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11 students killed in Kandahar explosion

Monitoring Desk

KANDAHAR: As many as 11 students of religious seminary were killed and 16 others were injured including five foreign soldiers in a car bombing in Kandahar province of Afghanistan on Monday.

Local officials told that suicide bomber detonated a vehicle full of explosives in Haji Abdullah Khan village of Daman district and according to eye witness the suicide targeted the Romanian soldiers convey that had been patrolling the area.

Local officials confirmed that at least student of local Madrassa were killed in the explosion and more than 16 others were injured including five Romanian soldiers.

So far no group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Zardari calls Nawaz cunning and opportunistic

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Former President and Co-Chairperson Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Asif Ali Zardari has claimed that Nawaz Sharif not that innocent as we thought and adding that he is cunning and opportunist.

This he said while talking to media persons on Monday. Zardari while spilling the beans on his relationship with the disqualified prime minister Nawaz Sharif in a meeting with party leaders, that Nawaz Sharif always used us as we were doing politics and for strengthening democracy in the country but he was only doing trading and was using our goodwill in his own interest.

He informed the senior party leadership that we kept on agreeing over the network of democracy, Constitution and civilian supremacy but on every occasion he betrayed us and us our resolve for creating opportunity for himself.

Zardari added that now it’s time that Nawaz will suffer and joining hands with him is out of question now.

He claimed that Nawaz was encouraging us to fight with establishment however he was doing meeting and shaking hands with them.

Nawaz didn’t support PPP when I announced to hold former premier Pervez Musharaf but still we supported the government when he filed a treason case against him and then Nawaz give him the way out by doing deal with establishment, Zardari said.

Regarding his statements of ‘brick for brick’ speech, Zardari said he made the statement after being fooled by PML-N Quaid for life.

Zardari explained that Nawaz took advantage of the statement and tried to set the record straight with former army chief General Raheel Sharif.

Nawaz also ordered organizations such as National Accountability Bureau among others to take action in Sindh, Zardari claimed.

 

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Petroleum prices likely to increase from May 1

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) sent a summary to Petroleum Division and suggesting an increase in the petroleum prices.

According to the report, the prices of petrol likely to be increase to Rs3.22 per litre, diesel to Rs5.2, kerosene oil Rs6.97 and light diesel by Rs6.95.

Besides petroleum prices, an increase has also been recommended in the levy on petroleum products.

The levy could be increased by 200 per cent, as suggested in the new budget for fiscal year 2018-19.

Under the Finance Bill 2018, tax on diesel, petroleum, crude oil and high-octane fuel would be increased from Rs10 per litre to Rs30.

The same increase would be imposed on the levy of light speed diesel and gasoline, while levy on local liquefied petroleum gas could go up by 328%.

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Police arrest two men for allegedly raping minor in Larkana

F.P. Report

LARKANA: Police arrested two men on Monday for allegedly raping a seven-year-old girl in Larkana.

Police official told media that neighbors arrested two men after hearing girl’s cries for help from a nearby store and later they handed over the accused to police.

Police added that arrested suspect identified as Shahid Abro and his friend had taken the girl into a store on Sunday night.

The case was registered and medical examination of the seven-year-old and further investigations are underway in this regard.

Separately on April 29, a nine-year-old girl was allegedly raped and strangled to death, as she was killed from Larkana’s Ayub Colony.

Students of Ghulam Bhutto Primary School staged a protest on Monday against the failure of police to arrest the main suspect.

 

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CM Shahbaz criticizes Imran Khan for negative politics

F.P. Report

LAHORE: President of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Chief Minister Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif has said that how one can expect change from a person if he (Imran Khan) not able to change his speech from the past some years.

Shahbaz criticized Imran while issuing a statement regarding the last night speech of Imran Khan, while presenting party’s 11-point agenda for the upcoming elections at Lahore rally.

CM Shahbaz said that after ruling five years in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, still PTI has nothing to show the people regarding the development of the province and now he hiding behind the Shaukat Khanum cancer hospital and NUML and cricket which shows the mentality of Niazi Khan.

He added that where is KP government and why they are not imposing girl’s emergency education in the province and where were the hospitals and education institutes which they promised during the elections.

Shahbaz claimed that the people recognized the real face of Niazi Khan and PTI and now they will reject the protest and negative politicians in the coming elections.

