waqas dar

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About waqas dar

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  1. Rain and dust-thundershowers (with isolated heavy falls) with strong gusty winds are expected at scattered places in upper Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Islamabad, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Kashmir, according to the Pakistan Meteorological (Met) Department. Moreover, rainfall is also expected at isolated places in south Punjab, Zhob, Kalat, Lower Sindh, and Gilgit-Baltistan. Past weather Rain and dust-thundershowers with gusty winds occurred at scattered places in Malakand, Hazara, Kohat, Rawalpindi, Bahawalpur divisions, Islamabad, upper FATA and Kashmir, while at isolated places in Kalat and Mirpurkhas divisions. On the other hand, weather remained hot and humid elsewhere in the country. Rainfall (mm) Punjab: Islamabad (Z.P 58, Saidpur 52, Bokra 38, Golra 01), Rawalpindi (Shamsabad 42, Chaklala 30), Murree 16,Bahawalnagar 03, KP:Balakot 47, Kohat 18, Saidu Sharif 12, Malamjabba 11, Kakul 08, Parachinar 06, Lower Dir 05, Dir 02 Kashmir: Kotli 14, Garhi Dupatta 08, Muzaffarabad 06, Rawalakot 05, Balochistan: Khuzdar 05, Barkhan 03 Sindh: Chhor 09, Badin 02. Yesterday's Highest Maximum Temperatures Sibi 48°C, Dadu , Larkana 47°C, Jaccobabad 46°C, Bahawalnagar, Turbat, Moenjodaro 45°C. Data courtesy: The Pakistan Meteorological Department
  2. FIFA on Monday said the re-laid pitch at the St Petersburg stadium had sustained damage but was being treated before it hosts the final of the Confederations on Sunday. The 68,000-seat stadium, the home of Russian football powerhouse Zenit, will be a flagship venue at the 2018 World Cup. But the pitch had to be hastily re-laid after it was cut up during the inaugural match there in April. Prior to the problems with the grass, issues with the stadium's retractable pitch technology also caused the playing surface to vibrate, rendering it unfit for matches. Colin Smith, director of competitions for global soccer body FIFA, told reporters that the stadium's "young pitch" had sustained damage from the matches, as well as from warm-up sessions. "We did significant top dressing last night," Smith told reporters at a news conference in St Petersburg. "Tomorrow we will fully cover the pitch and really regulate the temperature and the growing conditions in there. We're confident that it will be a good playing surface for the final." Smith said greenhouse structures had been installed over the pitch's weaker areas and grow lights have been permanently set up. He added that rainy weather conditions had "not helped the growth of the problem areas" on the pitch. Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo and coach Fernando Santos both criticised the pitch after their 4-0 win over New Zealand on Saturday, with Ronaldo telling Portuguese media the grass was too long. Santos said the teams were prevented from training on it the day before the game. Smith said the group stage of the Confederations Cup had been a great success on the operational level but that there was room for improvement ahead of the knock-out stage, which begins on Wednesday. "Very importantly, these improvements will also serve as very valuable lessons looking ahead to next year?s FIFA World Cup," he said. Portugal face Chile in the first semi-final on Wednesday in Kazan, while Germany take on Mexico in Sochi the next day. The winners of the two semi-finals will play for the title on Sunday in Saint Petersburg.
  3. ULAANBAATAR: There was no outright winner in Mongolia's presidential election on Monday, forcing the country's first ever second-round run-off between the two leading candidates, the country's General Election Committee said of Tuesday. The populist former martial arts star Khaltmaa Battulga of the opposition Democratic Party won the most votes, but failed to secure the majority required, the committee said. After the final districts were counted overnight, Battulga emerged with 517,478 votes, 38.1 percent of the total, according to Mongolian state television. Ruling Mongolian People's Party (MPP) candidate Miyeegombo Enkhbold, regarded as pro-investment and market-friendly, scraped through to the second round with 411,748 votes, 30.3 percent of the total. The election was seen as referendum on the government's economic recovery plans and China's role in the country. Battulga is regarded as a resource nationalist who is suspicious of neighbouring China, while Enkhbold, an establishment politician and parliamentary speaker, appears to have suffered as a result of his party's austerity policies. The new MPP administration raised interest rates and slashed public spending last year to try to cope with heavy debts and a precipitous fall in the value of Mongolia's currency, the tugrik. Enkhbold, the pre-election favourite, was trailing in third place for much of the count after a stronger than expected performance by Sainkhuu Ganbaatar of the breakaway Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP). Ganbaatar finished with 30.2 percent, trailing Enkhbold by fewer than 2,000 votes, but is expected to be eliminated from the second round. All three presidential candidates promised to pull the country out of its current crisis, but their campaigns were clouded by corruption allegations. Mongolia, a remote, resource-rich land known as the birthplace of Mongol emperor Genghis Khan, is a parliamentary democracy. The government is run by the prime minister, but the president has powers to veto legislation and make judicial appointments.
