South Carolina makes death by firing squad an option for death row inmates
News/World: South Carolina senators Tuesday added a firing squad to the list of execution alternatives if the state can't put condemned inmates to death by lethal injection due to a lack of the drugs needed to do so.
UK's Prince Philip moved to new hospital to treat infection
It further said that Philip spent two weeks in London's private King Edward VII hospital and now he has been moved to St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, where doctors will continue to treat him for the infection, as well as undertake testing and observation for a pre-existing heart condition.
Covax vaccine programme to deliver 237 mn doses to 142 nations by end-May
The timeline for the delivery of doses, made by AstraZeneca and by India's Serum Institute, will be split into separate two-month schedules, Covax said in a statement, with the first in February-March and the second in April-May. "These timelines are dependent on a variety of factors including national regulatory requirements, availability of supply, and fulfillment of other criteria such as validated national deployment and vaccination plans," the statement said.
US says Russia poisoned Navalny, imposes sanctions
The Biden administration declassified an intelligence finding Tuesday that Russia’s FSB, one of its leading intelligence agencies, orchestrated the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, and announced its first sanctions against the Russian government for the attack and the imprisonment of the opposition politician.
US says Russia poisoned Navalny, imposes sanctions
In action coordinated with the EU, the United States renewed demands that Russia free Navalny, who was arrested in January upon his return to Moscow as he spurred massive rallies through his allegations of corruption by President Vladimir Putin.
US civil rights activist, lawyer Vernon Jordan dies at age 85
Vernon Jordan, who grew up in the segregated South to become an influential leader in the American civil rights movement, Washington politics and Wall Street, has died at age 85, a CNBC and New York Times journalist said on Tuesday, citing a statement from his family.
United States should get vaccines to Canada and Mexico next, U.S. lawmaker urges
News/World: The United States must make it a priority to ship vaccines across the border to Canada and Mexico once Americans are inoculated against COVID-19, says a U.S. lawmaker. With the U.S. ahead in the vaccination race, the question turns to what happens once it eases its export ban.
Calls for New York governor Andrew Cuomo's resignation mount as 3rd accuser emerges
Calls for New York governor Andrew Cuomo's resignation intensified late Monday after a third woman accused him of offensive behaviour, saying he'd touched her face and back and asked to kiss her moments after they met at a wedding reception.
20 dead after bus plunges off cliff in Bolivia
Europe|: La Paz: Twenty people died and more than a dozen were injured when a passenger bus fell off a cliff in central Bolivia Tuesday, police said. The bus plunged some 150 meters (500 feet) after leaving the road between Cochabamba and Santa Cruz in the early morning hours, said traffic police chief Helsner Torrico Valdez. "Until now, 20 people have died and approximately 13 people have been wounded," he said. The injured have been rushed to hospitals in the area. In a similar incident last September, 19 people died and 17 were hurt when a bus drove off a cliff elsewhere in Bolivia. Last April, a bus fell 200 meters into a ravine, leaving 25 people dead after a collision involving two trucks north of La Paz. At the time, then-president Evo Morales urged bus drivers to take more care in a country that has a sorry record for highway safety.
'Pawri' power: 5-second social media clip pulls India, Pakistan closer
Pakistan|: Karachi: A 19-year-old Pakistani student who shot to fame after her five-second video went viral on social media across the subcontinent, hopes numerous renditions of her monologue will translate into more dialogue between neighbours India and Pakistan. The short video shot by Dananeer Mobeen in the Nathaigali mountains of northern Pakistan and uploaded onto Instagram shows a group of youngsters enjoying themselves by a roadside. Swinging around the device she is filming on, Mobeen gestures behind her and says in Urdu, "This is our car, this is us, and this is our party taking place." Seemly innocuous, she deliberately mispronounces the English word "party" as "pawri" to poke fun at South Asians who adopt Western accents. It immediately struck a chord in both India and Pakistan, sparking top trending hashtags on social media, and garnering millions of views and hundreds of spin-offs. "It was the most random video. I initially had no intention of uploading it," Mobeen said, expressing surprise at how viral it had gone and adding the trend showed the power and reach of social media. "Pawri" monologue renditions have been used by police in India and the Delhi Commission for Women in their social media outreach campaigns. In one video, two Indian soldiers deployed in snowy mountains give it their own spin with "This is us, this is our gun, and we are patrolling here", while popular Bollywood actors Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone each did a version that also went viral. Dananeer Mobeen, 19, a social media influencer who has become famous after her five-second video went viral, speaks during an interview in Karachi, Pakistan February 27, 2021. Image Credit: Reuters Indian dairy company Amul, known for inculcating trendy takes on current issues in its advertisements, did a "this is our pav-tea" version, in a nod to a popular bread snack eaten with tea. Even politicians jumped on the bandwagon, with a leader from India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party using the catchy hook at an election rally. "I'm honoured and grateful for all the love across the border," said Mobeen, expressing her happiness at fostering some rare friendly cross-border dialogue. India and Pakistan, both nuclear-armed nations, have fought three wars and often had tense relations since gaining independence in 1947. Last week, their militaries released a rare joint statement saying they had agreed to observe a ceasefire along the disputed Kashmir border, after exchanging fire hundreds of times over past months. Since the video went viral, Mobeen said she has been inundated with acting and modelling offers, along with requests for product endorsements. Instead, she says she aspires to join Pakistan's foreign services.
