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Found 54 results

  1. The spokesman for the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) has rebutted claims by a British newspaper, citing a report, which alleged ?fraud and corruption?? in the distribution of aid money under the program. Claims made by British newspaper Daily Mail are false and misleading, said the spokesperson. A report by the Department for International Development, cited by the Daily Mail today in its article, said that British officials need to take concrete steps to ?root out fraud and corruption? in the distribution of aid money worth £420million under BISP. BISP spokesman said that the same news was first published in January this year, adding that British Prime Minister Theresa May had praised the programme. ?The report also raised concerns that many recipients are unable to use cash machines to collect their money and are taken advantage of by others who take a cut to help them,? the article said. The report said that ?BISP needs to keep on top of operational risks including its procedures for identifying, reporting and rooting out fraud and corruption. ?DfID will need to step up engagement with the [Pakistani] ministry of finance and BISP?s leadership for monitoring and managing these risks.? A consultancy firm Mott MacDonald, carrying out checks on behalf of the DfID, found that about ?a fifth of those receiving the handouts were paying fees for help withdrawing the money?. The report highlighted various issues affecting the transparency of the program, including the inability of female beneficiaries to use the debit card, loss of passcodes and multiple visits to withdraw cash. The DfID identified low literacy level as a major challenge which presents a hurdle in people using technology such as ATMs on their own. The spokesman for the government department added that it routinely reviews programmes for transparency ?value for money for the taxpayer, and this programme is no different?.
  2. Actor Robert Hardy, a familiar face on British television who also played the minister of magic in the Harry Potter franchise, has died aged 91, his family announced on Thursday. "It is with great sadness that the family of Robert Hardy CBE today announced his death, following a tremendous life: a giant career in theatre, television and film spanning more than 70 years," a statement from his children Emma, Justine and Paul said. They added: "Gruff, elegant, twinkly, and always dignified, he is celebrated by all who knew him and loved him, and everyone who enjoyed his work." Born in 1925, Hardy started his career at 24 in a stage adaptation of William Shakespeare's "Coriolanus", the first of many theatre roles. He was also part of several long-standing television shows, including the BBC's famed "All Creatures Great and Small", which ran for 12 years. The Bafta-nominated actor later appeared in the Harry Potter films as Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge, a role he reprised four times. He was awarded a CBE - one of Britain's highest honours - in 1981 for his services to acting.
  3. RAWALPINDI: British High Commissioner Thomas Drew called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the General Headquarters today. A press release issued by the Inter Services Public Relations stated that matters of mutual interest and regional security were discussed at the meeting. The visiting dignitary acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan?s continuous efforts for peace and stability in the region, the press release stated further.
  4. AJK President addressing media in Islamabad ISLAMABAD: A British parliamentary delegation, on a visit to Pakistan, has expressed concern over the deteriorating human rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir. Addressing a news conference along with Azad Jammu & Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan here on Thursday, the members of the delegation urged the international community to take notice of the Indian atrocities being inflicted on Kashmiri people in the occupied valley. Member British parliament Andrew Flint said the Kashmir dispute is a human rights issue and urged the world to listen to the voices of the Kashmiris. ?I stand with truth. It is the basic right of people to live with freedom and peace. The rest of the world needs to know what is happening in Kashmir,? he said. Wajid Khan, another member of the British parliament part of the delegation, strongly condemned the human rights violations in occupied Kashmir and said the blood of the Kashmiris is ?as valuable as that of anyone living in Britain or any other country?. ?We want to listen to the Kashmiris? voices by going there,? he said. ?Kashmiris have to decide about their future themselves.? 33 Kashmiris martyred by Indian forces in July 565 people critically injured, 24 women molested, 77 houses destroyed during the month The delegation said it would request the Indian ambassador back home to allow a fact-finding mission to visit occupied Kashmir. The delegation also said it will visit Azad Kashmir tomorrow (Friday). Azad Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan said the British parliamentarians are playing an important role in highlighting the Kashmir dispute. He said particularly the Labour party is at the forefront and has expressed commitment to play its role in resolution of the lingering Kashmir dispute. Sardar Masood called the Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti a ?facilitator? in the murder of innocent Kashmiris and said she should resign if she cannot put an end to the atrocities.
  5. Footage of the late princess Diana pouring her heart out about her failed marriage with Prince Charles will air on British television for the first time, a channel confirmed Sunday. Ahead of the 20th anniversary of her death in a Paris car crash, Channel 4 will broadcast "Diana: In Her Own Words" on August 6, despite a report in The Mail on Sunday newspaper that her brother Earl Charles Spencer is unhappy with the decision. The tapes show the late princess of Wales speaking frankly to her voice coach about her loveless marriage to the heir to the British throne and his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, now his wife. Diana also discusses her struggle with bulimia and an unconsummated romance with a mystery man, widely believed to be her bodyguard Barry Mannakee, who died in a motorbike accident. "At 24, I fell deeply in love with someone who was part of all this and that was all found out and he was chucked out and then he was killed. And that was the deepest blow in my life," she says in the footage. The tapes were screened in the United States in 2004 and are available online, but they have not been never broadcast in Britain before. Defending its decision, Channel 4 said the footage was an important historical resource. "Though the recordings were made in private, the subjects covered are a matter of public record and provide a unique insight into the preparations Diana undertook to gain a public voice," it said in a statement. "This unique portrait of Diana gives her a voice and places it front and centre at a time when the nation will be reflecting on her life and death." The tapes were filmed in 1992-1993 at her Kensington Palace home by voice coach Peter Settelen, around the time that Diana separated from Charles. She died in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997. 'Intrusive' Twelve tapes were made, of which Settelen owns seven following a legal battle after they were found in a police raid on the home of Diana's butler Paul Burrell in 2001. The whereabouts and content of the other five is unknown. Settelen's lawyer Marcus Rutherford said his client had been reluctant to show the tapes. "But now, coming up to the 20th anniversary, with everyone, including her own children, discussing Diana and revisiting her life, he wants Diana to be able to speak for herself," he told The Sunday Telegraph newspaper. Royal biographer Penny Junor told the newspaper that Charles and Diana's sons princes William and Harry would not want the tapes aired again, saying it would be "deeply hurtful to them". "This is just another way of exploiting Diana," she said. Rosa Monckton, one of Diana's closest friends, said it was "absolutely disgusting" that the tapes were being shown. "How intrusive is this? It doesn't matter that it was 20-odd years ago," she told the Mail on Sunday. "Think of the hurt they are causing to her family, to her sons."
