Thursday, February 11, 2016

Video Report - Germany: Lavrov pleased that Syria humanitarian situation is better understood

Turkey’s position in Middle East "alarms" regional countries

Russian Deputy Prime Minister recalled that at least 1,500 Turkish soldiers entered Iraq’s territory without coordination with Baghdad under the pretext of an alleged fight against terrorism.
Turkey is trying to pursue "Ottoman" policy in the Middle East, which "alarms" regional countries, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told journalists Thursday after his visit to Iraq.

Rogozin recalled that at least 1,500 Turkish soldiers entered Iraq’s territory without coordination with Baghdad under the pretext of an alleged fight against terrorism.

"Unfortunately, Turkey’s policy of the latest period alarms all regional countries. We see that under the pretext of such ‘international work’ to fight terrorism, they just pursue the policy similar to that of the Ottoman empire, that is expand their influence," he underscored.
Rogozin said Turkey "uses the weakness of other states, which have found themselves in a post-occupation period."

"Iraq is only just restoring sovereignty on the territory of the entire country, and it is hard for it to do that, but instead of helping Iraq, Turkey actually just used that story today and invaded its territory," he said.


Major Powers Agree on Ceasefire in Syria, to Begin in One Week

Truce won't apply to ISIS, Nusrah Front, other terrorist groups, U.S. Secretary of State Kerry says; Diplomatic source says deal didn't include immediate end of Russian bombings.

World powers have agreed to implement a "nationwide cessation of hostilities" in Syria in one week's time, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said early Friday, after a meeting of the International Syria Support Group in Munich.
The ceasefire will not apply to Islamic State, the Nusrah Front, and other terrorist groups, Kerry told reporters.
Kerry, speaking after marathon talks that included Russia and more than a dozen other countries, said that all nations involved in the talks agreed that Syrian peace negotiations should resume in Geneva as soon as possible.

Kerry, flanked by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and UN envoy Staffan de Mistura, acknowledged that the Munich meeting produced commitments on paper only. He and Lavrov agreed that the "real test" will be whether all parties to the Syrian conflict honor those commitments.
"We will only be able to see whether this was a breakthrough in a few days," Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters.
British Foreign Secretary Hammond said that if the ceasefire is to work, Russia's airstrikes in the country in the aid of President Bashar Assad will have to stop. "No cessation of hostilities will last if opposition continues to be targeted," he said.

The plan is aimed at breaking the deadlock in Syria by introducing a gradual cessation of hostilities and quick humanitarian aid with a view to creating conditions to revive peace talks, a diplomatic source said.
"We did not get a deal on the immediate end of Russian bombings, but we have a commitment to a process that if it works would change the situation," a Western diplomatic source said.
A spokesman for the Syrian opposition welcomed the truce, but said the opposition must see action on the ground.

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Russia’s PM Medvedev Warns of New War if US, Arab Troops Invade Syria

As Turkey and Saudi Arabia edge closer to sending ground forces into Syria at the behest of the United States, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned that an escalation of the conflict could lead to world war.

During an interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt, Medvedev warned of dire consequences if the United States and its allies abandon Syrian peace talks in favor of deploying ground forces.
"All ground operations, as a rule, lead to permanent wars," he said. "Look at what is going on in Afghanistan and a number of other countries. I don’t even mention the ill-fated Libya.
"The Americans must consider — both the US president and our Arab partners — whether or not they want a permanent war."

All sides should instead focus on implementing peace talks.

"We must make everyone sit down to the negotiating table, and we can do it by using, among other things, the harsh measures that are being implemented by Russia, the Americans, and even, with all reservations, the Turks, rather than start yet another war in the world."

Any direct involvement by foreign players on behalf of the Syrian opposition will only worsen the violence.
"We may differ in our opinions of certain political leaders but it is not a good enough reason to begin intervention or to stir up unrest from within."

Moscow has long-stressed the need to support the legitimate government of President Bashar al-Assad in the fight against terrorism. Working alongside the Syrian Army, Russian airstrikes have had a severe impact on Daesh, also known as IS/Islamic State.

"…We must sit down at the same table, but our partners avoid this," Medvedev said. "That is, there have been some occasional meetings, telephone conversations and contacts between our militaries. But in this situation we should create a full-scale alliance to fight this evil."

The Prime Minister also criticized Europe’s handling of the migrant crisis. The continent is facing an increased risk of terrorist attack because of its decision to open its borders, and this only highlights the need for international cooperation against terrorism.
"Some of these people — and it’s not just a few strange individuals or utter scoundrels, but hundreds and possibly thousands — are entering Europe as potential time bombs, and they will fulfill their missions as robots when they are told to," he said.
"We are not trying to rule the world or impose our regulations on it, though we are accused regularly of having such ambitions” he added. “That is not so — we are a pragmatic people who realise that no one can shoulder responsibility for the whole world, not even the United States of America."

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Billy Joel - We Didn't Start the Fire

How have US scientists measured gravitational waves?

US scientists are expected to say they can show that gravitational waves exist, ending a century-long search to prove one of Einstein's theories. Here are six reasons they're so important for understanding our universe.

How have US scientists measured gravitational waves?

What are gravitational waves?
Einstein described how the "fabric" of space-time is pushed and pulled as objects (like neutron stars and black holes) move through it.
If a cataclysmic event were to happen - like two black holes colliding - the event would create such large waves through the cosmos that they could be measured, even hundreds of millions of light years away. But until now, no technology has existed that has allowed scientists to measure the phenomena.
The team that is credited with proving the existence of gravitational waves would almost certainly win the Nobel Prize in Physics.
Why haven't they been detected before now?
Although many scientists have tried, gravitational waves have never been observed because are so hard to detect.
An extremely sensitive detector is required because, by the time they reach the Earth, the waves have an extremely small amplitude - thousands of times smaller than an atomic nucleus.
Two years ago, astrophysicists at Harvard University found what they believed was the first direct evidence that gravitational waves exist.
The LIGO observatory in Livingston, Louisiana
The LIGO observatories in Livingston, Louisiana *(pictured) and Hanford, Washington were upgraded in 2015
But the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) project, which began in 1992, has sought to find physical evidence of the waves. While their initial attempts failed, their newest technology is four time more sensitive at observing these illusive ripples in space-time.
How have LIGO scientists been studying them?
The LIGO team built two highly-sensitive observatories in the US, about 3,000 kilometers apart (1,865 miles).
The observatories contain two identical four-kilometer-long, L-shaped tunnels, which contain mirrors.
The tests they conduct in the tunnels allow them to measure tiny distortions in space-wave time that would indicate the passage of gravitational waves.
By splitting a laser beam and sending it down both tunnels, the beam is then reflected back. But if a gravitational wave moves past, one of the beams would travel further than the other and the mismatch will be measurable with a light detector.
The two different sites allow scientists to compare notes on the timing and direction of the waves.
Scientists split laser beams to try to measure gravitational waves
Are the LIGO team the only ones trying to prove they exist?
Globally, more than 70 other observatories exist to detect and triangulate possible signals from gravitational waves passing through Earth.
The European Space Agency recently launched a satellite that will eventually help scientists measure miniscule fluctuations in space.
In addition to the US project, there are gravitational wave research teams based at the Albert Einstein Institute (AEI) in Hannover and Potsdam, Germany, and in Italy.
The German researchers have developed and installed a smaller wave detector, and many of their methods, including signal recycling and monolithic mirror suspensions, are now in use at the LIGO observatories.
What are the benefits of proving they exist?
If scientists have proven the gravitational waves exist, it could completely change our understanding of the universe.
Scientists will be able to better measure the impact of the most violent events in history like the Big Bang, which until now have been too subtle to measure.
We would be able to look into the furthest and oldest reaches of the cosmos. For example, waves created by the Big Bang could give us new insights into how the universe formed.
It would be the ultimate confirmation of the most elusive parts of Einstein's theory.

