Israel lying about Vienna talks, says Iran

Vienna: On Wednesday, Iran accused Israel of "trumpeting lies to poison" the Vienna talks on resuscitating Tehran's 2015 nuclear agreement with major powers. The statement came as a result of derogatory remarks made by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid after meeting French President Emmanuel Macron, on Tuesday. He said that Iran was making an effort to buy time to boost its nuclear program and major powers needed to have a different approach.

Belgium can be transit center for Pakistani exports

Lahore: On Wednesday, the diplomat of Belgium, Philippe Bronchain, asserted that his country could be a great source of haulage for Pakistani exports to Europe. While addressing a meeting at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry, he urged the Pakistani business community to ensure their presence at the global level instead of keeping themselves limited to a limited region. LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir stated, "Belgium rejoices a key position in the European and international economy and a layer of big organizations of EU."

Free entry to Dubai Expo on UAE National Day

It emerged on Wednesday that organizers of the Dubai Expo had allowed free entry to Visitors on the 50th National Day of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on December 2, 2021. There will be grand celebrations planned for the day. The Expo administration also announced that people 18 years and older would have to show proof of coronavirus vaccination for entry and show a negative result of PCR test taken within 72 hours.

Skardu airport to operate flights from December 2

The Civil Aviation Authority announced on Wednesday that the Skardu airport had been upgraded and promoted to international status and would begin operations from this Thursday (Dec 2). The agency explained that the airport's preliminary operations would be executed under the Visual Flight Rules (VFR) only. Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan had proclaimed the decision to raise Skardu airport to international standards in early 2020.

Russia sends back US diplomats

Moscow: On Wednesday, Russia openly declared that it was authorizing US embassy staff who had been in Moscow for more than three years to fly home by Jan. 31. The retaliatory action was taken as per the US's decision to confine the tenures of Russian diplomats. "We ... intend to respond correspondingly. U.S. embassy employees who have been in Moscow for more than three years must leave Russia by Jan. 31," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova declared in a briefing.

US hardens travel rules amidst Omicron

Washington/Paris: It is reported that the United States mandated airlines to provide the names of passengers from southern African countries struck by the Omicron COVID-19 variant. The US along with other countries has tightened its borders as a European leader cautioned people to "prepare for the worst". 24 countries may have reported cases of the variant so far but that some of the early indications were that most were mild and none severe, World Health Organization (WHO) officials disclosed.

US warns Russia to retreat its troops from Ukraine border

Riga: On Dec 1, the United States cautioned Russia to draw back its troops from the Ukrainian border and warned that a Russian incursion would prompt sanctions that would blow Moscow harder than any assigned until now. "We don't know whether President (Vladimir) Putin has decided to invade. We do know that he is putting in place the capacity to do so in on short order should he so decide," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expounded.

Moderna can face lawsuit over patent issue

It emerged on Wednesday that Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) could confront a patent violation lawsuit over its COVID-19 vaccine. The speculations arose after a federal appeals court on Wednesday dismissed its challenge to patents being owned by the Arbutus Biopharma Corp (ABUS.O). According to the administrative panel's findings, Arbutus' patents, which may cover technology used in the vaccines, were not apparent in light of previously known science and so were found valid.

Messi wins record-extending seventh Ballon d’Or

Paris: It emerged on Tuesday that Argentina's Lionel Messi got hold of the Ballon d'Or award for the best player in the world for a record-stretching seventh time. He beat both Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho to lift the most prestigious trophy of soccer. "It's incredible to be here again. Two years ago I thought it was the last time. Winning the Copa America was key," Messi said at Paris's Theatre du Chatelet.

NATO warns Moscow for attacking Ukraine

Riga: NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, stated that Russia would pay a high price for any new military attack against Ukraine. Both NATO and the United States warned Moscow on Tuesday as the Western military bloc met to discuss Moscow's implications for bunching troops on the border of Ukraine. "There will be a high price to pay for Russia if they once again use force against the independence of the nation, Ukraine," Stoltenberg said.

