Five people dead and several injured as sandstorm hits Karachi

On Friday, when strong winds began blowing under the influence of the Westerly Disturbance that has entered the country from neighbouring Iran and is currently prevailing in Balochistan and adjoining Sindh, at least five people were killed and several others were injured due to structural damages in the city, officials said. The winds might also bring a cold front to Karachi, where temperatures are expected to plummet into the single digits. Strong winds of 25-30 knots, with gusts up to 35 knots, uprooted old trees in several parts of the city, causing property damage. At least five persons were killed in various accidents involving the fall of walls and roofs.  

NCOC revises Covid-19 guidelines for mosques and Educational institutions

Only fully vaccinated people will be allowed to pray inside mosques, according to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), which changed COVID-19 regulations on Saturday. After Pakistan recorded its highest daily infection count of 7,678 since the pandemic began in 2020, the NCOC altered mosque protocols. On Friday, the agency in charge of Pakistan's COVID-19 response declared that all schools in the country with a high COVID-19 positive rate will be closed for one week.  

Google celebrates activist Perween Rahman on her 65th birthday

On the occasion of Perween Rahman's 65th birthday, Google is celebrating her. Perween Rahman was born in the Pakistani city of Dhaka in 1957 (now Bangladesh). She moved to Karachi with her family after Pakistan was partitioned in 1971. According to Google's homage, Rahman studied architecture and went on to acquire a master's degree in housing, building, and urban planning from the Institute of Housing Studies in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.  

ECC allows export of another 14 items to Afghanistan

The lack of tradable currency through banking channels led the federal government on Friday to permit the export of another 14 commodities to Afghanistan in rupees via land routes, in what looks to be yet another significant development. Following a sharp drop in shipments to Afghanistan, the decision was made at a meeting of the cabinet's Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), headed over by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin.  

Covid-19: Number of patients on critical care rise past 1,000

According to government estimates, more than 1,000 people infected with coronavirus have been moved to critical care across Pakistan as the COVID situation worsens due to the Omicron variant. According to data from the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the number of patients in critical care has risen to 1,055, up from 961 a day earlier, as the status of 94 patients worsened in the last 24 hours.  

Squid Game to have multiple seasons, reveals Netflix CEO

Squid Game will have more than simply a second season, according to Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos, who was speaking about his intentions for the show. Ted revealed the iconic South Korean sitcom will have a second season during his fourth-quarter results conference call with investors. "Absolutely. The ‘Squid Game universe has just begun," Sarandos revealed.  

Karachi temperature to drop to single digit from Jan 22: PMD

A cold wave is forecast to hit Karachi next week, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), which said on Thursday that temperatures in the port city will plunge to single digits starting January 22. From tomorrow, gusty winds of up to 60 kilometres per hour are expected in Sindh's coastal districts, according to the Met Office (Friday). Winds in Karachi could gust between 36 and 45 kilometres per hour, according to officials.    

3 children dead and 5 injured as fire broke out in house

On Thursday night, a fire broke out in a residence in Lahore, killing three children and injuring five more. According to rescue services, the unfortunate occurrence occurred in Chungi Amar Sadhu in Lahore, where a fire erupted, killing three children and injuring their parents and three other children.  

Gold prices to hit Rs.150,000/tola after 17% GST imposed

The imposition of a 17 percent sales tax on gold jewellery in the minibudget would push the price of the precious metal above Rs150,000 per tola, according to the Pakistan Gems Jewellery Traders and Exporters Association (PGJTEA), which also suggested that the government tax 'jewellery making' rather than the final product. "This 17 percent new tax on gold and silver jewellery is a disastrous decision for the jewellery business," said PGJTEA chairman Akhtar Tesori.  

Omicron variant: Pakistan reaches highest Covid cases since start of pandemic

Since the pandemic began in 2020, Pakistan has recorded the highest number of daily COVID-19 cases — 7,678 — in the last 24 hours, up from 6,808, the second-highest daily toll, according to official numbers released Friday morning. According to data from the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the largest daily toll was recorded on June 13, 2020, when the country reported 6,825 coronavirus cases. With the latest illnesses, the total number of infections has surpassed 1.35 million. In the meantime, 59,343 tests were performed in the last 24 hours, with a positivity rate of 12.93 percent.  

