Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Video Music - Alf Leila Wa Leila - Amal Maher الف ليله وليله - حفلة - امال ماهر

Video Report - China: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is in Beijing for talks with Xi Jinping

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Opinion: The Trump Apologists and the Crying Children

By Michelle Goldberg
Apparently there are some people close to Donald Trump with the capacity for shame. Not decency or courage, of course, but at least furtive recognition that they’re complicit in something vile.
Over the last few days, stories of bureaucratic sadism have poured forth from America’s southern border. The Associated Press described a Texas warehouse where “hundreds of children wait in a series of cages” with up to 20 people inside. The New York Times reported on a mother deported to Guatemala without her 8-year-old son. In The Washington Post, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics described a shelter for toddlers where staffers aren’t allowed to hug or hold the bereft children. ProPublica obtained a recording of small children wailing for their parents in a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, while a Border Patrol agent joked, “We’ve got an orchestra here.”
As outrage has built nationally, several people associated with the White House stepped forward to dissemble. Kirstjen Nielsen, head of the Department of Homeland Security, sent out a series of tweets denying that the administration’s policy was in fact the administration’s policy. “We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period,” she lied.
Melania Trump’s spokeswoman put out a slippery statement distancing the first lady from the president’s actions and sowing confusion about their cause. “Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform,” the statement said, as if her husband were not responsible for the separations.
On “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, claimed that “nobody” in the administration likes the policy. “You saw the president on camera, that he wants this to end,” she said.
It’s hard to tell if these women are engaged in deliberate gaslighting or frantic reputation maintenance. Perhaps Nielsen is worried about her post-White House prospects now that she’s best known for the systematic traumatization of children. Maybe Melania Trump realizes that being the trophy wife of a child-torturer is bad for her brand. (#BeBest!) Conway, whose husband has already staked out a position as a Trump critic, may think she has a road back into decent society when this Grand Guignol regime finally ends.
But no one should be able to squirm out of admitting that the evil practice of family separation is Donald Trump’s doing, abetted by everyone who abets him. Indeed, part of the madness of this moment is that while some Trump apologists — as well as Trump himself — deny their role in tearing families apart, others in the administration boldly own it. “It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero-tolerance policy for illegal entry, period,” Trump’s senior policy adviser Stephen Miller told The Times.
Some of the president’s defenders insist he’s bound by a legal settlement mandating that children be held in the least restrictive setting possible. The only alternative to the current policy, they say, is what they call “catch and release,” a dehumanizing term borrowed from fishing to suggest that migrant families are simply being let go.
Senator Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican, dispatched this argument in a Facebook post on Monday. “The administration’s decision to separate families is a new, discretionary choice. Anyone saying that their hands are tied or that the only conceivable way to fix the problem of catch-and-release is to rip families apart is flat wrong,” he wrote. Some in the administration, he added, “have decided that this cruel policy increases their legislative leverage.”
The administration’s justifications and denials are meant to obscure that fact. Consider Nielsen’s suggestion, during a speech on Monday, that the administration is worried about child smuggling: “We do not have the luxury of pretending that all individuals coming to this country as a family unit are, in fact, a family.”
The government has made this argument before, in one of the first family separation cases to go to court. Last November, a Congolese woman known in court filings as Ms. L and her then 6-year-old daughter arrived at a port of entry near San Diego, presented themselves to border agents and asked for asylum. Officers separated them — according to a lawsuit, Ms. L could hear her daughter in the next room, screaming — and the girl was sent to Chicago while her mother was held in California. When the A.C.L.U. sued on Ms. L’s behalf, officials claimed they’d taken the girl because Ms. L couldn’t prove she was her parent. The judge in the case ordered a DNA test, which quickly demonstrated Ms. L’s relationship to her daughter. (In March, they were finally reunited.)
“The truth is they’ve been doing this all along for deterrence purposes, as sometimes they boldly said in the press,” Lee Gelernt, an A.C.L.U. lawyer who argued the case, told me. “But when confronted in a federal lawsuit, they tried to retroactively justify it by saying they couldn’t figure out whether it was the mother.” It’s hard to know who’s worse — the sociopaths like Miller who glory in the administration’s cruelty, or those who are abashed enough to lie about the filthy thing they’re part of, but not to do anything else.

