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Found 214 results

  1. Roger Federer will not take up a wild card invitation to next week´s Dubai Championships DUBAI: Roger Federer will not take up a wild card invitation to next week´s Dubai Championships, the event´s tournament director has confirmed, with the new world number one opting for an awards ceremony in Monte Carlo instead. Tournament director Salah Talhak told local media that 36-year-old Federer, the oldest man to take the top ranking, said the seven-time champion intends to play the event in 2019. "I understand and I believe whatever´s good for him is good for us. You can´t really push him more," Talhak told Sport360. "Had he not won in Rotterdam he would have definitely come here." Earlier Friday, Federer tweeted his intention to travel to Monte Carlo next Tuesday to attend the Laureus awards ceremony where he is again a nominee. "Excited to be heading to Monaco for the @LaureusSport Awards! Good luck to all the Nominees - see you next week #Laureus18," tweeted the 20-time Grand Slam winner. Federer cannot lose the world number one spot next week even if old rival Rafael Nadal triumphs in Acapulco.
  2. Users can view the film by downloading a free app onto their smartphone, which they then insert into an inexpensive virtual reality headset-Reuters HINDHEAD, ENGLAND: For 93-year-old Daphne Padfield, a dementia sufferer in an English care home, the arrival of a virtual reality (VR) headset offered a window back to the day in 1953 when Britain crowned its new queen. ?Those things don?t happen too often, so we were very privileged that day,? said Padfield, casting her mind back to the coronation. The VR film she watched is the work of a project called The Wayback, designed to trigger memories and emotions in people with dementia and help them re-engage with relatives and carers. The first film in a planned series saw filmmakers and a 170-strong volunteer cast recreate a street party held to celebrate Queen Elizabeth?s coronation on June 2, 1953. Users can view the film by downloading a free app onto their smartphone, which they then insert into an inexpensive virtual reality headset. ?It was born of frustration, really. I wished there?d been something around at that time that would have helped me and my family through a difficult period,? said co-creator Andy Garnett, who lost a family member who suffered from dementia. ?Using VR just seemed like a really interesting way to perhaps create a memory ...and spark a bigger conversation.? Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by strokes or diseases such as Alzheimer?s. People with dementia can suffer from memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. There are over 850,000 people living with some form of dementia in Britain, with that number estimated to rise to one million by 2025, according to the Alzheimer?s Society, a charity. At Langham Court Dementia Home in Surrey, The Wayback has been introduced for relatives and carers to use with some residents. Sarah Chapman, a director at the home, told Reuters that the film evoked detailed recollections in those who viewed it. ?It was just amazing to see them so happy,? she said. A senior researcher at a British dementia charity welcomed VR technology as a means of helping suffers, but cautioned the technology needed to be used with care. ?For instance, some people with dementia experience what are called misperceptions,? Dr Karen Harrison-Dening, head of research and publications at Dementia UK, told Reuters via email. ?...This can lead to confusion over which images are ?real? or not, and may prove unsettling for the person.? The filmmakers are planning their next work around England?s 1966 soccer World Cup victory celebrations, and also hope to expand the project to other countries.
  3. BERLIN: Organisers of the Berlin International Film Festival on Wednesday declined a call to have movie stars walk a black, rather than red, carpet as a symbol of support for the campaign against sexual harassment in the industry. After January?s Golden Globes ceremony where people wore black on the red carpet to express solidarity with the movement, more than 21,000 people signed a petition calling for the carpet itself to change color at this year?s ?Berlinale?. But one day before the festival opened, its director, Dieter Kosslick, said he understood the reasons for the campaign but had decided against ?symbolic politics? and wanted to instead focus on events discussing sexual harassment. ?We?d like to use our activities to dive deeper into the #MeToo debate than a carpet would allow, so we don?t plan to put a black carpet down at the Berlinale,? Kosslick said. The festival had already announced a panel discussion on sexual harassment, a counseling corner and a seminar that will encourage women who have suffered harassment to speak up and seek ways to boost equality in the film industry. Kosslick said some films were cut from the program due to sexual abuse allegations against people involved but he has declined to name them. Around 400 films will be screened at the 68th Berlinale which opens with U.S. director Wes Anderson?s ?Isle of Dogs?, an animated tale of a boy searching for his pet at a garbage dump where a fictional city has exiled all of its dogs. Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton and Oscar nominee Greta Gerwig, who voice characters in the film, are due to appear at the festival that some fans say is otherwise lacking in star power. ?This year I don?t think there?s as many real highlights,? said Scott Roxborough of The Hollywood Reporter. ?Aside from the Wes Anderson film which everybody wants to see and everyone is excited about, there are very few big films, either big Hollywood movies or even big art house movies.? The festival, renowned for films with strong political agendas, includes ?Khook? (?Pig?), an Iranian film about a blacklisted director and ?U-July 22? about the 2011 massacre of young people on a Norwegian island by Anders Behring Breivik. Other films in contention include a Western comedy called ?Damsel? featuring Robert Pattinson, ?Transit,? a German film about a man fleeing Nazi-occupied France, and ?Dovlatov,? a portrait of the Russian writer Sergei Dovlatov. Tom Tykwer, a German director best known for his 1998 film ?Run Lola Run?, heads the jury that will decide which of the 19 movies in competition wins the Golden Bear for best film and who gets Silver Bears for acting and directing. The festival in the German capital runs until Feb. 25.
