Indian forces target civilians along Working Boundary

RAWALPINDI: Indian forces on Monday resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violation along the Working Boundary, targeting civilian population with mortars and heavy weapons in Harpal and Charwah Sector.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said: “Indian troops initiated unprovoked cease fire violation along Working Boundary targeting civil population with mortars and heavy weapons in Harpal and Charwah Sector since early morning.”

The military’s media wing said the Pakistan Rangers Punjab are effectively responding and targeting those Indian posts which initiated fire as intermittent fire continues.

Earlier, six people, a mother and her three children among them, were killed and 22 other civilians sustained injuries in unprovoked firing and shelling by the Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) at different sectors of the Sialkot Working Boundary.

Indian forces have so far carried out more than 1050 ceasefire violations, resulting in the martyrdom of 28 innocent civilians, while injuring 117 others.

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Barack and Michelle Obama sign Netflix production deal

LOS ANGELES: Barack and Michelle Obama have entered into a multi-year agreement to produce films and series with Netflix, the world’s leading internet entertainment service announced on Monday.

The former first couple have launched Higher Ground Productions to produce a variety of content for the video streamer, possibly including scripted series, documentaries and features.

“One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience,” Obama, who served two terms in the White House from 2009, said in a statement.

“That’s why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix. We hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world.”

The Obamas already have a large social media presence — a combined 150 million followers on Twitter and Instagram — but the deal will see their influence boosted significantly by Netflix’s 125 million subscribers in 190 countries.

“Barack and Michelle Obama are among the world’s most respected and highly-recognized public figures and are uniquely positioned to discover and highlight stories of people who make a difference in their communities and strive to change the world for the better,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos.

The statement didn’t discuss money, but their time in the White House has already begun to reap lucrative dividends for the Obamas, who negotiated book deals last year reportedly worth more than $60 million.

A much-awaited memoir by Michelle Obama is due to be released on November 13, publisher Penguin Random House said in February, describing her as “one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era.”

The Obamas met while he was an intern and she his adviser at a Chicago law firm, and they were soon married. She became his closest confidante during his political rise.

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PM Abbasi extends condolences to family of martyred Col Sohail Abid | Pakistan

PM Abbasi extends condolences to family of martyred Col Sohail Abid | Pakistan 4
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. Photo: File

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday visited the residence of Colonel Sohail Abid, who was martyred in an anti-terrorist operation in Balochistan.

A high-value target of banned terror outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and two other terrorists were killed in the operation conducted on May 16.

PM Abbasi recited Fateha for the martyred, expressed his condolence with his family and prayed for patience for the grieved family to bear the loss with dignity.

The premier said on the occasion that the armed forces have presented countless sacrifices to eradicate terrorism from our land, adding that brave son of the soils like Colonel Abid are pride for the nation.

PM Abbasi said that the name of the martyred who continued to set an unprecedented history of valour for the country’s defence, would be written in golden words.

In his message on the martyrdom of the officer, the COAS said, “When a soldier sacrifices his life I lose part flesh of my body, that night is always difficult to pass.

“But we remain fully determined to sacrifice anything and everything for the defence of our motherland,” General Bajwa added.

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Texas attacker likely driven to shooting after romantic interest’s rejection | World

Texas attacker likely driven to shooting after romantic interest's rejection | World 6
Dimitrios Pagourtzis — the suspect in the Santa Fe High School shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, US — as shown in a booking photo at the Galveston County Jail, released by the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office on May 18, 2018 (L) and in an undated picture obtained from social media (R), released on May 18, 2018. Courtesy Galveston County Sheriff’s Office/via REUTERS

SANTA FE: A teenage gunman who shot and killed eight students and two teachers during a gun rampage at a Houston-area high school had been spurned by one of his victims after making aggressive advances, the mother of the attacker’s romantic interest told a newspaper.

Sadie Rodriguez, 16-year-old Shana Fisher’s mother, told the Los Angeles Times that her daughter rejected four months of aggressive advances from Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, who is in jail charged with murdering 10 people early on Friday at the high school in Santa Fe.

Fisher finally stood up to him and embarrassed him in class, the newspaper quoted her mother as writing in a private message to the Times.

“A week later, he opens fire on everyone he didn’t like,” she said. “Shana being the first one.”

Rodriguez could not independently be reached for comment.

If true, it would be the second school shooting in recent months driven by such rejection.

In March, a 17-year-old Maryland high school student used his father’s gun to fatally shoot a female student with whom he had been in a recently ended relationship.

Police said Pagourtzis confessed to Friday’s killings after he was taken into custody, but authorities have offered no motive yet for the massacre — the fourth-deadliest mass shooting at a US public school in modern history.

The Santa Fe Independent School District (ISD) denied accounts from some classmates that Pagourtzis had been bullied, including by a football coach.

