Russian President Putin will visit Pakistan soon

Putin accepts invitation to visit Pakistan

Putin accepts invitation to visit Pakistan

BY IFTIKHAR MASHWANI

ISLAMABAD: Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Pakistan soon to boost bilateral relations between Pakistan and Russia.This was disclosed by Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Sunday in Islamabad.
He said the date is not finalized for Putin visit, but Pakistan already invited Russian President and he accepted the our invitation. Pakistan and Russia have great potentials to boost their relations in all Fields including social,economic and defense and strategic sectors. Pakistan and Russia are important countries of the region and both countries can play pivotal role in the stability in the region.

In the present circumstances, Russia become a most important country for Pakistan. Now Russia is no longer ignored by Pakistani policymakers. Ties are warming up between Islamabad and Moscow in the past few years as geo-strategic ties have been changing the world over.

When the relationship was set to emerge, Pakistan and Russia have been repairing their fences hard hit by the hard Cold War realities. China in the Pakistan-Russia framework is a guarantor and an honest broker. These relations have been fast emerging against the backdrop of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) where Pakistan stands as an observer but trying to seek full-membership of the organization, hopefully this year when the organizations will meet in Russia.Russia already ready to support Pakistani membership in the SCO. Beijing guides Moscow toward Islamabad.Russia,China and Pakistan will becomes strong regional allies for all level.

Read more » World Tribune Pakistan
See more » http://worldtribunepakistan.com/2015/03/08/russian-president-putin-will-visit-pakistan-soon/

The Pakistani man accused of making millions from fake degrees paid 26 cents in tax last year

Photo credits: Social media

Photo credits: Social media

The only son of a lawyer, Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh grew up in a religious, middle-class Pakistani household with one ambition: He wanted to become the richest man in the world.

“Even richer than Bill Gates,” Shaikh told his employees in a speech last year.

Read more » Quartz
See more » http://qz.com/406701/the-pakistani-man-accused-of-making-millions-from-fake-degrees-paid-26-cents-in-tax-last-year/

Fake Diplomas, Real Cash: Pakistani Company Axact Reaps Millions

Photo credits: Social media.

Photo credits: Social media.

By

Axact makes tens of millions of dollars annually by offering diplomas and degrees online through hundreds of fictitious schools. Fake accreditation bodies and testimonials lend the schools an air of credibility. But when customers call, they are talking to Axact sales clerks in Karachi.

Seen from the Internet, it is a vast education empire: hundreds of universities and high schools, with elegant names and smiling professors at sun-dappled American campuses.

Their websites, glossy and assured, offer online degrees in dozens of disciplines, like nursing and civil engineering. There are glowing endorsements on the CNN iReport website, enthusiastic video testimonials, and State Department authentication certificates bearing the signature of Secretary of State John Kerry.

“We host one of the most renowned faculty in the world,” boasts a woman introduced in one promotional video as the head of a law school. “Come be a part of Newford University to soar the sky of excellence.”

Yet on closer examination, this picture shimmers like a mirage. The news reports are fabricated. The professors are paid actors. The university campuses exist only as stock photos on computer servers. The degrees have no true accreditation.

In fact, very little in this virtual academic realm, appearing to span at least 370 websites, is real — except for the tens of millions of dollars in estimated revenue it gleans each year from many thousands of people around the world, all paid to a secretive Pakistani software company.

That company, Axact, operates from the port city of Karachi, where it employs over 2,000 people and calls itself Pakistan’s largest software exporter, with Silicon Valley-style employee perks like a swimming pool and yacht.

Axact does sell some software applications. But according to former insiders, company records and a detailed analysis of its websites, Axact’s main business has been to take the centuries-old scam of selling fake academic degrees and turn it into an Internet-era scheme on a global scale.

As interest in online education is booming, the company is aggressively positioning its school and portal websites to appear prominently in online searches, luring in potential international customers.

At Axact’s headquarters, former employees say, telephone sales agents work in shifts around the clock. Sometimes they cater to customers who clearly understand that they are buying a shady instant degree for money. But often the agents manipulate those seeking a real education, pushing them to enroll for coursework that never materializes, or assuring them that their life experiences are enough to earn them a diploma.

To boost profits, the sales agents often follow up with elaborate ruses, including impersonating American government officials, to persuade customers to buy expensive certifications or authentication documents.

Continue reading

Islamic State ‘seizes Iraqi city of Ramadi’

Isis-led Sunni rebels have seized large swathes of north-western Iraq

Isis-led Sunni rebels have seized large swathes of north-western Iraq

The Iraqi city of Ramadi has fallen to Islamic State (IS) after government forces abandoned their positions, officials say.

