Monday, November 14, 2016

Turkish music & Türk aşk şarkıları

Turkey was once a free society. Now the country is rapidly destroying itself.

The speed of Turkey’s decline is mind-boggling, even when you live through its day-to-day machinations.
The speed of Turkey’s decline is mind-boggling, even when you live through its the day-to-day machinations.
This week started with the Turkish government announcing plans to reintroduce the death penalty at the urging of the country’s strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in order to garner the support of ultra-nationalists in his bid to expand the powers of his presidency.

 Later in the week came the arrests of the editor-in-chief and columnists of Cumhuriyet, Turkey’s oldest paper and a symbol of its fast-eroding secularism, on trumped-up charges of terrorism. And finally, Thursday night brought the detentions of Selahattin Demirtas, the charismatic leader of the country’s pro-Kurdish party, and Figen Yuksekdag, the co-leader of the party. Ten other elected Kurdish deputies were also arrested.
As I write these lines, citizens cannot communicate to organize demonstrations — Twitter is down in Turkey, Facebook is unreachable, and social media applications such as WhatsApp remain blocked. The social media crackdown is an entirely unnecessary measure; who would go out and risk arrest when there is an emergency rule and a formal ban on protests? Protests happen in free and semi-free societies — or when people have the feeling that they have a chance to make an impact. There was a time when mass urban protests shook the country and pushed the government to announce a series of reforms. Today’s Turkey is a shell of itself. No such optimism remains.
The story of Turkey is fast becoming a heartbreaking saga of a budding Muslim democracy tossing out a historic chance at progress, only to settle for a familiar pattern of Middle East despotism by succumbing to  a retro personality cult. A decade ago, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was applauded by the world for the pace of its reforms and advances toward European Union membership. I myself was writing in praise of the ruling party AKP’s brand of “Muslim democrats,” which at the time seemed like a hopeful alternative to both the hard-line secularism of Kemalism and Islamic radicalism. A decade later, Turkey is barely able to hold civilized relations with its western allies, experiencing a rapid decline as rule of law, and has become a thorn in Europe’s side.
In this gradual decline, Demirtas was a breath of fresh air and one of the best things that happened in Turkish politics over the past few years. The 43-year-old former human rights lawyer commands only a small coalition of Kurds, leftists and minorities— with barely enough votes to pass the 10 percent national threshold. But Demirtas was effective with his powerful rhetoric on pluralism and democracy and able to project a power beyond his party’s base. This was a tale of David and Goliath. With his famous “We will not let you become an executive president” speech in March last year, and HDP’s electoral victory in June 2015 elections, Demirtas denied Erdogan the type of constitutional change and sweeping authority he wanted. With Demirtas’s detention, there are no more hurdles to Erdogan’s rise to absolute power.
I met with Demirtas  for a morning tea a few weeks ago in Istanbul. He was exceptionally jubilant even though there were rumors of his possible detention. I asked him why. “We need to be strong. We are strong. We just need to know that. I have come to understand that the world only cares about us Kurds if they think we are strong.”
It’s increasingly hard to say how much Turkey’s Western allies care about Turkish democracy anymore. I was in Brussels a few weeks ago for a series of meetings, and there was a Turkey fatigue. Once seeing Turkey as an aspiring candidate for membership, Europeans have thrown up their hands about the country. The debate is whether to keep a dead accession process as it is or swap it for some type of a trade deal. Had Europeans been more willing to accept Turkey during our years of reform a decade ago, maybe we would never have gotten here. But who knows? It’s painful to think about the road not taken.
And this is why the current period in Turkey is so hard on all of us –writers, journalists, mothers, fathers and just ordinary citizens. It’s not as though Turkey has never had a taste of democracy. No, we had something that resembled a free and open society. We had institutions with checks and balances, we had endless hours of television debates, a multi-party system that was not micromanaged by a higher authority, a semi-functioning rule of law (despite problems), demonstrations, rallies, hopes, and along the way, possibility of change.
All that is gone for now. With the detention of Demirtas and other elected officials, Turkey is propelled back in time and beamed into the darker days of the 1990s – wrought with terrorism, internal conflicts, a struggling economy and hopelessness. In 1994, a bunch of Kurdish deputies were arrested from the parliament, ushering in a period of violent escalation and repression.
No one I know is happy with the decline in Turkey — not even Erdogan supporters. You don’t want history to repeat itself and you don’t want to be further dragged into the Middle Eastern vortex of authoritarianism, militias, and sectarian and ethnic conflicts. But who will stop the tides and stand up for democracy? Turkish leaders are too selfish to change course, the opposition is too weak, the citizens too scared. There is no candidate yet. This is the stuff history is made of. Sometimes the only thing you can do is to watch a country ruin itself — and that’s the real tragedy of it all.

