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Found 58 results

  1. Maldives President Abdulla Yameen has jailed almost all his political opponents since coming to power in late 2013 and the resulting fall-out has dented the nation´s image as a popular holiday destination MALDIVES: The Maldives has warned India against interfering in its political crisis, deepening a rift with the country once seen as its closest ally. New Delhi has expressed concern about the situation in the honeymoon islands, whose president has sacked top judges, jailed political dissidents and imposed a state of emergency in recent weeks. On Wednesday it said it was "deeply dismayed" by the extension of emergency rule, earning an official rebuke from the Maldives foreign ministry. "There is no doubt that the Maldives is experiencing one of the most difficult periods in the history of the nation," the islands´ ministry said in a statement late Thursday. "It is therefore important that friends and partners in the international community, including India, refrain from any actions that could hinder resolving the situation facing the country." Maldives President Abdulla Yameen has jailed almost all his political opponents since coming to power in late 2013 and the resulting fall-out has dented the nation´s image as a popular holiday destination. The UN human rights chief has described the imposition of a state of emergency following a power struggle with the Supreme Court as "an all-out assault on democracy". Exiled opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed has urged India to intervene militarily in the crisis -- a request the government has not publicly addressed. The Yameen regime has leaned heavily on India´s regional rival China for political and financial support to build infrastructure in the nation of 1,190 tiny coral islands. Despite criticism from the international community, legislators from Yameen´s party on Tuesday controversially approved a 30-day extension of emergency rule.
  2. Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir. Photo: Geo News file ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir on Wednesday said that Pakistan?s ties with Russia have strengthened under the current government. Speaking on the security policy in the upper house of the parliament, Dastgir said that Pakistan and Russia have held joint military exercises to strengthen the bilateral relations. He also briefed the lawmakers about Pakistan?s improved security relations with Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The defence minister stated that ties with Pakistan?s neighbour China are the strongest that they?ve been. Dastagir, in response to belligerent statements from his counterpart in India, on Tuesday said Pakistan will pay India in its own coin in case of any misadventure from the country's eastern neighbour. India's defence minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, had accused Pakistan of an attack on an army base in Indian-occupied Kashmir which killed 10 people, including five Indian soldiers. Pakistan will pay India in its own coin for any misadventure: defence minister Pakistani forces are vigilant and fully capable of defending the country's territorial integrity, Dastagir warns India Any Indian aggression, strategic miscalculation, or misadventure regardless of its scale, mode, or location will not go unpunished and shall be met with an equal and proportionate response, the defence minister had said in a statement. Referring to India's usual practice of blaming Pakistan after every attack by Kashmiri freedom fighters, Dastagir had further said that instead of knee-jerk reactions and blaming Pakistan, India should answer for its state-sponsored espionage against Pakistan.
  3. India Prime Minister Narendara Modi. Photo: File NEW DELHI: After a public embrace of Israel as a strategic partner, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is heading to the Palestinian territories and the Gulf on Friday to bolster long-standing political and economic ties. India was one of the earliest champions of the Palestinian cause but in recent years turned to Israel for high-tech military equipment and anti-terrorism cooperation. Under Modi, whose nationalist party sees Israel as a natural ally against extremism, ties have flourished. Modi made the first trip to Israel by an Indian prime minister last year followed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyanu?s visit to India last month. But Indian officials said India continued to support the Palestinian cause and that Modi?s visit is aimed at helping build up the Palestinians? capacity in the health, information technology and education areas. ?We have de-hyphenated our relations with Palestine and Israel and now we see them both as mutually independent and exclusive and as part of this policy the prime minister is undertaking this visit,? B. Bala Bhaskar, a joint secretary in the Indian foreign ministry, said. The two sides are building a India-Palestinian technology park in Ramallah, the Palestinians? seat of government, which will develop IT expertise and generate employment. Modi is due to arrive in Jordan later on Friday and travel to Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on Saturday. During his visit to Israel last year, he did not travel to the Palestinian headquarters as is usually the case with visiting leaders. ?Looking forward to my discussions with President Mahmoud Abbas and reaffirming our support for the Palestinian people and the development of Palestine,? Modi said in a Twitter post. India was among more than 120 countries to vote in favor of a resolution in December calling for the United States to drop its recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel?s capital. But the scale of India?s security and commercial ties with Israel dwarfs the engagement with the Palestinians. Israel is among India?s top three arms suppliers, doing business worth millions of dollars each year. Modi and Netanyahu are now pushing for cooperation in agriculture, energy and cybersecurity in addition to defense. Modi will also travel to the United Arab Emirates, from where India gets half of its oil, and to Oman, with which India?s navy has built close security ties. The Gulf is home to nine million Indians who remit $35 billion home each year, sustaining millions of families. The UAE committed an investment of $75 billion in India when Modi visited in 2015 and the two sides will be looking to advance that goal, the foreign ministry said.
  4. Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan greets members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Turkey, February 6, 2018. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS BRUSSELS: Top European Union officials will meet Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Bulgaria on March 26 to discuss EU-Turkey relations as well as regional and international issues, an EU spokesman said on Tuesday. The meeting in the city of Varna will take place against a background of hostility between Turkey and the bloc and diplomats in Brussels acknowledged that the meeting had been agreed to only reluctantly by some on the EU side. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov will host Erdogan as well as Donald Tusk, who chairs meetings of EU leaders, and the head of the bloc?s executive European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, for a dinner. ?This will be a good opportunity to jointly assess matters of mutual interest and recent developments in your country, including in the area of the rule of law and fundamental freedoms, which remain fundamental to the fabric of and prospects for the EU-Turkey relations,? the two top EU officials said in their invitation to Erdogan. Ties between Ankara and the EU have gone from bad to worse since a botched 2016 coup in Turkey and over Erdogan?s verbal assaults on Germany and the Netherlands, two of the bloc?s member states. But the EU also depends on Turkey, NATO?s second-biggest army, for support in the security field and for keeping a tight lid on immigration from the Middle East. This reality had swayed the EU to agreeing, with some reluctance, to Ankara?s push for the top-level meeting, diplomats said.
