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  1. KARACHI: IG Sindh AD Khawaja submitted a report containing names of police officials involved in different criminal activities and violation of code of conduct in the Supreme Court Karachi Registry on Friday. On Thursday, a two-member bench of Supreme Court had expressed discontentment on lack of action against as many as 66 police officials named in criminal records. The judges had shown their reservations on leniency shown to certain police officials. The report submitted today contained names of 130 police officers and personnel who were forced to retire. The ones forced to retire from the force included inspectors Hameedullah Niazi, Hummayun Ahmed and Hayatullah, according to the report. ?Leniency? for police officials with criminal records displeases Supreme Court Justice Sajjad Ali Shah said that politicians are involved in supporting certain police officers Sub-inspectors (SIs) Ghulam Rasool, Abdul Sattar, Amjad Pervez, Mohammad Yasin, Mohammad Mumtaz, Mohammad Afzal, Riasat Ali, Lal Khan Khatak, Akber Hameed Ghauri, Khalid Mahmood Butt, Rehmat Ali, Syed Hussain Raza, Atta Mohammad, Muneer Hussain Chandio, Luqman Bangash, Mohammad Javed, Mohammad Shafi and Mohammad Yousuf were also among the ones relieved from service, it said. The report stated that assistant sub-instectors (ASIs) Fakhar Awais, Lal Mohammad, Altaf Raza, Sabir Hussain, Syed Mehboob Ali Shah, Mohammad Shafi, Ghulam Yasin were also among officials who faced forced retirement. It said that 19 officers were dismissed from service. The IG Sindh assured the court that no one will be discriminated against in the investigations into the matter.
  2. KARACHI: A two-member bench of Supreme Court on Thursday expressed discontentment on lack of action against as many as 66 police officials named in criminal records. During the judicial proceeding, Sindh Inspector General AD Khawaja and Home Secretary submitted a report before the court, reacting on the content of the report, the judges showed their reservations on the leniency shown to certain police officials. Justice Gulzar Ahmed remarked that why there is a difference in punishments against police officials on the same crime, pointing out at the Home Secretary, the judge said that the issue should have been addressed by the administration. Justice Sajjad Ali Shah said that politicians are involved in supporting certain police officers. Speaking on the occasion, Sindh IG AD Khawaja said that he can only take action against Grade 15 officers, above that grade, the mandate to take action rests with Secretary Establishment. Home Secretary informed the court that a summary of departmental action against 22 officers have been sent to secretary establishment, while IG Sindh stated that he has sent 35 names to the said department in a different summary. The court summoned a report from secretary establishment on the action taken against police officers of Grade 17 and above in two-week time and demanded clarification from Home Secretary on the alleged leniency shown for some police officers.
  3. 'I think Mr. Trump is, for whatever reason, either intimidated by Mr. Putin, afraid of what he could do, or what might come out as a result of these investigations,' said former CIA director WASHINGTON: Two former top US intelligence officials said on Sunday they fear President Donald Trump is being manipulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin, after Trump said he believed Putin was sincere in denying Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Former CIA Director John Brennan and ex-National Intelligence Director James Clapper both said Trump was mishandling Moscow ties even as a special counsel investigates possible collusion between Trump?s campaign team and Russia. ?I think Mr. Trump is, for whatever reason, either intimidated by Mr. Putin, afraid of what he could do, or what might come out as a result of these investigations... It?s either naiveté, ignorance or fear in terms of what Mr. Trump is doing vis-à-vis the Russians,? Brennan said in an appearance with Clapper on CNN?s ?State of the Union.? Clapper added that foreign leaders who roll out the red carpet for Trump are able to manipulate Trump. ?I do think both the Chinese and the Russians think they can play him,? Clapper said. Their comments came after Trump told reporters over the weekend that he had spoken with Putin again over allegations of Russian meddling in the presidential election and that the Russian president again denied any involvement. ?I really believe that, when he tells me that, he means it,? Trump told reporters. ?I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.? Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on the same show that the criticism leveled against Trump?s management of relations with Russia and China was ?ridiculous.? ?President Trump is not getting played by anybody,? Mnuchin said. Trump also took a swipe at Obama-era intelligence officials Brennan, Clapper and former FBI Director James Comey, calling them ?political hacks? and questioning the findings of a US intelligence report that concluded that Russians sought to tilt the election in Trump?s favor. Facing sharp criticism, Trump walked back from some of those comments on Sunday, saying he has faith in the intelligence leaders he has hired. Brennan on Sunday called Trump?s criticism of him a ?badge of honor,? and Clapper suggested said Trump?s denial of Russian interference in the election ?poses a peril to the country.? When asked, Brennan declined to say whether he knows of any intelligence to suggest that the Russians have compromising or damaging information on Trump. A dossier penned by a former British spy contains unverified claims that Russia does have embarrassing information on Trump.
