Why they killed Arif Shahid

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

On the evening of May 13, an assassin stepped out of a car that had just driven to the doorstep of Sardar Arif Shahid’s residence in Rawalpindi.

He waited for the 62-year-old Kashmiri leader to arrive. After pumping four bullets into him, the killer calmly got back into the car and was whisked away.

A major Kashmiri nationalist leader, chairman of the All Parties National Alliance (APNA) and president of the Jammu Kashmir National Liberation Conference (JKNLC), had just been silenced. Mysteriously, a press that thrives on crime reporting was mum the next day. The murder still remains unreported.

My first meeting with Arif Shahid was just a few days after the October 8, 2005 earthquake. It had nothing to do with the politics of Kashmir. A team of teachers and students from Quaid-e-Azam University, using money raised by the Eqbal Ahmad Foundation, were engaged in a relief operation that was to last many months.

There were already 90,000 dead, and thousands of houses had been reduced to rubble. Winter was around the corner and countless more people would die unless they could be protected from the snow and bitter cold nights to come.

For our team, Arif Shahid was a gift from heaven because of his close familiarity with the villages around the earthquake devastated towns of Rawalakot, Bagh and Muzzafarabad. The number of shelterless families in dire need was staggering.

But how could strangers like us separate the needy from the scores of hucksters swarming around? We had enough wherewithal to construct 2,000 corrugated tin-roof shelters — a drop in the bucket, perhaps, but still significant if apportioned properly.

With perspicacity and determination, Arif Shahid set about the task of separating the needy from the greedy and patiently walked us around the worst-hit areas.

Gruff only in appearance, he was warm, caring and friendly. We noted with some amusement that, although Islamabad was just a few tens of miles away, he would invariably introduce us to groups of survivors as honourable guests from Pakistan!

Who killed him? As in the case of Saleem Shahzad, fingers will inevitably be pointed but there will be no closure. At the same time, the mystery is not impossible to fathom.

Family members, and others close to Arif Shahid, say that he had long been under observation and books that he had authored were seized.

As one who had successfully brought together fractious groups from both sides of Kashmir, he was considered especially effective as a mediator. In 2009, he had therefore been placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) and his passport had been confiscated. It was later returned after he won a court battle.

Speakers at a small protest meeting that I attended in Rawalpindi a few days after the murder said that he had received threats that, for now, he had decided to ignore.

Significantly, this appears to be the first instance where a major Kashmiri nationalist leader was actually eliminated. Arousing suspicion is that there has been no condemnation of the murder by Pakistani political and military leaders, nor a demand that an investigation be launched. Instead, Amer Shahid, Arif Shahid’s son, has been threatened with dire consequences if he attempts to place the blame on any agency. He has been instructed to attribute the murder to a family feud.

Continue reading Why they killed Arif Shahid

Ram Jethmalani expelled from BJP for 6 years

NEW DELHI: Rebel BJP MP Ram Jethmalani, who had been critical of the BJP leadership and had revolted against then party chief Nitin Gadkari, was on Tuesday expelled from the primary membership of the party for six years on charges of “breach of discipline”.

The expulsion of 89-year-old Jethmalani, who is a member of Rajya Sabha, by the BJP parliamentary board comes weeks after he had barged into a parliamentary party meeting and questioned his continued suspension. He had also asked if he could be issued a whip when he has been suspended.

Continue reading Ram Jethmalani expelled from BJP for 6 years

Drug Policies Fuel Deadly Hepatitis C Epidemic

Punitive Approach Endangering Public Health

(New York) – Governments should ensure that efforts to reduce illicit drug use do not increase vulnerability to infection with hepatitis C or impede access to treatment, Human Rights Watch said today in response to a report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy. The report, released on May 30, 2013, urges reform of existing drug policies to protect public health, minimize human rights violations, and ensure access to health care for drug users.

The 20-page report, “The Negative Impact of the War on Drugs on Public Health: The Hidden Hepatitis C Epidemic,” was released in advance of the 23rd International Harm Reduction Conference, Vilnius, Lithuania, June 9 to 12.  Lithuania lies on the frontiers of the world’s fastest growing hepatitis C and HIV epidemics in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

“Punitive drug laws expose drug users to unnecessary illness and even death from hepatitis C,” said Rebecca Schleifer, health and human rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “The epidemic makes it urgent for governments to reform these laws to protect both drug users and the public health.”

The report recommends urgent and wide-ranging reforms of international drug control policies to protect the health and other human rights of drug users.

The report says that repressive drug policies have failed to reduce the worldwide illicit drug supply, and fueled the growth of organized crime, violence, and mass incarceration of people who use drugs. These failed policies have also fueled a “viral time bomb” – a massive hepatitis C epidemic that threatens serious and long-term global human, social, and economic costs.

Human Rights Watch research in many countries including the US,Ukraine, Russia, Thailand, Canada, Kazakhstan, and Bangladesh – has documented how criminal laws relating to drug use and possession for personal use, and related law enforcement practices drive people away from lifesaving information and health services.

