Monthly Archives: JULY 2017
Another Sharif in the office
Ousted PM Nawaz Sharif’s brother Shehbaz to be next Pakistan PM
Shahbaz Sharif, younger brother of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, will become the new premier of Pakistan, according to ANI. To become the Prime Minister, Shahbaz would have to first resign from his present position as Punjab chief minister. He would then have to contest on a National Assembly seat to get elected. It would take around two months for the completion of the entire process.
Nawaz Sharif had stepped down as Prime Minister of Pakistan today after being disqualified from office by the Supreme Court which sent his case to an anti-corruption court for trial in the Panamagate graft scandal.
In a unanimous verdict, the Supreme Court ordered that a case be registered against Sharif and ruled that a reference be sent against him and his family to an accountability court. In the judgment, the Supreme Court disqualified Nawaz from holding his office. According to Pakistan’s Dawn.com, the judges ruled that Nawaz was "dishonest to Parliament and the courts and could not be deemed fit for his office.”
In May, the Supreme Court set up a six-member joint investigation team (JIT) to investigate the charges against Sharif and his family. The JIT submitted its report to the court on July 10.
The elder Sharif met senior party leaders after being disqualified by the Supreme Court for "dishonesty" in the Panama Papers trial case. The removal of Sharif, who was serving his third term in office, comes roughly a year before his term was to end. The name of Shehbaz Sharif was announced during a high-level Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) meeting.
Shehbaz is currently chief minister of powerful Punjab province the Sharif family stronghold.The younger brother is not a member of the National Assembly or Senate, and will have to get elected to the Senate to be Prime Minister.
The party will have to propose a name for interim Prime Minister until Shehbaz Sharif gets elected to the Parliament. A name has not been announced for the interim prime minister, who will fill the 45 day vacuum until Shehbaz Sharif is elected to a National Assembly seat.
This is the third time that Sharif has fallen short of completing a five-year term. In fact, no civilian prime minister of Pakistan has had a complete five-year term.
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos surpasses Bill Gates to become world’s richest person
Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates is no longer the richest man in the world. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, on Thursday, surpassed Gates to become the world's richest man. The proverbial rise and rise of Bezos came after a 1 per cent surge in Amazon's stock ahead of the company's earnings reports, Forbes magazine reported.
The magazine said its real-time tracking of personal fortunes showed Bezos with a net worth of $90.5 billion, ahead of the $90 billion for Gates.
Bezos owns around 17 per cent of the equity of Amazon, which has been expanding from its original mission as an online retailer to a diversified tech firm in cloud computing, online video, computing hardware and artificial intelligence.
The company also recently announced plans to acquire US grocer Whole Foods, which could help Amazon expand in that sector.
Amazon shares were up 1.7 per cent at $1,070.72 and have risen some 24 per cent over the past four months, adding some $17 billion to the net worth of the 53-year-old Bezos.
With the new development, Bezos now becomes only the sixth man in the world to hold the richest person title over the past 30 years. Gates had been ceremoniously holding the top spot since 2013.
The rise of Bezos also goes on to show just how powerful Amazon has gone on to become since its inception in 1994. The company that initially started as an internet book store has quite literally gone on to reshape the world of online retail across the globe. Amazon also enjoys a veritable repute in India where it competes with local players like Flipkart.
The year began with Bezos as the world’s fourth-wealthiest person and has since gone past Inditex SA founder Amancio Ortega, who is in third place with USD 82.7 billion, and Berkshire Hathaway Incorporated’s Warren Buffett, who is Number four, at USD 74.5 billion.
While most of Bezos’s wealth is in Amazon, he also owns the private space firm Blue Origin and the Washington Post newspaper.
Woman forced to hold her 2-year-old on lap during flight
An Asian-origin teacher has decided to sue United Airlines as she was forced to hold her two- year-old son on her lap after the airlines gave away the toddler’s seat to a standby passenger, according to media reports.
Shirley Yamauchi, who is working in a Middle School of Hawaii, on Tuesday hoped her lawsuit would help protect other passengers from this type of treatment.
