Tuesday, November 3, 2015

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Saudi Arabia Is Set to Crucify Pro-democracy Teenage Protester

Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr, a 17 year old Saudi Arabian, was arrested in February 2012, and is slated to be executed by crucifixion at the hands of the Saudi Arabian government, who disregarded any form of due process whatsoever to prosecute al-Nimr under the charge of "encouraging pro-democracy protests using a Blackberry."
For this alleged crime, al-Nimr will be taken to a public square and have his head chopped off as onlookers watch, leaving his corpse hung there for people to see as a warning. Al-Nimr was tortured into giving a false confession, never had a lawyer, had his appeal done in secret without his knowledge. A criminal justice system as medieval and gruesome as this should not exist in the world today.
"Saudi Arabia may so far this year have executed at least 134 people, which already represents 44 more than the total for the whole of last year," United Nations Human Rights Experts wrote in a press release. "Such a surge in executions in the country makes Saudi Arabia a sad exception in a world where States are increasingly moving away from the death penalty."
To allow this crucifixion to occur is an inexcusable injustice and contradicts International Law as well as the law of the Saudi Arabian government. Saudi Arabia's recent appointment to the UN's Human Rights Council is a farce when they perpetuate egregious human rights violations and enact barbaric methods of punishment themselves.
The European parliament recently passed a resolution urging Saudi Arabia to stop the execution and issue a moratorium on the death penalty. The Prime Minister of France, Francois Hollande, has also spoken out to Saudi Arabia on behalf of Al-Nimr. The leader of the Labour Party in the UK, Jeremy Corbyn, has called upon the UK Prime Minister David Cameron to put pressure on the Saudis as well. As a global leader, the United States cannot be silent when such stark human rights violations occur at the hands of our presumed allies. The Obama administration
Al-Nimr's family is extremely worried that his execution can come at any moment. The last time they spoke with him, he reported being kept in solitary confinement. The boy's fate lies in the hands of 79 year old King Salman, who has already been under intense scrutiny over Saudi Arabian led bombings in Yemen that have killed thousands of civilians, and two tragic incidents in September, a crane collapsing and a stampede, that killed hundreds of people in Mecca.
The alleged reason for Al-Nimr's arrest and sentence is surmised to be his relation to his uncle, Nimr al-Nimr, a well-known Shiite cleric. His uncle was a leader of protests against the Saudi government, demanding they treat Shiites, a minority in Saudi Arabia, as equals. The uncle died in the back of a police car in 2012 from gunshot wounds, and the political need to make an example out of the uprising fell on Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr. As subsequent protests increased, so did the charges filed against the boy.
Saudi Arabia is abusing its power to dissuade any forms of dissent, and has one of the highest execution rates in the World. The country has dismissed criticism as protecting the rights of the killer. The United Nations and global leaders need to put more pressure on Saudi Arabia to curb their human rights violations. Instead, Saudi Arabia was selected as one of the nations to oversee a United Nations panel on human rights. In September, Saudi Arabia's ambassador in Geneva was elected chair of the UN Human Rights Council that appoints independent experts to investigate violation claims. The legitimacy of the council is completely undermined by having a leader presiding over it that perpetuates human rights violations within their own borders on a regular basis. The United Nations should be holding the perpetrators of human rights violations accountable, not rewarding them. Calling on Saudi Arabia to release Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr is an opportunity to reverse lax policies that accept such cruel forms of capital punishment to go without any sort of repercussions. The Death Penalty has no place in the 21st century," said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in a press release. The words and policies of the United Nations are completely pointless if they refuse to capitalize on the opportunity to call out Saudi Arabia to change their practices.

8 Months Into Its Bloody Offensive, Saudi Victory Remains Elusive in Yemen

What was originally intended as a brief intervention has now extended into a lengthy and much-maligned military campaign, leaving Saudi Arabia and its backers with little to show for the thousands left dead.

When Riyadh first began aggressive military action in Yemen, it was sold as a "quick intervention," a necessary move to defend against alleged "Iranian influence."
Eight months later, Saudi officials are still defending the decision.

"The military option was the last one for Saudi Arabia and came via a request from the legitimate government and to protect Saudi citizens from ballistic missiles," Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said last week, according to Reuters.

But prolonged involvement is taking a toll on the kingdom. Military action is costing billions, and stagnating oil prices mean that the Saudi government is losing one of its principal sources of income. Allies in the conflict – including the United States, United Kingdom, and France – are growing impatient with the lack of results.
Not mention the humanitarian devastation. Shriveling funds means that Riyadh has failed to deploy any of the $274 million in aid it had promised.

