Spain fight back to snatch draw with England

Spain fight back to snatch draw with England

LONDON: 

Isco scored in the sixth minute of stoppage time as Spain launched an improbable fightback to snatch a 2-2 friendly draw against England with both their goals coming after the 89th minute at Wembley on Tuesday.

England looked like ending a dismal year with a glimmer of hope as a first-half penalty from Adam Lallana and Jamie Vardy’s header after the break gave them a thoroughly deserved two-goal lead.

Yet the comeback began with the home fans already heading for the exits as Iago Aspas cut into the area and thumped the ball into the top corner beginning a nervy retreat from England deep into their own territory.

Isco then stunned the Wembley crowd by hitting the ball through substitute keeper Tom Heaton’s legs from a tight angle to deprive England boss Gareth Southgate of a major scalp to end his four-game spell in interim charge.

Despite a disappointing end to England’s evening, Southgate remains well-placed to take the England job on a permanent basis and the Football Association may feel an otherwise incisive attacking display against one of the world’s big hitters has greased the wheels sufficiently for his appointment.

The 46-year-old has now won two and drawn two of his four games in charge but has steered England through a period of turmoil after Sam Allardyce was forced out 67 days into the job following a newspaper sting and Roy Hodgson quit after a dismal Euro 2016.

“I have loved doing it,” he told ITV when asked if he wanted the job. “But it’s not my decision, I think we are proud of what we have done with the team. We were asked to take over a situation in a temporary measure and tonight’s performance really was very special.”

England opened the scoring after nine minutes when Lallana’s inch-perfect pass found Vardy running in behind the Spain defence. While the Leicester striker’s first touch was far from perfect, he managed to knock the ball around advancing Spain keeper Pepe Reina, who took the forward’s legs away to concede a penalty that Lallana thumped high into the net.

The Liverpool playmaker has scored in each of his last three games for England, having failed to find the net in his previous 26, but his evening was curtailed midway through the first half when he was forced off through injury.

In his absence, England’s threat initially dropped, yet they doubled the lead two minutes into the second half as Vardy ended a 14-game goal drought for club and country with a diving header at the far post from Jordan Henderson’s cross.

It could have got better for England but substitute Theo Walcott forced Reina to parry a sharp effort and Henderson scuffed the rebound wide, before former Liverpool forward Aspas cut into the England box to thump the ball into the top corner. That sent jitters through the entire England side, which Isco exploited in the dying seconds.

This weapon can destroy entire fleet of drones in one shot

This weapon can destroy entire fleet of drones in one shot

The US military has declassified details of an anti-air device that is capable of taking out multiple drones in a single shot. Dubbed as Phaser, the UAV killer uses external radar systems to locate targets and then shoots a wave of radiation powerful enough to fry control systems on board the drone rendering it useless.

The new air-defence system is based on the rifle-style DroneDefender concept revealed last year. However, the idea behind the device has been amplified to a microwave-emitting dish which sits atop a shipping container containing diesel generator as the power source.

The proliferation of commercial drones has become a cause of concern with numerous instances of commercial UAVs trespassing restricted air space and shutting down airports. Militants have also sought the use of commercial drones to mount attacks by arming them with hand held grenades.

Phaser’s advance technology then makes it capable of not only taking out drones, but all electronic devices that have a circuit and lie within its effective range. This would include tablets, computers, targeting systems or even cars speeding towards checkpoints.

The device entered its testing phase as early as 2013 and was declassified only recently though further specifications, like maximum range haven’t been revealed.

This article originally appeared on Engadget.

Facebook had tool to weed out fake news: report

Facebook had tool to weed out fake news: report

 

WASHINGTON: Facebook had a tool to weed out fake news circulating on the social network this year but declined to deploy it for fear of offending conservatives, a report said Monday.

The report by the online news site Gizmodo comes with Facebook under fire for allowing hoaxes and misinformation to go viral and — according to some critics — boost the efforts of Republican Donald Trump in his successful presidential run.

Facebook denied the report.

Gizmodo, citing unnamed sources said to be knowledgeable about Facebook’s decision-making, said the tool was shelved after a controversy over reports saying the social network suppressed some conservative voices in its “trending topics” earlier this year.

