Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif Goes Home To Face Jail

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is set to return home on Friday to face jail term alongside his daughter Maryam.

Their return could shake up an election race marred by claims Pakistan’s powerful military is working behind the scenes to skew the contest in favor of ex-cricket hero Imran Khan.

Sharif is returning from Britain one week after an anti-corruption court handed him a 10-year jail term over the purchase of luxury London flats and sentenced his daughter and political heir to seven years in prison.

Thousands of police were deployed in the central city of Lahore and shipping containers placed along main roads, which could be used to block protesters from moving towards the airport, where Sharif is expected to land around 6.15 p.m. (1315 GMT).

Local police official Naveed Shah told Reuters his current orders did not include restricting people’s movements, but that could change when supporters of Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party take to the streets.

PML-N loyalists have said they will march to the airport in defiance of a ban on all public rallies.

Sharif alleges the military is aiding a “judicial witchhunt” against him and his PML-N party.

The party’s past five years in power has been punctuated by the civil-military discord that has plagued Pakistan since its inception.

The opposition Pakistan People Party (PPP) also alleged “pre-poll rigging” this week, but did not specifically name the armed forces.

The military, which has ruled Pakistan for about half its history since 1947, has denied interfering in modern-day politics.

It plans to place 371,000 soldiers around polling stations so there can a “free and fair” elections, an army spokesman said.

“Nawaz really believes this is about democracy and his legacy,” Musadik Malik, Sharif ally and former
PML-N cabinet minister, told Reuters.

“That is why he is willing to lose 10 years of his life over this.”

Sharif’s PML-N expects a groundswell of support as he returns from London, where his wife Kulsoom is critically ill and undergoing cancer treatment.

To prevent PML-N workers staging a hero’s welcome on the streets, authorities said they will arrest the father and daughter upon landing and transport them to the capital Islamabad by helicopter, local media reported.

Sharif’s return comes at a time of dwindling fortunes for his party, which one year ago was considered a run-away favourite to retain power.

Recent opinion polls suggest PML-N has lost its lead nationally to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party of arch-rival Khan, whose anti-corruption message has resonated with many Pakistanis.

Khan has painted Sharif as a “criminal” who has looted the state for decades, and welcomes his prison term as overdue accountability.

Sharif was ordered jailed after failing to explain how the family acquired the London flats in a case stemming from 2016 Panama Papers revelations that showed they owned the apartments through off-shore companies.

Maryam was convicted for concealing ownership of the apartments. They both deny wrongdoing.

After the Supreme Court ousted Sharif last July, the courts barred him from heading the PML-N party he founded.

His brother Shehbaz became PML-N’s president, but Sharif remains the power behind the throne.

Since then, a host of his allies have been either disqualified by the courts, or face corruption cases.

Many PML-N lawmakers have also defected to Khan’s party.

PML-N has also been riven by internal divisions. Sections of the party oppose Sharif’s combative approach against the army and fear it will turn off voters in a deeply conservative and patriotic Muslim nation of 208 million people.

The kind of reception Sharif receives on the streets of Lahore will be viewed carefully in Pakistan,
where political popularity is often measured by the size of rallies that politicians can attract.

PML-N leaders say authorities have begun a crackdown against union council leaders, the street-level
party workers who bring out people on the streets, detaining hundreds of workers over the last
36 hours.

“Those who think they can scare us…open your ears and hear this: we are winning this election,”
Shehbaz Sharif told newsmen in Lahore on Thursday.

On Friday morning, a bomb blast struck the convoy of Akram Khan Durrani, an ally of Sharif’s PML-N from the religious Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal party (MMA) in the northern town of Bannu, killing four people.

The MMA is expected to challenge Khan’s PTI in the northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in the upcoming polls.

Italy Minister Blocks Migrants On Ship

Migrants rescued at sea and brought to an Italian Port on Thursday were blocked on ship in what has been tagged a Government tug-of-war Matteo Salvini, Interior Minister has said.

This blockage revised a decision by a fellow minister and opened a rift within the government.

Just a few hours earlier, Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli, had authorised a coast guard ship carrying 67 migrants rescued off Libya to enter the port of Trapani in Western Sicily.

“I will not authorise (their disembarkation).