  5. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is attending the World Economic Forum in Davos. Photo: Government of Pakistan twitter DAVOS: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Thursday said that Pakistan has had longstanding ties with both China and the United States, and expects them to continue. ?We have a long relationship with China and a long relationship with the US and we expect both to continue for a long time,? Abbasi said during a press conference in Davos where he is attending the World Economic Forum (WEF). He further said that the Belt and Road initiative has not only strengthened the region, but also the relationship between Pakistan and China. ?World Economic Forum is an important way forward for development and prosperity,? the prime minister said, adding that Pakistan is improving its ties with other countries through the Pak-China Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. ?Pakistan strengthened its relationship with China through CPEC, and we want good terms with the United States too,? he said, adding that the latter is only looking at the bilateral terms in the Afghan context. Minister of Information and Technology (IT) Anusha Rahman Khan was also in attendance of the prime minister?s press conference at the WEF said that all of the unconnected territories will be connected to WIFI. She highlighted the work done to improve digital skills, adding that Pakistan produces 20,000 young IT professionals every year.
  6. Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen (L) talks to an official after arriving at Air Force Station Palam in New Delhi, India, January 24, 2018. REUTERS NEW DELHI: India is gathering the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Regional Cooperation (ASEAN) for a summit on Thursday to promote maritime security in a region dominated by China, officials and diplomats said. India has been pursuing an ?Act East? policy of developing political and economic ties with Southeast Asia, but its efforts have been tentative and far trail China, whose trade with ASEAN was more than six times India?s in 2016-17 at $470 million. China has also expanded its presence in South Asia, building ports and power plants in countries around India?s periphery, such as Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and spurring New Delhi to seek new allies. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited the leaders of all ten ASEAN nations to join him in the Republic Day celebrations on Friday in the biggest ever gathering of foreign leaders at the parade that showcases military might and cultural diversity. The leaders, who include Myanmar?s Aung San Suu Kyi, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, will hold talks on maritime cooperation and security, the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement. Both India and the Southeast Asia nations have stressed the need for freedom of navigation and open seas and India already has strong naval ties with countries such as Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, Preeti Saran, secretary in the Indian foreign ministry, said. ?The ongoing activities of ship visits, of coordinated patrols, of exercises that take place bilaterally, are taking place very well,? Saran said. ?And every time we have defense to defense talks or navy to navy talks, there is a great deal of satisfaction that has been expressed by the ASEAN member countries.? But several Southeast Asian countries locked in territorial disputes with China have sought even greater Indian engagement in the region, experts say. ?China?s distinctly hegemonic moves in the last few years in the South China Sea and its growing assertiveness have made ASEAN look towards India as a partner for equilibrium,? said Arvind Gupta, former Indian deputy national security adviser who now heads the influential Vivekananda International Foundation in New Delhi with close ties to the ruling government. But India, which has been building up its navy, is wary of getting entangled in South China Sea disputes and provoking a backlash from China. One of the plans the Indian and ASEAN leaders will be discussing at the close-door summit on Thursday will be for their navies to exercise near the Malacca Straits between Malaysia and Singapore, one of the busiest routes for international shipping, a navy official said.
  7. Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, December 10, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie/Files OTTAWA: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will travel to the United States in February to smooth over bilateral relations and save a continental trade pact in jeopardy of falling apart, his office said Friday. Coming right after the latest round of talks in Montreal to revamp the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the February 7-10 trip will include stops in Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. In meetings with officials, entrepreneurs and business leaders and in speeches at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, Trudeau will underscore "the interconnectedness of the Canada-US economies" as well as press for "stronger Canada-US economic and political ties". The Trudeau administration sent countless officials to Washington over the past two years as part of a so-called "charm offensive" to try to convince US President Donald Trump of the merits of NAFTA, which Trump has called "the worst trade deal in history". Since the start of the year, no less than four senior Liberal ministers (foreign affairs, agriculture, economic development and public safety) have travelled to the United States. This week they were joined by Canadian opposition leader Andrew Scheer, who led a delegation of Conservative MPs with personal ties to US Republican lawmakers to try to sway opinions in favour of continued open trade. Some observers fear that the trade talks will turn sour when negotiators meet in Montreal next week for the sixth round of NAFTA talks. Washington is irritated with Canada's hardline defence of its protected industries (airline, banking, dairy and telecom), while Canada has expressed outrage over steep anti-dumping and countervailing duties imposed on two of its key sectors ? aeronautics and forestry. The negotiations are scheduled to continue through March, but Trump has hinted he may announce a US withdrawal from the pact. This would trigger a six-month countdown to what would effectively be the end of NAFTA. Chrystia Freeland, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and Mexican Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo have scheduled a press conference on January 29 at the end of the Montreal round of talks.
