Thursday, May 3, 2012
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By SABRINA TAVERNISESTEUBENVILLE, Ohio — This is the land of die-hard Democrats — mill workers, coal miners and union members. They have voted party line for generations, forming a reliable constituency for just about any Democrat who decides to run for office. But when it comes to President Obama, a small part of this constituency balks. “Certain precincts in this county are not going to vote for Obama,” said John Corrigan, clerk of courts for Jefferson County, who was drinking coffee in a furniture shop downtown one morning last week with a small group of friends, retired judges and civil servants. “I don’t want to say it, but we all know why.” A retired state employee, Jason Foreman, interjected, “I’ll say it: it’s because he’s black.” For nearly three and a half years, a black family has occupied the White House, and much of the time what has been most remarkable about that fact is how unremarkable it has become to the country. While Mr. Obama will always be known to the history books as the country’s first black president, his mixed-race heritage has only rarely surfaced in visible and explicit ways amid the tumult of a deep recession, two wars and shifting political currents. But as Mr. Obama braces for what most signs suggest will be a close re-election battle, race remains a powerful factor among a small minority of voters — especially, research suggests, those in economically distressed regions with high proportions of white working-class residents, like this one. Mr. Obama barely won this county in 2008 — 48.9 percent to John McCain’s 48.7 percent. Four years earlier, John Kerry had an easier time here, winning 52.3 percent to 47.2 percent over George W. Bush. Given Ohio’s critical importance as a swing state that will most likely be won or lost by the narrowest of margins, the fact that Mr. Obama’s race is a deal-breaker for even a small number of otherwise loyal Democrats could have implications for the final results. Obama advisers acknowledged that some areas of the state presented more political challenges than others, but said that the racial sentiment was not a major source of worry. The campaign’s strategy relies in large part on a strong performance in cities and suburban areas to make up for any falloff elsewhere among Democrats in this or other corners of Ohio. The Obama campaign aggressively monitors any racial remarks made against the president, but officials rarely openly discuss Mr. Obama’s race. The president released his birth certificate last year in an effort to quell a growing controversy about whether he is a United States citizen. He said last month that race in America was still “complicated.” “I never bought into the notion that by electing me, somehow we were entering into a post-racial period,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “I’ve seen in my own lifetime how racial attitudes have changed and improved, and anybody who suggests that they haven’t isn’t paying attention or is trying to make a rhetorical point,” he said. “Because we all see it every day, and me being in this Oval Office is a testimony to changes that have been taking place.” Researchers have long struggled to quantify racial bias in electoral politics, in part because of the reliance on surveys, a forum in which respondents rarely admit to prejudice. In 50 interviews in this county over three days last week, 5 people raised race directly as a reason they would not vote for Mr. Obama. In those conversations, voters were not asked specifically about race, but about their views on the candidates generally. Those who raised the issue did so of their own accord. “I’ll just come right out and say it: he was elected because of his race,” said Sara Reese, a bank employee who said she voted for Ralph Nader in 2008, even though she usually votes Democrat. Did her father, a staunch Democrat and retired mill worker, vote for Mr. Obama? “I’d have to say no. I don’t think he could do it,” she said. But the main quarrels Democratic voters here have with Mr. Obama have nothing to do with race. They include his opposition to the Keystone pipeline, an environmental stance they say will harm this area, whose backbone, the Ohio River, is lined with metal mills and coal mines. And the economy, on the rise nationally, is still stuck here. About one in three residents in Steubenville live in poverty, double the national rate. Shale gas, which has begun to bring profits to some counties in Ohio, has yet to take off here, and downtown is a grid of empty storefronts behind dusty glass. “The big word was ‘change,’ but there’s not been much of that,” said Christopher Brown, a union leader in Steubenville, who said more than 200 of his members were still out of work. “Members are saying, ‘What has President Obama done for us?’ ” As for race, he said, “It’s not on the front table, it’s in the back seat.” Just how far back is a question no one can definitively answer. “Race in America is always a work in progress,” said Clement A. Price, a professor of history at Rutgers-Newark. “It’s often a proxy for social anxieties, such as this long recession, joblessness and the war abroad.” Stephanie Montgomery, who is black and a graduate of Franciscan University in Steubenville, said her race came up so often in her job search in this area that she developed a technique for recognizing when it was happening. The sign: when warmth on the phone turns cool in person, and “they lose eye contact with you.” “You almost need a corporate environment to get a fair shot,” she said while standing at a job fair in the Steubenville mall. She said that she did not vote for Mr. Obama in 2008 because she preferred Mr. McCain’s more conservative platform, but that Mr. Obama seemed to be a lightning rod for criticism, in part because of his race. “He’s everything they hate,” she said, referring to ultraconservatives. “An affirmative-action baby. Got the Nobel Prize without deserving it.” Many who raised race as a concern cast Mr. Obama as a flawed candidate carried to victory by blacks voting for the first time. Others expressed concerns indirectly, through suspicions about Mr. Obama’s background and questions about his faith. “He was like, ‘Here I am, I’m black and I’m proud,’ ” said Lesia Felsoci, a bank employee drinking a beer in an Applebee’s. “To me, he didn’t have a platform. Black people voted him in, that’s why he won. It was black ignorance.” Louis Tripodi, a baker in Steubenville who voted for Mr. Obama, blames talk radio and Republican rhetoric for encouraging such attitudes. “ ‘He’s a Muslim, he’s a socialist, he’s not born in this country,’ ” he said. “It’s got a lot to do with race.” Race has also helped Mr. Obama. It increased voter turnout among blacks in 2008, and some younger voters said it was part of why they voted for him. But now that history has been made, it is less of a pull. “It was kind of like a bandwagon that a lot of young people jumped on because it was history,” said Dee Kirkland, a 22-year-old working in a pizza shop in nearby Yorkville. “It was a fad to like him,” she said, adding that “race shouldn’t hinder you, but it also shouldn’t help you.” Mr. Obama still has a number of enthusiastic supporters here. Diane Woods, the owner of Pee Dee’s Brunch and Bar, a diner in downtown Steubenville, described him as “regal, and presidential,” and said she would vote for him again because “when he talks, it makes sense to me.” The fact that race came up at all in 2008 “really showed how divided we still are,” she said, cooking eggs one gray morning last week. “Blacks came out to vote for the first time because he was black, and you had all these whites saying, ‘Oh, there’s another vote from some drug addict.’ ” Mr. Corrigan, who supports Mr. Obama, said he believed that the president would ultimately win this mostly Democratic county but that it would be very close, a prediction he said was underscored by a recent flurry of Republican visits. Rick Santorum came here twice during his campaign, and Gov. John R. Kasich, a Republican, gave his annual address here this winter. “It’s going to be a nail-biter,” said Mr. Brown, the union official. Jeff Zeleny contributed reporting from Washington.
By Shan RenpingAfter Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese activist, left the US embassy in Beijing, the case took a dramatic turn yesterday. Chen claimed that the US embassy officials lied to him and abandoned him by letting him leave. His latest request was to fly to the US on US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's plane. Both Gary Locke, the US Ambassador to China, and the US Department of State denied they had threatened Chen or that the US embassy was pressured by the Chinese government. According to US officials, Chen had "a change of heart." The US embassy has caused itself trouble after receiving Chen. Chen, who reportedly said "I want to kiss you" to Hillary Clinton on the phone, is now expressing his disappointment about the US government to the media. The clash between Chen and the US embassy shows the difficult communication between this activist and the outside world. Those who had contacted him told the Global Times that Chen rarely trusts people due to his special experiences. There are numerous instances of discontent and frictions happening at the grass-roots level. Many of these can be associated with human rights, if one claims they are. Under the instigation of the West, they could all become another "Chen case." Human rights progress cannot be isolated from other comprehensive developments in China, which has been the driving force behind the advancement of human rights in China in recent decades. But if the West insists on using it as a tool, China's human rights record will continue to be attacked. Such contradictions will keep on happening since while the country is making efforts to improve human rights, it will be smeared as a human rights violator. Western media have helped to raise some unrealistic demands about human rights standards. That is why Western-initiated human rights campaigns against Chinese authorities are often echoed by Chinese members of the public. But the scrutiny on China's grass-roots human rights practices has its benefits. It will open the field of vision of the Chinese public, and may stimulate the progress of local human rights standards. But it also has the negative effect of fostering conflicts at the grass-roots level. It is difficult to tell whether these cons are made up for by the pros. Human rights progress cannot be realized in one night through a political decision, nor can it be donated by outsiders. In every country, this process requires strenuous efforts. We should not expect a shortcut.
