PESHAWAR: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Sherry Rehman said Wednesday that if anyone engaged in the apologist narrative when it comes to terrorism and terrorist attacks, they would be considered as terrorists and allies of the terrorists.
Time has come for a decision and anyone who presents justification for acts of terrorism will be regarded as a traitor.
“Whoever is a friend of the terrorists is a traitor,” Rehman said addressing media representatives in Peshawar.
India launches largest rocket and unmanned capsule
India has successfully launched its largest rocket and an unmanned capsule which could send astronauts into space.
The 630-tonne Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (MK III) blasted off from Sriharikota in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh on Thursday morning.
The new rocket will be able to carry heavier satellites into space.
India has successfully launched lighter satellites in recent years, but has faced problems sending up heavier payloads.
The new rocket is capable of carrying communication satellites weighing 4,000kg, reports say, meaning India will not have to rely on foreign launchers to do so.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted after the launch: “Successful launch of GSLV MK-III is yet another triumph of brilliance & hard work of our scientists. Congrats to them for the efforts.”
K Radhakrishnan, chairman of the Indian Space and Research Organization (Isro), said the launch marked a “very significant day in India’s space history”.
The rocket’s main cargo was an Indian-made capsule capable of carrying two to three astronauts into space.
Read more » BBC
Learn more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-30527602
Switzerland’s National Bank (SNB) will bring in a negative interest rate cutting the value of large sums of money left on deposit in the country.
The Bank is imposing a rate of minus 0.25% on “sight deposits” – a form of instant access account – of more than 10m Swiss francs ($9.77m).
It is trying to lower the value of the Swiss franc, which has risen recently.
Russia’s market meltdown and a dramatic plunge in the oil price have led investors to seek “safe havens”.
The announcement sent the franc lower, and in early trading the euro was buying 1.2095 Swiss francs, fewer than the 1.203 it was worth before the news, just within the target.
Switzerland typically sees money flow in during economic uncertainty.
The new rate will be introduced on 22 January and will only affect banks and large companies who use the “sight account” to transfer funds quickly and without restrictions.
A negative rate means depositors pay to lend the bank their money.
Read more » BBC
Learn more » http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30528404
Some see ISI’s ambiguous approach towards different groups in effort to counter Indian influence as fuelling attacks
Within days of a militant attack earlier this year on the Indian consulate in the western Afghan city of Herat, intelligence officials in Kabul and Delhi were told by their US counterparts that communication intercepts indicated that the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba group (LeT) was responsible.
A lucky shot from a guard had hit the leader of the assault team, giving defenders time to prepare and the four attackers had all been killed. US officials said they had aimed to take hostages and cause a drawn-out crisis intended to destabilise India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi, just days after his landslide election win.
The new details of the operation will be seen as further evidence of the close relationship between LeT and Pakistan’s security establishment.
LeT was responsible for a 2008 attack on the Indian commercial capital of Mumbai in which around 170 people were killed by militants who had arrived by boat from the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi. A key figure in the attack told US and court officials that middle-ranking officials from the Pakistani military’s Directorate of InterServices Intelligence (ISI) had at very least facilitated the assault.
Western intelligence officials also believe the ISI has close relations with the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network, an insurgent faction which has repeatedly struck international targets in Afghanistan.
“There have been intelligence reports that link the ISI particularly to the Haqqani network,” Joseph Dunford, the commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, said in April.
The ISI also maintains links with a range of sectarian groups within Pakistan and outfits primarily focussed on fighting Indian security forces in Kashmir.
Some blame these continuing relationships for the carnage at the army-run school in Peshawar on Tuesday.
The link is indirect. Few say that there is any connection between the Pakistan Taliban (TTP), the rough coalition of groups that has claimed responsibility for the attack, and the country’s security establishment.
“The military formally and institutionally considers the TTP as an enemy of the state as it has killed many soldiers over the years,” said Michael Kugelman of the Woodrow Wilson centre in Washington.
Pakistan’s use of certain militant groups as strategic assets, however, makes concerted action against others impossible, according to Ajai Sahni, an Indian security analyst.
“If you allow space for armed Islamist groups you can’t really distinguish one from another,” Sahni said.
The policy of using militants as auxiliaries goes back to the earliest days of the new Pakistani nation and its partition from India following independence from Britain. Such forces were seen by the new country’s military commanders as an effective way of countering their eastern neighbour’s huge demographic, economic and military advantage. They have played a key role in Pakistan’s four wars with India. Auxiliaries were also deployed in Kashmir in the 1990s. When hundreds of Pakistani militants infiltrated across the de facto frontier in the disputed Himalayan territory in 1999, they sparked the most recent overt conflict.
