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WASHINGTON: The Islamic State group killed a US service member in Iraq on Tuesday, the Pentagon said.
The fatality occurred during an IS attack on a Peshmerga position north of Mosul, Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook said in a statement.
The US-led anti-IS coalition had said earlier that a service member had died but did not specify a nationality. “He was killed by direct fire,” a defence official told AFP.
Cook said the attack took place about three to five kilometres (two to three miles) behind the forward line of troops, adding that the service member was advising and assisting Peshmerga forces.
“As (US Defense Secretary Ashton) Carter noted today in Germany, this sad news is a reminder of the dangers our men and women in uniform face every day in the ongoing fight to destroy ISIL and end the threat the group poses to the United States and the rest of the world,” Cook said, using an alternate acronym for the IS group.
“Our coalition will honor this sacrifice by dealing ISIL a lasting defeat.”
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KATHMANDU: Nepal on Tuesday revoked the visa of a Canadian who has worked in the country for four years, saying he violated the terms of his stay by posting comments on social media that could “incite conflict”.
The head of the immigration department said Robert Penner, a 37-year-old software developer, had two days to leave the country.
Penner tweets frequently on social and political matters and had spoken out on a number of controversial issues, including a new national constitution that sparked deadly protests.
Nepal Immigration released me after 26 hrs in custody, cancelled my working visa & gave me 2 days to leave Nepal. Thanks to all supporters.
— Robert Penner (@robpenner) May 3, 2016
“His working visa has been cancelled and he will return to his home country within two days,” Kedar Neupane, chief of the immigration department, told AFP.
“He was found to have violated the terms of his visa, commenting on internal matters of the country, inciting conflict and disturbing social harmony.”
Penner’s legal representative Raksha Ram Harijan said his client had broken no laws and would appeal against the decision.
“The decision was made based only on his tweets, but such allegations cannot be substantiated just by his tweets and personal opinions,” he told AFP.
“There is no evidence of any crime committed linked to what he has said.”
Harijan said he would apply to the courts for a stay order on the government’s decision so Penner could remain in Nepal pending the appeal.
Penner has been working in Nepal for the technology outsourcing company CloudFactory for about four years.
He recently tweeted criticism of the country’s anti-corruption watchdog for its handling of the arrest of a Nepali magazine editor, who has since been freed on the orders of the Supreme Court.
NEW YORK: Twitter’s live video-streaming application, Periscope, has hired an editor in chief, Evan Hansen, who says he plans to showcase the best content and help develop the platform.
Hansen himself revealed his appointment to Periscope, which lets users broadcast live video free of charge from smartphones running Android or Apple iOS software. The videos remain available for 24 hours before disappearing.
Farewell Medium, Hello Periscope https://t.co/MOMSY2WNxj
— Evan Hansen (@evanatmedium) May 2, 2016
“I am joining Periscope as editor in chief,” he wrote in a farewell blog on story-sharing site Medium where he is an editor.
“I still love the written word and Medium but I honestly can’t think of many things more interesting than helping build a new platform with mobile phones and real time video,” he wrote late Monday.
Hansen, who was editor in chief of technology news site Wired before he joined Medium, said he would start on May 16 at Periscope, which last week boasted that more than 200 million broadcasts had been created on its platform since it was launched a year ago.
In an interview with CNNMoney, Hansen said the role would involve developing the site and “surfacing the most interesting content to the people most likely to want to see it.”
Periscope faces a challenge from Facebook’s Live video streaming feature, which was launched in mid-2015.
In its job advertisement, Periscope said the editor in chief would establish a global editorial team to discover and highlight the most important, newsworthy and entertaining content.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s labour minister is dissatisfied with the level of female employment in the conservative kingdom but their not being allowed to drive is not to blame, he said Tuesday.
Female Saudi unemployment rose last year to almost 34 percent while the overall jobless rate for Saudis fell to 11.5 percent, according to official figures cited by Jadwa Investment, a local securities firm.
“We tried (during) the last four years to increase the female participation in the labour market,” Labour Minister Mufarrej Al-Haqbani told reporters.
But still, “I am not satisfied at all” with their employment rate, he said.
The kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030 plan, released last week to diversify the economy away from oil, calls for increased female participation in the workforce and a lowering of overall unemployment to seven percent.
More and more job sectors have opened to women, whose workforce participation — though still relatively low — has risen over the past few years.