The Express TribuneVeena Malik
The Baloch Hal
By Amjad Hussain“I dont hold anybody responsible for the brutal murder of my sister, but the provincial government and the Pakistani military spy agency, ISI”, says Yazdan Salimi, a young Hazara man whose sibling was among the victims of March 29 terrorist attack in Quetta on a Suzuki van carrying Hazara commuters from one part of the capital city to another. “People at the helm of affairs in the North Western Balochistan province of Pakistan need to be brought to dock and made accountable for their failure to provide security to ethnic Hazara minority in the capital city”, adds Salimi who is one of the thousands of the Hazara asylum-seekers who have left the Pakistani city of Quetta to take refuge in Australia due to fear of ethnic and religious persecution. Salimi mourned the death of his sister in an Australian detention centre for asylum-seekers with great despondency as he feels sorrow for being unable to see the dead face of the victim before she was laid to rest. Like Salimi, there are hundreds of other bereaved Hazara families who have lost their loved ones in the terrorist attacks in Quetta over the the past fourteen years. These families are still waiting for the perpetrators to be nabbed and convicted. But, for them, it seems to be a forlorn hope as the government of the day in Pakistan is still unwilling to act effectively to preclude what most of the members of the affected community describe as the “systematic genocide of the Hazaras”. The current situation in Quetta is no less than a nightmare for the Hazaras who have never experienced such worst days in their whole life span even since their migration from Aghanistan to Pakistan over a century ago. Life has come to a standstill for the Hazaras in the city due to incessant targeted attacks on them by the terrorists who are hounding this ill-fated community across the city with full passion. The Hazaras are unable to move around the city to earn livelihood by attending their offices and visiting their business outlets. They have stopped sending their children to schools and colleges. Thousands have fled abroad to save their lives. Terrorists are enjoying a free hand and full impunity to gun down the Hazaras at the places of their own choice anywhere in the city. The latest series of the targeted attacks on the ethnic minority, which began on March 26 and continued till April 14 without any break, rendered more than thirty members of the community dead. The easy escape of the culprits from the crime scene after every incident has posed a big question mark to efficiency and performance of the thousands of the law enforcement agencies’ personnel deputed across Quetta city for security reasons. The provincial government, which according to Balochistan governor, Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, is mainly made up of the ministers involved in heinous crimes like murder, robbery, drug trafficking, arms smuggling and kidnapping for ransom, seems to be least bothered by these killings. Its interest to protest the lives of the Hazaras can be well-guaged by the statement of the chief executive, Nawab Aslam Raisani, wherein he had made a mockery of the bereaved Hazara families by offering to send them a truckload of tissue papers to wipe off their tears. The provincial government’s apathy to the Hazaras’ killings in the capital city imply that the culprits are too powerful and influential to be managed by the government. Whose support are these culprits enjoying then which is even more powerful than an elected government? Those who have some knowledge about the Pakistani politics are very well aware of the fact that the civilian government is unable to deal with only those elements which bask in the sunshine of the omnipotent military establishment. Thus, Pakistan military’s involvement in the Hazaras’ killings can not be ruled out. The circumstantial evidences also corroborate this presumption. What advantages do the Pakistani military establishment want to take from the Hazara’s killings is the question which calls for an answer. After the ouster of the Taliban from power in Afghanistan back in 2001, Pakistan military has been making strenuous efforts to regain power in the war-torn country as an attempt to prevent it go under Indian influence. To achieve their ulterior goal, the Pakistani military Generals started to support and patronize with more zeal the religious extremist groups like the Taliban’s Haqqani Network and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi by declaring them as their “Strategic Assets”. By targeting the Hazaras in Quetta, the Pakistani military establishment want to pressurize the Hazaras in Afghanistan to step bending towards India along with their partners in the Afghan coalition government and side with Pakistan instead as a tug of war to hold sway on the neighboring country is supposed to commence between the two arch rivals soon after withdrawal of the Allied forces from Afghanistan in 2014. Given the dirty politics and bloody strategies of the Pakistani military establishment with respect to its neighboring country there seems a little chance for the Pakistani Hazaras to heave a sigh of relief in near future. In the meantime, there also falls an onun on the international community and human rights watchdogs to take serious cognizance of the Hazaras’s killings in Quetta. They need to take up the issue with the Pakistani government and exert all their pressure to force the security establishment of the country to apprehend the perpetrators of the heinous crime and to provide the Hazaras with the right to live with peace and tranquility.
