National Affairs

Karachi inferno death toll hits 298: The death toll of the fire in a Karachi garments factory reached 298 with several dozen workers still unaccounted for and presumably dead in the basement that could not be penetrated by recovery team.

MTDF provides $10m for promoting female education in Balochistan: The Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MTDF), under the supervision of the World Bank, has approved $10 million grant for promoting female education in Balochistan.

Pakistan’s share in global trade declines: Pakistan has not kept pace with the growth in global trade as its share has reduced from 0.20 per cent in 1990 to 0.18 per cent in 2011, while all other regional players have multiplied their share, according to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) statistics.

Govt blocks YouTube operations: In response to surging protests against the controversial film ‘Innocence of Muslims’, the government decided to block operations of the video sharing website YouTube in the country.

Raghib Abbas new Wapda chairman: Syed Raghib Abbas Shah has been appointed chairman Wapda, says a notification issued by the Establishment Division after the nomination was approved by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.

N-capable cruise missile test-fired: Pakistan test-fired nuclear capable Hatf-VII (Babur) cruise missile for validation of technical parameters.
Babur missile, which has been tested five times earlier since its first tests in 2005, was now checked for synchronisation with National Command Authority’s fully automated Strategic Command and Control Support System (SCCSS).

Swiss letter to be written, after all: After almost 30 months of legal squabbling with the Supreme Court over NRO implementation, the government finally blinked. To the surprise of the five-judge bench, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf authorised his law minister to withdraw the letter that led to the closing of alleged graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

PIA chief resigns for health reasons: The Chairman and Managing Director of Pakistan International Airlines, Air Chief Marshal (retd) Rao Qamar Suleman, has resigned and Deputy Managing Director Capt Junaid Yunus has been asked to look after the affairs of the corporation till the appointment of a new chief.

Govt urges UN to act against hate-mongers: A meeting of the federal cabinet was converted into a special sitting to condemn the anti-Islam film which hurt the sentiments of people across the Muslim world and set off violent demonstrations in the country.

Instead of taking up the scheduled 14-point agenda, the cabinet unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the highly objectionable film and calling upon international organisations, including the United Nations and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to take measures to stop hate-mongers from touching such sensitive subjects.
The cabinet announced September 21 would be a national holiday, designating the day as Yaum-i-Ishq-i-Rasool (PBUH).

Pakistani appointed to lead UN panel: Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Homi Kharas of Pakistan as lead author and executive secretary for the High-Level Panel to advise on the global development agenda beyond 2015, the target date for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the world body announced.

Trade accords with Tunisia signed: Pakistan and Tunisia signed four agreements of cooperation in agriculture, science and technology, education and cottage industry, and agreed to finalise the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) by the end of December.

Day of reverence or killer rage?: Friday which was designated by the government to demonstrate love of the Holy Prophet (SAWW) and condemn the anti-Islam video produced in the US by some extremists was hijacked by our home-grown extremists who turned it into a day of unbridled violence, killings, arson and robbery. At least 23 people were killed and over 200 injured during violence at some places.

Pakistan, India sign three trade agreements: Pakistan and India signed three technical agreements and discussed trade in gas and electricity.
The agreement on redressal of trade grievances, mutual recognition and customs cooperation will facilitate bilateral business mechanism and ease issues relating to certification, licensing, lab testing, etc.

WB, UN to give $43.5m for polio eradication: The World Bank and the United Nations will provide $43.50 million to Pakistan for procurement of polio vaccine under the National Emergency Action Plan, 2012.

Minister offers head money on anti-Islam filmmaker: Federal Minister for Railways Ghulam Ahmad Bilour announced $100,000 head money on the American who produced the blasphemous film and also asked the Taliban and al-Qaeda to extend support to the killer of the blasphemer.

Zardari and Clinton discuss ways of bolstering relations: The United States and Pakistan reviewed various options for bolstering their troubled relationship, including a plan for facilitating the Afghan reconciliation process.

UN urged to address anti-Islam film: Pakistan moved the United Nations to immediately address the alarming situation created by an anti-Islam video and bridge the widening rift to enable the comity of nations to be one again.

