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  1. NUKU'ALOFA: Tonga's government has banned girls from participating in rugby and boxing, drawing criticism from two-time Olympic shot put champion Valerie Adams and New Zealand's proudly feminist Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The government edict came to light last week when a team of girls from Tonga High School were pulled from a touch rugby tournament because of their gender. A letter from the Pacific nation's education department said the ban was to "preserve the dignity of Tongan women and hold on to Tongan cultural values", according to a translation published by the Matangi Tonga news website. Adams, who was born in New Zealand but is fiercely proud of her Tongan heritage, described the move as "misguided and stubborn misinterpretation of the Pacific island nation´s culture. "According to this way of thinking, a proud Tongan like myself, could not attain the standing I have in this world," she posted on Facebook. "Tongan women must be free to choose their destiny, and not be held back." Adams has won two gold and one silver in Olympics shot put and is favourite to claim a fourth Commonwealth Games gold on the Gold Coast next month. "Rugby, like any sport, ought to be embraced by our Tongan women -- we're good at it -- don´t take it away!" she said. Ardern said she disagreed with the ban but would not use New Zealand´s aid program as leverage to try to have it overturned. "As a school student I played touch rugby and I would encourage all the young women to engage in whatever sporting code they are interested in," she said. She said the ban affected only schools, so there were ways girls wanting to play rugby could sidestep it. "A young woman will still be able to do that, I understand, through their villages, even if this dictate is made by these schools," she said. The Tonga Leitis Association, which represents the nation´s transgender community, wrote to the education ministry urging a rethink. It labelled the directive "disrespectful and discriminatory", saying it sent the wrong message to girls wanting to participate in sports. "We kindly remind you that what lessens the dignity of women is telling them what they can and cannot do based on their biological ***," it said.
  2. WhatsApp has rolled out three new features which allow users to write a brief group direction and search users in group chat. Photo: REUTERS/file WhatsApp has rolled out three new features which allow users to write a brief group direction and search users in group chat. The first feature allows users to write a brief description of 500 words of the group. The description can be written or updated by admin or any other member of the group. WhatsApp now allows users to have a 500 word description of groups. Photo: Tech Radar1 Users can go in the 'Group Info' section of groups and tap on the 'Description' option to add or change the group description. The group description is available to all members of the group. Like every other WhatsApp feature, whenever the description will be added or changed, everyone in the group will be notified. The second feature allows users to search for participants in a group. This will allow users to search particularly large groups with lots of participants in them. The third and final feature that was rolled out, now allows users to switch between video and audio calls. Users no longer have to disconnect an audio call to connect a video call. Now during the call, an option will appear to switch from audio to video call, sending an invite to the other person to accept. Users can now switch between audio and video call by tapping the ?switch? option. Photo: Tech Crunch All three features will be available to iOS and Android users
  3. Photo: AFP It was one of hundreds of cute questionnaires that were shared widely on Facebook and other social media, like "Which Pokeman Are You?" and "What Are Your Most Used Words?" This one, an app called "thisismydigitallife", was a personality quiz, asking questions about how outgoing a person is, how vengeful one can be, whether one finishes projects, worries a lot, likes art, or is talkative. About 320,000 people took the quiz, designed by a man named Alexsandr Kogan. Kogan was contracted to do it by a company called Cambridge Analytica, founded by US Republican supporters including Steve Bannon, who would become the strategist for Donald Trump. Because Kogan´s app was circulated via Facebook, it reaped far more than just the information on those who took the test. At the time, in 2015, such apps could scrape up all the personal details of not only the quiz-taker, but all their Facebook friends. That ultimately became a horde of data on some 50 million Facebook users -- their personal information, their likes, their places, their pictures, and their networks. Marketers use such information to pitch cars, clothes, and vacations with targeted ads. It was used in earlier elections by candidates to identify potential supporters. But for Kogan and Cambridge it was a much bigger goldmine. They used it for psychological profiling of US voters, creating a powerful database that helped carry Trump to victory in the 2016 presidential election. The data let the Trump campaign know more than perhaps anyone has ever known about Facebook users, creating targeted ads and messaging that could play on their individual biases, fears and loves -- effectively creating a bond between them and the candidate. Psychometric profiling The project was based on the work of a former Cambridge scientist, Michal Kosinski, who studies people based on what information they generate on line. Kosinski and fellow researcher David Stillwell had for several years tapped into Facebook for psychometric profiling using their own personality test app, "myPersonality". The app accumulated six million test results, along with users´ Facebook profiles, and