Traffic Exchange

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Dunya TV Daily News Letter

Dunya TV

Tennis: Almagro withdraws from Sydney event with injury


SYDNEY (AFP) - Spaniard Nicolas Almagro has pulled out of next week's Sydney International with an injury, organisers said on Wednesday.World number 13 Almagro has suffered a shoulder injury ahead of the year's opening Australian Open Grand Slam starting in Melbourne on January 13.Unfortunately, Nicolas Almagro has been forced to pull out of Sydney with a shoulder injury, tournament director Craig Watson said.We wish him a speedy recovery and all the best for a successful Australian Open.

Junaid's five keeps Pakistan high in First Test


ABU DHABI (AFP) - Paceman Junaid Khan grabbed five wickets and Bilawal Bhatti finished with three as Pakistan enjoyed the better of the opening day of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.Junaid claimed his fourth five-wicket haul, taking figures of 5-58, while Bhatti took 3-65 in his first Test as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 204 after Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss and opted to bowl first on a greenish Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch.By the close on the opening day Pakistan reached 46-1 with debutant opener Ahmed Shehzad not out on 25. Fellow opener Khurram Manzoor ran himself out after making 21, leaving Pakistan trailing by 158 runs but with nine first-innings wickets remaining.Amidst the collapse in the Sri Lankan innings, skipper Angelo Mathews stood out, defying the Pakistan attack for 160 minutes for his 91.He added an invaluable 61 for the ninth wicket with Shaminda Eranga (14) to lift Sri Lanka from a precarious 124-8.Mathews hit 15 boundaries during his fighting knock, improving on his previous best of 64 not out against Pakistan at Colombo in 2009 before he was the last man out, stumped off Saeed Ajmal, who finished with 2-32.Junaid said the pitch needed bowlers to keep line and length. It's a good pitch and if you bowl line and length then you get success, said Junaid, who now has 47 wickets in his 14 Tests.I have improved a lot after getting good tips from legends like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and our bowling coach Mohammad Akram.Misbah-ul-Haq's decision to field first had looked unwise as Sri Lankan openers Dimuth Karunaratne (38) and Kaushal Silva (20) gave their team a sound start, putting on 57 for the first wicket.But, from 66-1, Sri Lanka lost seven wickets for the addition of 101 runs in the afternoon session.Bhatti, making his Test debut, took three wickets off just eight balls after lunch.He had Silva caught at slip off the fourth ball after the resumption and then had the experienced Mahela Jayawardene (5) caught behind in his next over.A ball earlier, Jayawardene had been caught behind only to see the umpire call it a no-ball.Two balls later, Bhatti had Dinesh Chandimal caught in the slip by Mohammad Hafeez for a duck to leave Sri Lanka struggling at 76-4.It was left to Junaid to do the rest.The left-armer dismissed Sri Lanka's most reliable batsman, Kumar Sangakkara, caught off an uppish drive at point for 16, and had both Prasanna Jayawardene (5) and Sachitra Senanayake (5) caught behind.He then bowled Rangana Herath for a duck to complete his fourth five-wicket haul -- all four have come against Sri Lanka.It was a different story in the first session, however.Karunaratne hit three boundaries in the first three overs, and five in all, before he miscued a drive off Junaid and was smartly snapped up at gully by Asad Shafiq.Pakistan strove hard for wickets in the first hour and wasted one review when they appealed for a catch behind against Silva off Junaid. Replays showed the batsman had not touched the ball.Pakistan also gave a Test debut to Shehzad after he had played 40 one-day internationals in the last four years, while spinner Senanayake was given his Test debut for Sri Lanka.The second Test will be played in Dubai (January 8-12) and the third in Sharjah (January 16-20).

