Pacing up with the technological age, Minister for Information technology Anusha Rehman announced on Friday the introduction of E-Office, Radio Pakistan reported.
Pakistan will be the first country among South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to incorporate E-Office in the governance system.
Rehman said that for the E-Office around 4,200 employees of the federal government have been trained to operate it.
The minister of information and technology also said that the newly introduced office would ensure efficiency, accuracy effectiveness and good governance, transparency and accountability in decision making. Further, it will help improve working efficiency and save costs for public services.
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Two well-known veterans of Pakistan cricket team, left-arm fast-bowler Wasim Akram and right-hand batsman Ramiz Raja, have been selected as ambassadors for the Pakistan Super League (PSL), reported Express News.
With the announcement of event in Doha, Qatar from February 4 to 24 many international players have shown interest in representing the the five teams which will be a part of the first endeavor by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews and slinging fast-bowler Lasith Malinga are two new names which have shown their availability for PSL.
Earlier, from West Indies, the hard-hitting Kieron Pollard was ready to make an appearance in the PSL, while the top two bowlers in International Cricket Council’s T20 rankings – Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree – have also shown availability for the tournament.
Dwayne Bravo is another West Indian who is interested in representing a team in the PSL.
From Sri Lanka, the veteran opener Tilakaratne Dilshan, who is famous for his unorthodox style and the ‘Dil-scoop’, is up for grabs while the Carrom-ball wizard Ajantha Mendis is also interested in representing one of the five sides in the PSL.
Thisara Perera, who was on song against Pakistan in the recently concluded series in the Island, is another player who has expressed his interest.
New Zealand’s semi-final hero in the 2015 World Cup, Grant Elliot, will be available for the tournament as well, while Australian Brad Hodge is another player who is ready to present his services in the event.
Other players who have shown interest are the Kiwis’ James Franklin, South African Richard Levi and Roben Peterson, and England’s Tim Bresnan and Michael Carberry.
Recently, the PCB said it has received consent from over 40 international players. The event will accommodate 25 foreign players for its first edition.
In addition, top foreign coaches are also being roped in for the first edition of the PSL. The tournament will carry collective prize money of up to $1 million.
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JAIPUR, INDIA: An Indian court Friday convicted three men over the February rape of a young Japanese tourist and sentenced them each to 20 years in jail, the public prosecutor said.
The assault on the 20-year-old woman in the western state of Rajasthan was the latest in a string of high-profile sex attacks that have highlighted high levels of violence against women in the world’s second most populous country.
The woman told police that one of those convicted, Ajit Singh Choudhary, met her outside her hotel in Jaipur and offered to show her around on his motorbike, before drugging and raping her in a secluded area of the historic city.
The court in the Rajasthani capital convicted three of the nine defendants of gang rape, while another three were convicted of harbouring an offender and sentenced to two years in jail.
“Six accused were found guilty and three (of these) have been jailed for 20 years, including the main accused,” public prosecutor Bhanwar Singh Chauhan told AFP.
The court acquitted the remaining three defendants citing lack of evidence.
Indian laws state that if a woman is raped by one or more people “acting in furtherance of their common intention”, each can be deemed to have committed gang rape, meaning all nine were charged with the crime.
Police completed their investigations in March and the case was resolved unusually swiftly for India, where the legal system is notoriously slow.
Sexual violence continues to be a major problem in India more than three years after the 2012 fatal gang rape of a student in New Delhi that unleashed public outrage about treatment of women in the country.India introduced tough laws against sex offenders in the wake of the nation-wide protests, including setting up of hundreds of special courts to prosecute sexual violence cases.
More than 132,000 cases of sexual violence against women were reported in India in 2014, according to official data released by National Crimes Records Bureau.
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Two men were slaughtered inside an Islamic Sufi shrine in the Bangladesh port city of Chittagong on Friday in an attack police said was carried out by a “trained and unknown assassin”.
The murderer escaped after slitting the throats of the shrine’s head custodian and his assistant in the neighbourhood of Bayezid Bostami, Chittagong police commissioner Abdul Jalil Mondal told AFP.
