Friday, January 17, 2014

Dunya TV

Dunya TV


Mumbai: Stampede ahead of funeral of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin kills 18, injures 60

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MUMBAI (Web Desk) - At least 18 people were killed and 60 others were injured in a stampede that broke out early Saturday near the Malabar Hill residence of Dawoodi Bohra spiritual leader Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, who passed away on Friday morning.The incident occurred around 1:30 am as thousands of community mourners converged near Saifee Mahal, where the Syedna's body was kept for people to pay their last respects.He is to be buried beside his father at Raudat Tahera Mausoleum in Bhendi Bazar, south Mumbai.The spiritual head of the Dawoodi Bohra community died following cardiac arrest here on Friday, an official said. He was 102.He is succeeded by his second son, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin.Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin had proclaimed Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin as his successor at a Nass (investiture) in London in 2011.The new Syedna, who was on a visit to Sri Lanka, is expected to reach Mumbai and finalise the funeral and other arrangements.Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin had succeeded his father, the late Syedna Taher Saifuddin in 1965 and led the community for nearly five decades.

Cyberattack traced to hacked refrigerators: researchers

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WASHINGTON (AFP) - Call it the attack of the zombie refrigerators.Computer security researchers said this week they discovered a large botnet which infected Internet-connected home appliances and then delivered more than 750,000 malicious emails.The California security firm Proofpoint, Inc., which announced its findings, said this may be the first proven Internet of Things based cyberattack involving smart appliances.Proofpoint said hackers managed to penetrate home-networking routers, connected multi-media centers, televisions and at least one refrigerator to create a botnet -- or platform to deliver malicious spam or phishing emails from a device, usually without the owners knowledge.Security experts previously spoke of such attacks as theoretical.But Proofpoint said the case has significant security implications for device owners and enterprise targets because of massive growth expected in the use of smart and connected devices, from clothing to appliances.Proofpoints findings reveal that cyber criminals have begun to commandeer home routers, smart appliances and other components of the Internet of Things and transform them into thingbots, to carry out the same kinds of attacks normally associated with personal computers.The security firm said these appliances may become attractive targets for hackers because they often have less security than PCs or tablets.Proofpoint said it documented the incidents between December 23 and January 6, which featured waves of malicious email, typically sent in bursts of 100,000, three times per day, targeting enterprises and individuals worldwide.More than 25 percent of the volume was sent by things that were not conventional laptops, desktop computers or mobile devices. No more than 10 emails were initiated from any single device, making the attack difficult to block based on location.Botnets are already a major security concern and the emergence of thingbots may make the situation much worse, said David Knight at Proofpoint.Many of these devices are poorly protected at best and consumers have virtually no way to detect or fix infections when they do occur. Enterprises may find distributed attacks increasing as more and more of these devices come online and attackers find additional ways to exploit them.

Intel to cut staff as it shifts from PCs to powering mobile gadgets

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SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - US chip giant Intel said Friday it will trim its workforce by five percent this year as it shifts from personal computers to powering mobile gadgets.Word of the job cuts came a day after Intel reported that its net profit last year sank 13 percent but that the troubled personal computer market appeared to be stabilizing.We do expect employment to come down by about five percent by the end of the year, Intel spokesman Chris Kraeuter told AFP.It is something we regularly do to make sure that the people we have match up with our priorities.Kraeuter said that California-based Intel ended last year with 107,600 workers. He declined to disclose which positions or locations would be targeted for cuts.Intel reported on Thursday that it made a net profit of $9.6 billion on revenue of $52.7 billion last year as compared with $11 billion in net profit on $53.3 billion in revenue in 2012.We had a solid fourth quarter with signs of stabilization in the PC segment and financial growth from a year ago, said Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich.In the final quarter of the year, Intel posted profit of $2.6 billion on revenue of $13.8 billion as compared with $2.5 billion net income on $13.5 billion in revenue during the same period in 2012.Weve built a strong foundation for our business by bringing innovation to the market more quickly across a wide range of computing platforms, said Krzanich.For example, at CES, we demonstrated multiple devices that werent on our roadmap six months ago.At the Consumer Electronics Show gadget extravaganza in Las Vegas last week, Intel unveiled a major new push into wearables and connecting everyday devices as it seeks to leapfrog the competition in mobile computing.Krzanich said at CES that Intel would produce on its own or with partners a range of products from a health monitor integrated into baby clothes to heart monitor in earbuds.He showed the companys new personal assistant dubbed Jarvis, which is Intels answer to the voice-activated Google Now and Apples Siri.Intel will be producing a smartwatch with geofencing which allows families to get alerts if children or elderly parents leave a specific geographic area.The new devices shown to the large CES crowd will all be available this year, Krzanich said, without offering details on pricing or specific partners for the products.But some analysts said Intels profitability may be hurt by the move.The problem with mobile and wearables is the more you win, the more you lose, said Rob Enderle of Enderle Group in Silicon Valley.Intel is a large margin company, and wearables are a small margin product.The analyst was referring to the window for profit being typically higher on chips for personal computers than on processors powering smartphones, tablets or products in the booming wearables category.Intel remains the worlds biggest producer of chips for personal computers but has been lagging in the surging mobile marketplace of tablets and smartphones. The new initiative could allow the firm to get a bigger slice of the mobile markets newest iterations.Intel forecast revenue in the current quarter of about $12.8 billion and that it would be flat for the overall year.Market sales figures indicate that the trend of switching from personal computers to tablets is slowing, according to Enderle.It is starting to drift toward equilibrium, the analyst said. It will stabilize eventually and Intel will grow around it. It is just that until it gets there it will be painful.Any heralding the death of the personal computer is premature, according to Enderle, who envisioned modern lifestyles supporting a mix of PCs, tablets, and smartphones.The great thing about Google Glass is that it could replace all three, the analyst said of the Internet giants yet-to-be released smart eyewear. But, we are well away from that; not until next decade.

Football: Lille title blow with second successive defeat

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PARIS (AFP) - Lille suffered a second successive defeat and squandered vital ground in the French title race when St Etienne grabbed a 2-0 Ligue 1 victory on Friday.The result left Lille, who ended the game with 10 men after a red card for midfielder Florent Balmont, in third place in the table, seven points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain and having played a game more.St Etienne remain fourth, three points behind Lille, thanks to a timely win which followed a midweek French Cup exit at the hands of fourth division Cannes.Lille had lost 2-1 to Reims last weekend and fell behind after 55 minutes on Friday when Brazilian striker Brandao headed in at the far post from a cross by Algerian defender Faouzi Ghoulam.Six minutes later it was 2-0 with Franck Tabanou slotting the ball home after Lille keeper Vincent Enyeama had saved from Romain Hamouma.Lille then had to play the final 30 minutes of the match with 10 men after Balmont was red-carded for aiming a volley of abuse at the referee, who he believed should have ruled out the goal.Its a match lost. We played well for an hour but then we went off the boil after conceding the first goal, said Lille coach Rene Girard.St Etienne coach Christophe Galtier admitted victory was a relief after the Cup exit. It was a welcome result because things in midweek were not looking good, said Galtier.We could have dropped our heads. I waited impatiently to see how we would react and the players reacted really well.On Sunday, leaders PSG welcome Nantes to the capital where a win could give them an eight-point lead over Monaco should the second-placed side lose at Toulouse.

