Army says it wants journalist’s abduction investigated
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Army has denied it was behind the abduction of a British-Pakistani activist known for criticising the military, in an incident that prompted a wave of condemnation and increased fears of a crackdown on free speech.
Gul Bukhari, 52, was detained for several hours by unknown men in Lahore late on Tuesday, one day after the military held a press conference warning that it’s monitoring citizens who criticise Pakistan.
She was released early Wednesday.
When news of her abduction broke it caused a furore, with widespread calls for her release and fingers pointed at the military.
The British High Commission expressed “concern” at the incident as activists called on the army to tolerate dissent.
“(The) army is not behind the abduction of Gul Bukhari,” Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, chief military spokesman, told reporters late on Friday.
“We actually want a thorough investigation in this case,” he said.
The military routinely says it is not involved in enforced disappearances, but the statement was a rare on-the-record denial.
Journalists have spoken of “pressure” not to cover the criticisms, adding to an atmosphere of repression.
During a wide-ranging press conference on Monday that appeared to address the mounting criticism, the military issued a veiled warning to online critics, saying it had the capacity to monitor social media accounts.
Maj Gen Ghafoor briefly flashed an image on screen showing what appeared to be Twitter handles and names, including of at least one prominent journalist, but refused to elaborate further, fuelling the outcry over free speech.
On Friday night, he said they “did not intend to implicate journalists”.
Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2018
Trump, Kim arrive in Singapore ahead of high-stakes summit
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SINGAPORE — Final preparations are underway in Singapore for Tuesday’s historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, including a plan for the leaders to kick things off by meeting with only their translators present, a U.S. official said.
With a handshake scheduled for 9 a.m., Trump and Kim and their translators will meet first in a session that could stretch up to two hours before they allow their respective advisers to join them, said the U.S. official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about internal deliberations and insisted on anonymity.
U.S. and North Korean officials met Monday at the Ritz Carlton in this island city-state to negotiate before the first sit-down between a U.S. president and a North Korean leader, which is meant to settle a standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal.
Trump, who arrived Sunday night, tweeted Monday morning: “Great to be in Singapore, excitement in the air!”
Yet even as he turned his attention to the summit, Trump continued his blistering attacks on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, tweeting “Fair Trade is now to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal.” Again accusing the longtime U.S. ally of unfair trade practices, Trump added: “Then Justin acts hurt when called out!”
Trump and Kim arrived in Singapore hours apart Sunday. Trump descended from Air Force One into the steamy Singapore night, greeting officials and declaring he felt “very good” before being whisked away to his hotel via a route lined with police and photo-snapping onlookers. Trump traveled to Singapore from Canada, where he attended a meeting with other world leaders. Evan Vucci, Associated Press President Donald Trump arrives at Paya Lebar Air Base for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Sunday, June 10, 2018, in Singapore.
A jet carrying Kim landed hours earlier. After shaking hands with Singapore’s foreign minister, Kim sped through the streets in a limousine, two large North Korean flags fluttering on the hood, surrounded by other black vehicles with tinted windows and bound for the luxurious and closely guarded St. Regis Hotel.
Kim smiled broadly Sunday evening as he met with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
“The entire world is watching the historic summit between (North Korea) and the United States of America, and thanks to your sincere efforts … we were able to complete the preparations for the historic summit,” Kim told Lee through an interpreter.
Trump is set to meet with Lee on Monday.
Trump has said he hopes to make a legacy-defining deal for the North to give up its nuclear weapons, though he has recently sought to minimize expectations, saying more than one meeting may be necessary. The North has faced crippling diplomatic and economic sanctions as it has advanced development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Experts believe the North is on the brink of being able to target the entire U.S. mainland with its nuclear-armed missiles, and while there’s deep skepticism that Kim will quickly give up those hard-won nukes, there’s also some hope that diplomacy can replace the animosity between the U.S. and the North.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sung Kim, the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines who has taken the lead on policy negotiations with the North, will hold a “working group” with a North Korean delegation to discuss final preparations for the meeting.
The North Korean autocrat’s every move will be followed by 3,000 journalists who have converged on Singapore, and by gawkers around the world, up until he shakes hands with Trump on Tuesday. It’s a reflection of the intense global curiosity over Kim’s sudden turn to diplomacy in recent months after a slew of North Korean nuclear and missile tests last year raised serious fears of war.
