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London reports biggest rise in new COVID-19 cases

London, Dec 25: London has seen the highest increase in case rates per 100,000 population among various regions in England with 602.2 in week 51 compared to 361.8 in the previous week, according to the latest figures updated by the Public Health England (PHE).


The weekly report, which monitors Covid-19, influenza and other seasonal respiratory viruses in England, is based on data from week 51 (between December 14 and 20), and for some indicators daily data up to December 22, Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.


Case rates


Case rates per 100,000 have increased across all regions in England and are the highest in London with a rate of 602.2 per 100,000 population, according to the report.


Case rates have increased across all age groups as well, with the highest rate 434.6 per 100,000 population seen in those aged between 30 and 39, the figures also showed.
The hospital admission rate for Covid-19 was 18.66 per 100,000 in week 51, compared to 15.18 per 100,000 in the previous week, said the report.


Hospital admission rates for Covid-19 have increased in all regions except for the northeast of England but this region also has the highest rate of 23.44, said the PHE.


More than 2,100 Covid-19 patients were admitted to London hospitals in a week and cases soared by nearly 56,000, official figures have revealed.


The figures showed a growing number of people struck down with the virus needing hospital treatment, with 357 admitted to hospitals in the city on Dec. 18, and 366 the previous day.’This will not be a normal Christmas for any of us. If you are seeing loved ones, try to keep your distance, wash your hands thoroughly and more often and ventilate as much as possible,’ said Yvonne Doyle, medical director at the PHE.


Tier Four restrictions


London and large parts of England are currently put into the Tier Four restrictions, the highest level.
Under the new tougher measures, residents in Tier Four areas must stay at home, with limited exemptions. People are also urged to work from home when they can, and should not enter or leave those areas.


To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States are racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.

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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.

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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.

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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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