The police and military made a chaotic retreat after days of intense fighting.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32773780

New British Energy Secretary Plans To ‘Unleash Solar Revolution’

Solar energyEnergy secretary Amber Rudd plans to ‘unleash solar revolution’

Amber Rudd, the new energy secretary, says more households should have solar panels on their roofs

By , Energy Editor

Millions more homes should have solar panels on their roofs, the new energy secretary has suggested, vowing to “unleash a new solar revolution” across Britain.

Ms Rudd indicated she would back the continued expansion of household solar panels, which are heavily subsidised by consumers through levies on energy bills.

“I want to unleash a new solar revolution – we have a million people living under roofs with solar panels and that number needs to increase,” she told her local newspaper, the Hastings & St Leonards Observer.

Read more » The Telegraph
Learn more » http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/energy/solarpower/11606820/Energy-secretary-Amber-Rudd-plans-to-unleash-solar-revolution.html?utm_content=buffer41fce&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

If war breaks out in Lebanon, IDF troops will cross the border, a senior officer told the Jerusalem Post

defence

IDF

Senior IDF source: If Lebanon war scenario becomes reality, artillery will cross border

If conflict were to break out, artillery units will have to accompany maneuvering forces over the border rather than provide supporting fire, as they did last summer.

The IDF held a series of intensive drills around the country in the past week, part of a directive issued by recently appointed Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, who placed war training back at the top of the military’s priorities.

One of the exercises took place in the Jordan Valley, where the Artillery Corps 282 Support Unit spent five days training for war against Hezbollah in Lebanon. Although the unit of conscripts holds this type of drill annually, this year was different due to the scope and variety of live fire employed, according to a senior Artillery Corps officer who spoke to The Jerusalem Post.

“What is special in our unit is its fusion of a variety of surface- based firepower,” he said. The unit can deploy cannons to strike ground targets, precision- guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, and the Spike [Tamuz] electro-optical fireand- forget missile.

It can also employ a radar battalion that can look far beyond the immediate battle zone, to locate enemies, provide early warning of incoming fire, and pass on target coordinates for return fire in seconds.

All of this activity simulated a full-scale war in southern Lebanon, the source said. Until last week, “my battalions were in Judea and Samaria, doing daily security missions. On Saturday night, they switched to a livefire drill,” he said. Usually, a full-scale drill of this kind comes at the end of a gradually escalating exercise, involving more and more military units. This time around, the source said, the Artillery Corps flipped things around, and started with the biggest drill.

“Together with the Armored Corps’ 7 Brigade, we held two-division exercises. We want to create the most realistic simulation, so this had to involve live fire,” he said. The unit moved from Ma’aleh Efraim to Beit She’an, activating the full range of its fire power – the first time this has happened in a drill, the source said.

Read more » The Jerusalem Post
See more » http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Senior-IDF-source-If-Lebanon-war-scenario-becomes-reality-soldiers-will-cross-border-402491

Russia, China agree to integrate Eurasian Union, Silk Road, sign deals

Russia's President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with his China's counterpart Xi Jinping (RIA Novosti/Mikhail Klimentiev)

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with his China’s counterpart Xi Jinping (RIA Novosti/Mikhail Klimentiev)

Russia and China have signed a number of energy, trade and finance deals on Friday aimed at strengthening economic ties. The two countries have multiple mutual projects which “achieved a unity of views on a wide range of issues.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have signed a decree on cooperation in tying the development of the Eurasian Economic Union with the “Silk Road” economic project.

“The integration of the Eurasian Economic Union and Silk Road projects means reaching a new level of partnership and actually implies a common economic space on the continent,” Putin said after the meeting with his Chinese counterpart. President Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow on Friday for the 70th anniversary celebration of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.

China will also invest $5.8 billion in the construction of the Moscow-Kazan High Speed Railway, the Russian President said. The railway is to be extended to China, connecting the two countries through Kazakhstan. It can become part of the route of the new Silk Road project, which is aimed at tying China with European and Middle Eastern markets. The total cost of the Moscow-Kazan high speed railroad project is $21.4 billion.

Russia’s largest gas producer Gazprom and China’s National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) signed an agreement on the basic conditions of gas supplies from Russia to China through the Western route. The two companies decided to extend a strategic partnership agreement for five years, according to Gazprom’s CEO Aleksey Miller. The agreement provides for the construction of the first, second and third Altai pipelines.

Sberbank – Russia’s biggest lender – has signed a facility agreement with China’s Development Bank in the amount of $966 million. They also agreed on financing an industrial project by Sberbank to the tune of $256.4 million.

Read more » http://rt.com/business/256877-russia-china-deals-cooperation/#.VU02RKPqB40.facebook

Pakistan helicopter crash kills foreign envoys

An army helicopter has crashed in a mountainous part of northern Pakistan killing six people including the Philippine and Norwegian ambassadors.

