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New Zealand’s Ardern has many possibilities for a second act

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New Zealand's Ardern has many possibilities for a second act

When Jacinda Ardern announced this week she was stepping down as New Zealand’s prime minister, speculation began almost immediately about what she might do for a second act.

When she leaves, she will have accumulated 15 years experience as a lawmaker and five-and-a-half years as leader. She will also be just 42 years old. Observers say she has all sorts of career possibilities open to her.

Ardern said she was leaving the job because she no longer has “enough in the tank to do it justice” and has no immediate plans for her own future other than to spend more time with her fiancé and 4-year-old daughter.

“I’ll have to admit I slept well for the first time in a long time last night,” Ardern told reporters Friday, adding that she felt both sadness and relief.

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Stephen Hoadley, an assistant professor of politics and international relations at the University of Auckland, said he couldn’t imagine Ardern would remain at home over the long term, given her energy and skills.

“She has the potential, she has the ability, she has the profile, she has the acceptability to do a whole lot of things,” Hoadley said. “Give her a few weeks to rest up, and to refill the tank, to use her phrase. But I would imagine by the end of this year, she’ll be off and running on a whole new career line.”

Hoadley pointed to the career path of Helen Clark, another former New Zealand prime minister who went on to become a top administrator at the U.N., leading the development program.

“Jacinda could be tapped by any number of United Nations, or charitable, or philanthropical, or other kinds of organizations,” Hoadley said.
“There are many, many possibilities, and her profile is so high that I think she would have her pick.”

Climate Change Minister James Shaw, who first met Ardern in about 2007 and has remained friends, said he was in shock but also not wholly surprised when Ardern told him of her plans to resign.

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“It’s been a really intense five years,” Shaw said.

On top of a busy legislative program, Shaw said, Ardern had needed to steer the country through a series of crises, including a mass-shooting at two Christchurch mosques that left 51 people dead, a volcanic eruption that killed 22, and the coronavirus pandemic.

On top of that, Ardern also bore the brunt of a growing number of threats, Shaw said, and a toxic, misogynistic online culture that had grown worse in recent years.

“What I hope is that she can get some time at the beach with her family, uninterrupted, for a while,” Shaw said.

He said he believes Ardern when she says she doesn’t yet have firm plans for the future.

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“I think she could do pretty much whatever she wants from this point,” Shaw said.

“Jacinda is one of the most selfless, determined, publicly-minded people I have ever met,” Shaw added. “So I would imagine that whatever it is, it will be in the public interest.”

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Pakistan mourns President Raisi’s death; PM, president express sorrow

Pakistan mourns President Raisi’s death; PM, president express sorrow

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Pakistan mourns President Raisi's death; PM, president express sorrow

 Pakistan is observing a day of mourning today to express solidarity with the people of Iran following the shocking news of the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash in the country’s northwest.

“Pakistan will observe a day of mourning, and the flag will fly at half-mast as a mark of respect for President Raisi and his companions and in solidarity with Brotherly Iran,” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif wrote in a post on social media platform X, expressing shock over the demise.

“Had been anxiously following developments regarding the reported crash landing of President Raisi’s helicopter. Was hoping for good news. Alas, this was not to be,” PM Shehbaz remarked as he extended deepest condolences and sympathies to the Iranian people on behalf of the government and people of Pakistan.

Shehbaz prayed that may Allah grant the martyrs a high place in Jannat al-Firdous and give patience to their families and the Iranian nation for this tragedy.

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“Pakistan had the pleasure of hosting President Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian on a historic visit less than a month ago. They were good friends of Pakistan,” the premier added in his post.

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Turkish FM meets COAS Munir, lauds army’s role for regional peace, stability

Turkish FM meets COAS Munir, lauds army’s role for regional peace, stability

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Turkish FM meets COAS Munir, lauds army's role for regional peace, stability

 Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir here on Monday.

According to the military’s media wing, the army chief and the Turkish minister discussed matters of mutual interest during the meeting.

The Turkish minister appreciated the role of the Pakistan Army in maintaining peace and stability in the region, the ISPR said in a statement.

The two leaders expressed their satisfaction at the deep bilateral relations based on historical, cultural and religious ties between the two countries.

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Foreign Minister of Turkiye Hakan Fidan arrived in Pakistan for a two-day official visit on Sunday.

According to the Foreign Office, Additional Foreign Secretary Ahmed Naseem Warraich received the foreign dignitary at the airport.

The Turkish minister will also hold a meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, a spokesperson for the Foreign Office said.

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LHC gives Punjab government ultimatum for judges’ appointment

LHC gives Punjab government ultimatum for judges’ appointment

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LHC gives Punjab government ultimatum for judges' appointment

The Lahore High Court (LHC) has issued an ultimatum to the Punjab government regarding the appointment of judges.

Chief Justice Shehzad Ahmed Khan presided over a hearing on the Punjab government’s petition to transfer cases from LHC’s anti-terrorism court 1 Rawalpindi to another court.

During the proceedings, the advocate general Punjab informed the court that a government committee had consulted with Punjab Chief Minister on the matter of judges’ appointment, assuring that it had been prioritized for the upcoming cabinet session.

However, Chief Justice Khan inquired about the timeline for the next cabinet session, expressing dissatisfaction with the absence of immediate action.

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The Chief Justice ruled that either a special cabinet meeting should have been called or the government committee should have appeared before the court after completing its task.

In response, the advocate general assured that the matter would be resolved in the cabinet session scheduled for Friday.

Expressing dismay over the absence of the government committee in court, Chief Justice Khan deemed it disrespectful.

The advocate general promptly promised the committee’s presence within half an hour upon receiving the court’s call order.

Consequently, the court directed the Punjab CM and the cabinet to issue a notification regarding judges’ appointment before the next hearing.

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The court also warned that if the notification was not issued by then, the Punjab Chief Minister would be required to appear in the next hearing.

Addressing any potential concerns, the advocate general clarified that the government had no objections to the names recommended by the court for judges’ appointment.

Consequently, the case hearing has been adjourned until May 24.

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