  4. The accident took place in Krishna river about 25 kilometres (15 miles) from Vijayawada city, district administrative chief B. Lakshmikantham told Reuters. Photo: AFP file NEW DELHI/BHUBANESWAR: At least 11 people died on Sunday when a tourist boat capsized in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, officials said. The accident took place in Krishna river about 25 kilometres (15 miles) from Vijayawada city, district administrative chief B. Lakshmikantham told Reuters. The administration was investigating what caused the incident, he said. Twenty of the roughly 35 people on the boat were rescued and the search operations were ongoing, India?s National Disaster Response Force said on Twitter.
  5. A stock exchange information is seen on a screen is seen as a man works on the trading floor at the Dubai Financial Market April 29, 2012. Photo: Reuters DUBAI: Saudi Arabia?s stock market fell in early trade on Sunday after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman moved to consolidate his power and crack down on corruption with a cabinet reshuffle and a string of detentions of prominent figures. The Saudi equities index (TASI) was down 1.0 per cent after 25 minutes of trade as declining stocks overwhelmed advancers by 155 to 15. Investment firm Kingdom Holding, owned by billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who was one of those detained, plunged 9.9 per cent. Shares in National Industrialization Co (Tasnee), in which Kingdom holds a 6.2 per cent stake, fell 1.3 per cent and Banque Saudi Fransi, in which Kingdom bought a 16.2 per cent stake in September, sank 2.8 per cent. However, much of the market escaped panic selling and some blue chips were little changed, with top petrochemical producer Saudi Basic Industries down only 0.2 per cent. Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television reported a new anti-corruption committee chaired by Prince Mohammed had detained 11 princes, four current ministers and tens of former ministers, as well as several senior businessmen. Analysts said the news worried the stock market because businessmen implicated in the probe might end up having to sell some of their equity holdings, which could temporarily at least weaken prices. New investment in the market by the businessmen could shrink. However, they said local investors might ultimately welcome the prospect of Prince Mohammed increasing his power and reducing uncertainty about his authority. Economic reforms such as privatisation and development projects could potentially now move faster. Elsewhere in the Gulf, Dubai?s stock market fell 0.9 per cent as the most heavily traded stock, Deyaar Development, lost 1.9 per cent. Qatar?s stock index dropped 0.6 per cent in a broad-based decline, with nine of the 10 most active stocks weaker.
  6. ISLAMABAD: A delegation under the auspicious of JS Global and led by Governor Sindh Muhammad Zubair met with officials of the US treasury and department of foreign affairs during a visit to the US. Zubair during the meeting said that investment by China in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects does not mean US investor?s confidence is Pakistan has lessened. On Thursday, while speaking at a reception hosted by the Consul General of Pakistan in New York, the governor said the visit has helped enhance the confidence of American investors. Zubair said that the very purpose of the visit was to apprise American investors and businessmen of the factual situation as well as the ground realities and to attract them to invest. Pakistan provides a very conducive, business-friendly and profitable environment, he said. He stated that the delegation's meeting with the office bearers of the New York Stock Exchange was very encouraging and the two-day investment conference remained quite positive. Governor Sindh was of the view that US investors and businessmen were keen to invest in Pakistan but seemed reluctant owing to a negative perception which, in fact, was contrary to the ground realities. Pakistan is seeing a wide range of business, economic, cultural and literary activities, Zubair informed US officials. The Governor said that US investment would help overcome unemployment and poverty and will also help foster bilateral ties.
  7. One-time advisor of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump Carter Page addresses the audience during a presentation in Moscow, Russia, December 12, 2016. REUTERS WASHINGTON: A foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump?s presidential campaign met Russian government officials last year, the New York Times reported on Friday, citing testimony he gave this week to a US congressional committee. In numerous media interviews in recent months, the adviser, Carter Page, has either denied meeting Russian government officials during a July 2016 trip to Moscow or said he met ?mostly scholars,? the newspaper said. Page sent an email to at least one Trump campaign aide describing his insights after conversations with Russian government officials and others, the Times reported, citing a person familiar with the message. The newspaper said the email was read aloud during the closed-door testimony on Thursday to the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, which is investigating efforts by Russia to tip the November 2016 election in Trump?s favor and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Russia says it did not interfere in the election and Trump has denied any collusion. Page played down the significance of the meetings in an interview with the Times on Friday. ?I had a very brief hello to a couple of people. That was it,? he said. Page said one of the people he met was a ?senior person,? but would not confirm the person?s identity. Special counsel Robert Mueller, who has impaneled a grand jury in his probe of the collusion allegations, charged Trump?s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and another aide, Rick Gates, with money laundering on Monday. It was announced the same day that another Trump adviser, George Papadopoulos, had pleaded guilty early in October to lying to the FBI. Page was questioned by the FBI earlier this year and has also appeared before the grand jury as part of the special counsel?s probe, the Times said.
