Category Archives: NEWS

Judge adjourns Al-Azizia, Flagship cases against Sharifs

Accountability Judge Al-Azizia

ISLAMABAD: Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir on Tuesday adjourned the hearing of Al-Azizia and Flagship references against former premier Nawaz Sharif and members of his family till Wednesday (tomorrow).

The judge, who convicted the ex-PM, his daughter and son-in-law in the Avenfield reference, recused himself from hearing the references on Monday after the convicts requested the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to transfer both the pending cases to another court.

At the outset of the hearing, Judge Muhammad Bashir said he has referred the Sharifs’ applications with regard to the transfer of the pending cases to another accountability judge to the high court. He added he has also sent an application to the IHC in this regard.

The judge hoped the high court would decide the applications by the evening and adjourned the hearing till tomorrow.

A day earlier, Khawaja Haris, the Sharif family’s lead counsel, urged the IHC to transfer the two pending references against his clients to another accountability judge since the arguments in both cases were similar to the ones in the Avenfield case.

The same judge could hand down a similar verdict in the two references since evidences in both cases were the same, he argued.

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PML-N leader Sheikh Aftab escapes unhurt in gun attack

Sheikh Aftab

ATTOCK: Gunshots were fired at former Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Sheikh Aftab’s car here on Monday night. But he luckily escaped unhurt in the gun attack, ARY News reported.

According to police, unidentified assailants opened fire at the car of the PML-N leader within the limits of City police station as he was going back home after attending a rally in connection with the election campaign near Kamra. He, however, remained unhurt.

The PML-N leader, who is contesting election from NA-55 (Attock-I), said gunshots were fired at his car but he remained safe.

Following the firing incident, police reached the crime scene and began a search for culprits.

This is the latest in string of attacks on election candidates. A day earlier, Awami National Party (ANP) leader Daud Khan Achakzai narrowly escaped death when armed men shot and injured him in Chaman.

It may be noted here that 21 people including ANP candidate Haroon Bashir Bilour were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up during a corner meeting in Peshawar’s Yakatoot area on July 10.

Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) candidate Nawabzada Siraj Raisani was among 130 people killed in a suicide attack on an election rally in the Mastung area. Around 150 people were injured in the tragic incident.

A bomb targeted the convoy of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) candidate and former chief minister Akram Khan Durrani in Bannu. He, however, escaped unhurt while four people were killed and 14 others injured in the attack.

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IHC takes up Sharifs’ appeals today

IHC Nawaz Maryam appeals

ISLAMABAD: A two-judge bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) will take up today appeals of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar against their conviction in the Avenfield properties reference.

The division bench comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kyani and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb will hear their appeals seeking to set aside the accountability court judgment that awarded 10 years imprisonment to Sharif, seven years to Maryam and one year to Captain (retd) Safdar.

The appeals are expected to come up for hearing at around 11:00am today.

Citing the state through the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman as respondent, the appellants pleaded that their sentences be set aside for being “illegal and based on no evidence, and in violation of superior courts’ judgments.”

As an interim relief, they requested the court to suspend their sentences and order their release from prison on bail until their appeals are decided.

Safdar was arrested on July 8 while the former premier and his daughter were arrested on the night of July 13 exactly a week after their conviction in the NAB case.

Sharif along with his daughter landed at Allama Iqbal International Airport from where they were taken to Islamabad on a private plane before being shifted to Adiala jail in a convoy of security vehicles.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) arrested them as they returned from London via Abu Dhabi to face prison. Judicial magistrate Wasim Ahmed executed the warrants issued by Judge Muhammad Bashir for their arrest.

On July 6, the PML-N supreme leader was awarded 10 years in prison, while his daughter Maryam and her spouse Capt Safdar were handed seven years’ and one year’s prison term, respectively.

Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir ordered forfeiture of their properties in the Avenfield Apartments and Park Lane of London. He imposed a fine of £8 million (approximately Rs1,292m) on the former premier and £2 million (approximately Rs323m) on his daughter.

Besides, three convicts were awarded an additional one-year imprisonment, which will run concurrently for not cooperating with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

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Russian woman arrested in Washington, accused of acting as Russian government agent


WASHINGTON: A 29-year-old Russian woman living in Washington has been arrested and charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian government while developing ties with American citizens and infiltrating political groups, the U.S. Justice Department said on Monday.

Maria Butina, a student at American University and a founder of the pro-gun rights Russian advocacy organization Right to Bear Arms, is accused of working at the direction of a high-level official who worked for the Russian Central Bank and was recently sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Justice Department said in a statement.

The court records do not name the official.

However, she is pictured in numerous photographs on her Facebook page with Alexander Torshin, the deputy head of Russia’s Central Bank, and a person familiar with the matter confirmed to Reuters that she worked for him.

Torshin was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in April.

Butina was arrested on Sunday and was ordered held pending a hearing set for Wednesday, it said.

According to the complaint against her, she worked with two unnamed U.S. citizens and the Russian official to try and influence American politics and infiltrate a pro-gun rights organization.

The complaint does not name the group; however, photos on her Facebook page show she has attended events sponsored by the National Rifle Association.

She arranged dinners in Washington and New York City and tried to develop relationships with American politicians in order to establish “back channel” lines of communication to “penetrate the U.S. national decision-making apparatus to advance the agenda of the Russian Federation,” the complaint said.

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All steps being taken for peaceful elections: Azam


ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Interior Minister Muhammad Azam Khan on Monday said all steps were being taken for peaceful elections in the country.

Chairing a meeting of Frontier Constabulary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Peshawar on Monday, he said FC KP had played a commendable role in restoring peace in the province.

On this occasion, Commandant FC KP Liaqat Ali Khan gave a detailed briefing on the performance of his force.

Azam Khan also visited martyrs memorial, where he laid floral wreath and offered Fateha.

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Senate condemns Mastung suicide attack


ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Monday passed a unanimous resolution condemning horrific terrorist attack in Mastung which resulted in martyrdom of Mir Siraj Raisani, leader of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), and 149 other innocent Pakistanis.

The resolution said Raisani was a brave and sincere Pakistani and the loss of his life is unfortunate.

The House also expressed serious concerns on recent spate of attacks on political parties in the run up to general election.

It urged the Election Commission of Pakistan, federal and provincial caretaker governments to take steps for the protection of political parties.

The House also prayed for the departed souls and fortitude for the relatives to bear the irreparable loss.

The resolution was tabled by Leader of the Opposition Senator Sherry Rehman on behalf of all the senators.

Read More: BAP leader Siraj Raisani among 128 killed in Mastung bomb attack

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India ministry urges duty on Chinese solar cells, modules

NEW DELHI: India’s trade ministry on Monday recommended imposing a 25 percent duty on imports of solar cells and modules from China for one year to try to counter what it sees as a threat to domestic solar equipment manufacturing.

Falling prices of solar cells and modules, over 90 percent of which India imports from China, have triggered a decline in the cost of solar power generation and led Indians increasingly to adopt the technology.

India plans to make renewable power account for 40 percent of its total installed capacity by 2030, from 20 percent currently.

The proposed safeguard duty, which would apply for two years in total to imports from China and Malaysia, would be reduced in the second year to 20 percent for six months and then 15 percent for six months. The proposed duty is less than the 70 percent recommended by Indian authorities in January.

The recommendation, contained in a report published by the ministry and to be submitted to the government for approval, is intended to address a serious threat to the domestic solar manufacturing industry from Chinese imports, the directorate general of trade remedies (DGTR) said in the report.

Indian solar cell and module manufacturers said cheap Chinese imports were hurting the domestic industry, while Chinese manufacturers say imports are helping India accelerate its renewable energy adoption programme.