US election: How the presidential campaign looks through the eyes of a foreign journalist

Marco Rubio is talking about the decline of the American military. Matthias Kolb can hardly believe what he’s hearing.
Standing at the back of a packed and overheated sports bar, Kolb, a soft-spoken journalist, stops scribbling notes when the Republican candidate hits this point in his campaign speech: “We’re on pace to have the smallest Army since the end of World War II, the smallest Navy in 100 years, the smallest Air Force in our history.” But as president, Rubio pledges, he would rebuild the military, “because when America is the strongest country, the world is a much safer place.”
A few minutes later, driving across the frost-laden Iowa prairie, Kolb sounds dubious. “The American military, it’s the most advanced!” he exclaims. “NATO depends on the U.S. military. There’s no need to believe the American military is getting weaker. This whole thing, it’s so overblown.”
Things look and sound a little different when you’re a German newspaper reporter covering the American political circus.Kolb, 35, is a digital correspondent for Süddeutsche Zeitung (literally, “Southern German Newspaper”) assigned to his second presidential campaign. If the political process occasionally strikes native-born Americans as odd, it can look positively, well, foreign to a journalist from Munich who’s just dropped into the American heartland.
For eight days leading up the Iowa caucuses, Kolb crisscrossed Iowa in a rented Jeep, steeping himself in the quadrennial spectacle. Among other things, he covered a raucous rally for Donald Trump in Des Moines, a Bernie Sanders speech near the Mississippi River in Davenport and a get-out-to-caucus event for Hillary Clinton at the Family Fun Center bowling alley in tiny Adel.
Along the way, Kolb forms one strong impression: Unlike the formal, coalition-building, consensus-driven politics of his native land, the American campaign is a bare-knuckle brawl. Other parliamentary democracies tend to see it the same way. Western Europeans typically can’t begin to comprehend, for example, the boorish insults spewed by the GOP front-runner, Donald Trump. Or even Hillary Clinton’s fervent bashing of Republican economic policies.
“The hostility is just something we don’t do in German politics,” he says. When the candidates talk up their faith in evangelical Iowa, it’s also a little strange to Kolb. (“Religion does not play a role at all in our politics or society,” he says. “Germans don’t go to church.”) Ditto Obamacare, gun control and abortion. Those issues are more or less settled in Deutschland, he says. Talk-radio bloviators, polarised cable-news channels? Unknown. Campaign ads? Well, there are some of those, but not many, given that Germany’s national election campaign lasts all of six weeks.
Kolb finds Trump’s candidacy eye-opening, too, but not just for his polarising style, which seems to intrigue German readers almost as much as it does Americans. It’s that Trump is a candidate at all. German billionaires simply don’t declare that they’re running for national office; politicians dutifully work their way up through the party ranks until they’ve reached leadership positions. For a German to run for high office without any political experience “is beyond belief,” he says, as is a candidate worth “eight or nine figures.”
Kolb knows that working for a European news outlet won’t land him many scoops or even much access to the candidates. (“German newspapers don’t bring them a lot of votes,” he notes wryly.) Occasionally, he can’t even get inside the building. In Iowa, he spent several days trying to secure media credentials to the Republican debate in Des Moines. No dice, he was told.
So Kolb’s strategy is to get as close as he can and concentrate on explaining some of the nuances of American politics to his readers.
When Trump decides to skip the Fox News-sponsored Republican debate in favor of holding his own event, for instance, Kolb’s article about Trump’s counter-event gets to the heart of the matter: “What happens on the small stage at Drake University for an hour is beside the point. Because Trump has reached his goal: For days, the media was just talking about him and his feud with Fox News — and not his rival Ted Cruz. And because more than 100 journalists had been accredited and dozens of cameras were present at Drake (Trump said it was ‘like the Oscars’), Trump proved once again that he better understands the media business than any other competitor.” Here, ‘huge things at stake’
If the politicians are generally indifferent to Kolb, the people seem to be a different story. “For a reporter, America is really great,” says Kolb, who is based in Washington. “I find ordinary people are open to sharing their thoughts. They talk about their ideas. They’re chatty. It’s easier to get along. In Germany, if people don’t know you, they wonder why you’re coming into their space.”
Besides, he adds, “Germany has a good image in the U.S. You like our cars, our beer.”
Kolb grew up in Munich’s suburbs (his father was a manager at Siemens, the Munich-based multinational conglomerate; his mother was a teacher), and graduated from one of Germany’s leading journalism schools. He caught the reporting bug as a teenager. When he found that a memorial to the slave-labor victims of the Dachau concentration camp in his home town was more or less hidden in a courtyard at his school, Kolb, then 19, wrote a series of articles for his local newspaper. The stories prompted officials to move the memorial to a more prominent location.
In 2012, his paper asked him to cover the U.S. presidential election for its website, a prestigious assignment. Having grown up traveling on Germany’s efficient rail system, he decided he didn’t need a rental car when he first landed in Miami for the Florida primary; the decision cost him a fortune in cab fares. He covered the midterms in 2014, too, and traveled through 21 states on a fellowship last year.
Mild-mannered and pale, with straw-colored hair, Kolb is a friendly presence on the campaign trail. He speaks English nearly flawlessly, the result of studying the language since he was 10.
One morning in Iowa, he shows up at Ted Cruz’s bustling headquarters in Urbandale, just outside Des Moines, eager to see Cruz’s vaunted get-out-the-vote operation. He arrives without a firm appointment, but communications director Rachael Slobodien gives him the run of the place, anyway.
“I am Matthias, a reporter from Germany,” he says by way of introduction to K.C. Broyles, a cowboy-hat-wearing Cruz volunteer from Texas (Kolb is particularly fond of Texans; their swagger and confidence reminds him of people in his native Bavaria). Soon, the two men are chatting and laughing, and Broyles is asking Kolb questions about Germany’s refu­gee crisis. At the end of the encounter, Broyles hands Kolb his business card and invites him to a meeting of his group back home, the Clear Lake Tea Party.
Kolb reasons that the rhetoric in the American campaign is more heated and passionate than in his country because “there are such huge things at stake” in this election, such as the possible repeal of Obamacare, immigration and security, and various foreign crises. Germany’s politics have their fault lines, too — particularly now with the influx of so many refugees — but, he notes, his is a mostly prosperous, largely homogeneous and stable nation protected by American military strength.
This makes German politics kind of boring, although Kolb doesn’t use that word. “During my lifetime, there has always been a consensus” about important national issues, he says. Germany’s multiparty system fosters political coalitions, rather than the winner-take-all combat of the presidential elections.
From his reading and his travels, he views the United States as a mighty country, not without its problems and challenges, but filled with strength, diversity, creativity and optimism. After a few days of reporting in Iowa, he confides that he has trouble squaring the tone of the campaign he’s been covering with the nation he’s experienced for the past few years. “It’s astonishing,” he says, “to hear people say America is going down the drain.”
In this, he sounds pretty much like any other patriotic American. At least one who isn’t running for president.

