Pakistan women’s hockey team makes history

Pakistan women’s hockey team makes history

KARACHI: 

The Pakistani women hockey team, for the first time in their history, have qualified for the semi-finals of the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) Cup with a 1-1 draw against Singapore in their last pool fixture at the Thailand National Hockey Training Centre in Bangkok yesterday.

The women in green went into the match knowing a draw would be good enough to book a place in the final four.

With progression at stake, the players looked a bit nervous and struggled to impose themselves on their opponents early on. They finally calmed down though and took the lead two minutes before the half-time break, thanks to a field goal by Afshan Noureen.

Pakistan decimate Cambodia 11-0

The match turned in the 59th minute when a well-coordinated Singaporean attack from the right found an unmarked Chan Ivy, who finished the move with a superb angular finish to level the tie at 1-1.

The remaining 11 minutes saw a continuous barrage of Singaporean attacks, and had it not been for Pakistani goalkeeper Rizwana Yasmin’s spree of incredible saves, the match would have slipped out of their hands.

Pakistan claim bronze with 18-0 win

The Secretary PHF women wing, Tanzeela Cheema told The Express Tribune that the girls have achieved a great feat for which they should be awarded.

“We will surely be giving incentives to the girls for reaching the semi-finals,” Pakistan Hockey Federation women wing secretary Tanzeela Cheema told The Express Tribune before adding that the player should keep their feet on the ground as the job isn’t done yet. “They have been performing well but in the semi-final tomorrow they will face a tough team in the form of Chinese Taipei, so they have to keep their focus.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2016.

15 years on, the Afghan, still, defies, US , timelines,

15 years on, the Afghan war still defies US timelines

15 years on, the Afghan war still defies US timelines

WASHINGTON, DC: 

Fifteen years after the US invasion of Afghanistan, President Barack Obama and the American military have dug in for a long campaign that defies rigid timelines and easy barometers of victory.

On October 7, 2001, in response to the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush launched Operation Enduring Freedom to dislodge the Taliban and capture or kill al Qaeda militants they were harboring. For much of the 15 years since, the US has groped for a strategy — flitting between trying to chase down jihadis, take accursed terrain, stand up a fragile government or beat back a dogged Taliban insurgency.

200,000 Afghan refugees return in exodus from Pakistan: UNHCR

Obama came to office in 2009, promising a war-weary US electorate that he would bring the troops home. But, after a series of missed deadlines and some semantic gymnastics about the definition of combat, he finally abandoned his pledge during his last year in office. Insisting that he opposes “the idea of endless war,” Obama has acknowledged his presidency will end before America’s longest conflict does. Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, who have barely discussed Afghanistan on the campaign trail, will inherit a much smaller war — with some 9,000 US troops on the ground — but one with no clear end in sight.

“Right now we don’t have a time-bound commitment,” said a senior US administration official, who asked not to be named. “It will be up to the next administration to determine how it wants to proceed.” That debate is likely to start with a fundamental question: Is a secure Afghanistan still a vital American strategic interest?

“You could ask, now that al Qaeda has been decimated, do we still have a reason to be in this region? It’s a very legitimate question and certainly a question the next administration will ask very early on,” said the official. Afghan officials argue that the administration of Ashraf Ghani is trying hard to root out the corruption and bad governance that defined Hamid Karzai’s decade in power.

At least six killed, 35 wounded in Afghanistan market blast

“It would be an incredible mistake not to safeguard the progress that has been made,” a senior Afghan official told AFP. Afghan security forces still need training and US air power, the official said, as well as help in stopping Pakistan from harboring Taliban and Haqqani network leaders. Few US officials, either current and former, would disagree with that assessment. Many point to the experience of the 1990s as evidence for the need to stay. Back then Washington, having watched their mujahedeen allies oust the Soviets, began to disengage.

“Ignoring Afghanistan proved unwise,” a group of respected generals and ambassadors — including Ryan Crocker and David Petraeus — recently wrote in an open letter urging a sustained US commitment. “The turmoil that ensued in Afghanistan after 1989 ultimately gave rise to the Taliban — and then to the sanctuary for al Qaeda that the Taliban provided Osama bin Laden.”

