Tag Archives: access

Facebook wants to give gift to the entire world

Facebook-led project seeks Internet access globally for all

By Reuters

New York (Reuters) – Facebook Inc’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has enlisted Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Qualcomm Inc and four other companies for a project aimed at bringing Internet access to people around the world who cannot afford it, following efforts by Google Inc.

The project, called Internet.org, is the latest move by an Internet company trying to expand Web access globally. Facebook rival Google is hoping technology, including balloons, wireless and fibre connections will expand connectivity.

Internet.org, which was launched on Wednesday, will focus on seeking ways to help the 5 billion people – or two-thirds of the world’s population – who do not have Internet access, come online, the company said in a statement.

It added that so far, only 2.7 billion people around the world have Internet access.

The partnership’s potential projects will include the development of lower-cost smartphones and the deployment of Internet access in underserved communities as well as working on ways to reduce the amount of data downloads required to run Internet applications, according to Facebook.

Continue reading Facebook wants to give gift to the entire world

Google to Offer Free Wi-Fi in Chelsea, New York

By Sarah Frier

Google Inc. (GOOG), the world’s biggest Internet-search company, plans to offer free wireless Internet access in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, creating the largest public outdoor network in the city. …

Read more » Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-08/google-to-offer-free-wi-fi-in-chelsea.html

Forced conversion of Hindus in Pakistan jolts US out of slumber

By Chidanand Rajghatta

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s state-endorsed discrimination, and in some cases extermination, of its minorities has finally caught the eye of Washington lawmakers. Coming on the heels of support in Congress for a Baloch homeland in the face of Islamabad’s depredations in the region, a US Congressman has zeroed in on the abduction and forced religious conversion of Hindus in the country highlighted by the case of Rinkel Kumari.

In a sharply-worded letter to Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, Congressman Brad Sherman urged him to take action to ensure the return of Rinkel Kumari to her family, pursuant to reports that she had been abducted with the help of a Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lawmaker. In a case that has been widely reported in the liberal Pakistani media, Rinkel, who was abducted on February 24, was forced to marry one Naveed Shah and convert to Islam.

She was subsequently produced before a civil judge twice, but she was reportedly coerced into claiming that she had converted on her own will, even as her family was denied access to her in kangaroo court proceedings that revealed in video clips to be led by a frenzied mob of zealots, including armed followers of the Pakistani lawmaker. According to Pakistani civil liberties activists in Washington DC, Rinkel was allegedly threatened while in police custody that if she did not change her statement, she and her family would be killed.

”Rinkel Kumari’s case is just one case of abduction and forced religious conversion in Pakistan,” Congressman Sherman said in the letter to Zardari, citing the Asian Human Rights commission figure of 20-25 kidnappings and forced conversions of Hindu girls in Sindh every month. ”I urge you to take all necessary steps to bring an end to this practice and other harassment of Hindus in Pakistan.”

The Rinkel Kumari case was brought to the attention of US lawmakers not by Hindu activists but by the Sindhi American Political Action Committee (SAPAC), a lobby group that, like the Baloch groups, is increasingly asserting the secular and syncretic identity of Pakistan’s Sindhi community in the face of growing Islamization in the country. Sapac activists are telling US lawmakers that state sponsored discrimination against minority groups in Pakistan is rampant and is causing Hindus to migrate out of Pakistan in droves.

Hindus, who constituted more than 15 per cent of Pakistan’s population soon after Partition, have now dwindled to less than two per cent, mostly in some districts of Sindh. There have been several reports in recent months of Hindu families seeking to migrate to India in the face of growing radical Islamization of Pakistan, including abduction and forcible conversions, but it is the first time that Washington, which literally slept over Pakistan’s genocide of Bengalis in 1970-71, is paying attention to the issue.

US interest in the Rinkel Kumari case comes close on the heels of sudden support in Congress for Baloch self-determination, an effort led by California lawmaker Dana Rohrabacher. That effort has rattled Islamabad to the extent that it has told American interlocutors that Pakistan-US ties will be deeply affected if Washington interfered in Balochistan, even though the Obama administration has clarified that support for an independent Balochistan is confined to the Hill, where lawmakers are free to introduce any legislation they deem appropriate. That in turn resulted in Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S.,, writing to House Speaker John Boehner, expressing deep concern over Congressional action on Balochistan.