  6. Image courtesy: Emily Ashton Twitter (@elashton) LONDON: Twenty-two mice scurrying around Britain's finance ministry have fallen foul of the chief mouser to the Treasury since he took up residence one year ago with a mission to reduce the government department's rodent population. Gladstone ? a black cat named after the long-serving 19th-century prime minister and chancellor William Gladstone ? joined the Treasury from a rescue home a year ago, and has almost 10,000 followers on photo-sharing website Instagram. "I'm a grafter! This last year I've caught 22 mice and I believe in going the extra mile, so I've also caught 2 flies ? it's harder than it looks!" Gladstone said in a message on Friday to mark one year since he joined the finance ministry. Finance ministry officials, who manage Gladstone's social media presence, regularly post photos of him wearing brightly coloured bow-ties to mark events such as gay rights celebrations, the introduction of a new 1 pound coin, and visits by foreign dignitaries. Gladstone said the visitor he was most looking forward to was International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde, who is due in London later this year. "Until then, I'll settle for the Chancellor. For a dog person, he's very amenable," Gladstone said. Gladstone declined to be drawn on reports of rivalry with other senior government felines such as Larry ? who lives in Prime Minister Theresa May's office ? and the foreign office's Palmerston. "When columnists try to pit you against other Whitehall felines, stand tall ? you're the top cat. That, and black is always slimming," he said.
  7. US golfer Jordan Spieth celebrates on the 18th green of the Royal Birkdale golf course on July 23, 2017/AFP SOUTHPORT, UK: Jordan Spieth recovered from the brink of a disastrous collapse to regain his nerve and win the British Open with a breathtaking late flourish at Royal Birkdale on Sunday. The 23-year-old American ended up shooting a one-under-par round of 69 to finish 12-under and claim his third major title by three strokes from compatriot Matt Kuchar. Spieth had been top of the leaderboard after each of the first three rounds and, having already won the Masters and US Open in 2015, his victory saw him emulate the great Jack Nicklaus in getting his hands on a third different major before turning 24. But this was very nearly a historic meltdown from Spieth equal only in recent times to his own collapse in the 2016 Masters, when he threw away a five-stroke lead halfway through his final round to hand the green jacket to Danny Willett. "This was eventful. Seventeen pars and a birdie would have been fine too, but there are a lot of roads to get there," Spieth said after receiving the Claret Jug trophy to go with the $1.85 million cheque for the winner. Spieth had let a three-stroke overnight advantage fritter away by the fourth hole. Although he soon moved two ahead again, he was playing some wayward stuff off the tee in particular and catastrophe nearly struck at the par-four 13th. After hitting his drive miles right into unplayable thick rough, Spieth became engaged in a lengthy debate with officials before taking a drop from the adjacent practice ground. Jordan Spieth poses for pictures with the Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale on July 23, 2017/AFP The images brought back memories of Jean Van de Velde´s infamous collapse at Carnoustie in 1999, when he ended up in a water hazard at the last as he snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. But somehow Spieth salvaged a bogey to trail Kuchar by just one shot, and the response on the following holes was emphatic. A birdie at the short 14th came after he nearly holed his tee shot, and he then went eagle-birdie-birdie to see off Kuchar´s own charge. "I was in a tough one early on, but I showed resilience. As you can imagine thoughts came in from my last scenario where I was leading a major on a Sunday," Spieth added. "The wheels had kind of come off everything and we were trying to work out how to get back on track to salvage the round, and it took a bogey to do so." He does not celebrate his 24th birthday until next Thursday and is the youngest winner of the Claret Jug since the late Spaniard Seve Ballesteros triumphed at Royal Lytham in 1979 aged 22. ´Crushing´ for Kuchar Spieth´s win ends a run of seven consecutive majors going to players who had never previously won one of golf´s biggest prizes. Kuchar had been hoping to extend that run and become the sixth champion from the last seven Opens aged 39 or older. "It´s crushing. It hurts. And there is excitement and a thrill to have played well, put up a battle, put up a fight," said Kuchar. "You work so hard to get to this position, you don´t get many opportunities. To be this close, taste it with five holes to go, it´s a hard one to sit back and take." Spieth is the sixth American winner in 10 Opens held at Birkdale, following in the footsteps of Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson among others. China´s Li Haotong caused a sensation as he came from nowhere to finish third thanks to a seven-under-par final round of 63. The 21-year-old finished on six-under for the championship and his is the best ever finish for a Chinese golfer in a major. His round would have equalled the best ever in a major had Branden Grace of South Africa not shot 62 on Saturday. "It´s kind of a dream come true, you know," he said. Rory McIlroy, the 2014 champion, finished with a 67 to share fourth on five-under with Spain´s Rafael Cabrera-Bello. Last year´s winner Henrik Stenson ended on three-under but his playing partner, world number one Dustin Johnson, shot 77 and finished way down on four over par.
