- Ryanair makes massive order for 175 Boeing 737s
- Cyprus MPs overwhelmingly reject tax on deposits
- Warid provides career advice and opportunities for Pakistani students in UK
- APML’s Pervez Musharraf demands bulletproof car on Pakistan arrival
- PML-N’s Nawaz Sharif arrives Pakistan
- Death toll in Nigeria’s bus station suicide bombing rises to 41
- Iranian among 18 people arrested in Saudi Arabia over spying charges
- Red-faced Lululemon recalls too-sheer yoga pants
- Syria regime, rebels trade chemical weapons accusations
- Poachers massacre 89 elephants in Chad: WWF
Posted: 19 Mar 2013 04:07 PM PDT
New York: Irish low-cost airline Ryanair on Tuesday announced an order for 175 Boeing 737-800 airplanes in a major fleet expansion three weeks after the EU blocked its takeover of rival Aer Lingus.
The massive order was put at $15.6 billion at Boeing catalog prices, one of the US aerospace giant’s largest orders ever, though discounts could bring the total value to much less than that.
The deal “will allow Ryanair to grow its airline to more than 400 airplanes, serving more than 100 million passengers per year across Europe by the end of the delivery stream in 2018,” the Irish company said in a statement.
“It will sustain thousands of skilled manufacturing jobs in Boeing and its supplier companies and will represent the largest=ever capital investment by an Irish company in US manufacturing and US jobs,” it said.
“This is big deal for Ryanair and for us,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes president Ray Conner in a New York press conference.
“Ray Conner took me out for Saint Patrick’s Day and got me drunk, and at the end of the day I signed the contract,” quipped Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary.
O’Leary said the planes were to be delivered between 2014 and 2018, at a cost similar to that of Ryanair’s 2005 Boeing order. Ryanair has an all-Boeing 737 fleet.
He said the company hopes to see growth in Germany, where Air Berlin is cutting back.
“I hope by the end of this year we will be announcing an order for the 737 MAX as well,” he added.
US President Barack Obama, who was hosting a visit by Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny on Tuesday, cheered the deal.
“It’s an example of how the progress that’s made in Ireland benefits jobs and businesses here in the United States.”
The deal was announced after the European Commission on February 27 barred Ryanair’s third attempt for approval to buy its Irish rival Aer Lingus.
The EC said passengers would lose out with less competition and higher prices.
O’Leary suggested Tuesday that the company was being penalized for not being a European flag carrier.
“We are still the only European airline merger that has been prohibited in 40 years,” he said.
“Europe likes to put non-efficient flag carriers together to make them even less efficient.”
The news came one day European aviation giant Airbus — Boeing’s fierce rival — announced a record order worth 18.4 billion euros ($23.8 billion) from Indonesia’s Lion Air for 234 medium-range A320 jets.
Posted: 19 Mar 2013 03:59 PM PDT
Nicosia: Cyprus MPs on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a tax on bank deposits demanded by international lenders as a condition for a bailout deal, with a vote of 36 against, 19 abstentions and none in favour.
”The bill has been rejected,” said house speaker Yiannakis Omirou, as thousands of protesters outside the parliament building in Nicosia exploded in joy.
Local media said the government would now try to renegotiate the terms of the deal with the troika of lenders, and at the same time seek other ways of making up a 5.8 billion-euro ($7.47 billion) shortfall.
Options included issuing a national bond scheme, restructuring the island’s banks and trying to attract further investments from Russia, reports said.
Posted: 19 Mar 2013 03:50 PM PDT
Lahore: Warid Telecom, one of Pakistan's leading telecoms providers, has extended its outreach to Pakistani graduates studying in the UK by participating in a British Council career counselling initiative.
Warid's participation not only allows them to provide career guidance and advice to Pakistanis studying at British universities, it also allows these students to seek job opportunities as prospective Warid employees.
Warid had previously engaged students in Pakistan through participation at major job fairs in leading educations across the country, including LUMS, IBA, FAST, NUST, UET, UCP, and Superior University. This British Council initiative has allowed the telecom giant to build strong ties with top UK universities, as well as harness the intellectual potential of the Pakistani student population in Britain. The initiative also assists in providing better networking opportunities and stronger trade ties between Pakistan and the UK.
Commenting on the initiative, Mr. Ali Raza Mehdi, Vice President Human Resources & Administration at Warid, said, "This initiative by the British Council has allowed Warid to reach out to the large Pakistani student community studying in the U.K providing valuable insights to these students in career management, enhancing employability skills and also potential placement guidance not only in Warid Telecom but also in the talent market in Pakistan."
In addition to participating in the British Council sessions in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, Warid has been holding regular career counselling sessions at some of the leading universities across Pakistan. Some of the recent mentoring sessions were held at Lahore School of Economics, IBA Karachi and LUMS.
Posted: 19 Mar 2013 03:37 PM PDT
Islamabad: Former President and Chief of Army Staff General (retd) Pervez Musharraf has demand a bullet proof car from the government on his return to Pakistan.
