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July 18, 2008 Friday Rajab 14, 1429


Updated round-the-clock, with major updates after 10:00 PST (06:00 GMT)

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Top Latest News

Pakistan Trade Policy announced By Mubarak Zeb Khan ISLAMABAD, July 18: Pakistan’s new trade policy unveiled on Friday seeks to further liberalize foreign trade while projecting an ambitious export target of $22.10 billion but government avoids to project an import bill for the year 2008-09 amid growing international oil and food prices. The trade policy, announced on the national hook-up by Commerce Minister Ahmed Mukhtar, offers incentives for traditional products and seeks to establish 11 new industrial clusters, re-activation of federal export promotion board headed by prime minister, revisiting the TDAP ordinance to improve its working and declaring horticulture sector as industry. The proposed subsidies package for textile sector was not announced in the trade policy but is expected to be made public in near future. However, more than 136 new items import was allowed from India, which is one of the major decisions of the policy. (Posted @ 23:28 PST)


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Pakistan troops kill 13 fighters in Hangu operation KOHAT, Pakistan, July 18 (Reuters/AFP): A Pakistani army helicopter killed five Taliban militants in Hangu on Friday, taking the death toll in three days of fighting to 13, government and military officials said. Early Friday morning the army helicopter spotted a vehicle filled with fighters in an area close to the Orakzai tribal region. “The helicopter fired at a vehicle in Zargari area, killing five militants and wounding six,” a local government official said. After the attack, militants managed to take away their wounded comrades, while the dead were shifted to Hangu, according to officials. ISPR spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told AFP that the army had cleared the town of Zargari in Hangu and was now sweeping through surrounding areas. He added that many militants had fled to the adjoining tribal district of Orakzai, which borders Afghanistan. “The operation will continue until the time the entire area is cleared of militants,” he said. Hundreds of villagers fled the combat zone on Friday, after officials relaxed a curfew on a main road leading to Kohat, a garrison town about 40 km northeast of Hangu. (First Posted @ 15:40 PST Updated @ 17:48 PST)


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Pakistan, India hold new round of peace talks ISLAMABAD, July 18 (AFP): Pakistan and India opened a new round of senior-level peace talks Friday, officials said. The talks, part of a peace process launched in 2004, would focus on trade and transport links between the Indian and Pakistani parts of Kashmir, the Pakistani foreign ministry said. “The working group meeting will discuss measures to facilitate travel and trade across Line of Control,” which separates the two zones of the disputed Himalayan territory, it said in a statement. The Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers, who met in Islamabad in May had agreed to hold a meeting of the working group to discuss and promote confidence-building measures. (Posted @ 12:20 PST)


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36 injured in Banihal bomb blast in occupied Kashmir ISLAMABAD, July 18 (APP): At least 36 people including five Indian Central Reserve Police Force personnel, were injured in a grenade blast in Banihal town, Kashmir Media Service reported. The blast occurred at the town’s central bus stand. Five of the injured are stated to be in critical condition. In another incident, two Special Police Officers were critically injured in a grenade attack near District Police Lines in Doda and a trooper of 5-Assam Regiment was injured in another attack in Mendhar area. Separately, two army personnel were injured in the cross fire during siege and search operation at Harai in Kupwara. Meanwhile, Mohammad Yousuf Butt was killed and his 8-year old son Aijaz Ahmad Butt injured in a blast in their house at Heirpora in Awantipora, while a throat-slit body of a 40-year old shopkeeper Ghulam Nabi Khan was recovered from Halmatpora in Kupwara. (First Posted @ 16:00 PST Updated @ 19:50 PST)


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NWFP govt. will not resign: Bashir Bilour PESHAWAR, Pakistan, July 18 (PPI): NWFP Senior Minister and parliamentary leader of ANP Bashir Ahmad Bilour Friday reiterated the firm pledge of his government that it will not resign nor become hostage to any group. “Rather peace and security in all settled areas of the province including Hangu will be ensured while Swat peace agreement will be implemented in letter and spirit,” he maintained. He made the comments while talking to various delegations which lauded the steps of the provincial government for peace and security in the region, adding that no government could think of using force against its own people but also could not tolerate its writ being challenged. (Posted @ 19:02 PST)


