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  1. ISLAMABAD: Deputy Chairman Senate Maulana AbdulGhafoor Haideri said on Friday that he does not see the Parliament completing its term under present circumstances. Speaking to newsmen at the Parliament House, Haideri said that if there comes a change in Balochistan, then he also does not see Senate elections being held. "The Imran-Zardari-Qadri troika seeks to topple the government before March," the Senate deputy chairman said. He said that Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) is in opposition in Balochistan and the opposition is supposed to give tough time to the government and topple it. "The matter can move towards Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for preventing elections in the Senate," Haideri said. He said the JUI-F chief has rested the decision, whether or not to bring no-confidence move in Balochistan Assembly, with the provincial chapter of his party. The Senate deputy chairman said Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and a faction of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have been making joint efforts for change of government in Balochistan.
  2. Australian police stand near a crashed vehicle after they arrested the driver of a vehicle that had ploughed into pedestrians at a crowded intersection near the Flinders Street train station in central Melbourne, Australia December 21, 2017. REUTERS MELBOURNE: An Australian man of Afghan descent with a history of mental health issues drove a car into Christmas shoppers in the city of Melbourne on Thursday, injuring 19 people, but police said they did not believe the attack was terror-related. In January, four people were killed and more than 20 injured when a man drove into pedestrians just a few hundred meters away from Thursday?s attack. That too was not a terror attack. Jim Stoupas, the owner of a donut shop at the scene, told Reuters the vehicle was traveling up to 100 kph (62 mph) when it drove into the intersection packed with people, hitting one person after another. ?All you could hear was just ?bang bang bang bang bang? and screams,? Stoupas said in a telephone interview, adding the car came to rest by a tram stop. Police said they detained the 32-year-old driver, an Australian of Afghan descent with a history of assault, drug use and mental health issues. ?At this time, we don?t have any evidence or intelligence to indicate a connection with terrorism,? said the acting chief commissioner of Victoria State, Shane Patton. Four of the injured were in critical condition, including a pre-school aged boy who suffered a head injury. Police also detained a 24-year-old man at the scene who was filming the incident and had a bag with knifes. Patton said it was ?quite probable? the 24-year-old was not involved. The men had not been charged and their names have not been released by police. The attack took place on Flinders Street, a major road that runs alongside the Yarra River, in the central business district of Australia?s second-biggest city. Melbourne has installed about 140 concrete bollards in the city center to stop vehicle attacks by militants similar to recent attacks in Europe and the United States. ?We?ve seen an horrific act, an evil act, an act of cowardice perpetrated against innocent bystanders,? said the state premier, Daniel Andrews. Sydney, Australia?s biggest city, has also installed concrete barricades in main pedestrian thoroughfares. ?Our thoughts & prayers are with the victims & the emergency & health workers who are treating them,? Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a post on his official Twitter account.
  3. A 6-year-old Virginia boy has shaken up social media with an all-too-skeptical letter to Santa Claus in which he says he knows that jolly Saint Nick?s life is empty and that Santa had no idea whether he had been naughty or nice. The boy?s mother, Sarah McCammon, posted the ?Dear Santa? letter on Twitter on Sunday and by Monday it was featured on Moments, which Twitter considers its most popular or relevant topics. ?Im only doing this for the class,? the letter says. ?I know your notty list is emty. And your good list is emty. And your life is emty. You dont know the troubles Ive had in my life. Good bye.? The boy signs off with ?love? but refuses to identify himself, writing, ?Im not telling you my name.? McCammon, a reporter on National Public Radio?s national desk, said she has always told her children that Santa is a ?fun story? and that Christmas presents come from real people. ?We?ve encouraged them to keep the truth about Santa to themselves at school,? she said via email. But then her younger son was asked to write a letter to Santa at school. ?So he did,? she wrote on a Twitter post accompanying a photo of the hand-written letter. Some people responding on Twitter were impressed with the boy?s wisdom, while others expressed genuine concern. McCammon was obviously proud of her first-grader, calling the letter ?amazing.? ?Our son is creative and a bit precocious, so knowing his sense of humour, we thought it was hilarious,? McCammon said. Even so, she and her husband were curious about the ?troubles? their boy mentioned. ?He said he was referring to his older brother - specifically, we gather, the fact that his brother often beats him at video games,? McCammon said.
