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United Nations General Assembly Memorial held for Kofi Annan

10 hours ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said the UN and Kofi Annan (the late former UN secretary-general) were inseparable and it is impossible to say where one ended and the other began. Guterres on Friday led a list of diplomats, staff and family members speaking in the UN General Assembly Hall at a memorial tribute to Annan, who died on August 18 in Geneva after a short illness, a Nobel laureate and native of Ghana, Xinhua reported. "Kofi Annan was uncommonly warm, accessible and of the people -- but above all he was principled and forceful in battling for the values of the UN Charter," said Guterres. "He was charming and wise, kind and courageous. But he also knew how to deliver the barb -- in his masterly subtle way." "And sometimes, people were so captivated by his presence that they did not realize that they were being admonished!" said Guterres, who was appointed by Annan as High Commissioner for Refugees in 2005. But, "Throughout his tenure Kofi Annan urged us never to be ..
                 

Mike Pompeo warns of 'a series of actions' against Venezuela

10 hours ago  
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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned that the Trump administration will take "a serious of actions" against the Venezuelan government in the coming days. Speaking at an interview on Friday with Fox News, Pompeo said that "I think you'll see in the coming days a series of actions that continue to increase the pressure level against the Venezuelan leadership folks", Xinhua reported. Claiming that "we're determined to ensure that the Venezuelan people get their say," Pompeo declined to detail whether Washington will impose more sanctions on Caracas. The remarks came ahead of the annual UN General Assembly slated in New York next week. Several US media outlets reported earlier this month that the Trump administration has talked secretly with rebellious Venezuelan military officers several times to discuss their plans to stage a coup in the South American country. For his part, US President Donald Trump said in August of last year that he would not rule out a "military option" in ..
                 

US Deputy AG Rod suggested secretly recording Donald Trump: Report

10 hours ago  
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Deputy US Attorney General Rod Rosenstein suggested wearing a "wire" to record conversations with President Donald Trump and recruiting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office for being unfit, according to a media report. Rosenstein made these suggestions in 2017 when Trump's firing of former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) James Comey plunged the White House into turmoil, The New York Times report said on Friday. Over the ensuing days, the President divulged classified intelligence to Russians in the Oval Office, and revelations emerged that Trump had asked Comey to pledge loyalty and end an investigation into a senior aide. Rosenstein was just two weeks into his job. He had begun overseeing the Russia investigation and played a key role in the President's dismissal of Comey by writing a memo critical of his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. But Rosenstein was caught off guard when Trump cited the memo in the firing, and he b..
                 

US Senate committee postpones Brett Kavanaugh hearing

11 hours ago  
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A key US Senate committee has postponed its high-stakes hearing on sexual assault allegation against President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after his accuser Christine Blasey Ford declined the committee's request to testify before it. Senator Chuck Grassley, who heads the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Friday that both Kavanaugh and accuser Ford had been invited for the hearing scheduled to take place on Monday. He said while Kavanaugh had agreed to testify, Ford, a clinical psychology professor at Palo Alto University, declined. Grassley asked Ford, 51, to respond to the request by 10 pm Friday in the absence of which, he said, the Senate Judiciary Committee would vote on the nomination of the 53-year-old Judge Kavanaugh. "I'm extending the deadline for response yet again to 10 o'clock this evening. I'm providing a notice of a vote to occur Monday in the event that Dr Ford's attorneys don't respond or Dr Ford decides not to testify," Grassley said."In the e..
                 

With CAATSA out of the bag, China claws at US for sanctions

16 hours ago  
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An "outraged" China on Friday lodged a diplomatic protest with the US for imposing punitive sanctions on its military unit for buying Russian weapons, warning of "consequences" if the sanctions are not revoked. The US State Department said on Thursday that the purchases of Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 surface-to-air missiles by China's Equipment Development Department (EDD) of China's Ministry of Defence violated US sanctions on Russia. Both the EDD and its director, Li Shangfu, have been named in Thursday's sanctions. It is the first time the Trump administration targeted a third country with its Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 (CAATSA), designed to punish Russia for its seizure of Crimea and other activities. Reacting to the US move, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, "China is strongly outraged by this unreasonable action of the US and lodged stern representations". Asked whether China would continue its close intell..
                 

Maryland woman kills self after shooting three dead

16 hours ago  
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A woman opened fire with a handgun on Thursday at the warehouse where she worked in the eastern US state of Maryland, killing three people and wounding another three in the country's latest mass shooting, police said. The suspect -- identified as Snochia Moseley, 26 -- died after shooting herself in the head, said Harford County Sheriff Jeff Gahler. Gahler said Moseley was a temporary employee at the distribution centre for the Rite Aid drugstore chain in Aberdeen, Maryland. "We do not have a motive for this senseless crime," he said, but terrorism did not appear likely. The sheriff said the three wounded victims were hospitalized and were expected to survive. Gahler said Moseley lived in Baltimore County and the handgun she used in the attack, a 9mm Glock, was registered under her name. He said she was armed with the single handgun and several magazines. Catch up on all the latest Crime, National, International and Hatke news here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps..
                 

Pakistan NAB to challenge release of Sharif and family in SC

yesterday  
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Pakistan's anti-graft body on Thursday decided to challenge in the Supreme Court the suspension of the jail sentences of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law in a corruption case. The Islamabad High Court on Wednesday suspended the jail sentences of Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law, and they were released from prison in Rawalpindi, in a blow to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The sentences on the trio will remain suspended till the final adjudication of the appeals filed by the petitioners. Catch up on all the latest Crime, National, International and Hatke news here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in ..
                 

Britain, EU clash over who should give ground on Brexit

2 days ago  
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British Prime Minister Theresa May clashed with EU leaders on Thursday over who should make the next move to break the Brexit logjam, as time runs out to get a deal. EU Council President Donald Tusk opened a crucial summit in the Austrian city of Salzburg with a stark warning that Britain's position on key issues must be "reworked". He said negotiations on Britain's withdrawal from the European Union, due to take place in March, were reaching a "decisive phase" but said the outcome still remained open. While welcoming the "positive evolution" of Britain's position on security ties, Tusk said that on the Irish border and post-Brexit trading relations, "the UK's proposals will need to be reworked and further negotiated". Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who hosted the Salzburg summit, added that the EU was "ready to compromise but we also expect that from the UK", calling for May to offer a "step forward". But May said that after she presented her so-called Chequers plan on post-Bre..
                 

Donald Trump: China hitched USD 500 bn 'piggy bank' ride

2 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
China has taken out USD 500 billion and more a year from the US to rebuild itself, President Donald Trump said, as he referred to US as a the world's 'piggy bank,' and defended his controversial trade policies, including the latest move to slap duties on USD 200 billion worth of Chinese imports. He said China rebuilt itself with the "tremendous amount" of money pouring out of the US. "Over the last number of years, China has taken out of this country USD 500 billion and more a year. That would go a long way for Poland, wouldn't it? You could rebuild your whole country. And that's what China did," he said while addressing a joint news conference with the visiting Polish President Andrzej Duda at the White House. Trump said he keeps a close watch on trade deficits as it was "very important". Trump has repeatedly pointed to the large US trade deficit as one of the primary reasons his administration has embarked on trade fights with China, the European Union, Canada and Mexico. "When a ..
                 

Palestinian teen shot dead by Israeli fire in Gaza border clashes: mini

2 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
A Palestinian teenager was shot dead by Israeli fire in clashes near the border in southern Gaza Thursday, the health ministry in the enclave said. The ministry said Mumin Abu Ayeda, 15, was shot along the heavily-fortified border east of Rafah in southern Gaza. It said he was part of night time demonstrations which have taken place over months of protests, dubbed the Great March of Return. There was no immediate confirmation from the Israeli army, which typically highlights the often violent nature of such demonstrations and labels them riots. At least 184 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since the 'Great March' protests began on March 30. One Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper. Protests have lessened in intensity in recent months, though smaller demonstrations continue. On Tuesday two Palestinians were shot dead during violent protests next to the Erez crossing into Israel. Demonstrators are calling to be allowed to return to the homes their ..
                 

Pakistan's Imran Khan in Saudi Arabia on maiden foreign visit

3 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Saudi Arabia Wednesday on his first foreign visit since coming to power, with speculation swirling that he may be seeking economic assistance from the oil-rich ally. The two-day trip began exactly one month after Khan assumed office, with Pakistan possibly seeking billions of dollars in assistance from allies as it seeks to avert a balance-of-payments crisis. Khan, who was accompanied by Finance Minister Asad Umar and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, was set to meet Saudi King Salman in the western city of Jeddah, local officials said. "A state banquet will be hosted by King Salman at the Royal Court," the Saudi information ministry's Centre for International Communications said in a statement. "Khan will (also) meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Saudi-Pakistani talks will touch on key bilateral, regional and international matters." Former cricket great Khan and his cabinet face challenges including a faltering economy, mili..
                 