Fireworks and fear as Latvia joins eurozone


RIGA (AFP) - Just after the stroke of midnight, Latvia's prime minister will be one of the first to withdraw euros from a bank machine as fireworks explode overhead to celebrate the New Year and the country's entry into the troubled eurozone.But while many will cheer the 18th addition to the bloc, Latvians remain concerned about joining a currency union that has seen five of its members forced into painful bailouts since a crippling crisis erupted in 2009.According to a recent SKDS poll, half the nation expressed fear and annoyance at Latvia's third currency change in just over two decades, fearing price hikes and infuriated by the draconian austerity cuts made to get it into the club.Let's just get it over with. I'm tired of hearing about the euro 24 hours a day, said 24-year-old student Dace Jaunkalna.Like the crisis-hit eurozone, which expects to limp back to growth some time in 2014, the ex-Soviet republic of two million people took a beating during the 2008-2009 financial crisis. It suffered the world's deepest recession when GDP shrank by nearly 25 percent over the two years.Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis -- who has deftly steered Latvia towards the euro -- orchestrated a 7.5 billion-euro ($10.3-billion) international bailout to avert bankruptcy but at the price of deep austerity cuts.Known as the Baltic Tiger for its explosive growth after winning independence, Latvia has bounced back well. It topped growth in the EU in both 2011 and 2012 and is set to expand four percent in 2013.Latvia is a role model as far as fiscal adjustment is concerned, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi told AFP. And European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso praised the country's impressive efforts and unwavering determination, as he welcomed the newest member to the club.The addition of Latvia to the bloc comes as the eurozone ends 2013 on a more positive note following years of lurching from crisis to crisis, enduring recession, unemployment and social unrest.Earlier Tuesday, Spain officially exited its bank bailout programme, a day after Greece's prime minister announced it was ready to return to the markets.Ireland has also put its bailout programme behind it and EU leaders stitched together an historic banking union deal in December they hope will end the excesses that brought the bloc to its knees.'I'll really miss the lat'However, despite some signs of light emerging in the eurozone, many in Latvia are wary of giving up their beloved lat, seen as a symbol of independence after nearly half a century of Soviet domination ended in 1990.The vocal No Euro casts the European Union as a successor to the USSR, charges that joining the eurozone will allow others to rule our economy and attacks Riga for lying about the benefits that the eurozone will bring.Everyone expects prices will go up in January, Leonora Timofejeva, a 56-year-old who earns the minimum wage of 200 lats (284 euros) per month tending graves in a village north of the capital Riga, told AFP.But pensioner Maiga Majore felt joining the euro bloc can only be a good thing.To be part of a huge European market is important. All this talk about price rises is just alarmist, she said.Both lati and euros will be legal tender for the first 14 days of the new year before the lat disappears from Latvians' pockets and wallets for good, causing a pang of nostalgia for some.Overall it's probably a good thing but I must confess that I'll really miss the lat, designer Agra Apele, home in Riga for the holidays from euro-member Finland, told AFP.Other countries currently inside the EU but outside the eurozone are biding their time.Only Denmark and Britain have a formal opt-out from joining the euro. Sweden rejected it in a 2003 referendum and is unlikely to join soon.Latvia's neighbour Lithuania has targeted 2015 as a possible joining date while larger economies Poland and the Czech Republic are still several years off meeting the strict membership criteria.More recent recruits to the EU, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary and Romania are even less likely to join the common currency any time soon.

A third of Americans don't believe in evolution


CHICAGO (AFP) - One third of Americans utterly reject the theory of evolution and believe instead that humans have existed in their present form since the beginning of time, a new survey has found.About a quarter of Americans believe that evolution was guided by God while only 32 percent of those surveyed believe that evolution is due to natural processes such as natural selection, the Pew Research Center found.The broad results were little changed from a similar survey in 2009, but Pew found a drastically widening gap along party lines.Some 54 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of Democrats said they believed in evolution in 2009.That ten-point gap more than doubled in the latest survey, which found that only 43 percent of Republicans believe in evolution while 67 percent of Democrats said humans have evolved over time.The views of political independents were essentially unchanged, with 65 percent believing in evolution.Evolution has long been a political issue in the United States, where science classes are a battleground between advocates of non-religious teachings in public schools and conservative Christians who push for curriculum that includes creationism or intelligent design.The debate has heated up in recent years as the so-called culture wars have reignited amid a deepening partisan divide.Differences in the racial, ethnic and religious composition of the Democrats and Republicans surveyed do not wholly explain partisan differences in beliefs about evolution, Pew said.Indeed, the partisan differences remain even when taking these other characteristics into account, the non-partisan research group said.However, it did find strong differences among religious groups.Two thirds of white evangelical Protestants believe God created humans in their present form while 78 percent of white mainline Protestants believe in evolution. Half of black Protestants believe God devised humans as they exist today.Nearly seven in ten white non-Hispanic Catholics and 53 percent of Hispanic Catholics believe in evolution.Meanwhile, three out of four religiously unaffiliated respondents believe in evolution and just 13 percent of them believe evolution was guided by a supreme being.The results released Monday were drawn from a telephone survey of 1,983 adults conducted March 21 through April 8 that has a margin of error of three percent.

