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Swedish PM Andersson tests positive for COVID-19 

Sweden has been something of an outlier in Europe in its response to the pandemic and kept the country open, asking residents to follow health precautions voluntarily.  

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Swedish PM Andersson tests positive for COVID-19 
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Stockholm: Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has been tested positive for COVID-19, her spokesperson said on Friday, as a growing wave of infections swept the country driven by the more contagious Omicron variant. 

The 54-year-old Premier is one of several party leaders to have tested positive for the virus in the wake of a debate in parliament earlier this week.

The Nordic country has repeatedly set new daily records for COVID cases this month amid a mounting fourth wave of the virus, raising pressure on the healthcare system and triggering the reimposition of many restrictions.

"She (Andersson) is following the current recommendations and will perform her duties from home. The PM is feeling well, given the situation," the spokesperson said.

The health agency expects cases, currently hitting highs of around 25,000 per day, to peak later this month when Sweden could reach almost 70,000 daily cases, according to its modeling. 

Though Sweden remained better off than other countries that enforced strict lockdowns, the early months of the outbreak were far deadlier in Sweden than in many of its neighbors. 

Sweden has been something of an outlier in Europe in its response to the pandemic and kept the country open, asking residents to follow health precautions voluntarily.  

As the highly contagious Omicron variant spreads in much of the world, Sweden has seen major surges in cases in the winter and spring of 2021, and new cases are soaring again now. 

However, daily coronavirus infection rates have increased sharply in recent weeks in the country.

Earlier this month, Nordic country’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and his wife Queen Silvia has been tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

In March 2021, Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria and her husband Prince Daniel tested positive, and Prince Carl Philip and his wife Princess Sofia tested positive in the fall of 2020.

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

Sindh announces pay cuts govt employees for not wearing mask

Sindh government directed authorities to deduct one day's salary of all government officials and employees who do not wear a face mask

Published by Faisal Waqas

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Sindh announces pay cuts govt employees for not wearing mask

Karachi: The Sindh government has announced to deduct one day salary of all government officials and employees who do not wear a face mask on Sunday.

According to the details, the Sindh government directed authorities to deduct one day's salary of all government officials and employees who do not wear a face mask. The directives have been issued in view of the rising cases of COVID-19 in the province.

A day earlier, a meeting of the provincial coronavirus task force was chaired by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah at the CM House during which the Shah stated that officials who do not wear masks will face a fine.

It was proposed that one day's wage be deducted from the pay of any government employee who does not wear a mask in the workplace.

Meanwhile, Pakistan witnessed an enormous spike in its daily tally of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) after as many as 4,027 new infections were logged in the last 24 hours, according to morning update by ministry of health.

The country’s positivity rate now stands at 7.8% when 4,027 fresh cases were reported. The cumulative tally of the country has now climbed to 1,324,147.

As the fifth wave of COVID-19 intensifies in Pakistan reported 4,027 new coronavirus infections, a new daily record, with authorities linking the spike with the Omicron variant of virus.  

According to the latest figures issued by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), 3,567 persons were tested positive while 7 died in the past 24 hours— taking Pakistan's COVID death toll to 29,012.   

As many as 1,263,584 patients have recovered from the disease. 

Punjab

The number of patients swelled to 452,261 in the province with 13,088 causalities.

Sindh

The number of infections has surged to 499,830 in the province, while the death toll has reached 7,694.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The confirmed cases have surged to 182,199 in the province with 5,958 casualties.

Balochistan

There are 33,699 confirmed cases while 367 patients have died from the infection so far.

AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan

There are 34,750 coronavirus cases in the AJK while the death toll has reached 749. On the other hand, there are 10,445 cases in GB with 187 coronavirus deaths.

Islamabad

There are 110,963 cases in the capital city while 969 people have lost their lives.  

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World

Taliban pledge to open all schools for girls after March 21

Taliban say they hope to be able to open all schools for girls across the country after late March.

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Taliban pledge to open all schools for girls after March 21

Kabul: Afghanistan s new Taliban rulers say they hope to be able to open all schools for girls across the country after late March, their spokesman told The Associated Press, offering the first timeline for addressing a key demand of the international community.

Since the Taliban takeover in mid-August, girls in most of Afghanistan have not been allowed back to school beyond grade 7. The international community, reluctant to formally recognize a Taliban-run administration, is wary they could impose similar harsh measures as during their previous rule 20 years ago. At the time, women were banned from education, work and public life.

Zabihullah Mujahid, who is also the Taliban s deputy minister of culture and information, said their education departments are looking to open classrooms for all girls and women following the Afghan New Year, which starts on March 21. Afghanistan, like neighbouring Iran, observes the Islamic solar Hijri Shamsi calendar.

