FBI director says antifa is an ideology, not an organization
FBI Director Chris Wray told lawmakers Thursday that antifa is an ideology, not an organization, delivering testimony that puts him at odds with President Donald Trump, who has said he would designate it a terror group.
India: Maid takes revenge, posts employer’s phone number and obscene messages on a fake FB profile
India|Crime|: A housemaid, in the Indian capital of Delhi, wanted to take revenge on her female employer, so she roped in her boyfriend and created a fake Facebook profile. The two then posted the employer’s mobile number along with obscene messages and pictures, to harass the woman. According to Indian news reports being shared online, the matter came to light when the employer started getting calls from strangers, and approached the Greater Kailash police station in South Delhi to lodge a complaint. The complainant also told the police that a few months ago their housemaid, Shruti, was caught stealing. The employers decided to not filed any complaint about the theft, since the issue was settled between them. See more: Photos: Devotees bid farewell to Lord Ganesha on the last day of Ganesh Chaturthi festival in India UAE aid to Pakistan, free COVID testing, UAE-Israel ties, US defiance, India parliament, Lebanon government, issues in Europe, here are the top news in pictures today India-China app war, US marine in Philippines jail, Thai royal consort, Pliscova out of US Open, Facebook grilled – top news in pictures today Cartoons: Trump’s re-election bid to India’s spluttering economy After tracking the person who had created the fake account, police officials confirmed the case. A police officer told news reporters: “The maid wanted to take revenge on her employer as she was caught red-handed. She took her boyfriend, Suraj’s help to create a fake Facebook profile of the employer. She wanted her employer to feel harassed and so posted her mobile number with offensive messages.” South Delhi Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Atul Thakur said: “Suraj uploaded the mobile numbers of the complainant and her mother along with some obscene photos of some other women, and captioned the post ‘Paid Sex’. The complainant started receiving several calls from many people.” The accused confessed to the crime and stated that he uploaded and created the fake profile, and also uploaded the mobile numbers of the complainant to help his girlfriend take revenge on the complainant. Read more: In masks, India marks 74th Independence Day India: Here are five upcoming patriotic films to watch out for India illuminates in tricolour on Independence Day eve COVID-19 casts a shadow on India Independence Day celebrations, while end of gold rally is baffling Police arrested Suraj, and according to Indian news media reports, a case was registered under 354D of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Further investigation is underway. According to IPC 354, the accused can get imprisonment up to three years which may also extend to five years in some cases.
Preparing for potential COVID-19 vaccine launch: Moderna CEO
Americas|: New York: US-based biotech firm Moderna is actively preparing for a potential commercial launch of mRNA-1273, its Covid-19 vaccine, the company's CEO has said. The announcement comes amid an unprecedented race worldwide to bring a vaccine to protect people from COVID-19. Moderna announced progress across its portfolio of pipeline assets presented at its annual R&D Day on Thursday. "The pipeline has matured with our Covid-19 vaccine in a Phase 3 study and four candidates in Phase 2 studies," Moderna's Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said in a statement. "We are actively preparing for a potential commercial launch of mRNA-1273, our COVID-19 vaccine, and we continue to expand the breadth of Moderna's platform," he said. Moderna revealed that the Phase-3 study of its Covid vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, involving 30,000 volunteers in the US, has enrolled 25,296 participants as of September 16. The company said that 10,025 participants have received their second vaccination to date. To provide additional transparency in the context of the pandemic, the company also made Phase 3 protocol available online. Amid calls for greater transparency by vaccine makers, Pfizer, which is also conducting the Phase-3 trial of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, joined Moderna in making blueprints of its study available. The revelations are aimed to address concerns that pressure to bring out a vaccine before the November US presidential election could lead to unsafe products.
