Wednesday, January 18, 2017
The ABC News/Washington Post survey found that 60% of Americans approve of Obama's job performance. The last time he saw approval ratings that high was five months into his presidency, in June of 2009.
Obama's approval ratings upon leaving the office are relatively high for a modern president, akin to that of Ronald Reagan and Dwight D. Eisenhower,ABC reports. But his all-time career average is relatively low at 50%, more akin to George W. Bush and Richard Nixon. Fifty-one percent said Obama's legacy would be above average, compared to 16% who said the same of Bush.
The poll of 1,005 adults, conducted Jan. 12-15, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
By Christi Parsons
President Obama closed his presidency on a note of optimism Wednesday, telling a room of reporters that, despite the worry felt by many of his fellow partisans about the incoming Trump administration, “we’re going to be okay.”
In what was scheduled as the final news conference of his presidency, Obama said that after all he has witnessed, he is walking away with a sense of hopefulness about the country and where it is going.
He framed the comments as a description of what he had told his daughters after this year's election, but his remarks, likely to be among his last public statements from the White House, also served as a message to his fellow Democrats.
Many on his side of the aisle have talked in near-apocalyptic tones in recent weeks about the impending Trump administration. Obama was more measured.
“I believe in this country,” he said. “I believe in the American people. I believe that people are more good than bad. I believe tragic things happen. I think there's evil in the world, but I think at the end of the day, if we work hard and if we're true to those things in us that feel true and feel right, that the world gets a little better each time.”
“That's what this presidency has tried to be about,” he said.
The message will likely be his last one in public for a while. Obama said he reserves the right to speak up, especially if what he called America's "core values" come under assault. Short of that, however, he plans now to go into a period of “quiet” and "not hear [himself] talk so darn much." He’ll devote himself to writing and contemplation, he said, taking time for reflection that he hasn’t had under the pressures of the Oval Office.
His departure on Friday comes at a time of anxiety for many of his fellow Democrats. Dozens of Democratic members of Congress are planning to boycott Donald Trump’s inauguration. Women’s groups and unions are organizing demonstrations for the coming weekend.
Obama has not repudiated the criticisms he leveled at Trump during the campaign. But since the election, he has also looked for positive things to say, focusing on Trump’s willingness to listen to him and, perhaps, to change his mind when persuaded.
On Wednesday, as he took his final round of questions, Obama said he would wait to see whether Trump had accepted any of his thoughts. He also said he was sure he wouldn’t be the last nonwhite man to hold the presidency.
“I think we're going to see people of merit rise up from every race, faith, corner of this country, because that's America's strength,” Obama said. “When we have everybody getting a chance and everybody's on the field, we end up being better.”
He added: “Yeah, we're going to have a woman president. We're going to have a Latino president. And we'll have a Jewish president, a Hindu president. You know, who knows who we're going to have? I suspect we'll have a whole bunch of mixed-up presidents at some point that nobody really knows what to call them.”
Much of his optimism, he said, stemmed from watching a younger generation that is much more open to differences of all kinds. As evidence, he cited his daughters, Malia and Sasha, one headed to college and the other now in high school.
The two have grown up in an environment where they couldn’t help but be patriotic, Obama said, to see the country’s flaws and to feel a sense of responsibility to fix them.
And they were well-aware of their parents’ concerns about Trump and the movement behind him. Their father campaigned hard for fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton, and their mother delivered a speech in October in which she addressed Trump’s vulgar words about women, disclosed on a videotape, saying she was “shaken … to [her] core” by his remarks.
“They were disappointed,” Obama said. “They paid attention to what their mom said during the campaign and believed it because it's consistent with what we have tried to teach them in our household, and what I've tried to model as a father with their mom, and what we've asked them to expect from future boyfriends or spouses.”
Still, he said, his daughters hadn’t gotten cynical.
“They have not assumed because their side didn't win, or because some of the values that they care about don't seem as if they were vindicated, that automatically America has somehow rejected them or rejected their values,” he said.
Instead, they have “appreciated the fact that this is a big, complicated country, and democracy is messy; it doesn't always work exactly the way you might want. It doesn't guarantee certain outcomes,” he said.
But, he said, his daughters know that “there's a core decency to this country and that they got to be a part of lifting that up. And I expect they will be.”
