US should dump Islamabad, Pakistan diplomat says

WASHINGTON: Washington and Islamabad should give up the fiction of being allies and acknowledge that their interests simply do not converge enough to make them strong partners, Pakistan’s recent envoy to the US, who is now a hunted man in his home country, has advised both sides in a searing examination of tortured relationship between the two countries.

Instead, says Hussain Haqqani, till recently Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, Washington should leave Pakistan to its own devices so that it can discover for itself how weak it is without American aid and support, eventually enabling it to return to the mainstream suitably chastened about its limitations.

“By coming to terms with this reality, Washington would be freer to explore new ways of pressuring Pakistan and achieving its own goals in the region. Islamabad, meanwhile, could finally pursue its regional ambitions, which would either succeed once and for all or, more likely, teach Pakistani officials the limitations of their country’s power,” Haqqani writes about the broken relationship in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs journal.

“Once Pakistan’s national security elites recognize the limits of their power, the country might eventually seek a renewed partnership with the United States — but this time with greater humility and an awareness of what it can and cannot get,” says Haqqani who was ousted by Pakistan’s security establishment because he was seen to be working with Washington to contain the overarching influence of the military on Pakistan.

Taking a distinctly dim view of Pakistan’s prospects without US support, Haqqani acknowledges that “it is also possible, although less likely,” that Pakistani leaders could decide that they are able to do quite well on their own, without relying heavily on the United States, as they have come to do over the last several decades. In that case, too, the mutual frustrations resulting from Pakistan’s reluctant dependency on the United States would come to an end.

“Even if the breakup of the alliance did not lead to such a dramatic denouement, it would still leave both countries free to make the tough strategic decisions about dealing with the other that each has been avoiding,” Haqqani writes. “Pakistan could find out whether its regional policy objectives of competing with and containing India are attainable without US support. The United States would be able to deal with issues such as terrorism and nuclear proliferation without the burden of Pakistani allegations of betrayal.”

Continue reading US should dump Islamabad, Pakistan diplomat says

Canadians losing confidence in Harper Govt.

The Nanos Number

By CBC News

Each Wednesday, Nik Nanos of Nanos Research digs beneath the numbers with Power & Politics host Evan Solomon to get to the political, economic and social forces that shape our lives.

Recognized as one of Canada’s top research experts, Nik Nanos provides numbers-driven counsel to senior executives and major organizations. He leads the analyst team at Nanos, is a fellow of the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, a research associate professor with SUNY (Buffalo) and a 2013 public policy scholar with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC.

Tune in for the Nanos Number, Wednesdays on Power & Politics with Evan Solomon, 5 to 7 p.m. ET on CBC News Network.

View past episodes below:

March 14: More Canadians see the economy getting weaker

The Nanos Number: 27, the percentage of Canadians who think the economy is getting weaker — a five-point increase in February over January. Read more and watch the full episode

March 6: Conservatives losing support

The Nanos Number: 32, the percentage national support for the Conservatives according to the latest Nanos tracking poll — the party’s lowest level in the tracking poll since August, 2009. Read more and watch the episode

Feb. 27: Canadian firms see drop in net profits

The Nanos Number: 29. That’s the percentage drop in net profits for Canadian companies over the past year, according to Statistics Canada. Should Canadians be worried? Read more and watch the episode

Read more » CBC News
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/05/28/pol-the-nanos-number.html

Sharia law comes to rebel-held areas of Syria. Western powers are facilitating the Jihadi takeover of yet another country.

Islamic law comes to rebel-held Syria

ALEPPO, Syria — The evidence was incontrovertible, captured on video and posted on YouTube for all the world to see. During a demonstration against the Syrian regime, Wael Ibrahim, a veteran activist, had tossed aside a banner inscribed with the Muslim declaration of faith.

And that, decreed the officers of the newly established Sharia Authority set up to administer rebel-held Aleppo, constitutes a crime under Islamic law, punishable in this instance by 10 strokes of a metal pipe.

The beating administered last month offered a vivid illustration of the extent to which the Syrian revolution has strayed from its roots as a largely spontaneous uprising against four decades of Assad family rule. After mutating last year into a full-scale war, it is moving toward what appears to be an organized effort to institute Islamic law in areas that have fallen under rebel control.

Building on the reputation they have earned in recent months as the rebellion’s most accomplished fighters, Islamist units are seeking to assert their authority over civilian life, imposing Islamic codes and punishments and administering day-to-day matters such as divorce, marriage and vehicle licensing.

Numerous Islamist groups are involved, representing a wide spectrum of views. But, increasingly, the dominant role is falling to Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the al-Nusra Front. The group has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States for suspected ties to al-Qaeda but is widely respected by many ordinary Syrians for its battlefield prowess and the assistance it has provided to needy civilians.

Across the northeastern provinces of Deir al-Zour and Raqqah, where the rebels have been making rapid advances in recent weeks, Jabhat al-Nusra has taken the lead both in the fighting and in setting out to replace toppled administrations. It has assumed control of bakeries and the distribution of flour and fuel, and in some instances it has sparked tensions with local fighters by trying to stop people from smoking in the streets.

