Sunday, December 14, 2014

Video - Taylor Swift - Blank Space

Video - Kerry, Lavrov Meet Ahead of Middle East Talks

Video - Amvid shows intense fighting in Aleppo

Video - Islamist militants take hostages in Sydney café, display black jihadist flag

Turkey’s ambiguous policies help terrorists join IS jihadist group: analyst

By Qiu Yongzheng 

A Chinese security analyst has claimed that the Turkish government's ambiguous policies have allowed terrorists easy access to Turkey, enabling them to join the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group.

According to a senior security official from the Kurdish region of Iraq, terrorists from the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a terrorist organization that is also known as the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), have travelled to Syria via southeastern Turkey's Sanliurfa Province to join the Islamic State jihadist group. 

The official shared a video produced by the Islamic State which dates from October 17 this year with the Global Times, which features a teenage boy sitting in the driver's seat of a vehicle. 

The video subtitles claim the teenager shown in the video was "a Chinese brother before he did a martyrdom operation (suicide bomb attack) in the town of Suleiman." 

"The fact that these extremists can easily enter Turkey and later travel to Syria and Iraq to join IS is a direct consequence of the Turkish government's ambiguous policies," a source familiar with China's anti-terrorism operations, told the Global Times. 

The Turkish Embassy in Beijing has denied they have issued passports to Xinjiang residents, calling these claims of the illegal issuance of passports "ridiculous" and saying that they "only issue passports to Turkish citizens."

"The illegal issuance of passports and visas and customs loopholes in some Southeast Asian countries have allowed extremists to travel to Turkey and then go on to join the jihadists," the source told the Global Times. 

"If there weren't so many illegal passports and visas available, there would not be so many members of ETIM in Syria and Iraq," the source noted. 

According to information from various sources, including security officers from Iraq's Kurdish region, Syria and Lebanon, around 300 Chinese extremists are fighting with IS in Iraq and Syria.

The sources told the Global Times that the extremist militants of ETIM, or TIP, which were previously believed to have been independently fighting with other opposition forces in Syria, have added "IS" to the name of their organizations, a signal that they have officially pledged allegiance to the jihadist group and formed a new sub-division under IS.