  4. Israeli security forces examine the remains of an F-16 Israeli warplane near the Israeli village of Harduf, Israel, February 10, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun JERUSALEM/BEIRUT: Anti-aircraft fire downed an Israeli warplane returning from a bombing raid on Iran-backed positions in Syria on Saturday in the most serious confrontations yet between Israel and Iranian-backed forces based across the border. The F-16, one of at least eight Israeli planes despatched in response to what Israel said was an Iranian drone?s incursion into its airspace earlier in the day, was hit by a Syrian anti-aircraft missile and crashed in northern Israel, an Israeli official told Reuters. Both pilots ejected and were injured, one critically. Israel then launched a second and more intensive air raid, hitting what it said were 12 Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria, including Syrian air defence systems. Lebanon?s Iran-backed Hezbollah group said the downing of the plane marked the ?start of a new strategic phase? that would limit Israel?s ability to enter Syrian airspace. Iran?s involvement in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad in a nearly 7-year-old civil war - including the deployment of Iran-backed forces near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights - has alarmed Israel, which has said it would counter any threat. But Israel and Syria signalled they were not seeking wider conflict, even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rushed to military headquarters in Tel Aviv and the pro-Assad alliance pledged a strong response to any Israeli ?terrorist action?. ?Israel seeks peace but we will continue to defend ourselves steadfastly against any attack against us or any attempt by Iran to establish itself against us in Syria,? Netanyahu said in a televised statement. Russia, whose forces began intervening on behalf of Assad in 2015, expressed its concern and urged both sides to exercise restraint and avoid escalation. Netanyahu said he had spoken by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin and that they agreed Israel-Russia military coordination in regard to Syria would continue. Putin told Netanyahu in the phone call that there was a need to avoid any steps that would lead to a new confrontation in the region, Interfax news agency reported. A Western diplomat in the region said: ?My impression is that it seems to be contained at this point. I don?t think anybody wants to escalate further.? A Pentagon spokesman said the United States fully supported Israel?s right to defend itself, and a State Department spokeswoman said the United States is ?deeply concerned? about the ?escalation of violence over Israel?s border.? UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is closely watching the ?alarming? military escalation throughout Syria and calls on all sides to exercise restraint and work for an immediate and unconditional de-escalation of violence, a UN spokesman said. Chain of events Saturday?s chain of events began at 4:30 AM (0230 GMT) when an Israeli Apache helicopter shot down an Iranian drone over the northern town of Beit Shean, the Israeli military said. The drone had been sighted taking off from a base in Syria, and was intercepted after it crossed into Israeli territory, spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said. Israeli planes then struck an Iranian installation in Syria from which, the Israeli military said, the unmanned aircraft had been operated. The Israeli military released grainy black and white footage of what it said was the drone?s control vehicle in Syria being destroyed. The F-16 crashed on its return from the mission, coming down in an empty field near Harduf, east of Haifa. ?We heard a big explosion and then sirens. We didn?t know what was happening, we heard helicopters and planes,? said Yosi Sherer, 51, who was staying at a hostel in Beit Shean. Flights at Tel Aviv?s international airport were briefly halted. The area was quiet by mid-afternoon. Conricus said missile remnants were found near the crash site. ?We don?t know yet if it?s an SA-5 or SA-17, but it?s a Syrian anti-aircraft missile,? he said. Israel then launched a second bombing raid in Syria. The pro-Assad military alliance said Israel had attacked a drone base in central Syria but denied any of its drones had entered Israeli airspace. Iran rejected the Israeli version of events as ?ridiculous?. David Ivry, a former Israeli Air Force chief, told Reuters he believed it was the first time an Israeli F-16 was brought down since Israel began using the jets in the 1980s. Air superiority Israel has long maintained air superiority in the region, mounting air strikes in Syria on a regular basis, targeting suspected weapons shipments to Hezbollah. Hezbollah said in a statement: ?Today?s developments mean the old equations have categorically ended.? Iranian and Iran-backed forces, including Hezbollah, have deployed widely in Syria in support of Assad. Iran?s military chief warned Israel last October against breaching Syrian airspace and territory. Netanyahu, visiting the Golan on Tuesday, peered across the border into Syria and in public remarks warned Israel?s enemies not to test its resolve. An official in the pro-Assad alliance said after the downing of the F-16 that a ?message? had been sent to Israel. But he added: ?I do not believe matters will develop to a regional war.? The Israeli military said it did not seek escalation, calling its action a defensive response to an Iranian act of aggression. The US administration has backed Israel?s hawkish stance on Iran and declared containing Tehran?s influence an objective of its Syria policy. On a visit to Israel last month, US Vice President Mike Pence called Iran the world?s ?leading state sponsor of terror?. Pentagon spokesman Adrian Rankine-Galloway said the United States fully supports Israel?s right to defend itself. ?We share the concerns of many throughout the region that Iran?s destabilizing activities ... threaten international peace and security, and we seek greater international resolve in countering Iran?s malign activities,? Rankine-Galloway said. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to visit the region in the coming week to discuss Syria and other issues and is scheduled to visit Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and other countries. Netanyahu said he and Tillerson discussed the flare-up on Saturday. Tensions also have spiked across the frontier between Israel and Lebanon over Israeli plans for a border wall, and Lebanese plans to exploit an offshore energy block partly located in disputed waters. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 war and has occupied it since, annexing the territory in 1981 in a move not recognized internationally. There has been an uneasy standoff since a ceasefire that followed a war in 1973, with United Nations observer forces manning a buffer zone between the two armies. In November, Israel said it had shot down a Syrian reconnaissance drone over the demilitarized zone, and on Feb. 8 shots were fired from Syrian territory at an Israeli drone, hitting a house in Majdal Shams, in Israeli-occupied Golan.
  5. In case you haven't noticed, Elon Musk is the coolest person in this whole world. Actually, scratch that, he's the coolest person in the whole universe now after doing one of the wildest and most exciting thing ever. Mixing both his incredibly successful companies – Tesla and SpaceX – in the most perfect way, he got a freaking Tesla roadster in the most powerful rocket Falcon Heavy into space. Just thinking about how there's a car just floating in space feels so futuristic doesn't it? Well, if there was one guy who could have ever made it happen, it's none other than Elon Musk. That guy's a genius in every sense. Currently over Australia ð¦ðº pic.twitter.com/HAya3E6OEJ — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 6, 2018 So basically, a Tesla Roadster playing David Bowie's “Life On Mars” is soaring through space and headed toward – where else – Mars. Sorry for repeating it so much, I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. But, while we're going through so many emotions about it, mainly awe, people also obviously have to make some jokes about it. That's just the rule of life, or well, internet. If there are no memes about something, then it's not really trending. So here goes, starting with the man himself – Ok, who leaked my selfie!? https://t.co/fYKXbix8jw — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 6, 2018 Not the kind of flying cars we imagined. You: “It's 2018 where are our flying cars”@elonmusk: pic.twitter.com/1pUXJyHZtC — Pablo S. Torre (@PabloTorre) February 6, 2018 Yep, completely ready. Tesla customers: is our pre-ordered car ready yet Elon Musk: pic.twitter.com/q7OG2riBTy — tc (@chillmage) February 6, 2018 Your Uber has arrived. Hey! It's your Uber driver. I'm waiting outside. #SpaceX pic.twitter.com/ap254OaEz6 — Paul Dellegattoâ¡ï¸FOX (@PaulFox13) February 7, 2018 That was a very expensive way to piss off flat earthers. Flat-earthers must be pissed #FalconHeavy #ElonMusk #FlatEarth #Tesla #SpaceX pic.twitter.com/jgcos4UktD — Max ferre (@maxsbrainspooge) February 7, 2018 The best kind of revenge. Your eyes open. It's dark. Cold. Too cold. You're holding something round. Not directly, there's a glove in the way. Suddenly, a silent explosion, a flash of light. The earth below you. You're in a car. In orbit. Slowly, your consciousness fades. Why did you piss off Elon Musk. — Steve Streza ð¹ (he/they) (@SteveStreza) February 6, 2018 Haven't seen it. I left my red Tesla in the parking lot. Now it's missing. Anyone have any idea where it could be? — Dan Lucas (@WFLADan) February 6, 2018 Anything for that. Her: Babe, come over Me: But you're on Mars Her: My parents aren't home Me:#FalconHeavy #SpaceX pic.twitter.com/qqKjfziSiX — Vlad â (@Vlad94i) February 6, 2018 When you take everything literally. Wonder if Mr Musk slightly misunderstood the 'how do we launch the new Tesla Roadster' email? — chris harris (@harrismonkey) February 6, 2018 Such discrimination. oh so when elon musk launches a car into space it's "history-making" but when i launch my car backwards into a parking cone i'm "a bad driver" and "need to get my eyes checked" — Dami Lee (@dami_lee) February 6, 2018 After every party. After 7 pegs Aaj gaadi tera bhai chalega. After 5 min pic.twitter.com/Ub2HaIWrVt — Godman Chikna (@Madan_Chikna) February 7, 2018 Also, I would like to take this opportunity to say I Love You, Elon Musk.
