Committee to Protect Journalists condemns move by Pakistan’s ISI against Geo TV

censorship

CPJ condemns move by Pakistan’s ISI against Geo TV

New York, April 22, 2014–The Committee to Protect Journalists is greatly concerned by actions brought by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) against Geo Television today. In its complaint to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, the ISI accused Geo’s parent company, the Independent Media Corporation, of conducting a “false and scandalous campaign undermining the integrity and tarnishing the image of state institution (ISI) and its officers.”

The media regulator has the authority to shut down broadcasters based on such complaints, and has done so under previous administrations of Pakistan.

“We call on the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority not to act on this spurious complaint, and we call on Pakistan’s security services to recognize the critical role of the media and exercise tolerance and maturity,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “The ISI is free to rebut allegations in the media but should not try to censor coverage.”

Tension between Pakistan’s military and intelligence communities and much of the media swiftly escalated following an assassination attempt on Geo TV anchor Hamid Mir on April 19. Mir was hit with six rounds from assailants on motorcycles as his car was traveling between Karachi’s airport and the center of the city. Mir is severely wounded and recovering in the hospital. Geo TV has broadcast accusations that the ISI was involved in the murder attempt.

Courtesy: The Committee to Protect Journalists
http://cpj.org/2014/04/cpj-condemns-move-by-pakistans-isi-against-geo-tv.php

Pakistan Army Demands Broadcaster’s Closure

Military Lashes Out Against Geo News After TV Channel Airs Accusations Against Spy Agency

By Saeed Shah

ISLAMABAD—Pakistan’s military demanded that the government close down the country’s top-rated TV channel after it aired accusations that the spy agency was behind the shooting of its leading talk-show host.

The demand stems from remarks made by relatives of journalist Hamid Mir that were broadcast by Geo News on Saturday after he was shot six times in the southern city of Karachi.

They blamed the attack on the Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency, or ISI, and its chief, Lt. Gen. Zaheer-ul-Islam, who they say singled out Mr. Mir for his reports of the spy agency’s role in the country’s politics.

Read more » THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
http://online.wsj.com/news/article_email/SB10001424052702303825604579517903002721352-lMyQjAxMTA0MDIwMjEyNDIyWj

Pakistan – Gen Beg warns of Egypt-like change in Pakistan

Gen. Aslam BaigProposes three-point formula to normalise situation

By Ashraf Mumtaz

LAHORE  – Former Army chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg on Monday proposed a three-point formula to normalise the tense civil-military relations, warning the government of an Egypt-like change in case urgent steps were not taken in accordance with his suggestions.
He said the high treason case against Gen Pervez Musharraf should be dropped and he should be allowed to go abroad; the Pemra should ensure that no TV channel telecasts programmes that undermine the prestige of the army; and ministers or other leaders should be barred from speaking against the people who defend the country even at the cost of their lives. Talking to The Nation, he said the civil setup would face no threat and the situation would normalise within no time if the government acted in the light of his suggestions. Otherwise, he said, a military general would take over, just like Gen El-Sisi did in Egypt, and the United States would support the change for its own interests.
Gen Beg was of the firm view that the Constitution would not be able to block a military intervention if the rulers did not give the army its due respect. “ZulifikarAli Bhutto had said the 1973 Constitution would bury martial laws, but it was the martial law that buried Bhutto”.

Read more » The Nation
http://www.nation.com.pk/national/22-Apr-2014/gen-beg-warns-of-egypt-like-change-in-pakistan

Imtiaz Alam quits Express TV in protest against curbs

Imtiaz AlamPrint and broadcast journalist Imtiaz Alam has resigned from hosting his television show on Express News against what he called “imposing censorship and the channel adopting a policy hostile to freedom of expression and media solidarity”.

Follows the text of his resignation:

April 21, 2014

The Chief Executive Officer,
The Express News,
Express Media,
Karachi,

Subject: 30-Day Notice to resign from Express News Television, Express Media

Dear Mr Yousuf Baig Mirza,
This is after detailed exchange of messages and telephonic conversation between us today, Monday 21 April 2014, and your refusal to allow my program, Achha Lagey Bura Lagey, on the attack on Hamid Mir, a leading journalist and colleague, threats to freedom of media/expression and the need for media solidarity, etc,. that were to go live at 07.03 pm from Lahore station, that I am constrained to issue you this 30-day notice to resign from the Express News as a host/analyst of Achaha Lagey Bura Lagey in protest against imposing censorship and adopting a policy hostile to freedom of expression and media solidarity-in-self-defense.
The Express Media’s top management got disturbed, as I was told, by the principled position taken by me in solidarity with a colleague who was attacked in Karachi. The points for today’s program sent by me to you were appreciated by you: Following were the issues for discussion:
“Hamid Mir: issues are: right to life and social contract, freedom of speech, security of journalists and a culture of impunity, fate of enquiry commissions, professional ethics, media debates (attack on media or on sensitive institutions), ISPR’s reaction—editorial note: Need for caution and restraint; letting due process take place without prejudging or maligning any person or institution”.
Since you were keen to run a vilification campaign against another rival media group, you insisted on pre-recording the program so that you could censor it, knowing well that I abhorred censorship. I had told you that it was a wrong policy which would damage the whole media; it was Express TV/Express Tribune yesterday when Raza Rumi was attacked and I got death threats, on which equally despicably some media groups kept quiet, it is GEO today and tomorrow it could again be Express or any other group.
You know that I am against vilification of any person or institution and could never pre-judge any accused without investigation, nor could I ever use Express platform to serve anybody’s interest. Since you had other plans on the behest of somebody else to launch a campaign against your rival media group and I could never become an instrument in such a shoddy business, you preferred to plan an obnoxious program against all media ethics telecasted in place of the one I was supposed to host.
You are aware that I have been struggling for my whole life for fundamental rights, freedom of expression, free press, professional ethics, tolerance, peace and cooperation in the region. How could I become an instrument in such a sordid business and you knew it. You could have waited for two days when I was supposed to go on leave on 23 April, but it seemed you were under great pressure from somewhere else. I don’t want to cast aspersions, but I think the Express has been pressurized or followed its instincts of rivalry, as had happened in the case of Express Tribune when the Editor had to send a letter to his contributors not to write against extremists. It was Taliban threat in the case of Express Tribune, it is somebody else who made you take a decision even you appreciably didn’t like. I may warn you in a most friendly spirit against the consequences of this policy which is against not only whole media but also against Express Media. I may assure you that whenever Express Media came under pressure from any quarter you would find me on your side. This has not happened for the first time. A few weeks ago my talk-show Baibaak was also stopped on PTv, which I had started during the caretaker period.
Let’s part ways in an honorable manner and according to our legal obligations. My dear Baig Sahib, kindly accept this 30-day notice of resignation from hosting the program Achha Lagey Bura Lagey with a request for not bringing a bad name to a show that was quite credible. I will be available to do this program if you so like during this period of resignation but without restrictions.
My best regards with a wish that you don’t play into the hands of those who are bent upon undermining freedoms and democratic values.
Sincerely,

Imtiaz Alam,
Host/Analyst AchHA Lagey Bura Lagey,
Express TV, Express Media

Courtesy: SOUTH ASIA MEDIA
http://www.southasianmedia.net/sam-monitors/news/imtiaz-alam-quits-express-tv-in-protest-against-curbs-story

Pakistan’s Information minister Pervez Rasheed refused to defend ISI chief in Hamid Mir case

DG ISI should answer all questions: Pervez Rasheed

ISLAMABAD: In a surprising development, Pakistan’s Information minister Pervez Rasheed refused to defend Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Zaheer ul Islam against the recent allegation of his involvement in murder attack on Hamid Mir.

Speaking in a Dunya News talk show, Information minister maintained that Hamid Mir’s brother Amir Mir has leveled allegations against ISI chief , not the government and the ISI chief should himself answer all questions.

“I do not want to become a party” said Pervez Rasheed.

It must be remembered that rumours of differences between Pakistan’s civil and military establishment were already taking rounds on the issues of Pervez Musharraf treason case and Taliban.

In the recent issue, no government official has come forward to defend Pakistan’s Intelligence Agency ISI.

Courtesy: The News Tribe » Duniya Tv News » Daily Motion
http://www.thenewstribe.com/2014/04/22/dg-isi-should-answer-all-questions-pervez-rasheed/

Pakistan plans huge desert solar park to fight energy crisis

wapdaBADAIWANI WALA: For years Pakistanis have sweated and cursed through summer power cuts, but now the government plans to harness the sun’s ferocious heat to help tackle the country’s chronic energy crisis.

In a corner of the Cholistan desert in Punjab province, power transmission lines, water pipes and a pristine new road cross 10,000 acres of parched, sandy land.

The provincial government has spent $5 million to put in place the infrastructure as it seeks to transform the desolate area into one of the world’s largest solar power parks, capable one day of generating up to 1,000 megawatts of electricity.

The desert park in Bahawalpur district is the latest scheme to tackle the rolling blackouts which have inflicted misery on people and strangled economic growth.

Temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius in the country’s centre in June and July, sending demand for electricity soaring and leaving a shortfall of around 4,000 MW.

“In phase one, a pilot project producing 100 MW of electricity will hopefully be completed by the end of this year,” Imran Sikandar Baluch, head of the Bahawalpur district administration, told AFP.

“After completion of the first 100 MW project, the government will invite investors to invest here for the 1,000 megawatts.”

A ‘river’ of solar panels

Engineers and labourers are working in the desert under the scorching sun to complete the boundary wall, with authorities keen to begin generating solar electricity by November.

“If you come here after one and a half years, you will see a river of (solar) panels, residential buildings and offices — it will be a new world,”said site engineer Muhammad Sajid, gesturing to the desert.

Besides solar, Pakistan is also trying to tap its unexploited coal reserves — which lie in another area of the same desert, in Sindh province.

In January Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated construction on a $1.6 billion coal plant in the town of Thar, in Sindh.

Work has also begun on a pilot 660 megawatt coal-fired plant in Gadani, a small town on the Arabian Sea.

Another 600 megawatt coal plant has also been given the go-ahead in the southern city of Jamshoro.

But while coal may offer a short-term fix to the energy crisis, authorities are keen to move to cleaner electricity in the long run.

“We need energy badly and we need clean energy, this is a sustainable solution for years to come,” said Baloch.

“Pakistan is a place where you have a lot of solar potential. In Bahawalpur, with very little rain and a lot of sunshine, it makes the project feasible and more economical,” he said.

Clean energy

Baloch believes that the new solar park will make Pakistan a leader in that energy in the region. The initial pilot project is a government scheme but private investors are also taking an interest.

Raja Waqar of Islamabad-based Safe Solar Power is among them. His company plans to invest $10 million to build a 10 MW project in the new park.

“The government has allotted us land over here. Infrastructure, the transmission line and road are available here, that is why we are investing,”Waqar told AFP.

A million dollars per MW is a sizeable investment but Waqar said the company expected to reap returns on it over at least the next decade, and others were keen to get on board.

“There are up to 20 companies who are investing in this park and their projects are in the pipeline,” he said. “Some of them are working on 50 MW, some on 10 and others on 20.”But not everyone is so upbeat about the project.

Arshad Abbasi, an energy expert at Islamabad’s Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), said the cost of generating solar power from this project may be uneconomical for the government.

He also warned that buying in solar equipment from abroad made little economic sense.

“Had the government decided to establish more hydro or thermal plants in the country it would have generated more employment, business and construction opportunities,” he said.

And farmers in the area who scrape a living herding cattle on the unforgiving land are worried about their future.

“We don’t know if this energy park is good, the power will come or not, we only want the government to spare our area and allow us to continue living here with our cattle,” said Malik Jalal, a local villager.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1101141

New York Times – Critic of Pakistani Military Wounded in Karachi Attack

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Hamid Mir, a prominent Pakistani journalist and a critic of the nation’s powerful military, was wounded by gunmen in the southern port city of Karachi on Saturday evening, according to police officials and local news media reports.

militaryThere was no immediate claim of responsibility, but within hours of the attack, Amir Mir, Mr. Mir’s brother, accused the chief of the intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, or ISI, of being behind it.

In an emotional outburst on Geo TV, the network on which Hamid Mir hosts a popular talk show, Amir Mir assailed the intelligence agency, saying that the ISI “was eating up Pakistan like termites” and accusing its director, Lt. Gen. Zahir ul-Islam, and other ISI officials of planning to kill Mr. Mir.

He said that his brother had told him about two weeks ago that his life was in danger and that he had recorded a video that had been sent to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

A spokesman for the media wing of the Pakistani military, Inter-Services Public Relations, condemned the attack but urged people not to speculate about it.

“An independent inquiry must immediately be carried out to ascertain facts,” the spokesman said. “However, raising allegations against ISI or the head of ISI without any basis is highly regrettable and misleading,”

The attack took place on a busy Karachi street just after 5 p.m. Saturday as Mr. Mir was headed to Geo’s main office.

He was shot three times, according to Karachi police officials, in the lower abdomen and shoulder. He was taken to Aga Khan Hospital, where he underwent surgery, Geo TV reported. His condition was listed as stable. In November 2012, a bomb was found under Mr. Mir’s car in Islamabad, but it did not explode. At the time, suspicions pointed to the Pakistani Taliban, which had singled out Mr. Mir for criticism over his coverage of Malala Yousafzai, the teenage activist wounded by militants in October 2012.

