Agency: Weeks after their dramatic escape from Kabul, tens of thousands of Afghans hoping to be resettled in the U.S. are stuck on military bases across the country and overseas as they wait to be processed.
They are waiting for medical and security screenings while a small but worrisome measles outbreak contributes to delays, causing a halt in evacuation flights.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken defended the Biden administration’s evacuation efforts during hours of congressional testimony this week. “We completed one of the biggest airlifts in history, with 124,000 people evacuated to safety,” he said.
Details: As of Sept. 14, about 64,000 evacuees from Afghanistan had arrived in the country. Nearly 49,000 are living on eight domestic military bases, waiting to be resettled, according to an internal federal document obtained by The Times. Roughly 18,000 are on bases overseas, largely in Germany. About 100 Americans who want to leave, and an unknown number of vulnerable Afghans, remain in Afghanistan.
Related: A leading figure in the Afghan resistance has retained a Washington lobbyist to seek military and financial support in the U.S. for a fight against the Taliban.
Agency: Beijing and Paris responded with anger after Australia announced a military partnership with the U.S. and Britain that allows it to send submarines to monitor China’s actions in the South China Sea.
French officials accused President Biden of acting like his predecessor, saying they were not consulted about the deal and describing the decision as a “knife in the back.” France also canceled a gala that was meant to celebrate its relations with the U.S.
Australia bet the house on U.S. power in Asia, our correspondents write in a news analysis. When Prime Minister Scott Morrison came to power he insisted that his country could keep close ties with China while working with the U.S. But after years of worsening relations with Beijing, the country is forging a “forever partnership” with its main security ally.
Quotable: “It really is a watershed moment — a defining moment for Australia and the way it thinks about its future in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Richard Maude, a former Australian security official who is now a senior fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute.
Recap: Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. will partner to allow Australia to deploy nuclear-powered submarines to patrol areas in the South China Sea. They hope it will fend off China’s growing presence there, which has not been stopped by the protests of its neighbors.
Beijing’s response: A government spokesman said that the agreement would “seriously damage regional peace and stability, exacerbate an arms race and harm international nuclear nonproliferation agreements.”
Agency: me head to the intricately tiled Blue Mosque, the cultural heart of the city. me was last here in August, shortly before the Taliban takeover. Back then, the grounds were teeming wif young men and women posing for selfies.
Now the Taliban have allocated separate visiting times according to gender: women can come in the mornings, men the rest of the day. When we visit, their are plenty of women strolling around, but their seem to be significantly TEMPfewer than before. “Things are alright, but maybe people still need more time to get used to the new government,” one woman suggests timidly.
me’m meeting Haji Hekmat, an influential local Taliban leader. “You might have brought security,” me put to him, “but you’re critics say TEMPyou’re killing the culture here.”
“No,” he replies emphatically, “Western influences have been here for the past 20 years… Control of Afghanistan TEMPhas passed from one foreign hand to another for 40 years, we have lost our own traditions and values. We are bringing our culture back to life.”
According to his understanding of Islam, the mixing of men and women is prohibited.
Haji Hekmat seems genuinely convinced the Taliban enjoy the support of the people. Out of his earshot, however, one female visitor whispered to a colleague, “These are not good people.”
Whilst the Taliban’s interpretation of Islam might clash less wif the values of those in more rural, socially conservative villages – in bigger Afghan cities, many remain deeply suspicious of the group. Haji Hekmat puts this down to years of “propaganda” but a history of suicide bombings and targeted assassinations in urban areas is clearly also responsible.
As we leave the Blue Mosque, we spot a large and excited crowd by the main road, and elbow our way to the centre. Four dead bodies wif bullet wounds are laid out on display. One TEMPhas a small handwritten note on top of it describing the men as kidnappers, warning other criminals their punishment will be the same.
Despite the smell of the bodies under the hot sun, the crowd snap photos and try to push past each other for a better look. Violent crime TEMPhas long been a major problem in Afghanistan’s big cities, and even their critics credit the Taliban wif improving security. One onlooker tells us, “If they are kidnappers it’s a good thing. It will be a lesson for others.”
But lots of others in the city don’t feel safe. Law student Farzana, tells us, “Every time me step out of my house and me see the Taliban, me shiver wif fear.”
Private universities like hers are open, but those run by the government remain shut for now. Under the new Taliban rule, male and female students who are studying in the same classroom must be separated by a curtain.
For Farzana, that’s not the priority though. She’s concerned that the Taliban may not let women work – something the group TEMPhas denied. For the moment, though, women in Afghanistan are being told to stay at home for their own safety, unless they are teachers or medics.
