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Showing posts from November, 2010

NATO Will Handover Afghanistan To Karzai By 2014

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By Sikander Hayat

It is now becoming clear that NATO will leave Afghanistan in 2014. The exit strategy was devised in Lisbon over the last week and the main pillar of this strategy is to train a large Afghan army and put it on the streets of Afghanistan while a large American force will stay in the country but won't leave the bases after 2015.
To me it looks as if America will stay in Afghanistan for a long time to come albeit in a South Korea/Japan mould .
There are many voices in the region who believe that prolonged presence of the foreign troops will only prolong the conflict in Afghanistan by making making recruitment of fighters for Taliban easier.
I tend to agree with this view as I see only the immediate neighbours of Afghanistan can stabilise Afghanistan with the help of United States. Among these neighbours, Iran & Pakistan will have to play a major role and America has to recognise this role.
Also Iran & Pakistan will have to put aside their differences to have an…

Karim Benzema – Can France Use Muslim Role Models to Stop Terror?

Karim Benzema has scored the opening goal for France against England tonight in the 16th minute of the match giving france an unlikely lead in the match played at Wembley. Heis a Frenchfootballplayer of Algerian heritage who currently plays as astrikerfor theLa LigaclubReal Madridand internationally represents theFrench national football team. Benzema grew up with ninesiblingsand his father Hafid in the district ofBron.His grandfather, Da Lakehal Benzema, lived in the village of Tighzert, located in the northern town ofBeni DjellilinAlgeriabefore migrating to Lyon, where he eventually settled in the 1950s. In 2006, the Algerian F.A. asked Benzema if he would play for Algeria, qualifying through his parents. Benzema, politely rejected the offer stating that he would prefer to play for French national team. Real Madridstars Lassana Diarra,Mahamadou DiarraandKarim Benzema fasted during the holy month of Ramadan last year. 



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Can Ireland Be Saved From An Economic Catastrophe?

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By Sikander Hayat

Well to be honest this case is very interesting as Irish government does not want a bailout but EU ( especially Germany) is insisting that Ireland must ask for help before the contagion spreads to other Euro nations. It must be said that markets will once again burn their hands as they did in the case of Greece by betting that Greece will default and with it the Europe will go down the drain as well. To me, it is impossible that in the presence of Euro stabilisation fund and with IMF virtually backing any bailouts, Ireland will suffer a fate like Greece. Markets will once again lose a lot of money by betting against the Euro. This time around even rumours of a possible bailout of the Irish have calmed the markets right down.
In my view Ireland will be OK this time around, given the fact that they don't need any money for another 6 months anyway and also this should a lessen to any currency speculators who are planning to bet against the Euro to back off.


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Sarah Palin's Alaska

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by Nancy Franklin
When it was announced, in the spring, that Sarah Palin would be making a reality show about Alaska, the state she grew up in and then, last year, blew off, by resigning the governorship, I’m sure I winced and groaned and rolled my eyes, before hanging my head, shaking it, and emitting a deep sigh, and then repeating the sequence several times. For one thing, the show was going to be on TLC, whose initials used to stand for The Learning Channel but which I like to call The Leering Channel. Among its recent and current shows are “Make Room for Multiples,” “The Little Couple,” “Strange Sex,” “Obese and Pregnant,” “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant,” “Mermaid Girl,” and “Paralyzed and Pregnant.” Then, there’s the supersized Duggar family, whose show was first called “17 Kids and Counting,” then “18 Kids and Counting,” and is now idling at “19 Kids and Counting.” (At some point it will probably be called “But Who’s Counting?”) The show that TLC is most famous for is “Jon & …

Myanmar (Burma) Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi Freed

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Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been allowed to walk to freedom from house arrest today amid massive cheers from supporters, Amnesty International said A smiling Suu Kyi, wearing a traditional jacket, appeared at the gate of her compound as the crowd chanted, cheered and sang the national anthem. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate had been detained for 15 of the past 21 years, but her house arrest order ended today. Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty said: "While Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's release is certainly welcome, it only marks the end of an unfair sentence that was illegally extended, and is by no means a concession on the part of the authorities. "The fact remains that authorities should never have arrested her or the many other prisoners of conscience in Burma in the first place, locking them out of the political process." Read the full story here.  Related Posts: 1. When Kashmiris, Nagas and others sought justice 2.Is Democracy Really Necessary …

