From Pakistan earthquake to malaria vaccine: 5 overnight developments from around the globe


Here is a round-up of the top developments around the world today.

1. At least 20 killed in earthquake in southern Pakistan

At least 20 people were killed and more than 200 injured when an earthquake struck southern Pakistan, Disaster Management Authority Director General Naseer Nasir said on Thursday. The quake with a magnitude of 5.7 was relatively shallow at 20 kms with an epicentre 102 km east of Quetta, said the US Geological Survey (USGS).

2. WHO calls for widespread use of malaria vaccine

The World Health Organisation recommended the “widespread” use of the first-ever vaccine for malaria, one of the oldest known diseases that kills over 4 lakh people annually, including a few thousand in India, according to some estimates.

The vaccine, RTS,S, or Mosquirix, has been developed by British drugmaker Glaxo SmithKline and has already been used on more than 8 lakh children in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi as part of an ongoing pilot programme since 2019.

3. Pandora Papers: As Lebanese got poorer, politicians stowed wealth abroad

A trove of leaked documents confirmed that for years, Lebanon’s politicians and bankers have stowed wealth in offshore tax havens and used it to buy expensive properties, a galling revelation for masses of newly impoverished Lebanese caught in one of the world’s worst economic meltdowns in decades.

File images of Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Makati (left), Lebanon central bank’s governor Riad Salameh (centre) and former Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab (right). (AP)

Some of the newly outed holders of offshore accounts belong to the same ruling elite that is being blamed for the collapse and for derailing the lives of ordinary Lebanese who have lost access to savings and now struggle to get fuel, electricity and medicine.

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4. US judge blocks enforcement of near-total abortion ban in Texas

A federal judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked a near-total ban on abortion in Texas, the toughest such law in the United States, in a challenge brought by President Joe Biden’s administration after the US Supreme Court had allowed it to go into effect. The action by US District Judge Robert Pitman in Austin prevents the state from enforcing the Republican-backed law,
which prohibits women from obtaining an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, while litigation over its legality continues. The case is part of a fierce legal battle over abortion access in the United States, with numerous states pursuing restrictions.

5. Dubai’s ruler ordered phones of ex-wife and lawyers to be hacked, UK court says

Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum ordered the phones of his ex-wife and her lawyers to be hacked as part of a “sustained campaign of intimidation and threat” during the custody battle over their children, England’s High Court has ruled.

Mohammed used the sophisticated “Pegasus” software, developed by Israeli firm NSO for states to counter national security risks, to hack the phones of Princess Haya bint al-Hussein, half-sister of Jordan’s King Abdullah, and some of those closely connected to her, according to the rulings. Those working for him also tried to buy a mansion next door to Haya’s estate near the British capital, intimidatory action that the court ruled had left her feeling hunted, unsafe and like she “cannot breathe anymore”.