Continue reading Drug Policies Fuel Deadly Hepatitis C Epidemic

Chinese cleared of blasphemy in Pakistan

Chinese worker cleared of blasphemy in Pakistan

By

MUZAFFARABAD: Authorities in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Thursday cleared a Chinese man accused of committing blasphemy by desecrating a Quran, officials said.

Lee Ping, the administration manager of a Chinese consortium building a major hydropower project, was accused on May 17 of throwing the Islamic holy book on the ground, prompting hundreds of workers to attack his company offices.

Blasphemy is a highly sensitive issue in Pakistan, where 97 per cent of the 180 million population are Muslims. Even unproven allegations can spark a violent and sometimes deadly public response.

Police took Lee into protective custody at a secret location after protests erupted at the company offices near Muzaffarabad, the main town of the disputed Himalayan region, but on Thursday he was cleared.

“Police investigation has cleared the Chinese worker of desecration of Quran charges,” cabinet minister Matloob Inqalabi told reporters.

Continue reading Chinese cleared of blasphemy in Pakistan

Delhi University council orders sociology department to ‘swap Marx for Indian thinkers’

By Neha Pushkarna

Delhi University’s academic council (AC) on Tuesday cleared the new curricula for history and sociology, but not without stipulations.

The members found the sociology syllabus to be leaning towards “left ideology” and a bit dense for undergraduate students.

The AC has asked the sociology department to review the syllabus and make the suggested changes within the next three months.

The department has been asked to cut down on the number of papers on Marx and introduce Indian social thinkers in the content. The two courses had been pending because of “noncooperation” from teachers.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2332298/Delhi-University-council-orders-sociology-department-swap-Marx-Indian-thinkers.html#ixzz2UiUsWope

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PAKISTAN – Chinese bank to provide funds for hydropower project

LAHORE: The EXIM Bank of China has signed an agreement with the government of Pakistan to provide $448 million for the strategically important 969MW Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project.

The agreement, a significant development in the efforts to obtain funds for the remaining work on the project, was signed last week during Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s visit to Pakistan.

The project is being constructed on River Neelum in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Besides generating much-needed low-cost hydel electricity to help mitigate power shortages, the project will also enable Pakistan to establish its priority rights on the river waters.

Wapda is striving to complete the project by 2016 according to its construction schedule.

At present, construction work at different sites of the project is moving forward satisfactorily. Of the combined 67-kilometre tunnels, 34.24km long tunnels (51 per cent) have so far been excavated. Work on excavation of under-ground powerhouse has been completed by 75.24 per cent, on transformers hall by 96.33 per cent and on de-sander of the project by 95 per cent.

Construction of Nauseri Bridge over River Neelum and second stage diversion of the river have been completed.

After completion, the project will contribute 5.15 billion units of cheap electricity to the national grid every year. Annual benefits of the project have been estimated at about Rs45 billion.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://dawn.com/2013/05/29/chinese-bank-to-provide-funds-for-hydropower-project/

The Real Numbers: Half of America in Poverty — and It’s Creeping toward 75%

The Census Bureau has reported that one out of six Americans lives in poverty. A shocking figure. But it’s actually much, much worse.

The Census Bureau has reported that one out of six Americans lives in poverty. A shocking figure. But it’s actually much worse. Inequality is spreading like a shadowy disease through our country, infecting more and more households, and leaving a shrinking number of financially secure families to maintain the charade of prosperity.

1. Almost half of Americans had NO assets in 2009

Analysis of  Economic Policy Institute data shows that Mitt Romney’s famous  47 percent, the alleged ‘takers,’ have taken nothing. Their debt exceeded their assets in 2009.

Continue reading The Real Numbers: Half of America in Poverty — and It’s Creeping toward 75%

Demand for referendum to seek views of Sindhis on ‘independence’

By: Daily Dawn report

SINDH: KARACHI, May 25: The Jeay Sindh Mahaz, alleging that resources of the province had been snatched from the Sindhis and outsiders were being brought in to turn the natives into a minority, demanded on Saturday that a referendum be held to determine if the Sindhis wanted to live in the present set-up or wished independence.

Speaking at a rally titled ‘Right of self-determination: our goal independence’ and organised by the JSM at the Karachi Press Club, JSM chief Abdul Khalique Junejo said that Pakistan came into being on the basis of the Lahore Resolution of 1940 under which sovereign and autonomous status of Sindh and other national units had been accepted, but after independence the country had been diverted in another direction.He alleged that first houses, properties and jobs of Sindhis were snatched, then their factories and lands were taken away and now they were being robbed of their natural resources, their water was being stolen, the Sindhi language was being deprived of its status and Sindhi culture was being humiliated. He said that outsiders were being brought in to turn the Sindhis into a minority on their own land and now some people were even demanding division of Sindh.

He said people were free to come, live and work here, but it should be understood that they would not be allowed to rule over Sindh — a right only the Sindhis had. He said Karachi is the capital and an integral part of Sindh and belonged to the Sindhis.

He said that keeping in view the situation it was high time that a sovereign status of Sindh be accepted and the right of self-determination — accepted by the United Nations as well as the Pakistan Resolution — of the Sindhis be given to them. He demanded that a referendum be held to know if the Sindhis wanted to live in the present set-up or wanted independence. Usman Baloch of the Awami Workers Party demanded that rights of the Sindhis be accepted.

