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Pakistan

Punjab Govt reduces school attendance to 50pc in Lahore

Classes from grade 7 through 12 will remain on the previous schedule, says Murad Raas 

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Punjab Govt reduces school attendance to 50pc in Lahore
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Lahore: The Punjab government has announced reduction of school attendance to 50 per cent in public and private schools in Lahore for classes up to grade 6.

In a tweet, Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas said that classes up to Grade 6 will be staggered in all public and private schools from January 20 to January 31, 2022.

He further said that that classes for grade 7 through 12 will remain on the previous schedule.

Murad Raas urged people to follow coronavirus related standard operating procedures (SOPs) as country is facing fifth wave of coronavirus fueled by omicron variant of the virus.

On the other hand, in a bid to curb the looming fifth wave of the COVID pandemic fuelled by the Omicron variant of coronavirus, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) Wednesday announced new stricter restrictions which will take effect on January 28.   

The health ministry revised restrictions for cities with high COVID positivity ratio.

The fifth wave of the pandemic has continued its upward trajectory in Pakistan, hence the country is tightening its COVID related Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) with each passing day.

Needless to say, the fifth wave of the corona is looming over Pakistan, pushing country to impose coronavirus SOPs for education and other sectors.

The new guidelines announced by NCOC include mandatory Covid-19 vaccination and possession of proof of Covid-19 vaccination, applicable for all children above 12 years of age.

Following the meeting, NCOC banned indoor dining completely, while granted permission to outdoor gatherings, including weddings, with a cap of fully vaccinated 300 guests — applicable from January 24.

As coronavirus continues its momentum, the cities and districts which have a positivity ratio of up to 10%, the classes will continue as usual, but with stringent COVID-19 rules intact.

Educational institutes have been directed to conduct classes daily for students above 12 years of age, with 50% attendance.

For students (fully vaccinated) over 12 years, the NCOC has recommended 100% attendance.

The revised restrictions were imposed during an NCOC session, chaired by Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar.

The guidelines and SOPs have been applied on education, restaurant, entertainment and other sectors.

Moreover, public transport will be allowed to operate with 70% capacity, instructing people to wear masks throughout their journey, with complete effect from January 20. However, railways will operate with 80% occupancy level, starting January 24.

Authorities will meet again on January 27 to review the COVID-19 situation.

In the meantime, Pakistan has witnessed an enormous spike in its daily tally of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) after as many as 5,472 new infections were logged in the last 24 hours, according to morning update by ministry of health.

Pakistan’s COVID positivity rate now stands at 9.48%. While, the cumulative tally of the country has now climbed to 1,338,993.  As many as 1,265,239 patients have recovered from the disease.  

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.

Entertainment

The dinosaurs are back in latest adventure 'Jurassic World Dominion'

The film, which begins its global cinema roll-out on June 1, features plenty of stunning visual effects showing the dinosaurs living alongside humans

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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The dinosaurs are back in latest adventure 'Jurassic World Dominion'

Casts old and new return for more dinosaur misadventures in "Jurassic World Dominion", in a final outing concluding the second trilogy of films in the popular franchise.

The movie is set four years after the destruction of the remote island of Isla Nubar, and dinosaurs roam the entire world, living and hunting among humans.

"Jurassic Park" actors Laura Dern and Sam Neill reprise their roles as paleobotanist Dr Ellie Sattler, now a soil and climate change scientist, and paleontologist Dr Alan Grant, reuniting with their castmate from the 1993 movie Jeff Goldblum, who plays mathematician Dr Ian Malcolm.

The movie sees them join forces with Chris Pratt's animal behaviourist Owen Grady and Bryce Dallas Howard's activist Claire Dearing, who have helmed the more recent "Jurassic World" trilogy of films.

"Both of them (Dern and Neill are) terrific friends... and changed my life for having known them for all these 30 years... We were in a movie that got people's attention and entertained people," Goldblum, who featured in 2018's "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom", told Reuters at a London press event for the movie on Friday.

"And now, for the first time, being reunited on screen and getting a chance to work together under these interesting circumstances with this new cast... what a parade and a cobb salad of lucky teammates for me."

The film, which begins its global cinema roll-out on June 1, features plenty of stunning visual effects showing the dinosaurs living alongside humans. Soon enough, threats emerge.

"What I'm so grateful for and why I felt privileged to come back as Dr Ellie Sattler is it has a deeply rooted environmental message as the entire franchise does, because ultimately it's about corporate greed and previous extinction," Dern said.

 
Howard, whose character was former operations manager at the now closed dinosaur park in the first "Jurassic World" movie, said wrapping up the trilogy which began in 2015 was emotional.

"I cried so much," she said.

"There was some of the actors on my flight home, and they messaged everyone going like, 'Bryce cried the entire 10 hours home.' I'm like, 'I know'."

SOURCE: REUTERS

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Regional

Balochistan set to hold local government elections tomorrow

Over 2,000 polling stations declared extremely sensitive

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Balochistan set to hold local government elections tomorrow

Quetta: Balochistan is all set to hold local government elections in 32 districts on May 29 (Sunday) amid tight security arrangements.

