He said expat officers remaining after the handover were useful because “continuity and confidence was maintained”. But he added that Hong Kong’s police force has since changed considerably, especially as Beijing asserts more authority over the city’s leaders. “As the years have gone by, and China’s rise has been much more pronounced, the Hong Kong government became politicised in the years following the handover,” he said. The outed expat offices are now increasingly portrayed as foot soldiers for an authoritarian China that wants to clamp down on Hong Kong’s unique freedoms. Clashes at latest Hong Kong anti-extradition marchThe senior officers said many had sympathies with those protesting peacefully, adding that police helped facilitate multiple mass rallies and had no say over policy.

July 17, 2019 07:07 UTC

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s ruling military and the pro-democracy movement have signed a political document that is part of a power-sharing deal meant to end the country’s deadlock after weeks of stalled talks. The two sides representatives from the military council and the Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change, which represents the protesters signed a so-called political declaration, one of two documents that are part of the deal. The other document, a constitutional declaration, is likely to be signed within days. The ceremony took place on Wednesday in the country’s capital, Khartoum, and representatives of both sides shook hands. The signing is a key step in the country’s transition after months of street protests that prompted the military to oust autocratic ruler Omar al-Bashir and take over the country in April.

July 17, 2019 06:56 UTC

State Depart­ment spokes­person says the US encour­ages the move betwee­n the two nuclea­r-armed neighb­oursThe United States (US) on Tuesday welcomed the Kartarpur Corridor initiative between Pakistan and India and said Washington was “incredibly supportive” of the project, said a statement released by the Department of State. Anything that increases people-to-people ties between India and Pakistan is something that we’re incredibly supportive of,” said States Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus while addressing the media in Washington. This move comes days after the second round of talks between the two nuclear-armed neighbours held at the Wagah border. The Kartarpur crossing will link Dera Baba Nanak in Indian Punjab with Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan. Pakistan gave the nod to permitting 5,000 pilgrims to visit the Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara each day and they will be allowed to travel as individuals or in groups by foot.

July 17, 2019 06:56 UTC

TEL AVIV: State-owned defence contractor Israel Aerospace Industries said on Wednesday it signed a $50 million follow-up contract to provide complementary missile systems to the Indian navy and India’s MDL Shipyard. The agreement involves a range of maintenance and other services for sub-systems of Israel Aerospace’s naval medium-range surface-to-air missile. “This contract is a breakthrough as it advances us from system development and delivery to looking after the operational needs of our customers,” said Boaz Levi, general manager of the Systems, Missiles & Space Group at Israel Aerospace.

July 17, 2019 06:56 UTC

THE HAGUE: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will announce its verdict in Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case today at 6 pm. The ICJ, which is the United Nations’ top court, said it “will deliver on Wednesday 17 July 2019 its judgment in the Jadhav Case (India v. Pakistan)”. Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav was arrested on 3rd March 2016, through a counter-intelligence operation in Balochistan’s Mashkel area for his involvement in espionage and terrorist activities against Pakistan. In a confessional statement, Jadhav admitted that he was tasked by Indian spy agency Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) to plan, coordinate and organize subversive activities in Karachi and Balochistan. In June 2017, the Indian spy had filed a mercy petition against the death penalty, in which he again confessed to his involvement in terrorist activities.

July 17, 2019 06:33 UTC

LAHORE: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has awarded veteran journalist and Editor Dawn Zaffar Abbas with the 2019 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award for “extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom”. The prestigious CPJ’s Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award – previously known as the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award – was renamed in 2017 to honor a former board member who passed away in 2016. Abbas, a seasoned journalist, started his career in 1981 when he worked as a junior reporter for the Karachi-based newspaper The Star. In 1988, he began working at the Herald, a prestigious monthly magazine, as its investigative reporter. In 2010, he was named Dawn‘s editor-in-chief, replacing Abbas Nasir.

July 17, 2019 06:11 UTC

CANBERRA: A fisherman man said on Wednesday he was looking for the author of a message in a bottle found off the southern Australian coast 50 years after it was written. Paul Elliot told Australian Broadcasting Corp. that he and his son Jyah found the bottle on the west coast of Eyre Peninsula in South Australia state while fishing. Government oceanographer David Griffin said the bottle could not have remained afloat for 50 years off the south coast because “the ocean never stays still.”Griffin suspected that the bottle had been buried on a beach for years then refloated by a storm. Hundreds of thousands of Britons migrated to Australia in the 1960s with the Australian government subsidizing their fares. But a quarter of them returned to Britain within a few years when life in Australia fell short of their expectations.

July 17, 2019 06:11 UTC

The shallow 7.3-magnitude quake struck about 165 kilometres (100 miles) south of the town of Ternate in North Maluku province on Sunday evening, according to the US Geological Survey. “Five people died after they were hit by debris,” Agus Wibowo, a spokesman for Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency, said in a statement. North Maluku was also hit by a 6.9-magnitude tremor earlier this month. Strong 6.1-magnitude quake rocks western IndonesiaIndonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide. Last year, a 7.5-magnitude quake and a subsequent tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi island killed more than 2,200 people, with another thousand declared missing.

