Afghanistan Backs Russia’s Crimean Invasion, Fails Irony 101

By Adam Weinstein

Afghan President Hamid Karzai threw U.S. observers for a loop over the weekend, announcing that his country would join Syria and Venezuela in supporting Russia’s Crimea invasion annexation:

Citing “the free will of the Crimean people,” the office of President Hamid Karzai said, “we respect the decision the people of Crimea took through a recent referendum that considers Crimea as part of the Russian Federation.”…

Aimal Faizi, the spokesman for Mr. Karzai, said that the Russian annexation of Crimea was a “legitimate move” and that the palace statement represented Afghanistan’s official recognition of the new borders.

“Afghanistan always respects the free will of the nations on deciding their future,” he wrote in an email. He did not elaborate.

Continue reading Afghanistan Backs Russia’s Crimean Invasion, Fails Irony 101

Half of America in Poverty

Overwhelming Evidence that Half of America is In or Near Poverty

And it’s much worse for black families.

The Charles Koch Foundation recently released a  commercial that ranked a near-poverty-level $34,000 family among the Top 1% of poor people in the world. Bud Konheim, CEO and co-founder of fashion company Nicole Miller,  concurred: “The guy that’s making, oh my God, he’s making $35,000 a year, why don’t we try that out in India or some countries we can’t even name. China, anyplace, the guy is wealthy.”

Comments like these are condescending and self-righteous. They display an ignorance of the needs of lower-income and middle-income families in America. The costs of food and housing and education and health care and transportation and child care and taxes have been well-defined by organizations such as the  Economic Policy Institute, which calculated that a U.S. family of three would require an average of about $48,000 a year to meet basic needs; and by the  Working Poor Families Project, which estimates the income required for basic needs for a family of four at about $45,000. The  median household income is $51,000.

Read more » AlterNet
http://www.alternet.org/economy/overwhelming-evidence-half-america-or-near-poverty

‘Sindh Through Centuries’ International Conference, Karachi.

By Zulfiqar Halepoto

More than 50 historians, researchers, writers, intellectuals and scholars from different parts of the world are gathered and presenting their papers at a three-day seminar ‘Sindh through the centuries’ by the Sindh Madressatul University-Karachi, Sindh.

This is the second International seminar on the subject, as the first international conference was held in March 1975 under the patronage of the then Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The inaugural session was chaired by leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah, while Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, author of The Indus Saga, was the chief guest. Sindh Chief Minister will be chief guest at the concluding session of the conference on March 26.

Besides scholars from across Pakistan, the guest speakers from other parts of the world include Dr Jonathan Mark Kenoyer from the University of Wisconsin, US; Dr Atsushi Noguchi from Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan; Dr Jetho Lalwani from India; Dr Rafique Mughal from Boston University, US; Dr Osada Toshiki of RIHN, Japan; Dr Michael Jansen from German University of Technology, Germany; JaeSeung Park from Hanyang University, Korea; Dr Andre Wink from the University of Wisconsin, US; Dr Matthew A. Cook from North Carolina Central University, US; Dr Rita P. Wright from New York University, US; Indian writer and publisher Saaz Aggarwal; Dr Thomas Dhnhardt from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy; Dr Michel Boivin, Centre for South Asian Studies, Paris, France; Jrgen Schaflechner from Germany; Korean poet and writer Esther Park; Dr Supriya Banik Pal from India; Dr Murlidhar K. Jetley from the University of Delhi, India; Dr Vinod Asudani from Shri Ramdeobaba College of Engineering and Management, Nagpur, India; Indian poet Kailash Shaadaab; Dr Kamla Goklani from Ajmer, India; Dr Hari Lohano from the University of the West of England, the UK; SumanSonkar from the University of Delhi, India; noted Sindhi scholar from India Hiro Thakur.from Pakistan Dr Hamida Khuhro, Dr Mohammad Ali Shaikh, Dr Nilofer Shaikh, Dr Fahmida Hussain.and others are present there.

Courtesy: via Facebook

Strength in numbers: JSQM’s ‘Freedom March’ turns into party’s biggest-ever rally

KARACHI: Supporters and activists of the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) converged at MA Jinnah Road in Karachi for the Freedom March on Sunday. The party managed to attract a respectable crowd, despite the recent killings of two of its leaders and the threats of possible attacks at the rally.

“Is it a sin to love your motherland? Have we ever adopted the path of violence?” questioned the party’s chairperson Sunan Qureshi while addressing the rally. He alleged that his uncle, Maqsood, and another party leader, Wadho, were killed by ‘hidden hands’.

Speaking about the province’s natural resources and its share in the country’s revenue, Sunan said that despite contributing 82 per cent of the country’s natural gas, 69 per cent of its petrol and 80 per cent of the total budget, children were dying in Tharparkar due to starvation. He said that 6.1 million children in Sindh were out of schools. “About 28 per cent people of the total population of Sindh have hepatitis and because of contaminated water and food shortage, the average life expectancy in Sindh is just 43 years,” he claimed.

