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Found 22 results

  1. 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.
  2. 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.?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.?
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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."
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. The slightly damaged pole connecting a major power transmission line in Karachi. ? Geo News screengrab KARACHI: An explosion targeted a high-tension power transmission line in Karachi on Tuesday, police said, adding that it was a minor blast. The explosion took place under a pole connecting high-tension line near Karachi's Northern Bypass area, officials said. It caused minor damage to the pole. Officials have called in bomb disposal squad (BDS) to examine the scene.
  18. A suicide bomber targetted vehicles belonging to members of the local police force campaign in Khost province, Tolo News quoted the local officials as saying. As per the Afghan media, the local police force campaign members fall under the US-Forces. The provincial governor's spokesman Mubariz Zadran confirmed the incident and said it occurred at the Mujahid square in Khost city. Zadran did not give details regarding casualties but a source at the scene said there could be as many as 30 dead and wounded. On Friday, at least 10 people were killed when a roadside mine exploded in Herat province, local officials confirmed, According to Tolo News, the incident occurred in Sherzad area of Adraksan district in Herat province when the vehicle the victims were driving in hit the roadside mine. The victims had been on their way to Ghor province at the time of the explosion, district governor Lal Mohammad Omarzai said. In addition six others were wounded, Omarzai added. Women and children were also among the victims, the governor said. According to Omerzai the mine was planted by insurgents wanting to target a security forces convoy.
  19. RAWALPINDI: Indian Army once again committed ceasefire violation at Line of Control, targeting United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) vehicle in Khanjar Sector, an Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said. According to ISPR, the vehicle was carrying UNMOGIP Officers Major Emmanual of Philippine and Major Mirko of Croatia on a visit to LoC with UNMOGIP blue flag hoisted as per procedure. Both officers remained safe as they were off the vehicle in near immediate distance and now back at their location, the statement added.
  20. RAWALPINDI: Indian Army once again committed ceasefire violation at Line of Control, targeting United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) vehicle in Khanjar Sector, an Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said. According to ISPR, the vehicle was carrying UNMOGIP Officers Major Emmanual of Philippine and Major Mirko of Croatia on a visit to LoC with UNMOGIP blue flag hoisted as per procedure. Both officers remained safe as they were off the vehicle in near immediate distance and now back at their location, the statement added. Army says Indian claims of destroying Pakistani posts along LoC are false Indian army had claimed it had fired and damaged Pakistani posts along the LoC Six injured in unprovoked Indian firing at LoC Pakistan Army gives ?befitting? response to Indian hostility On Tuesday, Pakistan Army denied claims made by Indian Army of destroying Pakistani posts along the LoC. Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a tweet: "Indian claims of destroying Pakistani post along LoC in Naushera Sector and firing by Pakistan Army on civilians across LoC are false." Indian army had claimed it had fired and damaged Pakistani posts along the LoC. Pakistan?s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit also denied the attack in Naushera sector and said he had not received any such report.
  21. A suspected US drone strike killed several Pakistani Taliban militants in North Waziristan close to the Afghanistan border, a regional government official said on Thursday, in a rare strike on Pakistani soil. If confirmed, the air strike, which happened on Wednesday, would be only the second drone attack inside Pakistan since US President Donald Trump took office in January. Kamran Afridi, a senior regional official in the tribal region of North Waziristan, told Reuters in a text message a "drone strike" had struck Pakistani Taliban militants close to the Afghanistan border and killed seven fighters. Afridi, who holds the post of 'political agent' in North Waziristan, identified one of the dead militants as Abdur Rahman, a senior commander of the Pakistani Taliban. The strike reportedly killed three civilian "labourers" and seven militants from the Pakistani Taliban, which is also known as TTP. Malik Waheedullah, a local tribal leader, told Reuters he saw two missiles strike a mountain home which caught fire. "I drove away as fast as I could," he said. According to sources, the strike is believed to be a US drone attack. US officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. North Waziristan was a Taliban stronghold until 2014, when the army launched a major offensive against the group and pushed many of its fighters across the border into Afghanistan. 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.
  22. SHANGHAI: China is targeting 35 million vehicle sales by 2025 and wants new energy vehicles (NEVs) to make up at least one-fifth of that total, the industry ministry said on Tuesday. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a market "road map" that China's urbanization drive and the overseas expansion of its automakers would help drive annual vehicle sales up around 25 percent from last year's total. Automakers in China, the world's largest automobile market with sales of 28 million vehicles in 2016, are increasingly pushing into electric and hybrid vehicles to meet stringent new government quotas. Sales of new energy vehicles should reach 2 million by 2020 and account for more than 20 percent of total vehicle production and sales by 2025, the ministry said. That implied annual NEV sales of over 7 million within the next decade. Green energy car sales have risen dramatically on the back of government policies, but still represented less than 2 percent of China's overall auto market last year. The government body also said it would push to create local champions in the industry who would be increasingly competitive with overseas rivals in China as well as in overseas markets. "The quality of Chinese brand vehicles has clearly risen, while brand recognition, reputation and global influence are much stronger," the MIIT said. "By 2025, we should have some Chinese vehicle brands that are in the global Top 10 by sales." China's domestic automakers, including SAIC and Geely Automobile Holdings Co, are already challenging better-known global rivals with new models and marketing strategies. MIIT added it would look to loosen rules on foreign joint ventures in the market. Currently, overseas carmakers, such as General Motors or Nissan Motor Co, are limited to a 50 percent stake in a China JV. "We will loosen joint venture ownership restrictions in an orderly manner," MIIT said, without elaborating about a time frame or what stake foreign carmakers may be able to own. The ministry added that Chinese carmakers would also look to increase exports to developed nations over the next decade, and improve battery technology for electric vehicles.