Obama clips NSA's wing but bulk collection to continue

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WASHINGTON (AFP) - President Barack Obama curtailed the reach of massive US National Security Agency phone surveillance sweeps Friday, but said bulk data collection must go on to protect America from terrorists.In a long-awaited speech designed to quell a furor over the programs exposed by Edward Snowden, Obama also said he had halted spy taps on friendly world leaders and proposed new shields for foreigners caught in US data sweeps.Given the unique power of the state, it is not enough for leaders to say: trust us, we wont abuse the data we collect, Obama said at the US Justice Department.Obamas proposals represented a search for common ground between the intelligence communitys resistance to reform and civil liberties advocates who view phone and Internet data trawling as a mass invasion of privacy.They emerged from a prolonged period of reflection by the president and a comprehensive review of the national security apparatus that sprung up hurriedly after the September 11 attacks in 2001.But after charting new guidelines, the president left many of the details of proposed reforms either with Congress, top officials or the NSA itself.The power of new technologies means that there are fewer and fewer technical constraints on what we can do, Obama said.That places a special obligation on us to ask tough questions about what we should do.It is doubtful however that the reassessment would have happened were it not for explosive disclosures by Snowden in one of the greatest security breaches in US history.In the most significant reform, the president committed to ending the NSAs hoarding of telephone metadata detailing the duration and destination of hundreds of millions of calls but not their content.He did not believe that abuses had occurred or that US spies had been cavalier about civil liberties.But he called for a new approach.I am therefore ordering a transition that will end the Section 215 bulk metadata program as it currently exists, and establish a mechanism that preserves the capabilities we need without the government holding this bulk meta-data.Obama called on Attorney General Eric Holder and the NSA to come up suggestions for an alternative way to hold the material within 60 days.Possible alternatives include keeping records with reluctant telecommunications firms, which are currently compelled to turn it over to the NSA, or to deposit it with a third party.Obama also said that from now on, NSA agents would need the endorsement of a special intelligence court before accessing data on a specific target.He offered one caveat however: that order would not apply in the case of a genuine national security emergency.The NSA will also now only be permitted to access call data from people at two removes from a suspect in an investigation. Previously it could probe three hops.Obama also said that he had already ordered a halt to dozens of phone tap operations targeting friendly foreign leaders.I have made clear to the intelligence community that -- unless there is a compelling national security purpose -- we will not monitor the communications of heads of state and government of our close friends and allies, he said.The move followed an outcry over claims by fugitive contractor Snowden, now exiled in Russia, that US spies snooped on the phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders.But he also took a swipe at the chorus of complaints about US espionage from some allies. We will not apologize simply because our services may be more effective, he said, and noted that rivals like Russia and China would not undertake such an open debate.Obama is also taking the unprecedented step of extending personal protections enjoyed by Americans to foreigners caught in US phone and Internet data sweeps.EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding welcomed the moves.Obama, who wants Snowden to return home to face trial, only mentioned the US nemesis in passing, saying the damage he had wrought may not be known for years.The reforms got a guarded welcome from privacy advocates, questions about how they would work -- and some disappointment they did not go further.President Obamas announced solution to the NSA spying controversy is the same unconstitutional program with a new configuration, said Republican Senator Rand Paul, a prominent libertarian critic of government surveillance overreach.Steven Hawkins, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA said that privacy still remained under threat.President Obamas recognition of the need to safeguard the privacy of people around the world is significant, but insufficient to end serious global concern over mass surveillance, which by its very nature constitutes abuse, he argued.Battle lines were already being drawn in Congress.The presidents blueprint was bold and courageous, but it was only a first step, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal said. I think he is really in essence passing the torch of reform, providing a broad blueprint which is very robust, but leaving a lot of the details to Congress.

Three UN staff killed in Kabul attack: Ban Ki-moon

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UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - UN leader Ban Ki-moon on Friday strongly condemned a suicide gun and bomb attack on a Kabul restaurant in which three UN staff were among at least 14 fatalities.A UN statement said other dead from the attack claimed by the Taliban were from international organizations.Such targeted attacks against civilians are completely unacceptable and are in flagrant breach of international humanitarian law, Ban was quoted as saying by a spokesman.Ban condemned the attack in the strongest terms, said deputy UN spokesman Farhan Haq.Three United Nations personnel, along with a number of those from other international organizations, are now confirmed dead, added Haq.The International Monetary Fund has already said its representative in Afghanistan was killed in the attack on a restaurant used by foreigners.The United Nations is to take on a leading role in Afghanistan as international troops complete their withdrawal in 2014 and the country builds up to national elections.It has already tightened security at its bases, and the attack will lead to a new review of staff safety, UN officials said.

California declares drought emergency

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LOS ANGELES (AFP) - California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Friday due to what could be the western US states worst drought in a century, which has sparked wildfires and hurt farmers.The declaration allows authorities to access federal help to battle the dry spell that has left huge swaths of tinder-dry forest vulnerable to going up in flames.On Thursday, a massive blaze raged just outside Los Angeles, damaging several homes and forcing residents to evacuate the area, where the fire risk had been elevated for weeks.Brown urged state residents to reduce their water use by at least 20 percent. Ive declared this emergency and Im calling on all Californians to conserve water in every way possible, he said in a statement.We cant make it rain, he added.But we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that Californias drought now threatens, including dramatically less water for our farms and communities, and increased fires in both urban and rural areas.Brown told reporters in San Francisco that the current conditions were possibly the worst drought that California has ever seen since records (began) about 100 years ago, media reports said.The region is suffering its third dry winter in a row, highlighted by the Los Angeles inferno.California and other western US states are routinely hit with wildfires during the summer, but winter blazes, like the ones burning currently, are relatively rare.Californias rivers and reservoirs have reached record lows, with only 20 percent of the normal average supplies of water from melting snowpack, which flows down from mountains like the Sierra Nevada.Water years 2012 and 2013 were dry statewide, especially in parts of the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California, said the states Department of Water Resources (DWR) in its latest drought update.Water year 2014, which began on October 1st, continues this trend. Precipitation in some areas of the state is tracking at about the driest year of record.Farmer Mark Fontanilla was among dozens of people who staged a protest outside the state capitol in Sacramento on Thursday, urging Brown to do more.You can turn off your taps and minimize your pool and all that, but until we build more dams and increase the water storage, and get these clowns out of office, were gonna be importing our food from China, he told KCRA television.On average, half of Californias rain falls in December, January and February, the DWR noted, lamenting the lack of precipitation but saying it had not yet given up hope of some this winter.It is still too early, however, to call this water year, and Mother Nature may surprise us, it said.

