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  1. PTI Spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry addressing the media outside the Supreme Court. Photo: Geo News ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry said on Friday that the way the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) presented its appeal before the Supreme Court, "this was bound to happen". He was referring to the apex court's dismissal of NAB's plea to reopen the Rs1.2 billion Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference against the Sharif family. The reference was struck down by the Lahore High Court. Imran submitted all documents before the Supreme Court. Addressing the media outside the Supreme Court, Chaudhry said they have serious reservations over the conduct of NAB's prosecution department in the case. Criticising the "non-serious attitude of NAB," Chaudhry said the "Supreme Court judges were not guided the right way. Basic documents of the case were not attached to the appeal". Supreme Court dismisses NAB's appeal to reopen Hudaibiya Paper Mills case Three-member SC bench was hearing NAB's appeal against LHC decision to quash investigation of case He said the case involves loot of public funds, adding that it is a great disservice to the people if there is no probe into the matter. The PTI leader said if a PTI government is formed, they will take the matter to its logical conclusion. He added that the party will review the detailed order of the case once the detailed judgment is released.
  2. Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb. Photo:File ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Friday that democratic continuity boosts performance and prestige of institutions. Speaking to participants of 4th National Management Development Course at Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services, she regretted that democratic continuity is disrupted repeatedly in the country. She said people derive strength from the Parliament and therefore, it is our responsibility to work for strengthening of the parliament. Aurangzeb said everyone should have access to the Parliament. She lauded the services being rendered by NGOs in the fields of education, health and other social services. The state minister expressed the confidence that such courses for provincial legislators would help increase interaction and understanding between the Parliament and provincial assemblies and expressed her desire that similar courses should also be devised for media persons to give them better understanding of working of the parliament and role of parliamentarians.
  3. NEW YORK: Walt Disney Co. said Thursday it had reached a deal to buy 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion in stock, solidifying its position as a producer of entertainment content as it faces new rivals from Silicon Valley. The deal will see Disney acquire film and television studios, cable entertainment networks and international TV businesses, bringing popular entertainment properties including X-Men, Avatar, The Simpsons, FX Networks and National Geographic into Disney's portfolio. 21st Century Fox's television stations and Fox News channel will be spun off before the sale, however. "The acquisition of this stellar collection of businesses from 21st Century Fox reflects the increasing consumer demand for a rich diversity of entertainment experiences that are more compelling, accessible and convenient than ever before," said Disney's chief executive Robert Iger in a statement. Iger, who was previously expected to step down in 2019, will now stay on through 2021. Disney has been seen as trying to bolster its Hollywood and television positions by getting the Fox library of content to strengthen its arsenal against Netflix and other rivals. The rise of streaming services and the so-called cord-cutting movement against cable television, together with declining advertising revenue, have contributed to a rapidly changing landscape for media companies. Disney, which owns the ABC television network, ESPN and has major studios in Hollywood, is set to launch its own streaming services aimed at competing against Netflix and Amazon. The deal also gives it a controlling interest in Hulu, another popular streaming service. The news comes as another major media deal, between AT&T and Time Warner, has been challenged in an antitrust filing by the US Justice Department. Prior to the deal going through 21st Century Fox will transfer the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network into a newly listed company that will be spun off to its shareholders. 21st Century Fox shareholders will receive 0.2745 Disney shares for each 21st Century Fox share they hold under the deal.
  4. LAHORE: Pakistan People?s Party senior leader Aitzaz Ahsan denounced on Thursday the qualms earlier expressed by Speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq regarding assemblies not completing their tenure, saying that the Pakistan Muslim League-N is making statements which are misleading and deceptive. The senator was speaking to media outside Lahore High Court, where he claimed that the PML-N is habitual of blaming ?third parties? for its problems. The PPP leader said that the elections will be held on time and problems will be resolved soon. ?The Army isn?t hatching conspiracies against the PML-N, the judicirary is in fact providing it relief,? said Ahsan said. The PML-N is surrounded by the iqama-related issues, he stated. The PPP leader was of the opinion that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif should be punished apart from being disqualified. Aitzaz Ahsan condemned the recent incident in Multan on Wednesday, in which lawyers protested the shifting of the judicial complex and resorted to vandalising the new building. He said that the Supreme Court or the LHC should have been approached by the disgruntled lawyers. On Wednesday, in an interview on Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath, the National Assembly Speaker said that he fears assemblies will not be able to complete their tenure. NA speaker expresses fear over assemblies not completing tenure Ayaz Sadiq expresses concern over delimitation bill not being passed yet Sadiq also said uncertainty was looming and has been fuelled by instances such as the delimitation bill not being passed. Also reacting to Sadiq?s statement, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif asserted that assemblies would complete their tenure and there was no problem which would lead to a delay in elections in the country.
