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Queen Elizabeth names Charles as next chief of Commonwealth

Monitoring Desk

LONDON: Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II, formally opened the Commonwealth summit on Thursday and it may be the last time that she is heading the commonwealth summit as she put forward her son name for the head of the commonwealth summit.

Queen Elizabeth welcomed the 53 Commonwealth nation’s leaders at the Buckingham Palace for two days of talks that will include discussions on trade and countering cybercrime.

Queen Elizabeth in her speech talked about her own journey as head of the Commonwealth, which started under her father King George VI with the London Declaration of 1949.

On the closing day on Friday, leaders are expected to discuss who should follow Queen Elizabeth in the role.

Prince Charles, who is also the heir to the thrones of 16 Commonwealth nations, is expected to get the nod.

During the two days of talks, the group is hoping to agree an ocean governance charter, an agenda for trade and investment, and a declaration on tackling cyber crime.


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Four Saudi soldiers killed in attack

Monitoring Desk

RIYADH: The interior ministry of Saudi Arabia said that at least four Saudi officers were killed and four others injured on Thursday when gunmen attacked their checkpoint came in southern Asir province.

According to Saudi interior ministry three officers died on the spot and the fourth one later succumbed to injuries, however the ministry did not specify who are behind the attack.

The attack comes as Saudi Arabia is embroiled in a long running conflict in its southern neighbor Yemen, dubbed by the United Nations as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The coalition of Arab states in the leadership of Saudi Rabia launched a operation in March 2015 and the Iranian backed Huthi rebels in Yemen and restore the country’s internationally-recognized government to power.

Riyadh and Tehran back opposing sides in a range of hotspots across the mainly Sunni Muslim Middle East, including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.


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Suspended judge, wife challenge Tayyaba torture case verdict in IHC

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: A suspended judge and his challenged their conviction in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday in a case related to torturing a minor Tayyaba.

The convicted Judge and his wife appealed the court to form a divisional bench and hear their petition.

Earlier on April 17, the IHC announced its verdict in the Tayyaba torture case and announced one year imprisonment for the suspended judge Raja Khurram Ali Khan and his wife Maheen Zafar would serve a year each in prison for torturing the child maid.

The court also fined the couple, Rs50,000 each for the crime of employing an underage (below 12 years of age) child.

After the announcement of verdict in the case, the convicted accused filed a bail plea which was approved by the same bench. The court ruled that the bail will be valid for seven days in which period the sentencing can be challenged.

On December 29, 2016, Tayyaba, a 10-year-old domestic help, was recovered from the house of the judge after receiving complaints of torture from neighbors. The issue sparked outrage on social media and led to calls for strict and swift justice.

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Sharifs trying to get new NRO: Sheikh Rasheed

F.P. Report

RAHIM YAR KHAN: Chief of Awami Muslim League (AML) Sheikh Rasheed has criticized the Sharif brothers for trying to get National Reconciliation Order (NRO) and behave like a tigers on the television.

This he said while addressing to press conference in Rahim Yar Khan on Friday. He said that Sharifs are trying to save their skins by maligning institutions and trying to befool the masses on the name of sanctity of votes.

Rasheed added that how could a poor citizen be safe when the house of a apex court judge is attacked in Lahore and reminding that DC Gujranwala was hanged from a fan and still they shouting of excellent governance in the country.

Sheikh Rasheed lamented that PML-N is in power in Punjab from the past 30 and still they are not able to provide clean drinking water.

Regarding the new provinces, Rasheed said that he has been demanding the same since he was a youth.



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It’s time for courts to deliver, says CJP Nisar

F.P. Report

CHARSADDA: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar has said that the judiciary must deliver for the betterment of the society and ensuring the rights of poor people of the country.

CJP said this while addressing to media in Charsadda on Friday. He said that we need to work collectively for strengthening the institutions as it is important for the development of the country.

Regarding the amendments, CJP said that parliament has the right to amend the laws but unfortunately the lawmakers were not able to update the laws.

Earlier on Thursday in Peshawar, CJP said that he cannot r fix the system alone as change in system comes with law.

