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Pakistan NSA Sartaj Aziz to arrive in India for talks on August 23

New Delhi: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Thursday confirmed that he would travel to India on August 23 for first-ever NSA-level talks with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval.

“I can confirm I will be going to India on August 23,” the Dawn quoted him as saying at a press conference.

Aziz said the decision was taken after consultations.

Officials said that the decision to attend the meeting was taken after the final nod by PM Sharif who returned last night from his three-day visit to Belarus.

India abruptly suspended high level diplomatic talks with Pakistan in August last year after the Pakistani envoy in New Delhi met Kashmiri separatist leaders.

The talks, known as the "Composite Dialogue", were also stopped by India following the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

"Although the security talks are not the revival of the Composite Dialogue, the meeting would be 'ice-breaking' as we will hold discussions on some important issues," Aziz said.

"Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif believes that dialogue is the only option to peacefully resolve issues," he added.

India had proposed August 23 and 24 dates for the National Security Advisor (NSA)-level talks between the two countries during the July 10 talks in Ufa, Russia, between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

At that time, both sides had agreed to jointly cooperate to eliminate terrorism and that both their NSAs would meet shortly in Delhi to discuss issues connected to terrorism.

However, continuous ceasefire violations across the border and a terror attack in Punjab last month had put a question mark on the fate of the talks.

The nabbing of a Pakistani terrorist -- the second man after Ajmal Kasab, who was caught alive during the 2008 terror attack on Mumbai – also raised doubts whether Pakistan was serious in taking peace talks forward.

The young terrorist hails from Gujranwala in Pakistan and was linked to the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).

Earlier, the two countries had exchanged a war of words over a "spy" drone which Pakistan alleged was being used by India for aerial photography near the Line of Control, a claim dismissed by New Delhi.

Last week, Aziz had said that Pakistan wants a constructive, sustained, unconditional and result-oriented dialogue with India on all issues of mutual concern including the core issue of Kashmir.
  • Published in National

India loses to Spian 1-4 in Europe Hockey Tour

Spain: Failing to sustain an aggressive start, the Indian men's hockey team went down to Spain 1-4 in its third match of the ongoing Europe Tour here.

In a come-from-behind move, Indian forward SV Sunil scored the only goal for his team to level matters in the first quarter, but it was only downhill for the visitors from there.
In the first quarter, both the teams started with an aggressive game plan and attacked on each other's sides to try to take the early lead.

Spain opened their account in the ninth minute with a stunning field goal to make it 1-0. However, India reacted quickly and attacked fiercely.

In the next minute (10th), VR Raghunath gave a long pass to Sunil, who received the pass in the circle. He dribbled past a defender and hit the ball hard to score the first goal for his team. The Indians then did well to maintain the 1-1 score till end of the quarter.

In the second quarter, both sides stepped-in with more aggression and fought harder. The Indians attacked continuously but failed to finish the passes. After a series of attacks and counter-attacks, the quarter ended goalless with the scoreline reading 1-1.

In the third quarter, both the teams entered the ground with better strategies. However, it was Spain who managed to earn a penalty corner in the 31st minute and Pau Quemada converted it perfectly to take the lead again.

The Indians counter-attacked with their aggressive game-plans and kept the ball in the Spanish half. With their continuous efforts, India could not materialise their passes and the score-line remained 2-1 in favour of Spain at the end of the quarter.

In the final quarter, both sides locked-horns again and looked for opportunities to score goals. Spain earned another penalty corner but it was saved by Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh.

In the 53rd minute, Spain managed to earn another penalty corner and this time Jordi Carrera converted it effectively for their third goal of the match. Conceding two unfortunate goals, the Indians counter-attacked with more passion and kept the pressure on their opponents.

However, Spain made a surprise attack from the right flank and Roc Oliva scored the fourth goal for his team in the 56th minute and maintained their 4-1 winning scoreline till time.

India will play their second match against Spain on August 12 here.

  • Published in Hockey

India-born Sundar Pichai is the new CEO of Google

New York: In a significant restructuring at Google, India-born Sundar Pichai has been named the new CEO of the technology giant as the company co-founder Larry Page on August 11 announced the formation of a new umbrella firm Alphabet, of which Google will be a part.

Page, in a blog post, announced the formation of the new parent company Alphabet, of which he will be the CEO and Google co-founder Sergey Brin will be its President. Chennai-born Pichai, 43, has been named CEO of the new Google, which Page said will be a "a bit slimmed down."