But the kingdom has some of the world’s toughest restrictions on females and is the only country where they are not allowed to get behind the wheel.
With limited public transport, women must rely on relatives to transport them, or pay a driver if they can afford one.
While Saudi women “are highly qualified” and “ready to work”, the work environment “is not yet that good for them” but will improve, Haqbani said on the sidelines of the Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference.
Asked whether allowing women to drive could help female employment, he said: “I don’t think this is the reason for their participation” or not.
The issue in all cases is not one for the labour ministry.
“What I care about is the labour, work environment” which the ministry is trying to improve, he said.
A new initiative called “telework” allows women in isolated regions to work remotely in major cities, Haqbani said, without clarifying how this is achieved.
Women’s participation in the industrial sector is also rising, he said.
“So we are trying to provide them with a good environment and less costly tools to encourage them to participate.”
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NEW DELHI: Indian police detained three people Tuesday over the brutal rape and murder of a young student in a case echoing the 2012 gang-rape of a Delhi woman that sparked mass protests.
Police said the attack on the 30-year-old law student from the lowest Dalit caste was so vicious she was found lying dead in a pool of blood, her intestines hanging out.
Her mother discovered her body at the family home in the southern state of Kerala.
“The suspect attacked and murdered her brutally and fled the scene quickly,” said police inspector general Mahipal Yadav, who is heading the investigation into the case.
“There are indications that her intestines came out after severe violation by some foreign object,” Yadav told AFP.
Kerala home minister Ramesh Chennithala said police had registered a case of rape and murder and detained three people for questioning.
“Police have booked a case of rape and murder… today three people were taken into custody for interrogation,” he told the NDTV news network.
“Police are working very hard on this case, we will bring all the culprits to book within no time. There will be no laxity.”
Protesters staged a demonstration in state capital Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday, many covering their mouths with black handkerchiefs and carrying placards demanding justice for the victim.
The attack drew comparisons with the fatal gang-rape of a student on a bus in Delhi in 2012, which shone a global spotlight on frightening levels of sexual violence against women.
It led to an overhaul of India’s rape laws, including the speeding up of trials and tougher penalties for offenders, but high numbers of assaults persist.
The most recent official figures show that 36,735 rapes were reported across the country in 2014, although activists say the true number is likely much higher, with many crimes going unreported due to the social stigma they attract.
Social media users took to Twitter to express their outrage over the latest incident.
“The horror of the Kerala rape cannot and should not be silenced, elections or no elections. Justice must be delivered swiftly,” wrote author Advaita Kala.
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Claudio Ranieri warned Leicester City fans, who were still in dreamland on Tuesday following their side’s “unbelievable” Premier League triumph, that a repeat next season could not happen.
The Foxes’ Italian manager, talking for the first time since Leicester’s victory was sealed on Monday evening when nearest rivals Tottenham Hotspur failed to beat Chelsea, said their target now as champions would be a top-10 position.
It was a typical response from Ranieri, who has spent all season dampening down the expectations of supporters only to finally oversee a triumph considered perhaps the most unlikely in the annals of English football.
Ranieri, back at the Leicester training ground and meeting up with his players for the first time since they were crowned champions, described their success as “unbelievable”.
He said it was the manner in which they had played “with their heart and soul” that had been the secret of their success.
Yet asked if Leicester could repeat the feat, which had been rated a 5,000-1 shot at the start of the season, in their next campaign, Ranieri told Sky Sports: “No. I think no, but of course we want to continue to build.
“When I came here, the project was to build a very good foundation and slowly, slowly grow up together and in three, four years to fight for the Europa League, then the Champions League.
“This season is out of our project, but our foundations are very, very solid. We know very well we have to fight for 10th position,” he said.
“We want to do our best. I’m positive and I want to fight. Yes, a top 10 target, to make a very good campaign in Europe and the Cup and to make sure the season is safe and then something more.”
The Italian reckoned that he did not want to sell any of his players, some of whom may well be the target for bigger clubs after their stellar season, but any new signings would have to buy into Leicester’s all-for-one spirit.
“I don’t want to sell nobody. If some players don’t want to stay with us because they’re not happy with us, then I don’t want unhappy people. Then we are looking to reinforce the team but with the same mentality. Because it’s my mentality.”