Video - Protesters across U.S. demand change

U.S.A. - How and Why Police Monitor Protests

By Tom Risen

 People in cities across the U.S. continue to protest separate recent grand jury decisions not to indict police officers who killed unarmed black men , with demonstrations catching on in countries around the world. They've staged “die-ins” by lying down in stores and train stations, marched through streets holding signs reading "We Can't Breathe," blocked traffic intersections and chanted slogans like "black lives matter” and "hands up, don't shoot." They also brought back a rallying cry heard during the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement: "The people united can never be divided!”
As they did during the Occupy protests, law enforcement is once again reportedly monitoring these demonstrations using video recordings to make lists of who attended and organized protests, according to civil liberties groups. The question of who has access to that footage also raises privacy concerns for these groups about President Barack Obama’s push for officers to wear body cameras to document their interactions with people.
“I have been attending protests in Boston for years and it seems like Boston Police Department policy to videotape protests,” says Kade Crockford, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project.
The Boston Police Department had video teams at recent protests but activity was not recorded because there were no incidents, says Lt. Mike McCarthy, spokesman for the department.
“The only times the video cameras are rolling is if there is an incident,” McCarthy says. “We use it to assist us to identify anybody who may be committing a crime during the event and to ensure officers are obeying rules and regulations.”
A mobile pod camera vehicle “commonly used at large events” was also present during a recent protest in Chicago, Martin Maloney, a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department tells U.S. News in an email.
“[Chicago Police Department] will always protect residents' First Amendment rights of free speech and peaceful assembly,” Maloney wrote. “ In many cases this week CPD even shut down major streets to facilitate the protests.”
A representative of the Oakland Police Department tells U.S. News that it has not videotaped recent protests. All videotaping of protests by the New York City Police Department must comply with federal Handschu Authority guidelines, a set of policies that prohibit photographing or videotaping lawful protests, Det. Cheryl Crispin, a spokeswoman for the department, told U.S. News in an email.
Videotaping protests could help officers spot people who become violent at demonstrations but a lack of privacy protections on the data could enable politically motivated harassment if police don’t like the protesters, says Faiza Patel, a program director at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. Body cameras raise the same privacy concerns as those devices would record “intimate situations between police and citizens, like a domestic disturbance,” Patel adds.
"The NYPD has been videotaping protests for quite some time," she says. “Police video surveillance policies are not well developed and vary from department to department.”
Video footage could be used to support charges against protesters arrested during demonstrations. New York City police arrested more than 220 people during peaceful protests on Friday on charges including disorderly conduct and failure to clear the streets, ABC News reports.
While law enforcement monitors for crime but does not interfere with peaceful assembly, this surveillance can also have “a chilling effect” to intimidate people against lawful protest, says Eugene Puryear, an organizer of the DC Ferguson activist group that has marched in the nation's capital in recent weeks. This fear of being listed by police as an activist is why some people hide their faces during marches by wearing Guy Fawkes masks made popular by Anonymous protesters, Puryear says
“I think the police videotaping protests is clearly an intimidation tactic,” he says. “That being said, it clearly has not succeeded given the vibrancy of the movement.”
Police surveillance does not worry veteran activist Holly Wood, 29, of Belmont, California, but she told U.S. News in an email that she has not attended recent protests because she works evenings as a child-care provider. It would be unsafe to bring a child to protests, she says, because of safety concerns about crowds turning violent or police crowd control methods like tear gas or “kettling” crowds into a small area, Wood wrote. Body cameras for police could help increase crowd safety by holding officers accountable, she added.
“Many people are afraid of how potential employers will interpret activism,” Wood wrote. “No one is certain of how the government is using their data” from videotaping protests.
The fear of being entered into a government database for peaceful protesting did not stop Donald Ray, 35, of Washington, District of Columbia, from marching on Friday for more accountability about police violence against unarmed citizens.
“I don’t know about others, but I’m not worried,” Ray says. “I would be happy if the police knew I was in a protest.”
Government surveillance of protests went beyond videotape during the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in 2011, however, according to government documents disclosed to the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. The heavily redacted documents show “intelligence agencies working with law enforcement to catalogue peaceful protest activities,” and it is unclear who had access to the data and what it was used for, says Mara Verheyden-Hilliard executive director of the advocacy group.
“We can reasonably anticipate that the same thing is happening now,” she says.
Law enforcement used funding and resources from the Department of Homeland Security to monitor Occupy movement protesters and organizers, which included the Boston Regional Intelligence Center collecting and retaining a wide range of intelligence on participants including student activists, according to documents That Boston intelligence office is one of the dozens of “fusion centers” across the U.S. created after the terrorist attacks of September 2001 to coordinate information on terrorism threats.
Terrorism is the U.S. is rare, so fusion centers have been used to help state and local law enforcement collect and analyze data on criminal activity, says Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the ACLU in the nation's capital. Protests can sometimes fall into this category, whether they are violent or peaceful, he says. “We need to take a close look at the fusion center concept and whether it provides a good return on investment for law enforcement.”
Fusion centers collect information – not just from law enforcement but also from private sector and the public, says Mike Sena, president of the National Fusion Center Association. Sena denies that these centers are being used to monitor peaceful protests.
“We have no role with the collection of information on peaceful protests,” Sena says. “The only information we review is when there is an active criminal threat.”
The centers contact local law enforcement when they discover there will be large - scale events so police and fire department resources will prepared, and to ask whether there is a risk of a crowd becoming violent, says Sena, director of the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center fusion center.
Though the benefits of such surveillance seem evident when it comes to dealing with terrorism, a bipartisan report from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in 2012 raised doubts about the merits of fusion centers.
“Instead of strengthening our counterterrorism efforts, they have too often wasted money and stepped on Americans’ civil liberties,” Sen Tom Coburn, R-S.D., who is the ranking member of the subcommittee.
Civil liberties groups fear a chilling effect on free speech from other methods of surveillance that police could use to support cases against protesters, including monitoring of cell phones and social media accounts used by protesters. The New York Police Department successfully fought Twitter in court to obtain the social media records of an Occupy Wall Street activist to bolster a case against him for the charge of disorderly conduct during a protest that blocked traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Law enforcement may also be using devices that can intercept mobile phone signals while they're being sent to a cell tower, Stanley says. These commercially available devices known as “stingrays,” which can collect people’s cellphone data including their location and data stored on the phone like call records, have reportedly been used by the Justice Department. The ACLU has identified law enforcement agencies in 19 states and the District of Columbia that own those devices .
When asked whether law enforcement has sent his fusion center in Northern California data about protesters’ cell phones, Sena told U.S. News, “I have never received a request for analysis for that type of information.” 

Video - BrotherSpeak: Exploring rage after Ferguson

Through the voices of African American men, The Washington Post unpacks the anger expressed by tens of thousands nationwide in the wake of the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice.

