Things to Note, May 22nd

40 bodies recovered, dozens more feared dead in PIA plane crash

KARACHI: At least 40 dead bodies have been recovered after a Pakistani plane crashed with nearly 100 people on board in the southern city of Karachi on Friday, according to rescue officials, with dozens more feared dead.

The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane was close to landing when it came down among houses, sparking an explosion and killing several people on the ground.

“We have recovered 40 plus bodies so far,” Major Mohammad Mansoor from the Pakistan Rangers, who was overseeing the rescue operation, told AFP.

Faisal Edhi, who heads the charitable Edhi Foundation that was assisting rescuers, gave a slightly higher figure saying at least 42 dead bodies had been recovered from the area.

“As per our estimates there are around 50 more dead bodies under the debris,” he said in a live television broadcast.

At least two passengers survived the crash, according to Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, the information minister in Sindh province where Karachi is located.

Africa’ Hour of Need

For its part, the IMF can provide close to $19 billion of rapidly disbursable financing to African countries this year; 26 have already received funding from its emergency facilities. In addition, 19 of the region’s poorest countries will receive direct debt relief, with the IMF Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust providing grants to cover their upcoming debt-service payments to the Fund.

Other development partners such as the World Bank Group and the African Development Bank are also ramping up financing. And G20 countries have stepped up with an important initiative to suspend debt-service payments until the end of 2020 for poor countries that request relief.

Despite these efforts, however, African governments still face a significant residual financing gap of at least $44 billion for 2020.

The case for the international community to bridge this shortfall is overwhelming. Providing these funds would greatly increase African countries’ ability to deploy fiscal measures to mitigate the pandemic’s adverse effects. And international lenders would be making one of the most strategic long-term investments possible if they supplemented this financing with further support to buttress the region’s economic recovery.

One way or another, what happens in Africa will shape this century. Just ten years from now, Sub-Saharan Africa will account for more than half of the annual increase in the global labor force. Moreover, the marginal increase in global consumption and investment demand will increasingly come from this region. The healthier Africa’s population is, the more robust the future global workforce will be. And the more climate-friendly the continent’s urbanization, the greener our future.

The amounts involved are certainly manageable. For example, $100 billion in new financing to support the region’s economic recovery amounts to only about 2% of the fiscal support that G7 governments have injected into their economies in recent weeks. And with global interest rates as low as they are now, it is hard to think of a more opportune time to make such a commitment to Africa – or a more important investment for our planet’s future.

As some nations open, UK to quarantine arrivals for 2 weeks

LONDON — People arriving in the U.K. next month will have to quarantine themselves for 14 days and could face an unlimited fine if they fail to comply, the British government announced Friday.

The quarantine plan has sparked confusion and criticism from airlines, airports and lockdown-weary Britons wondering whether they will get to take a vacation abroad this summer.

Britain did not close its borders during the worst of the country’s coronavirus outbreak, which has been linked to more than 36,000 deaths in the U.K. It is introducing its quarantine just as many other European countries are starting to open up again.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the rules will take effect June 8 and will apply to arrivals from all countries except Ireland, which has a longstanding free-movement agreement with the U.K. Ireland is expected to announce similar measures for people arriving there.

Patel said that as transmission of the virus within the U.K. slows, the quarantine will help prevent imported cases and stop a “devastating” second wave of the virus.

There will be exemptions for truckers and freight workers, front-line medics, and seasonal agricultural laborers.

Driven by Challenge: From Chemistry Student to Spent Fuel Specialist

For young women considering a career in nuclear science and technology, Laura McManniman has simple advice: “Don’t doubt yourself.”

McManniman, 35, is a Spent Fuel Management Specialist at the IAEA. She is leading a research project with scientists from 10 countries to develop a technical knowledge base about how nuclear reactor spent fuel and materials behave in wet and dry storage. On her journey from inner city Liverpool to the top of the nuclear field, McManniman learned to embrace change and seize the right opportunities, even if that meant having to overcome obstacles in an industry largely dominated by men.

Karachi mayor says does not expect survivors from crashed plane

There are expected to be no survivors among those on board a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane carrying 99 passengers and crew that crashed into a residential area of Karachi on May 22, the city’s mayor Waseem Akhtar told Reuters.

“At the moment we have the view that there will be no survivors from the plane itself, but it is not confirmed,” Akhtar said by phone from the scene of the crash. He said there were thought to be survivors from the area where the plane crashed.

Pakistan International Airlines plane carrying 98 people crashes in Karachi; at least two survive

A Pakistan International Airlines plane carrying 98 people has crashed in Karachi on a flight from Lahore, killing almost everyone on board, according to the city’s mayor.

The Airbus A320 was flying to Jinnah International Airport, one of the country’s busiest airports. It was toward the end of a routine 90-minute flight, as it was approaching to land, that the plane crashed into a crowded neighborhood near the airport. At least five or six houses were destroyed in the crash, although it was unclear how many casualties were on the ground.

Mayor Wasim Akhtar said all those on board died, but two civil aviation officials later told the Associated Press that at least two people survived the crash.

