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No unannounced gas load-shedding being carried out in any part of country, Senate told

The Senate was informed on Friday that no unannounced gas load-shedding is being carried out in any part of the country. Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan told the House during Question Hour, that efforts are afoot to remove system constraints …

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NA proceedings adjourned without any business

ISLAMABAD: The proceedings of the National Assembly (NA) on Tuesday were adjourned without taking up any business as the opposition parties stuck to their demand of resignation of the Federal Minister Faisal Vawda and cancelation of his membership.
The Speaker Asad Qaisar occupied his seat at around 7.30 instead of 4: pm and announced adjournment of proceedings soon after the national anthem.The office of the Speaker did not state any reasons for delayed start and adjournment of proceedings.However, the sources said deadlock between the government and opposition benches persisted on objectionable remarks of Faisal Vawda on a television channel.The PML-N parliamentarian Ahsan Iqbal, later talking to newsmen, said the government had almost suspended the Parliament and there has been no business for the second day.
He said the government should seek resignation of the federal minister for his objectionable remarks. The government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is misusing religion to fan hatred between people of different religions, he said, adding the government was doing nothing but staging dramas.
He alleged that the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was not being provided health facilities. The government will be responsible in anything happened to Nawaz Sharif, he said.The issue of remarks uttered by the federal minister on a television channel was raised by members of Mutahidda Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) and they were also supported by other opposition parties in the House. “We demand cancellation of his membership for use of highly objectionable words,” they said.
They also wanted to get a resolution passed by the House to condemn act of the minister. The government side, however, feels that Faisal Vawda be given an opportunity to explain his position.

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You can tell a lot about a society and the culture by the people whom it venerates as heroes. Not so

You can tell a lot about a society and the culture by the people whom it venerates as heroes. Not so long ago in the United States military valor and not so long ago in the United States military valor and other feats of physical and patriotic derring do were the ne plus ultra of what determined who became venerated.
Thats why the crime of stolen valor is there in the first place, by men (and sometimes women) who arent veterans who want to bask in the glory and respect afforded actual heroes. Were American warriors not heroes, there would be no valor to steal.But now were witnessing something altogether different. You could call it stolen victimhood.The pathetic and outrageous case of Jussie Smollett is the latest example of this baleful trend.Not long ago, Mr.Smollett was a modestly successful television actor in a modestly successful television show called Empire. Outside of the shows hardcore fan base, he was hardly a household name.
Mr. Smollett shot to fame (you might call it stolen fame) in late January not because of anything he accomplished but because of something that was done to him.Or so he said.The tale bears telling one more time for what it says about the credulity of those we are now electing to high office.
He said he was set upon by two men in the middle of a frigid night in Chicago while innocently walking home from a sandwich shop. Two hooligans, said to have been of the white persuasion, recognized him, beat him up, poured bleach on him, put a noose around his neck, and shouted this is MAGA country! and slurs against his homosexual inclination, though how they could tell he was a gay caballero was not explained.
The assailants, though hooligans, nevertheless showed a certain bravery (if not foolish judgment) by wandering around a rough neighborhood in the middle of the night in Republican regalia with a noose in hand, looking for stray gays.Chicago, including the upscale neighborhoods, gave Donald Trump less than 20 percent of their vote in 2016, making it hardly a neighborhood to be campaigning for Donald Trump.
Mr. Smolletts tale was riven with more holes than a wheel of Swiss cheese, but the ever credulous Kamala Harris and other prominent Democrats could not wait to join the action.The senator from California, auditioning for president of the United States, called the fictitious attack a modern day lynching. She erased her message when it became clear that she had been taken in by a tall tale, demonstrating, we suppose, that even a speaker of the House can suffer shame.
Mr. Smollett was strangely unco-operative with the Chicago police.Still clutching the sandwich that survived the attack, he refused to hand over the cellphone he had used during his beating, and took refuge in stolen victimhood. It became a thing of like, Oh, Its not necessarily that you dont believe that this is the truth, he said several days later, You dont even want to see the truth.
If I had said it was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me a lot much more. A lot more.And that says a lot about the place that we are in our country. Indeed.
Empire became Law and Order. It emerged that Mr.Smollett actually paid two Nigerian men he knew from the set of his television program to stage the attack. He had sent himself the threatening letter in advance of the attack.
He has been charged with a felony for filing a false police report. He is said to have done it because he wasnt being paid what he thought he was worth.
Perhaps he thought he was staging a scene from his TV show on behalf of underpaid Americans everywhere.Hate hoaxes have occurred lately elsewhere, from waiters forging racist notes to leave on restaurant tables to the infamous rape hoax at the University of Virginia.Playing the victim only works in an ailing society that holds up victimhood as the gold standard of fraudulent behavior.Click here for reprint permission.The Washington Times Comment PolicyThe Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider.