IMF representative among 14 killed in Kabul restaurant attack

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KABUL (AFP) - Taliban suicide attackers killed at least 14 people, including the IMF representative in Afghanistan, in a gun and bomb attack Friday on a Kabul restaurant popular with foreigners.One attacker blew himself up outside the Taverna du Liban in the upmarket Wazir Akbar Khan neighbourhood and two gunmen stormed inside, mowing down staff and diners.International Monetary Fund representative Wabel Abdallah, 60, was among the dead. The Lebanese national was one of the most senior foreign officials to have been killed in Afghanistan.This is tragic news, and we at the fund are all devastated, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in a statement. The assault was quickly claimed by Taliban militants fighting against the Afghan government and US-led foreign forces in the country.Deputy interior minister Mohammad Ayoub Salangi told AFP that two of the attackers forced their way into the heavily guarded restaurant after an initial explosion at about 7:30 pm.At least 14 people have been killed. One suicide attacker detonated himself outside the restaurant and two others got inside indiscriminately killing people, Salangi said.Police and government officials said most of the victims were foreigners, but their nationalities were not confirmed. All three attackers died in the assault.The Foreign Office in London confirmed that a Briton was among the fatalities and the UN said four United Nations employees were feared dead in the attack.Staff and relatives told AFP that the restaurant owner was also killed trying the fend off the attackers. The long-established Taverna has been a regular dining spot for foreign diplomats, consultants, aid workers and Afghans, and is likely to have been busy with customers on Friday, the weekly holiday in Afghanistan.Like many restaurants in Kabul, it ran strict security checks with diners patted down by armed guards and passing through at least two steel doors before gaining entry.Smoke filled the kitchenI was sitting with my friends in the kitchen when an explosion happened and smoke filled the kitchen, kebab cook Abdul Majid told AFP while being treated for leg fractures at a nearby hospital.A man came inside shouting and he started shooting. One of my colleagues was shot and fell down. I ran to the roof and threw myself to the neighbouring property.Elite security commandos rushed to seal off the small streets around the restaurant as sporadic gunfire erupted for a short time after the blast.The venue has an enclosed outside seating area which is heated in the harsh Afghan winter, and customers often share a tobacco shisha pipe after their meal.The Talibans main spokesman claimed the restaurant had been deliberately targetted.As a result of a martyrdom attack on a foreign restaurant in the Wazir Akbar Khan area of Kabul, a large number of foreign occupiers, most of them Germans, have suffered casualties, spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in emailed statement.The Taliban often make incorrect claims about death tolls and the nationalities of those affected. The German embassy was not immediately available to comment.The United States and British embassies are among those situated in Wazir Akbar Khan, though neither was directly affected by the attack.We condemn, of course, the despicable act of terrorism in the strongest possible terms, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in Washington.The Afghan capital has often been hit by suicide and other bomb attacks, with the most recent incident last Sunday when a Taliban suicide bomber riding a bicycle detonated explosives next to a police bus, killing a policeman and a civilian.Afghanistans intelligence agency has said it foiled several plots in the capital involving truck bombs and suicide gunmen over the past year.A series of attacks in 2013 targeted foreign compounds, the Supreme Court, the airport and the presidential palace in Kabul. Foreign guesthouses, luxury hotels and vehicle convoys have also been hit in the past.NATO forces are withdrawing from Afghanistan after more than a decade of fighting the Taliban, but negotiations have stalled on a security accord that would allow some US and NATO troops to stay after 2014.The bilateral security agreement would see several thousand US troops remain in Afghanistan to provide training and assistance in the battle against the Taliban.Afghanistans fledgling security forces face a difficult year in 2014 as insurgents attempt to disrupt elections on April 5 that will choose a successor to President Hamid Karzai, and as NATOs combat mission winds down by December.

Syria opposition talks pushed back to Saturday

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ISTANBUL (AFP) - Syrias fractured opposition pushed back the opening of talks in Istanbul to Saturday amid continuing differences over whether to attend peace talks with the government next week, sources said.The talks of the opposition National Coalition had originally been due to get underway on Friday but were postponed due to problems posed by some 40 delegates, Coalition spokesman Khaled Saleh said.These delegates had threatened to resign at the last meeting of the Coalition 10 days earlier, concerned at the lack of transparency in the re-election this month of Ahmad Jarba, seen as close to key rebel backer Saudi Arabia, as National Coalition leader.After intense negotiations Friday half of the unhappy delegates decided to participate in the opposition talks, which are now set to begin formally on Saturday morning in a hotel in an Istanbul suburb, a western diplomatic source said.The much-delayed Geneva II conference is aimed at finding a way out of almost three years of brutal conflict in Syria that has claimed the lives of 130,000 people and forced millions from their homes.The Coalition is under intense pressure from Western and Arab allies to turn up to the talks in Switzerland next week, with media reports suggesting the United States and Britain have threatened to withdraw support if it fails to send a delegation.More than 35 countries will gather in the Swiss cities of Montreux and Geneva from Wednesday for the talks on setting up a transitional government to lead the country, in line with a 2012 deal.But recent government advances have put the rebels at a disadvantage in any negotiations.Opposition forces are increasingly riven by rivalries between Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists and more mainstream Islamists, with fierce battles that monitors say have killed more than 1,000 people in two weeks alone.At key preparatory talks with Russia in Moscow on Friday, the Syrian regime said it was ready to swap prisoners with the rebels in the first such mass exchange since the conflict began.Meanwhile Turkey and Qatar held parallel talks in Ankara with four Syrian rebel groups involved in the fighting, including the Islamic Front, the countrys biggest rebel alliance, seeking to convince them not to oppose, or even to participate in, the Geneva II talks, the western diplomatic source told AFP.Those talks were expected to continue in the Turkish capital on Saturday.At the Istanbul talks the Coalition reiterated the stance of the moderate opposition to the Geneva II talks. The Coalition want to participate in a political solution to the Syrian conflict, said Saleh.The objective is to put in place a transition government in which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will play no part, he added.

In love with Pakistani national, Indian woman reaches Pakistan

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LAHORE (Dunya News) – An Indian national identified as Nagita, who arrived at Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore using forged passport from Sharjah to be with the man she fell in love with, was deported back on Friday.Reportedly, the woman fell in love with a Multan resident Zafar Iqbal after meeting and interacting on the internet. Following a period of dating online, the couple decided to take things to next level and get married. Everything, however, did not go in their favor as Nagita was reportedly a subject of forced arranged marriage in India by her parents. Taking things in her own hands, she bought a forged travel document from a Sharjah based agent whose reported name is Qasim and came to Pakistan. The authorities at Lahore airport successfully tracked down the forged passport and deported her back to Sharjah.Reportedly, Nagita had converted to Islam and adopted an Islamic name Nimra as she decided to travel to Pakistan to get married to Zafar.It is pertinent to mention here that citizens of India and Pakistan have to go through a tough scrutiny and pile of paperwork even for the visit visa. The inconvenience often causes people of both countries to take extreme measures just to meet each other.

Formula One: Michael Schumacher in 'stable' condition: spokesman

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GRENOBLE (AFP) - Formula One legend Michael Schumacher remains in a stable condition after his December 29 skiing accident, his spokeswoman said Friday, after a wave of speculative reports that he may never recover.Michaels condition is still considered as stable, Sabine Kehm said of Schumacher, who has been in a medically-induced coma since the life-threatening off-piste fall in the French Alps.Unfortunately I have to repeat that any information regarding Michaels health not coming from the doctors treating him or from his management must be treated as pure speculation, she said.I also repeat that Michaels family is very happy and confident with the work of the team of doctors treating Michael, and they trust them completely.Investigators probing the crash have ruled out faulty skis, inadequate signage and excessive speed as reasons for the accident, where he slammed his head against a rock.