Unlike Bush, Obama has been willing to bring the Taliban into the peace negotiations with Kabul, so long as they respect the rule of law and hard-won progress on things like women’s rights. But so far, neither the US killing of hardline Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour nor Kabul brokering a peace deal with a notorious warlord has convinced militants to come to the negotiating table. Earlier this month Taliban insurgents launched an assault to retake Kunduz and so delegitimise the government, before being repelled. Washington is betting it’s a matter of time before the Taliban, increasingly confined to rural areas and facing stiffer opposition from Afghan forces, change their calculus.

Afghan refugees in Pakistan feel heat of rising regional tensions

“The Taliban, who are equally resilient I’ll grant you that, are learning that they are not able to gain their objectives,” the US official said. “They have not be able to gain control and hold strategic terrain.” “So the question is, how long will they persist in this strategy?” For much of Obama’s tenure, it was an open question how long the United States would wait to find out.

His declarations of timelines and determination to drawdown forces has been criticised for sending mixed signals about US commitment and thus encouraging the Taliban and elements in the Pakistani security services to wait Washington out. The administration argues they have offered a vital leverage.

“The Afghan security forces, I’m positive of this, would not have developed in the manner they have developed — which in general has been very, very positive — had it not been for the requirement imposed upon them by the international community for them to become more self-reliant,” said the US official. But setting a hard timeline of ending the war in 2014 was “the explicit announcement that the Taliban just capitalised on,” said Vanda Felbab-Brown of the Brookings Institution.

Obama’s departure is likely to make such timelines and troop numbers less of a political hot potato. That may be fitting in a war where victory is illusive and success or failure cannot be easily measured by the number of boots on the ground.

source The tribune

With one month to go, US election is Clinton's to lose

With one month to go, US election is Clinton’s to lose

With one month to go, US election is Clinton’s to lose

WASHINGTON, DC: 

One month from Saturday, Hillary Clinton is favored to make history as the first female US president. But with a resilient Donald Trump standing in her way, the Election Day outcome remains anything but certain.

The possible pitfalls — an “October surprise,” a Clinton debate meltdown, damning revelations from her controversial private emails or an act of terrorism — are unknowable now, but they have a potential to upend an already extraordinary 2016 campaign. The Democratic candidate has a 3.2-point advantage over her Republican nemesis, according to the RealClearPolitics national poll average, heaping pressure on Trump to make up ground in the closing weeks of their battle to succeed Barack Obama in the White House.

Trump tumbles on rich list, down $800m

She has the upper hand in swing states, too. Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin are tilting Clinton’s way, polls show. Trump, 70, is leading in Iowa and the crucial state of Ohio, where he claims strong support among working-class white voters. But Clinton, 68, would not need those states if she can hold other battlegrounds.

Campaign momentum had swung in Trump’s favor ahead of his first debate with Clinton, on September 26. The provocative real estate tycoon had seized on Clinton’s description of half of his supporters as “deplorables,” and earned praise for acting more disciplined. But Trump — whose incendiary rhetoric and propensity to go off script have been campaign hallmarks — did not toe the line for long.

“After the debate, the Republican momentum ended,” Columbia University professor Robert Shapiro said. Not only did most analysts declare Clinton the debate’s winner, but Trump’s subsequent pre-dawn rant about a former Miss Universe raised doubts about his temperament as he seeks the world’s most powerful job.

“That looked pretty unpresidential, tweeting at 3:00 in the morning,” Shapiro said. “The polls have moved further in Hillary Clinton’s direction.” Last week’s revelations that Trump’s declared loss of $916 million in 1995 allowed him to avoid paying federal taxes for almost two decades have not helped, even as he presented himself as “smart” for exploiting the complex tax code to his maximum advantage.

Democrats remain cautious about November 8, however. Despite a cascade of insults and problematic policy proposals — Trump has described Mexican immigrants as “rapists,” called for a ban on Muslim visitors, and suggested providing Japan and Saudi Arabia with nuclear weapons — the celebrity billionaire emerged triumphant from the Republican primaries.

In debate with Trump, Clinton vows US honors its word

He swept aside 16 challengers, including Senator Ted Cruz, who branded him a “pathological liar.” Trump became “the Teflon Don;” the more he was attacked, the stronger he became. “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?” Trump exulted in January. The most caustic US presidential campaign in decades has potentially turned off millions of voters.