Indian military admits wrongdoing in 3 Kashmir killings
India|: Srinagar: In a rare admission of wrongdoing, the Indian military on Friday said its soldiers in Kashmir exceeded their legal powers in the killings of three local men it had described as Pakistani terrorists. Col. Rajesh Kalia, an Indian army spokesman, said police are investigating whether the men were actually involved in militancy. He said the victims have now been identified as residents of Rajouri district whose families had filed a complaint accusing soldiers of killing them in a staged gunbattle. See more Photos: Kashmir athletes struggle during COVID-19 lockdown Kashmir schooling now more challenging with COVID-19 Photos: Readers' pick - Best places in Belgium, Hong Kong, Italy, Pakistan, Philippines, Switzerland and Thailand Photos: Sky-high outdoor classroom for children in COVID-19-hit Indian Kashmir On July 18, the Indian army said its soldiers killed three “unidentified Pakistani terrorists” in the southern Shopian area. About a month later, three Kashmiri families in Rajouri identified the victims as their missing relatives using photographs of the bodies that circulated on social media, and filed a complaint with police. Police ordered an investigation, and the results have not yet been released. “Their DNA report is awaited. Their involvement with terrorism or related activities is under investigation by the police,” Kalia said in a statement, without explaining how the military had identified the three men. Kalia said an army investigation showed the soldiers had exceeded the powers granted to them under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. The act gives the Indian military in Kashmir sweeping powers to search, seize and even shoot suspects on sight without fear of prosecution. Under the act, local authorities need federal approval to prosecute erring army or paramilitary soldiers in civilian courts. The special powers were given to the military in 1990, a year after protests erupted in Kashmir seeking the Himalayan region’s independence or merger with neighbouring Pakistan, which also controls part of Kashmir. “Consequently, the competent disciplinary authority has directed to initiate disciplinary proceedings under the Army Act against those found prima facie answerable,” Kalia said. “Indian Army is committed to ethical conduct of operations.” Police, which usually participate in counterinsurgency operations, said the July 18 encounter was a solo operation by the army. The police later buried the bodies in a remote cemetery. The families of the young men - cousins aged 18, 21 and 25 - said they went to Shopian to work as labourers and were last heard from on July 17. Hundreds of thousands of Indian troops are stationed in the region and maintain checkpoints throughout the territory. The results of the police probe are likely to spark an outcry among Kashmiri activists who for years have accused Indian troops of abusing their powers and repeatedly targeting civilians. In 2010, a massive uprising erupted in Kashmir after a police investigation found Indian soldiers had killed three civilians in a staged gunbattle and then said the victims were militants in order to claim a reward for killing them. The army responded by suspending two officers.
Pak to set up markets along border with Afghan, Iran to boost trade, curb smuggling: Report
Pakistan will set up 18 markets along its border with Afghanistan and Iran to simultaneously boost trade with the two neighbours and curb the menace of smuggling that has dented the economies on both sides, according to a media report on Friday.
Firefighter dies battling wildfire in California
Americas|: Molalla, Oregon: A California firefighter was reported dead on Friday as a front of humid and rainy weather aided the efforts of weary emergency crews and brought some relief to a region that has suffered a historically devastating fire season. The firefighter died on Thursday while battling the El Dorado wildfire in California’s San Bernardino National Forest, US Forest Service officials said on Friday. The El Dorado fire, which officials have said was started by pyrotechnics at a gender reveal party, has burned nearly 20,000 acres since the beginning of the month. See more Photos: California wildfire prompts new evacuations Traumatized Beirut watches new fire burn at the port, a month after blast Thousands spend third night in the open after Greek migrant camp fire In photos: Massive fire breaks out in Ajman “Our deepest sympathies are with the family, friends and fellow firefighters during this time,” the Forest Service said in a statement posted on Twitter, adding that the cause of the firefighter’s death was under investigation. Overnight, rain in northwest Oregon and humidity over the San Francisco Bay Area bolstered hope for further containment of the dozens of deadly wildfires that have raged for weeks due to tinderbox conditions created by high winds, lightning and drought. Cooler, more favourable weather in the region since last week has already dispelled some of the smoky, polluted air and tempered the flames, enabling ground teams with hand tools and bulldozers to regroup and consolidate their gains while also allowing greater use of water-dropping helicopters and airplane tankers. The region still faces a formidable recovery from the fires, which have burned some 3.2 million acres in California since mid-August and another 1.7 million acres in Oregon and Washington state since Labour Day. Several small towns have largely been incinerated, with thousands of dwellings destroyed and at least 35 lives lost - 26 in California, including the firefighter - eight in Oregon, and one in Washington state. Thousands of evacuees, especially in Oregon, remained huddled in emergency shelters, mobile trailers and hotel rooms. The situation was particularly dire in Oregon, a state unaccustomed to wildfires of such magnitude and lacking sufficient resources to deal with them. Oregon’s firefighting force has more than doubled over the past week, with some 6,500 personnel on the fire lines. CalFire said more than 17,400 firefighters were deployed against 26 fires in the most populous U.S. state. ‘Good headway’ By Thursday, 11 days into the latest crisis, authorities in all three states were delivering a notably more optimistic assessment. Storms are expected to bring much-needed rain to the hard-hit western slopes of the Cascade Mountains, Doug Grafe, fire protection chief for Oregon’s Forestry Department, said on Thursday. He warned, however, that high winds and lightning from those storms could also complicate firefighting efforts, and heavy showers could lead to mudslides. Still, Grafe said, several large fires have been mostly suppressed, allowing the state to shift more resources to 10 major blazes that remain. Thomas Kyle-Milward, a spokesman for Washington state’s Department of Natural Resources, was likewise upbeat, telling Reuters, “Despite thin resources, we’re feeling like we’re making good headway.” A key sign of success has been a steady rise in containment, a measure of the buffer lines that firefighters carve around the perimeter of each blaze by hacking away unburned vegetation to prevent its spread.
