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Turkmenistan Foreign Minister reaches Islamabad

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan, Rashid Meredov arrives in Islamabad on Monday for a two-day official visit to hold talks with Pakistani leadership to discuss bilateral and regional issues.

Rashid Meredov is arrived in Islamabad at the invitation of Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif.

Both the foreign ministers will lead high-level delegations at the inaugural session of Pakistan-Turkmenistan Bilateral Political Consultations.

Foreign Office issued a statement in this regard, it was said that the visit by the Turkmen Foreign Minister will strengthen the relation between the two countries and its part of Pakistan endeavors to deepen its engagement with the Central Asian country and build a strong bond of economic partnership.


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Four soldiers martyred in unprovoked Indian firing along LoC: ISPR

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) has said that four Pakistan Army soldiers were martyred on Monday after Indian forces opened fire at the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir.

ISPR added that the Indian forces started unprovoked firing in Jandrot and Kotil sector when the Pakistani troops were working on communication lines.

In retaliation firing of Pakistani forces at least three Indian army personnel were killed, ISPR added.

Earlier, on Dec 25, three Pakistan Army personnel were martyred in India firing in Rakhchikri sector of the Line of Control.

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Some forces trying to disrupt senate elections:  Ahsan Iqbal

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Federal Interior Minister, Ahsan Iqbal has said that some forces were trying to disrupt senate elections by creating political crisis in Balochistan province.

This he said while talking to media regarding the political situation in the Balochistan. He added that some elements were making efforts to avert the upcoming Senate election which is scheduled to be held in March.

While criticizing the newly elected CM of Balochistan Bizenjo, he said that no one can give example in the world that a party who is holding only five seats can become chief minister of any province.

Ahsan added that the game being playing in Balochistan will yield serious consequences and adding that dissolving any assembly would not be in interest of the country. He added that elections should be held on time, but no one is certain about timely conduct of the elections



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Indian occupied forces martyr six Kashmiris in Baramulla

F.P. Report

SRINAGAR: Indian occupied forces martyred six Kashmiris in Baramulla district of occupied Kashmir on Monday.

The Kashmir media service reported that the youth were killed in a joint operation launched by the Indian army and the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) at Dulanja in Uri area of the district.

Indian forces claimed that the six martyred Kashmiris were militants of Jaish-e-Mohammad who were attempting to cross the Line of Control into Indian Kashmir.

Earlier on December 11, three people, including a woman, were martyred by the Indian troops in Handwara area of Kupwara district.

A woman, identified as Misra Bano, was also martyred in firing by the troops in the area.

Meanwhile, Indian police arrested a freelance French journalist occupied Kashmir after he was found filming for a documentary.


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Production of POL products up by 15.67% in 4 months

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The production of petroleum products witnessed 15.67 percent increase during the first four months (July-October) of the current fiscal year as compared to the corresponding period of the last fiscal year.

According to latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the petroleum products that contributed in positive growth included motor spirits, output of which grew by15.06 percent during the period under review.

The production of High Speed Diesel grew by 16.23 percent, Diesel oil by 47.08 percent while the output of Furnace oil witnessed growth 18.9 percent.

Similarly, the production of Jute batching oil increased by 34.41 percent, Solvent Naptha by 24.18 percent while the production of LPG increased by 38.93 percent.

The petroleum products that witnessed negative growth in production included jet fuel, output of which decreased by4.05 percent while the production of lubricating oil declined by 10.45 percent.

Meanwhile, on year-on-year basis, the production of petroleum products increased by21.64 percent during the month of October 2017 against the production of same month of last year.

The products that witnessed positive growth included motor spirits (11.61 percent), High Speed Diesel (28.03 percent), furnace oil (25.25 percent), Jute batching oil (1.54 percent), Solvant Naptha (47.25 percent), while the production of LPG increased by 47.53 percent.

On the other hand, the production of Jet fuel oil during the month decreased by7.60 percent, Kerosene oil by 15.12 percent while the production of lubricating oil decreased by 2.14 percent.

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WCCI founder hopes new CM to bring prosperity

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Founder President of the Quetta Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Former Vice President FPCCI, Fehmida Jamali has extended felicitations to Abdul Quddus Bizenjo on his election as new Chief Minister of Balochistan who was voted as 16th Chief Executive of country’s area-wise largest province.

She hoped the new chief Ministers will start close core donations with the Provincial Chambers of Commerce for the economic proposectus of the province in its short and challenging tenure. Fehmida Jamali said the investment scenario in Balochistan is now bright because of foreign investors’ interest in economic development of abundant resources in mineral, fisheries, agriculture & livestock sectors, and the province could develop into a major trading and business hub, as the potential of Balochistan is now widely understood in the wake of CPEC.

