Category Archive : South Asia

5 killed, 9 injured in blast in central Afghanistan

KABUL: At least five people were killed and nine more were injured in two roadside bomb blasts in the Jalrez district of Afghanistan’s Maidan Wardak province on Tuesday, said the provincial governor’s office.
Tolo News, quoting the governor’s office statement, said those wounded include five women and four children. The blast had hit two vehicles- a bus and a car carrying civilians.
“The victims of the incident were sent to the provincial health center for treatment,” said Mohammad Salim Asgharkhil, head of the provincial hospital as reported by Tolo News.
No group has claimed responsibility for the blast.
This comes in wake of a sharp increase in violence in the country. At least 15 civilians were killed in a car bomb explosion in Ghor province in the west of Afghanistan earlier this week.
Tolo News further called the Jalrez district’s Kota Ashro village “has been volatile” in the last one week adding that nearly seven days ago a car bomb explosion, targetting a security forces outpost in the area, left four personnel wounded.
Abdul Jabar, a soldier in the outpost, made remarks in a recorded video stating that the security forces in the outpost were under siege for almost five days.
According to a statement by the ADefense Ministry, the commando forces “conducted an operation in Kota Ashro area, Jalrez district, on Monday and rescued the besieged forces.”

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Vietnam battles its deadliest floods for decades

Floodwaters have killed over 100 and left homes submerged, crops destroyed and livestock swept away.

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Mike Pompeo to visit Sri Lanka, Maldives

COLOMBO: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Sri Lanka and the Maldives this month, a senior official here said on Tuesday, as America seeks to balance China’s growing influence in the region.
Pompeo will hold talks in Colombo on October 28, cabinet spokesman and minister Keheliya Rambukwella said.
Rambukwella said Pompeo’s visit will focus on the travel bubble arrangement in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The foreign ministry officials said the US Secretary of State will travel to the Maldives after Sri Lanka.
Pompeo’s visit comes two weeks after a high-powered Chinese delegation led by ruling Communist Party Politburo member Yang Jiechi visited Colombo.
China is one of the biggest investors in various infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka. But there has been criticism, both locally and internationally, and growing concerns that China has lured Sri Lanka into a debt trap.
The previous Maithripala Sirisena government had entered into a 99-year lease with China in 2017 as a settlement of its debt by way of equity.
Sri Lanka’s economy, especially the tourism sector, has been hit hard since last year – initially by the Easter Sunday attacks, which killed over 250 people and later by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Reserve Bank of India in July this year signed necessary documents for extending a USD 400 million currency swap facility to Sri Lanka to boost the nation’s draining foreign exchange reserves due to the coronavirus pandemic. The currency swap arrangement will remain available till November 2022.

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Japan gets deer-friendly bags to stop animals eating plastic

Nine Nara deer in Japan die after eating plastic bags

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Coronavirus: How pollution could make India’s Covid fight tougher

A Harvard University study shows that an increase of only one microgram per cubic metre in PM 2.5 – dangerous tiny pollutants in the air – is associated with an 8% increase in the Covid-19 death rate. Another study by scientists at the UK’s University of Cambridge also found a link between the severity of Covid-19 infection and long-term exposure to air pollutants, including nitrogen oxides and ground-level ozone from car exhaust fumes or burning of fossil fuels.

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US 2020 election: Who does China really want to win?

As arguably the most consequential exercises in democracy on the planet,

they are always closely followed by government officials in Beijing.

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Eating jellyfish: Why scientists are talking up a 'perfect food'

Amid fresh concern about overfishing, scientists say eating more jellyfish may give us benefits.

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Tokyo Olympics: Russian hackers targeted Games, UK says

UK officials say Russian intelligence took aim at the 2020 Olympics before they were delayed.

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China-Taiwan tensions erupt over diplomats' fight in Fiji

Both sides say their officials were injured at an event organised to mark Taiwan’s national day.

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WHO cautions against let up in Covid-19 fight after slight decline in cases in South East Asia

NEW DELHI: The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday cautioned against any relaxation of response actions following the recent slight decline in Covid-19 cases in the South-East Asia Region, saying the pandemic continues unabated and our response only needs to be strengthened further to curtail virus transmission.
The upcoming festive season and the approaching winter/cold season threatens to aggravate the situation if we let our guards down, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region said.
There should be no complacency in view of the declining numbers in recent weeks. The Region still reports large numbers of Covid-19 cases. We need to continue to do our very best to curtail the pandemic? she said in a statement.
For the third week in a row, the WHO South-East Asia Region has registered a 6-8 per cent decline in the number of Covid-19 cases, mainly due to a decrease in reported cases from India and Bangladesh.
Member countries have been making concerted efforts scaling up capacities for timely detection, testing, tracing contacts, isolating the affected and providing hospital care to those who need it.
Our relentless efforts need to continue with more vigour,” she said.
This festive season we must continue to take responsibility as individuals of the need to maintain physical distance, hand hygiene, cough etiquette and wear a mask when and where needed.
She said people must remember to avoid the three Cs — crowded places, closed settings, confined and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.
The co-circulation of seasonal influenza and Covid-19 in the winters may present challenges for health systems and health facilities, since both diseases present many similar symptoms.
Many of the same measures that are effective in preventing Covid-19 are also effective for preventing influenza, including physical distancing, hand hygiene, covering coughs, ventilation and masks, Singh said in the statement.
WHO is working with countries to take a holistic approach to the preparedness, prevention, control and treatment of all respiratory diseases, including influenza and Covid-19.
Home to one-fourth of the worlds’ population, the region has reported more than 8 million of the nearly 40 million cases globally, mostly from the most populous countries which also face unique demographic and geographic challenges, the statement said.
The WHO continues to support countries in their containment and mitigation efforts providing technical guidance, laboratory capacity strengthening for testing, equipment for hospitals and protection of healthcare workers, and creating awareness and addressing misinformation, she said.

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