Nawaz Sharif to be arrested: Live updates as Pakistan's political storm intensifies

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and daughter Maryam will be arrested on Friday after they were found guilty in the Avenfield reference case on July 6. Both Sharif and Maryam have been in London but have said that they will cooperate with Pakistani law enforcement agencies even though they also say they are innocent.

Ahead of PML-N leader’s arrival, the authorities in Pakistan launched a massive crackdown on his supporters who have planned to give a rousing welcome to their leader and stage a demonstration outside the Lahore airport. READ 

Although he has made several trips to Pakistan in the last months – primarily for case hearings, Sharif has mainly been in London to be by his ailing wife Kulsoom Nawaz who is in a hospital here.

Both Sharif and his daughter are expected to land in Lahore at 1815hrs (1845hrs IST) and will be arrested immediately.

Here are the live and latest developments from the day:

* Ahead of Nawaz Sharif’s arrival in Lahore, PML-N supporters head towards airport.

* Nawaz, Maryam board final flight to Lahore from Abu Dhabi; PML-N rally proceeds to airport

* Former PM Sharif and his daughter were expected to arrive in Lahore by 6.15pm, but their flight has been held up. The duo are currently waiting in Abu Dhabi.

*Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif speaks to the media at Abu Dhabi airport, says, “I am coming back for the future generations of Pakistan. Mein karz chukane aa raha hun jo mujh par wajib hai.”

*”I am doing what I should do, I am taking my struggle forward. I am going to Pakistan, but what credibility is now left of the elections? Who will believe the results?” questions Sharif

*Nawaz Sharif speaks to media from the Business Class lounge of Abu Dhabi airport: “Even if 30% to 40% of Pakistan media stands united then no one will be able to gag or put pressure on the media, but they have to take a stand.”

* Nawaz Sharif and daughter Maryam have gone to a hotel near the airport in Abu Dhabi. They have not yet been arrested. They are holding consultations with some unidentified people as well as some PMLN workers. Expected to board a flight to Pakistan with a NAB team onboard, reports ANI quoting PMLN sources.

* Ahead of Sharif’s arrest, his mother Shamim Akhtar sais, “Son of Pakistan, my son is returning tomorrow. The decision was against him, Maryam and Safdar. I won’t let them go to jail. If they are sent to jail, then I will go with them. I believe all of them are innocent and Allah will protect them.”

* Sharif being escorted at Abu Dhabi airport:

* Sharif and Maryam have landed in Abu Dhabi. Minutes before landing, Sharif posted a message saying he is surrendering for the benefit of future generations in Pakistan. “I’ll be taken straight to jail. But I’m doing this for people of Pakistan, sacrificing for generations to come. Such opportunity won’t come again. Let’s build destiny of Pak together,” he said.

* Did you know? According to Pakistani laws, Sharif can apply for ‘Better Class’ category because he is a former parliamentarian. Daughter Maryam can do so as well but will have to prove she has paid Pakistani Rs 600,000 as annual income tax. And what does ‘Better Class’ category mean? Inmates with the privilege get books, newspapers, 21-inch TV, table, chair and mattress – all to be paid by them. It also means high-level security from other inmates.

* Is Lahore ready for Sharif’s arrest?

Dawn reports that 300 PML-N workers have been arrested in a crackdown. 10,000 police officers to be stationed on city streets. Roads leading to and from the airport have been sealed while containers have been placed to manage traffic at main junctions.

* Local media reports suggest that Sharif and Maryam will be transported to Adiala Jail using helicopters. Geo News reports that two helicopters have been stationed and that high-level security is in place – both at the airport and at the jail.

* What is the controversy and why the penalty?

Sharif faced corruption charges and was forced to resign as Prime Minister by Pakistan’s Supreme Court after his name and family’s name appeared in the Panama case. As per Pakistan’s Geo News, Sharif was convicted for owning luxurious Avenfield properties in London’s Park Lane. These properties will now be taken over by the appropriate authorities. (Read full report here)

* Several international flights to Islamabad on Friday morning have been diverted to Lahore.

* It is being reported that Sharif and Maryam will be arrested by a special NAB team at Abu Dhabi airport itself.

* Maryam, in a tweet, has said that she has told her children to be brave.

* Sharif and Maryam have departed from London and will take a flight to Lahore via Abu Dhabi. Sharif met Pakistan’s former finance minister Ishaq Dar before leaving London.

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Zee News :World

Israel hits nearly all Iran infrastructure in Syria, says ‘if it rains on us, it’ll storm on them’

Jerusalem: Israeli raids overnight hit “nearly all the Iranian infrastructure in Syria”, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Thursday after strikes Israel says were in response to rocket fire at its forces it blamed on Iran.

