Nature’s fury: Death toll climbs to 115 as five more die across Punjab

LAHORE: At least five people were killed on Saturday in rain-related incidents in different parts of Punjab, Rescue 1122 said, taking the total number of deaths across the province in the last 72 hours to 115.

Today, a father and daughter were killed when the roof of a house collapsed in Lahore’s Sabzazar area.

In the Pasroor area of Sialkot, three people including a woman and a child died and, two others were injured when the roof of the house caved in.

In Narowal, a young girl died in a similar incident.

A government official earlier today confirmed that 110 people have died across the country in heavy monsoon downpours and flooding.

Almost the entire city of Lahore is submerged by rainwater, which exceeds the draining capacity o f the city.

 Army helicopters rescue trapped people out of flood hit areas in Rawalpindi and surroundings. — Photo by Online

Rain-generating monsoon system weakened, says Met dept

The Pakistan Meteorological Department said the rain-generating well-marked low pressure area over west Rajasthan (India) had weakened and moved to Indian Punjab.

The contributing moist current from the Arabian Sea also lost its strength. The system is likely to dissipate by Sunday. But before that it was expected to produce another round of widespread rain, with isolated heavy falls over upper catchments of Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej rivers, along with Rawalpindi, Gujranwala and Lahore divisions.

Reports from different parts of the country indicated huge losses to property, cattle and crops, especially in Sialkot and Gujranwala regions, due to swelling of nullahs and exceptionally high flood in Chenab and Jhelum rivers.

In Lahore and Kasur, people were worried about the swelling of Ravi and Sutlej rivers, despite consolation by the Met department that there was no such threat for now.

Before the system causing heavy downpour dissipates by Sunday it is expected to produce another round of widespread rain, with isolated heavy falls over upper catchments of Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej rivers, along with Rawalpindi, Gujranwala and Lahore divisions.

Read more: Is Pakistan ready for a monsoon catastrophe?

Scores of people have been killed in Punjab, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa due to the heavy torrential rain since Thursday. A number of cities have received over 130mm of rain and the National Disaster Management Authority has said it expects “exceptionally high flooding” in the Chenab and Jhelum rivers over the next few days.

A high-intensity, late monsoon such as this is becoming a pattern now but according to experts the country is yet to learn from recent disasters.

“Earlier we would have well distributed rains during the monsoon season. Now thanks to climate change, the monsoon is becoming more erratic. This season the rainfall was largely below normal and now at the end of the monsoon we have a strong system with high intensity rainfall which is causing destruction,” explains Dr Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry who has recently been appointed Special Envoy of the UN-World Meteorological Organisation on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Services for Asia.

Chaudhry is the former Director-General of the Pakistan Meteorological Department and also the lead author of Pakistan’s National Climate Change Policy (NCCP).

 Youngsters crossing the flooded Lakshami Chowk on LPG cylinder after heavy rain. — Photo by INP
Youngsters crossing the flooded Lakshami Chowk on LPG cylinder after heavy rain

“The NCCP had called for an improvement in flood forecasting systems across the country,” he points out.

“It had also called for the increased capacity of storm drainage systems in urban areas in expectation of the increased intensity of rainfall events.”

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Unfortunately, the comprehensive NCCP that was launched by the PPP government in February 2013 has now been shelved. Shortly after coming to power in the May 2013 general elections, the PML(N)-led government demoted the Ministry of Climate Change to a Division and slashed its budget. The national action plan to implement the NCCP in consultation with all the provinces and regions was never initiated in earnest.

According to Chaudhry, the NCCP was not being implemented simply because climate issues ranked very low on the country’s priority list.

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The soapy revolution

Pakistan’s political crisis remains at fever pitch as thousands of anti-government protesters remain camped out in front of the parliament building, demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resignation.

A supporter of Tahirul Qadri bathes during an anti-government protest near the prime minister's residence in Islamabad. - Photo by AFP

A supporter of Tahirul Qadri bathes during an anti-government protest near the prime minister’s residence in Islamabad.

Supporters of  Tahirul Qadri wash clothes during an anti-government protest in front of the Parliament in Islamabad. - Photo by AFP

Supporters of Tahirul Qadri wash clothes during an anti-government protest in front of the Parliament in Islamabad.

Protesters bathe at a leaking water supply line close to the parliament building where they are camped in Islamabad. - Photo by AP

Protesters bathe at a leaking water supply line close to the parliament building where they are camped in Islamabad.