Royal Dutch Shell returns to Libya

London: It emerged that the Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) had planned a return to Libya to develop infrastructure, pnew oil and gas fields and a solar project. The company exited the North African country because of unrest a decade ago. Under the 'Libya plan', talked over with state-run National Oil Corporation (NOC), Shell would seek for new oil and gas areas in several blocks in the onshore Sirte and Ghadames basins and the offshore Cyrenaica basin.

Final results show Cleric Sadr won Iraq vote, state media says

CAIRO: According to final results announced by the electoral commission on Tuesday, Iraqi Populist Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's movement obtained the biggest number of seats in parliament, winning 73 seats. On the other hand, the Sunni Taqaddum party secured 37 seats in last month's general election, while the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) attained 31 seats, state media revealed, referring to the commission report.

China will hold Winter Olympics as per schedule

Beijing: Foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, briefed on Tuesday that China was determined to hold the 2022 Winter Olympics "smoothly" per the schedule despite challenges posed by the Omicron coronavirus variant. Zhao said, "China has experience in preventing and controlling the coronavirus, I fully believe that China will be able to host the Winter Olympics as scheduled, smoothly and successfully," Zhao said. Beijing is ready to stage the Games from Feb. 4 to Feb. 20, without foreign viewers and with all athletes and related personnel enclosed in a "closed-loop" and subject to daily testing for COVID-19.

States should take “rational” measures against Omicron

Geneva: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization (WHO), expressed concern on Tuesday that the states should take "rational" steps to fight against new variant of Omicron. He said that some states were introducing blanket measures against the Omicron that were "not evidence-based or effective on their own". In a speech to the WHO's 194 member states, he encouraged them to take "rational, proportional risk-reduction measures" in keeping with the organization's 2005 International Health Regulations.

Twitter CEO resigns

On Monday, Jack Patrick Dorsey, co-founder of the social networking site Twitter, has stepped down as the chief executive officer (CEO) of the company. According to the company, Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s chief technology officer (CTO), will take charge as the new CEO, while Jack Dorsey will be on the board of directors. “I’ve decided to leave Twitter because I believe the company is ready to move on from its founders,” Dorsey stated.

Afnanullah Khan wants probe into plane damage case

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Afnanullah Khan on Sunday declared that he would raise the matter of damage of a Boeing aircraft by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) before the parliamentary committee concerned. PML-N Senator also asserted he had already asked Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation Hidayatullah to take notice of the matter for scrutiny and he formally wrote a letter to him in this regard.

Gunmen free 260 inmates in Nigeria

Abuja: On Nov 29, according to officials, gunmen freed more than 260 inhabitants during an attack on a prison in Jos, Nigeria's central city. It was the country's fourth such attack this year. The assailants opened fire on guards on Sunday evening, launching a gunbattle that resulted in the death of one guard and nine prisoners dead, told the correctional service. "Some of the attackers and a total of 262 inmates escaped in the melee before reinforcement could come from sister services," the service let out.

Myanmar confiscates boat carrying 228 Rohingya

It was reported on Monday that Myanmar's navy took hold of a boat carrying 228 Rohingya and arrested all on board, the country's state television reported. This is the latest attempt by members of the downtrodden Muslim minority group to flee the country. It emerged that thirty-three children were among those detained in waters near Sittwe in northwestern Myanmar, as well as five boat workers. The detained were handed over to police and immigration authorities.

Extreme winds kill four people in Turkey

Istanbul: The governor's office reported that four people, including a foreign national, were died and 19 others hurt in the capital city on Monday due to harsh winds across Turkey's biggest city and its surrounding areas. According to the country's Meteorology General Directorate (MGM), strong winds of up to 130 km (81 miles) per hour were blowing in Istanbul on Monday, with drastic conditions expected in nearby provinces, i.e., the western shoreside city of Izmir. The MGM also warned that the winds would continue on Tuesday.

China pledges 1bn more Covid-19 doses to Africa

Beijing: On Nov 29, President Xi Jinping announced that China would offer another 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to African countries and would motivate Chinese companies to finance up to $10 billion in Africa over the next three years. A sum of 200 million doses had already been supplied to the continent by China. The vow of additional vaccine doss was made as a new variant of the coronavirus, known as Omicron, which was first identified in southern Africa was intensified.

