Thursday, October 6, 2011

Obama Warns Pakistanis on Militants

President Obama cast some doubt on the long-term relationship between the United States and Pakistan on Thursday, saying his administration was concerned about the Pakistani government’s commitment to American interests because of ties between anti-American militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s own intelligence service.At a news conference in Washington focused mostly on the American economy, Mr. Obama said he was thankful for cooperation from Pakistan, which has allowed the United States to use drones to strike at Qaeda cells ensconced along the Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier.

But he also obliquely criticized Pakistan over its position regarding Afghanistan, where efforts to stabilize the country and wind down the American-led war have been frustrated by what American and Afghan officials have described as Pakistan’s support for insurgent groups, including the Taliban and their allies in the Haqqani network.

“I think that they have hedged their bets in terms of what Afghanistan would look like,” Mr. Obama said. “And part of hedging their bets is having interactions with some of the unsavory characters who they think might end up regaining power in Afghanistan after coalition forces have left.”

The United States will “constantly evaluate” Pakistan’s cooperation, Mr. Obama said. He added: “But there’s no doubt that, you know, we’re not going to feel comfortable with a long-term strategic relationship with Pakistan if we don’t think that they’re mindful of our interests as well.”

Mr. Obama’s remarks seemed to call into question whether the United States could continue supplying Pakistan with billions of dollars in military and civilian aid, as it has since the Sept. 11 attacks, if its intelligence service could not be persuaded to drop its support for militant groups long used as proxies against India and Afghanistan.

Asked, however, if he would be willing to cut off aid to Pakistan, recently ravaged by flooding, Mr. Obama hesitated. The United States has a “great desire to help the Pakistani people strengthen their own society and their own government,” he said. “And so, you know, I’d be hesitant to punish flood victims in Pakistan because of poor decisions by their intelligence services.”

His remarks came against a backdrop of already heightened American tensions with Pakistan, since Adm. Mike Mullen, the just-retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate panel last month that the Haqqani network, a potent part of the insurgency battling American forces in Afghanistan, was a “veritable arm” of Pakistan’s spy agency.

Admiral Mullen also accused the agency of supporting an attack by Haqqani militants on the United States Embassy in Kabul, the Afghan capital.

Mr. Obama said: “What we’ve tried to persuade Pakistan of is that it is in their interest to have a stable Afghanistan, that they should not be feeling threatened by a stable, independent Afghanistan. We’ve tried to get conversations between Afghans and Pakistanis going more effectively than they have been in the past. But we’ve still got more work to do.”

Saudi women, Israeli women both need social change

The Jewish Chronicle
Elana Maryles Sztokman
The news that Saudi women will soon be given the right to vote — if the year 2015 is considered “soon” — is being hailed around the world as remarkable. The BBC called it “groundbreaking,” the White House called it an “important step forward,” and Saudi women activists called it “great news.”

But this change, which arrived a century late (Finland became the first country to grant universal suffrage in 1906, and a dozen other countries followed suit), is also a troubling indicator about the reality of women’s lives, in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. It demonstrates just how far behind Arab culture is from the Western world, and it is a disquieting reminder of just how dangerous the language of “slow change” can be, especially for women — in all cultures.

To be sure, Saudi women need the vote. But they also need other basic rights that they are thus far deprived of. Saudi women still cannot drive or leave their houses without being accompanied by a male — whether that male is a 10-year-old brother or an aging grandfather. Women are forbidden from opening bank accounts, obtaining passports or even going to school without the presence of a male guardian. Meanwhile, this vote is limited in its impact: Saudi Arabia is still a monarchy, with all that implies. The local councils that women will now be allowed to vote in are ultimately bound by the final royal word, which is in turn tightly bound by religious authority. And incidentally, the reason that Saudi officials cited for having to wait until 2015 for women’s voting is because the government has to construct gender-segregated voting facilities.

So while news of women’s vote is a welcome change, it is a small one. The news is akin to fixing a leaky sink when there is a burst pipe behind the wall; it may succeed in fixing one aspect of the problem, but a close look will reveal the colossal proportions of the issue.

But this is about more than Saudi Arabia, and women of the world should watch closely. Note, for example, how King Abdullah tried to spin his country as being good to women. In his official statement, he said, “We reject to marginalize the role of women in the Saudi society, in every field of works.”

Women are treated like imbecilic children in his country, but he denies that they are “marginalized.” It is reminiscent of some Jewish apologetics who deny gender equality while arguing that Jewish women are treated like queens. These are rhetorical tricks for keeping women down and trying to convince women otherwise — tricks that clearly cross religions and cultures.

Moreover, there will undoubtedly be pundits quick to argue that this story illustrates how remarkable Israel is compared to the Arab world, especially in terms of women’s rights. While I am not averse to gaining some much-needed world sympathy for Israel, I think we would be wise to refrain from such self-righteousness about Israel’s record on gender. According to the Inter-parliamentary Union, Israel currently ranks a paltry 57th in the world in terms of female parliamentary representation, with 23 out of 120 (19.2 percent) female Knesset members, and six out of 154 (3.9 percent) female mayors. Comparing Israel to Saudi Arabia, which is tied for last place with Oman, Qatar, Palau, Belize, Micronesia, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands (all with zero female representation in government), only means that Israel is not entirely stuck in the dark ages. It would be much more helpful for Israel to look up the list and not down the list, to find out how the 56 countries with better rankings on gender issues do it.

But I think there are also warning signs here for Israel. The movement for greater gender segregation and female body cover that is infiltrating Israeli public life — including buses, planes, the light rail, the post office, streets, conferences, army events, municipal events and more — has sinister echoes of Saudi Arabian life. It is a reminder that the culture of gender segregation is not about a particular religious ideology but rather about embedded ideas about gender that are given a stamp of approval by religious authorities. When political powers that be give absolute authority to religious bodies, women are often the ones to suffer most. Put differently, we need to remind Israel’s political leaders that we are already beginning to resemble Saudi Arabia.

There is an important message here about social change and the historical process. People who advance gender reform in Orthodox Jewish life are often told by rabbinical authorities to be patient, that change takes time.

The slow change argument doesn’t work, and neither does waiting patiently. Change requires visible action — protesting, speaking out and making noise. Jewish women should take heed.

(Elana Maryles Sztokman is an author, educator, researcher and consultant who has been involved in Jewish education and communal life for the past 20 years.)