“They absolutely have the tools to shut down fake news,” Gizmodo quoted one source as saying. “There was a lot of fear about upsetting conservatives after (the uproar over) trending topics.”

A Facebook statement said that the claims made in the article were “not true.”

“We did not build and withhold any News Feed changes based on their potential impact on any one political party,” the statement from Facebook said.

“We always work to make News Feed more meaningful and informative, and that includes examining the quality and accuracy of items shared, such as clickbait, spam and hoaxes.”

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has rejected the idea that bogus stories shared at the social network paved a path of victory for Trump.

“The idea that fake news on Facebook, which is a very small amount of the content, influenced the election in any way I think is a pretty crazy idea,” Zuckerberg said during an on-stage chat at Technonomy, a technology trends conference in California.

In a weekend posting, Zuckerberg said dealing with hoaxes and fake news is complex.

“This is an area where I believe we must proceed very carefully,” he said.

“Identifying the ‘truth’ is complicated. While some hoaxes can be completely debunked, a greater amount of content, including from mainstream sources, often gets the basic idea right but some details wrong or omitted.”

The notion of hoaxes and fake news remained a topic of debate on Monday, when internet users searching on Google were delivered a bogus report saying Trump won the popular vote in addition to the Electoral College.

The numbers on a blog called 70News — contradicting official results tallied so far by states — said Trump received 62.9 million votes to 62.2 million for Hillary Clinton.

The blog urged those petitioning for the Electoral College to switch their votes to reflect popular will to scrap their effort.

“Hey Change.org, scrap your loony petition now,” the posting said.

The bogus site was listed at the top of many search queries for “final election result.”

Preliminary tallies showed Clinton won roughly 700,000 more votes than Trump despite losing the states needed for an Electoral College victory.

Google seeks “to provide the most relevant and useful results for our users,” a company statement to AFP said.

“In this case we clearly didn’t get it right, but we are continually working to improve our algorithms.”

WhatsApp finally launches video calling

WhatsApp finally launches video calling

One of the world’s most popular means of communication, Facebook’s WhatsApp, is adding fully encrypted video calling to its messaging app.

“We’re introducing this feature because we know that sometimes voice and text just aren’t enough,” WhatsApp said in a blog post late Monday. “And we want to make these features available to everyone, not just those who can afford the most expensive new phones or live in countries with the best cellular networks.”

PHOTO: WHATSAPP

The new feature which will be released in a few days will be available across all platforms, including Android, iOS and Windows devices. The video call feature has been embedded into the chat video alongside voice calls. To place a video call users simply open a chat and click on the phone icon that shows both voice and video options.

WhatsApp crossed over 1 billion active monthly users and the popular messaging platform has rolled out a number of updates that include Gif support, end to end encryption and two-step verification for Android users.

Privacy concerns

The move comes as privacy advocates worry about the potential for stepped-up government surveillance under a Trump administration.

WhatsApp adopted end-to-end encryption early this year, making it technically impossible for the company or government authorities to read messages or listen to calls. The new video calling service will thus provide another means for people to communicate without fear of eavesdropping though WhatsApp does retain other data such as an individual’s list of contacts.

Trump, along with some leading congressional Republicans and FBI Director James Comey, has advocated requiring tech companies to turn over customer information in many circumstances, a position which, if put into law, could require companies including WhatsApp to completely redesign their services

WhatsApp also revised its privacy statement in August to allow sharing information about users with its parent company Facebook. That means Facebook knows whom WhatsApp users contact and their phone numbers.

North Korea does not care who is president of United States

North Korea does not care who is president of United States

UNITED NATIONS: 

North Korea does not care who is president of the United States, a senior Pyongyang-based diplomat said during a visit to the United Nations on Tuesday following the election of Donald Trump to succeed President Barack Obama.

Kim Yong Ho, director of human rights and humanitarian issues, spoke to reporters after a UN General Assembly committee approved a draft resolution condemning “widespread and gross violations of human rights” in the Asian state.

“We do not care about whoever becomes the president of the United States,” Kim said. “The fundamental issue here is whether or not the United States has the political will to withdraw its hostile policy toward the DPRK (North Korea).”

North Korea regularly accuses the United States and South Korea of preparing for war by holding annual joint military exercises. The United States and South Korea also plan to deploy the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system in the South to counter missile and nuclear threats from the North.