Continue reading Demand for referendum to seek views of Sindhis on ‘independence’

British people are committing suicide to escape poverty. Is this what the State wants?

By Sonia Poulton

In the last few months of his life, Craig Monk attempted several overdoses and was described as ‘vulnerable’ by his family.

An accident a few years before had resulted in the partial amputation of his leg and he had suffered unnecessary, and anxiety-inducing, obstructions in receiving state assistance – even though his disability was clear for all see. Over time he slipped further into poverty, the ends could no longer meet.

Finally, the fear of there not being a light at the end of his personal tunnel overwhelmed him and Mr. Monk, a 43-year-old from Burnley, was found hanging in his home in October last year.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2117718/British-people-committing-suicide-escape-poverty-Is-State-wants.html#ixzz2UOxRN5Yg 

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Roots of Impunity – The Murder of Wali Khan Babar

Roots of Impunity

1. The Murder of Wali Khan Babar

On January 13, 2011, Wali Khan Babar, a 28-year-old correspondent for Geo TV, was driving home after covering another day of gang violence in Karachi. Babar was an unusual face on the airwaves: Popular and handsome, he was a Pashtun from Zhob in Baluchistan near the border with Afghanistan. For Geo, it was a rare boon to have a Pashtun in Karachi, and so the station planned to send him abroad for training to become an anchor.

Pashtuns, represented by the Pashtun nationalist Awami National Party, and Muhajirs, represented by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, have been enmeshed in violent attacks and counterattacks at a level not seen since the 1990s, and Babar was passionate about covering and stopping them. For a time, he was able to mingle easily among the competing forces. He reported on clashes, extortion, drug dealing, and land grabbing. He knew he was in treacherous water, but he was optimistic and, as he told one of his colleagues, he thought he could forge a truce between the ANP and MQM. But lately he was nervous. He told his boss that the MQM was after him. He told a Pashtun colleague that he thought people were following him home and watching his movements. “I get phone calls every day with threats,” said a Geo supervisor, “and unfortunately we didn’t realize the gravity of why he was saying that.”

The day before, on January 12, 2011, Mohammad Shahrukh Khan, aka Mani, was ordered to follow Babar home, but he couldn’t find the reporter. Mani, a young Muhajir and MQM member, had worked in his father’s paan and confectionary shop until he got involved with the MQM’s Faisal Mota, a community organizer and squad leader. Once Mani joined the MQM he did various jobs—selling cigarettes, brokering, election campaigning. On January 13, he got another call from Mota, who told him to go back to Geo offices where another MQM comrade would give him a car to follow Babar.

Mani arrived outside the offices of Geo around Asr, the afternoon prayer. Two MQM guys named Zeeshan and Liaqat were already there and gave him the keys to a silver Suzuki, parked behind Babar’s car. They had put a 50-rupee credit on Mani’s mobile and told him to call when Babar pulled out. Around 8:30 p.m., Babar got in his car and began his drive home. Mani called Zeeshan: “He’s leaving.” He then called his boss, Faisal Mota, who kept him on the phone to narrate the exact route—through the Saddar area, by the lines for cricket, past the post office and the Esso station. And then suddenly there was Zeeshan. Babar was stuck in traffic in Liaquatabad, an exclusively Muhajir neighborhood, with Mani behind him. Zeeshan, wearing a cap, went in front of Mani up to Babar’s car, raised a black pistol, and fired six or seven times through the window. We know all this from Mani’s videotaped confession, which can be found online.

Mani panicked and fled. He called Faisal Mota. What’s going on? By the time he got to Faisal Mota’s house several MQM guys were already there—men with names like Waseem Commando and Shahid Commando. Zeeshan arrived soon after and then Mota walked in. Mota told Mani to relax and say not a word, but Mani left the next day for Lahore, where he stayed for two months. Upon his return to Karachi he went to Mota’s office in Gulshan. By now the police were on to them, and Mota ordered them to head to Hyderabad where Liaqat, another plotter, was in hiding. It was too late. Shortly after they left Mota’s office, Mani and four others saw the police moving in. A firefight broke out. Somehow Mota, the ringleader, got away.

On April 7, 2011, the police held a news conference announcing the arrest of Mani and four others. Twelve days later, stories began appearing in Pakistan Today with details of the murder culled from the suspects’ statements to a Joint Investigation Team. According to the team’s report, Mota had apparently received the assassination order around January 1 from Agha Murtaza, a South Africa-based MQM operative who investigators said has controlled several hit cells for years. Mota had convened a meeting at his house on January 7 and assigned different MQM members to monitor Babar at various locations, including the reporter’s residence and a Peshawari ice cream shop near the reporter’s house.

Continue reading Roots of Impunity – The Murder of Wali Khan Babar

A million postcards addressed to the PM’s Office in New Delhi have been sent by Sindhi-speaking residents of India to demand a Sindhi language channel at Doordarshan TV

A million postcards to save a language

By Manoj R Nair, Hindustan Times

Since March 2012, thousands of postcards addressed to the Prime Minister’s Office in New Delhi have been sent from cities and small towns in the country that has Sindhi-speaking residents. These handwritten messages postcards, which have the names and telephone numbers of the senders, have one

demand: a Sindhi-language television channel from government-run broadcaster Doordarshan.