  8. A British Muslim MP, Afzal Khan believes his election following the Manchester bombing sends a "powerful message" to those terrorists and bigots attempting to divide society. Khan won the election on a Labour ticket and praised the people of his home city for responding with solidarity, compassion and the "determination" to defeat those who threaten their way of life. Suicide bomber Salman Abedi targeted Manchester Arena after a concert by US pop star Ariana Grande, killing 22 people and injuring dozens more. Khan recalled the events of May 22 while making his maiden speech in the Commons. He also spoke of his life before entering Parliament and about his police officer. Addressing the House of Commons, Khan said: "In May, the city I love was the victim of a terrible attack - 22 adults and children were killed and over 100 people injured attending a concert at Manchester Arena". "It was an act of pure evil. Faced with this tragedy, the people of Manchester responded in the only way they know how - with solidarity, with compassion, and with the determination that those who seek to endanger our way of life will not succeed." The MP added that the attack in the arena led to an increase in hate crimes and termed the development unfortunate. "Yet, just a few weeks later, the people of Manchester elected me, a Muslim. "I cannot think of a more powerful message to the terrorists and bigots that their attempts to divide us will never succeed." Later in his speech, Khan said his journey to Parliament was "not the typical one". Khan added that he was born in Pakistan and came to the UK when he was adopted out of poverty as a child. "Since then, Manchester has been my home for nearly 40 years. I often tell people while I was born in Pakistan, I was made in Manchester. "I left school with no qualifications and at 16 went straight to work as a labourer in a cotton mill. "Later, I became a bus driver and then a police officer," the Labour MP said.
  9. Wildfire evacuees from Williams Lake, Daniel and Hailey stand with their grandfather while in line for food outside of the evacuation centre in Kamloops, British Columbia. REUTERS/Ben Nelms VANCOUVER: British Columbia's government took the unprecedented step on Wednesday of extending a state of emergency by two weeks as it battled 140 wildfires that have forced about 45,000 people from their homes. The province's Premier John Horgan said evacuated households would receive C$600 ($476.53) from the government to cover basic needs for every 14 days they cannot return home. The government announced the first such payment earlier this month after establishing a C$100 million fund. "Traditionally when an emergency is declared, people are usually back in their homes within the two-week period. That may not be the case for many individuals," Horgan told reporters, in his first major announcement since taking office on Tuesday. On July 7, the Canadian province declared its first state of emergency since 2003 as gusty winds fanned fires that were caused by lightning and humans in the tinder-dry central and southern regions. The fires have shut mines and timber operations and damaged homes and electrical infrastructure. Canadian military aircraft have joined thousands of firefighters from as far away as Australia to battle the fires. On Wednesday, 140 fires were raging in the province, down from 163 on Sunday, British Columbia chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said, attributing the drop to cooler, less windy conditions. The estimated area of land burnt since the beginning of the wildfire season on April 1 was 353,000 hectares (872,282 acres), costing the province C$105.3 million, Skrepnek said. The Insurance Bureau of Canada said it was too early to provide cost estimates of the fire damage. Skrepnek said heavy smoke made it difficult to gauge damage to homes and other infrastructure. Mining and milling operations at the Gibraltar copper mine had resumed after being shuttered for four days as fires restricted access to the mine site, owner Taseko Mines said. Major pipeline companies in the region, including Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd, a unit of Kinder Morgan Inc, have created fire breaks, installed sprinklers, and taken other measures to protect operations. West Fraser Timber Co and privately held Tolko, among the largest Canadian producers of forestry products, and Norbord Inc, have suspended some operations. Residents of Cache Creek, a small ranching town of 1,000 in south-central British Columbia, were allowed to return home on Tuesday after 11 days in shelters.
  10. GRENOBLE: A British pilot reported missing in the French Alps was found dead on Saturday in the debris of his crashed glider, the prosecutor for the Gap region said. Mountain rescue had been alerted late Friday to the disappearance of the 69-year-old pilot, who had taken off earlier that day from the Serres-La Batie aerodrome. Rescuers found the body of the British pilot and the crashed glider at an altitude of some 7,500 feet. According to the Gap prosecutor, the pilot ? whose name was not released ? smashed into a mountain summit near the commune of Val-des-Pres, north of Briancon in southeastern France. Aviation authorities have been called to investigate the cause of the crash.