Qatar 'broke promise to US over Guantanamo detainee'

By David Blair
Jarallah al-Marri, who attended an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, visited Britain despite deal requiring him to remain in Qatar on release
Qatar broke an "explicit" promise by allowing a former Guantánamo detainee who had trained with al-Qaeda to leave the country and visit Britain, a new report has found.
Jarallah al-Marri, who attended an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan before the terrorist attacks on September 11, was freed from Guantánamo in 2008.
Mr Marri was allowed to go home to Qatar in return for a formal promise from the government of the Gulf state that he would not be allowed to leave the country. But a report from the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies in Washington said this pledge was broken. Mr Marri was allowed to leave Qatar to visit Britain twice in 2009, where he spoke at events alongside Moazzem Begg, another former Guantánamo inmate. On his second visit, he was arrested by the British authorities and returned to Qatar.
A diplomatic cable from the US Embassy in Qatar states that Mr Marri was allowed back to the Gulf state "with the explicit understanding (made via exchange of diplomatic notes) that he would be subject to a travel ban".
If Mr Marri tried to leave, the Qatari government promised to inform America. Nonetheless, he was still allowed to visit Britain. The US cable concludes that the Qatari authorities "deliberately withheld information on Jarallah al-Marri's travel outside of Qatar".
This case added to the impression that Qatar has a "historical legacy of negligence" in the struggle against Islamist extremism that "stretches back over two decades," says the report.
Marri was captured in Pakistan in December 2001 and transferred to US custody in Guantánamo in January 2002. He admitted attending an al-Qaeda camp and transferring money that could have been used by the movement, but there was no suggestion that he directly engaged in terrorism himself.

Turkish police raid media close to cleric rival Gulen

Turkish police raided media outlets close to a U.S.-based Muslim cleric on Sunday and detained 24 people including top executives and ex-police chiefs in operations against what President Tayyip Erdogan calls a terrorist network conspiring to topple him.
The raids on Zaman daily and Samanyolu television marked an escalation of Erdogan's battle with ex-ally Fetullah Gulen, with whom he has been in open conflict since a graft investigation targeting Erdogan's inner circle emerged a year ago.
In scenes broadcast live on Turkish TV channels, top-selling Zaman's editor-in-chief Ekrem Dumanli smiled and studied police documents before being led through the newspaper's headquarters to applause from staff crowded onto balconies
"Let those who have committed a crime be scared," he said before police struggled to escort him through the crowds to a waiting car. "We are not scared."
Several hundred people chanted "The free press cannot be silenced" and "Turkey is proud of you".
Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Hadi Salihoglu said in a statement arrest warrants had been issued for 31 people on charges of "establishing a terrorist group", forgery and slander.
In raids across EU-candidate Turkey, 24 people have been detained, including two former police chiefs, state broadcaster TRT Haber said. Also detained were Samanyolu's chairman and the staff of two Samanyolu drama series, one about an anti-terrorism squad and the other set in a southeast hit by Kurdish rebellion.
"This is a shameful sight for Turkey," chairman Hidayet Karaca said before his arrest. "Sadly in 21st Century Turkey this is the treatment they dish out to a media group with tens of television and radio stations, internet media and magazines."
Erdogan, his AK Party elected in 2002, introduced many democratic reforms in his first years in power and curbed army involvement in politics. NATO allies often cited Turkey as an example of a successful Muslim democracy, but more recently critics have accused Erdogan of intolerance of dissent and, increasingly, a divisive reversion to Islamist roots.
Government ministers declined to make specific comments on the raids, but Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu said "anyone who does wrong pays the price", state media reported.
Main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu told reporters: "This is a coup government. A coup is being carried out against democracy".
Erdogan accuses Gulen of establishing a "parallel structure" in the state through his supporters in the judiciary, police and other institutions, while wielding influence through the media.
The cleric, living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, denies any ambition to overthrow Erdogan.
Erdogan drew on Gulen's influence among police and judiciary in his first years of power to help tame an army that had toppled four governments since 1960, including Turkey's first Islamist-led cabinet. That relationship has dramatically soured.
Erdogan, who consolidated his power further in moving from the prime minister's office to the presidency in August, has described "Gulenists" in the past as terrorists and traitors. The President's campaign seems to have raised his popularity among his core religiously conservative supporters.
The police graft investigation, which became public with police raids on Dec. 17 last year, led to the resignation of three ministers and prompted a purge by Erdogan, reassigning thousands of police and hundreds of judges and prosecutors.

He has also pushed through laws tightening control of the judiciary, most recently a law restructuring two top courts. Prosecutors have meanwhile dropped the corruption cases.


Pashto Music Video - Nazia Iqbal - Zerka De Kashmir Yem -

Pashto Music Vodeo - Musafar -

Pashto Music Video - Naghma - Peace -

Pakistan - Asfandwar says won’t let Imran runaway

Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan on Sunday criticized Imram Khan for what he his stubbornness and politics of agitation. Addressing a rally, he said that Imran Khan could be anything but not a politician. He said that Khan will have to fulfill his promises and people would not let him runaway. He said that he would not let Khan become a martyr as he was already dying. The ANP chief said the government and PTI should resolve their problems with talks as the country was at crossroad. He asked both the sides to keep aside their ego and stubbornness to resolve the crisis. Asfadyar Wali Khan prayed for a peaceful day in Lahore where PTI would protest on Monday.

