US President Donald Trump arrives in Scotland amid protests
Glasgow: US President Donald Trump has arrived in Scotland as thousands of people gathered to protest against his visit. The President and First Lady Melania Trump touched down at the Prestwick Airport at 10.10 p.m. on Friday after completing his two-day working trip to the UK, reports the BBC.
Upon his arrival Trump was received by Scottish Secretary David Mundell, who said he was “pleased to greet Trump on behalf of the UK government”. Trump, whose mother was Scottish, will spend the weekend at his Turnberry golf resort in Ayrshire in what has been described as a private visit. He is not expected to meet First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who has been a vocal critic of the president. Sturgeon is slated to lead thousands of marchers at the Pride Glasgow march on Saturday.
Protesters filled George Square in Glasgow ahead of his arrival, the BBC reported. Shortly after Trump’s arrival at Turnberry a power paraglider was spotted flying close to the resort with a banner which said “Trump: Well below par”. A “national demonstration” will gather outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on Saturday, with protesters walking to the Meadows for a “carnival of resistance”. The carnival will feature the giant Trump Baby balloon, which has been banned from both Turnberry and the Scottish Parliament.
Huge numbers of protesters also marched through the streets of London as Trump met Prime Minister Theresa May and the Queen earlier on Friday. Trump has often spoken of his love for Scotland and its people and had been a regular visitor to the country for many years, but this is his first trip since becoming president. He will leave Scotland on Sunday from where he will travel to Finland where he is slated to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif, daughter Maryam arrested over conviction in corruption case
Lahore/Islamabad: Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam were shifted to Adiala jail in Rawalpindi today after they were arrested on their return to the country following the conviction in one of the three corruption cases against the powerful political family, weeks before the July 25 polls.
Sharif and Maryam were shifted to Adiala jail in separate armoured vehicles escorted by police. According to jail manual, they can be medically examined at jail hospital. Maryam is expected to be moved later to Sihala Rest House which has been declared as sub-jail. Initially it was said that the duo will be shifted by a helicopter, but the idea was dropped due to darkness.
The plane carrying Sharif, the supremo of the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz, and Maryam landed at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Airport at 9:15 IST, nearly three hours late from the scheduled arrival. According to an airport official, the father-daughter duo surrendered before a team of the country’s anti-graft body – The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) – without any resistance. A special plane later carried Sharif and Maryam to Islamabad. The plane landed at New Islamabad International airport in Islamabad.
The accountability court judge Muhammad Bashir issued judicial warrants against Sharif and Maryam without their mandatory presence in the court. NAB had requested the court to condone their presence due to security reasons. The judge accepted the argument and deputed a local magistrate to visit the convicts to record their arrest and allow NAB to hand them over to the jail authorities. The Etihad Airways flight EY243 arrived in Lahore from Abu Dhabi. Earlier, Sharif and Maryam flew to the UAE capital from London, where Sharif’s wife Kulsoom, suffering from throat cancer, is battling for her life.
Sharif reportedly refused to sit in the vehicle of the Rangers to get to the airport terminal. Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials took their passport for immigration. According to media reports, dozens of security officials entered the plane after it landed and asked other passengers to leave. The duo’s passports were seized by a three-member FIA team, and both were permitted to meet Begum Shamim Akhtar, Sharif’s mother, in the Haj Lounge.
The two were convicted on July 6 in the Evenfield properties case linked to the Sharif family’s ownership of four luxury flats in London. Both Sharif, 68, and Maryam, 44, have been sentenced by an accountability court to 10 and 7 years in prison respectively. The Sharif family is now facing two more corruption cases in the accountability court – Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investments – in which they are accused of money laundering, tax evasion and hiding offshore assets.
Sahrif and Maryam were later sent on a special private plane bound for Islamabad International Airport. Upon landing at the Islamabad airport, they will either be flown to Adiala Jail or driven to Attock Jail, Dawn newspaper reported. Around 10,000 police officers have been deployed across the city to maintain law and order. The Punjab government has suspended mobile and internet services in Lahore. Sharif’s PML-N party, led by its President and Sharif’s younger brother Shahbaz, today managed to take out a rally despite imposition of section 144 that bars assembly of more than five people.
Earlier, media reports and an official of the Civil Aviation Authority had said their plane was diverted to Islamabad to avoid any law and order situation in Lahore as a large number of the PML-N workers were heading in hundreds of vehicles to the city to cheer up their leader. The rally kicked off at the Lohari Gate in the afternoon and could manage to proceed a few kilometers as party workers struggled to remove cargo containers on their way.