It crashed during an emergency landing in the Gilgit-Baltistan territory.

The wives of the Indonesian and Malaysian envoys and two Pakistani pilots also died. They were to attend the opening of a tourism project.

The Pakistani Taliban (TTP) said they were behind the attack, but there is no confirmation of the claim.

Analysis: M Ilyas Khan, BBC News, Islamabad

This is one of the most tragic aviation disasters for the Pakistani military in decades. The last time one of its air crashes killed a foreign diplomat was in 1988 when a C-130, carrying then military ruler Gen Ziaul Haq, US Ambassador Arnold Raphel and several of the army top brass, crashed in southern Pakistan, killing all on board.
The diplomats flying in the ill-fated MI-17 on Friday were headed for a little advertised but extremely exciting inauguration ceremony of a ski chairlift, built in the breathtaking resort of Naltar, in northern Pakistan.
The 180-seat lift was donated by Switzerland and installed by the Pakistan Air Force. Its test run was completed in August, but its formal opening was delayed several times due to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s preoccupations elsewhere.
Today Mr Sharif flew to within 40km of Naltar valley, but just then the news of the crash came and he had to turn back without touching down at the regional airport in Gilgit.

“The helicopter was shot down by an anti-aircraft missile,” a statement emailed by Taliban spokesman Muhammad Khorasani said.

However military spokesman Asim Bajwa said on Twitter that the crash had been caused by a technical fault. The area is not a stronghold of the Taliban.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32653359

Pakistanis rank 4th on global intelligence survey

Case studies of students like Ali Moeen Nawazish, who broke a world record by passing 23 A-levels, were quoted in the study

Case studies of students like Ali Moeen Nawazish, who broke a world record by passing 23 A-levels, were quoted in the study

Pakistanis have been ranked the fourth most intelligent people across the world in a globally-held survey. “Pakistanis are equal to the people of developed and industrialised countries when it comes to intelligence,” the survey report said. The poll was organised by the Institute of European Business Administration in 125 countries. The survey quantifies various aspects of brilliance and intellectual work in the nations of the surveyed countries. “Pakistanis outshine in the field of intelligence despite a dearth of required resources and opportunities,” the poll inferred.

The case studies of Ali Moeen Nawazish, Arfa Karim and Moosa Firoz were also quoted to prove the mental aptitude of the Pakistanis. Ali secured 22 As in A-levels exams; Arfa Karim had earned title of the youngest Microsoft Certified Expert; and Moosa recently won the World Mathematics Championship.

Read more » Pakistan Today
See more » http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2012/04/01/national/pakistanis-rank-4th-on-global-intelligence-survey/

CANADA – Alberta delivers harsh message to Harper Conservatives

By The Canadian Press

EDMONTON — The New Democrats have toppled the 44-year-long Progressive Conservative dynasty and will form the next Alberta government.

The NDP, under leader Rachel Notley, was on its way to taking every seat in the capital of Edmonton.

The party was also making significant gains in the traditional Tory stronghold of Calgary.

Notley, the daughter of popular former NDP leader Grant Notley, will be the province’s 17th premier.

The Tories and the Wildrose were left to fight over who would finish second and form the official Opposition.

News courtesy: Vancouver Observer
Read more » http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/alberta-delivers-harsh-message-harper-conservatives

Texas gunman had happy childhood in Pakistan but struggled in US

By REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: Nadir Soofi, a gunman shot dead after opening fire at a Texas exhibit of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), was a popular schoolboy in Pakistan but struggled to adjust to the United States after moving there as a teen, friends said on Tuesday.

Police say disappointment, alienation, and a search for belonging inspired Soofi and his roommate, Elton Simpson, to attack the exhibit and contest to draw Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) cartoons on Sunday.

Such depictions are offensive to Muslims and often spark violence. Event organisers said the event was defending free speech.

The two gunmen were shot dead by a police officer before they could kill anyone.

Friends in Pakistan, who studied with Soofi at the elite International School of Islamabad, were stunned to discover that police had identified him as was one of the attackers.

“When he was in Islamabad, he had a great life. His mom was an American who taught art at the school, he was in plays, popular with girls,” said one of Soofi’s best friends at school.

“His nickname was Goofy” because of his sense of humour, said the man, who declined to be identified to preserve his privacy.

Another classmate said Soofi played the lead in the school’s production of the play “Bye Bye Birdie”.

“He was a popular kid, the opposite of a radical extremist,” she said.

Soofi’s parents divorced around the time he was in tenth grade, the friend said, and he moved to Utah with his mother.

Over the years, Soofi told his old friends he did not fit in and had many disappointments.

