Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Video - U.S.-Cuba announcement expected Wednesday

President Obama Expands Overtime Pay to 5 Million Americans


President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced a sweeping change to the country's overtime pay law by expanding the measure to almost 5 million workers as early as 2016.
Currently, employees who earn more than $23,660 per year ($455 per week) cannot claim overtime pay. Unless exempt, employees covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act must receive overtime pay for hours in a week that exceed 40.

But the long-awaited proposed rule will increase the threshold for guaranteed overtime for employees who make less than an estimated $50,440 next year, according to the White House. The salary threshold, only updated once since the 1970s, guarantees overtime for most salaried workers who fall below it, but it is destroyed by inflation every year.
Last March, Obama ordered the U.S. Department of Labor to streamline and simplify federal overtime rules, and draft a version of regulations that could expand the number of workers covered by overtime.
"If you go above and beyond to help your employer and your economy succeed, then you should share a little bit in that success," he said in a speechlast year.
The National Retail Federation opposes overtime expansion. The change "would drive up retailers’ payroll costs while limiting opportunities to move up into management. Most workers would be unlikely to see an increase in take-home pay, the use of part-time workers could increase, and retailers operating in rural states could see a disproportionate impact," according to a study outlined on the group's website.
For the formal announcement, Obama traveled to La Crosse, Wisconsin, a battleground state home to likely Republican presidential candidate Governor Scott Walker.

Video - President Obama and the President of Brazil Hold a Joint Press Conference

Video - First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks on Career and Technical Education (CTE)

Video - First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts the First-Ever White House Campout with Let's Move!

#Shame Shahbaz Lohar - Crumbling Daanish Schools

Within a year of its inauguration, the building of Daanish School in the Attock district has started crumbling, forcing management to close down sections. A report by the Chief Minister Inspection Team, which investigated the faults and causes at the Malala Yousafzai Daanish School, has raised serious concerns about the soil survey, building and structural design, material used in the buildings and non-supervision of the work, terming all these factors major causes of the start of collapse of the building that had cost the nation millions of rupees within a year. This school was inaugurated by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Feb 14, 2013, and the cracks in the building started appearing in February 2014.
One can question the management involved in these schools and the lack of checks and balances, but nobody is willing to take responsibility. The Daanish Schools have been criticised as being a ploy for greater nepotism and corruption in appropriating government funds, and this example just supports concerns voiced in the past. The blame has been put on a third party that was hired to construct the school. The three professionals, who were part of the investigation, have said that defects in the building are “a result of structural failure and non-vetting of design and structural designs by the third party”. However, the process of awarding contract did not follow the official guidelines, which led to no transparency regarding their work.
With the education budget of next year, once again taking a major hit, is it really sad to come to the conclusion that the making of these schools have might only have political motives behind them. Each Daanish School campus is estimated to cost around Rs 1 billion and needs an estimated Rs 21 million annual operating expenditure. Looking at the lack of sustainability of these projects, one can rightly point out that the provincial government could have used these funds to strengthen some good schools in all tehsils and create a positive ripple effect in the broader education sector which is facing a severe dearth of resources. Good teachers and better teach training would have gone a long way in helping fix the system. It seems more reasonable that they should have focused more on facilities to millions of children studying in existing public schools instead of going for an unjust distribution of available resources and spending billions of rupees on exorbitantly expensive schools.

Rising ISIS support in Pakistan's nuclear testing region sparks fears of 'dirty' bomb

FEARS are growing that depraved Islamic State (ISIS) militants could obtain a nuclear weapon from Pakistan.

