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  1. Reuters journalists Wa Lone (left) and Kyaw Soe Oo, who are based in Myanmar, pose for a picture at the Reuters office in Yangon, Myanmar December 11, 2017. Photo: Reuters 1 YANGON: Myanmar?s government said on Wednesday that police had arrested two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. The reporters had been working on stories about a military crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority in Rakhine State that has caused almost 650,000 people to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh. The Ministry of Information said in a statement on its Facebook page that the journalists and two policemen face charges under the British colonial-era Official Secrets Act. The 1923 law carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years. The reporters ?illegally acquired information with the intention to share it with foreign media,? said the statement, which was accompanied by a photo of the pair in handcuffs. It said they were detained at a police station on the outskirts of Yangon, the southeast Asian nation?s main city. Geo News reporters given death threats, forced to leave Myanmar A social media propaganda campaign had been started against Geo News reporters covering the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo went missing on Tuesday evening after they had been invited to meet police officials over dinner. Reuters? driver Myothant Tun dropped them off at Battalion 8?s compound at around 8pm and the two reporters and two police officers headed to a nearby restaurant. The journalists did not return to the car. Blatant attack The Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh say their exodus from the mainly Buddhist nation was triggered by a military counter-offensive in Rakhine state that the United Nations has branded ?a textbook example of ethnic cleansing?. ?Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo have been reporting on events of global importance in Myanmar, and we learned today that they have been arrested in connection with their work,? said Stephen J Adler, president and editor-in-chief of Reuters. ?We are outraged by this blatant attack on press freedom. We call for authorities to release them immediately,? he said. A spokesman for Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi confirmed that the two journalists had been arrested. ?Not only your reporters, but also the policemen who were involved in that case,? spokesman Zaw Htay said. ?We will take action against those policemen and also the reporters.? In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert emphasised that the agency was ?following this closely.? She said that US Ambassador Scot Marciel on Wednesday had a conversation with two government officials in Myanmar who seemed ?genuinely unaware? of the situation. ?We care about the safety and security of international reporters who are simply just trying to do their jobs. So we?re going to continue to try to stay on that,? Nauert said. The US embassy in Yangon said in a statement posted on its website on Wednesday it was ?deeply concerned by the highly irregular arrests of two Reuters reporters after they were invited to meet with police officials in Yangon last night?. ?For a democracy to succeed, journalists need to be able to do their jobs freely,? the embassy said. ?We urge the government to explain these arrests and allow immediate access to the journalists.? The European Union?s mission in Yangon also voiced concern. ?The EU delegation is closely following their case and we call on the Myanmar authorities to ensure the full protection of their rights,? it said in a statement. ?Media freedom is the foundation of any democracy.? The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists called for the reporters? immediate and unconditional release. ?These arrests come amid a widening crackdown which is having a grave impact on the ability of journalists to cover a story of vital global importance,? said Shawn Crispin, CPJ?s senior Southeast Asia representative. Texted four words Wa Lone, who joined Reuters in July 2016, has covered a range of stories, including the flight of Rohingya refugees from Rakhine in 2016 and, in much larger numbers, this year. He has written about military land grabs and the killing of ruling party lawyer Ko Ni in January. This year he jointly won an honourable mention from the Society of Publishers in Asia for Reuters coverage of the Rakhine crisis in 2016. He previously worked for The Myanmar Times, where he covered Myanmar?s historic 2015 elections, and People?s Age, a local weekly newspaper, where his editor was Myanmar?s current Minister of Information Pe Myint. Kyaw Soe Oo, an ethnic Rakhine Buddhist from state capital Sittwe, has worked with Reuters since September. He has covered the impact of the Aug 25 attacks on police and army posts in the northern Rakhine, and reported from the central part of the state where local Buddhists have been enforcing segregation between Rohingya and Rakhine communities. He previously worked for Root Investigation Agency, a local news outlet focused on Rakhine issues. ?I have been arrest? were the four words that Wa Lone texted to Reuters Myanmar Bureau Chief Antoni Slodkowski on Tuesday evening to let him know what was happening. Very soon after that Wa Lone?s phone appeared to have been switched off. Over the next 24 hours, Reuters colleagues in Yangon filed a missing persons report, went to three police stations, and asked a series of government officials what had happened to the two reporters. They got no official information until Wednesday evening.
  2. Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi interacting with Turkish cadests. -PN ISLAMABAD: Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi on Wednesday called upon the commander of Turkish Naval Academy and commander naval training and education, said a statement released by the Pakistan Navy (PN). The naval chief, on an official visit to Turkey, met the high-ranking Turkish naval officers and held meetings in which matters of mutual interest were discussed. Professional and academic training and grooming of young officers was also discussed. The naval chief was also given a briefing regarding training regime being followed at the Turkish Naval Academy, added the statement. Abbasi visited various sections of the academy and interacted with midshipmen and cadets. Upon his arrival at the academy, the naval chief was received by Commander Turkish Naval Academy Rear Admiral (UH) Ibrahim Ozdem.
