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Doctor’s orders bar Thai boys from World Cup final

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100 'chimneys' drilled into mountain

CHIANG RAI: The eight young footballers rescued from a cave in Thailand after more than two weeks underground are unlikely to be able to take up an offer to attend the World Cup final in Moscow, doctors said today.

The plight of the boys has prompted an outpouring of support from across the footballing world, from Brazil legend Ronaldo to England’s John Stones and Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi. The emaciated and disheveled “Wild Boars” were found after nine days of no contact on a small, muddy bank surrounded by water several kilometers inside the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand. All had come from football training when they first went into the cave on June 23 and were wearing football shirts when they were found – one wore an England top, another the colors of Real Madrid.

Images of the desperate group went viral, prompting FIFA boss Gianni Infantino to invite them to the July 15 showpiece in a gesture of solidarity from the footballing world and a dream to most teenage football fans. But doctors poured cold water on the idea, saying the boys are in good shape but going through a slow and careful recovery that will see them stay in hospital for a week. “They can’t go, they have to stay in hospital for a while,” Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong, of the public health ministry, told reporters Tuesday when asked about the offer to attend Sunday’s match. “They’re likely to watch it on television,” Jedsada Chokdamrungsuk, permanent-secretary of the Ministry of Public Health. 

A piece published earlier: Elite divers hauled four more young footballers out of a flooded Thai cave on Monday, authorities said, bringing to eight the number saved in a stunning rescue mission but still leaving five others trapped“Hooyah,” the Thai Navy SEALs, who have played a crucial role in the against-the-odds operation, said in a Facebook post as they announced that a total of eight members of the “Wild Boars” football team had been rescued on Sunday and Monday. Thais have been fixated on the crisis, hoping desperately for the safe return of the 12 boys and their 25-year-old football coach, after they ventured into the Tham Luang cave complex after practice and became trapped by rising waters more than a fortnight ago. The extraction of the four on Monday followed a similar pattern to the previous day, with the youngsters emerging in quick succession just before nightfall after navigating a treacherous escape route of more than four kilometers (2.5 miles) that included extremely narrow and flooded tunnels. Although the rescued eight were all presumed to be the boys, aged between 11 and 16, authorities did not reveal their identities nor confirm whether the coach remained inside the cave.

Asked if the remaining five would be shuttled out together, rescue operations chief Narongsak Osottanakorn said it was up to the divers whose meticulous plans, including stashing extra oxygen tanks along the route, are “set for four people, if we bring five we have to change the plan”. In a late-night press conference, he also delivered a message from Thai premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha, a gruff former general:  “The Prime Minister wants this to be a lesson, this should not happen again in Thailand,” Narongsak said.  The saga has dominated global headlines, with the team spending nine days unaccounted for inside the cave, before British divers found them – emaciated and disheveled – huddling on a muddy bank above the flooding.  Authorities then struggled to determine the best way to save the “Wild Boars”, with the group stuck on a shelf above the floodwaters in pitch darkness.  Among the ideas were drilling an escape route through the mountain, or leaving them for months until the monsoon season ended and the flooding subsided.

But with oxygen levels inside dropping to dangerous lows and the prospect of heavy rains flooding the area completely, authorities decided they had to move quickly and take the group out through the water-filled tunnels.  Narongsak described Sunday’s initial rescue bid as “D-Day” when it was launched, and there were fears that any one of many potential pitfalls could prove deadly. Among these were that none of the boys had scuba diving experience and that they could easily panic while swimming underwater across twisted passageways in darkness. Dozens of foreign divers and other experts from around the world were brought in to help the rescue effort, working alongside the Thai Navy SEALs. But the death of a former Thai Navy SEAL diver who ran out of oxygen in the cave on Friday underscored the danger of the journey. The first successes on Sunday offered hope of a fairytale ending to the ordeal. Rescue chief Narongsak on Sunday described their journey out, escorted by the elite divers, as “smooth”.

Crucially, round-the-clock pumping to ease some of the floodings paid off and threatened heavy rains did not arrive. That led an upbeat Narongsak to promise more “good news” on Monday afternoon that materialized a few hours later with the emergence of the other four.  But although the eight were rescued, there were concerns they may have contracted an illness while in the cave. Narongsak said after the first four boys were rescued that they would be quarantined “for a while because we are concerned about infections”. And rain could still re-emerge as a threat for the remaining five, particularly if there are complications that could delay the extraction further.  Authorities have repeatedly said the rain could re-flood crucial parts of the cave complex that have been drained and make the escape route much harder or even impossible to navigate. Weather forecasters warned heavy rain could hit the area through the week.  Premier Prayut visited the rescue base on Monday night to deliver his congratulations to all those involved, but also to offer a note of caution.  “Everyone should be proud. (But) the mission is not over yet,” Prayut said. (Published on 10rh July 2018) 

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Plagued Modi trying to hide behind anti-Pak rhetoric