  8. Jesus Martin was a gang leader for "Huachicoleros", who live from stealing fuel mostly from pipelines in Puebla state. Image Courtesy: BBC via EPA MEXICO CITY: A Mexican crime boss was murdered on the operating table as he underwent plastic surgery to change his face and erase his fingerprints, officials in the central city of Puebla said. Gunmen burst into the clinic where Jesus "El Kalimba" Martin was undergoing the procedure on Monday afternoon and executed him along with three other people, Puebla state prosecutors said. Martin was wanted by the authorities for allegedly leading a fuel theft ring that illegally taps pipelines to steal gasoline and diesel ? a risky but lucrative business that has become Mexico's second-biggest organized crime problem after drug trafficking. "He was trying to change his identity with a series of plastic surgery procedures to alter his face and remove his fingerprints so he couldn't be identified," prosecutors said in a statement. "The medical personnel involved are also being investigated." Monday was a bloodbath in Puebla, where a total of 12 people were killed in what investigators say was a settling of scores between rival members of Martin's gang. Five were murdered in the village of Tlaltenango on a farm where authorities found tubes, valves, and pumps for illegal pipeline taps, as well as three stolen vehicles. Three other victims appear to have been passersby caught in the crossfire, investigators said. Prosecutors said the hits appeared to have been ordered by another crime boss known as "El Irving" who had the same rank as Martin within the gang. Puebla is the epicentre of the booming fuel theft racket, which state oil company Pemex estimates has cost it $2.4 billion since 2010.
  9. British Prime Minister Theresa May sits waiting before a meeting with European Commission President Donald Tusk at the EU summit in Brussels, October 20, 2017. AFP/Pool/Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Files BRUSSELS: EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and his senior aides on Monday vehemently denied a German newspaper report saying British Prime Minister Theresa May pleaded with him for help in the stalled Brexit negotiations at a dinner in Brussels last week. German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) said May "begged" Juncker for assistance, warning Europeans of the immense political risk she had taken domestically in backing away from a hard Brexit and asking for a two-year transition period. The article, which did not cite sources, said May appeared "tortured," "fearful" and "discouraged" at a dinner with Juncker just days ahead of a summit in which EU leaders handed May a small victory by agreeing to start preparations for the next stage of negotiations. The report which appeared on Sunday said Juncker later told colleagues that May appeared beaten down by party infighting and looked like she wasn't sleeping at night, with "dark circles" under her eyes. A similar leak to the same newspaper after another private meeting between the pair in May ignited a diplomatic row. This time Juncker, his right-hand man Martin Selmayr and the European Commission's chief spokesman all lined up to issue speedy denials of the report. Juncker told the BBC he was "shocked" by what appeared in the FAZ, insisting that "nothing is true" in it. "It was a good meeting. She was neither tired nor defeated," Juncker later told a gathering of students in the French city of Strasbourg. In a tweet, Juncker's cabinet chief Selmayr, who was at the dinner with May, also gave a staunch denial. "I deny that 1/we leaked this; 2/Juncker ever said this; 3/we are punitive on Brexit," wrote Selmayr. "It's an attempt to frame EU side and to undermine." Fraught atmosphere Selmayr's response came after May's former joint chief of staff Nick Timothy took to Twitter to accuse him of leaking the information, calling it a "reminder that some in Brussels want no deal or a punitive one". Selmayr, a former ECB official from Germany, is a powerful figure in Brussels, known as a skilled spin doctor and is often thought to be a source to FAZ, a conservative Frankfurt-based daily. It is the latest leak to highlight the fraught atmosphere surrounding the talks, whose slow progress has stoked fears Britain could leave the European Union in March 2019 without a deal in place, risking economic and legal chaos. The EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier meanwhile said that the transition period could go up to 2020. "At this stage, I don't have a mandate on this point. But if we can reach an agreement, such a period that is short and clearly defined is possible," he told France's Les Echos financial newspaper. "It will give us a little more time to prepare the future relationship." May is struggling to contain divisions within her government and Brexit hardliners have been quick to jump on any opportunity to paint Brussels as insincere or vindictive in their negotiating tactics. Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas accused unnamed people of trying to "point at us to serve their own political agendas, their own political priorities or even to undermine our negotiating position". The row in May erupted after the FAZ reported that Juncker had left a dinner meeting with the British PM "10 times more sceptical" about the prospect of a Brexit deal and told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that May was in a "different galaxy".