  11. geo_embedgallery SILVERSTONE, United Kingdom: Lewis Hamilton stormed to the 67th pole position of his career after a dazzling performance during qualifying on Saturday for the British Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver finished 0.547sec clear of Kimi Raikkonen with Ferrari team-mate and championship leader Sebastian Vettel set to start third in Sunday´s race at Silverstone. Hamilton closed to within one of Michael Schumacher's record of 68 poles. British Grand Prix qualifying times Q3 1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1:26.600, 2. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Ferrari) 1:27.147, 3. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Ferrari) 1:27.356, 4. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) 1:27.376, 5. Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull) 1:28.130, 6. Nico Hulkenberg (GER/Renault) 1:28.856, 7. Sergio Perez (MEX/Force India) 1:28.902, 8. Esteban Ocon (FRA/Force India) 1:29.074, 9. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL/McLaren) 1:29.418, 10. Romain Grosjean (FRA/Haas) 1:29.549 Q2 1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1:27.893 (Q), 2. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) 1:28.732 (Q), 3. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Ferrari) 1:28.978 (Q), 4. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Ferrari) 1:28.992 (Q), 5. Nico Hulkenberg (GER/Renault) 1:29.340 (Q), 6. Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull) 1:29.431 (Q), 7. Esteban Ocon (FRA/Force India) 1:29.701 (Q), 8. Sergio Perez (MEX/Force India) 1:29.824 (Q), 9. Romain Grosjean (FRA/Haas) 1:29.966 (Q), 10. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL/McLaren) 1:30.105 (Q) 11. Jolyon Palmer (GBR/Renault) 1:30.193, 12. Daniil Kvyat (RUS/Toro Rosso) 1:30.355, 13. Fernando Alonso (ESP/McLaren) 1:30.600, 14. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/Toro Rosso) 1:31.368, 15. Felipe Massa (BRA/Williams) 1:31.482 Q1 1. Fernando Alonso (ESP/McLaren) 1:37.598 (Q), 2. Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull) 1:38.912 (Q), 3. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1:39.069 (Q), 4. Nico Hulkenberg (GER/Renault) 1:39.201 (Q), 5. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) 1:39.698 (Q), 6. Esteban Ocon (FRA/Force India) 1:39.738 (Q), 7. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Ferrari) 1:39.962 (Q), 8. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL/McLaren) 1:40.011 (Q), 9. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Ferrari) 1:40.455 (Q), 10. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/Toro Rosso) 1:41.114 (Q), 11. Jolyon Palmer (GBR/Renault) 1:41.404 (Q), 12. Daniil Kvyat (RUS/Toro Rosso) 1:41.726 (Q), 13. Felipe Massa (BRA/Williams) 1:41.874 (Q), 14. Sergio Perez (MEX/Force India) 1:42.009 (Q), 15. Romain Grosjean (FRA/Haas) 1:42.042 (Q), 16. Lance Stroll (CAN/Williams) 1:42.573, 17. Kevin Magnussen (DEN/Haas) 1:42.577, 18. Pascal Wehrlein (GER/Sauber) 1:42.593, 19. Marcus Ericsson (SWE/Sauber) 1:42.633, 20. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Red Bull) 1:42.966
  12. More than a dozen wildfires were raging across California on Monday, forcing thousands of residents of the most populous US state to flee their homes. Further to the north, the Canadian province of British Columbia was under a state of emergency as fire crews there also battled blazes fueled by searing temperatures and high winds. The worst of the brush fires in California was the Alamo fire in San Luis Obispo County, which had burned nearly 29,000 acres (117 square kilometers) as of Monday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection known as Cal Fire. More than 1,200 fire personnel were battling the Alamo blaze, Cal Fire said, adding that hot and dry conditions were expected to continue for the next several days and the inferno has been only 15 percent contained so far. The California fires have forced the evacuation of around 8,000 people while another 10,000 have fled their homes in British Columbia, Canada's westernmost province, where around 200 blazes of varying degrees of intensity have been reported. The Alamo fire, which began four days ago, has spread to Santa Barbara County, approximately midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and is currently the state's largest active fire, according to Cal Fire. Fire containment efforts were particularly aimed at guarding mountain peaks holding vital infrastructure such as a high-voltage line that delivers power to nearby cities, according to the Los Angeles Times newspaper. Another fire in Santa Barbara County, the Whittier fire, is threatening hundreds of homes in the Santa Ynez Valley and forced the evacuation of nearly 150 children and counselors from a youth camp over the weekend, authorities said. DC-10 tanker aircraft were spreading retardant in a bid to prevent the blaze, which has engulfed some 10,800 acres, from spreading, according to the Los Padres National Forest service. The Whittier fire has destroyed 20 structures and is threatening 150 more, according to Cal Fire. State of emergency Area resident Sarah Gustafson told the Los Angeles Times that she was getting her tires changed when she saw a pillar of smoke rising and realized her six cats were trapped at home. She rushed back and managed to save the animals, and described a sky painted orange and black and "flames up on the ridge." "It was terrifying," she told the paper. "When I got home it was smokey with ash." She then scrambled back to a Red Cross shelter parking lot where she and her cats spent the night. Another blaze, the Wall fire in northern Butte County, has burned some 5,600 acres and has been 35 percent contained as of Monday morning, according to Cal Fire. Four people have been injured by the Wall fire, according to authorities. Most of southern California including metropolitan Los Angeles has been in the grips of a blistering heat wave with temperatures reaching as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius). Wildfires are common in California and other parts of the American west over the summer. In British Columbia, the provincial government has declared a state of emergency as thousands of firefighters battle blazes across the sprawling territory. Several villages in the center of the province have been evacuated, leaving more than 10,000 people temporarily homeless, said Canadian public safety minster Ralph Goodale. "There are about 231 fires burning. Ninety-eight of these are new... At least 10 of them are very close to communities, which makes them particularly dangerous," he told a news conference. Kevin Skrepnek, chief information officer for the BC Wildfire Service, told the National Post that lightning storms on Friday had ignited many of the fires following a prolonged dry spell. "We're focusing now on public safety, keeping these fires away from communities, protecting transportation routes, things like that," Skrepnek said. Forecasters are not expecting rain in the region in the coming week.