  8. A year ago Donald Trump ceded control of The Trump Organization to his adult sons, but refused to divest his assets, sparking a furious backlash from political opponents and ethics experts. Photo: Getty Images1 NEW YORK: A year ago Donald Trump ceded control of The Trump Organization to his adult sons, but refused to divest his assets, sparking a furious backlash from political opponents and ethics experts. Today his golf clubs in Florida and New Jersey, where he spent more than 80 days in 2017, provide a backdrop to his presidency. His opponents complain bitterly and lawsuits have mounted up against opaque ties between the White House and the company. A prime example of this contentious cocktail of business and politics is the Trump International Hotel in Washington, a six-minute drive from the White House. If some doubted whether transforming Washington´s old post office into a luxury Trump hotel would spell success, today its rooms, restaurants and conference rooms swarm with foreign diplomats and lobbyists. "The hotel is kind of a separate White House where you can buy a $27 Margarita and where you can talk to people who will talk the next day to the president," says Austin Envers, executive director of American Oversight, a non-profit bankrolled by Democratic donors to expose ethical violations of the Trump administration. "It´s a way to get access to people who work in the administration that regular Americans don´t have." Stays by Saudi and Malaysian delegations were questionable, says Envers, so too an event held by a group representing e-cigarette makers. A little while later, the administration froze a regulation requiring stricter oversight of the sector. Trump´s habit of making surprise visits to his properties, which has continued in office, has handed them only greater publicity and captivated guests. "Exceptional service," wrote one recent guest from Australia who gave his name only as David in an online review at Booking.com. "The extra bonus was when POTUS and FLOTUS showed up standing a couple of feet in front of my wife and me." POTUS bonus But neither is the presidency necessarily an automatic meal ticket either. The Trump Organization refused to comment to AFP, but in a recent interview with The New York Times, Eric Trump said the company had decided to focus on existing properties, which include 16 golf courses, a winery, seven hotels and commercial real estate. As part of the deal made public before the inauguration, the company vowed not to seek new foreign deals while Trump was in office. In New York, the group has also cut ties with Trump SoHo, which had been boycotted by celebrities and now operates as The Dominick Hotel. According to US media, several properties in Democratic majority cities such as Chicago and New York have suffered declining interest. Prior to the 2016 election, the company said it was launching a slightly more affordable hotel chain Scion, a name notable for its lack of obvious connection to Trump. The first is due to open in Cleveland, Mississippi, a Republican town later this year. But growth or not, there is a problem, opponents of the president say. 'More we don't know' The sheer fact that Trump could profit from his presidency and that foreign governments could patronize The Trump Organization to curry favour, is enough to create innumerable conflicts of interest, said Evers. In a lawsuit filed in June, nearly 200 Democratic members of Congress cited examples of favours accorded by foreign governments to the Trump Organization, including long-sought trademarks approved in China. They demand that any foreign income or contract should be submitted to Congress for approval, in keeping with the emoluments clause of the US Constitution. "If President Trump believes that his receipt of foreign emoluments raises no corruption concerns, he simply needs to present them to Congress -- which his party controls -- and get approval before he accepts them," said Connecticut´s Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, who spearheaded the lawsuit. "The fact that he has refused to take that step -- thumbing his nose at the Constitution -- raises serious questions about what he is trying to hide." The Trump Organization is a family firm, is not listed on the stock exchange and as such does not release its earnings. Trump has also always refused to release his tax returns, meaning that much is unknown about deals and finances. Disclosures published in June by the Office of Government Ethics showed that Trump brought in around $600 to $650 million in assets and income over the last year. His income at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida private members club nicknamed the "Winter White House," was up from $30 to $37 million. "There is every reason to believe there is much more we don´t know about, and it is probably the things we don´t know about that are the most troubling," said Blumenthal.
  9. Marine General Joseph Dunford says he remains committed to US-Pakistan relationship Top US military officer, Marine General Joseph Dunford, has said he remains committed to the US-Pakistan relationship, which has been strained in recent weeks as Washington piles pressure on Islamabad to crack down on militants. ?Do we agree on everything right now? No we don?t. But are we committed to a more effective relationship with Pakistan? We are. And I?m not giving up on that,? Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a small group of reporters during a trip to Brussels. The United States has long blamed militant safe-havens in Pakistan for prolonging the war in neighboring Afghanistan, giving insurgents a place to plot attacks and rebuild their forces. Still, Pakistan is a crucial gateway for US military supplies destined for US and other troops fighting a 16-year-old war in Afghanistan. Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump?s administration, demanding ?do more? from Pakistan, announced a plan to suspend up to roughly $2 billion in US security assistance. That triggered outcry in Islamabad, as Pakistan?s military said its army chief told US General Joseph Votel, head of the US military?s Central Command, that Pakistan ?felt betrayed? by US criticism. Pakistan?s enemy is our enemy, says US State Dept official Jouranlist Hamid Mir informed that the US diplomat also said that the US doesn?t support the separation movement in Balochistan In a possible sign of efforts to improve relations, Alice Wells, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, met with Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua in Pakistan on Monday. A statement from Pakistan?s Foreign Ministry said Wells ?acknowledged Pakistan?s efforts in eradicating terrorism? and ?underlined the need for strengthening intelligence cooperation? to fight terrorism. Dunford was careful in his public remarks but made clear that Votel would continue to lead the military-to-military discussions. Dunford said he and US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis would also contribute to that dialogue. ?I?m not going to talk about the relationship in public because I?m committed to try to improve the relationship and I do believe that the military-to-military dialogue led by General Votel, with occasional reinforcement from Secretary Mattis, myself and others, is the right approach,? Dunford said.
