Geo News 2nd June 2012 - Latest Geo updates 2nd June 2012 Live
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Geo News Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: The government has incorporated the expenses related to the provision of security for President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in the Finance Bill 2012-13 after they relinquish their offices.
According to the Finance Bill 2012, the government proposed amendment of Act IX of 1975 in the President’s Pension Act by inserting a clause under which suitable security, including services of personnel, vehicle or vehicles and allied matters, has been made, which will be notified in the official gazette.
In the prime minister’s salary, a new section shall be added in the Allowance and Privileges Act 1975, which states that every person who has held this office for not less than two years shall be entitled for life to the suitable security. The government will notify the specifics in official gazette and make the required arrangements.
People when asked to comment, expressed shock saying that both Prime Minister and President can take care of their security on their own expense but people are forced to lift the burden of their security.
KARACHI: Two persons were killed and three others sustained injuries in different violent incidents in the city Saturday, Geo News reported.
According to police, unknown gunmen killed one man at Ahmed Shah Bukhari road in Kalri area of Lyari while the other was shot dead in Sohrab Goth.
A woman was injured in firing in Pahar Ganj area while two other men were wounded at Bin Qasim roundabout and Qasba Colony respectively.
On the other hand, Rangers raided different areas of Gulshan-e-Iqbal block 4 including Quaid-e-Azam Colony and other adjoining areas after getting information about the presence of criminals in the area.
SINGAPORE: The United States will shift the majority of its naval fleet to the Pacific by 2020 as part of a new strategic focus on Asia, Pentagon chief Leon Panetta told a summit in Singapore on Saturday.
The decision to deploy more ships to the Pacific Ocean, along with expanding a network of military partnerships, was part of a "steady, deliberate" effort to bolster the US role in an area deemed vital to America's future, he said.
And he insisted the switch in strategy was not a challenge to China, saying it was compatible with the development and growth of the fast-growing Asian power.
Panetta said "by 2020, the Navy will re-posture its forces from today's roughly 50/50 percent split between the Pacific and the Atlantic to about a 60/40 split between those oceans.
"That will include six aircraft carriers in this region, a majority of our cruisers, destroyers, littoral combat ships, and submarines."
The US Navy currently has a fleet of 285 ships, with about half of those vessels deployed or assigned to the Pacific.
Although the total size of the overall fleet may decline in coming years depending on budget pressures, Pentagon officials said the number of naval ships in the Pacific would rise in absolute terms.
The United States also planned to increase the number of military exercises in the Pacific and to conduct more port visits over a wider area extending to the Indian Ocean.
Panetta was speaking to mainly Asian defence officials and officers from 27 countries at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a summit organised by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.
The speech appeared designed to reassure allies worried about Beijing's more assertive stance in the South China Sea that Washington will back its much-publicised "pivot" to Asia with concrete action.
Panetta said budget woes in Washington would not affect the plan to tilt towards Asia, which would take years to fully realise.
The United States planned new investments in capabilities needed "to project power and operate in the Asia-Pacific," including radar-evading fighter jets, a new long-distance bomber, electronic warfare and missile defences, he said.
"But make no mistake -- in a steady, deliberate, and sustainable way -- the United States military is rebalancing and is bringing an enhanced capability and development to this vital region," he added.
Military commanders are revising doctrine to take into account new weapons that "could deny our forces access to key sea routes and lines of communication."
Amid a growing US-China rivalry, American officials privately acknowledge the push for a larger military footprint is meant to reinforce US diplomacy when confronting Beijing's assertive stance in the South China Sea.
But Panetta insisted that Washington wanted dialogue with Beijing and not conflict.
"Some view the increased emphasis by the United States on the Asia-Pacific region as some kind of challenge to China. I reject that view entirely," he said.
"Our effort to renew and intensify our involvement in Asia is fully compatible... with the development and growth of China. Indeed, increased US involvement in this region will benefit China as it advances our shared security and prosperity for the future."
