Britain ‘Rushed’ Pfizer COVID Vaccine Approval: Fauci

Washington, Dec 3 (AFP/APP): Leading American infectious disease scientist Anthony Fauci criticized Britain on Thursday for rushing through its approval process for the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, suggesting the move could undermine public faith. His comments came a day after Britain became the first Western country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine for general use, prompting skepticism among European neighbors and suggestions that the process was politicised.

Coronavirus: Latest Global Developments

Paris, Dec 3 (AFP/APP): The death toll from Covid-19 passes 1.5 million from nearly 65 million cases, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP on Thursday at 1845 GMT. There’ve been 1,500,038 fatalities from 64,774,705 cases since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China in late December 2019. The worst affected region is Latin America and the Caribbean with 452,263 deaths, followed by Europe (430,060) and the US and Canada (286,946).

Shareholders in Spain’s Caixabank Approve Bankia Merger

Barcelona, Dec 3 (AFP/APP): Caixabank shareholders on Thursday approved a planned merger with smaller rival Bankia which will create Spain’s biggest domestic bank once the deal is approved by regulators. The move comes two days after shareholders in Bankia, Spain’s fourth-largest bank, approved the proposed tie-up with Caixabank, its third-largest lender.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Rejects Trump’s Lawsuit

4th December 2020: The Wisconsin Supreme Court has rejected President Trump’s lawsuit that attempted to overturn the results of the election in the state along a 4-3 vote, saying the case first needs to exhaust options in the lower courts.

Trump Refuses to Say if he has Confidence in Attorney General

Washington, Dec 3 (AFP/APP): US President Donald Trump refused to say on Thursday whether he has confidence in Attorney General Bill Barr, who has publicly contradicted his claims that the November 3 election was marred by fraud. “Ask me that in a number of weeks from now,” Trump told reporters at the White House when asked if he retains confidence in Barr.

In-Form Bezuidenhout Among Six Leading South African Open

Sun City, South Africa, Dec 3 (AFP/APP): Christiaan Bezuidenhout carried the form which won him the Alfred Dunhill Championship last weekend into the South African Open on Thursday, firing a lead-sharing 67 in the first round. His five-under-par round over the Gary Player Country Club at the Sun City resort in northwestern South Africa was matched by five other golfers in the European Tour/Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned event.

EASA ready to lift the ban on PIA?

On June 30, 2020, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) suspended Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) air operations permit for European countries for six months. The ban came in the aftermath of the Aviation Minister’s speech in the Parliament regarding results of an investigations which revealed that more than 260 out of 860 pilot licenses issued by the Pakistani authorities are fraudulent.

West Africa Facing Worst Food Insecurity in Decades: Experts

Paris, Dec 3 (AFP/APP): Twenty-four million people face the worst hunger in decades in West Africa, gripped by “paroxysmal” jihadist attacks and insurgency, the Sahel and West Africa Club warned Thursday. The Paris-based independent body, which seeks to promote regional policies to improve economic and social well-being, said West Africa was “experiencing a food and nutrition crisis without precedent”.

Falling US Jobless Claims Bright Spot in Troubled Labour Market

Washington, Dec 3 (AFP/APP): A drop in new applications for US unemployment benefits offered small comfort to millions of Americans who will see pandemic aid expire without an agreement on a new relief program. With weeks before Joe Biden takes office, Republicans and Democrats remain at odds over what should be included in a new spending package to help businesses and families struggling from the pandemic.

Croatia Reports 4,534 New COVID19 Cases

ZAGREB, Dec. 3 (Xinhua/APP): Croatia has reported 4,534 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, bringing its national tally to 139,415, the country’s COVID-19 response team said on Thursday. The disease has killed 1,964 people in the country, including 48 in the past 24 hours, it added. The Croatian government announced on Monday that Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has tested positive for COVID-19.  

Indian Army Chief will visit Saudia and UAE next week

Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane will be travelling to Saudi Arabia and UAE next week on a four day visit. This is the first trip by an Indian Army chief to Saudia. He will also be addressing the Saudi National Defence University.

Greece Extends Lockdown to December 14

Athens, Dec 3 (AFP/APP): Greece said Thursday it will extend a coronavirus lockdown by a week to December 14, citing persistently high infection rates. “The epidemiological burden remains high,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas told reporters as he announced the extension. After weathering the first wave with relatively low fatalities compared to other European countries, Greece has been hit with scores of deaths daily in recent months.

