Saturday, April 22, 2017

Music Video - Iggy Azalea - Mo Bounce

Video Report - ‘No borders!’ Scuffles erupt between protesters & police at anti-AfD party demo in Cologne

Video Report - Tear gas, smoke grenades & flares: Violence erupts at Paris protest day before election

Video Report - Protesters to Trump: Science matters

Comedy Stop - The Trump Administration's Reefer Madness: The Daily Show

More than 100 soldiers killed or injured in Taliban attack on Afghan base

By Ehsan Popalzai and Jason Hanna

Taliban fighters dressed in military uniforms raided an army base in northern Afghanistan, raking it with gunfire in an hours-long attack that killed or injured more than 100 soldiers, officials said.
The attack started as soldiers were observing Friday prayers at Camp Shaheen near Mazar-e Sharif, the country's third-largest city, the Afghan military said.
As many as 140 people may have been killed in the attack, sources close to the situation told CNN. The sources are officials who requested anonymity so as not to interfere with the Ministry of Defense or Ministry of Interior, which are responsible for reporting official tolls.
    Dawlat Waziri, an Afghan Ministry of Defense spokesman, declined to give a more precise accounting of dead and injured but said one would be released later.
    The uniformed attackers entered the base in vehicles and opened fire, Afghan army spokesman Abdul Qahar Araam said. The gunfire was followed by an explosion at one of the base's gates.
    CNN Map
    The attack lasted six hours. By the end, at least five attackers were killed, and one was arrested, Araam said.
    Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has declared Sunday to be a national day of mourning in remembrance of the Afghan forces killed on the base. The Afghan national flag will be flown at half-staff in Afghanistan and its missions.
    The base is the headquarters of the 209th Shaheen Corps in Balkh province.

    In Jhang, Bilawal renews demand for PM’s resignation

    PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has reiterated his demand that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif step down on moral grounds in the wake of Panama Leaks verdict.

    “Mian Sahab, you are not fully acquitted. If you have an iota of shame, you should resign,” Bilawal Bhutto said while addressing a gathering of supporters in Jhang district of Punjab.

    “There is one Pakistan for Sharifs and another for masses,” he said, adding that no law is applied on Sharif.

    He said that Sharif brothers are spared even if they attack the Supreme Court.

    “We need one Pakistan and one law for all citizens,” he maintained. - SAMAA

    Pakistan - Resign or face lawyers' movement bigger than 2007: LHCBA to PM

    In light of the Supreme Court ruling on the Panama Papers case, the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) on Saturday gave an ultimatum to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif: resign within a week, or face a lawyers' movement bigger than the one that followed ex-chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry's ouster in 2007.
    The demand comes days after the Panama Papers case verdict was announced, directing that a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) be instituted to investigate the prime minister and his sons for alleged corruption.
    However, opposition parties have expressed reservations on the integrity of a probe against the premier carried out by officials that the PM himself has appointed.
    The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), PPP and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) have all demanded that the PM resign until the JIT has completed its investigation.
    LHCBA President Zulfiqar Chaudhry, vice-president Rashid Lodhi, secretary Amir Saeed Raan and finance secretary Zaheer Butt presented their demand for the PM's resignation at a press conference. Chaudhry stressed that if the prime minister does not relinquish his post within a week, they will launch a movement bigger than the lawyers' movement for restoration of the deposed judges.
    "The [Panama Papers case] decision is unanimous," said Chaudhry, referring to Thursday's verdict.
    "Throughout the world, public office holders implicated in the Panama [Papers] scandal have relinquished their posts, but the prime minister is adamant to stay in power," he complained, emphasising that the bar association's demand for PM's resignation was legitimate and fair.
    "How can officers under the PM conduct a fair investigation into the PM's alleged corruption?" asked Chaudhry.
    Rashid Lodhi, vice president of the bar association said: "This is the first time such a high-profile case of corruption went up to the Supreme Court and some pertinent questions were raised by the court regarding the PM's money-trail. These questions can not be put ignored."
    Explore: Read the full text of the Supreme Court's Panamagate judgement here
    He said the apex court has rejected the prime minister's claims, and for that reason, Sharif has lost the moral authority to stay in power.
    "The SC verdict has, in effect, indicted the prime minister," said Amir Saeed Raan, secretary of the LHCBA.
    "Two of the five judges have made it clear that the PM is not 'Sadiq' and 'Ameen'," he stated, adding that the prime minister should have the courage to resign, instead of letting his own appointees investigate him for alleged corruption.
    The legal fraternity in Pakistan flexed its muscles back in 2007, when ex-president Pervez Musharraf ousted the then chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. The lawyers' movement that followed, gained enough momentum to result in the reinstatement of the deposed judiciary.
    The LHCBA representatives stressed that their demand must not be seen as to be politically motivated.