The utter ugliness of Donald Trump’s campaign should scare us all

THE STUNNINGLY handy wins by two anti-establishment candidates in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday are prompting conversation about similarities between New York businessman Donald Trump, the Republican victor, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the socialist victor on the Democratic side. The similarities are important — but the differences are more so.
Both have positioned themselves as outsiders appealing to voters who believe the system, and the leaders of the two major parties, have failed them. The grievances they speak to are real: a sense that the economy has left too many people behind, that globalization and technological change are helping the few while stranding the many.
Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders offer convenient scapegoats and simple-sounding solutions. For Mr. Sanders, the “greed” of the “billionaire class” has rigged the system against working people. Tax the 1 percent, and everyone else can have free college and free health care. Political obstacles can be swept away by a “political revolution.” America’s enemies will be fought by a mythical Sunni Muslim coalition. The villains for Mr. Trump are “stupid” people running the government who allow foreigners to take advantage of the United States. The solution — well, his solution — is to elect Mr. Trump.
We think both men are dangerously if seductively wrong in their facile diagnoses and prescriptions. But Mr. Sanders’s platform is at least well-meaning. We think forcing working people to subsidize, through their taxes, the college tuition of wealthier Americans is not a progressive policy; we believe Mr. Sanders has not leveled with Americans about the true costs of single-payer health care. But few would object in theory to more widely available education and health care.
By contrast, Mr. Trump’s proposals are pernicious as well as preposterous. There is no way to round up 11 million illegal immigrants and deport them — but no one should want to live in a nation that would attempt such a thing. Nor would most Americans want a government that deliberately kills the innocent relatives of terrorists.
Mr. Trump is mocking the democratic process, not engaging in it. He feels no obligation to explain how he would implement his ideas, and he does not care whether his statements are true. Thousands of Muslims in New Jersey did not publicly celebrate the downing of the World Trade Center towers in 2001, but Mr. Trump is content simply to repeat the lie. And lies come easily to Mr. Trump because, unlike Mr. Sanders, he does not believe in anything other than his own brilliance. Mr. Trump is a hard-liner on immigration today because, when he called Mexicans rapists , he struck a chord.
Some may take comfort in his malleability. Once he is in office, they say, Mr. Trump will become a dealmaker, susceptible to establishment whisperings and blandishments.
In this they deceive themselves, and the evidence lies in the most essential difference between these two outsider campaigns: the utter ugliness of Mr. Trump’s. To further his ambition, he has gleefully demeaned Hispanics, Muslims, Jews, people with disabilities, blacks and anyone else he can present as the “other” as he proceeds to exploit the nation’s divisions. As president he would not be able to deliver on his promises, and it is fearful to contemplate the scapegoats he might find to distract from his failures.

