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Pakistan

Fawad stresses live telecast of court proceedings in Shehbaz Sharif's cases

The minister says cases against Zardari and Sharif families should be expedited as it would be mockery of state if the looted money was not recovered from them

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Islamabad: Federal Minister for Informationa and Bradcasting Chauhdry Fawad Hussain has said court proceedings in connection with the cases of PML-N leader Mian Shehbaz Sharif should be live telecast and that cameras be installed at the courts to let the people of Pakistan know about the nature of case. 

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Monday made a passionate appeal to the judiciary to allow live telecast of court proceeding in PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif’s cases.

“In our opinion, the courts’ proceedings over of Shehbaz Sharif’s case should be telecast live by allowing cameras so that people should know the reality involved in his case,” he said while addressing a news conference.

He said public had every right to know as to how the Sharif family laundered money through accounts of their agents and peons. 

Likewise, the nation also wanted accountability of the Zardari family which also allegedly remained involve in corruption and money laundering through fake accounts.  

“Our only appeal to the courts is that the people of this county has a right to see whether the allegations against them are correct or not,” he said, while urging the top judiciary to allow live telecast of the hearings of the cases filed against different opposition leaders for plundering national wealth. 

“The people get frustrated,” he said while quoting Prime Minister Imran Khan as saying that it was imperative to recover looted money from the corrupt elements as three to four years had already been passed.

He said the live telecast and daily hearing of their cases would help the people to ascertain as to how those politicians had plundered them during their tenures. Recovery of public money from corrupt people should be made at the earliest. 

Fawad said the cases against Zardari and Sharif families should be expedited as it would be mockery of state if the looted money was not recovered from them. 

He said both the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) followed identical models for corruption during their governmental tenures as specific persons were nominated for amassing the state resources in their accounts. It had now been exposed as to how both the parties created network of [fake] accounts, he added.

The minister said startling revelations came to the light after Omni scandal was surfaced and revealed that suspicious transactions were made through some five thousands fake accounts. 
Some Rs 12 billion had been recovered so far, he added.

Likewise, Shehbaz Sharif after becoming chief minister of Punjab abolished the local government system and usurped its financial resources which were later deposited to the accounts of ‘Shehbaz Sharif and Company’. 

He said an amount of Rs 4 billion was found to the account of Malik Maqsood who was peon at the Ramzan Sugar mill owned the Sharif family. Likewise, Telegraphic transfers worth billions of rupee were made in the name of Manzoor, who used to sell snack, and Mushtaq Cheeni and later poured in the accounts Shehbaz Sharif and his children.

“This is the system abolished by the prime minister by bringing an empowered local government system,” he remarked.

Fawad said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government took revolutionary steps to empower the people at grassroots level. The previous governments had failed to introduce an empowered local government system in the country, he pointed out.

He said though multiple powers were transferred to the provinces from federation after 18th constitutional amendment, but it could not be further devolved to districts that hampered development of the cities. 

The PPP government in Sindh was not giving due share of the people of Karachi which increased their sufferings, he said, adding the districts would get their full share under the new local government system introduced by Prime Minister Imran Khan. 

Under the new system, the Mayors would be elected by the people directly to run their districts, he said, adding the same system was already in practice in New York, London and Paris.
He regretted that the Sindh government had not only deprived its people of health card facility, but also remained reluctant to take part in carrying out the basic reforms in the local government, which was highly condemnable.   

Fawad said economy was on verge of collapse when the PTI came into the power, but it successfully achieved 5.37% growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) despite the impact of coronvirus pandemic. 

He said the smart lockdown policy was in PM Imran Khan’s credit as he was the only leader who decided against locking down the whole country.

The entire world initially imposed complete lock-down to contain the pandemic, but later eased the restrictions. 

Even, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was asking to adopt smart-lock down policy, he added.

“Our economy is progressing due to the right decisions taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan and per capita income has jumped to $1650 from from $1400.

He said there had been impact of global inflation on the country but it was also a fact that the income of citizens had also increased. 

Some hundred companies had earned record profit of Rs 929 billion, he said, adding the prime minister had called upon the companies to raise their employees’ salaries.

To a query, the minister said the Attorney General had written a letter to Shehbaz Sharif asking him to explain the reasons for not bringing his brother Nawaz Sharif back from London as he already submitted an affidavit in the court.       

He said it was strange that Nawaz Sharif, on the one hand, was holding meeting at his residence in London, while on the other side denied its ownership in public.  