President Asif Ali Zardari, who announced this step in his address to the 67th UN General Assembly began his speech with a strong condemnation of the blasphemous video and urged the international community not to remain silent to such provocations.

US launches $80m initiative to promote Pak economy: The US launched $80 million initiative under Kerry-Lugar Law (KLL) for equity investments funds to promote small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in different sectors of Pakistan’s economy. These include companies in areas of education, health, small scale manufacturing, agribusiness, energy sector and information technology.

Pakistan, Afghanistan and UK to work for regional peace: The leadership of Pakistan, Afghanistan and United Kingdom reaffirmed their commitment to continue to work for the goals of regional peace, stability and development and for the elimination of the scourge of terrorism from the region.

Navy tests SAMs: Pakistan Navy successfully fired a series of Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs) off the Makran coast.
According to the Navy spokesman, the missiles that hit their targets were test-fired during the ongoing and annual Pakistan Navy Maritime exercise Seaspark 12.

Sindh PA adopts LG law amid uproar: The Sindh Assembly adopted the new local government law amid uproar as lawmakers belonging to the estranged coalition partners who have parted ways over the promulgation of the Sindh People’s Local Government Ordinance, 2012 raised slogans against the bill and staged a sit-in on the floor of the house.

Alia Zafar wins HR Professional of the Year Award: The 11th edition of the Asia Pacific HRM Congress saw wi-tribe Pakistan’s Director Human Capital, Alia Zafar, with the HR Professional of the Year award.

KSE hits record high: The Karachi Stock Exchange achieved two new milestones as it hit a new all-time high of 15,747.21 points and ended at its highest-ever level of 15,712.21 points, buoyed by expectations of a cut in the State Bank’s key policy rate.

WB approves $24m for polio fight: The World Bank has approved $24 million as second additional financing for the Third Partnership for Polio Eradication Project aimed at supporting the government’s plan to immunise 34.8 million children against the crippling disease.

Presidency made party in ISI case: Proceedings of the case about the ISI doling out funds to politicians in the 1990s took a new twist when the Supreme Court decided to focus its attention on political activities in the presidency.

In an unexpected move, a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain which had taken up the 1996 petition of Tehrik-i-Istiqlal chief Air Martial (retd) Asghar Khan made the president’s office a necessary party through his Secretary General Salman Farooqi.

US waives restrictions to allow $2bn aid: The United States has waived legal restrictions that could have blocked $2 billion of economic and military assistance to Pakistan. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton informed Congress that it was in America’s national interest to do so.

Censor board disbanded: The Ministry for Regulations and Services has disbanded the Central Board of Films and Censor (CBFC) and removed its chairman.
The CBFC is working under the Motion Picture Ordinance, 1979 having a task to censor films.

Senate adopts unanimous resolution against profane video: The Senate passed a unanimous resolution condemning the airing of the blasphemous video on the internet and described it a campaign to malign Islam, stating that the airing of blasphemous movie which seems to be a vilification campaign being maliciously touted by some western elements lobbies and countries to malign Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the Holy Quran, all on the pretext and behind the smokescreen of freedom of speech and expression.

Namira Salim awarded Power 100 Trailblazer Award: First Pakistani astronaut Namira Salim was awarded the Power 100 Trailblazer Award at the final awards ceremony for the Pakistan Power 100, which was held in London.

14-year-old activist shot and critically wounded: Malala Yousufzai, the 14-year-old Swat girl who championed the cause of girls’ education and dared to criticise Taliban’s attack on schools and school-going girls, was shot and seriously wounded.

As she struggled for life in a Peshawar hospital, Taliban claimed responsibility for the gruesome attack and threatened to target her again and kill her if she managed to survive this time.

Pakistan, Bosnia to boost defence ties: Pakistan signed MoUs for defence and trade cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina as the two countries vowed to boost their ties. The two agreements were signed during the visit of President Bakir Izetbegovic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Three-year standoff over letter ends: After more than 30 months the painful NRO saga has ended for President Asif Ali Zardari. The Supreme Court approved the draft of a letter it had ordered the government to write to the Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against the president.