But in laying out core US principles in the region, Panetta made clear Washington opposed any attempt by Beijing to make unilateral moves in its push for territorial rights in the South China Sea.
Disputes had to be resolved through agreed-upon rules among all countries and based on international law, he said.
Panetta also said the United States is "paying close attention to the situation in Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea," where the Philippines and China have been locked in an argument over territorial rights.
The Philippines is among a number of countries with overlapping territorial claims in the potentially resource-rich South China Sea.
Panetta alluded to US concerns over cyber intrusions that Washington has blamed on China, saying that in talks with Beijing the two sides had "agreed on the need to address responsible behaviour in cyberspace and in outer-space." (AFP)
DAMASCUS: Russia stood firm in the face of growing international pressure for tougher action over Syria, rejecting military intervention and questioning sanctions as fears of civil war grew.
And as world leaders Friday voiced fears the violence-wracked nation stood on the brink of civil war, the UN Human Rights Council ordered an independent probe to hunt those guilty of last week's massacre in Houla.
The London-based Syrian Observatory says as many as 2,300 of the more than 13,400 people killed since the uprising against Bashar al-Assad's regime began in March last year have died since April 12.
But despite the relentless violence, there are sharp differences between Arab and Western governments and Damascus allies Beijing and Moscow on the way forward.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who met separately with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, warned the situation in Syria was "extremely dangerous" and said he saw emerging signs of a civil war.
But he struck a fiery tone in a joint press conference with Hollande, saying "sanctions hardly ever work in an efficient manner" and indicating that Bashar al-Assad's departure would not in itself resolve the crisis.
"What is happening in Libya? What is happening in Iraq? Has it become safer there?" he said in Paris. "We propose to act in an accurate, balanced manner at least in Syria."
But Hollande kept up the pressure for decisive action, insisting that Assad's departure was "a prerequisite for a political transition" and that "there must be sanctions" against his regime.
"Bashar al-Assad's regime has conducted itself in an unacceptable and intolerable manner. It has committed acts that disqualify itself" from governing, said Hollande.
Earlier, Merkel and Putin found common ground on backing the peace mission of UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan but the former UN chief himself admitted to frustration at the slow progress he was making in staunching the bloodshed. (AFP)
KARACHI: The rupee closed at 93.63/68, a fifth record low against the US dollar in as many days, compared to Thursday's close of 93.57/63.
The rupee has faced sustained pressure in the last two weeks because of increased import payments, especially for oil.
Overnight rates in the interbank market closed at 11.50percent, down from 11.90 percent on Thursday, because of increased liquidity in the market. (Reuters)
Karachi: Karachi stocks rallied on Friday with investors optimistic ahead of the federal budget announcement, dealers said.
The Karachi Stock Exchange benchmark 100-share index rose 0.66 percent, or 90.35 points, to close at 13,876.97 on volume of 78.168 million shares, compared to Thursday's close of 13,786.62 points.
"There was positive sentiment about the budget, which helped lift the market," said a dealer at Al-Hoqqani Securities. (Reuters)
HAMBANTOTA: Sri Lanka defeated Pakistan by 37 runs in the opening Twenty20 international in Hambantota on Friday.
Pakistan were bowled out for 95 after restricting Sri Lanka to 132-7, with pacemen Nuwan Kulasekera, Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga and debutant off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake each taking two wickets.
Opener Ahmed Shehzad top-scored for Pakistan with 36.
The second and final Twenty20 match will be played on Sunday. (AFP)
PARIS: Andy Murray overcame crippling back pain to battle his way past Jarkko Nieminen into the third round of the French Open on Thursday.
The British fourth seed defeated the Finn 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 but he had looked down and out in the first few games of the match as the lower back strain that he has been struggling with all year struck again.
Grimacing in pain, Murray needed medical treatment three times in quick succession as grim-faced coach Ivan Lendl looked on.
But at a set and 4-2 down, Murray suddenly found a new lease of life and a run of seven games in a row in his favour gave him command.
