Layalpur Post - Daily News Updates

PM, UN Secy-General make joint call for ‘massive global support’ for Pakistan’s flood disaster

ISLAMABAD, Sep 9, 2022 (APP): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday urged the international community to extend massive support to Pakistan as the country battled immense floods.

The UN Secretary-General flanked by PM Shehbaz Sharif at a joint presser held here at the National Flood Response and Coordination Centre (NFRCC), said the world needed to amplify its assistance to Pakistan in the wake of the natural disaster.

PM Sharif and Secretary-General Guterres visited the NFRCC where they were given a briefing about the situation of floods across the country.

The UN Secretary-General besides urging support for flood relief assistance also emphasized debt support for Pakistan to help the country overcome numerous challenges including economic stability.

Guterres, who had earlier launched a global appeal to raise $160 million for the flood-affected people of Pakistan, said joint efforts were required to help the country overcome the consequences of climate change.

Pakistan, he said, despite its little contribution to climate change was bearing the negative effects of the phenomenon of natural disasters.

He said it was absolutely essential for other countries, particularly those contributing to carbon emissions, to mobilize resources for Pakistan following the devastating monsoon.

“Today, it is Pakistan and tomorrow it could be any other country. Mobilizing resources for Pakistan is a matter of justice,” he said.

The Secretary-General said Pakistan was witnessing an “unprecedented natural disaster” and lauded the government, army, and NGOs for working together in a “remarkable way”.

Guterres said he would continue to raise his voice for the Pakistani government and people who were grappling with difficult situations amid floods.

“Pakistan is in my heart as I have worked with this country for 17 years while the nation extended enormous generosity to Afghan refugees for decades,” he said.

PM Sharif expressed gratitude to the UN Secretary-General for his “extremely kind and generous gesture” of visiting Pakistan to get first-hand information and express solidarity with the people.

“We are very grateful for the solidarity demonstrated by you as 33 million people suffer dire conditions in the wake of heavy floods,” he told the Secretary-General, who arrived in Islamabad early this morning.

The prime minister said the civil government along with armed forces was carrying out massive rescue, relief and rehabilitation activities in the flood-affected areas.

He said Pakistan was facing the brunt of natural disasters and a similar situation could be faced by the rest of the world in future.

Sharif emphasized that after the rescue operations, Pakistan needed enormous funding for rehabilitation and reconstruction of damaged infrastructure.

The government, he stressed, was doing its best despite meagre resources and assured the Secretary-General that the dispensation of flood assistance would be made in a transparent manner.

Chairman NFRCC Dr Ahsan Iqbal in his briefing mentioned that the 2010’s super floods affected 20 million people, however, the current flash floods impacted 33 million across the country.

He said hill torrents proved a challenge amid a lack of efficient infrastructure to deal with the disaster and resulted in heavy loss of lives, infrastructure, livestock and crops.

He said Pakistan was expecting around three percent reduction in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the backdrop of a combination of challenges including floods, IMF programme and the economic situation in the aftermath of Russian-Ukraine war.

Coordinator NFRCC Maj Gen Zafar Iqbal in his briefing said one-third of Pakistan was inundated in water covering a land area equal to the size of the United Kingdom, Portugal, New Zealand and Ecuador.

He said floods led to the loss of over $30 billion including the damage to 750,000 livestock.

In Sindh, he said, the national railway track remained underwater and the train service from Islamabad to Karachi could not be operated at the moment. It was highlighted that Manchar Lake burst at three places, affecting the railway line.

In Balochistan, he said, four districts were still under water.

The NFRCC official said the coordinated efforts among civil government, military and NGOs including the UN aid bodies were in full swing, adding that the assessment survey on relief operations in the provinces would start by Monday.

Message from the Governor General of Canada following a visit to areas of Prince Edward Island affected by Hurricane Fiona

CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island, October 30, 2022 (LPP, LPC): Today, Whit and I visited communities in Prince Edward Island to see the damage and devastation caused by last month’s Hurricane Fiona. Our hearts go out to the residents of Prince Edward Island, and to all those in Atlantic Canada dealing with the aftermath of this disaster.

We were heartbroken to see the damage still evident across the province: the loss of home and business. Wreckage of nature and the most basic infrastructure. Harm to fishers, to crops and to the tourist industry. But what hit us most of all were meeting the people who have to live with this impact, whose livelihoods are directly affected—whose primary job now is to rebuild. But they will not do so alone. In P.E.I. and across Atlantic Canada, there are communities who have come together following this tragedy and who have all shown great strength. We are inspired by their actions.

Yet, even with this display of strength, there is a need to help people heal, not only physically, but also emotionally. And a need to heal our planet as well. The mental toll of this hurricane was overwhelming, and so, too, is the overall impact of climate change. It is up to all of us to act responsibly and sustainably, particularly as we turn to recovery.

We want to thank the first responders who have stepped up to the challenges of the last month. We also deeply appreciate the considerable and ongoing efforts from those across the country who are working in difficult conditions to heal hearts, minds and homes. On behalf of all Canadians, Whit and I would like to extend condolences and offer our support to those dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona.

Prime Minister announces new measures to support Ukraine

Ottawa, Ontario, October 28, 2022: As Ukrainians bravely defend their country and our shared values of peace, democracy, and human rights, Canada remains steadfast in our support. We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to support the government and people of Ukraine, and hold Russia accountable for its brutal, unjustifiable invasion.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today attended the XXVII Triennial Congress of Ukrainian Canadians in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he announced new measures to continue supporting the people of Ukraine.

The Prime Minister announced that the Government of Canada will issue Ukraine Sovereignty Bonds, which will help the government continue operations, including providing essential services to Ukrainians, like pensions, and purchasing fuel before winter. The equivalent proceeds from this five-year bond will be channelled directly to Ukraine through the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Administered Account. This builds on the Government of Canada’s $2 billion in financial assistance to Ukraine this year.

To increase pressure on Putin’s regime, the Prime Minister also announced that Canada is imposing new sanctions on individuals and entities complicit in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These new measures will target 35 senior officials of energy entities, including those of Gazprom and its subsidiaries, and six energy sector entities involved in Russia’s ongoing violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

 He also announced that Canada intends to impose new sanctions on members of the Russian justice and security sectors, including police officers and investigators, prosecutors, judges, and prison officials, involved in gross and systematic human rights violations against Russian opposition leaders. These new measures build on the sanctions we have already implemented against over 1,400 individuals and entities.

The 39 armoured combat support vehicles (ACSVs) we announced for Ukraine in June have started to arrive in Europe, where training for the Ukrainian forces is underway, with the last expected to be delivered end of November. Since February 2022, Canada has committed over $600 million in military assistance to Ukraine. We will continue to help Ukraine meet its urgent requirements for military and defence equipment.

As winter approaches, Canada will continue to be there to support the people of Ukraine. Over 17 million Ukrainians are currently in need of humanitarian assistance, and many are ill prepared for the colder months. That is why the Prime Minister announced that Canada is allocating $55 million in previously announced funding to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Organization for Migration, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other humanitarian partners to support winterization initiatives. This includes providing shelter and distributing essential items such as blankets, clothing, heating appliances, and fuel.

Canada is also moving forward with previously budgeted $15 million in funding for demining support to Ukraine, including the procurement of urgently needed demining equipment for the State Emergency Service of Ukraine through Global Affairs Canada’s Weapons Threat Reduction Program and the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program.