Four Cabinet Ministers vow to continue arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Four Cabinet Ministers, including Boris Johnson, have vowed to continue to sell arms to Saudi Arabia in defiance of two parliamentary committees who called for Britain to cease military support for the country.

Mr Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, issued an unprecedented joint statement with Sir Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, Priti Patel, the Development Secretary, and Liam Fox, the Trade Secretary, pledging to continue sales to Saudi Arabia despite growing concerns about the country’s intervention in Yemen.
The Government's official response follows a joint report from the Committee on Arms Export Control, which called for the suspension of arms sales pending the results of an independent United Nations-led inquiry.
The ministers said they are "confident in its robust case-by-case assessment" and satisfied that arms sales to Saudi Arabia are compliant with the UK’s export licensing rules.
In a joint statement they said: “We continue to assess export licence applications for Saudi Arabia on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking account of all relevant factors at the time of the application.
“The key test for our continued arms exports is whether there is a clear risk that those exports might be used in a commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

“A licence will not be issued for any country, including Saudi Arabia, if to do so would be inconsistent with any provision of the mandatory Criteria, including where we assess there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of IHL.”
The war in Yemen has killed upwards of 6,000 people, many from air strikes, with human rights and aid groups saying hospitals, markets and other civilian targets have been hit.
Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, speaking exclusively to the Telegraph, has said it was “in Britain’s interest” to continue supporting the Saudis in the battle to prevent Yemen falling into the hands of Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