  3. After months of speculation, cricket's golden boy, and current ODI captain, Virat Kohli has tied the knot with the long-time lover and one of Bollywood's most sensational actors, Anushka Sharma. This news is rightfully breaking the internet considering the gravitas of both the A-listers. Because why not? It's the most anticipated news of 2017 and the entire internet (and their moms) are holding their collective breaths for the final picture. And drumrolls, please. Because we are SHOOK. Team MensXP is SHOOK. But there's more. Filmfare just reported that Virat & Anushka will be following up their grand wedding in Tuscany, Italy, with an even grander reception in aamchi Mumbai. And the date just couldn't be any perfect. Virat and Anushka shared exclusive pictures on their respective Twitter pages. Today we have promised each other to be bound in love forever. We are truly blessed to share the news with you. This beautiful day will be made more special with the love and support of our family of fans & well wishers. Thank you for being such an important part of our journey. pic.twitter.com/Scobdiqk7l — Anushka Sharma (@AnushkaSharma) December 11, 2017 Today we have promised each other to be bound in love for ever. We are truly blessed to share the news with you.This beautiful day will be made more special with the love and support of our family of fans & well wishers. Thank you for being such an important part of our journey. pic.twitter.com/aobTUwMNAK — Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) December 11, 2017 Come December 21st in the presence of who's who of the entertainment and cricket world — #Virushka's reception will be held for the entire city to watch. Why 21st? Because team India has a match lined up in Mumbai on the 22nd of December for which the entire team will be in town. Here's wishing the power-couple a blockbuster life!
  4. While every Indian is just waiting for Tesla to launch in India, this baller had to go ahead and one up everyone. The first Tesla Model X SUV has arrived in India, and no you can't go and buy one in the country, yet. A private buyer reportedly imported the electric vehicle to India, becoming the proud owner of the first ever Tesla in the country. Top businessman imports the first Tesla in India. My dream car! Hope he gives me a ride. pic.twitter.com/LfRGSbm9hJ — Harsh Goenka (@hvgoenka) December 8, 2017 Along with a four-wheel drive, standard safety features, the Model X can go up to 470 km of range on a single charge. If that wasn't impressive enough, it is apparently also the quickest SUV in production, capable of accelerating from zero to 96 km per hour in 2.9 seconds. © Twitter The Tesla Model X is the first SUV by Elon Musk's highly respected car company, but don't let the car's family-friendly size fool you – it is definitely a force to be reckoned with, and the biggest testament of that comes from a video that was going around a few months ago. People behind the Youtube channel 'DragTimes' decided to pit Tesla Model X P100D crossover SUV against a $530,000 Lamborghini Aventador, and Tesla ended up beating it by .05 of a second, breaking a world record in the process, leaving the Lamborghini begging for mercy. Moreover, the car also has two electric motors driving the front and rear axles. But, one of the takeaways of the car is it's falcon wing doors, which along with being quite practical, are also super f*cking cool. © Twitter The car comes with an eight-year, infinite mile battery and drive unit warranty, and a four-year 50,000 mile limited warranty. The starting price of the Tesla Model X is $73,800, but can go up to $128,300 depending on the variant. The model that arrived in India is expected to be priced over â¹ 1 crore including taxes. It's exciting for car lovers to see a Tesla on Indian roads for the first time, but everyone has just one question now – Any plans to launch Tesla vehicles in India? #ElonMusk — Ankur Debbarman (@Ankurdebbarman) December 9, 2017 Elon, come on man, just launch the cars in India, everyone is eagerly waiting.
  5. National Counter Terrorism Authority National Coordinator Ihsan Ghani visited Inter Services Public Relations Directorate on Friday. According to a press release issued by ISPR, the Nacta officials discussed the role and support of ISPR in eradicating terrorism. During the meeting, the Pakistan Army officials assured full support to NACTA, according to the press release. Around two months back, a delegation of defence committees of the Senate and National Assembly visited the General Headquarters. The delegation had an interactive session with Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa. On the occasion, the parliamentarians were briefed in detail on the changing security environment, especially on the borders, and the army?s effort for peace.
  6. US Vice President Mike Pence walks with members of his delegation ahead of bilateral talks during the 53rd Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, February 18, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Dalder/Files GAZA: A senior Palestinian official in President Mahmoud Abbas?s ruling Fatah party said Thursday US Vice President Mike Pence ? due to visit the region later this month ? ?is unwelcome in Palestine?. ?In the name of Fatah, I say that we will not welcome Trump?s deputy in the Palestinian Territories. "He asked to meet (Abbas) on the 19th of this month in Bethlehem, such a meeting will not take place,? Jibril Rajoub said. Aides for Abbas were not immediately available for comment.
  7. The meeting's photo released by ISPR. RAWALPINDI: General Secretary Iraq's Ministry of Defence Lieutenant General Muhammad Jawad Khadum Al-Abadi called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the General Headquarters on Wednesday. According to a statement of the Inter Services Public Relations, matters of professional interest and regional security situation were discussed during the meeting.
