After announcing 2,900 job cuts, Air France bosses fled a violent crowd of employees

Air France executives were run out of their own meeting today (Oct. 5), by employees protesting at the airline’s headquarters at Charles de Gaulle airport, just outside Paris. The meeting had been called to discuss nearly 3,000 job cuts—the airline’s first outright firings since the early 1990s.

To reach profitability goals, Air France plans to fire hundreds of flight attendants, cockpit crew, and ground staff; it will also reduce the number of aircraft it flies and shut down some routes. Such measures did not come today as a surprise—the news emerged several days ago, after negotiations to reduce costs by asking pilots to work longer hours for less pay failed. Air France ground staff had planned a two-hour strike at Charles de Gaulle today.

The strike became a siege on the room where airline managers were delivering a briefing on the cost-cutting measures. (Perhaps such action should have been expected, however, considering the recent history of angry employees “bossnapping” in France.) The resulting scene ended with Xavier Broseta, Air France’s human resources director, half-naked and jumping a fence to escape the mob. Video and photos below.

Read more » Quartz
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Indian Air Force (IAF) capable of cross-border strikes: Raha

by Dailyexcelsior

NEW DELHI, Oct 3: Sending a strong signal across the border, Indian Air Force chief Arup Raha today said his force was fully capable of carrying out cross border surgical operation against terrorists’ camps, should the political leadership decide to do so.
Addressing an annual press conference ahead of the Air Force Day, the Air Chief said the decision to undertake such actions shall have to be taken by the political leadership.
To a question whether the IAF is capable of carrying out surgical operations on the terror camps operating in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), similar to one the Indian Army undertook inside Myanmar to demolish Naga insurgents’ camps, Air Chief Marshal Raha answered in positive.
“You want to ask about our capability. Yes, we have the capability but the intent would be of the Government,” he said.
The IAF chief hint at swift operations follows comments by Army chief Dalbir Singh Suhag, who had talked about “swift and short” wars in future, which attracted a sharp reaction from his Pakistani counterpart Gen Rahil Sharif.
The Air Chief Marshal talked about capability building time and again during his hour-long news conference. Asked about the two-front war scenario, involving both Pakistan and China, he avoided a direct response, saying that the nation’s preparedness was not against anyone but the focus is to create a deterrent capability. (UNI)

Courtesy: Daily Excelsior
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The ‘moderates’ have disappeared — there are no good guys and bad guys in the Syrian war

BY ROBERT FISK

The Russian air force in Syria has flown straight into the West’s fantasy air space. The Russians, we are now informed, are bombing the “moderates” in Syria – “moderates” whom even the Americans admitted two months ago, no longer existed.

It’s rather like the ISIS (the self-styled Islamic State) fighters who left Europe to fight for the “Caliphate”. Remember them? Scarcely two months ago, our political leaders – and leader writers – were warning us all of the enormous danger posed by “home-grown” Islamists who were leaving Britain and other European countries and America to fight for the monsters of ISIS.

Then the hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees began trekking up the Balkans towards Europe after risking death in the Mediterranean – and we were all told by the same political leaders to be fearful that ISIS killers were among them.

It’s amazing how European Muslim fighters fly to Turkey to join Isis, and a few weeks later, they’re drowning in leaky boats or tramping back again and taking trains from Hungary to Germany. But if this nonsense was true, where did they get the time for all the terrorist training they need in order to attack us when they get back to Europe?

It is possible, of course, that this was mere story-telling. By contrast, the chorus of horror that has accompanied Russia’s cruel air strikes this past week has gone beyond sanity.

Let’s start with a reality check. The Russian military are killers who go for the jugular. They slaughtered the innocent of Chechnya to crush the Islamist uprising there, and they will cut down the innocent of Syria as they try to crush a new army of Islamists and save the ruthless regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The Syrian army, some of whose members are war criminals, have struggled ferociously to preserve the state – and used barrel bombs to do it. They have also fought to the death.

“American officials” – those creatures beloved of The New York Times – claim that the Syrian army does not fight Isis. If true, who on earth killed the 56,000 Syrian soldiers – the statistic an official secret, but nonetheless true – who have so far died in the Syrian war? The preposterous Free Syrian Army (FSA)?

