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Over 100 killed in Pakistan terror strike targeting political rally, IS claims responsibility

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Islamabad, July 14 : At least 128 people have died and over 200 injured in a suicide attack in Pakistan that targeted the convoy of Balochistan Awami Party leader Siraj Raisani, who was campaigning for July 25 general election, in Mastung area close to the provincial capital Quetta.

The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for the attack that left 128 people dead, police officials said.

The outfit announced the claim through its Aamaq news agency without providing further details.It is the deadliest strike in Pakistan this year.

Another strike in Pakistan on Friday targeted former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Akram Khan Durrani’s convoy in Bannu while it traveled from one political rally to the next..

Caretaker provincial Home Minister Agha Umar Bangulzai confirmed the death toll .

Siraj, the younger brother of former Balochistan Chief Minister Aslam Raisani, was attacked during a corner meeting organised for the promotion of his candidature. Siraj’s death was confirmed by his brother Lashkari Raisani.

After the incident, a large contingent of security forces cordoned off the area with the injured shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta, where an emergency was imposed.

In July 2011, Siraj Raisani lost his 14-year-old son in a terrorist attack in Mastung, in which several others, including security personnel, were killed.

Balochistan’s Civil Defence Director Aslam Tareen said 16 to 20 kg of explosives and ball bearings were used in the attack.

Civil Hospital spokesperson Waseem Baig said the hospital received 53 bodies and 73 wounded. At least 20 of those injured were in critical condition.

The Mastung bombing was the latest, and deadliest, of a string of attacks targeting politically exposed persons ahead of the July 25 election.

Strongly condemning the attack, interim Chief Minister Balochistan Alauddin Murree directed Deputy Commissioner of Mastung to submit a report of the incident.

“The attack is a conspiracy to sabotage the electoral process in the province,” he said in a statement.

Murree ordered the law enforcement agencies to ensure those behind the attack were apprehended.

Meanwhile, President Mamnoon Hussain and Interim Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk also condemned the attack in separate statements.

Earlier on Friday, a blast targeted former Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani’s convoy in Bannu. While Durrani remained safe, four people were killed and 32 others injured in the attack.

The Election Commission of Pakistan has postponed polling for the constituency from where Siraj was contesting.

Earlier this week, a suicide blast had killed Awami National Party leader Haroon Bilour and 19 others in Peshawar.

The attack was owned up by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.

 

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Global Covid-19 cases top 31mn mark: Johns Hopkins

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Corona Death Body

The overall number of global coronavirus cases on Monday surpassed the 31 million mark, while the deaths have increased to more than 960,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

The total number of cases stood at 31,044,033 and the fatalities rose to 960,826, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 6,805,629 and 199,512, respectively, according to the CSSE.

India comes in the second place in terms of cases at 5,487,580, while the country’s death toll soared to 87,882.

The other top 15 countries with the maximum amount of cases are Brazil (4,544,629), Russia (1,105,048), Peru (768,895), Colombia (765,076), Mexico (697,663), South Africa (661,211), Spain (640,040), Argentina (631,365), France (467,614), Chile (446,274), Iran (422,140), the UK (396,744), Bangladesh (348,918), Saudi Arabia (329,754) and Iraq (319,035), the CSSE figures showed.

Brazil currently accounts for the second highest number of fatalities at 136,895.

The countries with a death toll above 10,000 are Mexico (73,493), the UK (41,866), Italy (35,668), Peru (31,369), France (31,257), Spain (30,495), Iran (24,301), Colombia (23,665), Russia (19,420), South Africa (15,953), Argentina (13,053), Chile (12,286) and Ecuador (11,090).

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UK PM to address nation over ‘winter lockdown plans

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Boris Johnson

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to address the nation to brace citizens for “winter lockdown plans” in preparation for a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, media reports said.

The Prime Minister could make the TV address as early as Tuesday, said The Sun newspaper.

The Prime Minister could make the TV address as early as Tuesday, said The Sun newspaper.

He is looking at making pubs and restaurants close early and banning households from meeting up, it added.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Officer Patrick Vallance will reportedly make an address ahead of the Prime Minister, the Metro newspaper said in a report.

The scientists will outline the consequences of taking no action to curb the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, a government adviser, Professor Susan Michie, told The Telegraph on Sunday that every day of delay could have dire health outcomes.

“We need a stitch in time. We need to learn the lessons of the spring. Every day’s delay to a step change in measures to restrict transmission when it is increasing exponentially will be expensive in terms of health and lives in the short term and the economy in the long term,” she added.

Johnson has previously admitted that second national lockdown would be “nothing short of disastrous”‘ for the UK, the Metro newspaper reported.

The development comes as more than 10 million across the UK are placed in some form of local lockdown.As of Monday, the UK has reported a total of 396,744 coron mm mm u huhavirus cases, with 41,866 deaths.

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4 new Covid-19 cases reported in NZ

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Wellington, Sep 20 (IANS) New Zealand reported four new coronavirus cases on Sunday, taking the nationwide tally to 1,464, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

Of the four new cases, two were community cases and two were at managed isolation facilities, Xinhua news agency reported citing the Ministry statement.

The current number of active cases in New Zealand has reduced to 71, including three patients in Auckland hospitals.

Laboratories across New Zealand have conducted 5,417 tests, increasing the total number till date to 910,853, according to the Ministry.

New Zealand is now at COVID-19 Alert Level 2 with additional restrictions on gatherings for its biggest city Auckland.

–IANS

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COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization.