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Found 39 results

  1. Protestors and security personnel clash in Bishoftu town of the Oromia region, Ethiopia, October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/Files ADDIS ABABA: Clashes along the border of Ethiopia?s Oromiya and Somali regions have displaced around 50,000 people, a senior regional official said on Sunday, in violence that has prompted the government to send the military in. Spokesmen from the two regions told regional news outlets earlier this week that at least 50 people were killed. Each side blames the other. ?It is not just deaths that occurred. More than 50,000 people were displaced from their homes,? Lema Megersa ? the president of Oromiya province ? told local journalists on Sunday. ?Those responsible should also be held to account,? he added without providing the death toll. The area has been plagued by sporadic clashes for decades. A referendum held in 2004 to determine the status of disputed settlements failed to ease tensions. Unrest in 2015 and 2016 in Oromiya ? and, to a lesser extent, other regions ? killed 669 people, according to a parliament-mandated investigation. The clashes are likely to fuel further fears about security in Ethiopia ? the region?s biggest economy and a staunch Western ally. Each side gave contradictory explanations about the cause of the clashes. Some officials in Oromiya said it was sparked by the killing of a local district head and raids by a paramilitary force from the Somali region. Officials from the Somali region denied those claims. Fifty ethnic Somalis were killed in the town of Aweday in Oromiya on Tuesday, a spokesman for the Somali region told local media on Friday. International media were not permitted at the briefing. On Sunday, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said soldiers deployed to the region to quell the violence would disarm residents and safeguard highways straddling the regions.
  2. KHOST: Four people were killed and 14 others wounded in an explosion at a mobile phone market in southeastern Afghanistan on Sunday, officials said, in the latest attack to hit the war-weary country. The deadly blast comes as the Afghan government considers a plan to arm 20,000 civilians to fight the Taliban and other insurgent groups which have gained ground since US-led NATO combat troops left in 2014. "The blast happened at around noon in a market where people go to download music and videos to their mobile phones," Khost provincial police chief Faizullah Khairat told AFP. He said the explosion was caused by a "remote-controlled bomb". Khost health department director Habib Shah Ansari confirmed four people had been killed and said "over a dozen wounded" had been taken to hospitals in the provincial capital of the same name. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but the volatile province bordering Pakistan is contested by the Taliban. Music was one of the many forms of entertainment banned during the Taliban´s 1996-2001 rule and the militants have previously attacked such markets. The province has come under attack by the Taliban in recent months. As Ramadan began on May 27, a Taliban car bomber targeted a CIA-funded Afghan militia group, leaving 13 people dead and six injured in Khost. It was the deadliest Ramadan since the US-led invasion in 2001 with over 200 killed and hundreds wounded, according to an AFP count based on official figures, underscoring the deteriorating security situation. Afghan security forces have been struggling to beat back a resurgent Taliban, which last month vowed to make Afghanistan a "graveyard" for foreign forces after US President Donald Trump made an open-ended commitment to keep American boots on the ground. As it searches for a security quick fix, the Afghan government is considering a proposal to train and arm civilians to defend territories where Islamic militants have been driven out. The plan has sparked concern the local forces could become another thuggish militia and end up terrorising and abusing the people they are supposed to defend. In Afghanistan, militias ? private armies and government-backed armed groups ? have a long and chequered history and many Afghans are wary of them. "The Afghan government´s expansion of irregular forces could have enormously dangerous consequences for civilians," said Patricia Gossman, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch.
  3. KUALA LUMPUR: At least 25 people ? most of them students ? were killed when a fire tore through a religious school in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur Thursday morning, officials said. The blaze broke out in Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah ? a religious school located in a mainly Malay settlement of Datuk Keramat ? just before dawn and reported at around 5.40 AM (2140 GMT Wednesday), according to a statement from the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department. "The number of confirmed dead are 23 students and two wardens," Khirudin Drahman ? the director of Kuala Lumpur's fire and rescue department ? told AFP. "They could have died due to smoke inhalation or got trapped in the fire," he added. "I think it is one of the country's worst fire disaster in the past 20 years. We are now investigating the cause of the fire." A fire department official at the scene said that the blaze broke out in bedrooms before dawn, and firefighters from a nearby station were on the scene within minutes. The bodies, on the other hand, have been moved to a nearby hospital, officials said.