The attack took place just after the end of Friday prayer, when the usually crowded Lengta Fokirer Majar is comparatively quiet.
“The killer’s professionalism showed that he was trained for such activities,” Mondal said, adding that the murderer detonated two handmade bombs near the shrine’s entrance to create a diversion.
Police raised the possibility that Islamist militants, who have carried out several attacks on shrines and their guards in the past decade, could be behind the assault.
“It might be one of those Islamist militant groups who think shrines conduct unholy practices and spread misconceptions of Islam,” a local police official told AFP, requesting anonymity.
Millions of Bangladeshis worship at shrines, but militants consider Sufis — followers of a mystical form of Islam — and other shrine-goers as heretics and grave worshippers.
Local police chief Prodip Kumar Das said his team was “working to find clues to the murders”.
The banned Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh was one of several Islamist groups behind a series of attacks on sacred shrines and other places belonging to the Sufi and Ahmadia sects between 2002 and 2004.
A grenade attack in 2004 on the then British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Anwar Choudhury, inside a famous shrine in the northeastern city of Sylhet killed three and left the diplomat wounded.
ASHGABAT, TURKMENISTAN: Turkmenistan has begun work on an ambitious 1,800-kilometre-long (1,118 miles) pipeline carrying gas from the former Soviet state to energy-hungry India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, state media reported Friday.
“Specialists of the Institute of Oil and Gas in the ‘Turkmengaz’ state corporation have started engineering and surveying work on the route for the future gas pipeline Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI),” state newspaper Neutral Turkmenistan reported, adding that the construction of the pipeline itself would begin in December.
The four countries have long planned the ambitious project to meet growing energy needs, but administrative issues and unrest in Afghanistan have so far delayed its realisation.
The four sides agreed last month that state company Turkmengaz would lead the consortium for the $10-billion project, although foreign commercial partners are also expected to participate.
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said last month that Japanese and Korean companies had expressed interest in investing into TAPI and has invited Turkish companies to join the bidding process.
International energy majors Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Total had been rumoured to be interested in the project but are no longer thought to be contenders for the contract.
TAPI is expected to ship up to 33 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas annually starting in 2018, most of which will be absorbed by India and Pakistan.
The project is key for ex-Soviet Turkmenistan, whose economy is almost entirely hydrocarbon-based and heavily dependent on China, which accounts for over 75 percent of its gas sales.
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KARACHI: An unbeaten half-century by one-handed Matloob Qureshi on Friday guided Pakistan Disable Cricket Team to their first eight-wicket victory over Afghanistan in the second match of ICRC International T20 Cricket Tournament at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Dhaka.
Chasing 119, Pakistan reached the target inside 16 overs with the loss of two wickets.
Matloob struck 55 runs off 46 balls courtesy eight fours. Important contributions from the captain Major Hasnain Alam (35) and Danish Ahmed (10) also helped Pakistan’s cause.
“We have played a series with Afghanistan before, so we did not have to put much effort to beat them,” said Matloob.
“The ground condition was also good which helped me score the first half-century in the very first match on this pitch.”
Sifat and Sherin took one wicket each for Afghanistan.
Earlier, Afghanistan were put in to bat first as they scored 118 in 18.4 overs.
Mohammadullah was the top-scorer for Afghanistan as he scored 43 runs off 24 balls. Obaidullah scored an important 31 off 36 balls as well.
Rao Javed took four wickets for 21 runs, Umairur Rehman bagged three scalps for 12 runs and Fayyaz Ahmed accounted for two batsmen spilling away 29 runs.
The matches of the tournament were reschedule after rain has washed away the first two days.
Pakistan will now face the hosts Bangladesh on September 5 in their second outing.
Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina Wajid, inaugurated the tournament as the chief guest in the opening ceremony.
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The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said on Friday he would step down at the end of this year and not seek a renewal of his mandate. Guterres goes as Europe struggles with its biggest refugee crisis since World War Two, as some of the 4 million Syrians who have fled war seek safety in the West, adding to numbers of people escaping violence and hardship in Africa and Asia. Guterres declined to confirm or deny rumors that he might seek to replace U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who will step down next year.
