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  1. Today
  2. PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri addressing the Mall Road rally in Lahore on January 17, 2018 ? Online A high-level meeting led by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has taken a decision to place the name of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri on the exit control list (ECL), sources revealed to Geo News on Thursday. During the meeting, cases pending against Dr Qadri were discussed. The meeting was attended by Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif and adviser to the prime minister on finance Miftah Ismail. Qadri is nominated in several cases of terrorism related to the violence during the 2014 dharna (sit-in) in Islamabad. The cases are ongoing in an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad where Qadri has been declared a proclaimed offender due to his continuous absence.
  3. A pair of Australian swimmers on Thursday became the first people to be rescued in the ocean by a drone when the aerial lifesaver dropped a safety device to distressed teens caught in rough seas. Photo: AFP SYDNEY: A pair of Australian swimmers on Thursday became the first people to be rescued in the ocean by a drone when the aerial lifesaver dropped a safety device to distressed teens caught in rough seas. Australia is leading the use of the technology in surf lifesaving, with dozens of drones being trialled on beaches around the country. In what is believed to be a world-first drone surf rescue, two boys on Thursday got caught in three-metre (10-foot) swells while swimming off Lennox Head in New South Wales, near the border with Queensland. Beachgoers onshore raised the alarm to the lifeguards who then alerted the drone pilot, and the aerial lifesaver was deployed in moments. "I was able to launch it, fly it to the location, and drop the pod all in about one to two minutes," lifeguard supervisor Jai Sheridan told the Gold Coast Bulletin. "On a normal day that would have taken our lifeguards a few minutes longer to reach the members of the public." Other than a little weary from their experience the pair were reportedly unharmed. Along with their ability to spot swimmers in trouble and deliver life-saving devices faster than traditional lifesaving techniques, like launching surfboards or rubber dinghies, drones are being used in Australia to spot underwater predators like sharks and jellyfish. Artificial intelligence is being developed using thousands of images captured by a drone camera to build an algorithm that can identify different ocean objects. The software can differentiate between sea creatures, like sharks which it can recognise with more than 90 percent accuracy, compared to about 16 percent with the naked eye. Some beaches in Australia have shark nets, but a government report last year called for their phasing out in favour of exploring a range of alternatives, including sonar technology and aerial patrols. The inquiry found that nets did not guarantee public safety any more than other deterrents but caused significant damage to marine life.
  4. Illness rules Josh Hazlewood out of second ODI v England SYDNEY: Australian quick Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out of Friday´s second one-day international against England in Brisbane with illness, while gloveman Alex Carey has been called up to cover for Tim Paine. The Aussies lost the first of the five-match series against the tourists in Melbourne last Sunday, and with Hazelwood Thursday determined too unwell to play, paceman Jhye Richardson appears set to make his debut on a Gabba pitch expected to provide plenty for fast bowlers. "You´re always confident as an Australian batsman when you come and look at this wicket, that´s for sure," Australian vice captain David Warner told Cricket Australia´s official website on Wednesday. "It´s always got good bounce and carry for the bowlers as well." Hazlewood is among several players in both the Australian and English locker rooms to be hit by illness in recent weeks, with team mates Paine, Warner, Steve Smith and Patrick Cummins all stuck down by a bug. England Test captain Joe Root suffered through stomach problems during the Ashes test series, while batsman James Vince has also been affected during the tour. Paine remains in doubt for Friday´s clash, with Carey on standby, after he made a dashing century off just 56 balls for the Adelaide Strikers in Australia´s Twenty20 Big Bash League Wednesday, to beat the Hobart Hurricanes. The 26-year-old, who was previously floated as a potential wicketkeeper for the Ashes, is set to make his international ODI debut if Paine is not cleared to play. "He´s taken his game to another level," Australia opener Aaron Finch told reporters. "To come out this year when there was a lot of talk about the Ashes´ keeping spot -- and who was going to play -- the way that he put his hand up and has continued to do so for such a young guy is really impressive." Squads Australia: Steve Smith (capt), David Warner, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Cameron White, Adam Zampa. England: Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
  5. Axact?s call centre agents are impersonating govt officials to extort ?legalisation fees? from fake degree holders, reveals report published in Gulf News After tricking thousands of unsuspecting people into buying fake degrees, the fake diploma mill Axact is now conning its victims again, reveals an investigative report published in Gulf News. According to the leading Dubai-based publication, Axact?s call centre agents are impersonating UAE government officials to extort ?legalisation fees? from fake degree and diploma holders in the country. [embed_video1 url= style=center] Speaking in an Emirati accent, Axact?s telesale agents are calling clients and demanding thousands of dollars from degree holders towards the ?legalisation fees? of their certificates. And since they use spoofing techniques which allow them to mimic any phone number -- complete with area code -- the recipients are deceived into believing that the calls are legitimate, the report reveals. The report narrates experiences of some of Axact?s victims. A South African expat in Dubai, who forked out thousands of dollars for an academic certificate, received a call from a man claiming to be a Dubai Police officer, in which he threatened him to remit $5,000 to the university towards degree ?legalisation fee? or face action. ?When I called back [the number] that showed up on my cellphone it was answered by someone at Dubai Police Headquarters. Initially, I got scared and thought it was indeed them who had called but then I found out it was a scam so I ignored their subsequent calls,? he said. Another resident who was duped, a medical technologist in Al Ain, sold all her jewellery out of fear to raise almost $70,000 of which $30,000 was remitted to Axact the very night she got a call from an agent claiming to be a representative of the UAE embassy in the US. Speaking fluent Arabic, the agent threatened the woman with legal action if she did not immediately pay the amount to cancel her many degrees and get an accredited one from a Sharjah university. The victim had bought 18 degrees from various Axact-run universities over three years for $60,000 to get a promotion, the report states. Axact sold fake degrees to thousands of UK citizens: BBC One British citizen spent as much as £500,000 on bogus documents from Axact, says BBC report Axact claims to be the "world's largest IT company" and operates hundreds of fake online universities run by agents from a Karachi-based call centre. In 2015, it sold more than 215,000 fake qualifications globally through approximately 350 fictitious high schools and universities, making $51m (£37.5m) that year alone. Axact's chief executive was arrested and an investigation launched by the Pakistani authorities after a New York Times expose in 2015. A senior manager of the company, Umair Hamid, was sentenced to 21 months in a US prison in August 2017 for his part in Axact's fraud.