Pakistan gears up for Senate polls
Pakistan|: Islamabad: Political activity is at its peak in Islamabad as the capital city gears up for the Senate elections on March 3. Pakistan’s Senate or the upper house of parliament consists of 104 lawmakers who are elected by members of the country’s provincial and national assemblies. Each senator serves a term of six years but 50 per cent of the total number of senators retire after every three years. The elections are due as 52 senators are set to retire on March 11 after completing their six-year tenure. However, the 2021 elections will see 48 new senators join the upper house, including 12 each from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, 11 each from Punjab and Sindh and two from Islamabad. The number was reduced to 48 members this year after the merger of erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) with the KP province. Candidates As many as 78 candidates from different political parties are contesting the 2021 Senate elections. The candidates include 14 from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), 13 from Pakistan Peopless Party (PPP), 2 from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), 2 from MQM-P, 11 from BAP, 1 from TLP and three as independent candidates. The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is set to emerge as the largest party in the elections of the Senate which is currently dominated by the opposition, blocking government-backed legislations. Perks of a senator The monthly salary of a senator in Pakistan is about Rs76,802 (US$487) including all allowances, according to a 2015 Senate handbook. However, most of their expenses such as medical, travel and other bills are covered by the state. A senator is also entitled to travel allowance including vouchers of Rs300,000 (US$1900) per year or Rs90,000 cash in lieu of travel voucher per year. Senators are also allotted 20 business class open return air tickets per year. Horse-trading allegations and secret balloting Prime Minister Imran Khan recently proposed to hold Senate elections through an open ballot system to address the challenges of rigging, buying and selling of votes and horse-trading allegations in the Senate election that has long destroyed the sanctity of the upper house of parliament. However, a day earlier, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of elections through the secret ballot under the constitution after the country’s president sought the opinion of the court. The court urged that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was responsible to ensure transparency and curbing all corrupt practices. The court also suggested the use of the latest technology to ensure transparency. The election commission on Tuesday said that the Senate polls would be conducted as provided in the Constitution and law as per past practice.
Pakistan Supreme Court upholds order to demolish illegally-constructed lawyers’ chambers
Pakistan|: Islamabad: Pakistan’s top court on Tuesday upheld an order by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) given on Feb 16, 2021 for demolition of the illegally-constructed chambers of the lawyers of Islamabad on a football ground adjacent to the District Court complex in Islamabad’s F-8 sector. The land of the playground was encroached by the lawyers as they had constructed chambers on it. A three-member bench of the top court of Pakistan headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed gave the order while hearing a petition filed by the Islamabad Bar Association and directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) to vacate the football ground from the encroaching lawyers. The court also directed the Registrar of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to remove some courts if they are found to be constructed on the playground. IHC had ordered football tournament on encroached plot Earlier, a four-member bench of the IHC headed by Chief Justice Athar Minallah and comprising Justice Aamer Farooq, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Minagul Hassan Aurangzeb on Feb 16 had directed the CDA to retrieve the land from the lawyers and restore the playground by March 23. “The federal government shall make arrangements for holding a football tournament among students of public schools on Pakistan Day - March 23, 2021 - to pay tribute to the greatest lawyer of the subcontinent and founder of the nation Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah,” ordered the larger bench. Licences of lawyers suspended over misconduct The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has also suspended licences of some 19 lawyers over misconduct and for storming the IHC building, Chief Justice Block and manhandling the staff last month during a protest demonstration on Feb 8. These lawyers were protesting against demolition of their chambers by the CDA and the ICT in an operation a day earlier on Feb 7. Newly-elected president, secretary of IHC Bar face suspension February 8 is considered Black Day in the history of the IHC as the angry lawyers vented their wrath by pelting stones at the IHC building. They also injured the staff and even took the Chief Justice Athar Minallah hostage. The IHC, after the incident, issued show cause notices to 21 lawyers including the newly-elected President of the IHC Bar Zahid Mehmood Raja and Secretary Tasadduq Hanif. After Tuesday’s order, their licences have also been suspended. Besides, a member of the Islamabad Bar Council Naseer Kiani has also come under suspension. According to the rules, the court will now send references against these lawyers to the Islamabad Bar Council that is headed by Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiani of the IHC and the bar council will in return decide whether their licences should be cancelled.
Famed Italian house music DJ Claudio Coccoluto dies at 59
Europe|Music|: Claudio Coccoluto, a renowned Italian house music DJ who packed out clubs across Europe in the 1990s, died on Tuesday aged 59, his former employer, Radio Deejay, said. He died "after having fought for a year against a serious illness," Radio Deejay wrote on its website. Coccoluto died in his home in Cassino, a town some 130 kilometres (80 miles) south-east of Rome, the broadcaster added. Fellow DJ Gilles Peterson paid tribute on Twitter to a man he described as "an icon of Italian DJ culture... a true gentleman... always curious, always excited to exchange music and always a thrill watching him in action". Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini hailed "a protagonist of the Italian and international creative scene... who got entire generations of boys and girls dancing with his tunes and avantgarde music." Coccoluto started spinning records at the age of 13 in his father's house appliances store in Gaeta, a seaside town halfway between Rome and Naples. He was the first European DJ to play at New York's Sound Factory Bar, and his greatest hit - "Belo Horizonti", produced by Basement Jaxx - dominated European dance floors in the late 1990s. He co-founded one of Italy's most famous clubs, the Goa in Rome, and stood unsuccessfully for parliament in 2006, for the left-libertarian "Rosa nel Pugno" party.
No evidence Antifa or 'fake' Trump supporters spurred Capitol riot, FBI's Wray testifies
News/World: FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday sought to beat back right-wing conspiracy theories suggesting that fake supporters of former president Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, denying their existence in the agency's investigation so far.