Trump said in May he was willing to talk to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to try to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear program, proposing a major shift in US policy toward the isolated nation.

However, ahead of the November 8 election, an adviser to Trump said last month he could not foresee any circumstances in the short or medium term in which the Republican nominee would meet the leader of North Korea if he became president.

North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006. In March, the Security Council tightened sanctions to further isolate the impoverished country after its fourth nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch in February.

Since North Korea’s fifth and largest nuclear test more than two months ago, the United States and China, a close ally of North Korea, have been negotiating a new draft Security Council resolution to punish Pyongyang.

Contract killing?: College professor shot dead by hitmen

Contract killing?: College professor shot dead by hitmen

Contract killing?: College professor shot dead by hitmen

LAHORE: 

A senior teacher at the Government Science College, Wahdat Road was gunned down by unidentified assailants in Iqbal Town on Tuesday in a suspected contract killing.

Rao Altaf Hussain, a resident of Johar Town, was returning home after dropping his son at school when two unidentified gunmen intercepted his vehicle and shot him point blank, killing him on the spot.

According to Iqbal Town SP Adil Memon, the associate professor was shot at least six times and shifted to a nearby hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.

Tehmina Rao, the deceased’s wife, has filed a police complaint, stating the victim had a personal enmity with a man named Rana Qaiser, who she claimed to be the prime suspect in the case.

Police said Qaiser was already accused of killing his own wife, who was a sister of Tehmina. Rao Altaf was the complainant in that murder case.

Investigation Officer SI Naeemullah said the autopsy of the victim had been conducted and police were awaiting the post-mortem report.

At the crime scene

A senior police official said circumstantial evidence obtained from the crime scene and CCTV footage suggested the murder was a ‘contract killing’ as the gunmen appeared to be professional killers.

The CCTV footage showed the suspects tailed the victim for some distance and as the professor reached the main road, they blocked the way of his vehicle, forcing him to stop.

The assailants shot at the car while on their motorcycle, and to make sure the job was done, one of the suspects got off the motorcycle and went to the car to fire six bullets at the professor point blank.

Details of suspect

Police said the prime suspect nominated in the FIR was reportedly out of the country. Qaiser runs a real estate business in an elite housing society in the suburbs of Lahore.

He had allegedly killed his wife, who was a sister-in-law of the victim, and portrayed it as suicide. Rao Altaf, however, accused him of murder and became a complainant in the case.

Police later established Qaiser had murdered his wife and it was not a suicide. Before the professor’s murder, Qaiser had threatened the victim with dire consequences if he did not withdraw the murder case.

Lahore CCPO Amin Wains has taken notice of the murder and asked the Iqbal Town SP to submit his report. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has ordered the authorities to submit their report within 24 hours.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2016.

Army chief pledges secure, prosperous Pakistan for future generations

Army chief pledges secure, prosperous Pakistan for future generations

WAZIRISTAN: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif has vowed to provide a secure and prosperous Pakistan to the future generations of the nation.

“We will give a secure and prosperous Pakistan to our future generations,” the army chief remarked during a meeting with tribesmen of North and South Waziristan on Tuesday, according to the ISPR.

He assured the tribesmen of Pakistan Army’s determination to ensure “all promises for socio-economic development are delivered for prosperity of the region”.

Addressing the jirga of tribal elders, the general said: “Operation Zarb-e-Azb has irreversibly eradicated terrorist networks from Fata… We have made considerable gains in our operations and reached close to our objective of total elimination of terrorism from our soil.”

According to the military’s media wing, the army chief was briefed on the progress of stabilisation operations, return of temporary displaced persons (TDPs) and development works in FATA during his visit.

Expressing his satisfaction on the progress of the successful return of TDPs, the COAS lauded the efforts of “everyone involved in ensuring their smooth and timely return with dignity and honour”.

The army chief directed the officials concerned to complete the return of remaining TDPs within stipulated time before close of the current year.

Earlier, General Raheel visited the newly opened Army Public School in Chagmalai, South Waziristan and spent some time with the children. Speaking at the occasion, he commended the faculty and the students for exhibiting such excellent standards of education in these areas.

