Recovered plane debris may be from missing MH370

A piece of debris found along the eastern African coast between Mozambique and Madagascar may be from the tail section of the Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared two years ago.

Malaysian and Australian investigators who have looked at photos of the possible debris said the piece could be a horizontal stabiliser from a Boeing 777, the same type of plane as the flight MH370 aircraft that was en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur when authorities lost track of it in March 2014.

The report could not be confirmed and Mozambican authorities have no information on the sighting of such an object off the coast of Inhambane province, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Inacio Dina.

The US National Transportation Safety Board declined to comment and referred questions to the Malaysian authorities who oversaw the investigation. Boeing also declined to comment, referring all questions to investigating authorities.

It was reported that the debris was found on a sandbank in the Mozambique Channel by an American man who has been tracking the investigation into the missing flight.

Engineers who have looked at the debris have said there is a good chance it belonged to MH370, reports said, citing sources close to the investigation.

Sources said the piece looks like it belongs to a Boeing 777 and that Boeing engineers were examining the photos.

Australian authorities said they were arranging for an investigation of the piece, which could have drifted to the sandbar. Authorities there have said they are stepping up their search for the missing plane, which had been carrying 239 passengers.

The report comes after authorities said last year that they had found a piece of the plane’s wing on the shore of Reunion island in the Indian Ocean on the other side of Madagascar.

Authorities have said other reported debris was not wreckage from flight MH370.

Salman Khan calls himself SRK’s fan

Hindi film superstar Salman Khan says he is a fan of his friend and contemporary Shah Rukh Khan.

The 50-year-old actor made the revelation on Twitter by sharing the trailer of SRK’s much-awaited film Fan.

“@beingsalmankhan being a fan of @iamsrk,” Salman wrote.

This is not the first time the Bajrangi Bhaijaan star has promoted Shah Rukh’s film. Before the release of Diwale, Salman posted a series of promotional tweets and Dubsmash videos.

Returning the favour, the Chennai Express actor also made videos on Prem Ratan Dhan Payo title track.

Directed by Maneesh Sharma and produced by Yash Raj Films, Fan features Shah Rukh in double role, one as a superstar and the other his young lookalike admirer, Gaurav.

The movie is due to hit theaters on April 15.

7.8-magnitude quake strikes Indonesia

JAKARTA: A powerful and shallow earthquake struck Wednesday (Mar 2) off Indonesia’s Sumatra island, sending panicked residents rushing from their homes in a region hit hard by quakes and tsunamis in the past.

There has been no information on any deaths from the earthquake, an official with the country’s search and rescue agency told Reuters.

“Up until now, there is no information about deaths,” said Heronimus Guru, the agency’s deputy head of operations. Guru had earlier told Reuters the earthquake had killed some people, but that he did not know how many.

The epicentre was 808 km (502 miles) southwest of Padang, USGS said. It was 24km deep. USGS originally put the magnitude at 8.2, and then 8.1, before lowering it to 7.9 then 7.8.

However the USGS said there was a “low likelihood of casualties and damage,” and added that there was “likely to be no affected structures in this region”.

TSUNAMI WARNING

By 9.15pm, Indonesia’s met agency had issued a tsunami warning and about an hour later, local media reported that it was lifted.

However the head of Indonesia’s met agency Andi Eka Sakya told media at 10.30pm that the alert was not officially lifted, although the possibility of a tsunami at that point was slim.

“The earthquake was felt in a big part of West Sumatra cities and Mentawai,” said West Sumatra governor Irwan Prayitno to Kompas TV.

“We continue to remind residents to be careful and be on standby, but at this point, the possibility of a tsunami is smaller as compared to much earlier, about an hour ago when the quake first occurred.”

Almost 1,000 Mentawai residents were at a tsunami evacuation shelter as of 9.30pm Singapore time.

“So far there have been no reports (of damage) yet,” Andi Eka Sakya, an official of the National Meteorological Agency, told TVOne. “In Bengkulu (on southwest coast of Sumatra) they didn’t feel it at all.”

The quake was felt strongly in Padang in West Sumatra for a few seconds, a AFP journalist in the city said. People ran out of their homes to higher ground. Traffic ground to a halt and there was a sense of panic on the streets, the journalist added.

President Joko Widodo was staying overnight at a hotel in Medan in North Sumatra and was safe, palace officials said. A Medan resident said he didn’t feel the quake.

TREMORS FELT IN SINGAPORE, MALAYSIA

Residents in Singapore reported feeling tremors in areas including Bishan, East Coast, Sengkang and Ang Mo Kio. However, Singapore is unlikely to be affected by the earthquake, said the National Environment Agency.

