Thursday, February 27, 2014
Influx of illegal immigrant / afghan refugees was big threat to the people and installations in Sindh
The Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali shah has said that influx of illegal immigrant / afghan refugees was big threat to the people and installations in Sindh. He said that any attempt for registration of these people at this stage when action is being taken against the terrorists in Northern Areas would be injustice and danger for the Sindh province and recommended the federal govt to stop it in case it is in process. This he observed while presiding over meeting of law and order to review over the performances of Targeted operation in Karachi and to discuss and decide the counter strategy to fight with terrorists especially with reference to Pak-Army strikes against the terrorists in northern areas held at CM House Karachi today. The Sindh Minister for Information Sharjeel Inam Memon, Chief Secretary Sindh Sajjad Saleem Hotiyana , Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Syed Mumtaz Shah, Secretary to CM Rai Sikandar, Secretary Law Mir Muhammad Shaikh , DG Rangers Major General Rizwan Akhtar, IG Sindh Police Iqbal Mehmood , Additional IG Karachi Shahid Hayat, All DIG’s in Karachi , Advocate General Abdul Fatah Malik , Prosecutor General Shair Muhammad Shaikh and other officers of LEA’s attended the meeting. Taking the serious notice of reports about illegal influx, of Afghan Refugess land grabbing, indulging in smuggling of Arms, Narcotics and other mysterious activities of these Afghani refuges in Hyd, The Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah strictly directed the DIG Hyd to remove all such illegal migrants / refugees to cross the border with in 3-days. He directed all the DIG’s and Distt officers of Sindh Police to put all the entry and exits points of their district under strict vigilance and not to allow such illegal immigrant to enter or settled in their areas. He also directed them the Madarsa which are being constructed without permissions from the competent authority must be stopped. The Chief Minister Sindh expressed his apprehensions over the reports about availability of 2.5 million aliens in Karachi and said that NARA and Commission for Afghan refugees in Karachi have not performed their responsibility properly in Karachi. He once again recommended the Federal Govt to activate the NARA to control over aliens and prepare a strategy to stop the illegal SIM’s as these both factors are causing increase in crime in Karachi he added. The Chief Minister Sindh while endorsing the proposal floated by IG Sindh Police for establishing well equipped and scientific check posts with bio-metric testing facilities of NADRA and having support of metal / explosive detecting equipments at each entry point on border and big cities in the province, the Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah asked the IG Sindh Police and DG Rangers to work out and submit their combine plan of action to him and assured that it to be implemented without delay.
The White House Dear President Obama,
While the FDA already requires companies to list the amount of sugar in a product, under the proposal they would also be required to list the amount of added sugar. Natural sugar is contained in fruits. Added sugar includes corn syrup and concentrated juice as well as white and brown sugar. In addition, the labeling on vitamin content would change, with companies required to list the amount of potassium and vitamin D. Currently, companies are required to list the amounts of vitamin A and vitamin C, but the FDA said deficiencies in vitamin D and potassium are more likely. Dr. David Kessler, who was commissioner of the FDA when the original labels were created, said the proposed update is a "critically important" advance in public health. "The food label is not just about giving consumers information but about creating incentives for the industry to create healthier products," he said in an interview. "No company wants their product to look bad on the food label." The FDA estimated the cost to industry of updating the labels will be about $2 billion while the benefit to consumers is estimated at between $20 billion to $30 billion. The updates would take another three years or so to take effect. First there will be a 90-day public comment period, after which the FDA will draw up final rules. Once finalized, companies will have two years to comply with the regulations. "It is critical that any changes are based on the most current and reliable science," Pamela Bailey, president and chief executive of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, said in a statement. "Equally as important is ensuring that any changes ultimately serve to inform, and not confuse, consumers." The trade group represents food, beverage and consumer products companies. MORE CALORIES FOR CHUBBY HUBBY? In addition to having calorie counts displayed in a larger font, consumers may also get something of a wake-up call with the proposed changes in per-serving calorie counts. By law, serving sizes must reflect the amount consumers typically eat, yet serving sizes listed on many packaged goods often differ wildly from what people actually eat. A serving of ice cream, for example, is currently listed as half a cup. Yet few people stop at half a cup. Under the FDA's proposal, a serving of ice cream would be a cup, doubling the calorie count and potentially giving consumers pause as they survey their options. The number of calories in a serving of Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby ice cream, for example, would be about 660 instead of the current 330. By contrast, the serving size for yogurt would fall from the current level of 8 ounces to the more commonly consumed 6 ounces, the FDA said. In the case of packages that can be consumed in multiple sittings, such as family-sized bags of potato chips, manufacturers would have to provide two labels, one to show the nutritional information "per serving" and the other to provide the "per package" information. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the proposed label change reflects what "has been learned about the connection between what we eat and the development of serious chronic diseases impacting millions of Americans." Even so, the extent to which nutritional labels affect consumer behavior is unclear. "The evidence is thin and highly variable," said Alice Lichtenstein, a professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University. Christopher Waldrop, director of the Consumer Federation of America's Food Policy Institute, said it is "hard to parse the impact of the nutrition facts label." The updated labeling would reflect advances in scientific knowledge about sugars and fats. Companies would be required to list the amount of total fat, saturated fat and trans fat in a product but would no longer have to list calories from fat since the type of fat consumed is more important than the amount, the FDA said. In November, the agency proposed banning artificial trans fats, long associated with an increased risk of heart disease, in processed foods. The FDA also proposes reducing the recommended daily amount of sodium to 2,300 milligrams from 2,400 milligrams, though some would like that reduction to go further. "There is strong scientific evidence that indicates lowering sodium can result in significant reductions in blood pressure," the American Heart Association said in a statement, adding that it will continue to recommend that daily sodium intake be limited to 1,500 milligrams. The current nutritional information is based on a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet. The FDA said it has not yet established whether that figure will remain or be changed. The proposed changes would affect all packaged foods except certain meat, poultry and processed egg products, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Moscow has urged NATO to refrain from provocative statements on Ukraine and respect its non-bloc status after a chorus of Western politicians said Russia should be “transparent” about its military drills and avoid any steps that could be “misunderstood.” “When NATO starts giving a consideration the situation in Ukraine, it sends out the wrong signal,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on its website on Thursday. As Ukraine’s turmoil has shifted to the ethnic Russian-majority in the Crimea region, the US, NATO, and the EU have all voiced their concerns over the situation as well as come up with proposals on how Russia should act. At the same time, the EU-brokered agreement to settle the Ukrainian political crisis which was signed on February 21 and certified by the foreign ministers of Germany, Poland and France “is still not being implemented,” Russia said. “Militants, who still haven’t surrendered arms and not vacated administrative buildings, announced their intention to ‘bring order’ to all Ukrainian regions,” the Russian ministry said. The agreement to jointly investigate violence, as well as to form a national unity government “fell into oblivion,” Moscow said. “Instead, as it was announced on [Kiev’s] Maidan ‘a government of winners’ has been established which includes nationalist extremists.”
Russia urged foreign partners who encouraged the opposition rallies in Ukraine and then initiated the February 21 settlement agreement, to realize their responsibility to work towards its fulfillment. Moscow says it is ready to cooperate with the West on Ukraine, just as it had been offering to do long before the crisis in the country descended to bloody unrest. “But we are ready to cooperate if there is a clear understanding that the cooperation should be honest, and based on an ability to make agreements as well as to fulfil them. And agreements should take into consideration interests of all the Ukrainian people as well as of all Ukraine’s partners,” the ministry’s statement reads.
Air pollution in parts of China is now so extreme it could lead to conditions similar to a “nuclear winter,” scientists say. The smog that covers the country has become so thick it is impeding photosynthesis, potentially disrupting China’s food supply. China’s pollution problem is reaching crisis point, with acrid smog covering six southern provinces for the past week. Over the last few days a total of 19 cities have recorded levels of pollution drastically exceeding the World Health Organization’s (WHO) safety levels. Beijing’s concentration of micro-particles small enough to enter into people’s lungs and trigger serious health issues reached 505 micrograms per cubic meter Tuesday. The WHO’s safe level is 25 micrograms per meter.
