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Fashion forward: Cool ways to wear culottes

Sat, 08/20/2016 - 12:47

These retro stylish pants are finally back in fashion and that too, just in time for the summer. Trust us when we say hang up your figure-hugging skinnies and invest in a pair of culottes. As compiled from Cosmopolitan India, we’re bringing you three quick and easy ways to style this oh-so-flattering, wide-legged answer to our prayers.

But first things first

let’s get you acquainted with your body. If you’re pear or apple shaped, tailored culottes comprising a strong, structured fabric will hold your shape. The trousers will make the statement and fall over your tummy and hips. On the other hand, loose-flowing, palazzo-style culottes would be the best option for those of you who are tall and slender, seeing how elegant they look on this particular body type.

Once you have figured out your body type, you can go ahead and purchase a pair of these beauties. We can assure you that pretty soon, you’re going to be wondering why you didn’t buy into the trend earlier. Read on to find out some cool looks you can go for, thanks to how versatile culottes can be.

Cool for the summer

If you enjoy coordinating your outfits, this idea is for you. It’s easy to wear and looks well thought out and ‘put together’. This summer culottes look would work just as well for an outdoor picnic as it would for a slightly formal, evening tea party. And the best part is that culottes are generally in a stretchable fabric with a creased detail, meaning they can be rolled up with no worry of having to iron them. They have an elasticated waist (again so comfortable) and look great with heeled espadrilles. A variety of colours are available in this style of culottes in both high and low street brands, from metallics to plain black. You can even pair them with a fitted T-shirt and strappy light tan sandals for a laid-back, stylish evening look.

Smart, sleek and sophisticated

Tailored culottes are a practical solution for a sophisticated summer look. They keep you cool but also look smart, especially when worn with heels and a silk blouse.

For added interest wear them with a pair of patterned heels. Tan, dark red and mustard all look great with navy. Try out a few different styles to add a twist to your look. Dress down at the weekend with Breton top and tan sandals. These culottes will be a hardworking item in your wardrobe!

Laid-back and lovely

Denim culottes are fabulous because you can practically live in them! They are great for chasing kids around parks or day trips out and can be dressed up for dinner or down for a day of shopping. They also provide the style solution to wearing jeans in the hot summer months without over-heating yourself. Fitted shirts, Breton tops and denim blouse all look great paired with denim culottes and as they are neutral in colour, you can sport them with literally anything. Invest in a pair for a super easy, breezy and fun style.

Compiled By: Amna Hashmi 

Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2016.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Changing times: The old and the new

Sat, 08/20/2016 - 12:46

KARACHI : Every decade has its own phenomena and the 1980s were no exception. They are often difficult to fathom but reflect personal experiences. One of the practices of the 1980s was to rent, sell, buy or exchange books from the neighbourhood cabin known as a library. Books were also sold at pushcart stands in front of schools.

The temptation ensured people kept reading multi-volume, serialised books and instalments of long stories that appeared in popular digests. But this trend gradually started disappearing in the 1990s.

On the other hand, Karachi’s Khorri Garden, near Joria Bazaar, was flooded with shipments of used and new, but discarded, books imported from abroad. And soon, bookshops selling these books began to mushroom in Peshawar, Rawalpindi and Karachi. Subsequently, some roads, thoroughfares and crossings of the major cities were decorated with old books on Sundays.

One could pinpoint various similarities among book cabins, book stands and old bookshops. The obvious one was that they sold books at considerably discounted price.

These books were purchased by vendors from voracious readers or custodians of closed libraries. It is widely believed that reading old or used books became common in Peshawar, Rawalpindi and Islamabad in the wake of the Afghan war.

Most of these books contain autographs, inscriptions, highlighted text and copious notes. It is understood that these ascriptions are proof of wide and deep communication between the reader and the writer. This response of the reader about the narrative undoubtedly creates another level of communication between readers of used or old books. One tries to unpack the scribes and in doing so, attempts to understand the mind and feelings of the first reader. Sometimes readers of the old books agree with inscribed notes, sometimes they do not. Some even consider them as an uninvited consultation and may see it as an obstruction into their reading flow and thinking process.

On the other hand, subsequent readers also annotate the text. But comparison reveals differences in the appreciation of the text. It is akin to the experience of two people visiting a garden and narrating different observations and feelings.

Sometimes it is very difficult to establish links between the matter of the book and the side notes and commentary offered by readers. Nevertheless, the notes are a testament of diversity of thought and the beauty of the written word. Some bibliophiles are not promoting used books. They are fond of new books.

Lately, reading on digital devices is in vogue. But it cannot be construed as a total replacement of reading tangible books and allied intellectual quests of old times.
The writer is a development practitioner and novelist

Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2016.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Sapphire’s concept store opens doors in Lahore

Sat, 08/20/2016 - 12:45

LAHORE: With e-commerce on the rise, pragmatic fashion business owners are working on enhancing the physical experience of shopping to convert consumers from mere browsers to buyers.

From multi-brand stores with blow-dry bars to boutiques lined with plush sofas, stores are upping the ante to make shopping more inviting for today’s time-pressed, distracted customer — all in the hopes of more sales.

In lieu with this market shift, Sapphire recently opened doors to its biggest store, sprawled across 1,300 sq ft, at Lahore’s expansive Emporium Mall.