“If someone does it in my place, he will assume the judicial, moral and political responsibility for it,” Salvini told a news conference following a meeting of European Union interior ministers in Innsbruck, Austria.

The Diciotti coast guard vessel has arrived in port, but no one has yet been let off the ship.

Salvini, who is also leader of the League party and deputy prime minister, is in charge of immigration policy and borders, while Toninelli, who is a member of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, is in charge of ports and the coast guard.

The two rival parties formed a coalition on June 1, pledging to crack down on migration even though arrivals from Libya, where people smugglers operate with impunity, are down more than 85 per cent this year.

Since taking office, Salvini has led a high-profile campaign to shut humanitarian rescue ships out of Italy’s ports, a move supported by 5-Star.

But Salvini’s hardline immigration stance appeared to rankle his coalition allies this week.

A migrant is helped as Italian Police identified migrants in a camp set by the Baobab aid group in Rome, Italy July 12, 2018.

Instead of a foreign-flagged charity ship, the latest batch of migrants was initially picked up off the Libyan coast by an Italian-flagged supply vessel.

“If the ship has an Italian flag, it’s complicated to tell it not to come to an Italian port because it creates a dangerous precedent,’’ 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio said on Thursday.

The supply vessel picked up the migrants on Monday and later asked the Italian coast guard to take them off its hands, citing concern about their aggressive reaction when it seemed they might be returned to Libya.

Salvini said either someone should be charged for threatening the crew of the Italian supply ship, or the captain lied about tensions on board to convince the coast guard to intervene, in which case his company “must pay’’.

“I don’t want to be fooled with. Until there’s clarity about what happened, I won’t authorise anyone to disembark the Diciotti,” Salvini said.

Also on Thursday, Salvini asked EU interior ministers to declare Libya a place of safety where migrants can be taken after they are picked up at sea.

German, Austrian and French ministers agreed it could be done, Salvini said.

“I’ve never heard the winds of change blowing so hard in Europe,” Salvini said in Innsbruck.

However, according to international law, refugees cannot be returned to a place where their lives are put in danger.

Both the United Nations and European Union have acknowledged that Libya is not safe.

“I visited Libya two months ago. The situation is still chaotic there,” Europe’s Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said in Innsbruck.

Salvini got unexpected support on Thursday.

U.S. President Donald Trump said during a news conference in Brussels on Thursday after a NATO meeting that “immigration is taking over Europe,’’ adding that the new Italian government came to power because of its “strong immigration policies’’.

Kim Jong-Un Writes Donald Trump ‘A Nice Note’

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-Un, has written a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trump, in a tweet acknowledging the letter, described it as “a very nice note” adding, “great progress being made’’.

“A very nice note from Chairman Kim of North Korea. Great progress being made!’’ Trump tweeted.

The letter which was dated July 6, Kim recalled the historic meeting between the two leaders in Singapore on June 12, saying it was the start of a meaningful journey.

Kim said: “The significant first meeting with Your Excellency and the joint statement that we signed together in Singapore 24 days ago was indeed the start of a meaningful journey.

“I deeply appreciate the energetic and extraordinary efforts made by Your Excellency Mr President for the improvement of relations between the two countries and the faithful implementation of the joint statement.

“I firmly believe that the strong will, sincere efforts and unique approach of myself and Your Excellency Mr President aimed at opening up a new future between the DPRK and the U.S. will surely come to fruition.

“Wishing that the invariable trust and confidence in Your Excellency Mr President will be further strengthened in the future process of taking practical actions.

“I extend my conviction that the epochal progress in promoting the DPRK-U.S. relations will bring our next meeting forward’’.

There were reports that North Korea had, rather than dismantled its nuclear programme, satellite images showed that it was actually upgrading its nuclear facilities.

Following the reports, Trump had, however, expressed “confidence” that Kim would honour the contract they signed in Singapore.

Trump, on Monday, tweeted: “I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honour the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake.

“We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea.

“China, on the other hand, maybe exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese Trade-Hope Not!’’

Workers Find Means To Restore Water In Japan

Following the floods caused by heavy downpour killing over 200 people in Japan, municipal Workers in Western Japan are said to have struggled on Friday to restore water supplies.