  5. MOSCOW: Opponents of Donald Trump made up allegations of Russian interference in last year's US elections to discredit him, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at his annual press conference Thursday. "All this was made up by people who are opposed to Trump so as to delegitimise his work," the president said in response to a question about allegations of Russian influence. Putin said representatives of the Russian government had met with Trump´s team but said this was normal diplomatic practice. "Our ambassador was accused of meeting with someone, but this is normal practice worldwide," the president said. "What is so transgressive in this case and why should it take on this spy-thriller tone?" Putin said he hoped relations between the two countries would improve but suggested it would not be possible in the current US political climate. Asked to assess Trump's work so far as president, Putin said it was up to US voters rather than him to judge. "We can see several quite significant achievements in the short time he has been at work," Putin said, citing the markets and consumer confidence in particular.
  6. Khursheed Shah - File Photo ISLAMABAD: Opposition Leader in the National Assembly, Khursheed Shah said on Thursday that Speaker Ayaz Sadiq?s statement regarding the assemblies was the ?inside story.? In an interview on Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath, the National Assembly Speaker said that he fears assemblies will not be able to complete their tenure. Speaking to Geo News, Shah said Ayaz Sadiq had more sense and understanding of the situation. ?The situation is suspicious because there is a party which is applying pressure for elections to be held immediately. This party believes if elections are not held there will be a civil war,? Shah said. Shah warned of consequences if there was a danger to the state and institutions. ?After the US decision on Jerusalem, Pakistan which is a large Muslim country, all stakeholders need to sit together to work on how to save the country and democracy.? ?It is my personal opinion that elections be held on time and assemblies complete their tenure,? Shah stressed. Also reacting to Sadiq?s statement, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif asserted that assemblies would complete their tenure and there was no problem which would lead to a delay in elections in the country.
  7. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers remarks on the US-Korea relationship during a forum at the Atlantic Council in Washington, US December 12, 2017. ? Reuters WASHINGTON: No negotiations can be held with North Korea until it improves its behaviour, a White House official said on Wednesday, raising questions about US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson?s offer to begin talks with Pyongyang any time and without pre-conditions. ?Given North Korea?s most recent missile test, clearly right now is not the time,? a White House official told Reuters. Tillerson said on Tuesday the United States was ?ready to talk any time North Korea would like to talk,? appearing to back away from a key US demand that Pyongyang must first accept that any negotiations would have to be about giving up its nuclear arsenal. The White House has declined to say whether President Donald Trump, who has taken a tougher rhetorical line against North Korea than Tillerson, gave approval for the overture. A day after Tillerson?s comments at Washington?s Atlantic Council think tank, the White House official, who declined to be named, laid out a more restrictive formula for any diplomatic engagement with North Korea. ?The administration is united in insisting that any negotiations with North Korea must wait until the regime fundamentally improves its behaviour,? the official said. ?As the secretary of state himself has said, this must include, but is not limited to, no further nuclear or missile tests.? In his speech, however, Tillerson did not explicitly set a testing freeze as a requirement before talks can begin. He said it would be ?tough to talk? if Pyongyang decided to test another device in the middle of discussions and that ?a period of quiet? would be needed for productive discussions. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on Wednesday appeared to walk back part of Tillerson?s proposal, saying there would have to be a suspension of North Korean nuclear and missile tests for an undefined length of time before any talks could take place. ?And we certainly haven?t seen that right now,? she told reporters, insisting Tillerson had not unveiled a new policy and was ?on the same page? as the White House. Tensions between Washington and Pyongyang over North Korea?s weapons advances have grown this year and recent exchanges of bellicose rhetoric have fueled fears over the risk of military conflict. Tillerson?s relationship with Trump has been strained by differences over North Korea and other issues, and he has seen his influence diminished within the administration. Senior administration officials said late last month that Trump was considering a plan to oust Tillerson, though the secretary of state has dismissed that. Tillerson said in his speech that Trump ?has encouraged our diplomatic efforts.? Trump, however, tweeted in October that Tillerson was ?wasting his time? trying to negotiate with North Korea. China, Russia welcome Tillerson offer Tillerson?s overture came nearly two weeks after North Korea said it had successfully tested a breakthrough intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that put the entire United States mainland within range. North Korea has made clear it has little interest in negotiations with the United States until it has developed the ability to hit the US mainland with a nuclear-tipped missile, something most experts say it has still not proved. In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said following Tillerson?s speech that China welcomed efforts to ease tension and promote dialogue to resolve the North Korea standoff. Russia also welcomed Tillerson?s statement, the Interfax news agency cited Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying. Ahead of Tillerson?s speech, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to develop more nuclear weapons while personally decorating scientists and officials who contributed to the development of Pyongyang?s most advanced ICBM, state media said on Wednesday. Despite that, a US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tillerson?s remarks followed speculation North Korea might be willing to talk having announced it had completed a major milestone with last month?s missile test and suggested he was trying to take advantage of a potential opening.