Store designer, Yousaf Shahbaz of Strata, has incorporated several experience enhancers; from an in-house café called ‘Delish for Sapphire’ that serves savouries, tea, coffee and confectionery to a kids’ play area that will keep the mothers at peace throughout the visit.

This new store is what Sapphire Creative Head Khadija Shah visualises for the brand, right now and for time to come. “We are expanding on our range for women’s shoes and eventually putting out linen and home accessories,” she shared. Sapphire’s new Concept Store thus helps the brand transition from being fashion fashion to a complete lifestyle destination.

The store itself stands with a pristine white interior, arches and domes with the only splashes of colour coming from the eclectic designs. The walls display murals clad with Sapphire’s signature fauna flora and birds replete with a fountain in the café area.

Speaking to Shah, one realises that the store has been in the pipeline for almost a year. “I wanted it to be a sensory experience for people. Customers can also get food or a play area in the mall but I want them to come and feel like they are in a different zone altogether.”

About the store design, she shared, “In all our other stores we have Moroccan/Persian elements so we expanded on that with the Concept Store. We want to not be ethnic yet be predicated on Eastern roots.”

Along with their regular prét and unstitched collections, the new store also has a greater range of accessories and shoes for men and women. Shah added, “The shoes will be trend-based since the store is based on fast-fashion. We will bring to the store whatever is trending across the world and I will curate it myself according to our brand philosophy.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2016.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Review: Exhausted by the commonness of survival

Sat, 08/20/2016 - 12:45

KARACHI: I will confess that I approached Manto Namay: Makateeb-e-Saadat Hasan Manto with reluctance as I expected to be rudely awakened by the prose highlighting the latent vileness of human nature that makes animals thankful for their lack of humanity.

But, as I turned the pages of the book, I was enraptured by the ‘person’ Saadat Hasan Manto, who was deeply admired for his satirical writings that broke literary and cultural taboos in the time of extreme political and cultural censorship.

His ability to shock and cause squeamishness, laying bare the evil in society in the most matter-of-fact style remains unparalleled in Urdu literature.

This book is a collection of Manto’s letters to his family, editors, peers and friends, with the last section containing those received by him. It gives a unique insight into the life of the man extraordinaire, exhausted by the commonness of survival.

His letters are an emotional rollercoaster ride for the reader, laced with intriguing simplicity but woven with thorns of reality. Whilst reading them, one is uplifted from realism-inflicted exhaustion by the child-like innocence of Manto’s affections for those he loved and didn’t love, proving his quintessential nature tragically unappreciated by his critics.

Every letter reveals his impecuniousness, a tragedy still common with great writers, actors, and artists of today. His writing has the easy, uninterrupted flow of conversations where no detail is too personal to be revealed. His laying-bare style invokes empathy, compassion and affection, with a sadness one impotently feels for a loved one defeated by fate.

The letters are ordered in timely progression from the pre-Partition to post-Partition era, highlighting the different trials Manto experienced in his life. He was a man deeply perturbed by human callousness that he could not accept till the end of his days. His exasperation for being trialed for writing the truth, his frustration of wasting his effort and time in with meaningless jobs and his dejection for not being unpaid are not only read but felt by the reader; such is the power of his words.

His helplessness in being unable to stop others from gaining material benefit from his writings becomes almost tangible with his satirical appeals and threats written to the guilty. Manto’s allure touches romanticism in his communication with his friends and family, where he writes with love and affection of a common man whose words contain the magic of a literary maestro. The most interesting is his ‘unposted’ letter to Jawaharlal Nehru, an epitome of satirical writing in any language, which leaves the reader awestruck with the way he effortlessly weaves politics, sociology, nationalism and realism into one cloth.

The letters sent to him by others reveal the affection he enjoyed of his peers, contemporaries, fans and friends who were equally saddened at the literary world’s uncharitable treatment of the man and his work.

Manto Namay leaves the reader with a yearning for devouring his writings once again, to relish the bitter truth of human society.

Title: Manto Namay: Makateeb-e-Saadat Hasan Manto

Compiled by: Pervez Anjum

Publisher: Sang-e-Meel Publications

ISBN: 9693527763

Price: Rs500

The writer is a freelance contributor and editor

Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2016.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Review: Glimpses of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai

Sat, 08/20/2016 - 12:45

LAHORE: Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai (1690-1752) is considered to be one of the most important South Asian poets of the 18th century. Bhittai, who primarily wrote in Sindhi, is widely translated into various languages, including Urdu and English.

Born to Shah Habib in the village of Halla Haveli, Bhittai was raised during what is believed to be the golden age of Sindhi culture.

A self-educated man, he was well-versed in Persian and Arabic as well as the Holy Quran and Hadith. Along with the mandatory knowledge of the book, Bhittai was Hafiz-e-Masnavi-e-Maulana (a person who memorises Rumi’s Mathnavi). Impressions of this can be found in Bhittai’s poetry. According to some biographical accounts, he was also a calligrapher and made several beautiful copies of Quran. His linguistic and scholastic competence is not only found in his eternal verses but also in his correspondence with his contemporary Makhdoom Moinuddin Thattvi. These can be found in the Risala-i-Owaisi.

