Macron to host Arab foreign ministers for Gaza talks

Macron will on Friday host the foreign ministers of four key Arab states for talks on the war in Gaza. (AP)
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Updated 25 May 2024
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Macron to host Arab foreign ministers for Gaza talks

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron will on Friday host the foreign ministers of four key Arab states for talks on the war in Gaza between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas, his office said.
Joined by his own top diplomat Stephane Sejourne, Macron will discuss the situation with Qatar’s Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Egypt’s Sameh Shoukry, Ayman Safadi of Jordan and Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, the Elysee said.


India beat Pakistan to clinch World Championship of Legends cricket tournament 

Updated 14 July 2024
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India beat Pakistan to clinch World Championship of Legends cricket tournament 

  • India chases Pakistan’s 157-run target with five wickets in hand, five balls to spare
  • Ambati Rayudu scores 30-ball fifty, Anureet Singh returns figures of 3-43 for India 

ISLAMABAD: India beat arch-rivals Pakistan in Birmingham on Sunday by five wickets to clinch the World Championship of Legends tournament inspired by impressive performances from Ambati Rayudu and Anureet Singh. 

The World Championship of Legends cricket tournament features retired cricketers taking part in a T20 cricket tournament. This year’s edition features teams from Pakistan, India, England, Australia, West Indies and South Africa. 

Batting first, Pakistan managed to put up 156/6 from their 20 overs. Former Pakistan cricket captain Shoaib Malik top-scored from his side by scoring 41 runs from 36 balls. The only other notable contribution came from Kamran Akmal, who scored 24 runs from 19 balls. 

In response, India achieved the target at the loss of five wickets and in the 20th over of the match, with five balls to spare. 

“Congratulations India Champions,” the WCL account posted on Instagram. “What a finish to the first season of World Championship of Legends.”

Singh kept the Pakistani batters at bay, returning figures of 3-43 while Rayudu top-scored with 50 runs from 30 balls. Pakistan’s Aamer Yamin returned figures of 2-29 while Saeed Ajmal, Wahab Riaz and Malik each took a wicket. 

India Champions qualified for the final after defeating Australia Champions by 86 runs in the second semifinal which was played at the County Ground in Northampton on Friday.

Pakistan Champions, meanwhile, won the first semifinal against the West Indies Champions at the County Ground, Northampton on Friday. 


World leaders react to Trump rally shooting

Updated 14 July 2024
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World leaders react to Trump rally shooting

  • Trump rally shooting in Pennsylvania leaves two dead, two injured 
  • Presidents, prime ministers globally speak out against political violence 