Earthquake hits Swat again, people left frightened

Tremors were felt in and around the Swat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province for the second time in 24 hours. The local population is terrified as a result of the frequent earthquakes. The earthquake had a magnitude of 4.5 on the Richter scale, according to the Geological Survey. The earthquake struck at a depth of 120 kilometres, with the epicentre in the Hindu Kush mountain range.  

Dalit youths become a target of Indian atrocities

According to the news, Dalit youths in Mysore's Jayapura police station filed a complaint alleging that they were tortured when they entered the villages of upper caste Hindus. Locals told police that the Dalit youths were tortured after going to the villages of upper caste Hindus in search of water. The KKR Hospital in Mysore is treating Dalit youths who were injured in the January 13 incident. According to police, four persons were arrested as a result of the incident.  

Taliban urges Muslim countries to recognize IEA

On Wednesday, the Taliban encouraged Muslim countries to recognise the government of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA). The Taliban has urged Muslim countries to accept the Afghan government's Islamic Emirate. According to Baaghi TV., Taliban acting Prime Minister Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund called on Islamic countries to be the first to recognise the IEA.  

Dense fog affects flight operations in Lahore

Flight operations at Lahore's Allama Iqbal International Airport have been affected by low visibility caused by severe fog, with numerous flights delayed. At the runway, visibility has reduced to 800 metres. Due to the fog, several inbound and outbound flights were cancelled. Due to severe weather at the airport, international flight QR-621 from Doha to Lahore has been delayed. Due to hazy conditions, PK-789 from Toronto to Lahore and PK-715 from Allama Iqbal airport to Istanbul were both delayed.  

Covid-19: Karachi positivity rate crosses 40pc again

The COVID-19 positivity rate in Karachi increased to 41% on Thursday morning, according to Sindh health department authorities, as the virus continues to tighten its grip on the metropolis, with more cases reported every other day. According to official data, 3,149 new infections were diagnosed in Karachi in the last 24 hours, based on 7,670 diagnostic tests. The city's positive ratio reached a record high since the pandemic started, due to the recent cases.  

Dollar may cross Rs.200 mark, after imposing 16pc withholding tax

The sudden imposition of a withholding tax on exchange businesses, which are receiving letters from the Federal Board of Revenue worth hundreds of millions of rupees, might push the dollar price above Rs200 (FBR). Exchange company representatives informed Dawn on Wednesday that they are receiving letters from the FBR for non-payment of the withholding tax that was withdrawn in 2016.  

Unvaccinated Novak Djokovic has 80% stake at Biotech firm developing Covid drug

Novak Djokovic owns a controlling share in a Danish biotech company that is working on a non-vaccine therapy for Covid-19, according to reports. In 2020, the world No. 1, who was deported from Australia this week after the government cancelled his visa due to a dispute over a medical exemption related to his unvaccinated status, purchased an 80 percent share in QuantBioRes.  

Pakistan records second highest daily Covid-19 case count

Official numbers released Thursday morning revealed Pakistan has recorded 6,808 new COVID-19 cases, the second-highest day case count since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020, as the country sees a fast surge in infections caused by the Omicron variant. The country's highest daily toll was 6,825 coronavirus cases on June 13, 2020, according to data from the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC). According to the NCOC's data, the country's positivity rate surged to a nine-month high Thursday morning, with the infection rate estimated at 11.55 percent after 58,943 tests were done.  

Sarah Gul becomes Pakistan’s first transgender doctor

In Karachi, a transgender person was conferred a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree for the first time in Pakistani history. Sarah Gul, a transgender woman, made history by becoming the first transgender doctor in the country. She graduated from Jinnah Medical & Dental College in Karachi with a bachelor's degree in medicine.  

London-based law firm seeks arrest of Indian Army Chief

An application has been lodged with the British police requesting the arrest of India's army chief and home minister for their complicity in war crimes in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir. The law firm Stoke White has told the Metropolitan Police's War Crimes Unit that it has submitted extensive evidence detailing how Indian troops led by General Manoj Mukund Naravane and Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah were responsible for the torture, kidnapping, and killing of activists, journalists, and civilians.  