"United said they would change and I want to see that happen. I don't want anymore passengers possibly in danger," Shirley said.
According to Shirley, it was an over three-hour flight and she had to hold her two-year-old son on her lap. This happened during the final leg of an 18-hour flight from Hawaii to Boston.
When they boarded the flight after five hours layover in Houston on June 29, another passenger showed up, claiming the seat of the toddler as his.
Yamauchi complained to a flight attendant that she bought the seat three months ago, but the latter only shrugged and said the flight was full, then walked away.
She says she didn’t speak out a second time because she was afraid of retaliation from the airline after hearing about an April incident that left passenger Dr. David Dao bloodied and injured as he was dragged off a flight.
On her return trip back to Hawaii from a conference in Boston, she said the airline gave her free upgrades and perks, but she felt the gestures were not genuine.
"There was a representative waiting for us. We were escorted to their United lounge, but we explained we don’t have a membership with them, yet they asked us to utilise their lounge. The three of us were moved to business class after getting our tickets. He offered to carry my bag for me down to baggage claim. We both received a lei. A flower lei,” she said.
When asked for comment about the potential lawsuit, United said, "We reached out to Ms Yamauchi to apologise to her and her son, and we also refunded their tickets.”
United Airlines has been in hot water several times in recent months. In April, the airline came under fire after a doctor was violently dragged off a flight to make room for airline employees.
India among top 5 nations that faced most terror attacks in 2016
More than half of the terror attacks in the world in 2016 took place in five countries, including India and Pakistan, a senior US counter-terror official has said.
Justin Siberell, Acting Coordinator for Counter-terrorism, in a media briefing on the release of the Country Reports on Terrorism by the US State Department, also said that the total number of terror attacks in 2016 were lower than in 2015.
"And although terrorist attacks took place in 104 countries in 2016, they were heavily concentrated geographically, as they have been for the past several years."
"Fifty-five per cent of all attacks took place in Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and the Philippines, and 75 per cent of all deaths due to terrorist attacks took place in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, and Pakistan," Siberell said.
He added that the total number of terrorist attacks in 2016 decreased by 9 per cent, and total deaths due to terrorist attacks decreased by 13 per cent compared to 2015.
"This was largely due to fewer attacks and deaths from terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Yemen. At the same time, there was an increase in terrorist attacks and total deaths in several countries, including Iraq, Somalia, and Turkey."
He also said that The Sunni militant group Islamic State was the deadliest terrorist group last year, carrying out 20 per cent more attacks in Iraq and causing 69 per cent more deaths there compared to 2015.
Data compiled by the University of Maryland for the State Department showed there were a total of 11,072 terrorist attacks worldwide last year, resulting in more than 25,600 deaths. Of those deaths, 6,700 were of perpetrators of the attacks.
SC gives one week to Centre to decide on NRI voting rights
The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to apprise it within a week as to whether it is going to amend the election law or rules for enabling non-resident Indians (NRIs) to vote in polls here.
A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud considered the statement that the Centre and the Election Commission have agreed to the proposal in principle and the only issue is the ways to effect it.
The proposal can only be implemented after Parliament amends the Representation of the People Act and the Conduct of Election Rules.
The decision to allow over 10 million NRIs — of whom 24,348 are registered with the EC — to vote through a postal ballot will offer expatriates a chance to participate in the country’s electoral process without having to be physically present at the polling stations.
The process that the EC is considering to adopt is the one-way postal ballot system which involves sending e-ballot papers to the voters. The voter are then required to return the ballot by post after having marked their choice. The system was introduced for armed forces personnel and service voters in October last year, said reports.
Earlier this month, the Election Commission had told the Centre that it can initiate the process of granting voting rights for NRIs within three months of the law being introduced, the Hindustan Times had reported. Nasim Zaidi, who was the chief election commissioner at the time, had said that the poll panel was ready to implement the one-way postal ballot system, if the government was to allow it.
The court was hearing a batch of petitions, including one filed by one Nagender Chindam and another by Shamseer V P, on various issues including NRIs should be allowed to vote through postal ballot.