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British PM apologises for Grenfell Tower fire

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Theresa May

London, June 22, 2017: British Prime Minister Theresa May has issued a public apology to the victims of the horrific fire that swept through Grenfell Tower, a 24-floor residential block in London.

“Let me be absolutely clear, the support on the ground for families in the initial hours was not good enough. People were left without belongings, without roofs over their heads, without basic information about what had happened, what they should do and where they could seek help,” May told British lawmakers on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

“That was a failure of the state — local and national — to help people when they needed it most. As Prime Minister, I apologise for that failure — and as Prime Minister, I’ve taken responsibility for doing what we can to put things right,” she said.

May’s apology came in the House of Commons where the MPs had gathered to start a week-long debate on the Queen’s Speech which earlier on Wednesday had started the new session of Parliament following the snap general election.

May has faced sharp criticism for her initial responses to the tragedy which left at least 79 people dead.

The British Prime Minister, who also said the whole country had been heartbroken by the fire, confirmed a measure announced in the speech earlier by Queen Elizabeth.

The government says that to support victims of tragedies, an independent public advocate will be appointed to act for bereaved families after public disasters and support them at public inquests.

The government also announced on Wednesday that work is to be speeded up on a new housing scheme close to Grenfell Tower to provide new homes for 68 families made homeless in the tragedy.

May said all families who lost their homes in Grenfell Tower will be re-housed within three weeks.

Read More: 12 dead in massive fire at London residential tower

IANS

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Nawaz Sharif’s daughter to contest from two seats in Pakistan elections

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Maryam-Nawaz-Sharif

Islamabad, June 23: Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz will contest from two seats in the upcoming general elections in the country on July 25.

Maryam has filed her candidature from the National Assembly (NA)-127 in Lahore and from Punjab assembly constituency PP-173 respectively for contesting in Pakistan general elections.

The returning officers (ROs) approved Maryam’s candidacies. However, she would be now contesting the polls from NA-127 and PP-173 seats.

Earlier, Maryam announced that she would contest elections from NA-120, which is considered as the bastion of the Sharif family and was represented by Nawaz himself, and later by his wife, Kulsoom Nawaz.

Nawaz’s brother Shahbaz Sharif formally took charge of the PML-N after an earlier court ruling banned the former premier from heading the party.Pakistan’s supreme court had in April banned former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from participating in elections for life.

Supreme Court Justice Umar Ata Bandial described the ban on Sharif as “permanent” in a judgement read to the court, clarifying the length of an earlier ruling that disqualified the former premier from office.

Sharifs and their supporters have repeatedly denied allegations of corruption, suggesting the former prime minister is the victim of a conspiracy by Pakistan’s powerful military establishment.

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Hafiz Saeed’s son, son-in-law to contest Pakistan elections

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Islamabad, June 23: Mumbai terror- attack mastermind Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed’s son and son-in-law will contest July 25 Pakistan general elections from Punjab province on the little-known Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek’s (AAT) ticket registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Saeed’s son Hafiz Talha Saeed is a member of proscribed Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and son-in-law Hafiz Khalid Waleed is a member of Milli Muslim League (MML).

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has accepted the nomination papers of Hafiz Talha Saeed (son) and Hafiz Khalid Waleed (son-in-law) for National Assembly seat-91 (Sargodha-IV) and National Assembly seat-133 (Lahore-XI) respectively, the Dawn, quoted JuD’s Deputy Information Secretary Ahmed Nadeem, as saying.

Mumbai-terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s son and his son-in-law are among 265 candidates fielded by the Jamaat-ud -Dawah for contesting the upcoming polls.

The Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek (AAT) was formed about 15 years ago and was registered with the ECP in 2013.

The MML-backed candidates have been fielded in Karachi, interior Sindh and Kyber-Pakhtunkhawa and other parts of the country .

The JuD, a front for the Lashkar-e-Taiba terror outfit which carried out the 2008 Mumbai attack which claimed 166 lives, launched its political front Milli Muslim League (MML).

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has denied registration of the MML as a political party following objections from the Interior Ministry which argued that “MML has links with banned militant outfits and  was an offshoot of the JuD, led by Saeed, banned by a UN resolution.

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America

Trump declares North Korea ‘extraordinary threat’

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Washington, June 23 : US President Donald Trump cited an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to American national security as he maintained long-standing economic restrictions on North Korea, including the freezing of any assets in Washington, a media report said.

An official declaration, contained in a notice to Congress, came on Friday despite Trump’s assertion this month that his June 12 historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons threat, reports The Washington Post.

Harsh economic restrictions will continue for one year under the declaration Trump signed Friday.

The paperwork keeps in place restrictions first imposed a decade ago by President George W. Bush.

The ban on the transfer of any American assets by North Korea’s leaders or its ruling party has been extended or expanded several times by former President Barack Obama and Trump himself in response to North Korean missile tests and other actions.

“The existence and risk of proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula (and the actions and policies of the government of North Korea… Continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the US,” Trump wrote in the declaration.

Friday’s development comes in contrast to a tweet on June 13 where Trump said: “Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office… There is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea.”

The move follows as the US and South Korea cancelled two more training exercises on Friday, reports the BBC.

The Pentagon said the goal was to support diplomatic negotiations.

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