Friday, May 16, 2014

Modi eyes 'India's century' after landslide victory

#boycottPakistan: Blasphemy accused Ahmadi man gunned down in Punjab

A teenager walked into a police station on Friday and shot dead a 65-year-old man from a minority community accused of blasphemy in a Punjab village, their spokesman said, the second murder involving Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws in as many weeks.
Rights activists said the attack, and a spike in the number of blasphemy cases, was evidence of rising intolerance in the country.
Victim Khalil Ahmad and three other Ahmadis had asked a shopkeeper in their village Sharaqpur – about 55 km (33 miles) northwest of the Punjab capital, Lahore – earlier this week to remove inflammatory stickers denouncing their community, said Saleemud Din, a spokesman for the Ahmadi community.
In retaliation, the shopkeeper filed blasphemy charges against the four men on May 12. Ahmad, a father of four, was in police custody when the teenage boy walked in, asked to see him, and shot him dead, Din said.
He said police told him that the shooter, a high school student, had been arrested.
Din said the lapse in security would have to be investigated. Pakistani police are notoriously poorly trained and security is often lax, critics say.
“They told us the person who shot Mr. Khalil is just a boy,” Din told Reuters.
“The hate campaign carried out against us by the mullahs is going on and on and on.”
Ahmadis have been arrested in Pakistan for reading the Holy Quran, holding religious celebrations and having Quranic verses on rings or wedding cards. Four years ago, 86 Ahmadis were killed in two simultaneous attacks in Lahore.
The colonial-era law does not define blasphemy but says it is punishable by death. Anyone can file a blasphemy case claiming their religious feelings are injured for any reason.
The accused are often lynched, and lawyers and judges defending or acquitting them have been attacked. Rights groups say the laws are increasingly used to seize money or property.
Two politicians who suggested reforming the law were killed, one by his own bodyguard. Lawyers showered the killer with rose petals when he came to court.
The number of accusations is rising, according to a 2012 study by the Islamabad-based think tank, the Center for Research and Security Studies. In 2001, there was only one such complaint, but in 2011 there were 80.
No more recent figures are available but 2014 looks set to be a record.
Earlier this week, 68 lawyers were charged with blasphemy for using the name 'Umar' in protest slogans against a police official of the same name.
Last week a prominent human rights lawyer defending a Pakistani university professor accused of blasphemy was shot and killed after being threatened in court by other lawyers.
Advocate Rashid Rehman Khan had been representing the professor, who taught English and was accused by hardline student groups of making blasphemous remarks on his Facebook page in March 2013.

Save Face: Qatar covers up mistreatment of workers in World Cup preparations

Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake - Love Never Felt So Good

Turkey Kicking Them While They’re Down

Emma Sinclair-Webb
By Friday morning, the bodies of 284 miners had been recovered from the fire at the Soma mine in western Turkey, with the death toll likely to rise to over 300 in the coming days. Turkey is a world leader in mining fatalities, particularly in the coal sector, as research by the Turkish think-tank TEPAV shows, and this is the worst mining disaster in the country’s history.
At a chaotic and heated press conference broadcast live on Turkish TV on Friday morning, the mine owner and managers stated there was an ongoing investigation into the cause of the deadly fire. While simultaneously insisting there was no negligence involved, they admitted that the mine currently lacked functioning emergency safe rooms where miners could seek shelter but that the regulations anyway did not require there to be.
The government response has been in turns defensive and angry. While pledging a full investigation leaving no stone unturned, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Wednesday statement seemed to normalize the tragedy saying that mining accidents are “in the nature of the job” and offering a Wikipedia-style list of historical mining accidents reaching back to the mid-nineteenth century, as though admitting that labor conditions in Turkey in 2014 resemble Victorian Britain.
The Prime Minister did not raise the need for due diligence by companies or pledge to strengthen inspection mechanisms. Nor did he commit to the government authorities taking every step to prevent such accidents in the workplace in the future and address Turkey’s very poor record, or explain why the MPs from the ruling party had blocked a call by opposition parties last month for an inquiry into safety at the Soma mine.
Public anger about the deaths and the government’s botched response has spilled into protests throughout the country which again have been met with police dispersing demonstrators with water cannon and teargas, by Friday afternoon even in Soma.
The ruling party’s spokesman Hüseyin Çelik seemed on Friday to defend Erdoğan’s aide Yusuf Yerkel, who was photographed kicking a protestor who had been tackled to the ground by police in Soma.
Citizens have a right to demand accountable government and governments have a duty to enforce health and safety rights in the workplace and to hold private companies accountable for deaths arising from negligence - these are principles the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has yet to acknowledge in this tragedy.
Instead, Turkey is a country where a government aide can kick a citizen while they’re down and remain in his job, and where a government spokesman directs his anger not at the mine owners, but at those who protest the mine deaths.

