Alarm bells in the U.S.

Alarms are ringing as negative trends come together in a perfect storm. Is the United States sleepwalking into economic and geopolitical decline?

By ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE, UPI Editor at Large

WASHINGTON, May 29 (UPI) — Gen. David Richards, the British chief of staff, in the understatement of the week, says the strategic landscape is “worrying” and the outlook “bleak.”

The United States as the world’s strongest geopolitical player has become ungovernable, saddled with a dysfunctional Congress. House and Senate together, with 535 members, maintain 250 committees and subcommittees and micromanage muscular government decisions into unworkable policy directives.

No fewer than 108 committees have oversight jurisdiction on Homeland Security.

The latest book of Edward Luce, the Financial Times’ chief U.S. commentator, and former FT Washington bureau chief (2006-11), is titled, “Time to Start Thinking: America in the Age of Descent.”

America, he says, is sleepwalking into economic and geopolitical decline.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Analysis/de-Borchgrave/2012/05/29/Commentary-Alarm-bells-in-the-US/UPI-42381338299783/#ixzz1wIdSUlVl

U.S. military developing miniature drones that resemble birds and insects

By Wichaar Desk

The U.S. military is developing these. innocent-looking devices that are actually some of the most sophisticated drones on the planet. They resemble children’s toys that are left disgarded in closets around the world.

The U.S. Air Force is developing the miniature spy craft with the goal of making them so small that they resemble birds and even insects.

Some even have moving wings that military chiefs hope will look so convincing that people won’t pay them any attention.

The Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) are being developed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

The base’s Air Force Research Laboratory mission is to develop MAVs that can find, track and target adversaries while operating in complex urban environments.

The engineers, led by Dr Gregory Parker, are using a variety of small helicopters and drones in the lab to develop the programs and software.

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Mending fences: PPP cabinet body off to a bad start

By: Jan Khaskheli

SINDH – Karachi :- A Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) federal cabinet committee, which was scheduled to meet politicians, writers, intellectuals, and civil society activists in Sindh to allay growing resentment against the party, faced a number of impediments during a recent trip to Hyderabad, The News has learnt.

Contrary to the rumours, the committee did not meet with Awami Tehreek (AT) President Ayaz Latif Palijo, the man considered one of the main stakeholders in the politics of  Sindh. Palijo told The News that he demanded the committee to show its terms of reference to prove how serious they were in alleviating the grievances of the people of Sindh.

“Their seriousness can be gauged by the fact that they preferred to discuss a very important issue with a handful of civil society representatives instead of political parties,” he regretted. The committee was also boycotted by a number of writers and civil society representatives, who questioned the authority of the body. When the committee met with members of the civil society, only a handful of academics and two representatives of nongovernmental organisations were present on the occasion.

The majority of participants remained silent during the meeting, while the rest largely raised irrelevant issues such as the falling educational standards and water shortage.Veteran scholar and writer Mohammed Ibrahim Joyo, who was supposed to represent writers and the civil society, plainly refused to participate in the meeting. Similarly, the Sindhi Adabi Sangat (SAS), a literary body that claims running about 120 branches with hundreds of writers and poets, also boycotted the meeting.

“We had a number of demands to put before the committee, but we refused to attend because the organisers prohibited us from raising any controversial topic during the meeting,” SAS Secretary Dr Mushtaq Phul told The News.

A number of civil society representatives rued that the police were cracking down on nationalists. They also claimed that those, who tried to express solidarity with the victims of the Mohabbat-e-Sindh rally, had been “whisked away” by the law-enforcement agencies.

Many PPP activists have also expressed their reservations over their party’s silence on the attack on the Mohabbat-e-Sindh rally that left 12 people dead.

The spokesman for the Sindh United Party said his party has announced an all parties’ conference in Karachi, Sindh on May 29 in which all parties have been invited – except for the PPP and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. “They [the PPP and the MQM] are involved in the conspiracy to divide Sindh,” he maintained.

Although Sindh has traditionally been a PPP stronghold, the increasing political instability, the calls for the division of the province, the deteriorating law and order situation in the rural areas, the kidnapping and subsequent murder of political activists including Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz General Secretary Muzaffar Bhutto and the attack on the Mohabbat-e-Sindh rally have left much of Sindh disillusioned with the current leadership.