Bangla song - Hridoy Amar - By Porshi

And then I fainted: Survivors remember rape during the Bangladesh War

by Salil Tripathi
Editor’s note: Rape has always been part of war. During the 1971 war that led to the birth of Bangladesh, rape was not just widespread but it was also systematic. Numbers are impossible to ascertain. Some were raped once, some multiple times, some made into sexual slaves. After the war, the government of Bangladesh called these women birangonas or the brave ones. But the honorific did not necessarily erase the stigma. In his book The Colonel Who Would Not Repent about the Bangladesh war and its legacy, Salil Tripathi devotes a chapter to the stories of the birangonas and their testimonies. Here is an excerpt.
In December 2012, on another visit to Bangladesh I went to Kumarkhali, a small town near Kushtia, where Sikha Saha runs the local branch of Nijera Kori (We Do It Ourselves), a women’s rights awareness group. Saha set up her centre in 1980 where she provides women training and education, particularly raising awareness, including dealing with violence and how to claim their rights. Some human rights lawyers represent them for free. I met more birangonas there.
‘We made this country free—and how do we live now?’ 
MK was nineteen and a mother of three children in 1971. She and her husband helped the freedom fighters by carrying their weapons. Her husband would take refugees or the freedom fighters to India in his boat; MK would cook for them.
From her window, MK could see what was happening in the street. One day in October, the army came to her village. She took her sons and escaped. When she heard that the army had left, she made her way back to her home. But she saw the military coming.
MK was sitting with her three-month-old son in her lap. The soldiers snatched away the child. They threatened to throw him away and MK pleaded with them for his life. Then two Razakars and the soldiers took her with them. Her mother fell at their feet, but they loaded their guns. They saw that they had a farm with goats and chickens, so they asked for eggs. Her mother was shaking with fear. The officers took MK away and set her home on fire.
Cover for Salil Tripathi's book. Image from Amazon.
Cover for Salil Tripathi's book. Image from Amazon.
At that time, her husband was looking after some Hindu families. The river behind his home was a busy route for freedom fighters, so the military always kept an eye on the riverfront. Her husband frequently helped freedom fighters—to flee, to hide, or to help take them across wherever they wished to go. He wanted to join them, but he had married recently and thought it would not be right for him to leave his wife alone.
His business was trading ilish, the traditional Bengali river fish. He would buy the fish from fishermen and sell it in the market. He was aware that a Shanti Committee, as pro-Pakistani local committees were known, was active in his village. He was quietly helping refugees who wanted to cross the river from the village to the other side and go to C’pur, across the River. ‘I would take 8-10 refugees at a time in my boat,’ he said.
Biharis had been burning homes in H’pur, and a friend told him to escape. He heard that Biharis were tying fishermen in their fishing nets and then burning them. ‘I was too scared to go back at such a time,’ he said.
On the day the army reached his home, her husband was at the river, buying fish. He heard sounds of shooting. A man whose son was a freedom fighter rushed to him, saying he must take him across the river so that he could hide. He took them across and helped them set up a camp.
When he returned to his shore, a cousin told him the news about the attack on his house. He rushed home and found MK lying unconscious. He comforted her. ‘I could understand what happened to her and accept it,’ he told me. ‘If I were in the house at that time, I know I would have been killed, so I have nothing more to say about what happened,’ he added. A school teacher in his village explained to him that whatever had happened was not MK’s fault. ‘Eventually he accepted everything,’ MK said.
In December, MK’s husband remembers seeing the sky filled with Indian planes, and then bombing at the Pakistani camp. ‘I felt very happy,’ he said. ‘We made this country free—and how do we live now? Nobody values us, no one honours us. We are made fun of,’ MK said.
‘They then attacked me, but I fought back. I punched them, I kicked them. I was bleeding but I fought them. I was to give my life away, but not my respect.’
DN remembers well the night about a dozen freedom fighters came to her father’s home. They were hungry, but they did not have rice at home. She was twenty and pregnant. The freedom fighters had planned to attack the Pakistani army the next morning.
Her husband left with the young men to hide their weapons by wrapping them in plastic and keeping them besides the river in the mud. DN was with her mother-in-law and her sister-in-law. Several Pakistani soldiers came and raped the sister-in-law first (she later committed suicide). ‘They then attacked me, but I fought back. I punched them, I kicked them. I was bleeding but I fought them. I was to give my life away, but not my respect. By that time my husband also came, and he too fought,’ she said.
‘The incident (as she refers to her rape) had already happened but I kept fighting them. Then I ran away to save my life. They were more powerful,’ she said. They left her husband nearly dead. He was in coma, and after the war he died.
Her voice softened when I asked her the name of her sister-in-law. She no longer remembered her name; she had been married only recently. One of her sons works as a rickshaw driver. One daughter is a homemaker. Of all the women, she received some direct benefit from the government. Hasina Wajed gave her 50,000 takas and 4 kathas land, which she has distributed among her children. She is on a list of freedom fighters and guards her photographs with Hasina carefully. She showed me fragile sheets with evidence of her suffering. ‘Bangladesh is free, but what about us? We did so much for Bangladesh. What did Bangladesh do for us?’
I had asked simple questions to start with, asking them about their lives, how old they were in 1971, leading up to the day. I could then only ask ‘and then what happened?’ Many of the women were animated and friendly when they began speaking, but as our conversation entered the room, or the field, or the riverbed where they were attacked, their voice would get softer. There were often long pauses. Some looked down. Some stared back at me. Some said it, matter-of-factly, that they did not remember anything. And many used the euphemism that they had chosen to describe the rape—they had fainted. I did not probe further. It is only after I let them complete the sentences, the thoughts, it is only after they had let the memory of those soldiers and Razakars leave their minds, as they once left their rooms, that their faces became animated again. Some sobbed; some turned angrier in their tone.
In all this, they were generous to me. They willingly told me intimate, painful details of their lives, expecting nothing in return. I had promised to cover the costs of their journey from their villages and back, and the lunch that was provided. But I was not going to offer them any money to hear their stories. It would violate a specific journalistic ethic; it would also demean the value of what they told me—it was incalculable; it was impossible to assign a monetary value to their time, their trust, and their honesty.
And I decided to tell the story of each woman I met, because each experience taught me something new. It is easy to talk of ‘a quarter million rapes’ and think that each violent encounter was the same. It never is. Each story has a different background; each woman finds herself in the complex situation because of unique circumstances; and most important, the response of each woman is different. I owed them the decency, the courtesy, of recognising that and not to see them as an undifferentiated mass. The dilemma I had was whether to name them. Not naming them would perpetuate the idea that somehow there was some shame associated with what had happened, as though their name needed to be hidden. Naming them would respect their agency, their right—they hadn’t told me to anonymize them; by deciding for them, I would deny them their agency. I asked women’s rights activists and feminists—lawyers and academics advised me not to name them; journalists and writers, including a few feminists, suggested I should. Eventually I decided not to name them because as per the laws of the land where I was born—India—and the laws of the land where I live now—England—it is illegal to name a rape victim in a legal case. Indeed, some have gone on camera and given interviews, and I respect that. But they hadn’t told me if I could name them, and I didn’t think I had the right to decide that on their behalf—too many men have taken decisions on their behalf over the past forty years. I didn’t want to add another number to that.
The interviews were uncomfortable. Once the stories multiplied, and the scale of the horror became more vivid, I felt subdued and numb. By the time the interviews ended, I felt powerless and angry. Later that evening in Bogura, Shamuna and Farhana, who had travelled with me from Dhaka, decided to go for a walk along the river before meeting me for dinner. I was too distraught to go with them; too disturbed to enjoy the dinner later. I made my excuses and left early for bed.

