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  1. File photo/ Reuters KANDAHAR: Militants carried out suicide bombing attack on an Afghan National Army base in Maiwand district in Kandahar late on Wednesday night, killing at least 43 military personnel, said Afghan media reports. Of 60 soldiers manning the base in the southern province of Kandahar, 43 were killed, nine were wounded and six were missing after Taliban militants stormed the base in the middle of the night, the ministry said in a statement. The militants sought entry into the base through explosive-laden Humvee vehicles and detonated them at the gate. Following the suicide blast, the other militants entered into the military base and opened fire. The security forces fired in retaliation, while foreign troops carried out aerial firing to neutralise the enemy, killing at least 10 militants. The attack was confirmed by Gen. Abdul Raziq, provincial police chief of Kandahar. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
  2. This photograph taken on October 8, 2017 shows bus driver Meher Muhammad Khalil, who drove the Sri Lankan cricket team to safety when it came under a gun and grenade attack by militants in March 2009, preparing to start his shift at a bus terminal in Lahore/AFP LAHORE: Driver Meher Muhammad Khalil became a hero when militants attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team bus on a busy street in Lahore in 2009, holding his nerve under gunfire to whisk them to safety. Eight years later he is ready to welcome Sri Lanka back for Pakistan´s first cricket match against a top international team since that terrible day. The bus ambush, in which eight people were killed and eight wounded, including seven Sri Lankan players, drove cricket and most other international sports from Pakistan for years. But security has now improved, and Sri Lanka agreed Monday to go ahead with its visit to Pakistan next week for a T20 match in Lahore, despite fears expressed by some players. Khalil says the hype surrounding Sri Lanka´s return has sharpened his memories of the assault on the morning of March 3, 2009 as he drove the team to Gaddafi Stadium. Two elite police vehicles were in front of the bus as he eased on to Liberty roundabout in the heart of Lahore when Pakistani Taliban militants opened fire, spraying bullets along the convoy. Members of the media gathered around the bus, which carried the Sri Lankan cricket team, parked outside the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore/REUTERS "First I thought it was fireworks for our guest team," he told AFP, standing in the street where the ambush began. "Then a man came in front of me (and) fired straight at me with a Kalashnikov... I realised, it´s not fireworks." The militants shot the drivers first, he said, killing the two in the lead vehicles on the spot. Khalil saw their vehicles skid one to the left and one to the right, opening a path down the centre -- and then he hit the accelerator. "They fired intensely on the vehicle, and also lobbed a hand grenade and fired a rocket," he said, but both missed. Fled the country He does not remember hitting the brakes, he said, until he had driven the bus right inside Gaddafi Stadium. A security cordon was thrown up and he and the players stayed there until a military helicopter airlifted them right out from its grassy pitch. In the harrowing aftermath, Khalil was awarded medals and given cash prizes from grateful Pakistani and Sri Lankan officials. But Pakistan´s security continued to deteriorate, and the Taliban kept gaining ground. Khalil´s newfound VIP status just made him a target, he feared, and by the end of the year he had fled the country, first to Morocco then to South Africa. By 2013, however, he had returned to Pakistan, and once more drives a bus in Lahore. Meher Muhammad Khalil/AFP The country´s fortunes, meanwhile, have improved, with a dramatic uptick in security in recent years. The growing confidence led to a visit by minnows Zimbabwe in 2015 -- a small step in cricket terms, but as the national anthem rang out in Gaddafi Stadium for the first time since 2009, a giant leap for home fans. It was followed by the final this March for the hugely popular Pakistan Super League, where fans held up banners proclaiming "Pakistan wins today". And last month a World XI side led by Faf du Plessis visited for three T20 matches, with the foreign players hailing the series as "more than cricket". International Cricket Council (ICC) officials acknowledged that Pakistan had made "tremendous strides", though there was still a long way to go. The T20 finale comes at the end of a series otherwise played in the United Arab Emirates, where Pakistan have held their "home" internationals since the ambush. ´You are my hero´ Sri Lanka´s return, officials hope, will represent another turning point. "See what a brave nation they are," Khalil said, his eyes glittering. "That this incident happened to them and still that team is coming to play in our country. "The whole of Pakistan should give them protocol (respect) and welcome them very warmly." Sri Lankan officials have said they agreed to the game after assessments by Sri Lankan and Pakistan authorities, independent security experts and the ICC. The country´s cricket chief, Thilanga Sumathipala, has previously appealed for an end to Pakistan´s isolation and urged other teams to come to play. Meher Muhammad Khalil/AFP Khalil, however, urged caution, calling for "foolproof security" for all foreign players in Pakistan. The Sri Lankan players had been nervous the night before the ambush, he said, describing a conversation with batsman Kumar Sangakkara that evening. "Sangakkara asked me: ´Mr. Muhammad, are we people safe in Pakistan?´" "I told him nothing will happen, and if, God forbid, something happens then thousands of people like me will sacrifice our lives for you." The next day, after their worst fears came true with Sangakkara among the wounded, he visited the Sri Lankan player in hospital. "He told me, ´You are a great man... You are my hero,´" Khalil said.
