Saturday, December 6, 2014

China - Corruption must be punished, discipline must be strictly upheld: People's Daily

The decisions to expel Zhou Yongkang from the Communist Party of China (CPC) as well as investigate and arrest him demonstrated that the CPC Central Committee, with Comrade Xi Jinping as the general secretary, has resolved to uphold the Party's unity and punish corruption, said a commentary to be carried by Saturday's People's Daily.

The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on Friday decided to expel Zhou Yongkang from the CPC and transfer the details of his suspected crimes to judicial organs to be handled in accordance with the law.

The Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) also decided to open an investigation into Zhou Yongkang's suspected crimes and to arrest him according to the law.

The decisions showed that the CPC sticks to the principle that everyone is equal before the law and nothing is off-limits in fighting corruption, the People's Daily commentary said.

"The decisions highlighted that the CPC persists in the belief of safeguarding the people's fundamental interests," the commentary said. "The decisions won approval from the Party and the people."

Zhou's conduct deviated from the Party's nature and purpose, greatly damaged the Party's image and caused huge losses for the cause of the Party and the people, the commentary said. "The impacts are extremely bad."

The resolute decisions of the CPC Central Committee guarded Party discipline and the socialist rule of law, the commentary noted.

"The Party and corruption are like water and fire," the commentary said. "The Party's nature and purpose require persistent combat against corruption. Upholding the Party's leadership and cementing the Party's ruling also require persistent combat against corruption."

Since the 18th Congress of the CPC, the CPC Central Committee, with Comrade Xi Jinping as the general secretary, has shown no tolerance nor mercy toward corruption, demonstrating that strict management of the Party is not a slogan and punishment of corruption has no exception, the commentary said.

"We need to advance the anti-corruption drive through the investigation of Zhou's serious violations of Party discipline. We must stick to the attitude of no tolerance, the resolve of strong treatment, the courage to scrape poison from the bones, and the measure of severe punishment," the commentary said.

"All corruption will be fought and each vice will be eradicated," the commentary added.

Fighting corruption and upholding Party discipline are demonstrations of the Party's power and common wishes of all Party members, the commentary said.

All Party organizations and members, especially leading cadres at all levels, must make sure the whole Party stays in accordance with the CPC Central Committee, with Comrade Xi Jinping as the general secretary, in thought, in politics and in action, the commentary said.

"As we continue fighting corruption in a strong and tough attitude, managing the Party in strict accordance with regulations, and constantly strengthening the ability of self-improvement, the Party will always be the strong core of leadership of the socialist cause with Chinese characteristics," the commentary said.

The UK should abandon its colonialist mindset

In September 2014, protestors occupied several major HK intersectionsdoing seriousharm to Hong Kong's social order and to its economic developmentWhile China has beentaking measures to deal with the protest and restore orderthe UK has been trying tomaking trouble for ChinaA group of British MPs had planned to travel to Hong Kong aspart of an “inquiry into the state of the Sino-British Joint Declaration”, a proposal to whichChina took strong objection.
HK has been a part of China since ancient timesIn the 1840s, the UK waged a war againstChina and forced the Qing government to cede Hong Kong IslandThe UK went on tocolonize Hong Kong for more than 100 yearsIn 1997, in accordance with the Sino-BritishJoint DeclarationChina resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong KongThis meansthat the UK no longer has any reason to interfere with Hong Kong affairs.
The UK's interference is explained under the pretext of protecting “democracy” andfreedom” in Hong KongBritish Prime Minister David Cameron has said that accordingto the Sino-British Joint Declarationrights and freedoms of speechof the pressofassemblyof associationand of strike are to be ensured by law in the Hong Kong SpecialAdministrative RegionIn factthe people of the SAR already enjoy such rightsBut theprotest is damaging social order and causing harm to everyone in Hong KongIt seemsthat the UK has no interest in defending the rights of the majority of the people.
In 2012, Cameron had a meeting with the Dalai Lamawhich damaged China-UKrelationsChina delivered a clear message to the UK at the time that China objects to anycountry's interference with China's internal affairsLaterthe UK reiterated its respect forChinas sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In recent yearsthe two countries have made progress in restoring the relationshipTheUK should work with China to achieve win-win bilateral relationsThe UK has no right totry to impose the values of western counties on othersand should abandon its colonialistmindset.

