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Australia Ban on Cruise Ships Comes to an End after 2 Years

Photo: Pixabay

Australia’s two-year cruise ship embargo comes to an end on Sunday, marking another step toward restoring tourism after the pandemic’s devastation.

The Cruise Lines International Association estimates that the ban on foreign cruise ships, which was enforced in March 2020 after a Covid outbreak aboard the Ruby Princess spilled into Sydney once the ship docked, cost the Australian economy more than A$10 billion ($7.4 billion).

Operators are “preparing for a carefully regulated restart of activities in a sector that formerly supported over 18,000 Australian employment,” according to a statement released by the group ahead of the ban’s expiration.

After the federal ban expires, the states will decide when vessels can enter. Vaccination regulations for workers and passengers over the age of 12 are in place, as are mask and Covid-testing protocols.

The Pacific Explorer, operated by P&O Cruises Australia, will be one of the first ships to dock in Sydney Harbour on Monday, ahead of its resumption to service at the end of May.

According to official estimates, 1.6 million cruise passengers visited Sydney in 2017 and 2018. Following high-profile outbreaks that caused a number of ports to close their doors, the pandemic impacted cruise ships particularly severely.

Tourism industry groups claim that there is enormous unmet demand for cruises, but it’s uncertain whether the disease’s dread will have a long-term impact on the business. Global travel stocks have failed to make much ground lost owing to the pandemic, and have lagged behind global equities since the start of 2020.

This year, Australia loosened border restrictions, relying on strong vaccination rates as part of a coronavirus-learning plan.

After Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, Russia Restricts Google News Service Citing ‘Fake News’

Photo is taken from Internet

Since the beginning of Russia’s engagement in Ukraine on February 24, the Russian government has strengthened its grip over information on the internet, one of the country’s last bastions of free speech.

According to AFP, quoting Russian news agencies, Russia’s media watchdog has banned access to the Google News service, accusing it of disseminating ‘false news’ regarding Russia’s incursion in Ukraine.

According to a statement from Russia’s media regulator Roskomnadzor reported by the agencies, the decision was made at the request of the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office.

“Access to various publications and documents that include incorrect information… concerning the conduct of the special military operation on Ukrainian territory” was supplied by the online news service, according to the statement.

According to AFP, a Google spokeswoman stated that “some individuals in Russia are having problems accessing the Google News app and website,” and that this is “not due to any technical issues” on the company’s end. “We’ve worked hard to ensure that information services like News are available to Russians for as long as possible,” a Google spokeswoman stated.

Since the beginning of Russia’s engagement in Ukraine on February 24, the Russian government has strengthened its grip over information on the internet, one of the country’s last bastions of free speech.

Many Russian and international media outlets, including the BBC, have had their internet services banned, and a Moscow court has labeled the American social media platforms Facebook and Instagram as “extremist.”

Alphabet-owned Google said on Wednesday that it will not assist websites, apps, or YouTube channels in selling advertisements alongside content that exploits, rejects, or condones the continuing war between Russia and Ukraine.

Roskomnadzor also accused Google and its video provider YouTube of “terrorist” acts last week, paving the way for a future shutdown.

At the same time, in early March, the authorities announced two new criminal offenses: one for broadcasting “discrediting” material about the Russian army, and another for disseminating “false” information about Russian troops.

The latter offense, which has a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail, is of particular worry to the political opposition and independent media, which fear being prosecuted if they report on the Ukraine offensive.

Information Credit: HINDUSTAN TIMES

Oscars 2022: Full List of Winners

Oscars 2022

The 94th Academy Awards began off-camera on Sunday, with the first eight awards of the night being presented at the Dolby Theatre before the broadcast began.

The Dolby was nearly sold out for the pre-show at 7 p.m. EDT, nicknamed the “golden hour” by the academy. The winners were revealed by hosts Jason Momoa and Josh Brolin, whose speeches will be incorporated into the show beginning at 8 p.m.

Dune won the inaugural award for best sound. It was likely to be the first of many for Denis Villeneuve’s science-fiction epic, which is expected to win numerous technical honors.