Amidst heart-wrenching news of migrants trying to seek refuge in European countries, asylum-seeking Muslims in Germany are apparently being baptized and converting to Christianity for one rumored reason: It will increase their chance of staying in the stable European country.
Mohammed Ali Zonoobi is one such Muslim. He bends his head as the priest pours water over his hair and says loudly in a prayer-like manner, “Will you break away from Islam?”.
Zonoobi gives the answer in the affirmative, elevating his hope to stay in Germany as he would be able to say after converting that he can’t go back to his homeland owing to discrimination. His first name is now Martin not Mohammed.
Zonoobi, a carpenter from Iran, arrived in Germany with his family around five months ago. He belongs to the many hundreds of mostly Iranian and Afghan asylum seekers who get converted to Christianity at the evangelical Trinity Church.
Pastor Gottfried Martens has been converting these Muslim men and women for quite some time now. He agrees that many convert so that they can stay in Germany but he argues that only 10% of the new converts abandon the church by not attending the mass after christening.
“I know there are — again and again — people coming here because they have some kind of hope regarding their asylum,” Martens said. “I am inviting them to join us because I know that whoever comes here will not be left unchanged.”
Although becoming Christian does not help the ex-Muslims much, there is a slim chance that Germany would deport them to their native countries since they can get punished by death for apostasy.
Germany has been experiencing an unprecedented increase in asylum seekers this year, with migrants’ number reaching up to 800,000 now, an around fourfold increase on last year.
Most of the asylum-seekers come from Muslim countries like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Lately, almost 40% to 50% from Syria and Afghanistan have been allowed to stay in Germany, albeit temporarily.
Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees asserted that it did not influence on the reasons applicants make while applying for asylum, or they do not get accepted on the basis of their religion and persecution they might face if they return.
But, for Zonoobi and his wife Afsaneh the christening has actually marked a new beginning.
“Now we are free and can be ourselves,” she said. “Most important, I am so happy that our children will have a good future here and can get a good education in Germany.”
The article originally appeared on Fox News
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LONDON: A British judge on Friday granted bail to high-profile radical preacher Anjem Choudary, who faces charges for inviting support for the Islamic State group through social media.
The 48-year-old Choudary, who has been frequently interviewed by British and US media on his views on Islam and the Middle East, was arrested last month and has indicated he will plead not guilty.
He appeared via video link from the top security prison where he was being held.
Choudary and his co-accused Mohammed Rahman, who faces the same charge, are due to stand trial next year.
“I am concerned about anything being disseminated publicly by either of them or on their behalf which would encourage others to go to live in Syria as part of their religious duty,” judge John Saunders said.
“I have not found this an easy decision but I do consider that the conditions of bail proposed will substantially reduce the risk of dissemination of those views,” he added.
The Conservative government of Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to clamp down on extremists it blames for radicalising young people after hundreds of recruits were reported to have left Britain to join Islamic State.
Cameron has promised new legislation to “put out of action the key extremist influencers who are careful to operate just inside the law, but who clearly detest British society and everything we stand for”.
FREETOWN: A village of almost 1,000 people has been placed in quarantine in Sierra Leone after the death of a 67-year-old woman from Ebola, officials said on Friday.
The three-week lockdown comes after officials announced on Tuesday that the food trader had died in Sella Kafta village in the northern district of Kambia, after being sick for up to 10 days without the authorities’ knowledge.
“Over 970 people are being monitored under quarantine as there is information that they had had some contact with the deceased woman who tested positive after her death,” the district Ebola response office said in a report distributed to reporters.
“From those under quarantine, 48 are considered as high risk and they are in various holding centres in the district and not treatment centres, as none of them have exhibited any signs and symptoms of Ebola.”
Kambia chief administrator Alhaji Abu Bangura told the local Africa Independent Radio station that the district was on “high alert” to ensure the virus did not spread.
The death brought to an abrupt end the optimism sparked by the release of Sierra Leone’s last known Ebola patient from hospital in the central city of Makeni last week.
The latest victim had not travelled to either Liberia or Guinea, two other countries hit by the worst outbreak of Ebola in history, which has killed some 11,300 people since first emerging in December 2013 in Guinea.
