Saturday, February 11, 2017

Hundreds Protest Immigrant Raids in US for Second Day

A second day of demonstrations for immigrant rights saw crowds gather in New York and Washington, DC, to voice anger at a week of raids by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and at new President Donald Trump's immigration policies in general.
Organized under the slogan "Here to Stay," groups like youth immigrant activist groups United We Dream, civic media organization Vote Latino, Human Rights Watch and others gathered to insist that immigrants and refugees remain welcome in the US. Groups like Black Lives Matter and Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), which works to rally white Americans to racial justice causes, also took part.

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Protestors against deportation and today's ICE raids close off a section of Aliso St in  @KTLA
ICE raids over the past week led to the arrests of hundreds of immigrants, with criminal records and without. Immigration officials called the raids "routine," but immigrant rights groups say they herald a return to pre-Obama policies of casting a wide net for undocumented immigrants in the United States, rather than targeting only dangerous criminals.
Reports say several hundred gathered in front of the White House to protest, with hundreds more in New York, where there were reports of arrests, and in other areas.
The New York community organization Make the Road New York confirmed that ICE raids were taking place in the city in a February 11 statement.
"The Trump administration has now doubled down on its war on our communities," the organization said. "We have confirmed ICE raids that have swept up five immigrant Staten Island residents over the past several days. These raids have the explicit purpose of tearing families apart. Our communities are understandably extremely concerned, but also resilient. We are here to stay, and we will fight back."
Hundreds rallied in New York and Los Angeles yesterday for the same cause.

JOKE OF THE CENTURY - CIA awards Saudi prince medal for anti-terror efforts

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, Saudi Arabia’s deputy premier and interior minister, has been presented with a CIA award for his work fighting terrorism, prompting raised eyebrows on social media.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo gifted the prince with the George Tenet award in Riyadh on Friday.
Named for the former Director of Central Intelligence under Bill Clinton and George W Bush, the George Tenet award recognized the Saudi royal’s intelligence work against terrorism and his contributions to peace and security.
Tenet served as Director of Central Intelligence from July 1997 to July 2004. In 2015, a CIA report was declassified, slamming Tenet in particular for failing to thwart Osama bin Laden despite years of warnings and threats from al Qaeda, which ultimately resulted in the 9/11 attacks.
“The Kingdom has been keen to combat terrorism based on its conviction that terrorism has no identity and no religion, and from its belief that the terrorists are committing these acts stemming from their deviant ideologies and evil thought,” Arab news quoted bin Nayef as saying Saturday. “All negative religious, political and social ideologies that use religion as a tool throughout human history do not reflect the absolute truth about religion.”
The prince also said the award recognized the Kingdom’s anti-terrorism efforts under King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and commended Saudis working in security agencies as well as the Saudi people for their work to combat terrorism.
Bin Nayef highlighted the fact that the Kingdom had successfully prevented several terror plots, including ones against friendly countries, and described the US-Saudi relationship as “strong and historic,” saying nothing would come between them or damage their ties.
“Combatting terrorism requires a joint international effort at all levels; financially, intellectually, militarily and through the media,” he said. “This should be coordinated and conducted in accordance with the UN’s covenants and laws including particularly the principle of sovereign equality.”
The gesture has been viewed as ironic on social media, given the controversy around Saudi Arabia. “Worst joke ever,” a social media user tweeted. “Giving a Saudi prince a medal for combating terrorism is the equivalent of giving McDonald's a medal for combating obesity,” another said.
Of the 19 suspected 9/11 hijackers, 15 of them were from Saudi Arabia, according to the CIA. In 2015, one of the alleged 9/11 hijackers, Zacarias Moussaoui, claimed several members of the Saudi royal family had been listed as al Qaeda donors in the database he worked on under orders of Osama bin Laden, CNN reports.
Families of the victims of 9/11 have brought a lawsuit against the Kingdom. The “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act” was passed in September, and allows US citizens to sue foreign countries for terrorism.
WikiLeaks cables from the US State Department from 2009 revealed that “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”
“Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qa'ida, the Taliban, LeT, and other terrorist groups,” the cable continues.
Saudi Arabia has also been accused of funding extremists in Syria, the Independent reports. In a 2014 email released by WikiLeaks in October, Hillary Clinton allegedly wrote about Saudi Arabia’s funding of Islamic State:
“While this military/paramilitary operation is moving forward, we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.”
Accepting the Tenet award, bin Nayef pointed to the dangers the Kingdom faces.
“We are surrounded by areas of conflict, and we were the first affected by terrorism from various sources, but we are equipped to combat terror in any place and under any circumstances,” he said.