  4. Sanjay Leela Bhansali seems to have offended quite a few people, and Salman is the latest addition to the list. Sanjay Leela Bhansali seems to have offended quite a few people, and Salman is the latest 'addition' to the list. The megastar has ?accused? the ace-director of ?offending? him, India Time reported. ?Don?t know about others but Sanjay Leela Bhansali has definitely offended me,? Salman said, teasing the director in a lighthearted manner. ?I gave him two hits but he still chose Shah Rukh Khan for Devdas,? he said, on a lighter note. Expressing his views on Bhansali?s upcoming movie Padmavati and the controversies it is surrounded with, Salman said: ?Nobody but only the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and the court will decide on Padmavati.? ?Yes, it is not right to hurt anyone?s sentiments but at the same time, it is not fair to comment on the film without seeing it. Everyone must respect the verdict of the censor board.? Padmavati controversy is at its peak. Even a day before its initial release date there is no sign of calm. A few celebrities have come out in the open to lend their support to Bhansali?s film. Salman, who has earlier worked with the filmmaker in Khamoshi (1996) and Hum Dil Chuke Sanam (1999), has also said that Bhansali is a responsible filmmaker and will not make a film that will offend anyone. Speaking at the Hindustan Times Summit, the actor further pointed out how the controversies and negativity around a film are detrimental to the entire industry and works against all those people who work in it. ?Whenever there is a controversy around a film, there is a lot of loss. People panic, and refrain from going to theatres,? said Salman. The actor urged all the groups involved in the Padmavati controversy to stop protesting without watching the film first.
  5. Opposition Leader Khurshid Shah. Photo: File ISLAMABAD: Opposition leader Khursheed Shah said on Wednesday that he doesn't think that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif fooled people of Pakistan. The Pakistan Peoples' Party leader said that former premier Nawaz should not have submitted a false affidavit, adding that the judgment will continue to dishonor the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party leader. "The Supreme Court has given its decision after a detailed examination of the case," he said. Shah said that Nawaz's case is one of its own in the country's political and judicial history. SC's detailed judgment The SC in its detailed judgment rejected the review petitions filed by the Sharif family over the Panama Papers verdict. On September 15, the apex court issued a short-order rejecting the review petitions of the Sharif family and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar against the July 28 judgment. Nawaz Sharif tried to fool people, says SC in Panama review order The detailed verdict on dismissal of Sharif family's review petitions is spread over 23 pages The five-member bench had disqualified Nawaz as prime minister on July 28 at the conclusion of the Panama Papers case. In the detailed order, authored by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, the apex court held that the ousted prime minister tried to fool the court and people, both inside and outside of Parliament, and never came up before the court with the whole truth ?Nawaz even tried to fool the apex court without realizing, 'You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time',? it said. 'Court couldn't shut its eyes' Justifying the dismissal of the review pleas, the verdict ruled that the court could not have shut its eyes when an asset of the petitioner arising out of Iqama (work permit) having surfaced during the investigation of the case and admitted by him to be his in no uncertain terms, was not found to have been disclosed in the election nomination papers. The court also observed that a much higher level of integrity was expected of the holder of the highest elected office of the country, ?but to our dismay and disappointment, the petitioner has not been fair and forthright in answering any of the queries made during the course of hearing.? It further said since the country?s prime minister was thought to be the ethos personified of the nation and he represented at the national and international level, denying an asset established or defending a trust deed written in 2006 in a font becoming commercial in 2007 was below the dignity and decorum of the office he holds. Quoting an Urdu couplet expressing a follower?s feelings about his leader, Justice Ejaz said: ?Don?t talk about this and that thing, just tell us why the caravan was looted ? We have no complaint with the passersby, it is a question of your leadership?.
