Wednesday, October 31, 2012
President flies over Jersey shore with governor Chris Christie as Mitt Romney attempts difficult political balancing act in FloridaIt is the image that could end up being seen as the defining moment of the the 2012 White House race. Television cameras showed Barack Obama, aboard the presidential helicopter Marine One, flying over the Jersey shore, seeing at first hand the devastation left by superstorm Sandy. Over a thousand miles away, his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, was back on the campaign trail in Florida, trying to balance his desire to make up for time lost while trying to avoid accusations of a premature return. The television networks picked up on the contrast, splitting their screens to show one in presidential mode, seemingly above politics, and the other back on the stump, making partisan points in a time of crisis. The news channels stayed with Obama almost throughout the day as he witnessed the destruction and talked with officials and victims, offering sympathy and promising help. On his flight over New Jersey, Obama saw a string of towns along the coast, the worst hit of which is Seaside Heights. From the air, he could see houses flattened, roads covered in sand or water, a carnival and large pier that looked as if large bites had been taken out of them, and the boardwalk gone except for lonely posts here and there, according to a White House pooled report.It is not just the emotion that is helping Obama. He is being given a boost by an unexpected source, the popular governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, who joined him in Atlantic City for the helicopter tour. Christie is not only a Republican but one of Romney's highest-profile backers. Republicans are still trying to work out how to respond to Christie lavishly praising Obama, less than a week before the election. Christie, resisting calls from some Republicans to get in a dig at Obama during the visit, went out his way instead to thank him again.
http://www.usatoday.comPresident Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie --
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a staunch Romney supporter, heaped praise on President Barack Obama’s quick response to Sandy in the aftermath of the massive storm that devastated the state’s shoreline. Reuters correspondent John Whitesides says Christie’s comments, while sincere, may also enhance his own standing as a leader in crisis. GOP challenger Mitt Romney held a Sandy relief event at an Ohio arena as he prepared to resume campaigning in key swing states on Wednesday.
http://www.fox11online.comPresident Obama is paying a visit to Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters ahead of his trip to New Jersey to see the damage done by superstorm Sandy. Obama took a motorcade to FEMA's offices to meet with agency chiefs before a planned flight to Atlantic City, N.J., to meet with Sandy's victims and relief workers. Days before the election, the president has kept up a steady public presence overseeing the storm response, while canceling a series of public campaign rallies. It was Obama's second visit in four days. On Sunday, he met with FEMA officials, then told reporters the government will "respond big and respond fast" after the massive storm made landfall.
President Asif Ali Zardari has expressed concern over the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy. He was talking to Pakistan's Ambassador to United States‚ Sherry Rehman in Karachi on Wednesday. Expressing grief over the loss of lives and huge destruction caused to the property‚ the president expressed his sympathies with the affected people and has wished early rehabilitation of the affectees. The President especially inquired about the well being of the Pakistani community present in the affected areas and advised the ambassador to provide all possible help to the affected people.
The medical team caring for Malala Yousufzai at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham reported today that she is still stable and making good progress with her treatment.
http://news.yahoo.comBarely one month ago, outspoken New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was telling President Barack Obama to "get on a plane and go back to Chicago where you belong." But the Republican will play host to his target on Wednesday, as Obama tours areas of the Garden State pummeled by superstorm Sandy. "Tomorrow afternoon, the President will travel to New Jersey where he will join Governor Christie in viewing the storm damage, talking with citizens who are recovering from the storm and thanking first responders who put their lives at risk to protect their communities," the White House announced. Obama has scrapped three days of campaign travel in favor of staying in Washington to oversee the federal government's response to the deadly storm. He's been seen in the Situation Room talking to top advisers, at the Red Cross urging donations and in the White House briefing room delivering a televised warning to Americans to listen to official evacuation orders. Aides don't mind the campaign break too much: Images of the president doing his job aren't exactly bad for his re-election prospects. (Look for the president to resume campaigning on Thursday.) And Christie? "The president has been all over this, and he deserves great credit," Christie told MSNBC on Tuesday. "He gave me his number at the White House and told me to call him if I needed anything, and he absolutely means it." "It's been very good working with the president and his administration. It's been wonderful," he added, saying he had three conversations with Obama on Monday. "He asked me what I needed. I said if he could expedite the Major Disaster Declaration without all the normal FEMA mumbo-jumbo. He got right on it," Christie continued. On Fox News, Christie said Obama had helped "tremendously" by declaring the state a major disaster area, freeing up federal aid. "He's been very attentive, and anything that I've asked for, he's gotten to me. So I thank the president publicly for that. He's done—as far as I'm concerned—a great job for New Jersey." What about Mitt Romney? Will the Republican presidential nominee be touring disaster-hit areas, Fox asked. "I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested," Christie replied, immediately shutting down the idea. "I've got a job to do here in New Jersey that's much bigger than presidential politics and I could care less about any of that stuff." "I have a job to do," he stressed. "I've got 2.4 million people out of power, I've got devastation on the shore, I've got floods in the northern part of my state. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics then you don't know me."