    #MashalKhan - Vigilante Injustice

    Mashal Khan’s murder has created the space to open up the much needed debate about the misuse of the blasphemy law and the gruesome result of false accusations of blasphemy. While the initial reaction in such cases is usually to remain quiet; a number of offline and online protests throughout the country have pushed the masses to discuss the matter.
    One welcome step has been taken by Mashal Khan’s neighbours in Swabi; they have realised that they should be showing solidarity with the family during this ordeal and have apologised for not standing by them earlier.
    There are others who need to apologise. In this case, it is those religious parties that failed to give any statement against the brutal killing; the university administration, which started the witch hunt and falsely accused Mashal of committing blasphemy for pointing out the ills on the campus; the Imam at the mosque in Mashal Khan’s home town who refused to lead his funeral prayer; and the hordes of people who use violence in the name of a religion of peace.
    The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government immediately announced a judicial probe and the federal government took up the issue in the National Assembly to make amends to the blasphemy law, only to be blocked by religious parties again, who after initial support in the matter, backed off by accusing liberal, secular forces wanting to amend the law. The current demand to change these laws to discourage false accusations of blasphemy is not liberal or secular – it is very moderate and conservative, and only aims to quell the wave of religious violence.
    The police on Friday prevented a charged mob from attacking a man for allegedly committing blasphemy following Friday prayers in Chitral. On Tuesday, three women killed a man in Sialkot, for allegedly committing blasphemy thirteen years ago. The mob must be stopped.

    Pakistan - Justice for Mashal

    By Afrasiab Khattak

    Writing about the lost blood of the wretched of the earth, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, the outstanding progressive poet of Urdu in the 20th century, says in his poem “No trace of blood”:
    Neither on the hands and nail of the slayer
    Nor any sign on the sleeve
    No redness in the dagger’s edge
    No any colour on spear’s head
    No stain in the earth’s breast
    Or any smear on the ceiling.
    The creative genius of late Faiz could wrote the obituary of those who are falling victim to an extremist violent mindset in today’s world decades before their death. This is how wretched of the earth have always been, pious noises of the rulers to the contrary not withstanding. Mashal Khan, a young and intelligent student of Mardan University was brutally murdered on a black Thursday, April 13, 2017. The initial facts uncovered so far reveal a criminal conspiracy by a corrupt mafia in the university administration that was covered up by the lynching of the wounded Mashal by a frenzied mob consisting of students and a few others. The conspirators might have channeled the fanaticism of some youth against Mashal Khan by falsely accusing him of committing blasphemy but the wild wrath of young fanatics was by all means real. Ample footage of the savagery demonstrated on the occasion is available on the social media. Inspector General of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police was not off the mark when he said, after the initial arrests, that had it not been for the social media campaign of the concerned citizens the murderers might have gotten away with their crime.
    The brutality and savagery of Mashal Khan’s lynching at a university campus was extremely shocking but scarier was the total paralysis of state and society in face madness galore. Political leaders and government authorities took their time in even condemning the murder. On the face of it, it seems to be an open and shut case due to the availability of evidence but the government was quite slow in responding to the crime. This situation has been created by the misguided state policies. The security establishment has a history of using brainwashed young men to fight its undeclared wars in neighbouring countries. There is a large body of war hardened religious fighters who spoil for picking fights. As if that was not enough, the deep state itself used the threat of using the accusation of blasphemy against critics of its policies. It is a potent weapon for silencing opponents in a society where mere accusation of blasphemy amounts to a death warrant as there are numerous examples of people taking law into their hands by murdering the accused. The bloggers who were mysteriously picked up by the intelligence agencies, tortured and released after about a month were silenced by the same weapon. Neither the parliament nor the courts came to their rescue. Even the so-called free media chose self censorship on this issue. The impunity that this accusation (even if it’s a false one) provides to the offenders of different types makes it very tempting. Is it then surprising that the criminal and corrupt mafia of the Mardan University went for it to hide their crime? Most of the crimes of mob violence have gone unpunished. In a few cases where the courts did convict the perpetrators of crimes the foot soldiers were punished but the masterminds were able to steer free of convictions.
    During the week after the murder of Mashal Khan the mainstream media also gradually focused on the case and public opinion was galvanised. There arose a hope that it may become a turning point for the state and society in Pakistan to act effectively, seriously and consistently against religious extremism and the violence that it inspires. There were even demonstrations demanding a clear and practical change in policy. Apart from some extremist fringe elements, most of the political parties and civil society not only expressed their horror but also vowed to work together to preclude the possibility of such tragedy repeating itself. But then we had the Panama circus. TV channels with “special transmissions” ensued to the exclusion of every other issue.
    One sincerely hopes that society and state take madness at university campuses, that epitomises the deep evil in our midst, seriously. We have had extremist violence but this incident represents a new and frightening level. The rise of mob violence can lead to the physical liquidation of minorities and societal dissent in the first place followed by a liquidation of state and society. Syria, Libya and Iraq used to be functioning states at one stage. They have collapsed before our eyes. It’s the extremist mindset that has to be weeded out. Even nuclear weapons aren’t effective in the struggle against the extremist mindset. It’s through a reformed and enlightened education, investment in human development and narrative of peace and progress that this war can be won. The fight is mainly for the soul of our youth. Losing it will be losing the future. Mashal means the source of light in Pashto and his lynching was literally and figuratively a lynching of light. If the blood of this innocent, charming and bright young man awakens the conscience of our society it might be some solace to the soul of the humanist that Mashal was. Justice for Mashal can be justice for our younger generations.