“Active and aggressive private sector development is one opportunity of enormous importance to Balochistan in particular for accomplishment of economic development in the province”

She highlighted that the Balochistan government must find new and dependable sources of income to reduce its dependence on the federal government for its financial needs, the financial problems in Balochistan should be an eye opener for the political leadership & economic planners of the province, and it is high time that they should draw a comprehensive economic and Governance strategy that would facilitate tackling of the economic challenges requiring the urgent attention of the leadership, and also consider seriously preparing a strong economic foundation to get rid of total dependence on the federal divisible pool.

Similarly the Balochistan government should widen its revenue base by encouraging direct foreign investments in the province and seeking the International Economic Aid Agencies and Multilateral Institution’s support in the socio-economic development of the province with the cooperation of the federal government, therefore, current political leadership in Balochistan should strongly support foreign direct investment, and importantly, also ensure that the message is reflected in bureaucratic policies and procedures; she suggested.

WCCI Founder President further revealed that the province has countless prospects of economic growth under the sphere of CPEC, while the strategic importance of Gwadar Port is to open new vistas for economic development of the province of Balochistan, as it would help province of Balochistan become a strategic business hub of the region, and it gives new impetus to Pakistan-China relations.

In this regard the government has to create a more conducive environment in the Gwadar City for development, so that investors can look beyond real-estate business, and the Chinese investments have given confidence to the local tribes and now local and International investors are considering their direct participation in the economic development of the province. As we must understand the prosperity of Pakistan is linked with the economic development and prosperity of Balochistan; she added.

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‘AGP to audit every penny of national exchequer’

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP), Javed Jahangir has reiterated AGP’s mandate to conduct audit of accounts of all the public sector organizations and institutions running on public money.”Wherever public money is involved and even if a single penny of public exchequer is utilized, we will conduct audit there” he asserted while speaking at International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) Certificate Distribution Ceremony here.

The event was jointly organized by USAID, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan (IMCAP).

Javed Jahangir said that the AGP was entrusted with enhanced audit coverage and responsibility after 18th Amendment, hence creating a challenging environment for this supreme audit organization.

He said that due to greater public awareness at national level, the expectation of the stakeholders in context of accountability had also increased; hence general public and legislature were expecting more from the Department of Auditor General of Pakistan (DAGP).

He said that in line with its Strategic Plan 2015-19, the AGP was pursuing a reform agenda, concentrating on the institutional capacity-building of the department.

He said that Pakistan had adopted the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAIs) to conduct audit in line with international practices.

The AGP said that the department also had comprehensive plan to automate its entire audit process through Audit Information Management System (AIMS), which would go long way to augment efficiency of the department and strengthen its supervision and monitoring, resultantly provide quality audit products.

He said that the DAGP had rich and diverse professional human resources, which is necessary to execute its mandate efficiently. He said that the department had qualified professionals for almost all areas of auditing operations, hence enabling it to discharge its mandate with great flexibility.

He congratulated all the course participants for completing the IPSAS certification course, lauding the efforts of USAID and Training of Pakistan (TFP) in arranging this course for capacity building.

He urged them to bring into practice the knowledge they have gained from the course for enhancing the performance of different audit operations.

It is pertinent to mention that about 200 officials from AGP were trained under this programme so far and the programme intends to train upto 500 officials by the end of 2018.

Meanwhile, speaking on the occasion, the representatives from USAID, ACCA and ICMA highlighted the importance of transparent and reliable audit practices for the development of any country. Later, certificates were distributed among the participants of the course.

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After emissions scandal, Volkswagen on US comeback trail with all-new Jetta

DETROIT (Reuters): Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) will launch an all-new Jetta compact car, its biggest seller in America, at the Detroit Auto Show on Sunday as the German carmaker looks to revive sales in the world’s second-largest auto market and move on from the emissions scandal that has tarnished its reputation over the past few years.

The world’s largest automaker is still grappling with investigations and lawsuits around the world related to revelations that it cheated government emissions tests for diesel-powered vehicles and has already paid $30 billion in fines and costs for the fraud.

But there are signs the company is repairing the damage with consumers. Volkswagen brand sales worldwide rose to a record of more than 6 million cars in 2017, two company sources told Reuters ahead of publication of the data on Sunday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

“Some of our critics thought the diesel crisis would block our view. Instead we have, undeterred by the crisis or rather fired by it, developed our digitization and electrification strategy,” Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, a member of VW’s executive board, told reporters on Dec. 11.

In the United States, VW brand sales rose 5.2 percent in 2017, even as US consumers turned away from smaller cars that are still the brand’s mainstay.

“We’re back,” Hinrich Woebcken, the new head of the Volkswagen brand in North America, told reporters on the sidelines of the Los Angeles auto show in November.

Spurred by a perception that the authoritarian culture at VW had been a factor in the cheating, top management has also loosened the reins on the VW empire and decentralized power from its Wolfsburg, Germany headquarters.

For example, German native Woebcken said US managers concluded that the original name for an SUV the company planned to launch in America would not work.

The original name “started with a T, and then it broke your tongue,” Woebcken said. US Volkswagen executives proposed a simpler name for the US market – Atlas. Wolfsburg management went along. The Atlas, launched from VW’s Tennessee factory last year, accounted for nearly 8 percent of VW brand sales in the US last year.

