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  1. Today
  2. WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump's contentious travel ban expires Sunday with little clarity over whether America´s door will reopen for travellers from six majority-Muslim countries. After the 90-day ban ends, travellers from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen have been hopeful that US representatives would resume granting visas for trips to the United States for work, study, pleasure or to emigrate. But according to some media reports early Friday, the ban could actually become open-ended and include several more countries, with restrictions tailored to each country´s level of vetting security. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed administration sources, said the updated policy, still not officially approved by Trump, will not have an expiration date but depend on each country´s ability to meet US security requirements. But Omar Jadwat, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who has argued against the ban in court, said politics, not national security, would likely decide the issue, at least until the Supreme Court can rule on it next month. "The animating principle of the government throughout has been, the president wants a ban, the president wants to ban as many people as he can, as many Muslims as he can, and we´re going to do what we can to make that possible," he told AFP. "I think that´s how we got to where we are now." Political uproar The ban -- which initially included Iraq and was accompanied by a 120-day block on all refugees -- sparked a political uproar when Trump first announced it on January 27, a week after becoming president. It came after Trump repeatedly promised in last year´s election to block Muslims from the United States. The ban was frozen by courts after a weekend of chaos at airports and a barrage of lawsuits by immigration advocates and civil liberties groups. The administration´s stated reason was national security: the need to ensure the six countries have adequate vetting procedures for travellers, so as to prevent terrorists from entering the country. But critics alleged that it amounted to Trump´s promised "Muslim ban" which courts agreed was unconstitutional because it discriminated against a single religion. Several states also sued to block it on grounds that it prevented legitimate visa holders, family members, US residents, students in universities and foreign workers for US companies from entering the country. After losing challenges in appeals courts, on March 6 the White House unveiled a revised ban, excluding Iraq and exempting people who already had visas. Nine days later that, too, was frozen, by a judge in Hawaii, for largely the same reasons as the original. Again, the administration lost in two appeals courts, leaving Trump furious and turning to the Supreme Court. Trump declares victory On July 26 the high court ruled to partially lift the freeze on the ban while agreeing to hear the White House´s appeal to lower court rulings in October. Trump declared a political and legal victory and shut down visa issuance for the six countries. "Great day for America´s future Security and Safety, courtesy of the U.S. Supreme Court. I will keep fighting for the American people, & WIN!," he tweeted. By that time, ironically, the original 90-day ban would have been expired for two months. Arrivals from the six countries had already fallen by more than half due to "extreme vetting" procedures that increased the difficulty of getting a US visa. The White House has not hinted how it will handle the expiration on Sunday, and advocates for immigrants say they don´t know. The Department of Homeland Security last week presented the White House a classified update on security issues for travellers from the six countries as well as others from 17 nations originally reported as deficient in traveller vetting. The Wall Street Journal said the updated policy could be expanded to eight or nine countries, but with different travel limitations on each. The possible countries to be added were not named
  3. ISLAMABAD: The country earned US$ 512.3 million by exporting different food commodities during the first two months of the current financial year as compared the earnings of the corresponding period of last year. During the period from July to August 2017, food group exports from the country increased by 30.6 percent as compared the exports of the same period of last year. According to the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, since the last two months exports of rice grew by 40 percent as around 428,993 metric tons of rice worth US$ 223.97 million were exported. The rice exports, during first two months of last financial year, were recorded at 3810,861 metric tons, which were worth US$ 159.54 million, it added. Meanwhile, the exports of basmati rice grew by 10.35 percent and about 59,433 metric tons of basmati rice, worth US$ 62.741 million, were exported as compared the exports of 59,192 metric tons, valuing US$ 56.857 million, in the same period, last year. The exports of rice other than basmati also witnessed an increase of 58.98 percent, around 369.580 metric tons of rice costing US$ 161.198 million exported as compared to the exports of 251,669 metric tons worth US$ 102.888 million last year. From July-August, 2017-18, fruit and vegetable exports increased by 8.74 percent and reached at 56,280 metric tons worth of US$ 20.58 million against the exports of 73,751 metric tons of US$ 18.88 million of the same period last year, it added. The other commodities which witnessed an increase in their exports during the period under review include fish and fish production, which increased by 19.63 percent, wheat and sugar increased by 100 percent respectively. It may be recalled here that imports of the food commodities into the country also witnessed an increase of 27.18 percent and about US$ 1.123 billion was spent on the import of different food items to fulfil the domestic requirements.