  10. KHOST: Suicide bombers and gunmen launched an attack on a police training centre in southeastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, officials said, in the latest violence to rock the war-torn country. The Taliban claimed responsibility in a tweet for the ongoing attack at the centre in Gardiz, capital of Paktia province, which borders Pakistan. "At first a suicide bomber detonated a car filled with explosives near the training centre, making way for a number of attackers to start their assault", the interior ministry said in a statement. A battle between the attackers, armed with guns and suicide vests, and security forces was under way inside the centre which is located near the Paktia police headquarters, according to the interior ministry statement. There were no immediate reports of casualties. A local official said two car bombs blew up near the compound that also houses the provincial headquarters of the national police, border police and Afghan National Army. "A group of gunmen have entered the compound and fighting is ongoing," Allah Mir Bahram, a member of the Paktia provincial council, told AFP.
  11. Nikki Haley ? the US Ambassador to the United Nations ? delivers remarks at a security council meeting at UN headquarters during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City, US, September 21, 2017. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith/Files WASHINGTON: Senior Trump administration officials said on Sunday that the United States was committed to remaining part of the Iran nuclear accord for now, despite President Donald Trump?s criticisms of the deal and his warnings that he might pull out. Nikki Haley ? the US ambassador to the United Nations ? said that Tehran is complying with the 2015 nuclear accord intended to increase Iran?s accountability in return for the lifting of some economic sanctions. ?I think right now, you?re going to see us stay in the deal,? Haley told NBC?s Meet the Press. In a speech on Friday, Trump laid out an aggressive approach regarding Iran and said he would not certify it is complying with the nuclear accord, despite a determination by the United Nations? nuclear watchdog that Tehran is meeting its terms. The Republican president threw the issue to the US Congress, which has 60 days to decide whether to reinstate US sanctions. He warned that if ?we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated?. So far, none of the other signatories to the deal ? Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, Iran, and the European Union (EU) ? have cited serious concerns, leaving the United States isolated. In her Meet the Press interview, Haley said the United States was not saying that Iran was in breach of the agreement, but she raised concerns about its activities that are not covered by the pact, including weapons sales and sponsorship of militant groups such as Hezbollah. Haley said that other countries were ?turning a blind eye? to these Iranian activities in order to ?protect? the nuclear agreement. She said the United States needed to weigh a ?proportionate? response to Tehran?s actions on the world stage. ?The goal at the end of the day is to hold Iran accountable,? Haley said in the interview, which mainly focused on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the nuclear deal is formally known. Haley and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hammered away at the need to address what they see as shortcomings in the two-year-old international accord while simultaneously placing pressure to rein in Iranian activities outside the scope of that deal. A second pact? Tillerson, alluding to other signatory countries? opposition to reopening the Iran pact, raised the possibility of ?a second agreement? to run parallel to the existing one. Among the ?areas of concern,? he mentioned were its sunset provisions and Tehran?s ballistic missile program. Haley also said the reason the United States was looking closely at the Iran nuclear deal was due to escalating tensions over North Korea?s nuclear weapons development. ?What we?re saying now with Iran is don?t let it become the next North Korea.? On Friday, Trump also said he was authorizing the US Treasury to sanction Iran?s Revolutionary Guards, and on Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he was planning to move ahead. Mnuchin ? interviewed on Fox News? Sunday Morning Futures ? said he has spoken about Iran with his counterparts attending World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings in recent days. He did not provide any details on possible sanctions. US Senator Susan Collins ? appearing on ABC?s This Week ? noted that Trump could have taken a more extreme step by withdrawing from the agreement. But in words of support for Trump, the moderate Republican lawmaker said, ?Instead, he put a spotlight on two troubling deficiencies in the agreement,? referring to a lack of limitations on Iran?s tests of ballistic missiles and a ?pathway to developing a nuclear weapon? down the road. While many US allies strongly criticized Trump?s decision not to recertify the Iran deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the move, saying the current terms of the Iran nuclear accord would allow it to have a nuclear stockpile within a decade. ?We cannot allow this rogue regime 30 times the size of North Korea?s economy to have a nuclear arsenal,? Netanyahu said on CBS? Face the Nation.