Land, language and Lieberman - Israel’s identity crisis

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By 
My cover story from last week's issue -- No loyalty, no citizenship -- is now available online. It looks at politics, religion and identity in Israel using as a peg a proposed amendment to the country's Citizenship Act which would see newcomers required to swear allegiance to "a Jewish and democratic state". The man behind the proposal is Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party (translation = "Israel is our home"). The amendment has been described variously as "a declaration of purpose", "stupid and needless" and "racist". Opponents fear it will entrench the inequalities already felt by the Arab minority in Israel. Proponents say it merely echoes Israel's declaration of independence in 1948. Read the full article here.  Related Posts: 1. Why Pakistan Should Accept The State Of Israel? 2.Doomed Israel Palestine Peace Process – There is Only One Possible Solution & That Is One State …

China - On Top Of The World

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Is China making an unprecedented leap to the top of the global economic hierarchy? Yes, Martin Jacques asserts confidently in his buzz-generating When China Rules the World. He sees the country, which recently passed Japan to become the world's No. 2 economy, rising smoothly to the top spot by continuing to follow a thoroughly distinctive, Confucian-tinged development path. No, say China skeptics like economist John Markin and hedge-fund honcho James Chanos, with equal self-assurance. They predict that bursting bubbles will lead to a Chinese equivalent to Japan's "lost decade" of the 1990s. To them, as George Friedman pithily puts it in his best-selling The Next 100 Years, which is sometimes displayed near Jacques' tome in airport bookstores these days, China is just "Japan on steroids." While we're too aware of how regularly — and speedily — bold forecasts about China are proved wrong to offer one of our own, our research into 19th century America a…

Who can broker a deal with the Taliban? When the time is right, a number of groups could help the west negotiate

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There are at least 12 channels of contacts with insurgent leaders inAfghanistan, involving states, organisations and freelancers. They have one thing in common: none have got far. A diplomat in Afghanistan refers to them, somewhat dismissively, as the "peace industry" – toiling away mostly out of sight, producing little of substance. The hope is that when all sides consider the time ripe, the fragile strands will coalesce into something more durable. The painstaking work of forging contacts with a fierce insurgency has been going on for almost as long as the war. What has changed recently is these talks have been gaining press coverage. That does not mean they are making more progress. It is more likely that it is now in the interest of some of the parties to advertise them. In Washington, the December strategy review is coming up, and it suits the US military and the Kabul government to demonstrate a political dividend for the military and civil investment made so far. Read th…

Afghanistan: military quagmire and government money pit

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Louis Berger, a major construction company headquartered in New Jersey, has agreed to pay out a record $69.3m in fines (pdf), the largest ever such penalty imposed on a contractor working in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq. The company has been awarded billions of dollars in contracts for the construction of roads, schools and electrical plants in Afghanistan. Harold Salomon, a former senior financial analyst at the company, discovered that company officials were sending bills for items like the cost of the music system in its Washington, DC office to the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Salomon blew the whistle on estimated overcharging of up to $20m and took the company to court with the help of Phillips & Cohen, a trial law firm in Washington, DC. "Today I can affirm to those who told me the Louis Berger Group can get away with anything that they were wrong," Salomon said in a press statement, when the settlement was announced on 5 November. "…

Marco Rubio, the new Florida senator and one of the Republican Party’s brightest stars, has been trying to stifle a debate over his religious affiliation amid allegations that, contrary to his claims, he is not a Roman Catholic

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Mr Rubio, 39, a darling of the Tea Party and touted as a future presidential candidate, was born and raised a Catholic by his Cuban parents. However, for the past six years he and his wife have attended the Christ Fellowship, a Florida congregation which describes itself as “non-denominational” but is affiliated to the Southern Baptist Convention, whose theology is firmly anti-Catholic. According to the St Petersburg Times, Mr Rubio has donated much of the $66,000 he has given to charity since 2000 to the Christ Fellowship. Alex Burgos, a spokesman for Mr Rubio, told The Daily Telegraph on Friday: “[Marco] regularly attends Catholic Mass, and he was baptised, confirmed and married in the Roman Catholic Church. On the final Sunday of the campaign, for example, he attended Mass at Christ the King Catholic Church in Tampa ... He also attends services at a Christian church with his wife and children.” Asked why Mr Rubio attended a non-Catholic church regularly. the spokesman said: “He atte…

Matthew Norman: How did this wastrel ever find his way to the White House?