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PAKISTAN could be water scarce by 2025 - Water scarcity

PAKISTAN could be water scarce by 2025. In recent days, this prediction has generated headlines and galvanised social media users across the country. It’s not the first time we’ve heard this estimate. The UN, Pakistan’s Met department and the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources have all delivered it in recent years.
The fact that the projection didn’t attract much attention previously is unsurprising. For years, Pakistan’s water researchers have shouted from the rooftops about water insecurity. And most people couldn’t be bothered to look up to see what the shouting was about. But today, perhaps because of the debate on the Kishanganga dispute, Pakistan’s water woes are getting attention. That’s a good thing, given the seriousness of the situation. Pakistan won’t become water scarce in 2025 because, for all intents and purposes, it’s already water scarce.
Per capita availability hovers around 1,000 cubic metres, the scarcity threshold. In some areas, the Indus has been reduced to a puddle, bringing misery to farmers and an agricultural sector that dominates the economy. Drought conditions are endemic in Balochistan. According to officials in Karachi, residents receive fewer than 500 million gallons of water per day, well below 50 per cent of daily needs.
Meanwhile, groundwater tables are plummeting. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature in Pakistan, the water table has fallen to below 130 feet (39.6 metres) in central Lahore. The Indus basin aquifer, as revealed by Nasa satellite data, is the second most stressed in the world.
Building new dams won’t make damaging policies go away.
Groundwater is water security’s safety net. And in Pakistan, this safety net is fraying rapidly. It is also increasingly contaminated.
Let’s be clear: Pakistan is rapidly running out of water, and much of what’s left is unfit for consumption. The over 53,000 children that die every year from waterborne disease, according to Unicef, learn this in the most tragic way. More than two-thirds of Pakistan’s households drink contaminated water, according to Unicef. Research in Science Advances journal finds that, based on about 1,200 groundwater samples, up to 60 million people, more than a quarter of the population, are at risk of consuming arsenic. A whopping 91pc of Karachi’s water, according to a Pakistani judicial commission report, contains sewage and industrial waste.
Water pollution isn’t just a public health hazard, it’s also detrimental to the economy. According to the World Bank, it costs Pakistan nearly 4pc of GDP.
With scarcity having arrived, there’s only so much that can be done. Indeed, the what-should-be-done question has become the can-anything-be-done question.
Fortunately, the answer is yes. The first step is to craft a national consensus, with buy-in from the entire political class, for addressing a long-neglected crisis. A new national water policy, approved last month, is a good start. It needs a strong implementing framework and should be informed by inputs from Pakistan’s water experts.
Tough decisions will need to be made about changing the public policies that have exacerbated water woes: a preference for wasteful flood irrigation and water-guzzling crops, a lackadaisical approach to maintaining and repairing ageing, leaky water infrastructure; a paucity of wastewater treatment facilities, and a distorted water-pricing regime that gives consumers little incentive to conserve. Let’s also not forget that CPEC, with its large-scale projects in Pakistan’s most parched regions, is an accelerant of water stress.
Building new dams — or getting a favourable decision on the Kishanganga dispute — won’t make these damaging policies go away. Admittedly, an American urging Pakistan to develop political consensus to tackle a critical policy dilemma may be a case of the pot calling the kettle black. In America, partisan gridlock has long stymied efforts to address poor healthcare and gun violence.
Yes, it’s hard to develop political consensus and national strategies. But it’s essential. For Pakistan, the alternative is stark: a dry dystopia where some, equipped with electric tube wells, desperately search for the last drops of groundwater, while others find themselves at the mercy of rapacious water mafias. Energy resources are exhausted. Public health crises explode. Water scarcity takes a devastating toll, killing crops, livelihoods, economic growth, and, slowly, the nation on the whole.
Back in 2007, South Asia scholar Anatol Lieven had warned that water shortages pose “the greatest threat to the viability of Pakistan as a state and a society”. At the time, his warning may have seemed hyperbolic.

Today, with the existential threat posed by water stress coming into sharp focus, Lieven’s warning is sounding remarkably prophetic.

