Saturday, July 13, 2013
Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged the 85 million members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to work hard and serve the people wholeheartedly to "ensure the color of red China will never change." Party members should improve their work styles to withstand tests the Party faces and ensure the CPC's nature is not compromised, said Xi, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. He was speaking during a two-day inspection tour of north China's Hebei Province, which concluded on Friday. During the trip, Xi visited Xibaipo, an old revolutionary base, where the CPC leadership were based from May 1948 to early 1949 to draw the blueprint of the new country and prepare for the CPC's new role as the ruling party. Late Chinese leader Mao Zedong's remarks on Party members' work styles prior to the founding of New China in 1949 still have far-reaching ideological and historical significance, he said.
Turkish police have cleared Istiklal Avenue, firing water cannon and tear gas at hundreds of protesters as they gathered to march to Gezi Park. The park has been a cradle of anti-government unrest for weeks. Demonstrators have been protesting against a recently imposed law which blocked the authority of the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) from approving urban planning projects. They gathered at Istiklal Avenue to march to Gezi Park, which is located a short walking distance away. The crowd was chanting anti-government slogans and screaming, “This is just the beginning. The fight is continuing.” As police approached the crowd and asked them to exit the area, some of the protesters refused to leave the street. Riot police then responded by using tear gas and water cannon.Police blocked the entrance into Taksim Square, but some protesters tried to break through and reach the area through smaller nearby streets. Witnesses say police also blocked the entrance to Taksim Hospital. The entrance to Gezi Park has also been barricaded by law enforcement. Police have reportedly used water cannon to shoot colored chemicals in order to disperse protesters, according to locals. Twitter user @TaksimGazete tweeted that police have pointed water cannons at apartments located above the protests. Many of those who left Istiklal Avenue have reportedly moved to another neighborhood near Taksim. Taksim Gazette says that people have managed to get into Gezi Park, where they are currently holding “forum meeting.”TMMOB members also staged protests in Ankara on Saturday, with architects and engineers believing the bill – which was passed by parliament this week –to be part of a government vendetta. Earlier, TMMOB opened a lawsuit against plans to redevelop Istanbul's Gezi Park. A court has since cancelled the redevelopment project, although authorities can still appeal against the ruling.
Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai's inspiring speech at the United Nations on every child's right to go to school is just the beginning of a major push on education, former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Saturday. Yousafzai -- who on Friday gave her first public remarks since she was shot by the Taliban last year for advocating that all girls should go to school -- will return to the United Nations in September to press her point, according to a statement from Brown's A World at School campaign. Accompanied by Brown, she will address an education summit of world leaders during the week of the full General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, it said. There, the 16-year-old will demand action on behalf of 57 million children around the world who have no access to any schooling.Meanwhile, Brown, who's the U.N. special envoy for global education, will travel to Pakistan in July to discuss education issues with the country's new government. He also intends to visit Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, in the fall. Between them, Pakistan and Nigeria have 16 million children out of school, the statement said, most of them girls. Malala's journey from near death to recovery Brown and Yousafzai met with the United Nations' Pakistan high commissioner on Friday to discuss the plight of more than 5 million children who are out of school in the country, the statement said. "Malala's speech was just the start of a momentous push for change in the run up to 2015, to deal with the education emergency," Brown said. The Millennium Development Goal on education set by U.N. member states in 2000 pledged to have every child in school by 2015. In her speech Friday, Yousafzai said the masked gunmen who shot her in the head in October, who also injured two other girls, had not silenced her ambitions but rather made her stronger. Gordon Brown: The story of Malala's friend "They thought that the bullets would silence us, but they failed," she said. "And then, out of that silence came thousands of voices." She said that she doesn't seek revenge against the Taliban, who have threatened to hunt her down again and end her life, and that she's against no one. Malala's global voice stronger than ever "I am here to speak up for the right of education of every child," she said. "I want education for the sons and the daughters of all the extremists, especially the Taliban." She also reflected on the very real dangers faced by teachers and students in Pakistan. Earlier this summer, a teacher was gunned down in front of her son as she drove into her all-girl school. A school principal was killed and his students severely injured when a bomb was tossed onto a school playground at a girls' school in Karachi in March. In January, five teachers were killed near the town of Swabi in the volatile northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the United Nations says. And, in June, a suicide bomber blew up a bus carrying 40 schoolgirls as it made its way to a girls' campus in Quetta. Fourteen students were killed. The speech, given on her 16th birthday, was not about her, Yousafzai added, but rather to give a voice to all the voiceless millions around the world fighting for their rights. "Let us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism, and let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons," she said. "One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first."