Courtesy: The News

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-111062-Mending-fences-PPP-cabinet-body-off-to-a-bad-start

Philippine Senate voted to remove Supreme Court Chief Justice

Philippines’ top judge ousted in victory for Aquino

By Stabroek editor

MANILA, (Reuters) – The Philippine Senate voted today to remove the country’s top judge for failing to disclose his wealth, a landmark victory for President Benigno Aquino as he pushes a campaign to root out endemic corruption in the Southeast Asian nation.

More than two-thirds of the 23 senators voted to oust Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, who becomes the first official in the country to be removed by an impeachment court. The decision bars him permanently from public office.

The ruling is likely to be welcomed by investors amid concern that the four-month-long trial was distracting the government from policy matters at a time when the Philippines is seeing a resurgence of interest in its long-underperforming economy. ….

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Chicago Tribune – 10 reasons why Pakistan should apologize to U.S.

By Malik Siraj Akbar

Pakistan‘sobsession with extracting an apology from the U.S. for airstrikes that accidentally killed 24 Pakistani troops last year seems dubious considering its own questionable commitment in the fight against terrorism.

Instead of jeopardizing U.S. efforts in South Asia, the Pakistani government should instead show courage by owning up to its destructive policies and apologize for its mishaps.

Here are at least 10 reasons why Pakistan owes the U.S. its deepest apology:

1. Osama bin Laden: On May 2, 2011, Osama bin Laden was killed near the Pakistan Military Academy, the equivalent of West Point. Pakistan was receiving about $18 billion from the U.S. to dismantle al-Qaida, while bin Laden was living comfortably with his wives and children in Abbottabad. Instead of apologizing for its complicity or incompetence, Pakistan vigorously protested violation of its sovereignty by theU.S. military operation that killed bin Laden. In fact, Pakistan’s National Assembly offered religious prayers for bin Laden, and civilian protests across the country condemned the killing.

2. Doctor on trial: Last week, Dr. Shakil Afridi, a surgeon who helped the CIA locate bin Laden’s whereabouts under the cover of a vaccination campaign, was convicted of treason and sentenced to 33 years in prison and fined about $3,500. So, let’s get this straight. Pakistan publicly pledges to eliminate terrorism, yet punishes its citizens for helping to do so?

3. Embassy attack: On Sept. 13, 2011, well-equipped insurgents linked to the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, allied with al-Qaida and the Taliban, attacked the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. Adm. Mike Mullen, the then-Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, said the network is a “veritable arm” ofInter-Services Intelligence, the Pakistani spy agency. Instead of working to dismantle the terror network, Pakistan’s army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani complained that his country was being “singled out,” and that it was “neither fair nor productive.” Hence, the network continues to undermine coalition efforts in Afghanistan.

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Workers Party Pakistan UK opposed the division of Sindh

Condolence meeting in London for Ghazala Siddiqui Shaheed of Mohabat-e-Sindh

A condolence meeting of Workers Party Pakistan UK was convened in London to condole the sad demise of Ghazala Sadiqqi at the hands of fascist mafia’s attack on peaceful rally in Karachi, Sindh. The meeting was presided by Ahmad Nawaz Wattoo, convener WPP UK and attended by Dr. Iftikhar Mehmood, Dr. Tuheed Ahmed Khan, Rizwan Kayani, Mian Rashid Aslam, Munib Anwar, Yahya Hashmi, Mian Imran Latif, Atif Jamal and Rehan Khushi.

The meeting condemned the fascist mafia’s attack on the peaceful protestors in Karachi during Muhabat Sindh rally on 22 May 2012. Due to the firing of the fascist terrorist mafia a bullet hit Ghazala Siddiqquie, a brave progressive woman, mother of three children, a loving wife and niece of comrade Usman Balouch, member Central Committee Workers Party Pakistan. The participants of the meeting offered their condolence and solidarity with Comrade Usman Balouch and bereaved family and friends of Ghazala. The participants demanded the arrests of the culprits of fascist mafia immediately. The meeting also opposed the division of Sindh.

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What happens when organized crime takes office? The rise of the mafia states

Mafia States – Organized Crime Takes Office

By Moisés Naím

The Rise of the Mezzanine Rulers

Michael Crawford and Jami Miscik

Governments across the Middle East and South Asia are increasingly losing power to substate actors that are inserting themselves at a mezzanine level of rule between the government and the people. Western policymakers must address the problem systematically, at both a political and a legal level, rather than continue to pursue reactive and disjointed measures on a case-by-case basis.

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