U.S. Fingerprints on Attacks Obliterating Yemen’s Economy - By BEN HUBBARD

For decades, Mustafa Elaghil’s family produced snack foods popular in Yemen, chips and corn curls in bright packaging decorated with the image of Ernie from “Sesame Street.”
But over the summer, a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia sent warplanes over Yemen and bombed the Elaghils’ factory. The explosion destroyed it, setting it ablaze and trapping the workers inside.
The attack killed 10 employees and wiped out a business that had employed dozens of families.
“It was everything for us,” Mr. Elaghil said.
The Saudi-led coalition has bombed Yemen for the last 19 months, trying to oust a rebel group aligned with Iran that took control of the capital, Sana, in 2014. The Saudis want to restore the country’s exiled president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who led an internationally recognized government more aligned with its interests.
But instead of defeating the rebels, the campaign has sunk into a grinding stalemate, systematically obliterating Yemen’s already bare-bones economy. The coalition has destroyed a wide variety of civilian targets that critics say have no clear link to the rebels.
It has hit hospitals and schools. It has destroyed bridges, power stations, poultry farms, a key seaport and factories that produce yogurt, tea, tissues, ceramics, Coca-Cola and potato chips. It has bombed weddings and a funeral.
The bombing campaign has exacerbated a humanitarian crisis in the Arab world’s poorest country, where cholera is spreading, millions of people are struggling to get enough food, and malnourished babies are overwhelming hospitals, according to the United Nations. Millions have been forced from their homes, and since August, the government has been unable to pay the salaries of most of the 1.2 million civil servants.
Publicly, the United States has kept its distance from the war, but its decades-old alliance with Saudi Arabia, underpinned by tens of billions of dollars in weapons sales, has left American fingerprints on the air campaign. Many strikes are carried out by pilots trained by the United States, who fly American-made jets that are refueled in the air by American planes. And Yemenis often find the remains of American-made munitions, as they did in the ruins after a strike that killed more than 100 mourners at a funeral last month. Graffiti on walls across Sana reads: “America is killing the Yemeni people.”
President-elect Donald J. Trump has not said whether he will continue United States support for the war, but has been very critical of Saudi Arabia, saying it does not “survive without us.” At a rally in January, he said Iran was “going into Yemen” and was “going to have everything” in the region, but he did not clarify how he would respond.
The sweeping destruction of civilian infrastructure has led analysts and aid workers to conclude that hitting Yemen’s economy is part of the coalition’s strategy. “The economic dimension of this war has become a tactic,” said Jamie McGoldrick, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator for Yemen. “It is all consistent — the port, the bridges, the factories. They are getting destroyed, and it is to put pressure on the politics.”
In a written response to questions, a coalition spokesman, Maj. Gen. Ahmed Asseri, said the air campaign had halted the rebels’ advance, destroyed 90 percent of their rockets and aircraft and pressured them to join talks aimed at ending the war. He denied that the coalition sought to inflict suffering on civilians and said only facilities connected to the war effort had been hit. He blamed the rebel group, the Houthis, for the humanitarian crisis.
“This is primarily the responsibility of the rebels, who have displaced Yemen’s legitimate government and who are impeding the flow of humanitarian supplies,” General Asseri said. Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries are also among the top donors of aid to Yemen. So even as they undermine its self-sufficiency, they help sustain the population. The air campaign’s civilian toll has led to calls by some American lawmakers to postpone arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
“It is a significant moral outrage that we continue to provide arms to Saudi Arabia and to participate in military operations in Yemen,” said Representative Ted Lieu, a Democrat from California who was a military prosecutor in the Air Force. “The United States is at risk of aiding and abetting war crimes in Yemen.” A Country in Chaos The difficulty in just getting to Yemen demonstrates how much the war has upended the country. The internationally recognized government is based in Saudi Arabia and in the south of Yemen. For a recent 10-day trip to Sana and surrounding areas, a photographer and I had to obtain visas from the Houthis.
We could not book flights into Sana because the Saudi-led coalition had halted all commercial air traffic. The United Nations allowed us onto an aid flight. As soon as we touched down, we saw traces of the war: the scattered carcasses of destroyed airplanes along the runway. Once in Yemen, we were told that we could not go anywhere without a representative of the Houthis. He was with us whenever we left the hotel. We did not visit military sites, which the coalition has heavily bombed to destroy the ballistic missiles that the rebels have fired into the kingdom, killing civilians. But the damage and suffering caused by the war were everywhere.
Beggars displaced by the fighting thronged our car, pleading for money and food. Buildings destroyed by airstrikes dotted the capital: the Defense and Interior Ministries, the army and central security headquarters, the Police Academy and Officers’ Club, the Sana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the homes of officials who had joined the rebels.
The conflict has split the country, with forces backed by gulf nations and nominally loyal to the exiled president in the south and east, where Al Qaeda and the Islamic State have staged deadly attacks.
But in the areas we visited in Yemen’s northwest, the rebels were firmly in control, their gunmen running checkpoints alongside police officers who had joined them. In Sana’s Old City, posters of “martyrs” killed in the war covered entire buildings. Trucks with mounted machine guns, carrying fighters, occasionally sped by.
Spray-painted across the city was the Houthis’ rallying cry: “God is great. Death to America. Death to Israel. Curse on the Jews. Victory for Islam.”
On the edge of town, Yemeni families snapped photos of the ruins of a reception center that the coalition hit with two airstrikes in a single attack last month while the Houthi-allied interior minister was receiving condolences for his deceased father. Human Rights Watch called the attack on the funeral “an apparent war crime.”
United Nations officials gave us photos of remnants found at the site that indicated it had been hit with at least one American-made, 500-pound, laser-guided bomb. American warplanes routinely use that class of bomb, and the United States has provided such bombs to the Saudi military.

‘What’s Missing? Everything!’

On an expanse of rocky ground near the town of Khamer northwest of the capital, where they have been since fleeing their homes last year, hundreds of families have built shelters out of canvas, plastic sheeting and mud bricks. Most survive on charity, eating rice and bread cooked on mud stoves fired with wood or garbage.

