Sunday, December 23, 2012
http://ketr.org Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Well, you should be! The latest from the National Weather Service says there is a good chance for a winter storm on Christmas Day.
Angelina Jolie at the Oscars. The leg that protruded from the thigh-high slit of her Versace gown was the most talked about appearance on the red carpet. The gown fit perfectly into the sleek, sexy mold Jolie favours, but it was her picture-perfect pose to expose just enough thigh that launched a thousand memes.
Beyonce's post-baby body. Beyonce announced that motherhood wasn't going to hold her back from sexy outfits at the Met Gala, the industry event co-hosted by Vogue's Anna Wintour. Ivy Blue Carter's mum dazzled in a skin-tight, largely sheer gown by Givenchy.
Number of high profile film premieres have been cancelled in response to Connecticut massacre.Fifty-five prominent Hollywood celebrities have participated in an online campaign with a simple message against gun violence: "Enough". Several film and television production companies have also cancelled screenings of films and television shows which feature gunplay and killing. This is in response to the recent school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.
The Express TribuneFormer prime minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Sunday the assassination of senior Khyber Pakhtunkhwa minister Bashir Bilour on Saturday was an attack on humanity. He said the deceased was a brave man and his martyrdom was a loss not only for the Awami National Party, but also the entire nation. Gilani was addressing a gathering after attending the chehlum of Awais Gardezi, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf former deputy district nazim in Bahawalpur. Gilani said that some 30,000 to 35,000 people had lost their lives to terrorism in Pakistan since the war against terrorism began. “The country is in one piece due to democracy. Without democracy, Pakistan will face tougher challenges.” He said Pakistan had lost much due to the fact that it was playing a front line role against terrorism. “It is time for political leaders to agree that extremists are Pakistan’s enemies. We need to end them.” Gilani said the successful military operation in Swat was a model for how to defeat the extremists. On energy crisis Gilani hoped that power load shedding would end by 2014. “If Kalabagh Dam is not approved by the Counsel of Common Interest, no financial institution, including the World Bank, will sponsor the project …agreement of all provinces is a must.” Referring to his tenure as the premier, he said he had gotten approval for Basha Dam from all the chief ministers. This was the reason, he added, that the World Bank as well as other donors, were willing to finance it. He said there had always been some amount of cheating and bogus votes. However, given an independent Election Commission now, Gilani added, he was certain that no one could defeat the PPP in the upcoming elections. To a question, he said there was no question of postponing the elections. A 20th Amendment had been passed in this regard, he added. On new provinces Gilani denied that he was conspiring against the creation of the Bahawalpur province. He also said that a commission was made for the creation of a south Punjab province and Bahawalpur province. Several projects initiated by the PPP government were in their completion phase and the PPP would not allow any political or social party to be a part of any conspiracy that could halt development in the area. He told the gathering that motorways from Faisalabad to Multan and Karachi to Hyderabad had been approved and that these projects will begin soon. The motorway will also pass through Bahawalpur.
Daily TimesPrime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Sunday asked opponents to stop propaganda about the postponement of general elections. Raja said the government was going to complete its five-year term, which was triumph of democracy and the credit for which went to President Asif Ali Zardari. Talking to party office-bearers after offering Fateha for his deceased relative Raja Naseem Afzal, the prime minister said that despite conspiracies, the PPP and its allies played an active role for strengthening democracy and national institutions. “The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is really proud of it,” he said. He assured that the elections would be held on time. Raja hoped that the PPP along with the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid would clean sweep the elections and form governments in all the provinces and Centre
Radio PakistanThe 12th death anniversary of Melody Queen Noor Jahan was observed on Sunday. In Karachi‚ the staff members and workers of Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation led by the Station Director Tanveer Iqbal visited the grave of Madam Noor Jahan at the Defence Graveyard to pay tribute to the legendary singer. They laid floral wreath on behalf of the Director General Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation‚ Mr. Murtaza Solangi and staff members and offered Fateha. Radio Pakistan also paid tribute to the music maestro in its programs for the services she rendered in music and also in acting. Madam Noor Jahan was born in a family of musicians in Kasur on 21 September 1926. She died of heart failure on December 23‚ 2000 in Karachi. Noor Jehan was a legendary singer and actress first in British India and then in Pakistan. Her career spanned seven decades. She was renowned as one of the greatest and most influential singers of her time in South Asia and was given the title of Malika-e-Tarannum.A special live musical programme‚ which Radio Pakistan was to hold at Lahore Center in connection with the death anniversary of Melody Queen Noor Jahan‚ has been postponed due to the national mourning in connection with the martyrdom of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Senior Minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour.
