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Indian farmers responsible for smog in Pakistan: Officials

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Islamabad, Nov 5: Pakistani officials have said that stubble burning by Indian farmers has caused a thick blanket of smog in Punjab province.

The officials with Environment Protection Department of Punjab province told Xinhua news agency on Saturday night that the smog is causing various diseases and the provincial government is taking measures to control the situation.

The department’s minister Zakia Shah Nawaz Khan said that the smog engulfed the province for the last two weeks, and is feared to continue for the coming week.

She added that the smoke from the Indian farms moved at a velocity of 7 to 8 km per hour towards Punjab province.

Local experts said that the total Air Quality Index in the provincial capital of Lahore is 357 whereas the maximum limit should be around 100, adding that if the situation was not controlled, the level is feared to exceed 500 soon.

Syed Mubashir Hussain, an official of the environment department said that the provincial government has banned stubble burning across the province and violators were being arrested.

A total of 197 First Information Reports have been filed against violators and 65 people have been arrested due to stubble burning and solid waste burning.

Some 175 pollution-causing units have been stopped. About 15,718 smoke emitting vehicles have been confiscated, and a total of 43 lakh Pakistani rupees (about $43,000) fine has been imposed, Hussain told Xinhua.

Apart from this, brick kilns using substandard fuel and running their units without emission control devices like wet scrubbers, electrostatic precipitators and fly ash arrestors have also been closed, he added.

Smog has not only affected heath of people, but also caused road accidents. According to local media reports, at least 18 people have been killed and 45 others injured in separate fog-related accidents across the province.

Air traffic was also affected due to smog-caused low visibility. Six domestic flights from various airports have been suspended due to smog, spokesperson of Pakistan International Airlines said in a statement.

The Met office said that smog will disappear after rains or heavy winds, but there was no possibility of any of it in the next 48 hours.

IANS

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Rod Rosenstein resignation : Trump to meet Deputy AG Today

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Washington, Sep 25 : It appears Rosenstein will remain in his position at least for a few more days as US President Donald Trump and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will meet on Thursday  amid reports that the latter could resign or be fired.

But Trump is set to ask Rosenstein for the clarification  about the  reports that emerged that Rosenstein in 2017 suggested secretly taping Trump in the White House and then – on the basis of that potential tape – convincing members of the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the President from office, a story that the Deputy Attorney General categorically denied in a statement, calling the reporting “inaccurate” and “factually incorrect”.

I’m going to be meeting Rod Rosenstein when I get back to from all these meetings,” Trump told reporters at the United Nations.

Rosenstein ‘suggested recording’ Trump to ‘invoke 25th Amendment’
“We will be meeting at the White House and we will determine what’s going on. We want to have transparency. We want to have openness, and I look forward to meeting with Rod at that time.”

 

 

“At the request of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he and President Trump had an extended conversation to discuss the recent news stories,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

Sanders added that “because the President is at the UN General Assembly (in New York) and has a full schedule with leaders from around the world, they will meet on Thursday when the President returns to Washington, DC”.

Sanders denied the reports earlier on Monday saying that Rosenstein had already resigned verbally in a conversation with Chief of Staff John Kelly so as not to be pre-emptively fired.

Rosenstein is the official in charge of overseeing the investigation headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into alleged connections between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia.

 

If Rosenstein were to step down or be ousted, it is highly likely that Solicitor General Noel Francisco, who is the highest-ranking Senate-confirmed Department of Justice official below Rosenstein, would assume control of the Mueller investigation.

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Russia to supply Syria with S-300 missile system

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Moscow, Sep 24 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad on Monday about his decision to strengthen Syria’s air defence, including providing it with an S-300 surface-to-air missile system.

“Both sides noted readiness for further joint efforts to achieve long-term normalization in Syria, restoration of its sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity,” a Kremlin statement said, Xinhua news agency reported.

Earlier in the day, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia will supply an S-300 air defence system and identification, friend or foe equipment to Syria within two weeks after its Il-20 surveillance plane was mistakenly downed by Syria’s S-200 system last week.

In areas adjacent to Syria over the Mediterranean, Russia will carry out radio-electronic suppression of satellite navigation, airborne radars and communications systems of combat aircraft attempting to attack facilities on the Syrian territory, Shoigu said.

The Russian Defence Ministry has said that the Il-20 plane with 15 servicemen on board was shot down by mistake on September 17 by a Syrian missile due to a simultaneous Israeli air strike that confused Syria’s S-200 air defence system.

The Israeli military rejected the accusation that its jets deliberately used the Il-20 as a shield and led to its downing.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow’s decision to strengthen Syria’s air defence was made after week-long discussions between the leadership of the country and military experts.

He said that the deployment of the S-300 system in Syria does not target a third country.

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Honour Killing in Pakistan : Teen, boyfriend beheaded by father

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Islamabad, Sep 24 : An 18-year-old girl was beheaded along with her 21-year-old boyfriend in Pakistan by her father and uncle in what the police are calling yet another incident of honour killing, the media reported on Monday.

The incident took place in a small village in Attock district when the man arrived at the girl’s house to meet her, police was quoted by Dawn News as saying. Soon after, the girl’s father and her uncle walked in and, after tying the victims with ropes, beheaded them with a sharp object.

The police have arrested both suspects and recovered the murder weapon as well, Sub-inspector of Saddar police station Asif Khan said.

Scores of people in Pakistan, an overwhelming majority of whom are women, are still being murdered by relatives for bringing “shame” on their family.

At least 280 such murders were recorded by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan from October 2016 to June 2017 – a figure believed to be understated and incomplete.

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