This is not the first time accusations have been made against the ISI. In 2011, Syed Saleem Shahzad, an investigative reporter, was found dead some months after he was threatened by intelligence officers.

Mr. Mir has been one of the most vocal critics of the military and intelligence services. He has also criticized the former military leader Pervez Musharraf.

Courtesy: The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/20/world/asia/critic-of-pakistani-military-wounded-in-karachi-attack.html?_r=0

It is appropriate to shift Musharraf to jail: Aseefa

PPPKARACHI: Aseefa Bhutto Zardari has said it was not appropriate to shift former president General (retd) Pervez Mushararf anywhere else except jail, Geo News reported. The statement of Aseefa, younger daughter of former president Asif Ali Zardari and sister of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, came at a time when there were reports that Musharraf was planning to travel to Karachi.

Read more » Geo Tv
http://www.geo.tv/article-145129-It-is-appropriate-to-shift-Musharraf-to-jail-Aseefa

PAKISTAN: Senior journalist, anchor, and columnist Hamid Mir shot, injured in Karachi

Hamid MirBy: via Facebook Comments about Hamid Mir

Strongly condemn the attack on anchor, columnist & journalist, Hamid Mir in Karachi today. That tells you how some elements in the military & civil establishment & their collaborators ‘deal’ with the voices of dissent. His views on govt talks with Taliban, Musharraf trial, Balochistan army operation & on some other issues have been at variance with some powerful lobbies. And this is how they silence the voices of dissent. This may be an act by the mother of all terrorist outfits in Pakistan. The country is certainly becoming more & more dangerous for its citizens, especially the ones that don’t agree with the establishment.

Today it is about the attack on Hamid Mir. Yesterday it were Umar Cheema & Saleem Shahzad. (Even the killings of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto, Akbar Bugti, Noroze Baloch, Nazeer Shaheed, Hasan Nasir, Bashir Qureshi, Muzaffar Bhutto, Sarai Qurban Khuhawar, Maqsood Qureshi, Samiullah Kalhoro & numerous others).

The supporters of the security establishment will not speak against the assailants & condemn them. They will even blame the victims. If you are in Pakistan, you can listen to some TV channels & commentators & read some columnists & see how they are blaming GEO news & Hamid Mir instead of condemning the attackers. Similarly, they will find ways even to defend the actions of military dictator Pervez Musharraf & try to undermine the Treason case against him.

They will label the critics of the security establishment as Indian agents. It is worst kind of fascism & it is dangerous. People must stand up against fascism.

According to his brother Aamir Mir;  Hamid Mir had recently told family and colleagues that he had received threats from the IsI because of his political views and his stand supporting the Balochistan movement.  He is the second prominent TV anchor to be targeted. Earlier this month, Raza Rumi was attacked, forcing the man to abandon his journalism career and leave the country.

We are not his followers and keep our right to oppose his point of view but killing some one on his right to say is inhuman.

State within State is not acceptable…nobody…no institution or its head is above the law… those responsible… direct or indirectly must brought to justice….

Please note: Above comments are taken from social media (Facebook)

Courtesy: Via Facebook

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Read more » Geo News
http://www.geo.tv/article-145131-Hamid-Mir-shot-injured-in-Karachi

 

Some 95% of 2009-2012 Income Gains Went to Wealthiest 1%

recessionBy Brenda Cronin

Research released this month shows that the incomes of the well-off have largely climbed back from the toll of the most recent recession while those of the poor have yet to start recovering.

According to the latest version of “Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States,” by Emmanuel Saez, of the University of California, Berkeley, the income inequality gap has been expanding, rather than narrowing, as the 2007-2009 recession recedes. That trend has been unfolding for more than 30 years

Read more » The Wall Street Journal
http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2013/09/10/some-95-of-2009-2012-income-gains-went-to-wealthiest-1/

Income Inequality in Canada

economyCanada gets a “C” grade and ranks 12th out of 17 peer countries.
Income inequality in Canada has increased over the past 20 years.
Since 1990, the richest group of Canadians has increased its share of total national income, while the poorest and middle-income groups has lost share.

Read more » http://www.conferenceboard.ca/hcp/details/society/income-inequality.aspx

IMF Warns G-20 of Deflation Risk, Emerging-Market Turmoil

system 1By Sandrine Rastello

Risks of prolonged market turmoil in emerging markets and of deflation in the euro area are threatening the world’s improved economic prospects, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF, in a staff report prepared for central bankers and finance ministers from the Group of 20, said the recovery is still weak and “significant downside risks remain.” A January global growth forecast of 3.7 percent for this year, from 3 percent in 2013, hinges on recent market volatility from Turkey to Brazil being short-lived, according to the report.

