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Monthly Archives: APRIL 2016


Gen dismisses 12 army officers from service over 'corruption'
21.04.16 - MATEEN HAIDER*
Gen dismisses 12 army officers from service over 'corruption'



In an unprecedented move, Chief of Pakistan Army Staff General Raheel Sharif dismissed 12 army officers, including a three-star general, from service over alleged corruption on Thursday.

A major general, lieutenant colonel, five brigadiers and a major are among those dismissed from service, said an intelligence official speaking to DawnNews on condition of anonymity.

Sources say the following officers are among those dismissed:

Lt Gen Obaidullah, Inspector General Arms and Weapons at General Headquarters
Maj Gen Ejaz Shahid
Brigadier Rasheed
Brigadier Asad Shahzada
Brigadier Saifullah
Brigadier Amir
Brigadier Haider
Lt Col Haider, Commandant Chaman Scouts
Maj Najeeb
 
The eight officers named above served with the Frontier Corps (FC) Balochistan and have been charged for corruption during their service with the paramilitary force. The others dismissed were junior commission officers who worked with those named above, said the intelligence official.

Following the investigation conducted by then Adjutant Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat on the orders of the army chief, the charged officers were asked to return all earnings accumulated through corruption, the official said, adding that all perks and privileges had been withdrawn from the officers except their pensions.

Lt Gen Obaidullah also served as IG FC from 2010-2013, after which Maj Gen Ejaz Shahid was appointed IG FC, intelligence sources said.

There has been no official confirmation regarding the move.

The development comes two days after the COAS said "across the board accountability is necessary for the solidarity, integrity and prosperity of Pakistan", adding that the war against terror cannot be won unless "the menace of corruption is uprooted".

Gen Raheel said "Pakistan’s Armed Forces will fully support every meaningful effort in that direction which would ensure a better future for our next generations."

The army chief's call for across-the-board accountability comes as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is embroiled in the explosive Panama Papers which count his family among other global political elite with undeclared offshore assets.

Opposition leaders have demanded a probe into the scandal, with some calling for the PM to step down.

Quarters close to the PM’s Office say PM Nawaz is determined to have his three children cleared of accusations of money laundering and tax evasion in the aftermath of Panama Papers leak.
 
(Courtesy : *Dawn.com)




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Sweden introduces six-hour work day
17.04.16 - Hardeep Matharu
Sweden introduces six-hour work day



Sweden is moving to a six-hour working day in a bid to increase productivity and make people happier.

Employers across the country have already made the change, according to the Science Alert website, which said the aim was to get more done in a shorter amount of time and ensure people had the energy to enjoy their private lives.

Toyota centres in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city, made the switch 13 years ago, with the company reporting happier staff, a lower turnover rate, and an increase in profits in that time.

Filimundus, an app developer based in the capital Stockholm, introduced the six-hour day last year.
"The eight-hour work day is not as effective as one would think," Linus Feldt, the company’s CEO told Fast Company. 

"To stay focused on a specific work task for eight hours is a huge challenge.  In order to cope, we mix in things and pauses to make the work day more endurable.  At the same time, we are having it hard to manage our private life outside of work."

Mr Feldt has said staff members are not allowed on social media, meetings are kept to a minimum, and that other distractions during the day are eliminated -  but the aim is that staff will be more motivated to work more intensely while in the office.

He said the new work day would ensure people have enough energy to pursue their private lives when they leave work – something which can be difficult with eight-hour days.
"My impression now is that it is easier to focus more intensely on the work that needs to be done and you have the stamina to do it and still have the energy left when leaving the office,” Mr Feldt added.

According to Science Alert, doctors and nurses in some hospitals in the country have even made the move to the six-hour day.

A retirement home in Gothenburg made the six-hour switch earlier this year and is conducting an experiment, until the end of 2016, to determine whether the cost of hiring new staff members to cover the hours lost is worth the improvements to patient care and boosting of employees’ morale.




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Three injured in Germany Gurdwara explosion
16.04.16 -
Three injured in Germany Gurdwara explosion



A Sikh priest was among three persons injured when an explosion ripped through a gurudwara in Germany’s western city of Essen as India on Sunday expressed "distress” at what is being deemed as a deliberate act.
 
