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President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would ban transgender people from the US military, a move appealing to some in his conservative political base but creating uncertainty about the fate of thousands of transgender service members.

The surprise announcement by Trump, who as a presidential candidate last year vowed to fight for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people, came in a series of morning Twitter posts. It drew condemnation from rights groups and some lawmakers in both parties as politically motivated discrimination but was praised by conservative activists and some Republicans.

The administration has not determined whether transgender individuals already serving in the military would be immediately thrown out, a point the White House and Pentagon have yet to decide, Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

A transgender ban would reverse Democratic former President Barack Obama's policy and halts years of efforts to eliminate barriers to military service based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

"After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US Military," Trump tweeted, without naming any of the generals or experts.

"Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail," he said.

Sanders said Trump had "extensive discussions with his national security team", and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was informed after the president made the decision on Tuesday.

"This was about military readiness," Sanders told a briefing. "This was about unit cohesion. This was about resources within the military, and nothing more."

The Pentagon earlier referred questions about Trump's decision to the White House.

Critics said the health costs of caring for transgender service members were a tiny portion of the military's healthcare budget and Trump's policy change was based on prejudice.

His action unleashed a torrent of legal threats from civil liberties advocates seeking plaintiffs willing to challenge the ban in court and sparked a protest by hundreds who rallied outside an armed forces recruiting station in Manhattan's Times Square.

"We are in a crisis. This is a dark day for everyone," Brad Hoylman, New York's sole openly gay state senator, said as he addressed the crowd, which carried "Resist" signs amid chants of: "Hey-hey, ho-ho, Donald Trump has got to go."

A MATTER OF TIMING

Trump's tweet caught some White House officials by surprise.

A senior administration official said Trump had been determined to act for a while but the question was the timing, with advisers split on whether to conduct reviews before announcing the move.

The announcement at least temporarily changed the subject in Washington, where Trump's administration faces investigations into his presidential campaign's contacts with Russia and has struggled to win major legislative victories.

It was not the first time Trump has targeted transgender people since taking office in January. In February, he rescinded protections for transgender students put in place by Obama that had let them use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity.

Senate Armed Forces Committee Chairman John McCain - the most prominent military veteran in Congress, who was a Navy pilot and prisoner of war during the Vietnam War - called Trump's announcement unclear and inappropriate until a Pentagon study on the issue is completed and reviewed by Mattis, the military leadership and lawmakers.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council advocacy group, was among those praising Trump, saying, "Our troops shouldn't be forced to endure hours of transgender 'sensitivity' classes and politically correct distractions."

Under Obama, the Pentagon last year announced it was ending its ban on transgender people serving openly, calling the prohibition outdated.

The Defense Department had been expected to begin formally allowing transgender people to enlist this year. But Mattis on June 30 approved a six-month delay in that step.

Transgender service members already number about 2,500 active-duty personnel, with about 1,500 more in the military reserves, according to a RAND Corporation think tank study cited last year by Obama's defense secretary, Ash Carter.

"To choose service members on other grounds than military qualifications is social policy and has no place in our military," Carter said on Wednesday, noting the existing ranks of transgender individuals serving "capably and honorably."

Advocacy groups said Trump's policy was open to legal challenge under the US Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law.

CHEAP POLITICAL POINTS

American Civil Liberties Union attorney Joshua Block said Trump had rejected the "basic humanity" of transgender service members.

"There are no cost or military readiness drawbacks associated with allowing trans people to fight for their country," Block said. "The president is trying to score cheap political points on the backs of military personnel who have put their lives on the line for their country."

The House of Representatives' top Democrat, Nancy Pelosi, noted that a Pentagon-commissioned study determined the cost of providing medically necessary transition-related care involving transgender service members would amount to about one-100th of 1 percent of the military's healthcare budget.

The study put the cost at USD 2.4 million to USD 8.4 million a year of the more than USD 50 billion the Defense Department spends on healthcare.

"Once again, President Trump has shown his conduct is driven not by honor, decency, or national security, but by raw prejudice," Pelosi said.

Retired Colonel Sheri Swokowski, 67, the highest-ranking openly transgender veteran, joined the criticism.

"Transgender people are serving today knowing that their leader frankly doesn't trust them," she said. "The bottom line is that this does great harm to people who simply want to serve their country."