People will cast more vote in favor of Nawaz Sharif and PML-N in coming and PTI and other rivals parties will face humiliating defeat as they had done for the development of their respective provinces.

Last night during his speech, Imran Khan asked Shahbaz Sharif that you have been governing Punjab since last 10 years. Please tell what have you done for education in province? Punjab has the highest proportion of out-of-school girls. How many universities did you build?”

 

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Five factors driving the price of oil

Monitoring Desk

Oil prices have risen as high as $75 a barrel for the first time in four years. But what has driven the rally and will it continue? Here are the five key areas to watch: 1. Supply and demand The simplest reason for the rise in oil prices is that markets have tightened markedly over the past 18 months.

Inventories of crude that had built up during the glut of 2014-16 have largely been worked off because of strong demand driven by a booming global economy and supply cuts by Opec and Russia. The International Energy Agency said last week that Opec could soon declare “mission accomplished” if it were targeting reducing global oil inventories back in line with the five-year average. Some believe that underestimates how tight the market is as demand has soared by more than 5m b/d, or more than 5 per cent, in the past three years, with global crude consumption expected to top 100m b/d for the first time later this year.

That means higher inventories should be required to provide the same number of days’ cover for oil refineries. “The overhang has largely been cleared,” said Olivier Jakob at Petromatrix. “The market is not extremely tight yet but with the glut taken away the conditions are there for the price to improve.”

2. Opec and Russia So if oil inventories are back to near normal levels will Opec and Russia look to end their supply cuts, which have removed at least 1.8m b/d from the market since the start of 2017? Most traders and analysts think not. While Moscow has expressed greater concern about the impact of $70+ oil on stimulating rival supplies like US shale, it seems content for now to stick with Opec, whose de facto leader Saudi Arabia has indicated it believes there is more work to be done.

Khalid al-Falih, Saudi energy minister, has spoken of the need to stimulate greater investment in new supplies. The kingdom is also preparing a listing of state oil company, Saudi Aramco, which would be likely to benefit from higher oil prices. It is also introducing widespread social and economic reforms in the highly conservative country. “There’s been no sign from Opec that they want to cap this rally,” said Bill Farren-Price at Petroleum Policy Intelligence “Saudi Arabia has short-term interests in higher oil prices for multiple reasons, including Aramco. But it’s also going through a delicate period of reform and there are constituencies who will find these very difficult. Having additional revenue at this time definitely helps.”

3. Geopolitical risks: The oil market always watches closely for risks of supply disruptions that could upend the delicate balance of supply and demand. But when supplies are already relatively tight they can take on an outsized importance.

The most immediate risk is the very real possibility of Donald Trump, US president, choosing to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions on its oil exports. He will make a decision next month and Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, said this week that he expects the US to do so. Second is Venezuela, where oil output has already fallen by at least 500,000 barrels a day because of the economic and political crisis in the country, with little sign that the state oil company PDVSA will be able to reverse the trend. There is also a risk of additional US sanctions on the government of Nicolás Maduro, which could target oil supplies, following elections next month.

Third is the conflict between Opec kingpin Saudi Arabia and Houthi rebels in Yemen. The Houthi’s, who enjoy support from Iran — a fellow Opec member and Saudi Arabia’s chief rival in the region — have stepped up attacks targeting Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure in what is seen as a direct attempt to disrupt the lifeblood of its economy. With Houthi-fired missiles also aimed at Riyadh, the chance of either a direct supply disruption or a flare-up of tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran is real.

Finally Libya, where oil output has recovered to about 1m b/d, remains highly unstable seven years after its civil war broke out. All these scenarios have helped keep a bid under oil prices, with one senior oil analyst warning that geopolitical risks in the oil market were as high as he could remember. “This is an incredibly bullish set-up where we have Iran sanctions being revisited, Venezuela elections on May 20 and the situation in Yemen and Libya,” said Gary Ross, head of global oil at S&P Global Platts and the founder of Pira Energy. “The risk of an asymmetrical supply disruption materialising now is even greater than it was during the Arab Spring.”