  6. Donald Trump - File photo WASHINGTON: At loggerheads with much of the US news media since his election, Trump finally doled out his "Fake News Awards" after weeks of speculation, recognizing what he had called "the most corrupt & biased of the Mainstream Media." Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman, who writes a regular opinion column -- not news articles -- for The New York Times, nabbed the number one spot. The administration said he merited the award for writing "on the day of President Trump's historic, landslide victory that the economy would never recover." Following the former reality star's stunning rise to power, Krugman had written that Trump's inexperience on economic policy and unpredictability risked further damaging the weak global economy. The list also pointed to an error from ABC's veteran reporter Brian Ross, who was suspended for four weeks without pay after he was forced to correct a bombshell report on ex-Trump aide Michael Flynn. In follow-up tweets to his "Fake News" announcement, the commander-in-chief posted that "despite some very corrupt and dishonest media coverage, there are many great reporters I respect and lots of GOOD NEWS for the American people to be proud of!" "Together there is nothing we can´t overcome -- even a very biased media. We ARE Making America Great Again!" 'Reflexive slurs' Quoting figures from the International Federation of Journalists which reported the deaths of more than 80 journalists last year, Flake said Trump's "reflexive slurs" were an affront to their sacrifice. From his longtime questioning of Barack Obama's birth certificate to his dismissal of what US intelligence agrees was a Russian effort to sway the 2016 election as a "hoax," Flake accused Trump of weakening trust in American institutions -- while emboldening despots around the world. Citing the examples of Syria's Bashar al-Assad, the Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte or Venezuela´s Nicolas Maduro, who all employed the term "fake news" in recent months, he accused Trump of encouraging brutal and authoritarian regimes to persecute the press. "This feedback loop is disgraceful, Mr President," Flake said. "Not only has the past year seen an American president borrow despotic language to refer to the free press, but it seems he has now in turn inspired dictators and authoritarians with his own language." Earlier in the day, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders had pushed back at Flake´s criticism, suggesting the senator was simply "looking for some attention" -- and accusing him of defending the "oppressive Cuban government" during a recent trip to the communist-ruled island. While Flake's combative stance was not echoed by the Republican mainstream, it was mirrored by his Arizona colleague and fellow Trump critic McCain, in an opinion piece for The Washington Post entitled "Mr President, stop attacking the press." "Whether Trump knows it or not, these efforts are being closely watched by foreign leaders who are already using his words as cover as they silence and shutter one of the key pillars of democracy," McCain warned. Citing the Committee to Protect Journalists, McCain noted that 2017 was one of the most dangerous years on record for the profession, with 262 journalists jailed over their work -- 21 of them on charges of "fake news."
  7. Sana Mir/File photo Former Pakistan Women Cricket captain Sana Mir has urged authorities to ensure child protection in sports, after the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl in Kasur triggered an outcry of protest and demands for justice against the culprits. ?I request all child protection commissions formed to make sure that kids in sports are protected also. Child protection law to be made mandatory for all sports boards, childhandlers, organisers, clubs, coaches, doctors, trainers etc #JusticeForZainab #ChildrensRights,? Mir tweeted on Thursday. The all-rounder went on to say that children in sports mostly come from some of the most vulnerable areas of the country. ?Child Protection has to be dealt with same seriousness in sports if not more as anti corruption and anti doping,? she added. The Kasur tragedy triggered a countrywide movement for justice with the hashtag #JusticeForZainab, as the civil society rallied in cities and towns across the country demanding swift action against the culprit and the need to ensure implementation of child abuse laws. Pakistan criminalised child sexual abuse for the first time in 2016 after media unearthed a paedophilia scandal in the infamous city of Kasur in 2015. But with *** education nonexistent in the country, experts fear that an untold number of abuse cases continue to go unreported.