He went to dental school, but said he had to drop out because of financial problems, the male friend said.

He tried and failed at various ventures including a dry cleaning store, he said.

He told friends he had a child with a Bosnian woman but the relationship did not work out.

“He said ‘life is really tough here’,” the male friend said.

“Alienation, an identity crisis, whatever you want to call it, he was kind of alone.”

“I guess the one thing he could identify with was religion.”

In the past few years, Soofi grew a beard and only posted pictures of himself wearing sunglasses on Facebook, the friend said. Old friends teased him for that but also began to worry, the friend said.

Gradually they lost contact.

“I looked at his pictures, and I didn’t recognize him,” the friend said.

“I don’t know what happened to him in America.”

The attack was earlier claimed by the extremist militant group Islamic State through a statement made over their Al-Bayan radio. It is the first attack claimed by IS in the United States.

News courtesy: DAWN
Read more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1180141

Drone, helicopter or plane? NASA’s 10-Engine Electric Plane Takes Off and Lands Like a Helicopter

NASA’s 10-Engine Electric Plane Takes Off and Lands Like a Helicopter

BY DEVIN COLDEWEY

NASA researchers took a rather unique prototype aircraft for a spin last week: Greased Lightning, a 10-engine electric plane with rotating wings that allow it to take off and land like a helicopter. Vertical take-off and landing aircraft, or VTOL, are not a new idea, but this particular configuration sure is. The GL-10 has four engines on each wing and one on each tip of its rear stabilizer — that’s much different from the large, tilting rotors of the V-22 Osprey or the rotating jets on a Harrier.

Read more » NBC News
See more » http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/innovation/nasas-10-engine-electric-plane-takes-lands-helicopter-n353556

Pakistan born in Nepal

BY DAWN.COM

ISLAMABAD: A baby born in a Pakistan Army field hospital in Nepal has been named ‘Pakistan’, said an Inter-Services Public Relations official on Monday.

This is the second infant to have been born at the field hospital, which was set up by the Pakistan Army as part of relief efforts in earthquake-struck Nepal.

Last week, the Foreign Office said the first baby born at a Pakistan Army field hospital had been named ‘Lahore’.

Explore: Nepal: Picking up the pieces

Nepal Army Chief General Gaurav SJB Rana expressed his gratitude over the support extended by Pakistan through the Pakistan Army, during a visit to a Bhaktapur field hospital on May 3.

He had said Pakistan would be remembered by the people of Kathmandu because they provided medical care and supplies to affectees of the earthquake around the clock.

Nepal fell victim to its deadliest quake in nearly 80 years on April 25. The 7.9 magnitude earthquake has claimed over 6,621 lives. Thousands are missing, while 14,023 have been injured. A week on, chances of rescuing survivors have drastically decreased.

News courtesy: DAWN
Read more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1179934/pakistan-born-in-nepal

Boko Haram freed Nigerian women tell of captivity horror

Former hostages held by Boko Haram militants in northern Nigeria say some fellow captives were stoned to death as the army approached to rescue them.

The women said Boko Haram fighters started pelting them when they refused to run away as the army came nearer.

A group of nearly 300 women and children was brought out of the vast Sambisa forest to a government camp.

The military says it has rescued more than 700 people in the past week in an offensive against the Islamist group.

The women said several were killed in the stoning, but they did not know how many.

‘Pregnant’

Others were killed inadvertently by the military during the rescue operation, they added.

Soldiers did not realise “in time that we were not the enemies” and some women and children were “run over by their trucks”, said survivor Asama Umoru.

The survivors said that when they were initially captured, the militants had killed men and older boys in front of their families before taking women and children into the forest.

Some were forced into marriage.

One woman, Lami Musa, 27, said she had avoided that fate.

“When they realised I was pregnant, they said I was impregnated by an infidel [her husband] and they killed him,” she said.

Continue reading

Israel’s Ethiopian Jews clash with police at race rally

At least 40 people injured during anti-racism rally in Tel Aviv sparked by brutality against a black soldier.

Israeli riot police have fired stun grenades and water cannon on thousands of ethnic Ethiopian Jewish citizens in an attempt to clear one of the most violent protests in memory in the heart of Tel Aviv.

The protesters, Israeli Jews of Ethiopian origin, were demonstrating on Sunday against what they said was police racism and brutality after a video clip emerged last week showing policemen shoving and punching a black soldier.

Demonstrators overturned a police car and threw bottles and stones at officers in riot gear at Rabin Square in the heart of Israel’s commercial capital.

Israel’s Channel 2 television said tear gas was also used, something the police declined to confirm.

“I’ve had enough of this behaviour by the police, I just don’t trust them any more … when I see the police I spit on the ground,” one female demonstrator who was not identified told Channel 2 before police on horseback had charged.