"Our company is operating well today, but we think we can make it cleaner and more accountable. So we are creating a new company, called Alphabet. I am really excited to be running Alphabet as CEO with help from my capable partner, Sergey, as President," Page said.

He said Pichai will be a "key part" of the new structure that will "allow us to keep tremendous focus on the extraordinary opportunities we have inside Google." "He has really stepped up since October of last year, when he took on product and engineering responsibility for our internet businesses.

Sergey and I have been super excited about his progress and dedication to the company. And it is clear to us and our board that it is time for Sundar to be CEO of Google," Page said. "I feel very fortunate to have someone as talented as he is to run the slightly slimmed down Google and this frees up time for me to continue to scale our aspirations. I have been spending quite a bit of time with Sundar, helping him and the company in any way I can, and I will of course continue to do that," Page added.
  • Published in World

Pakistan rules out inviting Jammu and Kashmir Assembly speaker

Islamabad: Pakistan has ruled out inviting Jammu and Kashmir Assembly speaker to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Islamabad, saying it does not recognise and accept the J-K assembly as legitimate one.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Special Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz said Kashmir was a disputed territory and Pakistan does not recognise its assembly.

"Pakistan does not recognise and accept the said assembly as legitimate one," he told reporters in Islamabad on Saturday.

He said Pakistan's principled position on Jammu and Kashmir will be compromised if the speaker of Kashmir is invited to the conference.

"We will never invite the speaker of occupied Jammu and Kashmir Assembly," he said.

Pakistan has not sent an invitation to the J-K Assembly Speaker for the Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting to be held from September 30 to October 8 in Islamabad while invitations have been sent to all the other Speakers in India.

India has threatened to boycott the event if J-K assembly speaker Kavinder Gupta was not invited.

Indian High Commissioner TCA Raghavan said Pakistan had violated the protocol by not inviting the speaker of Jammu and Kashmir, local media reported.

"In the past Pakistan has invited delegations from Kashmir," he said.

Raghavan said India will not attend the conference if Pakistan did not invite the speaker of J-K assembly.
  • Published in World

Pak cricketers needs to play India if they want to perform under pressure says Inzamam

Karachi: Former batting great Inzamam-ul-Haq says if Pakistani cricketers have to learn performing under pressure, they must play arch-rivals India on regular basis.

Inzamam urged the PCB to organize more tours for the national team to Australia, England, South Africa and India. "In the past when we toured countries like Australia or South Africa we struggled but we also got to learn a lot and we learnt to cope with pressure. I think there is no better way for our players to improve and learn to perform under pressure than playing regularly with India," Inzamam, who appeared in 120 Tests and 378 one-day internationals, said.

The former Test captain said he would love to see Pakistan and India launch a new cricket chapter by playing in December this year. "Regardless of where we play we should play India on regular basis," he said.

"We have fallen behind in international cricket in the sense we are not getting tours to the big countries but the PCB now needs to organise more tours to Australia, South Africa and other top cricket nations," he said.

Talking about Younis Khan, Inzamam said his biggest plus point was that despite all the politics and intrigues in the Pakistan team he remained focused on his game.
The former captain noted that Younis by his performances had himself established himself as a world class player. Inzamam also requested Younis to carry on playing and become the first Pakistani player to complete 10,000 Test runs.
"I have one regret that whenever I look at the list of world’s leading scorers I don't see any Pakistani who has scored 10,000 test runs even I couldn't do it nor Muhammad Yousuf. So I would love to see Younis achieve this target and make 10,000 test runs."
  • Published in Cricket

Australia A outplay India A by 10 wickets, claim series

Chennai: Failing to put up any fight against a rampaging Australia A, India A suffered a 10-wicket loss in the second unofficial 'Test' to go down 0-1 in the two-match cricket series here today.

Starting on their overnight score of 267 for six, the Cheteshwar Pujara-led side crashed to 274 all out as pace spearhead Gurinder Sandhu (4-76) wiped the India A tail within the first half hour of the fourth and final day's morning session at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

Sandhu turned on the heat after sending back overnight batsman Shreyas Gopal (0) without troubling the score and then picked up Varun Aaron (1) and dangerman Baba Aparajith (30) in his next couple of overs to flatten India A hopes.