Ranieri said there had been no great celebrations in his house in the Midlands, unlike those of his players who had enjoyed a party at the home of their star striker Jamie Vardy after watching Spurs draw 2-2 with Chelsea on TV, the result that sealed the crown.
He had flown home from Italy, where he had lunch with his 96-year-old mother Renata, on Monday evening and watched the game with his wife, before calling the rest of his family back in Rome.
After 28 years as a manager with a distinguished reputation but who always seemed to miss out on the biggest prizes, Ranieri smiled: “Look, in my mind, I always believed I have to win a title.
“I want to win. I don’t know where, but I want to win something. This is my strength. Always I’m a positive man and always I believe I can achieve something.”
Nevertheless, he admitted he had not actually believed Leicester would win until the final whistle at Stamford Bridge on Monday night.
“It was unbelievable because we wanted to do something special, but nobody could think we could have achieved this. It was an amazing season for us. I believe in my players but I was so happy last night.”
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DHAKA: Bangladesh police were on Tuesday investigating a new hit-list that includes the head of a university, journalists and ruling party officials, after a series of gruesome killings.
Police said they were taking seriously the threat to kill 10 people listed in a leaflet that was sent to a press club in the northwestern town of Natore on Monday by a hitherto unknown group.
Among those named was the head of Rajshahi University, where a liberal professor was hacked to death by suspected Islamists less than two weeks ago.
“The leaflet bears the name of Islami Liberation Front. It said it has launched a mission to kill the 10 people,” Natore police chief Shymal Kumar Mukherjee told AFP.
“We don’t know anything about this group. There are no previous information about this group. We have taken the matter seriously,” he said.
The Muslim-majority nation is reeling from a string of killings of secular and liberal activists and religious minorities by suspected militants.
The Islami Liberation Front said its objective was to establish an Islamic caliphate in Bangladesh by toppling what it called the “repressive” government.
Police in the city of Rajshahi said they were guarding those named and investigating the authenticity of the threat.
“We’re giving special attention to these people,” deputy chief of Rajshahi police Sardar Tamizuddin Ahmed told AFP.
Police said more than 1,000 students and teachers and students rallied on the Rajshahi University campus on Tuesday to protest at the murder of English professor Rezaul Karim Siddique, who was a poet and leading cultural activist.
Shortly after his killing, which has been claimed by the Islamic State group, two gay activists were hacked to death elsewhere.
Their killings were subsequently claimed by a Bangladeshi branch of al Qaeda.
Teachers and students have been boycotting classes at the university since Siddique’s murder on April 23, demanding justice and the arrest of the killers.
“The killers must be brought to book immediately. The government must protect the teachers and liberal voices as we’re all feeling insecure,” the head of Rajshahi University Teachers Association, Shahid Ullah, told AFP.
Bangladesh’s government has been criticised for not doing enough to stem the tide of violence. At least 30 members of religious minorities, secular bloggers and other liberal activists, foreigners and intellectuals have been murdered in the past three years.
The government denies outside involvement in the killings, saying neither the IS group nor al Qaeda have a presence in the country and blaming banned local militant groups for the attacks.
National police chief A.K.M Shahidul Hoque Tuesday denied authorities were not doing enough to bring the perpetrators to justice.
He said there had been 37 attacks related to militancy since February 2013, when an atheist blogger was hacked to death by homegrown militants.
“We were able to unearth the motives in 33 cases and have detained 144 people in connection with the cases,” he told reporters.
A long-running political crisis in officially secular Bangladesh has radicalised opponents of the government and analysts say Islamist extremists pose a growing danger.
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NEW DELHI: Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar was named on Tuesday as one of India’s goodwill ambassadors for the upcoming Rio Olympics following a furore over Bollywood star Salman Khan’s appointment, which was slammed as inappropriate.
Tendulkar said he accepted an offer from the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to work alongside Khan, whose appointment triggered a row over whether an actor was best suited to promote sports among people.
“I have had the privilege and honour of representing our nation for 25 years and I continue to bat for India off the field,” the master batsman wrote in a letter to IOA chiefs.
“The welfare of sportspersons and encouraging them to give their best is dear to me.”
The IOA named more ambassadors, including ace Indian shooter Abhinav Bindra and Oscar-winning musician AR Rahman, in the days after the controversy over Khan.
Olympic wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt had criticised Khan’s appointment, saying the “Olympics is not a place to promote films”. Indian sprint legend Milkha Singh had urged the government to intervene to overturn the decision.
