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Faraz Israr reporting.
KARACHI – Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain has said that Iraqi militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is getting momentum in Pakistan and it is more dangerous than Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
Addressing a telephonic press conference at Khursheed Begum Secretariat on Friday, he alleged the threat of ISIS was increasing in Pakistan day-by-day and flags of Daish/ISIS were visible from south of Punjab all way till Islamabad.
He said the ISIS, which had been formed by its chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by merging different militant groups, was far more dangerous than the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
He further said several Taliban members along with six commanders had joined the ISIS whereas a large number of terrorist group members were seeking for getting the membership of the ISIS. He said he was the first one to alert Pakistan about Talibanisation in Karachi. He was alerting the nation once again about a bigger threat.
“About 10 years ago, I notified the rulers about Talibanisation in Karachi but the then president, prime minister, Sindh chief minister and governor ignored the issue and denied the phenomenon.
The Sindh CM, in his press conference, not even denied Talibanisation in Karachi but also made fun of my stance. Later the activities of Taliban in the city proved my warning true, he said.
Altaf said the US asked Pakistan to create Taliban following the Cold War. United States, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan along with many other countries supported Taliban Mujahideen in their fight against the Soviet Union.
Lauding the role of Pakistan Army, MQM chief said the Army was fighting against the militancy. He urged the masses to show their support as Pakistan Army alone cannot save the country from the existing threats.
The MQM chief said PTI chairman Imran Khan and PAT chief Tahirul Qadri were now talking about the rule of the middle class in the country. MQM is the only party that brought the educated people from the middle and working class in the parliaments. MQM brought the representatives of the deprived people in Senate, national and provincial assemblies but it is unfortunate that some senior political analysts ignored this fact and never highlighted these positive acts of MQM. This action of the political analysts should be considered as non-professional approach, he added.
To a question about the elements supporting Daish in Pakistan, he said none of the government institutions were backing the Daish but it was regrettable that some of the political and religious groups were supporting the Daish silently.
Iraqi special forces search a house in the Jurf al-Sakhr area, north of the Shiite shrine city of Karbala, on October 30, 2014, after retaking the area from ISIS jihadists. / HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council is expressing its “deep outrage” at the killings, kidnapping, rapes and torture in Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
A press statement Friday evening notes that some of the militant group’s actions “may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
The statement urges the international community to increase its support of Iraq’s government and security forces.
The council also welcomes the appointments of Iraq’s defense and interior ministers and the swearing-in of Kurdish ministers, “which completed the formation of an inclusive Government that represents all segments of the Iraqi population.”
ISIS has alarmed the international community with its recent seizure of a third of Iraq’s territory and parts of neighboring Syria.
Iraq now faces its worst crisis since the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. troops.
On Thursday, Human Rights Watch reported that hundreds of Iraqi prison inmates were executed by ISIS when the militants seized Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul in June.
Some 600 male Shiite inmates from Badoosh prison outside Mosul were forced to kneel along the edge of a nearby ravine and shot with automatic weapons, the international rights group said in a statement. The claims were based on interviews with 15 Shiite prisoners who survived the massacre.
The New York-based watchdog added that the Shiite prisoners were separated from several hundred Sunnis and a small number of Christians who were later set free. A number of Kurdish and Yazidi inmates were also killed, they said.
Mark Rutte says lull in fighting allowed investigators to re-enter eastern Ukraine site where Malaysia Airlines plane came down.
Part of the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), about 80km east of Donetsk. Photograph: Alexander Khudoteply/AFP/Getty Images
A Dutch team took advantage of a pause in fighting between government forces and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine on Friday to recover human remains from the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash site, the Dutch prime minister said.
Mark Rutte said “the team recovered human remains from the so-called burn site” where the plane hit the ground, but he gave no more details.
It was the first time in weeks that Dutch authorities had been able to reach the area.
All 298 passengers and crew, two-thirds of them Dutch, died on 17 July when the aircraft was downed.
Kiev blames pro-Russian separatists for the airliner’s destruction. Russia says a Ukrainian military aircraft shot it down.
So far, 289 victims have been identified.
Security conditions were good enough on Friday for a small Dutch team, accompanied by members of the Ukrainian fire brigade and officials with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) officials, to search part of the crash site, Rutte said.
The remains would be sent back to the Netherlands for identification.