Bangladesh: Their supreme sacrifice remembered, intellectuals, mercilessly killed by the Pakistani occupation army

On this very painful day, we remember and grieve the lives of our brightest intellectuals, mercilessly killed by the Pakistani occupation army and its local collaborators on the eve of victory in 1971. It was a systematic, if desperate, attempt to deal one last blow to the emerging nation:  to deny it its intellectual wealth and cripple its progress. And so, between December 12 and 14, they picked up and put to death the luminaries of intellectual world -- our academics, doctors, civil servants, cultural activists and journalists.

Although 43 years later, we stand strong as an independent nation, we observe the sad truth that the void their cruel and untimely deaths left behind is yet to be filled. On this day, it is not enough to simply mourn their deaths, if we don't also remember their lives -- their dreams of and sacrifices for a democratic and just Bangladesh. We, individually and collectively, must emulate their unparalleled devotion to the motherland and its people, and draw renewed strength from them to sustain us on our journey toward the creation of a just, egalitarian and secular Bangladesh.

Today, as we pay homage to the martyred intellectuals, we are grateful that the long awaited process of justice has begun to bring some semblance of closure to the grieving families as well as to the nation at large. There is, however, a long way to go before we can honour the memory of our martyrs through ensuring that their killers answer for the heinous crimes committed in 1971.

Afghan President Condemns Terror Attacks

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has condemned the surge of militant attacks in his country in recent weeks as U.S.-led foreign forces continue their withdrawal.
Ghani said in a televised speech on December 14 that "we will never surrender" while calling on all religious, political, and tribal leaders to condemn the violence.
Ghani shouted "Enough! No more!" during his address and called the wave of attacks "un-Islamic" and "inhuman."
The president's speech came two weeks before the withdrawal of almost all international combat troops from Afghanistan.
Taliban fighters have launched several high-profile attacks across the country and killed at least 19 people on December 13, including a senior Supreme Court official outside his Kabul home.
The some 12,500 mostly U.S. troops that will remain in Afghanistan after December 31 will mainly train the country's national army and police.

