http://www.cbsnews.comRising gas prices are like a gun aimed at the heart of the economic recovery. You've been paying more and at this time of year; you'd expect them to rise even further. But, all of the sudden, the pressure on the trigger is easing. The average price is $3.86 per gallon. That's down a nickel in just the past week. A year ago today, we were paying that same: $3.86 per gallon. This is the first time prices haven't risen year to year in two-and-a-half years. CBS News correspondent Anthony Mason looked into whether or not gas prices keep dropping, and whether the danger is over for the economy. The price of crude has been slipping in the trading pits; oil fell again Monday. As tensions with Iran have eased, some of the speculators who helped push up the price have been driven away. "There is a little bit of fear in speculators now. They realize there's not just upside potential, but there's downside risk as well," said Tom Kloza, who works with the Oil Price Information Service.Since April 6th, the average price of a gallon of gas has fallen by 8 cents from $3.94 to $3.86. "It's not gonna be enough to buy a boat, but you're gonna save a little bit of money. You're certainly not gonna pay some of those $4.50 and $5 numbers that were talked about awhile ago," Kloza said. That's finally broken a streak of 910 straight days, during which gas was more expensive than it was one year earlier; 17 states have now broken below their year ago average. But Kloza does not see a continuing downward trend, and he warns: be careful what you wish for. "It's kind of like rooting for a recession. If you really want sharply lower prices you need to root for a recession or you need to root for a technological breakthrough, which isn't out there right now," Kloza said. Kloza sees price lingering about where they are now until the summer. The good news: you can forget all those highest-price-ever predictions, at least for awhile. Economists look at gas prices as the biggest threat to the economy; if prices hit $5 per gallon, than a recession will be likely to hit. Higher gas prices are considered a tax taking money out of people's pockets, but these lower prices should mean the recovery is okay for now.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
TOLONEWSThe Afghanistan-US long-term strategic agreement will not be upheld if the Afghan Parliament does not approve it, officials said Monday. Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul and National Security Advisor Rangin Dadfar Spanta went before the Afghan Senate and Parliament respectively to discuss the agreement, and both stressed that the country's lawmakers would have the final say. Speaking before the Senate, Rassoul said the agreement will be valid for ten years and is not applicable unless approved by the parliament. "The agreement is valid for ten years and it is extendable for another ten years if we want," Rassoul said. "But it's not applicable unless [Parliament] approve it." Some members of Parliament (MPs) asked the government officials to provide a copy of the draft in order to discuss it within parliament. "We have the right to see the draft - we need two or three months to discuss it," MP Daoud Kalakani said. However, Spanta said the draft will be provided to the MPs only after it is signed by the both presidents, adding that this was also the case in the US. When asked to explain this, he said the signing of the agreement by both countries' presidents was conditional on the agreement of their respective governments. "When its signed by the US President, then we can provide the draft to you," he told the MPs. Officials told TOLOnews that the Afghan-US strategic pact was rewritten 23 times during its 18 month-long negotiation period. Rassoul told the Senate that the agreement acknowledged both countries as independent and equal, and it respected the sovereignty of Afghanistan. "As per the United Nations mandate, Afghanistan and US will be considered as independent and equal countries after signing the agreement," he said. "US will respect the national sovereignty and independence of Afghanistan and is committed to transferring security responsibility to the Afghan forces," he told the senators. The agreement also says that Afghanistan should be named an "important Nato ally" and that the US is committed to training and equipping Afghan security forces for a decade after 2014. It does not contain any dollar amount for how much the US will commit each year, despite earlier calls from President Hamid Karzai for this to be included in the agreement. While the document does not specify what the US will provide in terms of ongoing security support, notably, there will be no permanent military bases, Rassoul said. "The US has once again emphasised that it is not interested in having military bases in Afghanistan which might be seen as a threat to our neighbors," he told the Senate. However, Spanta meanwhile told parliamentarians that talks about US permanent military bases were not off the agenda, and that this issue will be revisited a year after the strategic agreement is signed. "After signing the strategic pact, a separate security agreement which will allow or not allow the existence of US permanent bases in Afghanistan will be signed after one year if agreed," Spanta said. Afghan and US officials finalised the Afghan-US strategic pact on Sunday which is expected to be signed at the Chicago summit in May. The agreement titled "Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement between Afghanistan and the United States" was initialed "final" by Spanta and the US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker during a ceremony at the National Security Council.
