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  1. UMERKOT: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leaders are currently addressing a party rally in Umerkot. PTI top leaders including Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Arif Alvi are present on the stage. Scores of workers from different parts of the city have come to attend the rally. Qureshi is currently touring Umerkot and visited 35 villages earlier in the day on Friday, according to PTI. On the fourth day of the tour, the PTI leader visited Haji Baig Jakhro, Kunri and Haji Khuda Baksh Kapri in the vicinity of Umerkot district. "During the tour, Shah Mahmood Qureshi met with various delegations, associates, leaders, village elders and party workers as well as the locals of the community," stated PTI. Rulers using power to accumulate wealth: Imran On October 15, Imran said that the country's rulers have done nothing but use their power to accumulate wealth. While addressing a party workers? convention at the Jinnah convention centre on Sunday, he remarked that the country's rulers have destroyed the nation with their corrupt practices. "Corruption is using your power to accumulate wealth," he said. "The rulers only care about themselves. They have spent no money on education or human development," he added. Taking a dig at Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) head Nawaz Sharif, Imran said that the rulers have stolen Rs300 billion from the nation. "However, when they appear before the court for accountability they exude invincibility."
  2. ISCHIA: G7 countries and tech giants including Google, Facebook and Twitter on Friday agreed to work together to block the dissemination of Islamist extremism over the internet. "These are the first steps towards a great alliance in the name of freedom," Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti said after a two-day meeting with his Group of Seven counterparts, stressing the importance of the internet for extremist "recruitment, training and radicalisation." Officials said the accord aimed at removing extremist content from the web within two hours of being posted. "Our enemies are moving at the speed of a tweet and we need to counter them just as quickly," acting US Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke said. While acknowledging progress had been made, Britain´s Home Secretary Amber Rudd insisted "companies need to go further and faster to not only take down extremist content but also stop it being uploaded in the first place". The meeting on the Italian island of Ischia off Naples also focused on ways to tackle one of the West´s biggest security threats -- militants fleeing Syria -- as the European Union promised to help close a migration route considered a potential back door for terrorists. Tens of thousands of citizens from Western countries travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight for the Daesh between 2014 and 2016, including some who then returned home and staged attacks that claimed dozens of lives. Minniti warned last week that fighters planning revenge attacks following the collapse of the Daesh stronghold in Raqa could hitch lifts back to Europe on migrant boats from Libya. The United States and Italy signed an agreement on the sidelines of the G7 meeting to share their fingerprint databases in a bid to root out potential extremists posing as asylum seekers. The "technical understanding" aims "to ascertain whether (migrants, asylum seekers or refugees) are noted criminal suspects or terrorists", Minniti´s office said. 'De-radicalisation' Earlier, EU President Donald Tusk promised the bloc would fork out more funds to help shut down the perilous crossing from Libya to Italy -- a popular path for migrants who hope to journey on to Europe. The EU would offer "stronger support for Italy´s work with the Libyan authorities", and there was "a real chance of closing the central Mediterranean route", he said. Italy has played a major role in training Libya´s coastguard to stop human trafficking in its territorial waters, as well as making controversial deals with Libyan militias to stop migrants from setting off. Minniti said the G7 ministers had discussed how to go about "de-radicalising" citizens returning from the Daesh frontline, to prevent them becoming security risks in jails. The ministers had also brainstormed on how to tackle the legal headache of prosecuting returnees, amid questions over what sort of evidence, collected by whom, could be used in a domestic court. The US and Britain called for more to be done on aviation safety, particularly through the sharing of passenger data. 'Malware of terror' The Group of Seven --- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US -- said it had also called on the web giants to work with their smaller partners to bolster the anti-extremism shield. "Daesh took to the technology world like a fish to water," Minniti said, adding that it was time to unleash the antidote to its "malware of terror". Rudd said the UK government would do its part by changing the law so that those accessing and viewing extremist material on the web could face up to 15 years behind bars. But Julian Richards, a security specialist at BUCSIS (Buckingham University Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies), said the rest of the G7 was unlikely to get behind her on that front. "The UK's fairly hard approach of introducing legislative measures to try to force companies to cooperate... and suggestions that people radicalising online should have longer sentences, are often considered rather unpalatable and too politically sensitive in many other advanced countries," he told AFP.
