While Pakistan continues to be ravaged by floods, especially in Sindh and Balochistan provinces, Pakistan is now playing a victim of its own man-made disaster fabricated under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Pakistan floods have increased manifold over the last 50 years, killing 115 people each day on average and damaging infrastructure projects in sensitive regions like Gilgit Baltistan, causing a high melting rate of glaciers and blockage of river systems are termed as a major cause for it, Al Arabiya reported citing the World Meteorological Organization. Apparently, the floods have become another chance for the Pakistani government to seek donations to help themselves amid the CPEC-driven economic turmoil. However, the projects are of critical importance for both China and Pakistan.
An international group of scientists, World Weather Attribution, in its September 2022 analysis has held human activities responsible for the deadly floods in Pakistan, as per Al Arabiya.
Various reasons are responsible for Pakistan’s floods. Firstly, the elevation of several roads is higher than the areas they pass through and these settlements tend to become lakes with no exit for water, an architect, Arif Hasan, wrote in the Dawn
Furthermore, the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, running through some of the most vulnerable regions in Pakistan caused melting, flooding, landslides, massive deforestation and river blockages, Al Arabiya reported.
As per Federal Flood Commission, Ministry of Water and Power 2015 report, the CPEC region has experienced 25 significant flood events in the past 70 years.
According to the health department data, more than 2.5 million people have been affected by infectious diseases in flood-hit areas of Pakistan.
In a recent statement, the World Health Organization expressed deep concerns about the potential for a “second disaster in Pakistan: a wave of diseases and deaths” following the catastrophic floods caused by climate change that has submerged one-third of Pakistan.
Explaining the impacts on health, the WHO chief suggested acting quickly to protect health and deliver essential health services.
The Monsoon rains have claimed more than a thousand lives across Pakistan since June and unleashed powerful floods that have washed away swathes of vital crops and damaged or destroyed more than a million homes.
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Cubans vote in landmark referendum on same-sex marriage, adoption
Cubans voted in a landmark referendumon Sunday on whether to legalize same-sex marriage and adoption, allow surrogate pregnancies and give greater rights to non-biological parents.
Almost 6 million Cubans (around 69% of eligible voters) voted in the referendum, according to electoral officials.
Over 8 million Cubans over the age of 16 were eligible to vote “yes” or “no” for the proposal, which is supported by the communist government but criticized by Catholic and evangelical church leaders, reported DW News.
More than 79,000 neighbourhood meetings were held earlier this year to debate the proposal, which is backed by the communist government. Church leaders have expressed opposition to the idea.
The final week of campaigning saw the government flood TV, radio and social media with pro-equality messages, along with glitzy billboards, public rallies and tweets from President Miguel Diaz-Canel urging Cubans to vote yes “in favour of democracy,” reported DW News.
The official attitude toward homosexuality has changed significantly over the past 20 years after decades of persecution.
In 2019, the government sought to include same-sex marriage in the country’s new constitution but backed down after criticism from the Church. The Conference of Bishops has once again come out against the current proposal.
Political scientist Rafael Hernandez said the referendum on same-sex marriage is the “most important human rights legislation” in Cuba since the 1959 revolution, reported DW News.
However, the current economic unease may overshadow Cuba’s historic vote. Cuba is facing its worst economic crisis in 30 years due to a collapse in international tourism and ongoing US sanctions. The economic parameters of the country has been on a downward spiral for quite sometime now.
Japan on high alert ahead of former PM Abe’s state funeral
Japan has imposed tight security measures in the capital city Tokyo as it prepares to host foreign dignitaries for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which will be attended by several foreign dignitaries.
The state-funded event on Tuesday has encountered growing criticism as it is expected to cost more than USD 11 million, with a large portion attributed to security costs, Japan’s Kyodo news reported.
Top-level security measures will be deployed, equivalent to those adopted during the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, with the police presence exceeding 18,000 personnel.
According to Kyodo, Police are taking extra precautions to ensure there is no gap in security given that Abe was shot down despite the presence of police while he was giving a public address.
The state funeral of Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated on July 8 in the city of Nara during a campaign speech, will take place on September 27. Thousands of people are expected to attend the funeral.
Representatives from hundreds of countries and international organizations are expected to participate in the state funeral on Tuesday at the Nippon Budokan in central Tokyo, Japan Times reported.
Abe’s funeral will be the second state funeral for a former prime minister since World War 2. The first one was held in 1967 for Shigeru Yoshida.
Other deceased prime ministers received a joint Cabinet Office and Liberal Democratic Party service.
The state funeral ceremony will be the first major public event since new police security guidelines were implemented, including sniffer dogs at train stations and police patrols at Tokyo-area airports after Abe’s assassination.
Several foreign dignitaries are expected to attend the funeral service in Tokyo. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also attend Abe’s funeral. He will also separately meet Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
The funeral service will likely last for approximately one-and-a-half hours following which the national anthem of the country will be played, according to Japan Times.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will deliver a commemorative speech followed by addresses from other high-level delegates.
Japan’s royal family will also pay tributes to Abe at his state funeral, however, maintaining the line of Japanese tradition, Emperor Naruhito will not be attending the funeral, and their imperial envoys will pay their respects.
