Aug 232017

LONDON: Former Pakistan T20I captain Shahid Afridi blasted 101 in only 43 balls to inspire Hampshire’s 101-run victory at Derbyshire in the T20 Blast quarter-finals on Tuesday. All-rounder Afridi hit seven sixes and 10 fours to power Hampshire to 249 for eight, their highest T20 score. Write off Pakistan at your own peril: Afridi Skipper James Vince made 55 from 36 balls as Hampshire passed their previous best of 225 for two against Middlesex in 2006 and, faced with an improbable target of 250, the Falcons crumbled to 148 all out with Liam Dawson and Kyle Abbott each taking three wickets. Hampshire promoted Afridi to opener against the county he played for in 2003 and he swept and drove four boundaries from Wayne Madsen’s first over before Calvin Dickinson took two fours from Hardus Viljoen. Afridi foundation, KMC sign MoU Afridi’s previous high score in the competition this season was 18 but he pulled Ben Cotton for six before driving him over the top of the three-storey media centre. He reached his fifty off only 20 balls with a top-edged six but after driving Imran Tahir for another huge six, he was dropped on 65 at long-on by Madsen. It proved expensive as Afridi dispatched Matt Critchley and Tahir for two more sixes on his way to a blistering hundred before he top-edged another big pull and was caught at long-leg. The post Afridi’s maiden T20 ton leads Derbyshire rout appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Aug 222017

LONDON: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp concedes his side are already feeling the pressure this season ahead of the return leg of their Champions League play-off against Hoffenheim on Wednesday. Liverpool looked to have planted one foot in the group phase after going 2-0 up in last week’s first leg in Germany, only for Mark Uth’s 87th-minute reply to bring Hoffenheim right back into the tie. The five-time European champions needed a late Sadio Mane goal to see off Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday and Klopp anticipates another knife-edge occasion at Anfield in mid-week. Coutinho-less Liverpool down Hoffenheim “We all have pressure and it’s a quick start always,” said Klopp, who reached the Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund in 2013. “You need to be there immediately, deliver and all that stuff. The difference this year is that it’s really hard. We all know a draw (against Palace), two points instead of four or six, it doesn’t feel good, but you can sort it. You can’t do this in a Champions League qualifier. This intensity is really hard, for both teams.” Klopp made five changes to his starting XI for the 1-0 victory over Palace, with debutant Andy Robertson, Ragnar Klavan, Joe Gomez, James Milner and Daniel Sturridge coming into the side. Liverpool reject €100m Barcelona’s Coutinho bid: reports Having started on the bench, Dejan Lovren, Emre Can and star signing Mohamed Salah are all expected to return to the starting line-up against Julian Nagelsmann’s Hoffenheim. Young right-back Trent [Read More…]

Aug 172017
India approves $650m Boeing army chopper deal

India on Thursday approved a $650 million purchase of six attack choppers from US aviation giant Boeing, officials said, as it boosts its military might amid border tensions with China and Pakistan.The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), which approves big-ticket purchases, gave the green light to acquire six additional Apache helicopters after 22 were bought as part of a $2.5 billion deal in 2015.Two defence ministry sources told AFP that the deal was approved exclusively for the army, without providing further details including a date for delivery. “DAC approved procurement of six Apache helicopters along with associated equipment for the army totally about $650mn,” an official told AFP by text message.The initial batch of 22 Apaches — equipped with Hellfire and Stinger missiles — replaced the Indian Air Force's ageing fleet. Soon after the first Apache acquisition, the army put in a separate request for a fleet of at least 39, one of the officials told AFP.It will be the first time the Indian army has received attack helicopters and it hopes to deploy the craft along India's high-altitude frontiers — particularly its border in the east with regional rival China.New Delhi and Beijing are locked in a tense impasse over a strategic Himalayan plateau where hundreds of Indian and Chinese soldiers have been squaring off against each other for more than three months.India — the world's largest defence importer — has been investing tens of billions in updating its Soviet-era military hardware to counter long-standing territorial disputes with its nuclear-armed [Read More…]

Aug 172017
At least 13 dead as van rams into crowd in Barcelona 'terror attack'