SERVING THE NATION

US Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican whose son is transgender, said on Twitter: "No American, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, should be prohibited from honor and privilege of serving our nation."

Transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner defended "patriotic transgender Americans" in the military and asked Trump on Twitter, "What happened to your promise to fight for them?"

Canada's military also took to Twitter on Wednesday to say it welcomes citizens "of all sexual orientations and gender identities," adding the hashtag #DiversityIsOurStrength.

But Vicky Hartzler, a Republican congresswoman, praised Trump for changing Obama's "costly and damaging policy."

The US military's ban on gays serving openly in the armed forces ended under Obama in 2011 after Congress passed legislation in 2010 reversing a law dubbed "don't ask, don't tell" that had forced the ouster of thousands of service members and others to hide their sexual orientation.

The Pentagon under Obama also opened all combat roles in the military to women.

The US military at times has been in the vanguard of social progress. Trump's action came on the 69th anniversary of Democratic President Harry Truman racially integrating the armed forces, years before the 1950s and 1960s civil rights battles.

 

 

 

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Sri Lanka clears revised deal for Hambantota port

Written by Wednesday, 26 July 2017 05:55

 

Sri Lanka’s Cabinet on Tuesday cleared a revised deal for the Chinese-built port in Hambantota, the government said. The modified agreement, the government added, was more profitable to Sri Lanka and also addressed security concerns raised by other countries.

Speaking to reporters here, Ports Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said the Cabinet gave final approval to sell 70% stake in the southern port to the state-run China Merchants Port Holdings for $1.12 billion. “Some [diplomatic] missions here were worried that the port would be used as a military naval base. As per the revised agreement Sri Lanka will manage the port security,” he said.

While the Chinese would manage port operations, “no naval ship, including Chinese ones, can call at Hambantota without our permission”, Mr. Samarasinghe added.

Wary of the Chinese

India’s apprehensions about the apparently growing Chinese presence in the island nation are well known, given the two countries’ competing strategic interests here. The Hambantota port is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Beijing’s stake in the port and its plan to acquire 15,000 acres of adjoining land to help Colombo set up an industrial zone have strengthened the fears of those wary of China’s growth in the region. “Our foreign policy today is reaching out to everyone and not giving special treatment to anyone,” Mr. Samarasinghe said, responding to accusations that the current government is as close to Beijing as Mahinda Rajapaksa’s administration was.

The Hambantota port was built with Chinese loans in 2010 during Mr. Rajapaksa’s term. Deeming the project a “white elephant”, the Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe government decided in late 2016 to sell 80% stake in the port to the Chinese company in order to tackle the $8 billion debt Sri Lanka owes China. Under the agreement, Colombo will receive $1.12 billion for a 99-year lease. The deal would be tabled in Parliament on Friday, and is likely to be signed on Saturday, the Ports Minister said.

 

 

 

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WASHINGTON: China is increasingly resorting to "coercive, assertive practices" to achieve its goals in the Asia-Pacific region, as seen in the disputed South China Sea, a senior official of the US foreign intelligence service said.

The remarks from Michael Collins, deputy assistant director at the Central Intelligence Agency's East Asian Mission Centre, came as the Pentagon on Monday said that a US Navy surveillance aircraft was intercepted on Sunday by two Chinese J-10 fighters in an "unsafe" manner over the disputed East China Sea.

China and Japan, a longtime US ally, have rival claims over a chain of islands in the East China Sea. Tensions have flashed several times over the Senkaku Islands, which Beijing claims as Diaoyu Islands.

China has also been locked in territorial disputes with several of its other neighbours in the South China Sea, parts of which is claimed by Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and the Philippines.

It has heavily militarized some islands with major land reclamation work, drawing protests from several countries including the US - which has carried out "freedom of navigation" operations through the waters claimed by China.

At the Aspen Institutes' 2017 Security Forum, Collins said: "They (Chinese) are increasingly resorting to coercive, assertive practices to achieve their ends, things that we don't subscribe to and others in the region does subscribe to. And for that reason, for us to understand issues such as North Korea, South China Sea, trade, how China is approaching these issues, we have to be mindful of that."