  10. The UAE's Ambassador to Pakistan Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Al Zaabi meets National Security Adviser Lieutenant General (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua. APP/APP71-11 ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's national security adviser and the UAE's Ambassador to Islamabad agreed here on Thursday that the two nations should work together to take bilateral relations to further heights In a meeting here, Lieutenant General (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua and the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Al Zaabi decided to enhance engagements to promote two-way relations. Janjua said Pakistan and the UAE have the most cherished relationship, blessed with the close bond of common faith and solid friendship. He also paid tribute to the Emirates' late leader Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The ambassador said he had been undertaking a number of visits to different parts of Pakistan ? including Punjab, Sindh, and the tribal areas ? to explore the cooperation opportunities in various fields. In the coming days, he said he would be visiting Karachi to explore more opportunities for investments and ongoing cooperation. The ambassador reaffirmed the UAE?s commitment to extend all possible support and assistance to Pakistan in all areas of mutual interest.
  11. File Photo KARACHI: Governor of Sindh Muhammad Zubair, while speaking to a delegation ? led by Mitsubishi Corporation Senior Vice-President and GM Kimihide Ando at the Governor House ? here, said Thursday investors from various countries are coming up with investment in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Pakistan considers Japanese participation towards CPEC-related investment to be significant, Zubair noted, adding that the project's completion would help initiate a new era of economic prosperity for the nation. The governor also spoke of the significance of the Pak-Japanese ties for the countries' bilateral relationship enhancement. Karachi would, therefore, become an important centre for international trade. A host of issues came up during the meeting for discussion; these included Japanese investment in various sectors in Sindh. Zubair underscored that Japan's investment is contributing towards poverty alleviation and a rise in employment opportunities. He pointed out that after the law and order situation has improved, Karachi's investment climate has become quite conducive. On the other hand, Ando, the Mitsubishi official, said Japanese investment in various sectors in Sindh would help further strengthen the bilateral trade ties.
  12. Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the first meeting of his campaign office for the upcoming presidential election in Moscow, Russia January 10, 2018. REUTERS MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday it was up to Washington and not Moscow to improve ties between the two countries. Speaking to a group of Russian media executives, Putin said US allegations that Russia had meddled in the US presidential election were nonsense. He said he hoped Washington would realize the allegations were harming US interests.
  13. TEHRAN: Prime Minister's National Security Adviser (NSA) Lt Gen (retd) Nasser Janjua met the secretary of Iran?s National Security Council Ali Shamkhani on Sunday. During the meeting, Janjua remarked that Pakistan will improve its security and economic relations with its neighbouring country, Iran. On the other hand, Shamkhani slammed the US statements against Pakistan and Iran. He said that US policy is hypocritical. ?We have to continue to work on cooperating against the US.? On November 7, Iranian Minister of Defence Brigadier General Amir Hatami, during a meeting with Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, said that Iran sees Pakistan's security as its own, reported IRNA. "Respect for territorial integrity, solidarity and national sovereignty of the regional countries is among the fixed principles of the Iranian foreign policies," said Hatami. Iran sees Pakistan's security as its own: Iranian defence minister Relations between Pakistan and Iran are in line with strengthening defense capabilities of both neighboring countries, says Brigadier General Amir Hatami Speaking in regards to regional and international developments, the Iranian defence minister said the arrival of Gen Bajwa in Iran is a move which will fortify bilateral relations in the areas of security and stability. Hatami also added that relations between Pakistan and Iran "are in line with strengthening defense capabilities of both neighboring countries". Stressing on the development of ties with Iran's neighbours, the defence minister, he said Pakistan has a long border with the country and also a common religion and culture. Hatami also expressed hope that cooperation between the two countries will lead to the establishment of peace in war-ravaged Afghanistan. The defence minister also reiterated that Iran supports Pakistan's defence and military achievements "within the framework of strengthening regional security and stability".
  14. [embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/b03769bf55e7d498c5c47cb1c2ec0172.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9MS80LzIwMTggMTo0NTowOSBQTSZoYXNoX3ZhbHVlPVhaTERBVE01eVRLaHZXQjErMjgyUVE9PSZ2YWxpZG1pbnV0ZXM9NjAmaWQ9MQ== style=center] KARACHI: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has said that Pakistan needs to revisit its ties with the United States. The minister said so while speaking exclusively to anchorperson Hamid Mir on Geo News' programme Capital Talk. The interview will be aired 8pm tonight. The statement comes at a time of heightened tensions between Pakistan and the United States. It all began with a tweet by US President Donald Trump accusing Pakistan of giving nothing but lies and deceit, thinking US leaders to be fools. "They give safe havens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!" he said on Monday. "The US behaviour is neither that of an ally nor of a friend," Asif said. "It is a friend who always betrays." He also ruled out the perception that Pakistan had been diplomatically isolated. Trump to announce cuts in 'security assistance' to Pakistan today: sources Congressional offices' aides said the State Department called to inform it would announce Wednesday or Thursday that aid was being cut off The minister further said that in case of any aggression by the US, Pakistan would respond in a manner that would reflect the nation's will. Trump tweet followed a statement by the White House on Tuesday saying that it wanted to see Pakistan do more to fight terrorism and that it would likely announce actions to pressure Islamabad within days. Meanwhile, Islamabad reacted strongly to the allegations and summoned the US ambassador to the Foreign Office in a rare public rebuke. On Tuesday, a high-level huddle of the Pakistani civil-military leadership expressed disappointment over the US president's anti-Pakistan statement, however, decided not to take measures in haste in reply to US allegations. Trump's comments "struck with great insensitivity" and "negated the decades of sacrifices made by the Pakistani nation", read a press statement issued after the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting in Islamabad. It said that Pakistan cannot be blamed for failures in Afghanistan and accusing allies will not lead to the establishment of peace in the neighbouring country.