  13. The Indian Summer Baaja is a one-day music festival held at the Horniman Museum in London. This time around, the festival is set to be curated by none other than Soumik Datta, the celebrated British Indian Sarod virtuoso, to commemorate 70 years of cultural ties between Indian and the UK. The artist will put together a line-up of UK-based musicians, storytellers and dancers whose contemporary practice is deep-rooted in the musical traditions of South Asia. © Soumik Datta Arts The event is set to be held on July 23rd, 2017, in London and is free to all. It will feature world music bestselling artist Shammi Pithia, celebrated percussionist Bernhard Schimpelsberger, tabla maestro Gurdain Singh Rayatt, violinist Preetha Narayanan and progressive six piece British-Bengali band Khiyo among other artists. The day will close with a dynamic two-hour tour de force gala of voices, drummers and strings led by Soumik on his signature instrument, the sarod. Indian Summer Baaja has been developed by Soumik Datta Arts. © Horniman Museum UK Speaking about the event and why it's such a big deal to both the nations, culturally, Datta said, “I wanted to recreate the atmosphere of vibrant Indian festivals complete with nomad bands and folk musicians playing on street corners and city gardens.” He further adds, “Responding to the incredible collection of instruments at the Horniman, I wanted to celebrate ancient South Asian instruments such as the sarod, veena, bansuri and kanjira that are now being played by young, dynamic second generation maestros in the UK with an urgency that keeps this music relevant and alive.” © Rehmat Rayat Soumik Datta's music effortlessly bridges the worlds of classical and contemporary music and he has performed and collaborated with musicians like Beyonce, Jay-Z, Bill Bailey, Manu Delago, Akram Khan, Nitin Sawhney, Anoushka Shankar, Bernhard Schimpelsberger, Talvin Singh, Joss Stone, Shankar Mahadevan to name a few. Just a few weeks ago in late June 2017, Soumik performed his 2014 commission, ‘King of Ghosts' – the rescore of Satyajit Ray's 1960's epic ‘Goopy Gayne Bagha Gyne' – for two nights at Shakespeare's Globe as part of the theatre's Festival of Independence, commemorating India's 70 years since independence, where he was joined by Mercury Prize winner and special guest table maestro Talvin Singh. For those who are in London, looking for a cultural specimen to witness, this is one that should definitely not be missed. We secretly hope for something similar to be conducted sometime soon at our Indian museums, too.
  14. [embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/52e9a3409fcc3b8b968e504c47ae9430.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9Ny80LzIwMTcgNjoxMzowMyBQTSZoYXNoX3ZhbHVlPVhRY3hGYzY1cXZ2QnE5SUR4Y3JvZmc9PSZ2YWxpZG1pbnV0ZXM9NjAmaWQ9MQ== style=center] A strange yet impressive sight was witnessed in the UK, when a Pakistani truck was spotted roaming the streets of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, as if it was on a local street on a fine afternoon in Pakistan. Much to the delight of those present around to catch the rare glimpse, the truck driver also honked to further captivate his audience. Ayesha, who shot the video, was delighted to share her experience. ?People were stopping to admire the sight,? she said, adding that as a Pakistani she was thrilled to witness the spectacle of Pakistani culture on British roads. ?I wish we could have more of these, Pakistani culture is quite admired and appreciated here,? she said. Brand Pakistan on London's red buses shows ?beautiful culture, heritage? ?We conceived a comprehensive plan to celebrate the anniversary about two years ago, Interestingly, unlike the trucks in Pakistan, the truck driver wasn't driving recklessly and the vehicle wasn't emitting the customary black smoke. Recently, the ?Emerging Pakistan? campaign has been introduced in London. The campaign includes London?s iconic red buses carrying brand Pakistan -- a move aimed at introducing Britons and international tourists to Pakistan?s beautiful culture and heritage. Tens of thousands of people will get to see the London buses daily. During four weeks, millions will see these buses depicting the diversity and beauty of Pakistan. The initiative is a part of celebrations planned by the Pakistan High Commission London for the 70th Independence Anniversary of Pakistan this year.
  15. LONDON: The British princes, William and Harry, will attend a private service today (on Saturday) to re-dedicate the grave of their mother Princess Diana on what would have been her 56th birthday. The service will be at Diana´s resting place on the Althorp Estate, her family´s ancestral home in central England, where the princes will be joined by William´s wife Kate and members of Diana´s family. The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, will conduct the ceremony. Diana, first wife of William´s father and heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles died aged 36 in Paris on August 31, 1997, after the limousine carrying her and lover Dodi al-Fayed crashed in a tunnel as it tried to escape paparazzi who were chasing them on motorbikes. She was buried on a leafy oval island in the grounds of Althorp amid an outpouring of grief across the world. With the 20th anniversary of her death approaching, both William, 35, and Harry, 32, have spoken publicly about the impact that losing their mother has had on lives. In an interview published last week, Harry said the decision to make him walk behind her coffin as the funeral cortege slowly made its way through the packed streets of London when he was a child had had a lasting impact. "My mother had just died, and I had to walk a long way behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people watching me while millions more did on television," he said. "I don´t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don´t think it would happen today." Both princes have become prominent mental health campaigners, encouraging people to speak openly rather than bottle up their emotions, and William said in April the shock of losing his mother still lingered. "You never get over it, it´s such an unbelievably big moment in your life that it never leaves you. You just learn to deal with it," he said. Meanwhile, Harry said he had come close to a "complete breakdown" on several occasions and had sought counselling in his late twenties to help deal with the grief of losing Diana.