Clinton has amassed high-profile Democratic motivators: the president, First Lady Michelle Obama, Clinton’s onetime primary rival Bernie Sanders, ex-president Bill Clinton and liberal firebrand Senator Elizabeth Warren. But after 30 years in public life, Clinton — a former secretary of state, senator and first lady — remains deeply unpopular.

The case of her private email server, Republican exploitation of her handling of the deadly 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, concern over donations to the Clinton Foundation, and her connections to Wall Street collectively reinforce a narrative that she is not trustworthy. Many Republican voters will be converting their hatred for Hillary into motivation to head to the polls.

Their overwhelming desire for change after eight years of Obama is another factor. While Trump began the race with no political experience, he tapped into a deep well of anger at a system that many voters say has left them behind. Trump — who, like Clinton, is viewed unfavorably by more than half of Americans — has harnessed that anger, but he, too, turns off voters.

“He has never been able to be consistent,” said political science professor Jeanne Zaino of Iona College. “He has a few good weeks, and then he ends up with the Khan situation,” she said, referring to Trump’s attacks against the Muslim parents of a slain US soldier.

Trump debate sniffles go viral

“He has a few good weeks, and he is attacking women calling them fat,” including beauty queen Alicia Machado, the subject of Trump’s late-night tweet storm. For months, supporters urged Trump to start acting more presidential and even-tempered, but “it looks like he may have passed the point of no return on that,” Shapiro said.

The real estate billionaire has insulted Muslims and Hispanics, and broken with tradition by refusing to release his tax returns. Yet he continues to surprise. He became the voice of millions frustrated by globalization, fearful of terrorism and betrayed by the political establishment.

Can he still bounce back with sharp performances in the second and third presidential debates on October 9 and 19? Zaino predicted that would be difficult. “I think it is really an uphill battle for him.”

Source The Tribune news

At least 478 died in Haiti from Hurricane Matthew

At least 478 died in Haiti from Hurricane Matthew

PORT-AU-PRINCE: 

The number of people killed by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti rose to at least 478 people on Friday, as information trickled in from remote areas previously cut off by the storm, officials said. With the numbers rising quickly, different government agencies and committees differed on the total death toll.

A Reuters tally of deaths reported by civil protection officials at a local level confirmed 478 had died. Haiti’s central civil protection agency, which takes longer to collate numbers, said 271 people died because of the storm.

Fourcand disputed the official toll given by the government so far, which was 122. Earlier, Radio Television Caraibes put the toll nationwide at 264.

Hurricane Matthew kills 26, bears down on Bahamas, US

Chaos in Haiti after hurricane, but neighbours help out

Hurricane Matthew left behind chaos in Haiti, with roads cut to several districts and reports of more than 300 dead and even more hurt or left homeless.

But the disaster was far from the first to hit the western hemisphere’s poorest nation, and as Haitians counted their dead Thursday they were also quick to help out their neighbours.

In the Sous-Roche district of Les Cayes, Haiti’s third city on its exposed southern coast, Dominique Osny was giving instructions to a friend helping him gather corrugated iron sheets ripped from a roof.

“I’ve been on my feet for two days without sleep. We need to help each other,” he told AFP amid the debris and destruction left when the storm passed through on Tuesday.

“Everyone is a victim here, houses have been washed away, we lost all the roofing. I lost everything, right up to my birth certificate,” he said, citing a vital document hard to replace in Haiti.

Sous-Roches Cayes was a quiet beachfront neighbourhood of the city before the storm, now drowned in mud and shattered trees.

Hurricane Matthew becomes powerful Category 5 storm

The river level has begun to drop, but its waters are still mixed with the storm surge that inundated the beach during the hours-long battering by the Category Four storm.

source the tribune news

India scaling up violations along LoC: Bajwa

India scaling up violations along LoC: Bajwa

ISLAMABAD: 

India has scaled up its violations along the Line of Control (LoC), firing as many as 25,000 rounds from small arms, machine guns and mortars at the Pakistani side of the ceasefire line on Wednesday, Pakistan’s top military spokesman said on Thursday.

“What we see is that there is more intensified firing along the LoC, and of course, when there is more firing, the situation does escalate. The environment also escalates when there is more rhetoric , more statements and more pronouncements by the Indian side,” Lt-Gen Asim Bajwa told China’s Xinhua news agency in an interview.