To address the devastating impacts of Russia’s invasion on Ukrainian expertise, innovation, and talent, the Prime Minister announced the launch of the Canada-Ukraine Science Partnership, which will invite up to 20 Ukraine-based scientists to come work and live in Canada. This initiative will help Ukraine preserve and rebuild its science and research capacity.

Canada will continue our unwavering support for Ukraine as it defends its sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence. We will continue to work with our international partners to hold Putin accountable for his illegal invasion and the war crimes and human rights violations that have been committed by his regime.

Governments of Canada and Ontario invest over $56 million to bring high-speed internet to over 16,000 homes in eastern Ontario

Rural communities to benefit from increased connectivity to high-speed internet

October 26, 2022
Ministry of Infrastructure

All Canadians, no matter where they live, need reliable and affordable high-speed internet to access essential services, supports and opportunities. That is why the governments of Canada and Ontario, along with the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB), are taking action to get people living in rural and remote communities connected to high-speed internet.

Today, the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development together with Amarjot Sandhu, Parliamentary Assistant to Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure, on behalf of the Honourable Kinga Surma, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure announced more than $56 million in combined funding for three projects by Bell and Cogeco to bring high-speed internet access to over 16,000 households in rural communities across eastern Ontario. Bell’s projects are set to be completed between March and December 2025, and Cogeco’s project is set to be completed by March 2024.

In July 2021, the governments of Canada and Ontario announced that they had partnered with the CIB to support large-scale fibre-based projects to provide high-speed internet access to more than 280,000 rural and remote households across the province. That historic agreement was made possible by a joint federal-provincial investment totaling more than $1.2 billion. Today’s announcement by the governments of Canada and Ontario and the CIB provides details on three of the projects selected under that agreement.

Today’s announcement builds on the Government of Canada’s progress toward ensuring that 98 per cent of Canadians have access to high-speed internet by 2026, and 100 per cent by 2030. The announcement also brings the Government of Ontario one step closer to achieving its goal of bringing reliable high-speed internet access to every region of the province by the end of 2025.

congratulations to the United Kingdom’s new Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak: Justin Trudeau

OTTAWA, CANADA, October 25, 2022 (LPP, LPC):“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I extend my congratulations to the United Kingdom’s new Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak.

“Canada’s partnership with the United Kingdom, one of the strongest relationships between any two countries in the world, is defined by our rich shared history, our close friendship, and an unwavering commitment to human rights, democracy, and the rules-based international order. This includes our close partnership through the United Nations, international financial institutions, and other multilateral organizations. We are the only two countries to be members of the Commonwealth, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, G7, and G20.

“I look forward to working with Prime Minister Sunak to strengthen this relationship as we continue to address ongoing global concerns, including Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine, economic uncertainty, and climate change. I also look forward to collaborating with Prime Minister Sunak to bolster our important economic relationship as we negotiate a comprehensive, ambitious, and inclusive Canada-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement, as well the U.K.’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. Together, we will remain focused on creating good middle-class jobs and opportunities for businesses on both sides of the Atlantic, while driving economic growth that benefits everyone.

“I wish Prime Minister Elizabeth Truss all the best in her future endeavours.”

PM attends Future Investment Initiative Summit in SA

RIYADH (Saudi Arabia), Oct 25, 2022 (APP): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday attended the Future Investment Initiative Summit being held in the capital of Saudi Arab to discuss challenges of global economy.

The prime minister, who is visiting the Kingdom at the invitation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, joined other world dignitaries and business leaders at the summit. The prime minister will present Pakistan’s viewpoint on ways to address economic challenges.

During his two-day stay in Riyadh, the prime minister will also hold consultations with the Saudi Crown Prince to review the longstanding fraternal relations, with a view to further strengthening the multifaceted cooperation, especially in the economic field.

President felicitates people of Pakistan for coming out of FATF grey list

ISLAMABAD, Oct 21,2022 (APP): President Dr. Arif Alvi on Friday congratulated the people of Pakistan for coming out of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list after four years of hard work by government, institutions and individuals.

“Credit to all those who worked tirelessly, made changes in our laws & implemented the will to fight illegal movement of money,” the President said in a tweet posted on his social media account.

ECP decision on Toshakhana Reference shatters “idol” of truthfulness, honesty: PM

ISLAMABAD, Oct 21, 2022 (APP): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday said that the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision on Toshakhana Reference shattered the “idol” of honesty and truthfulness of Imran Khan.

The prime minister’s response came after the Election Commission of Pakistan disqualified PTI chief Imran Khan in the Toshakhana reference under Article 63(1)(p) for making “false statements and incorrect declaration”. The prime minister, in a tweet, said that the Commission had served justice in the case.

“The nation has witnessed that Imran Khan made personal earning using the office of the Prime Minister. The idol of truthfulness and honesty stands shattered,” he wrote on Twitter. He urged the PTI chief to surrender before the law instead of fighting against law, using bullets and batons and bringing the rioters.

No one is above the law, he remarked.

ECP disqualifies Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD, Oct 21, 2022 (APP): The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Friday disqualified PTI Chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan in Tosha Khana reference for five years on charges of misdeclaration under article 63(1)P of the constitution of Pakistan.

Article 63 (1) (p) of the Constitution states that an individual is, “for the time being, disqualified from being elected or chosen as a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) or of a provincial assembly under any law for the time being in force”. Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja announced the reserved verdict unanimously, handed down by
five-member bench.

Member National Assembly (MNA) Barrister Mohsin Nawaz Ranjha, carrying signatures of lawmakers Agha Hassan Baloch, Salahudeen Ayubi, Ali Gohar Khan, Syed Rafiullah Agha and Saad Waseem Sheikh had submitted the reference to National Assembly’s speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf, alleging PTI Chief and ex-Prime Minister Imran khan for “not sharing details” of Toshakhana gifts and proceeds from their alleged sale.

Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, subsequently forwarded the reference in the month of August to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja for further action. Established in 1974, the Tosha­khana is a department under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division and stores precious gifts given to rulers, parliamentarians, bureaucrats, and officials by heads of other governments and states and foreign dignitaries.

According to Toshakhana rules, gifts/presents and other such materials received by persons to whom these rules apply shall be reported to the Cabinet Division. However, the PTI Chief, while in the government, had been reluctant to disclose details of the gifts presented to him since he assumed office in 2018, maintaining that doing so would jeopardize international ties, even as the Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) ordered it to do so.

But later, in a written reply submitted to the ECP Imran Khan had admitted to selling at least four presents he had received during his tenure as the prime minister. In his reply, he had maintained that the sale of the gifts that he had procured from the state treasury after paying Rs 21.56 million fetched about Rs 58 m. One of the gifts included a graff wristwatch, a pair of cuff links, an expensive pen and a ring while the other three gifts included four Rolex watches.

Meanwhile on the request of ECP, heavy contingent of Police personnel were deployed outside the Election Commission of Pakistan for maintaining law and order. Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Irfan Nawaz Memon also visited the office to review security arrangements.

The ECP had stressed that all necessary security arrangements be completed, particularly inside the ECP secretariat’s building, and the matter was treated as “most urgent”. Meanwhile, PTI leadership have rejected ECP’s verdict disqualifying their chairman and started staging protests in different parts of the country.