Courtesy: TOI

International Dalit Soliderity report 2011 – Plight of Dalit of Pakistan

The Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network (PDSN) has been instrumental in raising public awareness of caste discrimination in Pakistan in 2011 and creating a stir in the media. Media reports on caste discrimination have included issues such as bonded labour, untouchability, kidnapping and forced conversions of Dalits.

Media have also reported widely on discrimination in flood relief work in Pakistan following new monsoon rains, causing one of recent history’s worst disasters. Dalit communities were denied access to relief camps because of their caste and were forced to live under the open sky. The President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardai, has spoken out against this discrimination against Dalits in the on-going flood relief work saying that any discrimination in extending rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations to anyone on the basis of caste is unacceptable. Nonetheless the discrimination continued throughout 2011. PDSN has worked to support Dalit victims of the flooding and bring their plight to the attention of authorities, International NGOs and agencies involved in relief operations.

2011 also saw an increased visibility of Dalit women in Pakistan and Ms. Kalavanti Raja joined PDSN as Coordinator of the women’s wing of the network. Ms. Raja participated in several events, including the Dalit Women’s conference in Kathmandu, a South Asian Dalit conference in Bangladesh, and the IDSN International Consultation on Caste-Based Discrimination and council meeting in Nepal, where PDSN Coordinators also took part. She spoke at several events and monitored Pakistani media attention to the issue of caste discrimination, with regular updates to IDSN on the situation.

Jinnah Institute, a think tank working on minority issues, released a report in 2011 highlighting caste discrimination in Pakistan. According to the report the vast majority of Dalits in Pakistan do not own lands and work on daily wages, a consequence of them not having any permanent settlement. The report said, “One day, they are with one landlord, the next day with another. And this is how they spend a life of debt, with no accountability or education.” Their castes have translated into daily life. For instance, Dalits may be restricted to separate water wells in school, “from which also Muslims will not drink.” Dalits working in bonded labour continues to be a central issue in Pakistan. They are often forced to work under terrible conditions in what has been deemed ‘modern slavery’ with no view to ever repaying their debts. This form of slavery is particularly prevalent in the agricultural sector, construction work, mining and textile industries.

Continue reading International Dalit Soliderity report 2011 – Plight of Dalit of Pakistan

Introduction of Black Law for Internet Censorship by Alleged Democratic Government of PPP

The filtering and blocking system will function as a firewall for the entire country and will have the potential to block the access of any specific URL throughout the country.

In yet another move that appears to be aimed towards internet censorship in Pakistan, a government department has called for proposals for the development, deployment and operation of a national level URL Filtering and Blocking System.

The ad had been placed in local papers by National ICT R&D Fund, a division of the Ministry of Information Technology, on February 22, 2012. The proposal request states that each box of the system “should be able to handle a block list of up to 50 million URLs with a processing delay of not more than 1 millisecond.”

The filtering and blocking system will function as a firewall for the entire country and will have the potential to block the access of any specific URL throughout the country.

According to the Request for Proposal available on the ICT R&D Fund website, the system should be capable of filtering and blocking URLs from the domain level to sub-folder, file levels and also specific file types. Additionally, the system should have the ability to block a single IP or a range of IPs.

The proposal states that the solution should be able to handle 85Gbps of bandwidth and should have growth scalability of around 40% to 50% every year. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

The world is focused on Pak as a potential problem, some of India’s politician are trying to prove “we are stupid too, dear world” …

India deports radio broadcaster David Barsamian upon arrival at Delhi airport

by Shivam Vij

David Barsamian, founder director of Alternative Radio, and independent radio legend, was deported on arrival from New Delhi airport in the early hours of Sept 23. Details are awaited since David is probably still on the plane back. But between his arrival sometime after midnight, and his being “put back” on a flight at 3am, David was able to only make a quick call to his ‘home’ here in Delhi, to the family of his longtime sitar guru, Debu Chaudhuri.