Education for girls and women “is a question of capacity,” Mujahid said in the interview.

Girls and boys must be completely segregated in schools, he said, adding that the biggest obstacle so far has been finding or building enough dorms, or hostels, where girls could stay while going to school. In heavily populated areas, it is not enough to have separate classrooms for boys and girls — separate school buildings are needed, he said.

“We are not against education,” Mujahid stressed, speaking at a Kabul office building with marble floors that once housed Afghan attorney general s offices and which the Taliban have adopted for their culture and information ministry.

The Taliban dictates so far have been erratic, varying from province to province. Girls have not been allowed back to classrooms in state-run schools beyond grade 7, except in about 10 of the country s 34 provinces. In the capital, Kabul, private universities and high schools have continued to operate uninterrupted. Most are small and the classes have always been segregated.

“We are trying to solve these problems by the coming year,” so that schools and universities can open, Mujahid said.

The international community has been skeptical of Taliban announcements, saying it will judge them by their actions — even as it scrambles to provide billions of dollars to avert a humanitarian catastrophe that the UN chief this week warned could endanger the lives of millions.

With a breakdown of services and only sporadic electricity in the bitterly cold Afghan winters, most people rely on firewood and coal for heat. Among the hardest hit are some 3 million Afghans who live as refugees within their own country, having fled their homes because of war, drought, poverty or fear of the Taliban.

Earlier this month, the United Nations launched a $5 billion appeal for Afghanistan, the single largest appeal for one country.

Washington has spent $145 billion on reconstruction and development projects in Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led invasion that ousted the Taliban regime. Yet even before the Taliban recaptured the country, the poverty rate was 54 per cent —and a 2018 Gallup poll revealed unprecedented misery among Afghans.

Mujahid appealed for economic cooperation, trade and “stronger diplomatic relations.” So far, neither Afghanistan s neighbours nor the United Nations seem ready to grant formal recognition which would help open up the Afghan economy. However, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for greater economic development, saying it s critical to rapidly inject liquidity into the Afghan economy “and avoid a meltdown that would lead to poverty, hunger and destitution for millions.”

The international community has called for a more representative government that includes women as well as ethnic and religious minorities. While all members of the new Taliban Cabinet are men and most are Taliban members, Mujahid said there are exceptions, such as the deputy finance minister and officials in the economics ministry who are holdovers from the previous, US-backed administration.

Mujahid also said 80 per cent of civil servants who have returned to work were employees under the previous administration. Women are working in the health and education sector and at Kabul International Airport in customs and passport control, he added. He did not say if or when women would be allowed to return to work in government ministries.

He also told the AP that most of the new government s revenue will come from customs that the Taliban will collect at border crossings with Iran, Pakistan and the Central Asian nations to the north. Without offering figures, he claimed the Taliban have brought in more revenue in their first four months in power than the previous government in over a year.

He appealed to Afghans who have fled to return to their homeland. Since the takeover, there have been cases of opponents arrested, journalists beaten, rights workers threatened and demonstrations by women dispersed by heavily armed Taliban troops firing in the air.

Mujahid acknowledged incidents of Taliban members harassing Afghan civilians, including humiliating young men and forcibly cutting their hair.

“Such crimes happen, but it is not the policy of our government," he said, adding that those responsible were arrested.

“This is our message. We have no dispute with anyone and we don t want anyone to remain in opposition or away from their country.”

SOURCE: AP

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Pakistan

PM Imran Khan to launch Pakistan’s first-ever digital city in Haripur today

The project aims to serve as a state-of-the-art facility to enable collaborations and innovation among academia, research, industry and planners from within country and abroad

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PM Imran Khan to launch Pakistan’s first-ever digital city in Haripur today

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to visit Haripur today (Monday) to perform the groundbreaking of Pakistan Digital City Special Technology Zone project, the country’s first such venture.

The prime minister will be accompanied by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, federal and provincial ministers.

The Pakistan Digital City project will be completed at a cost of Rs1.31 billion and scattered over 86 kanals of land.

Pakistan Digital City Haripur is a flagship project of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government being launched to provide all facilities to the IT industry in one place.

The project aims to serve as a state-of-the-art facility to enable collaborations and innovation amongst academia, research, industry and planners from within country and abroad.

It will benefit other allied industries like electronics, software houses, mobile phone industry, technology incubators, and computer industry in the province.

Last month, Prime Minister Imran Khan had inaugurated Lahore Technopolis, a special technology zone, to create jobs and boost Pakistan’s tech exports.

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