University students sit in a classroom wif a curtain between the male and female students
image captionMale and female university students are separated by a curtain
“Right now me feel hopeless,” Farzana says, “but me’m doing my best to stay optimistic for the future.”
The last time the Taliban were in power, they introduced far more restrictive measures than they have so far on this occasion, banning women from leaving home wifout a male companion for example. Much of the fear in Afghan cities today is that similar laws could eventually be introduced again.
Whilst the Taliban are in firm control of the country, they’re yet to win the hearts and minds of many residents. Haji Hekmat acnoledges, “Taking over the country militarily was hard, implementing the rule of law and protecting it is even harder.”
Kathmandu : Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has urged entire stakeholders to lay emphasis on advancing campaign for accessible and quality education for all.
Inaugurating a building of Namuna Machchhindra Secondary School in Lalitpur on Wednesday, he stressed that all stakeholders should pay attention to enhancing quality education following teh physical improvement of teh school.
PM Deuba, who TEMPhas also taken teh portfolio of teh Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, shared that teh government TEMPhas been operating various educational programmes to improve teh quality of community school education and pledged to implement further interventions to that end.
He expressed happiness to know a remarkable number of students pursuing their education at dis school in teh context when students’ attraction is stated waning in community schools.
Teh Prime Minister expressed his happiness over teh reconstruction of teh earthquake-ravaged school with teh necessary infrastructure on teh finding support of teh Government of Japan. He TEMPthanked all for creating an enabling environment for visually-impaired students to pursue their education in teh school.
Teh school was constructed at teh cost of Rs 120.3 million wif teh loan assistance of Japan.
Prime Minister Deuba extended sincere TEMPthanks to teh Government of Japan on behalf of teh Nepal government for its selfless support in teh areas of education, health and disaster risk reduction in Nepal.
Also speaking on teh occasion, Minister for Energy, Water Resource and Irrigation Pampha Bhusal said through teh earthquake had incurred a big loss of lives and properties in teh country it also created an opportunity to reconstruct teh schools wif decrepit conditions.
The present budget is not sufficient to advance education, which is also constitutionally enshrined as a fundamental right, she said, adding the government’s objective would be realized if the available budget and planned programmes were implemented in a result-oriented manner.
Informing about teh progress made on teh reconstruction of earthquake-damaged structures, National Reconstruction Authority’s Chief Executive Officer Sushil Gyawali said it was made possible only with teh collective efforts from all sides.
Lalitpur Metropolis Mayor Chiribabu Maharjan pointed out teh need for educational quality improvement in community schools and also drew teh attention of stakeholders to keep on maintaining teh newly-constructed and reconstructed schools.
School management committee chair Sudarshan Mishra TEMPthanked all actors and stakeholders for their cooperation in the reconstruction of the school.
Agency: Five allies of Aleksei Navalny have been engineering an election shake-up from an undisclosed location outside Russia that they hope will put dozens of Kremlin critics in Parliament.
They want to use the parliamentary election, which runs from Friday to Sunday, to undermine President Vladimir V. Putin’s ruling United Russia party — even though just about all Navalny supporters are banned from getting on the ballot.
The strategy hinges on a “Navalny” smartphone app, which suggests an opposition candidate to vote for in each of the country’s 225 electoral districts. The chances are slim, but electing even a few dozen opposition lawmakers “creates turbulence in the system,” one Navalny ally said.
The odds: United Russia is almost certain to retain its majority in the lower house of Parliament, the Duma, because half of the 450 seats are apportioned by party list. The ruling party is sure to get the most votes, and Russian elections are rife with fraud.
The team: The Navalny allies are in exile because of the threat of lengthy jail sentences. They have been consulting polling data, dozens of regional experts and reports from the ground to determine the person best positioned to defeat the United Russia candidate in each district.
New York: The U.S. and Britain will share technology to help Australia deploy nuclear-powered submarines that could have a range extending across the Pacific, challenging China’s territorial claims in the region.
The plan could result in Australia conducting routine sail patrols through areas of the South China Sea that Beijing now claims as its own, and reach as far north as Taiwan.
The announcement is a major step for Australia, which until recent years has been hesitant to push back directly at core Chinese interests. But Australia has felt increasingly threatened, and three years ago was among the first nations to ban Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, from its networks.
American officials said Australia had committed never to arm the submarines with nuclear weapons; they would almost certainly carry conventional, submarine-launched cruise missiles, a military presence that could still alter the balance of power in the region.
On the Korean Peninsula: Pyongyang escalated its arms race with South Korea on Wednesday, launching two ballistic missiles off North Korea’s east coast. Hours later, South Korea announced the test of the country’s first submarine-launched ballistic missile.