China took out $500 billion a year from US to rebuild itself: Trump

3 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
US President Donald Trump has once again attacked China and said that China has taken out USD 500 billion and more a year from the US to rebuild itself, President Donald Trump has said as he defended his controversial trade policies, including the latest move to slap duties on USD 200 billion worth of Chinese imports. Trump's remarks came a day after Trump announced that the US will slap 10 per cent tariffs on USD 200 billion worth of Chinese imports and the duties will rise to whopping 25 per cent at the end of the year. America and China have been involved in a bitter war of words over the past few months over tariffs and imports and according to many analysts Donald Trump is staying true to his leadership style and is staying true to his motto of 'America first' and 'Make America Great Again'. "If you look at what's going on, our market is going up like a rocket ship. I don't want their market to go down, but their market is down 32 per cent in three months. Because we can't let t..
                 

Russia blames Israel for recce aircraft crash

3 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
A Russian reconnaissance aircraft was brought down by a Syrian missile over the Mediterranean, killing all 15 people on board, the Russian defence ministry said Tuesday. It blamed Israel for the crash, saying the plane was caught in the crossfire as four Israeli fighters attacked targets in northwestern Syria. The Russian military said that the Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft was hit 35 kilometres off the coast late Monday as it was returning to its home base nearby. "The Israeli pilots were using the Russian aircraft as a shield and pushed it into the line of fire of the Syrian defense," Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in a statement. A Russian defence ministry statement said defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, that Israel is "fully to blame" for the deaths. The military said Israel did not warn it of its operation over Latakia province until one minute before the strike, which did not give the Russian plane enough time to..
                 

'Naya Pakistan' wakes up to 143 per cent hike in gas bill

3 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Millions of Pakistanis woke up on Tuesday to the first shock of 'Naya Pakistan' to find out that their next month's gas bill will be hiked by up to a whopping 143 per cent to recover Pakistani Rs 94 billion from the consumers. Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that the state gas companies were running in deficit and it was not possible for the government to continue with the existing price system. The increase will be implemented in the gas bills of October and it will help the cash-starved government to recover Rs94 billion from consumers. The decision will hurt as many as 9.4 million domestic users, with 3.6 million of them falling in the lowest income slab and another 2.63 million in the second lowest income group. Parl committee to probe vote riggingPakistan government and the Opposition on Tuesday unanimously agreed to form a parliamentary committee to investigate allegations of rigging in the July 25 general elections in which the Imran Khan-led PTI emerged as the ..
                 

Chinese govt hits back with tariffs on $60 billion of US goods

4 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Chinese govt led by President Xi Jinping announced on Tuesday it will impose additional tariffs on US products worth $60 billion in response to the newly-announced American tariffs on Chinese goods. According to the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council, the tariffs will go into effect from September 24, Xinhua news agency reported. China also filed an additional complaint with the World Trade Organization against Washington's decision to impose tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods under the Section 301 investigation, the Commerce Ministry said. Earlier, US President Donald Trump has escalated his trade war with China, saying his administration would impose tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods and was also prepared to tax all imports. US President Donald Trump in a statement released late Monday, showed no sign of backing down from the type of full-blown trade war between the world's two largest economies that has rattled financial markets, saying he was prepare..
                 

Typhoon Mangkhut toll reaches 74 in Philippines

4 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
The death toll in the Philippines due to super typhoon Mangkhut increased to 74 on Tuesday as rescue teams continued to search for dozens of people buried in an abandoned mine due to landslides. According to the latest figures provided by the National Police, 55 people were missing and 74 injured due to the strongest typhoon of the season, which lashed parts of Luzon island on the northernmost tip of the Philippines on Saturday, reports Efe news. The highest number of casualties was reported from the mining town of Itogon in Benguet province, where massive floods and landslides buried a gold mine and four barracks where some miners and their families had been living illegally. President Rodrigo Duterte visited the families of the victims in Itogon on Monday and handed over a cheque for 45,000 pesos ($832) to each of them, apart from providing material for basic necessities and aid for the last rites of the victims. Three days after the passage of the devastating Mangkhut, more than 2..
                 

Imran Khan indulges in car-nama as part of his govt's austerity drive

4 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
The cash-strapped Pakistan government on Monday sold 70 cars "above their market price" as it started the process of auctioning of 102 luxury vehicles of the PM House under Prime Minister Imran Khan's austerity drive, a media report said. Apart from luxury cars, the government, facing huge debts and liabilities, plans to auction eight buffaloes kept by deposed and jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif at the PM House, a senior aide to Khan said last week. It will also sell the four surplus helicopters lying unused with the cabinet division. On Monday, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the first batch of 70 vehicles have been sold. "These cars were sold above their market price," Chaudhry claimed. He added that vehicles which are classified as protected (bomb and bullet-proof) would be sold next. The cars will be sold to those who have the highest bid. Catch up on all the latest Crime, National, International and Hatke news here. Also download the new mid-day Android and i..
                 

Donald Trump defends Supreme Court pick after sex assault allegation

4 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
US President Donald Trump stood firmly by his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh Monday after a woman accused the conservative judge of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers. But Trump acknowledged there could be a delay in approving the nominee as pressure built for Congress to reopen hearings to review the bombshell allegation. "Judge Kavanaugh is one of the finest people I have ever known," Trump told reporters from the Oval Office. "Never even had a little blemish on his record." He described as "ridiculous" the suggestion that Kavanaugh might withdraw his candidacy. "I think he's on track, very much on track," Trump said. "If it takes a little delay, it'll take a little delay." Trump did not comment directly on the claim by California university professor Christine Blasey Ford that a drunken Kavanaugh and one of his friends trapped her in a room and attempted to pull her clothes off at a high school party in 1982 -- although he questioned why she had not come forwa..
                 

Ex-president Cristina Kirchner charged in Argentina corruption scandal

4 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Ex-Argentina president Cristina Kirchner was charged with corruption as a judge asked that her parliamentary immunity be lifted so she can be detained, reports said Monday. She is accused of having accepted tens of millions of dollars in bribes in the notorious "corruption notebooks" scandal that has rocked Argentina's political and business elites. As a senator, Kirchner is protected by parliamentary immunity from imprisonment, although not from prosecution. Unless that immunity is lifted, she cannot be jailed, even if found guilty. However, last month the Senate did vote to partially lift her immunity so that investigators could search her three luxury homes. She has already been called in for questioning twice by Claudio Bonadio, the judge leading the wide-ranging corruption investigation, and is due to appear again on Tuesday. Kirchner is accused of heading an "illicit association." During her first two hearings she refused to answer Bonadio's questions, instead submitting a writ..
                 

Typhoon Mangkhut toll in Philippines increases to 65

5 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
The death toll from super typhoon Mangkhut has increased to 65 in the Philippines while 64 people were injured and 43 remain missing, police said on Monday. The Philippines National Police (PNP) said 54 of the fatalities were from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) in Luzon island while seven were from Cagayan Valley, two in central Luzon and one each in Ilocos and Metro Manila, reports Xinhua news agency. The CAR, one of the worst-hit areas, is the only land-locked region of the Philippines. Presidential adviser Francis Tolentino said search and rescue operations continued to find the missing people especially in Itogon town where people, mostly miners and their families, are still feared trapped after a landslide in the remote village of Ucab. Mangkhut, which made landfall on Saturday morning in the northern Philippines, exited this Southeast Asian country later in the night. However, the strongest typhoon in the region so far this year left a trail of destruction across th..
                 

London Mayor Sadiq Khan wants Brexit re-referendum

5 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Sunday called for a second Brexit referendum as he criticised the Conservative party-led UK government's increasingly "chaotic approach" to the negotiations with the 28-member European Union (EU). He said the fresh vote should offer voters the choice of staying in the EU against any deal the UK government manages to strike or against a "no-deal" Brexit, if an agreement cannot be reached. Writing in the 'Observer' newspaper, Khan warned that with the UK due to leave the EU in six months, by March 2019, it now faced either a "bad deal" or "no deal". "The need for another public vote on Brexit was never inevitable, or something I ever thought I'd have to call for," he said. "But the reality is that the abject failure of the government and the huge risk we now face of either a bad deal or a 'no deal' Brexit means that giving people a fresh say on our future is now the right, and only, approach left for the good of our country," Khan added. Barbs 'irritate' May..
                 