  4. RAWALPINDI: A divisional bench of the Lahore High Court will hear the appeal of two former police officials who were awarded prison sentence of 17 years each in murder case of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. During the hearing before Rawalpindi bench of Lahore High Court it was decided the police officials? appeals will be heard on September 11. The divisional bench will comprise Justice Muhammad Tariq Abbasi and Justice Habibullah Amir. The appeals were filed by former city police officer Saud Aziz and former superintendent of police Khurram Shahzad, after an anti-terrorism court awarded each a 17-year prison sentence. ATC issues detailed verdict of Benazir Bhutto murder case The verdict was announced after almost 10 years on Thursday The anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi issued on August 31 the detailed verdict in Benazir?s murder case, holding the two police officials guilty of ?criminal negligence? and declaring then-military dictator Pervez Musharraf a fugitive. Benazir, Pakistan Peoples Party chairperson and two-time former prime minister, was assassinated in a gun and bomb attack at an election campaign rally in Rawalpindi?s Liaquat Bagh on December 27, 2007.
  5. LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday announced names of match officials for the upcoming Independence Cup. The cup will see team Pakistan playing against World XI, with the first match being officiated by Aleem Dar and Ahsan Raza with Shozab Raza as the third umpire. The second match will be officiated by Ahmed Shahab and Shozab Raza while the third match will have Ahsan Raza and Shozab Raza as match umpires. The third umpire for the second match will Ahsan Raza while Ahmed Shahab will perform the role in the third match. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has also declared Richie Richardson as the series match referee. Former Zimbabwe batsman and ex-England coach Andy Flower has assembled a World XI with players from seven countries led by South African skipper Faf du Plessis. The PCB hopes the series will go off without a hitch as the country prepares to host Sri Lanka for one T20 next month and another three T20s against the West Indies in November.
  6. KARACHI: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) informed on Wednesday that it has not received any letter from British officials pertaining to MQM founder Altaf Hussain?s speeches. Hussain incited violence in speeches given by him on March 11, 2015, and August 22, 2016. The FIA also said that such communication takes place through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the agency would have responded if they were approached. FIA claimed to have presented many documents against the MQM founder and includes videos and pictures. The FIA further added that they would only respond if the UK government requests their cooperation. The issue has been stalled due to lack of cooperation from UK officials, FIA added. Earlier, the Metropolitan police had claimed that they had sent a letter to the Pakistani government requesting their help in investigating the case on August 8, this year. Moreover, FIA also claimed that British officials have not written any letter regarding the investigation of Imran Farooq murder case. On August 24, Scotland Yard had confirmed that it?s ?assessing? the contents of Altaf Hussain?s speech against the state of Pakistan in which he also incited violence against media and the armed forces of Pakistan. Speaking to Geo News, a spokesman for Scotland Yard confirmed that ?the police are currently assessing the content of a speech given by an individual associated with Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) to ascertain if any crimes have been committed under UK legislation?. The police had revealed that they are investigating various speeches ? not just one - made by the London-based leader of the MQM who has been accused of using his London office to incite acts of terrorism inside Pakistan. Previously, the police had said that they were only investigating one speech, after having dropped the previous investigations into incitement.