  8. A copy of bitcoin ? standing on a PC motherboard ? is seen in this illustration picture, October 26, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Files WASHINGTON: Digital currencies like bitcoin could pose a threat to financial stability as they gain wider use, a chief Federal Reserve banking oversight official said Thursday. The remarks from Randal Quarles ? the newly-installed Fed vice chairman for Supervision ? came as the cryptocurrency took a vertiginous dive on Thursday after skyrocketing earlier in the week to more than 10 times its value at the start of the year. Bitcoin is also increasingly being embraced by Wall Street, with plans reportedly afoot at markets including Nasdaq and Chicago's Mercantile Exchange and Board of Options Exchange to offer trading in the currency's futures. Decentralized digital currencies like bitcoin operate as a payments system with no central bank and are exchanged between sellers and buyers using cryptography. Around 1800 GMT (11 PM PST) on Thursday, Bitcoin had a total market value of about $163 billion. It was trading at $9,670.85. In remarks delivered Thursday in Washington, Quarles said that in times of crisis, demand for liquidity among bank depositors often shoots up, putting major financial institutions under strain. But it is not clear how digital currencies would perform in similar situations. "The 'currency' or asset at the centre of some of these systems is not backed by other secure assets, has no intrinsic value, is not the liability of a regulated banking institution, and in leading cases, is not the liability of any institution at all," he said in prepared remarks. "While these digital currencies may not pose major concerns at their current levels of use, more serious financial stability issues may result if they achieve wide-scale usage," said Quarles. Resulting risks to price could create "a large challenge to the system," he added, if digital currencies could not be predictably exchanged for the US dollar at a stable exchange rate in "times of adversity". Nasdaq President and CEO Adene Friedman tamped down talk of futures trading, telling CNBC that the tech-heavy New York exchange was still considering its next move. "We actually haven't announced anything," she said. "I would just say that we have been having active dialogue with a lot of clients and with partners about what might be possible over time."
  9. Saudi Arabian Prince Miteb bin Abdullah at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Files DUBAI: Senior Saudi Prince Miteb bin Abdullah ? once seen as a leading contender to the throne ? was freed after reaching an ?acceptable settlement agreement? with authorities paying more than $1 billion, a Saudi official said on Wednesday. Miteb ? who was head of the elite National Guard ? was among dozens of royal family members, ministers, and current and former senior officials who were rounded up in a graft inquiry at least partly aimed at strengthening Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's power. Miteb was released on Tuesday after reaching ?an acceptable settlement agreement?, an official involved in the anti-corruption campaign said, adding that ?the amount of the settlement was not disclosed but it is believed to be more than one billion US dollar equivalent.? ?It is understood that the settlement included admitting corruption involving known cases,? the official said. Officials from Miteb?s office could not immediately be reached for a comment. Royal family members and acquaintances of Miteb had earlier posted messages on social media suggesting that the prince was at his home in Riyadh, but did not say how his release had come about. Saudi authorities announced on November 4 the arrest of at least 11 royal family members, as well as four ministers and dozens of former officials and businessmen in what the government said was a crackdown on corruption. Billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, an international investor, was among those detained. Saudi authorities had been working on striking agreements with some of those in detention, asking them to hand over assets and cash in return for their freedom. In an interview with the New York Times published last week, Prince Mohammed bin Salman was quoted as saying that the vast majority of about 200 businessmen and officials implicated in the crackdown were agreeing to settlements under which they would hand assets over to the government. Apart from Miteb, the Saudi official said that at least three other people allegedly involved in corruption cases have also finalized settlement agreements. He added the Public Prosecutor had also decided to release a number of individuals and to prosecute at least 5 individuals. The official gave no details on their identities. As the Sandhurst-trained preferred son of the late King Abdullah, Miteb was once thought to be a leading contender to the throne. Before he was sacked by a royal decree on November 4, he headed the Saudi National Guard ? an elite internal security force originally based on traditional tribal units and run by his father for five decades. He was also the last remaining member of Abdullah?s Shammar branch of the family to retain a key position at the top of the Saudi power structure after brothers Mishaal and Turki were relieved of their posts as governors in 2015.