Russian planes bound for Syria anti-terrorist op still use Iranian airspace – report

Iran continues to let Russian planes use the country’s airspace for military operations against the terrorists in neighboring Syria, according to Iran’s media citing a senior security official.
"Iran and Russia cooperate in Syria not in single case, but the coordination is comprehensive, embracing different aspects; accordingly, Iran’s airspace welcomes Russian fighter jets in case they seek hitting terrorists’ targets in Syria," Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) said, as quoted by the Mehr news agency.
Shamkhani also pointed out that a number of Russian bombers have recently flown through Iran's airspace, but have not done any refueling operations.
“In the recent cases, Russian fighter planes have only used Iran's airspace and have not had refueling operations,” Shamkhani was cited as saying by Fars news. 
The agency stated that the minister was commenting on recent media reports that Russia's Tupolev-22M long-range bombers had used Iran’s airspace and a military base in the country during their recent missions in Syria. Iran allowed the Russian military to operate from its Noje Airbase in Hamadan province for the first time in August 2016, having drawn criticism from the US and even some Iranian lawmakers.
The initiative for Russian planes to use Iran’s airbase came from Tehran, as Shamkhani told state television in August. The country’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan on its part said last year that Russia can station its forces at the base “for as long as they need.”
However, Teheran pulled back on its permission shortly afterwards, slamming Moscow for attracting too much attention to the deployment.
Russia indeed called its military back a week later announcing on its part that its jets had completed the counterterrorism tasks in Syria. It has been the first time when Iranian territory had been used by foreign military forces since 1946, according to Fars. 
Dehqan later said that Tehran could allow Russia's use of its airbase for the aerial campaign against terrorists again if such a need arises.
“If the situation and conditions [in Syria] demand to provide the support, we will do this job," General Dehqan said in November, as cited by the news agency.
The Russian upper house of parliament's defense committee chair, Viktor Ozerov, told Ria Novosti news agency in November that Russia may be forced to use Iran's airbase again in case the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier which it used for anti-terror strikes in Syria is called away from the Syrian borders.
“The necessity to use the airfield of the airbase in Hamadan could emerge if Admiral Kuznetsov carries out another operation and [Russia] will not be able to use it for airstrikes against terrorists in Syria," Ozerov said at the time. The aircraft carrier had indeed been called off last month and returned to its base in Russia a week ago.
Russia and Iran have been united in supporting the Syrian government headed by President Bashar Assad in the conflict that has been tearing the Middle Eastern state apart for the past six years.