Furthermore, she said an experiment in Beijing in recent months had shown a significant slowdown in photosynthesis (the process by which plants turn light into chemical energy). According to He Dongxian’s tests, chili and tomato seeds that usually take 20 days to sprout could take over two months to grow into seedlings. "They will be lucky to live at all. Now almost every farm is caught in a smog panic," He Dongxian said, adding that the poor seedling quality would have a severe effect on agricultural output this year. Beijing authorities have come under fire from environmental organizations this week for failing to activate a red alert – which requires schools to close to minimize the impact of the smog on the public. "The officials are not proactive enough. They should listen to public opinion when setting the conditions [for the alerts],” said Greenpeace campaigner Huang Wei, adding that the authorities had not met the public’s expectations. China’s smog problem has begun to affect its neighbors overseas. On Wednesday officials in Kumamoto prefecture in southwestern Japan issued a health warning to residents after a dramatic rise in air pollution levels. Authorities advised people to stay indoors and not to exercise outside. Ministers from China, Japan and South Korea are set to meet in May to discuss ways to mitigate the rising levels of pollution in the region. China has been criticized by its neighbors for its excessive use of coal-burning power stations.
Leader of Opposition Syed Khurshid Shah Wednesday urged the government to take the parliamentary leaders of all the parties into confidence by holding an in-camera session. “If there were some issues which can not be discussed openly, then the government should call the parliamentary leaders of all the political parties and give them detailed briefing,” he underlined. Khurshid Shah said all the political parties were patriotic and no one would want anarchy in the country. He assured the government of complete support from the opposition parties for establishing durable peace in the country. “All the political parties, from day one, have supported the government against terrorism and will continue to do so in future as well,” he added. The opposition leader said there should be a clear policy of the government on the issue of terrorism. He said whatever option government use to establish peace in the country, the opposition parties would fully support it.
Some high-ranking government officials are interfering in the election process under the pretext of uniting the candidates or making coalitions, Presidential Candidate Abdullah Abdullah claimed on Thursday, while addressing his fans in Kabul Sports Stadium. "These days, the presidential palace is holding Jirgas. Some candidates maintain their own apprehensions and some are annoyed because the president has not honored his promises," Abdullah said. Additionally, Abdullah urged that people assess candidates' programs from all angles because some of the programs are not suitable for the country. "One of the candidates says that he would establish an Islamic army while our army is already a Muslim one. Another candidate says that he would give freedom to the export of drugs," Abdullah said. "Listen these statements thoroughly." To gain more support as the elections are approaching, candidates strive to discuss their platforms and programs through several corner meetings and media advertisements. People are also enthusiastic to learn about these platforms as they get ready to choose the country's next president in April.
'My Brother's Keeper' initiative will partner with businesses and nonprofits to provide greater opportunity for young minority menPresident Barack Obama on Thursday will formally launch a new initiative to provide greater opportunities for young black and Hispanic men, a head-first dive into racial economic disparities for a president who has often avoided the issue. Through what’s being called the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, the White House is partnering with businesses, nonprofits and foundations to address disparities in education, criminal justice and employment. Groups have invested $150 million in the program, according to the White House, and have pledged to invest another $200 million over the next five years. Obama will also sign an order Thursday to establish the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, which will determine best practices both inside and outside of government to address the challenges faced by young minority men. Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will continue to work on the initiative even after they leave the White House, officials said. “The president has made clear the challenges facing young men and boys of color are of great importance to him,” White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett said. “He also as president sees a larger picture. A stronger, better prepared workforce means more investment and a competitive le up as we face a globally competitive marketplace.” The initiative is the latest in a series of incremental steps the Obama administration has taken to combat racial disparities in public policy over the past year. Last February, Obama met with a group of young men at Hyde Park Academy on Chicago’s South Side who were a part of the “Becoming a Man” program within the school. He spoke candidly with the group about his experiences, acknowledging the fact that as a man of color who was raised by a single mother, their lives were inherently similar. The only difference, he said, was the fact that he grew up in an environment that was more forgiving. After spending much of his first term avoiding issues of race, he has spent his second taking a piecemeal approach to assisting minority youth. He addressed the issue of racial profiling after a Florida jury reached a not-guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman, who had been charged in the killing of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. And his departments of Justice and Education have looked to stem disparities in drug sentencing and school discipline. White House officials said the latest initiative was motivated by data showing that young minorities face steep challenges, regardless of their economic background. Just 14 percent of black boys and 18 percent of Hispanic boys perform at or above proficiency on fourth-grade reading exams, compared to 42 percent of white boys. In 2010, black students were four-times more likely and Hispanic students were twice as likely to be suspended than their white peers. “The bottom line is there is an empirical reason to focus deliberate attention on Hispanic and African American boys,” Cecilia Muñoz, the White House Director of Domestic Policy, told reporters on a conference call. Read more: President Barack Obama Launches My Brother’s Keeper Initiative | TIME.com http://swampland.time.com/2014/02/27/obama-my-brothers-keeper-minorities-race/#ixzz2uXUhszTJ
Hillary Clinton says ''inclusive leadership is really what the 21rst century is all about'' during a visit to the University of Miami.
Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Walid al-Moallem, met on Thursday Special Coordinator of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) joint mission Sigrid Kaag and discussed the progress which has been made regarding the removal of the chemical weapons in Syria and means to continue enhancing the standing cooperation between Syria, the OPCW and the UN in this domain. Al-Moallem stressed Syria's commitment to its obligations, taking into consideration the non- politicization of the process and the security circumstances going on in Syria. For her part, Kaag hailed Syria's cooperation and the progress made in implementing the removal program, reiterating that the mission is ready to exert all efforts to accomplish the program.
Threatened by al-Qaeda-affiliated extremists, community in northern city of Raqqa chooses ‘dhimmitude’ over conversion or deathChristian leaders in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, captured by an organization formerly affiliated with al-Qaeda, have signed a submission document this week banning them from practicing Christianity in public in return for protection by their Islamist rulers The document, dated Sunday and disseminated through Islamist Twitter accounts, states that the Christian community in the province of Raqqa, captured last March by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), was recently given three options: to convert to Islam; to remain Christian but pledge submission to Islam; or to “face the sword.” They opted for the second of those choices, known as dhimmitude. Earlier this month, al-Qaeda’s central command distanced itself from ISIS, saying it was “not a branch of al-Qaeda.” The authenticity of the document, displaying the stamp of al-Qaeda, could not be independently verified. The signatures of 20 Christian leaders at the bottom of the document said to have been party to the agreement were blotted out, ostensibly at their own request. According to classic Islamic law, Christians and Jews living under Muslim sovereignty must pay a tax known as jizya in return for the Muslim ruler’s protection, known as dhimma. The Christians of Raqqa chose to sign the dhimma treaty over war, the document stated, receiving a commitment by local ISIS commander Ibrahim Al-Badri, also known as Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, not to be subjected to physical harm or religious targeting. In return, the Christians agreed to a list of conditions: to abstain from renovating churches or monasteries in Raqqa; not to display crosses or religious symbols in public or use loudspeakers in prayer; not to read scripture indoors loud enough for Muslims standing outside to hear; not to undertake subversive actions against Muslims; not to carry out any religious ceremonies outside the church; not to prevent any Christian wishing to convert to Islam from doing so; to respect Islam and Muslims and say nothing offensive about them; to pay the jizya tax worth four golden dinars for the rich, two for the average, and one for the poor, twice annually, for each adult Christian; to refrain from drinking alcohol in public; and to dress modestly. “If they adhere to these conditions, they will be close to God and receive the protection of Mohammed his prophet … none of their religious rights will be detracted nor will a priest or monk be wronged,” the document ended. “But if they disobey any of the conditions, they are no longer protected and ISIS can treat them in a hostile and warlike fashion.” ISIS has previously banned the sale of cigarettes in Raqqa and enforced the veil for women in public. Last week, the Daily Star Lebanon reported, it changed the official weekend in the province to Thursday and Friday from Friday and Saturday, as practiced in “faithless countries.”