A Katong resident, who only wanted to be identified as Ms Amanda, said she felt tremors from her 12th-floor apartment shortly after the quake struck, at 9.05pm.

“I was lying down reading a book when suddenly I felt like the ground was moving side to side. I thought I was feeling tired, but my mum saw our lamps outside shaking, so we decided to evacuate,” she told Channel NewsAsia.

Amanda said there were about 15 residents gathered downstairs of her condominium. Her family of six stayed at the ground floor for about half an hour.

“We live quite high up, and we have two dining lamps which won’t shake if it’s just (strong) wind. It’s happened before during an earthquake as well,” said Ms Amanda of her family’s decision to self-evacuate from their apartment.

They eventually returned to their home at 9.30pm. “We just wanted to be safe first. We headed downstairs and saw other people, so that confirmed it,” she said.

THAILAND, AUSTRALIA CANCEL TSUNAMI WARNINGS

Malaysian authorities have issued a statement saying that there was “no tsunami threat”, despite tremors being felt in some areas in Selangor and Johor.

Thailand’s National Disaster Warning Centre had urged the public to be prepared for potential tsunamis, with the quake hitting 1,436km off the Thai resort island of Phuket, but cancelled it later.

Australia also issued a tsunami warning for Western Australia and Christmas and Cocos Islands, but lifted the advisory for its Western coast.

Indonesia, especially Aceh, was badly hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. The country straddles the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”, a highly seismically active zone, where different plates on the earth’s crust meet and create a large number of earthquakes and volcanoes.

Uzbek nanny in Russia says child beheading ‘ordered by Allah’

A nanny in Russia accused of murdering and then decapitating a little girl in her care has said that “Allah ordered” her to carry out the act.

Gulchekhra Bobokulova, a 38-year-old mother of three, spoke to reporters on her way into a Moscow court.

Bobokulova, a Muslim and a citizen of Uzbekistan, also replied “yes” when asked if she accepted her guilt.

CCTV appeared to show her, dressed in a hijab, walking near a metro station with a head in her hands.

Russian media reported that she pulled the head out of a bag and began screaming that she would blow herself up after a police officer asked to see her identity documents.

Russian TV silence over crime

Amateur video posted online showed a black-clad woman shouting “I am a terrorist. I am your death”.

Investigators told the Presnensky district court they had not found anyone else involved in the case.

But prosecutors also said they believed that Bobokulova had been “incited” to commit the crime.

Russian officials have said Bobokulova was suffering from mental health problems.

Investigators believe she waited for the four-year-old girl’s parents to leave the home before killing her, setting the apartment on fire and fleeing, the Moscow Times reported.

Moscow residents have left flowers and children’s toys outside the Oktyabrskoye Polye metro station, where Bobokulova was arrested, and outside the murdered child’s home.

Uzbekistan, which like other Central Asian states has a Muslim majority, has long supplied migrant labour for the Russian capital.

Pakistan, Bangladesh in must-win clash

DHAKA: Having registered resounding back-to-back victories, hosts Bangladesh are expected to put up a tough fight against Pakistan despite the absence of their main strike bowler Mustafizur Rahaman in their Asia Cup Twenty20 encounter, here on Wednesday.

It will be a must-win game for both teams aiming to make it to the finals of the continental championship ahead of the ICC World Twenty20.

Especially for Bangladesh, who despite their recent exploits in the ODI circuit, are still not taken very seriously in the shortest format.

For Mashrafe Mortaza and his men, it will be an opportunity to prove their critics wrong and also gain the much needed confidence required before boarding the flight to India for the global event.

The injury to Mustafizur is something that will be a cause of concern for the home team. Mustafizur’s variations would have no doubt troubled the Pakistan batting line-up, which has looked shaky despite their seven wicket win against United Arab Emirates the other day.

The presence of the left-arm seamer during the death overs would have increased pressure on the Pakistanis, who have not been at their best in the two matches they played so far.

But the good news for Bangladesh is the return of senior opener Tamim Iqbal, who is back after the birth of his first child.

Tamim would like to give the home team a cracking start something they have lacked in all three matches so far.

“Tamim’s absence is always a setback for us, he is Bangladesh’s best batsman in all formats,” said Mortaza on the eve of the match.

“He is experienced, he has been playing for a long time. But Mustafiz’s absence is a big blow. We all know what he has done for this team. It’s really unfortunate for us. We would have liked both of them.”

On the other hand, Pakistan’s batting has been woeful in the first game against India, where they were shot out for a meagre 83 while UAE also gave them a scare blowing away the top order for only 17 runs.