“We hit nearly all the Iranian infrastructure in Syria,” Lieberman told a security conference.

“They need to remember the saying that if it rains on us, it’ll storm on them. I hope we’ve finished this episode and everyone understood.” Israel’s army said today it had hit dozens of Iranian military targets in Syria.

It was one of the largest Israeli military operations in recent years and its biggest such raid against Iranian targets, the military said.

Israel carried out the raids after it said around 20 rockets were fired from Syria at its forces in the occupied Golan Heights at around midnight.

It blamed the rocket fire on Iran’s Al-Quds force, adding that Israel’s anti-missile system intercepted four of the projectiles while the rest did not land in its territory. No Israelis were wounded.

Lieberman called the rocket fire “a new phase”.

“We don’t want an escalation, but won’t let anyone attack us or build an infrastructure to attack us in the future,” Lieberman said.

“We’re facing a new reality. The Iranian attempt to bring anti-aircraft systems to our borders and close our skies is intolerable and unacceptable.” The incident came after weeks of rising tensions and followed US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday, a move Israel had long advocated.

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Zee News :World

Economic Storm Clouds Gather, but Ending the Fed Provides Hope

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By Ron Paul

The Federal Reserve recently increased interest rates to 1.75 percent. This is the highest interest rates have been since 2008, but it still leaves rates at historic lows. While the Fed says economic growth justifies future rate increases, an honest examination of the economy suggests that future rate increases are unlikely.

The Fed’s claim that the economy is strong is based on misleading government statistics. For example, the official unemployment rate understates true unemployment by not counting those who have given up looking for work. According to John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics, the real unemployment rate is above 20 percent. Government figures also understate the rate of inflation by pretending that you are not negatively impacted by inflation if you can still buy hamburger when you cannot afford steak. Shadow Stats estimates that the real rate of inflation is as much as four times higher than the official rate.

President Trump’s tariffs will further weaken the economy. While export-driven industries, including manufacturers that rely on imported materials, will be particularly hard-hit, the tariffs combined with the inevitable retaliation from other counties will impact all sectors of the economy. A global trade war could also lead other countries to stop buying US debt instruments, increasing pressure on the Fed to keep rates low.

Since Republicans have held control of the White House and Congress over the last year, federal spending has increased 12.9 percent. Clearly those in Congress serious about reducing government spending are few and far between. The sad fact is that both major parties are happy to increase welfare and warfare spending, although many Republicans pretend to oppose deficits when a Democrat sits in the White House. This puts tremendous pressure on the Fed to keep rates low so as not to increase the federal government’s already high interest payments.

This cannot last forever. Eventually the combination of a spendthrift Congress and a print-happy central bank will cause a major economic crisis. This crisis will herald the end of the welfare-warfare state and the fiat money system that sustains it. The only question is whether the existing system will be replaced by a free market and limited constitutional government or we will complete our descent into totalitarianism.

Fortunately, more Americans are becoming aware of the freedom philosophy and demanding that government roll back the welfare-warfare state and rein in the Fed. Many are also demanding protection of their right to opt out — not just from government programs like Obamacare but also from the Federal Reserve System. For example, Wyoming recently joined Arizona in passing a law recognizing gold and silver as legal tender. Citizens of these states are now able to protect themselves from the coming dollar crisis by using what has historically been considered real money.

At the federal level, the movement to audit the Fed remains strong. As the failures of Keynesianism become more apparent, the movement to audit and end the Fed will grow in size and strength. Hopefully this movement will ensure the end of the welfare-warfare state and the fiat currency system as well as lead to a new era of liberty.

Ron Paul Liberty Report – Archives

Electric storm at 30,000ft: Airplane passenger captures astounding pyrotechnics (PHOTO, VIDEOS)

Alabama was subjected to hurricane-force winds and tornados as an extremely powerful weather system descended on the state. One resident managed to capture some spectacular atmospheric pyrotechnics through her plane window.

Martha Hart Mulligan was traveling home from North Carolina on Monday as the tempest hit. The pilot of American Airlines pilot flight 5566 reportedly took the long way around to avoid the storm system but it proved too big to escape as the footage shows. No-one on board was injured and the flight landed safely that evening.

“We were trying to fly south of the storm to avoid some turbulence. This is the impressive lightning we encountered, and we’re happy to report that it did not ‘encounter’ us,” Hart Mulligan wrote on Facebook.

“There has been significant damage tonight in parts of Alabama,” Governor Kay Ivey said in a statement late Monday. “We are sending state resources to those affected areas, especially to Jacksonville and Calhoun County. We will continue to monitor and respond to needs in other areas as needed.”

Strong storms battered the southeastern US on March 19 but Alabama experienced hurricanes, tornadoes and baseball-sized hailstones which caused widespread property damage, killing one person. Buildings were shredded, trees and powerlines felled and people were left trapped beneath the debris.

