Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Video - Climate change could push 100 million into poverty by 2030 - COP21

President Obama named Out magazine’s ‘Ally of the Year’

When Barack Obama was sworn in as president in 2009, gay marriage was legal in just two states, and Obama had yet to come out in support of same-sex unions. Fast-forward six years, same-sex marriage is legal nationwide — thanks to the Supreme Court’s historic decision in June — and Obama is on the cover of Out magazine as its “Ally of the Year.”
The president, who publicly expressed his support for gay marriage four years ago, said his administration’s focus on LGBT equality can be traced back to his childhood.
“My mom instilled in me the strong belief that every person is of equal worth,” Obama told Out. “At the same time, growing up as a black guy with a funny name, I was often reminded of exactly what it felt like to be on the outside. One of the reasons I got involved in politics was to help deliver on our promise that we’re all created equal and that no one should be excluded from the American dream just because of who they are.”
Obama also recalled a gay professor who “went out of his way to advise lesbian, gay and transgender students” when he was a freshman at Occidental College.
“Keep in mind, this was 1978,” Obama said. “That took a lot of courage.”
The president said the Supreme Court’s ruling reflected “a remarkable attitude shift — in hearts and minds — across America.”
“I wasn’t surprised by the Supreme Court’s decision,” he added. “But like millions of Americans, I was proud and happy that it came down the way it did. And I was honored to stand in the Rose Garden and reiterate for every American that we are strongest, that we are most free, when all of us are treated equally. I was proud to say that love is love.”
Obama was also asked what advice he’d give to people like Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
“I am a man of faith and believe deeply in religious freedom,” Obama said, “but at the end of the day, nobody is above the rule of law — especially someone who voluntarily takes an oath to uphold that law. That’s something we’ve got to respect.”
Still, Obama acknowledged there is a lot more work to do when it comes to LGBT equality, such as “[ending] harmful practices like conversion therapy.”
But Obama said his experience as a father makes him hopeful that the country will eventually get there.
“To Malia and Sasha and their friends, discrimination in any form against anyone doesn’t make sense,” he said. “It doesn’t dawn on them that friends who are gay or friends’ parents who are same-sex couples should be treated differently than anyone else. That’s powerful.”


Video - Kerry: Climate Change 'Threat' to Nat'l Security

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Putin: US missile defense aimed at neutralizing Russia nukes, N. Korea & Iran just a cover

Vladimir Putin said the US is trying to “neutralize Russia’s nuclear potential” with its on-going deployment of a missile defense shield in Europe. The Russian president has promised a response.
“References to Iran and North Korea nuclear threats are just a cover for the true purpose [of NATO missile defense]. That is to neutralize the potential of other nuclear states not the US or its allies – primarily Russia,” Putin said during a meeting in Sochi dedicated to national military development. “The US is attempting to achieve strategic military superiority, with all the consequences that entails.”
Vladimir Putin has reminded that Iran reached a landmark nuclear deal with world powers in July. The agreement would remove sanctions that have crippled its economy, in exchange for severe restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear program.
Russia has been repeatedly told Iran is the main threat.
“Now, the Iranian problem is off the table – treaties have been signed and ratified. Yet, the work on missile defense continues, as before,” Putin said.
The Russian leader promised Russia would take the “necessary measures to respond by strengthening its own missile defense.”
“And at the first stage we are also going to develop strike weapons that can penetrate any missile defense shield.”
Over the last three years, the Russian defense industry has created and successfully tested a range of promising weapons that can operate against a multilayer missile defense system, the Russian president said.
In June, Putin announced Russia would add 40 new-generation intercontinental ballistic missiles to its nuclear arsenal this year. In briefing to the media after the Sochi meeting, Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, insisted that Russia's strategic warfare expenditures, would not emulate "the American path of extortionate expense."
Putin said Russia’s concerns over US missile defense had been “ignored.”
“We have pointed out that these actions [construction of the shield] are an attempt to undermine the nuclear parity principle, and to destabilize the existing world and regional order.”
Last month, nine NATO states conducted a joint test of the ship-mounted anti-missile Aegis system in its first ever European exercise, off the coast of Scotland. Days later, the US staged a separate $230-million intercept of dummy nuclear launches near Wake Island in the Pacific.
First developed under Ronald Reagan, plans for a ballistic missile shield were revived by the George W. Bush administration in 2002. But the major rift with Russia began in 2007 when Poland and the Czech Republic agreed to host missile bases on their territory, despite protests from Moscow. The Czechs later withdrew from the US missile defense plans.
Since coming to power in 2008, Barack Obama has modified the plan, increasing its cost efficiency, but not its purpose. When it becomes fully operational – scheduled for early in the next decade – the system will comprise Aegis-equipped ships patrolling from Spain, and rocket equipped silos in Romania and Poland, with Turkey, Germany and other NATO states providing radar capability.