He, however, said the Chinese behaviour "does not mean" the US and China were headed for war in the region.

"They do not want backlash in East Asia. And they need a stable, robust relationship with the US and the international community for the economic needs and the technology they need to move their country forward," Collins said.

"We have to be mindful about what they face internally... And to them, they have to keep that quite secure. To that end, they need stability and close relations and stay in relations with United States," the CIA official said.

While Collins did not refer to the ongoing India-China border standoff in the Sikkim sector, Japanese Ambassador to the US Kenichiro Sasae brought India into the picture.

"We continue to develop some of the alliance network and network of friends, including ASEAN, and also India these days," he said.

"The Chinese ambition is not simply limited to try to equal with United States in the area of Asia-Pacific... That is not simply for the economic ambition, it's more of the strategic ambition. They want to compete with US," he said.

He said China has global expansion goals.

"It is obvious. I think that dream is like 12 and 13 century of Ming Dynasty. They reached over to the Indian Ocean and into the Middle East. I think that's the region they might have are deep into their mind," he said, responding to a question on China's One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative.

The OBOR is an ambitious Chinese plan to link the country to Africa and Europe through several trade corridors.

According to Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia and the director of China Power Project, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, the Chinese are trying to organise the regions in a way that it is more Sino-centric, where China can prevail and can essentially compel other nations in the region to put China's interest first and show deference to China.

"That is a major challenge for the US," he said.

"We have to think about China not just in terms of discrete issues like North Korea or cyber as we have talked about at this conference, but more of a global challenge, and we need more of a whole of government strategy to deal with the growing strategic competition between the US and China. The competition is inevitable; war is not," Glaser said.

 

 

 

 

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KABUL:  At least 24 people have been killed and 42 wounded after a car bomb rocked Kabul just before 7:00 am today, an interior ministry spokesman told AFP.

"The car bomb hit a bus carrying employees of the ministry of mines during rush hour," the official, Najib Danish said.

No terrorist group immediately claimed the blast, but it came as the Taliban have stepped up attacks across the country in recent days, with several new districts falling to the militants over the weekend.

The neighbourhood in which Monday's bomb detonated is home to many Shiite Hazaras, a persecuted ethnic minority who have been targeted many times in the past.

It is also near prominent politician and former warlord Mohammad Mohaqeq's home. Omid Maisom Mohaqiq, a spokesman for the politician, said the bomb had detonated near the first checkpoint approaching the house, "killing and wounding some civilians".

Kabul is regularly rocked by suicide bombs and attacks. A recent UN report showed they accounted for nearly one-fifth of all civilian Afghan casualties in the first half of 2017.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which has been documenting civilian casualties since 2009, said in its recent report that 1,662 civilians were killed and more than 3,500 injured in the first six months of the year.

Many of those deaths happened in a devastating single attack in Kabul in late May when a truck bomb exploded, also during the morning rush hour, killing more than 150 people and injuring hundreds.

UNAMA put the civilian death toll at 92, saying it was the deadliest incident to hit the country since 2001.

The bloody toll for the first six months of 2017 has unsettled the government of President Ashraf Ghani, who has come under increasing pressure since the May attack in Kabul.

Protests and deadly street clashes hit the Afghan capital in the wake of the May attack as people incensed by security failures called for his government's resignation.

The UNAMA report also said that nearly half of Afghanistan's 34 provinces have seen an increase in civilian deaths in the first six months of the year, mainly due to the rise in attacks by anti-government forces across the country.

NATO's combat mission in Afghanistan ended three years ago, handing sole responsibility to the country's security forces, who has also suffered spiralling casualties ever since as they try to beat back the resurgent Taliban and contain the growing threat from ISIS.

 

 

 

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Washington: The White House has warned Tehran of 'new and serious consequences' if it does not return the "unjustly" imprisoned US citizens, alleging that Iran uses detentions and hostages as a tool of state policy.

Condemning Tehran for the recent sentencing of Xiyue Wang to 10 years in prison, the White House said in a statement yesterday: "President Donald Trump is prepared to impose new and serious consequences on Iran unless all unjustly imprisoned American citizens are released and returned."

Holding Iran "responsible" for the care and well-being of the US citizens in its custody, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that it has used detentions and hostage taking as a tool of state policy for nearly 45 years and that "it is a practice that continues to this day with the recent sentencing of Xiyue Wang to 10 years in prison."