Close to the airport, Sharif’s supporters clashed with police which otherwise did not stop them from removing containers. “It appears the Punjab caretaker government had reached a deal with the of PML-N withdrawing thousands of policemen to give a free hand to reach close to the Lahore airport and wind up the rally,” a senior police officer told PTI. “We have orders from our top command not to take action against the PML-N rally participants,” he said.
The PML-N workers joined in the rally from different points in Lahore. Talking to reporters before reaching the airport, Shahbaz said “a sea of people” has turned up today to give historic reception to Sharif. “The people of Lahore has given a verdict ahead of July 25 polls,” he declared. “I am thankful to the people of Lahore for coming out in such a huge number,” he said, adding that the people have rejected the decision of the court to convict Sharif and Maryam.
Speaking to the BBC at Abu Dhabi airport as he waited to change planes, Sharif said: “What credibility will these elections have when the government is taking such drastic action against our people and this crackdown is taking place all over the country?” In a video message, tweeted by Maryam, the former premier urged his followers to stand with him and “change the fate of the country”. “The country is at a critical juncture right now,” a grim looking Sharif said. Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court last year in the Panama Papers case.
Thai Cave Rescue: From fun trekking to nightmare, the story of a nerve-wracking mission
One of the most extraordinary and dramatic rescue missions in living memory. Twelve members of a Thai soccer team and their coach who had been trapped inside the cave after they took a hike inside were finally rescued on Tuesday (July 10) from a cave in Thailand.
Thailand celebrated the successful mission to free 12 boys and their football coach from a cave, with the nation heaping praise on the rescue team as the triumphant tagline “Hooyah” pinballed across social media. The nerve-shredding three-day mission ended on Tuesday after four boys and the coach emerging from the cave which had held them captive for 10 days.
Where was the Thai soccer team stuck?
The 12 boys, ages 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach Ekaphol “Ake” Chantawong from the Wild Boars soccer team were reported missing, on June 23. They had gone in to explore the complex Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand, on the border of Myanmar, after soccer practice. A day later, on June 24, handprints and footprints were found in the cave and it is believed the group had to retreat into the cave’s tunnel system and were trapped by the flooding rain.
The Rescue operations
Each of the boys, ages 11 to 16 and with no diving experience, was guided out by a pair of divers in the three-day high-stakes operation. The route, in some places just a crawl space, had oxygen canisters positioned at regular intervals to refresh each team’s air supply.
The first rescue operation began on Sunday (July 8) as five Thai Navy Seals and 13 foreign divers entered the cave, and four boys were rescued. The second rescue operation began on July 9 and four more boys were rescued. And the third rescue operation, which was the last, was conducted on July 10. In the third rescue attempt, four more boys and their coach were rescued, which marked as an end to the rescue operation.
What was the rescue process?
Each child was fitted with a full face mask for the dive. Most, if not all, of the children, have never swum before, so they were accompanied by two divers. One diver cradled the child underneath and a second diver swam behind.
Authorities mulled ideas such as drilling holes into the mountain or waiting months until monsoon rains ended so they could walk out, with the rescue chief at one point dubbing the efforts to save them “Mission Impossible”. With oxygen levels in their chamber falling to dangerous levels and monsoon rains threatening to flood the cave above the ledge where the boys were sheltering, rescuers decided on the least-worst option of having divers escort them out through the tunnels.
The escape route was a challenge for even experienced divers. The boys had no previous diving experience so the rescuers trained them how to use a mask and breathe underwater via an oxygen tank.
Navy Seal personnel loses life
On July 6, former Thai Navy SEAL Saman Gunan, 37, died while trying to set up an airline for the boys. He passed out from lack of oxygen while returning from the boys’ chamber.
Elon Musk help refused
The dramatic Thai cave rescue gathered support from all over the world. American space entrepreneur and billionaire Elon Musk, on July 10, during rescue operation offered to help the rescuers. He offered his prototype Mini-sub to help for rescuing stranded soccer team. But Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn rejected to take help from Musk and said: “Although his technology is good and sophisticated, it’s not practical for this mission.” The dreams of Elon Musk of becoming real-life Tony Stark (Iron Man) was shattered, but he also defended his stance and wrote on Twitter, “The former Thai provincial governor (described inaccurately as “rescue chief”) is not the subject matter expert. That would be Dick Stanton, who co-led the dive rescue team.”
