Geo News 11th June 2012 - Latest Geo updates 11th June 2012 Live
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ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court of Pakistan will resume the proceedings of NICL corruption and Balochistan law & order cases today (Monday), Geo News reported.
Earlier during Thursday’s hearing of NICL case, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had said Commerce Secretary Zafar Mahmood should appear before the court during the next hearing and if he failed to appear before the court, his arrest orders would be issued.
Highlights of Thursday's NICL hearing:
A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, expressed displeasure over the absence of Commerce Secretary Zafar Mahmood from the NICL case hearing.
The Chief Justice said a case could be registered against Makhdoom Amin Fahim pertaining to ineligible appointment of Chairman Ayaz Niazi in the National Insurance Corporation Ltd (NICL) case. The SC ordered to make public the investigation report of Justice Rabbani Commission in the NICL scandal.
The SC also asked the FIA about the actions taken against Amin Fahim over the illegal appointment of Ayaz Niazi as chairman of the NICL. The court inquired as to why an appeal was not filed against the acquittal of Moonis Elahi, the main accused in the NICL scandal.
The SC questioned why an investigation was not being conducted over the money kept in foreign banks and why that money had not been brought back to the country.
FIA Director Muazzam Jah told the SC that Zafar Saleem, who sold property for paying loans of Amin Fahim, died in the AirBlue plane crash in 2010. He said Rs900 million cost of the NICL land was much less than its worth and that money was deposited in joint account of Kh Akbar and Khalid Anwar.
He stated Khalid Anwar used to be the frontman of late Zafar Saleem, and then that money was deposited into 16 various accounts, including the account of Amin Fahim.
During the hearing, the Chief Justice said Ayaz Niazi was illegally appointed as the chairman of the NICL and that Amin Fahim was alleged to have been behind the decision. The Chief Justice said that Zafar Mahmood should have registered a case over the illegal appointment. Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja remarked that if this example was set, then every guilty person would say that he was innocent.
The chairman of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) appeared before the court and presented procedures of appointment of the chairman. Later, the case hearing was adjourned till June 11.
ISLAMABAD: Malik Riaz, the Chairman of Bahria Town, will be leaving London for Pakistan shortly to record his testimony before the Supreme Court in Dr. Arsalan Iftikhar's case, said his counsel Zahid Bukhari on Sunday.
Zahid Bukhari said although Malik Riaz's doctors had advised him not to travel, the business tycoon has decided against it and will be heading back home shortly.
"He is returning to Pakistan in respect for the country's apex court," he said.
However, the sources close to Malik Riaz have said that the Bahria Town chief has already embarked on a journey back home.
PARIS: Polling stations opened on Sunday for the first round of France's parliamentary election tipped to give new Socialist President Francois Hollande a majority to push through his reforms.
Final opinion polls before Sunday's vote predicted the Socialists would not see a landslide victory but would, with their Green and hard-left allies, emerge with a narrow but workable majority.
KABUL: At least 45 Taliban militants have been killed in operations carried out by Afghan and NATO-led troops, the interior ministry said on Sunday.
The forces launched 10 "clean-up" operations in Kabul, Laghman, Parwan, Helmand, Uruzgan and Farah provinces, in which, 33 militants were killed, Xinhua reported citing a ministry statement.
Six militants were injured and nine were captured during the raids. The statement, however, did not say if there were any casualties among the security forces.
Eight Taliban militants were killed in a special force operation in Bati Kot district of eastern Nangarhar province Saturday night, said Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, a spokesman for the provincial government.
Four militants were killed when an anti-tank mine blew up prematurely in Jani Khil district of Pakitka province, the ministry said.
According to figures released by the interior ministry, around 430 militants have been killed, 130 wounded and over 450 others detained since May 1.
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LONDON: Investors are losing faith in the computer-based trading models that made them millions in the bull market years, as Europe's financial convulsions have shown how poorly they cope with the unpredictable.
Once beloved of funds dealing in scores of securities across the globe, the sovereign debt crisis and its daily assault on markets have exposed weaknesses in the 'black box' investment approach, now seen by some as a liability rather than an asset.
A realisation that risk cannot always be measured and conspicuous failures to foresee sharp market moves is prompting a return to manager-led strategies, and in some cases, hiring of new talent with expertise in areas such as political analysis.
"This is where we are, which is a potentially dangerous position, where politics for the first time in 50 years becomes pertinent to markets," said Saker Nusseibeh, head of Hermes Fund Managers, which is owned by Britain's largest pension pot, the BT (British Telecom) Pension Scheme.
