Friday, January 28News That Matters

World

Pak Hindu lawmaker urges India to issue visas to delegation of pilgrims

Pak Hindu lawmaker urges India to issue visas to delegation of pilgrims

World
Islamabad, January 26A prominent Hindu lawmaker from Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's ruling party on Wednesday urged India to issue visas to a delegation of pilgrims to visit the country as part of his faith tourism initiative between the two neighbouring countries.Patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council and Member of National Assembly Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani said on Monday that he would lead a delegation of Pakistani pilgrims to India on January 29 on a special chartered flight of the Pakistan Airlines International (PIA).In a video message shared with PTI, he said that a group of 170 pilgrims who were ready to go to India by a special flight of the PIA were waiting for New Delhi's approval."I hope that approval will come from India by tomorrow. I have written a letter today ...
North Korea fires 2 suspected missiles in 6th launch in 2022

North Korea fires 2 suspected missiles in 6th launch in 2022

World
Seoul, January 27 North Korea on Thursday fired two suspected ballistic missiles into the sea in its sixth round of weapons launches this month, South Korea's military said. Experts say North Korea's unusually fast pace in testing activity underscores an intent to pressure the Biden administration over long-stalled negotiations aimed at exchanging a release of crippling US-led sanctions against the North and the North's denuclearisation steps. The renewed pressure comes as the pandemic further shakes the North's economy, which was already battered by crippling US-led sanctions over its nuclear weapons program and decades of mismanagement by its own government. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the weapons, which were likely short-range, were launched five minutes apart from an e...
WTO lets China impose tariffs on US in Obama-era case

WTO lets China impose tariffs on US in Obama-era case

World
Brussels, January 26 The World Trade Organisation (WTO) authorised China on Wednesday to impose $645 million of compensatory tariffs against the United States in a ruling likely to receive a cool reception in Washington. China went to the WTO in 2012 to challenge anti-subsidy tariffs the United States imposed between 2008 and 2012, mainly during the term of US President Barack Obama, on 22 Chinese products ranging from solar panels to steel wire. The decade-long case into alleged subsidies has centred on whether the United States could treat Chinese companies in which the government owns a majority stake as controlled by the state. US officials have argued that China benefits from easier treatment at the WTO, while subsidising manufactured goods and dumping them on world markets. Chin...
Italy’s third president vote fails, fourth seen less predictable

Italy’s third president vote fails, fourth seen less predictable

World
Rome, January 26 Italy's lawmakers failed to elect a new head of state for a third day running on Wednesday, with no consensus candidate emerging to replace outgoing President Sergio Mattarella. The race for the prestigious, seven-year role is wide open and on paper neither the centre-right nor the centre-left bloc have enough votes to ram through their candidate, meaning some sort of compromise deal will probably be needed. A fourth round of voting, which begins at 1000 GMT on Thursday, may prove less predictable because the threshold required for election is considerably lower. Prime Minister Mario Draghi remains in the frame but worries that his promotion to president might cause his coalition government to disintegrate and trigger an early parliamentary election have clouded his ...
Vatican defends Benedict after report faults abuse record

Vatican defends Benedict after report faults abuse record

World
Rome, January 26 The Vatican on Wednesday strongly defended Pope Benedict XVI's record in fighting clergy sexual abuse and cautioned against looking for "easy scapegoats and summary judgments", after an independent report faulted his handling of four cases of abuse when he was archbishop of Munich, Germany. The Holy See's editorial director, Andrea Tornielli, provided the Vatican's first substantial response to the report in an editorial that appeared in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano and its media portal, Vatican News. In it, Tornielli recalled that Benedict was the first pope to meet with victims of abuse, that he had issued strong norms to punish priests who raped children and had directed the church to pursue a path of humility in seeking forgiveness for the crimes of it...
UK government holds breath as it awaits ‘partygate’ report

UK government holds breath as it awaits ‘partygate’ report

World
London, January 26 Prime Minister Boris Johnson is bracing for the conclusions of an investigation into allegations of lockdown-breaching parties, a document that could help him end weeks of scandal and discontent, or bring his time in office to an abrupt close. Senior civil servant Sue Gray could turn in her report to the government as soon as Wednesday. Johnson's office has promised to publish its findings, and the prime minister will address Parliament about it soon after. Gray's office wouldn't comment on timing, and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the Conservative government hadn't yet received the report Wednesday morning. She said she couldn't guarantee the government would publish the full report, saying there could be "security issues that mean parts of it are problematic to p...
Omicron survives much longer on plastic, skin than earlier coronavirus variants: Study

Omicron survives much longer on plastic, skin than earlier coronavirus variants: Study

World
Tokyo, January 26 The omicron variant of coronavirus can remain alive on skin for over 21 hours, and more than eights days on plastic surfaces, which may be contributing to its faster spread compared to other strains, according to a study. The researchers from Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine in Japan analysed the differences in viral environmental stability between the SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan strain and all variants of concern (VOCs). The yet-to-be peer-reviewed study, posted recently on the preprint repository BioRxiv, found that the alpha, beta, delta and omicron variants exhibited more than two-fold longer survival on plastic and skin surfaces, than the Wuhan strain. "The high environmental stability of these VOCs could increase the risk of contact transmission and contribute to t...
British police begin probe into PM’s lockdown parties

British police begin probe into PM’s lockdown parties

World
London, January 25 The British police said on Tuesday they had opened an investigation into possible Covid lockdown breaches at Boris Johnson's Downing Street office and residence, the latest blow to a prime minister facing growing calls to resign. Johnson is fighting for his political life after allegations that he and staff partied at the heart of the British government in breach of rules they had themselves imposed to fight the Covid pandemic. Revelations of revelry including boozy parties in Downing Street, suitcases of supermarket alcohol, a broken children's swing, a wine fridge and jokes by staff about how to present such parties to reporters, have hammered Johnson's ratings. ITV reported on Monday that Johnson and his now wife Carrie had attended a surprise party of up to 30 peo...
‘Russian invasion not imminent’,  Ukraine for calm as tension soars

‘Russian invasion not imminent’, Ukraine for calm as tension soars

World
Washington, January 25 The Pentagon ordered 8,500 troops on higher alert to potentially deploy to Europe as part of a NATO "response force" amid growing concern that Russia could soon make a military move on Ukraine. President Joe Biden consulted with key European leaders, underscoring US solidarity with allies there. Meanwhile, Ukraine's leaders sought to reassure the nation that a feared invasion from neighbouring Russia was not imminent, even as they acknowledged the threat is real and prepared to accept a shipment of American military equipment to shore up their defences. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the situation was "under control" and that there is "no reason to panic". Putting the US-based troops on heightened alert for Europe on Monday suggested diminishing hop...
Moscow adds Navalny to terrorist list

Moscow adds Navalny to terrorist list

World
Moscow, January 25 Russian authorities have added imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny and some of his top allies to the registry of terrorists and extremists, the latest move in a multi-pronged crackdown on opposition supporters, independent media and human rights activists. Navalny, Vladimir Putin's fiercest critic, and eight of his allies — including top aides Lyubov Sobol and Georgy Alburov — were on Tuesday added to the registry by Russia's Federal Financial Monitoring Service. The law requires that the bank accounts of those on the list be frozen. The move comes just a over a year after Navalny's arrest, which triggered a wave of the biggest mass protests across the country in years. The politician was detained upon his return from Germany, where he spent five months recove...