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Sweden's first female PM resigns hours after appointment

The Green Party quit after parliament rejected the coalition’s budget bill.

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Sweden's first female PM resigns hours after appointment
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Stockholm: Sweden’s first female Prime Minister, Social Democrat Magdalena Andersson, has resigned after less than 12 hours in the top job after the Green Party quit their two-party coalition, stoking political uncertainty.

The Green Party quit after parliament rejected the coalition’s budget bill. But Andersson said she had told the speaker of parliament she hoped to be appointed prime minister again as the head of a single-party government. 

 “I have asked the speaker to be relieved of my duties as prime minister,” Andersson told a news conference. 

“I am ready to be prime minister in a single-party, Social Democrat government,” she added. 

The Green Party said it would support her in any new confirmation vote in parliament, while the Centre Party promised to abstain, which in practice amounts to the same as backing her candidacy. 

The Left Party has also said it would back her. 

The government’s own budget proposal was rejected in favor of one presented by the opposition that includes the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats. The vote was 154-143 in favor of the opposition’s budget proposal.

Speaker Andreas Norlen said he will contact Sweden’s eight party leaders “to discuss the situation”. On Thursday, he will announce the next steps for the 349-seat parliament.

Andersson said that “a coalition government should resign if a party chooses to leave the government. Despite the fact that the parliamentary situation is unchanged, it needs to be tried again”.

The approved budget was based on the government’s own proposal but of the 74 billion kronor ($8.2bn) that the government wanted to spend on reforms, just over 20 billion kronor ($2.2bn) will be redistributed next year, Swedish broadcaster SVT said.

The approved budget aims at reducing taxes, increasing salaries for police officers, and providing more money to different sectors of Sweden’s judiciary system. 

Andersson’s appointment as prime minister had marked a milestone for Sweden, viewed for decades as one of Europe’s most progressive countries when it comes to gender relations, but which had yet to have a woman in the top political post.

Earlier in the day, 117 politicians voted yes to Andersson, 174 rejected her appointment while 57 abstained and one politician was absent.

Under the Swedish Constitution, prime ministers can be named and governed as long as a parliamentary majority – a minimum of 175 lawmakers – is not against them.

However, Sweden’s next general election is scheduled for September 11.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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.

Regional

Omicron threat: Sindh govt braces for new Covid curbs, allows schools to remain open

The provincial home department, in line with the NCOC's recommendations, has announced new curbs, which will be applicable from December 1-15.

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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Omicron threat: Sindh govt braces for new Covid curbs, allows schools to remain open

The Sindh government on Tuesday announced that educational activities would continue across the province, but at the same time, announced new curbs as it braces for omicron, the latest coronavirus variant.

Pakistan had last week announced a ban on entry from six southern African countries as well as Hong Kong "due to threat" from the new COVID-19 variant.

In a notification, the Sindh Home Department said the National Command and Operations Centre had placed Karachi, Sukkur, and Sanghar in "category B" (cities with good vaccination progress) while other cities of the province fell under "category C" (cities with low vaccination progress).

The home department, in line with the NCOC's recommendations, has therefore announced new curbs, which will be applicable from December 1-15. Indoor and outdoor gatherings are only allowed for vaccinated individuals with the following cap:

Karachi, Sukkur, and Sanghar — indoor 500 people and outdoor 1,000 people. Other cities, divisions — indoor 300 people and outdoor 1,000 people.

Indoor dining is only allowed for fully vaccinated individuals till 11:59pm. In Karachi, Sukkur, and Sanghar, it will be allowed at 70% occupancy, while in other cities and divisions, the maximum cap is 50%.

Outdoor dining is also allowed for fully vaccinated individuals throughout the province till 11:59pm. Takeaway and drive-through services can function 24/7, given that they follow

Indoor and outdoor ceremonies are allowed only for fully vaccinated individuals. Karachi, Sukkur, and Sanghar — indoor 500 individuals and outdoor 1,000 individuals.

Other cities, divisions — indoor 300 individuals and outdoor 1,000 individuals.

Markets and business activities can continue till 10pm, while essential services — pharmacies, medical facilities, vaccination centres, petrol pumps, CNG stations, and others — can function 24/7.

Amusement parks, water sports, and swimming pools in individuals Karachi, Sukkur, and Sanghar can function at 70% occupancy, while in the remaining cities and divisions the cap is 50%.

Public parks, however, will remain open under strict COVID-19 protocols. Contact sports are allowed for fully vaccinated individuals.

Shrines will remain open, however, only fully vaccinated individuals will be allowed to visit the places. Routine office timings will be followed and 100% attendance is permitted. The employees should be fully vaccinated.

Only fully vaccinated individuals can exercise at indoor gyms. Public transport can operate with 80% occupancy and only fully vaccinated individuals can benefit from the service. Wearing masks is mandatory.

Cinemas can entertain fully vaccinated individuals and can operate without time restrictions. Railways will operate with 80% occupancy and only fully vaccinated individuals can benefit from the service. Wearing masks is mandatory.

District administrations may impose broader lockdowns in areas under their jurisdiction. They can also smart and micro smart lockdowns in specified areas. Wearing masks shall be compulsory in public spaces.

All education institutes will follow 100% attendance with a focused campaign to vaccinate students above 12 years of age.

