the occasion of National Minorities Day, he said according to the eternal teachings of Islam, there is no rule against the basic principles of humanity.

The Minister said that Islam never encourages forced conversion of followers of other religions.

The Prime Minister reaffirmed the coalition government's resolve for the betterment and welfare of our minorities and their fullest inclusion in the national life and development.

National Minority Day is observed today to commemorate the contribution of minorities in the progress of Pakistan. 

On August 11, the day is observed every year to recall the vision of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and to reaffirm the commitment that despite belonging to different faiths we are one nation.

The Government of Pakistan had declared 11 August as National Minority Day in 2009.

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Nine Russian warplanes destroyed in Crimea blasts: Ukraine

Russia however denies any aircraft were damaged in Tuesday’s blasts or that any attack took place

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Nine Russian warplanes destroyed in Crimea blasts: Ukraine

Ukraine’s air force said Wednesday that nine Russian warplanes were destroyed in a deadly string of explosions at an air base in Crimea, amid speculation the blasts were the result of a Ukrainian attack that would represent a significant escalation in the war.

Russia denied any aircraft were damaged in Tuesday’s blasts — or that any attack took place.

Ukrainian officials stopped short of publicly claiming responsibility for the explosions, while mocking Russia’s explanation that a careless smoker might have caused ammunition at the Saki air base to catch fire and blow up. Analysts also said that explanation doesn’t make sense and that the Ukrainians could have used anti-ship missiles to strike the base.

If Ukrainian forces were, in fact, responsible for the blasts, it would be the first known major attack on a Russian military site on the Crimean Peninsula, which was seized from Ukraine by the Kremlin in 2014. Russian warplanes have used Saki to strike areas in Ukraine’s south.

Crimea holds huge strategic and symbolic significance for both sides. The Kremlin’s demand that Ukraine recognize Crimea as part of Russia has been one of its key conditions for ending the fighting, while Ukraine has vowed to drive the Russians from the peninsula and all other occupied territories.

Hours after the blasts, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy promised again to do just that.

“This Russian war against Ukraine and against all of free Europe began with Crimea and must end with Crimea — its liberation,” he said in his nightly address.

The explosions, which killed one person and wounded 14, sent tourists fleeing in panic as plumes of smoke rose over the coastline nearby. Video showed shattered windows and holes in the brickwork of some buildings.

One tourist, Natalia Lipovaya, said that “the earth was gone from under my feet” after the powerful blasts. “I was so scared,” she said.

Sergey Milochinsky, a local resident, recalled hearing a roar and seeing a mushroom cloud from his window. “Everything began to fall around, collapse,” he said.

Crimea’s regional leader, Sergei Aksyonov, said some 250 residents were moved to temporary housing after dozens of apartment buildings were damaged.

But Russian authorities sought to downplay the explosions on Wednesday, saying all hotels and beaches were unaffected on the peninsula, which is a popular tourist destination for many Russians.

A Ukrainian presidential adviser, Oleksiy Arestovych, cryptically said that the blasts were either caused by Ukrainian-made long-range weapons or the work of Ukrainian guerrillas operating in Crimea. 
 
A Ukrainian parliament member, Oleksandr Zavitnevich, said the airfield was rendered unusable. He reported on Facebook that it housed fighter jets, tactical reconnaissance aircraft and military transport planes.

“Official Kyiv has kept mum about it, but unofficially the military acknowledges that it was a Ukrainian strike,” Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said.

The base is at least 200 kilometers (about 125 miles) from the closest Ukrainian position. Zhdanov suggested that Ukrainian forces could have struck it with Ukrainian or Western-supplied anti-ship missiles that have the necessary range.

The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said it couldn’t independently determine what caused the explosions but noted that simultaneous blasts in two places at the base probably rule out an accidental fire but not sabotage or a missile attack.

But it added: “The Kremlin has little incentive to accuse Ukraine of conducting strikes that caused the damage since such strikes would demonstrate the ineffectiveness of Russian air defense systems.”

During the war, the Kremlin has reported numerous fires and explosions on Russian territory near the Ukrainian border, blaming some of them on Ukrainian strikes. Ukrainian authorities have mostly kept silent about the incidents, preferring to keep the world guessing. 
 
In other developments, Russian forces shelled areas across Ukraine on Tuesday night into Wednesday, including the central region of Dnipropetrovsk, where 13 people were killed, according to the region’s governor, Valentyn Reznichenko.

Reznichenko said the Russians fired at the city of Marganets and a nearby village. Dozens of residential buildings, two schools and several administrative buildings were damaged.

“It was a terrible night,” Reznichenko said. “It’s very hard to take bodies from under debris. We are facing a cruel enemy who engages in daily terror against our cities and villages.”

Two residents of the village of Staryi Saltiv in the Kharkiv region in the northeast were killed Wednesday in Russian shelling, police reported.

In the country’s southeast, Moscow’s forces continued shelling the city of Nikopol across the Dnieper River from the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia power station, the biggest nuclear plant in Europe. Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of shelling it, stoking international fears of a catastrophe.

On Wednesday, foreign ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized democracies demanded that Russia immediately hand back full control of the plant to Ukraine. They said they are “profoundly concerned” about the risk of a nuclear accident with far-reaching consequences.

SOURCE: AP NEWS

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Death toll in Hyderabad gas leakage climbs to five

The injured were under treatment at a hospital in Karachi

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Death toll in Hyderabad gas leakage climbs to five

Hyderabad: The death toll from a gas leakage blast at Hyderabad’s Pathan Colony a few days ago climbed to 5 on Thursday.

According to the details, the incident took place a few days ago women forgot to turn off the gas at night and in the morning an explosion occurred when the stove was lit in the kitchen.

The injured were under treatment at a hospital in Karachi. 

Those who lost their lives in the incident were 65-year-old Ratan, 60-year-old Sawatri, their young daughter, and another person.

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