But it was only Monday morning in North Korea that the government news agency reported that Kim was in Singapore, had met with the prime minister and would meet Trump on Tuesday. One dispatch by the Korean Central News Agency said North Korea and the U.S. would exchange “wide-ranging and profound views” on establishing new relations, building a “permanent and durable peace-keeping mechanism,” achieving denuclearization and “other issues of mutual concern, as required by the changed era.”
It’s Kim’s pursuit of nuclear weapons that gives his meeting with Trump such high stakes. The meeting was initially meant to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons, but the talks have been portrayed by Trump in recent days more as a get-to-know-you session. Trump has also raised the possibility of further summits and an agreement ending the Korean War by replacing the armistice signed in 1953 with a peace treaty. China and South Korea would have to sign off on any legal treaty.
It’s unclear what Trump and Kim might decide Tuesday.
Pyongyang has said it is willing to deal away its entire nuclear arsenal if the United States provides it with reliable security assurances and other benefits. But many say this is highly unlikely, given how hard it has been for Kim to build his program and given that the weapons are seen as the major guarantee to his holding onto unchecked power.
Any nuclear deal will hinge on North Korea’s willingness to allow unfettered outside inspections of the country’s warheads and nuclear fuel, much of which is likely kept in a vast complex of underground facilities. Past nuclear deals have crumbled over North Korea’s reluctance to open its doors to outsiders.
Another possibility from the summit is a deal to end the Korean War, which North Korea has long demanded, presumably, in part, to get U.S. troops off the Korean Peninsula and, eventually, pave the way for a North Korean-led unified Korea.
‘It Should Have Been a Day of Mourning’: One Activist on Sitting Out the Puerto Rican Day Parade
On Sunday, throngs of people lined Sixth Avenue in Manhattan for the 61st annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade. Rosa Clemente wasn’t one of them. “I made a choice this year. I couldn’t march,” the Bronx-born Boricua activist and former Green Party candidate for vice president tells Rolling Stone . “I really think this should have been a day of mourning.” Related The Secret Buried in the Puerto Rican Death Toll Why didn’t our government bother to accurately count the dead?
Clemente, who is 46, has attended the parade almost every year of her life, and marched in it twice. Parade day, Clemente says, is typically the day of the year that she is “the most proud and happy to be a Puerto Rican – and everyone else who is not Puerto Rican is respecting that.”Clemente is a longtime organizer in the community and advocate for Puerto Rican causes. Last year, she marched alongside the members of Defend Puerto Rico, in the past she’s marched to raise awareness about the U.S. Navy’s activities in Vieques. She knew lots of fellow activists who saw the parade as an opportunity to draw more attention to the under-covered tragedy in Puerto Rico, and while she supports their efforts, Clemente says, “I just couldn’t do it.”She made the decision to protest the parade two weeks ago, when the New England Journal of Medicine published a Harvard study estimating that the U.S. government had dramatically undercounted the number of people who died on the island as a result of Hurricane Maria. The study estimated that 4,645 Puerto Ricans lost their lives because of the hurricane – 4,581 more than the official government estimate of 64 deaths. The number is only slightly less than the total deaths of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina combined.The study confirmed fears Clemente had harbored since three weeks after the hurricane, when she traveled to Puerto Rico with other activists to film the aftermath of the storm and recovery effort . She became convinced after spending 10 days interviewing island residents that the death toll was much higher than what was being reported. “I believe what the people of Puerto Rico were telling me,” she says. “They saw it, they know what’s happening.”The revised tally was published the same week ABC canceled Roseanne after its namesake star tweeted that if “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby” the result would be former Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett. The major television networks – NBC, MSNBC, CNN and Fox News – devoted eight-and-a-half-hours to the fallout from Barr’s tweet and just 32 minutes to the Harvard study, according to a count by Media Matters . The reaction, galling as Clemente found it, didn’t exactly shock her.”We’re not treated as United States citizens. It’s not new to me, so I’m not surprised that not only what happened in Puerto Rico was not covered post-Hurricane Maria, but that even the deaths of almost 5,000 people seem to not matter,” Clemente says. “And I even think this number of deaths has not moved the needle.”If there’s any good to come out of the tragedy, though, Clemente, a long-time proponent for Puerto Rican independence, says it’s the fact that the apparent indifference of both the media and the government has stirred more interest in independence than she’s seen in the past.”A lot of people in Puerto Rico were afraid what would happen without the United States government,” Clemente says. “Post-Hurricane Maria they have survived without the United States government. Everything that they were afraid of – especially older people in Puerto Rico: We can’t live without the United States government, we need this, we need to be a commonwealth – that was all proven wrong on September 19th.”Those conversations, though, are going on as islanders steel themselves for the start of a new hurricane season. The electrical grid is still in tatters. “It doesn’t have to be a category 5, 4, 3, or even 2 to devastate Puerto Rico,” Clemente says. “The infrastructure is destroyed on the island, so one major [category] 1 hurricane with lots of rain could devastate the island irreparably. So, yeah, everyone is concerned. It’s hurricane season and it’s not going to take a hurricane of that size to bring Puerto Rico to its knees again.” More News
$70.67 Million in Sales Expected for Health Insurance Innovations (HIIQ) This Quarter
Analysts predict that Health Insurance Innovations (NASDAQ:HIIQ) will post $70.67 million in sales for the current quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research . Three analysts have made estimates for Health Insurance Innovations’ earnings. The lowest sales estimate is $69.81 million and the highest is $71.10 million. Health Insurance Innovations posted sales of $61.78 million in the same quarter last year, which indicates a positive year-over-year growth rate of 14.4%. The business is expected to report its next earnings results on Wednesday, August 1st.