Afghanistan - There is No Good and Bad in Terror: Ghani

Marking International Human Rights Day in Kabul on Sunday, President Ashraf Ghani said that the region must understand that there "is no such thing as good and bad terror."
"We will never surrender to terror," Ghani said. "Peace is crucial for each and every one of us. The acts of violence and terror are not acceptable. We condemn all and any kind of torture."
His comments follow the recent spates of attacks on Afghanistan, especially in Kabul, in the recent months, targeting the Afghan security forces, foreigners and civilian facilities.
In a recent attack in Kabul, six Ministry of Defense (MoD) personnel were killed and 14 others were injured in a Taliban suicide attack near Pul-e-Artal locality of Kabul City.
During the speech, Ghani addressed the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), emphasizing that the government and AIHRC must work together for a solution.
"We respect your independence," addressing the AIHRC. "We should work toward a solution and that in a partnership and cooperation with each other."
Ghani stressed that the national unity government is a symbol of a unified country and that the nation must not presume failure.

Urdu Music Video - Alycia Dias - Payalein Chun Mun...

Pakistan: The cure: education

EVERY educated Pakistani (and many an uneducated one) knows that a large part of the current crisis facing our nation can be put down to the much-harped-about-and-little-done-about problem of illiteracy. Pakistan’s literacy figures indicate that the government must act now on a war footing to boost school enrolments, and improve school facilities and the quality of education.
Is it any surprise that one of the strategies employed by the Taliban to destroy the fabric of society is to target schools? In a convoluted way, they understand (perhaps better than the elected government) that if you are to change society, you should target the education system.
In many ways, successive governments are more responsible for the current education emergency than any war-mongering extremist. But first, a look at the shining promises.
Article 25A of the Constitution states that all Pakistani citizens aged between five and 16 years have the right to free and compulsory education. In addition, Pakistan is a signatory to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 26 of the Declaration requires all signatory member states to provide free education to children.
And now, a look at the bleak education landscape and the stark challenges ahead. According to a report compiled by Alif Ailaan (an alliance that is campaigning to get more Pakistani children into schools), there are an estimated 25 million children in the country, aged between five and 16 years, who ought to be attending school but are not or, rather, cannot. Of these, 11.4 million are boys while 13.7 million are girls.

Actions do not match pledges to rescue education.

In another estimate, 57pc of all children who are out of school live in rural areas. And overall school enrolments at the primary level stand at a low 73pc.
In contrast, India and Bangladesh boast enrolment figures of 92pc at the primary level. These figures highlight the urgency and the massive level at which Pakistan needs to invest in education. Otherwise, we risk condemning a large percentage of our population to a life of unemployment and poverty.
When it comes to explaining the yawning gap between the promise of education and the ground reality, it is no surprise that rhetoric abounds in an attempt to bridge the variance in the two. By now, jaded Pakistanis have really heard it all. This year in March, at an international conference in Islamabad titled ‘Unfinished Agenda in Education: the Way Forward’, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that for Pakistan, education is “not merely a matter of priority, it is the future of Pakistan, which lies in its educated youth”.
“It has, in fact, become a national emergency. More than half of the country’s population is below 25 years of age. With proper education and training, this huge reservoir of human capital can offer us an edge in the race for growth and prosperity in the age of globalisation. Without education, this resource can turn into a burden,” he added.
‘National emergency’, ‘human capital’, ‘edge’, ‘growth’, and ‘prosperity’, the prime minister used all the right words in his speech.
In practice, however, the actions lag far, far behind.  Our government spends a measly 2.4pc of GDP on education. To add insult to injury, gimmicks such as using the precious little money reserved for education to hand out laptops (akin to doling out handouts to families of victims of terror attacks), only serve to divert focus from the real issue. The former hardly makes a dent in the literacy rate, just as handouts do nothing to prevent terrorism.
The writing on the wall is clear. An effective struggle (and it will take a struggle, no less) to increase literacy is going to be all about hard work: the hard work of building schools, the hard work of training teachers and the hard work of conceiving and undertaking effective campaigns to boost school enrolments.
We know that developing a skilled workforce is vital to sustaining a vibrant, strong and healthy economy. We also know that education is crucial if we are to achieve the dream of a healthy and tolerant society.
Yet all around us and every day, we see illiterate Pakistanis who face a lifetime of low wages and other issues related to living in poverty. They are at a greater risk for health problems, are vulnerable to exploitation and their children grapple with cognitive delays.
While there can be no one remedy that can deal with all the issues that ail this beleaguered nation, education comes close to being a panacea to our problems. For when we raise our voices and take steps to eradicate illiteracy from society, we are also raising our voices and eradicating related scourges such as poverty, hunger and disease.