“Solar module manufacturers are facing tough and unhealthy competition from imported modules,” the report quoted the North India Module Manufacturer Association as saying.

The China Chamber of Commerce for Imports and Exports of Machinery and Electronic Products said the “real cause of injury to the domestic industry is aggressive pricing practices of other Indian producers and not imports.”

Trade relations between the two Asian nations have thawed recently despite fears of a trade war elsewhere, with the two sides discussing ways to increase Indian sales of farm products and India pushing China to give access to its software service firms.

However, the trade deficit has widened to $62.9 billion in China’s favour, an over nine-fold increase over the last decade.

India’s share in China’s exports of solar cells and modules rose from about a fifth in the first half of 2016 to two-fifths a year later, the DGTR wrote, adding that China had “started targeting the Indian market more vigorously.”

Some Indian solar power generators, like Avaada Ltd, have expressed reservations about the duties. A safeguard duty would put solar projects worth more than 1000 billion Indian rupees ($14.59 billion) under jeopardy, Avaada told DGTR.

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Azhar Ali signs for Somerset


Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali has joined Somerset for the remainder of their first-class English County Championship fixtures this season, the southwest club said Monday.

The 33-year-old replaces Australia opener Matt Renshaw, who made three hundreds at 51.30 in the opening rounds of the Championship before breaking a finger against Surrey at Guildford last month.

Azhar is set to make his Somerset debut against Worcestershire later this month.

“The standard of first-class cricket in England is very high and I hope that I can make a contribution to Somerset winning matches,” Azhar told his new county’s website.

“I have heard good things about Somerset and I was impressed by what I saw at Taunton in 2016 (when Pakistan opened their tour of England that year against the county).

“I am looking forward to joining my new team mates and meeting the Somerset supporters soon.”

Azhar struggled during Pakistan’s three Tests against Ireland and England earlier this season, making 73 runs in six innings although his lone fifty did come during Pakistan’s impressive victory over England at Lord’s.

“Finding the right fit at short notice can be challenging, however we are delighted to have secured a player of Azhar Ali’s character, pedigree and class for the remaining seven Specsavers County Championship matches,” said Somerset’s director of cricket, Andy Hurry.

“His experience at the top of the order will prove to be hugely valuable at the business end of the season.

“I have spoken to him several times over the last few weeks and he is very keen to share his knowledge of the game with our aspirational players, so the influence he can have within the changing room will also be vital for us as a club.”

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PTI’s Pervez Khattak injured after falling off stage during election rally


NOWSHERA: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and former chief minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Pervez Khattak was seriously hurt on Monday after falling off stage during an election rally in Nowshera, ARY News reported.

According to ARY News correspondent, Khattak was addressing an election rally in Jehangira town of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Nowshera district when he fell off stage and injured himself.

Sources within PTI told ARY News that the former CM was moved to hospital and doctors have advised him to take two days’ rest, adding that he will resume political activities after two days.

It is pertinent to note here that the former KP CM is contesting polls from one National Assembly seat (NA-25) and two provincial assembly seats, (PK-61 and PK-64) from Nowshera.

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Mohmand residents demand women-only polling stations for facilitating female voters


GHALANAI: Residents of Mohmand tribal district say they will allow their female family members to vote in the general elections scheduled to be held on July 16 if women-only polling stations are established.

A resident of Atto Khel area of Haleemzai tehsil, Hairan Momand said that women had the right to vote, but their casting vote would depend on the security situation of the area. “If it (law and order situation) would be normal the turnout of women voters would be higher.”

He said in general elections 2013 all women from his family casted their votes and they would cast vote in the upcoming elections as well.

Hairan Momand hoped that most of the women would vote for the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) candidate because of the PPP government’s Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), under which all the women registered with their computerized identity cards were paid Rs1500 a month.

The Tribal District Mohmand (TDM) has 96,679 registered female voters, compared with 158,873 male voters. Women voters face many obstacles in casting their votes and getting involved in political activities in the region.

Read More: Electioneering campaign gains momentum in Mohmand Agency

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has asked all political parties to ensure 100 percent women vote by allowing them to go for vote.

The Constitution of Pakistan guarantees the right to vote to all the citizens aged 18 and above, whether male or female.

One female resident of Haleemzai tehsil, Gulono, 55-years-old, said she would like to vote if here separate women’s polling stations were arranged locally and which were accessible to villager women.

“There is no restriction on women in our society,” she said, “many women voted in the last election also.”

A tribal elder, Malik Saif Ullah said, “If a man can cast his vote, then why should we prevent our women from casting their votes?” In the coming election, he said, women will vote in Haleemzai, Ekkaghund, Pandiali and Prang Ghar tehsils in the tribal district Mohmand, because local people were well-educated and knew the importance of balloting.

Another woman, Rozeena Bibi, said that she knew the importance of the elections and casting votes, but if the government provided a peaceful environment, then women will be able to vote in large number. She added that tribal customs did not allow some women to vote, but for this election local tribal and political leaders were on the same page that women should vote.

President Awami National Party and candidate for the NA-42 in Mohmand, Nisar Ahmad, said that it was the basic right of every woman because they made up a large part of the population. He said that ANP workers were going village to village educating tribal women about balloting.

Realising importance of women’s participation in elections, PTI candidate Sajid Khan said, “Our religion gives a high status to women but our society ignores their basic rights.” He said the Election Commission should teach tribal women how to vote.

He said his party was motivating women across the tribal areas. “Without casting their vote, women cannot get basic rights,” he said. “We want tribal women to join the mainstream of Pakistan, and change will come only through elections in the area,” Sajid said.

About the restrictions on women in tribal areas, the PTI leader said that the so-called ban on women voting was in the mindset of each group. If a group or party prevented women from voting, he said, the Election Commission should take action against them.

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Accountability court judge recuses himself from hearing references against Sharif family


ISLAMABAD: Justice Mohammad Bashir, the accountability court judge who sentenced former premier Nawaz Sharif and his family members in the Avenfield case, has recused himself from hearing the other two corruption references against the Sharif family, sources told ARY News on Monday.

According to sources, the judge has written a letter to Islamabad High Court (IHC) recusing himself from hearing Al-Azizia and Flagship references against Nawaz Sharif and his family.

The judge maintained that the repsondent’s (Nawaz Sharif) counsel has objected on the move so he cannot hear the other two references and the cases should be transferred to some other court.

The judge added that if required, he could also be transferred.

The judge, in his July 6 verdict in Avenfield case, handed former premier Nawaz Sharif 10 years as jail time for owning assets beyond income and 1 year for not cooperating with NAB in the Avenfield properties corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

His daughter Maryam Nawaz was given 7 years for abetment, and her husband Captain (retd) Safdar was given 1 year for non-cooperation with the anti-graft authority.

Captain (retd) Safdar was arrested on Sunday, July 8 while Maryam Nawaz and Nawaz Sharif are due to return on July 13, Friday.

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Security forces kill four terrorists, arrest three suspects in Balochistan


RAWALPINDI: Security forces on Monday killed four terrorists and arrested three suspected terrorists in intelligence based operations in Ghazi mountains astride Sibi – Kohlu road and Awaran, Balochistan.

Weapons and ammunition were also recovered from them.

In a separate operation on a terrorist hideout, explosive, weapons and ammunition including detonating cord and communication equipment were recovered, media wing of armed forces, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) reported.

Read More: BAP leader Siraj Raisani among 128 killed in Mastung bomb attack

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Caretaker minister donates entire tenure’s salary for Diamer-Bhasha, Mohmand dams


ISLAMABAD: In a humble effort to contribute towards the national cause, Abdullah Hussain Haroon has donated the entire salary of his tenure as caretaker Minister for Foreign Affairs in ‘Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dam Fund’ for construction of the dams.

