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Pakistan, China agree to strengthen strategic cooperation

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Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday and both the leaders agreed to strengthen the strategic cooperation partnership between the two countries.

Wang, who is on a three-day official visit to Pakistan, and Qureshi held a joint press conference at the Foreign Office after having a one-on-one meeting and delegation-level talks, Geo News reported.

“Relations with China are an integral part of our foreign policy and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the new government’s top priority,” said Qureshi.

“Pakistan has played a key role in eliminating terrorism and China appreciated Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war on terror. We are proud of Pakistan and China’s friendship,” Qureshi said after the meeting, adding that the friendship had “withstood every test”.

He said that the purpose of the Chinese Foreign Minister’s meeting was to increase communication with the new government.

On his part, Wang said: “We want to strengthen relations with Pakistan. Had a positive meeting with Qureshi.”

This is the first official visit by a Chinese dignitary since the new government was formed in Pakistan.

Wang extended an invitation to Prime Minister Imran Khan to be the guest of honour at the International Import Expo in China. “The Chinese Foreign Minister has invited the Prime Minister to visit the country in November,” Qureshi said.

In addition to meeting Qureshi, Wang will meet Khan, outgoing President Mamnoon Hussain, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa. He is also likely to meet President-elect Arif Alvi.

Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said that Wang “underscored Beijing’s firm support to Pakistan’s socio-economic progress and development”.

Both ministers resolved to strengthen strategic cooperation and China was assured of Pakistan’s continued commitment to the CPEC as a priority project, the report said.

Wang Yi had arrived in the capital on Friday.

Tech

Top tech firms halt Hong Kong’s requests for users” data

Twitter said in an earlier statement that it has “grave concerns and is committed to protecting the people using our services and their freedom of expression”.

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San Francisco, July 7 : Facebook, WhatsApp, Google, Twitter and Telegram have said they will not process official requests from the Hong Kong authorities to hand over user data for the time being, in the wake of China imposing a controversial new National Security Law in Hong Kong.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, WhatsApp decided to pause the review of Hong Kong government requests for user data “pending further assessment” of China”s national-security law for territory.

Facebook is “pausing” such reviews “pending further assessment of the impact of the National Security Law, including formal human rights due diligence and consultations with human rights experts,” a WhatsApp spokeswoman was quoted as saying in the report.

Google and Twitter said they suspended their reviews of data requests from Hong Kong authorities immediately after the law went into effect.

Twitter cited “grave concerns” about the law”s implications.

Dubai-based Telegram Group said in a statement that it doesn”t intend to process “any data requests related to its Hong Kong users until an international consensus is reached in relation to the ongoing political changes in the city.”

A company spokesperson said it “has never shared any data with the Hong Kong authorities in the past.”

The people in Hong Kong fear that the new law can send them to jail on the basis of their social media posts and messages.

After China imposed a controversial new National Security Law in Hong Kong, tech giants now face a free speech test in the country.

The new law requires local authorities to take steps to supervise and regulate the city”s internet.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google-owned YouTube currently operate freely in Hong Kong, unlike China where the great Firewall has censored the US tech giants in mainland China.

Twitter said in an earlier statement that it has “grave concerns and is committed to protecting the people using our services and their freedom of expression”.

The Hong Kong government last week said the US has no right to intervene in the city”s internal affairs, after the American Senate unanimously passed a punitive sanctions bill in reaction to the controversial new National Security Law imposed by China.

The national security law, which Beijing put into effect and made public last week on the eve of the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong”s handover from British to Chinese rule, criminalises a wide range of behaviour and acts under four categories of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with a foreign power.

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Disaster

7 killed in Karachi rain

The provincial disaster management authority of Sindh province, where Karachi is located, issued a warning of urban flooding in parts of the city and other areas.

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Pakistan Rains Flood
Pakistan Rains (File Picture)

Karachi, July 7 : At least seven people were killed and several others injured in Pakistan’s Karachi city in separate rain-related incidents.

After weeks of extremely hot weather, the residents of Karachi on Monday found solace when the first monsoon rain in the ongoing summer season hit the port city of over 20 million people, but at the same time the unfortunate incidents of electrocution, roof collapse and uprooting of trees and billboards claimed seven lives, reports Xinhua news agency.

According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), rainfall up to 43 mm was recorded in the city, and it wreaked havoc in the areas where it was coupled with heavy winds.

Rescue teams said that the rainwater inundated several low-lying areas of the city, creating trouble for the residents.

Road traffic was also disrupted in several areas after rainwater submerged highways and other roads.

Electric poles also uprooted in several areas of the city, resulting in hours-long suspension of electricity supply.

The provincial disaster management authority of Sindh province, where Karachi is located, issued a warning of urban flooding in parts of the city and other areas.

The authority said heavy rainfall is expected in the province due to the monsoon and the residents and concerned departments of the urban areas should remain alert and take necessary precautionary measures during the forecast periods to avert any unfortunate incident.

The PMD forecast more rains on the same pattern in the city for the next two days.

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Disaster

Situation ‘really not good’ as new COVID-19 cases break records: Fauci

The worst-hit states due to the fresh outbreak are California, Arizona, Texas and Florida.

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Anthony Fauci

Washington, July 7 : America’s top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci warned “the current state is really not good” due to the fresh spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

“We had been in a situation (where) we were averaging about 20,000 new cases a day,” Xinhua news agency quoted Fauci, Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as saying on Monday.

In a livestream with Director of the US National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, Fauci said a series of circumstances associated with various states and cities trying to open up, in the sense of getting back to some form of normality, has led to a situation where the country now has record-breaking cases.

He said the average age of people getting infected now is 15 years younger than it was a few months ago, but young people must understand they are not “in a vacuum”.

“Innocently, they could infect someone who’d infect someone, and then all of a sudden someone’s grandmother or grandfather, or aunt who”s getting chemotherapy for breast cancer gets infected.

“You’re part of the propagation of the pandemic so it’s your responsibility to yourself, as well as to society, to avoid infection,” Fauci added.

The US currently accounts for the world”s highest number of infections and fatalities at 2,935,008 and 130,277, respectively, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

The worst-hit states due to the fresh outbreak are California, Arizona, Texas and Florida.

Nearly two dozen states have paused their reopenings to combat the virus spread while others have taken extra measures to keep it out of their borders, said a CNN report.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut issued a travel advisory that requires people arriving from eight states with high coronavirus rates to quarantine for two weeks.

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