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Pakistan will not attend OIC moot: FM Qureshi

India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is invited to the OIC moot as a guest of honour despite strong protest from Pakistan.

India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is invited to the OIC moot as a guest of honour despite strong protest from Pakistan. FM Qureshi informed the lawmakers that did not attend the conference in UAE in protest.The invitation was sent without consultation. Hence, I have decided to not attend the session, he told the Parliament.The foreign minister also wrote a letter addressed to the OIC content of which was approved by the members of the Lower House and political parties.India is not a member of the OIC, he asserted and added that Ankara and Tehran were also displeased over extending an invitation to New Delhi.Qureshi, briefing the parliament on his conversation with United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said: He said the invitation was extended before the Pulwama attack. But the crown prince showed the willingness to rethink the decision.
We have a total of 19 resolutions at the OIC – all include human rights violations committed by the Indian occupying forces in the disputed valley. Our stance will be presented at the conference by  officials from the foreign ministry.”“Any bid to grant observer’s status to India will be opposed by Pakistan at the OIC.The foreign minister further said that the decision was backed by Turkey and the country had promised to play their role in it.
In Hanoi, United States President Donald Trump said he did not want instability in the sub-continent. The US has long-standing ties with Pakistan, recently its relations with India have improved.Trump directed US envoys to play their part in de-escalating the recent situating. I thank him for the efforts.
In my trip to Moscow before the Pulwama attack, I had expressed concerns about possible misadventures from the Indian side. Today, the Indian nation and political opposition are vindicating Pakistan’s stance that Narendra Modi is escalating the situation for political gains, he said as he referred to Bharatiya Janata Partys (BJP) regional chief boasting that the air strike will secure at least 22 more seats for the party.
PM Imran tried to contact Modi thric Shehbaz Sharif lauds Turkeys supportTaking the floor after the foreign ministers address, Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif thanked Turkey for standing by Pakistan side in tumultuous times.Shehbaz regretted that other allies of the country did not issue statements favouring Pakistan’s stance.“It would have helped to strengthen our position globally.”The PML-N president further suggested sending a delegation to allied countries to push Islamabad’s narrative.
In the end, he thanked the armed forces for their sacrifice and paid tribute to the three armed services.PM throws ball in Modis courtPakistan should have engaged the OICPakistan Peoples Party co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, however, disagreed with the government’s decision to not attend the OIC conference.
“I feel Pakistan should have engaged the OIC as disengagement is not a solution. It will only drive India further.”Zardari stressed that OIC members were Pakistan’s friends. “I believe we should strengthen our ties with neighbours and allies.In 2008, after the Mumbai attack, we contained the situation through diplomatic channels by engaging our allies. I accept the government’s decision to not attend the conference but I would rather we went and held talks with the members.”The former president also thanked Pakistan Air Force (PAF) pilot Hasan Siddiqui for defending the country. “Yes, we are both nuclear-armed countries.
I would like to mention that Benazir Bhutto brought nuclear technology to Pakistan.”“We are emotional at the moment but we should not forget that wars are fought between nations and not just armies.And the nation is ready – but it should be our last resort.”“Modi’s adventurism has backfired.
God has been very kind. We managed to come out of the situation with dignity – we should hold on to it, not squander it.”Zardari said the captured pilot’s release was a welcome move. “It is soft diplomacy – and it is the need of the hour.
The move depicts us in a better light in the world. India is painting us as a terrorist state but our actions show that we are a democratic state.”Trump hints at de-escalation between India, Pakistan as US mediatesFully capable to defend our bordersFinance Minister Asad Umar began his address by paying tribute to the armed forces. “It is because of them that we can sleep peacefully at night.”Umar was impressed by Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan’s talk. “The forces are doing their job, the responsibility to ensure regional peace lies with the political leadership.”The PTI leader said that the nation was united at the moment, unlike India. He further urged the Modi-led government to contain war-hysteria.
“Pakistan may be going through an economic crisis but we are fully capable to defend our borders.”Pakistan to hand over captured IAF pilot to Indian authorities at Wagah BorderSupport FM Qureshi’s decisionFormer foreign minister Khawaja Asif expressed pleasure at the united front being shown to the world.
“India is using its Muslim population as leverage to become a member of the OIC. Today, they have been invited as a guest of honour, next they will vie for observer’s status.Hence, I support FM Qureshi’s decision to not attend the OIC.”He urged the Parliament to stand united and send a message to the world that Pakistan is eliminating terrorism.“The United State is ready to engage in dialogue after 17-year-long conflict. We are providing them an escape route,” he said.
Referring to PM Imran’s call to Modi – which the Indian premier ignored – Asif lamented that Nawaz Sharif was called a traitor for opening a dialogue with Modi. “Nawaz saw it coming.He urged economic development and ties. Today, Imran is doing the same thing.
And we are standing behind him [Imran],” he said as he urged for unity.Asif quipped that Imran can call Modi but shies away from shaking opposition leader’s hands.On Kashmir, he said freedom was every Kashmiri’s birthright. “Even the United Nations have endorsed that Kashmiris have a right to self-determination which India is denying.

