Thursday, December 4, 2014

Video Report - Russian President Vladimir Putin's 2014 Federal Assembly address in full

Russian President Vladimir Putin is addressing the Federal Assembly - both houses of parliament, the cabinet and other dignitaries - outlining his stance on his policies for the coming year.

Western media outlets slander opponents rather than reporting truth

"We are in an information warand we are losing that warI'll be very blunt in myassessment," said former US secretary of state Hillary Clintononce commenting on thenew wave of information and media warfare.
Her indication was clearly toward the rise of state-funded news channels such as CCTV,Press TV and Russia Today.
What makes it more interesting is that the aforementioned networks are based in theGlobal Eastand they come under heavy criticism for being propaganda networks due tothe West's disagreements with IranChina and Russia.
So much so that if youas a journalisthave worked for RT and Press TV in particularyoucarry a black spot on your CVSuch has been the influence of Western media over thecommon news consumers and job market in creating a negative image of non-Western-owned news networks.
Above allshould we expect a completely objective media outlet in this modern age?
Mediastana documentary produced by Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange in 2013,beautifully sums up how modern media works with a particular bias and agenda,irrespective of its origin and ownership.
Although without flare or production intricaciesthis documentarymade with a hand-held camera and trailing the journey of young journalists in Central Asiaexplains howeven small states in the region are bound by limitations when it comes to publishingsensitive cables.
One of the high points of Mediastanwas the exposé of The New York Times and TheGuardiangenerally perceived as among the most objective paperson how theymanipulated Wikileaks cables to present the story with a certain agenda.
The term revolution has become so common that Western media was reporting everyevent in the Middle Eastbig or smallinvolving violent protests against the state asrevolutions.
The Free Syrian Armywhich allied with terrorist outfits such as the Islamic Statewas alsoinitially regarded as a revolutionary outfitand thus it was deemed necessary to support it.
The term invasion in recent times became synonymous with the Russian moves inUkraine.
Invasion literally means an aggressive entry of troops of one country in another for thepurpose to liberateestablish control or conquerBut in the case of Ukraineit is hard togive an objective opinion on Russia's military presenceThe common media discourse,especially in the EU and the USconveniently uses the term invasion to explain Russianactions.
With this loss and plurality of media voices and along with rise of alternative mediathetwo Western news networks are trying their best to focus on content used for maligningtheir adversariesrather than reporting what needs to be reported.
A common saying goes that propaganda is only countered with propagandaSo if a countryfaces a constant propaganda bombardmentwhat options does it haveObviously creatingits own means of countering that propaganda.

Chinese paper accuses west of stoking extremism in Middle East

Commentary condemns western countries for arming anti-government movements fighting against Syrian government
Western countries are stoking extremism in the Middle East with their support for anti-government opposition movements, China’s top newspaper has said, repeating a call for non-interference in the region’s turmoil.
China has expressed concern about the rise of Islamic State (Isis) in countries such as Syria and Iraq, nervous about the effect the jihadi group could have on its far-west region of Xinjiang, where Beijing says it faces a threat from Islamist extremists.
But it has also condemned efforts by western countries to arm certain groups fighting against the Syrian government, and has shown no sign of wanting to join US efforts to use military force against Isis.
The People’s Daily, the official paper of China’s ruling Communist party, said moves by the west to support anti-government movements in the Middle East were having the opposite effect.
“The facts prove that by letting jihadists pass unchecked into Syria to join battle has caused the expansion of the extremist group Islamic State,” it said in a commentary.
“This is a classic case of how rearing a tiger will court calamity. The entry of major powers must avoid by all means adding to the chaos.”
The US needed to understand that the enemy of your enemy was still your enemy, the newspaper added.
The article was published under the pen name Zhong Sheng, meaning Voice of China, often used to give views on foreign policy.
But the international community could not just sit by and watch as Isis grew, the commentary said. It needed to play a constructive role and follow the rules of the UN charter. That meant respecting countries’ sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

The Root of Middle East Turmoil

Iranian jets struck ISIL targets in Iraq, according to a senior U.S. defense official.  What makes this report so bizarre is that it means the Iranians are working toward the same objective, destruction of ISIL, as their avowed enemy, the Great Satan, according to Iran’s Supreme Leader.  Here is one more indication that companies doing business in the Middle East must be mindful that events and political alignments are shifting as quickly as the sand in a windstorm.

