PSL’s newest team is Multan, worth $41.6 million

The Pakistan Super League (PSL) on Thursday welcomed its newest outfit, Multan, which will feature in the third edition of the tournament to be held in 2018.

Dubai-based Schon Group met the reserve price of $5.2 million per year for an eight year contract, in a contest that had 10 bidders. The total contract is therefore worth $41.6 million.

Multan is Pakistan’s fifth largest city. For its rich Islamic and Sufi tradition, it is known as the City of Saints.

Karachi Kings was until now the most expensive team, with the ARY Group purchasing it for $2.6m per year for 10 years.

The other teams of PSL Lahore Qalandars, Peshawar Zalmi, Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators were purchased for $2.5m, $1.6m, $1.5m and $1.1m respectively.

The Schon group is managed and owned by Nasir Schon and his two sons, who have their family roots in Pakistan.

With the inclusion of a sixth team, the number of matches played in the PSL is also set to be increased. PSL Chairman Najam Sethi is aiming to host at least four matches of the PSL’s third edition in Pakistan.

DAWN.com

Blast in eastern Saudi Arabia kills two: State TV

AFP

At least two people were killed when a car exploded in Saudi Arabia’s eastern city of Qatif on Thursday, Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya television reported.

It said initial reports indicated the victims were “fugitives”, a term that suggested people being sought by the kingdom’s security services.

The channel had earlier said the blast was caused by a car bomb. Its website posted images of thick black smoke rising from a street.

A resident contacted by telephone by Reuters said he had heard a blast and saw smoke rising above an area that police had blocked off. Saudi authorities were not immediately available for comment.

Photos sent over social media showed a body apparently completely burned being pulled from the wreckage of a car. The authenticity of the photos could not immediately be verified.

Qatif, home to a large Shi’ite Muslim population, has been a flashpoint between the Sunni Muslim government and Shi’ites complaining of discrimination.

DAWN.com

Explosions, gunshots heard at resort in Philippines capital

AFP

Gunfire was reported at a hotel and a casino resort in the Philippine capital on Friday, the operator of the complex said, and the militant Islamic State group (IS) quickly claimed responsibility.

“Resorts World Manila is currently on lockdown following reports of gunfire from unidentified men,” the company said on its Twitter account.

“The company is working closely with the Philippine National Police to ensure that all guests and employees are safe.”

IS said “lone wolf soldiers” from its group carried out the attack, according to the SITE Intelligence Group that monitors terrorist organisations.

Police confirmed there were reports of gunfire at Resorts World, which is across a road from one of the main terminals of the Philippines’ international airport.

There were no immediate reports of fatalities or injuries.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte imposed martial law last week across the southern region of Mindanao to crush what he said was a rising threat of Islamic State there.

He declared martial law shortly after militants went on a rampage through the southern city of Marawi, which is about 800 kilometres (500 miles) south of Manila.

Security forces are still battling the militants in Marawi, and the clashes there have left at least 171 people dead.

Duterte said last week he may need to declare martial law across the rest of the country if the terrorism threat spread.

DAWN.com

#Khaadi Has FINALLY Responded To Those Allegations With Their Side Of The Story

ARY NEWS

Renowned clothing brand Khaadi on Monday issued a clarification regarding a social media campaign against the brand.

The brand which was under fire for allegedly mistreating and firing its workers is facing a boycott campaign on social media after rumours one of its workers attempted suicide after being fired.

In a short statement, the brand categorically confirmed  hat it has not terminated 32 of its employees and the story regarding apparent attempted suicide of a young female worker is baseless.

“We categorically confirm that Khaadi has NOT terminated 32 of its employees. Another malicious story being spread and linked to the above is of the apparent attempted suicide of a young female worker. Why anyone should spread this outright lie is beyond understanding, but this just goes to show how some vested interests will stop at nothing to premeditatedly plan to try and cause reputational harm to Khaadi,” said the statement issued by the brand.

The statement adds that Khaadi, being a responsible corporate citizen, has always endeavoured to maintain and adhere to the highest standards in all operations-which also includes following best practices with regard to its biggest assets, the brand’s employees.

The brand also appealed to all social media users not to share or spread news that is pure hearsay, or base your comments on speculative news, no matter shared by who, without fully knowing the facts yourself.

A number of social media activists started calling for boycott of Khaadi after video of protest by people claiming to be workers of the brand went viral on social media.

A hashtag #BoycottKhaadi is also trending on the Twitter with social media activists calling for the nationwide boycott of Khaadi.

World needs to talk to N. Korea, not threaten it: Putin

Reuters

BEIJING: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Moscow was opposed to any new countries acquiring nuclear weapons, but that the world should talk to North Korea rather than threaten it.

Putin, speaking in Beijing, said nuclear tests of the type that Pyongyang had been carrying out in recent weeks were unacceptable, but that a peaceful solution to rising tensions on the Korean peninsula was needed.

“I want to confirm that we are categorically against the expansion of the club of nuclear powers, including with the Korean Peninsula and North Korea,” said Putin, who said any such move would be “harmful and dangerous”.

“But at the same time, we understand that what we have observed in the world recently, and specifically flagrant violations of international law and incursions into the territory of foreign states, changes in regime, lead to such kinds of arms races.” Putin did not specify what countries he had in mind, but he has in the past repeatedly criticised the United States for military operations in Iraq, Libya and Syria, and accused it of trying to oust legitimate governments.