US media blackout of protest is shameful

By Chen Weihua (China Daily)

One of the best-kept secrets in the United States over the past two weeks seems to be the protest on and near Wall Street in New York.

More than 1,000 people protested on the first day, September 17, marching and chanting slogans. Yet the demonstration, known as Occupy Wall Street, did not appear on the major networks' evening news or in major newspapers the next day.
The protest, now in its 14th day, only got limited coverage last Saturday when heavy-handed police arrested close to 100 people and pepper-sprayed several female demonstrators. But most coverage that day was not in-depth.

While there are many videos of harsh police action on the Internet, I have witnessed how the formerly helpful police patrolling the streets have suddenly resorted to force in Zuccotti Park, also known as Liberty Plaza, in Lower Manhattan.

In one scene, several policemen jumped on one skinny man who was not acting violently. They pushed him down and handcuffed him. Just five minutes later, a policeman waved his fist at a man. That day, seven people were arrested, with one suffering a serious leg injury.
Again, none of these incidents made the major networks' evening news or the major newspapers.
As a journalist, I have wondered why the so-called mainstream US media, which is either headquartered in New York or maintains a strong presence in the city, has chosen to ignore the prolonged demonstration since it started. Why have those journalists, who made their names covering various protests around the world, suddenly become silent in reporting the mass rally? That clearly does not match their enthusiasm to cover demonstrations in recent months in places such as North Africa and the Middle East.
The people who come from many parts of the US and the dozens of people who have spent rainy nights in the outdoor plaza would, no doubt, have countless stories to tell. But few journalists from the mainstream media seem interested in listening this time.
To some protesters I have talked to, the answer is simple: It is natural that corporate-controlled media outlets are not going to cover a protest that is fighting excessive corporate influence in society.
One US journalist said it was because these people are too left-leaning and do not seem to have a clear goal for their rally. I am not sure if they are all left-leaning, but a schedule I saw did include sessions on the Communist Manifesto and Spanish Revolution.
Still, that does not justify a blackout imposed by the major news media outlets on such a prolonged protest.
In fact, the message from the protesters is quite clear. They are against corporate greed and influence in American politics, economy and life. These protesters, who call themselves "The 99 Percent", are angry about the huge amount of wealth collected by the top 1 percent of the population.
Vanity Fair has reported that the top 1 percent of the nation controlled 12 percent of US wealth only 25 years ago, while today it controls close to 25 percent.
Isn't that a serious concern for journalists, whose primary responsibility is to speak for the voiceless in their society?
It is a shame that most so-called mainstream media outlets have miserably failed to inform the public over the past two weeks.

Loss of Steve Jobs makes world ‘iSad’

Tributes poured in from notables from US President Barack Obama to Bill Gates, but it was the scale of the outpouring from ordinary people around the world, hammering out characters on Jobs’s own inventions, that was staggering.

As word spread that Jobs had died of cancer at the age of 56, messages tagged “iSad” and “RIP Steve Jobs” joined other references to the Apple co-founder among the hottest topics at Twitter.

Others made their way to state-of-the-art Apple retail stores, another user-friendly innovation pioneered by Jobs. In Tokyo, employees observed a silent prayer before opening the doors to customers on Thursday.

And in front of an Apple store in Manhattan, Gregory Littley placed two roses and a candle on the sidewalk next to his iPhone, with “We will miss you Steve Jobs” typed on its touchscreen.By nightfall in California, thousands of people at global social network Facebook had signed up to take part in an unofficial Steve Jobs Day planned for October 14.

A website devoted to the event invited people to dress up as the Apple co-founder or talk about him, whether at real-world gatherings or at online venues such as Facebook and Twitter.Steve's ailing health over the years

“We love what he’s brought to the world,” said a message at the website, which is dominated by a color portrait of Jobs.

“Let’s take a day to honor the man…Everyone around the world is invited to participate,” it continued.

A Facebook page devoted to the event explained that it was planned when Jobs stepped down as Apple chief executive in August for health reasons and was not intended to be a memorial.

Intended or not, the Jobs Day Facebook comment forum was flooded with remembrances and adoration for the visionary behind iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Macintosh computers.

“People often asked me what is it about Apple that makes you so crazy,” Facebook member Pallav Desai wrote on the page.

“I say it was more than a product – it was a fight of a person who battled cancer; who was thrown out of his company, and STILL came back and showed the world iWAS iAM & iWILL change the world!”

From children who adore “Toy Story” and other Pixar films to teens obsessed with watching YouTube videos on iPhones or adults addicted to iPad applications and music from iTunes, people were moved to share their feelings about Jobs.
“In a sense, Steve Jobs was part Thomas Edison, Walt Disney and P.T. Barnum,” said Creative Strategies analyst Tim Bajarin, who covered Jobs for 30 years.

“A modern technology visionary, focused in delivering products that are useful and provide entertainment and a masterful showman who really knew how to keep people on the edge of their seats wanting more.”

Jobs gave the world the Apple II, The Mac, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad and Pixar, altering industries and lifestyles in the process, Bajarin noted.

On Twitter, Brian Magallones respectfully equated Jobs to “a modern day cross between Albert Einstein and Willy Wonka.”

Tweets streamed thanking Jobs for his innovations, and many people quoted from a moving commencement address he gave at Stanford University in 2005.

The video had logged more than six million views at YouTube, at least two million of them over a period of a few hours early on Thursday.

People echoed his advice to stay hungry, dare being foolish, and not waste time living someone else’s life.

“Death is the destination we all share,” he told the graduating class.

“And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life,” he continued. “It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”

Afghans protest ahead of invasion anniversary

About 200 people demonstrated in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul Thursday, chanting anti-American slogans ahead of the 10th anniversary of the US-led invasion.

The protesters shouted “death to America and its Afghan puppets” and torched a United States flag at the end of their peaceful march through the city centre, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

“Our demonstration is to condemn the invasion,” Hafizullah Rasekh, one of the organisers, said.

“We want the US military and their Nato allies to leave Afghanistan immediately. We want them to stop killing innocent Afghans.”

A female protestor, Jamila, who said she was a housewife and refused to give her last name, added: “I don’t see any difference between the atrocities of the Taliban and the Americans. Both are killing innocent people.”

Friday marks the tenth anniversary of the US-led invasion which ousted the militant Taliban from power.