Russia - Putin sees hope for new peace deal in E. Ukraine

Vladimir Putin has expressed the hope that a new ceasefire deal in eastern Ukraine will be reached soon. His comment comes after talks with Francois Hollande who made an unscheduled short visit to Moscow to discuss the conflict.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Putin said that while both sides in the Ukrainian conflict are not fulfilling all their obligations, the situation there gives hope for improvement in the near future.
Both Paris and Moscow agree on the need for an “immediate end to the bloodshed," Putin said. He called on Kiev to promptly withdraw its artillery and multiple rocket launchers from the border with the Donbass region.
The situation [in Ukraine] is tragic, we can see that people are still dying there, but I very much hope that in the near future a final decision on the ceasefire will be made,” he said.
Russia expects Kiev to exclude any possibility of a blockade of the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk republics, he added: "Otherwise it is difficult to imagine the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Russia, as you know, supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine."
Russia initiated the meeting [between Kiev and representatives of the eastern republics] in Minsk, with our direct participation these protocols were signed, so we support their full implementation,” Putin elaborated.
A residents of Azotny district clears the area around his house following shelling which killed a 12-year-old boy and a 55-year-old woman, Donetsk, Ukraine (RIA Novosti)
A residents of Azotny district clears the area around his house following shelling which killed a 12-year-old boy and a 55-year-old woman, Donetsk, Ukraine (RIA Novosti)

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko announced a new round of talks between Kiev and representatives of the eastern republics will take place on Tuesday. The negotiations will focus on agreeing a schedule for the implementation of the measures to be taken under the Minsk protocol. It is not certain whether Hollande and Putin were referring to Tuesday’s talks when speaking in Moscow. The proposed date of talks coincided with the so-called “Day of Silence”, when both sides of the conflict vowed to observe a ceasefire.
Hollande made an unexpected stop in Moscow’s Vnukovo-2 airport as he traveled from neighboring Kazakhstan to France on Saturday.
"I was flying over Moscow and made a decision to stop over here for discussing the most significant issues related to Ukraine's crisis and to all the sufferings stemming out of it for the Ukrainians, for the European Union and for Russia as well," Hollande said.
Putin welcomed his counterpart and thanked him for the visit, saying that it “certainly will benefit the resolution of many problems.”
The French leader said he was eager to continue the discussion started at the G20 in Australia and at the three-way meeting between himself, Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel during D-Day celebrations in France.
On June 6 we talked about the need to find solutions, to work together. We’ve talked with Angela Merkel. We believe that Russia and France will be able to find the necessary solution,” he said. "I believe at some moment it is necessary to overcome the obstacles, the walls, which may separate us, and I believe we can do this."
The Mistral-class assault warship (AFP Photo / Georges Gobet)
The Mistral-class assault warship (AFP Photo / Georges Gobet)

Tensions between Russia and France have been on the rise as Paris has come under to annul delivery of Mistrals, helicopter-carrying amphibious assault ships, to Moscow over the Ukrainian crisis.
As a result, in late November Hollande decided to suspend the delivery of the first such ship "until further notice".
Moscow has urged Paris to fulfill the agreement with top-ranking officials adding Russia will sue France should the ship not be delivered at all. France is facing a multibillion dollar fine, if it fails to deliver under the contract. The delay of the warships’ delivery has reportedly entailed additional costs for Paris.
On Saturday, Putin said that the two leaders did not speak about the delay as Moscow proceeds from the fact that the contract will be fulfilled. Otherwise Russia expects full compensation from France, he added.

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Gauhar Khan slapped: 'Traditional Indian clothes were far skimpier than actress' dress'


An Indian television presenter who was slapped by a male audience member because he thought her dress was too revealing has tradition on her side, according to a historian.

Gauhar Khan was left visibly traumatised after the attack last month, while she filmed the grand finale of singing competition Raw Star.