The Iranian move comes at the same time that Saudi Arabia led an OPEC decision not to cut oil production.  It is impossible to know precisely what drove this Saudi decision.  However, undeniably one consequence of this action by the Sunni Saudi government is to inflict economic pain on Shiite Iran.  And it comes at a time that the Iranian economy is reeling from international sanctions imposed in connection with that nation’s nuclear program.

These two events have a common cause:  The intense animosity between Sunnis and Shiites.  Their battle began in the seventh century in a dispute over Mohamad’s successor.  The issue of whether he should be selected by a committee of wise men or be determined by Mohammed’s bloodline evoked a fierce battle. Peace was never made between the warring groups.  Their dispute has flared over the centuries.  Now it threatens to engulf the entire region in warfare.

One current battle line is in Iraq where Iran is seeking to bolster the Shiite dominated government in Baghdad.  Others have been drawn in Syria and Lebanon.  In both of these states, the Shiite Sunni conflict is the driver of events.  Doing business in the Middle East has always been a complex matter.  Now, trying to discern how the Sunni Shiite conflict will affect host countries is critical. 

Why is Saudi Arabia using oil as a weapon?

Saudi Arabia is playing politics with oil, forcing Opec to maintain its current production levels at 30m barrels per day, to force down the price.
Consequently oil prices have fallen 35% in 2014, tipping under the $70 mark for the first time since May 2010.
The question is why the Saudis would risk the goodwill of other Opec members, simultaneously emasculating the organisation and undercutting their ability to use it in the future to serve their interests.
It is a game of high-stakes poker and in the long run will cause the Saudis some harm, but that is not where their immediate thoughts lie.
Since the first oil shocks following the 1973 Middle East War, the Saudis have understood the role they can play in regional and world affairs by turning the taps on and off.
But recently, as the US upped its production, it would have been reasonable to assume that Saudi would have correspondingly cut surplus supply to maintain a healthy balance sheet.
But instead Riyadh has done the opposite.
From Riyadh the world looks a grim place, and the Saudis have a host of concerns that they feel are not being addressed adequately, either by their allies in the West or by their partners in the region.
Saudi-Iran tension
Many experts talk of a Cold War between Saudi and Iran, where on every major issue of regional concern an Iranian gain is viewed by the Saudis as a loss, and for the House of Al Saud alarm bells are ringing.
In their view the US has effectively caved in, and allowed Iran off the hook.
The Iranians were not supposed to be allowed any domestic uranium enrichment capacity, let alone get paid $7bn for the privilege.
Yet the US and Europeans have spent months looking at ways to creatively offer Iran's "moderate" President Hassan Rouhani economic crumbs to appease the hardliners back in Tehran.
For the Saudis the mild mannered Rouhani is friendly manifestation of a regime that seeks to dominate the Middle East, and which is trying desperately to be accepted by the world.
Iran's reach across the Middle East region worries Saudi even more than its nuclear programme.
In Iraq, the Iranians have as good as sewn up the state security apparatuses, and were it not for the intervention of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to assist northern areas of Iraq, including Kurdish border regions, IS would be rampant in all but the most distinctly Shia regions of the country.
In Syria, as the US-led coalition strikes the Islamic State (IS), the pressure on Iranian ally Bashar al-Assad appears to have lifted.
Where once there was a determination to remove him from power, rumours grow that the West will have to consider dealing with him to help fight the bigger threat of the Islamic State.
Propped up by Iranian money and proxies such as Hezbollah, and cushioned with Security Council support by Russia, Assad looks to be safe.
To make matters worse on the Kingdom's southern and eastern borders, Shia rebels in Yemen, and protestors in Bahrain, only contribute to the sense that the Kingdom is being strangled by Iranian power from all sides.
Hitting back
In the midst of the chaos from which Iran seems to be profiting so well, Saudi Arabia has taken the decision that it has to hit back.
And given that Riyadh would prefer not to be drawn into a military confrontation with the Iranians, it has had to seek other ways to confront Iran.
The easy way it can do this is by picking Tehran's back pocket.
Iran's economy is heavily reliant on hydrocarbons, which make up some 60% of its export revenue and provided 25% of total GDP in 2013.
Deeply committed to the fight in Syria, and Iraq, the Iranians are spending untold millions of dollars a month to maintain their operations in the two countries, all the while attempting to placate potential domestic unrest.
Interestingly, the Iranians proposed cutting Opec output ahead of the November conference only for the Saudis to rebuff them.
Additionally, the Saudis get a chance to deal Russia, Bashar al-Assad's stalwart ally, a bloody nose, by driving down the cost of oil and hurting Moscow's hydrocarbon revenue streams, which prop up a shaky domestic economy.
As oil prices have fallen so has the value of Russia's Rouble, plummeting 35% since June.
Killing two birds with one stone would seem a smart policy, especially since it is highly unlikely to result in the sort of military escalation the Saudis wish to avoid.
Big reserves
How long can the Saudis keep this game up? Realistically a few months, but if the price of oil keeps falling the Saudis may have to rethink their strategy.
Nevertheless the Kingdom sits on $741bn of currency reserves and posted a $15bn surplus at the end of last fiscal year, and the Saudis can absorb the cost of budget deficits for a few years if needs be.
This is helped by the fact that recent mega-arms purchases have been completed and the Kingdom's future defence expenditure is projected to fall in the coming two or three years, freeing up cash for other endeavours.
Although Riyadh has tried to stamp its authority on the region, which will undoubtedly cause headaches in Tehran and Moscow, the oil weapon cannot reverse some of the more critical issues facing the region.
IS runs an entity roughly the size of Britain across Iraq and Syria, its hostility to the "Al Salool" (a derogatory term for the Al Saud family) recently made clear in a 17 minute speech by its Caliph AAbu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Cheap oil from IS territory will continue to flow, earning the organisation millions a day in revenue, and although the Saudis have had notable success in striking IS targets, it is not enough to ensure their defeat unless the US and Iran openly cooperate to solve the issue, which may result in grudging acquiescence from the Riyadh.
Likewise, the Saudis will have to grudgingly accept that some form of deal between Iran and the P5+1 (US, Russia, China, UK, France and Germany) will have to be struck, if regional war is to be avoided.
It is the best of a bad series of options, and recent attempts by the Saudis to diplomatically engage their Iranian counterparts, particularly on regional security issues like Islamic State appear positive.
But the mistrust is still deep, and the threat of IS appears not to have stopped the Kingdom in its drive to blunt Iran.