  4. FRANKFURT: Carmakers squeezed between carbon emissions cuts and falling sales of fuel-efficient diesels have used the Frankfurt auto show to spotlight a future generation of electric cars that will largely come too late to help them out of their bind. But elsewhere at the show, suppliers like Valeo and Delphi are lifting the lid on a quicker fix: affordable 48-volt hybrids. These "mild" hybrids, which add some electric power to existing petrol models without a costly redesign, are now being deployed without fanfare by brands from VW to Volvo. It is diesel's disgrace and decline, executives and analysts say, that has finally set the stage for mass electrification. While diesel pollution problems became notorious with the Volkswagen test-cheating scandal, the subsequent shift to petrol is bloating carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, making the next round of European Union goals harder to meet. "Our view is that 48 volts on a gasoline engine is an alternative to diesel," said Karin Thorn, vice president for vehicle propulsion at Volvo. "If and when the diesel market is dropping, something else needs to take its place." Diesels are stalling already, in fact - and weaker second-hand values suggest the slump can only accelerate. An attention-grabbing pledge by the Swedish carmaker to "electrify" its entire range by 2019, initially hailed as a bold step, now looks more like an industry-wide reality. PSA Group, which had previously seen no need for 48V hybrids, now plans to introduce them "across the board" in response to diesel's faster-than-expected decline, the Peugeot maker's programs chief Patrice Lucas told Reuters. By quadrupling the 12-volt standard in conventional car electrics and allowing a beefed up starter motor to feed extra power to the drivetrain, complementing the combustion engine, carmakers can transform petrol cars into mild hybrids without redesigning the vehicle's architecture and factory tooling. Enabling technology The motor delivers a noticeable torque boost and recovers braking energy to recharge a battery - smaller and cheaper than those required by electric cars or "full" hybrids such as Toyota's Prius, which typically run at 100-300 volts. Total manufacturing cost comes in $600-$1,200 below an equivalent diesel. "It's the most interesting enabling technology and will comfortably replace diesel," said Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst. "It can do the job and it's already cheaper - you don't have to be an early adopter to buy one." By 2020, the brokerage expects 48V cars to outpace European sales of full hybrids, including plug-ins that can be recharged with a cable and driven in electric-only mode. By 2025, it predicts, they will equip 55 percent of all cars sold. The technology is surfacing first in luxury cars such as the Mercedes S-Class on show at the Frankfurt event - which runs until Sunday - before trickling down to the mass market, chiefly in Europe and China. Volkswagen's next Golf, a benchmark in compact cars, will arrive with 48V electrics in 2019, and other models will follow, development chief Frank Welsch told Reuters. "The technology has a lot of potential and will make hybrids more affordable for the masses," Welsch said. Renault, Japanese affiliate Nissan and Hyundai are among other mass car manufacturers with 48V in the pipeline. In 2021, the key EU emissions goal drops to 95 grammes of CO2 per kilometer from its current 130 grammes - a challenge exacerbated by the replacement of standard lab tests with on-the-road "real driving emissions" measurements. Diesel headache Despite incentives, neither battery technology nor charging infrastructure is ready for the mass electric-car uptake required to put a dent in average emissions by then. The headache is compounded by the decline of diesels, which emit 15-20 percent less CO2 than petrol alternatives. Fortunately, 48V hybrids deliver savings in the same bracket. Their simplicity also lets carmakers adjust their fleet emissions on shorter lead times than typically required to redevelop a drivetrain, which may help to avoid stiff EU fines of 95 euros per excess gramme of CO2, per vehicle sold. Among suppliers, Valeo stands to benefit most with a 40 percent share of mild-hybrid orders, Citi analysts predict. Continental and Delphi are also well positioned. Paris-based Valeo expects some carmakers to effect more abrupt U-turns than PSA's - in some cases installing 48V systems without waiting for model facelifts. Innovation director Guillaume Devauchelle declined to name names. "These solutions will become market standards," Devauchelle said, adding that tougher rules on nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution from diesels would deepen their cost disadvantage. Later 48V hybrids will squeeze out more efficiency by shifting the electric motor lower down the transmission, below the engine. Valeo has electrified Magna's Getrag gearboxes and GKN differentials. "What automakers are finding is they need more than just advanced combustion engines to reach the fleet average reductions," said Mary Gustanski, Delphi's engineering boss. The supplier is combining 48V hybrids with cylinder deactivation that cuts engine capacity when less power is required, for additional savings. The system is in development with one European and one Chinese carmaker, Gustanstki said. The coming profusion of 48V cars should outsell pricier, higher-voltage hybrid incumbents such as the Prius, as market projections show - a prospect Toyota takes in its stride. Thanks to a quarter-century of hybrid investments, the Japanese carmaker can meet future CO2 targets with ease, global planning chief Didier Leroy said in Frankfurt. "We're in a different position," Leroy said. "We don't have to rush to find a temporary solution - we don't need to develop 48V to be competitive."
  5. [embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/b858e712cd3f7d052d32abce4928f0a4.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9OS8yMi8yMDE3IDU6NDA6MDEgUE0maGFzaF92YWx1ZT1yeGR1b2cxTjNBUWVEZ3JYaGlLL0hBPT0mdmFsaWRtaW51dGVzPTYwJmlkPTE= style=center] RAWALPINDI: British High Commissioner Thomas Drew called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at General Headquarters on Friday, according to Inter-Services Public Relations. Matters of mutual interest and regional security were discussed in the meeting, said the ISPR statement. The visiting dignitary acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan?s continuous efforts for peace and stability in the region. On August 22, Ambassador of UAE to Pakistan Essa Abdullah Al Basha Al-Noaimi called on Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa to bid farewell at the end of his tenure in Pakistan, said a statement from the ISPR. UAE ambassador calls on COAS Visiting dignitary appreciated Pakistan Army?s contributions to peace and stability in region Matters of mutual interest along with regional security issues were discussed during the visit of the outgoing envoy. Al-Noaimi acknowledged and appreciated the Army?s contributions to peace and stability in the region. He also pledged to keep working for better relations between two brotherly nations.