Pakistan formally receives GSP plus status from EU


ISLAMABAD (Web Desk) - Pakistan has formally received in writing the grant of GSP plus status from the European Union.Addressing a news conference here on Tuesday afternoon‚ Minister of State for Textile Industry Khurram Dastgir said Pakistan's exports will throng to twenty seven European markets.He said Pakistan's overall exports to these states will intially get twenty nine percent increase.He said the GSP plus scheme will be applicable until 2023. It will be reviewed after every two years and the first review will start in January 2016.The Minister said the government has made‚ trade not aid‚ a reality.To a question‚ Khurram Dastgir said gas is being given to export oriented industry and it is not necessary for the industry to be a member of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association.He said the government is working on energy projects for generation of 32‚500 megawatts of electricity to overcome power shortage in the country.

ECNEC approves 10 projects worth Rs 218 billion


ISLAMABAD (Web Desk) - The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) has approved ten projects costing 218.554 billion rupees in irrigation‚ water‚ power‚ infrastructure‚ and education sectors besides distribution of 100000 laptops under the Prime Minister's Scheme for the youth.Its meeting was held in Islamabad on Tuesday with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the chair.The meeting approved the purchase of 100‚000 laptops for distribution to all PhDs and Masters as well as graduate and diploma in Engineering from Polytechnic at a cost of four billion rupees.ECNEC also decided that no laptop would be issued to those students who have availed such facility.It also directed HEC that bids for the laptops should include a condition that the bidders shall establish assembly plant leading to manufacture of laptops.This year laptops would be purchased off the shelf while in the subsequent two years they will have to install assembly plants leading to manufacturing.The meeting approved a project sponsored by the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Basic Education for ALL to open schools in the districts of Azad Kashmir at a cost of over 1224 million rupees.It also approved a 14MW Hydropower Project Naltar-V to meet the power requirements of Gilgit Town.ECNEC also gave principle approval to 150 MW Sharmai Hydropower Project in Upper Dir‚ 132 MW Shogo-Sen Project and 144 MW Shushgai-Zhendoli Project in Chitral.ECNEC also approved the refurbishment and up gradation of generating limits of Mangla Power Station for enhancing its capacity from 1000MW to 1310MW.ECNEC approved the Kachhi Canal Project Phase-I which would be completed by December next year. Federal Government would provide fifteen billion rupees as part of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's commitment to the people of Balochistan.It approved the construction of Shadi Kaur Storage Dam and appurtenants work proposed by Balochistan at a cost of 6522.81 million rupees.

Treason case: Musharraf to be indicted today


ISLAMABAD (Dunya News/Agencies) - Former President Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf will appear before a special court (Wednesday) today in high treason case.The three-judge special court constituted to try former president Pervez Musharraf had decided last week to indict him on January 1."On January 1 the court will read out the statement of charges against the accused," said Justice Faisal Arab of the Sindh High Court who presided over the proceedings in the National Library Auditorium, Islamabad.Other members of the court are Justice Yawar Ali of the Lahore High Court and Justice Tahira Safdar of the Balochistan High Court.After framing the charges the court will summon witnesses and evidence from the prosecution.Last time, the court exempted the former military ruler from appearing after his counsel Anwar Mansoor Khan informed the special court that security personnel had found five kilograms of explosives and a pistol in a shopping bag near the residence of Gen Musharraf.The special court directed the federal government to submit its reply by January 1.During today's hearing, the court will take up both the matters -- indictment of Gen Musharraf and the petitions.Meanwhile in another attempt, Pervez Musharraf Tuesday filed an intra-court appeal against the special court constituted to try him for treason.The petition was filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against Justice Riaz Ahmad Khan's decision who had rejected all three pleas by Musharraf against the special court formed to try him for treason.It also urged the court to restrict the special court from functioning and stated that Musharraf should also get a chance of fair trial. Therefore, the trial should be carried out in a military court.The petitioner alleged that the constitution of a special court is the combined conspiracy by the prime minister and former chief justice of Pakistan, hence, it should not be allowed to work.It may be mentioned that Musharraf had raised objections over the appointment of judges and prosecutor in the special court.The ex-military strongman faces treason charges under Article 6 for suspending, subverting and abrogating the Constitution, imposing an emergency in the country in November 2007 and detaining judges of the superior courts.On the other hand, the overseas legal counsel team of Pervez Musharraf has arrived in Pakistan.It is expected that the team would appear before a special court on behalf of Pervez Musharraf in his high treason case.The members of the legal team of Musharraf are belonged to eleven countries including Britain, Sweden, Denmark and United States of America.