their friends´ profiles, in a powerful research database. In 2015 they published a study carrying the bold title: "Computer-based personality Judgments are more accurate than those made by humans." They showed, for example, that they could divine a fairly accurate psychometric portrait of a person using only their Facebook "likes". "Computers outpacing humans in personality Judgment presents significant opportunities and challenges in the areas of psychological assessment, marketing, and privacy," they wrote. Kosinski would not share the database with Kogan and Cambridge Analytica, reportedly knowing it would be used for a political campaign. But Kogan created his own app quiz and, through that, amassed the database on 50 million people that would be the backbone of Trump´s social media campaign. Facebook now says Kogan did that illegally. And it has since also restricted apps from such broad data collection on friend networks. Powerful results But Cambridge Analytica proved that Kosinski´s methods were powerful. They started with the standard psychological profiling test known as Big Five or OCEAN, which measures five traits: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. The test-taker answers a list of statements like "I am someone who tends to be organized" or "who rarely feels excited" or "has few artistic interests," using a scale from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree". Those basic results were combined with the data raked from Facebook profiles and friend networks, associating longer lists of traits. For example, to categorize voters, an algorithm could find links between "agreeableness" or "neuroticism" and gender, age, religion, hobbies, travel, specific political views, and a host of other variables. The data generated an incredible 4,000 or more data points on each US voter, according to Alexander Nix, Cambridge Analytica´s chief executive before he was suspended on Tuesday. The power of psychographic data, experts say, is not in the granularity itself, but in combining data to make significant correlations about people -- something with requires powerful computer algorithms. Ultimately, it allowed the campaign to know far more about voters than anyone ever has before. The output was put to work in what Nix called "behavioral microtargeting" and "psychographic messaging". More simply said, the campaign could put out messages, news and images via Facebook and other social media that was finely targeted to press the right buttons on an individual that would push them into Trump´s voter base. For Trump, it worked. "If you know the personality of the people you´re targeting, you can nuance your messaging to resonate more effectively with those key audience groups," Nix said in a 2016 presentation.
  4. Photo: File Israel for the first time confirmed that it bombed a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007, saying on Wednesday that the strike removed a major threat to Israel and the region and was a ?message? to others. The first public acknowledgement by Israel that its F-16 warplanes carried out the September 6, 2007 bombing of the partially constructed Al-Kubar facility near Deir al-Zor was made after military censors lifted a more than 10-year order that had barred Israeli officials from discussing it. The strike had already been extensively reported on abroad, and discussed by US officials. The Israeli military released newly declassified operational footage, photographs and intelligence documents about the bombing, showing the moment that the suspected reactor was hit, an detailing the intelligence operation that led up to it. Israeli intelligence reports concluded that the reactor had been under construction with North Korean help and was months away from activation. Reuters has been unable to immediately verify the Israeli material. Israel?s decision to go public comes after repeated calls in recent months by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the United States and international community to take tougher action on Syria?s ally, Iran. A still frame taken from video material released on March 21, 2018 shows a combination image of what the Israeli military describes is before and after an Israeli air strike on a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor site near Deir al-Zor on Sept 6, 2007. Photo: Handout/ Reuters ?The motivation of our enemies has grown in recent years, but so too the might of the IDF (Israel Defence Forces),? Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Wednesday. ?Everyone in the Middle East would do well to internalize this equation,? he said. The 5:00am Wednesday release of the declassified documents prompted a cascade of Israeli newspaper and television reports. The Israeli military described in detail the events leading up to the night of Sept 5 to Sept 6, 2007, in which, it said, eight F-16 warplanes took off from the Ramon and Hatzerim air bases and flew to Deir al-Zor region, 450 km northwest of Damascus, Syria. The operation was launched after it received intelligence indicating that ?a substantial threat to Israel and the region, in the form of a nuclear reactor, was being built in Syria?. ?Top secret? The military declassified internal ?top secret? intelligence reports, in Hebrew, some of them partly redacted. One, dated March 30, 2007, said: ?Syria has set up, within its territory, a nuclear reactor for the production of plutonium, through North Korea, which according to an (initial) worst-case assessment is liable to be activated in approximately another year. To our assessment [redacted] secretive and orderly [redacted] for achieving a nuclear weapon.? Israeli intelligence predicted that the suspected reactor ?would turn operational by the end of 2007?. The mission to destroy the facility started at 10.30 p.m. on Sept. 5 and ended with safe return of the warplanes at 2:30am the next day, the Israeli military said. The