  8. File photo/Reuters The US Department of Justice has caught one of the people involved in creating the Mirai botnet, a network of infected electronics equipment used to knock major websites offline in massive 2016 cyber attacks, according to court papers. Paras Jha has agreed to plead guilty to computer-crimes charges in the case, according to federal court documents unsealed in Alaska on Tuesday. The Mirai botnet was used to infect large numbers of internet-connected devices including webcams and video records, which were then turned into a digital army of bots that launched a series of attacks on websites and Internet infrastructure. Those attacks included one in October 2016 on an internet infrastructure firm known as Dyn that disrupted access to major Internet firms including Twitter, Paypal and Spotify.
  9. In this photograph taken on November 18, 2017, Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari speaks during an interview with AFP at his home in Karachi KARACHI: A decade after Pakistan?s first female Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, her son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is striving to reclaim his mother?s mantle. Since Benazir?s death, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has seen its fortunes plunge, and few are willing to bet on Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, now the party?s chairman, shepherding it back to glory. In an interview with AFP, Bilawal spoke about expectations and the legacy of his family. With questions lingering over his ability to lead the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Bilawal argues that this youth is an asset: ?I have time on my side.? Bilawal is expected to contest the next general election from his mother?s seat in Sindh, however, he admits that his task is a lonely one. ?If I was to say I had a life, that would be a lie,? Bilawal told AFP, adding that ?Netflix is a life saver.? According to analysts, Bilawal faces an uphill task in the next general elections with Imran Khan on the ascent and the ruling PML-N of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif clawing at support.
  10. French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes guests for a lunch at the Elysee Palace as part of the One Planet Summit in Paris, France, December 12, 2017. REUTERS/file PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday told dozens of world leaders and company bosses gathered at a climate summit in Paris that ?we are losing the battle? against climate change. ?We?re not moving quick enough. We all need to act,? Macron said, seeking to breath new life into efforts to combat global warming after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of an international accord brokered in the French capital two years ago.
  11. [embed_video1 url= style=center] The mother of 21-year-old Second Lieutenant Abdul Moeed Shaheed told Geo News she is proud of her son and the profession he chose. Speaking about her son, who was martyred in a terrorist attack in North Waziristan, she said Moeed "earned respect for himself and us". The eldest of four siblings, Moeed would always get gifts for them and repeatedly ask his mother to tell him what she wanted, the mother recalled. "He took really good care of all of us. He would always serve me and fill my plate before his own," she said further. Earlier today, the army said Moeed and Sepoy Basharat, also 21, were martyred in a terrorist attack in North Waziristan Agency. Two army officials martyred in North Waziristan attack 2nd Lt Abdul Moeed and Sepoy Basharat's vehicle was attacked by terrorists Moeed, who had recently graduated from the Pakistan Military Academy in the 136 Long Course, hailed from Burewala, Vehari. According to a message on Facebook from Moeed's cousin, the deceased hailed from the 4 Northern Light Infantry unit. Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa stated that, "Freedom isn't free, it costs sons of the soil. Freedom that we enjoy today is owed to so many such bravehearts. Salute to our Martyrs," said a tweet sent out by DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor.