Akil Malik, 24, took offence to her cutaway dress and ran up to the stage to hit her across the face and threaten her.
“Being a Muslim woman, she should not have worn such a short dress,” the Mumbai police quoted him as saying afterwards.
“Actresses are the face of society and they should not wear skirts and short clothes as they make youngsters get attracted to them sexually…if actresses stop wearing short clothes, crime will decrease and lead to a better society.”
The incident prompted a debate in India about changing fashions and the notion of modesty but according to historian Toolika Gupta, short dresses are an ancient tradition in India.
Although the country is most associated with floor-length saris and salwar kameezes for women, that has not always been a case.
Ms Gupta wrote on the BBC News website that what many Indians today believe are home-grown ideas of decorum and modesty are in fact British imports left over from the Empire.
The earliest representations of women show them with minimal clothing, she said, including in sculptures from the Maury and Sunga periods around 300 BC, when men and women wore rectangular pieces of fabric, covering their genitals and little else.
Gauhar Khan wearing a lengha
“Modesty has had different definitions over time and in different regions and communities,” she wrote. “It was not always about covering your face and body and in many respects India's hot climate led the way. People just did what was convenient.”
Even in the colonial era some women in southern in India did not cover the upper part of the body and saris were routinely worn without blouses over bare breasts in Bengal, Ms Gupta said.
She concluded that Ms Khan’s dress, with a fully covered front and cutaway back, went far beyond the requirements of “modesty” dating back centuries.
Her attacker was arrested on charges of assault and intimidation and has been remanded in custody.

India - Jammu and Kashmir Terror Attacks: 'Unambiguous Pakistan hand,' Says Army

The serial terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday bore an "unambiguous clear link to Pakistan," and the elements involved were "right at the top," the Indian Army has said. 

"There has been a top-down coordination in Pakistan to synchronise the terror attacks," Lieutenant General Subrata Saha, the top army commander in Kashmir, told NDTV on Sunday. This is because it is "not possible for non-state actors in Pakistan to operate without nexus with elements in official establishment".
The packets of food the terrorists were carrying show they had been manufactured in Pakistan, ammunition and weapons show they have been produced by a Pakistani company, Lt General Saha said.
Thirteen people - a civilian, nine soldiers and three policemen - died in the four attacks on Friday, days before the third phase of assembly elections are to be held in the state. 

The deadliest attack took place at the army camp in Uri, in which eight Armymen, including an officer, were killed. All six militants were also killed in the encounter which lasted over six hours. 

Besides food packets, six AK rifles, 55 magazines, two shotguns, two night vision binoculars, four radio sets, 32 unused grenades and one medical kit were recovered from the dead terrorists.

Lt General Saha said there were no lapses on part of the army. "Can't say any lapses at our end because our priority is to keep civilians safe, which we did... Sometimes, my men have had to pay a very high price but we do it for democracy."

Home Minister Rajnath Singh has already blamed Pakistan for sheltering terrorists who cross the border to target India. "I think Pakistan should try to stop these incidents, if they can't, they should speak to India about it," he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, has condemned the attacks, saying they were "desperate attempts to derail the atmosphere of hope" in the state, brought about by the high turnout in the first two phases of the elections.

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Hillary Clinton sticks with President Obama on Israel


In appearance with a pro-Israel donor, she defends the White House on Iran talks.