military said the reactor ?had been totally disabled, and that the damage done was irreversible?. It decided at the time not to go public with the strike. As it happened, the event was first made public by Syria, which, as reported by Reuters at the time, said in the early hours of September 6 that Syrian air defenses had repelled an incursion by Israeli warplanes. Syria, a signatory of the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has always denied that the site was a reactor or that Damascus engaged in nuclear cooperation with North Korea. The Israeli military announcement on Wednesday noted that the area in question, around Deir al-Zor, was captured by Islamic State after the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011. Had there been an active reactor there, the Israeli military said, it would have had ?severe strategic implications on the entire Middle East as well as Israel and Syria?. Countdown The Israeli release contains a black-and-white aerial photograph captioned ?before the attack? and showing a box-like square structure amid desert dunes with smaller outlying buildings. A series of black-and-white videos, taken above the target, shows the structure in cross-hairs. A male voice is heard counting down three seconds, a cloud of black smoke rises from the center of the structure as it explodes. Other footage appears to show the aftermath - a smoldering hole in the ground. A clip taken from ?The Air Force Control Center, headed by the Commander of the IAF, Major General Eliezer Shkedi? shows assembled Israeli air force personnel, some of their faces pixilated, applauding as they receive an update. In declassified and unredacted letters to Shkedi, then Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak and then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert praise the operation. Wednesday?s release came ahead of the publication of a memoir by Olmert. One of his aides told Reuters the book would contain passages about the 2007 strike in Syria.
  5. Photo: File Most South-East Asian girls have been cornered at social gatherings and asked rather personal questions regarding when they?re getting married or having a baby and it just doesn?t end there. There have been numerous memes, blogs and videos over the years tackling how to deal when posed with awkward questions and a recent video featuring Bollywood actor Rani Mukherjee has summed it up best. The video shows Rani hilariously take down people commenting on her looks, career choices and personal life. Her comebacks should be noted down by every desi girl to prepare for the next encounter. The video begins with an aunty sharing tips with Rani for fairer skin as she?s ?tanned quite a bit?. However, as the aunty shares a tip combining curd and lemon juice, Rani interrupts with, ?Marinate it for a while and then fry it in oil.? She then tells the aunty that she?s ?really hungry? and she should make it for her, leaving the aunty speechless. South-East Asians? love for baby boys is no secret but most of us don?t know how to answer back when told ?you can always try for a boy". But don?t worry, Rani had the perfect comeback. When advised she could try again, the actor questioned, ?But what if he turns out like you?? Continuing with her perfect comebacks, in the video Rani points out that only the husband shouldn?t be praised for ?allowing? his wife to work. ?We?re very progressive like that. I also let him work,? she responds when a woman says that it?s great her husband lets her work after marriage. As for the famous statement that if you don?t marry on time ?all the good boys will get booked?, Rani had the best response. ?It?s fine if you get married late but not if you get your periods late,? the actor tells the aunty in the video. Further, to Rani?s horror when her co-worker suggests a man should be hired over a woman with the ?same skills and experience? because ?for girls, a career is like a hobby? and what if she came to the office wearing a ?short skirt?, the actor schooled him. ?You also come to the office every day with the small-mindedness, but you?re still here. What about that,? she shuts him down. Finally, taking down the obsession with height, Rani when asked by the aunty that both her parents were so tall but she isn?t had a hilarious response. ?Both your parents were so intelligent, but you...? she remarked. Watch the full video here:
  6. Nineteen people were killed and 21 others injured when a passenger bus lost control and plunged off a cliff in the central Philippines. Photo: Michael Mulingbayan MANILA: Nineteen people were killed and 21 others injured when a passenger bus lost control and plunged off a cliff in the central Philippines, police said Wednesday. The bus, which was heading to the capital Manila, skidded off a mountain road on Mindoro island late Tuesday, said regional police spokeswoman Imelda Tolentino. Rescue workers were pulling the dead and injured from the vehicle, which landed at the bottom of a wooded ravine, she added. "Police are investigating why the driver lost control -- whether there was mechanical trouble or the driver fell asleep," Tolentino told AFP. Police photos showed rescuer workers clambering down the cliff to reach the bus, which lay on its side amongst trees and grass about 15 metres (49 feet) below the road. The accident occurred near Sablayan town, which is about 195 kilometres (121 miles) south of Manila. Road accidents are common in the Philippines, where poorly maintained buses and poorly-trained drivers form the backbone of land transport options. In 2010, 41 people died, including five foreigners, when a packed bus plunged into a deep ravine in the northern Philippines. Another 31 people perished in a bus crash in the country´s north in April last year. Public transport regulators said Wednesday they may suspend the franchise of the operator of the bus involved in the most recent disaster.