Currently many of the risk models used by investors are based on the analysis of volatility and correlations of traditional asset classes such as equities and bonds, but critics say this needs to be tempered by an assessment of the safety of the asset by a well-informed analyst.
"True skill is actually rarer than people think, so if you happen to be an organization that has that, you can command a premium. The skill is in recognizing disruption, particularly in recognizing that the old rules no longer apply," he said.
Nusseibeh believes the financial industry is not equipped to understand a world shaped by prolonged financial crisis, having relied for many years on models based on assumptions and past observations that can no longer be depended upon.
Manu Vandenbulck, a senior investment manager at ING Investment Management, takes as an example the indexes of dividend-paying stocks that many fund managers used as benchmarks.
Before the financial crisis of 2008, these indexes had become heavily concentrated in financial company stocks because of the sector's strong record of dividend growth.
Those who built portfolios in line with these indexes were painfully exposed to the sector, which was hit hardest when U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008.
"Qualitative active management has proven more sensible," Vandenbulck said.
After years of bumper returns by the likes of Man Group's computer-driven AHL fund, the financial industry grew increasingly confident in the ability of its models to predict big market movements, but most failed to spot the coming turmoil.
"In the current environment your risk is not much linked to the type of asset you are holding but more to the crisis that you are facing," said Edouard Senechal, a Chicago-based investment strategist at U.S. financial group William Blair.
Senechal has sought to develop a model that incorporates qualitative input and moves away from "a pure quantitative aspect of risk management".
"We still use models as reference framework. However, we are willing to set the inputs in our model qualitatively, and that is what allows us to pick up on the market changes that are coming very, very rapidly," he said.
"If you analyse a Spanish bond as a safe asset - which is how they have been behaving all the way up to 2010 - then this is not the right analysis," Senechal said.
The shift in sentiment echoes a 'manifesto' written by academics Emanuel Derman and Paul Wilmott in the wake of the financial crisis in 2009, which noted traditional valuation models had been found wanting and a broader approach was needed.
"Financial markets are alive, but a model, however beautiful, is an artifice ... To confuse the model with the world is to embrace a future disaster driven by the belief that humans obey mathematical rules," the authors argued.
Derman is Head of Risk at Prisma Capital Partners and a professor at Columbia University, where he directs their program in financial engineering.
Speaking to Reuters from New York, he said it was "salutary" to highlight the limitations of modeling.
"There's no mechanical formula that's going to save you from people's panic and contagion. I think some people understand that, but there are also some people who perhaps haven't got capital markets experience and put much too much faith in the models," he said.
"I think you have to use models, but you have to understand that all bets are off when the world really gets hectic, and volatility is going to really destroy your model."
Some fund managers caution, however, that moving too far away from quantitative analysis in favor of more qualitative approaches can leave performance vulnerable to over-reaction to political headlines, false storms and short-term trends.
"Qualitative overlays should be applied for risk control purposes only, not for taking directional views on countries, stocks, sectors or factors," said Jenya Emets, a senior investment manager of Global Enhanced Equities at State Street Global Advisors.
"Quants should focus on what they do best - exploit over (or) under reaction and other market inefficiencies in a disciplined fashion and remove unintended risks from their portfolios."
KARACHI: Gold plunged by Rs 685 to close at Rs 48,857 per 10 grams in the local market Saturday as its international price dropped to $ 1,610 an ounce, market sources said.
According to Karachi Saraf Association official, tola (11.664 grams) price also dipped by Rs 700 to Rs 57,100.
Silver closed lower at Rs 840 per 10 grams.
BIRMINGHAM: Tino Best's dramatic 95, the highest-ever Test score by a No 11 batsman, saw West Indies stun England in their series finale at Edgbaston here on Sunday.
West Indies were 426 all out at lunch on the fourth day after fast bowler Best, playing his first Test in nearly three years, helped see Denesh Ramdin, who finished on 107 not out, to a century with the wicket-keeper only on 63 when the last man came to crease.
Best's innings surpassed India paceman Zaheer Khan's 75 against Bangladesh at Dhaka in 2004 as the highest Test score by a No 11.
And his partnership of 143 with Ramdin was a West Indies' record for the 10th wicket in Tests, overtaking the 106 shared by Carl Hooper and Courtney Walsh against Pakistan at St John's in 1993.
It meant England would now need 277 to avoid the follow-on.