Music Video - Fariha Parvez - WeY Main Tere Lar

Pakistan: Zardari for strengthening Parliament before elections

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman, Asif Ali Zardari said his party wants to strengthen the Parliament before the next general elections.
Addressing the workers convention here, Asif Zardari said: “We have to train our children to become leaders of the future.”
The former president underscored need for paving the way for moving ahead by purging all the fields of flaws and weaknesses. “We must join hands with friends to make a forward move,” he added.
Asif Zardari said even an artist can pull crowds as large as witnessed in public meetings these days.

The PPP Co-chairman warned that a spark from the blaze that is raging in the rest of region could also start a fire in Pakistan.

Pakistan: Job quota for disabled should be strictly implemented: Khursheed Shah

Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah said on Wednesday that the job quota reserved for persons with disabilities as per Constitution should be implemented in the country in letter and spirit.
Khursheed Shah, in a statement on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities which was observed on Wednesday, said no one should underestimate the disabled who were playing a very constructive role for the country’s development and prosperity.
He urged the quarters concerned to further enhance the disabled’s quota in jobs so that they could work shoulder to shoulder along with the normal people in all spheres of life.
Khursheed Shah especially mentioned the performance of Pakistan’s Blind Cricket Team, who were performing well during the ongoing Blind Cricket World Cup being played in South Africa.
He said, “Our Blind Cricket Team has already won the world cup and I wish them a success this time as well.”
“Today is a day to pledge our commitment towards our unwavering support to persons with disabilities and let us all work together to create a world where persons with disabilities can scale new heights of success without any obstacles,” he added.