Video - John Lewis Congressional black Caucus announces endorsement of Hillary Clinton

Civil Rights Hero John Lewis Isn't Impressed By Bernie Sanders' Activism

By Amanda Terkel

The political arm of the Congressional Black Caucus endorsedHillary Clinton for president Thursday, a boost ahead of the big South Carolina primary where a heavy percentage of black voters are expected to turn out.
"We must have a president that understands the racial divide -- not someone who just acquired the knowledge recently, but someone who understands the racial divide and has lived it and worked through it down through the years," said Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), the CBC Chair, Thursday.
Clinton's primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), was an organizer with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and he attended the March on Washington in 1963. The Vermont senator has said his involvement was "a question for me of just basic justice."
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the preeminent voice on civil rights in Congress, downplayed Sanders' involvement with the SNCC and the movement during the CBC PAC's press conference Thursday.
"I never saw him, I never met him. I was chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for three years -- 1963 to 1966," he said. "I was involved in the sit-ins, the freedom rides, the March on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery. I directed the board of education project for six years. I met Hillary Clinton. I met President Clinton."

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) also criticized Sanders' record on gun control, saying he has been "not just been missing in action, he’s been on the wrong side."
In the 1960s, Clinton was a college student at Wellesley -- and a Republican. But she eventually became a Democrat, driven by the anti-war and civil rights movements, according to The New York Times.
A handful of CBC members will travel to South Carolina this weekend to campaign for Clinton, in advance of the Feb. 27 primary. Lewis said he will be there Sunday and Monday.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) is the only CBC member who has so far endorsed Sanders. On Thursday, posted on Twitter his displeasure at the PAC's endorsement.  
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), another CBC member, has also said she is not yet throwing her endorsement behind either candidate.
Sanders' campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.
Both campaigns are stepping up their outreach to voters of color, now that the heavily white contests in Iowa and New Hampshire are over. Clinton's first ad in South Carolina featured Eric Holder, President Barack Obama's former attorney general who was the first African-American person to hold that position. 
Sanders met with activist Al Sharpton on Wednesday and rolled out an endorsement from civil rights icon and entertainer Harry Belafonte on Thursday.
The CBC has faced some criticism from younger activists, who question whether the caucus is as effective as it could be.
Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) tried to speak to younger voters who are drawn to Sanders Thursday. "You can't just listen to what someone's telling you, because most of the time, if it's too good to be true, it's too good to be true," he said. "And when you start saying 'free college,' 'free health care' -- the only thing you're leaving out is a free car and a free home. Who's going to pay for it, and how are you going to pay for it? Those things, I think, that is our responsibility to make sure that young people know that. We want you involved, we want your ideas."
Clinton holds a significant lead over Sanders in South Carolina,according toHuffPost Pollster's combined average of polling data.