  6. File photo. -AFP RIYADH: Saudi air defences intercepted a ballistic missile fired at the kingdom by Yemen's Houthi rebels on Monday, state media reported. The attack was launched from Yemen's northern governorate of Saada, a Houthi stronghold, and "intercepted" at 7:23 local time, Colonel Turki al-Maliki told state news agency SPA. Maliki, the spokesman for the Saudi-led military coalition supporting the government in Yemen, said the missile was headed toward the city of Khamis Mushait - about 160 kilometres north of the border. Riyadh had warned that "Iranian-manufactured ballistic weapons" threatened the kingdom's security following an attack it said was intercepted near Riyadh airport in November. Maliki on Monday accused the Houthis of "repeatedly targeting densely populated cities" and accused the kingdom's regional rival Iran of delivering the weapons to the insurgents. The coalition has been blacklisted by the UN for the killing and maiming of children in air raids on Yemen. The United States, which backs the Saudi campaign against the Houthis, has also accused Iran of being at the origin of the ballistic missiles, a charge denied by Tehran. Russia said last week that evidence presented by the US was inconclusive, signalling it would oppose a bid to slap UN sanctions on Tehran. More than 9,200 people have been killed since the Saudi-led alliance joined the Yemen war in March 2015, according to the World Health Organisation, triggering what the United Nations has called the world´s worst humanitarian disaster.
  7. Don't judge a Marvel fan today if you see them jumping up and down in excitement, because they have all the reasons in the world to do so, and also the support of superheroes at their side to bring the whole house down with their enthusiasm. We know we have been saying this since time immemorial, but this year is truly going to be a great one for all the superhero fans. And if waiting for 'Black Panther' wasn't tough for us already, Marvel just made it tougher for us to contain all this excitement; by shepherding its league of superheroes, at the Super Bowl last night with a kickass teaser. © Marvel Studios This 30-second teaser of 'Avengers: Infinity War' made its debut at the Super Bowl, which instantly flooded our mind with a reel of all our favourite heroes from the MCU, the ones we grew up watching for more than a decade. © Marvel Studios The teaser literally packed everything we could ever ask for – 'Black Panther', Cumberbatch's 'Doctor Strange', Tom Holland's 'Spider-Man', 'Thor', 'Iron Man', 'Captain America' with his ubercool shield, 'Ant-Man' and the entire crew of 'Guardians of the Galaxy'. And all these superheroes are teaming up to bring down Thanos, the 'Mogamgo' of Marvel Universe, who first made his appearance in 2015's 'Avengers: Age of Ultron'. Directed by the Russo brothers, the movie features Robert Downey Jr, Josh Brolin, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L Jackson, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Rudd and Tom Hiddleston. Phew, this star-studded movie has already topped our binge-list even before its release. “Avengers: Infinity War' is expected to hit the theatres on May 4, 2018.
  8. KARACHI: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, while commenting on ongoing trials against Nawaz Sharif, said on Sunday that sentences are handed on the basis of evidence, and not assumptions. In an interview with a private news channel, the prime minister said he has seen the evidence and Nawaz Sharif is unlikely to be sentenced. Abbasi said he has firm belief that the court would announce a verdict based on justice. He said there exists nothing like anti-judiciary stance, nor there should be. "Everyone has to remain within the ambit of constitution." Speaking of Tallal Chaudhry, the prime minister said if the statement minister said anything against the constitution or the law, then it is unacceptable; he should apologise for his statement. Abbasi, in an apparent reference to Panama case verdict, said a decision was announced against the will of the people, but the people did not accept the court verdict. Commenting on Pakistan-US relations, he said Washington has been clearly conveyed that it should provide information and Pakistan would itself take action [against militants]. The prime minister, however, cleared that Pakistan would defend itself if an attack takes place. Noting that the two countries are partners in the war against terror, he said, "There lies mutual trust between allies and they do not send tweet to each other." "We were partners in the war against terror and we are partners today as well," Abbasi said, adding that Pakistan's stance has been unchanged. He went on to explain that Pakistan apprehended 27 Afghan nationals, who were handed over to the Afghan government. "We did not return them out of the fear of a tweet," the premier said. "Today, attacks are launched against Pakistan from the Afghan soil, not the Pakistani soil." Asked about increasing oil prices, he said the oil prices in the country were still lower than the prices in other states. Accepting complete responsibility for the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG), Abbasi said if additional gas is not brought to the country, then gas shortfall is not going to be resolved. He maintained that privatising the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) was the only solution to the national-flag carrier's woes. "Running an airline is not my family business. PIA suffered a loss of Rs42 billion this year too." The prime minister also stressed on the need for increasing exports of the country, with imports already on the rise. He said that the decision regarding nomination of candidate for next prime minister will be taken at a central party meeting. "Difficult decision are to be made for the good of the country," Abbasi said. "Neither had I wished to be a candidate for PM in the past, nor do I wish so now. "If the party asks me, I am there. But not as a candidate for PM," he said, adding that whatever decision his party takes would be his decision too.
  9. A Russian Air Force Sukhoi-25 fighter jet flying over the Syrian city of Saraqib, southwest of Aleppo. BEIRUT: Militant fighters shot down a Russian plane over Syria's northwest Idlib province on Saturday and captured its pilot, a monitor said. "Rebel factions shot down a Sukhoi 25. The Russian pilot came down in a parachute, before being captured," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. He could not immediately confirm which faction had downed the plane but the militant Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and other terrorist groups are active in Idlib. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Syrian troops launched a fierce offensive on Idlib in late December, with backing by Russian warplanes. "There have been dozens of Russian air strikes in the area over the past 24 hours. This plane was also carrying out raids there," said Abdel Rahman. Militant factions have shot Syrian regime planes in the past, but downing Russian warplanes is much rarer. In August 2016, a Russian military helicopter was shot down over Syria and all five people on board were killed. Moscow began conducting air strikes in Syria in September 2015. Two months later, Turkey shot down a Russian warplane, leading to the worst crisis in ties between the two countries since the end of the Cold War.
