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Sunday, 14 February 2016

 

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UN voices concern over Europeís restrictive measures as refugee and migrant influx continues -
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 13 (APP): With the number of refugees and migrants arriving in Europe showing no signs of easing in 2016, the United Nations refugee agency has expressed its concern over increasing restrictive measures on the part of European Member States and called for protecting the human rights of the more than 2,000 people who continue risking their lives every day to reach Europe. Speaking at a press briefing in Geneva, Melissa Fleming, a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), underscored that despite rougher seas, harsh winter weather and numerous hardships endured upon arrival, more than 80,000 refugees and migrants arrived in Europe by boat during the first six weeks of 2016, with more than 400 dying in their attempt. Comparably, large numbers began arriving in Europe only by July 2015.


Pakistan snubs NYT for allegation over ISIS, Afghanistan -
WASHINGTON, Feb. 12  (APP): The Pakistan Embassy in the U.S. rejected a report carried out by the New York Times  (NYT) that blamed Pakistan for  deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, adding such accusation would harm the reconciliation process in that country. In a strong rejoinder to the editor, a spokesman for the embassy challenged the assertions made in the report titled "Pakistan's Hands in the Rise of International Jihad" and drew the attention of the author to the world praise for Pakistan for its role in fighting global terrorism.     



UN marks 1st Intíl Day of Women and Girls in Science -

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 12 (APP): More than ever today, the world needs science and science needs women, the head of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said Thursday, marking the first International Day of Women and Girls in Science. “UNESCO’s message is clear “the new [2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development] will not meet its promise without investing in women’s and girls’ empowerment through and in science,” Director-General Irina Bokova highlighted in a message.



At Chicago event, Pakistani diplomat says ending polio top national priority -
faisal_niaz_tirmizi.jpgCHICAGO, Feb. 12 (APP): Over 500 people in Chicago on Thursday attended an event organized by Rotary International, in collaboration with the Pakistani Consulate Genetral, to honour the ‘selfless commitment’ of the people and the government of Pakistan for their tireless work to eradicate polio from the country. “Polio eradication is our national priority and the prime minister of Pakistan is supervising efforts to eliminate this debilitating disease,”  Pakistani Consul Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, told the gathering in the course of discussion on “Ending Polio in Pakistan”. 


Pakistan rejects claims of its role in deteriorating situation in Afghanistan -
NEW YORK, Feb 12 (APP): A Pakistani diplomat has debunked allegations made in an article published in a leading American newspaper last week  that Pakistan had facilitated the recent Taliban offensive in Afghanistan. The article, titled ‘Pakistan’s Hand in the Rise of International Jihad’, was written by Carlotta Gall, a New York Times correspondent who reported from Pakistan from 2001-13.


Sport News
Pakistan beat India 1-0 to claim hockey gold in SAG
ISLAMABAD, Feb 12 (APP): Pakistan continued their supremacy in men's hockey in the region as they defeated historical rivals India 1-0 in the summit clash to clinch gold in the 12th South Asian Games (SAG) at the Moullana Tayabullah Hockey Stadium Guwahati, India on Friday. According to information received here, Awais-ur-Rehman scored the lone goal of the match in dying moments of the first half as Pakistan clinched a hat-trick of titles in the SAG.

 
BCCI has banned me without any evidence: Asad Rauf
ISLAMABAD, Feb 12 (APP): Pakistan umpire Asad Rauf Friday hit out at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for imposing a five-year ban on him for corruption, saying that the Indian Board did not have any evidence to pronounce him guilty. "What authority does the BCCI or IPL have to ban me when the court in Mumbai told the police they had no evidence against me," Rauf asked.

 
World Champion Asif gearing up to regain National Snooker crown
KARACHI, Feb. 12 (APP)- Former IBSF World Amateur Snooker Champion Muhammad Asif was gearing-up to regain his crown in the 41st edition of National Snooker Championship which break-off here from February 15. "Yes I am fully ready to regain my crown after last winning it in 2012," country's premier cueist told APP in an interview on Friday as he prepared to travel to Karachi from Faisalabad to figure in prestigious national event.

 
Zeeshan/Saif steers Pakistan 5th spot in ICC U19 CWC
KARACHI, Feb. 12 (APP)- Pakistan ended its campaign in the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup on a winning note, defeating England by seven wickets in Fatullah on Friday to finish fifth in the 16-nation tournament. Batting duo of opener Zeeshan  Malik and Saif Badar starred in their team's triumph with sizzling batting.

 
TDCP Cholistan Jeep Rally starts
BAHAWALPUR, Feb 12 (APP): Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab (TDCP) 11th Cholistan jeep rally has started here Friday. A total of 80 vehicles have got registered in 8 different categories. Two female drivers are also participating in the event. Qualifying round of the rally will be held on Saturday.

