Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Video Report - Indian parade at its best: Camel troops, bike 'commandos' & more

Russian diplmat accuses US of pushing Europe towards confrontational war

The updated strategy of the US army command in Europe is perplexing, Alexander Grushko, Russia’s Permanent Representative to NATO, said in an interview with the Rossiya 24 television news channel on Wednesday. "What the United States is doing is an attempt to push the world and Europe into a confrontational war, which should remain in the past," the Russian diplomat said. In its updated strategy, the EUCOM called "deterrence of Russian aggression" its top priority. The document was published at the EUCOM website on Wednesday.

"This document cannot but cause enormous bewilderment. What is absolutely surprising is that this document, which enumerates various risks and security threats, postulates directly that the command’s main task is to advance the U.S. vital interests from Greenland to the Caspian Sea," Grushko said. "Numerous questions are immediately coming to mind. On the one hand, the United States says it will not tolerate the world’s division into spheres of influence but on the other hand, it declares itself a global player, which considers the entire region to be its exclusive sphere of influence," Russia’s Permanent Representative to NATO said. "Russia is named as the main threat, which should be deterred from launching aggression in Eastern Europe. 

It is simply impossible to comment this assertion which is absolutely detached from reality," the Russian diplomat said. "It is clear that all this is necessary for gathering allies under the US shoulder and forcing them to pay more for the defense; contribute more to the defense sector; strengthen the eastern flank and defend and erect a new ‘iron curtain’. All this is read, directly and indirectly, in this document," Grushko said describing it as a very dangerous confrontational path. "I would like to emphasize that all this does not match either the real security needs or the real needs of world development because today it has become obvious that it is necessary to join efforts in the struggle against new threats and challenges," Grushko stressed. 


Canada calls for a restoration of relations with Russia

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion said on January 26 that he sees a need to resume dialogue with Russia, in particular, over matters related to Ukraine. This conciliatory message from Ottawa came in response to statements by Russian foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who said that the last two years were a "lost opportunity" in terms of bilateral relations between the two countries.
While commenting on the current condition of relations between Ottawa and Moscow, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion has declared it necessary to resume dialogue with Russia, which were practically broken off due to the crisis in Ukraine and the sanctions imposed against Russia.
Dion told reporters that while Canada would always stand with Ukraine, it was time to start working with Russia "when we have common interests."​
"Canada was speaking to the Russians even during the tough times of the Cold War. And now we are not speaking ... because of the former policy, of the former government," Dion said on Parliament Hill according to theCanadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). "In which way is this helping Ukraine? In which way is this helping our interests in the Arctic?"
"We have a lot of disagreements with the government of Russia but it's certainly not the way to stop speaking with them when the Americans speak with them and all the Europeans, the Japanese, everybody except Canada," Dion added. 
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently told reporters in Moscow that the last two years were a "lost opportunity" in terms of bilateral relations between Canada and his country. Russia's Ambassador to Canada, Alexander Darchiev, agreed with Lavrov in a comment to CBC News Network's Power & Politics on January 26 stating that from the previous Canadian government he had occasionally seen "ideology put before pragmatism, and this was counter-productive in terms of Canada's own interests."
According to Lavrov the ascension to power of a new Canadian government headed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau increases the chances for a thaw in Moscow-Ottawa relations.

Fears Saudi Arabia has secret nuke bomb

The hardline Islamic kingdom has refused to deny reports it has secretly bought nukes from Pakistan in preparation for a showdown with its arch rival.
The US – close pal of the oil-rich Arab nation – has taken the unusual step of warning the House of Saud against going nuclear.
But the Saudis have refused to negotiate and vowed to do "whatever it takes" to protect itself.
Pakistan's Shaheen II missileGETTY
SHOW OF POWER: Pakistan shows off its Shaheen II missile
Trigger-happy Pakistani leaders have warned its neighbour Iran of "serious consequences" if it attacks Saudi Arabia – which analysts interpreted as a nuclear threat.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir admitted discussing Middle East security and "negative and aggressive Iranian interference" with Pakistan.
But he refused the confirm or deny it had bought the bomb from its nuclear-armed ally.
An Iranian Emad missileREUTERS
WARHEAD: Iran's Emad missile can reach targets 1,200 miles away