Authorities are investigating whether four other women from the Phillippines found living with a woman described as a Saudi princess in Irvine were forced to work as slaves. The Saudi woman, 42-year-old Meshael Alayban, was charged Wednesday with one count of felony human trafficking after a Kenyan woman managed to leave the Irvine gated community and flee, carrying a suitcase and a U.S. State Department pamphlet on human trafficking, officials said. Orange County prosecutors allege that Alayban forced the woman to work 16 hours a day, seven days a week, for only $220 a month. Authorities say she was unable to leave because Alayban kept the woman's passport and documents.The law of our nation and California does not tolerate people who deprive or violate the liberty of another and obtain forced labor or services," Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas said. "If any person is being enslaved, he or she should contact law enforcement." In addition to the Kenyan woman, police said officers found four other workers being held under similar circumstances at Alayban's home. No charges have yet been filed in those cases. Orange County prosecutors identified Alayban as one of the wives of Saudi Prince Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud. Alayban's attorney, Paul S. Meyer, said there was no physical abuse, no physical restraint and that the complaints were about hours worked and wages paid. "We intend to fully investigate this matter, and expect that the truth will resolve it," he said. The servant, whose identity was not released by authorities, began working for the family in Saudi Arabia to help cover her young daughter's medical care, officials said. The woman was contacted through an agency in Kenya to work for Alayban's family in Saudi Arabia in March 2012. She was meant to work for two years and be paid $1,600 a month. She was told she'd work eight hours a day, five days a week and that her pay would rise after three months, authorities said. Irvine police said that when the woman arrived in Saudi Arabia, Alayban took her passport. She accompanied Alayban and her family when they came to Irvine in May. Police said the servant came with four other women from the Philippines working under similar contracts. She told detectives she was required to work excessive hours and paid only a fraction of the agreed-upon salary. When the woman complained about the working conditions and asked for her passport back so she could leave, Alayban refused to give it to her, police said. The servant told authorities she was working for various Alayban family members living in four luxury apartments in a development off Jamboree Road, police said. She claimed she was not allowed to leave the complex without a member of the family present. "We are gratified to have been able to help this victim find her freedom," Irvine Police Chief David L. Maggard Jr. said.
Journalists gathering under the banner of the “Journalists’ Platform” came together at Galatasaray Square at 7 p.m. to protest what they termed the continual violence, pressure and threats they have faced at the hands of the police since the Gezi Park protests began in late May. The journalists, which included representatives of a number of different media outlets, also protested the arbitrary detentions and arrests, firings and acts censorship and self-censorship that have occurred since the demonstrations began. Police have arrested journalists even after reporters show their official press cards, private broadcaster IMÇ TV’s Gökhan Biçici said, while others complained of having their equipment seized by authorities. ETHA news agency journalist Arzu Demir also accused the police of sexually harassing her while searching her house during a June 18 raid. The journalists marched behind a banner of penguins in a direct jibe at CNNTürk, which became the target of widespread ridicule and sarcasm at the beginning of the protests in late May when it chose to air a documentary on penguins rather than cover the demonstrations. CNNTürk’s penguins were subsequently adopted as a symbol of the self-censorship that many news organizations, particularly the mainstream media, demonstrated during the initial stages of the protests. The group began a sit-down strike after close to 100 police blocked their way toward Taksim Square outside Galatasaray High School with two water cannon, but the group was ultimately not subjected to any police attack. Before the journalists’ march, activists also gathered in cities around Turkey, including Tünel on Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue, to commemorate Dora Özer, a transsexual who was found murdered in the Aegean province of Aydın’s Kuşadası district on July 9.
