Pakistan and India dominate air pollution database of WHO

Pakistan and India dominate air pollution database of WHO

Currently, agricultural burning adds to the air pollution issues across Pakistan and India, especially in the north. The region has 16 among the 20 most polluted cities in the global air pollution database of the World Health Organization (WHO). However, are they the most polluted places in the world ever recorded? Although lack of measurements makes historic comparisons difficult, we have some clues.

More than 200 years ago, Benjamin Franklin was one of the first scientists who studied electricity in the atmosphere. Air pollution also changes the electrical properties of our air, although lightning is the most obvious manifestation.

In 1790, electrical measurements near Hyde Park suggested the particle pollution of the 18th-century London was about half the annual average in the most polluted cities in India in the present.

Air pollution is a huge problem in India, killing more than 1 million in the country every year, according to researches. According to the IQAir report, on average, its cities exceed WHO guidelines for the amount of particulate pollution (PM2.5) in the atmosphere by up to 500 precent.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, around 135,000 deaths are attributed to air pollution every year, making it the top cause of sickness and death smog. The country spends about 5.88% of GDP or $47.8 billion on solving air pollution issues. During some past decades, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan have successfully enforced policies to lessen air pollution and accentuate that today’s air pollution need not be tomorrow’s fate.

Things had deteriorated by 1900. Measurements of atmospheric electricity at Kew show that air pollution in London was similar to the worst Indian cities nowadays.

However, the UK was home to 44 million people in the 1920s and bout 400 million people are exposed to the poor air in the Ganges River basin on north India, making it a far larger air pollution crisis.

Pakistan in one of the world’s best solar zones

Pakistan in one of the world’s best solar zones

Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) CEO Dr Rana Abdul Jabbar Khan says that solar energy can lower the price of electricity for consumers.

Solar power is the country’s new way to guarantee its energy security as well as to decrease the basket price of electricity for consumers, according to Dr Rana Abdul Jabbar Khan.

At the first virtual conference on Solarization of Pakistan, organized by Energy Update, Khan said the country should take the advantage of its presence in one of the world’s best solar zones. He added that due to a steep decline in solar electricity rates, solar energy had lately become the cheapest source of energy among the low-cost alternatives for generating electricity.

He declared that the AEDB would support full exploitation of solar power potential in Pakistan so that by 2030 the country could generate up to 30 percent of its electricity from clean sources of energy. And the AEDB had been conducting the country’s solar resource mapping with support of the World Bank (WB) and nine solar stations had been established in various areas.

Additionally, the board is taking required measures in order to introduce competitive bidding for the alternative energy projects in Pakistan.

On the occasion, PM Housing Task Force Chairman Zaigham Mahmood Rizvi emphasized the need for using high-quality equipment to generate solar electricity for long-term benefit.

He said solar equipment of superior quality could last up to four decades for maximum benefit of the energy system.

Rizvi also said quite soon export-oriented industries would have to install alternative energy plants since their products that were manufactured with the assistance of conventional sources of energy might not be accepted by the developed countries.

According to Sindh Solar Energy Project Director Mehfooz Qazi, the Sindh government had been working on projects to promote the use of solar energy. He hoped that the new Alternative Energy Policy would help implement the WB-assisted solar project in Sindh.

Tokyo Olympic Games must be held regardless of the status of Covid-19, says Japanese minister

Tokyo Olympic Games must be held regardless of the status of Covid-19, says Japanese minister

Japanese minister Seiko Hashimoto says the hosting country is planning for the Tokyo Olympic Games next year, whether the vaccine is widely available  or not.

Seiko Hashimoto has said, that the Tokyo Olympics must be held “at any cost”, as organizers go on to weigh up options for staging a post-pandemic celebration of sport in Tokyo next summer.

She told reporters on Tuesday that everyone involved with the Games is working hard together to prepare and all athletes are also making great efforts towards next year. She wants to concentrate all of their efforts on measures against the coronavirus.

She suggested the priority had changed from planning for the complete Games into an event that would be able to enable athletes to compete regardless of the status of the world health crisis.

There remains a growing belief within the national Olympic committees that the events will happen following lengthy discussions about how they can be held safely.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games were suspended in March when the Covid-19 pandemic started its rampage through the US, Europe, India, Brazil, and other parts around the world.

Health experts warn that a vaccine seems not to be widely available by the time the opening ceremony is planned to take place on 23 July 2021. As a result, a task force of organizers, health experts, national and local government officials met last week to discuss about anti-virus measures.

The group, expected to release an interim report at the end of the year, is sifting through over 200 proposals on how best to prevent an Olympic-related outbreak at the same time enabling about 11,000 athletes from over 200 countries to travel to Japan.

The Tokyo chief executive, Toshiro Muto, insisted Last week that the Olympic Games must be held even if a vaccine was unavailable since a vaccine is not a requirement. However, if vaccines are developed, they will really appreciate it and that would be great for the Olympics.

Although it is possible to reduce the risks to athletes, it is much harder in terms of ensuring the safety of huge numbers of spectators from overseas.

Four Things To Keep In Mind To Travel Smart in a COVID-19 World

Four Things To Keep In Mind To Travel Smart in a COVID-19 World

Keeping track of what countries are open to foreign travelers, along with any entrance rules, such as negative COVID-19 tests and quarantine requirements upon arrival, seems to be more stressful than being wedged in a middle seat in economy on a long-haul flight. So here we are listing four things to keep in mind before you plan for an international trip during a pandemic.

Make it short and sweet. Quick trips can provide the same benefits like those of a longer vacation. Even a brief change of scenery can help you recharge. Just an overnight or weekend trip can be enough to give you and your friends or family the rest you need.