Amal Clooney quits UK envoy role
Europe|HollyWood|: Amal Clooney, the human rights lawyer who is married to actor George Clooney, has quit as the UK's special envoy on media freedom in protest at the country's intention to breach international law through its internal market bill, The Guardian newspaper reported on Friday. Details to follow.
Belarus candidate who fled to Lithuania urges continued pressure on Lukashenko
News/World: Belarus opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya demanded on Friday an international mission to document what she called "atrocities" during crackdowns on anti-government protests but said she was ready to talk to end weeks of violence.
Taiwan scrambles fighter jets as 18 Chinese planes buzz island
Taiwan scrambled fighter jets on Friday as 18 Chinese aircraft buzzed the island, including crossing the sensitive mid-line of the Taiwan Strait, in an escalation of tensions as a senior US official held talks in Taipei.
IPL in UAE: BCCI’s Jay Shah visits Sharjah Cricket Stadium
Dubai: Jay Shah, the Secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), visited the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Friday. Shah expressed his satisfaction with the venue’s preparations for the upcoming IPL 2020 that is scheduled to kick-start with defending champions Mumbai Indians taking on the last year’s runners-up Chennai Super Kings at 6pm on Saturday. SEE MORE IPL in UAE: CPL stars land in Dubai in time for IPL challenge IPL in UAE: Kane Williamson rises to challenge for Sunrisers Hyderabad IPL in UAE: Bravo, Narine, Pollard - Caribbean kings swell the IPL ranks in the UAE IPL in UAE: Dhoni and Chennai Super Kings in the field and on film Shah was accompanied on his inspection of the improved facilities at the stadium by Waleed Bukhatir, vice-chairman of Sharjah Cricket Stadium and Khalaf Bukhatir, Managing Director of Bukhatir Group and CEO of Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Sharjah is scheduled to play host to their first encounter of the 2020 IPL when the Rajasthan Royals take on the Chennai Super Kings on September 22. The historic Sharjah Cricket Stadium holds the record for the most number of One Day Internationals (ODIs) hosted in a venue with 236 ODIs up to February 19, 2018. The stadium was originally constructed in the early 1980s and has been much improved over the years. It hosted its first international matches in April 1984, in the Asia Cup that was won by India ahead of Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Over the next two months, the stadium will play host to some classic IPL rivalries starting with the Royal Challengers facing the Chennai Super Kings on September 22. Sharjah will host a total of 12 encounters thereafter. Sharjah fixtures September 22: RR v CSKSeptember 27: RR v KXIPOctober 3: DC v KKROctober 4: MI v SRHOctober 9: RR v DCOctober 12: RCB v KKROctober 15: RCB v KXIPOctober 17: DC v CSKOctober 23: CSK v MIOctober 26: KKR v KXIPOctober 31: RCB v SRHNovember 3: SRH v MI
COVID-19: Pakistan's consistent decline of new infections ends with 752 cases reported in one day
Pakistan|: Islamabad: Pakistan has recorded 752 coronavirus cases in a single day for the first time in more than a month, taking the total number of infections to 304,386 and sparking fears that the reopening of schools will trigger another virus spike. The last time a similar number of cases were reported in the country was on August 15 after which a consistent decline was witnessed dropping to even 213 cases on August 30. There are currently a total of 6,295 active coronavirus cases in the country. Pakistan has conducted over 3 million tests since March, according to the Health Ministry. SEE ALSO 6 most common vaccine misconceptions: Response from experts 12 Essential foods to eat when you're expecting 10 Amazing deals on family fun in Dubai this weekend COVID-19: Beards and masks, do they really go together? UAE Expats speak Today, the Sindh government decided to delay the resumption of secondary classes (grade 6-8) by a week amid concerns over violation of safety rules. At a press conference in Karachi, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani said that the reopening of schools was one of the hardest decisions after the lockdown was eased as the health of students “cannot be compromised”. He cautioned that the health situation could aggravate with more students joining the classes which is why the provincial government has postponed the reopening of more classes till September 28. The city administration that reviewed the guidelines to ensure the safety of the children observed violations of health guidelines during the surprise visit to schools and colleges. No change in schedule elsewhere in the country Following the Sindh government’s announcement, Federal Minister Education Shafqat Mahmood said in a tweet that “There is no change regarding the timetable announced earlier after interprovincial meeting of education ministers.” He informed that the final decision to reopen secondary classes would be made after consultation at the September 22nd meeting of National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC). But if the health situation is satisfactory, there is “no reason to postpone 6 to 8 opening on September 23rd” he said. Dozens of educational institutions shut over fears More than 30 educational institutions across the country were closed down just two days after the reopening for failing to meet safety rules announced by the government to curb the spread of the virus. Pakistan announced a phased opening of schools, colleges and universities on Septembers 15 with mandatory temperature checks and the use of masks after six-month long closure. All higher educational institutions including universities, colleges and schools till grade 9 have opened in Pakistan while grades six through eighth grade will reopen in the second phase and finally, the primary school would resume from September 30.