CORRUPTION INDEX 2014 - Bangladesh slides: Why?

ACCORDING to the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2014 released by Transparency International (TI) on December 3 Bangladesh's position has worsened in both score and ranking. Bangladesh has scored 25 on a scale of 0-100 this year, two points less than its score in 2013, resulting in a slide of nine steps in global ranking from 136th in 2013 to 145th this year. Counting from below the ranking has also gone down by two steps from 16th last year to 14th.  
Bangladesh is the second worst performer in South Asia, better than only Afghanistan, which has scored 12 and ranked 172nd (the third lowest position in the global list of 175 countries). All other South Asian countries -- Bhutan, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal and Pakistan -- are placed higher than Bangladesh in that order. At the second lowest position in the global list is Sudan with 11 points while Somalia and North Korea are jointly at the bottom having scored 8 points.
Bhutan has performed better than any other South Asian country having scored 65 and placed  30th from top in the global list, fifth best in Asia-Pacific, preceded by New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong. India and Sri Lanka having scored 38 are placed in the 85th position while Nepal and Pakistan have scored 29 and ranked 126th.  All South Asian countries included in the index have improved in score and rank except Bangladesh and Nepal. Notably, except Bhutan all South Asian countries have scored lower than the global average of 43, which means that corruption remains a grave concern for the region.
Countries perceived to be least affected by corruption are: Denmark on top having scored 92 followed by New Zealand (91), Finland (89), Sweden (87), Norway and Switzerland (86), Singapore (84), Netherlands (83), Luxembourg (82) and Canada (81). Japan and Hong Kong are the only two Asian country or territory other than Singapore to be in the league of top 20.
No country or territory has scored 100%. Developed countries like Germany, Iceland, UK, Belgium, Japan, USA, Austria and France, Spain, Italy have scored less than 80. As many as 121 countries, or 69% of the total and 58% of the G-20, have scored below 50. 106 countries have scored equal to or less than the global average of 43. Corruption clearly remains a global problem.
Launched in 1995, CPI provides annual international comparison of countries by perceived prevalence of political and administrative corruption. It is a global survey of surveys on governance and corruption related indicators conducted by reputed international organisations. It is based on assessment by country experts and analysts, business people, business analysts, investors and investment analysts within or outside the country concerned.
Information used in the index relate to perception of corruption in the public sector, particularly political and administrative; conflict of interest; unauthorised payments in the delivery of government functions, justice, executive, law enforcement and tax collection. The government's capacity to control corruption is also considered.
Only sources that provide data allowing comparison between countries are considered. No nationally generated data, such as TI-Bangladesh's research or that of any other national chapter of TI, is included in CPI. At least three international surveys on the country concerned are needed for a country to be included in the index.
CPI is produced by research department of TI Secretariat in Berlin. Scores are reviewed and validated by the German Institute of Economic Research, while methodological excellence is ensured by a panel of international experts. This year's panelists were from Department of Statistics and Political Science of Columbia University, Methodology Institute and Department of Government of London School of Economics & Political Science, Harvard Business School, Dow Jones and Standard & Poor.
CPI 2014 is based on data from 12 international surveys. Data for Bangladesh came from Bertelsmann Foundation Transformation Index, Economist Intelligence Unit Country Risk Assessment, Global Insight Country Risk Ratings, Political Risk Services International Country Risk Guide, World Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment, World Economic Forum Executive Opinion Survey and World Justice Project Rule of Law Index. Data period was February 2011 to August 2014.
To recall, Bangladesh was earlier placed at the bottom of the list for five successive years from 2001-2005. Somalia has now been ranked at the very bottom for the 8th successive year, which may be a source of relief for us. In 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 Bangladesh was ranked at no 3, 7, 10, 13, and 12 respectively while in 2011 and 2012 we remained in 13th position and 16th in 2013. Disappointingly, the upward trend couldn't be sustained.
Factors that may have prevented better performance include persistent deficit in delivery matching pronouncements against corruption. Political and government initiatives, direct or indirect, have continued to undermine the independence and effectiveness of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). On the other hand, ACC is also not known to have demonstrated the professionalism, vibrancy and courage to act effectively enough within its legal mandate and institutional capacity to send a signal that corruption is indeed a punishable office, especially in relation to high profile corruption allegations like Padma bridge project, railway scandal, stock market, Hall-Mark and Destiny. The same is true for the nationalised banking sector. The denial syndrome in a section of the political authority has prevented the prospect of accountability which has fed into a culture of impunity.
People with direct or indirect links with power have continued unauthorised capture of land, forest, river and water bodies and the practice of loan-default. Partisan capture of public contracting has continued unabated. The high and mighty, including public representatives, have openly claimed that being in power means a mandate to accumulate wealth. Precious little has happened to bring to account alleged accumulation of massive wealth disproportionate to legitimate income of a section of public representatives. People were asked to bring 'cash not crest' to felicitate those who are 'elected.' Abuse of power reached the moral pits when the crests of honour presented to non-national friends of the Liberation War were found to be adulterated.
A zero-sum game of politics has continued to render institutions of accountability, including the parliament, into monopolised territory of ruling coalition. The period covered by the index saw all records of parliamentary boycott by the opposition broken, followed by an opposition party seized by a dilemma of self-identity crippling the capacity of the Parliament to deliver on its role of ensuring accountability of the government. The practice of rewarding black money has continued. Bangladesh has, for instance, reinforced itself as a leading customer of Malaysian second home project, a popular conduit of illicit transfer. Deposits of Bangladeshis in Swiss banks were reported to have risen in 2013 by an exceptionally high rate of 62%.
Bangladesh's prospect of doing better in CPI will depend on the capacity of the government and political leadership to ensure that the governance and policy structures are not captured by those who benefit from corruption. Corruption must be criminalised and punished not only on paper but also in practice without fear or favour. Institutions of accountability, particularly ACC, law enforcement agencies, administration and justice must be allowed to function independently, neutrally and effectively. Conducive environment must be created for people at large, particularly media and civil society, to raise and strengthen the demand for accountability. The more vocal and empowered citizens are, the more democratic and accountable their government will be, and better will be the prospect of corruption control.     

