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Asia Cup: Pakistan humiliated 4-0 against India

DHAKA (Agencies): India beat Pakistan 4-0 in the Super Four match at Dhaka’s Maulana Bhashani Hockey Stadium on Saturday.

Gurjant Singh goal in the 57th minute cemented India’s place in the Asia Cup final. Lalit Upadhyay gave India 3-0 lead after scoring a minute after Harmanpreet Singh. The first goal of the match was scored by Satbir Singh.

Pakistan will play in the third position match tomorrow (Sunday). The highly-awaited Super 4 face-off between arch-rivals Pakistan and India was delayed due to heavy rainfall on Saturday.

Earlier, the Hero Hockey Asia Cup match was delayed by 90 minutes. The game is crucial for Pakistan while India just needs to draw to cement its position in the final. The top two teams at the end of the second round will reach the final while the teams finishing third and fourth will vie for the bronze medal.

India is currently on the top of the table with four points from one win and a draw, followed by Malaysia which secured three points after their win against Pakistan. South Korea have two points, from their two draws, and Pakistan is at the bottom with one point from the draw against South Korea. In their last face-off, India won 3-1 against Pakistan. The goals were scored by India’s Harmanpreet Singh, Chinglensana Singh and Ramandeep Singh, while Ali Shan scored for Pakistan.

Pakistan are three-time Asia Cup champions Pakistan while India have lifted the cup twice. It is interesting to note that Pakistan won all the first three editions of the cup in 1982, ’85 and ’89. While India’s victories were achieved in more recent times, in 2003 and 2007

In all of Pakistan’s three Asia Cup wins, India were the runners-up. In 1985 and ’89, Pakistan defeated their neighbours in the final. The inaugural 1982 competition was played on a single league basis.

There also the Green Shirts defeated India in the decisive last match. India’s first win, in 2003, came at Pakistan’s expense in the final and then again in both countries’ last pool match in 2017. In total, the traditional rivals have met seven times in the tournament.

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Shahryar backtracks from statement on weak PCB case against BCCI

LAHORE (Monitoring Desk): Former chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Shahryar Khan denied a statement ‘attributed to him by the media’ in which he said that PCB’s case against the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is weak.

“I strongly deny a statement attributed to me in the media in which I am supposed to have said that the PCB’s case against the BCCI is weak,” Shahryar said in a press release on Saturday.

However, speaking to media earlier today (Saturday), Shahryar had expressed reservations about PCB’s case against the Indian cricket board. “The PCB’s case against the BCCI for a bilateral series is quite weak. The board should hold table talks instead of engaging in a legal war,” he said. The former chairman said that if the relations between the cricket boards of the two countries improve, chances would brighten for a bilateral series eventually.

The BCCI has told PCB a bilateral series can only take place after the Indian government’s nod of approval. On Sri Lanka’s upcoming visit to Lahore for the final T20, Shahryar said a lot of hard work has gone into making the tour possible.

He added that if even if senior players pull out of the match, it wouldn’t matter because the public would enjoy the action nevertheless. Sri Lankan team is set to visit Lahore for the third and final T20 on October 29 at Gaddafi Stadium.

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Perera to captain Sri Lanka in T20 series against Pakistan

SHARJAH (Monitoring Desk): Allrounder Thisara Perera will lead a new-look, 16-man Sri Lankan squad to play the T20I series against Pakistan starting next Thursday. The shake-up is the result of some first-choice players – including the regular limited-overs captain Upul Tharanga – refusing to play in Lahore, where the third match of the series is scheduled.

Two days ago, the SLC chief selector Graeme Labrooy had confirmed that only those willing to travel to Lahore would be considered for the squad. That decision was taken by the board in consultation with the Sri Lankan sports ministry. This has brought about nine changes to the squad that last played India in September.

In addition to Tharanga’s refusal, selectors have also confirmed that Lasith Malinga, Niroshan Dickwella, Chamara Kapugedara, Akila Dananjaya and Suranga Lakmal were all unavailable for selection as well. Lakmal and Kapugedara had been on the team bus that was attacked by gunmen in 2009.

In what is a sign of the recent upheaval Sri Lanka have experienced, Thisara is set to become the sixth man to captain Sri Lanka this year, with Tharanga, Angelo Mathews, Rangana Herath, Dinesh Chandimal and Chamara Kapugedera also having borne the captaincy in some format. While in ODIs Thisara has continued to flounder, his T20 form was good in the recent World XI matches in Lahore. In fact, he was Player of the Match in the second of those three T20s, largely for his 19-ball 47 not out.