  12. Pakistani security officials in the border areas. Photo: AFP/File KURRAM: Three landmine explosions in Kurram Agency resulted in the deaths of three security personnel. Officials of the political administration in Kurram Agency said the explosions, caused by landmines, occurred in the border town of Kharlachi as the Frontier Corps troops were on a patrol. Bodies of the martyred officials and the injured were taken to a hospital in the agency's headquarters, Parachinar. A search operation was launched by security forces after the incident. Four security officials injured in roadside blast in Kurram Agency The officials were on routine patrol near the Afghan border when the incident occurred On September 27 this year, four security personnel were injured when two roadside bombs exploded near their vehicle close to the Afghan border in Kurram Agency. Officials of the political administration said the incident occurred in Shorki, Lower Kurram. Kurram Agency borders three provinces of Afghanistan and witnesses several cross-border attacks.
  13. [embed_video1 url= style=center] MULTAN: Veteran politician Javed Hashmi on Thursday said that next general election must be held on time. Addressing a press conference, he hailed the sacrifices of security officials especially for the restoration of peace in Karachi. Replying to a question, he dispelled the impression that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) top leadership had been involved in a confrontation with institutions. However, he said PML-N's government shouldn?t be pushed into back gear for any reason, especially when it was smoothly running the affairs of the state. In response to another query, he said the incumbent government should reconsider defence and foreign policy in the best interest of the country.
  14. Poroshenko says Ukraine has reached a 'point of no return for judicial reform'. Photo: AFP Ukraine's anti-corruption bureau said Wednesday it had detained a deputy defence minister and another top military official for allegedly embezzling millions in state funding through an illegal oil-purchase scheme. The announcement was the highest-profile indictment against any official since the Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) launched a graft case against the now-deposed tax service chief Roman Nasirov in March. NABU did not identify the two defence officials but said the fraud had cost the budget 149 million hryvnias ($5.6 million / 4.7 million euros at today's exchange rate) in 2016. The bureau said the arrangement involved an oil purchase contract that was later revised to inflate the original price by 16 percent to benefit the unnamed supplier. "NABU detectives and special anti-corruption prosecutors have detained two suspected culprits -- a deputy defence minister of Ukraine and the director of the state resource procurement and supply department of the Ukrainian defence ministry," NABU said in a statement. Ukraine's defence ministry said an investigation into two officials whose titles matched those named by NABU was in progress but provided no other details. Poroshenko's promise Corruption has long ravaged the crisis-torn former Soviet republic and been a top concern of both Ukraine's foreign partners and global financial support organisations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF). But NABU has faced stiff resistance since its launch in December 2015 from institutions such as the general prosecutor's office and the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). Analysts view both as controlled by vested interests and incapable of leading independent probes into financial misdeeds. The IMF is pressing the pro-Western leaders who rose to power after a 2014 revolution ousted a Russian-backed regime to shore up NABU's efforts by setting up a special anti-corruption court. They say those indicted by NABU often walk free after paying bail and point to Nasirov's case as an example. Nasirov is still under investigation by the general prosecutor's office and has only been barred from leaving Kiev while he cooperates with the authorities in the slow-moving case. Poroshenko told a meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in the French city of Strasbourg on Wednesday that Ukraine had reached "the point of no return for judicial reform". "I know that the creation of the Anti-Corruption Court draws special attention," Poroshenko said in comments released by his office. "Currently, we are looking for optimal way to establish this vital body." Poroshenko said the current draft law on anti-corruption courts had problems and required broader concensus. "That is why there is a need for all democratic political forces and civil society to get united," Poroshenko said.
  15. BEIJING: China?s anti-graft watchdog said roughly 1.34 million lower-ranking officials have been punished since 2013 under President Xi Jinping?s anti-corruption drive. Xi, who is preparing for a major Communist Party leadership conference later this month, has made an anti-graft campaign targeting ?tigers and flies?, both high and low ranking officials, a core policy priority during his five-year term. China is preparing for the 19th Congress later this month, a twice-a-decade leadership event where Xi is expected to consolidate power and promote his policy positions. Those punished for graft since 2013 include 648,000 village-level officials and most crimes were related to small scale corruption, said the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) on Sunday. While much of the country?s anti-graft drive has targeted lower ranking village and county officials, several high-ranking figures have been taken down. In August the head of the anti-graft committee for China?s Ministry of Finance was himself put under investigation for suspected graft. In September a senior military officer who sits on China?s powerful Central Military Commission, overseen by Xi, was detained and questioned over corruption-related offenses, Reuters reported. The CCDI said 155,000 country-level party bureaus have set up corruption policing mechanisms as of August, representing 94.8 percent of total bureaus.