Killer storm Florence leaves trail of devastation

5 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
A killer storm that left up to 13 people dead weakened to a tropical depression on Sunday, but US authorities warned the devastation it caused - including catastrophic flooding - is far from over. Most of the fatalities from Florence, which made landfall Friday as a Category 1 hurricane, have occurred in North Carolina, where officials confirmed eight victims. A woman and her baby were among the first casualties when a tree fell on their house, contributing to a death toll that US media said had reached 13 - 10 in North Carolina and three in South Carolina. The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) downgraded Florence to a tropical depression on Sunday morning, adding that "flash flooding and major river flooding will continue over a significant portion of the Carolinas." Catch up on all the latest Crime, National, International and Hatke news here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, age..
                 

Professor speaks out about 'sexual assault' by Trump Supreme Court pick

5 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
A college professor has gone public for the first time to accuse President Donald Trump's Supreme Court pick of sexually assaulting her in the 1980s, prompting calls by the opposition to postpone the nomination vote. Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University, initially detailed the allegations about Brett Kavanaugh in confidential letters to her Congresswoman and later to California Senator Diane Feinstein, a senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. Ford told the Washington Post in an interview published Sunday she had decided to come forward because she felt her "civic responsibility" was "outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation" after the basic outlines of the story emerged in US media last week. Kavanaugh had previously released a statement on Friday denying the incident, saying: "I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time." Ford, who is a registered Democrat herself, told the Post th..
                 

Gunmen dressed as mariachis kill four in Mexico City tourist plaza

6 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Gunmen dressed as mariachi musicians opened fire in Mexico City's famed Plaza Garibaldi, killing four people and wounding nine others including a foreigner, police said on Saturday. The five assailants opened fire with rifles and handguns shortly before 0300 GMT Saturday as the downtown plaza was filled with partiers enjoying the September 16 Independence Day weekend celebrations. Investigators later found 60 empty bullet casings on the ground. The shooters fled aboard three motorcycles, the Mexico City prosecutor's office said. The music and partying continued until after the city's chief of public security, Raymundo Collins, showed up at the crime scene, video footage broadcast on TV showed. "Four people have died, among them a woman. And nine are wounded, including a woman, as well as a foreign man," read a statement Saturday from the prosecutor's office. Collins described the attack as a targeted hit. No details were released on the identity of the foreign victim. Local police ..
                 

Indonesia: At least 13 killed in ferry accident

6 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
At least 13 people have been killed and eight are still missing after a ferry caught fire and sank in central Indonesia, an official said on Saturday. The boat was believed to be carrying nearly 150 passengers off the coast of Sulawesi province on Friday when the blaze started. High waves hampered initial rescue efforts, but 126 people had been saved by Saturday afternoon. A search and rescue operation is underway for remaining passengers. "Based on reports from the passengers' families there are still some people missing," transport ministry spokesman Wisnu Wardana said. Among the dead were two toddlers. Catch up on all the latest Crime, National, International and Hatke news here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com r..
                 

Typhoon Mangkhut rips through Philippines

6 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Typhoon Mangkhut lashed the northern Philippines on Saturday, with its powerful winds and rain setting off landslides and destroying homes, leaving at least 14 people dead and several missing, as the storm barrelled toward southern China. The most powerful typhoon to hit the disaster-prone Philippines this year slammed ashore before dawn in Cagayan province on the northeastern tip of Luzon island, a breadbasket that is also a region of flood-prone rice plains and mountain provinces with a history of deadly landslides. Catch up on all the latest Crime, National, International and Hatke news here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute..
                 

Pope Francis pays homage to Sicilian anti-mafia priest

7 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Pope Francis was in Sicily on Saturday to mark the 25th anniversary of the killing of a priest at the hands of a local criminal organization. Giuseppe "Pino" Puglisi was shot and killed on the orders of the local mafia "Cosa Nostra", ("Our Thing") on his 56th birthday in the city of Palermo in 1993. The perpetrators were sentenced to life in prison, the BBC reported. The priest was renowned for working with young people to keep them away from drugs and the mafia. The Pope addressed the faithful at Palermo's Piazza Europa and was scheduled to visit Puglisi's parish in the working-class neighbourhood of Brancaccio. "Be afraid of the deafness of not listening to people. Listening to people is what Father Pino (Puglisi's nickname) did, poor among the poor of his land," he said. Italian President Sergio Mattarella said: "The Republic recognizes in Puglisi the civil martyr, who died for those values of solidarity, justice, equality and respect for the inviolable rights of the person." ..
                 

Skripal suspects say they were in UK as tourists, deny murder attempt

7 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Two men accused by London of poisoning former Moscow spy Sergei Skripal denied involvement in the murder attempt in a bizarre Russian media interview that Britain dismissed as "an insult to the public's intelligence". Speaking with the head of the Kremlin-backed RT news network, the pair confirmed they were the men whose pictures British authorities released this month, but insisted they were visiting the English city of Salisbury as tourists. However, the interview by two accused has prompted mockery and derision on social media — led by Britain's foreign minister. Catch up on all the latest Crime, National, International and Hatke news here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete..
                 

Fires, explosions erupt in United States towns

7 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Mass evacuations from US towns north of Boston were underway Thursday after dozens of fires and suspected gas explosions erupted, police said, leaving at least 10 residents injured, one critically.Massachusetts State Police said they had responded to 70 reports of fires, explosions and the smell of gas in a widespread zone encompassing the east coast towns of Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover."Gas lines are currently being depressurized," police tweeted, adding that "it will take some time.""Numerous evacuations of neighborhoods where there are gas odors are underway," police said. "Far too early to speculate on the cause. A joint investigation will be conducted when the situation is stabilized."Authorities were to cut power to thousands of meters, police said, and residents in all three towns with utilities service from Columbia Gas had been asked to evacuate immediately.In a release dated Thursday the company had said it would "be upgrading natural gas lines in neighborhoods acros..
                 

SpaceX announces new plan to send tourist around Moon

7 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
SpaceX has announced a new plan to launch a tourist around the Moon using its Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), a massive launch vehicle that is being designed to carry people into deep space. "SpaceX has signed the world's first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard our BFR launch vehicle - an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of travelling to space," the company said on Twitter. SpaceX gave no further details, but said more information would follow on Monday. SpaceX spacesuit (top) and a simulator used to train NASA astronauts This is not the first time the California-based company, headed by Internet entrepreneur and Tesla electric car CEO Elon Musk, has touted plans to send tourists around the Moon. In February, 2017, SpaceX announced it would send the world's first two space tourists around the Moon in late 2018. Catch up on all the latest Crime, National, International and Hatke news here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps t..
                 

Nawaz Sharif's wife Kulsoom Nawaz to be laid to rest today

8 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's wife Kulsoom Nawaz will be laid to rest here on Friday. A flight carrying Kulsoom Nawaz's casket landed in Lahore from London in the morning. Her body was received by members of the Sharif family, including PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif's son Hamza Shahbaz, Dawn online reported. Kulsoom Nawaz's body was later transported to the family's Jati Umra residence. Her funeral prayers will be held at the Sharif Medical City Ground in Lahore at 5 p.m. She will be laid to rest near the graves of her father-in-law Mian Sharif and brother-in-law Abbas Sharif. Kulsoom Nawaz passed away on Tuesday after an over-a-year-long battle with throat cancer. Shehbaz Sharif along with Begum Kulsoom's daughter Asma, grandson Zayd Hussain Sharif and 11 other family members accompanied the body to Lahore. Her sons -- Hassan and Hussain Nawaz -- did not return to the country from London for the funeral. Security was tightened in the area and on routes leading to Jati Umra..
                 

Indonesia terror cell leader jailed for 11 years

9 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
An Indonesian court on Thursday sentenced the provincial chief of a radical Islamist group that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terror organization to 11 years in prison. A court in Jakarta sentenced Wawan Kurniawan, alias Abu Afif, head of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) in Pekanbaru, capital of Riau province, for setting up a training centre for militants and instigating an attack on a provincial police station in May, Efe news reported. A three-judge bench said that Abu Afif had prepared explosives and was arrested in possession of firearms. The public prosecutor's office had sought 13 years for Abu Afif, who was arrested by the anti-terror unit Densus 88 in October 2017. Abu Afif was in prison during the JAD attack on the police station in Pekanbaru, on Sumatra island, in which four assailants and one police officer died. JAD was founded in 2015 and the US State Department classified it as a global terrorist organization in January 2017. Indonesia, where Muslims account ..
                 

Trump signs exec order for sanctions against foreigners who meddle

9 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order that initiates actions, including sanctions, against foreign entities that meddle or even attempt to interfere in American elections, the White House said. "It is a further effort among several of those that the administration has made to protect the United States against foreign interference in our elections, and really our political process more broadly. It includes not just the interference with election or campaign infrastructure, but it also covers the distribution of propaganda, disinformation," US National Security Advisor John Bolton said. Bolton said the executive order requires the Director of National Intelligence to be conducting regular assessments about potential foreign interference in the election and asks for reports by the department of justice and the department of homeland security in the case of interference with the election or campaign-related infrastructure. The executive order describes a proces..
                 

