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Floods devastate Germany and Belgium, leaving at least 42 dead, dozens missing

At least 42 people have been killed and dozens of people have been missing on Thursday in Germany and neighboring Belgium after heavy flooding turned streams and streets into raging torrents, sweeping away cars and causing buildings to collapse.

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Floods devastate Germany and Belgium, leaving at least 42 dead, dozens missing
Floods devastate Germany and Belgium, leaving at least 42 dead, dozens missing

Storms across parts of western Europe in recent days caused rivers and reservoirs to burst their banks, resulting in several flash floods overnight as rain-soaked soil failed to absorb any more water.

Authorities in the western German region of Euskirchen said eight deaths had been reported there in connection with the floods. Rescue operations were hampered by the fact that phone and internet connections were down in parts of the county, which is southwest of Cologne.

Officials said 18 people had died in Ahrweiler county, south of Euskirchen. Up to 70 people were reported missing after several houses collapsed overnight in the village of Schuld in the Eifel, a volcanic region of rolling hills and small valleys southwest of Cologne.

Dozens more were trapped on the roofs of their houses awaiting rescue. Authorities used inflatable boats and helicopters, and the German army deployed 200 soldiers to assist in the rescue operation.

“There are people dead, there are people missing, there are many who are still in danger,” the governor of Rhineland-Palatinate state, Malu Dreyer, told the regional parliament. “We have never seen such a disaster. It’s really devastating.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was distraught by the news of the floods. “My sympathy goes to the relatives and of the dead and missing,” she said during a trip to Washington.

Across the border in Belgium, the Vesdre river broke its banks and sent masses of water churning through the streets of Pepinster, close to Liege, its destructive power bringing down some buildings.

“Several homes have collapsed,” mayor Philippe Godin told RTBF network. It was unclear whether all inhabitants had been able to escape unhurt.

Several Belgian media reported that four people died in eastern Verviers. No independent confirmation was immediately available.

Major highways were inundated in the south and east of Belgium, and the railway service said all traffic was stopped.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pledged to help those affected.

“My thoughts are with the families of the victims of the devastating floods in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands and those who have lost their homes,” she tweeted. “The EU is ready to help.”

The full extent of the damage across the region was still unclear after many villages were cut off by floodwater and landslides that made roads impassable. Videos posted on social media showed cars floating down streets and houses partly collapsed in some places.

Many of the dead were only discovered after floodwaters began to recede again. Police said four people died in separate incidents after their basements were flooded in Cologne, Kamen and Wuppertal, where authorities warned that a dam threatened to burst.

Authorities in the Rhine-Sieg county south of Cologne ordered the evacuation of several villages below the Steinbachtal reservoir amid fears the dam there could also break.

Two firefighters died during rescue operations in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state.

Governor Armin Laschet paid tribute to them and pledged swift help for those individuals and businesses affected by the floods.

“We don’t know the extent of the damage yet, but we won’t leave the communities, the people affected alone,” he said during a visit the flood-hit city of Hagen.

Laschet, a conservative who is running to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor in this fall’s German election, said the unusually heavy storms and preceding heatwave could be linked to climate change.

Political opponents have criticized Laschet, the son of a miner, for supporting the region’s coal mining industry and hampering the expansion of wind power plants during his time in office.

German weather service DWD predicted the rainfall would ease Thursday, though there might still be localized storms and water levels on the Mosel and Rhine rivers would continue to rise in the coming hours.

Authorities in the southern Dutch town of Valkenburg, close to the German and Belgian borders, evacuated a care home and a hospice overnight amid flooding that turned the tourist town’s main street into a river, Dutch media reported.

The Dutch government sent some 70 troops to the southern province of Limburg late Wednesday to help with transporting evacuees and filling sandbags as rivers burst their banks.

A section of one of the Netherlands’ busiest highways was closed due to rising floodwaters threatening to inundate the road and Dutch media showed a group of holidaymakers being rescued from a hotel window with the help of an earth mover.

Unusually intense rains have also inundated a swath of northeast France this week, downing trees and forcing the closure of dozens of roads. A train route to Luxembourg was disrupted, and firefighters evacuated dozens of people from homes near the Luxembourg and German border and in the Marne region, according to local broadcaster France Bleu.

