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.


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.