Saturday, July 20, 2013
Protests have taken place in more than 100 US cities, a week after George Zimmerman was cleared of murdering unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin. Demonstrators demanded federal charges to be brought against Mr Zimmerman, 29, over the February 2012 incident. A Florida jury agreed that the neighbourhood watch volunteer killed the 17 year-old in self-defence. In his first comments, President Barack Obama admitted many black men in the US experienced racial profiling. The protests against the court's decision were led by the National Action Network, headed by civil rights activist the Reverend Al Sharpton. "We are not coming out with violence, we are coming to denounce violence. The violence that was perpetrated on an unarmed, innocent man named Trayvon Martin," Mr Sharpton told at a rally in New York. Thousands gathered for "Justice for Trayvon" protests in at least 100 other cities across America, including Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami. Mr Sharpton told supporters on Saturday morning that he wanted to see the scrapping of "stand your ground" self-defence laws, such as that in force in Florida. "We are trying to change laws so that this never, ever happens again," he said. The teenager's mother, Sybrina Fulton, told the crowd: "Today it was my son. Tomorrow it might be yours." Rapper Jay Z and his wife, the singer Beyonce, appeared on stage at the New York rally. In Miami, Trayvon Martin's father, Tracy Martin, was among those who gathered to the words of the civil rights song We Shall Overcome. 'Could have been me' In an unexpected press call on Friday, Mr Obama said very few black men in the US had not experienced racial profiling. Mr Obama said the pain that African-Americans felt around the case came from the fact that they viewed it through "a set of experiences and a history that doesn't go away". He said African Americans were also keenly aware of racial disparities in the application of criminal laws. "That all contributes to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different," Mr Obama said. "When Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me, 35 years ago." He shared his experiences of being racially profiled in the past, such as being followed while out shopping. "There are very few African-American men who haven't had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. "There are very few African-Americans who haven't had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she has a chance to get off," he said. Mr Obama called for the protests to remain peaceful, saying any violence "dishonours what happened to Trayvon Martin". He said that although criminal matters and law enforcement were traditionally dealt with on a state and not a federal level, it would be useful to examine some state and local laws to see if they encourage confrontation in certain situations. On Wednesday, US Attorney General Eric Holder cited the case as he urged a nationwide review of the "stand your ground" laws, which permit the use of deadly force if a person feels seriously threatened. The issue was never raised during the trial, though the judge included a provision about the law in her instructions to the jury, allowing it to be considered as a legitimate defence. Trayvon Martin was shot dead by Mr Zimmerman after an altercation in a gated community in Sanford, Florida. Last Saturday, the all-female jury of six found him not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter.
A week after a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, rallies began across the country as activists press federal authorities to prosecute the former neighborhood watch volunteer on civil rights charges.
An explosion occurred Saturday evening at Terminal 3 of the Beijing Capital International Airport, police said. A wheel-chaired Chinese man, identified as Ji Zhongxing from eastern Shandong province, set off a home-made explosive device outside the arrivals exit of the Terminal 3 at around 6:24 p.m., an initial police investigation showed. The device was detonated after the 34-year-old was stopped from handing out leaflets to get attention to his complaints, according to the probe. Ji himself was injured, but suffered no life-threatening injuries and is currently under treatment. The explosion caused no other injuries. The police cordon at the arrivals exit has been removed, and the airport has begun to resume normal order. Police authorities are further investigating the case.
Famous film and television actor Nadeem Baig turned 72 Friday. Born as Mirza Nazeer Baig Mughal on July 19, 1941, Nadeem is a Pakistani actor who is considered as the best actor of his time in Pakistani film industry. He has acted in several films, telefilms, and TV drama serials. He was born in Vijayawada in Andhra Pardesh state of India in 1941. He was interested in singing and used to take part in musical competitions, and was noticed by the famous singer Firdousi Begum. She was impressed by his singing talent and encouraged him to try playback singing in Dhaka's film industry. Nadeem's film career spans more than 45 years. He started his career in 1967 and appeared in his first film Chakori in a leading role with Shabana as opposite actress. The film was produced and directed by Captain Ehtesham, who, in real life, became his father-in-law in 1968. The film did well in both circuits of Pakistani film industry, i.e., West and East. He achieved Nigar Award in the best actor's category for Chakori. With consecutive hit films, like Chotay Sahab and Sangdil, he became one of the leading film actors of Pakistan in the 1970s and 1980s. Nadeem's commercially successive films include Nadan (1973), Anari, Pechan (1975), Talash (1976), Aina (1977), Hum Donon (1980), Lajawab, Qurbani (1981), Sangdil (1982), and Dehleez (1983). Besides acting, Nadeem has sung many songs for films.