PM orders cutting reliance on imported fuel for cheap power generation

ISLAMABAD, Oct 20 (APP): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday directed the authorities concerned to take steps to reduce power load-shedding during winters in order to provide maximum relief to electricity consumers. He directed to cut reliance on imported fuel for power generation and utilize local resources instead to produce cheaper electricity.

Chairing a meeting to discuss various proposals to overcome load-shedding in winters, the prime minister ordered taking every possible measure to ensure supply of electricity. The briefing by the Ministry of Energy focused on demand and supply of electricity as well as estimates of fuel required for power generation.

The meeting was attended by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Energy Minister Engineer Khurram Dastagir, PM’s Adviser Ahad Cheema, State Minister for Petroleum Dr Musadik Malik, Special Assistants Dr Jahanzeb Khan, Junaid Anwar Chaudhry and senior officials.

“Ending poverty and making life more affordable for people is a top priority for: Justin Trudeau 

Ottawa, Ontario, October 17, 2022: The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty: “Ending poverty and making life more affordable for people is a top priority for the Government of Canada. Today, on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, we reflect on the progress we have made toward this crucial goal, and the work we still need to do.

“Here in Canada, we have helped lift millions of Canadians out of poverty and given them a real and fair chance at success through initiatives like the Canada Child Benefit, which puts more money in the pockets of nine out of 10 Canadian families, and our Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Plan, which is cutting regulated child care fees in half on average this year, and will deliver $10-a-day child care on average in the coming years.

These are key drivers toward achieving our goal of reducing poverty in Canada by 50 per cent by 2030, as set out in Canada’s first-ever Poverty Reduction Strategy. “Right now, the rising cost of living is making it harder for families to make ends meet. That’s why we are making life more affordable for those who need it most this year. Recently, we enhanced the Canada Workers Benefit for low- and modest-income workers to put up to an additional $2,400 in their pockets and we increased Old Age Security for seniors 75 years and older, providing up to $800 this year for full pensioners.

We also introduced legislation to provide a one-time top-up of $500 to the Canada Housing Benefit for low-income renters, $1,300 over two years for dental care for children under 12 who do not have access to dental insurance, and up to $467 for families with two children by doubling the Goods and Services Tax Credit for six months.

To keep pace with the rising cost of living, the Canada Child Benefit, the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, among other federal support programs, are guaranteed to be indexed to inflation. We are supporting families who need it most, when they need it most.

“Poverty knows no borders, and Canada is committed to ending poverty everywhere, in all its forms, in line with the first United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) – a goal I will continue to drive progress toward as Co-Chair of the UN SDGs Advocates Group.

Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy ensures our international development efforts focus on advancing gender equality, because when we eliminate barriers and empower women and girls, we drive economic growth that benefits everyone. “On this day, we recommit to a Canada – and a world – without poverty. Together, we will build a better future for everyone.”

Ontario Building More Electricity Generation and Storage to Meet Growing Demand

Plan will provide reliable electricity to support economic growth and electrification while keeping costs down for ratepayers

TORONTO, October 07, 2022, Ministry of Energy (LPC): The Ontario government has directed the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to acquire 4,000 MW of new electricity generation and storage resources to ensure the province has the electricity it needs to support a growing population and economy.

“Our government is building the electricity generation and storage needed to support our success in driving electrification and attracting new jobs to the province including unprecedented investments, from electric vehicles and battery manufacturing to clean steelmaking,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy. “Saying no to jobs and investment is a non-starter for our government. An unreliable system with brownouts and blackouts is a non-starter for our government. With today’s actions we are ensuring that the electricity will continue to be there for families and businesses when they flip the switch.”

Ontario has been operating with an electricity surplus for over a decade, and supply will continue to meet demand until at least 2025 without new build electricity resources. The IESO’s Annual Planning Outlook, released in 2021, forecasts a need for new electricity resources, beginning in 2025 and 2026, and that the need will continue to grow thereafter.

To ensure reliability and keep costs down for people and businesses, Ontario is proceeding with its plan, first detailed last year, to procure new electricity generation and storage through a competitive process. These procurements will acquire the 4,000 MW of capacity necessary, including at least 1,500 MW of stand-alone energy storage resources, up to 1,500 MW of natural gas generation, with the remainder coming from other resources.

Ontario is acting on the expert advice of the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator whose Resource Eligibility Interim Report says: “Without a limited amount of new natural gas in the near term the IESO would be reliant on emergency actions such as conservation appeals and rotating blackouts to stabilize the grid.”

As Ontario becomes a leader in the batteries of the future by connecting resources and workers in northern Ontario with the manufacturing might of southern Ontario, this procurement of at least 1,500 MW of energy storage represents the largest battery procurement in Canada’s history.

“Our government is building an integrated supply chain for critical minerals in Ontario as we become a leader in battery manufacturing,” said George Pirie, Minister of Mines. “Energy system reliability and affordability is essential so that Ontario mines can continue to competitively produce the critical minerals we need for battery manufacturing and other technologies that support the transition to a clean economy.”

This is one of the several actions in the Ontario government’s plan to meet emerging energy needs and ensure a reliable, affordable and clean electricity supply including:

 Quick Facts

  • As a result of Ontario’s growing and increasingly electrified economy, electricity resource needs are expected to grow starting in 2025 and continuing through the decade.
  • Ontario is a world leader in clean nuclear electricity generation with about 60 per cent of our annual electricity supply coming from our world-class stations at Darlington, Pickering and Bruce.
  • Ontario’s grid-scale SMR at Darlington will produce 300 MW of clean, zero emissions electricity, enough to power 300,000 homes.
  • Procuring new resources through a competitive process encourages competition and drives down costs for ratepayers.

A new United Conservative Party leader and Alberta's next premier to be announced tonight

Plans call for results of first-ballot voting delayed until around 7:30 p.m.

CALGARY, October 6, 2022: Tonight, the United Conservative Party will announce its new leader and Alberta's 19th premier. Nearly four months after the leadership contest began, one of seven contenders will emerge the victor. Close to 124,000 people bought or renewed UCP memberships by the Aug. 12 deadline to qualify to cast a vote. Party members have been voting by mail since early September.

As of Monday night, about 82,000 members 66 per cent of the total membership had cast ballots, according to UCP sources familiar with the leadership race. Members can vote in person this morning at five polling stations across the province. The party announced Thursday afternoon that the the results of the first ballot had been pushed back to 7:30 p.m.

Originally, the first results had been expected at around 6 p.m. at the BMO Centre in Calgary. You can watch the live results and victory speech here from 7:30 p.m. MT. Vassy Kapelos is hosting a special edition of Power & Politics on CBC News Network from the BMO Centre in Calgary starting at 3 p.m. MT.

The candidates are MLA and former culture minister Leela Aheer; former Wildrose Party leader and MLA Brian Jean; independent MLA and former UCP caucus chair Todd Loewen; MLA and former transportation and social services minister Rajan Sawhney; MLA and former children's services minister Rebecca Schulz; MLA and former finance minister Travis Toews; and Danielle Smith, another former Wildrose leader.

 United Conservative Party leadership hopefuls attempt to sound distinctive in final debate. Why choosing Alberta's next premier largely lies in the hands of folks in Rimbey, Strathmore and Three Hills

The ballots ask members to rank their preferred leaders in order of preference, numbered 1 through 7. If one candidate secures more than 50 per cent of the votes on the first ballot, they will win the leadership. If no one gets more than half the votes on the first ballot, the candidate with the lowest number of votes will be dropped from the ballot, and their votes will be reassigned to voters' second choices.