Indian women in mental hospitals "treated worse than animals," says HRW

A Human Rights Watch report has shown that Indian women are at risk in mental hospitals, where many lack basic hygiene and face sexual violence. Hazy government figures have failed to show the true extent of the problem.
Mentally ill women and girls in India are at risk in the country's mental hospitals, according to areport published on Wednesday by the Human Rights Watch.
Called "Treated Worse than Animals: Abuses against Women and Girls with Psychosocial or Intellectual Disabilities in Institutions in India," the report details the lives of 52 women with disabilities living across six Indian cities between December 2012 and November 2014.
The study brought to light abysmal living conditions including overcrowding, lack of hygiene, and inadequate general health facilities. The women were also found to be living under a constant risk of physical and sexual violence.
Vilas Bhailume, superintendent of a mental hospital in the western metropolis of Pune, said overcrowding was a major problem. "We only have 100 toilets for more than 1,850 patients out of which only 25 are functional. The others keep getting blocked. Open defecation is the norm," he said in the report.
'Mad houses'
With India's public health system in a general state of disrepair, those suffering from mental disabilities are particularly at risk, HRW says, as there is still little education about such illnesses. Due to this lack of knowledge, many families continue to choose to hide any illnesses such as depression and bipolar disorder instead of seeking help at mental hospitals, which are still commonly known as "mad houses" in India.
Both men and women suffer from a lack of care and neglect if they suffer from mental or neurological ailments, but in a country constantly grappling with a misogynistic culture, women are more vulnerable to abuse.
"Women and girls with disabilities are dumped in institutions by their family members or police in part because the government is failing to provide appropriate support and services," said Kriti Sharma, researcher at Human Rights Watch.
"And once they're locked up, their lives are often rife with isolation, fear and abuse, with no hope of escape," she added.
Vague figures
Official censuses offer very vague estimates of disability in India. The most recent 2011 government census estimated that only a little over 2 percent of the country's 1.2 billion population has a disability - including 1.5 million people with intellectual disabilities such as Down's syndrome, and just 722,826 people with psychosocial disabilities such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
Experts, however, have found the figures to be considerably lower than those provided by the United Nations and World Health Organization, which estimate that 15 percent of the world's population lives with a disability.
Lack of funding
In 1982, India's government launched a national mental health program which aimed to provide community-based services, but the Human Rights Watch says it is largely ineffective and lacks oversight. Less than 1 percent of India's federal budget is currently allocated to mental health.
"Long-term warehousing of women and girls with disabilities is simply not the answer," Sharma told the AFP news agency.

