Friday, June 26, 2015

Music Video - Michael Jackson - Black Or White

Music Video - Taylor Swift - Style

Video - US annual gun killings far outnumber its worst toll from terrorism

Video - FM Lavrov on Primakov: The passing of a great Russian diplomat

Love Letter From China - Commentary: U.S. should put its own yard in order on human rights issues

The United State on Thursday released its annual human rightsreport in which it made arbitrary attacks and irresponsible remarks on the human rightssituation in almost 200 countries.
Howeveras a poor human rights performerUncle Sam should clean out its own yardfirst.
Just one day before the release of the reporta 41-year-old unarmed black man died afterbeing shot by three police officers at his homeA total of 19 bullet casings were found atthe scene.
This is not an isolated caseSince 2014, the United States has witnessed a series ofincidents in which white U.Spolice officers killed unarmed black men.
All of these can remind the United States that there are a lot of human rights violations onits own soil.
As a matter of factU.Shuman rights violations go far beyond violence against ethnicminoritiesimmigrant issues and torture allegationsThey have also long existed in themonitoring of emails and mobile phones of ordinary Americans as well as leaders of othercountriesincluding traditional U.Sallies like Germany and France.
The United States has also committed numerous human rights violations abroadforexamplein its use of stomach-turning torture methods and in its indiscriminate dronestrike killings.
Moreoverthe United States is one of the only two countries in the world that have notratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Childa human rights treaty that protectschildrenIt also does not seem keen on promoting the ratification of such internationalfundamental laws as the Forced Labor Convention.
Wu HailongChina's ambassador to the UN Office in Genevasaid that the United States isridden with systematic and massive human rights violationswhich are hard to get rid of.
Though loving to portray itself as a vehement human rights watchdog on the world stage,the United States has not done much to address its own human rights problemsbutprefers to point fingers at other countries.
Indeedpursuing human rights is a process and no country can have an absolute perfectrecordRegrettablythe U.Sreportwhich has been issued since 1977, deliberately ignoredthe achievements other countries made in improving their human rights.
Thusit is advisable for Washington to refrain from making wrongful accusations againstother countries over human rights issues and work hard to put its own yard in order so asto live up to its self-styled title as a "human rights defender."


ISIS has both sympathisers and active supporters inside the kingdom of Saudi Araibia.
ISIS and the Saudis’ kingdom are ideologically similar, so attempts to challenge ISIS on ideological grounds risk undermining the Saudi state too. As Heba Saleh and Simeon Kerr noted in the Financial Times last September:
“Some of the features of Isis ideology, such as its hatred of Shia Muslims and application of strict punishments such as limb amputations, are shared with the purist Salafi thought that defines Saudi Wahhabism. ISIS has explicitly referenced early Wahhabi teachers, such as Mohammed ibn Abdulwahhab, to justify its destruction of Shia shrines and Christian churches as it cuts a swath through Iraq and Syria. Thousands of Saudi nationals have been recruited to its ranks.
Saudi efforts to confront ISIS ideologically have mainly taken the form of denunciations from tame clerics – figures who have no prospect of influencing ISIS supporters and sympathisers – but it is difficult to see what else they might do without calling their own state system into question.
The king and his princes have dug a hole for themselves by harnessing religion in the pursuit of power. Religious credentials bolstered their claim to legitimacy and helped them assert their authority. For a long time, those credentials served them well, but now they are becoming a liability and it may be too late to unfasten the harness.


The Saudi funded Notorious Takfiri Outfit Islamic State took responsibility for a deadly explosion on Friday at a Shiite Muslim Imam Al-Sadiq mosque in Kuwait City, a rare attack in the tiny Gulf nation.
The Wahabi extremist group claimed the attack via a statement posted to a known Twitter account. It named the bomber as Abu Sleiman al Mouahed and said that he was wearing a suicide belt.
Cell phone video posted to social media and apparently shot at the mosque showed worshippers walking and stumbling through a dust- and rubble-filled interior, many with their white robes splattered in what appeared to be blood.
Its pertaining to mention here that The blast explosion hits the Shia Mosque Imam Al-Sadiq in Al-Sawaber Kuwait City during the friday prayers when the shia worshipers offering the prayer in holy month of Ramadan. More than 5 Shia worshipers were martyred in the deadliest blast inside Shia Mosque.
Its worth mentioning here that earlier, two incidents of suicide bombing on Shia worshipers witnessed on two Shia mosques in two shia dominated provinces of Saudi Arabia which were claimed by Saudi-US funded IS.