The government has established ‘Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dam Fund’ in pursuit of the instructions of the Supreme Court. The chief justice has passed a short but historic judgment for the construction of both dams while hearing a case against water scarcity.

The fund shall receive donations and contributions from both domestic and international donors, individuals and companies, and the general public has been requested to contribute generously.

The government of Pakistan has established the fund to overcome shortage of water and power in the country. The top judge also donated Rs1 million for the cause.

Earlier, the armed forces also announced to contribute for the purpose, as officers would contribute their two-day pay while soldiers will contribute one-day salary.

Read More: Newly sworn in caretaker cabinet gets down to business

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Villagers kill nearly 300 crocodiles in revenge attack

JAKARTA: Indonesian villagers armed with knives, hammers and clubs slaughtered 292 crocodiles in revenge for the death of a man killed by a crocodile at a breeding farm, an official said.

Photographs released by Antara news agency showed bloodied carcasses of the crocodiles in a large pile in the Sorong district of the eastern Indonesian province of West Papua.

Local residents look at the carcasses of hundreds of crocodiles from a breeding farm after they were killed by angry locals following the death of a man who was killed in a crocodile attack in Sorong regency, West Papua

The head of Indonesia’s Natural Resources Conservation Agency in West Papua said that the 48-year-old victim had entered the crocodile farm and was likely picking grass for animal feed when he was attacked.

“An employee heard someone screaming for help, he quickly went there and saw a crocodile attacking someone,” Basar Manullang said in a statement.

After the burial of the man on Saturday, villagers entered the farm and killed all the crocodiles, said Manullang.

Manullang said the farm had been given a licence to breed protected saltwater and New Guinea crocodiles in 2013 for preservation and also to harvest some of the animals.

But one of the conditions was that the reptiles did not disturb the community, he said.

“To prevent this from happening again, farming licence holders need to secure surrounding areas,” said Manullang.

He said his agency was coordinating with police in their investigation.

“Crocodiles are God’s creatures that need to be protected too,” Manullang said.

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NDRMF to make Pakistan resilient against natural disasters: finance minister


ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Statistics, Planning, Development and Reform Dr Shamshad Akhtar termed National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) as a first concrete step towards making Pakistan resilient, against natural disasters and climate change impacts.

She expressed these views during inaugural session at launching ceremony of NDRMF, held on Monday.

The event was attended by notable representatives of federal/provincial government departments and disaster management authorities, UN agencies, international donors, academicians, civil society members, NGOs, media and dignitaries from diplomatic missions.

Expressing concern over about Rs20 billion losses that Pakistan had suffered over the last few years, affecting more than 30 million people, the minister stressed the need for setting up sustainable financing system to fund risk reduction and mitigation activities in the country.

Shamshad reiterated full commitment of the government to support NDRMF and provision of additional resources to strengthen the fund’s operations to comply with international and national commitments.

“The government will also ensure that the fund carries out its activities in an efficient, transparent and coordinated manner,” she said.

Read More: Natural disasters killed over 22,000 in 2013: Red Cross

She urged NDRMF to mainstream its efforts for a coherent and institutionalized DRM approach among federal, provincial, and local government institutions. She appreciated the development partners specially the Asian Development Bank (ADB), for their vital role in this strategic initiative.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) NDRMF Lt General (retd) Nadeem Ahmed gave an overview about the fund mandate, operations, thematic areas and fund linkage with National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) and National Flood Protection Plan (NFPP-IV).

He also briefed the house, about the mechanism devised to sustain the NDRMF operational activities in order to minimize its impact on government exchequer.

“It is worth mentioning that both NDMP and NFPP-IV were developed by national and international experts to dilute the effects of disasters by strengthening the DRM system and building hazard protection infrastructures. However, due to lack of funding, these plans could not be implemented earlier. Hopefully, NDRMF will now provide the requisite funding to ensure effective implementation. ”

ADB Country Director Xiaohong Yang lauded Pakistan for its unique capacities with regards to managing diverse range of disasters and called it as potentially the best country in terms of knowledge, regulatory framework and DRM infrastructure to implement the pilot idea.

She also expressed commitment to provide an additional funding of 1 billion USD for this initiative in years 2020-2030.

The GoP had been working with number of development partners to identify opportunities and mechanism to enhance financial management of disaster risk. These initiatives resulted in establishment of multi donor NDRMF. It is a government-owned not-for-profit company with a corporate structure, incorporated with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, under Section 42 of the Companies Ordinance 1984.

The fund will also provide support in reducing the socio-economic and fiscal vulnerability of the country & its population due to natural hazards and climate change. Channelizing financial investments in DRR and preparedness segment of DM will have high positive economic impacts for the country.

The initial financing of NDRMF is through an ADB loan to the GoP, equivalent to $200.0 million and grants equivalent to $3.4 million and $1.5 million from Australian and Swiss Governments, respectively.

The government has made these funds available to NDRMF as a grant, for on-granting to eligible implementing partners both from public and private sectors. NDRMF will finance up to 70% of eligible projects cost that shall enhance Pakistan’s resilience to extreme weather events and other natural hazards.

The ceremony was followed by an ‘Orientation Workshop’ aimed to create an in-depth understating about Fund management structure and operational/organizational functionalities. The workshop reviewed accreditation criteria and project proposal guidelines in addition to detailed presentations on NDMP and NFPP-IV.

Exhaustive discussions and group work provided great learning opportunity to gain feedback and recommendations from stakeholders and fund implementation partners to further fine tune the systems and procedures of NDRMF.

On the sideline of the launching event an agreement was also signed between the Embassy of Switzerland in Pakistan and the ADB to support NDRMF. Ms Stefanie Burri, Head of International Cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland, and Ms Xiaohong Yang, ADB Country Director signed the agreement. Under this agreement, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) will provide 1.5 million Swiss Francs (equivalent to USD 1.5 million) to the fund.

In addition, the SDC will also provide technical assistance to the Fund through secondment of a Disaster Risk Finance Specialists. Both sides expressed strong resolve for continued support and co-operation towards enhancing resilience of the Country.

NDRMF will be focusing on projects based on thematic areas identified under two umbrella documents that are NDMP and NFPP-IV. These projects are related to Multi Hazard Vulnerability Risk Assessment (MHVRA), Community Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM), Development of Emergency Response Plans, Strengthening Early Warning System and Infrastructure development for disaster risk reduction and retrofitting of flood protection infrastructure.

Apart from risk reduction activities, NDRMF will also be working on the Risk Transfer Mechanism System by devising a Disaster Risk Financing (DRF) Strategy and conducting a pilot project, which could be scaled up at a national level.

The fund will also help the government in complying with International and National commitments like Hyogo Framework, Paris Agreement, Sendai Framework, Vision 2025 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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Shock as Trump backs Putin on election meddling at summit


HELSINKI: U.S. President Donald Trump said after meeting Vladimir Putin on Monday he no reason to believe his own intelligence agencies rather than trust the Kremlin leader on the question of whether Russsia interfered to help him win the 2016 election.

On a day when he faced pressure from critics, allied countries and even his own staff to take a tough line, Trump said not a single critical word about Moscow on any of the issues that have brought relations between the two powers to the lowest ebb since the Cold War.

Instead, he denounced the “stupidity” of his own country’s policy, especially the decision to investigate election interference.

Trump’s performance is likely to create a political storm in the United States, where the White House has struggled for months to dispel a suggestion that Trump was unwilling to stand up to Putin.