“Administration looked into these claims and confirmed that these reports are untrue,” it said on Saturday in a statement on Facebook.

Classmates at the school, which has some 1,460 students, described Pagourtzis as a quiet loner who played on the football team. He wore a black trench coat to school in the Texas heat on Friday and opened fire with a pistol and shotgun.

‘The aftermath’

In Santa Fe on Sunday, many churches and businesses had signs outside with messages such as “Santa Fe strong” and “Santa Fe ISD we are here for you.”

About 100 people attended an emotional service at the Aldersgate United Methodist Church. Service dogs were in a nearby hall to help console grieving victims.

Jared Black, one of the students killed, used to attend a youth group at the church, and many of its members embraced his mother Pam when the family arrived.

“I was not prepared for dealing with the aftermath,” Rusty Norman, the president of the Santa Fe ISD board of trustees and a member of the church, said in an address to the congregation.

“What was supposed to be a safe place was not.”

It was the latest rampage to stoke a long-running national debate over gun ownership, three months after a student-led gun control movement emerged from a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, which killed 17 teens and educators.

Many of those student activists have taken aim at the pro-gun National Rifle Association (NRA).

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, NRA President Oliver North said students should not be afraid to attend class, but that his gun-rights advocacy group does not think the solution is to limit the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

“I believe that we can make sure kids are protected without taking away the rights of law-abiding citizens,” North said, calling for metal detectors in schools and more use of the NRA’s offer to schools of free security assessments.

Pagourtzis has provided authorities little information about the shootings, his attorney Nicholas Poehl said, adding: “Honestly because of his emotional state, I don’t have a lot on that.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, told reporters that Pagourtzis obtained the firearms from his father, who had likely acquired them legally.

Abbott also said Pagourtzis wanted to commit suicide, citing the suspect’s journals but lacked the courage to do so.

Pagourtzis’ family said in a statement they were “saddened and dismayed” by the shooting and “as shocked as anyone else” by the events. They said they were cooperating with authorities.

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Amir proves his fitness as Pakistan draw final warm-up match

Mohammad Amir appeared to prove his fitness as Pakistan drew their final warm-up match ahead of the start of their two-Test series against England.

A two-day game against Leicestershire was always likely to end in a draw and that was the case as the Midlands county finished on 226 for six in reply to Pakistan’s first innings 321 for nine declared.

Amir was one of several first-choice players rested from this match ahead of the first Test at Lord’s starting Thursday after suffering a recurrence of a longstanding knee problem during Pakistan’s preceding five-wicket victory over Test debutants Ireland in Malahide, Dublin completed on Tuesday.

The left-arm quick did, however, bowl at a lively pace on the side of the square during the lunch break and is understood not to have suffered any adverse reaction.

Read More: Azhar Mahmood adamant Pakistan ‘want more’ from Amir

Amir, now 26, saw his cricket career almost ended for good after he was caught up in a spot-fixing scandal during a 2010 Test against England at Lord’s.

He was given a jail sentence by an English court and a five-year ban by the International Cricket Council but made his return to the world stage two years ago.

In Amir’s absence, Pakistan still had several frontline bowlers playing against Leicestershire, who kept the tourists at bay thanks to a fifty from Ateeq Javid.

That Pakistan failed to dismiss Leicestershire, a Second Division county may be regarded as disappointing but tor fixtures are a notoriously unreliable guide to how a team will perform in Test matches.

It is only two years ago since Pakistan, albeit with now-retired batsmen Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan in the side, drew a four-Test series in England 2-2.

They also upset the odds to beat arch-rivals India in the final of last year’s Champions Trophy one-day tournament at The Oval in London.

That 2016 series also saw the now injured Yasir Shah play a key role and the performance of the leg-spinner’s teenage replacement Shadab Khan could now have an important bearing on this year’s shortened campaign.

Pakistan looks likely to stick with the same side that beat Ireland with England, who failed to win a single one out of seven Test during their recent tours of Australia and New Zealand, recalling talented ball-striker Jos Buttler to a reshaped batting line-up.

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Will the newly-wed Royal Couple visit Pakistan on PIA request?

When everyone around the world is in a rush to jump the bandwagon of tweeting something about the #RoyalWedding, it’s unfair to expect the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) to lag behind.

Promptly after most awaited moments of Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle of being declared as husband and wife in a star-studded Windsor Castle ceremony on Saturday, PIA took to Twitter and wrote:

“We watched the #RoyalWeddding & remembered #PrincessDiana & her trip to the northern areas of Pakistan, & we thought how wonderful it would be for the newly weds to visit our northern splendours as well! So #PrinceHarry & #PrincessMeghan, we are ready, just let us know when! #PIA

The marriage of Harry, 33, a former royal wild child and sixth-in-line to the British throne, and 36-year-old Meghan, a divorcee whose mother is African-American and father is white, was like no other the royal family has seen before.