WASHINGTON: World leaders reacted with shock to the wounding of Donald Trump in an assassination attempt against the former US president at an election rally.
Presidents and prime ministers globally spoke out against political violence and expressed their support for those affected by the shooting on Saturday, which killed one bystander and left two other spectators critically wounded.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, condemned the attack.
“Once again, we are witnessing unacceptable acts of violence against political representatives,” the bloc’s top diplomat said.
British Prime Minister Keir Starmer said Sunday he was “appalled by the shocking scenes” at the rally.
“Political violence in any form has no place in our societies,” the premier said.
Referring to “these dark hours,” Hungary’s nationalist leader Viktor Orban offered his “thoughts and prayers” to Trump.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said she was “following with apprehension” updates from Pennsylvania and wished Trump a speedy recovery.
The right-wing leader expressed her hope that “in the following months of the electoral campaign, dialogue and responsibility can prevail over hate and violence.”
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was “appalled to learn about the shooting” and wished Trump a “speedy recovery.”
“Such violence has no justification and no place anywhere in the world. Never should violence prevail,” he said.
Argentina’s President Javier Milei blamed the “international left” after the assassination attempt.
“In panic of losing at the polls, they resort to terrorism to impose their backward and authoritarian agenda,” said the populist president.
Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said the shooting “must be strongly condemned by all defenders of democracy and political dialogue.”
Costa Rica’s government condemned the attack and said it was following updates on “this unacceptable act.”
“As a leader in democracy and peace, we reject all forms of violence,” the presidency said.
Chilean President Gabriel Boric expressed his “unqualified condemnation” of the shooting.
“Violence is a threat to democracies and weakens our life together. We must all reject it,” said Boric.
In Bolivia, President Luis Arce said “despite our deep ideological and political differences, violence, wherever it comes from, must always be rejected by everyone.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “deeply concerned by the attack on my friend.”
“Violence has no place in politics and democracies,” said Modi.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also spoke out against political attacks, saying “we must stand firm against any form of violence that challenges democracy.”
Taiwan’s President Lai Ching-te offered his “sincere condolences” to the shooting victims.
“Political violence of any form is never acceptable in our democracies,” he said.
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos said it was “with great relief that we receive the news that former President Donald Trump is fine and well after the attempt to assassinate him.”
“Together with all democracy loving peoples around the world, we condemn all forms of political violence. The voice of the people must always remain supreme,” Marcos said.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he was “shocked by the terrible scenes” at the Trump campaign event, expressing his relief that the former US president was safe.
“This was an inexcusable attack on the democratic values that Australians and Americans share and the freedom that we treasure,” Albanese said.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Chris Luxon echoed these views, writing “no country should encounter such political violence.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he and his wife Sara “were shocked by the apparent attack on President Trump.”
“We pray for his safety and speedy recovery,” Netanyahu said.


Pakistani religious scholars call for tolerance, interfaith harmony during Muharram

Updated 14 July 2024
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Pakistani religious scholars call for tolerance, interfaith harmony during Muharram

  • Pakistani religious scholars vow to cooperate with law enforcers to ensure peace in Muharram
  • Militant outfits have frequently targeted Muharram processions led by Shia Muslims in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani religious scholars this week called on the masses to implement the code of conduct of the “Paigham-e-Pakistan” decree to ensure tolerance and interfaith harmony during the Islamic month of Muharram. 

Islamic scholars from various denominations in Pakistan jointly drafted a condemnation of religious militancy and sectarian violence in the country over five years ago in January 2018.

The initiative, named “Paigham-e-Pakistan,” came amid rising attacks by the proscribed militant network, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which justified violence against civilians and security forces in the name of religion.

“Ulema-Masaykh of different religious schools of thought has stressed to ensure implementation on the Paigham-ePakistan Code of Conduct to ensure peace and religious harmony during the month of Muharram-ul-Harram and to eradicate the menace of extremism, terrorism and intolerance from the country,” a press release issued by the country’s leading scholars on Saturday said.

Scholars affiliated with various Islamic sects said the country’s religious leadership will “fully cooperate” with law enforcement agencies and ensure coordination not to support any scholar found violating this code of conduct.

“The religious scholars also vowed to cooperate with the government machinery and with the law enforcement agencies and resolved to fully endorse the code of conduct,” the statement said. 

Pakistan has historically experienced sectarian violence during Muharram, a significant month for Shia Muslims who observe mourning rituals to commemorate the martyrdom of the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) grandson in the Battle of Karbala.

Ashura, the 10th day of Muharram, is the holiest event in the Shia Muslim calendar and sees hundreds of thousands of Shia Muslims take part in religious gatherings and processions to mourn the passing of Imam Hussain.

Attacks targeting these religious processions have taken place in the past, stoking sectarian tensions. 

The Paigham-e-Pakistan decree denounces sectarian violence and refutes an “extremist and fundamentalist mindset.” It calls upon religious scholars to educate people between what is right and wrong, and states that only the state has the jurisdiction to determine whether one is an infidel or not.


