Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Video - Fake-news makers are worse than prostitutes - Putin slams Trump 'leak' publishers

President Obama Is Ending His Time in Office With Pretty High Approval Ratings

Sarah Begley

As his time in the White House comes to a close, President Obama's approval ratings are at a high not seen since the early days of his first term, according to a new poll.
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.

President Obama's parting message: Hope

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.”

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Pakistan - Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari announces PPP rally from Lahore to Faisalabad tomorrow

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari announced that the party will hold a rally on Thursday.
Taking to Twitter to make the announcement, Bhutto-Zardari said: "PPP rally from Lahore to Faisalabad tomorrow. Your show is over Nawaz."
Bilawal had earlier tweeted that the PPP would begin its grassroots campaign with the rally.
The development comes days after PPP Co-Chairman Asif Zardari left Pakistan for Dubai where he spent a few days before travelling to the United States.
Zardari, upon his return to Pakistan from an 18-month, self-imposed exile, announced that both he and his son, Bilawal, would be contesting by-polls for seats in the National Assembly to be part of "this Parliament".
An informed source earlier told Dawn that Asif Ali Zardari was president of the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPP-P) and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari patron-in-chief of the PPP as per the list of political parties enlisted with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
He said the PPP-P had been allotted the symbol of ‘arrow’ and the PPP ‘two swords’ by the ECP prior to the 2013 general elections. And now the two leaders are required to contest the polls from the platforms of their respective political parties under separate election symbols.
The PPP had formed a separate entity, PPP-P, in August 2002 to meet the requirements of a decree issued by the then military ruler.
A law was framed to bar Benazir Bhutto from holding a party office and the new political entity was a bid to avert the imminent threat of losing the chance of contesting the elections.

Pakistan's Bedouin Masters - Hunt for the Houbara

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.

PAKISTAN'S CHILD ABUSE - No doubt crime committed in Tayyaba 'torture' case: CJP

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar remarked on Wednesday that there was no doubt that a criminal act had been committed in the Tayyaba case.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by the CJP was hearing a suo moto case regarding the 10-year-old's alleged torture.
The child had allegedly been employed as a maid and abused by the now deposed Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Raja Khurram Ali Khan and his wife.
CJP Nisar directed the police to submit a challan in order for the trial to began.
The police submitted its investigation report for the case, but additionally sought a week's time to complete investigations and submit a final medico-legal report, saying they were still waiting for the results of a DNA test.
During proceedings, the CJP asked how crimes such as child abuse could be stopped in the future and whether Tayyaba's case could be considered bonded-labour.
Human rights lawyer Tariq Mehmood informed the court that there had been no progress on a bill concerning children's rights after it was presented in the Senate.
Under present law, anyone found guilty of employing a child is fined Rs200 and the child's parents Rs50, said Mahmood, who is a retired justice.
CJP Nisar also questioned the grounds on which Khan's wife, Maheen Zafar, was granted bail. Her lawyer Sardar Aslam responded that the offence her client has been accused of is bailable.
What kind of a law is it that you beat up a child and obtain bail, CJP Nisar remarked, observing that the bail could now be reviewed as new clauses had been added to the FIR.
The hearing was subsequently adjourned till January 25.
PIMS Vice Chancellor Dr Javed Akram had said earlier this month that after an examination conducted on Tayyaba's first visit to the hospital there was no doubt that Tayyaba had been physically abused
The girl was allegedly tortured by the family of ADSJ Raja Khurram Ali Khan on Dec 28 and an FIR was registered against him and his wife on Dec 29.
Tayyaba is being kept at Pakistan Sweet Home, a government-funded orphanage, on court orders.
Initially, police had prepared a report stating that the girl had fallen down some stairs and was accidentally injured.
But after the Islamabad High Court took notice of the matter, the girl changed her statement and told a magistrate that she had been tortured by the family of the accused.
The judge and his wife were able to obtain bail after a couple claiming to be the child’s parents arrived in Islamabad and submitted affidavits to a local court stating they did not want to lodge a complaint against the accused.
However, after the Supreme Court took suo motu notice of the incident, the district administration wrote to PIMS asking for another medical examination to be carried out.

Pakistan - After genetic sequencing: Polio virus in Peshawar traced back to Lahore

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)