  7. In this picture taken on February 28, 2018, Sumanth Madhav, campaign manager for wildlife for animal welfare charity Humane Society International (HSI), looks at a dead Olive Ridley sea turtle on Daluakani beach, around 80km from Bhubaneswar in India´s eastern Odisha state. Photo: AFP DALUAKANI: Since he was a boy, Soumyaranjan Biswal has kept a night vigil at the beach near his coastal Indian village where tens of thousands of tiny olive ridley turtles gather to lay their eggs. Fishing communities in Odisha protect this threatened species from harm as they return year after year to nest, a unique ritual for both turtles and their custodians that stretches back decades. Olive ridley turtles navigate thousands of miles of open ocean to reach the eastern state, where they come ashore in numbers not seen anywhere else in the world. It is familiar territory for the females, who hatched on these same sands many years ago. "We have seen them coming to these beaches right from our childhood," Biswal told AFP on a moonlit night, as tiny white ocean crabs wriggled across his feet. "The turtles are just like our friends now." The turtles arrive under the cover of darkness, trudging ashore to dig shallow pits with their flippers where they deposit dozens of eggs. In this file photo taken on February 23, 2018, an Olive Ridley sea turtle lays eggs on Rushikulya Beach, some 140 kilometres (88 miles) southwest of Bhubaneswar in India´s eastern Odisha state. Photo: AFP Their work done, they return to the ocean. But their eggs are vulnerable to predators like dogs and vultures during the 50-odd day incubation period beneath the sand, and high tides can wash away an entire nest. Unpaid job Fishermen along this stretch of east Indian coastline have been intervening to give the unborn turtles a shot at life. Biswal, equipped with a flashlight and a bamboo pole, identifies nests at risk and carefully digs up the spongy eggs. They are relocated to freshly dug hatcheries a safe distance away, ringed with fencing and marked with a flag -- an arduous process that can be repeated hundreds of times in a single nesting season. In this file photo taken on April 11, 2013, newly-hatched Olive Ridley turtles make their way to the ocean at the Rushikulya river mouth in Ganjam district, 140km south of the eastern Indian city of Bhubaneswar. Photo: AFP Keeping a watchful eye over the brood is no easy task. The job is unpaid, usually following a long day at work. There is the added danger of scorpion bites and nipping crabs in the sand. But Biswal knows safe passage for the turtle hatchlings to the sea is crucial for their survival. "Their journey back to the sea is very important. The females come back to this same beach to lay eggs, helped by the alignment of moon and stars," he said. There was a time when two million turtles would emerge from the sea at Odisha for the mass nesting phenomenon known as "arribada", or arrival. But their numbers have sharply declined, with environmental pressures, coastal development and overfishing meaning many do not survive the journey to their ancestral nesting ground. Hundreds can wash ashore dead every year. In 2014 and 2016, for reasons still unknown, no turtles arrived at all, spooking villagers who consider their fate intertwined with their ocean visitors. "For us, turtles are an incarnation of (Hindu God) Vishnu. If they die or don´t come we feel we have missed out on their blessing," said one volunteer, Bichitranal Biswal. In this picture taken on February 28, 2018, volunteers for the group Action for Protection of Wild Animals (APOWA) demonstrate how to look for turtle eggs in the nest and how rescue vulnerable turtles on Daluakani beach, around 80km from Bhubaneswar in India´s eastern Odisha state. Photo: AFP Turtle love However, the union between fishermen and turtles has not always been peaceful. In 1997, the coastal regions off Odisha were declared a marine wildlife sanctuary and fishing was barred in shallow waters for more than half the year -- slashing incomes in one of India´s poorest regions. "For seven months a year the fishermen are left jobless," said Sumanth Bindumadhav, wildlife campaign manager with Humane Society International, an NGO. "It´s