Pakistan PM condemns ‘shocking’ assassination attempt on Trump

Updated 14 July 2024
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Pakistan PM condemns ‘shocking’ assassination attempt on Trump

  • Trump shot in ear in apparent assassination attempt during Pennsylvania rally
  • PM Sharif hopes for Trump’s early recovery, expresses sympathies with injured

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday condemned the apparent assassination attempt on former US President Donald Trump during a campaign rally, describing it as a “shocking development.” 

Trump was immediately rushed off stage by security guards after being shot in the ear during a campaign rally in Butler, Pennsylvania. The shooter and a bystander were killed while two spectators were also injured in the incident, officials confirmed. 

Video footage showed Trump grimacing as the shots rang out and clutching a hand to his ear, with blood visible on his ear and cheek. The US Secret Service said Trump was “safe and being evaluated” after the incident occurred.

“Just learnt that former President Trump was shot at an election rally,” Sharif wrote on social media platform X. “This is a shocking development.” 

The Pakistani prime minister said he condemned violence in politics. 

“Wish the former President swift recovery and good health,” he added. 

Hours after the incident took place, Trump said it was “incredible” that the attack took place in the United States.

“I knew immediately that something was wrong in that I heard a whizzing sound, shots, and immediately felt the bullet ripping through the skin,” the former US president wrote on his TruthSocial network.

With the attack sending shock waves around the world, US President Joe Biden condemned the incident and said he hoped to speak to Trump soon.

Trump, who served as president from 2017-2021, easily bested his rivals for the Republican nomination early in the campaign and has largely unified around him the party that had briefly wavered in support after his supporters attacked the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, attempting to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

The businessman and former reality television star entered the year facing a raft of legal worries, including four separate criminal prosecutions. He was found guilty in late May of trying to cover up hush money payments to an adult actress, but the other three prosecutions he faces — including two for his attempts to overturn his defeat — have been ground to a halt by various factors including a Supreme Court decision early this month that found him to be partly immune to prosecution.


Donald Trump injured but safe in apparent assassination bid; shooter killed by Secret Service agents

Updated 14 July 2024
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Donald Trump injured but safe in apparent assassination bid; shooter killed by Secret Service agents

  • One rally attendee killed, two spectators injured as gunman opens fire at Trump rally
  • Biden describes attack as “sick,” says “no place in America for this kind of violence”

BUTLER, Pennsylvania: Donald Trump was hit in the ear in an apparent assassination attempt by a gunman at a campaign rally on Saturday, in a chaotic and shocking incident that will fuel fears of instability ahead of the 2024 US presidential election.
The 78-year-old former president was rushed off stage with blood smeared across his face after the shooting in Butler, Pennsylvania, while the gunman and a bystander were killed and two spectators critically injured.
The Republican candidate raised a defiant fist to the crowd as he was bundled away to safety and said afterward “I was shot with a bullet that pierced the upper part of my right ear.”
President Joe Biden, who is set to face Trump in November’s deeply polarized election, said the incident was “sick” and added that there was “no place in America for this kind of violence.”
“We cannot be like this,” Biden said.
As the bangs ran out, Trump, wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap, grimaced and clutched a hand to his ear, with blood visible on his ear and cheek.
He fell to the floor as Secret Service agents swarmed onto the podium, surrounding him and escorting him roughly off the stage to a nearby vehicle.

“It is incredible that such an act can take place in our Country,” Trump said on his TruthSocial network within hours, in remarks sure to stoke political tensions already engulfing the United States.
“I knew immediately that something was wrong in that I heard a whizzing sound, shots, and immediately felt the bullet ripping through the skin,” Trump said.
“Much bleeding took place, so I realized then what was happening.”
 

The US Secret Service said in a statement that the suspected shooter “fired multiple shots toward the stage from an elevated position outside the rally” before being “neutralized” by agents.
It said Trump was “safe and being evaluated” while confirming the death of a spectator while two others were critically injured.
The shooter has not yet been identified.
Trump said in his statement that “I want to extend my condolences to the family of the person of the rally who was killed.”
With the attack sending shock waves around the world, Biden said that he hoped to speak to Trump soon.
The shooting happened shortly after Trump took the stage at his final campaign rally before the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee next week.
Signaling the political stakes at play, possible Trump vice presidential pick J.D. Vance quickly blamed Biden’s “rhetoric” for the shooting.