Tensions between Japan and its neighbors over disputed islands, Japanese politicians' visits to the Yasukuni Shrine and some historical issues have left Japan isolated in Northeast Asia. The Abe administration has realized this fact and tried to find alliances in order to get rid of the current dilemma. One of its efforts is to defuse the tension with Russia. For Abe, historical issues and his visit to the Yasukuni Shrine are political cards to play against Japan's neighbors. The purpose of his visit was to show his power, consolidate the cohesion of the Japanese right, and guarantee more domestic support. His visit to the shrine can be seen as a political tactic. However, Abe is also aware that territorial disputes are the real source of trouble for him, which could easily put him in a dilemma. If he compromises over territorial issues, his cabinet may collapse and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party also risks losing power. But if he sticks to his stance over territorial disputes, Japan's neighbors will be further incensed and the country will face stronger resistance. After Abe took office, he strengthened and promoted the strategy of confronting with China over the Diaoyu Islands. This strategy has been promoted and upgraded gradually as Japan's conflicts with China increase. It seems that China is positioned to be Japan's long-term opponent. As to the dispute with South Korea over the Dokdo islets, the Abe administration is well aware of South Korea's insistence and has realized the fact that they will not be able to take back the islets from the Koreans. In spite of this, Tokyo continues to protest and provoke over the islets issue, and use it as a diplomatic strategy against South Korea from time to time. However, the Abe administration has never got tough with Russia over the Southern Kuriles issue. There are several factors, including historical reasons, points of confrontation and Abe's diplomatic strategies. In history, Japan had been disadvantaged in the battles with Russia, except Russo-Japanese War (1904-05). It suffered intensely from Russia's strength and expansionism, even during the Russo-Japanese War when Japan had more casualties despite its decisive victory. In the final weeks of WWII, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan and quickly defeated Japanese forces, which had a decisive impact on Japan's decision to surrender. The Abe administration is clear about Russian toughness and has been cautious in its Russia policy. Russia remains powerful despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, and there have been talks about Russia's rejuvenation. Every time when Japan shows a tough attitude, Russia gives a quick response, as shown by Russian leader's inspection of the Southern Kuriles or sending nuclear-capable bombers to fly near Japan. Though backed by Washington, Japan is reluctant to be tough with Russia and it knows even the US will not easily provoke Russia. Abe also understands that there are no benefits for Japan getting tough with Russia over territorial disputes. To avoid more losses, Japan chooses to soften Russia's stance by improving investments, discussing security issues, and talking up the "Chinese threat." The Kremlin is very sophisticated, and plays the territorial issue as a political card too. Russia has made a counter-offer by using the territorial issue as a bait, in order to obtain more funds and technology from Japan for developing Siberia and the Far East region. Russia's actual control of the islands has strengthened the country's confidence, and as such, it is unlikely to fall victim to Japan's calculations. Based on these considerations, Japan and Russia achieved a consensus to meet and negotiate over island disputes. The atmosphere of the meeting between Abe and Vladimir Putin in Sochi earlier this month seemed very friendly. But the question is: What could Abe really get from Russia? Russia is well aware of Japan's tactics and the negative results if Russia makes any compromise. Despite offering a friendly reception, Putin will not make any compromise over Russia's territorial and sovereignty interests. Consequently, Japan's dreams to reclaim the disputed islands of Russia can hardly come true. We need more time and patience to see the final result of the disputes.
http://www.defensenews.com/Russia on Tuesday warned Saudi Arabia against supplying Syrian rebels with shoulder-launched missile launchers, saying such a move would endanger security across the Middle East and beyond. The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that it was “deeply concerned” by news reports that Saudi Arabia was planning to buy Pakistani-made shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles and anti-tank systems for armed Syrian rebels based in Jordan. It said that the aim was to alter the balance of power in a planned spring offensive by rebels on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. “If this sensitive weapon falls into the hands of extremists and terrorists who have flooded Syria, there is a great probability that in the end it will be used far from the borders of this Middle Eastern country,” the foreign ministry said. Long-existing tensions between Russia and Saudi Arabia have intensified further as a result of the Syria conflict, with Moscow standing by Assad but Riyadh offering open support for the rebels. Russia is widely seen as Assad’s last remaining major ally in a conflict that has left an estimated 140,000 people dead since it began as a peaceful uprising in March 2011.