Three soldiers killed, while 14 civilians injured in a car bomb explosion

Afghanistan: Three soldiers have been killed, while 14 civilians have sustained injuries in a car bomb explosion that has rocked the Afghan town of Gardez, Abdulrahman Mangal, a spokesman for the local governor, said Thursday. In addition to these casualties, there has been material damage to nearby markets, shops and public property.

Foreign Minister Qureshi Thanks OIC Envoys for Support During CFM in Niamey

Shah Mahmood Qureshi thanked OIC for unequivocal support during the Niamey CFM Session. The unanimous adoption of a strong and comprehensive Resolution on the Kashmir dispute, explicit reiteration of the OIC’s position in the Niamey Declaration, and presentation of the Report on the visit of the Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan and AJK reaffirmed the centrality of the dispute.

Carefully Monitoring all Developments on Brahmaputra: MEA

Amidst reports that China plans to build a major dam on the Brahmaputra, India on Thursday said it “carefully monitors” all developments relating to the river, and that it intend to remain engaged with China on the issue of trans-border rivers to safeguard its interests. The Brahmaputra river, known as the Yarlung Tsangpo in China, originates from Tibet and flows into Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

Cambodia Records Two New Local COVID19 Infections

PHNOM PENH, Dec. 3 (Xinhua/APP): Cambodia’s Ministry of Health announced in a statement on Thursday that two more people tested positive for COVID-19, raising the total number of infected people in the first-ever community transmission to 19. The first community transmission was detected on Saturday after a local family of six people, who reside in both capital Phnom Penh and northwest Siem Reap province, confirmed positive.

PM Khan’s telephonic talk with Prince Charles

According to reports, Britain’s heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles talked to Imran Khan over a phone call and reaffirmed United Kingdom’s assistance to Pakistan during the coronavirus pandemic. A statement issued here on Thursday said Prince Charles expressed regret over coronavirus deaths in Pakistan. The two leaders discussed Pakistan-Britain ties and reiterated their commitment to strengthen bilateral relations.

Pakistan expresses solidarity with the victims in IIOJK on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

In the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Pakistan expresses its solidarity with the victims in IIOJK who have been brutally disabled by the use of pellet guns and torture inflicted by Indian occupation forces. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Special Procedure Mandate Holders and the international media and civil society have condemned India for these atrocities

China Reaffirms Support for Palestinian Cause

ANKARA, Dec 3 (AA/APP): China has reiterated its support to the Palestinian cause to restore the legitimate rights of Palestinian people. At a news briefing on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said her country believed that the Palestinian issue, sitting at the root of Middle East issues, bears on regional peace and stability, international justice and human conscience.

Navy fully ready to deal with China: Indian Navy chief

Indian Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh on Thursday said his force is alive to various threats including from China and fully ready to deal with them. Addressing a press conference on the eve of Navy Day, he said the Navy has a standard operating procedure in case of any infringement in the Indian Ocean region, in a veiled reference to the Chinese challenge.

Azerbaijan Says 2,783 Soldiers Killed in Nagorno-Karabakh Fighting

Baku, Dec 3 (AFP/APP): Azerbaijan said Thursday that nearly 2,800 of its soldiers were killed in recent fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh, the first details it has released of military losses in weeks of clashes with Armenian forces. The defence ministry in Baku said in a statement that “2,783 servicemen of the Azerbaijani armed forces were killed in the patriotic war,” adding that 100 more soldiers were missing.

Total COVID Cases in Americas Rises by 30% in Just One Month: PAHO

Washington, Dec 2 (AFP/APP): The cumulative total of Covid-19 cases surged by nearly 30 percent across the Americas region in just one month, the Pan American Health Organization warned Wednesday, releasing figures for November. In that month “we had over six million new cases reported” in the region covering North, South and Central America as well as the Caribbean, PAHO director Carissa Etienne told reporters in Washington.

Ahead of Talks with Centre, Farmers Demand Parliament Session to Repeal Farm Laws

India: Ahead of the second round of talks with the Centre, the protesting farmers Wednesday demanded that the government call a special session of the Parliament to repeal the contentious farm laws even as Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar assured that all their objections would be addressed.