Royal Wedding PIA

The rumblings about the honeymoon of the Royal couple are already talk of the town. Therefore, PIA left no stone unturned to make their message heard a loud.  PIA’s successful attempt to make its tweet more reminiscing and touching with a throwback picture of late Princess Diana from her visit of northern areas of Pakistan, certainly deserves our applause because it literally pulled on our heartstrings.

Nevertheless, mixed feedback was received from the public over PIA’s very tweet. Few appreciated PIA for its kind gesture while others asked PIA to regain its past glory when it used to be the leader of airlines but it now no more holds the same position globally.

We think of PIA’s tweet as more of a marketing tactic that would have definitely earned some good publicity but on an invitation front, did the airline really get its message through?

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Will Meghan Markle shake-up Britain’s royals?

LONDON: A biography of Britain’s latest royal, Meghan Markle, appeared on the monarchy’s official website within hours of her marrying Queen Elizabeth’s grandson Prince Harry on Saturday, with a single quote: “I am proud to be a woman and a feminist”.

To royal watchers, it represented a statement of intent and a clear demonstration of a new, modern path the 1,000-year-old British monarchy will be treading as it seeks to remain relevant in a fast-changing political climate exemplified by Brexit.

“Just 20 years ago, the monarchy seemed to be struggling for its very survival,” said the Daily Mail newspaper, referring to the Windsors’ grimmest hours in the aftermath of the death of Harry’s mother Princess Diana in a Paris car crash in 1997 when the family were heavily criticised for seeming not to care.

“How different the picture looks today. Prince Harry’s wedding to the glamorous and thoroughly modern actress Meghan Markle did more than put the seal on a fairytale romance.

“It symbolised the monarchy’s evolution into a contemporary institution – at ease with itself, outward looking and fit for the 21st Century.”

Saturday’s wedding of Harry and Meghan, who has an African American mother and white father, has been widely hailed as a union of tradition and modernity and a breakthrough in race relations.

The bride entered the church alone, while a passionate address by Michael Curry, the first black head of the Episcopal Church in the United States, which electrified Windsor Castle’s 15th century St George’s Chapel, has been pored over for its symbolism.

Now, the royal biography of Meghan, the newly titled Duchess of Sussex, has been seen as showing another departure from the usual stuffy image of the monarchy.

“From a young age, The Duchess had a keen awareness of social issues and actively participated in charitable work,” it says. “Aged 11 she successfully campaigned for a company to alter their television advert that had used sexist language to sell washing-up liquid.”

“MODEL MODERN COUPLE”

Commentators said it indicated the royal family, which traditionally steers clear of making overtly political statements, had given its blessing to her to speak out on issues such as feminism.

“It’s sure changed the Royal Family,” historian and constitutional expert David Starkey wrote in the Sun newspaper of the marriage.

“Meghan and Harry are the model modern couple: Mature, bi-racial, bi-cultural, international, do-gooding, fashion-conscious and media-savvy to their fingertips.”

British newspapers on Monday dedicated dozens of souvenir pages to every tiny detail of the wedding, while the British TV audience was reported to be almost 18 million, making it the most watched programme of the year so far.

But amidst the eulogies, some have suggested that beneath the splendid show of pomp and pageantry, where Britain boasts it has few rivals, little might change.

“The royal family is not a place where you can make any strong, particular statements,” Kehinde Andrews, an associate professor of sociology at Birmingham City University and author on race issues told Reuters.

He said the wedding was meaningless for Britain’s black community in terms of addressing entrenched racism in job prospects, the criminal justice system and health disparities.

“When we sit back and actually analyse what’s happened and what’s changed, we’ll realise it means nothing at all,” he said.

Ironically, by being more modern and more relatable to ordinary Britons, the younger royals such as Harry, his elder brother Prince William and his wife Kate, who are at the forefront of the overhaul of the Windsors, risk destroying the mystique which gives the institution its cachet.

“I think the young royals do have to be careful because although they are trying to become much more touchy-feely and accessible, they are in danger of devaluing the brand because the brand is based on the fairytale and the fact they aren’t accessible,” royal biographer Claudia Joseph told Reuters.

“It’s a very difficult line for them to tread.”

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Gilgit Baltistan government promulgates GB Order 2018 | Pakistan

Gilgit Baltistan government promulgates GB Order 2018 | Pakistan 11
GB Assembly. Photo: File

GILGIT: Gilgit Baltistan (GB) government on Monday formally promulgated Gilgit Baltistan Order 2018, which provides devolution of greater administrative authority and financial powers to the area.

Addressing a press conference, provincial law minister Aurangzeb Advocate and information adviser Shams Mir said it was a historic initiative which would bring Gilgit Baltistan region on as per par with other provinces of the country in terms of socio-economic development.