However, the IOA has defended its decision. It says the 50-year-old actor is popular among young people.
Tendulkar, who is widely revered in cricket-mad India, played 200 Tests and 463 one-day internationals, knocking up a record 100 centuries in both formats, before retiring in 2013.
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RIYADH: The Saudi labour minister vowed on Tuesday to ensure the Binladin Group keeps a promise to resolve wage issues, amid reports of thousands at the building firm facing unpaid salaries and layoffs.
Labour Minister Mufarrej al-Haqbani’s comments followed a Saudi newspaper report on Monday that Binladin Group, one of the world’s largest construction companies, was laying off 77,000 foreign workers.
The report in the Al-Watan newspaper was the latest alleging tens of thousands of layoffs and unpaid salaries at the firm, which built some of the Gulf country’s landmarks.
Saudi Binladin Group confirmed to AFP that some staff have been let go, but refused to provide any figures. “The company promised to solve all the issues related to the wages,” Haqbani said on the sidelines of the Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference in Riyadh.
He did not confirm the number of affected employees but said the ministry’s “top priority” is to ensure they get their salaries under the kingdom’s wage protection system. “Once we notice a company delaying the salaries we will… send our inspectors,” Haqbani said.
He said foreign workers facing wage problems can either stay with the company, transfer contracts to another employer, or leave the country and assign someone to follow their case with the firm. “The payment will never be forgotten even if they leave the country… and we as a ministry of labour will continue until we get the salaries of all the workers.”
Sources in March told AFP that delayed receipts from the Saudi government, whose oil revenues dropped significantly over the past two years, have left employees of the kingdom’s construction giants struggling while they wait for salaries.
Saudi Binladin Group was also suspended by the government from new public contracts after a deadly crane accident in Mecca last September. Staff at another Saudi construction giant, Saudi Oger Ltd, have also complained of unpaid wages.
Haqbani insisted the problem was not widespread. “We still have many expats coming to the country. Two cases will never be able to represent the situation of the labour market in Saudi Arabia,” he said.
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Indian spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has questioned the credentials of the Nobel Committee and education activist Malala Yousafzai, saying he would turn down the prestigious global award if given to him.
The Art of Living founder termed Malala’s peace prize as a political move.
Reporter: Malala ko puraskaar mila to kya galat thaa?
— ANI (@ANI_news) May 2, 2016
He also claimed he had once turned down the award, “Nowadays, there is no value to the Nobel Prize. When you award it to a 16-year-old girl who hasn’t done anything, what value is left? It has become a political prize.”
Malala was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2014, becoming the youngest to receive the prestigious award at age of 17. She shared the prize with India’s Kailash Satyarthi.
Malala has been a vocal activist for education for girls. She was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012 in Pakistan, after which she moved to the United Kingdom.
When asked by a journalist if he was wrong to have awarded Malala, Sri Sri responded, “Aur kya? [of course].”
Sri Sri also shared his view that the winner of the Nobel Prize is not chosen on the basis of social work, but instead through political agents.
“Some people approached me… I was told to do certain things to get the prize. I refused to get drawn into these politics,” he added.
This is not the first time the spiritual leader has attracted attention over his controversial remarks.
Recently his foundation, The Art of Living, faced the environment ministry’s ire for hosting the World Culture Festival at the ecologically fragile flood banks of the river. As a result, he was fined INR 5 million, but was allowed to hold the event.
This article originally appeared on Hindustan Times
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Special Assistant to the prime minister Tariq Fatemi highlighted on Monday the United States’ lack of “sufficient appreciation for Pakistan’s whole-hearted efforts” against counter-terrorism.
A two-member Professional Staff delegation of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) of the US Congress called on Fatemi, said a Foreign Office statement.
The adviser asserted the US should appreciate Pakistan’s efforts in challenging the complex issues faced by the country.
The meeting comes just days after the United States halted financial aid to Pakistan for procurement of its eight F-16 fighter jets.
Topics concerning reduction in US defence and civilian assistance to Pakistan, and Congressional hold on some already approved funds were also deliberated upon.
Fatemi said Pakistan, under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, had taken a clear lead in strengthening its relations with neighbouring countries, with the objective to achieve regional stability and peace through enhanced economic linkages, connectivity and cooperation.