  16. John Williams ? the President and Chief Executive Officer of the US Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco ? addresses a news conference in Zurich, Switzerland, September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/Files ST. LOUIS: Federal Reserve officials have started to push back on the idea that the Trump administration?s tax cut plan would boost the economy, cautioning it could instead trigger high inflation, unsustainable debt, and an eventual return to sub-par growth. Slashing personal or corporate tax rates could boost short-term growth as households and businesses spend more, Fed policymakers acknowledged, but those benefits could prove short-lived due to broad trends like population ageing and rising indebtedness. The remarks about US President Donald Trump?s proposed tax overhaul come as he is ramping up a search for a new Fed chair, promising a decision this month. Unless targeted to raise productivity and underlying potential, a tax cut could feed ?unsustainable? growth that could ultimately be undone by asset price bubbles, inflation and possible recession, San Francisco Fed President John Williams told reporters on the sidelines of a community banking conference here on Thursday. ?Having policies that don?t kind of maintain this sustainable path, stable inflation, will just end up, we know from history, creating potential recessions or high inflation or other problems and that doesn?t benefit anybody,? he said. White House pressure on the Fed to keep interest rates low in the 1960s in order to boost growth contributed to a subsequent period of so-called stagflation, or low growth and high inflation, in the 1970s, Williams noted. Williams said he feels the economy as it stands now can on average grow 1.5 percent annually, half the 3 percent growth that Trump has promised, without those sorts of problems. While tax code changes and other reforms could raise potential, Williams said early analysis of such proposals show they ?mostly boost demand and tend to have relatively small? impacts on things like labour supply and productivity growth. Fed independence cut both ways Fed officials have traditionally hesitated to speak directly about fiscal issues, leaving tax and spending matters to elected officials. Government officials similarly refrain from commenting on or trying to influence Fed policy. But the fate of the administration?s tax proposal, its effect on the economy and the Fed?s possible reaction to it are major unknowns for an economy that is doing well in many respects, with low unemployment and sustained growth since the 2007-2009 financial crisis. The Trump administration has proposed $6 trillion in personal and corporate tax cuts at a time when many economists feel the country is not in need of massive stimulus. Many of the tax plan details need to be worked out on Capitol Hill, but the broad idea is to offset most of the government revenue lost through lower tax rates by eliminating some tax deductions and loopholes, relying on faster economic growth to take care of the rest. Fed leadership under consideration Some of the deductions are already in trouble in Congress, while the effect that tax cuts will have on growth is a matter of controversy even among economists reportedly under consideration by Trump for Fed chair. Stanford visiting fellow and former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh, Columbia University business school dean Glenn Hubbard, and Stanford University professor John Taylor, in a general endorsement of the thrust of Trump?s plans, argued in a mid-July report that tax cuts could raise productivity and bring enough people back into the workforce to boost economic growth to 3 percent. But they said that would only happen if the tax cuts were paired with restrictions on entitlement spending, an idea Trump opposed as a candidate when he promised to protect Social Security and Medicare. ?Tax reform and spending reductions go hand-in-hand,? wrote the group. Warsh, in particular, is considered a possible contender to replace Fed Chair Janet Yellen. ?Without significant spending restraint, even with positive effects on economic growth, the tax rate reductions would likely be limited and temporary, limiting their economic benefits.? Dallas Federal Reserve bank president Robert Kaplan earlier this week warned that tax cuts on their own may trade short-term growth for long-term damage. ?My concern is you would create a bump in (gross domestic product) that would be short term, you would then decline back down to trend growth except when you declined back down you would be more leveraged than when you started,? he said.
