Russian Warships Enter Venezuela

Caracas: Russian warships have sailed into a Venezuelan port in the first deployment of its kind in the Caribbean since the end of the Cold War. Thevessels were greeted by a 21-gun military salute on Tuesday at the start of a week of joint manoeuvres as Moscow and Caracas seek to strengthen their political and trade ties. The ships, including the nuclear powered cruiser Peter the Great and the destroyer Admiral Chabankenko, arrived at La Guaira, a port near to the capital Caracas, to coincide with a two day visit by Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president. However, the move has been widely interpreted as a demonstration of the Kremilin’s anger at the US or both its plans to install a missile-defence shield in eastern Europe and its decision to send aid-laden warships to Georgia this summer. Russia and Georgia were briefly at war during August over the disputed independence of border states South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The US administration played down any concerns over the joint show of force by two of its sharpest critics. Sean McGormack, the US state department spokesman, said: ” I don’t think there’s any qustion about.. who the region looks to in terms of political, economic, diplomatic and as well as military power. “If the Venezuelans and the Russians want to have a military exercise, that’s fine. But we’ll obisously be watching it very closely,” he said.

Pakistan To Free 101 Indian Prisoners In Goodwill Gesture

Islamabad: One hundred and one Indian prisners being released by Pakistan will cross the Wagah border Wednesday when Foreighn Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will be in New Delhi to discuss confindence building measures with his counterpart Pranab Mukherjee. Pakistan on Sunday announced that 99 Indian fishermaen arrested for illegally entering into Pakistan’s territory and two other prisoners who have completed their jail terms will be handed over to the Indian authorities at the Wagah border on Wednesday. An official of Karachi’s Malir jail said that 99 fishermen left for Lahore on Tuesday morning while tow prisoners will be released from the Lahore jail. The official said that 302 fishermen than 100 Indian prisoners in other jails, besides more than 100 Indians in other jails, most of whom have completed their terms. This also includes Indian prisoner on death row Sarabjit Singh, whose mercy petition is pending with the president. There was speculation he may be released after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in August said he had requested the president to consider his mercy petition. However, the officials refusing to give the names of prisoners being released from the Lahore jail but said that Singh is not among them.

Pakistan: Tax troubles

WASHINGTON DIARY: Tax troubles (comment on IMF loan)
by Dr Manzur Ejaz, USA

November 25th, 2008
Courtesy and thanks:
There is no way out of our perpetual economic crisis without enforceable progressive taxation. It is not possible for Pakistan to avoid such crises when the taxable don’t pay up and those eligible for state handouts foot the bill.

Continue reading Pakistan: Tax troubles