  4. Reports of adverse events associated with cosmetics and personal care products sold in the US more than doubled last year, due in large part to complaints about WEN by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioners, a new study suggests. Researchers examined data on side effects reported to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 2004 to 2016 for products like makeup, sunscreen, tattoos, hair color, perfume, shaving creams and baby care items. Overall, there were a total of 5,144 adverse events, with an average of 396 a year, researchers report in JAMA Internal Medicine. Side effect reports climbed 78 percent to 706 in 2015, followed by a 300 percent surge to 1,591 adverse events last year, largely driven by complaints about hair care products and WEN products in particular, the study found. "Adverse events to cosmetics matter to patients mostly because nearly everyone uses a cosmetic or personal care product every single day - this includes newborns, infants and pregnant women," said senior study author Dr. Shuai Xu, a dermatology researcher at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. "Unlike drugs and medical devices, cosmetics permeate daily life," Xu said by email. "We're exposed to hundreds of chemicals a day from these products." For the study, Xu and colleagues examined adverse events data in the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition?s Adverse Event Reporting System (CFSAN), a repository made publicly available in 2016. It includes voluntary reports of side effects submitted by consumers and health care professionals. The three most commonly reported products were hair care, skin care and tattoos. Products that most often involved reports of serious health problems were baby items, which accounted for about half of these cases, followed by personal cleanliness supplies, hair care and hair color. Hair products, including shampoos, conditioners and styling aids, accounted for 35 percent of all adverse event reports, followed by skin care products, which made up 22 percent of the complaints. In 2014, the FDA began investigating WEN by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioners after directly receiving 127 consumer reports, researchers note. Later, the FDA learned that the manufacturer had already received 21,000 complaints of alopecia and scalp irritation. Hair loss was also reported by consumers. The product remains on the market with the FDA currently seeking additional consumer reports. Limitations of the study include the lack of data on what caused side effects, the authors note. Researchers were also unable to distinguish between reports from consumers and from health professionals. It's also possible that the study underestimates the total number of adverse events or the number of serious side effects because reporting isn't mandatory and companies and manufacturers are not required to share complaints they receive with the FDA, the authors note. The results suggest that better cosmetic surveillance is needed, the researchers conclude. Approaches that might help include registering new products with the FDA so regulators know what's out there; making it mandatory for companies to report adverse events to the FDA, and increased funding for the FDA to investigate problems, former FDA commissioner Dr. Robert Califf and colleagues write in an accompanying editorial. In the meantime, consumers should read labels carefully, Califf, now a professor at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, said by email. "There is little direct protection, but consumers should read labels, understand what they are buying and focus on companies with established reputations for quality," Califf said. The manufacturer of WEN by Chaz Dean styling products was unable to respond to a request for comment by deadline.
  5. New Zealand pop singer Lorde landed her first US chart-topping album on Monday as her latest record debuted at the top of the weekly Billboard 200 chart. "Melodrama," the second album from 20-year-old Lorde, sold 82,000 albums, 40,000 songs and was streamed nearly 35 million times, totaling 109,000 album units according to figures from Nielsen SoundScan. The singer is the third consecutive female solo artist to top the Billboard 200 chart after Katy Perry's "Witness" and Halsey's "Hopeless Fountain Kingdom." Lorde's breakout first album "Pure Heroine," which featured her hit single "Royals," debuted and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart when it was released in 2013. Lorde's album led six new entries in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 chart this week. Rapper 2 Chainz' "Pretty Girls Like Trap Music" debuted at No. 2, country artist Jason Isbell/400 Unit's "Nashville Sound" opened at No. 4 and Canadian rockers Nickelback entered at No. 5 with "Feed the Machine." Rapper Young Thug's "Beautiful Thugger Girls" landed at No. 8 while indie rock band Fleet Foxes rounded out the new entries with "Crack-Up" at No. 9. Last week's chart-topper, Perry's "Witness," dropped to No. 13 this week. On the Digital Songs chart, which measures online single sales, Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi's summer hit "Despacito" featuring Justin Bieber continued its reign atop the chart with another 139,000 copies sold.