The United Nations estimates that as many as 2,400 Yemeni civilians have been killed by coalition bombing. The Saudi naval blockade has left approximately 1 million people internally displaced, and as many as 20 million people in need of food, water, and medical supplies.

And while Saudi officials have repeatedly – and incorrectly – predicted the conflict’s approaching conclusion, the worst may be yet to come. According to Reuters, the Saudi coalition has struggled to secure Yemeni territory, even when it has support from the locals. In addition, Riyadh has not even begun to press into the highlands, where Houthi fighters have the strongest presence.

Last week, reports surfaced that political infighting within the Saudi royal family was at least partially to blame for the kingdom’s recent foreign policy decisions. Fearing for his own security after his father’s eventual death, King Salman’s son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has been using his position as head of the Saudi Defense Ministry to improve his own reputation.

"You could argue this whole Yemen operation was in part calculated to shore up the defense minister’s profile," said Frederic Wehrey of the Middle East Programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, according to Agence France-Presse.

With the Deputy Crown Prince’s future at stake, the conflict could become a never-ending campaign, grasping at an unachievable success.

A military victory for Saudi Arabia would bring an end to the conflict. But experts tell Reuters that success could also reinvigorate the kingdom into launching aggressive military campaigns elsewhere, chasing its phantom Iranian aggression across the region.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20151103/1029556358/eight-month-syrian-yemen-conflict.html#ixzz3qTqJ1xIe

Crash victims' injuries show midair explosion likely caused A321 crash - investigator

The nature of passengers’ injuries from the Russian jet that crashed in Egypt’s Sinai on Saturday may indicate that an explosion took place aboard before the plane hit the ground, an Egyptian doctor who examined the bodies said, Sputnik news agency reported.
"A large number of body parts may indicate that a powerful explosion took place aboard the plane before it hit the ground,"an Egyptian forensic expert told the agency.
A DNA analysis would be required to identify the victims of the Russian A321 airliner crash in Egypt, the expert added.
Earlier, Russian tabloid LifeNews claimed to have obtained the results of a forensic medical examination that allegedly stated that the passengers “in the tail section of the liner died because of so-called blast injuries.”

According to the broadcaster, they were diagnosed with burns of over 90 percent, with experts noting particles of metal and aircraft covering piercing the bodies of the deceased.

The people in the front part of the plane died from different causes, including blood loss, shock, open head injuries and multiple fractures, it added.

However TASS news agency cited Russian and Egyptian experts as saying that they failed to find any blast-related trauma during their preliminary examination of the bodies of the victims.

“There were no signs of an explosion impact found during the preliminary examination,” the source said.

One of the Egyptian experts also told TASS that “there were no signs of external impact” found on the bodies.

There have been no official announcements made so far on the results of forensic medical examination of the crash victims.

An unnamed US official said on Tuesday that before the Russian passenger airliner crashed in Sinai, an American infrared satellite had detected a heat flash in the same vicinity, indicating that an explosion may have occurred onboard.

“The flash, which was observed by the satellite, that’s a piece of evidence, but against it’s inconclusive. It can also occur if there was a missile attack, a fire onboard or an explosion onboard,” retired flight commander, Sultan Mahmoud Hali, told RT.

Dr. Anil Padhra, a senior lecturer in aviation studies at London’s Kingston University, told RT that examining the passengers’ injuries might not be the most precise way to learn about the reason for the crash.
“It’s too early to say categorically whether or not the plane broke up in the air. It’s difficult to tell what the injuries would have been if there was an explosion onboard. And I think it’s difficult to tell how it would be different to injuries sustained when the bodies impacted the ground,” Padhra said.
The explosion of the engine could have caused the Russian plane crash as it went down right after finishing the climbing stage, when “the engines are under the most stress.”
Dr. Padhra also mentioned another theory, which has been discussed as widely as others, saying that a midair collision could have interrupted the Airbus A321’s flight.
There is a “possibility that the aircraft could have collided with some other object – I’m thinking, in particular, unmanned aerial vehicles or drones may have been operated in that area to gather intelligence by different authorities… We know it was a conflict area. We know that drones can achieve that kind of altitude,” he said.
All 224 people aboard were killed, making it the deadliest civilian aircraft disaster in Russian and Soviet history.
Since the crash on October 31, several possible causes of the Sinai tragedy were discussed by experts.