Pope Francis to meet US Church leaders after abuse cover-up claim

10 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Pope Francis will meet leaders of the US Catholic Church on Thursday, the Vatican announced, after a high profile accusation that the pontiff covered up sexual abuse allegations against an American cardinal. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, will attend the meeting after saying last month he was eager to meet the pope following the scandal. Two other conference officials will be at the meeting, as will Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the head of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said on Tuesday. Conservative Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano sparked a firestorm last month when he claimed Francis had personally ignored abuse allegations against prominent US cardinal Theodore McCarrick for five years. Vigano, a former Vatican envoy to Washington, also called on the pope to step down. Francis has so far refused to respond to the allegations. The Vatican did not detail what the topic would be for the Thu..
                 

South Korean pupils gain weight 'to dodge military service'

10 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Twelve inventive South Korean college students deliberately made themselves overweight to dodge mandatory military service, a branch of the armed forces in Seoul said on Tuesday. The students — all classical music majors at the same university in the capital — took protein powder and drank a large amount of juice on the day of their physical examination, the Military Manpower Administration said. "The classmates shared tips on how to gain weight on an online chatroom," it said, adding that they drank an especially large amount of juice containing aloe vera pulp — considered to stay in the body longer than other food. Nearly every able-bodied South Korean man is required to enrol by age 28 in the military, for a minimum of 21 months. Those deemed overweight or underweight, or diagnosed with certain diseases or disabilities, are exempted and usually assigned to positions in places like courts or public libraries. The 12 wily students were judged overweight for conscri..
                 

United Nations Report: 821 million people faced food shortage in 2017

11 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
The number of people facing food shortage and undernourishment across the globe has increased to 821 million in 2017, according to a report released by United Nations organisations on Tuesday. The uptick in global undernourishment was particularly focused in South America and Africa, said the report titled "The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World", as reported in Efe news. "For the third year in a row, there has been a rise in world hunger. The absolute number of undernourished people, i.e. those facing chronic food deprivation, has increased to nearly 821 million in 2017, from around 804 million in 2016," the report warned. In Africa, an estimated 256 million people, or about 20 percent of the population on the continent, were affected by undernourishment in 2017, often due to crises related to either adverse weather trends such as drought or armed conflict. Heavily populated Asia saw a downward trend in the number of the hungry in 2017 as researchers documented r..
                 

Donald Trump in Pennsylvania on 9/11 to honor hijacked Flight 93 heroes

11 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Seventeen years after the devastating 9/11 attacks, President Donald Trump heads to Pennsylvania on Tuesday to pay tribute, as his predecessors have done, to the men and women who died aboard hijacked Flight 93. On September 11, 2001, the plane -- one of four commandeered by Al-Qaeda militants -- crashed into a field in the small town of Shanksville, about 130 miles (200 kilometers) northwest of Washington. Those aboard United Flight 93, told over the phone by their loved ones that two other passengers jets had smashed into New York's World Trade Center, tried to regain control of their aircraft. The crash site was far short of the attackers' goal: the US capital. The passengers who died in Shanksville have been hailed as heroes ever since. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump would put the emphasis on "remembering that horrific day... and certainly honoring the individuals who were not only lost that day, but also put their lives on the line to help in that process." It ..
                 

Three men jailed for 'ferocious' murder of Indian-origin jeweller in UK

11 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Three men convicted of the "ferocious" killing of a 74-year-old Indian-origin jeweller from the city of Leicester were sentenced on Monday ranging from 16 years to life imprisonment for their crime. Thomas Jervis, 24, and Charles Mcauley, 20, were both sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of Ramniklal Jogiya's murder during a bungled robbery earlier this year. Jervis was ordered to serve a minimum of 33 years while Mcauley was ordered to serve a minimum of 30 years behind bars." A third man, 20-year-old Callan Reeve, who had been found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter, was sentenced to 16 years in prison at the Birmingham Crown Court sentencing hearing on Monday. "These men had planned to kidnap and rob Mr Jogiya, but it went tragically wrong. They launched a sustained and ferocious attack on Mr Jogiya which ultimately killed him," said Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) David Swift-Rollinson of Leicestershire Police, who led the investigation into the murde..
                 

California says gangs stole $1 million by credit card fraud

11 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
More than 30 purported street gang members have been charged with stealing more than USD 1 million in what authorities said Monday was an unusually sophisticated credit card fraud scheme. Members and associates of the BullyBoys and the CoCo Boys street gangs based in the suburbs east of San Francisco defrauded hundreds of victims by breaking into dozens of medical and dental offices to steal credit card terminals and patient records, said state Attorney General Xavier Becerra and police chiefs from three Northern California cities. The 32 alleged gang members used the stolen terminals to process credit card returns, downloading them to debit cards, according to the 240-count indictment. "It is easier today and it is more rewarding today to engage in identity theft and financial fraud than it is to go out there on the street and commit physical, violent crime," Becerra said. "It pays more at lower risk," though he alleged the gangs used the money to fund other illegal activities that a..
                 

Workers still search for 9/11 remains, 17 years on

11 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Seventeen years later, more than 1,100 victims of the hijacked plane attacks on the World Trade Center are yet to be identified. But in a New York lab, a team is still avidly working to identify the remains, with technological progress on its side. Day in, day out, they repeat the same protocol dozens of times. At first, they examine a bone fragment found in the wreckage of the Twin Towers and try to match it with DNA samples. Cut and ground to a fine dust, the remains are then mixed with two chemical products that can expose and then extract DNA. But success is not guaranteed. "The bone is the hardest biological material to work with," said Mark Desire, assistant director of forensic biology at the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in New York. The 22,000 pieces of human remains found at the site since the attacks have all been tested - some 10 or 15 times already. So far, only 1,642 of the 2,753 people who died in the attacks in New York have been formally identified. Catch up on a..
                 

Donald Trump dismisses Bob Woodward book as a 'joke'

11 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
US President Donald Trump dismissed journalist Bob Woodward's bombshell book as a "joke" Monday, a day before readers get their first full look at his detailed account of a White House in disarray. "Fear: Trump in the White House" hits US bookstores on Tuesday after a weeklong buildup, with published excerpts, leaks and interviews that portray Trump as dangerously erratic and uninformed. On the eve of its release, the president took to Twitter with a preemptive round of attacks, denouncing as fiction Woodward's reconstruction of scenes in which frustrated aides scramble to contain the mercurial president's reckless impulses. "The Woodward book is a Joke - just another assault against me, in a barrage of assaults, using now disproven unnamed and anonymous sources," Trump said in the first of a series of tweets. "Many have already come forward to say the quotes by them, like the book, are fiction. Dems can't stand losing. I'll write the real book!" Trump is quoted in the book brutally..
                 

President Kovind pays tribute to Rabindranath Tagore in Prague

12 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
President Ram Nath Kovind paid floral tributes to India's first Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, at the Thakurova Park here on Sunday. The President and his wife, Savita Kovind, bowed in front of Tagore's bust and stood for a minute to pay their respects. The Thakurova Park was named in honour of Tagore, who is well-revered by many people in the Czech Republic. The Nobel laureate had visited Prague twice in the 1920s to deliver public speeches, where he had shown solidarity towards the people of erstwhile Czechoslovakia in the pre-World War II era. Following the visit, President Kovind departed for India after completing a three-nation visit to the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and Cyprus. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted, "Floral tributes paid to the bust of Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore by #PresidentKovind in #Prague #Czech Republic before the conclusion of his three-country visit to Europe." While addressing a gathering of students, Indolog..
                 

Alibaba's Jack Ma to retire next year, Daniel Zhang to succeed

12 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Alibaba's Executive Chairman Jack Ma will step down in September 2019 and hand over the reins to Chief Executive Daniel Zhang, the Chinese e-commerce giant said on Monday. Ma, who co-founded the company almost 20 years ago which now is the world's biggest e-commerce behemoths, said in a letter to his employees that "transition demonstrates that Alibaba has stepped up from a company that relies on individuals, to one built on a culture of talent development". Ma, who was a school teacher in China's small town of Hangzhou where Alibaba is headquartered and now one of the richest men in the world, will get to back to education, the billionaire said in a letter to his employees. On the company's 20th anniversary on September 10, 2019, Zhang will take charge as the new chairman. The development comes days after his imminent retirement in a report by the New York Times, juked by the company. "Ma will continue as the executive chairman of the company over the next 12 months to ensure a smoo..
                 