  7. It comes days after Afghan officials said the country´s own air force killed up to 13 civilians in separate strikes targeting a Taliban base in Herat-Reuters (File photo) Thirteen civilians from the same family were killed and another 15 wounded in a US air strike on Taliban fighters in eastern Afghanistan, Afghan authorities said Thursday. US Forces-Afghanistan said it has launched an investigation into the incident which an Afghan official said also killed more than a dozen insurgents hiding in a house in Dasht-e-Bari village in volatile Logar province near Kabul on Wednesday. It comes days after Afghan officials said the country´s own air force killed up to 13 civilians in separate strikes targeting a Taliban base in the western province of Herat. "In the operation the US forces came under the attack by the Taliban and foreign forces returned fire and forced the Taliban insurgents to hide in the civilian houses nearby," Saleem Saleh, a spokesman for the Logar provincial governor, told AFP. "Then the foreign forces called in air support and bombed the civilian house which led to civilian casualties." Saleh said the victims were from the same family and most of the dead were women and children. "I heard two big bangs and when I went out of my home I saw the building which was bombarded was totally destroyed," Nazar Khan Kochi told AFP. "We pulled out the dead bodies from the rubble and debris and buried them. "It was a very painful day for us," he said, describing the incident as a "massacre" and adding no Taliban were among the dead. Photos showed dead women and children wrapped in shrouds as relatives prepared to bury them. Logar provincial police spokesman Shahpoor Ahmadzai confirmed the number of casualties. The US is the only foreign force currently carrying out air strikes in Afghanistan. The US military said it has launched an official probe into the incident which comes three weeks after a US air strike allegedly killed 11 civilians in neighbouring Nangarhar province -- charges the Americans have vehemently denied. "United States Forces-Afghanistan takes all allegations of civilian casualties seriously and is working with our Afghan partners to determine the facts surrounding this incident (in Logar)," it said in a statement. Ordinary Afghans have borne the brunt of the grinding conflict which began in October 2001, with record high civilian deaths this year. In the first half of the year, 1,662 civilians were killed and more than 3,500 injured, with deaths in Kabul accounting for nearly 20 percent of the toll, according to a UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan report published last month.
  8. Five people in the swearing-in photo no longer work in the White House. Photo: NYT Below are the top White House officials who resigned, or were fired, dismissed or reassigned. FBI Director James B. Comey and Obama administration holdover Sally Q. Yates who was serving as his acting attorney general were fired by the . Chief strategist: Stephen K. Bannon Stephen K. Bannon. Trump decided to remove Bannon only seven months after he got on board. The former chief strategist is a right-wing nationalist who clashed with other senior White House advisers and members of Trump's family. A source close to Bannon said that he had submitted his resignation to the president on August 7. Communications director: Mike Dubke Mike Dubke. Dubke resigned just after three months of joining the Trump government as the communications director. He told colleagues that the reasons for his resignation were ?personal.? National security adviser: Michael T. Flynn Michael T. Flynn. Trump demanded Flynn's resignation more than two weeks after he was told that the national security adviser had lied to the vice president and was vulnerable to blackmail by Russians Deputy national security adviser: K. T. McFarland K.T. McFarland. McFarland, who was brought to the White House by Flynn, was named the ambassador to Singapore in mid-May. Her exit was announced just four months after she joined Trump's White House team, the NYT reported. Chief of staff: Reince Priebus Reince Priebus. Priebus was pushed out just six months after he was taken on board. Trump's chief of staff tendered his resignation after the US president told him he wanted to make a change and offered the job to John Kelly. Communications director: Anthony Scaramucci Anthony Scaramucci. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly fired Scaramucci just a week after he joined as the communications director, after a vulgarity-laced telephone call with a New Yorker reporter was made public. Press secretary, communications director: Sean Spicer Sean Spicer. Spicer resigned, telling Trump that he disagreed with his hiring of Scaramucci as communications director. He lasted on Trump's White House team for six months. Deputy chief of staff: Katie Walsh Katie Walsh. Walsh was forced out by Jared Kushner and other West Wing officials just two months after she joined. She joined the pro-Trump outside group America First Policies. Senior director for intelligence, NSA: Ezra Cohen-Watnick Ezra Cohen-Watnick. More than six months after he was appointed by Flynn, Cohen-Watnick exited Trump's White House team. He was pushed out by Lt Gen H. R. McMaster, who succeeded Flynn. Deputy chief of staff, NSC: Tera Dahl Tera Dahl. A former writer for Breitbart News who was appointed by Flynn, Dahl left the White House for a post at the United States Agency for International Development in less than six months after she was appointed as the deputy chief of staff of NSC. Middle East adviser, NSC: Derek Harvey Derek Harvey. No explanation was given for the exit of Trump's Middle East Adviser for NSC. Harvey was appointed by Flynn and was widely reported to have been at odds with McMaster. His exit came after more than six months of his joining. Director in the strategic planning office, NSC: Rich Higgins Rich Higgins. Higgins was forced out after writing a memo arguing that Trump was being subverted by an array of foreign and domestic enemies, including ?globalists? and officials of the ?deep state.? Senior assistant press secretary: Michael C. Short Michael C. Short. The senior assistant press secretary quit Trump's team just six months after he came on board. Short, who had been close to Spicer, resigned shortly after Scaramucci confirmed to reporters that he was planning to fire Short.
