Jun 232017
 

Saudi security forces on Friday foiled a terror plot to target the Grand Mosque in Makkah, the security spokesperson of the Kingdom’s interior ministry said.

According to security forces, the bid to target worshippers at the mosque was planned by three terrorist groups, two of which were based in Makkah and a one based in Jeddah.

The first terror plot was foiled in the Assila district of Makkah, while the second was thwarted in Ajyad al Masafi neighbourhood.

Top Saudi cleric ‘blesses’ Trump-Muslim summit

Al Arabiya news reported that a suicide bomber, who was hiding in a house in the Ajyad neighborhood, had opened indiscriminate fire on security officials, after he was asked to comply with calls to turn himself in. The suicide bomber later blew himself up after the forces tried to arrest him. Five members of the security forces were injured in the blast.

Security forces also arrested five suspects, including a woman, who are currently being interrogated.

The post Saudi security forces foil terror plot on Grand Mosque appeared first on The Express Tribune.

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Jun 232017
 

A Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) report sent directly to former US president Barack Obama contained details of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s direct instructions to the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 US election and help elect Donald Trump, The Washington Post has reported. In a detailed investigative article published on Friday, the Post laid bare the shortcomings of the Obama administration in responding to Russia’s threat against American democracy and revealed the existence of a CIA report which told of Putin’s “direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the US presidential race,” and the Russian president’s directives to ensure that Trump win over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The Post reveals that the CIA’s report on Putin’s directive to elect Trump over Clinton came “from sourcing deep inside the Russian government” and was considered too sensitive to be shared in the President’s Daily Briefing. Russians targeted 21 election systems, US official says Many in the Obama administration fear the former president did not do enough to stop Russian interference, for fears that any action on his part would be seen as tipping the scales in favour of Clinton, who had served in his cabinet. Instead, Obama left his successor a secret program that could be used to retaliate against the Kremlin—which was left entirely up to Trump to implement. The Post, however, reports that the Obama administration felt the retaliation effort was undermined by the incoming Trump administration. President Trump has been reluctant to even admit Putin was responsible for last year’s attack on the [Read More…]

Jun 232017
 
Chants against Saudi royals as Iran marks Jerusalem Day

TEHRAN: Chants against the Saudi royal family and the Islamic State group mingled with the traditional cries of “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” at Jerusalem Day rallies across Iran on Friday. The annual show of solidarity with the Palestinians, during which hundreds of thousands of Iranians take to the streets, was launched by the Islamic republic’s late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and is now also marked by its allies across the Middle East. This year’s commemoration coincided with an intensifying battle for influence in the region between Shia Iran and its Sunni arch rival Saudi Arabia, Gulf neighbours which severed diplomatic relations in January 2016. “Death to the House of Saud and Daesh (IS),” the demonstrators chanted. “Death to America”, “Death to Israel”, “Death to the UK”. Iran has been heavily involved in the war against IS in both Iraq and Syria, where it has trained and advised militias to fight the militants. On Sunday, Iran fired six 750-kilometre (470-mile) range missiles at an IS base in eastern Syria, days after the militant group claimed twin bombing and shooting attacks in Tehran that left 17 people dead. Iran nuclear chief urges West to save historic deal On Friday, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards displayed some of the same Zolfaghar missiles used in the strike at Valiasr Square in the heart of the capital, alongside a 2,000-kilometre (1,250-mile) range Qadr missile. Iran’s ballistic missile programme has been the subject of persistent concern in Washington and the target of repeated US sanctions. [Read More…]