Amjad Hussain, a native of Quetta, is a freelance journalist. Between 2001 to 2011, he worked in Quetta and Islamabad as a reporter for Dawn News and the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP).
http://www.thegrio.comHispanic Americans, the fastest growing minority group in the United States, favor President Barack Obama over presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney by a huge margin, a potentially decisive factor in the Nov. 6 election. Hispanics are critical because of the complex state-by-state system for choosing the U.S. president. They could tip the vote in the president's favor in key swing states like Colorado, Nevada and Florida. What's more, the Hispanic vote could put once-solidly Republican Arizona in play for Obama. First Lady Michelle Obama was in Arizona on Monday, testing the waters for her husband at a fundraiser. She also stopped in three other heavily Hispanic states in the U.S. southwest -- Colorado, Nevada and reliably Democratic New Mexico. Vice President Joe Biden also was in Arizona two weeks ago, courting voters who last settled on a Democrat for president when Bill Clinton won re-election in 1996. Hispanic voters historically have sided with Democratic presidential candidates out of a sense that the party best handled the immigration issue, which tops their list of concerns. They appear to be sticking with Obama despite his record-setting deportation of illegal immigrants. The Department of Homeland Security shows that since 2009 the number of deportations has approached 400,000 each year, well above the number during the George W. Bush presidency. In the latest poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, Obama overwhelms Romney by 67 percent to 27 percent among Hispanic registered voters. That support matches the 67 percent of the Hispanic vote Obama captured in 2008. Romney has alienated many Hispanics with his support of Arizona's tough new immigration law as "a model" for the nation. The initiative, approved in 2010, has been denounced by Hispanic and immigration rights groups as extreme. Challenges to the law recently were argued before the Supreme Court, where both liberal and conservative justices indicated they were not in favor of overturning the measure. During Republican primary debates, Romney said that "the right course for America is to drop these lawsuits against Arizona. ... I'll also complete the (border) fence. I'll make sure we have enough border patrol agents to secure the fence, and I'll make sure we ... require employers to check the documents of workers." Romney also opposes the Democrats' Dream Act legislation that would allow a path to citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants if they serve in the military or go to college. Romney's positions put him to the right even of Republican opponents Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. He now faces the challenge of finding a way to shift toward the center if he is to have any hope with Hispanic voters. Obama carried Colorado, Nevada and Florida in 2008, and keeping those states in his column could prove essential in this year's voting. With six months remaining before the vote, national polls show the president and Romney in a very close race, with the struggling economy the top issue. That should be especially important to Hispanics, who have 11 percent unemployment while the overall jobless rate is 8.2 percent. Perhaps the biggest question about Hispanic preferences arises in Florida, one that could prove key to the hopes of both candidates. Mark Lopez of the Pew Hispanic center cites "changing demographics" there, which show more Hispanics registering as Democrats in the last two elections. In the past, the Florida Hispanic population had been dominated by Cubans, who are heavily Republican given that party's history of a greater antagonism to Communist revolutionary leader Fidel Castro and his successor and brother, Raul. But Puerto Ricans are a fast-growing part of the Hispanic community there and they overwhelmingly back Democrats. In a hypothetical head-to-head general election matchup with Obama, 40 percent of Florida Hispanics said they would vote for Romney, while 50 percent prefer Obama, according to a Univision News/ABC News poll from late January. The poll found that Florida Cubans side with Romney over Obama 54 percent to 34 percent, while Puerto Ricans back Obama 67 percent to 23 percent. Nationally, if the election were held now, Obama would safely carry 14 traditionally Democratic states, mainly the East and West Coasts, and the District of Columbia, with a total of 186 electoral votes. Romney probably would prevail in 20 reliably Republican states, primarily in the South and West, worth 156. Electoral votes in the end are more important than the popular vote. Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000 but lost the race to George W. Bush, who accumulated the most electoral votes. The election system really amounts to 50 separate state-by-state contests where the winner is awarded the number of electoral votes assigned to that state according to the number of representatives it has in the House of Representatives, plus the two senators each state has in the Senate. The winning presidential candidate must triumph in enough states to accumulate 270 electoral votes, half plus one of the 538 total electors. The candidate who does best in Nevada, Colorado and Florida will have a significant advantage. That will especially be the case for Obama if he can add traditionally Republican-voting Arizona to his count.