  10. Saudi Arabian Prince Miteb bin Abdullah at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Files DUBAI: Senior Saudi Prince Miteb bin Abdullah ? once seen as a leading contender to the throne ? was freed after reaching an ?acceptable settlement agreement? with authorities paying more than $1 billion, a Saudi official said on Wednesday. Miteb ? who was head of the elite National Guard ? was among dozens of royal family members, ministers, and current and former senior officials who were rounded up in a graft inquiry at least partly aimed at strengthening Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's power. Miteb was released on Tuesday after reaching ?an acceptable settlement agreement?, an official involved in the anti-corruption campaign said, adding that ?the amount of the settlement was not disclosed but it is believed to be more than one billion US dollar equivalent.? ?It is understood that the settlement included admitting corruption involving known cases,? the official said. Officials from Miteb?s office could not immediately be reached for a comment. Royal family members and acquaintances of Miteb had earlier posted messages on social media suggesting that the prince was at his home in Riyadh, but did not say how his release had come about. Saudi authorities announced on November 4 the arrest of at least 11 royal family members, as well as four ministers and dozens of former officials and businessmen in what the government said was a crackdown on corruption. Billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, an international investor, was among those detained. Saudi authorities had been working on striking agreements with some of those in detention, asking them to hand over assets and cash in return for their freedom. In an interview with the New York Times published last week, Prince Mohammed bin Salman was quoted as saying that the vast majority of about 200 businessmen and officials implicated in the crackdown were agreeing to settlements under which they would hand assets over to the government. Apart from Miteb, the Saudi official said that at least three other people allegedly involved in corruption cases have also finalized settlement agreements. He added the Public Prosecutor had also decided to release a number of individuals and to prosecute at least 5 individuals. The official gave no details on their identities. As the Sandhurst-trained preferred son of the late King Abdullah, Miteb was once thought to be a leading contender to the throne. Before he was sacked by a royal decree on November 4, he headed the Saudi National Guard ? an elite internal security force originally based on traditional tribal units and run by his father for five decades. He was also the last remaining member of Abdullah?s Shammar branch of the family to retain a key position at the top of the Saudi power structure after brothers Mishaal and Turki were relieved of their posts as governors in 2015. [embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/b3df537b3d3093546245a43cfc8298ed.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9MTEvMjkvMjAxNyA1OjU2OjQ1IEFNJmhhc2hfdmFsdWU9aFF6RGs5cHROVk1XWGZpbHZQWDZ2QT09JnZhbGlkbWludXRlcz02MCZpZD0x style=center]
  11. KANDAHAR: A roadside bomb planted by the Taliban killed at least eight civilians including three women and a child in Afghanistan's Kandahar province on Tuesday, a local official said. The victims of the blast in Kandahar´s Maroof district "were going from Maroof district center to their village when a newly planted Taliban bomb hit their car," said Zia Durani, a spokesman for Kandahar police. The southern province of Kandahar has long been a Taliban stronghold. Durani provided no evidence to support the assertion of Taliban responsibility. The group has not claimed the attack. Roadside bombs have been responsible for about 18 percent of civilian casualties this year, according to the United Nations. Nearly 500 people were killed by improvised explosive devices between January and September.
  12. BEIJING: A senior Chinese military official under investigation for corruption has committed suicide, state media said on Tuesday, the latest development in a sweeping anti-graft campaign that has shaken the armed forces. Zhang Yang, a former member of the powerful Central Military Commission, was being investigated over links to fallen generals Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, the official Xinhua news agency said. The probe verified that Zhang Yang ?gravely violated discipline?, was ?suspected of giving and taking bribes? and the origin of a huge amount of assets was unclear, Xinhua said, citing the commission. ?On the afternoon of Nov. 23, Zhang Yang hanged himself at home,? the agency said. Sources had told Reuters that Zhang, who was director of the military?s Political Work Department, had been subject to an investigation, but the government had not announced it. China?s military, the world?s largest and currently undergoing an ambitious modernisation campaign, has been an important focus of President Xi Jinping?s campaign against deep-seated corruption since he took power five years ago. Serving and retired officers have said graft in the armed forces is so pervasive it could undermine China?s ability to wage war. Dozens of officers have been investigated and jailed, including Xu and Guo, both former vice chairmen of the commission, which Xi heads. Guo was jailed for life last year. Xu died of cancer in 2015 before he could face trial. A commentary carried on both the Defence Ministry and military?s official websites said the CMC decided on Aug. 28 to investigate Zhang, who had ?lost his moral bottom line? and used suicide as a means to ?escape punishment from the party and country?, an ?extremely abominable action?. ?This former general of high position and great power used this shameful way to end his own life,? the commentary said. ?He would exhort loyalty but be corrupt behind others? backs, a typical ?two-faced person?,? it said.