natural for them to feel that it´s because of the turtles." Bindumadhav said it had been a "Herculean task" motivating fishermen to protect the turtles during lean times when other work was scarce. One approach is to remind them that the turtles eat jellyfish, which prey on the sealife the villagers eat and sell. In this picture taken on February 28, 2018, an Olive Ridley sea turtle hatchery is seen on Daluakani beach, around 80km from Bhubaneswar in India´s eastern Odisha state. Photo: AFP Ultimately, conservation efforts have succeeded in Odisha in large part due to the special relationship between turtles and locals. "People here feel a personal connection with the turtles and have developed a sense of ownership. This has helped in our conservation effort," Bindumadhav said. The state government provides 25 kilos (55 pounds) of subsidised rice every month to families affected by fishing laws under the World Bank-funded Integrated Coastal Zone Management Programme. But the villagers say they would rather learn new skills than depend on handouts. Bijaya Kumar Kavi is director of the local Action for Protection of Wild Animals, which has been helping women set up self-help groups where each member contributes 60 rupees (90 cents) a month. "We teach them how each olive ridley lays around 100 eggs, but of more than 10 million eggs laid in an arribada, only around 0.2 percent survive," he said. "We also tell them how to handle eggs. If done the wrong way the embryo will drown in its own yolk. "When the fishermen learn about these fascinating characteristics, their attitude changes and they become turtle-friendly."
  8. Former PM Nawaz Sharif (centre) outside the accountability court today. Photo: Geo News ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said on Wednesday that the Supreme Court judge?s remarks about the Panama case are not an ordinary thing. He was referring to the remarks of Justice Qazi Faez Isa on Tuesday, made while hearing a lawmaker's disqualification case, that the Panama case was about the London flats but the prime minister was disqualified over an Iqama (foreign work permit). Talking to reporters inside the court conducting corruption proceedings against him, the former premier said, "now the issue is being raised inside and outside the Supreme Court." Nawaz added that he is someone who respects state institutions and even participated in a long march for the restoration of the judiciary. When a reporter asked Nawaz if he plans to approach the Supreme Judicial Council, the body which conducts inquiries against superior judges and constitution-protected organisations, against the injustice of judges, the three-time prime minister thanked the reporter for giving him "the good idea". Referring to his disqualification by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case last year, he said, "the decision was not right in my and the nation?s opinion. I was disqualified for not taking a salary from my son and that too by taking help from Black?s Law Dictionary". Nawaz recalled that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, his political opponent, also termed the Panama case judgment weak. "The judgment speaks for itself. Those giving these judgments should wonder whether people accept these decisions and it should be reviewed why such judgments are delivered," said Nawaz, adding that this qualifies as contempt of the people of Pakistan. "Where should they go to file a contempt case?" Comparing his case to those of his opponents, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supremo said despite Imran?s crimes, he is being declared honest and truthful. "A decision came against [PTI leader] Jahangir Tareen, but there was no JIT or references [for him]. But in our case, a six-month deadline was given and monitoring judge assigned," he stated. Referring to PTI ally Sheikh Rasheed?s acceptance of omission in declaring his assets in his nomination papers yesterday, Nawaz said double standards are not viable in any society. Talking to the media after leaving the court, he said, "aftershocks will come after such decisions...controlling them is impossible". Nawaz also said that such decisions cast the judiciary in a bad light.