“Capital outflows, higher interest rates, and sharp currency depreciation in emerging economies remain a key concern,” according to the report prepared ahead of the G-20 Feb. 22-23 meeting in Sydney. “A new risk stems from very low inflation in the euro area, where long-term inflation expectations might drift down, raising deflation risks in the event of a serious adverse shock to activity.”

Read more » Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-19/imf-warns-g-20-of-risks-of-deflation-emerging-market-turmoil.html

Bill Gates: People Don’t Realize How Many Jobs Will Soon Be Replaced By Software Bots

bill gatesBig changes are coming to the labor market that people and governments aren’t prepared for, Bill Gates believes.

Speaking at Washington, D.C., economic think tank The American Enterprise Institute on Thursday, Gates said that within 20 years, a lot of jobs will go away, replaced by software automation (“bots” in tech slang, though Gates used the term “software substitution”).

This is what he said:

“Software substitution, whether it’s for drivers or waiters or nurses … it’s progressing. …  Technology over time will reduce demand for jobs, particularly at the lower end of skill set. …  20 years from now, labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower. I don’t think people have that in their mental model.”

He’s not the only one predicting this gloomy scenario for workers. In January, the Economist ran a big profile naming over a dozen jobs sure to be taken over by robots in the next 20 years, including telemarketers, accountants and retail workers.

Gates believes that the tax codes are going to need to change to encourage companies to hire employees, including, perhaps, eliminating income and payroll taxes altogether. He’s also not a fan of raising the minimum wage, fearing that it will discourage employers from hiring workers in the very categories of jobs that are most threatened by automation.

Pakistan – DG ISI had to face tough questions from Nawaz Sharif

 

PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif.DG ISI had to face tough questions from all

Inside the conference room of PM House … COAS assures PM things to be done as desired by govt

Excerpt;

The DG ISI gave a briefing on internal security and Pak-Iran relations. At one point, Zaheerul Islam claimed that some elements of Jundullah, a defunct organisation, were active in Balochistan upon which the prime minister gently asked the DG ISI whose job was this to inform the government about it. The prime minister at times asked questions directly from the DG ISI who, according to the law, came directly under his command.

During the briefing, the DG ISI mentioned Iran’s close relations with India on which Nawaz Sharif calmly reminded him of the government’s policy that they had nothing to do with the internal matter of any of the neighbours. Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam also discussed the internal security situation with regard to the Afghanistan situation.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while addressing the participants, said that they needed peace and they didn’t want any kind of interference in any of the neighbouring countries. During the course of the meeting, the army chief, on a number of occasions, assured the prime minister that things would be done according to the directions of the prime minister. At no point there was any hint of any tiff between the civilian and the military leadership. Some participants, however, observed some unease between the army chief and DG ISI.

Read more » The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-29792-DG-ISI-had-to-face-tough-questions-from-all

Israel’s embassies worldwide were closed.

Foreign Ministry shut as striking workers block entrances

Unclear what will happen at Washington embassy, base of dozens of employees who don’t work for the foreign ministry.

By

The Foreign Ministry headquarters in Jerusalem were shut on Monday, as striking ministry workers blocked all entrances and prevented entry.

The workers declared a general strike on Sunday, closing all foreign ministry offices and missions around the world. The workers are protesting the employment conditions of Israeli diplomats and the Finance Ministry’s decision to cut their salaries over the renewed sanctions.

As a result of the strike, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon cancelled a planned working visit to Rome next week.

The striking workers erected a protest tent at the entrance to the ministry early on Monday morning and blocked all access points with truckloads of garbage, assisted by members of the Histadrut’s Jerusalem district.

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Military blocking Pakistan-India trade deal, says Shahbaz Sharif

Shahbaz SharifSecurity networks’ distrust of increased business dealings is counter-productive, warns Pakistani PM’s brother

By in Lahore and in Delhi, theguardian.com

The powerful brother of Pakistan‘s prime minister has warned the military establishments of both India and Pakistan not to block efforts to sweep aside trade barriers between the two distrustful neighbours.

On Indian affairs Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab, is widely seen as the de facto Pakistani foreign minister, conducting diplomatic missions to Delhi on behalf of his brother Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister.

But speaking to the Guardian he warned that distrustful “security agencies” in both Pakistan and India were one of the two main “blockages” holding back plans to liberalise trade, which the Sharifs believe will provide a desperately needed boost to Pakistan’s moribund economy.