  13. The arrested Indian army official. -Courtesy Radio Pakistan ISLAMABAD: An Indian army official was arrested in occupied Kashmir for possessing heroin worth Rs400 million, confirmed a top police official. The Kashmir Media Service quoted IG police as saying that the Indian army official was arrested on Sunday and the heroin recovered from his possession had Afghan markings. Around eight kilograms of pure heroin was recovered. ?The consignment, which was headed for Delhi, was the second major haul recovered in the past three days,? said IGP of occupied Kashmir S D Singh Jamwal. Arrested soldier belongs to a light infantry regiment and is attached to army headquarters in New Delhi. Police has booked the Indian army official under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
  14. Saudi Arabia aims to start issuing tourist visas to foreigners next year, a senior Saudi official told CNN, as the government seeks to open up the conservative kingdom and find new sources of revenue to diversify its economy. Photo: AFP DUBAI: Saudi Arabia aims to start issuing tourist visas to foreigners next year, a senior Saudi official told CNN, as the government seeks to open up the conservative kingdom and find new sources of revenue to diversify its economy. At present, foreigners traveling to Saudi Arabia are largely restricted to resident workers and their dependents, business travelers, and Muslim pilgrims who are given special visas to travel to holy sites. ?The targets are people who want to come and literally experience this country, and really the grandness of this country,? Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, head of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Natural Heritage, said in an interview broadcast late on Wednesday. Asked about plans for the visas, he replied: ?Hopefully in 2018,? adding that the government would use online technology to make applying for visas easy. Saudi Arabia?s 32-year-old heir to the throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is seeking to develop new industries to wean his country off its dependency on oil exports. He has also taken some steps to loosen its ultra-strict social restrictions, scaling back the role of religious morality police and announcing plans to allowing women to drive next year. Plans to admit significant numbers of tourists from abroad have been discussed for years, only to be blocked by conservative opinion and bureaucracy; the commission announced such a plan as long ago as 2006, but it did not go ahead. This time, the government appears determined to push through the change, partly because of financial pressures. It hopes to earn billions of dollars to cover a state budget deficit caused by low oil prices. Economic reforms aim to lift total tourism spending in the country - by local citizens as well as foreigners - to $46.6 billion in 2020 from $27.9 billion in 2015. Prince Sultan said his commission was focusing mainly on increasing numbers of local tourists. The commission has estimated Saudis spend more than $20 billion annually on tourism abroad, and persuading more of them to holiday inside the country would reduce that drain on the economy. But Prince Sultan told CNN that his commission was also working to prepare tourist spots for foreigners. The government announced plans in August to develop resorts on about 50 islands off the Red Sea coast, with the first phase of the project to be completed in 2022. The kingdom also intends to offer visits to historic sites such as Mada?in Saleh, a 2,000-year-old Nabatean city carved into the rocks of the northern desert. Heir to the throne Prince Mohammed would be the first ruler from a new generation since 1953, after six kings who were all sons of state founder Abdulaziz ibn Saud. He has announced wide plans for social and political reforms to the kingdom, which is ruled as an absolute monarchy.
  15. TOKYO: Financial technology is fast revolutionising the banking industry but digital currencies will not replace physical money any time soon, a senior Bank of Japan (BOJ) official said on Wednesday. ?It?s too far off,? Hiromi Yamaoka, head of the BOJ?s payment and settlement systems department, said on the sidelines of a forum on financial innovation hosted by Thomson Reuters. ?It would change the banking system too drastically.? Japan has become a front runner in the financial technology (fintech) industry, with the government this year having recognised bitcoin as legal tender and approved several companies as operators of cryptocurrency exchanges. The BOJ last year set up a section in charge of fintech to offer guidance to banks seeking new business opportunities, and joined up with the European Central Bank to study distributed ledger technology (DLT) like blockchain. But the BOJ and ECB said in September they had judged that blockchain ? which is best known as the system underpinning bitcoin - was not mature enough to power the world?s biggest payment systems. ?From a practical perspective, I think this is still ?under construction?,? Yamaoka told the forum, referring to blockchain and DLT technology. He said the hype surrounding initial coin offerings was ?quite tremendous?. Blockchain is a public online ledger of transactions maintained by a network of computers on the internet. Financial firms hope the nascent technology can reduce the cost and complexity of burdensome processes such as international payments and securities settlement. Banks are also using fintech in other ways to make their financial services more efficient, including smartphone apps and artificial intelligence for advisory services.
  16. The protest has resulted in severe issues for the residents of the capital and Rawalpindi who face traffic jams and mobility issues on a daily basis ISLAMABAD: Protesters belonging to a religious group continued their sit-in for the 17th consecutive day on Wednesday, blocking Faizabad Interchange despite a notice by the Supreme Court. The protest has resulted in severe issues for residents of the capital and Rawalpindi who face traffic jams and mobility issues on a daily basis. At least two casualties due to ambulances being unable to cross the protesters have also been reported. The Supreme Court took notice of the sit-in on Tuesday and sought replies from the relevant government quarters. The apex court has sought a detailed report on what measures were taken by the government to safeguard the rights of the public and adjourned the hearing until Thursday. In his remarks, Justice Qazi Faez Isa asked which Shariah (Islamic law) permits obstruction of people's routes and use of foul language. Talks between the government and protesters on Saturday and then on Monday failed with no breakthrough in sight as protest leaders continue to demand the resignation of Federal Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid. The government, however, has formed another committee under senior cleric Pir Haseenuddin Shah for negotiations with the protesters and to suggest a comprehensive solution to the problem. On Tuesday, Shah asked the government for more authority so he could make decisions independently. Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal meanwhile has emphasised on a peaceful solution through talks while stressing that ?all options are available? to disperse the sit-in. Following a meeting of government representatives and protest leaders on Monday, Iqbal again expressed hope for a peaceful resolution of the issue. "We all agree that this issue should be resolved as soon as possible in a peaceful manner. Pakistan cannot be affected by any kind of bloodletting,' said the interior minister. The meeting, after its conclusion also issued a joint statement, which stated that there is absolutely no room for error in the Khatam-e-Nabuwat clause and a committee, formed with PML-N leader Raja Zafar-ul-Haq in the chair, will identify those responsible for the mistake and the change in the oath. Supreme Court takes notice of Islamabad sit-in, seeks response from government Islamabad sit-in entered its 16th day today as talks have failed to break the deadlock between the protesters and the government The religious parties have been protesting against the change in the finality of Prophethood oath in the law when the government passed the Elections Act 2017 last month. The change, dubbed a clerical error by the government, was immediately fixed as an amendment was passed later. They also want responsibility fixed on other officials involved in the incident. The protest has disrupted life in the capital and Rawalpindi, causing inconvenience as well as at least two reported casualties due to ambulances being unable to cross the protesters. Protest in Karachi The religious group also began its protest in Karachi on November 19 at the Numaish Chowrangi, causing severe traffic jams in the Saddar area. The group had announced to take out a rally from Numaish Chowrangi to Tibet Centre but then proceeded to only hold a sit-in near Numaish and blocking roads leading to Saddar. The protesters, however, moved away from the roads to the sidewalks early today, which led to hurdles placed by authorities to be removed. The protesters said that the sit-in in the city will continue as long as the Islamabad protest continues.