  6. The US supplier of the cladding which encased London's Grenfell Tower before it was destroyed by a devastating fire announced Monday it was stopping sales of the material for high-rise buildings. "Arconic is discontinuing global sales of Reynobond PE for use in high-rise applications," a company spokesman told AFP. The firm put the decision down to "issues that have arisen in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy" and differences in building regulations around the world. The June 14 inferno left 79 people presumed dead after the fire spread rapidly up the 24-storey residential block in west London. As emergency services continue to search through the ashes of the gutted building, suspicion has fallen on the recently installed cladding with allegations it may have contributed to the ferocity of the blaze. The Arconic spokesman said the company "will continue to fully support the authorities as they investigate this tragedy". Sales of the Reynobond PE cladding for use in low-rise buildings will continue. An estimated 600 tower blocks in England believed to have similar cladding to that used at Grenfell are currently going through tests. Samples taken from 75 high-rises tested so far have all failed safety tests, communities minister Sajid Javid said on Monday. "We have witnessed a catastrophic failure," he told MPs, lamenting the slow speed at which samples were being submitted for tests. Buildings which have already undergone safety checks include four tower blocks in north London which were evacuated on Saturday, with Javid saying inspectors discovered 1,000 fire doors were missing. The minister also warned unsafe cladding "may not be a problem unique to social housing or tall buildings". All hospitals have been asked to conduct additional checks and 15 government buildings "require further investigation", he said without giving further details. Child identified by teeth As work continues to prevent a repeat of the Grenfell Tower blaze, a London coroner's court heard how a five-year-old victim choked to death on fumes as he tried to escape. The boy had to be identified by dental records after his body was found on the 13th floor, five levels lower than his home as he family tried to flee. "It can't really be explained in enough detail how complex an investigation this is in terms of identification and in terms of recovery of bodies on a dangerous site that my team are not allowed to enter because the building is being shored up," Westminster coroner Fiona Wilcox told the court. So far 18 people have been identified including Khadija Saye, a 24-year-old photographer who had exhibited at the Venice Biennale and lived on the 20th floor. Saye was discovered on a hallway in the ninth floor and is believed to have died from fumes and burns. Her mother Mary Mendy, 52, was identified by dental records after being found on the 13th storey. Her sister Betty Jackson said she will "be missed for a lifetime". "My beloved sister, words can never describe the pain of losing you. I can't believe you are gone," she said in a statement published through London's Metropolitan Police.
  7. Bob Corker, chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he wanted assurances that Gulf countries were working to end their standoff before approving further arms sales to the region A top Republican lawmaker on Monday threatened to block US arms sales to members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council including Saudi Arabia until their escalating rift with Qatar is resolved. "All countries in the region need to do more to combat terrorism, but recent disputes among the GCC countries only serve to hurt efforts to fight Daesh and counter Iran," Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. "For these reasons, before we provide any further clearances during the informal review period on sales of lethal military equipment to the GCC states, we need a better understanding of the path to resolve the current dispute and reunify the GCC." US law requires the State Department to notify Congress 30 days before it sells major military equipment. Congress in turn has the power to vote to block the sale. In addition, the chairs and vice chairs of the Senate and House committees on foreign relations must give their "preliminary approval," according to Corker's office. Corker's block threatens to put the Trump administration's Middle East diplomacy efforts at risk. Trump has allied Washington more closely to Saudi Arabia since taking office in January, as a way to boost the fight against the Islamic State extremist group. But earlier this month in a bid to reassure Qatar, the United States agreed to a $12-billion sale of F-15 war planes to the emirate. Saudi Arabia severed ties with gas-rich Qatar on June 5, with Riyadh accusing the emirate of links to terrorism and of supporting groups, including some backed by Iran, that aim to destabilise the region. Bahrain, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and the Maldives also cut diplomatic ties with Doha. The small emirate has been isolated economically through a trade blockade. Qatar houses the largest US airbase in the Middle East and the command headquarters for US military operations in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, and Tillerson has been engaged in seeking to resolve the row. During Trump's recent visit to Saudi Arabia, Washington inked a massive, $110-billion arms deal with the kingdom.