  8. Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervaiz Khattak visited on Thursday the bereaved family of three-year-old Asma, who was allegedly raped then murdered in Mardan. Photo: Geo News screen grab1 MARDAN: Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervaiz Khattak visited the bereaved family of four-year-old Asma on Thursday. The minor was allegedly raped then murdered in Mardan. The CM assured the family that all possible help will be extended to them. Moreover, District Nazim Himayatullah Mayar has demanded that authorities add clauses of rape and terrorism in the case and arrest the suspects within 24 hours. Post-mortem points to rape before murder of minor in Mardan: IG KP Aasma went missing on Jan 13 from the Gujjar Garhi area of Mardan and was found the next day after efforts by police and family, the IG said Asma went missing on January 13 from the Gujjar Garhi area and was found the next day at 3pm after efforts by the police and the family, KP IG Salahuddin Mehsud said on Wednesday. The body was reportedly found in sugarcane fields. While speaking to media, Mehsud confirmed that the minor girl found dead in Mardan's Gujar Garhi area was strangled to death, but added that the post-mortem report points towards sexual assault. ?Looks like the culprit?s intention was to sexually assault [the minor],? he told media while detailing the incident. The minor?s post-mortem also shows signs of torture, the IG said.
  9. Agni-V on display during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on January 26, 2013 India test-fired its nuclear-capable long-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) ?Agni-V?, the Indian Defence Ministry said on Thursday. The Agni-V, believed to be India's most advanced ICBM, was fired Thursday morning on Abdul Kalam island off the coast of the eastern state of Odisha. "We have successfully launched nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-V today," Indian media quoted defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman as saying. The ministry called the test a "major boost" to the country's defense capabilities. The Agni-V was last tested on December 26, 2016, which was then described as its fourth and final experimental test. Once the Agni-V is inducted, India will join an exclusive list of countries with ICBMs (missiles with a range of over 5,000-5,500km) alongside the US, Russia, China, France and the UK.
  10. LUCKNOW: An eight-year-old boy was shot and killed in police crossfire in northern India, an officer said Thursday. Madhav Bharadwaj was playing with friends in Uttar Pradesh state when he was shot dead in front of his grandfather late Wednesday. Police said they went into the boy´s village on a tip-off that suspected robbers were hiding out there, and it was unclear who fired the bullet that struck him. Villagers, however, told local media that only police were shooting. "Three policemen came to the village and asked the (suspects) to gather at the terrace of a nearby temple for a talk. But suddenly the cops began firing," the boy´s grandfather told the Times of India newspaper. "My poor grandson was playing nearby and got hit. I froze for a moment. I was unable to understand what had happened." Rajesh Kumar Sonker, a superintendent of police in Mathura district where the incident took place, told AFP an investigation was under way. "We are probing the case and will soon get to know how the child got hit and killed," he said. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath offered his condolences to the family and compensation of 500,000 rupees ($7,835). The state has one of the highest crime rates in India, an issue that Adityanath pledged to tackle with tough policing when he was named chief minister last March. Rights groups have however accused him of abusing his power after he reportedly said at a rally that criminals would "either be sent to jail or killed in police encounters". Police in Uttar Pradesh and other Indian states have been accused of faking "encounters" with suspects to carry out extrajudicial killings. "It has observed that even if the law and order situation is grave, the state cannot resort to such mechanism, which may result in the extrajudicial killings of the alleged criminals," India´s National Human Rights Commission said in a statement responding to Adityanath´s comments. Uttar Pradesh police have killed 33 people since Adityanath came to power according to figures in the Indian Express newspaper.
  11. A still from ?Padmaavat? The Indian Supreme Court on Thursday lifted the ban on the highly anticipated epic ?Padmaavat? in four states, paving way for its all-India release on January 25. The controversial movie, which stars Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, was banned in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, prompting its makers to move the top court against the ban. Giving its green signal to the movie, the Supreme Court said that the decision of the states violated Article 21, which guarantees personal liberty. The court added that it was the duty of the state to provide security to all those persons who are going to watch the film. Padmaavat is based on the poem Padmavat, written by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi in the 15th century. The ballad narrates the tale of the beautiful Rani Padmini of Chittor (played by Deepika) and Turkish invader Alauddin Khilji's (Ranveer) pursuit of her. The film angered many after the Shree Rajput Karni Sena alleged it distorted historical facts related to the Rajput community. Deepika-starrer Padmaavat banned in four Indian states Padmaavat was earlier slated for release on Dec 1, but it was deferred amid controversy it stirred up in India Controversial Haryana BJP leader Suraj Pal Amu, who had quit as party's chief media coordinator in November, had led protests against the film and even offered 10 crore as "reward to behead" Bhansali and the film's lead actor Deepika Padukone. Padmaavat was earlier slated for release on December 1, but the studio had to defer it amid the controversy the film stirred up in sections of the country.