Islamic State

Islamic State (formerly ISIS/ISIL) attempted to claim responsibility for the incident, saying that it brought the plane down as retaliation for Russian air operation against the terrorists in Syria.
However, many experts rejected the claim, saying that the jihadists only possessed man portable air defense systems with no capability to reach the high-flying Airbus.

Bomb on board

An explosion of a bomb aboard the plane was mentioned as another possible cause of the crash.
US global intelligence company Stratfor said that Egyptian security personnel often take bribes for allowing passengers to avoid checks, with cargo security screenings in the country also not being strict enough.

Mechanical damage

There was also speculation that corrosion of parts of the plane could have caused the crash, backed by claims that the Russian airliner broke up in the air.

However, Egypt’s civil aviation ministry said on Tuesday there are no facts to substantiate assertions that the plane really fell apart in the sky.  
The journalist also found out that the Airbus A321 struck its tail on a runaway during an unsuccessful landing in 2001. It was later repaired, but some experts believe the lasting damage could have causing the crash in Egypt.
Russian first class pilot Andrei Litvinov shared his belief with Kommersant newspaper that the Sinai tragedy happened due to "old metal parts, an old aircraft that was already damaged.”
Human error was also mentioned among the early explanations for the incident, but this was quickly rejected.
Ex-flight commander Hali stressed that “it’ll probably not be possible to make any serious comment on the cause of the accident until the black box has been examined.”
“It normally takes four to five weeks to examine the contents of the black boxes because it’s a technical process,” he added.

Hillary Clinton calls for minimum wage increase to $12 per hour

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday she would like to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour from the current $7.25.
"I want to raise the federal minimum wage to $12, and encourage other communities to go even higher," Clinton said at a campaign event in Coralville, Iowa.
Many U.S. cities and municipalities have established a higher minimum wage than the current federal minimum. Bernie Sanders, who is challenging Clinton to become the Democratic presidential nominee, has said the federal minimum wage should be raised to $15 per hour.

Video - Burning meteor? Green fireball streaks across the sky in Thailand

Video Report - Teens use media 9 hours a day, report says

Poll Shows Gains for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire

In the topsy-turvy Democratic race in New Hampshire, Hillary Rodham Clinton took a small lead over Senator Bernie Sanders on Tuesday in a Monmouth University poll, reversing a deficit of eight percentage points from September.
Mrs. Clinton’s three-percentage-point lead was within the poll’s 4.9 percent margin of error. Still, it was the latest survey since the Democratic debate last month showing Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders trading off the lead, after the Vermont senator led solidly by double digits two months ago.
Mrs. Clinton notably reversed a deficit among women in the poll, following a week in which she and her allies strongly implied that Mr. Sanders was sexist for accusing her of “shouting” about gun violence. With Clinton surrogates pressing hard on the accusations — in one case calling Mr. Sanders “misogynistic’’ — he has been on the defensive, pointing to his congressional record of fighting for women’s rights.
But he appears to be on the losing end of the attack. In the Monmouth poll, Mrs. Clinton led Mr. Sanders 56 percent to 37 percent among women, a reversal of a five-percentage-point deficit among women in September.
The poll also found Mrs. Clinton with a big lead among registered Democrats, 57 percent to 35 percent. Mr. Sanders was the preference of registered independents and people who have not voted before. Independents can vote in either party’s primary in New Hampshire and new voters can register the same day.
“Past results show that registered Democrats are likely to make up a majority of the primary electorate,’’ Patrick Murray, director of the poll, said. “Sanders either has to convince more of these voters to support him or he has to turn out an unprecedented number of independents and brand-new voters.’’