Edited and compiled by Sufi Laghari, Glimpse of Beloved is a testament to the universality of Bhittai’s verse, which Hasan Mujtaba has translated into English. Mujtaba, who is a brilliant poet himself, did not translate Bhittai’s verses by only keeping the formalistic aspects of translational process in mind. Instead he let the poet in himself be the interpreter of Bhittai’s verse. The technique does not boggle the reader with its verbosity but resonates directly with his or her heart through the sheer simplicity of its metaphors. An example of this can be found in the following verse:

Those who revise anguish,

Read lessons of pain,

Carrying the slate of thought,

In their hands, study silence.

They read the page,

By which they catch,

Glimpse of the beloved

Mujtaba’s translated volume contains 100 poems by Bhittai that encapsulate the themes of love, loss, pain and anguish. However, the most important poems in the volume are the ones that speak to the most defining evils of our time. In a series of poems titled Aggression, Of Mullahs, Ego, Lies on Sale, The Muslim, Mujtaba illuminates Bhittai’s disgust for dogma and the false rhetoric of the worldly knowledge. He presents an English equivalent of all that the world is facing today.

In his foreword to the book, JP Vaswani mentions a Bhittai song which he supposedly uttered when he was asked if he was a Shia or Sunni:

It is good to fast and read namaz,

But if you aspire,

To behold the Beloved,

You have to move,

On a different way.

In this verse, Bhittai disqualifies the idea of belonging to a certain brand of Islam. It paves an understanding of nothingness and surrender, which Rumi says (my translation from Divan-e-Shams) in a different style, corroborating a similar theme:

Love is beyond the divides of temporality and eternity,

And its depths are never absolute,

Love doesn’t reach the frozen hearts,

And its nothing except blessing and direction.

The religion of Love is of a different kind,

There is no tradition for anyone to follow.

In translating this pocket-size volume of Bhittai’s poems, Mujtaba has gifted the Anglophone readers a gem of South Asian literary heritage, which speaks to the hearts of people and invites them to reconnect with their feelings, an aspect of human life that’s deemed not so popular today. Although the translator has done a great deal in anthologising the poems in varied themes and it is a complete oracle of mystic wisdom in one’s hands, it would have been more helpful for the book to stand out if it were conceived as a large-scale collection of Bhittai’s work.

In our hectic lives of today, perhaps this pocket-size volume is handy in getting to know a giant-like Bhittai and being comforted and reassured by his great verse. In the meantime, one would hope to see Bhittai’s work translated for Anglophone readers, which would not only introduce Bhittai for his poetic grandeur but also make him an important poet to be studied as part of the intellectual history of 18th century South Asia.

Title: Glimpse of Beloved

Compiled and Edited by: Sufi Laghari

Translated by: Hasan Mujtaba

Published by: Center for Vedic and Dharmic Studies

ISBN: 9786021767962

The writer is a former AIPS junior fellow at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and teaches literary studies at Kinnaird College, Lahore. She is currently translating and annotating Mirza Athar Baig’s novel ‘Ghulam Bagh’

Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2016.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Nigerians look to traditional gods for economic salve

Sat, 08/20/2016 - 12:17

OSOGBO: Wearing pristine white gowns and cowry shells, red feathers in their hair, a group of Nigerian priestesses sang as they slaughtered chickens for the river goddess, asking for good fortune in these turbulent times.

Thousands of Nigerians came out to Osogbo, a three-hour drive from Lagos, on Friday to celebrate the river goddess Osun and put their hardships behind them as people turn to traditional gods for hope in the face of a likely recession and with no end in sight to the country’s economic woes.

“I thank God we still have Osun,” priestess Oyelola Elebuibon told AFP during the procession from the king’s palace to a sacred forest grove studded with moss-coated concrete sculptures of Yoruba dieties.

The annual festival sees an “arugba” — or virgin — carrying a sacred gourd through the streets and down to the water to give a sacrifice to the river goddess. Around her, dizzyingly fast drummers beat the crowd into a frenzy, while the royal entourage follows in the air-conditioned comfort of high-end SUVs.

Nigeria hosts international summit on Boko Haram

“Water always cools,” said Elebuibon, explaining that praying to the “orishas” — or deities — solves problems in a way that Christianity or Islam cannot.

Perhaps Nigeria is in particular need of some soothing. The country is smarting from a plunge in oil prices that has sapped its government revenues and helped stoke inflation to 16.5 percent in June.

The economic crisis has been a long time coming. Endemic inequity in the country’s oil-producing region has stoked discontent that has erupted with a new wave of militants attacking oil infrastructure.

Other industries are strangled by the lack of electricity, a result of poor infrastructure development during the boom times.

In Lagos, the country’s commercial hub, elites can cocoon themselves in luxury by powering their apartments with gas-guzzling generators and shopping at grocery stores with imported food.

Nigeria’s Osun State — the home of the festival — declared Monday, August 22, a public holiday for traditional worshippers. PHOTO: AFP

That’s not the case in Osogbo, where the streets are dark at night and potholes pock the roads.

As the ceremonial procession walked from the palace to the sacred forest grove, gangs of young unemployed men prowled the streets and got into fistfights, scaring women and children away from the festivities.