  17. TURBAT: As many as two insurgents were killed in a search operation at Turbat on Tuesday, informed security officials. A security official was also martyred in the operation. According to the sources, the Frontier Corps conducted a search operation on the information of presence of insurgents in the area. On their arrival at the site, the insurgents opened fire on the forces. In retaliatory fire, two militants were killed while an FC official embraced martyrdom. Three security personnel were also injured during the operation. On the suspicion of presence of insurgents, the security personnel are conducting search operations in the adjoining areas. Terrorist involved in murder of Turbat victims killed: ISPR ISPR said Younas Taukali, a top BLF commander, was involved in killing of 15 Punjab-based mein in Turbat, Balochistan Meanwhile, the army informed on November 17 that a terrorist involved in murdering 15 people in Turbat had been killed during an intelligence-based operation. Fifteen bullet-riddled bodies were recovered from the Buleda area of Kech district in Turbat, Balochistan last week. The victims hailed from various areas of Punjab. According to the Inter Services Public Relations, FC Balochistan conducted an operation near Alandur, Abdul Rehman village, Turbat. "As soon the troops cordoned the area, the terrorists opened fire. During the exchange of fire, terrorist Younas Taukali was killed," the ISPR said in its statement. The army has identified Taukali as one of the top eight commanders of the banned outfit Balochistan Liberation Front. Moreover, the army said Taukali was involved in laying IEDs for ambushing FC convoys and killing many civilians including, Rehmatullah Shohaz (founding member of Balochistan National Movement who later surrendered), Ghulam Jan (Lala Nazir's cousin), Akram Hayathuk, Habibullah Taher and Saddam
  18. Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil speaks during a meeting with Italian counterpart Angelino Alfano in Rome, Italy, November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli BEIRUT: Lebanon?s foreign minister may not attend an Arab League meeting in Cairo on Sunday and a final decision will be taken in the morning, a senior Lebanese official told Reuters on Saturday. The official said Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil wanted to avoid an anticipated confrontation at the meeting with Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies over the regional role of the Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah. The emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers is being convened at the request of Saudi Arabia with support from the UAE, Bahrain, and Kuwait ?to discuss means of confronting Iranian intervention in the internal affairs of Arab states,? the Egyptian state news agency MENA said. Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government and a political ally of Lebanese President Michel Aoun. The monarchy of Saudi Arabia and Iran are at loggerheads across the region, and tensions between them have recently escalated in both Lebanon and Yemen. Lebanon was thrust to the forefront of the regional struggle when Saad al-Hariri resigned as prime minister on November 4 in a surprise announcement from Riyadh. Aoun has accused Saudi Arabia of holding Hariri hostage. Senior Lebanese politicians close to Hariri have also said he had been held in Saudi Arabia against his will and coerced into resigning. Saudi Arabia and Hariri both deny this. After French intervention, Hariri flew to France overnight and met French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Saturday. Hariri, speaking in Paris, said he would clarify his position when he returns to Beirut in the coming days. He said he would take part in Lebanese independence day celebrations, which are scheduled for Wednesday. Hariri, long a political ally of Saudi Arabia, cited fear of assassination and accused Iran and Hezbollah of sowing strife in the Arab world during his resignation speech.