FIFA World Cup 2018 final and Manchester United invitations
The football’s governing body FIFA had invited the players of Wild Boars to see the FIFA World Cup final, which will be held Russia’s Moscow in Luzhniki Stadium. However, after the rescue of 12 Thai boys from the cave, the team was instructed to stay in the hospital for at least seven days.
Manchester United tweeted an invitation just after the news that all had been rescued which said “#MUFC is relieved to learn that the 12 footballers and their coach trapped in a cave in Thailand are now safe. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected. We would love to welcome the team from Wild Boars Football Club and their rescuers to Old Trafford this coming season.”
(Inputs from Agencies)
IS releases picture of Baghdadi’s slain son brandishing rifle
Kabul: The Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan and Pakistan released a picture of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s son Hudhayfah al-Badri, who was killed in an operation in Syria earlier this month.
Taking to Twitter handle, a terrorism research group TRACterrorism.org posted the image, showing al-Badri carrying a rifle. “(CGI) #IslamicState supporter poster depicting Hudhayfah al-Badri, son of Abu Bakr #Baghdadi killed by #Russian military” On July 3, the IS’s propaganda agency, Amaq, announced that al-Badri was killed by the Russian and Syrian military forces in an operation in Homs, according to several media reports.
Little is known about Al-Baghdadi, who has been reported killed or injured. However, he is widely believed to be alive. Although the terror group has been driven out from major parts of Syria and Iraq, it still maintains a presence near the Iraqi-Syrian border.
Eleven people from Alaska plane crash saved
Los Angeles: A plane carrying 11 people crashed today on a mountainside in Alaska, officials and rescuers said, but there were no deaths. “It was reported that 11 people from the plane crash are alive, but have injuries,” the US Coast Guard said in a statement following the incident near the southeasternmost city of Ketchikan.
The De Havilland DHC-3T Turbo Otter floatplane was carrying 10 passengers and a pilot, according to CBS-affiliated TV station KTVA, citing rescuers.
The channel said 10 people were injured as it hit the side of Mount Jumbo at a height of around 2,000 feet (600 metres), and were all in a stable condition.
Authorities say the pilot radioed shortly before 9:00 am and the Coast Guard dispatched two helicopter crews to the area, around 65 km southwest of Ketchikan.
All 11 people rescued were hoisted from the crash site and taken to a staging area to be moved to the city for medical treatment.
Trump nears decision on replacement for SC Justice
Berkeley : President Donald Trump is nearing a decision on a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy after a weekend of deliberation at his New Jersey golf club.
A person with knowledge of the president’s thinking said today that Trump has not yet communicated a final choice. The person, who was not authorised to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said Trump has spent the weekend discussing his options with allies amid frenzied last-minute lobbying. Trump will announce his pick at 9 pm (local time) tomorrow from the White House. Savoring the suspense, Trump has sought to keep people guessing in the final hours, hoping to replicate his successful announcement of Justice Neil Gorsuch.
The White House hoped to keep the details under wraps until he rolls out his pick from the East Room. Top contenders for the role are federal appeals judges Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett and Thomas Hardiman. The White House has been preparing information materials on all four, who were part of a longer list of 25 names vetted by conservative groups.
Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Roy Blunt of Missouri said today that they believe any of the four could get confirmed by the GOP-majority Senate.
MWF will review the minimum wages of working journalists
Kathmamdu : Minimum Wage Fixing Committee Radio FM monitering committee had completed its monitering conditions of working journalists and Radios and FM running in Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. "As Communication Ministry of Nepal had given mandate to committee about monitoring the conditions of working journalists and media house Radio FM monitering committee had concluded it's responsibility," coordinator of committee Raju Lama had said. Every year Minimum Wage Fixing Committee does monitering about implementation of condition of Minimum wages fixed by Communication Ministry of Government of Nepal and also implementation of Working Journalist Act. Committee was represented by all stake holders in this field at the time of monitering. Representative of Federation of Nepalese Journalists, Press Council of Nepal, Communication Ministry of Nepal, Labour Ministry of Nepal were involved during monitering. "Situation of implementation of minimum wages inbetween journalists and Working Journalist Act is in serious condition," member of MWFC Lama said.
Lama also urged all stake holders and government that they should be serious to implement minimum wage and journalist act. He accused government and management of media house that they were not serious and taking interest on implementing these laws. He also informed that MWFC is going to review minimum wage of working journalists. "Now government had announced minimum wage for working journalists 19,500 and MWFC will review it to 30,000 as minimum wage of working journalists," Lama said.