  12. Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif while addressing the National Assembly on January 18, 2017. Photo: Geo News screen grab1 ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, while speaking in the National Assembly on Thursday, lashed out at the opposition leaders for criticising the parliament in their joint rally a day earlier. ?All limits were crossed in the [joint opposition] rally,? he remarked, adding that the ?frustrations? of the opposition leaders knew no bounds. He said that the leaders should be brought before a parliamentary committee of National Assembly. ?They should be summoned, and if they still don?t come then arrest them and bring them here [assembly]. Want an end to 'sultanate of Sharifs', says Qadri The PAT chief laments that rights of the people are being usurped and national treasury plundered in the country Decisions aren?t made in rallies but in the parliament. They [opposition leaders] have attacked the parliament and hurled abuses. You can never come to power continuing on this path. You have abused the parliament you want to use to come to power,? he said. ?Parliament has given you the respect that you have today. Votes were cast in your favour in order for you to become a member of this parliament,? he said. Otherwise, ?what respect do they have? They have changed their parties six to seven times. They have no conscience, they have no shame.? Parliament is an important law-making institution, Asif remarked, adding ?If we don?t respect then no other institution will. If those who drive strength from the institution resort to abusing it, then no other institution will respect it.? The foreign minister also said that this is the ?lowest point of politics? and it has left the ?nation?s head hanging in shame.? Asif further said: ?Elections are about to be held and everyone has the right to hold campaigns. They have the right to motivate their supporters but they hurled abuses. They have brought back shamelessness.? Taking a jibe at Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Tahir-ul-Qadri, who led the joint opposition rally demanding justice for victims of Model Town incident, Asif remarked: ?He has no relation with Pakistan. He is exploiting religion and has made a mockery of the religion.? Parliament is supreme, says opposition leader Reiterating Asif?s claims pertaining to protecting the sanctity of the parliament, Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah said that parliament is a supreme institution. ?I can?t even repeat the words used against the parliament [in the joint opposition rally],? he said while addressing the NA on Thursday. ?Shame on everyone who uses that word. Parliament empowered us to demand and fight for our rights. Parliament made the country an atomic power. Parliament is the country?s last hope.? He also said that the political parties engage in a ?battle? over fighting votes and coming to the National Assembly. ?Nawaz Sharif [chief of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz] insults the institutions of the country. Imran Khan insults the institutions of the country,? he said claiming that no member of Pakistan Peoples Party has ever criticised any institution. ?We didn?t criticise the institutions even when our sitting prime minister was dismissed within seconds. We love Pakistan and its institutions,? he remarked. Imran slams NA for electing 'criminal' as party chief While addressing the joint opposition rally on Wednesday, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan lambasted the parliament for allowing a 'criminal' to be elected as a party president. Imran flays parliament for allowing 'criminal' to become party chief 'Both [Sharif] brothers are fascists, they are not even remotely democratic,' says Imran "I curse the parliament that made a criminal the president of a party," he said, in an apparent reference to Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz's (PML-N) decision to elect ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif as its president. ?The two [Sharif] brothers are responsible for the Model Town incident,? said Imran. ?I can say without beyond a shadow of a doubt that it [Model Town incident] was done on orders received by the police.? He accused the Sharif brothers of being ?fascists? and claimed that they are not even ?remotely democratic.? ?I know them since the past forty years,? he said. ?They get people roughed up.?
  13. Past hour
  14. Maria Sharapova beat Anastasija Sevastova 6-1, 7-6 (7/4) to storm into third round MELBOURNE: Unseeded Maria Sharapova Thursday showed she is a serious contender for the Australian Open by swatting aside a 14th seed who had given her major trouble in the past. Sharapova, back in the top 50 after a 15-month doping ban, demonstrated all the shot-making that made her a five-time major winner as she destroyed gritty Anastasija Sevastova 6-1, 7-6 (7/4) on Rod Laver Arena. The Russian, who faces Angelique Kerber next in a mouth-watering clash of former Australian Open champions, warned she was still improving less than a year after her comeback last April. "She´s had success here," she said of Kerber, the 2016 title winner. "She´s had success playing out here in these conditions on these courts. I want to see where I am on that level." The Latvian had thwarted the Russian´s Grand Slam comeback in the last 16 of the US Open last year. In their next encounter in Beijing Sevastova was only denied after more than three gruelling hours in a titanic three-setter. On Thursday, it was a different story as Sharapova sped through a sizzling first set in just 23 minutes for the loss of only nine points. "I played really well at the net, finished the balls off with a swing volley or good volley," she said. "Something I´ve been working on, and definitely improved in the match today." Sevastova characteristically fought back in the second but the only time the 2008 Australian Open champion and crowd-favourite wobbled was when serving for the match. "She never really lets up," Sharapova said. "But I got through it. I did the job in two, and that´s not something I did, you know, towards the end of last year. "I think that´s an improvement." Dramatic demolition As temperatures soared towards 40 Celsius (104 Farenheit) on the hottest day of the tournament so far, it was a dramatic demolition. The Latvian, who reached back-to-back quarter-finals at the US Open in 2016 and 2017, briefly woke up to break the Sharapova serve for the first time early in the second set. The jolt to the Sharapova juggernaut was evident and she began to make unforced errors as service holds and breaks were exchanged. At 4-4 a backhand winner got Sharapova to break point and when a second screamer followed it was greeted by a double-fist pump from the Russian. But still Sevastova was not done and broke back again to force a tiebreak. Sharapova regathered and was not to be denied as she hit a scarcely believable forehand crosscourt winner on the run to get to 5-2 before closing out the match with a scream of joy, a fist pump and a huge smile. "I did my job in two sets against someone that´s been troubling in the past for me. I think I deserve to smile out there after that victory," said Sharapova. Sharapova, one of the highest earners in women´s sport, suffered a string of early defeats after her comeback but has been working her way back up the rankings since. She broke through to win the Tianjin Open in October -- her first title since 2015 -- and enjoyed a run to the semi-final in Shenzhen to start the year.