Among the notable names in the squad is batsman Danushka Gunathilaka, who regained his place after completing a suspension for a lethargic attitude towards training. Sadeera Samarawickrama, the 22-year old batsman who won his first Test and ODI caps on this tour, is also in the squad. He was one of two uncapped players in the shortest format, alongside wicketkeeper Minod Bhanuka, who will be getting his first taste of any kind of international cricket. Sri Lanka have also recalled Mahela Udawatte, who has not played for them in eight years.

Allrounder Dasun Shanaka will leave Sri Lanka A’s tour in the Caribbean to take part in this series. He brings with him some batting form, having struck 102 off 108 balls and 60 off 85 in the ongoing four-day match against West Indies A.

That this is a very inexperienced outfit is no surprise. Over the last two weeks, it has become apparent that better-established players would refuse to play in Lahore, while fringe players were more likely to take the tour on. SLC was hopeful a full-strength team would be available, but had not succeeded in convincing many of the more experienced players of the security arrangements.

Interim coach Nic Pothas had also appeared reluctant to travel to Lahore, stating earlier in the week that he needed to have further discussion with the board. While most coaches are expected to make the trip, at least one other member of the support staff is also understood to have his reservations.

Sri Lanka squad: Thisara Perera (capt), Dilshan Munaweera, Danushka Gunathilaka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Ashan Priyanjan, Mahela Udawatte, Dasun Shanaka, Minod Bhanuka (wk), Sachith Pathirana, Vikum Sanjaya, Lahiru Gamage, Seekkuge Prasanna, Vishwa Fernando, Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay and Chaturanga de Silva.

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Pakistan envoy to New Delhi meets Indian FM Sushma Swaraj: report

NEW DELHI (Monitoring Desk): In the first high-level contact between the two countries in months, the newly-appointed Pakistan High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood met Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj earlier this week, the Times of India reported.

Issues concerning cross-border terrorism, including the Mumbai and Pathankot attacks, came under discussion during the meeting, TOI quoted official sources as saying.

Swaraj pressed on the Pakistani envoy to review stance on Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav whose death sentence has been challenged by India in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The Indian government wants all charges against Jadhav to be dropped and him to be sent back to India for any progress in bilateral relations between the two neighbours, the report said.

Mahmood is also expected to meet Ajit Doval, National Security Adviser to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

Days after the meeting, on the occasion of Diwali, Swaraj announced medical visas for deserving Pakistanis whose applications had been pending with India.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office has yet to confirm or deny reports of the meeting.

Mahmood took charge as the Pakistani High Commissioner to India in August this year, after Abdul Basit retired from the position.

Relations between the two nuclear nations have been bitter for over a year now, with both trading barbs at the recent UN General Assembly meeting.

Sushma Swaraj recently termed Pakistan “the export factory of terror” while Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to UN Maleeha Lodhi called India the “mother of terrorism in South Asia” during sessions of the United Nations General Assembly.

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Czech ‘Trump’ clinches wide lead in election

PRAGUE (AFP): With voters upset over traditional parties and orders from Brussels, a billionaire populist dubbed the “Czech Trump” has taken a huge lead in the Czech Republic´s election.

State election officials citing results from nearly 73 percent of polling stations said Babis’ anti-corruption and anti-euro ANO (Yes) movement was ahead with 30.87 percent support with the far-right Freedom and Free Democracy (SPD) in second place at 11.19 percent.

The eurosceptic right-wing ODS party has clinched the third spot with 10.51 percent and the anti-establishment Pirates scored 10.04 percent.

Despite the country´s economic success, analysts say many Czechs who are heavily in debt or working long hours for low wages feel they have been left behind and are turning to populist parties to vent their ire.

Far-right and far-left anti-EU parties made gains in a fragmented vote that appeared to put eight parties into the 200-seat Czech parliament with few natural coalition allies among them, something analysts warn could herald instability and even chaos.

The Social Democrats (CSSD) who head the outgoing coalition government took a bruising, coming in sixth with 7.67 percent of the vote.

Voting earlier on Saturday, outgoing Social Democrats (CSSD) Prime Minister Sobotka warned the election “will decide about our country´s focus, whether we stay part of the EU and NATO, or whether extremist forces trying to drive us out of these structures will post gains.”

The far-right SPD of Tokyo-born entrepreneur Tomio Okamura made the strongest gains clinching second spot on strong anti-EU, anti-migrant and anti-Islam rhetoric, similar to surging far-right parties in neighbouring Austria and Germany.

France´s far-right National Front Marine Le Pen sent Okamura a message of support.

“I see this as a threat to liberal democracy” in this EU member of 10.6 million people, Tomas Lebeda, a political analyst at Palacky University in the central city of Olomouc, told AFP.