John Lewis: 'I never saw' Sanders at civil rights events

By Tom LoBianco and Elizabeth Landers

Democratic Rep. John Lewis on Thursday questioned the extent of Bernie Sanders' participation in the civil rights movement after an event where the Congressional Black Caucus political action committee endorsed Hillary Clinton.
Sanders has frequently talked up his history as an activist while he was at the University of Chicago in the 1960s and touted his work with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. But Lewis, a civil rights icon and leader of SNCC said he never saw Sanders at any events.
    "I never saw him. I never met him," Lewis said. "I was chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for three years, from 1963 to 1966. I was involved with the sit-ins, the Freedom Rides, the March on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery and directed (the) voter education project for six years. But I met Hillary Clinton. I met President (Bill) Clinton."
    The Sanders campaign did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment from CNN Thursday.
    As Sanders has sought ways to find a foothold among minority voters he has increasingly talked up his past a student activist, including his participation in the March on Washington.
    The barb from Lewis comes at a critical moment in the Democratic battle, just hours before Sanders and Clinton take the stage for the last Democratic debate before the Nevada caucuses. It also amounts to a bit of penance for Lewis, who backed out of his endorsement of Clinton in 2008 and threw his support behind then-Sen. Barack Obama.

    Video - Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders will debate tonight in Milwaukee

    Video - Black support boosts Hillary Clinton's hopes in South Carolina

    Video - Congressional Black Caucus PAC endorses Hillary Clinton For President

    African-American lawmakers slam Sanders as false revolutionary while endorsing Clinton

    Elise Viebeck
    Members of the Congressional Black Caucus launched a multi-pronged attack Thursday on Sen. Bernie Sanders as a false revolutionary who lacks strong ties to the black community.
    The influential African-American elected officials are seeking to use their clout to boost Hillary Clinton, Sanders’s rival for the Democratic presidential nod, as she aims to recover from a thumping 22-point loss to the Vermont senator, and self-identified democratic socialist, in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. They officially endorsed the former first lady inside the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington (though it was deemed an “unofficial” event) and pledged to vigorously campaign for her in upcoming contests.
    Civil rights icon John Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia, said he never encountered Sanders during the 1960s-era movement against segregation, which Sanders has described as a formative time for him as a liberal activist.
    “I never saw him. I never met him,” Lewis said at a press conference for the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, which drove the endorsement of Clinton. “I was chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for three years, 1963 to 1966 … I met Hillary Clinton. I met President Clinton.”
    Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said Sanders has been on the “wrong side” of the gun-control debate, agreeing with gun manufacturers who Jeffries described as “merchants of death” to the black community.
    “[Sanders] voted against background checks five times,” Jeffries said.
    The high-profile backing from African-American elected officials could provide a crucial boost to Clinton as she seeks to win upcoming contests, especially in the South, where black voters make up large portions of the Democratic electorate. The South Carolina Democratic primary is Feb. 27.
    One key South Carolina Democrat did not attend the CBC PAC’s press conference. Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the No. 3 House Democrat, has not endorsed a candidate, though he said recently he might pick a side before his state’s primary. If he does, Clyburn is expected to endorse Clinton.
    By contrast, only two House lawmakers have publicly supported Sanders. One, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a member of the CBC, accused the group Thursday of excluding him from its endorsement process.
    “CBCPAC endorsed without input from CBC membership, including me,” Ellison tweeted after the press conference, which he did not attend.
    “The point is that endorsements should be the product of a fair and open process. Didn’t happen,” he tweeted later.
    Sanders is trying to bolster his credibility with the black community as the next primaries near. On the campaign trail, the senator often mentions his participation in the 1963 March on Washington led by Martin Luther King Jr.
    And his activism as a student at the University of Chicago is frequently touted by those introducing him to black audiences. Sanders was arrested as part of a protest of segregated university housing.
    Some CBC members criticized young voters, who supported Sanders overwhelmingly in New Hampshire and the Iowa caucuses.
    Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) said that once younger votes are engaged in the political process, “they’re going to do their homework” on the candidates, suggesting they may fall away from Sanders.
    “Most of the time, if it’s too good to be true, it’s too good to be true,” Richmond said, referring to the argument that some of Sanders’s proposals, such as universal health care and free college tuition, are unrealistic.
    “When you start saying ‘free college,’ ‘free healthcare,’ the only thing you’re leaving out is a free car and a free home,” Richmond said. “Who is going to pay for it? How are you going to pay for it? That is our responsibility to make sure that young people know that … You don’t just go to who says ‘revolution.'”
    The endorsement from the CBC’s political arm comes at a time of rising debate within the black community about how best to promote its interests in the 2016 Democratic primary.
    While members of the CBC are among the most influential African Americans in politics, the Clinton-Sanders contest is drawing reaction from other black leaders seen as having power to sway votes, especially among younger people.
    One of those figures is The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates, perhaps the country’s foremost writer about anti-black racism, who said Wednesday he will vote for Sanders. Benjamin T. Jealous, a former NAACP president, also endorsed Sanders last week.
    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) said Thursday that the CBC endorsement is “significant” and signals support for Clinton on a wide range of issues. Pelosi stopped short of endorsing Clinton herself, though she has hinted at support for the former secretary of state in the past.
    According to Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), who leads the CBC PAC, the decision to endorse Clinton was made by the PAC’s 19-member board. Not a single member voted for Sanders, Meeks said Thursday, while two members abstained.
    Members of the CBC said they will campaign hard for Clinton in South Carolina over the next two weeks and vowed to court activists who might otherwise support the anti-establishment Sanders.
    “Not one of [us] is a member of the establishment,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) at the press conference. “Each member of the CBC PAC has their own activist, revolutionary, civil-rights marching story. We’re going to tell those stories to young people.”
    “Most of us come from the hood,” Meeks said. “We are not the establishment. We are from the streets. Mess with us and you will see: we are from the streets.”
    Clinton released a statement Thursday praising the CBC for is “fight for progress every day.”
    “The stakes in this election couldn’t be higher,” Clinton stated. “I’ll take on the gun lobby to address the epidemic of gun violence. I’ll take on the Republicans who are disenfranchising voters and rolling back voting rights. And I pledge a new and comprehensive commitment to equity and opportunity for communities of color.”
    Kelsey Snell and John Wagner contributed to this report.