Check out the whole winner’s list:

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Jessie Buckley – The Lost Daughter

Ariana DeBose – West Side Story

Judy Dench – Belfast

Kristen Dunst – The Power of the Dog

Aunjanue Ellis – King Richard

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

Coming 2 America



The Eyes of Tammy Faye – WINNER

House of Gucci

Best Cinematography


Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Best Original Score


Nicholas Britell – Don’t Look Up

Hans Zimmer – Dune

Germaine Franco – Encanto

Alberto Iglesias – Parallel Mothers

Jonny Greenwood – The Power of the Dog

Best Visual Effects


Free Guy

No Time to Die


Spider-Man: No Way Home

Best Animated Feature Film


The Mitchells vs. the Machines



Raya and the Last Dragon

Best Animated Short Film


Affairs of the Art



Robin Robin

The Windshield Wiper – WINNER

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Kodi Smit-McPhee – The Power of the Dog

Troy Kotsur – CODA

Ciaran Hinds – Belfast

Jesse Plemons – The Power of the Dog

J.K. Simmons – Being the Ricardos

Best International Feature Film

Drive My Car


The Hand of God

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

The Worst Person in the World

Documentary Short Subject


Lead Me Home

The Queen of Basketball – WINNER

Three Songs for Benazir

When We Were Bullies

Best Costume Design



Nightmare Alley

West Side Story


Best Original Screenplay

Kenneth Branagh – Belfast

Adam McKay – Don’t Look Up

Zach Baylin – King Richard

Paul Thomas Anderson – Licorice Pizza

Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier – The Worst Person in the Worst

Best Adapted Screenplay

Sian Heder – Coda

Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Takamasa Oe – Drive My Car

Jon Spaihts – Dune

Maggie Gyllenhaal – The Lost Daughter

Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog

Best Live Action Short Film

Ala Kachuu – Take and Run

The Dress

The Long Goodbye – WINNER

On My Mind

Please Hold

Best Sound



The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

No Time to Die

Best Documentary Feature




Summer of Soul

Writing With Fire

Best Original Song

“Be Alive” – King Richard

“Dos Orugitas” – Encanto

“Down to Joy” – Belfast

“No Time to Die” – No Time to Die

“Somehow You Do” – Four Good Days

Best Production Design


Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Best Directing

Kenneth Branagh – Belfast

Ryusuke Hamaguchi – Drive My Car

Paul Thomas Anderson – Licorice Pizza

Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog

Steven Spielberg – West Side Story

Best Film Editing

Don’t Look Up


King Richard

The Power of the Dog

Tick, Tick… Boom!

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Javier Bardem – Being the Ricardos

Benedict Cumberbatch – The Power of the Dog

Andrew Garfield – Tick, Tick…Boom!

Will Smith – King Richard

Denzel Washington – The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Jessica Chastain – The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman – The Lost Daughter

Penelope Cruz – Parallel Mothers

Nicole Kidman – Being the Ricardos

Kristen Stewart – Spencer

Best Picture



Don’t Look Up

Drive My Car


King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

Top 10 Beautiful Towns to Visit in 2022

Photo: Collected

Now that we must choose closer and simpler getaway options, it is time to be aware of the true wonders to discover that we have around us. The ten examples below are just a few of the most eye-catching.

1. Burgos – Caleruegua

Caleruega is a town in Burgos located at the confluence of the Sierra de la Demanda and the Ribera del Duero. The Torreón de los Guzmanes, as well as the Roman archaeological remains, are must-sees in this area. It is also necessary to take a tour of its various wineries.

2. Sanabria de Puebla – Zamora

Puebla de Sanabria is a magical town in Spanish geography, located in Zamora, a unique natural environment. It became a fortified town in the 11th century due to its location on the border with Portugal. Its slate houses and Elizabethan facades are both unexpected. The town was designated as a historical-artistic complex.

3. Lanzarote-Teguise

Teguise is the former capital of Lanzarote until the nineteenth century. The town is notable for being the Canary Islands’ first significant urban settlement. It is not surprising that it has been designated as a historical-artistic complex. Anyone who dares to walk through its historic center’s cobblestone streets will immediately understand.

4. Cadiz’s Setenil de las Bodegas

It is located in the province of Cádiz, and its urban center is a historic complex. It is a member of the Association of the Most Beautiful Towns in Spain because of its viewpoints, which are located in natural rock formations and are included in all of its buildings, creating unique prints.

5. Pollensa, Mallorca

Pollença is one of the most beautiful towns in Spain, thanks to its picturesque Majorcan landscapes. It is a place full of history and exquisite cuisine, in addition to the paradisiacal coves and beaches that make up its coastline.

6. Puertomingalvo – Aragon

Puertomingalvo is located in Aragon’s Maestrazgo Cultural Park. A stroll through its popular architecture is a visual treat. Its 14th century town hall is not to be missed.

7. Asturias Ballasts

Lastres is a charming town in Asturias that stands out for its character as a charming fishing village. The stately homes, fishing port, lighthouse, Calle Real, and narrow streets of its historic center do not disappoint.