Book at the last minute. Consider booking a trip just before you want to start your trip so there is no risk of your plans changing because of unexpected travel restrictions. Due to the world health crisis, a lot of hotels and travel sites around the world now list the cleanliness and safety measures being taken. What you should do is to take this into account when booking your accommodations. In spite of what you may think, you can take advantage of last-minute discounts on booking sites such as Hotwire, whose Hot Rate deals often get even better the week before your departure.

Do your pre-trip research. Before you plan a trip, don’t forget to check for the most recent local or regional travel recommendations in both your living region and your destination. Do your own research about what facilities are open and whether reservation requirements or occupancy limits may affect your plans. In addition, check into any travel limitations and if you will be subject to quarantine upon arrival or after visiting certain locations.

Stay close to home. Consider traveling to local destinations or those within easy driving distance. It is the change in routine, rather than how far you go, can benefit your mental health, so explore a city close to home at the same time reaping the same restorative benefits of a more exotic location.

COVID-19 vaccine trials might be completed by mid-August

COVID-19 vaccine trials might be completed by mid-August

Trials for a coronavirus vaccine could be done by mid-August, a key adviser to the US government has said.

John Bell, a member of the US government’s coronavirus vaccine task force, said that human test trials for a coronavirus vaccine had started at Oxford University this week.

But he stressed that the real question was whether the vaccine would be effective, not when it would become available. It will only be tested when we have vaccinated a significant number of people and exposed them to the COVID-19 and counted how many people have got COVID-19 in that population.

However, he also said if things go on course and it does have efficacy, it might be possible that their team would be able to complete the trial by mid-August.

Bell added that after a wide range of safety studies, a candidate vaccine tested at Oxford had gone “into man” for the first time last Thursday. If there will be any evidence of a strong immune response by the end of May, then the next step would be the massive issue of how they would manufacture at scale many billions of doses.

The comments came under mounting pressure on the US government to provide frontline staff in hospitals and care homes with personal protective equipment after it emerged that doctors and nurses have been asked by the NHS to work without protective full-length gowns as treating COVID-19 patients.

The chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, said that some trusts will run out of supplies on this weekend since the national stock of protective full-length gowns was now exhausted.

The business secretary, Alok Sharma, announced on Friday details of cash grants for vaccines and potential treatment research, which the government hopes to be regularly given to healthcare staff and other high-risk groups in order to provide protection over some weeks or months.

There are at least 56 NHS workers having died from COVID-19. The actual number of healthcare staff to have lost their lives seems to be much higher since not all deaths will be in the public domain.

Pakistan urging the community in the world to try and end ‘persistent clampdown’ in Kashmir

Pakistan urging the community in the world to try and end ‘persistent clampdown’ in Kashmir

On Thursday, Foreign Minister from Pakistan urged the community around the world to try and put an end to a “persistent clampdown” that the government from India in Kashmir imposed.

Following the decision of India on the 5th of August, Pakistan worked to downgrade ties with New Delhi, aside from expelling the Indian High Commissioner. 

In the Minister’s message on UN Day, he said that the world body has been playing an active part in the severe struggle against colonialism apart from actively enhancing the fundamental rights for humans.

“The right of people to self-determination is at this quest’s heart. That said, such a global value has been trampled upon in Kashmir and Jammu,” he said.

He continued, the situation is being “exacerbated further by the persistently imposed clampdown” by the government from India in the region following the 5th of August.

“Since we are celebrating the UN Day, I would love to call on the global community, and particularly the Security Council, to try and end” the Kashmir crisis, according to the Minister.

After Article 370 abrogation, the government led by BJP imposed a couple of restrictions, inclusive of an Internet and mobile phone ban, in Kashmir and Jammu for the order and law maintenance. They have been gradually lifted.

On Thursday, the Kashmir and Jammu administration said that no restrictions are available in 99% or so of the areas. Also, the situation is being daily reviewed.

The apex court heard many petitions challenging the imposed restrictions in the region after the scrapping of the special status.

The Minister said that multilateral cooperation is still a foreign policy’s cornerstone.

“Our long-term collaboration with the UN is manifested, for example, by our dedicated contribution to its peacekeeping… more than 200,000 of the Blue Helmets served in many global Missions,”

Being throwing stone to death because of using mobile phone

Being throwing stone to death because of using mobile phone

A woman was thrown stone to death by her family member due to the order of a court in Pakistan because of possessing a mobile phone.
This is the latest case to endure the brutal punishment from ancient times.

The media reported that Arifa Bibi, a two-year-old mother, had been thrown stone bricks by her uncle, cousins ​​and many others until she died. Later, she was buried in a desert away from her village.

Arifa Bibi is not the only victim to suffer from this ancient punishment. However, the cause of her death is indeed quite rare.

(Illustrated image is not the victim in the blog mentioned)

The penalty of throwing stones to death is even considered legal and widely applied in at least 15 countries in the region, especially as it tends to increase in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Even in many cases, women who declare themselves raped may also be considered to admit guilt of having a wrong affair or relationship.

Among the recorded cases, there is one most typical case that, when repeated, many people still have to shudder. It was in 2008, 13-year-old Somalia girl Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow, was throwed stone by 50 men at the stadium in Kismayu in the presence of about 1,000 people.

Aisha’s father said she was raped by three men, but was accused of prostitution when reporting the incident to the rebel forces al-Shabaab who was taking control of the city.

Activists say women are often victims of this punishment, because women are often discriminated against. In adultery, men can hire a lawyer and easily escape the crime. In particular, trial trials are often unfair. Judgment is sometimes based only on confession by the victim’s own coercion, even based on the judgment of the judge rather than evidence.

Many people believe that this penalty is too cruel, but in fact, it still exists in many countries. Many feminist activists have carried out a global campaign against stoning to death. However, the road to help remove that ancient punishment is still very difficult and long-term.