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.


Article 370: Pakistan launches crackdown on sale of Indian films

Article 370: Pakistan launches crackdown on sale of Indian films

Islamabad: The Pakistan government has launched a crackdown on the sale of Indian movies and banned airing of advertisements for India-made products on television channels in the wake of tensions after New Delhi revoked Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, a media report said on Friday.

"We have banned Indian advertisements and launched a crackdown on CD shops to confiscate Indian movies," Firdous Ashiq Awan, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information, told Dawn news on Thursday.

She said the Interior Ministry had already started a crackdown on Indian movies in Islamabad and it would be expanded to other parts of the country soon in collaboration with the provincial governments.

"Today the Interior Ministry raided some shops in Islamabad and confiscated Indian movies," Awan told Dawn.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has prohibited airing of advertisements for India-made products on television and radio networks.

In a letter circulated to all its television and radio licencees on Wednesday, the authority recalled that it had withdrawn permission for airing Indian channels and content on the Supreme Court's directive in October 2018.

"However, it has been observed that advertisements of various products of multi-nationals, which are either produced in India or carry Indian characters, are being aired on electronic media," said the letter posted on Pemra's Twitter account.

However, the airing at the same time of advertisements, produced in India, and carrying Indian celebrities, on Pakistani media was tantamount to "negating the state policy", the authority added.

Tensions have been simmering between India and Pakistan ever since New Delhi on August 5 revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and divided it into two Union Territories -- Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, in order to bring in faster development and security to the state.

'My nose is bleeding and pain’: Attorney alleges officials force-feeding Indian immigrant on hunger strike

'My nose is bleeding and pain’: Attorney alleges officials force-feeding Indian immigrant on hunger strike

Nepal mandates mountaineering experience to scale Mount Everest

Nepal mandates mountaineering experience to scale Mount Everest

Kathmandu: All climbers seeking a permit to scale Mt Everest should have prior high altitude mountaineering experience, said a high-level committee in its report on Wednesday.

The committee probed into various issues including reasons behind the death of 11 climbers this season at Mount Everest alone.

"In order to make the summit safer and to acclimatize climbers vying for Everest Summit or peaks above 8,000 meters they must be made to climb any peak in Nepal that are above 6,500 meters," the committee has suggested as a means of a reformation in its report.

The committee also has suggested the government should make one Nepali guide with basic or advanced knowledge on an expedition to go along with climber for the summit.

As per the report submitted the helper also would require to have a basic and advance training from an institution along with a record of successful ascend of at least one peak inside Nepal above 7000 meters.

But the guide who will be going along with the Mt. Everest ascenders must climb one summit above 8,000 meters in order to be fitted to perform the role.

Nepal on spring climbing season of 2019 had issued permits to 381 climbers to scale the world's tallest mountain in the world the Mount Everest, the highest in the record.

With photo of Traffic Jam at world's highest peak surfacing around which is credited for casualties this year Nepal's Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai said he will assure security and other concerning aspects.


Letter From Pakistan: UNSC President refuses to comment on the letter

Letter From Pakistan: UNSC President refuses to comment on the letter

UN Security Council President Joanna Wronecka has refused to comment on the letter from Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the situation in Kashmir. Asked about it by reporters, she shook her and murmured "No," before walking away from a media briefing by seven Western countries on Thursday.

Qureshi's letter written on August 1, before India scaled back the special status of Kashmir, was circulated to the members of the Security Council and released by the UN on Thursday. Wronecka was one of the diplomats who stood by at the briefing where Belgium's Deputy Permanent Representative Karen Van Vlierberge read a statement expressing support for Georgia and criticizing Russia for "intensification" of the border situation there. None of them entertained media questions and walked away.

Pakistan's Permanent Representative Maleeha Lodhi, who is on lobbying mission on Kashmir, had met Wronecka on Wednesday. In his letter, Qureshi had expressed concern about what he said were then "widespread concerns that India is preparing ground to abolish Article 35-A of its Constitution as a first step, followed by the revocation of Article 370".

He also asked Guterres to appoint a special representative for Kashmir and to send a fact-finding team to the area. Asked about the request, Guterres's spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at his daily briefing on Thursday: "We're studying it. The Secretary-General is following the situation very closely. The Secretariat is following the situation very closely, but I have nothing to announce or to hint at towards the issue of a special envoy."

In answer to another question if Guterres planned to bring the Kashmir developments to the Council or to brief it, he said: "We've not. I'm not aware of any plans to brief."

With Guterres and General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa away from the headquarters, Lodhi met Rosemary DiCarlo, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, on Thursday. She had met Guterres's Chief of State Maria Louisa Ribeiro Viotti on Wednesday.


Sri Lankan navy detains 4 Indian fishermen near Delft island

Sri Lankan navy detains 4 Indian fishermen near Delft island

Rameswaram: Sri Lankan Navy detained four Indian fishermen near Delft Island on Tuesday morning.The Lankan Navy also seized one country made boat which was allegedly used for poaching in the Sri Lankan territorial waters.