Communities that grappled with rising floodwaters now find themselves battling scorching summer temperatures, well above 30 degrees Celsius (86°F), as foul-smelling garbage piles up in mud-splattered streets.

Water has been restored to some parts of the district, a city official told Reuters, but he did not know when normal operations would resume, as engineers were trying to locate pipeline ruptures.

More than 70,000 military, police and firefighters have fanned out to tackle the aftermath of the floods.

There have been 204 deaths, the government said, with dozens missing.

Large piles of tatami straw mats, chairs and bookcases could be seen all over Mabi.

The smell of leaded gasoline, mixed with a sour smell of mud and debris, filled the air.

The weather has fuelled concerns that residents, many still in temporary evacuation centres, may suffer heat stroke or illness as hygiene levels deteriorate.

Shizuo Yoshimoto, a doctor making the rounds at evacuation centres, said an urgent challenge was to bring necessary drugs to patients with diabetes and high blood pressure, who were forced from their homes or whose clinics are closed.

“There are quite a few cases where patients are unable to get drugs.

“So one issue is how to maintain treatment for those with chronic illness. Another is acute illness, as heatstroke is on the rise,’’ he said.

Public broadcasters, NHK, has spread advice on coping with high temperatures and maintain hygiene, such as a video tutorial on how to make a diaper from a towel and plastic shopping bag.

Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga, the government spokesman urged people in flood-hit areas to guard against thunderstorms.

“People still need to be aware of the possibility of further landslides,’’ he told reporters.

Severe weather has increasingly battered Japan in recent years, including similar floods last year that killed dozens of people, raising questions about the impact of global warming.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who cancelled a scheduled overseas trip to deal with the rescue effort, visited Kurashiki on Thursday and said he aimed to visit other flood-damaged areas on Friday and over the weekend.

28 Civilians Killed In Syria

At least 28 civilians have been killed in an airstrike on an Islamic State-held area in Syria’s eastern province of Deir al-Zour.

Planes hit an ice factory late on Thursday near the village of al-Soussa, in the city of al-Bu Kamal near the Iraqi border, the Syrian Observatory for Human rights said while admitting that it was not immediately known if the strike was carried out by an Iraqi plane or by the U.S.-led coalition.

The state-run Syrian News Agency (SANA) accused the U.S.-led coalition of carrying what it described as a “massacre’’ against civilians.

SANA has put the death toll at more than 30, claiming the dead are mostly women and children.

Most of the province of Deir al-Zour has been controlled by Islamic state since 2014, but the extremist group has suffered military setbacks, losing most of the ground it controlled in Syria and neighbouring Iraq.

The group still maintains some posts in small areas in Syria, including in Deir al-Zour.

The U.S.-led alliance intensified strikes on Islamic State posts near the Iraqi-Syrian border in May.

On April 19, the Iraqi Air Force conducted strikes against Islamic State forces near the Syrian-Iraqi border, in coordination with the Syrian government in Damascus.

Forbes Releases 2018 List Of America’s Richest Self-Made Women

Forbes released today its fourth annual list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women. These 60 women, who have a record combined net worth of $71 billion, up 15% from $61.5 billion in 2017, have shattered ceilings and scaled new heights, making fortunes in everything from genetic testing to slimming shapewear. The minimum net worth needed to make this year’s list is $320 million, up from $260 million last year.

Diane Hendricks, cofounder and chairman of ABC Supply, the nation’s largest roofing distributor, reclaims the top spot on this year’s list of America’s most successful women entrepreneurs, with a net worth of $4.9 billion. Marian Ilitch, worth $4.3 billion, falls to the No. 2 spot, as higher labor costs and commodity prices take their toll on her Little Caesars pizza chain. Epic Systems’ Judy Faulkner climbs three spots to No. 3, with a net worth of $3.5 billion. Rounding out the top five are Meg Whitman (No. 4, $3.3 billion) and Johnelle Hunt (No. 5, $3.2 billion).

“The most successful women entrepreneurs in the country are increasingly taking advantage of technology including social media to help them launch and grow businesses,” said Luisa KrollForbes’ Assistant Managing Editor, Wealth. “That’s one reason why we’ve seen a notable influx of Instagram-savvy moguls like 20-year-old Kylie Jenner in the ranks of America’s richest self-made women.”