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Forbes Travel Guide Reveals Its 2019 Star Award Winners

Forbes Travel Guide’s inspectors scoured the globe to discover the world’s best hotels, restaurants and spas for our 2019 Star Award winners.

Credit: Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai, Hoi AnForbes Travel Guide’s inspectors scoured the globe to discover the world’s best hotels, restaurants and spas for our 2019 Star Award winners.For the 61st annual list, we expanded to new destinations, including Anguilla, Bahrain, Belize, Danang, Doha, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Istanbul, Oman, Perth, the Swiss Alps, Tel Aviv and Uruguay. The result is our biggest and most diverse group of honorees yet.To find the top luxury experiences, our inspectors checked into a hotel for a minimum of two nights and posed as ordinary guests. Once there, they tested up to 900 objective, exacting standards that covered everything from whether a staff member greets you curbside within 30 seconds of pulling up in a car to whether housekeeping arranges toiletries on top of high-quality underliners on the counter.
The ratings emphasize graciousness, thoughtfulness and personalized service: 75 percent of a hotel’s score is based on its level of service, while 25 percent is determined by the quality of its facilities (for more on how a hotel earns a rating, click here).See the full list of Star-Rated properties here.
Below are some highlights from this year’s esteemed winners:Fairmont Pacific Rim. Credit: FRHI Hotels ResortsHotelsThe Peninsula Hotels emerged as the biggest winner it’s the first all Five-Star hotel company in Forbes Travel Guide history.The Peninsula Manila earned its inaugural Five-Star award, giving the Hong Kong-based brand a total of 10 top-rated hotels.Another brand with a stellar year was Bulgari Hotels Resorts, which claimed a trifecta of Five-Star honors for Bulgari Hotel Beijing; Bulgari Hotel Residences, London; and Bulgari Resort Bali.
This marks the first Five-Star wins for the company synonymous with the luxurious Roman jeweler.Elsewhere around the globe, countries seized their first Five-Star hotel distinction.
Among them were Malaysia’s Crockfords at Resorts World Genting, a secret spot whose luxurious rooms are mostly reserved for high rollers at the nearby casino; Portugal’s Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon, an icon whose outdoor rooftop track affords one of the best views of the city; South Korea’s The Shilla Seoul, a historic property outfitted with the latest technology from owner Samsung; Turkey’s Raffles Istanbul, which boasts an unbeatable location in Zorlu Center mall amid high-end shops, restaurants and an Eataly; and Vietnam’s Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai, Hoi An, a dreamy beach escape with three tiers of infinity pools and breezy villas.Other newcomers to the list include three hotels in the British capital: The Langham, London, whose experimental Artesian bar is a destination unto itself; Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park, London, which makes a triumphant comeback after a June 2018 fire; and Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London, which resides in one of the city’s most-recognized buildings, the hulking Renzo Piano-designed Shard.Four Seasons Resort Lanai. Credit: Four Seasons Hotels LimitedPlus, Five-Star awards went to Fairmont Pacific Rim, a sleek Vancouver spot offering Coal Harbour vistas and the see-and-be-seen restaurant Botanist; Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel in Paris, the 1909 grande dame that had a major facelift in 2017; and Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island, where each of the bright, modern rooms comes with views of the glittering gulf.
And there are two new Five-Star standouts in the United States. On the tiny 141-square-mile Hawaiian isle of Lanai, Four Seasons Resort Lanai offers the exclusivity of a private island alongside amenities like an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course (Bill Gates got married at the stunning 12th hole overlooking crashing waves).Salamander Resort Spa, an elegant equestrian-themed countryside getaway outside of D.C.was inspired by the home of Sheila C. Johnson, founder of the Salamander Hotels Resorts group and co-founder of BET.The final tally was 21 new Five-Star, 49 new Four-Star and 62 new Recommended hotels.

