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Iran Bans Flights to/from 32 Countries to Prevent New Coronavirus Outbreak

(Asian News Hub) – Spokesman of the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran (CAOI) Mohammad Hassan Zibakhsh said Tehran has banned flights from and to 32 countries to prevent the spread of new coronavirus mutations to Iran.

Zibakhsh said that the admission of passengers from 32 high-risk countries to Iran was banned upon the decision of the National Coronavirus Campaign Headquarters. 


He stressed that all Iranian and foreign nationals who intend to travel to Iran are required to provide a negative molecular test certificate (RT-PCR) in terms of COVID-19 with a validity period of up to 96 hours from labs approved by the country of origin in English or approved by the consulate before boarding the plane at the airport of origin.


In relevant remarks last month, Iran announced that it has extended a ban on flights from and to Britain till March 10 over fear from the new coronavirus variant spreading in UK.


Zibakhsh made the remarks on Wednesday February 17, adding that the ban might be renewed for a fourth time in early March if the number of infections related to the mutated form of the virus surge in Iran.


“Given that we face the onset of the peak of the British coronavirus (infections), it would be highly possible that the travel ban to the UK will be extended again on March 10,” he said.


The ban on UK flights was first enacted in late December when reports showed that a more infectious variant of the coronavirus had been detected in the island nation.


Iranian authorities say passengers arriving in Iran from the UK via other countries are deported.


However, that comes as Iranian health minister warned earlier this week a fourth wave of the disease involving the new variant of the virus would swiftly spread across Iran if current restrictions on gatherings and movement are eased in the run up to the Persian New Year on March 21.


Health authorities in the Southwestern province of Khuzestan confirmed on February 17 that the UK virus variant had started circulating in three cities of Shadegan, Abadan and Khorramshahr.

FARS

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New Taliban govt to uphold Islamic rules and Sharia law: Statement

(Asian News Hub) – Taliban soldiers walk towards Afghans shouting slogans, during an anti-Pakistan demonstration, near the Pakistan embassy in Kabul.

The Taliban’s religious leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, hours after the announcement of the new Afghanistan cabinet, issued a statement saying the new cabinet will start its work immediately.

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“As a caretaker and committed cabinet has been announced by the authorities of the Islamic Emirate to control and run the affairs of the country which will start functioning at the earliest, I assure all the countrymen that the figures will work hard towards upholding Islamic rules and Sharia law in the country, protecting the country’s highest interests, securing Afghanistan’s borders, and to ensuring lasting peace, prosperity and development,” Akhundzada said.

Also Read: Magnitude 7.0 quake strikes Mexico, no reports of serious damage

The statement also said the new government remains committed to protecting human rights.

“The Islamic Emirate will take serious and effective steps towards protecting human rights, the rights of minorities as well as the rights of the underprivileged groups within the framework of the demands of the sacred religion of Islam,” reads the statement.

AP

Also Read: PEC condoles demise of Afghan journalist Fahim Dashty

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PEC condoles demise of Afghan journalist Fahim Dashty

(Asian News Hub) – Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), the Switzerland-based global media safety body, expressed condolences over the death of
prominent Afghan journalist Fahim Dashty, who fell prey to clashes erupted between the Taliban fighters and the national resistance force
in Panshir valley on 5 September 2021.

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Associated with Kabul Weekly newspaper, Fahim was lately working as a spokesperson for Ahmad Massoud  led National Resistance Front of
Afghanistan. The anti-Taliban front officials claimed that Fahim was targeted by the Pakistani air-force drones at Anaba locality in Panshir valley. As the Taliban militants invaded Afghanistan, he joined the resistance force, popularly known as Northern Alliance.

Besides pursuing professional journalism, Fahim was also associated with Federation of Afghan Journalists and  Afghanistan National Journalists Union.

Also Read: Magnitude 7.0 quake strikes Mexico, no reports of serious damage

Born into a progressive family at Dashtak village
under Anaba district in 1972, Fahim graduated from Istiqlal high school and studied law and political science at Kabul university.

“Fahim Dashty becomes the tenth journalist killed in Afghanistan since January 2021 turning the south-Asian nation the most dangerous place
for working journalists. The PEC is gravely concerned about the wellbeing of local journalists as well as journalists reporting for
international media outlets,” said Blaise Lempen, general secretary of PEC.

PEC calls on Afghanistan’s new authorities to ensure the safety of journalists and to respect press freedom, stated Lempen adding that
the global organisation was very concerned by the rapidly changing socio-political situation in Afghanistan for some years. He added that
over the past 20 years, independent media proliferated in the trouble-torn country.

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As the Taliban gains power almost across Afghanistan, the journalists are coming under increasing attacks. Those who defy the Taliban face threats, pressure, kidnapping and murder. Female journalists are at greater risk due to their public roles and all of them are now banned
from presenting news in television channels, asserted Lempen.

“Altogether 55 journalists have been killed so far this year around the world and Fahim Dashty emerges as the latest victim,” said Nava Thakuria, PEC’s south and southeast Asia representative adding that the armed militants had earlier killed Bismillah Adil Aimaq, Shahnaz Raoufi, Saadia Sadat, Mursal Waheedi, Mina Khairi, Toofan Omar,
Alireza Ahmadi, Najma Sadeqi and Danish Siddiqui (acclaimed photo-journalist from India).

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Magnitude 7.0 quake strikes Mexico, no reports of serious damage

(Asian News Hub) – A powerful earthquake struck southwestern Mexico near the beach resort of Acapulco on Tuesday night, causing rock falls and damaging buildings, though there were no immediate reports of casualties.

The 7.0 magnitude quake, which struck 11 miles northeast of the resort of Acapulco, Guerrero, shook the hillsides around Acapulco, downing trees and pitching large boulders onto the road.

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Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said while the quake had sent rocks tumbling down hillsides and damaged walls, it had not caused major damages in Acapulco’s home state of Guerrero or the neighboring region of Oaxaca, or Mexico City.

“Fortunately there hasn’t been serious damage,” he said. “We have no information so far about the loss human lives.” Acapulco is roughly 230 miles (375 km) from Mexico City.

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In the Roma Sur neighborhood of Mexico City, lights went off and scared residents rushed out, some wearing little more than pajamas, a Reuters witness said. Residents huddled together in the rain, holding young children or pets, too worried to return to their homes in the dark.

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“It was terrible. It really reminds me of the 1985 quake every time something like this happens,” said Yesmin Rizk, a 70-year-old Roma Sur resident.

The USGS said the quake, initially measured at a magnitude of 7.4 and later downgraded to 7.0, was very shallow, only 7.8 miles (12.5 km) below the surface, which would have amplified the shaking effect.

Reporting by Uriel Sanchez and Dave Graham, additional reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Writing by Shri Navaratnam; Editing by Sandra Maler, Christopher Cushing and Ana Nicolaci da Costa.

Reuters

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