Saturday, December 1, 2012

Anti-Mursi protests show Egypt will no longer accept autocracy

Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood inherited a corrupt police state with failing institutions. Crime was rising, and the economy was in free fall immediately after long-time leader Hosni Mubarak was toppled last year. However, rather than reach out to secular and liberal voices, Mursi and the world's most influential Islamist organisation have often resorted to the rigid structure that helped the Brotherhood survive decades as a persecuted opposition movement. Though they have been overwhelmed by circumstances, their ability to lead the country has been further compromised by an authoritarian streak. Angry protests that drew tens of thousands of people into Cairo's Tahrir Square last week reveal that Egyptians will no longer accept an autocratic leader, whether an Islamist like Mursi or a secularist like Mubarak. A dispute with judges over separation of government powers has rallied liberals and non-Muslims who fear that Mursi aims to gradually expand Islamic law to alter the nation's character and limit civil and religious freedoms. The resolute yet uncharismatic Mursi is reviled and praised. Rival portraits of the peasant's son who became an engineer and then president have emerged: a pragmatist seeking a constitutional democracy but willing to bend the rules to get there; or a political novice determined to stifle state institutions to further the Brotherhood's dominance. This split self is articulated in Tahrir Square posters that depict the faces of Mursi and Mubarak as one and the same. It is the caricature of a man who miscalculated, perhaps did not fathom the limits of his popularity. The president's moves over the past week suggest that two Mursis are at work. A decree he issued placed his office beyond judicial oversight on matters dealing with state institutions, notably the Islamist-led assembly drafting a new constitution. Courts controlled by Mubarak-era judges had disbanded an earlier assembly and Mursi feared a similar fate awaited the current one. Such a scenario would have further disrupted Egypt's messy political transition and delayed new parliamentary elections. Mursi and the Brotherhood were stung in June when the country's highest court dissolved the Islamist-led parliament, sidetracking the Brotherhood's Renaissance Project, an ill-defined economic and social plan aimed at fixing the nation. Mursi received another rejection from judges last week, when they reiterated their condemnation of his decree and urged a countrywide court strike. The actions followed a five-hour meeting between Mursi and the Supreme Judiciary Council that failed to broker a compromise. The president's battle with the judiciary epitomises the Brotherhood's wider struggle against entrenched remnants of the old regime manoeuvring to upend Mursi through chaos and gridlock that jeopardises foreign investment, security and Egyptians' faith in the ideals of last year's revolution. At key moments, though, the Brotherhood has relied on an authoritarian tendency in its erratic efforts to govern Egypt. Mursi's overall "aim is to establish a new undemocratic political system with the Brotherhood at the centre of the state", said Dr Ashraf El Sherif, a political scientist at the American University in Cairo. "They are not interested at all in reforming the politics of the country." Many of those who took to the streets last week do not trust the courts, either. But they accuse Mursi of power grabs and have branded him a new pharaoh. The protesters do not see a president's pragmatism; they see Machiavellian ambitions by the Brotherhood to sideline the opposition, including leading figures such as Nobel laureate Dr Mohamed ElBaradei. "The people want to bring down the regime!" protesters shouted, in the same chant used to unseat Mubarak. Hundreds of young men and boys hurled rocks at police around Tahrir Square. The Muslim Brotherhood cancelled a large pro-Mursi rally planned in Cairo to avoid clashes with antigovernment protesters and soccer fans known as Ultras. But it joined ultraconservative Islamists in a march in Alexandria. Throughout its 84-year history after being founded by a teacher, the Brotherhood has been co-opted, marginalised and persecuted by Egypt's leaders, who since 1952 were all military men. Thousands of Brotherhood members were arrested and tortured during Mubarak's 30-year rule. The Islamist organisation survived not by being democratic within its ranks, but by a rigid structural orthodoxy with a dedicated populist base. The group's authoritarian side has largely defined the Brotherhood's problems in governing. Last year, it expelled prominent young members who were seeking a more moderate political approach. Although Mursi was praised this month for his pivotal role in negotiating a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, he has been unable to convince opposition groups that he is a sincere democrat. He and the Brotherhood have often been overwhelmed reacting to cascading crises, sometimes clumsily. Political instability has caused the economy to plummet and threatens billions of dollars in desperately needed foreign investment. Crime is rising. Labour strikes multiply. And resurgent networks of Islamist militants have been killing Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula. But, as he showed with his recent decree involving the courts, Mursi can be calculating. In August, the president forced the resignations of Egypt's military commanders, including Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who had controlled the country since Mubarak's fall in February last year and despised the Brotherhood's Islamist plans for the nation. It was a bold move that showed Mursi was capable of eliminating the man who rivalled him for power, apparently backed by younger officers willing to strike a deal with the Brotherhood to replace their ageing generals and advance their own careers. It also suggested that Mursi was open to reaching out to holdovers from Mubarak's regime - including officials from police, intelligence and the courts - if they were willing to switch allegiances. The pressing question is whether Mursi can outlast the protest movement. The opposition camp, famous for bickering and endless tweeting, has recently found cohesion and momentum. The nation's suspicions over the Brotherhood are resonating, but so far the president is not blinking. "Mursi is betting on the street's fervour to die out. He will try to stretch this out to its limit," according to El Sherif. "It is not in his best interest to rescind this decree because it will be a blow to his popularity and the Brotherhood. But if this crisis continues, he will have to."

Egyptian singer Ruby روبي - إنت عارف لية

EGYPT: Dictatorship, democracy, dictatorship?