His performance was denounced as “treasonous” by a former CIA chief and condemned as “shameful” by a Republican senator, although other Republicans were more cautious.

Trump held his meeting with Putin just days after a special prosecutor in the United States indicted 12 Russian agents for stealing Democratic Party documents to help him win the vote.

Asked if he believed U.S. intelligence agencies, which concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help him defeat Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, he said he was not convinced.

“I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia, Trump said. “President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”


Before the summit even began, Trump blamed his own country for the deterioration in relations.

“Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!” he said on Twitter.

The Russian foreign ministry tweeted back: “We agree”.

At the news conference, Trump was invited by reporters to offer any criticism of Russia but he repeatedly declined. Asked if Russia was at all to blame for the poor ties, he said: “I hold both countries responsible. I think the U.S. has been foolish. We’ve all been foolish,” he said, before veering into discussion about his election victory.

“I beat Hillary Clinton easily and frankly we beat her…We won that race and it’s a shame that there can be even a little bit of a cloud over it,” he said.

Trump’s warm words for Russia were a marked contrast from the past week when he repeatedly rebuked traditional U.S. allies at a summit of NATO and during a visit to Britain.

Asked if Putin was an adversary, he said: “Actually I called him a competitor and a good competitor he is and I think the word competitor is a compliment.”

Putin spoke of the importance of the two countries working together and praised Trump, at one point interrupting the news conference to give the U.S. President a soccer ball.

Asked whether he had wanted Trump to win the 2016 election and had instructed officials to help him, Putin said “Yes I did”, although he denied any interference, saying the allegations were “complete nonsense”.

Republican Senator Lyndsay Graham said Trump’s performance would send a message of “weakness” to Moscow.

“Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections. This answer by President Trump will be seen by Russia as a sign of weakness and create far more problems than it solves,” Graham said on Twitter.

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, a frequent Trump critic, said: “I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression. This is shameful.”


Former CIA chief John Brennan went further, suggesting Trump should be removed from office: “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”

The summit caps a trip abroad during which Trump accused NATO allies of failing to spend enough on their militaries and embarrassed British Prime Minister Theresa May by saying she refused to take his advice about how to negotiate Britain’s exit from the EU. He referred to the European Union itself as a “foe” in trade and repeatedly criticised it.

In some of the strongest words yet reflecting the unease of Washington’s traditional allies, Germany’s foreign minister said on Monday Europe could no longer rely on the United States.

“To maintain our partnership with the USA we must readjust it,” Heiko Maas told the Funke newspaper group. “The first clear consequence can only be that we need to align ourselves even more closely in Europe.”

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ECP urges candidates to abide by code of conduct


ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday urged all political parties and election candidates to abide by the code of conduct notified by the ECP for holding public rallies, processions and election activities.

This request was made during a high level meeting chaired by of Secretary ECP Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad to discuss the code of conducts relating to holding of public rallies, processions and election activities by political parties and candidates.

The meeting was held in light of the instructions issued by Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk during his visit to Quetta on Sunday directing the ECP to launch a campaign for awareness of code of conduct issued by the ECP pertaining to public rallies, processions and election activities.

Read More: 86-point Code of Conduct for general elections issued by ECP

The meeting expressed the hope that political parties and candidates would keep the local administration in the loop about their election activities, as per the code of conduct.

Secretary Interior Yousaf Naseem Khokhar, Secretary Information Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera, Chairman PEMRA Muhammad Saleem and senior officials of the ECP also attended the meeting.

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PML-N, PTI two sides of the same coin, says Bilawal

ATTOCK: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Monday said that rival parties Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) are both “right-wing” parties and have the same agenda, ARY News reported.

Addressing a rally in Pindigheb subdivision of Attock, the PPP chief said that, being right wing parties,  both PTI and PML-N have similar economic agenda and only late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s party can work on people-focused economic policies.

“Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (PPP founder) nationalised the industry and provided employment. Providing employment is a benchmark of PPP’s politics, in the past, people used to say Benazir aai gee, Rozgar lai gee (Benazir’s rise to power will mean employment),” said Bilawal.

The PPP chief also promised food cards, proper housing facilities and a pro-farmer policy if people elect his party to power.

It is pertinent to note here that Bilawal had started his election campaign by announcing his party’s manifesto for the 2018 general elections on June 29.

Addressing media in Islamabad, the PPP chief had lamented the absence of an effective and proactive foreign policy, lack of education and health facilities for common people of the country and an ‘unstable’ economic situation.

He pledged to free all Pakistanis from the fear of hunger, thirst and helplessness and to open opportunities for youth so that “they may excel, become active citizens of Pakistan and confident members of the global community”.

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Warning about inflation, Imran says currency depriciation to directly affect masses


MIANWALI: Pointing towards recent devaluation of Pakistani rupee against dollar, Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan on Monday said the currency depreciation would directly affect the masses.

“The depreciation of Pakistani rupee multiplies our foreign debts and to tackle this situation more taxes are imposed resulting in high costs of commodities,” he said while addressing a public gathering in Mianwali, his hometown.

He said the biggest problem facing Pakistan was surge in debts.

Comparing prices of different commodities 10 years ago and now, the PTI chief said electricity was Rs2.13 a unit in 2008, while it had climbed to Rs 9.86 in 2018; wheat flour was Rs13 a kilo in 2008, while it had soared up to Rs 45 a kilo; milk was Rs25 a liter in 2008 and it had surged to Rs100 a liter now.

Imran Khan  rebuked the rulers for their involvement in graft. He said former prime minister Nawaz Sharif would send money to his two sons in London and likewise former finance minister Ishaq Dar also after stealing money from public exchequer sent it to his children in Dubai.

Read More: Need to defeat people like Rana Sanaullah, Abid Sher, says Imran

He also mocked the PML-N for poor power show in Lahore on arrival of Nawaz and Maryam from London.

“The current popularity of the Sharifs can be judged by the fact that not even 5000 people gathered in support for him when the entire PML-N leadership was mobilised for it,” he said.

Soliciting participants of the rally for voting his party on July 25, the poll day, he said people should consider themselves in a battleground for the next nine days and should bring voters out for balloting.

“Nine days are left and I am telling you all it is your duty to mobilise fellow citizens and ask them to vote for bat.”

Read More: US dollar surges to ‘unprecedented’ Rs127.5

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Oil prices fall but market wary over supply outages


LONDON: Oil prices fell sharply on Monday as concerns about supply disruptions eased and Libyan ports reopened while traders eyed potential supply increases by Russia and other producers.

Benchmark Brent crude dropped more than 3 percent to a low of $73, before recovering slightly to around $73.15 by 1340 GMT. U.S. light crude was down $1.70 at $69.31.

“The energy complex is a sea of red as concerns about supply outages subside,” said Stephen Brennock, analyst at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates.

Supply outages in Libya, a labour dispute in Norway and unrest in Iraq all helped to push oil prices higher late last week, though prices still fell for a second straight week.

Russia and other oil producers could raise output by 1 million barrels per day (bpd) or more if shortages hit the market, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters on Friday.

“If we need more than 1 million bpd, I don’t rule out that we can quickly discuss it and make a quick decision,” he said.

Commerzbank commodities analyst Carsten Fritsch said the outlook for supply was unclear, with news of disruptions from several oil producers, but Saudi Arabia and Russia had reminded the market of their determination to pump more oil if needed.

“Novak’s comments indicate that Russia and Saudi Arabia could raise production fast if needed,” Fritsch said.

Production at Libya’s giant Sharara oilfield was expected to fall by at least 160,000 bpd after two workers were abducted in an attack by an unknown group, the National Oil Corporation said on Saturday.

A Norwegian union for workers on oil and gas drilling rigs stepped up a six-day strike on Monday.