Here in the war-ravaged city of Aleppo, more than half of which has been under rebel control since July, Jabhat al-Nusra is also widely identified as the leading force behind the Hayaa al-Sharia, which loosely translates as the Sharia Authority and is known simply as the Hayaa.

Based out of the city’s former Eye Hospital, which was damaged during the fighting and then occupied by Jabhat al-Nusra as its headquarters, the Hayaa is also backed by other rebel units, including the Tawhid Brigade, the city’s biggest fighting force, and the Ahrar al-Sham, a homegrown Islamist force that has played a relatively minor role in Aleppo but is powerful in several other provinces.

Islamic administration

These days, the bomb-scarred former hospital has taken on the semblance of a wartime city hall, with people milling in and out seeking permits to carry a gun or transport fuel through checkpoints, complaining about neighbors, reporting thefts and informing on people suspected to be regime loyalists.

Courtesy: Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/islamic-law-comes-to-rebel-held-syria/2013/03/19/b310532e-90af-11e2-bdea-e32ad90da239_story.html

BlackBerry inventor starts quantum technology fund aiming to turn “Star Trek” devices into reality

BlackBerry Inventor Starts Fund to Make Star Trek Device Reality

By Hugo Miller & Jon Erlichman

Mike Lazaridis, inventor of the BlackBerry smartphone, is starting a C$100 million ($97 million) quantum technology fund that’s aiming to turn devices like the medical tricorder from “Star Trek” into reality.

The fund, called Quantum Valley Investments, is being financed exclusively by Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, an old friend and co-founder of Research In Motion Ltd. (BB), the company behind the BlackBerry. The goal is to commercialize technologies from a cluster of research labs that have been bankrolled by Lazaridis. At least one startup has signed up with the fund and the first products may emerge in the next two to three years, he said.

“What we’re excited about is these little gems coming out,” Lazaridis said in an interview in Toronto. “The medical tricorder would be astounding, the whole idea of blood tests, MRIs — imagine if you could do that with a single device. That may be possible and possible only because of the sensitivity, selectivity and resolution we can get from quantum sensors made with these quantum breakthroughs.”

Lazaridis, who stepped down as RIM’s co-chief executive officer 14 months ago, is putting his time and fortune into quantum computing and nanotechnology — sometimes referred to as the “science of the small” — which uses atomic-sized technology in fields ranging from medicine to cryptography.

Quantum Computing

He opened the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre in his hometown of Waterloo, Ontario, last September, financing the effort with a $100 million donation. That lab complements the Institute for Quantum Computing and the more-than-decade-old Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, both founded with more than $250 million of Lazaridis’s own money and additional funds he helped raise.

The Quantum Valley fund will probably focus on one to two dozen companies, he said. It may take a few years to make the investments, said Lazaridis, who declined to name the startups that are under consideration.

“We’re being very strategic with the funds,” he said. “This is not a venture capital fund that we’re all used to.”

Noninvasive medical-testing equipment — the real-life versions of the scanning devices used by “Star Trek” medics — will probably be a focus of the fund.

Continue reading BlackBerry inventor starts quantum technology fund aiming to turn “Star Trek” devices into reality

An ‘Open Letter’ by Dr. Allah Nazar of the Balochistan Liberation Front to Pakistan TV anchor, Hamid Mir

March 15, 2013

Dear Hamid Mir,

I am writing you this letter with the hope that perhaps the historians of the next century – standing in the witness box of history – will reveal the truth about the oppressed Baloch nation, hold the colonial powers and occupying rulers of the day accountable and examine the role and discourse of its advocates and intelligentsia. It should not be the case that today’s columnists and intellectuals are restrained by the fear of the ruler or its lust for conquest.

A century ago, British Lord B. Fell said, “We know and understand the history of Egypt far better than the Egyptians do.” Even one hundred and 25 years later these contemptuous words remain on the pages of history.

Similarly, the President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, when in Garhi Khuda Baksh said, “Baloch should learn politics from us.”

His implication was that the Baloch are ignorant, illiterate and unfamiliar with statecraft–born to be slaves. There is only the gap of a century between the words of Lord B. Fell and President Zardari, but the subject and message is the same: the lesson of slavery.

Mr. Hamid Mir, you hold the leading position among contemporary intellectuals belonging to the colonial state’s electronic and print media. Many of the policies of the state are devised and executed with the counsel of your community.

But knowledge and consciousness demand to be on the side of truth. Jean-Paul Sartre, who despite being French, supported the Algerian freedom movement against the colonial system with his pen and wrote a golden chapter of history.

Like Sartre, Mr. Hamid Mir, you are an intellectual. Yet you not only support the inhumane, immoral and terrorizing conduct of the occupying state in Balochistan, you have also actively advised the state regarding how to eliminate the Baloch freedom fighters and how to perpetuate its occupation over Baloch land.

Continue reading An ‘Open Letter’ by Dr. Allah Nazar of the Balochistan Liberation Front to Pakistan TV anchor, Hamid Mir