UN Worried as DR Congo Struggles with Political Crisis

Kinshasa, Dec 2 (AFP/APP): The UN has sounded a warning about a brewing political crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a long-running impasse between President Felix Tshisekedi and supporters of his predecessor Joseph Kabila has reached a crucial point. In a report to the UN Security Council on Monday, Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he’s “concerned by the political tensions within the ruling coalition

ISSI Holds First Bilateral Dialogue with HAS

ISLAMABAD, Dec 2 (APP): Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) Wednesday held its first bilateral dialogue with Heart of Asia Society (HAS) in Kabul, Afghanistan. The distinguished panel included DG ISSI former ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, President, HAS former ambassador Jawed Ludin, Amina Khan, Director Centre for Middle East, Africa & Afghanistan, ISSI, former ambassador Janan Mosazai, Vice President, HAS and Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman BOG, ISSI.

President & PM Grieved Over Death of Mir Zafarullah Jamali

ISLAMABAD, Dec 2 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi and PM Imran Khan Wednesday expressed their deep grief and sorrow over the death of former prime minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali. According to a press release, the president expressing his condolence and sympathies with the bereaved family, prayed for the high ranks of the departed soul and for the bereaved family to bear the loss with fortitude.

Former Premier Zafarullah Jamali Passes Away

ISLAMABAD, Dec 2 (APP): Former PM Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali has passed away aged 76 at a hospital in Rawalpindi. The news of his demise was confirmed by Senator Sana Jamali on Wednesday evening. Jamali, who served as premier from November 2002 to June 2004, was shifted to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology & National Institute of Heart Diseases in Rawalpindi after a heart attack last week.

Dawood Ibrahim’s Ratnagiri properties fetch ₹1.10 crore in auction

Three properties of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district were sold in an auction for over Rs 1 crore, an official said on Wednesday. The auction was held earlier this week under the Smugglers And Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act (SAFEMA), the official said.  

US Shortens COVID Quarantine Advice from 14 days to ‘Easier’ 10

Washington, Dec 2 (AFP/APP): US health officials on Wednesday recommended a shortened quarantine period for people exposed to Covid-19, from 14 to 10 days if they haven’t taken a test and have not developed symptoms. This can be further reduced to just seven days if the exposed person receives a negative test, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) scientist Henry Walke said.

Will Boris Johnson be India’s Republic Day Chief Guest?

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson could be India’s chief guest at 2021 Republic Day, a report in the Hindustan Times  mentioned. It claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally invited Johnson during their November 27 telephonic conversation. Further, it said that the British prime minister also invited PM Modi to the G-7 Summit in the United Kingdom next year.

Britain ‘Rushed’ Pfizer COVID Vaccine Approval: Fauci

Washington, Dec 3 (AFP/APP): Leading American infectious disease scientist Anthony Fauci criticized Britain on Thursday for rushing through its approval process for the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, suggesting the move could undermine public faith. His comments came a day after Britain became the first Western country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine for general use, prompting skepticism among European neighbors and suggestions that the process was politicised.

Coronavirus: Latest Global Developments

Paris, Dec 3 (AFP/APP): The death toll from Covid-19 passes 1.5 million from nearly 65 million cases, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP on Thursday at 1845 GMT. There’ve been 1,500,038 fatalities from 64,774,705 cases since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China in late December 2019. The worst affected region is Latin America and the Caribbean with 452,263 deaths, followed by Europe (430,060) and the US and Canada (286,946).

Shareholders in Spain’s Caixabank Approve Bankia Merger

Barcelona, Dec 3 (AFP/APP): Caixabank shareholders on Thursday approved a planned merger with smaller rival Bankia which will create Spain’s biggest domestic bank once the deal is approved by regulators. The move comes two days after shareholders in Bankia, Spain’s fourth-largest bank, approved the proposed tie-up with Caixabank, its third-largest lender.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Rejects Trump’s Lawsuit

4th December 2020: The Wisconsin Supreme Court has rejected President Trump’s lawsuit that attempted to overturn the results of the election in the state along a 4-3 vote, saying the case first needs to exhaust options in the lower courts.

Trump Refuses to Say if he has Confidence in Attorney General

Washington, Dec 3 (AFP/APP): US President Donald Trump refused to say on Thursday whether he has confidence in Attorney General Bill Barr, who has publicly contradicted his claims that the November 3 election was marred by fraud. “Ask me that in a number of weeks from now,” Trump told reporters at the White House when asked if he retains confidence in Barr.

In-Form Bezuidenhout Among Six Leading South African Open

Sun City, South Africa, Dec 3 (AFP/APP): Christiaan Bezuidenhout carried the form which won him the Alfred Dunhill Championship last weekend into the South African Open on Thursday, firing a lead-sharing 67 in the first round. His five-under-par round over the Gary Player Country Club at the Sun City resort in northwestern South Africa was matched by five other golfers in the European Tour/Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned event.