Fawad also lashed out at both the brothers Nawaz and Shehbaz for taking plea in their defence at court that the law of Pakistan did not apply on their children. Ironically, their children became owners of palatial palaces even before their birth, he added.  

Fawad said it was habit of the Sharif family to influence the judiciary. They got exposed in the matter pertaining to affidavit of former chief judge of Gilgit-Baltistan Rana Shamim.

He said the tape of UK solicitor Charles Guthrie had confirmed that Nawaz Sharif dictated the affidavit to Rana Shamim at his office. Nawaz Sharif who did not rebutted it should be penalized.

To a query, he said former PM’s advisor on accountability Shahzad Akbar performed well in difficult circumstances and exposed the corrupt people.

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World

Second journalist gunned down in a week in Mexico's Tijuana

Maldonado was the third journalist killed this year in Mexico

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MEXICO CITY: A Mexican journalist was shot dead in the northern border city of Tijuana on Sunday, the state government said, becoming the second killed in the area within a week.

Lourdes Maldonado, a journalist with decades of experience, was shot dead in her car in the Santa Fe neighborhood of Tijuana, the attorney general's office of Baja California said in a statement.

The killing came less than a week after officials reported that Mexican photojournalist Margarito Martinez, 49, died after being shot in the head outside his home in Tijuana.

A source with knowledge of the case said Maldonado had been registered in the state's protection program for journalists, which included some police surveillance of her home.

Maldonado was the third journalist killed this year in Mexico.

From 2000 to 2021, human rights group Article 19 has registered 145 murders of journalists in Mexico, with seven deaths last year.

SOURCE: REUTERS

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Pakistan

COVID-19: Pakistan logs 6,357 cases as Omicron sweeps across nation

Pakistan’s COVID positivity rate now stands at 12.81%. While, the cumulative tally of the country has now climbed to 1,381,152.   

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Islamabad: Pakistan has witnessed an enormous spike in its daily tally of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) after as many as 6,357 new infections were logged in the last 24 hours, according to morning update by ministry of health.

Pakistan’s COVID positivity rate now stands at 12.81%. While, the cumulative tally of the country has now climbed to 1,381,152.   

As the fifth wave of COVID-19 intensifies in Pakistan reported 6,357 new coronavirus infections, a new daily record, with authorities linking the spike with the Omicron variant of virus.  

According to the latest figures issued by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), 6,357 persons were tested positive while 17 died in the past 24 hours— taking Pakistan's COVID death toll to 29,122.     

As many as 1,269,634 patients have recovered from the disease.   

Punjab

The number of patients swelled to 466,164 in the province with 13,117 causalities.

Sindh

The number of infections has surged to 529,218 in the province, while the death toll has reached 7,746.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The confirmed cases have surged to 185,683 in the province with 5,977 casualties.

Balochistan

There are 33,975 confirmed cases while 367 patients have died from the infection so far.

AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan

There are 35,474 coronavirus cases in the AJK while the death toll has reached 752. On the other hand, there are 10,510 cases in GB with 187 coronavirus deaths.

Islamabad

There are 120,128 cases in the capital city while 976 people have lost their lives. 

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World

US F-35 jet crashes on aircraft in South China Sea, injures seven

F-35C warplane had a "landing mishap" on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the South China Sea

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Washington: A US military fighter jet crashed while conducting routine flight operations in the South China Sea, resulting in seven sailors being injured and some needing to be transported for medical treatment on land. 

According to the US Navy, at least seven military personnel sustained injuries after an F-35C warplane had a "landing mishap" on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the South China Sea.

The pilot of the plane was able to eject safely and was recovered via a military helicopter. They are in stable condition, the Navy added.

As per the official statement, three of navy personnel required evacuation to a medical facility in Manila and four were treated by on-board the carrier and released. The F-35 jet is made by Lockheed Martin.

However, the cause of the accident is under investigation.

In 2021, the War Zone reported that a British F-35B crashed during takeoff while operating from the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. 

At that time, the F-35B pilot also safely ejected, and the aircraft was later recovered from the Mediterranean Sea.

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Sports

Eight dead, 40 injured in football stadium stampede

Reportedly, the stampede was sparked by people frantically trying to enter the stadium.

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At least eight people were killed while 40 sustained injuries after a deadly stampede broke out outside Olembe Stadium ahead of an Africa Cup of Nations soccer match between Cameroon and Comoros on Monday.  