Even Pakistan coach Waqar Younis conceded that he did not know what stopped the openers Sharjeel Khan and Mohammed Hafeez from playing fearless cricket.

However, Waqar praised the attitude of veteran cricketer Shoaib Malik, who played a responsible innings of 63 against UAE.

“I mean things have been messy [about Shoaib] in the past but now he is a team man. Also having played in leagues all across the world, he has gained a lot of experience in this format. This particular format actually suits him also,” he said.

The best part about Pakistan team has been their bowling attack, which is now led by rehabilitated pacer Mohammed Amir, who has been splendid in both the matches.

If Amir looked fearsome against India with pace and swing, he showed admirable control against UAE bowling 21 dot balls in his figures of 4-1-6-2.

But Amir would certainly require help from senior bowlers like Mohammed Sami, who has been wayward so far. Mohammad Irfan has extracted a lot of bounce with his height but has not looked penetrative enough.

It will also be interesting to find out whether the Pakistan team management persists with left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz or bring back experienced campaigner Wahab Riaz.

The Senate committee adopted The Criminal law (Amendment) Bill 2015

The Senate human rights committee today adopted The Criminal law (Amendment) Bill 2015 to provide for protection of the children after some discussion on whether amendments in PPC was a federal or provincial subject after the 18th Amendment and whether the provinces had been consulted in the matter.

The Committee also took up for consideration the Actions in Aid of Civil Power Regulation 2011 to oversee the implications of its implementation. The representative of SAFRON said that his ministry was concerned only with the legislation and its implementation was the responsibility of law enforcing agencies. However the Committee decided that SAFRON as the lead ministry should seek the views of the concerned ministries on the implementation of the Regulation and inform the Committee at its next meeting directing also that the Minister SAFRON should also be present at the next meeting.

Farhatullah Babar then asked that the ministry should come prepared at the next meeting with answers to some specific questions. The specific questions he asked pertained to the number of those detained with effect from Feb1, 2008 the date from which the 2011 regulation was given retroactive effect and the status of the cases against them whether convicted, acquitted or in appeals and whether their cases were dealt with in military courts or in terrorism or ordinary courts.

He asked whether the governor KPK had conferred any additional powers upon the armed forces or amended the schedule to the regulation, or delegated his powers to any officer and what powers delegated and to whom, as provided for in the Regulation itself.

The Regulation binds the government to set up oversight boards he said and asked whether such oversight boards had been set up to periodically review the condition of internment
centers and take notice of complaints of degrading treatment and torture of the detainees. He also asked whether federal government had notified rules which it was supposed to make to implement the regulation. The representative of SAFRON said that they will give replies to these specific questions at the next meeting.

Farhatullah Babar also took up in the any other time the issue of disappearance of human rights activist Rizwan Niazi from Faislabad in November 2015 allegedly by 20-30 people wearing the elite force uniforms and the complaint of a woman from Balochistan accusing a law enforcing agency of keeping her two sons in its custody since February 2014 without any legal proceedings against them allegedly at the behest of a powerful politician. After some discussion the Committee decided to refer both the cases to the National commission on Human Rights for investigation and redressal of grievances of petitioners. He recalled that the Senate acting as a committee of the whole on legal reforms last month had also taken up the issue of enforced disappearances.

The Senate has directed the government to give its views on the recommendations made some time back by the Human Rights Committee on how to address the issue of enforced disappearances that also includes legislation to bring in the state agencies under some oversight. Until the institutional mechanism for addressing enforced disappearances was worked out these individual cases of missing persons should be referred to the NCHR which the Committee endorsed and referred it to the Commission.

Donald Trump marches on as Hillary Clinton sweeps south on Super Tuesday

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump dominated on one of the most important nights of the 2016 presidential primaries.
On Tuesday, Republican and Democratic primary voters in a combined 13 states and US territories headed to the polls and caucuses to weigh in on the 2016 race.

Taken together, the “Super Tuesday” primaries and caucuses represented the largest amount of delegates up for grabs on a single day — more than 500 on the Republican side and 800 for Democrats.

On the GOP side, Trump extended his significant delegate lead, as he led the pack in most Super Tuesday state races. Almost immediately after polls closed, Trump was declared the winner in Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and Massachusetts, and picked up wins in Massachusetts, Vermont, and Arkansas later in the evening.

Sen. Ted Cruz also pulled out a surprise victory in Oklahoma, and secured a win in his home state of Texas, while Sen. Marco Rubio also nabbed a win in the Minnesota caucuses.

On the Democratic side, Clinton won contests in several Southern states immediately after the polls closed, including Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee. But insurgent rival Sen. Bernie Sanders appeared poised to take a decent percentage of delegates, winning his home state of Vermont early in the night, and winning contests in Oklahoma, Colorado, and Minnesota.

