Pakistan’s National Assembly to elect new Prime Minister today


Pakistan’s National Assembly to elect new Prime Minister today

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan’s newly-elected National Assembly (NA), the lower house of the country’s Parliament, will vote for the new Prime Minister of Pakistan on Friday. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif are in contention for the position.

The two leaders filed their nomination papers for the post on Wednesday, Geo News reported. The PTI had emerged as the single largest party in the general elections on July 25 with 116 seats. The party has 158 members in the NA after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued notifications of the successful candidates on the reserved seats for women and the minority community on August 11. The Khan-led party reached the current figure after nine independent candidates joined and secured 33 seats reserved for the minorities and women.

For any candidate to become the next Prime Minister of Pakistan, a simple majority of votes from the total strength of the 330-member house is required. Currently, the PTI has the support of 175 lawmakers, which also includes the backing of smaller and regional political parties of Pakistan. These parties are expected to vote for Khan, thereby paving the way for him to become the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan, the report said. Last week, the PTI party had said that Khan would take oath as the new Pakistan Prime Minister at the President House in Islamabad on August 18.


 
The PML-N and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) have 81 and 54 members respectively. However, Sharif’s bid to become the next Pakistan’s Prime Minister hit a roadblock after the PPP withdrew support saying that it would not vote for him in the elections. Also, it is to be seen whether other parties such as Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal and Awami National Party (ANP) would vote for the PML-N president. However, the Jamaat-e-Islami, which is a part of the MMA said that it would not be participating in the voting.

Meanwhile, PPP leader Khursheed Shah told media that the party had informed the PML-N of its reservations about Sharif being the prime ministerial candidate. He warned to the PML-N that if the latter did not change its premier’s candidate, the PPP would decide a future course of action. As per sources, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto and his father and former Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari said that the party would neither extend support to Khan nor to Sharif in the election.




Imran Khan, Shehbaz Sharif file nomination papers for Pakistan Prime Minister poll


Imran Khan, Shehbaz Sharif file nomination papers for Pakistan Prime Minister poll

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday filed their nomination papers for the election of Prime Minister, slated to be held in the National Assembly (NA) on August 17.

The newly-elected Speaker of the House, Asad Qaiser announced the process for the Prime Minister poll. He informed that the nomination papers could be filed till 2 pm (local time) on Thursday and the process of scrutiny would start after 3 pm (local time), Geo News reported. Last week, the PTI party announced that Khan would take oath as the new Pakistan Prime Minister at the President House in Islamabad on August 18. Qaiser, who sworn in as the new Speaker of the NA, secured 176 votes, compared to Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Khursheed Shah, who got 146 votes, the paper said.

Also Read: Is this why Imran Khan invited Sidhu, Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar to oath-taking ceremony?
Out of the 330 votes cast in the election for the NA speaker, 322 of them were accepted, while eight votes were cancelled. Qaiser was administered the oath by outgoing Speaker Ayaz Sadiq. Meanwhile, Qasim Suri was elected as the new NA deputy speaker by bagging 183 votes out of 328 votes, compared to Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s Asad Mahmood, who obtained 144 votes. The newly-elected speaker, Qaiser, administered the oath to Suri. 

Pakistan went to polls on July 25 and the PTI had emerged as the single largest party with 116 seats. The party has 158 members in the NA after the ECP issued notifications of the successful candidates on the reserved seats for women and the minority community on August 11. The Khan-led party reached the current figure after nine independent candidates joined and secured 33 seats reserved for the minorities and women.




US priests abused over 1000 kids


US priests abused over 1000 kids

Harrisburg : A priest raped a 7-year-old girl while he was visiting her in the hospital after she’d had her tonsils removed.

Another priest forced a 9-year-old boy into having oral sex, then rinsed out the boy’s mouth with holy water. One boy was forced to say confession to the priest who sexually abused him.

Those children are among the victims of roughly 300 Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania who molested more than 1,000 children — and possibly many more — since the 1940s, according to a sweeping state grand jury report released on Tuesday that accused senior church officials, including a man who is now the archbishop of Washington, DC, of systematically covering up complaints.


 
The “real number” of abused children and abusive priests might be higher since some secret church records were lost and some victims never came forward, the grand jury said.

Top officials protected, as grand jury says it is too early to close book on Catholic Church sex scandal
While the grand jury said dioceses have established internal processes and seem to refer complaints to law enforcement more promptly, it suggested that important changes are lacking.

