Welcome to Fundayforum.com - Pakistani Urdu Community Forum

Guest Image

Welcome to Fundayforum.com - Pakistani Urdu Community Forum, like most online communities you must register to view or post in our community, but don't worry this is a simple free process that requires minimal information for you to signup. Be apart of Fundayforum.com - Pakistani Urdu Community Forum by signing in or creating an account via default Sign up page or social links such as: Facebook, Twitter or Google.

  • Start new topics and reply to others
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get email updates
  • Get your own profile page and make new friends
  • Send personal messages to other members.
  • Upload or Download IPS Community files such as:  Applications, Plugins etc.
  • Upload or Download your Favorite Books, Novels in PDF format. 

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'targets'.

More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


  • Help Support
    • Announcement And Help
    • Funday Chatroom
  • Poetry
    • Shair-o-Shaa'eri
    • Famous Poet
  • Islam - اسلام
    • QURAN O TARJUMA قرآن و ترجمہ
    • AHADEES MUBARIK آحدیث مبارک
    • Ramazan ul Mubarik - رمضان المبارک
    • Deen O Duniya - دین و دنیا
  • Other Forums
    • Chitchat and Greetings
    • Urdu Adab
    • Entertainment
    • Common Rooms
  • Music, Movies, and Dramas
    • Movies Song And Tv.Series
  • Science, Arts & Culture
    • Education, Science & Technology
  • IPS Community Suite
    • IPS Community Suite 4.1
    • IPS Download
    • IPS Community Help/Support And Tutorials


  • Ishq_janoon_Dewanagi
  • Uzee khan
  • Beauty of Words
  • Tareekhi Waqaiyaat
  • Geo News Blog
  • The Pakistan Tourism
  • My BawaRchi_KhaNa
  • Mukaam.e.Moahhabt
  • FDF Members Poetry
  • Sadqy Tmhary
  • FDF Online News
  • Pakistan
  • Dua's Kitchen
  • Raqs e Bismil
  • HayDay Game


  • Books
    • Urdu Novels
    • Islamic
    • General Books
  • IPS Community Suite 4
    • Applications
    • Plugins
    • Themes
    • Language Packs
    • IPS Extras
  • IPS Community Suite 3.4
    • Applications
    • Hooks/BBCodes
    • Themes/Skins
    • Language Packs
    • Miscellaneous XML Files
  • XenForo
    • Add-ons
    • Styles
    • Language Packs
    • Miscellaneous XML Files
  • Web Scripts
  • PC Softwares


  • Articles


  • Community Calendar
  • Pakistan Holidays


  • English
  • New Movie Songs
  • Old Movies Songs
  • Single Track
  • Classic
  • Ghazal
  • Pakistani
  • Indian Pop & Remix
  • Romantic
  • Punjabi
  • Qawalli
  • Patriotic
  • Islam


  • Islam
  • Online Movies
    • English
    • Indian
    • Punjabi
    • Hindi Dubbed
    • Animated - Cartoon
    • Other Movies
    • Pakistani Movies
  • Video Songs
    • Coke Studio
  • Mix Videos
  • Online Live Channels
    • Pakistani Channels
    • Indian Channels
    • Sports Channels
    • English Channels
  • Pakistani Drama Series
    • Zara Yaad ker
    • Besharam (ARY TV series)
  • English Series
    • Quantico Season 1
    • SuperGirl Season 1
    • The Magicians
    • The Shannara Chronicles
    • Game of Thrones

Found 31 results

  1. Lab technician Fadumo Jama Yousuf at the Puntland Forensic Center ? a new weapon against Somalia's rape epidemic. Photo:AFP GAROWE: The new freezers at Somalia?s only forensic laboratory can store thousands of DNA samples, although for now there are just five. The big hope is that they could be the start of a revolution in how the troubled Horn of Africa country tackles its widespread sexual violence ? provided some daunting hurdles are overcome. The first sample arrived at the start of the year taken on a cotton swab from the underwear of a woman, a rape victim from the village of Galdogob. It was wrapped in paper and driven 250 kilometres to the Puntland Forensic Centre in Garowe, capital of semi-autonomous Puntland, slipped into a protective glass tube and placed in one of the three ultra-low temperature fridges. If DNA ID can be teased from the sample, this would be a crucial step in convicting the rapist. No longer would it be a case of he-said-she-said, in which the survivor is less often believed than the accused. Two decades of conflict and turmoil have made Somalia a place where lawlessness and sexual violence are rampant. ?Now, people who have been raped hide because they don?t have evidence,? said Abdifatah Abdikadir Ahmed, who heads the Garowe police investigations department. But with the lab, he said, ?it?s a scientific investigation. There are biological acts you can zero in on.? Challenges Not yet, however. Abdirashid Mohamed Shire, who runs the lab, has a team of four technicians ready but is awaiting the arrival of the final pieces of equipment. Their work to provide the evidence that might convict or exonerate has yet to begin. And the pressure is on. The freezers mean the DNA samples can be safely stored for years but Somali law allows a rape suspect to be held for a maximum of 60 days. Shire needs the analysis and identification machines urgently so that, as he put it, ?justice will be timely served?. The laboratory, partly funded by Sweden, was launched last year after the Puntland state government enacted a sexual offences act in 2016, which criminalised sexual offences and imposed tough penalties. But technology alone will not solve Somalia?s many judicial weaknesses. The DNA sample from Galdogob, for example, was stored in unclear and unrefrigerated conditions for five days before being sent to the lab, meaning a defence counsel could potentially argue the DNA evidence had been tampered with. Human rights lawyers worry the new lab might backfire for this reason. ?A lot of thought needs to be given to how the chain of custody can be preserved in these kinds of cases,? said Antonia Mulvey of Legal Action Worldwide, a Kenya-based non-profit organisation. More fundamental still is the failure of Somalia´s police to take sexual assault cases ? and their jobs ? seriously. Corruption is rife, with a legal advisor to Puntland?s justice ministry saying officers ?meddle? in cases, undermining them for personal gain. ?My concern is that the corrupted system could not make a sure success of the lab," the advisor said, requesting anonymity to speak candidly. ?Investing in the lab is good, but we need to think about the preconditions.? The UN Population Fund which helped pay for the lab is trying to address this by running training programmes for dozens of the Garowe police on sample collection, gender violence investigations and documentation. But, the legal advisor cautioned that donors can only do so much. ?The issue is more complicated than training police. It relates to the political commitment of the government. UNFPA can train police but who will pay those you train? Are they given power to do the work??