BARELY a week ago Muhammad Morsi, Egypt’s president, was basking in praise for helping forge a truce in neighbouring Gaza. Today he rules, shakily, over a bitterly polarised nation. On November 27th a gathering as vast as any since the heady days of Egypt’s January 2011 revolution choked the centre of Cairo in a cacophony of protest against a man they now condemn as a new dictator. Not only has the uncowed president vowed to raise still bigger rival crowds. His embattled camp is rushing out a controversial, hastily concocted and Islamist-hued draft constitution for approval in a general referendum.
Five months into his term, seeking to capitalise on his Gaza success and to break a festering deadlock with secular opponents, Mr Morsi issued a shock, six-part decree that granted sweeping new powers to his office. The move has pitched Egypt into its gravest crisis since the uprising that ended six decades of military-backed dictatorship. It has united the hitherto bickering secular opposition, which plans to protest until he revokes his decree. It has sparked a slide of nearly 12% in an already battered local stockmarket. And it has prompted a strike by Egypt’s judges, who would normally be responsible for overseeing a constitutional referendum.From the perspective of the president and those who have fallen in line with him, most notably the Muslim Brotherhood and fundamentalist Salafist groups, his action was understandable. Mr Morsi won office in June with a slim 51.7% of votes. Yet the Islamists, who together had gained a more convincing majority in earlier parliamentary polls, have been frustrated in converting a win into tangible change. Worse, Mr Morsi’s government has soaked up blame for unimproved government services and a feeble economy. Strapped for cash, it may soon have to resort to harsh austerity measures even as a next round of elections looms. The Islamists sensed a narrowing window of opportunity. As they see it, an array of malevolent forces have combined to thwart them. These include not just secularists and Egypt’s large Christian minority, but also foreign powers, an irreverent and often hostile press and stubbornly obstructionist chunks of Egypt’s colossal state bureaucracy. Bolstering all these is the moneyed elite that built its wealth under the ousted regime of Hosni Mubarak. Egypt’s judiciary has been especially difficult. In spring a court disqualified the Brotherhood-dominated parliament’s first choice of a constituent assembly, a body charged with drafting a new constitution. Only days before Mr Morsi’s inauguration, the most senior constitutional court infuriated the Brotherhood by ruling, on a technicality, to disband the parliament itself. Egypt’s judges united in October to block Mr Morsi from firing the public prosecutor, a powerful Mubarak-era appointee who had failed to fulfil popular demands for “revolutionary” justice. Mr Morsi hoped, by issuing his commands, to sweep all these challenges aside at once. There was little protest at some parts of the decree, such as the second attempt to sack the public prosecutor and to allow for retrials of former regime henchmen. But Mr Morsi had promised to make light use of the legislative powers that he wields in the absence of a parliament. Instead, with no public discussion and scant advice from his own aides, the president ruled not only to block any future court challenges to the legality of the constituent assembly. He also awarded blanket legal immunity to himself, until such time as a new constitution and parliament impose some binding limits. The constitutional court was due to rule soon on the legality of the second, again Islamist-dominated, constitutional assembly. Its legitimacy had been challenged by the mass resignation of Christian representatives, women and secularists, but the body retains a slim, albeit solidly Islamist quorum. Prompted by the outcry against Mr Morsi’s decree, the rump assembly quickly conceded to controversial demands by Egypt’s powerful army, such as that the defence minister should not be a civilian. Mr Morsi’s camp now say the 230-article draft constitution is ready to go, ignoring protests by trade unions, churches and legal experts, among others, that it is unclear in parts, unfair in others, and grants overmigthy executive powers. Brotherhood supporters insist that the expanded powers are strictly for the public good. Mr Morsi has made conciliatory speeches, declaring himself proud to govern a country with a strong and vocal opposition. His moves were needed, he said, to create the environment Egypt needs to secure revolutionary goals, to build democratic institutions and to get its economy back on track. Vowing to purge the state of “worms” that have undermined it, Mr Morsi swore to uphold the freedoms he had spent his own life fighting for. Mr Morsi seems to have forgotten the sensitivity that a country freshly freed from decades of despotism might feel towards anything with an odour of dictatorship. Secretive and inward-looking, the Brotherhood appears surprised by the depth of mistrust that many Egyptians, including pious Muslims of every social class, feel towards them. The Islamists’ constituency remains large and their organising power formidable. “They will rally the poor with the slogan: to be a Muslim, vote yes for the constitution and confound the infidels,” predicts Muhammad Nour Farahat, a law professor at Cairo’s Zagazig University. Yet even if Mr Morsi and his Brothers manage to pull this off, a heavy cloud will remain over their rule.

Video: President Obama's Weekly Address

Two killed in Peshawar motorcycle blast

At least two people were killed in a blast in Dir Colony area of Peshawar, Geo News reported. According to police, a bomb was planted in a motorcycle as pieces of a destroyed two-wheeler were found near the blast site. The police said that the two men who were killed in the blast were alleged suicide bombers.

اغنية تركية راقصة - Turkish Pop Dance Music

Turkey's Kurds Want More Freedoms, Autonomy

Egypt opposition figure says draft constitution undermines freedoms

Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei said on Saturday the "struggle will continue" after President Mohamed Mursi called a December 15 referendum on a draft constitution. "(Mursi) put to referendum a draft constitution that undermines basic freedoms and violates universal values. The struggle will continue," ElBaradei said on his Twitter feed.

Hillary Clinton condemns Israeli settlement plans

Russia says West pushing democracy with "iron and blood"

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Western states on Saturday of trying to advance democracy abroad through "iron and blood", defending Moscow's refusal to join nations seeking the exit of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Echoing comments made by Vladimir Putin, Lavrov made his sharply-worded address to a foreign and defense policy council meeting two days before the Russian president travels to Turkey where the war in Syria is expected to dominate talks. "Russia is not opposing Western influence or putting a stick in the spokes of Western-initiated projects out of spite," Lavrov said, according to state-run news agency Itar-Tass. "The fact is, advancing democracy through iron and blood just does not work, and this has been made clear in recent months - the past year-and-a-half," he said. He added "in most cases it produces the opposite reaction" and leads to "the strengthening of extremists and repressive forces, decreasing the chances of real democratic change." Moscow says Western and Gulf states are encouraging rebels seeking the overthrow of Assad while the United States and Europe accuse the Kremlin of shielding the Syrian president during 20 months of bloodshed. Russia says Assad's exit from power cannot be imposed from abroad and has voiced concern extremists could gain the upper hand in Syria and other states following Arab Spring revolts, further destabilizing the region. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov, in a meeting with Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, said the situation has been worsened by a "sharp increase in the activities of terrorist organizations" including al Qaeda. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Gatilov also repeated Russia's concern the conflict "is taking on a clearly expressed inter-religious element." Russia has denied it is propping up Assad but says it will not allow a repeat of what occurred last year in Libya. It says NATO overstepped the bounds of a U.N. Security Council mandate for intervention to protect civilians in its determination to help rebels oust Muammar Gaddafi.

Kuwait goes crazy for Kim Kardashian

Qatari poet jailed for life to appeal

Al Jazeera
A Qatari poet, who has been sentenced to life for comments said to be critical of the Qatari leadership, will take his case to an appeal court, his lawyer Najeeb al-Naimi has said. Muhammad Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami, 36, was sentenced to life imprisonment on Thursday for what is said to be attempts to destabilise the country. Bashar Jaafari, the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations, criticised the Qatari government for the harsh sentencing. "The international community must admit that there is international terrorism in Syria supported by states, states that claim to want to protect human rights in Syria, states which do not hesitate to condemn a poet to a life sentence merely because he had the temerity to write a poem condemning the emir of his country," Jaafari said on Friday. Al-Ajami, who has been largely held in solitary confinement, spoke to the Reuters news agency in the presence of prison guards and others. "The Emir is a good man," he told the agency. "I think he doesn't know that they have me here for a year, that they have put me in a single room. "If he knew, I would be freed," he said. "This is wrong," al-Ajami said. "You can't have Al Jazeera in this country and put me in jail for being a poet." Al-Naimi said he would appeal next week against the verdict, which was handed down after six hearings. The poet was arrested in November 2011.

