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5.6 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of KP, Islamabad

Tremors were felt in Lower Dir, Swabi, Malakand, Peshawar and suburbs

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5.6 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of KP, Islamabad
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Peshawar: A strong earthquake struck parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Peshawar on Friday night, leaving people of the area in state of fear.  

According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), the earthquake's magnitude was recorded at 5.6. It also added that it had originated in the Afghanistan-Tajikistan border region at a depth of 100 kilometres around 9:13pm.

The tremors were felt in Lower Dir, Swabi, Malakand, Peshawar and suburbs. Trembles were also felt in Peshawar and adjoining areas, Mansehra, Balakot, Charsadda, Gilgit-Baltistan and other areas, GNN reported.

No loss of life or property has been reported so far. The people rushed outside buildings and houses by reciting Kalama Tayaba.   

Faisal Waqas

Faisal Waqas is a passionate journalist who has eight years of diversified experience in print, electronic and digital media. He has previously worked with other renowned private TV channels as well as English Newspaper and now associated with GNN as Senior Content Writer. Faisal has graduated from the University of Punjab and earned his M.Phil degree in Mass Communication from Superior University of Lahore.

World

North Korea fires two suspected ballistic missiles: S. Korea  

The projectiles were, reportedly, fired from an airport in North Korea’s capital city of Pyongyang.

Published by Mehak Javed

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North Korea fires two suspected ballistic missiles: S. Korea  

Seoul: North Korea fired two suspected short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) Monday—the fourth test this month to demonstrate its expanding missile arsenal, South Korea's military reported. 

The projectiles were, reportedly, fired from an airport in North Korea’s capital city of Pyongyang.

Japan also reported the launch, with chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno condemning it as a threat to peace and security.

In less than two weeks, nuclear-armed North Korea has conducted three other missile tests, an unusually rapid series of launches. It said two of them involved single "hypersonic missiles" capable of high speed and manoeuvring after launch, while a test on Friday involved a pair of short-range ballistic missiles fired from train cars.

Monday's launch appeared to involve two SRBMs fired east from Sunan Airfield in Pyongyang, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement.

North Korea used the airport to test fire the Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) in 2017, with leader Kim Jong Un in attendance.

As per reports, the missiles travelled about 380 km (236 miles) to a maximum altitude of 42 km (26 miles).

Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi said the missiles appeared to have landed in the ocean near North Korea's east coast.

The U.S. military's Indo-Pacific Command said it assessed that the launch did not pose an immediate threat to the United States or its allies, but "these missile launches highlight the destabilising impact of North Korea's illicit weapons programme".

The pace of testing and the different launch sites suggests that North Korea has enough missiles to feel comfortable expending them on tests, training, and demonstrations, and helps reinforce its deterrent credibility by emphasizing the volume of its missile force, said Mason Richey, a professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul.

North Korea has not tested its longest-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) or nuclear weapons since 2017, but after denuclearisation talks stalled in 2019, it began unveiling and testing a range of new SRBM designs.

Many of the latest SRBMs, including the hypersonic missiles, appear designed to evade missile defences. North Korea has also vowed to pursue tactical nuclear weapons, which could allow it to deploy nuclear warheads on SRBMs.

"Every tactical missile launch flaunts how little sanctions have constrained the Kim regime, and how the U.S. ... has failed to make North Korea pay a sufficient cost for short-range missile programme development," Richey said.

'Isolating and Stifling'

The latest launches have drawn both condemnation and an appeal for dialogue from a U.S. administration that has imposed new sanctions over North Korean missile launches and is pushing for more.

U.S. President Joe Biden's administration imposed its first new sanctions on Pyongyang on Wednesday, and called on the U.N. Security Council to blacklist several North Korean individuals and entities. It also repeated calls for North Korea to return to talks aimed at reducing tension and persuading it to surrender its arsenal of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

North Korea has defended the missile tests as its sovereign right to self-defence and accused the United States of intentionally intensifying confrontation with new sanctions.

In a statement before Friday's missile tests, the North Korean foreign ministry said that although the United States might talk of diplomacy and dialogue, its actions showed it was still engrossed in its policy of "isolating and stifling" North Korea.

South Korea's national security council held an emergency meeting after Monday's test, with members stressing that "above all else, it is essential to start dialogue as soon as possible in order for the situation on the Korean Peninsula to not become more strained and to restore stability", the presidential Blue House said in a statement.

The launches came as North Korea, more isolated than ever under self-imposed border closures aimed at preventing a COVID-19 pandemic, appeared to be preparing to open at least some trade across its land border with China.

Chinese brokers said they expect the resumption of regular trade with North Korea soon after a North Korean train pulled into a Chinese border town on Sunday in the first such crossing since anti-coronavirus lockdowns began in 2020.

Zhao Tong, a Beijing-based nuclear policy expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said North Korea had few reasons to hold back its missile development.

Leader Kim appeared to have little hope of a breakthrough with the United States, and China’s sympathy for North Korea and antipathy towards the United States could encourage North Korea to think that China was unlikely to support any effort by the international community to censure it for the tests, he added.

"North Korea may think this is a safe time to advance its missile development," Zhao said.

Last week, China criticised the new U.S. sanctions but also called on all sides to act prudently and engage in dialogue to reduce tensions.

China says it enforces existing international sanctions on North Korea, but has joined with Russia to urge the U.N. Security Council to ease the measures, saying they hurt the civilian population.

SOURCE: REUTERS 

 

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World

‘Austria to make COVID vaccines compulsory for adults from Feb’

Nehammer, a conservative who took office in December, said those who didn t comply would face a hefty fine

Published by Faisal Waqas

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‘Austria to make COVID vaccines compulsory for adults from Feb’

Vienna: Austria will become the first European country to make Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for adults in February, Chancellor Karl Nehammer said Sunday, acknowledging that it was a “sensitive topic.”

Nehammer, a conservative who took office in December, said those who didn t comply would face a hefty fine.

“We will decide on compulsory vaccination as planned. It will come into force at the beginning of February for adults,” he told a news conference.

Since plans for compulsory jabs were first announced last year, Austria has seen impassioned debate both in parliament and beyond on the issue.

To date 71.5 percent of eligible Austrian residents have had their jabs -- several percentage points below many of the country’s EU neighbours.

Nehammer acknowledged the decision covered "a totally sensitive topic" but said it followed careful consideration.

He warned that after an "entry phase" for the policy, restrictions would be "tightened accordingly" in mid-March on those holding out against the jab, including fines of between 600-3,600 euros ($684-$4,100).

Saturday saw some 27,000 people demonstrate in Vienna against the measure which opponents dub an attack on personal freedoms.

On Thursday Parliament is due to pass into law a bill which initially was set to cover all people from 14 upwards but now will cover adults only.

Exceptions will be made for pregnant women and those who can show they have a medical exemption.

The government has widespread support for a policy which only the far-right is opposing.

Austria has to date seen almost 14,000 Covid-related deaths and 1.4 million cases in a population of some nine million.

Compulsory vaccinations against Covid remain rare worldwide, though Ecuador, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Indonesia and Micronesia have introduced such schemes.

Source: AFP

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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

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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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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