  2. White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon (L) attends a meeting in the White House in Washington, US, February 2, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Files WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump?s lawyer said on Thursday he would try to stop publication of a book that portrays an inept president in a fumbling White House and threatened legal action against former top aide Steve Bannon over ?defamatory? comments in the book. Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by author Michael Wolff set off a political firestorm with its portrayal of Trump as not particularly wanting to win the US presidency in 2016 and unprepared for the job. Some of the harshest commentaries came from Bannon, the right-wing firebrand who headed the final stage of Trump?s campaign and became chief strategist at the White House before being fired in August. Charles Harder, Trump?s personal lawyer, in a legal notice provided to Reuters, warned of possible claims including libel against Wolff and publisher Henry Holt & Co and threatened to try to block publication of the book. Harder also told Reuters that ?legal action is imminent? against Bannon. The publishing house announced that ?due to unprecedented demand,? it would release the book on Friday morning, rushing it to print after previously planning to put it out next Tuesday. Wolff and Holt did not respond to requests for comment. Trump cut ties with Bannon on Wednesday, saying his former adviser had ?lost his mind,? in a blistering statement issued after comments attributed to Bannon in the book were made public. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders heaped scorn on Bannon and the book at her briefing on Thursday. She said Breitbart News should consider firing Bannon and attempted to cast doubt on Wolff?s accuracy. She called the book ?some trash? that came from ?an author that no one had ever heard of until today.? ?This book is mistake after mistake after mistake,? she said. Trump lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter to Bannon on Wednesday asking him not to disclose any confidential information. They said Bannon had breached an agreement by communicating with Wolff about Trump, his family and the campaign and made ?disparaging statements and in some cases outright defamatory statements? about them. In the book, Bannon was quoted as describing a June 2016 meeting with a group of Russians at Trump Tower in New York as ?treasonous? and ?unpatriotic.? The meeting, held after the Russians promised damaging information on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, was attended by Donald Trump Jr., Trump?s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort, Trump?s campaign manager at the time. Trump?s statement also diminished Bannon?s role in the election victory and accused him of leaking to the media. Before joining the campaign, Bannon headed the conservative Breitbart News website and proved to be a divisive figure in the White House. He returned to Breitbart after being fired, although he is reported to have continued to talk with Trump. ?Changed his tune? Bannon?s reaction to the book controversy has been muted. In interviews with Breitbart News after the news broke, he called Trump a ?great man? and pledged continued support for the president?s agenda. The president took note. ?He called me a great man last night so he obviously changed his tune pretty quick,? Trump told reporters on Thursday. ?I don?t talk to him. That?s a misnomer.? Bradley Moss, a Washington lawyer specializing in national security law, said any non-disclosure agreement would not apply to Bannon once he became a government employee. The government has far less power to limit speech by employees than private companies, Moss said. A lawsuit could hurt Trump because Bannon?s lawyers would be entitled to interview White House officials and collect potentially damaging documents from them in his defense, Moss said. ?I assume the cease-and-desist letter is aimed primarily at the public,? added Michael Dorf, a professor at Cornell Law School. ?The idea that he could block publication is absurd.? On Thursday, the White House also said no personal devices, including cellphones, would be allowed in the White House West Wing beginning next week for security purposes. The moves followed the Bannon split but had been considered for some time, White House officials said. Bannon helped Trump shape a populist, anti-establishment message and had been the president?s link to his hard-line conservative base of support, which is often at odds with the Republican Party establishment. The story that triggered the Trump-Bannon split was an offshoot of the investigation into whether Trump campaign aides colluded with Russia to sway the election to Trump, allegations Trump and Moscow deny. Manafort and business associate Rick Gates, another campaign aide, pleaded not guilty in November to federal charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller including conspiracy to launder money. Manafort sued Mueller on Wednesday, alleging that his investigation exceeded its legal authority.
  3. New finance chief Miftah Ismail/Reuters ISLAMABAD: New finance ministry chief Miftah Ismail said he plans significant tax reforms in the five months before the government?s term ends ahead of a 2018 election, and touted a policy of greater currency flexibility. Pakistan?s government has in recent months devalued the rupee, imposed tariffs on imported goods and sought to boost exports to reduce growing balance of payments pressures fuelling concern about health of the nearly $300 billion economy. The country this month borrowed $2.5 billion from international markets via a Sukuk and eurobond offers that were vastly oversubscribed and fetched lower-than-expected rates. Ismail, a wealthy businessman and former International Monetary Fund (IMF) economist, was on Wednesday appointed as finance adviser to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in a role that makes him de facto finance minister. Ismail told Reuters in an interview he plans tax reforms to focus on widening the tax base, simplifying tax structures, and slashing personal tax rates to encourage more people to file returns. ?We have to reduce rates and the prime minister is very eager to especially reduce rates on individuals,? Ismail said at his home in Islamabad, referring to his close ally Abbasi. Tax rates on individuals vary in Pakistan, but can be as high as 30 percent for salaried individuals and 35 percent for non-salaried individuals. ?(Abbasi) wants to bring it to 15 percent or so,? Ismail said. Pakistan has a very narrow tax base. Successive governments have promised to rein in tax evaders and boost revenues but have faced fierce resistance to change, including from the many politicians and businessmen believed to be among those dodging their taxes. The central bank devalued the currency by about 5 percent this month, and the market expects further weakening of the rupee before the polls in mid-2018 to ease balance of payments pressure stemming from a widening trade deficit and growing fiscal deficit. Miftah Ismail appointed PM?s adviser on finance Miftah Ismail has been appointed Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, with the status of Federal Minister The devaluation followed the departure of Ishaq Dar, the previous finance minister who was staunchly opposed to a weaker rupee and had admonished the central bank for an attempt to weaken the currency in July. Ismail said the government has altered its policy of the past few years, under which it had essentially pegged the rupee to the dollar and defended its value. ?We?ve decided to not do that,? Ismail added. Analysts say Pakistan?s central bank effectively sets the currency rate as it is the biggest player in the thinly traded rupee market and controls what is widely understood to be a managed float system. When asked if he would be opposed to the rupee weakening another 5 percent, as the market expects, Ismail said there was a policy of greater flexibility for the currency and he would not be hostile to it either weakening or firming. ?I?m a big believer in the free market,? he said. ?We are largely letting the rupee be.? Ismail also said Pakistan may return to international markets for a fresh bond offering but that this was unlikely before late 2018. ?We will probably not go back to the international markets to issue a new bond until the end of next calendar year so it will not be in this fiscal year anymore,? he said.