“Security agencies on both sides need to really understand that in today’s world, a security-led vision is obviously driven by economic security,” he said. “Unless you have economic security then you can’t have general security.”

While the Sharif brothers, in common with most mainstream politicians in Pakistan, are impatient for a rapprochement with India, the military is far more wary.

Read more » theguardian
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/13/military-block-pakistan-india-trade-deal-sharif

Sindhis of Kolkata – Sindhi spirit endures at Sindhi New Year

Cheti chandSindhis bond over struggle and success Sindhi spirit endures

- Uprooted community celebrates new dawn, Scot discovers hometown roots at city cemetery

BY SUSHOVAN SIRCAR

If you are a Sindhi living in Calcutta, you have got to know Mohini Bhawnani.

In case you don’t, trust someone to tell you at your first Cheti Chand celebration in town how a spunky 14-year-old had fled Karachi alone aboard a ship in the blood-soaked summer of August 1947 to reach this city and go on to become the first woman engineer at Calcutta Telephones.

To the close-knit community of Sindhis, 82-year-old Bhawnani epitomises the spirit of survival that had brought the first batch of post-Partition migrants here more than six decades ago, scarred but not subdued.

This spirit was on show during an advance Sindhi New Year celebration last Sunday at the Khudiram Anushilan Kendra when the elderly and young lined up to greet and shake hands with the still sprightly Bhawnani.

“You can say she is the living embodiment of the history of Sindhis in Calcutta,” said travel company owner Anil Punjabi, who was among those who sought Bhawnani’s blessings.

Cheti Chand, which falls on the second day of Chaitra, is on Tuesday but the community decided to have a get-together on a weekend so that everyone could attend the event. The turnout in excess of 10,000 included Sindhis who came from places like Raidighi and Kalyani.

The Sindhi New Year rituals invoke Ishtadev Uderolal, the presiding deity who is worshipped as Jhulelal and believed to have risen from the sea astride a giant fish. But Sunday’s was more than just a community coming together to celebrate a festival. To those who had risen from the horrors of Partition, the assembly of 10,000-odd Sindhis symbolised a triumph.

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Thousands in Paris and Rome protest austerity measures

A demonstration in Rome turns violent when protesters throw rocks and firecrackers at police

Paris

Anti austerity demonstration in Paris, France.

Anti-austerity protests took over parts of Paris and Rome on Saturday, with one demonstration in Rome spurring violence when protesters threw rocks, eggs and firecrackers at police, with at least one person injured.

Tens of thousands of people took part in protests in central Paris and Rome, organized by hard-left parties opposed to government economic reform plans and austerity measures.

Police in Rome armed with batons charged members of a large splinter group — many wearing masks and helmets — and also used tear gas to push back the crowd, with protesters fighting back with rocks and firecrackers. One man lost a hand when a firecracker exploded before he could throw it.

Read more » AlJazeera
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/4/12/rome-paris-anti-austerityprotests.html

Britain’s looming energy crisis

Over the last weeks and months, concerns about energy have become more and more widespread in Britain. Firstly the simmering controversy over “fracking” has become more prominent, with a series of demonstrations pushing this issue into the public eye. Then the pledge of Ed Miliband that the next Labour government will freeze energy prices was met with howls of protest from the coalition parties and threats by the energy companies that “the lights will go out”. In addition, the announcement that Britain will build the first new nuclear power station for decades has been overshadowed by the attempt to close the Grangemouth oil refinery. The question has to be asked: is Britain facing a serious energy crisis?

Read more » http://www.marxist.com/britains-looming-energy-crisis.htm

Great gesture by our neighbours. May peace prevail forever – Matters of the heart: Indian doctors to set up cardiac camp in Sukkur

SUKKUR: A one-day heart camp is being organised in Sukkur on Saturday, when cardiac consultants and surgeons from India will be providing free-of-charge check-up and advice to patients.

While the city has hosted many free medical camps, this is the first time that one is being organised in Sukkur for a free heart check-up.

The camp is being jointly organised by the Sukkur Hindu Panchayat and Shadhani Darbar Hayat Pitari. Sukkur Hindu Panchayat president Mukhi Eshwar Makheja told The Express Tribune that this camp is being organised keeping in mind the rise in heart disease cases, especially among children.

Makheja added that famous cardiac consultants and surgeons from the Fortis Escorts Heart Institute in New Delhi, India, will be performing the check-ups.