Mike Pence calls Obama's criticism of Donald Trump 'very disappointing'

12 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
US Vice President Mike Pence has criticized former President Barack Obama for breaking with tradition and giving a speech filled with criticism of President Donald Trump. "It was very disappointing to see President Obama break with the tradition of former presidents and become so political and roll out the same tired arguments that he and liberals have made over the last eight years," Pence said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday." Pence said Obama's criticism would draw a favourable contrast between Democrats and Republicans in the campaign. "The truth is, the American people in 2016 rejected the policy and direction of Barack Obama when they elected President Donald Trump," he said. In a speech Friday at the University of Illinois, Obama offered his most pointed criticism yet of Trump, accusing him of cozying up to Russia, emboldening white supremacists and polarizing the nation. The speech kicked off Obama's campaigning on behalf of fellow Democrats ahead of the midterm elections...
                 

'War book' and 'suicide vest' paint Boris Johnson into a corner

12 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Britain's former foreign secretary Boris Johnson Sunday came under fire from different sides of his Conservative party in the wake of a controversial dossier on his personal life and his fresh attack on British Prime Minister Theresa May by comparing her Brexit plans with a "suicide vest". The Tories were rocked by revelations that May's aides drew up a dossier on the former Cabinet minister's flamboyant sex life in an apparent effort to prevent him from becoming Prime Minister. The document, leaked to the 'The Sunday Times by a Conservative party source, contains a catalogue of explosive allegations about Johnson's sexual liaisons and damning assessments of his character. The 4,000-word so-called "war book" was allegedly prepared during the post-Brexit referendum Conservative party leadership election in 2016 but shelved as Johnson withdrew from the race to make way for Theresa May as party leader. The dossier accuses Johnson of "lying" about his affair with the socialite Petronella..
                 

China, Pakistan pledge to complete CPEC as Wang Yi meets Imran Khan

12 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Pakistan and China on Sunday pledged to complete the multi-billion dollars China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on Prime Minister Imran Khan and expressed desire to further enhance the bilateral strategic partnership. Wang, who arrived here on a three-day visit on Friday, met Khan in Islamabad with a high-level delegation. "Foreign Minister underscored the significance of the CPEC for the mutual benefit of the people of both countries," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement. Wang also conveyed the desire of Chinese leadership to work with the new government for further enhancing the strategic partnership between Pakistan and China. He underscored the significance of China-Pakistan relationship which served as a model of friendship in interstate relations. Wang also conveyed the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang for an official visit to Khan. Khan reiterated that Pakistan's friendship with China is a cornerstone of Pakistan's Forei..
                 

Alibaba co-founder-chairman Jack Ma to unveil succession plan on September 10

12 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Alibaba co-founder and chairman Jack Ma will unveil a succession plan on Monday, the South China Morning Post reported Sunday, with a company spokesman denying a New York Times report that he would retire that day. The SCMP, which is owned by Alibaba, said China's most famous tech billionaire will "unveil a succession strategy" on Monday - his 54th birthday - but remain the company's executive chairman for the foreseeable future. An Alibaba spokesman told the SCMP that the New York Times' story "was taken out of context, and factually wrong". "An Alibaba spokesman said Ma remains the company's executive chairman and will provide transition plans over a significant period of time," the SCMP wrote. Eileen Murphy, a spokesperson for the New York Times, said the newspaper stood by its story. Catch up on all the latest Crime, National, International and Hatke news here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates This story has been sourced from a third part..
                 

Fighting child abuse must be Church's priority: Vatican panel

12 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
A Vatican commission on child protection set up by Pope Francis said Sunday that the fight against abuse must be the priority of the Catholic Church and emphasised the importance of listening to victims. "This must be the priority that we concentrate on right now," said commission head Cardinal Sean O'Malley, adding that otherwise "all of our other activities of evangelisation, works of mercy, education, are all going to suffer." The Church has been deeply shaken by a series of child abuse scandals across the world, and the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors was created in 2014 and renewed earlier this year to address the issue. "We make a real effort to bring the voices of the survivors to church leadership," O'Malley told the Vatican's news website on Sunday after the end of the commission's ninth plenary assembly. "It is crucial if people are going to have an understanding of how important it is for the Church to respond quickly and correctly any time a situation o..
                 

Alibaba's Jack Ma not retiring for now: Report

13 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Ali Baba co-founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma is not retiring for now and will unveil a succession strategy on Monday when he turns 54, the South China Morning Post reported on Sunday. The Hong Kong based-daily, which is owned by Ma, denied a New York Times report based on the billionaire's interview that he planned to announce his retirement and do philanthropy. "The Times story was taken out of context (is) and factually wrong," an Alibaba spokesperson was quoted as saying by the newspaper. The official said Ma remains the company's Executive Chairman and will provide transition plans over a significant period of time. Ma is China's biggest success story whose rags-to-riches tale is an inspiration for many. Ma, who is one of the richest men in the world and whose net worth is $36.6 billion, was once a teacher in China's small town Hangzhou where Alibaba is headquartered. Alibaba is the one of the world's largest e-commerce giants, which has forayed into different sectors l..
                 

Mike Pence denies discussing 25th Amendment against Donald Trump

13 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
US Vice President Mike Pence has denied being a part of discussions to invoke the 25th Amendment in order to remove President Donald Trump from office. He made the remarks in a CBS News interview. Asked whether any such discussions had taken place between members of Trump's Cabinet, Pence said: "No... never." The Vice President was responding to claims made this week in a rare anonymous op-ed published by The New York Times. The op-ed's author, identified as a "senior administration official", claims to be part of a "quiet resistance" working to thwart President Trump's "occasionally reckless decisions" from within the administration. In it, the official describes "early whispers within the cabinet" to invoke the 25th Amendment, prompted by the president's apparent "instability". "I think the author of the anonymous editorial, and frankly The New York Times, should be ashamed," Pence told CBS News, denouncing it as a "disgrace". The 25th Amendment empowers the vice president and ..
                 

Japan PM Shinzo Abe visits quake-hit Hokkaido as toll rises to 37

13 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the quake-hit northern region of Hokkaido Sunday, as officials confirmed two more deaths bringing the toll to 37. Abe toured the city and commercial hub of Sapporo, where Thursday's 6.6-magnitude jolt has left houses tilted and roads cracked. He was scheduled to take a helicopter ride to view the devastation in Atsuma, a small rural town which has seen most of the deaths caused by the quake. A cluster of dwellings in the town were wrecked when a hillside collapsed from the force of the quake, creating deep brown scars in the landscape. Abe will later visit residents at evacuation shelters in Atsuma before meeting Hokkaido governor Harumi Takahashi. His visit comes as search-and-rescue operations continue around the clock to find two missing individuals. The Hokkaido government said the death toll now stood at 37, with one body yet to be officially pronounced dead by a medical professional. "There is on-and-off rain at Atsuma. The work is co..
                 

North Korea stages huge parade, holds back on advanced missiles

13 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
North Korea staged a huge military parade on Sunday to mark its 70th anniversary as a nation but held back its most advanced missiles and devoted nearly half of the parade to civilian efforts to build the domestic economy. The strong emphasis on the economy underscores leader Kim Jong Un's new strategy of putting economic development front and center. Kim attended the morning parade but did not address the assembled crowd, which included the head of the Chinese parliament and high-level delegations from countries that have friendly ties with the North. Senior statesman Kim Yong Nam, the head of North Korea's parliament, set the relatively softer tone for the event with an opening speech that emphasised the economic goals of the regime, not its nuclear might. After a truncated parade featuring tanks, fewer than the usual number of missiles and lots of goose-stepping units from all branches of the military, along with some students and others, the focus switched to civilian groups, ran..
                 

US President Donald Trump calls on Apple to move production from China to US

13 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
US President Donald Trump called Saturday for Apple to make its products in the US instead of China to avoid suffering the consequences of his trade war with Beijing. Trump has repeatedly called for companies to move production to the United States, or to keep it there, while pushing aggressive trade actions aimed at narrowing the US trade deficit, which he equates with theft from Americans. "Apple prices may increase because of the massive Tariffs we may be imposing on China - but there is an easy solution where there would be ZERO tax, and indeed a tax incentive," Trump tweeted. "Make your products in the United States instead of China. Start building new plants now. Exciting!" But the higher cost of wages in the United States could offset the benefits Apple might gain by avoiding tariffs affecting its products manufactured in China. The Trump administration has placed punitive tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods and threatened to tax all Chinese imports to the United States. U..
                 

Pope Francis tells bishops to fight abuse, culture behind it

13 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Pope Francis told newly ordained bishops Saturday that they must reject all forms of abuse and work in communion to fight the clerical culture that has fuelled the sex abuse and cover-up scandal rocking his papacy. Francis cited his recent letter about combatting abuse during an audience with 74 new bishops from 34 countries in the developing world. The bishops are in Rome this week to learn how to lead their dioceses. Their seminar has come during a moment of crisis for Francis, accused by a lone archbishop of having covered up for a disgraced ex-cardinal, who in turn has been accused of sexually molesting children as well as adult seminarians. Francis has ignored calls from clergy and ordinary faithful to respond directly to the claims, saying there are times when "silence and prayer" are the best response. Francis did however speak generally about the abuse crisis to the new bishops, many of whom hail from dioceses where the clerical sex abuse scandal hasn't erupted publicly in th..
                 