“This is the Long track #tornado that caused extensive damage in Jacksonville AL- fire reporting injuries- AL troopers say it’s a war zone- JSU coliseum roof took major damage. Additional law enforcement on the way,” Lt. Andy Norris wrote of the devastation on Twitter.

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RT US News

‘Meteorological warfare’: Twitter blames Russia for UK’s latest snow storm (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

More than 100 flights in and out of London have been cancelled due to a snow warning across the UK. The flurry has prompted some Twitter users to speculate the storm might just be an act of “meteorological warfare from Russia.”

The UK Met Office issued an amber weather warning with snowfall forecast for much of England and Scotland on Saturday and Sunday. About 118 flights have been cancelled so far, affecting some 15,000 passengers, reports the Independent.

READ MORE: False St Patrick’s Day cliches that drive Irish people crazy

British Airways cancelled more than 80 flights to Dublin, Nice, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Geneva, as well as transatlantic flights to New York and Chicago. Meanwhile, Air France, KLM, Lufthansa and Eurowings cancelled several flights to Frankfurt, Munich and Salzburg.  

Due to wintry weather and restrictions at some airports we fly to and from, we have merged a small number of our Heathrow flights to ensure that the vast majority of our customers are able to travel to their destinations as planned today,” a spokesperson for BA told RT. “We are offering customers due to travel with us this weekend the opportunity to postpone their journey up until Wednesday.”

The flights were cancelled as a precautionary measure. In a statement to RT, a spokesperson for Heathrow Airport said that while the weather could cause some delays over the weekend, significant disruption is “not currently expected”.

“We are working closely with our on-site Met Office to monitor the further snowfall expected throughout the weekend,” they added. “As always, we advise passengers to check their flight status with their airline before coming to the airport.” So far some parts of the UK have received a blanket of snow, while people in areas spared the sudden snowfall have been left wondering what all the fuss is about.

READ MORE: Snow storm pounds US northeast for second time in 1 week

Many are hoping the snowfall doesn’t spark the same level of hysteria brought on by the recent #BeastFromTheEast that battered the country two weeks ago. Schools and public transport were shut down for several days and more than 300 flights were cancelled.

Westminster’s reaction to the Skripal poisoning case in Salisbury, England, seems to have inspired a corresponding blame-game on social media over the sudden cold snap. Some Twitter users are claiming the freeze is a bizarre kind of “meteorological warfare” ordered directly from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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RT UK News

‘Poison storm, gas cuts & Cold War II’: How MSM lost the plot over Salisbury attack

Diplomatic relations between Russia and Britain have nosedived in the aftermath of the Sergei Skripal poisoning. Media outlets in the UK and around the world are scrambling over themselves to declare a second Cold War.

British tabloid The Daily Mirror led the charge with a front page that screamed “Cold War II: Putin vows revenge as PM kicks out 23 Russian spooks in poison storm.” And the paper didn’t stop there, emphasizing its hot take by adding: “Britain is braced for Cold War II after Prime Minister Theresa May expelled 23 Russian spies.”

Not to be outdone in the alarmist stakes the Daily Star’s front page read “Putin: I’ll turn off your gas”, while The Sun’s said “Russian crisis ramps up,” beneath a story about a man who claims to be on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “hit list.”

The front page frenzy wasn’t limited to the tabloids as the broadsheets were quick to jump aboard. The Times went with “West unites to confront Russia over poisonings” alongside a photograph of President John F Kennedy, who led the US during perhaps the most dramatic phase of the actual Cold War.

Russia was also the subject of front pages splash on The Guardian throughout the week and Scottish paper, The National, were also on point with a suitably ominous red tinged front page.

Inside the papers have also been chock full of ‘cold war’ fear-mongering material. The Independent went right ahead and declared that Cold War II is already here, while The Express ran a helpful article explaining what exactly a ‘cold war’ is and where the term comes from – now that “Russia v UK war 2018” has arrived.

Whether or not we are entering a new cold war was also the subject for discussion on numerous TV and radio chat shows around the world. French President Emmanuel Macron took the anti-Russia theme significant lengths by telling reporters at the Paris Book Fair that he pointedly avoided the Russian pavilion. “I decided not to go to the official Russia stall… in solidarity with our British friends,” he told the AFP.

Despite all the dire predictions floating around, Haaretz noted some possible silver lining in the deteriorating diplomatic situation by noting that a cold war could “warm ties” between the Pentagon and the Israeli army.

The Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg and the leader of the UK Labour party Jeremy Corbyn were among the few prominent Western voices urging calm. Stoltenberg said “we don’t want a new cold war, we don’t want an arms race”, while Corbyn warned against rushing to judgement without full evidence. The Labour leader also said the lack of British diplomacy over the Skripal case could lead to a “McCarthyite intolerance of dissent.”