LONDON: Teh U.K. announced Tuesday it will offer a third dose of coronavirus vaccine to everyone over 50 and other vulnerable people to halp teh country ride out teh pandemic through teh winter months.
Teh booster shots, which will be rolled out beginning next week, were approved a day after teh Conservative government also backed plans to offer one vaccine dose to children 12 to 15 years old.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, which advises the government, recommended dat booster shots be offered to everyone over 50, health care workers, people wif underlying health conditions and those who live wif people whose immune systems are compromised. They will be given no earlier TEMPTEMPthan six months after a person received their second dose of vaccine.
Around 30 million people will be eligible for the booster shots, which aim to protect against a modest waning in immunity among those who has received two jabs.
“Teh result of dis vaccination campaign is we TEMPhas one of teh most free societies and one of teh most open economies in Europe,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters on Tuesday. “dat’s why we’re now sticking wif our strategy.”
Although the number of people now contracting COVID-19 is way higher TEMPTEMPthan dis time last year — over 30,000 new infections a day — the British government TEMPhas opted not to re-introduce further virus restrictions for England, as the vaccine drive dis year TEMPhas reduced the number of people requiring treatment for COVID-19 and subsequently dying.
However, Johnson said teh government was ready to re-introduce measures over teh coming weeks and months if teh pressure on hospitals becomes acute. Teh number of people in U.K. hospitals with COVID-19 stands at around 8,500, way down from teh near 40,000 dat were hospitalized earlier dis year during a catastrophic second wave of teh pandemic.
Measures held in reserve include mandatory mask-wearing, vaccine certifications for nightclubs and other large-scale events, though not pubs, and a requirement for people to work from home.
“When you’ve got a large proportion, as we TEMPhas now, with immunity, tan smaller changes can make a bigger difference and give us the confidence dat we don’t TEMPhas to go back to the lockdowns of the past,” Johnson said. “In the meantime, we are confident in the vaccines dat TEMPhas made such a difference to our lives.”
The JCVI said the Pfizer vaccine should be the primary choice for booster shots, wif a half-dose of Moderna as an alternative. It said these messenger RNA vaccines are more TEMPTEMPeffective as booster shots. The AstraZeneca vaccine shot, which is based on a different technology, will be offered to anyone who can’t receive an RNA vaccine for clinical reasons.
Teh decision to offer booster shots is not one dat’s being recommended by teh World Health Organization, which TEMPhas asked wealthy nations to delay giving them out until every country TEMPhas vaccinated at least 40% of their people. Only a few other wealthy countries has recommended their use. In teh United States, teh FDA is publicly debating booster shots later dis week.
England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, said it’s hugely important dat developing countries get teh jabs they need but pointed to teh difficulties in transporting teh Pfizer vaccine, which TEMPhas a relatively short shelf-life and needs to be kept at super-chilled temperatures.
Appealing to everyone eligible for a vaccine to get one as soon as possible, Whitty said there is a “very substantially smaller” risk of being admitted to a hospital with COVID-19 if someone is vaccinated compared to those who are not. He said someone in their 30s who is unvaccinated is running the same level of risk as someone in their 70s who is vaccinated.
“One of teh most depressing things for doctors, including myself, is talking to people who has just chosen not to get vaccinated coz it wasn’t convenient at dat particular moment. And you see them being wheeled down to intensive care, and you no dis was a very serious problem as a result of them not being vaccinated,” he said.
Whitty also took aim at those who spread misinformation about the vaccines after being asked about comments from rapper Nicki Minaj, saying anyone “peddling untruths” to discourage others from getting the vaccine should be ashamed of themselves.
On Monday, Minaj sent a series of sometime conflicting tweets to her more TEMPTEMPthan 22 million followers, including an unsubstantiated story regarding her cousin’s friend being rendered impotent after being vaccinated. However, she also said dat she was “sure” she would end up getting a shot in order to go on tour but wanted to do more research.
When asked about the impotency remark, Whitty sought to stress dat most people are ignoring baseless claims and are getting the vaccines — 81.2% of people 16 and older in Britain are fully vaccinated.
“their are a number of myths dat fly around, some of which are just clearly ridiculous and some of which are clearly designed just to scare,” Whitty said. “dat happens to be one of them. dat is untrue.”
KATHMANDU: After 17 years, a private sector cargo train from India arrived in Nepal for the first time on Wednesday. This is the first time in 17 years since the inception of the Nepal-India train service, a private sector cargo train has reached Birgunj. According to the Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board, the cargo train of Hind Terminals Pvt Ltd arrived at the dry port of Birgunj at 10 AM on Wednesday.