Bahrain police break up nightly rallies
Bahraini police fired tear gas and stun bombs to break up protests overnight in predominantly Shiite villages around Manama, leading to arrests and injuries, witnesses said on Saturday. The protesters took to the streets in response to a call by the February 14 Youth Coalition for rallies against a blockade imposed on the Shiite locality of Mahazza, near the capital, since November 7. “The blockade will not make us afraid,” chanted the protesters, in reference to King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa. The protesters, some of whom wore masks, waved the Bahraini flag and pictures of prisoners.Police fired tear gas and sound bombs as the protests got unruly, leading to some injuries, according to the witnesses who did not specify the number of casualties. Police detained several demonstrators, and the skirmishes continued until dawn on Saturday, according to the witnesses. The United States last week expressed concern about the situation in Bahrain, one year after an inquiry report was issued on the unrest, saying the country needed to put more of its recommendations into effect.

Japan must face up to relations with China

Japanese ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa has concluded his term of office and the new ambassador is about to take office. Various forces in Japan are working on the general election campaign and the new leader will be selected next month. In 2012, China and Japan fall into the most serious crisis since the normalization of diplomatic ties. For either Japan that tends to be rightism or China stressing win-win cooperation, an urgent problem is whether the two sides can seize the opportunity to ease the bilateral relations. A preferred choice of China-Japan diplomatic ties is to establish mutually-beneficial relations. The achievement of the goal concerns easing the current tensions and decides the future direction of China-Japan relations and the international relations in Asia-Pacific region. China will adhere to peaceful development road with a clear, consistent and well-meaning strategic intent. The political situation in Japan is complicated and confusing. Its domestic issues and foreign affairs are unpredictable. Japan must make efforts to improve its relations with China, no matter who will be the next prime minister. Firstly, Japan must adjust the strategic mentality in a timely manner and put China in the right position of its foreign strategy. Both China and Japan are major countries in Asia and have common interests and responsibilities. Only by taking China as its strategic partner can Japan deal with the differences well. However, Japan still cannot break the deadlock of the Japan-U.S. relationships because it fears that the establishment of China-Japan strategic partnership will damage its relations with the United States.Secondly, Japan should properly handle the sensitive issues and seize the opportunity to show goodwill to China. In 2012, Japan constantly plays dirty tricks on issues related to Xinjiang and Tibet. Therefore, new Japanese leaders should be highly cautious of these issues involving China's core interests. Japan should realize that the Diaoyu Islands issue cannot be solved in a short period of time and the side which breaks the status quo must take initiative to break the deadlock and show goodwill, which is the requirement of the times. Thirdly, Japan should actively promote sincere dialogues with China and promote the development of the public diplomacy and people-to-people diplomacy between two countries. The improvement of China-Japan relations relies on the efforts of both sides and Japan's efforts containing the rise of China with the help of third party will deepen mutual strategic suspicion. The third party is warmly welcomed to play a constructive role in the improvement of China-Japan relations, but serving as a man-in-middle to interfere in bilateral relations is not allowed. The non-governmental friendship between China and Japan is the basis to restore their relations and an important issue is how to explore the potential of public diplomacy and people-to-people diplomacy. In the next 10 years, China will be more open, confident and tolerant to take the road of peaceful development in foreign affairs. Both China and Japan should consider the long-term interests and establish new relationship with neighboring powers through sincere dialogues, which is not only the essential requirement of China's peaceful development but also the common expectation of the region and the world to the new leaders of both sides.

UN Security Council must act to prevent Syria from becoming failed state: envoy

Lakhtar Brahimi, joint special representative of the United Nations and Arab League for Syria, on Friday urged the UN Security Council to act to save the Middle East country from becoming a failed state. In a briefing to the UN General Assembly on the prolonged Syria crisis, Brahimi said that despite previous difficulties of the 15-member council to reach a resolution on the crisis, "I nevertheless feel that it is here and only here that a credible, implementable process can be put together." Much of the division in the council has derived from dissension among the veto-wielding powers over whether chapter VII of the UN Charter should be invoked to introduce sanctions on Syria. Brahimi said if the creation of a new Syria fails to meet the legitimate demands of its people, "Syria becomes a failed state, with all the predictable dire consequences, for the people of Syria, for the entire region, and for international peace and security." He outlined the necessary building blocks paramount to ending violence and reaching a negotiated political solution, clarifying his view that a resolution from the council is only an initial step. A resolution from the council "must include necessarily a binding agreement on the cessation of all forms of violence," said Brahimi, former Algerian foreign minister and UN trouble shooter. Noting a lack of trust between Syrian parties, he said "for the fighting to stop, a strong, well-planned observation system must be put in place. Such observation can best be organized through a large, robust peacekeeping force." "Naturally, that cannot be envisaged without a Security Council resolution," he added. Stressing the necessity of a unified opposition force, Brahimi said this was in the process of being realized as an agreement on consolidated opposition coalition was signed at a recent meeting in the Qatari capital of Doha. The strengthened coalition is currently "working to develop what I hope will be an ambitious yet realistic and viable political platform," said the peace envoy. But ultimately, ending the violence and producing a negotiated political solution will only come at the insistence of the Syrian people themselves, he said. "Without a true, sincere and total national ownership, the chances of any plan achieving lasting peace will be very poor indeed," he said.