Left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe picked the final wicket, of Shardul Thakur (4), to turn in with impressive figures of 4-88.

Needing 61 for a win, openers Cameron Bancroft (21 not out) and Usman Khawaja (41 not out) completed the formalities in double quick time.

Apart from Sandhu and O'Keefe, who bagged 5 and 6 wickets respectively in both the innings, Bancroft was the star for the visitors with a crucial 150 in the first innings.
Australia A rode on Bancroft's patient ton to post 349 in response to India A's 135 all out to clinch a vital 214-run lead.

Aparajith, with a five-wicket haul in the first innings, was the standout performer for the home team, which boasted of Indian Test skipper Virat Kohli in the playing XI.

Playing the match as a tune-up exercise before the Sri Lanka Test tour starting August 12, Kohli contributed with 16 and 45 runs in the first and second innings respectively.
Karun Nair's 50 in the first innings and opener Abhinav Mukund's fighting 59 in the second were also some of the notable contributions from India A players.

The Indian batsmen did put up a better show in their second innings on Day 3 but the top and the middle-order was guilty of not capitalising on starts to get big scores.
Kohli, Shreyas Iyer (49), Nair (31) and Naman Ojha (30) put up some resistance against a disciplined Australia attack only to let it slip eventually.

Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha also made his presence felt with figures of 4-107.
The first match between the two sides ended in draw.
  • Published in Cricket

Bangladesh swap land with India after 70 years

Dinhata (West Bengal): Crackers were burst and people rejoiced as India and Bangladesh exchanged enclaves at the stroke of midnight on Friday-Saturday, ending the 68 years of stateless existence for over 51,000 enclave dwellers.

Around 14,000 people living for so long in 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in the Indian territory, and another 37,000 residing in 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh, now have a country of their own.

The Bangladeshi enclaves are now a part of India, while the Indian enclaves join Bangladesh.

Torches and candles were lit, people came out of their houses, burst crackers and hugged each other as part of the celebrations with their eyes shining bright with hope.

Their facial expressions showed ecstasy after decades of isolation and deprivation during which they were denied even the basic civic amenities.

History was written as India gave away to Bangladesh a total area of 17,160 acres, covering the 111 enclaves and in return received 7,110 acres comprising 51 enclaves.

As the clock struck 12, the Bharat Bangladesh Enclave Exchange Co-ordination Committee (BBEECC) - an organisation that fought for the rights of the enclave dwellers -- celebrated the occasion in Mosaldanga enclave of West Bengal's Cooch Behar district.
  • Published in National

India to be world's most populous country by 2022: UN

New Delhi: India in 2022 will be the world's most populous country, finally overtaking China, with about 1.4 billion residents.

Currently, about 1.31 billion people live in India, compared with approximately 1.38 billion in China. The Indian population will continue growing for decades after 2022 and will reach 1.5 billion by 2030 and 1.7 billion by 2050, while China's population will remain more or less stable until 2030 and will then begin to decline, the UN said.

The projections also are that by 2050 Nigeria may surpass the US and become the world's third-most populous country, according to estimates made public on Wednesday by the United Nations.

The UN says that the African nation will register the largest population increase among the world's big countries, growing from its current 182 million to more than 262 million by 2030 and almost 400 million by 2050.

The US, which currently has almost 322 million people, will continue growing, although more slowly, and by 2050 its population is estimated to stand at about 389 million.

According to the UN, during the coming decades the growth of the world population will be concentrated mainly in nine countries: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, the US, Indonesia and Uganda.

With the highest demographic growth rate, Africa will contribute more than half of the increase in the planet's population between 2015 and 2050. The population of Latin America and the Caribbean, meanwhile, will increase from the current 634 million to 721 million by 2030 and 784 million by 2050 but will then begin to decline, falling back to about 721 million by the end of the century.

Latin America will experience a clear ageing of its population in the coming decades and in 2050 people over age 60 will make up a quarter of the population, compared with only a little over 11 percent now.

Brazil and Mexico, which are currently among the world's 10 most populous countries, will continue growing until 2050, when their populations will stand at 238 million and 164 million, respectively.

In total, according to these estimates, the world will expand from its current 7.3 billion inhabitants to 8.5 billion by 2030, about 9.7 billion by 2050 and around 11.2 billion by the end of this century.
  • Published in National
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