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Kashmir jihad to continue: Ali Gilani LAHORE, July 18 (PPI): Veteran Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Gilani Thursday said that Kashmiri Muslims will continue their freedom struggle against India at all costs irrespective of whether Pakistan supports them or not. Kashmiris will not accept any solution to the dispute without having the right to self-determination as guaranteed by UN resolutions, and no India-Pakistan talks could provide any practical solution without involving genuine Kashmiri leadership, he said in a telephonic press conference at Jamaat-i-Islami’s Lahore office from Srinagar. He was of the view that President Pervez Musharraf’s policies had caused a great setback to Kashmiri freedom struggle since it weakened Pakistan's case against India. Regarding the proposed merger of the two APHC factions, Gilani said the merger is the need of the hour but it should be done on principles, for which a committee has been set up. He reiterated that his side has forwarded three conditions for merger: it should be on the basis of achieving right to self determination, no solution should be accepted according to Indian constitution and that talks between Pakistan and India should not be acknowledged without first involving genuine Kashmiri leadership. (Posted @ 16:50 PST)


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PM visit to strengthen ties with US: FO ISLAMABAD, July 18 (APP): Pak-US relations are in the mutual interest of both and the forthcoming US visit of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani would strengthen these ties, Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Sadiq said in interview with the Ptv. He said the visit would help remove certain misunderstandings and the economic, defence and technical relations between the two countries would gain further momentum. The spokesman said border violations and build-up of NATO forces along the frontier is a serious matter and the government of Pakistan has already raised this issue at various forums. The matter would be discussed with US authorities during the PM's visit, he said. It is the issue of Pakistan's sovereignty and would top the agenda, he added. There is a 2500 km porous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan and it is almost impossible to ensure 100 percent check on cross-border movement of undesired elements, he said adding that it is the joint responsibility of Pakistan, Afghanistan and coalition partners to play their due role to ensure fool-proof check on the movement of undesirable elements. (Posted @ 18:44 PST)


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Pakistan census in October KARACHI, July. 18 (APP) - Chief Census Commissioner Khizar Hayat Khan said Friday that national census 2008 will be held in October this year, and all arrangements in this regard have been completed. Talking to newsmen on the occasion of the two-day workshop for the training the master trainers for 6th Population and Housing Census of Pakistan at Federal Bureau of Statistics, he said: “Our arrangements are in place with the start of training of master trainers for enumerators who will collect data of housing units in the first phase and head count in the second phase”. It is the Constitutional duty of PCO to hold population census after every ten years. Ten years have been completed and it is due now as last census was held in 1998”, he observed. He said “house listing” will start in October, 2008, but head count can be delayed till March, 2009 if needed. Khizar Hayat said about 150,000 to 160,000 census supervisors and enumerators will be involved in the exercise. We also hope to enlist at least 30,000 to 40,000 female enumerators, he added. (Posted @ 18:52 PST)


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Law enforcers devise strategy for law and order in Swat SWAT, July 18 (APP): The high ups of the district police and FC Friday here held a meeting to review overall law and order situation and devised a comprehensive strategy to meet the growing challenge of militancy in the restive district Swat. Official sources did not divulge details of the meeting saying it was an in camera session but independent sources said the meeting formulated a foolproof security system for the district. (Posted @ 20:22 PST)


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Bush, Maliki agree 'time horizon' for US draw-down TUCSON, Arizona, July 18 (AFP) - US President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki have agreed on “a general time horizon,”not an “arbitrary timetable” for a drawdown of US forces, the White House said Friday. (Posted @ 22:12 PST)


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Rice acknowledges policy shift on Iran WASHINGTON, July 18 (AFP) -Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Friday confirmed that the United States had shifted in its position on diplomacy with Iran, with the decision to send a senior envoy to Geneva to participate in nuclear talks with Iran's top negotiator. “This decision to send Undersecretary (William) Burns is an affirmation of the policy that we have been pursuing with our European allies ... for some time now,” Rice said. “It is, in fact, a strong signal to the entire world that we have been very serious about this diplomacy and we will remain very serious about this diplomacy.” (Posted @ 21:56 PST)


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Cricket: England 203 v South Africa in 2nd test Leeds, July 18 (Reuters) - England were bowled out for 203 before tea after South Africa won the toss and elected to bowl on the first day of the second test at Leeds, on Friday. (Posted @ 21:16 PST)