The army chief inaugurated the state-of-the-art Younus Khan Sports Stadium in the agency, as well as saw the inaugural match played between Fata Eleven and Younus Khan Eleven.

Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar released from jail

Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar released from jail

Jailed mayor of Karachi and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan leader Waseem Akhtar was released from jail on Wednesday after being granted bail in the last of 39 cases against him.
An anti-terrorism court in Karachi granted bail to Waseem Akhtar and PPP’s Abdul Qadir Patel in a case pertaining to the facilitation and provision of medical treatment to alleged terrorists and gangsters at PPP leader Dr Asim Hussain’s hospital.

The ATC judge granted Akhtar and Patel bail against a surety bond of Rs500,000 each on the grounds that the Sindh High Court had previously granted bail to others co-accused in the same case. The court will issue release orders after submission of the surety bonds.

Scuffle between party supporters
Expecting Akhtar’s arrival at the Yadgar-i-Shuhada, supporters of MQM-London and MQM-Pakistan indulged in sloganeering, reported DawnNews.

Supporters of MQM-Pakistan, who had gathered to welcome the Karachi mayor at the venue, also appeared to be joining supporters of MQM-London in chanting slogans against Akhtar and others.
Police officials, in order to control and disperse the crowd, have tried to push back the party activists.

A small number of party supporters were also arrested by law-enforcement agencies. The number of MQM-London supporters at the venue has increased reportedly.

Police officials present at the scene called for extra personnel to contain the situation. Sindh Rangers are also present at the location.

Due to the tense situation, all party supporters have been barred from entering the premises of Yadgar-i-Shuhada.

Akhtar has been behind bars since July 19, 2016 when an ATC dismissed his pre-arrest bail application in the same case.
He had been facing trial in 39 cases ranging from facilitation of terrorists and hate speech.

Around 30 of the 39 cases pending against him are related to listening and facilitating of the speeches of MQM’s founder Altaf Hussain. Some eight cases are in connection with violence in Karachi on May 12, 2007.

Earlier, Akhtar was granted bail in 38 cases, while four people, including the prime suspect in the case Dr Asim Hussain have already been granted bail in this case.

Other co-accused in the case Rauf Saddiqui, Anees Qaimkhani and Usman Moazzam had been granted bail by the Sindh High Court, whereas Saleem Shahzad has been declared an absconder in the case.

Sikhs unburden themselves at Guru Nanak’s birthplace

Sikhs unburden themselves at Guru Nanak’s birthplace

While sermons at the 547th birth anniversary celebration of Guru Nanak at Gurdwara Janamsthan Nankana Sahib asked people to reflect and ensure kindness under any circumstances, creation of Khalistan, a separate homeland for Sikhs, remained the main topic of discussion among the Sikh representatives.

Thousands of Sikh pilgrims from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Malaysia, Iran and Kenya seemed overwhelmed by the prospect of visiting Nankana — the birthplace of Sikhism’s founding father.

Inside the Gurdwara, most people from the older generation were busy listening to Sikh representatives. One after the other, the speakers, largely belonging to Pakistan’s Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, spoke of injustices against the Sikhs, human rights violations and the increasing drug menace in India’s Punjab state.

Others went on an anti-India vitriol, but at the same time called upon the Pakistani authorities to set up more Gurdwaras for the 20,000-strong Sikh community living in this country. Banners near the pilgrims’ sleeping quarters reminded them about the riots and killings of Sikhs that rocked India in 1984.

Even before the celebrations began on Monday, there was talk at the Gurdwara for the inclusion of two issues in the religious sermons. One relates to the water dispute between the Indian states of Punjab and Haryana and the other to the cancellation of a meeting of Sikh religious representatives that was to be held in both Pakistan and India on Nov 10. It was cancelled after some delegates were arrested in Amritsar. They intended to discuss the Sikh freedom movement and the increasing trend of suicide among farmers in East Punjab and other Indian states.

“These problems faced by our community in India won’t go away until we do something about it. We need to separate if we want to remain relevant,” said a member of the Gurdwara committee, Gopal Singh Chawla.

As majority of pilgrims listening to him remained hesitant and didn’t seem as emotional when he raised slogans of a separate homeland for Sikhs in India, Chawla decided to announce his resignation from the post and left the podium amid blank stares.