#Russian #Actor Slammed on #Twitter for Firing Weapon in #Ukraine potentially making every #journalist a target
Every person who uses weapons while hiding behind press identification assumes responsibility for the future deaths of journalists.
Russian Actor Mikhail Porechenkov. Potentially making every journalist a target.
Anna Dolgov, The Moscow Times.
A Russian actor wearing a helmet marked “Press” has been caught on video firing a machine gun from a battle site in eastern Ukraine, in a stunt that provoked outrage on Russian and Ukrainian social networks.
After the video of Mikhail Porechenkov discharging his machine gun from Donetsk Airport was posted Thursday on the YouTube account of separatist “Novorossia TV,” Russian-language hashtags “#PorechenkovKiller” and “#PorechenkovTerrorist” went viral on Twitter, with some journalists saying the actor had brought additional dangers to reporters in war zones.
“Every [individual] who uses weapons while hiding behind press identification assumes responsibility for the future deaths of journalists,” Russian journalist Alexander Vishnevsky said via Twitter in a message that was retweeted hundreds of times within a few hours. Instead of “individual,” he used an expletive that can be loosely translated as “sh!thead.”
At least eight journalists and their assistants have been killed in Ukraine since the start of this year. They are Russia’s VGTRK television correspondent Igor Kornelyuk and sound engineer Anton Voloshin; Italian photographer Andrea Rocchelli and his Russian fixer Andrei Mironov; Ukrainian journalist Vyacheslav Veremiy, who was shot in February during protests in Kiev; Sergei Dolgov, the editor-in-chief of a pro-Russian newspaper in eastern Ukraine; Russia’s Channel One cameraman Anatoly Klyan; and Rossia Segodnya photographer Andrei Stenin.
Porechenkov said after his stunt that he had visited rebel-controlled Donetsk to see how a cease-fire between separatists and government forces was holding up.
“In the airport I could already clearly see that there isn’t and hadn’t been any cease-fire,” Porechenkov was quoted as saying by Gazeta.ru, without elaborating on which signs of continued fire he had witnessed. The video of Porechenkov mingling with rebels at what Novorossia TV described as a “battle position” featured no signs or sounds of a battle until the actor and a separatist next to him began firing their weapons.
The shooting appeared to be mostly a symbolic demonstration of valor in front of a video camera, and there was no indication that any of the shots hit Ukrainian forces’ positions or civilians.
Separatists accompanying Porechenkov at the rebel stronghold were clad in military fatigues and camouflage helmets. But the actor wore a blue bulletproof vest and helmet marked with the word “Press” on its back. The letters are partially visible in the video posted by Novorossia TV and can easily be read in photos of the incident that have been circulated online.
Porechenkov said the goals of his visit included delivering “medications for hospitals” in separatist eastern Ukraine. The Russian government has also pledged to deliver “humanitarian aid” to rebel-controlled areas, though Kiev and Western nations accuse it of primarily supplying weapons and fighters — a charge Moscow denies.
A leader of Russia’s democratic political opposition, Ilya Yashin, gave an account of Porechenkov’s machine-gun firing in a Twitter message, concluding: “A dove of peace.”
Porechenkov is perhaps best known for his leading role in recent film “Poddubny,” a biographical movie about famed Russian and Soviet wrestler Ivan Poddubny, who was born in what is now Ukraine.
The actor told Gazeta.ru that Russian filmmakers planned to show the film in eastern Ukraine, although the “Ukrainian authorities have banned it for some reason.”
The Ukrainian Culture Ministry announced earlier this year that it was banning the distribution of “Poddubny,” citing the same flaws for which the movie had been criticized by some Russian reviewers — distorting historical facts to promote Russia’s greatness.
This image from video by KABC TV Los Angeles shows wreckage of what is believed to be SpaceShipTwo in Southern California’s Mojave Desert on Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. A Virgin Galactic space tourism rocket exploded after taking off on a test flight, a witness said Friday. (AP Photo/KABC TV)
MOJAVE, Calif. (AP) — A Virgin Galactic space tourism rocket exploded Friday during a test flight, killing a pilot aboard and seriously injuring another while scattering wreckage in Southern California’s Mojave Desert, witnesses and officials said.
Though the company founded by British billionaire Richard Branson said little publicly other than acknowledging the loss of the craft, Branson tweeted that he was flying to the area “immediately to be with the team.”