‘Miracle water’

Nigeria is about evenly split between a Muslim north and a Christian south, but many people still practise traditional religion which features a pantheon of animist gods worshipped at shrines.

This week, Osun State — the home of the festival — declared Monday, August 22, a public holiday for traditional worshippers.

It’s a move welcomed by tourists who came to Osogbo for the festival which is held in one of Yorubaland’s last remaining sacred groves.

Nigeria says lost $15 bn in military procurement fraud

“All my problems this year will go away,” said Tope Lagluko, a 40-year-old businessman selling moringa seed in the sacred grove by the river.

Lagluko said the water is a cure-all that could be added to a bath to “solve any problem”, and he insists on visitors taking some home.

“I’ve seen the miracles,” he said.

Yet even the promise of holy water couldn’t change the fact that this year, there just wasn’t as much money to spend on travel.

Despite sponsorships from a major mobile network and Seaman’s Schnapps — “the original number one prayer drink”, according to a banner — turnout was low, a staff member at the king’s palace said.

Still, for the devoted, the river goddess is worth the trek.

“I love this place, it brings people together,” said Fumi Nife, a 28-year-old woman wearing a white gown standing by the water.

“See you next year.”

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Trump companies owe $650 million: NY Times

Sat, 08/20/2016 - 12:12

WASHINGTON: Companies belonging to Donald Trump have at least $650 million in debt, more than twice the amount shown in public filings made by his presidential campaign, the New York Times reported Saturday.

The paper employed a property information firm to search publicly available data on more than 30 US properties connected to the Republican candidate, including offices and golf courses.

In addition to the $650 million liabilities, “a substantial portion of his wealth is tied up in three passive partnerships that owe an additional $2 billion to a string of lenders,” the Times said about debt that could significantly affect Trump’s wealth.

US billionaire Buffett challenges Trump to reveal tax returns

The billionaire tycoon campaigns on what he says is his spectacularly successful real estate record, claiming to be worth $10 billion and citing his business acumen as his major qualification for the presidency.

However, he has dismissed mounting pressure even from within his own party to disclose his tax returns or allow an independent valuation of his assets.

Trump’s campaign filings show his businesses owed at least $315 million, the Times noted, saying they appear to be accurate and that Trump was not required to disclose all of his business activities.

Trump vows to ‘reject bigotry’ if elected president

Although the paper does not accuse him of any wrongdoing, the investigation “underscored how much of Mr Trump’s business remains shrouded in mystery.”

The probe “also found that Mr Trump’s fortunes depend deeply on a wide array of financial backers, including one he has cited in attacks during his campaign,” the Times said.

His lenders include one of the largest banks in China — which the Republican candidate accuses of being a US economic foe — and the investment bank Goldman Sachs, which he says influences his Democratic White House rival Hillary Clinton.

As president, the Times said, Trump would be able to make decisions that would have a major influence on his business empire and net worth.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

US to send delegation to Turkey for Gulen probe

Sat, 08/20/2016 - 11:09

WASHINGTON: US Justice and State Department officials will fly to Ankara to discuss government accusations against Fethullah Gulen, the exiled cleric Turkey accuses of masterminding a failed military coup, according to a Justice Department official.

President Tayyip Erdogan has demanded the United States extradite Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania, over the July putsch in which more than 200 people, including civilians, were killed.

Turkish officials have suggested refusal to repatriate Gulen for trial would seriously strain ties between the two NATO allies. Gulen, described by Erdogan as a terrorist, denies any involvement in the coup attempt, which has led to large-scale purges of the military, civil service, judiciary and academia.

US-based cleric Gulen slams Turkey judicial system over arrest warrant

“US officials, including representatives of the Departments of Justice and State, have offered to consult with the Turkish government,” the Justice Department official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

“We can confirm that a delegation (with) representatives of the Department of Justice and State will visit Turkey,” the official added, but declined to give any date for the visit.

Erdogan calls on US to extradite preacher Gulen in Istanbul speech

On Friday, Bloomberg news reported that the US Justice Department would dispatch a team to Turkey in the coming days to pursue the allegations.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Pakistani man injured by Yemen rocket attack into Saudi border city

Sat, 08/20/2016 - 11:05

RIYADH: Rockets fired by Yemeni rebels into a Saudi border city on Saturday killed a Saudi civilian and wounded six others including a Pakistani man, the Saudi civil defence agency said.

Quoted by Al-Ekhbariya state television, the agency the five other wounded in the city of Najran were all Yemeni citizens.

Video footage posted on social networks showed two blazing buildings in the city centre.

Saudi-led coalition air strike kills 9 civilians in Yemen market

Cross-border attacks into Saudi Arabia have increased since a Saudi-led Arab coalition this month stepped up air strikes on insurgent targets inside Yemen in an attempt to shore up the beleaguered government.

Saturday’s attack was the third this week.

On Friday, five foreign residents of Najran were wounded in a rocket strike just west of the city.

Seven civilians were killed on Tuesday when the city centre was shelled, with three victims said to be expats.

Tuesday’s toll was the highest reported number of civilian casualties in Saudi Arabia for a single day since the Arab coalition intervened in Yemen in March last year against the Iran-backed Huthi rebels.