  4. Huthi rebel fighter is seen in the Yemeni capital on December 4, 2017. ? AFP SANAA: The Saudi-led coalition conducted multiple air raids in Yemen on Wednesday, a day after Huthi rebels fired a ballistic missile at Riyadh in an attack Washington said was enabled by Iran. The Saudi-led strikes killed 11 civilians in the Huthi stronghold of Saada, a tribal chief and witnesses said, while unidentified assailants attacked Huthis guarding the Sanaa residence of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was killed by the rebels earlier this month. US President Donald Trump spoke Wednesday with Saudi King Salman following the ballistic missile attack that targeted Salman?s residence. "Trump expressed solidarity with Saudi Arabia following the ballistic missile attack against King Salman?s official residence... an attack enabled by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps," the White House said. The US and Saudi Arabia have accused Iran of supplying the Huthi rebels with the missile involved in another attack over Riyadh last month, with US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley presenting what she called "undeniable" evidence that the missile was "made in Iran." Tehran has denied supplying ballistic missiles to the Huthis. During Wednesday?s ground operations against the Sanaa residence of Saleh, an unspecified number of Huthi guards were killed, residents said. A tribal chief told AFP that 11 civilians were killed and eight others wounded in an air strike on the Huthi rebel stronghold of Saada in northern Yemen. The pro-Huthi television channel Al-Masirah gave the same death toll and added that women and children were among those killed, while 19 people were wounded. Witnesses and a security source said other coalition air raids targeted a rebel camp south of Sanaa and a second camp to the west. The rebel-run Saba press agency said 38 people, including women and children, were killed or wounded in raids targeting different parts of Yemen. 1,000th day The Huthis said the target of Tuesday?s ballistic missile was a "large gathering of Saudi regime leaders in Yamamah Palace", where Salman later unveiled the country?s 2018 budget. An Arab national living in Saudi Arabia was arrested Wednesday for expressing support for the missile attack in a tweet, the Saudi Press Agency reported. Yemen is in the midst of a bloody war between the Huthis and pro-government forces, who were expelled from Sanaa in September 2014. Rebel chief Abdelmalik al-Huthi said Tuesday?s attack was timed to coincide with the 1,000th day of the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen?s conflict. On November 4, a missile launch from Yemen targeted Riyadh?s airport, triggering a sharp Saudi response -- the full closure of Yemen?s ports and borders that were already under an extensive blockade. At the time, the UN aid chief warned that the siege -- namely on the key rebel-held port of Hodeida -- could trigger the worst famine the world has seen in decades. The blockade was partially lifted three weeks later amid massive international pressure. The coalition issued a statement Wednesday saying it would not resort to closing Hodeida port. "The coalition leadership announces the port of Hodeida will remain open for humanitarian and relief supplies and the entry of commercial vessels, including fuel and food vessels, for a period of 30 days," said the statement, carried on the state-run Saudi Press Agency. Britain?s Prime Minister Theresa May spoke to Salman and welcomed the decision to reopen the port. "The Prime Minister strongly condemned yesterday?s attempted missile attack on the Yamama Palace in Riyadh, and welcomed the restraint shown by Saudi Arabia in the face of unacceptable Huthi aggression," Downing Street said in a statement. Coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki, speaking at a news conference in Riyadh, described the continuing missile fire as a "serious escalation." Maliki said that since the coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015, over 80 ballistic missiles had been fired at Saudi Arabia and that the alliance had killed more than 11,000 Huthi rebels. Hadi terms for dialogue Saudi Arabia and America have accused Iran of being behind the missile attacks on Riyadh. Tehran again denied the charge Wednesday, saying it has "no arms link with Yemen". Yemen?s President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi on Tuesday raised the bar for dialogue with the Huthis, saying they must surrender their weapons before the start of any peace talks. "We do not have a partner with whom we can reach peace," the exiled president said at a meeting with a number of ambassadors. Hadi issued stern conditions for dialogue: the restoration of his government to power; the surrender of Huthi arms; and the handover of state institutions. More than 8,750 people have been killed since Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the government?s fight against the rebels, triggering what the UN has called the world?s worst humanitarian crisis.
  5. People inspect damage at the site of air strikes in the northwestern city of Saada. -AFP SANAA: The Saudi-led coalition carried out a string of air raids Wednesday in Yemen, killing 11 civilians in the Houthi stronghold of Saada a day after the rebels fired a missile at Riyadh, a tribal chief and witnesses said. On the ground, unidentified assailants attacked Houthis guarding the Sanaa residence of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was killed by the rebels earlier this month. An unspecified number of Houthi guards died in the attack, residents said. The tribal chief told AFP that 11 civilians were killed and eight others wounded in an air strike on the Houthi rebel stronghold of Saada in northern Yemen. The pro-Houthi television channel Al-Masirah gave the same death toll and added that women and children were among those killed, while 19 people were wounded. Witnesses and a security source said other coalition air raids targeted a rebel camp south of Sanaa and a second camp to the west. The rebel-run Saba press agency said 38 people, including women and children, were killed or wounded in raids targeting different parts of Yemen. The raids followed a missile attack by the Houthi rebels on Tuesday against the Saudi capital. Saudi Arabia said it "intercepted and destroyed" the missile. Anniversary missile The Houthis said "the target of the ballistic missile was a large gathering of Saudi regime leaders in Yamamah Palace", where King Salman - hours later - unveiled the country´s 2018 budget. Yemen is in the midst of a bloody war between the Houthis and pro-government forces, who were expelled from Sanaa in September 2014. Rebel chief Abdelmalik al-Houthi said Tuesday's attack was timed to coincide with the 1,000th day of the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen´s conflict. People inspect damage at the site of air strikes in the northwestern city of Saada. -AFP It was the second ballistic missile to target the heart of Riyadh in less than two months. The first failed attempt on November 4 triggered a sharp Saudi response - the full closure of Yemen's ports and borders that were already under an extensive blockade. At the time, the UN aid chief warned that the siege - namely on the key rebel-held port of Hodeida - could trigger the worst famine the world has seen in decades. The blockade was partially lifted three weeks later amid massive international pressure. The coalition issued a statement Wednesday saying it would not resort to closing Hodeida port. "The coalition leadership announces the port of Hodeida will remain open for humanitarian and relief supplies and the entry of commercial vessels, including fuel and food vessels, for a period of 30 days," said the statement, carried on the state-run Saudi Press Agency. Hadi terms for dialogue Saudi Arabia and its ally the United States have accused Iran of being behind the missile attacks on Riyadh. Tehran denied the charge on Wednesday, saying it has "no arms link with Yemen". Yemen's President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi on Tuesday raised the bar for dialogue with the Houthis, saying they must surrender their weapons before the start of any peace talks. "We do not have a partner with whom we can reach peace," the exiled president said at a meeting with a number of ambassadors. Hadi issued stern conditions for dialogue: the restoration of his government to power; the surrender of Houthi arms; and the handover of state institutions. More than 8,750 people have been killed since Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the government´s fight against the rebels, triggering what the UN has called the world´s worst humanitarian crisis.