The funeral ceremony will finish with sending off Abe’s remains and placing remembrance wreaths. Abe was shot on 8 July in the Japanese city of Nara.
China-Nepal rail plan has little support in landlocked nation
China’s ambitious project in Nepal related to building a railway line in the landlocked nation has few supporters.
Although China plans to start a feasibility study for the 170 km Trans-Himalayan Tibet-Nepal railway, environmental and technical questions remain. Such concerns have been raised by Nepali experts, reported Eye of Nepal.
Moreover, the dispute over the blocked Nepal-China railway line has not yet been resolved. President Xi Jinping said in 2019 that the proposed line would transform Nepal.
But three years have passed and still the project has not received much support from the Nepalese leadership, engineers or environmentalists, reported Eye of Nepal.
Towards the end of 2018, China conducted a pre-feasibility study of a railway for Nepal, which clearly stated that it was a very difficult project due to the terrain gradient.
Th study estimates an investment of USD 2.75 billion for the 72.5 km section but unfortunately, the report of the study has not been made public yet, reported Eye of Nepal.
As a result, doubts have arisen in Nepal about the feasibility of the proposed railway. Aman Chitrakar of Nepal Railway said that this project will be as difficult as the third pole.
He said that the world’s most challenging railway engineering project is the 4,500-meter Tibetan Plateau route that reaches Kathmandu through the Himalayas. Technical experts have expressed serious concern about Nepal’s lack of capacity, reported Eye of Nepal.
While reviewing the technical reports, it was found that there is no technically qualified railway in Nepal and there is a lack of engineers who can evaluate the pros and cons of the proposed railway line.
Tibetan lives are in danger due to China’s poorly handled zero-COVID policy
The draconian measures adopted by China to enforce its zero-covid policy in the wake of rising covd-19 cases in Tibet has endangered the lives of Tibetans.
“The zero-covid policy is causing more harm than good. The mismanagement of the pandemic outbreak in Tibet only exposes Beijing’s failed covid-policy implementation,” read the Central Tibetan Administration press release.
In an attempt to present itself as a role model in curbing the outbreak, China is downright disregarding the safety and security of Tibetans in need of medical assistance and covid care evidenced by the dire lockdown conditions being reported and exposed online by a number of affected Tibetans.
Tibetans complained about crowded quarantine facilities, food scarcity, lack of medical supplies and unhygienic living conditions, added the release.
Some Tibetans said that the condition is worse than a prisoner and another Tibetan was beaten up for protesting against the dire living situation under the covid lockdown. Tibetans in the covid regions are being forcibly dragged to be put into isolation centres and their families have to live with the uncertainty of their return and updates in general.
The entire world suffered when the pandemic hit but the situation in Tibet could not have gotten worse since it was already in a saddening state. Tibetans in Tibet are stuck in another helpless state where the government is only focusing on carrying out their policy to seem like a capable nation.
China publicly reported the first Covid outbreak in Tibet on August 8 this year, with 22 cases of covid-positive in Lhasa and Ngari. This has been the first official admission of Covid in Tibet after the repeated public announcements of the zero-Covid policy in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) since early 2020, read the CTA release.
Within weeks, at least 3627 people had reportedly tested positive indicating a rapid increase.
Seven dead after massive fire at South Korean shopping mall
At least seven people were killed in a fire that erupted in a shopping mall’s basement on Monday in Daejeon, South Korea, according to officials.
Go Seung-cheol, a representative of the Daejeon Fire Headquarters, stated that after putting out the fire, firefighters were still looking for survivors. He claimed that some areas of the structure were still filled with smoke and that it wasn’t immediately evident if there were any other persons missing.
More than 110 people were evacuated, including mall employees and guests at a nearby hotel, after the fire broke out at around 7:45 a.m. and quickly spread across the loading dock area of the basement. The damage might have been worse, according to officials, if the fire had erupted during the mall’s regular business hours.
More than 500 firefighters and 90 vehicles were deployed to fight the fire, which was extinguished at around 3 p.m., Go said.
Photos taken at the scene showed a cloud of dark-gray smoke rising from beneath the structure while firefighters extinguished the fire with water hoses and other tools.
Lee Seung-han, a fire official at the Yuseong fire department, said six of the people found dead were mall employees and that officials were still trying to identify the other victim. Lee and Go had no immediate comment about the cause of death.
The cause of the fire was being looked into by police and fire personnel. According to eyewitness accounts cited by the local media, the fire may have been caused by the explosion of an electric vehicle that was charging in the basement.
After shooting at Russian school, six people, gunman dead
A shooter killed six people and injured 20 others in a school in the central Russian city of Izhevsk on Monday morning.
According to the Udmurtia branch of the interior ministry, the shooter killed himself. According to the Russian official, the school has been closed and the surrounding area has been fenced off.
Alexander Brechalov, the governor of the Udmurtia region, of which Izhevsk is the capital, stated in a video message that the as-yet unidentified shooter entered the school and killed a guard and some of the students present. Children among the victims and wounded, according to Brechalov.
(More details are awaited.)
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