At least 11 dead, 19 injured in air raid on Yemen hospital: MSF

More than 100 civilians and soldiers have been killed in southern Saudi Arabia by retaliatory rocket strikes or skirmishes since the coalition began operations in support of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s government.

Meanwhile, the rebel-controlled Saba news agency reported a wave of coalition raids inside Yemen on Saturday, including one that killed three civilians near the Huthi-held capital Sanaa.

Despite the reported attacks, Saba said that “thousands” of people demonstrated in Sanaa in support of the rebels and their allies, forces loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Five die as passenger bus falls into ravine in AJK

Sat, 08/20/2016 - 10:53

At least five people died while 15 others were injured when a passenger bus fell into a ravine near Chakswari, some 35 kilometres from Mirpur, Azad Kashmir on Saturday.

Seven of the 15 people injured in the accident were stated to be in a critical condition.

According to Deputy Commissioner Mirpur Chaudhry Amjad Iqbal, the bus was on its way to Mirpur from Dadayalwent with around 50 passengers when its tie-rod broke, causing the incident.

Bridegroom among 6 killed in bus-car crash

The deceased were identified  Nazir Hussain (bus driver), Mangta Khan, Muhammad Hussain, Noor Muhammad and Zainab Bibi.

Some of the injured received treatment at district hospital Mirpur while others were admitted to nearby hospitals or discharged after treatment, the commissioner added quoting doctors.

In another tragic incident on Thursday, a bridegroom and five other members of a wedding party were killed when a speeding bus rammed into their car near the Bostan area on the Quetta-Kila Saifullah Road.

Bus skids off road: One killed, 18 injured in AJK

Such was the impact of the crash that the sedan was reduced to a crumpled heap of metal, as the authorities used welding torches and cutters to retrieve the bodies from the wreckage.

On May 14, a woman was killed and 18 others were injured when a passenger bus skidded off the road and plunged into a ravine in the Hattian Bala area, AJK.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Bangladesh Cricket Board sacks assistant coach for no-show

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 06:02

DHAKA, BANGLADESH: Bangladesh cricket authorities said on Friday that they have sacked the national team’s assistant coach Ruwan Kalpage after he failed to report for duty.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) had asked Sri Lankan Kalpage to join the national team’s conditioning camp by August 16 ahead of a home series against England.

“We set a deadline for him to join, but he did not respond,” BCB chief executive officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury told AFP.

Anderson awaits security advice on Bangladesh tour

“Therefore we decided to terminate his contract,” he added.

Kalpage had reportedly expressed concerns over his safety in Bangladesh following an attack by extremists on a Dhaka cafe last month that left 22 people, mostly foreigners, dead.

The country has been reeling from months of gruesome killings of religious minorities and secular activists, with many of the attacks claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.

Despite terrorist attack, Bangladesh hopes England tour will go ahead

Two other Sri Lankans — head coach Chandika Hathurusinghe and fitness trainer Mario Villavarayan — as well as Zimbabwean fielding coach Richard Halsall have already joined the camp, after the BCB provided them with armed security guards.

Kalpage joined Bangladesh as assistant coach on a two-year contract in August 2014 and was earlier this year given an extension until the 2019 World Cup.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Hospital in Indian-held Kashmir filled with beating, shooting victims

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 05:47

More than 40 days of clashes between protesters and security forces have overwhelmed the main hospital in Indian-occupied Kashmir, where some patients with severe injuries said they had been beaten in their homes by troops.

House-to-house searches continued on Friday, authorities said, for suspected ringleaders of street protests sparked by the killing on July 8 of a popular field commander Burhan Wani.

UN chief condemns Indian Kashmir killings, calls for dialogue

At least 65 people have been killed and 6,000 injured in the ensuing clashes, many of them wounded by shotgun rounds fired by security forces enforcing a curfew across the Muslim-majority region.

Women leave a hospital in Srinagar as the city remains under curfew following weeks of violence in IOK. PHOTO: REUTERS

Pictures taken by a Reuters photographer at Srinagar’s main SMHS Hospital on Thursday showed men with weals across their backs and buttocks that they said had been caused by beatings.

Another showed a crying boy, his head swathed in bandages, as he was comforted by his family, who said he had been wounded by shotgun pellets.

Doctors at the hospital were exhausted, with one saying they had performed more eye operations in the past month than they had over the last three years.

“We have here less number of beds and staff. We are in physical and mental stress,” said Nisarul Hassan, senior consultant at SMHS hospital who was forced to use an ambulance to get back home.

US voices concern over Kashmir violence

The Indian army has admitted to, and apologised for, the death of a college lecturer in one beating. A senior army officer said on Friday the forces were trying not to react to acts of provocation.

An injured man is rushed to a hospital after he was injured during clashes between police and protesters. PHOTO: REUTERS

“Militants are hiding behind the stone pelters and are trying to provoke security forces into firing on them, but we are exercising restraint to avoid civilian casualties,” Lieutenant General SK Dua told a news conference in Srinagar.

“They want us to fire on them and we will not do it. We are exercising restraint to avoid collateral damage.”

Hospital overwhelmed

Dozens of volunteers received the injured at SMHS Hospital as ambulances brought them in from rural areas.

Paramedics and ambulance drivers said government forces attacked them on the way. The curfew restricts movement, severely disrupting daily life.