  10. A Yemeni tribesman from the Popular Resistance Committees keeps watch at Nihm district in Yemen´s northeastern province of Marib. -AFP1 ADEN: Yemeni ministers were holed up in Aden's presidential palace on Wednesday after separatist forces seized effective control of the southern port city, dealing another blow to the country´s embattled government. Pro-separatist forces backed by the UAE known as the "security belt" fanned out across the city - the country's de facto capital - after three days of fighting that left 38 people dead. The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have backed the beleaguered government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi since intervening against Houthi rebels in Yemen's civil war in March 2015. But the Arab allies, whose military coalition was launched to roll back rebel gains and restore Yemen's "legitimate" government to power in Sanaa, have not intervened to prop up Hadi against his separatist rivals. The coalition has instead urged the separatists to exercise restraint and called on the government to weigh up the demands of its rivals. While Yemen's president resides in the Saudi capital, the infighting in the anti-Huthi camp has left Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher and a number of senior government figures holed up in the Aden presidential palace. A high-ranking military source said the separatists had also taken over the bin Dagher´s office chief overnight. By Wednesday morning, the clashes appeared to subside. A refuge 'shattered' The United Nations raised alarm bells Wednesday over the impact of the violent standoff on more than 40,000 Yemenis recently displaced to Aden, and now cut off from aid. "UNHCR emergency aid distributions and humanitarian assessments planned this week for vulnerable, displaced Yemenis have now been postponed and UNHCR humanitarian cargo remains at Aden port unable to be released," the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said via Twitter. "We are also particularly concerned for those newly displaced in Aden who have fled other areas in Yemen. More than 40,000 people fled to Aden and nearby governorates since December and we anticipate more displacement as people continue to flee from hostilities in the west coast." At least 38 people have been killed and 222 wounded in Aden since Sunday, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. The separatists, who for months have pushed for the reinstatement of South Yemen as an independent country, now control most of the city. Since 2015, Aden had served as a refuge for tens of thousands of Yemenis fleeing conflict in their hometowns across the country, as the Saudi-backed government battled Huthi rebels allied with Iran. A coalition offensive along the Red Sea coast has sent new waves of displaced to the government´s de facto capital in recent weeks. Save the Children on Tuesday said it was also suspending work in Aden out of fear for the safety of its staff in what the agency called the "shattered" former refuge. Demand for self-rule Separatists, mainly based in Aden, have gained traction since April in their push for self-rule, demanding the reinstatement of South Yemen under a self-proclaimed Southern Transitional Council. Before the fighting broke out, the STC had called on Hadi to make changes to his government, accusing it of corruption and mismanagement. The clashes have sparked fears of a repeat of South Yemen's 1986 civil war, a failed socialist coup which killed thousands in just six days and helped pave the way for the 1991 unification of South and North Yemen. The separatists, who enjoy popular support and are backed by some regular troops, have rapidly gained control over all but one district in Aden since Sunday. The Saudi-led coalition said it would take "all necessary steps to restore security" in Aden but has not intervened on the government´s behalf. The UAE -- a pillar of the coalition -- has close ties to separatist leader Hani bin Breik while its "security belt" force backs the STC. A Yemeni government source said the coalition had, however, secured guarantees the separatists would not storm the presidential palace in Aden. More than 9,200 Yemenis have been killed since the coalition intervened in the war three years ago, triggering what the UN has called the world´s largest humanitarian disaster. The coalition´s original mission of rolling back Houthi gains has expanded to include fighting militant groups that have flourished during the war, and now keeping the peace between its allies on the ground.
  11. A view shows the Ritz-Carlton hotel in the diplomatic quarter of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, November 5, 2017. Photo: Reuters RIYADH: Saudi Arabian authorities have released all remaining detainees from Riyadh?s opulent Ritz-Carlton Hotel, which had been used as an interrogation centre in a crackdown on corruption, a Saudi official said on Tuesday. The news signaled that the three-month-old purge, in which dozens of top officials and businessmen were detained by investigators who said they aimed to seize some $100 billion of illicit assets, was drawing to a close. Top ministers, princes detained in Saudi Arabia amid anti-corruption sweep The king also announced the creation of a new anti-corruption committee chaired by his son and successor Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ?There are no longer any detainees left at the Ritz-Carlton,? the official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity under briefing rules. He did not say how many suspects remained in detention at other locations in Saudi Arabia. Some are believed to have been moved from the Ritz to prison after refusing to admit wrongdoing and reach financial settlements with the authorities. Last week, the attorney general said that countrywide most detainees had agreed to settlements, 90 had been released after charges were dropped, and 95 remained in custody. Some cases will go to trial. Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal sits for an interview with Reuters in the office of the suite where he had been detained at the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia January 27, 2018. Photo: Reuters Among top businessmen caught up in the purge were Prince Alwaleed, owner of global investor Kingdom Holding, and Waleed al-Ibrahim, who controls influential regional broadcaster MBC. MBC said the investigation found Ibrahim completely innocent of wrongdoing and Prince Alwaleed has insisted he is innocent, although Saudi officials said both men agreed to settlements after admitting unspecified ?violations?. Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Waleed released as graft probe winds down Terms of Waleed's release were unclear but the government had previously said that most detainees agreed on financial settlements in exchange for their freedom In an interview with Reuters at his suite in the Ritz-Carlton hours before he was released on Saturday, Prince Alwaleed said he had been well-treated in custody and described his case as the result of a misunderstanding. He showed off the comforts of his suite?s gold-accented private office, a dining room and a kitchen which was fully stocked with his preferred vegetarian meals. The hotel has 492 guest rooms and suites and 52 acres (21 hectares) of landscaped gardens, according to its website. It has said it will reopen to the public in mid-February, with a nightly rate for its cheapest room of 2,439 riyals ($650).
  12. Name: Yash Anand Going back a couple years, all I can recall is the fact that I was bullied. So much so that it gave me severe body image issues and also demolished my confidence. I was underweight, looked a little weird and above all, lacked the confidence to face the world. The highlight of my school life was being bullied. This led me down a road of isolation and I distanced myself. As a result, I hardly had any friends and did not have the courage to stand up for myself, either. I hated going to school as it was a painful and arduous task. Forget about a girlfriend, I didn't even have a single female-friend to talk to. I fell for a girl in my high school and somehow gathered the courage to approach her. Unsurprisingly, she did not pay any heed to my advances. And that was the way it went! I cleared my 12th and got into engineering and I soon realized that I wasn't built for it. Hence, I dropped out of college. In order to improve my personality, I joined a fashion institute. I paid the fees and moved to Guwahati. There was a fashion show for which we all had to model for and I was very excited at the prospect. I got dressed up anticipated my walk down the ramp. As my turn came, the choreographer did not let me even get up on stage and made a remark that 'it seemed like the clothes were hung on a hanger'. People around me laughed as my heart shattered. I went backstage and cried my heart out. Did I really look this bad and was I good for nothing? A whirlwind of thoughts came crashing down on me. After this insult, I couldn't stay in that institute and moved back to Gwalior. I was 18, skinny, depressed and hopeless. Since I had nothing to do, I joined a gym. Of course, people mocked me there as well. I ignored them and continued lifting. In a few months, I saw some changes in my physique. People who initially made fun of me started talking to me with respect. This really strengthened my self esteem and motivated me to work harder. I finally found something I was good at but as fate would have it, a couple of months in, I came down with jaundice and was bedridden for weeks. Whatever gains I made were lost. But, this time I knew what I had to do once I recovered. During my time in bed, I constantly watched bodybuilding motivational videos. This kept me from getting depressed and thinking negative. Soon I was back to the grind and gave 200% when training. Now I was focused not just on my training but my diet, sleep and even supplementation. Three years of natural bodybuilding and things changed radically. As my body transformed, so did my life. The same girl who did not talk to me in high school sent me a request on Instagram. That same choreographer is now offering me multiple fashion shows. I decided to share my journey with everyone and posted a transformation video on YouTube which got over a million views. Life isn't supposed to be easy. There will be rejection, insults and a ton of setbacks. But you are not here to whine and cry about it. You are here for much bigger things. Much, much bigger! We all are capable of doing something great. We just have to find that something. I found mine and don't stop till you find yours.