  9. Google Play Instant now lets users play a trial version of the game before downloading them. Photo: file Google Play Instant now lets users play a trial version of the game before downloading them. The announcement was made during the ongoing Game Developer Conference, which is currently taking place in San Francisco. With this new option, users can go to the App Store, select a game, play a trial version and then decide whether they want to download it or not. For now, there are a handful of games available such as Clash Royale, Words with Friends 2, Bubble Witch 3 Saga and more. The list is likely to grow gradually as more developers come on board. Courtesy: Google Play Instant Users can take the trial by tapping on the 'Try Now' button, which lets you play some initial levels of the game. There is also a new 'Arcade' option where users can find related YouTube videos or news about a particular game. To get the new feature, users have to install or update their current app and it should be available to everyone soon as Google promises that Google Play Instant will be available ?on more than 1 billion Android devices worldwide?, according to the blog post written by Google Play Instant Product Manager Jonathan Karmel.
  10. Htin Kyaw. Photo: File Myanmar's president and Aung San Suu Kyi's right-hand man Htin Kyaw stepped down on Wednesday after two years in the position, his office said. "Myanmar President Htin Kyaw resigned on March 21, 2018," a statement on the president's official Facebook page said, adding that a new leader would be selected "within seven working days".
  11. At least 20 shipping containers are still afloat as Karachi Port Trust continued on Wednesday its operation to recover the containers, which had fallen into the sea after the collision of two shipping vessels. Photo: PPI KARACHI: At least 20 shipping containers are still afloat as Karachi Port Trust continued on Wednesday its operation to recover the containers, which had fallen into the sea after the collision of two shipping vessels. Hapeg-Lloyd?s ship 8,000-TEU Tolten, which was carrying transit-containers, collided with another vessel 6,350-TEU Hamburg Bay near the South Asia Port Terminal Limited (SAPT) berth on Monday. Both vessels were docked at the Karachi Port soon after the incident. During Tuesday?s operation, the divers tied the ropes around 12 containers which will be taken out with the help of a crane today (Wednesday), port sources informed Geo News. The recovery operation is likely to span over a period of two to three days, maritime experts told Geo News, following which the South Asia Port Terminal (SAPT) will open for traffic. Operations at the SAPT, which were suspended after the accident, will resume after the containers are removed from the sea through a special operation by the Karachi Port Trust.
  12. Mufti Qavi. Photo: File MULTAN: The district and sessions court hearing the Qandeel Baloch murder case will indict the remaining suspects, including Mufti Qavi, today. Hearing the case on March 7, the judge had directed that Mufti Abdul Qavi, Aslam Shahid and Abdul Basit, the remaining accused, be provided copies of the charge-sheet so they could be indicted today. The primary accused in the social media celebrity's murder, Baloch's brother Waseem and relative Haq Nawaz, were indicted in December 2016. The judge had also separated the case of Baloch's other brother, Arif, after declaring him an absconder for being a no-show in the proceedings. Mufti Qavi The cleric was arrested in the case in October last year after a court rejected his bail. However, his bail was restored around a month later after he remained in police custody where he also gave a polygraph test. Qandeel murder case: Revelations surface in Qavi's polygraph result 'The polygraph test result cannot be shared with the media for now' According to the police, Qavi, while in custody, said that the owner and driver of the vehicle which brought Qandeel's murder suspects ? Waseem and Nawaz ? from DG Khan to Multan and then brought them back is his cousin: Abdul Basit. Moreover, Qavi, according to a senior police official, told police during investigation that the house in Multan's Muzaffarabad locality where Qandeel resided was owned by a close associate of his ? Mohammad Nawaz. Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Yousaf had suspended Qavi?s membership of Ruet-e-Hilal Committee after Baloch released pictures of herself with the cleric in a hotel room weeks before her murder, wearing his hat and pouting. She had accused him of inappropriate behaviour. "I thought I would expose him as he is in reality," she told AFP at the time, adding: "He is a different person alone and different when he has his followers around him." Qandeel Baloch case: Police unable to submit complete chalan, hearing adjourned Judge orders three fugitives, including Qandeel's brother, to be presented in court Qandeel Baloch murder case Fauzia Azeem, popularly known by her taken name Qandeel Baloch, shot to fame for her provocative selfies and videos that polarised Pakistan. She was allegedly strangled on July 16, 2016, by her brother Waseem. In his 'confession', Waseem claimed she had brought shame on the family and owned up to his crime in a press conference after his arrest the same day. Waseem, his cousin Nawaz and Basit were indicted in December 2016 and pleaded not guilty. Prior to her death, Baloch, 26, spoke of worries about her safety and had appealed to the Interior Ministry to provide her with security. In Facebook posts, she spoke of trying to change "the typical orthodox mindset" of people in Pakistan.