“India and Pakistan are fighting over my homeland but in the end it’s is only our blood that they manage to secure,” said Faizal Wani, 24, whose father was being treated for pellet wounds suffered in the clashes.

Four killed in new Kashmir violence

Another doctor said patients have been brought in with abdominal injuries from rifle bullets. “Our operating theaters are working non-stop,” the doctor told Reuters.

A girl who got injured in the clashes between police and protesters, reacts as she lies on a hospital bed. PHOTO: REUTERS

Troops have resorted to firing rifles and shotguns to quell stone-throwing protests sparked by the death of Burhan Wani, a field commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen separatist group.

India’s Central Reserve Police Force, which deploys a large contingent of paramilitaries in Kashmir, told a regional court that more than 100 people had been partly or completely blinded by shotgun pellets.

A top UN human rights official has expressed “deep regret” at the failure of both India and Pakistan to grant access to the separate parts of Kashmir that each runs to investigate allegations of serious human rights violations.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Celtic fans fly Palestinian flags against Israel’s Hapoel Beer Sheva

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 05:32

Fans of Scottish football club Celtic made a political protest against their team’s Israeli opponents, Hapoel Beer Sheva FC, on Wednesday night during a UEFA Champions League playoff game in Glasgow, with hundreds flying the Palestinian flag.

The protest was organized on Facebook via an event page entitled “Fly the flag for Palestine, for Celtic, for Justice,” with more than 1,000 people saying they were attending.

The Scottish champions could face sanctions from UEFA for failing to prevent fans from bringing in Palestinian flags since the governing body outlaws political protests at matches, as outlined in Article 16 of its regulations.

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Activists from Palestine Alliance group also had handed out fliers and flags prior to kick-off, detailing why the protest was going ahead and explaining the 1948 conflict which resulted in the creation of Israel.

The event’s Facebook page gave the following description:

“As you all know Celtic have been drawn with an Israeli football team who under UEFA’s own rules should not be allowed to participate in this competition due to the system of apartheid laws and practices including religious and ethnic based colonisation, military occupation and segregation of what remains of Palestinian land and over 90 laws which discriminate against indigenous Palestinians who make up 20% of the population of current day Israel.

“Come gather at the entrance of The Celtic Way where we will be distributing free Palestine flags to those who will fly them. We will not be pushing them on those who do not want to participate, we respect your choice as fans to simply watch the game and support our team.

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“We hope in return those fans will respect in turn that for many, when someone is representing Israeli state institutions it is sadly never merely a game, football, UEFA and Celtic FC are being used to whitewash Israel’s true nature and give this rogue state an air of normality and acceptance it should not and cannot enjoy until it’s impunity ends and it is answerable to international law and faces sanctions for the countless UN resolutions it had breached.

“In support of the Palestinians we Celtic fans invoke our democratic rights to display our opposition to Israeli Apartheid, settler – colonialism and countless massacres of the Palestinian people, such as the one carried out in besieged Gaza in the summer of 2014 by showing the Palestinians and the world where we stand.

“We stand for justice, for freedom and end to all forms of racism and oppression. Throughout these years the Palestinians struggled and died while the world looked elsewhere. No more is this the case and around the world the inspiring and unstoppable boycott, divestment and sanctions movement has grown and grown and global civil society, people like us, are finally making Israel accountable.

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“We are part of that movement and until there is end to the brutal occupation and medieval siege of the West Bank and Gaza, until the Palestinian citizens of current day Israel have the chains of apartheid lifted from them and until all Palestinian refugees are allowed to return to their homeland we will always be visually and openly in support of the Palestinians and opposed to their Israeli colonisers and oppresses.”

Most of Celtic supporters are Irish Catholics, who are known for being notably pro-Palestinian in their leaning on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with many viewing the Palestinian cause as similar to that of the Irish under British occupation in Northern Ireland.

While the stands became a political staging ground, the game itself saw the Scottish champions as 5-2 winners in the first-leg of the playoff match. The second leg in Israel is scheduled for next week.

This article initially appeared on Newsweek

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Afghan president invokes Allama Iqbal to garner attention of Pakistani leaders

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 05:20

ISLAMABAD: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani used his Independence Day address to draw the attention of Pakistani leaders to a poem by philosopher-poet Allama Iqbal, who had linked peace in Afghanistan to peace in Asia.

Ghani also talked about Pakistan while addressing an event organised on Thursday in connection with Afghanistan’s 97th Independence Day. “Our message to Pakistan is strong. Our message to Pakistan is state-to-state. We will not give up our national interests. Our relations should be based on national interests,” the Afghan president said. Excerpts from Ghani’s speech have been posted online.

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According to local media, Afghan Chief Executive  Abdullah Abdullah, currently involved in political wrangling with the president, stayed away from the function at the Presidential Palace. Afghanistan achieved complete independence from the British Empire on August 19, 1919 after the end of the third Anglo-Afghan war.

Afghans celebrate Independence Day at a time when nearly 15,000 foreign troops happen to be stationed in the country and American troops have been fighting the Taliban following US President Barack Obama’s policy to allow US forces accompany Afghan forces in operations.