Read more » Al Jajazeera
See more » http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/05/israel-ethiopian-jews-rally-police-brutality-150503155817247.html

Saudi Arabia sends ground forces into Aden, Yemen

Saudi-led troops in ‘limited’ first Yemen deployment

By Nabil Hassan with Fawaz al-Haidari in Taez

Aden (AFP) – The Saudi-led coalition battling rebels in Yemen sent a “limited” force to the city of Aden Sunday, Yemeni sources said, in what would be its first ground deployment inside the country.

A spokesman for the coalition denied that a major ground force has landed, refusing to comment on “ongoing operations”.

But Yemeni government and militia forces said several dozen troops had landed in the main southern city, with some sources saying they were to assist in fighting for its international airport.

An AFP journalist saw several men in the vicinity of the airport dressed in military-style clothing, wearing helmets and carrying sophisticated weaponry.

Read more » Yahoo News
See more » http://news.yahoo.com/yemen-confirms-limited-coalition-ground-force-aden-113357532.html

Yemen: Saudi Arabia used cluster bombs, rights groups says

The Saudi-led coalition carrying out air strikes in Yemen has used US-supplied cluster bombs banned by much of the world, a rights group has said.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it had evidence that the bombs were used at least twice against Houthi rebels. There were no reports of casualties.

Cluster bombs spread small bombs over a wide area and can leave unexploded munitions buried in the ground.

They are banned under a treaty signed by 116 countries, but not Saudi Arabia.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32572408

Italy – Milan Expo’s glitzy opening ceremony followed by burning cars and tear gas as protests overshadow global fair

By Sara Rossi, Reuters

MILAN — Demonstrators clashed with Italian police who responded with tear gas on Friday as protests against the Milan Expo overshadowed the start of the global fair, which the government had been hoping would lift a gloomy national mood.

Thick clouds of smoke from burning cars filled parts of the center of Milan as groups of protesters, their faces masked against the fumes, threw stones and faced off against lines of police in riot gear.

Read more » National Post
See more » http://news.nationalpost.com/news/world/milan-expos-glitzy-opening-ceremony-followed-by-burning-cars-and-tear-gas-as-protests-overshadow-global-fair

Australian Foreign Minister to visit Pakistan in May

ISLAMABAD: Australian Foreign Minister Ms Julie Bishop’s will arrive in Pakistan on May 6 on a two-day official visit.

“During her visit, Minister Bishop will hold meetings with Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal,” a spokesman for the Australian High Commission to Pakistan told DawnNews.

She would also deliver a speech on women empowerment and gender equality issues in order to highlight the support of the Australian government to Pakistan in this regard. Her speech would have the audience of senior government officials and lawmakers.

Also read: Pakistan, Australia to deepen defence ties

The Australian foreign minister would moreover visit Lahore on May 7 and meet with Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif.

She is also scheduled to inaugurate a project funded by the Australian government.

The foreign minister’s visit comes nearly two months after Pakistan and Australia agreed to enhance cooperation in the field of defence and security, including military training.

The two sides agreed to enhance defence cooperation during talks between Australian Chief of Defence Force (CDF) Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif at Army General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi.

News courtesy: DAWN
Read more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1179355/australian-fm-to-visit-pakistan-in-may

Tesla Motors’ battery announcement

The 7 Biggest Questions Ahead of Tesla’s Battery Announcement

Tesla Motors Inc. will introduce its line of energy-storage products Thursday night at the company’s design studio in Hawthorne, California. Select Tesla car owners, utility executives and representatives of the solar industry are among those with invitations. The company will announce both a home battery and a “very large utility scale battery,” it said in a note to investors last week. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has been dropping hints for weeks, drumming up intrigue about “The Missing Piece.” Here’s what to look for in the two-part announcement:

1. Who Markets Home Battery?  
Tesla has already installed roughly 300 batteries in California homes through a pilot project with SolarCity Corp., where Musk is chairman. Will SolarCity continue to be the channel to the residential market for Tesla’s home battery? Or will Tesla offer its batteries to other solar companies hoping to pair solar and storage?

2. Big Enough for Utilities?
In the utility market, a 1-megawatt system is widely viewed as the entry point for most storage applications. So what does Tesla mean when it says “very large?” “In the battery industry, 5 megawatts or 10 megawatts is huge,” says Haresh Kamath, the energy storage program manager at the Electric Power Research Institute in Palo Alto, California. “But for a utility, that’s small. If Tesla comes out with a 20-megawatt system, that would be enough to get the utility industry excited.”