Pak-Indian military officials discuss LoC situation

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RAWALPINDI (Web Desk) - Brigadier level Military officials of Pakistan and Indian Army met Friday at Rawlakot-Poonch crossing point at the Line of Control (LOC) to discuss ways to further strengthen ceasefire along the LOC.According to an ISPR spokesman here, the meeting was held as part of decision taken by both sides during last Director General Military Operations (DGMOs) meeting held at Wagha on December 24, last year.Various aspects of the ceasefire were reviewed in detail by the army officers of India and Pakistan during the meeting.Indo-Pak military delegates agreed upon following all those rules and regulation, for ceasefire on the LoC, which had been finalized during half yearly flag meeting of the DGMOs of both sides, added the ISPR.

SBP announces monetary policy, keeps discount rate unchanged

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KARACHI (Dunya News) –SBP announced the monetary policy on Friday and decided not to change key discount rate.SBP Governor Yaseen Anwar announced the monetary policy in a press conference here on Friday afternoon.According to the policy statement, the SBP increased the policy rate by 50 basis points (bps) each in September and November 2013 mainly on account of two concerns. One was the continued deterioration in the balance of payments position while the other was worsening of inflation outlook.The fundamental weakness in the balance of payments position is persistent contraction in net financial flows since fiscal year 2008. Substantial repayments of IMF loans during the last two and a half years have only increased the pressure.There is no room for complacency and considerable effort is required to bring a sustainable improvement in the outlook of external accounts.The CPI inflation has increased during first half of FY 14. The important point is that the risk of demand-driven inflation is still rather moderate. The international commodity prices have also either remained stable or declined since the beginning of FY14. This has neutralized to some extent the direct impact of exchange rate volatility on CPI inflation.Taking into account these factors, SBP has accordingly revised its inflation projection downward. The statement said the SBP linked the minimum rate of return on average balances held in saving deposits with the floor of the interest rate corridor.This policy intervention ensures that deposit rates respond more strongly to policy rate changes. The statement said the quarterly flow of fiscal borrowings from the SBP has remained positive in both quarters of H1-FY14. This does not bode well for the effectiveness of monetary policy.The SBP expects that the government will keep these borrowings in check in H2-FY14 and lower outstanding stock gradually as stipulated in the new International Monetary Fund (IMF) program.According to the statement, a risk to the fiscal position is a possible shortfall in tax revenues, recurrence of energy sector circular debt, and delays in budgeted foreign inflows. Such deviations could lead to increase in borrowings from the banking system, further accumulation of domestic debt and higher-inflation.Although there are some risks to the balance of payments position due to uncertainty surrounding expected foreign inflows, expected increase in inflation is slightly lower than anticipated earlier. In view of the above, the Board of Directors of SBP has decided to keep the policy rate unchanged at 10 percent, State Bank’s policy statement said.To a question, the Governor said the Central Bank enjoyed independence and free-hand so far its Monetary Policy is concerned.To another query, he said the Currency Swap Agreement/Line with China has proved very helpful to Pakistan. Originally, it is for three years.Such an agreement with Turkey is pipeline and this would be good for both the countries, he added.

Sri Lanka mass grave count hits 36

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COLOMBO (AFP) - Forensic experts have discovered more bodies in an unmarked mass grave in Sri Lankas former war zone, raising the total to 36, an official said Friday.A team led by judicial medical officer Dhananjaya Waidyaratne found four more skeletons Thursday in the first mass grave uncovered since troops defeated Tamil rebels nearly five years ago.The bodies have been buried in several layers, Waidyaratne told the BBCs Sinhala Service at the northern district of Mannar, where the grave was found.A local magistrate ordered further digging after road construction workers stumbled on a skeleton while laying a water pipeline on December 21. Ten skeletons were found initially.It is difficult to place a time of death or a cause of death without further scientific tests, he said, adding 36 skeletons had been found in the mass grave.Women and children were among those buried, he added.Police have not yet been able to identify the remains.But the Roman Catholic Bishop of Mannar, Rayappu Joseph, said the victims could be members of the minority ethnic Tamil community in the area, 312 kilometres (195 miles) north of the capital Colombo.Mannar has a large concentration of Tamils, and was the scene of many battles between troops and Tamil rebels during the islands 37-year-old separatist war, which ended in May 2009.The general feeling among the people in the area is that these (victims) are Tamils, the bishop told AFP by telephone. I am asking for an independent investigation to establish how these people died and when.Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said a judicial inquiry was underway into the mass grave.It is the first time that evidence of a mass grave has emerged in the former war zone since troops declared victory over separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas in 2009.Both government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels have been accused of killing civilians during the 37-year separatist war.Sri Lanka has denied allegations that its troops killed up to 40,000 civilians in the final months of fighting.Earlier last year, construction workers stumbled on another mass grave in central Sri Lanka, hundreds of kilometres (miles) from the conflict zone.At least 154 people had been buried in that grave at the central district of Matale, a hotbed of an anti-government uprising between 1987 and 1990.Local forensic experts said it dated back to a period when the then-government led a crackdown on leftist Sinhalese rebels. Sri Lanka has sent the skeletal remains for further tests in China.That insurgency was unrelated to the separatist campaign in the north and east by Tamil rebels.

Greece's central bank chief receives bullets in mail: police

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ATHENS (AFP) - Greeces central bank governor George Provopoulos on Friday received a threatening note accompanied by a pair of bullets, police said.According to Mega television, one of whose senior journalists also received a similar threat, the note was sent by an unknown group calling itself Popular Avengers.The letter to Provopoulos, containing two 7.65-millimetre bullets, arrived with the rest of his morning mail, a police source said.Greeces anti-terrorist squad has opened an investigation into both cases.Provopoulos is currently facing criticism for allegedly lax oversight of Hellenic Postbank, the former state lender whose leadership is under investigation for issuing unsecured loans prior to its privatisation last year.Some two dozen people have been charged and several arrested in a probe into losses by the bank of over 400 million euros ($544 million).According to investigation files published in the press, many of the beneficiaries -- including prominent businessmen -- used the loans for personal enrichment.Among those being investigated is the head of the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund -- tasked with maintaining the stability of the Greek banking system -- Anastasia Sakellariou, who was formerly part of a Hellenic Postbank commercial loans committee.The Bank of Greece governor insists he took all steps within his power to curb Hellenic Postbanks loan spree, blocking issuances on two occasions and eventually alerting a state watchdog in 2012.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Dunya TV

Dunya TV


National security policy is almost complete: Ch Nisar

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ISLAMABAD: (Dunya News) – Addressing civil and military officials at National Defense University, Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has said that the preparation of national security policy is in final stages and that this policy will help control extremism and militancy. He further said that the government has re-initiated the dialogue with militants adding that the power will be used only as a last resort.Briefing about the upcoming national security policy, the minister said that the policy will have 3 parts; namely Intelligence, Strategic and Operational steps.Ch Nisar also said that halting the dialogue with militants due to drone attacks is regrettable. The process has been restarted; the government wants long-term solution to the problem and that the use of power will be the last option.Political leaderships including opposition had demanded the government to come up with a comprehensive national security policy detailing the solutions to the problem faced by the country for years.After coming in to power, PML N led government had called All Parties Conference (APC) session where it was unanimously decided to give negotiations a chance and keep the military solution as the last resort. The government had claimed to begin the process but all kinds of talks with the militants came to a halt following a US drone attack that killed the then Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud. The government has been seeking to restart the whole process again ever since.