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Hair apparent: Hanoi barber offers free Trump, Kim cuts ahead of summit

HANOI (AFP) – Shorn on the sides, thick on top for the Kim Jong Un look; bright and blonde for the Donald Trump-loving customers: a creative Hanoi barber is offering free cuts ahead of the leaders’ meeting in the Vietnamese capital next week.
Barber Le Tuan Duong has been overrun with customers since word got out about his free dos, a gesture he’s offering out of sheer excitement for the February 27-28 meeting in Hanoi.But one style has come out on top.Over the past three days, I have made 200 Kim style haircuts, but only five for Trump, he told AFP in his cramped Tuan Duong beauty academy in Hanoi.He would normally charge a whopping $43 for the Trump dye-job, a steep fee in a city where most haircuts cost a few dollars.No matter that Trump’s infamous coif has come under fire, some Hanoians are delighted with the do.I want the Vietnamese to know more about Trump, through my hairstyle. For me, Trump is an excellent man and that’s why I want this hairstyle, a freshly dyed Vuong Bao Nam said.The barber is not the only artist in Hanoi paying tribute to the leaders.Painter Tran Lam Binh has been busy churning out technicolour peace portraits of the men, including one emblazoned with red hearts and the word L-O-V-E.
His colour palette may not be true to life, but Trump’s blonde locks and Kim’s full cheeks in the 10 or so paintings he has created so far are unmistakable.I really want the two leaders, or just one of them, to come and see my works here.I dream of giving one of the portraits to them, Binh told AFP from a Hanoi cafe where he has been working on the series.The self-proclaimed Trump obsessive started painting the American president after the election, and has about 50 portraits of him in his studio — some that he displayed in the US capital outside the White House in 2016.When I paint him, I feel like I understand his inner feelings through his eyes, his face, the 36-year-old artist said, standing next to several easels displaying his technicolor works.He has even sculpted a nearly two-metre (six-foot) statue of the brash US leader, and while Binh’s admiration for the reclusive Kim who has overseen North Korea’s nuclear ambitions has been slower to emerge, he has grown fond of him.I like his humour and his exhibitionist nature, he said.The meeting between Trump and Kim is aimed at building on their summit in Singapore in June, the first ever face-to-face between sitting leaders from the US and North Korea, which have never formally ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

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Top North Korean official says his country faces major food shortages, blaming weather and …