In one tent, Farea Gayid, 55, said he had worked as an army engineer until his unit collapsed when the airstrikes began. An attack near his home killed his neighbors, so he and his family fled on foot. A trucker gave them a ride to Khamer, so they settled there, joining the more than 2.5 million Yemenis who the United Nations says are internally displaced.
In August, the government could no longer afford to pay Mr. Gayid his $200 monthly salary.
“Now my children beg in the market,” he said. “If the situation continues like this, there is no future.” While the war spawned Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, aid workers say coalition bombings of critical infrastructure have exacerbated it. Before the war, Yemen imported 90 percent of its food, mostly through the Red Sea port of Hodeida.
Last year, the coalition bombed the port, damaging its cranes. Now ships often wait for weeks at sea to unload, and some goods are close to expiration by the time they arrive, said Mr. McGoldrick, the United Nations official.
The coalition has also bombed key bridges, including the main one between the port and the capital, forcing truckers to take long detours. “It is an all-encompassing, applied economic suppression and strangulation that is causing everyone here to feel it,” Mr. McGoldrick said. “The collapse of the economy is starting to bite very hard.” According to the World Food Program, 14.4 million of Yemen’s 26 million people do not have enough food, and malnutrition is rising. The suffering is clear in the capital. “What’s missing? Everything!” said Manal al-Ariqi, a doctor in Sana’s main pediatric hospital. “We lack medical staff, nurses and medicine.” Upstairs, nearly every room contained a malnourished baby. Most had been born to mothers who had fled the war and were too disturbed or malnourished to breast-feed normally, said Ali al-Faqih, a nurse. In one room lay 7-month-old twin girls, Ruqaya and Suqaina, both with sunken cheeks. “We lost everything because of the war,” their grandmother Shariya al-Awaj said when asked why the girls were so small. “All we brought with us were our clothes.” The ancient hilltop town of Kawkaban, a draw for tourists and Yemeni families before it was bombed.
The Economic Wreckage
The destruction in Yemen could cripple its economy long into the future, and it is unclear how the country will rebuild.
“They have hit many factories on the basis of suspicion, but we never get the real reasons,” said Abdul-Hakeem Al Manj, a lawyer at the Sana Chamber of Commerce and Industry who is helping businesses document the strikes with an eye toward future prosecution. “Any institution that has a big hangar, they hit it directly.” Some businesses said they suspected they were targets only because they continued to operate after the Houthi takeover.
“For Saudi Arabia, we are all Houthis,” said Haroon al-Sadi of the state-owned Amran Cement Factory, which once employed 1,500 people before it was bombed twice.
Plant workers showed us the remains of munitions they had collected, including pieces of at least one CBU-105, a cluster bomb unit that contains 10 high-explosive submunitions. They are manufactured by Textron Defense Systems of Rhode Island. General Asseri, the coalition spokesman, said it had “no interest in damaging any aspect of the Yemeni economy,” and had made great efforts to avoid harming civilians. He declined to provide details about specific sites, but said the coalition had “accurate intelligence” that the sites we visited were “being used by militias to store weapons and ammunition or a command-and-control center.”
The war has left nothing untouched for the Alsonidar brothers, Khalid and Abdullah, who own a group of factories outside Sana. The family works with an Italian company, Caprari, to produce agricultural water pumps. It also owns a brick factory, which was out of use, and was preparing to open a factory to produce metal pipes to go with the pumps, also with an Italian partner. Twice in September, the compound was bombed, destroying all three factories.
Saudi news reports said the factories had produced rockets for the rebels, a charge the brothers denied. They and their Italian partners have written to the United Nations to state that the factories could not produce military technology, and to call for an investigation, which is continuing, they said.
“We’re not talking about something useless,” Abdullah Alsonidar said. “We’re talking about infrastructure and people’s lives. Strikes like this can bring a family to the ground.”
Remains of munitions that the brothers found at the site indicate that it was hit with American-made weapons, including one with laser-guidance equipment that was made in October 2015.

