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COVID-19: Pakistan sees significant decline in daily fatalities

Pakistan on Monday saw a sharp decline in fatalities from the coronavirus, registering 27 fatalities over the past 24 hours, down from 34 a day earlier, according to the country’s Health Ministry.

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COVID-19: Pakistan sees significant decline in daily fatalities
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Islamabad: Pakistan on Monday saw a sharp decline in fatalities from the coronavirus, registering 27 fatalities over the past 24 hours, down from 34 a day earlier, according to the country’s Health Ministry.

Pakistan is presently experiencing the fourth wave of coronavirus which is said to be deadlier and more contagious than the previous three COVID waves. Today, the daily positivity rate in-country is at 2.84%.

According to National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), around 1,490 cases of coronavirus were reported while 27 people succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 27,893.

The total number of cases has reached 1,251,348.

As many as 1,177,249 patients have recovered from the disease with 3,407 critical cases.

Punjab  

The number of patients swelled to 433,286 in the province with 12,685 causalities.

Sindh

The number of infections has surged to 460,111 in the province, while the death toll has reached 7,427.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The confirmed cases have surged to 174,671 in the province with 5,580 casualties.

Balochistan

There are 32,981 confirmed cases while 349 patients have died from the infection so far.

AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan

There are 34,234 coronavirus cases in the AJK while the death toll has reached 738. On the other hand, there are 10,332 cases in GB with 186 coronavirus deaths.

Islamabad

There are 105,733 cases in the capital city while 928 people have lost their lives.

Mehak Javed

Mehak Javed is immensely creative and an enthusiastic journalist, contributing in the publication of timely and accurate news. She is a skilled writer along proven history of achievement in the field with several years of professional experience. Mehak is working with GNN since 2020.

World

Ukraine dispute: US, Russia agree to continue talks despite no breakthrough in FMs meeting

Russia doesn't want Ukraine to be part of NATO

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Ukraine dispute: US, Russia agree to continue talks despite no breakthrough in FMs meeting

GENEVA: The top US and Russian diplomats made no major breakthrough at talks on Ukraine on Friday but agreed to keep talking to try to resolve a crisis that has stoked fears of a military conflict.

After the talks in Geneva, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned of a "swift, severe" response if Russia invades Ukraine after massing troops near its border and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was still waiting for a written response to demands for security guarantees.

But both said they were open to further dialogue, and Blinken saw grounds to hope that mutual security concerns could be addressed.

"Based on the conversations we've had -- the extensive conversations -- over the past week and today here in Geneva I think there are grounds for and a means to address some of the mutual concerns that we have about security," Blinken said.

He described the talks as "frank and substantive" and told reporters that Russia now faced a choice.

 "It can choose the path of diplomacy that can lead to peace and security, or the path that will lead only to conflict, severe consequences and international condemnation," Blinken said, adding that diplomacy would be preferable.

"We've been clear - if any Russian military forces move across Ukraine's border, that's a renewed invasion. It will be met with swift, severe and a united response from the United States and our partners and allies."

Lavrov said the ball was in Washington's court.

Describing the meeting as open and useful, he said Moscow would understand whether talks were on the right track once it had received a written response to its sweeping security demands from the United States.

"I can't tell you if we're on the right track or the wrong track. We'll understand this when we receive the American response on paper to all the points in our proposal," Lavrov said.

Russia's demands include a halt to NATO's eastward expansion and a pledge that Ukraine will never be allowed to join the Western military alliance.

Blinken said he expected to share with Russia "our concerns and ideas in more detail and in writing next week" and said he and Lavrov had "agreed to further discussions after that".

Russia and the United States could hold another meeting next month to discuss Moscow's demands for security guarantees, Russia's RIA news agency quoted a source in the Russian delegation as saying.

'LET'S NOT GET AHEAD OF OURSELVES'

Lavrov said Russia had worries of its own, "not about invented threats, but real facts that no one hides - pumping Ukraine with weapons, sending hundreds of western military instructors".

Asked about the possibility of a summit between President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden, Lavrov was circumspect.

"Let's not get ahead of ourselves, President Putin is always ready for contacts with President Biden, it's clear these contacts need to be seriously prepared," he said.

Washington’s hopes of building a united front of opposition to Moscow were complicated by U.S. President Joe Biden's comments at a news conference on Wednesday in which he suggested that allies might be divided on how to respond to a "minor incursion" by Russia into Ukraine.

Before Friday's meeting, Blinken swung through Europe to try to shore up U.S. allies' commitments to hit Russia with economic sanctions if it goes ahead with an invasion of Ukraine.

In Kyiv on Wednesday, Blinken assured Ukraine of U.S. support. Blinken, before meeting German, French and British officials in Berlin on Thursday, said Russian President Vladimir Putin could order an invasion imminently.

Blinken’s deputy, Wendy Sherman, and Lavrov’s deputy, Sergei Ryabkov, also met in Geneva last week, without a breakthrough.