  17. The American flag flies in front of the Capitol Dome. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts WASHINGTON: Congressional Republicans moved to hasten an overhaul of the US tax code on Thursday, while Federal Reserve officials warned in rare public remarks that President Donald Trump?s tax plan could lead to inflation and unsustainable federal debt. In a procedural step forward, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved by a 219-206 vote a fiscal 2018 spending blueprint to help advance an eventual tax bill. The blueprint contains a legislative tool that would let Republicans pass a tax bill by a simple majority vote in the Senate, where they hold 52 of 100 seats, allowing them to bypass Democrats. Separately, the Senate Budget Committee approved its own budget resolution and sent it to the full Senate for a vote, expected after October 16. Trump and top Republicans in Congress hope to enact a package of tax cuts for corporations, small businesses and individuals before January, pledging that sharply lower taxes will boost US economic growth, jobs and wages. Wall Street rose on the steps taken, with major market indexes rising to record high closes again on Thursday as investors warmed to the notion that a sweeping tax overhaul could be in place by the first quarter. "It sounds like they're serious about drafting tax reform legislation and that gives everyone greater confidence that this might actually happen," Phil Orlando ? the chief equity strategist at Federated Investors in New York ? said. Orlando predicted tax reform could lift economic growth and corporate earnings for 2019 and send the benchmark S&P 500 index above 3,000. The index on Thursday finished at 2,552.07. But Federal Reserve officials questioned the rosy Republican scenario, saying that proposed tax cuts could deliver a short-term growth surge but also bring high inflation, burdensome government debt levels, and an eventual return to sub-par economic growth. Unless targeted to raise productivity and underlying potential, San Francisco Fed President John Williams said a tax cut could feed ?unsustainable? growth that would ultimately be undone by asset price bubbles, inflation, and possible recession. Fed officials generally refrain from commenting on fiscal policy. But the Trump administration is proposing up to $6 trillion in personal and corporate tax cuts at a time when many economists feel the country does not need massive stimulus. Democrats say it benefits the wealthy The procedural actions in Congress set the stage for a possible clash among Republicans that could delay consideration of a bill. While the House budget prohibits tax reform from adding to the deficit, the Senate?s version would allow tax legislation to lose $1.5 trillion in revenue over a decade. Republicans claim tax reform would reduce the deficit in years beyond a decade. House and Senate Republicans must iron out their differences and approve the same budget resolution before it can provide Republicans with the legislative advantage requiring only a simple majority vote in the Senate known as reconciliation. The Fed's criticism was only the latest to hit the Republican plan. Democrats have assailed it as benefiting the wealthiest Americans while raising taxes on the middle class and cutting spending on social programs, including the Medicare and Medicaid healthcare programs for senior citizens, the poor and the disabled. Republican lawmakers are also questioning a proposal to help pay for tax cuts by eliminating popular tax deductions. Some Republican fiscal hawks have warned they will not back a tax reform package that adds to the deficit. The Trump tax plan would add about $2.4 trillion to the deficit over the next decade, said the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center ? a Washington think tank ? at a time when the national debt already exceeds $20 trillion. ?Where is all that money coming from?? Representative John Yarmuth ? the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee ? asked on the House floor. ?If you?re listening to this and you?re not a millionaire, probably from you.? In the Senate, Democrats sought to hamstring the Republican budget resolution with amendments that would prevent tax legislation from benefiting the wealthy, raising taxes on the middle class and adding to the deficit. But Republicans successfully turned aside the effort by voting the measures down. Democrats also called for an end to reconciliation, the legislative procedure that would sideline them in a Senate vote.
  18. At least nine Afghan police were wounded in the "erroneous" airstrike in Gereshk district. Photo: File KANDAHAR: An Afghan airstrike killed 10 security forces in volatile Helmand province on Sunday, an official said, as the military attempts to push back Taliban insurgents. At least nine Afghan police were wounded in the "erroneous" airstrike in Gereshk district and an investigation is underway, Helmand governor Hayatullah Hayat told AFP. "The airstrike happened as Afghan forces were pushing to break through the Taliban frontline in the strategic area that has been the scene of heavy fighting over the past several days," Hayat said. The incident, which was confirmed by the defence ministry, comes more than two months after a US airstrike killed 16 Afghan police and wounded two others in the same district, large parts of which are under Taliban control. Most of opium-rich Helmand province is controlled or contested by the Taliban, who are heavily reliant on the proceeds of drug trafficking to fuel their insurgency.
  19. Photo: File KURRAM: Four personnel were injured on Wednesday when two roadside bombs exploded near a security forces vehicle close to the Afghan border in Kurram Agency. Officials of the political administration said the incident occurred in Shorki, Lower Kurram. Four security forces personnel were injured and their vehicle badly damaged as a result of the blasts caused by landmines, said officials. The vehicle was said to be on routine patrol near the Afghan border when the incident occurred.