  3. This photo ? taken on April 04, 2017 ? shows destruction at a hospital room in Khan Sheikhun, a rebel-held town in the northwestern Syrian Idlib province, following a suspected toxic gas attack. AFP/Omar Haj Kadour/Files UNITED NATIONS: The United States on Wednesday was headed for a showdown at the United Nations with Russia over extending an investigation to determine who is responsible for chemical weapons attacks in Syria. The joint UN-OPCW probe is set to present a report on October 26 on who was behind the sarin gas attack in the village of Khan Sheikhun, just weeks before its mandate expires in mid-November. Russia ? a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ? has said that it wants to study the report on Khan Sheikhun before deciding whether to support another one-year mandate for the panel. US Ambassador Nikki Haley pushed the Security Council to vote on renewing the panel ? known as the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) ? before the report is released. "The Russians have made it very clear that should the report blame the Syrians suddenly they won't have faith in JIM. If the report doesn't blame the Syrians, then they say that they will," Haley told reporters. "We can't work like that." The United States circulated a draft resolution on Wednesday that would renew the JIM for one-year and Haley said a vote should take place at the Security Council "as soon as possible." Russia could decide to use its veto to block the draft resolution and effectively shut down the investigation of deadly gas attacks in Syria. "It would be a shame if Russia chose to decide whether to have an investigative mechanism based on who is to blame in Khan Sheikhun," said Haley. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres threw his weight behind the US drive to continue the investigation, telling reporters that the JIM was a "very important tool" that he fully supports. Russia says sarin bomb used The United States, France, and Britain have accused Assad's forces of carrying out the April 4 attack on Khan Sheikhun, an opposition-held village in Idlib province. At least 87 people including more than 30 children died in the attack, which drew global outrage over the use of banned sarin as a weapon. During a briefing last week to UN member-states, Russian foreign ministry official Mikhail Ulyanov said the sarin attack was most likely caused by a bomb set off directly on the ground and not by a Syrian air strike. Russia will study the report on Khan Sheikhun by the JIM to "judge if it deserves the extension," Ulyanov said. Haley said there was "overwhelming support" in the council to allow the JIM to continue its work and stressed that "we can't go and pick and choose who we want to be at fault and who we don't". The JIM has already determined that Syrian government forces were responsible for chlorine attacks on three villages in 2014 and 2015 and that Daesh extremists used mustard gas in 2015. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) earlier this year presented a report confirming sarin gas was used in Khan Sheikhun but did not assign blame, leaving that determination to the JIM. In total, the OPCW is investigating as many as 45 suspected chemical attacks in Syria since mid-2016, including the recently disclosed use of sarin on an opposition-held village on March 30. Those investigations are then sent to the JIM which seeks to determine who is responsible for the attacks.
  4. Director General of MI5 Andrew Parker delivers a speech in central London, on the security threat facing Britain October 17, 2017/REUTERS LONDON: Britain faces the most acute threat ever from militants seeking to inflict mass attacks, often with spontaneous plots that take just days to bring to execution, the head of the MI5 domestic intelligence agency said on Tuesday. After four militant attacks this year that killed 36 people in Britain - the deadliest spate since the London ?7/7? bombings of July 2005, MI5 chief Andrew Parker said the threat was at the highest tempo he had seen in 34 years of espionage. ?The threat is more diverse than I have ever known: plots developed here in the UK, but plots directed from overseas as well, plots online, complex scheming and also crude stabbings, lengthy planning but also spontaneous attacks,? said Parker. ?Attacks can sometimes accelerate from inception, through planning, to action in just a handful of days,? he said in a speech in central London. The director general of MI5 rarely gives public speeches. The last was in 2015. Daesh militants in Syria and Iraq have been in retreat for two years: They lost their de facto capital in Syria, Raqqa, on Tuesday and have been forced back into an ever-diminishing foothold along the Euphrates river valley. But as their territory, wealth and swagger decline, the militants have intensified online propaganda which has helped radicalise and inspire extremists to attack civilians across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Parker said there had not yet been a large influx of British militants returning home from Syria and Iraq. 'More threat, faster' Britain has foiled 20 plots in the past four years, with seven attacks prevented in the past seven months, Parker said. He said there were 500 live operations involving 3,000 people involved in militant activity. MI5, established in 1909 to counter German espionage ahead of World War One, is tasked with protecting British national security and so takes the lead, along with the police, in countering militant attacks. But after a suicide bomber killed 22 people at a pop concert by US singer Ariana Grande in Manchester, MI5 began a review of how it handled intelligence on the bomber, Salman Abedi, who was known to the intelligence agencies. Abedi was not among the 3,000 people currently under active investigation by MI5, although he was one of around 20,000 people known to have some connection to extremism. ?When an attack happens, we are determined, using the harsh light of hindsight, to squeeze out every last drop of learning,? Parker said. ?We are constantly evolving to stay ahead.? MI5, which employs around 4,000 people, says it does not have the resources to monitor every suspicious person. It works alongside the Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, which operates abroad, and GCHQ, Britain?s eavesdropping agency. ?Not King Canute? Britain has repeatedly demanded that Silicon Valley companies do more to suppress extremist content and allow access to online communication. After British militants rammed a van into pedestrians on London Bridge and went on the rampage through packed bars, stabbing revellers in June, Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain must be tougher on stamping out militancy and proposed regulating cyberspace. Parker said militants? abuse of the internet could slow down the rapid pace of the hunt for attackers. ?This pace together with the way in which extremists can exploit safe spaces online can make threats harder to detect and give us a smaller window to intervene.? Britain?s interior minister, Amber Rudd, said earlier this month that WhatsApp?s end-to-end encryption communication services allowed paedophiles and organised crime groups to operate beyond the reach of the law. But Parker refrained from naming any companies directly and called for a nuanced partnership to tackle militants and serious crimes such as child abuse. ?I am not somehow King Canute trying to hold back the tide of developing technology and wouldn?t wish to be heard that way,? he said. ?Technology is not the enemy, indeed it holds many opportunities for us.? When asked directly whether Google, Facebook and Amazon were doing enough to prevent communications among militants, he said: ?There is a reasonable expectation, I think, from all of us but also from the public at large that these companies would do what they can to help us deal with these worst excesses.?
