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Pakistan

Parliament passes bill to give Indian spy Jadhav right for review, reconsideration

The joint session of the Parliament passed on Wednesday the International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration) Bill, 2021, that allows the right to review and reconsideration to Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.

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Parliament passes bill to give Indian spy Jadhav right for review, reconsideration
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Per the statement of objects and reasons of the bill, the Indian government initiated proceedings against Pakistan in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), concerning alleged violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 24 April 1963 ”in the matter of detention and trial of an Indian national, Commander Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav”, who had been sentenced to death by the Military Court in Pakistan in April 2017.

The ICJ gave its judgment on July 17, 2019, wherein it observed that “Pakistan is under an obligation to provide by means of its own choosing effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav, so as to ensure that full weight is given to the effect of the violation of the rights set forth in Article 36 of the Vienna Convention, taking account of paragraphs 139, 145 and 146 of this judgment”.

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.

Technology

Crypto miners are using hacked cloud accounts, Google warns

Cryptocurrency miners are using hacked Google Cloud accounts for computationally-intensive mining purposes, Google has warned.

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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Crypto miners are using hacked cloud accounts, Google warns

The search giant’s cybersecurity team provided details of the security breach in a report published Wednesday. The so-called “Threat Horizons” report aims to provide intelligence that allows organizations to keep their cloud environments secure.

“Malicious actors were observed performing cryptocurrency mining within compromised Cloud instances,” Google wrote in an executive summary of the report.

Cryptocurrency mining is a for-profit activity that often requires large amounts of computing power, which Google Cloud customers can access at a cost. Google Cloud is a remote storage platform where customers can keep data and files off-site.

Google said 86% of 50 recently compromised Google Cloud accounts were used to perform cryptocurrency mining. In the majority of the breaches, cryptocurrency mining software was downloaded within 22 seconds of the account being compromised, Google said.

Around 10% of the compromised accounts were also used to conduct scans of other publicly available resources on the internet to identify vulnerable systems, while 8% of instances were used to attack other targets.

Bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, has been criticized for being too energy intensive. Bitcoin mining uses more energy than some entire countries. In May, police raided a suspected cannabis farm to find it was in fact an illegal bitcoin mine.

“The cloud threat landscape in 2021 was more complex than just rogue cryptocurrency miners, of course,” wrote Bob Mechler, director of the office of the chief information security officer at Google Cloud, and Seth Rosenblatt, security editor at Google Cloud, in a blog post.

They said Google researchers also exposed a phishing attack by Russian group APT28/Fancy Bear at the end of September, adding that Google blocked the attack.

Google researchers also identified a North Korean government-backed threat group which posed as Samsung recruiters to send malicious attachments to employees at several South Korean anti-malware cybersecurity companies, they added.

SOURCE: CNBC

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Pakistan

Pakistan reports 411 new coronavirus infections, 7 deaths in 24 hours

As per National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) stats, the country logged seven fatalities from coronavirus in a single day

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Pakistan reports 411 new coronavirus infections, 7 deaths in 24 hours

Islamabad: Amid a steady decline in Covid-19 infections, Pakistan's coronavirus positivity ratio further fell to 0.92% with 350 new cases. 

Around 350 fresh coronavirus cases emerged while 7 people succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 28,704.

According to the latest figures issued by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), 350 persons were tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.

The total number of cases has reached 1,283,886.

As many as 1,241,589 patients have recovered from the disease.

 

Punjab

The number of patients swelled to 442,876 in the province with 13,015 causalities.

 

Sindh

The number of infections has surged to 475,097 in the province, while the death toll has reached 7,620.

 

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The confirmed cases have surged to 179,888 in the province with 5,830 casualties.

 

Balochistan

There are 33,471 confirmed cases while 359 patients have died from the infection so far.

 

AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan

There are 34,542 coronavirus cases in the AJK while the death toll has reached 742. On the other hand, there are 10,411 cases in GB with 186 coronavirus deaths.

 

Islamabad

There are 107,601 cases in the capital city while 952 people have lost their lives.

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World

Ban on travel from Africa widens as new Covid variant sparks fear

WHO names new variant as Omicron which is more infectious than Delta: New virus reaches Europe 

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Ban on travel from Africa widens as new Covid variant sparks fear

New York: The United States, Brazil, Canada, and Saudi Arabia became the latest countries to restrict travel from southern Africa, where a new Covid strain labelled a "variant of concern" has been discovered in a potentially heavy blow to the world's efforts to end the coronavirus pandemic.

The World Health Organization said the new variant is more infectious than the dominant, highly transmissible Delta strain, and renamed this B.1.1.529 strain of Covid-19 as Omicron.

It has reached Europe with one confirmed case in Belgium after being found in South Africa, Botswana and then in Hong Kong.