“Pakistan has shown utmost sincerity, in difficult circumstances, in taking action against all terror outfits in the country, for improvement of its relations with India, as well as to contribute positively in the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan.”
The delegation was also briefed about Pakistan’s continued and sincere efforts, together with the US, China and Afghanistan to promote peace in Afghanistan through an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led process.
The delegation noted that the US recognised Pakistan’s efforts in addressing various challenges, according to the Foreign Office.
It reiterated the steps taken by the US to strengthen Pakistan’s capacity in its counter-terrorism efforts, through continued provision of military equipment and assistance with approval of the US Congress – a testimony to the strength of Pakistan-US bilateral relations.
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BAGHDAD: A car bomb targeting Shia pilgrims killed at least 14 people in southern Baghdad on Monday, security and medical sources said.
An Iraqi security command said a suicide bomber detonated the explosives-rigged vehicle, while other officials said it was a car bomb.
They said several women and children were among the victims.
IS perpetrated a similar attack against pilgrims on the outskirts of Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least 23 people.
Many of the main thoroughfares in the city are closed in the days leading up to the annual commemoration of Imam Musa Kadhim’s death, an important date in the Shia Muslim calendar.
Kadhim, the seventh of 12 imams revered in Shia Islam, died in 799 AD. The pilgrimage to his shrine in northern Baghdad has in recent years turned into a huge event that brings the capital to a standstill for days.
The main commemoration at the shrine in Baghdad’s Kadhimiya neighbourhood will take place on Tuesday.
Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi will not be part of a 35-man camp for England tour, newly-appointed chief selector Inzamamul Haq announced on Monday.
“Shehzad and Umar don’t have enough performances and lack discipline,” said Inzamam. “Wherever there will be a disciplinary problem, we will take a step. And you should expect this selection committee to be a little stern on discipline.”
Inzamam, while explaining his decision to exclude Afridi, said: “Pakistan will play only six T20Is in the coming 14 months so we are thinking of trying new players. Meanwhile, Afridi will also take some rest and if he performs after that, the doors of selection are always open.”
Afridi supported chief selector’s decision to give a “chance” to youngsters and hoped to improve his form for prospective comeback.
Appreciate the approach by selection committee. Happy that youngsters are getting a chance1/2
— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) May 2, 2016
I am going to play county cricket this season and will IA try to prove my fitness & form and make a comeback.
— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) May 2, 2016
The 46-year-old also explained the non-selection of his nephew Imamul Haq by saying: “His domestic record was not that good so I didn’t select him. Neither will I favour anyone nor do injustice; this is how things should be done.”
The chief selector, while replying to a query, said that Salman Butt and Muhammad Asif will be given a fair chance once they play a complete four-day season.
“Salman hasn’t played much cricket,” said Inzamam. “He should participate in a full four-day season. We haven’t ignored him. We are checking him. Same is for Asif.”
The training camp for the England tour will begin on May 14 and go on till June 4 ahead of the tour which starts in July.
Inzamam further said the training camp will be followed by a 10 to 15 day break. The players will then participate in a skill camp which will take place two weeks before the tour to England where Pakistan will play the first Test match on June 14.
Here is the list of the 35 players
Opening batsmen: Muhammad Hafeez*, Sami Aslam, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azhar Ali, Sharjeel Khan, Khurram Manzoor, Shan Masood
Middle order batsmen: Younus Khan, Misbahul Haq, Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Babar Azam, Harris Sohail*, Khalid Latif, Fawad Alam, Akbarur Rahman, Asif Zakir
All rounders: Anwar Ali, Bilawal Bhatti
Fast-bowlers: Mohammad Amir, Rahat Ali*, Imran Khan, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Hasan Ali
Wicketkeepers: Sarfraz Ahmed, Muhammad Rizwan, Adnan Akmal
Spinners: Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar, Muhammad Ashgar, Imad Wasim*, Bilal Asif, Zohaib Khan
*Subject to Fitness
Here is the complete press conference
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The curse of short-termism, which has plagued modern football, struck once again when hundreds of angry Arsenal supporters held up placards in the match against Norwich City, which the Gunners won 1-0, asking for the removal of manager Arsene Wenger, who is in his 20th year in charge of the North London club.