Read more » Bloomberg
See more » http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-30/the-7-biggest-questions-ahead-of-tesla-s-big-announcement

Saudi Arabia reshuffle as king appoints nephew to crown prince post

King Salman removes half-brother from post and names nephew in place in reshuffle that further marks generational shift

Saudi Arabia’s king has removed his half-brother as crown prince, replacing him with his nephew, and elevated his son to the position of deputy crown prince, in the most significant repositioning of power among the royal family since King Salman assumed the throne in January.

The appointments, announced in a decree from the royal court, thrust a new generation of Saudi princes into the line of succession and potentially shaped the future of the throne for decades.

As crown prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, 55, is the most likely successor to the king. The prince, who is also the interior minister, is known internationally as Saudi Arabia’s counter-terrorism tsar and was previously also deputy crown prince.

He becomes the first of his generation to be elevated to such a high position. He has survived several assassination attempts, including one in 2009 by al-Qaida. He takes over from Prince Muqrin.

The royal decree also announced that the king’s son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is the new deputy crown prince. He is believed to be about 30 and is also the country’s defence minister. As deputy crown prince, he is regarded as second in line to the throne.

Both princes are part of a generation of grandsons of Saudi Arabia’s founder, the late King Abdulaziz al-Saud, whose sons have passed power from brother to brother since his death in 1953.

The royal decree said the appointments were made in line with the kingdom’s founding principle of “continuity on the basis of service to faith, the nation and the people, and what is good for its loyal people”.

Nayef will continue to oversee the country’s massive police force and border guards in his role as interior minister. As crown prince, he will also serve as deputy prime minister. His late father was the elder brother of 79-year-old King Salman.

Read more » The Guardian
See more » http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/29/saudi-arabias-crown-prince-dismissed?CMP=share_btn_tw

Real Robocops of Dubai: UAE to introduce police robots ‘within two years’

Police in the wealthy United Arab Emirates plan to introduce interactive patrolling bots by 2017, and says “fully intelligent robots” could be on the force by the end of the decade.

We are aiming to provide these kinds of services as the population is expanding. This way we can provide better services without hiring more people,” Colonel Khalid Nasser Alrazooqi, who heads the city’s ‘smart’ unit, said during a keynote speech at the Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference, Dubai’s Khaleej Times report.

Read more » http://rt.com/news/253529-police-robot-dubai-robocop/

Obama: ‘No excuse’ for violence in Baltimore

By Eric Bradner, CNN

Washington (CNN)President Barack Obama on Tuesday condemned the “criminals and thugs who tore up” the city of Baltimore on Monday night, after rioting and looting paralyzed the city and overwhelmed local officials.

The sustained outbreak of violence followed the funeral for Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old man who died after he was arrested more than two weeks ago. Cars were set on fire, stores were destroyed, and six officers were seriously injured. It was the first time Obama has commented on the turmoil in Baltimore that has followed Gray’s death.

“There’s no excuse for the kind of violence that we saw yesterday. It is counterproductive,” Obama said at a press conference from the White House. “When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they’re not protesting. They’re not making a statement. They’re stealing. When they burn down a building, they’re committing arson. And they’re destroying and undermining businesses and opportunities in their own communities. That robs jobs and opportunity from people in that area.”

Read more » CNN
See more » http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/28/politics/obama-baltimore-violent-protests/index.html?sr=tw042815obamabaltimore330pVODtopPhoto

State of emergency declared in Baltimore as Freddie Gray protest turns violent

Baltimore mayor says ‘thugs’ trying to destroy ‘what so many have fought for’

Protesters hurled bricks, looted businesses and set fires in Baltimore on Monday in violence that injured at least seven police officers following the funeral of a 25-year-old black man who died after he was injured in police custody.

The riots broke out just a few blocks from the funeral of Freddie Gray and then spread through parts of Baltimore in the most violent U.S. demonstrations since looting in Ferguson, Mo., last year.

“I’m a lifelong resident of Baltimore,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a Tuesday evening news conference. “Too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs, who in a very senseless way are trying to tear down what so many have fought for.”

Rawlings-Blake said she was in touch with the governor and has asked for the National Guard. She said “every resource possible” will be deployed to gain control of the situation.

Starting tomorrow, there will be a citywide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., she said, lasting one week and to be extended as needed.

Read more » CBC
See more » http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/state-of-emergency-declared-in-baltimore-as-freddie-gray-protest-turns-violent-1.3051048

Commercial drones are ready for takeoff—if only the government will get out of the way

Amazon delivery drone

Amazon delivery drone

Drone On – The Sky’s the Limit—If the FAA Will 
Get Out of the Way

By Gretchen West

In the beginning, drones were almost exclusively the province of militaries. At first little more than remote-controlled model planes used in the World War I era, military drones advanced steadily over the decades, eventually becoming sophisticated tools that could surveil battlefield enemies from the sky. Today, the terms “drone” and “unmanned aircraft system” denote a vehicle that navigates through the air from point A to point B and is either remotely controlled or flies autonomously. While they vary in size and shape, such vehicles all feature a communications link, intelligent software, sensors or cameras, a power source, and a method of mobility (usually propellers).

