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Bali airport reopens after volcanic eruption

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Jakarta, Nov 29: The main airport on the Indonesian island of Bali re-opened on Wednesday after remaining shut for two days because of volcanic eruption which blanketed parts of the island in ash prompting thousands of evacuations.

Flights resumed at Ngurah Rai International Airport from 3 p.m. after the Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation was downgraded from a Red alert to Orange.

Layers of ash settled on houses and fields on Bali after an eruption of Mount Agung. More than 38,000 people had already been evacuated from the area around the volcano which began erupting late on Saturday, CNN reported.

The authorities ordered the evacuation of nearly 100,000 people living in the danger zone and recommended the use of protective masks for the population. Emergency workers said they were encountering resistance from people concerned about their livestock and belongings.

The massive plumes of dark smoke from Mount Agung were seen reaching as high as three kilometres above its rumbling summit. The airport might have to close again if the wind changed direction, officials said.

The authorities warned tourists that they were likely to face long waits before returning home because of a huge backlog of flights.

Singapore Airlines announced on its website that at least two flights will leave for the city-state from the Indonesian island and that it was negotiating approval for another nine flights to depart.

On Monday, the Bali airport operator announced the closure of the premises due to emissions of volcanic ash. More than 100,000 passengers had been affected by the cancellation of nearly 900 flights flying in and out of Bali.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation maintained the eruption alert at the highest level and kept the safety radius to 10 kilometres around Mount Agung and warned of the risk of a major eruption, Efe news reported.

Located in the east of the island province, in the district of Karangasem, Mount Agung is far from most tourist sites. This is the mountain’s first volcanic eruption since 1963, when the ejection of magma lasted almost a year and caused more than 1,100 deaths.

Bali is the main tourist destination in Indonesia, with an annual influx of around 5.4 million foreign tourists, according to official data.

The Indonesian archipelago sits within the so-called “Ring of Fire” in the Pacific, an area of great seismic and volcanic activity that is shaken by thousands of tremors every year, most of small magnitude.

IANS

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Azerbaijan says 2,783 soldiers killed in Nagorno-Karabakh fighting

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Nagorno Karabakh

Azerbaijan said Thursday that nearly 2,800 of its soldiers were killed in recent fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh, the first details it has released of military losses in weeks of clashes with Armenian forces.

The defence ministry in Baku said in a statement that “2,783 servicemen of the Azerbaijani armed forces were killed in the patriotic war,” adding that 100 more soldiers were missing.

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Criminal networks could try to sell fake COVID vaccines physically and on internet, warns Interpol

The Interpol has asked police organisations to ensure “the safety of the supply chain” and said “identifying illicit websites selling fake products will be essential”.

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Vaccine

New Delhi, December 3: The Interpol has warned law enforcement agencies across the globe that organised criminal networks could try to advertise and sell fake COVID-19 vaccines physically and on the internet.

In an Orange notice issued to all 194 member countries on Wednesday, the Lyon-based international police cooperation body warned agencies to prepare for potential criminal activity in relation to “the falsification, theft and illegal advertising of COVID-19 and flu vaccines”.

“It also includes examples of crimes where individuals have been advertising, selling and administering fake vaccines,” a statement from the Interpol said.

The Interpol issues an Orange notice to warn of an event, a person, an object or a process representing a serious and imminent threat to public safety.

The CBI, which is the national central bureau for India, is tasked with coordination with the Interpol.

The warning came on the day the UK became the first Western nation to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, vaulting past the US and the European Union in the race to approve a vaccine.

The Interpol has asked police organisations to ensure “the safety of the supply chain” and said “identifying illicit websites selling fake products will be essential”.

“Criminal networks will also be targeting unsuspecting members of the public via fake websites and false cures, which could pose a significant risk to their health, even their lives,” Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock said in a statement.

“It is essential that law enforcement is as prepared as possible for what will be an onslaught of all types of criminal activity linked to the COVID-19 vaccine, which is why INTERPOL has issued this global warning,” the official said.

The Interpol cybercrime unit has analysed that of 3,000 websites associated with online pharmacies suspected of selling illicit medicines and medical devices, around 1,700 contained cyber threats, especially phishing and spamming malware making such operators even more potent of causing financial and health harms.

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Pakistan’s Covid-19 cases surpass 406k mark

Frontline healthcare workers and people over 65 years of age will be the first to get the vaccine administered, he added.

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pakistan coronavirus

Islamabad, Dec 3 : Pakistan’s overall coronavirus caseload has increased to 406,810 after an additional 3,499 people tested positive in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.

In the same period, a total of 8,205 people died and 346,951 recovered from the disease in the country which is currently battling a serious second wave, Xinhua news agency quoted the Ministry as saying.

The two new figures increased the overall death toll and recoveries to 8,205 and 346,951, respectively.

Sindh province is currently the worst hit with 177,625 cases, followed by most populous province Punjab with 121,083 positive cases, the official figures revealed.

At a press briefing on Wednesday, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on Health Faisal Sultan said that the government has approved to allocate a budget of $150 million to purchase vaccines.

Frontline healthcare workers and people over 65 years of age will be the first to get the vaccine administered, he added.

Meanwhile, Federal Parliamentary Secretary in the Health Ministry Nausheen Hamid said that the government will provide free of cost vaccine to its citizens and the vaccination will start in the second quarter of 2021.

The Pakistani government has also decided to observe “Covid-19 standard operating procedures compliance week” from Saturday for creating awareness in public about the significance of the SOPs in guarding against the disease.

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