King Charles III crowned at London’s Westminster Abbey
King Charles III was crowned on Saturday in Britain’s biggest ceremonial event for seven decades, a sumptuous display of pageantry dating back 1,000 years.
In front of a congregation of about 100 world leaders and a television audience of millions, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Church, slowly placed the 360-year-old St Edward’s Crown on Charles’ head as he sat upon a 14th-century throne in Westminster Abbey.
The historic and solemn event dates back to the time of the 74-year-old’s predecessor William the Conqueror in 1066.
Charles’ second wife Camilla, 75, will be crowned queen during the two-hour ceremony, which while rooted in history, is also an attempt to present a forward-looking monarchy, with those involved in the service reflecting a more diverse Britain and leaders from all faiths.
For a nation struggling to find its way in the political maelstrom after its exit from the European Union and maintain its standing in a new world order, its supporters say the royal family provides an international draw, a vital diplomatic tool and a means of staying on the world stage.
Iran hangs Swedish-Iranian convicted over attack that killed 25 people
Iran on Saturday executed a Swedish-Iranian dissident convicted of leading an Arab separatist group accused of attacks including one on a military parade in 2018 that killed 25 people, state television reported.
The Swedish foreign ministry said it had summoned Iran’s deputy ambassador to protest the execution of Habib Farajollah Chaab, which it confirmed took place earlier in the day.
Chaab had been sentenced to death for being “corrupt on earth”, a capital offence under Iran’s strict Islamic laws.
Iran brought him to trial in 2022 on charges of leading the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz, which seeks a separate state in the oil-rich Khuzestan province in southwestern Iran, and plotting and carrying out “numerous bombings and terrorist operations”.
Iran said in 2020 that its security forces detained Chaab in neighbouring Turkey and took him to Tehran, without giving details of his capture.
Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom reacted with “dismay” to Chaab’s execution, saying Sweden had pleaded with Iran not to carry it out.
“The death penalty is an inhuman and irreversible punishment and Sweden, together with the rest of the EU, condemns its application under all circumstances,” he said.
Sweden had voiced concern over Chaab’s case, and ties with Iran had also been soured over a Swedish court’s life-time prison sentence for a former Iranian official for involvement in the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988 in the Islamic Republic.
Iran has had tense relations with its ethnic minorities, which include Arabs, Kurds, Azeris and Baluch, and has accused them of aligning with neighbouring countries.
Arabs and other minorities have long complained of facing discrimination in Iran, an accusation Tehran denies.
Russia says relations with US ‘on edge of open armed conflict’
The relations between Moscow and Washington are on the edge of an open armed conflict, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has said.
“We are working to keep relations with the US from falling into the abyss of an open armed conflict, we are already on the verge, on the edge of this abyss,” Ryabkov said on Thursday night in an interview with Russian Pervy TV channel.
Russia and the US maintain contacts, and the problem is in the lack of trust, that Washington defies everything Moscow says as “disinformation,” he said.
The diplomat added that the US “has long been a direct part to the Ukrainian conflict, waging an open hybrid war.”
“Ukraine is only a tool in their hands. … Their goal is to destroy a sovereign, independent Russia as an international factor, they are increasingly tempted to play with the idea of dismemberment of Russia. … This is a direct encroachment on the foundations of our state system,” he stressed.
Ryabkov also said Russia has many times explained the roots of the conflict in Ukraine, including the “destructive role that the US played in events, preceding the 2014 coup in Kyiv” that led to eight years of civil war in Donbas, which no one, except Russia, wanted to solve with diplomatic means.
Apple’s total sales decline for second consecutive quarter
US-based multinational technology company Apple saw its total sales decline for the second quarter in row, according to its financial results statement released Thursday.
Net sales fell 2.6% to $94.8 billion for the three months ending April 1, which corresponds to the first quarter of this year for the company. The figure is down from almost $97.3 billion for the same period last year.
In the preceding three months, which span from October to December, Apple saw total net sales of $117.1 billion, down 5.5% from $123.9 billion in the same period of the previous year.
Apple, however, saw gains in iPhone sales despite posting declines in Mac, iPad, wearables and home and accessories sales.
Net sales of the company’s iPhone rose to $51.3 billion in the January-March period from nearly $50.6 billion in the same period last year.
US not to normalize ties with Assad regime until UN-facilitated political progress in Syria
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that Washington will not normalize relations with the regime of Bashar al-Assad and will not support others in doing so until there is genuine, UN-facilitated political progress in Syria.
Blinken said this in a phone conversation with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi, with whom he discussed advancing an inclusive political solution to the Syrian conflict following the May 1 Amman meeting, according to a State Department readout.
”Secretary Blinken made clear that the United States will not normalize relations with the Assad regime and does not support others normalizing until there is authentic, UN-facilitated political progress in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254,” said the statement.
Blinken also thanked Jordan for hosting Syrian refugees and reiterated the US position that Syria must create conditions, including respect for human rights that will encourage refugees to return in a safe, voluntary, and dignified manner, it added.
Nine dead in Belgrade elementary school shooting
Europe’s largest solar power plant to officially launched
The official opening of the Karapinar solar plant in Konya, in southcentral Türkiye, Europe’s biggest solar power plant with 1,350 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity, will take place on Tuesday.
