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kylian mbappe's goal leads psg to french cup final

Kylian Mbappe faced disappointment when his penalty was saved, but he quickly redeemed himself by scoring the decisive goal as Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) secured a 1-0 victory over Rennes in the French Cup semi-final on Wednesday. This victory sets up a showdown against Lyon.

Mbappe's spot-kick was denied by Rennes goalkeeper Steve Mandanda in the 37th minute at the Parc des Princes. 

However, just three minutes later, the French captain found the back of the net with a deflected shot, marking his 39th goal of the season for PSG across all competitions. With this goal, Mbappe is poised to surpass the 40-goal mark for the third time in four seasons.

PSG will now face Lyon in the final in Lille on May 25, aiming to add to their record tally of 14 victories in the French Cup. 

Despite missing out on the trophy in the last two seasons, PSG coach Luis Enrique expressed his satisfaction with reaching the final, considering the French Cup as one of their main objectives for the season.

The final could potentially be Mbappe's last game for PSG, as the 25-year-old has announced his intention to depart after this season when his contract expires. 

However, PSG remains focused on their remaining fixtures, including the Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona.

Despite Rennes putting up a strong fight, PSG held on to secure their place in the final. Rennes, currently eighth in Ligue 1, will now shift their focus to their quest for European qualification.

Lyon, who defeated Valenciennes in the other semi-final, will be aiming to win the Cup for the sixth time in their history. Their last French Cup triumph came in 2012.

Published Apr 04, 2024-

water shortage of 30% hampers Pakistan's sowing season

Pakistan is facing a 30 percent shortage of water at the beginning of the sowing season for cash crops like rice and cotton. This shortage, reported by the country's water regulator, the Indus River System Authority (IRSA), is due to lower-than-normal winter snowfall in Pakistan’s northern glacier region, which affects the catchment areas of the Indus and Jhelum Rivers used for irrigation.

The sowing season for Kharif crops, which include rice, maize, sugarcane, and cotton, begins in April and requires a wet and warm climate with ample rainfall. According to Muhammad Azam Khan, an assistant researcher with IRSA, the decreased snowfall is a result of climate change affecting the country’s glaciers, directly impacting water availability for Kharif crops in the summer.

Although the water shortage gap is expected to narrow with the arrival of monsoon rains later in the season, the meteorological department has forecast higher-than-normal temperatures during the monsoon period, adding to the uncertainty.

Agriculture is Pakistan’s largest economic sector, contributing about 24 percent of its GDP. However, it has been criticized for its inefficiency in water usage. IRSA's Khan emphasized the need for better planning to utilize the allotted water efficiently for crops.

Pakistan, with a population exceeding 250 million, has been grappling with the profound impacts of climate change, including shifting and unpredictable weather patterns. In 2022, devastating floods, attributed to climate change, affected over 30 million people and severely impacted Pakistan’s cotton crop.

Published Apr 04, 2024-

Ihc directs removal of shireen mazari's name from ecl

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued an order on Thursday to remove the name of former PTI leader and ex-Federal Minister for Human Rights, Shireen Mazari, from the Exit Control List (ECL).

During the hearing, IHC judge Justice Saman Riffat Imtiaz considered the petition filed by Mazari requesting the removal of her name from the ECL.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Prosecutor, Rafi Maqsood, informed the court that the accountability bureau recommended removing Shireen Mazari’s name from the ECL in March, as she is not an accused in the £190 million case.

The Assistant Attorney General stated that the Prime Minister also informed through a letter on March 27.

Justice Saman Riffat Imtiaz stated that the cabinet has other tasks to do and suggested letting the court handle this matter for the cabinet’s assistance.

Previously, on Tuesday, former PTI leader and ex-Federal Minister for Human Rights, Shireen Mazari, approached the Islamabad High Court seeking the removal of her name from the Exit Control List (ECL).

Following the May 9 riots last year, Mazari announced her decision to quit PTI and politics altogether. She condemned the riots on May 23, 2023, stating her opposition to violence.

Mazari cited deteriorating health conditions after her 12-day detention following the May 9 riots as the reason for quitting politics.

Last year, the IHC ordered the removal of her name from the ECL in its December 2 verdict, stating that Mazari was not declared an absconder in any case. The court instructed the director general of Immigration and Passports to lift travel restrictions imposed by the ECL.