Mere secularization of Pakistan won’t suffice in creating a tolerant state

By Wishal Raheel 

There are quite a few individuals and groups that strongly believe that Pakistan should be a secular state. A number of groups insist that only through a secular state can the issue of intolerance be dealt with. That, however, is not the case. While it is true that a secular state would mean that all individuals are equal regardless of their faith in the eyes of the state, achieving this perception of equality amongst the masses would still remain an issue.
Religious intolerance is bred not by state policies but by mindsets that refuse to be changed. The state only increases or reduces the degree of this intolerance by its policies. The Pakistani Constitution, for example, by openly marginalizing members of the Ahmadiyya community ensures that intolerance amongst individuals from different faiths plagues our society severely. The fact that a religious group, that was once part of the Muslim majority, is now a marginalized minority reflects the fact that the state, in fact, encourages the creation of religious minorities.
At this, two arguments can be presented. The first argument is that the state is solely responsible for the creation of minorities and that had the state been powerful enough, it would ensure the protection of its minorities. The second argument is that it is not the state but the mindset of the people that has led to Pakistani becoming such an intolerant, hostile society. Both arguments are correct.
We are so obsessed with the idea of rewards and punishment in the hereafter that we get blinded by our faith. We refuse to look at the world, or religion for that matter, from another’s perspective. We are so afraid of what the hereafter might hold for us that we refuse to admit the fact that someone else might be practising the ‘right’ faith and we may be wrong. In the process of trying to distinguish the right and wrong faith, we forget the basic rights and wrongs of life. We forget the need for compassion and humility. We forget the need for humanity to prevail over everything else. We forget the fact that a human life is more sacred than any religious scripture. In the process of trying to find the ‘right path’, we end up killing people in the name of God and take pride in it. 

When individuals in a society have such a mindset, it then becomes the responsibility of the state to ensure that it takes all measures necessary to reduce the tension between groups. That, however, has not happened in Pakistan. The creation of minorities has been something that the country has been supporting since its creation. The Ahmadiyya community faced these issues before being excommunicated from Islam. The Shia community is experiencing similar problem now. While the government itself hasn’t taken any steps to make the Shia community a minority, it hasn’t taken the necessary steps to ensure that the community is not treated like a minority.
Making Pakistan a secular state would help only if the masses became tolerant towards other religions. Secularism is never the solution to religious intolerance otherwise the chaos that India is experiencing currently wouldn’t have been there.

#HappyDiwali - Bilawal Bhutto to celebrate Diwali in Mithi

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is all set to celebrate Diwali on Thursday with the Hindu community in Tharparkar district of Sindh.
Last year, he participated in the Diwali festivities at Larkana, but this time around, he has chosen Mithi, the district headquarters of Tharparkar to celebrate the event. Analysts believe the move aims at attracting Hindu voters ahead of local government elections.
It may be noted that over fifty per cent population in Tharparkar comprises Hindu community. Traditionally, this community has been supporting the PPP candidates in elections, but Arbabs of Mithi also enjoy significant influence in the area.


Pakistan - Co-Chairman PPP Asif Ali Zardari Felicitates Hindus on Deewali

Co-Chairman PPP Mr. Asif Ali Zardari has greeted the Hindus of Pakistan on the occasion of Deewali and called for strengthening interfaith harmony and protecting minorities’ rights.I wish to extend on my behalf and on behalf of the Pakistan People’s Party heartiest greetings to the Hindus on the occasion of Deewali, he said in his message.
Deewali celebration is also an occasion to reiterate our commitment to promoting interfaith harmony as a means to fight religious apartheid.Deewali is known as the festival of lights aims at celebrating the triumph of good over evil, he said adding “let us strive in the case of all that is good to defeat the evil”. 
On this occasion I wish to reiterate that the Hindus, indeed all minorities, of Pakistan are equal citizens of the state and entitled to equal rights.
I also wish to reiterate our commitment to respect and uphold the UN Resolution calling for interfaith harmony and the pledges contained in the manifesto of the Party to safeguard the rights of all minorities in accordance with the teachings of the founder of the Nation Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and the founder of the Party Quaid-e-Awam Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

#Pakistan - Compensation of Kissan Package on discriminatory basis not acceptable

#PPP Punjab rejects the discriminatory compensation under the Kissan Package as being carried out on political basis, said Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, President PPP Punjab in a statement issued from here today. The lists for the beneficiaries are prepared in Punjab consultation with the ruling party local leaders, he added.

He said that the purpose of the Kissan Package was being defeated by the ruling Party with the connivance of the compliant local administration. Instead of mitigating the sufferings of the farmers who had been devastated because of the anti-farmers policies of this government since it came to power, they are subject to torture due to the injustice being dispensed before their eyes.

He said that protest by the farmers’ community in the province was the testimony to the fact that the distribution of public money was underway among the farmers who were not the genuine claimants.
He expressed his strong disapproval of the government and the ruling party for politically motivated tactics that would enhance the predicaments of the farmers instead of helping them during these testing times.
He pointed out that the root cause of the problem was the fixation of realistic support prices of wheat, cotton, sugarcane, maze and potatoes in a manner to ensure that farmers get the satisfying dividends of their sweat and toil. It will also save them from the reckless market forces and the exploitation by the middle man, he added.

He regretted that the government was reluctant to address the basic issue of support price and therefore agriculture sector would continue to suffer due to ill-conceived and poorly executed policies resulting in negative negative impact on the economy of the country in general and on the rural economy in particular.
He reminded to the mandarins that agriculture was the backbone of the economy as it was the source of livelihood of the more than half population of the country and therefore should constitute the top priority of the government in its development strategy. But, government is bogged down in other projects those should be at the bottom of the such priority list like Metro Oragnge Train, he observed.


#Lahore factory collapse - کارپوریٹ قتل - ڈاکٹر لال خان