Reportedly, the stampede was sparked by people frantically trying to enter the stadium.

Football fans were crushed as they tried to enter a stadium to watch the game— which was won by Cameroon 2-1.

The Africa Cup of Nations is an international football tournament – founded in 1957 – which is held between African national football teams.

Naseri Paul Biya, governor of Cameroon’s central region, told AP authorities were still assessing the death toll. 

Sorces citing a preliminary report from local health authorities said, that up to 8 people lost their lives in the incident and at least 40 injured were reportedly taken to a nearby hospital.

A hospital nurse revealed that “Some of the injured are in critical condition” and that should be evacuated in a specialist hospital. 

Moreover, the officials said the hospital wasn’t capable of treating all of them.

Naseri Paul Biya, the governor of the central region of Cameroon, said there could be more deaths.

“We are not in position to give you the total number of casualties,” governor said. 

Following that incident, Cameroon President Paul Biya urged the country to be on guard while it hosts its biggest national sports event in a half century. 

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Technology

Meta unveils fastest AI supercomputer

It will be fully built out in mid 2022

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Facebook parent Meta Platforms introduced its new AI Research SuperCluster (RSC) on Monday, which the company believes will be the fastest AI supercomputer in the world.

It will be fully built out in mid 2022 and help create the metaverse.

SOURCE: REUTERS

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Pakistan

Shahbaz Gill says opposition will be responded in the same fashion

According to SAPM, the opposition parties leveled allegations against each other and even threw pictures of their opponents through helicopter

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Islamabad: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill on Monday said the government would respond to the opposition in the same way they respond to the government.

Speaking at a press conference, he said they would accept Shahbaz Sharif as a leader of the opposition if he succeeds to get acquittal from the court of law in the cases against him.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan was not only the most popular but also only national leader.

Gill said, the courts had already declared the PML-N vice-president as a forger, thief and cunning woman. She submitted fake documents in the court, he added.

He said PML-N leader preferred to meet Indian businessman Jindal while refused to meet the leadership of Hurriyat Conference whereas Prime Minister Imran Khan raised the Kashmir issue at all international fora.

He said followers and leaders of PML-N always used indecent and derogatory languages.

However, he said, he did not want to use abusive language against PML-N females except they were forgers.

Gill said that the opposition parties leveled allegations against each other and even threw pictures of their opponents through helicopter.

He said PM established Namal and Qadir Universities in the country. 90 per cent and 100 per cent education was being provided free of cost in Namal and 100 Qadir Universities receptively, he added.

He said Imran khan has also set up three cancer hospitals in the country where maximum patients were getting free treatment.

He said that Maryam Aurangzeb had spent the funds of Minister of Information and PID on her house and she should also be held accountable for that.

He said that the top courts of the country have declared Maryam Safdar a deceiver, forgers and culprit. "Qataris are your ATMs and the apartments are also given by them," he said.

Gill said PTI inherited weak and fragile economy when came into power after general elections 2018.

However, the government emerged successfully from the effects of Corona pandemic, he added. The international financial institutions have also admitted that Pakistan's economy has shown remarkable growth during the last fiscal year.

He said Sharif family used accounts of their employees for money laundering and transaction of Rs 16 billion was carried from their accounts.

SOURCE: APP

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Sports

Australian Open: Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Taylor Fritz to reach quarter-finals

Estonia's Kaia Kanepi, Rafa Nadal, and Daniil Medvedev are others who have stepped into quarter-finals

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MELBOURNE: Fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas survived an attritional fourth-round battle with American Taylor Fritz on Monday, twice coming from a set behind to win 4-6 6-4 4-6 6-3 6-4 and reach the Australian Open quarter-finals.

At just past midnight on Rod Laver Arena the Greek ended Fritz's resistance to set up a clash with Italian Jannik Sinner when he will be seeking to reach the semi-finals here for the third time in his career.

Tsitsipas looked out of sorts and edgy at times but his greater experience on the big stage eventually told as he got the decisive break in the fifth set before claiming victory.

Fritz, playing in his first Grand Slam fourth round, converted only two of his 15 break points and will rue a missed opportunity to become the first American male to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final for two years.

"It was an epic match that's all I can say, I gave everything out there on the court today," the 23-year-old said. "I'm proud of the way I fought.

"I'm overwhelmed. It's too good to be true. I knew it was going to be physical, and I knew I had to be patient and in the end it paid off."
 
SOURCE: REUTERS

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