Thursday, December 6, 2012
A health worker gives a dose of polio vaccine to a child in Afghanistan, one of just three countries where polio is still endemic. Only two thirds of children in Kapisa are vaccinated
Activists denounce Egyptian president's call for dialogue as he refuses to delay constitutional referendum.Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has addressed the nation amid ongoing unrest, and while he called for dialogue and offered sympathy for the deaths of the protesters, he offered few concessions and dismissed his political opposition. His speech on Thursday night prompted immediate angry reactions from protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square and elsewhere, who yelled "leave!" and chanted other anti-Morsi slogans. Morsi proposed a meeting on Saturday with political leaders, "revolutionary youth" and legal figures to discuss the way forward, but a leading activist group rejected the offer, and fresh demonstrations were called for Friday. The "April 6" movement, which played a prominent role in igniting the revolt against former President Hosni Mubarak said on its Facebook page that Friday's protests would deliver a "red card" to Morsi. The unrest began after Morsi issued a decree on November 22 granting him wide-ranging powers which are not subject to judicial review. Protests reached a peak on Wednesday, when seven died and more than 770 were injured during hours of clashes outside the presidential palace. Supporters of the president attacked a group of opposition protesters staging a peaceful sit-in, using firebombs, clubs and guns, according to witnesses. In his speech, Morsi called the violence "regrettable," and blamed it on "infiltrators" funded by unnamed third parties. "Such painful events happened because of political differences that should be resolved through dialogue," he said. "I call for a full, productive dialogue with all figures and heads of parties, revolutionary youth and senior legal figures to meet this Saturday". 'People can have their say' Earlier in the day, the Cairo headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group that propelled Morsi to victory in a June election, was set ablaze. Other offices of its political party were attacked. But the president offered only a few half-measures and no meaningful concessions to an increasingly angry opposition. Opposition leaders have called on Morsi to delay a constitutional referendum planned for December 15, and to revoke his decree. Morsi did say he "would not insist" on keeping the most controversial provision, article 6, which shields his decisions from review. Morsi also invited the opposition to what he called a "comprehensive and productive dialogue" on Saturday. But he said the referendum would proceed as planned, so that "people can have their say." "Let them vote yes or no," said Morsi. The president said he will supervise the formation of a new constituent assembly if the draft is rejected. Critics say the 100-member panel that drafted the document was dominated by Islamists and unrepresentative of Egyptian society. Nearly two dozen members, including liberals and representatives of the Coptic Church, have resigned over the last few weeks. Despite the opposition, though, the draft is widely expected to be approved. It has the support of the Muslim Brotherhood, by far the best-organised political force in Egypt, and several other Islamist factions as well. Morsi was the Brotherhood's presidential candidate, and a former head of the movement's Freedom and Justice Party. 'They took advantage' Leading opposition figures, including Mohamed ElBaradei, Hamdeen Sabbahi and Amr Moussa, blamed Morsi for the deaths, which many witnesses said began after protesters loyal to the president charged the opposition. Morsi insisted that the violence was caused by a minority of protesters who received "black money" and weapons from unnamed parties. "They took advantage of the situation," he said, without elaborating. Senior officials from the Brotherhood have spent the last two weeks insisting that members of Mubarak's regime are trying to overthrow Morsi - though none have been able to describe any specific plots. The unrest has turned into the worst political crisis of Morsi's five-month-old tenure. Protesters have camped out for days outside his palace, and in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Seven of Morsi's senior advisers have resigned in the past two weeks, including four since Wednesday's violence.
The Express Tribune
The Express TribunePresident Asif Ali Zardari
President Asif Ali Zardari called on the Executive Director of Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham to know wellbeing of Malala Yousaf Zai, SAMAA reports. According to the Spokesman of the Presidency, Dr. Kevin Balgar, the Executive Director of Queen Elizabeth Hospital, updated President Zardari about Malala’s health and facilities being rendered to her at the hospital. Malala Yousaf Zai’s health is promising and she is recovering gradually, Dr Kevin informed President Zardari while saying that Malala will take some time to recover fully.