A 37-year-old researcher at Princeton University, Xiyue is a Chinese American accused of "infiltration" in Iran.

Trump urges Iran to return Robert Levinson home, who has been held for over 10 years, and demands the release of Siamak and Baquer Namazi, who were taken during the Obama administration, along with all other American citizens unjustly detained by Iran, she said. 

"Trump is prepared to impose new and serious consequences on Iran unless all unjustly imprisoned American citizens are released and returned," she said, adding that the
administration is redoubling its efforts to bring home all Americans "unjustly" detained abroad. 

The tough warning comes just days after Trump rowed back on a campaign promise and upheld the Iran nuclear deal, while introducing new non-nuclear related sanctions.

"The United States condemns hostage takers and nations that continue to take hostages and detain our citizens without just cause or due process," she said.

Washington and Tehran do not share diplomatic ties since April 1980 in the wake of the Islamic revolution, and tensions have sharpened under Trump. The threat of prisoner-related sanctions opens up a new front in tensions between the two countries.

 

 

 

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JERUSALEM: 

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Details of Netanyahu's meeting accidently leaked because of open mic
  2. Four European leaders were present at the closed meeting
  3. In leaked conversation, Israeli PM referred to PM Modi's visit to Israel
 
 

Citing strong ties with Asian giants India and China, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched a blistering attack against the European Union (EU) describing its treatment of the Jewish state as "crazy" and "self-defeating".

"We have a peculiar situation. The European Union is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel, that produces technology in every area, on political conditions. The only one," Mr Netanyahu told four European leaders yesterday during a closed meeting that was inadvertently caught by an open microphone.

The details of the meeting accidentally got broadcast to journalists in a nearby room because of the open microphone.

The feed was cut off as soon as it was discovered.

Pointing towards Israel's growing technological collaborations with India and China, without such conditions, Mr Netanyahu emphasised that Chinese President Xi Jinping called Israel an "innovation giant".

"We have a special relationship with China and they don't care about the political issues," local media quoted him as saying.

The Israeli leader also referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to Israel, saying that the Indian leader said he needed to take care of India's interests.

"I need more water, clean water. Where will I get it...," Mr Netanyahu quoted PM Modi as saying.

He made the comments during the closed meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Czech Republic Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo and Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico.

"I think it is crazy, I think it is actually crazy," Mr Netanyahu said. "I am not talking about my interests, Israel's interests; I'm talking about Europe's interests." 

"Europe is endangering its own development by endangering its ties with Israel over this crazy attempt to create conditions" for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, he said, adding that Israel is right there and Europe is disconnecting itself from this massive center of innovation.

"If this were only about my interests, I wouldn't have brought it up. Don't undermine the only country in the region that is looking after Europe's interests. Stop attacking Israel, support Israel," the Israeli premier warned.

Mr Orban responded to Mr Netanyahu in a conciliatory tone, saying that EU sets similar conditions to its member states as well.

"Europe must decide if it wants to live and prosper or wither and disappear. I see you're shocked because I'm not being politically correct," Mr Netanyahu told the EU leaders in an unprecedented tirade.

He went on to further talk about his disagreements with former president Barack Obama and even accepted hitting arms transfers to Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah in Syria dozens of times, something the international media attributes to Israel but the Jewish state maintains ambiguity around it, neither accepting responsibility nor denying it.

"We had a big problem with US policy. It's different now. There's a stronger stance against Iran. There's a renewed American presence in our region and more bombings, and that's positive," Mr Netanyahu said.

"I told (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, when we see (Iran) transferring weapons to Hezbollah, we'll hit them. We've done it dozens of times," he was heard as saying.

The hawkish leader was trying to convince his counterparts to communicate to their colleagues the need to push forward the EU-Israel Association agreement that has been frozen since Israel's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2008- 2009.

 

 

 

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UNITED NATIONS:  The United States and Russia are waging rival campaigns at the United Nations Security Council over the type of ballistic missile fired by North Korea earlier this month as the US pushes to impose stronger sanctions on Pyongyang over the test.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley held an intelligence briefing for her council colleagues on Monday to argue that Pyongyang fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), diplomats said, which was attended by Russia and North Korean ally China.