  6. MEXICO CITY: Desperate residents left homeless by Mexico's deadliest earthquake in a generation gathered in a tent village in the south of the capital on Friday, as the death toll climbed to 286 and signs of exhaustion gripped rescuers three days after the tremor. Tuesday's 7.1 magnitude quake levelled some 52 buildings in the sprawling Mexican capital, sparking a frenzied hunt for survivors and prompting political parties to outdo each other with pledges of donations to the rescue efforts ahead of next year's election. Across the city of 20 million people, the extent of damage from the quake was becoming apparent, with many people whose dwellings had become uninhabitable seeking somewhere to call home, raising the risk of a housing shortage in coming weeks. Despite dimming hopes of finding more survivors, President Enrique Pena Nieto insisted rescue operations would continue. Local media reported that military officials pulled two people from the wreckage of a textile factory in the central Colonia Obrera neighborhood of the capital late on Thursday, though it was not immediately clear if they survived. In the Girasoles complex in the south of the city, officials cordoned off large areas of the development after two of its roughly 30 apartment buildings collapsed. A handwritten sign across the street listed 14 people said to have died there. Anguished residents, who were given a series of 20-minute blocks of time to collect belongings from their apartments, feared their homes could be turned to rubble once inspectors have determined which buildings are safe and which may need to be demolished if they are a risk to public safety. "The building is very, very damaged. It moves. Everything moves," said Vladimir Estrada, a 39-year-old musical radio programmer, returning from a rushed trip to his fifth floor apartment with plastic bags stuffed with his belongings. "Nobody here has insurance. Some have family members who can help them but others don't. Everything is in doubt." Several removal vans were laden with mattresses and furniture as those who were able to leave packed up and did so. But, with few places to go and concern for their largely uninsured properties, many chose to camp out, making the most of allotted windows of time to extricate their possessions. Others slept in their cars. Emergency services worker Ana Karen Almanza was helping coordinate the arrival of donated supplies in the park, where about a dozen tarp awnings had been erected. She said there was no official involvement in the tent village emerging around her. "It's the residents, the neighbors," she said. "Lots of them don't have anywhere to live." Discontent Tuesday's massive quake struck on the anniversary of the deadly 1985 tremor that killed some 5,000 people in Mexico City, spooking many residents. As the shock began to subside, exhaustion crept in, along with growing discontent and swirling speculation. Late on Thursday, Mexico's Navy apologized for communicating incorrect information in the story a fictitious schoolgirl, supposedly trapped under a collapsed school in Mexico City. The tale of the girl, dubbed Frida Sofia by local media, had captivated a devastated nation, and the high-profile televised blunder led to anger. Officials also sought to quash rumors that the military would be bulldozing razed buildings deemed unlikely to harbor survivors. Across the city, thousands of rescue workers and special teams using sniffer dogs continued to comb the wreckage of buildings for survivors. With signs of tensions bubbling under the surface, the country's deeply unpopular political class strove to shine. Disaster relief is sensitive for politicians in Mexico after the government's widely panned response to the 1985 quake caused upheaval, which some credited with weakening the one-party rule of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). In a statement, the PRI said it would be donating 258 million pesos ($14.42 million), or 25 percent of its annual federal funding, to help those afflicted. Meanwhile, the national human rights commission proposed changing the Mexican constitution to divert about 30 percent of political parties' funding to a federal disaster fund. Calls for political penny-pinching gained momentum on social media following a powerful quake two weeks ago that killed nearly 100 people in the south of the country. After that temblor, current leftist presidential frontrunner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador suggested donating 20 percent of his party's federal campaign funds for victims. On Thursday, though, after news of the PRI plans broke, Lopez Obrador upped the ante, proposing donating 50 percent of his National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) party's 2018 federal funding to support victims. Lorenzo Cordova, the head of the national electoral institute, said in a video posted to Twitter the body had no problem with parties choosing to divert funds to the needy. The full scale of damage has not been officially calculated. Citigroup's Mexican unit Citibanamex told clients it was lowering its 2017 economic growth forecast to 1.9 percent from 2.0 percent due to the earthquake.
  7. LONDON: Iran will strengthen its missile capabilities and will not seek any country?s permission, President Hassan Rouhani said on Friday in a snub to demands from US President Donald Trump. Rouhani was speaking at a military parade where an Iranian news agency said one of the weapons on display was a new ballistic missile with range of 2,000 km, capable of carrying several warheads. The Tasnim news agency, which quoted the head of the Revolutionary Guards? aerospace division, Amirali Hajizadeh, gave few other details of the missile. At the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump said Iran was building its missile capability and accused it exporting violence to Yemen, Syria and other parts of the Middle East. He also criticised the 2015 pact that the United States and six other powers struck with Iran under which Tehran agreed to restrict its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions. In a speech broadcast on state television, Rouhani said: ?We will increase our military power as a deterrent. We will strengthen our missile capabilities ... We will not seek permission from anyone to defend our country. ?All countries in the world supported the nuclear deal in the United Nations General Assembly this year ... except the United States and the Zionist regime (Israel),? Rouhani said. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that the agreement must be changed or the United States could not stick with it. Iran has said its nuclear accord cannot be renegotiated. The prospect of Washington reneging on the deal has worried some of the US allies that helped negotiate it, especially as the world grapples with North Korea?s nuclear and ballistic missile development. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said tensions on the Korean peninsula underlined the importance of the Iranian deal, and that China would continue to support it. Trump put Iran ?on notice? in February for test-firing a ballistic missile and imposed new economic sanctions in July over its missile program and ?malign activities? in the Middle East. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that the US imposition of unilateral sanctions on Iran was ?illegitimate and undermines the collective nature of international efforts.?