The Taliban are now leaders of a bloody insurgency in Afghanistan where 140,000 foreign troops, mostly from the US, are based.

The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) says it does all it can to limit civilian casualties in operations — the issue is highly controversial and incidents resulting in civilian deaths have been repeatedly condemned by President Hamid Karzai.

The United Nations says 1,462 civilians were killed in the first half of this year and insurgents were responsible for 80 per cent of the deaths.

‘Sharifs have no love for democracy’

Senior PPP leader and Chairman, Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), Syed Asif Hashmi on Wednesday condemned the recent statements by Sharif brothers, saying they had no love for democracy and the democratic process which was yet to take roots in the country.
Talking to the media at the residence of Federal State Minister for Inter-religion Harmony, Akram Masih Gul, where he had gone to inquire after the health of his son, the PPP leader said that PML-N leaders were doing no service to the people by resorting to politics of violence.
While accusing PML-N leaders of having a dictatorial mindset which did not go well with democracy, he said there were contradictions even in the statements of the two brothers, as elder one will say one thing and the younger will come out with something different.
Hashmi said that all conspiracies by the opponents to roll back the system will not succeed, as present political set up will complete its constitutional tenure under the dynamic leadership of President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani. To a question, Asif said that Chief Minister Punjab was busy destroying law and order in the province instead of paying attention to dengue virus and other important issues.

Nawaz Sharif '' a threat to Democracy''.


The biggest threat to democracy is now to come from democrats themselves

The PML-N which has in the last few years dwindled between being written off due to confrontation with the military to supporting democratic process through Charter of Democracy to supporting terrorists of Lal Masjid, Taliban etc to demanding “revolutions” to calling to the military to intervene, has decided to show its true colors by instigating civil disobedience against the power outages in the country. Without doubt, power outages is a major problem, however, destroying state property through violent protests is not the solution at all.

In the last 48 hours, there have been numerous protests targeted towards the state institutions. Police stations have been targeted and dangerous criminals have been freed. Power transformers have been set on fire. Regional electricity offices were burnt along with billing records. Police parties have been targeted. Without doubt, people are frustrated but why is this happening only in Central Punjab? This is mainly because, PML-N which rules Punjab and has its power base in Central Punjab has instigated these protests.

According to Dawn, “Hamza Shahbaz, son of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, is reported to have organised and led some rallies”. As per Express Tribune, “Police from Gujranwala faced the brunt of the protesters’ fury, where over two dozen protests took place after 20 hours of load-shedding in the last two days. Mobs burned down police posts, injuring 30 people – including 14 police officials. The scene of anarchy was exacerbated when the protesters also stopped a train heading from Rawalpindi to Karachi and smashed its windows. Six other people were injured as the rioters stormed the Gujranwala Electric Power Company offices and set them on fire.

In Sialkot, the target of the angry crowds was Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) offices, leading to several Wapda officials getting injured. Protesters ranging from traders to political party members to ordinary citizens continued violent demonstrations throughout the city, while police decided to remain at a safe distance from the chaos.

In Lahore, close to 200 protesters were arrested while others blocked roads, burned tyres and trucks and caused massive traffic jams across the city. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz activists joined with protesters in various locations around Lahore, swelling the number of the rioters.”

One wonders if the activist Judiciary has taken notice of this vandalism and destruction of property?

One can easily see that these cities are controlled by the PML-N and this is an attempt to create a law and order situation and then demand military intervention. It is also surprising that his has happened immediately after All Parties Conference, which the ghairat brigade was expecting to change the foreign policy outlook and use it as an opportunity to bring the government into troubled waters with both the Military and the USA. Having failed to have an impact, power outages were used as a pretext for rallies which turned ugly.

If only power crisis could be eliminated through street protests and civil disobedience, then we should have protests everyday! Unfortunately, this will only complicate the issue which will be used to create further law and order problems and create image issues for the country and the government.

It is important to see the sinister motive of the PML-N. Ever since, OBL was killed in Pakistan, PML-N in no uncertain terms has wanted the PPP government to be sent packing. The reason for their frustration and desperation is because Senate elections are just six months away. Having senate elections as per schedule will mean a deadly blow to the opposition, which if it comes into power after next general elections, will be a difficult task to maneuver.

It is also sad to see Mian Nawaz Sharif playing a role which is not healthy for himself and his party. If Pakistan was to slide back to the politics of 1990’s, then in the future, Mian Nawaz Sharif will himself be the biggest sufferer.

The government has to resolve the power crisis, there are no two thoughts about it. It has to resolve the circular debt issue which is easily causing 25% of the power crisis. The government also must realize that people like Mian Mansha (beneficiaries of Nawaz Sharif in the past) are very active in the power sector (with three power plants operated by his companies), can use their clout to accentuate the power crisis on the pretext of non payments. Point is who will suffer? It is the people and the state!

Bad blood between US, Pakistan to harm Pakhtuns

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Information & Public Relations, Mian Iftikhar Hussain has said that Pakistan was not a slave but a sovereign state and wants good relations with the whole world including America on the basis of equality. Provocative statements of the USA were intolerable as it instead of bringing improvement, could lead the situation towards confrontation, he added.This, he said, while talking to a delegation of Shangla Press Club led by its President Nasir Mehmood Nasir at Peshawar on Wednesday. General Secretary of the Press Club Mian Raza Shah while highlighting the problems and demands of the local journalists’ community demanded special grant for press club, establishment of media colony and financial aid of the IDPs journalists.The Information Minister, while referring to the rapidly emerging critical situation, said that the government policy regarding terrorism was crystal clear as being a frontline state; Pakistan had given more sacrifices than any other countries in the war against terror. He added that we love peace, hate war and condemn terrorism exists in any shape and in any part of the world including Pakistan.Mian Iftikhar on this occasion expressed the fear; if the present situation leads towards confrontation, it would have unbelievable devastation and would badly affect the Pakhtun Belt as it was situated in a very sensitive area. He furthered, the today’s Pakhtun nation was the product of history. Unfortunately, through a pre-planned international conspiracy, it was once again pushing towards the stone-era but the Pakhtun nation was well aware of the conspiracy and would face it generously, he continued.The minister while referring to the demands, presented in the welcome address, said that the provincial government had a standard policy in this regard and all the districts would be given its due share in line with the policy. He added that the provincial government has, in the first phase, already constructed building for the Shangla Press Club at a cost of Rs.7.3 million while formal announcement for the fulfillment of their remaining demands would be made in his upcoming visit to Shangla Press Club.