ON THE COVER: Kylie Jenner, who at not even 21 years old has built a $900 million cosmetics fortune with virtually no employees or capital. This new model of extreme fame leverage is radically reshaping business, culture and politics. Kylie Cosmetics launched two years ago and has since sold more than $630 million worth of makeup. She has leveraged her mammoth social media following to build a giant business. “Social media is an amazing platform,” says Jenner. “I have such easy access to my fans and my customers.” Kylie Cosmetics is now worth nearly $800 million and Kylie Jenner owns 100% of the company.

There are seven newcomers to this year’s America’s Richest Self-Made Women list, with more than half earning their wealth from cosmetics, thanks to soaring beauty sales among Gen Z. Notable newcomers include Anastasia Soare (No. 21, $1 billion), founder of Anastasia of Beverly Hills; Kylie Jenner (No. 27, $900 million), founder of Kylie Cosmetics; Huda Kattan (No. 37, $550 million), founder of Huda Beauty; Anne Wojcicki (No. 44, $440 million), cofounder and CEO of 23andMe; and Kim Kardashian West (No. 54, $350 million), founder of KKW Beauty. Notable drop-offs include Diane Von Furstenberg,Patricia Miller, cofounder of Vera Bradley, and Dottie Herman, CEO of Douglas Elliman.

The Top 10 Richest Self-Made Women:

 

Source: Forbes

 

Donald Trump’s Stormy Daniels Arrested Ohio

Pornstar Stormy Daniels has been arrested in Ohio early on Thursday and faces three counts of illegally touching a patron at a sexually oriented business.

Stormy Daniels came into limelight after she alleged to have had a relationship with US President Donald Trump in 2006 and for the $130,000 she says she received from his attorney in 2016 in exchange for her silence about the alleged sexual encounter and President Trump has denied the affair happened.

Daniels is suing Trump and his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to be released from a nondisclosure agreement that she says she signed days before the 2016 presidential election to prevent her from publicly discussing the alleged affair.

Her attorney, Michael Avenatti, tweeted that his client was taken into custody at a strip club in Columbus, “she was arrested for allegedly allowing a customer to touch her while on stage in a nonsexual manner! Are you kidding me?” Avenatti tweeted

Under Ohio law, an employee who regularly appears nude or seminude on the premises of a sexually oriented business is not allowed to touch anyone who’s not a family member while nude or seminude at that business.

Daniels made headlines worldwide for allegedly having an affair with Donald Trump in 2006 and for the $130,000 she says she received from his attorney in 2016 in exchange for her silence about the alleged sexual encounter and President Trump has denied the affair happened.

Daniels is suing Trump and his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to be released from a nondisclosure agreement that she says she signed days before the 2016 presidential election to prevent her from publicly discussing the alleged affair.

Thailand Cave Rescue Story To Be Made Into A Movie With A $60 Million Budget

The recent cave rescue that occured in Thailan involving a boys soccer team and their coach in Thailand has been a story that has gotten the attention of the media all over the world.

This peculiar story is set to be made into a movie which according to the Hollywood Reporter will become a movie under Pure Flix Entertainment, which is the faith-based production company behind the “God’s Not Dead” film franchise.

Michael Scott, the CEO, and co-founder of Pure Flix Entertainment, lives in Thailand part-time and was at the scene of the rescue and witnessed everything first hand. He said, “the bravery and heroism I’ve witnessed is incredibly inspiring, so, yes, this will be a movie for us. It’s not necessary to make this a Christian film, just an inspirational one.”  

Scott said he has already spoken with some of the 90 divers that were involved in the rescue mission, as well as some of the family members of the boys who were trapped in the cave. Scott’s personal connection to the story involves his wife’s friendship with former Sgt. Saman Kunan’s wife. Unfortunately, Sgt. Kunan passed while volunteering.

Screenwriters will be lined up within the next few weeks and the film will carry a budget of  $30 million to $60 million. “This was truly a team effort involving Brits, Aussies, Americans and Thais, and the divers told us incredible stories. They had less than five meters’ visibility, fought harsh currents and used a buddy system of two divers for each boy rescued. It was a monumental effort,” said Scott.

