'NEXT PANDEMIC WILL BE DEADLIER': WHO CHIEF URGES PREPAREDNESS FOR NEXT BIG HEALTH CRISIS
Geneva: At a time when COVID cases are somewhat stabilising around the world, the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, issued a warning that the world must get ready for the next pandemic, which might be “even deadlier” than the COVID-19 pandemic
“The end of COVID-19 as a global health emergency is not the end of COVID-19 as a global health threat,” Tedros said.
“The threat of another variant emerging that causes new surges of disease and death remains, and the threat of another pathogen emerging with even deadlier potential remains.”
The head of the WHO said this as he presented his report to the 76th World Health Assembly.
Furthermore, in the face of overlapping and converging crises, “pandemics are far from the only threat we face”, he added, underscoring the need for effective global mechanisms that address and respond to emergencies of all kinds.
“When the next pandemic comes knocking-and it will-we must be ready to answer decisively, collectively, and equitably,” he advised.
RUSSIA CLAIMS IT REPELLED ONE OF WAR'S MOST SERIOUS CROSS-BORDER ATTACKS
Kyiv: Russian troops and security forces quashed Tuesday an alleged cross-border raid from Ukraine, claiming to have killed more than 70 attackers in a battle that lasted around 24 hours, a senior Moscow official said.
It was not possible to independently confirm claims about the armed incursion into Russian territory that began Monday. Nor was it possible to say with any certainty who was behind the attack or what its aims were.
Disinformation has been one of the weapons of the almost 15-month war.
Moscow blamed the raid on Ukrainian military saboteurs. Kyiv portrayed the incident as an uprising against the Kremlin by Russian partisans. It wasn’t immediately possible to reconcile the two versions.
The battle took place in the Belgorod region, about 80 kilometres north of the city of Kharkiv, in eastern Ukraine.
Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov claimed the armed attackers were routed by local troop units, air strikes and artillery fire.
“The remnants of the nationalists were driven back to the territory of Ukraine, where they continued to be hit by fire until they were completely eliminated,” Konashenkov said, without providing evidence. He did not mention any Russian casualties.
Four armoured combat vehicles and five pickup trucks used by the attackers were destroyed, he said. Local officials alleged drones and artillery were also used in the assault.
The governor of the Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said the raid targeted the rural area around the town of Graivoron, a town about 5 kilometres from the border. Twelve civilians were wounded in the attack, he said, and an older woman died during the evacuation.
IMRAN KHAN SUFFERS FIRST MAJOR BLOW AS CLOSE AIDE QUITS PARTY AND ACTIVE POLITICS AFTER HER ARREST
In a major blow to Imran Khan, Shireen Mazari, an aide of the former Pakistan prime minister, has announced her decision to leave Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, following the May 9 attack on the country's military installations and government buildings.
Shireen Mazari is the latest politician to quit Imran Khan's party, after Jai Parkash and Mubeen Khilji. So far, Mahmood Baqi Moulvi, Aamer Mehmood Kiani, Sanjay Sagwani, Malik Aslam Amin, Hisham Inamullah, Dr Muhammad Amjad, Dr Imran Ali Shah, Karim Gabol, Faiz Kamoka, and Pir Saeedul Hassan have quit the party.
Shireen Mazari's resignation from PTI comes hours after she was released from a prison on the orders of a top court. Mazari, 72, who has been a vocal critic of Pakistan's military and the government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, was arrested five times in over 10 days.
Mazari was first arrested on May 12 from her residence in Islamabad as part of a crackdown launched by the Pakistan government on PTI supporters.
ANTI-TERROR COURT GRANTS IMRAN BAIL IN MULTIPLE CASES
Islamabad : Pakistan’s anti-terrorism court granted former PM Imran Khan bail in multiple cases on Tuesday as he continued to allege that the country’s powerful authorities plan to rearrest him. Imran’s wife, Bushra Begum, was also granted protective bail until May 31 in a corruption case by the National Accountability Bureau court in Islamabad.
IMF SAYS UK TO AVOID RECESSION, GIVES SUNAK’S GOVT PAT ON BACK
London : The IMF no longer expects a recession in Britain this year, it said on Tuesday, praising steps taken by the government to stabilise the economy and fight inflation and warning against pre-election taxcuts.
The IMF said gross domestic product now looks set to grow by 0. 4% in 2023 rather than contracting by 0. 3% as it had predicted in April. The earlier forecast was the weakest for any major economy this year but the new growth projection would see Britain edge ahead of some rich world peers including Germany. While the IMF warned the outlook remains subdued, it said PM Rishi Sunak’s government was on the right track, in contrast to its concerns about the direction of economic policy under former premier Liz Truss.