Turkey ready to play a mediator between Russia and Ukraine

Ankara/Moscow: On Monday, President Tayyip Erdogan said, "Turkey is ready to act as a mediator between Ukraine and Russia," despite having outraged Moscow by selling armed drones to Kyiv earlier this year. According to NTV, also said that Turkey wished for peace in the Black Sea region and was talking over the issue with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin frequently.

Sweden’s first female PM returns to office

Stockholm: On Monday, Sweden's first female prime minister Magdalena Andersson was reappointed days after she quit due to political turmoil and hustle ahead of elections. The PM, former finance minister, had won a similar vote on Wednesday resigned hours later after a junior coalition party left the government over a lost budget vote. But, Lawmakers have elected her for the second time after she set out plans for a minority government made up of only her Social Democrats.

Yassir Hussain’s “Javed Iqbal” to release on Dec 24

On Monday, the promotional poster for director Abu Aleeha's upcoming film Javed Iqbal was released. The movie will lay bare the investigation into Javed Iqbal, the serial killer who killed 100 young boys in Lahore and sent evidence of his crimes to the authorities and media in 1999. The movie has been directed and written by Abu Aleeha and produced by Javed Ahmed Kakepoto. The movie features Yasir Hussain, Ayesha Omar, Paras Masroor, Rabiya Kulsoom, and Aamir Yamin amongst others.

Pakistan Stock Exchange gains 1,200 points

On Monday, Pakistan Stock Exchange's (PSX) benchmark KSE-100 index heightened more than 1,200 points in intraday trading to cross the 45,000-point mark. It happened due to the cabinet's approval to refurbish Saudi Arabia's $3 billion support package for Pakistan in safe deposits and $1.2bn worth of oil supplies on deferred payments. "It is expected that the reduction in prices of crude oil will continue, which will help us reduce our current account deficit as well as inflation and reduce the continuous pressure on rupee," Salman Naqvi, head of research at Aba Ali Habib Securities stated.

Manish Malhotra uses “Parizaad’s” soundtrack in his latest campaign

It emerged on Monday that celebrated Indian designer Manish Malhotra's latest campaign had shocked Pakistanis more for the music than the garments. The fashion mogul chose to use a well-known soundtrack from everyone's hot favorite drama serial Parishad. The soundtrack fits flawlessly with the velour and heavily bejeweled clothing line. Ahmed Ali Akber, leading character, also lauded the move and expressed gratitude.

Lindsay Lohan gets engaged to her Dubai-based boyfriend

On November 28, American actress Lindsay Lohan announced her engagement to fiancé Bader Shammas on Instagram. The 35-year old Mean Girls star posted pictures of herself and her fiancé and shared the news of the engagement with the caption "My love. My life. My family. My future". The couple has been dating for the past two years.

Police arrests civil judge for raping a woman

It emerged on Friday that the Police arrested a senior civil judge, Jamshed Kundi, on the accounts of raping a woman at his official residence in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Lower Dir district on Thursday. Lower Dir District Police Officer (DPO) Irfanullah Khan confirmed the arrest and disclosed that the victim was recovered from the judge's accommodation. Consequently, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) has suspended the civil judge and sent him on a one-day physical remand in police custody.

Tunisian police shots man for trying to kill Interior Minister

Tunis: Tunisian local media reported that the Police in the capital shot and harmed a man who attempted to storm the Interior Ministry on Friday. The police shot the man in the leg, captured him immediately, and shifted him to a nearby hospital. Tunisian security forces have prevented a lot of antagonistic plots in recent years.

Bosnia’s security minister accused of power abuse

Sarajevo: The state prosecutor's office said in a statement on Friday that Bosnia's Security minister, Selmo Cikotic, had been prosecuted with abuse of office and corruption over a sale of old weapons and military equipment during a previous period as defense minister. It was reported that her action on behalf of a Croatian company had divested the state of 9.7 million Bosnian marka ($5.5 million).

Britain stands ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with Poland

London: It emerged that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki that Britain would stand "shoulder to shoulder" with Poland in the face of threats against their border, Johnson's office announced after a meeting between both Prime Ministers."The leaders also talked about deepening our defense partnership and operating closely together through NATO to assure regional stability," Johnson's spokesperson said.