Tuesday, November 6, 2012
http://www.voanews.comThere were long lines at polling places across the United States as Americans vote on whether to re-elect President Barack Obama or to select Republican challenger Mitt Romney as their new leader. Sporadic problems were reported. Both candidates have legions of lawyers monitoring the voting for any irregularities. The U.S. Department of Justice has dispatched nearly 800 observers to polling places in 23 states to respond to any allegations of fraud. The outcome of the election is uncertain.Nationwide surveys show the two candidates in a virtual deadlock. However, the surveys do give Obama a slight edge in a handful of key battleground states which will likely determine the outcome of the election. U.S. presidential election campaigns are not decided by the national popular vote, but rather by a two-century-old electoral college system in which each of the 50 states' influence on the outcome is roughly equivalent to its population. Each candidate needs at least 270 of the available 538 electoral votes to win the election.
http://www.bloomberg.comNew Jersey Governor Chris Christie said “know-nothing” campaign staffers are the sources of reports of tension between him and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. “When you get to the end of a campaign and it’s unsure of the results, those who fear they may be blamed if things don’t go well will try to look for other people to blame,” Christie, a 50-year-old Republican, told reporters today in Westwood. “That’s the way it goes.”Americans today are deciding the presidential race. The website Politico reported Nov. 3 that “some Romney friends and donors” were irritated that Christie had praised President Barack Obama after the two toured the devastated New Jersey shore aboard Marine One on Oct. 31. The Huffington Post reported yesterday that Christie, who had traveled the country as a campaign surrogate, declined Romney’s invitation to appear alongside him at a rally Nov. 4 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, across the Delaware River from Trenton, the New Jersey capital. “It’s completely untrue,” Christie referring to The Huffington Post report, told reporters today. He said he spoke to Romney on Oct. 28, the night before Hurricane Sandy made landfall at the New Jersey coast. “I told him: ‘Listen, Mitt, if the storm hits the way they think it’s going to, I’m off the campaign trail at least through Election Day,’” Christie said. “He said: ‘Chris, do what you have to do. Do your job and don’t worry.’” Christie said he expects Romney to clinch the election. “All this noise is coming from know-nothing, disgruntled Romney staffers who are mad at the fact I said nice things about the president,” Christie said. “That’s too bad for them.” Christie praised Obama after he and the president toured the most devastated areas Oct. 31. At a news conference that night in West Trenton, Christie said the president “couldn’t have been better.”
http://www.dw.deAmericans are going to the polls to elect a new president. Opinion polls show President Barack Obama and his challenger, Mitt Romney in a virtual dead heat in a race that is expected to be decided in key swing states. On election eve Monday night, President Obama and Romney, his Republican challenger, made their final campaign pitches to American voters. "I've come back to Iowa one more time to ask for your vote. I came back to ask you to help us finish what we've started, because this is where our movement for change began," Obama told a crowd of 20,000 people in Des Moines.Romney wrapped up his campaign with a late night rally in an indoor sports arena in Manchester, New Hampshire. "Tomorrow is a moment to look into the future and imagine what we can do, to put that past four years behind us and build a new future," Romney said. "Walk with me. Tomorrow, we begin a new tomorrow." At least 120 million Americans are expected to vote on Tuesday and their decision will set the country's course for the next four years. National opinion polls show Obama and Romney in a virtual dead heat, although Obama has a slight advantage in several vital swing states - most notably Ohio - that could give him the 270 electoral votes he needs to win.Most states tend to vote the same way but swing states are tossups because they do not lean in any particular direction and can change sides in any given election cycle. The US election is not decided by the popular vote but rather state-by-state. Winning the popular vote in a state, even by a small margin, usually affords a candidate all of that state's votes in the Electoral College. A candidate needs 270 of these votes - allocated to states based on their population - to take the presidency. Romney is scheduled to vote at home in Massachusetts on Tuesday morning before a final trip to Ohio and Pennsylvania. Obama, who voted in October, will spend the day at his home in Chicago. The race is on The first ballots of the 2012 election were cast in the tiny New Hampshire town of Dixville Notch, Tuesday with Barack Obama and Mitt Romney each receiving five votes. The traditional first-in-the-nation vote, held shortly after midnight, was tied for the first time in its history. The split reflects the partisan divide that has Obama and Romney neck and neck. The close presidential race raises concerns of disputed results similar to the 2000 election between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore, which was decided by the US Supreme Court. Both campaigns have assembled legal teams to deal with possible voting problems, challenges or recounts. Romney, the multimillionaire former head of a private equity fund, would be the first Mormon president and one of the wealthiest Americans to occupy the White House. Obama, the first black president, is vying for a second term.