  5. ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday strongly condemned the terrorist attack that targeted the police training academy in the Gardez city of Afghanistan's Paktia province, in which many precious lives were lost while a number of innocent people were injured. The Government of Pakistan is deeply saddened and grieved over the loss of precious lives in the attack, read a statement issued by the Foreign Office. Suicide bombers, gunmen kill 71 in attacks on Afghan security forces Taliban claimed the most deadly of the two assaults on police in Gardez "We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones in this brutal terrorist attack and to the Government and the people of Afghanistan," it said. "We also pray for speedy recovery of the wounded." It added that Pakistan reiterates its unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in all forms and manifestations, and reaffirms its commitment for continued efforts and cooperation for eliminating this menace. Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa also condemned the Paktia attack in strong words. He said the resolute Afghans fighting against terrorism are their brothers. He expressed the resolve that both the countries will defeat their joint enemy for the sake of durable peace and stability in the region.
  6. ANKARA: A police vehicle in Turkey?s southern province of Mersin was hit in a bomb attack on Tuesday, wounding several people, security sources and Turkish media said. Broadcaster NTV said that some 12 people were injured in the attack, in Mersin?s Yenisehir district. Mersin Mayor Burhanettin Kocamaz told another broadcaster, Haberturk, that the attack took place on the street where the local governor?s office is located. He said the police vehicle was moving at the time of the attack. An image of the street published on NTV?s website showed smoke billowing from the area, which had been cordoned off by police. Ambulances, police and fire trucks were sent to the site of the attack, security sources said. A blast also occurred a day earlier, on Monday, when an improvised explosive device detonated in Hakkari province of the country, reports stated.
  7. KHOST: Suicide bombers and gunmen launched an attack on a police training centre in southeastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, officials said, in the latest violence to rock the war-torn country. The Taliban claimed responsibility in a tweet for the ongoing attack at the centre in Gardiz, capital of Paktia province, which borders Pakistan. "At first a suicide bomber detonated a car filled with explosives near the training centre, making way for a number of attackers to start their assault", the interior ministry said in a statement. A battle between the attackers, armed with guns and suicide vests, and security forces was under way inside the centre which is located near the Paktia police headquarters, according to the interior ministry statement. There were no immediate reports of casualties. A local official said two car bombs blew up near the compound that also houses the provincial headquarters of the national police, border police and Afghan National Army. "A group of gunmen have entered the compound and fighting is ongoing," Allah Mir Bahram, a member of the Paktia provincial council, told AFP.
  8. [embed_video1 url= style=center] PESHAWAR: A drone attack took place near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Kurram Agency on Monday. According to local sources, multiple people were feared injured in the attack, which reportedly targetted a house in Kurran Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas Locals added that at least four missiles were fired at the house. However, it was being ascertained whether the attack took place within the territorial limits of Pakistan or Afghanistan. Three killed in US drone strike near Pak-Afghan border Drone strike took place close to the border with Afghanistan, says official Prior to this, a suspected US drone strike on September 15 killed three and injured two in Kurram Agency, a political agent had said. Kurram Agency Political Agent Baseer Khan Wazir had told the drone strike took place in Pakistani territory, six kilometres from the Afghan border. Officials said the strike took place in remote Ghuz Ghari village in Kurram agency, close to the Afghan border where at least five fighters from the Afghan Taliban had gathered. In March, two people were killed in Lower Kurram Agency in what was said to be the first drone strike under US President Donald Trump's administration. The first US strike under the Trump administration killed two men riding a motorbike in Kurram, while the second suspected attack happened in late April in North Waziristan, one of seven tribal districts stretching along the Afghan border.
  9. NAIROBI: A student suspected of joining in an armed raid that killed six at a school in Kenya´s far north Saturday was stoned to death by angry locals and his body burned, officials said. The suspect ? a suspended student at the school in Lokichogio ? was arrested before irate locals forced their way into the police station and dragged him from his cell. He was being held over the school attack that left five students and a security guard at the boarding school dead. "Six people were killed in the attack, including students, and we have others injured," said Seif Matata, Turkana county´s commissioner. Matata said the incident occurred at around 03:00 am (00:00 GMT) while students at Lokichogio Mixed Secondary School were asleep in their dormitories. Turkana governor Josphat Nanok said 18 people suffered bullet wounds in the attack. Members of the Toposa tribal militia from South Sudan, 200 kilometres (124 miles) to the north, are believed to be responsible for the violence. Matata alleged that a suspended student, identified by officials as 20-year-old Abraham Lochor from South Sudan, led the raid. "The suspect was held at Kakuma police station for interrogation over the morning killings, we are trying to establish how they managed to get him. It´s unfortunate," said Turkana police chief Ronald Opili. The Kenya Red Cross said it had evacuated those injured in the school attack by plane for emergency treatment. Turkana, an arid region bordering South Sudan, is awash with small arms and violent clashes between competing communities over resources and territory are common, as is armed raiding of cattle and livestock.