  13. FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe pauses while testifying before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in Washington, US, June 7, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/Files WASHINGTON: FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, criticized by President Donald Trump and other Republicans for alleged bias against him and in favour of his 2016 Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, has stepped down, US officials confirmed on Monday. McCabe, who served as acting Federal Bureau of Investigation chief for more than two months last year after Trump fired agency director James Comey, had been expected to leave his post as the No. 2 FBI official in March. The FBI said on Monday that David Bowdich ? the No. 3 FBI official ? would take over as Acting Deputy Director for McCabe. It did not comment on the circumstances surrounding McCabe?s departure. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, asked about McCabe?s departure, told reporters, ?I can tell you the president wasn?t part of this decision-making process.? Sanders said Trump continues to have ?full confidence? in FBI Director Christopher Wray, who was appointed by Trump to replace Comey. McCabe had intended to stay on the job for about another six weeks when he becomes eligible for retirement, but he decided to leave earlier rather than be transferred into a lower-ranking post, according to a former senior FBI official familiar with the matter. The earlier departure came amid concerns about an upcoming Justice Department inspector general report scrutinizing the actions of McCabe and other top FBI officials during the 2016 presidential campaign, the official said. During that period, the FBI investigated Trump campaign connections to Russia and Clinton?s use of a private email server while she was US secretary of state. No charges were brought against Clinton. McCabe began his career at the agency in 1996 as a special agent investigating organized crime. Trump?s firing of Comey in May 2017 as the FBI was investigating potential collusion between Trump?s campaign and Russia led to the Justice Department?s naming of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to take over the probe. Trump later said he dismissed Comey over ?this Russia thing,? and the firing has become central to questions about whether Trump has sought to obstruct justice by impeding the Russian probe. Last week, Trump denied a Washington Post report that he had asked McCabe, shortly after he became acting FBI director, who he voted for in the 2016 election, leaving McCabe concerned about civil servants being interrogated about their political leanings. The Post reported that McCabe told Trump he did not vote in the election. Trump and some other Republicans have stepped up their criticism of the FBI, prompting Democrats to accuse the president and his allies of trying to undermine Mueller?s investigation. Republicans have criticized McCabe in connection with the Clinton email server probe. They have noted that McCabe?s wife previously ran as a Democrat for a seat in Virginia?s state Senate and received donations from then-Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a close ally of Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton. The FBI has previously said McCabe was not involved in the Clinton investigation until he was promoted to deputy director in January 2016. By that time, his wife?s campaign was over and his involvement was not seen as a conflict. The former FBI official told Reuters that McCabe did not wish to have those allegations, coupled with the inspector general?s report, harm the FBI at a time when it is under fire from President Trump. Twitter barrages Trump has repeatedly taken to Twitter to blast McCabe, asking in December how he could be in charge of the Clinton probe when his wife got donations from ?Clinton Puppets.? Trump on Twitter asked in July, while McCabe was acting FBI chief, why Attorney General Jeff Sessions had not replaced him and said, in December, McCabe was ?racing the clock to retire with full benefits? and that the FBI?s reputation was in ?tatters?. A handful of Republican-led congressional committees have launched inquiries into whether the FBI botched the Clinton investigation and showed bias in her favour. In December, McCabe was grilled behind closed doors by lawmakers on some of those panels for hours. Democrats have said the inquiries into the Clinton investigation were intended to undermine and distract from Mueller?s investigation. McCabe is one of several FBI figures to face a barrage of criticism by Republican in recent weeks. Criticism also has been aimed at FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page, who both worked on the Clinton investigation and briefly on the Russia probe. Republicans have seized on text messages exchanged between the two as evidence of bias. In those texts, they called Trump an ?idiot? and a ?loathsome human.? Mueller removed Strzok from his team after learning of the texts last summer, and he was reassigned to another post. Page left the investigatory team after her 45-day detail ended in July.
  14. Billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, head of global investment firm Kingdom Holding 4280.SE, was among at least half a dozen tycoons freed at the weekend after over two months of confinement in Riyadh?s Ritz-Carlton Hotel. DUBAI: Saudi Arabia?s stock market celebrated the release of some of the kingdom?s top businessmen from detention on Sunday but the after-effects of a purge of the business elite may last for years, deterring private investment. Billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, head of global investment firm Kingdom Holding 4280.SE, was among at least half a dozen tycoons freed at the weekend after over two months of confinement in Riyadh?s Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Their release signalled a massive anti-corruption drive, in which authorities detained over 200 people and said they aimed to seize $100 billion of illicit assets, was drawing to a close. The Ritz-Carlton is to reopen to the public in mid-February. Shares in Kingdom Holding soared to their 10 percent daily limit on Sunday, adding about $850 million to Prince Alwaleed?s fortune. A plunge of Kingdom shares in the initial days after his detention cost Prince Alwaleed about $2.2 billion on paper. Fashion retailer Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co 4240.SE jumped 6.8 percent upon the release of some major shareholders. But troubling questions about the purge have not been answered. Although few people doubt Saudi Arabia would benefit from less corruption, the scale and ferocity of the crackdown alarmed businessmen inside and outside the kingdom. Details of financial settlements between authorities and detainees have not been disclosed, leaving the public to wonder what the penalties are for large-scale corruption - and what allegations the detainees actually faced. The first major settlement was that of senior prince Miteb bin Abdullah, once seen as a leading contender to the throne, who was freed after agreeing to pay over $1 billion, according to Saudi officials. That fuelled suspicion among foreign diplomats there might be political motives behind the purge. While the government says eliminating corruption will level the playing field for all investors, some local and foreign businessmen feel risks have risen, as they are not sure if local partners may become targets of another crackdown. ?This was completely unprecedented ? not only in Saudi Arabia, but among all Arab monarchies,? said Steffen Hertog, a leading Saudi Arabia scholar at the London School of Economics. ?The appetite for big-ticket corruption among Saudi elites will certainly be a lot lower now. But many also believe, at least for the time being, that life has become less predictable for the private sector, which could make it harder to commit to long-term investment.? He and others said Saudi authorities appeared keen to end the probe partly because they wanted to prevent it from slowing inflows of foreign investment, which are key to the government?s effort to diversify the economy beyond oil exports. Reassuring foreign investors will become more important in the second half of 2018, when the government plans to raise as much as $100 billion by selling 5 percent of national oil giant Saudi Aramco in the world?s biggest equity offer. A Gulf banker who deals with Saudi Arabia said some private businessmen might remain wary of investing large sums of new money for years, although authorities were monitoring fund flows closely to prevent capital flight from the country. ?The impact of the corruption investigation is being discussed as a concern by potential foreign direct investors in Saudi Arabia,? said the banker. ?For them, it?s a source of risk.? Less harsh In some ways, the purge has proved less harsh than feared when it began in November. At that time, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who led the campaign, said 95 percent of detainees were agreeing to financial settlements, while 1 percent were being found innocent and the rest would probably go for trial. Early last week, the attorney general said merely that ?most? detainees had agreed to settlements. Ninety were released after having charges dropped and 95 remained in custody. While there was speculation in the early days of the purge that whole companies would be seized and there would be mass liquidations of assets to pay the state, these things do not appear to have happened. Officials said that while Prince Alwaleed and other tycoons had agreed to financial settlements after admitting to unspecified ?violations?, they could resume their business much as before. Prince Alwaleed will keep control of Kingdom Holding and Waleed al-Ibrahim, owner of regional television network MBC, is not giving up a single share in MBC, the officials said. It is possible that authorities have agreed with some detainees to control their assets behind the scenes. But some analysts said authorities may have found it harder than anticipated to construct complex, watertight legal cases against detainees - something which may have worked in favour of strong-minded holdouts such as Prince Alwaleed, who has continued to insist publicly that he is completely innocent. Because of this, there is scepticism among many bankers and analysts over whether the purge will actually net the government $100 billion, which would be enough to pay for this year?s projected budget deficit twice over. The attorney general said detainees were handing over cash, real estate and other assets in settlements. But partly because of a weak economy, the land market is almost illiquid, making it hard to turn property into cash.