Tablighi centers on the target: Blast in Peshawar kills 8, bomb in Nowshera defused

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PESHAWAR/NOWSHERA: (Dunya News) – An explosion at the Tablighi center in Peshawar has killed at least eight people including 2 children while injuring 60 others. Hours later, a bag filled will explosives was found outside the center. In another incident, a similar explosive device was discovered in Nowshera also at the Tablighi center and was timely defused by the bomb disposal squad.The Peshawar blast occurred in the prayer areas upstairs near one of the pillars of the building during Maghrib prayers. Preliminary observations by the police reveal that the explosion was a result of an explosive device planted in a ghee container made of tin. The device found in Nowshera was also planted in a similar manner.According to Dunya News reports, Taliban have denied responsibility of the attack, forcing authorities to look out of the box including sectarian angle for the investigation. Federal Interior Minister has also sought the report of the incident.Around 800 people had gathered for the evening prayers at the center in Peshawar. The explosion killed at least eight worshippers and seriously injured over sixty. The rescue operatives rushed to the site of explosion; taking the injured to the Lady Reading hospital and declaring emergency on other major hospitals as well.Provincial Information Minister Shah Farman said strict action will be taken if there was a security lapse, maintaining that investigation was underway. Answering the question about possibility of negotiating with Taliban, the minister said the whole nation was onboard.Condemnations and condolence messages started pouring in soon after the blast. PM Nawaz, interior minister and political leaders condemned the Peshawar blast. Tablighi Jamaat is widely considered as non-violent movement that maintains its distance with political affairs. Terrorist attacks have previously targeted the civilians on both political and sectarian basis. The nature of this attack is considered unusual as per the reports.Meanwhile, banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has reportedly denied its involvement in the blast. Police says the conclusive remarks can only be given once the investigation is complete. Since a replica of the explosives was found in Nowshera also at the Tablighi center, investigating bodies will also consider other angles including sectarian one.

School uses drone surveillance to curb cheating in exam

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Belgium: (Dunya News) – A Belgian school has found an unusual way of preventing cheating during exams. As per reports, the school uses surveillance drones to constantly keep an eye on the students in the examination hall and monitoring is done live through the feeds collected by this small sized drone. The drone used is the size of a bird and is equipped with surveillance cameras efficient enough to clearly record the movement in the examination room. The practicality of using such a system is still questionable as the cost of using such a drone is unclear and reportedly, such a drone has a flying time of 15 minutes which is shorter than the span of any normal exam.What’s become of this experiment is unclear; however the civilian interest in using drone technology is considerably on the rise. Only a few weeks ago, global ecommerce giant Amazon announced its experiment of delivering products to its customer through a drone instead of regular mail delivery. Currently, drones are heavily used for military purposes, noteworthy of which are the fighter drones equipped with missiles dubbed as ‘hellfire’, and surveillance drones used by intelligence agencies. Military drones can tactfully bypass radar tracking, making their presence hard to track.

Russian ex-mayor spared jail for journalist murder

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MOSCOW, (AFP) - A Russian court on Thursday found a former deputy mayor guilty of stabbing to death a journalist who had criticised his activities, but ruled he should not go to prison, prompting harsh criticism from a senior rights official.The former deputy mayor of the city of Tulun in the Irkutsk region of Siberia, Gennady Zhigarev, stabbed the 74-year-old journalist Alexander Khodzinsky while in a state of emotional disturbance, the city court ruled, citing a psychiatric report.The murderer was given a sentence of 1 year and 10 months of limitation of freedom, the Irkutsk Regional Investigative Committee said in a statement.This means he is allowed to go home, while having to observe certain restrictions on his movements.According to Russian law, someone who is convicted of murder would normally serve a minimum prison sentence of six years.The Irkutsk regions rights ombudsman, Valery Lukin said on Thursday that he was disappointed by the court verdict and the sentence.It is out of the question to call it just. The punishment for the murderer does not match the severity of the crime, Lukin said in a statement.The court ruled that the crime was committed due to personal hostile relations between the men.But Lukin said that he was convinced the crime was linked to Khodzinkys carrying out his professional duty.The murderer...and people close to him numerous times were the heroes of exposes published by Khodzinsky, Lukin said.The murderer became a prominent local businessman after leaving his official post.Khodzinsky worked as a freelancer for a local newspaper called Kompas-TV.This sentence, like other similar court decisions, undermines belief in fairness. It lowers the level of trust not only in the courts but also in the countrys authorities as a whole, Lukin said.Officials and their relations often receive extremely light sentences in Russian courts for serious crimes, often because they pay relatives of victims large sums of compensation.The Committee to Protect Journalists said Russia was the ninth deadliest country for journalists last year.

'Global movement' to surface to campaign for Aafia Siddiqui's release

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LAHORE: (Dunya News) – Addressing a press conference Dr Fouzia Siddiqui, sister of Dr Aafia Siddiqui has announced to launch a mass movement to campaign for the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui in March. Dr Fouzia says the government is shallow-comforting them on the matter and that they are not satisfied of the development. Addressing a different gathering at Punjab University, Governor Punjab Chaudhry Sarwar said that the government is in talks with the US authorities over the matter and that steps are being taken for the release.Dr Aafia Siddiqui is currently serving a sentence of 86 years in prison in the US after being convicted of attempted murder and assault in 2010.Lashing out at the government, Dr Fouzia Siddiqui said the government officials are ‘biggest fools’ if they think their hands are tied. No steps are being taken by the government and our embassy in the US, she claimed. “We’re trying to reach them on daily basis but we don’t receive any response,” she added.Dr Fouzia further said that the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz are only issuing political statements and not doing anything practically for the cause. “This is why we’re initiating this movement and it will surface in March,” she added.Governor Punjab, Chaudhry Sarwar was addressing a 141st birthday celebration of Maulana Zafar Ali Khan at Punjab University and during this address, he said that Maulana Zafar, who is revered as the father of journalism in the subcontinent, has bestowed a graceful status to the journalism of truth and his efforts cannot be forgotten. Talking about the matter of Aafia Siddiqui, the governor said that super power’s fear of a weak woman like Aafia is beyond comprehension. He went on to say that every human being should be granted basic human rights; and US, despite claiming to be a human rights champion defies them.Dr Aafia Siddiqui was named as an aid to Al-Qaeeda which placed her in the list of ‘wanted for questioning’ by American intelligence agency Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Consequently Dr Aafia was allegedly arrested in Afghanistan and notes of bomb-making and dangerous substance were allegedly found in her custody. She was subsequently indicted in New York federal district court but on different charges i.e. attempted murder and assault, both of which were denied by her.Following a highly controversial trial, Siddiqui was pronounced ‘guilty’ and sentenced to 86 years in prison, a verdict that Pakistan has refused to recognize as the Pakistani government has been maintaining innocence of the Pakistani citizen.The trial grabbed attention from Muslims worldwide who saw it as an attack on Islam and came out to protest and show support. Massive campaigning and lobbying was done in Pakistan as well. Pakistani government has already spent a substantial amount in her defense in the US, which, Dr Fouzia says is not enough.Dr Aafia Siddiqui is a Pakistani citizen who studied in the US and obtained a doctorate as well as a degree in neuroscience, also from the US.