Women supporters of Tahirul Qadri arrange their makeshift camp in front of the parliament building in Islamabad. - Photo by AP

Women supporters of Tahirul Qadri arrange their makeshift camp in front of the parliament building in Islamabad.

Protesters bathe at a leaking water supply line close to the parliament building where they are camped in Islamabad. - Photo by AP

Protesters bathe at a leaking water supply line close to the parliament building where they are camped in Islamabad.

Supporters of Tahirul Qadri cook food in front of the parliament building where they have camped in Islamabad. - Photo by AP

Supporters of Tahirul Qadri cook food in front of the parliament building where they have camped in Islamabad.

Supporters of Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan play near the prime minister's residence during an anti-government protest in Islamabad. - Photo by AFP

Supporters of Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan play near the prime minister’s residence during an anti-government protest in Islamabad.

Supporters of Tahirul Qadri distribute food to supporters of Imran Khan in front of the parliament building in Islamabad. - Photo by AFP

Supporters of Tahirul Qadri distribute food to supporters of Imran Khan in front of the parliament building in Islamabad.

Supporters of Tahirul Qadri wash clothes during an anti-government protest near the prime minister's residence in Islamabad. - Photo by AFP

Supporters of Tahirul Qadri wash clothes during an anti-government protest near the prime minister’s residence in Islamabad.

Supporters of Tahirul Qadri camp in the vicinity of the parliament building in Islamabad. - Photo by AP

Supporters of Tahirul Qadri camp in the vicinity of the parliament building in Islamabad.

Supporters of Tahirul Qadri camp in the vicinity of the parliament building in Islamabad. - Photo by AP

Supporters of Tahirul Qadri camp in the vicinity of the parliament building in Islamabad.

A protestor bathes at the roadside during an anti-government protest near the parliament building in Islamabad. - Photo by AFP

A protestor bathes at the roadside during an anti-government protest near the parliament building in Islamabad.

Supporters of  Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri remove a container during an anti-government protest near the parliament building in Islamabad. - Photo by AFP

Supporters of Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri remove a container during an anti-government protest near the parliament building in Islamabad.

Supporters of Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri rest during an anti-government protest in front of the parliament building in Islamabad. - Photo by AFP

Supporters of Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri rest during an anti-government protest in front of the parliament building in Islamabad.

Supporters of Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri rest during an anti-government protest in front of the parliament building in Islamabad. - Photo by AFP

Supporters of Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri rest during an anti-government protest in front of the parliament building in Islamabad.

Supporters of  Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri rest during an anti-government protest in front of the parliament building in Islamabad. - Photo by AFP

Supporters of Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri rest during an anti-government protest in front of the parliament building in Islamabad.

Brief Facebook outage prompts complaints on Twitter

 

File photo

WASHINGTON: A brief Facebook outage on Friday prompted a flurry of complaints and comments on Twitter less than two months after a similar incident affected users worldwide.

 

According to the website downdetector.com, the disruption began around 1600 GMT and appeared to last less than an hour.

 

“Earlier this morning, some people had trouble accessing Facebook for a short time,” the California-based Internet titan said in reply to an AFP inquiry.

 

“We quickly investigated and are currently restoring service for everyone. We’re sorry for the inconvenience.”

 

Facebook has yet to pinpoint a cause, but the trouble appeared to be a technical issue.

 

During the outage, thousands of users complained they could not access the world’s biggest social network.

 

Similar to the brief June service interruption, Facebook users took to Twitter to vent or post comments, many using the hashtag #facebookdown.

 

“Facebook is Down?! Oh God! Now How the Hell Am I Going to Find Out How My Friends Feel About Facebook Being Down?!” one user tweeted.

 

Another wrote: “Facebook going down for 15 minutes is proof that today’s generation would’ve survived approximately 8 seconds in the 80s.“

 

A Twitter user with the handle @TheTweetofGod wrote, “#facebookdown. Please remain calm and do not attempt to interact with human beings“.

 

Some panicked users even called police for help, according to Twitter posts by a sergeant from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

 

Calls to the sheriff’s office came in on both the emergency and non-emergency numbers, the sergeant said.

 

“#Facebook is not a Law Enforcement issue, please don’t call us about it being down,” he urged in a post fired off from the @LASDBrink account.