Read more » The Guardian
Learn more » http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/17/pakistan-spy-agency-isi-relations-militants-blamed-school-massacre
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan army and US-led forces in Afghanistan have decided to target Tehreek-e-Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah using drones rather than a ground operation in the areas where he is believed to be taking sanctuary.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was informed about the decision to take out Fazlullah nicknamed the “Radio Mullah”, who is said to be in contact with the Peshawar school attackers during the assault which left 148 people dead, mostly school children, The Express Tribune reported today.
Citing sources, the paper said that although Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif and ISI chief Rizwan Akhter have provided Afghan authorities the audio proof of attackers talking to Fazlullah during the assault, Army is currently refraining from chasing targets across the border.
“The audio recording, handed to Afghan authorities, was in Pashto,” he paper said, citing sources.
ISLAMABAD: A large number of civil society protesters gathered outside the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in protest against remarks of the mosque cleric who declined to condemn the barbaric Peshawar attack that claimed lives of over 130 children,ARY News reported.
The protesters said they would got the FIR registered against Red Mosque cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz for his hate remarks.
The peaceful protesters said the capital administration must immediately arrest the cleric for his remarks supporting Taliban who massacred innocent children.
Read more » ARY News
Learn more » http://arynews.tv/en/infuriated-civil-society-demands-arrest-lal-masjid-cleric/
Children are our future… When children dies, future dies.
Read more » https://twitter.com/iamRaniMukherji/status/545612209108176897/photo/1
Pakistanis are still grappling with the tragedy of the Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar that left at least 141 people, most of them children, dead and scores injured. There has been an outpouring of grief internationally, and the Pakistani public is visibly outraged. But the question being widely asked is whether Pakistan’s military and political leaders can transform grief and outrage into a clear policy that would rid the country of its reputation as both a victim of and magnet for terrorists.
Even before this incident, Pakistan had one of the highest casualty rates at the hand of terrorists. About 19,700 civilians and 6,000 security force personnel have been reported killed in terrorism related violence in Pakistan since 2003. But the country refuses to develop a comprehensive approach to fighting or containing the 33-odd terrorist groups believed to be operating on Pakistani soil.
“The question being widely asked is whether Pakistan’s military and political leaders can transform grief and outrage into a clear policy that would rid the country of its reputation as both a victim of and magnet for terrorists.”
The latest attack is the Taliban’s response to the Pakistan army’s military operation against the terrorist safe haven in North Waziristan, part of the tribal region along the border with Afghanistan. Jihadis from all over the world had congregated in the tribal areas to fight as Mujahedeen against the Soviets during the 1980s. After the Soviets left, Pakistan used the militants for its own objectives of expanding Pakistani influence in Afghanistan, leading to the rise of the Taliban.
Read more » Huffington Post
See more » http://www.huffingtonpost.com/husain-haqqani/pakistan-school-attack-jihadis_b_6337112.html?utm_hp_ref=tw
New images from the school show the brutality of the attack, with pools of blood on the ground and walls covered in pockmarks from hundreds of bullets.
Mass funerals and prayer vigils for the victims are currently under way.
Gunmen had walked from class to class shooting students in the Pakistani Taliban’s deadliest attack to date.
Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-30507836?OCID=twitterasia
BY HEATHER SAUL
Isis has executed at least 150 women for refusing to marry militants in Iraq, Turkish media has reported.
A statement released by Iraq’s Ministry of Human Rights on Tuesday said the militants had attacked women in the western Iraqi province of Al-Anbar before burying them in mass graves in Fallujah.
Some of the women killed were pregnant at the time, according to the Anadolu Agency.
“At least 150 females, including pregnant women, were executed in Fallujah by a militant named Abu Anas Al-Libi after they refused to accept jihad marriage,” the statement said.
Read more » The Independent
Learn more » http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-execute-150-women-for-refusing-to-marry-militants-and-bury-them-in-mass-graves-9930766.html
There is no sight uglier than a child’s corpse. I can say this because I have seen one dying before my eyes.
When a child dies, no words can console the grieving hearts of parents. And a cowardly terror attack on a school just snatched over a hundred children from the warm embrace of their parents in Peshawar.
Just try understanding the magnitude, the size of this all. More than a hundred families will now have their child-shaped holes in their lives forever. Parents all over the country will think twice before sending their children to schools again.
The children that survived the ghastly attack will never be the same again; their innocence, their childhood gone. It takes years for trauma victims to recover. Some don’t recover even after that.
The question on every mind is, when the grieving is over, will the nation unite against the spectre of terrorism?
If the past is any guide, the sad answer would be no.