Bilawal Bhutto to stay low profile in politics

Political activities of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari,

son of President Asif Ali Zardari, will remain low profile and slow paced for a couple of years till a few months before he turns 25 to qualify for contesting a National Assembly seat.

“Bilawal’s formal debut in politics took place last month when he undertook a visit to China, accompanied by senior PPP leaders including Jehangir Badr,” a presidential aide told The News. He said this was very important symbolically as Bilawal followed the footsteps of his mother and grandfather, who had embarked on similar trips at the start of their political careers.

The aide said Bilawal’s involvement in political activities would not be too visible in the immediate future. He plans to do his Masters from Britain and would then engage himself in politics in a full-fledged way.

Bilawal became 23 on Sep 21 and celebrated his birthday quietly mainly due to massive devastation caused by rains and floods in Sindh.The presidential advisor said Bilawal would not rush to heighten his political activities, as he was required to learn a lot first. Bilawal would qualify to contest election in Sep 2013. By that time, the next parliamentary polls would be held if all goes well.

When Zardari announced to a party gathering at the presidency a few months back that Bilawal would start his political career in September this year, it was stated by PPP leaders that the Young man was all set to be fully active politically. Later, the president stated on July 26 that the PPP chairman would contest election from Lyari, Karachi, the traditional stronghold of the PPP.

The presidential aide said that when Bilawal would attain the qualifying age to fight election, he would have several options to be a candidate.

However, by announcing that Bilawal would contest from Lyari, President Zardari made it clear that the Naudero constituency of Larkana, which was traditionally fought by Bhuttos since 1970, would now be in the control of Zardaris. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was twice elected to the National Assembly from this seat while Benazir Bhutto always won from here with a thumping majority. She had filed her nomination papers for this very seat, NA-207 Larkana, when she was assassinated in December 2007 just before the parliamentary polls. After her murder, President Zardari’s sister, Faryal Talpur contested and won this seat. It was the first time that a non-Bhutto returned from here.

The president plans to groom and acclimatize Bilawal to the domestic political environment before the young man effectively assumes the political responsibility and party mantle. “He needs to learn the works of Bulleh Shah etc.,” Zardari said recently. Bilawal still has two years to go to contest a National Assembly seat and subsequently become prime minister if his party wins.

A US Embassy Islamabad cable released by WikiLeaks said that: “Within the party rank and file, there continues to be considerable doubt over Zardari’s right or capability to be PPP leader. This lack of confidence formed Zardari’s shrewd decision to name Benazir Bhutto’s son Bilawal (a direct descendant of party founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto) as PPP Co-Chair, whom Zardari is now grooming politically”. “Zardari has three children with his late wife: Bilawal, Bakhtawar, and Asifa. Family friends say that the children were closer to Benazir until her death, but Zardari has since become interested in grooming Bilawal for public life.”

Afghan ambassador meets Kayani, Bashir

Afghanistan Ambassador in Pakistan Mohammad Umer Daudzai held separate meetings with Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani and Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir on Tuesday, Geo News reported Thursday.

Reliable sources said that the Ambassador left for Kabul shortly after the meeting.

According to sources, the meeting was an effort to do away with misunderstandings leading to a blame game in the region. The sources underlined the importance of the meeting that fell in the backdrop of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s visit to New Delhi and signing of strategic partnership agreement with India.

In his meeting with the afghan envoy, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani cautioned the Afghan government against continuation of baseless allegations against the ISI of supporting terrorists in Afghanistan, who recently killed former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani and said it would have a deep negative impact on relations between Islamabad and Kabul. He also made known Pakistan’s concerns over the recently concluded ‘Afghanistan-India Strategic Partnership Pact’ to the Afghan ambassador.

The Afghan ambassador in his meeting with Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir told that the strategic partnership with India is not against Pakistan interests and termed Pak-Afghan relationship as historic.

President Hamid Karzai’s trip to New Delhi............The eye of the storm
Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s recent trip to New Delhi and the forging of a new ‘strategic pact’ was bound to escalate tensions with Pakistan.
In fact, the India trip was thought by many to give an obvious signal of the strategic alternatives Kabul was looking at in lieu of its deteriorating relations with Islamabad. However, roping in India in a larger role in the future may also cause further instability in Afghanistan, given Pakistan’s significant influence in ongoing negotiations with insurgents and in the political process following the withdrawal of the Coalition forces. This is why President Karzai has hastened to reassure Pakistan that relations will not be affected despite the new dimension in ties with India. While Karzai’s words may have stemmed from the need to calm the political storm blowing across the region following Afghan peace envoy Barhanuddin Rabbani’s assassination, the only signal Islamabad is likely to read at this juncture is a reshaping of strategic alliances with New Delhi.

Kabul has clearly chosen to strengthen relations with India, that too on the strategic front and this is likely to have a significant impact in moulding a changed security and political dynamic in South Asia. Pakistan has long held Afghanistan as a key state in line with its strategic depth doctrine and has supported regimes more partial towards Islamabad. Likewise for India, that has extended support to other Afghan groups such as the Northern Alliance to neutralise Pakistan’s influence. The rules of realpolitick naturally dictated forging alliances and consolidating influences. With Pakistan out of favour with both Washington and Kabul at present over its alleged sponsorship of the Haqqani network and possible involvement in Rabbani’s assassination — a charge vehemently denied and demanded evidence for, by Islamabad — India will naturally make inroads in widening its ‘development’ role into a far significant presence.

Who Kabul chooses to tango with is however important. Any strategic decisions taken in the midst of conflict might backfire especially when Karzai has stressed on a political solution for the insurgency. Alienating Pakistan is not the answer. Actually, the mistrust shared between the three states is the crux of the problem. While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that a stable Pakistan is in India’s favour, more needs to be done in terms of confidence building between the two states. Kabul should also pursue diplomacy and present Pakistan with proof for any charges. It must bear in mind that peace and stability is not achievable in an environment where allegations and proxy fights thrive.