Opinion: Soma disaster threatens Turkey's fragile social contract

The Soma mining disaster is already the deadliest industrial catastrophe in Turkey's history. Yet Turks are unable to grieve for the appalling loss of human life. Utter shock and fury are the overriding public sentiments against the brazen lack of humility and sense of responsibility displayed by those in positions of power, both in the government and private sector. But Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's scandalous attempt to justify the death of more than 280 miners by pointing to mining disasters that occurred in France, Britain and the United States more than a century ago reveals more than the worldview of a ruthless politician with a skewed sense of chronology.
It also exposes Turkey for what it has become: a grim 21st-century Dickensian dystopia, where a new class of political and business elite grows rich and powerful on the back of cheap labor and expendable lives. The comparison with 19th century Europe is hardly superfluous: worker's rights have been systematically weakened and are routinely violated in Turkey since the 1980s, to the extent that the country was "blacklisted" by the International Labor Organisation (ILO) in 2008. Trade unions, once powerful and influential, have been emasculated and seen their ranks dwindle. Over a million subcontracted workers in the public and private sector are without job security, deprived of their right to join unions and participate in collective bargaining.
Cheap labor and weak regulation make Turkey an attractive destination for industrial production and fuel the country's construction sector, which has been driving growth over the past decade. Yet they also come with a terrible price tag: the ILO ranked Turkey first in Europe and third in the world for fatal work accidents in 2012. Coal mining is among the deadliest of professions. According to a 2010 report by the Turkish think tank TEPAV, the ratio of deaths to production capacity in Turkey was five times the figure for China and 361 times the figure for the U.S., two of the world's leading coal producers.
An overwhelming majority of the work related deaths are caused by poor working conditions, inadequate training and a general lack of job security, and are thus preventable. Erdogan seems to disagree. "Dying," he declared following an explosion that killed 30 workers at a Zonguldak mine in 2010, "is the fate of the miner." In Soma, he casually suggested that accidents were in the nature of this work; they were "usual things."
As he spoke, his normally animated face remained calm and expressionless, devoid of any visible sign of remorse or empathy. He accepted no responsibility, including for his party's rejection of a parliamentary proposal by the opposition CHP only three weeks ago to investigate a string of past accidents and deaths at the very mining facility in Soma.
It would appear that Erdogan views such "accidents" as unfortunate but unavoidable side effects of Turkey's rise as a regional power under his leadership. After all, no empire is built without the blood and sacrifice of the nation, whose "will" he claims to embody and grandeur he seeks to restore.
As in Britain and France at the turn of the last century, tales of imperial glory constitute a central part of the ruling AKP's populist discourse. And in a country that is deeply divided along identity issues, especially along the secular versus religious fault line, such discourse has powerful appeal.
But even Erdogan cannot sustain his tremendous popularity through nationalist propaganda and perpetuated feelings of social resentment, if he and his aides continue to dismiss the plight of "his people" and respond to their ultimate sacrifice with kicks and punches.
In this regard, the Soma disaster may turn out to be a watershed moment. Numerous times in recent years, the government's security apparatus harassed those who were experiencing unspeakable agony for having lost loved ones, some at the state's own hands. The families of those killed in an airstrike near the Kurdish village of Roboski in December 2011, in the terror attack in Reyhanli in May 2013, or during the anti-government protests across the country since last June have been deprived of their right to grieve and forced into a continuous state shock and outrage.
But these were mostly poor Kurds, Alevis or secular Turks, who are unlikely to support Erdogan's party. In Soma, on the other hand, the AKP is popular. It carried the town comfortably both in the general election in 2011 and the municipal election held in March this year. And it is here that the AKP's headquarters have been ransacked, and the prime minister hackled and called on to resign by furious residents.
In Huxley's Brave New World, "soma" was the hallucinogenic substance used by the state to induce a feeling of contentment and happiness among citizens. It remains to be seen whether in Erdogan's Brave New Turkey, Soma will have the opposite effect.

Kennedy Summers named Playboy Playmate of the Year


Crimean Tatars should not be small coin in disputes between Russia and Ukraine — Putin