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Sindh Assembly censures NAB over Durrani’s arrest

Despite repeated attempts by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Opposition parties refused to support the resolution. Durrani, who was arrested by the NAB on Wednesday, was brought to the session after acting speaker Rehana Leghari issued his production.Durrani, who was arrested by the NAB on Wednesday, was brought to the session after acting speaker Rehana Leghari issued his production orders.
The resolution, moved by PPP MPA Ghanwer Ali Khan Isran, took exception to the targeted victimisation under the guise of accountability, terming the move selective and discriminatory.We vociferously renounce the way and manner of the arrest of Sindh Assembly speaker without any offence being proved against him, reads the resolution.
This house unequivocally condemns the reprehensible manner in which the search of his home was conducted by NAB officials, which went on for hours at a time when only his wife, daughters and daughter-in-law were at home, it adds.This house also resolves and recommends to the government of Sindh and chief minister to approach the federal government to request an inquiry by chairman NAB into reprehensible behaviour of NAB officials, who raided Speaker Agha Siraj Durranis house.Chaos in the HouseEarlier, as the question and answer session came to an end, PPP MPA Isran sought the speakers permission to move his resolution.  At this, the opposition members also stood up from their seats.Hasnain Mirza, the parliamentary leader of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), waving a copy of his resolution, said, I also want to move a resolution on the Kashmir issue and Indian atrocities.NAB granted eight-day physical remand of Agha Siraj DurraniChief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah intervened.
We want to bring a resolution on NAB and will later consider the Kashmir issue, he said. Mr Speaker, since you are the victim in the NAB case, we request you to hand over the proceedings to the deputy speaker for a while, so that we can debate this resolution and pass it.
GDAs Mirza , supported by other opposition members, however, refused to budge. Kashmir is a more important issue, he said.Let us pass it first, and then you can take up your speakers agenda.At this, the CM became emotional.
No. We will take up the NAB issue first and then you can bring a joint resolution on Kashmir by re-inviting Speaker Durrani to take part in it too.The back-and-forth arguments between the CM and Mirza grew more heated. Leader of the Opposition Firdous Shamim Naqvi, as well as other Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and GDA MPAs started protesting in the House Kashimr, Kashmir.
We need Kashmir, they shouted, before staging a token walkout.The chief minister stood up again to clarify his stand.No one can deny the importance of Kashmir. We are ready to bring a joint resolution on it and want to convey a strong message against India atrocities.We will smash Indian eyes, if they try to attack us, he said.Amid the Oppositions protest, Durrani left the session, giving his seat to the deputy speaker.
Acting speaker Leghari allowed the PPP MPA to move a resolution against the NAB. PPP lawmakers Saeed Ghani and Imtiaz Shaikh tried to woo the opposition MPAs to return to the House, but their efforts remained unsuccessful.
Saleem Baloch and Sadia Javed of the PPP as well as Kanwar Naveed Jameel and Khwaja Izharul Hassan of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Paksitan, expressed their sympathies with Durrani and condemned the raid at his house. We condemn the NAB officials behavior with the family of Agha Siraj Durrani, but cant support the resolution, said MQM-Ps Hasan.The CM requested the deputy speaker to move the resolution for a vote so that the issue of Kashmir could be taken up. As the resolution was moved, MPAs from the treasury supported it, while the opposition members voted against it.
Durranis speechEarlier, as the Assemblys agenda came to an end, Speaker Durrani narrated his story in the session. I want to inform this House about the episode.PPP’s thinly-veiled attempt to outwit the NABHe said that the NAB arrested him from a hotel in Islamabad and later harassed and humiliated his family members. The action was not taken against me, but against the Speakers chair, he said.
After taking me into custody, the NAB officials barged into my home and kept my entire family hostage at gunpoint for more than seven hours.  No one can tolerate this, he said.Durrani, who looked frustrated with the authorities, said, My family has rendered scarifies for Pakistan and were one of the signatories to the first resolution passed by the then Sindh Assembly for the creation of Pakistan in the 1940s.He said the NAB officials not only went through the cupboards and other items present in his house, but also harassed his daughters and grandchildren.I am the Speaker of this House and was not running away. I fail to understand why they treated the Speakers family like criminals, he lamented.
This was all done in my absence, otherwise the NAB or anyone else wouldnt have dared enter my home and behave like this, he remarked.Durrani requested the chief minister to investigate the the matter and present a report in the Assembly regarding the raid on his home and harassment of his family members.The Speaker also expressed concern over some Opposition MPAs who welcomed the NABs actions and demanded his resignation. I am not a convicted person.It is just an inquiry against me. I am Speaker of this august House, he said.Before the session commenced on Friday, Durrani met party leaders and his family members after he was brought to the Assembly premises by the NAB. PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari also visited the Assembly to meet Durrani.