  16. The prospects of Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May have plummeted because of a disastrous election gamble - AFP LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May's government faces a vote of confidence on Thursday, three weeks after a disastrous election left her authority in tatters and her Brexit strategy in doubt. Members of the House of Commons will vote on the Conservative leader's legislative plans -- the Queen's Speech -- in a key test of whether she can stay in power. The government should pass its programme after forming a deal with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), whose 10 MPs will vote with the 317 Conservatives in the 650-seat chamber. But May's personal authority has been deeply damaged by the election, which she called three years early expecting to win a landslide -- only to find herself hanging on by a thread. The majority of the bills in the Queen's Speech concern Britain's departure from the European Union, on which the first formal negotiations took place last week. But May's Brexit plan is under scrutiny as many saw the election as a rebuke to her move to pull Britain out of Europe's single market -- its largest trading market -- to prioritise cutting EU immigration. The government is also dealing with the fall-out of a string of terror attacks and the blaze at the Grenfell Tower block in London, which left at least 80 people presumed dead and saw May accused of taking too long to respond. The prime minister is cutting short a trip to Berlin Thursday with other European allies ahead of the G20 summit next week, to ensure she will be back for the early evening Commons vote. Brexit plans in flux Calls to prioritise jobs and growth during the Brexit process are growing, including from finance minister Philip Hammond, whom May was expected to sack after the election but has stayed on. Cabinet tensions have also seen Hammond take a swipe at eurosceptic Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson over his claim that Britain could "have its cake and eat it" in the negotiations. "I try to discourage talk of 'cake' amongst my colleagues," the finance minister said during a speech in Berlin. Hammond emphasised the need for transitional deals to avoid a damaging "cliff-edge" when Britain leaves, but in London, Brexit minister David Davis slapped him down, saying his views were "not quite consistent". May's spokeswoman insisted that "everybody is on the same page", and nothing had changed. However, when European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was asked at a summit last week whether he was clear on Britain's position on Brexit, he replied: "No." "Whatever May and Davis are saying in public, Brexit policy is in fact in flux," said Charles Grant of the Centre for European Reform. He noted the increased influence of Hammond and the Scottish Conservatives, who did well in the election and have also emphasised maintaining trade ties with the EU. Meanwhile, Labour, which won 262 seats, has accepted that Britain will be leaving the single market but wants "full tariff-free access" to protect jobs. 'Future leader' "The easiest thing for May to do is to press ahead with the Brexit that her right-wing desires. But that is probably not sustainable in the long term," Grant said. He added: "If May doesn't reinvent herself as a soft-Brexiteer, she is likely to be defeated in parliament." May announced a deal with the DUP on Monday where they agreed to back her minority government in confidence and budget votes, in return for an extra £1.0 billion (1.1 billion euros, $1.3 billion) in state aid for Northern Ireland. But there is doubt about how long the alliance can last, as the DUP's ultra-conservative views on abortion and gay marriage have caused disquiet among many Conservatives. Many of May's MPs have become emboldened by the election to speak their mind -- and not just on Brexit. Conservative lawmakers and the DUP voted together to defeat a Labour amendment to the Queen's Speech late Wednesday calling for an end to a six-year cap on public sector pay -- but not before some expressed their doubts about austerity. Talk is now of when, not if, May will step down. Former Conservative minister Nicky Morgan, who was sacked by May, told the BBC that once the Brexit deal was clear, her party "must not miss the opportunity at that stage to think about who we want to be our future leader".
  17. Britain's parliament was hit by a "sustained and determined" cyber attack on Saturday designed to identify weak email passwords, just over a month after a ransomware worm crippled parts of the country's health service. The House of Commons said it was working with the National Cyber Security Centre to defend parliament's network and was confident it had protected all accounts and systems. "Earlier this morning we discovered unusual activity and evidence of an attempted cyber-attack on our computer network," an email sent by parliamentary authorities to those people affected said. "Closer investigation by our team confirmed that hackers were carrying out a sustained and determined attack on all parliamentary user accounts in an attempt to identify weak passwords." Britain's National Health Service was hit by a massive global ransomware worm in May which crippled the computer system and forced some hospitals to turn away patients. The National Cyber Security Center is part of Britain's GCHQ spy agency, set up last year to tackle what the government believes is one of the biggest threats to British security. Chris Rennard, a member of the Liberal Democrat party in the upper House of Lords, was the first to draw attention to the problem, using Twitter to announce: "Cyber security attack on Westminster, Parliamentary emails may not work remotely, Text urgent messages." A spokeswoman for the House of Commons confirmed that unauthorized attempts had been made to access parliamentary accounts and said systems were in place to protect member and staff details. "As a precaution, we have temporarily restricted remote access to the network," she said. "As a result, some Members of Parliament and staff cannot access their email accounts outside of Westminster." Liam Fox, the minister for international trade, said the attack was not a surprise and should act as a warning to people across the country to the threat posed by cyber hackers. "We've seen reports in the last few days of even cabinet ministers' passwords being for sale online," he told broadcasters. "We know that our public services are attacked so it's not at all surprising that there should be an attempt to hack into parliamentary emails."
  18. HEREFORD: Police in West Midlands have arrested a man with knives and an axe near an Army Reserve centre, reported the BBC. The 23-year-old man was arrested on Sunday night. Police officials said there was nothing to indicate that there was a threat to the army centre and was not related to the terror attack in Finsbury Park, London. The man?s motives are not yet known and he is in custody, BBC quoted police officials as saying. ?On identifying the man our officers took prompt action to contain the threat and take him into custody,? said Asst Ch Con Martin Evans of West Mercia Police. He added that an "extremely sensitive investigation" was being carried out and added that additional police patrols would take place in the town to safeguard the citizens.