For months, Obama has said he would relish the moment when he could set aside the responsibilities of governing and return to thinking and analyzing and talking about the country like a citizen. He told friends he looked forward to being able to see the world not through the gloom and doom of the presidential daily briefing.
That moment seemed to dawn at the end of the news conference Wednesday as he was channeling the optimism of Malia and Sasha Obama.
“Sometimes I get mad and frustrated like everybody else does, but at my core, I think we're going to be OK,” he said. “We just have to fight for it; we have to work for it and not take it for granted.”
By Sikandar Ali Hullio
Winter, largely in the south of Pakistan, is less cold. In the past, this attracted tourists from the western part of the country. However, an ongoing terror scourge birthed by the global war on terror has robbed the area of its seasonal attraction. The moderate weather, however, still suits and attracts a large number of migratory birds from the west which are then selectively killed.
This season, from Punjab’s Bhakkar to Balochistan’s Lasbela and from Sindh’s Ghotki to Tharparkar, hunters have been reportedly seen and filmed.
These hunters are said to have been on the hunt for a rare, shy and endangered bird, the Houbara Bustard, along with other migratory birds and indigenous animals.
The desert belts as well as some barren and seasonally cropped areas are the hunting grounds for these birds in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is an exception because the provincial government there has banned hunting of endangered animals, despite requests by the federal government which has already issued special grants to overseas hunters, who come loaded with hi-tech sports vehicles and turbans and assisted by the latest electronic gadgets and hosts with elite backgrounds, irrespective of political affiliations.
In recent times the Arab world has attracted cheap labour from this region for its hi-tech development – made possible largely through oil discoveries in the Gulf region. This has led to their prosperity and lavish pleasures.
One of these pleasures is hunting down a migratory and endangered bird, the Houbara Bustard (locally named ‘taloor’) found mostly in barren and deserted belts across the country.
This year, the news value and controversy on hunting down the Houbara remained at its peak, either on mainstream or social media.
The hunters are mostly from royal families. As they roam around from the plains to the mountains to desert beds, these hunters are treated with specially granted permissions and protocols. They use specified electronic machines and inmate birds to track down their prey.
What is this mythical bird and why are rich hunters so crazy about it? The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species classifies the particular variant of the bustard hunted in Pakistan as ‘threatened’ – a classification below ‘endangered’ and ‘critically endangered’. It is one of those endangered species which flies every year from the Siberian region when mercury there zeroes down, often crossing -50 degrees Celsius.
While the Russians can only dream about the ‘warm waters’ of this region, their birds don’t need any strategic approval – so they fly every year, touch our waters and enjoy the warmth of the weather. As birds don’t need any visa or comply with any border controls, the sky is the limit for them. However, the hunters shoot them down just to please their hunting passion.
The hunt of this bird has become a new, key instrument of our national foreign policy that deals with the Gulf region and its wealthier royals and their rich friends.
In October 2015, there were reports that the federal government had attempted to overturn an earlier Supreme Court edict that banned any governments, provincial or federal, from issuing special hunting permits.
Last month, in Punjab’s Bhakkar district, there were some protests against the Arab hunters. The demonstrators shouted slogans against the government and the hunters.
The hunters were apparently destroying the only crop – chickpea – that could be produced in the sandy soil of that particular area and took an entire season to harvest.
In recent years, there have been protests across the country against these hunters for the damage they inflict on the crop. However, local authorities did not consider the destruction as grave as the demonstrators tried to show it was. Rather, the authorities blamed local farmers for being accustomed to getting compensation from royal hunters by holding demonstrations against them.
Arab hunters have also initiated
various ‘development projects’ in the hunting areas but these are too symbolic and cosmetic to realistically tackle the area’s chronic issues and abject poverty.
Moreover, this is not a matter of endangering or conserving any bird. It is more a matter of protecting your national identity and integrity. It is interesting to see how foreign nationals are granted hunting permissions and how our entire ruling elite crumbles down at the cost of their vested interests.
This needs drastic revaluation and reassessment at the national level. Will any of our ruling elites ever be allowed in any Gulf country for a similar hunting spree?
The writer is an Islamabad-based anthropologist and analyst.
By Umer Farooq
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s health department officials were shocked to find that traces of the poliovirus found in Peshawar’s Shaheen Muslim Town area’s environmental samples had originated from Lahore.