Al-Jubeir said: "I would not discuss these things in a public forum – certainly not on television.
"Saudi Arabia is committed to two things.
"I always say two things we do not negotiate over: our faith and our security.
"Saudi Arabia will do whatever it takes in order to protect our nation and our people from any harm – and I will leave it at that."
Security analysts believe Saudi Arabia and Iran are carrying out a proxy war in the Middle East – centring on Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
Many Sunni Muslim regimes – including Bahrain, Sudan, Kuwait, Pakistan and the UAE – cut diplomatic ties with Shia Muslim Iran after a mob burned the Saudi embassy in Tehran.
Saudi jets then bombed the Iranian embassy in Yemen – where it is fighting Shia Muslim Houthi rebels backed by Iran.
Saudi Arabia has attacked the US for accepting Iran's promise to roll back its nuclear programme.
Some fear the absolute monarchy may now be taking matters into its own hands.

UN exposes ‘widespread’ Saudi strikes on civilian targets in Yemen, UK arms exports questioned

Britain’s role in exporting arms and providing military advisers for the Saudi Arabian-led bombing campaign in Yemen is under scrutiny following a UN report revealing widespread attacks on civilian targets.
The report, which was obtained by The Guardian and has not yet been published, found that Saudi airstrikes are breaching international law by hitting civilian targets, including refugee camps, civilian weddings, vehicles, medical facilities and schools.
The UN panel of experts on Yemen used satellite imagery to look at areas before and after bombings, which also targeted an Oxfam warehouse storing equipment for a water project funded by the EU.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on Wednesday, David Cameron defended arms sales to Saudi Arabia insisting the UK has the “strictest” arms controls of any country in the world. It is not known whether Cameron was aware of the UN report at the time.
Britain has denied its military advisers are helping Saudi Arabia in “an operational role,” insisting they are instead helping to“ensure continued compliance with international humanitarian law.”
The UK sold over £1 billion worth of missiles, rockets and bombs to Saudi Arabia last summer, an extraordinary increase in sales which prompted human rights organizations to accuse the British government of war profiteering.
The damning UN report found widespread attacks on civilians and infrastructure.
The panel documented that the coalition had conducted airstrikes targeting civilians and civilian objects, in violation of international humanitarian law, including camps for internally-displaced persons and refugees; civilian gatherings, including weddings; civilian vehicles, including buses; civilian residential areas; medical facilities; schools; mosques; markets, factories and food storage warehouses; and other essential civilian infrastructure, such as the airport in Sana’a, the port in Hudaydah and domestic transit routes,” the report says.
The panel documented 119 coalition sorties relating to violations of international humanitarian law.
Speaking last week, Cameron defended Britain’s arms trade with the Saudis, arguing the UK has the most robust export controls on weapons in the world.
In terms of our arms exports I think we have some of the most stringent controls anywhere in the world and I’ll always make sure they’re properly operated,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.
We’re trying to do everything we can to make sure that the work done by Saudi Arabia is properly targeted and it’s right that we should do that. We’re working with them and others on behalf of the legitimate government on Yemen.”

Video Music - Bon Jovi - Bed Of Roses

Video - How to find out if your water has lead

Video Report - Women and Men Have Different Heart Disease Symptoms, Experts Warn

'Open White Supremacy': America’s Racist Past and Trump’s Political Rise

Billionaire Donald Trump’s rise in the US Republican primaries has baffled many. Speaking to Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear, Dr. Gerald Horne of the University of Houston explains how the real estate mogul’s success has relied partly on America’s deep-seated racial prejudice.

"The bourgeois democratic rights, so called, that were encoded in the US Constitution as also being racially derived rights because those rights did not apply to a black person such as myself," Dr. Gerald Horne, Chair of History and African-American Studies at the University of Houston, tells Loud & Clear.
"Indeed, these rights were designed to entice and attract European settlers and give them a package that would allow the nation of the United States to compete with its European rivals," he says, "and these rights were also designed to repress persons like myself, and the indigenous populations, as well."