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Saudi inter-faith conference urges global anti-terrorism pact MADRID, July 18 (AFP) - Representatives of the world's great monotheistic religions Friday called for an international agreement to combat terrorism, at the end of a landmark Saudi-organised conference. The Islamic, Christian and Jewish leaders also appealed for a UN special session to promote dialogue and prevent “a clash of civilizations.””Terrorism is a universal phenomenon that requires unified international efforts to combat it in a serious, responsible and just way,” the three-day World Conference on Dialogue said in a final statement. “This demands an international agreement on defining terrorism, addressing its root causes and achieving justice and stability in the world.” The statement was read to the closing session by Abdul Rahman Al-Zaid, the deputy secretary general of Muslim World League, which organised the conference from an initiative by Saudi King Abdullah. Around 200 participants attended the gathering. (Posted @ 20:16 PST)


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Eleven dead as tropical storm pounds Taiwan TAIPEI, July 18 (AFP) - Eleven people were killed and three more were missing in Taiwan as Tropical Storm Kalmaegi brought strong winds and heavy downpours, rescuers said Friday. Rescuers have evacuated some 80 people trapped by mudslides or floods in the worst-hit central and southern Taiwan, where electricity and water supplies in hundreds of thousands of households were affected. Offices and schools in several central counties were shut while some 3,600 fishermen sought shelter at ports, authorities said. The storm also disrupted land and air traffic. Many rail services were cancelled and nearly 20 local and international flights were suspended or delayed. (Posted @ 20:12 PST)


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Bombs kill three in north Iraq MOSUL, Iraq, July 18 (AFP) - Two bombs killed at least three people and wounded 12 in attacks on an Iraqi army patrol and a police convoy in northern Iraq on Friday, defence and interior ministry officials said. Two of the dead were Iraqi soldiers hit by a car bomb near Mosul. Eight more soldiers were wounded in the blast. In the other attack, one man died when a home-made mine targeting a police convoy exploded near the northern oil city of Kirkuk. Four people were wounded in the explosion targeting the vehicles charged with protecting oil installations near the city. (Posted @ 20:05 PST)


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Pakistan thump Japan 7-2 to finish 3rd in Jr. Asia Cup HYDERABAD, India, July 18 (APP): Pakistan walloped Japan 7-2 to finish 3rd in the 6th Junior Asia Cup Hockey Tournament at Gachibowli Stadium on Friday. Leftback Kashif Ali got three goals for Pakistan, two off penalty strokes and one from penalty corner, while spearhead Abdul Haseem Khan netted two goals with Mohammad Zubair and Inayetullah completing the tally. India and South Korea were scheduled to play the final later in the evening. As finalists of this tournament, both India and South Korea, alongside hosts Malaysia and Singapore, have qualified for next year's Junior World Cup. (Posted @ 19:56 PST)


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2 Bangladeshi guards killed, 1 Indian soldier injured in border clash DHAKA, Bangladesh, July 18 (AP) - A border clash Friday left two Bangladeshi troops dead and one Indian soldier seriously wounded, military officials said. The clash occurred when an Indian border patrol vessel tried to prevent cattle from being smuggled into Bangladesh on a boat, said Ashish Kumar Mitra, the head of India's Border Security Force. The director of operations of the Bangladesh Rifles border force gave a different version. He said the Indian BSF patrol boat entered Bangladeshi waters and when a Bangladeshi Rifles vessel challenged them to leave, the Indians opened fire. The incident took place off the coast of Raghunathpur in Chapainawabganj district, 145 miles west of Dhaka. Bangladesh Rifles arrested the injured Indian citizen, Anjam Hossain, and seized a boat at the scene, he said. (Posted @ 19:46 PST)


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Cricket-Shoaib left out of training squad over fine dispute KARACHI, July 18 (Reuters) - Fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has been left out of a Champions Trophy training camp after the Pakistan Cricket Board blocked his attendance over an unpaid fine. Chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed told Reuters the board had not cleared Shoaib to be among the 24-man party despite being named in the initial preliminary squad for the Sept 11-28 tournament. Shoaib was asked to pay a fine of Rs seven million ($98,660) by July 14 to be considered for selection. (Posted @ 19:44 PST)


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Hockey: New Delhi to host 2010 men's World Cup NEW DELHI, July 18 (AFP) - New Delhi will host field hockey's men's World Cup in 2010, International Hockey Federation (FIH) president Els Van Breda Vriesman announced after an FIH executive board meeting in Hyderabad. New Delhi is also hosting the 2010 Commonwealth Games. (Posted @ 19:40 PST)


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30 rebels, four soldiers killed in Sri Lanka COLOMBO, July 18 (AFP) - Thirty Tamil Tiger rebels and four soldiers were killed in two days of gunbattles in Sri Lanka, the defence ministry said Friday. Sri Lankan warplanes on Friday carried out air raids over the rebel-controlled northern region of Mullaittivu, targeting a Tiger logistics base, the airforce said, adding that the mission was successful. (Posted @ 19:04 PST)