  8. Begum Kulsoom Nawaz being discharged from the hospital on Friday. LONDON: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Leader and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's wife Begum Kulsoom Nawaz has been discharged from the hospital after successful completion of her third surgery, Geo News reported on Friday. Kulsoom Nawaz stayed in the hospital for two nights and was accompanied by husband, Nawaz Sharif, and son, Hasan Nawaz. Speaking about his wife?s health, Nawaz thanked people for the support. ?We need prayers,? he added. Meanwhile, their other son, Hussain Nawaz, said that the family is waiting for more reports of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz Responding to this, Maryam Nawaz tweeted "Just brought Ami home. She is Alhamdolillah recovering well after her 3rd surgery. Jazak'Allah for your valuable prayers." On Thursday, Begum Kulsoom Nawaz was discharged from the intensive care unit (ICU). Just brought Ami home. She is Alhamdolillah recovering well after her 3rd surgery. Jazak'Allah for your valuable prayers. Begum Kulsoom Nawaz was admitted to a hospital in London on Wednesday evening for a third surgery as part of her throat cancer treatment. Begum Kulsoom discharged from ICU: Maryam The former prime minister's daughter took to social media to announce that her mother's health is improving Kulsoom's husband Nawaz Sharif and children, Hasan, Hussain and Maryam Nawaz, accompanied her to the hospital on Wednesday. This was the third time Begum Nawaz has been admitted to the hospital for surgery related to her throat cancer treatment. The latest surgery was the most comprehensive operations conducted yet. Maryam ran a successful campaign for the PML-N while her mother received medical treatment in London, resulting in PML-N securing Nawaz's 'home seat' in NA-120.
  9. DUBAI: A Saudi cleric who said women should not drive because their brains shrink to a quarter the size of a man´s when they go shopping has been banned from preaching, state television said. Saad al-Hijri was suspended from all religious activity after advising against allowing women to drive in a speech that contained comments "diminishing human value", the broadcaster quoted a spokesman for the governor of Asir province as saying. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans women from driving, despite ambitious government targets to increase their public role, especially in the workforce. Women in the kingdom are also bound by law to wear abaya and a headscarf and require the consent of a male guardian for most legal actions. In a video identifying him as the head of the religious edicts department in the southern province, Hijri asked what the traffic department would do it if it discovered a man with only half a brain. "Would it give him a license or not? It would not. So how can it give it to a woman when she has only half?" he said. "If she goes to the market she loses another half. What is left? A quarter...We demand the traffic department check because she is not suitable to drive and she has only a quarter." The comments sparked anger on social media, which is hugely popular in the kingdom. Twitter users shared the video, many criticising it and making jokes about his remarks, under the Arabic hashtag "Al-Hijri_women_quarter_brain". Some users posted pictures of Saudi female scientists and academics in response and questioned Hijri´s own intellectual capacities. His suspension, ordered by the provincial governor, was aimed at preventing the spread of views that spark controversy and do not serve the national interest, the provincial spokesman said, according to Ekhbariya TV´s official Twitter account. Any others who used religious platforms to preach such views would also be banned. The government´s modernising reforms, backed by Saudi Arabia´s business class, have sparked tensions with influential clerics upon whose support the ruling family relies. Some clerics have millions of followers on social media.
  10. MUMBAI: Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt returned to Indian cinema screens Friday in his first film since serving four years in prison for possessing weapons supplied by gangsters behind the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts. The star, 58, plays the role of a father who seeks revenge for the gang-rape of his daughter in action thriller "Bhoomi", directed by Omung Kumar. Dutt walked free from jail in 2016. He last appeared in a film in 2014 and promoters trailed Friday´s release with a poster on social media declaring: "The Beast is Back". "I´m very excited to see 'Bhoomi'. I'm sure it will be a big hit," said ardent fan Sandeep Bachche, who has a tattoo of Dutt's face inked on his left arm. The rickshaw driver has another tattoo referencing the title of one of Dutt's most famous film roles while the inside of his three-wheeler is covered in posters of the actor. "I have booked tickets to watch three consecutive shows on the first day," Bachche told AFP, admitting that he would be watching them alone. Dutt shot to fame in the mid-1980s in a string of action movies in which he performed his own stunts, earning him the nickname "Deadly Dutt". He is best known for playing a mobster with a heart of gold in the popular "Munna Bhai" series. Reviewers appeared lukewarm about "Bhoomi" but praised Dutt´s performance. "Watch Bhoomi for Dutt. He´s from that era of larger-than-life heroes who get you to whistle even when he is killing people," said a review in the Times of India. Dutt was convicted in 2006 of holding guns supplied by mafia bosses who orchestrated the 1993 bombings that killed 257 people. In March 2013, the Supreme Court upheld his conviction but cut his prison term to five years, sending Dutt back to jail to serve the remaining three-and-a half years of his sentence. He was granted several months of freedom at different times to work on unfinished Bollywood movies and his last film appearance came in science fiction hit "PK" three years ago. Dutt was released in February last year, eight months ahead of schedule for good behaviour. Activists claimed he was given special treatment because of his celebrity status. He has several films in the pipeline including "Munna Bhai 3", "Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3", "Malang" and "Torbaaz". A biopic is also being made on his troubled life, with Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor playing Dutt.
  11. LAHORE: Inspector General of Police, Punjab, Capt (retd) Arif Nawaz Khan said that at least 125,000 officers and officials of Punjab Police have been deployed to provide security in the month of Muharram, The News reported. The officers will provide foolproof four-layered security cover to the sensitive Majalis and processions during Muharram to maintain law and order in all districts of the province. About 124,537 police officers and officials, including police volunteers, special police and Razakars had been deployed for the security of 36,216 Majalis. While a total of 135,370 officers and officials would be deployed for the security of 9,173 Ashura processions. Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif reviewed security arrangements for maintaining law and order during Muharram-ul-Haram during a meeting on Friday. Addressing the meeting, the chief minister said that foolproof security arrangements should be ensured for maintaining law and order and protection of life and property of people during Muharram. Security arrangements in Sindh Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) have completed the arrangements for Muharram-ul-Harram, according to a press release on Friday. Rangers have also formed Crisis Management Cell Headquarters to deal with any untoward incidents. Moreover, troops are actively conducting snap checking, mobile patrolling in different parts of the province. Rangers have even warned that hate material, hate speeches and other equipment will not be tolerated. Furthermore, strict restrictions have been placed on aerial firing and show of weapons. Strict action will be taken against those who fail to follow the rules, according to the Rangers. Citizens have been advised to contact Rangers on their WhatsApp number 0316-2369996 or helpline 1101 to report any suspicious activity.