#Pakistan - Imran Khan knows nothing about motherhood and feminism, so we wrote him a cheat sheet

Here are 4 lessons Imran Khan badly needs to learn about this whole feminism motherhood situation.
"A mother has the biggest influence on children... I disagree with this western concept, this feminist movement, it has degraded the role of a mother. My mother had the greatest impact on my life."
These comments made by PTI chief Imran Khan during a televised interview have drawn ire on social media, with commentators saying he has misinterpreted feminism's take on motherhood.

Has he? Yep.
Since Imran Khan proved he knows nothing about feminism and motherhood, we decided to write him a cheat sheet with a few handy hints.
Here's what he needs to learn:

1) The most feminist country in the world also has the best laws protecting working mothers

Yep, we're talking about Iceland. We suspect Imran Khan, like many Pakistanis, equates 'the west' with the United States and Britain, and in doing so ignores more progressive countries that top global rankings for gender equality.
Like Iceland, which for many years has been number one on the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Index.
One of the ways Iceland has achieved this is by passing legislation that protects working mothers and grants new parents parental leave for up to 9 months. The government in Iceland covers parental leave for birth, adoption and foster care for all employees in Iceland, and each parent receives 80% of their salary while on leave.
Parents have the option to split the time of parental leave or however they see fit. This means that the burden of childcare is not placed solely on the mother; this leads to a healthier and more supportive child-rearing experience for both parents and children.
We wonder... if Imran Khan really wants to support mothers, is he ready to take a cue from one of the world's most feminist countries and pass federal legislation extending paid maternity leave?

2) Feminists have been at the forefront of the fight to have childcare recognised and respected as unpaid labour

Imran Khan has one thing right: being a mother is an incredibly important job.
It is also an incredibly challenging job, one where your boss (baby) expects you to always be on call, pull all-nighters, wake up early and sacrifice your sleep and social life to keep them happy. Expect for one tiny little factor: as a mother you're not expected to ask for compensation for this most difficult of responsibilities.
Modern feminists have been at the forefront of conversations that demand that women's labour at home ought to be taken as seriously as a man's day at the office. When feminists fight for better rights for mothers, they fight for better maternity leave policies in order to ensure that a new mother's labour is financially compensated, better government sponsored daycare, better psychological support for new mothers and more.
Since Imran Khan believes that motherhood is so important, we hope he will also recognise that most women in Pakistan perform this all-important task with little or no material or financial support from the government or from their workplaces. We hope he is ready to provide that support.

3) Feminists don't say motherhood is the wrong choice. They say it isn't the ONLY choice.

Oftentimes people who hold the views that Imran Khan holds also believe that feminism is a motherhood-hating monster that would rejoice if all women became barren.
This is not so.
Feminists are not at war with motherhood; however, they are at war with patriarchy's notion that motherhood is the ONLY viable life path for women.
When you put motherhood on a lofty pedestal and insist it is the highest honour a woman can achieve, you're participating in the devaluation of women who cannot have children or who simply choose not to have children -- and that is wrong.
Plenty of women who don't have children have lived great, memorable lives and achieved truly inspiring goals. We're thinking of Oprah, Helen Mirren, Angela Merkel, Simone de Beauvoir, Gloria Steinem and more.
Also, plenty of men choose to not be fathers. In history and popular culture men who are childless are celebrated as 'rebels' or 'free spirits' or 'creative geniuses' whereas women who are childless are viewed as 'sad' or 'unlucky' or 'incomplete.' What gives?
And on that note...

4) Feminism asks that we not view mothers as the 'only' caretakers of children.

Take a closer look at Imran Khan's glorification of motherhood and you'll see that something appears to missing. What is it?
Glorifying motherhood is the most manipulative tool in patriarchy's arsenal; it justifies male disinterest in parenthood by lumping every responsibility on women and calling it an honour.
Most often invoked by men who have little daily interaction with their children or families, this glorification of motherhood is just another way of saying "I don't think caring for my children is the best use of my time."
If feminism is against anything, it is against the double standards that exist in child-rearing. Feminism doesn't degrade the role of mothers, it insists that fathers take responsibility for the life they helped create.