  3. Yet another statement that has surfaced on the row over Taj Mahal suggests the mausoleum was built on stolen property, according to International Business Times. While speaking in the Rajya Sabha (Indian parliament upper house) recently, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy said he had access to the documents that state the white marble monument was built on stolen property. Swamy?s comments have come a day after a BJP parliamentarian, Vinay Katiyar, said Taj Mahal was originally a Hindu temple hence should be renamed Tejo Mahal, reported NDTV. Katiyar, who is active in the campaign for Ram temple at the Babri mosque site in Ayodhya, said Taj Mahal was constructed on the ruins of a Shive temple. Taj Mahal built by traitors, is blot on Indian culture: BJP lawmaker Mausoleum was removed from Uttar Pradesh?s booklet of tourism earlier in October However, Swamy said, there is evidence on record that Shah Jahan forced the Raja-Maharajas of Jaipur to sell the land on which Taj Mahal is standing and in return gave them 40 villages, which ?is nothing compared to the property?s value?. Swamy said the documents would soon be made public. But, he added, the BJP had no intention of demolishing the Taj. They wanted only three temples out of the thousands demolished under the Muslim rule to be restored, he said. ?These three, once they are restored, we won?t be concerned about the remaining 40,000.?
  4. KABUL: At least ten people were killed with as many injured according to the Afghan Ministry of Public Health after a suicide bomber targeted a mosque in Kabul on Friday evening. Afghanistan's TOLO news initially reported the explosion inside the Imam Zaman mosque in Dasht-e-Barchi; quoting Basir Mujahid a police spokesman the news outlet confirmed the attack.
  5. LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif met with former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar on Friday, Geo News reported. Shehbaz Sharif met with Nisar at his residence, sources revealed, adding that the two leaders exchange views of country?s political situation as well as issues pertaining to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Sources informed Geo News that CM Punjab has been holding multiple meetings with PML-N's top leaders such as Saad Rafique, Ahsan Iqbal and Rana Sanaullah since last week. Shehbaz wants to ensure that there is no clash between institutions and is trying to ensure that MPAs and MNAs don?t confront institutions, according to sources Moreover, sources claim that some politicians from south Punjab are trying to make their own bloc and Shehbaz is also holding talks with them to convince them otherwise. The politician is trying to stave off internal clashes between parliamentarians, sources add. Shehbaz also met with a non-political important person, claim sources. Earlier in the day, Shehbaz said that those levelling baseless allegations are not serving the country and the nation. He made the remarks after meeting members of the Punjab Assembly who called on him. "Those indulging in politics of negativity do not have any passion for serving the people," he said, adding that, "People are not served by hollow slogans". The Punjab chief minister claimed that they have saved billions of rupees while launching development projects.
  6. [embed_video1 url= style=center] RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday met with Afghanistan's Ambassador to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal and said terrorist attacks can not shake our resolve for peace in the region, said a statement released by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Friday. The army chief, in his meeting with the Afghan envoy, further said terrorism has affected both the countries equally. On the occasion, Gen Bajwa also paid his respects to the families of the victims and condemned the attacks, added ISPR. Militants launched two separate attacks on Afghan security installations earlier this week, killing dozens of soldiers, the latest in a series of devastating assaults that have left more than 120 people dead and underscored spiralling insecurity. Dozens killed as Taliban launch fresh assaults on Afghan bases The militants sought entry into the base through explosive-laden Humvee vehicles At least 43 Afghan soldiers were killed and nine wounded in a Taliban-claimed assault on a military base in southern Afghanistan which saw the insurgents blast their way into the compound with at least one explosives-laden Humvee, the Afghan defence ministry said. A security source in Kandahar put the toll at 50 dead and 20 wounded. The militants razed the base in the Chashmo area of Maiwand district in Kandahar province to the ground, according to the ministry.