  10. Russia's President Vladimir Putin (C), Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L), and US Secretary of State John Kerry attend a meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, September 28, 2015. REUTERS/Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Files UNITED NATIONS: Russia on Friday complained that UN investigators, who, this week, travelled to a Syrian airfield allegedly used to launch the sarin gas attack on Khan Sheikhun, did not take samples, a lapse described as "scandalous". Known as the JIM, the team from the joint UN-OPCW probe travelled to the Shayrat airfield ahead of the release later this month of its much-awaited report that could lay blame for the attack on the Syrian government. Russian foreign ministry official Mikhail Ulyanov told a briefing at the United Nations that four investigators visited the airfield, spoke to military personnel, and checked flight plans, but "did not take samples." "A reliable investigation is simply impossible without sampling," said Ulyanov, adding that this was "a scandalous situation". A spokesman for the JIM declined to comment. Ulyanov ? the foreign ministry's head of non-proliferation ? said the sarin attack at Khan Sheikhun was most likely caused by a bomb set off directly on the ground and not by a Syrian air strike. The United States, France, and Britain have accused President Bashar al-Assad's forces of carrying out the April 4 air assault on the opposition-held village. At least 87 people, including more than 30 children, died in the attack that drew global outrage over the use of banned sarin as a weapon. A few days later, the United States launched a missile attack on Shayrat after concluding that Syrian aircraft, loaded with sarin gas, had departed from that airfield to attack Khan Sheikhun. During the UN briefing, Ulyanov showed photographs of children with dilated pupils from sarin exposure that he said had been "poisoned" with narcotics "to heighten the emotions around this chemical incident". After showing video footage of rescuers who quickly arrived at the town, the official said he had the "clear impression" that the team was there "well before it happened", suggesting it was staged. Syria's government has denied any involvement in the Khan Sheikhun attack and maintains it no longer possesses chemical weapons after a 2013 agreement under which it pledged to surrender them. Russia ? Syria's ally ? helped set up the JIM investigation to identify who is behind the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Moscow, however, is weighing whether to allow the JIM to continue its investigations when its mandate comes up for renewal next month. Ulyanov said Russia will study the JIM's report on Khan Sheikhun, to be released on October 26, to "judge if it deserves the extension".
  11. The World Health Organization said on Friday it had received reports of an attack on medical facilities in eastern Syria that had destroyed a store containing more than 130,000 vaccine doses against measles and polio. If confirmed, the WHO said, the attack would put thousands of children at risk of these serious infectious, viral diseases. Both can spread rapidly in areas of conflict. ?We unequivocally condemn these actions. Vaccines are not a legitimate target of war,? the WHO?s representative in Syria, Elizabeth Hoff, said in a statement issued late on Friday. The WHO said the reports it received were of an attack on a vaccine cold room at health facilities in al-Mayadin, near Deir al-Zor in eastern Syria. The WHO did not say whether the reports it received gave any detail on who carried out the reported attack. The store had held 100,000 doses of measles vaccine, 35,000 doses of polio vaccine, plus syringes and other equipment. ?Until a new cold room is built and the required cold chain equipment - including solar fridges, cold boxes and vaccine carriers - are delivered, this will delay ... routine immunization for vulnerable children in the area,? Hoff said. Polio - a viral disease that can cripple its victims - and measles - which can cause diarrhoea, blindness and can kill - tend to break out in war zones because low vaccine coverage leaves gaps in population immunity, exposing children to infection. The WHO previously tackled a polio outbreak in the same area of Syria in 2013-2014. The UN health agency said that in its last polio vaccination campaign in Deir al-Zor it reached more than 252,000 babies and children.
  12. Egyptian soldiers in an armored vehicle in the northern Sinai, May 2013. CAIRO: Armed militants killed at least six Egyptian soldiers at a military post in the Sinai Peninsula, the army said, in an attack later claimed by Islamic State. Attacks targeting security forces have been common since Egypt?s president Mohamed Mursi was ousted in 2013 following mass protests against his rule. The Egyptian army said in a statement earlier on Friday six soldiers were killed when ?armed terrorists? attacked a checkpoint in Arish city with grenades and firearms. Daesh said in a statement released by the group?s official news agency Amaq later on Friday that at least 14 ?apostates? were killed, including one policeman. The group also said tens were injured in the attack. Egypt is fighting an insurgency against militants affiliated with Daesh in the Sinai Peninsula where hundreds of security forces have been killed since Mursi?s ouster.
  13. After a series of unfavourable results, the Australian cricket team finally managed to gain an upper hand on the marauding Indian brigade, following their emphatic eight-wicket win in the second T20 International in Guwahati. A spirited performance by the Australians meant that the visitors will surely have something to cheer for going into the series decider on 13 October in Hyderabad. While the Australians did cut a sorry figure for the in-form Virat Kohli side, the hosts wouldn't have been bothered by their opposition's win - their second on this tour. But, apparently there were some Indian fans who just found it too hard to come to terms with their team's defeat. © Reuters Taking matters in their own hands, the miscreants attacked the Australian team bus with stones to the sheer shock of the Australians, Indian cricketers and a billion fans in the country. The Australian side was on their way back after levelling the three-match series when their joy was overturned into a scary situation with a rock - roughly the size of a cricket ball - hurled at their bus which pierced the glass and shattered a window. Although no player was injured, it left the visitors zapped as it was the second time in two months that their bus was attacked. Last month, the Aussies witnessed a similar situation in Bangladesh. Pretty scary having a rock thrown through the team bus window on the way back to the hotel!! — Aaron Finch (@AaronFinch5) October 10, 2017 Opening batsman Aaron Finch shared a picture of the broken window, while Adam Zampa relived the "pretty scary" incident as he expressed his "disappointment". The Australian spinner later revealed the details of the incident before lauding the Indian fans for their passion towards the game. Adam Zampa discusses the incident which led to Australia's bus being damaged. READ MORE: — (@CricketAus) October 11, 2017 "Indian fans are so great to us which is one of the reasons why it's so hard to travel here. They're so loud, they love cricket and they're so passionate about it. So, one person to spoil that is disappointing. Guwahati doesn't get much cricket as it is so for one person to do that and to spoil it for the rest of the Indian fans, it's pretty disappointing," he told Cricket Australia. While the local police have already arrested two individuals and are now investigating into the matter, the Indian cricketers, fans and even politicians were quick to condemn the attack and rendered apologies to the visiting Australian team. We are a country that treats ours guests with great respect and hospitality. Contd — Ashwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) October 11, 2017 The stone thrown at the Aussie team bus shows us in bad light, let's all act more responsibly. A vast majority of us are capable of that.ð — Ashwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) October 11, 2017 Really unfortunate incident after a great game aimed to tarnish Guwahati's reputation as emerging sports hub. We strongly condemn it. (1/8) — Sarbananda Sonowal (@sarbanandsonwal) October 11, 2017 Guwahati stone-throwing incident NOT reflective of our security measures. Aus team & FIFA are content w/those. India remains a graceful host — Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) October 11, 2017 SHOCKING.Stone Thrown At Australian Team Bus Breaks The Glass. Come On Ppl, This Is Not How You Treat Guests#INDvAUS #INDvsAUSt20 #INDvsAUS — Sir Ravindra Jadeja (@SirJadeja) October 10, 2017 Fans apologising to team #Australia outside their hotel #INDvAUS #Guwahati #BarsaparaStadium — Vishal (@Vishal15067) October 11, 2017 Guwahati cricket fans with sorry placards apologizing to Aussies outside Radisson Blu hotel — Mriganka ð®ð³ (@Atheist_mrigen) October 11, 2017 Guwahati Fans — sanket s.phalsamkar (@sanketsphal) October 11, 2017
  14. DAMASCUS: Two suicide bombers blew themselves up near the main police headquarters building in Syria´s capital Damascus on Wednesday, state television said. There were no immediate details on casualties in the attack, which was the second such incident this month after attackers targeted a police station in the Midan district of the city on October 2.