Tens of thousands of these cards have been posted from Mumbai too. One group – the Bandra-based Friends of International Sindhis – collected Rs. 60,000 at their Diwali function in 2012 and purchased 1,20,000 postcards priced at 50 paise each.

Sindhi is one of the languages listed in the 8th schedule of the constitution, but with no linguistic state of their own to keep it flourishing, the community worries that the tongue is hurtling towards extinction.

Asha Chand, secretary of Sindhi Sangat, a Mumbai-based group explains why they are worried about their mother tongue’s future. “How do you learn a language? It is by hearing someone speak it. Children learn a language by hearing their parents talking it. But, when a large number of Sindhis have stopped speaking the language, how will they pass it on to their children?” she asked.

After they migrated to India after partition, Sindhis set up newspapers and schools in their language. But, as newer generations shifted to schools in English and other languages, these newspapers and schools have declined or closed down. For instance, the K J Khilnani School in Mahim, which is situated next to large housing colony of Sindhi-speakers, once held classes in the language. The school has now switched to the English medium and few children from the housing colony study there.

Continue reading A million postcards addressed to the PM’s Office in New Delhi have been sent by Sindhi-speaking residents of India to demand a Sindhi language channel at Doordarshan TV

View from McLeod Road: Why the Sino-Pak alliance is economically worthless

In the 12-year period between July 2000 and June 2012, net foreign investment in Pakistan amounted to about $29 billion, of that, just $0.8 billion came from China

KARACHI: Pakistan’s leaders love using laughably outrageous metaphors in describing the country’s relationship with China, yet the truth is that this so-called alliance means almost nothing positive for the Pakistani economy.

All of Islamabad – indeed all of Pakistan – appears to be bending over backwards in laying out the red carpet to welcome Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. But the fact of the matter is that China will give Pakistan almost nothing, and this two-day trip is really only being made by the Chinese premier to avoid slapping Islamabad in the face completely, after having made his first trip abroad a three-day visit to India, in a key signal about the real shifts in Chinese foreign policy.

Pakistanis love to proclaim China as our “all-weather friend. In his last visit to China, former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani described the relationship ashigher than mountains, deeper than oceans, stronger than steel and sweeter than honey.”

On this trip, Premier Li described the relationship as “a tree, now exuberant with abundant fruits”.

This was not him being poetic. It was delivering a message that nobody in Pakistan seems to have gotten: that China’s ties with Pakistan are not some eternal alliance of friends, but a strictly utilitarian relationship in which Beijing uses Islamabad occasionally to scare the living daylights out of the United States and India to get what it wants in its negotiations with Washington and New Delhi, and then abandons Pakistan once that transaction is completed.

A look at the numbers suggests that the Islamabad-Beijing relationship has had very little benefit for Pakistan as whole.

In the 12-year period between July 2000 and June 2012, net foreign investment in Pakistan amounted to about $29 billion, according to the State Bank of Pakistan. Of that, just $0.8 billion came from China, and nearly all of that was China Mobile’s investment in Zong.

China’s investment in Pakistan is less than that of tiny Netherlands, which invested $1.4 billion during that time. The supposed “Great Satan” – the United States – invested the most in Pakistan: $7.7 billion, or more than a quarter of all foreign investment in the country. There is only one major Chinese company with actual investments in Pakistan: China Mobile. The number of major US companies investing in Pakistan? More than 30.

Continue reading View from McLeod Road: Why the Sino-Pak alliance is economically worthless

Pak-Japan bilateral relations with focus on promoting trade and investment ties

Japanese Ambassador calls on the President

Islamabad; May 24, 2013: Japanese Ambassador in Pakistan Mr. Hiroshi Oe today called on President Asif Ali Zardari at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. Pak-Japan bilateral relations with focus on promoting trade and investment ties between the two countries were discussed during the meeting.

Courtesy: http://mediacellppp.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/japanese-ambassador-calls-on-the-president/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook

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Developing story: Fighter Jets Scrambled To Passenger Plane

RAF Typhoon jets are scrambled to a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft carrying 297 passengers and escort it to Stansted.

RAF fighter jets have escorted a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft from Manchester Airport to Stansted Airport. The airline has confirmed it is for security reasons. There are understood to be 297 passengers on board who were travelling from Lahore.

The plane was heading west towards Manchester when it was suddenly re-routed near York and headed back out to the North Sea, before travelling south to Stansted. It is believed to have now landed at the airport. An Essex Police spokeswoman said: “An incident has occurred on an aircraft. Police and partners are responding.”

Read more » Sky News
http://news.sky.com/story/1095214/fighter-jets-scrambled-to-passenger-plane

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More details » The News Informer
http://www.thenewsinformer.com/2013/05/the-british-air-force-has-taken-the-passenger-plane-of-pia-under-control/

After owning the deadly bomb blast in Quetta, Taliban (TTP) welcomes Nawaz Sharif’s call for peace talks

TTP welcomes Nawaz’s call for peace talks

By Zahir Shah Sherazi

PESHAWAR: Nawaz Sharif’s call for peace talks made to the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan was welcomed by the proscribed militant organisation on Thursday.