Jun 232017
 

The identity of the famously anonymous and beloved British street graffiti artist, Banksy, may have finally been revealed. In a podcast earlier this week, British DJ Goldie was discussing the commodification of graffiti when he referred to Banksy as “Robert” possibly confirming the long-standing speculation that the anonymous artist is Robert Del Naja of the band Massive Attack. Goldie, then, paused and dropped the subject instantly. Del Naja, one of the founding members of the trip hop group, is himself an acclaimed graffiti artist, one whom Banksy has claimed to take inspiration from in the past. The clandestine nature of Banksy is in stark contrast to the global acclaim of his street artwork. Based in London, Banksy boasts a worldwide portfolio, featuring murals infused with provocative politics. Banksy ‘s identity revealed thanks to mathematics From corruption to war to revolution, Banksy, whose street work spans over two decades, applies artistic license to inject a hint of irony, even comedy, into his artistic statements on international affairs. In March of this year, the artist opened an elaborate boutique art hotel in Bethlehem, West Bank, where ornate decor brought life to lavish murals. In 2015, the performer opened “Dismaland,” an abandoned, dismal dystopia in south-west England, where a burnt Minnie Mouse billboard and crashed Cinderella carriage are just a couple of the grim takes on the classic childhood amusement park. Last year, an investigative journalist justified the suspicion behind Del Naja’s involvement with Banksy, noting many of the artist’s work appeared in locations and dates [Read More…]

Jun 232017
 

Senator Babar Awan announced on Friday he is joining Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), thereby ending his two-decade-long association with the PPP. “I had a challenge confronting me whether to remain a senator for another year or join the country’s real opposition party,” Awan told media persons at his residence in Islamabad. He was accompanied by PTI chief Imran Khan and senior PTI leaders. “Allah guided me towards the right path. And today after 21 years long association, I announce to resign from basic membership of PPP,” he said. He added that he had submitted his resignation with the Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani. He claimed that Imran Khan would be the next prime minister. Awan served as law minister during the previous tenure of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). But he parted ways with the party following his differences with Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari. Babar Awan set to join PTI today Awan recently got close to the PTI chief, becoming one of his attorneys in the Panamagate case. Reacting to this development, a PPP spokesperson said Awan had parted ways with the party the day he refused to testify before the Supreme Court in favour of former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani. The spokesperson said Awan had revealed his true colours during the NRO Implementation case. “Awan can best be exemplified as a political turncoat in contemporary politics of Pakistan,” the spokesperson said. He reminded that Babar Awan was among those who had distributed sweets when Bhutto was hanged and a [Read More…]

Jun 222017
 

LAHORE: A son of Shahanshah-e-Ghazal Mehdi Hasan has approached the Indian government, seeking aid for the construction of his father’s mausoleum, in a move that has created a rift in the family. Arif Mehdi, one of the ghazal legend’s six sons, said it was painful to see that after five years of his demise, the government had shown no interest in constructing a mausoleum for Mehdi Hasan. “My father was a great singer who did a lot for this country,” he said, adding that the federal government and the Sindh government had promised to construct his mausoleum and a library in his name, but nothing had been done as yet. The fading out of Lollywood’s iconic playback singers “I wanted our government do this work but since it has not done anything I’m left with no other option but to ask others for help,” Arif told The Express Tribune. Arif’s plea to the Indian government has not gone down well even with his family which criticised him for earning a bad name for the whole family as well as the nation. In his reaction, another son Sajjad Mehdi said he had visited India along with his father several times. He added that the Indian government had offered support to his father, but he rejected it. “We still reject any Indian support for the construction of my father’s mausoleum as this country gave us a lot, including honour,” he said, adding that the elders in the family were already boycotting Arif. Mehdi [Read More…]

Jun 222017
 

Acting Saudi ambassador in Islamabad Marwan bin Rizwan said Saudi-led 41-nation Islamic military alliance is against terrorism, and not against any specific country, Radio Pakistan reported. “If Qatar abides by the 2014 agreement, the Saudi-Qatar relationship can improve,” he said while talking to reporters in Islamabad on Thursday. The boycott of Qatar, he said, can be ended if it accepts the Saudi demands. Pakistan will remain neutral in Saudi-Qatar row: Aziz On Wednesday, the Pakistan government had categorically said it would not take any sides in the recent political stand-off between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. “Pakistan does not want to interfere in other countries’ matters and will stick to its non-partisan policy on the Middle East issue,” Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz told the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs. Saudi military alliance: Pakistan seeks to find a middle ground Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya and the United Arab Emirates announced on June 5 they were severing diplomatic ties with Qatar after accusing it of supporting terrorism. Moreover, in principle, Islamabad had agreed to be part of the Islamic Military Alliance against Terrorism (IMAT). The post Military alliance not against any specific country, says Saudi envoy appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Jun 222017
 