  13. The producers of television series The Crown apologised on Tuesday for paying the award-winning actress who played Queen Elizabeth less than her male co-star but said nothing about redressing the past imbalance. Photo: file LOS ANGELES: The producers of television series The Crown apologised on Tuesday for paying the award-winning actress who played Queen Elizabeth less than her male co-star but said nothing about redressing the past imbalance. British-based production company Left Bank Pictures acknowledged last week that Claire Foy was paid less than Matt Smith, who portrayed Prince Philip, for the first two seasons of the Netflix series about the British royal family. The story, the latest example of pay disparity in the entertainment industry, made headlines and prompted a petition asking Smith to donate the difference in his salary to Time?s Up, the movement addressing sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace, in Britain. ?We want to apologise to both Claire Foy and to Matt Smith, brilliant actors and friends, who have found themselves at the centre of a media storm this week through no fault of their own,? Left Bank Pictures said in a statement. ?We at Left Bank Pictures are responsible for budgets and salaries; the actors are not aware of who gets what, and cannot be held personally responsible for the pay of their colleagues,? the statement said. Neither Foy, Smith nor Netflix have commented on the issue and the size of the pay disparity is not known. The producers said they were ?absolutely united with the fight for fair pay? and for a ?rebalancing? of the industry?s treatment of women. They said they were keen to talk to the UK arm of Time?s Up. Tuesday?s statement did not say whether or how the pay disparity between Foy and Smith would be made up retroactively. The Crown is one of the most expensive television shows ever produced, costing a reported $130 million for the first season. In Season 3 of the show, other actors will take the roles of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip as the characters age and the story moves into the 1970s.
  14. The entrance to the Federal Judicial Complex where the accountability court is situated. Photo: File ISLAMABAD: The accountability court conducting corruption proceedings against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif will hear the Al-Azizia and Flagship references today. Nawaz has arrived in Islamabad from Murree to attend the hearing. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed three interim corruption references against the Sharif family in September last year in light of the Supreme Court's July 28 verdict in the Panama Papers case. The bureau recently filed supplementary references in all three cases as well. Federal Investigation Agency Additional Director Wajid Zia, who headed the Panama Papers case joint investigation team (JIT), will appear in court today to record his statement. Court hears Flagship, Al-Azizia references against Nawaz Former PM has been indicted in three corruption references filed by NAB in light of Supreme Court's Panama Papers case judgment Zia has been recording his statement in the Avenfield properties reference against Nawaz and his family, which is being heard separately by the same court. At the last hearing on March 14, three prosecution witnesses, Noreen Shahzadi, an employee of a private bank, NAB assistant director Waqar Ahmed and financial expert Sher Khan recorded their statements and submitted relevant documents in court. The corruption cases The corruption references, filed against the Sharif family, pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Avenfield properties of London. Nawaz and sons Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar are accused in the Avenfield reference only. The two brothers, based abroad, have been absconding since the proceedings began last year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.
  15. LAHORE: As media personnel and reporters gathered for the post-match press conference Tuesday night, they were met with what may be one of the most adorable of sights. Wahab Riaz sat behind the desk, accompanied by none other than his little daughter, Eshal Riaz, who had to struggle to reach the height of the mic. "We had the most adorable press conference tonight. @WahabViki with his daughter," wrote Roha Nadeem, a journalist who was present at the event. The cricketer dotes on his two-year-old daughter and has spoken of her in the past as well. Back in 2015, he tweeted a birthday wish to her, praying that "ALLAH always bless u with best of health n happiness". Prior to that, the little Eshal had to undergo a surgery, for which Riaz took to Twitter to ask fans to pray for her health. Preview Select Publish StatusDraftPublishedDeleted
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