  19. Update [5:30 AM PST]: A van speeded towards and rammed into people coming out of a mosque following the 'taraveeh' prayers, which are offered after breaking fast during the holy month of Ramazan. According to the police, one white British man has been taken into custody, but neither has his identity been revealed nor the registration number of the vehicle he was driving. Unverified reports allege that at least 10-15 people have been wounded, but no official figure has been released by either the security authorities or the emergency and medical services. [Update [05:12 AM PST]: British police confirmed that they are dealing with a major incident at Seven Sisters Road in London. A number of resources have been sent off to the incident at Seven Sisters Road, London Ambulance stated. Initial reporting [05:05 AM PST]: LONDON: British police have sealed off the road right outside London's Finsbury Park Station late Sunday night, local media reported citing a witness. Security authorities stated that they were called to reports of a vehicle in collision with pedestrians and that there are a number of casualties. One person suspected of being involved in the incident has been detained.
  20. Pakistan-origin British MP Nusrat Munir ul Ghani - popularly known as Nus Ghani - who recently retained her constituency in the general elections - surprised many by taking her oath in Urdu. ?Oath proudly taken in both English and Urdu to honour my mum,? she wrote on Twitter. The Conservative Party MP retained her Wealden constituency securing 61.2 per cent of the total votes. She won the seat with a majority of over 24, 000 votes. Ghani is one of the twelve British-Pakistanis who won the June 8 snap general elections. ?I?m so proud of @Nus_Ghani a great patriot and great MP. Our country has room for all languages, they enrich us and help us know our world,? Tonbridge MP Tom Tugendhat wrote on Twitter. Ghani came into the media's focus after she proposed a legislation to ban the term ?honour killing? in official publications as it was being used by abusers as ?pathetic self-justification? for their violence. Speaking in the House of Commons she said ?Language matters,? adding, ?the use of the term ?honour? to describe a violent criminal act ? sometimes committed against a man, but more often against a woman ? can be explained only as a means of self-justification for the perpetrator. It diminishes the victim and provides a convenient excuse for what in our society we should accurately and simply call murder, rape, abuse or enslavement,? she was quoted by BBC.
  21. Flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London. Photo: Reuters LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May faced mounting criticism on Friday for not meeting the survivors of a deadly London tower block blaze, ratcheting up the pressure as she tries to strike a deal to stay in power after a botched election gamble. May promised to hold a public inquiry into a fire that killed at least 17 people when it engulfed a 24-storey social housing block in West London, expressing her sorrow in a televised statement after meeting with the emergency services. But unlike opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn and London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was confronted by a young boy asking "How many children died?", May did not meet with residents, prompting criticism from locals, media and within her Conservative party. "She wanted an entirely controlled situation in which she didn't use her humanity," former cabinet minister Michael Portillo told the BBC. "She should have been there with the residents. You have to be prepared to receive people's emotions, and not be so frightened about people," he said. When asked on Thursday about why she did not meet residents or visit a local community center, May said she wanted to visit the scene of the incident to be briefed by the emergency services. The Sun newspaper said 65 people are now feared dead or missing in the fire. London police expect the death toll to rise further but said it could take months to search the burned-out building and identify the victims. On Friday, British newspapers heightened their criticism of the government, saying there were a series of unanswered issues including as to whether the cladding used on the building helped the blaze spread. "Three lethal questions," headlined the right-wing Daily Mail newspaper, which backed May's Conservatives in last week's national election, saying ministers faced disturbing questions over the disaster. Local government minister Sajid Javid, responsible for housing policy, defended May for not meeting with those affected by the disaster: "What she wanted to do was to speak to the people working on the ground on the recovery operation, the rescue operation to make sure that they've got everything they want and see how she could help," he told Sky news. After May failed to win an outright majority in a snap election last week, she is battling to strike a deal with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party to support her government.
  22. RAWALPINDI: British High Commissioner Thomas Drew met on Monday Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Bajwa at the General Headquarters, according to an Inter-Services Intelligence Relations statement. According to army?s media cell, matters of mutual interest and regional security were discussed in the meeting. The meeting was held before the COAS departed for a one-day visit to Saudi Arabia along with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. During the visit, the premier will hold discussions with senior officials of the kingdom on the ongoing crisis involving Qatar and Saudi Arabia and other Arab states.
  23. British police investigating last weekend's deadly attacks on London Bridge said they arrested a 19-year-old man in east London on Sunday. The Metropolitan Police, in a statement posted on its website, said the man was taken into custody at a south London police station and was being detained under the Terrorism Act. Six other men are in custody in connection with last Saturday's incident in which eight people were killed and 50 injured after three militants drove into pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed people.