  8. 'Game of Thrones', 'Lara Croft: Tomb Raider', 'Star Wars' and James Bond are among the films and TV shows to have been shot at locations in Iceland Crystal clear ice caves, glacial lakes, spewing volcanoes and crashing waterfalls framed by dark lava columns: Iceland's breathtaking landscapes have become a magnet for Hollywood moviemakers looking to conjure up otherworldly scenery. In southern Iceland, the massive Almannagja gorge stretches as far as the eye can see. Its spectacular setting was chosen as the location for an epic battle scene in "Game of Thrones" between the characters Brienne of Tarth and the Hound. "The diversity is so big that you can create almost any kind of landscape," says Leifur Dagfinnsson, president of the Icelandic production company Truenorth, which holds 90 percent of the market. "You can both shoot Iceland for Iceland or you can have Iceland double for other places like the Himalayas, the Mongolian tundra, Siberia or Greenland," he tells AFP. Located in the North Atlantic, Iceland's moon-like landscape has served as a filmset for many science fiction films portraying other planets, Dagfinnsson, says. From TV series such as "Black Mirror", to blockbusters including "Interstellar", "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider", "Star Wars", James Bond movies and "Fast and Furious 8", the list of films shot in Iceland in recent years is long. Surreal landscapes The country's uninhabited landscapes offer moviemakers the opportunity to film everything from dramatic action-filled scenes to apocalyptic scenery and futuristic worlds. Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky chose Iceland as a film location for his biblical blockbuster movie "Noah" in 2014, starring Russell Crowe. "The landscapes are surreal -- practically of another world," Aronofsky's producing partner Scott Franklin told the Los Angeles Times at the time. The sky can look as though it's on fire in the middle of winter, or teeming with roaring clouds trailed by black smoke. These aren't caused by a volcanic eruption or a storm, but pyrotechnic explosions and swarms of helicopters from the movie sets. And at the foot of a waterfall or on a beach of silvery pebbles, one might even encounter a strange sword-carrying soldier on horseback returning from battle... Post-financial crisis Iceland's economic collapse in 2008 has made it an inexpensive country in which to work and it boasts strong infrastructure with easy access to shooting locations, according to Kristinn Thordarson, president of the Association of Icelandic Film Producers (SIK). The economy is once again growing thanks to a booming tourism industry and a thriving fishing sector, but a dark cloud looms over its rising currency, the krona, which the heavily export-reliant country has repeatedly tried to tame. As an incentive to film in Iceland, a tax rebate was increased this year from 20 to 25 percent of the overall budget of producing a movie in the country, and Thordarson said he hopes it will be boosted to 30 percent within four years, just behind Ireland's 32 percent. In the land of ice and fire, 2016 was a peak year for television and movie productions, with turnover for local companies of 20 billion kronur (173 million euros, $189 million). But Thordarson wants to take it even further. "If we build a studio here and if the filmmakers use the studio... (then) they would do more in Iceland than just film locations," he said. Filming is strictly regulated, especially in the country's more than 100 protected areas, from nature reserves to national parks, where a licence from the Icelandic Environment Agency is required. Shooting permits have been rising sharply since 2013 and "the conditions for obtaining (them) remain very strict," says Adalbjorg Guttormsdottir, who leads a team that manages licence applications. Disrupting the country's flora and fauna is strictly forbidden, and even turning over a stone without putting it back in place is out of the question. Cinema tourism The Almannagja fault is now a popular destination for tourists and "Game of Thrones" fans. Eddy Marks made a one-day return trip to follow a tour of the HBO hit series, after visiting other sets in Croatia's Dubrovnik and Malta. "It's nice to see... something on the TV and then you come to see it in real life. It's a different experience," says the Californian after taking a selfie in front of the Langjokull glacier framed by snow. Here, the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates divide, creating a deep canyon. And it is at this spot, in the heart of the Thingvellir national park, now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that the world's oldest parliament was created, in 930. Marks is among 20 other tourists who came to the national park to see a territory in "Game of Thrones" called Beyond the Wall. "The weather was different in some of the TV scenes," Glenn McGregor, a Canadian retiree, says with a chuckle, as heavy rain falls. Iceland's unpredictable weather is known for tormenting film crews. "Many days were lost because of this," recalls Theodore Hansson, 35, a long-haired, bearded "Game of Thrones" tour guide. A medieval history student at the University of Reykjavik, he also appeared as an extra in season two, three and four of "Game of Thrones" as well as the most recent seventh season. But the bad weather also has its advantages. "(It) creates an even more realistic and more beautiful scenario," says Leifur Dagfinnsson. "Sometimes it is a plus."