The rally descended into panic after shots were heard and screams and shouts rang out.
“Let me get my shoes,” Trump was heard saying on microphone, as security agents helped him back to his feet.
He turned back to the crowd and repeatedly raised his fist, as well as mouthing words that weren’t immediately discernable, in what is set to become an iconic image.
Agents bundled the tycoon into an SUV, as he once more raised his fist to the crowd.
“We saw a lot of people go down, looking confused. I heard the shots,” said John Yeykal from Franklin, Pennsylvania, who was attending his first Trump rally.

Republicans, Democrats denounce violence

Former president Barack Obama said there was “absolutely no place for political violence in our democracy.”
Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell added: “Tonight, all Americans are grateful that President Trump appears to be fine after a despicable attack on a peaceful rally. Violence has no place in our politics.”
Billionaire Elon Musk reacted by quickly endorsing Trump.
“I fully endorse President Trump and hope for his rapid recovery,” Musk wrote on X, which he owns along with car manufacturer Tesla, as he shared a video of Trump pumping his fist while being escorted away.
The United States has a history of political violence, and presidents, former presidents and candidates have tight security.
President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 while riding in his motorcade, and his brother Bobby Kennedy was shot dead in 1968. President Ronald Reagan survived an assassination attempt in 1981.

Trump is due to receive his party’s formal nomination at the Republican National Convention, which kicks off in Milwaukee on Monday.
“This horrific act of political violence at a peaceful campaign rally has no place in this country and should be unanimously and forcefully condemned,” Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson said on social media.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he was horrified by what happened and was relieved Trump was safe. “Political violence has no place in our country,” he said.
A Secret Service spokesperson said on social media: “The Secret Service has implemented protective measures and the former president is safe ... This is now an active Secret Service investigation and further information will be released when available.”
CNN reported that Trump was injured, but gave no other details. It was not clear how or what injuries he may have sustained.

Witness saw shooter on rooftop

Ron Moose, a Trump supporter who was in the crowd, described the chaos: “I heard about four shots and I saw the crowd go down and then Trump ducked also real quick. Then the Secret Service all jumped and protected him as soon as they could. We are talking within a second they were all protecting him.”
Moose said he then saw a man running and being chased by officers in military uniforms. He said he heard additional shots, but was unsure who fired them. He noted that by then snipers had set up on the roof of a warehouse behind the stage.
The BBC interviewed a man who described himself as an eyewitness, saying he saw a man armed with a rifle crawling up a roof near the event. The person, who the BBC did not identify, said he and the people he was with started pointing at the man, trying to alert security.
“I am thinking to myself, why is Trump still speaking. Why have they not pulled him off stage,” said the man, who was wearing a red Trump hat. “Next thing you know, five shots rang out.”

The venue was abandoned with chairs knocked over and yellow police tape around the stage. A helicopter flew above and law enforcement officers walked through the area, the video feed showed. Armed law enforcement officers were also seen on a roof near the stage where Trump was standing.
Biden’s campaign was working to pause its television ads and halting all other outbound communication, a campaign official said on Saturday.
Trump, who served as president from 2017-2021, easily bested his rivals for the Republican nomination early in the campaign and has largely unified around him the party that had briefly wavered in support after his supporters attacked the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, attempting to overturn his 2020 election defeat.
The businessman and former reality television star entered the year facing a raft of legal worries, including four separate criminal prosecutions. He was found guilty in late May of trying to cover up hush money payments to a porn star, but the other three prosecutions he faces — including two for his attempts to overturn his defeat — have been ground to a halt by various factors including a Supreme Court decision early this month that found him to be partly immune to prosecution.