Talking to Dawn.com from an undisclosed area, TTP spokespersons Ehsanullah Ehsan said that the offer for peace talks made by Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif was a positive sign and that the militant organisation was devising a strategy over the course of action to be taken in response to the peace talk offers.

Moreover Ehsan also claimed that the banned oganisation was responsible for the bomb attack in Quetta today and said that the attack was carried out in retaliation to the killing in Balochistan of their activists from Malakand region.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://beta.dawn.com/news/1013236/ttp-welcomes-nawazs-call-for-peace-talks

via – Twitter

Three Reasons Not to Talk to the Pakistani Taliban

By Michael Kugelman

In recent days, the PML-N and PTI have announced their readiness to talk to the TTP.

What a shame.

In effect, these two parties — one soon to govern Pakistan, the other to govern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa — are saying they’re willing to hunker down with monsters who shoot schoolgirls at point-blank range, gun down health workers in Pakistan’s sickest regions, and brandish severed heads, by the hair and with gusto, as the cameras roll.

It’s actually not the idea of talking to savages that I find objectionable. After all, history is rife with examples of governments negotiating with sadistic forces. In some cases—think the Irish Republican Army and Colombia’s FARC rebels—these efforts have actually been quite successful, and resulted in peaceful outcomes.

What bothers me (as an outsider, admittedly) is the fact that talking to the Pakistani Taliban simply doesn’t make sense, and for three simple reasons.

First, the TTP has repeatedly reneged on previous peace deals. In 2009, following several years’ worth of alleged agreements with the state, the TTP did not lay down itsarms. Instead it lay claim to Swat—and instituted a reign of terror. If another olive branch is officially extended to KP-based Taliban forces, expect an emboldened TTP to regroup before establishingnew areas of violently enforced authority that ban girls from going to school and stifle free expression — including the social media that helped fuel the PTI’s rise. This scenario would not only be gloomy, but alsoironic—given that the PTI’s message of change has targeted, in part, educated, tech-savvy urbanites, including many women.

Second, the TTP wants to demolish Pakistan’s political system; it often articulates its fervent desire to destroy “anti-Islamic” democracy.While much has been made of the TTP’s campaign of election-related violence against Pakistan’s secular political parties, spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan has also insinuated that all participants in the democratic system are fair game — including, presumably, the PTI and PML-N. “We are not expecting any good from the other parties either, who are supporters of the same system, but why they are not targeted is our own prerogative to decide,” he explained ominously to Dawn.com several weeks back.

The third reason why it makes little sense to talk to the TTP is that the government doesn’t operate from a position of strength. Experts often say it’s best to negotiate when your interlocutor is on the defensive. The TTP, however, is very much on the offensive. Its highly organised, and wholly uncontested, assault on political parties this election season came on the heels of a relentless rash of attacks in KP that had analysts speaking of the “potential loss” of Peshawar to the TTP. By agreeing to talk now, you’re effectively surrendering — or at the very least, acknowledging your fundamental vulnerability.

Stop being hypocritical, you might say. The US government supports dialogue with the Afghan Taliban, so why lambast Pakistan’s willingness to talk to the TTP?

This may sound like a reasonable rebuttal — but it’s not. Some members of the Afghan Taliban, unlike those of the TTP, have expressed a willingness to participate in a future democratic Afghan government (already, in fact,some Afghan government officials are former Taliban fighters). The Afghan Taliban appears open to operating within the existing political system, and not necessarily intent on obliterating it. It also has no legacy of reneging on peace agreements (though to be fair, it’s never concluded one).

Continue reading Three Reasons Not to Talk to the Pakistani Taliban

The bravest woman in all of UK. Cub scout leader Ingrid Loyau-Kennett confronts the London jihadi without fear for her own safety.

Brutal murder in Britain: ‘You’re going to lose’, said mum who ‘disarmed’ attackers

by

When confronted with random acts of violence, the first reflex of most humans is to seek safety. But when Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, a 48-year-old mother of two and a Cub scout leader, came  face-to-face with a knife-wielding Islamist attacker at Woolwich in southeast London who wanted to “start a war in London tonight”, she calmly talked to him – and urged him to surrender.

For her selfless act of bravery, overlooking the risk to her own life, she is being celebrated on social media platforms as a hero.

Loyau-Kennett was one of the first people to arrive at the scene in Woolwich where two men – evidently in a fit of jihadist rage – butchered a British soldier with machetes and butcher’s knives.

She told The Telegraph of London that she was in a passing bus and saw the bloodied body of the soldier on the streetside, and since she, as a Cub scout leader, had received training in administering first-aid and had a kit at hand, she hopped off the bus to attend to him. She had assumed it was an accident scene, but soon realised that the man was dead – and that it was not exactly an accident.

“When I went up there, there was this black guy with a revolver and a kitchen knife… He had what looked like butcher’s tools and he had a little axe, to cut the bones, and two large knives. And he said, ‘Move off the body’,” Loyau-Kennett told newspaper.