At this point it can only be speculation, but since David has been visiting India almost every year since the early 1970s, one can guess that his attention to the Kashmir issue could well be the reason. On a recent trip to Kashmir he did a series of interviews and local events.

Less than a year ago, American academic Richard Shapiro was similarly deported upon arrival from the Indira Gandhi International airport. His crime, presumably, was an article on two on the human rights situation in Kashmir. Earlier this month, the journalist David Devadas was assaulted by the Jammu and Kashmir police.

India’s intolerance to dissent on Kashmir is not limited to foreigners. In May this year, Delhi-based journalist and human rights activist Gautam Navlakha was sent back to Delhi from Srinagar airport. Academic and activist Angana Chatterji has been threatened to not visit Kashmir. The J&K police had assaulted the noted Kashmiri human right defender Parvez Imroz in 2008. The media in Kashmir is tightly controlled by the state and press freedom is a matter of daily negotiation with the state.

Nation-states who deny access to foreign journalists, writers and academics – such as North Korea, Myanmar, China and Iran – usually have things to hide. What is it that India has to hide in Kashmir? I thought ‘peace’ was ‘returning’. ….

Read more → KALIFA

via → crdp, September 23, 2011.

More details → BBC urdu

The Haqqani Network in Kurram

By Reza Jan, Jeffrey Dressler

This paper details the expansion of the Haqqani Network in Pakistan’s tribal areas through peace accords signed between rival Sunni and Shia factions in Kurram Agency, Pakistan. The peace accords brought nearly four years of continuous fighting to an end. Despite the appearance of legitimacy, the peace accords were manipulated by the Afghanistan-focused Haqqani Network to serve its own ends. In exchange for brokering the peace between Sunnis and Shias, the Haqqanis allegedly received the authority to operate through Shia-controlled terrain in central and upper Kurram which will aid their ongoing insurgency against Afghan and coalition forces throughout eastern Afghanistan. The Haqqanis have also demonstrated their growing power and influence in the Pakistani tribal region in areas beyond their historical stronghold of neighboring North Waziristan Agency.

The Haqqani Network is Afghanistan’s most capable and sophisticated insurgent network. The Haqqanis enjoy sanctuary in the tribal areas in Pakistan along the border with Afghanistan. With the backing of elements within the Pakistan security establishment, the Haqqanis have used their sanctuary in the North Waziristan Agency of Pakistan to operate across the border in southeastern Afghanistan.

In response to increased coalition activity against the Haqqani Network in both Pakistan (via drones) and Afghanistan (via Special Operations Forces), the Haqqanis have increasingly sought new Pakistani sanctuary and additional infiltration routes in order to continue to battle coalition forces for control of southeastern Afghanistan. The Haqqani Network has increasingly turned their attention to Kurram Agency over the past several years as a potential sanctuary for the Haqqanis and affiliated terrorist organizations.

Kurram is a region of special strategic importance to Afghanistan-focused insurgents. It served as a base to the Afghan Mujahideen during the war against the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Kurram remains coveted terrain today as it facilitates convenient access to several Afghan provinces and is also the shortest route to Kabul from anywhere in Pakistan. …

Read more :  criticalthreats.org
http://www.criticalthreats.org/pakistan/reza-jan-jeffrey-dressler-haqqani-network-in-kurram-may-9-2011

Justice for Few

U.S. And Justice for Few – William Fisher

NEW YORK, 14 Dec (IPS) – Poor defendants on death row, immigrants in unfair deportation proceedings, torture victims, domestic violence survivors and victims of racial discrimination – all these groups are consistently being denied access to justice while those responsible for the abuses are protected, according to a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU Human Rights Programme, told IPS, “Access to justice is a fundamental human right and bedrock tenet of American democratic system – it was even codified by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the U.S. championed 62 years ago.”

“Unfortunately, access to the courts and effective remedy have been severely curtailed over the last decade, especially for those who need it most,” he said. “It is time for our government and judiciary to recommit to respecting and promoting this essential right.” …

Read more : ipsnorthamerica.net