Parminder Kaur, 76, a national of the United Kingdom, is visiting Pakistan for the second time to attend the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak at Gurdwara Janamsthan. Sitting at the back in the same veranda, she shakes her head from time to time. “What’s the point of using a religious platform for your own political aims?”

Armed with pictures of her ancestral home in Faisalabad Chak 106, she says that there is “no need to listen to those who don’t have to face the consequences of their speech. Vulnerable communities in both countries continue to face trouble because of well-timed speeches”.

With tensions rising between India and Pakistan, this year the number of pilgrims coming from India is fewer than last year, says Joga Singh, a representative of the Pakistan Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee in Britain .

“There’s been a considerable difference due to tensions. There are always other reasons. For instance, people still use passport of their place of birth while being a UK national. And their visas get rejected as a result of it. But the absence of direct flights from India and a general fear of being mistreated kept people away this time around,” he added.

Joga Singh himself has not been to India since leaving for Britain in 1981. In addition, his constant campaigning for a separate Sikh homeland ensured that he never gets an Indian visa. “This is how it is everywhere in the world. People like me have to look for places where we can speak our mind. The world is quite similar that way,” he added.

A mile away from the Gurdwara, at the sleeping quarters meant for Indian Sikhs coming from the UK, Canada and the US, Manmohan Singh Johal, said Pakistan was his home.

“I don’t care what is said at the event. I heard these people give the same speech every year. It depends on us what we want. I told my children back in the UK that I will visit Pakistan for Baba’s jayanti (birthday) this time. This makes it my first visit to Pakistan in about 40 years,” he added calmly.

Johal’s father, a resident of Faisalabad’s Chak 101, left Pakistan for Jalandhar, India, in 1947. Later he left India for the UK during the 1960s in search of a job and stayed there.

“There’s so much fear-mongering on both sides, especially the media, that one feels overwhelmed. For the first time in years, I took a round of Lahore’s inner city on a whim on Saturday. I cried later. There’s so much I missed all these years,” he said as hymns echoed from the main hall of the Gurdwara.

Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2016

Britain’s PM ‘looking forward’ to visiting Pakistan

Britain’s PM ‘looking forward’ to visiting Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday that she looked forward to visiting Pakistan in the first half of 2017.

She said this as she walked into a meeting between Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and UK’s National Security Adviser (NSA) Sir Mark Lyall Grant at 10 Downing Street, London.

The prime minister conveyed good wishes to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the people of Pakistan, according to a message received from London.

Mr Nisar congratulated Ms May on assuming the office of prime minister and said that he hoped that relations between the two countries would improve under her leadership. He expressed the hope that Britain and Pakistan could enhance cooperation at all levels after her visit next year.

He said her visit would be timely considering the regional political situation in South Asia and would help open up new channels of multi-lateral cooperation and coordination.

During his conversation with Sir Mark, the interior minister stressed the need to focus on Indian intransigence. He said India’s hegemonic stance and aggressive posturing was a threat to peace and stability in the region.

Mr Nisar stated that Pakistan would not cow down to bullying tactics, adding that “we reserve the right to avenge the blatant and unprovoked killing of our soldiers”. He stressed that the global community would have to come together to counter India’s designs against Pakistan. He also urged global leaders to stop viewing South Asia through India’s lens.

On the subject of the war against terrorism, Mr Nisar said that terrorism was a threat to the region and international peace. “The people of Pakistan and its security institutions are determined to wipe out terrorism from its soil.” He said the security situation in Pakistan had improved in the last three years.

On the regional situation, the interior minister said, “A peaceful and stable Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan”.

Mr Nisar said that friendly relations between Pakistan and its neighbouring countries were based on a principle of reciprocity, which was a fundamental and important element of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

Highlighting the sacrifices of the people of Pakistan and security institutions in the war against terrorism, the minister said the people of Pakistan believed th­ere would be no discrimination at the inter­national level on such a sensitive issue and that the world must acknowledge the role Pakistan had played to ensure global peace.

Sir Mark appreciated the sacrifices of those who had lost their lives in the war against terrorism, and assured Mr Nisar that the UK would continue to provide assistance for the welfare and socio-economic development of the country.

Published in Dawn November 16th, 2016