News of the new Ebola death came as a new school year got underway Monday, with measures in place to try to prevent the spread of the virus.
Schools were closed for more than eight months at the height of the Ebola outbreak.
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WARSAW: Two treasure hunters claiming to have discovered a Nazi “gold train” went public on Friday for the first time but failed to reveal evidence for the alleged find they insist is “irrefutable”.
The men, who identified themselves as Piotr Koper, a Pole, and German national Andreas Richter, told Poland’s TVP public broadcaster they would only communicate via their lawyers from now on.
Authorities in Poland’s south-western province of Lower Silesia where the armoured train is allegedly buried cast doubt on its existence earlier this week insisting there was no credible evidence for it.
The Polish military has since deployed technicians to check the area in question.
“We have irrefutable evidence it exists,” Koper told TVP Friday, adding that “we aren’t responsible for the media circus surrounding the train.”
He insisted that evidence the pair had presented confidentially to local authorities on August 18 had later been leaked to the media.
The men, who under Polish law are entitled to a 10 per cent finders fee, say they have enough funding to independently excavate the train and its presumed treasures.
They vowed to use part of the finder’s fee earned from the discovery to set up a museum at the site.
Lower Silesia Governor Tomasz Smolarz said on Monday it was “impossible to claim that such a find actually exists at the location indicated based on the documents that have been submitted.”
This came just days after senior culture ministry official Piotr Zuchowski said he was “more than 99 per cent sure” an armoured train had been found based on ground-penetrating radar images.
Zuchowski also claimed that someone who had been involved in hiding the train, presumed to be over 100 metres (330 feet) in length, had disclosed its location before dying.
Police have blocked off the presumed location of the train along a stretch of active railway tracks in a bid to prevent accidents as a curious public swamps the area near the city of Walbrzych.
Global media have become fascinated by the prospect of a railway car full of jewels and gold stolen by the Nazis.
The World Jewish Congress has asked that any valuables found that once belonged to victims of the Holocaust should be returned to their owners or heirs.
Rumours of two special Nazi trains disappearing in the spring of 1945, towards the end of World War II, have been circulating for years, capturing the imagination of countless treasure hunters.
The lore is fuelled by a massive network of secret underground tunnels near Walbrzych — including around the massive Ksiaz Castle — that Nazi Germany built and where legend has it the Third Reich stashed looted valuables.
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WASHINGTON: US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter offered assurances Friday that the Iran nuclear deal will leave Washington with a “more effective” military option if that becomes necessary.
Carter defended the agreement in an opinion piece in USA Today, arguing it would lead to a more durable outcome.
But the Pentagon chief said the military option was still on the table and, if called for, such action would be “more effective” as a result of the agreement.
World powers and Iran struck the landmark deal in July after years of negotiations to address Western concerns that Tehran was developing a nuclear bomb.
“Its implementation will block the pathways Iran could take to build a nuclear bomb. That long-term outcome is more durable than one a military strike would bring about,” Carter wrote.
“While I am responsible for that alternative and know that it would be effective at setting back Iran’s nuclear programme, it would do so with potentially serious second- and third-order repercussions, and the likely need to repeat attacks once Iran sought to rebuild its capability.”
But Carter argued the deal also made the option of military action by the US against Iran stronger going forward.
“The military option is real today and, as secretary of defense, I will be sure that remains true well into the future,” he wrote.
“Indeed, the reality is that any prospective military option, if called for, will be more effective under this deal — not less. Iran will have a smaller and more concentrated civil nuclear programme, and the deal’s verification provisions will give us more information with which to plan.”
US President Barack Obama earned enough backing in Congress this week to make sure the deal is not blocked by lawmakers. The agreement will ease Western sanctions on Iran in return for Tehran curtailing its nuclear programme.
Many Republicans, however, believe the Islamic republic will still seek to cheat its way to developing an atomic bomb.
A public relations battle was launched over the agreement, which is to be put to a vote in Congress next week.
Tehran has steadfastly denied the claims it is developing a nuclear bomb and argued that its nuclear capabilities were for civilian use.