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“My message to the people of Pakistan and the Pakistani leaders is to read Iqbal’s poetry about Afghanistan. No one should think about using coercive tactics,” he said. Further, Ghani said, Afghanistan is a sovereign country and will have an independent foreign policy based on peace, regional cooperation and international relations.

“We want wide-ranging relations with the Islamic world, regional countries, Asia and the whole world. We have made significant achievements in our foreign policy. They are beyond our expectations,” he claimed.

Afghan leaders usually use such occasions to launch appeal to the Taliban to join the peace process. However, Ghani avoided making any such appeal.

He did issue a tough message to Daesh amid concerns about the group’s emerging threat though. “I will eliminate you not only in Nangarhar but all across the country,” Ghani said while referring to it.

Without naming any country, the Afghan leader said the international community should understand who had been supporting terrorist organisations. He urged the Islamic countries, especially Saudi Arabia to help frustrate the efforts of those bent upon bringing Islam into disrepute.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

UN chief condemns Indian Kashmir killings, calls for dialogue

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 05:19

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon deplored the ongoing killings in Indian-held Kashmir and urged India and Pakistan to settle Kashmir and other outstanding issues through dialogue.

“I stand ready to offer my good offices, should it be requested by both sides, to facilitate dialogue in order to achieve a negotiated settlement,” Ban said. Ban wrote a letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in response to a letter from the latter apprising the UN chief on the deteriorating situation in Kashmir and large-scale rights violations by Indian security forces. “I deplore the loss of life and hope all efforts will be made to avoid further violence,” the secretary-general said in his letter.

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At least 70 Kashmiris have been killed and thousands injured in clashes with security forces after the killing of a prominent Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani in a shootout on July 8.

In his letter on August 5, PM Nawaz called for efforts to end the persistent and egregious violation of basic human rights of Kashmiris and also to implement the decades-old UN Security Council resolutions providing a framework for the settlement of Kashmir dispute through a plebiscite.

“I appreciated the continued commitment of Pakistan to the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute for the sake of regional peace and security, as you reaffirmed in your letter,” Ban said. “The United Nations remains convinced that it is only through dialogue that outstanding issues between Pakistan and India, including on Kashmir, can be addressed.”

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The secretary-general expressed that he looked forward to meeting Sharif again during the upcoming 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly to “discuss matters of common interest.”

Pakistan has been actively pursuing the Kashmir issue across various forums at the United Nations with Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi focusing on it in her statement at the General Assembly in a debate on human rights. She also raised the issue during meetings with UN leaders and the Security Council president last month.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

US swimmer Feigen to pay $11,000 to Brazil charity over robbery dispute

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 05:18

US  Olympic swimmer Jimmy Feigen will pay $11,000 to a Brazilian charity to settle a dispute over what police called a fabricated story about him and his teammates being robbed at gunpoint during the Rio games, ABC News reported on Friday.

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The announcement was made by Feigen’s attorney, Breno Melaragno Costa, after meeting a judge and officials from the prosecuting ministry in Rio for hours, ABC News reported.

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Feigen was among four US swimmers shown to have lied about being stopped by gunmen posing as police in the early hours of Sunday. The US Olympic Committee issued an apology over the incident.

The post US swimmer Feigen to pay $11,000 to Brazil charity over robbery dispute appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Australian zoo’s orangutan releases jazz tune

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 05:16

SYDNEY: An orangutan living in an Australian zoo has created a jazz riff which his keeper hopes will help raise awareness about the plight of the hairy primates.

Pij Olijnyk said he was constantly looking for ways to entertain Adelaide Zoo’s 21-year-old Sumatran Orangutan called Kluet and was one day showing him some photos and videos on his phone.

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Once the animal had the hang of swiping the screen, Olijnyk introduced him to an app which creates music, saying “he loved it”.

“He started just riffing away and playing some amazing stuff,” the keeper said in a video posted on Facebook Friday. “And I just thought ‘this is brilliant.'”

The zoo is selling the 30-second tune, which it has called “Give me a Klue” and on which Kluet played the drums and piano, to mark world orangutan day with all funds raised going to help conservation efforts for the animal.

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Just 7,000 Sumatran orangutans are estimated to be left in the wild, according to the zoo, which said the critically endangered species could become extinct within the next decade.

“Orangutans are incredibly intelligent, so we are always looking for new ways to interact with them and make their day interesting, challenging and fun,” Olijnyk said.

“When I first heard the song, I knew he had created something pretty special.”

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

‘I filmed the Syrian boy pulled from the rubble – his wasn’t a rare case’

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 05:02

A local journalist who filmed a heartbreaking video circulating worldwide on social media, of a dazed Syrian boy covered in blood and dust after an airstrike hit his home in Aleppo, Syria says it is not a rare occurrence.

“I’ve seen so many children rescued out of the rubble, but this child, with his innocence, he had no clue what was going on,” said Mustafa al-Sarout, an Aleppo-based journalist who filmed the video. “He put his hand on his face and saw blood. He didn’t know even what happened to him. I’ve photographed a lot of airstrikes in Aleppo, but there was so much there in his face, the blood and the dust mixed, at that age,” Sarout said.

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Mohammad, a surgeon in Aleppo who declined to give his surname, treated the young Omran when he arrived at hospital. He was struck by how stunned the boy was. “He arrived in total shock, total bewilderment at what happened. His body was covered in dust in addition to blood on his face from a wound on his forehead, and the blood mixed with the dust,” the surgeon said.