Referring to the opposition, they said political orphans took to social media to pursue propaganda against such measures and mislead masses through bogus documents but finally they got exposed and the GB Order 2018 was enforced which featured reforms on judiciary, legislative and administrative levels.

They said these drastic reforms had been basic demand of people of the area and now they were witnessing the same materializing in the shape of GB Order 2018 which guaranteed all fundamental rights of people of area.

They said in the last empowerment order guaranteed only 17 basic rights and that too was limited only to GB, but now in light of the GB order 2018, a citizen of the area could demand his or her rights at any corner of the country and had access to all apex courts of the country.

They said five-member committee had been constituted to depoliticize appointment of judges in GB andthe prime minister would appoint judges in apex courts on its recommendations.

They said the name of the chief court had been changed into high court and number of high court judges had been raised to two on demand of the lawyers’ community.

Under the reforms, they added, only a retired judge of Pakistan Supreme Court would be appointed to the office of chief justice GB appellate court.

They said that name of Legislative Assembly had been changed into Gilgit Baltistan Assembly and would have same legislative powers as other provinces of the country including powers under the Schedule-IV of the country’s Constitution.

The GB Order 2108 also shifted powers of the Gilgit Baltistan Council to Gilgit BaltistanAssembly, entrusting with powers to make legislations regarding mineral, hydro power and tourism sectors.

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German companies worry Trump moving toward ‘America Alone’ | World

German companies worry Trump moving toward 'America Alone' | World 13
US President Donald Trump walks to Marine One in the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, US, May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis/Files

BERLIN: German companies are concerned that US President Donald Trump is increasingly thinking only of America rather than just putting his country first, the head of Germany’s DIHK Chambers of Commerce told media.

The United States has pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and Germany has acknowledged it could be hard to protect companies doing business with Iran, as a senior US official renewed a threat of sanctions against European firms.

German companies also face the prospect of possible extra levies — Trump imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminium in March but the European Union has been granted exemptions until June 1.

“America First now increasingly means America Alone,” DIHK President Eric Schweitzer told the RND group of newspapers. “That makes German businesses really worried.”

Nonetheless, a DIHK survey published earlier this month showed a record number of German companies believe economies in foreign markets where they do business will improve despite rising political and trade risks.

In January, Trump said he would always promote “America First”, as he expected other world leaders to do on behalf of their own countries, but added: “America First does not mean America alone. When the United States grows so does the world.”

Schweitzer called for the EU to take a tough line in the trade dispute with the US, saying while it was important to remain in dialogue over difficult conflicts, “we’re moving in the wrong direction if we automatically react to new unreasonable demands with concessions.”

Germany is Europe’s biggest exporter to the US.

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Amir proves his fitness as Pakistan draw final warm-up match | Sports

Amir proves his fitness as Pakistan draw final warm-up match | Sports 15
Fitness battle: Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir is key for the first Test. Photo: AFP

LONDON: Mohammad Amir appeared to prove his fitness as Pakistan drew their final warm-up match ahead of the start of their two-Test series against England.

A two-day game against Leicestershire was always likely to end in a draw and that was the case as the Midlands county finished on 226 for six in reply to Pakistan´s first innings 321 for nine declared.

Amir was one of several first-choice players rested from this match ahead of the first Test at Lord´s starting Thursday after suffering a recurrence of a longstanding knee problem during Pakistan´s preceding five-wicket victory over Test debutants Ireland in Malahide, Dublin completed on Tuesday.

The left-arm quick did however bowl at a lively pace on the side of the square during the lunch break and is understood not to have suffered any adverse reaction.

Amir, now 26, saw his cricket career almost ended for good after he was caught up in a spot-fixing scandal during a 2010 Test against England at Lord´s.

He was given a jail sentence by an English court and a five-year ban by the International Cricket Council, but made his return to the world stage two years ago.

In Amir´s absence, Pakistan still had several frontline bowlers playing against Leicestershire, who kept the tourists at bay thanks to a fifty from Ateeq Javid.

That Pakistan failed to dismiss Leicestershire, a Second Division county, may be regarded as disappointing but tor fixtures are a notoriously unreliable guide to how a team will perform in Test matches.

It is only two years ago since Pakistan, albeit with now retired batsmen Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan in the side, drew a four-Test series in England 2-2.

They also upset the odds to beat arch-rivals India in the final of last year´s Champions Trophy one-day tournament at The Oval in London.

That 2016 series also saw the now injured Yasir Shah play a key role and the performance of the leg-spinner´s teenage replacement Shadab Khan could now have an important bearing on this year´s shortened campaign.

Pakistan look likely to stick with the same side that beat Ireland with England, who failed to win a single one out of seven Test during their recent tours of Australia and New Zealand, recalling talented ball-striker Jos Buttler to a reshaped batting line-up.

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