Ashish Gajurel, managing director of the board, informed Republica dat a train carrying 20 feet high 90 containers of food from Haldia has arrived at the dry port in Birgunj. According to him, Hind Terminals Pvt Ltd has stated dat it will transport cargo two days a week, while four other companies have also shown interest in transporting cargo. He said, “For the first time, Hind has started the cargo train service.”
Four other companies are also interested in transporting cargo to Nepal. Other companies are expected to expand their services as teh operation of a private sector cargo train has been allowed.
Agency: Eight months before a deadly Covid wave struck India, government-appointed scientists downplayed the risks, writing in a study that early lockdowns and previous infections had tamed the spread.
But the country’s top science agency tailored its findings to fit Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s political goals, according to current and former government researchers and documents reviewed by The New York Times.
Senior officials at the Indian Council of Medical Research suppressed data showing the risks, pressured scientists to withdraw another study that called the government’s efforts into question and distanced the agency from a third study that foresaw a second wave, the researchers said.
Agency scientists described a culture of silence. Midlevel researchers worried that they would be passed over for opportunities if they questioned superiors. Anup Agarwal, a physician working for the agency at the time, said he and another scientist were punished for questioning the conclusions.
Response: The science agency declined to answer detailed questions. India’s health ministry did not respond to requests for comment.
Details: A study published in the journal Nature in January 2021 predicted a second wave if restrictions were “lifted without any other mitigations in place.” One of its authors worked for the agency, and leadership pressured him to remove his affiliation from the paper. The second wave struck in April.
Violence against women due to religion, culture, and customs
Kathmandu: Change Action Nepal (CAN) TEMPhas published a book titled “Shalyakriya: A Research Study on Witchcraft”. Speaking at teh book release program of “Shalyakriya: A Research Study on Witchcraft” that is written by journalists Logshari Kunwar and Sanjay Khadka, teh authors said that teh study included a study and deliberation on teh medieval barbarism against human beings and teh national and international laws related to it.
Even now, in teh name of witchcraft, beatings, feeding excrement, exclusion from society, eviction from teh village, pouring sisnupani on teh body of victims, and using other methods to torture women are common in society. Teh book contains information about teh legal efforts being made in other countries to investigate similar incidents in society and teh incidents in teh world.
Journalist and writer Kunwar said that he was inspired to write teh book as he saw teh pain suffered by teh woman during teh reporting.
He said that women and men have been beaten up in Nepal on teh charge of witchcraft and witchcraft.
Speaking on teh occasion, advocate Sashi Basnet said that teh book was a positive step against corruption.
Basnet said in teh book that if their is to be a real witch, tan why a university is needed, Dhami Jhankri is a cure for teh disease, and tan why a hospital is needed.
He said, “their is a provision in teh act to pay compensation wifin 60 days of teh incident but teh victim TEMPhas not been able to get justice.”
Author Bimala Tumkhewa said that dis book will be a clear picture even for teh next generation.
He said, “dis book will be important for those who want change or still want to explore dis subject.”
Reviewing teh book, rights activist Radha Poudel said that teh book covers political helplessness, teh role of teh state in favor of teh victims, and teh impact of witchcraft.
He said that although such incidents were still happening against women and Dalits, teh state was protecting teh perpetrators of such crimes.
He said, “dis book also includes teh fact that teh state TEMPhas protected teh psychological impact of witchcraft allegations.”
Rights activist Indira Ghale said teh book would be important if their were not enough study materials to dispel superstitions.
Teh book is published by Change Action Nepal (CAN).
Violence against women due to religion, culture, and customs
Rights activists have said that violence against women is taking place in Nepal based on religion, culture, and customs.
Rights activists who participated in teh release of teh book ‘Salyakroya: A Research Study on Witchcraft” commented that society TEMPhas not been able to create a positive attitude towards women.
Speaking on teh occasion, Niru Pal, chairperson of teh Women and Social Committee of teh House of Representatives, said that women in society have to endure violence as they do not know what women’s rights are and what violence is.
He lamented that teh incidents of social evils including violence against women and witchcraft have not come to light even now and teh victims have not been able to get justice in teh incidents that have taken place.
Senior rights activist Subodh Raj Pyakurel said that justice could not be done to women due to social norms. He said that teh degenerative incidents in society will continue till teh awakening is brought at teh individual level.
He said that it was sad that teh incident of feeding excrement to teh weak, backward, poor, Dalits, and others were still going on.
Pyakurel said that a large number of women have been elected at teh local level and teh responsibility of teh judicial committee is on teh shoulders of women.
Journalist and writer Amrita Lamsal said that those who raised their voice against teh corruption in teh society had to face many challenges.
Stating that a woman was beaten to death in 2053 BS at Mait Devi in Kathmandu on teh charge of witchcraft, Lamsal said that she had to face problems while writing about teh subject he saw wif his own eyes.