Press TVSaudi-backed forces in Bahrain have attacked mourners holding a funeral for a protester killed by regime forces. Activists said on Monday that the police quickly attacked the mourners after they started calling for the downfall of the regime. Thousands of Bahrainis took to the streets in the Manama suburb of Bilad al-Qadim for the funeral procession for 36-year-old Salah Abbas Habib, who was found dead on a rooftop in the village of Shakhoura, southwest of Manama, on Saturday shortly after regime forces attacked an anti-government demonstration in the area the day before the Formula One Grand Prix. Hussein Abbas Habib, the victim's brother, said, “We just got the body back now. He had birdshot wounds in his chest and abdomen.” He added that his brother was also badly beaten on his hands, back, and legs. According to the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, Habib was shot while running away from police. Activists say authorities kept Habib's body for two days and handed it over to his family on Monday to prevent the funeral from being held during the Bahrain Grand Prix. Bahrain's main opposition group, al-Wefaq, has confirmed that Saudi-backed forces killed Habib and said that the conflict will grow more violent if the regime does not engage in political reforms. Al-Wefaq Leader Sheikh Ali Salman said the regime refuses to talk or listen to the demands of the people and the situation has reached an impasse because the Saudi-backed regime is not keen on implementing real reforms. The Bahraini revolution began in February 2011. Since then dozens have been killed and thousands more injured and arrested. Anti-regime demonstrators hold King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa responsible for the death of protesters during the popular uprising.
AAJ TVThe Young Doctors Association of Punjab continued to strike for the eight day adding to the sufferings of patients across the province, Aaj news reported. According to our correspondent, the patients coming from parts of Punjab as well as KP, Balochistan are complaining since doctors are not even attending the emergency patients which come to hospital with the last hope to save their lives. The patients continued to suffer on Thursday, the eight day of the OPD strike in Lahore, with paramedical staff also absent from teaching hospitals. “This is the third day that I am coming to the hospital for the treatment of my daughter,” said Muhammad Irfan, who was waiting outside Services Hospital “She isn’t well and the doctors aren’t admitting her. Who will be responsible if something happens to her?” A senior doctor at Lahore General Hospital said that there should be an inquiry into whether private hospitals were supporting the YDA strike, as they were benefitting from the closure of public hospitals. Meanwhile, YDA leaders said that the strike would continue till the withdrawal of transfer orders of the doctors who were transferred by the health department. Talking to APP, YDA spokesman Dr Nasir Abbas said that the association would stage sit-in in front of public sector hospitals on April 25 for withdrawal of transfer orders of doctors. The YDA leader also demanded to grant autonomy to all the public sector health institutions across the province.
A large snowstorm came barreling through the Northeast on Monday, threatening to drop 16 inches in some areas and frustrate commuters. By Monday morning, Newfield, New York, was reporting 10 inches of snow, while Ridgebury, Pennsylvania, had 8 inches. More accumulation was expected, especially in higher elevations. The blustery blast follows a mild winter that saw little snow and the warmest March on record. "The last time we had a big snowstorm across the East Coast was back in October," when fall foliage was still on the trees, said CNN Meteorologist Rob Marciano.
