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Friday, 18 April 2014

 

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Pak-China universities ink students exchange agreement -
GUANGZHOU, Apr 18 (APP): National University of Modern Languages (NUML) Islamabad and China’s Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (GDUFS), Guangzhou, Friday concluded a Memorandum of Understanding on Academic Cooperation and a Student Exchange Agreement. The documents were signed by Maj Gen (Retd) Masood Hasan, Rector NUML and Prof. Zhong Weihe, President GDUFS. The initiative of the MoU and the agreement between the two Universities was launched and facilitated by the Consulate General of Pakistan in Guangzhou. Under the MoU on Academic Cooperation, the NUML would set up a NUML International Center of Education (NICE) on the premises of GDUFS. NUML will initially assign academicians/ instructors at the NICE for English and Urdu languages and subsequently extend it for other languages.


UN Envoy urges fresh talks with besieged Syrians, authorities -
UNITED NATIONS, April 17 (APP): Regretting the abrupt halt in talks between the Syrian authorities and the negotiating committee representing civilians and fighters trapped in the Old City of Homs, U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi Thursday urged all the parties to return to the negotiating table and complete the deal that had been on the verge of being signed.



On first visit to Gaza, UN official calls for end to Israeli blockade -
UNITED NATIONS, April 17 (APP):  On his first official visit to the Gaza Strip, the new head of the United Nations agency assisting Palestinian refugees across the Middle East underscored the need to lift the seven-year Israeli blockade and end the ‘illegal collective punishment’ unleashed on the population there.


US lauds Pakistan’s economic upturn; hopes for Pak-India progress -
WASHINGTON, April 17 (APP): The United States has been encouraged by Pakistan’s economic turnaround over the past year and hopes for Pakistan-India progress after the Indian elections towards trade expansion, a senior American official said.  “We are encouraged by the economic progress that Pakistan has made in the past year, though it still faces many challenges ahead,”


Pak maritime trade to further boost as China accelerates planning to re-connect Maritime Silk Road -
BEIJING, April 17 (APP): The maritime trade of Pakistan will get further boost through inter-connectivity as the Chinese government is stepping up the planning of reviving the Maritime Silk Road in the 21st century, with port construction as the priority, according to local media.The plan is expected to focus on infrastructure construction of countries along the route, including ports of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the China Securities Journal said.China will coordinate customs, quality supervision, e-commerce and other agencies to facilitate the scheme, which is also likely to contain attempts to build free trade zones.


Sport News
Fozia, Laiba, Bareera, Naima reach KP Junior Inter-District Girls Squash q-finals
PESHAWAR, Apr 18 (APP): Fozia, Laiba, Bareera and Naima registered victories against their respective rivals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Inter-District Male and Female Squash Championship which got under way here at Hashim Khan Squash Complex on Thursday. Deputy Commissioner Peshawar Zahir-ul-Islam was the chief guest on this occasion who formally inaugurated the Championship in which besides female players, boys players are taking part in the Under-11, Under-13, Under-15 and Under-17. Former World Champion Qamar Zaman, Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Squash Association Ihsan Ullah Khan, players and spectators were also present. The Championship is carrying a prize money of Rs. 50,000/- wherein more than 150 players are competing in female, Under-11, Under-13, Under-15 and Under-17 categories.
 
Saqlian questions “Doosara” in present era
KARACHI, Apr 17 (APP): Master off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq indirectly questioned the legality of “Doosra” in the current era.  The inventor of the mystery ball, said that, due to his technique, he never felt any difficulty in managing the away going delivery,” he told a private television channel on Thurdsay. He declined to comment on the official rules, in this regard, saying that it was the job of the International Cricket Council (ICC) to look into the matter.
 
11th National Women Softball Championship from Friday
RAWALPINDI, April 17 (APP): A three-day 11th National Women Softball Championship-2014 will be held at Pindi Cricket Stadium from Friday. In a joint announcement here, District Coordination Officer  (DCO) Sajid Zafar Dall and Chairperson Senate Standing Committtee on Sports Kalsoom Perveen, said Six teams from all over the country including defending champions Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Islamabad and Police Department would participate in the championship.
 