  15. While the world is still trying to recuperate from the deadly attacks that took several lives in 2017, it seems the terrorists will stop at nothing to spread terrorism and will continue doing nefarious deeds and taking innocent lives. This weekend too, the world witnessed another massacre in Las Vegas where more than 50 people died and over 200 were left injured, after a gunman reportedly opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, during a music festival that was happening on the ground. © Reuters What initially sounded like fireworks soon turned the hoots and cheers into screams and stampede when people saw those standing next to them, collapse in a pool of blood. People are touting this as one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history, the impact of which has shaken the world from its core. However, like Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Only in the darkness can you see the stars”; it is only in the face of terror that we realize the goodness hasn't completely faded from this world. Here the celebrities turned out to be the stars who came together to express their pain and give courage to those who lost their loved ones. Country singer Jason Aldean who was performing on stage during the attack, took to Instagram to share his thoughts and wrote, “Tonight has been beyond horrific. I still don't know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that Me and my Crew are safe. My Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.” Tonight has been beyond horrific. I still dont know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that Me and my Crew are safe. My Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night. #heartbroken #stopthehate A post shared by Jason Aldean (@jasonaldean) on Oct 2, 2017 at 1:17am PDT In fact, in the wake of this attack, host Jimmy Fallon opened his show ‘The Tonight Show' saying, “In the face of tragedies and acts of terror we need to remember that good still exists in this world.” Singer Miley Cyrus started the show by paying an emotional tribute to the victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting along with actor Adam Sandler, who played the guitar. They sang Dido's ‘No Freedom' on the show. Miley concluded the show with her song ‘The Climb' and her heartbreaking performance welled up our eyes as we realized how difficult things are for the victims and their loved ones. From Taylor Swift to Jake Owen, other celebrities too came forward to condemn this heinous act and stood in solidarity with the victims. I'm not gonna say anything else other than I'm lucky to be alive. As are many others... and so many people are gone... this is heartbreaking — ChrisYoungMusic (@ChrisYoungMusic) 2 October 2017 Praying for everyone here in Vegas. I witnessed the most unimaginable event tonight. We are okay. Others arent. Please pray. — Jake Owen (@jakeowen) 2 October 2017 There are no words to express the helplessness and sorrow my broken heart feels for the victims in Vegas and their families. — Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) 2 October 2017 Don't even know what to say. To be in Vegas while this is happening, brings a pain to my heart. My team and I are safe Thank God! Prayers up — Trey Songz (@TreySongz) 2 October 2017 The news about Vegas is devastating. Sending all our love to the people there right now â¤ï¸â¤ï¸â¤ï¸ — HAIM (@HAIMtheband) 2 October 2017 Oh God. Vegas. WTF is happening. Can't keep up with all the pain this country is facing. Sending love to Vegas. — bob saget (@bobsaget) 2 October 2017 Too much to comprehend. These poor people. This poor country. — billy eichner (@billyeichner) 2 October 2017 I can't believe what just happened in Las Vegas! What is our world coming to?! ð­ My prayers go out to the victims & their families. ð — Paris Hilton (@ParisHilton) 2 October 2017 Michelle & I are praying for the victims in Las Vegas. Our thoughts are with their families & everyone enduring another senseless tragedy. — Barack Obama (@BarackObama) October 2, 2017 My heart breaks...biggest mass shooting in US history. Praying for Las Vegas. — Kourtney Kardashian (@kourtneykardash) October 2, 2017 Praying for all the innocent victims and their families in Las Vegas - Céline xx... #LasVegas — Celine Dion (@celinedion) October 2, 2017
  16. BEIRUT: Two suicide bombers attacked a police station in Damascus on Monday, killing a number of civilians and policemen, the interior minister said, in the first such attack in the Syrian capital since July. Four militants carried out the attack, killing more than 10 people, the pro-Damascus TV channel al-Mayadeen said. Russia?s RIA news agency reported that 15 people were killed. Militants targeted the station in the al-Midan neighbourhood and clashed with police officers there, Interior Minister Mohammad al-Shaar said in comments broadcast by state television from the police station. One attacker blew himself up at the main entrance and another detonated his explosive device on the first floor, he said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Footage broadcast by state TV showed bodies wrapped in shrouds at the scene and fire fighters putting out flames. Previous suicide attacks in Damascus have been claimed by Daesh and the Tahrir al-Sham alliance, which is led by the group formerly known as the Nusra Front.