EASA ready to lift the ban on PIA?

On June 30, 2020, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) suspended Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) air operations permit for European countries for six months. The ban came in the aftermath of the Aviation Minister’s speech in the Parliament regarding results of an investigations which revealed that more than 260 out of 860 pilot licenses issued by the Pakistani authorities are fraudulent.

West Africa Facing Worst Food Insecurity in Decades: Experts

Paris, Dec 3 (AFP/APP): Twenty-four million people face the worst hunger in decades in West Africa, gripped by “paroxysmal” jihadist attacks and insurgency, the Sahel and West Africa Club warned Thursday. The Paris-based independent body, which seeks to promote regional policies to improve economic and social well-being, said West Africa was “experiencing a food and nutrition crisis without precedent”.

Falling US Jobless Claims Bright Spot in Troubled Labour Market

Washington, Dec 3 (AFP/APP): A drop in new applications for US unemployment benefits offered small comfort to millions of Americans who will see pandemic aid expire without an agreement on a new relief program. With weeks before Joe Biden takes office, Republicans and Democrats remain at odds over what should be included in a new spending package to help businesses and families struggling from the pandemic.

Croatia Reports 4,534 New COVID19 Cases

ZAGREB, Dec. 3 (Xinhua/APP): Croatia has reported 4,534 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, bringing its national tally to 139,415, the country’s COVID-19 response team said on Thursday. The disease has killed 1,964 people in the country, including 48 in the past 24 hours, it added. The Croatian government announced on Monday that Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has tested positive for COVID-19.  

Indian Army Chief will visit Saudia and UAE next week

Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane will be travelling to Saudi Arabia and UAE next week on a four day visit. This is the first trip by an Indian Army chief to Saudia. He will also be addressing the Saudi National Defence University.

Greece Extends Lockdown to December 14

Athens, Dec 3 (AFP/APP): Greece said Thursday it will extend a coronavirus lockdown by a week to December 14, citing persistently high infection rates. “The epidemiological burden remains high,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas told reporters as he announced the extension. After weathering the first wave with relatively low fatalities compared to other European countries, Greece has been hit with scores of deaths daily in recent months.

Three soldiers killed, while 14 civilians injured in a car bomb explosion

Afghanistan: Three soldiers have been killed, while 14 civilians have sustained injuries in a car bomb explosion that has rocked the Afghan town of Gardez, Abdulrahman Mangal, a spokesman for the local governor, said Thursday. In addition to these casualties, there has been material damage to nearby markets, shops and public property.

Foreign Minister Qureshi Thanks OIC Envoys for Support During CFM in Niamey

Shah Mahmood Qureshi thanked OIC for unequivocal support during the Niamey CFM Session. The unanimous adoption of a strong and comprehensive Resolution on the Kashmir dispute, explicit reiteration of the OIC’s position in the Niamey Declaration, and presentation of the Report on the visit of the Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan and AJK reaffirmed the centrality of the dispute.

Carefully Monitoring all Developments on Brahmaputra: MEA

Amidst reports that China plans to build a major dam on the Brahmaputra, India on Thursday said it “carefully monitors” all developments relating to the river, and that it intend to remain engaged with China on the issue of trans-border rivers to safeguard its interests. The Brahmaputra river, known as the Yarlung Tsangpo in China, originates from Tibet and flows into Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

Cambodia Records Two New Local COVID19 Infections

PHNOM PENH, Dec. 3 (Xinhua/APP): Cambodia’s Ministry of Health announced in a statement on Thursday that two more people tested positive for COVID-19, raising the total number of infected people in the first-ever community transmission to 19. The first community transmission was detected on Saturday after a local family of six people, who reside in both capital Phnom Penh and northwest Siem Reap province, confirmed positive.

PM Khan’s telephonic talk with Prince Charles

According to reports, Britain’s heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles talked to Imran Khan over a phone call and reaffirmed United Kingdom’s assistance to Pakistan during the coronavirus pandemic. A statement issued here on Thursday said Prince Charles expressed regret over coronavirus deaths in Pakistan. The two leaders discussed Pakistan-Britain ties and reiterated their commitment to strengthen bilateral relations.

