LONDON: Rights group Amnesty International yesterday said it had awarded its highest honour to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot in the head last year by the Taliban for campaigning for girls’ education. Malala shares the 2013 Ambassador of Conscience Award with US singer and human rights activist Harry Belafonte, the London-based NGO said. The award, which recognises “individuals who have promoted and enhanced the cause of human rights through their lives and by example,” was to be presented by Irish rock singer Bono in Dublin, Ireland, yesterday. “Our two new Ambassadors of Conscience are different from each other in many ways, but they share a dedication to the fight for human rights everywhere and for all,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International. “Harry and Malala are truly Ambassadors of Conscience, speaking up for universal rights, justice and human dignity and inspiring others to follow their example.” Malala was shot by the Taliban on a school bus last October, an attack that drew worldwide condemnation. She was flown to Britain for surgery for her head injuries and returned to school in Birmingham in March. The 16-year-old said she was “truly honoured” to receive the award. Emmy award winner Belafonte paid tribute to Malala. “I am especially honoured to receive the Ambassador of Conscience Award because I am having the distinction of sharing this with Malala, a true hero of our time. My admiration for her is unending. She has awakened many in the global family to a commitment in struggle against tyranny.”
72 dengue cases in Sindh
Islamabad: At least 72 dengue cases have been reported across Sindh in southern Pakistan in the past 24 hours. As per reports, the number of affected people has risen to 1,242. Officials have warned that the number was going up as weather was changing from summer to winter. They said hospitals were trying to take precautionary measures to cope with the disease. However, they said it was also duty of the masses to play their role. Dengue affects between 50 million and 100 million people in the tropics and subtropics each year, resulting in fever, muscle and joint ache. But it can be fatal, developing into haemorrhagic fever and shock syndrome characterised by bleeding and a loss of blood pressure. Caused by four strains of virus spread by the mosquito Aedes aegypti, there is no vaccine which is why prevention methods focus on mosquito control.
Firms agree on biometrics
LAHORE: All cellular companies in Pakistan have agreed in principle to install the biometric system. The government has directed the companies to install the system primarily to make the process of issuance of SIMs fool-proof. “Keeping in view national security requirements, cellular operators have agreed to install the biometric system,” sources said. The installation of a complete biometric equipment at every SIM sale point will reportedly cost between Rs35,000 and Rs40,000. Sources said payments by mobile operators with regard to SIM verification through biometrics would increase from Rs13 to Rs28 per transaction. Mobile operators said all stakeholders should contribute as the step had been taken to boost national security and that they should be allowed a subsidy on the import of equipment.Agencies