‘Time for change. Arsenal is stale, fresh approach needed’ was the message that some of the fans wanted to relay and while the discontent of the thousands of Arsenal supporters over not winning the Premier League title in 12 years is understandable, the actions of this disgruntled minority does not make sense.
It’s not as if Arsenal are dangling in the bottom three, fighting for their place in the Premier League. It’s not as if the club has gone bankrupt and has to sell off their best players in order to make ends meet. It’s not all doom and gloom that these supporters are trying to project.
In fact, Arsenal have never been this good, in terms of finances and stability, than in the last two decades — they are solid financially; have managed to keep their key players over the past few years and are once again most likely to make it to Champions League — a task not as easy as it may sound.
While some may argue that Wenger’s lack of transfer market activity is the reason for their inability to successfully challenge for major honours — and to a certain extent they are right — the fact is that Wenger has single-handedly built a brand, a philosophy; and that cannot be measured tangibly.
His contribution to the world of football and to Arsenal, in particular, is unfathomable.
The Frenchman was forced to apologise to the fans for Arsenal’s poor run this season, but should he be the one apologising? Or should the players take some blame as well?
Time and again this season Arsenal’s players have failed to rise to the occasion. Time and again they have failed to click in crucial moments and time and again they have let their manager down rather than the other way around.
Supporters say that Arsenal needed an in-form goalscorer this season; a 20-plus goal man. Yes, Arsenal certainly needed that. But Wenger was trying to show some faith in French forward Olivier Giroud. And if a manager wants to trust a player, you cannot hold that against him.
Yes Wenger made an error when he did not spend big in the transfer market, but were there any proven strikers available last summer?
Wenger tried to sign French forward Karim Benzema but that deal never worked out because Real Madrid would have never let go of their star forward, especially with no other strikers as back-up.
Wenger’s biggest criticism, as former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho points out in every opportunity he has gotten, is that he gets to keep his job despite not winning any major trophy — a luxury not many managers enjoy.
But he isn’t afforded this luxury without reason.
Wenger oversaw one of the most difficult periods in Arsenal’s history and still managed to keep the club in the Champions League despite the exodus of key players — Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, Thierry Henry, who either were searching for a higher payday or more trophies.
When such important players leave, it becomes highly impossible to find suitable replacement, especially when those players were almost about to either reach their prime or were in the best form of their lives.
What Wenger has achieved during his reign is exemplary. What Wenger has managed during his time is unique. And what Wenger is trying to do is get Arsenal back in the hunt for major trophies.
He will succeed, as he has shown in previous years, but for that he needs time. And while thousands voice their support for the Frenchman when the mutinous minority try to disrespect him, patience must certainly be running thin at the Emirates.
Wenger needs to get more out of his players, yes. He needs to do it soon, yes. But he surely doesn’t need to apologise to anyone.
RIYADH: One of Saudi Arabia’s most powerful firms, the Saudi Binladin Group, has laid off 77,000 foreign workers, a Saudi daily reported on Monday, citing an anonymous company official.
The report is the latest over the past few days alleging tens of thousands of layoffs, unpaid salaries and unrest by employees of the firm which built some of the Gulf country’s landmarks.
Sources in March told AFP that delayed receipts from the government, whose oil revenues collapsed over the past two years, have left employees of the kingdom’s construction giants struggling to survive while they await their salaries.
However, Saudi Binladin Group was also sanctioned by the government after a deadly crane accident at one of its projects last September.
The firm could not immediately comment but asked AFP to submit questions in writing.
The company official cited by Al-Watan daily said that as of Sunday 77,000 Binladin Group workers had received exit visas to leave the country.
He added that they were among 200,000 expatriates employed by the company, one of the largest builders in the world.
In addition, 12,000 out of the 17,000 Saudis working for the firm as engineers, administrators and inspectors were also expected to be let go, the source said.
On Friday, Al-Watan reported that 50,000 of the group’s staff were refusing to leave the country while their salaries remained unpaid after more than four months.
Another newspaper, Arab News, on Sunday cited employees of Saudi Binladin Group as confirming “massive layoffs”.
An Arab News report on Monday blamed “unpaid workers” for torching several Binladin Group buses in the city of Makkah over the weekend.
After decades of thriving on lucrative government contracts, the company faced unprecedented scrutiny after one of its cranes working on a major expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Islam’s holiest site, toppled in September.
At least 109 people including foreign pilgrims died, leading King Salman to exclude the firm from new public contracts.