The NewsInterior Minister Rehman Malik has claimed that Taliban, Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and other banned outfits are working in Lyari and that the situation is like that of Malakand. He was addressing at a press conference along with Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah after chairing a meeting on law and order at CM House. The interior minister warned that the house in Lyari would be set on fire if any rocket launcher or hand grenade is recovered from there. Malik said they would not let Lyari to become Swat or Malakand. Whether it is Lyari or Liaquatabad or any other area of Karachi, action against outlaws would be taken without discrimination, Malik added.
Let Us Build Pakistan
By Tarek FatahAs Israeli politicians and intelligence officials bicker publicly about Iran’s capability of making a nuclear bomb and its capacity to strike Israel, they seem blind to what is happening next door in Pakistan that has both the bomb and strike capability, and soon the political leadership to order such a strike.
TWO DANGEROUS MEN.Like the rest of the West, Jerusalem seems incapable of sifting through the myriad of complexities that allow Pakistan, the most dangerous enemy of the West to escape scrutiny. Islamabad’s military capabilities are not restricted to nuclear bombs alone; it has deviously managed to squeeze billions of dollars from the very West its undeclared jihad wishes to destroy. Israel’s defence minister Ehud Barak insists Iran is “determined to obtain nuclear weapons,” adding, “And they are getting closer. We are approaching what I’ve termed the immunity zone — the moment when Iran’s nuclear program will be sufficiently developed and secretly concealed, that it will be immune to any surgical attacks.” Israel is particularly concerned with Iran’s underground Fordo site buried deep inside a mountain near the city of Qom, where centrifuges are enriching uranium to 20 percent purity. Well, unbeknownst to the Israelis and perhaps the Americans, the man who supplied the Iranians the centrifuges and who amassed a fortune selling stolen nuclear know-how from the Netherlands and components manufactured in Pakistan to Iran, Dr. A. Q. Khan is being set up to become the next president of nuclear-armed Pakistan. Time magazine called this dangerous rogue scientist “The Merchant of Menace” in 2005 and had this to report on Khan’s Iranian connection: “... IAEA officials say, [A. Q.] Khan did establish contact with the Iranians. A key member of the network has told investigators that Iran bought centrifuges from Khan. The IAEA reports that the Khan network also provided Iran with blueprints to manufacture more P-1 and P-2 centrifuges.” Seven years ago Time reported, “Khan is under house arrest, his every move monitored by Pakistani government agents. He is said to be in failing health,” predicting Khan “will probably live out his days a recluse.” Not so fast. The man Pakistan promised would never be allowed to peddle his nuclear wares again, is today a free man and has teamed up with the notorious pro-Taliban Pakistani politician, Imran Khan donning the title of ‘Patron’ of cricketer-turned politician’s political party. While the anti-American Imran Khan is being groomed by Pakistan’s military-judicial-jihadi complex to take over as the country’s next prime minister after the 2013 elections, the mad scientist Dr. A. Q. Khan is being promoted as the country’s next president. Already a Facebook page has emerged with the title “We want Imran Khan as PM and AQ Khan as president.” The possibility of President A. Q. Khan of Pakistan is already creating waves in The Netherlands; Holland is to host the 2014 World Nuclear Security Summit where Pakistan will be at the table and some members of the Dutch media are raising the issue with alarm. It seems neither the U.S. nor Israel have woken up to the scenario of a nuclear-armed Pakistan headed by a pro-Taliban prime minister and a rogue nuclear scientist as the president; one who admits to have sold nuclear parts and know-how to both Iran and North Korea.
François Hollande, the man on track to topple Nicolas Sarkozy from the French presidential stage, offers a marked difference from his rival.
French centrist Francois Bayrou says he will vote for Socialist hopeful Francis Hollande in the May 6 presidential runoff.