  12. Imran Khan speaks to supporters during a rally in Islamabad on July 30, 2017 ? AFP ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan was critical of the government calling its approach to FATA reforms non-serious and an insult to people of the region. Khan took to Twitter on Tuesday and said the people of FATA had sacrificed so much but had not been given their full democratic rights. Earlier on Tuesday, opposition parties staged a walkout in the National Assembly after the government failed to table the bill pertaining to reforms in the tribal areas. Khan also demanded the government to immediately table a "full package of FATA reforms", which should include the abolition of the Frontier Crimes Regulation, extension of the Supreme Court and Peshawar High Court's jurisdiction to FATA and an amendment in Article 106 of the Constitution to allow an increase of seats in the KP Assembly to accommodate representatives from the tribal areas. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly had adopted a resolution on December 14, 2016, in favour of merging FATA with KP, that would help rehabilitate and reconstruct the infrastructure including roads, communications, power lines, water supply, education and health facilities.
  13. GENEVA: Warring sides must let more aid get through to 8.4 million people who are ?a step away from famine? in Yemen, a senior UN official said on Monday. A Saudi-led military coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi movement in Yemen?s civil war blockaded ports last month after a missile was fired towards Riyadh. Jamie McGoldrick, the humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, said the blockade has since been eased, but the situation remained dire. ?The continuing blockade of ports is limiting supplies of fuel, food and medicines; dramatically increasing the number of vulnerable people who need help,? McGoldrick said in a statement. ?The lives of millions of people, including 8.4 million Yemenis who are a step away from famine, hinge on our ability to continue our operations and to provide health, safe water, food, shelter and nutrition support,? he added. That marked an increase from past UN estimates of around 8 million people on the brink of famine. The coalition accuses Iran of sending weapons to its Houthi allies, including missile parts, through Yemen?s main Hodeidah port, were most food supplies enter. Saudi state television said on Monday a UN delegation of experts has arrived in Riyadh to meet the coalition and the Yemeni government the coalition supports ?to prevent the transfer of weapons and rockets to Houthis?. Iran has denied supplying the Houthis with weapons, saying the US and Saudi allegations are ?baseless and unfounded?. The United Nations says food shortages caused by the warring parties blocking supplies has created the world?s worst humanitarian crisis. The Saudis intervened in neighbouring Yemen in 2015 after the Houthis advanced on the southern port city of Aden and forced President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government into exile. The conflict has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced more than 2 million and triggered a cholera epidemic that has infected about 1 million people. The U.S. government on Friday called on the Saudi-led military coalition to facilitate the free flow of humanitarian aid to all of Yemen?s ports and through Sana?a airport. A senior State Department official told reporters in Geneva on Monday that the United States had provided nearly $638 million in humanitarian assistance to Yemen in the U.S. fiscal year 2017 that ended on Sept 30. ?We have called on both sides to stop the fighting and seek a political solution to the problem,? the official said. He said the United States had made its position clear to its allies to end the blockade and called on the Houthis to allow access for humanitarian supplies as ?there are shocking shortage of food, fuel and medicines that are causing great suffering?.
  14. American Serena Williams dropped a large hint that she could soon be back on court competing when she posted an Instagram photo of a pair of dazzling gold and white tennis shoes. Williams, who won her 23rd grand slam singles title at last year?s Australian Open before taking time out to have her first child, has entered next month?s tournament in Melbourne. ?Be excited. Be very excited...? the 36-year-old said in the post which attracted 135,000 likes in the space of an hour. Williams gave birth to Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. in September and was married to Alexis Ohanian last month. Few female players have won grand slams after taking a break to start a family, although Kim Clijsters won the 2009 U.S. Open in her third tournament back after having a daughter. Australians Evonne Goolagong and Margaret Court also managed it. Court?s 24 grand slam singles titles remains a record although only 11 of them were in the professional era.