These racist foundations upon which America were built are still being felt today, particularly in the extreme reactions from the far right to the election of Barack Obama in 2008, the nation’s first black president.
"That’s why you see this open and naked expression of white supremacy, and indeed the rise of militarized citizens militias which you now see manifesting in eastern Oregon, ruling a territory larger than the state of Massachusetts."
As evidence of white nationalist outrage, Horne also points to the mass shooting conducted by Dylan Roof in a black church in South Carolina, as well as the fact that Donald Trump is a current presidential frontrunner by harnessing racist and xenophobic fears.
"[Trump] scandalously despises and attacks people of Mexican origin, Muslims, China. It’s a very dangerous moment that we face and as of today it’s unclear where this country is heading."
Despite his concerns, Horne remains hopeful that the United Nations’ decision to investigate racial prejudice in America will offer a better future.

"The United Nations has sent a team to visit black communities in the United States … investigating the terrible human rights situation for black people and this reign of police terror," he says.
"…I expect great things from these investigations."
Horne also discusses the relationship between Cuba and the United States, which is also bound up in American slavery and the Jim Crow South. Fidel Castro’s rise in Cuba correlated with the Civil Rights Movement, and it’s impossible to completely separate the two.
"I think that you need to recognize that the socialist project became an ally of the black liberation movement in the United States of America," he says. "That is to say that historically black people in the United States have needed allies, particularly internationally, because the domestic situation has been so foreboding and so forbidding."
The recent thaw in relations between the two countries has less to do with progress, and more to do with the beginnings of a new Cold War, in which Washington fears a rising China.
"Now, by improving relations with Havana, the United States feels that it has removed the possibility, or eroded the possibility, of China playing the role in the 21st century that the Soviet Union played with Cuba in the 20th century."

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Activists Push for Immediate State Action to Fix Flint’s Toxic Water System

On Wednesday morning, a group of activists filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to order the state to replace all water service lines in Flint, Michigan.

The complaint, made by a coalition including, Flint resident and water activist Melissa Mays, the Concerned Pastors for Social Action group, the Michigan ACLU and the Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., alleges that the state has repeatedly violated the Safe Drinking Water Act by exposing residents to toxic lead.
"This case is about the government's failure to comply with the federal law that requires cities to deliver safe drinking water to the public," the complaint, obtained by the Detroit Free Press, states."City and state officials' complete disregard for those requirements is exposing the people of Flint to lead, a powerful toxin that is devastating to the human body."

The coalition of groups express in their complaint that they are concerned that violations of the act will continue unless the court intervenes. They seek the replacement of all pipes at no cost to city residents.Flint is estimated to have at least 15,000 lead-containing water service pipes and, as of yet, no effort has been made to replace them.

Defendants named in the suit include State Treasurer Nick Khouri, Flint Administrator Natasha Henderson and members of the Flint Receivership Transition Advisory Board.The problem with Flint’s water began in April 2014, when the city stopped receiving its supplies from Detroit, instead shifting to water from the Flint River, which is known to have a high corrosive salt content. Corrosive salts in the water damaged the pipes, which contain lead, causing that material to be released into the water, and contaminating it.

In October, the state changed the city’s drinking water source back from the polluted Flint River to the Detroit water system, but warned that the water is still not safe.Several other lawsuits have been filed in relation to the polluted water. Drinking water in many city homes has been found to contain lead levels high enough to be declared “toxic waste” by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Responding to the current lawsuit, Dave Murray, a spokesman for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, told the Free Press that the state’s top priority is "making sure the people of Flint immediately have access to safe, clean water, and that includes reaching every home to supply water, filters, replacement filter cartridges and water testing kits.”

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Video Report - Zika virus linked to babies born with microcephaly

Zika virus: President Obama calls for rapid development of tests, vaccines and treatments to combat outbreak

Roberta Rampton

President Barack Obama has called for the rapid development of tests, vaccines and treatments to fight the mosquito-transmitted Zika virus, which has been linked to birth defects.
American health officials are stepping up efforts to study the virus. Mr Obama “emphasised the need to accelerate research efforts”.
The President said that researchers should “make available better diagnostic tests to develop vaccines and therapeutics, and to ensure that all Americans have information about the Zika virus and steps they can take to better protect themselves from infection”. 
A link is suspected between the virus and brain damage in thousands of babies in Brazil. There is no vaccine or treatment for Zika, a close cousin of dengue and chikungunya, which causes mild fever and rash. An estimated 80 per cent of people infected have no symptoms, making it difficult for pregnant women to know whether they have been infected.