“In this connection, we need to act in a joined-up way, (and) strengthen the system of international guarantees with the help of international law and with the help of the UN Charter,” said Putin.

“We need to return to dialogue with North Korea and stop scaring it and find ways to resolve these problems peacefully.” The Russian leader said he thought such an approach was possible because of what he called “the positive experience” of holding talks with Pyongyang in the past.

“If you recall, there was a time when North Korea announced it was suspending this kind of (nuclear) programme, but unfortunately certain participants in the negotiations process did not have enough patience. I think we need to return to this.” Putin said he was briefed by his defence minister after North Korea’s latest missile test.

Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2017

BCB surprised at PCB decision to call off tour

The PCB said it was cancelling this year’s tour because Bangladesh had not shared with a return visit

Dhaka Tribune

The BCB expressed surprise at Pakistan’s decision to call off their tour of Bangladesh in July-August this year. BCB’s chairman of the media and communications committee however, said they are yet to receive official confirmation from the PCB.

“We are really surprised. Even a month ago we knew that the tour was on. There was a discussion between both board chiefs (Nazmul Hasan and Shaharyar Khan) during this week’s ICC meeting in Dubai. This upcoming series was ours to host, in accordance with the FTP (Future Tours Programme),” said Jalal on Thursday.

“In 2015, the two boards went into a deal according to which we were supposed to play two series in the following two years in Bangladesh,” he added.

According to the board director, Bangladesh don’t want to play in Pakistan and are willing to stick to the previous FTP.

“There was even a financial issue, which was dealt with at the time. They said they wanted to play here (Bangladesh) till 2017. They wanted Bangladesh to play two T20Is in Pakistan before continuing the series here. We don’t want to play there. We want to stick to our schedule, according to which the whole series was supposed to be played in Bangladesh,” explained Jalal.

Jalal informed that they got to know about Pakistan’s decision to call off the Bangladesh tour through media.

“If the series does get officially cancelled, we have to go into discussions with them. We have cleared the financial issues so there’s no need to talk about those things now. We haven’t heard anything from them in official correspondence. We heard it through media that they want to cancel the tour,” he said.

The last time Bangladesh toured Pakistan was in 2007-08, for five ODIs. Since then, Pakistan have toured Bangladesh twice, in 2011-12 and 2015.

The PCB said it was cancelling this year’s tour because Bangladesh had not shared with a return visit. If the tour is finally called off, Bangladesh will have a break in July as there are no fixtures announced yet after the 2017 Champions Trophy.

However, there is a proposed home series against Australia in late August after the CA postponed its FTP tour, which was scheduled for October, 2015.

‘Huge’ explosion near Damascus Airport: monitor

AFP

A massive explosion struck near Damascus International Airport early on Thursday setting off large fires, a monitoring group said, without specifying the cause.

The blast was outside the airport itself. It was not immediately clear whether it was the result of an air strike or a ground attack, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Israeli warplanes have hit the airport and other bases around the capital in the past, targeting what it said were weapons stockpiles of its Lebanese foe Hezbollah, which is allied with the Syrian government.

Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television said the explosion was “probably” caused by an Israeli air strike.

“The blast was huge,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. “It’s unclear what caused the explosion but there are fires raging at the site.” Al-Manar said the strike caused only material damage.

“Al-Manar’s correspondent reported that an explosion struck at dawn on Thursday in fuel tanks and a warehouse near Damascus International Airport and that it was probably the result of an Israeli strike,” the channel said.

The airport lies about 25 kilometres southeast of the capital.

It was hit by Israeli air strikes in December 2014, Syrian state media reported at the time.

‘Blast consistent with Israeli policy’

Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said a massive explosion near Damascus International Airport on Thursday was consistent with Israel’s policy, but stopped short of confirming his country was behind it.

Israeli warplanes have hit the airport and other bases around the Syrian capital in the past, targeting what it said were weapons stockpiles of its Lebanese foe Hezbollah, which is allied with the Syrian government.

“We are acting to prevent the transfer of sophisticated weapons from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon by Iran,” Katz told army radio.

“When we receive serious information about the intention to transfer weapons to Hezbollah, we will act. This incident is totally consistent with this policy.” In line with its usual practice, Israel’s military has declined to comment on the incident.

Israel has sought to avoid being dragged into the six-year civil war in Syria, but acknowledges carrying out air strikes there to stop what it says are deliveries of advanced weapons to Hezbollah.

Israel does not usually confirm or deny each individual raid it carries out.

Last month, in the most serious incident between the two countries since the Syria conflict began, Israeli warplanes struck several targets, drawing retaliatory missile fire.

Israel used its Arrow interceptor to destroy what was believed to have been a Russian-made SA-5 missile, and Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened to destroy Syria’s air defence systems “without the slightest hesitation” if it happened again.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened to destroy Syrian air defence systems if they were used again.

On January 13, Syria accused Israel of bombing Mazzeh air base in the western suburbs of the capital. There were several strikes near the same base last year.

In April 2016, Netanyahu admitted for the first time that Israel had attacked dozens of convoys in Syria that he said were transporting weapons destined for Hezbollah.

Israel and Syria are still technically at war, though the armistice line had remained largely quiet for decades until 2011 when the Syrian conflict began.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a devastating 34-day war in 2006 which killed 1,200 people in Lebanon, mainly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.