Radio PakistanAs the nation mourned martyrdom of Bashir Ahmad Bilour‚ the UN chief has condemned the suicide attack in Peshawar. One-day national mourning was observed on Sunday following the martyrdom of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa senior Minister and Awami National Party leader Bashir Ahmed Bilour in a suicide attack in Peshawar on Saturday evening. The National flags are flying at half-mast at all public and private buildings. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has announced a three-day while the ANP called for ten-day mourning in honour of the deceased leader. The Punjab Government has announced mourning day on Sunday across the province. Pakistan People's Party and government of Sindh have announced one day each while Muttahida Qaumi Movement called for three-day mourning. ANP's Balochistan chapter have announced to observe three-day mourning in the province. Meanwhile‚ the UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon has condemned the Peshawar blast which killed 9 people including Bashir Ahmad Bilour. In a statement issued in New York‚ he vowed to stand by government and people of Pakistan in their fight against terrorism.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast said that the unjust election system and unfair distribution of political power in Bahrain have caused the people to took to the streets and protest against the al-Khalifa regime. Mehman-Parast made the remarks in a press conference in Erzurum in Turkey on Saturday evening. In Bahrain 70 percent of people can only vote for 20 percent which is not fair and has caused protests in the Persian Gulf tiny Island, said the spokesman. Anti-government protesters have been holding peaceful demonstrations across Bahrain since mid-February 2011, calling for an end to the Al Khalifa dynasty's over-40-year rule. Violence against the defenseless people escalated after a Saudi-led conglomerate of police, security and military forces from the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) member states - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar - were dispatched to the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom on March 13, 2011, to help Manama crack down on peaceful protestors. So far, tens of protesters have been killed, hundreds have gone missing and thousands of others have been injured. Police clampdown on protesters continues daily. Authorities have tried to stop organized protests by opposition parties over the last several months by refusing to license them and using tear gas on those who turn up. The opposition coalition wants full powers for the elected parliament and a cabinet fully answerable to parliament.
Militants fighting against the Syrian government have used chemical weapons against the army in Daraya near the capital, Damascus, military sources say. According to a commander of the Syrian Presidential Guard, at least seven Syrian soldiers were killed on Saturday after they were attacked by a chemical weapon which produced a toxic yellow gas. The soldiers were reportedly killed within an hour after inhaling the gas. Foreign-backed militants have repeatedly threatened to use chemical weapons against the army and pro-government civilians in recent days. They have also threatened to contaminate Syria's drinking water supply in a bid to kill all Alawite Shias and the supporters of President Bashar al-Assad. The threat was made in a video posted on YouTube in which militants tested water contaminated with a lethal mixture on lab rabbits. The rabbits stopped breathing and their chests swelled shortly after drinking the poisoned water. The militants had earlier released a footage in which lab rabbits were killed by inhaling poisonous gas. The militants' use of chemical weapons come as the US and its allies have alleged that the Syrian government possesses the deadly weapons and is prepared to use them against militants. Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of army and security personnel, have been killed in the turmoil. A recent UN report has revealed that militants from 29 countries have so far infiltrated into Syria to fight against the Damascus government, most of whom are extremist Salafists. The Syrian government has repeatedly said that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and that a very large number of the militants operating in the country are foreign nationals.