A 20-year-old private tutor was allegedly gangraped and then set on fire two days ago in Etawah, the home district of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, the police said on Friday. The young woman is battling for life with 90% burn injuries at the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences at Saifai. According to the first information report lodged by the woman’s brother, her fiancé Farhan and four of his associates raped her and set her on fire. The complaint also names two women as accused. Etawah senior superintendent of police Nilabja Choudhury, however, said there were reports the woman had set herself ablaze because a dowry demand of Rs. 5 lakh from Farhan’s family had cast a shadow over their marriage. The woman is a graduate, while Farhan is a mechanic, said a police official.The police have not been able to make a single arrest in connection with Wednesday’s crime, the latest in a string of such violent attacks on women and children reported from across UP. “Efforts are on to nab the accused,” the SSP said.
Other cases In Pratapgarh, a rape victim was allegedly attacked by the family members of the accused who tried to severe her tongue on Wednesday. The girl was admitted to the hospital with serious injuries. In Lucknow, a four-year-old girl's body was found on Wednesday with multiple wounds. She had allegedly been raped before being killed. Police initially tried to pass off the case as an attack by stray dogs.
President Barack Obama raised U.S. concerns directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday over Moscow's handling of former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, but there was no sign of a breakthrough on Washington's demand that Russia expel him. Obama and Putin spoke by phone in a discussion that White House spokesman Jay Carney said earlier would largely be about Snowden, who is wanted in the United States for disclosing secret surveillance programs. Carney had accused Russia of providing Snowden a "propaganda platform" to air his complaints about the United States. A White House statement about the Obama-Putin call offered no indication that Putin was prepared to send Snowden back to the United States. "The two leaders noted the importance of U.S.-Russian bilateral relations and discussed a range of security and bilateral issues, including the status of Mr. Edward Snowden and cooperation on counter-terrorism in the lead-up to the Sochi Winter Olympics," the statement said. The Sochi Olympics are in 2014. The high-level contact came during intense diplomatic wrangling over Snowden, who has been holed up in a transit area at a Moscow airport since arriving from Hong Kong on June 23. He is seeking asylum in either Russia or in one of three countries in Latin American that have offered to take him: Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia. Snowden, 30, is wanted on espionage charges, accused of taking records about secret U.S. surveillance of internet and phone traffic and releasing them to the news media. The disclosures have raised Americans' concerns about domestic spying and strained relations with some U.S. allies. Putin has so far refused all U.S. entreaties to return Snowden to the United States. 'DOING THE RIGHT THING' The case presents Putin with an international headache as he prepares to host Obama and other world leaders at a G20 summit in St. Petersburg. "I can't imagine Mr. Putin wants this thing hanging around as it is necessary to get ready for the summit in September," said James Collins, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia who is director of the Russia and Eurasian Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said it would raise concerns in the U.S.-Russian relationship if Moscow were to accept an asylum request from Snowden. "However we are not at that point yet. They still have the opportunity to do the right thing and return Mr. Snowden to the United States and that's what our hope is," she told reporters. The White House and the State Department complained that the Russian government had permitted Snowden to meet with human rights groups at the Moscow airport. Snowden told activists on Friday he was seeking temporary asylum in Russia and had no regrets about spilling U.S. spy secrets. "Providing a propaganda platform for Mr. Snowden runs counter to the Russian government's previous declarations of Russia's neutrality," Carney said. He said it was "also incompatible with Russian assurances that they do not want Mr. Snowden to further damage U.S. interests." In Moscow, Putin's spokesman repeated earlier conditions that Snowden should stop harming the interests of the United States if he wants asylum. The drama has tested U.S.-Russian relations, although no lasting damage has been apparent so far. "My sense is that both Washington and Moscow have lots of experience in compartmentalizing these kinds of issues when you've got spies or … defectors," said Steven Pifer, a Russia expert who is director of the Brookings Institution's Arms Control Initiative. "They can fence that off from the rest of the relationship."