Pakistan is given a lot of credit for being a resilient nation. I think most of that is down to the state of denial we choose to live in.
There are always a myriad conspiracy theories circulating within our society. For reasons unknown, we choose to believe them.
We find the distant, often most improbable explanations for simple acts of violence plaguing our nation. Our workplaces, public places, government offices, security installations, hospitals, places of worship and now schools all have come under attack.
After every gruesome incident, TTP or one of its uncountable affiliates takes responsibility; often releases video clips with the assailant’s taped speeches before attack, and yet we refuse to believe it. That state of denial, in essence, is the terrorist’s biggest weapon and his ultimate victory.
Sorry rehabilitation facilities
The logical question after a tragedy of this magnitude is about the rehabilitation of those who survive. Of the amputees, the irreparably wounded, and in this case, the innocent minds scarred for a lifetime.
Read more » DAWN
Learn more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1151409
“This terrible tragedy has shaken the conscience of the world”- Indian PM talked to his Pakistani counterpart and he appeals that schools all over Indian territory will observe 2-minute silence for Pakistan victims- Terrorism is a global phenomenon- A menace who is shattering our societies and killing our children and their hopes and dreams- Entire globe has standup to support us on PESHAWAR TRAGEDY- A visionary leadership has to capitalize this unprecedented international support- Pakistan has to behave like a reliable not hostile neighbor to its neighbouring states- PAK-INDIA peace is essential to kill terrorism in the region- Indian PM MODIs announcement of 2 minutes silence in schools of all over India is a great diplomatic and human gesture- let us play our role and do our part of job to illuminate terror from our land.T
News courtesy: vis Social media (Facebook)
I saw a pair of big black boots coming towards me, this guy was probably hunting for students hiding beneath the benches.
My body was shivering. I saw death so close and I will never forget the black boots approaching me – I felt as though it was death that was approaching me.
I folded my tie and pushed it into my mouth so that I wouldn’t scream. The man with big boots kept on looking for students and pumping bullets into their bodies. I lay as still as I could and closed my eyes, waiting to get shot again.
When I crawled to the next room, it was horrible. I saw the dead body of our office assistant on fire.
She was sitting on the chair with blood dripping from her body as she burned.
(a surviving student’s account)
Read more » Brown Pundits
See more » http://brownpundits.blogspot.ca/2014/12/massacre-of-innocents-death-comes-again.html
US, Cuba seek to normalize relations after Alan Gross released
The Obama administration is moving to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba, sources told Fox News, after American Alan Gross was released from the communist country Wednesday following five years in prison.
Sources say President Obama plans to announce the opening of a U.S. embassy in Havana and call on Congress to lift the long-standing embargo.
A senior Capitol Hill source said Obama also plans to take several executive actions, including expanding travel opportunities to the island, expanding agricultural products that can be sold, and raising the limit on remittances from $500 to $2,000.
Together, the announcements would mark the most significant shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island in decades. Obama was to announce the policy changes from the White House at noon Wednesday. Cuban leader Raul Castro was expected to speak at the same time.
Read more » Fox News
Learn more » http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/12/17/american-alan-gross-released-from-cuban-prison-official-says/?cmpid=cmty_twitter_fn
Narendra Modi tonight spoke to his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif offering his “deepest condolences” on the dastardly terror attack at a school in Peshawar.
Sharing Pakistan’s pain in the wake of the “dastardly” terror attack in a Peshawar school, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tonight spoke to his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on phone offering “deepest condolences and all assistance” in the hour of grief.
As a mark of solidarity with Pakistan, Modi appealed to all schools in India to observe 2 minutes of silence tomorrow for the “senseless act of unspeakable brutality” in Peshawar, where terrorists attacked a school and 141 massacred people, almost all of them children, terming the incident as an “assault against the entire humanity”.
Modi told Sharif that “this terrible tragedy has shaken the conscience of the world” and “that this moment of shared pain and mourning is also a call for our two countries and all those who believe in humanity to join hands to decisively and comprehensively defeat terrorism so that the children in Pakistan, India and elsewhere do not have to face a future darkened by the lengthening shadow of terrorism.”
Read more » Financial Express
Our hearts goes out to the families who lost their young kids and to families of the teachers. We believe beside Taliban, Pakistan State is equally responsible for the massacre. Pakistan security agencies created them, trained them and financed them.
Intolerance and hatred has no boundaries and innocent citizens are paying the price. Pakistan security agencies along with petro dollars brought the massacres of innocent children. This will never ends until our security agencies stop considering them Pakistan assets and to use them as proxies inside and outside the country!
We stand with grieving families!