    Pakistan's Temporarily Displaced Persons - '' Not Temporary ''

    Families displaced by Zarb-e-Azb in tribal areas face a bleak future. The military has recently expressed concern over delay in the release of funds for repatriation and rehabilitation of Temporarily Displaced Persons (TDPs). With the situation not getting any better, it is clear that the unrest and despair felt among the people displaced by the military operation has been long forgotten and is now taking an ugly turn.
    Prioritising the rehabilitation process is paramount in order to fully eliminate militancy in the area, which can take root if the government cannot do what was promised.
    The delay in allocation of funds for Phase-I and Phase-III of rehabilitation and permanent reconstruction projects were flagged by the military as a core issue affecting the timely return of TDPs to their homes. Out of Rs 80 billion allocated by the federal government during the current financial year, only 15 to 20 percent has been released, some of which remained stuck due to procedural issues. The deadline set by the government of November 2016 for the return of TDPs to their homes does not look like a realistic one at this point. Officials of various departments looking after TDPs reveal that the displaced people will not be able to return to their native homes in the year 2016, claiming the civil administration lack the capacity to reconstruct the damaged infrastructure.
    General Raheel Sharif has admitted that the state is entering the most difficult phase of the military operation, where fulfilling the ‘needs and aspirations of the people will be the most demanding task’. More than a decade after militancy hit Pakistan and only 42 per cent of the TDPs so far have been repatriated while the rest of the 171,304 expected to be rehabilitated by the ‘stipulated time’, nothing is changing anytime soon.
    Although Pakistan has been facing the problem of internal displacement for many years, its tendency to treat the issue through ad hoc measures has created problems for both the administration and the affected communities. If the military has openly declared these areas as not being a threat, why are these citizens still waiting to go back home after eighteen months? Post-conflict recovery and reconstruction are complex challenges for the state and society, where we seem to be doing just enough to give ourselves a pat on the back for our good work. A militarised strategy in North Waziristan or FATA does not appear to have within it the seeds of long-term peace in the region, derived from ensuring the people will never find sympathy in the militant cause.


    Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party has expressed deep grief and sorrow over the sad demise of prominent writer Fatima Surayya Bajia who died yesterday in Karachi.
    In a condolence message, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari eulogized the services of late Fatima Surayya Bajia in the field of Urdu literature. She will remain in history as a giant figure in Urdu literature.
    PPP Chairman prayed to Almighty Allah to grant eternal peace to the departed soul and courage and fortitude to the members of bereaved family to bear this irreparable loss.