Media call Hollande-Sarkozy TV debate a drawFollowing a combative debate that lasted almost three hours on prime-time French TV, Socialist front-runner François Hollande managed to hold President Nicolas Sarkozy to a draw, French media said Thursday, denying Sarkozy a much-needed comeback.Socialist presidential candidate François Hollande showed “he had what it takes to lead the country” in a bruising two hour and 45 minutes televised face-off with an “aggressive” incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday, according to the French media. Trailing Hollande in the polls by around six points, many saw Wednesday evening’s debate as Sarkozy’s crucial last opportunity to outflank his rival ahead of Sunday’s second round of the presidential election.Sarkozy is known as a strong and combative debater – and had even challenged Hollande to three televised head-to-heads. But the majority of opinion in the French media on Thursday found that the Socialist candidate had stubbornly held his ground in the face of an aggressive incumbent on fighting form. Left-leaning press admits a draw France’s left wing newspaper of reference Le Monde praised Hollande for resisting attack after attack by Sarkozy, defending a barrage of facts and figures with repeated counter attacks that demonstrated “that he knew all the details and could maintain a presidential composure.” The Socialist candidate held his own as Sarkozy tried to “play the teacher to Hollande the pupil,” said the newspaper’s columnist Francoise Fressoz. “The result was a draw,” she said. “Hollande started off as favourite, and he finished as favourite. Mr Sarkozy was unable to destabilise him, which was evidently his strategy from the beginning of the debate.” Left-leaning Liberation said that the confrontation was the “toughest since 1988”, according to columnist Alain Duhamel, who presided over the 1974 and 1995 TV debates. “Sarkozy was very natural and very aggressive,” Dumahel wrote. “Hollande was firm and sharp. Both demonstrated a strong will to show that they had what it takes to lead the country.” France’s influential and generally less politically biased regional newspapers found that the debate, for all its tough talk and the attempts by both candidates to outdo each other with detailed facts and figures, did not change the status quo. Ouest France, the country’s biggest regional title (with a circulation of 800,000, France’s second biggest newspaper) said the debate “would have the principal effect of anchoring the existing opinions of voters.” And L’Est Republicain’s columnist Remi Godeau wrote that “this crucial debate will not cause a political earthquake.” “It was a good fight that won’t do much to change the balance of power on Sunday,” said Le Republicain Lorrain. “But Francois Hollande, in his behaviour and in his attitude, was the more presidential of the two.” La Montagne agreed that if Hollande took away any advantage, it was that he had demonstrated a presidential image, while Brittany’s Le Telegramme said that “while on the form it was an even draw, in substance it was like watching a pair of deaf people arguing points and where no progress can be found.” Neither candidate sank under the pressure, while both stayed firmly within their own ideologies,” said the Journal de Haute Marne. Conservative daily Le Figaro was the only daily newspaper that still believed that Sarkozy had shown a clear lead and could still claim victory on Sunday. Criticising Hollande’s “old fashioned socialist language”, the newspaper’s senior columnist Paul-Henri du Limbert said the left was out of touch and that the French people could still choose Sarkozy on Sunday. “Sarkozy reminded his rival that the world has changed since the socialists were last in power,” he wrote, arguing that the French left’s biggest talent was “looking to the past” and criticised as outdated promises to lower the minimum age of retirement and increase taxes on the rich. Whatever the media’s verdict, Europe 1 radio on Thursday published a poll which showed its listeners were not so on the fence. Of some 40,000 voters at noon on Thursday, 54% thought Hollande had come out top, with 34% favouring Sarkozy and 10% seeing the debate as an even draw.
XinhuaNewsA Chinese spokesman on Thursday expressed hope that China and India will continue to make joint efforts to maintain peace and stability in the border region of both countries. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Weimin made the remarks at a regular press briefing, while commenting on the report that Indian Minister of Defence A.K. Antony has testified in the Upper House of Parliament recently that Chinese helicopters had entered Indian air space twice in March. Liu said, China has noted relevant reports, but the Chinese side needs to find out what the facts are. China's position on the China-India border issue has not changed, and it hopes that both sides will make joint efforts to properly solve border dispute through negotiations and consultations, Liu added. "Prior to this, (China) hopes both sides will continue to be committed to maintaining peace and stability in border region of the two countries," he said.
