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Apex court warns Tallal Chaudhry to ensure counsel’s presence at next hearing in contempt case

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court hearing contempt of court case against former state interior minister, Tallal Chaudhry, has warned him to ensure the presence of his lawyer at the next hearing.

Justice Gulzar Ahmed headed the three member bench and it directed the PML-N leader on Tuesday to make sure the presence of his counsel on next hearing.

In today’s hearing, Kamran Murtaza, legal counsel of Tallal Chaudhry did not appear in court and the defense associate informed the court that Murtaza is unwell and also busy with weddings of his niece and nephew.

During the hearing, Justice Ahmed remarked that two justices have come from Karachi specifically for this case and adding that state has spent money on bringing the judges to Islamabad for the hearing.

PML-N leader requested the court that he is going through the process of taking part in the upcoming general election and stated that after the July 25 polls, the court can conclude the case in two days if it so desires.

The former state minister is vying to contest the July 25 polls from Faisalabad’s NA-102 constituency.

In reply, Justice Gulzar Ahmed remarked that taking part in elections is Tallal Chaudhry personal matter and adding that the court has no concern with it.

The court then directed Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority General Manager Mohammad Tahir to ensure his presence at the next hearing and adjourned proceedings until June 21.

Chaudry was held in contempt after he made anti judiciary remarks at a party rally earlier this year.



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Dubai Tourism encourages transit visitors to UAE

Monitoring Desk

DUBAI: Dubai Tourism has unveiled a new installation at Dubai International’s Terminal 3 that’s hoped to encourage transit visitors to return to the emirate.

The new facility at DXB – called ‘MyDubai Experience’ – will enable passengers to virtually explore Dubai.

Dubai International saw 89 million passengers use the transport hub last year, which included around 70 million transit passengers.

Last week, the UAE cabinet adopted a number of “visa facilitations” for visitors, residents, families and people overstaying their visa to cater for a wider segment of the society. The cabinet approved a decision to exempt transit passengers from all entry fees for the first 48 hours. A transit visa can be extended for up to 96 hours for a fee of AED 50.

The ‘MyDubai Experience’ is the latest initiative aimed at tapping into the large percentage of passengers who pass through DXB.

The interactive and immersive digital installation set up in Terminal 3, Concourse A draws on wide array of content to optimally showcase Dubai’s destination offerings.

Passengers can register to receive a tailor-made two-day Dubai itinerary based on the passengers’ interests and preferred experiences, plus entry into monthly competition offering a chance to win their luxury holiday in Dubai.

Launched by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), in collaboration with Dubai Airports and Emirates airline, the activation is designed to provide a futuristic and innovative way for travellers to discover and learn more about the city without setting foot outside the airport.

The next planned enhancement for the MyDubai Experience include the launch of two ‘photo-booths’ that will allow users to take a photograph of themselves, overlaid with a choice of illustrated filters, similar to those found in popular mobile phone apps.

The resulting email-friendly image will serve as an amusing memento of the user’s stop in Dubai, and can also be shared on social media channels.

The ultimate goal is to inspire the millions of transit passengers passing through DXB to revisit Dubai in the near future by showing them everything they can experience during a holiday in the city.

Available in eight languages, the touch screens give travellers access to a vast array of Dubai-related information and visuals – attractions, landmarks, activities, experiences, itineraries, maps and much more – all filtered according to their personal preferences and interests.

“Dubai International is the world’s busiest airport for international passengers, and with millions of travellers transiting in Dubai every year, there is a huge market waiting to be tapped,” said Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM).

“Our aim is to encourage these passengers to enjoy an extended stopover in Dubai, to exit the airport and experience the city. We want them to view their transit in Dubai not as an unwanted delay in their travels from A to B, but as a fantastic opportunity to add value to their journey.

“The MyDubai Experience is the perfect way for them to get a glimpse of all that’s possible in this great city, no matter what their budget or interests, helping them to realise that a stay here – even if only for a day or two – truly is an opportunity they won’t want to miss.”