Pakistan squeezed by Afghan-India pact

The new Afghan-Indian security pact could inflame Pakistan's proxy war against India and threatens Islamabad's regional ambitions in South Asia as its ties with Kabul and Washington hit rock bottom.
Pakistan has been on the defensive as Afghanistan has cosied up to India. Kabul claims the recent murder of its peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani was plotted in Pakistan, and has accused Islamabad of hindering the investigation.
Pakistan has been terse about the burgeoning India-Afghanistan alliance. "Both are sovereign countries and they have the right to do whatever they want to," Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said in brief response.
But the alliance undermines Pakistan's policy of courting Afghanistan to offset the regional superpower status of India, with which it has fought three wars since independence in 1947, including two over Kashmir.
Fearful of encirclement by its wealthier neighbour, Pakistan has long focussed on Afghanistan -- arming Islamist warlords against the Soviets in the 1980s, backing the Taliban in the 1990s and hedging its bets in the 2000s.
But the new strategic partnership sealed Tuesday, which will see India take a bigger role in training Afghan security forces after already dishing out more than $2 billion in aid, threatens to isolate Pakistan further.
Right-wing newspaper The Nation said the "very disturbing" pact would "create further misunderstandings" that would help neither Pakistan nor Afghanistan "if he (Karzai) wants his country to progress and prosper".
Pakistani military affairs analyst Ayesha Siddiqa went further.
"This pact will definitely lead to a more intense proxy war between India and Pakistan in Afghanistan, because India will be training the Afghan military and Pakistan does not consider this in its interest," she told AFP.
When US-led forces invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 after the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan formally sided with the United States, but has been long accused of playing a double game with its old warlord and Taliban friends.
Those accusations reached fever pitch after the US embassy in Kabul was subject to a 19-hour siege on September 13 and Rabbani was assassinated on September 20.
Those incidents came after the US killing of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on the doorstep of Pakistan's top military academy in May.
The United States launched a concerted campaign last month, accusing Pakistani intelligence of involvement in the embassy attack and demanding the state cut all ties with the Haqqani network, an Afghan Taliban faction.
And although Prime Minister Gilani declared a "victory" in facing down US pressure on the Haqqanis, officials behind the scenes paint a less rosy picture of relations.
"Every time I think we've hit rock bottom, I find both countries have shovel in their hand and are digging further down trying to find a new bottom," one Pakistani security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
US options for action are limited. Pakistan, which says nearly half the US war effort in Afghanistan is routed through its territory, stonewalled the Haqqani accusations and last week the pressure began to ease off.
Some say Karzai's visit to India was an opportunity to take up where the United States had left off with its accusations -- and strike a chord in India, which blamed the horrific 2008 Mumbai attacks on Pakistani militants.
Yet despite the distrust, Kabul recognises that there can be no resolution to the 10-year Afghan conflict without at least acquiescence from Islamabad.
Karzai on Wednesday sought to ease Pakistan's discomfort, describing it as Afghanistan's "twin brother" -- although "brother" is also a word he uses for the Taliban -- and India as a "great friend".
Nevertheless, analysts say, the Kabul-Delhi partnership may force Pakistan into reappraising its approach to militancy.
"There has to be less obvious support for insurgents in order to prevent much obvious isolation," said A.H. Nayyar, a physics professor and political analyst at Lahore University of Management Sciences.

Obama hails Jobs as brave, bold and talented


President Barack Obama, who has enjoyed Apple's products along with millions of other Americans, Wednesday night hailed Steve Jobs as one of America's greatest innovators, a man "brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it."
"The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve's success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented," the president said in a statement.

Praising Jobs' breadth and the impact of his work from personal computers to iPhones to movie production, the president added, "Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last. Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: He changed the way each of us sees the world."
This week, Obama, known for his affection for the BlackBerry, revealed he actually was a recipient of an advanced copy of the iPad 2 directly from Jobs.
"Steve Jobs actually gave it to me, a little bit early," he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "Yeah, it was cool. I got it directly from him."In March, CNN photographed the president holding an iPad.
The president and Jobs met several times, including at a dinner in San Francisco in February with Silicon Valley executives and last year when they discussed issues revolving around technology and the economy.
Many politicians also praised Jobs as the truest example of the American dream, an icon.
House Speaker Rep. John Boehner, who also uses an iPad, tweeted: "Steve Jobs changed the world for the better w/his innovations and genius."
House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, tweeted, "There is not a day that goes by, and often not an hour, that a Steve Jobs invention does not better my family's life. Thank you Steve."
Fellow Californian Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, called Jobs "a visionary who changed the way we live, an innovator whose products brought joy to millions, a risk-taker who wasn't afraid to challenge the status quo," and also said in a statement, "His sage advice was respected by policymakers on both sides of the aisle. His courageous fight against cancer brought strength to many."

Steve Jobs, tech pioneer, dies at 56

The brilliant, mercurial co-founder of Apple introduced simple, elegantly designed computers for people who are more interested in what technology could do rather than how it was done.

Steve Jobs, a co-founder of Apple Inc., who introduced simple, well-designed computers for people who were more interested in what technology could do than in how it was done, died Wednesday at age 56.

In a brief statement, Apple announced the death but did not say where he died. Mr. Jobs, who suffered from a rare form of pancreatic cancer and had a liver transplant in 2009, stepped down as Apple’s chief executive on Aug. 24.

An original thinker who helped create the Macintosh, one of the world’s most influential computers, Mr. Jobs also reinvented the portable music player with the iPod, launched the first successful legal method of selling music online with iTunes and reordered the cellphone market with the iPhone. The introduction of the iPad also jump-started the electronic-tablet market, and it now dominates the field.

Calculating that people would be willing to pay a premium price for products that signaled creativity, Mr. Jobs had a genius for understanding the needs of consumers before they did.

He knew best of all how to market: “Mac or PC?” became one of the defining questions of the late 20th century, and although Apple sold a mere 5 percent of all computers during that era, Mac users became rabid partisans.

Mr. Jobs was the first crossover technology star, turning Silicon Valley renown into Main Street recognition and paving the way for the rise of the nerds, such as Yahoo founders Jerry Yang and David Filo, and Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

And by changing the way people interacted with technology, Jobs and Microsoft founder Bill Gates transformed their era in much the same way Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller revolutionized theirs with the mass-produced automobile and the creation of Standard Oil.

As a 21-year-old college dropout in 1976, Mr. Jobs founded Apple with his friend Steve Wozniak. He led the company to multimillion-dollar success within five years but was forced out by the time he was 30.

Mr. Jobs started another computer firm, Next, whose technology was used to create the World Wide Web. He later took over a foundering computer animation company and turned it into the Academy Award-winning Pixar, maker of “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo.”

