US blacklists Pakistan firms over nuclear activities



News Desk, Barta24.com
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The Biden administration on Wednesday added 24 companies and other entities to an export control list for supporting Russia’s military or defence industrial base, Pakistan’s nuclear activities or for supplying an Iranian electronics company.

The entities, based in Latvia, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore and Switzerland, were added over US national security and foreign policy concerns, the Commerce Department said.

The companies include Fiber Optic Solutions in Latvia, which produces fiber optic gyroscopes and other equipment and Russia’s AO Kraftway Corporation PSC, which calls itself one of the biggest Russian IT companies. The company says it builds and sells a wide range of IT solutions, including hardware manufacturing.

Also on the list are Russian AO Scientific Research Center for Electronic Computing, LLC Fibersense, and Scientific Production Company Optolin, AO PKK Milandr; Milandr EK OOO; Milandr ICC JSC; Milur IS, OOO; (OOO) Microelectronic Production Complex (MPK) Milandr; and Ruselectronics JSC and Swiss based Milur SA.

The Commerce Department also added four trading and supply companies in Singapore for supplying or attempting to supply an Iranian electronics company, Pardazan System Namad Arman (PASNA), that was sanctioned by the US Treasury in 2018.

The Biden administration also added 10 companies in Pakistan and the UAE that it says pose unacceptable risks of using or diverting items for Pakistan's unsafeguarded nuclear activities or are involved Pakistan's "nuclear activities and missile proliferation-related activities".

None of the companies was immediately available for comment. The United States has made muscular use of export controls and the entity list to punish companies over their support of the Russian military and to curb the flow of foreign technology to Russia since Moscow invaded Ukraine in February.3 Suppliers of US goods must seek a special a difficult-to-obtain license before shipping to companies added to the list.

 

   

Shehbaz Sharif is the new Prime Minister of Pakistan



International Desk, Barta24.com
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Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) President and former Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has become the new Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Pakistani media Dawn reported that Shehbaz Sharif was elected as the 24th Prime Minister of Pakistan by getting 201 votes in the National Assembly election on Sunday (March 3). And his nearest rival Omar Ayub Khan of PTI got 92 votes.

In April 2022, the coalition government led by Imran Khan's PTI was ousted by the opposition in the National Assembly, the lower house of Pakistan's parliament. Prime Minister Imran resigned. After that, the opposition formed a coalition government in the country under the leadership of Shehbaz Sharif.

National Assembly elections were held in Pakistan on February 8 this year. In this election, no party got the majority to form the government. PTI-backed independent candidates won the most seats. PML-N gets the second highest number of seats. Pakistan People's Party (PPP) was ranked third. ML-N and PPP decided to form a coalition government in alliance.

Apart from the PPP, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and Inteqam-e-Pakistan Party supported Shehbaz Sharif for the post of Prime Minister. The Sunni Ittehad Council is supporting PTI leader Omar Ayub Khan.

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Israel has accepted a conditional ceasefire agreement in Gaza



International Desk, Barta24.com
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Israel has conditionally accepted the ceasefire agreement with the Palestinian independence movement Hamas. A senior US official said on Saturday (March 2). Meanwhile, the United States has started dropping relief supplies from the air in war-torn Gaza.

On Sunday (March 3), Qatar-based media Al Jazeera reported this information.

According to the report, the senior US official said that Israel has more or less accepted the ceasefire agreement with Hamas. Now the rest depends on the decision of Hamas.

According to the US administration, the six-week ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas will come into effect soon. But its implementation will begin only after the organization agrees to release the most vulnerable hostages held by Hamas and signs the deal.

The cease-fire announcement came hours after a US military cargo plane dropped humanitarian aid into besieged Gaza.

According to the US Central Command, the relief materials that have been given since Saturday include 38,000 packets of food that will ensure the necessary assistance to civilians affected by the ongoing war.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council expressed deep concern about the food crisis in Gaza in a statement on Saturday and called for continuous food aid there.



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For the first time, US has airdropped aid in besieged Gaza



International Desk, Barta24.com, Dhaka
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For the first time, the United States has airdropped aid to Gaza, besieged by the Israel-Palestinian war. More than 38,000 food packets were parachuted from three military planes on Saturday (March 2) afternoon.

According to a report of the international media BBC, after the announcement of President Joe Biden, the relief assistance was given jointly with the Jordanian Air Force.

Joe Biden promised to increase aid on Friday after 112 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces on Thursday (February 29) when civilians gathered to collect aid in Gaza. The US military dropped food packets the day after the announcement.

The aid came amid a message from a top US official that a deal was in place for a six-week ceasefire in Gaza.

US Central Command said in a statement that on Saturday, C-130 transport aircraft dropped more than 38,000 meals ashore.

Other countries including the UK, France, Egypt and Jordan have previously sent aid to Gaza. But the United States sent food aid for the time.

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Conservatives dominate Iran's parliamentary and assembly elections



International Desk, Barta24.com, Dhaka
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Amid political and economic challenges, many conservative candidates have won Iran's parliamentary and religious assembly elections. Voting took place from 8 am to 6 pm local time on Friday (March 1). Counting of votes started after 12 midnight local time.

Official primary results on Saturday (March 2) showed ultra-conservatives Mahmoud Nabavian and Hamid Resai in the lead in Tehran's 30 seats in the Iranian capital, Tehran. Then there is 35-year-old Amir Hossain Sabeti, a national television host.

Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf is in fourth place. Longtime lawmaker Mojtaba Jonnour holds a seat in the holy Shiite city of Qom.

President Ibrahim Raisi has renewed his seat in the Council of Experts for the third time with more than 82 percent of the vote in South Khorasan province in eastern Iran.

Meanwhile, followers of moderate politician Ali Motahari, son of the late eminent scholar Murteza Motahari, could not secure a single seat with a majority of the 30 seats in Tehran.

The ultra-conservative Ahmad Khatami, the incumbent imam of Tehran's Friday prayers, has again won a seat in the assembly from Kerman province, and Mohammad Sayedi is the representative of Qaum.

Along with the parliamentary elections, the midterm elections of Iran's Council of Experts were also held on the same day. Voters will elect seven members of the Expert Council. The National Assembly elections are being held across the country, but the Expert Council polls were held only in Tehran, Qom, North Khorasan, Khorasan Razavi and Fars provinces.

The supreme leader, made up of Islamic scholars, will be elected through the election of 290 lawmakers and 88 expert members of the assembly. Seven thousand 148 candidates are contesting 290 parliamentary seats.

Officials are yet to release voter turnout figures for Friday's parliamentary elections. But the Mehr news agency, citing unofficial results, said voter turnout in Tehran was only 24 percent.

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