Doomed: Saudi Arabia Will Fail in Yemen

As the warring Yemeni parties gather for preliminary peace talks in Geneva, Saudi Arabia continues its unrelenting bombing campaign against the tribes of the Houthi movement. For two and a half months, the air forces of the Saudi coalition have targeted military sites, homes and businesses affiliated with the Houthi movement, as well as the palaces and residences of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his political allies. Yet, as the Houthis sit down at the negotiating table this week, their domestic political and strategic position has not been greatly affected by this extensive bombing. Saudi Arabia’s futile air campaign is a further demonstration of the limits of airpower in general, and in South Arabia specifically.
Saudi Arabia did not pioneer the use of airpower to exercise regional power, which originated with the British imperial policy of “air control” in post-WWI Iraq. Winston Churchill, the postwar Secretary of War and Secretary of State for Air championed the use of air force to maintain British control over Iraq while expending the least amount of military force on the ground. Inaccurate intelligence, inadequate navigation equipment and pilot errors led many bombs astray, often hitting the wrong target and with little distinction between civilians and militants. Attacks and patrols by the British Royal Air Force were guided by sparse local intelligence networks and were intended more for the psychological impact of unfamiliar aerial bombardment rather than the ability to achieve a military objective.
This model of British imperial power and control was used in other colonial arenas, including South Yemen, then the British Aden Protectorate. A decade of British aerial patrols and attacks during the 1960s failed to stem the tide of a Yemeni nationalist movement that supplanted British colonial rule in South Yemen. The success of Britain’s air control in Arabia was limited by two main factors. The mountainous terrain of Yemen provided the guerilla opposition with an impervious natural cover from bombs within a cave system that pockmarks the landscape. International media was stacked against the remnants of the British Empire and bombs that found civilian targets were met with a great deal of negative press.
The British Royal Air Force was not the only imperial force in South Arabia trying to use its air force to dominate a tribal opposition. During the 1960s, Egypt transferred nearly a third of its air capabilities to North Yemen insupport of the fledgling republic founded in 1962. The tactical success of the Egyptian aerial campaign was similarly hampered by Yemen’s terrain. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser even went as far as authorizing the use of poison gas against cave shelters, intending to flush the opposition out into the open before coming back around for a second round of high explosive incendiary bombs.
Air superiority was the linchpin of Egypt’s strategic model of maintaining a triangular defensive perimeter around North Yemen’s three main cities of Hodeidah, Sana’a, and Taiz, while forestalling a concerted guerilla offensive from the surrounding rural and mountainous regions. Both Britain and Egypt were under political pressure to limit the number of casualties that would have undoubtedly occurred as a consequences of a more effective large-scale ground operation. Air power in Arabia, however, was limited in its ability to achieve tangible military goals. Rather than subdue domestic opposition, aerial bombardment only fed the flames of propaganda and distrust of a faceless enemy from above. Both Britain and Egypt were forced to make an ignominious withdrawal by the end of 1967, leaving failed states in their wake.
Saudi Arabia and its coalition of Arab and African countries appears to be taking the same path as the failed imperial policies of the 1960s. The Saudi air campaign was originally met with tepid enthusiasm by members of Yemen’s Southern Movement and supporters of Yemen’s ousted, but still internationally recognized President, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. Many Yemenis were alarmed by the speed with which the tribesmen of the Houthi movement took control of the government in Sana’a and extended their military presence southward in pursuit of Hadi and his supporters. Two and a half months later, the Saudi bombing campaign has evolved from a series of tactical strikes to slow the Houthi military assault into a vendetta bombing campaign against Saudi political opponents in Yemen. Many of the airstrikes are targeting civilian houses belonging to Saleh’s family and friends, factories deemed suspicious and civilian transportation hubs and airports across the country, all of which have questionable military value.
Sitting comfortably in his luxury hotel of exile, President Hadi continues to condone Saudi bombings even as a staggering number of his countrymen have become internal refugees and are suffering a humanitarian crisis of serious proportions. Rather than garner additional public support for President Hadi, the Saudi bombing campaign has only increased the skepticism of his remote government and has instead played into the hands of Houthi propagandists. All the while, it does not seem that the military capabilities of the Houthi tribesmen or the segments of the Yemeni army still loyal to Saleh have been greatly diminished.
Not only have the Saudi’s not been able to slow the Houthi advance, but on June 6, Scud missiles launched by Houthi forces hit King Khalid Air Base, Saudi Arabia’s largest air base and the operations center for the current bombing campaign. Although Saudi officials tried to downplay the attack, which was shrouded in secrecy, it soon became known that Saudi Air Force Commander Lieutenant General Muhammad bin Ahmed Al-Shaalan was killedduring the attack. This was particularly shocking to the Saudis as the Shaalan family is nationally prominent and connected through marriage and political alliance to the ruling Saud family.
The attack exposed the disturbing unreadiness of Saudi air defense capabilities and the limits of their air force’s ability to affect military and political outcomes in Yemen. Since the beginnings of the bombing campaign in March 2015, Saudi-coalition planes have faced little anti-aircraft fire, hardly a test of the pilots resolve or training. Even though the Houthis lack armed surface-to-air resistance, the recent Scud missile attack reinforced the fact that the Saudi aerial campaign has failed to eliminate the Houthi coalition’s large-scale military capability.
What emerged from the Scud missile debacle was that an American team is operating a Patriot missile defense system in the vicinity of the King Khalid Air Base, which is also the command center for the U.S. drone campaign in the region. It has been reported that several of the fired Scud missiles were intercepted by U.S. Patriot missiles, the first instance where American forces and Houthis exchanged fire, albeit indirectly. Additionally, the U.S. Air Force has been providing Saudi-coalition planes with satellite imagery and intelligence related to Houthi targets. The emergence of these details has reinforced a propaganda line reiterated on the Houthi cable channel al-Masirah that refers to the Saudi coalition as the “Saudi-American coalition.”