The equivalent of two months of rain has fallen on some areas in the last one or two days, according to the French national weather service. With the ground already saturated, the service forecast more downpours Thursday and issued flood warnings for 10 regions.

Meanwhile, high temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher were expected Thursday in parts of northern Europe.

The night between Wednesday and Thursday was the hottest in history, the Finnish weather service company Foreca said Thursday with the mercury reaching 24.2 Celsius degrees (75.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Greta Thunberg, the climate activist, tweeted that the extreme weather of recent days should not be regarded as “the new normal.”

“We’re at the very beginning of a climate and ecological emergency, and extreme weather events will only become more and more frequent,” she wrote.

SOURCE: AP/AFP

Faisal Ali Ghumman is a senior editor at GNN, known for writing top quality content which garner very high readerships and has been covering every field of journalism, including politics, media, sports and scholarly articles. Faisal Ali Ghumman is nothing less than a Veteran Editor and has been writing for GNN for the past 3 months.

Regional

Residing in London, Nawaz Sharif gets COVID-19 jab in Lahore

As per reports quoting sources, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President’s corona vaccine was entered by a vaccinator named Naveed Altaf.

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Residing in London, Nawaz Sharif gets COVID-19 jab in Lahore

According to GNN, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been partially vaccinated against novel coronavirus at Govt Kot Khawaja Saeed Hospital in Lahore.

GNN obtained Former Prime Minister’s COVID-19 vaccine status, according to which he has received the first jab of Sinovac-CoronaVac and has been summoned for the second dose on October 20, 2021.

As per reports quoting sources, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Supremo’s corona vaccine status was entered by a vaccinator named Naveed Altaf.

“The staff of vaccinators under the District Health Authority are making a haul by entering false vaccination status, without even injecting the jab,” added sources.

The sources further added that status of thousands of people is being falsely entered on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, the Punjab health department took notice of the negligence by the Kot Khwaja Saeed vaccination centre and started an investigation against the centre.

It is pertinent to mention here that the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has directed Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to act against individuals involved in preparing fake COVID vaccination certificates.

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Sports

SumaiL and YawaR to contest for $40 million prize money from Dota 2, The International 10

Two Pakistani brothers, Syed Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan and Yawar "YawaR" Hassan will participate in The International 10 which has a prize pool of $40 million.

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Phote: Yawar "YawaR" Hassan (left), Syed Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan (right) in their team jerseys

Hailing from Karachi, Pakistan, Syed Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan and Yawar "YawaR" Hassan have shown their immense talent in the well acknowledged MOBA and MMORPG game, Dota 2. Sumail has previously participated and won the 5th version of the tournament at the age of 16 years and 176 days old and became the youngest player ever to win over a million dollars. Both of them have briefly played together in the same team Quincy Crew, but Sumail left in nearly 3 weeks of being in the team. 

Sumail and Yawar are brothers. Yawar is 2 years older than Sumail. They both moved to Rosemont, Illinois when their family relocated in 2012 and started competing in the North American region where competition has always been very tough. Sumail's gameplay was so impressive that he was recruited by the number one North American ESports organization at that time in 2015, Evil Geniuses, who not only recruited him when he was only 16 years old but also gave him the responsibility of one of the leading core roles of the game, the midlane. Not only did he impress the world with his classy and bold plays, he proved his skills to the world by winning The International 2015, becoming the youngest millionare in the history of ESports.

His older brother Yawar, has also been competing at the highest level since they both began playing the North American region, however, Yawar only had the opportunity to play The Internation only once before, while Sumail had been participating in TIs since 2015 representing EG. This would be the second time the brothers will be up against each other representing different teams for a prize pool of $40 million.

SumaiL will be representing the team OG with the ingame name of OG.SumaiL in the coming tournament where he would be playing the role of a core player as position 1, more commonly known as the 'carry' position in the game, whereas Yawar will be playing in the well acknowledged team from North America, Quincy Crew, with the in game name QC.YS. His position would be the same as SumaiL's which is position 1.