Pashto Music Video - Ma wey zama Laila - Sardar Ali Takkar

Afghanistan’s challenges ahead

''Money and sweet words cannot hide the failure by Western powers to leave behind anything like a functioning state''

Let it not be said that the West’s intervention in Afghanistan, at a cost of $1trn (£639bn) and the loss of 453 British lives, has achieved nothing: today, after nationwide elections and the first ever democratic handover of power, the country is ruled jointly by a Pashtun from the south and a Tajik from the north – bitter enemies when the intervention began. None of these three achievements was thinkable a dozen years ago. At Thursday's London conference on Afghanistan, this break with the bitter sectarian past will be something to cheer.
Both President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive – in effect the Prime Minister – Abdullah Abdullah are articulate, well-educated men who are comfortable doing business with the West. They know each other well and have co-operated in government before. Their agreement to govern jointly was only reached after months of wrangling, but at least they are now in office. Mr Ghani in particular, as co-president of an organisation called the Institute for State Effectiveness, can claim to be an expert at state-building. Having spent many years advising others, now he has the chance of a lifetime to try it for himself.
But there is nothing to be gained by minimising the challenges Afghanistan faces. And as a sketch of those challenges, the government’s memo about the conference is a masterpiece of understatement. “This year,” it goes, “marks the end of the international combat mission in Afghanistan. Since July 2013, the Afghan National Security Forces have been in the lead providing security across the country.”
This makes the intervention sound like a success and Afghanistan like a normal country, which was clearly the intention. Notably absent from the document is a single mention of the Taliban. Yet the ugly fact is that, 13 years after American bombs rained down on Kabul and more than 12 years since the Taliban’s tactical withdrawal prompted wildly premature talk of victory, their insurgency is stronger than ever, controlling large areas of the south, east and north of the country.
As a result, Afghanistan is at dire risk within a few years of going the way of Iraq, and for similar reasons. The state, such as it is, sits on a mountain of corruption, the inevitable by-product of the billions spent during the intervention. The boom years of the economy, another product of the lavish Western presence, are already over. The four-year-old army is a frail entity. Claims that 6.7 million children are in school, more than 2.5 million of them girls, are badly damaged by reports that a large majority of teachers in one region are unqualified and some are illiterate. And beyond the leafier corners of Kabul, there is little reason to believe that Western ideas about gender equality, civil society and so on have sunk any deeper roots than they did during the Soviet modernisation attempt 35 years ago.
If Mr Ghani and Mr Abdullah succeed in collaborating despite the entrenched enmity of their respective ethnicities, it will be a remarkable result. But what is there to say about the Vice-President, Abdul Rashid Dostum, the warlord notorious for roasting hundreds of Taliban prisoners to death in shipping containers? If the Taliban wants to persuade people that the bad old days are back, that’s the only name it needs.
The West has learnt the hard way that building a state is far more difficult than merely throwing money and sweet words at a war. Should we spend £178m over the next three years to help keep Mr Ghani and Mr Abdullah’s leaky boat afloat? We can do no less, after all the expenditure of money and lives and rhetoric up till now. But Afghanistan will need a miracle. 

What is the London Conference on Afghanistan?

What is it?
Grand international conferences where the world meets to discuss how to help tackle Afghanistan’s many problems have been a regular feature of the past 13 years. The London Conference on Afghanistan is the latest in a long, long line and will focus on economic aid and development rather than troops and security.
This year’s conference is to check on progress since the last similar event in Tokyo two years ago. But it also comes at a jittery time for Afghanistan, as Nato combat troops pull out by the end of the year. London is the World's attempt to reassure Kabul that the aid money it desperately needs to keep running will not dry up when they troops leave.
Who is going?
David Cameron will host the conference with the newly elected Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani. John Kerry, US Secretary of State, will represent America. Nawaz Sharif, prime minister of Afghanistan’s most influential neighbour, Pakistan, will be another key attendee. Other international delegations are expected to be notably less high-level though, in a sign Afghanistan conferences may no longer be the draw they once were.