Pakistan expresses solidarity with the victims in IIOJK on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

In the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Pakistan expresses its solidarity with the victims in IIOJK who have been brutally disabled by the use of pellet guns and torture inflicted by Indian occupation forces. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Special Procedure Mandate Holders and the international media and civil society have condemned India for these atrocities

China Reaffirms Support for Palestinian Cause

ANKARA, Dec 3 (AA/APP): China has reiterated its support to the Palestinian cause to restore the legitimate rights of Palestinian people. At a news briefing on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said her country believed that the Palestinian issue, sitting at the root of Middle East issues, bears on regional peace and stability, international justice and human conscience.

Navy fully ready to deal with China: Indian Navy chief

Indian Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh on Thursday said his force is alive to various threats including from China and fully ready to deal with them. Addressing a press conference on the eve of Navy Day, he said the Navy has a standard operating procedure in case of any infringement in the Indian Ocean region, in a veiled reference to the Chinese challenge.

Azerbaijan Says 2,783 Soldiers Killed in Nagorno-Karabakh Fighting

Baku, Dec 3 (AFP/APP): Azerbaijan said Thursday that nearly 2,800 of its soldiers were killed in recent fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh, the first details it has released of military losses in weeks of clashes with Armenian forces. The defence ministry in Baku said in a statement that “2,783 servicemen of the Azerbaijani armed forces were killed in the patriotic war,” adding that 100 more soldiers were missing.

Total COVID Cases in Americas Rises by 30% in Just One Month: PAHO

Washington, Dec 2 (AFP/APP): The cumulative total of Covid-19 cases surged by nearly 30 percent across the Americas region in just one month, the Pan American Health Organization warned Wednesday, releasing figures for November. In that month “we had over six million new cases reported” in the region covering North, South and Central America as well as the Caribbean, PAHO director Carissa Etienne told reporters in Washington.

Ahead of Talks with Centre, Farmers Demand Parliament Session to Repeal Farm Laws

India: Ahead of the second round of talks with the Centre, the protesting farmers Wednesday demanded that the government call a special session of the Parliament to repeal the contentious farm laws even as Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar assured that all their objections would be addressed.

UN Worried as DR Congo Struggles with Political Crisis

Kinshasa, Dec 2 (AFP/APP): The UN has sounded a warning about a brewing political crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a long-running impasse between President Felix Tshisekedi and supporters of his predecessor Joseph Kabila has reached a crucial point. In a report to the UN Security Council on Monday, Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he’s “concerned by the political tensions within the ruling coalition

ISSI Holds First Bilateral Dialogue with HAS

ISLAMABAD, Dec 2 (APP): Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) Wednesday held its first bilateral dialogue with Heart of Asia Society (HAS) in Kabul, Afghanistan. The distinguished panel included DG ISSI former ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, President, HAS former ambassador Jawed Ludin, Amina Khan, Director Centre for Middle East, Africa & Afghanistan, ISSI, former ambassador Janan Mosazai, Vice President, HAS and Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman BOG, ISSI.

President & PM Grieved Over Death of Mir Zafarullah Jamali

ISLAMABAD, Dec 2 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi and PM Imran Khan Wednesday expressed their deep grief and sorrow over the death of former prime minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali. According to a press release, the president expressing his condolence and sympathies with the bereaved family, prayed for the high ranks of the departed soul and for the bereaved family to bear the loss with fortitude.

Former Premier Zafarullah Jamali Passes Away

ISLAMABAD, Dec 2 (APP): Former PM Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali has passed away aged 76 at a hospital in Rawalpindi. The news of his demise was confirmed by Senator Sana Jamali on Wednesday evening. Jamali, who served as premier from November 2002 to June 2004, was shifted to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology & National Institute of Heart Diseases in Rawalpindi after a heart attack last week.

Dawood Ibrahim’s Ratnagiri properties fetch ₹1.10 crore in auction

Three properties of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district were sold in an auction for over Rs 1 crore, an official said on Wednesday. The auction was held earlier this week under the Smugglers And Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act (SAFEMA), the official said.  

US Shortens COVID Quarantine Advice from 14 days to ‘Easier’ 10

Washington, Dec 2 (AFP/APP): US health officials on Wednesday recommended a shortened quarantine period for people exposed to Covid-19, from 14 to 10 days if they haven’t taken a test and have not developed symptoms. This can be further reduced to just seven days if the exposed person receives a negative test, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) scientist Henry Walke said.

Will Boris Johnson be India’s Republic Day Chief Guest?

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson could be India’s chief guest at 2021 Republic Day, a report in the Hindustan Times  mentioned. It claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally invited Johnson during their November 27 telephonic conversation. Further, it said that the British prime minister also invited PM Modi to the G-7 Summit in the United Kingdom next year.