  9. Ocean levels rose 50 percent faster in 2014 than in 1993, with meltwater from the Greenland ice sheet now supplying 25 percent of total sea level increase compared with just five percent 20 years earlier, researchers reported Monday. The findings add to growing concern among scientists that the global watermark is climbing more rapidly than forecast only a few years ago, with potentially devastating consequences. Hundreds of millions of people around the world live in low-lying deltas that are vulnerable, especially when rising seas are combined with land sinking due to depleted water tables, or a lack of ground-forming silt held back by dams. Major coastal cities are also threatened, while some small island states are already laying plans for the day their drowning nations will no longer be livable. "This result is important because the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)" -- the UN science advisory body -- "makes a very conservative projection of total sea level rise by the end of the century," at 60 to 90 centimetres (24 to 35 inches), said Peter Wadhams, a professor of ocean physics at the University of Oxford who did not take part in the research. That estimate, he added, assumes that the rate at which ocean levels rise will remain constant. "Yet there is convincing evidence -- including accelerating losses of mass from Greenland and Antarctica -- that the rate is actually increasing, and increasing exponentially." Greenland alone contains enough frozen water to lift oceans by about seven metres (23 feet), though experts disagree on the global warming threshold for irreversible melting, and how long that would take once set in motion. "Most scientists now expect total rise to be well over a metre by the end of the century," Wadhams said. The new study, published in Nature Climate Change, reconciles for the first time two distinct measurements of sea level rise. The first looked one-by-one at three contributions: ocean expansion due to warming, changes in the amount of water stored on land, and loss of land-based ice from glaciers and ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. A major warning The second was from satellite altimetry, which gauges heights on the Earth's surface from space. The technique measures the time taken by a radar pulse to travel from a satellite antenna to the surface, and then back to a satellite receiver. Up to now, altimetry data showed little change in sea levels over the last two decades, even if other measurements left little doubt that oceans were measurably deepening. "We corrected for a small but significant bias in the first decade of the satellite record," co-author Xuebin Zhang, a professor at Qingdao National Laboratory of Marine Science and Technology in China's Shandong Province, told AFP. Overall, the pace of global average sea level rise went up from about 2.2 millimetres a year in 1993, to 3.3 millimetres a year two decades later. In the early 1990s, they found, thermal expansion accounted for fully half of the added millimetres. Two decades later, that figure was only 30 percent. Andrew Shepherd, director of the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling at the University of Leeds in England, urged caution in interpreting the results. "Even with decades of measurements, it is hard to be sure whether there has been a steady acceleration in the rate of global sea level rise during the satellite era because the change is so small," he said. Disentangling single sources -- such as the massive chunk of ice atop Greenland -- is even harder. But other researchers said the study should sound an alarm. "This is a major warning about the dangers of a sea level rise that will continue for many centuries, even after global warming is stopped," said Brian Hoskins, chair of the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London.
  10. Facebook is starting production on high-quality television series and gaming shows to be broadcast on its platform, one of the social media giant's executives said on Monday. The online platform, which has around two billion monthly users worldwide, is working on the project with a small group of partners and hopes to start putting out episodes of its forthcoming series by the end of the summer, Nick Grudin, the vice president for media partnerships, said in a statement to AFP, confirming a report in the Wall Street Journal. "Our goal is to make Facebook a place where people can come together around video," Grudin said, noting that Facebook and its collaborators would "experiment with the kinds of shows you can build a community around -- from sports to comedy to reality to gaming." Facebook is funding the shows on its own at first, he said, "but over time we want to help lots of creators make videos funded through revenue sharing products like Ad Break," a software tool that allows adverts to be directly inserted into Facebook's online content. Facebook did not identify its content-production partners, but the Wall Street Journal said they include Hollywood studios and agencies representing actors and other creative talent from the film and television industries. Facebook is ready to spend up to $3 million per episode, a budget which puts it at the upscale end of television production in the United States. In doing so, it is a following a trend set by other internet giants that were once satisfied with allowing their platforms to be used for distribution by other producers. Netflix, Amazon and the online television platform Hulu -- a joint venture by Disney, Comcast, 21st Century and Time Warner -- have thrown themselves into content production, as have YouTube and Apple, although on a more modest scale.