'Bodies on the floor' 'Revolting attack' At least 13 people were killed on Thursday when a driver deliberately slammed a van into crowds on Barcelona's most popular street in what police said was a “terror attack”.The attack, the latest in a wave of vehicle rammings across Europe in recent years, caused panic on the streets of Spain's largest city and drew condemnation from world leaders.“We can confirm there are 13 dead and more than 50 injured,” regional interior minister Joaquim Forn said in a tweet.Catalan police said they had arrested one suspect, and denied earlier reports that the perpetrator was holed up in a bar near the scene.The famous Las Ramblas is one of Barcelona's busiest streets, lined with shops and restaurants and normally thronged with tourists and street performers until well into the night.Police said there had been a “huge collision” between a van and pedestrians on the thoroughfare and a police source said officers were seeking a total of two suspects.Spain's royal family condemned the assault in unusually strong terms, vowing that their country would not be “terrorised” by extremists.'Bodies on the floor' Witnesses spoke of a scene of carnage, with bodies strewn along the boulevard as others fleeing for their lives.“When it happened I ran out and saw the damage,” local shop worker Xavi Perez told AFP.“There were bodies on the floor with people crowding round them. People were crying. There were lots of foreigners.” Witness Aamer Anwar told Britain's Sky News television that he was walking [Read More…]

Aug 162017

SYDNEY/KUALA LUMPUR: Australia’s main scientific agency said on Wednesday it believed with “unprecedented precision and certainty” that a missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft crashed into the sea northeast of an area scoured in a fruitless two-year underwater search. The agency’s assertion is based on satellite pictures taken two weeks after Flight MH370 went missing on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board, on a flight to Beijing from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. But the Australian government rejected the conclusion of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), issued in a report on Wednesday, saying it was not specific enough. Tech advances will lead to MH370 discovery – Malaysia Airlines The disappearance of the Boeing 777 has become one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries. It is thought to have been diverted thousands of miles off course out over the southern Indian Ocean before crashing off the coast of Western Australia. Australia, Malaysia and China called off a A$200 million ($160 million), two-year search for the plane in January after finding nothing, despite the protests of families of those onboard. The CSIRO has previously raised doubts about the main 120,000-sq-km underwater search zone, saying it believed the plane went down to the north of it. Its latest assertion was its most insistent yet and was based on a review of satellite images provided by the French military intelligence service and France’s national space agency, CNES, which showed 70 pieces of debris with a dozen of those “probably” man-made. “We [Read More…]

Aug 152017

KABUL: Afghan Taliban published an open letter to US President Donald Trump on Tuesday warning him against sending more American forces to Afghanistan. The statement called for the complete withdrawal of foreign forces from the war-torn country and comes as Trump weighs increasing the number of American troops there. “Previous experiences have shown that sending more troops to Afghanistan will not result in anything other than further destruction of American military and economical might. “Therefore it would be wise if you adopt the strategy of a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan instead of a troops increase,” said the English-language letter, which was sent to the media. Taliban advise Trump to review Afghan policy US troops in Afghanistan now number about 8,400, a far cry from the US presence of more than 100,000 six years ago. They mainly serve as trainers and advisers to Afghan forces. Trump’s administration is currently finalising a new policy for Afghanistan almost 16 years after the US invasion to topple the Taliban regime. American military commanders in Afghanistan have requested thousands of extra boots on the ground to help combat a resurgent Taliban. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is believed to be close to presenting the new US military strategy to Trump, with an announcement potentially coming in weeks. The Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan from 1996-2001, also slammed the Afghan government in the letter and warned the United States that it could never defeat the insurgent group. “It is entirely possible that you are being provided rosy pictures about [Read More…]

Aug 142017

YEMEN: A roadside explosion killed 12 civilians and wounded four in southern Yemen on Monday when a bomb targeting a military car hit their vehicle instead, a security source said. Two other people, including a soldier, were killed Monday in separate attacks also in southern Yemen, where the army has launched an offensive against al Qaeda. The deadliest attack was in Daleh province. “The bomb was planted on a road in the Qaataba district of Daleh and hit a civilian vehicle instead,” said a security source who requested anonymity as he was not authorised to brief the press. Along with most of southern Yemen, Daleh is controlled by government forces loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who is allied with a Saudi-led Arab military alliance in a war against Iran-backed Huthi rebels. Yemeni special forces trained by the alliance member United Arab Emirates and backed by the United States this month launched a major operation in the southern Shabwa province against Yemen’s Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. AQAP has exploited years of conflict between the government and the rebels to expand its presence in southern Yemen. The extremists are thought to have moved farther south into neighbouring Abyan province. Yemen’s guerrilla war tests military ambitions of big-spending Saudis An attack Monday wounded army General Ahmad al-Shbeili of the 115th brigade and killed his son in the town of Loder in Abyan. A source in the brigade told AFP Al-Qaeda gunmen were behind the deadly ambush. And a soldier was killed in [Read More…]

