At least three members of an Indian family were killed in a fresh ‘shootout’ between the troops of India and Pakistan in the highly militarized area of Kashmir on late Friday.
The incident also left three Pakistani civilians wounded, reports AP quoting officials of the both countries.
Lt Col Devender Anand, a spokesperson of Indian Army, said Pakistani troops opened fire on Indian positions along the Line of Control (LoC) late Friday, forcing them to retaliate in a befitting manner.
At one stage, a shell hit a three-member Indian family, leaving them dead on the spot, he said, adding that the family was cooking food during the incident, Indian Administrator Rahul Yadav was quoted as saying.
Lt Col Anand described the incident as an ‘unprovoked violation of ceasefire accord between the two neighbouring countries.
The Foreign Ministry of Pakistan issued a press release in this regard and disclosed that two pakistani women received injuries during the fight.
It also brought an allegation against India of violating cease-fire agreement and =summoned an Indian diplomat to protest the incident.
In the past, each side has accused the other of starting border skirmishes in Kashmir, which is divided between the two countries but claimed by both in its entirety.
There has been almost daily fighting between Indian and Pakistani soldiers over the last several months along the rugged and mountainous frontier, leaving dozens of civilians and soldiers dead on both sides.
India's military says Pakistan has so far this year has committed more than 2,500 cease-fire violations. Pakistan says India has violated the cease-fire about 1,700 times this year.
At least 213 people have been killed in floods and landslides triggered by heavy monsoon rains across South Asia over the past month, officials said Thursday.
More than 1 million people have been marooned in Nepal, Bangladesh and India and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes for higher ground.
Indian officials said floods and mudslides killed 16 more people in the country's northeast, raising the death toll in the country to 93.
Nepal reported at least 117 deaths over the past month.
Rains caused the Brahmaputra River, which flows through Tibet, India and Bangladesh, to burst its banks in India's Assam state late last month, inundating large swathes of the state, triggering mudslides and displacing about 3.6 million people, officials said.
Vast tracts are still underwater, with 26 of the state’s 33 districts badly affected.
Authorities rescued about 4,000 people trapped by the surging flood waters in various parts of Assam, said M.S. Mannivanan, chief of the state Disaster Management Authority. About 36,000 people whose homes were destroyed or submerged have taken shelter in nearly 300 government-run relief camps, he said.
The floods also inundated most of India’s Kaziranga National Park, home to an estimated 2,500 rare one-horned rhinos, authorities said.
In the eastern state of Bihar, at least nine rivers swollen by heavy downpours in Nepal rose beyond their danger levels and inundated many villages. One of them, the Gandak River, swept away the connecting roads of a newly built multimillion dollar bridge in Bihar’s Gopalganj district, disrupting transportation in the area.
The Meteorological Center in the state capital, Patna, forecast heavy rain over the next 48 hours.
Nepal’s Home Ministry said 117 people have died in the Himalayan nation in monsoon-related incidents. It said the rains triggered landslides in mountainous areas and flooding in the southern plains. At least 47 people were reported missing and 126 have been injured in the past month, it said.
A state-owned Chinese company has been testing their vaccines on their employees, including top executives, even before the government approved testing in people in the global race to make a coronavirus vaccine, reports AP.
“Giving a helping hand in forging the sword of victory,” reads an online post from SinoPharm with pictures of workers it says helped “pre-test” its vaccine.
The claim underscores the enormous stakes as China competes with US and British companies to be the first with a vaccine to help end the pandemic. It will be both a scientific and political triumph.
China has positioned itself to be a strong contender. Eight of the nearly two dozen potential vaccines in various stages of human testing worldwide are from China. And SinoPharm and another Chinese company already have announced they are entering final testing.
SinoPharm’s claim that 30 “special volunteers” rolled up their sleeves even before the company got permission for its initial human study raises ethical concerns among Western observers.
“The idea of people willing to sacrifice themselves ... is pretty much expected in China,” said Yanzhong Huang, a global health expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, a US nonprofit organisation.
Religious minorities in Pakistan witnessed a tough month while observers warn of even tougher times ahead as Prime Minister Imran Khan vacillates between trying to forge a pluralistic nation and his conservative Islamic beliefs, reports AP.
A Christian was gunned down because he rented in a Muslim neighbourhood in northwest Peshawar, not far from the border with Afghanistan.
Another Christian, pastor Haroon Sadiq Cheeda, his wife and 12-year-old son were beaten by their Muslim neighbours in eastern Punjab and told to leave their village. The attackers screamed “you are infidels.”
“Imran Khan no doubt wants a more tolerant Pakistan, wants more accommodation for minorities, but the problem is he nullifies all of this by empowering extremist elements, so much so that it seems they can dictate to the state,” said Zahid Hussain, analyst and author of two books that track militancy in the region.
The spokesman for Khan’s religious affairs ministry, Imran Siddiqui, dismissed complaints that minorities have reason to be concerned. He said in every religion there are “aggressive” clerics but neither Pakistan nor the prime minister were unduly pressured by them.
The most vulnerable of Pakistan’s minorities are Ahmadis, in Pakistan it is illegal for Ahmadis to call themselves Muslim. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom declared Pakistan a “country of particular concern” in its 2020 report released last month because of its treatment of minorities.
The report said Pakistan would have to end a ban on texts and publications of Ahmadis if it wants to get off the commission’s watch list as well as re-examine the cases of many non-Muslims and Muslims facing blasphemy charges.
China's domestically-developed marine observation satellites will study the distribution of coral reefs in the South China Sea, and facilitate their protection and restoration.
State broadcaster CCTV reported that the National Satellite Ocean Application Service will cooperate with a coral reef research centre in Guangxi University to monitor coral reefs in the South China Sea with the help of marine satellite and high-resolution satellite data, reports Xinhua.
They will combine sea surface temperature data obtained from remote sensing satellites to locate the coral reef bleaching and analyse surrounding sea temperature, providing support for coral reef protection and restoration in the South China Sea.
According to the report, the South China Sea has seen coral reef degradation in the past 50 years, and the monitoring of the coral reef ecosystem is critical for the management and sustainable development of coral reef resources.