KKK leader: Bannon reaffirms Trump's hard-line promises

By Andrew Kaczynski and Chris Massie

White nationalist leaders are praising Donald Trump's decision to name former Breitbart executive Steve Bannon as his chief strategist, telling CNN in interviews they view Bannon as an advocate in the White House for policies they favor.
The leaders of the white nationalist and so-called "alt-right" movement — all of whom vehemently oppose multiculturalism and share the belief in the supremacy of the white race and Western civilization — publicly backed Trump during his campaign for his hardline positions on Mexican immigration, Muslims, and refugee resettlement. Trump has at times disavowed their support. Bannon's hiring, they say, is a signal that Trump will follow through on some of his more controversial policy positions.
    "I think that's excellent," former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke told CNN's KFile. "I think that anyone that helps complete the program and the policies that President-elect Trump has developed during the campaign is a very good thing, obviously. So it's good to see that he's sticking to the issues and the ideas that he proposed as a candidate. Now he's president-elect and he's sticking to it and he's reaffirming those issues."
    Duke, who last week lost his longshot bid for the US Senate seat from Louisiana, said he plans on expanding his radio show and is hoping to launch a 24 hour online news show with a similar approach to Comedy Central's Daily Show. He argued Bannon's position was among the most important in the White House.
    "You have an individual, Mr. Bannon, who's basically creating the ideological aspects of where we're going," added Duke. "And ideology ultimately is the most important aspect of any government."
    Bannon, who was a Navy officer and Goldman Sachs investment banker years before taking over Breitbart, has called the site "the platform for the alt-right." Under Bannon, Breitbart has taken an increasingly hardline tone on issues such as terrorism and immigration, running a headline after the Paris attacks of November 2015 saying, "Paris Streets Turned Into Warzone By Violent Migrants." It also ran a headline in May 2016 calling anti-Trump, neoconservative commentator Bill Kristol a "Renegade Jew."
    Bannon himself was accused of anti-Semitism by his ex-wife, who alleged in a 2007 court declaration that he did not want their daughter to attend a Los Angeles school because of the numbers of Jews who went to school there. (Bannon, through a spokesperson, denied his wife's accusations.)
    Peter Brimelow, who runs the white nationalist site VDARE, praised Bannon's hiring, saying it gives Trump a connection to the alt-right movement online.
    "I think it's amazing," Brimelow said of Trump's decision to tap Bannon. "Can you imagine Mitt Romney doing this? It's almost like Trump cares about ideas! Especially amazing because I would bet Trump doesn't read online. Few plutocrats do, they have efficient secretaries."
    Brimelow added his site would continue to focus solely on their hardline position on immigration, saying he expects American whites to vote their interests similar to other minority groups.
    "To the extent that the 'alt-right' articulates that interest, it will continue to grow," Brimelow said.
    Brad Griffin, a blogger who runs the white nationalist website Occidental Dissent using the pseudonym "Hunter Wallace," said he thought Bannon's hiring showed Trump would be held to his campaign promises.
    "It makes sense to me," he said. "Reince [Priebus] can certainly get more done on Capitol Hill. He will be an instrument of Trump's will, not the other way around. Bannon is better suited as chief strategist and looking at the big picture. I think he will hold Trump to the promises he has already made during the campaign. We endorse many of those promises like building the wall, deportations, ending refugee resettlement, preserving the Second Amendment, etc. There's a lot of stuff in there on which almost everyone on the right agrees."
    Griffin added, "We're most excited though about the foreign policy implications of Bannon in the White House. We want to see our counterparts in Europe — starting in Austria and France — win their upcoming elections. We're hearing reports that Breitbart is expanding its operations in continental Europe and that is where our focus will be in 2017."
    Jared Taylor, who runs the site American Renaissance, echoed those comments, saying Bannon would help hold Trump to his campaign rhetoric.
    "There has been some waffling on some of candidate Trump's signature positions: build the wall, deport illegals, end birth-right citizenship, take a hard look at Muslim immigrants, etc," he said. "I suspect one of Steve Bannon's important functions will be as an anti-waffler, who will encourage President Trump to keep his campaign promises."
    Chairman of the American Nazi Party, Rocky J. Suhayda, who wrote a post after Trump's election night victory celebrating it as a call to action, said he was surprised at the pick of Bannon, but said it showed him Trump could follow through on his campaign promises.
    "I must admit that I was a wee bit surprised that Mr. Trump finally chose Mr. Bannon, I thought that his stable of Washington insiders would have objected too vociferously," Suhayda wrote in an email. "Perhaps The Donald IS for 'REAL' and is not going to be another controlled puppet directed by the usual 'Wire Pullers,' and does indeed intend to ROCK the BOAT? Time will tell."
    Richard B. Spencer, the president of the white nationalist National Policy Institute, wrote a series of tweets on Sunday evening saying Bannon had the best position as chief strategist, allowing him to not get lost in the weeds and could help Trump focus on the big picture of setting up his agenda.
    "Steve Bannon might even push Trump in the right direction. So that would be a wonderful thing," he told CNN on Sunday before the announcement, adding that he hopes to push Trump in an increasingly radical direction."
    Matt Parrott, a spokesman for the Traditionalist Worker Party, said Bannon was a "civic nationalist" — someone who sees an American identity not based on race.
    "Steve Bannon has never been a white nationalist and it's kind of tiresome how the important distinction, everyone needs to learn them now that they're relevant. There's an important distinction between a civic nationalist and a white nationalist," Parrott to CNN. "Steve Bannon's entire career, and if you look at Breitbart, like, he's accusing the other side of racism. That's something that wouldn't happen out of an actual white nationalist of course because we don't see being for your race as a negative thing. Yeah, Steve Bannon's a civic nationalist and that's much better than what was in Washington before. We're hopeful about the whole thing."
    Parrot added, "We in the alt-right are going to be just as vicious in trolling and attacking the Republican Congress as they try to obstruct Trump's reforms as we were against the left."