India breaks silence to discuss sex

Deutsche Welle
Urbanization has led to the emergence of new attitudes towards sex, according to experts. At a conference on sexuality, they discuss how the change is affecting the dynamics of relationships and society as a whole.
Have sexual satisfaction levels dropped in the last decade among urban Indians? Is premarital sex still taboo? Do men lead more sexually satisfied lives than women? Are women more loyal to their partners? These are just some of the issues that were debated at Sexposition 2012, India's first-ever conference on erotica and sexuality organized by the India Today Group to celebrate 10 years of its annual sex survey. Academics, film celebrities and columnists discussed a host of other topics, including pornography, pre-teen sex, wife swapping and the evolving Indian woman.Over 5,000 people across 16 cities - among them New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata - were interviewed for a survey conducted this year by the group. Some of the findings were quite shocking. Almost 18 percent of men and women in metropolises and 13 percent in small towns admitted to having extramarital sex. A whopping 58 percent of men in big cities agreed that increasing access to sex contributed to infidelity while 40 percent from small towns thought likewise. In addition, 60 percent of women in small towns and nearly 50 percent in metropolises felt they had equal say in sexual matters. Another remarkable discovery was that 38 percent of small town women and 24 of women in big cities never used contraceptives during or after sexual intercourse. "Things have changed to such a large extent in India ... The fact that we are talking about all these issues shows we are not prudish about talking about sex. We are taking the cringe factor out of sex," actress Koel Purie and host told DW. Tantric sex guru Ma Ananda Sarita sought to put things into perspective, emphasizing that Indians need to reclaim the joys of Tantra to combat the dreariness of the pursuit of power and money. In her reckoning, women's needs revolved around love, companionship and intimacy, whereas men tended to seek physical pleasure. "This is the home of Tantra, yet it's forgotten. My mission is to bring it back to India," she said.She also noted that women were getting increasingly comfortable with the idea of speaking up and making demands in their relationships. "The big game changers are women. They are confident, successful, and are economically independent. They are not ashamed of claiming their space in the sexual context," columnist Shobhaa De told DW. According to the survey, almost 14 percent of women living in small towns and big cities fantasized about having more than one sexual partner simultaneously. Sociologist Sanjay Srivastava, who has done pioneering work on sexuality and sexual cultures in India, felt that attitudes of female sexual behavior and attitudes surrounding sexuality had changed considerably. "I think women want different kinds of sex as opposed to men wanting the traditional forms of sex. Women now demand more from their relationships with men," Srivastava told DW. Many speakers at the conference agreed that there was great deal of anxiety among Indians regarding their sexuality as they were trying to rediscover their roles in the newly emerging sexual landscape.

Pakistanis can't travel abroad without polio vaccination

Three more polio cases have been reported in Killa Abdullah district of Balochistan on Friday as the report of Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) of the Global Polio Eradication banned Pakistanis from travelling abroad without confirmation of vaccination against poliovirus. A six-member World Health Organisation (WHO) delegation, comprising of four international and two national experts, led by Muhammadi Muhammad came to Quetta to find polio cases in Balochistan. Muhammad told media that at least four cases of polio have been reported in the province, three of them on November 29 in Killa Abdullah district. He identified two causes for spread of poliovirus – rear virus of polio and the delay of polio campaign. The polio campaign has been delayed for the last two months, he said and added that 10 cases of type 2 have also been detected which are not being considered polio cases by the WHO. Muhammad said three polio campaigns would be launched in three districts of Balochistan – Killa Abudllah, Quetta and Pishin. The campaigns will run from December 10 to 12, December 23 to 25 and January 7 to 9, respectively.

Can’t start Kalabagh Dam on court order

Daily Times
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Saturday said that the Kalabagh project could not be launched with an executive or judicial order. Talking to a private news channel, the PM said that Pakistan was a federation of four units and all such important projects should be initiated with consensus. He said that some people were raising the Kalabagh dam issue at the time when elections were just round the corner. But such people had done nothing when they were in power for long periods of time, he added. The prime minister said that the three provincial assemblies had passed resolutions with consensus against the dam’s construction and discussions on the issue, which creates hatred, should be avoided. He said the first elected government was going to complete its tenure, which was a good omen, and would have a far-reaching impact on the country’s politics and democracy. Raja Pervez Ashraf said that elections would be held on stipulated time and the date would be announced in consultation with the leader of the opposition. He said that like the consensus appointment of the chief election commissioner, both the government and the opposition would work for strengthening the system. About the creation of southern Punjab province, the prime minister said that it was not a political or electioneering slogan but a genuine demand of the people of the region. He said that the government had taken all possible steps and formed a commission for the creation of new provinces. The stakeholders should not create hurdles in the creation of southern Punjab province, he added. To a question about government’s borrowing, the prime minister said that there was a big difference in perception and reality. The federal government had contained its expenditures, but the provinces had increased their expenses, even getting more funds under the 7th NFC Award. Despite inflation, the government’s expenditures have increased just by seven per cent, he added. The prime minister said that when the government came to power, the country was importing wheat, but now the commodity was being exported, earning foreign exchange. He said the government has provided food security to the people. The PM said that Balochistan was his government’s top priority. It is doing its best to restore law and order situation there and resolve other issues politically, he added. He said that the government had evolved a new policy of postings and transfers to appoint the most competent officers in Balochistan. All the development projects have been prioritised in the province, while special focus is being given on the early completion of Katchi Canal, he said and added that the Gwadar Port was being linked with Ratodero. He said that the government’s initiatives for the uplift of Balochistan were bringing positive results. Talking about the upcoming elections, the PM said that the government is determined to hold free, fair and independent election in the country. About the law and order situation of Karachi, the prime minister said that though the law and order issue was a provincial matter but the federal government was making all-out efforts to maintain the law and order in the port city. Regarding the issue of a Turkish power plant, Karkay, he said that the government would approach the apex court and request for an investor- friendly decision on the issue. agencies

'Al Qaeda-linked' Yemeni among four Pakistan drone strike dead

A missile fired from a drone killed four people, including a Yemeni fighter linked to al-Qaeda, when it hit their car in northern Pakistan on Saturday evening, intelligence and tribal sources said. The strike at Sheen Warsak village in South Waziristan followed another drone attack in the same area two days earlier. A Yemeni fighter called Abdul Rehman, allied to al-Qaeda, was among the dead, government and intelligence sources said. It is difficult for journalists to verify the casualties from drone strikes since the government forbids foreign journalists from travelling to the area without a military escort and the Taliban often seal off the sites of strikes. Many Pakistanis say the strikes are a violation of national sovereignty and that civilian casualties encourage families seeking revenge to join the insurgency. But the U.S. says civilian deaths are minimal and the drones operatr in areas outside of Pakistani government control.

Forget about Kalabagh Dam

Federal minister for religious affairs Khursheed Shah has said that chief minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif and The PML (N) can forget about building the Kalabagh Dam. The People’s Party and the people of Sind will not allow the construction of this dam at any cost. Adressing a public meeting in Pano Aqil near Sukkur, Khursheed Shah said that people of three provinces have rejected the Kalabagh Dam and when chief of PML (N) Nawaz Shareef announced the Kalabagh Dam project in 2008, Benazir Bhutto along with the people protested against it. He further said that the decision to build the Kalabagh Dam will be taken by the Parliament, political parties and the Council of Common Interest (CCI). He also said that building dams is the responsibility of the government and not the courts. He emphasized that his party will save Pakistan and will not allow any project that is against the interest of Pakistan and the Federation.