Hillary Clinton had several opportunities to distance herself from the Obama administration during an appearance Friday before a heavily pro-Israel crowd, but she didn’t take them.
Instead, she defended President Barack Obama’s dealings with the Jewish state at a time of tense U.S.-Israel relations, insisting the White House is committed to Israel’s security and supporting America’s nuclear talks with Iran.
The former secretary of state and likely 2016 Democratic presidential contender was speaking at the Saban Forum, an event hosted by the Brookings Institution and named for billionaire and Democratic mega-donor Haim Saban. She offered her most extensive Israel-related comments since criticizing the president’s foreign policy in a summer interview with The Atlantic that caused a political maelstrom.
Ahead of her remarks, some attendees chattered over cocktails about their disagreements with the White House, especially on its decision to pursue the negotiations with Tehran. But, during a half-hour conversation onstage with Saban, Clinton signaled little daylight with the administration.
“If you look at the close cooperation, and what this administration and the Congress over the last six years has done with respect to Israel’s security, it’s quite extraordinary,” she said, pointing to funding for military equipment and strategic consultations. “Nobody can argue with the commitment of this administration to Israel’s security, and that has to continue, it has to deepen regardless of the political back-and-forth.”
Clinton has yet to say if whether she will launch a second campaign for president — an announcement is expected early next year — but Republicans already have been scrutinizing her tenure at Foggy Bottom during Obama’s first term. Many in the GOP accuse Obama of being insufficiently supportive of Israel, and some have tried to link Clinton to Obama’s foreign policy missteps.
In the interview with The Atlantic, published in August, Clinton questioned the White House’s self-described foreign policy doctrine of “Don’t do stupid sh—,” as well as its approach to the bloodshed in Syria, among other criticisms. Her remarks prompted blowback from people close to the administration. Some were unhappy with the timing of her comments, which came as the president faced a slew of international crises. Clinton eventually called the president to patch things over.
Had she decided Friday to issue more criticisms, she could have risked another flurry of anger, especially amid the White House’s efforts to keep the talks with Iran on track. World powers, including the United States, have extended the negotiations with the Islamic Republic until the summer.
Israel views a nuclear weapon-armed Iran as an existential threat, and it doesn’t believe Iran’s assurances that its nuclear program is peaceful.
As secretary of state, Clinton was deeply involved in laying the groundwork for the negotiations (she credited sanctions as helping bring the Iranians to the table). On Friday, she sought to reassure the crowd that “no deal is better than a bad deal,” and that “all options” must remain “on the table” in preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
But, in at times hawkish language, she defended the path the White House has taken with Tehran so far, even as she also painted Iran as a deeply destabilizing force in the Middle East. She also indicated support for the extension of talks, saying it’s “very important” to “try to see if we can reach an agreement in line with our requirements.”
“My bottom line is a deal that verifiably closes all of Iran’s pathways to nuclear weapons,” she said. “The key there is ‘verifiably’ and ‘all.’”
Clinton was also asked about Benjamin Netanyahu, the conservative prime minister of Israel, with whom Obama has a particularly fraught relationship. In The Atlantic, Clinton offered sympathetic words for Netanyahu, but on Friday, she avoided that, instead downplaying Israel’s disagreements with the administration.
“At times there are going to be differences,” she said. “And I don’t think it’s personal. I think it is a different perspective about, sometimes what we think is best for our friends may not be what our friends think is best for them. When we say that, I don’t believe that’s disrespectful or rupturing the relationship. I think that’s an honest relationship. That’s the kind of friend I want. I want people to say that to me, I want to be able to say that back. I think that’s a broader, more accurate way to look at the relationship right now.”
She also reiterated her support for a two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, noting that goal was pursued when her husband, Bill Clinton, was president, as well as in the Bush and Obama administrations.
The absence of negotiations “leaves a vacuum that gets filled by…bad actors, threats…[that are] not good for Israel and not good for the Palestinians,” she said. “So I think the efforts undertaken in the last several years, when I was secretary [and under] Secretary [John] Kerry are very much in the interests of Israel and in the interests of the Palestinians.”
Asked about her biggest regrets while at the State Department, Clinton named several, including the administration’s decision not to do more to boost the pro-democracy protests in Iran in 2009, something she discussed in her recent memoir, “Hard Choices.”
The event drew lawmakers and former lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), whose district includes the Clintons’ Chappaqua home; Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), along with former Israeli Amb. Michael Oren, among others.
Clinton lingered after the event, hugging Lowey, greeting old colleagues from the State Department, taking pictures with Oren and huddling with Graham.

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Obama touts positive job news in weekly address

President Obama, in his weekly radio address Saturday, prodded the incoming Republican Congress with the news that the U.S. has added more jobs in 2014 than in any year since 1999, saying it's an argument for lawmakers to enact his administration's economic priorities.
"Building new roads and bridges creates jobs. Growing our exports creates jobs. Reforming our outdated tax system and our broken immigration system creates jobs," Obama said. "Raising the minimum wage would benefit nearly 28 million American workers, giving them more money to spend at local businesses — and that helps those businesses create jobs."
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that payroll employment, adjusted for seasonal variation, grew by 321,000 in November, above economists' expectations. Including strong revisions to recent months, the economy has added 2.65 million jobs on the year with a month left to go, eclipsing the growth of 2005 and setting the highest mark since the dotcom bubble year of 1999.

Average hourly earnings were up 0.4 percent in November, and 2.1 percent in the past year, right in line with the trend and slightly higher than the rate at which consumer prices have risen.
In a statement, House Speaker John Boehner said "while it's welcome news that more people found work last month, millions still remain out of work, and middle-class families across the country, including my home state of Ohio, are struggling to get by on wages that haven’t kept pace with rising costs.
"The president’s response has been more of the same: the same massive regulations, the same rising premiums, and the same uncertainty for manufacturers and small businesses," he said.
House Republican leaders, who have watched with frustration over the past two years as Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has bottled up their legislative agenda, are already planning ways to enact their own measures with the help of the Senate's new Republican majority.