EU ready to resume business with Iran on Jan 20: sources

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BRUSSELS,(AFP) - The European Union will begin lifting sanctions against Iran on Monday, January 20, the minute it receives word that Tehran has begun implementing a deal to curb its nuclear programme.EU foreign ministers will announce the move in Brussels as soon as inspectors from the UNs nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, confirm that Iran has started work on a set of measures to reassure the international community over its nuclear drive, EU sources said Thursday.The IAEA greenlight is expected in the morning and a decision and regulation (on lifting the sanctions) will be published the same day.Under a hard-won deal agreed between Iran and world powers in November, Tehran over the next six months will halt enrichment of uranium over five percent and dilute half of its stockpile of 20-percent enriched uranium in exchange for sanctions relief.The agreement will see the United States unfreeze billions in Iranian assets while the EU notably suspends a 2012 ban on insuring and transporting Iranian crude oil that caused a more than 50 percent drop in Tehrans oil exports.European insurers up until then had accounted for 90 percent of coverage for deliveries of Iranian oil anywhere in the world.The EU also will suspend bans on trade in gold, precious metals and petrochemical products while increasing a ceiling on financial transfers not related to remaining sanctions.Like the United States, the EU has promised to impose no new sanctions in the next six months, seen as the first stage in efforts to find a lasting solution over fears that Iran is developing a nuclear bomb.An EU source therefore stressed that any new contracts struck with Iranian firms should not go beyond the six-month period. Contracts should be executed during this period, added the source, who asked not to be identified.We want this to work, the source said.If all goes to plan, EU firms from Monday will be able to insure or transport Iranian crude oil to its six customers, China, India, Japan, Korea, Turkey and Taiwan.But the powers that negotiated the deal -- the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany -- have maintained many of the sanctions that have hobbled the Iranian economy.

Tennis: Murray beats Millot to reach third round of Australian open

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MELBOURNE (AFP) - British fourth seed Andy Murray strung together a winning sequence of 23 consecutive points to beat French qualifier Vincent Millot in straight sets and reach the Australian Open third round Thursday.Murray, a three-time beaten finalist in Melbourne, downed Millot 6-2, 6-2, 7-5 in just over two hours on Rod Laver Arena.Murray was down two breaks in the final set against the 267th-ranked Millot, but reeled off the last 23 points in a row to get a double-break and serve out for the match.I didnt really care about winning 23 points in a row. I wanted to win the match, Murray said.Im glad I finished it there, because it was very hard conditions. Even in the evening it was so humid after they closed the roof and there was rain and thunderstorms.It changed the way the court and the balls played a lot. It was heavier. A lot of balls in the net today. Slowed everything down a bit. I just was glad to get off.The Scot ran through the first two sets but then encountered stiffer resistance from the French left-hander, who had won his first Grand Slam match in the opening round against American Wayne Odesnik.Ive been in the final here three times and this is the tournament I love and I want to try and win, he said after advancing. I dont know if this will be the year, but Ill try my best.Murray said he found the playing conditions difficult after easing through his first round with Japans Go Soeda for the loss of just five games.I thought first match I played very well. Today I found tricky. I found the opponent tricky. I found the conditions tricky, he said.I maybe didnt adjust to those sort of conditions and the opponent as well as I would have liked. But I did okay. I did some good things out there.The first match I would say I played better. But Im through to the third round. Havent lost a set yet.Murray said Millot had played unbelievable early in the final set.It was unbelievable the way he played and he was stepping up to the baseline on every shot and hitting winners, he said.He was almost going for broke on a lot of shots. He was hitting the ball so early, flat and low. It was very humid today, so the ball really wasnt flying much.He started missing a few balls and I adjusted my tactics a little bit.Murray broke Millots serve eight times and lost his service three times, while hitting 25 winners and 31 unforced errors. He will play Spanish 26th seed Feliciano Lopez in the third round.Felicianos got a great serve. He comes to the net a bit. Different game style to all of the guys nowadays pretty much, he said.So that will be another good test for me and naturally get tougher

Peshawar Tableeghi Markaz blast kills 6, TTP denies involvement

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PESHAWAR (Dunya News) - At least six people including a child were killed while 59 others injured in an explosion at Tableeghi Markaz on Charsadda Road in Peshawar.The blast occurred on rooftop of religious cenrtre just before the Maghrib prayers.According to reports, a huge number of worshippers were gathering at Markaz to attend the weekly Thursday night prayers.The explosion created panic in the city while law enforcement agencies cordoned off the blast site. According to AIG Shafqat, the powerful blast, that could be heard several kilometers away, was carried out through a time device. The police said 5kg of explosives were used in the blast while the bomb was hidden in an oil container.Meanwhle, the interior minister sought a report of Peshawar blast.Within minutes of the explosion, rescue teams and police rushed to the site while emergency was declared at all hospitals.More than 800 people were present in Tableeghi Markaz at the time of the blast, the reports stated.Provincial information minister Shah Farman said strict action will be taken if there was a security lapse, adding that investigation was underway. Shah Farman also said the whole nation wanted to hold talks with Taliban. Condemnations and condolence messages started pouring in soon after the blast. PM Nawaz, interior minister and political leaders condemned the Peshawar blast. Meanwhile, banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) also condemned the incident. TTP spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid denied its involvement in the blast.

Hacker threats rise due to shortage of defenders: report

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SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - A Cisco security report released on Thursday showed that hacker threats reached startling levels last year and that the world is suffering from a shortage of skilled computer defenders.Cracks in defenses and weapons for attacks rose to the highest levels since tracking began in 2000, while there was a worldwide shortage of nearly a million skilled security professionals to protect networks and machines, according to the annual Cisco report.To truly protect against all of these possible attacks, defenders must understand the attackers, their motivations and their methods before, during and after an attack, said Cisco Threat Response Intelligence chief security officer John Stewart.Although the Cisco Annual Security Report paints a grim picture of the current state of cyber security, there is hope for restoring trust in people, institutions and technologies - and that starts with empowering defenders with real-world knowledge about expanding attack surfaces.Technology and tactics used by online criminals have outpaced the ability of security professionals to defend against those threats, according to Cisco.The problem is compounded by the fact that most organizations lack staff or systems to detect and counter hacker attacks quickly, the report concluded.