Eyewitnesses have spoken of "a kind of bomb” that exploded at the entrance of Nanaksar Satsang Darbar Gurdwara around 7 pm local time yesterday where a wedding had taken place.
 
About 200 people, including many children, were present at the wedding that began very late and was ongoing when the explosion occurred, the Bild newspaper reported quoting an eyewitness.
 
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is in Iran, said she has asked the Ambassador of India to Germany, Gurjit Singh, to take up the incident at the "highest level”.
 
"I have asked @AmbGurjitSingh to take this up at highest level with German authorities and convey our deep concern,” she tweeted.
 
Reacting to the incident, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the Indian mission here is following it up with German authorities. "Distressed to hear of an explosion in a gurudwara in Essen in Germany. Our Mission is following up with local authorities on ground situation,” he said.
 
Consulate General of India in Frankfurt, on its Twitter handle, said that a team from the consulate led by Raveesh Kumar, the Consul General, is on his way to Essen to visit the gurdwara to meet with the injured and discuss the situation with city police. Singh said German police are investigating various angles after the blast and that authorities at the mission are in touch with those at the federal and local level. "Concerned at explosion @Gurdwara Nanaksar Satsang Darbar Essen last evening.
 
Granthi Kuldeep Singh injured and in hospital.our team on way,” Singh tweeted. A 60-year-old suffered serious injuries and had to be hospitalised while two 47- and 56-year-old men had minor injuries, the report said but did not specify if all of them were Sikhs.
 
The injured included the ‘granthi’ (priest) on whom the whole pane of glass had fallen due to the impact. A police spokesman said that the explosion was probably caused deliberately. A masked man wearing dark clothes fled in an SUV, according to several witnesses from the scene. A part of the wedding party was still in the building, the other part in the adjacent ballroom.
 
The explosion was so violent that windowpanes of adjacent buildings were broken. The building was heavily damaged, the report said. Three men were arrested following the explosion over suspicion that they were in the black SUV, which had previously been seen in the vicinity of the crime scene.




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Fake neurosurgeon worked at Hospital for eight months
16.04.16 - AMJAD MAHMOOD*
Fake neurosurgeon worked at Hospital for eight months



Lahore: Revealing the sorry state of affairs in the health department, the Punjab Assembly was told on Thursday that a sham doctor continued to conduct brain surgeries in the government’s flagship tertiary care hospital in the provincial metropolis.

Through an adjournment motion, treasury MPA Amjad Ali Javed said that the so-called neurosurgeon, Dr Maima, performed surgeries in the Services Hospital, the second largest health facility in the country, for eight months.

According to a Dawn report, she was exposed when she failed to properly respond to some queries of the hospital’s neurosurgery department head Prof Dr Rizwan Masood Butt during a round of the ward.

On suspicion, Prof Butt alerted the hospital administration, which sent her academic credentials to the University of Health Sciences, King Edward Medical University and other institutions for verification, only to learn the documents were bogus.

The motion claimed that a Young Doctors Association (YDA) leader, Dr Jafar, had introduced Ms Maima as his fiancé and used his influence to get her selected as house officer in the hospital, where she worked under Surgeon Prof Dr Javed Gardezi in the general surgery ward for three months.

Then she was transferred to the neurosurgery department, where she operated upon many patients.

Though both Dr Jafar and Ms Maima had been sacked from their jobs, the motion said, the situation left a big question mark on the performance of the health authorities and their grip on the department’s affairs. Therefore, it demanded, the matter needed to be discussed thoroughly in the house.

Speaker Rana Iqbal pended the motion as, neither adviser to chief minister on health Khwaja Salman Rafique nor parliamentary secretary for health Khwaja Imran Nazeer, was present in the house.

This correspondent tried to contact Mr Rafique for the official stance on the issue but he did not take call on his mobile phone, nor he responded to the messages texted to him in this regard.

Sources, however, said a committee had been formed to probe into the issue in a month and the high-ups’ nod was awaited to make its report public.
 
Courtesy : *The Dawn




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Japan quakes kill at least 29; rescuers rush to free trapped
16.04.16 - By EMILY WANG and MARI YAMAGUCHI
Japan quakes kill at least 29; rescuers rush to free trapped



Two powerful earthquakes a day apart shook southwestern Japan, killing at least 29 people and injuring 1,500, as thousands of army troops and other rescuers on Saturday rushed to save scores of trapped residents before the weather turns bad.

