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Oil tankers association goes on countrywide strike2017/07/25
KARACHI: Perturbed by issues relating unfair attitude and imposition of unwarranted taxes, All Pakistan Oil Tankers Association (APOTA) announced to go on countrywide strike from Monday evening in protest.
The oil supply from the metropolis ports Bin Qasim and City Port has been almost suspended.
The strike call has been given over prevailing issues such as the extraneous safety rules imposed by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) and unfair attitude of Motorway Police towards the oil-tankers drivers, APOTA Chairman Mir Yousuf Shahwani said.
He said the decision has been taken to protest against the attitude of authorities and hike in fines levied by the Motorway police.
"Oil tankers pay three-months advance taxes to the government but in return they get no relief," Shahwani lamented, adding that the authorities have unfair attitude towards them.
In addition to all this, the Motorway police have been bent on levying unwarranted penalties. The patrolling police have also been harassing the oil tanker owners in Punjab while the excise police in Sindh indulged in extortion by threatening the oil-tankers owners, he further said.He also said that there has been no meeting between the heads of OGRA, oil marketing companies and the oil-tankers association since the petroleum ministry has handed over such matters to be addressed by the oil regulatory body.
"The oil-tankers association is not taken into confidence in decision making rather than the decisions made behind closed doors are imposed upon us," he remarked.
The association chairman vowed to continue their strike until their demands are not met. "The association members have decided to suspend the oil supply to fuel stations in protest for an indefinite period," he said.
Meanwhile, the oil regulatory body has decided to implement the strict safety rules after horrific oil-tanker incident in Ahmedpur Sharqia that claimed lives of over 200 people.
It is to be mentioned here that at least 169 people were burnt to death and dozens of others injured after a fuel tanker overturned and exploded outside the eastern city of Bahawalpur in Punjab province.
The incident occurred on Sunday morning as a large number of people gathered to collect petrol from the vehicle, according to rescue services. Residents could be seen walking past blackened and twisted bodies piled by the side of the road. 
Meanwhile, the oil tankers association was divided into two groups over the issue of countrywide strike on Monday.
Oil tankers carrier operators called off the strike while oil tankers owners association decided to observe countrywide strike.
The strike was pressurized by the oil marketing companies as several feared that after the incident of Ahmadpur Sharqia, the license of Shell Company might be cancelled.
The countrywide strike call was given against harsh treatment by the police officials, resulting in loss of oil transport industry.
The oil tankers association demanded the government to give some time and give some financial facility to meet the defined rules of the regulatory authority. - NNI

Scientists in hunt for HIV cure2017/07/25
LONDON: Scientists have turned towards cancer drugs in a hunt for HIV cure. Immunotherapy has progressed rapidly in almost a decade, which has helped some patients with terminal cancer going into a complete remission.
Normally, a body's natural defenses weaken and struggle to clear the body of HIV and cancer.
According to BBC, new immunotherapy drugs may help unlock the treatment for HIV virus. Nobel Prize winner and co-discoverer of HIV, Francoise Barre-Sinoussi says, "One of the mechanisms why [latently infected cells] persist is the fact they are proliferating very similar to tumor cells. Those cells are expressing molecules that are the same molecules that are expressed on tumour cells."
"So that raises the question whether we could develop a strategy for HIV-cure similar to the novel treatment in the field of cancer."
Antiretroviral drug is used on daily basis to kill the active virus in the treatment of HIV. If it's left unchecked the HIV virus destroys the immune system, causing Aids. A complete cure of HIV is impossible because the virus mutates so readily, every time the patient's immune system tries to find a way attacking the virus. Also it is impossible to detect the sleeping or "latent" HIV virus that could be hiding in the body's cells.
Prof Sharon Lewin, the director of the Doherty Institute in Australia, agrees there is much to learn from cancer. "There are a lot of parallels… I think it's huge."
Like the HIV virus, cancers can evolve and be resilient towards the treatments. Although a new class of immunotherapy drugs called "checkpoint inhibitors" allows the immune system to keep on fighting giving outstanding results.
A fifth of patients with terminal melanoma showed no signs of disease after immunotherapy, the results occurred in a trial study. In the meanwhile, only 50 people with HIV have been given immunotherapy (treatment for cancer patients) to treat their cancer. It's still in its initial stages to draw a conclusion about the evidences of immunotherapy effective towards the HIV virus.
Prof Lewin who is currently researching on this thinks that immunotherapy drugs could revive an immune system that has become tired of fighting HIV. "The parts of the immune system that recognise HIV are often exhausted T-cells, they express immune checkpoint markers.
Lewin thinks that there are emerging evidences that the drugs activate the hidden HIV viruses that are lying inactive inside the immune cells. "We want the virus to wake up; any virus that wakes up gets killed [by antiretroviral drugs]."
Although scientists are working hard to find a complete cure for HIV some doctors warn that HIV and cancerous cells are completely different when the immune system is battling against them.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said cautiously, "We have to be careful we don t assume that things that work in cancer are going to work in HIV.
"HIV is so different, that even though it's worth exploring, I wouldn't want people to think this is going to be equally successful in HIV." - NNI

Dar chairs meeting on FBR related matters2017/07/25
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatization, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, chaired a meeting on matters related to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), on Monday at FBR Headquarters.
Chairman FBR briefed the Finance Minister on the implementation of budget measures for FY 2017-18 ...

Hudaibiya Case: NAB to begin fresh probe2017/07/25

ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has decided to take recourse to Supreme Court of Pakistan to kick-start fresh investigations of the controversial Hudaibiya Papers Mills in Panama Implementation case.
According to reports, the corruption watchdog is expected to file an appeal to the apex 
court in a couple of days; hence, it has obtained the new concerned evidences from the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that probed Panama charges against Sharif family ...

Pakistan blasts Kabul terror attack2017/07/25
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Monday strongly condemns suicide attack in Kabul that has resulted in the loss of precious lives of many innocent Afghans and injuries to scores.
"We express our sincere condolence to the bereaved families and pray for early recovery of those injured", a press release said.
It said terrorism is a common enemy and the Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. - NNI

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