  15. [embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/a0b0fa6ebcb9fcdec27121abf9ca81bc.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9MTIvMjkvMjAxNyAxOjAwOjA2IFBNJmhhc2hfdmFsdWU9bng4TFBTU2llenNiYy8rNXdtVmNidz09JnZhbGlkbWludXRlcz02MCZpZD0x style=center] ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, while responding to Leader of the Opposition Khursheed Shah?s statements on Shehbaz Sharif?s visit to Saudi Arabia, said on Friday that the Sharifs have old with the kingdom and no one should have reservations over it. The foreign minister was speaking to Geo News and said that the Sharif brothers have spent eight years in exile in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said that due to religious reasons one person or another visits the kingdom from time to time. ?Not necessary that politics is brewing over there,? said the interior minister. 'Moving towards NRO' Earlier in the day, Khursheed Shah was asked about Shebaz Sharif's visit to Saudi Arabia. Shah said that it would be worrisome if this visit was aimed at resolving internal matters of the country. ?Pakistan is a nuclear country and should have its own policies and rule of rule. We do not need to knock on anyone else?s door.? Saad Rafique?s statement did not require such a response from ISPR: Shah Opposition leader said he did not find anything objectionable in railways minister's Dec 24 remarks The PPP leader added that the reason for the visit might be to get a new National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). When asked was the difference between this NRO and the one issued during the Musharraf government, Shah responded ?there is a huge difference. Democracy came in the country, an army general removed his uniform, Nawaz Sharif returned from exile. Parliament completed its tenure and there was a historic transfer of power. In this NRO it seems there are ongoing corruption cases. It is a problem of ladlas (dear ones)." Shah was referring to the departure of Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Saad Rafique to Saudi Arabia. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is also expected to leave for the Kingdom over the weekend.
  16. ISLAMABAD: Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation Vyacheslav Volodin, along with his delegation, called on Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Sunday here, according to an official press release. During the meeting, Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Chairperson BISP Ms. Marvi Memon, Member National Assembly Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtyar and senior officers were also present. While welcoming Chairman of the State Duma to Pakistan, the Prime Minister stated that Pakistan attaches high priority to its relations with the Russian Federation, said the statement. PM Abbasi said Pakistan desires to forge a long-term and multi-faceted partnership with Russia in all areas of cooperation including trade and energy sector. There exists huge potential between the two countries to further enhance their trade volume and strengthen bilateral economic ties, said the press release. The premier emphasised that a strong partnership between Pakistan and Russia would contribute towards promoting peace, stability and regional cooperation. The ongoing six-party Conference of the Speakers is a useful platform to regularly interact and enhance cooperation in the field of counter terrorism, regional security and connectivity, observed Abbasi. ?Pakistan has paid the heaviest price in the global war against terrorism. Our struggle is to secure peace of not only the region but the entire world,? said the premier while highlighting counter-terrorism efforts of the country. Prime Minister Abbasi said that Pakistan has strong interest in the peace and stability in Afghanistan and always held the view that there was no military solution to the conflict in the neighbouring country. ?We will continue to support an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led solution in Afghanistan,? he said to the delegation. The Prime Minister also brought forth the issue of drug trade in the region, saying it was the greatest threat to peace being the source of funding for the terrorist activities, said the statement. According to the press release, Vyacheslav Volodin thanked the prime minister for the warm welcome and said that enhanced trade ties between the two countries would serve to provide a solid base for forging greater cooperation and strengthening of bilateral relations. Volodin also appreciated the role of Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq towards strengthening of Pak-Russia relations utilizing the parliamentary forum. The visiting delegation conveyed the strong desire of his country for establishing long-term and strengthened relations with Pakistan, according to the official statement. Later the Prime Minister also hosted a dinner in honor of visiting speakers from Afghanistan, China, Iran, Russian Federation and Turkey.
  17. Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa extends his good wishes to Maj Hercharn for his matrimonial life. ? ISPR RAWALPINDI: Major Hercharn Singh, first Sikh officer of Pakistan Army, got married today at Gurdwara Puja Sahib, Hasan Abdal, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said Sunday. A number of serving and retired officers of Pakistan Army attended the marriage ceremony, the ISPR said in a statement. In his message, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa also extended his good wishes to Maj Hercharn for his matrimonial life. Maj Harcharn Singh was commissioned in Pakistan Army in 2007, the statement said. Pak Army remains a symbol of national integration and respects rights of religious minorities in Pakistan, it added.
  18. Russia on Thursday rejected a US call to cut ties with North Korea in response to Pyongyang's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. "We see this negatively," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists in the Belarusian capital Minsk, Russian news agencies reported. "We have repeatedly stated that the pressure of sanctions has been exhausted." He accused the United States of seeking to provoke Kim Jong-Un's regime and demanded to know whether Washington was plotting to destroy the isolated country. "It's as if the recent actions of the United States are consciously directed to provoke Pyongyang towards other radical actions," Russia's top diplomat said. "The Americans need to explain what they are aiming for. If they are looking for a reason to destroy North Korea, then they should say it straight and the American leadership should confirm it," Lavrov was quoted as saying. On Wednesday, Washington warned that North Korea's leadership will be "utterly destroyed" if war breaks out as it called on countries to cut all diplomatic and trade ties with North Korea. The latest threat came after North Korea tested its third ICBM, which it claimed was capable of striking anywhere in the United States. "If war comes, make no mistake: the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed," US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said. US President Donald Trump derided Kim as a "sick puppy" and threatened "major" new sanctions. The Kremlin on Wednesday called the latest missile test a "provocative action" and appealed for calm on all sides. Russian President Vladimir Putin has emerged as one of the most strident voices against punishing Pyongyang, insisting that further sanctions and threats are "useless" against a regime that feels cornered. The United States earlier this year pressed for a full oil embargo on North Korea but dropped that demand following resistance from China and Russia.
