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Pakistan picks new army chief amid political turmoil

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Pakistan picks new army chief amid political turmoil

Pakistan picks new army chief amid political turmoil

Pakistan’s prime minister on Thursday appointed a new chief for the nation’s powerful army amid a period of political turmoil that has worsened the country’s ailing economy devastated by this year’s historic floods.

General Asim Munir, who had previously led the country’s intelligence services, would replace outgoing army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa next week after formal approval by the president.

Munir, who was removed as spy chief prematurely and unceremoniously by ousted prime minister Imran Khan, was chosen by the country’s Cabinet, a statement by the prime minister’s office said.

RELATED STORY: Nigerian Army Doles Out Relief Materials To Hospitals, Orphanage Home In Koko, Sapele

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who replaced Khan after his ouster through a no-confidence vote in April, picked Munir out of the top six generals eligible to become the army chief.

The army chief wields unprecedented powers in Pakistan, a country that was ruled by generals for decades directly; They controlled the diplomacy, politics and economy indirectly even when civilian rulers were in power.

The move came as Khan announced that he would resume his march on the capital Islamabad, weeks after he was shot in the leg at a political rally aimed at forcing the government to call fresh elections.

Khan had proposed that the current army chief should continue until the new government came into power after the fresh election.

It was believed Khan would not accept the appointment and continue his march in a move likely to deepen the country’s economic crisis.

Pakistan’s economy is faced with dual crises of a current account deficit and fiscal imbalance and has been bailed out by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The crises were worsened by historic floods this year that killed more than 2,000 people and inflicted estimated losses of 30 billion dollars. 

Pakistan picks new army chief amid political turmoil

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Biden Vows to Maintain NATO Strength Amid Election Concerns

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Biden Vows to Maintain NATO Strength Amid Election Concerns
Biden Vows to Maintain NATO Strength Amid Election Concerns

Biden Vows to Maintain NATO Strength Amid Election Concerns

U.S. President Joe Biden closed a three-day NATO summit in Washington on Thursday by reaffirming his commitment to a robust NATO, amid a press conference that also touched on U.S. politics and concerns about his mental fitness.

Biden, 81, is facing calls to step aside for another Democratic candidate in the upcoming presidential race due to fears of mental decline. The Republican Party is expected to nominate former President Donald Trump, 78, at its convention starting Monday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Biden criticized Trump’s stance on NATO, stating, “My predecessor has made it clear he has no commitment to NATO. He’s made it clear that he would feel no obligation to honor Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which commits all allies to respond if one is attacked. But I made it clear a strong NATO is essential to American security. And I believe the obligation of Article 5 is sacred.”

“I will not bow down to Putin. I will not walk away from Ukraine. I will keep NATO strong,” Biden emphasized.

The summit concluded with NATO leaders announcing increased military support for Ukraine, including air-defense systems and a pledge to spend 40 billion euros ($43 billion) next year. They also affirmed Ukraine’s irreversible path to NATO membership.

Additionally, the U.S. and Germany announced the deployment of long-range cruise missiles to Germany to bolster NATO’s deterrence in Europe.

Despite these announcements, Biden’s closing press conference was dominated by questions about the upcoming presidential election and his candidacy. When asked if he could still handle Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in the future, Biden replied, “I’m dealing with Xi right now and (I’m in) direct contact with him. I have no good reason to talk to Putin right now. There’s not much that he is prepared to do in terms of accommodating any change in his behavior. I’m not ready to talk to Putin unless Putin’s ready to change his behavior.”

During the hour-long press conference, Biden occasionally struggled with his speech, at one point confusing Trump with Vice President Kamala Harris. When asked about Harris’ ability to beat Trump, he mistakenly said, “Look, I wouldn’t have picked Vice President Trump to be vice president, did I think she was not qualified to be president” (sic). He later asserted, “I think I’m the most qualified person to run for president.”

This followed an earlier gaffe where Biden introduced Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as “President Putin,” before quickly correcting himself.

British Prime Minister Keir Starmer, in a separate press conference, defended Biden’s leadership, saying, “We have a bigger NATO, and more countries; we have a stronger NATO. We have a real sense of resolve. President Biden led through all of that.”

Finnish President Alexander Stubb also expressed confidence in Biden’s capabilities, stating, “I have absolutely no concerns about the capacity of the current president of the United States to lead his country and to lead our fight for Ukraine and to lead NATO. We human beings, when we’re treated in the public eye, we’re never as good as we sometimes look, and we’re never as bad.”

Biden Vows to Maintain NATO Strength Amid Election Concerns

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Iraqi court sentences former IS leader’s wife to death

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Iraqi court sentences former IS leader’s wife to death

Iraqi court sentences former IS leader’s wife to death

An Iraqi court on Wednesday sentenced the wife of the former top leader of the Islamic State (IS) group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to death.

According to Supreme Judicial Council statement, the Karkh Criminal Court issued the death verdict for the wife of the terrorist over joining the IS group and detaining the kidnapped Yazidi women in her house in west Mosul.

In 2019, the U.S. forces conducted a raid targeting al-Baghdadi in Syria’s northern province of Idlib, killing the IS leader.

Al-Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim Awad al-Badri, established the IS in 2014.

The extremist militant group, which once captured large swathes of land in western and northern Iraq, was defeated in late 2017.

Iraqi court sentences former IS leader’s wife to death

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Iran’s late president Raisi to be buried in home city of Mashhad

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Iran’s late president Raisi to be buried in home city of Mashhad

Iran’s late president Raisi to be buried in home city of Mashhad

Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash at the weekend, is to be buried in his home city of Mashhad on Thursday.

Raisi is to be laid to rest at the city’s shrine of Imam Reza, the eighth imam of Shia Islam.

High-ranking representatives of friendly states are expected to attend, including Russian parliamentary leader Vyacheslav Volodin.

Iran’s state railway company has organised special trains to take mourners from Tehran to the north-eastern city.

There have been several ceremonies and public displays of mourning for Raisi, late foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and other victims of Sunday’s crash.

Millions of mourners flocked to a funeral procession in Tehran on Wednesday.

Raisi and Amirabdollahian were killed in the crash with seven other occupants of the ill-fated helicopter.

They went down in dense cloud in the mountains while travelling back from a meeting with Ilham Aliyev, the president of Azerbaijan.

Iran’s religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ordered five days of national mourning, and a nationwide holiday was held on Wednesday.

Raisi’s death has provoked mixed reactions in Iran.

While supporters of the country’s Islamic regime have mourned the loss of an important political figure, critics have highlighted the heightened repression his administration oversaw.

Iran’s late president Raisi to be buried in home city of Mashhad

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