Imran Khan govt faces embarrassment as economist quits Economic Advisory Council

13 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
London-based economist Imran Rasul has become the second member of the new Pakistan government's Economic Advisory Council (EAC) to resign in protest against the exclusion of US-based academic Atif R Mian who was told to step down from the body due to a backlash over his Ahmadi faith. Succumbing to pressure from the hardliners, the Pakistan government on Friday withdrew the nomination of noted economist Mian, a member of the minority Ahmadi community, from the newly-constituted economic panel. "With a heavy heart, I have resigned from the EAC this morning," Rasul, a professor of economics at University College, London, said in a tweet on Saturday. Catch up on all the latest Crime, National, International and Hatke news here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the ..
                 

'French government had no say in picking Reliance Defence'

16 hours ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
In a significant development, a French media report quoted former French President Francois Hollande as purportedly saying that the Indian government proposed Reliance Defence as the partner for Dassault Aviation in the Rs 58,000 crore Rafale jet fighter deal and France did not have a choice. Reacting to Hollande's remark that is at variance with the stand taken by the Indian government, the defence ministry spokesman said, "The report referring to former French president Hollande's statement that government of India insisted upon a particular firm as offset partner for the Dassault Aviation in Rafale is being verified." The spokesperson also said, "It is reiterated that neither the government nor the French government had any say in the commercial decision." Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale, had chosen Reliance Defence as its partner to fulfill offset obligations of the deal. The government has been maintaining it did not have any role in selection of the partner. Hollande's ..
                 

Republicans in Houston offend Indians by featuring Lord Ganesha in advt

yesterday  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
The ruling Republican party in the US has apologised to the Hindus after a newspaper advertisement featuring Lord Ganesha to woo the minority community voters in Texas ended up "offending" them. The advert, on the occasion of the 'Ganesh Chaturthi' festival, included the imagery of Lord Ganesha with the text, "Would you worship a donkey or an elephant? The choice is yours". The elephant is the party symbol of the Republicans while Democrats have donkey as their party's symbol. The Indian-American community described the political advertisement in an Indian-American newspaper as "offensive" for featuring Lord Ganesha. The party's county unit, Fort Bend County Republican Party which published the ad, apologised and clarified that it "was not meant to disparage Hindu customs or traditions in any way". The party said: "The ad was not meant to disparage Hindu customs or traditions in any way. We offer our sincerest apologies to anyone that was offended by the ad. Obviously, that was not t..
                 

Kim Jong Un seeks 'early' second date with Donald Trump

yesterday  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is hoping for a second summit with US President Donald Trump soon, the South's President Moon Jae-in said Thursday after a three-day trip to his neighbour. "Chairman Kim Jong Un expressed hopes for a second summit with President Trump at an early date," Moon told reporters on his return to Seoul. Kim and Trump held a historic and high-profile meeting in Singapore in June, where the North's leader committed to work towards denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, but no details were agreed. Experts were sceptical but the Trump administration immediately welcomed the move, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo inviting his North Korean counterpart to meet next week on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. Kim also hoped Pompeo would soon visit the North again, Moon said, and was seeking "fast progress in denuclearisation". US ready for talksUS Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Thursday said America is ready to restart negotiations with Pyong..
                 

Surgeon, his GF, arrested for drugging, raping women

2 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
An orthopaedic surgeon in California who once appeared on a dating reality show and his girlfriend have been charged with drugging and sexually assaulting two women, in a case prosecutors suspect might involve hundreds of other victims. The surgeon, Grant William Robicheaux, 38, and his girlfriend, Cerissa Laura Riley, 31, were charged on September 11 with rape as well as drug and weapons-related offenses in connection with two alleged assaults. Robicheaux and Riley are due to be arraigned on October 25. Investigators found hundreds of videos on Robicheaux's phone after he was arrested, "in various states of undress, consciousness and being assaulted," Van Der Linden said. Orange County district attorney Tony Rackauckas said Robicheaux and Riley had worked in tandem at restaurants and bars to identify their victims and make them feel comfortable. "We believe the defendants used their good looks and charm to lower the inhibitions of their potential prey," Rackauckas said. The pair wo..
                 

Imran Khan reaches UAE to discuss bilateral ties with Prince

2 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday arrived in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), for the last leg of his two-nation tour. Upon his arrival, he was received by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the Abu Dhabi airport. Khan is expected to hold talks with the Emirati leaders on Thursday. Earlier in the day, the cricketer-turned-politician, who is undertaking his maiden foreign visit as the Prime Minister, met Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh. During the meetings, Khan held discussions on matters of regional and bilateral interest, including economic relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, The Dawn reported. Khan had also visited Jeddah, where he was accorded a ceremonial reception and King Salman hosted a banquet in honour of the former. The 65-year-old leader and his delegation also undertook a pilgrimage visit to Mecca. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hosted a dinner for Khan and the..
                 

Former Malaysian PM Najib Razak arrested, to face fresh charges

3 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was arrested on Wednesday to face fresh corruption charges related to scandal-hit state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, the Malaysia's anti-graft body said. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said in a statement that Najib will be held overnight and charged on Thursday in connection with a 2.6 billion Malaysian Ringgit ($628 million) sum deposited into his bank account from the 1MDB investment fund, the New Strait Times reported. The MACC will assist the police to record Najib's statement in the money laundering investigation before the former Prime Minister is brought to Kuala Lumpur Sessions court on Thursday, the statement added. On September 10, Najib released documents to support his claim that the controversial 2.6 billion Ringgit deposited into his bank account was a donation from Saudi royalty. The former Prime Minister is facing seven criminal charges over funds belonging to SRC International, a former un..
                 

Hafiz Saeed to approach court to retrieve frozen assets of JuD, FIF

3 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed plans to launch next phase of legal battle to retrieve the assets of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and its subsidiary Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) after Pakistan's Supreme Court allowed the two outfits to continue their activities in the country, the JuD's spokesman said on Wednesday. The government took over around 184 buildings, schools, hospitals and dispensaries, belonging to the JuD and FIF after the promulgation of the presidential ordinance last year and subsequently administrators were appointed there. The government had also frozen all bank accounts of both organisations and stopped them from collecting funds. Last week, a two-member bench of the Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the government against an interim order of the Lahore High Court on April 5 which had allowed the two groups to continue their "welfare work". The high court had restrained the government from interfering with the social work of the two groups and also allowed the..
                 

Moon Jae-in says North Korea to shut down missile site

3 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has agreed to shut down one of his main missile testing and launch sites, said South Korea's President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday. Kim agreed to take additional steps for denuclearisation, in an apparent gesture to restart the stalled talks with the US, Yonhap news agency reported. The agreement came in a historic summit between Kim and Moon held at the state guesthouse Paekhwawon here. The two leaders "agreed on a way to achieve denuclearisation" said Moon, the BBC reported. The agreement was described by Kim as a "leap forward" towards military peace on the Korean Peninsula. He also hoped to "visit Seoul in the near future". He would be then the first North Korean leader to do so. "The North has agreed to permanently shut down its Dongchang-ri missile engine testing facility and missile launch pad under the participation of experts from related countries," Moon said in a joint press conference with Kim after the summit, broadcast live in Seoul. The No..
                 

Venkaiah Naidu arrives in Romania on last leg of 3-nation tour

3 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday arrived in Romania on the last leg of his three-nation visit to boost India's ties with the southeastern European country. Naidu landed here from Malta where he held comprehensive discussions with President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca on ways to bolster bilateral relations. The two countries signed three MoUs for collaboration between the foreign services institutes and cooperation in maritime and tourism. Upon his arrival in Bucharest, the vice president received a warm welcome from Vice Prime Minister of Romania Ana Birchall, External Affairs Ministry (MEA) Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet. In the last leg, Naidu will be in Romania from September 18 to September 20. The visit coincides with 70th year of Indo-Romanian ties and the centenary year of Romania. During the visit, Naidu will meet Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, the president of Romanian Senate and the prime minister. He will also address a session of Chamber of Deputies..
                 

Trump slaps tariffs on $200 bn of Chinese goods, Beijing hits back

4 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
US President Donald Trump has stepped up his trade battle with China by slapping 10 per cent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, prompting Beijing to retaliate by imposing duties on American products worth $60 billion. The Chinese Commerce Ministry said the new wave of tariffs would go into effect on September 24 -- the date when the US duties will also come into effect. Beijing's tariff rates on US products will be levied at 5 per cent and 10 per cent. On the other hand, the Trump administration on Monday said that duties on Chinese imports would rise to 25 per cent on January 1, 2019. These will apply to almost 6,000 items, marking the biggest round of US tariffs so far, the New York Times reported. Earlier, the list slated for tariffs originally included more than 6,000 items, but US officials later removed about 300 types of items, including smartwatches, bicycle helmets, playpens, high chairs and baby car seats. Trump said the latest round of tariffs was in respo..
                 