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WASHINGTON: US job growth rose less than expected in August, which could dim prospects of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike later this month, even as the unemployment rate dropped to a near 7-1/2- year low of 5.1 per cent and wages accelerated.
Nonfarm payrolls increased 173,000 last month as the manufacturing sector lost the most jobs since July 2013, after an upwardly revised 245,000 rise in July, the Labor Department said on Friday. It was the smallest gain in employment in five months.
The report, however, may have been tarnished by a statistical fluke that in recent years has frequently led to sharp upward revisions to payroll figures for August after initial weak readings.
A Reuters survey of economists had forecast nonfarm payrolls increasing by 220,000 last month, but economists warned that the model the government uses to smooth the data for seasonal fluctuations might not adequately account for the start of a new school year.
They said the data could be further muddied because of a typically low response rate from employers to the government’s August payrolls survey. A Labor Department official confirmed that the first payrolls estimate in August typically was revised higher.
Indicating that the slowdown in job growth was likely not reflective of the economy’s true health, payrolls data for June and July were revised to show 44,000 more jobs created than previously reported. In addition, average hourly earnings increased 8 cents and the workweek rose to 34.6 hours.
While the report may not change views that the U.S. economy remains vibrant amid volatile global financial markets and slowing Chinese growth, it could make Fed officials hesitant to push borrowing costs higher at a policy meeting on Sept. 16-17.
In the wake of a recent global equities sell-off, financial markets significantly scaled back bets on a September rate hike over the past month. But Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer told CNBC last week it was too early to decide whether the stock market rout had made an increase less compelling.
Still, the labor market is improving and adds to a string of upbeat data, including figures on automobile sales and housing, that has suggested the economy was moving ahead with strong momentum early in the third quarter after growing at a robust 3.7 per cent annual rate in the April-through-June period.
The jobless rate’s two-tenths of a percentage point drop took it to its lowest level since April 2008 and brought it into the range that most Fed officials think is consistent with a low but steady rate of inflation.
A broad measure of joblessness that includes people who want to work but have given up searching and those working part-time because they cannot find full-time employment fell to 10.3 per cent, the lowest since June 2008, from 10.4 per cent in July.
Jobs gains were spread across nearly all sectors of the economy in August. The energy and manufacturing sector, which are grappling with last year’s sharp drop in crude oil prices and a strong dollar, were the exception.
Construction payrolls rose 3,000 last month on top of the 7,000 jobs added in July. Mining and logging employment fell by 10,000 jobs last month. Manufacturing payrolls fell 17,000, despite robust demand for autos.
The increase in hourly earnings left them 2.2 per cent above their year-ago level, still well below the 3.5 per cent growth rate economists consider healthy. Some analysts think earnings are being held back by falling wages in oil field services.
But a tightening labor market and decisions by several state and local governments to raise the minimum wage should eventually translate into faster earnings growth and give the Fed confidence that inflation, which collapsed with oil prices, will move closer to its 2 per cent target.
A number of retailers, including Walmart, Target and TJX Cos, have increased pay for hourly workers.
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BAGHDAD: Iraq’s top Shia Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, on Friday called for the prosecution of the most senior officials suspected of corruption and the retrieval of stolen funds.
Sistani, whose word few Iraqi politicians would openly challenge, has put his authority behind a recent reform drive by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and urged him to take a stronger stance against the corruption and mismanagement that have made Iraq nearly impossible to govern.
Abadi’s initiative, proposed last month, eliminates entire layers of government, scraps sectarian and party quotas for state positions, reopens corruption investigations and gives the premier the power to fire regional and provincial bosses.
But critics have called the moves unconstitutional and said they will not improve the lives of ordinary Iraqis who have braved sweltering summer heat in Baghdad and southern provinces every Friday for more than a month to protest against poor services and corruption.
“One of the vital steps of reform is … to pursue the major figures of corruption and hold them accountable, and to retrieve the stolen funds from them,” Sistani said in a Friday sermon, delivered by his aide Ahmed al-Safi.
He also pointed a finger at Iraq’s Integrity Commission, a government body tasked with fighting corruption, and to the judiciary, saying: “Many wonder if they are up to the task and if they will carry out this mission without any more delays.”
