• Afghan-Taliban negotiators agree on procedural rules for Doha talks
    KABUL, DECEMBER 3 (IANS): Negotiators from the Afghan government, as well as the Taliban, have agreed on procedural rules to continue the peace talks in the Qatari capital of Doha, it was confirmed by both the sides. "Today (Wednesday), the plenary meeting was held between two Intra-Afghan negotiation teams. In this meeting, a joint working committee was tasked to prepare the draft topics for the agenda," TOLO News quoted Nader Nadery, a member of the government's nego
  • Covid could push 72mn more children into 'learning poverty': World Bank
    WASHINGTON, DECEMBER 3 (IANS): The Covid-19-related school closures risk pushing an additional 72 million primary school aged children into "learning poverty" - meaning that they are unable to read and understand a simple text by age 10, the World Bank has said. The pandemic is amplifying the global learning crisis that already existed, according to two new World Bank reports, which outlined a new vision for learning and the investments and policies needed, including on ed
  • Pak court jails spokesperson of Hafiz Saeed-led JuD to 15 years
    Lahore, December 3 (PTI): A Pakistani anti-terrorism court has handed down 15 years jail term to Yahya Mujahid, spokesperson of the Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed's Jammat-ud-Dawah (JuD), in a terror financing case. Mujahid was last month sentenced to 32 years in jail by the anti-terrorism court in two terror financing cases. Besides Mujahid, the ATC Lahore on Wednesday also awarded 15 years imprisonment to JuD's senior leader Zafar Iqbal and six months jail te
  • Pakistan to start coronavirus vaccination drive from April 2021
    Islamabad, Deceber 3 (PTI): The Pakistan government will provide the coronavirus vaccine free of cost to its people and plans are afoot to start the immunisation drive by April next year, officials said on Thursday. Parliamentary Secretary on Health Nausheen Hamid said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government has approved funds to purchase the vaccine doses. "The PTI government will provide the coronavirus vaccines free of cost to the people. The government will start the vac
  • Greenland ice sheet faces irreversible melting, say scientists
    London, December 3 (PTI): The massive Greenland ice sheet could be facing a point of no return, beyond which it may no longer fully regrow, permanently changing sea levels around the world, warns a new study. Using computer simulations, the study, published in the journal The Cryosphere, analysed how climate change could lead to irreversible sea level rise as temperatures continue to rise and the Greenland ice sheet continues to decline. While there were scenarios in which the ic
  • UN, Ethiopia agree on humanitarian access to Tigray
    UNITED NATIONS, DECEMBER 3 (IANS): The UN and the Ethiopian government have reached an agreement on humanitarian access to areas under the latter's control in the conflict-ridden Tigray region, officials said. The accord "seeks to enable unimpeded, sustained and secure access for humanitarian personnel and services in areas under the control of the federal government in Tigray and the bordering areas of Amhara and Afar regions", Xinhua news agency quoted the UN Office
  • China's Chang'e-5 completes sampling on moon
    BEIJING, DECEMBER 3 (IANS): China's Chang'e-5 probe has completed sampling on the moon, and the samples have been sealed inside the spacecraft, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced on Thursday. Launched on November 24, the spacecraft landed on the north of the Mons Rumker in Oceanus Procellarum, also known as the Ocean of Storms, on the near side of the moon on Tuesday, tasked with retrieving China's first samples from an extraterrestrial body, report
  • Daniel Pearl murder was related to international terrorism
    ISLAMABAD, DECEMBER 3 (IANS): A senior counsel of the Sindh High Court (SHC) told the Pakistan Supreme Court that the 2002 abduction and murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl were part of events related to international terrorism, the media reported on Thursday. The remarks were made by counsel Farooq H. Naek on Wednesday in front of a three-judge Supreme Court bench that had taken up a set of appeals filed by the Sindh government, Pearl's parents, and the key accused Omar
  • Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai denied bail on fraud charge
    Hong Kong, December 3 (AP): Outspoken Hong Kong pro-democracy advocate and media tycoon Jimmy Lai was refused bail on Thursday on a fraud charge amid a growing crackdown on dissent in the semi-autonomous city. Jimmy Lai of Next Digital, which publishes the Apple Daily newspaper, was among 10 people arrested on August 10 on what police said was suspicion of violating a national security law and collusion with a foreign country. Lai, 73, was later released on bail but police raided
  • Who, when and how? A look at the UK's vaccination rollout
    London, December 2 (AP): British regulators have become the first to approve the COVID-19 vaccine developed by American drugmaker Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech for experimental use. Because trials of the vaccine have shown that it has 95 per cent efficacy, there is acute interest in how the U.K. plans to implement its biggest immunisation programme in decades. Here's a look at what is known about Britain's vaccination plan: HOW MUCH OF THE VACCINE DOES THE U.K. HAVE?