“Despite some institutional reform, individual leaders of the church have largely escaped public accountability,” the grand jury wrote in the roughly 900-page report.

“Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all.”

Top church officials have mostly been protected and many, including some named in the report, have been promoted, the grand jury said, concluding that “it is too early to close the book on the Catholic Church sex scandal.”

In nearly every case, prosecutors found that the statute of limitations has run out, meaning that criminal charges cannot be filed. More than 100 of the priests are dead. Many others are retired or have been dismissed from the priesthood or put on leave. Authorities charged just two, including a priest who has since pleaded guilty. Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the investigation is ongoing.

The investigation of six of Pennsylvania’s eight dioceses — Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton — is the most extensive investigation of Catholic clergy abuse by any state, according to victim advocates. The dioceses represent about 1.7 million Catholics.

Until now, there have been just nine investigations by a prosecutor or grand jury of a Catholic diocese or archdiocese in the United States, according to the Massachusetts-based research and advocacy organisation, BishopAccountability.org.

The Philadelphia archdiocese and the Johnstown-Altoona diocese were not included in the investigation as they have been the subject of three previous scathing grand jury investigations.

The grand jury heard from dozens of witnesses and reviewed more than a half-million pages of internal diocesan documents, including reports by bishops to Vatican officials disclosing the details of abusive priests that they had not made public or reported to law enforcement.

The grand jury concluded that a succession of Catholic bishops and other diocesan leaders tried to shield the church from bad publicity and financial liability.

Of the 300 priests, over 100 are dead. Many others retired or were dismissed from priesthood or put on leave. Authorities charged just two, including a priest, who has since pleaded guilty.




Thai cave rescue: 3 boys from Wild Boars football team, coach get Thai citizenship


Thai cave rescue: 3 boys from Wild Boars football team, coach get Thai citizenship

Bangkok [Thailand]: Three boys from a football team, who were rescued from Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand last month, were granted Thai citizenship along with their 25-year-old coach on Wednesday.

The head coach of the Wild Boars soccer team, said, they received their official Thai ID cards along with another team member, who had also applied for citizenship but was not in the cave, reported Fox News. He said, “I am happy. If they have Thai citizenship, in the future, if they don’t want to play football they can take exams to become public officials or find good work that is related to their field of studies.” The footballers and the coach were among the 13 people who were trapped in the cave for nine days until their dramatic rescue.

Now after getting their citizenship, all four will not be deprived of basic benefits and rights, including the ability to travel outside of Chiang Rai, the Northern Province where they live. For those unversed, the footballers were found by the British divers in July, with footage showing them visibly weak and huddled on a mud mound deep inside the Tham Luang cave. The party was strolling inside the cave, following which they were trapped for nine days, before being found.




Death toll to rises to 164 as earthquake jolts Indonesia’s Lombok Island


Death toll to rises to 164 as earthquake jolts Indonesia’s Lombok Island

Mataram (Indonesia): The death toll from a devastating earthquake on the Indonesian island of Lombok has risen above 160, an official said today, as authorities urgently appealed for medicine, food and clean water for some 156,000 people displaced by the disaster.

Many frightened villagers are staying under tents or tarpaulins dotted along roads or in parched rice fields, and makeshift medical facilities have been set up to treat the injured. Evacuees in some encampments say they are running out of food, while others are suffering psychological trauma after the powerful quake, which struck just one week after another tremor surged through the island and killed 17. “The death toll rose to 164 people with at least 1,400 people seriously injured and 156,000 displaced,” national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told AFP.

Tens of thousands of homes, businesses and mosques were levelled by the quake, which struck on Sunday as evening prayers were being said across the Muslim-majority island. Local authorities, international relief groups and the central government have begun organising aid, but shattered roads have slowed efforts to reach survivors in the mountainous north of Lombok, which bore the brunt of the quake.


 
“We are still waiting for assessments from some of the more remote areas in the north of the island, but it is already clear that Sunday’s earthquake was exceptionally destructive,” Christopher Rassi, the head of a Red Cross assessment team on Lombok, said in a statement. He estimated 75 per cent of houses are damaged in some villages in east and north Lombok. “There are still some evacuees that have not yet been touched by aid, especially in North Lombok and West Lombok,” Nugroho tweeted today.




Apologise for burqa jibe: Theresa May


Apologise for burqa jibe: Theresa May

London : Theresa May has waded into the row over Boris Johnson’s claim that Muslim women in burqas resemble letter boxes and bank robbers, urging the former foreign secretary to apologise after he defied an order to do so by Tory chiefs, The London Times Reported.