The exact number of casualties remained unclear. Rainfall was forecast to start pounding the area soon, threatening to further complicate the relief operation and set off more mudslides in isolated rural towns, where people were waiting to be rescued in collapsed homes.

Kumamoto Prefectural official Tomoyuki Tanaka said the death toll was climbing, with the latest standing at 19 from Saturday's magnitude-7.3 quake that shook the Kumamoto region on the southwestern island of Kyushu at 1:25 a.m. On Thursday night, Kyushu was hit by a magnitude-6.5 quake that left 10 dead.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that 1,500 people have been injured, 80 of them seriously. Nearly 70,000 have left their homes, he said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed concern about secondary disasters as the weather forecast showed rain and strong winds later in the day. Rainfall can set off mudslides as the soil has already been loosened by the quakes.

"Daytime today is the big test" for rescue efforts, he said. Landslides have already cut off roads and destroyed bridges, slowing down rescuers.

Police received reports of 97 cases of people trapped or buried under collapsed buildings, while 10 people were caught in landslides in three municipalities in the prefecture, Kyodo News reported.

TV footage showed of a collapsed student dormitory of Tokai University, which was originally two floors, but now looked like a single story building. A witness said he heard a cry for help from the rubble. Two students were reported to have died.

In Mashiki, where people have been trapped beneath the rubble for hours, an unconscious elderly woman was dragged out from the debris of her home. Her son-in-law Tatsuhiko Sakata said 93-year-old Yumiko Yamauchi had refused to move to shelter with him after the first quake Thursday.

"When I came to see her last night, I was asking her: 'Mother? I'm here! Do you remember me? Do you remember my face?' and she replied with a huge smile filled with joy. A kind of smile that I would never forget. And that was the last I saw of her," Sakata said.

The area has been rocked by aftershocks, including the strongest with a magnitude of 5.4 Saturday morning. The Japan Meteorological Agency said that Saturday's may be the main quake, with the earlier one a precursor. The quakes' epicenters have been relatively shallow — about 10 kilometers (6 miles) — and close to the surface, resulting in more severe shaking and damage. NHK TV said as many as eight quakes were being felt an hour in the area.

Japanese media reported that nearly 200,000 homes were without electricity. Drinking water systems had also failed in the area. TV footage showed people huddled in blankets, quietly, shoulder to shoulder, on floors of evacuation centers. An estimated 410,000 households are in need of water.

One massive landslide tore open a mountainside in Minamiaso village in Kunamato Prefecture all the way from the top to a highway below. Another gnawed at a highway, collapsing a house that fell down a ravine and smashed at the bottom. In another part of the village, houses were left hanging precariously at the edge of a huge hole cut open in the earth.

Suga told reporters the number of troops in the area was being raised to 20,000, while additional police and firefighters were also on the way. He said 1,500 people were injured, including 80 seriously, and nearly 70,000 had left their homes.

He pleaded with people not to panic. "Please let's help each other and stay calm," he said in a nationally televised news conference.

In a hot springs resort, dozens of people trapped were picked up by military helicopters, Asahi TV reported.

Mount Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan which is located on Kyushu, erupted for the first time in a month, sending smoke rising about 100 meters (328 feet) into the air, but no damage was reported. It was not immediately clear if there's a link the seismic activity and the eruption. The 1,592 meter (5,223 foot) high mountain is about 1 ½ hour drive from the epicenter.

The historic Aso Shrine, a picturesque complex near the volcano, was seriously damaged, with a number of buildings with curved tiled roofs flattened on the ground like lopsided fans. A towering gate, known as the "cherry blossom gate" because of its grandeur especially during spring, had collapsed, totally damaged. The more than 1,700 year-old shrine is designated an "important cultural property" by the government, and has been a popular tourist spot in Kyushu.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority reported no abnormalities at Kyushu's Sendai nuclear plant.

NHK TV showed stones tumbled from the walls of historic Kumamoto Castle, and a wooden structure in the complex was smashed. At the Ark Hotel, east of the castle, hotel guests woke up to strong shaking and a warning siren.
 
Courtesy : stltoday.com




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