The Russian president pledged Russia would do everything to make Crimean Tatars feel full-fledged owners of their land
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that it was wrong to turn Crimean Tatars into a small coin in settling disputes between Russia and Ukraine.
“Under no circumstances can we allow that Crimean Tatars become a small coin in disputes, especially in inter-state disputes such like the one between Russia and Ukraine,” Putin said at a meeting with representatives of the Crimean Tatars.
“I should call your attention to one thing. We, including the federal authorities, regional and local power bodies, are ready to work with all people who genuinely, I would like to note that specially, want to improve the life of people on their land,” Putin said at a meeting with representatives of Crimean Tatars.
“Nevertheless, under no circumstances can we allow that Crimean Tatars become a small coin in disputes, especially in inter-state disputes such as the one between Russia and Ukraine,” Putin stressed.
The Russian head of state stressed it was impossible to drag Crimean Tatars who had suffered immensely in previous decades in any new disputes. He called on all forces who were trying to use the Crimean Tatar factor to their advantage that the interest of Crimean Tatars was now closely linked to Russia.
“It is impossible to use the Crimean Tatar factor to defend the interests of other, third, countries,” the president emphasized, saying that would do nothing but harm to Crimean Tatars.
Putin pledged Russia would do everything to make Crimean Tatars feel full-fledged owners of their land.
“Naturally, we will be unable to do that effectively without Crimean Tatars and the people who really want to develop these territories. We will also need the support of people who live there,” Putin explained.
“This, in fact, concerns representatives of all other ethnic groups residing in Crimea, including ethnic Russians, Ukrainians and other repressed peoples: Greeks, Bulgarians and Germans,” Putin said.
'Person's ethnic identity is no problem for career in Russia'
At the meeting with Crimean Tatars on Friday, Putin said that the individual's ethnic identity is usually not a problem for building a successful career in Russia, on the whole.
“Russia is a large country and there are lots of opportunities for high-qualified specialists here,” Putin said in response to a complaint from a participant in the meeting that in the Soviet Union it was hard for Crimean Tatars even for those who had graduated from the schools of higher learning to find a job.
“And, take my word for it, here in Russia on the whole - because I don’t know how the things stood in Crimea before [when it was part of Ukraine] - so here in Russia nobody pays any attention to a former entry in a passport, which said 'nationality',” he said.

Scotland will not be guided by London on independence issue – Scottish MP

The people of Scotland will not be "lectured" on the Scottish independence issue, Scottish National Party (SNP) Member of Parliament Angus Robertson has told RIA Novosti. "To be lectured by them about timetables and for democratic processes is something that could only happen in Westminster,” Robertson said.
Scottish MPs should be barred from having any say on the UK's negotiations on a deal to set up an independent Scotland if there is a yes vote in the referendum, an influential Lords committee has stated. The House of Lords constitution committee said Scotland's 59 MPs should be strictly limited to dealing with constituency issues and Scottish affairs immediately after a yes vote and then quit Westminster on the day Scotland declares independence. But the committee, chaired by the former Labour minister Lady Jay, said that Scottish members of the Lords should still be allowed to sit in the upper chamber if they continued to pay UK taxes after independence, a recommendation denounced by the Scottish National party.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron is heading to Scotland for a two-day visit as polls show a steady rise in numbers supporting Scottish independence. The trip comes as Cameron and his colleagues are unhappy with the anti-independence campaign. The Prime Minister will campaign for a "No" vote in September's referendum, when Scots will be asked whether they to remain in the UK.
The "Better Together" campaign is being led by Labour MP Alistair Darling, the former Chancellor. But the Prime Minister is unhappy with his performance as he understands that nothing can stop the Scots from supporting their independence.
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UN Report on Ukraine Attempts to Justify Punitive Op on Protesters – Russian Foreign Ministry

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday that the authors of a United Nations report on Ukraine attempting to justify the punitive operation in the country were carrying out a political to “whitewash” the self-proclaimed authorities in Kiev.
“We are obliged to state that the report has little to do with the overall real situation in Human rights field in Ukraine. The total absence of objectivity, the flagrant irregularities and the ‘double standards’ leave no doubt that the authors have carried out a political order on ‘whitewashing’ the self-declared authorities in Kiev,” Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Friday.
“It is deeply regrettable that the report actually justifies the criminal punitive operation in Southeastern Ukraine, and is silent on the victims among civilians, attempting to place the responsibility for human rights violation on the ‘pro-Russian forces,’” Lukashevich added.
The report by the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights commenting on the situation in Crimea was a step back from the United Nations charter endorsing the principles of impartiality and neutrality, Lukashevich said. “Declaring that the referendum in Crimea was illegal immediately after Kiev and their Western protectors, the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights endorses that fact that they do recognize the embodied in the international pacts on human rights, the right of people to self-determination, only if it is dictated by political conjunctures,” he said. The new report by the UN monitoring team in Ukraine was released in Kiev and Geneva on Friday. The research covers the period from April 2 to May 6.
The 34-pages report shows the growing tendency of “violent confrontations” in the country, the official statement said.
The problem has been especially marked in and around the town of Slaviansk, in the Donetsk region, according to the report. The UN notes that “in most cases, local police did nothing to prevent violence, while in some cases it openly cooperated with the attackers.”
However, the monitoring mission also noted the Ukrainian army had also been accused of murder and other crimes.
“Security and law enforcement operations must be in line with international standards and guarantee the protection of all individuals at all times,” the report said. Following a regime change in late February, the citizens of the predominantly Russian-speaking southeastern regions of Ukraine refused to recognize the legitimacy of the country’s interim government and called for federalization and referendums on greater autonomy, with rallies sweeping through the region.
Acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov launched a special operation last month to crack down on pro-federalization protests.
Russia has called the Western-backed military operation against the protesters a “punitive act,” and accused Ukraine’s authorities of waging a war against their own people.