  19. RIYADH: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and King Salman Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia discussed bilateral relations as well as the regional and international issues of mutual interest, as they met here Monday during the former?s one-day visit to the Kingdom. The prime minister was accompanied by Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar. During the visit, PM Abbasi held meetings with the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques, His Majesty King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and the Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al-Saud. King Salman also hosted a luncheon in honour of the Pakistan premier and delegates. During his meeting with the King Salman, the two dignitaries reviewed the entire spectrum of their bilateral relations in addition to regional and international issues. They also discussed ways and means to further enhance their bilateral relations in diverse fields. PM Abbasi lauded the efforts of the Saudi leadership in bringing peace and stability to the region and assured the Saudi King of Pakistan?s full support in this regard. On the occasion, King Salman praised the excellent relations that exist between the two sides and efforts of Pakistan in rooting out the menace of terrorism and extremism from its soil. During his meeting with the crown prince, the prime minister praised his vision for launching the national economic transformation plan ?Vision 2030? and offered Pakistan?s technical and human resource assistance in achieving it. He also appreciated the efforts and dedication of the Prince Mohammad Bin Salman in launching a unified platform of Muslim countries, in the form of Islamic Military Alliance to Combat Terrorism (IMCTC), for countering the menaces of extremism and terrorism that were distorting the real essence of Islam. The Saudi crown prince, while appreciating the efforts of Pakistan in fighting terrorism and its active participation in IMCTC, said that Saudi Arabia and other countries of the coalition looked forward to learn from Pakistan?s experience in this field. He underscored the fact that there was a great potential for further strengthening of our bilateral relations, especially in the fields of economy, trade, investment and defence. Earlier upon arrival in Saudi Arabia, the prime minister was received at King Salman Airbase by the Governor of Riyadh province, Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Al-Saud. This was the second visit of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to Saudi Arabia. Earlier, the prime minister visited Saudi Arabia soon after assuming office. Later, PM Abbasi left for Pakistan at the conclusion of his visit.
  20. The McLaren 720S is now the fastest quarter mile (402km) record holder. The supercar did a hit and run-- hit the quarter mile titles held tight by the Porsche 918 Spyder (9.8 seconds), LaFerrari (9.8 seconds) and McLaren's own P1 (9.8 seconds) and ran like its butt was on fire. The 720S accomplished the feat in just 9.7 seconds at 23kmph, and didn't just do it once, but did it consistently over three rounds, back to back. Here's a video of it doing one round. The only other cars that could challenge the McLaren's newest whip to a quarter mile run is the Tesla Roadster that apparently crushes a quarter mile in a company claimed duration of only 8.8 seconds and the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon that has managed to cover the distance in 9.65 seconds. For now, the 720S will share the quarter mile throne with the Bugatti Veyron Supersport that set a 9.7 second record in 2011. © Wikipedia The 720S, that hit the roads earlier this year, was advertising its quarter mile performance at 10.4 seconds. It made news in October when an owner took it out for a spin and discovered it could do it in 9.98 seconds. This was achieved without any tweaks or modifications to the car. The surprise performance naturally triggered adrenaline laced curiosity in another owner who managed to do it in the record breaking 9.7 second duration. © Wikipedia Long story short, the 720S has proven its mettle in the straight line department and we are now looking forward to learning of the other surprises it packs. We had high expectations of its 710hp generating 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 mill, and it has left no stone unturned in leaving us delighted. The 720S is every bit worth its $283,000 price tag and we'd love to watch it compete against the Tesla Roadster in a proper straight line set up!
  21. Sagarika Ghatge and Zaheer Khan in Mumbai. (Image courtesy: Anjana Sharma) NEW DELHI: Indian fast bowler Zaheer Khan has tied the knot with Bollywood actress Sagarika Ghatgae. Zaheer and Sagarika got married in court on November 23 and are all set to have a grand reception in Mumbai?s Taj Mahal Palace and Tower on November 27, NDTV reported. According to reports, the reception is expected to be attended by several Bollywood celebrities and members of the Indian cricket team. Sagarika looked radiant in an orange sari with a maroon embroidered blouse. She pulled off the simple yet elegant look with her tied in a bun. Zaheer's soft pink kurta complimented the glow on his face in the wedding pictures. The couple looked happy as they posed together for their friend Anjana Sharma, who shared the couple's first pictures. Sagarika's Chak De! India co-star Vidya Malavade also posted pictures: A day before the wedding, Vidya visited her friend and shared a glimpse of what the 'mad bride' was up to. She shared a picture of Sagarika decked in jewellery of all sorts - clearly confused which one to pick. Sagarika Ghatge debuted in Bollywood in 2007 film Chak De! India and has also featured in films like Rush and Irada. She has also featured in Marathi film Premachi Goshta and Punjabi film Dildariyaan. Sagarika's upcoming project is a bilingual film called Haadsa.
