Tag Archives: typical

Swiss National Bank will cut interest rate to minus 0.25%

Switzerland’s National Bank (SNB) will bring in a negative interest rate cutting the value of large sums of money left on deposit in the country.

The Bank is imposing a rate of minus 0.25% on “sight deposits” – a form of instant access account – of more than 10m Swiss francs ($9.77m).

It is trying to lower the value of the Swiss franc, which has risen recently.

Russia’s market meltdown and a dramatic plunge in the oil price have led investors to seek “safe havens”.

The announcement sent the franc lower, and in early trading the euro was buying 1.2095 Swiss francs, fewer than the 1.203 it was worth before the news, just within the target.

Switzerland typically sees money flow in during economic uncertainty.

The new rate will be introduced on 22 January and will only affect banks and large companies who use the “sight account” to transfer funds quickly and without restrictions.

A negative rate means depositors pay to lend the bank their money.

Read more » BBC
Learn more » http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30528404

In Pakistan, No Quick End to Islam Conversion Case

By DECLAN WALSH

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Hopes for the rapid resolution of a controversy over the conversion of a Hindu woman to Islam that has seized the Pakistani public were dashed on Monday, when the Supreme Court declined to decide the matter for at least three more weeks.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry ruled that Rinkel Kumari, a 19-year-old Hindu student who converted under disputed circumstances last month, should spend the next three weeks pondering her fate in protective custody, along with another Hindu woman in a similar situation.

During an emotional and sometimes rowdy hearing in a packed courtroom in Islamabad, the capital, Chief Justice Chaudhry noted that there had been “serious allegations of abduction and forced conversion” in both cases.

“Both ladies must have an atmosphere without any pressure to make a decision about their future,” he said.

Continue reading In Pakistan, No Quick End to Islam Conversion Case

Christian Fundos!

My Life as a Daughter in the Christian Patriarchy Movement — How I Was Taught to Obey Men, Birth 8 Kids and Do Battle Against Secular America

We were raised to fight the enemy, be it Satan or environmentalists and feminists; to come against them in spiritual warfare and at the polls.

By Libby Anne

Deep within America, beyond your typical evangelicals and run of the mill fundamentalists, nurtured within the homeschool movement and growing by the day, are the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements. This is where I grew up.

I learned that women are to be homemakers while men are to be protectors and providers. I was taught that a woman should not have a career, but should rather keep the home and raise the children and submit to her husband, who was her god-given head and authority. I learned that homeschooling is the only godly way to raise children, because to send them to public school is to turn a child over to the government and the secular humanists. I was taught that children must be trained up in the way they should go every minute of every day. I learned that a woman is always under male authority, first her father, then her husband, and perhaps, someday, her son. I was told that children are always a blessing, and that it was imperative to raise up quivers full of warriors for Christ, equipped to take back the culture and restore it to its Christian foundations. …

Read more → butterfliesandwheels

via → AlterNet

New York Times – Pakistan Spies on Its Diaspora, Spreading Fear

By MARK MAZZETTI, ERIC SCHMITT and CHARLIE SAVAGE

WASHINGTON — F.B.I. agents hunting for Pakistani spies in the United States last year began tracking Mohammed Tasleem, an attaché in the Pakistani Consulate in New York and a clandestine operative of Pakistan’s military spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence.

Mr. Tasleem, they discovered, had been posing as an F.B.I. agent to extract information from Pakistanis living in the United States and was issuing threats to keep them from speaking openly about Pakistan’s government. His activities were part of what government officials in Washington, along with a range of Pakistani journalists and scholars, say is a systematic ISI campaign to keep tabs on the Pakistani diaspora inside the United States.

The F.B.I. brought Mr. Tasleem’s activities to Leon E. Panetta, then the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and last April, Mr. Panetta had a tense conversation with Pakistan’s spymaster, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

Within days, Mr. Tasleem was spirited out of the United States — a quiet resolution typical of the spy games among the world’s powers.

But some of the secrets of that hidden world became public last week when two Pakistani-Americans working for a charity that the F.B.I. believes is a front for Pakistan’s spy service were indicted. Only one was arrested; the other is still in Pakistan.

