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Canada PM Trudeau, wife separate after ‘navigating sunny days, heavy storms’

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Canada PM Trudeau, wife separate after 'navigating sunny days, heavy storms'

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Wednesday that he and his wife of 18 years, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, were separating.

In a post on Instagram, the prime minister said “that after many meaningful and difficult conversations, we have made the decision to separate.” 

A statement from his office added that the couple had signed “a legal separation agreement.” 

It said the public can expect to continue seeing them and their three children together as “they remain a close family” and both parents will be a “constant presence in their children’s lives.”

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But they asked for privacy ahead of a family vacation scheduled for next week.

Trudeau and his wife, a former entertainment reporter, were childhood friends and reconnected in 2003 while cohosting a charity ball. They soon started dating and married in 2005 in Montreal.

They have three children together: Xavier, 15, Ella Grace, 14, and nine-year-old Hadrien.

The separation is the first for a Canadian prime minister since Trudeau’s late father Pierre Trudeau, who split from Margaret Trudeau in the late 1970s and eventually divorced in 1984 during his final months in office.

In his 2014 memoir “Common Ground,” the younger Trudeau recalled that the “dark drama” at home and his parents’ eventual divorce had been hard on him.

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His own breakup comes as Trudeau’s ruling Liberals are struggling in the polls against the opposition Conservatives ahead of elections expected before the end of 2025.

Trudeau announced last week a major shakeup in his cabinet with the stated goal of strengthening his economic team ahead of that looming campaign.

This involved changing more than two-thirds of his political inner circle, with seven new recruits joining the cabinet and around 20 ministers reassigned to new roles.

Sophie Gregoire, 48, had been a constant presence at her 51-year-old husband’s side at political events over the past decade, as he took the party from third place to form a government in 2015, and through two more winning ballots in 2019 and 2021.

But she has appeared in public less in recent years, at times lamenting the struggles of marriage, saying last year in a social media post that they had “navigated through sunny days, heavy storms and everything in between.”

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Trudeau himself has also hinted at difficulties, writing in his memoir: “Our marriage isn’t perfect, and we have had difficult ups and downs, yet Sophie remains my best friend, my partner, my love. We are honest with each other, even when it hurts.”

On their latest anniversary in May, Trudeau posted a photo online of the pair holding hands as they drove along a remote Canadian highway in a motor home, with the caption “Every mile of this journey together is an adventure. I love you Soph.”

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Pakistan reaches new $7 billion loan deal with IMF

Pakistan reaches new $7 billion loan deal with IMF

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Pakistan reaches new $7 billion loan deal with IMF

Pakistan on Friday reached a staff-level agreement with the IMF for a new $7 billion loan with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to support its economy as well as deal with its debts.

Earlier this year, the IMF approved the immediate release of the final $1.1 billion tranche of a $3 billion bailout to Pakistan. Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb said the government planned to seek a long-term loan to help stabilize the economy after the end of that bailout package.

The new loan deal will last for 37 months. It is aimed at strengthening fiscal and monetary policy as well as reforms to broaden the tax base, improve the management of state-owned enterprises, strengthen competition, secure a level playing field for investment, enhance human capital, and scale up social protection through increased generosity and coverage in a major welfare program, the IMF said.

“The program aims to capitalize on the hard-won macroeconomic stability achieved over the past year by furthering efforts to strengthen public finances, reduce inflation, rebuild external buffers and remove economic distortions to spur private sector-led growth,” said Nathan Porter, IMF’s mission chief to Pakistan.

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The agreement is subject to approval by the IMF’s executive board.

Pakistan’s new coalition government presented its first budget in parliament last month, promising an increase of up to 25% in the salaries of government employees and setting an ambitious tax collection target.

The finance minister said Pakistan wants to collect 13 trillion rupees ($44 billion) in taxes, which would be 40% more than in the current fiscal year.

Aurangzeb also said the government will ensure that the number of taxpayers increases. Only about 5 million people in Pakistan pay taxes.

Analysts said the new budget of about $68 billion — up from $50 billion in the last fiscal year — was aimed at qualifying for a long-term IMF loan of $6 billion to $8 billion to help stabilize the economy. Pakistan in 2023 nearly defaulted on the payment of foreign debts.

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Money-laundering: Moonis Elahi, six others declared absconders

Money-laundering: Moonis Elahi, six others declared absconders

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Money-laundering: Moonis Elahi, six others declared absconders

The special central jail in Lahore has declared Moonis Elahi, son of Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, and six other accused absconders in the money-laundering case filed by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). 

The special central jail heard the money-laundering case on Saturday. The FIA submitted the incomplete challan of nine accused including Moonis Elahi in court. 

Chaudhry Moonis Elahi and other accused have been declared proclaimed offenders in the challan. The other proclaimed offenders are Farasat Ali, Imtiaz Ali, Amir Sohail, Wajid Ahmad and Amir Fayyaz. 

The accused Zara Elahi, Ahmad Farhan and Zaigham Abbas have been included in Column No 4 for being on bail. 

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The FIA has requested the court to freeze the properties of Moonis Elahi and other nine accused. The court has frozen the properties of seven accused, except Monis Elahi and Zaigham Abbas. 

Counsel for Moonis Elahi and Zaigham Abbas requested time for arguments on properties freezing matter from the court. 

The court directed the counsel to present arguments until Aug 20. Judge Tanveer Ahmed Sheikh issued the written verdict of early hearing on challan. 

The judgement mentions that Interpol is being engaged for the arrest of Moonis Elahi and Interpol has issued red notices to him. Zara Elahi is accused of receiving kickbacks. As per investigative officer, Zara Elahi couldn’t present evidence of her income sources. 

Zaigham Abbas is a cash boy of Moonis Elahi and accused Zaigham Abbas used to do illegal money transactions in the bank accounts of other accused. It has been alleged that accused Ahmed Farhan used to deposit money with bank accounts. 

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It is pertinent to note that the FIA registered the money-laundering and corruption case against Moonis Elahi on June 6, 2023.

Also read: FIA confiscates Chaudhry Moonis Elahi’s assets

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Pakistan, US pledge collaboration on multiple fronts

Pakistan, US pledge collaboration on multiple fronts

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Pakistan, US pledge collaboration on multiple fronts

 Federal Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi met US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome and both sides agreed to strengthen mutual cooperation in counter-terrorism, anti-narcotics, and security. 

The US ambassador visited the Ministry of Interior, where Naqvi welcomed him. Other officials were also present on the occasion. 

During the meeting, both sides discussed the Pakistan-US relations, security and other matters of mutual interest. They pledged to enhance cooperation in security, counter-terrorism, anti-narcotics, and other areas. 

Both sides agreed to organise “law enforcement dialogues” in October. 

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The interior minister assured the US ambassador of the ministry’s full cooperation in enhancing bilateral relations. 

Talking about his recent visit to New York, Naqvi said the issue of cooperation between Islamabad and the New York Police Department was discussed. He said a delegation of Islamabad police would soon visit New York to improve mutual cooperation. 

He said officers from Islamabad police were keen to receive training from the New York Police Department. 

The minister said Pakistan’s minorities were enjoying equal rights under the country’s constitution. He assured the ambassador that all possible measures had been implemented to net those involved in the Jaranwala incident. 

Regarding cricket affairs, Naqvi (who is also the chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board), lauded the US government for hosting a successful T20 World Cup. He said efforts were on to arrange a tri-nation series involving Pakistan, US and Canada. He also mentioned that Pakistan was working for a cricket league in America and Canada.

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The US ambassador expressed his gratitude, saying a number of cricket lovers enjoyed the T20 World Cup matches.

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