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Georgian rebel region rejects German peace plan GALI, Georgia, July 18 (AFP): Abkhaz separatists on Friday rejected a German peace plan aimed at resolving their conflict with Georgia after talks in the volatile region with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. “We have rejected the plan. It's unacceptable for us in part because of the refugee issue,” Abkhaz leader Sergei Bagapsh told journalists after meeting Steinmeier, referring to the planned return of 250,000 Georgian refugees. “I will not deny that the positions of those I've held talks with here in the region are still very far apart,” Steinmeier said after the meeting, following discussions on Thursday with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. (Posted @ 18:00 PST)


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Cricket: Pakistan to play in Bangladesh next March Dhaka, July 18 (Reuters) - Pakistan will visit Bangladesh next March to play five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 match. The series is part of a bilateral agreement reached earlier this year when Australia pulled out of a tour of Pakistan on security grounds. Bangladesh stepped in and played five ODIs and a Twenty20 match against Pakistan in April. “We didn't ask for any money to play the matches in April and instead requested Pakistan to make a similar visit to Bangladesh, which they had agreed,” said Gazi Ashraf Hossain, chairman of the BCB's cricket operations committee. (Posted @ 17:05 PST)


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Three die, 33 injured in Sindh accidents Moro, Sindh, July 18 (PPI): Three persons died and three others were seriously injured in collision between two motorcycles on Bandhi link road near Jamal Shah shrine on Friday. In a separate incident, at least 30 persons of a family, including 12 children and 6 women, were seriously injured as a pick-up van overturned on National Highway near Gharo on Friday. (Posted @ 16:30 PST)


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Two feared dead, three injured in Gilgit accident GILGIT, July 17 (APP): At least two Army personnel were feared dead and three others sustained injuries when a truck veered off the road and plunged into deep Astore river. According to ISPR official sources, three personnel have been shifted to hospital for treatment. Divers are searching the missing persons, the sources added. (Posted @ 16:25 PST)


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Four dead in Kurd rebel clash in SE Turkey TUNCELI, Turkey, July 18 (Reuters): Two Turkish soldiers and two Kurdish guerrillas were killed in clashes in southeast Turkey over the past 24 hours, security sources said on Friday. (Posted @ 16:00 PST)


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Three policemen killed in Russia's Caucasus MOSCOW, July 18 (AFP): Three traffic police officers were shot dead late Thursday in a cafe in the town of Karachayevsk in southern Russia’s mountainous Caucasus region, Interfax news agency reported, quoting a local police official. “After the policemen walked into the cafe, three unidentified men ran in and started shooting at the officers. All three police officers died on the spot,” the official was quoted by Interfax as saying. (Posted @ 11:50 PST)


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Moderate quake rumbles through same China region BEIJING, July 18 (AFP): A 5.2-magnitude earthquake hit southwest China early Friday, the US Geological Survey said, striking the area devastated by a massive quake in May. The quake struck 60 kilometres west of Mianyang in Sichuan province and 110 kilometres north of Chengdu, the provincial capital, at 12:40 a.m., the USGS said. It hit at a depth of 16.7 kilometres. There were no immediate reports of damages or casualties. The May 12 quake, which measured 8.0 on the Richter scale, devastated wide swathes of Sichuan province, leaving nearly 70,000 people dead and more than 17,000 missing. (Posted @ 09:35 PST)


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One dead, six wounded in fresh clashes in Lebanon TRIPOLI, Lebanon, July 18 (AFP): One person was killed and six were wounded in fresh clashes early Friday in Lebanon's northern port city of Tripoli, a security official told AFP. He said the person died and two people were wounded when a vehicle refused to stop at an army roadblock in the Bab al-Tebbaneh district. The army had stepped up its security measures and was on alert after a grenade explosion in Bab al-Tebbaneh. Soldiers opened fire after the driver refused to stop. An exchange of fire between fighters from Bab al-Tebbaneh and troops of the internal security forces resulted in four soldiers wounded, one seriously. (Posted @ 09:10 PST)


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Karachi Stocks up 21.86 points: KARACHI, July 18: At close of trading, the KSE-100 index was at 10234.78, up 21.86 points. (Bureau Report) (Updated @ 13:32 PST)

Forex update: KARACHI, July 18: The Pakistani Rupee was traded at Rs 72.7 to the US Dollar in the open market. (Bureau Report) (Updated @ 13:32 PST)

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