“It’s unusual to give a regional name to a product,” Woebcken said. “In terms of VW, it is a pretty big thing.”

VW Group CEO Matthias Mueller will stay away from the Detroit auto show next week to let the carmaker’s US leaders present the redesigned Jetta, which represented a third of the brand’s 340,000 US sales in 2017.

With a lowered roofline and a new 8-speed automatic transmission, the model is tailored to US design and fuel-economy needs and drew more input from North American engineers than its predecessor, the sources said ahead of the Sunday launch.

VW’s historical underperformance in the United States was a problem for the company long before “dieselgate” and the failure by top managers to tap the SUV boom and other market trends in 2014 caused labor boss Bernd Osterloh to denounce VW’s US business as a “catastrophe.”

VW now hopes to reshape its image, in part by persuading environmentally conscious, younger consumers and regulators in its major markets that it is serious about electric vehicles (EVs). VW has raised its planned spending on EVs, self-driving technology and digital mobility businesses across the group to 34 billion euros ($41 billion) through 2022.

Volkswagen is now betting that a new modular platform dubbed MEB, designed to underpin more than 20 purely battery-powered brand models, will allow it to turn profits on EVs when they launch from 2019, in part because they share parts with other cars built from MEB.

Woebcken said VW is working now on a decision about where to build future EVs for the United States, including a new VW Microbus promised for 2022.

VW has been teasing US consumers with Microbus concepts for years, trying to rekindle the warm feelings for the vehicle synonymous with the free-wheeling 1960s.

“We did not have a clue how to get it industrialized,” Woebcken said. “Now, we have, with the MEB platform. It’s decided. It’s industrialized. It will come.”

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Ford unveils future Ranger pickup

NEW YORK (Reuters): Ford Motor Co (F.N) on Sunday will officially take the wraps off its long-awaited Ranger midsize pickup truck, a year ahead of its arrival in showrooms, as rivals consolidate positions in a segment Detroit automakers once gave up for dead.

Ford executives did not disclose prices or fuel efficiency ratings for the new Ranger during a briefing for the media ahead of the official unveiling at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

More than two years ago Ford telegraphed its decision to re-launch the Ranger midsize truck in North America after killing the model in 2011. At the time, Ford executives said they could satisfy pickup truck demand – and make more money – by widening the price range and engine options of its larger F-150 pickup model line. Detroit rivals General Motors Co(GM.N) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV(FCHA.MI) abandoned the segment around the same time.

However, in late 2014, GM launched new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Sierra pickups, and Japanese automakers Toyota Motor Corp(7203.T) and Nissan Motor Co(7201.T) reinvigorated their midsize pickup trucks, aiming at customers who wanted to haul bikes, surfboards and other bulky recreational gear, not sheets of plywood.

As gasoline prices stabilized, more customers turned to the new, smaller pickups. GM in 2017 sold more than 145,000 Colorado and Canyon trucks.

Toyota, the segment leader, sold more than 198,000 Tacoma trucks in 2017, up 3.4 percent from a year earlier and 27 percent ahead of 2014, according to figures compiled by Autodata.

Sales in the US compact pickup segment as a whole grew in 2017 to more than 417,000 vehicles, up more than 70 percent from 2014, according to Autodata.

“We see more of an opportunity that didn’t exist five years ago,” Ford truck marketing manager Todd Eckert said.

Ford executives said the North American Ranger will share engineering and some design elements with a work-oriented pickup the company builds and sells in Southeast Asia and other markets. The exterior and interior styling of the North American Ranger will be aimed at a more affluent, recreational use buyer.

The new Ranger will start arriving in North American dealerships in early 2019 and be assembled at its Wayne, Michigan, factory in suburban Detroit. Ford’s decision to invest $850 million in the Wayne plant to build the Ranger and a new Bronco SUV won praise last year from US President Donald Trump.

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17 Daesh insurgents killed in Nangarhar

Monitoring Desk

JALALABAD: At least 17 Daesh or so called Islamic State (IS) insurgents have been killed during operations in two districts of eastern Nangarhar province, officials said Sunday.

A statement from the governor’s house received by afghan mediaoutlet, said a foreign forces airstrike targeted Daesh militants in Angor Kala area of Haska Mina district.

The source said 14 Daesh rebels were killed in the incident. Three more rebels of the group were killed in a similar incident in Pekha area of Achin district.

A number of light and heavy weapons belonged to Daesh also destroyed during the operation, the governor’s house said.

Daesh did not comment yet on the incidents.

According to another report, Nangarhar special police forced discovered a depot of landmines and ammunition in Achin district.

Police spokesman, Col. Hazrat Hussain Mashraqiwal, told Pajhwok 15 anti vehicle mines, 13 mortar bullets, six rockets and some ammunition were discovered from the depot.

No one has been detained in connection to these weapons, he said.