The group is understood to be preparing a new push to seize territory in the province of Balochistan, which borders Afghanistan and Iran.
The area is widely-known to be the centre of Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme, with controversial underground testing of atomic explosive devices in the 1990s.
And Middle East terror experts are now warning that the extremist group could be close to obtaining a 'dirty' bomb.
Afzal Ashraf, a former senior officer in the RAF, said Pakistan was "the most likely place" for ISIS to obtain a nuclear explosive.
He argued that the organisation, which has declared a 'caliphate' in Iraq and Syria after gaining vast swathes of territory, was now enjoying "success in getting support" in a region at the heart of Pakistan's nuclear programme.
In 1998, Pakistan exploded five underground nuclear devices in mountains in the Balochistan region as part of an arms race with neighbouring India.
The country remains outside both the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
Its growing nuclear arsenal raises the risk that the deadly weapons or the ingredients used to construct them - enriched uranium or plutonium - could fall into the hands of ISIS.
The Balochistan region of Pakistan borders Iran and AfghanistanGOOGLE MAPS
The Balochistan region of Pakistan borders Iran and Afghanistan
Dr Ashraf, who worked as a counterterrorism strategist for the US army in Iraq, told the Express: "Balochistan is a province where the Pakistanis do their nuclear tests, and presumably have some of their nuclear facilities, and maybe even some of their nuclear weapons.
"It may be a coincidence but their expansion into that particular part of Pakistan is worrying."
It follows comments by the Australian foreign minister that ISIS has already obtained enough radioactive material to produce a dirty bomb.
Julie Bishop raised fears the savage group, which releases almost daily videos of public headings, could be working towards manufacturing a nuclear device.
ISIS is "prepared to use any and all means, any and all forms of violence they can think of, to advance their demented cause", she said.
Pakistan is known to have around 120 warheads, with a missile range of 2,750km (1,700miles), making it capable of striking targets in India, Russia and the Middle East.
In March, the country successfully tested new ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear bomb.
Were a bomb to obtained by ISIS, it could have the potential to reach the eastern edge of Europe, including Turkey.
However, Dr Natasha Underhill, an expert on terrorism in the Middle East at Nottingham Trent University, said the risk of ISIS obtaining nuclear weapons from the central Asian remained "low" for the time being.
Nuclear weapons require careful storage and Dr Underhill said the group would not be able to adequately house a bomb, nor know how to use it.
She told Express.co.uk: "Terrorism is about fear and the promotion of fear and for now the use of suicide bombers, beheadings and graphic public displays of brutality suit how the organisation wants to portray itself - as a leader of the new caliphate and one that has strict adherence to Islamic law."

Pakistan - Asia Bibi - “Please Don’t Abandon Me”

Note: Asia Bibi, a Christian Pakistani woman, was sentenced to death for blasphemy against Islam in 2010. The year before, while picking fruit with Muslim women, she took a sip of water from the local well. She was immediately accused of making the water impure by ​the other workers, ​who told her that they could no longer use the well. A​ccording to her husband, Ashiq Masih, and others, men and women started beating her and accusing her of making derogatory remarks against the Islamic prophet Muhammad, a charge she denies. Asia is currently in prison waiting to be hanged after losing an appeal ​on ​Oct. 16. She has told her story in a memoir, Blasphemy: A Memoir: Sentenced to Death over a Cup of Water, written with French journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet.
Below is an open letter by Ashiq addressed to the world community. (Madam Mayor refers to Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who has offered her support to Asia.)
Yesterday, I returned from the prison in Multan where my wife, Asia Bibi, was transferred eight months ago. Since Asia was sentenced to death in November 2010 for drinking a glass of water from our village well, my family has lived in constant fear and under death threats. I live in hiding with my five children as near as possible to Asia. She needs us very much to help keep her alive, to bring her medicine and good food when she is sick.
After my wife had spent four long years in prison in terrible conditions, we were hoping that the High Court of Lahore would free my wife. She did not commit blasphemy, never. Since the court confirmed the death sentence on the 16th of October, we do not understand why our country, our beloved Pakistan, is so against us. Our family has always lived here in peace, and we never had any disturbance. We are Christians but we respect Islam. Our neighbors are Muslims and we have always lived well with them in our little village. But for some years now the situation in Pakistan has changed because of just a few people, and we are afraid. Today many of our Muslim friends cannot understand why the Pakistani justice system is making our family suffer so much.
We are now trying our best to present the final case to the Supreme Court before the 4th of December. But we are convinced that Asia will only be saved from being hanged if the venerable President Mammon Hussain grants her a pardon. No one should be killed for drinking a glass of water.
My five children and I have only survived thanks to the protection of a few faithful friends who risk their lives daily to help us. We are the husband and family of Asia Bibi and many people want us to die. Thanks to our friend Anne-Isabelle Tollet, who has become our sister and helped us for four years now, we speak often about what is happening in Paris and the world to help save Asia. Hearing that people are supporting Asia from so far away is so important for us. It helps us to hold on. Every time I visit Asia in prison I tell her the news. Sometimes it gives her the courage to keep going.
Just before taking the ten-hour journey to visit Asia, I learned the wonderful news that Paris is offering to welcome Asia and our family to Paris if she is freed. This is a huge honor and we are very humbled. I would like to offer my sincere thanks to you, Madam Mayor of Paris, and to say that we are immensely grateful for your concern. I hope that one day we will visit you alive, and not dead.
When I visited Asia Bibi yesterday she asked me to give you this message:
“My prison cell has no windows and day and night are the same to me, but if I am still holding on today it is thanks to everyone who is trying to help me. When my husbnd showed me the photographs of people I have never met drinking a glass of water for me, my heart overflowed. Ashiq told me that the city of Paris is offering to welcome our family. I send my deepest thanks to you Madam Mayor, and to all the kind people of Paris and across the world. You are my only hope of staying alive in this dungeon, so please don’t abandon me. I did not commit blasphemy.”
Ashiq Masih Pakistan, 17th of November 2014