A political science professor at the University of Calgary discusses how Danielle Smith, the presumed front-runner to lead Alberta's United Conservative Party, managed to make a political comeback. The party will repeat that process until one candidate has a majority of support.

Leadership race outcomes hard to poll, experts say

The UCP called the leadership race in May following a spring leadership review that saw Premier Jason Kenney receive support from 51.4 per cent of members. Kenney said it was not enough support for him to carry on as leader, and pledged to resign once members chose a new one.

Internal polling leaked from some camps suggests anti-establishment candidate Smith is the front-runner, with Kenney-aligned Toews in second place. Lisa Young, a political science professor at the University of Calgary, said it's difficult to poll with accuracy during leadership races, as only party members can vote. Most polls queried UCP supporters, not members specifically.

What leads Young to believe Smith is a favourite to win is that all the candidates are acting as if she's the one to catch.

In previous leadership races, ranked balloting has provided some unexpected winners: Ed Stelmach became Alberta premier after scoring an upset victory in the Progressive Conservatives' 2006 leadership contest. Alison Redford became PC leader and premier in 2011, also after winning on ranked ballots.

Independent Calgary-based pollster Janet Brown said the UCP leadership races rules are different, and more likely to lead to a grassroots-backed leader than a moderate consensus victor. The cutoff date to buy a membership in time to vote was much earlier, for one.

"It's easier to attract those people who feel emotional about issues, right?" she said in an interview last week. "It's easier to sell a membership to them. It's harder to sell a membership to people who are more dispassionate." The UCP was born in 2017 with the merger of the Progressive Conservative and Wildrose parties into a new, big-tent coalition.

Left to right, candidates Todd Loewen, Danielle Smith, Rajan Sawhney, Rebecca Schulz, Leela Aheer, Travis Toews and Brian Jean attend the United Conservative Party of Alberta leadership debate in Medicine Hat in July. One of the seven will be crowned the winner tonight, becoming Alberta's 19th premier. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

A new leader will be tasked with a challenge that some believe led to Kenney's undoing  keeping the party united. Young said a Toews win presents a more immediate threat to that unity than a Smith win.

She said libertarian UCP members who bristled at pandemic public health restrictions and think the Kenney government failed to effectively push back against federal government policies may feel disenfranchised with a Toews win and believe their concerns about top-down leadership will remain unaddressed.

It may prompt some MLAs who tried to push Kenney out to leave caucus, Young said. Smith has campaigned on introducing a controversial sovereignty act that she says would allow Alberta to refuse to enforce federal laws and court decisions it can't stomach. If she can table moderated legislation MLAs can agree to, she might be able to hold the tent together, Young said.

Some UCP MLAs have said they could not vote in favour of an Alberta Sovereignty Act as described, which could create a crisis of confidence, but Smith has yet to release the act's proposed wording.UCP MLAs divided, unsure of support for possible Alberta Sovereignty Act

Brown said her polling found the issues Albertans care most about now are inflation, health care and education, and yet, these were not the focus of the leadership campaign. She said that has led to a disconnect between voters and the UCP, which could leave Rachel Notley and the NDP the winners of the next provincial election. "Right now the idea of credible, steady leadership is looking more favourable to Albertans than the circus that is the UCP," Brown said.

Biden, DeSantis meet to review Hurricane Ian recovery efforts: recap

FLORIDA, October 5, 2022: One week after Hurricane Ian slammed into Florida, President Joe Biden is visiting the area Wednesday to assess recovery and talk to families.

Public officials’ handling of major disasters can be legacy-defining moments, which could have extra importance in the politically important state of Florida. That’s true for both Biden and for Gov. Ron DeSantis, a frequent critic of the president who is up for reelection this year and could face off against Biden in 2024.

Biden has said his political disagreements with DeSantis are irrelevant to his administration's response and has offered the governor “the fullest federal support.” DeSantis has put aside his challenges to Biden on immigration and other issues to work closely with Washington.

DeSantis joined Biden on Wednesday to update the president and review hurricane recovery. “We are working as one,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday.

Indigenous mother receives apology for 'wildly inappropriate' headdress craft activity at B.C. preschool

TORONTO, October 3, 2022: A still from a TikTok video by Samantha Sinclair, who has a son in a Coquitlam, B.C. preschool, in which she holds up a headdress he crafted a day before the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. (sandkcollective/TikTok). A Lytton First Nations mother has received an apology after she posted a TikTok video about a headdress that her son was asked to craft at a preschool in Coquitlam, B.C.

Samantha Sinclair posted the video last Thursday, a day before the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and it has since gone viral, attracting more than half a million views. Sinclair says she made the video "in shock" in her car after she picked up her son from the French immersion preschool. In the video, she shows the headdress, which is made of a cardboard base and synthetic feathers. The words "Chaque enfant compte" ("Every child matters") are written around the base of the headdress.

"This was their craft for Truth and Reconciliation Day a headdress," Sinclair says incredulously in the video. She told CBC News all the children who were wearing orange clothing for Orange Shirt Day came out of the preschool wearing headdresses, and other parents agreed with her that it was "wildly inappropriate." "My son was very proud of his craft," she said. "It was very difficult to tell him that he's not allowed to wear it and he doesn't understand why, because he's three."

Indigenous headdresses are, in most cultures, gifts and something that has to be earned. Many non-Indigenous people have come under fire for appropriating them. "A lot of the comments on the TikTok that I got were, 'well, I did this when I was a child,'" Sinclair said. "Things have changed. The world has changed." Sinclair, who has residential school survivors in her family, said she wants to break "cycles of trauma" with her son by educating him and changing what he's taught.

She also said the timing of the craft lesson particularly the day before Orange Shirt Day but also a month before Halloween, where headdresses are still worn as costumes despite criticism made trying to "normalize" their use in a school environment very disappointing.

Mila Banfield, a co-owner of the school, apologized to Sinclair the next day. "This just proves how much we need to learn and unlearn," Banfield told CBC News. "I had no idea that I was so ignorant." Over a phone call, the two talked about how Indigenous culture could be incorporated into the school's curriculum, Banfield said.

"Our journey to find truth is, we have to start connecting with Indigenous cultures and people," she said. "We don't know what we don't know yet." Banfield said she hopes to bring Indigenous leaders into the school in the future, and said she wanted to apologize not only to Sinclair, but also to all Indigenous peoples.

Sinclair said there are many appropriate ways that teachers can mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. "It's important that people know the difference between appropriation and appreciation. We want to break these stereotypes," Sinclair said.

PM warns ‘cipher manipulators’ to face the law

ISLAMABAD, Oct 3, 2022 (APP,LPP, LPC): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday said the manipulation of diplomatic cipher was equal to putting national security at stake and vowed that those involved would be held accountable before the law.

The prime minister in strong criticism of the anti-State institution campaign launched by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan – whose recent audio leaks exposed his plot to ‘play’ on the cipher, said that every person was equal before the law.

“Being popular does not mean being exempt from the law. Law is equal for all,” he said in a statement issued by the PM Office. PM Sharif stressed that the audio leaks of Imran Khan uncovered the truth about a serious conspiracy against the interests of Pakistan.

“The thieves caught red-handed now struggle to evade the law by indulging in defamation of the State institutions,” he said.

