Wednesday, July 25, 2012
http://news.yahoo.comAccording to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, President Obama has widened his lead over rival Mitt Romney. He’s now six points ahead (49 to 43 percent nationwide), up from a three-point lead (47 to 44 percent) last month. In the key swing states, Mr. Obama’s doing even better. NBC/WSJ has him leading by eight points in the top 12 battlegrounds. This is good news for the president. So why does it feel as if he’s in a tougher spot than he’s been in for much of the campaign? Well, the poll shows Obama’s negatives are up, as are Mr. Romney’s – a result of the attack ads that both sides have been running. Even there, however, the numbers look worse for Romney, who, the poll points out, would be the only modern nominee to have a “net negative” favorability rating (meaning more people view him unfavorably than favorably). No, the really scary poll number for Obama is this one: Only 27 percent of voters think the economy will improve over the next year. That’s down eight points from last month. And that level of economic pessimism is very dangerous for an incumbent. In fact, it seems almost incredible – the political equivalent of defying gravity – for Obama to have gained ground in the horse race even as Americans’ views on the economy have grown increasingly, alarmingly, sour. The question is whether Obama can continue to defy gravity like this all the way to November. Given the strikingly strong levels of dislike for Romney – who trails Obama by 20 points on likability in the poll – the president may still be able to stay on top. But we can’t imagine it will continue to be this easy. In coming weeks, Obama will have to deal with yet another jobs report that’s likely to be less than inspiring – and this time, he may not be able to turn the media focus onto Romney’s business record and taxes as an alternate story line. And the Obama campaign is clearly still worried about fallout from the president's "you didn't build that" gaffe – as evidenced by the fact that they’ve released a new ad directly addressing it. (Note: When the president has to say in a commercial, “Of course Americans build their own businesses,” that’s not a good sign.) Obama’s also going to be competing more and more with the “veepstakes” frenzy, as speculation about Romney’s running mate mounts, giving the Romney campaign plenty of free – and probably mostly positive – media. And who knows what sort of “October (or September or August) surprise” may lie ahead to complicate things further for the president. A few other interesting tidbits from the NBC/WSJ poll: Obama is getting more blame than Romney for running a negative campaign – with 22 percent saying he is, versus 12 percent saying Romney is (though 34 percent fault both candidates). It looks as if Romney has made some progress when it comes to one aspect of his image – “flip-flopping.” Last fall, Obama held a 14-point lead over Romney on “being consistent and standing up for his beliefs.” Today, that lead has shrunk to just two points (Romney has gained ground and the president has lost it). The percentage of voters who regard Obama’s health-care law as a “good idea” has reached its highest point yet, at 40 percent (though that still trails those who regard it as a “bad idea,” at 44 percent). Thirty-one percent now feel “strongly” that it was a good idea, up from 25 percent last month.
The Express TribuneThe political administration of Khyber Agency has trained 45 khasadars to assist the polio campaign and provide vaccination at transit points. Agency surgeon Dr Azam Khan told The Express Tribune that special training was being imparted to the forces, which will be sent to Landi Kotal and Jamrud tehsils to vaccinate children. “The officers will inoculate children at various checkpoints. In particular, people arriving from Bara tehsil and Tirrah Valley due to security problems will be given drops, so that no child is left without vaccination,” Khan said. He added that the political agent has hired 30 volunteers, on a salary of Rs10,000 per month to reach those areas which are inaccessible to polio teams.“Bara is most at risk of polio and if we find any opportunity to send our teams there, we will do so.” “We have deployed teams of 10 people at Torkham border and vaccinated around 32,000 children below the age of five last month,” he said. On July 16, the polio drive in Bara tehsil had to be deferred putting 111,556 children at risk. Meanwhile, the political agent of South Waziristan, Shahidullah Khan, told journalists that the campaign is going on successfully in Mehsud areas, where no one has refused to vaccinate their children so far. He added that the polio campaign in Wana and adjacent areas has not been launched as yet, but a 20-member team comprising local religious clerics and tribal elders has been formed to negotiate with the Taliban. The campaign will commence when negotiations succeed. Earlier, the Mullah Nazir-led Taliban outfit had issued a decree against polio vaccination in Wana and warned that until drone attacks continue in tribal areas, vaccination will not be allowed.
http://dailybalochistanexpress.com/The flow of trucks supplying NATO troops in Afghanistan has surged at Torkham border crossing in recent days, officials said Wednesday, despite attack and protests. Few containers had trickled across the border since Islamabad reopened the routes three weeks ago, but officials at Torkham, in Pakistan's northwestern tribal district of Khyber, said more than 100 had crossed in the last two days. Islamabad closed its land routes to NATO convoys in November following botched US air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, but reopened them on July 3 after Washington said sorry for the deaths. "More than a 100 trucks have crossed Torkham border in the past two days, a total of 140 have so far crossed into Afghanistan," Obaidullah Khan, a customs official at Torkham, told AFP. Before the blockade, around 150 trucks crossed into Afghanistan each day at Torkham -- the closest border crossing to Kabul -- and officials say the flow will rise to up to 300 a day. News of the increase came a day after gunmen attacked NATO supply trucks near a market in Jamrud town in Khyber, killing a driver. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Tuesday's attack but militants have threatened to attack NATO trucks and kill their drivers. Mohammad Miraj, a senior administrative official at Torkham, confirmed the increase and added that security has been tightened because of the recent attack and the increased flow of trucks.
DAWN.COMPakistan’s main stock market closed up on Wednesday after the country’s Supreme Court adjourned a case that could threaten the country’s prime minister with disqualification, analysts said. The Karachi Stock Exchange benchmark 100-share index gained 52.61 points, or 0.36 per cent, to close at 14,564.68 points on volume of 43.49 million shares. Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has been ordered to re-open corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. Failing to do so could see him lose office, further discrediting the government. “There was a fear that the prime minister may face the same prosecution as his predecessor for not re-opening the cases in Switzerland, which would have increased instability. That not happening was a positive factor,” said Atif Zafar, a research analyst at the JS Global financial services company. The Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned proceedings until August 8. Ashraf’s predecessor Yusuf Raza Gilani was disqualified last month by the Supreme Court for failing to re-open the cases. In the currency market, the rupee weakened to close at 94.58/63 to the dollar, compared with 94.43/49 on Tuesday. Overnight rates in the money market remained unchanged at 11.90 per cent.