Pakistan:- Carnage in Faisalabad - The shooter in our midst

The PTI’s Dr Shireen Mazari blasted Rana Sanaullah on Saturday for being responsible for the carnage in Faisalabad and demanded his immediate arrest. Rana Sanaullah responded by flatly denying all charges and flinging accusations back at the PTI.
Now there is a problem. There always is, when things are not what they seem; and when people say what they don’t mean. We saw it in Faisalabad — again.
Enraged crowd collided that day like ancient armies on a vast battlefield. Sticks were swung like battle axes and fists thrown like spiked hammers. Men and boys spat rage and venom as the air reverberated with the sound of war.
Then somewhere in the middle of the mayhem, someone raised his gun-wielding hand, and pressed the trigger. The spring mechanism inside the gun hammered a firing pin into the back end of the bullet, igniting a small explosive charge. The bullet spun through the spiraling grooves inside the barrel, emerging at a muzzle velocity of more than 2,000 km/hour. It sliced angrily through the air and slammed into the body of Haq Nawaz, puncturing flesh, splintering bone and shattering organs. Haq Nawaz had no chance.
It happened in front of the cameras. There was no hiding and no shielding. The shooter walked about without a care in the world, firing away as if practising on a range. He did not belong to any law-enforcement agency, and yet he strutted around brandishing his weapon with complete abandon. Who was he? And why was he shooting to kill in a crowd?
Herein lies the problem. The last few months have vomited some weird characters on to the national stage: Gullu, Pomi, Chainee and an assortment of ruffians who breed inside the armpits of governments. These thugs thrive on crumbs from the official table, and do their dirty business under the protective shadows of the police. They represent the dark side of our political system — vermin and maggots growing fat on official largesse.
But no one speaks of them and all that they do. All know about them, but no one dare admit it in public. Fear is a powerful emotion, and fear can elicit total silence. These villains are merchants of pain; they kill, maim, extort, kidnap and do all such things that are, well… unpleasant. They are the qabza mafia, and all other mafias. They lurk in the shadows, but hide in plain sight. But they are ultimately nothing more than enforcers — henchmen for the real dons.
And who are these real dons? Well, now here is where politics blends into criminality and vice versa. Over the decades, this country of ours has developed a strong tolerance for the culture of violence. In many ways, strong-arm tactics have acquired certain legitimacy within political activities. So it is now acceptable — perhaps even desirable — for successful politicians to wield influence through a bit of force. This force is meant not just to browbeat opponents and people at large, but to generate economic activity. Huh?
Yes, in the brutal world of Pakistan, where the State joins other predators in hunting its own citizens, millions and billions are made through qabzas of one kind or the other. These qabzasare done through force. Then they are legalised through influence. And while all this is being done, the law shrivels up like a terrorised victim and hides under the table.
This is the worst kept secret in the country. But no one does anything to put an end to this. The problem is the man in power. He is the one who sanctions this criminality because he himself is the product of the system that reeks of such unsaid thuggery. This culture of the Gullus and Pomis and Chainees is weaved inside the fabric of our political system — legitimised over the decades by those who birthed it, nourished it and clothed it in State apparel.
The Faisalabad shooter has still not been identified and apprehended. His face is plastered all over the media, and yet the police and other law-enforcement agencies appear helpless. Or is there some other explanation? Is he deliberately not being nabbed and produced before the public for fear of exposing some other people? Is the Pakistani system going into overdrive to protect the powerful?
These questions and fears have no place in a true modern, democratic and transparent system where rule of law reigns supreme. Yet it is the irony of all our ironies that many among us defend this rotten state of affairs in the name of continuity. In no self-respecting country would a government and its police be so shamelessly incompetent that it would not be able to identify a man whose face is on every TV screen and every newspaper front page. In no self-respecting country would the law let this absolute travesty go by without the most severe of consequences.
Here then is the problem: we know what the problem is, we even know what the solution is, yet we do nothing. Yes, we do nothing because those who can do something are not interested in doing anything, and those who are aghast at the situation appear powerless to shout out aloud that the emperor indeed has no clothes.
If there is no official sanction to such cover-ups, no one dare indulge in them. But when power-wielders themselves manipulate the law to suit their agendas, there is little that a common citizen can do. There is no need to smash this system. It needs reform. This reform can only take place if the man at the top decides in all sincerity that it must be reform. There’s no rocket science. There’s no complication. This hypocrisy can be cleansed. This criminal duality can be quashed. This abhorring manipulation can be ended.
Yet it prevails — and shall continue to do so unless the men and women who run this system indulge in ruthless honesty to cleanse this filth. The shooter in Faisalabad is a reminder of all that is wrong with our system. He also provides us an opportunity to set this rot right. But will we?

Pakistan Police Kill 'Taliban Militants Plotting To Attack Shi'ite Rally'

Pakistani officials say police foiled a major terror attack on December 13 in central Punjab Province, killing at least four suspected Taliban militants. Rai Zamir-ul-Haq, a senior police officer said the four men were spotted travelling in a vehicle near the city of Muzaffargah and were killed in a shootout. Police later raided the men's hideout and recovered dozens of grenades, rocket launchers, and four suicide bomb vests, the official said. He said authorities believe the men were plotting to attack a Shi'ite rally on December 13 marking the Arbaeen commemoration. Arbaeen marks the end of a 40-day mourning period for the anniversary of the death of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson and the first Imam of Shi'a Islam. A police spokeswoman in the provincial capital, Lahore, confirmed the killings and said police had cordoned off the area to search for any other militants in the region.