President Obama Wants More Funds To Feed Low-Income Kids In Summer

By Pam Fessler

It’s a challenge making sure that low-income children who get free- and reduced-priced meals during the school year continue to get fed during the summer. Government meal programs served 3.8 million children on an average summer day last year — far fewer than the 22 million children who got subsidized meals during the school year.
Now, the Obama administration wants to change that. The president will propose in his 2017 budget next month that families who qualify for subsidized school meals be given a special electronic benefits card that will allow them to buy an additional $45 in groceries per child each month when school is out.
“The reality is, obviously, we still have millions of kids that are not getting the help and assistance they need,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who oversees the program.
Vilsack says there are many reasons for the summertime drop-off in participation. It’s hard to find sites where kids can be fed during the summer, when they’re home and schools are closed. This is especially difficult in rural areas, where children live far from any church or public space where meals can be served. They often lack the transportation needed to get there.
The USDA, states and nonprofit groups have been trying for several years now to figure out how to boost participation in a summer feeding program. They’ve experimented with offering free meals at camps and libraries, where children are likely to show up. And they’re using food trucks to deliver meals to more remote areas.
Some states have also tried electronic benefit transfer, or EBT, cards to give families extra money for food in the summertime. It’s this pilot program that the administration would like to expand to every state over the next 10 years.“The president is suggesting the time has come to make a longer term, permanent commitment to making sure that all kids have access to meals during the summer,” says Vilsack.But that commitment would be costly — an estimated $12 billion over the next 10 years. That’s unlikely to attract much support in the Republican-led Congress, which has been trying to cut back on such spending in recent years.
In fact, leading Republicans, such as House Speaker Paul Ryan and several presidential candidates, say they’d like to combine food aid and other safety net programs into block grants, and give states more flexibility over how to spend the money. They say the current programs discourage people from working and getting off government aid.
“I’d combine a lot of them and send that money back to the states for better poverty-fighting solutions: Require everyone who can to work. Let states and communities try different ideas. And then test the results,” Ryan said in a speech last month.Still, historically, there’s been bipartisan support for programs to feed needy children. The Senate Agriculture Committee approved a more limited version of the EBT plan this month, at an estimated cost of about $50 million a year. The House has yet to weigh in.
Vilsack also announced that the administration is doing something else to boost participation in the free and reduced-price lunch program. It plans to allow states to start using Medicaid data to automatically enroll qualified low-income children into the program. The idea is to reduce some of the administrative paperwork in signing kids up for food aid, and to identify those who are qualified for subsidized meals, but for one reason or another haven’t been getting them.

President Obama Welcomes Bernie Sanders to Oval Office

  • After rejecting any comparison between his own presidential campaign in 2008 and Bernie Sanders’ campaign in 2016, President Obama welcomed the Democratic presidential contender to the Oval Office today for a private, informal meeting.
    Emerging from the West Wing after more than 45 minutes, Sanders said he and Obama discussed domestic and foreign policy and "a little bit of politics."
    The Vermont senator, who called the meeting "productive and constructive," said he expects Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to be "fair" to the Democratic presidential candidates during the primary, brushing off the suggestion that Obama is favoring his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.
    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Sanders reflected on Obama's 2008 performance in Iowa ahead of this year's caucuses.

    "We're feeling really good about where we are, and if there is a large voter turnout -- I'm not saying we could do what Barack Obama did in 2008. I wish we could, but I don't think we can. But If there is a large turnout, I think we win,” Sanders said.
    Sanders, who last met with Obama privately in December of 2014, acknowledged his disagreements with the president on trade and taxes, but said he has stood "by his side" in legislative battles on Capitol Hill against Republicans.
    Even after Hillary Clinton left her position as secretary of state following Obama's reelection in 2012, the president still regularly meets informally at the White House with Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner.
    ABC News’ latest polling shows Clinton leading Sanders by 19 points nationally -- her smallest lead yet, with five days to go until the Feb. 1 Iowa Caucus. A new Quinnipiac poll of Iowa has Sanders moving ahead of Clinton with 49 percent support to her 45 percent.
    President Obama insists he will not endorse a Democratic presidential candidate until the party has settled on a nominee, but in a podcast interview with Politico's Glenn Thrush a week before the Iowa caucuses, he appeared to signal his preference for Clinton.
    “She’s extraordinarily experienced -- and, you know, wicked smart and knows every policy inside and out,” Obama said, unabashedly touting Clinton's readiness to be commander-in-chief. "It means that she can govern and she can start here, day one, more experienced than any non-vice president has ever been who aspires to this office."
    As for Sanders, the president indicated the upstart contender entered the race "with the luxury of being a complete long-shot and just letting loose” as he introduced himself to voters.
    “I've gotten to know Hillary really well, and she is a good, smart, tough person who cares deeply about this country, and she has been in the public eye for a long time and in a culture in which new is always better,” Obama said. “You're always looking at the bright, shiny object that people don't -- haven't seen before. That's a disadvantage to her. Bernie is somebody who -- although I don't know as well because he wasn't, obviously, in my administration -- has the virtue of saying exactly what he believes, and great authenticity, great passion, and is fearless. His attitude is, ‘I got nothing to lose.’”
    The White House said the idea for the Sanders meeting came up in the photo line in December at the Congressional Ball, according to the White House. Sanders suggested then that it would be nice to have a more formal sit-down. It took a few weeks to get it on the calendar.