The investigation exposed one part of what American officials say is a broader campaign by the Pakistani spy agency, known as the ISI, to exert influence over lawmakers, stifle public dialogue critical of Pakistan’s military and blunt the influence of India, Pakistan’s longtime adversary.

American officials said that compared with countries like China and Russia — whose spies have long tried to steal American government and business secrets — the ISI’s operations here are less extensive and less sophisticated. And they are certainly far more limited than the C.I.A.’s activities inside Pakistan.

Even so, officials and scholars say the ISI campaign extends to issuing both tacit and overt threats against those who speak critically about the military.

The ISI is widely feared inside Pakistan because of these very tactics. For example, American intelligence officials believe that some ISI operatives ordered the recent killing of a Pakistani journalist, Saleem Shahzad. ….

Read more → The New York Times

Christian Taliban – a doomed attempt to compete with Muslim Taliban

Fighting the Culture Wars With Hate, Violence and Even Bullets: Meet the Most Extreme of the Radical Christians

By Alex Henderson

From the Army of God to the Hutaree Militia to Gary North and his Christian reconstructionists, radical Christianity is alive and well in the United States.

If there is one name some residents of Amarillo, Texas wish they could forget, it’s Repent Amarillo. Based in that North Texas city, Repent Amarillo is a militant Christian fundamentalist group whose antics have ranged from staging a mock execution of Santa Claus by firing squad to posting a “spiritual warfare” map on its Web site that cited a Buddhist temple, an Islamic center, gay bars, strip clubs and sex shops as places of demonic activity.

Repent Amarillo is also infamous for mercilessly harassing a local swingers club called Route 66. Throughout 2009, members of Repent Amarillo made a point of showing up at Route 66’s events, where they would typically wear military fatigues, shout at Route 66 members through bullhorns and write down the license plate numbers of people attending the events. After finding out who the swingers were, Repent Amarillo’s members would find out where they worked and try to get them fired from their jobs (according to Route 66 coordinator Mac Mead, at least two members of the club lost their jobs because of Repent Amarillo). ….

Read more: → AlterNet

Pakistan : A great deal of ruin in a nation

Excerpt:

Why Islam took a violent and intolerant turn in Pakistan, and where it might lead

“TYPICAL Blackwater operative,” says a senior military officer, gesturing towards a muscular Westerner with a shaven head and tattoos, striding through the lobby of Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel. Pakistanis believe their country is thick with Americans working for private security companies contracted to the Central Intelligence Agency; and indeed, the physique of some of the guests at the Marriott hardly suggests desk-bound jobs.

Pakistan is not a country for those of a nervous disposition. Even the Marriott lacks the comforting familiarity of the standard international hotel, for the place was blown up in 2008 by a lorry loaded with explosives. The main entrance is no longer accessible from the road; guards check under the bonnets of approaching cars, and guests are dropped off at a screening centre a long walk away.

Some 30,000 people have been killed in the past four years in terrorism, sectarianism and army attacks on the terrorists. The number of attacks in Pakistan’s heartland is on the rise, and Pakistani terrorists have gone global in their ambitions. This year there have been unprecedented displays of fundamentalist religious and anti-Western feeling. All this might be expected in Somalia or Yemen, but not in a country of great sophistication which boasts an elite educated at Oxbridge and the Ivy League, which produces brilliant novelists, artists and scientists, and is armed with nuclear weapons. …

…. The future would look brighter if there were much resistance to the extremists from political leaders. But, because of either fear or opportunism, there isn’t. The failure of virtually the entire political establishment to stand up for Mr Taseer suggests fear; the electioneering tour that the law minister of Punjab took with a leader of Sipah-e-Sahaba last year suggests opportunism. “The Punjab government is hobnobbing with the terrorists,” says the security officer. “This is part of the problem.” A state increasingly under the influence of extremists is not a pleasant idea.

It may come out all right. After all, Pakistan has been in decline for many years, and has not tumbled into the abyss. But countries tend to crumble slowly. As Adam Smith said, “There is a great deal of ruin in a nation.” The process could be reversed; but for that to happen, somebody in power would have to try.