  6. RAWALPINDI: Indian forces targeted a funeral procession in fresh violation of the ceasefire agreement late Thursday resulting in martyrdom of two Pakistani civilians, the Inter-Services Public Relations said in a statement. Indian army targeted the funeral procession in Chaffar village in Chirikot sector along the Line of Control (LoC), the ISPR said in a statement. As a consequence, two civilians embraced martyrdom, while a woman was injured. In retaliation, Pakistan Army targeted Indian posts from where the unprovoked fire initiated, the statement read. The retaliatory fire destroyed an Indian post leaving at least one Indian troop dead, and four to five other soldiers wounded, it added.
  7. KARACHI: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif Wednesday said the United States, by means of its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, targeted not only Palestinians, but the entire Muslim world. President Donald Trump on Wednesday recognised the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital - a historic decision that overturns decades of US policy and risks triggering a fresh spasm of violence in the Middle East. "I have determined that it is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," Trump said from the White House. "It's the right thing to do." Speaking on Geo News' programme 'Aapas Ki Baat', Asif said, "Not only Palestinians are a target of this wound, but the entire Muslim world." He said the sanctity of Al-Quds for Muslims is not hidden from anyone. United States recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital Jerusalem is the home of the modern Israeli state, says Trump "This is a blatant evidence of opposition to Muslims. A proxy is being propped up in the Middle East, which is extremely condemnable," the foreign minister said. Trump also kicked off the process of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, saying his decision marked the start of a "new approach" to solving the thorny conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Asif said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called the OIC summit, adding, "We fully back it and the Muslim world will present its detailed stance from the platform, so that we may fight for the aspirations of our Palestinian brothers." Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called an OIC summit in Istanbul on December 13 to discuss the US move, his spokesman said on Wednesday, hours before Trump's announcement. Earlier in a tweet prior to the announcement by President Trump, Asif had said that "by moving the embassy US will practically alter the status of Jerusalem, an affront to Palestinians and the Muslim world." He had said the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital will be practically burying the two states solution. "It will add another wound to already bleeding body of Muslim Ummah."
  8. File Targeting gangs in Britain who groom children to carry drugs with tough anti-trafficking laws and the threat of life in prison sends a strong message to criminals who enslave others, the country?s anti-slavery tsar and police said on Tuesday. Thousands of children - some as young as 12 - are estimated to be used by gangs to carry drugs between cities and rural areas in Britain, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA). Police forces have seen a rise in the exploitation of and violence towards children, and have identified more than 700 criminal operations in the so-called ?county lines? drug trade, said Vince O?Brien of the NCA, which is dubbed Britain?s FBI. By using Britain?s landmark Modern Slavery Act for the first time to charge alleged drug dealers in two upcoming criminal trials, the police and prosecutors hope to tackle the use of children as drug runners with the threat of harsher sentences. ?This is an important step, to send out a message to those exploiting and trafficking vulnerable people, including children ... that we can bring the full force of the law against them,? said O?Brien, who heads the NCA?s drug operations. Britain is regarded as a leader in global efforts to combat slavery. The 2015 law introduced life sentences for traffickers, better protection for people at risk of being enslaved, and made businesses check their supply chains for forced labour. ?Police and prosecutors must consider using this legislation to its full, so that these ruthless criminals are brought to justice for what they are ? child traffickers,? said Kevin Hyland, Britain?s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. Using Britain?s anti-slavery laws to prosecute criminals who exploit children to traffic drugs may also prompt a shift away from punishing the young mules for drug offences, said Nazir Afzal, a former Chief Crown Prosecutor for northwest England. ?It starts out with money, but then these children - mainly young boys - become slaves to their masters,? said Afzal, who now advises the government and trains lawyers and judges. ?There is growing recognition recently that they are victims of slavery, having been groomed, blackmailed and threatened with violence,? he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. At least 13,000 people across Britain are estimated by the government to be victims of forced labor, sexual exploitation and domestic servitude - but police say the true figure could be in the tens of thousands with slavery operations on the rise.
  9. File Photo BAGHDAD: Two attackers shot several civilians on Monday in the Nahrawan area southeast of Baghdad before one blew himself up and the other was killed by security forces, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said, without providing official casualty figures. Local media reported at least 17 people were killed and 28 wounded. Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack, described by an interior ministry spokesman as ?a terrorist attack by two terrorist suicide attackers who fired indiscriminately on citizens in the Nahrawan area?. The extremist group?s Amaq news agency said it had killed 35 members of one of the Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces. Iraqi security officials say Daesh is likely to wage an insurgency after its self-proclaimed caliphate collapsed and its militants were dislodged from territories they held across a swathe of Iraq and Syria.
  10. NEW YORK: General Motors announced plans Monday to launch 20 all-electric cars by 2023, part of a long-term push to an "all-electric" fleet as governments globally embrace fuel efficiency. The biggest US automaker said it will introduce within 18 months two new models built on the learnings of the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt, which was launched in December 2016. "General Motors believes in an all-electric future," said General Motors executive vice president Mark Reuss. "Although that future won´t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers´ needs." The Bolt, the first all-electric vehicle aimed at the middle market, now faces competition from Tesla´s Model 3, which has won admiration among many environmentalists and car aficionados as a leader in new car technologies. Car companies are investing heavily in all-electric vehicles as officials from China to Europe emphasize the need for more energy-efficient vehicles, even as today´s fleet remains overwhelmingly populated with conventional autos. Officials from Britain and France are among those who have said they plan to block sales of diesel or gasoline-fueled cars in 2040, while Norway has set a 2025 deadline. China has set a target that at least 12 percent of cars must be hybrid or electric by 2020. GM got a boost Monday from Deutsche Bank, which upgraded the company´s stock to "buy" and said it enjoys an advantage over competitors in "autonomous and new mobility models." GM shares jumped 4.5 percent to $42.19 in afternoon trading.