How President Obama's Legacy Will Define the 2016 Election

His name won't be on the ballot on November 8, 2016, but Barack Obama will be one of the most important factors in who becomes the next president of the United States.
Voters will likely face a choice between Hillary Clinton, who served in Obama's cabinet and has said she will look to build on the president's policies on many issues, and a Republican candidate who has pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act, suspend Obama's executive actions on immigration and climate change, and sever the nuclear accord with Iran.
Watch the second installment of Lester Holt's interview with President Obama on the "NBC Nightly News" at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Obama's legacy is complicated, creating challenges and opportunities for both parties.
The Upside for Democrats
The most obvious boon for the eventual Democratic nominee is that the president has strongly embraced a changing America, where a growing number of people are openly gay, lesbian or transgender, either non-religious or practicing a faith other than Christianity, and non-white.
His support for gay marriage, measures to legalize the largely Latino population of undocumented immigrants and appointments of Asians, blacks, gays and Latinos to key posts, often for the first time in U.S. history, has solidified the Democratic Party as the one perceived as more inclusive. That gives Clinton, or whoever is the Democratic nominee, a key advantage in swing states like Virginia or Florida.
It's not only that the growing number of minority voters back Democrats, but that many moderate white voters are also likely to favor gay marriage and be wary of measures like those favored by Donald Trump that would limit the rights of Latino migrants.
On these cultural issues, the official positions of the Republican Party, like opposition to gay marriage, will force the GOP nominee to campaign on positions that are in the minority among Americans.
"I believe we will never again elect a president that opposes same-sex marriage. The rhetoric has cooled some, but the Republicans are still more than a couple of steps behind the country, and dozens of steps behind younger Americans of both parties. Watching a politician explain to younger voters why they oppose marriage equality is so uncomfortable it makes you cringe, it's almost as if they are speaking two separate languages," says Dan Pfeiffer, who was President Obama's top political adviser until earlier this year.
The Downside for Democrats
For Democrats, the most obvious challenge posed by Obama's legacy is on foreign policy.
U.S. presidents have limited power to alter events abroad. But the rise of the Islamic State, an increasingly assertive Russia and sectarian conflicts throughout the Middle East have happened on Obama's watch. On the campaign trail, Marco Rubio, one of the leading GOP 2016 candidates, says all these crises show America is being "humiliated" by foreign leaders.
And Obama's foreign affairs record includes a number of blunders, perhaps most notably when referred to ISIS as a "jayvee team" only eight months before he was forced to start U.S. airstrikes to fight the Sunni insurgent organization.
Clinton of course was both the president's secretary of state and a key architect of the Iran nuclear agreement. She has already started campaigning against some of Obama's foreign policy moves, arguing the president and his team should have been forceful in taking on Russian President Vladimir Putin and not allowed relations to become so tense between the U.S. and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
But it will be hard for Clinton to suggest every mistake in Obama's foreign affairs approach happened after she left the State Department in 2013.
Obama's emphasis on diplomacy and cautious posture in terms of intervention abroad were what he campaigned on: a complete reverse from the muscular, aggressive foreign policy of George W. Bush. The president has brought most U.S. troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan and not started another war effort with large numbers of troops.
So the Republican candidates must avoid seemingly like they will repeat Bush's approach, which the public strongly opposed. If they oppose the nuclear deal, GOP candidates must illustrate how they can restrain Iran's weapons development without starting a war.
Political scientists argue that one of the most important factors determining which party will win a presidential election is the economy. And on this issue, the Obama legacy is mixed. He has presided over a recovery from the deep recession that started in 2008. Because of that job growth and Obamacare, the number of Americans without health insurance has plunged downward.
At the same time, wages in the middle-class have been largely stagnant and many of the gains in the recovery have gone to the wealthy, as even Clinton has argued.
"Our poor families are becoming poorer, and 70 percent of us are earning the same, or less than we were 12 years ago. We need new leadership, and we need action," said ex-Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley in last month's Democratic primary debate, using words Republicans will likely repeat next fall in suggesting Obama's party should not have a third straight term in the White House.
The Uncertain Big Picture
These policy results in part shape a fourth critical factor that will help determine which party wins the White House: Obama's overall approval rating. Currently, between 45 and 50 percent of Americans approve of the president. If he maintains that number, he will be much more popular than Bush, who had just a 25 percent approval rate when Obama was elected in November 2008.
At the same time, Obama is unlikely to reach 57 percent, the approval ratings of both Ronald Reagan in November 1988 and Bill Clinton in November 2000. Both of those presidents' designated successors won the popular vote, although Gore's eventually lost the Electoral College, and the White House, to George W. Bush.
Obama, according to his aides, is deeply invested in having a Democrat succeed him, aware that some of his biggest accomplishments, like Obamacare, could be reversed by a GOP president and Republican-controlled Congress.
What is unknown is how he will position himself over the next year, aware that his decisions will affect the prospects of the Democratic nominee. The president has been very aggressive in his seventh year, speaking out bluntly on racial issues that he had often been silent about before, pushing through the Iran deal, fighting for the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership and proposing to make community college free and universal.
He is already intent on pushing through either this year or next a bipartisan bill that would reduce jail sentences for non-violent offenders of drug crimes. And the president is considering an executive action to expand background checks for gun sales, taking on an issue that many Democrats say hurts their chances of winning elections.
Obama's actions next year may have little impact. There appear to be relatively few swing voters in America, so a large swath of the country's vote is already known, a year from the election. It's hard to see either the Democratic or Republican presidential nominee getting below 45 percent of the vote.
But Obama's legacy is already on the ballot next year, even if he is not. Clinton is not his vice-president, but some of Obama's top staffers now work for her, and she is campaigning to expand his policies, particularly on economic and cultural issues.
Perhaps the most consequential president of this era was Ronald Reagan and that was in part because George H.W. Bush, Reagan's vice-president, was in office and achieved one of Reagan's biggest goals: the fall of the Soviet Union. Obama is already a historic figure, for having been the first non-white person elected president. But his push to make American more inclusive would look even successful if he helped ensure his successor was the first female president. 