    Video Report - Bernie Sanders says Obama and Biden have been fair

    Afghan Persian Music Video - Sameera Nasiry - "Rokhsar e Ziba"

    Afghanistan: Failure to Deliver on Key Reforms

    Afghanistan’s new national unity government failed to make significant gains in achieving human rights reforms in 2015, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2016. Little progress was made in reining in abusive militias, reducing corruption, promoting women’s rights, and reforming the courts.
    In the 659-page World Report 2016, its 26th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive DirectorKenneth Roth writes that the spread of terrorist attacks beyond the Middle East and the huge flows of refugees spawned by repression and conflict led many governments to curtail rights in misguided efforts to protect their security. At the same time, authoritarian governments throughout the world, fearful of peaceful dissent that is often magnified by social media, embarked on the most intense crackdown on independent groups in recent times.
    “Afghanistan’s national unity government squandered important opportunities to tackle serious human rights problems,” said Patricia Gossman, senior Afghanistan researcher. “As reforms have slipped, so have essential human rights protections for detainees, women, and the media. Donors will need to work more closely with the Afghan government to ensure that the fragile gains of the past 14 years aren’t lost.”
    During the past year, the government struggled to overcome internal divisions and conflicts with local strongmen and power brokers, while infighting among government institutions jeopardized the broader reform agenda. Abuses by government security forces and advances by the Taliban further undermined public confidence in the government.
    As fighting between the Taliban and Afghan government forces escalated in 2015, the government took steps that jeopardized fundamental rights protections, notably by expanding the Afghan Local Police, a militia with a record of rape, extortion, and unlawful killings.
    In September, President Ashraf Ghani issued a decree providing for indefinite preventive detention, reversing a long-standing rejection of the abusive practice, which puts detainees at increased risk of torture. The government also announced some measures to reduce civilian casualties during military operations and disarm abusive militias, but the failure to hold security force personnel accountable for violations undermined those efforts.
    With the Taliban appearing fractured, splinter groups and other insurgents increasingly carried out indiscriminate attacks against civilians. These included armed groups affiliating themselves with the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), which were responsible for kidnappings and attacks that killed several hundred civilians.
    The Taliban seized a number of district centers and threatened provincial capitals, including Kunduz, which it captured and held for nearly two weeks in September and October before Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), with United States air and ground support, regained control. During that time, nearly 300 civilians were killed, many as a result of indiscriminate fire by both sides. Taliban forces also threatened women’s rights activists and deliberately killed some civilians they accused of working for the government. Afghan government forces reportedly killed a number of Taliban detainees.
    On October 3, a US warplane supporting Afghan and US ground forces repeatedly fired upon a hospital in Kunduz run by the aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières, killing at least 42 people and wounding dozens more. Preliminary results from a US military inquiry found “human, procedural and technical” errors behind the airstrike; however, the findings left unanswered many questions about why and how the facility was targeted, and whether Afghan forces had requested the attack, indicating the need for a criminal investigation outside the chain of command to ensure genuine accountability.
    The Afghan government took some positive steps to address longstanding human rights concerns, launching an action plan to curb torture and enacting legislation criminalizing the recruitment of child soldiers. However, the action plan remained stalled at year’s end, and impunity for both torture and recruiting underage soldiers continued.
    President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah both affirmed the government’s commitment to preserving and expanding protections for women’s rights, but they failed to take steps to improve enforcement of the Law on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) and to stop prosecutions of so-called moral crimes. On July 8, the Afghan parliament rejected Ghani’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Anisa Rasouli, the nation’s first-ever female nominee.
    The flawed trial of those responsible for the murder of Farkhunda Malikzada, a women beaten and killed by a Kabul mob on March 19, and the minimal sentences handed down for the police who stood by, reveal the government’s failure to protect women from violence and tackle deficiencies in the justice system.
    “Atrocities by the Taliban and other insurgents are no excuse for the government to deploy abusive militias or fail to hold the security forces accountable for violations,” Gossman said. “Donors have been all too willing to ignore abuses taking place rather than using their influence with the government to end them.” 