IPL in UAE: How IPL changed the face of cricket
Did the Indian Premier League change cricket? Yes, it did. It revolutionised the game in India. The IPL served as a shot in the arm, thrusting Indian cricket into the centre stage of the world. Cricketers and crowds benefited enormously, while cash registers kept ringing endlessly. Twelve years later, IPL still hasn’t lost its allure. Cricket has always been very popular in India, but IPL raised the popularity by several notches. The T20 format is a perfect incubator for edge-of-the-seat dramas and thrilling finishes, providing an adrenalin rush for most people after a hard day’s work. The shorter duration and night matches helped set up fan bases that prefer IPL to soap operas on television. It brought a whole new audience to cricket. An audience that included Bollywood stars and celebrities. That infused more glamour into the game. Not that cricket was short on glamour and celebrities. IPL is where cricket meets Bollywood. Several Indian film stars own franchises, and Bollywood actors regularly turn up at the stadiums to support the teams. And the crowds love it. Here IPL may have borrowed a page from the playbook of the Cricket Beneficiary Fund Series games in Sharjah. Rajasthan Royals won the inaugural IPL in 2008. Image Credit: Twitter T20 cricket was born in New Zealand in the 1990 as Cricket Max, but it became a tournament in England in 2003 to arrest the waning spectator interest. IPL turned that into a money spinner in 2008. The brand value of the IPL in 2019 was Rs475 billion ($6.7 billion), according to Duff & Phelps. An IPL game is more than a cricket match. The atmosphere is electric. Blaring music, brightly clad cheerleaders, Mexican waves, full-throated cheers and shrill whistling greet each ball racing to the boundary, as flame-throwers light up the packed stadium. The frenzy and the razzmatazz mark out IPL from the T20 leagues of the world. It’s a total entertainment package. SEE MORE IPL in UAE: CPL stars land in Dubai in time for IPL challenge IPL in UAE: Kane Williamson rises to challenge for Sunrisers Hyderabad IPL in UAE: Virat Kohli and Royal Challengers Bangalore buzzing ahead of big day IPL in UAE: Mumbai Indians players spend quality time at the beach An entertainment package it is, but cricket is very much at the heart of IPL. Cricket is what tens of thousands of people come to watch. Millions more follow on television; a record 462 million viewers watched IPL 2019. And that prompts players to give off their best. After all, they are paid handsomely; some of them earn in a season more than what they would earn in their careers. Pat Cummins is the highest paid overseas player this season with a Rs155 million (Dh7.7 million) contract from the Kolkata Knight Riders. Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar had a lucrative stint at Mumbai Indians. Image Credit: PTI STARDUST For the superstars, IPL is an opportunity to rake in the big bucks in the prime of their careers. For the fading stars, it offers a chance to boost their retirement funds. The retired stars too are in demand. They find jobs as coaches, analysts, mentors and team directors. So, everyone wins. Other T20 leagues offer similar opportunities, but they are not in the same league as the IPL. The Big Bash League is high in intensity, but Australia’s T20 competition lacks the lure of IPL. And the lucrative contracts. The biggest beneficiaries are domestic cricketers. IPL turned them into professionals. Now they make a living from the game. Some of them are millionaires, who would otherwise be slogging away in banks and offices to make ends meet barely finding time for practice sessions. The IPL launched the international career of Rohit Sharma. Image Credit: AFP INTERNATIONAL NOTICE IPL was instrumental in resurrecting the careers of several Indian internationals. Rohit Sharma was an enigma. A cricketer with abundant talent, his Test career never really took off. When he dawdled in cricket wilderness, IPL gave him a lifeline. Sterling performances for Sunrisers Hyderabad paved the way for the captaincy of Mumbai Indians. That confidence made him a feared opening batsman in limited-overs cricket. The impressive spells of Lakshmipathy Balaji and Ashish Nehra in IPL showed that age hadn’t withered their skills. And it allowed them to stage a comeback to international cricket. Ambati Rayudu’s wasn’t a comeback, but his India debut came on the back of some strong performances in the IPL. Several young players took the IPL route to India colours. Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant and several others rode on the strength of their IPL performances to play international cricket. Some of them have good first-class records too, but IPL helped burnish their credentials. For many domestic cricketers, particularly the youngsters, IPL provides the platform to learn from the stalwarts of the game. Not just the skills, but how they approach the game. While Devdutt Padikkal can discuss his batting with Royal Challengers Bangalore’s chief coach Simon Katich, Delhi Capitals’ captain Shreyas Iyer can seek advice from head coach Ricky Ponting, and Chennai Super Kings’ Ruturaj Gaikwad will benefit from playing alongside Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Shane Watson and Dwayne Bravo. Sanju Samson gained vital experience in the IPL. Image Credit: Supplied OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS Cricketers in India also get a chance to pit their skills against the best in the business. When a young Sanju Samson lifts pace ace Dale Steyn over the straight boundary, it does wonders to his confidence. All this help raise the quality of first-class cricket in the country. There’s a downside to it as well. With IPL having such a massive influence on youngsters, the future of the longer formats be in jeopardy. Many of them prefer the limited-over variety as it offers a shorter route to riches and stardom. When youngsters shun Ranji Trophy, the talent pool for Test cricket shrinks drastically. When the base price in an IPL auction is Rs200,000, why would youngsters spend their time perfecting the outswinger? They would instead learn to bowl a variety of slower balls and an indipping yorker. They would opt to work on the reverse sweep and the slog to the cow corner. A backfoot defence and a square-cut with wrist rolling over will become endangered strokes. This is not an IPL problem. It’s a fallout of the burgeoning popularity of limited-overs cricket. Shorter games and more pay, you can’t argue with that. Purists may thumb noses at limited-overs cricket, but it has given a new lease of life to Test cricket. Tests no longer produce dull, drab draws over five days. The high rate of scoring in ODIs and T20 Internationals has seeped into Test cricket along with risky strokes and athletic fielding. The revival of leg-spin owes a lot to one-day matches. All that means most Tests will have results, and more people will come to watch the five-day game. International cricket had restricted opportunities to players from the major cricket playing countries. T20 leagues of the world changed all that, and IPL has welcomed players from all around the world. K.M. Asif struck the big time with Chennai Super Kings Image Credit: Supplied SUCCESS STORIES There are some fairy tales too. For K.M. Asif, IPL is a lifesaver. After two failed attempts at making a living in Dubai, the Kerala speedster landed a contract with the Chennai Super Kings. His third trip to Dubai is in the form of a bona fide cricketer, and he has no worries about providing for his family. If it were not for IPL, the world wouldn’t have heard of a Nepali cricketer. Delhi Capitals’ Sandeep Lamichchane is a sought-after leg-spinner in the T20 leagues of the world. IPL boasts of an American cricketer too: Pakistan-born Ohio resident Ali Khan. Overseas cricketers too derived benefit from IPL. The exposure helped them turn into better limited-overs cricketers. England’s Jos Buttler and David Bairstow are good examples. IPL action enabled New Zealand captain Kane Williamson to step up the tempo of his innings. Without IPL, Rashid Khan of Afghanistan would never have been the force he is now. As a refugee in Peshawar, he learnt his cricket in Pakistan, and IPL provided him with the big stage to parade his precocious skills. Today, he’s arguably the best leg-spinner in the world. IPL in UAE: Cricketers have learnt to be happy in a bio bubble, says Virat Kohli IPL in UAE: Where and how to watch the cricketing action UAE scores high as successful host of IPL IPL in UAE: England, Australia players to have a 36-hour quarantine Shakib ul Hasan is one of the greatest cricketers from Bangladesh. His all-round skills bloomed in the cauldron on IPL. And he paid it back by helping Kolkata Knight Riders win the title in 2014. Sunil Narine of the West Indies transformed into a feared spin bowler. The riches of IPL gave rise to a new breed of cricketers. The so-called mercenaries. They don’t play for the country; they prefer the IPL. The big pay cheques are a bigger attraction than a place in the national team. Some even turn down central contracts to make themselves available for IPL. When cricketers reach the twilight of their careers, the focus turns to IPL. The shorter format is easy on their bodies. And it helps bolster their nest eggs. Adam Gilchrist did it. So did the Hussey brothers, Michael and David. Now Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo, Lasith Malinga and several others use the same template. And they still play significant roles in the success of their franchises. Age doesn’t matter, performances do. That’s the IPL mantra. The COVID-19 may have forced IPL to leave the shores of India. But when the 13th season begins on Saturday, the eyes of Indians will be on the action in the UAE.