http://www.tolonews.com/Kunduz province prison officials on Friday said that there has been a twofold increase in the number of female prisoners compared to last year. According to Gen. Shah Mir, the Director of the Kunduz provincial prison, two years ago 20 females were imprisoned, but now the number has increased to nearly 50. Gen. Mir cited illiteracy, poverty and domestic violence as one of the reasons behind the increase in the number of female inmates in Kunduz. "The crime rate is increasing day by day, last year we had 16 female prisoners. Unfortunately, this year the number has risen to 47," said Gen. Mir. Prison officials said that among the 47 female prisoners that are serving jail time, there is a diversity of criminal charges, including, but not limited to, murder and kidnapping. Gen. Mir said that 20 children who have reached seven years of age belonging to the female inmates have been transferred to a special children's home where they are educated and receive vocational training. However, he said many more children below seven are still living with their mothers in the prison. Meanwhile, the female prisoners told reporters that they want to seek pardons for the sake of their children's futures. "I am imprisoned with my children and I request that the President pardon my sentence for the sake of my children," begged one of the female prisoners, imprisoned for murdering her husband. "I have six children and for their future please release me. I committed a crime and I won't do it again," said another prisoner. Emphasising the efforts put in by the provincial authorities to work with the prisoners, officials of Kunduz prison said that professional training is being done so that the female prisoners can earn a livelihood after their release. Officials told reporters that the prisoners are receiving training in tailoring and carpet weaving. Presently, 825 convicts are imprisoned at the Kunduz prison and among them 47 are female prisoners.
The Baloch HalBy Sanaullah Baloch Pakistan’s political-cum-civil-military elite are desperately in search of a ready-made recipe for peace to end chronic politico-religious violence. Since we have a habit of being in utter denial about self-created crises, we always look for foreign remedies and fancy plans. The previous PPP regime introduced an unrealistic 3D formula — development, deterrence and dialogue — to curb violence without understanding the difference between complex conflicts and geographically disconnected crises. However, the new PML-N government has recently announced a theoretically more complex policy to deal with endless violence and the worsening law and order challenges. Based on Chinese and Malaysian models, the five layers of the national security policy, prepared by the National Counter-Terrorism Authority are: to dismantle, to contain, to prevent, to educate and to reintegrate. Economically fragile, politically unstable, ethnically divided and strife with sectarian crisis, the ruling elite need to understand before duplicating these that Pakistan is neither equal to economic giant China nor to economically self-reliant Malaysia. And both countries, set as models in the new policy, have never experienced such ethnic discontent, political crises and extreme violence. The current five-pillar policy looks like mixing oranges and apples. The policy doesn’t differentiate between type of crises and violence and doesn’t have the feel of a serious conflict-resolution initiative. It’s a known fact that crises in Fata and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) need a totally different approach and dealing with unrest in Balochistan requires a unique and bold policy. Moreover, managing the sectarian menace requires both domestic and international efforts. In spite of thousands of killings, loss of property and humanitarian crises both in K-P and Balochistan, the civil-military elite in Islamabad are in total denial about the existence of politico-economic conflicts in Balochistan and governance-related conflict in Fata. For conflict-resolution and crisis management, there are three preconditions: acknowledgment, acceptance and adaptability. Bureaucratically-drafted, the national security policy lacks understanding and discounts the existence of conflicts. It would be of no use in addressing the protracted crises. Regarding Balochistan, the government and its politico-military appendage must demonstrate maturity and acknowledge the conflict’s existence, rather than trying to deny it. The politico-military establishment needs flexibility and adaptability. Adaptability requires openness to ideas that could lead to viable solutions. A firm commitment and resolve, with the flexibility to make concessions, will determine how those solutions will be implemented. A national security policy, which begins with the idea of “dismantling”, cannot be considered a wise or constructive approach to deal with national crises. The policy should guide national decision-making and determine the courses of action to be taken in order to attain the state or condition wherein