Returning to Apple in his 40s, Mr. Jobs restored the company to profitability by paring down the product line and being a leader in innovation.

Known for his complex and combative temperament, Mr. Jobs was a private man. But in a June 2005 commencement address at Stanford University, he talked openly about his pancreatic cancer, diagnosed in 2004, in a video that became an Internet sensation. He later became furious about speculation over his health in mid-2008, when he appeared in public looking gaunt. Later that year, he took a leave of absence from the company to have a liver transplant.

In January, he took another medical leave. On Aug. 24 he stepped down as Apple’s chief executive, becoming chairman of the board. Apple’s share price immediately dropped 5 percent on the news, but it rebounded the next day. “Steve Jobs running the company from jail would be better for the stock price than Steve Jobs not being CEO,” one stock analyst told Fortune magazine in early 2011.

His innovations led Business 2.0 to call him “easily the greatest marketer since P.T. Barnum.” One of his employees, noting that Mr. Jobs was able to persuade people to believe almost anything, coined the phrase “reality distortion field” to describe his ability to warp an audience’s sense of proportion. Mr. Jobs described the Macintosh computer, for example, as “insanely great.”

Maybe it was. It was designed for the home and creative professional user, not the computer-science student or the bottom-line-oriented businessman. During a famous 1979 visit to Xerox Parc, the hotbed of innovation where the computer mouse, networking and graphical user interface were invented, Mr. Jobs and Wozniak learned that computer users did not have to type in a series of commands to make the computer perform; they could simply point their mouse at a picture of a file and click it to get the file to open.

That recognition sparked a flurry of innovation unmatched in technology until the designers of Microsoft’s operating software mimicked the look and feel of their competitors with Windows 95.

Years later, discussing computer design in another context, Mr. Jobs said: “Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer, that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

He could control how it works because Apple “makes the whole widget,” as Mr. Jobs repeatedly said — software and hardware. The company introduced monitors with color screens long before others. Locked out of many retail chains because of its small market share, Apple responded with its own distinctively branded stores, to which users flock like pilgrims. The Mac, Mr. Jobs saw, could become the hub of a digital lifestyle.

Not everything worked out. A 1983 computer, Lisa, failed miserably. Even the “insanely great” Macintosh, sold without a letter-quality printer and incompatible with other computers, had a difficult start, even though it launched the desktop publishing revolution. But that wasn’t the first rough start in Mr. Jobs’s life.

Steven Paul Jobs was born Feb. 24, 1955, in San Francisco to unwed parents, University of Wisconsin graduate student Joanne Carole Schieble and Syrian exchange student Abdulfattah Jandali. Paul and Clara Jobs adopted him shortly after his birth.

Mr. Jobs grew up in Northern California and showed an early interest in electronics. While working on a project as an eighth-grader, he saw he was missing a part. Undaunted, he called William Hewlett, co-founder and president of Hewlett-Packard, who prepared a bag of parts for him — and offered him a summer internship.

Mr. Jobs attended Reed College in Portland, Ore., in 1972. He dropped out after a semester because of financial issues but continued to audit classes at the liberal arts school for 18 months. He then worked part time at Atari to raise money for a trip to India in the summer of 1974, studying meditation and shaving his head. He also lived in a commune for a short time.

In 1975, he began associating with a group of computer aficionados known as the Homebrew Computer Club. Wozniak, a technical whiz, was trying to build a small computer, and Mr. Jobs became fascinated with its potential. In 1976, he and Wozniak introduced the Apple I, the first low-cost microcomputing system, for $666, and sold about 200 units. They followed that up in 1977 with the Apple II, a redesigned model that had impressive sales of $2.7 million in its first year. The company’s sales grew to $600 million by 1981 and created a market of personal computer users.

The Macintosh was introduced in 1984 with a commercial during the third quarter of the Super Bowl. The advertisement, designed by ad agency Chiat/Day and directed by Ridley Scott, fresh off his classic science-fiction film “Blade Runner,” ran just once, but it was named by Advertising Age as the commercial of the decade.

As controversial as he was creative, Mr. Jobs enforced a culture of secrecy at Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. Mr. Jobs, who grew up idolizing the Hewlett-Packard ideal of an egalitarian workplace where employees were valued, was known in his younger years for playing pranks on underlings, reversing direction without acknowledging that he had changed his mind and yelling at company directors. He also refused to acknowledge paternity or pay child support for his first daughter for years. He threatened to sue teens who published Apple gossip on their Web sites.

In 1985, after tangling with John Sculley, the Pepsi executive he brought in to run the company, Mr. Jobs sold $20 million worth of stock and resigned from Apple. He and Wozniak had just received the National Medal of Technology from President Ronald Reagan. “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me,” he said in his 2005 address at Stanford. “The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

After several months, Mr. Jobs hired some of his former employees to begin a new computer company, called Next.

During that period, Mr. Jobs paid filmmaker George Lucas $10 million for a small computer animation firm and, over the next six years, he poured another $40 million of his own money into the company as it set out to make the first computer-animated feature film, “Toy Story.”

In late 1996, Apple bought Next for more than $400 million. Within months, Mr. Jobs was back at Apple as an adviser and quickly became chief executive again.

He stunned the faithful at a Macworld conference in August 1997 when he announced a partnership with Microsoft, accepting a $150 million investment in exchange for preloading Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser on Apple computers. An unprecedented alliance between rivals, the deal ultimately saved the company by reassuring customers that they could use Microsoft’s ubiquitous Office software on Macs. “We want to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose,” Mr. Jobs said, to shouts of dismay from his normally adoring audience. “Madman at the wheel, eh?” he added, laughing, as he walked off the stage.

That was just the start of his revival of the company. The “Think Different” advertising campaign got the world’s attention again, followed by the 1998 introduction of the colorful iMac desktop computer, which sold 1 million in a year. In 1999, the iBook appeared, a brightly colored, clam-shaped laptop that enabled wireless Web surfing.

Consumer releases came out in a rush. An overlooked technology called FireWire, a tool for quickly moving large amounts of data between digital devices, allowed the creation of iMovie, software that encouraged non-experts to make home videos. The iPod, an MP3-like player with room for thousands of songs, was introduced in October 2001 and has sold hundreds of millions of units. The iTunes application, which allowed consumers to legally buy and download music, started in April 2003 and revolutionized the digital music industry — more than 6 billion songs have been sold.