 

Facebook mobile app to offer free, limited Internet in Zambia

— File photo

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook Inc is launching a mobile app that gives users in Zambia free access to a handful of online services on mobile phones, broadening an effort to boost Internet usage in underdeveloped countries.

The Internet.org app will offer, in partnership with wireless operator Airtel, more than a dozen services including online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, websites devoted to weather, job listings and health information, as well as Facebook’s own social network and messaging service.

The app will be available in additional countries over the coming months and years, Guy Rosen, product management director for Facebook’s Internet.org effort said on Wednesday.

Facebook will not pay Airtel for the bandwidth, Rosen said, but Airtel will benefit as users who are exposed to Internet services eventually decide to pay for broader, unrestricted access.

Access to the information on the app’s included services is free, but links that lead to information on other websites will require that users pay wireless data charges. The free version of Facebook in the app does not allow for the video playback.

Facebook has partnered with more than 150 wireless providers over the past four years to offer free or discounted access to its social network, but the new app in Zambia marks the first time the company has added Web services beyond its own social network to the menu of free services.

The move comes as Facebook steps up investments in its Internet.org project, which seeks to connect the “next 5 billion” users to the Internet, many of whom lives in places like Africa and India.

In March, Facebook announced plans to use drones and satellites to deliver Internet connectivity to people in certain parts of the world.

The initiative has the potential to boost the size of Facebook’s audience, which currently totals 1.32 billion monthly users.

PTI D – Chowk Jalsa – 11th May 2014

Kitnay Aadmi Thay Series – View 1

#SMQ Aj Tumhen Loadshedding Khtam Krne Ka Tarika Btata Hun…Sun’na Chahte Ho?…Jis Shehar Main Tum Ne Loadshedding Khtam Krni Hai Us Shehar Main Imran Khan Ko Jalsay Ki Daawat De Do #DChowk#11MayBlackDay #ISF

PTI Chairman Imran Khan and President Makhdoom Javed Hashmi

True patriots true leaders thumbs up for both Imran Khan & Makhdoom Javed Hashmi

Shahram Khan Tarakai (Health Minister KPK)

Azam Swati (President PTI KPK)

Ejaz Choudhry (PTI Punjab President)

APML Leader Sheikh Rasheed

Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi

Shah Mahmood Qureshi addressing a mammoth crowd

PTI President Javed Hashmi addressing the crowd

Mian Mehmood ur Rasheed (Punjab Assembly opposition leader) addressing the crowd

Kitnay Aadmi thay – View 2

Chairman Imran Khan arrives at DChowk

And the crowd roars …

Jahangir Khan Tareen, Saifullah Khan Nyazi and Ejaz Choudhry

Sheikh Rasheed and Imran Khan sharing a joke.

The leaders out to save Pakistan

The victory punch !!! PMLN tried to sabotage the rally, but PTI’s workers are as Junooni as they come … they reached DChowk in time to show that Pakistanis still care about Justice

Jahangir Khan Tareen addressing the crowd at DChowk

Faisal Javed Khan celebrates the success of DChowk Jalsa with the crowd

Baghiii Makhdoom Javed Hashmi addressing the Tsunami


“Want to thank all r ppl for making. r jalsa a Tsunami jalsa. Also want to thank the media 4 their support and coverage.” Chairman Imran Khan

“Want to esp thank r youth & all pti workers who overcame all PMLN hurdles 2 come 2 the jalsa which is the start of r movement.” Imran Khan

“PMLN’s desperate efforts 2 stop PTI workers from reaching Islamabad shows their utter fear their massive electoral fraud will be exposed.” Imran Khan

PTI Till my Last Breath

Imran khan the great leader in the world

Sri Lanka offers $1 mln bonus to win T20

COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan team will be handed a million dollar bonus if they can shake off their reputation as chokers in the final of the World Twenty20 this weekend, the country’s cricket board announced Friday.

The day after the players won a rain-affected semi-final against the West Indies, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said it would treble the money it had previously promised if they return home from Bangladesh with the trophy.

“The Executive Committee of SLC which met at an emergency meeting this morning decided to offer $ 1.5 million (including the original fee of $500,000) to the national team players in the event that they win the final,” the board said in a statement.

Sri Lanka — who will meet in Sunday’s final in Dhaka — were the beaten finalists last time round when they lost to the West Indies even though they were the tournament hosts.

