Pakistan announces restrictions on unvaccinated

Pakistan announces restrictions on unvaccinated
Unvaccinated people in Pakistan will also not be eligible to enter shopping malls, use public transport or to travel by air after the Sept. 30 deadline. (AFP)
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Updated 14 September 2021

Pakistan announces restrictions on unvaccinated

Pakistan announces restrictions on unvaccinated
  • Unvaccinated people will also not be eligible to enter shopping malls, use public transport or to travel by air after the Sept. 30 deadlin

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s planning minister has warned that people who are not vaccinated will not be allowed to work from offices after this month.
In a televised message Tuesday, Asad Umar said unvaccinated people will also not be eligible to enter shopping malls, use public transport or to travel by air after the Sept. 30 deadline.
Umar also asked people to keep social distancing in comments that came hours after Pakistan reported a steady decline in cases of coronavirus.
Umar said about 52 percent of the adult population in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, had been vaccinated and other cities should also try to vaccinate at least 40 percent of their eligible population as soon as possible to avoid lockdowns and COVID-19 related restrictions.
Pakistan has reported 1.2 million COVID-19 cases and nearly 27,000 deaths since the pandemic began last year.


Lava from Spanish island volcano rolls slowly toward the sea

Lava from Spanish island volcano rolls slowly toward the sea
Updated 59 min 14 sec ago

Lava from Spanish island volcano rolls slowly toward the sea

Lava from Spanish island volcano rolls slowly toward the sea
  • Scientists said it was impossible to estimate when the black-and-red stream of molten rock would reach the shore.
  • Authorities said the lava had moved on the island of La Palma to within 800 meters (875 yards) of the Atlantic Ocean as of Tuesday morning

LOS LLANOS DE ARIDANE, Canary Islands: Lava flowing from a volcano in Spain’s Canary Islands picked up its pace on its way to the sea Tuesday.
Scientists said it was impossible to estimate when the black-and-red stream of molten rock would reach the shore.
Authorities said the lava had moved on the island of La Palma to within 800 meters (875 yards) of the Atlantic Ocean as of Tuesday morning, nine days after the volcano’s eruption. When it eventually meets sea water, the lava could trigger explosions and the release of toxic gas.
By the afternoon, officials said various factors dictated the unpredictable speed of the lava flow, including its departure from a path over an earlier flow that had hardened. The river of cooled lava had helped the moving flow slide along.
“The lava cools down as time passes and it meets uneven ground, which slows it down,” said Miguel Ángel Morcuende, technical director of the Canary Islands emergency volcano response department. “And if it comes off the highway it was going along, that slows it even more because it spreads out wider.”
A small hill and a built-up area also stood in the lava’s way, and the shore area is flatter than the hills the lava has been flowing down.
For days, officials have nervously awaited the time when lava from the Sept. 19 eruption reaches the Atlantic, but the volcano has been erratic. After calming down on Monday, the volcano became more explosive again overnight.
Authorities said they don’t expect the slow-moving lava to create a large disruption on the coast. But Eugenio Fraile, a researcher at the Spanish Oceanography Institute, told Cadena Ser radio that only scientists wearing protective gear will be inside a security perimeter when the flow hits the ocean.
The National Geographic Institute detected six earthquakes Tuesday in the area of the eruption, with the strongest measured at magnitude 3.3.
La Palma, home to about 85,000 people, is part of the volcanic Canary Islands, an archipelago off northwest Africa. The island is roughly 35 kilometers (22 miles) long and 20 kilometers (12 miles) wide at its broadest point.
Lava from the eruption has devoured everything in its path, destroying 589 buildings and 21 kilometers (13 miles) of roads on La Palma. The lava now covers 258 hectares (637 acres), mostly farmland, according to a European Union satellite monitoring agency.
No deaths or serious injuries have been reported, thanks to the prompt evacuations of over 6,000 people.
But local people have lost their homes and their livelihoods at the same time. Farming is one of the island’s economic mainstays, along with tourism, and the lava and ash has ruined crops and irrigation systems, endangered aviation and poses a significant health risk to those nearby.
No flights went in or out of La Palma’s airport for a fourth straight day because of a huge ash cloud. Volcanic ash is hazardous for aircraft engines.
The Spanish government announced after its weekly Cabinet meeting Tuesday it’s providing an immediate grant of 10.5 million euros ($12.3 million) to buy 107 properties to rehouse local people and also provide them with income aid.
More aid, including for the rebuilding of public infrastructure, will be sent once the current emergency is over, government spokeswoman Isabel Rodríguez said.
The volcano has so far spewed out more than 46 million cubic meters (1.6 billion cubic feet) of molten rock, according to the Canary Island Volcanology Institute.