  11. WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump welcomed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the White House for their first face-to-face meeting, seeking to forge a chemistry that can add new fizz to a flourishing relationship between the world's two largest democracies. Despite differences over issues such as immigration and climate change, Modi is expected to assure Trump that the United States has nothing to fear from India's growing economic clout. After they began their afternoon talks in the Oval Office likely to center on issues such as trade and war in Afghanistan, the two leaders are expected to give a joint statement to reporters. Trump, who described Modi as a "true friend!" on Twitter after his weekend arrival in the US, should find much in common with the Indian leader, with both men having won power by portraying themselves as establishment outsiders. While ties with some traditional allies have been strained by Trump's complaints that Washington has been the loser in trade agreements, Modi appears alert to his host's sensitivities and emphasis on transactional diplomacy. Writing in a Wall Street Journal editorial published just ahead of their meeting, Modi said that in "an uncertain global economic landscape, our two nations stand as mutually reinforcing engines of growth and innovation." "The transformation of India presents abundant commercial and investment opportunities for American businesses," said Modi whose government is about to implement a new nationwide tax system designed to scythe through red tape. "The rollout of the Goods and Services Tax on July 1 will, in a single stroke, convert India into a unified, continent-sized market of 1.3 billion people," he wrote. Busy day of meetings Ahead of his talks with Trump, Modi met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis as India eyes the purchase of more military equipment from the US. Although there are not expected to be any major defense announcements, the California-based contractor General Atomics said it had been given clearance by the US government to sell drones to the Indian army. The State Department also announced that it was slapping sanctions on a senior figure in the Kashmiri group Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Syed Salahuddin (also known as Mohammed Yusuf Shah) was designated as a global terrorist. Relations between India and the US were generally cool until the 1990s but they warmed under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, as India sought greater foreign investment and trade ties. But it was not long after Trump's election that obstacles emerged on issues such as trade and visas for Indians wanting to work in the United States. Then Trump accused India of seeking to profit from the Paris climate accord as he announced the US withdrawal from the deal this month -- drawing sharp denials from New Delhi. A proposed overhaul of H-1B visas -- used by thousands of Indian software engineers to work in the United States -- has caused concern in New Delhi. But Indian officials have played down those differences, insisting that Modi was sensitive to his counterpart's concerns over American jobs and trade, and there were "no major sticking points" that could sour the talks. "If there's one thing we want (from the talks), it's chemistry... If the chemistry is good, then frankly everything else gets sorted," a senior Indian official who is traveling with the prime minister told reporters in Washington. Afghanistan on agenda Regional security is expected to be high on the agenda as Washington considers deploying up to 5,000 extra troops in Afghanistan to help local forces fighting insurgent groups and seeks to encourage what an administration official describes as India's "positive role" in the country.
  12. WASHINGTON: The US State Department imposed sanctions Monday on Syed Salahuddin, the senior leader of the Kashmiri militant group Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. The move means the United States now considers Salahuddin, also known as Mohammad Yusuf Shah, a ?Specially Designated Global Terrorist,? the State Department said in a statement. Salahuddin in September vowed to block any peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict, officials said, threatened to train more suicide bombers, and turn the disputed valley ?into a graveyard for Indian forces.? The designation slaps sanctions on ?foreign persons who have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of US nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States,? the statement read. The new sanctions mean American citizens are generally barred from doing business with Salahuddin, and all his assets subject to United States jurisdiction are blocked. Hizb-ul-Mujahideen is one of several homegrown militant groups that have for decades been fighting around half a million Indian troops deployed in the region, calling for independence or a merger with Pakistan. The State Department said that under Salahuddin, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for several attacks. Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their independence from Britain in 1947, but both claim the territory in its entirety. The designation was announced just before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was due at the White House for his first face-to-face meeting with President Donald Trump.