Musharraf has announced to return Pakistan on March 24, after ending his self-imposed exile, in Karachi, a metropolitan of Pakistan.
According to All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) Spokesman, the government should provide security to the former president as per law.
“Because I am ex-president of Pakistan, the authorities must provide me with some security when I return — but of course I also have my own arrangements. I have faith that life and death is out of my hands and I have a duty to return to my country to deal with its problems,” Musharraf said in one of his interviews given to a media representative.
It is to be mentioned here that the second largest party of Sindh, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) will fully participate in the arrival gathering of Musharraf at Karachi airport.
It has also been learnt that has MQM has entered into an electoral alliance with Pervez Musharraf. According to sources, the MQM will not field any candidate against him on NA-250 (Clifton-Defence) and would strongly support him.
Posted: 19 Mar 2013 02:20 PM PDT
Lahore: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday night arrived Pakistan after being on a foreign trip during the last week.
The PML-N chief arrived Lahore via Dubai from a private airline. He would leave for Raiwind and would hold discussions over the upcoming election strategy with the party leadership.
According to sources in PML-N, the arrival of the party chief is of great importance as the Punjab government has decided to dissolve the assembly after the approval of the party chief.
The sources further said that N-league is in favour of holding elections of all constituencies on the same day across the country and for that reason the party chief would give a go ahead to his brother and Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif for giving advice to governor for the dissolution of the assembly.
Posted: 19 Mar 2013 02:02 PM PDT
Kano: The death toll of deadly car blast at a bus station in a Christian neighborhood in Kano has increased upto 41 people, making it one of the deadliest attack in nine months that is blamed on Islamic extremists.
At least 44 others were also injured in the attack. Kano state police said Tuesday that two men rammed an explosive-laden blue VW Golf into a full passenger bus in a mainly Christian enclave in the predominantly Muslim commercial center.
By striking at about 5 p.m. Monday, the bombers seemed to have targeted passengers preparing for the 15-hour overnight road trip to the megacity of Lagos in Nigeria’s south, loved ones bidding them farewell and vendors selling drinks and snacks. The blast triggered panic and pandemonium in a city that has seen similar violence in the past.
Kano police chief Musa Daura had said in a statement that at least 22 people had died, but the rescue official said there were 41 deaths at least. He said there were 21 bodies were at Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital and 20 more at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, said rescue officials. They are also treating 41 and 3 injured respectively. Police has downplayed figures in the past to avoid reprisals.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion immediately fell on the radical Islamic network Boko Haram.
Monday’s attack came more than a year after the Jan. 20 coordinated Boko Haram attacks that left more than 150 people dead in Kano. It also came about nine months after a trio of attacks on churches in the cities of Zaria and Kaduna claimed by the group, setting off violence that eclipsed the original attacks, bringing the death toll to at least 98 people.
The group has been waging a campaign of bombings and shootings across Nigeria’s north. It is held responsible for more than 790 deaths last year alone, and dozens more since the beginning of this year.
Posted: 19 Mar 2013 01:27 PM PDT
Riyadh: At least 18 people including an Iranian, a Lebanese and 16 Saudis have been arrested in Saudi Arabia on spying charges.
According to an Interior ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki, the 18 suspects had been “involved in a spying cell for a state.”
“They were gathering information about installations and vital areas in the country and providing intelligence agencies of that state with it,” state TV reported.
He did not name the country thought to be running the spy network.
The arrests were made four days ago and the suspects were being investigated before being handed over to judicial authorities, Mr Turki said.
The arrests were made in “co-ordinated and simultaneous operations in four regions of the kingdom,” including the capital Riyadh and the holy city of Mecca, the ministry was quoted as saying in a separate statement.
Saudi Arabia, which is predominantly Sunni Muslim, has recently repeatedly found itself at odds with Iran, an overwhelmingly Shia Muslim nation.
Tensions deepened last year when Saudi Arabia deployed troops to the Gulf island kingdom of Bahrain to help crush a Shia-led uprising there.
Posted: 19 Mar 2013 01:07 PM PDT
New York: Lululemon Athletica designs clothes suited to rolling, stretching and other yoga moves. But the company itself took a tumble Tuesday after announcing its yoga pants were too sheer.
The Canadian company on Monday recalled its trademark black yoga pants made with a certain batch of luon, a combination of nylon and Lycra spandex fibers, because they were effectively see-through.
“Some of our store managers expressed concern over the sheerness of some of our women’s black luon bottoms,” it said.
The recall left the company in a tight spot. Lululemon said it expected a shortage of the pants, which represent 17 percent of its women’s bottoms in its stores, until replacements could be delivered.
The company, whose manifesto says “Do one thing a day that scares you,” said it was working with manufacturers in Vietnam and Taiwan to determine the cause of the near-transparent fabric.
Lululemon started in 1998 from a single store in the beach area of Vancouver, British Columbia and grew rapidly with the yoga boom to more than 200 stores internationally today.
The company’s shares, traded on the Nasdaq exchange, were down 5.1 percent in early-afternoon trade in New York.