Covid-19: NCOC revises SOP guidelines for schools

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) finally issued revised coronavirus guidelines and SOPs for the education, restaurant, entertainment, and other sectors on Wednesday, after a brief delay, as Pakistan continues to fight a fifth wave of the pandemic and struggles to contain the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant. Classes for children under the age of 12 will be held on "staggered" days in towns and districts where the vaccination rate is greater than 10%, while classes for fully vaccinated students above the age of 12 will be held everyday.  

New date announced for Grammy awards 2022

The Grammy Awards have been rescheduled for April 3 in Las Vegas, after being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a statement released by the Recording Academy and CBS on Tuesday. The Grammy Awards, which recognise the best musical performances, were supposed to take place on Jan. 31 in Los Angeles. The event, which will be televised and streamed live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena, will be hosted by comedian Trevor Noah.  

Lady doctor along with her 3 children shot dead

A mother and her three children were discovered shot to death in a house in Lahore on Wednesday. The deaths of a lady doctor named Dr Naheed and her three children, two daughters and a boy, were discovered in a residence in Lahore's Gajumata district, according to police. Dr. Naheed was a gynaecologist who ran a private clinic near her home, according to the authorities.  

Angelina Jolie hits 12 million followers on Instagram

Angelina Jolie has 12 million Instagram followers just five months after joining the Facebook-owned platform. On Instagram, the actress only follows three accounts and has posted 24 times so far. Angelina Jolie does not follow any Hollywood actors and has only used her Twitter account to promote her human rights projects.    

Punjab Education Minister announces new school dress code

Punjab Education Minister Murad Ras has ordered that boys wear caps and girls wear dupattas or scarves in government schools. He also urged that private schools enforce the new dress code during a press conference. He said that the Quran was being taught in schools for the first time in Pakistan's history. He stated that pupils in grades 1 to 5 would be taught Naazra Quran (reading) and students in grades 6 to 12 would be taught translation and explanation.  

NCOC: Large-scale Covid-19 testing to begin in schools

The NCOC, or National Command and Operation Centre, has decided to begin large-scale coronavirus testing in educational institutions across the country. Federal Planning Minister Asad Umar said at a meeting of health and education ministries on Monday that the decision to close schools will be made after evaluating the case trend and student positivity rate. The development comes following a spike in coronavirus cases. Following the brief meeting on January 17, NCOC has scheduled a second meeting for Tuesday.  

Cop kills himself to avoid arrest for murder

To avoid being arrested for his alleged role in the murder of a recently married youth in front of his mother and sister, a police officer in Karachi took his own life. The case has taken a fresh turn as police alleged the constable committed suicide to escape being arrested during a nighttime search in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Block 7 by the Special Investigation Unit of Karachi police.  

Covid-19: Positivity rate surges to 10%, provinces prepare to impose new curbs

In the previous 24 hours, Pakistan's coronavirus positivity rate has nearly doubled, a day after the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) stated that provinces would implement new SOPs in the next 48 hours. According to NCOC's Tuesday morning data, 5,034 new cases were registered in the last 24 hours after 53,253 tests were completed across the country, bringing the positivity ratio to 9.45 percent.    

Covid-19: Govt. may ban physical schooling for children below 12

As the country's COVID-19 positive rate approaches 10%, Parliamentary Secretary for National Health Services Dr Nausheen Hamid stated Tuesday that the government may opt to close schools for children under the age of 12. The health official's comments came a day after the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) postponed a decision on school closures, saying it needed additional data before making a judgement.    

Bangladesh: Former Chief Justice sentenced to 11 years in prison

In a case that opposition groups and supporters say is politically motivated, Bangladesh's former chief judge was sentenced in absentia to 11 years in prison for corruption. Surendra Kumar Sinha, 70, was the Chief Justice of India when the Supreme Court ruled in 2017 that parliament could not dismiss judges, a move hailed by lawyers as protecting judicial independence.