As of 1:30 a.m. EST, Alaska was the only state that was yet to have a projected leader. Check further down for a full recap of the night.

REPUBLICANS
Alabama: Trump projected winner.
Alaska
Arkansas: Trump projected winner.
Georgia: Trump projected winner.
Massachusetts: Trump projected winner.
Minnesota: Rubio projected winner.
Oklahoma: Cruz projected winner.
Tennessee: Trump projected winner.
Texas: Cruz projected winner.
Vermont: Trump projected winner.
Virginia: Trump projected winner.
Democrats
Alabama: Clinton projected winner.
Arkansas: Clinton projected winner.
Colorado: Sanders projected winner.
Georgia: Clinton projected winner.
Massachusetts: Clinton projected winner.
Minnesota: Sanders projected winner, according to the Associated Press.
Oklahoma: Sanders projected winner.
Tennessee: Clinton projected winner.
Texas: Clinton projected winner.
Vermont: Sanders projected winner.
Virginia: Clinton projected winner.

Mushtaq Minhas joins PML-N

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has announced developmental package of rupees 47 billion for Azad Kashmir with the claim that it would bring mark change in the condition of the area and help in mitigating miseries of the people of Azad Kashmir who have been suffering at the hands of corrupt administration.

The pronouncement has come in reception that was held here to greet distinguished Kashmiri leader Mushtaq Minhas joining of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) here in a hotel on Tuesday. Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs Chaudhry Barjees Tahir, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) for Political Affairs Dr. Asif Saeed Kirmani, former chief minister Azad Kashmir Raja Farooq Haider, Shah Ghulam Qadir, Abdul Khaliq Wasi and Noreen Arif, Chairman Evacuee Property Trust Board Siddiaq ul Farooq and Mushtaq Minhas addressed the gathering.

A number of leaders belonging to the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) announced to join the PML-N in expression of solidarity with Mushtaq Minhas. Federal minister Chaudhary
Barjees Tahir maintained that Azad Kashmir would progress under the vision of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. He said people of Kashmir have great expectations from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and expressed strong commitment that PML-N would work for development and prosperity of the area after coming into power. The ceremony was largely attended by PML-N leaders.

The minister said it was a good omen that educated people like Mushtaq Minhas are becoming part of the PML-N, after getting inspired by the party leadership’s vision and commitment to serve the public. He asked the officials concerned to ensure holding of the upcoming general elections in Azad Jammu and Kashmir in free, impartial and transparent manner. He assured the Election Commission that the federal government would extend all possible cooperation in this regard. The PML-N, the minister said, after coming into power would make AJK departments free of corruption and uphold principle and merit and transparency there. He said it was the hallmark of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that he always effectively highlighted the Kashmir issue at every fora including General Assembly of United Nations.

Dr. Syed Asif Saeed Kirmani said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is holding the flag of Quid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah who has the acumen to deal with the Kashmir issue and ways to help the people of Kashmir on both the sides of the divide for resolving their problems. Dr. Kirmani said that it is the statesmanship of Nawaz Sharif that has rekindled the hope amid Kashmris on the both sides. The SAPM for Political Affairs said that the stalwarts of the past in Kashmir followed the politics of principles but unfortunately the leadership currently running the show in Kashmir has become source of shame and indignity.

President PML-N Azad Kashmir Raja Farooq Haider welcomed Mushtaq Minhas in the party and hoped that the party would become more strong and vibrant with his joining. He said that PML-N want to lay the foundation of a new political, economic and social society in AJK where every individual would have equal rights to progress. Raja underlined the need for changing the existing constitutional structure of AJK, saying that the party wants to see legislatures empowered.

Mushtaq Minhas paid gratitude to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and leadership of the PML-N Azad Kashmir chapter for according him honour and enthusiastic reception in the ranks of the party.

US lauds Pakistan for detaining JeM chief

WASHINGTON: The United States lauded Pakistan’s commitment to take prompt and decision action against Pathankot air base attackers, according to a State Department statement issued on Wednesday after the Pak-US strategic dialogue.

The dialogue held in Washington was co-chaired by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.

“Noting the steps taken by Pakistan to date, including the detention of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) leader Maulana Masood Azhar, the US appreciated PM Nawaz’s stated commitment to take prompt and decisive action on this investigation and to bring the perpetrators of the January 2, 2016 attack on the Pathankot air base to justice,” the statement read.