Associated PressPresident Barack Obama, locked in a fierce re-election bid, is emphasizing his incumbent's role for a third straight day, skipping battleground states to visit victims of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey, a state he's confident of winning. The president's actions have forced his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, to walk a careful line and make tough choices.
By: Sonia Nassery
Sonia Nassery Cole is an Afghan American activist who founded the Afghanistan World Foundation in 2002. She is author of Will I Live Tomorrow? and director of Black Tulip, which was Afghanistan's official entry for the 83rd Academy Awards. The film premieres in theaters and on demand this week. is an Afghan American activist who founded the Afghanistan World Foundation in 2002. She is author of Will I Live Tomorrow? and director of Black Tulip, which was Afghanistan's official entry for the 83rd Academy Awards. The film premieres in theaters and on demand this week.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Abdul Hai Kakar: In 2008, the Taliban took control of the northwest Pakistan Swat Valley. They imposed a ban on girls' education. I was working for the BBC and floated an idea that I would like to start a diary from Swat that would be genuine, I mean from a Swat girl. [I wanted] to give a human touch and first-hand eyewitness account of the conflict, which was a very humanitarian conflict. Malala Yousafzai's father was my friend and he was running a school in the Swat Valley. I talked to him because [I was hoping] he could find a schoolgirl for me. He tried for days and called me back and said nobody was ready to talk because everyone was afraid of the Taliban. But he hesitantly told [me] that if I agreed, then his daughter could work with me. Then I contacted her and started the diary. RFE/RL: How much risk was Malala taking in writing the online diary for BBC, a project she began at the age of 11? What measures were taken to ensure her safety? Kakar: Anybody in Pakistan who speaks against the Pakistani Army and the Pakistani Taliban [is a target because] there is a jihadist paradigm, jihadist mindset, and jihadist narrative. Anybody in Pakistan who is countering this narrative is a target. I thought [Malala] would be like that because she was giving us first-hand information, her perspective, and she was representing Swat. That would [pose] a problem both from the Taliban and the army. There was an impression that the Taliban and Pakistani army were and are the same faces of one coin. Then we decided that her [pseudonym] name should be Gul Makki. Gul Makki in our folk stories is a heroine. I wanted to give an indigenous, symbolic attachment to Swat and so that the people could own it journalistically. RFE/RL: You have said Malala was very close to you and your family. What is she like? Kakar: [There] were two or three things I liked about her. She was very confident. Whenever she was talking she wasn't shy. She belongs to a tribal area, so, in our region it's difficult for the child to talk to their elders. They're shy, but she was not. The second thing was she had a very good political understanding of her area. She was influenced by her father, obviously, because he was a political activist and he was trying to talk to her to tell her the environment. So she had good knowledge of the area and she was trained by her father how to talk to the media. Thirdly, she was a very keen observer. When she was writing her diary, it was like the voice of Swat Valley. Everybody I met would say, "Wow, this is a very nice diary." And what we have seen in the content is all true. RFE/RL: What was your role in the writing process and publication of her diary? Kakar: I talked to her and told her, "You can tell me on [the] telephone what you did that day, what you thought, what were your feelings, and what you saw." So [I told her] just share with me and I will take notes and then I will write it down. So, from my wife's telephone number I would call [Malala] because her [my wife's] phone was safe. So we used to talk to each other for 30 minutes each night for five or seven days [in a row]. Then after that I would send it to BBC English and Urdu to publish. RFE/RL: How important was it to publish Malala's diary? What kind of effect did it have in Pakistan? Kakar: So when people saw [Malala's diary], it was appealing for them journalistically and also for the international media. I mean, the Pakistani media was not highlighting the humanitarian issues but trying to show the world that it was only a security problem. But this diary gave a humanitarian face to the tragedy. All the international media was lifting this story. RFE/RL: What kind of effect has the attack on Malala had in Pakistan? Has it led to greater condemnation of the Taliban or the Pakistani Army, which many Pakistanis believe supports militant groups? Kakar: This [diary encouraged]...people to hate the Taliban and they unanimously condemned them. All the people are with Malala -- I would say 180 million people [Pakistan's population] are with Malala. So, it [highlights] what she meant for the people. She was a kind of a celebrity for them and they have an attachment with her. She is symbolizing the rights for [girls'] education. She shook the entire country and [only] now the people are debating and talking about how to fix the Taliban, army, and jihadist mindset and the militants.