  11. DENGZHOU: In the final hour of his life, Zheng Dexing, 21, checked into a hotel and told family and friends in a flurry of phone messages that he was about to kill himself. ?Don?t come collect my body - it?s too humiliating,? Zheng wrote to his father from Qingdao, the seaside city where he had fled from his hometown in the central province of Henan. Saddled with crippling debt and hounded by collectors, Zheng plunged to his death from the hotel?s eighth floor last year. A second-year university student, he had racked up debt of nearly 590,000 yuan ($85,700) after taking personal loans from a dozen online finance companies to pay for his gambling habit. Such tales of indebted students being driven to suicide have become commonplace in Chinese media and social networks in recent years, sparking public outrage. Regulators say they are the result of a surge in borrowing driven by online lenders who target university campuses, often charging staggering rates of interest and employing violent collection methods. Monthly compounded rates on loan contracts being offered in 2015 that were reviewed by Reuters were 1 to 2 percent, implying an effective annual rate of 13 to 27 percent. Penalties for late payments were at least 0.5 percent daily, equivalent to 517 percent annually. The lenders provide credit on easy terms, capitalizing on a materialism prevalent among students eager to get the latest iPhone or laptop. The ease of getting credit means that students often take out new loans to pay back older ones, or pay off interest, resulting in a cascade of unpaid debts and penalties that multiply at a dizzying rate. The government has taken aim at the online lenders, suspending them in late June from extending new loans to university students. It has also ordered state banks to take up the credit slack, a major reversal as the lenders withdrew from the student market in 2009 amid fears over high default rates. Many of the online lenders have complied with the suspension, but still appear to be targeting students - and there is an unknown number of existing loans yet to be collected. A third-year university student in Beijing said he initially borrowed about 10,000 yuan to buy an iPhone 6s last year. Now he owes more than 200,000 yuan to two dozen online finance companies after taking out a series of new loans to pay back debts and due to spiraling interest. Harassed by debt collectors, he has dropped out of university. ?I was reckless. I wasn?t thinking about the consequences,? he said, declining to be named out of fear of loan collectors. The first online finance companies targeting university students emerged in 2013 and thrived in a regulatory vacuum in which they were not required to secure lending licenses. Official statistics are unavailable, but the state news agency Xinhua reported in March, citing unnamed research, that the industry had grown to more than 80 billion yuan by 2016. Online lenders stationed marketing agents in universities, students say, plastering campuses with advertisements, and even setting up information booths. Students said the universities turned a blind eye to the practices. However, the companies started disappearing from many campuses in 2016 after a spate of student suicides made headlines, they said. There were no advertisements for the companies visible during a recent visit to Zheng?s campus at the Henan University of Animal Husbandry and Economy in Zhengzhou, in Henan province. But advertisements could still be seen at some campuses in Beijing. It is not clear if universities were paid by the finance companies. Zheng?s university did not respond to an emailed request seeking comment and phone calls to the university?s propaganda department went unanswered. Once hooked, students are extended loans on easy terms. Applicants usually only need to provide their contact details, as well as those of family and friends, according to those who took out loans. Some women have to submit images of themselves nude, or performing lewd acts, as collateral, and threatened that they will be posted online if debts are not paid. Reuters has reviewed a file of so-called ?naked collateral?, videos and pictures of more than 160 naked college women holding their identification cards or IOUs. Jiedaibao, the online finance firm named on the IOUs, said in an online statement that it was merely a ?money transfer channel? for lenders and borrowers, and did not request ?naked collateral?. Reuters could not reach Jiedaibao for comment. Collection is also often enforced by violent thugs, according to parents and students. ?It was terrifying,? said a first-year college student in Henan who owed 70,000 yuan, describing threats from loan collectors. ?Some boys were tied up and beaten.? The student said she had to drop out of university. Fraudulent applications, in which students? personal details were misappropriated by others seeking loans, are also common, according to police reports. In Zheng?s case, the identities of 28 other students were used by him to secure loans, according to a lawyer who advised his family. The lawyer declined to be named as he was not authorized to speak with foreign media. Return of state banks The student loan problem is just a small part of China?s massive financial system, but public anger over the practices of loan companies has prompted the government to act. Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, said at a meeting of the regulator in April that campus loan companies had a ?very bad social influence?, according to an official with knowledge of the matter. Two months later, the banking regulator announced the suspension of new loans by the companies, citing practices like usury, violent debt collection and naked collateral. Fifty-nine campus lenders had left the market as of June 23, according to the People?s Daily newspaper, citing statistics by Yingcan Consultancy. But there are believed to be dozens more still operating, according to industry sources and a review of finance companies websites. Some loan companies are rebranding themselves as credit services to ?young people?, according to their websites. It is not clear if the ban will become permanent. Zeng Qinghui, co-founder of Wheat Finance and chief executive of Mingxiaodai (Shanghai) Financial Technologies Co, one of the largest online campus lenders, said his company had stopped making new loans to students for now. Mingxiaodai has extended nearly 10 billion yuan in loans since it was founded in 2013, he said. Zeng defended his company and the industry, saying that most companies operated ethically and charged an annualized interest rate of 15-20 percent. The state banks, meanwhile, have already returned to some campuses. In September, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China announced it had started to offer loans to university students in 10 cities. And in May, China Construction Bank (CCB) and Bank of China announced loan programmes in selected universities. CCB does not require collateral and allows students to apply for a maximum of 50,000 yuan, charging an annual rate of 5.6 percent. CCB said the bank was using a ?rigorous internal control and compliance system to effectively prevent risks.? ICBC also does not require collateral, capping student loans at 20,000 yuan. ICBC declined to comment. BOC did not respond to a request seeking comment. The banking regulator did not respond to a faxed request for statistics and comment. The fallout Zheng Xianqiao, the father of the student who committed suicide, is still reeling from his son?s tangles with the loan companies. Zheng, a farmer, used his life savings of 120,000 yuan to help pay back part of his son?s loans. ?Campus loan companies ruined my child?s wonderful life,? he said. ?We spent everything we had in the family to repay his debt.? But, he said, ?in the end he was still hounded to death by campus loans.?
  12. WASHINGTON: IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned Wednesday that the US will fall short of its ambitious economic growth goals unless it can accelerate promised policy changes, including tax reform. The Trump administration has said it will push US growth to three percent annually -- a rate economists say is unrealistic, given the low US unemployment rate, among other factors. The International Monetary Fund cut its growth forecast for the US economy this year back to 2.1 percent after reforms expected to boost the activity failed to materialize. Asked on CBS This Morning if the US could reach its growth target, Lagarde said, "We think it is going to be very difficult, yes. Particularly if the reform pace is as slow as it is." Lagarde noted that "there were very strong market expectations early in the calendar year after the elections that tax reform would take place promptly, that massive investment would be made in infrastructure." However, she said, "none of that has materialized at all." The IMF in January raised its US growth estimates on the expectation of fiscal stimulus and tax reform from the Trump administration, but reverted back to the previous calculations which project the economy will expand by 2.1 percent in 2017 and 2018, down from 2.3 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively. She said the fund supports tax reform in principle and is prepared to "make recommendations to boost growth, create jobs, (and) restore middle-class income" in the US. The fund will publish the revised growth forecasts in its World Economic Outlook in mid-October. Asked about US President Donald Trump's harsh rhetoric threatening to "totally destroy" North Korea in a speech to the United Nations, Lagarde said the tone was not helpful. "I think that those issues are so difficult, complicated, that they require a lot of good will, a lot of calm, and a lot of cooperation, and that's where I think that rhetoric does not necessarily help," she said.