peopledaily.com.cnAsia will be able to sustain its rising prosperity by relying on new growth drivers such as boosting local consumption and diversifying its export markets. According to the recent Asian Development Bank (ADB) report presented Thursday, this will keep Asian economies resilient amid sluggish growth in the United States and Europe. According to ADB's report entitled "How Can Asia Respond to Global Economic Crisis and Transformation," Asia can cope with renewed financial crisis and slow export demand from developed markets. But the report stressed that long-term prosperity in the region will rely on domestic and regional markets as well as expanding ties with Latin America and Africa. "This is the new normal," renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs told the Governors' Seminar at the 45th Annual ADB Meeting here. With both the U.S. and Europe expected to have "slow and erratic growth", Sachs said that emerging Asian economies can't sustain their growth by continuing to export to their traditional markets. Rather, Asia has to boost domestic consumption and promote regional trade. "There's an opportunity for Asia to find other export markets, other than the traditional ones and Africa, for example, an export market, because Africa is a continent of 1 billion people," Sachs said.ADB offered key medium to long term measures that will support Asia's move to expand beyond its traditional markets. These include rebalancing growth toward domestic sources- consumption and investment; strengthening finance, deepening markets and fostering financial inclusion; improving the business and investment climate; preparing people for future jobs, upgrading industry and environmentally sound urban planning; boosting intra- regional trade and expanding "South-South" links and deepening regional cooperation and integration. But more than looking for other export markets or strengthening regional trade, Asia's growth will be sustained by being more inclusive and equitable. "We have the tendency to leave the poor out of the equation," Sachs said. Indeed, according to the ADB report, growing inequality threatens both economic growth and political stability. Poverty remains a problem in a region which is home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies. "The ultimate challenge is to continue transforming economies in a way that promotes peoples’ welfare and reduces poverty," ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda said. The ADB said Asian governments must invest more in human development and social services to uplift the welfare of its people, allowing them to receive the gains from rapid growth. Sachs said more public and private investments in core infrastructure such as housing, roads, power, information technologies, climate resilience, pollution control will "ensure long-term quality of life in Asia."
http://abna.irKhadija al-Musawi said her husband, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, told her that Monday’s court decision does not change his demand for an immediate release — which has become a centerpiece of anti-government protests in recent weeks. “His condition to stop the hunger strike is to be free,” said al-Musawi. “If not, then the option is to die, and his death will be his freedom.” Al-Khawaja and seven other opposition figures received life sentences last year from a military-led tribunal, which was created by Bahrain’s anti-Shia leaders as part of crackdowns against an uprising by the nation’s Shiite majority. A court on Monday ordered a full re-examination of the cases — effectively a retrial — for the group that received life sentences and 14 others given lesser jail terms after being accuses of anti-state crimes. Seven people among the entire 21-member group were sentenced in absentia. The ruling, however, did not mandate their release during the review. Just one activist, whose sentence was reduced to six months, was freed Monday on time served. At least 80 people have died in unrest since February 2011 on this strategic island nation, which is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. Hundreds also have been arrested or purged from jobs as part of pressure on the opposition, which says it seeks a greater voice in Bahrain’s affairs. Bahrain’s monarchy has made very little concessions, which not enough to satisfy demands of protesters calling for the ruling dynasty to give up its control of government. Clashes take place nearly every day — with al-Khawaja emerging recently as a powerful rallying point for demonstrators since he began his hunger strike Feb. 8. On Tuesday, riot police used tear gas and stun grenades and protesters hurled firebombs during clashes after marches to mark May Day. A statement by the largest Shiite political group, Al Wefaq, demanded that “all political prisoners should be released.” Last month, Bahrain rejected a request by Denmark to take custody of al-Khawaja, 51, who also is a Danish citizen from his years in self-exile. Shortly after Monday’s court decision, al-Khawaja was visited by the Danish ambassador in a prison hospital ward, said his wife, al-Musawi. She said al-Khawaja repeated his claims that he was force-fed with nasal tubes and IVs in the past week. Bahrain denied the charges, saying he agreed to all treatments. Al-Khawaja has been described by relatives as weak, but able to hold conversations and in generally good spirits. In Geneva, the U.N. human rights office welcomed Bahrain’s move to re-examine the cases against al-Khawaja and the others. A spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, said Bahraini authorities have now “recognized the importance of moving away from military justice for civilians.” Human Rights Watch on Monday called on Bahraini authorities to free al-Khawaja and 13 other jailed opposition leaders. “The military court’s original verdict was absolutely mind-boggling. It did not mention a single actual criminal offense beyond acts relating to their basic human rights,” Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. “Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and his co-defendants should not have to spend even one more day in prison for so-called crimes of speech and peaceful assembly.” A similar retrial process is under way in a civilian court for 20 medical professionals convicted by the military-led tribunal of anti-state crimes and sentenced to five to 15 years in prison. The next hearing in their case is scheduled for May 10.