President Obama bid an emotional farewell to the campaign trail here Monday night, returning on the eve of the 2012 election to the Midwest town that launched his first run to the White House. “This is where our movement for change began. Right here,” Obama told the crowd of 20,000 standing outside on a cold, clear evening on Locust Street a few blocks from the state capitol.
Rehman Malik has said that peace in Pakistan and Afghanistan was indispensable for world peace. Addressing the Pakistani community in Italy at Pakistani embassy on Monday, Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik was of the view that the country is at war, as hundreds of girls like Malala Yousafzai have been victimised by terrorism. Making of the blasphemous movies against Islam is intolerable, Federal Interior minister Rehman Malik noted, adding that immediate legislation is required to prevent such incidents in future. Rehman Malik is in Rome, Italy, to represent Pakistan in 81st Interpol General Assembly Ministerial Conference. He will address 81st Interpol General Assembly Ministerial Conference at Rome, Italy. The overarching theme of this Ministerial Conference will be Challenges for Police facing Contemporary Criminal Violence.
BY TAREK FATAHThe question was simple: If Imran Khan was elected as the country’s prime minister, what would be the fate of religious minorities in Pakistan, such as Hindus and Ahmadis? Twenty-seven-year old journalism student Kazim Rizvi and his camera-carrying colleague had managed to conduct a coveted interview (after waiting 18 hours) with Khan as his car drove to the airport, where the Pakistani politician was to board a flight to the U.S. Rizvi says Khan got visibly irritated at his question. “He tried giving a half-sentence platitude to equality, but I persisted and popped a question no Pakistani reporter dares ask: ‘What about gays’?” This infuriated Khan, Rizvi said. “Ok now, end of the interview, finish, I don’t want to talk to you,” he is heard on the tape telling the two students. Rizvi says after the camera was turned off, he got a tongue-lashing and Khan’s handlers aggressively threw the camera at his colleague. He added: “Khan was furious… he told me to scrap this ‘stupid interview’ … these are western issues,’ what have they got to do with Pakistan?” At the airport, Khan’s handlers asked the students to “hand over the tape,” Rizvi said, but the two were able to get lost in the crowd of a last-minute photo op with Khan. “I was just doing my job and didn’t deserve to be bullied and insulted,” says Rizvi. But soon after, Khan received a tongue lashing of his own. As Khan strutted towards the departure gates and approached U.S. Immigration, an officer asked him the customary questions about the purpose of his trip to the United States. His answers were noted and he was given back his passport and told to proceed. In the meantime, behind a one-way mirror overlooking the immigration booths, U.S. Homeland Security officials were tracking Khan’s movement, as they already knew he was going to enter the U.S. after his visit to Canada. Instead of creating a scene at passport control, they allowed Khan and his entourage to board the aircraft and only when all the passengers were seated, did they go in and haul him back. This time it wasn’t a young Pakistani student journalist asking the questions; it was no-nonsense officials of a U.S. and Canada task force, including representatives from Homeland Security. An official who observed the interrogation process told me Khan sat timidly with his head lowered and hands clasped while he received a “dressing down” about potentially violating the limitations of his visitor’s visa to the U.S. He said there was no talk about Khan’s opposition to U.S. attack drones, as the politician later claimed after the fact. My source, tells me the real concern was that Khan had told passport control he was coming to the U.S. to visit family and friends, without specifying his planned fundraising and political activities. (Deputy U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Richard Hoagland, later tweeted about the incident, as cited by Pakistan’s International News , saying Khan’s detention had: “Nothing to do with drones — he brought it up.”) Stuck in detention, Khan requested help from the Pakistani government to intervene and calls were made to the U.S. State Department. Khan was then asked to give assurances that he would not use his visa for political purposes, to which he promptly agreed and was allowed to go on his way. Apparently, he’s not as tough with Homeland Security officials as he is with young journalists.