England, who'd controversially rested new-ball duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad, having already taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in this three-match series, saw their attack treated with disdain by Best, whose shots were worthy of a top-order batsman.
West Indies resumed on 280 for eight after losing the toss.
Ramdin was 60 not out after Marlon Samuels, following up his hundred in England's nine-wicket second Test win at Trent Bridge, had made 76.
England needed just three balls Sunday to take West Indies' ninth wicket when Steven Finn, brought in alongside fellow paceman Graham Onions in the absence of Anderson and Broad, had Ravi Rampaul caught behind.
But Best promptly off-drove Finn for four and then held the pose just to ram home to his opponents how good a shot it had been.
And Onions, who'd taken three wickets Saturday, also came in for the Best treatment when a half-volley was driven wide of mid-off for four.
When the 30-year-old Best steered Onions through the slips for four, he surpassed his previous highest Test score of 27, made against Sri Lanka at Colombo in 2005, with this just his 15th match at this level.
Ramdin was almost out when, on 69, he cut hard at Finn and Kevin Pietersen failed to hold a sharp, head-high, chance at gully.
England captain Andrew Strauss brought on off-spinner Graeme Swann in a bid to break the stand.
But when Swann dropped short with successive balls, Best twice expertly cut him for four.
There was no stopping Best, who greeted seamer Tim Bresnan's third ball Sunday by lofting him over mid-on for four to go to 49.
A single off Bresnan saw Best -- only called up to this tour as a replacement for injured fast bowler Shannon Gabriel -- to fifty in 44 balls.
Ramdin's single off Bresnan, after which he nearly hit the bowler's head as he waved his bat in celebration, saw the keeper to a hundred in 160 balls with nine boundaries.
Ramdin produced a piece of paper from his pocket with the words "Yea Viv, talk nah" written on it, after West Indies great Vivian Richards had criticised him for failing to deliver on his promise after the second Test.
It was Ramdin's second hundred in 45 Tests following his 166 against England at Bridgetown three years ago.
And when Best uppercut Bresnan over the slips for yet another boundary he surpassed Zaheer's record and, soon afterwards, Best drove Bresnan for a stunning straight six.
Lunch was delayed by 30 minutes, technically to allow England extra time to take the last wicket, although it also gave Best a chance to complete a hundred.
But he fell just short, skying Onions to Strauss at first slip, having faced just 112 balls with a six and 14 fours. (AFP)
second one-day international here at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Saturday.
The hosts, who scored a challenging 280-4, bowled Pakistan out for 204 in the day-night match despite an impressive 96 by opener Azhar Ali to level the five-match series 1-1
Opener Dilshan top-scored with an unbeaten 119 for his 13th one-day hundred, hitting one six and 11 fours in his brilliant 139-ball knock to help his team set a stiff target.
Azhar, playing only his sixth one-dayer, looked set to complete his maiden one-day hundred before he was bowled by paceman Nuwan Kulasekara. He cracked 12 fours in his 119-ball knock.
Man-of-the-match Perera got his first wicket when he held a superb one-handed return catch to dismiss Mohammad Hafeez (14) before removing Younis Khan (four) and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (27) to reduce Pakistan to 127-3.
He took three more wickets to complete his third haul of five or more wickets in an innings.
Sri Lanka earlier rejigged their batting order after losing the opening one-dayer by six wickets on Thursday, with Upul Tharanga returning as an opener and skipper Mahela Jayawardene coming in at number five.
The hosts batted steadily after winning the toss as Dilshan added 70 runs for the third wicket with Dinesh Chandimal (32) and 86 for the next with Jayawardene (53), who opened in the last game.
Dilshan reached his century in the 43rd over when he pulled paceman Umar Gul for a single and then hit fast bowler Sohail Tanvir over mid-wicket for the first six of the match.
Sri Lanka scored 56 runs in the last six overs, with Perera smashing two sixes and as many fours in his unbeaten 24 off just 14 balls.
Jayawardene was bowled by off-spinner Saeed Ajmal soon after completing his half-century, hitting eight fours in his brisk 45-ball knock.
Off-spinner Hafeez, Tanvir and leg-spinner Shahid Afridi were the other wicket-takers for Pakistan.
Tanvir struck in his fourth over when he had Tharanga (18) caught behind and then Hafeez held a return catch to remove Kumar Sangakkara (18) with his first delivery.
But there was no stopping Dilshan, who continued to gather runs comfortably and completed his half-century with a four off Afridi.