4. Hedge funds: Hedge funds and other speculators have been attracted to oil this year but only partly because of the geopolitical risks. Investors were already heavily long the market, having built up a record position in crude at the start of the year. While a large speculative position is normally a warning sign that the market has become unbalanced, increasing the risk of a sell-off if traders take profits en masse, so far this year that has not happened.

The reason, bankers say, is that much of the money coming into oil is longer-term cash trying to play in so-called “late cycle” assets like commodities, which tend to do well after a prolonged period of economic expansion. The argument is broadly that while equities may have become overextended after being in an uptrend since 2009, commodities do best late in the economic cycle when surging growth tests the ability of supply to keep up with demand.

Hedge funds are also reaping the benefits of a shift in the market structure caused by tightening supplies, which is causing spot contracts to trade above those for future delivery. That lets investors earn a regular yield by rolling contracts forward each month.

5. US shale: US shale is outstripping expectations for growth, with total US output expected to expand by roughly 10 per cent, or 1.4m b/d this year. Producers in the US are also generating free cash flow because of higher prices.

But so far it has not been enough to derail the rally, with increased output largely being absorbed by rising demand. “Shale oil economics are no longer the most important price-setting factor,” said Paul Horsnell at Standard Chartered. Infrastructure constraints in the Permian shale basin are also making it difficult to get barrels out of west Texas to refineries, storage tanks or to the coast for export.

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People found nothing new in Imran Khan speech: Nawaz Sharif

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The disqualified prime minister Nawaz Sharif has criticized the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chief Imran Khan for continuously doing the same speech and the people were tired of his hollow claims.

Nawaz said this while talking to media persons on Monday outside the accountability court hearing corruption cases against him and his family.

He lashed out at the political rivals for failing to deliver in their respective provinces in the better interest of the masses and claimed that visible difference will be seen when one visit Lahore and the rest of provincial capitals of the country.

Nawaz added that it was his dream to inaugurate the new Islamabad airport and the motorway from Lahore to Multan but unfortunately the sad verdict of his disqualification stopped the development progress and claimed the situation would be much better if he was not disqualified by the apex court.

He lamented that if he had been allowed to complete his five years as prime minister, the people would have seen a ‘new Pakistan’ but unfortunately some forces didn’t allow the process of development.

 

With regards to his corruption tr

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Avenfield reference: NAB court to record last witness statement against Sharif family today

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The accountability court resumed hearing of Avenfield properties case on Monday against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family and the court is expected to record last witness statement today.

NAB had filed three corruption cases against Nawaz Sharif and his family in light of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Panama Papers case.

Former premier Nawaz, daughter Maryam and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar are present in court for the hearing.

During last hearing, Maryam’s counsel Amjad Pervez conducted the cross-examination of prosecution witness Zahir Shah.

The corruption references, filed against the Sharifs, pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Avenfield properties of London.

Nawaz and sons Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Safdar are accused in the Avenfield reference only.

The two brothers, based abroad, have been absconding since the proceedings began last year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.

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29 dead, 40 injured in Kabul explosions

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: At least 29 people were killed and 40 others were injured after twin explosion rocked the Afghan capital Kabul on early Monday morning.

Dawood Amin, Kabul Police Chief told Afghan media that the first explosion happened at around 8am local time when a suicide bomber traveling on a motorcycle detonated his explosives in Shashdarak area of Kabul city.

He confirmed that the second explosion happened at the scene of the first blast when the rescue officials and journalists were busy in rescuing the victims.

Police chief confirmed that the second suicide bomber detonated his explosives among the police force and journalists when they were covering the area.

The Afghan Interior Ministry confirmed that the death toll rises to 29 and more than 40 were injured in the incident. The victims of the blasts were taken to nearby hospitals. Journalists and policemen were included in the deceased.

No group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.

 

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Mercedes’ Hamilton claims Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Monitoring Desk

BAKU: Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton claimed his first win of 2018 on Sunday and took over as leader of the title race when he triumphed in a dramatic, crash and incident-strewn Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The 33-year-old Briton managed to steer his Mercedes through a chaotic race and capitalised on his teammate Valtteri Bottas’ misfortune when a late puncture scuppered the Finn’s chances. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel had looked set to turn pole position into a victory until a second Safety Car intervention left him lunging to pass Bottas and locking-up.

The German finished fourth behind the triumphant Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari and Mexican Sergio Perez of Force India.