All the fishermen have been taken to Kangesanthurai Naval Camp and are likely to produce Jaffna fisheries later in the day. Straying of Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen into each others' waters is a recurrent problem as territories on the sea are not clearly demarcated.


Smartphone charging cable can steal your data too

Smartphone charging cable can steal your data too

San Francisco: Next time when you borrow a charging cable for your smartphone or iPad, think twice. A hacker has shown that an iPhone charging cable can steal your data.

Dubbed the O.MG cable, the Apple USB lightning cable looks normal from the outside like any other charging cable.

Once plugged into your device, from a nearby device and within Wi-Fi range, a hacker can wirelessly transmit malicious payloads on your computer, reports Motherboard.

"The cable comes with various payloads, or scripts and commands that an attacker can run on the victim's machine. A hacker can also remotely 'kill' the USB implant, hopefully hiding some evidence of its use or existence," the report said late Monday.

Once plugged in, an attacker can remotely lock a computer screen to collect the user's password when they log back in.

"This specific Lightning cable allows for cross-platform attack payloads, and the implant I have created is easily adapted to other USB cable types," the hacker known as MG was quoted as saying.

"Most people know not to plug in random flash drives these days, but they aren't expecting a cable to be a threat," he added. MG made the cables himself, modifying real Apple cables to include the implant. He now wants to get the cables produced as a legitimate security tool.


Amid protests, hundreds of flights cancelled from Hong Kong airport

Amid protests, hundreds of flights cancelled from Hong Kong airport

Hong Kong: Almost 200 flights out of the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) were cancelled on Tuesday, a day after thousands of anti-government protesters swarmed into one of the terminals of the airport, one of the world's busiest, causing massive disruption and flight cancellations.

At least 180 outbound flights have been cancelled, the airport said in a statement on its website. "Hong Kong International Airport will implement flight rescheduling today (Tuesday) with flight movements expected to be affected," Efe news quoted the statement as saying.

"Please confirm the flights before heading to the airport," it added. Airlines including Cathay Pacific have asked passengers to postpone non-essential travel from Hong Kong and not proceed to the airport unless they have a confirmed booking.

Meanwhile, scenes of long lines and crowds continued to be seen on Tuesday morning at the airport, which struggled to recover from the protests a day earlier, during which demonstrators sought to draw attention to what they consider police brutality while trying to disperse protests in the city.

However, by Tuesday morning, only a few protesters could be seen remaining inside the airport's terminals.This development comes after the city witnessed the 10th consecutive weekend of demonstrations sparked off by the government's controversial extradition bill that was later shelved by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam after coming under intense popular pressure.

The controversy surrounding the now-defunct extradition bill, which would have enabled fugitives to be transferred from Hong Kong to mainland China to stand trial under the latter's opaque legal system, has morphed into a broader movement seeking to reverse a decline in freedoms in the ex-British colony.

However, violence between the police and some of the demonstrators has been on the rise with the succession of protest marches. On Sunday, an unknown number of police officers were injured after protesters threw Molotov cocktails at them.

A former British colony, Hong Kong passed to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, although it still retains a degree of independence from Beijing.

According to the handover deal between London and Beijing, this political system - which includes certain legal freedoms not recognized in mainland China - must be preserved until 2047.

But many protesters viewed the controversial extradition bill - which was declared "dead" by the Hong Kong government in early July - as an attempt by China to meddle in Hong Kong's affairs.


Kashmir: China voices concern

Kashmir: China voices concern

Beijing: Voicing serious concern over the situation in Kashmir, China on Tuesday asked India and Pakistan to exercise restraint and avoid actions that "unilaterally" change the status quo and exacerbate tensions between the two countries.

"China is seriously concerned about the current situation in Kashmir," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a written response to media queries about the militaries of India and Pakistan exchanging fire along the Line of Control and the Indian government's move to revoke Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

"China's position on the Kashmir issue is clear and consistent. This issue is a legacy of history between India and Pakistan, which is also the consensus of the international community," Hua said, without directly referring to revocation of Article 370 by India.

"The parties concerned should exercise restraint and act with caution, especially to avoid actions that unilaterally change the status quo and exacerbate the tension," she said.

By K J M Varma


Racism exists but improving in Singapore

Racism exists but improving in Singapore

Singapore: Racism exists in Singapore but the situation is “much better than before” and improving over the years, Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said on Sunday, in the wake of a controversial video by two Indian-origin YouTubers in response to a recent "discriminatory" advertisement by an e-payment website.

Shanmugam's comments on Sunday came after Preetipls, whose name is Preeti Nair, and her brother Subhas Nair apologised "unconditionally" over a video they created and starred in to call out a NETS E-Pay advertisement for being discriminatory.

The Nair siblings have been in the spotlight over the video, which featured vulgar language and questioned the use of "brownface" in the ad.

By Gurdip Singh