Christian woman sentenced to death for 'drinking from Muslim water cup' in Pakistan may not live to face execution

A Christian woman on death row in Pakistan for drinking from the same cup as Muslims is suffering from intestinal bleeding and is so weak she cannot walk.

There are fears Asia Bibi, now 50, may not even live to face execution after languishing in jail for five years after receiving her death sentence.
Bibi, a mother-of-five, has been on death row since November 2010 after she was convicted of insulting Mohammed during a row with Muslim co-workers over a bowl of water.
Following a visit from her family last week, it was discovered Bibi was vomiting blood, had difficulty eating and was suffering from constant chest pains, The Global Dispatch reported. 
Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in majority Muslim Pakistan country, with even unproven allegations often prompting mob violence.
Although her legal team filed an appeal in the hopes of having the sentence reduced to a jail term, late last year a high court in Lahore confirmed the sentence.
It came despite Bibi making an impassioned plea to supporters in an open letter.
'You are my only hope of staying alive in this dungeon, so please don’t abandon me,' she said. 'I did not commit blasphemy.'
The allegations against Bibi date back to June 2009, when she was labouring in a field and a row broke out with some Muslim women she was working with.
She was asked to fetch water, but the Muslim women objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she was unfit to touch the water bowl.
A few days later the women went to a local cleric and put forward the blasphemy allegations. 
Her lawyers have alleged evidence was manipulated, and say there was a long delay between the time of the incident and its investigation by police.

Defence lawyer Saiful Malook said the blasphemy allegation was concocted by Bibi's enemies to target her and had no basis in fact.
It came in addition to a personal plea from Bibi's husband Ashiq Masih to Pakistan's President Mamnoon Hussain, asking for her to be pardoned and allowed to move to France.
'We are convinced that Asia will only be saved from being hanged if the venerable President (Mamnoon) Hussain grants her a pardon. No one should be killed for drinking a glass of water,' he wrote in the New York Times.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has said the couple are welcomed in the city, and Masih quoted his wife as saying she sent her 'deepest thanks to you Madame Mayor, and to all the kind people of Paris and across the world'. 

Bibi's message from jail read: 'My prison cell has no windows and day and night are the same to me, but if I am still holding on today it is thanks to everyone who is trying to help me. When my husband showed me the photographs of people I have never met drinking a glass of water for me, my heart overflowed.
'Ashiq told me that the city of Paris is offering to welcome our family. I send my deepest thanks to you Madam Mayor, and to all the kind people of Paris and across the world.
'You are my only hope of staying alive in this dungeon, so please don’t abandon me. I did not commit blasphemy.'
Mr Masih, 50, lives in hiding with two of his five children and has to keep his identity secret as he scrapes together a living as a daily labourer.
He visits his wife once a month, making a five-and-a-half hour journey to her jail in Multan in southern Punjab.
Amnesty International has raised 'serious concerns' about the fairness of her trial and has called for her release.
Anyone convicted, or even just accused, of insulting Islam in Pakistan, risks a violent and bloody death at the hands of vigilantes.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3144300/Christian-woman-sentenced-death-drinking-Muslim-water-cup-Pakistan-not-live-face-execution-five-years-imprisonment-left-intestinal-bleeding.html#ixzz3ebKg61Yz
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Pashto Music - Sardar Ali Takkar - جانانه راشه - Folk Revival