  6. PPP leader Khursheed Shah. Photo: Geo News ISLAMABAD: Senior Pakistan Peoples Party figure and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly (NA) Khursheed Shah said on Monday that his party has not taken a U-turn on the issue of delimitation of constituencies of the NA. Speaking to the media, Shah said they have raised questions over the provisional results of the latest population count in Sindh. He added that the PPP has no issues if the next general elections are held on the basis of the 1998 census results. However, the elections should be held on time, he said further. [embed_video1 url= style=center] Shah also explained that the PPP does not support the call for early elections in the country. Talking about former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Shah said Nawaz knows who his enemy is, adding that, his [Nawaz] close associates are conspiring against him. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has been advocating early elections in the country. Moreover, the Parliament is yet to pass a bill which will fulfil legal requirements for holding elections next year in light of the latest census. The PTI and PPP, among other parties, want the delimitations bill to be discussed in the Council of Common Interests before it is made into law. Political parties have yet to pass legislation on the delimitation of constituencies, deemed a constitutional necessity by the Election Commission of Pakistan, with regards to the holding of general elections next year.
  7. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies before a Senate Banking Committee hearing on the 'Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress' on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, July 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Files JACKSON HOLE: Janet Yellen delivered a message to President Donald Trump on Friday, making it clear that if he re-nominates her as Federal Reserve chair she will not turn her back on the raft of US financial reforms that Republicans want to roll back. Her speech to the world?s top central bankers in Jackson Holedefenceng, comes at a time when the chaos at the White House may make it more likely that she would be appointed to serve another four years to head the US central bank. Yellen, whose term ends in February, warned that ?for some? memories of the 2007-2009 financial crisis may be fading, and she said that only ?modest? adjustments could be made to regulations meant to protect the economy from runs on banks and other financial panics. President Trump and congressional Republicans say many of the Obama-era rules go too far in choking off credit and burdening firms with unnecessary compliance. ?Yellen?s passionate defense of the post-crisis tightening of financial regulation isn?t going to go down particularly well at the White House,? said Paul Ashworth, chief US economist at Capital Economics, in Toronto. Yet with Trump?s regulatory, tax, and infrastructure policy plans so far delayed, and the White House struggling to fill several key posts, Yellen, a Democrat, may represent the President?s best shot at ensuring stability at an institution critical to running the economy smoothly. While Trump may disagree with Yellen?s big-government stance on regulatory policy, he is more aligned with her track record of keeping rates low to get Americans back to work. In addition, she said she was open to some of the key changes that the administration, and its nominee as Fed vice chair for regulation, Randal Quarles, want to pursue. Lobbying for continuity Others have been mentioned as possible choices for Trump, several of whom attended the Fed conference at a lodge in Grand Teton National Park. Along with her standing among economists and market participants, Yellen has a public lobby as well. Demonstrators here held a rally outside the conference donning wigs fashioned after Yellen?s hairstyle. The organizers, the Fed Up Coalition that has criticized the central bank?s recent interest-rate hikes, want Trump to stick with Yellen. The Fed chair has not said explicitly whether she would be open to another term, a question that has taken on added interest following intense criticism of Trump?s response to a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Yellen, 71, is Jewish, and her image was included in a Trump campaign ad shortly before the election criticized as anti-Semitic. But Yellen may come under increased pressure from liberals to accept if nominated, as the Fed is an independent agency and is not viewed as being part of the presidential administration. ?Janet Yellen is a patriot,? said Gene Sperling, who was director of the National Economic Council under former President Barack Obama, who appointed her. ?She would feel a patriotic duty to stay on if asked, even if from a personal level she was ready for a break? she would feel an obligation to serve.? Along with academic economists, Gary Cohn, the former Goldman Sachs president who is now Trump?s chief economic advisor, is considered a top contender for the job. Yellen?s familiarity among investors may be welcome to a White House facing an acrimonious political battle to avoid a debt ceiling deadline next month, and still reeling from criticism over its response to Charlottesville. Reports emerged Friday that Cohn had drafted a letter of resignation over the latter incident, but decided to stay on the job. Trump, who praised Yellen after his election for keeping interest rates low, has said he probably won't make the decision about the Fed chair until late in the year. That time frame has struck many Fed officials as worryingly late given the need for Senate confirmation and the possibility of a negative market reaction. Democratic President Obama re-nominated Ben Bernanke, first selected as Fed chair by Republican President George W. Bush, at exactly this time in the process in 2009. At the 2013 Jackson Hole conference, the White House had already winnowed the choice down to Yellen or Larry Summers, a former Treasury secretary. "It would be a smart move for him economically" for Trump to promptly choose Yellen, added Sperling.