  15. Many foreign policy professionals have set up alerts so their phones buzz in their pockets whenever Trump insults a foreign leader or issues a vague threat of war - but not Tillerson WASHINGTON: When US President Donald Trump launches into one of his tweetstorms it sometimes seems like the diplomatic world is gasping in unison -- but not Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Many foreign policy professionals have set up alerts so their phones buzz in their pockets whenever the commander-in-chief insults a foreign leader or issues a vague threat of war. But not Tillerson, Washington´s chief diplomat and arguably the man who has the toughest job clearing the air after Trump sets off another diplomatic incident with a social media rant. Tillerson is not on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. When Trump sends a tweet on world affairs a State Department aide prints it and brings it to the secretary for later perusal. At least, that is how he explained things to his friend and predecessor Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday in a chat after a speech at Stanford University in California. Rice asked Tillerson a question he gets asked all the time: how can he handle US foreign policy with Trump constantly stirring the pot with his undiplomatic tweets? Tillerson´s reply went into more detail than usual -- although he again insisted that he has no problem with Trump´s remarks and sees them as an opportunity to communicate his vision. "He´s world class in social media, and I´m not," 65-year-old former oilman Tillerson admitted. "I have no social media account, I´ve never had any and I don´t intend to have any." "It is a great tool when it is used well. The president has used it at a great effect by by-passing the traditional means of communicating," he told the assembled policy experts. "And he absolutely thrives with his ability to instantly communicate not just to the American people but to our friends and allies or to our adversaries in the entire world." This much has been said before, but surely Tillerson receives a warning before Trump abruptly cancels a planned trip to London or threatens to pull out of the NAFTA trade pact? The answer is not, apparently. Tillerson likes it that way. "I don´t know when he´s going to do that, because that is just the way the president operates," he said. "The challenge is just getting caught up because I don´t even have a Twitter account to follow what he´s tweeting. My staff usually has to print his tweets out and hand them to me." "I´ve actually concluded that´s not a bad system." ´How do we use that?' Tillerson explained that it might be anything up to an hour post tweet that he finds out what Trump has been saying, and that means he can gauge official reaction before responding. "I already have the early reactions to that and it allows me to begin to think about: ´How do we take that?´," he said. "OK, this is information. We know what our objectives are and he didn´t change any of them. This is just the way he wants to communicate on a subject, how do we take that and use it?" Tillerson remains sanguine about Trump´s exotic online monologue, which some critics fear could alienate US allies, despite having fallen foul of it more than once himself. In October last year, Tillerson met senior Chinese leaders in Beijing and afterwards told reporters that he had back channel communications open with Kim Jong-Un´s North Korea. When Tillerson arrived back in Washington he discovered -- presumably on being handed a print out -- that Trump had disavowed his efforts to resolve the nuclear stand-off. "I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man," Trump had tweeted. "Save your energy Rex, we´ll do what needs to be done!"
  16. KADUNA: Kidnappers have abducted two Americans and two Canadians in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna, killing two police officers, a police spokesman said on Wednesday. Kidnappings are rife in Nigeria, where domestic security is weak, though they overwhelmingly target other Nigerians. However, abductions of foreigners are not uncommon. The foreigners were ambushed by unknown gunmen on their way from the town of Kafanchan in Kaduna state to the capital Abuja, Mukhtar Aliyu, a spokesman for the Kaduna state police, said by telephone. Kafanchan is about 3-1/2 hours? drive northeast of Abuja. ?The two police escorts attached to them engaged the kidnappers in a fierce gun battle, which resulted in the unfortunate death of the two police officers,? Aliyu said. The United States embassy in Nigeria declined to comment. Global Affairs Canada is aware of the reports of the kidnapping of two Canadian citizens and consular officials in Nigeria are in contact with local authorities to gather additional information, spokesman John Babcock said. Canada cannot release further details on the case due to privacy concerns, Babcock said. In October, kidnappers took four Britons in Delta state in the south. Three were released after negotiations, but the other, Ian Squire, was killed. The Abuja-Kaduna road has long been a haunt for kidnappers. Last February, two German archaeologists were abducted in the region, though were later freed.
  17. Photo: courtesy ALMATY: Fifty-two people were killed after a bus they were travelling in caught fire in Kazakhstan?s north-western Aktau region, the country?s interior ministry said on Thursday. Only five passengers managed to escape the burning vehicle, the ministry said in a statement, saying it was unclear whether the passengers were Kazakh nationals or citizens from another country.
  18. MULTAN: A seasonal outbreak of influenza claimed another life in Multan on Thursday, taking the death toll to 24. The deceased, a 22-year-old girl hailing from Layyah, was under treatment at Nishtar Hospital, informed the hospital sources. The spokesperson for the Multan?s health department remarked that three more influenza patients have been admitted to Nishtar Hospital in last 24 hours. At least, 197 patients have been admitted to the hospital in last one month, of which 103 were diagnosed with influenza, the spokesperson shared, adding that the doctors are waiting for the reports of eight patients. Influenza has claimed 24 lives in Multan in past one month. Moreover, 25 patients are currently under treatment at the hospital.