Greece: Afghan refugees fly to Portugal for resettlement

Greece: Afghan refugees fly to Portugal for resettlement
Updated 28 September 2021

Greece: Afghan refugees fly to Portugal for resettlement

Greece: Afghan refugees fly to Portugal for resettlement
  • The Afghans traveled to Greece before the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August
  • Another 43 are expected to fly to Portugal in the coming weeks, Greek officials said

ATHENS, Greece:
Authorities in Greece said that 41 Afghan refugees flew from Athens to Portugal on Tuesday, as part of a bilateral agreement to resettle 1,000 people who have been granted asylum.
The Afghans traveled to Greece before the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August. Another 43 are expected to fly to Portugal in the coming weeks, Greek officials said.
Athens is seeking to reduce the number of refugees living in the country through bilateral agreements with other European Union members.
Greece has the fifth-highest number of pending asylum applications among EU countries, following Germany, France, Spain and Italy, according to figures from the bloc reported for the end of June.
Athens has toughened its policy on illegal migration in recent years, stepping up controls at its land and sea borders with Turkey.
Earlier Tuesday, 11 unattended migrant minors flew to Paris as part of a separate relocation program.


Pregnant mum, kids among 277 rescued off Spain coast

Pregnant mum, kids among 277 rescued off Spain coast
Updated 28 September 2021

Pregnant mum, kids among 277 rescued off Spain coast

Pregnant mum, kids among 277 rescued off Spain coast
  • Nearly 184 migrants were pulled to safety from boats in waters near the Balearics
  • The woman, who "was eight months pregnant," was one of those who reached the Alicante coastline, a Red Cross spokeswoman told AFP

MADRID: A pregnant Algerian mother and her five children were among 277 migrants rescued off the coast of mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands in the past 24 hours, officials said Tuesday.
Nearly two-thirds of them were pulled to safety from boats in waters near the Balearics, while another 91 were rescued off the coast of Alicante in southeastern Spain.
The sea route to mainland Spain and its Balearic and Canary Islands is fraught with danger, with the International Organization for Migration saying at least 1,025 people have died in 2021 in “the deadliest year on the migratory route to Spain.”
The woman, who “was eight months pregnant,” was one of those who reached the Alicante coastline, a Red Cross spokeswoman told AFP, saying she had been taken to hospital suffering from stomach pains.
Most of them were from Algeria although one boat was carrying refugees from Syria, she said.
“The first boat was found near Santa Pola with four women and six minors on board, including a baby of seven months, while the others were between four and six,” she said.
Of the 23 on board, “most of them were Syrians.”
Spain’s Salvamento Maritimo coast guard said six vessels were rescued, all of which had apparently set sail from the Algerian coast, which at its closest lies around 270 kilometers (170 miles) from Alicante.
Meanwhile, the coast guard also rescued 13 vessels off the Balearic Isles in less than 24 hours, pulling 176 people — including 11 women — to safety, the Spanish government’s delegation in the islands told AFP.
Last week, the bodies of eight migrants, including three women and a child, washed up on the shores of southern Spain near the city of Almeria, the local authorities said. The boats had likely set off from Morocco or Algeria.
Spanish interior ministry figures to September 14 show that a total of 10,701 migrants have managed to reach mainland Spain or the Balearic Islands by sea.
They also show 11,060 people reached the Canary Islands from the coast of west Africa, more than double the 5,090 in 2020.
Figures from Caminando Fronteras, a Spanish NGO that monitors SOS calls from migrants at sea, suggest that more than 2,000 people have died or gone missing on the Atlantic route this year.