  17. A police official patrolling on road of Cairo. Photo: File CAIRO: Egyptian militant group Hasm claimed responsibility on Sunday for a small explosion at Myanmar?s embassy in Cairo, saying it was in retaliation for that country?s military crackdown on Rohingya Muslims. Egypt?s interior ministry has not commented on Saturday?s blast, which residents and media initially reported as probably the result of a faulty gas pipeline. Two security sources told Reuters that traces of explosives had been found at the scene. ?This bombing serves as a warning to the embassy of murderers, killers of women and children in the Muslim Rakhine State, and in solidarity with the sons of this weakened Muslim population,? Hasm said in its statement. It was the first time that Hasm, a group blamed for several attacks targeting judges and policemen around Cairo since last year, has claimed an attack on a civilian target. ?(We have used) utmost caution to ensure that there were no civilian casualties or innocent people (hurt) during the operation, or else you would have seen a burning hell you could not have stopped,? Hasm said in the statement. Myanmar?s government spokesman urged citizens abroad to be careful. ?Pls take care Myanmar nationals around the world,? the spokesman, Zaw Htay, said on his Twitter feed. The latest wave of violence in western Myanmar?s Rakhine State began on Aug. 25, when Rohingya insurgents attacked police posts and an army camp, killing about 12 people. The Myanmar military response has sent more than 410,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh, escaping what they and rights monitors say is a campaign aimed at driving the Muslim population out of the majority-Buddhist country. Egypt accuses Hasm of being a militant wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group it outlawed in 2013. The Muslim Brotherhood denies this. Hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police have been killed fighting an Islamist insurgency in Sinai that has gained pace since mid-2013, when General-turned-President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood after mass protests against his rule.
  18. The damage inside the US consulate building in Benghazi on September 13, 2012, following an attack in which the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed The damage inside the US consulate building in Benghazi on September 13, 2012, following an attack in which the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed-AFP A Libyan militant accused of leading the September 11, 2012 attack on an American diplomatic compound in Benghazi that left the US ambassador and three others dead goes on trial Monday. Ahmed Abu Khattala is charged with 18 counts of murder, supporting terrorists and related charges in the trial in the federal district court in Washington, three years after he was captured in a commando raid and sent by ship to the United States. Khattala, about 46, was the commander of an extremist militia in Benghazi, Ansar al-Sharia, which undertook the deadly raid on the US compound in the eastern port city. According to the indictment, he led a group of about 20 militants storming the compound. They set buildings on fire, including one that contained ambassador Christopher Stevens and a foreign service offices, killing them. Shortly afterward they killed two US security contractors in an attack on a CIA outpost near the mission compound. The attack shocked Americans but turned into a bitter political fight in which Republicans sought in a multi-year investigation to pin the blame for the popular diplomat´s death on then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ahead of her planned run for the presidency. 13 days on a ship The trial of Khattala, who has pleaded not guilty, was stalled by a steady stream of motions challenging the way he was brought to the United States and the use of evidence from two interrogations. After his capture he was not spirited quickly back to the United States by jet, but placed on a navy ship for two weeks. There he first underwent five days of interrogation by intelligence agents. Then he was interrogated by a team from the Federal Bureau of Investigation for several days. In August the Washington court ruled against his lawyers´ motion to suppress whatever he told his interrogators as evidence, because his rights to remain silent, know the charges against him and have a lawyer present were violated. His lawyers also argued that the lengthy 13 day trip by ship back to the United States was part of a scheme to extract information from him without legal protections. But in his August 16 ruling, Judge Christopher Cooper ruled that in fact FBI agents had repeatedly advised Khattala of his "Miranda" rights to have a lawyer present and to remain silent, and had "knowingly and intelligently" waived them. "Abu Khattala was treated humanely and courteously: He was given breaks every hour or two, and offered snacks and refreshments," the judge said. "The sheer number of times Abu Khattala waived his Miranda rights -- once in writing and twice verbally on each typical interview day -- is further evidence of the waivers´ voluntariness."