SOURCE: REUTERS

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Pakistan

ECC approves selected commodities' export to Afghanistan in Pakistani currency

The forum also approved technical supplementary grants of Rs5 billion for the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives for conducting the 7th Population and Housing Census

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ECC approves selected commodities' export to Afghanistan in Pakistani currency

Islamabad: Considering the food crisis and prevailing situation of Afghanistan, the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet Friday approved the summary presented by the Ministry of Commerce, allowing the export of selected commodities to the neighbouring country in Pakistani currency by adding them in the list of items at Para-7(1) of the Export Policy Order, 2020.

Fruits, vegetables, cement, salt and dry fruits were also included in the list of export items, while the ECC removed the 45% regulatory duty on the import of pine nuts from Afghanistan.

The forum also approved technical supplementary grants of Rs5 billion for the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives for conducting the 7th Population and Housing Census.

The ECC meeting here, which was virtually presided over by Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin, also approved Rs4 billion under the Pakistan Raises Revenue Programme (PRRP) for the financial year 2021-22 for Federal Board of Revenue.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Federal Minister for Water Resources Chaudhry Moonis Elahi, federal secretaries and senior officers attended the meeting, a Finance Ministry press release said.

The ECC also approved Rs 78.5 million for the projects of ICT (Islamabad Capital Territory) Administration, by Interior Ministry.

The meeting gave its approval for amounts of Rs 60 million and Rs3 million (equivalent to $17,133.06) for the Interior Ministry within the sanctioned budgets for purchase of spare parts for helicopters maintained by HQs Frontier Corps Balochistan North and HQs Frontier Corps Khuber Pakhtunkhwa (North) respectively.

It approved re-allocation of Rs 226.8 million surrendered funds for the year 2021-22 under Sustainable Development Goals Achievement Programme (SAP) in favour of Interior Division for further release to the ICT Administration.

The meeting gave its consent for rupee cover of $65 million (equivalent to Rs 11,960 million) to the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination, committed by Islamic Development Bank, to utilize the IsDB loan under “IVAC Covid-19 Vaccine Support for Pakistan”.

The committee, while noting the growth in exports, approved another summary of the Commerce Ministry to enhance the quota limit for export of samples to $25,000 or 0.1% of actual export proceeds during the last financial year in US dollars per exporter per annum, by amending relevant paras of the Export Policy Order, 2020.

The ECC approved a Commerce Ministry’s proposal of removal of 45 percent regulatory duty on the import of Chilghoza from Afghanistan as the tariff reduction would encourage the legal import of unprocessed Chilghoza for processing in the country for export and would also be instrumental in creation of jobs in the far flung areas of border regions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and economically backward areas of Balochistan.

The committee approved a proposal submitted by the Finance Division for engaging the services of third party to carry out the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) functions of the Kamyab Pakistan Programme (KPP). The M & E responsibilities were entrusted to Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), which due to its legal status had not been able to undertake the task.

The ECC discussed and approved the Finance Division’s summary for resolving the issue of reversal of Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) unspent grant funds under amendment to MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with proposal to establish a new Credit Guarantee Company (CGC) having 56% shareholding of FCDO through Karandaaz (unspent funds) and 44 percent shareholding of Government of Pakistan, with mandate of issuance of credit guarantees against financing in the SME (Small & Medium Enterprises) sector.

The committee after deliberation and considering the depth of Pakistan’s relationship with China, and as a goodwill gesture on government level, approved the proposal of the Ministry of Water Resources for compensation package of $11.6 million for the affected Chinese nationals of Dasu Hydropower Project incident.

The ECC allowed the operations of SNGPL based plants (Fatima Fertilizer (Sheikhupura plant ) and Agritech) for a further two months post January, i.e., February- March at gas rate of Rs. 839/MMBTU on a summary of Ministry of Industries and Production to meet the Urea fertilizer requirement for remaining Rabi Season 2021-22.

It approved a summary tabled by Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication for the constitution of Advisory Committee headed by the Finance Minister for the release of IMT/5G spectrum.

The ECC also approved the draft Policy Directive of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-Organization) Act 1996 for renewal of Cellular License of Pakistan Mobile Communication Limited (PMCL/Jazz). It was presented by the Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunication.

SOURCE: APP

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Two children dead, 7 family members injured as landslide hits Shangla house

The landslide also blocked the main Bisham-Swat road

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Two children dead, 7 family members injured as landslide hits Shangla house

Shangla: At least two children died while their seven family members were injured after they were buried in a landslide that struck their house in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Shangla district on Friday, rescuers and police said.

Rescuers said the two deceased children aged three and two months were among six people who were pulled out of the rubble, while efforts were continuing to trace the remaining three family members.

A massive landslide hit the Khurshid Khan house in Kuz Alpuri area of Shangla, destroying it completely and burying its residents. The landslide also blocked the main Bisham-Swat road.

Rehman said Rescue 1122 workers were making efforts to recover the rest of the people trapped underneath the debris.

Two children and four women were brought to the District Headquarters Hospital, Alpuri, where the two minors died and the women were being treated for their injuries.

Bisham-Swat road was also blocked due to the landslide and motorists were stuck on both sides.

The injured were shifted to the DHQ hospital.

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