#Pakistan - Western Feminism - Imran’s latest gaffe

Imran Khan is a man who sees the premiership firmly within reach. It is therefore most unfortunate that no one sent him the memo. The one cautioning men in positions of power to keep schtum when it comes to discussing feminism and motherhood.
The latest gaffe has seen the PTI chairman conclude that “western feminism has degraded the role of mothers”. What he means by this still remains rather unclear. Though there was mention of how children learn from their mothers; especially when it comes to the mother tongue.
Which may or may not be another way of saying that Kaptaan subscribes to the notion that a woman’s place is in the home; at least when children are in the need of primary caregivers. To say that this is an outdated notion is an understatement. Particularly as it appears to take as its premise the idea of a nuclear family whereby both parents are present and fully attendant. Yet here in Pakistan, as anywhere else, there is no one-size-fits-all.
Moreover, children can best learn from their mothers or any adult women in their lives what it means to respect women; be they homemakers or as they climb their way up the career ladder. For here in the 21st century, women are not restricted to either one or the other. The world has moved on due to the struggle of generations and generations of women who came before.
Equally regrettable, however, is the false demarcation between western feminism and ‘the other’. For this unnecessarily pits one group of women against another — when the endgame ought to be the same: equal rights. Or, rather, equality of opportunity between the sexes. But what Imran has unwittingly or otherwise reduced this to, is a conflicting narrative between women of the First World and those of the Global South.
And this has inevitably played out in the legitimate social media backlash against him. Meaning that what we have seen from certain quarters is the message that women in Europe, say, do not share the same struggle as Pakistani women given that the latter are fighting for fundamental rights. This is, of course true, for the majority. But such one-dimensional discourse conveniently circumvents the issue of class. Both here in Pakistan, where some feminists all too often speak for the rural poor. And in Europe, where working-class women increasingly find it difficult to feed themselves and their families.
The issue at hand is not, therefore, what kind of feminism different women believe in but, instead, a recognition that the patriarchy still needs to be smashed. And urgently so. For this global system of gendered injustice will continue to triumph for as long as women are held responsible for suffering at the hands of those who would first oppress them and then castigate them for trying to redress the balance.
All of which is an unwelcome distraction from the issue at hand. Namely, what will a Naya Pakistan look like for the women of this country? We sincerely hope it will be one where women are encouraged to fulfil their individual potential in whichever way they choose.  *

#Pakistan's notorious militant Mullah Fazlullah Gone -- خس کم جہاں پاک

This Eid ul Fitr was special for the entire nation. At last, the notorious militant Mullah Fazlullah –who was head of Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – was killed in a drone strike. The news came as a sigh of relief for many whose lives became miserable as these militants not only wrecked the peace of the country but also killed thousands of civilians including children. The scars of attack on Army Public School Peshawar are still fresh in the collective memory of the people.

The death of the TTP leader will also pave the way for better bilateral relations between Islamabad and Kabul. The drone strike that killed the notorious Taliban leader was a joint effort thus strengthening Islamabad’s stance “that a cooperative and coordinated approach is the best response to the menace of terrorism.” The reports that the TTP has confirmed its leader death as well means that their leader is gone for sure unlike the previous false claims about his death.
Meanwhile, when the organisation is in tatters and trying hard to find a haven, it is crucial for America, Afghanistan and Pakistan to work jointly to eradicate terrorism from the region. Instead of securing narrow national interests, a better approach towards the elimination of terrorism and militancy will be if the governments work together to strengthen cooperation and coordination.
The confirmation of Fazlullah’s death will no doubt remove the environment of mistrust between the two neighbours. His demise is also a considerable loss to the TTP. The killing of TTP’s chief is a sigh of relief for Pakistan since he never appreciated dialogue or rapprochement with Islamabad. However, what is essential for all the concerned governments is to keep the fact in mind that his death will not bring Taliban to stop from their attacks on Pakistan. His death is only a temporary setback to the movement. While individuals may be necessary, their end does not mean the elimination of a cause. The uneasy partners in this war on terror need to come up with a strategy that can dismantle the movement.

PPP has always indulged in politics of principles: Asif Ali Zardari

Former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari said on Sunday that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has brought Pakistan to a place where the world is making fun of the country.
Talking to the media after a visit to PPP leader Abdul Haq Bhurt’s house here, Zardari said that the PPP has always indulged in politics of principles.
The PPP co-chairman claimed further that the party’s candidates will emerge victorious in the upcoming general election on July 25 and the party will form a government.
Zardari added that the incoming PPP government will right the wrongs committedby the Nawaz-led government which was dissolved on May 31 this year.