Zimbabwe's former President Robert Mugabe passes away at 95

Zimbabwe's former President Robert Mugabe passes away at 95

Harare: Robert Mugabe, the longtime leader of Zimbabwe who was forced to resign in 2017 after a military takeover, has died. His successor Emmerson Mnangagwa confirmed Mugabe's death in a tweet Friday, mourning him as an "icon of liberation".

Mugabe was a former guerrilla chief who took power after the end of white minority rule in 1980 and presided over a country whose early promise was eroded by economic turmoil and human rights violations.

While Mugabe blamed Zimbabwe's economic problems on Western sanctions and once said he wanted to rule for life, growing discontent about the country's leadership prompted a military intervention, impeachment proceedings and large street demonstrations.

On February 21, 2018, Mugabe marked his first birthday since his resignation in near solitude, far from the lavish affair of past years.


Imran Khan seeks report card from ministers

Imran Khan seeks report card from ministers

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has started seeking accountability from his Ministers, as his office issued a 'red letter' to 27 Ministries over their failure to submit reports.

This is the first time that Ministries have been sent the red letters, which is a kind of final warning to the Ministers to act, reported Geo news. The letter is also meant to show Khan's displeasure towards the working of the Ministries.

According to the notification from Khan's office, the letter was issued on account of critical delay in completion of composite tasks assigned under the Prime Minister's directives.

The office has now given the deadline of September 9 to submit information on issues like vacancies and postings at every level in the ministries.

The letter called for details on officers who are worthy of promotions, but have not been promoted.

It has also sought information on those government officers against whom disciplinary investigations have been pending for three months. Besides this, Khan has also asked for details about cars, machinery and other items that are not being used by the Ministries.

It is being held that the red letter will factor into the performance report of the concerned Ministry and its Divisions.


Japan train crash: 1 dead, 30 hurt after collision with truck

Japan train crash: 1 dead, 30 hurt after collision with truck

Yokohama: An express train travelling at around 120 kilometres per hour smashed into a truck at a crossing south of Tokyo Thursday, sparking a blaze and killing one person with around 30 others injured.

The crash derailed the train's front carriage and pinned the truck to a wall, as it burst into flames, spewing black smoke into the air and its cargo of citrus fruit on to the tracks.

The force of the impact shattered the train's front window and bent an overhead power line, with witnesses describing an intense fire and panic among the 500 passengers on board the train as it sped through the crossing near Yokohama.


Death toll rises to 16 dead, more than 100 injured in Kabul blast: Official

Death toll rises to 16 dead, more than 100 injured in Kabul blast: Official

Kabul: The toll from a massive blast claimed by the Taliban in Kabul has risen to 16 dead -- all civilians -- with scores more wounded, an official said Tuesday.

Monday night's attack took place in a residential area near Green Village, a large compound that houses aid agencies and international organisations. Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said the blast was caused by a tractor packed with explosives that had been parked alongside a wall by Green Village. "Sixteen killed, 119 wounded in last night's attack," Rahimi said, noting a search-and-rescue operation had lasted through the night.

Green Village is separate from the nearby Green Zone, a walled-off and heavily fortified part of Kabul that is home to several embassies including the US and British missions. The Taliban claimed the attack, which came as US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad was in Kabul to discuss a proposed deal that would see the US withdraw troops from Afghanistan in return for insurgent security guarantees. Residents in the area around Green Village were furious that their neighbourhood, which has been targeted before, had been hit once again and blamed the international presence.

Locals set tyres on fire, sending plumes of thick, acrid smoke into the morning sky, and closed off a main road alongside the scene of the attack. "We want these foreigners to move out of our neighbourhood," local resident Abdul Jamil told AFP. "This is not the first time we suffer because of them... We don't want them here anymore."



Flights cancelled after Hong Kong protesters target airport

Flights cancelled after Hong Kong protesters target airport

Hong Kong: More than a dozen flights were cancelled Sunday as thousands of pro-democracy activists blocked routes to Hong Kong's airport, a day after protesters and police fought pitched battles in some of the worst violence seen in the city since unrest began three months ago.

At least 16 flights were cancelled, the airport's website said, with the departure hall packed with a backlog of passengers who had struggled to make it to the terminals.

Earlier, operators of the Airport Express train suspended services after the station was besieged, while black-clad protesters - hiding from CCTV cameras under umbrellas built barricades at the bus terminus and attempted to stop traffic on the main road leading to the facility.


Hurricane Dorian likely to make catastrophic landfall in Bahamas

Hurricane Dorian likely to make catastrophic landfall in Bahamas

Washington: Hurricane Dorian strengthened into a catastrophic Category 5 storm Sunday, packing 160 mph (267 kph) winds as it was about to slam into the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas, US weather forecasters said.

"#Dorian is now a category 5 #hurricane with 160 mph sustained winds," the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said in a tweet. "The eyewall of this catastrophic hurricane is about to hit the Abaco Islands with devastating winds," it said.

The slow moving storm was expected to linger over the Bahamas through Sunday and much of Monday, dumping up to 25 inches of rain in some areas and unleashing storm surges of 10 to 15-feet, forecasters said.

"If you're watching anybody in the Bahamas a very dangerous, dangerous situation," said Ken Graham, the NHC's director.

After making landfall in the Bahamas, Dorian will then head close to Florida's eastern coast beginning late Monday. Whether it makes landfall in Florida is increasingly uncertain.

Some forecast models late Saturday showed the hurricane veering north and skirting the coast as it heads toward Georgia and the Carolinas by the middle of next week, causing flooding and strong winds.