A senior North Korean official says his country is facing dwindling food supplies and has been forced to cut food rations for its people, according to memo, written by Kim Song, the North Korean ambassador to the United Nations, appears to be an unusual admission that the country lacks enough food to feed its people, a situation that Kim blamed on a combination of natural disasters and the sanctions regime that is making it difficult to obtain farming equipment.Song said the North Korean government was urgently requesting help from international organizations to feed its people.The memo was obtained by NBC News from the country’s United Nations mission.
Kim’s claims are difficult to verify, and his government has not always been a reliable source of internal statistics. He said a food assessment, conducted late last year in conjunction with the UN’s World Food Program, found that the country produced 503,000 fewer tons of food than in 2017 due to record high temperatures, drought, heavy rainfall and — in an unexpected admission — sanctions.In a plea for food assistance from international organizations, however, the memo states that sanctions “restricting the delivery of farming materials in need is another major reason” the country faces shortages that has forced it to cut “food rations per capita for a family of blue or white collar workers” from 550 grams to 300 grams in January.“All in all, it vindicates that humanitarian assistance from the UN agencies is terribly politicized and how barbaric and inhuman sanctions are,” the memo says.Though the country plans to increase food imports and harvest its crops early this year, the memo says that North Korea would still face food shortages and may only increase rations by 10 grams in July.This unusual admission from a country that tends toward secrecy came just before President Donald Trump prepares to face North Korea leader Kim Jong Un next week in Vietnam.The White House hopes to pressure Kim to rid his country of nuclear weapons.Experts warned, however, that the claims of a severe shortage might be a negotiating tactic ahead of the two-day summit.
“It may be admitting weakness, but it’s not without a plan,” said Dr. Victor Cha, who served as the director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council during the Bush administration.Cha said that North Korea may feel that it has some momentum to convince Trump to loosen the sanctions against it, especially with South Korea, China and Russia “beating down the doors of the United States.”But for the United States to blink in next week’s confrontation, the Trump administration will have to see results, Cha said.Related News Trump says second summit with North Koreas Kim Jong Un will be in Hanoi“They’re going to want some denuclearization steps from North Korea, but I don’t think the North Koreans are going to give up very much,” Cha said. “When we talk about any sanction-lifting though, a lot of experts would say the place where you can do the least harm and the most good for the North Korean people is through humanitarian sanctions.”Of North Korea’s 25 million people, 10.3 million or 41 percent of the population face food insecurity and 10.1 million suffer from malnutrition, according to a March 2018 UN report.North Korean leader Kim Jong Un provides field guidance to Farm No.1116 under KPA Unit 810, in this undated photo released in Pyongyang Sept. 13, 2016.  KCNA / via Reuters fileIn an attempt to increase the pressure against Kim’s regime and their nuclear program, the Trump administration increased sanctions that essentially cut off the flow of international humanitarian aid to North Korea, according to an August Reuters report. U.S. humanitarian aid in 2018 dropped nearly 57 percent from the year prior, the wire service reported.Though it is clear that North Korea is receiving less aid, it is more than unusual for them to publicly admit that sanctions are working and causing the nation to suffer.The White House National Security Council and the State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.North Korea has previously acknowledged food shortages, appealed for humanitarian aid and blamed international sanctions for creating problems for its agricultural production, experts and former U.S. officials said. The country has repeatedly suffered food crises in recent decades, due to a combination of inefficient collectivist farming methods and bad weather.
A devastating famine in the mid-1990s claimed the lives of up to three million people, and some aid experts called it one of the 20th century’s worst famines.Last year, the Trump administration stopped granting visas to humanitarian workers who had been traveling to North Korea to provide aid to farmers and medical assistance in a country where malaria and tuberculosis are endemic.Aid groups wrote a letter to the administration in October arguing that the block on visas violated international law, would exacerbate the country’s dire humanitarian situation and that would only undermine any diplomatic initiative by Washington.The administration told aid groups in January it would ease the restrictions to allow them to resume their work in the North.
Daniel Jasper, advocacy coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker charity that has conducted humanitarian work in North Korea for decades, said the sanctions and the way they have been enforced has “inhibited our operations.”“It’s reasonable to infer there would be food insecurity” as a result of the sanctions, Jasper said.Even if North Korea managed its resources more efficiently, it does not have enough arable land to feed its population of about 24 million people, Jasper said. Much of the Korean peninsula’s fertile land lies in South Korea.“The division has always taken a toll on food security in the North,” he said.The North Korean regime in the past also has linked negotiations over its nuclear program to food aid, demanding more assistance as a condition for taking part in talks.The new memo is consistent with Pyongyang’s tactics “to weaken the sanctions regime by appealing to humanitarian concerns,” said Jung Pak, a former CIA officer and now senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “Even though the regime imports hundreds of millions of dollars in luxury items, it consistently blames the U.S. and U.N. for its problems,” she said.Sue Mi Terry, who tracked North Korea as a CIA analyst, said she believes the regime is preparing the way for the upcoming summit.“What they want is sanctions relief.That’s the main thing that they’re looking for,” said Terry, now a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “They are laying the groundwork for this meeting with Trump.This makes sense.”The Trump administration will probably be open to broadening exemptions for humanitarian aid, as it would be something concrete to offer to Pyongyang without having to fully lift the economic sanctions before North Korea makes substantial concessions over its nuclear weapons program, she said.This could be “one of the deliverables at this second summit,” Terry said.Phil McCauslandPhil McCausland is an NBC News reporter focused on the rural-urban divide.

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