The Express TribuneOn April 23, 1930, British soldiers opened fire on unarmed protesters killing hundreds in Peshawar’s Qissa Khwani Bazaar. Few, however, are aware of the violent history witnessed by the bazaar’s chipped marble arches, at the opening of Dhaki Nalbandi Street. Now, the walls, which have long lost their lustre, are covered with another form of protest – religious political parties’ posters, each with its own outburst against America. The sacrifices made by the non-violent demonstrators remain largely confined to the footnotes of history, unlike the well-known, well-documented Jalianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar. It was barely a month after Gandhi’s Salt March that Qissa Khwani witnessed bloodshed, when Abdul Ghaffar Khan (popularly known as Bacha Khan)’s Khudai Khidmatgar movement was making its own mark on the western frontier. The anti-colonial movement at the time was sparked by a number of factors – on one hand, the more religious elements were resisting British attempts to change Muslim personal laws, as per one author. Other writers note resentment to draconian laws (still in place today) like the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR). Ziauddin, a local researcher who is about to publish a book on the massacre, said that the tragedy remains one of the most neglected chapters of subcontinental history. “It is not mentioned in textbooks, nor do any dramas, books or novels credit those martyrs,” he said. In fact, the only entity that commemorates the day annually and remembers those who laid down their lives is the Gandhara Hindko Board, an organisation that aims to preserve the native language. Even at the time, the protest was hijacked by those with their own political agenda. “There was no political party involved (in the protests), but they all tried to take credit for the sacrifices of the locals,” Ziauddin told The Express Tribune. The incident itself occurred when protests by the Khilafat Committee and local religious clerics snowballed into something much bigger than had been anticipated. Mukulika Banerjee writes in her book ‘Pathan Unarmed’: “A Congress committee of enquiry was due to arrive to begin an investigation into the grievances of NWFP, in particular the FCR and other regressive measures.” Banerjee outlines how hundreds of Bacha Khan’s Red Shirts were waiting to receive the committee at the Peshawar railway station when they were told that the committee had been stopped in Punjab. Ensuing protests led to Bacha Khan being placed under house arrest on charges of sedition. It was then that people took to the streets, in hundreds, under the marble arches of the Qissa Khwani Bazaar. After local police refused to open fire on the peaceful protesters, the government called in the army. The British acknowledged around 179 casualties. The Khilafat Committee claimed that there were around 700 fatalities, Ziauddin said, adding that the committee maintained that the British threw most of the bodies in Attock River to cover up the facts. After the massacre, a Qissa Khwani trader, named Ashiq Hussain, constructed a monument to commemorate the victims at his own expense. The British, however, demolished the reminder. “After the creation of Pakistan, leaguers and nationalists tried to turn this place green and red, to claim legacy for this event. This finally came to an end in the 1980s, after which (another) monument was set up to remember the martyrs of Qissa Khwani,” Ziauddin said. While few remember the tragedy 82 years after it took place, and although it has been largely ignored in the annals of history, in 1930, the Qissa Khwani massacre was at the forefront of the nationalist consciousness: Banerjee concludes aptly: “From being a minor sideshow, the Pathans became nationalist heroes overnight.”
The government has all set to launch 3-day national immunization campaign starting from Monday (tomorrow) in Khyber Pahtunkhwa and Fata wherein 6.1 million children under five years of age would vaccinated to wipe out the crippling polio disease from the country. Deputy Director EPI, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Dr Jan Baz Afridi told on Sunday that government has completed all arrangements for successful holdings of three days anti-polio campaign starting in across the province, Federally Administered Tribal Areas including Afghan refugees' camps from Monday (April 23-25). He said 5.1 million children below five years of age would be given Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) in Khyber Pakthunkhwa while about one million kids would get the same facility in FATA. To achieve the said target, the official said 16,600 teams for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 3000 for Fata have been formed that will reach door to door and house to hours to make Pakistan Polio free country. These teams would be assisted by area in-charges and Lady Health Workers (LHWs) and officials of Health Department . In case of non arrival of the teams, he held an appeal to parents and guardians to bring their children to nearest hospitals and BHUs for vaccination.