Oct 162017
 
Suspected US drone strike near Kurram Agency kills 5

A suspected United States drone killed five people in an attack on a compound in Kurram Agency on Monday, officials said.At least four missiles were fired during the strike in the Kurram Agency close to the Afghan border, said the officials.“Five people have been killed in a drone strike on a suspected militant's house,” an intelligence official told AFP. A local administration official also confirmed the toll.The drone strike was reported days after the Pakistan Army said that it had recovered "safe and sound" a family of foreign hostages from the custody of a terrorist outfit after it received and acted on intelligence shared by the United States (US).On Monday, one official claimed that the target was a suspected militant Abu Bakar, commander of the Haqqani network.An attack in the same region in September left three people dead and two wounded. It is the second such strike since US President Donald Trump in August accused Pakistan of offering “safe havens” to extremists.The use of US drones has dwindled dramatically in recent years in Pakistan, where the strikes have proven extremely controversial with the public and rights groups. But the US is believed to have ordered at least two other drone attacks this year.The first under Trump killed two men riding a motorbike in Kurram in March, while the second reportedly occurred in late April in North Waziristan, one of seven tribal districts stretching along the Afghan border.Islamabad has repeatedly denied claims of being soft on militancy, accusing the US of [Read More…]

Oct 162017
 
Army chief has right to comment on country's economy, says Abbasi

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said a military chief has the right to discuss or comment on the economic condition of the country. He was commenting on the recent controversy which started following Gen Qamar Bajwa's remarks during a seminar on economy.Abbasi, while giving an interview to Aaj TV, clarified that there was no tension in the civil-military relationship."The army chief has expressed his opinion. He went to address an economic forum, everyone does that," the premier maintained. Last week, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that the army was keenly watching developments in the country’s economy and shares some of the apprehensions being voiced about it.“Growth has picked up but the debts are sky high. [The situation regarding] infrastructure and energy have improved considerably but the current account balance is not in our favour,” the army chief was quoted as saying by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).Also read: Nothing wrong with army chief commenting on the economy, Khursheed Shah saysFurthermore, ISPR chief Asif Ghafoor later said that "the country's economic health, if not worse, was not good either". This draw a strong response from Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal urged Ghafoor to refrain from making comments on the national economy.“Such irresponsible statements can dent Pakistan’s global image,” the minister had said.Responding to criticism of Gen Bajwa’s comment on the economy, the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) also jumped in and said that the military could not remain indifferent to deteriorating economic situation of the [Read More…]

Oct 132017
 
Trump launches new Iran strategy, leaves nuclear deal hanging

'The worst deal' Snap back 'Aggressive and threatening rhetoric' United States President Donald Trump launched a tougher strategy to check Iran's “fanatical regime” on Friday and warned that a landmark international nuclear deal could be terminated at any time. In a much-anticipated White House speech, Trump stopped short of withdrawing from the 2015 accord, but “decertified” his support for the agreement and left its fate in the hands of Congress. And, outlining the results of a review of efforts to counter Tehran's “aggression” in a series of Middle East conflicts, Trump ordered tougher sanctions on Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps and on its ballistic missile programme. Trump said the agreement, which defenders say was only ever meant to curtail Iran's nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief, had failed to address Iranian subversion in its region and its illegal missile programme. The US president said he supports efforts in Congress to work on new measures to address these threats without immediately torpedoing the broader deal. “However, in the event, we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated,” Trump said, in a televised address from the Diplomatic Room of the White House. “It is under continuous review and our participation can be cancelled by me as president at any time,” he warned. Simultaneously, the US Treasury said it had taken action against the Islamic Revolutionary Guards under a 2001 executive order to hit sources of terror funding and added four [Read More…]