Courtesy: Via Social media (Facebook)
The burned-out buildings dotted the landscape of Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled Swat Valley as veteran Canadian aid worker David Morley drove the bumpy roads with a local aid worker more than three years ago.
“This used to be a boys’ school, that used to be a girls’ school, that used to be a clinic,” Morley recalled his Pakistani colleague telling him.
“What’s he going to be thinking today?”
‘I think it is beyond our comprehension why somebody would target children’ -Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Morley, the head of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Canada, did not mince words Tuesday as news emerged of the suicide attack that killed at least 141 people — the vast majority of them children — at a school in Peshawar, the Pakistani city abutting the Khyber Pass leading to Afghanistan.
“This is a crime against humanity and it’s against civilized norms because we want to nurture and care for our children,” Morley said in an interview.
“We want them to learn and educate, and this is heinous act against all of those norms.”
The attack sparked similar condemnation in Canada and abroad. Many viewed it as a new low in the behaviour of Taliban terrorists, who took responsibility for the attack.
Students ranging from Grade 1 through Grade 10 accounted for most of the dead. They were killed along with their seven attackers, all of whom were wearing explosive suicide vests. Another 121 students and three staff members were injured.
Harper offers condolences
Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his condolences to the families of the victims. It’s hard enough to understand the motives that underlie a terrorist attack, he said, but even more so when the targets are innocent children.
Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird has condemned the attack on the school, which he called cowardly and sinister. (Hasan Jamali/Associated Press)
“It’s hard for any of us, as rational and compassionate people, to understand terrorism — to understand why people would want, in the name of some political cause, to simply terrorize, hurt kill innocent people, whole sections of society,” Harper told a news conference in Quebec City.
“But I think it is beyond our comprehension why somebody would target children. As a father, your heart just breaks when you see that kind of thing.”
Read more » CBC
Learn more » http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-condemns-sinister-terrorist-attack-on-pakistani-school-1.2874900
India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj cancels dinner for MPs in view of Pakistan school attack
Sushma Swaraj cancels dinner for MPs in view of Pakistan school attack
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s dinner for Members of Parliament on Tuesday night was cancelled in view of the terror attack on a school in Peshawar in which at least at least 160 people, mostly children, were killed.
“In view of the massacre of innocent children in Pakistan, tonight’s dinner hosted by me for Members of Parliament is hereby cancelled,” Swaraj tweeted. In the bloodiest terror attack in Pakistan in years, nearly 160 people, including at least 124 children, were killed by heavily-armed Taliban suicide bombers who stormed the army-run school and took several hostages, a throwback to the 2004 Beslan school siege by Chechen rebels.
Read more » People Read
Learn more » http://in.peopleread.net/news/india/68487/
Former President describes militants as Bokoharam of Pakistan
Condemns the Peshawar school attack, asks Party to mount relief and rehabilitation work
Calls for fighting to the finish ‘existential threat’ to Pakistan
Islamabad December 16, 2016: Former President Asif Ali Zardari has denounced the militants’ attack on the school in Peshawar killing over 130 innocent children as ‘most barbaric, atrocious and inhuman that will hang the heads of every civilized person in any age and any clime’.
In a statement denouncing the incident the former President said the Bokoharam of Pakistan striking in the fashion of their kinsmen in Africa on Tuesday morning in Peshawar by targeting school children is a dark day in the history of this country. The crime has been committed on a dark day of our history when Pakistan was dismembered this day in 1971, he said.
The monstrous cruelty and sheer barbarism together with the symbolism of perpetrating it today should open the eyes of all those who give the nation lectures that the exterminated militants are ‘martyrs in the cause of a noble fight’.
Let there be no doubt or mistake that the religious extremists and fanatics are the worst enemies of the country and its people. There is no alternative to fight them to the finish for the very survival of Pakistan and our future generations. The absence of alternative to fighting the monster must make the mind of every self proclaimed puritan very clear, the former President said.
Mr. Zardari said that this incident should also strengthen the resolve of the nation to stand together against this existential threat to the security and stability of the country. ‘Let us be clear’, the former President said, adding also, ‘the enemy is not external but internal; it lives and thrives in our midst and is nurtured and sustained in the name of religion’.
Expressing profound condolences the former President prayed for eternal rest to all the martyred, early recovery of those injured and patience to the bereaved families.
Mr. Asif Ali Zardari also directed the Party leaders to suspend all activities and immediately mount efforts aimed at relief and rehabilitation of the victim families. He also called upon the Party workers to visit the hospitals and donate blood to those injured.