Inevitably, drone technology spilled out from the military and into other parts of the public sector. In the United States over the last decade, federal researchers turned to drones for monitoring weather and land, the Department of Homeland Security started relying on them to keep an eye on borders, and police adopted them for search-and-rescue missions. Then came everyday consumers, who took to parks on the weekend with their often homemade creations. Outside government, drones were mostly flown for fun, not profit.

Until recently, that is. In the last several years, a new group of actors has come to embrace drones: private companies. Inspired by the technological progress made in the military and in the massive hobby market, these newcomers have realized that in everything from farming to bridge inspection, drones offer a dramatic improvement over business as usual. The potential for the commercial use of drones is nearly limitless. But in the United States, the growing drone industry faces a major regulatory obstacle: the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued overly restrictive rules that threaten to kill a promising new technology in the cradle.

SERIOUS BUSINESS

In the face of a new and poorly understood technology, the FAA refused to allow drones for commercial purposes.

As more and more actors have invested in drone research and development, the vehicles themselves have become cheaper, simpler, and safer. Perhaps even more exciting are the changes in software, which has advanced at lightning speed, getting smarter and more reliable by the day: now, for example, users can fly drones without any guidance and set up so-called geo-fences to fix boundaries at certain altitudes or around certain areas. The economics are now attractive enough that many industries are looking to drones to perform work traditionally done by humans—or never before done at all.

Rea more » Foreign Affairs
See more » http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/143325/gretchen-west/drone-on

India to sign deal with Iran on Chabahar port project soon

India is moving closer to finalizing a crucial plan to invest in Iran’s southern Chabahar port – a project that would open a new economic corridor rival to what China plans to do in Pakistan’s Gwadar port. 

India’s Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari is expected in Tehran within the next few days to formalize a deal for the project, the New Delhi-based Business Standard newspaper reported.

India is also likely to engage in discussions with the US to secure a waiver of sanctions on activities at Chabahar, the report added.

“Talks about the proposed speed and manner in which the US government plans to free up the sanctions might also be on the cards, so that India does not run the risk of attracting punitive sanctions,” it said.

Read more » Press Tv
See more » http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/04/25/408007/Iran-India-Chabahar-Corridor-Trade-economy-sanctions-washington-zarif-kerry

Bangladeshi PM announces money, flats and cars for cricket team after Pakistan thrashing

Jubilant over her cricket team’s performance in the World Cup and home series against Pakistan, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced flats, cars and prize money for the Bangladesh cricket team.

Read more » Breaking News Pakistan
See more » http://www.breakingnewspak.com/bangladeshi-pm-announces-money-flats-and-cars-for-cricket-team-after-pakistan-thrashing/

Devastation in Nepal after huge earthquake

A huge earthquake has shattered Nepal on Saturday, causing widespread destruction and loss of life.

People covered in debris are being dragged from under crumpled buildings, and ancient temples have morphed into piles of rubble. As night fell the death toll has already hit 700 people, with the magnitude 7.8 quake also causing deaths in neighboring countries.

Strangers in the poor nation came together to search for survivors in the destruction, as they braced for news of a possible death toll in the thousands.

Read more » Mashable
See more » http://mashable.com/2015/04/25/nepal-earthquake-photos/#:eyJzIjoidCIsImkiOiJfbG5ieHk4am80cmV4ZmJzbSJ9

ISIS Replace Injured Leader Baghdadi With Former Physics Teacher

BY

The Islamic State’s temporary leader is a former Iraqi physics teacher located in the country’s second-biggest city, Mosul, the adviser to the Iraqi government on ISIS has revealed.

Yesterday, it was reported by the Guardian that the terror group’s caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was seriously wounded in a U.S. coalition airstrike in western Iraq in March, leaving him with injuries which allegedly rendered him incapable of carrying out the day-to-day duties as caliph. The revelation raised questions about the leadership structure of the group and reportedly led to frantic meetings between senior ISIS officials on life after Baghdadi.

Speaking to Newsweek, Dr Hisham al Hashimi, the Iraqi government adviser, confirmed that Abu Alaa Afri, the self-proclaimed caliph’s deputy and a former physics teacher, has now been installed as the stand-in leader of the terror group in Baghdadi’s absence.

“After Baghdadi’s wounding, he [Afri] has begun to head up Daesh [arabic term for ISIS] with the help of officials responsible for other portfolios,” confirms Hashimi. “He will be the leader of Daesh if Baghdadi dies.”