Afghan Contenders Accept Results and Move On

The two remaining candidates for president of Afghanistan said on Thursday that they accepted the final results of the first round of voting, which eliminated their other rivals, and they vowed to campaign hard to win the election in a runoff.
However, the timeline announced by the nation’s election commission will leave the country without a new president until late summer. Voters will cast their runoff ballots on June 14, with final results to be announced on July 22. Under Afghan election law, the new president would then be inaugurated 30 days later, officials said.
The dates matter to the United States and other Western countries, where military planners are hoping to determine as soon as possible what will happen after the current United Nations mandate for their forces in Afghanistan expires at the end of the year.
Both candidates have said they will sign the bilateral security agreement that has already been negotiated with the United States, and which provides for the continuing presence of American troops. The current president, Hamid Karzai, has refused to sign it before he leaves office, leaving the matter to his successor.
The American ambassador to Afghanistan, James B. Cunningham, issued a statement saying the United States applauded the election results and urged Afghans to hold “a credible, inclusive and transparent” second round. Mr. Cunningham also called on both candidates’ campaigns “neither to commit fraud nor to permit it to be conducted in their names.”
The Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan said the front-runner in the race, Abdullah Abdullah, won 45 percent of the vote in the first round, with Ashraf Ghani second at 31.6 percent; they will meet in the runoff. The third-place candidate, Zalmay Rassoul, won 11.4 percent, and said he would support Mr. Abdullah’s campaign in the runoff.
By the commission’s final count, 7,018,049 Afghans went to the polls in the first round on April 5, about 50 percent more than voted in the previous presidential election, in 2009. The commission’s chairman, Mohammed Yousuf Nuristani, said 64 percent of the voters were men and 36 percent were women.
“My request again of the brave and patriotic people of Afghanistan is to do as they did before, millions of them casting their votes, to go again and cast their votes” in the runoff, Mr. Nuristani said at a news conference Thursday.
Under Afghan law, a candidate must win more than 50 percent of the votes to be elected; if none do so in a first round of voting, a runoff is held. The Independent Election Commission oversees the voting and counting, while a separate body, the Electoral Complaints Commission, adjudicates reports of irregularities and fraud.
In contrast to 2009, when more than 1.2 million votes were found to be fraudulent and were discarded, the two commissions threw out only 375,000 votes this time.
Before the results were announced, Mr. Abdullah had complained about last-minute changes in election rules, improper counting and other aberrations. But on Thursday he chose to take the high road, sounding an almost triumphal note. “Anyway, the story is over — the others are 14 percent or 13.5 percent behind,” Mr. Abdullah said, referring to Mr. Ghani. He added that, with support in the runoff from several candidates who had smaller showings, he expected to win the next round easily.
Mr. Ghani, on the other hand, criticized the complaint commission and said it should have discarded closer to 800,000 votes. He sought to rally his own supporters and those of Mr. Rassoul, saying, “Together, the victory is ours.”
Though Mr. Rassoul threw his personal support to Mr. Abdullah for the runoff, many of his backers did not follow suit. It is difficult to forecast how the runoff will turn out, despite Mr. Abdullah’s substantial lead in the first round. Ethnic fault lines may play a bigger role in the second round than they did in the first.
In particular, Pashtuns, the largest group in the country, see themselves as underrepresented in Kabul, and Mr. Ghani, who is a Pashtun, may be able to tap into that resentment and win votes that were cast for others in the first round. Mr. Abdullah is half Pashtun and half Tajik, but is heavily identified with the Tajik ethnic group.
Whoever wins the runoff had better do so by a wide margin, said a former adviser to one of the campaigns, who asked not to be identified because of sensitive negotiations among candidates.
“There has to be a mega-gap between the winner and the loser for the winner to have a mandate, and for the loser not to turn into a sore loser and create a crisis,” the former adviser said. “If it ends up being 52-48 or 50-48, then that’s not accepted. Three percent is a margin of error in this country.”