Saudi Arabia’s War on Yemen Comes Home

By Eric Draitser

When Saudi Arabia launched its war against Yemen in March 2015, it presumed that a short, quick, and clean air war would be enough to degrade the alliance of Houthi forces and those loyal to former President Saleh, thereby giving the Saudi-backed government of former President Hadi the necessary space to regain control of the country. However, that simply has not been the case. In fact, not only has the Saudi campaign not achieved these objectives, it has instead precipitated a much more dangerous war which has now spread to Saudi Arabia itself.
Reports from Yemeni sources have confirmed that the Houthis and their allies have launched a number of rockets into Saudi Arabia’s Jizan province while also launching an assault on three military bases in various parts of the country. Of course, the attacks have sent an unmistakable message to Riyadh that there will be a price to pay for the continued bombardment of Yemen; that the Saudis cannot simply act with impunity.
War Spreads Beyond Yemen’s Borders
The fact that Houthi and Saleh forces are able to successfully attack key Saudi military installations has undoubtedly rattled a few nerves in Riyadh. While the recent assaults have not been the first, they have been perhaps the most open demonstration of the military capacity of the Yemeni forces to strike at Saudi assets.
It has been reported that the Houthi-Saleh combined forces have attacked and possibly taken control of a military base in the Southwestern province of Jizan, strategically located on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast. While of course embarrassing for the Saudi government, this development is far more than simply a public relations nightmare; it is a strategic disaster. While Yemeni forces have pounded the base in Jizan, there have been scattered reports of Yemeni attacks against other Saudi military installations, including in the East of the country, as well as in the Northwest. If these reports are to be believed, then nearly the entirety of Saudi Arabian territory is within the range and capability of Yemeni rockets.
There is clear progress from the perspective of the Ansarullah movement (aka the Houthis) and their military allies if one compares the attacks they launched back in April, and those they are carrying out today. While there were a number of high profile attempts to break through Saudi defenses on the borders and make significant gains at the time, all such attacks were either entirely repelled or were mostly unsuccessful; however today, less than two months later, Houthi offensives are becoming increasingly sophisticated and, quite predictably, increasingly effective. Although Ansarullah has fired rockets and made offensive moves towards a number of key Saudi installations throughout the country, their major breakthroughs have come in the strategic Jizan province, right near the Yemeni border.
And it remains the areas closest to the border with Yemen where the real concrete gains have been made by the anti-Saudi coalition. Whether the Houthis and their allies are able to take operational control of the Saudi bases, or merely to attack them and flee is somewhat secondary. What is of primary importance is the simple fact that essentially the entire southwestern portion of Saudi Arabia is now under direct threat from the combined Houthi-Saleh forces, in addition to newly formed militias quietly developing inside Saudi Arabia in the area near the Saudi-Yemeni border.
A Saudi Civil War?
The formation of militias committed to waging war against the House of Saud may be the single most troubling development for Riyadh. Perhaps the most significant of these is the so called ‘Ahrar al-Najran’ Movement, a coalition of regional tribes in the southwest of the country that have combined forces with anti-Riyadh Saudi political activists to create an independence movement that has taken up arms against the Saudi government.
Ahrar al-Najran presents a complex problem for the Saudis because it is comprised primarily of tribes whose lands were originally within Yemeni territory until they were occupied by Saudi forces in 1934. According to Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA):
[The] Ahrar al-Najran Movement [is] calling for independence from Saudi Arabia…Abu Bakr Abi Ahmed al-Salami, a leader of Ahrar al-Najran, says the movement which brings together different tribal groups is set to launch its first battle in parts of south Najran occupied by the Saudi army…There are four main reasons why the movement wants to declare independence from Saudi Arabia:
  1. General dissatisfaction in Saudi Arabia with the way officials in Riyadh handle day-to-day administration of affairs,
  2. Riyadh’s policy to keep the south impoverished,
  3. Aggression against Yemen and the massacre of defenseless people there by the Saudi regime,
  4. Failure of the Saudi government to view the residents of the south as first-class citizens, thus violation [sic] of their legitimate rights.
Needless to say, from the perspective of the Saudis, a nascent independence movement within their borders is just about the worst possible outcome of their decision to wage war on Yemen. And considering the already tense situation in the majority Shia province of Qatif, it seems Saudi Arabia has become a political powder keg just waiting for a spark. Undoubtedly the Ansarullah Movement understands this perfectly well, and is now preparing to make its move, matches in hand.
Indeed, while the Saudis will likely move quickly to assert control over the southwestern regions, the Shias of the east – undoubtedly with a bit of tacit and/or overt support from the Houthis – might find this an opportune moment to begin organizing themselves into more than just periodic demonstrations and upsurges of righteous indignation to be quickly met with vicious force.
It should be remembered that recent months have seen violent raids and clashes between Saudi security forces and residents throughout the Qatif province of Eastern Saudi Arabia, the most violent of which having taken place in the town of Awamiyah. In response to protests against Riyadh’s war on Yemen, the regime’s security forces unleashed a brutal crackdown that perhaps most accurately could be called violent suppression. As one activist and resident of Awamiyah told the Middle East Eye back in April, “From 4pm until 9pm the gunfire didn’t stop… Security forces shot randomly at people’s homes, and closed all but one of the roads leading in and out of the village… It is like a war here – we are under siege.” A number of videos uploaded to YouTube seem to confirm the accounts of activists, though all eyewitness accounts remain anonymous for fear of government retribution.
Such actions as those described by activists in Awamiyah, and throughout Qatif, are nothing new. Over the last few years, the province has repeatedly seen upsurges of protests against the draconian policies of the government in Riyadh. Were such protests to once again erupt, and were they to coincide with the burgeoning Sunni independence movement in the Southwest, one could then rightly characterize the unrest as a general uprising: truly a nightmare scenario for the Saudi government.
Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen has taken a tremendous toll on that impoverished country, with untold thousands of casualties, countless families displaced, infrastructure devastated, and the delivery of basic services slowed to a trickle, if not cut off altogether. The Saudis have perpetrated a flagrantly illegal aggression against the nation and people of Yemen, committing a laundry list of war crimes that the world has, by and large, completely ignored. But the Saudis may have to pay a price for this crime, a price far higher than they likely ever imagined.
The House of Saud may have control over the oil, and thereby control over the peninsula, but it is becoming increasingly clear that it does not have total control over its people. And, while no one knows whether a true general uprising in Saudi Arabia will come to pass, the war in Yemen might possibly be the spark that finally sets the oil drum ablaze.