Imran Khan embarks on first overseas visit after becoming PM

4 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday left on a visit to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, his first overseas trip after taking office during which he will hold talks with the Gulf nations' top leaders to enhance bilateral cooperation with them. Khan is being accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Adviser for Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood. Khan is visiting the Kingdom on the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince His Royal Highness Mohammad Bin Salman, a statement released by the Foreign Office said. The Prime Minister will call on His Majesty King Salman and hold a bilateral meeting with the Crown Prince. The King will also host a state banquet for the premier at the Royal Court. Accompanying ministers will also meet their counterparts to discuss bilateral cooperation. Pakistan is Saudi Arabia's closest Muslim ally. The Secretary-General of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Y..
                 

Donald Trump to slap tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods

4 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Washington, Sep 18 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has escalated his trade war with China, saying his administration would impose tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods and was also prepared to tax all imports. Trump, in a statement released late Monday, showed no sign of backing down from the type of full-blown trade war between the world's two largest economies that has rattled financial markets, saying he was prepared to "immediately" place tariffs on another $267 billion worth of imports "if China takes retaliatory action against our farmers or other industries", The New York Times reported. The tariffs on $200 billion worth of products come on top of the $50 billion worth already taxed earlier this year, meaning nearly half of all Chinese imports into the US will soon face levies. The next wave of tariffs, which are scheduled to go into effect on September 24, will start at 10 per cent before climbing to 25 per cent on January 1, 2019. The timing of the staggered increase will ..
                 

Theresa May fights back against opponents for Brexit

4 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
British Prime Minister Theresa May is fighting back against opponents of her blueprint for Brexit, saying Parliament will have to choose between her proposal and crashing out of the European Union without a deal. May said Monday on the BBC that if rebel lawmakers shoot down a deal between her government and the EU, "the alternative to that will be having no deal." With just over six months until Britain is due to leave the 28-nation EU on March 29, May's Conservative government remains divided over how close an economic relationship to seek with the bloc. Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who says Britain should make a clean break with the EU, wrote in Monday's Daily Telegraph that May's Brexit negotiations were heading for a "spectacular political car crash. Catch up on all the latest Crime, National, International and Hatke news here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agen..
                 

Pakistan Army chief in China for talks with top leadership

4 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Pakistan Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa is in China for talks with the top Chinese leadership and defence officials amid reports that the new government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan wants to renegotiate some of the projects under the multi-billion CPEC. His visit comes days after Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi's trip to Islamabad during which he held a comprehensive round of talks with Khan and Gen. Bajwa among others. Pakistan Army's media wing Inter Services Public Relations said Sunday that the Chief Of Army Staff arrived at Beijing on a three-day official visit. During the visit, Bajwa will interact with various Chinese leaders including his counterpart, it said. After Wang's visit, both China and Pakistan denied any differences over the projects related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) after Pakistan's Commerce, Textile, Industry and Investment Minister Abdul Razak Dawood was quoted as saying in a media report that Islamabad "should put everything on hold ..
                 

Coca-Cola looking at cannabis-infused drinks

4 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Coca-Cola said Monday it is studying the use of a key ingredient in marijuana in "wellness beverages," as a growing number of mainstream companies develop cannabis-infused drinks. "We have no interest in marijuana or cannabis," Coca-Cola said in a statement. But iconic soft drink producer is "closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD (cannabidiol) as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world." Cannabidiol is a chemical in marijuana that does not have the intoxicating effects of THC, the major active ingredient that causes the "high." It has been used to treat epilepsy and other maladies. "The space is evolving quickly," Coca-Cola said. "No decisions have been made at this time." Coca-Cola's statement comes amid reports the company has held talks with Canada's Aurora Cannabis to develop beverages. Some of Coca-Cola's trademark cola products have struggled to grow sales in recent years due to health concerns. Canada is set to legalize cannabis on October ..
                 

After killing 49 in Phillipines, Mangkhut batters south China

5 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
China has relocated over 2.45 million people and cancelled over 400 flights as super Typhoon Mangkhut made landfall in southern Guangdong province on Sunday after battering Hong Kong and killing 49 people in the Philippines. The typhoon slammed the coast of Jiangmen city in southern China's Guangdong province on Sunday evening packing winds up to 162 km per hour. More than 2.45 million people have been relocated, and over 48,000 fishing boats called back to port in the province on Sunday, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. Work has been suspended at more than 29,000 construction sites and 632 tourist spots have been closed. People walk through a flooded shopping mall in Heng Fa Chuen district during Super Typhoon Mangkhut in Hong Kong on Sunday. Pics/AFP Earlier, more than 400 flights at two airports in China's southernmost island Province of Hainan with all coastal resorts and schools closed as Typhoon Mangkhut approached. South China regions including Guangdong, Hainan and Gua..
                 

'Florence death toll at 15, including 2 from Carbon Monoxide'

5 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
The death toll attributed to Florence stands at 15, including 10 in North Carolina and five in South Carolina. 42-year-old Jeffrey B Youngren of Elgin, South Carolina, died Sunday when a pickup truck hit a bridge piling in Kershaw County, said Coroner David West, who added that weather "played a big part" in the death. 23-year-old Michael Dalton Prince died Sunday after the truck he was riding in lost control on a flooded two-lane road in Georgetown County, South Carolina, said Coroner Kenny Johnson. The driver and another passenger escaped after the truck landed upside down in a flooded ditch. 63-year-old Mark Carter King and 61-year-old Debra Collins Rion of Loris, South Carolina, died of Carbon Monoxide poisoning from running a generator indoors, authorities said. A husband and wife died in a Fayetteville, North Carolina, house fire Friday. A mother and her 8-month-old child were killed when a massive tree crushed their brick house Friday in Wilmington, North Carolina. An 81-year-..
                 

Emmanuel Macron draws fire with career advice to young job-seeker

5 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
President Emmanuel Macron was facing fresh criticism Sunday after telling an aspiring gardener that he could easily find a job if he would simply start looking in high-demand sectors like restaurants or construction. In a video doing the rounds on social media, Macron is seen talking with the young man during a public open house at the Elysee Palace on Saturday, part of the country's Heritage Days. "I'm 25 years old, I send resumes and cover letters, they don't lead to anything," he tells the president. "If you're willing and motivated, in hotels, cafes and restaurants, construction, there's not a single place I go where they don't say they're looking for people. Not one -- it's true!" Macron replies. He suggests going to the Montparnasse neighbourhood, an area chock full of cafes and restaurants, assuring him he would easily find work. "If I crossed the street I'd find you one," he says. "So go ahead," he adds, to which the man replies, "Understood, thank you" as they shake hands. I..
                 

London Mayor calls Sadiq Khan for second Brexit vote

6 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called for a second Brexit vote, criticising the government's handling of Brexit negotiations with the 28-member European Union. Writing in the Observer daily on Sunday, the Labour politician said that with the UK due to leave the EU in six months, it now faced either a "bad deal" or "no deal", the BBC reported. The debate had also become "more about (former Foreign Secretary) Boris Johnson's political ambitions" than what was good for the UK, he said. Khan said that although he campaigned to remain in the bloc, he had accepted "the will of the British people was to leave the EU". He said he had never expected to back calls for a second referendum but had become "increasingly alarmed as the chaotic approach to the negotiations had become mired in confusion and deadlock. "I don't believe (Prime Minister) Theresa May has the mandate to gamble so flagrantly with the British economy and people's livelihoods." Earlier this month, May said the government would ..
                 

Death toll rises to 8 as Florence pours on the rain

6 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
The Marines, the Coast Guard, civilian crews and volunteers used helicopters, boats and heavy-duty vehicles Saturday to rescue scores of people trapped by Florence's shoreline onslaught, even as North Carolina braced for what could be the next stage of the disaster: widespread, catastrophic flooding inland. The death toll from the hurricane-turned-tropical storm climbed to eight. A day after blowing ashore with 145 kph winds, Florence practically parked itself over land all day long and poured on the rain. With rivers rising toward record levels, thousands of people were ordered evacuated for fear the next few days could bring the most destructive round of flooding in North Carolina history. More than 2 feet of rain had fallen in places, and the drenching went on and on, with forecasters saying there could be an additional 1½ feet by the end of the weekend. "I cannot overstate it: Floodwaters are rising, and if you aren't watching for them you are risking your life," Gov Roy C..
                 