Aids fight in Pakistan suffers from bureaucratic inefficiency

Approximately 98,000 people are HIV positive in Pakistan, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), with some reports putting the figure at over 100,000. The epidemic is spreading from a ‘concentrated’ one, where the disease is limited to a certain vulnerable group, to a ‘generalised’ one where more than one per cent of the population is HIV positive. In Pakistan, as with most of Asia, the most vulnerable groups are injecting drug users (IDUs), transgender and female sex workers and as the global standards for measuring epidemics go, the disease is now spreading from these groups to the general public. Talking to The Express Tribune Dr Quaid Saeed, head of the WHO Blood Safety and Hepatitis Programme, Pakistan is transitioning through a very crucial stage in the control of HIV epidemic where there is a window of opportunity that can be availed. The disease can be stopped from further spread in high risk groups by providing them efficient harm reduction services. However, as the disease escalates in the country, the government’s strategies to counter it are falling victim to bureaucratic mismanagement. The National Aids Control Programme (NACP) has been unable to organize a lot of its activities due to severe paucity of funds. The programme, which runs on government funding, was broken down into provincial and federal units after the devolution of the Ministry of Health under the 18 Amendment in June 2011. Most functions of the NACP were passed on to the provinces but without proper planning causing bureaucratic confusion.
At the federal level, the programme is supposed to be the recipient for international funding, to prepare proposals for and liaise with international agencies for partnerships and importantly, provide technical and material resources to the provinces which could control the disease and conduct close surveillance. However, since the devolution no awareness campaigns or sessions have been organised by the federal NACP. The programme has also been unable to pay salaries to its 30 odd employees since June. On October 4, a store-keeper with the NACP Mohammad Razaq, tried to set himself on fire in protest. Razzaq, 43, who is diabetic, has been an employee of the NACP for 22 years.
Given this status of the main Aids fighting body, Pakistan’s ability to achieve the Millennium Development Goal to limit the spread of the disease by 2015 seems like a tall order. The Planning and Development Division (P&D), responsible for disbursing government funds to the NACP, has been delaying the release of funds, as according to it the necessary paperwork is incomplete. International donors like the World Bank and Department for International Development (DFID) withdrew their support for the NACP in 2010 after the floods, in what is described as a major setback for the programme. Dr Saeed said the services provided by the NACP for high risk groups have seen a marked reduction in the last few years because of diminishing resources, devolution of the health ministry and lack of capacity in the provinces. “It is time that we take control of this situation and give due attention to this impending threat to our nation before it is too late,” he said. Dr Saeed went on to state that because of NACP’s inability to manage the Aids programme efficiently there is a poor record keeping of those affected with Aids, their location and status.

Global ‘Aids Awareness Day’ being observed today

The world today observes ‘AIDS Awareness Day’ to highlight the facts and clear myths associated with the disease and help the patients in a speedy recovery. Reports suggest that one cannot catch the disease only by coming in contact with the patients or in looking after them. They also say that there is a serious need of understanding the causes behind the disease and spreading awareness to refrain from them. HIV/AIDS is an immunity-affecting syndrome that, if untreated, can cause gradual death of a person. It is primarily caused by unprotected sexual intercourse. It is stressed that one should remain limited to his/her spouse in sexual relations to avoid catching the disease and live a healthy life.

Lahore Airport,garbage hub: Litter mars airport’s ‘int’l standard

Allama Iqbal International Airport reflects a sorry state of affairs, giving a picture of a garbage hub similar to that of a bus-stand instead of meeting the criterion of an international airport. Owing to security threats, all dustbins have been removed from the vicinity which has resulted in littering in all corners. At the same time, airport authorities have been giving out contracts to more and more snack outlets which have become a popular hangout place for those who come to pick and drop their friends and family. These outlets are always crowded by people, which in itself is a threat from the security perspective where a terrorist strike could be carried out without much difficulty, Pakistan Today observed. In addition, the prices of goods at these shops are exponentially higher than market rates. A 1.5 litre cold drink for example, which is available for Rs 70 all across the country, is being sold for Rs 150 at these shops. Similarly, a cup of tea costs Rs 40, coffee Rs 90 and a pack of cigarettes which is sold at Rs 75 elsewhere costs Rs 100 at airport outlets. All goods at these contracted outlets are being sold at 50 to 70 percent above market rates without any check or accountability. Anwar Rasheed, a resident of Iqbal Town, while talking to Pakistan Today expressed his disappointment over cleanliness at the airport. “The cleanliness here should be exemplary so that people coming from abroad get a decent impression of the country,” he said. He was of the opinion that blocking and clearing roads did not eliminate terrorism, instead there was a need for proper implementation of discipline. Another resident of the city, Jabir, opined that discipline was lacking in all institutions of the country. “Why do you expect affairs to be any different here?” he said. “They get paid hundreds of thousands in salaries and come to their air-conditioned offices to warm their seats. What impression would this mess give to foreigners visiting the country? If the airports here are such a mess then you can very well imagine the state of other places,” he added. A shopkeeper at the airport, on condition of anonymity, said that goods are expensive here because officials extort money out of them. “The contracts here are so pricey that we have no option but to sell goods at an extra margin. These men in white uniforms have a civilised way of extorting money from us,” he said. An Airport Security Force personnel told Pakistan Today on the condition of anonymity that presence of such a large number of people did pose a serious security risk. “Take a look around and see for yourself the heaps of litter lying at various spots. The administration removed the dustbins as a safety precaution but what if someone places a cracker or bomb in the litter? We are vigilant but despite our best efforts there’s still a chance of someone carrying out their sinister plot in the cover of the huge crowds that build up here every hour of the day,” he said. Civil Aviation Authority Public Relations Officer Malik Kamran told Pakistan Today that a contract bid for an outlet starts around Rs 400,000. He further maintained that the prices at these shops are not much different from market rates. He was of the view that security arrangements are appropriate and working fine. Responding to a question, he said he would give complete details regarding all queries once a “written document” was faxed to him.

FM to meet Hillary Clinton in Brussels visit

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar will lead an official delegation to Brussels December 3-4 and will also meet U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Foreign Ministry said Saturday. Khar and Clinton will hold discussions on bilateral relations, and exchange views on the "way forward to achieve common objectives of peace and stability in the region," a Foreign Ministry statement said. The foreign minister will be accompanied by Pakistani Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani. During her stay in Brussels, Foreign Minister Khar will hold discussions with her Belgian counterpart Didier Reynders on Pakistan-Belgium bilateral relations. She will meet European Union's High Representative Lady Catherine Ashton, Secretary General NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen and EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. The delegation will also interact with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament.