  15. Premier League champions Chelsea are targeting a top-four finish this season, manager Antonio Conte said after conceding that his side were out of the title race following their defeat at West Ham United on Saturday. The 1-0 loss at the London Stadium left Chelsea 14 points adrift of league leaders Manchester City in third position after 16 games, with Liverpool two points behind in fourth and Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur fifth and sixth. ?There is a problem in this league: there are six top teams and only four places for the Champions League,? Conte told the club?s website. ( ?You have targets... you have an important target to try to go in the first four and to play Champions League. ?To reach this target is not simple. It?s very important for me, the players, for all of us. This league is not simple to reach the top four positions.? Manchester United and Chelsea failed to qualify for last season?s Champions League and Arsenal now are in the Europa League after a fifth-placed league finish. Chelsea, drawn against Barcelona in the Champions League last 16, travel to 12th-placed Huddersfield Town in the Premier League on Tuesday.
  16. [embed_video1 url= style=center] KARACHI: Governor Sindh Mohammad Zubair said on Monday the world is witnessing Pakistan as important player in the region with Chinese mega investment plans, which will integrate the country closer to Central Asian states with a strategic role. He was speaking as a chief guest at ?United Marine Agency (UMA) - 16th CEO Summit Asia & Leadership Award Ceremony 2017? & ?Book Launch 100 Performing CEOs, Leaders & Companies of Pakistan 2017? organised by CEO Club Pakistan & CEO Today Magazine held at a local hotel here on Monday. On the occasion, the CEO Club Pakistan paid tribute to the entrepreneurs, business leaders, policy makers, economic managers, and difference makers in appreciation and recognition of their tireless efforts, commitment and contribution to the economy of Pakistan in testing times with the theme ?Reshaping the Future: Build Greater Pakistan?. The Sindh governor said that Pakistan has been changed into a different and a progressing country, having a lot of potential for foreign and local investors and businessman to start and expand their business on the land of world?s new emerging economy. He said the corporate sector and masses should alter their approach towards Pakistan as positive in tandem with visible development and peaceful scenario across the country, which was made possible with efforts of the incumbent government. "Pakistan's economy was facing uncertain situation in 2013. Government worked day and night in its first three years to revive the country's economy and our hard work has put the economy on the path of prosperity. Pakistan Stock Exchange is now the best stock exchange of region and its rise is a proof of the government's successful economic policies," Zubair said. S.M Muneer, chairman of Din Group of Industries and chief executive of TDAP, said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will bring development and prosperity in the country. "The trade corridor will not only be limited to a country or a sector but it will expand its scope to mainstream industries and allied businesses that will be boosted by new road of progress." Muneer said the government is taking solid initiatives to build Pakistan in collaboration with local and foreign investors who believe Pakistan as lucrative and high-returned market for them. Ijaz Nisar, founding president of CEO Club Pakistan said: "We always quote success stories of western CEOs but do not highlight achievements of local entrepreneurs. We have our own local Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Laxmi Mittal who can turn the fate and face of the country if they are provided conducive and friendly environment for doing business." Nisar said the summit was an ideal opportunity for building relationships with peers and colleagues who can share information, insights and inspiration that can be of vital help for organisations. The summit also provided multiple opportunities to gather with other summit attendees in order to extend one's reach and influence into the community of his/her fellow senior CEO leaders. As many as 600 top chairmen, CEOs, presidents, MDs, country managers, entrepreneurs, government officials, diplomats, business leaders and C-level management attended the event. The purpose of the mega corporate event was to bring the soft corporate image of Pakistan at global level and book culture.