PM attends diplomatic reception on 75 years of Pak-US ties

ISLAMABAD, Sep 29, 2022 (APP): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday attended a diplomatic reception held at the US embassy here to commemorate the 75 years of relations between Pakistan and the United States.    

The reception started with a one-minute silence to express condolence over the death of people and convey grief to those who had lost their livelihood in the devastating floods. The federal ministers and US Ambassador in Pakistan Donald Blome attended the reception.

In his address, the US ambassador said the people of the United States continued to stand with Pakistan. The strength of the bilateral friendship is demonstrated by the more than $66 million in US support for flood response.

“We are doing what friends and partners do – support each other when it’s needed most… Our partnership has been advantageous to both countries,” he remarked according to a US embassy press release. 

Over the decades, more than $32 billion dollars in U.S. support benefited Pakistan and improved the lives of the Pakistani people, the ambassador added. On the occasion, US Ambassador Donald Blome also met the prime minister and discussed the matters related to the bilateral relations and cooperation.

PM highlights imminent climatic challenges; plight of flood victims of Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Sep 24, 2022 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, during his visit to New York to participate in the high-level debate of 77th United Nations General Assembly, has highlighted the urgent global need to raising of a bulwark against the worsening climate changes and global warming issues, besides, presented the plight of 33 million flood victims of Pakistan, who are in dire need of basic essentials.     

The prime minister had a very hectic schedule on the sidelines of the UNGA and at the UNGA session, where he exquisitely addressed a wide array of topics, affecting the entire humanity including economic meltdown, post-Covid economy, price hike, inflation, debt and shortage of grain and fuel and particularly those factors which had impacted Pakistan.

He called for global collective efforts to ward off the destructive impacts of the climate changes and to save the fragile economies and the vulnerable people of the poor nations. On the sidelines of the UNGA, the prime minister met with global leaders and highlighted Pakistan’s immediate needs to provide succor to the millions of flood affectees as the vast swaths of the country were still under floodwater with provision of basic necessities of life scant.

The prime minister on the sidelines of UNGA session, held significant bilateral meetings with the world leaders. The meetings were focused on adding sinews to the bilateral ties besides, giving them an appraisal about the post-flood situation in Pakistan.The prime minister met US President Joe Biden and thanked him for his sympathy and solidarity for the flood-hit people of Pakistan.

During the meeting, held on the sidelines of the 77th session UNGA, the US president expressed condolence over the hundreds of deaths caused by devastating floods and sympathised with the bereaved families.The prime minister thanked the US president for his message to the international community for support to the flood-affected Pakistan.

He also held bilateral meetings with Prime Minister of Belgium Alexander De Croo, Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida, and Prime Minister of Malaysia Ismail Sabri Yaakob. Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif and French President Emmanuel Macron had a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 77th session of the UNGA and exchanged views on the enhancement of bilateral relations.

The two leaders agreed on mobilizing international support for Pakistan to help recover and rebuild its economy on a sustainable footing in the aftermath of the recent devastating floods in Pakistan related to climate change. The prime minister met with President of Iran, Seyed Ebrahim Raisi and underscored his commitment to enhance Pakistan-Iran relations in diverse fields.

The prime minister during a meeting with Spanish President Pedro Sanchez stressed the need for deepening the multifaceted Pakistan-Spain relations with a particular emphasis on inter-parliamentary ties as well as security and defence cooperation. He also met with Chancellor of Austria, Karl Nehammer and the two leaders reviewed bilateral relations and exchanged views on regional issues of common interest.

Bill Gates, the co-founer of Melinda & Bill Gates also called on the prime minister. The prime minister also held a bilateral meeting with UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres at the UN Headquarters. During a meeting with President of United Nations General Assembly (PGA) Csaba Korosi, the prime minister emphasized the importance of a comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council. He underscored the need for continuing transparent, consultative and constructive intergovernmental negotiations, which would respond to the positions and expectations of all member states. 

On the sidelines, the prime minister met with President of World Bank Group David R. Malpass and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Karistalina Georgieva separately. He discussed World Bank’s ongoing engagement with Pakistan to strengthen its infrastructure, agriculture, rural and urban development, social service, as well as economic growth.

In his key speech at the high-level debate of UNGA, the prime minister shook the international community to realize the debilitating affects of the climatic changes and global warming. He reiterated that despite negligible carbon emissions, Pakistan’s economy and people were paying the dual cost of climate injustice and high global warming leading to devastating floods that required the world leaders to take immediate remedial actions.

“It is high time we took a pause from the preoccupations of the 20th century to return to the challenges of the 21st. The entire definition of national security has changed today, and unless the leaders of the world come together to act now behind minimum agreed agenda, there will be no earth to fight wars over. Nature will be fighting back, and for that humanity is no match”, the prime minister said while addressing 77th session of the UN General Assembly.

“As I stand here today to tell the story of my country, Pakistan, my heart and mind have not been able to leave home. No words can describe the shock we are living through or how the face of the country lies transformed,” he added. The prime minister also underscored the peaceful resolution of the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir issue under the UNSC resolutions.

During his stay, the prime minister also visited an exhibition depicting flood havoc in Pakistan. It was opened in the UN building’s main lobby. The prime minister on the sidelines of UNGA also held several meetings with the other key global figures and several governments top officials.

WHO’s representative inaugurates EOC for Flood Response in District Health Office

PESHAWAR, Sep 23، 2022 (APP):World Health Organization’s (WHO) representative in Pakistan Dr. Palitha Mahipala along with Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Iqbal Wazir on Friday inaugurated an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for flood response here in the premises of District Health Office.

The EOC was established with the support of WHO Pakistan in collaboration of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Department. On this occasion, Dr. Palitha Mahipala while talking to media said the WHO was fully aware about the devastation of recent floods in Pakistan which affected 33 million populations and over two million households. After that 6.4 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance, he added.

He said the WHO had already set up 10 EOCs in different other parts of the country “We have come out with a strong plan to support people, government and health authorities to respond extremely well in flood affected areas.

The first wave of disaster comes with very much devastation while the second wave will be the diseases like Malaria, dengue and others,” he said. He said the establishment of this center was aimed at coordinated efforts with all the partners and donors to respond to the flood situation in D I Khan more effectively.

It would also help district administration and health authorities in deliverance of needed services in more effective manner. “Today we have donated a large quantity of medicines which are needed to the patients in medical camps,” Dr. Palitha Mahipala mentioned.

He said “the WHO has undertaken to renovate 10 health facilities which are partially damaged partially besides taking four houses on rent to restore health facilities which are fully damaged.” He expressed the commitment that the WHO would support the district health authority in provision of all the necessary equipment, medicines and the human resource as well.

He informed that a nutrition stabilization center is also being established which will start responding to the nutrition situation in the district within a week. The WHO representative in Pakistan said a lot of efforts were underway and the organization was continuously there to support the people in D I Khan. He said the WHO will also extend its support for rehabilitation of health sector in Dera.

Replying to a question, Dr. Palitha Mahipala said he will also visit Tank district to meet the district health authorities. This center would also extend its services to Tank and South Waziristan. Dr. Palitha Mahipala appreciated the district health department for a well-mannered response to flood situation and Malaria disease which is on rise.

Speaking on this occasion, District Health Officer (DHO) Mehmood Jan thanked the WHO representatives for establishment of EOC and provision of other support to the district health department. He said the WHO representative fulfilled their all demands including restoration of four health facilities in rental buildings for six months which were not in functioning position after flood.

