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Bangladesh starts Pfizer vaccination program for workers bound for Saudi Arabia and Kuwait

Draghi confirms Italy’s support for Iraqi government’s fight against terrorism ROME: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi confirmed his country’s “commitment and support” to the Iraqi government, which he called a “key ally” in the fight against international terrorism. Draghi had a long meeting in Rome with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, which was attended also…

Bangladesh starts Pfizer vaccination program for workers bound for Saudi Arabia and Kuwait

Draghi confirms Italy’s support for Iraqi government’s fight against terrorism

ROME: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi confirmed his country’s “commitment and support” to the Iraqi government, which he called a “key ally” in the fight against international terrorism.

Draghi had a long meeting in Rome with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, which was attended also by several ministers of both government.

The meeting was a “fruitful discussion focused on strengthening the historic bilateral partnership and on the main regional challenges,” an Italian diplomatic source told Arab news.

“Italy’s commitment … to ensure the stabilization and socioeconomic development of the country and the Middle East was reaffirmed, starting with the fight against international terrorism and crisis resolution processes,” the source added.

Italian Business and Enterprise Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti told Arab News: “We will soon organize a joint Italian-Iraqi forum with firms from both countries. We are ready to offer our expertise to Iraq in every possible field, and we know that cooperation is possible.”

Italian diplomatic sources said that Draghi confirmed a “significant contingent” of the Italian military will remain in Iraq “in respect of Iraqi sovereignty and in full agreement with the local government,” in order to help the country deal with terrorism.

Al-Kadhimi was also received by Pope Francis in the Vatican. During the meeting, the first following his historic visit to Iraq last March, Pope Francis evoked “the moments of unity experienced by the Iraqi people.” 

The pair went on to highlight the importance of protecting the historical presence of Christians in the country with adequate legal measures, and the significant contribution they can make to the common good, highlighting the need to guarantee them the same rights and duties as other citizens.

According to Vatican sources, the pope also noted “the efforts made by Iraq, with the support of the international community, to re-establish a climate of trust and peaceful coexistence.”

Al-Kadhimi gave the pontiff a leather reproduction of Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece “The Last Supper,” made by a female victim of Daesh during her imprisonment, and a wooden cross from the church of Mar Addai in Karemlash. He then had a bilateral meeting with the Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Vatican’s foreign minister.

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A breath of fresh air: First smog tower installed in Delhi to fight pollution

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A breath of fresh air: First smog tower installed in Delhi to fight pollution

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New Zealand’s COVID-19 lockdown extended as outbreak tops 100 cases

WELLINGTON: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday extended New Zealand’s strict nationwide COVID-19 lockdown saying the current outbreak of the Delta variant of the coronavirus had not yet peaked.
The level 4 national lockdown was extended by three days until midnight on Aug. 27 while Auckland, the epicenter of the outbreak, will have restrictions in place at least until Aug. 31.
“The safest option for all of us right now is to hold the course for longer,” Ardern said at a news conference.
“If the world has taught us anything it is to be cautious with this variant of COVID-19,” she added.
Ardern said contacts in the community by people infected with the Delta variant were reported all over the country. There are more than 320 locations of interest linked to the outbreak and 13,000 contacts have been recorded, far more than in previous outbreaks.
“Delta has changed the rules of the game,” Ardern said.
New Zealand earlier in the day reported 35 new cases of COVID-19 taking the total number of infections in the outbreak to 107.
The health ministry said in a statement that 33 new cases are in Auckland and two are in the capital Wellington.

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Vietnam deploys troops to enforce COVID-19 lockdown in largest city

HANOI: Vietnamese soldiers on Monday were deployed on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City to help enforce a lockdown in the country’s business hub, which has become the epicenter of its worst coronavirus outbreak so far during the pandemic.
Panic-buying broke out at supermarkets in the city of nine million people over the weekend ahead of the tighter lockdown, which started on Monday and prohibits residents from leaving their homes.
Vietnam’s toughest order yet comes amid a spike in fatalities and infections.
Soldiers on Monday were checking permits of residents on the streets and delivering food, according to witnesses and photographs on state media.
The city began movement restrictions early last month, but infections have continued to surge after authorities said there had not been strict enough enforcement of the curbs.
The city has recorded a total of 176,000 COVID-19 infections and 6,670 deaths, accounting for half of the Southeast Asian country’s overall cases and 80 percent of fatalities, according to the health ministry.
Vietnam has over the recent weeks sent 14,600 additional doctors and nurses to the city and its neighboring provinces to support its overwhelmed medical system, the ministry said.
Patients with mild or no symptoms have been told to self-isolate at home.
People in the city’s Phu Nhuan and Go Vap districts said they had received packages of rice, meat, fish and vegetables.
The government announced on Friday it would send 130,000 tons of rice from state stockpiles to Ho Chi Minh City and 23 other cities and provinces.
After managing to contain COVID-19 for much of last year, Vietnam has so far recorded 348,000 infections and at least 8,277 fatalities, with the majority recorded in the current Delta-driven outbreak since late April.
Around 1.8 million of 98 million people, or 1.8 percent of the country’s population, have been fully vaccinated, one of the lowest rates in the region.

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