  19. [embed_video1 url= style=center] ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on Thursday took to twitter to continue his tirade from where he left off a day earlier at the joint opposition protest rally in Lahore. He posted on Twitter: "When a Parliament, which must protect nation's interests, passes a person-specific law allowing a disqualified person guilty of Rs 3 bn money laundering, tax evasion, concealment of assets, forgery & perjury to become head of a pol party, then such a law is a "laanath" on Parl." He further termed his use of the Urdu damned "a mild word to use" challenging anyone who disagreed with him to conduct a public poll to gauge what people thing of "such a Parliament" going so far as to guaranteeing that most would condemn it. The PTI chairman finally announced he would be addressing a press conference this afternoon in which he would make "explosive revelations". Imran Khan on Wednesday had lambasted the parliament for allowing a 'criminal' to be elected as a party president. "I damn the parliament that made a criminal the president of a party," he said, in an apparent reference to Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz's (PML-N) decision to elect ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif as its president. Imran was addressing a joint opposition protest rally to seek justice for the Model Town tragedy in Lahore.
  20. [embed_video1 url= style=center] RAWALPINDI: Two women were martyred and five people injured as a result of unprovoked Indian firing across the Working Boundary in Sialkot, the army's media wing said on Thursday. According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), five other civilians including three women were injured in the cross-border firing by Indian troops since Wednesday night. The ISPR said the Indian forces targetted the civilian population in Kundanpur Village of Sialkot. Border guards of the Punjab Rangers conducted retaliatory fire and destroyed an Indian force, the ISPR said. Death toll from cross-border Indian firing near Sialkot rises to six ISPR said a total of 26 civilians have been injured, including 15 women and five children Earlier this week on Monday, four soldiers of Pakistan Army embraced martyrdom in unprovoked firing by Indian forces across the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir. The Pakistan Army responded to the attack and killed three Indian soldiers and injured many others, the ISPR had stated. Frequent violations India frequently opens unprovoked fire across the LoC, resulting in the martyrdom of civilians and army officials. On December 25, 2017, three Pakistan Army soldiers were martyred as Indian forces opened fire along the LoC's Rakhchikri sector. One other soldier was injured in the unprovoked firing. According to the Foreign Office, India committed 70 ceasefire violations in the first 12 days of the year and 1,900 in 2017.
  21. RAWALPINDI: Two women were martyred and five people injured as a result of unprovoked Indian firing across the Working Boundary in Sialkot, the army's media wing said on Thursday. According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), five other civilians including three women were injured in the cross-border firing by Indian troops since Wednesday night. The ISPR said the Indian forces targetted the civilian population in Kundanpur Village of Sialkot. Border guards of the Punjab Rangers conducted retaliatory fire and destroyed an Indian force, the ISPR said. Earlier this week on Monday, four soldiers of Pakistan Army embraced martyrdom in unprovoked firing by Indian forces across the LoC in Kashmir. The Pakistan Army responded to the attack and killed three Indian soldiers and injured many others, the ISPR had stated. Frequent violations India frequently opens unprovoked fire across the LoC, resulting in the martyrdom of civilians and army officials. On December 25, 2017, three Pakistan Army soldiers were martyred as Indian forces opened fire along the LoC's Rakhchikri sector. One other soldier was injured in the unprovoked firing. According to the Foreign Office, India committed 70 ceasefire violations in the first 12 days of the year and 1,900 in 2017.
  22. The PM was received by Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Photo: Geo News screen grab LAHORE: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi arrived in Lahore Thursday morning, and is expected to attend Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz meeting later today. Abbasi was accompanied by Federal Minister for Power Awais Leghari, his adviser on finance, revenue, and economic affairs Miftah Ismail, and Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb. The PM was received by Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif. PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif is expected to chair a meeting on party affairs and Balochistan political situation at Jati Umra. 'Balochistan CM issue a disservice to democracy' On January 16, Nawaz Sharif while speaking to media outside accountability remarked: "the Balochistan political issue needs to be taken seriously. "This is a sick joke with the people," said the Pakistan Muslim League-N president, adding that he has summoned a meeting with the party's Baloch leadership on Thursday to find out why this happened. The PML-N chief wondered how a person with 500 votes became the chief minister, adding that "this is a disservice to democracy, Pakistan and its people". PM Abbasi, Shehbaz meet Nawaz Sharif in Lahore PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was received by Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif at Lahore airport Last week, the PML-N government in Balochistan was rocked with a crisis as Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri was forced to resign following a no-confidence motion against him which was supported by some PML-N members. The new chief minister, Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, hails from the PML-Quaid and bagged the 2013 election from Awaran District with around 550 votes due to a boycott by the separatists. PM, Shehbaz meet Nawaz On January 15, the PM had arrived in Lahore after which he called on former premier and Pakistan Muslim League-N chief Nawaz Sharif. Following his arrival, the premier departed for Jati Umra, Nawaz Sharif's residence, along with Shehbaz on a helicopter. Sources said the meeting saw discussions on the country's political situation, party affairs and strategy for the upcoming elections, among other issues. Sources said that later, Federal Railways Minister Saad Rafique joined the meeting, where the party leaders also discussed their plan to deal with the joint opposition protest starting on Wednesday.
