Pakistan’s participation in Rio Olympics a mere consolation

Pakistan’s participation in Rio Olympics a mere consolation

KARACHI: When 206 nations march past during the Rio Olympics opening ceremony, a mere seven-athlete team will represent Pakistan — one fewer than the contingent sent by tiny Atlantic island Bermuda.

Despite producing world-class cricketers, hockey players and squash champions in 68 years since independence, Pakistan’s Olympic medal tally is an imperfect 10 — eight in field hockey and only two individual.

The Olympics in Brazil mark the lowest ebb for Pakistan as they failed to qualify in field hockey for the first time since their maiden appearance in 1948 London Games.

Three athletes — shooters Ghulam Mustafa Bashir and Minhal Sohail, and judoka Shah Hussain, qualified by right on the “continental quota” after racking up reasonable records in various international competitions.

There are also four wild cards which are given to all the member countries by the International Olympic Association. They have been taken up by swimmers Liana Swan and Harris Banday, and athletes Mehboob Ali and Najma Parveen.

It is a far cry from the sporting glory the country once enjoyed. As recently as 1994, Pakistan held world titles in field hockey, amateur snooker, squash and cricket. But only hockey is an Olympic sport.

Source/Credit: Dawn

Gujarat CM resigns after Dalit protests

Gujarat CM resigns after Dalit protests

NEW DELHI: In a sign of growing trouble for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Anandiben Patel, the woman chief minister of his home state of Gujarat, resigned on Monday.

Aam Admi Party’s (AAP) leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed Ms Patel’s resignation ahead of next year’s assembly polls was prompted by the rise of his party as a challenger. Mr Kejriwal earlier said in a video message that the Modi government was arresting his MLA’s to harass them. “Don’t be surprised if he gets me killed. He has lost his composure,” Mr Kerjiwal said.

Ms Patel’s resignation came as the state witnessed mass protests over the flogging of a Dalit family by a cow vigilante group for skinning a dead animal.

During a rally on Sunday, the Dalit community had put the BJP-led government on notice, saying they would teach the party a lesson in the elections next year.

Mr Modi had come to power as Gujarat CM at the head of a similarly divided party, but he consolidated his power in the shadow of the 2002 Gujarat pogroms.

Reports said that Ms Patel’s resignation has thrown the party into crisis as it looks for a new face. Though the 2002 riots did help Modi electorally, 2016 is a different scenario altogether, reports said. The state government is facing charges of inept handling of the Dalit protests, which has claimed many lives.

Earlier, the Patidar of powerful peasant-entrepreneurial caste (to which the outgoing chief minister belonged) had brought the state government to its knees, forcing it to announce job and education quota for the Patidar community.

Hardik Patel, the young leader of the Patidars, has issued open threat to the BJP. When he was released from jail recently, thousands turned up to greet him.

Even as the party was assessing the damage after the Patidar agitation, the protests against the recent Dalit atrocities swept over the state and even spilled over to Uttar Pradesh where it has another election to fight. And those who are behind these attacks are believed to be people from the BJP’s Hindutva offshoots only.

Source/Credit: Dawn

12 killed as Karachi-bound bus collides with truck in Jamshoro

12 killed as Karachi-bound bus collides with truck in Jamshoro

HYDERABAD: At least 12 people were killed in a collision between a bus and a truck early Tuesday near the Thermal Power Station in Jamshoro district, rescue sources said.

Women and children are among more than 20 travellers who have been injured in the incident, and the death toll is expected to rise.

The bus was travelling towards Karachi from Dera Ismail Khan when it met the accident on Indus Highway near Petaro. The bus was speeding and drove into a stationary truck.

Some of the injured were shifted to Liaquat University Hospital in Hyderabad.

A similar accident was reported late in May when a speeding coach overturned and took 10 lives near Hyderabad.

Poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving are cited as common reasons behind accidents in Pakistan. More than 4,600 people were killed in road traffic accidents in 2013, which is the last year the government released official data on the matter.

Source/Credit: Dawn

Tokyo elects first woman governor

Tokyo elects first woman governor

TOKYO: Veteran politician Yuriko Koike was elected on Sunday as Tokyo’s first woman governor, partial results showed, and immediately vowed to get a grip on the megacity’s troubled 2020 Olympic preparations.

The 64-year-old former TV anchorwoman, defence minister and environment minister was some 700,000 votes ahead of her nearest rival with almost two thirds of ballots counted.

Koike claimed victory and addressed supporters in the sprawling metropolis of 13.6 million people shortly after media exit polls declared her the winner at 8pm.

“I will lead Tokyo politics in an unprecedented manner, a Tokyo you have never seen,” she said in a voice made mildly hoarse after two weeks of campaigning.

The election, contested by a record field of 21 candidates, was called after previous governor Yoichi Masuzoe resigned over a financial scandal involving the lavish use of public funds on hotels and spa trips — the second successive Tokyo leader to quit.

Koike largely played down her achievement of becoming the capital’s first woman governor in a male-dominated society but said she will push female-friendly policies “so that both women and men can shine in Tokyo”.

A key task will be smoothing the city’s troubled road to the 2020 Olympics, hit by a series of embarrassing scandals and soaring costs.

Koike’s four-year term will extend until just after the summer Games start and her performance in the run-up will be closely watched. A key challenge will be getting a grip on swelling costs, seen as possibly double or triple the reported original forecast of 730 billion yen ($7.14 billion). She vowed to tackle the cost issue head on.