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    Pashto Music - sardar ali takkar - Ghani Khan - Makh de tabaana sta

    India and Japan sign nuclear deal - A risky business?

    • Author Kiyo Dörrer

    The leaders of the two countries have signed a civilian nuclear cooperation, allowing exports of crucial Japanese technology to fuel India's growing economy. But concerns remain about India's non-proliferation status.
    Indien Narendra Modi Japan Shinzo Abe Besuch 1.9. (picture-alliance/dpa)
    The Indo-Japanese nuclear deal has been six years in the making, and was officially signed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in Tokyo on Friday.
    The deal marks Japan's first nuclear cooperation agreement with a country that is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). The NPT is an international treaty meant to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and arms technologies, while promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy. India refuses to sign it, saying it is discriminatory because it defines nuclear-weapons states as those that tested nuclear devices before 1967.
    The nuclear deal between Asia's second and third largest economies has been described by the two countries as "a new level of mutual confidence and strategic partnership for the cause of a peaceful and secure world."
    Mutual benefits
    Supporters of the impending deal say it is a win-win situation for both Tokyo and New Delhi. India will be able to feed its energy-hungry economy with emission-free energy, whereas Japan opens up new business opportunities for its nuclear sector.
    Japan's cutting-edge nuclear technology is considered crucial for India's massive economic growth. Japan has a monopoly in the manufacturing of reactor safety components and power plant domes - key parts that India needs to enable its nuclear cooperation programs with the US and other countries.
    The deal would allow Japan's struggling nuclear industry access to the growing Indian market, which is estimated to be worth $150 billion. This would be a great opportunity for Japanese nuclear companies that have suffered greatly since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.
    India's similar civil nuclear deals with South Korea and the US "have boosted bilateral relations," Smruti Pattanaik, a research fellow at the New Delhi-based Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, told DW.
    Indien Kudankulam Atomkraftwerk Archiv 2012 (picture alliance/AP Photo)
    India is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty
    Between economics and disarmament
    But concerns remain about India's potential misuse of the technology for developing more nuclear weapons. The Japanese people have long been apprehensive about the deal with India due to its nuclear weapons program.
    "The Japanese government has softened its stance for the sake of economic benefits," Akira Kawasaki of Tokyo-based Peace Boat organization, told DW. "The deal grants the same rights de-facto to India as other nuclear powers that have signed the NPT."
    The shift in Japan's nuclear cooperation policy with India started in 2008, when the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) granted a waiver to New Delhi to push through a civil nuclear agreement with Washington. NSG - a 48-nation grouping that includes the US, Russia, Britain, France and Japan - controls the export of nuclear technology and materials to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
    "By giving India a special status, Japan has compromised its formerly rigid stance on the NPT," underlined Kawasaki. "The Japanese-Indian deal is a significant step away from Japan's symbolic role as a strong advocate of nuclear disarmament."
    World Risk Report 2016 UN-University Japan Fukushima (UN Photo/IAEA/Greg Webb)
    Japanese nuclear companies have suffered greatly since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident
    Suspicions and assurances
    The concerns about India using Japanese nuclear technology for military purposes hinges on details in the agreement that are yet to be disclosed. "There are several crucial outstanding issues that have not been resolved," Toby Dalton, an expert on non-proliferation and nuclear energy at the Washington-based think tank Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told DW.
    First, there is the question on whether or not India would be able to reprocess the nuclear fuel. To ensure that this does not happen, India has to give legally-binding assurances to the NSG and allow the tracking of nuclear material that it will use for its civilian program.
    The second question is what happens if India carries out additional nuclear tests. The Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shinbun reported on Sunday, November 5, that Japan will halt cooperation with New Delhi if the South Asian country conducts another nuclear test. The opt-out clause, according to the newspaper, will not be included in the agreement itself, but in a separate memorandum.
    Indien Goa Benaulim BRICS Gipfel - Narendra Modi und President Xi Jinping (Reuters/D. Siddiqui)
    Experts say that China's rising power is forcing Japan and India to forge closer ties
    India signed a unilateral moratorium on nuclear tests after it last detonated a bomb in 1998, but the country is still not a signatory to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. "This lack of adherence and transparency undermines the confidence-building system for non-proliferation that has been constructed over the past 50 years," argued Dalton.
    Lastly, the question of liability in the case of an accident at a Japanese-supported nuclear plant remains unresolved.
    Advocates of the treaty point out that India has already signed similar nuclear agreements with NSG members. Also, many Indian experts believe that the chances of India conducting another atomic test are slim. "Considering the fact that India is aspiring for a larger global role, there is no way New Delhi would want to divert from its self-imposed moratorium," said Pattanaik. "For India, there is no need to increase its nuclear arsenal as it has a stable deterrent put in place."

