Seven staff at one of Pakistan’s biggest power plants have been suspended after a technical fault sparked a massive grid breakdown at the weekend, plunging the entire country into darkness. The employees at Guddu thermal power plant in Sindh province were suspended “on account of the negligence of duty”. The suspended staff included a manager and six junior employees.
Educational institutions in the country will reopen in phases from January 18, the government has announced. Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said that in the first phase, classes nine to 12 would be allowed to resume. He said that in the next phase, classes one to eight would resume on Jan 25. All higher educational institutions would resume from Feb 1, he added.
Dr Omar Atiq, a Pakistani oncologist who lives in the US, has made headlines for wiping away $650,000 in debt for patients at his cancer treatment centre in Arkansas. Dr Atiq told his 200 patients of the news in a Christmas greeting card. The clinic shut down in late February after 29 years of service. The card also announced its closure.
Pakistan has further improved its position on the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) in 2019 due to the ongoing counter-terrorism operations. According to GTI 2020 report, Pakistan has dropped two places to 7th in 2019 from 5th in 2018 on the GTI, indicating a significant improvement in the overall security situation of the country. Note that the lower the rank on the GTI, the safer the country is considered.
Pakistani ambassador to Germany, Dr Mohammad Faisal has revealed that he had met Dieter Mettke from the multinational IKEA conglomerate who was en route to Pakistan to start IKEA operations there. Dieter Mettke will be in charge of IKEA operations in the country. “We look forward to #IKEA opening up stores in major cities of #Pakistan,” Ambassador Faisal said on Twitter.
Abbottabad once again reported the highest positivity ratio in the country, after another 1,800 Covid-19 infections surfaced on Sunday. Abbottabad had also figured on top on Dec 21 when it recorded 40.32 per cent ratio of coronavirus cases. According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), 1,853 people contracted the virus while 57 lost their lives.
Five months after sensationally reporting that Pakistan was the origin of and responsible for half of Britain’s imported coronavirus cases, two influential UK newspapers have accepted that they published misleading and false headlines. A story was first published on July 26 by The Telegraph newspaper with the headlines: “Exclusive: Half of Britain’s imported conronavrius cases originate from Pakistan”.
Regional Cooperation Minister, Ofir Akunis, has clarified that the fifth country normalizing ties with Israel, will not be Pakistan. Israel is working toward formalising relations with a fifth Muslim country, possibly in Asia, during US President Donald Trump’s term. Akunis said there were two main candidate countries to become the next to move toward normal ties with Israel.
Pakistan has decided to close its borders to Britain, joining several other countries, over fears of a highly infectious new coronavirus strain. A meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) placed a temporary restriction on inbound travellers from the UK (direct or indirect) to Pakistan that will come into effect on the midnight of December 22 (i.e. 00:00 hours Dec 23) and last until the midnight of Dec 29.
President Dr Arif Alvi approved the government’s “stringent” and “holistic” Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Ordinance, 2020 to help expedite cases of sexual abuse against women and children. Under this ordinance, special courts are to be set up across the country to expedite trials and cases of rape at the earliest. The courts are to deal with rape cases within four months.