In Iraq, two protesters died on Sunday in clashes with security forces in the town of Samawa amid anger in southern cities over public services and corruption. Demonstrations have yet to affect crude production.

Reinforcing supply concerns were comments published on Monday by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said the U.S. aim was to squeeze Iranian oil exports “to zero”.

Mnuchin said that Washington wanted to avoid disrupting markets and would in some cases consider waivers, but that it had been made clear to allies that it expects them to enforce sanctions against Iran.

Investors were also on edge over the impact of the trade dispute between the United States and its big trading partners.

US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin held their first stand-alone meeting in Helsinki on Monday. Trump has been vocal about his dissatisfaction with higher oil prices, asking OPEC to lower them.


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Afghan president assures border security enhancement for elections in Pakistan

border security

RAWALPINDI: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Monday called Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and assured for enhanced border security measures on Afghan side as assistance to the Pakistan security forces during the election period in Pakistan.

It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan has constructed several dozens new security posts along the Durand Line after a number of terrorist attacks were conducted from across the border.

Asraf Ghani also expressed his condolences on the loss of innocent lives in the recent terrorist incidents.

Qamar Bajwa thanked the president for his concern.

About 130 people including Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader Siraj Raisani were killed and 122 others injured in a suicide blast in Mastung during a corner meeting on Friday, in the third bomb attack on a political party in a week.

Read More: BAP leader Siraj Raisani among 128 killed in Mastung bomb attack

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Pakistan beat Zimbabwe by nine wickets in second ODI

BULAWAYO: Pakistan continued their dominance with both bat and ball to win the second of five one-day internationals against Zimbabwe by nine wickets.

Opener Fakhar Zaman eased to his second ODI century, finishing with a career best 117 not out, to seal a win that had been set up by Pakistan’s seam attack, who bowled Zimbabwe out for 194.

Usman Khan took four wickets and Hasan Ali chipped in with 3 for 32 to bowl the hosts out, Pakistan’s top order batsmen then capping a commanding performance.

Zimbabwe won the toss and opted to bat first on another cold morning in Bulawayo, They were put under immediate pressure by Pakistan’s new ball attack, and in particular Khan. He had both openers caught behind in his first spell.

Zimbabwe briefly rallied during a 62-run partnership between Masakadza and Tarisai Musakanda. but that was their best stand.

After Khan took two wickets with consecutive deliveries in the 44th over, the hosts were 166 for 7 and sinking fast.

Moor cobbled together stands with the lower order to keep his side ticking along, and brought up a third ODI fifty in the 48th over. But after he fell attempting to up the run rate, Pakistan made short work of Zimbabwe’s tail to bowl the hosts out four balls short of a completed fifty overs.

Zimbabwe could not match Pakistan’s precision and menace with the ball and openers Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq took 54 from the powerplay without ever giving more than a half chance to the fielders. The pair took their opening stand to 119 before ul-Haq was run out, against the run of play, for 44.

At the other end, Zaman raced past a run-a-ball fifty untroubled by the Zimbabwean attack and reached three figures in the 32nd over.

With Babar Azam for company, he quickly knocked off the runs required for victory, sending Pakistan 2-0 up in the series.

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Administration being inquired over amusement park accident, says commissioner Karachi

KARACHI: Commissioner Karachi Saleh Farooqi on Monday said that the private contractors and everyone else related to the management of an amusement park in Karachi is being inquired over Sunday’s horrific accident which killed a young girl and injured at least 18 others, ARY News reported.

A 13-year-old girl was killed and at least 18 others were injured when a joyride came crashing down in an amusement park located in Karachi’s Old Sabzi Mandi area.

Speaking to media, the city commissioner said that the final report will be prepared within three days and not only the Sabzi Mandi park but all other parks will also be checked for security loopholes.

When asked if anyone can be charged for the 13-year-old’s death, the commissioner said that the criminality can either be established after inquiry or if Kashaf’s relative register case against someone or the administration of the park.

The commissioner added that there are rumours that the joyride was being run on trial basis, adding that the standards and security protocol remains the same whether a park administration starts a ride for a single day or 365 days.

A Horrific Accident

A 13-year-old identified as Kashaf Abdul Samad lost her life while several others were injured when a merry-go-round collapsed in the newly-inaugurated amusement park.

Police sources said that it appeared that the nut and bolts of the swing detached which caused the accident.


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Sri Lanka captain Chandimal and coach banned for two tests, four ODIs

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal, coach Chandika Hathurusinghe and manager Asanka Gurusinha have been banned for four one-dayers and two tests for acting against the spirit of the game, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Monday.

The trio admitted breaching the ICC’s code of conduct after their team refused to take the field on the third day of the second test against West Indies at St Lucia last month. Match officials had accused the team of altering the condition of the ball.

The ban means they will miss the ongoing home two-test series against South Africa and the first four ODIs of the five-match series starting on July 29.

They were already suspended from the opening test against South Africa which Sri Lanka won by 278 runs inside three days.

Read also: Virat Kohli defends Dhoni’s Lord’s grind

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Sheikh Rasheed seeks beefing up of security, says next ten days monumental

Sheikh Rasheed

RAWALPINDI: Seeking beefing up of security in the country, Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rasheed on Monday said the next ten days were monumental for the nation as foreign powers were conspiring to delay the general elections, ARY News reported.

“Those who foresee defeat in elections are crying foul of rigging for they want to make the polls controversial beforehand and some political parties are uniting for this evil cause,” he said while talking to media during his visit to Sabzi Mandi and Raja Bazaar in Rawalpindi.

He said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was witnessing downfall in their popularity, while the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was also not getting the desired support in the largest province of Pakistan, Punjab.

Read More: Another forward bloc likely in PML-N after polls, says Sheikh Rasheed

The AML chief also said the next government will face enormous difficulties and we should be cognizant of this fact.

Prognosticating about his potential success, he said ‘pen and inkpot’ (his election symbol) was popular in NA 61 and NA 62 constituencies.

Sheikh Rasheed said he had readied his special bike for electioneering and his election campaign will conclude on 23rd at Commercial Market, two days before the elections.

He also said he had got no objection certificate for holding public rally on July 22 at Liaquat Bagh and Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan will arrive at 11 at “the historic rally”.

“The real contest in the general elections is between the PML-N and PTI,” he said.

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From Paris to Moscow, France fans go wild after thrilling World Cup win

PARIS/MOSCOW: Millions of French fans were overwhelmed with joy on Sunday as France beat Croatia 4-2 to win soccer’s World Cup in a pulsating final in Moscow, sparking ecstatic scenes of celebration from Paris to Marseille, from Lyon to Lille.

In the capital, where 90,000 people watched the match on vast TV screens next to the Eiffel tower, there were choruses of the Marseillaise, honking horns and hundreds of thousands of red, white and blue tricolor flags fluttering on the breeze.

The boom of fireworks and firecrackers filled the air, while drivers honked their horns incessantly to celebrate France’s second world title after their triumph on home soil in 1998.

A deafening chorus of “We are the champions, We are the champions” rang out from the Sacre Coeur in the north of the city to the Sorbonne on the Left Bank. Similar scenes erupted in Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Bordeaux and other major cities.

Even before the final whistle, crowds streamed on to the Champs Elysees, the elegant, tree-lined boulevard that runs up to the Arc de Triomphe, the traditional gathering place for celebration, including the Bastille Day parade 24 hours earlier.

The entire area around the Arc de Triomphe, all the way down the two-kilometre-long Champs Elysees and the Place de la Concorde at its end was a sea of singing and cheering people.