Addressing judges and presidents of various bars in Peshawar High Court bar room, the CJP said that the person who does not receive justice on time is like a patient.


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ZTE’s survival at risk due to US sanctions  

HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s ZTE Corp (0763.HK) (000063.SZ) said on Friday that a U.S. ban on the sale of parts and software to the company was unfair and threatens its survival, and vowed to safeguard its interests through all legal means.

The United States this week imposed a ban on sales by American companies to ZTE for seven years, saying the Chinese company had broken a settlement agreement with repeated false statements – a move that threatens to cut off its supply chain.

“It is unacceptable that BIS insists on unfairly imposing the most severe penalty on ZTE even before the completion of investigation of facts,” ZTE said in its first response since the ban was announced, referring to the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security.

“The Denial Order will not only severely impact the survival and development of ZTE, but will also cause damages to all partners of ZTE including a large number of U.S. companies,” ZTE said in a statement.

ZTE said it regards compliance as the cornerstone of its strategy, adding it invested $50 million in export control compliance projects in 2017 and plans to invest more this year.

A senior U.S. Commerce Department official told Reuters earlier this week that it is unlikely to lift the ban.

“We’re going to have to see how this unfolds. But there is no provision currently for that to occur,” the official said, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The Commerce Department has an appeals process for companies to try to get off the list, but it is unclear whether that would be available to ZTE because the case had been previously subject to a settlement, according to people familiar with the matter.

Even so, ZTE would have little recourse in the near term because appeals would have to be approved by the Bureau of Industry and Security, the same agency that issued the ban.

Companies must submit appeals to a committee that would issue a ruling within 30 days, according to the agency’s website.

ZTE said it will not give up efforts to solve problems through communication, and it is determined to take judicial measures to protect the legal rights and interests of the company.

The ban has ratcheted up tensions between China and the United States at a time when they have already threatened each other with tens of billions of dollars in tariffs, fanning worries of a full-blown trade war that.

In China, there has been a patriotic backlash with an outpouring of support for ZTE on social media and most domestic newspapers have chosen to put the lion’s share of the blame for ZTE’s troubles on the country’s heavy reliance on foreign semiconductors.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government is considering using an emergency law to restrict Chinese investments in sensitive U.S. technologies, a senior Treasury official said on Thursday.

Trade in ZTE shares has been suspended since Tuesday. As of Monday’s close, they were worth some $19 billion.



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Barclays chief Staley faces fine by regulators

LONDON (Reuters) – Barclays (BARC.L) said Jes Staley will be fined by British regulators for attempting to unmask a whistleblower, but will be able to keep his job as the bank’s chief executive.

FILE PHOTO – Barclays’ CEO Jes Staley arrives at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain january 11, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls –

Staley’s attempt to find out who wrote a letter revealing “concerns of a personal nature” about an unnamed senior employee represented a breach of individual conduct, the country’s banking watchdogs concluded, Barclays said on Friday.

But the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) were “not alleging that he acted with a lack of integrity or that he lacks fitness and propriety to continue to perform his role as Group Chief Executive Officer.”

Barclays added that the FCA and PRA will not take enforcement action against the bank and a spokesman said the size of the fine had yet to be determined by the regulators.

Shares in the bank were up 0.3 percent on Friday, against a 0.7 percent rise in the FTSE 350 banks index .FTNMX8350.

The British bank, which in April last year said it had reprimanded Staley and would cut his bonus for his attempts to identify the whistleblower, will be required to report to the FCA and PRA on aspects of their whistleblowing programs.

“Barclays management continues to have unanimous confidence in Staley and continues to recommend his re-election as a director at the Barclays annual general meeting on May 1,” Barclays said a statement.

Staley received a pay package of 3.88 million pounds ($5.45 million) in 2017, 8.5 percent less than he received the previous year.


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Premier League club profits climb to £4.5bn

Monitoring Desk

LONDON: Premier League clubs reported record revenues of £4.5bn in the 2016-17 season, and also returned to profit.

Clubs collectively reported £500m in pre-tax profit, also a record, having posted a small collective pre-tax loss in 2015-16, according to Deloitte.