Sindh will never accept Kalabagh Dam

The Express Tribune News
Criticising the Lahore High Court’s decision on Kalabagh Dam, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah said his province will never accept the contentious power project, Express News reported on Saturday. Speaking to media at the Sukkur airport, Shah said it was condemnable that old issues such as the Kalabagh Dam project were brought up. Highlighting water scarcity in the country, the chief minister said that the controversial project was a matter of life and death for the people of Sindh. He further criticised people for only protesting against issues that can be solved through simple amendments in the laws but are staying silent on the Kalabagh issue. Kalabagh Dam is against national interest Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said that the project was against national interest. Addressing a press conference in Peshawar, Hussain said the Kalabagh Dam project can hurt the country badly. He also said that three provinces are against the project and the Supreme Court should immediately take notice and nullify the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) decision. Hussain pointed out that the 18th amendment allows provinces to take decision with regards to construction of dams.

Kalabagh Dam : It is not simply a dam

Daily Times
A thorny issue such as Kalabagh Dam (KBD) cannot possibly be made on the stroke of a court’s order. A legal rationale is not that simple to follow in the case of this particular problem that has transcended the economic and technical realm to become a topic of political contention. As some political parties have rightly said, unless there is a consensus on building this dam among the three dissenting provinces, barring Punjab, not a single brick can be laid. Notwithstanding the fact that huge financial resources have been wasted in the feasibility reports of KBD and a similar amount of political energy has been wasted on the discourse towards this end, unless there is unanimity, these resources matter little in the long run when weighed against the ruction the Lahore High Court’s (LHC’s) decision has sparked off once again. The order of the LHC binding the Council of Common Interests to implement its 1991 and 1998 decisions about the construction of KBD in the interests of the people of Pakistan who are facing a severe energy crises owing to unavailability and insufficient use of natural resources, in this case water, that could be used in the production of electricity is thoroughly rejected by nearly everyone in the country. There has been a strike in Sindh and a renewed discussion of Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa versus Punjab has erupted. The long held belief of Sindh regarding the degradation of its deltaic region, the desertification of Sindh in case the water of its canals is withdrawn, and the effects on the Mangrove forests had not been amply addressed and there is no way that Sindh, which is already feeling deprived of its share of water from the Indus, would agree to the building of KBD. The apprehensions of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa revolve around persuasive arguments of shortages and water logging respectively, which again have not been addressed to their satisfaction, as simplistically thought by the CCI or now the LHC. The issue has a political dimension and has the potential of damaging the sprit and solidarity of the federation that requires harmony amongst the provinces. There is no doubt that Pakistan is facing some crucial issues as far as energy is concerned. And we are in dire need of solutions to this crisis because our economy is entirely dependent on how quickly, efficiently and effectively we deal with this persistent problem. It is in this regard that the court has invoked Articles 9 and 25 of the constitution that enjoins the federation to make life easier for its people hence the order to construct KBD. Still the truth is that the remedy for the electricity crisis does not only lie with the building of KBD. The other part of the truth is that the country’s agricultural economy and its ecosystem are under strain because of water shortages being inequitably shared amongst the provinces. This lies at the heart of the resistance to KBD. Without addressing this issue, KBD will remain a pipedream, the LHC and CCI’s wisdom notwithstanding. With three provincial Assemblies unanimously having rejected KBD repeatedly, it would be the height of recklessness and folly to proceed and thereby invite a veritable storm the country cannot afford.

Kalabagh Dam: LHC order impossible

The Frontier Post
The Lahore High Court decision directing the federal government to initiate work for building the proposed Kalabagh Dam is not going to find support from any major political player in the country. And without strong and well spread support, the project is undoable. One, however, cannot but appreciate the stance of Punjab CM for restraining from using the decision as a license to push for the dam; rather, he has chosen the option of'Kalabagh Dam yes but not at the cost of Pakistan.' The mainstay of the LHC decision is the approval of the project over two decades ago by the Council of Common Interests (CCI). The judges have directed the Islamabad government to implement the CCI decision in this regard. It would have been a much better verdict, if it had contained an order to take a fresh decision from CCI on the issue. After all, circumstances change with the passage of time and a decision taken in 1989 might not be suitable in the changed conditions. At the time, the CCI was approving the project in 1989, The Frontier Post had organised a seminar in Abbotabad on the subject. The seminar ran uninterrupted for 17 hours and had representation from all the provinces, including those from the Saraiki belt. The representatives of all areas, including those from Hazara, had rejected the project. Former finance minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, NWFP then, Nawabzada Mohsin Ali Khan, quoting ex-chairman Wapda Nasir ul Mulk, had said, during the seminar, the dam water would stand twenty-six feet high from Khushalgarh Bridge and definitely flood Kohat district; the inundation of Nowshera district and adjoining areas a far-gone conclusion. The proposed site of the dam is also located in a salty mountain range. If the dam is built, the seepage of water will dissolve the salt and make the mountains there unstable; also, the salt will reach underground creating the twin problems of salinity and water-logging in vast stretches of the surrounding land. Quoting the same source, Mohsin Ali had said there was no provision even for a glass of water for KP in the design of the dam other than the sure eventuality of large inhabited areas of the province coming under water or being plagued by water-logging and salinity. The objection of those from the province of Sindh was that there was not enough water in the system for further storage. Sindh representatives also expressed the apprehensions, narrating their past experiences that the water stored in Kalabagh Dam would be used for irrigating Punjab land. They also said Sindh being tail riparian the land there would be deprived of water and the meagre amount of river water which fell in the sea would not be available. Though to many the water that falls in the sea is wasted that, however, is not the case: river water pushes the seawater back and stops it from flowing into land. Currently, there is not enough water flowing from the rivers to push back the sea, which has resulted in the salty seawater making hundreds of thousands of acres of Sindh land barren. There are many more objections of the people of the three minority provinces on the design, purpose and location of the project. Politically, the fact that the assemblies of three provinces have passed resolutions against it-- should be enough to give a rest to the proposal for the dam until such time when a consensus is reached.

Kalabagh Dam: National consensus vital before going ahead with construction

Radio Pakistan
Minister for Information and Broadcasting says construction of Kalabagh Dam is a political issue and judiciary should not give verdicts on the issue Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira has said that the government fully respects the judiciary as independent judiciary is vital for democracy. Speaking at a function in Wazirabad on Saturday he said construction of Kalabagh Dam is a political issue and judiciary should not give verdicts on the issue. He said such judgments could lead to criticism of the courts and we don't want that to happen. The Minister said national consensus is vital before going ahead with the construction of Kalabagh Dam. He said such issues are usually resolved in Council of Common Interest through political consensus. The Information Minister said the government will provide every possible security to the journalists enabling them to perform their professional duties. To a question‚ he said the PPP and its ally PML-Q will contest next general elections jointly. He said talks are also underway with other political parties for seats adjustment.