Pakistan made one change from the team which won the first match as they brought in debutant paceman Rahat Ali in place of injured Mohammad Sami, while Sri Lanka retained the side.
The third one-dayer will be played in Colombo on Wednesday. (AFP)
LOS ANGELES: "Snow White and the Huntsman" was the fairest of them all at the North American box office over the weekend with a $56.3 million debut, industry estimates showed Sunday.
The film starring Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart of "Twilight" fame, which offers a new twist on the classic fairy tale, knocked the sci-fi comedy sequel "Men in Black 3" off the top of the charts.
The reunion of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as secret agents battling aliens living on Earth, which topped the box office charts last weekend, took second place with $29.3 million, according to Exhibitor Relations.
"Men in Black 3" has total takings of $112.3 million so far.
In third place was comic book superhero blockbuster "The Avengers," pocketing $20.3 million. It has so far taken in $552.7 million in North America.
The film has become the highest-grossing movie in Walt Disney Studios' history with global earnings so far of almost $1.4 billion, the third-highest total of all time.
"The Avengers" maintained its lead over the big-budget but critically panned "Battleship," which dropped to the number four spot in its third weekend with $4.8 million in box office receipts.
In fifth was comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's "The Dictator," at $4.7 million.
"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," a comedic drama about British retirees in India, took in $4.6 million for sixth place.
Keeping its seventh place was romantic comedy "What to Expect When You're Expecting," about five interconnected couples sharing the experience of having a baby, with $4.4 million.
Next was Tim Burton's "Dark Shadows" reboot starring Johnny Depp, in eighth place with $3.9 million.
Ninth place went to horror flick "Chernobyl Diaries." The tale of a group of tourists taking a disastrous tour of the ghost town of Pripyat in Ukraine, abandoned after the 1980s nuclear disaster, made $3 million.
Rounding out the top 10 was "For Greater Glory," a chronicle of the Cristero War of 1926-29, an uprising against the Mexican government also known as the Cristiada. It took in $1.8 million on its debut weekend.
Final figures were due out on Monday.
MIANWALI: Well-known folk singer Attaullah Esa Khelvi performed at a musical night, organised for the employees of Pakistan Air Force on the occasion of Youm e Taqbeer in Mianwali.
A large number of PAF staff along with their families attended the show.
NEW YORK: Sweet drinks have been linked to a slightly higher risk of developing high blood pressure, but a US study finds that fruit sugar may not be the culprit as found in earlier research.
Researchers followed more than 200,000 men and women for up to 38 years and found that regularly consuming sweetened drinks, either containing sugars or artificially sweetened, was associated with a rise of about 13 percent in the risk of developing high blood pressure.
Carbonated and cola drinks were most strongly linked to a risk for hypertension, but fruit sugar, or fructose, in drinks did not stand out as a driving factor, the group reported in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
"We don't know what causes the increased risk in artificial-or sugar-sweetened beverages," said Lisa Cohen, lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
"It's hard to say that from the fructose itself you're increasing your hypertension risk."
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg last week proposed a ban on large-size sugary sodas, the latest in a string of public health initiatives that include a campaign to cut salt in restaurant meals and packaged foods.
Earlier studies had implicated fructose as a factor related to a risk of high blood pressure, but Cohen noted that those have only taken a snapshot in time and could not determine which came first, the high blood pressure or taste for sweet drinks.
Cohen and her colleagues looked at data from three massive studies, including nearly 224,000 healthcare workers, whose diet and health were tracked for 16 to 38 years. No participants had diagnosed high blood pressure at the start of the study.
Over time, those who drank at least one sugar-sweetened beverage a day had a 13 percent increased risk of developing hypertension relative to those who only had a sweet drink once a month or less.
Similarly, people who drank at least one artificially-sweetened drink a day had a 14 percent increased risk of developing hypertension relative to those who had few or none.
To see if it was the fructose that was responsible, researchers also looked at people who had high levels of fructose in their diets from other sources, such as fruits.
Among people who consumed 15 percent of their calories from fructose sources other than drinks, the risk of developing hypertension was either lower or the same as people who ate very little fructose.
"You would think if fructose were the causative factor, then eating a lot of apples (for example) would also increase your risk of hypertension," Cohen told Reuters Health.
The "markedly" stronger link between carbonated sweet drinks and increased hypertension risk might be explained by the larger serving sizes associated with sodas, or some other unknown ingredient common to all of them, the researchers said - but further research is needed. (Reuters)
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)