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Dec 4 (Reuters) - Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack on Pakistan's embassy in the Afghan capital Kabul on Friday, a statement carried by one of the militant group's affiliated channels on Telegram said on Sunday. The embassy came under attack on Friday with gunfire wounding a Pakistani security guard, officials said, in what Islamabad called an attempt to assassinate its head of mission, who was unhurt. Islamic state claimed the attack was carried by two of its members armed with "medium and sniper weapons" and was targeting the ambassador and his guards who were present at the courtyard of the embassy. The attack injured at least one guard and caused damage to the building, the group said. Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
England scent victory after bold declaration
  + stars: | 2022-12-04 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +3 min
Having taken a 78-run lead in the runfest, England declared their second innings on 264-7 to set Pakistan an improbable victory target of 343 with four sessions to go. Opener Imam-ul-Haq (43) and debutant Saud Shakeel (24) were resisting England's victory march when bad light stopped play. Agha Salman's breezy 53 frustrated England who had to toil for about 75 minutes to claim the last three Pakistan wickets. England were rattled early in their second innings with Naseem Shah in the thick of things. Naseem dismissed Ben Duckett, one of four century-makers in England's first innings, for a first-ball duck with the second delivery of the innings.
England set Pakistan 343 to win Rawalpindi test
  + stars: | 2022-12-04 | by ( Hritika Sharma | ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +1 min
[1/10] Cricket - First Test - England v Pakistan - Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi, Pakistan - December 4, 2022 Pakistan's players wait for the third umpire's decision for England's Zak Crawley's dismissal REUTERS/Tanveer ShahzadRAWALPINDI, Pakistan, Dec 4 (Reuters) - England declared their second innings on 264-7 to set Pakistan a victory target of 343 in the first test in Rawalpindi on Sunday. Harry Brook (87), Joe Root (73) and Zak Crawley (50) scored half-centuries for England who amassed 657 in their first innings. Naseem Shah, Mohammad Ali and Zahir Mahmood claimed two wickets apiece for Pakistan who conceded a 78-run lead to England. England, on their first test tour of Pakistan since 2005, will also play matches in Multan and Karachi. Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Ed OsmondOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
ISLAMABAD, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Pakistan repaid a $1 billion international bond, the central bank spokesman said on Friday, amidst growing uncertainty about the country's ability to meet external financing obligations. "The payment (was) made to Citibank New York," State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) spokesman Abid Qamar told Reuters in a message. The bond repayment, which matures on Dec. 5, totals $1.08 billion, the central bank chief said last week. During the week ended Nov. 25, SBP reserves stood at $7,498.7 million. Saudi Arabia on Friday also extended the term of a $3 billion deposit it has in Pakistan's foreign reserves.
PESHAWAR, Dec 3 (Reuters) - The Pakistani Taliban on Saturday claimed responsibility for a gun ambush that killed three police officers in northern Pakistan, the second attack claimed by the group just days after it announced an end to a ceasefire with the government. He said three police officers were killed on the spot and the identity of the attackers was unknown. The militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement. The Afghan Taliban have been facilitating peace talks between local militants and the government since late last year. The Pakistan army has conducted several operations against the militants in their strongholds in lawless districts along Afghan border in recent months.
Dec 3 (Reuters) - Pakistan's new army chief on Saturday said the military was ready to defend "every inch of our motherland" if attacked, during a visit to the Line of Control (LoC) that divides the disputed Kashmir region, which is claimed by both Pakistan and neighbouring India. The visit came less than a week since General Asim Munir took charge of Pakistan's powerful military, and were among his strongest public statements on arch-rival India since taking up the role. The two South Asian nuclear powers both claim the Kashmir region in full, but rule only parts, and have fought two of their three wars over the area. Since early 2021, the LoC has been mostly quiet, following the renewal of a ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan. Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield Editing by Ros RussellOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Pakistani embassy in Kabul attacked, one injured
  + stars: | 2022-12-02 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +3 min
A spokesperson for Kabul police said the embassy compound was targeted by gunfire from a nearby building. Pakistan's Foreign Office said the attack had been aimed at the head of mission, Ubaid-ur-Rehman Nizamani. It said Nizamani was safe, but a Pakistani security guard, Sepoy Israr Mohammad, was critically wounded in the attack while protecting the ambassador. A spokesperson for Pakistan's foreign office said they had no plans to evacuate the embassy after the incident. "(The) Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan strongly condemns the attempted shooting and failed attack on the Pakistani embassy in Kabul," spokesperson Abdul Qahar Balkhi said on Twitter, adding that Taliban security agencies would investigate.
WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERSWASHINGTON, Dec 2 (Reuters) - The United States on Friday designated China, Iran and Russia, among others, as countries of particular concern under the Religious Freedom Act over severe violations, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. Blinken in a statement said those designated as countries of particular concern - which also include North Korea and Myanmar - engaged in or tolerated severe violations of religious freedom. The United States has expressed grave concerns about human rights in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang, which is home to 10 million Uyghurs. The other countries designated as countries of particular concern were Cuba, Eritrea, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Religious Freedom Act of 1998 requires the president – who assigns the function to the secretary of State – to designate as countries of particular concern states that are deemed to violate religious freedom on a systematic and ongoing basis.