Afghan aid agencies, pressure groups and campaigners have attended their own shadow conference.
What will it decide?
This is not a pledging conference and officials say no more aid money is expected to be announced. Instead they will check on progress since Tokyo. The West will want to hear from Dr Ghani that he is serious about tackling corruption and reforming his government. He will want to hear they are not going to turn their backs on him and doom the country to the abandonment and civil war of the 1990s. Dr Ghani’s plans for how he aims to transform the country over the next decade may be vague though, because two months after he was finally appointed, he has still been unable to choose a cabinet.

سردار علي ټکر - رحمان بونیري د سردار علي ټکر سره دهغه په ژوند تفصيلي ویډیو مرکه کړې -

د ناروی په اوسلو ښار کښې په لسم دسمبر چې کله ملاله یوسفزۍ د نوبل د سولې انعام (جائزه) اخلي نو د پښتنو ستوری او وتلې هنر مند سردار علي ټکر به دغه مراسم په خپله سندره او موسيقۍ خوندور کوي- نوموړی به د نارويجن نوبل کميټۍ په بلنه "بي بي شيرينه" سندره واېي- په تارېخ کښې لومړې ځل دی چې د نوبل جائېزې په نړيواله مهمو مراسمو کښې به پښتون هنر مند په پښتو کښې سندره واېي- د مراسمو په سبا به سردار علي ټکر د وتلي فلسفي شاعر غني خان مشهور نظم " ای زما وطنه" هم اوروي- بي بي شيرينه سندره ملاله یوسفزۍ او ټولو پښتنو پیغلو ته د درناوي لپاره د ډيوه ریډیو همکار او وتلي خبریال بهروز خان ليکلې، سردار علي ټکر ویلې او د وي او ای ډيوه ریډیو په سهارنۍ خپرونه کښې هره ورځ د (بي بي شیرنې) په برخې کښې نشر کېږي ځمونږ همکار رحمان بونیري د سردار علي ټکر سره دهغه په ژوند دا تفصيلي ویډیو مرکه کړې- دا مرکه کوم تن، اداره بې تپوسه کارولې شي -

Video report - د پښتونخوا سرکاري نوکران ترقي غواړي

په پېښور کې د پنجشنبی پر ورځ د ټولې خېبر پښتونخوا د څلورم پوړ او درېیم پوړ »کلاس فور او کلاس تری» ملازمینو د صوبايي اسمبلۍ مخې ته احتجاجي مظاهره کې غوښتنه وکړه چې د سرکاري کلرکانو «منشیانو» غوندې دې دوی ته د کاري پرمختګ حق ورکړل شي. د غلام غوث ویډيو

Pakistan: Peshawar falls to 10th place from 6th in education report

Peshawar ranks 10th out of 25 districts in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), according to Alif Ailaan Pakistan District Education Ranking Report 2014. Even though education is heavily featured in the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s manifesto and is the most-oft heard sound byte from government officials, Peshawar is four spots down from the year before.
The report suggests Peshawar, the capital of K-P, has the lowest standards of education in the province, measuring various variables in the public sector.
Language barriers
It revealed only 16% of students in class five at government primary schools in the city can read a story in Urdu while only 24% of them can read a sentence in English. The percentage of students capable of reading Urdu has declined from last year when at least 22% of them could read a story in Urdu.
However, the readability of English has increased by 2%.
In school
The rate of enrolment of school-going age children—girls and boys—in primary, middle and high schools in 2013 was higher than the current year’s.
The net enrolment rate in girls primary schools stands at 68% while that of boys is 67%. In middle schools the rate stands at 23% for girls and 27% for boys, and in high schools it is 12% and 13% for girls and boys, respectively.
According to the report, there are currently 414 girls and 647 boys primary schools in Peshawar. The number of female teachers in these schools is 2,175 while that of male teachers is 3,379.
Of loos and lavatories
The report was, however, positive about developments in school infrastructure and facilities in 2014.
It stated 91% of schools in the district have lavatories while 80% of schools have clean drinking water.
At least 61% of schools have electricity and 95% of schools are privileged enough to have boundary walls.
Yet, 4% of schools are functioning with only one classroom to accommodate all students.
Teacher-student ratio
However, there are still some schools where the teacher-student ratio is not quite impressive. Around 12% of schools have only one teacher for all students. In primary schools, there is one teacher for every 48 students.
Alif Ailaan Network Coordinator Umar Orakzai told The Express Tribune schools lack properly trained teachers.
He said the government should work on boosting the quality of education by training teachers in their relevant subjects.
Education department’s Additional Secretary Qaisar Alam said the present government utilised last year’s entire budget for education.
This year, Orakzai said, they have started various development projects to bring improvements in the education sector.
“Due to Tameer-e-School Programme, the construction of 50 schools has been completed so far with all required facilities, while 65 schools are under construction.”
He added 4,217 posts of primary, middle and high school teachers are also open for application. Tests will be conducted through NTS to hire these teachers.