  12. ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf leader Asad Umar on Friday strongly criticised Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and said the current economic policies are "sinking Pakistan into a debt trap". He further said the actual situation of the country's economy was much worse than PTI's prediction. Responding to a report in the media which stated that Pakistan?s total debt and liabilities swelled to an alarming level of Rs25.1 trillion by June this year ? with a net increase of Rs2.5 trillion in a year, exposing the country to many risks attached with repayment of mounting obligations. The PTI leader advised Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to declare an economic emergency and change the "disastrous economic policies" of Dar and former premier Nawaz Sharif to "try and rescue the sinking ship". Umar said the PTI has warned repeatedly that the failed economic policies of the last four years risk creating a national security threat. Giving some figures, Asad said the country's external debt and liabilities have increased to $9 billion since last year and now stand at $83bn, which according to the PTI leader amounts to 400pc of Pakistan's exports. He further said the external debt has risen sharply after the end of the International Monetary Fund's aid package to Pakistan and reserves have continued to fall. PTI Chairman Imran Khan had earlier said the PML-N government has damaged the economy of the country in a way that even its enemies could not have. He had also referred to Dar as ?Pakistan?s economic hitman' and had called for his immediate resignation in light of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) reference against him. He had further said that Pakistan was never so heavily in debt as it is today and said the economy of the country has never been this weak. The PTI chairman had also claimed the debt of the country increased by $18 billion after the PML-N government took power and external debt and liabilities increased to $80 billion in FY2016 -17. Imran had further said that tax revenue was only increased by the government by increasing taxes on basic good.
  13. NEW YORK: Ed Sheeran´s dance pop track Shape of You has become the most played song ever on Spotify, ending the 11-month reign of Drake´s One Dance. The English songwriter´s easygoing song about looking for love at a bar has been heard 1.318 billion times on the world´s most popular streaming service as of Friday, a notch above One Dance. Shape of You came out in January as one of the first songs on Sheeran´s chart-topping album Divide. The album was the first by the ginger-haired guitarist since he was propelled to stardom by the ballad Thinking Out Loud, which remains Spotify´s sixth most streamed track ever. Shape of You and One Dance share subtle similarities -- both incorporate the rhythms of dancehall, the Jamaican club music of the 1970s that has seen a revival through pop producers. Sheeran brings in drum machine off-beats of dancehall underneath a minimalist, minor-key synthesised melody. The dancehall influence is more obvious in One Dance as Drake, who came to prominence as a rapper, sings in a Jamaican patois and also incorporates Afrobeat, with an appearance by Nigerian pop singer WizKid. One Dance rose to the top of Spotify´s all-time list in October 2016 -- despite Drake´s close association with rival streaming service Apple Music. Two months later, One Dance became the first song to hit one billion streams on Spotify, a feat since matched by three other tracks.
  14. SITTWE: Twenty homes caught fire and a bomb was detonated near a mosque in Myanmar´s Rakhine state, the government said Friday, the latest unrest in a region that has seen hundreds of thousands of Rohinyga Muslims flee in under a month. The violence comes days after Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi declared that the military had ceased its "clearance operations" in the border area. The army claims it is trying to flush out Rohingya militants who attacked police posts on August 25. But civilian refugees streaming into Bangladesh say they were terrorised by soldiers and vigilante Buddhist mobs who torched their villages to the ground. The testimony, alongside satellite images of some 200 villages reduced to ash, has fuelled accusations that Myanmar's army is systematically purging a Muslim minority haunted by years of persecution. The UN has described the military campaign as "ethnic cleansing". The latest violence saw 20 homes catch fire in Maungdaw´s Kyain Chaung village on Thursday night, according to a statement posted by the government´s Information Committee. "Security members went and checked the fire and are investigating its cause," said the statement, adding that the flames burned through a community previously hit by fire. The following morning a bomb detonated outside of a mosque in Mi Chaung Zay village in nearby Buthidaung township, according to the government. The statement said "terrorists" were to blame for the blast, without specifying if they were linked to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) - the Rohingya militant group behind the ambushes on police posts. No deaths or injuries were reported in either incident. Myanmar's government admits that scores of villages have been burned down over the past month. But it has previously accused Rohingya militants of setting the fires and driving the communal violence that has also displaced some 30,000 Buddhists and Hindus. Those refugees have largely fled south, with some cramming into temples and even a derelict football stadium outside the state capital of Sittwe. The government has blocked independent media access to the conflict zone in northern Rakhine, making it difficult to verify the swirl of claims and counterclaims that have amplified Myanmar's already bitter ethnic divides. Suu Kyi, who lacks control over the army in a delicate power-sharing agreement, broke her silence on the crisis Tuesday in a televised address pitched to an international community baffled by her failure to speak up for the Rohingya. The Muslim minority is denied citizenship by the state and has been the target of festering Islamaophobia in mainly Buddhist Myanmar for years. The Nobel laureate expressed sympathy for the "suffering of all people" swept up in the violence. But she also tried to paint a glass-half-full picture of the situation in Rakhine, announcing that "more than 50 percent of the villages of Muslims are intact." She said armed clashes and clearance operations had ceased since September 5th, even though AFP reporters have seen homes on fire in the weeks since.