A damaging new audio recording claiming to capture the voice of Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was posted to YouTube on Wednesday by an anonymous user who goes by the pseudonym Haramzadeler. In the recording, a voice identified by Haramzadeler as Erdogan’s is heard advising his son not to accept a business deal, but to hold out for more money instead. “Don’t take it. Whatever he has promised us, he should bring this. If he is not going to bring that, there is no need,” Erdogan allegedly says in the audio. “The others are bringing. Why can’t he bring? What do they think this business is? ... But don’t worry they will fall into our lap.” It is the second such post to appear on YouTube since Monday. In the first, the prime minister is recorded allegedly telling his son Bilal to get rid of large sums of cash amid a graft investigation. Erdogan refuted the audio’s authenticity, claiming it was faked by his political enemies. Neither recording has yet been verified. “We are going to check whether the tapes are fake or not and no statement is planned at the moment,” a senior government official told the Reuters news agency. The recordings, which appeared within days of the ruling AK Party’s official launch of a campaign for local elections at the end of March, are the latest and potentially most damaging allegations in a graft scandal that Erdogan has said was designed to unseat him. Election battle Late on Monday, Erdogan’s office released a statement describing the first recordings as “completely untrue and the product of an immoral montage.” Erdogan was scheduled to speak at local election campaign meetings in the western provinces of Burdur and Usak on Thursday afternoon. No company names are mentioned in Wednesday’s audio recording but the voice purportedly of Bilal Erdogan refers to a “Mr. Sitki”, saying he could not carry out a transaction. An accompanying text within the YouTube clip says the reference is to Sitki Ayan, the chairman of Istanbul-based company Turang Transit Tasimacilik. The basis for that conclusion was not clear. It could not immediately be determined what ties, if any, Turang or its chairman have to the Erdogan family. Representatives of Turang were not immediately available to comment on Thursday morning. Turang received a licence in 2010 to build part of a pipeline planned to carry Iranian and Turkmen gas to Europe through Turkey, according to its website. It was granted incentives including tax exemptions on investments of up to 11.5 billion lira ($5.2 billion) from the government in December, according to the Economy Ministry’s website.
The United States warned Russia it would be a "grave mistake" to intervene militarily in Ukraine, as the Kremlin ordered 150,000 troops to test their combat readiness and armed men seized government buildings in Ukraine's Crimea region and raised a Russian flag over a barricade. Secretary of State John Kerry issued the stern warning on Wednesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the large-scale military exercises in what many see as a show of force or possible prelude to intervention in Ukraine. "Any kind of military intervention that would violate the sovereign territorial integrity of Ukraine would be a huge, a grave mistake," Kerry told reporters in Washington. "The territorial integrity of Ukraine needs to be respected." In delivering the message, Kerry also announced that the Obama administration was planning $1 billion in loan guarantees for Ukraine and would consider additional direct assistance for the former Soviet republic. Kerry also renewed U.S. demands that Moscow withdraw troops from disputed enclaves in another former Soviet republic, Georgia, and urged Georgia to further integrate with Europe and NATO. The warning, aid announcement and nudge westward for Georgia all came amid growing tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine and were likely to fuel already-heightened Russian suspicions over Western intentions in its backyard. Kerry insisted, however, that that U.S. policy toward Ukraine, Georgia and the other states that once made up the Soviet Union was not aimed at reducing Russia's influence in its neighborhood. Instead, he maintained that U.S. encouragement for former Soviet states to integrate with the West was driven by America's desire to see their people realize aspirations for freedom in robust democracies with strong economies. "This is not `Rocky IV'," Kerry said, referring to the iconic 1985 Sylvester Stallone film in which an aging American boxer takes on a daunting Soviet muscleman. "It is not a zero-sum game. We do not view it through the lens of East-West, Russia-U.S. or anything else. We view it as an example of people within a sovereign nation who are expressing their desire to choose their future. And that's a very powerful force." Ukraine's new government was expected to be formally approved by parliament Thursday. It will face the hugely complicated task of restoring stability in a country that is not only deeply divided politically but on the verge of financial collapse. Elsewhere, Russian news organization RBK reported Wednesday that Ukraine's fugitive president, Viktor Yanukovych, is staying in a Kremlin sanatorium just outside Moscow. Yanukovych has not been seen publicly since Saturday. While the West has recognized the new Ukrainian government, whose forces drove Yanukovych from the capital, Russia still considers him the legitimate president. RBK reported that Yanukovych