US welcomes Pakistan’s decision to extend MFN status to India

The US has welcomed Pakistan’s decision to extend the most-favoured nation status to India and commended its recent moves to expand its economic co-operation with neighbours.
“The US welcomed the Government of Pakistan’s plans to extend most-favoured-nation status to India by the end of the year,” the US State Department said in a statement at the conclusion of the US-Pakistan Economic and Finance Working Group meeting, which was co-chaired by the Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides and the Pak Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh. “The United States commended Pakistan’s recent efforts to expand economic cooperation with its neighbours. Both sides discussed ways to improve trade and transit with Afghanistan and the Central Asian republics, citing the importance of enhanced trade for the region’s stability and prosperity,” said the State Department at the conclusion of the working group meeting that focused on expanding bilateral economic engagement, particularly in the areas of trade and investment. Both sides committed to broadening private sector ties between their two countries, the State Department said. “Nides highlighted the US Government’s many initiatives in this area — including a Pakistan investment conference in London hosted by the Office of the US Trade Representative in October, the launch of the Pakistan Private Investment Initiative, and a series of conferences and virtual meetings devoted to training and mentoring Pakistan’s entrepreneurs,” it said. In other meetings, senior State Department officials and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah also highlighted the positive results of ongoing civilian assistance programmes in Pakistan, including significant contributions in sectors critical to economic growth — such as the addition of more than 400 MW of capacity to Pakistan’s power grid and the construction of over 650 km of roads to date. “Both sides agreed that Pakistan’s prosperity is predicated on energy sector reform; the US welcomed Pakistan’s commitment to undertake the reforms needed to attract greater investment,” the State Department said.

Saudi cleric under fire for labelling waitresses as ‘prostitutes’

A Twitter post ignited a battle of arguments over a post tweeted by a Saudi cleric describing the newly-introduced waitress at a fast-food restaurant in Saudi Arabia as “prostitutes”. The debated topic sparked when Saudi Sheikh Ali Al Mutairi reacted to a number of Saudi tweets calling for the boycott of popular American fast-food restaurant, Hardee’s. The reason? The burger chain had recently allowed women – for the first time – to work as waitresses at their branches across the coastal city of Jeddah. “At the beginning of her shift she’s a waitress. When her shift ends she becomes a prostitute. The more she’s around men the easier it becomes to get closer to her”, tweeted Al-Mutairi, whose twitter account (@4aalmutairi ) boasts more than 5,000 followers. Despite this cleric’s views reflecting an existing frustration amongst some conservative segments in Saudi Arabia which oppose women’s right to work and fear that allowing females to mix with men may lead to unwanted social behaviours, Mutari’s rather controversial tweet was deemed too extreme to many Saudis on Twitter. “Prostitution is not in working trying to survive but it is in corrupted minds that use religion to distort other’s reputation,” posted one male in response to Mutar’s tweet. “Prostitute? So any female employee in my country is a whore now?” wrote a female tweep by the handle of @Sulafa_97.Many commented by telling Sheikh Al Mutairi that through doubting the morality of ‘chaste’ women and describing them in the way he did, the cleric would be committing a serious vice, according to well-known Islamic teachings. Another tweep posted pictures of some Hardee’s waitresses posted over social media by saying “These women are all covered up that I wouldn’t look at them, plus if your sister goes to that restaurant would you prefer a man or a woman taking her order?” Despite the reaction to Sheikh Al-Mutairi’s views being mostly critical, there were some supportive tweets like one which says, “We know your intention and we give you the benefit of the doubt; stay as you are, a splinter in the throats of liberals”. As reactions mounted and a hashtag was created to discuss his tweet, Al-Mutairi replied to many of his critics saying: “In the name of God, I have seen this hashtag and some are asking to apologise because they think I have defamed Hardee’s waitresses – the truth is I warned from the dangers of sexes mixing, at the beginning she is a waitress and in the end they will want her to become a prostitute and between are the devil’s steps”, tweeted the sheikh. “As for hypocrites who shave their beards and moustache (a common way of describing liberals in Saudi Arabia), there is no apology for them because their zeal isn’t for God,” he added. The Saudi Ministry of Labour has been implementing a strategy which aims at creating more job opportunities and workplaces for women. However, segregation of sexes is applied in most public venues across Saudi Arabia.