  9. Chinese troops threw stones at Indian soldiers near Pangong Lake, officials said SRINAGAR: Indian and Chinese troops clashed briefly on a disputed area of land in the Himalayas, officials said Wednesday, exacerbating tensions during a months-long stand-off between the two armies. Chinese troops threw stones at Indian soldiers near Pangong Lake, a major tourist attraction in the picturesque mountain region of Ladakh on Tuesday, an Indian defence official said. He said Chinese soldiers had twice tried to enter the Indian territory but had been pushed back. "There was a minor incident. There was some stone pelting from the Chinese side but the situation was quickly brought under control," he told AFP on condition of anonymity. The brief confrontation was resolved after Indian and Chinese sides retreated to their respective positions, he added. Police in the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, where Ladakh is located, said clashes were relatively common along the de facto border known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC). "These things happen every summer but this one was slightly prolonged and more serious but no weapons were used," a police source in Srinagar told AFP. The Pangong lake area lies over 4,000 metres (13,000 feet) high on the Tibetan plateau. India's military steps up operational readiness on China border Indian and Chinese troops have been embroiled in the seven-week confrontation on the Doklam plateau The latest incident comes amid an ongoing dispute between the two sides over a strategic Himalayan plateau thousands of kilometres away where hundreds of Indian and Chinese soldiers have been facing off against each other for more than two months. The border trouble began in June when Chinese soldiers started to extend a road through the Doklam territory -- known as "Donglang" in Chinese. The area is disputed between China and Bhutan. India, a close ally of Bhutan, then deployed troops to stop the construction project, prompting Beijing to accuse India of trespassing on Chinese soil. China has said India must withdraw its troops before any proper negotiation takes place. India said both sides should withdraw their forces together. The plateau is strategically significant as it gives China access to the so-called "chicken´s neck" -- a thin strip of land connecting India´s northeastern states with the rest of the country. The two nuclear-armed neighbours fought a brief war in 1962 in India´s border state of Arunachal Pradesh. Tensions along the LAC rose in 2014 when Chinese soldiers moved into territory claimed by India, sparking a two-week military stand-off that overshadowed a visit by China´s President Xi Jinping.
  10. Army personnel during a search operation. Photo: File CHAMAN: Two alleged suspects were arrested in a search operation in connection with the Quetta suicide blast that killed 15 people and injured at least 40 on Saturday night, security officials said on Sunday. The suspects were shifted to an undisclosed location. Officials informed that a huge cache of weapons and ammunition were also recovered from a house during the search operation. Officials added that 671 personnel mines, 16 IEDs, 67 remotes, 167 antennas, 14 IED electric circuits, more than 100kg explosives, six bundle IED wires, three suicide jackets, 50 electronic detonators, 50 rocket launchers and 25kg ball bearings were hidden in the house. A huge suicide explosion, targeting Pakistan Army personnel in Quetta, reportedly took place in a vehicle, occurred at the Pishin bus stop, causing cars in the surroundings to catch fire soon afterwards. "An attempt to mar independence day festivity. Our resolve won't succumb to any challenge," DG ISPR Major-General Asif Ghafoor posted on Twitter. Army troops reached the site of the incident soon after the attack and cordoned off the area. The injured were shifted to the Combined MIlitary Hospital, some of the injured were shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta and an emergency was declared in hospitals in the vicinity.