The statement came a day after India linked Pakistan to a militant attack on an air base that killed seven soldiers in January. India had previously blamed militants from the extremist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) for the assault on Pathankot air base in the northern state of Punjab, which triggered two days of gunbattles. But on Tuesday New Delhi said the militants could not have carried out the brazen attack on the air base near the border without Pakistan’s support.

The US also stressed the need for a meaningful dialogue between Pakistan and India for the peaceful solution of all outstanding issues, including Kashmir.

The delegations underscored that all parties in the region should continuously act with maximum restraint and work collaboratively towards reducing tensions.

Further, both sides expressed their conviction that a robust, long-term bilateral relationship remains critical to regional and international security along with prosperity.

Leaderships of both countries agreed that a strong, prosperous, and democratic Pakistan is an essential partner for the United States in advancing these shared goals.

“Pakistan’s prosperity is good for the region as well as for the United States,” Kerry said.

Kerry and Aziz expressed satisfaction on Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker’s visit to Islamabad for US-Pakistan Economic Partnership Week in 2015.

Reaffirming the importance of strategic dialogue, which provides vision and direction for this bilateral partnership, Aziz and Kerry reviewed the progress made in its six working groups, which represent core areas of joint interest and cooperation, including: energy, security, strategic stability, and nonproliferation, the Defense Consultative Group, law enforcement and counterterrorism, economics and finance and education, science, and technology.

They also looked forward to the fourth annual US-Pakistan Business Opportunities Conference, the first to be held in the United States, which will bring scores of US and Pakistani executives from across all sectors to New York City this year, and a meeting under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in 2016.

The two countries also acknowledged the importance of sustaining cooperation on shared interests through US civilian assistance, in line with the intent of legislation known as the ‘Kerry-Lugar-Berman’ act. Finally, they charged the Working Groups with continuing to meet according to a mutually determined schedule.

“The United States commended Pakistan’s exemplary generousity in hosting one of the largest, longest lasting refugee populations and reaffirmed the US commitment to humanitarian assistance for Afghan refugees, returnees, and displaced persons in the region,” the statement read.

The two sides reiterated their commitment to facilitate the orderly return and reintegration of Afghan refugees to Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Kerry and Aziz further commended the substantial progress made by Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan on the CASA-1000 electricity project. The four countries are now working together for implementation of the project by 2018. They welcomed the inaugural ceremony of the CASA-1000 project, to be hosted by Tajikistan in Dushanbe in May 2016.

The statement added, “Pakistan and US are committed to further strengthening the long-term partnership between the two countries, which is built on robust cooperation across a wide range of issues and reflecting shared interests and common values.”

Both sides reiterated their commitment towards democracy, human rights, economic growth, and respect for international law as essential for long-term regional peace and prosperity, and agreed that the two governments would meet for the next Ministerial-Level Strategic Dialogue in 2017.

Zainab Chottani launches her first flagship store in Karachi

Acclaimed fashion designer Zainab Chottani recently launched her first flagship store for her renowned label, by the same name in Karachi.

Zainab Chottani flagship store (5)

The launch was attended by socialites and her friends in the media and fashion fraternity.

TV personalities like Tooba Siddiqui, Moomal Sheikh, Ahsan Khan, Neelum Muneer, while socialites like Sharmila Farooqi, Sonya Khan, Nighat Misbah, Laiqa Hasan, were also present at the occasion.

Ahsan Khan & Neelum Muneer
Ahsan Khan & Neelum Muneer

Designers Maheen Khan, Deepak Perwani, YBQ, Umer Sayeed, Mahin Hussain, Sanam Chaudhri and models Areeba Habib, Nadia Hussain, Rubya Chaudhry, Sunita Marshall along with many renowned names from the industry also came to the event.

Areeba Habib, Sunita Marshall, Zainab Chottani, Nadia Hussain, Rubya Chaudhri and some guests
Areeba Habib, Sunita Marshall, Zainab Chottani, Nadia Hussain, Rubya Chaudhri and some guests

At the launch of her Flagship Store, Zainab Chottani said. “I am very excited to launch my first flagship store where all my customers can come and buy my creations. I have received wonderful response and love from my friends and family and it is because of them where I stand today.”

“I wanted to raise the fashion quotient along with the standards of quality that is being offered to the Pakistani consumer today.” Chottani added when speaking about her cloths.

Zainab Chottani flagship store (1)

Zainab Chottani has become an established name in Pakistan, as well as in the international community with her diverse clothing range from intricately embellished bridals to refreshing pret and ready to wear lines.

Zainab Chottani flagship store (2)

The Zainab Chottani Flagship Store is located at 43-C Bukhari Commercial Lane No. 8 DHA Phase 6, Karachi; and includes a walk-in retail outlet and a bridal studio by appointment only.