The WHO team also promised to renovate 10 damaged health facilities besides solarization of these facilities where needed and committed to provide all the needed medicines. Replying to a question about the dengue virus, he said the dengue virus was also under control so far despite its high risk due to the recent floods.

He informed that 90 cases of dengue were reported across the district during last year while this year only 28 cases were reported. This time only five dengue patients were admitted in Mufti Mehmood Hospital and none of them was in any serious condition. He said no death was reported due to dengue virus since last year.

Earlier, while briefing the WHO team, Dr Asad of district health department informed that 22 health facilities were partially damaged with the recent floods while four health facilities including BHU Rasheed, BHU Garra Madda, CD Ratta Kulachi and CD Garra Rehman were completely damaged.

About disease trends in flood medical camps, he said 9145 patients of Diarrhea were reported, 8937 patients of Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI), 9887 with skin related issues, 1519 patients of Eye diseases, 246 typhoid suspects, 905 malaria suspects, and 710 people with different injuries. Describing the Dengue trends, Dr Asad informed that 43 cases were reported in May, only one case in June, two in July, 13 in August and 27 in the current month.

About Malaria, he said the malaria disease was on rise after floods as 2252 positive cases were reported when conducted 15285 tests during current month subsequently 1887 in August against 18800 test and 885 against 14667 test in July this year.

About the challenges of Health department, Dr Asad demanded of the WHO team that “we need emergency medicines, rental space and solarized pre fabricated structure for 06 areas where the buildings are not safe for service delivery, vehicles for medicines supply and field operations to areas with damaged roads access, provision of mental health services in flood affected areas, and rehabilitation of 22 flood affected health facilities along with solarization. The WHO team agreed to fulfill all the demands made by the district health department.

President terms freedom of expression, fair elections ‘cornerstone of democracy’

ISLAMABAD, Sep 16, 2022 (APP, LPP): President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday said the democratic values of public participation in decision-making, human rights, freedom of expression and the principle of holding periodic free and fair elections by universal suffrage are the cornerstone of democracy.

In his message on World Democracy Day, the president said Pakistan stands firm on the commitment that true democracy is the only way forward for inclusive decision-making and policy formulation, particularly for minorities and vulnerable segments of society. “True representation of people, fairness, equality, social justice and rule of law are at the heart of any democratic nation and Pakistan strives to garner these values through its Constitution that guarantees them,” he said.

The president quoted a saying of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah that democracy is in the blood of the Muslims, who look upon complete equality of mankind, and believe in fraternity, equality, and liberty. He said as the world stands in unison to celebrate the International Day of Democracy, Pakistan reiterates its resolve to nurture and strengthen democracy in accordance with Islamic tenets and the vision of the founder of the nation.

He mentioned that the Constitution of Pakistan is enshrined with democratic principles and a parliamentary form of government. The preamble of the Constitution, which is a substantive part of the Constitution states it clearly that the state shall exercise its power and authority through the chosen representatives of the people, he added.

Dr Alvi said democracy is as much a process as a goal, and only with full participation and support of the international community, democratic institutions, civil society and people who are the ultimate stakeholders, can the ideal of democracy be converted into reality and enjoyed by everyone, everywhere. He said Pakistan stands in solidarity with all the oppressed people of the world who are voiceless and cannot exercise their democratic right of self-determination, especially the people of IIOJK.

PM Shehbaz to address SCO heads Of state summit today

SAMARKAND (Uzbekistan), Sep 16, 2022 (APP): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will address the meeting of the heads of state of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) being held in the historic city of Samarkand on Friday. The prime minister will highlight Pakistan’s stance and perspective on regional cooperation, particularly in view of emerging global challenges.

He is also scheduled to hold meetings with other world leaders on the sidelines of the SCO summit, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and President of Kazakhstan Kassym Jomart Tokayev. On conclusion of his visit, PM Sharif will also visit the mausoleum of Hazrat Imam Bokhari to pay his respects.

PM meets Putin; reaffirms commitment to expand trade, security cooperation

SAMARKAND, Sep 15, 2022 (APP, LPP): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday met Russian President Vladimir V. Putin here wherein he reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to work closely with Russia to further expand and strengthen bilateral cooperation. During the meeting held on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Heads of State, the prime minister said Pakistan was committed to expand cooperation with Russia across all areas of mutual benefit including food security, trade & investment, energy, defence and security.

The two leaders discussed bilateral ties and exchanged views on regional and international issues. The prime minister thanked President Putin for Russia’s expression of solidarity and support for the people affected by the massive floods in Pakistan. He also shared details of the devastating impact of this climate-induced calamity. Prime Minister Sharif expressed satisfaction at steady growth of Pakistan-Russia relations, which were marked by strong mutual trust and understanding.

It was agreed to convene the next meeting of the Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) in Islamabad at an early date. Appreciating Russia’s constructive role in Afghanistan, the prime minister said that both Pakistan and Russia had vital stakes in a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. He said that it was essential to intensify the pace of international engagement on Afghanistan and reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to support all regional and international efforts to stabilize Afghanistan.

During the meeting, Russian President Putin, while calling for need to work on connectivity and energy projects, discussed possibility of Pakistan Russia Stream Gas Pipeline project which he said required the infrastructure for delivery of LNG to Pakistan, according to a statement issued by the Russian presidency. It was highlighted that the political stability in Afghanistan was essential to accomplish the connectivity projects. He said Russia saw Pakistan as a priority partner in Southeast Asia and Asia as a whole and the relations between the two countries were developing “absolutely positively.”

He expressed condolences over the loss of life caused by floods in Pakistan. He said Russia had dispatched the necessary humanitarian aid to Pakistan and was ready to help organise assistance to the flood victims. President Putin said regrettably, the Pak-Russian bilateral ties subsided due to the pandemic, but the next meeting of the intergovernmental commission was scheduled to take place in Karachi this autumn. He hoped that during the upcoming meeting, both sides would not only find ways to restore mutual trade but also to increase it.

Health experts demand to provide clean drinking water, healthy food, shelter for flood affectees

ISLAMABAD, Sep 11, 2022 (APP): Health experts on Sunday demanded the authorities concerned for stepping up efforts to ensure the provision of clean drinking water to hundreds of people who lost their homes in the recent flood disaster. They also urged upon them for an urgent announcement of the strategy to deal with health crisis as almost 80% people are suffering from water-borne and skin diseases.

An expert of respiratory infection disease Dr Samreen Zaidi talking to a private news channel said that skin infections, acute respiratory disease, chest infections, diarrhea and malaria are leading health issues being faced by flood- affected people in Sindh, Balochistan and southern Punjab. “The outbreak of diseases in all flood-affected districts is extremely serious and could turn into a health emergency if not handled properly”, she warned.

Majority people, including women and children, are complaining of psychological distress after losing their homes, loved ones and livelihoods, she mentioned. She further explained that hundreds of villages, towns, and cities are covered with ankle-deep water adding that the most serious problem faced by the people is the non-availability of clean drinking water as diseases like acute hepatitis and diarrhea are expected to go on peak in the current scenario.

She stressed that the governments, both provincial and federal need to take concrete steps in revamping the decades-old water drainage system of the cities on an emergency basis. Infectious disease specialist Dr. Syed Faisal Mahmood added that the governments should utilize its resources to establish field hospitals with essential treatment and prevention facilities for diseases, including diarrhea, malaria, dengue, chronic illnesses and mental health issues.