  23. ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Sindh Inspector General of Police AD Khawaja will continue on his post. The directions were given during the hearing of the Sindh government's plea challenging an order of the Sindh High Court (SHC) which ruled in September last year that Khawaja would continue as the provincial police chief. During the hearing of the provincial government's appeal, the three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justices Umar Ata Bandiyal and Ijazul Ahsan, restrained the federal government from replacing Khawaja. Sindh government renews efforts to replace IGP AD Khawaja Provincial government suggests three names to replace incumbent police chief The court ruled that any move of the federal government to transfer the IG will have no effect. The IG will also have complete authority to order transfers and postings in the province, the court observed. Moreover, the bench ordered to uphold the SHC order. On September 7 last year, the SHC had dismissed the provincial government's order removing Khawaja and ordered that he complete his due term. Sindh IG AD Khawaja to continue on post, rules SHC IG AD Khawaja had been removed by the provincial govt earlier this year On April 3, the court had dismissed the provincial government?s decision to remove the Sindh police chief after a group of activists approached the SHC challenging his controversial removal. On October 30, Sindh government had challenged the SHC decision in the Supreme Court. On January 10, the federal cabinet approved the Sindh government's request to post Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti as the new IG, according to sources. Since last year, the Sindh government has been attempting to replace Khawaja with an officer of 'its choice'.
  24. Today
  25. Hasan Ali with his trademark celebration In the latest in his long list of accolades, Pakistan?s young sensation Hasan Ali won the International Cricket Council?s (ICC) Emerging Cricketer of the Year award, announced on Thursday. The 23-year-old, currently the top-ranked ODI bowler, finished the year 2017 with an impressive tally of 45 ODI wickets to his name. He was also Player of the Series for his 13 wickets that helped Pakistan to Champions Trophy glory against India. Pakistan?s memorable Champions Trophy 2017 victory was voted as the ICC Fans' Moment of the Year. Afghanistan's young spin wizard Rashid Khan was named ICC Associate Cricketer of the Year. India skipper Virat Kohli swept the ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year title for scoring six tons in the format last year, averaging an astonishing 76.84. The 29-year-old also won the prestigious ICC Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy. India's Yuzvendra Chahal won the ICC T20I Performance of the Year award for his haul of 6/25 against England in Bengaluru. The ICC awarded its Umpire of the Year award to Marais Erasmus. Australia captain Steve Smith bagged the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year award for an awe-inspiring year with the bat. Pakistan all-rounder Hasan Ali and batsman Babar Azam made it to the ICC Men's ODI Team of the Year. The ICC Test Team of the Year included: The ICC #SpiritOfCricket Award went to Anya Shrubsole of England, who won the fans' hearts with her gesture during the Women's World Cup 2017 semi-final against South Africa.
  26. Apple Inc will open a new campus as part of a five-year, $30 billion US investment plan and will make about $38 billion in one-time tax payments on its overseas cash, one of the largest corporate spending plans announced since the passage of a tax cut signed by US President Donald Trump. Photo: file Apple Inc will open a new campus as part of a five-year, $30 billion US investment plan and will make about $38 billion in one-time tax payments on its overseas cash, one of the largest corporate spending plans announced since the passage of a tax cut signed by US President Donald Trump. The company has been under increasing pressure to make US investments since the 2016 presidential campaign when Trump targeted the iPhone maker for making products in Asian factories. While Apple has announced no plans to change that practice and experts say it would be economically impractical to make iPhones in the United States, the company has begun to emphasize its US economic impact, from developers who sell software on its App Store to the tens of billions of dollars per year it spends with U.S. suppliers. Between the spending plan, hiring 20,000 people, tax payments and business with US-based suppliers, Apple on Wednesday estimated it would spend $350 billion in the United States over the next five years. It did not, however, say how much of the plan was new or how much of its $252.3 billion in cash abroad - the largest of any U.S. corporation - it would bring home. In addition to the $38 billion in taxes it must pay, Apple has run up $97 billion in US-issued debt to pay for previous share buybacks and dividends. Some investors said the US investments would give the company room to make more stock buybacks or pay dividends without criticism. Apple shares on Wednesday closed up 1.7 percent to $179.10. Walter Piecyk, managing director for TMT Research at BTIG Research, said he could not yet tell whether the US expansion was an increase from a previous plan or meant investment abroad was being refocused in the United States. Reuters Breakingviews estimated that Apple could have increased U.S. headcount by 24,000 in the last five years. Trump described the move by Apple as a victory for his efforts. ?I promised that my policies would allow companies like Apple to bring massive amounts of money back to the United States. Great to see Apple follow through as a result of TAX CUTS,? Trump wrote on Twitter. Asked in an interview with ABC News whether the job creation announcements were directly related to the Republican tax plan, Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook gave a measured response. ?Let me be clear: There are large parts of this that are a result of the tax reform, and there are large parts of this we would have done in any situation,? Cook said in the interview. APPLE SERVICES PUSH About a third of Apple?s new spending will be on data centres to house its iCloud, App Store and Apple Music services, a sign of the rising importance of subscription services to a company known for its computers and gadgets. Apple has data centres in seven states. The announced U.S spending would be a significant part of Apple?s overall capital expenditures. Globally, the company spent $14.9 billion in 2017 and expects to spend $16 billion in 2018, figures that include both U.S.