8. Guadalajara – Hita

Hita is a charming medieval town in the province of Guadalajara. It is located in the La Alcarria region and is another historical-artistic complex. Its streets are an authentic jewel that transports visitors back to the time of the Cid Campeador. It also has beautiful hiking trails.

9. Almeria – Nijar

One of Njar’s most distinctive landscapes is that of its white houses, which contrast with the clay soil typical of the province of Almera. Its cultural, artistic, and natural heritage are all extremely valuable. It is adjacent to the Natural Park of Cabo de Gata-Njar.

10. Ourense, Castro Caldelas

Castro Caldelas is located in the province of Ourense, in the Ribeira Sacra. Its cobbled and narrow alleys transport you back to the Middle Ages. The Clock Tower is its most distinguishing historical feature.

Why is Pakistan cutting power to households, industry?

Photo: Fuergy

Pakistan is limiting electricity to homes and business as it struggles to obtain gasoline on the spot market. According to sources, the cash-strapped country can no longer afford to import coal or natural gas to fuel its power plants because prices for liquefied natural gas and coal skyrocketed last month amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, exacerbating supply shortages. According to Bloomberg, Pakistan is unable to spend more on further cargoes since its energy expenditures more than doubled from a year ago in the nine months ending in February.

Pakistan energy crisis

According to a Twitter post by Miftah Ismail, the country’s current finance minister, who was appointed by new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif after Imran Khan was ousted from the top job, roughly 3,500 megawatts of electricity capacity has been shut down as of April 13 due to fuel shortages. According to him, a similar amount is unavailable owing to technological issues. According to Tahir Abbas, head of research at Arif Habib Ltd. in Karachi, the more than 7,000 megawatts constitute about a fifth of the overall generation capacity.

Shortage of electricity

Pakistan is heavily reliant on imported energy. The electricity shortage is exacerbating Sharif’s already difficult economic situation, as he has yet to select an energy minister.

Long-term LNG suppliers to Pakistan have canceled several shipments slated for delivery in recent months, severely limiting supply. On Sunday, the country issued a tender to acquire six LNG cargoes on the spot market, but if fully awarded, the tender may cost the government hundreds of millions of dollars.

“The scenario in Pakistan will not change in the near future since global dynamics remain unchanged,” said Samiullah Tariq, head of research at Pakistan Kuwait Investment Co. “As a result of the energy shortages, there have been forced outages.”

During Ramzan, Pakistanis forced to pray in the dark

People in Karachi have been forced to perform Ramzan prayers in complete darkness due to load shedding. According to ANI, damaged neighborhoods in Karachi included Korangi, Landhi, Railway Colony, Nusrat Bhutto Colony, Khawaja Ajmair Nagri, Paposh Nagar, Liaquat Market, Malir, Gulistan-e-Jauhar Block-2, Korangi Sector 30, 31, and others.

Information Source: Hindustan Times, Bloomberg

Elon Musk Keeps Losing Fortune on Tesla over Twitter Circus

Tesla CEO Elon Musk
Photo: Collected

Elon Musk is in a difficult moment of his own making. Since he began his aggressive push to buy Twitter for a $44 billion figure, which has been paused due to his “concerns” about the number of bots on the platform, his value has fallen considerably as stocks of Tesla are collapsing. 

The problem with Musk 

According to a Forbes report, Tesla shares fell to their lowest point in 11 months last week, and the main reason is that the company’s investors are not happy that Elon Musk is getting too distracted on Twitter, in addition to that lately he has made multiple messages on the platform that are far from being from a serious businessman. 

The report notes that Tesla’s value has fallen to $650 billion after reaching a high point of $1.2 trillion. This means that since Musk started working on his Twitter deal, he has lost more than $575 billion, a considerably high figure that could put the company’s projects and ambitions at risk. 

On the other hand, it is pointed out that this is due to the impact that Covid is having in Shanghai , where one of its “Gigafactories” operates, which will affect the company’s production. While 1.4 million cars were expected to be delivered, it is expected to be 1.2 million. 

However, other experts, such as Wedbush’s Dan Ives, investors’ patience is wearing thin. The man said “This circus has been a big problem in Tesla stock and has been a black eye for Musk so far.” 

But there may not be much to worry about. Despite the fact that Tesla’s stock value is not at its best, the company reported that it had the best quarter in its history, earning 3.3 billion dollars in sales.

World Cup 2022 Fixtures, Dates, Kick-off Times and Full Schedule

Photo is taken from Internet

The World Cup 2022 schedule is now out – or as close to it as we can get before we know who will qualify.

