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PP-20 by-polls: PML-N try to retain the seat in Chakwal

F.P. Report

CHAKWAL: Polling started in the by-election of PP-20 constituency Chakwal on Tuesday (today) which was left vacant after the death of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MPA Liaquat Ali Khan.

Liaquat’s son Haider Sultan Ali contesting on the ticket of PML-N and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) fielded Raja Tariq Afzal for the by-election.

The by-election is a test for the ruling party as the constituency has long been a PML-N stronghold and it will set the voters tone for the coming general election this year.

Haider Sultan’s family has held the PP-20 seat since 1985, losing it only once in the 2002 elections. Meanwhile, PTI’s Afzal is contesting an MPA seat for the first time but he is supported by the Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Awami Tehreek.

The constituency’s 279,530 voters will exercise their right to cast the ballot till 5pm, for which 227 polling stations have been set up.

Rangers and police have been deployed at the polling stations to ensure security.



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Firefighters douse Lahore building fire

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Rescue official has confirmed that a fire erupted in a departmental store on early Tuesday morning at MM Alam road Lahore and it destroyed the five storey’s building.

He added that the fire was doused by firefighters. Rescue official added that that fire had quickly spread through and enveloped the entire five-storey building and adding that 10 to 15 fire fighter vehicles participated to douse the flame.

The cause of the fire is yet to be known, while no reports of casualty have surfaced either.

Last year on January 11, 2017, at least seven people were killed and eight injured when a building caught fire near Mehmood Booti Interchange in Lahore.


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Priyanka Chopra to produce another Marathi film

Monitoring Desk

MUMBAI: Bollywood Diva, Priyanka Chopra is all set to produce another Marathi film ‘Fireband’ and it will be directed by Aruna Raje.

Priyanka Chopra, who has become a global star over the years is now announced her next Marathi film as a producer and the cast of the film will be Usha Jadhav, Girish Kulkarni, Sachin Khedekar and Rajeshwari Sachdev.

‘Fireband’ is a fresh take on contemporary relationships and it will be Priyanka’s third Marathi project after Ventilator and Kay Re Rascala. Ventilator went on to win a National Award in 2017.


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Ayushmann and Sanya start shooting of ‘Badhai Ho’

Monitoring Desk

MUMBAI: Dangal girl Sanya Malhotra and Ayushman Khurrana start shooting of their upcoming movie ‘Badhai Ho’.

Ayushman has had a brilliant year after two back to back hit movies including Bareilly Ki Barfi and Shubh Mangal Saavdhan.

Sanya Malhotra, did only one film ‘Dangal’ and she proved her talent with her exceptional performance in the record breaking movie.

The film is directed by Amit Sharma and is a coming of age story of a family that grapples with some unexpected news.



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Murray undergoes hip surgery

Monitoring Desk

LONDON: Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray underwent hip surgery on Monday and is determined to return to action in time for this year’s Wimbledon.

The 30-year-old Briton, who has not played a competitive match for six months and last week withdrew from the Australian Open, posted an update on Facebook. “Today I underwent successful right hip surgery at the St Vincent Hospital in Melbourne,” Murray said. “I’d like to thank Dr John O’Donnell and all of the staff for looking after me. I look forward to returning to competitive tennis during the grass court season,” he added. “Thanks to everyone for all the well wishes and support over the last few days. I’ll come back from this.” Murray, who ended 2016 as world number one, has slipped down to 19th in the rankings.

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Pakistan off to winning start in Blind Cricket World Cup

Monitoring Desk

KARACHI: All-rounder Badar Munir was the star of the show as Pakistan claimed victory in the first match of the Blind Cricket World Cup, defeating Bangladesh by nine wickets at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Monday.

Put in to bat, Bangladesh were restricted to 207 in their 40 overs. Munir claimed three wickets and gave away just 32 runs in his seven overs, while Mattiullah and Sajid Nawaz were also among the wickets. For Bangladesh, Arifullah was the top scorer as he anchored the innings with a patient 57 off 103 balls.

Pakistan made light work of the target, chasing it down with embarrassing ease in just 17 overs and for the loss of only one wicket. Munir was once again the man to put Bangladesh to the sword as he scored a remarkable 145 off just 70 balls, smashing 24 fours along the way. Munir was ably supported by Amir Ashfaq, who scored 46 off 37 balls.


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South Africa beat India by 72 runs to take 1-0 lead

Monitoring Desk

Cape Town: For a half hour or so, the South African pace attack looked… unremarkable. Without Dale Steyn – out of the series with a heel injury – the other three had a difficult task summoning their usual menace. Then came an inswinger. It only decided to be one after travelling three-fourth the distance down the pitch. It fooled Virat Kohli. And it broke India.

Newlands was once again a reminder that Test-match conditions tilted in favour of the bowlers foster compelling cricket. In fact, footage of the fast bowling from both teams can probably replace adrenaline in hospitals. The fourth day alone featured 18 wickets and six of them went to Vernon Philander as his career-best sealed victory for his team, on his home ground, by 72 runs.

In the end, the result highlighted the difference between the two sides and was borne from the fact that South Africa’s bowlers allowed 48 boundaries in the entire Test and India’s offered 41 in the first innings alone.

Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah did try their best to make amends. Like a heavy metal song that begins in the guise of a gentle melody, they simply blew batsmen away in the morning.

Faf du Plessis’ wicket was a perfect example. He did not do much wrong in deciding to press forward to a delivery that under normal circumstances would have come up about waist-high. But in Cape Town, on a surface that spent an entire day under the covers, something crazy happened. The ball banged into the deck, it trampolined up to take the top glove even as the batsman recoiled from the line of fire, and settled in the wicketkeeper’s waiting gloves.