Published Apr 04, 2024-

Interim bail extension granted to pti founder in Jinnah house attack case

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore has extended the interim bail of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder and former Prime Minister Imran Khan in the Jinnah House attack case. During the proceedings, ATC Judge Arshad Javed heard interim bail pleas related to three cases, including the Jinnah House attack.

The court has extended the interim bail until April 16, instructing PTI founder Imran Khan's lawyer, Salman Safdar, to present arguments at the next hearing.

Earlier on February 28, an Islamabad court acquitted PTI founder Imran Khan, along with Asad Umar, Faisal Javed, and others, in a protest and vandalism case.

PTI founder Imran Khan, Asad Umar, Faisal Javed Khan, Raja Khurram Shahzad Nawaz, Abid Hussain, Ali Nawaz Awan, Zaheer Khan, and others were booked at Tarnol police station on February 26, 2022.

The events on May 9 saw violent clashes across Pakistan after the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Islamabad High Court. Protests erupted in various cities, including Balochistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Islamabad, with PTI workers expressing agitation over their chairman's arrest. Notably, army installations and the Corps Commander’s house in Lahore, also known as Jinnah House, were attacked during these protests.

Imran Khan was arrested from his Lahore residence on August 5, following a five-year disqualification and a three-year prison term in the Toshakhana criminal case.

Published Apr 04, 2024-

michael bracewell appointed to captain new zealand in t20I series versus Pakistan

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has unveiled its 15member squad for the forthcoming fivematch T20I series against Pakistan, led by the versatile allrounder Michael Bracewell.

According to NZC's press release, Bracewell, stepping into the captain's role for the first time, has overcome setbacks such as a ruptured Achilles and a subsequent broken finger since his last international appearance in March last year. He recently showcased remarkable form in his return to cricket, delivering his careerbest firstclass bowling performance during the Plunket Shield.

The squad includes uncapped batter Tim Robinson and fast bowler Will O’Rourke, with O’Rourke having prior experience representing New Zealand in Test and ODI cricket earlier this season. Notably, Colin Munro, Will Young, and Tim Southee are unavailable for selection, while some firstchoice players have opted out due to their commitments in the IPL.

The Blackcaps squad is scheduled to arrive in Pakistan on April 14th, with the first three T20Is slated to be held at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi on April 18th, 20th, and 21st. Subsequently, the series will shift to Lahore for the remaining two T20Is on April 25th and 27th.

New Zealand T20I squad vs Pakistan:

Michael Bracewell (c)

Finn Allen

 Mark Chapman

 Josh Clarkson

 Jacob Duffy

 Dean Foxcroft

 Ben Lister

 Cole McConchie

 Adam Milne

 Jimmy Neesham

 Will O’Rourke

 Tim Robinson

 Ben Sears

 Tim Seifert

 Ish Sodhi

Published Apr 03, 2024-

forbes has officially recognized taylor swift as a billionaire

Taylor Swift officially entered the exclusive billionaire club on Tuesday, as confirmed by Forbes. This makes her the first artist to achieve billionaire status solely through her music endeavors, with an estimated fortune of $1.1 billion.

While other industry titans like Rihanna and Jay-Z have reached similar financial heights, their wealth is often diversified across fashion brands, alcohol ventures, or entertainment holdings. Swift's wealth is primarily attributed to her extensive songwriting catalog and the success of her record-breaking Eras Tour, which became the first billion-dollar tour in history.

Aside from her music, Swift also boasts a significant real estate portfolio, owning homes in New York, Beverly Hills, Nashville, and a coastal mansion in Rhode Island.

Swift's dominance extends beyond financial success; she has shattered numerous records over the past year, including winning her fourth Grammy for Best Album, the most for any artist. Time Magazine also honored her as Person of the Year, recognizing her as a "rare person who is both the writer and hero of her own story."

Adding to her achievements, Swift is set to release her latest album, "The Tortured Poets Department," on April 19.

The frenzy surrounding Swift was further fueled by her high-profile relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, which attracted significant attention during the past year. This attention was reflected in record-breaking ratings for Chiefs games, where Swift has been a regular attendee.

Swift's influence extends to various realms, including social media and politics, with speculation about her potential impact on the upcoming presidential election.

Born in Pennsylvania in 1989, Swift began her career as a country artist with Nashville's Big Machine Records before transitioning to pop music. Her career has been marked by publicized disputes, including a highly publicized feud with her former record label over the ownership of her song catalog.