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iphones will be spared from China tarrifs, Trump informed CEO

Monitoring Desk

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump told Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook that the U.S. government would not levy tariffs on iPhones assembled in China, the New York Times reported on Monday, citing a source familiar with the negotiations.

The newspaper reported that Cook travelled to the White House last month to warn Trump of the potentially adverse effects of Trump’s trade policies on Apple in China but did not specify precisely when Trump made the commitment to Cook. Apple and the White House were not immediately available for comment.

A list of tariffs proposed in April largely excluded consumer electronics. But last week, Trump unveiled a revised list that included several categories of chips, raising fears that tariffs could impact the U.S. technology sector.


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Asian stocks tumble after Trump threat to impose tariff hike on Chinese goods

Monitoring Desk

BEIJING: Asian stocks tumbled Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump escalated a dispute with Beijing over technology policy by threatening a tariff hike on additional Chinese goods.

KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index fell 2.3 percent to 2,953.54 points and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 2 percent to 29,685.28. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 retreated 0.9 percent to 22,482.89 and Seoul’s Kospi lost 0.8 percent to 2,356.57. Markets in Taiwan, New Zealand and Southeast Asia also declined. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.3 percent to 6,123.00.

TRADE TENSIONS: Trump directed the U.S. Trade Representative to prepare new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports, stepping up a dispute companies and investors worry could drag down global trade and economic growth. Trump accused Beijing of being unwilling to resolve the dispute over complaints it steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. China’s Commerce Ministry criticized the White House action as blackmail and said Beijing was ready to retaliate.

WALL STREET: U.S. stocks finished mixed in trading that ended before Trump issued his latest tariff threat. Household goods companies took some of the worst losses as the Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell for the third time in four days. The S&P 500 fell 0.2 percent to 2,773.75. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 0.4 percent to 24,987.47. The Nasdaq composite edged up 0.65 points to 7,747.03. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks rose 0.5 percent to a record 1,692.46. Many investors feel smaller and more U.S.-focused companies are less vulnerable in the event of a major trade dispute.


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Oil prices drop to $78.5 per barrel on expectations of rising OPEC productions

Monitoring Desk

SINGAPORE: Oil prices fell in early Asian trading on Tuesday on expectations that producer cartel OPEC and key ally Russia will gradually increase output after withholding supplies since 2017.

Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $78.05 per barrel at 0021 GMT, down 29 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $65.63 a barrel, down 22 cents, or 0.3 percent.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) together with a group of non-OPEC producers that includes Russia started withholding oil supplies in 2017 to end a global glut and prop up prices.

Following a sharp increase in crude prices from their sub-$30 per barrel lows in 2016, the group on June 22 will meet in Vienna, Austria, to discuss forward policy.

The other key development for global markets is the escalating trade dispute between the United States and China, in which both sides have threatened stiff tariffs on each other’s’ key export goods.

If implemented, China may react to U.S. tariffs by putting a 25 percent duty on U.S. crude oil imports, which have been surging since 2017, to a business now worth almost $1 billion (£754.2 million) per month.



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Four Afghan security personnel killed as clashes resume after Eid ceasefire

Monitoring Desk

KUNDUZ: At least four security personnel were killed after Taliban gunmen attacked security check posts in Kunduz province on Monday night.

Local Kunduz officials informed Afghan media on Tuesday that the Taliban fighters attacked in Dasht-e-Archi Bazar and during the clash at least seven Taliban fighters were killed and five others were injured.

Officials also confirmed that two ANA soldiers and two local police force members were killed and four others injured in the clash with the militants.

This was the first clash in Kunduz since the end of the Eid ceasefire on Sunday night.


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Qureshi rejects any possibility to form coalition govt with PML-N, PPP

F.P. Report

HYDERABAD: Senior leader of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf’s (PTI), Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said rejected any possibility of forming alliance with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to form a government after the general elections.