Political flaws escalate rising tide of anti-globalization: People's Daily

Economic globalization does encounter some challengesbut it is irresponsible to createconflicts by exaggerating those problemsPeoples Daily commented on Wednesdayrefuting the malicious voices against the economic globalization by some Westernpoliticians.
The commentaryunder the byline of “Zhongsheng”, came after French far-right leaderMarine Le Pen attacked globalization in her presidential election manifesto last weekend.
As candidate of the National FrontLe Pen told supporters in Lyonthe third largest city ofFrancethat globalization was slowly choking communities to deathGlobalizationshesaidmeant "manufacturing by slaves for selling to the unemployed".
She is the latest European politician to preach anti-globalization in mainstream politics ofthe Western world by making use of public's dissatisfaction with the current situationthearticle said.
Such examples over the past year also included the Brexit, 2016 US electionand thepresidential campaigns of France and Germanythe paper added.
Sluggish economywhich has resulted in aggravated contradictions between growth anddistributioncapital and laboras well as efficiency and equityis the root cause of therising trend of anti-globalization in the Western worldthe commentary notedbut itpointed out at the same time that politics is also a reason that cannot be ignored.
Most of the countries in favor of anti-globalization are first of all hindered by economicdevelopment and wealth distributionThereafterthese economic issues are politicizedultimately leading to severe social disruption.
Populists are at their weakest in the tedious matter of sound governmentsaid FinancialTimes column writer Janan Ganesh in his recent articleSuch point of view is indeed atimely reminder for the European countries which have lost their direction.
Rome mayor Virginia Raggi is a better example to interpret the difference betweencatharsis and governancethe paper saidexplaining that the performance of the far-rightmayor was far worse than her commitments during the election campaign in 2016. Eventhe waste disposal of the city was in a mess under her governance.
National elections of FranceGermanythe Netherlands and many other Europeancountries will fall in the year of 2017, meaning that they will stand at a new crossroad fortheir countries’ development.
The paper believed that reform will still be the theme of the campaigns given thatdevelopment fatigue is still prevalent in the continentHoweverthese countries shouldthink twice before they make a decision.
Anti-globalizationfavored by extreme right-wing politicianswill only cause moreproblemsas economic globalization is a natural outcome of productivity and technologicalprogress rather than a creation of any individual or countryit pointed out,stressingthateconomic globalizations contributions to human progress could not be denied bycomplaints of some politicians.
The paper suggested that facing with the irresistible trend of economic globalizationthewise choice would be to start from national conditions and follow the tide.
Each party should make efforts to bring benefits of economic globalization to countriesand people around the world by integrating itself into the globe and pursuing efficiencyand equitythe article concluded

Xi-Trump call heralds new phase in relations communication

Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump spoke by phone Friday morning Beijing time. According to China Central Television, Trump stressed that he fully understood the great importance for the US government to respect the one-China policy and that the US will adhere to the one-China policy. This has become the most attention-grabbing part of the phone call.

Since assuming office, Trump and his team have changed their rhetoric about China. Trump has stopped openly challenging China's core interests, and instead showed respect to Beijing.

The change creates an impression that Trump is learning about his role in the realm of Sino-US ties. He's now sending a new message that he does not want to be a disruptor of the Sino-US relations.

This phone call between the top leaders is a sign that some confusion in the relationship has been sorted out at the current stage. The Sino-US ties have, after a little shiver, returned to where they are supposed to stand. Uncertainties still loom but they will be about specific interests. The Sino-US relations will continue to move forward under the complicated framework where cooperation and frictions coexist.

Before assuming office, Trump gave an impression that a trade war between the two countries was around the corner. The communications between the two countries since Trump came to power were not high profile but have now proven to be effective.

It's always better for China and the US, the world's No.1 and No.2 economies, to resolve their differences through dialogue rather than conflict. Neither country should try to break the other side's bottom line.

In terms of national strength, the US is more powerful than China. However the US has broader interests around the globe and some of its interests extend close to China's area of core interest. This has led to a special type of balance in East Asia, especially in areas around China, where China's strength and resolution to defend its core interests matches with that of the US.

Beijing and Washington are making history. China and the US are by far the most civilized rising power and established power in history. If peace and cooperation is securely maintained between the two countries, the leaders of this transitional period will go down in history.

The phone call between Xi and Trump marks the beginning of a new stage of diplomatic interactions between the top leaders. There are many unresolved issues that need to be addressed. When facing difficulty, neither country should act impetuously. They should know that even if some problems cannot be removed like a rock, when the time comes, they can be submerged under the river of history.

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Zoe Viccaji a Pakistani Parsi female singer and song writer

Date of birth : 25th October
Marital Status: Single
Live in: Karachi
Sister: Rachel Viccaji
Brother: Cyrus Viccaji
Father : Adi Viccaji
Facebook page
She has worked with the like’s of String’s, Bilal Khan etc. Zoe songs, Jo Chaho and Bichra Yar made huge impact on her career. These songs got very popular. Zoe recently sing the title song of drama ‘Tanhaiyan Aik Naye Silsiley’.
Zoe has a sister named, Rachel, who is also a singer. Sanam Saeed, Meera Ansari, Mariam Azmi and Meher Jaffri are her very close friends. She like’s to spend her time with her friends.
Zoe Viccaji was glad to be part of Coke Studio’s, She said ‘It was an educating experience, i spend my early life abroad but through this platform i came on touch with Pakistani music’.