Oct 132017
 
Qatar official hits back at criticism over 2022 World Cup

A senior Qatar World Cup official took to social media on Friday to re-assert that the Gulf state will host the 2022 tournament, even as it faces a torrent of fresh criticism. A defiant Nasser al-Khater, assistant secretary-general at Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, responded on Twitter after a noted critic claimed bookmakers had shortened odds on the World Cup being taken away from Qatar. Earlier on Friday, Ghanem Nuseibeh had tweeted: “William Hill offering odds 25 per cent chance FIFA 2022 will not be held in Qatar. In business terms, 25 per cent is 'high risk'.” That prompted an uncharacteristic outburst from Khater, who wrote: “The odds were 6000 to 1 against us winning the bid in 2009. Guess what happened on Dec 2, 2010." He added: “Go figure, #mercenary.” Nuseibeh had already provoked anger in Qatar last week when his company, Cornerstone Global Associates, produced a controversial report claiming there was an “increasing political risk” of Doha losing the World Cup because of the ongoing diplomatic crisis in the region. Since June 5, Qatar has been isolated by neighbouring states including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), over claims that it supports extremism and is fostering ties with Iran. Qatar denies all the charges, but the region is currently in the grip of its worst political crisis in years. Also read: Qatar crisis can end if Doha gives up FIFA World Cup: UAE security officialThe Cornerstone report though did kick-off a tumultuous week for [Read More…]

Oct 132017
 
Policeman killed, 3 others injured in Quetta firing

A policeman was martyred and three others, including a child, were injured when armed suspects opened fire on a police patrolling party in Quetta on Friday, police said.Constable Ali Muhammad was martyred in the attack that took place on Quetta's Faqeer Muhammad road while two other policemen were injured along with the child, police said.Following the incident, the injured were rushed to Quetta Civil Hospital where they were taken to the trauma center.Meanwhile, the suspects escaped unhurt, police added.Police and other law enforcement agencies personnel arrived at the site following the attack. Investigations into the incident are underway. There have been numerous attacks on security forces in Balochistan in the past few months.On September 4, three Frontier Corps (FC) personnel, including a lieutenant colonel, were martyred while three others were injured as unidentified attackers opened fire on their convoy in Balochistan's Washuk district.Earlier, on August 24, two FC soldiers lost their lives when militants ambushed a convoy of security personnel in the Dasht-i-Seyahloo area of Kech district.On August 14, seven personnel of the Frontier Corps lost their lives and three others injured in a bomb blast in the Khost area, about 150km northeast of Quetta, in Harnai district, and in firing in Panjgur district.An explosion near Quetta's Pishin Stop on the night of August 12 claimed at least 15 lives and left at least 32 injured.At the time, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had said that an on-duty security vehicle was targeted in the blast, adding that 10 security officials [Read More…]

Oct 132017
 
Samsung Electronics CEO resigns, even as record profits expected

The CEO of Samsung Electronics Kwon Oh-Hyun resigned Friday, saying the South Korean tech giant was facing an “unprecedented crisis”, even as it expected profits to hit an all-time high in the third quarter.Kwon's resignation comes as the company struggles to overcome a bribery scandal that sent Lee Jae-Yong, its de-facto head and heir to the Samsung empire, to jail.But in a sign of good news for the company, its estimated operating profits for the July-September period of 14.5 trillion won ($12.8 billion) marked a record for quarterly profit, nearly tripling the 5.2 trillion won earned a year earlier.Sales are expected to have surged 29.65 per cent on-year to 62 trillion won, with the booming semiconductor business boosting the company's bottom line.Despite the spectacular performance, CEO Kwon said the company was in the throes of an “unprecedented crisis” as he announced his intention to step down.“Fortunately, the company is now producing best-ever results but this is merely a fruit of decisions and investment made in the past”, he said in a statement.“As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out, I believe that time has now come for the company (to) start anew, with a new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges arising from the rapidly changing IT industry,” Kwon said.Samsung did not announce the performance estimates of each business division but its semiconductor business is widely believed to have contributed greatly to the record-beating report.The company is set to release its final earnings report later this [Read More…]

