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Julian Assange has been granted Ecuadorean nationality

JULIAN Assange has been granted Ecuadorean nationality amid threats to his life after Britain refused a request for diplomatic status for the WikiLeaks founder.

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Ecuador’s foreign minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa confirmed Assange’s citizenship request at a press conference in Quito.

She said she feared for threats to Assange’s life coming from third-party states.

The Ecuadorean government is seeking a “dignified and just” solution in the Assange case with the British government.

It comes after Britain refused a request by Ecuador for diplomatic status to be given to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a spokesman for Britain’s Foreign Office said.

Assange has been holed up for more than five years in the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he was granted asylum in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape allegations.

The Ecuadorean foreign minister stated Assange would not leave the embassy without security guarantees.

World

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

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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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World

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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