This rubbish has reached its crescendo in the on-again off-again saga of the Syrian “moderates”. These men were originally military defectors to the FSA, which America and European countries regarded as a possible pro-Western force to be used against the Syrian government army. But the FSA fell to pieces, corrupted, and the “moderates” defected all over again, this time to the Islamist Nusrah Front or to Isis, selling their American-supplied weapons to the highest bidder or merely retiring quietly – and wisely – to the countryside where they maintained a few scattered checkpoints.

Washington admitted their disappearance, bemoaned their fate, concluded thatnew “moderates” were required, persuaded the CIA to arm and train 70 fighters, and this summer packed them off across the Turkish border to fight – whereupon all but 10 were captured by Nusrah and at least two of them were executed by their captors. Just two weeks ago, I heard in person one of the most senior ex-US officers in Iraq – David Petraeus’s former No. 2 in Baghdad – announce that the “moderates” had collapsed long ago. Now you see them – now you don’t.

But within hours of Russia’s air assaults last weekend, Washington, The New York Times, CNN, the poor old BBC and just about every newspaper in the Western world resurrected these ghosts and told us that the Ruskies werebombing the brave “moderates” fighting Bashar’s army in Syria – the very “moderates” who, according to the same storyline from the very same sources a few weeks earlier, no longer existed. Our finest commentators and experts –always a dodgy phrase – joined in the same chorus line.

So now a few harsh factoids. The Syrian army are drawing up the operational target lists for the Russian air force. But Vladimir Putin has his own enemies in Syria.

Continue reading The ‘moderates’ have disappeared — there are no good guys and bad guys in the Syrian war

General (retd) Zaheerul Islam: The shadow warrior

By Herald

There were rumours in the air. During the 126-day-long dharna by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against the ruling Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PMLN), there were murmurs of a coup d’état. Other than General Shuja Pasha, the former intelligence officer who is known to be a close friend and supporter of PTI Chairman Imran Khan, the other name that was repeatedly brought up was that of Zaheerul Islam, the then director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Allegedly, the two were conspiring to create a rift between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif. In the past, the premier had acted against generals whom he had differences with. It was expected that he would again act in a similar manner, under the presumption that the dharna had the general’s backing. But the events did not play out as expected. Not exactly.

It was Federal Defence Minister Khawaja Asif who first stated that the two were behind the political unrest that prevailed last year. Specifically, the minister said, Islam had a “personal grievance” with the ruling party for siding with a particular media house. Asif was subsequently sidelined and snubbed at a dinner with army generals and quickly made to learn a central lesson.

Not everyone took from his experience. In an interview with the BBC in August 2015, Senator Mushahidullah Khan claimed that an audio tape obtained by the Intelligence Bureau was played during a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Raheel Sharif last year, in which Islam could be heard giving instructions to raid the prime minister’s office. According to the senator, when questioned by General Raheel Sharif, Islam confirmed that the voice was his own.

Khan later clarified that he himself had not heard the tape. Never mind the fact that he kept referring to the ex-ISI Chief as Zahirul Islam Abbasi – the major general who had plotted to overthrow the Benazir Bhutto government in 1995, and who died six years ago – the damage had been done.

Appointed on the recommendation of then President Asif Ali Zardari in March 2012, Islam became the 18th director general of the ISI. He has remained mostly out of the spotlight and yet, he manages to cast a shadow over many major events in the last few years. The most significant of them was when a private television channel ran photographs of Islam alongside allegations by journalist Hamid Mir’s brother stating that firing on the prime-time anchorperson was the handiwork of the intelligence agencies.

Continue reading General (retd) Zaheerul Islam: The shadow warrior

Indian filmmaker takes a fancy to Harappa’s gypsy girl

Shumita Didi Sandhu is making a documentary inspired by the marriage of a gypsy girl she befriended in Pakistan

BY RFAN ASLAM

Shumita Didi Sandhu, an independent filmmaker from India, was visiting Harappa when she met a Pakhiwasi girl, Riffat, near the archaeological site and developed a personal relationship with her.

Read more » DAWN
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