  8. ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Friday said that they were not surprised by US President Donald Trump recent speech outlining new regional policy. Speaking on Geo News' program 'Naya Pakistan', the minister they wanted to give a coordinated response to Trump's statement, which would have input from the government, military and intelligence community, which is why it took a couple of days. He said that when they informed Afghanistan that their territory was being used for attacks in Pakistan, the Afghan government said that up to 40 percent of their territory was not under their control. Asif denied that any terrorist organisation has bases in Pakistan and asked why the terrorists would need bases in Pakistan when they can freely operate in Afghanistan. "They (terrorists) do not need bases inside Pakistan if they have such a huge area to operate from in Afghanistan," he said. Asked about possibility of any US incursion into Pakistan, the minister said, "I cannot comment if they are thinking so. But I ask what have they achieved in the past with such drone attacks and incursions." He said that they would make all efforts for a political solution. "We are victims of terrorism, we have been on the forefront of this war." Asif went on to question as to who enabled the Taliban to operate freely inside Afghanistan and raise funds necessary to wage the insurgency.
  9. [embed_video1 url= style=center] KARACHI: Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal said on Thursday that Pakistan doesn?t need a certificate from anyone for its counter-terrorism efforts. Speaking to journalists at the 95th passing out parade at the police training centre, Siyal said the provincial government with the support of Pakistan Army will soon eliminate the remaining few terrorists in the Karachi Operation. He appreciated the role of paramilitary forces in establishing law and order in the metropolis. ?Sacrifices of law enforcement personnel to maintain law and order is not hidden from the people of Pakistan. We should appreciate Rangers? role in establishing peace,? he said. ?The government is grateful to Pakistan Army for training Sindh police," he added. ?Police will meet the expectations of people.? Siyal said that the crime rate in Karachi is comparatively lesser than in big cities of many other countries. Responding to a question, the home minister said that the Sindh government has presented a workable bill against corruption. He was referring to the controversial National Accountability Ordinance 1999 Repeal Bill 2017, which was passed recently to limit NAB's role in the province. The law has been challenged in the Sindh High Court.
  10. [embed_video1 url= style=center] LAHORE: Maryam Nawaz on Saturday tweeted, aimed at PTI Chairman Imran Khan, that those who attack others with a lie can be destroyed with truth. Maryam's tweeted after Imran's counsel presented documents in the Supreme Court today while defending him in the foreign funding case. Tweets by the first daughter carried screenshots from a local news channel regarding Imran's case in the apex court. She further said that while Imran was busy conspiring against her family, his own secrets were exposed. "God has His own ways," said Maryam in the tweet. Earlier today, Imran?s counsel has submitted to the Supreme Court details of his flat in London and cricket contracts, defending him in the foreign funding case. As per the statements presented to the apex court, Imran started earning money abroad when he started playing cricked during his days as a student at University of Oxford, England. The details state that Imran was selected to play cricket for Pakistan, also for Worcestershire from 1971. He played for Sussex County from 1977 to 1988. All the payments Imran received had income tax deducted from them at source, the documents state. Since Imran had to spend his days outside Pakistan to fulfil his commitment to Sussex Country Cricket and to participate in other international cricketing events between 1977 and 1988, he was a non-resident, the statement reads. Therefore, it added, the Pakistani income tax law did not apply to him.