Mr. Jobs and Apple were suddenly cool again. The iPhone’s debut in 2007 generated a huge buzz, and it soon rolled over the competition from Palm Computing and BlackBerry, despite its higher cost. The iPad, a tablet-based computer introduced in January 2010, sold more than 10 million units its first year.

Although Mr. Jobs’s salary was $1 per year, his stock options made him rich. His fortune was estimated to be $5.4 billion by Forbes magazine in its 2008 survey of the richest people in the world.

But nothing came without controversy. Even as Apple’s stock was booming and its business thriving, Mr. Jobs faced scrutiny in a scandal about Apple’s backdating of stock options. Like many companies, Apple had given out stock options with effective dates chosen later, after it was known that the price was low on those dates, making the stock more valuable once it was sold. Mr. Jobs wasn’t the only employee who benefited, but the company said his options were approved at a special board meeting that never took place. The company was forced to restate its earnings, but a special company investigation concluded that Mr. Jobs had done nothing wrong.

Survivors include his wife since 1991, Laurene Powell; a daughter from a previous relationship, Lisa Brennan-Jobs; three children from his marriage, Eve Jobs, Erin Sienna Jobs and Reed Paul Jobs; and two sisters, Mona Simpson and Patti Jobs.

Seeking Energy, Unions Join Protest Against Wall Street

Stuart Appelbaum, an influential union leader in New York City, was in Tunisia last month, advising the fledgling labor movement there, when he received a flurry of phone calls and e-mails alerting him to the rumblings of something back home. Protesters united under a provocative name, Occupy Wall Street, were gathering in a Lower Manhattan park and raising issues long dear to organized labor.

And gaining attention for it.

Mr. Appelbaum recalled asking a colleague over the phone to find out who was behind Occupy Wall Street — a bunch of hippies or perhaps troublemakers? — and whether the movement might quickly fade.

So far, at least, it has not, and on Wednesday, several prominent unions, struggling to gain traction on their own, made their first effort to join forces with Occupy Wall Street. Thousands of union members marched with the protesters from Foley Square to their encampment in nearby Zuccotti Park.

“The labor movement needs to tap into the energy and learn from them,” Mr. Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, said. “They are reaching a lot of people and exciting a lot of people that the labor movement has been struggling to reach for years.”

In fact, the unexpected success of Occupy Wall Street in leveling criticism of corporate America has stirred some soul-searching among labor leaders. They have noted with envy that the new movement has done a far better job, not only of capturing interest, but also of attracting young people. Protests have spread to dozens of cities, including Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Several union leaders complained that their own protests over the past two years had received little attention, though they had put far more people on the streets than Occupy Wall Street has. A labor rally in Washington last October drew more than 100,000 people, with little news media coverage.

Behind the scenes in recent days, union leaders have debated how to respond to Occupy Wall Street. In internal discussions, some voiced worries that if labor were perceived as trying to co-opt the movement, it might alienate the protesters and touch off a backlash.

Others said they were wary of being embarrassed by the far-left activists in the group who have repeatedly denounced the United States government.

Those concerns may be renewed after a disturbance about 8 p.m. Wednesday as the march was breaking up. The police said they arrested eight protesters around the intersection of Broadway and Wall Street, after people rushed barriers and began spilling into the street. While a couple of witnesses said that officers used pepper spray to clear the streets, Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, said that one officer “possibly” used it. Several protesters were also arrested at State and Bridge Streets at 9:30 p.m.; the police said one protester was charged with assault after an officer was knocked off his scooter.

Despite questions about the protesters’ hostility to the authorities, many union leaders have decided to embrace Occupy Wall Street. On Wednesday, for example, members of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s executive council had a conference call in which they expressed unanimous support for the protest. One A.F.L.-C.I.O. official said leaders had heard from local union members wondering why organized labor was absent.

The two movements may be markedly different, but union leaders maintain that they can help each other — the weakened labor movement can tap into Occupy Wall Street’s vitality, while the protesters can benefit from labor’s money, its millions of members and its stature.

The labor leaders said they hoped Occupy Wall Street would serve as a counterweight to the Tea Party and help pressure President Obama and Congress to focus on job creation and other concerns important to unions.

“This is very much a crystallizing moment,” said Denise Mitchell, the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s communications director. “We have to look for sparks wherever they are. It could be an opportunity to talk about what’s wrong with the system and how to make it better.”

Still, it may not be easy for organized labor to mesh with this new movement. Labor unions generally represent older workers, while the Occupy Wall Street protesters are younger. Unions are hierarchical, while the Occupy Wall Street protesters are more loosely knit and like to see themselves as highly democratic.

Unions invariably have a long and specific list of demands, while Occupy Wall Street has not articulated formal ones. Union leaders often like the limelight, while Occupy Wall Street is largely leaderless.

“Labor’s needed a way to excite younger people with their message,” Michael Kazin, a historian at Georgetown University, said. “And to the extent that Occupy Wall Street’s ‘99 percent versus 1 percent’ theme goes along with what labor has been saying for a while, it’s a natural fit.”

“But obviously,” said Professor Kazin, who has written several books on populist and progressive movements, “demographically, there may be some problems here. The protests haven’t gotten much institutional presence, and if labor can help give them institutional presence, that can really help them.”

Several major labor groups — including the Transport Workers Union, the Service Employees International Union, the United Federation of Teachers and the United Auto Workers — took part in the march on Wednesday. Some more traditionally conservative ones, like those in the construction trades, stayed away.

George White, 60, a retired union member who lives in Marine Park, Brooklyn, said it was up to the young protesters to champion bread-and-butter issues in the future. “Unions are on the way out,” he said. “These are the children of mothers and fathers who have worked hard all their lives and now can’t put food on the tables. These are the children who can’t pay off their loans, who have nowhere to go and no opportunities.”

Julie Fry, 32, a lawyer who is a member of the union at the Legal Aid Society, said labor’s backing of the protest was momentous, and born out of frustration.

“We’re so fed up and getting nowhere through the old political structures that there needs to be old-fashioned rage in the streets,” she said.

Before the march, protesters at the Occupy Wall Street encampment’s welcome table said that while the unions were welcome, they would be only one more base of support.

