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Imran Khan has accused the US of “pushing Pakistan away” despite the country’s help to bring the Afghan Taliban to peace talks.

Reflecting on the two nations’ changing relationship, the Pakistani prime minister said his country would no longer want to be “treated like a hired gun”, referring to the war against the Soviet Union in the 1980s and the ongoing US “war on terror”.

Mr Khan and Donald Trump were involved in a Twitter spat last month after the American president suggested Pakistan had harboured Osama bin Laden despite receiving billions in US aid.

Mr Khan told The Washington Post: “I would never want to have a relationship where Pakistan is treated like a hired gun – given money to fight someone else’s war.

“We should never put ourselves in this position again. It not only cost us human lives, devastation of our tribal areas, but it also cost us our dignity. We would like a proper relationship with the US.”

He added: “For instance, our relationship with China is not one-dimensional. It’s a trade relationship between two countries. We want a similar relationship with the US.”

When asked if Pakistan was trying to hedge its bets using China, Mr Khan replied: “The US has basically pushed Pakistan away.”

Bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks and the head of al Qaeda, was killed in 2011 during a raid by US special forces on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The raid strained relationship between America and long-time ally in the region.

On Twitter last month following the bin Laden accusations, Mr Khan said Mr Trump needed to be “informed about historical facts”, adding that Pakistan had “suffered enough fighting US’s war [on terror]”.

The former cricketer told the newspaper he was merely “setting the record straight” with Mr Trump “saying Pakistan was the reason for these sanctuaries [for Taliban leaders]”. The Pakistani leader insisted there “are no sanctuaries in Pakistan”.










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US will strip 300m aid from Pakistan

He said: “The exchange was about being blamed for deeply flawed US policies – the military approach to Afghanistan.”

The comments come as Pakistan’s army backed US efforts for a political settlement with the Afghan Taliban to end 17 years of fighting. Major General Asif Ghafoor urged the US to leave Kabul as a “friend of the region” rather than a “failure”.

Mr Khan said peace in Afghanistan was in Pakistan’s interest and vowed to put pressure on the Afghan Taliban but said it was “easier said than done” with “about 40% of Afghanistan now out of the government’s hands”.

On Wednesday, he met with a US peace envoy in Islamabad and pledged to help find a political solution to the long-running war.

During last month’s exchange with Mr Trump, the Pakistani leader said his country had suffered 75,000 casualties and lost $123bn (£95.7bn) during America’s so-called war on terror despite no one from his country being involved in the 9/11 attacks.

He said the US provided a “minuscule” $20bn (£15.6bn) in aid.

In his latest interview, Mr Khan spoke also about his plans to tackle poverty in Pakistan and said he was inspired by the UK’s welfare state.

“I went as an 18-year-old to play cricket in England. It was the first time I saw a welfare state,” he said. “It cared for the underprivileged, for the people who can’t compete in the race.”



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NASA invites Stephen Curry to tour its lunar lab after NBA star claims moon landings were faked

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NASA has offered a top US basketball player a tour of its lunar lab after he claimed the moon landings were faked.

Stephen Curry, regarded by many as one of the best shooters in NBA history, made the comments in the Winging It podcast on Monday.

During the episode, Curry’s teammate Andre Iguodala asked the basketball player and presenters Vince Carter and Kent Bazemore if they believed the moon landings were real.

All three of them replied “no”.

In an apparent reference to Men In Black-style secret agents, Curry added: “They’re going to come and get us.

“Sorry I don’t want to start conspiracies.”

Buzz Aldrin stands on the surface of the moon in 1969
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Buzz Aldrin stands on the surface of the moon in 1969

Another guest on the show Annie Finberg, a digital content coordinator for the Atlanta Hawks basketball team, then asked him to clarify.

Curry, who plays for the Golden State Warriors, confirmed that he did not believe the US had ever landed on the moon.

The group then had a short discussion about popular conspiracy theories, including one that the film director Stanley Kubrick staged the whole thing.

NASA in fact led six missions that put 12 astronauts on the moon between 1969 and 1972.

Allard Beutel, a spokesman from the space agency, told the New York Times: “We’d love for Mr Curry to tour the lunar lab at our Johnson Space Center in Houston, perhaps the next time the Warriors are in town to play the Rockets.

“We have hundreds of pounds of moon rocks stored there, and the Apollo mission control.

“During his visit, he can see firsthand what we did 50 years ago, as well as what we’re doing now to go back to the moon in the coming years, but this time to stay.”

Curry is far from alone when it comes to denying the legitimacy of the moon landings.

DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles shocked viewers of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! when he claimed the lunar expeditions were faked.

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EU risks bank crisis from ‘no-deal’ Brexit, say UK officials

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UK officials have been warning EU27 nations that a “no-deal” Brexit places a high risk of financial disruption to their banks, Sky News understands.

It forms part of a move seen by some close observers as a perceived form of attempted leverage over the Brexit negotiation.

Dozens of banks, including some of Europe’s biggest in Germany and France, have complex outstanding financial contracts, known as derivatives, notionally worth tens of trillions of pounds, operated through the City of London.

The bulk of them will mature after March 2019.

Sky sources say that the names of specific EU mega-banks especially exposed to and reliant on UK cleared derivatives have been mentioned in discussions.



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May: Irish backstop must be temporary

Last month, the Bank of England warned there was high risk of disruption to the EU financial system from both “cleared” and “uncleared” derivatives markets, while it said risks to the UK itself were low and declining.

The European Commission has acted on some concerns to say it will temporarily continue to recognise UK “central counterparties” even after a no-deal Brexit.

But officials have warned that the lack of detail means that contracts need to be closed or transferred from the UK before March 2019, a process that needs to start this month, now that the deal has not passed the House of Commons.

Furthermore, the European Commission indicated to the Bank of England that risks from “uncleared” derivatives would not be dealt with at EU level, and was being left to individual EU nations to handle.



Jacob Rees -Mogg names Boris Johnson as his favoured candidate to take over from Theresa May, should  contest ensue








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In a recent report, the Bank of England concluded: “The movement of a large volume of contracts in a short time frame would be costly to, and disrupt the derivatives positions of, EU businesses and could strain capacity in the derivatives market.”

An EU source told Sky News: “We have not dealt with it yet but we have the mechanisms.”

The European Commission is waiting to ramp up no-deal preparations at the EU summit this week.

Sky News understands an emergency implementing act is being prepared for the EU Council and Parliament to consider as soon as next week.

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One dead in French Christmas market shooting

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One person has died and three people are seriously injured after shots were fired at a Christmas market in Strasbourg.

Just after 7pm on Tuesday gun shots were heard at the market in Place Kleber, in the centre of the city in eastern France.

Police armed with machine guns were seen running into the square moments later and it was evacuated.

Emmanuel Foulon, a press officer for the European Parliament, which is based in the city, said there was panic and everyone got to the ground in restaurants around the square.

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