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PM seeks int’l community’s support for $32b flood losses

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday said that according to the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA), the total estimated damage caused by the recent floods in Pakistan was over $32 billion that is around 10% of the country’s GDP.

​​The enormous task of rehabilitation and reconstruction would require substantial international support for Pakistan to build back greener, based on the model of sustainable development, he added.

The prime minister highlighted this as he met UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of COP-27 Summit being held in Sharm El-Sheikh, according to a statement issued by the PM Media Wing.

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Appreciating the UN secretary-general for his solidarity with, and call for massive support to Pakistan in the wake of devastating floods in the country, he reiterated that the unprecedented flood disaster in Pakistan was a clear manifestation of the challenge posed by climate change.

Also read: PM Shehbaz calls for ‘vow to succeed at all costs’ at COP27

The prime minister also endorsed the UN Secretary-General’s call for climate justice and climate solidarity.

​​Referring to the adoption of UN General Assembly resolution, last month, expressing solidarity with Pakistan, he said that Pakistan was looking forward to convening an international ‘pledging conference’ bringing together all development partners.

PM Shehbaz also expressed appreciation for the creation of a UN inter agency team, led by the deputy secretary-general, to help Pakistan prepare a comprehensive rehabilitation and reconstruction plan to be presented to the Conference.

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​​With reference to COP-27, he stated that Climate Conference was a timely opportunity for the international community to catalyse concerted international action to mitigate the impact of climate change, and promote climate justice, based on the principles of equity but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

The prime minister emphasised that addressing “loss and damage” would be a key “deliverable” at COP-27. At the request of Pakistan — in its capacity as the Chair of the G77 and China — the COP-27 has agreed, by consensus, to the proposed inclusion of an agenda item on loss and damage finance.

​​The bilateral meeting between the prime minister and the UN secretary-general was followed by a joint press stake-out at the “Pakistan Pavilion”.





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Pakistan

Pakistan to send armed helicopter unit to UN peacekeeping mission

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UNITED NATIONS:

Pakistan and Bangladesh will each be sending an armed helicopter unit to the UN peacekeeping operations in Mali, which faces serious problems as several countries have withdrawn or announced plans to pull out their personnel, a UN spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Spokesman Farhan Haq said that India will supply a utility helicopter unit to the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA, and all three are expected to be deployed by March next year.

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“These provide much-needed support to our forces and are critical for early warning and rapid response to protect civilians,” the spokesman told reporters at the regular noon briefing at the UN headquarters in New York.

“The UN continues to discuss with member states the deployment of new assets and plans to fill longer-standing gaps in addition to those resulting from recent announcements” of withdrawals, he said.

Set up in 2013, MINUSMA has 17,622 personnel helping the Malian government combat terrorists operating in the country.

MINUSMA is one of the deadliest operations having claimed the lives of 292 peacekeepers.

France completed its withdrawal earlier this year and it was followed by Egypt in August.

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Germany said that it was withdrawing its personnel, who numbered 595 in the latest UN roster, from MINUSMA by May next year.

Also read: Who is country’s new army chief Asim Munir?

Britain is also pulling out its 249 personnel.

Ivory Coast also said that it would discontinue the participation of its personnel, who numbered 898, in MINUSMA when the current deployment ends because of a separate dispute with the Mali government over the arrest of its soldiers who went there on a mission unconnected to the UN.

Despite the dangerous nature of the Minusma, Pakistani military doctors serving in Mopti, a town in the fifth administrative region of Mali. have continued to serve, earning praise for their work. They operate a state-of-the-art hospital staffed with 75 medical personnel, including 10 women and 65 men, according to the UN.

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The hospital operates 24 hours a day, every day, and they are always on alert. All specialities are covered, from pharmacy to gynaecology. However, its main purpose is to perform life-saving and urgent surgery when peacekeepers are injured, it was pointed out.





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Imran urges ‘all Pakistanis to participate’ in PTI long march

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Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday urged all Pakistanis to participate in his party’s much-hyped long march on Saturday (Nov26) in what appears to be his final showdown with the incumbent government to force it to announce early election date.

“Dear Pakistanis, I want all of you to participate in our haqeeqi long march in Pindi at 1pm on Saturday,” he said in a short video statement.

Imran, who was removed from power through a vote of no confidence in April, said that only a nation which has justice in it will get real freedom. “When there is justice, there are rights. When there are rights, a nation is free. Only an independent nation is prosperous,” he went on to say.

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Read more: Interior ministry warns PTI of threats, urges postponing Pindi march

The former premier said that the nation will not stay silent until it gets real freedom. “I am coming for you despite my [health] condition and all of you need to come to Pindi for me,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, senior PTI leader Asad Umar presided over a meeting regarding the party’s preparation for the long march in Rawalpindi. Senior PTI leadership including Umar Ayub, Shibli Faraz, Ali Nawaz and others participated in the meeting.

The meeting discussed the overall preparations for the long march in Rawalpindi. The security plan, long march route and other significant matters came under discussion during the meeting.

The meeting was briefed that a caravan had left from Karachi for Rawalpindi whereas two others were ready to begin their journey to the garrison city from Quetta and Gilgit-Baltistan.

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A briefing was also given in the meeting regarding the accommodation of the participants.

Issues regarding the provision of all basic needs including food and accommodation to the participants of the march were also discussed in the meeting.

“The nation is fully united and eager to achieve real freedom,” Umar said, adding that the party would welcome caravans from all over Pakistan in Rawalpindi.

“The captain [Imran Khan] will lead the ocean of people in Rawalpindi on November 26,” he further said.





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Matric, inter exams to be held in April, May

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KARACHI:

The nationwide committee of chairmen of the educational boards decided on Thursday to conduct matric and intermediate exams in April and May this year, respectively and approved the introduction of the new grading system across the country over the next three years.

Inter Board Committee of Chairmen (IBCC) Secretary Ghulam Ali Malah told The Express Tribune that the existing grading system at the inter [grade XII] and matric [grade X] levels was being abolished and replaced by a 10-point system across the country by 2025.

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Also read: New grading system for matric, inter

The IBCC met in Lahore. The meeting was informed that examinations in various grades in Sindh would start immediately after Eidul Fitr. The meeting chaired by Secretary Universities and Boards Mureed Rahimo, was also informed that Sindh to start matric exams on April 27 and inter exams on May 15.

The meeting also approved the implementation of the new “10-point grading system” at the matric and inter levels across the country, Malah said. He added that the implementation of the new system would be started from the next exams.

Under the new grading system, Malah explained, the minimum passing marks had been increased from 33 to 40, while the term “F” or “Fail” would be removed from the student’s examination remarks and in its place a new term “U” means unsatisfactory would be introduced.

The new grades are “A++” or “Exceptional” for students securing 95-100% marks; “A+” or “Outstanding” for 90-95% marks; “A” or “Remarkable” for 85-90% marks; “B++” or “Excellent” for 80-85% marks; “B+” or “Very Good” for 75-80% marks; “B” or “Good” for 70-75% marks; “C” or “Fair” for 60-70% marks; “D” or “Satisfactory” for 50-60% marks; “E” or “Sufficient” for 40-50% marks.

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The IBCC secretary said that the passing marks at the university level was 40% or even 50% at some places, while the passing marks in aptitude test were also 50. “Hence, it has been decided to increase the passing marks to harmonise these exam results with the universities,” he added.





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