Man charged with London teacher’s murder to plead not guilty

Man charged with London teacher’s murder to plead not guilty
Updated 28 September 2021

Man charged with London teacher’s murder to plead not guilty

Man charged with London teacher’s murder to plead not guilty
  • Delivery driver Koci Selamaj is accused of killing Sabina Nessa, who disappeared while walking to meet a friend

LONDON: A man charged with the murder of a 28-year-old school teacher in London plans to plead not guilty, a defense lawyer said Tuesday.
Delivery driver Koci Selamaj, 36, is accused of killing Sabina Nessa, who disappeared while walking to meet a friend at a pub a few minutes from her home in southeast London on Sept. 17. Nessa’s body was found in a local park the next day.
Her killing has renewed concerns that women aren’t safe on the streets of Britain’s capital. Selamaj, from Eastbourne in southern England, was arrested in the seaside town on Sunday.
Selamaj made his first court appearance Tuesday at Willesden Magistrates’ Court in London. His lawyer, Aiden Harvey, told the court his client intended to plead not guilty. The court remanded Selamaj into custody. He is scheduled to appear again Thursday for a bail hearing at the Central Criminal Court.
Nessa’s death came six months after the abduction, rape and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard in south London by a serving police officer. The Everard case sparked large protests to denounce violence against women and girls.
On Friday, hundreds of people held a candlelight vigil in Nessa’s memory, demanding an end to violence against women.


Muslim electoral candidate hopes to rejuvenate ‘majestic’ Rome

Muslim electoral candidate hopes to rejuvenate ‘majestic’ Rome
Updated 28 September 2021

Muslim electoral candidate hopes to rejuvenate ‘majestic’ Rome

Muslim electoral candidate hopes to rejuvenate ‘majestic’ Rome

ROME: A 20-year-old Muslim law student is running as the youngest candidate for Rome’s City Council.

Though Mariam Ali’s family originally comes from Egypt, she was born and bred in the capital and promises “to give voice to the young, the elderly and the needy in this majestic city which needs a hand.”

The elections for the new Rome mayor and City Council will be held on Oct. 3 and 4. The city is covered with posters of candidates from every party running to govern the Italian capital.

Ali has “gone digital” in her campaign where she employs social media to spread her message and campaign for votes. She has some 200,000 followers on Instagram and nearly 40,000 on TikTok.

However, she told Arab News that she has been meeting “so many people in person during this campaign to hear about their needs,” and that she “has been learning so much about this marvellous city.”

She has been leafleting in the streets, giving Romans her flyers which depicts her wearing a hijab, as she normally, and proudly, does.

“I am on a journey to learn more and more: My father told me that I have been maturing so much more in terms of knowledge since I started my campaign.”

She is a candidate for the center-left coalition with the “Demos — Solidarity and Democracy” party, supporting Roberto Gualtieri, the former Italian finance minister, in his campaign for the mayoralty.

Ali flaunts the Islamic veil on her social media profiles as she is proud of her customs as a “woman with a hijab in a mostly Chrstian country.” 

But she told Arab news: “I am not running to represent Muslims in Italy. I am running as an Italian and Roman citizen, and I want to give a voice to the young, the elderly and the needy people who live in my city.”

Ali was born in Italy to Egyptian parents. Her father, Sami Salem, is the imam at the mosque in Magliana, a borough in the south of Rome, and runs a travel agency which organizes pilgrimages to Makkah for Hajj and Umrah.

One of her three sisters is Tasnim Ali, an influencer who explains the fundamentals of Islam and the customs of Islamic culture to her young audience on TikTok and Instagram.  

“Having always been active on social media, I wish to give my contribution in the best way I can on the basis of the experience I have in intercultural, inter-religious dialogue and humanitarian aid. As a young woman, I want to encourage other young people to give more.”

She believes that being a second-generation Italian “does not mean second-generation importance, nor second-class Italian. I am Italian, born and raised here and I have to set the right example, that no labels are put on people because we are all the same in all parts of the world.”

She added: "Even before, if God wills it, being elected as a city councilor, I want to send the message through my candidacy that women can, that Muslim women are not submissive as some non-Muslims want to make us think. We can and must make our contribution in every form and with all our strength.”

Ali has pledged to improve “the social life of many boys and girls in this city in their daily life. I want everyone to have their own rights, just like I want every young person here, not only those who study law as I do, to be aware of their rights.”

And she sees being a Muslim as an asset: “Islam gives me the push to be able to give more without receiving. The only thing I would like to receive and that I am receiving is the support of people. There is nothing more beautiful than to hear a good word. Surely it also gives me an extra sphere on which I can work and help know more about a community by being a part of it.”