Saudi Arabia announces UN aid funding to stricken Yemen after CNN report
Saudi Arabia has signed a series of deals to provide more than $200 million in funding to United Nations aid agencies operating in Yemen, just days after a CNN investigation highlighted a crisis in aid funding for the war-stricken nation.
Pakistan granted stay over $6 billion penalty in Reko Diq case
Pakistan|: Islamabad: The World Bank’s arbitration tribunal has granted Pakistan a stay on a $6 billion penalty imposed for cancelling a mining lease to an Australian company. Pakistan’s Attorney General’s office termed the development a “success for Pakistan and its legal team”. The fine of nearly $6 billion including the damages award and interest is equal to about 2 percent of Pakistan’s GDP, 40 per cent of its total liquid foreign reserves and equivalent to the $6 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout package. See more Photos: Pakistan backlash grows over Charlie Hebdo cartoons In Pictures: Pakistan tourists flock to major spots Pictures: Schools and colleges reopen in Pakistan after six months Photos: Dozens dead as record rains lash Pakistan “Great relief” Asim Saleem Bajwa, who heads the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) authority, said on Twitter that the tribunal’s decision was a “great relief”. He added that Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed to fully support the government of Balochistan for “accelerated development” of mineral sector “in a transparent manner” involving local investors and technology. Final hearing Pakistan had appealed the penalty imposed by the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on several grounds. The tribunal is still considering Pakistan’s appeal against the penalty over its decision to cancel the Reko Diq mining lease for the Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) and a final hearing will take place in May 2021. Where is Reko Diq? Reko Diq, a desert town in Chagai district of Balochistan, is famous for its mineral wealth, including gold and copper reserves and believed to be the world’s fifth largest goldmine. It is located in Tethyan belt (known for reservoir for rare metals) that stretches all the way from Europe to Pakistan. Reko Diq dispute The whopping $6 billion penalty is centred around Pakistan’s annulling of the Reko Diq mining lease for Australia’s Tethyan Copper Company – a joint venture of Barrick Gold Corp. of Australia and Chile’s Antofagasta PLC – to build and operate a $3.3 billion copper-gold open-pit mine. The dispute began when Pakistan’s Supreme Court in 2013 declared void the Chagai Hills Exploration Joint Venture Agreement (CHEJVA) signed between the Balochistan government and Australian mining company BHP in 1993, stating that it was in conflict with the country’s laws. Tethyan replaced BHP in 2016 taking on the project that gave the foreign mining company 75 per cent share in discoveries made in the next 56 years. The 75/25 deal and a 2 percent royalty raised questions and exposed non-transparency, violation of laws and disregard for national interest in the agreement. Tethyan claims to have invested $220 million in Reko Diq by 2011 when Pakistan cancelled its mining lease. The company then sought help from the tribunal, which ruled against Pakistan in 2017. In July 2019, the tribunal slapped a massive $5.97 billion award against Pakistan for denying the mining lease. Islamabad challenged the ruling seeking its annulment and appealed that the penalty would negate the $6 billion IMF loan and cause serious economic hardship. Pakistan also informed the tribunal that the company could not seek damages as the project was based on agreements that were invalid under Pakistani law. Reports suggest that the dispute is now headed towards a negotiated settlement.
Trump offered to pardon Assange if he provided source of leaked Democratic emails, court told
News/World: U.S. President Donald Trump offered to pardon Julian Assange if the WikiLeaks founder provided the source for the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a London court was told on Friday.