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ISLAMABAD: After being exposed by the French government for influencing 36 Rafale fighter planes deal, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has charged his cannons to fire obsolete anti-Pakistan rhetoric to mock fanatic Indians.
The Rafale scandal has been a burning question since the opposition blew the whistle of hefty corruption when Modi announced to purchase the French fighter jets on his visit to Paris. The opposition party ‘Congress’ has accused the government for choosing Reliance Defence over state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to benefit the private firm though it did not have any experience in the aerospace sector.
The Congress also demanded the Modi government to elucidate the thrice increase in the prices of the jets which was a mere eyewash that erupted a huge corruption scandal narrating unprecedented plundering of public money.
Interestingly, prior to the Modi government, the deal to purchase the Rafale aircraft was also done during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government where its largest member party is the Indian National Congress.
According to the Congress, the cost of an aircraft at that time was Indian Rs 5900 million, while the deal was finalized by the Modi government three times the price.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi also boiled a hot war on the social media portal Twitter slamming PM Modi for betraying the country. Rahul said, “The Prime Minister spoke privately about Rafael Deal behind the closed door and made a change in it. He has betrayed the country and insulted our martyrs”.
The former French President Francois Hollande according to a French media report clarified: “The Indian government proposed Reliance Defence as the partner for Dassault Aviation in the Rafale jet fighter deal and France did not have a choice”.
According to reports in Indian media, the French government claimed to have no involvement in the choice of Indian industrial partners for the Rafale fighter jet deal, insisting that French companies have full freedom to select Indian firms for the contract.
Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale, had chosen Reliance Defence as its partner to fulfill offset obligations of the deal. The government has been maintaining it did not have any role in selection of the offset partner by Dassault.
In a statement, Dassault Aviation said it decided to partner with Reliance Defence in accordance with the policy of ‘Made in India’.
In the recent escalating crisis over the controversy, Congress President Rahul Gandhi has alleged that “Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Anil Ambani jointly carried out a multi-billion ‘surgical strike’ on the defense forces.”
The Indian Air Force (IAF) had termed that deal as oxygen for Indian Defence but allegations of corruption on PM Modi has raised many questions about the transparency of the deal.
After a plethora of allegations against Modi, the Indian Prime Minister opted for anti-Pakistan rhetoric to hoodwink his masses no matter that Indian opposition parties themselves exposed the real face of Modi’s BJP not before the Indian citizens but also the world democracies.
The PM Modi’s narrative against Pakistan was not well taken by Indians themselves as the mega corruption charges in an important defense project raises questions on his own commitment to safeguarding his motherland and the opposition called him ‘the plunderer instead of protector of national assets.’
Modi has now entered into a blind alley and retaliates through outmaneuvering repeated trivial narrative with greater lucidity to pacify the lurking public outrage. His people, the neighboring countries as well as world democracies have ample substance to understand as to why he denied dialogue with Pakistan.

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China set up power projects under PPA: Ahsan Iqbal

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ISLAMABAD: Member National Assembly Ahsan Iqbal on Monday said that 35 billion dollar energy projects had been set up under China Pakistan Economic Corridor’s (CPEC) Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
Speaking in the National Assembly he said, “We have not taken even a single penny loan to set up power projects under China Pakistan Economic Corridor as all the projects had been established by the private sector of China in line with the PPA.”
Under the agreement, he said, the generated electricity will be added to the national grid as per rate determined by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA).
“We should be grateful to China for making such a huge investment in Pakistan when other countries and local investors are shying to invest ten dollars”.
He appreciated the Chinese government for helping Pakistan in difficult times to end load-shedding from the country.

 

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WB to  resolve the dispute over Kishan Ganga project!

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UNITED NATIONS: The World Bank is finalizing a fresh initiative to resolve the dispute over the Indian construction of the Kishan Ganga and Ratle projects, saying the multilateral lender would soon contact Pakistan and India, the bank chief, Jim Young Kim, has said.
Kim said this during a meeting with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, after the Pakistani leader presented his government’s position on these projects in “a forceful and emphatic manner”, according to an official statement.
The focus of the meeting was the World Bank’s role in the implementation of the Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan as its Administrator. The Foreign Minister said Indian construction of the Kishan Ganga and Ratle projects represented a violation of the 1960 Treaty, which gave Pakistan exclusive rights to western rivers. He emphasized that the procedural delay on Pakistan’s request to the World Bank to empanel the Court of Arbitration had resulted in the completion of the Kishan Ganga Projects while construction work on Ratle was in progress.
Qureshi said that the new government viewed this as a humanitarian issue with lives and livelihood of millions at stake, adding that It was not interested in politicizing the issue. The President of the World Bank said that while he understood Pakistan’s position on the Treaty, he expressed the Bank’s desire to play a constructive role in resolving this important matter at the earliest.
In this context, he remarked that, with the ongoing challenge of climate change, water issues were likely to be more prominent on the international agenda. “He indicated that the World Bank was in the process of finalizing a fresh initiative and would soon be approaching Pakistan and India with details.” the statement added. The meeting was conducted in a cordial and frank setting. Both sides resolved to maintain regular contacts at various levels to seek an early and amicable settlement to the issue.

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