Read more » The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/694091/matters-of-the-heart-indian-doctors-to-set-up-cardiac-camp-in-sukkur/

Goodbye, Oil: US Navy Cracks New Renewable Energy Technology To Turn Seawater Into Fuel, Allowing Ships To Stay At Sea Longer

Sweden introduces a SIX-HOUR working day

Sweden introduces a SIX-HOUR working day in bid to reduce sick leave, boost efficiency and make staff happier

Government staff in Swedish city of Gothenburg to take part in trial; One department will work six hour days, while another will work seven; Two will be compared to see if shorter days improve efficiency

By Chris Pleasance

Hundreds of Swedish workers are trialling a six-hour working day in the hopes that it will cut sick leave and save the country money. In an experiment, workers in one government department in Gothenburg are to be put on to six-hour days on full pay
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2600416/Sweden-introduces-six-hour-working-day-pay-bid-reduce-sick-leave-boost-efficiency-make-staff-happier.html#ixzz2yRAOT8gR

Ruble Challenges US Dollar Hegemony.

Russia’s Petro-Ruble Challenges US Dollar Hegemony. China Seeks Development of Eurasian Trade
China will re-open the old Silk Road as a new trading route linking Germany, Russia and China

By Peter Koenig, Global Research

Russia has just dropped another bombshell, announcing not only the de-coupling of its trade from the dollar, but also that its hydrocarbon trade will in the future be carried out in rubles and local currencies of its trading partners – no longer in dollars – see Voice of Russia Russia’s trade in hydrocarbons amounts to about a trillion dollars per year. Other countries, especially the BRICS and BRCIS-associates (BRICSA) may soon follow suit and join forces with Russia, abandoning the ‘petro-dollar’ as trading unit for oil and gas. This could amount to tens of trillions in loss for demand of petro-dollars per year (US GDP about 17 trillion dollars – December 2013) – leaving an important dent in the US economy would be an understatement.
Added to this is the declaration today by Russia’s Press TV – China will re-open the old Silk Road as a new trading route linking Germany, Russia and China, allowing to connect and develop new markets along the road, especially in Central Asia, where this new project will bring economic and political stability, and in Western China provinces, where “New Areas” of development will be created. The first one will be the Lanzhou New Area in China’s Northwestern Gansu Province, one of China’s poorest regions.

“During his visit to Duisburg, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a master stroke of economic diplomacy that runs directly counter to the Washington neo-conservative faction’s effort to bring a new confrontation between NATO and Russia.” (press TV, April 6, 2014)

“Using the role of Duisburg as the world’s largest inland harbor, an historic transportation hub of Europe and of Germany’s Ruhr steel industry center, he proposed that Germany and China cooperate on building a new “economic Silk Road” linking China and Europe. The implications for economic growth across Eurasia are staggering.”

Read more » Global Research
http://www.globalresearch.ca/russias-petro-ruble-challenges-us-dollar-hegemony-china-seeks-development-of-eurasian-trade/5377086

Donetsk activists proclaim region’s independence from Ukraine

In the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, a group of activists have declared their region independent from Kiev. This comes after protesters stormed a local government building last night. Mass demonstrations against the country’s new leadership started peacefully on Sunday, but the situation quickly escalated.

Read more » http://rt.com/news/donetsk-republic-protestukraine-841/

Afghan elections: As it happened

Millions of Afghans braved Taliban threats Saturday to vote for a successor to President Hamid Karzai in a landmark election held as US-led forces wind down their long intervention in the country.

Polling stations officially closed at 5:00 pm (1230 GMT), officials said, after a day without major security incidents. But voting was set to continue for some time as voters in line at polling stations would be allowed to cast their ballot, a senior official with the Independent Election Commission said.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1097718

Sindh Assembly calls for dissolution of the Council of Islamic Ideology

Sindh Assembly calls for dissolution of CII

By Hafeez Tunio

KARACHI: Irrespective of their political differences, the lawmakers of Sindh have not only criticised the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), but have also tabled a resolution calling for the dissolution of the council entirely.

The assembly showed strong reservations about the recent recommendations of the CII that, they believe, reveal a complete indifference and insensitivity towards women.

“No minimum age for marriage, recommendations against DNA testing for rape cases and no requirement of the wife’s consent for a second marriage are recommendations by the council’s head that are regressive and anti-women,” states the resolution, which was moved by Mahtab Akbar Rashdi, an MPA

Read more » The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/689518/sindh-assembly-calls-for-dissolution-of-cii/

7 jihadists blown up while making roadside bombs in a mosque

“7 militants blown up while making roadside bombs in a mosque in Ghazni,” Khaama Press, March 30, 2014 (thanks to Jack)
At least seven militants were killed while making improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in eastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan.
The interior ministry following a statement said the incident took place inside a mosque in Deh Yak district on Saturday. The statement by interior ministry further added that the explosion left seven militants dead and there were no other casualties.