Ken Brown, a photographer who witnessed the crash, told The Associated Press that SpaceShipTwo exploded after a plane designed to take it to high altitude released it and the craft ignited its rocket motor.
Brown said the wreckage fell in the desert north of Mojave Air and Space Port, where the test flight originated. The area is about 120 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.
This image from video by KABC-TV Los Angeles shows wreckage of SpaceShipTwo in Southern California’s Mojave Desert on Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. A Virgin Galactic space tourism rocket exploded after taking off on a test flight, a witness said Friday. (AP Photo/KABC TV)
There is one fatality and one major injury, California Highway Patrol Officer Jesse Borne said. One person parachuted out, he said.
SpaceShipTwo, which is typically flown by two pilots, was designed to provide a suborbital thrill ride into space before it returns to Earth as a glider.
Friday’s flight marked the 55th for the spaceship, which was intended to be the first of a line of craft that would open space to paying civilians. At 60 feet long, SpaceShipTwo features two large windows for each of up to six passengers, one on the side and one overhead.
Virgin Galactic — owned by Branson’s Virgin Group and Aabar Investments PJS of Abu Dhabi — sells seats on each prospective journey for $250,000, with full payment due at the time of booking. The company says that “future astronauts,” as it calls customers, have visited Branson’s Caribbean home, Necker Island, and gone through G-force training.
Stephen Hawking, Justin Bieber, Ashton Kutcher and Russell Brand are among the celebrities to sign up for flights. Virgin Galactic reports taking deposits totaling more than $80 million from about 700 people.
In this image from video by KABC-TV Los Angeles, a rescue crew carries a person on a stretcher to a waiting helicopter near the scene of a crash of the SpaceShipTwo in Southern California’s Mojave Desert on Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. A Virgin Galactic space tourism rocket exploded after taking off on a test flight, a witness said Friday. (AP Photo/KABC TV)
A related venture, The Spaceship Co., is responsible for building Virgin Galactic’s space vehicles.
During testing for the development of a rocket motor for SpaceShipTwo in July 2007, an explosion at the Mojave spaceport killed three workers and critically injured three others. A California Division of Occupational Safety and Health report said the blast occurred three seconds after the start of a cold-flow test of nitrous oxide — commonly known as laughing gas — which is used in the propulsion system of SpaceShipTwo. The engine was not firing during that test.
Friday’s accident was the second space-related explosion this week.
On Tuesday, an unmanned commercial supply rocket bound for the International Space Station exploded moments after liftoff from a launch site in Virginia. No injuries were reported that accident, which drew criticism over NASA’s growing reliance on private U.S. companies in this post-shuttle era
Virgin Galactic planned to launch space tourism flights from the quarter-billion-dollar Spaceport America in southern New Mexico once it finishes developing its rocket ship.
Christine Anderson, executive director of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, did not want to comment on the events unfolding Friday in the California desert or what effect they might have on Spaceport America and the future of commercial space travel.
Virgin Galactic is in line to be the main tenant at the spaceport that was built specifically to launch paying customers into space, a dream of Branson’s. His company has repeated pushed back the timetable for when the $250,000 flights were to begin, pointing to delays in development and testing of the rocket ship.
Taxpayers footed the bill to build the state-of-the-art hangar and runway in a remote stretch of desert in southern New Mexico as part of a plan devised by Branson and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Critics have long challenged the state’s investment, questioning whether flights would ever get off the ground.
SpaceShipTwo is based on aerospace design maverick Burt Rutan’s award-winning SpaceShipOne prototype, which became the first privately financed manned rocket to reach space in 2004.
Commercial development has been slower than expected. When Virgin Group licensed the technology from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who funded about $26 million for SpaceShipOne, Branson envisioned operating flights by 2007.
FILE – In this Sept. 25, 2013, file photo, shows Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo at a Virgin Galactic hangar at Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, Calif. Virgin Galactic has reported an unspecified problem during a test flight of its SpaceShipTwo space tourism rocket. (AP Photo/KABC TV)
(Pritchard reported from Los Angeles. David Koenig in Dallas, Susan Montoya Bryan in Albuquerque, New Mexico, John Antczak and Christopher Weber in Los Angeles, and Seth Borenstein in Washington contributed).