  15. CM Balochistan Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, Commander Southern Command Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa meeting former insurgents in the ceremony. Photo: Geo News QUETTA: As many as 200 separatist militants, including 15 commanders, laid down renounced violence and laid down their arms on Thursday at a ceremony held at FC Headquarters Turbat. Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and Commander Southern Command Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa were chief guests of the ceremony. The separatists announced submitting to the writ of the state and becoming part of the national mainstream, according to an official press release. Meanwhile, Switzerland has rejected the request of the exiled leader of the banned Baloch Republican Party (BRP) Brahumdagh Bugti to seek political asylum after more than seven years, just a week after imposing lifetime entry ban on the prominent exiled Baloch leader and Bugti?s brother-in-law, Mehran Marri. A source in the Swiss government confirmed that Brahumdagh Bugti?s asylum application was turned down because of his links with ?incidents of terrorism, violence and militant activities? and the rejection letter clearly sets out these allegations. Bugti confirmed that his asylum application has been rejected by the Swiss government on the basis of allegations that he has links with the banned Baloch Republican Army (BRA). Bugti had applied for asylum in Swiss in November 2010 claiming that his life was at risk. He had been living in Afghanistan prior to leaving the country for a Middle Eastern state and from there he flew to Geneva. It was last week that the Swiss authorities detained Mehran Marri and his family at the Zurich airport and deported them to Germany, after slapping a ban on Mehran Baluch for having links with militancy in Balochistan.
  16. UN humanitarian coordinator in Yemen Jamie McGoldrick has said he is leaving his post. Photo: AFP file SANAA: The UN aid coordinator in Yemen announced Wednesday he was leaving his post just days after the UN envoy for the war-torn country also said he was stepping down. Jamie McGoldrick, who has served as the Yemen humanitarian coordinator for two years, said he would be leaving the country for a position in New York. "This is my last day here in Sanaa," McGoldrick told reporters in the Yemeni capital. "I leave Yemen with a great deal of mixed emotion... sadness because of the suffering that is taking place, frustration because we haven't been able to do more for the people in this country." "And at the same time, more and more people have become vulnerable because of this crisis". The United Nations has not announced the appointment of a new aid coordinator for Yemen, which it says is facing the world's worst humanitarian crisis. On Monday, the international body said UN Yemen envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed would be stepping down in February, after nearly three years as the top negotiator for the country. More than 9,200 people have been killed and millions displaced since Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the Yemeni government's war against rebels in 2015. Another nearly 2,200 Yemenis have died of cholera amid deteriorating hygiene and sanitation conditions, the World Health Organisation says. The United Nations last week made a record appeal for nearly $3 billion to combat imminent famine as well as cholera and diphtheria outbreaks in 2018. Multiple rounds of UN-brokered peace talks between the Huthi rebels and the Saudi-supported government have failed to stem the fighting.
  17. The dollar tumbled against major rivals on Wednesday, with the euro reaching a three-year high, as US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that a weaker dollar was good for the US economy. Photo: Reuters file LONDON: The dollar tumbled against major rivals on Wednesday, with the euro reaching a three-year high, as US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that a weaker dollar was good for the US economy. "Obviously a weaker dollar is good for us is good as it relates to trade and opportunities, but longer-term I think the strength of the dollar is a reflection of the strength of the US economy..." Mnuchin said at the World Economic Forum in Davos. His comments were widely interpreted as a green light from Washington to let the value of the dollar crumble to support US exports that become cheaper. In Wednesday trading, the euro reached $1.2383 ? the highest level since December 2014. "The greenback has today extended its losses after US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the World Economic Forum in Davos said, what we all know, that a weaker dollar is 'good' for US trade," said Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at Forex.com. "The US dollar has fallen back across the board... following a press briefing from US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in which he welcomed the depreciation," said David Cheetham, chief market analyst at XTB trading group. The dollar had already been weakened by US President Donald Trump´s announcement earlier this week of steep tariffs on imports of solar panels and large washing machines, angering China and South Korea. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, also in Davos, defended the tariffs and said Washington would not flinch from reprisals against countries that flout the rules. The dollar sold off also as investors bet on tighter monetary policies by major central banks, bringing them in line with the Federal Reserve. The greenback fell below 110 yen for the first time since September, and the pound shot up to hit $1.42. The European single currency also profited from accelerating business activity in the eurozone, while sterling won a boost from rising expectations of more UK interest-rate rises this year after British unemployment data was well-received by markets. In commodities trading, gold hit a four-month high at $1,349.40 an ounce as the US currency weakened, while oil futures stabilised. Europe´s main stock markets fell as rising local currencies weighed on multinationals earning in dollars. Wall Street opened higher as a weak dollar favour US exports and boost foreign earnings. Earlier, Asian share indices shrugged off profit-taking to press on with a new year rally that has sent Hong Kong to successive record highs. However, Tokyo was unable to join in, with exporters hit by a strengthening yen. Optimism about the global economy which was reinforced this week by the International Monetary Fund, strong earnings reports and Trump´s tax cuts have helped fuel a surge in global equities which many expect to continue.