It is believed that Afri is located in the al-Hadar region of the city of Mosul. He has risen through the ranks of the group, becoming more prominent in the eyes of the group’s leadership and even more important than Baghdadi himself, Hashimi claims.

“Yes – more important, and smarter, and with better relationships. He is a good public speaker and strong charisma,” says the adviser when asked if Afri is now more important within the group than Baghdadi. “All the leaders of Daesh find that he has much jihadi wisdom, and good capability at leadership and administration.”

Little is known about Afri, also known as Haji Iman, but Hashimi reveals some details about the previous life of Baghdadi’s mysterious right-hand man.

“He was a physics teacher in Tal Afar [northwestern Iraqi city] in Nineveh, and has dozens of publications and religious (shariah) studies of his own,” he says. “He is a follower of Abu Musaab al-Suri [prominent jihadi scholar].”

ISIS experts support Hashimi’s claim that Afri is the rising star within the terror group. Hassan Hassan, Middle East analyst and co-author of the New York Times bestseller ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror, says that Afri is “one of its most important players”.

“Abu Alaa [Afri] seems to have become more prominent in recent months, especially after the group began to suffer tactical defeats in Syria and Iraq since December. He replaced [ISIS’s Syria governor Abu Ali] al-Anbari as al-Baghdadi’s top man after al-Baghdadi became less involved in decision making for security reasons,” says Hassan.

Before becoming Baghdadi’s deputy, Afri was a key coordination link between Baghdadi and his inner circle and also his emirs in different provinces across the group’s extensive caliphate in Syria, Iraq and Libya. “Appointment as a wilayat [province] coordinator is an indication of profound trust and this position is essentially the last link between ISIS’s upper echelon and its lower ranks,” Hassan adds.

It is believed that Afri, when senior al-Qaeda operatives Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri were killed in 2010, was Osama bin Laden’s preferred choice to become emir of al-Qaeda in Iraq, the group which eventually morphed into ISIS. Further, last July, The Telegraph revealedISIS’s cabinet of which it reported that Afri, named as Abu Suja in the report, was a “general coordinator for the affairs of martyrs and women”.

Afri is believed to have travelled to Afghanistan in 1998, according to Hashimi, before becoming a senior member of al-Qaeda after its future Iraqi leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi pledged allegiance to the terror group in 2004. He oversaw the sharia authorities in northern Iraq and “was very strict”, notes the Iraqi adviser.

While details about Afri’s personality are limited, it is believed that he leans toward reconciliation with rival extremist group al-Qaeda and its Syrian affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and prefers that ISIS’s leadership structure is composed half of Arabs and half of foreign members of the group.

Read more » News Week
See more » http://www.newsweek.com/isis-replace-injured-leader-baghdadi-former-physics-teacher-324082

I am a cook in the US Senate but I still need food stamps to feed my children

By 

I work 70 hours a week doing two jobs but cannot make ends meet. Presidential hopefuls must make profitable federal contractors pay living wages

Every day, I serve food to some of the most powerful people on earth, including many of the senators who are running for president: I’m a cook for the federal contractor that runs the US Senate cafeteria. But today, they’ll have to get their meals from someone else’s hands, because I’m on strike.

I am walking off my job because I want the presidential hopefuls to know that I live in poverty. Many senators canvas the country giving speeches about creating “opportunity” for workers and helping our kids achieve the “American dream” – most don’t seem to notice or care that workers in their own building are struggling to survive.

I’m a single father and I only make $12 an hour; I had to take a second job at a grocery store to make ends meet. But even though I work seven days a week – putting in 70 hours between my two jobs – I can’t manage to pay the rent, buy school supplies for my kids or even put food on the table. I hate to admit it, but I have to use food stamps so that my kids don’t go to bed hungry.

I’ve done everything that politicians say you need to do to get ahead and stay ahead: I work hard and play by the rules; I even graduated from college and worked as a substitute teacher for five years. But I got laid-off and I now I’m stuck trying to make ends meet with dead-end service jobs.

Continue reading

Russia to invest $2 billion to build natural gas pipeline in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Russia will invest a whopping $2 billion in Pakistan to build a 1,100-kilometre pipeline from southern port city of Karachi to Lahore to transport liquefied natural gas.

“Pakistan and Russia have finalized an LNG pipeline deal in a recent meeting in Moscow and the two countries will sign a government-to-government basis deal next month,” petroleum minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.

Abbasi said that in return for the investment, Russian companies will be awarded the contract to build the pipeline.

News courtesy: THE TIMES OF INDIA
Read more » http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/international-business/Russia-to-invest-2-billion-to-build-natural-gas-pipeline-in-Pakistan/articleshow/46970624.cms