Ex-Navy Seal officer dies during rescue operations in Thailand cave
Mae Sai: A former military diver has died after running out of oxygen while assisting in the rescue of 12 boys and their football coach trapped inside a cave in Thailand, an official said today. His death highlights the perils of the operation to extract the team from deep inside the waterlogged cave, raising questions about the feasibility of bringing youngsters out the same way.
“A former Seal who volunteered to help died last night about 2am,” Chiang Rai deputy governor Passakorn Boonyaluck told reporters at the site, calling it “sad news.” The diver, identified as Saman Kunont, was coming back from a spot inside the Tham Luang cave where the group were located on Monday when his supplies ran short.
“On his way back he lost consciousness,” said Thai Seal commander Apakorn Yookongkaew, adding that a friend had tried to help bring him out. “But even though we have lost one man, we still have faith to carry out our work.” Asked how the boys could make it out safely if an experienced diver could not, Apakorn said they would take more precautions with children. The accident marks the first major setback for the gargantuan effort, which started almost two weeks ago after the “Wild Boars” team went into the cave in northern Thailand after football practice.
Modi government’s ‘aggressive’ posture responsible for Indo-Pak stalemate, says PTI chief Imran Khan
Karachi: Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan has said that ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif tried to improve the Indo-Pak relations but the “aggressive anti-Pakistan posture” of the Indian government resulted in the current stalemate between the two neighbours. The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief, whose party appears to be gaining ground ahead of the July 25 elections, also said that the key to the Prime Minister House lies in understanding the country’s complex political realities. “Sharif tried his best (to mend relations with India),” Khan told the Dawn newspaper in an interview.
“Sharif tried everything, even personal (gestures) like calling him (Narendra Modi) over to his house. No one got in his way. But I think it is the policy of the Narendra Modi government to try and isolate Pakistan. They have a very aggressive anti-Pakistan posture…What can one do in the face of this attitude?” the 65-year-old leader added. Prime Minister Modi visited Pakistan in December 2015 but the terror attacks by Pakistan-based militants in Pathankot in January 2016 and then in Uri in September strained the ties between the two countries.
Commenting on the military’s influence in Pakistan’s foreign policy, Khan said, “The army will get involved where there are security situations. If you look at the US policy in Afghanistan, a lot of the US-Afghan policy was influenced by Pentagon. Even when (President) Barack Obama did not want to continue the war in Afghanistan, he did it because he was convinced by Pentagon.”
Pakistan’s powerful military has always played a crucial role in the country’s politics. The army has ruled Pakistan for more than 33 years of the country’s 70-year history. “We have had military influence on politics in Pakistan because we have had the worst political governments. I am not saying it is justified but where there is a vacuum, something will fill it,” he said.
Khan said that under crooked and corrupt governments, people welcome the military with open arms, and cited the example of a bloodless coup by the then army chief Gen Pervez Musharraf in 1999 when people celebrated the ouster of the Sharif government by the military.
Talking about the importance of manpower and financial resources for a successful election campaign, Khan said, “This is not Europe, where all you need to do is tell people what you stand for and they will go out and vote for you. In Pakistan, you need money and thousands of trained polling agents who can bring out people on the day of election. If you do not have those workers, you cannot contest the election.”
The PTI chief said though he is more “more optimistic” than have been in his 22 years in politics, he cannot vouch for each of the near 700 national and provincial-level candidates his party has fielded to contest the upcoming elections, he is playing with what exists in Pakistan’s political class. “You contest elections to win. You don’t contest elections to be a good boy. I want to win. I am fighting elections in Pakistan, not Europe. I can’t import European politicians,” he said.
Lahore High Court affirms former Pakistani PM Abbasi can contest elections
Lahore: The Lahore High Court on Thursday set aside an appellate tribunals verdict disqualifying former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi from contesting elections for life and barring him from contesting the upcoming National Assembly polls from his native Rawalpindi-I constituency. During the hearing, the high court had allowed Abbasi to contest the election from Murree on July 25 by staying the ruling of the Punjab Election Appellate Tribunal, Geo News reported.
The tribunal had disqualified him after holding him guilty of “concealment of facts”. It had accepted petitioner Masood Ahmed Abbasi’s contention that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader had tampered with the nomination process. However, the high court had stayed the disqualification verdict.
Abbasi had pleaded that the tribunal overstepped its jurisdiction as it only had powers to either accept or reject nomination papers and lacked the authority to disqualify lawmakers for life. During Wednesday’s hearing, the high court warned Abbasi against making anti-judiciary remarks that “were harming and destroying the system”. The high court also allowed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry to contest from Jhelum’s NA-67 constituency.