  19. Britain's Princess Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth II) and her husband Philip Duke of Edinburgh pose during their honeymoon in Broadlands estate, Hampshire, UK, November 25, 1947. AFP/STR LONDON: Buckingham Palace issued a new photographic portrait of Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip on Saturday to mark their upcoming 70th wedding anniversary. The couple married at London?s Westminster Abbey on Nov. 20, 1947, just two years after the end of World War Two, in a lavish ceremony attended by statesmen and royalty from around the world. Handout photo issued on November 18, 2017, by Camera Press of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, taken in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle in early November, in celebration of their platinum wedding anniversary on November 20. Matt Holyoak/CameraPress/PA Wire/Handout via REUTERS The portrait, taken earlier this month, showed the queen wearing the same dress which she chose for a service of thanksgiving to mark their diamond wedding anniversary held at the Abbey where they were married. She is also wearing a ?Scarab? brooch in yellow gold, carved ruby, and diamond, which Philip gave her in 1966. Elizabeth has been married for far longer than any other royal, and the newly-released picture showed the couple framed by Thomas Gainsborough?s 1781 portraits of George III and Queen Charlotte, who were married for 57 years ? the second-longest royal marriage.
  20. Craig "Cajun" Uggen, 57, nearly floods his truck as Hurricane Harvey comes ashore in Corpus Christi, Texas, US. REUTERS/Brian Thevenot/Files NEW YORK: A Texas chemical plant explosion during Hurricane Harvey underscores the need for industrial plants to rethink emergency preparedness for more serious storms, US investigators said Wednesday. "Our message is you do have to reassess your worst-case scenario," US Chemical Safety Board director Vanessa Allen Sutherland said in a briefing on the probe of the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas. "Plan and plan again," Sutherland said. "Don't be lulled into a false sense of security that it can't or won't happen here." The Arkema plant, located about 30 miles northeast of Houston, had to be evacuated after it lost power during flooding caused by Harvey, which led to several explosions caused by volatile chemicals that could no longer be refrigerated. Even after the worst Harvey rains had passed, the plant languished without power and backup generators also lost power due to flooding. Authorities had to evacuate local residents for several days due to the smoke and potential for chemicals in the air. Arkema officials said Harvey was an unprecedented natural disaster that exceeded all reasonable emergency preparedness. Investigators said they were still probing what led to the situation and refrained from assessing the company's level of responsibility, or from offering definitive industry recommendations. But Sutherland said the incident showed how chemical plants must rethink their planning in light of seemingly more severe storms. "Our key message here is if these types of storms are going to continue... they have to make sure their worst-case scenario is really extrapolating what could happen," she said. Among the issues still under investigation are whether Arkema sufficiently upgraded its planning after the site was placed by officials in the Texas floodplain in 2007. That designation meant the Arkema site was vulnerable to flooding from 100- or 500-year storms, investigators said. "They did planning and the question is why wasn't it enough? And what can we learn from that?" Sutherland said. Sutherland said the agency planned to complete its investigation and issue recommendations in time for the 2018 hurricane season.
  21. QUETTA: A senior police official, SP Mohammad Illyas, and his son were killed when unknown gunmen opened fire on their vehicle here on Tuesday evening. According to reports, the incident took place in the Nawa Kali area and the DSP?s wife was also injured in the attack. She has been shifted to a hospital for treatment. Last week, a senior police officer was among three officials martyred in a suicide attack on Quetta's airport road. Around eight others, including police officials, were said to be injured in the attack on the vehicle of the senior police officer. DIG Hamid Shakeel, who was heading the motor transport and telecommunications department, and two other police officials were martyred when the DIG's convoy was targetted in a bomb attack. Police frequent target in Quetta Police are often targetted by terrorist attacks in Balochistan. In an earlier attack, eight policemen were martyred after unidentified attackers rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into their truck. Over 20 others were wounded in the bombing, according to hospital authorities. In August this year, a massive suicide explosion, targeting Pakistan Army personnel in Quetta, left 15 people dead ? including seven civilians ? and injured at least 20 people. The blast, which reportedly took place in a vehicle, occurred at the Pishin bus stop, causing cars in the surroundings to catch fire soon after. In June this year, fourteen people, including seven policemen, were killed and 21 injured in a suicide car bombing near the office of the inspector general of police Balochistan on Gulistan Road. This is a developing story and will be updated as details are made available.
  22. Harvey Weinstein arrives on the red carpet for the 88th Oscars in Hollywood, California, February 28, 2016. AFP/Jean Baptiste Lacroix/Files An intelligence firm that reportedly helped Harvey Weinstein gather information on women accusing him of sexual harassment and assault is sorry for agreeing to work with the Hollywood producer, a company official said on Thursday. The New Yorker said Weinstein had hired Black Cube ? an Israel-based firm that markets itself as a group of ex-members of intelligence units specializing in business and litigation challenges ? to help stop the publication of abuse allegations against him. ?Of course, we apologize to whoever was hurt by this,? Asher Tishler ? listed as a member of Black Cube?s advisory board ? said during a TV interview. ?In retrospect, it?s a shame we took the job.? Tishler said he was not familiar with all the details of the work Black Cube carried out for Weinstein. One account in The New Yorker article described two private investigators from Black Cube used false identities to meet with the actress Rose McGowan to extract information from her. McGowan has accused Weinstein of sexual assault. ?I think the job was taken in a justified manner. When it was discovered there was a problem, they stopped,? he said. Tishler added that any money the company made would be given to women?s groups. More than 50 women have alleged that Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them over the past three decades. Weinstein has denied having non-consensual *** with anyone. Reuters has been unable to independently confirm any of the allegations.