She said she didn’t quite know what was going on, but she felt that it would be better to keep the blood-covered attacker distracted and keep him from attacking more people. She asked him if he had killed the man, and why. To which he said: “Because he has killed Muslim people in Muslim countries… I am fed up with people killing Muslims in Afghanistan…”

And when the attacker said that he wanted to “start a war in London tonight,” Loyau-Kennett patiently sought to dissuade him and urged him to surrender his weapons. “I said: ‘Right now it is only you versus many people, you are going to lose’,” she recalled.

She then went over to the other attacker – who seemed “much shier” – and urged him to hand over “what you have in your hands.”

“I did not want to say ‘weapons’, but I thought it was better having them aimed on one person like me rather than everybody there,” she told the newspaper.

The attackers didn’t quite hand over their knives, but in a larger sense, Loyau-Kennett had – by standing face-to-face with them and by plainly telling them that they would “lose” – metaphorically disarmed them and calmed them down and, most importantly, ensured they didn’t attack anyone else.

On Twitter, Loyau-Kennett’s selfless act of bravery has many people in awe.

Courtesy: FirstPost
http://www.firstpost.com/world/brutal-murder-in-britain-youre-going-to-lose-said-brave-mum-who-disarmed-attackers-807629.html?utm_source=hp-footer

Via – Facebook

With Wary Eye on the U.S., China Courts India

On the back of this week’s visit, both Prime Minister Singh and Premier Li are due to visit each others respective rivals. Next week, Singh is headed to Japan, which is engaged in an increasingly edgy dispute with China over a group of islets in the seas between them. Li goes to Pakistan, where he is to sign agreements to develop the Chinese-managed Gwadar port. India has often been nervous about Chinese agreements with its neighbors that are not strictly military but could be leveraged in a conflict.

By REUTERS

NEW DELHI — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, smiling and effusive, was out to smooth ruffled feathers in India this week, promising to ease tensions and increase trade between Asia’s fastest growing economies in his first trip overseas since taking office.

“China will make your dream come true,” Li told a banquet hall filled with Chinese and Indian business executives in the financial capital of Mumbai as he wound up his visit on Tuesday.

China’s overtures, which come amid worries in Beijing that it is being encircled by the United States and its allies, however met with a cool response.

India has been shaken by a recent border spat with China and is cautious about Beijing’s friendship with rival Pakistan, where Li flies on Wednesday. New Delhi is also concerned about a ballooning trade deficit with China and a flood of cheap Chinese-made goods undercutting local manufacturers.

Continue reading With Wary Eye on the U.S., China Courts India

Six JF-17’s to escort Chinese PM into Pakistan

By APP
ISLAMABAD: Six JF-17 Thunder fighters of the Pakistan Air Force will escort the aircraft of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as it enters Pakistani air space on Wednesday, at the start of his two-day State visit.The JF-17s — a symbol of deep Sino-Pakistan friendship – will guide the special Air China Boeing 747 aircraft of the Chinese dignitary to the Nur Khan Air Base, where a 21-gun salute will herald his arrival.

Read more » The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/552333/six-jf-17s-to-escort-chinese-pm-into-pakistan/

“Memories of Another Day” An account of 1973 Baloch Struggle

The 1973-77 struggle for rights had proved to the Baloch people, and to the world, that the struggle for their rights could bear fruit with tenacious dedication and perseverance. The Baloch have not been cowed down by the ever-increasing presence of the army and have stood up for their rights, which no government here is ready to concede or even listen to. The Baloch have resorted to the use of arms only because their rights have been trampled upon and all other avenues of redress have been blocked.

by Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The Baloch resistance to the unwarranted and unjust military operations, after the equally illegal and unfair dismissal of Sardar Ataullah Mengal’s government in February 1973, only 10 months after being sworn in, was the most protracted, pervasive and forceful struggle which demonstrated the determination and resilience of the Baloch when faced with overwhelming odds.

The Mengal government was sworn in on May 1, 1972 amid hope and expectations, but from the first day, the Federal government created hurdles and problems. The Federal government among other things created a law and order situation in Lasbela by making supporters of Jam Ghulam Qadir take up arms against the provincial government alleging persecution. Mengal government had to raise a Levies force to quell the trouble as Federal government refused to send help. Jam Ghulam Qadir, the Jam of Lasbela, later became the Chief Minister after Mengal government dismissal.

Continue reading “Memories of Another Day” An account of 1973 Baloch Struggle

Monster tornado hits Oklahoma

Monster tornado hits Oklahoma City suburb, kills 51

By Tim Talley, The Associated Press

A monstrous tornado at least a half-mile wide roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods and destroying an elementary school with a direct blow as children and teachers huddled against winds up to 200 mph. At least 51 people were killed, including at least 20 children, and officials said the death toll was expected to rise.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/21/4052952/monster-tornado-hits-oklahoma.html#storylink=cpy

Canadians trimming food budgets in face of higher prices, RBC says

Bank report suggests as much as 91 per cent of Canadians plan to cut back food spending.

By Allison Brogan, CBC News

Canadian families are planning to cut back on the amount they spend at the grocery store in the face of rising food prices, a new report from one of Canada’s largest banks said Thursday.

The RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index showed Canadians’ are displeased with rising food prices at the grocery store.

As much as 91 per cent of respondents to the survey said they have taken notice of rising food prices and are being more budget oriented as a result.

Read more » CBC
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2013/05/16/business-rbc-food.html

U.S. Bonds Cheapest Since 1990

U.S. Bonds Cheapest Since ’90 Versus Bunds Counter Buffett

By Cordell Eddings

The longest decline in Treasuries this year has left U.S. government debt the cheapest since March 2011 when measured by real yields and the best relative value compared with German bunds in more than two decades.

After inflation, 10-year U.S. notes yielded 0.91 percent last week, or 1.77 percentage points more than real yields on U.K. gilts, the widest spread in 25 months. Versus Germany, the securities are the least costly in 23 years when adjusted for the recent record-low interest rates around the world that distorted the normal relationship, according to FTN Financial.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is counting on Treasuries to contain borrowing costs as the central bank buys $85 billion a month in securities to sustain the economic recovery that lifted U.S. consumer confidence to the highest in almost six years. The better relative yield for U.S. bonds may help bolster demand even as Warren Buffett said this month that he pitied fixed-income investors because of about record-low interest rates.

Read more » Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-19/u-s-bonds-cheapest-since-90-versus-bunds-counter-buffett-pity.html

Afghanistan and our future

By Shafqat Mahmood

The Taliban are crumbling faster than cardboard shanties in the path of a storm. Promises of fierce ground battles, that churned the blood of many a chest thumper in Pakistan, are now drifting helplessly in the dust laden Afghan wind. It is not over yet, not by a long shot, but what remains is a mopping up operation. Scattered over rural Afghanistan, the Taliban residue and their foreign volunteers will be picked off slowly but surely.

It is sad in a way although I have no love for the Taliban or what they stood for. Much of this could have been avoided if they were less cocky or more rational or more ready to be a part of the world. If they were all these things, though, they would not be Taliban. People who are ready to blow up ancient Buddhist statutes because they are idols or whip women because their ankles are showing or force every man to keep a six-inch long beard, do not live in the same world as you and I.

A particularly poignant moment for me as Kabul fell, was the playing of music from a truck mounted loudspeaker. If the ordinary and trivial becomes special and significant, there is something terribly wrong with the world. And there was a lot wrong with the Taliban’s world. The image of young Afghans queuing up to get their beards trimmed makes this point more eloquently than a thousand or a million words.

The liberators of Kabul are not the Dad’s Army either. Within their ranks are some of the most blood thirsty tyrants ever encountered in the tragic Afghan history. Yet it is a sign of the times that many ordinary Afghans let out a collective sigh of relief when the Taliban departed. So let no one mourn the Taliban. They are not synonymous with the Afghans. They were freaks of history and will hopefully be consigned to that special place where other such oddities are kept.

Continue reading Afghanistan and our future

Imran holds Altaf ‘directly responsible’ for Zarah’s killing

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LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf Chief Imran Khan Sunday strongly condemning the killing of PTI Sindh Vice President Zarah Shahid Hussain in Karachi said that he is “shocked” and “deeply saddened”.

On his Twitter account, Imran Khan wrote “I am shocked & deeply saddened by the brutal killing of Zara Shahid Hussain, Zara apa to us, in Karachi tonite. A targeted act of terror!”

He held Altaf Hussain “directly responsible” for the murder, saying that the MQM chief had openly threatened the PTI leaders and workers.

“I hold Altaf Hussain directly responsible for the murder as he had openly threatened PTI workers and leaders through public broadcasts.”

He also held British Government responsible in the murder of the PTI Sindh senior vice president, saying that he had already “warned” the British government about Altaf’s “open threats” to kill PTI workers.

“I also hold the British Govt responsible as I had warned them abt Br citizen Altaf Hussain after his open threats to kill PTI workers”, he said.

Addressing the participants of the sit-in in Lahore by telephone, Khan announced that the party would also protest the killing of the woman leader in London.

“You have laid foundation of New Pakistan, be firm as I will announce future course of action today, I congratulate you for fighting for your rights,” Khan, who has been recuperating at the Shaukat Khanam Hospital said.

Continue reading Imran holds Altaf ‘directly responsible’ for Zarah’s killing

The Three Heroines of Guatemala: The Judge, the Attorney General and the Nobel Peace Laureate

Former Guatemalan President Efrain Rios Montt was hauled off to prison last Friday. It was a historic moment, the first time in history that a former leader of a country was tried for genocide in a national court. More than three decades after he seized power in a coup in Guatemala, unleashing a U.S.-backed campaign of slaughter against his own people, the 86-year-old stood trial, charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. He was given an 80-year prison sentence. The case was inspired and pursued by three brave Guatemalan women: the judge, the attorney general and the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

“My brother Patrocinio was burnt to death in the Ixil region. We never found his remains,” Rigoberta Menchu told me after Rios Montt’s verdict was announced. She detailed the systematic slaughter of her family: “As for my mother, we never found her remains, either. … If her remains weren’t eaten by wild animals after having been tortured brutally and humiliated, then her remains are probably in a mass grave close to the Ixil region. … My father was also burned alive in the embassy of Spain [in Guatemala City] on January 30th, 1980.”