Tension mounts as Japan buys disputed islands: Japan brushed off stern warnings by China and bought a group of islands that both sides claim in a growing dispute that threatens to deepen strains between world’s two biggest economies.

US ambassador killed in Libyan militant attack: The US ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three embassy staff were killed in an attack on the Benghazi consulate and a safe house refuge, stormed by Islamist militants blaming America for a film seen as insulting the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

Tallest-ever dog revealed in Guinness Book of Records: A Great Dane who towers 2.2 metres (7 feet 4 inches) on his hind legs is named the tallest dog ever recorded in the latest Guinness Book of World Record launched.

What a scorcher: California ousts Libya for heat record: The world’s all-time heat record lowered a tad, as the World Meteorological Organisation declared a phenomenal 58 degrees Celsius (136.4 degrees Fahrenheit) recorded in Libya 90 years ago was wrong.
Instead, the title of the world’s hottest place should go to Death Valley, California, it said.
That honour, the WMO said, has thus been passed to what until now had been considered the next hottest temperature recorded on the planet: 56.7 degrees Celsius (134 degrees Fahrenheit) measured on July 10, 1913 in Death Valley, California.

Obama calls Muslim leaders, sends destroyers to Libya: The United States sent destroyers and Marines to Libya after its ambassador was killed, there, as President Barack Obama called Egyptian, Libyan and Afghan leaders to discuss the Muslim reaction to a hate film.

Two US warships and a special unit of 50 Marines were their way to Libya following attack on a US compound in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other diplomats.

Harry’s camp attacked: Taliban armed with suicide vests, guns and rockets stormed a heavily fortified airfield in Afghanistan where Prince Harry is deployed, killing two US Marines and attacking aircraft in a major security breach.

Somalia inaugurates elected president after 20 years: Somalia’s new president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took office, calling for an end to terrorism and piracy in a nation mired in conflict for more than two decades.

Woman takes command of ISS after crew return: A woman US space veteran, Suni Williams, took command of the International Space Station for only the second time as three of her US and Russian colleagues made a safe return from the orbiting space lab to the Kazakh steppe.

Najeeb Lanka’s first Muslim chief minister: Najeeb Abdul Majeed of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) became Lanka’s first Muslim chief minister of the Eastern Province in Trincomalee.

With an SLFP man becoming chief minister of the Eastern Province, all the eight Lankan provinces have elected councils, all headed by SLFP members.

Syrians barred from Haj: Saudi Arabia has barred Syrians from entering the country to perform the Haj pilgrimage, marking the latest break between the two Arab nations.

World biggest vertical garden: A shop ping centre near Milan is claiming an unusual record ‘the biggest vertical garden in the world, covering a surface of 1,263 square metres (13,600 square feet) with a total of 44,000 plants.

World’s first mum-to-daughter uterine transplants in Sweden: Two Swedish women received new uteruses at the weekend in the world’s first mother-to-daughter uterine transplants aimed at helping them have babies.

UN award for Somali women’s empowerment champion: Hawa Aden Mohamed whose work to help displaced women improve their living standards was recognised when she was named winner of this year’s Nansen Refugee Award.

India follows Pakistan with missile test: India test-fired its second-longest-range missile two days after Pakistan announced its own missile test. The two-stage Agni-IV blasted off from the eastern state of Orissa in the third test for the missile, which was first launched in 2010 in a flight marred by technical problems.

Street kid wins $130,000 peace prize: A young Filipino who lived off a rubbish dump and slept in an open tomb has won a prestigious children’s award in the Netherlands for his work to improve the rights of his fellow street kids.
Cris ‘Kesz’ Valdez, aged 13, was handed this year’s International Children’s Peace Prize at a glittering ceremony in The Hague, where he received a 100,000 euro ($130,000) prize.

New stuff beats record for heat-to-power conversion: Scientists in the United States reported making a souped-up material that beats the record for converting waste heat into power, an exploit they hope will be incorporated into clean energy investment.