More than 70 to 80 percent cases of skin allergies, diarrhea, gastrointestinal, fever and blood pressure problems were reported in these areas, adding, the cause of these infections were reportedly due to stagnant water and consumption and use of untreated water.

As rains continue, there is an urgent need to scale up disease surveillance, restore damaged health facilities, ensure sufficient medicines and health supplies to affected communities, he added. “Mosquitoes are also spreading rapidly in all floods-affected areas and leading to high number of daily dengue cases,” he highlighted.
Experts expressed feared that the cases of malaria are continuously increasing due to water contamination.

President pays rich tribute to Quaid e Azam for creating Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Sep 10. 2022 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi paid rich tribute to Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah for his vision, unwavering commitment, untiring hard work, and charismatic leadership to win a separate homeland for the Muslims of the sub-continent. In a message on the 74th death anniversary of Quaid-e-Azam, he said, “On this day, we also remember Quaid for his struggle, for giving us a country, and pledge to focus on his advice for infusing Unity, Faith and Discipline in our ranks and files.”

Allama Iqbal, the poet and philosopher of the East, dreamt a separate homeland for Muslims of India and Quaid -e-Azam turned the dream into reality, he added. The President said, “Our Quaid, in one of his address, outlined the purpose of making Pakistan. He said that brotherhood, equality and fraternity of man—these are all the basic points of our religion, culture and civilization. And we fought for Pakistan because there was a danger of denial of these human rights in this sub-continent.”

“How can we gel into one nation was also spelled out by Quaid-e-Azam. He said, ‘We are now all Pakistanis, not, Pathans, Sindhis, Bengalis, Punjabis and so on and as Pakistanis we must feel, behave and act, and we should be proud to be known as Pakistanis and nothing else‘.” “On this occasion, we, as a nation, once again pledge to follow the golden principles of Unity, Faith and Discipline as advised by our beloved Quaid-e-Azam to make Pakistan an ideal Islamic welfare state where the Islamic principles of equality, freedom, justice and democracy are to be upheld,” he added.

“On this day, we also express our solidarity with the victims of global warming induced super flood across Pakistan and pledge to commit our resources and efforts until their complete rehabilitation. May Allah be with us all. Ameen!,” the President said.

In phone call with COAS, US General offers ‘full support’

RAWALPINDI, September 10, 2022 (LPP): Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qa­mar Javed Bajwa and US Secretary of Defence General Lloyd James Austin had a telephone conversation on Friday.

“During the call, re­gional stability as well as defence and secu­rity cooperation were discussed,” says a press release issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). The Defence Secretary ex­pressed his grief over the devastation caused by unprecedented floods in Pakistan and offered sincere condo­lence to the families of the victims. He offered full support to the peo­ple of Pakistan.

He also appreciated Pakistan Army’s rescue and relief efforts in areas hit by flooding and pledged to play his role enhancing co­operation with Pakistan at all levels. Also, Ms Samantha Power, Administrator US AID, USA called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) at GHQ on Fri­day.

During the meeting, a col­laboration or partnership in Humanitarian measures was discussed, the ISPR said. The Administrator expressed grief over the devastation caused by ongoing floods in Pakistan and offered sincere condo­lence to families of victims, of­fering full support to people of Pakistan and also appreciat­ed Pakistan Army’s efforts for assisting civil administration and flood affected population in rescue and relief efforts in areas hit by recent floods.

COAS thanked for USA’s sup­port and reiterated that as­sistance from our global part­ners shall be vital in rescue/ rehabilitation of the victims.

Austria’s Volker Turk appointed next UN rights chief

United Nations, September 10, 2022 (LPP): The United Nations on Thursday approved Austrian diplomat Volker Turk to be its new high commissioner for human rights, replacing former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet in the sensitive, high-profile post. The 57-year-old envoy has spent most of his career within the UN system, with a particular focus on refugees, and worked closely with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres when the latter headed the global body’s refugee agency.

Turk, currently serving as assistant secretary general for policy, was tapped by Guterres on Wednesday and approved by the UN General Assembly by consensus on Thursday, to applause. “Mr. Turk has devoted his long and distinguished career to advancing universal human rights, notably the international protection of some of the world’s most vulnerable people — refugees and stateless persons,” Guterres said in a statement.

“In my thirty-year long #UNHCR work with refugees, I have seen time and again the consequences of hate speech and its dehumanizing effect on people,” Turk wrote in July on Twitter. “Say #NoToHate is the only powerful answer.”

The UN veteran replaces Bachelet, who was appointed four years ago with the specific intent of having a powerful female politician in the role. Guterres’s choice of a figure unknown to the wider public stands in contrast to his appointment of the high-profile Bachelet, who ended her tenure last week.

Turk will have his work cut out: Bachelet published a long-awaited report on rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang region just minutes before the end of her term, leaving the tricky follow-up job to her successor.

Over 10 dead, more missing as boat sinks off northern Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, September 10, 2022 (LPP): An illegal passenger boat sank Thursday along Brazil’s northern coast, killing at least 11 people, officials said, revising an earlier toll.

Officials in Para state said 11 bodies were recovered from the boat, which is designed to carry 82 passengers, while 63 people were rescued alive. Eight other people are believed to be missing and are being searched for. Earlier, officials had said 14 were found dead and 26 were missing.

Local media showed images of rescuers using a canoe to bring victims to shore near Belem, the capital of Para state, and bodies laid out on the beach with sheets draped over them.

The boat’s owner had recently had another vessel suspended for operating illegally, but continued running this one without authorization, said Para state Governor Helder Barbalho. “This was a clandestine vessel. The owner had been notified three times by regulators and the navy for operating another boat without a license. That vessel’s operations were suspended, but he got hold of another one and continued operating, and this tragedy happened,” he said.

“We have been mobilized since we got the news, working to find those who haven’t been located yet,” he added, saying the state government had set up a crisis team to oversee the search. He said the authorities would “act firmly” to bring those responsible for the “horrific tragedy” to justice.

Russia sends reinforcements towards Kharkiv, says agencies

Moscow, September 10, 2022 (LPP): Russia is redeploying troops to the Kharkiv region in eastern Ukraine, where Kyiv’s army has been conducting a large-scale counter-offensive to take back territory captured by Moscow, Russian news agencies reported Friday.

The TASS and RIA Novosti news agencies shared video from Russia’s defence ministry, showing the movement of military hardware on a paved road, some with Russian flags and bearing the letter “Z”, a symbol of Russia’s military campaign.

Local Moscow-installed official Vitaliy Ganchev said in televised remarks that “fierce battles” were under way near Balakliya, a town in Kharkiv region that Ukraine said it had recaptured on Thursday.

“We do not control Balakliya. Attempts are being made to dislodge the Ukrainian forces, but there are fierce battles and our troops are being held back on the approaches,” Ganchev said. He added that Ukrainian forces were also attempting “to break through the defence” near the town of Shevchenkove, some 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Balakliya.

“Now Russian reserves have been brought there, our troops are fighting back,” Ganchev said.
Kyiv’s army has claimed gains in the counter-offensive in southern and eastern Ukraine, saying they have advanced “deep” into Russian lines.

The Ukrainian military said Thursday it had recaptured more than 20 towns and villages in the northeastern Kharkiv region.

