Tuesday, January 9, 2018

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U.S. - #Republicans in Congress Are Failing #America’s Children

Children from lower-income families could soon lose access to affordable health care because the Republican leaders in Congress have failed to renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program. This is a travesty.
After passing a lavish tax cut for corporations and wealthy families, Congress hastily left town last month without reauthorizing the federal-state health insurance program, which benefits nearly nine million children. Authorization expired in September, and so far states have kept CHIP going with unspent funds carried over from previous appropriations. Before Christmas, Congress allocated $2.85 billion to the program, saying that the money would take care of the children’s needs until the end of March. But that appears to have been a gross miscalculation, because the Trump administration said on Friday that some states would start running out of money after Friday, Jan. 19.
CHIP was created in 1997 and has helped halve the percentage of children who are uninsured. It has been reauthorized by bipartisan majorities of Congress in the past. But Republican leaders in Congress all but abandoned the program last fall and devoted their time to trying to pass an unpopular tax bill that will increase the federal debt by $1.8 trillion over the next decade, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis released last week. By contrast, CHIP costs the federal government roughly $14.5 billion a year, or $145 billion over 10 years.
Republicans have held children’s insurance hostage to force Democrats to accept cuts to other programs. Last year, House Republicans insisted that they would reauthorize CHIP only if Democrats agreed to offset spending on the program with cuts to Medicare and a public health program created by the Affordable Care Act. Democrats balked at those demands, given that Republicans did not bother to offset the loss of revenue from their boondoggle tax cuts.
A deal between the two sides should theoretically be easier to reach now. That’s because the C.B.O. said last week that reauthorizing CHIP would add just $800 million to the federal deficit over 10 years, much less than the $8.2 billion it had projected earlier. The budget office updated its estimates after the adoption of the tax law. That law will significantly reduce federal spending on health care by eliminating the requirement that people buy insurance, which many people do with the help of government subsidies. The budget office says that provision and a separate change to insurance regulations by the Trump administration will reduce the cost of insuring children.
Yet funding for CHIP is still far from assured. Congress has a lot on its plate, chiefly passing a spending bill by the end this week to avoid a government shutdown.
If Congress does not act on CHIP, state governments will be forced to freeze enrollment, cut benefits, end their programs or come up with another source of money. For some families, the program, which costs them nothing or very little, is essential. Losing it would be a big blow. Many cannot afford coverage in the private market.
After meeting with Mr. Trump during the weekend at Camp David, Republican leaders suggested they wanted to work with Democrats on bipartisan legislation this year. If they are serious, they can start with CHIP. America’s children are counting on it.

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Mehwish Hayat brings anti-harassment #Timesup movement to #Pakistan

Pakistani model and actress Mehwish Hayat took to social media to bring to Pakistan the infamous #timesup movement which has ruled the Hollywood red carpet this year at Golden Globes.
The actress posted a picture of herself wearing all black, in line with the black dress code that the celebrities chose for this year’s event.
In the caption, Hayat wrote that the she is wearing black ‘in solidarity with my industry colleagues in the US and push this message to the women of my own homeland, Pakistan. We are no less than men by any virtue of our gender. Harassment of any form is totally unacceptable and we will not tolerate it #WhyIWearBlack #timeisup.”

This year at the Golden Globes event, the Hollywood celebrities wore black dresses in solidarity with the victims of sexual harassment and also wore a pin reading “Time’s Up”.

Seven Killed, 23 Injured in Pakistan Blast Aimed at Police Truck

A bomb went off in the center of the Pakistani city of Quetta, capital of the province of Balochistan, killing seven people and wounding 23 on Tuesday, police and hospital officials said.
The blast targeted a police truck close to a high security area where the provincial assembly and other government offices are located. A suicide bomber was believed to have walked up to the truck and blown himself up, senior police officer Abdul Razzaq Cheema told Reuters.
The bodies of five policemen and two civilians, as well as the wounded victims, were brought to the Civil Hospital, Dr Waseem Baig told Reuters, adding that death toll could climb as some of the injured were in serious condition.
The attack took place hours after the provincial chief minister, Sanaullah Zehri, resigned, although there was no indication that the blast was connected to provincial politics.