http://www.afghanistantimes.af/There would be no American troops on the ground in Afghanistan post 2014 without the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) being signed, a top US general said the other day.
http://www.pajhwok.com/Only a fraction of Kabul’s streets are paved properly. The vast majority of roads are nothing but potholes and dirt, yet contractors regularly overshoot road-building budgets. The Independent Media Consortium Productions (IMCP) investigates the money trail.* The Kabul Municipality has accused the Turkish-owned Copy International and three Afghan firms -- Hewadwal, Latifi and Quyash Niazi -- of inflating road-construction costs. A committee appointed by the president’s office in end-2008 to probe the charges of embezzling funds and failing to adhere to the terms of the contract had representatives from the ministries of economy, public works, and finance, the State Administration Office and Kabul Municipality. The findings were submitted with evidence to the presidential palace. Kabul residents complain the roads that have been repaired are in the10th, 1st, 2nd and 17th districts where the rich and powerful live. Meanwhile, work has not finished on a 2 km stretch from Campany to Mahtab Qala that should have completed in end 2011. In the 13th district, Reza, a resident says, “The work is going on very slowly on Barchi road, a grinder works like an ant …” The findings, which IMC has made public for the first time, has been endorsed by its authors Engineer Abdul Ahad Wahid, Technical and Construction Deputy Mayor of Kabul Municipality, Muradi, representative of the palace, Engineer Adel Shah, representative of Ministry of Public Works, Nayeb Khail representative of Finance Ministry and Bismillah Bismil, the technical adviser to Kabul Municipality. The companies that claimed the entire budget for the projects, did not bother to return the money for work that remains outstanding. Instead, additional funds handed out by the Kabul Municipality have also been pocketed. Investigations by IMC reveal that Quyash Niazi spent 4.43 million dollars to pave a 70 metre wide road in the west of Kabul but charged Kabul Municipality 7.2 million dollars. Copy International spent 16 million dollars on the road from the airport to Intercontinental Hotel, but collected 18 million dollars. Documents submitted by Hewadwal show the cost of work on Qala Zaman Khan in the 16th district was 5.1 million dollars but Kabul municipality has disbursed 10.5 million dollars. Receipts and invoices also show that the cost of repair work for the 60 metre-Ahmad Shah Mena road in the 12th district through Bagrami executed by Latifi was 11 million dollars but Kabul municipality paid 12.95 million dollars.
dawn.comA committee of local clerics (ulema) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Karak district banned the entry in markets of women who are not accompanied by a 'mehram' (close male family member). The local clerics committee of Khattak Ittehad held a meeting at the Tehsil Masjid Karak, headed by former district amir of Jamiat-i-Ulema Islam Hafiz Abne Amin on Friday decided that women roaming in the city bazaars (markets) without male members of their family were a source of spreading vulgarity in the society and should be stopped. The meeting which was also attended by Mualana Mir Zaqeem, Mualana Abdul Rehman and other clerics. The clerics also met the local administration and the police to implement the decision but they had refused to facilitate the implementation of this decision. When contacted, Mir Zaqeem who is the head of Khattak Ittehad, Karak city said that the decision was taken because most unaccompanied women were becoming a source of spreading vulgarity, especially in the holy month of Ramazan. He added that a group of such women (without a mehram) were also involved in theft and robberies. The Maulana further said that unaccompanied women in bazaars was not only against local Pakhtun culture but also against religious norms. He added that those women who were accompanied by a mehram would not be stopped from coming to bazaars. The clerics committee also requested local shopkeepers not to sell goods to women who are shopping alone in bazaars. Reaction of civil society Resident Director of Aurat Foundation Shabina Ayaz said that the decision of the ulema was a violation of fundamental human rights and was a denial of a woman's right to live on her own will. She added that the state must act swiftly to ensure women rights. She further said a few individuals should not have the authority to decide for 48 per cent womenfolk who had equal rights as any male member of the society in Pakistan. Qamar Nasim the programme coordinator of a civil society organisation has termed the ban a gross violation of the women rights and demanded that authorities take action against the culprits invloved. Nasim said a similar step was taken last year before Eid as well but due to pressure from the civil society the administration had the decision reversed. The chief executive of Paiman Trust, Mussarat Qadeem is of the view that this order is morally, ethically and humanly an act of gross women right violation and an injustice with women. If the jirgas and the local committees are so concerned about the women, they should come to their help and provide the daily needs to the destitute women at their doorsteps.