  15. Past hour
  16. ISLAMABAD: The initial report of biometric voting machines used in the by-election for National Assembly constituency NA-120, Lahore-III was submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan on Friday. Briefing the media here, ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob said the machines had a success rate of 88 per cent, while unverified votes comprised remaining 12 per cent. He said that 22,181 individuals cast their vote through 100 biometric machines in Lahore by-polls. It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan Muslim League?Nawaz candidate Begum Kulsoom Nawaz on Sunday won the closely contested by-election for her husband Nawaz Sharif?s ?home seat? NA-120, Lahore-III. She managed to attain 61,254 votes, while her competitor, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf?s Dr. Yasmin Rashid attained 47,066 votes, according to unofficial and unverified results. "The thumb impressions of 19,520 voters were verified using these machines," the ECP secretary said, adding that the entire process was held on trial basis. He, however, said the number of unverified voters could also increase. "The number of educated masses was comparatively higher in NA-120, but the use of biometric machines in rural areas would result in increase in number of unverified voters," Yaqoob explained. He said the ECP has been striving for the use of modern technology in elections, while the election act includes a section allowing use of biometric voting machines on trial basis.
  17. KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)'s ousted leader Ayesha Gulalai remarked that there is some truth in former president Pervez Musharraf?s allegation against Pakistan Peoples Party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari. She also said that Zardari sidelined main PPP leaders after Benazir Bhutto's murder while speaking to media outside the parliament on Friday. "I left PPP after Benazir's murder because party leaders were being sidelined," she said, alleging that all of this was done by Zardari and his sisters. "Everyone knows about their domestic disputes," she added. She remarked that Bilawal, Aseefa and Bakhtawar were quite young at the time of the assassination but she remembers what happened. "Amin Fahim knows what happened, Naheed Khan knows what happened." Speaking about Musharraf, she remarked that he is innocent and being trapped. "I will stand with whoever is being oppressed," she added. On PTI Chairperson Imran Khan, she said that Khan has diverted from his original vision and is absconding from courts and the Election Commission. Zardari hits back to Musharraf Earlier in the day, Asif Ali Zardari, responding to allegations levelled by former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, said Musharraf should return to Pakistan if he is brave. "He [Musharraf] should appear in front of the court," Zardari remarked while speaking to the media in Kamalia on Friday. Continuing his criticism of the former president, Zardari questioned why clips of Musharraf in discos were being circulated if he had gone to seek treatment for his backache. On Thursday, Musharraf had alleged that Asif Ali Zardari was behind the murder of his wife and former premier Benazir Bhutto and her brother Murtaza Bhutto. In a video message, Musharraf, the former army chief, said he was sending out this message as Zardari had personally called him out by blaming him for Benazir's murder.
  18. Boxer Amir Khan's marriage with fashion blogger Faryal Makhdoom has been at the centre of many controversies. Differing stances by the two celebrities has kept the fans wondering if they are together or not. On Thursday, Faryal had written an apology letter to her husband and had hoped for reconciliation, however, Amir Khan took to Twitter to put to rest the rumours of a reunion. Immediately, after Amir's tweet, Faryal deleted her apology post. Wish Faryal all the best: Amir In a three-part Tweet, Amir said "Thanks to Faryal for clearing up the accusations she had made about my family in the past which were false." He added, "Unfortunately it didn't work out between Me and Faryal and we are still going ahead with the divorce. We are in good talking terms." "We have to think about our daughter Lamaisah who I will always be there for. I wish Faryal all the very best for the future." Faryal apologises to Amir On Thursday, his estranged wife had hinted at a reconciliation in a lengthy message on Twitter. Faryal Makhdoom claimed that her daughter and unborn child do not deserve 'a broken home,' the Daily Mail had reported. In a Twitter post, she said it was time for her and Khan to put their 'differences behind.' The pregnant model also apologised for the conflicts with Khan's family. She disclosed that the family feud which she revealed has had a 'terrible effect' on her marriage. Photo: Faryal Makhdoom Khan twitter She wrote: ?The past three months have been really tough on me and my marriage.? ?Matters haven't been helped by the fact that my husband has been out of the ring for quite some time... it's been very stressful for us as a couple, and a family.? ?I now recognise that all this infighting between me and my in-laws has had a terrible effect on my husband and I... and for that I would like to sincerely apologise.? ?My mother and father-in-law are the elders of our family and as such deserve love and respect just as much as my own parents do.? ?I've said things in the past out of anger... I didn't really mean and regret now.? She said: ?My daughter and unborn child do not deserve a broken home.? ?That is why I have decided that it is time to put our differences behind us, and start afresh.? The couple, who married in 2013, set the media abuzz after a very public falling out on Twitter earlier this year.