"It was tough, I was obviously struggling at lot particularly at the beginning of the match. He helped out a little bit and got nervous at the end of the second set. I don't know how I won to be honest," he told the BBC.
"I think my back went into spasm. It was sore this morning when I got up and practiced and it was sore 20 minutes after I finished practice.
"The guys were telling me to stop after the first set, we talked about it briefly before the match and I just decided to play. Sometimes guys can get nervous and you feel better, and a combination helped me get through.
"It's not easy playing against someone that's struggling and sometimes guys stop or try finishing the match. I managed to turn it around and it was tough for him."
In what was the first match up on the Philippe Chatrier centre court, Murray looked stiff and concerned from the start as the unseeded Niemenen jumped out into a 3-0 lead.
The Scot then looked in distinct pain in his next service game, barely getting his serve over the net and staying rooted to the spot in the brief exchanges.
He called for medical help to ease the discomfort in his lower back at the turnover and resumed play.
Against the odds he managed to get one of the breaks back but following further treatment he again served at half pace to fall 5-1 down.
Niemenen wrapped up the set 6-1 after which the doctor came on once again to administer stretching exercises to a prone Murray.
It looked a matter of time before Murray called it a day, but instead he battled on and gradually, as the pain eased, he started to find his movement and with that his firepower.
From 2-4 down he won four games in a row, breaking to love at 5-4 to draw level on sets.
The Murray serve was still well short of full power, but he opened the third set with another love game as Nieminen struggled to blunt the Scot's stunning revival.
Murray moved 3-0 up before Nieminen stopped the rot, but the die was cast and the fourth seed accelerated away to keep alive his hopes of reaching the semi-finals of a Grand Slam tournament for the sixth straight time.
Murray will next play Santiago Giraldo of Colombia who ousted 25th-seeded Australian Bernard Tomic 6-4, 6-1, 6-3. (AFP)
LOS ANGELES: The third installment in the successful "Men In Black" sci-fi adventure franchise blasted away competition to take the top spot at the North American box office, industry estimates showed Sunday.
The blockbuster stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones reprising their roles as secret agents battling alien species living on Earth, this time joined by Josh Brolin when the adventures goes back in time to 1969.
"Men In Black 3" made $55 million in its first three days of release over the long Memorial Day holiday weekend, according to box office tracker Exhibitor Relations.
It took the number one rank away from record-breaking comic book superhero blockbuster "The Avengers," which slipped to second in its third weekend with a $37 million take.
The film has become the highest-grossing movie in Walt Disney Studios' history with global earnings so far of $1.29 billion, the fourth-highest total of all time.
"The Avengers" maintained its lead over the big-budget but critically panned "Battleship," which dropped to the number three spot in its second weekend with $10.75 million in box office receipts.
In fourth was comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's "The Dictator," with $9.6 million in its second weekend.
Fifth place went to horror flick "Chernobyl Diaries." The tale of a group of tourists taking an disastrous tour of the ghost town of Pripyat in Ukraine, abandoned after the 1980s nuclear disaster, made $8 million in its debut.
Next was Tim Burton's "Dark Shadows" reboot starring Johnny Depp, in sixth place with $7.5 million, ahead of comedy "What to Expect When You're Expecting" with $7.1 million.
"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," a comedic drama about British retirees in India, took in $6.3 million for eighth place.
In the ninth spot was smash action hit "The Hunger Games," starring Jennifer Lawrence, which earned $2.2 million this weekend, and has brought in more than $395 million total in North America since its opening.
Rounding out the top ten was romantic comedy "Think Like A Man" with $1.4 million in earnings.
Estimates for the four-day weekend are due out Monday, with final figures released on Tuesday. (AFP)
CANNES: The 2012 Cannes Film Festival announced its winners on Sunday. Following is a list of the main awards.