India capital's new CM halves electricity tariff


NEW DELHI (AFP) - As a new years gift to the Indian capital, its new chief minister announced Tuesday the government will slash power costs by half, fulfilling another top campaign pledge a day after he promised a free supply of water.The Aam Aadmi (common man) Party chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, who missed his first day in the office Monday due to an upset stomach, chaired a cabinet meeting Tuesday to announce electricity rates would be halved starting January 1, 2014 till March 31, 2014.The subsidy will apply to those consuming less than 400 units of power and help 280,000 consumers in Delhi, Kejriwal told a late Tuesday press conference.Kejriwal has asked the national auditor to review alleged financial irregularities by private power distribution companies by March end, after which the cabinet would take a fresh call on the power rates.Only two days into his job, the anti-corruption champion implemented two key campaign promises to slash power costs and supply free water.Not only that, but he also stuck to his word on greater transparency on Monday when he tweeted freely about the Delhi belly that had spoiled his first day.Twitter was abuzz when Kejriwal tweeted about his severe loose motions, overshadowing his achievement in supplying nearly 700 litres of water per day to consumers in a city of some 16 million.Critics have said giving out free water will encourage wastefulness in a country where water is in short supply.Kejriwal, whose pledge to fight for Indias common man won over voters in New Delhi state polls, had been set to start governing the capital on Monday after being sworn in at the weekend.The Aam Aadmi party, which was born out of an anti-corruption mass movement two years ago, is leading the Delhi government with outside support from the Congress party, which rules nationally but was pushed to a distant third place in the Delhi elections.

Euro slips but still up versus dollar for 2013


LONDON (Reuters) - The euro eased back on Tuesday but was still on track to be the worlds best-performing major currency this year, while the dollar was set for its biggest annual gain against the yen since 1979.The single currency has gained 26 percent against the yen this year, though it fell 0.4 percent to 144.60 yen on Tuesday, having set a five-year high of 145.67 yen on Friday.Against the dollar the euro has gained more than 4 percent, baffling many hedge funds who had expected a weak euro zone economy and a reduction in Federal Reserve bond-buying to strengthen the greenback this year.The Fed, however, finally announced its first move earlier this month and a steady reduction in the flood of dollars it is pumping into the economy looks set to contrast starkly with the Bank of Japan next year.We think things are going to be very data-dependent, said Paul Chappell, CIO of UK-based hedge fund manager C-View.At the moment that looks like U.S. numbers are going to be relatively robust compared with some other G7 peers, so the dollar is likely to be relatively robust versus other developed country currencies.He said the euro, boosted recently by banks in the region repatriating funds to shore up their capital bases, tends to lose ground in the first few days of a new year.On Tuesday the euro was 0.2 percent down at $1.3775 as the gap between U.S. two-year government bond yields and German yields widened, increasing the relative attractiveness of the dollar.The dollar slipped 0.2 percent to 104.96 yen, but was up 21 percent for 2013, its biggest annual gain since a 23.7 percent rise in 1979, according to Thomson Reuters data.Satoshi Okagawa, senior global markets analyst for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in Singapore, saw the dollar rising to 110 yen in the first half of 2013, before retreating below 100 yen mid-year and then re-testing 110 yen in late 2014.The Swiss franc hovered near a three-decade peak against the yen, fetching 117.90 yen.The franc touched 119.17 yen on Friday, its highest since January 1983.C-Views Chappell added: Were very much into year-end where individual currencies are flopping around a bit, predicated on year-end flows.