Read more » Media Cell PPP
Learn more » http://mediacellppp.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/former-president-describes-militants-as-bokoharam-of-pakistan/
Peel schools lower flags in support of people killed at Pakistan school
TORONTO – Flags will fly at half-mast outside of Peel District School board schools in support of those killed at Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan. The flags outside of the schools will fly at half-mast until the end of day Friday, Dec. 19.
“We were all shocked and saddened by the tragic events that transpired at Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan, today. Our thoughts are with all those affected, and we acknowledge the bravery of everyone who reacted immediately to protect the children and staff,” a press release from the school board read. A spokesperson for the Pakistani military said Tuesday that 132 children were among the 141 people killed when the school was attacked by Taliban fighters.
Read more » Global News
Learn more » http://globalnews.ca/news/1729686/peel-schools-lower-flags-in-support-of-people-killed-at-pakistan-school/
PESHAWAR: Pakistani officials say the siege at an army-run school on Warsak road school is over, and authorities are now sweeping the area. Three officials, on condition of anonymity, told AP the operation to clear the school has ended. At least 131 people, most of them children, died when Taliban gunmen attacked the school in the morning. …..
…. 6:42pm – Army chief in Peshawar, vows to hit terrorists hard
Army chief General Raheel Sharif has reached Peshawar and vowed to continue the fight against the militants until they are completely eliminated from the country.
DG Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj-Gen Asim Bajwa posted on twitter that the tragic incident has saddened that COAS, but at the same time he has said that, “our resolve has taken new height. Will continue go after inhuman beasts, their facilitators till their final elimination”.
Gen Sharif said that, “this ghastly act cowardice of killing innocents clearly indicates they (militants) are not only enemies of Pakistan but enemies of humanity”.
“They have hit at the heart of the nation, but let me reiterate they can’t in any way diminish the will of this great nation,” the army chief was quoted as saying by the DG ISPR.
by Sprout Money
In an attempt to try to divert a looming economic stagnation in the European Union, some leading German and French economists have launched some plans to try to revive (read: ‘resuscitate’) the economy of the Eurozone by tackling two issues which might have deteriorated the economic situation in the currency bloc.
Enderlein, an associate at a German school of Governance and Pisani, member of a French think thank have announced some ideas focusing on solving the issue of the rigid French labor market and the lack of government spending on infrastructure projects in Germany. This could be the perfect time to push some of these ideas through as the next elections in both countries are still 2.5 years away which means there’s plenty of time to implement new measures and restoring the popularity of the politicians before the next elections.
At least 126 people, mostly children, have been killed in a Taliban assault on an army-run school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, officials say.
All six of the militants who entered the building are said to have been killed, at least one of them in a suicide blast.
However, the army has not declared the operation over. Most of the 500 students have been evacuated.
The attack is being seen as one of the worst so far in Pakistan.
Read more » BBC
Learn more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-30491435
Ambala: An activist of the Akali Dal (Amritsar) allegedly raised pro-Khalistan slogans in Gurudwara Lakhnaur Sahib here where Gurubaksh Singh Khalsa has been sitting on fast for last one month demanding the release of Sikh detainees who have completed their sentences.
Sadar police station today registered a case against Mahinder Pal Singh, a leader of Akali Dal (Amritsar) on the complaint of a police official of Panjokhra police station under section 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national interest) of the IPC.
According to police, around 250 activists of Akali Dal (Amritsar), the party led by former MP Simranjit Singh Mann, had reached at Gurudwara Lakhnaur Sahib last evening to offer their moral support to Gurubaksh Singh.
Indus Asia Online Journal (iaoj) is shocked on the news of Sydney hostages and strongly condemns the coward act of Islamo-fascist gunman. Our thoughts and prayers are with Australians. Our hearts goes with the friends and families of those Australians made hostage by Islamo fascist/s.
We cherish and enjoy liberty and freedom but if anyone want to threaten our liberty they are not fit to enjoy the fruits of our democracy. The moment their activities are suspicious they must be brought to book and face the consequences. If they are a threat to our liberty they shall not enjoy it any more. Let this be clear to all terrorists that our faith is in the democracy and freedom but we also know how to protect our freedom. No mercy will be shown to anyone who takes this perilous road.
The gunman holding people hostage in a Sydney cafe has been identified as an Iranian refugee who was on bail facing a number of charges.
Man Haron Monis, who was granted political asylum in Australia, was described by his former lawyer as an isolated figure, who was acting alone.
Read more » BBC
Learn more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-30481241
In a move that would help curb the relentless increase in the Centre’s non-Plan spending and ease the way for infusion of more young blood and professionalism into the country’s largely moribund bureaucracy, the Narendra Modi government is planning to reduce the retirement age of central government employees from the present 60 to 58.