http://themoscownews.comRussian President Vladimir Putin has slid one position in the Forbes’ most powerful people list and came third, after US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The White House holds firm as Republicans are forced into the awkward position of threatening a tax increase for all to preserve lower taxes for the wealthy.President Obama brushed off the latest Republican gambit to gain leverage in averting the so-called fiscal cliff, bluntly telling business chief executives in a speech Wednesday, "I'm not going to play that game." That flash of swagger reflects growing White House confidence about its position in the year-end showdown over scheduled spending cuts and tax increases. With less than a month to act and the wind of an electoral victory at their back, White House officials think they are boxing in Republicans. The White House credits its strategy crafted from painful lessons of past go-rounds with the Republican-led House. Rather than engaging intensely with the GOP leadership in high-profile meetings, Obama has sought to isolate Republicans and pump up the pressure from all sides. He has picked a red line and is sticking to it. And now he's waiting. "The only time these guys have ever moved on something is when they have felt the outside pressure," said an Obama advisor who requested anonymity to discuss strategy. Both sides say they are working to defuse the scheme of tax increases and budget cuts they enacted to force themselves to reach a larger deficit reduction deal. Experts say that if nothing is done, the double blow could send the economy back into recession. For now, though, the president has reason to be resolute, even as Republicans call on him to counter their latest offer. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner underscored that position Wednesday in an interview on CNBC. The administration is "absolutely" ready to go over the "fiscal cliff" if Republicans refuse to raise tax rates on the wealthy, he said. "There's no prospect in an agreement that doesn't involve those rates going up on the top 2% of the wealthiest Americans," he said. Public polling shows a majority of Americans not only support the president's push to allow tax rates to rise on top earners but are prepared to hold the GOP responsible if negotiations fail. A new poll from the Washington Post and Pew Research Center found that 53% of Americans said Republicans should be blamed if there is no deal, compared with 27% who would blame the president. Obama's stance has bred discord and frustration among Republicans on Capitol Hill who find themselves in the politically awkward position of threatening a tax increase for all to preserve lower taxes for the wealthy. Tension bubbled up this week as Republicans floated a new strategy that would involve reviving a threat to let the U.S. default on its debt payments. Under that scenario, Republicans would agree to raise taxes on the wealthiest 2% of taxpayers, as the president has demanded, but would defer talks about a larger deficit reduction package until the new year, when Obama would need their votes to avoid a federal default on the debt. Republicans could then demand concessions on the federal budget in return for voting to raise the nation's debt limit. "The debt ceiling is hanging out there, and the debt ceiling is the next point of leverage," said Rep. Steve King, a conservative Republican from Iowa. "The president does not fear the fiscal cliff. He's concerned about who's going to get the blame. But he doesn't fear the cliff." A spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) also suggested that Republicans would try to extract spending cuts in return for a debt limit increase. "We agree there is no reason for drama surrounding a debt limit increase. All that is required is the president getting serious about spending cuts," said Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck. In his CNBC interview, Geithner said the administration would insist that any agreement include an increase in the debt ceiling. Obama and Boehner spoke on the phone Wednesday. Neither side disclosed details of the call. Obama's strategy involves risks. His repeated attempts to bludgeon Republicans on taxes while offering no new concessions has engendered little goodwill, and he will need some Republican votes soon. And his declaration that he won't play chicken with the vote to raise the debt ceiling? Though that is the tough talk that some Democrats have craved, it has little practical meaning. Unless Republicans agree to his request to largely cede authority to raise the limit, he will need Congress to do it. For Obama, the lesson on how to gain and use leverage began with the summer of 2011, when a marathon of high-level bargaining sessions with Republicans failed to produce a grand bargain on the federal budget. After that, Obama set out to negotiate on the campaign trail, announcing his terms publicly as he rallied people behind them. The Obama team added social media campaigns and testimonials from middle-class Americans, and managed to pass an extension of the payroll tax break in February. That's when aides came to believe the president could shift the dynamic in talks with Capitol Hill. Early signs are that the formula may be working again. The latest Twitter campaign has elicited more than 100,000 emails from people explaining how the middle-class tax increase would affect them. And Obama's outreach to interested parties is showing progress. Business leaders are worrying openly about the uncertainty around the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling. At the Business Roundtable on Wednesday, Boeing's chief executive introduced Obama by suggesting that business leaders could "serve a useful purpose in the dialogue." To be sure, there's grousing about Obama's negotiating posture. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the chamber's Republican leader, has complained that Obama is campaigning rather than working out the issues with his negotiating partners. But the strategy is worth the aggravation, administration officials think. The president isn't avoiding private negotiations, but doesn't plan to start them until there is some movement. "Once Republicans acknowledge that rates are going up for top earners," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, "we believe that an agreement is very achievable."
http://www.thenewstribe.comPakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday signed a presidential reference seeking guideline from the Supreme Court of Pakistan over the procedure of the appointment of the judges.
http://english.ahram.org.egSupporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi withdrew from areas around the presidential palace in Cairo on Thursday after Egypt's presidential guard ordered protesters to leave the area by 3pm Cairo local time following violent clashes on Wednesday. Opposition protesters, who have been demonstrating against President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood for the last week, had left the scene earlier, but are expected to return to the area later today. Anti-Morsi protesters – including members of the Dostour Party, the revolutionary Maspero Youth Union and the Popular Alliance Party – are planning to head towards the presidential palace in three marches. One will set out from Cairo's Abbasiya cathedral, a second from Al-Nour Mosque in Abbasiya, and a third from Raba Al-Adawia Mosque located in the capital's Nasr City district. It is not clear, however, when the three marches will arrive. Their final destination is not clear as well, but they are expected to settle near the presidential palace. Bloody clashes that saw at least six people killed and 600 injured broke out on Wednesday after Morsi supporters forcibly dispersed a sit-in staged by anti-Morsi protesters since Tuesday. Protesters have been calling for the annulment of the president's recent constitutional declaration and a draft constitution that will be put before a popular referendum next week. Opposition demonstrators believe the constitutional declaration has given Morsi unfettered powers and put him beyond any legal accountability. They also argue that the draft constitution, written by Egypt's Islamist-led Constituent Assembly, would "Islamise" the country and have an adverse effect on civil freedoms. Clashes on Thursday lasted for hours between opposition protesters and Morsi supporters, the latter of whom argue that the president – via his constitutional declaration – is seeking to realise a longstanding revolutionary demand by bringing former regime figures to justice. They also support the draft constitution and want to see it passed. The presidential guard has yet to announce when the newly imposed curfew will be lifted.