“It’s just astonishing what they’ve done,” said Josh, 41, who travelled from Brittany to Paris to watch the match with his girlfriend. “Pogba, Mbappe, Grizou (Griezmann) — they’re on top of the world,” he said, naming three of the standout players.

“We’re the champions of the world! It’s phenomenal, just phenomenal.”

More than 250,000 people were expected to descend on the Champs Elysees and the Place de la Concorde, yet the atmosphere was warm and convivial. Security forces kept a distance.

“To get a second star (World Cup) after 20 years, it’s just brilliant,” said Tommy Hamon, 23, who was working in Le Deauville, a bar on the Champs Elysees.


Even football fans who were not rooting for France but found themselves in the French capital for the game were overcome by the occasion and the scenes of celebration.

“France was not my team but I am so pleased for them today,” said Sarah, a 24-year-old from Birmingham in England who is studying medicine in Paris.

“The players just showed something special all along, something that I liked, and I was not sure they would win today but they did. A lot of people are going to be drunk, if not already.”

In Moscow, where tens of thousands of fans travelled to watch the game, there were tears of joy among the sea of red, white and blue. President Emmanuel Macron, who travelled to Moscow to watch the final with his wife Brigitte, hugged the players after the win and stood with them in the pouring rain.

As the World Cup trophy was brought on to the pitch for the victory ceremony, Macron briefly kissed it and beamed with joy.

“It was a great trip,” said Sebastien Mefort, 33, smiling broadly at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, his face painted the colours of the French flag. “I was here the whole month and attended all France’s games.”

Other fans expressed relief.

“We were worried about the result because Croatia plays very aggressive football,” said Sylvie Wahl, 55. “But our coach and young players did it!”

Despite the deluge of rain that struck Moscow right after the game ended, fans danced and sang in the streets and a fireworks display could not be snuffed out.

France coach Didier Deschamps was full of praise for his team despite signs of nerves at the start of the game and several missed opportunities during it.

“It is really beautiful. It is marvellous. We did not play a great match, but we showed a strong mental quality,” Deschamps said.

“We also scored four goals. We merit it. I am very happy for this team. We are coming from very far and it has not always been easy, but thanks to hard work, they are here and are on top of the world for the next four years.”

Read also: Young France triumph and promise even more to come

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Next stop, Gareth Southgate: London rail station renamed after England boss


LONDON: London’s transport bosses temporarily renamed an underground station in honor of England soccer team manager Gareth Southgate after the team flew home following their run to the last four of the World Cup.

England enjoyed their best World Cup performance in 28 years under Southgate’s leadership, reaching the semi-finals and narrowly missing a spot in the final, losing to Croatia after extra-time.

Southgate proved popular with England’s fans for helping create a renewed sense of optimism and after the team returned home on Sunday Transport for London (TfL) rebranded Southgate underground station in North London as the “Gareth Southgate” station for 48 hours.

“We have to celebrate the achievement, it’s important,” said Patricia Gomez, 44, who traveled from Morden in south London on her day off on Monday to get a photograph with the new sign.

“(Gareth) was awesome, he gave the team motivation, he made them work as a family.”

After winning the tournament on Sunday, France also saw similar tributes on the Paris Metro, where six stops have been temporarily renamed.

Southgate’s popularity led many fans to copy his fashion style during matches of wearing a waistcoat as he watched from the dugout. One retailer said sales of waistcoats had soared during the tournament while the day of the semi-final clash with Croatia was dubbed “Waistcoat Wednesday”.

“Maybe we’ll get a statue next,” said Steve Ingall from TfL.

Read More: Belgium beat England to secure third place finish

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Husky hailed a hero after rescuing seven newborn kittens

A female husky named banner helped rescue seven newborn kittens who had been left to die in a cardboard box in the woods.

Whitney Braley the owner of Banner says that she knew something was up when Banner suddenly became distressed and started to pull on her dress outside their home in Georgia, USA.

‘She had been acting really weird all morning,’ says Whitney. ‘I couldn’t understand what was wrong with her. She wasn’t listening to me when I told her to come, which isn’t like her as she is always very well behaved. ‘I knew something had to be wrong. She was getting really distressed.’

Whitney let Banner lead her to the nearby woods and says that her dog dived straight in after she opened a cardboard box, and pulled out a tiny white kitten.

She was astonished to find six more ‘barely alive’ kittens inside.

And after bringing them back to her house, Whitney says that Banner refused to leave their side – cleaning, cuddling and napping with the cats as if she was their mother.

Whitney says: ‘Someone must have just put them into a cardboard box, closed the lid tight and left them there to die. They probably thought that no one would ever discover them. ‘I don’t even know how Banner knew they were in there. The kittens were freezing and weren’t meowing or anything.

‘She just knew somehow. She is a true hero. If she didn’t find the kittens, they would have all died.

I think they were pretty close to death. They only looked around a day old. ‘It makes me sick that anyone could do that to these tiny innocent animals. It’s so cruel and heartless.’

Whitney says that the dog now like ‘their adopted mum’, who won’t leave their side.

‘She is a really maternal and loving dog. I’ve never met another dog like Banner. The kittens are really lucky. If she didn’t find them, there is no way they would have made it. ‘I’m so happy that now because of Banner, these kittens will go on to live their lives with loving families. It warms my heart.

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Putin gives World Cup fans visa-free Russia entry all year

Putin World Cup

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin has said that foreign visitors holding “fan ID” cards for the World Cup could have visa-free entry to Russia for the rest of 2018, news agencies reported.

“Foreign supporters who currently have fan IDs will be able to benefit from multiple entries into the Russian Federation without a visa until the end of the year,” agencies quoted him as saying after France’s victory over Croatia in the World Cup final in Moscow.

Fan IDs were previously set to be valid from June 4 to July 25.

According to Russian news agency Sputnik, the Russian leader expressed hope that fans will take advantage of this opportunity and “come to Russia more than once with friends and members of their families.”

Putin has taken part in the closing ceremony of the championship and the ceremony of awarding the winner.

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Rioting case: Accused PML-N workers sent on judicial remand


LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) of Lahore on Monday sent 11 Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) workers on judicial remand, accused in the case of riots in Lahore on the eve of Nawaz’s arrival.

During the case hearing against 11 PML-N workers, the legal counsel of accused maintained that the arrested PML-N workers neither possessed any instrument of terror nor were they present at the site of unrest.

“My clients were apprehended when some of them were out to purchase grocery and others were heading back to their homes,” the counsel stated.

After hearing the arguments, the court sent all the accused to prison on judicial remand.

President PML-N Shehbaz Sharif , former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ayaz Sadiq and other party leaders have been booked by police for allegedly instigating party workers to run riot during the party’s rally held to accord a warm welcome to former premier Nawaz Sharif and his daughter upon their arrival from London.

Lohari police registered a first information report (FIR) against  PML-N leaders. According to the FIR, the PML-N leader instigated party workers to rioting, attacks on security personnel and damaging public and private properties.

The case has been registered under relevant provisions of the law that deal with rioting, attempted murder, and vandalism.

Separately, as many as 20 FIRs were registered against a total of 400 PML-N leaders and workers for holding a rally in Faisalabad in violation of the ECP’s code of conduct and without permission.

Sharif along with his daughter landed at Allama Iqbal International Airport late Friday night from where they were taken to Islamabad on a private plane before being shifted to Adiala jail in a convoy of security vehicles.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) arrested them as they returned from London via Abu Dhabi to face prison. Judicial magistrate Wasim Ahmed executed the warrants issued by Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir for their arrest.



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‘World needs 43,000 more planes in next 20 years to meet booming demand’

world planes

LONDON: The world needs to produce 43,000 new aircraft over the next two decades to meet booming demand, Boeing’s CEO forecast here on Sunday.