We now know who each country will meet when they will face them, and who they might face in the knockout rounds now that the World Cup 2022 group draw is complete.

We don’t yet know the times or locations for the group stage games, except that Qatar vs Ecuador will be the first match of the day, and will begin earlier than the other matches.

The first two rounds of group games will begin at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m., and 7 p.m. GMT.

Kickoff times for the remaining group stage games and all knockout games will be 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.


World Cup 2022 fixtures: the group stage

1st matchday

the 21st of November

Ecuador vs. Qatar

Iran vs. England

Netherlands vs. Senegal

Ukraine/Scotland/Wales vs. United States

the 22nd of November

Saudi Arabia vs. Argentina

Tunisia vs. Denmark

France vs. United Arab Emirates, Australia, and Peru

Mexico takes on Poland.

the 23rd of November

Belgians versus. Canadians

Japan vs. Germany

Croatia vs. Morocco

Costa Rica/New Zealand vs. Spain

the 24th of November

Serbia vs. Brazil

Ghana vs. Portugal

Cameroon vs. Switzerland

Uruguay vs. South Korea is a matchup between two teams.

Day 2 of the tournament

the 25th of November

The United Kingdom vs. the United States

Ecuador vs. the Netherlands

Senegal vs Qatar

Iran against. Ukraine, Scotland, and Wales

On the 26th of November

Mexico vs. Argentina

Denmark vs. France

Saudi Arabia vs. Poland

Tunisia vs. United Arab Emirates, Australia, and Peru

the 27th of November

Morocco vs. Belgium

Croatia takes on Canada.

Costa Rica/New Zealand vs. Japan

Germany vs. Spain

the 28th of November

Switzerland vs. Brazil

Serbia vs Cameroon

Ghana vs. South Korea

Uruguay vs. Portugal

3rd matchday

On the 29th of November

Senegal vs. Ecuador

Iran and the United States are at odds.

Qatar vs. Netherlands

England against. Ukraine, Scotland, and Wales

the 30th of November

Argentina vs. Poland

Mexico vs. Saudi Arabia

Tunisia vs. France is a matchup between two countries.

Denmark vs. UAE, Australia, and Peru

Wednesday, December 1st

Morocco vs. Canada

Belgium vs. Croatia

Spain vs. Japan

Germany vs. Costa Rica/New Zealand

Saturday, December 2nd

Cameroon vs. Brazil.

Uruguay vs. Ghana

Portugal vs. South Korea

Switzerland vs. Serbia


Saturday, December 3

Group A Winner vs Group B Second Place

Group C Winner vs Group D Second Place

Sunday, December 4

Group D Winner vs Group C Winner

Group B Winner vs Group A Second Place

Monday, December 5

Group E Winner vs Group F Second Place

Group G Winner vs Group H Second Place

Tuesday, December 6

Group F Winner vs Group E Second Place

Group H Winner vs Group G Winner


Friday, December 9

Round of 16 5 Winner vs Round of 16 6 Winner

Round of 16 1 Winner vs Round of 16 2 Winner

Saturday, December 10

Round of 16 7 Winner vs Round of 16 8 Winner

Round of 16 3 Winner vs Round of 16 4 Winner


Tuesday, December 13

Quarter-Final 1 Winner vs Quarter-Final 2 Winner 

Wednesday, December 14

Quarter-Final 3 Winner vs Quarter-Final 4 Winner


Saturday, December 17

Semi-Final 1 Loser vs Semi-Final 2 Loser


Sunday, December 18

Semi-Final 1 Winner vs Semi-Final 2 Winner

Russia-Ukraine Peace Talks Begins in Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: AP

As he convened discussions in Istanbul on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan encouraged Russian and Ukrainian delegates to “put an end to this tragedy”.

The face-to-face discussions at Istanbul’s Dolmabahce palace are intended at putting an end to a war that has killed an estimated 20,000 people and displaced more than 10 million people.

The two delegations, who arrived in Turkey on Monday, met for the first time following numerous rounds of videoconference conversations.

“Both parties have valid concerns, and a solution acceptable to the international community is feasible,” Erdogan added, AFP reports.

“It is up to the two parties to bring this tragedy to a close,” he insisted, adding that “the conflict’s continuance is in no one’s interest.”

On March 10, the Turkish city of Antalya hosted the first meeting between Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers since Ukraine’s invasion last month.

Rihanna’s See-through Black Gown Sizzles Maternity Fashion at Oscars

Rihanna. Photo: Instagram

Rihanna, the Barbadian pop and rhythm-and-blues (R&B) singer, is known for being comfortable in her own skin, as evidenced by her appearance at the 94th Academy Awards, where she proudly flaunted her baby bump at Beyoncé and Jay-star-studded Z’s Oscars after-party in a belly-baring black floor-length Valentino gown that sparked maternity fashion.