  7. LAHORE: Pakistan Peoples Party Punjab Secretary General Nadeem Afzal Chan resigned from his post on Friday. However, sources revealed that the leader?s resignation was not accepted by PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who instead directed Nadeem to continue working on the post. Later, co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari summoned the political leader to Lahore. Nadeem reasoned that he resigned from the post as his brother Waseem Afzal joined political rival, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). ?Since my brother has joined political opponent, I should resign from the post on ethical grounds,? he remarked. ?I am leaving the post, not the party,? the politician had shared, adding ?I am faithful to the party and continue to work for it.?
  8. LAHORE: A female journalist who was abducted over two years ago was recovered on Wednesday night, Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal confirmed on Friday. Justice (retd) Iqbal, the head of the missing persons commission told BBC Urdu that Zeenat Shahzadi - who was at the time of her abduction working for a local news outlet based out of Lahore - was recovered from the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan on Wednesday night. File photo of Zeenat Shahzadi Iqbal added, that Shahzadi had been abducted by non-state actors and enemy intelligence agencies and that she had been rescued their clutches. Tribal leaders from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan played an important role in Shahzadi?s release, Iqbal further added. As yet no statement has been issued by the recovered journalist or her family.
  9. BEIRUT: Saudi Arabia´s appointment of its first female head of sports should attract more women into gyms and onto sports pitches in a nation where women are not allowed to exercise with men, female sports organisers said on Friday. US-raised Princess Reema bint Bandar last week became the first female president of the Saudi Federation for Community Sports that manages sports-related activities for both men and women in the deeply conservative Muslim kingdom, local media reported. Her appointment came amid a series of changes for women in Saudi hailed as a new progressive trend including giving women the right to drive and encouraging more women to work. But a guardianship system, under which a male family member must grant permission for a woman to study, travel and other activities, remains in place. Lina Al Maeena, who formed Jeddah United, Saudi Arabia´s first private female basketball club, in 2003, said the princess´ appointment was significant. "It´s going to be changing stereotypes because of her appointment in that role as the head of both genders," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from Jeddah. Female participation in sports has long been a controversial issue in Saudi where women cannot exercise with men and there are no public sports facilities for women as many conservative Muslim clerics consider sport for females as immodest. Saudi Arabia didn´t send any women to the Olympics until 2012. But this has taken its toll, with around 44 percent of women classified as obese in Saudi Arabia which has some of the world´s highest rates of obesity and diabetes. Susan Turner, chief executive of NuYu, the kingdom´s first chain of female fitness centres, said bint Bandar´s appointment would bring women´s health to the "forefront". "It´s everybody´s right to have access to these facilities and to look after their health women are realising that if they are not doing (exercise) already it is just bringing those statistics and facts to light," said Turner. According to the kingdom´s Vision 2030 reform plan, only 13 percent of the Saudi population exercises at least once a week. The plan aims to boost that number to 40 percent. Bint Bandar - daughter of a former Saudi ambassador to Washington - championed the licensing of female-only gyms and sports clubs in her previous role leading the women´s section of the national General Sports Authority. Turner said she hoped in addition to getting more women into sports her own business would benefit. "For us to be able to grow more clubs and that we can get licenses and knowing that somebody very confident and very capable is in charge of just gives us a huge amount of confidence," Turner said by phone from Riyadh. Al Maeena, who is also a member of the advisory Shura Council, said having a woman in the role would have a knock-on effect across Saudi society. "I see a lot of business opportunities, a lot of women empowerment," she said.