  17. BRUSSELS: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday he expected Europe to follow the US in recognising Jerusalem as the Jewish state's capital, but the EU's diplomatic chief said there was no change to its stance on the holy city. Netanyahu said the controversial announcement by US President Donald Trump - which prompted diplomatic alarm and street protests across the Islamic world - had "put facts squarely on the table". As he arrived for talks in Brussels, Netanyahu said he expected "all or most" European countries would follow the US - but the 28-nation bloc's foreign policy head Federica Mogherini said its position remained that Jerusalem should be a capital for both Israelis and Palestinians. The EU expressed alarm last week at the US decision, but Netanyahu said Trump had simply stated facts by acknowledging that Jerusalem had been the capital of the Israeli state for 70 years and of the Jewish people for 3,000 years. "It doesn't obviate peace, it makes peace possible, because recognising reality is the substance of peace, it's the foundation of peace," he said in a statement alongside Mogherini ahead of a breakfast meeting with EU foreign ministers. "I believe that all or most of the European countries will move their embassies to Jerusalem, recognise Jerusalem as Israel´s capital, and engage robustly with us for security, prosperity and peace," Netanyahu said. The Jerusalem decision upended decades of US diplomacy and broke with the international consensus. Mogherini last week warned it could take the situation "backwards to even darker times". Mogherini said the EU - the Palestinians' largest donor - would stick to the "international consensus" on Jerusalem. She reiterated the EU's stance that "the only realistic solution" for peace is two states - Israel and Palestine - with Jerusalem as the capital of both and the borders returned to their status before the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. And she pledged to step up efforts with the two sides and regional partners including Jordan and Egypt to relaunch the peace process. Netanyahu has praised Trump´s decision as "historic" and he explained Sunday that Jerusalem "has always been our capital and it has never been the capital of any other people". Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital and previous peace plans have stumbled over debates on whether and how to divide sovereignty or oversee holy sites. Mogherini also condemned attacks on Israel - after Netanyahu took aim over the weekend at what he called Europe´s "hypocrisy" for condemning Trump's statement, but not "the rockets fired at Israel or the terrible incitement against it". "Let me condemn in the strongest possible way all attacks on Jews everywhere in the world, including in Europe, and on Israel and on Israeli citizens," Mogherini said. Netanyahu pointed to a new US peace initiative as a possible way forward. "There is now an effort underway to bring forward a new peace proposal by the American administration. I think we should give peace a chance. I think we should see what is presented and see if we can advance this peace," he said. Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has been working with a small team to develop a new US proposal to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, but it is not clear what progress he is making. EU not unified Most EU members, including the bloc´s biggest countries, have expressed alarm over the Trump administration´s policy shift. But the 28-member bloc is not unified on the issue - Hungary, Greece, Lithuania and the Czech Republic in particular favour warmer ties with Israel. And last week Hungary broke ranks to block a joint statement from the EU that was critical of Washington´s Jerusalem shift. Trump´s announcement on Wednesday has been followed by days of protests and clashes in the Palestinian territories. Four Palestinians were killed either in clashes or from Israeli air strikes in retaliation for rockets fired from the Gaza Strip. Tens of thousands have also protested in Muslim and Arab countries, including Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia. Macron was also asked if France would attempt to launch another peace initiative to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict following failed efforts in the past. "There's a desire by the Americans to mediate which remains and I don´t want to condemn it ab initio (from the beginning)," he said. "We need to wait for the next few weeks, the next months to see what will be proposed.
  18. MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Russia would keep its Hmeymim air base in Syria?s Latakia Province as well as its naval facility at Tartous ?on a permanent basis? despite a decision to start pulling some of its forces out of Syria. Putin on Monday ordered Russian forces in Syria to start withdrawing, saying that after a two-year military campaign, Moscow and Damascus had achieved their mission of destroying Islamic State.
  19. Pakistan and India players shake hands after the end of Champions Trophy 2017 The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has hinted at possible resumption of a bilateral cricket series between Pakistan and India if the Indian government gives a go-ahead. Following the board's Special General Meeting in Delhi, BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary told media that "if the government agrees, there will be space for India-Pakistan bilateral series." The Indian government has not given a green signal to Indo-Pak bilateral series since the last one was held in India in 2012. Since then, the two neighbours have only met in ICC events. Last month, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) filed a dispute with the ICC, claiming up to $70 million for missed series in 2014 and 2015 from BCCI after the country failed to attend two series as part of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the two boards. The PCB sent a legal notice to ICC to set up a Dispute Resolution Committee for adjudicating the matter of Indian cricket board not honouring its promise of playing bilateral series with Pakistan.
  20. NAROWAL: Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Sunday said the backbone of terrorism has been broken and the people of Pakistan have now been living in peace. Speaking to media here, Iqbal said in the past over 25 people had been falling prey to terrorism in the country, who have now been living in peace. "Previously, there existed up to 22-hour load-shedding in the country, now the people have uninterrupted power supply for 22 hours a day," he noted. Taking exception to opponents, the minister said those making speeches can only do that; they can't run government affairs. He also criticised Pakistan Peoples Party-led former government for failing to launch a single mega project.