Oct 132017
 
US pulls out of Unesco over ‘anti-Israel’ bias

UNITED NATIONS: The United States has announced it will withdraw from the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation, accusing the body of “anti-Israel bias”.A US State Department spokesperson said the US would establish an “observer mission” to replace its representation at the Paris-based agency.Irina Bokova, Unesco’s outgoing director-general, said she “deeply regrets” the decision and is convinced that “Unesco has never been so important for the US, or the US for Unesco” given the rise of what she called violent extremism and terrorism in the world.The decision demonstrates the US administration’s “complete and total bias” towards Israel, says Mustafa Barghouti, secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative, a political party comprising secular intellectuals.Read: Palestine in UnescoBarghouti said it is “as if Israel is dictating US policy not only in the Middle East but also in international organisations. That’s going to have a very harmful effect on the idea the US being a mediator between the Palestinians and the Israelis.”In 2011 when Unesco members granted Palestine full membership of the body, despite opposition from its ally Israel, the US stopped paying into Unesco but did not officially withdraw. The US opposes any move by UN bodies to recognise Palestine as a state, believing that this must await a negotiated Middle East peace deal.Unesco is best known for its work to preserve heritage, including maintaining a list of World Heritage sites, and programmes to promote education in developing countries.“This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at [Read More…]

Oct 062017
 
Death toll from Jhal Magsi blast climbs to 21

The death toll from Thursday's deadly suicide bombing in Jhal Magsi rose to 21 after another victim succumbed to his injuries at Larkana Hospital on Friday, DawnNews reported.Several people, including a police constable, had died on Thursday in the attack, which occurred at the entrance of the Dargah Pir Rakhel Shah in Fatehpur, a small town in the Jhal Magsi district of Balochistan. A First Information Report was lodged against unidentified persons by Station House Officer at the Gandawah police station, an officer who wished to remain anonymous told Dawn on Friday. Security agencies and police are investigating the incident.Deputy Commissioner Jhal Magsi Asadullah Kakar said on Friday that the victims of the blast, including the police constable, had been buried in different parts of the district amid tight security. Currently, nine people are under treatment in the Larkana Hospital while 14 are admitted at Gandawah District Headquarters Hospital. A dozen patients, who had received minor injuries, were discharged from Gandawah Hospital after receiving treatment. One injured woman had been shifted to the Aga Khan Hospital in Karachi.The deputy commissioner assured that the hospitals are taking "good care" of the injured.The bombing was the second deadly attack on a shrine in Pakistan in 2017. In February this year, another suicide bomber had killed more than 80 people and injured more than 250 in an attack targeting the busy Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sehwan, Sindh.This was also the second attack on the Pir Rakhel Shah shrine. On March 19, 2005, [Read More…]

Oct 062017
 
Important information uncovered in relation to Karachi knife attacks, says CM Sindh

Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah on Friday said that an important clue had been found in relation to the knife attacks on women in the Gulistan-e-Jauhar area of Karachi, and that police had reason to believe that two suspects were involved in the attacks.Since last week, fear has gripped residents of Gulistan-i-Jauhar after multiple reports of at least one attacker stabbing women in the area with a sharp object.The police have launched a manhunt and an investigation into the motivation and identity of the attacker.Three First Information Reports (FIRs) have been registered ─ two at the Sharea Faisal police station and one at the Gulistan-i-Jauhar police station ─ on the complaint of three women who said that they had been attacked by a lone "knife-wielding" motorcyclist.Speaking to the media on Friday, the chief minister said that there is a reason to believe that two suspects ─ one from Sahiwal in Punjab and the other from Karachi ─ are involved in the attacks.Expressing hope that the real criminal will soon be put behind bars, Shah added that both suspects are yet to be arrested. "We will not let anyone to play with the law," Shah added.A day earlier, after police claimed to have made a key arrest in the case, another woman was stabbed and injured in Gulistan-i-Jauhar in the evening despite a heavy deployment of police at more than two dozen spots.The 28-year-old woman, identified as Tahira Bano, was stabbed and wounded by a lone attacker riding a motorbike [Read More…]

Oct 062017
 
Air China increases flights on Beijing-Islamabad sector

Air China, China's national flag carrier, has decided to increase flights on the Beijing-Islamabad-Karachi route from four a week to seven starting October 29. Air China had launched the route between China and Pakistan in October 2016, starting with three flights per week. More than 120,000 trips on the route were recorded till September this year. Hu Haitao, manager of Air China's Islamabad office, said in a promotional event on Thursday that the increased flights will "better serve the exchanges between China and Pakistan in trade and culture."Meanwhile, Zhao Lijian, ministerial counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, said that the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has boosted the two countries' ties in politics, economy and science, providing a good opportunity for Air China to extend its business in Pakistan. Click for detailed story

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