Russia to keep Kyrgyzstan military base: President Vladimir Putin agreed a deal with Kyrgyzstan that will allow Russia to keep a military base in the country until 2032 as Moscow and Washington jostle for influence in the region.

China and the European Union reach deal to cut greenhouse gas:
China, the biggest carbon dioxide emitter in the world, has struck a deal to work with the European Union to cut greenhouse gases through projects including the development of Chinese emissions trading programmes.

Three Turkish ex-generals jailed in coup trial: A Turkish court handed down 20-year prison terms to three former generals found guilty of plotting to overthrow the democratically elected government in 2003.

Suu Kyi visits UN, receives new award: Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi visited the United Nations and received a new award the 2012 Global Citizen Award from the Atlantic Council.

Louvre opens Islamic art wing to the public: Paris’s famed Louvre museum opened to the public a new wing of Islamic art in a bid to improve knowledge of a religion often viewed with suspicion in the West.

US Senate approves Olson as envoy to Pakistan: The US Senate approved new American ambassadors to Pakistan and Iraq, both veteran diplomats nominated by President Barack Obama.
In a voice vote, the Senate confirmed Robert Stephen Beecroft as the new envoy to Iraq, and Richard Olson to be the new ambassador to Pakistan.

US space shuttle lands in LA after final flight: The US space shuttle Endeavour took its final flight, making a spectacular series of flypasts over California before landing in Los Angeles where it will retire near its birthplace.

Iran tests new anti-air missile defence: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said it test-fired medium-range surface-to-air missile designed to knock attacking aircraft out of the sky at a range of 50 kilometres (30 miles). The test of the new defence system, called Ra’ad (Thunder), was successful.

Aishwarya named UNAIDS’ Goodwill envoy: Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was appointed as the new international Goodwill Ambassador for the joint UN programme on AIDS and HIV.

Belarus elects token parliament, awaits OSCE response: A parliamentary election in Belarus boycotted by the main opposition was dominated by candidates loyal to President Alexander Lukashenko, reinforcing his autocratic, 18-year-old rule of the former Soviet republic.

Pakistani-origin woman becomes Norway’s minister: Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has appointed a Pakistani Muslim woman as part of his government during a Cabinet reshuffle this week. Hadia Tajik, 29, of Pakistani descent, was appointed as Norway’s culture minister, reported a private news channel. Hadia has become the first-ever Muslim cabinet member and youngest-ever government minster in the Scandinavian country.

China’s first aircraft carrier enters service: China put its first aircraft carrier into service, in a show of strength that came as territorial disputes over strategic islands in the region escalated.

The carrier was named the Liaoning after the north-eastern province that is home to China’s main naval port city of Dalian, where it was extensively refitted.

OIC urges laws against ‘Islamophobia’: The world’s largest Islamic body called for expression of ‘Islamophobia’ to be curbed by law, just as some countries restricted anti-Semitic speech or Holocaust denial.

Lord Tariq joins govt front bench: As part of the recent government reshuffle, the British Prime Minister David Cameron appointed Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon to the government front bench in the House of Lords. Lord Ahmad, who is of Pakistani origin, joins the UK ministerial team as a government whip and front bench spokesman covering 3 departments ‘International Development, Justice and Communities and Local Government.

Indian Ocean’s 2012 mega-quake broke the records: An 8.7 earthquake that struck west of Indonesia on April 11, 2012 was the biggest of its kind ever recorded and confirms suspicions that a giant tectonic plate is breaking up.

Afghan woman wins Swedish rights prize: Afghan human rights activist and former minister Sima Samar won the Swedish Right Livelihood Award honouring those who work to improve the lives of others.

Chinese ship sails to Atlantic and back, via Arctic: A Chinese icebreaker docked at Shanghai after becoming the first vessel from China to cross the Arctic Ocean, a landmark trip that is part of Beijing’s efforts to expand its presence in the Arctic.

Buddhist statue taken by Nazis war carved from meteorite, say scientists: A thousand-year-old Buddhist statue taken from Tibet in 1938 by an SS team seeking the roots of Hitler’s Aryan doctrine was carved from a meteorite, scientists reported.