  11. An official of the Special Services Group in Miramshah, North Waziristan in July 2014. Photo: AFP PESHAWAR: A major and three soldiers of the Pakistan Army laid down their lives during a military operation, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Wednesday. According to the army's media wing, Major Ali Salman ? who hails from a 'secret agency' ? was leading a team in an anti-terrorist operation in Timergara, Dir when they were killed in a suicide bombing. The ISPR said the incident took place on Tuesday night when an operation ? based on intelligence information ? against terrorists was under way. Three of the martyrs: Major Ali Salman, Havaldars Ghulam Nazir and Akbar As the army team entered the hideout of suspected terrorists in Sherotkai, a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing the army officials, while another was killed in retaliatory fire. It was stated that one suspected terrorist was also arrested from the site. The deceased were identified as Maj Ali Salman, Havaldar Ghulam Nazir, Havaldar Akhtar and Sepoy Abdul Karim. First phase of Operation Khyber-4 successfully completed: ISPR Valley associated with Brekh Top is now being cleared, says ISPR Pakistan launches nationwide 'Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad' Efforts to include broad-spectrum security and counter-terrorism operations by Rangers in Punjab, and continuation of ongoing operations
  12. File photo of the aftermath of a bombing in Afghanistan KABUL: The Taliban and Daesh group jointly massacred dozens of civilians in an Afghan village, officials said Monday, highlighting rare co-operation between the insurgents that could increase the strain on Afghanistan´s beleaguered security forces. The fighters killed more than 50 men, women and children in the remote Sayad district of northern Sar-e Pul province on Saturday after overrunning the Afghan Local Police (ALP) -- a government-backed militia -- in a 48-hour battle, according to local officials. "It was a joint operation by Daesh and Taliban fighters. They had recruited forces from other provinces of the country and attacked Mirzawalang village," Zabihullah Amani, a spokesman for the provincial governor, told AFP. The spokesman alleged that dozens of Taliban and Daesh group fighters under the command of a local Taliban commander, who Amani claims pledged allegiance to Daesh, launched a co-ordinated attack on the area on Thursday. "The fighters overran the area and it led to the massacre of innocent and defenceless civilians," he said. Most of those killed were shot but some were beheaded, Amani said. Verifying information from poor, mountainous areas of Afghanistan made inaccessible by fighting and with patchy communications is difficult, and AFP was not able to access the village. Mohammad Noor Rahmani, head of Sar-e-Pul´s provincial council, said 44 of the 50 victims were believed to be civilians, with the ALP militia also suffering casualties. "This is not the final toll. It might change because the area is inaccessible and no telephone networks are working to get an update," he told AFP. The Taliban and Daesh fighters have regularly clashed since the latter gained a foothold in eastern Afghanistan in 2015, as the two vie for supremacy in the war-torn country. An Afghan security source told AFP there had been around three incidents in the past where fighters from both groups had teamed up to deal a blow to Afghan forces in certain areas.
  13. Two Chinese officials have been sacked for involvement in "superstitious activities", including casting spells to aid promotions and attending geomancy courses under the guise of business trips, state media said on Friday. Members of the ruling Communist Party are not supposed to follow any religion in officially atheist China, and the government takes a particularly harsh line on officials who practise what it deems are superstitious folk beliefs. Xinhua news agency said Tang Yuansong, a former county housing official in the central province of Hunan, went on five Fengshui training courses under the guise of "investigation tours" starting in 2008. Each session cost 54,000 yuan ($8,038), which Tang claimed back as business expenses, Xinhua said, citing a statement from the local anti-corruption watchdog office. Tang also earned 5,000 yuan a year for practising Fengshui for others, it added. The other person sacked, also a former county official, had "asked others to set up an altar to cast spells and paid 100,000 yuan in tribute each time, with hopes of being promoted", Xinhua said. Both have been expelled from the party and will be further investigated for suspected criminal acts, it added. It was not possible to reach either official for comment and it was unclear if they have been allowed to retain lawyers.
