Venkatesh Iyer

Dawn editor praises UP CM Yogi Aditya Nath on COVID-19

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditya Nath has several feathers in his cap which he does not wear! Despite his sterling achievements in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic in India’s most populous state, the opposition parties are trying to get mileage out of his “failures”. Congress General-Secretary Priyanka Gandhi tried pathetically to score a couple of brownie points on migrant workers.

But the Yogi government got praise from unexpected quarters. On June 7, 2020, Fahd Hussain, Resident Editor of Dawn, the leading English daily published from Islamabad, compared his own country’s population, literacy rates, and coronavirus-impact with that of UP which is nearly as populated. Praising the Yogi, he wondered how come Pakistan has seven times higher mortality rate as compared to UP? In particular, he mentioned the strict lockdown enforced in UP, unlike Pakistan.

Malala Yousafzai now an Oxford graduate

The Express Tribune (June 8) reported that Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize awardee, has graduated from Oxford University in a virtual graduation ceremony. The celebration was marked by the virtual presence of a host of stars and celebrities, including Michelle and Barack Obama, Alphabet CEO Sundar Picchai, Beyonce Knowles, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, Shawn Mendes, Katy Perry, and Taylor Swift.

They shared the celebration along with a 12-second clip of Malala where Malala, now 22, was seen saying “Don’t be defined by what you lose in this crisis but by how you respond to it. You have gained your education, now it is time that you go out and use it for the betterment of the world”.

Malala, along with Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, was awarded the Noble Peace Prize in 2014 for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the rights of children to education.

Pakistan, India working to fight locust invasion

Pakistan’s English daily Dawn reported (June 5) that Pakistan and India were cooperating to fight the invasion of desert locusts. The paper, quoting the Pakistan Foreign Office, said they were doing so under a forum administered by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), which makes efforts against hunger and achieve food security for all.

Pakistan and India are bearing the brunt of locust attacks since the last three decades and losing crops worth billions of rupees. This time, locusts invaded new areas in the two countries, leading to fears about food security. The FAO said the early migration of locusts from Pakistan to India started in May and the situation is expected to aggravate further this month when swarms are expected to arrive from Iran and Horn of Africa.

World Bank predicts negative-1% GDP growth in FY21

For the fiscal year 2020-21, the World Bank has projected minus-1% growth in Pakistan’s GDP. This in sharp contrast to the 2.3 percent growth expected by the country’s economists.

The WB has revised its projection for the GDP growth rate for Pakistan for a straight third year. The growth rate for 2018-19 was revised to minus-1 percent, and for 2019-20, it was slashed down to minus-3 percent.