Two Sudans reach deals on border security, oil: Sudan and South Sudan inked a series of deals on security and cooperation, hailed by their presidents as ending the rivals’ conflict but falling short of a comprehensive solution.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir said the agreement ‘brings to an end the long conflict between our two countries,’while his counterpart Omar al-Bashir said he would ‘seize the historic opportunity and journey towards building peace.’

Nigerian environmental activist receives human rights award: The Rafto Prize, a Norwegian human rights award, was awarded to Nigerian environmentalist Nnimmo Bassey for his campaigning on behalf of victims of climate change and environmental damage.

Russian court outlaws anti-Islam film: A Russian court has outlawed an anti-Islam film that has sparked violence around the world.
The court in Grozny ruled that the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ should be banned as ‘extremist and inciting religious and ethnic hatred.’

100-year-old sets 100km cycling record: A French centenarian, Robert Marchand, set a record for the fastest 100-year-old to cycle 100 kilometres and said he had outdone himself. He finished the distance in four hours, 17 minutes and 27 seconds.

Anti-Islam film OIC adopts Declaration moved by Pakistan: Foreign ministers of Islamic countries spoke with one voice against the blasphemous video as they urged all governments to prevent such ‘despicable’ acts through ‘appropriate measure, including legislation’.

World’s 2nd largest steel firm born in Japan: Japan’s Nippon Steel and rival Sumitomo Metal Industries formally merged, creating the world’s second largest steelmaker amid intensifying global competition.

The two Japanese firms produced a combined 46.1 million tons of crude steel in 2011, according to the World Steel Association, topped only by India’s giant ArcelorMittal on 97.2 million tons.

Saakashvili concedes defeat in Georgian polls: Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili conceded a shock defeat to a billionaire tycoon in parliamentary polls, ending nine years of dominance that antagonised Russia and brought Tbilisi closer to the West.

Dialect loses last speaker: In a remote fishing town on the tip of Scotland’s Black Isle, the last native speaker of the Cromarty dialect has died, taking with him another little piece of the English linguistic mosaic.

Scottish academics said that Bobby Hogg, who passed away last week at age 92, was the last person fluent in the dialect once common in the seaside town of Cromarty, 280 kilometres north of Scottish capital Edinburgh.

Rasmussen wins fifth and final year as Nato chief: Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen won a fifth year at the helm of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, leaving him in place to help oversee a difficult withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Jordan dissolves parliament, calls new polls: Jordan’s King Abdullah II dissolved parliament and called early elections, the royal palace announced on the eve of a major rally by the Islamist opposition to demand reforms.

India test-fires Prithvi-II missile: India successfully test-fired its indigenously developed, nuclear-capable ballistic missile Prithvi-II from a test range in Odisha. The 350-km range missile blasted off from the launch complex No III at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) of Chandipur in Balasore district.

India test-fires N-capable ballistic missile: India test-fired its nuclear-capable ballistic missile Dhanush from a naval ship in the Bay of Bengal off the Odisha coast an official said.

With a payload capacity of 500 kilograms, Dhanush is a naval version of the nuclear-capable ballistic missile Prithvi. It is capable of carrying both conventional as well as nuclear warheads and can strike targets in the range of 350 kilometres.

Russia extends its troops presence in Tajikistan: Russia extended its military presence in Tajikistan for 30 years in a deal to secure the southern fringes of its former Soviet empire after Nato troops leave Afghanistan.

The countries’ defence ministers signed an agreement prolonging Russia’s lease on a military base in the former Soviet republic until 2042 during a visit by President Vladimir Putin.

Mau Mau torture case ‘Kenyans win ruling against UK: Three elderly Kenyans have won a historic legal victory over the British government after the high court in London gave them permission to claim damages for the grave abuses they suffered when imprisoned during the Mau Mau rebellion.

Spain seals deal with US over Nato missile shield: The Spanish government has agreed to participate in Nato’s anti-missile shield that will see specialised United States warships based at a Spanish base already used by the US Navy.

Abu Hamza, four others to be extradited to US: Radical Islamist preacher Abu Hamza and four other men are set to be extradited to the United States after a British court rejected their last-ditch attempts to block their removal.