Young Immigrants Say It’s Obama’s Time to Act

NEW HAVEN — It has been a good year for young immigrants living in the country without legal papers, the ones who call themselves Dreamers. Their protests and pressure helped push President Obama to offer many of them reprieves from deportation. So far about 310,000 youths have emerged from the shadows to apply, with numbers rising rapidly. Door-knocking campaigns led by those immigrants, who could not vote, mobilized many Latinos who could, based in no small part on the popularity of the reprieve program. After Latinos rewarded Mr. Obama with 71 percent of their votes, the president said one of the first items on his agenda next year would be a bill to legalize 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, which would offer a path to citizenship for young people. Behind the political momentum, administration officials and advocates say, is an extensive and surprisingly adroit movement of youthful immigrants. Because of their illegal status, however, they have often been more influential than they have been visible. In the past two years, they pursued their goal of legal recognition through a calibrated strategy of quiet negotiations, public “coming-out” events where youths declared their status, and escalating street protests. Now, movement leaders say, it is payback time. When Congress last debated broad reform, in 2007, populist energy was on the side of those opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants. Angry resistance from Republicans defeated a legalization proposal by President George W. Bush. This time the young immigrants are the rising force, and they seek legislation to give them a direct and permanent path to citizenship. But recalling that Mr. Obama also promised at the start of his first term to move swiftly on immigration overhaul, they say their attitude toward him is wait-and-see. “People are not going to hug the president right now,” said Carlos Saavedra, 26, an immigrant from Peru and national coordinator of United We Dream, the largest network of young immigrants here illegally. “They are waiting for him to take some action.” This weekend, United We Dream will gather more than 600 leaders (most still without legal status) from 30 states at a meeting in Kansas City, Mo., to work out their strategy to keep the heat on the White House and Congress during the coming immigration fight. Even some adversaries acknowledge the youth movement’s successes. “They have framed their story in a very popular way, and they’ve leveraged that story very effectively,” said Roy S. Beck, executive director of NumbersUSA, a leading group opposing amnesty. There have been other banner moments this year for young people who take their name from the Dream Act, a bill before Congress that would create a formal path to citizenship for young people here illegally who came to this country as children. In June, Jose Antonio Vargas, a journalist born in the Philippines, appeared on the cover of Time magazine along with a dozen others without legal status. In August, Benita Veliz, who is from Mexico, spoke at the Democratic National Convention about growing up without legal status. Overcoming Fear The high profile is recent for organizers whose work has often been clandestine. In the early years of the movement, even convening a meeting was a challenge, since so many youths, lacking papers, could not fly or drive without risking deportation. “They put at risk their own safety and being sent back to a country they haven’t seen since they were in diapers,” said Angela Kelley, an advocate and veteran of many immigration wars on Capitol Hill, now at the Democratic-leaning Center for American Progress in Washington. For many Dream leaders, activism began in the last years of high school, when they realized that their status might prevent them from going to college. Here in New Haven, Lorella Praeli, the director of advocacy for United We Dream, said she was 2 years old when she came from Peru. Her father brought her for medical treatment after her leg was amputated following a car crash. Ms. Praeli attended Quinnipiac University on scholarship, and she graduated last year with honors. Now 24, she said exasperation with Congress’s inaction on the Dream Act propelled her to join the movement. Mr. Saavedra, from Boston, was in high school in 2004 when he joined a campaign for an in-state resident college tuition discount for illegal immigrants in Massachusetts. He said he became a full-time activist after the bill passed the state legislature but was vetoed by the governor, Mitt Romney. Gaby Pacheco, 27, originally from Ecuador, hoped to teach children with autism, but without papers could not be certified. In 2010 she joined a four-month protest walk from her home in Miami to Washington with three other students. In California, Justino Mora, 23 and Mexican-born, was an honors student and track team captain in high school. Because of his status, Mr. Mora said, he had to postpone college studies in aerospace engineering. He joined a California branch of the Dream network. The leaders had another moment of truth when they publicly revealed their illegal status. Ms. Praeli’s moment came before television cameras at a news conference called at the last minute in New Haven in 2010. “I wasn’t prepared and I’m thinking, I haven’t even talked to my mom yet,” she said. Improvising, she recounted her personal story. Soon, she felt relief. “Once you’re out in public,” she said, “there is no hiding, there is no fake narrative. The overwhelming feeling is, I don’t have to worry about being someone I’m not.” The Power of Stories United We Dream was founded in 2009 by local groups that banded together into a national network. The leaders realized that encouraging young people to recount the stories of their lives in hiding and of their thwarted aspirations could be liberating for them, and also compelling for skeptical Americans. Now, in tactical sessions, young immigrants are trained to tell their stories to anyone who will listen, from a voter to a United States senator. Two years ago Dreamer groups began holding coming-out ceremonies where students defied the immigration authorities with signs announcing they were “undocumented and unafraid.” “One of our successes has been that we have created a shared identity about being a Dreamer,” said Cristina Jimenez, 28, who was born in Ecuador and graduated from Queens College in New York and is now the managing director of United We Dream. A turning point for the movement was the lame-duck session of Congress in late 2010. The Dream Act passed the House of Representatives. In the Senate, it failed by five votes. More than 200 immigrants watched from the Senate gallery. “A lot of us stepped out of the gallery and we were crying,” Ms. Praeli said. “And it was like that, I think, for five minutes. And then the attitude just changed.” Many left Washington feeling more determined, she said. Ms. Pacheco said she concluded that day that it was time to shift strategies. The House majority would pass to Republicans, who rejected the Dream Act as a reward to immigrant lawbreakers. The movement would have to concentrate on the president, Ms. Pacheco believed, to press him to stop deportations using executive powers. In a meeting after the vote with Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, Ms. Pacheco said she grabbed him and whispered in his ear. “You know the president has the power to stop deporting us,” she said. “You know you could tell him to do this.” Startled, Mr. Reid gave her a hug and walked away. In March 2011, United We Dream gathered hundreds of youths at a meeting in Memphis, a city chosen for its connection with the civil rights movement. The group embraced the strategy of focusing on the president. By early 2011, more than one million people had been deported under Mr. Obama’s administration. The immigrants were convinced a president who had overseen so many deportations could stop them. Mr. Obama saw the results in July in Washington, at the annual conference of N.C.L.R., or the National Council of La Raza. When he said in a speech that he could not bypass Congress to help young illegal immigrants, activists in the audience erupted in shouts: “Yes you can! Yes you can!” In the summer of 2011, administration officials began to ease up on enforcement, steering federal agents to concentrate their efforts on removing immigrants who had been convicted of crimes. Seizing that leverage, Dreamer groups stopped dozens of deportations, getting news coverage and rallying communities around young people facing removal. That made more young immigrants feel confident they could protest without being detained, Ms. Jimenez said. New organizations, including the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, embraced confrontational tactics, inviting arrest with sit-ins on streets and in public offices. In the spring of this year, United We Dream held demonstrations in two dozen cities. A group of walkers set out from San Francisco, heading to Denver where they occupied the office of the Obama campaign. The political equation changed when Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a Republican, said in April that he was preparing a new bill to give visas to young immigrants. Ms. Pacheco met with Mr. Rubio and his staff, and United We Dream praised his efforts. Emboldened Worried, White House officials scheduled a meeting in mid-April with United We Dream leaders. In a Washington church (since illegal immigrants could not enter the White House), Valerie Jarrett, the president’s senior adviser, and Cecilia Muñoz, the domestic policy adviser, insisted that Mr. Obama had no legal authority to issue an order granting deportation protection. “With all due respect,” Ms. Praeli replied, “I disagree.” According to several participants, an emboldened Ms. Praeli confronted the officials. “I was talking about the president’s authority; that was my role, challenging him,” Ms. Praeli said. In late May, Dreamer group leaders marshaled more than 90 immigration law professors to sign a letter to Mr. Obama specifying legal precedents he could evoke for a large-scale program deferring deportations. United We Dream announced new protests with civil disobedience, the first to be held in Los Angeles on June 15. That day, President Obama announced the reprieve program, officially known as deferred action for childhood arrivals. The two-year deferrals provide no legal status. Senior administration officials noted that Mr. Obama did not issue an executive order, instead framing the program as a further easing of his deportation policy. To Dream leaders, the victory was theirs. “It was a lot of emotions, full of tears,” Ms. Jimenez said. “We worked so hard, and we got something.” In Los Angeles, about 300 students went ahead with their protest, blocking a busy intersection. “We wanted to make sure the program goes well and we actually see change happen,” said Mr. Mora, the California activist who took part. Dreamer groups quickly began organizing legal clinics to advise immigrants on applying for the two-year deferrals and work permits, which would let them be employed legally for the first time. As youths came forward, the groups recruited them, with many sent to mobilize voters in battleground states. “We were just using our stories to motivate people to go to the polls,” Mr. Saavedra said. This week United We Dream flexed its muscle, rejecting as “a cynical political gesture” a bill proposed by two Republican senators, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Jon Kyl of Arizona, that would have offered visas but no path to citizenship. Now they are watching Mr. Obama. “The president must deliver change on immigration,” Ms. Jimenez said. “Dreamers will hold him accountable on that.”