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Former US President George Herbert Walker Bush dies at 94

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Washington : Former US President George Herbert Walker Bush died on Saturday at the age of 94. He was the 41st president of the United States and lived longer than any of his predecessors.

His son George W Bush confirmed the demise of his father on Saturday. “Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died. George H.W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens,” George W Bush said in an official statement.

The former US President presided over the end of the Cold War and routed Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army but lost a chance for a second term after breaking a no-new-taxes pledge.

Bush Senior, as he was popularly known, was suffering from a form of Parkinson’s disease due to which he had been confined to a wheelchair or motorised scooter in recent years. He has frequently been in and out of hospitals due to his declining health.

His death comes just eight months after the death of his wife Babara who died at the age of 73. A day after he attended his wife’s funeral in April, he was admitted to hospital for a blood infection. He had to be admitted for 13 days.


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International

4 dead, 43 injured after high-speed train crashes into overpass in Turkey

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ANKARA: At least four persons died and over 43 injured after a high-speed train crashed into an overpass in Turkish capital Ankara, reported the country’s media.

A video footage uploaded by Posta Gazetesi, a Turkish daily newspaper, showed mangled metal remains of the train. Emergency workers were seen rescuing people from the accident site.

The accident took place at the overpass at the Marsandiz train station, to the west of Ankara at around 6:30 am (9 am IST) as the train was travelling between Ankara and the central Turkish province of Konya.

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Pak rejects US charge over religious freedom

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Islamabad: Pakistan rejected the United States’ pronouncement about religious freedom in Pakistan as ‘politically motivated.’

In a statement, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal categorically stated Pakistan does ‘not need counsel by any individual country how to protect the rights of its minorities.’

He said besides the clear biases reflected from these designations, there are serious questions on the credentials and impartiality of the self-proclaimed jury involved in this unwarranted exercise.

The spokesperson said Pakistan was a multi-religious and pluralistic society where people of diverse faiths and denominations live together.

Around 4 percent of our total population comprises citizens belonging to Christian, Hindu, Buddhists and Sikh faiths.

He said ensuring equal treatment of minorities and their enjoyment of human rights without any discrimination is the cardinal principle of the constitution of Pakistan.

“Special seats have been reserved for minorities in the Parliament to ensure their adequate representation and voice in the legislation process,” he said.

Dr Faisal said a vibrant and independent National Commission on Human Rights was functioning to address concerns on violation of the rights of minorities.

Foreign Office spokesperson pointed out that successive governments have made it a priority that rights of citizens belonging to minority faiths are protected as guaranteed by the law and the Constitution.

The higher judiciary of the country has made several landmark decisions to protect the properties and places of worships of minorities.

He said Pakistan had devised legal and administrative mechanisms to safeguard the rights of its citizens.

The spokesperson regretted the proponents of human rights worldwide close their eyes on “systematic persecution of minorities subjected to alien domination and foreign occupation such as in the Kashmir.”

He said an honest self-introspection would also have been timely to know the causes of exponential rise in Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in the US.

The United States clarified on Wednesday that although Pakistan remains on the Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) list, there will be no additional sanctions other than those already placed on Pakistan owing to ‘national interest.’

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US aiding and abetting Saudi crimes in Yemen: Iran

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Tehran : Addressing the families of Iranian martyrs in a meeting in Tehran , Ayatollah Khamenei pointed out the Saudi regime’s failures in the war it has been waging against Yemen with Washington’s support.

The Leader said the Saudis have extended a hand of friendship to the enemies of Islam.

“They (the Saudis) thought they would gain control [of Yemen] in a matter of days or weeks. [But] the farther they go, the harder they will fall down and the more stinging will be the blow that they will receive,” the Leader noted.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Ayatollah Khamenei pointed to Washington’s long-running enmity towards the Iranian nation.

“If you want to know America’s true face, look at its current president and statesmen because they have vividly and openly laid bare the ugly and hateful face that is typical of American statesmen,” the Leader said.

Ayatollah Khamenei urged the Iranian nation and authorities to remember that the US will never stop plotting against the country, emphasizing that the Israeli regime and the reactionary regional states are in cahoots with Washington in its hostile agenda against the Islamic Republic.

The Leader, however, asserted, “Of course, we are stronger. They have not managed to do anything so far, and will never be able to do a damn thing either.”

Over the past years, the Leader said, the US has consistently sought, but failed, to restore the domination it enjoyed over Iran prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and to bring the country under its tutelage similar to certain weak regional states, which Washington has branded as its “milk cows.”

The leader further underlined Washington’s stepped-up campaign against Iran over the past two years, saying the Americans sought to increase pressure on the country through sanctions and measures to disrupt its national security with the aim of creating division and conflict among various groups.

“They were planning to lead some to the streets and had even referred to it as ‘the hot summer.’ To the enemies’ dismay, [however], this past summer was one of the best ever,” the Leader noted.

The Leader dismissed claims by certain US officials that the Islamic Revolution will not get to celebrate its anniversary in 2019, stressing, “The Iranian nation is standing in all strength and will, by divine grace, celebrate the 40th anniversary of the revolution in far greater splendor this year.”

The Leader said by dubbing the US “the Great Satan,” the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, united the world’s monotheists and fair-minded nations against Washington.

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