  19. PARIS: The world's nuclear arsenals are comprised mainly of two types of warheads - atomic bombs, also called A-bombs, and the more powerful hydrogen or H-bombs. North Korea, escalating its war of rhetoric with the United States, on Friday hinted it may explode an H-bomb over the Pacific, having already carried out underground tests of atomic and hydrogen bombs. Here is a rundown on both types of weapon. The A-bomb These weapons have only been used twice in conflict, when the United States bombed Japan in the final days of World War II, although they have been tested several hundred times. Atomic bombs work on the principle of nuclear fission where energy is released by splitting atoms of enriched uranium or plutonium encased in a warhead. The first-ever explosion of an A-bomb was in a test in the deserts of the US state of New Mexico on July 16, 1945 - the culmination of the secretive Manhattan project to develop such a weapon in the belief that Nazi Germany was doing the same. On August 6, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the southern Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing 140,000 people, according to estimates. Three days later, a second bomb devastated Nagasaki, killing an estimated 74,000 people. Japan surrendered, bringing World War II to an end. These bombs produced an explosive yield of roughly 20 kilotons, the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT. The shock wave demolished buildings of reinforced concrete and the intense heat vaporised people near the centre of the blast. Others were badly burned or succumbed to radiation-related illnesses weeks, months or years later. The Soviet Union was the second country to test an atomic bomb in 1949; Britain became the world´s third nuclear power with a test in 1952. China, France, India, North Korea and Pakistan are also confirmed to possess nuclear weapons. Israel is considered to be an undeclared nuclear power, refusing to confirm or deny that it has such weapons. The H-bomb Many times more powerful than the atomic bomb, the hydrogen or thermonuclear bomb works on the principle of the fusion of isotopes of hydrogen and generates temperatures on the order of those found at the sun´s core. While no H-bomb has been used in a conflict so far, the world´s nuclear arsenals are comprised for the most part of such weapons. The bomb has a two-stage process with a nuclear explosion triggering a huge increase in temperature that in turn provokes nuclear fusion, setting off a powerful explosion. The US army tested the first H-bomb in 1952 in an explosion that was almost 700 times more powerful than an atomic bomb. A year later the Soviet Union tested its own H-bomb. In 1961 it carried out the most powerful blast to date, exploding the "Tsar Bomba" in the Arctic with a force of around 57,000 kilotons (57 megatons). North Korea said it tested a miniaturised H-bomb in January 2016, although scientists said the six-kiloton yield achieved then was far too low for a thermonuclear device. It said that its September 3 nuclear test, its sixth, was also of a hydrogen bomb. The underground blast triggered landslides in the detonation area.
  20. LONDON: British police said Friday they had charged an 18-year-old man with attempted murder following last week´s bombing of a London Underground train, which injured 30 people. Ahmed Hassan, who was arrested the morning after the attack on September 15, was also charged with use of the explosive triacetone triperoxide (TATP), a statement said. The teenager, who is believed to be an Iraqi orphan, lived with British foster parents in the London suburb of Sunbury. The house was one of several addresses searched by police after the attack. Earlier on Friday, London police chief Cressida Dick said the bomb set off on a packed rush-hour tube train was "very, very dangerous" and had been packed with shrapnel. The explosion at Parsons Green station in south-west London, was Britain's fifth terror attack in six months, and was claimed by the Islamic State group. Hassan was arrested in the southern English port of Dover shortly before 08:00 am the following day. "Thank goodness nobody was killed at Parsons Green. It must have been absolutely horrific for the people in the train. As you know, many people suffered injuries," Dick told LBC radio. "That was a very, very dangerous bomb. It partially detonated. It had a large quantity of explosive and it was packed with shrapnel." Three other men, aged 17, 25, 30, remain in custody in connection with the attack. Two men aged 21 and 48 were released with no further action on Thursday.
  21. Today
  22. RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Army conveyed its unflinching resolve to ensure the security of its population to Indian Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) during a special hotline contact on Friday, according to Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR). Pakistan shall continue to take all necessary measures to deter any such aggression in the future, it was also conveyed to the India DGMO. The special hotline contact was established between Pakistan and Indian Director Generals of Military Operations (DGsMO) on Friday. During the contact, DGMO Pakistan Army raised the issue of deliberate targeting of Pakistani civilians, residing in the vicinity of the working boundary. The violation clearly undermines all existing understandings on the issue, said the Pakistan Army?s media cell. 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 The incident resulted in the martyrdom of six innocent civilians while 26 were injured. The six civilians who were martyred include four women whereas a total of 26 people, including 15 women and five children, were injured along the Working Boundary in Charwah and Harpal sectors.
  23. KAMALIA: Pakistan Peoples Party Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, responding to former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf's allegations against him, said if Musharraf is so brave he should return to the country. "He [Musharraf] should appear in front of the court," Zardari remarked while speaking to the media in Kamalia, a city in district Toba Tek Singh. Continuing his criticism of the former president, Zardari questioned why were clips of Musharraf in discos being circulated if he had gone to seek treatment for his backache. Zardari, reacting to allegations pertaining to Murtuza Bhutto?s murder, stated that Benazir had said that one Bhutto has been attacked and another is being targeted. "Politics of the past was based on levelling allegations against political opponents," Zardari added. Speaking over the issue, PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira remarked that ?we condemn and criticise false allegations levelled by Pervez Musharraf.? Kaira further added, ?Musharraf remembered his earlier allegations once we approached the courts.? On Thursday, Musharraf had Asif Ali Zardari for the murder of his wife and former premier Benazir Bhutto. Zardari behind Benazir, Murtaza Bhutto's murders: Musharraf Former president releases video message in response to Asif Zardari's 'allegations' In a video message, Musharraf, the former army chief, said he was sending out this message as Zardari had personally called him out by blaming him for Benazir's murder. Giving his ?reply?, Musharraf said he is especially addressing [Benazir and Zardari's children] Bilawal, Aseefa and Bakhtawar, as well as the Bhutto family and all Sindhis and Pakistanis who have been following "this murderer of Benazir". Zardari criticises Nawaz, Imran Zardari even criticised his political opponents; former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairperson Imran Khan. He remarked: "Nawaz does not know the art of governance. Nothing happens from building roads." Speaking about Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who is being probed by National Accountability Bureau, he said that Dar has fled and left the country injured. Over the development in PTI-governed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Zardari said that "we can't see any progress in the province."