No to Military Trials Campaign retorts against presidency statement that claims the new constitution prohibits military trials of civilians, offering proof the wording was left ambiguous on purpose.The No to Military Trials Campaign accuses Egypt's presidency of "lying" regarding the status of the military trials of civilians, in response to a statement released by Egypt's presidential assistant on foreign relations, Essam Haddad. While Haddad's statement claims that the new constitution marks Egypt's progress towards universal Human Rights standards, including prohibiting the trying of civilians in military courts, the rights campaign condemned such a statement as completely false. Commenting on Article 198 of the constitution, which Haddad claims prohibits military trials of civilians, The No to Military Trials Campaign retorts that not only does the article "leave broad discretion for military courts to try civilians, but it is purposely vague and leaves all options open for legislation." Article 198 of the draft constitution stipulates that "civilians shall not stand trial before military courts except for crimes that harm the Armed Forces. The law shall define such crimes and determine the other competencies of Military Judiciary." According to the No to Military Trials Campaign, the article does nothing to limit military jurisdiction outlined by the Code of Military Justice, which allows civilians to be tried if one of the parties involved in any given conflict is a military officer or if the crime takes place in an area where the military is deployed. The rights group gave the example of the Qursaya Island residents who were recently tried using the military code of justice in a conflict over land. While the court of administrative justice affirmed in 2008 the islanders' legal right to live and farm the land, the military court recently charged 25 of the residents of encroaching on army property and of being present in a military zone. "The draft constitution is worse than the 1971 constitution when it comes to military trials of civilians since the previous constitution was silent on the matter, and far worse than the 1954 constitution written more than 58 years ago – of which article No. 20 absolutely prohibited the trial of civilians before military courts or exceptional courts" the campaign statement read. The campaign further criticised article 197 of the new constitution saying "just in case the legislative body actually decides to protect civilians from the injustice of military tribunals, article 197 ensures that the armed forces will continue to retain influence over any legislation related to the military via the National Defense Council which includes the Minister of Defense, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, the Commander of the Navy, the Air Forces and Air Defense, the Chief of Operations for the Armed Forces, and the Head of Military Intelligence, among others". Article 197 states: "The Council is responsible for matters pertaining to the methods of ensuring the safety and security of the country and to the budget of the Armed Forces. It shall be consulted about draft laws related to the Armed Forces. Other competencies are to be defined by law." "What presidency representatives also fail to tell you in their press release is that an earlier draft of the constitution had an article [similar to that of the 1954 constitution] that clearly prohibited any military trials for civilians - without exceptions." That article, the statement detailed, included the phrase "No person shall be tried except before the judge of their jurisdiction; exceptional courts are prohibited. No civilian may face military trial." However, the phrase "no civilian may face military trial" was completely removed from the new constitution. "It should also be noted that this is not an isolated lie," they continued in their statement. "The presidency tries to sell the new constitution as 'progressive' when it is anything but that," the campaign pointed to the Human Rights Watch report on the matter. "This comes after a revolution that called for justice and after more than 12,000 victims of military trials in a year!" they concluded. The No to Military Trial Campaign is a movement created shortly after the armed forces took over power after Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down after 30 years as president. The movement's work mainly involves campaigning against the military trials of civilians (which became common since the military took over power) and the trials of civilians in exceptional courts. It also strongly campaigned for the retrial in civilian courts of all those sentenced by military courts since the revolution. According to the presidential statement the new constitution not only prohibits military trials of civilians, it also guarantees equality of all citizens with no discrimination (Article 33), equal opportunity for all male and female citizens without discrimination (Preamble no. 5 and Article 9), prohibits exceptional trials (Article 75), prohibits any law that restricts core rights and freedoms (Article 81), affirms the right of access to information (Article 47), eradicates illiteracy in all age groups for males and females (Article 61), affirms freedom of the press and prohibits the ban of censorship on media (Article 48) and guarantees freedom of association (Article 50). Several of these points mentioned by the presidency have also been challenged by other rights groups and activists. The Press Syndicate has condemned the status of the freedom of press in the new constitution. Human Rights Watch published a report mentioning its reservations on how far the new constitution protects rights, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, military trials of civilians and women's rights. Egyptians voted on the constitution in a national referendum on Saturday with a 64 per cent voting 'Yes,' - in favour of enacting the constitution.