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Pervaiz Rashid, the country’s information minister, in an attempt to make jibes at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan pointed out that his children lived in area which he would not name. The area happens to be Middlesex, a county in England.
“I won’t take the name of the area because if a Muslim takes the name, they have to perform wuzoo (ablution),” Rashid said matter-of-factly during a press conference on Sunday.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader insisted that Imran should be asked what the name of the place is. “If Khan Sahib takes its name, even he would have to perform wuzoo again, if he believes in performing it,” he added.
Earlier on Sunday, the PTI chief addressed a rally outside the Punjab Assembly in Lahore saying that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would not only ‘go home’ but would also have to serve a jail term if proven guilty of corruption in the Panama Papers probe.
“Mian Sahib, you said you will ‘go home’ if proven guilty by an inquiry commission. However, you will not only go home but will have to go to jail if corruption charges are proven,” Imran said.
Panama Papers, a trove of leaked documents, revealed last month that the prime ministers’ three children were among dozens of influential people from across the globe who had stashed away their money in offshore companies.
Hitting out at Prime Minister Nawaz, Imran asked the premier to respond to people’s questions about his assets. “This is all very easy. Just declare all your assets and the people will be satisfied. All it will take is a 30-minute press conference,” he said.
“In a democracy, a leader has to be accountable to people. “First of all your accountability will be done,” Imran said, addressing the prime minister. “After your accountability, anyone, including me and my party members, can be held accountable,” he added.
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Priyanka Chopra has had a more than packed schedule since the start of her show Quantico, and now the Bollywood diva is ready to give up TV to concentrate on movies instead, after the show is over.
Pinkvilla reports the actor as saying, “One thing, however, is clear, after Quantico I won’t be doing another TV show.”
PeeCee also opened up about her hectic schedule, future plans and her much-needed vacation.
According to Pinkvilla, Priyanka had been offered the role of Amrita Pritam in the Sahir biopic, which is being produced by her Bajirao Mastani director Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Priyanka stated, “If he comes to me with something there’s no question of saying no.”
The Bajirao Mastani actor has taken up several projects simultaneously in India and the US over the last year, and is ready for a vacation.
“Over the last one year I have been filming Bajirao Mastani, Gangaajal and now Baywatch along with Quantico. It’s been difficult. I have been flying down to India for a day and back. After all the hard work and long hours I need a family vacation. I will be flying back next month and will be home for a month-and-a-half before I return in July for the second season of Quantico. That’s when I will decide what films to take on.”
When asked about her role as an antagonist in Baywatch, Priyanka said, “People were expecting me to play the heroine in my first Hollywood film but I don’t like being conventional. It’s fun taking on all the six lifeguards, the entire Baywatch team.”
Baywatch is famous for lifeguards running in a red swimsuit, but since Priyanka isn’t on the lifeguards’ team, she won’t be sporting the same outfit. “Since I am not one of the lifeguards I won’t be wearing the red swimsuit. Whether I wear a swimsuit or not is something you will have to wait and watch,” she revealed.
There were speculations that the actor had distanced herself from B-town due to her unforgiving schedule, but Priyanka dismissed such claims with the reassurance, “Hindi films are in my blood and my soul, I can never be distanced from them.”
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A Dutchman dubbed the ‘horror dentist’ by French media was sentenced to eight years in jail on Tuesday for mutilating patients’ mouths and defrauding social security services.
The verdict was delivered by a court in Nevers, in central France, where local media relayed gory tales, some from old-aged pensioners who spoke of having as many as eight teeth pulled out in one sitting, infections and bills of tens of thousands of euros.
“This is a massive relief. We must be very careful from now on when we get practitioners from abroad,” said Nicole Martin, the head of a group of patients who took legal action against Mark Van Nierop, who had fled to Canada but was extradited back to France.
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The ninth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) saw its third week come to an end during which the cricketing extravaganza saw 257 fours and 93 sixes in just nine T20 matches.
Here is complete review of the third week of the cash-rich T20 league.
Best batsman: Chris Morris
The best batting performance of the week came from South African all-rounder Chris Morris, who is more renowned for his bowling than for his power hitting.
Morris came in to bat against league-toppers Gujrat Lions when Delhi Daredevils were in all sorts of trouble after losing four wickets for 57 while chasing 172. They needed another 115 runs in 56 balls at nearly 12 runs per over.