  21. Prince Karim Aga Khan. Photo: File CHITRAL: Prince Karim Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Ismaili community, said on Saturday that peace is must for development of the region. He was addressing his followers in Booni and Garum Chashma. In his address, Aga Khan stressed the importance of education and linked peace to the development of the region. He said that Islam is a religion of peace and its followers must adhere to the instructions of Islam for the progress and prosperity of the entire Muslim world. Around 60,000 followers had gathered at Garum Chasma and 80,000 in Booni to listen to their spiritual leader. The spiritual leader of the Ismaili community said that he had a strong bond with Chitral and was aware of the problems of the area. Earlier, Member National Assembly Shahzada Iftikharuddin, District Nazim Maghfirat Shah and government officials received Prince Karim Aga Khan at the Chitral airport. He was scheduled to reach Chitral on a military C-130 plane. However, his arrival was delayed by three hours due to the inclement weather and he reached the district via helicopter. Aga Khan arrived in Islamabad on Thursday evening on the invitation of the Pakistani government. His visit is part of a series of tours that coincides with the commemoration of his Diamond Jubilee, beginning earlier this year on July 11. The Diamond Jubilee marks 60 years of his role as the spiritual leader of the Ismaili community. Aga Khan acceded to the Ismaili Imamat on July 11, 1957, succeeding his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, at the age of 20. The Ismailis live in over 25 different countries, mainly in Central and South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, as well as in Europe, North America and Australia.
  22. UNITED NATIONS: United Nations officials have found that missiles fired at Saudi Arabia by Yemen?s Houthi rebels appear to have a ?common origin,? but they are still investigating US and Saudi claims that Iran supplied them, according to a confidential report. The officials travelled to Saudi Arabia to examine the debris of missiles fired on July 22 and Nov. 4, wrote UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in the fourth biannual report on the implementation of UN sanctions and restrictions on Iran. They found ?that the missiles had similar structural and manufacturing features which suggest a common origin,? said Guterres in the Friday report to the UN Security Council, seen by Reuters on Saturday. The report comes amid calls by the United States for Iran to be held accountable for violating UN Security Council resolutions on Yemen and Iran by supplying weapons to the Houthis. Saudi-led forces, which back the Yemeni government, have fought the Iran-allied Houthis in Yemen?s more than two-year-long civil war. Saudi Arabia?s crown prince has described Iran?s supply of rockets to the Houthis as ?direct military aggression? that could be an act of war. Iran has denied supplying the Houthis with weapons, saying the US and Saudi allegations are ?baseless and unfounded.? Guterre?s report said the UN officials saw three components, which Saudi authorities said came from the missile fired on Nov. 4. The components ?bore the castings of a logo similar to that of the Shahid Bagheri Industrial Group? - a UN-blacklisted company. The officials are ?still analysing the information collected and will report back to the Security Council,? wrote Guterres. NUCLEAR DEAL The Saudi-led coalition used the Nov. 4 missile attack to justify a blockade of Yemen for several weeks, saying it was needed to stem the flow of arms to the Houthis from Iran. Although the blockade later eased, Yemen?s situation has remained dire. About 8 million people are on the brink of famine, with outbreaks of cholera and diphtheria. A separate report to the Security Council last month by a panel of independent experts monitoring sanctions imposed in Yemen found that four missiles fired this year into Saudi Arabia appear to have been designed and manufactured by Iran. However, the panel said it ?as yet has no evidence as to the identity of the broker or supplier? of the missiles, which were likely shipped to the Houthis in violation of a targeted UN arms embargo imposed on Houthi leaders in April 2015. Most UN sanctions on Iran were lifted in January last year when the UN nuclear watchdog confirmed that Tehran fulfilled commitments under a nuclear deal with Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the United States. But Iran is still subject to a UN arms embargo and other restrictions. US President Donald Trump dealt a blow to the nuclear deal in October by refusing to certify that Tehran was complying with the accord and warning that he might ultimately terminate it. International inspectors have said Iran is in compliance. ?I encourage the United States to maintain its commitments to the plan and to consider the broader implications for the region and beyond before taking any further steps,? Guterres wrote. ?Similarly, I encourage the Islamic Republic of Iran to carefully consider the concerns raised by other participants in the plan,? he said.