  22. Yuval Steinitz attends a news conference during the 68th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at UN headquarters in New York, US, September 25, 2013. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/Files JERUSALEM: An Israeli cabinet minister on Sunday said Israel had covert ties with "many" Arab and Muslim states but was obliged not to name them at the other sides' request. A rare interview given by the head of Israel's armed forces to a Saudi-owned news site was published on Thursday, further fuelling talk of close links. It followed previous broad hints by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and accusations by Hezbollah that Saudi Arabia was pushing Israel to attack the Lebanese Shiite group. "We have ties, some of them secret, with many Arab and Muslim states," Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israeli army radio on Sunday. "Usually, the one who wants those ties to be discreet is the other side," he said in response to a question about ties with Riyadh. "We respect the wishes of the other side when contacts are developing, whether it is with Saudi Arabia or other Arab or Muslim countries." Although Saudi Arabia and Israel have no official diplomatic relations, they share a common enemy in Iran, with both seeking to limit the Islamic republic's expanding influence in the Middle East. Netanyahu has also spoken repeatedly and with pride about growing rapprochement with "moderate Arab states" without naming them, although he is assumed to be referring to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies. "We stand shoulder to shoulder with countries of the moderate camp in the Arab world, in the face of radical Islam," he told Israel's parliament last week. "I think that this growing closeness and consultation is first and foremost good for security and ultimately for peace," he added. Tensions between the Saudis and Iran have intensified in recent weeks, with Riyadh-backed Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri saying he is stepping down over what he called Iran's grip on his country. Iran-backed Hezbollah ? which is dominant in Lebanon ? is also a great enemy of Israel, with which it fought a war in 2006. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said on November 10 that he had "information that Saudi Arabia has asked Israel to strike Lebanon". Iran's President Hassan Rouhani last week echoed the allegation.
  23. Rick Grove, President of the US Friends of the IISS, presided over the hour-long discussion on "Pakistan's relations with the US in a changing world" that also included Ambassador Robin Raphel and Maleeha Lodhi NEW YORK: Pakistan and the United States are in the process of resetting their relationship against the backdrop of geopolitical shifts that have transformed the global and regional environment, Maleeha Lodhi told a gathering of American foreign policy experts, academics and businessmen. Participating in a discussion at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a London-based international think tank, Lodhi, Pakistan's permanent representative to the United Nations, said that an improved Islamabad-Washington relationship was important for global and regional peace and stability. "The nature of the future relationship will be determined by the terms of such re-engagement with the wider geopolitical dynamics obviously weighing in on calculations by the two sides," Lodhi said. Rick Grove, President of the US Friends of the IISS, presided over the hour-long discussion on "Pakistan's relations with the US in a changing world" that also included Ambassador Robin Raphel, a former US Assistant Secretary of State, who last served as coordinator for non-military assistance to Pakistan. Raphel said that despite ups and downs in their relationship, US, as a global power, cannot ignore Pakistan which she said was an influential Muslim country, an emerging democracy with a powerful military. The US diplomat noted Pakistan now feels more confident of itself because of its burgeoning relationship with China, and growing ties with Russia. Still, she said that Pakistan needs the US. Raphel underscored the need for US and Pakistan to collaborate in an effort to promote a settlement to end the war in Afghanistan. As a diplomat, she regretted that the overall efforts to deal with the Afghan war were more focused on a military solution rather than through a diplomatic process. In her remarks, Ambassador Lodhi also insisted that peace could only be restored in Afghanistan through a negotiated settlement. "This is also the firm consensus of the international community expressed repeatedly by the Security Council at the United Nations," she said. The immediate challenge for both US and Pakistan, she said, was to find a common approach to Afghanistan even though both agreed that the stability and security of Afghanistan was a shared interest. Noting that both countries have benefited when they worked together, the Pakistani envoy pointed out that Al Qaeda?s degradation in the region was the result of Pakistan-US cooperation. "Indeed, no one desires peace in Afghanistan more than Pakistan,? Lodhi told her audience. Apart from the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan and its people had suffered the most from four decades of the Afghan conflict, blighting Pakistan with the flow of extremists and terrorists, guns and drugs as well as the influx of millions of refugees and setting back the country's economic development by decades. "But from Pakistan?s perspective the ?new? US strategy in Afghanistan relies overly on military force and more fighting to achieve an outcome, which has proved to be elusive using these means for the past decade and half", the Pakistani envoy said. "Neither Kabul and the Coalition, nor the Afghan Taliban, can impose a military solution on each other," she said, adding, "We therefore feel the US, Pakistan and Afghanistan need to actively work toward a peace process." Pakistan, she said, believes that the immediate and realistic goals in Afghanistan should be concerted action to eliminate the presence in Afghanistan of Daesh, remnants of Al-Qaeda and their affiliates, including the Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan and promote negotiations between Kabul and the Afghan Taliban ? in the Quadrilateral Coordination Mechanism ? to evolve a peaceful settlement. Ambassador Lodhi said that Pakistan had successfully reversed the tide of terrorism by clearing its tribal and border areas of all militant groups. The marked improvement in the country?s security environment has accompanied the revival of economic growth, which was returning to the historical level of 6 per cent. She said economic growth will receive a major impetus from projects of the China-Pakistani Economic Corridor (CPEC)-- the pivot of Beijing's One Belt One Road initiative. "In spite of having to face the headwinds from an unsettled international environment, Pakistan has managed to address its political, security and economic challenges to establish stability and consolidate its democracy in the midst of considerable regional turbulence." Pakistan, she added, was now experiencing the longest period of uninterrupted democracy in its 70-year history. Although Pakistan's counter-terrorism effort has resulted in the sharp reduction of terrorist activities across the country over the past two years, it had paid a heavy human and financial price for this success. Over 27,000 Pakistanis including 6,500 military and law enforcement personnel have been martyred by terrorists. Economic losses to the country are estimated at 120 billion dollars. Reaffirming Pakistan's commitment to fight terrorism and extremism, Ambassador Lodhi said, "Defeating terrorist violence is vital to realize our overriding priority of rapid economic and social development." But, the Pakistani envoy said, the continuing conflict in Afghanistan has posed enduring security challenges to the country. Pakistan has had to deal with raging turmoil and instability in its neighborhood for almost 40 years. Pakistan still hosts over two and half million Afghan refugees and has done so for over 30 years.
