Pakistan has formed a 22-member parliamentary committee to work on a legislation to prevent the forced conversions and protect the rights of minorities in the country. According to a notification by the Senate Secretariat, chairman Sadiq Sanjrani formed the committee after consultations with National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, leader of the House in senate Shibli Faraz and leader of the opposition Raja Zafarul Haq. Religious affairs minister Noorul Haq Qadri, human rights minister Shireen Mazari and senator Ashok Kumar are part of the committee. It will decide its terms of reference in its first meeting, the date of which has not been announced yet. The committee was formed weeks after a Hindu girl was allegedly abducted and converted to Islam in Sindh province in early September.
Petition seeks Imran’s disqualification
A petition has been filed in Lahore high court seeking disqualification of PM Imran Khan for his “anti-judiciary” remarks over the departure of former premier Nawaz Sharif to London for treatment. Tahir Maqsood filed the petition in the Lahore high court, seeking contempt of court proceedings against Khan for bringing the judiciary into disrepute. The petitioner said the PM criticised senior judges of the Supreme Court which amounts to contempt of court. He said the SC had in 2013 issued a contempt notice to Khan for anti-judiciary rants. The petitioner requested the court to summon Khan, disqualify him and order the Election Commission to denotify him as member of the National Assembly.
Price of tomato hits Rs 400/kg in Karachi
The price of tomato in Karachi skyrocketed to a record high of Rs 400 per kg last week due to a range of factors. The government last week issued a permit for importing 4,500 tonnes of tomatoes from Iran, but its arrival did not pick up pace in the market. Of the 4,500 tonnes, only 989 tonnes arrived, a trader was quoted as saying. Earlier this month, the official retail rate of tomato was Rs 117 per kg. The price can be blamed on the shortage of crops this year and the government restricting import instead of allowing a free import, the report said.
Job bar for pregnant women, LGBT
Indonesian ministries are banning pregnant, disabled, or LGBT job hunters in favour of “normal” applicants, the ombudsman said and slammed it as “arbitrary and hateful restrictions” by a rights group. The report comes as the country takes applications from millions of candidates who are applying for some 2,00,000 civil-service jobs nationwide. Ombudsman Indonesia commissioner Ninik Rahayu said an investigation found that the defence and trade ministries as well as the attorney general’s office (AGO) were discriminating against candidates in their job advertisements.
Couple exchange vows in the air
A couple got married at a height of 34,000ft in front of stunned plane passengers after bonding over their love of aircraft. David Valliant and Cathy Rolfe met through an online game called Aviation City eight years ago and immediately hit it off. They had their first date at Sydney Airport and fell in love as soon as they locked eyes. After years of dating, the New Zealand couple struggled to find a venue for their wedding - before deciding to stick with the theme of their love story and exchange vows in the air. They later got married on board a Jetstar flight, travelling between their home cities Sydney and Auckland on October 9.
China ‘medicine’ a threat to donkey population
China’s demand for donkey skins to make a traditional medicine could wipe out more than half the world’s donkey population in the next five years, researchers said. Nearly five million skins are used every year to make ejiao, a gel believed in China to be a remedy for troubles ranging from colds to ageing, putting enormous strain on donkey populations around the world, Britain-based animal welfare group Donkey Sanctuary said in a report.
Kids given pets to wean them off phones
Officials in one Indonesian city have hatched a plan to wean children off smartphones - by giving them their own fluffy chicks to raise. Around 2,000 four-day-old chicks will be handed out to pupils at elementary and junior high schools in Bandung in an attempt to distract the kids from their gadgets. Students must feed their new pets before and after school and can keep them at home or on school premises.
29 killed as plane crashes into homes
At least 29 people were killed when a small plane crashed after takeoff into a densely populated area of the city of Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. A survivor among the 19 people - 17 passengers and two crew members - who were aboard the plane was taken to hospital along with 16 others injured on the ground, the North Kivu regional government said. "At this stage, 29 bodies have been found in the rubble," the statement said. The Busy Bee Dornier-228 smashed into two houses near the airport, the deputy transport minister said earlier.
Pregnant woman killed by dogs in France
A pregnant woman has been killed by dogs in a forest in France where a hunt with hounds was taking place, investigators have said. The body of Elisa Pilarski, 29, who was walking her own dogs, was found in a forest outside the town of Villers-Cotterets, the prosecutor’s office said. An autopsy showed she had died of “bleeding after several dog bites to the upper and lower limbs and the head”, prosecutor said. The prosecutor said tests were carried out on 93 dogs, including five dogs belonging to the woman herself, to try to establish which ones attacked her.
Wanted man found asleep in bed store
Police in Sweden say a wanted man was found asleep in a bed in a furniture store. Police said staff at the Ikea store called cops after they found the 25-year-old sleeping in the bed department. They weren’t aware that he was wanted. He was arrested for trespassing. Police found out later that he was wanted for another, unspecified crime.
Vegan sues chain over ‘meat in meatless burger’
Burger King was sued by a vegan customer who accused the fast-food chain of contaminating its meatless “Impossible” Whoppers by cooking them on the same grills as its traditional meat burgers. In a proposed class action, Phillip Williams said he bought an Impossible Whopper, a plant-based alternative to Burger King's regular Whopper, at an Atlanta drive through, and would not have paid a premium price had he known the cooking would leave it “coated in meat by-products”. The lawsuit filed in a Miami court seeks damages for all US purchasers of the Impossible Whopper. Burger King declined to comment, saying it does not discuss pending litigation.
The ducks may keep on quacking, rules France
The ducks on a small French farm may carry on quacking, a French court ruled, rejecting a neighbour’s complaint that the birds’ racket was making their life a misery. The court in the town of Dax ruled that the noise from the flock of around 60 ducks and geese kept by retired farmer Dominique Douthe in the Pyrenees region, was within acceptable limits, broadcaster France 3 said. “The ducks have won,” Douthe said after the ruling.
Flight spewing flames makes emergency landing
A Philippine Airlines flight bound for Manila suffered an apparent engine failure shortly after take-off from Los Angeles and made an emergency landing, authorities said. All 347 passengers and 18 crew aboard Flight 113, a Boeing Co 777 widebody, are safe, an airline spokeswoman said. A witness on the ground described “bursts of flames” coming out of an engine. The US Federal Aviation Administration said the plane landed safely. Local TV station ABC-7 aired video of the aircraft after take-off that showed flames and smoke coming out of the right engine. The cause of the apparent engine failure was not clear.
First Marvel comic sets auction record
The first comic book produced by Marvel went under the hammer. It fetched $1.26 million, becoming the most expensive Marvel issue ever sold, Heritage Auctions said. “This is a historic copy of a historic comic book,” Ed Jaster, auction house senior vice president, said. It was published in 1939 by Timely Comics, which later became Marvel. The first copy of “Marvel Comics” was sold well above the price of 10 cents it fetched back in 1939.
North Pole, Alaska, lacks enough ice for sculptures
The annual Christmas in Ice sculpture park won’t open this year in North Pole, Alaska, because of a lack of ice. It’s the first cancellation since the event started 14 years ago in the city where Christmas is celebrated year-round, executive director Keith Fye told Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. The lack of ice on lakes and ponds follows a warm October in Alaska’s interior.
People promised ‘park views’ get plastic lake
Home buyers at a new development in China were outraged to find the “park views” they had been promised turned out to be a blue plastic lake, local media reported. Bosses at Changsha Shiji Yujing Real Estate said they had never promised a lake in the first place, South China Morning Post said. Local officials are said to be working with residents to rectify the situation.