Aug 292017
Climate change

Climate change is a clear and present danger for the entire South Asian region. The river basins of the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra are the key food and cash crop providers for the 1.5 billion people of this region. Rising sea levels are already eroding soil and land mass in Bangladesh. This is a matter of grave concern. Further, the continued denuding of forestation in Northern India and Pakistan and the rampant conversion of rural lands to housing societies and factories are a recipe for the looming environmental disaster to hit this region in just a few decades – in fact, the world has already witnessed deadly heatwave in southern Pakistan and in northern and central India. According to some media reports, owing to climate change, South Asia and the Middle East can become ‘the hottest region in the world by 2100’. We already cannot deal with persistent loadshedding and the energy shortage, how will South Asia fight massive climate change, crop failures or heatwave? The relevant authorities are requested to pay undivided attention to the issue. They must take all possible measures to mitigate the effects of climate change in Pakistan. Saarc also needs to take strong steps to raise awareness about the issue and prepare for drastic measures to tackle the issue. Some of the plausible measures could include population control, control of deforestation and rampant urbanisation, promoting the use of solar and renewable energies, replanting greater green life in vulnerable regions, promote healthy food habits, the judicious [Read More…]

Jul 182017

Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdulrehman Al-Thani will reach Islamabad Tuesday on an official visit. According to Express News, the dignitary will meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to discuss issues revolving around the regional situation. The channel, quoting sources, said the dignitary shall also engage in discourse regarding the Saudi-led military alliance whose leadership was handed over to Gen (retd) Raheel Sharif. Arab states sever ties with Qatar for ‘supporting terrorism’ His visit comes weeks after after Middle Eastern countries, i.e. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya and the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic ties last month with the country, accusing it of ‘supporting terrorism’. While Pakistan has remained neutral in the conflict so far, Saudi Arabia had demanded the officials to take a clear position on Qatar. The post Qatar’s foreign minister to arrive in Islamabad on official visit appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Jun 192017
Record Heat Recorded Worldwide

GENEVA � The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reports the planet Earth is experiencing another exceptionally warm year with record-breaking temperatures occurring in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the United States.At least 60 people have been killed in the devastating forest fires in central Portugal. The World Meteorological Organization says one of the factors contributing to these run-away wildfires are very high temperatures that have exceeded 40 degrees Celsius.Extremely high temperatures also have been recorded in Spain and in France, which issued an Amber alert, the second highest alert level on Tuesday. WMO reports near record heat is also being reported in California and in the Nevada deserts.Meteorologists report North Africa and the Middle East are experiencing extremely hot weather with temperatures topping 50 degrees Celsius. But WMO spokeswoman Claire Nullis says the hottest place on Earth appears to be the town of Turbat in southwestern Pakistan, which reported a temperature of 54 degrees Celsius in May.It seems like this is a new temperature record for Asia. If it is verified, it will equal a record … which was set in Kuwait last July. So, we will now set up an investigation committee to see if that indeed is a new temperature record for the region, Nullis said.WMO Senior Scientist Omar Baddour says the world heat record of 56 degrees Celsius was recorded in Death Valley in the United States in 1913.It is very difficult to break a world record because it is not easy to have all the [Read More…]

Jun 182017
Mamnoon meets Saudi king, discusses bilateral ties

President Mamoon Hussain held a meeting with Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud to discuss bilateral relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, Radio Pakistan reported on Sunday.The two leaders spoke about the situation in South Asia and Middle East, the daily reported.While in Jeddah, Hussain also met with the president of Yemen, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and Speaker of the National Assembly of Kuwait Marzooq bin Ali Al-Ghanim, and discussed matters of mutual interest.Hussain returned home after performing Umrah and was seen off at the airport by Governor Jeddah Mishaal bin Majid bin Abdulaziz.The president's meeting with the Saudi monarch comes days in the backdrop of a deepening diplomatic rift in the Middle East, days after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held talks with King Salman during a one-day trip to the Kingdom.Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia, backed by United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and Maldives cut off all trade and diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing the country of sponsoring terrorism.The deepening crisis in the region has been touted as the biggest in the Middle East and has led Pakistan, along with countries around the world, into coming up with a suitable strategy to end the conflict. In its initial response to the crisis, Pakistan had stressed the need for unity in the Muslim world and urged the countries involved to engage in dialogue.However, there are worries that Pakistan would not be able to maintain its neutrality in the conflict for long.During their meeting, King Salman told Sharif [Read More…]