CAIRO, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia on Friday extended the term of a $3 billion deposit it made to Pakistan's foreign reserves, state news agency SPA and Pakistan's central bank said. Saudi Arabia deposited the money in Pakistan's central bank late last year as a loan to shore up the cash-strapped country's reserves. The central bank reserves stood at $7.5 billion as of Nov 25 this year. "Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) extended the term for the deposit provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the amount of 3 billion dollars to the State Bank of Pakistan," the bank said in a statement. Reporting by Alaa Swilam in Cairo and Asif Shahzad in Islamabad; Editing by Alex Richardson, William MacleanOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
World Cup delirium ignites alleys of Pakistan's 'mini Brazil'
  + stars: | 2022-12-02 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +2 min
Thousands turned out in "Mini Brazil" last Monday when Brazil played Switzerland, sporting the classic yellow and green colours of their favourite team as they gathered in front of large television screens to the sound of raucous music. "Very powerful matches and the Brazil match," said Ashiq Hussain, one of the young players from the academy, adding that he found the matches inspiring. "I went for my job wearing the Brazil shirt, and now at night, I am still wearing the shirt during the match," said another fan, Mohammad Yasin. Brazil's success in that match will draw out thousands more in "Mini Brazil" on Friday, when the team face off against Cameroon. If they draw or win, Brazil will top their Group G.If they lose and Switzerland win against Serbia, the goal difference will decide the top spot.
One month since Arshad Sharif was killed, Kenyan and Pakistani authorities have not concluded their reports nor have there been any arrests in the case. “I have no faith in the Pakistani government,” his mother, Riffat Ara Alvi told CNN in a video interview. But I request all the international journalistic organizations and United Nations to investigate this killing,” his widow, Javeria Siddique told CNN. Arshad Sharif Sharif was a critic of the Pakistani military and an ally of former prime minister Imran Khan. Sharif and Khurram Ahmed left Ammodump around 8:30 p.m. local time, a detective involved in the case told CNN.
"I remember reading a book once called, 'Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers,'" Poirier said at the company's investor day. Calgary, Alberta-based TC is widely known for its Keystone oil pipeline, a critical artery for moving Canadian oil to U.S. refiners that dominated headlines over the past decade for an expansion that ultimately failed. Keystone could fetch TC C$12.8 billion, said CIBC analyst Robert Catellier in a note. He added that reducing TC's oil exposure would help it reach its emissions-reduction goals. TC's stake in the Millennium natural gas pipeline in New York state is another logical sale candidate and could fetch $1 billion, said Scotiabank analyst Robert Hope.
Cassie De Pecol has traveled to all 193 sovereign nations in addition to Taiwan, Kosovo, and Palestine. These are some of her top travel tips — from her favorite airlines to how to stay safe as a solo traveler. So I decided to go after the Guinness World Record for traveling to every country in the fastest amount of time. How I traveled to 193 countries in just over 18 monthsCassie De Pecol in North Korea. If you can, pack lightFor my trip around the world, I traveled with just a backpack.
The bubble in predicting the end of the world
  + stars: | 2022-12-01 | by ( Edward Chancellor | ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +7 min
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers says the world faces the “most complex, disparate and cross-cutting set of challenges” he’s ever encountered. In his wittily titled “The End of the World is Just the Beginning”, the geopolitical strategist suggests that a number of countries from Germany to China face insuperable demographic challenges. The threat to America’s global hegemony from China is the subject of Ray Dalio’s “The Changing World Order”. The U.S. stock market bubble has only partially deflated, bond yields around the world trail below inflation, and global property markets are exposed to rising interest rates. The Assyrian who forecast the world would end in 2800 BC was wrong.
Pakistan Taliban Attacks Police After Calling Off Cease-Fire
  + stars: | 2022-11-30 | by ( Saeed Shah | ) www.wsj.com   time to read: 1 min
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—An attack claimed by the Pakistani Taliban killed at least four people Wednesday, just two days after the group announced the end of a shaky cease-fire. An explosion hit a truck carrying policemen on their way to be deployed as security for polio vaccinators, outside the western city of Quetta. The Civil Hospital in Quetta said that it received four dead and 29 injured.
Follow along for live coverage of the World Cup. Morgan had asked for "the honest, realistic total" of migrant workers who had died in the course of contributing to projects somehow related to the World Cup. The figure has not previously appeared in official reports from the Supreme Committee or FIFA, soccer's global body. There are about 2 million migrant workers in Qatar — an estimated 95 percent of the country’s total working population. Thousands of young men from south Asia worked on this and other World Cup projects.