    Afghan Women Limited to Education and Healthcare Roles

    By IWPR Afghanistan

    Local government officials in Laghman province need to actively recruit female staff to redress the enormous gender imbalance in state institutions, a debate organized by IWPR has heard.
    Mohebullah Sorkhrodi, from the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), told the event that 7,431 people were employed in Laghman’s government offices.
    Women filled only 527 of these positions, all in the fields of education and healthcare.
    Sorkhrodi said that the government needed to take positive steps to change this, adding, “Our commission has always tried to give female candidates special opportunities during the recruitment process, such as allocating some posts which can only be filled by women.”
    Debate participant Dil Aqa, a local activist, said that it was unacceptable that women were only working in the fields of education and healthcare.
    Sorkhrodi noted that this situation also reflected social realities.
    "Women are more interested in working in the field of education than in other areas, because their families allow them to work in education,” he said.
    Laghman director of women's affairs Nasima Sadat Shafiq called for public awareness campaigns to encourage women to work outside the home.
    She also noted that low literacy levels also excluded women from public sector jobs. Girls had little access to education in much of the province, she said.
    Hashima Sharif, of the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission of Afghanistan (IARCSC), said that corruption and intimidation were also major factors preventing women from finding jobs.
    She gave a number of examples from her own experience, explaining that she had received numerous death threats from powerful individuals in the course of her work.
    In another instance, Sharif continued, "I wanted to take the exam for a post in Nangarhar province, but I was not able to even obtain the application form, because a person who had connections had already been appointed to the post."
    Laghman’s director of capacity building, Hafizullah Asad, said that even educated women were affected by conservative Afghan traditions that frowned on women working outside the home.
    “This problem is much worse in the districts than in the centre [of Laghman], but we have tried our best despite all these problems to increase the presence of women in government offices," he said.
    One problem he identified was that provincial government officials were unable to directly appoint people to more senior management positions. If these powers were extended, Asad said that he would be able to actively work to redress the gender imbalance.

    Iconic Buddha statue in Pakistan restored years after Taliban defaced it

    An iconic 7th-century Buddha statue in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, which was defaced by the Taliban nine years ago has finally been restored to its original form by a team of Italian archeologists, it was reported on Monday.
    The Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan, helped along by the locals of Jahanabad in Swat district, was able to undo the damage inflicted by the Taliban militants in September 2007 after four years of hard work, the Geo News reported.
    “It was our professional and moral obligation toward the people and heritage of Swat and Pakistan which forced us to restore the Buddha. It took about five missions of about a month each from 2012-2016 in its complete conservation program,” said head of the Italian Archaeological Mission, Luca Maria Olivieri, adding that international experts worked on the restoration process.
    The militants had blown up the iconic statue’s face by inserting explosives and damaged the shoulders and torso by drilling holes into the structure. The act had sparked worldwide ire, especially among the Buddhist community, historians and archaeologists.
    The Italian team started restoration work on the Buddha in 2012, employing latest 3D technology and restoration and 3D experts.
    The meditative Buddha statue, dating back to 7th century, is considered to be the biggest such structure carved in stone in South Asia.
    Towering at 21 feet long and 12 feet wide, the statue is an icon of the Gandhara art – a style of Buddhist visual art that developed in what is now northwestern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan between the 1st century BCE and the 7th century CE.
    There are around 20 sites in the Swat valley with ancient historical significance.
    The statue at one time drew a large number of tourists to the Valley, including Tibetan pilgrims and archaeology enthusiasts. It is now hoped the restored Buddha statue would once again be able to attract people from all over the world as well as from other parts of Pakistan.