  10. Cricketers from China joined the squad of Peshawar Zalmi ahead of the third edition of Pakistan Super League, said a statement released from the team on Friday. Owner of Peshawar Zalmi, Javed Afridi, said that collaboration between Pakistan and China also includes cultural values and sports are equally important in further reinforcing the bond between the two nations. "Peshawar Zalmi is not only pleased to assist in top-notch coaching and mentoring of cricketers in China, but also providing them with a platform to recognise their talent and motivate them to achieve international recognition," added the Zalmi statement. In the event held at the Embassy of the People?s Republic of China, cricketers Jian Li and Yufie Zhang were also present. Zalmi's director of cricket affairs, Mohammad Akram, said that Zalmi plans to invigorate cricket in China and a coaching team will travel to the country for a seminar to kick off the collaboration and hold coaching programs to identify and groom young Chinese talent. He added that China Zalmi will take part in tournaments organised by the Zalmi franchise under the initiative of Global Zalmi - a fan-based league of cricket enthusiasts with representative Zalmi clubs in over 25 countries around the world.
  11. GENEVA: The death toll from a plague outbreak in Madagascar has risen to 94, with the number of suspected cases jumping to more than 1,100, the World Health Organization said Friday. Officials on the poor Indian Ocean island nation had earlier this week reported 74 fatalities and 805 cases. WHO's director for health emergencies in Africa, Ibrahima Soce Fall, told reporters in Geneva that out of 1,153 suspected cases, 300 had been laboratory confirmed. Fall said WHO has sent 1.3 million doses of antibiotics to Madagascar, enough to treat 5,000 patients and protect another 100,000 people who may have been exposed to the infectious disease. "We´re in a very active phase of this outbreak. We are expecting more cases," Fall added. "We have to continue to be vigilant". Madagascar has suffered plague outbreaks almost every year since 1980 -- typically between September and April. The current outbreak is unusual as it has affected urban areas -- especially the capital Antananarivo -- increasing the risk of transmission and sparking panic in the population. Plague bacteria develops in rats and is carried by fleas. In humans, the pneumonic version is transferred through coughing and can be fatal within 72 hours. Most of the victims recorded in Madagascar have been infected with the pneumonic form. The bubonic form is less dangerous.
  12. Professor Shahida Hasnain of Pakistan and Dr Samir Saha of Bangladesh have been named as the two laureates of the 2017 Carlos J Finlay UNESCO Prize for Microbiology. The prize will be presented to them on November 6 during the 39th session of the General Conference of UNESCO, which will bring together the Organization's 195 Member State from October 30 to November 14. Shahida Hasnain, founder and chairperson of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Punjab in Lahore (Pakistan), has won numerous distinctions for her work. Her department is today recognised as a centre of excellence both for its equipment and expertise. "Professor Hasnain significantly contributed to advances in research in environmental, agricultural and medical microbiology. She has notably worked on the heavy metal detoxification mechanisms, salt stress tolerance mechanisms, and bacterial morphogenesis," said a statement from UNESCO. The Carlos J Finlay UNESCO Prize rewards the efforts of an individual, or of an institution, non-governmental organization or other entity which, through research and development, has made an outstanding contribution to the field of microbiology and its applications. The Government of Cuba and UNESCO established the prize in honour of one of the most important microbiologists in history: Carlos J. Finlay. The Carlos J Finlay Prize for Microbiology has an endowment of $10,000, which will be divided between the two laureates.