The Prime Minister said she agreed with the Conservative party chairman, Brandon Lewis, that Johnson should say sorry for his remarks, which she acknowledged had caused offence among the Muslim community.

She urged people to be “very careful” about the language they used to discuss issues such as women wearing the burqa, but stopped short of saying Johnson should have the whip withdrawn for his remarks.


 
After a meeting with the Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, May told reporters: “I am very clear and the government is very clear about our position on the issue of the burqa, which is that women should be able to choose how to dress. It’s up to a woman to decide how to dress, it’s not up to other people to tell a woman how to dress. “It’s right that we have discussion about issues like this, but in doing that we all have to be very careful about the language and the terms that we use. “Some of the terms that Boris used in describing people’s appearance obviously have offended people, and so I agree with Brandon Lewis.”

The former foreign secretary is understood to view the instruction as an attempt to shut down debate on a difficult issue that should be tackled head-on. One source close to Johnson said: “It is ridiculous that these views are being attacked – we must not fall into the trap of shutting down the debate on difficult issues.

“We have to call it out. If we fail to speak up for liberal values then we are simply yielding ground to reactionaries and extremists.”

Earlier, Lewis said he had asked Johnson to apologise for his controversial remarks in an attempt to draw a line under the Islamophobia row.

Ex-foreign secy Boris Johnson had claimed that Muslim women in burqas resemble letter boxes & bank robbers




China bans ‘Winnie the Pooh’ film over comparisons to President Xi Jinping


China bans ‘Winnie the Pooh’ film over comparisons to President Xi Jinping

Beijing: So, the Chinese government is petrified of Winnie the Pooh, a cartoon caricature? It would seem so, as Chinese censors have banned the release of “Christopher Robin”, an animated film adaptation of a story about “Winnie the Pooh.” They have apparently taken offence at the character’s comparison to President Xi Jinping. In fact, ‘Winnie the Pooh’ has become a light-hearted way for people across China to mock their President, the Guardian reported on Tuesday.

It started when Xi visited the US in 2013 and an image of him and his former American counterpart Barack Obama walking together spurred comparisons to Winnie, a portly Xi, walking with Tigger, a lanky Obama. Xi was again compared to the fictional bear in 2014 during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who took on the part of the pessimistic, gloomy donkey, Eeyore. As comparisons grew, censors began erasing the images which mocked Xi.

The HBO website was blocked last month after comedian John Oliver repeatedly made fun of the Chinese President’s apparent sensitivity over comparisons to Winnie. The segment also focused on China’s dismal human rights record. Another comparison between Xi and Winnie during a military parade in 2015 became that year’s most censored image, according to Global Risk Insights. The analysis firm said the Chinese government viewed the meme as “a serious effort to undermine the dignity of the presidential office and Xi himself”. “Christopher Robin” is the second Disney film to be denied a release in China this year, after “A Wrinkle in Time” was blocked.




Trump re-imposes Iran sanctions


Trump re-imposes Iran sanctions

Washington : US President Donald Trump on Tuesday issued a strong warning to anyone trading with Iran, following his re-imposition of sanctions on the country.

“The Iran sanctions have officially been cast. These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed and in November they ratchet up to yet another level. Anyone doing business with Iran will not be doing business with the US. I am asking for world peace, nothing less,” Trump said in a tweet.

Some re-imposed sanctions took effect on Monday night and tougher ones relating to oil exports will begin in November. The sanctions followed the US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, earlier this year.


 
The deal, negotiated during the term of Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, saw Iran limit its controversial nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the measures “psychological warfare” which aimed to “sow division among Iranians”. The sanctions take aim at various sectors, with further punitive action planned against Iran’s oil trade. Rouhani said the US government had “turned their back on diplomacy” with the action. “They want to launch psychological warfare against the Iranian nation,” he said. “Negotiations with sanctions doesn’t make sense. We are always in favour of diplomacy and talks… but talks need honesty.” The Iranian President also accused the Trump administration of using Tehran as domestic political leverage ahead of November’s midterm elections in the US.

“They will exert pressure on us and cause pain, but we will certainly come out of the end of this healthier,” he said about the penalties that went back into effect at 12.01 a.m. on Tuesday.

Rouhani said that China and Russia had indicated they will not abide by US sanctions despite Trump’s threat of “severe consequences”.