“The UK authorities have taken decisive and responsible steps in recent months,” IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva said e onTuesday.
British inflation is likely to fall to around 5% by the end of this year from more than 10% in March, and should return to its 2% target by the middle of 2025, the IMF said— broadly in line with forecasts from the Bank of England earlier this month.
UK TO BAN FOREIGN STUDENTS FROM BRINGING DEPENDANT FAMILY OVER
he UK government on Tuesday announced a new immigration crackdown targeted at overseas students, including Indians, and their visa right to bring dependant family members to the country while enrolled at a British institution.
In a written statement to the House of Commons, UK home secretary Suella Braverman said only international students on postgraduate courses currently designated as research programmes will be allowed to bring in their family members, including children and elderly parents, as their dependants.
The Indian-origin minister said the new package of measures was necessary after it emerged that around 136,000 visas were granted to dependants of sponsored students in the year ending December 2022 — a more than eight-fold increase from 16,000 in 2019.
Removing the ability for international students toswitch out of the student route into work routes before their studies have been completed and reviewing the maintenance requirements for students and dependants are listed among the other measures.
The minister also pledged steps to clamp down on unscrupulous education agents “who may be supporting inappropriate applications to sell immigration not education”. “The terms of the graduate route remain unchanged. . . We are committed to attracting the brightest and the best. Our intention is to work with universities over the course of the next year to design an alternative approach that ensures that the best and the brightest students can bring dependants to our world-leading universities while continuing to reduce net migration,” she said. The new curbs are expected to be enforced “as soon as possible”.
NO SURVIVORS IN CAPSIZE OF CHINESE FISHING VESSEL
There were no survivors after a fishing vessel carrying 39 crew members from China, Indonesia and the Philippines capsized last week in the Indian Ocean, according to an initial government probe released on Tuesday.
The Chinese vessel overturned on May 16, with 17 Chinese, 17 Indonesians and five Filipinos on board.
The boat capsized within Australia‘s search-and-rescue region, 5,000 km to the west of Perth.
TRUCK WITH NAZI FLAG CRASHES NEAR WH, DRIVER ARRESTED
Washington : A man who crashed a rented box truck into security barriers near the White House faces multiple criminal charges, US Park Police said on Tuesday following an overnight incident that authorities said may have been intentional.
The suspect was charged with threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on the president, vice-president or a family member, among other charges, the police said. It did not identify the adult male charged. US Secret Service said there was no ongoing danger and no injuries.
Awitness said investigators found a Nazi swastika flag inside the truck, which crashed into barriers at Lafayette Square, adjacent to the White House grounds.
President Joe Biden’s exact location at the time of the crash just before 10pm (local time) was unclear.
WRITER SEEKS $10M IN NEW DAMAGES FROM TRUMP OVER RAPE VERDICT JAB
New York : Writer E Jean Carroll sought on Monday to amend the first of her two defamation lawsuits against Donald Trump to demand at least $10 million in additional damages, citing comments he made after a court verdict favouring her. “She’s a whack job,” the 2024 Republican primary candidate said on CNN the day after a New York jury found him liable for sexually abusing and defaming the Elle magazine writer earlier this month. The jury had ordered him to pay Carroll $5 million in damages. Those comments — with Trump adding that Carroll was telling a “made-up story” and that he didn't know her — constitute further “defamatory statements,” Carroll’s lawyers argue.
HARRY LOSES LEGAL BATTLE TO BE ABLE TO PAY FOR POLICE PROTECTION IN UK
A London judge ruled Tuesday against Prince Harry in his efforts to pay for police protection when he visits Britain. A high court judge rejected the Duke of Sussex’s assertion that the UK government exceeded its authority when it denied him the right to hire police to provide security in the UK. The government stopped providing security after Harry and his wife, Meghan, quit their royal duties and moved to California in 2020. A lawyer for the government argued in court it should allow hiring of “police officers as private bodyguards for the wealthy”.
Harry has said he doesn’t feel safe visiting UK with his children, and has cited aggressive photographers.
CHINESE SUE FLORIDA OVER BAN ON HOME PURCHASES
Talahassee : A group of Chinese citizens living and working in Florida sued the state Monday over a new law that bans Chinese nationals from purchasing property in largeswaths of the state. The law applies to land near military installations and other “critical infrastructure” and also affects citizens of Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, Iran, Russia, and North Korea. But Chinese citizens face the harshest restrictions.
US-China ties are strained amid growing tensions over security and trade. AP
TIKTOK SUES TO QUASH FIRST US STATE’S BAN
Social media company TikTok Inc filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to overturn Montana’s first-in-the-nation ban on the video sharing app, arguing the law is an unconstitutional violation of free speech rights and is based on “unfounded speculation” that the Chinese government could access users’ data.