Parents of Government Girls Degree College students on Tuesday appealed to provincial to provide the college with classroom furniture as the students were currently sitting on the floors. . They said that while the government was claiming it was spending billions of rupees on education, their college did not even have chairs for students. They said that it seems that the money claimed to be used on education is being misused somewhere else.
Editorial: Frontier PostNo doubt that the situation in Karachi, the largest city of Pakistan and the country’s economic capital, continues to deteriorate as target killing, extortion and kidnappings for ransom are rampant despite all assurances by the provincial government, police and Sindh Rangers, and the environment for smooth business is totally absent, yet the plea taken by the business on Monday involving the Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry that the city should be handed over to the army even for a short period of four to six weeks, cannot be supported for reasons. First it is a negation of democratic norms that all stakeholders have kept intact despite odds. Secondly, the army is already engaged in more important task of cleansing tribal agencies of extremists and terrorists who have again raised their ugly head with vociferous mischief of challenging the writ of the state. Therefore, deploying them is Karachi would mean diverting army’s attention from the more important issue of salvaging the country from a stinking impasse.Why it is always necessary to call in army to mend the wrong of the civil administration, be it earthquake or floods as the civil administration always lays off its hand showing its inability to take up the various challenges. And thirdly, law and order is the exclusive responsibility of the government of Sindh and only the provincial administration is obliged to rectify its national wrongs and give the citizen a right to live and live peacefully. Karachi’s business community on Monday resolved in favour of a strike, by although a divided vote. No-one can refute the community’s allegations and fear, yet a degree of acceptability has to be ensured. Karachi is probably heading for still worse in the wake of at least 10 people dying daily on an average due to rampant target killing and snipers firing. The strike call was endorsed by the President of Pak-Indo Chamber of Commerce SM Muneer who also insisted on the deployment of army. A call for strike is the legitimate right of the business community but nothing beyond that should be demanded or accepted. However, one group, which met governor Isharatul Ibad and accepted his assurance once again, is opposed to the strike call. Developing from land mafias, the city is in the grip of more mafias that have, of late, pinpointed traders, industrialists and other business persons who are facing serious threats from extortionists and receiving bullets and hand grenades for non-payment of “Bhata”(Extortion money). As such the call for strike and deployment of army appears to be the agony of a frustrated mind when the mainstream industry of Pakistan is badly suffering’ industrial units are closing down and investment is being shifted elsewhere. Political parties, especially the ruling coalition partners Pakistan People’s Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, who were supposed to restore peace and create an environment of business and other socio-political activities seem to have become helpless and redundant. But not only the two coalition partners, all political parties owe the blame of not contributing to political steps that are necessary and required to bring Karachi back to normalcy. Who does not know the emergence of mafias? They were once the blue eyed groups of political activists patronized by a host of political organizations and are now conducting themselves like Frankenstein for their patrons. It was generally believed about a decade ago that Karachi’s problem stems out from political waywardness. The things might have changed in gravity; but this remains a political issue and its resolution also lies in skillful political craftsmanship. However, a strong political will is still the answer and if all the stakeholders demonstrate the desire for peace in the troubles city and also the will, a solution can still be found.
Radio PakistanInformation Minister urges PML (N) leadership to pay respect to Supreme Court's verdicts and face investigation. Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira has said that those involved in subverting people's mandate in the 1990 general elections should apologize to the nation. In an interview‚ he said the country's image was tarnished by rigging the elections. He said elections were totally maneuvered by agencies. The Minister said that in the past‚ the PML (N) had come into power through rigging and the Supreme Court verdict in the Asghar Khan has proved this reality. He urged PML(N) leadership to pay respect to the court's verdicts and face investigation. To a question‚ he said that action against those involved in misusing the public money would be taken according to the law. The Minister said that Islami Jamhori Itehad was formed by the generals and the establishment. He said when the PPP came into power in 2008‚ the country was confronted with a host of problems‚ inlcuding terrorism and power load-shedding. The government initiated several steps to steer the country out of the crises.