is staying at the Barvikha sanatorium west of the capital, which is run by the presidential administration's property department. The spokesman for this department, Viktor Khrekov, told The Associated Press on Thursday that he had no information about the report. RBK said the information came from one of Russia's wealthiest businessmen and was confirmed by a government official, neither of whom was identified. The article was under the byline of respected journalists, including RBK's editor in chief. Meanwhile on Thursday, several dozen armed men stormed and seized the buildings of the legislature and the local government in Ukraine's Crimea region, where the majority of the population are Russian speakers. The men occupying the parliament building in the regional capital, Simferopol, did not come out to voice any demands. They wore black and orange ribbons, a Russian symbol of the victory in World War II. The men also put up a sign saying "Crimea is Russia." They threw a flash grenade in response to a journalist's questions. Igor Korotchenko, a former colonel of the Russian military's General Staff, wrote a commentary in a Russian online newspaper, slon.ru, saying "if illegal armed formations attempt to overthrow the local government in Crimea by force, a civil war will start and Russia couldn't ignore it." While Russia has pledged not to intervene in Ukraine's domestic affairs, it has issued a flurry of statements voicing concern about the situation of Russian speakers in Ukraine, including in the Crimea. Some Russian officials accuse the West of being behind the revolt against its fugitive president, Viktor Yanukovych, who fled the capital last week. U.S. and European officials have denied such allegations. In addition to Putin ordering the military exercises, Russia's defense ministry said it would take steps to strengthen security at facilities of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, where there have been clashes between pro- and anti-Russian demonstrators. Pro-Russian protesters have spoken of secession, and a Russian lawmaker has stoked their passions by promising that Russia will protect them. Those steps have raised fears of possible Russian military intervention in Ukraine along the lines of its 2008 operation in Georgia, which led to the occupations of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and was roundly condemned by the United States and its European allies.
The parliament of Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea has announced it will hold a referendum to determine the region’s future amid the turmoil in the country. The region’s parliament said the all-Crimean referendum is about “improving the status of autonomy and expanding its powers.” “According to the underlying principles of democracy, the presidium of the Crimean parliament considers that the only possible way out of the situation on the ground is applying the principles of direct rule of the people. We are confident that only by holding an All-Crimean referendum on the issue of improving the status of the Autonomy and expanding its powers Crimeans will be able to determine the future of the Autonomy on their own and without any external pressure,” Oksana Korniychuk, the press secretary of the head of the parliament, said in a statement on Thursday. As a result of “the unconstitutional seizure of power in Ukraine by radical nationalists supported by armed gangs,” Crimea’s peace and order is “under threat,” the spokeswoman stressed. The Wednesday clashes near the parliament’s building in Simferopol, which led to two deaths and about 30 injuries is “a result of rampant political extremism and violence gripping the country,” which could bring Ukraine to “complete chaos, anarchy and economic catastrophe,” Korniychuk said.
Local ethnic Russian ‘self-defense squads’ have taken control of and raised Russian flags over the buildings of the Crimean parliament and government in the region’s capital, Simferopol. Ukraine's autonomous region is divided over the acceptance of new authorities in Kiev. Thousands gathered in front of the parliament building on Wednesday with crowds split between those supporting the new government and those calling for integration with Russia. Two people died and over 30 were injured in clashes. At around 4am local time, an unknown group of people barricaded themselves inside the buildings. According to local officials, those people might have been armed. The men wore black and orange ribbons, a Russian symbol of the victory in World War II, according to AP. They placed a Russian flag on top of the Council of Ministers. Journalists who in the morning tried to approach the parliament building had a stun grenade fired at them. RT’s video agency Ruptly filmed the incident.
“We will swiftly inform Crimeans of the current developments today. Everything is under control, the negotiating process is under way,” Prime Minister of Crimea Anatoly Mogilyov told a local TV station.
The country’s police and Interior Ministry troops have been on alert in connection with the situation in Crimea, Arsen Avakov, Ukraine’s acting interior minister said on his Facebook page. Avakov said the areas around the seized buildings have been cordoned off by police to prevent civilian casualties. Law enforcement authorities are stationed next to the Council of Ministers, with officers banning people from approaching the building, Interfax-Ukraine reported, citing the press service of the Crimean parliament.