1. Palme d'Or (Best Film) - 'Love'/Amour (Austria) by Michael Haneke
2. Grand Prix (Runner-up) - 'Reality' (Italy) by Matteo Garrone
3. Jury Prize (Third Prize) - 'The Angels' Share' (Britain) by Ken Loach
4. Camera d'Or (Debut Film) - 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' (U.S.) by Benh Zeitlin
5. Best Director - Carlos Reygadas for 'Post Tenebras Lux' (Mexico)
6. Best Screenplay - 'Beyond the Hills' (Romania) by Cristian Mungiu
7. Best Actress - Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur in 'Beyond the Hills'
8. Best Actor - Mads Mikkelsen in 'The Hunt'
ISLAMABAD: Adolescents who are obese are more likely than their normal weight counterparts to have silent and symptomless heart problems, researchers warn.
It has been known for a long time that adult people with obesity are more likely to experience cardiovascular disease and death but a new preliminary study has raised the alarm for the younger people as well, Press TV reported.
Dr. Gani Bajraktari and colleagues at the University of Pristina in Kosovo who studied 97 asymptomatic teenagers found that the obese adolescents had some higher levels of heart damage and thicker heart walls which impaired the organ's faction.
The findings suggestes that higher body mass index (BMI) is associated with thicker left ventricular walls and impaired systolic and diastolic function, according to the presentation delivered at the Heart Failure Congress in Belgrade, Serbia.
"It means an early sign of heart failure," says co-author Dr. Dejan Maras of Luton and Dunstable Hospital in Luton, UK. He warns that these patients may become symptomatic, including shortness of breath on exertion and poor exercise tolerance.
The scientists say that further studies are needed to support their findings and examine that whether the obesity related heart damages are reversible after losing excessive weight.
However, the findings highlight that preventing obesity in young people would be the best strategy to prevent associated risks such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
"Education on healthy food and exercise is needed in schools to prevent obesity and early cardiovascular disease in adolescents," said Dr. Bajraktari. "This is an important step in preventing obesity and cardiovascular disease in adults."
PARIS: The meteoric rise of a natural, healthy alternative to sugar - a holy grail for the food industry - might just be a little too good to be true.
In two years stevia, a plant used for centuries by Paraguay' s G uarani Indians, has shot to prominence in products by Coca-Cola, Danone and Merisant.
Encouraged by distrust of artificial sweeteners and demand for natural products, they have turned to extract of stevia, which is up to 300 times sweeter than traditional beet or cane sugar.
The problems are the aftertaste, the cost, and possible hurdles in defining it as natural in some European Union markets.
Initial sales and projections are impressive but the plant's extracts have a strong aftertaste, often compared to liquorice, and are far more expensive than artificial sweeteners including aspartame, saccharin and sucralose.
To ease stevia's taste products like French sugar maker Tereos' Beghin-Say and Coca-Cola's Fanta Still - trialed with stevia - still include sugar in their recipe
Tereos PureCircle said that out of the 604 new products containing extracts of stevia launched worldwide in 2010 - up from 373 in 2009 - 60 percent still contained sugar.
Poor consumer feedback also led dairy giant Danone to work on a new recipe for its stevia yoghurts marketed under its leading low-calorie brand Taillefine in 2010.
"We are trying to find solutions to erase this liquorice taste but it's not easy," Marilise Marcantonio, communication director for Danone Fresh Products, said. "Consumers are looking for natural products - but not at any price."
Some scientists also note that a technique to extract Rebania-A, derived from stevia leaves, through ethanol, rather than water, to obtain purer and sweeter products could mean stevia may not be able to be marketed as "natural" in some EU countries, undermining the current marketing strategy.
"They are advertising stevia as a miracle," marketing consultant Sam Waterfall said. "If consumers begin to feel they are misled, this could be a real disaster."
KEY FRENCH MARKET
France is keenly watched as a testing ground for Europe, having cleared stevia-based products in late 2009. New checks and administrative hurdles delayed its approval at EU level until November 2011.
Stevia has been used for decades in Japan and has spread in the United States since 2008, where sales rose over 60 percent in 2011.
