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Death toll in Kazakhstan protests jumps to 225; 4,300 injured

The previous official death toll was 164

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Death toll in Kazakhstan protests jumps to 225; 4,300 injured
GNN Media: Representational Photo

A top law-enforcement official in Kazakhstan said Saturday that 225 people died during the violent demonstrations that shook the country this month, a significantly higher number than previously announced.

Serik Shalabayev, head of the criminal prosecution service in the general prosecutor’s office, said 19 police officers or servicemen were among the dead, news reports said. More than 4,300 people were injured, he said.

The previous official death toll was 164.

Demonstrations started on Jan. 2 in the oil and gas-rich Central Asian nation to protest a sharp rise in fuel prices. They quickly spread nationwide, widened into a general protest against the country’s authoritarian government and descended into violence within several days, especially in Almaty, the country’s largest city. Protesters stormed government buildings and set them ablaze.

At the request of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization sent a force of more than 2,000 soldiers, mostly Russians, to act as peacekeepers.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Saturday that its troops had returned home, but it was unclear if forces from other alliance countries remained in Kazakhstan.

SOURCE: AP NEWS

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.

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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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Two colleges closed in Islamabad amid rising coronavirus cases

Six cases of COVID-19 have been reported in two colleges of Islamabad

Published by Faisal Waqas

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Two colleges closed in Islamabad amid rising coronavirus cases

Islamabad: Islamabad administration has closed two colleges after emerging coronavirus cases on Sunday. 

According to the details garnered, positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported in two colleges of the federal capital. In this regard, the Islamabad district health officer (DHO) has informed the Deputy Commissioner in a letter.

In the letter to the deputy commissioner (DC), the DHO informed that six cases of COVID-19 have been reported in two colleges. The DHO said that three Corona cases have been reported in IMCG G-6/1, while three Corona cases have also come to light in IMCG F-6/2. 

Following to the coronavirus cases, the district health officer directed to close the two colleges immediately till the next order and spray disinfectant.

The letter said that the federal administration should conduct contact tracing and testing in both the colleges, while the tests should also be conducted of close relatives to the infected female students.

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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.

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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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