  18. Iranian skydiver Bahareh Sassani jumps in Zibakenar, Iran, May 12, 2017. AFP/Iranian skydiver Bahareh Sassani/Handout TEHRAN: For Iranian parachuting enthusiast Bahareh Sassani, skydiving is "a way to prove that women are just as capable as men" ? a small step from a big height for women's equality in her country. The 35-year-old accountant has been skydiving less than two years but already has more than 220 jumps under her belt. "I encourage all women to try this experience. It gives you the feeling you can do whatever you want. Women should not be excluded from anything," she said. Sassani ? one of just a handful of female skydivers in her deeply conservative homeland ? refuses to describe herself as a "feminist". Yet her motto is firmly "there is no difference between men and women and a woman can do anything she wants and succeed". That still runs against the grain of Iranian society, where women have had a lower legal status than men since the Islamic revolution of 1979 even if they have battled to stay equal in daily life. Her favourite pastime is still very much the preserve of men in Iran ? made more complicated by the fact there is no parachuting club so she must do it with the army. "When they organise jumps, the army invites everyone, including civilians," she explained. Liberating There were a handful of women parachutists in pre-revolutionary Iran: archived images published recently by the ISNA news agency showed the first four female army skydivers from 1965. But today, women are not permitted to join the army. The police have an elite unit that does some parachuting practice, but Sassani says she knows only five other qualified women from the civilian population. Unlike her friends who chose to buy a car, clothes or jewellery with their first pay cheques or savings, Sassani said she opted instead to invest in parachuting, despite the adventurous sport being a male bastion in Iran. At the start, her motivation for taking up skydiving was to combat a fear of heights, she said. But now she loves the sense of liberation from everyday cares that it gives her, she added. Male reactions can be rather extreme though, she says. "Men often avoid women like me, thinking we aren't made for marriage because we are uncontrollable," she said, bursting into laughter. "But a small number do show an interest in what I'm doing." It can also generate interest abroad, said Sassani, who has jumped in Russia, Kenya, Thailand, and the UAE. "Even abroad, when I skydive, people are surprised. They think there are a lot of restrictions in Iran, but I explain to them that there are women doing motocross, flying planes and, yes, parachuting," she said. A recent photo did the rounds in the Iranian media, showing Sassani jumping with an Iranian flag. "I meet lots of cultures and beliefs abroad, but I'm a patriot and I love doing jumps in Iran more than anything," she adds.
  19. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed ? the United Nation's Special Envoy for Yemen ? UN Photo/Elma Ocik DUBAI: The UN Yemen envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed will step down as the top negotiator for the war-stricken country next month, the international body announced on Monday. A statement released by the United Nations did not name a successor for Cheikh Ahmed, who was appointed the special envoy for Yemen in April 2015. Cheikh Ahmed "does not intend to continue in his position beyond the end of his current contract ending in February 2018", the statement said. "The special envoy remains committed to pursue through diplomacy an end to the violence and a political solution that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Yemeni people, until a successor is named." In nearly three years as Yemen envoy, Cheikh Ahmed oversaw multiple rounds of UN-brokered negotiations between warring parties in Yemen ? all of which failed to yield a detente in the violence that has claimed more than 9,200 lives since 2015. In May 2017, his convoy came under fire in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, which is controlled by the country?s Iran-backed Huthi rebels. The Huthis never claimed the attack and have accused Cheikh Ahmed, and the UN, of bias towards Yemen?s Saudi-backed government. In March 2015, shortly before Cheikh Ahmed?s appointment, Saudi Arabia and its military allies intervened in the Yemeni government?s fight against the rebels, who control the capital, much of northern Yemen and a string of Red Sea ports. While both parties in the war stand accused of human rights violations, the Saudi-led military camp, in particular, has drawn criticism from the UN for civilian deaths as well as a crippling blockade on rebel-held ports and the country?s international airport. The UN has described Yemen as the world?s largest humanitarian disaster, calling for $2.96 billion to combat imminent famine as well as cholera and diphtheria outbreaks in 2018.
  20. Tourists who came to Battery Park in lower Manhattan hoping to catch a ferry to the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor got an unpleasant surprise on Saturday, learning the must-see destination was closed because of the U.S. government shutdown. Photo: Reuters NEW YORK: Tourists who came to Battery Park in lower Manhattan hoping to catch a ferry to the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor got an unpleasant surprise on Saturday, learning the must-see destination was closed because of the US government shutdown. The National Park Service announced on Friday afternoon that it would close the historic statue and nearby Ellis Island to visitors if Congress failed to reach a funding deal by midnight. Apparently, not everyone got the word. ?If they knew it was being shut down, they should have told us,? said Amparo Mendez, 17. The Argentine exchange student came to Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan with a friend, having purchased tickets online last week to visit the statue and Ellis Island. ?We came with the notion to see the Statue of Liberty, and it?s not the same to see it from here,? said her 16-year-old friend, Brunella Pettoroso, looking out at the majestic, green-tinged statue, a symbol of American democracy. Neither of them were aware of the government shutdown, and when the Washington deadlock was explained to them, Mendez rolled her eyes. ?We?re not coming back,? Pettoroso said. In Washington, open-air parks and monuments remained open despite the shutdown. On the National Mall, thousands of protesters gathered for the second annual Women?s March, staged on the first anniversary of President Donald Trump?s inauguration. The Smithsonian Institution was open as well, but its museums and the National Zoo will close on Monday if lawmakers still have not reached a deal, it said in a statement. Dallas Kay, 26, a restaurant worker from Bend, Oregon, arrived at the Lincoln Memorial just after dawn on Saturday. He said he hoped for a quick resolution of the dispute, especially to keep national monuments and parks open. ?These monuments and parks belong to the people,? he said. ?Them getting shut down is a travesty.? In Battery Park, where large groups of visitors often gather for ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty, it was unusually quiet for a Saturday. ?People have been a little bummed out but they?re not mad at us,? said Matthew Rutter, an employee of Statue Cruises, which operates ferries to the islands, among New York?s most popular tourist destinations. ?They are mad at the government.? Stephen O?Malley, a retired medical professional from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, bought tickets months ago, when he and his wife, accountant Mary Hawks, began planning a trip to the statue and Ellis Island, the gateway for millions of U.S. immigrants in the late 19th and 20th centuries. The couple both blamed Washington lawmakers. ?I have to put more blame on the Republicans because they have all the control right now,? O?Malley said. ?But I don?t blame it all on them. They should have been able to make a deal,? he said of both Republicans and Democrats, before heading off to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Andrew Riano, 25, of New York City?s Staten Island borough, was in Battery Park dressed as the Statue of Liberty. He said he gets tips from tourists who pose for pictures with him. But the regular crowds he sees on sunny weekend days were nowhere to be found. ?A lot of people are disappointed,? he said, taking a break on a park bench. ?They pay to go to the statue and they can?t go.? That was the case with Ateeb Iftikhar, 31, and his wife, Komal, 26, from Karachi, Pakistan. The couple brought their 5-month-old baby to Battery Park, hoping to visit Lady Liberty. ?I was wanting so much to get married and come here with my husband and see the Statue of Liberty,? the young mother said. ?I?m a little sad.?