General Raheel visits 10 Corps headquarters, reviews LoC situation

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) director general said the Indian firing has killed two Pakistani soldiers and injured another nine over the past week. “Eight civilians have also been injured due to Indian firing,” he said in his first-ever formal interview with a foreign news organisation since tensions with India escalated on September 29.

 

Lt-Gen Bajwa blamed current escalation along LoC entirely on India and said Pakistan has prepared a contingency plan to deal with any situation.

The ISPR chief underscored the importance of resolving current tensions through dialogue. He said contacts between the Pakistani and Indian armies are being maintained, confirming that both country’s director generals of the military operations (DGMOs) have talked over the phone after the start of the cross-LoC firing. Meanwhile, India on Thursday claimed its forces killed seven rebels who were attempting to attack two army bases in Indian-Occupied Kashmir. According to Reuters, three rebels were shot in an orchard near the army base in Kupwara district and four were gunned down in the Nowgam sector.

‘No sanctuaries in Pakistan’

Indian tyranny at its peak in held-Kashmir: Gen Raheel

Bajwa told Xinhua that not a single terrorist hideout existed on Pakistani soil anymore because of the military’s major operation against militants. “We have now cleared all areas in North Waziristan and the Khyber tribal region. Security forces have killed nearly 3,500 militants and destroyed 992 hideouts,” he said, adding the Pakistan army lost a total of 546 personnel, while 2,285 were wounded in the operation. “I can confirm that there is currently no physical hideout of the terrorists on the Pakistani soil.”

Bajwa said Pakistan’s security forces are now engaged in intelligence-based combing operations in urban areas to smash the network of terrorists, their sympathisers, facilitators and financiers.

He said around 22,000 intelligence-based operations have been conducted by intelligence and law enforcement agencies and hundreds of suspects have been arrested.

The ISPR chief added that a total of 166 terrorist cases have been finalised by military courts, 107 convicts have been sentenced to death and 12 convicts have been executed after completion of all legal processes.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2016.

After images, Prisma now lets users turn videos into artworks

Prisma has extended its neural photo network conversion to videos. In an announcement on Thursday, Prisma announced that its artistic photo imagery now worked with 15-second videos too.

Forget Instagram, you need to download this app now

The app, which lets people turn images into works of art by using deep learning algorithms to process photos in various graphic styles, quickly surged past millions of downloads in a viral splash after launching this summer.


A total of nine styles are currently available for video, the company announced on Thursday, with the feature presently limited to iOS devices.

Candy, Gold Fish, Paper Art, Illegal Beauty, Tokyo, Gothic, Curly Hair, The Scream and Roy are the styles launched by Prisma.

The video feature was only made possible due to a recent change to Prisma’s algorithm, which makes the imagery on the device itself, instead of its servers. Initially, Prisma’s image conversion took a long time to create. However, the issue was resolved after Prisma added an offline feature. For videos, Prisma said the processing time would depend on the device. For example, on an iPhone 7, it would take 30 seconds to process a 15-second video. The time is slated to double for an iPhone 6S.

Prisma finally works without internet

source tribune news

Canada: October declared Islamic Heritage Month in Ontario

Canada: October declared Islamic Heritage Month in Ontario

Canada: October declared Islamic Heritage Month in Ontario

The news comes as Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the current and fifth caliph and leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, is slated to be in Toronto on Friday for a three-day Islamic convention.

TORONTO — October will now officially be recognized as Islamic Heritage Month in Ontario after the legislature unanimously passed an act Thursday.

It began as an NDP private members’ bill, and party leader Andrea Horwath says it’s an opportunity to celebrate and learn about the history of Islamic culture.

Horwath says she also hopes it’s also a step toward eliminating Islamophobia, noting that in her city of Hamilton, a fire was set at a mosque recently.

Canadian Islamic History Month has been officially recognized federally since 2007.

Fareen Khan, with the International Development and Relief Organization, joined Horwath at the legislature and says it’s important to profile and highlight the positive contributions of Muslims.

The news comes as Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the current and fifth caliph and leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, is slated to be in Toronto on Friday for a three-day Islamic convention.

He’ll deliver a sermon to thousands of attendees representing more than 20 countries, and to Muslims worldwide via the global satellite TV network Muslim Television Ahmadiyya.

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