Pakistan - Alycia Dias - The Budding Singing Prodigy

Alycia Dias is a Pakistani Christian singer, a distinguished and recognized playback singer in Urdu drama serials. She was born on 4th of November 1992 in Karachi, Pakistan. She began her singing career by participating in LG Awaaz Banaye Star when she reached the semi-finals at the age of 17 only. She made her debut as a lead vocalist playback singer with a song from the 2013 Turkish drama “Noor” dubbed in Urdu. Alycia won Hum Award for Best Original Soundtrack for her super hit song “Dil-e-Muztar” for Hum TV serial Dil e Muztar. This was the song that won her fame and honour both at national and international levels. This Karachi based singing marvel is a versatile singer, while performing she shows a wunderkind and apt command over “sur.”
In 2012, she sang “Tum Hi Ho” and “Aag” while performing with “The Milestones.” That same year she made her solo debut with “Noor” as a playback singer for a Turkish drama serial “Noor” dubbed in Urdu. She sang “Yeh Tamam Zindagi Daagh Hai” for Urdu drama serial “Daagh” for ARY Digital channel. In 2013, she sung “Yahan Zindagi Bhi Fareb Hai” for another Turkish drama serial “Fareb” that was dubbed in Urdu and aired on Express Entertainment. She went on to sing “Choti si Nanhi si” for Urdu drama serial “Nanhi” aired on Geo TV.
Alycia while performing
Alycia while performing
However it was in 2013, that her super hit song “Dil e Muztar” for Urdu drama serial “Dil e Muztar” which was aired on Hum TV became a smashing hit and brought her great appreciation and acknowledgement. She won Hum Award for Best Original Soundtrack for “Dil-e-Muztar.” The same year she sang “Kankar” for Urdu drama serial “Kankar” aired on Hum TV. Her other songs include “Intikam” for “Intikam” a Turkish drama serial dubbed in Urdu aired at Geo Kahani. “Rishte Kuch Adhore Se” for Urdu drama serial “Rishte Kuch Adhore Se” aired at Hum TV. “Pachtawa” for Urdu drama serial “Pachtawa” aired on ARY Digital. In 2014, she sang “Agar Shukk Dil Mein Ajaye” for “Shukk” aired on ARY Digital. “Sari Bhool Humari Thi” for Urdu drama serial “Sari Bhool Humari Thi” aired on Geo TV. “Kiya Hua…Jo Choota Teyra Pyaar” for a Turkish drama serial “Iffet” also dubbed in Urdu, currently being aired at Geo Kahani. “Jahan Ara ” for Urdu drama serial “Jahan Ara” for ARY Zindagi. “Sher-e-Ajanabi ” for Urdu drama serial “Sher-e-Ajanabi” for A-Plus Entertainment channel. “Hasti Hasati Subha” for The Morning Show aired at ARY News. “Kholo” for Master Chef Pakistan which was aired at Urdu 1. “Ishq Barra Beymaan Hai” for “Ishq” another Turkish drama serial dubbed in Urdu for Urdu “Woh Bhi Bus Chup Rehti Thi” for Urdu drama serial “Chup Raho” currently being aired at ARY Digital.
Performing at a concert
Performing at a concert
As a young rising melodious stunner, Alycia continues to render her soulful voice to many other songs, we sih her all the best and pray for her great success. Here’s a brief inerview of her:
What she says about herself
I am currently studying at the moment. I’m a singer as well. I am generally a playback singer who has done numerous Pakistani drama OST’s. The most famous ones are Dil e muztar, Kankar, Noor, Daagh and Inteqaam.
Her take on OST Dil-e-Muztar
Well I never expected people would love it so much. I am basically known because of that song. It was a great experience singing it and of course thanking Waqar Ali for giving me the opportunity to sing it.
Alycia talks about her inspirations
I always loved singing. I belong to a family of musicians. My dad is a lead guitarist himself. I guess it’s in my genes. But yes my dad, my aunt and most of all Celine Dion inspired me.
Where she sees herself in Pakistani music industry
Among the stars. That’s where I want to be.
Her upcoming projects are:
Yes there are a couple of OST’s that will be coming out soon. I recently did my first solo concert the second day turn out was really good.
Alycia’s message to all Christians in Pakistan, especially to girls
Merry Christmas to everyone in advance! Well for Christians be strong and positive. As for the girls, the same. It’s a rough world but one should not just look at the bad things around but should make the most of good things too. Love and respect your parents.
Young singing sensation-Alycia Dias
Young singing sensation-Alycia Dias
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