-based investments in data centres and other projects and Asian investments in tooling for its contract manufacturers. If Apple?s overall capital expenditures continue to expand at the same rate expected this year, the $30 billion investment in the United States could represent about a third of its capital expenditures over the next five years. The announced tax payment was roughly in line with expectations, said Cross Research analyst Shannon Cross. The tax bill requires companies to pay a one-time 15.5 percent tax on foreign-held earnings whether they intend to bring them back to the United States or not. Apple had set aside $36.3 billion in anticipation of tax payments on its foreign cash, meaning the payment would not represent a major impact on its cash flow this quarter. The Apple Campus 2 is seen under construction in Cupertino, California in this aerial photo taken January 13, 2017. Photo: REUTERS James Cordwell of Atlantic Equities said Apple?s US investment plan could make it easier for the company to give more cash to shareholders. ?Being seen to just hand the cash back to shareholders could spark some political sensitivities,? and the spending announcement could be part of Apple?s efforts to manage this issue, Cordwell said. Apple also said it would boost its advanced manufacturing fund, used to provide capital and support to suppliers such as Finisar Corp and Corning Inc, from $1 billion to $5 billion. Apple said it planned to spend $55 billion with U.S.-based suppliers in 2018, up from $50 billion last year. AMAZON VS APPLE Apple joins Inc in scouting for a location for a new campus. Amazon finished taking applications from cities in October for its second headquarters. Amazon set off a scramble between cities across the nation to host the headquarters, and Apple?s announcement stirred broad interest. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told reporters on Wednesday, ?We?re going to go compete and we?re going to put our best foot forward? to compete for an Apple campus. A Philadelphia Department of Commerce spokeswoman said the city would submit a proposal if Apple opened the process for bids. Apple has not said whether it had settled on a new campus location yet, and it did not make any commitments on the size of new spending or hiring specific to the campus. It did say it would initially house technical support for customers and would announce the location later this year. The facility would be in addition to its ?spaceship? Apple Park headquarters in Cupertino, California; a campus in Austin, Texas, that houses customer service agents and some manufacturing; and an Elk Grove, California, unit with several thousand customer service agents and iPhones refurbishing technicians. Apple also has built its own data centres in North Carolina, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and a recently announced project in Iowa, and leases data centre space in other states. Additional reporting by Sonam Rai, Pushkala Aripaka, Muvija M. and Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru, Karen Pierog in Chicago and Nick Brown in New York; Editing by Peter Henderson, Richard Chang and Leslie Adler
  27. Michael Wolff?s explosive behind-the-scenes book about Trump to be adapted for a TV series LOS ANGELES: Michael Wolff?s explosive behind-the-scenes book about US President Donald Trump, ?Fire and Fury,? is headed for television, Hollywood trade publications reported on Wednesday. Hollywood entertainment company Endeavor Content has bought the rights to the best-selling book and plans to adapt it for a television series, Variety and the Hollywood Reporter said. Wolff will executive produce the series, which will be shopped to various networks. No casting or air date has been set but the announcement set off speculation about who would play some of the key figures in the White House. ?Fire and Fury? portrays a chaotic White House in Trump?s first year as president, based on extensive interviews with Trump?s former chief strategist Steve Bannon and others. It sold more than 28,000 copies in the United States in its first week, according to NPD BookScan. The book, published on Jan. 5, characterized Trump as unstable, inept and unprepared to be president. Trump responded on Twitter that Wolff was ?a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book.?
  28. US President Donald Trump giving an interview to Reuters on Jan 17, 2018. WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump denied on Wednesday that the planned relocation of the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would take place within a year, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he expected the controversial move to happen by then. Reversing decades of US policy, Trump in early December recognised Jerusalem as Israel?s capital and set in motion the process of moving the embassy from Tel Aviv, imperiling Middle East peace efforts and upsetting the Arab world and Western allies alike. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last month the embassy move was ?probably no earlier than three years out, and that?s pretty ambitious,? a timeframe that administration officials have attributed to the logistics of finding and securing a site as well as arranging housing for diplomats. United States recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital Jerusalem is the home of the modern Israeli state, says Trump Jerusalem is home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and annexed in a move not recognised internationally, as the capital of their future state. Netanyahu, according to Israeli reporters traveling with him on a trip to India, said on Wednesday: ?My solid assessment is that it will go much faster than you think ? within a year from now.? Asked about Netanyahu?s comment, Trump told Reuters in an interview that was not the case. ?By the end of the year? We?re talking about different scenarios ? I mean obviously that would be on a temporary basis. We?re not really looking at that. That?s no.? Protests sweep Muslim world against Trump?s Jerusalem move In the Palestinian territories, at least one Palestinian was killed in clashes with Israeli troops Trump ? whose decision on the embassy move fulfilled a campaign pledge ? promised, however, that it would be ?a beautiful embassy but not one that costs $1.2 billion,? referring to what he says was the cost of the new US embassy in London. Trump last week canceled a trip to London to open the new diplomatic mission, blaming his White House predecessor Barack Obama for selling off the old one for ?peanuts? in a bad deal. He acknowledged that the embassy move in Britain was agreed under former President George W Bush but said it was built under Obama and ?came out tremendously over budget.?
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