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Suffering in Afghanistan Hits Record High -- for Any Country

by Steve Crabtree

As delegates from around the world depart the United Kingdom following Thursday's London Conference on Afghanistan, a new Gallup World Poll underscores just how bleak life is for most Afghans. Already the worst in the world in 2013, Afghans' ratings of their lives declined even further in 2014. More than six in 10 Afghans evaluate their lives poorly enough to be considered "suffering" -- the highest figure ever recorded for any country since Gallup started tracking life evaluations in 2005. As in 2013, no Afghans rate their lives highly enough to be considered "thriving."
Six in 10 Afghans
Gallup classifies people as "thriving," "struggling" or "suffering" according to how they rate their current and future lives on a ladder scale with steps numbered from zero to 10 based on the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale. Gallup considers people to be suffering if they rate their current lives a 4 or lower and predict that their lives in five years will be at a 4 or lower. Respondents do not label themselves as suffering, struggling or thriving.
Afghans living in rural areas (representing about three-fourths of the total population) are more likely to be suffering than those in urban areas -- 64% vs. 49%, respectively. Though poverty is common throughout the population, it is most prevalent among rural Afghans: 44% say there were times in the past year when they didn't have enough money to buy food for themselves or their families, versus 32% among urban residents. Rural Afghans are also far less likely than their urban counterparts to be satisfied with vital infrastructure such as schools, healthcare services and roads.
Regionally, life evaluations tend to get better moving from western to eastern Afghanistan. A number of possible factors may influence this pattern: Afghans in some western and southern areas are particularly vulnerable to drug addiction, as opium cultivation is most prevalent in these regions. Fears about deteriorating security conditions in the absence of Western troops may also be especially damaging to Afghans' optimism in southern provinces such as Helmand, which were Taliban strongholds prior to the U.S. troop surge in 2010.
Suffering Rates Highest in Western Afghanistan
With the Taliban and other insurgent groups still actively recruiting new members in Afghanistan, lack of hope among young men is a particular concern. In many countries, younger people give more positive life evaluations, particularly when rating their future lives. In Afghanistan, however, there are few differences in suffering by gender or age. Among men between the ages of 15 and 24, 58% are suffering, not far from the figure for the overall population (61%).
Suffering Percentages Relatively Consistent Across Gender, Age Groups
Optimism About Local Economic Conditions Hits Record Low
Given that the 13-year NATO-led combat mission in Afghanistan ends this month, security concerns were top of mind for many delegates at Thursday's conference in London. However, the country's dire economic situation, which has been further strained by recent terror attacks as well as the departure of foreign troops, is also a major concern. Afghans' suffering rate has surged as their economic situation has deteriorated.
Currently, 6% of Afghans say economic conditions in their city or area are getting better, while 67% say they are getting worse. Frustration with the lack of progress toward poverty reduction has climbed dramatically; 86% of Afghans now say they are dissatisfied with efforts to deal with the poor, up from 32% in 2008.
In this country, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with efforts to deal with the poor?
Bottom Line
Afghans' record-low life evaluations come as residents are poised to start a different chapter in their country's history, with a new president facing rising economic distress in an already blighted environment. Further, ongoing economic insecurity has made it all but impossible to wean Afghan farmers off opium poppy cultivation, which reached a record high in 2014.
It's difficult to see how Afghans' life evaluations could get much worse -- but the current combination of violence, drug addiction and intractable poverty makes it equally difficult to envision any improvement, at least over the short term. In the meantime, rampant hopelessness among the population makes concerns about the growth and influence of extremist groups in Afghan society as real as ever.
Survey Methods
Results are based on face-to-face interviews with approximately 1,000 adults per year, aged 15 and older, conducted 2008-2014 in Afghanistan. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3.8 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

Hagel: More U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan next year than initially planned

By Jim Sciutto and Jennifer Rizzo


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The U.S. will keep a larger force in Afghanistan for the first few month of 2015 than it initially planned to, outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Saturday.
During a joint press conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Hagel said that up to 10,800 troops will remain in the country at the start of next year; a previous announcement called for 1,000 fewer troops.
Hagel arrived in Afghanistan on Saturday in order to assess the nation as the United States begins the drawdown of its forces in the New Year, he said.