  11. SINGAPORE: Robots are getting softer. Borrowing from nature, some machines now have arms that curl and grip like an octopus, others wriggle their way inside an airplane engine or forage underwater to create their own energy. This is technology that challenges how we think of, and interact with, the robots of the not-too-distant future. Robots are big business: by 2020, the industry will have more than doubled to $188 billion (147.2 billion pounds), predicts IDC, a consultancy. But there's still a lot that today's models can't do, partly because they are mostly made of rigid metal or plastic. Softer, lighter and less reliant on external power, future robots could interact more safely and predictably with humans, go where humans can't, and do some of the robotic jobs that other robots still can't manage. A recent academic conference in Singapore showcased the latest advances in soft robotics, highlighting how far they are moving away from what we see as traditional robots. "The theme here," says Nikolaus Correll of Colorado University, "is a departure from gears, joints and links." One robot on display was made of origami paper; another resembled a rolling colostomy bag. They are more likely to move via muscles that expand and contract through heat or hydraulics than by electricity. Some combine sensing and movement into the same component - just as our fingertips react to touch without needing our brain to make a decision. These ideas are already escaping from the lab. SMALL, AGILE Rolls-Royce, for example, is testing a snake-like robot that can worm its way inside an aircraft engine mounted on the wing, saving the days it can take to remove the engine, inspect it and put it back. Of all the technologies Rolls-Royce is exploring to solve this bottleneck, "this is the killer one," says Oliver Walker-Jones, head of communications. The snake, says its creator, Arnau Garriga Casanovas, is made largely of pressurised silicone chambers, allowing the controller to propel and bend it through the engine with bursts of air. Using soft materials, he says, means it can be small and agile. For now, much of the commercial action for softer robots is in logistics, replacing production-line jobs that can't yet be handled by hard robots. Food preparation companies and growers like Blue Apron, Plated and HelloFresh already use soft robotics for handling produce, says Mike Rocky, of recruiter PrincetonOne. The challenge, says Cambridge Consultants' Nathan Wrench, is to overcome the uncertainty when handling something - which humans deal with unconsciously: figuring out its shape and location and how hard to grip it, and distinguishing one object from another. "This is an area robots traditionally can't do, but where (soft robots) are on the cusp of being able to," said Wrench. MARINE INSPIRATION Investors are excited, says Leif Jentoft, co-founder of RightHand Robotics, because it addresses a major pain point in the logistics industry. "Ecommerce is growing rapidly and warehouses are struggling to find enough labour, especially in remote areas where warehouses tend to be located." Some hope to ditch the idea that robots need hands. German automation company Festo and China's Beihang University have built a prototype OctopusGripper, which has a pneumatic tentacle made of silicone that gently wraps itself around an object, while air is pumped in or out of suction cups to grasp it. The ocean has inspired other robots, too. A soft robot fish from China's Zhejiang University swims by ditching the usual rigid motors and propellers for an artificial muscle which flexes. It's lifelike enough, says creator Tiefeng Li, to fool other fish into embracing it as one of their own, and is being tested to explore or monitor water salinity. And Bristol University in the UK is working on underwater robots that generate electrical energy by foraging for biomatter to feed a chain of microbial fuel-cell stomachs. Hemma Philamore says her team is talking to companies and environmental organisations about using its soft robots to decontaminate polluted waterways and monitor industrial infrastructure. This doesn't mean the end of hard-shelled robots. Part of the problem, says Mark Freudenberg, executive technology director at frog, a design company, is that soft materials break easily, noting that most animatronic dolls like Teddy Ruxpin and Furby have rigid motors and plastic casings beneath their fur exteriors. To be sure, the nascent soft robot industry lacks an ecosystem of software, hardware components and standards - and some companies have already failed. Empire Robotics, one of the first soft robot gripper companies, closed last year. RightHand's Jentoft says the problem is that customers don't just want a robot, but the whole package, including computer vision and machine learning. "It's hard to be a standalone gripper company," he says. And even if soft robots find a niche, chances are they still won't replace all the jobs done by human or hard-shelled robots. Wrench, whose Cambridge Consultants has built its own fruit picking robot, says he expects to see soft robots working with humans to harvest fruit like apples and pears which are harder to damage. Once the robot has passed through, human pickers would follow to grab fruit hidden behind leaves and in hard-to-reach spots. "It's a constant race to the bottom, so there's a pressing business need," Wrench said.