Rihanna stole the event by catching eyeballs and making jaws drop with her sexy appearance that showcased her developing baby bump at the notorious Chateau Marmont hotel, which hospitality union workers have reportedly been boycotting due to complaints of staff harassment.

Despite not being nominated for an Oscar, photographs of Rihanna in attendance have been circulating on the Internet ever since. The photos show the diva in a black organza turtleneck gown with a bustier that finished in a long organza skirt with sequin embroidery all over.

Pierpaolo Piccioli, the Italian fashion designer and creative director of Valentino, created it especially for her. Rihanna wore a pair of bedazzling black opera gloves that were visible through the mesh fabric of her maternity wear beneath the sheer black gown with its bandeau-baring top and sequined skirt, which came with voluminous organza sleeves under which she wore a pair of bedazzling black opera gloves that were visible through the mesh fabric of her maternity wear.

Rihanna wore her long silky tresses open down her back in a unique zig-zag parting style reminiscent of the 1990s, and finished her look with a pair of white sneakers. Rihanna accessorized her ensemble with a pair of black-and-white statement earrings, styled by Jahleel Weaver, an American fashion designer and stylist who also serves as the deputy creative director of her fashion label ‘Fenty,’ and the fashion police couldn’t stay calm.

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A post shared by Valentino (@maisonvalentino)

“Right now I’m really into pushing the idea of sexy. When women get pregnant, society tends to make it feel like you hide, hide your sexy, and that you’re not sexy right now [but] you’ll get back there and I don’t believe in that shit. So I’m trying stuff that I might not have even had the confidence to try before I was pregnant. The strappiest, the thinnest, and the more cut-outs the better for me,” Rihanna remarked in a February interview with Refinery29 about her thoughts on maternity clothes. 

Rihanna is expecting her first child with boyfriend A$AP Rocky and is currently in the third trimester of her pregnancy.

Sri Lanka Runs Out of Diesel, Faces Longest-Ever Blackout

Sri Lanka fuel
Photo: AFP

Diesel was no longer available in Sri Lanka, hampering transportation as the country’s 22 million residents endured record-breaking power outages on Thursday. The South Asian country is experiencing its worst economic crisis since independence, owing to a severe scarcity of foreign currency to pay for even basic goods.

According to officials and media reports, diesel, the major fuel for buses and commercial vehicles, was unavailable at stations around the island. Petrol was available for purchase, but supplies were limited, causing motorists to abandon their vehicles in long lines.

“We’re siphoning diesel from buses in the garage for repairs and using it to run functioning vehicles,” Sri Lanka Transport Minister Dilum Amunugama stated.

Private bus owners, who make up two-thirds of the country’s fleet, warned they were already out of oil and that even skeleton services might not be available after Friday. “We’re still utilizing outdated diesel stockpiles,” Gemunu Wijeratne, chairman of the private bus operators association, told AFP. “If we don’t obtain supplies by this evening, we won’t be able to run.”

Because they don’t have enough diesel for generators, the state electrical monopoly warned they’ll have to impose a 13-hour power outage starting Thursday, the longest ever.

“We have been promised additional supplies in two days, and if that happens, we will be able to shorten the duration of the power outages,” Ceylon Electricity Board chairman M. M. C. Ferdinando told reporters. He added that hydro reservoirs, which supply more than a third of the country’s electricity, were also dangerously low. The Colombo Stock Exchange was forced to reduce trading hours by half to two hours due to the prolonged power outages, and several offices advised non-essential employees to stay at home.

Mobile phone base stations were also affected by the electricity rationing, which impacted call quality, according to operators, who also reported their stand-by generators were out of diesel.

The shortages have generated fury across Sri Lanka, with hundreds of motorists blocking important roads in numerous towns, according to local television. Several state-run hospitals have halted operations due to a shortage of life-saving drugs, while the majority have halted diagnostic procedures that require imported chemicals in low supply, reports AFP.

In March 2020, Colombo announced a comprehensive import ban to save foreign currency required to service its $51 billion foreign debt. However, this has resulted in severe shortages of vital products as well as significant price increases.

The administration has stated that it is seeking a rescue from the IMF, as well as more loans from India and China.

The Covid-19 outbreak, which crippled tourism and remittances, aggravated Sri Lanka’s position. Many economists point to government mismanagement, such as tax cuts and years of budget deficits, as a contributing factor.