Pakistan: Municipal employees chant ‘go Imran go’ in Peshawar

Municipal employees in Peshawar chanted ‘go Imran go’ and ‘go Khattak go’ in front of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Thursday during a protest demanding increase in pay, Express News reported.

Municipal employees chant 'go Imran go' by etribune The protesters, who blocked the area causing a major traffic jam, claimed they haven’t been promoted in years and that their pays were not increased.
Police have reached the scene to control the situation and negotiate with the protesters.
It was reported that DCO Saeedul Islam and SSC Operations Najeebullah reached the scene to try and work out a solution for the problem. However, up till now, no progress has been made as yet.

Pakistan runs 'jihadi trains' for 26/11 kingpin's meet

Pakistan Railways is running trains named 'Special train JuD one' and 'Special train JuD two' to transport people from the southern cities of Karachi and Hyderabad to Lahore for Jamat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed's jihadist congregation on Thursday and Friday, well-placed sources in the railways said.

The JuD event gained prominence as former cricketer and Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan had called for a shutdown of Lahore on Thursday. While sources said PTI's Lahore team was not prepared to organize a strike at such short notice, many others believe Khan's party postponed its call for strike on JuD's request and ensure that its two-day programme was not disrupted.

'JuD one', comprising 20 coaches and carrying up to 1,450 people, left the port city of Karachi at 8.15pm on Tuesday, while 'JuD two', comprising nine coaches and carrying about 900 people, left Hyderabad at 10pm the same day.

A senior Karachi-based railway officer told TOI that the decision to run the trains was taken by the department's headquarters in Lahore. "We received a note from the HQ to arrange special trains for JuD," the official said, adding that JuD had paid approximately Rs 5 lakh to Pakistan Railways. "It's a round trip. The trains will bring back all the people, including women and children," he added.

Pakistan Railways spokesman Rauf Tahir said railways minister Khwaja Saad Rafique had given his approval to run the trains after a request from the JuD spokesman.

Apart from Hafiz Saeed, Zakiur Rehman Lahvi, operations commander of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba, the parent organization of JuD, as well as several others have been charged with planning, financing and executing the 26/11 Mumbai carnage that killed 166 people.

"It's not the first time that special trains have been run. Any person who can pay can hire a special train, but he has to make a prior request to the railways headquarters," Tahir said.

JuD workers have erected separate tents for male and female participants at Lahore's Minar-e-Pakistan, a favourite venue for Pakistan's mainstream political parties to hold their gatherings. The palace has historical significance as it was here that Mohammed Ali Jinnah-led Muslim League passed the Pakistan resolution in 1940.

JuD organizers expect thousands of supporters from across Pakistan to reach Lahore. The group described the occasion as a milestone in bringing about unity among Muslims, but JuD office bearers told TOI that Kashmir and water disputes between India and Pakistan were on the special agenda of the convention. All religious and political parties have been invited to participate in the event, a JuD spokesman said.

Meanwhile, a Pakistani anti-terrorism court conducting the trial of seven accused of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks on Wednesday adjourned the hearing of the case till December 10 as the judge was on leave.