The buildings are reportedly occupied by ‘self-defense squads’ of 50 Russian-speaking locals each. They allowed those who were inside at the moment of seizure to leave. They later let inside the seized parliament around 15 Crimean MPs, including the speaker Vladimir Konstantinov. They are holding a session the agenda of which is not yet clear. Around 400 protesters, demanding a referendum on the status of Crimea, have gathered near the parliament building, according to RIA Novosti. Activists are holding banners reading “Crimea for peace!” and “Crimea for a referendum!”
Earlier in the day Crimean Prime Minister Anatoly Mogilyov spoke to those who barricaded themselves inside parliament and government buildings. The squads’ members said they were not authorized to either hold talks or make demands. Mogilyov gave the men his phone number for further attempts to resolve the situation. Ukraine's acting President Aleksandr Turchinov has said the buildings in Crimea were seized by "criminals in military fatigues," Reuters reports. Turchinov has called on citizens to remain calm. Local police have asked Simferopol residents not to go downtown, according to Olga Kondrashova, the head of the press service of the Crimean police. “Police are providing security in the area. We call on the residents of Simferopol and Crimea to stay calm, not to panic and try to avoid going to the city center,” she said as cited by RIA Novosti. Outside the sealed off center Simferopol residents are reportedly leading their normal everyday life. There are a lot of people on the streets, most of the shops and cafes are open.
http://www.pajhwok.com/The top US military officer on Wednesday depicted a grim future for Afghanistan without US help, saying Kabul’s refusal to sign the security agreement could make the summer fight more difficult this year.
timesofindiaThe minority Hindu community in Pakistan is struggling to protect its temples and the land around them from the land mafia, a media report said on Wednesday. Most of the Hindu inhabitants migrated to India at the time of Partition, leaving behind a number of properties and places of worship. "These properties have been up for grabs. Some allege that locals forged documents in order to occupy land around temples and construct markets. These temples are located in areas where the value of land is very high. This acts as a magnet for the land mafia," Express Tribune reported. "No temple here exists that has been spared by land grabbers," claims Amarnath, a resident of Kirtarpura. The helpless community can do nothing to protect the dilapidated and plundered buildings, the report said. For around 5,000 Hindus living in Rawalpindi, Krishna Mandir is the only place of worship left. The temple is built on a small plot which is not enough to accommodate the community members during religious ceremonies. "But the fact that this temple remains is also nothing short of an achievement. There was a time when its future was also bleak and even today's there are challenges to its daily existence," the daily said. The community members believe that the land mafia attacked temples around which Muslim families were living so that the families would vacate the land and the land grabbers could take over, considering the commercial value. Some local politicians led mobs and attacked temples, the report said. "There is a perception that the Hindus (who migrated) had buried their wealth in these temples. Temples on the outskirts of the city were dug but when they found nothing, they destroyed the statues and defaced the statues," a community member said.
Pakistan's Shia Genocide: Eminent Shia scholar Allama Taqi Hadi Naqvi shot martyred by Yazidi terrorists
Allama Taqi Hadi Naqvi embraced martyrdom in a terrorist attack by Yazidi takfiri nasbi terrorists of banned Sipah-e-Sahaba/Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (now renamed as ASWJ) on Thursday noon. Shiite News Correspondent reported in the initial report that he was ambushed near Board of Secondary Education (BSE) Karachi in North Nazimabad. Shia parties and leaders have condemned the targeted murder of Allama Taqi Hadi Naqvi who they said was a famous Zakir-e-Ahl-e-Bait (AS) and a respected religious scholar among all Sunni and Shia Muslims.
The Express TribuneLess than a week after the formation of a Pakistan-Iran committee to check border violations and terrorist activities, Iranian border guards fired mortar shells into Pakistani territory on Wednesday. “Iranian border guards fired two mortar shells which landed near Peshuk check post in Panjgur,” a local official confirmed to The Express Tribune. Such violations continue unabated even though the matter was taken up with the Iranian diplomatic mission and their border security officials, he added. The official revealed that Iranian border guards fired five rockets in the same area on Monday but the incident was not reported to the media considering the sensitivity of the Pakistan-Iran relationship. “There were no casualties, though,” he added. On Friday, the joint border commission agreed on joint efforts for tracking down the five Iranian guards, who were allegedly abducted near the Pakistani border earlier this month.