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Incensed by Durrani’s arrest, PPP lashes out at Centre

KARACHI: The provincial government and members of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have taken strong exception to the arrest of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani in Islamabad by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday …
The party has decided to challenge the arrest in the court and protest in the upcoming session of the Sindh Assembly, scheduled for February 27.The partys chairperson, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari took to to lash out against the move. Attack on Speaker of federating unit is unacceptable, he tweeted.
Undemocratic attempt to dislodge Sindh govt. Failed before will fail again.Independent institutions shouldnt unwittingly be part of political engineering, he added.His sister, Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari, also expressed her concern on the micro-blogging platform.Chairman Bilawal was placed on exit control list post his Dec 27 speech and later PTI did a press conference claiming to take over Sindh. There has been no subtlety on what PTI want.Cases and ECL for Sindh chief minister and arrest of speaker, all insult to Pakistan and democracy.The arrestDurrani, who was facing an inquiry relating to the accumulation of assets beyond known sources of income, was arrested by NAB Karachi in Islamabad.
After getting his transit remand, he will be moved to Karachi for further investigation today [Wednesday].This is the first time that a sitting Speaker of a legislative assembly has been arrested in the country.A source privy to the development told The Express Tribune that two other inquiries of corruption and illegal appointments are already pending before the NAB against Durrani. He has been arrested in the assets beyond means inquiry, but the NAB will also look into other inquiries against him, said the source, adding that there has been massive bungling in the construction of MPAs Hostel of the Sindh Assembly and hundreds of people were given jobs in the local government department in violation of the rules when Durrani was minister of the department from 2008 to 2013.
Sindh govts stanceAccording to the Sindh government, the Speaker is the custodian of the House representing 168 MPAs elected from various constituencies of the province. Therefore, he [Durrani] cannot be arrested merely on the basis of an inquiry.
But the NAB officials were of the view that the arrest came after Durrani did not present himself before the inquiry committee, even after being issued three notices.Soon after news of his arrest, PPP ministers held a press conference, where they alleged that there were separate sets of laws operational one for the PPP and another for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and its allies.Barrister Murtaza Wahab, who was flanked by provincial ministers, including Syed Awais Shah and Shabbir Khan Bajarani, referred to the Constitution and said, The arrest of Speaker Durrani was a breach of Article 25 of the Constitution under which all citizens are equal and entitled to equal protection before the law. No reference or case is registered against him.He is innocent until proven guilty, he said.Quoting inquiries against incumbent Prime Minister Imran Khan and his cabinet members, including the National Assembly speaker and Punjab Assembly speaker, Barrister Wahab said, None of them have been arrested.
On the contrary, they are enjoying all perks and privileges and full protocol.Transport Minister Owais Shah called Durrani a custodian of the Sindh Assembly elected by 99 MPAs.The NAB has breached the privilege of the Sindh Assembly. We will protest it on all forums, he said.We are not against the accountability process, but want to know why such actions are not being taken against opposition parties [in Sindh Assembly], he said, adding that they will devise a strategy on it soon.The PPP ministers were of the opinion that the people of Sindh were being victimized as they had voted for PPP, but the PTI would not succeed in its nefarious designs.
Later in the evening, the PPP leaders gathered at the Chief Minister House to devise a strategy in light of Durranis arrest. The meeting decided to approach the court against the move as well as take up the matter in the upcoming session of the provincial assembly.
PTI demands resignationOn the other hand, the PTIs Sindh lawmakers demanded the resignation of the Speaker, given his involvement in corruption cases. MPA Khurrum Sher Zaman, who is also the partys city chief said, Agha Siraj Durrani has lost the moral authority to remain on the seat.
He himself should resign.Zaman added that all the local bodies ministers, who had ruled Sindh in the past, were on the NABs radar.
Corruption will end in Pakistan, he said. Referring to the resignations of PTI lawmakers Aleem Khan, Babar Awan and Azam Swati, Zaman called on the PPP to follow the PTIs example and replace the speaker.Sindh Assembly sessionThe Sindh Assembly session has been summoned for February 27. According to officials, under the prevalent circumstances, the deputy speaker, Rehana Leghari, will chair the session.If the speaker is on leave or absent for some reasons the deputy speaker will work as the acting speaker, the Sindh Assembly Secretary told The Express Tribune, while referring to Article 30 of the Constitution.  The acting speaker can issue his production order to attend the session, said the secretary.When asked who would chair the session if Durrani came to the Assembly, he said, He is the speaker and will preside over the session whenever he is in the Assembly. st, 2019.