  14. BEIJING: Two Chinese officials have been sacked for involvement in "superstitious activities", including casting spells to aid promotions and attending geomancy courses under the guise of business trips, state media said on Friday. Members of the ruling Communist Party are not supposed to follow any religion in officially atheist China, and the government takes a particularly harsh line on officials who practise what it deems are superstitious folk beliefs. Xinhua news agency said Tang Yuansong, a former county housing official in the central province of Hunan, went on five fengshui training courses under the guise of "investigation tours" starting in 2008. Each session cost 54,000 yuan ($8,038), which Tang claimed back as business expenses, Xinhua said, citing a statement from the local anti-corruption watchdog office. Tang also earned 5,000 yuan a year for practicing fengshui for others, it added. The other person sacked, also a former county official, had "asked others to set up an altar to cast spells and paid 100,000 yuan in tribute each time, with hopes of being promoted", Xinhua said. Both have been expelled from the party and will be further investigated for suspected criminal acts, it added. It was not possible to reach either official for comment and it was unclear if they have been allowed to retain lawyers.
  15. [embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/122f9b8880d09cab5e1603522ab5caf7.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9OC8xLzIwMTcgMjoxODo0NCBBTSZoYXNoX3ZhbHVlPVc4d3J0cVdaa3ozcGJ0N05xUjQxcFE9PSZ2YWxpZG1pbnV0ZXM9NjAmaWQ9MQ== style=center] KARACHI: A closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage has emerged of an attack on policemen by unknown assailants that took place here at Isphahani Road on July 24, 2017, Geo News reported. The video clip depicts suspects ? who came on a motorcycle ? opening fire at the policemen on duty at Isphahani Road at close range, police officials explained. The attackers then proceeded to take the wounded officers' weapons, including an MP-5 submachine gun (SMG), and fled the crime scene. The assailants, authorities noted, came from Muskan Chowk and went back in the same direction following the incident, which left one officer dead and another injured. One traffic policeman martyred, another injured in Karachi attack Unknown assailants on motorcycle attacked and fled from the scene The officials who were attacked had been posted at the Gulzar-e-Hijri traffic section and were performing their duty when the incident took place. Police sources had explained at the time that around 10 casings of 9mm bullets were recovered from the crime scene. "There is a group of 12-14 people who conduct attacks against police personnel. The first team performs reconnaissance on the targets for a few days and the second group executes the attack," Rao Anwar ? the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP)-Malir ? had commented.
  16. KABUL: A suicide bomber attacked a police compound and the nearby Iraqi embassy in Kabul on Monday, security officials in the Afghan capital said. A police spokesman said security forces were at the scene and a gun battle was under way. This is a developing story
  17. A post on the Pak-Afghan border. Photo: File ISLAMABAD: Afghan security forces on Wednesday conducted a successful intelligence based operation and recovered two diplomatic officials of the Consulate General of Pakistan in Jalalabad, who were abducted on June 16, 2017, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani told a Pakistani diplomat in Kabul. According to the Foreign Office, President Ghani personally called Pakistan's charge d'affaires in Kabul to share the good news of the recovery of the abducted Pakistani officials in a security operation, carried out by the Afghan forces on Wednesday. Two Pakistan consulate officials missing in Afghanistan: Foreign Office Jalalabad consulate officers went missing when commuting to Pakistan on June 16 According to details, both the officials ? Jan Khan and Muhammad Ejaz ? were members of staff at the Consulate General of Pakistan in Jalalabad. They were kidnapped while travelling from Jalalabad to Torkham on June 16, 2017. Later in the evening, the two officials were handed over to the Embassy of Pakistan in Kabul by the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They would soon return to Pakistan to join their families. While talking to Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua conveyed Pakistan?s gratitude to the Afghan government for the safe recovery of both the officials.
  18. WASHINGTON: US officials said on Tuesday they have seen increased North Korean activity at a site in the western city of Kusong that could be preparations for another missile test within days. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that over the past week intelligence has spotted equipment, possibly for launching an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or an intermediate-range missile, moving into Kusong. Earlier this month, North Korea said it had conducted its first test of an ICBM and mastered the technology needed to deploy a nuclear warhead via the missile. Pyongyang's state media said the test verified the atmospheric re-entry of the warhead, which experts say may be able to reach the US state of Alaska. However, the vice chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff recently said the July 4 test stopped short of showing North Korea has the ability to strike the United States "with any degree of accuracy." The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Pentagon spy agency, has assessed that North Korea will be able to field a nuclear-capable ICBM by next year, earlier than previously thought. According to two US officials, however, some other analysts who study North Korea's missile programme do not agree with the DIA assessment. "DIA and the South Koreans tend to be at the leading edge of estimates on North Korea's military programs, and that's understandable," said one of the US officials, who both agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity. "There is no question that the DPRK has moved further and faster with its effort to develop a reliable, nuclear-capable ICBM that can be built in quantity, but there are still doubts about whether it can cross that threshold in a year." A second US official familiar with the science of ICBMs said, also on the condition of anonymity, that North Korea still has not demonstrated the ability to design and build nuclear warheads small enough to be delivered on its long-range missiles and tough enough to survive re-entry into the atmosphere. A third official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said that even if Pyongyang develops a workable ICBM from its "tinker-toy mix of old Russian missiles," it would pose a threat to the United States and its allies only if North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's regime is suicidal.