Sumail in ESL Frankfurt 2015

SumaiL has been hailed as the King of the game for almost 6 years now given that he astonished the world with his immensely aggresive and smart plays when he used to play the role of position 2, also known as the midlaner, for the North American team 'Evil Geniuses'. In 2015, SumaiL claimed the Aegis of the Immortal, which is the name of the trophy presented to the winners of the largest esports tournament in the world, The International, Dota 2 Championships. His total earnings as of 21st of September, 2021 are $3,617,984.01 from 73 tournaments around the world, making him the highest esports earner as well as the youngest millionare in the history of eSports.

Yawar playing Dota 2
Yawar has prominently risen to fame in the recent years where he and his team the Quincy Crew, ranked number one in the North American region beating their rivals Evil Geniuses in the ranking system of Dota 2 called the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) in the year 2020, following multiple tournament wins from different small to medium level tournaments of Dota 2. Due to Yawar's immensely versatile set of heroes, he has been playing a vital role in the team providing the team the ability to drive many different strategies due to his large hero pool. Yawar's current total earnings are $432,911 From 43 Tournaments.

The path to qualification for this year's The International was not at all easy for both the brothers as SumaiL was no longer playing in the DPC as he was a free agent, he played as a stand-in for Team Liquid, also a top tier team and a former TI winner, when one of their players Samuel 'Boxi' Svahn  decided to take a break, however, that pairing didn't work out as the team poorly performed in the Major. Yawar on the other hand, played immensely well in this tenure, beating top tier teams from around the world with his team QC. Due to multiple wins at the highest level, QC was already very high in the rankings of the DPC, following up with a mediocre performance in the Major where his team stood 6-7th place. This was enough to secure a position at The International 10 which will be held between Thu, Oct 7, 2021 – Sun, Oct 17, 2021.

For Sumail, the days turned to joy when he was recruited back to the only two times back to back TI winners in the previous years 2018 and 2019, OG as position 1 carry player, but it wasn't easy as OG had been poorly performing in the DPC causing them to be very lower ranked in the DPC rankings and due to this they had to fight through the NA qualifiers to earn a place at the TI to defend their title. The path through the qualifiers wasn't easy, fan favourite teams like Nigma, Team Liquid and Tundra ESports were also fighting in the qualifiers. However, once Sumail was settled in the team, his performances immensely improved and stunned many of their competitors as they marched through to the upper bracket finals in the qualifiers, only to be beaten by Tundra Esports and fall down to lower bracket where one of the toughest teams in the world, Team Nigma, was waiting for them. Following up with the loss to Tundra, OG didn't lose their motivation as they beat Team Nigma 2-1 in a best of three series to progress to the grand finals of the NA qualifiers where they had to face Tundra again. This time around, however, OG didn't make the same mistakes they previously made agaisnt Tundra and fought to the last battle and defeated them very convicingly in the 5th and final game of the grand finals which was a best of five, 3-2 to OG.

Tournament Dates to follow:

 Thu, Oct 7, 2021 – Sun, Oct 17, 2021

As Pakistanis, GNN wishes them the best of luck and is rooting for the both of them.

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Pakistan

With 73 new fatalities, Pakistan's COVID-19 death count nears 27,000

Islamabad: Pakistan is witnessing daily surge in COVID-19 cases with authorities linking the upswing to the deadly fourth wave. Today country’s positivity rate is on 4.78%.

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With 73 new fatalities, Pakistan's COVID-19 death count nears 27,000

As per National Command and Control Center (NCOC), around 2,714 cases of coronavirus were reported while 73 people succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 26,938.

Pakistan conducted a total of 56,733 tests in the last 24 hours.

As per the NCOC, total confirmed cases are 1,212,809 whereas 5,122 are under critical care.

Punjab           

The number of patients swelled to 416,901 in the province with 12,291 causalities.

Sindh

The number of infections has surged to 446,840 in the province, while the death toll has reached 7,192.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The confirmed cases have surged to 169,429 in the province with 5,310 casualties.

Balochistan

There are 32,658 confirmed cases while 344 patients have died from the infection so far.

AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan

There are 33,490 coronavirus cases in the AJK while the death toll has reached 727. On the other hand, there are 10,198 cases in GB with 182 coronavirus deaths.

Islamabad

There are 103,293 cases in the capital city while 892 people have lost their lives.

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