Five bloggers went missing in Pakistan - Let’s speak with one voice

By Fahd Ali

In the past one week or so, five bloggers went missing in Pakistan. No one knows their crime but everyone knows why they have disappeared. Those who are missing seem to share a few common characteristics though. They either ran blogs or contributed to ones that criticised religious bigotry and the security establishment’s heavy involvement in the state’s political affairs.
How do we make sense of their disappearance?
For a long time, the liberals and progressives felt safe simply because they didn’t count too much. That remains true today. One can see the same 20 odd faces appearing in every protest organised by the liberals and the left wing political groups in this country. This remains true for protests being organised in Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad this time. You see the same faces in front of press clubs; chanting slogans and making the same kind of demands. Nobody bothers to stop and ask them why they are there. Nobody cusses at them sitting in their cars because they are not even a traffic nuisance.
Who would want to pick someone of this ilk?
News reports suggest that these bloggers were vocal critics of the military as well as militancy. Some people suggest they may have criticised CPEC as well. They did all that through various social media platforms (Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, etc.) with some really odd-sounding names like BhensaMolbi, or Mochi. We don’t know who took them seriously other than the people who have picked them up. I must admit I only searched them online after these people went missing. I have seen Bhensa memes floating around the internet; some of them funny others not quite so. But who really cared? Does the list include people who liked them or shared them or commented under them or tagged their friends? Are they all suspects? We wouldn’t know.
We do know one thing for sure. Those who abducted them got really upset by their satire.
Pakistan’s establishment faces one big challenge in ruling over Pakistan (whether directly or indirectly) — how to homogenise a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, and multi-cultural society? This has been the bane of their existence from day one. How do you make everybody the same when everybody is different?
This is not the first time progressive activists have been picked nor is this the first time people have disappeared mysteriously in this country. Balochistan has seen hundreds and thousands of its activists gone mysteriously missing in the past 10 years.
Two weeks ago, the Human Rights Ministry admitted that 936 people have been found dead in Balochistan in the past five years. In a ‘normal’ country, this would have been enough for at least the minister to resign. Or enough to order a high-powered committee to do a serious investigation. But we know that nothing like that would ever happen here; so why bother with all such details.
Pakistan’s establishment faces one big challenge in ruling over Pakistan (whether directly or indirectly) — how to homogenise a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, and multi-cultural society? This has been the bane of their existence from day one. How do you make everybody the same when everybody is different? It’s important to do that, as a homogenised society is easy to mould in its own ideological leanings. Islam became an easy tool. Yet, it would be unfair to say that military is the only one that has used Islam. Politicians have also used it to pander to their voters. But where the latter’s use of religion is only to plead their case to a conservative vote bank, the former use of religion has turned out to be more sinister. It institutionalised it within the state structure and used it to expand its writ.
Protest in Lahore. — Photo by Khalid Mahmood
Protest in Lahore. — Photo by Khalid Mahmood
Religion is an easy tool for homogenisation if that is the desired outcome. A homogenised society is easier to control by dictatorial forces because you have just scared away all dissent. Once you get the monopoly over setting both the agenda and the discourse, it is only a matter of time before public opinion gets shaped a certain way.
Our establishment does not like any challenges to such agenda-setting power; even if it comes in the form of social media pages that identify themselves as Bhensa, Molbi, or Mochi.
This kind of worldview is unable to see beyond its own narrow interests. It sees plurality of opinion as a problem. It wants to see only a certain kind of Islam that accepts its obsession with India, US, and all others who are constantly conspiring against its rise to the top of the world. It wants everybody to have the same interpretation of Pakistan’s history. There cannot be any questioning of Jinnah or Iqbal or any of the other great leaders’ role.
Some people just out of sheer boredom or curiosity want to ask: but why? The powers-that-be find it distressing that people don’t want to readily accept this. On top of all this, they also want to keep a big chunk of resources to themselves and don’t want any one questioning it. These powers have recently discovered that something like CPEC can also be used to homogenise the country and expand their own business empire at the same time. They don’t like anybody criticising their role in this project because it should be obvious to everyone that this project will transform Pakistan completely into an economic power house; no questions asked. They can also pronounce that Pakistan’s destiny is to be an Islamic welfare state and this is what our enemies want to deny us.
Pray tell, who asked for your opinion on this matter in the first place?
But questions like these are — especially if they accompany a meme with a Bhensa in the corner — forbidden because they challenge the ‘national interest’, which is defined and protected by them. So, the security establishment eventually picks up or harasses all those who try to criticise it persistently.
Is there any way to reform these institutions? Well, I think, there is. But that path is full of several social media pages with memes with Bhensas or Molbis or Mochis in the corner. That path also consists of writing consistently against these institutions’ desire to set, define, and defend the national interest. That right belongs to the people of this country alone and no one can take it away from them.
So, voice your criticism openly and without fear. Do not hide in fear. These institutions have totalitarian pretensions; they neither have the capacity nor the will to abduct all of us when we speak with one voice. For this reason alone, the absence of Salman Haider and others should only strengthen our resolve to fight for a pluralist, progressive, and a democratic Pakistan.

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

آصف علی زرداری کی امریکہ میں سینیٹر جان مکین اور دوسرے سینیٹرز سے ملاقات

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 

Bilawal Bhutto to lead rally from Lahore to Faisalabad

Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari will lead an anti-government rally of the party from the provincial metropolis to Faisalabad on Thursday.
On way to Faisalabad, he will deliver brief speeches at public meetings to be held at Sheikhupura, Nankana Sahib and Shahkot, PPP central Punjab chapter chief Qamar Zaman Kaira told reporters here on Tuesday.
The party has made a written request to the Punjab government seeking permission for the rally, while the police have also been approached for provision of proper security to the event.
It is learnt that the special truck late Benazir Bhutto would use during the party’s rallies has been transported to Lahore to be used by her son for the Faisalabad rally.
The rally is part of Bilawal’s plan to boost morale of party activists in Punjab who had gone into dormancy because of PPP’s “reconciliation policy” towards the ruling PML-N and distancing of the leadership from workers during the last eight years or so.
He had earlier announced shifting all his political activities to Lahore and making Bilawal House his base camp to reactivate jiyalas in Punjab, once considered a stronghold of PPP that gradually slipped out of its hands to the benefit of the PML-N.
Bilawal is also scheduled to address a press conference on Wednesday (today).