National Shooting trials for Asian, CW Games on May 10
KARACHI, Apr 17 (APP): Second phase of trials to select Pakistan sharp shooters for this year’s Asian Games and Commonwealth Games will be held at Naval International Shooting Range here on May 10, National Rifle Association of Pakistan (NRAP) announced on Thursday. “Trials will be conducted in all events like Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun,” Executive Vice President NRAP Razi Ahmed Khan told APP here.
 
Army excels in National Taekwondo
KARACHI, Apr 16 (APP): Pakistan Army swept all the 30 gold medals at stake in the National Taekwondo Championship at the Rangers Training Centre & School here, said a news release issued here on Wednesday. Army martial arts players dominated the event from start to finish with superb technique and power.
 
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U.S. appeals court upholds Aafia Siddiqui’s sentence PDF Print E-mail
NEW YORK, Nov 6 (APP): A federal appeals court on Monday upheld the conviction of Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, who was accused of trying to kill U.S. troops and FBI agents in Afghanistan four years ago.  The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said that a lower court judge had not erred in allowing Dr. Siddiqui, 40, to testify in her own defence at trial two years ago and in allowing certain evidence against her.  The Pakistani neuroscientist was sentenced to 86 years in prison after she was convicted of grabbing a U.S. soldier’s M-4 assault rifle and trying to shoot a group of Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and soldiers at an Afghan police compound in July 2008, a charge she consistently denied during the trial.

At trial, she testified that she was simply trying to escape the room and was shot by someone who saw her. Siddiqui, whose conviction was widely criticized in Pakistan and some human rights activists, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in September 2010.
She was convicted by a New York federal jury of attempted murder, armed assault and other charges. The Pakistani neuroscientist is now spending time in prison in Carswell, Texas. The U.S. team had traveled to Ghazni, Afghanistan, to interview her after she was taken into custody by Afghan authorities.
Prosecutors claimed she was found with materials that included handwritten notes referring to a “mass casualty attack” in the U.S. and listed several landmark locations in New York City. On Monday, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals rejected several arguments by Siddiqui’s lawyers, including that she shouldn’t have been allowed to testify in her defence because of a mental illness and that a terrorism enhancement shouldn’t have applied to her sentence.
The appellate court claimed that the district judge went to “extraordinary lengths” to ensure Siddiqui understood the implications of her testimony.
“Even were we to discern any daylight between the standards governing a efendant’s capacity to stand trial and those for assessing her capacity to determine whether to testify (and then, actually to testify), we would find no reason to upset the district (lower) court’s implicit determination that Siddiqui did in fact have the requisite capacity to make the latter decision here,” U.S. Circuit Judge Richard W. Wesley wrote in a 42-page opinion.
“That Siddiqui’s choice to testify like many defendants’ decisions to testify was a poor one, does not alter our analysis.” In February, Dawn Cardi, Siddiqui’s court-appointed lawyer, attorney, made a strong case before the justices that her client should been barred from giving evidence before the trial court because of her mental illness, which had been confirmed by doctors.
Cardi also questioned the evidence collected from Dr. Siddiqui by two FBI agents at the U.S. base in Baghram while she was recovering from the bullet wounds she sustained at a police facility in Ghazni, Afghanistan, in July 2008.
She said the evidence was prejudicial because she had not been read her rights and therefore should not have been entertained.
Moreover, she had not had the opportunity to consult any lawyers. Cardi lso said that during the trial, experts had provided concrete evidence that the M-4 rifle which she allegedly picked up had not been not fired and that no spent bullets or casings were found.
She also said Dr. Siddiqui was not being tried for terrorism, the material containing diagrams of New York landmarks allegedly recovered from her should not been introduced into the proceedings. But the government  side maintained that Dr. Siddiqui was competent to stand trial. Prosecution lawyers also said that Dr. Siddiqui was not “interrorgated” but was “interviewed”.
Prosecutors alleged that Siddiqui was behind a curtain in the second-floor room where they gathered. She burst from behind the curtain, grabbed an American soldier’s rifle and started firing, prosecutors said. 
She was shot in the abdomen by a soldier who returned fire with his sidearm, prosecutors said.
Siddiqui received graduate degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of echnology and Brandeis University in biology and neuroscience while living in the U.S. between 1991 and June 2002. 
 

     

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