Since early 2010 its extracts have been used in France in low-calorie products ranging from soft drinks to yoghurts, jam and tabletop sweeteners, with some products recording triple-digit rises in sales last year.
"It's a revolution. In two years an ingredient has been able to turn the sweetener market upside down," said Olivier Badinand, marketing director for Europe of Merisant, maker of Canderel, leader in France's tabletop sweeteners market.
Stevia's market share among high-intensive sweeteners is still less than 1 percent but growth rates are impressive. Volumes jumped over 50 percent in France last year, and are expected to more than double in 2012 and quadruple by 2014.
"We are in a market that is really taking off," said Michel Laborde, head of sales and marketing at France's largest sugar maker, growers-owned Tereos, which has stepped into the stevia market through a joint venture with the world's leader PureCircle.
Paris will host on Thursday the World Stevia Organisation's fourth conference, gathering academics, industrials and sellers.
Despite taste and cost misgivings, the surge in sales to date, EU clearance and growing demand for low-sugar products correlated with a rise in obesity, has prompted food giants to launch new products.
Coca-Cola's flagship drinks Sprite and Nestea's recipes have been modified to include stevia in a bid to cut the sugar level by up to 30 percent and will soon be available in French stores, Claire Meunier, nutrition manager at Coca-Cola France said.
The world's main producers of compounds from stevia's leaves like Rebaudioside A (Reb A) are Malaysia's PureCircle and U.S. agrigiant Cargill.
Tereos PureCircle Solutions, created in late 2010, sells stevia-based sugar products to food and drink makers in several EU countries including Belgium, Italy and Spain.
Tereos also replaced aspartame with stevia in some of its low-calorie tabletop sugar Beghin-Say Ligne and sales trebled in the year to March, Laborde said, adding that the firm was in the process of launching a stevia powder sugar in France.
"The French market was absolutely key. In light of the success, we had a model to apply, time to look at the results and adapt our strategy to other countries," Merisant's Badinand said. The firm has now deployed stevia in around 20 EU states.
Merisant sells a stevia version of its flagship product Canderel and created a separate brand, PureVia, whose products - powder and cubes - look like sugar but contain none.
PureVia sales grew by 81 percent and Canderel Stevia by 115 percent in the year to end-February to a total of 14.7 million euros and Merisant targets 20 million in 2012, Badinand said. (Reuters)
GEO Amazing and Interesting
TOKYO: A Japanese man astonished the people by eating 32 boiled eggs in one minute.
The 33-years old Takeru Kobayashi also holds the world record for hot dog eating for six years.
NEW DELHI: At least 430 people, mainly children, have died from an outbreak of encephalitis in a deeply neglected region of the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, officials said on Saturday.
K.P. Kushwaha, chief paediatrician at the BRD Medical College in the state's hardest-hit Gorakhpur district, said it was one of the worst outbreaks of encephalitis in the impoverished region, which borders Nepal.
"The situation is grim and the epidemic is worse than previous years and with so many patients there are no empty beds at the hospital," Khuswaha said.
"We count such cases since January but most of these casualties have occurred since July."
He said more than 2,400 patients have been admitted to government hospitals in the region so far this year of which at least 430 have died.
"Until Saturday, 336 children and 94 adults have died," Kushwaha told from the overcrowded hospital where patients were lying two to a bed.
He said 262 patients were undergoing treatment in the state-run facility.
"Everyday between 30 and 40 patients are being brought in for treatment," he said.
Some 215 people, a majority of them children, succumbed to encephalitis in Gorakhpur last year while the death toll from the disease in 2005 was more than 1,400 in Uttar Pradesh.
Eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh are ravaged by encephalitis each year as malnourished children succumb to the virus, officials say.
Encephalitis causes brain inflammation and can result in brain damage. Symptoms include headaches, seizures and fever.
Health experts say 70 million children nationwide are at risk of encephalitis.
Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, has been struggling for years with an encephalitis prevention programme, vaccinating millions of children against the virus. (AFP)