Israel freed 26 Palestinian prisoners ahead of Kerry visit


JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israel freed 26 Palestinian prisoners Tuesday as part of US-brokered peace talks ahead of Secretary of State John Kerrys latest visit to the region.The release prompted elation among Palestinians, who welcomed the prisoners back into the West Bank and Gaza Strip after they had spent two to three decades in Israeli jails.But as Kerry geared up for his 10th visit since March, an anticipated announcement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus government of further settlement construction -- designed to appease hardliners -- looked set again to undermine the talks.Kerry, expected to arrive Wednesday, has been pressing the two sides to agree on a framework for a final peace agreement ahead of an agreed late April target date for the talks to conclude.The prisoners were the third batch of 104 detainees that Netanyahu pledged to release in four stages when the peace talks were revived in July. All were imprisoned before the 1993 Oslo accords, which officially launched the Middle East peace process.Palestinians hailed the freed prisoners as heroes imprisoned for fighting against the Israeli occupation, with some welcomed back to Ramallah in the West Bank, others to east Jerusalem and the remainder into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.The 18 men taken to Ramallah were warmly embraced by the Western-backed Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in his presidential compound before laying flowers on the grave of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.Abbas pledged to the prisoners and their exuberant families that there would be no final agreement (with Israel) until all prisoners were in their homes.The Islamist Hamas movement ruling Gaza hailed the prisoner release, but reiterated its rejection of the peace talks and slammed the notion that freeing prisoners justified Israeli settlement expansion.The release of any prisoner is a gain for our people, Gazas Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya told a news conference in the besieged Palestinian territory.But we reject negotiating with the occupation (Israel) and we do not accept that settlements should be expanded in exchange for that.Netanyahu meanwhile criticised the heroes welcome given to the released prisoners, who had served 19 to 28 years for killing Israeli civilians or soldiers.While we are prepared to take very painful steps in an effort to try and reach an agreement they, along with their highest leadership, are celebrating, he told a conference in the northern Israeli town of Tiberias.Murderers are not heroes, Netanyahu said.New settlement plans expectedTuesdays release was expected to be accompanied by the announcement of new construction plans for Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, including east Jerusalem, as the previous two prisoner releases were.Such a move is likely to infuriate the Palestinians and the international community, providing a further challenge for Kerry, whose intense shuttle diplomacy managed to revive the talks after a three-year hiatus.The pressure on Netanyahu to make such an announcement comes both from within his own coalition government -- the housing minister lives in a West Bank settlement and hardliners oppose any peace talks -- and from the Israeli public.Kerry will also have to quell tensions that rose after an Israeli ministerial committee on Sunday gave initial approval to a bill annexing Jordan Valley settlements, a largely symbolic move expected to be shot down by the government.A poll conducted by Jerusalems Hebrew University said Tuesday that 63 percent of Israelis and 53 percent of Palestinians supported a two-state solution.Around 41 percent of some 600 Israeli respondents said the Jewish state should yield to any US pressure to accept a two-state solution, but 43 percent were against.The prisoner release, shortly after 0000 GMT, came after an Israeli court rejected a last-minute appeal by victims families.The families had especially protested the release of the five east Jerusalem prisoners, which they said contradicted a committment made by Netanyahu.