  13. ISLAMABAD: A suspected US drone strike on Friday killed three militants in one of Pakistan´s federally administered areas near its border with Afghanistan, a senior regional official said. Baseer Khan Wazir, the most senior administrator in the Kurram Agency region of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), said the drone strike took place close to the border with Afghanistan. "Two missiles were dropped on the home of Maulvi Mohib and three people have been killed," Wazir said. US drone attacks inside Pakistan have become rare over the past few years. In its last high-profile attack inside Pakistan, the United States last May killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in the southwestern province of Balochistan.
  14. Bagram Airbase. Photo: Tolo News A suicide bomber reportedly detonated his explosives at the southern gate of Bagram Airbase in Parwan province on Wednesday evening, Tolo News reported. Details of casualties have not been released but eyewitnesses have reported a number of people were wounded in the attack. The attack comes just hours after a senior US commander in Afghanistan apologized on Wednesday for a ?highly offensive? propaganda leaflet that had been distributed by US forces in Parwan, just north of Kabul, on Tuesday. The offensive leaflet contained a passage from the Quran used in the Taliban militants? banner superimposed on to the image of a dog. The dog is considered unclean in Islam and associating an image of the animal with one of the religion?s most sacred texts prompted indignation. The image showed a white dog with a section of the Taliban?s banner superimposed on its side fleeing from the lion. The banner contains a passage from the Quran in Arabic. ?The design of the leaflets mistakenly contained an image highly offensive to both Muslims and the religion of Islam,? Major General James Linder said in a statement. ?I sincerely apologize. We have the deepest respect for Islam and our Muslim partners worldwide,? he said, adding that an investigation would be held ?to determine the cause of this incident and to hold the responsible party accountable.?
  15. PESHAWAR: A blast took place at an under-construction police checkpoint here in Umeedabad Saturday night, Geo News reported. The police checkpoint, which is currently under construction, suffered partial damage and its walls and gate were ruined. No casualties were reported since the checkpoint was empty when the bomb exploded. Approximately 25-30 kilogrammes of explosive material was used in the bomb, the bomb disposal unit ? that was called to the site of detonation ? explained.
  16. SPAIN: Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome begins his quest to make more cycling history on Saturday by ending a long and arduous wait to win the Vuelta a Espana. Froome faces a huge challenge over three weeks of brutal climbs in the searing Spanish summer heat with a stellar cast of former Grand Tour winners such as Alberto Contador in his final race, Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru competing for the red jersey. However, should the Briton emerge victorious when the race enters Madrid on September 10, he would become just the third man ever to win the Tour de France and Vuelta in the same year after Frenchman Jacques Anquetil (1963) and Bernard Hinault (1978). Froome has come agonisingly close to winning in Spain in the past, finishing second on three occasions in 2011, 2014 and 2016. "It certainly feels as if I've got unfinished business at the Vuelta a Espana," said Froome. "It's a relentless race, the course is always a lot more mountainous than the Tour de France, the conditions are tougher being mid-August in Spain." Nine summit finishes lie in wait for the peloton, including a 12.2km climb up Alto de l'Angliru in the penultimate stage to ensure an explosive finish. There is just one individual time trial, but the long and flat 42km circuit on stage 16 should allow Froome to take time off his rivals. "It's brutal, absolutely brutal, and to win something like that it feels as if you're taking on an even bigger challenge," added Froome. "It's certainly not easy to go straight from the Tour and to shift the mind-set to suddenly getting ready for another Grand Tour, another three-week race, just a few weeks on from the Tour de France." - Contador's fairytale finale? - Contador will be the home favourite as he aims to end an illustrous career in fairytale fashion by matching Roberto Heras's record of four Vuelta wins. The 34-year-old announced earlier this month the Vuelta would be his final race after a disappointing Tour de France in which he finished ninth and nearly nine minutes back on Froome. "I don't think there is a better farewell than in my home race in my own country," said Contador, who is tied for fourth as the most successful Grand Tour rider of all-time with seven wins in total. "I'm sure these will be three wonderful weeks." Two Italian former Vuelta winners pose the biggest threat to Froome and Contador as Nibali and Aru lead Bahrain-Merida and Astana respectively. Nibali should be fresher than his rivals after sitting out the Tour de France following his third-place finish on home soil at the Giro d'Italia. "The route is very demanding but overall I like it," said Nibali. "So many climbs, but also Navarra Circuit's time trial with more of 40 kilometres can be decisive." Aru finished fifth at the Tour de France even taking the yellow jersey from Froome for a couple of days despite losing a number of teammates early in the race. "It'll be the hardest Grand Tour of 2017," said the 2015 champion, who is also riding with his future in mind with UAE Team Emirates interested in snatching him away from Astana. Romain Bardet also goes for his first Grand Tour win after finishing on the podium at the Tour de France in each of the last two years. However, former Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez is out after being suspended by the UCI for failing a doping test on Thursday.
  17. New Nokia 8 phones are seen in this HMD Global handout picture obtained by Reuters, August 16, 2017. HMD Global/Handout via Reuters HELSINKI: HMD Global ? the Finnish start-up looking to reinvigorate the Nokia phone brand ? unveiled the Nokia 8 on Wednesday, hoping to cash in on rising consumer demand for high-quality audio and video features. The Android device ? due out in September ? will potentially beat rivals on price but will still face fierce competition, with Apple's highly anticipated 10th anniversary iPhone also expected next month and Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 set to hit the market next week. With a suggested price tag of around $703 (599 euros), the Nokia 8 undercuts Apple, which typically offers a stripped down version of its latest phones for a similar price but charges hundreds of euros more for memory and key features. The new top-of-the-line Nokia sports a dual-sight video feature, which enables simultaneous live-streaming on social media networks from both front and rear cameras on a split screen. It has licensed lens technology from camera maker Zeiss. It is the most high-end phone so far from HMD, which was set up late last year and made a splash in May when it revived Nokia's classic 3310 feature handset in new brightly coloured versions. Other features of the Nokia 8 ? which will also compete with Huawei's recently launched P10 ? include surround-sound audio technology made for Nokia's own virtual reality camera OZO for Hollywood professionals. "This is especially meant for millennial creators, people who want to share what's happening every day," HMD's chief marketing officer Pekka Rantala said. HMD products are built by a unit of Foxconn, which acquired the manufacturing and distribution assets of the former Nokia phone business from Microsoft last year. Once the world's dominant phone-maker, Nokia Oyj sold its handset operations to Microsoft in 2014, leaving it to focus on telecoms network equipment. HMD is owned by Smart Connect LP, a private equity fund managed by Jean-Francois Baril, a long-serving former senior vice president of Nokia. It took over the Nokia feature phones business in December and has a licensing deal giving it sole use of the Nokia brand on all phones and tablets. It has so far launched four smartphones and five feature phones, including the 3310. Rantala said he was happy with initial sales of the previous smartphones, but declined to disclose any sales figures yet. HMD will pay Nokia royalties for the brand and patents. Last month, HMD announced that its CEO Arto Nummela ? a former Nokia executive ? was leaving the company for personal reasons, without elaborating.