Video - President Obama relentlessly mocks Republicans, 2016 field

“د سولې په راوستلو کې د چین ونډه مهمه ده”

د افغانستان ولسمشرمحمد اشرف غني وايي چین او د افغانستان نور ستراتېژیک هیوادونه باید لومړی د افغانستان او پاکستان تر منځ او 
بیا د سیمه ییزې پایښتي سولې لپاره ګډ او دوامدار اقدامات وکړي.

د افغانستان ولسمشرمحمد اشرف غني وايي چین او د افغانستان نور ستراتېژیک هیوادونه باید لومړی د افغانستان او پاکستان تر منځ او بیا د سیمه ییزې پایښتي سولې لپاره ګډ او دوامدار اقدامات وکړي.

ښاغلي غني د سه شنبې په ورځ په کابل کې د افغانستان او چین د اړیکو د شپېتمې کلیزې په مناسبت په جوړې شوې غونډه کې وویل
چې چین د سیمه ییز ثبات په برخه کې ستراتېیک شریک او په افغانستان کې د سولې د راوستلو لامل دی.
 ((موږ د چین او خپلو ستراتېژیکو همکارانو لکه امریکا، اروپا، استرالیا او کانادا همکاریو ته په یوه سترګه ګورو چې ټول له یو بل سره په ګډه د یوې پايېښتې سولې لپاره لومړی د افغانستان او پاکستان تر منځ د دوو خپلواکو هیوادو د مساواتو له مخې او بیا د سیمې د سولې لپاره مشترک او دوامدار اقدامات وکړو.))
ښاغلي غني دغه شان وویل له بده مرغه افغانستان او چین چې سولې ته ژمن دي د سیمه ییز او نړیوال ترویزم له ګواښ سره مخ دي.
د افغانستان او چین د اړیکو شپیتم کال پوره شو او له همدې امله د چین د ولسمشر مرستیال کابل ته راغلی دی.
په دغه کتنه کې د افغان او چیني چارواکو تر منځ درې تفاهم لیکونه هم لاسلیک شول.
دغه درې تفاهم لیکونه د کابل په څلور دروازو کې د چاودېدونکو موادو د کشف د ماشینونو نصب د پوهنې له انستیوت سره د تخنیکي همکاریو او د ۷۹ ملیونو ډالرو په ارزښت د استوګنې د لسو زرو کورونو جوړول دي.
په ورته وخت کې د چین د جمهور ریس مرستیال لي یوان چاو وايي دوی هیله لري چې هر څومره ژر چې کېږي افغانستان ته سوله راشي.
(( موږ د افغانستان د وضیعت د ښه کېدلو غوښتونکي یو، چین د افغانستان په مشرۍ د سولې له پروسې او له ګوانډیو هیوادونو سره یې د اړیکو په ښه کولو کې له دغه هیواده ملاتړ کوي، چې به اوس او په راتلونکي کې د افغاتنستان یو ملګری او د اعتماد وړ هیواد وي، او مونږ هیله لرو چې په دغه هیواد کې ژر تر ژره یوه پایښتي سوله ټینګه شي.))
په ورته وخت کې یو شمېر سیاسي کارپوهان وايي چې، چین د نړۍ له پیاوړ هیوادونو څخه دی او له پاکستان سره هم نېږدې اړیکي لري او کولای شي پاکستان دې ته اړ کړي چې د افغانستان د سولې په پروسه کې رېښتینې همکاري وکړي.
افغانستان ته د چین د جمهور ریس د مرستیال سفر په داسې حال کې کېږي چې د کابل او اسلام اباد تر منځ اړیکي خړ پړ شوي د طالبانو سره د سولې خبرې هم ځنډېدلي دي.
بل خو افغانستان هڅه کوي چې د امریکا او ناټو تر څنګ د چین او روسیې په شان د سیمې د هیوادونو پوخي او اقتصادي مرستې هم راجلب کړي.