  23. German Ambassador to Pakistan Martin Kobler (L). Image via Martin Kobler's Twitter account (@koblerinpak); Chief Minister of Punjab Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif1 LAHORE: Martin Kobler ? the German Ambassador to Pakistan ? on Saturday declared the Chief Minister of Punjab a "visionary leader", citing his leadership of the provincial government, which has worked swiftly with regard to measures for development. Kobler was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the Punjab Gas Power Plant in Jhang. ?For your vision, chief minister, for your energy, for your dynamism, for making this part of your effort to improve the power situation of this country, thank you very much,? the German Ambassador said. "Congrats for the #jhang power plant of 1263 mw," he wrote about the project "powered by #siemens" on Twitter. "Great day for Pakistan and Punjab. PM #ShahidKhaqanAbbasi and CM #ShahbazSharif graced the occasion. I attended with Chinese ambassador Yao Jing. Historic day!" The German Ambassador said Shehbaz Sharif took a personal interest in the completion of various progressive projects and, under his praiseworthy leadership, Punjab had notably advanced. Sharif's vision, capacity to work, and determination are praiseworthy, he said, adding that the CM Punjab had made a solid effort to eliminate load shedding. Kobler also commented on how German companies should benefit from projects under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The day was a historic one for Pakistan, Punjab, and Jhang, as well as for Germany, he noted. The German envoy said Sharif had a great vision of development in the country and spoke a few words in Urdu, reiterating the slogan of "Long Live Pakistan, Germany, and China". On this occasion, Stefan Halberstadt ? the chief financial officer at Siemens AG (Siemens Aktiengesellschaft) ? mentioned that the best performance turbine would be installed for the project. Halberstadt said Punjab had taken praiseworthy measures to eliminate the power crisis. Yao Jing ? the Chinese Ambassador who was also present at the occasion ? said Sharif was giving excellent support for projects under the CPEC or otherwise and had given a lot of facilities.
  24. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov looks on at the start of two days of closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva October 15, 2013. REUTERS/file MOSCOW: Russia said on Saturday it was fully committed to a Cold War-era pact with the United States banning intermediate-range cruise missiles, a day after Washington accused Moscow of violating the treaty. The US State Department said on Friday Washington was reviewing military options, including new intermediate-range cruise missile systems, in response to what it said was Russia?s ongoing violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The warning was the first response by President Donald Trump?s administration to US charges first leveled in 2014 that Russia had deployed a ground-launched cruise missile that breaches the pact?s ban on testing and fielding missiles with ranges of 500-5,500 kms (310-3,417 miles). Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said those allegations were ?absolutely unfounded?. ?They are not supported by the technical characteristics of the launch installation which allegedly does not comply with the treaty, or by flight telemetry data. Nothing. And it is understandable why - because it simply does not exist,? he said in written comments published by the foreign ministry. Echoing previous Russian statements, Ryabkov said Moscow was fully committed to the treaty, had always rigorously complied with it, and was prepared to continue doing so. ?However, if the other side stops following it, we will be forced, as President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has already said, to respond in kind,? he added. The US allegation has further strained relations between Moscow and Washington, and the State Department on Friday hinted at possible economic sanctions over the issue. Washington has already sanctioned Russian entities and individuals, including people close to Putin, for Moscow?s 2014 seizure of Crimea from Ukraine and its alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied interfering in the election. Ryabkov said the ?attempts to frighten us with sanctions? were laughable. ?It?s time for American politicians and diplomats to understand that economic and military pressure on Russia will not work,? he said.
  25. LAHORE: Railways Minister Saad Rafique on Saturday criticised the alliance of opposing parties demanding resignations from ruling party and said that no party can bring down the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). ?PPP, PTI and other groups can?t bring down PML-N,? he said while addressing media here. Dissolution of assemblies an option if it benefits ruling party politically: Asif 'Ruling parties always have this option. There has been no discussion on this as yet. But if it comes to that, and if we face a situation which calls for it, then we might go for it, the foreign minister said in an interview to a private channel The PML-N leader said that while there is nothing wrong with political alliances, holding rallies, and criticising the government, politics of lies and in the name of religion is saddening. ?Previously there used to be anti-Bhutto politics and now anti-Nawaz politics has become rampant,? he said. Rafique's comments come amid the increasing calls for resignations from political opponents, the latest being demands for Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif to step down. An unprecedented alliance of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PAT Chief Tahirul Qadri on Thursday demanded Shehbaz?s resignation in the wake of the Model Town inquiry report.