http://dailynewsegypt.comThe National Council for Women (NCW) announced future steps to be taken detailing the violations which occurred during the constitutional referendum in a press conference Sunday. Ambassador Mervat Al-Tallawy, head of NCW, said more than 600 violations were reported to the council during both phases of the referendum. She added that one of the most severe cases was merging several election committees into one committee, making it impossible for all voters to vote. “Mathematically, when you have more than 6000 voters in one committee, there would be no time for half of them to vote during the day. This shouldn’t be the case.” Al-Tallawy said the council received complaints from different governorates, during both voting stages. The ambassador claimed there are forces trying to prevent women from participating in elections, adding that whether or not this is being done on purpose, the result would still be the same. Fatma Khafaga, director of complaints department at NCW, mentioned complaints that some members of Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) were present inside elections committees calling voters to vote in favour of the draft constitution. She said that some of those members prevented some women from voting, because they were not wearing an Islamic veil. Khafaga added that the council received complaints of voters who said their voting ballots were already ticked when they received them. However, she praised women for being active participants in the elections, despite the difficulties they faced during the two phases of the referendum. “Women checked for stamps on their voting ballots and asked supervising judges for their identities. Women stood in queues all day long just to participate and try to shape a better future for Egypt,” she said. Abir Aboul Ella, coordinator at the NCW, said she was beaten and prevented from voting in the second phase of the referendum on Saturday. She said, “Inside the elections committee, there were FJP members. They called us infidels and secularists, beat us, and prevented us from voting until the committee closed its doors at 11pm.” On the future steps to be taken by NCW, Al-Tallawy said that they will submit a report including all the violations to the president and the Supreme Electoral Committee (SEC). She added that the council did nominate some of its members to be part of the Constituent Assembly, but the nominations were ignored. “We have done a lot and we will continue pressuring and giving advice until the constitution falls, just like the constitution of 1930.”
A major fire has swept through a market area near the center of the Afghan capital, Kabul. There were no reports of casualties, but hundreds of shops and stalls were destroyed and Kabul's nearby currency-exchange center was evacuated, authorities say. NATO and Afghan Army firefighting units were called in to help contain the blaze, which was likely caused by faulty electrical wiring. The market is about one kilometer from the Afghan presidential palace and several government ministries. Authorities were quick to dismiss fears that the fire had been caused by a terrorist act.
http://worldtribunepakistan.comMore than 3.5 million Pakistani children missed out on polio vaccination this week in a campaign overshadowed by the deaths of nine immunisation workers, a UN official said Friday. The Muslim-majority nation of 180 million people is one of only three in the world where the highly infectious, crippling disease remains endemic and infections shot up from a low of 28 in 2005 to almost 200 last year. Nine people working on the UN-backed programme were shot dead in Karachi and the northwest this week, murdered for trying to protect children from a cruel disease that can leave limbs flaccid and useless in a matter of hours. “Out of a total target of 18.5 million for the last polio round, 14.9 million children were vaccinated throughout the country, resulting in over 3.5 million children missed during the campaign,” Dr. Elias Durry, the World Health Organisation’s senior coordinator for polio eradication in Pakistan, told AFP. “WHO and all the partners in polio eradication salute the bravery of thousands of polio team members in the country who performed their duties in the line of fire to reach the 14.9 million children,” he said. Durry said figures showed 1.75 million children were missed in southern Sindh province after the campaign was called off following the killing of four female polio team members in Karachi, the country’s commercial capital. In the insurgency-hit northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province around 700,000 children were missed as a result of the early suspension of the campaign after the deaths of polio team members. In central Punjab province, more than 800,000 remained unvaccinated but WHO officials said some major cities started the campaign a day late and data were still awaited. It was expected the number of missed children would significantly fall. More than 200,000 children in different areas remained unvaccinated for reasons unrelated to the attacks. Efforts to tackle polio in Pakistan have been hampered over the years by local suspicion about vaccination. The Pakistani Taliban have denied responsibility for the latest attacks though they have threatened polio workers in the past and in June they banned vaccinations in the northwestern tribal area of Waziristan, condemning the drive as a cover for espionage. Resistance also comes from parents, often poorly educated and impressionable, who believe wild conspiracy theories about the vaccine.