  21. A sign announcing the closure of the Statue of Liberty, due to the US government shutdown, sits near the ferry dock to the Statue of Liberty at Battery Park in Manhattan, New York, US, January 20, 2018. Photo: Reuters NEW YORK/WASHINGTON: Tourists who came to Battery Park in lower Manhattan hoping to catch a ferry to the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbour got an unpleasant surprise on Saturday, learning the must-see destination was closed because of the US government shutdown. The National Park Service announced on Friday afternoon that it would close the historic statue and nearby Ellis Island to visitors if Congress failed to reach a funding deal by midnight. Apparently, not everyone got the word. ?If they knew it was being shut down, they should have told us,? said Amparo Mendez, 17. The Argentine exchange student came to Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan with a friend, having purchased tickets online last week to visit the statue and Ellis Island. ?We came with the notion to see the Statue of Liberty, and it?s not the same to see it from here,? said her 16-year-old friend, Brunella Pettoroso, looking out at the majestic, green-tinged statue, a symbol of American democracy. Trump laments 'nice present' of shutdown on inauguration anniversary Essential services and military activity will continue, but hundreds of thousands of public sector workers will be sent home without wages Neither of them were aware of the government shutdown, and when the Washington deadlock was explained to them, Mendez rolled her eyes. ?We?re not coming back,? Pettoroso said. In Washington, open-air parks and monuments remained open despite the shutdown. On the National Mall, thousands of protesters gathered for the second annual Women?s March, staged on the first anniversary of President Donald Trump?s inauguration. The Smithsonian Institution was open as well, but its museums and the National Zoo will close on Monday if lawmakers still have not reached a deal, it said in a statement. Dallas Kay, 26, a restaurant worker from Bend, Oregon, arrived at the Lincoln Memorial just after dawn on Saturday. He said he hoped for a quick resolution of the dispute, especially to keep national monuments and parks open. ?These monuments and parks belong to the people,? he said. ?Them getting shut down is a travesty.? In Battery Park, where large groups of visitors often gather for a ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty, it was unusually quiet for a Saturday. ?People have been a little bummed out but they?re not mad at us,? said Matthew Rutter, an employee of Statue Cruises, which operates ferries to the islands, among New York?s most popular tourist destinations. ?They are mad at the government.? Stephen O?Malley, a retired medical professional from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, bought tickets months ago, when he and his wife, accountant Mary Hawks, began planning a trip to the statue and Ellis Island, the gateway for millions of US immigrants in the late 19th and 20th centuries. The couple both blamed Washington lawmakers. ?I have to put more blame on the Republicans because they have all the control right now,? O?Malley said. ?But I don?t blame it all on them. They should have been able to make a deal,? he said of both Republicans and Democrats, before heading off to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Andrew Riano, 25, of New York City?s Staten Island borough, was in Battery Park dressed as the Statue of Liberty. He said he gets tips from tourists who pose for pictures with him. But the regular crowds he sees on sunny weekend days were nowhere to be found. ?A lot of people are disappointed,? he said, taking a break on a park bench. ?They pay to go to the statue and they can?t go.? That was the case with Ateeb Iftikhar, 31, and his wife, Komal, 26, from Karachi, Pakistan. The couple brought their 5-month-old baby to Battery Park, hoping to visit Lady Liberty. ?I was wanting so much to get married and come here with my husband and see the Statue of Liberty,? the young mother said. ?I?m a little sad.?
  22. Donald Trump/File photo WASHINGTON: The US government officially shut down on Saturday, the first anniversary of President Donald Trump´s inauguration, after lawmakers failed to agree a stop-gap spending deal. Senators were still negotiating on the Senate floor as the clock turned midnight, but Trump´s office issued a statement blaming opposition Democrats for the crisis. Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the Democrats´ insistence that the interim measure include protection for undocumented immigrants who arrived as children killed the deal. "Senate Democrats own the Schumer Shutdown," she declared, referring to the minority leader, New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who met with Trump earlier Friday. "Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country´s ability to serve all Americans. "We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands," she warned. US federal services and military operations deemed essential will continue, but thousands of government workers will be sent home without pay until the crisis is resolved. Trump admitted Friday that chances were "not looking good" that 11th-hour talks in Congress would break an impasse over spending and avert a US government shutdown. Less that two-and-a-half hours before a midnight deadline to reach a short-term deal to keep the federal government running at full capacity, Trump lashed out at Democrats. "Not looking good for our great Military or Safety & Security on the very dangerous Southern Border," he tweeted, citing some of the government projects and agencies that will find themselves unfunded. "Dems want a Shutdown in order to help diminish the great success of the Tax Cuts, and what they are doing for our booming economy," he alleged.
  23. RAWALPINDI: A womanfrom Rawalpindi chased down two robbers after their failed attempt to snatch her bag in the remits of the New Town Police Station Thursday afternoon. In the CCTV video of the incident, it can be seen that two robbers, riding a motorcycle, attempt to snatch the purse of woman, who?s walking along the road with a partner, but fail to do so. After the failed attempt, the robbers? motorcycle skids and they both fall to the ground. The woman, seizing the opportunity, dashes towards the robbers and starts battering them. One of the suspects manages to make a run for it after which the woman turns around and sets her eyes on the remaining robber. As the woman is physically assaulting the robber, passersby begin to gather and intervene, taking a hold of the robber. Though the woman has not yet been identified yet, social media users have appreciated her bravery. [embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/632b886540c0083fa14a04abfb2beb04.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9MS8xOS8yMDE4IDU6NTE6MzcgQU0maGFzaF92YWx1ZT1DVjJWODlzRCtWQVdHemdDWEY3ckJnPT0mdmFsaWRtaW51dGVzPTYwJmlkPTE= style=center]
  24. Ever since Apple was faced with pressure and lawsuits regarding the feature that throttles iPhones, the Cupertino giant has taken a U-turn. Tim Cook revealed that a future update of iOS 11 will let users disable the very feature that would cause iPhones to slow down. © YouTube In an interview with ABC News, Cook said that “We're going to give people the visibility of the health of their battery so it's very, very transparent. This hasn't been done before.” Cook revealed that the update will be released to developers in February before it is rolled out to users. This feature will probably hit iPhones by March 2018 which means you will have to deal with your slow iPhone for a little while longer. © Pexels Previously, Apple admitted to releasing an OS update that would cause older iPhones to slow down. Since then the company has faced a backlash from users and in order to tackle the issue, Apple introduced their battery replacement program. Apple said that older iPhones would face random shutdown due to old batteries and the feature was designed to prevent such issues. The software update would throttle the iPhone to even out the performance and, in turn, would cause the iPhone to slow down. Apple will now give the option to their users to disable this feature and not necessarily be forced to have their smartphone throttled. “If you don't want it, you can turn it off,” Cook told ABC News, but suggests that this is not recommended. © Martin Hajek As of now, Apple has not suggested any other solution to avoid the problem of random shutdowns and for now, the forthcoming update seems like the only way to keep iPhones with older batteries running. Cook also said that the update will more clearly inform users when their iPhone is automatically receding its performance. Apple currently faces multiple class action lawsuits that may have caused the company to roll out an update to tackle this issue. Source: The Verge
  25. File photo A ballistic missile fired by Yemen?s armed Houthi group towards Saudi Arabia's southern Jizan region was shot down by Saudi forces on Tuesday, Saudi state TV Ekhbariya reported. The station gave no further details. There were no reports of casualties or damage. The Houthis have fired several missiles at the kingdom, and while these have not caused any serious damage they have served to deepen tensions between Riyadh and its archrival Tehran. Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of supplying missile parts and expertise to the Houthis, who have taken over the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and other parts of the country during its civil war. Iran denies the charge. Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition that has been fighting the Houthis in neighbouring Yemen since March 2015, after the movement drove Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile. Saudi Arabia said on Nov. 4 it had intercepted a ballistic missile over Riyadh's King Khaled Airport, an attack that led the coalition to close air, land and sea access to Yemen in a move it said was meant to stop Iranian supplies to the Houthis. The conflict has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced over two million and brought much of the country to the brink of famine.