Trump has called the deal “one-sided”, “disastrous” and the “worst I’ve ever seen”. He believes renewed economic pressure will force Iran to agree to a new deal and end its “malign” activities.

The other signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal, including the EU, Russia and China, were sticking with the accord. In a statement on Monday, the EU, the UK, France and Germany said they “deeply regret” the US action. The EU announced it would take legal steps to protect European companies “doing legitimate business in Iran.”

Some re-imposed sanctions took effect on Monday night and tougher ones relating to oil exports will begin in November

The renewed sanctions were among those lifted under a 2015 deal between world powers and Tehran on curbing Iran’s nuclear program

Israel PM Netanyahu lauds US Prez
Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hailed US President Donald Trump for re-imposing sanctions on Iran. “I congratulate President Trump and the US government on the important decision to re-impose sanctions on Iran,” Netanyahu said in a statement on Monday. Netanyahu, a vocal opponent of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, called the renewed sanctions “an important moment for Israel, the US, the region, and the entire world.”




Swearing-in of Imran delayed?


Swearing-in of Imran delayed?

Islamabad  : Pakistan’s election commission on Tuesday withheld the victory notifications of Imran Khan from two of the five constituencies from where he contested in the July 25 general elections, possibly jeopardising his plans to be sworn-in as the new prime minister.

In other three constituencies, notifications of Imran’s victory have been issued but will be subject to the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the pending case of violation of the election code of conduct, media reports said. The ECP has withheld victory notifications of Khan from NA-53 (Islamabad-II) and NA-131 (Lahore-IX) constituencies.

PM-elect quizzed in helicopter case


 
Peshawar: Imran Khan, who is set to become Pakistan’s new prime minister, was questioned on Tuesday by the country’s anti-graft body in connection with the misuse of helicopters of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government which allegedly caused Rs 2.17 million loss to the exchequer.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on August 3 had summoned 65-year-old Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman in the case.

The NAB wanted to question Khan as part of the preliminary probe into allegations that the cricketer-turned-politician caused Rs 2.17 million loss to the provincial exchequer by using the provincial government’s helicopter for over 72 hours.

Officially he was not allowed to use the aircraft for personal purpose.

The NAB had prepared a questionnaire with 15 queries for Khan and his lawyers. The questionnaire needs to be completed within 15 days, according to the NAB officials.

Security around the NAB’s Peshawar office was tightened as Khan appeared before the body. Khan has denied any wrongdoing and said the case was politically motivated.

Khan was earlier summoned on July 18, but he failed to appear before the panel sighting elections. His lawyer had filed an appeal requesting the accountability watchdog to fix the date for case after the general elections, “preferably on August 7”.

Khan’s Pakistan PTI has emerged as the single largest party in the elections held on July 25.




Pakistan elections 2018: Will take oath as Pakistan PM on August 11, says Imran Khan


Pakistan elections 2018: Will take oath as Pakistan PM on August 11, says Imran Khan

Peshawar: Imran Khan today said that he will take oath as Pakistan’s Prime Minister on August 11, according to a media report. The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), led by 65-year-old Khan, has emerged as the single largest party in the National Assembly (NA) after the July 25 elections, but it is still short of numbers to form the government on its own.

His party yesterday announced that it is trying to reach out to smaller parties and independents to form the next government. Will take oath as Prime Minister on 11th of next month (August), Khan was quoted as saying by Radio Pakistan. “I have also decided about chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which I will announce in the next 48 hours. Whatever I have decided in this regard is in the best interest of people,” he said while addressing PTI members of provincial assembly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Imran’s swearing-in before August 14
He said alleviation of poverty from interior Sindh will be among top priorities of his government. Earlier, PTI spokesman Naeemul Haque on Saturday told reporters that party chief Khan will take oath as the Prime Minister before August 14. He said that he hoped the president would call an assembly session and Khan would take oath as premier before Independence day. Although the PTI has emerged as the single largest party in the National Assembly after the polls, the final results issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) show that the party is still short of numbers to form its government independently.

According to the results, the PTI has bagged 116 general seats – 22 short of simple majority – whereas the PML-N and PPP have won 64 and 43 seats, respectively. The PTI is short of the 137 needed for simple majority and is trying to woo independents to join the party. To meet the required number of votes, the PTI leadership has reportedly been approaching the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), PML-Quaid (PML-Q), and the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), as well as independents. Meanwhile, two major parties – Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party – have agreed on formulation of a “coordinated joint strategy” if the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf manages to form its government at the centre.




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