    Pakistan: End Clampdown on Free Speech, Dissent

    Pakistani journalists and activists faced an increasingly hostile climate in 2015 due to harassment, threats, and violence from both state security forces and militant groups, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2016. The government, under pressure from the military, placed new restrictions on the speech and funding of civil society groups.
    In the 659-page World Report 2016, its 26th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive DirectorKenneth Roth writes that the spread of terrorist attacks beyond the Middle East and the huge flows of refugees spawned by repression and conflict led many governments to curtail rights in misguided efforts to protect their security. At the same time, authoritarian governments throughout the world, fearful of peaceful dissent that is often magnified by social media, embarked on the most intense crackdown on independent groups in recent times.
    “Pakistan should reverse course and repeal or amend laws curbing freedom of expression and association,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “The government should never use the threat of extremist violence as a pretext to violate the rights of independent voices.”
    The Taliban and other armed groups threatened media outlets and targeted journalists and activists for their work. However, Pakistani media were deterred from reporting on or criticizing human rights violations by the military in counterterrorism operations.
    In December 2014, the Islamist armed group Tehreek-e-Taliban, the Pakistani Taliban, attacked a school in Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan, leaving 148 dead, almost all of them children. The government responded with a national action plan to fight terrorism, including tactics that violated basic rights. Authorities established the use of military instead of civilian courts in terrorism cases. The government also ended an unofficial moratorium on capital punishment; 327 people were executed in 2015, among the highest toll in the world.
    Abuses by security forces particularly following the Peshawar attack led to thousands of Afghans living in Pakistan to return to Afghanistan or flee elsewhere. Religious minorities faced violent attacks, insecurity, and persecution – largely from Sunni extremist groups – which the government failed to address. The government continued to use blasphemy laws to institutionalize discrimination against religious minorities.
    The government’s October “Policy for Regulation of INGOs in Pakistan” required all international nongovernmental organizations and domestic groups receiving foreign funding to register and obtain prior permission to carry out any activities in the country and restricted their operations.
    The cybercrimes bill proposed in 2015 includes provisions that allow the government to censor online content, criminalize Internet user activity, and access Internet users’ data without judicial review. YouTube, banned by the government since September 2012 for hosting “blasphemous content,” remained blocked in 2015.
    “Pakistan’s government should take urgent steps to create an enabling environment for free expression and association,” Adams said. “Pakistan needs to fight terrorism, but denying its citizens fundamental freedoms and due process rights is an unlawful and extremely misguided approach.”

    Persecution of Christians in Pakistan Reportedly at all-time High

    The recently released ‘World Watch List 2016’ has shown that Pakistan has unfortunately moved up to sixth place for how badly Christians are treated. In 2015 it had ranked at number 8. Now they rank it as just after Syria, where ISIS is slaughtering Christians on a regular basis, and just before Somalia, which last year was ranked the second worst in the world after North Korea. Currently, only North Korea, Iraq, Eritrea, Afghanistan and Syria were worse for Christians, whilst Pakistan is considered worse even than the deeply oppressive Iran and Sudan. After an initial look at the research, BPCA researchers noted that in fact Syria, Pakistan and Somalia were scored equally (to give rankings nations are rated out of 100 – these three nations are all scored at 84). 

    "We don’t know how exactly they sorted out the rankings when the scores are the same, but to put it in perspective, Afghanistan, where the Taliban are increasingly running rampant, is only one point above, at 85. This gives an idea of the increasing severity of the situation in Pakistan for Christians, and why the UK government should give far more consideration to the reality in both funding aid and dealing with Christian asylum seekers who manage to escape, or who do not want to return because of the threat after studying here and so on. In addition, it shows the reality on the ground is still worsening, despite some tentative and fragile actions by the authorities that are sometimes claimed as small signs of hope." 