  20. Photo: File SIALKOT: Two wildlife officers of the Punjab Wildlife and Parks Department were shot dead by poachers on Sunday. Inspector Manzoor and Constable Mushtaq from the special squad in Gujranwala region were killed by poachers armed with automated weapons near Sialkot. The officers, according to a statement by the WWF Pakistan, were killed while intercepting an attempt of illegal poaching of migratory birds. WWF-Pakistan strongly condemned the killing of the two officers. "WWF Pakistan stands with the Punjab Wildlife and Parks Department and the families of martyrs in solidarity and strongly condemns this inhumane act," the organisation tweeted. "WWF Pakistan urges stringent punishments against those found culpable and assures its full support." The brutal killing of the two officials is extremely sad and shocking news for the entire team of WWF Pakistan, CEO Hammad Naqi Khan said. Commenting on the challenges faced by the field staff of the wildlife and forests departments, Khan added that 'they work tirelessly to protect endangered and iconic wildlife species and their habitats' most of which are in demand in the illegal wildlife trade market. "These unsung conservation heroes regularly pay with their lives while trying to keep our natural treasures safe," Khan said. The situation prevails in Asia and Africa in particular. According to an assessment of the International Ranger Federation (IRF), over 100 field rangers (wildlife and forest staff) died on duty during 2015 alone, of which 40 percent were killed by poachers. This is further intensified by loopholes and low penalties in the provincial wildlife protection laws against the poachers and wildlife traffickers making it a low risk and high-profit business.
  21. KARACHI: Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan chief Farooq Sattar and Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar called on the leader of the Bohra community at Tahiri Mosque on Sunday. The three political leaders, hailing from different political parties, met Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifud­din who is in the country for observing Muharram. Speaking to the media, the governor said establishing peace in the megacity is everyone?s responsibility, whereas the chief minister said they are ensuring that the best security arrangements are in place for Muharram. Bohra community members from across the globe to observe Ashra in Karachi Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifud­din, the head of the Dawoodi Bohra community, arrived in the city on September 14 The head of the Dawoodi Bohra community arrived in the city on September 14. Dr Saifuddin, who travelled from India, is expected to narrate events of historical and cultural significance and discuss issues impacting the community. For Ashra [Muharram 1 to 10], the community has built extensions to their main mosque on II Chundrigar Road to double the capacity of the complex. Moreover, the hotels near Bohra community's Taheri Masjid have been completely booked and bus companies have also been hired to ferry attendees from different parts of the city.
  22. Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during his weekly broadcast "Los Domingos con Maduro" (The Sundays with Maduro) in Caracas, Venezuela, September 17, 2017. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS OTTAWA: Canada will impose targeted sanctions against 40 Venezuelan senior officials, including President Nicolás Maduro, to punish them for ?anti-democratic behaviour?, the foreign ministry said on Friday. Canada?s move ? which followed a similar decision by the United States ? came after months of protests against Maduro?s government in which at least 125 people have been killed. Critics say he has plunged the nation into its worst-ever economic crisis and brought it to the brink of dictatorship. ?Canada will not stand by silently as the government of Venezuela robs its people of their fundamental democratic rights,? Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement. The measures include freezing the assets of the officials and banning Canadians from having any dealings with them. The actions were ?in response to the government of Venezuela?s deepening descent into dictatorship?, Canada said. There was no immediate reaction from Caracas, where the government established a pro-Maduro legislative super body that has overruled the country?s opposition-led Congress. Maduro has said he faces an armed insurrection designed to end socialism in Latin America and let a US-backed business elite get its hands on the OPEC nation?s crude reserves. The United States imposed sanctions on Maduro in late July and has also targeted around 30 other officials. The Canadian measures name Maduro, Vice President Tareck El Aissami and 38 other people, including the ministers of defence and the interior as well as several Supreme Court judges. Canada is a member of the 12-nation Lima Group, which is trying to address the Venezuelan crisis. A government official said Freeland wanted to host a meeting of the group within the next 60 days. Cyndee Todgham Cherniak ? a trade sanctions expert at Toronto law firm LexSage ? said although limited in scope, the Canadian measures were symbolic. ?When you join other countries? it makes the message louder,? she said by phone. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday he believed there was a chance for a political solution. ?This is a situation that is obviously untenable. The violence? needs to end and we are looking to be helpful,? he told reporters at the United Nations. Experts say individual measures have had little or no impact on Maduro?s policies and that broader oil-sector and financial sanctions may be the only way to make the Venezuelan government feel economic pain. US President Donald Trump last month signed an executive order that prohibits dealings in new debt from the Venezuelan government or its state oil company. Earlier this month, Spain said it wanted the European Union to adopt restrictive measures against members of the Venezuelan government.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.