European markets enjoy bumper gain in 2013


LONDON (AFP) - European stocks surged in 2013 on growing investor optimism, supportive central bank monetary policy and easing eurozone crisis fears, dealers said.Londons benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies leapt 14.43 percent over the last 12 months in the biggest annual increase since 2009, aided also by the recovering British economy.The FTSE rose by a modest 0.26 percent on Tuesday to end 2013 at 6,749.09 points in an early finish.The French CAC 40 meanwhile soared 18 percent over the course of the year, after adding 0.47 percent in value to end at 4,295.95 points on Tuesday.This year most likely will be remembered as a year where things in Europe started finally to stabilise, said Markus Huber, trader at broker Peregrine & Black.In 2013, many investors were simply relieved that the European financial crisis did not get worse.Looking ahead, he added: 2014 should show if the financial crisis can really be left behind or if the calm has only been temporary. In the long run it will only be economic growth and low budget deficits and debt which will convince investors that the financial crisis has indeed been overcome.Frankfurts DAX 30 was shut on Tuesday, one day after falling 0.39 percent to finish the year at 9,552.16 points.Over the course of 2013, however, Frankfurt soared by a staggering 25.5 percent, after a series of record peaks.2013 has been a stellar year for the stock market, said analyst David Madden at trading firm IG.The eurozone has managed to shake its debt-crisis image, even though little has actually improved in terms fundamentals.Stocks have also been boosted by the upbeat global economic outlook, low interest rates and central bank stimulus policies.Like central banks in Britain, the United States and Japan, the European Central Bank (ECB) has used super-low rates and injected liquidity into the financial system to encourage lending and thereby boost investment and consumer spending.Markets have been propped up by looser monetary policies and stimulus from the US Federal Reserve, Bank of England, Bank of Japan and ECB, as investors take advantage of the ample supply of liquidity being pumped by these central banks, ETX Capital trader Ishaq Siddiqi told AFP.He added that the low interest rate environment for US, UK and eurozone means the atmosphere ... is seen as accommodative, allowing risk appetite to build.Huber noted that central banks had helped to soothe eurozone worries. Very low interest rates for an extended period of time, set by major central banks, and decisive action on their part have contributed for the storm in the financial markets, caused by the European financial crisis, to subside, he said.Frankfurt, London and Paris will remain closed on Wednesday for New Years Day and will reopen for business on Thursday.Investor sentiment was also bolstered this year after the Fed decided earlier this month to scale back its vast $85 billion-per-month stimulus policy.Dealers drew strength from the Dows record close overnight on Wall Street, with the market jumping 0.16 percent to register its fourth all-time high in the past five sessions and the 51st of the year.The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.16 percent to close at a record 16,504.29 points on Monday.The index has risen about four percent since the Fed announced on December 18 that it plans to scale back its stimulus in January 2014, boosting hopes over the health of the worlds biggest economy.Across in Asia on Tuesday, equities mostly rose on the last day of 2013, after another record-breaking session on Wall Street.Hong Kong stocks added 0.26 percent to close at 23,306.39 points -- putting on 2.87 percent in 2013.Sydney was flat but closed the year more than 15 percent higher.Shanghai won 0.88 percent. However, the Chinese market finished down 6.75 percent for 2013, making it one of the worlds worst performers.Tokyo, Manila, Seoul, Bangkok and Jakarta were closed for the holiday.While Japans Nikkei closed Monday with a 57 percent advance over the year -- its strongest performance in four decades making it the worlds best performer -- Shanghai ended a torrid 2013 that saw it suffer two liquidity crises.The US dollar was pressured Tuesday by data showing that US pending home sales rose 0.2 percent in November. That was the first rise in five months but below forecasts of a 1.5-percent gain.

LG polls in Punjab likely to be delayed


LAHORE (Dunya News) – Punjab government has decided to hold elections after conducting new demarcation of the constituencies in the province.According to official sources, the provincial government with PML-N's central leadership's consultation decided not to hold local bodies election on January 30.The sources said; after declaring new delimitations in Punjab as illegal by the LHC, the government decided to hold elections after conducting new demarcation of the constituencies in the province.On Tuesday, the Lahore High Court (LHC) has declared new delimitations of the constituencies in the province void.A full-bench of the high court in its ruling directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to conduct new demarcation of the constituencies in the province.The court also ruled to hold local bodies elections in accordance with the schedule.On Monday, Additional Attorney General Naseer Bhutta, while opposing the petition, said the new delimitations were done according to the local government law and now the delimitation process could not be questioned before a court of law. He said that after issuance of the election schedule the delimitations could not be done.A resident of Toba Tek Singh, Iqrar Hussain had filed the petition in this regard.Petitioner counsel Muhammad Azhar Siddique said both the benches did not consider the constitutional implication of section 10-A.He said that under article 199 of the Constitution, the LHC had unlimited powers to take up constitutional and legal issues. He said it was an issue of public interest and doors should not be closed to elect a public representative and the LHC had every authority to settle the issue.Petitioner counsel had earlier submitted that LHC single bench had given decision in favour of delimitation while another single bench had decided against it. He said that two parallel decisions by the LHC had created anomaly and a large bench should adjudicate upon the matter to remove the irregularity.He said that the provincial government had taken steps for delimitation of areas for these elections. He said that the authority of delimitation rested with the election commission and the Punjab government action was illegal.He also said that neither government nor courts could decide about delimitation once election schedule was announced. He requested that the provincial government should be restrained from carrying out delimitation and should also be directed to hold early and party-based elections.