  13. Pictured is Federal Judicial Academy, temporary headquarters of Panama case JIT. ? Geo News FILE ISLAMABAD: The joint investigation team (JIT), constituted by the Supreme Court to probe businesses and financial dealings of Sharif family, has once again summoned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's cousin to appear before it. The investigation team issued summons to the PM's cousin, Tariq Shafi, to appear before it at 12 noon on July 2. The summons, signed by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) member of the JIT Irfan Mangi, were issued on June 23, Geo News has learnt. Shafi has twice appeared before the team of investigators on May 16 and 17. PM's cousin accuses Panama JIT member of harassment His counsel says the documents demanded by the JIT have already been presented, which are also part of court proceedings It is pertinent to note here that Tariq Shafi had submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that he was part of all transactions relating to sale of Dubai properties owned by Mian Sharif ? father of PM Nawaz Sharif ? and transfer of that money to Qatar. However, after having appeared before the JIT, Shafi, through his lawyer, wrote a letter to JIT head, Wajid Zia, alleging mistreatment of him by some members of the team. The letter read that a JIT member threatened him with serious consequences, if he didn't withdraw the affidavit submitted in the Supreme Court. So far, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his brother, Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif, his sons, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, and his son-in-law Captain (R) Safdar have appeared before the Panama case JIT. The Supreme Court has directed the Panama case JIT to submit its final report on July 10.
  14. BANGALORE: India´s top journalists have accused a state parliament of "a gross misuse of powers and privilege" by ordering that two editors be arrested for allegedly defaming local lawmakers. Police in India´s southern Karnataka state said the editors -- both from tabloid newspapers in the capital Bangalore -- had evaded authorities since the state assembly issued an order for their arrest last week. The allegations were first levelled against the editors in 2014, but the assembly only voted last week to pursue the charges. A warrant was issued for the two journalists last week for "breach of privilege and criticising lawmakers", S.D Sharanappa, deputy commissioner of police in Bangalore, told AFP. The editors could face a year in prison and a 10,000 rupee ($155) fine. The Editors Guild of India in a statement Sunday said the order violated the constitution and fundamental tenets of freedom of speech. "It is also a gross misuse of powers and privileges of a state legislature. The guild urges the Karnataka assembly to withdraw its resolution without delay," the statement added. The Committee to Protect Journalists, a global press rights group, in August last year said that successive local and national governments had failed to promote freedom of press in the world´s biggest democracy. "(Case studies) show how small-town journalists face greater risk in their reporting... and how India´s culture of impunity is leaving the country´s press vulnerable to threats and attacks," the committee said in a report. In 2015, India was rated as the deadliest country in Asia for journalists by Paris-based Reporters Without Borders.
  15. Firefighters prepare to distinguish fire after burning seized drugs at an event to mark International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, outside Yangon, Myanmar June 26, 2017. REUTERS Officials in Myanmar and Thailand burned illegal narcotics worth more than $800 million on Monday to mark the UN day against drug abuse and trafficking. The move came even as authorities struggle to stem the flood of illicit drugs in the region, with Thailand's justice minister last year saying the country's war on drugs was failing. In Thailand's Ayutthaya province, more than 9 tonnes of drugs with a street value of over 20 billion baht ($590 million) went up in smoke including methamphetamines, known locally as "yaba" or "crazy drug", according to police. "Currently, we are able to take down a lot of networks, including ... transnational networks bringing drugs into Thailand ... to be shipped to Malaysia and other countries," Sirinya Sitthichai, Secretary-General of the Office of Narcotics Control Board, told reporters in Ayutthaya. In neighbouring Myanmar, the police said they destroyed confiscated drugs worth around $217 million. Myanmar remains one of the world's largest producers of illicit drugs, including opium, heroin and methamphetamines. Those narcotics are often smuggled into China. Last year, law makers in Myanmar voiced disappointment over the country's lacklustre efforts to tackle the drug problem. The market for methamphetamines has been growing in Southeast Asia, the United Nations has said. It estimates that Southeast Asia's trade in heroin and methamphetamine was worth $31 billion in 2013.
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