“He was frightened and shocked. He had been sitting safely in his home, perhaps asleep. And the house was brought down on top of him. When we were treating him, he was not screaming or crying, just in shock,” Mohammad said.

Omran was discharged from hospital after a few hours of being rescued. He had suffered a head injury and bruises in the attack but nothing too serious. His older sister and brother had been brought in the ambulance with him, while his father also emerged in the aftermath of the strike, face covered in blood.

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Sarout said he was surprised that the video had gone viral as the killing of children had become a common feature of the war in Aleppo and the rest of Syria that those who document its brutality, day in, day out, were no longer surprised by what they see. “These are children bombed every day. It’s not an exceptional case,” he said. “This is a daily fact of Russian and Syrian government airstrikes. They take turns bombing civilians in Aleppo before the whole world. This child is representative of millions of children in Syria and its cities,” Sarout said.

Sarout recalled rushing to the scene when news of airstrikes emerged on Wednesday night.  “There was immense destruction in the neighbourhood,” he said. “There were so many people wounded, maybe 13 or 14 there. There were people who were walking around in the street when the bombing happened and they ran to hide inside the buildings and then got trapped in the rubble when the buildings collapsed,” he said.

For Mohammad, who treated Omran, the devastation of this latest attack is exacerbated by the knowledge that it will not be the last. We have been living the daily reality of children and innocent civilians being killed for five years. The dumb missiles and barrel bombs do not discriminate, he said.

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“Stop the killing. It’s not logical that the regime and Russian air forces can keep killing people and innocent civilians and the world stays silent.” Syria’s children deserve to live in peace, he added.

The five-year-old had been rescued from the rubble of his home in the rebel-held Aleppo neighbourhood of Qaterji after a government airstrike. As the five-year-old was rescued from the rubble, journalists filmed the scene. The pictures were then broadcast around the world on Thursday, highlighting the sufferings of innocent civilians in war-torn Syria.

This article originally appeared on The Guardian.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Meesha Shafi and Saba Hamid doing bhangra will give you mum-daughter relationship goals

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 04:49

Meesha Shafi never fails to keep us entertained. The beauty recently took to social media to show off her bhangra pose and give us some serious mother-daughter goals.

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Meesha posted a throwback photo with her actor mum, Saba Hamid, at the Lux Style Awards.

Getting jiggy with mother ❤️ @sabahamid_21 #LSA2016 @tom_parker_photographer @womensownmagazine #meeshashafiLIVE #redcarpet #photobooth

A photo posted by Meesha Shafi (@meesha.shafi) on Aug 18, 2016 at 8:13am PDT

Here’s Meesha showing us how to have a great time with the best date in the world:


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This isn’t the first time we’ve seen how close the mother-daughter duo is.

Mother ❤️

A photo posted by Meesha Shafi (@meesha.shafi) on Jun 1, 2016 at 4:26am PDT

And Saba Hamid doesn’t hold back on the love either.

❤️my princess

A photo posted by sabahamid_21 (@sabahamid_21) on Aug 12, 2016 at 3:08pm PDT

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Japan eyes fighter drone, seeks record defence budget amid China assertiveness

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 04:37

TOKYO: Japan aims to develop a prototype drone fighter jet in two decades with private sector help in a technology strategy that focuses on weapons communications and lasers, according to a document seen by Reuters.

The plan will be announced this month when the Defence Ministry also unveils its request for a record budget of 5.16 trillion yen ($51 billion) for fiscal 2017, as tension rises in the East China Sea and North Korea steps up its missile threat, government officials with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The military technology plan calls for first developing an unmanned surveillance aircraft in the next decade and then an unmanned fighter jet 10 years later, the document showed.

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The rise of 2.3 per cent over this year’s budget of 5.05 trillion yen marks the fifth successive annual increase sought by the ministry, which is keen to stiffen Japan’s defences as North Korea upgrades its ballistic missile technology.

However, one security analyst said the spending was insufficient. “The security environment surrounding Japan is severe, due to neighbouring North Korea and China,” said Takashi Kawakami, a security expert at Japan’s Takushoku University.

“I personally think it’s not enough.” Japan will this month formally unveil budget requests for its defence and other ministries for the year ending March 2018.

The defence ministry’s request covers the 100 billion yen cost to upgrade Japan’s PAC-3 missile defence system, said one government source, who declined to be identified, as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Such an upgrade would roughly double the missile system’s range to more than 30 km (19 miles), other sources have said.

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The budget proposal also includes the cost of production of the Block IIA version of the Standard Missile-3 system being jointly developed with the United States to shoot down missiles at higher altitudes, the source added.

The ministry will also allocate budget funds to acquire an upgraded version of the F-35 stealth fighter, made by US company Lockheed Martin Corp, the source said.

The budget request also includes the cost of strengthening the coast guard in the southern islands of Miyakojima and Amami Oshima to allay worries over China’s more assertive activities in the East China Sea, said the source.

Tension mounted this month after a growing number of Chinese coast guard and other vessels sailed near disputed islets in the East China Sea. Japan, China and South Korea are in talks to hold a meeting of their foreign ministers next week.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News