    'Movement of Solidarity and Peace', a Muslim NGO, shocked the world with their estimations of 1000 minority girls being kidnapped every year and forced into Islamic marriage. Sadly their report released on 17th April 2014 estimated 700 of those abducted girls where Christian and aged between 12 and 25, that is almost two a day and the world stays silent. Christians are thought to make up the majority of bonded labour in Pakistan with a figure in excess of a million and 86% of Christians are known to be working as domestic labourers, cleaners and sewage workers, with some government and local government adverts asserting only Christians should apply. 15% of all blasphemy allegations in the country are lodged against Christians despite being only 1.6% of the population and two severe bomb attacks on Christian communities in the last two years, evidences the need for better protection of our vulnerable minority. 

    This year alone we have already seen two churches subjected to arson attacks (click here); three girls run over by crazed drivers incensed that they denied them 'rights' as Muslim men to have sex with them, one of the girls was killed and the surviving two had broken bones (click here); two Pakistani Christian asylum seekers have died in the Immigration Detention Centres of Thailand despite having advised the authorities of their health conditions prior to arrest, and seeking medication which was denied to them whilst incarcerated (click here). A man falsely accused of theft from his employer, to whom he had provided fifteen years of loyal service, was beaten to death in prison thus becoming the 4th Pakistani Christian to suffer such a fate in as many years.

    British Pakistani Christian Association, Chairman, Wilson Chowdhry, said: "These figures are misleading, they show an increase in the level of persecution faced by Pakistani Christians on this most current list when compared to previous years. In reality the situation in Pakistan has not worsened but has always been appalling, a fact that has been only been recorded well in recent years thanks to groups such as Pakistan Christian Post and the British Pakistani Christian Association. Suffering minorities have had to endure severe discrimination and persecution with little or no help, and the western world knew nothing about their plight. This is due to an evident silence by UK and US governments with intrinsic trade agreements with Pakistan, who also hold ally status in the war against terror. Insouciance based on Realpolitik has allowed persecution to continue unfettered." 

    He added: "This report gives renewed urgency to our efforts to help the suffering Christians of Pakistan, and any and all help to that end will be most welcome. Britain, the US, and other western nations must address their incorrect policy towards Pakistani Christian asylum seekers. Moreover, foreign aid budgets from the UK and the US, together with the GSP trade agreements with the European Union must be utilised to lever change for minorities in Pakistan, if not the increased wealth in Pakistan will be used to maintain or worsen the existing hatred towards minorities, placing western powers in the unenviable role of sponsors of state-led hatred - something some would say they are akin too - See more at:


    By Raymond Ibrahim

    Three Christian girls in Pakistan, who rejected the advances of some wealthy Muslim young men, were recently mauled by them. One of the girls died.
    London-born Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) and human rights activist, Wilson Chowdhry, who broke the story, reported that one of the men had said: "Christian girls are only meant for one thing, the [sexual] pleasure of Muslim men."
    The incident occurred on January 13 in Lahore. The three girls—aged 17, 18, and 20—were walking home after a hard day's work. Four Muslim youths in a vehicle followed the girls and accosted them. The men "misbehaved," yelled "suggestive and lewd comments," and harassed the girls to get in their car for "a ride and some fun."
    The girls declined the "invitation," adding that they were "devout Christians and did not practice sex outside of marriage."
    This caused an immediate change in the demeanour of the boys who became more aggressive and started to threaten the girls to enter the car or to be physically forced in. Terrified of the increasingly dangerous situation they were in the girls started to run in a fit of panic. This only enraged the young Muslim men further, one of them shouted out at the girls, he said: "How dare you run away from us, Christian girls are only meant for one thing, the pleasure of Muslim men."
    The Muslim men chased the girls and ran their car into them. Two girls crashed to the ground; one's hip was broken, the other's ribs were shattered. The youngest, Kiran Masih, aged 17, flew up in the air and crashed into the speeding car's windshield. The Muslims, laughing and with the girl still on the windshield, accelerated. Eventually the driver slammed on the brakes, hard. The force of the stop catapulted the girl into the air. She then crashed to the ground, cracking her skull open and smashing her bones. Within minutes she was dead.
    As usual, Pakistani police are reportedly "doing little to apprehend the young men and are allegedly delaying the investigative process," said Chowdhry:
    In any other nation [than Pakistan] the perpetrators would be arrested, convicted for murder and sentenced for a long term.... Violence against Christians is rarely investigated and highly unlikely to be met with justice.... Women have a low status in Pakistan, but none more so than Christian women who find themselves under the grip or terror, especially after this attack. Muslim NGO "Movement of Solidarity and Peace" state[s] that around 700 Christian women in Pakistan are abducted, raped and forced into Islamic marriage every year – that figure is almost two a day and the world does nothing.
    Accounts like this -- including the claim that it is a Muslim man's right to rape Christians and other "infidels" -- are common in Pakistan. (Click here for numerous examples of Christian girls—and boys—some as young as 2-years-old, who were sexually abused and slaughtered by Muslims on account of being “infidels,” or seeCrucified Again, pgs. 193-198).
    Some years back, while raping a 9-year-old Christian girl in Pakistan—leaving her “in shock and in the throes of a physical and psychological trauma”—her Muslim rapist told her “not to worry because he had done the same service to other young Christian girls.”  Discussing this Muslim man’s justification to his child rape victim, local sources said: “It is shameful. Such incidents occur frequently. Christian girls are considered goods to be damaged at leisure. Abusing them is a right. According to the community’s mentality it is not even a crime. Muslims regard them as spoils of war.”
    “Spoils of war” is correct.  Here’s how the late Majid Khadduri, “internationally recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on Islamic law and jurisprudence,” explained “spoils” in his War and Peace in the Law of Islam:
    The term spoil (ghanima) is applied specifically to property acquired by force from non-Muslims. It includes, however, not only property (movable and immovable) but also persons, whether in the capacity of asra (prisoners of war) or sabi (women and children). … If the slave were a woman, the master was permitted to have sexual connection with her as a concubine.
    Even in Western nations, Muslims from Pakistan believe it is their right to rape and sexually abuse “infidel” women.  In Britain in 2012, nine Muslim men—eight from Pakistan—were convicted of rape and sexual exploitation of children.  And just as Christians and other “infidels” in Pakistan are told before they are raped, the men regularly “told their victims that it was all right for them to be passed around for sex with dozens of men ‘because it’s what we do in our country.’”
    Today, as Muslims spread into the West, what they do to "infidel" women in their adopted European countries is increasingly similar to what they do to "infidel" women in their home countries—as thousands of women in Cologne and other cities recently found out.


    According to reports of news agency Associated Press received on Tuesday, 26thJanuary from Islamabad, a memo issued by the government stated that all schools of Punjab have been closed due to security threats not cold.
    Associated Press received a copy of the memo according to which intelligence agencies warned the government that 13 Taliban militants have been planning, from Afghanistan, to carry out suicidal attacks on schools in Pakistan.
    Different news agencies reported that Punjab’s Education Minister Rana Mashood Ahmed made an announcement on 25th January, late at night, that all schools of the province would remain close till 31st January. However, he did not mention anything related to security threats and intelligence agencies’ warning rather he declared extreme cold weather as the reason for extending the holidays.
    The warning issued by intelligence agencies came only after a week of attack on Bacha Khan University which was carried out by a rebel group of TTP. 21 people were martyred in the attack and most of them were university students.

    Balochistan: Bullet-ridden bodies of two abducted Baloch activists found in Pasni

     The tortured and bullet riddled bodies of two previously missing Baloch persons were found in in Pasni Balochistan on Tuesday.
    According to details the bodies of Yousaf son of Younas Baloch resident of Pasni and Haneef Baloch son of Gajian Baloch resident of Kulaanch area of Gawadar were found in Pasni.
    Both victims were registered as abducted in the databases of ‘International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons’ and ‘Missing’.
    Yousaf Baloch was abducted on 31 January, 2013 from his houses in Ward 5 Pasni whereas Haneef Baloch was abducted on 10 February, 2015 from Kulaanch area of district Gawadar Balochistan.
    Despite the fact that these people were missing from past many years, police SHO Imam Bakhsh claimed that both men were killed in an exchange of firing with Pakistani forces in Pasni on Tuesday morning.