India election results 2014: How will the country change under Narendra Modi?
Modi campaigned on a platform of development and growth. He promised to offer a “red carpet” for investors and not more red tape. Large parts of the corporate world, both domestic and international, have supported his rise.
Economist Vivek Dehejia said there were several things Mr Modi could do quickly, such as change labour laws which businesses complain are overly restrictive. He could also offer a clearer taxation policy; large numbers of foreign companies were stunned by an attempt in 2012 by the Congress party to retroactively tax the British company Vodaphone for a 2007 deal.
One controversial issue will be Foreign Direct Investment. The BJP has said it will welcome FDI in all areas which create jobs, but not in multi-brand retail, which includes supermarkets, because it does not want to upset the large numbers of small shopkeepers that make up much of its support.
Yet Mr Modi has indicated this could change. The retail business in India is expected to grow to $750-850bn by 2015 from the current $518bn. Organised retail accounts for just eight per cent of this.
The government has so far given permission to the UK retailer Tesco, the only applicant in the multi-brand retail sector, to purchase 50 per cent stake in Tata group’s Trent Hypermarket Ltd. India allowed 51 per cent foreign ownership in supermarket chains in September 2012.
“He will leave the multi-brand issue alone for a while. There is little profit for him in pushing it,” said Mr Dehejia, co-author of Indianomix: Making Sense of Modern India.
There is a clear cultural element contained within Mr Modi’s Hindu nationalist party’s plans. Under the last BJP government, school text books were changed to reflect a certain view of history and that is likely to happen again.
The manifesto also promises to build a temple in dedication to Hindu deity Lord Ram at a disputed site in Uttar Pradesh, that was once the location of a mosque. The mosque was pulled down in 1992 leading to widespread clashes between Hindus and Muslims. The BJP has also vowed to introduce a “Uniform Civil Code” that would end the use of traditional laws by religious communities. It also plans to scrap so-called Article 370 of the Constitution, which gives special status to Kashmir.
The RSS, a Hindu nationalist organisation of which Mr Modi was once a member, is likely to have considerable influence on the BJP government. Siddharth Varadarajan, a journalist and broadcaster, said he expected Mr Modi would avoid making controversial comments or remarks on these issues himself. “He has other people in the food chain to do that,” he said.
Foreign policy
Most believe Mr Modi feels much easier looking eastwards, to Asian nations such as Japan, Singapore and Indonesia, than he does towards the West. It may be one of these countries that Mr Modi chooses for his first overseas visit as PM.
The US famously refused him a visa in 2005, something that still hugely rankled with both him and his supporters, and while the US has since sought to engage with Mr Modi the visa issue remains unclear.
Milan Vaishnav of the Carnegie Endowment in Washington believes that in economic terms, India and the US could help each other and that bringing in investment would support Mr Modi’s campaign vow. Yet he said that India’s strategic relationship with the US would be more problematic
He said he believed Mr Modi will attend the UN General Assembly in New York in September. “What I don’t think has been decided yet by the US is whether or not to invite him to DC for a meeting with Obama in the Oval office,” he said.
Relationship with Pakistan
Mr Modi and advisors have talked about getting tough with Pakistan and have criticised the way they claim Manmohan Singh failed to respond to repeated border provocations and the killing of Indian troops.
But another theory is that Mr Modi, as a conservative, may have more chance of brokering a breakthrough with his counterpart in Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif. Analysts point out that in 1999, it was the BJP leader Atal Behari Vajpayee, who reached out to Pakistan – then also led by Mr Sharif – by taking a bus to Lahore and trying to strike a deal.
“If a deal is to be done, there has to be a BJP government this side and a right-wing government that side,” said Vikram Sood, an analyst and former senior official with India’s foreign intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing
Britain and India
In the aftermath of the 2002 killings of Muslims in Gujarat, Britain and much of the west enacted a de facto boycott of Mr Modi. That ended in October 2012 when the UK saw Mr Modi’s rise. There had been widespread lobbying from Britain’s Gujarati population to end it. British diplomats say UK businesses could benefit from a quicker decision-making process and less red tape that Mr Modi has promised to introduce.
“Britain is desperate for increased access to India’s markets, demonstrated by the visits of David Cameron to India. Britain needs India more than India needs Britain in this regard,” said Professor Katharine Adeney of the University of Nottingham. “While there are many who question Modi’s human rights record, and fear for the minorities in India under his watch, pragmatism will prevail over principle.”
Communal relations
Mr Modi has never escaped the accusations levelled at him over the 2002 killings in Gujarat but his supporters point out there have been no communal clashes there since. During the campaign he largely stressed development and growth and said all communities would benefit form them. However, a number of his senior colleagues made communal comments and were accused of fomenting tension.
Many Muslims clearly distrust Mr Modi, who has never apologised for what happened on his watch or made any effort to engage the Muslims. In Gujarat today, Hindu and Muslim communities are largely polarised – politically, geographically and socially. The BJP selected barely any Muslims candidates for the campaign.
Yet while some Muslims will remain anxious, most observers believe Mr Modi will work to ensure there are no clashes. “It would be counterproductive to Modi to let it happen,” said journalist and writer Hartosh Bal Singh.

Pakistan: Father of Christian Rape Victim Demands for Justice and Security

A Father of Christian girl blamed the police for mistreating and mishandling the rape case of his immature daughter and defending the accused. Furthermore, he complained that he was being warned that he would be involved in a blasphemy case if he does not stop pursuing the justice.
Talking to a local newspaper, Sarfraz Andrew, father of a victim, Sheikhupra, told that his daughter, Maria, was kidnapped by unknown people when she was going to school on April 24. He further said that the 14-year-old was recovered from Multan after three days.
He added that his daughter testified in a court that two local people named Safdar and Mehboob had raped her. In addition, he told that the medical checkup also proclaimed that she had been raped during three days.
He said that the accused and a local powerful named Riaz Dogar had threatened him (Andrew) of terrible consequences in case he does not stop following the case. He added that the accused wanted to convert his immature daughter to Islam which is not only against the law of the land but was also against his religious beliefs. He said that the accused were also compelling him into making a patch up.
Moreover, the pursuer appealed to the chief minister and police high-ups to provide protection and justice to his family calling it a most atrocious case of religious discrimination.