Dennis Muilenberg, chief executive of the US aerospace giant, revealed the outlook upgrade to reporters in London before the sector’s Farnborough Air Show starting Monday.

“We continue to see the aerospace market grow very strongly,” said Muilenberg.

“We see $8.1-trillion marketplace in the next ten years” for commercial, defence and services, he added.

“We further increased our estimates in the next 20 years.

“We expect the world to need roughly 43,000 new commercial airplanes. That’s up from last year’s estimates.”

Boeing will publish exact details of its latest outlook on Tuesday, the second day of the Farnborough event held southwest of London.

European arch-rival Airbus had forecast last week that the world’s passenger fleet would more than double to 48,000 aircraft over the next 20 years, on the back of keen demand from emerging economies and low-cost airlines.

In a revised market outlook, Airbus had put the value of nearly 37,400 new aircraft required to meet global demand at $5.8 trillion by 2037.

In 2017, Airbus had estimated the world would need 35,000 new planes by 2036, valued at $5.3 trillion.

Airbus and Boeing meanwhile continue their head-to-head dogfight at the biennial Farnborough event, locked in a battle for lucrative multi-billion-dollar jet orders.

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‘Thank you, heroes’ – press hail Croatian team

Croatia team hailed

ZAGREB: Croatian media on Monday hailed  their team as heroes after the small country’s historic success in reaching the World Cup final where France beat them 4-2.

“Thank you, heroes! – You gave us everything!” read the Sportske Novosti frontpage.

“‘Vatreni’ (the “Fiery Ones” in Croatian), you are the biggest, you are our pride, your names will remain written in gold forever!” the newspaper said.

It showed a photo of captain Luka Modric who was awarded the Golden Ball for the best player at the tournament, holding a trophy, although with a sad face after the defeat.

“Brave hearts – You made us proud,” said Jutarnji List daily.

“Croatia celebrates you, you are our gold!” echoed the Vecernji List.

It noted that for the past month coach Zlatko Dalic’s team “made Croatia better”.

“They restored pride, pulled it out of the pessimism” reigning in the country whose economy remains among the weakest in the European Union.

More than 100,000 red-and-white-painted Croatian fans were expected to welcome the squad home later Monday in the capital Zagreb.

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Obama visits Kenyan home to launch youth centre


WASHINGTON: Former US president Barack Obama recounted fond memories of his family home in Kenya  on a visit Monday to launch a state-of-the-art youth centre run by his half-sister.

Obama is on his first trip to Kenya since he was president in 2015, when he was unable to visit his ancestral home as his jet was too big to land in the western city of Kisumu, he recalled.

“It is a joy to be back with so many people who are family to me, and so many people who claim to be family. Everybody’s a cousin!” he joked, to hoots of laughter from the audience.

After a visit to the home of his step-grandmother Sarah Obama in the village of Kogelo, where his father was born and is buried, Obama recalled his first trip to Kenya at the age of 27.

From Nairobi he took first a “very slow train” and then a bus with “some chickens in my lap and some sweet potatoes digging into my side”. Then he had to pile into a matatu — a minibus taxi — “even more crowded than the bus”, before a long walk to “Mama” Sarah’s house.

He remembered having to catch a chicken for dinner, which he was “a little squeamish” to kill himself, visiting his father’s grave and bathing outdoors.

“And I looked up at the stars and… it gave me a sense of satisfaction that no five-star hotel could ever provide,” he said.

Obama was speaking at the launch of the Sauti Kuu (Swahili for “Strong Voices”) centre set up by his half-sister Auma Obama.

He said that looking back on those memories, he “couldn’t be prouder of what my sister has built”.

Auma said the state-of-the-art centre would give local youth access to books, internet and sporting activities.

They will also be able to benefit from classes on work ethics, civic education, environmental conservation and financial literacy.

The centre includes an international standard size football pitch sponsored by the German ministry of development cooperation, a basketball court funded by the Giants of Africa Foundation and other facilities, including a library and IT lab.

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‘Dhuwan’ fame actor Ashir Azeem is now a ‘proud’ truck driver in Canada

Dhuwan Ashir Azeem truck driver

Famed for his popular 1994 drama ‘Dhuwan’ that audience still cherish, Ashir Azeem is living a different life altogether, and to your surprise, he is no more affiliated with the showbiz world to make his ends meet.

In a recent social media post, Azeem apprised that he has left Pakistan because ‘he was disappointed.’

Dhuwan Ashir Azeem truck driver

Dhuwan Ashir Azeem truck driver

In his actual words: “I left the country coz I got disappointed. Not with Sharifs or Zardaris, yeh to hamesha Esay hi thay, but with the people. Log asool ki baat nahin karte, asool pe nahin larte, asool par hanste hain. They will always hv Sharifs n Zardaris n Raos only names will change.”

And somebody also asked him to verify a social media post claiming him to be a truck driver in Canada. The actor didn’t feel hesitant to make his new occupation a secret. “I drive a truck in Canada and I am proud of it,” he said in response to the user.

PTV drama serial Dhuwan was aired in 1994 and it had virtually become a household item then. Written by Ashir Azeem and directed by Sajjad Ahmed, it was an action-packed story of five friends who join to form a crack team of police commandos tackling criminal activities as vigilantes in Quetta.

Azeem wrote the script for Dhuwan during his time at the Civil Services Academy where he met several police personnel. Being inexperienced at writing scripts for television, Azeem initially wrote the story in the form of a novel and later developed it into a formal script on the advice of a television executive. It is believed that the drama’s popularity even compelled the Pakistani youth to join up with the police in serving the country.

Before you leave, don’t miss to check this out 👇

Nostalgia alert: Dhuwan drama cast – then and now


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Shehbaz seeks ‘reasonable’ facilities for Nawaz in jail

Nawaz Shehbaz

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif on Monday wrote a letter to caretaker Prime Minister Justice (retd) NasiruL Mulk requesting him to issue directives for provision of proper facilities to his brother Nawaz Sharif in Adiala Jail.

In the letter, he stated that he noted during his visit to the former premier that he was not being given a newspaper. He has been given a mattress while washroom at his disposal was a shambles, he added.

Shehbaz complained that there is no air conditioner in his elder brother’s cell nor are there proper medical facilities.

He said his brother had a history of diabetic and heart complications and therefore needed timely medical attention and medicines.

He demanded that the ex-PM’s doctor should be permitted to visit him twice a day to examine his health.

It may mentioned here that the Punjab government has notified ‘Better Class’ category for Sharif and his son-in-law retired Captain Safdar in Adiala jail on their request while Maryam Nawaz didn’t apply for the better class.

According to the B-Class category, the PML-N supreme leader and his son-in-law will have facilities of small table and chair, a mattress, ceiling fan, 21-inch TV and a newspaper.

Capt Safdar, who was arrested on July 08, had already been availing better class facilities in the jail since he was a former military officer and a former parliamentarian.

Maryam Nawaz, however, didn’t apply for the B-Class facilities. In a letter, she wrote: “I was offered to apply for better class facilities by the superintendant of the jail, as per the rules that I refused of my own will. This is purely my own decision, taken without any pressure from anyone.”

PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif, his mother, nephew Hamza Shehbaz and other family members met Nawaz and Maryam in Adiala prison on Saturday evening.

The meeting took place in the room of jail superintendent amid tight security and lasted more than two hours.

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Ex-minister backs new Brexit vote as eurosceptics pressure May

British Prime Minister Theresa May drew fire from all sides Monday over her Brexit strategy as a former minister described it as a ‘fudge’ and called for a second EU referendum, and eurosceptics readied a parliamentary challenge.

