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Pakistan await formal response from India: FO

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson, Dr Muhammad Faisal has said on Thursday that Pakistan awaits a formal response from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a letter written to him by Pakistani premier Imran Khan.

Earlier, PM Imran Khan has written a letter to his Indian counterpart Modi and invited to restart the dialogue process between the two countries. The letter is believed to have been written in response to the Indian premier’s letter congratulating him for assuming office.

According to the Indian newspaper reports, Modi in his letter written on August 20 had called for a “meaningful and constructive” engagement between the two countries.

Dr Muhammad Faisal confirmed that the Pakistani premier responded to Modi in a positive spirit and reciprocated the latter’s sentiments,

According to diplomatic sources, PM Imran in his letter called for a meeting between Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York scheduled later this month.

The premier stressed that the two foreign ministers should initiate the resumption of dialogue and meet on the sidelines of UNGA, diplomatic sources added.




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Finance ministry decides to immediately pay back Rs50 billion in circular debt

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has decided to immediately pay back Rs50 billion in circular debt.

According to reports, the finance ministry decided has taken the decision after independent power producers (IPP) threatened that they will suspend power generation.

The ministry will initiate the phase-wise payment from Monday after the Ashura holidays and the weekend.

Reports added that on Monday, Rs34 billion will be paid to the Ministry of Power and the remaining Rs16 billion will be given at the end of next month, they added.

The Rs50 billion have been taken as loan from eight banks.

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Dollar falls against its major rivals ahead of EU Summit

Monitoring Desk

LONDON: The dollar edged lower against its major rivals on Thursday, hovering around its lowest level in eight weeks as investors set aside trade concerns for now.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies, was down 0.15% at 93.97 by 3:45AM ET (0845GMT), not far from Tuesday’s low of 93.88, which was the weakest since July 26.

Global markets appear to be shrugging off concerns over and escalating trade war between the U.S. and China.

On Monday, the U.S. slapped tariffs of 10% on $200 billion in Chinese goods, before they rise to 25% by the end of 2018, rather than an outright 25%.

China retaliated by putting tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods. However, China will put a 10% tariff on some goods it had previously earmarked for a 20% levy.

The Australian dollar, seen as a proxy for China-related trades as well as a barometer of broader risk sentiment, held near three-week highs of 0.7265.

Meanwhile, in Europe, attention will be focused on an informal summit of European Union leaders in Austria on Thursday.

Brexit and immigration are set to be the main points of discussion. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, under pressure at home and abroad to achieve a workable Brexit deal, has called for “goodwill” and flexibility from her EU counterparts. The future of the Irish/Northern Irish border remains a stumbling block in talks.

The British pound was up 0.25% at 1.3175, within sight of a two-month high of 1.3215 reached in the previous session.

The euro traded at 1.1700, up 0.2% and not far from peaks in August and September around 1.1730.

Elsewhere, the New Zealand dollar jumped to three-week highs after strong domestic GDP data showed the country’s economy grew at the fastest pace in two years in the second quarter.

The kiwi rose as much as 0.6% to a three-week high of 0.6654 and last stood at 0.6650.



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U.S.-China trade war stops 1 million U.S. jobs promise: Jack Ma

BEIJING (Agencies): Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma said the company can no longer meet its promise to create 1 million jobs in the United States due to U.S.-China trade tensions, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

Ma has already warned that the trade war between the world’s two largest economies could last decades and that China should focus exports on the “Silk Road” trade route, citing Africa, Southeast Asia, and Europe.

Ma met U.S. President Donald Trump two years ago and laid out the Chinese e-commerce giant’s plan to bring one million small U.S. businesses onto its platform to sell to Chinese consumers over the next five years.

“This commitment is based on friendly China-U.S. cooperation and the rational and objective premise of bilateral trade,” Ma told Xinhua on Wednesday.

“The current situation has already destroyed the original premise. There is no way to deliver the promise.”

While Ma had not detailed how he would add those jobs, he has said that he wanted to encourage American small businesses to sell on Alibaba marketplace Tmall and Taobao, reasoning that every new business that joined the platform would have to hire a person to manage the extra sales.

Investors seemed unfazed by Ma’s comments, with Alibaba shares closing up 3.8 percent on Wednesday. They have declined 5.7 percent so far this year, including those gains.

Trump on Monday imposed 10 percent tariffs on about $200 billion worth of imports from China and threatened duties on about $267 billion more if China retaliated.

China responded a day later with tariffs on about $60 billion worth of U.S. goods as planned, but reduced the level of tariffs it will collect on the products.

Ma’s latest comments come on top of others he recently made about the escalating trade skirmish and show his support for Beijing’s stance on how additional tariffs will affect businesses and the country’s cornerstone One Belt One Road foreign policy initiative.

“The US like competition, China likes harmony, they’re two different cultures,” Ma said at an investor conference in Shanghai on Tuesday.

Ma, expected to step down as Alibaba chairman in a year, predicted on Tuesday that trade frictions would lead to “a mess” for all parties involved.

He added US tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese products could prompt the country to export elsewhere.

“We should work more in Africa, SEA (South East Asia), Europe,” he said.