UN diplomats said Russia had suggested that Russian and US military experts exchange information on the launch.

The US briefing came after Russia sent a brief letter and diagram on July 8 to the 15-member Security Council, seen by Reuters, asserting that its radars determined that the missile launched by Pyongyang on July 4 was medium-range.

Russia's contention that North Korea did not fire an ICBM hinders Washington's push for the Security Council to impose stronger sanctions on North Korea. The United States, Russia, China, Britain and France are veto-wielding council members.

Typically the council has condemned medium-range ballistic missiles launches by North Korea with a statement. Diplomats say China and Russia only view a long-range missile test or nuclear weapon test as a trigger for further possible UN sanctions.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has described the missile launch as an ICBM test, which completes his country's strategic weapons capability that includes atomic and hydrogen bombs, the state KCNA news agency said.

North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programmes and the Security Council had ratcheted up the measures in response to five nuclear weapons tests and two long-range missile launches.

The United States gave China a draft resolution two weeks ago to impose stronger sanctions on North Korea over the July 4 missile launch. Haley had been aiming for a vote within weeks, but a senior UN diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, described the US negotiations with China as "slow-going."

Traditionally, the United States and China have negotiated sanctions on North Korea before formally involving other council members. Diplomats said Washington informally keeps Britain and France in the loop, while China was likely talking to Russia.

Haley said on July 5 that some options to strengthen UN sanctions were to restrict the flow of oil to North Korea's military and weapons programmes, increasing air and maritime restrictions and imposing sanctions on senior officials.

Following a nuclear weapons test by North Korea in September, while US President Barack Obama was still in office, it took the UN Security Council three months to agree to strengthened sanctions.

Shortly after North Korea's July 4 missile launch Russia objected to a Security Council condemnation because a US-drafted press statement labeled it an ICBM. Diplomats said negotiations on the statement stalled.

 

 

 

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U.S. President Donald Trump had a second undisclosed meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of G20 summit in Germany early this month, according to media reports.

The White House has confirmed that the two leaders spoke during the G20 dinner, but said it is incorrect to describe it as the second meeting.

“There was no “second meeting” between President Trump and President Putin, just a brief conversation at the end of a dinner. The insinuation that the White House has tried to “hide” a second meeting is false, malicious and absurd,” the White House said on Tuesday night after various media reports came about the second meeting.

The meeting lasted for about an hour and was in addition to the two and half hour meeting the two leaders had as part of the structured dialogue, the media reports claimed.

“It is not merely perfectly normal, it is part of a President’s duties, to interact with world leaders. Throughout the G20 and in all his other foreign engagements, President Trump has demonstrated American leadership by representing our interests and values on the world stage,” the White House said in support of the meeting.

The White House said during the night of the G20 summit, there was, first, a concert for all the leaders in the new Hamburg opera house. The leaders were all photographed by the press in before going inside.

Later that night, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted a dinner for leaders and spouses only, and the German government set the seating arrangements, it said.

The concert and dinner were publicly announced on both the President’s schedule and the G20 schedule, with the clear understanding that all visiting leaders would be present, it added.

“At the dinner, President Trump was seated between Mrs Abe, wife of the Prime Minister of Japan, and Mrs Macri, wife of the President of Argentina. Mrs Trump was seated next to President Putin,” the White House said.

During the course of the dinner, all the leaders circulated throughout the room and spoke with one another freely, the White House explained.

“President Trump spoke with many leaders during the course of the evening. As the dinner was concluding, President Trump went over to Mrs Trump, where he spoke briefly with President Putin,” it said.

“Each couple was allowed one translator. The American translator accompanying President Trump spoke Japanese. When President Trump spoke to President Putin, the two leaders used the Russian translator, since the American translator did not speak Russian,” the White House said.

Protocol breach

Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group, the absence of American translator in the meeting was breach of national security protocol.

“Never in my life as a political scientist have I seen two countries — major countries — with a constellation of national interests that are as dissonant, while the two leaders seem to be doing everything possible to make nice and be close to each other,” he told Bloomberg in an interview.

The New York Times said the meeting raises new questions about Trump-Putin relationship.

