Saturday, May 19, 2012
Sri Lanka marks the third anniversary of the end of the nearly three decade war against Tamil Tiger rebels with a military march
Three men charged with conspiring to commit domestic terrorism during the NATO summit were plotting to attack President Obama's Chicago campaign headquarters, the Chicago mayor's home and police stations, authorities said Saturday. A police investigation that began early this month revealed that the three suspects are "self-proclaimed anarchists" and members of the "Black Bloc" group who traveled together from Florida to Chicago to commit violence as a protest against the NATO summit, authorities said in a statement.
TOLONEWSThe Afghan Local Police (ALP) are violating human rights in several areas of the country, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said in a report released Saturday. AIHRC chief Sima Samar released the report saying that the local police have sometimes created more unrest in the areas under their control. "Some powerful figures sought the creation of the local police, but they have violated human rights in some districts," Samar said. Samar said that in some areas, the ALP were as troublesome as illegally armed groups. "You can't distinguish the ALP from other illegally armed groups," she said. Samar questioned the need for the largely local and illiterate force at all. "What is the need of a local police force if we have more than 250,000 in the army and a police force beyond 2014. Their [ALP] role for after 2014 should be clarified," she said. Afghanistan's Ministry of Interior (MOI), which oversees the ALP, rejected the claims saying that while the local police had been involved in 13 known human rights violations last year, all of these cases were prosecuted. "The local police have only been involved in 13 cases of human rights violations in some parts of the country, for which the perpetrators were prosecuted," MOI spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said. "Local police have been effective in bringing security to the districts under their control. They are a threat to insurgents." Around 13,000 local police have been assigned in 66 districts, and have found to be effective in fighting insurgents, he added. Their number is rise to 30,000 at the end of 2014 when the Nato-led combat troops are set to leave Afghanistan, according to the MOI.
“An alliance for growth” was French daily newspaper Le Monde's depiction of the historic first meeting between new president François Hollande and his American counterpart Barack Obama. Echoed by many other French media outlets, Le Monde's Saturday edition headline reflected the gaining momentum of Hollande‘s call to move away from austerity in tackling the ever-worsening eurozone crisis. He was buoyed by the backing he received from Obama calling for a "strong growth agenda in Europe" as the two heads of state met for the first time at the White House on Friday. "Even if the wording was general, it was important for Hollande," Le Monde said. "The head of state now has a heavyweight ally in his condemnation of austerity policies." The new alliance, forged in a meeting lasting little over an hour, is a happy beginning for Hollande heading into this weekend’s G8 summit meeting of the world’s most powerful leaders at Camp David.World leaders echo Hollande's call France's new president has long insisted the gloom hanging over Europe’s economies can only be lifted if harsh belt-tightening policies demanded by Germany are complimented by measures to kick-start the eurozone’s ailing economies. Following Obama’s ringing endorsement of Hollande’s ideas, British Prime Minister David Cameron, who met with Hollande for the first time on Friday evening, was the next to align himself with the French president, suggesting the two shared the same views on growth. "There is no conflict between austerity and growth," Cameron told reporters. "You need to have a strong deficit reduction program in order to get growth. President Hollande believes that, and I believe that." Cameron did, however, set up a future clash with Hollande over the Frenchman’s promise to introduce a Tobin Tax on financial transactions, saying he would not support the move. European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso also echoed Hollande’s call for more job-creating measures to help Europe out of the mire. "We need to take action for growth while staying the course in terms of putting our public finances in order. Stability and growth go together. They are two sides of the same coin," he said. Italy’s prime minister Mario Monti has already come out in support of growth measures to tackle a crisis that appears to be reaching a breaking point, with Greece heading toward an election that could throw its eurozone membership into question. Merkel in danger of being isolated When Hollande made a pre-election promise to tear up the European Union's fiscal pact, of which his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy was so proud, it set the Socialist on course for a clash with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She insisted Europe must continue to take the poison when it comes to austerity.But the sands now appear to be shifting in Hollande’s favour. Instead of the Frenchman looking like he's in over his head, it is his German counterpart who appears more likely to cut a lonely figure at Camp David. "Germany is absolutely isolated," said Domenico Lombardi, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank, in an interview with Reuters news agency. Lombardi said the dire situation of Greece has shifted the focus of the debate and heightened the need for a different solution to the crisis. Even Obama sensed the growing pressure on Merkel, commenting she must have "things on her mind" after she responded to his greeting with a resigned shrug of her shoulders. Hervé Favre, in an editorial for French paper La Voix du Nord, said with Obama’s backing Hollande could now “pile the pressure on Angela Merkel”. After Camp David, Hollande’s crash course in diplomacy will continue at a two day NATO summit on Sunday and Monday where Afghanistan, Syria and Iran will all be on the agenda. The French president then returns to Europe, where he will once again come face to face with Merkel at a European Summit in Brussels on May 23. After this weekend, it's possible he'll go into that meeting with his head held high.
U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are set to address a host of pressing economic and military security issues this weekend as the United States hosts a high stakes Group of Eight summit outside Washington and a NATO summit in Chicago.
Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Saturday highlighting the importance of educational facilities for the people, said education, especially in the fields of science and technology, was very important for the progress and prosperity of the country and the welfare of the nation. Addressing the third Convocation of Virtual University here, Prime Minister Gilani said, "The 21st Century is a century of knowledge, creativity and innovation and only those nations will call the shots on political and economic landscape that will be leaders in the field of knowledge and education." The Prime Minister announced the establishment of 30 more campuses of Virtual University throughout the country, including the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan. He also announced "IT Awards" of Rs 20 million to help the talented students from the remotest and backward areas of the country. The Prime Minister said broadband centres would be established at all the union councils of the country to provide 30,000 jobs to the students this year. He said the Federal Government had already spent 22 billion rupees on the development of IT infrastructure and broadband connectivity. He also announced an allocation of Rs 17 billion more for strengthening broadband connectivity in other unserved areas of the country. Gilani said PAK-SAT would provide one hour free transmission facility to the Virtual University. He also directed for provision of land for the construction of Central Campus of the Virtual University in Islamabad and ordered the Capital Development Authority to submit a report in that regard within two weeks. The Prime Minister also directed the Minister for IT to expedite the matter of 3G technology. He said that technology would not only bring about a revolution, but also create employment opportunities and ensure more development. He said he had already directed the Finance Minister to create 100,000 jobs in the coming budget 2012-13. The Prime Minister said the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) had not come to power through backdoor and it was governing the country with the support of people. He said some forces were bent upon obstructing the PPP's successful development programmes and removing the Prime Minister through unconstitutional means. "However, they will fail in their unfair and unconstitutional drive as we have come to power through a public mandate and will continue to serve the masses," he added.
The Express Tribune News Network.The Government of Punjab after withdrawing the protocol of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has now started to create issues on his security as well. A scuffle between Gilani’s staff and Punjab Police personnel is said to be the first move on the part of the provincial government to convey a message to the centre: ‘You cannot move without getting approval from the Punjab government’. A brawl between the security staff and police personnel erupted over the issue of access to the stage where the prime minister was seated as chief guest. Gilani was attending the convocation of Virtual University at Expo Center in Johar Town, where he distributed certificates among the participants. SP Sadar Police Division Athar Waheed said that Station House Officer (SHO) of PS Mustafa Town, Muneer had been stopped by a constable part of the prime minister’s security team. He said that he was also not allowed to go near the stage, claiming that both he and the SHO were insulted by the security team and harsh words had been exchanged. A member of the Punjab police and the security team scuffled inside for 15 minutes after Gilani left the venue, and were joined by their colleagues later. The man from the prime minister’s security team was identified as Talat. SP Waheed said he had offered that Talat apologise to the SHO and local police, but he had refused and had instead suggested that he be taken to the police station. The SP then ordered the policemen to take Talat to the police station, adding that an FIR will be lodged against him if he does not apologise. The SP said that he is the one responsible for security of the venue and the whole system would be destroyed if he is not respected. SP Athar Waheed is a renowned police officer who has openly expressed his inclination with Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N). During the Long March, Waheed – who was posted as SP Gujranwala – had refused to crackdown against PML-N workers. Later, he had resigned in protest. PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had openly applauded Waheed’s action and had vowed that he would be honoured once they were in power. Security parameters According to security protocol, the premier has been given P2 security under the Blue Book. P2 (Pakistan) is the highest level security in which three cordons are made. Before the arrival of the prime minister, local police under supervision of the SP or DPO searched the venue and area through the Special Branch, Bomb Disposal Squad, metal and explosive detectors and sniffer dogs. After the police checked the venue, security staff of the prime minster had arrived and declared the venue clear. The Chief Security Officer of the prime minister belongs to the Army and is equal to a Major. However, it is the local SP or DPO who are responsible of overall security affairs of the prime minister. Three cordons The prime minister is provided with three security cordons – inner, middle and outer. The inner cordon comprises of the prime minister’s security, middle is provided by the Special Branch and the outer is handled by local police. The incident took place between the inner and outer cordons, as the security staff insisted that the police was not allowed to enter the inner cordon, while SP Waheed said that he had the right to visit all cordons. Tit for tat? Sources in PML-N said that during Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Sindh on May 15 and 16, the provincial government had withdrawn bullet proof vehicles and security, and that the PML-N media office had also issued a protest statement. The second action from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) coalition government came when Interior Minister Rehman Malik had ordered SSP Islamabad to issues notices to the Sharif brothers for an inquiry into an ‘attack on the Supreme Court’ in 1998. Sources have claimed that SP Waheed’s move was very calculated. Governor Punjab orders SP’s transfer Governor Punjab Sardar Latif Khosa, taking notice of the incident, directed the transfer of SP Waheed to Balochistan. However, Police spokesperson Nabeela Ghazanfar said that Inspector General (IG) Police Haji Habibur Rehman has transferred Waheed to Provincial Headquarter Office. Sources said that the IG on the directives of Shahbaz Sharif had refused to surrender Waheed’s services to the federal government or to relieve him. ‘No transfers’ Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan said that the Punjab government cannot transfer officers on the wishes of others, adding that the incident had accidently occurred between the security and police officers. He said the security staff should have obeyed the orders of SP Waheed as he was in charge of security in the whole area. Sanaullah suggested that the matter should not be given a political angle, adding that no official would be transferred to Balochistan. DIG Operation Rai Muhammad Tahir said that the matter had been resolved, and added that Punjab Police was investigation the matter.