“The idea that the unions will take over the crowd, that’s not going to happen,” said Jeff Smith, 41, a freelancer in advertising who has been on the welcome committee since the protests began. “We are not a group looking for a leader.”

Others expressed frustration with the unions. Chris Cicala, 26, from Staten Island, said his father, a union painter, had been laid off, leaving his family without health insurance. “I don’t get where the unions have been for the past 10 years,” Mr. Cicala said.

Anti-Wall Street Protests Spread From New York to San Francisco

Demonstrators from New York City to San Francisco took to the streets yesterday to protest what they call a growing wealth disparity between large U.S. corporations and average citizens in the wake of the financial crisis.

Picketers marched as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement that began three weeks ago in Lower Manhattan and has spread across the U.S. The New York crowd was estimated at 10,000, according to Patrick Bruner, a spokesman for the effort.

“There’s power in numbers, and we outnumber the people we’re trying to hold accountable,” said Henry Liedtka, a 27- year-old pharmacy worker from New Jersey who said he’s protested since Oct. 2. “We should be bailing out the American public -- not corporations -- by raising the minimum wage, bringing jobs back from overseas and improving labor conditions.”

Protesters criticized the government for propping up hobbled financial giants, including Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp., with a $700 billion taxpayer-funded bailout in 2008, while leaving Americans to struggle with unemployment, depressed wages, soaring foreclosure rates and slashed retirement savings.

“We bailed them out and they are not lending the money,” JoAnn Herr, 60, a retired sheet-metal worker from Oakland, California, said in an interview yesterday outside the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, where a march through downtown formed. “They are just holding onto it, giving themselves bigger bonuses and not paying their fair share of taxes.”

Union Support

U.S. labor unions will support the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations with rallies next week because the protests have tapped into the anger of unemployed Americans, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said yesterday.

“We’re not going to try to usurp them,” Trumka, leader of the nation’s largest labor federation, said on a conference call with reporters. “We’ll support them around the country and we’ll continue to work collectively with one another.”

In New York, members of National Nurses United, the profession’s largest U.S. union; Transport Workers Union Local 100, the biggest labor organization in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the Working Families Party, a coalition of community organizations, marched to Wall Street from Foley Square, north of City Hall.

The Transport union “applauds the courage of the young people on Wall Street,” the union said on its website. “Workers and ordinary citizens are putting up all the sacrifice, and the financiers who imploded our economy are getting away scot-free.”

‘People Losing Hope’

Laurence Fink, the chief executive officer of BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager, said he understands the concerns of the protesters.

“These are not lazy people sitting around looking for something to do,” Fink, 58, said yesterday during an event in Toronto. “We have people losing hope and they’re going into the street, whether it’s justified or not.”

Not everyone watching the march near Wall Street yesterday supported the protesters.

“They’re just a bunch of wacko leftists trying to get on TV,” said Onel Delorb, 33, an unemployed office worker from the Bronx. “It’s my fault that I’m not doing anything for work. It’s not government’s fault.”

He said the demonstrators undermined their credibility by carrying iPhones and iPads made by Apple Inc., which is valued at $350 billion.

Sea of Tarps

Since Sept. 17, thousands of protesters have transformed New York’s Zuccotti Park, near the site of the World Trade Center, into a sea of blue tarps, sleeping bags and tables offering free medical care, food and library books. Their signs and slogans oppose everything from bank bailouts and corporate influence in politics to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and insufficient job prospects.

The protesters had a permit to demonstrate, said Paul Browne, deputy commissioner of the Police Department. Brian Sessa, a police spokesman, said 12 were arrested last night, including one accused of assaulting a police officer.

Last weekend, police halted a march over the Brooklyn Bridge and took about 700 activists into custody.

In San Francisco, demonstrators set up a camp of tents on a half-block stretch of Market Street outside the Federal Reserve building, where some have been meditating and playing guitars.

Mark Schwetz, 36, a carpenter from Berkeley who lost his home in Petaluma, California, to foreclosure in 2009, held a sign reading, “We’re not leaving!”

“I’ve been waiting for this moment, for this day for a long time now,” Schwetz said. “I worked really hard for my whole life for my home and it was just taken away from me.”

Movement Spreads

According to an Occupation Status Board at Zuccotti Park, the movement has spread to 147 cities in the U.S. and 28 overseas, netted $35,000 in donations and led to the arrest of 805 people. The website listed events planned in more than 45 states and in cities including Boston, Chicago, Denver and Seattle.

The Occupy Wall Street coalition has the potential to become the “Tea Party of the Left” if the protesters can transform their disparate list of grievances into targeted policy prescriptions, said Brayden King, who’s written on social and political movements at Northwestern University.

Tea Party

“They have to figure out what it is they are about, in order to become the force of change in the Democratic Party, like the Tea Party has been in the Republican Party,” King, an assistant professor of management at the Kellogg School of Management, said by telephone from Evanston, Illinois.

The Tea Party, a loosely organized movement opposed to the growing size of government and rising federal spending. Sixty of the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives now identify themselves as Tea Party supporters.

“You’re seeing possibly the roots of what may turn into a political party or at least a political movement that has a voice,” Eric Nielson, 34, a self-described healer, said in an interview yesterday during the march toward San Francisco’s Civic Center.

The protesters stopped at an office building in the Financial District whose tenants include Bank of America, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley, to chant, “We are the 99 percent!” and “This is what democracy looks like!”

Anonymous, a group of self-styled hacker-activists behind attacks on corporate and government websites, vowed to support the protests by erasing the New York Stock Exchange “from the Internet” on Oct. 10.

Stock Exchange Threat

The group posted a video message on YouTube declaring war on the stock exchange in retaliation for the arrests of Wall Street protesters. The message didn’t elaborate on the threat or whether it referred only to an attack on the Big Board website, which would have no effect on trading.

Occupy DC, which has an encampment in Washington’s McPherson Square, a few blocks north of the White House, is planning a rally today, according to its Twitter feed.

Celebrity supporters include activist and filmmaker Michael Moore, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and musician Peter Yarrow of the 1960s-era folk group Peter Paul and Mary.

Sit-ins are planned in at least four cities in Colorado in the coming weeks, according to an Occupy Denver organizer. The group, which hopes to attract 1,000 people for a march Oct. 8, started camping out in front of the state Capitol 11 days ago. Discussion topics among the crowd gathered in Denver last weekend included currency devaluation and the 1913 Federal Reserve Act.