420,000 Pakistanis develop tuberculosis each year
Around 420,000 people develop active tuberculosis each year in the country with 65% case detection rate.According to reports, the remaining 35% of tuberculosis patients which is around 147,000 develop the diseases but do not participate in the screening programme. It said that 35% patients remain undiagnosed and unmanaged in the country, while tuberculosis is endemic and is one of the most common causes of morbidity and mortality. Pakistan ranks fifth among the 22 high TB burden countries in world that share 81% of the global TB burden. The international research shows that the TB patients if remained untreated and unmanaged, two thirds of them would die within two to three years of disease onset. Similarly, such patients who remain untreated transfer disease to 10 individuals in a year.A public heath expert, Sobia Faisal, said that the delay in diagnosis of tuberculosis after the onset of related signs and symptoms, and inappropriate treatment result in mortality and longtime morbidity. She said that the non-participation as well as the delayed participation of TB suspects in tuberculosis control programme is a daunting challenge for the health authorities concerned.
She added that these unmanaged TB cases cause spread of disease in community and also introduce much dangerous form of disease which is drug resistance TB.In Pakistan, the National TB Control Programme is implementing the WHO’s recommended DOTS strategy where diagnostic and treatment services including free medicines are given to all TB patients free of cost at government health facilities, she said. She said that some of the highly committed general practitioners all over country in collaboration with the TB control programme are giving free medication to the patients. Sobia said that TB is treatable disease, and the person who develops this would be 100 percent perfect and back to normal if he or she would takes proper medication. She said that the patient must visit doctor as soon as possible having signs and symptoms, including cough that would not go away for more than two weeks, feeling tired all the time, weight loss, loss of appetite, low grade fever, coughing up blood, and night sweats. She said that these symptoms can also occur with other types of lung disease so it is important to see a doctor and to let the doctor determine if the disease is present or not. She said that the patient is usually given a combination of several drugs for a specific period of time which depends on the type of TB and its resistance to drugs.The patient would probably begin to feel better only a few weeks after starting to take the drugs.
It is very important, however, that the patient continues to take the medicine correctly for the advised full length treatment. Medical expert, Wasim Khawaja, from Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) said if the medicine is taken incorrectly or stopped, the patient may become sick again. He said that the multi-drug resistant TB is very dangerous, so patients should be sure that they take all of the medicine correctly. He said that some minor side effects of treatment such as reddish colour urine, nausea, abdominal pain, and itching of skin are very common and should not be worrisome.Wasim said that regular checkups are needed to see how treatment is progressing. He said that it is important for the people who are undergoing preventive therapy and people being treated for the disease to immediately let a doctor know if they begin having any unusual symptoms. If a family member has TB, other people living in the same house must have their sputum test for diagnosis of TB as it spreads through respiration, coughing, sneezing, he added.

Lahore: Noor Jehan's daughter Zile Huma passes away
Zile Huma, a well known singer and youngest daughter of Madam Noor Jehan passed away in Lahore today. According to details, the singer died in a private hospital on Friday morning. Few days back, she was admitted in ICU in critical condition due to diabetes and kidney failure. The doctors said that her leg was also amputated during her treatment.
Zile Huma was born in Lahore on February 21, 1944. She was the youngest of the three children of Noor Jehan and Shaukat Husaain Rizvi.
The late singer was married to a jeweler Aqeel Butt. The couple had three sons and a daughter.
In 1990s, Zile Huma started her music career. She got formal education in music from Ghulam Muhmmad. During her music career, she also released an album to pay tribute to her late mother.

Asif Zardari offers condolences over Turkish mine accident
Former President Asif Ali Zardari has expressed profound grief and shock over the tragic mine accident Tuesday in western Turkey resulting in the death of more than two hundred people. On behalf of the Pakistan People’s Party and on my own behalf I wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to and stand in solidarity with our Turkish brethren in this hour of trial and grief, he said in a statement today. The former President also offered heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and prayed for the early and safe recovery of those still trapped in the mine.

Pakistan's Polio: A grim story

Like the Lernaean Hydra, the polio menace in Pakistan refuses to be killed – and with each head cut off it grows two more. The latest is a decision that has made polio vaccination certificates mandatory for all people travelling abroad from Pakistan starting June 1. This means that the virus that has crippled many among the Pakistani poor has suddenly become a headache for the country’s affluent. Repeated efforts from the authorities to eradicate this disease have failed to yield desired results and today Pakistan is seen by the world as the greatest stumbling block in the campaign to once and for all erase polio from the globe. Earlier this month a polio emergency was declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the finale of that being the travel certificate decree.
Many used to see polio more as a problem festering in the remote tribal areas of the country. But that perception has finally changed and now it is common knowledge that polio in Pakistan is as big a threat to its urban centres. This was confirmed on Monday as authorities confirmed two more polio cases in Karachi pushing the tally to 51 across the country. Two 18-month-old children – a boy and girl – from Gadap and Kemari respectively, have become part of the dreaded polio stats, the latest victims of the crippling virus. Though WHO has also raised a question mark on Syria and Cameroon, Pakistan continues to be seen as the greatest threat having accounted for a fifth of the 417 cases reported globally in 2013. This violence-torn country recorded 91 cases of polio last year, a sharp increase from 58 in 2012. Reports have time and again underlined the fact that international authorities see Pakistan as the number one risk when it comes to exporting the virus abroad. The story gets grimmer. On Tuesday, media reports quoting WHO sources revealed that the polio virus has been found in sewage water in Karachi and Lahore. It’s not that the authorities aren’t doing anything to tame this beast. But obviously whatever they are doing isn’t working. Resolutions have and are still being been passed in the assemblies, polio vaccination campaigns have and continue to be conducted in almost parts of the country. But the virus, it seems, is only spreading. What the authorities need are fresh and innovative ideas and the means to implement them. Just like the killing of the hydra, it is quite clear that Pakistan will need to pull off a Herculean feat to eradicate the polio virus. We have no choice in this matter. We have to defeat this disease with all the resources at our disposal – and more.