  13. NEW DELHI: New Delhi was shrouded in a thick toxic haze Friday after a night of frenzied Diwali fireworks sent the air quality plummeting despite a ban on their sale aimed at thwarting a repeat of last year's 'airpocalypse'. India's Supreme Court had banned the sale of firecrackers ahead of the Hindu festival of lights to prevent a repeat of last year's post-Diwali air pollution crises that left Delhi's 20 million residents gasping for weeks. But late Thursday the readings for PM10 pollutants hovered around 1,100 microgram per cubic metre in some parts of the city - 11 times above the prescribed air quality levels of World Health Organisation. PM10 particles measure less than 10 microns or 10 millionths of a metre - several times thinner than a human hair. Air quality data from the state-run Delhi Pollution Control Committee showed pollution levels in a crowded neighbourhood hit 1,179 around midnight as firework displays reached a crescendo. Residents of Delhi, rated the most polluted city by WHO in 2014, showed little consideration for the ban, purchasing crackers illegally or using those bought earlier. The levels had subsided through the night but were still "severe" in several districts across the capital Friday afternoon. India's Nobel peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi said he was pained by Delhi's nonchalant attitude. "Delhiites continue to choke on pollution. It is a reflection of our dismissive & disrespectful attitude towards society, law & justice. When will we learn," he wrote on Twitter. Delhi's woes The spike in levels came on a day when a report in the Lancet medical journal said pollution had claimed as many as 2.5 million lives in India in 2015, the highest in the world. Globally the number of deaths due to environmental pollution stood at nine million - three times more than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined, the study said. Delhi's air quality typically worsens at the onset of winter, due to pollution from diesel engines, coal-fired power plants, industrial emissions and atmospheric dust. Levels of PM2.5 - the finer particles linked to higher rates of chronic bronchitis, lung cancer and heart disease - have soared since the beginning of this month when millions of farmers in the city´s north burn post-harvest crop residue. The court on October 9 had banned the sale of firecrackers across the city in anticipation of last year´s catastrophic levels of pollution. But it did not put any restrictions on the bursting of fireworks. Last year's Diwali festivities took pollution levels to a record high - the worst in nearly two decades - forcing the government to shut schools and close down a coal-fired power plant. On Tuesday an environmental watchdog ordered the shutting down of all diesel generators and the city´s lone coal-fired power plant as part of a slew of measures to curb pollution. Experts, however, say the air quality will remain considerably cleaner this year, thanks to a favourable wind system. "The wind system will not allow stagnation of smoke over the city. We will have better air this time," said Gufran Beig, chief scientist at India´s state-run System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research.
  14. NEW DELHI: India on Friday welcomed US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's comments that Washington would rather work with New Delhi than Beijing over the next century, saying it shared his optimism about their burgeoning relationship. Speaking ahead of a visit to India next week, Tillerson called Wednesday for deeper cooperation with India in the face of growing Chinese influence in Asia and said Washington wanted to promote a "free and open" region led by prosperous democracies. President Donald Trump's top diplomat also said Beijing sometimes acted outside international conventions, citing the South China Sea dispute as an example. India welcomed the comments, saying they "highlighted our shared commitment to a rule-based international order", the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement. "We appreciate his positive evaluation of the relationship and share his optimism about its future directions." Tillerson's remarks came hours after Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech at the Communist Party congress signalled that Beijing intended to play a greater role in world affairs. The unexpectedly sharp comments were seen as a warning to Beijing that Washington would build regional alliances to counter China's ever-growing power, while promoting free trade and open sea lanes. Beijing responded Thursday by saying that America was biased. "We hope the US side can look at China's development and role in the international community in an objective way, and abandon its biased views of China," foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said. Experts say stronger US-India ties could act as a counterweight to an increasingly assertive China, which has been building its military and acting increasingly assertively on the world stage. India has historically avoided alliances, preferring to maintain cautious relations with both Washington and Beijing, but Trump has developed a warm relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Tillerson will visit New Delhi next week for talks but the exact dates have yet to be announced. His visit will also take him to Pakistan, India's arch-rival and nuclear-armed neighbour.
  15. RAWALPINDI: A team from the Pakistan Army won the gold medal in the premier patrolling exercise of the British Army - Exercise Cambrian Patrol - beating around 131 teams from armies across the globe, said the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in a statement on Friday. The grueling patrolling exercise is organised and run by the British Army, is physically and mentally demanding as the participants have to cover a distance of 80-kilometres in 48 hours while trekking through the rugged Cambrian mountains in Wales. Cambrian Patrol is also the highlight of the British Army training calendar. The exercise is an annual event organised and run by 160th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Wales, based in Brecon. According to the British Army, the exercise is unique, world-class and the largest of its kind with some foreign entrants having to claim the right to take part in the UK by winning through their own domestic competition.
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