Wage costs rose by 9% to £2.5bn, a significantly lower growth rate than the 25% hike in revenues.

The Premier League’s three-year TV deal which came into effect in 2016-17 was the main factor in revenue growth.

A record £5.13bn was paid to the league by Sky and BT for the 2016-19 UK broadcast rights. But the latest domestic rights auction, for the 2019-22 cycle, did not reach those heights, bringing in £4.464bn for the league’s 20 clubs.

“Despite the lack of growth in domestic broadcast deals announced to date, we still expect to see overall revenue growth in the coming seasons, and if this is complemented with prudent cost control, we expect that pre-tax profits will be achieved for the foreseeable future,” said Dan Jones, head of Deloitte’s Sports Business Group.

And he said that “restraint shown by clubs to control their wages has translated broadcast revenue success into healthy operating and pre-tax profits”.

Mr Jones added: “Although we anticipate wage costs will continue to rise in the coming seasons, we do not foresee increases to be at a level which can jeopardise the profitability of the Premier League as a whole.

“The most significant wage increases have tended to occur in the year prior to the commencement of a new broadcast cycle once a substantial revenue increase is secured.”

The collective revenue-to-wage ratio at Premier League clubs was down from 63% to 55% in the 2016-17 season, the lowest since the 1997-98 season.

The analysis reveals that Premier League clubs have collectively made a pre-tax profit in three out of the last four years. BBC


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Xiaomi Mi 6X (Mi A2) to be launch on April 25

Monitoring Desk

Xiaomi’s Mi 6X is confirmed to launch on April 25 at an event to be held in China. The upcoming mid-range smartphone is said to borrow design elements such as a vertical dual rear camera setup and an edge-to-edge display. In the latest set of teasers, Xiaomi has posted official selfie shots that are said to have been taken on the Mi 6X.

In a post on social networking website Weibo on Thursday, Xiaomi revealed selfie snapshots taken on the Mi 6X, a phone that is expected to be rebranded as the Xiaomi Mi A2 in markets like India. The teaser shows six different selfie shots that show off the portrait mode capabilities of the front camera in different lighting conditions. As per the teasers, the mid-range smartphone will sport a 20-megapixel selfie camera.

Rumours suggest the front camera of the Xiaomi Mi 6X will get a Sony IMX376 image sensor with f/2.2 aperture and front-facing flash. As for the main camera, it has been spotted to get a 12-megapixel Sony IMX486 primary sensor with f/1.8 aperture, and a secondary 20-megapixel Sony IMX376 sensor with the same f/1.8 aperture.

Talking about internals, the Mi 6X is said to be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC, along with 4GB/ 6GB RAM and 32GB/ 64GB/ 128GB inbuilt storage. It will expectedly pack in a 2910mAh battery. Additionally, the smartphone is suggested to sport a 5.99-inch full-HD+ (1080×2160 pixels) display. On the software front, the Mi 6X will run MIUI 9 and the Mi A2 will run Android One, both based on top of Android 8.1 SoC. Lastly, as per a TENAA listing, dimensions of the smartphone are expected to be 158.88×75.54×7.3mm.



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Speaker Ayaz Sadiq summons four MNAs to verify resignations

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Speaker National Assembly, Ayaz Sadiq has summoned four disgruntled members of national assembly on Friday to verify their resignations, who parted ways with the ruling party and resigned from the assembly.

Assembly officials told that the MNAs have been called because it is necessary for the lawmakers to verify their resignations before the speaker or secretary of the National Assembly.

The disgruntled MNAs summoned to the speaker office include Khusro Bakhtiar, Basit Bukhari, Tahir Bashir Cheema and Qasim Noon. They are part of the group that has announced a mass movement to make southern Punjab a separate province.

Earlier on April 9, Bakhtiar said they have started a movement called Junoobi Punjab Suba Mahaaz to create a new province.

Stating that they will create a separate province for southern Punjab, Bakhtiar said, “Poverty rate is higher than 51% in southern Punjab.”

The lawmakers said their alliance will be led by former interim prime minister Balakh Sher Mazari and Sardar Dareshak will be the co-chairperson of the alliance.