Global oil trades mixed on Thursday

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LONDON (AFP) - Global oil prices were mixed on Thursday but analysts said sentiment would continue to be boosted by expectations of higher world economic growth.New Yorks main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in February rose 37 cents to $94.54 a barrel.Brent North Sea crude for February fell 11 cents to $107.02 per barrel in London midday deals.Prices had risen on Wednesday in New York following a bigger-than-expected drop in US stockpiles that indicated stronger demand.Crude oil prices are supported by an overall improvement in global sentiment, said analyst Desmond Chua, of CMC Markets in Singapore, also citing an upbeat forecast from the World Bank.WTI gains are outpacing the Brent benchmark amid a prolonged widening of spreads and a constant decline in US supplies, he told AFP.The US Department of Energy said Wednesday that commercial crude inventories fell 7.7 million barrels in the week ending January 10.The increase in price was attributable in part to a sharper-than-expected reduction in US crude oil stocks and in part to significantly rising equity markets, Commerzbank analysts said.

UN watchdog grills Vatican over child abuse issue.

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GENEVA (AFP) - The Vatican insisted Thursday it is committed to stamping out sexual abuse by the clergy, as top Church officials were grilled before the UNs child rights watchdog.The hearing came as Pope Francis said all Catholics should feel shame, in an apparent reference to the scandals that have rocked the Church for more than a decade.Under the spotlight at the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva, the Vatican delegation insisted it understood what it had to do to root out sexual crimes.The Holy See gets it, that certain things have to be done differently, said Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the Vaticans former top prosecutor.Its not words, it has to be commitment on the ground, on the level of the local churches, he told the committee.The Roman Catholic Church has faced a cascade of scandals involving child sexual abuse by priests and Catholic lay officials, from Ireland to the United States and from Australia to Germany.Pope Francis, who has vowed zero tolerance of abuse since he was elected last March, said the scandals are the shame of the Church.Do we feel shame? There are so many scandals that I do not want to name them individually but everyone knows about them the pope said in a homily on Thursday.Like other signatories of the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Vatican agrees to submit regular reports on its respect for the rules, and to be scrutinised by an 18-member watchdog panel.Thursdays session -- a regular review of the Holy Sees rightsrecord, and not exclusively focused on the abuse issue -- marked the Vaticans second appearance before the committee.The first was in 1995, before the abuse cases burst into the spotlight.UN committee member Hiranthi Wijemanne charged that perpetrators were too often shielded by the Church hierarchy.Why is there no mandatory reporting to a countrys judicial authorities when crimes occur? Taking actions against perpetrators is part of justice, she asked the Vaticans delegation.Past cases of abuse were often covered up by priests superiors, who typically transferred offenders to new parishes, rather than turn them over to police.Scicluna insisted this was not Church policy.It is not a policy of the Holy See to encourage cover-ups, he said. Our guideline has always been that domestic law of the countries where the churches operate needs to be followed, he added.The Vaticans UN ambassador, Monsignor Silvano Tomasi, said the Holy See was legally responsible only for implementing the UN Convention on the tiny territory of Vatican City -- a position long criticised by campaigners.But he said that as the central body of the Church the Vatican was working with its local branches to develop measures to stem sexual abuse.It was up to nations to crack down, Tomasi insisted.Priests are not functionaries of the Vatican. Priests are citizens of their own state and fall under its jurisdiction, he underlined.Such crimes can never be justifiedBenedict XVI, pontiff from 2005 to 2013, was the first pope to apologise to victims and call for zero tolerance of abuse, though critics say that his rhetoric outstripped action.Pope Francis has vowed to take things further by setting up a special committee to investigate crimes, enforce prevention measures and care for the victims.Pressed for details of the Vatican committee, Tomasi said the ground rules and membership were still being established.UN committee member Sara Oviedo questioned the Vaticans efforts.The Holy See has not established any mechanism to investigate those accused of perpetrating sexual abuse, nor to prosecute them, she said, calling for a new approach.Oviedo also demanded to know what the Vatican was doing in case of Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, a papal envoy from deeply Catholic Poland recalled from the Dominican Republic amid claims of sexual abuse there.Abusers are found among members of the worlds most respected professions, most regrettably, including members of the clergy and other church personnel, Tomasi said.Confronted with this reality, the Holy See has carefully delineated policies and procedures designed to help eliminate such abuse and to collaborate with respective state authorities to fight against this crime, he added.Such crimes can never be justified, whether committed in the home, in community and sports programmes, in religious organisations and structures. This is the long-standing policy of the Holy See, he insistedThe Vatican says it continues to receive around 600 claims against abusive priests every year, many dating back to the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.Victims groups say the issue is far from settled with cases of ongoing abuse emerging regularly and the total tally potentially in the hundreds of thousands.

No US pressure over Pak-Iran gas pipeline: FO

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ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – The foreign office spokesperson has said that the Pak-Iran gas pipeline was facing delay due to the lack of funds, adding that there was no US pressure over the project.Reacting over the latest remarks of Indian army chief, the FO spokesperson Tasneem Aslam said Pakistan always made efforts to maintain peace along the line of control. FO spokesperson said in 2013‚ military and civilian causalities were witnessed due to Indian unprovoked firing incidents on Line of Control, adding that provocative statements may worsen the situation. She said progress has been made recently for improvement in the situation as a result of DGMOs meeting.Tasneem Aslam said that Prime Minister's advisor on Foreign Affairs and National Security has left for Morocco to attend meeting of Al-Quds Committee.She said Pakistan desired peaceful resolution of Palestine issue. She said the right of Palestinians for having a viable state with Jerusalem as its capital should be respected.Regarding Iran's nuclear program‚ Tasnim Aslam said Pakistan has always stressed for a resolution through dialogue as there is no military resolution of Iran's nuclear program.She said Pakistan and Iran do not require a new agreement on the gas pipeline project as an agreement already exists between the two countries in this regard. She‚ however‚ said adjustments can be made regarding the timeline of the project.Regarding the issue of drug trafficking‚ the spokesperson said some countries including Saudi Arabia and China have strict sentences such as capital punishments.To another question‚ she said illegal migrations take place through the world and governments cooperate for its culmination.She rejected media reports regarding large number of Pakistanis illegally migrating to Italy and termed them as exaggerated.Regarding Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Khurram Dastgir's visit to India‚ she said he is not visiting New Delhi for bilateral talks.Khurram Dastgir will participate in SAARC Business Conclave and on the sidelines‚ a meeting with his Indian counterpart is also expected.