  18. BERLIN: A German-Israeli artist who accuses Twitter of failing to delete hate speech tweets has taken matters into his own hands - by stencilling the offending messages on the road in front of the company's Hamburg headquarters. A post on video-sharing site YouTube showed Shahak Shapira and fellow activists stencilling tweets saying "Germany needs a final solution to Islam" and "Let's gas the Jews" - clear references to the Nazi regime's World War Two genocide of Europe's Jews. [youtu.be/jzMTBINlLFU] Shapira said he had reported some 300 incidents of hate speech on Twitter but had received just nine responses from the company. "If Twitter forces me to see these things, then they should have to see it as well," he said in the video, posted on Monday, describing the comments as violations of the social network's community guidelines. Hate speech is especially sensitive in Germany, whose history has been shaped by the struggle to atone for the crimes of the Nazis. A spokesman for Twitter told Reuters the company would not comment on the specifics of individual accounts for reasons of privacy, but said it strictly enforced its rules and had stepped up its policing of abuse on its network. Twitter is now taking action on 10 times as many abusive accounts now compared to the same time last year, he added. A worker cleans "hate tweets", the art project "#HEYTWITTER" created by Shahak Shapira, outside Twitter office in Hamburg, Germany Shapira said Facebook had been more vigorous than Twitter in replying to his requests, removing 80 percent of some 150 hate speech comments he had reported. On the handful of occasions when Twitter removed offensive tweets, Shapira said he never received a report of their having done so. "I selected some of the tweets they didn't delete, and then came to Hamburg to put them in front of Twitter's office," he said. "Tomorrow they will have to see the Tweets they were so happy to ignore."
  19. Vietnam issued arrest warrants for 14 bankers and took two more into custody on Tuesday after accusing them of causing losses totalling hundreds of millions of dollars in the scandal-tainted sector. The communist government has been on the warpath against wrongdoers in an industry plagued by favouritism and dodgy loans -- part of a broader drive against corruption in the country. A total of 16 people from various private and government-owned banks are accused of deliberate misconduct, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) said on its website without elaborating. The bankers allegedly colluded with the private Vietnam Construction Bank to skirt the law to secure millions in loans, causing $660 million in losses, state media reported. The group "deliberately violated state regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences", MPS said. The two most senior bankers named are Tram Be and Phan Huy Khang from Sacombank, one of the country's leading private banks. Both were arrested Tuesday. Be is the former bank deputy chairman and belongs to one of Vietnam's richest families, who earned much of its fortune in logging, real estate, farming and jewelry. Khang was CEO from 2012 until he was sacked last month along with Be. Several people have already been punished. In September last year 36 former Vietnam Construction Bank employees were given jail terms of up to 30 years, after they were accused of secretly withdrawing millions of dollars from clients' accounts to use for loans or keep for themselves. Vietnam has achieved several years of solid economic growth of five percent or higher, making it one of the best performing economies in Southeast Asia. But soaring public debts, bloated state-owned enterprises and rampant official corruption have threatened progress. Several high-profile bankers are currently awaiting trial or serving lengthy prison terms. Authorities have also targeted other sectors in their anti-corruption drive. Former state oil executive Trinh Xuan Thanh handed himself into police Monday after an 11-month manhunt. Also on Monday officials proposed that deputy trade minister Ho Thi Kim Thoa be stripped of her post for suspected wrongdoing at a state-owned lamp factory. Despite Vietnam's vow to crack down on corruption, analysts have said prosecutions and punishments are often spurred by political infighting rather than a genuine commitment to reform.
  20. Bono, the singer of Irish band U2 and co-founder of ONE organisation, and Brigitte Macron ? wife of the French President ? speak at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron has told U2 frontman Bono that France will respect its commitment to boost development aid, Bono told reporters after meeting Macron in Paris. The rock singer, who heads the ONE anti-poverty foundation, said Macron had confirmed France would boost its aid budget to 0.55 percent of gross domestic product by 2022. Macron had made a campaign pledge to boost France's aid budget to 0.7 percent of GDP by 2030, from 0.38 percent in 2016, but development aid budget cuts this year have led to criticism from charity organisations, including from ONE France.
  21. Netflix Inc crushed Wall Street forecasts by adding 5.2 million new streaming customers in the second quarter and predicted continued momentum as it expands around the world, lifting its stock nearly 11 percent on Monday. Shares of the company that pioneered streaming television jumped to $179.16 in after-hours trading, beating their all-time intraday high of $166.87 on June 8. Netflix expects foreign growth to lead to its first full-year profit for overseas markets in 2017, the company said in a letter to shareholders. At the end of June, Netflix for the first time recorded more subscribers abroad than in the United States - 52.03 million vs. 51.92 million. The company said a strong slate of content, such as "13 Reasons Why" and the latest season of hit political drama "House of Cards," helped attract new customers in the second quarter, which is typically its slowest season of the year. Netflix added 4.14 million non-US subscribers, compared with the average analyst estimate of 2.59 million, according to data from analytics firm FactSet. In the United States, it signed up 1.07 million subscribers, beating analysts' average estimate of 631,000. Netflix is expecting international subscriber additions of 3.65 million for the current quarter, compared with analysts' average estimate of 3.2 million. The guidance assumes much of this momentum will continue, the letter said, though it added that Netflix's forecasts had been too optimistic at times. Netflix is spending $6 billion a year on content to win new subscribers in a quest to become the dominant movie and TV streaming service around the world even as it faces a slowdown in US customer growth. It is customising content for different countries and adding shows in various languages. The Los Gatos, California-based company said it expected to report negative free cash flow "for many years" as it invests in content to add new subscribers. Netflix said revenue rose 32.3 percent to $2.79 billion in the quarter. The company's net income rose to $65.6 million, or 15 cents per share, in the latest quarter from $40.8 million, or 9 cents per share, a year earlier.