  19. BAGHDAD: Iraqi forces Friday launched an assault on the northern town of Hawija, one of the last bastions in the country still held by Daesh, which is also under attack in neighbouring Syria. The operation came after Daesh released what it said was an audio recording of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi urging resistance, the first such intervention in nearly a year. "The leaders of the Islamic State and its soldiers have realised that the path to... victory is to be patient and resist the infidels whatever their alliances," said the voice in the recording, whose authenticity Washington said it had "no reason to doubt". Since Baghdadi's previous message to his followers last November, the territory the militants still hold in the cross-border caliphate they proclaimed in 2014 has shrunk to a fraction of its former extent. "A huge military operation has begun to liberate Hawija and its surrounding areas," the operation's commander, Lieutenant General Abdel Amir Yarallah, said in a statement. Iraqi forces launched an offensive to retake the militant enclave around Hawija on September 21, swiftly taking the town of Sharqat on its second day before pushing on towards Hawija itself. Yarallah said that Friday's assault marked the second phase of the operation and aimed to recapture Hawija and the towns of Al-Abbasi, Riyadh and Rashad to its west, east and south. All are mainly Sunni Arab towns that have long been bastions of insurgency and were bypassed by government forces in their push north on second city Mosul last year which culminated in the militant's defeat in their most emblematic stronghold this July. Yarallah later announced that troops had taken Al-Abbasi and raised the Iraqi flag there. He said the operation involved the army, the federal police, counterterrorism units and the Rapid Intervention Force, as well as tribal volunteers and the paramilitary Popular Mobilisation force. The enclave lies east of the Tigris River and south of one of its major tributaries, the Little Zab, and troops erected pontoon bridges during the night to enable the assault to begin, Yarallah said. The Popular Mobilisation force said that Daesh had set fire to two oil wells in the Alas field, southeast of Hawija, in a bid to provide cover and slow the advance of loyalist forces. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi hailed the second phase of the operation to recapture the area. "As we promised the sons of our country, we are going to liberate every inch of Iraqi land and crush the Daesh terrorist gangs," Abadi said. "We are on the verge of a new victory to liberate the residents of these areas from those criminals." The Hawija enclave is one of just two areas of Iraq still held by Daesh, along with a stretch of the Euphrates Valley near the Syrian border which is under attack too. Deadly counterattack in Syria Further up the Euphrates Valley on the Syrian side of the border, Daesh is facing rival offensives by US-backed fighters and Russian-backed government forces. The militants launched a major counteroffensive against government forces on Thursday, killing at least 73 troops and militia in a series of attacks along their supply lines, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Most of the dead came near the desert town of Sukhna, on the main highway between the big cities of the west and Euphrates Valley city of Deir Ezzor, the Britain-based monitoring group said. Syrian troops pushed through the desert and broke a three-year Daesh siege of government enclaves in Deir Ez Zor earlier this month. They are now battling to retake the rest of it. Further upstream, a US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters is poised to capture the onetime Daesh bastion of Raqa, once a byword for militant atrocities. A top US-led coalition commander told AFP on Thursday that the jihadists were now breathing their "last gasps" in the city. He said the coalition was already setting its sights on another Daesh-held town in the Euphrates Valley - Al-Mayadeen, between Deir Ezzor and the Iraqi border.
  20. source: AFP KABUL: Haji Rabbani was preparing for afternoon prayers when he saw the US helicopters hovering above his mud-brick house in a residential area of Kabul. Moments later bombs started raining down. Six members of his family, including four children, were wounded in Wednesday's airstrike that was supposed to hit insurgents fighting Afghan security forces several kilometres from where US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was meeting with officials. Two bombs struck Rabbani's home - several hundred metres from where the insurgents were holed up - destroying an upstairs room, shattering windows and sending debris toppling into the courtyard. NATO's Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan expressed regret for the "harm to non-combatants" caused by the US airstrike - the first carried out inside the city in recent memory - and blamed a defective missile. An investigation is underway. The strike was launched in support of Afghan security forces who had confronted militants armed with mortars and suicide vests after they fired a volley of rockets near the capital's international airport - hours after Mattis arrived in the country for a high-profile visit. One person was killed and 11 wounded - including the six people at Rabbani´s house - in the fighting that lasted several hours as Mattis and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg met with Afghan leaders to discuss the broader conflict. Both the Taliban and the Daesh?s local Khorasan province affiliate claimed responsibility for the rocket attack. Casualties of war After the airstrike, Rabbani ran inside his home to get his family out. A child in the upstairs room that took the full force of the explosion was on the floor, mud bricks covering most of her small body. "I just got out of the bathroom and came out to perform the ablution when the strike took place," Rabbani told AFP on Thursday as he sat on a carpet in his debris-covered courtyard, smoking and drinking green tea with relatives. "I rushed towards the house and shouted for my children." Two children and two adults remain in hospital. Shrapnel from the bombs had peppered the rooms and blood spatters could be seen on door frames, walls and in the courtyard. Rabbani said he did not understand why foreign forces had targeted his family when he had no links to the insurgents firing rockets near the airport. "I do not belong to the government nor am I affiliated with anyone. I am a poor person who works in the city," said the 49-year-old taxi driver. Large fragments of the bombs lay on the ground nearby, one piece showing a partial label that read "50.9 KG". "There are no Daesh or Taliban in this area and the fighting is almost three kilometres from here - and they bombed my house." It is not the first time a US bombing attack has hit the wrong target. An American airstrike in 2015 destroyed a Doctors Without Borders trauma centre in northern Kunduz province, killing over 40. In July a US airstrike killed 16 policemen in Helmand province. It came after a US strike in Helmand´s Sangin district killed at least 18 civilians, mostly women and children, in February. Rabbani and his family have joined a growing list of civilians who have become casualties of Afghanistan´s grinding 16-year war. The number of civilians killed and wounded was at a record high in the first six months of 2017, a UN report shows, made worse by the Afghan Air Force carrying out its own airstrikes along with US Forces. "Airstrikes carried out by international and Afghan air forces caused 590 civilian casualties (in 2016), nearly double that recorded in 2015," a separate UN report shows, with women and children accounting for more than half of the victims. While NATO has acknowledged its mistake, Rabbani´s family wants compensation not sympathy -- and for the strikes on ordinary Afghans to stop. "They do not target the enemies in front of their eyes -- they target our house and kill our people," said Rabbani.
  21. Deloitte provides auditing, tax consultancy and cybersecurity advice to banks, multinational companies and government agencies. Photo: Alamy Stock Photo A sophisticated hack has targeted one of the world?s ?big four? accountancy firms ? Deloitte ? it surfaced. Confidential emails and plans of some of the company?s blue-chip clients were compromised in the attack. The cyber-security attack went unnoticed for months, the Guardian reported. Deloitte ? one of the largest private firms in the US ? provides auditing, tax consultancy, and high-end cyber-security advice to some of the world?s biggest banks, multinational companies, media enterprises, pharmaceutical firms, and government agencies. Deloitte clients across all of these sectors had material in the company email system that was breached. The companies include household names as well as US government departments. So far, six of Deloitte?s clients have been told their information was ?impacted? by the hack. An internal review of the incident is underway. According to The Guardian, Deloitte discovered the hack in March this year, but the attackers may have had access to its systems since October or November 2016. The hacker?s obtained privileged, unrestricted ?access to all areas? after the firm?s global email server was compromised through an ?administrator?s account.? The account required only a single password and did not have ?two-step? verification, sources said. Emails to and from Deloitte?s 244,000 staff were stored in the Azure cloud service, which was provided by Microsoft. In addition to emails, the hackers had potential access to usernames, passwords, IP addresses, architectural diagrams for businesses and health information, with some emails having attachments with sensitive security and design details. The breach is believed to have been US-focused and was regarded as so sensitive that only a handful of Deloitte?s most senior partners and lawyers were informed. It has yet to establish whether a lone wolf, business rivals or state-sponsored hackers were responsible.