Music Video - Lady Gaga - Born This Way

Hillary Clinton says Supreme Court has a message for GOP: 'Move on'

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday praised the Supreme Court's ruling declaring same-sex couples have a right to marry and suggested that her Republican opponents were being left behind by history.

In one of her most partisan speeches since announcing her presidential campaign, Clinton criticized the field of more than a dozen Republican candidates for opposing gay marriage, gun control, immigration reform and women's reproductive rights.
"We can sum up the message from the court and the American people in just two words: Move on," she said in a fiery speech to Democratic activists gathered in Northern Virginia for a party fundraiser.
Casting herself as a fighter for struggling Americans, Clinton pledged to advocate for all those facing economic discrimination and prejudice.
"I'm on the side for everyone who's ever been knocked down but refused to be knocked out," she told the cheering audience. "I will always stand my ground so you and my country can gain ground."
Clinton equated the gay marriage decision with the decision striking down bans on interracial marriage, saying that "love triumphed in the highest court." She vowed to fight discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, and accused Republicans of being "determined to lead us right back into the past."
"Instead of trying to turn back the clock, they should be joining us in saying no, no to discrimination once and for all," she said.
Clinton was making the first stop of her presidential campaign in Virginia, a state likely to be closely contested in the general election. President Barack Obama won the state in 2008, the first time a Democratic presidential candidate had captured its electoral votes in decades, and again in 2012.
Clinton's political tactics in the state will likely mirror Obama's winning strategy: increase the number of black and minority voters at the polls while capturing a sufficient share of the white vote in suburban Washington, D.C.
Her personal connections may give her an additional advantage. She took the stage alongside Gov. Terry McAuliffe, her longtime friend and fundraiser, who won office in 2013. His fundraising efforts helped bankroll the campaigns of both Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton. After they left the White House, McAuliffe used his personal wealth to help the couple get a mortgage on their house in Chappaqua, New York.
McAuliffe's gubernatorial campaign was run by a young operative, Robby Mook, who now is working as Clinton's campaign manager.
"This is personal for me," McAuliffe told the crowd at the fundraiser. "I've known Hillary for decades. We've worked hard together. We've played hard together."
He added: "She's a lot more fun than Bill Clinton is and I love him, too."

Video - Pres. Obama sing 'Amazing Grace' during eulogy

Video : President Obama eulogizes pastor killed in church shooting

Video - President Obama Speaks on the Supreme Court’s Decision on Marriage Equality