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Abe nominated Trump for the Nobel at behest of Washington

Acceding to a request from Washington, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe nominated U.S. President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize around autumn for engaging with North Korea, Japanese government sources said Feb. 16.
S.President Donald Trump speaks at a news conference at the White House on Feb. 15 (Yuko Lanham)According to the sources, the U.S.
government “informally” asked Tokyo to nominate Trump after he met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore in June, the first-ever summit between the two countries.At a news conference in the White House on Feb 15, Trump revealed that Abe gave him a copy of a five-page letter the prime minister sent to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which awards the prize.The deadline for nominating candidates for the prize is February every year.
College professors and members of the parliament in each country, as well as former Nobel laureates, are eligible to recommend candidates.Trump quoted Abe as saying, “I have nominated you, respectfully, on behalf of Japan.”As for the reasons for the nomination, Trump said, “Because he had rocket ships and he had missiles flying over Japan. They had alarms going off.You know that. Now, all of a sudden they feel good.They feel safe. I did that ”U.S.media reported on the revelation in a disbelieving tone.The online edition of The Washington Post reported Trump’s comments on Feb 15 in the article titled, “Trump says he’s been nominated for a Nobel. But did Japan’s Abe actually do it? Or was it S.Korea’s Moon?” referring to South Korean President Moon Jae-in.The article said: “Some analysts speculated that Trump had indeed mistaken Abe for Moon.”But Abe’s eagerness to praise Trump has been reported in the United States, which started with him being the first foreign leader to meet with the new U.S.president-elect soon after the 2016 presidential election.Abe described the recent U.S. mid-term elections results as a “historic victory” when he met with Trump in November.
In the elections, which saw voters issue a split verdict, Democrats captured the House and Republicans added a few more seats to their majority in the Senate.South Korean news media also reported on Trump’s comments about Abe nominating Trump on Feb.16. Many of the reports also speculated that it must have been Moon, not Abe, who recommended Trump to the committee.
According to the South Korean presidential office, the wife of former South Korean president Kim Dae-jung sent a telegram congratulating Moon, reportedly saying Moon should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his diplomatic efforts with North Korea. But Moon said that it is Trump who deserves the prize.
Moon’s meeting with Kim Jong Un in April 2018 marked the first summit between the two Koreas since 2007.Kim Dae-jung was the first South Korean president to meet with the then North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il, in 2000.He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000. 0listPrintRelated News Abe won’t affirm if he nominated Trump for Nobel Peace PrizeFebruary 18, 2019Abe nominated Trump for the Nobel at behest of Washington February 17, 2019 Trump claims Japan’s PM nominated him for Nobel Peace PrizeFebruary 16, 2019LDP lawmakers asked to check with cities on SDF recruitment February 15, 2019 Limits on health insurance eyed as more foreign workers on wayFebruary 15, 2019What’s NewKin of Japanese abductees make direct appeal to N.
Korean leader Unicorns are real: Tech baffles Indonesian candidate Koyama, Prominent Japanese Jazz Journalist, Dies at 82RecommendedThe Paradise Papers Featured here are videos, photos and graphics on how journalists dug into documents leaked from Bermuda and elsewhere to uncover shady transactions through tax havens.Transform through SDGsHere are reports about efforts in Japan and abroad to achieve the U.
N. sustainable development goals.

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1.4 million Puerto Ricans face deep cuts in food aid without federal action

Nearly a million and half people in Puerto Rico face deep cuts in food assistance, or losing it completely, if the federal government doesn’t provide funding for the Nutrition Assistance Program, which is expected to run out of money on the island next month.According to an analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan research and policy institute, 1.3 million people would experience average benefit cuts of more than a third if Congress does not approve a block grant for the Nutrition Assistance Program, or NAP, which is the U.S. territory’s version of SNAP or food stamps.

About 100,00 people would lose their benefits altogether.Unlike SNAP benefits in the 50 states, Puerto Rico’s NAP is a block grant that cannot be adjusted once it is approved, even during times of disaster or increased need.Even though Congress provided $1.27 billion to the program in response to Hurricane Maria, that money is expected to run out in March.In November, Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló, asked Congress for $600 million in disaster NAP funding to keep the program running for another six months.The House approved the governor’s request in January.

Related news Housing is key to Puerto Ricos recovery. Will 2019 see promised funding, solutions?Shortly after, the Trump administration publicly opposed the House’s attempt to fund the island’s nutrition assistance program, calling it “excessive and unnecessary.”If the NAP assistance is cut by a third, a poor family of four currently receiving the maximum benefit of $649 a month would instead get $410. Puerto Rico’s poverty rate is three times higher than the national average.

“Policymakers can avert this ‘March cliff’ by providing the needed funding in the disaster legislation they may consider this month in response to Hurricane Michael,” wrote Javier Balmaceda, the report’s author and a senior policy adviser at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.The Senate’s proposed supplemental disaster aid package, which has not been taken to the floor for consideration, does not allocate any money to Puerto Rico’s food aid program.Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla. has offered an amendment to the Senate package that would help provide the food aid requested by Rosselló.

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