Cricket: Sri Lanka reach 220-5 at close on first day of third test

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SHARJAH (AFP) - Ajmal took 2-62 to leave Sri Lanka struggling at 166-5 before Angelo Mathews (24) and Prasanna Jayawardene (28) saw off the day with a 54-run unfinished stand on a spin-friendly Sharjah stadium pitch.Pakistan had to rue a dropped catch by paceman Mohammad Talha when Mathews had not scored while a leg-before decision against Prasanna was turned down on referral -- two lapses which denied Pakistan the chance to take full control.Pakistan took the second new ball after 87 overs with Sri Lanka on 206-5 but Mathews, who hit a career best 157 not out and alongwith Prasanna helped Sri Lanka to salvage a draw in the first Test in Abu Dhabi, batted sensibly.Sri Lanka leads the three-match series 1-0 after winning the second match in Dubai by nine wickets. The first Test ended in a draw.Pakistan grabbed the key wickets of Kumar Sangakkara (52) and Mahela Jayawardene (47) on either side of tea.Sangakkara flicked a straight drive into the hands of mid-wicket from paceman Junaid Khan, two balls after completing his half-century.The left-hander could have been dismissed on 14 when he gloved a miscued sweep which Younis Khan caught in the slip off Rehman but Indian umpire Sundaran Ravi turned down a vociferous appeal.Unfortunately Pakistan did not challenge the decision while television replays showed the ball had hit the batsmans glove.Sangakkara took full advantage of the lucky escape, hitting Junaid for his fifth boundary to reach his 44th half-century but perished soon after.Jayawardene, who hit 129 in Sri Lankas nine wicket win in the second Test in Dubai, hit two sixes and five boundaries during a 108-ball knock but edged a turning ball and was smartly caught at short-leg.Dinesh Chandimal couldnt survive long, as he miscued a drive off Ajmal and was caught by a running Asad Shafiq at mid-on after making 11.Pakistan had a good start as they removed both Sri Lankan openers Kaushal Silva (17) and Dimuth Karunaratne on either side of lunch.Paceman Mohammad Talha forced an edge off Silva in his second spell to leave Sri Lanka 31-1.Silva -- who made 81, 95 and 58 in the series -- hit one boundary.Left-hander Karunaratne hit two boundaries and a six before he edged left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman in the first over after lunch and was caught by Younis Khan in the slips.Pakistan made three changes from the second Test line-up, brining in Rehman, Talha and Azhar Ali in place of Rahat Ali, Bilawal Bhatti (hamstring injury) and Mohammad Hafeez.Sri Lanka gave a Test cap to spinner Dilruwan Perera in place of paceman Nuwan Pradeep.

Third Test: Sri Lanka reach 220-5 at close on first day

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SHARJAH (AFP) - Ajmal took 2-62 to leave Sri Lanka struggling at 166-5 before Angelo Mathews (24) and Prasanna Jayawardene (28) saw off the day with a 54-run unfinished stand on a spin-friendly Sharjah stadium pitch.Pakistan had to rue a dropped catch by paceman Mohammad Talha when Mathews had not scored while a leg-before decision against Prasanna was turned down on referral -- two lapses which denied Pakistan the chance to take full control.Pakistan took the second new ball after 87 overs with Sri Lanka on 206-5 but Mathews, who hit a career best 157 not out and alongwith Prasanna helped Sri Lanka to salvage a draw in the first Test in Abu Dhabi, batted sensibly.Sri Lanka leads the three-match series 1-0 after winning the second match in Dubai by nine wickets. The first Test ended in a draw.Pakistan grabbed the key wickets of Kumar Sangakkara (52) and Mahela Jayawardene (47) on either side of tea.Sangakkara flicked a straight drive into the hands of mid-wicket from paceman Junaid Khan, two balls after completing his half-century.The left-hander could have been dismissed on 14 when he gloved a miscued sweep which Younis Khan caught in the slip off Rehman but Indian umpire Sundaran Ravi turned down a vociferous appeal.Unfortunately Pakistan did not challenge the decision while television replays showed the ball had hit the batsmans glove.Sangakkara took full advantage of the lucky escape, hitting Junaid for his fifth boundary to reach his 44th half-century but perished soon after.Jayawardene, who hit 129 in Sri Lankas nine wicket win in the second Test in Dubai, hit two sixes and five boundaries during a 108-ball knock but edged a turning ball and was smartly caught at short-leg.Dinesh Chandimal couldnt survive long, as he miscued a drive off Ajmal and was caught by a running Asad Shafiq at mid-on after making 11.Pakistan had a good start as they removed both Sri Lankan openers Kaushal Silva (17) and Dimuth Karunaratne on either side of lunch.Paceman Mohammad Talha forced an edge off Silva in his second spell to leave Sri Lanka 31-1.Silva -- who made 81, 95 and 58 in the series -- hit one boundary.Left-hander Karunaratne hit two boundaries and a six before he edged left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman in the first over after lunch and was caught by Younis Khan in the slips.Pakistan made three changes from the second Test line-up, brining in Rehman, Talha and Azhar Ali in place of Rahat Ali, Bilawal Bhatti (hamstring injury) and Mohammad Hafeez.Sri Lanka gave a Test cap to spinner Dilruwan Perera in place of paceman Nuwan Pradeep.

Cricket: Asia Cup organisers rule out Bangladesh switch

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DHAKA, (AFP) - Organisers of crickets Asia Cup insisted the tournament would go ahead in troubled Bangladesh next month, even if one of the teams pulled out on safety grounds, as they unveiled the schedule Thursday.Defending champions Pakistan will take on Sri Lanka in the opening match of the 50 over tournament on February 25, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) announced at a press conference in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.Bangladesh has been rocked by some of the deadliest political violence in its history in recent weeks, prompting speculation that the World Twenty20, due to be held in the country from March 16 to April 6, may be shifted elsewhere.ACC chief executive Ashraful Huq told reporters in Dhaka that the teams participation was subject to security clearance by their respective boards, but added he was confident all five nations would take part.Even if one team does not come, the tournament will go ahead, said Huq. But I am sure they will all be here.The International Cricket Council is due to hold a security assessment meeting in Dhaka on January 20 to determine if the World Twenty20 can be hosted there.The five-nation event, which also features India, debutants Afghanistan and the hosts, will be played in capital Dhaka and its southern suburban town of Fatullah.Each team will play each other once in the league, with the final scheduled at Dhakas Sher-e-Bangla stadium on March 8.The first five league matches will be held at the 18,000-capacity Fatullah Cricket Stadium, which has hosted one Test in April 2006 and five one-day internationals.A Sri Lankan cricket official told AFP on Wednesday that its teams bilateral tour to Bangladesh starting on January 27 would go ahead as scheduled.We are very positive about playing in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said. We look forward to playing there.Bangladesh Cricket Boards interim chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury reiterated his countrys commitment to deliver a successful Asia Cup.Cricket unites Bangladesh like nothing else, he said. The event comes at a very busy juncture for us. The World Twenty20 is only two months away, while Sri Lanka will be arriving in just over a weeks time.This is a huge challenge for the BCB from an organisational perspective but I am confident that our dedicated work force will be up to it.Pakistan won the previous Asia Cup, also played in Dhaka in March, 2012, by defeating the hosts by two runs in an exciting final.Asia Cup schedule:Feb 25 : Pakistan v Sri Lanka, FatullahFeb 26 : Bangladesh v India, FatullahFeb 27 : Afghanistan v Pakistan, FatullahFeb 28 : India v Sri Lanka, FatullahMarch 1: Bangladesh v Afghanistan, FatullahMarch 2: India v Pakistan, DhakaMarch 3: Afghanistan v Sri Lanka, DhakaMarch 4: Bangladesh v Pakistan, DhakaMarch 5: Afghanistan v India, DhakaMarch 6: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, DhakaMarch 8: Final, Dhaka