RBI announcements are business and people friendly: JP Nadda

BJP National President Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda welcomes the announcements of RBI [Reserve Bank of India] on 22 May 2020. In series of tweets Shri Nadda said, “Today’s announcements by RBI Gov is in line with the vision of our Hon’ble PM to take steps which are both business and people friendly. These announcements will go a long way to help PM @narendramodi Ji’s efforts to keep the economy strong during and after the pandemic”.

He said, “Rs 15,000 crore [$2 billion] line of credit for 90 days to EXIM [Export-Import] bank & hiking exposure limits of banks are the effective steps taken by the RBI to deal the adverse effects of COVID-19 on Indian economy.”

Shri Nadda said, “RBI deserves praise for shepherding the economy in the right direction despite effects of Coronavirus. Many positive news; India’s foreign reserves have increased by $ 9.2 billion during 2020-21. Inflation is expected to fall below RBI’s target of 4% by third or fourth quarter”.

Social isolation may up heart attack and death risk

For the findings, the researchers analyzed data from 4,316 individuals (average age 59.1 years) who were recruited into the large community-based study between 2000 and 2003.

The participants entered the study with no known cardiovascular disease, and they were followed for an average of 13 years.

At the start of the research, information was collected on different types of social support, with social integration assessed based on marital status and cohabitation, contact with close friends and family, and membership of the political, religious, community, sports or professional organizations.

During the 13.4 years of follow-up, 339 cardiovascular events such as heart attacks or strokes occurred, and there were 530 deaths among the study participants.

After adjusting for other factors that might have contributed to these events and deaths (for example, standard cardiovascular risk factors), a lack of social integration was found to increase the future risk of cardiovascular events by 44% and to increase the risk of death from all causes by 47 %..

The findings showed that a lack of financial support was associated with a 30 % increased risk of cardiovascular events.

US media outlet calls for cooperation between US and China amid COVID-19 pandemic

Due to the US government’s inefficient pandemic control measures, the country has now topped the global list for confirmed COVID-19 cases. Instead of providing aid to its people, the US government has been trying to shift the blame onto China, accusing the latter for its own mistakes. The US government’s irresponsible and groundless accusations have led to a new round of finger-pointing between the two nations, which experts and the public from both sides strongly oppose.

US news outlet Christian Science Monitor on May 19 published an article titled ‘For US-China groups, the adversary is COVID-19-not a country’, and specifically details the efforts made by locals and business leaders from both nations in tackling the lethal virus. Below is an abbreviated version of the article.

Victims of intercommunal violence in South Sudan deserve ‘justice, truth and reparations’: Bachelet

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday condemned a fresh wave of intercommunal violence in the world’s youngest nation, South Sudan, that has left hundreds of dead across 28 villages in Jonglei State, according to local authorities. 

Three aid workers were among those killed.

“The reports from Jonglei State are appalling”, Michelle Bachelet said of fighting that broke out between 16 and 17 May, forcing thousands to flee their homes.

“This recurring pattern of violence, which continues to claim lives in South Sudan, has to stop,” she said.  “I urge the Government to ensure measures are in place to investigate this violence and to ensure that those responsible are prosecuted, and that victims and their families have access to justice, truth and reparations.”

Intercommunal fighting has been on the rise across South Sudan.  In the first quarter of 2020, it was the main source of violence affecting civilians, having led to 658 deaths, 452 injuries, 592 abductions and 65 cases of sexual violence.

In Jonglei State and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area, a series of attacks from mid-February to early March, left 22 civilians dead.  Most of the 266 women and children abducted during the fighting have not been released from captivity.

The region has suffered years of food insecurity and was severely hit by flooding in 2019.

World Bank Supports Belarus’ COVID-19 Response with €90 Million Financing

“This project will help save the lives of Belarusians by providing critical equipment to the health sector,” said Alex Kremer, World Bank Country Manager. “It will have the most impact when combined with social distancing measures, including preventing large gatherings, reducing physical presence in workplaces and educational establishments, and reducing non-essential movements, all of which will save lives and help mitigate longer-term economic impacts. The earlier such measures are implemented, the better the outcomes for people’s lives and livelihoods.”

The project will also strengthen public health laboratories and epidemiological capacity for early detection, confirmation, and reporting of cases. It will finance medical supplies and equipment to help detect COVID-19, including testing kits, personal protective equipment, laboratory reagents, and training. In addition, the project will help with the acquisition and distribution of modern ambulances and essential ambulance equipment.

This project complements longer-term World Bank support to Belarus’ health systems, including the ongoing Belarus Health Systems Modernization Project, and a potential future project to support hospital consolidation and long-term care that has been requested by the Government of Belarus.

Since the Republic of Belarus joined the World Bank in 1992, lending commitments to the country have totaled $1.9 billion. The active investment lending portfolio financed by the World Bank in Belarus includes nine projects totaling $942.71 million. The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response. We are supporting public health interventions, working to ensure the flow of critical supplies and equipment, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs. We will be deploying up to $160 billion in financial support over 15 months to help more than 100 countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery. This includes $50 billion of new IDA resources through grants and highly concessional loans.

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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