The 29-year-old along with fellow compatriot JP Duminy took his team closer to the target, but were unfortunate to not get the team past the finishing line.
The all-rounder scored a stunning 82 not-out off just 37 balls with the help of four boundaries and eight sixes, at a strike rate of over 250.
Even though his team did not manage to win the match, but for his astonishing single-handed effort, where he nearly took his side over the line, he was awarded man-of-the-match.
Best bowler: Axar Patel
The bowling performance of the week came from Kings XI Punjab’s left-arm spinning all-rounder Axar Patel, who bowled an amazing spell against table-leaders Gujrat on Sunday at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot.
Defending a par total of 154, Punjab were up against one of the best batting lineup in the tournament. However, an impeccably accurate bowling performance from the Indian left-arm spinner helped his team earn a precious win, which was their second in the tournament.
The 22-year-old picked three key wickets in the seventh over of the Gurjat innings of explosive opener Dwayne Smith, wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik and World T20 winning all-rounder Dwayne Bravo to pretty much seal the deal for Murali Vijay’s team.
He also went on to complete his hat-trick in his next over, which is also the first of this tournament, when he accounted for all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja as he was trying to cut but only managed an edge to the keeper.
Punjab will be hoping that Patel will keep up his good form for them to savour a chance to enter the playoffs.
Here is the celebration of Axar Patel after grabbing the first hat-trick of the IPL 2016
Best team: Mumbai Indians
The best team of the week is Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians. The team managed to win all of their three matches in the week to rise to the second spot behind Gujrat.
Rohit Sharma’s men first defeated Kings XI Punjab comfortably by 25 runs on Monday. Mumbai then went on to beat Kolkata Knight Riders after chasing down a target of 174 with ease, thanks to some responsible batting from the captain himself.
In the last match of the week, the defending champions went on to comfortably beat the new boys Rising Pune Supergiants by eight wickets, once again thanks to some incredible batting performance from their star captain.
Reel of the week: Harbhajan, Rayudu spat
Mumbai Indians teammates Harbhajan Singh and Ambati Rayudu were engaged in a heated conversation in a match against Rising Pune Supergiants on Sunday.
During Harbhajans second over in the first innings, Saurabh Tiwary hit the veteran off-spinner for a four by finding a gap between two fielders at deep midwicket and long-on.
Rayudu, who was came running in from deep midwicket, tried to dive to his right in attempt to stop the ball but pushed it past Southee who was running in from long on.
Following the boundary, Harbhajan yelled at Rayudu who reacted with equal anguish. Both players started walking towards each other but the veteran off-spinner acted calmly and pacified Rayudu who kept seething and went back to his position.
This is how it all happened
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TEHRAN: Iran and South Korea have decided to triple their annual trade volume to $18 billion, President Hassan Rouhani announced on Monday after meeting his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-Hye.
“The two sides decided to increase by three times the current trade volume of around $6 billion (5.2 billion euros) to $18 billion,” Rouhani said in a joint televised press conference.
“We also spoke about tourism, direct flights between Seoul and Tehran, and Korean investment in Iranian tourism infrastructure, including building hotels,” he added.
Park is the first South Korean president to visit Iran since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1962, and as Seoul seeks new markets to turn around a lengthy decline in export revenues.
Her three-day visit comes just months after a historic nuclear deal with world powers lifted sanctions crippling Iran’s economy in exchange for limits on its nuclear programme.
Park, who is accompanied by several ministers and a 230-strong business delegation, will also be received by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The two countries have pledged to develop their relations in the energy sector.
“We will expand relations in energy projects and infrastructure… and in oil, gas, railways and ports,” Park said.
Tehran hopes this month to increase its oil exports to Seoul to 400,000 barrels per day from a current 100,000 bpd, according to Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh.
The two governments signed 19 cooperation documents in the presence of the presidents, and further memorandums of understanding were due to be signed by the private sector, Rouhani said.
Talks also included discussions about the situation on the divided Korean peninsula amid fears that Pyongyang is preparing to conduct a fifth nuclear test.
“The security of the Korean peninsula and security of the Middle East are very important to us,” Rouhani said.
“We seek peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and categorically oppose building any weapons of mass destruction.”
Park said she “explained South Korea’s opinion on… nuclear disarmament of North Korea… and requested Iranian cooperation”.
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