Anxious tourists in Johannesburg rushed to the airport to catch a last flight out as nations across the globe started shutting their doors, while many worried the new variant could be more resistant to vaccines.

Markets around the world plunged as news of the latest setback in the fight against the pandemic sank in.

US President Joe Biden said countries should donate more Covid-19 vaccines and give up intellectual property protections to manufacture more doses worldwide to stem the spread of the virus.

"The news about this new variant should make clearer than ever why this pandemic will not end until we have global vaccinations," he said.

Scientists are now racing to determine the threat posed by the heavily mutated strain, and whether the current coronavirus vaccines should be adjusted.

The WHO said it could take several weeks to understand the variant and cautioned against imposing travel curbs while scientific evidence was still scant.

EU officials holding an emergency meeting agreed to urge all 27 nations in the bloc to restrict travel from southern Africa, even though many members had already announced flight suspensions.

 

- 'Draconian' travel bans -

Europe is already struggling with a coronavirus surge, and the Netherlands on Friday became the latest country to ramp up anti-Covid restrictions with the early closure of bars, restaurants and shops.

"From Sunday, the whole of the Netherlands is effectively closed between 5pm and 5am," Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.

Belgium announced the first publicly known case of B.1.1.529 in Europe: an unvaccinated person who returned on November 11 from Egypt via Turkey. The health ministry did not give the individual's nationality, age or gender.

"It must be repeated that this is a suspect variant -- we don't know if it is a very dangerous variant," Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said.

Israel said it has quarantined three people, one having just returned from Malawi.

Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Cyprus and the Netherlands joined Britain Friday in suspending flights from southern Africa. 

The United States, Brazil, Canada and Guatemala also restricted travel from the region. The US measures go into force on Monday.

Japan said it will require a 10-day quarantine period for travelers from the area.

The shock measures included South Africa, as well as many of the following: Botswana, Eswatini (Swaziland), Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

South Africa's health ministry called the global rush to impose travel bans "draconian."

Germany on Friday used a military plane to transfer intensive-care patients to less afflicted regions, in an unprecedented move as it battles a vicious fourth wave of the pandemic.

"The last thing we need now is an introduced new variant," Germany's acting health minister Jens Spahn said.

The Philippines also suspended flights from southern Africa, while Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Morocco announced bans, as well.

 

- 'Ridiculous' -

The rush to close off southern Africa comes a day after scientists in Johannesburg said they had detected the new strain with at least 10 mutations, compared with two for the Delta.

The variant is of "serious concern" and had been blamed for a surge in infection numbers, authorities in South Africa said. 

Spooked European markets fell at close by three percent, with airline shares especially hit. Tokyo closed down 2.53 percent.

The new variant caused Wall Street to plunge in Friday's holiday shortened session, with the Dow Jones index suffering its worst loss of the year as it plunged 2.5 percent.

And next week's World Trade Organization ministerial conference, the global trade body's biggest gathering in four years, was called off at the last minute Friday due to the new variant, a source told AFP.

The European Medicines Agency said it was "premature" to talk about modifying current vaccines to target the new variant.

Germany's BioNTech and US drugmaker Pfizer said they were studying the variant, with impact data expected "in two weeks at the latest" to say whether their jointly developed vaccine should be adjusted if Omicron spreads globally.

But Moderna said it will develop a booster specific to the new variant as part of a three-pronged strategy to fight it.  

Omicron variant poses 'high to very high' risk to Europe

The new Covid variant, dubbed Omicron and originally detected in South Africa, poses a "high to very high" risk to Europe, the EU health agency warned on Friday.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) noted in a threat assessment report that there was still "considerable uncertainty related to the transmissibility, vaccine effectiveness, risk for reinfections and other properties of the Omicron variant."

However, the overall risk that Omicron posed to the European Union and European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) was "high to very high."

Given the possibility that current vaccines may not protect against the variant, and the fact that it may be more transmissible, "we assess the probability of further introduction and community spread in the EU/EEA as high," the Stockholm-based agency said. 

"In a situation where the Delta variant is resurgent in the EU/EEA, the impact of the introduction and possible further spread of Omicron could be very high," it added. 

Apart from South Africa, Omicron has been detected in Israel in a person coming from Malawi as well as in Botswana, Hong Kong and EU member Belgium.

The agency urged countries to conduct genomic sequencing and contact tracing of confirmed cases, and called for people to not travel to affected areas.

The World Health Organization on Friday declared the recently-discovered strain to be a variant of concern.

The classification puts Omicron into the most-troubling category of Covid-19 variants, along with the globally-dominant Delta, plus its weaker rivals Alpha, Beta and Gamma.

Nations rushed to ban flights to slow the spread of Omicron on Friday, while stock markets and oil prices plunged on fears surrounding the variant, potentially dealing a heavy blow to the global economic recovery.

SOURCE: AFP

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