- See more at: http://pamelageller.com/2014/04/7-jihadists-blown-making-roadside-bombs-mosque.html/#sthash.2j0DvBRX.dpuf

http://pamelageller.com/2014/04/7-jihadists-blown-making-roadside-bombs-mosque.html

CANADA – Nurses’ strike creates confusion for Halifax-area patients

By CBC

Patients scheduled for surgery in the Capital District Health Authority are scrambling to learn if their procedures will go ahead after thousands of nurses started an illegal strike Tuesday morning.

Read more » CBC
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/nurses-strike-creates-confusion-for-halifax-area-patients-1.2593847

PAKISTAN – As a state and society, are we a basket case?

Comment by Shahab Usto

In Karachi–Jinnah’s Mausoleum has been shut for security reasons. Among a host of no-go areas, this new addition is the most tragic and shameful of all.

In Lahore–A poor christian has been sentenced to death on a cooked-up blasphemy charge. If the judiciary itself plays to the gallery, instead of following law and constitution, then from where would the ‘minority’ citizens seek justice and protection.

In Hyderabad–A Kali Mata temple has been set ablaze by the ‘soldiers of Islam‘. And then we expect the world to condemn Chief Minister Narendra Modi for enacting a pogrom against the Muslims in Indian Gujarat?

In Thar–for all the tall claims, the children continue to die of dearth and disease. Yet our ‘august’ rulers continue to harp on claiming that they are not dying of famine but malnourishment, and hence they are absolved of all their duties to protect the citizens!

In Waziristan–Our official interlocutors are grovelling before a bunch of terrorists and mass killers to extend the ‘cease-fire’ with the nuclear-armed state, possessing the sixth largest armed forces in the world and a land of 200 million people!

With the prevalence of such levels of apathy, injustice, absurdity and incorrigibility, is there any doubt that we as a state and society have completely turned into a hopeless basket case??

Courtesy: » via Facebook

Pak army stopped Nawaz Sharif govt from trade deal: India

By

NEW DELHI: UPA-2 will perhaps best be remembered for a series of financial scams and the so-called policy paralysis but as it prepares to sign off, it is now hobbled by its Pakistan policy.

Stung by what India sees as Pakistan’s refusal to allow any concession to the outgoing government for normalizing trade relations, senior government sources here told TOI Islamabad’s policy over the issue was being dictated by Pakistan’s military establishment. They said the upcoming elections are now certain to mark the termination of the idea that trade can lead to peaceful relations between the two countries.

“The several recent flip-flops made by the Nawaz Sharif government on the issue has greatly reduced the its credibility with Indian negotiators who have concluded that in addition to political and security policy, the Pakistan government does not even have the ability to go against the Pakistan military dictates on issues related to economic reforms,” said a top government official, in a reaction to Sharif’s comment on Monday that MFN status to India has been delayed because of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Read more » THE TIMES OF INDIA
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pak-army-stopped-Nawaz-Sharif-govt-from-trade-deal-India/articleshow/32699101.cms

 

PAKISTAN: Three Sindhi nationalists were killed on Independence Day in a fake police encounter – many young people remain missing after arrest

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-112-2013 – The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that on the 66 celebration of the Independence Day of Pakistan, three more Sindh nationalists were gunned downed in a fake encounter in Karachi and many young Sindhi activists were arrested from different districts of Sindh province and their whereabouts are unknown.

Read more » ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAC-112-2013/?searchterm=afzal+panhwar

Other voices: An ominous sign

DR Hameed Soomro writes: a tragedy took place near Naushahro Feroze claiming the lives of Maqsood Qureshi, brother of late nationalist leader Bashir Qureshi and Salman Wadho. … After [being] shot the bodies were dumped in their car and set on fire. … Earlier Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz chief Bashir Qureshi also died in mysterious circumstances. …Maqsood belonged to a nationalist group which … [does not] … pose a threat to the state. … The group did not announce any armed struggle. Still Maqsood was killed. There are speculations that … this might be a message to the group to remain within its limits. … This incident [sends] the message that Balochistan-like conditions are being created in Sindh. … It is the responsibility of the government … to solve this mystery. … — (March 23) ~ Selected and translated by Sohail Sangi.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1095465?fb_action_ids=10152130818119830&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=[1481293392099200]&action_type_map=[%22og.likes%22]&action_ref_map=[]