“The intimate dinner conversation, of which there is no official US government record, because no American official other than the president was involved, is the latest to raise eyebrows. Foreign leaders who witnessed it later commented privately on the oddity of an American president flaunting such a close rapport with his Russian counterpart,” the daily reported.

“Pretty much everyone at the dinner thought this was really weird, that here is the president of the US, who clearly wants to display that he has a better relationship personally with President Putin than any of us, or simply doesn’t care,” Bremmer was quoted as saying by The New York Times.

Bremmer said he heard directly from attendees.

“They were flummoxed, they were confused and they were startled,” he said.

But in a series of two tweets, Trump slammed the media.

“Fake News story of secret dinner with Putin is “sick.” All G20 leaders, and spouses, were invited by the Chancellor of Germany,” Trump said.

“Press knew about it. The Fake News is becoming more and more dishonest! Even a dinner arranged for top 20 leaders in Germany is made to look sinister!” Trump said in another tweet.

 

 

 

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A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.8 off Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula triggered a tsunami warning but the threat has now passed, the US Geological Survey and US Pacific Tsunami Center said.

The quake struck at 11:34 am on Tuesday (2334 GMT on Monday) some 125 miles (200 km) from the city of Nikolskoye on Bering island off the Kamchatka Peninsula. The epicenter was west of Attu, the westernmost and largest island in the Near Islands group of Alaska's remote Aleutian Islands.

The earthquake was very shallow, only 6 miles (10 km) below the seabed, which would have amplified its effect, but it was far from any mainland and there were no immediate reports of any casualties or damage.

The Kamchatka branch of Russia's emergency situations ministry had warned that waves up to 50 cm (1-2/2 feet) high could reach Nikolskoye.

The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center had warned earlier that "hazardous tsunami waves were possible for coasts within 300 km (186 miles) of the earthquake epicenter." But it later said that based on all available data the tsunami threat from this earthquake had passed.

The quake was initially reported as a magnitude 7.7 before being revised down to 7.4 and finally upgraded to 7.8, a major quake normally capable of causing widespread and heavy damage when striking on or near land.

The quake was followed by numerous aftershocks, including several above magnitude 5.0.

 

 

 

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The Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which is probing Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family’s financial history in the Panama Papers probe, has found a “significant disparity” between their declared wealth and known sources of income. This massive increase has been noted to have happened during the year 1992-93 when Sharif was the Prime Minister of the country. The JIT in its report had found Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, and sons Hussain and Hassan Nawaz guilty of financial irregularities including tax evasion. However, Sharif termed the report as ‘baseless’.

The six-member panel of the JIT, in the 9th Volume of its 256-page report, said the wealth of the fortunes of Sharif’s father, late Mian Muhammad Sharif, had multiplied 4.3 times from Rs 7.53 million to Rs 32.15 million, but his source of income is not commensurate with the increase in his assets.

According to a partial copy released, the report said, “There exists a significant disparity between the wealth declared by the respondents and the means through which the respondents had generated income from known or declared sources.”

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday resumed the hearing of Panama Papers case after the JIT submitted its final report to it on the matter. The court had ordered the JIT investigation into Panama case, in which the Sharif children were embroiled, in April to look into the murky offshore dealings of the family.

The Pakistan PM has faced corruption allegations since coming to power in parliamentary elections in 2013.

JIT has also accused Maryam, Sharif’s daughter and his likely political successor of handing over forged, false documents to the investigators. She was caught because of the Calibri font used in the documents which did not become publicly available until well after 2006, the year of which the documents were purportedly dated. The report also said that Maryam had been a part of the family business since she was a student and possessed assets worth Rs 1.47 million since 1991-92 and started filing tax returns. She also owned assets worth millions of rupees though she didn’t have a visible source of income. Her assets grew 21 times in 1992-93 from Rs 1.47 million to Rs 30.5 million without any declared income, according to The Express Tribune.

The JIT report also said that despite having least source of income, the wealth of Hussain Nawaz increased 10 times from Rs 3.3 million to Rs 33.63 million in 1992-93. Also, Sharif’s second son Hassan Nawaz owned assets worth of Rs 2.4 million in 1991-92 which increased by 13.14 times to Rs 31.55 million in 1992-93.

 

 

 

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