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RT UK News

6 people young and old, incl 2 sons and daughters, slayed by mean winter period storm concerning North Coastline (Snap shots)

At least six people, including two children, have been killed on the East Coast of the United States after a powerful winter storm slammed the region with strong winds, heavy rain and snow.

A six-year-old boy was killed after a falling tree struck him while he was sleeping in his home in Chesterfield County, Virginia, according to authorities cited by AFP. In the southern Virginia county of James City, a 44-year-old man died when a tree fell on the truck he was traveling in.

Meanwhile, an 11-year-old boy was killed by a falling tree in Putnam Valley, New York. Two more people met the same fate in Rhode Island and Connecticut. The sixth victim was an elderly woman, 77, who was killed after being hit by a large tree branch in Kingsville, Maryland, according to Baltimore County Police and Fire Department.

The East Coast has been pummeled by extreme weather, with Winter Storm Riley leaving more than a foot of snow in the western and northern parts of New York. Heavy rain has descended on coastal areas, resulting in flooding alerts being issued from New Jersey to Massachusetts.

Winter weather advisories, winter storm warnings and high wind warnings are in effect from the Northeast to the Mid-Atlantic, according to the National Weather Service. The state of Massachusetts has seen more than 100,000 power outages, with authorities warning that additional power cuts are likely. Some coastal communities have been ordered to evacuate, with nearby homes expected to receive extensive damage.

The situation has also led to the cancelation of more than 3,000 domestic and international flights, according to the website FlightAware. More than 2,400 others have been delayed.

Ground transportation has also been affected, with Amtrak announcing that all services along the northeast corridor have been suspended for safety reasons. Motorists have also become stranded along the East Coast, and federal government offices in Washington DC have been closed.

Winter Storm Riley is expected to weaken by early Saturday. Until then, residents of the East Coast are being advised to remain cautious and abide by local weather alerts and advisories.

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RT US News

Storm waves can move boulders heavier than the Statue of Liberty

Rogue waves can move rocks weighing hundreds of tonnes

Rogue waves can move rocks weighing hundreds of tonnes

rock on coast

Noel Moore/Alamy Stock Photo

MONSTROUS oceanic waves are able to transport boulders weighing hundreds of tonnes. The finding helps explain how huge rocks end up atop high cliffs. It also implies that storm waves, and other rogue waves, can be more powerful and hazardous than previously thought.

Until recently, the heaviest rock known to have been transported by waves was about 200 tonnes. Now RÓnadh Cox of Williams College in Massachusetts and her colleagues have found a new record holder: a 620-tonne boulder, equivalent to roughly three Statues of Liberty.

Cox found the boulder on the west coast of Ireland. The region was struck by a huge cluster of storms during the winter of 2013-2014. When she and her team examined photographs taken before and after the storms, they found the massive boulder had been

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New Scientist – Earth

Philippines Tropical Storm Tembin kills more than 100 on Mindanao

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More than 100 people are reported to have been killed as a tropical storm swept through the southern Philippines, with dozens more missing.

Storm Tembin brought flash flooding and mudslides to parts of Mindanao island.

Two towns badly hit were Tubod and Piagapo, where a number of homes were buried by boulders.

Tembin, with winds of up to 80km/h (50 mph), has now passed across Mindanao and is heading towards the southern tip of Palawan before moving further west.

The Philippines suffers regularly from deadly tropical storms, although Mindanao is not often hit.

Tembin, known as Vinta in the Philippines, started lashing Mindanao on Friday, with a state of emergency declared in some parts, including the Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur regions.

Disaster management officials quoted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer said there were at least 62 fatalities in Lanao del Norte, another 46 in Zamboanga del Norte and at least 18 in Lanao del Sur.

Tubod police officer Gerry Parami told the AFP news agency that there had been at least 19 deaths in the town, which is in Lanao del Norte.

“The river rose and most of the homes were swept away. The village is no longer there,” he said.

He said volunteers were digging through mud to try to recover bodies in the village of Dalama.

Another official told AFP that at least 10 people had died in the town of Piagapo, 10km east of Tubod.

“We’ve sent rescuers but they’re making little progress due to the rocks,” Saripada Pacasum said.

More deaths were reported in the towns of Sibuco and Salug.

Power cuts and the loss of communication lines have hampered rescue efforts.

After Storm Tembin skirts the southern edge of Palawan it is forecast to travel west, south of the Spratly Islands, reaching southern Vietnam in about three days

A week ago, Tropical Storm Kai-Tak hit the central Philippines, killing dozens.

The region is still recovering from Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 5,000 people and affected millions in 2013.

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BBC News – World