#Pakistan - PPP Balochistan body meets Bilawal

Chairman Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that any government in Balochistan should be more loyal to people of the province instead of Takht-e-Raiwind and expressed confidence that people will elect a Jiyala as their Chief Minister in general elections scheduled this year.
The PPP Chairman was talking to Party’s Balochistan chapter leaders including Provincial President Ali Madad Jattak, General Secretary Iqbal Shah, Information Secretary Sarbulund Khan Jogezai, former Deputy Chairman Senate Sabir Baloch, Aijaz Baloch, Rabbani Khilji, and Hafeezul Mulk Mengal who called on the Chairman at Bilawal House. Peoples Youth Organization (PYO) Balochistan President Sanaullah Jattak, Ainuddin Kakar, and Safar Khan Zehri also met the chairman.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that PML-N caused immense losses to people of Balochistan and their politics and Sharif brothers have completely failed everywhere it was in power. Meanwhile, Acting Central Information Secretary of PPP Mola Bux Chandio and Acting Central Information Secretary of PPP Parliamentarian MNA Nafeesa Shah called on PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at Bilawal House.

#Pakistan - PML-N caused immense losses to people of Balochistan, their politics: Bilawal

Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said any government in Balochistan should be more loyal to people of the province instead of Takht-e-Raiwind.
Talking to Party’s Balochistan chapter leaders, Bilawal Bhutto expressed confidence that people will elect a Jiyala as their Chief Minister in upcoming general elections.
Bilawal said that PML-N caused immense losses to people of Balochistan and their politics, and Sharif brothers have completely failed everywhere it was in power. “PML-N neglected Balochistan and its people further deepening their sense of deprivation,” he added.
PPP Chairman said that people of Balochistan will elect a Jiyala as new Chief Minister after 2018 general elections, who would restore all the rights of the masses and unleash a development process as per the aspiration of people.
PPP Provincial President Ali Madad Jattak, General Secretary Iqbal Shah, Information Secretary Sarbulund Khan Jogezai, former Deputy Chairman Senate Sabir Baloch, Aijaz Baloch, Rabbani Khilji, and Hafeezul Mulk Mengal called on the Chairman at Bilawal House Tuesday.
Peoples Youth Organization (PYO) Balochistan President Sanaullah Jattak, Ainuddin Kakar, and Safar Khan Zehri also met the Chairman.

Pot calling the kettle black: Imran Khan reserves the right to privacy, but Maryam Nawaz and Bilawal Bhutto don’t?

A few weeks ago, before the media storm was unleashed by Imran Khan’s alleged third marriage, a friend of mine sent me a WhatsApp message in which he mocked Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. His contention was that Bilawal had “technical” faults and was a closet homosexual. I tried to ignore him at first, but he kept pressing at the issue. I replied by saying that firstly, he had no proof for making such an assertion and secondly, even if it was true, it was his personal matter.

Some days later, I got another message, in which he was desecrating Maryam Nawaz’s character by alleging that she had eloped 25 years ago with Safdar Awan. This allegation perturbed me a lot and I requested him not to make such baseless assertions and reminded him that Maryam’s marriage was her private matter.
Ironically, the same friend texted me in the middle of the media frenzy regarding his leader Imran’s third marriage and started lecturing me about the need for respecting Imran’s private life. Funnily enough, he also sent me the video clip of Bilawal’s short response terming it as the most mature response. I politely reminded him of his earlier texts about Bilawal and Maryam and pointed out his obviously different standards. He chose to remain silent in response.