Australia unveils colossal telescope: Australia unveiled a colossal radio telescope that will allow astronomers to detect distant galaxies and explore the depths of the universe with unprecedented precision. The Australian SKA Pathfinder telescope, at the remote Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in the Western Australian desert, is made up of 36 antennas, each 12 metres in diameter.

Somali president names PM: Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has named Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid as the country’s new prime minister, the first major decision by an administration installed after over 20 years of conflict.

Kuwait’s parliament dissolved: Kuwait’s ruler ordered the dissolution of parliament, opening the way to a parliamentary election in the major oil-producing Gulf Arab State after months of political deadlock.

India test-fires BrahMos supersonic cruise missile: Indian Navy test-fired the 290-km range BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, capable of carrying a conventional warhead of 300 kg, from a warship off the Goa coast.

UN envoys of Pakistan, India honoured: Pakistan and Indian ambassadors to the UN were honoured by their efforts to promote cooperation between the South Asian neighbours.

The ‘Silver Diwali Bright Light Award’, conferred on Congresswoman Carolyn Meeks for their services to the Indian community, bears names of Ambassador Haroon and Ambassador Puri.

Ex-president of Maldives arrested: Armed Maldivian police arrested the country’s first democratically elected president Mohamed Nasheed after he ignored court orders to stand trial for abusing his power while in office.

Japanese, Briton share Nobel for stem cell research: A British researcher and a Japanese scientist have won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for discovering that ordinary cells of the body can be reprogrammed into stem cells, which then can turn into any kind of tissue ‘a discovery that may lead to new treatments.

Scientists want to build on the work by John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka to create replacement tissues for treating disease like Parkinson’s and diabetes, and for studying the roots of diseases in the laboratory’ without the ethical dilemma posed by embryonic stem cells.

Chavez wins another term: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez shrugged off cancer and a unified opposition to triumph yet again at the ballot-box and claim another six-year mandate to pursue his oil-funded ‘socialist revolution’.

Mozambique president sacks PM: Mozambique President Armando Guebuza sacked his prime minister in a surprise cabinet reshuffle that saw five ministers and four provincial governors shifted amid uncertainty over who will be his successor.

Jordan’s king appoints PM to prepare for elections: Jordan’s King Abdullah appointed reformist politician Abdullah Ensour as prime minister to prepare for the country’s first post-Arab Spring parliamentary election.

Exiled Syrian author wins literary courage award: Syrian journalist and writer Samar Yazbek, who was forced into exile after criticising President Bashar al-Assad, has won PEN’s Pinter International Writer of Courage Award.

Europe’s first hijab-wearing mayor: A new woman mayor in Bosnia Amra Babic who is the first in her country and the continent to wear the hijab headscarf, said her election was ‘a model for Europe and Islam.’

US, French physicists win Nobel for quantum work: A Frenchman and an American shared the Nobel Prize in physics for inventing methods to peer into the bizarre quantum world of ultra-tiny particles, work that could help in creating a new generation of super-fast computers.

Serge Haroche of France and American David Wineland opened the door to new experiments in quantum physics in the 1990s by showing how to observe individual atoms and particles of light called photons while preserving their quantum properties.

Nobel laureate resigns post, calling government corrupt: The Nobel laureate and Liberian rights advocate Leymah Gbowee has quit her post in President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s government, criticising her fellow laureate for corruption and nepotism.

Italy Church to pay property tax from 2013:
The Italian Catholic Church will be stripped of a historic tax exemption from 2013 after the government upheld a divisive February decree under close scrutiny from EU watchdogs.

Pope prays in Arabic for first time: Pope Benedict XVI pronounced a blessing in Arabic as his weekly audience in front of 20,000 pilgrims on St. Peter’s Square the first time the language has been used at such an event.

US scientists share chemistry Nobel for cell receptors: Two American scientists won the 2012 Nobel Prize for chemistry for research into how cells respond to external stimuli that is helping to develop better drugs to fight diseases such as diabetes, cancer and depression.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the 8 million crown ($1.2 million) prize went to Robert Lefkowitz, 69, and Brian Kobilka, 57, for discovering the inner workings of G-protein-coupled receptors, which allow cells to respond to chemical messages such as adrenaline rushes.