#LoveWins - US Supreme Court Rules Gay Marriage Legal Nationwide

In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote on Friday that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.
“No longer may this liberty be denied,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in the historic decision. “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”
The decision, which was the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, set off jubilation and tearful embraces across the country, the first same-sex marriages in several states, and signs of resistance — or at least stalling — in others. It came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of the unions.
The court’s four more liberal justices joined Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion. Each member of the court’s conservative wing filed a separate dissent, in tones ranging from resigned dismay to bitter scorn.
In dissent, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said the Constitution had nothing to say on the subject of same-sex marriage.
“If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote. “Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”
In a second dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia mocked the soaring language of Justice Kennedy, who has become the nation’s most important judicial champion of gay rights.
“The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic,” Justice Scalia wrote of his colleague’s work. “Of course the opinion’s showy profundities are often profoundly incoherent.”
As Justice Kennedy finished announcing his opinion from the bench on Friday, several lawyers seated in the bar section of the court’s gallery wiped away tears, while others grinned and exchanged embraces.
Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired in 2010, was on hand for the decision, and many of the justices’ clerks took seats in the chamber, which was nearly full as the ruling was announced. The decision made same-sex marriage a reality in the 13 states that had continued to ban it.
Outside the Supreme Court, the police allowed hundreds of people waving rainbow flags and holding signs to advance onto the court plaza as those present for the decision streamed down the steps. “Love has won,” the crowd chanted as courtroom witnesses threw up their arms in victory.
In remarks in the Rose Garden, President Obama welcomed the decision, saying it “affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts.”
“Today,” he said, “we can say, in no uncertain terms, that we have made our union a little more perfect.”
Justice Kennedy was the author of all three of the Supreme Court’s previous gay rights landmarks. The latest decision came exactly two years after his majority opinion in United States v. Windsor, which struck down a federal law denying benefits to married same-sex couples, and exactly 12 years after his majority opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down laws making gay sex a crime.
In all of those decisions, Justice Kennedy embraced a vision of a living Constitution, one that evolves with societal changes.
“The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times,” he wrote on Friday. “The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.”
This drew a withering response from Justice Scalia, a proponent of reading the Constitution according to the original understanding of those who adopted it. His dissent was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas.
“They have discovered in the Fourteenth Amendment,” Justice Scalia wrote of the majority, “a ‘fundamental right’ overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since.”
“These justices know,” Justice Scalia said, “that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is contrary to reason; they know that an institution as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago, cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry.”
Justice Kennedy rooted the ruling in a fundamental right to marriage. Marriage is a “keystone of our social order,” he said, and of special importance to couples raising children.
“Without the recognition, stability and predictability marriage offers,” he wrote, “their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples.”
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion.
In dissent, Chief Justice Roberts said the majority opinion was “an act of will, not legal judgment.”
“The court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the states and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs,” he wrote. “Just who do we think we are?”
The majority and dissenting opinions took differing views about whether the decision would harm religious liberty. Justice Kennedy said the First Amendment “ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths.” He said both sides should engage in “an open and searching debate.”