  22. Several major companies said Tuesday they were targeted in an international cyberattack which started in Russia and Ukraine before spreading to western Europe. Danish sea transport company Maersk, British advertising giant WPP and the French industrial group Saint-Gobain all said they came under attack and put protection protocols in place to avoid data loss. "Most of our IT systems are down across all business units due to a virus. We continue to assess the situation. The safety of our operations are top of our priorities," Concepcion Boo Arias, spokeswoman of Maersk Line, told AFP. A Saint-Gobain spokesperson told AFP that the company also "is the target of a cyberattack. As a security measure we have isolated our computer systems to protect our data". WPP tweeted that "IT systems in several WPP companies have been affected by a suspected cyber attack. We are taking appropriate measures & will update asap". The three groups were the first major businesses to be hit by what is believed to be a ransomware attack of the so-called Petya type, which earlier affected Russia and Ukraine. "This is a bit like a flu epidemic in winter," said Nicolas Duvinage, head of the French military´s digital crime unit. "We will get many of these viral attack waves in coming months," he said.
  23. MOSCOW: Two Russian warships and a submarine in the Mediterranean have fired missiles at Daesh targets in Syria, the defence ministry said Friday. It said that Turkish and Israeli military "were informed in a timely manner of the missile launches through communication channels," but it did not mention the United States. Russia has suspended its communication channel with the US on military operations in Syria after a US jet shot down a Syrian warplane on Sunday, with Moscow accusing Washington of failing to issue a warning. The defence ministry said that Russia´s Admiral Essen and Admiral Grigorovich warships and the Krasnodar submarine fired six Kalibr missiles at command centres and weapons stores in Syria´s Hama region. "As a result of the surprise mass missile strike, command points were destroyed and also large stores of weapons and ammunition of the IS terrorists in the area of Aqirbat in the Hama province," it said. The ministry added that Russian planes then carried out aerial strikes that "destroyed the remainder of the Daesh fighters and their facilities." The ministry released video footage of missiles being fired from underwater by the submarine and from the ships as well as aerial footage of the missiles striking two-storey buildings in what appeared to be semi-desert areas. The most recent such strikes from ships and submarines were announced by the ministry on May 31, aimed at targets around Palmyra. The defence ministry said Friday that Daesh fighters have been moving forces into Hama province this week under cover of night and using large buildings there as command points and weapons stores. It said the fighters were trying to move out from Raqqa towards Palmyra.
  24. TEHRAN: Iran has targeted militants in Syria with missiles in retaliation for deadly attacks in Tehran. Late Sunday, the elite Revolutionary Guards launched six missiles from western Iran into Syria´s mostly Daesh held Deir Ezzor province, hitting their command base, the Guards said. The strike was "revenge" for twin attacks in Tehran on June 7 that killed 17 people in the first Daesh claimed attacks inside Iran, a Guards spokesman added. As well as punishing "terrorists", it was intended to show that Iran is capable of projecting military power across the region, officials and experts said. Sunday´s strike was the first known missile attack launched from Iran into foreign territory since the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88. "The missile attacks were only a small part of Iran´s punitive power against terrorists and enemies," Guards spokesman General Ramezan Sharif said Monday. "International and regional supporters of the terrorists must realise the warning message of the missile operation." Iran has long accused the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia of backing "terrorists". US President Donald Trump meanwhile accuses Iran of backing terrorism, a charge it denies and has threatened to tear up a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers.
  25. Nokia launched the world's fastest network chips on Wednesday, breaking into the Juniper and Cisco dominated core router market and giving its existing network business a boost. The new traffic routers can handle the greater demands of virtual reality programming, cloud-based internet services, and next-generation mobile communications, the Finnish company said. Nokia's new products, which grew out of its 15.6 billion-euro ($17.5 billion) 2016 acquisition of Alcatel and its IP network gear business, should help it win business from companies such as Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon. For these "web-scale" customers speed is everything and unlike Nokia's traditional telecoms customers they are still increasing spending on network gear. The routers are compatible with older products and will also serve Nokia's existing customers who want speed but must still contend with the legacy gear needed to run existing services. "Nokia will have the highest-performance system capacity in the market, and a lot of those web-scalers, they just want speed," Ray Mota, principal analyst at ACG Research, told Reuters. The former Alcatel IP networks business is already the world's No. 2 player in edge routers behind Cisco, having displaced Juniper Networks, which is now No. 3. The Nokia business also competes with Huawei in router markets outside the United States, where the privately-held Chinese firm is barred for national security reasons. Nokia executives expect to take market share from all the big competitors, including Cisco and Juniper as well as Huawei. "Whether its web-scale or vertical markets (such as banks, transportation, energy and public sector), where we have been less exposed in routers, clearly we will gain share," Nokia Chief Executive Rajeev Suri told Reuters in an interview. "This gives us momentum in core routing." Simon Leopold, a financial analyst with Raymond James, said Juniper, which depends for around a quarter of sales from web-scale customers such as Facebook could be hardest hit. "There is at least headline risk to Juniper, once Nokia ships," he said. Shares of Juniper Networks fell 2.4 percent to $28.60, while Cisco fell 1 percent to $31.38. Nokia's U.S.-listed shares dipped a little under 1 percent. PETABITS Nokia said it is introducing its latest FP4 silicon chipset capable of processing data at 2.4 terabits per second. The new chipsets are set to ship in the fourth quarter, with routers running FP4 chips ready in the first quarter of next year. These will be built into routers to operate both ultra-high-speed "core" networks at the heart of the biggest internet services and also "edge" networks that link data centres to front-line customer services on mobile or fixed-line networks. Telecom operators' capital spending is rising by just 2-3 percent a year which means Nokia is turning to web-scale players whose spending on new network gear is growing by double-digits. FP4 chips, which are manufactured for Nokia by Taiwan's TSMC are designed using circuits as narrow as 16 nanometres apart, skipping 22- and 28-nanometer-sized circuits compared to the prior FP3 processor built at 40-nanometer scale, Nokia said. Nokia is introducing the 7950 petabit-class router aimed at the core routing market to help it win business from customers such as Apple and Facebook. A petabit can transmit 5,000 two-hour-long high-definition videos every second.For edge network customers, Nokia is introducing its 7750 router, offering the highest traffic capacity on the market. Mota said the Nokia 7750 can deliver speeds of up to 4.8 terabits per slot, compared with Juniper's 3 terabit edge router speeds, which had been the industry's fastest. A terabit can transfer a high-definition Netflix TV episode in one second. Beyond sheer speed, there is enough processing power headroom in its new chipset to offer built-in security features to fend off distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. BT managing director and chief network architect Neil McRae said the British telecoms operator, an early customer of Nokia's new products, is already running thousands of 7750 edge routers and hundreds of 7950 systems in its core network. "If you look at London, one of the busiest parts of our network, we need this platform today," McRae said.