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May the Lord the former president so ostentatiously worships have mercy on my soul, and those in Iraq without water, electricity and medicine forgive me, but I just cannot suppress a twinge of sympathy for George W Bush. The source of this pity pang isn't the usual one with those struggling bemusedly with the loss of power (Mrs Thatcher literally unable, for example, to dial a phone number). So far as the practicalities, Mr Bush has adapted well. Apparently he concludes his memoir Decision Points with the familiar anecdote of how, within days of leaving Washington, he was picking up his dog's mess with a plastic bag in a Texas park. Evidently he regards this as a cute vignette of the transience of power, as well as his own endearing lack of pomp. Yet what causes the stab of pity is the stupidity at which it hints. How could anyone in possession of a three-figure IQ (still a moot point with Bush) fail to see what a golden gift that image is to satirists? There he is, in the carto…

Violence at Tory HQ overshadows student fees protest in England

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There have been violent scenes as tens of thousands of people protested against plans to treble tuition fees and cut university funding in England. Demonstrators stormed a building in Westminster housing the Conservative Party head quarters, smashed windows and got on to the roof. Outside, a crowd of thousands surged as placards and banners were set on fire and missiles were thrown. Student leaders condemned the violence as "despicable". They say about 50,000 people took part in a march through Westminster earlier. A stand-off is still taking place between about two dozen demonstrators and the police, with 32 people having been arrested so far. Read the full story here. Related Posts: 1. Boris Johnson vs David Cameron: populist maverick against political insider 2.The population of the UK will rise from 61m to 71.6m by 2033 3.Why British Tabloid (Gutter Press) Spreads Hate Against Pakistan, Pakistan Cricket Team & Muslims In General 4.British Pakistanis – A Serious Crisis of Ide…

China's economy to overtake US

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By Jeremy Warner Here’s a finding that will have any red-blooded American spluttering into his cornflakes. According to the Conference Board, a highly respected economic research association, China will overtake the US as the world’s biggest economy by 2012, or within two years. OK, so in dollar terms, that’s obviously not going to be the case. It will be a lot longer than two years before China overtakes the US on that measure. But in terms of purchasing power parity, according to the Conference Board’s latest world economic outlook, China is already nearly there, and by 2020 will have reached a size of output which is nearly half as big again as the US.

Here’s the Wkipedia link explaining what PPP is, but broadly speaking the idea is to measure output according to the volume, not the price of goods and services produced. The assumption made is that identical goods will have the same price in different markets. In practice, this is obviously not the case. A taxi ride in Beijing, for in…

Recession Shadows America's Middle Class

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American society is breaking apart. Millions of people have lost their jobs and fallen into poverty. Among them, for the first time, are many middle-class families. Meet Pam Brown from New York, whose life changed overnight. The crisis caught her unprepared. "It was horrible," Pam Brown remembers. "Overnight I found myself on the wrong side of the fence. It never occurred to me that something like this could happen to me. I got very depressed." Brown sits in a cheap diner on West 14th Street in Manhattan, stirring her $1.35 coffee. That's all she orders -- it's too late for breakfast and too early for lunch. She also needs to save money. Until early 2009, Brown worked as an executive assistant on Wall Street, earning more than $80,000 a year, living in a six-bedroom house with her three sons. Today, she's long-term unemployed and has to make do with a tiny one-bedroom in the Bronx. It's only luck that she's not homeless outright. "One thing cam…

In Message to G-20 Leaders, Obama Aims to Calm Tensions

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SEOUL, South Korea —President Obama, marking the start of a summit meeting that has already tested the limits of international cooperation, implored other world leaders on Wednesday to shift global economic demand away from its historic reliance on American consumption and borrowing.

In a letter to other leaders of theGroup of 20 economic powers, released shortly after he arrived here, Mr. Obama tried to calm the currency tensions that have roiled global economic relations, though he did not mention by name the two most prominent sources of the tension: China’s foreign-exchange interventions and the Federal Reserve’s recent decision to inject $600 billion into the economy. “We all now recognize that the foundation for a strong and durable recovery will not materialize if American households stop saving and go back to spending based on borrowing,” Mr. Obama wrote. “Yet no one country can achieve our joint objective of a strong, sustainable and balanced recovery on its own.” In an op-ed ar…

Barack Obama returns to Jakarta and confesses 'I barely recognise it'`

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Struggling to recognise the city of his childhood, Barack Obama today returned to Jakarta on a heavily curtailed trip to Indonesia. The US president, who spent four years living in the Indonesian capital, said it was "wonderful" to return to the city of his boyhood, even if it was unfamiliar. "I have to tell you that when you visit a place that you spent some time in as a child, as a president, it's a little disorienting," Obama told journalists at the Indonesian presidential palace. "Much has been made of the fact that this marks my return to where I lived as a boy. I barely recognise it. The landscape has changed completely," he said of Jakarta's radical transformation from a developing city into a global metropolis. "When I first came here in 1967 everyone rode on becaks [cycle rickshaws], you stood in the back and it was very crowded. Now, as president, I couldn't see any traffic because they had blocked off all the streets." This is…