By Kiyya Qadir Baloch and SafiullahBalochistan has become a hotbed of insurgency, sectarian killings, kidnapping for ransom and tribal feuds, which require vigilant reporting and communication to the world. The first news I heard when I reached Balochistan was that there had been a bomb blast on FC convey on Sariab Road which killed five officials and injuring four others. In Quetta, I was informed that 11 people were abducted in Gwadar and Turbat in three days. Journalists told me that the province has become the most dangerous place for journalists. Shahzada Zulfiqar, resident chief of an English daily, considered Balochistan one of the most insecure places in the country for journalists, saying that various groups and militant organisations want to practically take over the media. “They want to dictate us and say the pen should be yours, but worlds ours and they use various derogatory words for their opponents which, they insist, should be published without change which is not possible for journalists since they have to take into consideration the ethical code of journalism,” Zulfiqar said, adding that law and order in Khuzdar was unwelcoming for journalists where two sons of the Khuzdar Press Club president were killed, he said. He also informed us about the closure of the Khuzdar Press Club. He said it was all due to insecurity where existence of government could not be felt. He said 40 people have been killed in Khuzdar during last month. When asked if the Supreme Court’s interim order multiplied the issues of journalists, he said that being a citizen of Pakistan, journalists were bound to respect court orders and added that journalists too are responsible for certain mistakes. “However, I would definitely say that al Qaeda is a banned organisation and their statements were aired by BBC, CNN and other international organisations and even today any reporter comes to know about Mullah Umar, they will definitely want to interview him but will air his comments cautiously and our friends are also doing their jobs but in a careful way where sometimes they give space in two or four lines to banned outfits statements despite court orders in place.” Zulfiqar said the government had not compensated the families of journalists who lost their lives in the line of their duties neither their families had been paid any social security. Syed Ali Shah, bureau chief of a private TV channel, commenting on the issues of the journalists in Balochistan said, “The hazards have grown for the mediamen in Balochistan in proportion to the rapid growth of media as the journalists with little or no experience can not better evaluate the risks within the profession.” Essa Tareen, bureau chief of an international TV channel in Balochistan and the Balochistan Union of Journalists (BUJ) president, said that journalists in Balochistan faced dual issues, which included economic issues at the first place and life threats. Tareen seemed unhappy with the remunerations paid to the journalists in Balochistan by local newspaper owners, saying that the owners of newspapers pleaded that their organizations depended on the advertisements, which were insufficient to meet their expanses. Noor Elahi Bugti, a senior journalist who also survived a bomb blast, said that Balochistan journalists had faced more dangers than that of ones working in FATA as journalists here faced threats from both insurgents and banned outfits. “They do not understand our role and position and every person thinks his statement to be important but they do not understand our journalistic compulsions,” Bugti said. Bari Baloch, a correspondent of an English daily, said that the journalists in Balochistan did not have basic and safety training. When I reached in Turbat, the second largest city of Balochistan having a population of almost 350,000, I was informed about more scary details. Asad Baloch, information secretary of Turbat Press Club told Daily Times that roughly 80 youths belonging to different political organisations from Mekran division were abducted in two years and killed ruthlessly while two journalists were ambushed in target killing in one year. When asked reason behind the abduction and killings, he said their political activities in different political organisations seeking secession from Pakistan made them unpopular in the eyes of establishment. Most of the people from Turbat believe that security agencies were picking the political activists for their alleged involvement in heinous crimes. When I was in Turbat I was further told that more than 14,000 individuals have gone missing, from different areas of Balochistan and an additional 500 tortured, bullet-ridden bodies have been discovered from different areas of Balochistan. The Voice For Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) vice chairman claimed that security agencies were behind atrocities and bullet-riddled bodies. I continue to travel to the most restive part of Balochistan – Mekran division – in order to meet with key Baloch politicians and government officials. Mekran Additional DC Javed Anwar Shahwani said that due to the ongoing violence in the province people from both sides have been disappeared or have been killed in a large number. In Gwadar, I was informed that because of the current wave of violence more than 10,000 settlers have left the town while 40 people from both sides reportedly were ambushed in target killings in two months, I was further informed that most often there would be rocket attacks on the navy camp and cost guard from Balochistan Liberation front (BLF), that’s headed by Doctor Allah Nazar Baloch. No proper roads, no bridges, no industry and no development work were seen from Lasbela to Jiwani. The helpless people of District Panjgur, Turbat, Gwadar, Khuzdar, Washuk, Karan, Awaran and Mastung were searching for dry wood to light their burners while the youth of costal town were wandering here and there aimlessly in search of jobs. The national anthem was not recited in schools of 11 districts of Balochistan while the national flag was not hoisted at any governmental institutions of Mekran division. I was informed that Pakistan studies was not being taught in colleges and schools while governmental offices like PTCL, NADRA, National Bank of Pakistan and DC office couldn’t be operated without the protection of security forces in Mekran division and Khuzdar. Key Baloch politicians and journalists from Mekran division told Daily Times that the situation in Balochistan could have never been so painful if the people of Balochistan were treated on the basis of justice and equality and given the same rights as given to the people of other provinces.