Chief Justice Roberts responded that “people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today.”
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., in his dissent, saw a broader threat from the majority opinion. “It will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy,” Justice Alito wrote. “In the course of its opinion, the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. The implications of this analogy will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.”
Gay rights advocates had constructed a careful litigation and public relations strategy to build momentum and bring the issue to the Supreme Court when it appeared ready to rule in their favor. As in earlier civil rights cases, the court had responded cautiously and methodically, laying judicial groundwork for a transformative decision.
It waited for scores of lower courts to strike down bans on same-sex marriages before addressing the issue, and Justice Kennedy took the unusual step of listing those decisions in an appendix to his opinion.
Chief Justice Roberts said that only 11 states and the District of Columbia had embraced the right to same-sex marriage democratically, at voting booths and in state legislatures. The rest of the 37 states that allow such unions did so because of court rulings. Gay rights advocates, the chief justice wrote, would have been better off with a victory achieved through the political process, particularly “when the winds of change were freshening at their backs.”
In his own dissent, Justice Scalia took a similar view, saying that the majority’s assertiveness represented a “threat to American democracy.”
But Justice Kennedy rejected that idea.
“It is of no moment whether advocates of same-sex marriage now enjoy or lack momentum in the democratic process,” he wrote. “The issue before the court here is the legal question whether the Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry.” Later in the opinion, Justice Kennedy answered the question. “The Constitution,” he wrote, “grants them that right.”

Video - Afghan Dance Music - رقص زيبا

$335 Million USAID Investment in Danger of Being Wasted in Afghanistan


A $335 million U.S. Agency for International Development Office (USAID) investment in the Tarakhil Power Plant in Kabul, Afghanistan is in danger of being wasted or severely underused, according to a release from the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
The letter outlined concerns that the Afghan government remains unwilling or unable to maintain the power plant, particularly during emergency situations such as the several avalanches in February that created electrical shortages throughout Afghan provinces and killed hundreds.
“[T]he blackouts and lack of power throughout Kabul resulting from the avalanches raises questions regarding the efficacy of those actions and the commitment and ability of the Afghan government to operate the Tarakhil Power Plant as needed or when absolutely necessary,” John Sopko said in his letter to USAID administrator Alfonso Lenhardt.
The letter cites a June 2014 investigation by the office of the Inspector General (OIG) assessing the status and sustainability of the Tarakhil Power Plant. Sopoko referred to the OIG review results as “alarming,” expressing concerns that the power plant suffered from lack of use and high cost of operation.
“USAID OIG found that since the handover in June 2010, the power plant has been severely underused and operated at just 2.2 percent of installed power production capacity,” Sopoko said. “[Afghanistan’s national power utility] had limited operations since accepting responsibility for the facility because it couldn’t afford to operate the plant—the fuel alone required to operate the plant as intended was estimated to cost approximately $245 million per year.”
The high cost of operation has resulted in the Afghan government relegating the power plant to the status of “an emergency power source.” The plant went unused during this year’s avalanches.
A previous audit of the power plant performed by SIGAR in January 2010 expressed concerns over the facility near Kabul, questioning the wisdom of building a “technically sophisticated fueling operation that [the Afghans] may not have the capacity to sustain.”
“It is troubling that we have been participating in the reconstruction of Afghanistan for eight years and there is no updated energy sector master plan against which the U.S. and the international community can contribute and measure success,” said Retired Marine General Arnold Fields, former head of SIGAR, in a statement accompanying the 2010 reports.
Congress established SIGAR in 2008 to provide independent oversight and audits of how U.S. funds are spent in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan: UN official expresses deep concern after report reveals children bear brunt of conflict