Pakistan: Blast in Bannu leaves 4 police officials including ASI injured
A blast targeting a police mobile injured four police officials including an assistant-sub inspector (ASI) near Mandan Chowk in Bannu, Express News reported on Friday. According to police, the bomb was planted in a motorcycle. Six other people were also injured in the explosion. The injured including the ASI, identified as Amin, were taken to a local hospital for medical assistance.

Pakistan: Of Ahmedis, sects and blasphemy

Gulmina Bilal Ahmad
When university educated Pakistanis who are social media savvy have this need to kill in order to homogenise and fit everyone into their personally preferred lifestyle, religion or sect, it is no wonder we are where we are
Understanding has its own benefits and gratification. For years, in various newspaper columns and increasingly lately on blogs and social media, I have expressed my inability to understand the seemingly irrational and barbaric actions of fellow citizens. This inability to understand extends to the actions of the government too. Not to pinpoint any government but a cursory glance at our history would show that there is very little governance and a lot of institutionalised discrimination spearheaded by each successive government.
I could start off a list of institutionalised discriminations here through history but former Supreme Court Bar President Mr Hamid Khan has detailed them in his book, The Constitutional History of Pakistan. However, even after laboriously reading through the book, I could not address the nagging question: why? Why are we barbaric? I found the answer this week and in the most unlikely places — at the University of Sargodha. The University of Sargodha has a Facebook page, which, in my case, served to be quite enlightening. The official post was that Ahmedis are non-Muslims and, therefore, need to be killed. It further went on to elaborate that this pure and holy country, Pakistan, needs to be purged of them. Although not one to put much stock in Facebook posts and ‘likes’ as people even like status updates such as “My father died this morning”, it bears considering that the post received quite a few comments. All of the comments that I have seen agreed with the original post of killing all Ahmedis plus added their own rhetoric to it. All accept one young man who pleaded not to spread hatred, but he was largely ignored. After the killing of Rashid Rehman, I think that being ignored is the best thing that can happen to this young dissenting voice.
Going through all the comments, given what has been recently described as my “pseudo-liberal mindset”, was certainly not pleasant. However, it was enlightening. I now know the reason for our societal and institutionalised barbarism. When university educated Pakistanis who are social media savvy have this need to kill in order to homogenise and fit everyone into their personally preferred lifestyle, religion or sect, it is no wonder we are where we are. In fact, it would be surprising if we become tolerant, diverse and pluralistic.
This week, having gained this enlightenment, I no longer shook my head while reading the morning papers. In Gujrat, a young man confessed to killing homosexuals as “he abhorred this practice”. Therefore, he played God and, after having sex with the men, he killed them. He did not mention whether or not he was inspired by yet another man-God who used to kill homosexuals in Lahore but apparently it is catching on. I certainly disagree with this man-God but I do not ask why he was compelled to do it. The society around him and certainly his education have taught him that there is virtue in this.
Prof K K Aziz, Dr Rubina Saigol, Professor Dr A H Nayyar and Mr Ahmed Salim have, in their respective researches, documented the hate speech that is prevalent in our school curriculum. In school whatever is taught as an interject to the child is internalised and that is why it is important that the curriculum should reflect pluralism. However, I would like to argue that in university a young person has the mental capacity to critique and question. To blindly accept societal interjects around you while at that age and educational level is baffling. There I express astonishment again but then I remind myself that we live in a country where, on the floor of the provincial assembly, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa minister for primary and secondary education, Mr Atif Khan, declares that the government is trying to adjust teachers from different religious sects to their respective areas in Hangu district due to threats posed to their lives. He said teachers of one sect were facing problems in going to areas of the other sect. So now we have a ‘naya’ (new) Pakistan that will be neatly divided into homogenous blocks and never the twain shall meet. More proof of my new found ‘enlightenment’ is my complete understanding of what last week would have had me baffled. There was a tiff between the police and the lawyers in Jhang. The police official who the lawyers were protesting against is named Umar Daraz. While the lawyers were raising slogans against this Station House Officer (SHO), complainant Arshad Mehmood moved an application in the police station alleging that his religious feelings were offended because the lawyers used the name ‘Umar’ in their protest, and lodged charges. The concerned senior police official issued a statement to the press that a blasphemy case against eight protesting lawyers and their 50 companions had been registered as “they were shouting slogans derogatory to a Caliph of Islam and a companion of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)”. The lawyers, in their defence, argue that they were referring to the SHO.
If we follow the fate of blasphemy cases and the accused in them, the eight lawyers and their 50 protesting companions should be very concerned now. Oh, what a web of venom we weave, when first we practice hatred.