Despite challenges, Swift remains resilient, continuing to release original studio albums and embarking on successful tours. Her Eras tour is projected to surpass the $2 billion mark by the end of 2024, solidifying her status as one of the most influential figures in the music industry.

Published Apr 03, 2024-

the world bank forecasts Pakistan's GDP growth to reach 1.8% in FY24

The World Bank announced on Tuesday that Pakistan's economy is projected to grow by a modest 1.8 percent in the current fiscal year ending June 2024. This restrained recovery, as outlined in the latest Pakistan Development Update titled "Fiscal Impact of Federal State-Owned Enterprises," is attributed to tight monetary and fiscal policies, ongoing import management measures aimed at safeguarding foreign reserves, and subdued economic activity amidst fragile confidence levels.

The update underscores the considerable fiscal burdens posed by federal state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and emphasizes the urgent need for reforms to enhance their performance, efficiency, and governance through privatization initiatives.

Following a contraction in the previous fiscal year (FY23), economic activity has shown signs of improvement in the first half of FY24, primarily fueled by robust agricultural output. Despite this uptick, growth remains insufficient to alleviate poverty, with 40 percent of Pakistanis residing below the poverty line. Moreover, macroeconomic risks persist due to a substantial debt burden and limited foreign exchange reserves. Structural reforms are deemed imperative to sustainably enhance the economic outlook.

Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan, stressed the importance of formulating a comprehensive reform implementation strategy to instill confidence and foster robust economic recovery. This entails prudent macroeconomic policies, expenditure quality improvement, tax base expansion, alleviating regulatory impediments to private sector activity, reducing state involvement in the economy through privatizations, tackling energy sector challenges, and enhancing public investments to enhance human development outcomes.

The update outlines key reforms across ten areas that should be prioritized for implementation to stimulate a resilient, poverty-reducing economic growth trajectory.

Sayed Murtaza Muzaffari, lead author of the report, warned of a macroeconomic outlook below Pakistan's potential, with minimal poverty alleviation and declining living standards. Various risks, including policy uncertainties, financial sector vulnerabilities, geopolitical tensions affecting energy and food prices, global economic slowdown, and tighter global financing conditions, threaten the economic outlook.

The update underscores the substantial fiscal burden stemming from SOEs operating in critical sectors, which have consistently incurred losses since 2016. To mitigate fiscal risks associated with SOEs, the report advocates for expeditious progress in government plans for privatization, restructuring, and disinvestment, in line with the 2021 Triage plan. Additionally, it recommends establishing stringent guarantee issuance rules, managing credit risks, adhering to international financial reporting standards, and enhancing risk monitoring mechanisms.

The Pakistan Development Update serves as a complementary piece to the South Asia Development Update, analyzing economic developments and prospects in the region. The April 2024 edition, titled "Jobs for Resilience," underscores the region's growth prospects but highlights persistent structural challenges hindering job creation and resilience against climate shocks. The report explores strategies to sustain long-term growth and reduce climate risks through employment promotion and increased private investment.

Published Apr 03, 2024-

PTI plans street protests post-Eid, alleges ecp bias

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Asad Qaiser declared that the party's core committee has finalized plans to stage street protests following Eidul Fitr, starting with a rally in Pishin, Balochistan, on April 13. 

Speaking on News' KHABAR show with Meher Bukhari, Qaiser disclosed that another committee meeting is scheduled for April 12 to iron out details for nationwide demonstrations. 

PTI has engaged in discussions with several political entities, including Sunni Ittehad Council, Majlis-e-Wadhat-e-Muslimeen (MWM), Mahmood Khan Achakzai, and Akhtar Mengal. Additionally, talks with Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) Liaquat Baloch and Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman are on the agenda. 

Accusing the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) of partiality, Qaiser criticized ECP's decisions, alleging they favored Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) interests. 

He claimed ECP's failure to address alleged rigging in constituencies where PTI candidates lost, calling it condemnable. 

Qaiser highlighted the postponement of Senate elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa due to unresolved disputes over the swearing-in of opposition members elected to reserved seats. 

Expressing concerns raised by a Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader regarding attempts to diminish their representation in assemblies, Qaiser stressed the need for judicial inquiry into various issues, including alleged pressure on the judiciary, ECP's role, and threats against PTI leadership.

Published Apr 03, 2024-