The Baloch Hal
Interview By Muhammad Akbar Notezai
The Frontier PostBashir Ahmed Bilour, Senior Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was not only a seasoned politician but also one of only few politicians in the country who had high regard not only within his own party but also in all other political parties of the country. Even he had high regard in the voters of his opponents as he never wasted a minute to reach the needy people from whatever party they belonged to. Bashir Ahmed Bilour was son of Bilour Din Khan and was born on August 1, 1943. Belonged to a notable political and social Hindku family of Peshawar, Bilour had bachelor's degree of Law and was also member of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Association and Peshawar High Court Bar Association and used to cast his vote in the elections of lawyers' bodies. He got his early education from Government Higher Secondary School No. 1 Peshawar Cantt. After doing Matriculation he got admission in famous Edwards College Peshawar and got graduation degree from the said college. Then for higher education he got admission in University of Peshawar and got LLB degree. Bilour was famous for his social contacts with his voters and used to visit different parts of the city without fearing terrorists despite of the fact that there were several death threats to him from the terrorists. He had survived two life attempts from terrorists before the attack on Saturday in which he was killed. The legendary leader and staunch follower of Pakhtun rights and till his death kept on uttering the words for the betterment of people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He followed the footsteps of his father in politics and joined Awami National Party (ANP) in 1970. In 2008 General Elections he was elected as Member of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly for the record fifth time which showed the confidence of his voters in his personality. He had won his seat with majority votes from PF-3, a constituency of Peshawar City. Soon after the elections he also took oath as a Senior Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkha for the 4th time. He also remained President of ANP Khyber Pakhtunkhwa twice. Bashir Ahmad Bilour was unique personality in the sense that he never lost any election throughout his career. He became member of provincial assembly for the first time in 1990; then in 1993; 1997; 2002 and 2007. He had also announced not to contest for MPA slot in the next general elections. He was appointed as Minister for C&W in 1990 and 1993 and as Minister for Irrigation in 1997. Bashir Bilour, had repeatedly termed the fight against terrorism as 'our own battle' and was few of the politicians who had voice openly against the miltants. His death is a loss not only to ANP, not only to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but also to the whole country which has lost another brave son of the soil in war against terrorism. ANP workers and activists condemned the killing of Senior Minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour and term his death a memorable lost for the country. Most of the workers at Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar were not control their feelings when they heard the news of the death of Senior Minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour. Meanwhile civil society member, traders and from every walks of life shows their grief and sorrow over the death of senior minister and give tribute to him in the fight against terror and prayed for his deported soul in rest. Bashir Ahmed Bilour not only lost his life in the incident but also lost his long standing friend, colleague and personal secretary Haji Noor Muhammad who remained loyal to his Senior Minister and even died with Bashir Ahmed Bilour. Bashir Ahmed Bilour remained influential in efforts to make Peshawar a city of flowers again and kept on working day and night for the betterment of Provincial Capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He will always remain in the heart of people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in general and people of Peshawar in particular and whenever the stories of brave, honest, hardworking, loyal and intelligent politicians would be written his name would be written among the top listed politicians and human beings.