  24. ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Friday passed the Electoral Reforms Bill 2017 which will pave the way for Nawaz Sharif to again regain chairmanship of PML-N. In a session chaired Raza Rabbani, the upper house passed the bill, however, due to lack of attendance, an amendment suggested by PPP's Aitzaz Ahsan was rejected. The PPP had suggested an amendment in clause 203 of the bill, which said that any individual who is not qualified to become a member of the parliament, should not be eligible to become a party's chairperson either. Voting on the proposed amendment was done twice as during the first round some ruling party members were not present. During the second round of voting, members of the upper house voted with 38 votes against the amendment and 37 in favour. Hence, the amendment was rejected by a margin of one vote. According to the bill, every citizen will have the right to be part of a political party, except those in government service, and will also have the right to create a political party. The bill also enables the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to scrutinise election expenses within 90 days, failing which election expenses submitted by a political party would be deemed to be correct. The election reform bill was presented in the upper house after being passed by the national assembly earlier. In the lower house, the Pakistan Tehreeke-e-Insaf?s (PTI) had recommended amendments which were rejected. The NA had received around 150 amendments proposed by political parties for the bill. A key amendment proposed by the PTI asking for voting rights for overseas Pakistanis was also rejected.
  25. Pakistan's sweetheart Mahira Khan and Bollywood heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor's friendship and pictures which recently surfaced have become a target of fans' criticism. Recent images emerged in which Mahira, clad in a backless white dress, was spotted smoking with Ranbir Kapoor in New York. The pictures were taken in July when Ranbir was filming for Sanjay Dutt's biopic. Photo: courtesy Pinkvilla However, immediately after the images were released some fans expressed their dismay over them. Some fans called the pictures 'shameful' and while others shamed Mahira for her dressing. However, there were some fans who supported Mahira. The actors were first publicly spotted together at the Global Teacher Prize Ceremony in March in Dubai. The two rocked the red-carpet as they walked into the ceremony together. Initially, Mahira and Ranbir had denied all rumours of close friendship. But, the recent pictures show the two stars are certainly close friends. Mahira had made her Bollywood debut opposite Shah Rukh Khan in Raees.
  26. KARACHI: Former National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) president Ali Raza was arrested on Friday on the orders of the Sindh High Court. The court set aside bail Raza's in a case filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), alleging his involvement in a Rs 18bn scam. Raza has been shifted to an undisclosed location and will be presented before NAB court on Saturday. As many as 16 suspects have been named in the corruption case, and two accused are under custody. The NAB prosecutor argued in court that the 2009 audit report of the bank had revealed irregularities and the State Bank of Pakistan had also expressed their reservations on the financial affairs of the bank. He informed the court that along with Raza, NBP officials including, Imran Butt, Ibrar Beg, Imran Ghani and Bangladeshi citizens too were involved in the scam.
  27. KATHMANDU: Nepal will measure Mount Everest afresh to settle a controversy over height of the world?s tallest peak, especially after some estimates suggested it became a little shorter in the wake of an earthquake two years ago, officials said on Friday. Nepal, home to Mount Everest and half of the world?s 14 highest mountains, has never measured the peak on its own and uses its snow height of 8,848 meters (29,028 feet) that was measured by the Survey of India in 1954. Many Western climbers use the height of 8,850 meters (29,035 feet) determined in 1999 by the National Geographic Society and Boston?s Museum of Science, in a survey that used satellite-based technology to measure the peak. Everest straddles the border between Nepal and China, and in 2005 Chinese mountaineers and researchers put its height at 8,844.43 meters (29,017 feet). Ganesh Prasad Bhatta, director general of the Nepal government?s survey department said an expedition would be made next year to settle the debate. ?We are now developing a methodology for the measurement which will be discussed with international experts, and their advice will be incorporated to make sure that our work meets global standards and is internationally accepted,? Bhatta told Reuters. He said Nepal lacked scientific tools like Global Positioning System and leveling equipment as well as gravimeters, but would hire what was needed from experts and agencies like the International Association of Geodesy. ?If the weather conditions on the mountain are good, we will start the work in the summer climbing season next year or in the Autumn of 2018,? Anil Marasini, another official with the Survey Department, said. Officials said they would seek to establish whether a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in April 2015 had altered the mountain?s height. The earthquake occurred during the peak climbing season, and massive avalanches killed 18 people at the base camp. During the summer mountaineering season this year, some climbers said the Hillary Step ? a near vertical rock formation below the summit ? had collapsed, though the Nepal government has rebutted those claims.
  28. LONDON: Transport for London (TfL) has revoked Uber's operating license in the capital, the ITV reported on Friday. TfL is changing the fees for operating licences based on the size of private hire firms? operations, in a bid to meet the rising cost of regulation. However, the world?s largest taxi-hailing app will not be offered one. Earlier this week, it emerged the cost to keep Uber?s 40,000 drivers in the capital is said to soar from £3,000 to £3 million over the next five years if it was granted a new licence following changes to the way that TfL calculates such payments. The decision is likely to be welcomed by Uber's growing critics?, who argue that the company has exacerbated London's traffic congestion and done little to address incidents of violence involving its drivers. In May, TfL renewed the company's permit to operate but for a period of only four months, amid continued opposition and threats of legal challenges from the GMB union and Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association.
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