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Kriti Sanon likely to star opposite Akshay Kumar in Housefull 4

Monitoring Desk

MUMBAI: Bollywood actress Kriti Sanon will likely to star opposite Akshay Kumar in Houseful 4. The Khilari of Bollywood has been a constant in the Housefull franchise, directed by Sajid Khan and produced by Sajid Nadiadwala.

The heroines in the Houseful series though keep changing and the India media reported that young actress Kriti Sanon is now will be seen romancing in the fourth film of the series.

Housefull 4 will reportedly feature Akshay and Bobby Deol. Latest reports suggest that after her debut film, Baaghi, under Sajid Nadiadwala’s production house, Kriti Sanon will be seen coming on board for this film as well.

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Shoojit Sircar to make a film with Deepika Padukone

Monitoring Desk

MUMBAI: Director Shoojit Sircar revealed that soon the he will work again with Piku actress Deepika Padukone. Both Shoojit Sircar and Deepika Padukone share a great bond after working together in the superhit film’ Piku’.

During an interview, Shoojit said that Deepika is my sweetheart, as is Irrfan (Khan) and adding that Deepika has certain expectations from me and I am working on something with her in mind.

Deepika had worked with Shoojit in Piku, alongside Irrfan Khan and Amitabh Bachchan. The film won her much appreciation and even the Filmfare Award for Best Actor (Female).


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Irrfan Khan diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Tumour

Monitoring Desk

MUMBAI: Versatile actor, Irrfan Khan revealed that he has been diagnosed with NeuroEndocrine Tumour (NET) and the news of Irrfan disease shocked the nation and his fans world across.

Irrfan Khan shared the news on his twitter handle and in his note, he mentioned that although it has been difficult, the love and support of those around him had brought him strength.

He wrote that “Life is under no obligation to give us what we expect”, Margaret Mitchell.

He added that to those who waited for my words, I hope to be back with more stories to tell.

Earlier Irrfan had announced about his rare disease and had requested all not to speculate much about his health.


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Janjua says Taliban have no pretexts for war

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Terming the recent efforts for Afghan peace as an exemplary opportunity, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Nasir Khan Janjua said on Saturday that the Taliban had no more pretexts for war.

Janjua said this in a meeting with Chief Executive Officer Dr Abdullah Abdullah at his office.

According to a press release issued by the chief executive’s office, both the leaders discussed various key issues, including steps to patch up ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan, peace process owned and led by Afghans and the rocket attacks of Pakistan from the other side of the Durand Line into eastern provinces of Afghanistan.

Terming peace as a basic demand and need of the Afghan people, Dr Abdullah said that the government had provided an opportunity to the armed opponents for peace.

The terrorist groups have their personal agendas, he said. He hoped that countries would not form and utilize terrorist groups for their interests.

He said the government of Pakistan should take prompt steps to utilize the fresh opportunity for patching up its ties with Afghanistan.

On the occasion, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Nasir Khan Janjua said they hoped success for the Afghan peace process. He added that the government of Pakistan supported the recent efforts of the Afghan government for the restoration of peace.

He said they were keen for the formation of joint technical teams between Afghanistan and Pakistan, adding that it would help eliminate hurdles in the relations of both the countries.

Terming the recent opportunity for Afghan peace as exemplary, he said the Taliban had no more pretexts for the continuation of war.

Both the leaders also discussed a joint decree of Afghan and Pakistani clerics to term the ongoing war in Afghanistan as illegitimate.

Earlier, Nasir Khan Janjua met Afghan National Security Advisor Muhammad Hanif Atmar and President Muhammad Ashraf Ghani.


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Erdogan: Turkish troops to enter Afrin at any moment

Baris Gundogan

MARDIN: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey-backed troops had surrounded Afrin city center in northwestern Syria and were ready to enter at any moment.

“We are about to enter Afrin, and we may announce the good news at any time,” said Erdogan at his Justice and Development (AK) Party’s 6th Annual Congress in southeastern province of Mardin.

He added that a total of 3,569 terrorists have been “neutralized” in Afrin since the start of Operation Olive Branch.

Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.

Since the launch of the operation, the Turkish military and FSA have liberated 268 locations, including five town centers, 224 villages, 44 strategic mountains and hills, and one YPG/PKK base.

The forces reached Afrin city’s border last week and encircled it.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria’s territorial integrity, it said. The military also said only terror targets were being destroyed and “utmost care” was being taken to not harm civilians. (AA)


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Palestine slams Israeli for embassy move

Jad al-Nabhan

RAMALLAH: The Palestinian government has denounced Israeli calls for world countries to relocate their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In a statement on Saturday, the government said Israel was engaged in talks to persuade world countries to move their diplomatic missions to Jerusalem.