the national interests, the well-being of people, and peace and security are protected and enhanced. The policy must encourage the political-military leadership to acknowledge past mistakes and the existence of multifaceted conflicts — accept the existence of different stakeholders and adapt new ideas and approaches in the conflict-resolution process. Pakistani policymakers must not confuse, and should not avoid the fact that extremism and violence is an offshoot of our politico-military blunders. If we continue to maintain the administrative status quo in Fata for strategic reasons — consider criminals, mafias and extremists as “strategic assets” and political activists as a national threat in Balochistan — peace will have little chance to grow. Adapting a multilayered conflict- resolution model — Pakistan’s national security policy should focus on four key elements namely: 1) governance; 2) delivery of basic services; 3) economic reconstruction and sustainable development; and 4) security sector reform. (Courtesy: Express Tribune)
The Baloch HalBy Vardha Khalil The U.S. military action in Abbottabad and the eventual killing of Osama bin Laden in the operation not only shocked Pakistan but also compelled public and national circles to raise several question. Two of these questions were most important of all: First, why were the Pakistani authorities unaware of the presence of Bin Laden inside the country? Secondly how the US managed to conduct an attack on the Pakistani soil? In order to ascertain the answers to these critical questions, the Pakistani government formed a commission which recorded statements of 201 persons and finalized an inquiry report. The report contains facts and figures about the Abottabad operation. In the report, the commission has not only highlighted many mistakes at political and military level but also severely criticized Pakistan’s official response to the crisis that damaged country’s reputation at international level and breached public trust in the government and the institutions of national security. Because of its critical nature, the commission expressed concerns over its public disclosure saying that government might keep it secret to bury the truth. Though this concern was well founded the truth could not be hidden as Aljazeera leaked the report earlier this week. According to the report, Bin Laden entered Pakistan through Tora Bora in 2002 and spent some time in South Waziristan and Bajur Agency. Then, he moved to six different places one by one including Swat, Haripur and Abbottabad. He moved with the help of only two of his aides and every time evaded police and other government authorities. During his nine-year presence in Pakistan, he not only built a house but his wife also managed to settle with him in Pakistan after ending her confinement in Iran, his children were also born there. The commission has also pointed out a crucial flaw in Pakistan’s foreign policy. Pakistani government clearly failed to handle the crisis after this operation. The government was confused and ill-informed. It failed to launch a positive response and even it tried to distance itself from this event. The commission has observed that Pakistani government launched an inquiry into the matter on public pressure and not by its own will. This inquiry was initiated reluctantly. The commission says that Pakistani government and its institutions failed at every level of planning, threat assessment and positive response. The report has held the Revenue Department, National Database and Registration Authority, local police, government and military responsible for the presence of Bin Laden in Pakistan for nine years. Report also demands all these institutions to make a public apology for their negligence. The report of Abbottabad commission not only indicates negligence regarding Bin Laden’s presence and US raid but it also portrays a clear picture of the failure in other national matters as well. Corruption and political pressure have damaged Pakistani institutions. These weak institutions failed to locate high value target in Pakistan for nine years. How somebody may hope that they will capture other terrorists who are targeting hundreds of innocent people around Pakistan on daily basis. Aljazeera has also claimed that the page number 157 of this report has been obliterated which contained the statement of former ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence] Director General Ahmad Shujah Pasha. This point should also be noted that Pakistani intelligence apparatus has once again played its role in removing key information from the commission report to hide facts regarding national security. The commission’s observation raises some serious questions about the compatibility of the Pakistani government and its mechanism of response. In addition to the many problems haunting Pakistan’s new government, revising policies and tactics could be more challenging. Because this time negligence might prove fatal in a world where such mistakes are no longer tolerated.
The Express Tribune
By Riazul Haq / Maryam Usman