President visits British HC to condole over Queen Elizabeth’s sad demise

ISLAMABAD, September 10, 2022 (LPP): President Dr. Arif Alvi here on Friday visited the British High Commission to offer his condolences on the sad demise of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. He was received by the British High Commissioner, Christian Turner, on his arrival at the High Commission.

While recording his remarks in the condolence book, the President wrote “with a heavy heart on behalf of the people of Pakistan, I convey my profound condolences on the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth-II. Her sad passing away marks an end of an era spanning over a period of seven decades which was characterized by Her Majesty’s graceful service to the British people and the Common Wealth.

Her Majesty’s life was devoted to public service and she performed her duties with dignity. I will always cherish my memory of seeing her as a 12-year-old when she came to Pakistan in 1961. She was a symbol of poise, grace, and dignity. I offer my heartfelt condolences again to the royal family and to the people of the United Kingdom”.

Later, while talking to the British High Commissioner, the President shared his fond memories of the Late Her Majesty’s visit to Pakistan and said that she was a visionary stateswoman of unmatched dignity and grace. “Her unwavering commitment to duty, her patronage to charities to uplift less privileged people, and her continued efforts to promote peace around the world were exceptional”, he added.

The British High Commissioner said that the late Queen had a special place for Pakistan and in one of her last messages, she expressed her solidarity with the flood victims of Pakistan.

PM writes condolatory letter to UK PM; recalls Queen as “symbol” of unity, brotherhood

ISLAMABAD, Sep 9, 2022 (APP, LPP): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday wrote a condolatory letter to British Prime Minister Liz Truss conveying grief to the Royal family over the passing of Queen Elizabeth-II. The prime minister said that while being British queen, she was not only the longest reigning monarch but also played a key role for positive developments in the United Kingdom and the world.

He said the under her leadership, the Commonwealth became the biggest association of the sovereign states.The prime minister said besides her services for the public interest, the presence of Queen Elizabeth remained a symbol of unity and brotherhood. He said being head of the Commonwealth and the United Kingdom, the people of Pakistan always showed reverence to the Queen Elizabeth.

During her reign spanning over decades, the relationship between the people of Pakistan and the Queen got strength. The prime minister said that the he along with the whole Pakistani nation shared the grief of the British Royal Family, the UK government as well as the people.

Queen Elizabeth II dies aged 96

London, Sept 8, 2022 (AFP/APP, LPP): Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving monarch in British history and an icon instantly recognisable to billions of people around the world, died on Thursday. She was 96. Buckingham Palace announced her death in a short statement, triggering 10 days of national mourning and an outpouring of tributes to her long life and record-breaking reign.

“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement at 6:30 pm (1730 GMT). “The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.” The eldest of her four children, Charles, Prince of Wales, who at 73 is the oldest heir apparent in British history, becomes king immediately.

The queen’s death came after the palace announced on Thursday that doctors were “concerned” for her health and recommended she stayed under medical supervision. All her children — Charles, Princess Anne, 72, Prince Andrew, 62, and Prince Edward, 58, flocked to her Scottish Highland retreat, Balmoral. They were joined by Charles’s sons, Prince William, and his estranged brother Prince Harry.

Two days earlier the queen appointed Liz Truss as the 15th prime minister of her reign and was seen smiling in photographs but looking frail and using a walking stick. One photograph of the meeting sparked alarm, showing a deep purple bruise on the monarch’s right hand. Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne aged just 25 in 1952 in the aftermath of World War II, joining a world stage dominated by political figures from China’s Mao Zedong to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and US president Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Her 70-year reign straddled two centuries of seismic social, political and technological upheaval.
The last vestiges of Britain’s vast empire crumbled. At home, Brexit shook the foundations of her kingdom, and her family endured a series of scandals. But throughout, she remained consistently popular and was queen and head of state not just of the United Kingdom but 14 former British colonies, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

She was also head of the 56-nation Commonwealth, which takes in a quarter of humanity, and supreme governor of the Church of England, the mother church of the worldwide Anglican communion. But questions will be asked about whether the golden age of the British monarchy has now passed, how an ancient institution can remain viable in the modern era and whether Charles will command the same respect or reign in his mother’s shadow.

Television and radio stations interrupted regular programming to broadcast the news, with long-rehearsed special schedules set in place to remember her long life and reign. The national anthem, “God Save the Queen”, was played. Flags were lowered and church bells tolled to remember a woman once described as the “last global monarch”.

The national mourning period will culminate in a final public farewell at Westminster Abbey in central London. Charles’ coronation, an elaborate ritual steeped in tradition and history, will take place in the same historic surroundings, as it has for centuries, on a date to be fixed. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was for most of her subjects the only monarch they have ever known — an immutable figurehead on stamps, banknotes and coins.

Diminutive in stature yet an icon of popular culture, she was instantly recognisable in her brightly coloured suits and matching hat, with pearls, gloves and a handbag. During her reign, the royals went from stiff, remote figures to tabloid fodder and were then popularised anew in television dramas such as “The Crown,” watched by tens of millions worldwide.

Her time on the throne spanned an era of remarkable change, from the Cold War to the 9/11 attacks, from climate change to coronavirus, “snail mail” and steam ships to email and space exploration. She became seen as the living embodiment of post-war Britain and a link between the modern era and a bygone age. The mother of one of the most famous families in the world, she retained huge public support throughout, surviving even a backlash in the wake of the death of Charles’ first wife, Diana, in 1997.

More recently, the royal family was rocked by claims from Prince Harry and his mixed-race wife Meghan of racism in the royal family. She also endured a scandal involving her second son Prince Andrew, whose friendship with convicted sex offenders Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell saw him settle a civil claim for sexual assault in the United States.

Britons were jolted into recognising the beginning of the end of her reign when in April 2021 she lost her beloved husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Yet the palace had long recognised her mortality and the transition to Charles was already well under way. He, his eldest son Prince William, who now becomes heir, and his wife, Catherine, began to assume more of the queen’s official roles.

The coronavirus pandemic and her advanced years forced her into the splendid isolation of Windsor Castle, west of London. But from behind its stately walls, she remained a reassuring presence, popping up on video calls with members of the public. In a rare, televised address during the first lockdown, she recalled the “Blitz spirit” of Britain under siege during World War II that defined her generation.

She cast off the shroud of Philip’s death and her enforced confinement to resume public duties, but age and ill-health forced her slow down. After a unscheduled night in hospital in October 2021 following undisclosed health tests, her appearances became rarer. “None of us will live forever,” she told world leaders attending a UN climate change summit soon afterwards, urging them to leave a legacy for generations to come.

One of her last decisive acts was to settle an unanswered question for the succession, giving her blessing for Charles’ second wife, Camilla, to be called “queen consort”.

PM, UN Secretary General meet to discuss flood situation in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Sep 09, 2022 (APP, LPP): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met here Friday and discussed the situation in the wake of massive floods in Pakistan. The two sides focused on joint efforts to carry out relief, rescue and rehabilitation at international level to mitigate the sufferings of the flood-affected people.

The UN Secretary-General, who has also launched a global appeal to raise $160 million as flood assistance for Pakistan, arrived in Islamabad early this morning to highlight the catastrophe at international level. Guterres in a tweet said; “I have arrived in Pakistan to express my deep solidarity with the Pakistani people after the devastating floods here.”

Earlier, the prime minister welcomed the UN Secretary-General as he arrived at the PM House along with his delegation. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb and senior officials were present. The Secretary-General is also scheduled to visit the flood-affected areas.