  22. LONDON: Six people were believed to have been injured on Saturday after a group of males reportedly sprayed a noxious substance in an area around a large shopping centre in east London, police said. The incident near the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford was not being treated as terror-related, a police spokesman said. ?A number of people have been reported injured at different locations - believed to be six people. We await further details,? London?s Metropolitan Police said in a statement. One male was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm, the statement said.
  23. File photo of the aftermath of a Taliban attack in Afghanistan Five policemen were killed and eight others injured after Taliban militants attacked security checkpoints in Ghazni province in eastern Afghanistan Friday night, Chinese media reported, citing a police official. "Over 100 armed militants attacked three police checkpoints in Dasht-e-Qarabagh locality overnight, sparking a heavy clash, which [was] repelled by police forces. But the engagement left five police personnel dead and injured eight others," Gen. Mohammad Zaman told Xinhua news agency. One checkpoint was destroyed during the attack, the police chief said, adding that "several militants were also killed and wounded during the gun battle.? The attack comes as the Afghan government considers a plan to arm 20,000 civilians to fight the Taliban and other insurgent groups which have gained ground since US-led NATO combat troops left in 2014. Afghan security forces have been struggling to beat back a resurgent Taliban, which last month vowed to make Afghanistan a "graveyard" for foreign forces after US President Donald Trump made an open-ended commitment to keep American boots on the ground.
  24. Police are currently holding five people in custody over the London tube bombing, and have described the investigation as "fast-moving." ? AFP LONDON: British police on Thursday released a man arrested in connection with the bombing of a London Underground train last week, leaving five suspects in custody over the attack. The 21-year-old was released with no further action following his arrest late Saturday in Hounslow, west London, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement. Dean Haydon, the force's head of counter-terrorism, said the probe into the bomb attack at Parson's Green station "continues to be a fast-moving investigation" and searches are continuing at four addresses. Placed on a packed train during morning rush hour, the improvised device injured 30 people when it went off despite apparently malfunctioning. The attack in Parson's Green, a quiet residential area, caused panic among commuters and some were hurt in the stampede as people fled the scene. Police made a first arrest a day later when they picked up an 18-year-old man at Dover, a port in the southeast which serves as a gateway to Europe. The investigation subsequently shifted to Newport in Wales, where three men aged between 25 and 48 were arrested on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then a 17-year-old suspect was arrested in the early hours of Thursday in Thornton Heath in south London. The tube bombing was the fifth terror attack in Britain in sixth months -- four of them in London and one in Manchester -- with the bloodshed claiming 35 lives.
  25. Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the unfortunate Uri terror attack. In 2016, 19 soldiers were killed in an early morning attack by Pakistani terrorists in J&K's town of Uri. Eleven days later, India responded with what we can call as one of the most sophisticated and covert military operations ever. On September 29, Indian Army's Special Forces carried out “surgical strikes” on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Since the day went down as one of the most historic days in our country, in terms of establishing a strong position for itself, it was highly likely that someday a Bollywood director would turn it into a film. And Ronnie Screwvala grabbed this opportunity, just in time by announcing a film based on the Uri Attacks. Although not much has been revealed about the cast, the lead actor however, has been finalized and it is none other than Vicky Kaushal. Ronnie, who has produced/co-produced films like ‘A Wednesday', ‘Udaan', ‘Dev-D' and ‘Paan Singh Tomar' is of the view that “URI is the incredible story of Indians coming together.” He further added, “Today we are a confident, aggressive and new age India – standing up for itself in every way and on the world stage. With this one single military action, we changed the fabric of our border politics forever and that became a watershed moment in our political history.” © Twitter The movie would have Aditya Dhar behind the direction wheel. Talking about the plot of the movie, Dhar said, “This is the story of what happened in those 11 days. It's an honor and very reassuring to be backed by Ronnie Screwvala and to execute on this vision and what we believe is an engaging and thrilling story inspired by this true life incident.” Vicky, who started with small roles in movies like ‘Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana' and ‘Bombay Velvet', got fame for his role in the award-winning movie ‘Masaan'. After bagging the lead role of commander-in-chief in ‘Uri', he is on cloud nine, “When this film came to me and we had this discussion, I was really thrilled and kicked about it because this is one story that I feel that everyone needs to know. One of the fantastic army operations that the Indian army has conducted and with great efficiency. I also feel it is a great opportunity and also a responsibility for all of us to portray this story.” © Phantom Films The actor tweeted about the same. Humbled by this oppurtunity. #Uri produced by @RonnieScrewvala (RSVP) & directed by Aditya Dhar. Super excited! ð®ð³ðð — Vicky Kaushal (@vickykaushal09) September 19, 2017 To be able to do justice to his role in ‘Uri', Vicky will undergo paramilitary training for a month to bulk up before the shoot of the film. The shooting of the film will begin early next year after Vicky wraps up shooting for his upcoming movie ‘Raazi' in which he's paired opposite Alia Bhatt. The release of ‘Uri' is scheduled for the month of September 2018.