Forbes Lists 19-Year Old Nigerian As The Highest Paid NBA Draft

Forbes has named Deandre Ayton as the hightest paid NBA draft signed in 2018 valued at $41.8m for two years.

According to the report, ‘the highest pay will go to 19-year-old Nigerian, Deandre Ayton of Arizona who is the number one overall pick who should earn a maximum of $41,242,888 over his rookie contract with the Phoenix Suns, including approximately $18,107,160 guaranteed during his first two years.  Following Ayton is No. 2 pick Marvin Bagley III of Duke, who should make a maximum of $36,910,323 over four years with the Sacramento Kings’.

International star Luka Doncic, who was drafted the Atlanta Hawks and traded to the Dallas Mavericks, is scheduled to make approximately $32,618,812.

Death Toll Hits 200 After Heavy Downpour In Japan

Japanese rescue workers are still searching for missing persons in ruins of homes after deadly rains that killed more than 200 people.

With around 60 people still feared missing, local authorities said they would continue searching house by house looking for survivors, or victims. Operations were under way to dig out and clear up after the devastating floods and landslides that engulfed entire neighborhoods.

“The critical 72 hours have passed,” acknowledged Mutsunari Imawaka, an official with Okayama prefecture, one of the worst-hit regions.

“But we will continue our search believing there are still survivors,” he told AFP.

He said at least 18 people were missing in Okayama alone, and that several thousand people were checking houses across the region.

Television footage showed dozens of rescuers, including troops, removing massive rocks with mechanical diggers from houses buried in landslides.

Rescuers were also manually shovelling dirt to search for missing people, AFP reports.

The rains are the deadliest weather-related disaster in over three decades in Japan, and the size of the death toll has raised questions about whether authorities were sufficiently prepared.

Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said the death toll from the disaster reached 201.

“Since a lot of people are still unaccounted for, we are carrying out rescue operations under a policy that saving lives is the top priority,” Suga told reporters.

“Being determined to do whatever we can do as a government, we want to continue tackling restoration and reconstruction in the disaster zone,” he added.

On Wednesday Suga said there would be a review of disaster management policies.

“In recent years we have seen damage from heavy rains that is much worse than in previous years,” he said.

“We have to review what the government can do to reduce the risks.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who cancelled a foreign trip as the death toll rose this week, brushed aside criticism of the response during a trip to Okayama on Wednesday.

“We have done our best since the disaster happened,” local media quoted him as saying.

On Thursday, he pledged to ramp up help for affected areas and said the government had secured around 71,000 temporary homes for evacuees.

“Looking ahead, as we are expecting a massive amount of disaster-generated waste, I plan to send a team to each prefecture to support” clean-up efforts, Abe said, according to footage of a morning meeting broadcast on local television.

The government has already said it will set aside around $20 million for the relief effort and Abe said there would be financial support for local governments to help with the reconstruction effort.

 

72 People Sentenced To Life In Prison Over Turkey Coup

Over 72 people have been sentenced to life in priosn by a Turkish court on Thursday for their roles in clashes on a suspension bridge in Istanbul in which 34 people were killed during an attempted coup two years ago, according to state-run Anadolu agency.

More verdicts are expected to be issued for 71 other defendants in the case. They were charged with deliberately killing civilians who heeded a call from President Tayyip Erdogan to challenge the coup plotters on the bridge across the Bosphorus Strait.

The verdicts come as the country prepares to commemorate the anniversary of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt on Sunday, and Erdogan celebrates his recent election as the first head of the country’s all-powerful executive presidency.

Renamed the “July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge”, the bridge was a flashpoint for clashes on the night of the coup.

Victims included Erol Olcok, an advertiser who ran political campaigns for Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, and his 17-year-old son.

The coup attempt prompted an extensive crackdown against soldiers, civil servants, and academics suspected of links to the Muslim cleric whom Turkey blames for the abortive putsch.

Turkey has detained 160,000 people and dismissed nearly the same number of civil servants since the failed coup, the UN human rights office said in March.

Turkish media have been flooded with commemorative programming about the coup attempt.

Television channels have been airing footage of soldiers who participated in the coup surrendering, stripped of their clothes and weapons, and headscarved women squaring off against tanks in the street.