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China’s President Xi calls on army to be battle-ready

SHANGHAI: China’s armed forces must strengthen their sense of urgency and do everything they can to prepare for battle, President Xi Jinping told a meeting of top brass on Friday. China is keen to beef up its armed forces amid territorial disputes in the South China Sea and escalating tension with the United States over issues ranging from trade to the status of Taiwan. The official Xinhua news agency said Xi told a meeting of the top military authority that China faced increasing risks and challenges, and the armed…

U.S. begins to pull forces from Syria, officials see full withdrawal

WASHINGTON: The United States said on Wednesday it has begun withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria as U.S. officials said the United States was considering pulling out all its troops as it winds up its campaign to retake territory once held by Islamic State. “We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase of this campaign,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement issued after President Donald Trump tweeted that “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being…

Loan interest forces 41 to commit suicide in Sindh

KARACHI: At least 41 people, including women, have committed suicide in interior Sindh within last three months after getting tired of interest on loan. Following this report, the provincial government has taken notice of the horrific incidents and directed the concerned authorities to get people rid of ones who charge interest from money borrowers. Advisor to Chief Minister Sindh for Law Murtaza Wahab has apprised Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari about the suicide incidents. Read More: KP govt…

Missile strikes on Syria kill 26, mostly Iranian, forces

DAMASCUS: Missile strikes on central Syria killed 26 pro-regime fighters, most of them Iranians, a monitor said Monday, in a raid that bore the hallmarks of Tehran's archfoe Israel. The Syrian regime, which denounced a "fresh aggression" after the strikes, meanwhile continued to flush out armed groups from the capital with more deals to transfer fighters to the country's north. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, missile strikes hit two military targets in Aleppo and Hama provinces…

Israeli forces kill three Gaza border protesters, wound 400: medics

GAZA: Israeli troops shot dead three protesters along the Gaza border on Friday, Gaza medics said, hours after the United Nations human rights chief criticised Israel for using “excessive force” against demonstrators. Israeli troops have killed 41 Palestinians and wounded more than 5,000 others since Gaza residents began staging protests along the border fence on March 30 to demand the right of return for Palestinian refugees. The troops were holed up behind fortifications on their side of the 40km (25-mile) border…

Regime forces advance in Syria’s battered Ghouta: monitor

DAMASCUS: Syrian regime forces have advanced inside Eastern Ghouta, a monitor said on Saturday, as fighting intensifies on the ground to retake the battered rebel enclave east of Damascus. Russia-backed government forces on February 18 launched an assault of the besieged region, pounding the area with air strikes, killing more than 630 civilians. On February 25, clashes on the ground between the armed opposition and regime forces intensified on the edges of the enclave, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human…

Syrian government ground forces attack Ghouta despite Russian truce plan

BEIRUT/GENEVA: Syrian government forces launched a ground assault on the edge of the rebel-held eastern Ghouta enclave on Wednesday, seeking to gain territory despite a Russian plan for five-hour daily ceasefires, a war monitor and sources on both sides said. Hundreds of people have died in 11 days of bombing of the eastern Ghouta, a swathe of towns and farms outside Damascus that is the last major rebel-held area near the capital. The onslaught has been one of the fiercest of the civil war, now entering its eighth year.…

Let Pakistan, democracy function, Bilawal asks ‘all forces’

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Thursday asked all the forces in the country to let Pakistan and democracy function. "I want to give message to all the forces that please stop it now. Let the democracy and this country run. We are too fatigued. We have been on a long struggle. We have given a lot of sacrifices," he said talking to media in an event held in connection with golden jubilee of PPP’s foundation day in Islamabad. He hoisted PPP flag and cut the cake on this occasion.…