Rigoberta Menchu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992, “in recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples.” She continued telling me about her family’s destruction: “In 1983, my brother Victor Menchu was also shot dead. His wife had her throat slit, and he was fleeing with his three children. Victor was jailed in the little town, but his three children were kept in a military bunker. My two nieces died of hunger in this military base, and my brother Victor was shot. We still have not found his remains.”

Continue reading The Three Heroines of Guatemala: The Judge, the Attorney General and the Nobel Peace Laureate

Altaf Hussain’s call for Separation of Karachi – By Saeed Qureshi

The MQM chief Altaf Hussain‘s conditional call for separating Karachi city from Pakistan comes closer to the independence of Singapore from Malaysia in 1965. The Singapore separation from Malaysia that it willingly joined in 1963, was the result of extreme strife, unbridgeable disagreements and ethnic bitterness between the Chinese origin population and the native Malayans mostly Muslims. Is it also the blue print of Jinnahpur that was later swept under the carpet?

Altaf Hussain the fiery and unbridled chief of MQM has enslaved or indoctrinated his Muhajir community, mostly settled in Karachi city after their migration from India in 1947. By his rigid and merciless authoritarianism, instead of integrating, he has isolated his community from the mainstream populace of Pakistan. MQM is basically a movement for the sake of Muhajirs as an ethnic entity and not for the Pakistani nation.

Since its formation in 1984 as Muhajir Qaumi Movement and later renamed as Muttahida Qaumi Movement in 1997, the imprint of MQM in the minds of the people is that of a kind of mafia or an entity of roughnecks or extortionists. It is believed that the special death and terror squads within MQM kill, kidnap and torture their rivals including the critics from within the MQM fold.

There has been also a prevailing impression that has gained ground, that the extortions or the obnoxious “Parchi system” was first started by MQM to raise funds for the organization to become financially robust for carrying out its political and apolitical activities. Undoubtedly Altaf Hussain has proven to be a great and unassailable master and unbending and strict lord of his party.

He can summon the multitudes of Urdu speaking Pakistanis and Muhajirs within a matter of hours and with one call. They all gather at a venue with their heads down and hands motionless unless raised to cheer or clap for the scathing tirade of their great master. They sit rather motionless for hours together listening to his long, dreary and high pitched discourses as if they have been bewitched or mesmerized. There is a gossip that anyone who does not clap or come to the assemblage is dealt with vindictively.

Several pioneering cohorts and companions are alleged to have lost their lives in all these years ostensibly due to their opposition of the ruthless leader with symptoms of indiscretion. Their names are in the public knowledge.

Continue reading Altaf Hussain’s call for Separation of Karachi – By Saeed Qureshi

Pakistan adopts Chinese rival GPS satellite system

BEIJING – Pakistan is set to become the fifth Asian country to use China’s domestic satellite navigation system which was launched as a rival to the US global positioning system, a report said Saturday.

The Beidou, or Compass, system started providing services to civilians in the region in December and is expected to provide global coverage by 2020. It also has military applications.

Thailand, China, Laos and Brunei already use the Chinese system, which currently consists of 16 operational satellites, with 30 more due to join the system, according to English-language China Daily.

Huang Lei, international business director of BDStar Navigation, which promotes Beidou, told the newspaper that the company would build a network of stations in Pakistan to enhance the location accuracy of Beidou. He said building the network would cost tens of millions of dollars.

Continue reading Pakistan adopts Chinese rival GPS satellite system

Altaf Hussain; Godfather of Karachi, resident of Edgware

Yesterday I called upon the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to arrest a British citizen for incitement to murder. It is an open and shut case. You can watch his lips move on television, broadcast from London, in the wake of the controversial election count in the giant port city of Karachi, Pakistan. Hussain openly threatened the young democracy protesters agitating for a re-run of the election there that he would have them cut them down with swords.

No-one should think this mere rhetoric, Hussain is already convicted in Pakistan for multiple murder extortion organised crime and terrorist offences. That’s why he lives in Edgware. In fact he is chief suspect in over 100 murder cases, including in England in the murder of one of his own leading comrades.

Five years ago I gave a speech in Parliament asking why the then New Labour government was not only tolerating the presence in this country of a mafia style chief making regular broadcasts from London ordering crimes to be committed in a friendly country, but had actually given the Don a British passport!

The previous, Conservative, government had, I believed, refused citizenship to Altaf Hussain. New Labour as just one of many crimes against the people of the Muslim world thought differently and conveyed upon a convicted murderer all the rights of citizen upon him.

Continue reading Altaf Hussain; Godfather of Karachi, resident of Edgware

Christian Church opens doors to Muslims

By Divya Talwar, BBC

St John’s Episcopal Church has opened its doors to Muslims for Friday prayers

On a bitterly cold and snowing afternoon in Aberdeen, the doors of St John’s Episcopal Church are open to hundreds of Muslim worshippers, arriving for daily prayers.

The familiar sounds of Christian hymns have been replaced with Islamic prayer in the chapel this Friday lunchtime and the church priest with the imam from the neighbouring mosque.

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-21953899