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Atta Noor changes tack, mulls interim government

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(Last Updated On: January 7, 2021)

Former Balkh governor and politician Atta Mohammad Noor said he has recently started considering the option of an interim government which he said could help resolve the current crisis.

He said he only recently started thinking about this as an option and only after President Ashraf Ghani’s move to summarily dismiss the health minister Jawad Ahmad Osmani.

Noor says he now thinks an interim government could be an option to consider.

Speaking at a gathering in Balkh province Noor said if there is indeed a plan in place for an interim government people should not oppose it.

“Now we need to recommend such a plan (interim government), or if such a plan exists, then we should not oppose it but further develop it for the sake of national unity, social justice and political justice,” said Noor.

Noor said this after accusing Ghani of not fulfilling his promises.

“From the umbrella of tyranny, the dictatorship of those who are not bound by any principle nor word, indeed, or in commitment and we must give a heavy answer,” Noor said.

Noor’s reaction comes after Osmani was sacked from his post as public health minister by Ghani last week.

At the time Noor called it a “hasty and insulting” decision and warned of possible consequences.

Osmani said after his dismissal he was asked by Ghani to step down but he refused to do so.

On Wednesday Noor said: “There are many ways to threaten and fight, as soon as the president loses a political ally, it is a threat in itself, a very big response.

“A heavy response does not mean going to war, we are neither terrorists nor anti-regime, but we are against the President’s extralegal methods,” Noor added.

Questions were raised last week over the legitimacy of President Ashraf Ghani’s move to fire public health minister Ahmad Jawad Osmani but the Presidential Palace (ARG) was quick to state the president has the authority to dismiss senior government officials as he sees fit.

Osmani was fired after a number of public health ministry officials were arrested on charges of corruption.

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Magnitude 5.6 quake hits western Afghanistan, killing more than 20

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(Last Updated On: January 18, 2022)

An earthquake rocked western Afghanistan on Monday, killing more than 20 people and destroying hundreds of homes, local authorities said.

The 5.6 magnitude tremor shook the western province of Badghis, bordering Turkmenistan, in the afternoon, reducing brick homes to rubble, according to photos shared by local authorities, Reuters reported.

“Unfortunately, our initial reports show that 26 people, including five women and four children, have been killed and four others injured,” said Baz Mohammad Sarwari, the director of Information and Culture of the Badghis provincial administration.

“The Mujahideen have reached to some of the affected areas, but Badghis is a mountainous province, the number of casualties might go up,” he added, referring to Taliban fighters, and adding that heavy rain was also lashing the area.

Mullah Janan Saeqe, head of the Emergency Operations Centre of the Ministry of State for Emergency Affairs, confirmed the death toll and said more than 700 houses had been damaged, Reuters reported.

Sanullah Sabit, the head of the nursing unit at the main hospital in Badghis’ capital said they had received five patients injured in the quake, mostly with broken bones and fractures.

The quake was at a depth of 30 km (18.64 miles), according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre.

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China’s birthrate falls to lowest level in 61 years

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(Last Updated On: January 17, 2022)

China’s birthrate has fallen to its lowest level in six decades, barely outnumbering deaths in 2021 despite major government efforts to increase population growth and stave off a demographic crisis.

Across China, 10.62 million babies were born in 2021, a rate of 7.52 per thousand people, the national bureau of statistics said on Monday.

In the same period 10.14 million deaths were recorded, a mortality rate of 7.18 per thousand, producing a population growth rate of just 0.34 per thousand head of population, the Guardian reported.

The rate of growth is the lowest since 1960, and adds to the findings of last May’s once-a-decade census, which found an average annual rise of 0.53%, down from 0.57% reported from 2000 to 2010.

China, like much of east Asia, is in the grip of a population crisis, with lowering birthrates, and predictions of imminent negative population growth and an ageing population. Monday’s figures showed the proportion of over-60s in China rose from 18.7% in 2020 to 18.9%.

Beijing has announced major reforms to address the decline, including raising the retirement age. A three-child policy has replaced the two-child policy that was introduced in 2016 and had sparked a slight increase in births before falling again.

The high cost of living, delayed marriages and lack of social mobility are frequently cited as contributing factors to young Chinese people’s reluctance to have children.

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CSTO to take anti-drug trafficking measures at Afghanistan border

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(Last Updated On: January 17, 2022)

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) will hold a three-phase anti-drug trafficking operation at the border with Afghanistan, the organization’s Secretary General Stanislav Zas told Russia-24 news outlet.

He said the CSTO has a range of activities planned for 2022, including military security and the fight against terrorism, Russia-24 reported.

“These are measures of fighting against the illegal circulation of narcotics. This subject is especially important on the backdrop of the recent events in Afghanistan. Here we plan three stages of anti-drug trafficking measures,” Zas said.

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