“The SPD is a clearly an anti-system, populist party. It seems this type of party will score its best-ever result in Czech history,” he said, but added that the SPD was unlikely to enter the future government

‘Radical change’?

Voting in a Prague suburb, pensioner Zdenek Kraml favoured the left-wing Social Democrats, currently in a rocky centre-left coalition with Babis´s ANO and the smaller centrist Christian Democrats.

“In the four years since the last election, pensions have gone up, just like wages and welfare benefits,” he told AFP.

With joblessness at 3.8 percent in September, the Czech economy which is heavily reliant on car exports is slated to grow by a healthy 3.6 percent this year. But other voters did not conceal their disillusionment. Young Prague voter Jiri Chaloupek said he chose the SPD as “this country needs a change, a rather radical change.”

Analyst Lebeda said “we have a very strange atmosphere with a number of emotions that absolutely do not correspond to the social and economic reality.” “I´m asking myself what the elections would look like if we weren´t in such good shape economically.”

A 63-year-old Slovak-born chemicals, food and media tycoon, Babis said he expected the Czech Republic to “enter a new stage” after voting on Friday, adding it needed “a government which will really tackle people´s problems.

While the billionaire-politician has vowed to steer clear of the eurozone and echoes other eastern EU leaders who accuse Brussels of attempting to limit national sovereignty by imposing rules like migrant quotas, he favours a united Europe and balks at talk of a “Czexit”.

“I think his policy is for the people,” pensioner Alena Kolarova said after voting in Prague and praised Babis for “restoring order in public finances and tax collection” during his three-year stint as finance minister that ended in May.

EU periphery?

Babis´s main rival, Social Democrats leader and Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek has said he hoped that the future government would ensure that the Czech Republic does not drift to the EU´s periphery. Partial results showed the anti-EU Communists took fifth spot winning 8.51 percent support.

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35 Egyptian police, troops die in clashes with militants: sources

CAIRO (AFP): At least 35 Egyptian troops and police officers were killed in clashes with militants in the Bahariya oasis in the country´s Western Desert on Friday, security and medical sources said.

An interior ministry statement confirmed the incident and said some of the attackers had died, without giving any figures for casualties or further details.

Security forces, who are hunting down Muslim militants in the region, were ambushed late Friday on a road to the Bahariya oasis, some 200 kilometers southeast of Cairo, according to the interior ministry statement.

According to a source close to the security services, the convoy was hit by rocket fire. The attackers also used explosive devices.

There has not yet been a claim of responsibility. A false claim by the small extremist group Hasm, reported by multiple local media, spread on social media soon after the attack.

But the group´s official Twitter feed, where it routinely shares statements, has been dormant since October 2. Since the army removed President Mohamed Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood, extremist groups have increased their attacks on the country´s military and police.

The Brotherhood, once Egypt´s largest opposition movement, has long denied involvement in violence. Mohamed Morsi was elected as Egypt´s first civilian president in 2012, but the army overthrew him a year later following mass protests against the rule.

Since then, an extensive crackdown on the group has left it in disarray with competing wings that have disagreed on whether to use violence, after police quashed their protests.

Analysts say a section of the Brotherhood has encouraged armed assaults against policemen in Egypt. Hasm has claimed multiple attacks since 2016 on police, officials and judges in Cairo.

In their statements, none of the militant groups claim any affiliation to the Muslim Brotherhood. Authorities have also been fighting the Egyptian branch of Daesh, which has increased its attacks in the north of the Sinai peninsula.

Hundreds of soldiers and police have been killed in the violence. Daesh´s deadly attacks on the military and police include a recent assault on a checkpoint in Sinai on July 7 that killed at least 21 soldiers.

The group has maintained a steady war of attrition with sniper attacks and roadside bombings. But unlike their parent organisation in Iraq and Syria, they have been unable to seize population centres in the peninsula bordering Israel and Gaza.

In October 2015, Daesh claimed the bombing of a Russian airliner carrying holidaymakers from the popular South Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, killing all 224 people on board.

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15 Afghan army cadets killed in Kabul suicide attack

KABUL (AFP): A suicide bomber killed 15 Afghan army trainees as they were leaving their base in Kabul on Saturday, the defence ministry said, in the latest deadly attack in the capital.

“This afternoon when a minibus carrying army cadets was coming out of the military academy, a suicide bomber on foot targeted them, martyring 15 and wounding four,” defence ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri told AFP.

Kabul Crime Branch chief General Mohammad Salim Almas said police have launched an investigation into the attack which happened in the west of the city.