(RT Documentary) - Afghan Overdose: Battle against opium trade

Afghanistan is the world’s biggest exporter of black-market opium, from which heroin is made. It’s a multi-billion dollar business, responsible for around a hundred thousand deaths every year and it’s a major source of income for terrorists. RT Doc traveled to the poppy fields where death is harvested to find out why no one can put a stop to this deadly trade.

Pakistan is lagging behind in dealing with natural disasters


Sichuan is a province in southwest China that was completely destroyed in May 2008 due to a mighty earthquake that is still regarded as second most powerful tremor in history in terms of economic loss. The total loss was estimated at $191,913 million and there were 10 million displaced persons along with 87,150 dead after that catastrophe. The amount of people without shelter is the highest in the history of natural disasters, according to the BBC. The scope of devastation can be gauged through a single precedent that for the first time China was forced to acquire international assistance to rebuild its infrastructure. The governor of the province in 2012 announced in a public gathering that the entire province had been reconstructed in the short span of time with improvised Standing Operating Procedures (SPO) for buildings that can now bear the heavy shocks of earthquakes. History witnessed that the same province was jolted once again in 2013 but not a single building collapsed. It was the success story of a developed nation that lifted itself from the debris of the worst ever catastrophe of human history.
The earthquake of 7.5 magnitude that hit Pakistan this October reinvigorated the terrifying memories of the October 2005 earthquake, when more than 80,000 people were reported dead and nearly 2.8 million were displaced. The recent earthquake did not cost as much in comparison because its epicentre was far away from Pakistan. According to the data released by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), 281 people have been declared dead in this natural disaster and nearly 2300 were injured. It seems that our institutions that deal with disaster management and plan precautionary measures have not learnt much from past experience as 35,492 houses were damaged in this earthquake if we believe the data released by NDMA.
The earthquake of 7.5 magnitude that hit Pakistan this October reinvigorated the terrifying memories of the October 2005 earthquake, when more than 80,000 people were reported dead and nearly 2.8 million were displaced
A development expert and analyst, Salman Abid, who has carried vast research in the field of local bodies, governance and disaster management, told DNA that the modern world has made much progress but here in Pakistan we are not ready to take natural disasters seriously even today. He was of the view that countries like Japan, Malaysia and China have invented modern techniques and SOPs to tackle the shocks of an earthquake but in Pakistan our rulers and citizens end up by just terming an earthquake the “punishment” for our bad deeds. He further added that prime minister and chief ministers do not bother to conduct the meetings of NDMA and Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMA’s) respectively.
The Earthquake reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) was established through an ordinance just after the earthquake of 2005 and was made a permanent body by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) led government in 2011. The mission statement of ERRA was to reconstruct and rebuild the destroyed houses with “higher” standards of reconstruction and rehabilitation. It is a matter of shame that the slot of ERRA chairman has been lying vacant since 2013 and no effort was made by the government to decide the future of this body. As per some reports, it was decided once in the cabinet in 2014 to quash the ERRA but this idea could not be materialised keeping in view legal implications behind it.
An Assistant Professor of Geography at Government College University (GCU) Lahore, Syed Yasir Usman, was of the view that geographically, Pakistan is situated in a highly risky area and prevention measures can mitigate the effects of earthquakes. He added that building codes must be implemented in this regard. The scientific study of earthquakes is called as seismology and according to Syed, there is not a single seismologist working in the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD).
The government has released data which shows that 25,842 houses have been damaged in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 9038 in FATA. This figure may tend to rise and actual loss is yet to be ascertained keeping in view the tough terrain of that area. The lawmakers from Bajaur Agency have rejected the government’s claim that 8120 houses were damaged in the Agency because they think that more than 20,000 houses were damaged. Winter is inching closer and to provide shelter to the homeless must be a great concern for the state in these circumstances. All over the world, disaster management is divided into two steps: risk management prior to any disaster and post disaster management. In Pakistan, risk management is completely neglected and all funds are allocated once the disaster takes place.
The government has released data which shows that 25,842 houses have been damaged in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 9038 in FATA
According to Salman Abid, precautionary measures must become a part of the national curriculum and resources should be allocated to the third tier.
“There was a time when the training of civil defense was a necessary part in school and college life. This practice is a good option to impart precautionary measures to the citizens. The state must facilitate welfare organisations in relief work and should work jointly in affected areas”, Abid said while talking to DNA.
It is a sheer crime by the state that homeless people have to wait for long to get shelter after every natural disaster despite tall claims of the government. Every time a disaster approaches, the military is called for evacuation and that is not a good sign for civil institutions. The ongoing relations between Pakistan and China are exemplary in the wake of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Pakistan must use Chinese expertise to deal with natural disasters as well.

