Author - Alina Hashmi

Sweden to upgrade Berzelius supercomputer

Stockholm: It emerged that Sweden would upgrade its Berzelius supercomputer using Nvidia’s (NVDA.O) latest artificial intelligence (AI) systems. It would aid in understanding various diseases such as cancer and make it among the world’s fastest AI supercomputers. The system also developed large language models capable of drafting a speech or answering questions in Swedish, sporting 20 billion parameters.

Poland’s tanks request ‘under consideration’: Germany

An economic affairs ministry official said that the German government would handle Poland’s request to re-export Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine with urgency. “I can only tell you: We will urgently work on taking a decision,” Sven Giegold told a defense conference in Berlin. He added that the defense ministry was in the lead on the matter.

Türkiye cancels NATO talks with Sweden, Finland: Report

Türkiye indefinitely postponed a new round of talks with Sweden and Finland on the Nordic neighbours’ NATO membership bids. The meeting was due to take place in Brussels in February, state broadcaster TRT reported, citing Turkish diplomatic sources. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said earlier this month that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was also due to attend.

Ukraine has enough energy reserves for winter: PM

Ukraine’s PM Denys Shmyhal stated that the country had enough coal and gas reserves for the winter despite repeated Russian attacks on its energy system. “For now, all Russia’s attempts to plunge Ukraine into darkness have failed,” Shmyhal said. “We have enough reserves to continue and end the heating season in normal mode. About 11 billion cubic metres of gas are stored in gas storages and nearly 1.2 million tonnes of coal are in storages,” he added.

FM Bilawal meets Turkish counterpart

Tashkent: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto met his Turkish counterpart Mevult Cavusoglu in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. The foreign minister met Mr. Cavusoglu during the participation in the 26th session of the Economic Cooperation Organization. Both emphasized enhancing the brotherly ties between both nations.

Fawad Chaudhry launches a broadside at PDM

Lahore: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior leader Fawad Chaudhry fired on Tuesday a broadside at the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). The former federal minister slammed the PDM-led government, saying that it seemed as if the coalition government had no connection with the country. Underscoring the importance of elections, Mr. Chaudhry recalled the demand of transparent polls.

IMF agrees on talks with Pakistan for ninth tranche

Islamabad: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed on resuming talks with Pakistan regarding the release of the tranche under the ninth review of the Extended Fund Facility (EEF). Sources reported that the two sides were expected to hold a virtual talk this week in which the finance ministry officials would take the IMF officials into confidence regarding economic targets.

Pervaiz Elahi meets Imran Khan

Lahore: Former Punjab chief minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi on Tuesday met Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan at Zaman Park. PTI secretary general Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry, Senator Azam Swati, and Hammad Azhar also attended the meeting. During the meeting, matters about constitutional options against Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) actions came under discussion.

Khan admits misusing Shaukat Khanum’s funds

Islamabad: In a hearing of a Rs10 billion damages case against Khawaja Asif, former PM Imran Khan admitted that the board invested the money from the Shaukat Khanum’s funds in a housing project. Barrister Haider Rasool, the counsel for Khawaja Asif, questioned Khan over investment in a construction project. The PTI supremo said that the board of Shaukat Khanum informed him about spending money from the hospital’s funds but he did not remember the name of the housing project.

UN Palestinian refugee agency seeks $1.6bn

Geneva: The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, appealed on Tuesday for $1.6 billion for its work in 2023 to overcome chronic budget shortfalls. UNRWA provides services to nearly six million Palestinians registered in Palestinian territory. Out of the $1.6 billion requested, UNRWA said, $848 million was needed for basic services.

More than 20m Pakistani children ‘out of school’: Report

Lahore: As per the reports, more than 20 million children in the country are out of school as Pakistan and other countries around the world are observing “International Education day” on January 24. In December last year, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed every year on 24 January as International Day of Education in celebration of the role of learning for peace and development. According to UNICEF, today, 262 million children and youth still do not attend school across the globe.

Protests in Afghanistan against desecration of Holy Quran

Hundreds of Afghan men staged a protest in the eastern city of Khost on Tuesday to express anger at the desecration of the Holy Quran in the Swedish capital over the weekend. Swedish-Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan on Saturday set fire to a copy of the Holy Quran in front of Turkey’s embassy in Stockholm. “Death to the Swedish government, death to such politicians,” protesters chanted in the city’s main square.

Iran’s currency hits record low

Iran’s currency reached an all-time record low amid rising tensions with the West and the unrest gripping the country. On Sunday, the United States dollar went past the 450,000-rial mark for the first time on the open market. Central Bank of Iran governor, Ali Salehabadi, had been sacked after a previous rapid depreciation of the rial in late December that saw it slump to more than 440,000 against the greenback at the open market.

France, Germany renew alliance amid war in Ukraine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was in Paris for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday. The two leaders were seeking to overcome differences laid bare by the Ukraine war. “Let us use our inseparable friendship … to shape the present and future of our continent, together with our European partners,” Scholz said at the ceremony at the Sorbonne. The German leader visited the French capital for a day of ceremonies marking 60 years since a landmark treaty.

Several killed in shooting after Lunar New Year festival

At least 10 people were killed and 10 injured in a mass shooting east of Los Angeles following a Lunar New Year celebration that attracted thousands, police stated. Police added that the shooting occurred at a ballroom dance club on Garvey Avenue in Monterey Park. In a news conference hours after the attack, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said that five men and five women died at the scene. The injured were in conditions “ranging from stable to critical”.