Bilawal Bhutto calls on Hamid Mir

Pakistan People’s Party Patron in Chief, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari called on Hamid Mir at the private hospital where he is being treated on Tuesday.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari prayed for Mir's early recovery and added, that the PPP believed in the freedom of press.
Speaking to the media outside the hospital, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon said that the police were jointly working with other agencies to probe the attack. He added that some evidences have also been collected during the investigation.
Memon expressed hope that the elements involved in the attack would soon be arrested. He further added that a case would be registered by Wednesday.
Hamid Mir was injured in an armed attack in Karachi on Saturday.

Modi wins India's election with a landslide, early results show

Opposition candidate Narendra Modi will be the next prime minister of India, with counting trends showing the pro-business Hindu nationalist and his party headed for the most resounding election victory the country has seen in thirty years.
Modi's landslide win was welcomed with a thundering rally on India's stock markets and jubilant celebrations at offices across the country of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), where supporters danced, exploded fireworks and handed out sweets.
"Trends indicate it is a landslide," said party president Rajnath Singh in a message on Twitter.
The alliance led by the BJP, and possibly the party alone, was headed for a majority in parliament, giving Modi the most decisive mandate for any leader since the 1984 assassination of prime minister Indira Gandhi propelled her son to office.
Unlike his predecessors, Modi will not have to deal with unruly coalition partners as he implements reform. That could usher in profound economic changes, and he will try to replicate his success in attracting investment and building infrastructure in Gujarat, the state he has governed for 12 years.
"He can afford to have a smaller but stronger cabinet, that means a far more decisive government. He has been saying less government and more governance, we are really likely to see that," said Navneet Munot, Chief Investment Officer at SBI Funds management in Mumbai.
But with India's economy suffering its worst slowdown since the 1980s and battling high inflation, it will not be an easy task to meet the hopes of millions of Indians who have bought into the idea that Modi will quickly push their country onto the top table of global economic powers.
"People will not give him much time to deliver," said Neerja Chowdhury, a political analyst and a former political editor of the Indian Express newspaper. "On the economic reform agenda, I think he will move very quickly ... he's a doer and he's very focused."
The 63-year-old's promises of job creation and clean, efficient government resonated with many of the half a billion people who braved blistering summer heat to vote in the world's biggest election over the last five weeks.
Since being named as his party's candidate last September, Modi has flown 300,000 km and addressed 457 rallies in a slick, presidential-style campaign that has broken the mould of Indian politics. Modi's media-savvy, modern campaign ran circles round his slow-footed rival, Rahul Gandhi, 43, from the Congress party. The Congress, which led India to independence from Britain, was headed for its worst-ever result after two terms in office marred by corruption and a floundering economy.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who as finance minister launched reforms in 1991 that brought an end to decades of economic isolation, has already bid farewell to his staff after ten years in office marked by mounting policy paralysis.
The desire for change has been so strong that voters put aside concerns about Modi's Hindu-centric politics. A dark chapter of violence against Muslims on his watch has mattered less and less to many, including a bulging middle class alarmed by dwindling purchasing power and job opportunities as the economy slumped to sub-five percent growth in the last two years.
Gandhi was leading by a slender margin in his seat of Amethi, a family bastion that has been held in turn by his uncle, father and mother, Sonia. A loss there would spell disaster for the great grandson of India's independence leader.
The alliance led by the BJP was winning in 332 seats of the 543-seat parliament, counting trends showed. The BJP alone looked set for an absolute majority, with 278 seats. Responding to the news Indian markets got off to a roaring start, with the rupee breaking below 59 to the U.S. dollar, an 11-month high, and the benchmark stock index jumped 6 percent before paring its gains. Betting on a Modi win, foreign investors have poured more than $16 billion into Indian stocks and bonds in the past six months and now hold over 22 percent of Mumbai-listed equities - a stake estimated by Morgan Stanley at almost $280 billion.
Modi has promised that, if elected, he would take decisive action to unblock stalled investments in power, road and rail projects to revive economic growth. Tax and labor market reforms, backed by a gradual opening up to foreign investment, would seek to create the 10 million jobs that Asia's third-largest economy must create every year to employ young people entering the workforce. Modi watched the results on TV at his home in Gujarat, and was due to meet his mother, 95-year-old Hiraben, soon after results become clear.
"My blessings are there. The country will develop. My blessings are there," she said.
He was later expected to embark on a victory tour to his local constituency of Vadodara, while party workers in New Delhi hoped he would later fly to New Delhi for what could be a hero's welcome.