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World

Seven die after eating poisonous turtle meat

Tortoise meat consumption is generally considered safe. But selenium toxins, which are rarely found in turtle meat turn the meat toxic and deadly to consume. 

Published by Mehak Javed

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Seven die after eating poisonous turtle meat

Seven people, including a three-year-old child, have died after eating a poisonous tortoise meat on the island of Pemba in Tanzania, Africa.

As per police, firstly the minor died after eating poisonous tortoise meat followed by two more deaths at night and then four more on Sunday.

Doctors say that the poisonous meat of tortoise affects children the most.

In rare cases turtle meat can be toxic due to a type of food poisoning known as ‘chelonitoxism’. 

Local police commander said that at least five families on Pemba, which is part of the semi-autonomous Zanzibar islands, ate the turtle meat last Thursday.

Moreover, 38 people were admitted to hospital, but most were discharged and the three who remain are said to be in a stable condition. 

Tortoise meat consumption is generally considered safe. But selenium toxins, which are rarely found in turtle meat turn the meat toxic and deadly to consume. 

The meat is a common delicacy among those living on Tanzania's islands and coastal areas but the authorities have now banned the consumption of turtles in the area. 

Earlier in March, 19 people succumbed to death in Madagascar after eating tortoise meat. 

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Pakistan

CJP Gulzar for returning military land not under defence use to govt

The army is there for the country's defence and not for doing business, he remarked.

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CJP Gulzar for returning military land not under defence use to govt

The law didn't allow land meant for defence purposes to be used for commercial gains and that such land should be returned to the government after its strategic use, Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed on Tuesday said on Tuesday. 

A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by the chief justice and comprising Justice Qazi Mohammad Amin Ahmed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan resumed the hearing on the issue of military lands being used for commercial purposes.

During the hearing, the chief justice again snubbed Defence Secretary retired Lt Gen Mian Mohammad Hilal Hussain over commercial establishments being built on military land.

"The law's intention is not that defence land is used for any other purpose," Justice Gulzar reiterated. "If the land is not being used for defence then it will go back to the government."

"This is government land," the top judge said, noting that cinemas, petrol pumps, housing societies, shopping malls and marriage halls were being constructed on land meant for defence.

"General sahib, these are not defence purposes," he told the defence secretary, asking the attorney general to explain how the defence ministry would "limit the land's use to defence".

The court said it would interpret the law concerning the land of cantonment boards in light of the Constitution, with Justice Amin remaking: "This is also very important for the institution's own reputation."

The CJP then turned to the attorney general, saying "They must be made to understand the law, who will do that?"

He said a retired major had given the land of Global Marquees, a wedding venue near Gora Qabristan, on lease to a private party, and asked whether he had the authority to do so.

"The army did not take any action against the retired major," the CJP said, noting that millions of rupees were being earned through Global Marquees on a daily basis.

The CJP ordered authorities to demolish a wall built next to Kala Pul as well as the Grand Convention Hall "today".

The CJP expressed dissatisfaction over a report submitted by the defence secretary regarding the case, saying the report "claims the illegally built buildings have been demolished, but they are still there".

The defence secretary responded that he would visit the sites in person and take pictures to compile a new report.

"This situation is a cause of embarrassment for the army and us both," CJP Ahmed remarked, following which the attorney general offered to withdraw the report submitted today.

The court directed him to submit a detailed report within four weeks, identifying the purposes of each piece of cantonment land.

"Under the law, strategic land will only be used for defence purposes," the CJP told the defence secretary.

The secretary informed the court that the scope of the term "strategic objectives" was "wide", saying commercial activities also fell into the category of "strategic defence".

"Whenever the army goes to the borders, these activities are carried out for the purpose of welfare and to keep the morale of the army high," Hussain explained.

At this, the CJP said: "Secretary sahib everything is fine, but where is the cantonment there? All we can see there are houses."

Justice Ahmed pointed out that schools and marriage halls had also been built on Faisal Base land.

"It is being said that Masroor and Korangi airbases are being shut and [perhaps] commercial activities will be started there," the CJP added.

He noted that cantonment land had to be returned to the government after defence objectives were met.

"The army should not compromise on its bigger objectives for petty business," Justice Qazi Amin remarked, adding that the military should be mindful of the sanctity of its institution.

CJP Ahmed pointed out that shopping malls had also been built on defence land in Lahore and Quetta, saying "it is not clear how the Ministry of Defence will sustain these activities."

The defence secretary informed the court that a joint committee of all three armed forces had been formed to check violations of the law.

The CJP further said that "allotting houses to senior army officers does not fall under defence purposes."

"How can the army carry out commercial activities on state land?" he questioned, emphasising that state land should not be "exploited".

Justice Ahmed said the issue was not limited to Karachi, but such violations were common across the country.

Justice Amin said it was incomprehensible why the army needed to indulge itself in business, while the CJP noted that "the army has constructed a tall building on Gizri Road overnight."

He asked that if constructing cinemas, marriage halls and houses were "defence activities" then what was actual defence.

The CJP further said the land sold by some army officers for a few hundreds of thousands had been used to build houses that were now worth tens of millions.

"All the land of cantonments must be restored to its original condition," the CJ said, adding the SC would also review all of the army rules and laws in light of the Constitution.

"The army is there for the country's defence, not for doing business," the CJP remarked.

Later the bench adjourned the hearing for four weeks.

 

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