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`Hurricane of humanitarian crises’ engulfs world: UN chief

A “hurricane of humanitarian crises” around the world has left civilians in conflict areas in the lurch and is compounded by a relentless wave of attacks on humanitarian and medical workers, the United Nations chief warned Friday.

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`Hurricane of humanitarian crises’ engulfs world: UN chief
`Hurricane of humanitarian crises’ engulfs world: UN chief

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said humanitarian needs are outpacing the ability of the United Nations and aid organizations to meet them, “turbocharged by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“We are in uncharted waters,” he said in a speech to the U.N. Security Council read by Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed.

“The sheer scale of humanitarian needs have never been greater,” Guterres said. “The United Nations and our partners are seeking to reach 160 million people with assistance this year -- the highest figure ever.”

He cited Ethiopia’s Tigray region, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria as examples of the “bloody surge in humanitarian crises.”

From Tigray, he said, the U.N. has heard “credible reports” in the past few months of executions of civilians, arbitrary arrests and detentions, sexual violence against children and forced displacement “on a massive scale.”

“In Afghanistan, brutal attacks killed at least 24 civilians, including five health workers, during just one week in June,” he said. “Civilian casualties in the first quarter of this year increased by 29% compared to last year; the increase for women was 37%.”

The secretary-general said in Yemen, at least five civilians are killed or injured every day on average, 20 million people are in dire need of humanitarian aid, and five million “are face-to-face with famine.”

And in last month’s attack on one of the largest hospitals in northern Syria, which killed 19 civilians including three children, one missile reportedly hit the emergency room and another hit the delivery room, he said.

Guterres urged the Security Council to take strong and immediate action to support its resolutions on protecting civilians, humanitarian and health care workers, as well as hospitals, schools, water facilities and other “humanitarian space.”

Around the world, he said, security incidents affecting humanitarian organizations including shootings, assaults, sexual violence, kidnappings and raids “have increased tenfold since 2001.”

In Tigray, 12 aid workers have been killed since the conflict started in November 2020 and many more have been intimidated, harassed and detained, he said.

So fair this year, Guterres said, the World Health Organization has recorded 568 incidents affecting the delivery of medical care in 14 conflict zones including shootings, shelling, threats, equipment removals, and the militarization of medical facilities causing 114 deaths of health care workers and patients.

The secretary-general said it is becoming more difficult to provide aid to people in need, citing restrictions imposed by governments or parties to conflicts on the movement of humanitarian goods, long visa and customs procedures, delays at checkpoints, and high taxes and fees on supplies.

He urged governments to “support aid rather than blocking it,” and to make sure their “counterterrorism operations do not undermine humanitarian operations.”

Guterres also urged an end to practices that “politicize humanitarian action” including frequent attempts to interfere in humanitarian organizations’ selection of aid recipients and aid partners, counterterrorism legislation criminalizing humanitarian and medical activities — and conversely politicians and military members portraying aid as part of their counterterrorism agenda.

He also urged action to foster greater respect for international humanitarian law including training militaries, to hold accountable those responsible for attacks on humanitarian workers and to ensure that governments protect the ability of aid organizations to engage with all parties to conflict, including armed groups.

SOURCE: AP 

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.

Pakistan

Pakistan's COVID-19 positivity rate drops to 4.22%

Pakistan is presently experiencing the fourth wave of coronavirus which is said to be deadlier and more contagious than previous three COVID waves.

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Pakistan's COVID-19 positivity rate drops to 4.22%

Islamabad: Pakistan's coronavirus positivity ratio decreased to 4.22% from more than 11% a couple of weeks ago.

Pakistan is presently experiencing the fourth wave of coronavirus which is said to be deadlier and more contagious than previous three COVID waves.

According to National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), around 2,167 cases of coronavirus were reported while 40 people succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 27,246. The daily Covid-19 positivity rate in Pakistan is at 4.22%.

The total number of cases has reached 1,226,008.

As many as 1,135,038 patients have recovered from the disease with 4,840 critical cases.

Punjab             

The number of patients swelled to 422,790 in the province with 12,407 causalities.

Sindh

The number of infections has surged to 450,787 in the province, while the death toll has reached 7,270.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The confirmed cases have surged to 171,388 in the province with 5,412 casualties.

Balochistan

There are 32,769 confirmed cases while 344 patients have died from the infection so far.

AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan

There are 33,787 coronavirus cases in the AJK while the death toll has reached 729. On the other hand, there are 10,245 cases in GB with 182 coronavirus deaths.

Islamabad

There are 104,242 cases in the capital city while 902 people have lost their lives

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Pakistan

‘Covid fourth wave’: Pakistan's coronavirus positivity rate falls to 5.45%

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 5.45%.

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‘Covid fourth wave’: Pakistan's coronavirus positivity rate falls to 5.45%

As per National Command and Control Center (NCOC), Pakistan conducted a total of 57,792 tests in the last 24 hours.

Around 3,153 cases of coronavirus were reported while 58 people succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 26,720.

As per the command centre, total confirmed cases are 1,204,520 whereas 5,370 are under critical care.

Punjab              

The number of patients swelled to 413,182 in the province with 12,211 causalities.

Sindh

The number of infections has surged to 444,464 in the province, while the death toll has reached 7,133.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The confirmed cases have surged to 168,258 in the province with 5,250 casualties.

Balochistan

There are 32,569 confirmed cases while 342 patients have died from the infection so far.

AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan

There are 33,268 coronavirus cases in the AJK while the death toll has reached 718. On the other hand, there are 10,162 cases in GB with 179 coronavirus deaths.

Islamabad

There are 102,617 cases in the capital city while 887 people have lost their lives.

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Technology

Twitter tests edge-to-edge photos in timeline

The microblogging platform, Twitter is exploring ways to build more visually immersive experience with its latest test to see how images appear on the platform.  

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Twitter tests edge-to-edge photos in timeline

The upcoming feature will expand visual media embedded in tweets to fill the whole width of a mobile phone's screen. The new layout is being tested on iOS but not on Android.

“The change is designed to make it easier for visual content to shine,” said twitter.

In the current test, tweets fill the full frame from left to right instead of being offset by a pretty large margin on the left.

The changes result in much larger images and videos that look better in the feed and a cleaner, more modern design that doesn’t unnecessarily squish tweets to the right of users’ profile pictures.

The test follows two previous image-focused changes— 4K image support and full-size images.

The 4K image support came in April and increased the resolution of images from 2048 x 2048 pixels to 3840 pixels on the long end.

While, full-size image support came in May and brought an end to cropped photos on timelines in iOS and Android.

The company, with the announcement that it is testing edge-to-edge photo support is increasing its chances of becoming an Instagram competitor.

The date for the rollout is not ascertain yet. However, users are already complaining about the change, despite the fact that it is still in its early stages.

This is because, there's no word, on when full-width tweets will arrive on some of the best Android phones.

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