Jun 182017

President Mamnoon Hussain called on Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz in Makkah on Sunday. Both the leaders discussed matter pertaining to bilateral relations and mutual interests with a special emphasis on the emerging situation in the Middle East and South Asia, according to Radio Pakistan. The president lauded efforts of the Saudi government for excellent arrangements for the Umrah pilgrims during Ramazan. Pakistan’s role in the GCC conflict President Mamnoon also held meetings with his Yemeni counterpart Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and Kuwait’s national assembly speaker Marzouq bin Ali Al-Ghanim during his visit to Saudi Arabia. Later, the president left for home after performing Umrah. Jeddah Governor Mishaal bin Majid bin Abdulaziz saw him off at the airport. The post President Mamnoon meets Saudi King Salman in Makkah appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Jun 182017

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has left for Saudi Arabia on a private visit, Radio Pakistan reported on Sunday. He will perform Umrah during the last days of Ramazan and also offer prayers in Masjid-e-Nabvi. He is travelling on a commercial flight along with his family members. President Mamnoon meets Saudi King Salman in Makkah Moreover, President Mamnoon Hussain is also in the oil-rich kingdom and met King Salman bin Abdulaziz in Makkah. Both the leaders discussed matter pertaining to bilateral relations and mutual interests with a special emphasis on the emerging situation in the Middle East and South Asia. The post PM Nawaz leaves for Saudi Arabia with family members appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Jun 132017

DOHA: The US ambassador to Qatar said on Tuesday she is leaving her post in Doha, in the midst of the worst diplomatic crisis involving America’s Gulf allies in years. “This month, I end my 3 years as US Ambassador to #Qatar. It has been the greatest honour of my life and I’ll miss this great country,” Dana Shell Smith said on Twitter on Tuesday. 1/2 This month, I end my 3 years as U.S. Ambassador to #Qatar. It has been the greatest honor of my life and I'll miss this great country. — Dana Shell Smith (@AmbDana) June 13, 2017 Shell Smith did not say why she was stepping down, if she was staying within the diplomatic service or who would replace her. Many US ambassadors leave their posts after serving around three years. Her departure comes with Washington sending mixed signals over the Gulf crisis, which saw Saudi Arabia and several of its allies cut ties with Qatar claiming that Doha supported extremist groups. Qatar strongly rejects the allegations. US President Donald Trump has signalled his support for the Saudi-led move but other US officials have been more cautious and called for dialogue to end the crisis. PM, army chief meet Saudi King Shell Smith was appointed ambassador to the Gulf emirate by Barack Obama in 2014. Last month she appeared to express dissatisfaction with political events back home in another message posted on social media. She took to Twitter in the hours after Trump’s dramatic sacking of FBI [Read More…]

May 222017

TEHRAN: Iran accused the United States on Monday of selling arms to “dangerous terrorists” in the Middle East and of spreading ‘Iranophobia’ aimed at encouraging Arab states to purchase arms, state television reported. “Once again, by his repetitive and baseless claims about Iran, the American president … tried to encourage the countries of the region to purchase more arms by spreading Iranophobia,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson  Bahram Qassemi said, a day after US President Donald Trump ended a visit to Tehran’s arch-foe Saudi Arabia where arms deals worth almost US$110 billion were signed. Iran’s Zarif urges Trump to discuss avoiding another 9/11 with Saudis Sending a tough message to Tehran shortly after Hassan Rouhani was re-elected president, Trump had urged Arab and Islamic leaders to unite to defeat militants, and said Iran had for decades “fuelled the fires of sectarian conflict and terrors”. Saudi Arabia and Iran compete for influence across the Middle East, respectively backing rival political or armed groups in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen. Iran denies Saudi accusations that it sends financial and sometimes military support to groups hostile to Riyadh. Qassemi said Washington was “reinvigorating terrorists in the region by its hostile policies” and “should stop selling arms to dangerous terrorists”. He said the United States and its allies “should know that Iran is a democratic, stable and powerful country” and that it promoted “peace, good neighbourliness, and the creation of a world opposed to violence and extremism”. Trump aims to mend Muslim ties on first foreign trip [Read More…]

May 022017
Trump, Putin discuss Syria, North Korea, Middle East in phone call

US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed working together to end the violence in Syria on Tuesday in their first phone call since US air strikes in Syria strained US-Russian relations.The White House said the two leaders agreed that “all parties must do all they can to end the violence” in Syria and that Trump and Putin also discussed working together against the militants throughout the Middle East.“The conversation was a very good one, and included the discussion of safe, or de-escalation, zones to achieve lasting peace for humanitarian and many other reasons,” a White House statement said.Trump's decision to launch 59 cruise missiles against a Syrian airfield on April 4 in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack angered the Russians and led to some bitter exchanges between the two governments.The White House statement said Washington will send a representative to Syrian cease-fire talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday and Thursday.“They also discussed at length working together to eradicate terrorism throughout the Middle East. Finally, they spoke about how best to resolve the very dangerous situation in North Korea,” the statement said. Click for detailed story

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