They have also been beaten in the final of the last two 50 over World Cups, meaning they have not won a major trophy since their victory in the 1996 World Cup under skipper Arjuna Ranatunga.

 

Planes race to fresh MH370 search zone after ‘credible new lead’

PERTH: A multinational fleet of planes and ships raced Friday to a fresh search zone after a “credible new lead” that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was flying faster than first thought before it plunged into the remote Indian Ocean.

Ten aircraft from six countries – Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the United States – diverted to an area 1,100 kilometres (685 miles) northeast of where they have been looking for a week, far off western Australia.

Five Chinese ships and an Australian naval vessel were also steaming to the new zone of interest after the weather cleared following the suspension of the air search Thursday due to thunderstorms and high winds, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

“The new information is based on continuing analysis of radar data between the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca before radar contact was lost (with the missing plane),” AMSA said.

“It indicated that the aircraft was travelling faster than previously estimated, resulting in increased fuel usage and reducing the possible distance the aircraft travelled south into the Indian Ocean.” The new area is closer to land, meaning planes can spend more time searching before having to return to refuel, and the weather is expected to be better there.

The new search area “has moved out of the Roaring Forties (strong westerly winds), which creates very adverse weather frequently”, AMSA chief John Young told reporters in Canberra.

Satellite sightings of unidentified debris in recent days have raised hopes of finding wreckage from the Boeing 777, which vanished on March 8 with 239 people on board after veering sharply off course during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and flying thousands of miles southwards.

Malaysia believes the plane was deliberately redirected by someone on board, but nothing else is known.

Thailand Thursday reported a sighting of 300 floating objects. Japan also announced a satellite analysis indicated around 10 square floating objects, although it was not clear if these were in the zones the new search would focus on.

Japan’s Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Centre’s study showed the objects it sighted on Wednesday were up to eight metres in length and four metres wide.

Jiji Press cited an official at the office as saying they were “highly likely” to be from the plane.

The Thai and Japanese sightings came after satellite data from Australia, China and France had also shown floating objects possibly related to flight MH370. But nothing has so far been retrieved despite the huge multinational search.

“This is a credible new lead and will be thoroughly investigated today,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said of the revised search area.

The updated advice was provided by an international investigation team in Malaysia, with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau determining “that this is the most credible lead to where debris may be located”.

The new search area measures about 319,000 square kilometres (127,600 sq miles) and is around 1,850 kilometres west of Perth. Australia is re-positioning its satellites to focus on it.

 

Black box deadline

 


 

As the search intensifies, the United States said it was sending a second P-8 Poseidon – an advanced surveillance plane – to Perth.

 

Thursday’s suspension of the air search caused mounting concern as the clock ticks on the tracking signal emitted by the plane’s “black box” of flight data.

 

It will expire after roughly 30 days, around April 8.

 

The US Pacific Fleet has moved a Towed Pinger Locator hydrophone and Bluefin-21 Side-scan sonar to Perth, to try to locate the box as soon as an approximate crash site is established.

 

“It’s critical to continue searching for debris so we can reverse-forecast the wind, current and sea state since March 8th to recreate the position where MH370 possibly went into the water.” We’ve got to get this initial position right prior to deploying the Towed Pinger Locator since the MH370’s black box has a limited battery life and we can’t afford to lose time searching in the wrong area,” said Commander Tom Moneymaker, US 7th Fleet oceanographer.

 

Seeking closure, anguished families of those aboard are desperately awaiting solid evidence that might unlock one of aviation’s greatest riddles.

 

Until then, several of them refuse to accept the Malaysian government’s announcement – based on a complex British analysis of satellite data – that the plane was lost at sea.

 

Two-thirds of the passengers were from China and relatives there have accused the Malaysian government and airline of a cover-up and of botching their response.

 

In a letter to Beijing’s special envoy in Kuala Lumpur, they denounced Malaysia’s handling of the search and asked the Chinese government to set up its own “investigation office”.

 

A committee set up by relatives has also been in contact with US lawyers about a possible lawsuit against Malaysia Airlines.

 

“We question Malaysia’s motivations in misleading and delaying so as to miss the best moment to find MH370,” the relatives wrote in the letter to special envoy Zhang Yesui Thursday, blasting Kuala Lumpur’s behaviour as “irresponsible” and “inhumane”.

 

“We earnestly request that China establish an investigation office into MH370.”