“I would like to review the basis for the budget, so that I can clarify for the eyes of Tokyo residents how much they would have to pay,” Koike said, adding that transparency would be the watchword.

“Reviewing the Olympic and Paralympic budget will be the litmus test for it.”

Source/Credit: Dawn

Five dead as Russian military helicopter downed in Syria

Five dead as Russian military helicopter downed in Syria

BEIRUT: A Russian military helicopter was shot down over Syria on Monday, killing all five people on board in the single deadliest incident for Moscow since it intervened in the war.

The attack came as militants and their allies battled government forces outside Aleppo in a bid to ease the government’s siege of rebel-held parts of the northern city.

Russia’s defence ministry announced the downing of the helicopter, which it said was carrying three crew and two officers.

“A Russian Mi-8 military transport helicopter was shot down from the ground after delivering humanitarian aid to Aleppo,” the defence ministry said in a statement quoted by Russian news agencies.

The Kremlin said all five people on board were assumed dead.

“As far as we know from the information we’ve had from the defence ministry, those in the helicopter died, they died heroically, because they were trying to move the aircraft away to minimise victims on the ground,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

Lieutenant General Sergei Rudskoy called the downing a “terrorist act” and said the defence ministry was still trying to confirm the fate of the Russian servicemen “through all possible channels”.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible.

Militants inspect the wreckage of a Russian helicopter that had been shot down in the north of Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province. -Reuters

The incident was the deadliest single attack on Russian forces in Syria since Moscow began its intervention in support of the Syrian government last September.

It brought the total number of members of the Russian forces killed in Syria to 18.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said the helicopter had come down along the administrative border between Idlib province in the northwest and neighbouring Aleppo.

Idlib is held almost entirely by a powerful coalition of Islamist and forces including the former Al-Nusra Front, now known as the Fateh al-Sham Front.

Source/Credit: Dawn

Cotton price rises on short supply

Cotton price rises on short supply

KARACHI: Cotton prices rose on Monday on the back of a surge in demand and continued short supply.

The market generally remained steady as spinners were finding it difficult to meet their near-future demand. The late arrivals of phutti (seed cotton) from Punjab were creating acute shortage of cotton, brokers said.

However, phutti supply from Sindh continued to be normal. Brokers said that since there was no early sowing of cotton in Punjab this season, the arrivals of phutti were also late.

India, which also faces a short crop, is importing huge quantity of cotton from other cotton-producing countries. This may leave little space for countries like Pakistan to import cotton from the world market, brokers said.

According to market reports, Indian importers have placed large orders from Australia, South Africa and West African countries and any imports by Pakistani spinners will have to come from the United States.

The Sindh variety of phutti was quoted at around Rs3,200 to Rs3,400 per 40 kilograms and Punjab quality between Rs3,100 and Rs3,400.

Meanwhile, the spinning industry has been asking the government to reduce import duty on cotton because they would not be able to compete in the world market on paying higher duties.

The Karachi Cotton Association raised its spot rates by Rs100, to Rs6,450 per maund.

Major deals on the ready counter were: 1,000 bales from Hyderabad (Rs6,700), 1,000 bales Kotri (Rs6,700), 2,000 bales Sanghar (Rs6,700), 1,200 bales Khipro (Rs6,700), 400 bales Kazi Ahmed (Rs6,700), 2,000 bales Shahdadpur (Rs6,700 to Rs6,750), 1,600 bales Mirpurkhas (Rs6,700 to Rs6,750) and 2,400 bales Tando Adam (Rs6,700 to Rs6,750).

Source/Credit: Dawn

Irish Muslims risk discrimination over ‘Islamist’ terror

Irish Muslims risk discrimination over ‘Islamist’ terror

Detective Chief Superintendent Michael O’Sullivan was speaking at the 15th annual conference of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association of Ireland (AMAI), held yesterday at Dublin’s CityWest Hotel.

The organisation, which was founded in Ireland in 1992, promotes peace, integration, and a greater understanding of Islam, and believes in the separation of state and religion.

Det O’Sullivan addressed issues facing the Muslim communities in Ireland, as did other speakers including Minister of State at the Department of Justice David Stanton and the national president of the AMAI, Iman Anwar Malik.

Det O’Sullivan said members of An Garda Síochána understand that all Muslim sects here in Ireland are peaceful and law-abiding.

“It is of vital importance that An Garda Síochána contain this to ensure that the law-abiding Muslim individuals do not suffer from hate crime or discriminatory profiling in any form brought on as a result of the unlawful actions of the few who declare themselves as representing the community’s interests,” Det O’Sullivan told the conference.

“We hear constantly about violent extremism and radicalisation and I know these words send a shiver down your spine. I’m aware of the acute suffering of all Muslims not just in Ireland but worldwide, who are afflicted with fear, due to collateral damage and fall-out from terrorist atrocities supposedly carried out in the name of Islam.”

AMAI president Iman Malik said: “The wave of recent terror attacks in which hundreds of innocent human beings have been killed, aim to divide communities, spread hatred and cause unrest in the civilised world.

“Our community perceives it as a responsibility to pro-actively counter the extremists, by spreading the true and peaceful teaching of Islam.”

In a separate room, the women of the organisation held their own speeches.

The organisation’s national president for the women, Sajida Aleem, said young people face many diversions, and it is the role of the mothers to educate and stand by their children.


Source/Credit: irishexaminer