Daily TimesThe All Parties Conference (APC) to reach consensus on a viable national security strategy was supposed to be held on July 12, but was postponed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government. There may be good reasons behind the delaying of the APC, such as the realization that the much-touted negotiations with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) may not be the best way, by themselves, to tackle national security issues. The Prime Minister (PM) has consulted the ISI and has also been briefed by the interior ministry on the menace of terrorism, which may have caused a shift in the PML-N leadership’s attitude. The PM has recently become less vocal about negotiating with the TTP, unlike previously when he was enthusiastically promoting the rhetoric that negotiations were the only way out of this conundrum. Imran Khan’s recent statement in which he asks the PM and the Chief of Army Staff to have a closed-door meeting with him further jeopardizes the prospects of an APC taking place soon. He claims that an APC on national security may be ‘inappropriate’ at this time because disclosing all facts regarding national security publicly will not be prudent. He further says that a closed-door meeting to ascertain all the facts should be held first before making an attempt to formulate a holistic anti-terrorism policy. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) leader has previously also expressed his party’s lack of faith in an APC as similar meetings held in the past did not prove to be successful. Imran Khan shed some light on why previous APCs did not produce results and said that the PPP government continuously lied to parliament and the people about its covert agreements with the US regarding the war on terror and issues such as drone strikes. Imran Khan’s proposal is puzzling to say the least. He may be right in saying that certain sensitive information concerning national security should not be disclosed publicly, but if he wishes to have a meeting behind closed doors with the PM and COAS, why shouldn’t the rest of the political leadership be taken on board and apprised of the situation in similar fashion? One individual should not be given such a privileged status that his request to be privately briefed by the civil and military heads of the country is obliged. Moreover, Imran Khan’s incessant claims that the root cause of terrorism in Pakistan is our involvement in the war on terror are flawed, as the Pakistani Taliban came into existence years after Pervez Musharraf allied Pakistan with the US. The TTP, in fact, was the result of the Lal Masjid operation carried out by the military regime in 2007. The TTP’s goals are to topple the state system and impose their version of Shariah on the people. As has become manifest over the years, the TTP and its affiliated organizations have no qualms about ruthlessly killing soft targets such as civilians just to bring the government to its knees and force it to comply with their unreasonable demands. Negotiations can only take place where there is room for compromise. Considering that the TTP does not even believe in the political process and considers many political leaders of Pakistan to be infidels worthy of being killed, how can anyone expect to hold meaningful negotiations with such irrational people? Imran Khan is right in saying that the civilian-military leadership should be on the same page and that the people deserve to know the truth about any secret deals with the US. However, he should understand that the leadership of every major political party has an equal right to be consulted regarding terrorism. Also, Imran Khan should realize that the right way to deal with the Pakistani Taliban is to adopt a firm approach, although the door for negotiations should never be closed for any faction of TTP that believes in dialogue. The federal government, provincial governments and the security apparatus should all build consensus on adopting a zero-toleration policy against these miscreants who have caused immense damage to Pakistan.
Pakistan:Father of Christian girl victim of rape by Muslims threatens to commit suicide if justice not ensured
By Kamila Hyat