  24. There’s nothing like the humiliation which comes along with losing a bet. You have to cough up money or some sort of “payment” to your friends and you look like a fool for being wrong too. But, when you make a promise on social media, the pain of losing becomes all the more humiliating. This is what British professor Matthew Goodwin learned yesterday. Paramount Pictures He had earlier predicted that the Labor Party wouldn’t be able to poll greater than 38% and if they did he would eat his new Brexit book. I'm saying this out loud. I do not believe that Labour, under Jeremy Corbyn, will poll 38%. I will happily eat my new Brexit book if they do — Matthew Goodwin (@GoodwinMJ) May 27, 2017 In what was and will most probably be the funniest part of the UK elections this year, Goodwin went on live TV yesterday and ate his book. We can’t stop laughing. Check it out: This man just ate (some of) his book live on Sky News after making an incorrect #GE2017 prediction @GoodwinMJ pic.twitter.com/13IaFLaJvx — Sky News (@SkyNews) June 10, 2017 While whether Goodwin is an expert on UK politics or not is debatable, one thing we can tell you without any doubt whatsoever is that he is a man of his word. Columbia Pictures
  25. A dozen candidates of Pakistani origin won their respective constituencies and are set to become members of the British Parliament. Of them, three belong to the Conservative Party while eight are from Labour. More than 40 candidates of Pakistani origin were in the run for the polls. Of the total, around 31 were from mainstream parties such as Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats while the rest were from smaller parties or contesting as independents. Labour's Naz Shah Naz Shah of Labour retained her hold on the Braford West constituency after defeating Conservative Party's George Grant. The Pakistani-origin Member of Parliament received 29,444 votes against her main opponent?s 7,542. The constituency has the most Muslim voters in any constituency in Britain ? with total registered voters at 40,290, of which 20,669 are Muslim. In the 2015 polls, Shah had defeated Respect Party?s George Galloway with a majority of over 11,000 votes. The turnout in the constituency stood at 67.4%. Labour's Rosena Allen-Khan Labour Party?s Rosena Allen-Khan retained her Tooting seat with 34,694 votes, against the Conservative Party?s Dan Watkins who secured only 19,236 votes. Rosena had won the seat earlier after Sadiq Khan resigned to become the London Mayor. The turnout in the constituency remained at 74.7%. In the 2015 polls, Sadiq had bagged the constituency with a small margin ? getting 25,263 votes against 22,421 votes for Watkins. Labour's Shahbana Mehmood Labour?s Shahbana Mehmood contested for reelection from Birmingham Ladywood, winning the seat after attaining 34,166 votes against 5,452 for Andrew Browning of the Conservative Party. The turnout in the constituency was 59%. Mehmood was one of the first women elected to the UK Parliament. In the 2015 polls, she had got 26,444 votes against Isabel Sigmac of the Conservative Party who got 4,576. Labour's Afzal Khan Labour Party?s Afzal Khan bagged the Manchester Gorton constituency with 35,085 votes. According to the BBC, Khan, who becomes the city's first Muslim MP, said his election after the Manchester bombing sent a "powerful message to the terrorists and the racists". His chief opponent, Shaden Jaradat of the Conservative Party, bagged 3,355 votes. The turnout in the constituency was 61%. Interestingly, Afzal had contested the seat from the Conservative Party ticket in the 2015 polls, bagging 4,063 votes against 28,187 by the winning Labour candidate ? the late Gerald Kaufman. Conservative Party's Sajid Javid A total of 33,493 votes were cast for Sajid Javid, the Conservative Party candidate who won the Bromsgrove constituency. He defeated Labour?s Michael Thompson, who received 16,920 votes. The turnout in the constituency was 73%. Javid had also won the seat in the 2015 polls with a sizeable majority. Labour's Yasmin Qureshi Contesting for reelection from Bolton South East, Labour?s Yasmin Qureshi won after bagging 25,676 votes. She defeated the Conservative Party?s Sarah Pochin who got 12,550 votes. The turnout in the constituency was 61.4%. In the 2015 polls, Qureshi had received 20,555 votes, defeating the UKIP candidate who got 9,627 votes. Labour's Khalid Mahmood Labour?s Khalid Mahmood successfully defended his Birmingham Perry Bar seat for a record fifth time, bagging 30,109 votes against Conservative Party?s Charlotte Hodivala, who got 11,726 votes. The turnout in the constituency remained 63.1%. In the 2015 polls, Mahmood had won the seat after receiving around three times the number of votes compared to Hodivala. Labour's Imran Hussain Labour?s Imran Hussain also successfully defended his seat of Bradford East by bagging 29,831 votes against Conservative Party?s Mark Trafford, who got 9,291 votes. The turnout in the constituency was 64.8%. The constituency has the second most Muslim votes in any constituency in Britain. In total, there are 41,406 voters, of which 15,299 are Muslims. Hussain served as the Shadow International Development Minister in the last cabinet. Conservative Party's Rehman Chishti Conservative Party?s Rehman Chishti retained his grip on the Gillingham and Rainham constituency for the third time after getting 21,091 votes against Labour?s Andrew Stamp, who got 17,661 votes. Turnout stood at 66.9% in the constituency. Chishti holds the honour of being the youngest member of parliament of Pakistani decent when he was elected in 2010 at the age of 31. In 2015, he had won the constituency by nearly twice the number of votes from the Labour candidate. Labour's Mohammad Yasin In a tight race, Labour?s Mohammad Yasin managed to win the Bedford constituency by taking 22,712 votes against the Conservative Party?s Richard Fuller who bagged 21,923. Yasin, who has served as a councillor in Bedoford for 11 years and as cabinet member for two, contested for the parliament seat for the first time. Turnout in the constituency remained at 67.5%. Fuller had won the seat in 2015 with around a 1,000-lead vote from the Labour candidate. Conservative Party's Nus Ghani Conservative Party?s Nus Ghani secured her seat from Wealdon with 37,027 votes and defeated Labour?s Angela Smith, who got 13,399. The turnout in the constituency remained at 74.3%. In 2015, Ghani had bagged the seat with a huge margin as well. Labour's Faisal Rashid Labour?s Faisal Rashid won the Warrington South constituency after getting 29,994 votes against 27,445 votes received by the Conservative Party?s David Mowat. The turnout in the constituency stood at 72.4%. Mowat had won the constituency with an around 2,000-vote margin from the Labour candidate in 2015.