Kenyan president rejects lawmakers’ $110,000 bonus: Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki has vetoed a $110,000 send off bonus that lawmakers had voted for themselves after protests at the move, a statement late said.


Murray downs Djokovic to end Grand Slam title drought: Andy Murray banished the demons of his past to become the first British man in 76 years to win a Grand Slam singles title, fighting off defending champion Novak Djokovic in an epic US Open final.

National Squash title goes to Nasir: Nasir Iqbal ended up conventional family dominance, winning the National Squash Championship title by overwhelming Danish Atlas in the final at the Jahangir Khan Complex in Wah Cantt.

London Marathon breaks fund-raising record: The London Marathon raised more money for charity than ever before and broke the fund-raising world record for the sixth straight year, organisers said.

Lara to be inducted into ICC Hall of Fame: The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced that West Indies’ prolific batsman Brian Lara will join the 66 male members of the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.
Also, England’s Enid Bakewell will become the third women to be inducted into the prestigious list.

Arnold Palmer receives USA Congressional gold medal: Arnold Palmer became the sixth athlete to earn a Congressional Gold Medal at a ceremony where the golfing great and humanitarian made light of the divided US lawmakers who gave him the award.

Japanese schoolboy sets new 200m breaststroke world mark: Japan’s precocious 18-year-old Akihiro Yamaguchi set a new world record in the men’s 200-metre breaststroke, and then vowed to be the next Kosuke Kitajima.
The high-school student clocked two minutes 07.01 seconds, breaking the previous world mark of 2:07.28 set by Daniel Gyurta of Hungary on August 1 at the London Olympics.

Sangakkara grabs hat-trick of trophies at ICC awards: Prolific Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara stole the show with a hat-trick of International Cricket Council (ICC) awards.

The 34-year-old batsman/wicket-keeper bagged the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy after being named Cricketer of the Year. He also won the Test Cricketer of the Year and People’s Choice awards.

ICC award winners:
Cricketer of the year: Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka)

Test Cricketer of the year: Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka)

One-day cricketer of the year: Virat Kohli (India)

Women’s one-day cricketer of the year: Stafanie Taylor (West Indies)

Emerging cricketer of the year: Sunil Narine (West Indies)

Associate and Affiliate cricketer of the year: George Dockrell (Ireland)

Twenty20 International performance of the year: Richard Levi (South Africa) for his 117 not out off 51 balls v New Zealand

Women’s Twenty20 cricketer of the year: Sarah Taylor (England).

Umpire of the year: Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka).

Spirit of cricket award: Daniel Vettori (New Zealand).
People’s choice award: Sangakkara.

Flipkens wins maiden WTA title: Kirsten Flipkens made the most of her first WTA finals opportunity, capping a dream week at the Bell Challenge with a 6-1, 7-5 victory over eighth-seeded Lucie Hradecka.

Jiyai bags Women’s British Open: South Korea’s Shin Jiyai overcame atrocious weather and survived a marathon 36-hole final day to claim a second Women’s British Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club by nine shots.

Bhullar bags third Asian Tour title: Gaganjeet Bhullar claimed a third Asian Tour title, closing with three-under-par 69 to win the weather-shortened Yeangder Tournament Players Championship by four strokes.

Record-setting Mendis gives SL huge win over Zimbabwe: Finger spinner Ajantha Mendis broke his own record for the best bowling figures in cricket’s shortest format, taking 6-8 to lead Sri Lanka to an 82-run win over Zimbabwe in the opening match of the World Twenty20.

Punjab govt signs agreement with GWR, helpline launched: The Punjab government and Guinness World Record (GWR) official signed an agreement after which the GWR has become the official partner of the Punjab Sports and Youth Festival while Rana Mashood formally launched the helpline for the guidance of youth of the province.