As elated as India would have been at that point, they would have known their batsmen would have to tackle those kinds of deliveries at a much higher frequency. Considering that, they did begin rather well, cruising to 28 for 0 in seven overs. In that time, M Vijay had already bested two jaffas, ruled out on both of them, but using DRS to continue his innings. Philander made sure the opener wasn’t third-time lucky.

Given the new ball from the other end, Morne Morkel bounced out Shikhar Dhawan and then had Cheteshwar Pujara caught behind with a snorter that the batsman had no choice but to play. India were in the mire and in walked their captain. Kohli’s stay at the crease was purposeful. He half seemed in one-day mode, turning dots into ones and ones into twos.

He knew India wouldn’t get too many opportunities to score and so he tried to give himself a leg up – literally. In the hourt hat he was out there, he made a conscious effort to thrust his front foot down the pitch and in his eagerness to do so, it often slid too far across on off stump. One of his leg glances was played right around his pad. South Africa sensed an opportunity. Philander converted it brilliantly.

The game changed from that moment on. Kagiso Rabada came charging in next over and roughed up Rohit Sharma with a ferocious bouncer. The batsman was beaten for pace and would have been out if not for a bit of casual fielding at long leg by Keshav Maharaj – he did not have his shades on and the sun blinded him from even putting a hand on the catch. If India read anything into that moment of fortune, Philander got rid of Rohit five balls later, a loose push away from the body forced an inside edge to crash into his stumps.

Hardik Pandya was caught at gully – the same position he was dropped at in the first innings – for 1 with AB de Villiers securing a fine catch and indulging in a loud send-off. In the pre-match presser, South Africa made no pretense that they have a score to settle with India. Come the time to back it up, they were absolutely relentless.

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DAB: Afghani losing value due to political tension

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The Afghanistan Central Bank on Monday said its foreign exchange reserves had increased by $500,000 but the Afghanistan currency continued to lose value due to ‘political tensions’ in the country.

One US dollar was sold for 66 afghanis in January last year but today (Monday), one US dollar is sold for 70.30 afghanis.

Khalil Seddiq, head of Afghanistan Central Bank or Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), told a meeting here that political tensions had ‘80 percent’ role and increase in government expenditures 20 percent role in the loss of afghani’s value. He did not explain the political tensions, but called for their solution as soon as possible otherwise the economic situation of the country would be affected.

Tension between President Ashraf Ghani and Balkh governor Atta Mohammad Noor surfaced in late December, 2017 when Noor was replaced with Eng. Mohammad Daud as new governor of the province.

However, Noor, also the executive chief of Jamiat-I-Islami, refused to quit his job. Negotiations are currently ongoing between Jamiat-I-Islami and the government on the matter.

First vice-president, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, who has been in Turkey, was recently denied entry into Afghanistan for a second time by the government, further fueling the tension. The DAB head said that the bank offered $462 million to the market since December to boost the afghani currency value against foreign currencies.

“It is not DAB’s goal to determine currency rates in the market, we are following the open market policy based on the Constitution, it means that the performance of the market determines the currency rate,” he said.

He said the central bank last year had good achievement as it increased the foreign exchange reserves by half a billion US dollars and currently the country’s currency reserves stood at more than $8 billion.

Seddiq said the inflation rate had been 3.08 in Afghanistan last fiscal year, far down compared to neighboring countries. The inflation rate in Pakistan was 4.6, in Iran 9.6, in India 4.8 and in Turkey 11.8 last year, he said.

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20 dead, injured in Kunduz operation

Monitoring Desk

KUNDUZ: Fourteen Taliban gunmen among 20 people were killed and wounded during operation in Kunduz’s Khanaba district, Afghan Army said Monday.

A clash took place between security forces and Taliban during operation in the Khanabad district wherein 10 Taliban were killed and four more wounded, said Ghulam Hazrat Karimi, spokesman of Afghan National Army (ANA) 20th Pameer Division in Kunduz.

He said the Taliban left behind bodies of their four fighters, adding the operation was launched in the Eshan Toop, Zard Kamar and Joyee Kohna areas of the Khanabad district two days ago.

He would not disclose if there were any casualties to security forces an nom-combatants.

Security sources, however, said a security man was killed and two more wounded in the Khanabad clashes.

Local residents said three civilians also sustained injuries and several houses were destroyed during the operation.

A press release issued by interior ministry said a Taliban commander, Maulvi Sher Agha, was also detained.

There was no word by Taliban in this regard.

The areas where the operation was launched located near the Kunduz Airport and in the control of Taliban for the last several years.

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Barmak visits Mazar-e-Sharif

Monitoring Desk

MAZAR SHARIF: Afghan Interior Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak visited Mazar-e-Sharif, capital of northern Balkh province, Jan. 07 amidst differences between the government and Jamiat-i-Islami over the removal of Balkh governor Atta Muhammad Noor.

The interior minister arrived in Mazar-e-Sharif and held meetings with security officials and members of Balkh’s provincial council, said press office of 207th Pameer police zone in northern Afghanistan.

Though the aim of Bamak’s trip to Balkh has not been disclosed, it is believed that the interior minister might be visiting the province to resolve the issue of the removal of Atta Muhammad Noor as Balkh governor.

Atta Muhammad Noor has been continuously announcing since his resignation was approved by the president that he would not leave the governor post.

Both the government and Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani-led Jamiat-i-Islami held several meetings to resolve the Noor’s removal issue but have not yet succeeded.