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Two children among four killed in latest Mumbai fire

Monitoring Desk

MUMBAI: At least four persons including two children were killed and five other were injured in a fire in Mumbai on Thursday morning.

It was the third deadly inferno which hit India´s financial capital in just a few weeks.

As per the Indian media the fire broke out on the fourth floor of a residential building in Andheri East area of Mumbai and quoting the official that four persons including two children were killed and five others were injured in the incident.

It is the latest blaze to highlight concerns over fire safety in Mumbai, where millions live in cramped dilapidated properties.

On December 29, 14 people were killed when a huge inferno tore through a popular market bar and restaurant.

That disaster came just over a week after a fire swept through a sweet shop, sparking a building collapse which killed 12 sleeping workers.

Activists say builders and landlords often cut corners on safety to save costs and accuse Mumbai´s civic authorities of negligence and apathy when it comes to inspections.

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MNA Khokhar’s nephew among three killed in Lahore firing

F.P. Report

LAHORE: At least three persons were killed and seven others were injured after two rival groups opened fire on each at the wedding ceremony of the nephew of MNA Afzal Khokhar in Lahore’s Johar Town late Wednesday night.

Police private news channel that two rival groups, Ashraf Bhatti group and Malik Aslam groups, were attending Fawad’s marriage ceremony. But in the wedding both the group started brawl and opened fire on each other and in a result MNA Khokar’s nephew Imran and his guard were killed on the spot.

The injured were shifted to nearby hospital after the incident

MNA Khokhar’s elder brother and Imran’s father Malik Shafi Khokhar along with PML-N MPA Saiful Malook Khokhar were also present at the event.

IG Punjab Arif Nawaz took notice of the incident and directed CCPO to submit a report on it.

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Kamran Akmal scores Pakistan’s second fastest double century

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Kamran Akmal scored Pakistan’s second fastest List A double century for WAPDA against HBL on Wednesday at Niaz Stadium Hyderabad.

Kamran Akmal hit four sixes and 27 four to score 200 on 148 balls and achieved the target of 315 runs for his team in 46th over.

After Mohammad Ali and Khalid Latif, Kamran Akmal is the third Pakistani to score a double century in a List A match. Ali scored 207 for Pakistan Customs in Sialkot against DHA while Khalid scored an unbeaten 204 for Karachi against Quetta in 2009.

Kamran is also the second quickest Pakistani to complete a double century in a List A match. With completing a double ton off 147, he’s jointly the 11th quickest to do so along with India’s legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar.

He was the top scorer in the National T20 tournament, scoring 432 runs in eight innings. He also smashed the country’s highest T20 score, 150 during the tournament.

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23 civilians killed in Russian airstrikes in Syria

Monitoring Desk

BEIRUT: At least 23 civilians were killed in airstrikes conducted by Russian planes on Wednesday in the Syrian Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus.

The local Human Rights group told international media outlet that 18 persons were killed Misraba area in Russian airstrikes and five others died in government shelling in the area.

The media reported that three children and 11 women were among the deceased. The eye witness said that the victims were brought to the hospital and most of them were women and adding that medical staff tried to revive an infant who had been pulled from the rubble but they failed.

The war in Syria has killed more than 340,000 people and displaced millions from their homes since it began in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

Eastern Ghouta, a small town mostly controlled mostly by rebels.



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No one can dictate Pakistan anymore by withholding aid: Khurram Dastagir

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Defense Minister Khurram Dastagir has said that US cannot dictate Pakistan by withholding aid and adding that US blaming us for their failure.

This he said while giving interview international news outlet. Dastagir said that Pakistan are taking action against Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) as it is part of operation Raddul Fasaad and has nothing to do with the US.

He added that cooperation between Pakistan and US has almost stopped and adding that Indian involvement in the recent times create rift among the two allies and the biggest reason behind it is CPEC.

We made it clear to the US government that Pakistan is not responsible for its failure in Afghanistan so stop the blame game anymore, he added.

Instead of stopping India from using Afghan soil against Pakistan, the US became a friend of them and leveling baseless allegation which is not the language of cooperation to each other.

Dismissing the deadline given by the US to take action against the Haqqani Network, the minister said Pakistan is an independent nuclear power which cannot be given such deadlines.


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Ranbir, Alia start prepping for upcoming ‘Brahmastra’

Monitoring Desk

MUMBAI: Bollywood superstars Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt starts shooting of upcoming film ‘Brahmastra’ in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The fans were waiting since 2014 to see both the actors together in a movie. The upcoming movie titled Brahmastra is finally going under production, Karan Johar is producing the movie and Ayan Mukherji is doing the direction of the much awaited movie.

Amitabh Bachchan is also part of the cast. Alia and Ranbir started prepping for the film months prior to the shoot.

The film’s shoot is slated to begin next month.

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Deepika to celebrate her birthday on 5 January

Monitoring Desk

MUMBAI: Bollywood Diva, Deepika Padukone is all set to celebrate her 32 birthday on 5 January with a bang.

The Indian media reported that Padmavati star is all set to celebrate her birthday with the bang as she has a lot more plans for the upcoming birthday. Obviously her boyfriend, Ranveer Singh, the much loved couple is off to Sri Lanka for Deepika’s birthday.

According to media reports, the couple has a lot of adventurous things on their tour.



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Munro blasts record century as Kiwis crush W Indies

Monitoring Desk

Mount Maunganui: New Zealand’s master blaster Colin Munro attributed his record-setting century to sink the West Indies in the third Twenty20 in Mount Maunganui on Wednesday to a hit-and-hope philosophy.