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Hackers steal $60 million from Japanese Crypto exchange

Monitoring Desk

TOKYO: A Japanese digital currency exchange has been hacked, and $60 million worth of cryptocurrencies have been stolen.

Tech Bureau Corp. said Thursday a server for its Zaif exchange was hacked for two hours last week, and some digital currencies got unlawfully relayed from what’s called a “hot wallet,” or where virtual coins are stored at such exchanges.

It added that the virtual currencies stolen were bitcoin, monacoin, and bitcoin cash.

“We decline to comment on the details of how this illegal access occurred, as it is a crime and we’ve already asked the authorities to investigate,” Tech Bureau said in a statement.

“We will prepare measures so that customers’ assets will not be affected” by the hack, it said, adding it would receive financial support from major shareholder Fisco Group.

Tech Bureau said about $40 million worth of the stolen currency was its own, and about $20 million belonged to customers.

Japan has been bullish on virtual money and has set up a system requiring exchanges to be licensed to help protect consumers. The system is also meant to make Japan a global leader in the technology.

Bitcoin has been a legal form of payment in Japan since April 2017, and a handful of major retailers here already accept bitcoin payments.

But the recurrence of cryptocurrency heists shows problems persist.

The incident follows the high-profile theft of $530 million earlier this year at Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck Inc in one of the world’s biggest cyberheists that forced regulators to order stepped-up risk management protocols.

Coincheck has since been taken over by Japanese online brokerage Monex Group Inc.

Also, Bithumb, ranked by as the world’s seventh-largest crypto exchange by traded value, in June this year was hacked also.


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PM Imran writes to Modi, seeks resumption of peace dialogue

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked the Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to restart the dialogue process between the neighboring countries on all issues.

According to the Foreign Office (FO) Prime Minister Imran had written a letter to Indian PM Modi in a positive spirit.

FO Spokesperson Muhammad Faisal shared information on his twitter: “PM has responded to PM Modi, in a positive spirit, reciprocating his sentiments. Let’s talk and resolve all issues. We await formal response from India.”

According to media reports, PM Imran in his letter called for a meeting between Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York scheduled later this month.

The premier stressed that the two foreign ministers should initiate the resumption of dialogue and meet on the sidelines of UNGA, diplomatic sources added.

The Indian newspaper Times of India, PM Imran’s letter is believed to have been written in response to the Indian premier’s letter congratulating him for assuming office. Modi in his letter written on August 20 had called for a “meaningful and constructive” engagement between the two countries.

Further, the sources said that PM Imran in his letter acknowledged that the relations between both the countries face several challenges but that Pakistan is ready for talks on all issues, including terrorism.

India and Pakistan should look to resolve all major outstanding issues, including Kashmir, Sir Creek and Siachen, through dialogue, the prime minister wrote in his letter according to sources.

PM Imran also stressed that the two neighbours will have to take measures for the peace and betterment of their nations as well as the future generations.

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9th Muharram being observed across Pakistan today

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: In order to pay respect to the sacrifices of Hazrat Imam Hussain and his companions in Karbala, the 9th of Muharram is being observed throughout the country today (Thursday) with due solemnity and sanctity.

According to details, Religious scholars and Zakireen will shed light on the bright and candid teachings of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and his great companions.

Strict security arrangements have been made to avoid any untoward incident during Muharram processions.

Special traffic plan for the processions of 9th of Muharram-ul-Haram have also been chalked out in different cities across the country.


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Mobile Phone service partially suspended in several cities

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Cellular phone service has been partially suspended in different cities across the country, including Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar, on Thursday with the aim to make sure peace during the Muharram processions.

According to details, strict security measures have been taken for the processions and contingents of law enforcement have been deployed near Imambargahs across the country.

Further, the Pak-Afghan border at Chaman and Pak-Iran border at Taftan have been closed for two days.

Residents of Karachi also experienced partial suspension of mobile phone service in the areas where mourning processions were passing through on Thursday.

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CTD arrests five alleged terrorists in Karachi

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Five alleged terrorists were arrested in two separate operations conducted by Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) on Wednesday night in Karachi.

According to CTD spokesperson, CTD force conducted operation in Orangi Town area and arrested three terrorists belonging to banned outfits Daesh and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

He claimed that the arrested terrorists were involved in collecting funds for the banned organization and providing medical facilities to injured terrorists. They were also involved in attack on an Army convoy in 2016.

Similarly, CTD personnel also conducted an operation in Korangi area and arrested two terrorists. The arrested terrorists were experts in making bomb and were also involved in explosions on railway tracks in Ghotki.

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Fatima Sana Shaikh looks fierce ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ poster

Monitoring Desk

MUMBAI: Thugs of Hindostan is without a doubt one of the biggest films ever made in the history of Indian cinema. The amount of money and hardwork that is going into the making of the film seems unparalleled.

Starring Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Katrina Kaif and Fatima Sana Shaikh, the action adventure is set to release on November 8, 2018. After releasing the motion poster of Amitabh Bachchan, the makers have released Fatima Sana Shaikh’s look from the film in yet another poster.

Fatima’s character is called Zafira, her character is fiery and fierce as she is seen aiming an arrow in the middle of a war like situation with a fort burning down around her in the latest motion poster. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out right here.

Produced by Yash Raj Films and directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya, the film has already created a big buzz among the audience.