On average, analysts expect that Health Insurance Innovations will report full-year sales of $293.71 million for the current fiscal year, with estimates ranging from $289.90 million to $297.51 million. For the next year, analysts forecast that the business will report sales of $326.33 million per share, with estimates ranging from $325.35 million to $327.30 million. Zacks’ sales averages are a mean average based on a survey of sell-side research firms that that provide coverage for Health Insurance Innovations. Get Health Insurance Innovations alerts:
Health Insurance Innovations (NASDAQ:HIIQ) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, May 2nd. The financial services provider reported $0.52 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.50 by $0.02. The firm had revenue of $67.80 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $68.53 million. Health Insurance Innovations had a net margin of 6.17% and a return on equity of 20.15%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 21.3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.36 earnings per share. A number of research firms have commented on HIIQ. Cantor Fitzgerald restated a “buy” rating on shares of Health Insurance Innovations in a research report on Friday. BidaskClub raised shares of Health Insurance Innovations from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Health Insurance Innovations from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday. ValuEngine raised shares of Health Insurance Innovations from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 9th. Finally, Craig Hallum reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $45.00 target price (up from $38.00) on shares of Health Insurance Innovations in a research note on Thursday, March 1st. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating, nine have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $42.62.
Health Insurance Innovations traded up $0.10, reaching $33.40, on Friday, MarketBeat reports. The stock had a trading volume of 366,094 shares, compared to its average volume of 380,741. The firm has a market cap of $557.97 million, a PE ratio of 27.83 and a beta of 0.55. Health Insurance Innovations has a 1-year low of $12.65 and a 1-year high of $37.38.
In other Health Insurance Innovations news, insider Michael W. Kosloske sold 1,300,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, June 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $31.00, for a total value of $40,300,000.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 100 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,100. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink . Also, Director John Fichthorn bought 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, May 4th. The stock was bought at an average cost of $26.64 per share, with a total value of $133,200.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now owns 3,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $79,920. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here . Insiders own 55.94% of the company’s stock.
Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of HIIQ. Wells Fargo & Company MN raised its stake in shares of Health Insurance Innovations by 26.3% during the third quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 17,591 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $256,000 after buying an additional 3,665 shares during the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its stake in shares of Health Insurance Innovations by 145.3% during the third quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 116,098 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,683,000 after buying an additional 68,770 shares during the last quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of Health Insurance Innovations by 8.5% during the fourth quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 63,851 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,594,000 after buying an additional 5,009 shares during the last quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC bought a new stake in shares of Health Insurance Innovations during the fourth quarter worth approximately $238,000. Finally, Gabelli Funds LLC bought a new stake in shares of Health Insurance Innovations during the fourth quarter worth approximately $998,000. 72.48% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
About Health Insurance Innovations
Health Insurance Innovations, Inc operates as a cloud-based technology platform and distributor of individual and family health insurance plans, and supplemental products in the United States. It offers short-term medical plans that provides three months of health insurance coverage with various deductible and copay levels; health benefit insurance plans, which offer daily cash benefit for hospital treatment and doctor office visits, as well as accidental injury and death or dismemberment benefits; and supplemental insurance products, including pharmacy benefit cards, dental plans, vision plans, cancer/critical illness plans, deductible and gap protection plans, and life insurance policies.
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