Posted: 19 Mar 2013 12:53 PM PDT
Damascus: Syrian troops and insurgents Tuesday accused each other of using chemical weapons for the first time, as a newly elected rebel premier ruled out dialogue with President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
State media reported that “terrorists fired rockets containing chemical materials on Khan al-Assal in Aleppo province,” and Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi called the attack a “dangerous escalation.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad said 31 people had been killed, and state media added that around 100 more were injured.
But the insurgents denied the charges and accused regime forces of a deadly long-range missile attack that caused “breathing problems”.
The foreign ministry of Russia said it had “information” from Damascus that rebels had used chemical weapons, and expressed concern that such weapons “have fallen into the hands of rebels, which even complicates further the situation in Syria.”
Responding to claims by the Syrian government and its ally Russia, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Washington has “no evidence to substantiate the charge that the opposition has used chemical weapons.”
The White House also warned it would be “totally unacceptable” for the regime to use such arms, and Britain said if reports of chemical weapons usage were true it would “revisit” its approach to the two-year conflict.
State television showed ambulances arriving at a hospital in Aleppo carrying the wounded, with medical officials and residents saying that the attack involved “toxic gas”.
“We have neither long-range missiles nor chemical weapons. And if we did, we wouldn’t use them against a rebel target,” mainstream rebel Free Syrian Army spokesman Louay Muqdad told AFP.
“We understand the army targeted Khan al-Assal using a long-range missile, and our initial information says it may have contained chemical weapons,” he said.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, however, that a ground-to-ground missile had been fired at an army position in Khan al-Assal, killing 16 soldiers and 10 civilians.
The watchdog was unable to say if the missile contained chemical materials.
The international community has expressed repeated concern that Assad’s regime might use chemical weapons against the rebels, and that these arms could fall into the hands of militants.
Some 70,000 people have been killed in over two years of fighting in Syria, with millions displaced by the fighting. The Observatory said at least 112 people were killed on Tuesday alone in violence throughout the country.
– ‘No dialogue’ with Assad –
Meanwhile, Ghassan Hitto, elected the first rebel premier early Tuesday in Istanbul, pledged there would be no dialogue with Assad’s regime.
“We confirm to the great Syrian people that there will be no dialogue with the Assad regime,” said Hitto, who is now tasked with setting up an interim government to administer rebel-held areas in the strife-torn country.
He was chosen by a majority of the main opposition Syrian National Coalition, after hours of consultations and amid allegations that the Muslim Brotherhood had backed his candidacy.
Coalition chief Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib had proposed talks with regime officials, with conditions, including the release of some “160,000 detainees.”
The United States welcomed Hitto’s election but Russia’s foreign ministry greeted the news with “deep regret,” warning it would “only deepen the state of internal instability in Syria.”
Hitto said he would focus on regime change, but also seek to bring security and basic services to large swathes of rebel-held territory in northern Syria which are mired in poverty and insecurity.
“The main priority we have before us is to make use of all tools at our disposal to bring down the Assad regime,” he said, adding that he will work with rebels to ensure “security and the rule of law.”
His interim government would “fight crime” and “limit the proliferation of weapons” in rebel-held regions, he said.
Hitto also promised to coordinate with international humanitarian agencies to bring in much-needed aid, and “run border controls” that have fallen into rebel hands.
A former IT executive who has lived in the United States for many years, Hitto said he form a government of technocrats.
Free Syrian Army chief of staff Selim Idriss has said the rebels will work under the umbrella of the provisional government.
Posted: 19 Mar 2013 12:38 PM PDT
Libreville: A group of poachers last week massacred 89 elephants in one night near the town of Ganba in southern Chad, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said in a statement Tuesday.
Some 50 Arabic-speaking poachers on horseback carried out the mass killing of the elephants, including 33 pregnant females and 15 calves last Thursday night, the WWF said, citing local officials.
According to the organisation the Chadian army was sent to stop the poachers.
“This tragedy shows once again the existential threat faced by Central Africa’s elephants,” said Bas Huijbregts, head of WWF’s campaign against illegal wildlife trade in the region.
“In all likelihood this is the same group of Sudanese poachers who killed over 300 elephants in northern Cameroon in February 2012, forcing the country to mobilise its special forces to protect the region’s remaining elephants.”
Poachers in central Africa take advantage of vast unoccupied areas and porous borders to move from one country to another. The WWF believes ivory trafficking is used to finance various armed groups.
Between February 10 and March 1, WWF officials reported the discovery of 23 elephant carcasses in a Cameroon national park which had been stripped of their tusks.
The governments of Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Chad will meet in Yaounde this week to develop a regional anti-poaching strategy.
“We urge governments to start putting in place this plan as early as next week, to safeguard the region’s last elephants and rid it of this poaching threat once and for all,” Huijbregts said.
“At its root, though, it is ending demand for ivory in countries like Thailand and China which will ensure the survival of Central Africa’s elephants,” he added.
The price of ivory has passed $2,000 (1,500 euro) on the Asian black market, according to several NGOs.
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