  23. This file photo shows fishing boats on Lake Lake Tanganyika. Photo: AFP LUMBUMBASHI: Nine children died and another was missing after a canoe capsized on Lake Tanganyika in the southeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo. a local official said Thursday. The motorised boat left the town of Kalemie and was heading for the port of Wimbi when it sank on Wednesday. "Of the 21 passengers aboard, nine were killed, all of them children," provincial official Joseph Lumona told AFP, "Another child is reported missing," he said, adding that the accident happened in "violent winds". Such accidents are frequent occurrences in DR Congo, either on the lakes or rivers. The death tolls are often high as boats are overcrowded and old and there is a lack of life jackets. These problems are exacerbated by the fact that many locals cannot swim. In September, 20 people were killed when a boat capsized on Lake Edward, another of the African Great Lakes, as they were fleeing fighting between the Congolese army and a militia in the restive North Kivu region. Lake Tanganyika is the longest freshwater lake in the world and is bounded by four countries -- DR Congo, Burundi, Zambia and Tanzania.
  24. BEIRUT: Lebanon believes Saad al-Hariri, who resigned as prime minister on Saturday while in Saudi Arabia, is being held by Riyadh, and Beirut plans to work with foreign states to secure his return, a top Lebanese government official said on Thursday. A second source, a senior politician close to Saudi-allied Hariri, said Saudi Arabia had ordered him to resign and put him under house arrest. A third source familiar with the situation said Saudi Arabia was controlling and limiting his movement. Hariri?s shock resignation, read out on television from Saudi Arabia, pitched Lebanon into a deep political crisis and pushed the country back to the forefront of a regional struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
  25. Danica Roem ? the Democratic candidate for Virginia House of Delegates 13th District ? is pictured in Gainesville, Virginia, US, December 30, 2016. Courtesy friends of Danica Roem/Handout via REUTERS WASHINGTON: A 33-year-old transgender Democrat was being lauded as a pioneer on Wednesday after she won a seat in the Virginia state legislature against a Republican incumbent who openly boasted of being a "homophobe." "Discrimination is a disqualifier and the message of inclusion is a winning message," Danica Roem ? a former local newspaper reporter and singer in a heavy metal band ? told AFP. "It's humbling and I know I have a big responsibility right now ? get results," Roem said in a telephone interview following her landmark victory. Roem defeated Robert Marshall ? a staunchly conservative Republican who had represented the 13th District in Prince William County for 26 years, by 54.4 percent to 45.6 percent in a contest that drew national attention. Roem will become the first openly transgender state lawmaker in the United States when she takes up her seat in the Virginia House of Delegates in the state capital, Richmond. Democrats made stunning gains in the Republican-controlled Virginia legislature on Tuesday and romped to victory in the governor's race in what some analysts described as a wave of anti-Trump sentiment. During a hard-fought campaign, the 73-year-old Marshall refused to refer to Roem in interviews or campaign literature as "she" or to agree to a debate. Marshall once boasted of being Virginia's "chief homophobe" and was the author of a bill that would have forced transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding to their *** at birth. He also co-authored a bill banning gay marriage. 'Clear warning' Roem has said she did not enter politics to become an LGBTQ symbol but to deal with municipal and infrastructure issues, particularly traffic congestion in her district. But she campaigned wearing a rainbow-coloured headscarf and the historic nature of her win was not lost on her on Wednesday. "I will be the first out and seated transgender state representative," Roem told AFP. "I have the opportunity to get a lot of infrastructure projects done while at the same time demonstrating to people in the 13th District and around the world that transgender people make very good state legislators and that we care about our communities, too," she said. Advocacy groups welcomed Roem's win as a victory for equality. "Danica Roem's historic victory is a clear warning to anti-equality lawmakers across the country that the days of attacking LGBTQ people to scare up votes are over," Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said in a statement. "We look forward to working with her to help continue moving equality forward in Virginia," Griffin said. "Voters chose a smart, solutions-oriented trans leader over a divisive anti-LGBTQ demagogue," said Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund president Aisha Moodie-Mills. Equality Virginia executive director James Parish praised Roem's victory as "not only a victory for transgender Virginians, but for transgender Americans as well." "Roem ran a smart, issues-driven campaign focused on improving the lives of her neighbours; a campaign that ran counter to her opponent's divisive and transphobic rhetoric," Parish added. Roem said she had received a congratulatory call from former vice president Joe Biden and "a lot, a lot, a lot of people gave me hugs last night." She said she also delivered an important message to her stepdaughter. "I told my stepdaughter last night you can be whatever it is that you want to be," she said.