The NHC stressed that Dorian could still wreak havoc in coastal Florida and that large portions of the coast remain imperiled. Ken Graham, Director of the NHC, said the latest models show Dorian far less likely to make landfall in Florida than earlier expected.


7 killed, 19 injured in Texas mass shooting

7 killed, 19 injured in Texas mass shooting

Houston: At least seven persons were killed and 19 others injured when a gunman opened fire at random on Saturday in the second mass shooting in the US state of Texas in a month, police said.

The shooting - the 38th mass killing by firearms in the US this year occurred in the West Texas cities of Midland and Odessa. The gunman, who was white and in his mid-30s, was shot dead by police at the Cinergy movie theatre after a chase.

However, police did not identify the shooter by his name. The gunman opened fire around 3 pm (local time) after he was pulled over by traffic officials.

He shot at the trooper who stopped him and began shooting people at random, local media quoted Chief Michael Gerke of the Odessa Police Department as saying.

The driver then began shooting at other people in several other locations. At one point, he abandoned his car and stole a postal truck before continuing his spree.

He was shot dead by police at a cinema complex. "We have at least 21 shooting victims and at least five deceased," Gerke told reporters. Three police officers were injured, he added.

Initially, it was suspected that two people were involved in the shooting and police had said they were believed to be driving around separately in a gold/white-coloured Toyota vehicle and a stolen US Postal Service van.

"There is no active shooter at this time. All agencies are investigating reports of possible suspects," the Midland Police Department said in a Facebook post.

During the shooting, authorities urged public to get off the road "and use extreme caution".

President Donald Trump said he has been briefed about the incident by Attorney General William Barr. "FBI and Law Enforcement is fully engaged," he tweeted.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott described the incident as a "senseless and cowardly attack".

"The state of Texas and the Department of Public Safety are working closely with local law enforcement to provide resources as needed and deliver justice for this heinous attack," he said in a statement.

By Seema Hakhu Kachru


More than 2,300 tigers killed and trafficked this century

More than 2,300 tigers killed and trafficked this century

Donald Trump cancels Denmark trip over Greenland sale

Donald Trump cancels Denmark trip over Greenland sale

Copenhagen: US President Donald Trump has cancelled a state visit to Denmark after the nation's Prime Minister Mette Fredriksen said Greenland was not for sale to the US. Trump's visit was scheduled on September 2, at the invitation of Denmark's Queen Margrethe II.

Trump tweeted on Tuesday: "Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen's comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland,

I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time." Last week Trump had suggested that the US was interested in buying Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory.

When Trump was asked on Sunday if he would consider trading a US territory for the island, he replied: "Well, a lot of things could be done." "Essentially it's a large real estate deal," he had said.

Danish politicians have launched a scathing critique of Trump for cancelling his visit to the Scandinavian country, Efe news reported. Many leading Danish politicians have taken to social media to criticise Trump's handling of the matter. "Trump lives on another planet.

Self-sufficient and disrespectful" Pernille Skipper, spokesperson for the Red-Green Alliance, tweeted. Former Prime Minister Helle Thorning also shared her bemusement over the issue.

"So the POTUS has cancelled his visit to Denmark because there was no interest in discussing selling Greenland. Is this some sort of joke? Deeply insulting to the people of Greenland and Denmark," she tweeted.

The opposition also shared its disbelief over the spat with the vice president of the liberal Venstre Party and former foreign affairs minister, Kristian Jensen, labelling it a diplomatic crisis.

"Total chaos with Donald Trump and cancellation of the state visit to Denmark. It has gone from a great opportunity for enhanced dialogue between allies to a diplomatic crisis.

Everyone should know that Greenland is not for sale," Jensen said. "Need to get the cooperation back on track," he added. Rasmus Jarlov, conservative spokesman for Greenland affairs, like many others, said Trump's actions were insulting.

"As a Dane (and a conservative) it is very hard to believe. For no reason Trump assumes that (an autonomous) part of our country is for sale. Then insultingly cancels visit that everybody was preparing for.


Court extends 14-day physical remand of Maryam Nawaz in Chaudhry Sugar Mills case

Court extends 14-day physical remand of Maryam Nawaz in Chaudhry Sugar Mills case

Islamabad [Pakistan]: An accountability court in Lahore has granted National Accountability Bureau (NAB) an extension of 14 days in the physical remand of Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of erstwhile prime minister Nawaz Sharif, and her cousin Yousuf Abbas in Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) case.

Earlier, both had been remanded into NAB custody following their arrest from Kot Lakhpat jail where they had gone to meet Maryam's father on August 8. The duo was produced in court amid strict security where Judge Naeem Arshad heard NAB's request for a 15-day extension in their physical remand, Express Tribune reported. During the proceedings, NAB's lawyer said that the investigations with Maryam had not yet been completed and requested an extension in remand for that purpose.

On Wednesday, the judge granted NAB 14-day physical remand and ordered the duo to appear before the court on September 4. Maryam had appeared before NAB on July 31 to record her statement in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills reference. The statement was regarding 'dubious' business transactions of the CSM of which she was one of the major shareholders.

On August 8, she was taken into custody by NAB from Kot Lakhpat Jail, where she had been visiting her imprisoned father. The PML-N Vice President was previously jailed in the Avenfield corruption case last year, along with her father and husband. All three were released from jail within a few months before Nawaz was sent to jail again in Lahore in relation with the Al Azizia Steel Mills case.