But my friend is not alone. The entire social media, where Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has a massive presence, is reeking of similar hypocrisy and double standards. Right now, they want to thrust “it is his personal life” mantra down the throats of everyone, while they themselves have, for years, been indulging in shameless character assassination of their political opponents. On Twitter, I have seen shameless tweets suggesting that Maryam’s daughter was born after merely four months of marriage and also about how she had supposedly eloped in 1992.

Comrades, we all know all guns r aimed at IK bcoz he brought trial of corrupt mafia halfway already single handedly & due 2 his tunnel vision strategy, change is inevitable. As Faisal Javed said the other day,we must learn 2 ignore negativity & focus on aim of our struggle (1/2)
Babar Awan bhai, har koey Maryam Nawaz key tarha intellectual aur talented nahe hota ka "9 months" ka kaam "4 months" ma kar dye
My Name is Maryam Nawaz and i am very Sharif woman.Never ever thought of running away with Captain Safdar.It was IK who spread false rumours of my running away from home.😌🤓
Maryam Nawaz got married in December and her daughter mehr-un-nisa was born after 4 months of her marriage and Maryam Nawaz is talking about Imran Khan's illegitimate child. The irony is unmistakable.

یوتھیوں نیازی تمہیں تبدیلی کا کالی پوپ دیکر خود کس چکر میں پڑا رہتاھے جاہلوں آنکھیں کھولو... https://twitter.com/AlamgirMian/status/950113723435421696 
Shuker hey humhra leader shadi jesa halal kam kar raha hai ghar sy bhag kar bacha 4 months mey peeda karne wale kya jane halal kam hahahahahah@MaryamNSharif
One has to merely follow her, or Reham Khan’s account to understand the level of filth some of the PTI supporters are capable of.
To be fair here, I have seen similar level of posts made by other parties also. I once wrote about the way Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) supporters often tried to drag Tyrian White in their online battle against PTI. I argued that constantly harping on the Sita White issue was frankly wrong and bringing Tyrian into the discussion was completely disgusting and third-rated.
In Imran’s supposed third marriage case also, PML-N’s online behaviour is sickening. Mahwash Ajaz summed up the online battle very aptly in the following tweet:
Gutter twitter is overflowing with filth. Insafis are bringing in Maryam's marriage to Safdar for the usual sins and Noonis are attacking Imran Khan for possibly marrying the third time.

And then you blame Hum TV dramas for showing regressive, misogynist sht.
However, while it is correct to argue that other parties have also done the same, the problem here is that it is PTI which always claims to be some sort of anti-status quo party. Yet, in reality, their online behaviour is actually filthier, augmented by their comparatively larger presence in the social media.
Today, these self-righteous supporters and abusers are requesting for privacy while completely forgetting their own disgusting behaviour when it comes to opposition leaders.
But their hypocrisy aside, from a normative perspective, is their claim that marriage is a totally private affair correct?
The problem is that globally, marriages of famous politicians and celebrities are discussed in the media. One cannot keep it under the wraps, even if one wishes to make it a totally private affair. How you marry and where you marry will always be a topic of discussion.
Perhaps then he should not have been discussing his marriages on television, at the infamous dharna, and any other place where his ego is tickled. IK is Pakistan's property - perfectly fair for Pakistanis to discuss and analyse his marital status. https://twitter.com/shireenmazari1/status/949521147774885888 
Problem is not with the coverage of the news but rather the nature of the coverage. In Imran’s case, I do agree that media coverage has been irresponsible and bent on creating excessive hype. Moreover, it has also shown glimpses of completely unethical journalism. For example, an article (now taken off) from a leading daily attributed statements from Bushra Manika’s former husband blaming Imran for the break-up of his marriage. However, subsequently her ex-husband had to record a video message  in which he made it clear that he had not said any such things. This kind of reporting is irresponsible and morally wrong.

Imran’s marriage, whether it has taken place or not, will continue to be discussed. PTI supporters are wrong to expect that it will be treated as a completely private affair. However, they are correct in their criticism of the way it is being covered. At the same time, they should also realise that their own behaviour also reeks of the same filth which they are accusing others of.