Kabul has seen an uptick in Taliban attacks in recent weeks, a sign of instability that he said comes as no surprise."It's predictable that they would do everything they could and continue to do to try to disrupt and discourage the new government of President Ghani," he said.
However, the spike in violence in the Afghan capital was not a factor in the decision to keep more U.S. troops in the country next year, a Defense Department official said. The decision is due to the late signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement, which allows a specified amount of U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan after the combat mission ends this year.
Ghani's predecessor, Hamid Karzai, would not sign a security agreement with the United States.
Despite the attacks, the Pentagon said Afghan forces are performing "well," and are now in the lead on 99% of the missions.
"The gaps are in aviation and ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance)," a senior defense official told reporters on the flight to Afghanistan.
This is his fourth and last visit to Afghanistan as defense secretary.
His first trip to Afghanistan was 12 years ago as part of a Congressional delegation.
Asked by CNN how he would define victory more than a decade later Hagel said the people of Afghanistan are far better off today than they were 13 years ago, citing an elected government and a national security force.
"They're not completely there yet, but they've come a long way," Hagel said. "That's to the credit certainly of the United States, the sacrifice, the blood and the treasure that we've made there."
His visit comes after the establishment of a new unity government in the fall, which Hagel will express strong support for during his trip, a second senior defense official said.
The drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan will be "gradual" compared with the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, the first official said.
In 2016, the number of troops will slide down to 5,500 and by 2017 the coalition will consolidate to Kabul.
Maintaining a troop presence will allow the U.S. to monitor the progress of the Afghan security forces over time, according to the first official.
"The Afghan people and the Afghan government ...have asked us to stay," Hagel said contrasting the drawdown to the withdrawal troops in Iraq, where the U.S. could not negotiate an agreement that would allow a residual force in the country.
The trip to Kabul follows Kabul's announcement last month that he will step down as soon as the Senate confirms his successor. President Barack Obama has said he will nominate Ashton Carter to replace him.
Hagel, who has served as defense secretary since February last year, was forced out by Obama, several sources told CNN.
During remarks announcing his resignation, Obama praised him as an "exemplary" defense secretary, calling him critical to various national security accomplishments during his tenure.
He said Hagel's resignation was his own choice.
A critic of the Iraq war, Hagel took over from his predecessor Robert Gates to oversee the draw down from Afghanistan and a heavily cut Pentagon budget.
The former Nebraska senator was the last Republican in Obama's Cabinet. He is a Vietnam combat veteran.
Hagel's unannounced visit will include stops in other countries in the region.

Pakistan: Internet Activists Criticize Islamabad Over Poor Freedom Ranking

APakistani rights group has criticized the government for restricting Internet access, a day after a global survey ranked Pakistan among worst in the world in terms of Internet freedom.
Pakistan was ranked 10th from the bottom in a survey of 65 nations that was released on December 4 by the U.S.-based Freedom House.
Faheem Zafar, an activist from Internet freedom group called Bytes For All, said the climate in Pakistan is “becoming more intrusive and disturbing as the authorities clamp down on liberal political discourse on the Internet” by banning sites and accounts of activists.
Pakistan’s Internet laws initially targeted material deemed as blasphemous.
But Zafar said people with alternative political views increasingly are being targeted and blocked.
Freedom House said Iran and China are the world's most repressive countries in terms of Internet Freedom.
Uzbekistan, Syria, Vietnam, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and Ethiopia also were ranked among the worst offenders.

India lashes out at Pakistan, says supporting Hafiz Saeed’s rally is ‘mainstreaming of terrorism’