According to the plant developer, Kalyon Enerji, more than 3 million solar panels at the facility are to generate 3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, enough to provide power to 2 million people and prevent the use of US$450 million of fossil fuel equivalent resources.
Kalyon Enerji developed the plant as part of the country’s Renewable Energy Resource Zone (YEKA), a government initiative to establish renewable facilities in areas with a high concentration of at least one renewable energy source, such as wind or solar power.
YEKA projects use investments from local investors and/or consortiums for the manufacture of equipment and the construction of large-scale electricity generation facilities.
Peace, stability in Afghanistan key to regional socio-economic development: FM
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Saturday reiterated that peace and stability in Afghanistan remained vital for the socio-economic development, connectivity and prosperity of the region.
Addressing a joint press conference with the visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang after holding 4th Pakistan China Strategic Dialogue, he said Pakistan would continue to work together with all the stakeholders for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.
While referring to the long-standing and time-tested friendly ties between Pakistan and China, he said the two countries, like in the past, would continue to support each other in the decades to come.
The foreign minister also reiterated Pakistan’s firm support to China on all the core issues, including One-China policy, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the South China Sea etc.
The minister further termed Pakistan-China friendship as irreversible, ‘a historic reality and a consensus choice of the two nations’.
China’s FM visits Foreign Office, hold talks with FM Bilawal Bhutto
Pakistan and China held delegation level talks at the Foreign Office here on Saturday after one-on-one meeting between Foreign Minister of China, Qin Gang and Pakistan’s FM Bilawal Bhutto.
The two foreign ministers leading delegations of their countries in the talks.
Earlier, Bilawal Bhutto congratulated Chinese FM Mr. Qin Gang over becoming foreign minister of China.
“Pakistan and China have lasting bilateral relations. CPEC is a key project for both countries,” Bilawal said.
He said that China has extended unconditional support to Pakistan at each global forum. Pakistan will continue supporting China’s interests at every international forum,” foreign minister vowed. “Pakistan supports One-China policy,” he further said.
“Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif gives importance to Pakistan’s ties with China,” he added.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari welcomed Chinese FM Qin Gang on his visit to the foreign office in Islamabad.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar was also present during the visit of Chinese FM Qin Gang.
A trilateral session of the foreign ministers of Pakistan, China and Afghanistan will be held in Islamabad today. The session will discuss Afghanistan’s situation and also focus on mutual trade.
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who is in Pakistan for a two-day visit, met President Arif Alvi and vowed to strengthen strategic ties between the two countries, including in the fields of connectivity, information technology, and agriculture.
Senate passes bill to allow right of appeal in suo motu case amid protest
ISLAMABAD – The Senate on Friday passed the Supreme Court (Review of Judgments and Orders) Bill, 2023 that gives the right of appeal in suo motu cases amidst protest by the opposition.
The opposition Pakistan Tehreek-Insaf (PTI) strongly protested over the bill, which landed in the house through a supplementary agenda.
The party of the former prime minister accused the government that it had introduced the law that was aimed at reversing the disqualification of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
The National Assembly has already passed the bill giving the right of review appeal to an aggrieved person against whom an order has been passed by the apex court in a suo motu notice prior to the commencement of this law.
The provisions in the law gives credence to the rumours that the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has got it passed to reverse the lifetime disqualification of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Panama Papers scandal.
The bill says that a larger bench would hear the review petition than the bench that passed the original order or judgment. It provides that a review petitioner shall have the right to appoint any advocate of the Supreme Court of its choice. The bill also sets the limitation of filing a review petition within 60 days of the original order’s passing.
PML Senator Irfan-ul-Haque Siddiqui introduced the private member bill in the house that was allowed for immediate consideration by a majority vote of 32-21 after suspending the rules of business.
According to the government, the bill is aimed at “facilitating and strengthening the Supreme Court’ in exercise of its powers to review its judgments and orders.”
As a protest, the opposition PTI gathered around the Chairman’s podium and tore apart copies of the agenda. The opposition lawmakers demanded the bill be sent to the relevant standing committee.
People in Parachinar mourn victims of school shooting
PESHAWAR – Hundreds of people in Parachinar Friday staged protest demonstrations against the killings of eight persons including five teachers in the Upper Kurram. Armed men on Thursday shot dead eight people including five teachers at the Government High School Tari Mangal. The teachers’ community, which announced five days of mourning, also protested against the incident. All the government schools and markets in Parachinar area will remain closed for five days.
The lawyers also joined the protests, announcing that they would not appear in the courts. The burial of the victims was held after the Friday prayer. This incident has shaken the community to its core and people are calling for justice for the victims. The authorities launched an investigation into the incident to bring those responsible to justice. The funeral prayer of martyred teachers was offered here at Markazi Imambargha on Friday and was attended by a large number of local people, notables of the areas and representatives of civil administration, police and security forces. Kohat Board of Elementary and Secondary Education also postponed the Matric examination till further orders.
The deputy commissioner said that the deadly shooting took place over property dispute between two rival groups. Soon the culprits will be brought to justice, he added.
LHC reserves verdict on Elahi’s content plea against police raid