Aug 122017
US denies Afghan claim of civilian deaths in Nangarhar

The United States on Saturday vehemently denied claims by Afghan officials that it had killed several civilians in an air strike in volatile eastern Afghanistan. Afghan officials had said 11 civilians, including women and children, were killed when a private vehicle was struck in Haska Mina district of Nangarhar province, a hotbed of Islamic State activity, on Thursday. But United States Forces in Afghanistan said in a statement the air strike “killed a number of militants”. “The militants were observed loading weapons in to a vehicle and were under surveillance until the vehicle was destroyed by an air strike,” said Bob Purtiman, a spokesman for American operations in Afghanistan. “The strike was conducted in the middle of open terrain. There was zero chance of civilian casualties.” “This was the second false claim of civilian casualties in the same district in the last three weeks,” Purtiman added. Of the roughly 13,000 foreign forces in Afghanistan only the US carries out air strikes. They have been regularly targeting the militant Islamic State group fighters who control several districts in restive Nangarhar. Civilian casualties caused by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) forces have been one of the most contentious issues in the close to 16-year campaign against insurgents, prompting strong public and government criticism. Last month a US air strike killed 16 policemen in Helmand province. It came after a US air strike in Sangin killed at least 18 civilians, mostly women and children, in February. Civilian deaths are at an all-time high [Read More…]

Aug 102017

PARIS: A bright moon will outshine the annual Perseids meteor shower, which will peak Saturday with only a fifth the usual number of shooting stars visible to Earthlings, astronomers say. The moon will be more than half-full, in a so-called gibbous phase, which means its light will spoil stargazers’ view in a similar way to that of urban light pollution. “To be honest, it’s not a good year” for the Perseids, said Robert Massey, acting executive director of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) in London. “You might, if you’re lucky, see maybe 20 an hour,” he told AFP. The Perseids happen when Earth hits a belt of debris left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle on its elongated, 133-year orbit around the sun. Seven Earth-like planets discovered around single star Each shooting star is a piece of comet dust, burning up from friction as it hits Earth’s atmosphere. Normally, Northern Hemisphere viewers are treated to a spectacle of about 100-120 visible shooting stars per hour when the phenomenon peaks around mid-August — depending on the moon and the weather. Last year, there was an unusual “outburst” with more than double the usual fireball activity as Earth passed through especially dense “ribbons” of debris within the comet’s dust belt. “This year, we are expecting enhanced rates of about 150 [meteors] per hour or so, but the increased number will be cancelled out by the bright moon, the light of which will wash out the fainter Perseids,” states a NASA blog. The moon was [Read More…]

Aug 102017

JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities have demolished three homes and sealed off a fourth of Palestinians who carried out attacks that killed a soldier and a policewoman, the army said on Thursday. Israel regularly carries out such demolitions, which it says act as a deterrent, but human rights groups and Palestinians say they punish families for the actions of relatives. Two houses were demolished in Deir Abu Mashaal, near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, and a third was sealed off, an army spokesperson said. Israelis rally for Palestinian state, end of occupation Village mayor Emad Zahran told AFP, Israeli soldiers entered the area around 2:00 am (2300 GMT Wednesday) with bulldozers. On June 16, three villagers carried out an attack outside Jerusalem’s Old City that killed a policewoman. According to police, two of the assailants opened fire at a group of officers who returned fire, and a third stabbed the border policewoman a short distance away before being shot. All three attackers were killed. A home in the West Bank town of Silwad was also demolished in response to an April 6 car-ramming attack near the Jewish settlement of Ofra that killed an Israeli soldier. A wave of unrest that broke out in October 2015 has killed 293 Palestinians or Arab Israelis, 47 Israelis, two Americans, two Jordanians, an Eritrean, a Sudanese and a Briton, according to an AFP toll. Israel in rare overture to Palestinians ‘at Trump request’ Israeli authorities say most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks. Others were [Read More…]

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