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European countries shut doors to UK as new coronavirus strain spreads

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(Last Updated On: December 21, 2020)
European countries began to close their doors to travellers from the United Kingdom on Sunday, with several banning planes and trains over concerns about a new coronavirus strain that is spreading quickly through the country, Reuters reported.
 
Among the countries to impose a travel ban were Belgium, which said it would close its borders to flights and trains from the United Kingdom, and Italy and the Netherlands, which also ordered the suspension of flights from Britain.
 
“The COVID variant recently discovered in London is worrying and will need to be investigated by our scientists,” Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said.
 
“In the meantime we choose the path of maximum prudence.”
 
Germany meanwhile has announced it will restrict flights from Britain and South Africa – which has also detected a new coronavirus strain, a government spokesman said.
 
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Saturday that the new strain had led to spiralling infection numbers, Reuters reported.
 
Johnson’s government tightened its COVID-19 restrictions for London and nearby areas, and also reversed plans to ease restrictions over the Christmas period.
 
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo said the ban on incoming travel from Britain covers Eurostar services via the Channel Tunnel and will take effect for at least 24 hours from midnight on Sunday.
 
Belgium was also in touch with France over road transit passengers from Britain, Reuters reported.
 
The Italian order blocked any flights departing from Britain and prohibited anyone who had transited through it in the last 14 days from entering Italy.
 
The Italian health ministry said flights leaving for Britain would not be affected, to allow those living there to return home.
 
The Netherlands banned flights carrying passengers from the United Kingdom from Sunday and the restrictions will remain in place until January 1, the Dutch government said.
 
Germany wants to ban all flights from the United Kingdom from midnight until January 6, Bild newspaper said, citing government sources.

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India hosting key SCO anti-terror meeting

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) anti-terror body Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) representatives came together Monday for the start of a three-day meeting in New Delhi.

Among those attending is a three-member Pakistani delegation that arrived in India on Saturday via the Wagah border.

The situation in Afghanistan and the worsening humanitarian crisis in the country is expected to be on the agenda.

According to Indian media reports, New Delhi is also expected to raise issues regarding the security situation in Afghanistan.

The RATS is the Executive Committee of the SCO, headquartered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, which is a permanent unit of the organisation which serves to promote cooperation of member states against terrorism, separatism and extremism.

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IEA says girls’ schools will reopen soon

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), and deputy minister of the IEA’s Ministry of Information and Culture, said progress has been made at a meeting of religious scholars and girls’ schools would reopen soon.

Speaking to reporters in Kabul on Sunday Mujahid said: “Good progress has been made at the meeting of the country’s scholars regarding the reopening of girls’ schools and other major political issues, and girls’ schools will be reopened in the near future.”

He said that the meeting, attended by tribal leaders and influential people of the country, is focusing on major political, security and social issues.

“The Ulema are consulting on the reopening of girls’ schools, and progress will be made soon,” said Mujahid.

Meanwhile, Anas Haqqani, a senior member of the Islamic Emirate, said on Wednesday that a meeting of religious scholars would be held to discuss the issue of girls going to school.

The closure of girls’ schools above the sixth grade sparked a major outcry around the world with the international community repeatedly calling for schools to reopen.

Officials at the Ministry of Education of the Islamic Emirate have said that they will reopen girls’ schools in the near future within the framework of Islamic principles.

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Uzbekistan to host international conference on Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

Tashkent will host a high-level international conference on Afghanistan at the end of July, Uzbekistan’s interim Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Norov announced.

Norov said the key focus would be on security, political stability and the socio-economic development of the region.

“As for Afghanistan, unfortunately, we are seeing a decrease in the attention of the international community to the situation in this country. Meanwhile, the situation there remains difficult, due to the acute economic crisis and the difficult humanitarian situation, challenges to regional security and stability remain,” he said.

Tashkent Times reported that Norov felt the international community should take responsibility for the present and future of Afghanistan and provide continued assistance to resolve problems in the country.

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