QUETTA, Pakistan, Nov 30 (Reuters) - A suicide bomb blast in Pakistan's southwestern city of Quetta targeted a police patrol on Wednesday, killing three people and wounding 28, police said. "A bomb blast that targeted a police patrol wounded more than 30 people, including 15 police," a police official, Abdul Haq, told Reuters. The patrol had been guarding a polio vaccination team at the time of the suicide blast, he added. Islamist militants in Pakistan often target polio vaccination teams, in the belief that the immunisation effort is a Western tool to spy on them. Quetta is the capital of Pakistan's province of Balochistan bordering Afghanistan and Iran, where both Islamist and separatist insurgents operate.
Pakistani cities like Karachi suffered rolling power outages this summer after the government cut energy imports to preserve dollars for debt payments. Pakistan turns the power off for up to six hours a day across the country. Ghana’s government has frozen payments to contractors, stalling road construction and prompting schools to warn they may have to stop serving student lunches. El Salvador is limiting hospital services and programs for the elderly. Across much of the developing world, cash-strapped governments are having to cut spending and freeze investments so they can pay creditors, as the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate hikes drive up borrowing costs.
CNN —Three astronauts lifted off to China’s nearly completed space station on Tuesday, marking the beginning of the country’s long-term presence in space. The Shenzhou-15 spacecraft is expected to dock with the Tiangong Space Station about 6.5 hours after launch. VCG/Getty ImagesSmaller than the ISSOnce construction is completed, the space station is expected to last for 15 years. Tiangong, which means heavenly palace, is smaller than the International Space Station but similar in its modular design. The new space station will typically house three rather than six astronauts.
Pakistan, IMF begin talks on $7 bln loan review
  + stars: | 2022-11-28 | by ( Asif Shahzad | ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +2 min
"The IMF understands that the floods have changed the macroeconomic assumptions on which the programme was designed," the ministry told Reuters. Pakistan reserves stood at $7.8 billion as of Nov. 18, barely enough to cover imports for a month. ARY News reported on Monday that the IMF had asked Pakistan to reduce expenses before talks on the ninth review. The ninth review has been pending since September. The IMF told Reuters last week that finalisation of a recovery plan from the floods was essential to support discussions, along with continued financial support from multilateral and bilateral partners.
ATHENS, Nov 28 (Reuters Breakingviews) - There will be no joy if countries get help for climate damage from a fund promised at COP27, but the planet still fries. Call this a country’s “above average emissions“. When you run the numbers from 1992 to 2019, America is the biggest polluter, responsible for 44% of all the “above average emissions”. DYNAMIC FORMULAIt seems fair to look at above average emissions to date when judging who should pay for a current climate disaster, such as the flooding in Pakistan. If one froze the formula on the basis of above average emissions up to now, countries wouldn’t have an incentive to cut their pollution.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Taliban militants in Pakistan will no longer abide by a months-long ceasefire with the Pakistani government, a spokesman for the militant group said on Monday. The Afghan Taliban have been facilitating peace talks between local militants and the government since late last year. The end of the ceasefire comes ahead of a visit by a Pakistani delegation, led by state minister for foreign affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, to Kabul on Tuesday. Mohammad Khurasani, a spokesman for the militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) told Reuters in a text message that its leadership had decided to end the ceasefire with Pakistan. The Pakistani military has carried out several offensives against the militants in their strongholds in remote lawless districts bordering Afghanistan.
Flooding in Pakistan was cited in an agreement to set up a fund for nations harmed by the effects of climate change. Delegates at the recent COP27 climate summit in Egypt agreed to set up a fund to compensate poorer nations harmed by the effects of climate change. But figuring out the extent to which climate change causes the harm, and to which countries, is testing the limits of a new field known as attribution science. The United Nations loss-and-damage fund aims to transfer money from wealthy nations to poor nations deemed especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Some analysts expect the annual financing needs of the countries to reach $290 billion to $580 billion by 2030.
Khan has been holding country-wide protests to push the government for early elections since being ousted from power in April. He named Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and a senior military official of plotting his assassination, but both the government and military have denied involvement. On Saturday, Khan arrived on stage using a walking frame and addressed the crowd from behind bulletproof glass. He said he had been told by various security sources there was still a threat to his life. PTI has already resigned from the federal parliament, but remains in power in two provinces and two administrative units.
Even when a civilian government holds power, Pakistan's generals retain a dominant influence over security matters and foreign affairs. He later headed Pakistan's two most influential intelligence agencies - Military Intelligence (MI) in 2017 and then the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in 2018. WHY IT MATTERS GLOBALLYPakistan's army chief will play a key role in managing risks of conflict with nuclear-armed rival India on its eastern border, while dealing with potential instability and friction with Afghanistan on its western frontier. The incoming army chief could potentially play a key role in lowering the political temperature as Pakistan attempts to survive an economic crisis and recover from historic floods. He even summoned Pakistan's top industrialists to a meeting at army headquarters to encourage them to pay more tax.
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