To read full article : Economist

Tariq Ali’s backhanded tribute to Salmaan Taseer

by Mahvish Afridi

Is Tariq Ali a reporter, a Marxist activist or an author of fluffy Islamist novels reminiscent of Nasim Hijazi? Or is he just an ideologue past his sell by date, cashing in on his Communist Cows.  Nonetheless, he clearly has his prejudices and his article “Salman Taseer Remembered” (London Review of Books) reveals some of them.

In what should have been a tribute to a childhood friend, Tariq Ali can’t help himself and resorts to his typical petty digs based on his own prejudices and neurosis. He remembers their childhood memories but cannot bring himself to appreciate the late Salman Taseer’s business success and political activism.  I suppose that is natural given that Tariq Ali comes from a privileged feudal background and ran off from Pakistan instead of facing any consequences for being part of the Left movement of the late 1960s. Tariq Ali’s grandfather Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan was a leader of the Unionist Muslim League, a feudalist political party formed to represent the interests of the landlords of Punjab. It is the same feudal lord about whom Allama Iqabl wrote: nigah-e-faqr mein shaan-e-sikandri kia hai

In Tariq Ali’s elitist lexicon, being a self made and highly successful businessman is far inferior to being a paid lecture circuit mouthpiece for Hamas and Taliban and their supporters that reside on the fringes of the Far Left.

His glossing over the incarceration that Taseer had to face for his political affiliation with the Pakistan Peoples Party and its leadership are probably an indication of his insecurity for running away to England at the first sign of trouble. Not unlike other members of Pakistan’s ‘fake civil society’, Tariq Ali hates the PPP and the Bhuttos because they deprived him and his likes of the imaginary revolution that Tariq Ali so much wanted to lead but never possessed the guts and heart to do so.

In his back handed tribute to Shaheed Taseer, Tariq Ali reveals more about himself and his prejudice than about the late Governor’s successful life. …

Read more : CriticalPPP

Bilawal breaks silence

[Please take the time to listen to this incredible speech by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. This speech in many ways demonstrates the future of the PPP and you can see his vision, leadership and direction. His courageous message challenging terrorists and violent extremists who are misusing and misinterpreting Islam for their own benefit gives us hope that Pakistan will yet be able to rid itself of violence and those who dishonor Islam and our nation.]

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Bilawal breaks silence

By Eraj Zakaria

In one single stride, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the chairperson of the Pakistan People’s Party, has clinched the issue and made it abundantly clear that the young and upcoming leadership of the PPP will bear no truck with forces of obscurantism and bigotry. He emphatically points out that the supporters of Mumtaz Qadri were in fact blasphemers and not the slain Salmaan Taseer, whose body had been pumped with 27 bullets and consequently left to die in a pool of blood. Young Bilawal has single mindedly emphasised upon the entire West about the direction and bearing the PPP leadership intends to take in the immediate future. Bilawal’s statement has come at a time when eyebrows had begun to be raised regarding the PPP’s silence on the vital issue of Taseer’s assassination. He breaks the silence not only at an appropriate time, but also in an ambiance where his life and personal security could be at stake. Bilawal aptly diagnoses that Taseer’s assassins are the very forces who killed his mother, Benazir Bhutto, and later did not spare Taseer’s life. Bilawal rightly points out that Taseer’s murder is symptomatic of a typical mindset. It is not the act of an individual, but the collective disposition and fanaticism of a certain section of society. Bilawal’s resolve that the blood of the outspoken Salmaan Taseer would not go in vain, must be a matter of solace for the West which views Pakistan’s future as uncertain and rocky, though Bilawal emphasises his viewpoint at peril to his life. As it is, there is no dearth of hotheaded bigots. Regardless of one’s political disposition about Bilawal and irrespective of the fact whether one is at tangent or even diametrically opposed to his views, one has to grudgingly concede to Bilawal’s gumption and gusto. While Asif Ali Zardari has condemned Taseer’s assassination, he left it to Bilawal to take the lead in this matter, since he is the future torchbearer of the party. …

Read more : Daily Times