  12. Americans need to do more than stop reaching for the salt shaker if they want to cut back on the amount of sodium in their diets, according to a new study. Only a small fraction of sodium in most people's diets in the US comes from salt added at the table, researchers found. The majority comes from manufacturing processes and what's added to foods during cooking at restaurants. "Only 11 percent is coming from home - from salt shaker or cooking," said lead author Lisa Harnack, of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis. "The rest is coming from other sources." Harnack and colleagues write in the journal Circulation that since 1980 the Dietary Guidelines for Americans put out by the government urged reducing sodium. Most Americans get too much. "About a third of Americans have high blood pressure and people who have high blood pressure are told to reduce sodium in their diet," Harnack told Reuters Health. The current recommendation is that people get less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day, which is the amount in about 1 teaspoon of salt. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2010 recommended reducing sodium in commercially packaged and prepared foods, the researchers note. To determine the sources of salt in people's diets, the researchers recruited 450 adults from Birmingham, Alabama; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Palo Alto, California between 2013 and 2014. The participants were interviewed to determine everything they ate over four days. They were also seen in clinics, and gave researchers a plastic bag containing the same amount of salt they added when eating foods. The average amount of sodium in people's daily diets was 3,501 mg, on average, researchers found. Some groups had more sodium in their diets than others. For example, men ate more sodium overall than women. Black or Asian participants tended to add more salt to their food than Hispanics. Also, people with lower levels of education tended to consume more sodium than those with higher levels. For all groups, sodium added during the manufacturing process was the leading source in the diet. The researchers found that 71 percent of sodium in the participants' diets came from outside the home, through restaurants or processed foods. Another 14 percent occurred naturally in food. About 6 percent of sodium came from what people added during meal preparation, and 5 percent came from what they added while they were eating. Less than 1 percent of sodium came from dietary supplements and water sources. Harnack said the results show most sodium is coming from items bought in stores - like potato chips - or foods like hamburgers ordered at restaurants. "They really need to be reading the nutrition panels in grocery stores and choose carefully at restaurants," said Harnack. The results have implications for patients, doctors and policy, Dr. Lawrence Appel and Kathryn Foti of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, write in an editorial accompanying the new study. People should focus on product selection, they add, and doctors should also emphasize this to patients. For policymakers, they say the study reinforces the 2010 IOM recommendation to reduce sodium in products. "Efforts to reduce the sodium content in our food supply have tremendous potential to lower (blood pressure) and prevent cardiovascular disease," Appel and Foti conclude.
  13. Version 1.0.0


    By default, IPS4 will automatically log out other sessions if you log in more than 90 days after logging into the first device. This behaviour is counter-intuitive and annoying for users. This plugin prevents members from being automatically logged out because they logged into a new device. This free plugin is provided with no warranty of any kind, either explicit or implied, to the extent permissible by the applicable laws. Please do report bugs to me, but I make no promises about fixing them.
  14. Don't quit When things go wrong as they sometimes will; When the road you're trudging seems all uphill; When the funds are low, and the debts are high And you want to smile, but have to sigh; When care is pressing you down a bit Rest if you must, but do not quit. Success is failure turned inside out; The silver tint of the clouds of doubt; And you can never tell how close you are It may be near when it seems so far; So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit It's when things go wrong that you must not quit.