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Saudi Arabia suspends Toronto flights in row with Canada

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Riyadh, Aug 7 : Saudi Arabia’s state airliner has suspended its direct flights to Toronto after Canada called for the release of detained activists for civil society and women’s rights.

The Middle Eastern country has also frozen all trade and expelled Canada’s ambassador over the “interference”, BBC reported on Monday.

Canada has responded by saying it “will continue to advocate for human rights”.

Those held include the Saudi-American human rights campaigner Samar Badawi, sister of jailed blogger Raif Badawi.

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said she was “deeply concerned” by the diplomat’s expulsion, but added: “Canada will always stand up for the protection of human rights, including women’s rights and freedom of expression around the world.

“We will never hesitate to promote these values and we believe that this dialogue is critical to international diplomacy.”

Her Saudi counterpart, Adel al-Jubeir, had earlier tweeted that Canada’s position was based on “misleading information”, adding that anyone arrested was “subject to Saudi laws that guarantee their rights”.

The leading Saudi women’s rights campaigner Manal al-Sharif thanked Canada for “speaking up” and asked when other Western powers would do the same.

In what appeared to be a further sign of deteriorating relations between the two countries, a verified Twitter account, which is reportedly linked to Saudi authorities, shared an image of a plane flying towards Toronto’s famed CN Tower.

The image was overlaid with text, including a quote which read “he who with what doesn’t concern him finds what doesn’t please him”.

People on social media have been quick to point out the similarities between the image and images of 9/11.

The account has since been deleted, but cached versions of the tweet are circulating online.

IANS

 

Disaster

Iraq confirms 2,312 new Covid-19 cases; 102 more deaths

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Iraq has been taking measures to contain the pandemic.

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Saudi Arabia Coronavirus Covid 19

Baghdad, July 4 : Iraqi Health Ministry on Friday confirmed 2,312 new Covid-19 cases, as the total number of infections climbed to 56,020.

The ministry also confirmed 102 more deaths, raising the death toll from the infectious virus to 2,262 in the country, Xinhua reported.

It also said that 1,688 people recovered during the day, bringing the total recoveries from the disease to 29,600.

The new cases were recorded after 12,176 testing kits were used across the country during the past 24 hours, and a total of 579,861 tests have been carried out since the outbreak of the disease, according to the ministry”s statement.

The ministry frequently attributed the recent increase of COVID-19 infections to the lack of compliance of the citizens to the health instructions, as well as to the increase in the testing capacity due to the increase of labs in Baghdad and the other Iraqi provinces.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Iraq has been taking measures to contain the pandemic.

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UK Covid-19 deaths rise to 44,131

As of Friday morning, there have been 10,120,276 tests of the novel coronavirus in the country, with 205,673 tests on Thursday, said the department.

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Corona Death Body

London, July 4 : Another 137 Covid-19 patients have died in Britain, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in the country to 44,131, the British Department of Health and Social Care said on Friday.

The figures include deaths in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community, Xinhua reported.

As of Friday morning, 284,276 people have tested positive for the disease in Britain, a daily increase of 544, according to the department.

As of Friday morning, there have been 10,120,276 tests of the novel coronavirus in the country, with 205,673 tests on Thursday, said the department.

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Pakistan reiterates support to ”One China Policy”

Modi did not mention China in his speech to the troops, but his gestures and words were loud and clear, cautioning Beijing over its desire of “expansionism”.

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Shah Mehmood Qureshi

Islamabad, July 3 : At a time when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise visit to Ladakh, amid the ongoing standoff between Indian and Chinese forces, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has reaffirmed Islamabad”s extended support to China”s “One China Policy”, along with a complete alliance against India.

Qureshi held a brief telephonic conversation with Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday, immediately after Modi concluded his visit to Ladakh.

As per an official press release, “bilateral, regional, and international issues were discussed” with Islamabad underscoring that the two countries are “All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partners”, who are facing “common challenges”.

Beijing”s ”One China Policy” has its core interests in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang, while the multi-billion dollar Silk Route, part of which is the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), making Pakistan”s support and the regions of Gilgit-Baltistan and Ladakh sensitively important.

Pakistan”s open support to Beijing is certainly in line with the concerns New Delhi and Washington have raised over the increasing presence of China in the region along the CPEC belt, stretched from Gwadar Port to Gilgit-Baltistan.

Islamabad has been open in siding with China when it comes to countering the threat it faces from mutual rival India, a point Qureshi re-asserted during his telephonic conversation with his Chinese counterpart.

“Foreign Minister Qureshi underscored that regional security situation was deteriorating and underlined that India”s belligerent posture and expansionist policies were imperilling peace in the region,” read a press release from Pakistan Foreign Office.

“Apart from committing egregious violations of human rights in IOJ&K, India was seeking to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory. The Foreign Minister also briefed about the repeated violations committed by India across the LOC as well as targeted killing of the civilians. In the face of Indian provocations, Pakistan was exercising restraint,” Qureshi maintained.

Earlier in the day, the Indian Prime Minister was on a visit to Ladakh, his first visit after the India-China standoff.

Modi did not mention China in his speech to the troops, but his gestures and words were loud and clear, cautioning Beijing over its desire of “expansionism”.

“Age of expansionism is over, this is the age of development. History is witness that expansionist forces have either lost or were forced to turn back,” Modi said in his address to troops in Ladakh.

While Modi”s message to China is a cautious intimation, Pakistan is keeping a very close eye on the developments in the region. China”s presence in Ladakh will need Islamabad”s support to sustain and Islamabad is extending every support to ensure New Delhi remains challenged.

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