McCullum’s record T20 knock floors BD in Group ‘D’ opener: Brendon McCullum notched the highest individual score in all Twenty20 Internationals to help New Zealand humble Bangladesh by 59 runs at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
The 30-year-old right hander smashed seven sixes and 11 boundaries during his 58-ball 123.

Aamir Atlas wins CAS International Squash title: Aamir Atlas Khan won the final match of the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) International Squash Championship at Mushaf Squash Complex.

Asim wins TT title: National champion Asim Qureshi put another splendid performance by winning the Chroma Open Table Tennis League title beating Umer Zaka.

Snedeker takes Tour Championship, $10 million bonus: American Brandt Snedeker won the US PGA Tour Championship and claimed a $10 million bonus for capturing the tour season play-off title after firing a two-under par 68 in Sunday’s final round.

Farhat elected new SFP chief: Air Marshal Farhat Hussain Khan, Vice Chief of the Air Staff Pakistan Air Force (PAF), was unanimously elected as the new President of Ski Federation of Pakistan (SFP).

Yoshida wins record 13th crown: Japan’s Saori Yoshida ran her string of international championship wins to 13 by taking out the women’s wrestling world championships, pinning American Helen Maroulis in the second round in the 55-kilogram title match.

Mutai, Kebede win Berlin marathon: Kenya’s Geoffrey Mutai won Berlin marathon in a time of two hours four minutes and 15 seconds, missing out on his attempt to lower the world record of 2:03:38 set here by Patrick Makau last year.
Ethiopia’s Aberu Kebede won the women’s race in a time of 2:20:30 two years after her first success in Berlin.

Male soccer team has female coach: The 24-year-old Tihana Nemcic, a former Croatia women’s international and part-time model, has taken over as coach of a Croatian men’s football team ‘fifth division side NK Viktorija Vojakovac.

Ramachandran re-elected WSF president: World Squash Federation president N. Ramachandran has been re-elected for a further four-year term at the 42nd WSF AGM in Stockholm.

European award for Ennis: Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis has been named the women’s European athlete of 2012, European Athletics said in a statement.

Asif annexes National Ranking Snooker crown: Pakistan’s top cueist Muhammad Asif ended the country’s snooker season in a blaze of glory when he routed Asjad Iqbal to win the 4th and last National Ranking Snooker Tournament of the year.

West Indies stun Lanka to win T20 crown: Marlon Samuels produced a brilliant all-round performance to guide West Indies to a 36-run victory over Sri Lanka in the World Twenty20 final.

Djokovic upstages Tsonga for third China Open title: Top-seeded Serbian Novak Djokovic beat Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6, 6-2 to win his third China Open tennis title in Beijing.

Australia beat old rivals to retain women’s World T20 title: Australia successfully defended their women’s World Twenty20 title following an exciting four-run win over arch-rivals England in the final.

Nasir clinches squash title in Malaysia: Nasir Iqbal outwitted Indian opponent Hrindarpaul Sandhu in straight games to win the $10000 Royal Lake Club Squash title in Kaula Lumpur (Malaysia).

Nishikori bags historic Japan Open crown: Kei Nishikori made history by becoming the first Japanese to win the Japan Open Tennis tournament when he defeated young Canadian star Milos Raonic in the final.

Silver lining for Pakistan in Dubai: Pakistan clinched the silver medal after they finished second in the 14th Al-Rashid International Volleyball Tournament following victories in their last two games of the event.

ICC suspends six controversial umpires: Cricket authorities suspended six umpires at the centre of claims by an Indian television programme that they could be bribed to make favourable decisions during games.

Obituaries National

Comedy king Lehri dead: Lehri, one of the most unique Pakistani comedians and a man with razor-sharp wit, died. He was 83. His real name was Safirullah Siddiqui.

Writer Hajra Masroor passes away: A renowned writer and author of several Urdu books and short stories, Hajra Masroor, passed away. She was 82.

Raja Tridiv Roy dies: Former chief of the Chakma tribe in Bangladesh and lifetime federal minister Raja Tridiv Roy died. He was 81.

Novelist Razia Butt is no more: Famous Urdu novelist Razia Butt passed away.

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