“I try and go out there and swing from ball one and see what happens,” he said after blazing 104 off 53 deliveries.

On the back of Munro’s heroics, New Zealand won the third Twenty20 by 119 runs to complete a sweep of the tour by the West Indies, having won both Tests, all three one-day internationals and two T20s.

Munro became the first player to score three centuries in international T20s, going one clear of four other players, including the West Indies’ Chris Gayle.

“If I’m lucky enough to get a good start, I try and carry that momentum and if it’s my night, it’s my night and if not then back to the drawing board,” said the 30-year-old left-hander, who cracked 10 sixes and three fours.

New Zealand made 243 for five in their 20 overs and the West Indies’ reply ended at 124 for nine in 16.3 overs, with Shai Hope unable to bat after being injured while fielding. Munro was named man of the series after scores of 53 and 104 in the two completed Twenty20s and 66 in the washed-out second match.

The West Indies, desperate to get at least one win on the tour, tried every trick in their playbook but captain Carlos Brathwaite admitted Munro was too good.

“He took the game away from us,” Brathwaite said.

“Some of (our) plans we executed and he got past them. Some of them we didn’t execute as well as we wanted to and he capitalised,” he added.

“What was good with his knock was that he always capitalised on our mistakes and we presented a few too many to him.”

Munro and Martin Guptill (63) put on 136 in 11 overs for New Zealand’s first wicket.

That included 16 off the first over by Rayad Emrit, who was making his T20 debut at the age of 36.

But Emrit claimed success in his second over when he had Guptill caught behind.

Munro continued until the first ball of the final over when he drove a Brathwaite full toss straight to Shimron Hetmyer at long on.

The West Indies reply began disastrously with Chadwick Walton and Chris Gayle out without scoring in Tim Southee’s opening over.

Andre Fletcher did his best to rebuild the innings and ensured the tourists kept up with New Zealand’s run rate for the first eight overs.

But the introduction of spin saw Ish Sodhi end Fletcher’s innings for 46 and the momentum fizzled.

From 80 for four after eight overs, the last five West Indies wickets fell for 44 runs in 51 balls.

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Ashes: Crane set for debut as Woakes misses out

Monitoring Desk

SYDNEY: England will give a debut to leg-spinner Mason Crane in the fifth Ashes Test, with pace bowler Chris Woakes missing out because of a side strain.

Hampshire’s Crane, 20, will become the youngest specialist spinner to play for England in 90 years at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

All-rounder Moeen Ali keeps his place as the tourists opt for two spinners.

“It looks like it will give a lot of spin throughout the game,” captain Joe Root told BBC Sport.

“It should give a hint of turn and hopefully Mason comes into the game in both innings.”

Crane, who has played two Twenty20 internationals, is on his first tour with the senior squad.

“He’s very excited, as you would be,” added Root. “It’s great to see someone so desperate to play for England. It’s a great place for him to start his career.

“He’s a serious competitor and has a really good mental game for Test cricket – he proved that when he played the T20s last year.

“Hopefully it can be the start of a long, illustrious career.”

Crane is the first leg-spinner England have selected since Scott Borthwick made his debut, also in the Sydney Test, during the 2013-14 series.

Woakes has a problem with his left side, the same area that caused him to miss more than two months of cricket in the home summer.

However, this new injury is thought to be very minor and he is expected to fit for the five one-day internationals which follow the Test series. Australia, who have already secured the Ashes, have pace bowler Mitchell Starc fit again following a bruised heel, with Jackson Bird making way.

The Sydney match is the traditional ‘Pink Test’, now in its 10th year of raising money for breast cancer charity the McGrath Foundation, founded by former Australia pace bowler Glenn McGrath in memory of his late wife Jane.

At 20 years and 320 days, Crane will become England’s youngest specialist spinner since Ian Peebles played against South Africa in 1928.

Born in Sussex, he failed to progress through the county’s junior system and was sent to Hampshire by their former spinner Raj Maru, a teacher at his school.

Crane made his Hampshire debut in 2015 as an 18-year-old – his first wicket was Kumar Sangakkara – and has since played 29 first-class matches, taking 75 wickets at an average of almost 44.

Last winter, he played grade cricket for Sydney club Gordon. His 45 wickets not only earned him a share of the O’Reilly Medal for the best player in the competition, but also a call-up to the New South Wales team, the first overseas player to represent the state since Pakistan great Imran Khan in 1984-85.

“As a young player it was one of the best things I could do,” said Crane in December. “I was away from home for six months on my own. I had to learn all sorts of stuff.

“It’s brilliant to play with different players. I’d encourage any young player to come out.”

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Germany improves to 2-0 at Hopman Cup

Monitoring Desk

PERTH: Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber gave Germany its second consecutive win at the Hopman Cup mixed teams tennis tournament with singles victories Wednesday over Canadians Vasek Pospisil and Eugenie Bouchard.

No. 4-ranked Zverev beat Pospisil 6-4, 6-2 and Kerber, the 2016 Australian Open and U.S. Open champion, defeated Bouchard 6-1, 6-3. Germany also won the Fast4 mixed doubles 4-3, 4-3.

Germany can qualify from Group A for Saturday’s final with a win over Australia on Friday in the last round-robin match.

Later Wednesday, Belgium defeated Australia and made it more difficult for the host country to qualify for the final.