LONDON: Afghanistan and Ireland will join the ranks of full Test-playing nations after receiving the backing of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) conference on Thursday. The body said it had voted to admit the two nations into the elite group that is permitted to play traditional five-day Test matches. As new full members of the ICC, Ireland and Afghanistan will take the total of countries playing Tests to 12. Until 1982 there were only seven but that year Sri Lanka were admitted. Zimbabwe then joined in 1992 and Bangladesh became the most recent member in 2000. Cricket has a long history in Afghanistan but the country played amongst the sports minnows until gaining one-day international (ODI) status in 2011. Two years later, still suffering from the impact of war and conflict, the country was given ‘associate member’ status of the world governing body ICC. In 2015, Afghanistan played in their first 50-over World Cup and they have also featured in the World T20 competition. Ireland have steadily progressed in the game and first qualified for the World Cup in 2007 when they pulled off a shock win over Pakistan and they have qualified for both World Cups since. The post Afghanistan, Ireland become Test-playing nations appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Jun 222017
 

KARACHI: Stocks bounced back on Thursday from the plunge seen in previous sessions and ended the week in the green zone for the second straight session before long Eid holidays. The positive activity continued since the morning and the KSE 100-share Index touched an intra-day high of over 980 points. At close of trading, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index finished with a rise of 857.85 points or 1.89% to close at 46,332.31. According to Elixir Securities, Pakistan equities extended gains and closed last working day of the week before long holidays positive with the benchmark index surging 1.9% and closing above 46,300. “The market kicked off trading on a positive note and increased steadily during the day as notable index names across major sectors inched upwards on healthy institutional buying. Habib Bank (HBL, +2.8%), Lucky Cement (+4.3%), Engro Corp (+3.4%), Fauji Fertilizers (+5%) and Dawood Hercules (+5%) were among top five movers,” stated the report. KSE-100 recovers amid institutional investors’ interest Moreover, K-Electric (+2.2%) closed higher and dominated the volumes chart after churning out most volumes since early February. Another highlight was Amreli Steels (+5%) that hit its upper price limit after the National Tariff Commission confirmed 24% anti-dumping duty on the import of Chinese steel billets. The market next week would be guided by multiple factors including direction of foreign institutional flows and global crude performance while politics would remain a drag with investors closely following developments in the Panama Papers case against the premier’s family, the report said. Pakistan [Read More…]

Jun 212017
 

Social media was taken by a storm after a “failed hug” picture of US Senator Marco Rubio and first daughter Ivanka Trump surfaced online. Ivanka: Who are you again? Rubio: I'm Marco. Ivanka: Pollo? pic.twitter.com/my9g2EpCwe — Kermanetherunner (@KermaneB) June 20, 2017 Senator Rubio, who met Ivanka at the Capitol to discuss tax reform and parental leave, gave a hilarious twist to the controversy by launching a Twitter investigation. “Just left Intel comm and informed meeting today with Ivanka Trump blowing up Twitter over alleged failed hug! Investigating. Will respond soon.” Picture of Pope Francis with Trump family is making the internet go wild Just left Intel comm & informed meeting 2day with @IvankaTrump blowing up twitter over alleged failed hug! Investigating. Will respond soon — Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 20, 2017 Two minutes later, he found proof: an unclassified “photographic evidence”. We believe we have our own unclassified photographic evidence that will shed greater details on this incident. — Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 20, 2017 He added that he and his team were trying to obtain footage of the meeting to further elaborate on the issue. We are also attempting to acquire multi-angle video which we believe will provide greater insight into this important matter. — Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 20, 2017 Then came an appeal by the Republican senator to people who were happened to be around the Senate carriage entrance at the time of the encounter in question. If you were filming at the Senate carriage entrance today between [Read More…]

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