Sunan also alleged that Sindh’s water is being stolen, saying that the continuous arrival of outsiders in Sindh had created an alarming situation.

“We consider Urdu-speaking people as permanent residents of Sindh. We accept you as our brothers,” he announced, amid of slogans of Jeay Sindh. “But don’t take Sindh as a policy. Sindh is our motherland and we won’t accept its division at any cost.” The youngest leader of any Sindhi nationalist party, Sunan addressed the huge crowd in front of Rimpa Plaza. Leaders of different nationalist parties attended the march, including Riaz Chandio, Khaliq Junejo, Zain Shah, Ameer Bhanbhro and Dodo Mehri.

Sunan said that religious harmony existed in Sindh before the partition of the sub-continent and that religious hatred was now being instigated deliberately.

The funerals of the party’s leaders, Maqsood and Wadho, who were killed on Friday, were also performed after Sunan’s address. Their bodies were later taken to Ratodero, where both will be buried today (Monday).

The area from Tibet Centre to Numaish Chowrangi was cordoned off and all roads were blocked with containers. Participants from different parts of the city joined the main rally which started from Qureshi’s residence in Gulshan-e-Hadeed.

“Both our leaders were shot dead and their bodies were set ablaze,” said party vice-chairperson Dr Niaz Kalani. “We will register an FIR after the burial rites,” he confirmed to The Express Tribune.

Sagar Hanif Burdi, one of the party’s leaders, confirmed that Waseem Akhtar and Ashfaque Mangi of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement had also joined them for the rally.

“The Sindh government has not contacted us yet,” he revealed, saying that only statements have been issued.

This was the second such rally on March 23 by the JSQM – the first was led by Sunan’s deceased father, Bashir Khan Qureshi, in 2012. Bashir died under mysterious circumstances soon after the rally on April 7.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2014.
http://tribune.com.pk/story/686523/strength-in-numbers-jsqms-freedom-march-turns-into-partys-biggest-ever-rally/

Ukraine Crisis Could Spark Third World War, Former Communist Party Leader And President Kravchuk Warns

By

KIEV — It could be seen as saber rattling, fear-mongering or an astute prediction by a man with intimate knowledge of Ukrainian-Russian history, but Leonid Kravchuk is adamant that Russian President Vladimir Putin has strayed into potentially cataclysmic territory, and that the current showdown in Crimea could escalate into a world war.

In an interview with International Business Times, Kravchuk, who led Ukraine to independence in 1991 and became its first president, claimed there are already 18,000 Russian soldiers in his country and that a full-scale Russian invasion would cause Western powers – including NATO – to engage them militarily.

Read more » INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES
http://www.ibtimes.com/ukraine-crisis-could-spark-third-world-war-former-communist-party-leader-president-kravchuk-warns

JSQM’s ‘Freedom March’ in Karachi

Meanwhile in Pakistan, the natives (Sindhis) of the largest revenue-generating province, Sindh, of Pakistan took to the arteries of Karachi to demand independence from Pakistan. They alleged that Pakistan was not acknowledging their culture and historical status of a ‘nation’, whose roots are in the Mohen-jo-Daro, the ancient Indus civilization.

A couple of days back, while on work for the ‘Freedom March’, two leaders, Maqsood Qureshi and Salman Wadho, of the organizing Sindhi nationalist party, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM), were found charred in a burned out car in Sindh. The post martem report holds it that they were shot multiple times before the car was set on fire. JSQM alleged that the Pakistani intelligence agencies were involved in the dual murder.

The Freedom March started back in 2012 when the then-party chairman, Bashir Khan Qureshi led the Freedom March in Karachi on March 23rd. The specific day is chosen because, on this day, Pakistan celebrates the passing of the Lahore Resolution, in which official demand for a separate country was upheld; however, unlike the status defined for the federating units to be ‘autonomous’, Pakistan violating the resolution itself made the federating units as ‘provinces’ and tried to paint all nations — Sindhi, Bengali, Baloch, Punjabi — as ONE single nation which all but Punjabis resisted and, consequently, the East Pakistan turned into Bangladesh.

Mr. Qureshi died two weeks past that march ‘mysteriously’.

So, two freedom march at the cost of two central leaders — brothers to each other.

Despite being the richest province of Pakistan, recently, scores of children died in the Thar area of Sindh due to what was being labelled as ‘famine’. Joblessness is prevalent. Poverty is at its bloom in Sindh. Natives are barred from decision-making process and migration from other parts of the country and the world is threatening the natives to turn into minority in their own historical homeland.

The so-called national (Read Urdu-language) media completely blacked out the coverage of the thousands of the Sindhi marching in the country’s largest commercial city, Karachi.

Read more » http://networkedblogs.com/VaNfS

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More details » BBC urdu
http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2014/03/140323_jeay_sindh_freedom_march_sa.shtml