These Israeli attempts are “in violation of international law”, the government said, going on to call on world countries to respect UN resolutions on the holy city.

On Dec. 6, U.S. President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, triggering world outcry and protests across the Palestinian territories.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Middle East conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem — occupied by Israel since 1967 — might eventually serve as the capital of a Palestinian state. (AA)

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Trump, Moon discuss engagement with North

Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Friday discussed his pending meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

“The two leaders expressed cautious optimism over recent developments and emphasized that a brighter future is available for North Korea if it chooses the correct path,” the White House said in a readout of the U.S.-South Korean call.

Trump and Moon “agreed that concrete actions, not words, will be the key to achieving permanent denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and President Trump reiterated his intention to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by the end of May”.

The meeting, if it materializes, will be the first sit-down between a North Korean leader and a serving U.S. president.

The meeting is planned for some time by May, but no time or place has yet been agreed. Trump and Kim have a year-long history of acrimonious rhetoric, with Trump notably threatening the North Korean leader, whom he has called “little rocket man”, with “fire and fury” and Kim retorting “a frightened dog barks louder” after Trump addressed the UN. (AA)

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‘Russia’s UK diplomat expulsion ‘doesn’t change facts of matter’’

Monitoring Desk

LONDON: Relations between Lon-don and Moscow have crashed to a post-Cold War low after an attack on an ex-Russian spy, the first known offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since World War Two.

Russia’s expulsion of 23 British diplomats “doesn’t change the facts of the matter” of the poisoning of a former double agent in an English city, Prime Minister Theresa May said Saturday.

Russia was “in flagrant breach of international law,” she told her Conservative Party’s spring forum, adding that Britain “will consider our next steps in the coming days”.

“Russia’s response doesn’t change the facts of the matter – the attempted assassination of two people on British soil, for which there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable,” she said. May blames Russia for the nerve agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury on March 4, which has left them both fighting for their lives.

She warned that Britain “will never tolerate a threat to the life of British citizens and others on British soil from the Russian government.”

But she said Britain had “no disagreement with the Russian people”. Russia expelled the British diplomats in a retaliatory move over British accusations that the Kremlin orchestrated a nerve toxin attack on a former Russian double agent and his daughter in southern England. Earlier this week, Britain announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats and suspension of high-level contacts over the poisoning. Relations between London and Moscow have crashed to a post-Cold War low over the attack, the first known offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since World War Two.


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Xi in power indefinitely with trusted lieutenant as VP

Monitoring Desk

BEIJING: China’s parliament unanimously handed President Xi Jinping a second term Saturday and elevated his right-hand man to the vice presidency, giving him a strong ally to consolidate power and handle US trade threats.

China’s parliament chose former top graft-buster Wang Qishan, a key ally of President Xi Jinping, as vice president on Saturday, a widely expected move that nonetheless breaks with convention and underlines Xi’s dominant authority.

Xi was also re-elected president by parliament, with no votes cast against him. The body is packed with party loyalists and there was no chance he would not win the vote.

Wang bowed twice and then walked over to Xi to shake his hand after the vote was announced inside Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. Only one person voted against Wang out of the 2,970 votes cast.

Xi and Wang spoke only to pledge allegiance to the constitution, with Wang giving the podium an emphatic tap after he finished.

Known as “the firefighter” for his central role in tackling issues like corruption and domestic financial problems over the years, Wang also has experience dealing with the United States in his former role as a vice premier who led annual economic talks with Washington.

Xi’s real power stems from his title as general secretary of the Communist Party, but analysts say Wang could provide extra heft to his presidency, even though the vice president has largely been a ceremonial post in the past.

Xi is keeping Wang by his side because of his “talent and ability,” according to Hua Po, an independent Chinese political commentator.

“Choosing Wang as vice president is certainly to consolidate his power,” Hua told AFP. “Xi is already a very powerful man. The problem is that he has too few people who are loyal and competent for his use, so he has to retain Wang and give himself more time to cultivate more talented people.”

Wang replaces Li Yuanchao, a relatively low-profile politician who has represented Xi on trips abroad.


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CJP donates his organs to SIUT

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar paid a visit to SIUT on Saturday where he announced that he had decided to donate his organs to the institute. SIUT founder Dr Adeeb Rizvi spoke on the occasion of the chief justice’s visit and said that the business of selling kidneys illegally had grown at an alarming rate.

“The apex court took notice of the matter and put an end to it,” he said. Before the chief justice’s visit, Dr Adeeb Rizvi had arrived at the Supreme Court Karachi Registry for a hearing pertaining to the illegal sale of kidneys. “We troubled you to appear before us so that you could help the court regarding this matter,” said the chief justice. Dr Adeeb Rizvi informed the bench that India had been a huge market in the past for selling organs. However, after a law was passed the situation has been controlled to a large extent.