Former education secretary Justine Greening, who opposed Brexit, said May´s plan to follow European Union rules on trade in goods without being able to influence them was “the worst of both worlds”.

Noting the deep divisions in government and parliament on the way forward, Greening said the decision must be put to voters — becoming the most senior member of May´s Conservative party to back the idea.

“The only solution is to take the final Brexit decision out of the hands of deadlocked politicians, away from the backroom deals, and give it back to the people,” she wrote in an article in The Times.

May has repeatedly ruled out a second referendum, after Britons voted by 52 percent for Brexit in 2016, but Greening´s support for a so-called People´s Vote will give the campaign a huge boost.

Her intervention is also another blow for May´s plan for close ties with the EU, which had already come under fire from Conservatives who want a clean break.

Two top ministers, Boris Johnson and David Davis, quit in protest last week followed by a string of junior walkouts, including another on Monday.

Eurosceptics will have a chance to show their strength in the House of Commons late Monday by voting on amendments to a bill setting up a new customs regime after Brexit, which would effectively wreck May´s plan.

They are not expected to pass, as the opposition Labour party will not support them, but will show how many MPs are prepared to publicly oppose the prime minister.

Meanwhile May will also test her plan with the EU this week, with Brexit negotiations due to resume in Brussels on Monday and the other 27 leaders due to hold their first talks on the proposal on Friday.

Split the party

The prime minister this weekend defended her plan, saying there was no alternative that protected trade in goods with the EU and avoided border checks in Ireland.

She insisted it would allow Britain to control migration, end the jurisdiction of EU courts and forge its own trade policy — despite US President Donald Trump saying it could ‘kill’ a US-UK trade deal.

But eurosceptics believe it keeps Britain too close to the EU, and Davis, the former Brexit secretary, warned in the Financial Times on Monday it would deny the government the “freedom to run our own economy”.

“It would be profoundly dangerous to leave the EU but remain subject to regulations made by institutions in which we have no say,” he wrote.

In an article in the Mail on Sunday, May urged eurosceptics to keep their “eyes on the prize”, warning: “If we don´t, we risk ending up with no Brexit at all.”

Pro-Europeans are also unhappy, including with the plan for loose ties with the EU on Britain´s dominant services sector, and former prime minister Tony Blair said it would lead to a “confused outcome”.

Some MPs have tabled an amendment to the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill, also known as the customs bill, seeking a new customs union with the EU, which May has strongly rejected.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the powerful European Research Group of eurosceptic Conservative MPs, warned May´s approach would split her party.

He accused the prime minister of never having given up her support for staying in the EU, telling the BBC on Sunday she was “a Remainer who has remained a Remainer”.

Rees-Mogg said she still had time to change course, but said the current plan would only go through parliament with the support of opposition votes.

“The inevitable consequence of the parliamentary arithmetic is that she will need to change it to keep the party united,” he told BBC television.

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Tax Amnesty scheme not yielding good out-turn in Punjab: Chairman FBR

LAHORE: Ruksana Yasmin, chairperson Federal Board Revenue (FBR), lamented on Monday that tax amnesty scheme is not producing appreciable results in Punjab except Lahore.

She was addressing a ceremony organized in connection with tax amnesty scheme and noted that encouraging response was received only from Karachi and Lahore. Despite extending the date of amnesty scheme, the other big cities of Punjab like Gujranwala, Multan, Sialkot and Faislabad produced disappointing results, she added.

“The sum of whole Punjab’s revenue, in accordance with tax amnesty scheme, is equivalent to Karachi’s,” she remarked.

Chairperson FBR shed light on the number of people who have benefited from tax amnesty scheme so far, “Before June 30, we used to receive four thousand calls on daily basis and 50 to 53 thousand people benefited from the scheme during that time but since then only two thousand haev been added to that list.”

Ruksana Yasmin further recounted that all issues related to the system including State Bank and dollar exchange rate have been resolved, yet outcome is below par.

“Amnesty scheme is a good initiative considering the poor situation of our economy,” she stressed while adding that the deadline of amnesty scheme will not be extended again.

“Those who do not take advantage of tax amnesty scheme till specified period will not be spared,” FBR head warned.



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Election in PS-87 Karachi postponed after death of TLP candidate

Election postponed PS-87 Malir Karachi elections 2018

KARACHI: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday notified postponement of election in PS-87 Malir, Karachi after death of a candidate belonging to religious party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

Sharif Ahmed Khan, son of Latif Ahmed Khan, of the TLP passed away, prompting postponement of the polls on the provincial assembly seat due on July 25.

Karachi PS-87 elections malir postponed elections 2018

At least 11 independent candidates are vying for the seat among total of of 23 candidates.

The candidates contesting for seat are: Abdul Qadir Shar (IND), Abdul Khalil Brohi (PML-N), Farzana Parveen (Jannat Pakistan Party), Ghulam Muhammad Javed (Sindh United Party), Hamdullah (MMA), Khair Muhammad Magsi (IND), Khalida Ateeb (MQM), Mahir Ali Shah (IND), Mubarak Gabol (IND), Muhmmad Essa Jokhio (IND), Muhammad Naveed Shahid (IND), Muhammad Sadiq (IND), Muhammad Sajid (PPP), Nazar Ali Magsi (IND), Nazeer Ahmed (IND), Pervez (IND), Qadir Bux Khan Gabol (PTI), Saiqa Noor (ANP), Sharif Ahmed Khan ‘late’ (TLP), Shaukat Ali Jutt (IND), Syed Ayaz Ali Shah (IND), Wali ur Rehman (Grand Democratic Alliance) and Zubair Jan (Pak Sarzameen Party).

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Rolls-Royce plans for take-off in flying taxi market

FARNBOROUGH, England: British jet engine maker Rolls-Royce has designed a propulsion system for a flying taxi and is starting a search for partners to help develop a project it hopes could take to the skies as soon as early next decade.

Rolls-Royce said on Sunday it had drawn up plans for an electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle, or flying taxi, which could carry four to five people at speeds of up to 250 miles per hour for approximately 500 miles.

The company, which makes engines for planes, helicopters and ships, joins a variety of companies racing to develop flying taxis, which could revolutionize the way people travel.

Long the stuff of science fiction and futuristic cartoons such as “The Jetsons”, aviation and technology leaders are working to make electric-powered flying taxis a reality, including Airbus, U.S. ride-sharing firm Uber and a range of start-ups including one backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, called Kitty Hawk.

Rolls-Royce’s design will be showcased in digital format at the Farnborough Airshow, which starts on Monday. The company is looking for an airframer and a partner to provide aspects of the electrical system to help commercialize the project.

“The initial concept vehicle uses gas turbine technology to generate electricity to power six electric propulsors specially designed to have a low noise profile,” the company said, adding the design used its existing M250 gas turbine.

Rolls’s design would not require re-charging because the battery is charged by the gas turbine, it said, adding it could use existing infrastructures such as heliports and airports.

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Pak, Iran army chiefs discuss defence cooperation

Pakistan, Iran army chiefs

RAWALPINDI: A high-level security delegation led by Chief of General Staff of Iranian Armed Forces Major General Dr Mohammad Bagheri called on Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday at General Headquarters, Rawalpindi. 

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), matters concerning mutual interest, regional security, defence cooperation and Pak-Iran border management came under discussion during the meeting.

The army chief emphasized the need for further enhancing military to military cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries.

He said that enhanced cooperation between Pakistan and Iran will have positive impact on peace and security in the region.

The Iranian army chief pledged to keep working for better relations between the two brotherly countries. He also condemned recent terror attacks in Pakistan.

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