India on Friday said that Pakistan’s support to UN-designated terrorist and Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed and his proscribed Jamaat-ud-Dawah was “nothing short of mainstreaming of the terrorism.”
“What is happening in the so-called ‘ishtimaah’ (congregation) of the JuD. I think I would describe it as nothing short of mainstreaming of terrorism. This was an event which took place in national monument in Pakistan. It was an event (for which) large number of police personnel were deployed. The event which was advertised all over Pakistan.
“And it was an event by an organisation which is proscribed not only by India but the US, the UK, Australia and the UN… Also it was addressed by an individual who is designated as a terrorist by the UN Securitry Council…These sought of facilities are provided to the designated terrorist organisation or a designated terrorist entity.
“This is nothing short of mainstreaming a terrorist entity and a terrorist who is designated all over the world,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.
Outlawed Saeed, who orchestrated the November, 2008 Mumbai terror attacks in which 166 people were killed, addressed a public rally at the ground of historical monument Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore spewing venom on India and the US.
Saeed, who roams around freely in Pakistan despite being a designated terrorist, said the “Pakistanis and Kashmiris are blood brothers and they cannot be separated…..Efforts are being made to declare Jihad terrorism.”
The United Nations declared JuD a terrorist organization in December 2008 as also Saeed who was also individually
designated by the United Nations under UNSCR 1267 in December 2008. The Resolution entails freezing of funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals and entities and prevent the entry into or transit through their territories by designated individuals.
But Saeed, who also has a US bounty of 10 million dollars on him, roams free in Pakistan and often addresses public rallies in which he routinely makes inflammatory statements.
Pakistan has said that there is no case against Hafiz Saeed and that he is free to move in the country as a Pakistani national.

Pakistan Army kill top Al-Qaeda leader Adnan Shukrijuma in Waziristan

Pakistan Army on Saturday killed a top Al-Qaeda leader Adnan el Shukrijuma in early morning raid in Shinwarsak region of South Waziristan Agency.
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in statement said that Shukrijuma had moved to the area after Pakistan Army launched a military operation in North Waziristan Agency code-named as Zarb-i-Azb against al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.
The ISPR said that accomplices of the al-Qaeda commander were also killed in the raid.
The statement said that Adnan el Shukrijuma was a member of the core Al Qaeda leadership and was in charge of all external operations of Al Qaeda. During the raid, a soldier was also killed and another injured.
The Pakistan Army had launched Operation Zarb-i-Azb in June against foreign and local terrorists who were hiding in sanctuaries in North Waziristan.
The comprehensive operation was launched a week after militants made a brazen insurgent attack on the country’s busiest airport in Karachi.
According to reports, Shukrijuma was among the five men charged with plotting to bomb New York City’s subway system and attack an unidentified target in Britain under orders from al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan.
Adnan El Shukrijumah, Adis Medunjanin, Abid Naseer, Tariq Ur Rehman, and a fifth man known as “Ahmad,” were charged in July 2010 with 10 counts, including conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and to commit murder in a foreign country.

Pakistan - Punjab police's bad behaviour

The Punjab police acted true to its reputation on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, when some 200 visually impaired persons staged a protest demonstration to demand implementation of two percent job quota for special persons in all government and semi-government departments. The protesters had also wanted increase in the job quota from the existing two to three percent, and job contract for the Special Education Department's ad hoc employees. What these defenceless people got was abrutal baton charge by the police who were anxious to clear the road for 'VIP movement.' Granted the police had to facilitate VIP movement, but that could be done in a civilised manner, such as providing the demonstrators an alternative route to reach the CM's secretariat. The response is reflective of a mindset that tells policemen that they are there to serve and protect the rulers rather than the people. 

Once the images of the incident started appearing on TV screens, the government became apologetic. While the Prime Minister expressed his concern, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on a visit to Qatar, ordered an inquiry. Worried about a political fallout, the provincial police chief suspended two ASIs and three constables. These measures can bring about some attitudinal improvement but only for a short while. It will soon be business as usual unless the government reviews basic issues pertaining to training that shapes police behaviour. There is an urgent need to undertake radical reforms aimed at orienting the law enforcement personnel towards public service.

The incident also underscores the system's apathy towards less fortunate members of society. Soon after the media focus on the baton charge, the government announced acceptance of the protesters' all three demands. There obviously was nothing unreasonable about them. Following the 18th Amendment, the Punjab government enacted Disabled Persons Employment and Rehabilitation (Amendment) Act, 2012. Implementation, as evident from the protest event, leaves a lot be desired. The situation in other provinces is even worse. Last March, Sindh High Court ordered the provincial government there to enact a new law for provision of employment to people with disabilities, and to comply, in the meanwhile, with provisions of the Disabled Persons (Employment and Rehabilitation) Ordinance, 1981. So far there is little compliance. It is hoped that the Pakistan Blind Association's effort in Lahore to draw attention towards the issue will bear fruit. And that not only the Punjab government will hold good on its promise to accept and implement the demands for a due share in jobs, other provinces would also take necessary measure towards that end. All must provide opportunities to people with disabilities so they can work as productive members of society, making their contributions in different areas of national endeavour.