Ahsan Iqbal challenges Khan to contest election from Narowal

Narowal: Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal challenged on Sunday Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to contest the election from Narowal. Speaking to the media, Mr. Iqbal berated the deposed premier, saying that the country was ‘crushed’ when he (Khan) was imposed in 2018. He also lamented that during the PTI-led government, the opponents had to face the worst form of "political victimization."

Tensions high over isolated Azerbaijan region

Moscow: Two years after Azerbaijan and Armenia ended a war, tensions between the countries escalated in a dispute over a six-kilometer road known as the Lachin Corridor. The previous war killed about 6,800 soldiers and displaced around 90,000 civilians. The dispute raises fears that new fighting could break out. It also could destabilize Armenia’s chronically excitable politics.

BBC documentary on PM Modi, blocked in India

Mumbai: On Sunday, India blocked the airing of a BBC documentary that questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership during the 2002 Gujarat riots. Directions to block the clips from being shared were issued using emergency powers available to the govt under the country’s information technology rules, said Kanchan Gupta, an adviser to the government.

Khan urges PTI stalwarts to speed up election campaign

Lahore: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan urged his party members to speed up the electoral campaign, which he regarded as "Election karao, mulk bachao" campaign. The deposed premier prepared a strategy to react to the acceptance of the PTI lawmakers’ resignation in the National Assembly. Mr. Khan said once the PTI would complete the process of resignations, he would "pour onto the streets" himself to give tough time to the coalition government.

Seven Pakistani UN peacekeepers martyred in 2022

Islamabad: At least thirty-two UN peacekeepers, including seven from Pakistan, lost their lives in different peacekeeping missions in 2022. United Nation’s Staff Union President, Aitor Arauz, said in a statement that six Pakistani peacekeepers were martyred in a helicopter crash in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo while the seventh lost his life in an attack by an armed group in the same country.

Iran vows ‘reciprocal’ response to EU over Guards terror label vote

Tehran: On Sunday, Iran warned the European Union that it would take "reciprocal" measures after the European Parliament voted to list the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group. "The parliament is working to place elements of European countries’ armies on the terrorist list" of the Islamic republic, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Twitter.

Swedish PM condemns desecration of Holy Quran

Sweden’s prime minister condemned as "deeply disrespectful" the weekend burning of a Quran in Stockholm. The disrespectful move raised tensions with Turkey as the Nordic country courted Ankara over its NATO bid. Far-right politician Rasmus Paludan set fire to a copy of the Muslim holy book on Saturday in front of Turkey’s embassy in the Swedish capital.

Arab states boycott regional meet in Libya

Tripoli: Arab states boycotted a meeting hosted by Libya’s unity government on Sunday. Five of the Arab League’s 22 members sent their top diplomats and even the bloc’s secretary general stayed away. The snub underlines Arab divisions over the Tripoli-based government, whose legitimacy is contested by a rival administration in the war-torn country’s east.

Judiciary should ‘review’ decisions that impacted country: Khaqan Abbasi

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leader and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that the judiciary should review the decisions that have impacted the country. Speaking during a press conference in Quetta flanked by former finance minister Miftah Ismail, Abbasi said that a non-partisan forum was held in Quetta where the issues faced by the country were discussed. The former premier added that some "difficult decisions need to be taken to stabilize" the country.

India declines visas to almost half of Pakistani pilgrims

The Indian government declined visas to 239 Pakistani pilgrims, out of 488 applicants, who intend to visit Ajmer Sharif to attend the annual Urs of revered Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti Gharib Nawaz. According to the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony's spokesperson, more than 200 Pakistani pilgrims remained deprived to pay homage to the Sufi saint. He added that the Indian authorities had also declined visas for five officials deputed to take care of the pilgrims during their stay in India.

PTI rejects ECP selection of caretaker Punjab CM

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) appointed Syed Mohsin Raza Naqvi, a nominee of the opposition, as interim chief minister for Punjab by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Sunday categorically rejected the decision, declaring “Naqvi” as a “controversial” personality. The ECP's decision came after the failure of the government and the opposition to reach a consensus on the caretaker chief executive.

JIT probing attack on Khan reconstituted

The joint investigation team (JIT) tasked to probe the assassination attempt on the life of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in Wazirabad was reconstituted once again on Sunday. The development came after differences emerged between Dogar and the other four members of the JIT. The four members of the probe body have been replaced after they raised objections against Dogar's 'politically inclined' conduct.

Pakistani footballer Maira Khan shocks fans

The goal by women's football team captain, Maira Khan, changed the game as it saved Pakistan from defeat. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia teams played the match in which KSA was leading by 1-0. However, Pakistan got a free kick at the end of the match. And that opportunity was utilized to its perfection by Pakistan’s team captain, Maira Khan. She received praise from the crowd and was adjudged the player of the match.

Reforms in revenue policies ‘essential’: Dar

Islamabad: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said that revenue policies were imperative for economic development. He made these remarks while inaugurating the Reforms and Resource Mobilization Committee in the Federal Board of Revenue. He added the government was committed to introducing reforms in various sectors while talking of an urgent need to increase tax returns.