Pakistan - No charges brought against four Muslim teachers who tortured a Christian Head Master for his faith

A Christian Head Master, who was tortured for being a Christian by Muslim teachers working in his school, still facing pressure not to pursue complaint against the perpetrators.

In keeping with details, Saddique Azam who was tortured by four Muslim teachers for being a Christians and appointed as a Head Master of the school in Kasur District. He was remained hospitalized after being severely injured after the Mulism teachers beat him ruthlessly.

The victimized Christian Head Master Saddique Azam says, “On October 1, Muhammad Javed came to my office and told me to write on the school letterhead that he was on duty, so he could be restored. I refused to issue the letter because he was actually absent when the monitoring team was visiting the school.”
Saddique Azam reveals that he is being pressurized to withdraw charges against the four Muslim teachers who had persecuted him. He says he, is left with no choice but to withdraw his complaint.

The incident took place on October 5, when four Muslim teachers namely, Muhammad Javed, Rana Khalid, Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Khasif allegedly beat Christian Head Master of a Primary school in Pernawa near Phool Nagar in Kasur District. Saddique Azam the targeted Christian says he is being urged by the District Education Officer to pull out his complaint against the four Muslim teachers who had tortured him. DEO warned him that if he pursues this case, he would have to face charges of taking revenge filed against himself.

According to a statement made by Saddique Azam he was beaten after one of the perpetrators Muhammad Javed urged him to write a letter, giving fabricated justification of Muhammad Javed’s absence from the school. This Muslim teacher had been suspended for being absent from the school without permission.

Saddique Azam reveals that on October 1, when he refused to issue a fake letter, Muhammad Javed got infuriated and said, “Only a mentally sick man would make you, a chuhra (a pejorative term used for Christians), head of the centre!”

Consequently, on October 5, the four of the named Muslim teachers arrived at Saddique Azam’s office and beat him. “They beat me with sticks and hit me with punches and kicks, leaving me black and blue.” Seeing the seriousness of the incident, the rest of the school employees called the police and so the four of them were arrested later on.

“In their presence, I told City Phoolnagar Police Station Officer Hajji Aziz that none of them were beaten, and he could examine them before arresting them.” After the four of the Muslim teachers were hooked by the police, severely injured Saddique Azam was taken to Jinnah Hospital, Lahore. “There my left eye was miraculously saved. But the police released the attackers only four hours later, due to political influence.”

He laments the fact that Christians are not enjoying equal rights in the country and said,“Due to political pressure, the district education officer requested me not to pursue the case. If we had, we could have faced reprisals from our opponents, and local law enforcement agencies and politicians were supportive of them.”

“We are facing several challenges in serving our community. Hatred in terms of ‘untouchability’ against Christians still remains very high in the area,” Azam said. “If you go to the Bagu’s tea stall and tell that you are Christian, then he would order you to pick a cup from the separate crockery for Christians, wash it yourself, then after taking tea you are supposed to wash the cup and put it back from where it was taken. Even in several places in our city, barbers do not cut hair of Christians because they think their tools would become unclean.”

- See more at: http://www.christiansinpakistan.com/kasur-no-charges-brought-against-four-muslim-teachers-who-tortured-a-christian-head-master-for-his-faith/#sthash.bXPaHPGd.dpuf

Lahore: A girl who converted to Christianity facing life threats from her family

A formerly Muslim girl who converted to Christianity is facing sever threats to her life from her won family.

According to details, a 29-year-old, girl who had converted to Christianity is facing a life threatening situation as a FATWA has been issued against her; claiming she has no right to live because she is an apostate.

This girl, resident of a city in Punjab province (whose name is being withheld for the sake of her security); exhibited an inclination towards Christianity since quite some time. She used to read the Holy Bible while still at her father’s house. Moreover, she used to visit church with her Christian friend after conversion.