  19. WASHINGTON: Two Chinese fighter jets intercepted a US Navy surveillance plane over the East China Sea over the weekend, with one coming within about 300 feet (91 meters) of the American aircraft, two .S officials told Reuters on Monday. The officials said initial reports showed one of the Chinese J-10 aircraft came close to the US EP-3 plane on Sunday, causing the American aircraft to change direction. The persons spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. One of the officials said the Chinese jet was armed and the incident took place 80 nautical miles (148 km) from the Chinese city of Qingdao. Incidents such as Sunday's intercept are not uncommon. In May, two Chinese SU-30 aircraft intercepted a US aircraft designed to detect radiation while it was flying in international air space over the East China Sea. China is deeply suspicious of any US military activity around its coastline.
  20. Acting interior ministry spokesman said at least 12 people had been killed but the casualty toll could rise further. Photo: Twitter/HafizullahOmarl KABUL: A suicide attacker detonated a car bomb in the western part of Kabul on Monday, killing at least 12 people and wounding 10, and the death toll could rise, an Interior Ministry spokesman in the Afghan capital said. Police cordoned off the area, located near the house of the deputy government Chief Executive Mohammad Mohaqiq but they said the target of the attack was so far unclear. Acting Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said at least 12 people had been killed and 10 wounded but the casualty toll could rise further. The latest suicide bombing adds to the unrelenting violence in Afghanistan, where at least 1,662 civilians were killed in the first half of the year. It came two weeks after the Daesh group claimed an attack on a mosque in the capital that killed at least four people. Kabul has accounted for at least 20 percent of all civilian casualties this year, including at least 150 people killed in a massive truck bomb attack at the end of May, according to United Nations figures. It also coincides with the US administration weighing up its strategic options for Afghanistan, including the possibility of sending more troops to bolster the training and advisory mission already helping Afghan forces.
  21. Qatar's Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani (L) and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shake hands before a meeting at the US State Department on June 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. PHOTO: AFP WASHINGTON: Saudi Arabia reiterated Tuesday that its demands on Qatar were not negotiable, as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held talks with the Qatari foreign minister on the Gulf states crisis. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, who was also in Washington, was unbudging amid attempts by US and Kuwaiti diplomats to mediate the row which has left Qatar, a US ally, isolated under a trade and diplomatic embargo set by its Gulf Arab neighbors. "Our demands on Qatar are non-negotiable. It´s now up to Qatar to end its support for extremism and terrorism," Jubeir said via Twitter. Riyadh has laid down a list of 13 demands for Qatar, included the closure of Al-Jazeera, a downgrade of diplomatic ties with Iran and the shutdown of a Turkish military base in the emirate. The United States though has cautioned that some of the demands would be difficult for Qatar to accept, asking the Saudis for a clear list of grievances that are "reasonable and actionable." Shortly after Jubeir´s comments, Tillerson met with Qatar´s top diplomat Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. He was to meet later with Kuwait Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah. Kuwait has taken on the official role of mediator in the spat. State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said talks would continue through the week, but added the Saudi demands remained "challenging" for Qatar. "Some of them will be difficult for Qatar to incorporate and to try to adhere to," she said. "We continue to call on those countries to work together and work this out." Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain announced on June 5 they were suspending all ties with Qatar, accusing it of support for extremist groups -- a claim Doha denies. They have also closed their airspace to Qatari carriers and blocked the emirate´s only land border, a vital route for its food imports. The move placed Washington uncomfortably in the middle, with its close economic and security ties with both sides. Qatar is home to the largest US base in the region, Al-Udeid. Bahrain is home to the US Navy´s Fifth Fleet. The US and Saudi militaries work closely together as well.