  • Waiting for passengers, American puts Boeing Max in the air
    Dallas (US), December 3 (AP):  American Airlines is taking its long-grounded Boeing 737 Max jets out of storage, updating key flight-control software, and flying the planes in preparation for the first flights with paying passengers later this month. The airline invited press reporters and photographers on board one of the planes Wednesday to demonstrate its confidence in the plane's safety. All Max jets worldwide were grounded in March 2019 after the second of two crash
  • Trump says his fight is to ensure Americans have faith in this and future elections
    Washington, December 3 (PTI) Reiterating his unsubstantiated claims about widespread voter fraud in the presidential polls, US President Donald Trump has told his supporters that his fight was to ensure that Americans have faith in this and future elections. Within days after the election, we witnessed an orchestrated effort to anoint a winner, even while many key states were still being counted. The Constitutional process must be allowed to continue. We are going to defend the hone
  • Biden urges Americans to avoid Christmas travel to prevent spread of coronavirus
    Washington, December 3 (PTI): US President-elect Joe Biden has urged Americans not to travel during the Christmas and New Year holidays so as to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic. The novel coronavirus has so far infected 13,921,374 people and claimed 273,799 lives in the US -- both the numbers highest in the world. "You cannot be travelling during these holidays. As much as you want to," Biden told a group of workers and small business owners in Wil
  • Global Covid-19 cases top 64.4mn: Johns Hopkins
    Washington, December 3 (IANS): The overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped 64.4 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 1.49 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University. In its latest update on Thursday, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 64,447,657 and 1,491,559, respectively. The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of
  • Prominent HK pro-democracy activist jailed
    Hong Kong, December 3 (IANS): Joshua Wong, a prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activist, along with two others -- Ivan Lam and Agnes Chow -- were sentenced to 13.5, seven and 10 months in prison, respectively, for besieging the city's police headquarters in June 2019. Wong, Lam and Chow, who were leaders and members of the disbanded Demosisto, a pro-democracy group advocating the city's independence, were sentenced on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency. They three have been ac
  • NATO Secy Gen reiterates call for Afghan ceasefire
    KABUL, DECEMBER 2 (IANS): NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has reiterated his call for Afghan ceasefire. Stoltenberg, at the first session of the NATO's foreign ministers meeting on Tuesday, said: "We call on Taliban to reduce violence, but of course, that's only the first step." "What we need to see is a lasting peace agreement. And part of that has to be a ceasefire. So, the reduction of violence should only be the first step," the NATO chief sai
  • Iranian Prez calls for suspension of UN nuke inspections
    TEHRAN, DECEMBER 2 (IANS): Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday criticized a Parliament's Bill calling for suspension of UN inspections of the country's nuclear facilities, IRNA news agency reported. "The government does not agree with the Bill passed by the Parliament yesterday," Rouhani was quoted as saying. "It would be detrimental to diplomatic efforts," he added. A day earlier, the Iranian Parliament passed a Bill which urges the gover
  • Japan passes law to make Covid vaccines free for residents
    TOKYO, DECEMBER 2 (IANS): Japan enacted a law on Wednesday to cover the costs of vaccination against Covid-19 for residents of the country. Amid rising hopes for the early arrival of vaccines following recent progress and a resurgence of infections in Japan, the country's House of Councilors unanimously passed a bill to revise the current vaccination law, Xinhua reported. The revision came as Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has vowed to secure Covid-19 vaccines for all
  • NATO identifies China as a threat in the coming decade
    NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 2 (IANS): The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has identified China as a "full-spectrum" systematic rival and a threat in the coming decade. In its latest, 2030 Expert Group's report 'United For A New Era', which is to be launched in partnership with Carnegie Europe on December 3, NATO has described China as a challenge to open and democratic societies because of its "trajectory to greater authoritarianism and an expansion of i
  • Thai prime minister acquitted of ethics breach, retains post
    Bangkok, December 2 (AP): Thailand's highest court on Wednesday acquitted Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha of breaching ethics clauses in the country's constitution, allowing him to stay in his job. The Constitutional Court ruled on a complaint brought by the Pheu Thai party, the largest opposition grouping in Parliament, that Prayuth had broken the law by continuing to live in his military residence after he retired as army commander in September 2014. The complaint alle