 
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Aafia rejects witnessís claim she planned to attack New York landmarks PDF Print E-mail
NEW YORK, Jan 20 (APP): Aafia Siddiqui Tuesday called the prosecution’s first witness a liar at her alleged murder attempt trial in a federal court when he testified that the Pakistani neuroscientist was arrested with a handwritten note outlining plans to attack some of New York City’s landmarks.
“I was never planning a bombing. You are lying,” Dr. Siddiqui, 37, said, interrupting the witness, US Army Captain Robert Snyder. She added that the case against her was bogus. At that early stage of the trial—the presiding judge, Richard Berman, ordered her removed from the court.
Two other government wintnesses testified on the opening day of the trial, which is expected to last two weeks. They are: John Threadcraft, a former army officer and John Jefferson, an FBI agent—both were stationed in Afghanistan at the time of the alleged incident. A large number of Ms. Siddiqui’s supporters were present in the court and two other rooms in the building where they watched the proceedings via closed circuit television.     
Outside the court, dozens of people, led by Shahid Comrade of the Pakistan-USA Freedom Forum, staged a rally to demand justice for Ms.  Siddiqui and her release. The testimony of Jefferson was continuing when the court adjourned for the day to meet again on Tuesday. Ms.  Siddiqui is charged with attempted murder for grabbing an M-4 Army rifle and firing two shots at the Americans inside a room before she was subdued. No one was hit but she was shot twice by an American soldier. “She was determined, very agitated,” the witness, Capt.  Snyder told the court where Ms. Siddiqui faced jurors for the first time. “It was clear in my mind what her intent was. A vision of hatred, her intent was to follow though.” Capt. Snyder said that he and about 15 U.S. officials, including two FBI officers, went to question Ms. Siddiqui at the Afghan National Police compound in Ghazni, Afghanistan. 
He said Siddiqui was arrested on July 17, 2008, outside the provincial governor’s offices with a purse full of papers, a thumb drive and carrying chemical substances. “I never get a chance to speak Siddiqui said in court, interrupting the U.S. Army captain’s testimony. “If you were held in a secret prison and your children were tortured. You have to give me credit There was no list of targets against New York. I was never planning to bomb it You are lying While ordering the removal of Ms. Siddiqui, judge Berman said she could watch the proceedings on closed-circuit television in an adjacent holding cell, a proposal she rejected. The judge turned down a request from her lawyers to declare a mistrial. Earlier, just before the jury entered the courtroom, Ms. Siddiqui turned to onlookers and said, I have information about attacks, more than 9/11 I want to help the president to end this group, to finish them, she said. They are a domestic, U.S. group, they are not Muslim. I am not lying, I swear In opening statements to the jury, Ms. Siddiqui’s lawyer, Charles Swift, said his client didn’t fire any weapon that day. Authorities were never able to find any gunpowder residue on Ms. Siddiqui or any ballistics evidence showing the rifle had been fired or that she had used it, Swift said. Swift said an Afghan police detective earlier had beaten his client with a cane during questioning and alleged the evidence showed only one weapon, a U.S.  Army officer’s pistol, was fired. U.S. officers gave conflicting accounts of the shooting, Swift claimed. You are not going to have any evidence the rifle was fired that day in the room, Swift said.  you are going to find there is far less than reasonable doubt, but that there is real doubt that Aafia Siddiqui ever touched that gun, and you are going to find her not guilty. Resuming his tetimony, Snyder, the first witness, said he was seated close to a curtain dividing the room and that his body armor restricted him from moving quickly out of the chair. I could see the barrel of the rifle, the inner portion of the barrel of the weapon, that indicated to me that it was pointed straight at my head, Snyder said. He said he dove for cover to his left, just when Siddiqui paused because she did not know how to operate the rifle. Afghan authorities fled from the room, followed by the U.S. officials, witness Snyder said. A civilian who was working as an interpreter for the U.S. Army grabbed the rifle barrel as Ms. Siddiqui fired and restrained her, and she was shot by another U.S. officer, Snyder said. Prosecutors insisted that Ms. Siddiqui used a U.S. soldier’s assault rifle to attack Americans during a chaotic confrontation at the Afghan police outpost. “She said in perfect English, ‘Get out of here,’ and then she pulled the trigger,” Assistant US District Attorney Jenna Dabbs told jurors. Ms. Dabbs claimed that, during a struggle, Siddiqui yelled, “I hate Americans” and “Death to America.” A soldier returned fire, wounding her in the stomach. Ms. Dabbs said that after Siddiqui was shot in the stomach, she struggled and stated, “I hate Americans, you will die by my blood,” and “Death to America.” Ms. Siddiqui is accused of planning attacks on the landmarks or of any terrorism charges, according to the indictment. The prosecutors’ effort during the proceedings was to focus on the political statements Ms. Siddiqui is alleged to have made in the Afghan police outpost in Ghazni, an Afghan city. On the other hand, the defence attorneys highlighted the absence of any forensic evidence. During the cross-examination, the defence attorneys—Swift and Linda Moreno—brought out the contradiction in the versions of the alleged Ghazni incident given by the three witnessed. These ranged from the number of people present in the police outpost to the distance of the barrel of the gun from the curtain.
 
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