     “Pakistan is fighting one of the largest inland wars on terrorism alone, I don’t see anyone else stepping up to resource this battle, although this is hardly strategic justice,” stated Senator Sherry Rehman while speaking at a wide-ranging talk on building Pakistan’s peace and security.
    The former Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US was speaking at the School of Advanced International Studies, at John Hopkins University, in Washington DC.
    “After the bloodbaths in Peshawar and Charsaddah where our students were targetted, we cannot just watch as the inferno unfolds from North Waziristan operations,” the Senator said, referring to attacks by militants on two schools in Pakistan.
    “We are not laying the blame on other countries, nor do we get into finger-pointing about whose ungoverned spaces provide sanctuary for which high value target, because it is not easy, we know, and often the enemy is within, but its not a black and white reality,” specified Rehman, stressing that while Pakistan takes responsibility for its own soil,terrorism was now a global epidemic, and there was now an urgent need for the international community to build a lasting multilateral coalition against it.
    Hosted by Dean Vali Nasr, Rehman also spoke at a panel with Daniel Markey and Ambassador Shirin Tahir-Kheli where she fielded questions on a wide range of foreign and security policy issues from a packed hall, with members of the strategic policy community to academic and students.
    “Violent extremism is not something that can be contained by kinetic means alone, and it must be addressed as a hearts-and-mind challenge. It means facing up to the reality that we, including the United States, have made policy miscalculations both at home and abroad,” Rehman declared.
    On a democratic Pakistan, she said that Pakistan was now in a serious long-haul battle pitched between Jinnah’s Pakistan and Zia’s Pakistan, adding that mainstream Pakistan votes for Jinnah and his vision.
    “We do not vote in religious parties to the PM’s office, and we are now looking to reverse the extremism that has crept into society at the hands of a dictator we neither chose nor coddled. But Pakistan has devolved power to its provinces, thanks to the PPP government in power in Islamabad last time, and must answer to a robust parliament,” she told the audience.
    Dean Nasr was quick to appreciate the Pakistan Parliament’s decision to stay out of the Middle East’s sectarian conflict, while noting China’s enhanced role in the region, which Rehman saw as a net positive for economic stability, especially with the growing need for jobs in a large youth cohort.
    Rehman also said that peace in the region always ranks high with democratic governments, and added today we have some space and opportunity to connect with our neighbours for trade and energy security, but unfortunately the global community looks like it may leave many of Afghanistan’s conflicts to sort themselves out if the political reconciliation process does not work there.
    So far, she observed, the politics of reconciliation still seems a distant goal in any framework that preserves gains for women and even development.
    “I hope a political settlement for Afghanistan is not just a bumper sticker, and that Pakistan will not be left with the fallout of this long war next door again. Thirty years ago we apparently won a war together in Afghanistan, but I am very clear about what that did to my country. We won the war there, but lost the peace. This time it looks like nobody is winning the war or the peace, which is unsettling for all stakeholders in inclusive, progressive societies,” Rehman asserted.
    She reiterated that Pakistan is not treating Afghanistan as its strategic backyard anymore, but our refugee issue always becomes a niche conversation, while the rest of the globe closes its borders to the 21st century’s biggest nightmare, the problem of dispossession by conflict.
    “We have kept our border and our cities open for all those ravaged by wars, but who is thanking us?” asked, Rehman, adding, ” I only hear rancour, and I think its time for us to support President Ghani to offer him a new strategic alliance and ramped up re-managed border equations. He has a remarkable leadership vision for his country and Pakistan and the United States can suggest new frameworks for engagement, because the old ones are not working.”
    About India, she said, “Both our countries need to stop thinking in strategic binaries. The region must work with redeployments of troops in Kashmir and Siachin, for instance, where the Indian army just lost troops to an avalanche, not Pakistani bullets. The planet is heating up, and we cannot continue to ignore the fact that we are one of the world’s most water-stressed regions, while sitting on the Himalayan glaciers in an outdated Kabuki of conflict.”
    “These conversations have to be put back on the front-burner like they were in 1989 between Rajiv Gandhi and Benazir Bhutto Shaheed,” she concluded..