  24. Pakistan Ambassador to the United States Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry. Photo: File WASHINGTON: Pakistan Ambassador to the United States Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry called on United States Senator Jack Reed on Tuesday, apprising him of terrorists attack in the country from Afghanistan?s soil where the government writ does not prevail. During the meeting with US senator, Aizaz Ahmad raised concerns about the presence of terrorists in Afghanistan who carried out sabotage activities due to lack of government's writ, adding that law and order situation in Afghanistan is a security risk for Pakistan. He urged US to cooperate with Islamabad to bring peace and stability in war-torn Afghanistan. He insisted that Pakistan and United States need to work together to bring peace in Afghanistan, adding that Pakistan would continue its support to wipe out the menace of terrorism in a bid to maintain peace in the region. Aizaz Ahmad apprised the senator that Pakistan?s economy is on an upward trajectory, there has been a remarkable improvement in the law and order situation which has renewed investors? confidence in the country. During the meeting, both the leaders reviewed bilateral relations between US and Pakistan. They also discussed issues of common interest between the two countries. Aizaz briefed the Senator about Pakistan?s unmatched sacrifices in war against terror. He added that Pakistan?s forces have successfully wiped out all terrorist groups from its territory. Pakistan and its people have suffered the most from four decades of foreign intervention and civil wars in Afghanistan, he added.
  25. SUPERIMPOSED: Louis C.K. attends FX and Vanity Fair Emmy Celebration at Craft in Century City, California, September 15, 2017. AFP/Getting Images North America/Rich Fury/Files; BACKGROUND: An exterior view of The Paris Theatre in New York City, November 9, 2017. AFP/Getty Images/Dia Dipasupil LOS ANGELES: Comedian Louis C.K. admitted on Friday to engaging in sexual misconduct as recounted by several women, three of whom said he had performed sexual acts in front of them, and television and film companies moved quickly to sever ties. ?These stories are true,? C.K. said in a statement. Five women detailed incidents of sexually inappropriate behaviour by the Emmy-winning comedian dating back 15 years in a New York Times report published on Thursday. C.K. released a statement acknowledging the encounters in question after his upcoming film I Love You Daddy was scrapped for release on Friday, and Netflix Inc cancelled a planned comedy special with the comedian because of the allegations. Cable television network FX ? a unit of 21st Century Fox ? also severed its ties with C.K., and Time Warner?s TBS network said it was suspending production on an upcoming animated comedy The Cops, which C.K. co-created and was due to star in. ?He will no longer serve as executive producer or receive compensation on any of the four shows we were producing with him ? Better Things, Baskets, One Mississippi, and The Cops,? FX Networks and FX productions said on Friday in a statement. Universal Pictures ? a unit of Comcast ? and the production company Illumination issued a joint statement saying they have ?terminated their relationship? with C.K. on an upcoming sequel to last year?s animated film The Secret Life of Pets. C.K. was the voice of the lead character ? a Jack Russell terrier named Max ? in the original film, which according to Hollywood trade paper Variety grossed $875 million. Variety said the sequel was due to open in June 2019. Lewis Kay ? the comedian?s publicist ? announced on Twitter that ?as of today, I no longer represent Louis C.K?. C.K., 50, said in his statement that he has ?been remorseful of my actions. And I?ve tried to learn from them. And run from them. Now I?m aware of the extent of the impact of my actions. I learned yesterday the extent to which I left these women who admired me feeling badly about themselves ? his statement added. He is the latest celebrity in the entertainment business to be accused of sexual misconduct by people coming forward in the wake of allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein and actor Kevin Spacey. ?Will not step back? The comedian born Louis Szekely ? who is best known for his TV comedy series Louie ? added that ?I will now step back and take a long time to listen.? He did not make clear how long he would be stepping back for. Two of the women in the New York Times article, comedians Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, said C.K. had invited them to his hotel room after a comedy festival in Aspen, Colorado, in 2002 and then performed sexual acts in front of them. ?The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly,? C.K. said, adding that he thought it was ok to show his genitals to women if he asked them first. ?You asked but we never said yes,? Goodman and Wolov tweeted on Friday after his apology. Netflix said earlier that it would not produce a planned second stand-up special with him. Film distributor The Orchard said it would not be moving forward with the release next week of I Love You, Daddy. The movie was written and directed by C.K. and he also appears in the film as the father of a 17-year-old girl who has a romance with a 68-year-old filmmaker. HBO said on Thursday that C.K.?s past projects with the network ? including 2006?s Lucky Louie series ? would be removed from its on-demand services and that the comedian would no longer participate in its November 18 televised Night of Too Many Stars show.