British government proposing to introduce "no-fault" divorces

6 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
The British government is proposing to introduce "no-fault" divorces and make other changes to make it much easier for couples to divorce. Justice Secretary David Gauke began a consultation process to revise laws he said were "out of touch with modern life." If adopted after a 12-week consultation period, spouses would no longer be able to challenge a divorce application made by their partner. The changes would apply to heterosexual and same-sex marriages, and civil partnerships. The proposed new laws would mean it would no longer be necessary to prove misconduct or to live apart for a certain number of years before a couple could divorce. Catch up on all the latest Crime, National, International and Hatke news here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mi..
                 

Hurricane Florence turns deadly, triggers flash flood emergencies

6 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
A woman and her baby were killed when a tree fell on their house and several more storm-related deaths were reported on Friday as Hurricane Florence slammed into the Carolinas, dousing the eastern US states with torrential rain and causing rivers to burst their banks. Five deaths were confirmed by officials as US media reported another. Hundreds of people needed to be rescued after becoming trapped in their homes by a storm surge of up to 10 feet in New Bern, a town in North Carolina at the confluence of the Trent and Neuse rivers. As of 8 pm (0000 GMT), Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm by the National Hurricane Center (NHC), but authorities warned the danger was far from over, predicting "life-threatening storm surges and strong winds" would persist through the night. Donald Trump has declared a disaster in North Carolina. Pics/AFP "We are expecting several more days of rain," North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said, describing the amount of rainfall from the hurricane a..
                 

Shah Mehmood Qureshi embarks on maiden visit to Afghanistan

7 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday embarked on his maiden visit to Afghanistan where he will hold talks with President Ashraf Ghani and other top Afghan leadership on security and other bilateral issues between the two countries.It is the first foreign visit of Qureshi since assuming the office of the foreign minister. "FM Qureshi left for Kabul on his first foreign visit abroad underlining the importance government attaches to work closely with Afghanistan for regional peace and stability," Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said. Qureshi will meet his Afghan counterpart as well as Afghan President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah during the one-day visit. The two sides will also discuss the re-opening of Consulate General in Jalalabad which was closed due to security reasons last month.Faisal said successful outcome of the visit will lead future efforts to enhance bilateral cooperation under bilateral frameworks of cooperation including Afgh..
                 

Australian PM Morrison apologizes for using explicit song in video

7 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has apologized for using an explicit rap song in a video posted to his social media accounts. Morrison had posted on Thursday a 11-second clip of the song, 1999's "Be Faithful", by rapper Fatman Scoop, over quick edits of his parliamentary allies raising their hands in response to a question asked by him. The video was accompanied by a comment saying "QT (Question Time, an Australian parliamentary session) was on fire today... Good work team." The comment was followed by a flame emoji. The song has explicit language and sexual references. However, the section posted on Morrison's social media accounts was not explicit: "You got a hundred dollar bill, get your hands up! You got a 50 dollar bill, put your hands up!" Australian Twitter rejoiced in the poorly chosen song, with trade unionist John Setka tweeting: "Hey Scott. I hear you might have mucked up on one of your tweets? Don't let it get you down, it happens to the best of us." The tweet -..
                 

Dutch expelled Russian spies over alleged novichok lab hacking plot

7 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
The Dutch government expelled two alleged Russian spies this year after they were accused of planning to hack into a Swiss chemicals laboratory where novichok nerve agent samples from the Salisbury attack were analysed, it has emerged. The men were arrested in The Hague as part of an operation involving British, Swiss and Dutch intelligence agencies. The Swiss daily newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reported that the men were carrying equipment that could be used to break into the Spiez laboratory's IT network when they were seized. Isabelle Graber, the head of communications at the Swiss intelligence service, the FIS, said in a statement issued to the Guardian: "The Swiss authorities are aware of the case of Russian spies discovered in The Hague and expelled from the same place. "The Swiss Federal Intelligence Service [FIS] participated actively in this operation together with its Dutch and British partners. The FIS has thus contributed to the prevention of illegal actions against a critical..
                 

Hurricane Florence makes landfall in United States with winds, rains

7 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Hurricane Florence smashed into the US East Coast with howling winds, torrential rains and life-threatening storm surges as emergency crews scrambled to rescue hundreds of people stranded in their homes by flood waters. Forecasters warned of catastrophic flooding and other mayhem from the monster storm, which is only Category 1 but physically sprawling and dangerous. The port city of Wilmington woke to the sound of exploding electrical transformers with strong gusts throwing street signs and other debris as well as water in all directions. Philippines raises typoon alertTuguegarao: The Philippines raised its storm warning on Friday and warned of major destruction, hours before Super Typhoon Mangkhut was due to make landfall with fierce winds and drenching rain. Trump rejects Puerto Rico storm tollUS President Donald Trump on Thursday rejected the official death toll from last year's Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, saying it had been inflated to almost 3,000 as part of a ploy to ma..
                 

Pope meets with US church leaders over clergy sex abuse

8 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Pope Francis was set to host US bishops and cardinals on Thursday to discuss the Vatican's response to a new wave of devastating claims of sexual abuse by clergy. The pope was scheduled to meet Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, who leads the US Conference of Bishops, and Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, who advises the pope on sex abuse issues. The US Catholic Church has been shaken by the publication of a report on sexual abuse by clergy in Pennsylvania and by the resignation in July of US Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. He was accused of sexually abusing a teenager while working as a priest in New York in the early 1970s. No statement was scheduled to be released following the meeting at the Vatican, said a spokeswoman for the Holy See. According to the results of a new poll published by the US news channel CNN on Wednesday, Pope Francis's popularity has nosedived in the US recently. The poll showed that only 48 per cent of Americans in general supported the Argentinian ..
                 

Vladimir Putin: Russia is peace-loving state

9 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that his country was peace-loving and that the ongoing Vostok-2018 exercises deemed as the largest military drills since the Cold War, were aimed at developing its defence capabilities. Speaking at Tsugol, situated close to the borders of China and Mongolia, Putin said the drills would help boost the country's internal security capabilities and to extend a helping hand to allies, reports Efe news. "Russia is a peace-loving state, we do not have and cannot have any aggressive plans, Our foreign policy is aimed at (development of) the constructive cooperation with all the countries interested in that," Putin said while attending the exercises. He said that 87 observers from 57 countries have been invited to watch the drills. "Today, the most active stage of the exercises is completed at the Tsugol training ground in Trans-Baikal territory. You held it at high level: all units and formations fulfilled their assigned tasks," said Putin...
                 

Japan PM Shinzo Abe to visit China in October

10 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday that he will be visiting China in October to mark the 40th anniversary of the signing of peace and friendship treaty between the two countries and improve bilateral ties, which have been strained of late. Abe comments came as he met Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Eastern Economic Forum that is underway at Vladivostok, Russia. "The horizon is broadening on cooperation between Japan and China. Relations between our two countries are now on a normal track," Abe was cited as saying by Japanese public broadcaster NHK. The Japanese leader said that he was determined to take bilateral ties to the next level with the help of top-level interactions. Although Abe has previously travelled to China to attend international summits, this would be the first bilateral trip by a Japanese leader since 2011. The two countries have been sparring over the sovereignty of the resource-rich Diaoyu Islands (Senkaku in Japanese), situated in the East ..
                 

Putin urges 'security guarantees' for North Korea denuclearisation

10 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said North Korea must be given security guarantees in exchange for steps towards denuclearisation. "North Korea, in return for its denuclearisation, was after all promised security guarantees. Clearly it is waiting for some sort of signal in response," Putin told an economic forum in the far eastern city of Vladivostok. "It seems to me counterproductive if we demand everything from the North Korean side and in response they are given nothing," he said at an event with China's Xi Jinping and Japan's Shinzo Abe. He said international guarantees would be "appropriate" along with US offers, following a summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June. Then, Trump and Kim signed a vaguely worded agreement on denuclearisation but little progress has been made since then. The latest round of diplomatic efforts to curb the North Korean nuclear programme has been high on the agenda in Vladivostok. On Monday, Japan..
                 

Journalist killed in Pakistan

11 days ago  
News / Mid-Day/ International  
A senior journalist was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen in Pakistan's Multan, police said on Tuesday, adding three suspects, including a woman, were arrested in this case. Police said Saeed Butt, 48, was sitting at a shop on Monday evening in the main market of Khanewal district, when two masked men, suspected to be robbers, barged into the shop and demanded money from the deceased, Express News reported. Police quoting witnesses said, Butt handed over his wallet but dacoits demanded more money and on his refusal opened fire at him. The suspects fled after the killing. Police said the suspects were arrested from Multan with the help of CCTV footage after an FIR was lodged. They further claimed that weapons used in the murder were also recovered and the suspects have confessed to their crime. Catch up on all the latest Crime, National, International and Hatke news here. Also, download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates This story has been sourced from..