July 17, 2019 06:00 UTC

Judges issued show-cause notice and person­al hearin­gsPESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday announced that it has sacked two judges of the lower judiciary for misconduct. A statement released by the PHC said that additional district and sessions judge Nasir Kamal Yousufzai and civil judge Tayyab Ali have been sacked from their position under the Government Servants Rules 2011. The decision was taken in light of an inquiry by an inquiry committee. The judges were then issued show-cause notices and personal hearings. After the charges were deemed to have been proven, the committee recommended sacking the judges.

July 17, 2019 06:00 UTC

Court irked as ANF fails to produc­e case file during hearin­gLAHORE: A judicial magistrate has extended the 14-day judicial remand of six suspects, including PML-N Punjab President Rana Sanaullah, for allegedly smuggling 15 kilograms of heroin. The Anti-Narcotics Force failed to produce the case file before magistrate Ahmed Waqas, despite proceedings being adjourned for at least two hours. As proceedings commenced, Rana Sanaullah’s lawyer, Advocate Syed Farhad Ali Shah, slammed the ANF for failing to produce the case file. Rana Sanaullah sent on 14-day judicial remandJudge Waqas asked ANF to outline the reasons for this delay in producing the case file. Earlier, ANF’s officials produced the suspects, including PML-N’s Rana Sanaullah, Muhammad Akram, Sibtain Haider, Usman Ahmed, Asim Rustam and Umar Farooq, amid strict security measures.

July 17, 2019 05:15 UTC

The committee met in the Parliament House with committee chief Senator Sitara Ayaz in the chair. She asked the forest department about the loss incurred, the mitigation measures taken and reasons behind such frequent incidents. One reason for forest fires is irresponsible tourists who are camping at scenic spots in the province. This, he said, was the cause of frequent forest fires in the Murree Forest Division. However, they appreciated Rescue 1122 for its prompt response to different forest fires despite the rugged topography and lack of resources.

July 17, 2019 05:03 UTC

Imran meets repres­entati­ves of leadin­g US firms doing busine­ss in countr­yISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said the government was fully determined to extend all facilities to the investors and business community. The prime minister was talking to a delegation of US-Pakistan Business Council led by Dr Mahmood Khan. The delegation included representatives of the prominent US companies doing business in Pakistan, said a press release of PM Office Media Wing. They expressed their confidence in the government’s policies especially provision of facilities to the investors and business community, registration process for the business activities and equal opportunities for doing business. They also indicated further expansion in their business and investment activities in the country.

July 17, 2019 04:52 UTC

The IMF asks Pakist­an to end state contro­l of the rupee to let the curren­cy find its equili­brium agains­t the US dollar­KARACHI: The rupee weakened against the dollar at Rs160.25/160.75 in the inter-bank market on Tuesday compared with Monday’s close of Rs158.7/159.2, according to forex.pk. Earlier, the SBP let the rupee depreciate massively in the inter-bank market after finalising an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a loan programme on May 12. The IMF has asked Pakistan to end state control of the rupee and let the currency move freely to find its equilibrium against the US dollar and other major world currencies. Also, the World Bank, which finances some of the infrastructure and social safety net projects in Pakistan, has supported the idea of leaving the rupee free from state control in a bid to give much-needed boost to exports and fix a faltering economy. Cumulatively, the rupee has depreciated almost 49% since December 2017, according to the central bank.

July 17, 2019 04:41 UTC

“Action would be taken against benami properties as per law of the country and the money recovered from such benami properties and companies would be deposited to the national exchequer. He made it clear that the government would continue taking action against money laundering, benami properties and benami companies and trades. Sharing their details, the PM’s aide said these companies include sugar mills, construction companies, cement factory, trading companies, automobile manufacturing companies, holding companies, consultant firms and gas companies etc. These companies include Al-Miftah (Pvt) Ltd, Sky Pak (Pvt) Ltd, Seracom Stock and Capital (Pvt) Ltd, Alfa Zulu Company (Pvt) Ltd, Paramount Builders and Devs (Pvt) Ltd, New Thatta Sugar Mills (Pvt) Ltd, Pak Ethanol (Pvt) Ltd, Bandhi Sugar Mills Ltd, Rubicon Builders and Devs (Pvt) Ltd, Seracom Builders and Devs (Pvt) Ltd, Parthenon (Pvt) Ltd, Pak Track (Pvt) Ltd, Vanguard Sugar Mills (Pvt) Ltd. He claimed that former president Zardari established sugar mills and other properties through threat and extortion.

July 17, 2019 04:40 UTC

WASHINGTON D.C.: The United States said Tuesday it hoped to hold denuclearization talks with North Korea after Pyongyang warned that US-South Korean military exercises could affect their planned resumption. Their annual drills with tens of thousands of South Korean soldiers have always infuriated the North — with Pyongyang condemning the maneuvers as rehearsals for invasion. ‘Not a legal document’On Tuesday, an unnamed North Korean foreign ministry spokesperson described the drills as “clearly a breach” of a joint statement signed by the leaders in Singapore and suggested Pyongyang may resume weapons tests in response. “If the military exercise really goes ahead, it would affect the DPRK-US working-level talks,” the official said in comments carried by state news agency KCNA, using North Korea’s official initials. Tensions were raised in May, during the standstill in negotiations between Trump and Kim, when North Korea fired short-range missiles for the first time since November 2017.

July 17, 2019 04:30 UTC