Happy New Year: World welcomes 2014 with a bang


SYDNEY (Agencies) - An estimated 1.5 million New Years Eve revellers thronged Sydney Harbour on Tuesday to watch 7 tons of fireworks light up the bridge and the Opera House.Organisers boasted that their crackers, rockets and bangers were louder and flashier than those that will follow in London and Berlin.A pre-bedtime firework display for children at 9pm (1000 GMT) was followed three hours later with a 12-minute midnight extravaganza to welcome in 2014.Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore said earlier that the Aus$6 million show ($5.4 million), themed "Shine", was expected to attract 1.6 million spectators."We are ready to host the worlds best New Years Eve on the worlds most beautiful harbour," Moore told reporters earlier in the day.Dubai is hoping to break the Guinness World Record for the largest display, pledging to set off more than 400,000 fireworks. Kuwait set the mark in 2011 with an hour-long blast of 77,282 fireworks.Tonga, located near the international dateline, was one of the first nations to greet 2014, holding a prayer festival that culminates with a bamboo "cannon" fired into the air.Cities across Asia will be next to hail the New Year, with Hong Kong boasting the biggest-ever countdown show for the Chinese city.Fireworks will soar from skyscrapers and a one-kilometre line of barges along Victoria Harbour in a "wish upon a star" tourism board show.In Japan, shoppers were busy buying crabs, tuna sashimi and other delicacies to feast in the New Year, with noodle shops doing an especially brisk trade.Eating noodles on New Years Eve is regarded in Japan as a symbolic act to wish for a long life.Millions of people were due to visit shrines and temples through to early morning in massive, yet quiet tradition, paying their first annual respects and praying for peace for relatives.However, in areas ravaged by Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, celebrations were muted.In Tacloban, which bore the brunt of the November 8 storm, officials were preparing a midnight fireworks display to try to boost spirits, despite nearly 8,000 dead or missing.Aid agencies are also organising free concerts or distributing food for the traditional New Years Eve dinner, an AFP reporter said.In the small, ruined farming village of San Isidro, residents are still grappling with the overpowering stench of death as 1,400 corpses stacked in black body bags lay in a field, more than seven weeks after the tragedy.Seoul will ring in 2014 with a ritual clanging of the citys 15th-century bronze bell 33 times, reflecting the ancient practice for marking a new year.In Singapore, people will flock to the financial district for fireworks while thousands of white spheres will be launched to bob on Marina Bay, holding residents wishes for 2014.Jakarta has set up 12 city centre stages for performances to showcase the vast archipelagos kaleidoscope of cultures.However, 6,500 police will be out to ensure security amid warnings that extremists in the Muslim-majority nation may target the celebrations, prompting travel warnings from countries including neighbouring Australia.In Indonesias sharia stronghold of Banda Aceh, Islamic police seized thousands of firecrackers and cardboard trumpets after the city administration banned New Years Eve celebrations for the first time."There should be no activity whatsoever to celebrate the turn of the year," senior Banda Aceh sharia police official Reza Kamilin said after the clerical Ulema Consultative Assembly said New Years celebrations or wishing someone "Merry Christmas" was "haram" (forbidden) in the city.In Mumbai, revellers celebrated a court victory over the local police force, which pushed back closing time in bars and restaurants to 5:00 am instead of 1:30 am.Last year India cancelled most of its official New Years celebrations after the fatal gangrape of a student on a New Delhi bus on December 16, which sparked protests and a year of introspection about womens rights.In Rio de Janeiro, authorities are predicting 2.3 million people -- a third of them tourists -- will crowd Copacabana Beach for fireworks and pop music.Major spectaculars will also light up Moscows Red Square, Berlins Brandenburg Gate and central London when Big Ben chimes midnight.An expected one million revellers will gather in New York to mark the stroke of midnight and the traditional New Years Eve ball-drop over Times Square.Cape Town will have a free concert with fireworks and a 3D tribute to Nelson Mandela who died on December 5.Images from the anti-apartheid heros life will be projected onto City Hall where he gave his first speech after release from 27 years in prison in 1990.