A senior health official, who deals with polio eradication campaigns, told The Express Tribune that whenever environmental samples are found to be positive we carry out genetic sequencing to check where the virus had originated from.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that they were shocked to know that the virus found in the Shaheen Muslim Town’s samples had originated from Lahore.
The official also revealed that the environmental samples of the Larama area of the provincial capital have also tested positive. He added that the origins of Larama’s virus were traced back to the Shaheen Muslim Town area. In view of this, he said it could be that Larama’s virus may also have travelled from Lahore.
The official said that the samples collected from other districts, including Charsadda, Mardan and Nowshera, tested negative.
First campaign of 2017
This year’s first nationwide anti-polio campaign kicked off on Monday in 145 out of 166 districts/agencies /towns of the country. The campaign will aim to inoculate around 37.7 million children.
However, the campaigns in Quetta, Pishin, Killa Abdullah areas of Balochistan; South Waziristan’s Wana; and the Khyber agency were rescheduled from January 23 to January 29. The reason for delaying the campaign in Quetta was because a monovalent oral polio special round (mOPV) campaign had already been carried out in Balochistan’s capital. On the other hand, the delay in Wana was due to the induction trainings of CBV data. However, the campaign was delayed in Khyber agency upon the request of the APCR.
The campaign has also been postponed in 16 districts of Balochistan, 47 UCs of K-P, three UCs of Gilgit-Baltistan, three UCs of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and four UCs of Fata due to heavy snowfall and will also start on January 23. Some 250,000 personnel will be participating in the campaign which will include 24,045 area incharges; 7,508 UC medical officers; 188,134 mobile teams; 10,459 fixed and 12,076 transit team members.
Meanwhile, K-P’s polio campaign was inaugurated by K-P’s Deputy Speaker Dr Mehar Taj Roghani at the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) on Monday.
The deputy speaker lauded the K-P government for ensuring that the polio cases had dropped down to only eight in 2016. (With input from our correspondent in Islamabad)
دفاع پاکستان کونسل نیٹوسپلائی کے خلاف وجودمیں آئی،سپاہ صحابہ کی سرگرمیوں کامرکزہمیشہ پنجاب رہا، رحمان ملک
پاکستان پیپلز پارٹی کے رہنماءرحمان ملک نے کہا ہے کہ سپاہ صحابہ کی سرگرمیوں کامرکزہمیشہ سے ہی پنجاب رہا ہے،اسکی وضاحت بھی پنجاب ہی دے سکتا ہے۔
تفصیلات کے مطابق میڈیا سے گفتگو کرتے ہوئے ان کا کہنا تھا کہ پاکستان پیپلزپارٹی کے دورحکومت میں سپاہ صحابہ کواسلام آباد میں جلسے جلوس کرنے کی اجازت نہیں تھی، کبھی اسلام آباد میں تنظیمی سرگرمیاں نہیں کرسکتی تھی۔خودساختہ دفاع پاکستان کونسل نیٹوسپلائی کے خلاف
پاکستان کے سابق صدر اور پیپلز پارٹی پارلیمنٹیرین کے صدر آصف علی زرداری کی امریکہ میں سینیٹر جان مکین اور دوسرے سینیٹرز سے اہم ملاقات ہوئی ہے، جس میں پاک امریکن تعلقات اور دھشتگردی کیخلاف جنگ میں پاکستان کے قربانیوں سمیت باھمی دلچسپی کے مختلف امور زیر بحث آئے۔ تفصیلات کے مطابق امریکی خارجہ کمیٹی کے چئیرمین سینیٹر جان مکین نے سابق صدر اصف علی زرداری کے اعزاز میں عشائیہ دیا جس میں دوسرے کئی امریکن سینیٹرز نے بھی شرکت کی۔
سابق صدر اصف علی زرداری کے ہمراہ پیپلز پارٹی کی سنئیر صدر اور سابق سفیر سینیٹر شیری رحمان اور سینیٹر رحمان ملک بھی موجود تھے۔
ملاقات میں پاک امریکن تعلقات اور دھشتگردی کیخلاف جنگ میں پاکستان کے قربانیوں سمیت باھمی دلچسپی کے مختلف امور پر تفضیلی گفتگو