Increasingly, street protests that were precipitated last month by widespread power cuts have evolved to demand the trial of corrupt politicians and reform of the judiciary, including the removal of Medhat Mahmoud, head of the Supreme Judicial Council, which oversees the court system.
Sistani also urged politicians to fix Iraq’s economy.
The government’s fiscal deficit is expected to reach double digits this year, battered by a slump in oil revenues and higher military spending, not least to try to drive Islamic State (IS) out of the swathes of northern and western Iraq that it controls.
“Weak economic planning and failure to establish a comprehensive strategy for providing financial resources to the country other than through oil revenues is a form of corruption,” Sistani said.
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In this photo by Tsering Topgyal, a Rohingya refugee sews inside her slum on the outskirts of New Delhi. According to the U.N. refugee agency, around 9,000 Rohingya refugees are registered in the capital and thousands more who are not registered live elsewhere in India. In New Delhi, most of them lead impoverished lives in tented settlements dotted around the city. The Rohingya are a Muslim minority numbering around 1.3 million in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, which denies them citizenship and restricts their movement, and many thousands have tried to flee.
Days after Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka was charged with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter of his then 23-year-old girlfriend, the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has suspended his non-wrestling contract, Rolling Stone reported.
Snuka, who is a WWE Hall of Famer, was arrested in New Jersey on Tuesday in connection with the murder of his girlfriend, Nancy Argentino, in 1983.
Under the WWE’s non-wrestling ‘Legends’ contract Snuka operates as an ambassador for the company.
Besides suspending his contract, the company is in the process of removing him from all media platforms and the WWE Hall of Fame.
“We are currently removing his images from our media platforms pending the outcome of this case,” read a statement released by WWE.
The WWE’s move is unsurprising as recently the company took similar steps distancing it from former heavyweight champion Hulk Hogan, after it was revealed that he had made some racially insensitive remarks.
According to records, Snuka found Argentino gasping for air and oozing yellow fluid from her mouth and nose at a Whitehall Township motel room when he returned after a WWE taping at the Allentown Fairgrounds on May 10, 1983. Later, she was pronounced dead at Lehigh Valley Hospital.
Argentino’s autopsy showed that she had died of traumatic brain injuries and suffered more than two dozen cuts and bruises — a possible sign of “mate abuse”. However, Snuka was never charged.
The article originally appeared on Rolling Stone.
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A Brazilian street robber had to call his daddy for help when the woman he tried to rob, Monique Bastos, caught him in a leg-lock as she turned out to be an MMA fighter with a jiu-jitsu blue belt.
A video went viral on social networking sites and video portals showing the sobbing robber, Wesley Sousa de Araujo, pleading for mercy as he struggles between Bastos’s leg in a triangle choke.
According to the Telegraph, Araujo and his partner approached Bastos and another woman on a motorbike on a street in Acailandia, western Brazil and demanded their mobile phones.
Bastos, aged 23 and who has six professional MMA fights on her record, later told how she took Araujo to ground in a ‘rear-naked choke’ before locking him in a ‘triangle choke’ for 20 minutes until police arrived.
“One of the guys grabbed the mobile phone I was carrying,” said Bastos, talking to Brazil’s iG website.
“I could see that they were not armed so I knocked their motorbike down. I wasn’t afraid. I knew I could immobilise them.
“One of them managed to run away, so I got the motorbike driver with a ‘lion killer’ and held him in my legs for 20 minutes.”
The ‘lion killer’ is a choke hold in Brazilian jiu-jitsu where the attacker wraps his arm around his opponent’s neck, placing the crook of his elbow on his trachea.
When in Bastos’ leg custody, Araujo can be heard shouting: “Daddy, daddy, call the police, daddy. Help Jesus. I swear it was the first time I’ve ever done this. Help, Lord, somebody help me. Where’s my mum?”
Araujo was taken to the local police station, where he denied trying to rob the women, according to reports.
With the ever-increasing street crimes in Pakistan, such self-defence skills could come in handy for our people as well.
Watch the video here:
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