This he said while talking to media persons during a press conference in Tharparkar district of Sindh after appearing before the returning officer of NA-221 constituency for scrutiny of his nomination paper.

PTI leader claimed that Sindh will witness change in the Sindh province and the result of upcoming polls will surprise everyone in the province and adding that PTI can form an elections alliance with any political party which is contesting against the PPP in Sindh.

Qureshi accused former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur of weakening party in Sindh.


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Ashiana housing scam: Ahad Cheema sent on judicial remand

F.P. Report

LAHORE: The accountability court hearing Ashiana Housing scheme, the mega corruption case on Tuesday has sent the former director general of Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Ahad Cheema and CEO of Bismillah Engineering Shahid Shafiq to jail on a judicial remand.

Former DG LDA and main accused in the mega corruption case, Ahad Cheema and Shahid Shafiq was presented before the court by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday amid tight security.

NAB officials informed the accountability court that Ahad Cheema was arrested on February 21 after the the anti corruption watchdog found evidence of his involvement corruption of billions rupees in a deal between Paragon Housing Society and Punjab Land Development Company.

NAB told the court that Punjab Land Development Company signed an agreement on January 20, 2015 and 16,000 poor citizens paid Rs61 million for the Ashiana Housing Scheme, however, the project was not close to completion even after three years.

Ahad Cheema was also blamed for awarding a contract of the Ashiana-e-Iqbal housing project of approximately Rs14 billion to Lahore Casa Developers, which was ineligible for the contract and the government had to bear a loss of over Rs64.5 million.

After hearing the arguments of the NAB officials, the court sent Cheema and Shafiq to jail on judicial remands after their 90-day and 87-day physical remands ended. 

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Election 2018: Nomination papers of PML-N top leadership approved by ROs

F.P. Report

LAHORE: The nomination papers of top leadership of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) were approved by returning officers on Tuesday.

According to the details, the concerned returning officers accepted and cleared the the nomination papers submitted by Maryam Nawaz, Hamza Shehbaz and former speaker Ayaz Sadiq and cleared the way for these politicians to contest the upcoming general election on July 25.

The private news channel reported that Hamza Shahbaz will contest elections from NA-124 Lahore seat while his father and President of PML-N Shehbaz Sharif had presented the papers for NA-132 and former speaker Ayaz Sadiq is all set to challenge his rivals for NA-133.

Similarly, the returning officer had also cleared the papers filed by Maryam Nawaz for NA-125; she is also running for NA-125 constituency.

NA-120 was earlier won by Nawaz Sharif and later by his wife Kulsoom Nawaz after he was ousted following the Panama papers case.

Maryam is presently in London along with her father tending to Kulsoom who has been in the UK since August last year after being diagnosed with throat cancer.



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Nawaz Sharif was not a right choice to lead party: Chaudhry Nisar

F.P. Report

RAWALPINDI: Disgruntled leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has said that Nawaz Sharif was not suitable to lead the party in 90s but we accepted him in the better interest of the party.

Nisar said this while addressing to a political gathering at Rawalpindi. Former Interior Minister informed that when the PML-N was established it had only 15 or 20 members and all of them declared Nawaz as party leader because there was no other choice on that time.

Nisar added that he carried the burden of Nawaz Sharif for 34 years and in returns he did not take anything from the former prime minister.

He claimed that the upcoming election which is scheduled to be held on July 25 would be the day of change and people would get rid of the traditional politics of non-eligible politicians.

During his speech, Nisar’s loyalists chanted ‘Go Nawaz Go’ slogans but the politician stopped the participants.

Ch Nisar – once a close aide of both elder and younger Sharif – is contesting the upcoming elections as an independent candidate.

Earlier on Saturday, PML-N leader and former Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique had announced that Nisar had parted ways with the PML-N.