  22. PESHAWAR: A bomb resembling a toy killed at least six children Sunday in Speenmark village in the South Waziristan, officials said. The bomb exploded while the children were playing with it in the tribal district. "Six children aged between six to 12 years, all boys, were killed by a toy bomb and two others wounded critically," a local government official told AFP on condition of anonymity. Another local security official confirmed the incident and casualties. The origin of the bomb was unclear. Dozens of children, mostly in north-west Pakistan, have lost their lives in the past when playing with "toys" that turned out to be explosive devices. South Waziristan is also one of the seven tribal areas, where the army has for more than a decade been battling militants linked to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Pakistan army launched an operation in June 2014 in neighbouring North Waziristan to wipe out terrorist bases in the tribal areas and end an insurgency that has cost thousands of civilian lives since 2004. As a result, security has improved.
  23. Photo: Geo News screen grab LASHKAR GAH: A powerful car bomb on Thursday struck a bank in Afghanistan´s Lashkar Gah city when civilian and military government employees were queuing to withdraw their salaries, causing multiple casualties, officials said. At least 50 wounded people were rushed to hospital, government spokesman Omar Zwak told AFP, with another official warning of multiple fatalities. No group has claimed responsibility for the latest in a series of brazen attacks during the month of Ramadan, but it comes as the Taliban ramp up their annual spring offensive. The insurgents control large swathes of Helmand province, of which Lashkar Gah is the capital. "Around 12 noon a car bomb exploded at the entrance of New Kabul Bank," Salam Afghan, police spokesman in the city, told AFP. "It happened at a time when civilians and officials had lined up outside the bank to collect their salaries." Washington is soon expected to announce an increase in the US military deployment to bolster Afghan forces, who are struggling to contain the Taliban insurgency. American military commanders in Afghanistan have requested thousands of extra boots on the ground. US troops in Afghanistan now number about 8,400, and there are another 5,000 from NATO allies, a far cry from the US presence of more than 100,000 six years ago. They mainly serve as trainers and advisers. The Afghan conflict is the longest in American history, with US-led forces at war since the Taliban regime was ousted in 2001.
  24. Kabul: A suicide bomber struck a crowded mosque in Kabul late Thursday, officials said, in the latest militant attack in the month of Ramazan in the Afghan capital. The bomber blew himself up in the kitchen of the mosque after police prevented him from entering the main building packed with worshippers, the interior ministry said with witnesses also reporting gunfire in the area. "Terrorist attack on Al Zahra mosque in west of Kabul. Special forces have been sent to the area," ministry spokesman Najib Danish said, without revealing if there were any casualties. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the assault. Kabul has been on edge since a massive truck bomb on May 31 killed more than 150 people and wounded hundreds in the city's fortified diplomatic quarter, the deadliest attack in the Afghan capital since 2001. Just days later protesters incensed by the bombing clashed with police, prompting authorities to respond with live rounds, which left at least four people dead. Separately, suicide bombers tore through a row of mourners at the funeral for one of the protesters, killing at least seven more people. The carnage during the holy fasting month of Ramazan has left the Afghan capital shaken, with protesters who have set up a sit-in camp close to the bombing site demanding the resignation of Ghani's government.
  25. HILLA: A suicide bomber blew himself up in a market in the town of Musayyib, south of Baghdad, on Friday killing at least 20 people, medical and security sources said. "A suicide bomber blew himself up in Musayyib market, causing 20 civilian martyrs," an interior ministry spokesman said. At least 34 other people were wounded in the attack in the centre of Musayyib, a town that lies about 60 kilometres (35 miles) south of the capital, a police officer and a medic at the local hospital said. There was no immediate claim for the attack, which struck at around 11:30 am (0830 GMT), but Daesh has claimed responsibility for most such bombings recently. *This is a developing story and will be updated as soon as more details are available.