Syria misses the deadline to remove nuclear weapons


DAMASCUS, (AFP) - A December 31 deadline to remove part of the Syrian regimes chemical weapons arsenal from the country for destruction has been missed, with ships due to receive the materials returning to Cyprus.In Syria, meanwhile, a newspaper quoted government officials as saying invitations to a peace meeting in Switzerland next month had not been issued, blaming the delay on disarray among the countrys opposition groups.And in northern Aleppo, at least 10 people were killed when a regime tank shell slammed into a bus in Aleppo city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.A Norwegian frigate and a Danish warship had been near the Syrian coast waiting to dock at the port in Latakia to escort chemical materials to Italy, ahead of their destruction at sea on a US ship.But the vessels returned to port in Cyprus on Monday night as it became clear that the removal mission would not go ahead as scheduled.Lars Hovtun, a spokesman for the Norwegian ship HNoMS Helge Ingstad gave no new date for the mission to escort the dangerous cargo out of Syria.We are still on high alert to go into Syria, he said. We still dont know exactly when the orders will come.The international disarmament mission in Syria had acknowledged on Saturday it was unlikely the weapons could be transported to Latakia in time for the December 31 deadline set for the removal of key weapons components.But the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons remained positive on Tuesday, saying the overall plan to rid Syria of its chemical arsenal was on track.An enormous amount of work has been accomplished in three months, OPCW spokesman Christian Chartier told AFP.Syrias chemical arsenal has been completely neutralised, the chemical agents and chemical products are under international control, have been sealed... the effective dismantling of the production and filling plants is on course.All unfilled munitions have been destroyed, so even if the Syrians tried to get their hands on certain chemical products they wouldnt have the weapons to use them, Chartier said.Their capacity to produce and use chemical weapons has been reduced to zero.Chartier said the operation was still on track to meet a deadline to rid Syria of its chemical arsenal by mid-2014.The most important deadline in our eyes is June 30, and nothing leads us to believe that it wont be met, he said.The failure to meet the December 31 deadline underlines the complexity of the task of disarming Syria of its chemical weapons in the middle of a bloody civil war.On Saturday, the UN and OPCW said the war, logistical problems, and bad weather had held up the transport of chemical agents to Latakia for pick-up.Syria agreed to join the Chemical Weapons Convention and turn over its arsenal for destruction in the wake of a devastating chemical weapons attack that prompted the United States to threaten military action against Damascus.The August 21 chemical attack, which the opposition and the United States blamed on the Syrian regime, is believed to have killed hundreds of people on the outskirts of Damascus.Syrias Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi, addressing the parliament on Tuesday, said the government was complying with its obligations.We were able to accomplish what was agreed upon, destroying the chemical production and mixing sites, he said.Now we have started collecting these materials so they can be transferred to the Syrian ports and taken to other places and destroyed within a timeframe that Syria has committed to.On the diplomatic front, Syrias Al-Watan newspaper quoted a foreign ministry source as saying invitations to a peace conference scheduled for January 22 in the Swiss town of Montreux.The source said invites were to have been sent by December 28, and the delay was the result of the floundering efforts to form a delegation representing the opposition.The key opposition National Coalition has yet to officially announce it is attending the conference, and there are questions about whether staunch regime ally Iran will be invited.In Aleppo city meanwhile, the Observatory said 10 people, including two children, were killed when a regime tank shell hit a bus.The monitoring group said the toll could rise as many of those injured were in critical condition.

Iran says good progress in nuclear talks


TEHRAN, Dec 31, 2013 (AFP) - Iran's chief negotiator said Tuesday talks in Geneva with world powers through the night on implementing a landmark nuclear deal had made good progress, according to media.Negotiations continued throughout the night until early on Tuesday morning in Geneva and the two sides have made good progress on different issues, lead negotiator Abbas Araqchi said in comments carried by official news agency IRNA.They are going to submit their conclusions to the vice-ministers and political heads because there are still questions to be resolved on the political level, he said, stressing that the experts had done their work.He added that there would probably be a meeting next week with Olga Schmitt, the deputy to European Union foreign policy head Catherine Ashton, who has been representing the P51 group in Tehran.Experts from Iran and the so-called P51 -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany -- have been holding technical talks on implementing an agreement reached November 24 on Iran's controversial nuclear programme.The interim deal requires that Iran freeze or curbs its nuclear activities for six months in exchange for some sanctions relief while the two sides try to reach a comprehensive agreement.Hamid Baeedinejad, who heads the Iranian delegation of experts, said the Geneva agreement should be implemented in late January, the ISNA news agency reported.According to the conclusions of talks held with technical experts from the P51 group, it has been agreed to start the application of the Geneva agreement in the last 10 days of January, he said.Baeedinejad said that political officials from the two parties had yet to endorse an application date.Western nations and Israel have long suspected Iran is covertly pursuing a nuclear weapons capability alongside its civilian programme, charges denied by Tehran, which insists its uranium enrichment is for purely peaceful purposes.
HitLeap - Traffic Exchange

No comments:

Post a Comment