According to details, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has declared over 2,000 polling stations sensitive and the provincial government has enhanced security to avert any untoward incident during polling.

In Balochistan, a total of 17,774 candidates are contesting the LG elections. Chief Minister Balochistan, Mir Quddus Bizenjo ordered the release of Rs600 million to meet the expenses of the elections including logistics expenditures of the election staff and law enforcement agencies.

According to Provincial Election Commission, the total number of registered voters in the 32 districts is 3,552,398 with over 2,000,000 male voters and 1,546,124 female voters.

The ECP has set up 13,533 polling booths in 5,624 polling stations across 32 districts. Election results will be announced on June 2.

The voters will exercise their votes for seven Municipal Corporations, 49 Municipal Committees, and 838 Union Councils in these districts. There are 6,259 wards including 5,345 rural and 914 urban.

On the other hand, a special security plan was made to ensure peaceful and smooth polling.

Besides, 45,438 security personnel — including members of the police, Levies, Anti-Terrorist Force and Frontier Corps (FC) — will be deployed in and around polling stations. Army troops along with FC personnel would be deployed at all tentative polling stations.

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World

Iran captures two Greek tankers amid row over US oil grab

The United States had confiscated the Iranian oil cargo held onboard few days ago

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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Iran captures two Greek tankers amid row over US oil grab

Iranian forces seized two Greek tankers in the Gulf on Friday, shortly after Tehran warned it would take "punitive action" against Athens over the confiscation of Iranian oil by the United States from a tanker held off the Greek coast.

"The Revolutionary Guards Navy today seized two Greek tankers for violations in Gulf waters," said a Guards statement, quoted by Iranian state news agency IRNA. It gave no further details and did not say what the alleged violations were.

Greece's foreign ministry said an Iranian navy helicopter landed on Greek flagged vessel Delta Poseidon, which was sailing in international waters, 22 nautical miles from the Iranian shore, and took the crew hostage, among them two Greek citizens.

It said a similar incident took place on another Greek-flagged vessel near Iran, without naming the ship, adding both actions violated international law and Greece had informed its allies, as well as complained to Iran's ambassador in Athens.

Greece-based Delta Tankers, which operates the Delta Poseidon, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Greek authorities last month impounded the Iranian-flagged Pegas, with 19 Russian crew members on board, near the coast of the southern island of Evia due to European Union sanctions.

The United States later confiscated the Iranian oil cargo held onboard and plans to send it to the United States on another vessel, Reuters reported on Thursday.

The Pegas was later released, but the seizure inflamed tensions at a delicate time, with Iran and world powers seeking to revive a nuclear deal that Washington abandoned under former President Donald Trump in favour of returning sanctions on Iran.

Earlier on Friday, Nour News, which is affiliated to an Iranian state security body, said on Twitter: "Following the seizure of an Iranian tanker by the Greek government and the transfer of its oil to the Americans, #Iran has decided to take punitive action against #Greece."

It did not say what kind of action Iran would take.

The Pegas was among five vessels designated by Washington on Feb. 22 - two days before Russia's invasion of Ukraine - for sanctions against Promsvyazbank, a bank viewed as critical to Russia's defence sector.

It was unclear whether the cargo was impounded because it was Iranian oil or due to the sanctions on the tanker over its Russian links. Iran and Russia face separate U.S. sanctions.

NUCLEAR TALKS

A maritime security source said the other tanker seized on Friday was the Greek-flagged Prudent Warrior. Its operator, Greece-based shipping firm Polembros, told Reuters there had been "an incident" with one of its ships, without elaborating, adding it was "making every effort to resolve the issue."

U.S. advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), which monitors Iran-related tanker traffic through ship and satellite tracking, said Prudent Warrior was carrying a cargo of Qatari and Iraqi oil, while the Delta Poseidon was loaded with Iraqi oil.

Each vessel was carrying approximately one million barrels, it said.

"This should have direct implications on the JCPOA (Iran nuclear) negotiations and further stalling any chances of reviving a deal," Claire Jungman, chief of staff at UANI, told Reuters.

A spokesperson with the U.S. Fifth Fleet in Bahrain said it was aware of the reported seizures and was looking into them.

Also on Friday, Iran summoned an envoy of Switzerland, which represents U.S. interests in Tehran, to protest against the Pegas oil seizure, the Iranian foreign ministry said.

"The Islamic Republic expressed its deep concern over the U.S. government's continued violation of international laws and international maritime conventions," state media quoted the foreign ministry as saying.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment on the oil seizure.

IRNA quoted Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization as saying the tanker had sought refuge along the Greek coast after experiencing technical problems and poor weather. It called the seizure of its cargo was "a clear example of piracy".

SOURCE: REUTERS

The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on what it described as a Russian-backed oil smuggling and money laundering network for Iran's Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force.

In 2019, Iran seized a British tanker near the Strait of Hormuz for alleged marine violations two weeks after British forces detained an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar, accusing it of shipping oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions. Both vessels were later released.

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