 Last year saw more children killed or maimed in Afghanistan since monitoring of those statistics began in 2007, reflecting that “children are bearing the brunt of the conflict,” according to United Nations UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s latest report on children and armed conflict in that strife-torn country.
“The killing and maiming of children from the indiscriminate use of IEDs [improvised explosive devices] in populated areas, and the use of children as suicide bombers, can only be condemned as flagrant violations of international human rights and humanitarian law,” said Leila Zerrougui, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.
The 18-page report, released Thursday, says 2,302 children were killed, and 5,047 injured throughout the reporting period from 1 September 2010 to 31 December 2014. Of that toll, 2,502 children were killed or injured in 2014 alone – making that year the worst for child casualties of any in Afghanistan since the monitoring began in July 2007.
“These tragically high casualty numbers show that children are bearing the brunt of the conflict, and unfortunately this trend continues with the deterioration of the security environment into 2015,” Ms. Zerrougui said in a press release on the report.
She also highlighted the report’s expression of serious concern for what it calls “widespread impunity for grave violations against children by Government security forces, including against children in detention for alleged association with armed groups.”
“These children are first and foremost victims, and they should be treated as such,” she said.
Despite the difficult security context, the report highlights the “commendable progress” the Afghan Government and its National Security Forces have made towards ending and preventing the recruitment and use of children – after the signing of an Action Plan and the establishment of a road map specifying steps for achieving that end.
The report noted that a Government decree criminalizing underage recruitment by the Afghan National Security Forces has been in force since February 2015, and “lies at the centre of all efforts to ensure accountability and prevent the recruitment and use of children by both the Government and armed group actors.”
“I look forward to working with the Government of Afghanistan even more intensively in the months ahead as we move towards fully implementing the country’s Action Plan for ending recruitment and use of children,” Ms. Zerrougui said.
The report calls for donor support, including sustainable funding for the “timely and effective” implementation of the Action Plan in line with the goal of the Children, Not Soldiers campaign to end recruitment and use of children in Government forces by 2016.
The 18-page report highlights the situation of children affected by armed conflict in Afghanistan, and presents information collected by the UN-led Afghanistan Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting. It covers monitoring of the six grave violations the UN Security Council has identified as affecting children caught in armed conflict.

Pashto Song - Afshan Zebi ''Sheen Aasman''

Pashto Music - Afshan Zebi - Larsha Peshawar Ta

Music Video - Afshan Zebi - Lokan Do Do Yaar Banaye

Understanding Pakistan’s Baloch Insurgency

Malala Urges U.S. Congress, UN, World Bank To Support Education

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban, made the rounds on Capitol Hill on June 23 urging support for universal, free education.
With her father Ziauddin Yousafzai at her side, the 17-year-old Pakistani urged lawmakers to boost funding for girls' secondary education through first lady Michelle Obama’s initiative, Let Girls Learn.
"It is time that a bold and clear commitment is made by the [United States] to increase funding and support governments around the world to provide 12 years of free primary and secondary education for everyone by 2030," said Malala, who survived a severe gunshot wound to the head for her support of girls' schools in Pakistan.
Earlier, on June 22, Malala urged the World Bank and United Nations to include a commitment to 12-year free education for all children in their new millenium goals for the next 15 years.
"It is very important that we raise our voices to speak out for girls deprived of a secondary education," Malala said after meeting with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.