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Pakistan begins first census in 19 years amid massive military security

Pakistan has begun its first national census in 19 years amid tight security from around 200,000 military personnel. A 70-day data gathering operation, starting in 63 districts and protected by police and soldiers, is being carried out by 118,000 officials. The previous census was completed in 1998 and the long delay in updating it is down to a lack of funds, political disputes and insufficient troops to keep everybody involved safe. But in December the chief justice of Pakistan’s supreme court set a deadline of March or April, saying a census was essential to democracy. Seats in Pakistan’s parliament are allocated according to population density and without a census the number of seats cannot be decided. Rural populations in the world’s sixth-largest country frequently change as people try to escape poverty and ethnic or sectarian violence by moving to towns and cities. The security staff will protect census teams and ensure households can enter data without being intimidated by powerful feudal landlords and political families who fear losing influence.

“We made all the arrangements for a smooth, safe and transparent process of population census,” said census official Javed Iqbal in Peshawar, capital of the volatile Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

For the first time, transgender Pakistanis will be counted – although forms had already been printed when the decision was made. “We have been anxiously waiting for the process to begin but it hurt us as there is no separate column in the form,” said Farzana Riaz, president of Trans Action. Afghan refugees will also be included, despite opposition from the southwest province of Baluchistan on the border with Iran, where ethnic Baluchs fear becoming a minority. Other communities have criticised the decision to include only nine of the estimated 70 languages used in Pakistan. Households will also be asked how many toilets they have, as the United Nations estimates up to 40% of Pakistanis defecate in the open air with dramatic health consequences, especially for children.

In a sign of how much has changed since the previous census, Karachi’s population was put at 9.2 million in 1998, but current estimates now vary between 18 and 23 million, according to the National Database and Registration Authority.

Hello 2017: Auckland first to welcome New Year

Celebrations around the world to welcome in 2017 are being held amid heightened security in the wake of the deadly terror attacks in Berlin and Nice. Auckland in New Zealand was the first to usher in the new year at 11am UK time. In Australia, which will celebrate the New Year at 1pm UK time, around 1.5 million people are expected at Sydney harbour to watch the fireworks spectacular. :: Barriers in London to prevent NYE lorry attack1

An extra 2,000 police officers have been drafted in to the city while buses will be used to close off some pedestrian areas amid fears about a repeat of this year’s extremist atrocities in France and Germany. In Berlin, where 12 people were killed when a hijacked lorry was driven into a busy Christmas market, barriers have been installed around the landmark Brandenburg Gate to protect revellers. Security has also been ramped up in Cologne in a move to prevent a repeat of last year’s trouble, when police failed to failed to prevent a string of robberies and sexual assaults blamed largely on foreign men. :: Will fog ruin New Year firework displays?2

In New York’s Time Square, where the famed glitter ball is due to descend at 5am UK time, dozens of 20-ton refuse lorries weighted with an extra 15 tons of sand will block the streets around the celebrations, while there will be about 7,000 police officers on patrol. The US security crackdown is not just confined to New York . In Las Vegas FBI and Secret Service agents are working alongside local police departments in order to keep safe more than 300,000 expected visitors for the extravagant celebrations.

In the Indian capital New Delhi and many other of the country’s cities, security has been tightened around shopping centres and restaurants. Here are the UK times of New Year around the world: :: 11am – Auckland

:: 1pm – Sydney :: 3pm – Tokyo :: 3.30pm – Pyongyang

:: 4pm – Hong Kong

:: 9pm – Moscow

:: 11pm- Berlin/Paris

References

  1. ^ :: Barriers in London to prevent NYE lorry attack (news.sky.com)
  2. ^ :: Will fog ruin New Year firework displays? (news.sky.com)

Top cyber experts to warn digital sector about heightened risk of security breaches

FIVE of Scotland s top cyber experts are to spell out the heightened risk of security breaches to the digital technologies industry. The event in Glasgow will consider the dangers of such breaches to companies of all sizes, and will culminate in a question-and-answer session chaired by Keith McDevitt, head of the Scottish Government s cyber resilience unit . It is being hosted by ScotlandIS, the trade body for the digital technologies sector. McDevitt was a police officer in Central Scotland for 30 years, latterly as head of the eCrime unit, before becoming eCrime forensic manager with Fife Constabulary. He was then seconded to, and eventually joined, the Scottish Government, working in the cyber resilience unit. McDevitt played a large part in the launch of the safe, secure, prosperous cyber strategy for Scotland. Speakers will include David Stubley, founder of 7 Elements, an Edinburgh-based firm of IT security testing specialists, who will talk about truly secure systems , while Jamie Graves, managing director of data security firm, Zone Fox, will talk on the subject of cyber threats from within organisations. Scott Barnett, head of intelligence and response at TSB, will explain what a cyber threat looks like, and Mike Upton from information assurance specialists NCC will talk on the subject Cyber, what s the problem? The remit of ScotlandIS is to raise the profile of the industry in Scotland, lobby policy-makers and support members in the development of business relationships.

Its chief executive Polly Purvis said no digital technology company could afford to be complacent. She said: I am delighted that five of the nation s top security experts have agreed to share their knowledge on the types of risk and strategic challenges that companies encounter every day. The November 17 event takes place in the Google Garage in Mitchell Library.