In 2005, she accepted Christ and began practicing Christianity, while still in her own house. Seeing her increasing interest in Christianity, her mother strictly, prohibited her to stop her going to church and reading the Bible. However, she continued living her newly found faith.

It so happened that , one day her mother saw her praying like Christians, She became infurious and started beating her violently. Subsequently, her mother locked her up in her room, so that she could not visit the church. The family’s growing concern was to hide their daughter’s interest in Christianity. Moreover, her mother did not disclose to the rest of the family members that their daughter read the Bible regularly and prayed like Christians.

One day, the girl managed to escape from her house some how. She reached a Christian friend’s house and asked for help. Subsequently, her Christian friend offered her shelter and protection. Since the time, she remained away from her house, her mother told all the family that she was away in another city for the sake of her new job, in some way her family got tip off of her conversion and was furious.

With the knowledge that their daughter had converted to Christianity and had deliberately fled from the house for the sake of practicing Christianity, the family started a frenzied search for her in order to kill her. In the due course, her family sought her and found her.

When the enraged Muslim family reached the house of the Christians, they started demanding that their girl be brought out to them. He father along with other family members started harassing the Christian family which has provided her shelter in their house. However, the girl managed to escape before her family could find her. After escaping from the house of her friend, she is now in an unknown place where she is safe from her family.

When the Muslim mob could not find their daughter, they started beating the Christian family. However, the neighbours jumped in and were successful in saving the Christians from the hands of the infuriated Muslims. Moreover, the Muslim mob threatened the Christians that if their daughter is not returned to them, they will kidnap their daughters as well as burn the houses of Christians in the area. The father of that girl also filed and FIR against the Christian friend and the family that they had kidnapped his daughter.

Later on, the girl married a Christian man and since then she had been facing life threats. With the passage of time, the harassed Christian family moved to some other location just for the sake of their lives.

- See more at: http://www.christiansinpakistan.com/lahore-a-girl-who-converted-to-christianity-facing-life-threats-from-her-family/#sthash.paTCuTC0.dpuf

He Named Me Malala

Hailing from the Swat district in Pakistan, Malala dared suggest that girls deserve an education directly conflicting with the Taliban’s decree. For being so brave and courageous, an attempt was made on her life and she was shot in the head. Thankfully due to doctors in both Pakistan and Birmingham she survived and rehabilitated into an international symbol of defiance and a beacon for women’s rights.

Director Davis Guggenheim is no stranger to the genre having previously completed An Inconvenient Truth and Waiting for Superman and he puts his skills to good use weaving a story together to give us a fuller picture of Malala, the girl behind the headlines. A mixture of animation and interviews with the main protagonists in the tale intercut with video footage from the time allow us to see how Malala didn’t quite lick her courageous tendencies off a stone. Her father Ziauddin was the inspiration in her life, through his founding of a school and dedication to education for all he sparked the flame of courage in his young daughter.
The film shows how a force like the Taliban slowly encroaches upon a community winning them over bit by bit until they are completely indoctrinated. They were twisting the teachings of Islam to their lust for power and Ziauddin could not sit idly by and do nothing. He began to speak out instantly putting his own life and that of his family at risk. When the latest edict came through proclaiming that no females could attend school or seek an education and the Taliban began blowing up schools Malala found her voice and would not be silenced.
It’s a heart-warming tale depicting the ordinary story of a father’s love for his daughter while highlighting the importance of education. The father points out how the Taliban talked directly to woman who had never been addressed before or knew nothing of the real world. We see this with Malala’s mother who never received a formal education. She comes across as unsure of herself and careful not to cause a fuss. Malala knows that she is fighting for the young girls of the world who like her mother weren’t afforded the same chances she was lucky enough to receive.
The piece doesn’t shy away from the truth of the incident that propelled Malala into the spot light of the world’s media. It shows the aftermath of the school bus that she was traveling on and how it took some time for her to fully rehabilitate. We also get an insight into how difficult it is for Malala to be a normal teenage girl and international humanitarian figure.
The film is a very slick production with no rough edges or great revelations. Yet this can be forgiven as the root of the documentary is an instructional teaching companion to show all children of the world, especially girls, that you deserve the right to an education. It shows that the idea of an educated woman is so threatening to certain factions of society that they are prepared to kill a child to prevent it from happening.
- See more at: http://spooool.ie/reviews/in-cinemas/12162-he-named-me-malala#sthash.oHRFBZed.dpuf