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Security forces kill two terrorists in North Waziristan operation

NORTH WAZIRISTAN: Two terrorists were killed by the security forces on Wednesday as they conducted during intelligence-based operation (IBO) in the Razmak area of North Waziristan District.

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Security forces kill two terrorists in North Waziristan operation
GNN Media: Representational Photo

The operation was carried out after the forces received reports of the presence of terrorists in the area, the statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relation (ISPR) said. 

During the operation, the forces recovered arms and ammunition from the terrorists' hideout as well.

An area clearance operation is underway to eliminate any other terrorists found in the area, the statement said.

The development came a day after security forces had killed five terrorists during an IBO in South Waziristan District, the ISPR had said in a statement on Wednesday.

 

Faisal Ali Ghumman

Mr. Ghumman is a seasoned journalist who has 19 years of diversified experience in print, electronic and digital media. He has worked with 92 News HD, Daily Pakistan Today, Daily The Business, Daily Dawn, Daily Times and Pakistan Observer as News Reporter, Feature Writer, Editor, Web Content Editor and Article Writer. Mr Ghumman has graduated from the Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan and is currently enrolled in M.Phil in Mass Communication at the University of Punjab.

World

Any attempt to invade Ukraine will have costs, NATO chief warns Russia

Moscow denies that it’s planning any invasion and refuses to provide details about troop movements on its own territory.

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Any attempt to invade Ukraine will have costs, NATO chief warns Russia

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned Russia Friday that any attempt to invade Ukraine would have costs, as concern mounts about a Russian military buildup near its former Soviet neighbor’s borders.

Ukraine says Moscow kept about 90,000 troops near their common border following massive war games in western Russia earlier this year. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said units of the Russian 41st army remain near Yelnya, about 260 kilometers (160 miles) north of the border.

Moscow denies that it’s planning any invasion and refuses to provide details about troop movements on its own territory.

“If Russia uses force against Ukraine that will have costs, that would have consequences,” Stoltenberg said, ahead of a meeting of the 30-nation military organization’s foreign ministers in Latvia Nov. 30-Dec. 1, where Russia’s activities will be high on the agenda. He did not say what those costs would be.

“This is the second time this year that Russia has amassed a large and unusual concentration of forces in the region,” Stoltenberg told reporters. He said it includes tanks, artillery, armored units, drones, and electronic warfare systems, as well as combat-ready troops.

“This military buildup is unprovoked and unexplained. It raises tensions and it risks miscalculations,” Stoltenberg said. He conceded that “there is no certainty about the intentions of Russia” but said that “this is a military buildup by a country that has invaded Ukraine before.”

Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014 after the country’s Moscow-friendly president was driven from power by mass protests. Weeks later, Russia threw its weight behind a separatist insurgency that broke out in Ukraine’s east.

Ukraine and the West accused Russia of sending its troops and weapons to back the rebels. Moscow denied that, saying that Russians who joined the separatists were volunteers. More than 14,000 people have died in the fighting that devastated Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland known as Donbas.

A 2015 peace agreement brokered by France and Germany helped end large-scale battles, but efforts to reach a political settlement have failed and sporadic skirmishes have continued along the tense line of contact.

NATO would not be able to provide Ukraine with any substantial military support in time to make a difference against Russian forces, so economic measures like Western sanctions are more likely to be used to inflict a financial cost on Moscow.

In Washington, the State Department’s top official for European and Eurasian affairs, Karen Donfried, told reporters that assessments of Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine will be on the agenda next week when Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits Latvia, and then travels to Sweden for a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. She gave no indication whether Blinken would propose new U.S. or allied actions.

“All options are on the table,” Donfried said, “and there’s a toolkit that includes a whole range of options. What we’re doing now is monitoring the region closely, consult with our allies and partners on how do we deter Russian action, and ideally that is what we want to be doing right now. We do not want to see any Russian military incursion into Ukraine.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday alleged that his country’s intelligence service has uncovered plans for a Russia-backed coup d’etat in Ukraine next week, something which the Russian government denied.

Asked about the possible coup plot, Donfried said: “We are in touch with the Ukrainian government to discuss this further, and we’re working to obtain additional information.”

SOURCE: AP

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Pakistan

IHC rejects contempt of court plea against Maryam Nawaz 

'Judges are open for criticism', IHC Chief Justice remarked

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IHC rejects contempt of court plea against Maryam Nawaz 

Islamabad: Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday has rejected the contempt of court petition against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

A petition had been moved in the IHC seeking contempt of court proceedings against PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz and ex-prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi over their statements related to former chief justice Saqib Nisar.

During the hearing, the petitioner said that the derogatory language used against former Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar comes under contempt of court over which, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked that judges are open for criticism. 

Remarks about retired officials did not warrant contempt of court charges, even if they were made against a former chief justice, IHC Chief Justice added.

Subsequently, the court has rejected the plea to wrap up the case.

Earlier, the high court had taken notice of revelations leveled by the former chief judge of Gilgit Baltistan Rana Muhammad Shamim regarding PML-N leaders Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz and summoned all the parties and Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan in a personal capacity.

Former CJ of Gilgit Baltistan was also served with contempt of court notice.

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Health

New Covid variant triggers global alarm, stock markets tumble

Authorities around the world reacted with alarm on Friday to a new coronavirus variant found in South Africa, with the EU and Britain among those tightening border controls as researchers sought to establish out if the mutation was vaccine-resistant.

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New Covid variant triggers global alarm, stock markets tumble

Hours after Britain banned flights from South Africa and neighbouring countries and asked travellers returning from there to quarantine, the World Health Organization (WHO) cautioned against hasty travel bans.

"It's really important that there are no knee-jerk responses here," said the WHO's emergencies director Mike Ryan, praising South Africa's public health institutions for picking up the new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19.

"Because we've seen in the past, the minute that there is any mention of any kind of variation, then everyone is closing borders and restricting travel."

 The WHO said it would take weeks to determine how effective vaccines were against the variant. read more

South Africa's Health Minister Joe Phaahla called the travel restrictions "unjustified", though he also said preliminary studies suggested the new variant may be more transmissible.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said the EU also aimed to halt air travel from the region. Several other countries including India, Japan and Israel toughened curbs. read more

"It is now important that all of us in Europe act very swiftly, decisively and united," von der Leyen said. "All air travel to these countries should be suspended until we have a clearer understanding about the danger posed by this new variant."

In Washington, top U.S. infectious disease official Anthony Fauci said no decision had been made on a possible U.S. travel ban. There was no indication that the variant was in the United States, and it was unclear whether it was resistant to current vaccines, he told CNN. read more

The news nonetheless pummelled global stocks and oil, which plunged 10%, on fears that new restrictions would hit the travel industry and already shaky economies across southern Africa. read more

'MOST SIGNIFICANT VARIANT'

The variant has a spike protein that is dramatically different to the one in the original coronavirus that vaccines are based on, the UK Health Security Agency said, raising fears about how current vaccines will fare.

"As scientists have described, (this is) the most significant variant they've encountered to date," British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News.

In Geneva the WHO - whose experts on Friday discussed the risks that the variant, called B.1.1.529, presents - warned against travel curbs for now. read more

It would take several weeks to determine the variant's transmissibility and the effectiveness of vaccines, WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said, noting that 100 sequences of it had been reported so far.

British health minister Sajid Javid said the sequence of the variant was first uploaded by Hong Kong from someone travelling from South Africa.

"It is highly likely that it has now spread to other countries," Javid told lawmakers.

SOURCE: REUTERS

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