“The minibus was carrying army trainees to their homes from Marshal Fahim military academy,” Almas told AFP. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. It was the second suicide bombing in the Afghan capital in 24 hours and the seventh major assault in Afghanistan since Tuesday, taking the total death toll to more than 200, with hundreds more wounded.

The spate of deadly attacks underscores deteriorating security across the war-torn country as the resurgent Taliban step up their attacks on police and military bases and Islamic State continue to target Shia mosques.

It was the fifth time since Tuesday that militants have launched a major attack against Afghanistan’s beleaguered security forces already badly demoralised by high casualties and desertions.

In the deadliest of the recent attacks, around 50 Afghan soldiers were killed in a Taliban-claimed assault on a military base in the southern province of Kandahar on Thursday.

Insurgents blasted their way into the compound using two explosives-laden Humvees — a tactic used in three separate attacks this week — officials said. The militants razed the base in the Chashmo area of Maiwand district to the ground, according to the defence ministry.

Nearly 60 people were killed when suicide bombers detonated explosives in two separate mosque attacks in Afghanistan on Friday.

Afghan security forces have faced soaring casualties in their attempts to hold back the insurgents since Nato combat forces pulled out of the country at the end of 2014.

Casualties leapt by 35 percent in 2016, with 6,800 soldiers and police killed, according to US watchdog SIGAR.

The insurgents have carried out more complex attacks against security forces in 2017, with SIGAR describing troop casualties in the early part of the year as “shockingly high”.

The attacks included assaults on a military hospital in Kabul in March which may have killed up to 100 people, and on a base in Mazar-i-Sharif in April which left 144 people dead.

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Sarfraz approached by bookie for spot-fixing during Sri Lanka series

DUBAI (Online): Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed was approached by a bookie who made a spot-fixing offer to him during the ongoing ODI series against Sri Lanka in UAE, sources disclosed on Saturday.

Sarfraz rejected the offer and immediately reported the approach to the Pakistan Cricket Board’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), sources said. A day ago, it was reported that an “important” member of Pakistan squad had been approached by an international fixing syndicate, but the cricketer had foiled the spot-fixing bid and alerted the ACU officials.

Sources revealed later that the cricketer in question was skipper Sarfraz, who was shopping with his family at a mall in Dubai when he was approached by a bookie ahead of the second ODI against Sri Lanka.

The bookie came up to the captain, who first thought he was a fan requesting for a selfie. The man, however, made a spot-fixing bid to Sarfraz who turned it down on the spot and reported the approach to PCB’s security officials staying with the team.

Sarfraz also reported the approach to Director Security Colonel Azam in Lahore. PCB, however, said it cannot confirm the incident as yet.

The bookie appeared to be a Pakistani, the sources said. The board, following the incident, tightened security measures for the team and issued fresh instructions to the squad to stay away from irrelevant people.

PCB security officials also restored the curfew timings for the players in the aftermath of the approach. The curfew had been ended after Mickey Arthur took over as head coach.

Prior to the Pakistan-Sri Lanka series, there were reports that bookies were intending to approach players, in view of which the ACU team was already on alert and had tightened curfew timings for the team, the sources disclosed.

Pakistan play Sri Lanka in the fifth and final ODI at Sharjah on October 23. They have already sealed the five-match ODI series 4-0.

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Injustice, lawlessness at peak in Sindh as people in dire need of change: Imran

ISLAMABAD (NNI): Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief Imran Khan on Saturday has claimed that Sindh is suffering from injustice and lawlessness more than any other province.

In a video message ahead of his scheduled gathering in Sehwan tomorrow (Sunday), Imran Khan said that people living in Sindh need revolution the most for which important point will be shared with them during Sehwan Sharif rally that is due on October 22.

He said that money of Sindh people was looted and laundered. Imran Khan has said that the people of Sindh needed change more than anything else.

Imran Khan continued that oppression is affecting small farmers as they are not been given water for their crops. He further invited people to join his rally in Sehwan.

The PTI chief said he would roll out a plan for how to pull out the province from this quagmire and how the party will develop it and tackle its issues like poverty and unemployment.

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PIA plane hit by fuel vehicle at Toronto airport

ISLAMABAD (INP): An airport fuel vehicle on Saturday collided with the engine of a Pakistan International Airlines plane during refuelling at the Toronto Pearson International Airport.

According to PIA spokesman, flight PK-789 sustained minor damage and has been transferred to the hangar for the necessary maintenance.

The flight, which was to take off from Toronto for Lahore, is expected to be delayed by 16 hours. Passengers have been transferred to hotels.

The spokesman said that PIA has informed the local service-providing company of the incident and sought an explanation.