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Sunday, 29 July 2012

Nepal's political parties in fresh dialogue to break deadlock

Nepal's political parties in fresh dialogue to break deadlock

After days of political squabbling, Nepal's major parties on Wednesday initiated another dialogue process to hammer out a solution to the constitutional crisis that has plagued the country for months.
Both the ruling alliance and the opposition, have once again initiated the process of dialogue to end the two month long political impasse that emerged after Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai unilaterally announced fresh election on November 22 by dissolving the Constituent Assembly (CA).

However, the main opposition parties, the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML have been pursuing a two-pronged strategy to topple Baburam Bhattarai led government, which includes agitation as well as dialogue.

We are sitting for dialogue with the government as well as taking to the street to exert pressure on Prime Minister Bhattarai to step down," Nepali Congress Vice-chairman Ramchandra Poudyal said, who attended the three party meeting convened today to resolve the crisis.

We have agreed to start a new process to settle the political crisis including the formation of the consensus government and resolving the contentious issues of the constitution, Poudyal told PTI after the meeting concluded.

Maoist chief Prachanda, Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala, Vice-president Poudyal and CPN-UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal were present at the meeting.

Poudyal, however reiterated that Bhattarai should first step down to initiate the process of forging consensus.

"Once the Prime Minister quits, we are ready to forge consensus on other contentious issues including the constitution drafting," Poudyal said.

"We are ready to give a common Prime Ministerial candidate on behalf of the opposition parties once the Prime Minister quits to pave way for formation of a national government," he added.

However, the Maoists have been pushing for a package deal before quitting the government.

He said, Nepali Congress will pursue both dialogue and agitation to exert pressure on Bhattarai to step down.

The top leaders of the political parties during the meeting mainly dwelt on formation of a national consensus government, resolving disputed issues of the constitution and holding fresh election to the CA to draft the constitution.

They also discussed whether the November 22 election date could be differed in view of the lack of time for introducing regulations related to conducting polls.

Meanwhile, eight student and youth organisations belonging to Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have organised protest rallies in Kathmandu as part of the main opposition's pressure tactics to dislodge Prime Minister Bhattarai.

They said the agitation will continue until and unless the Prime Minister resigns from the post.
Read more »

Pakistan doesn’t have the option of “walking away from” Afghanistan

Policy of seeking strategic depth has changed, US told

Pakistan doesn’t have the option of “walking away from” Afghanistan, the way the US may end up doing, Ambassador Sherry Rehman told a meeting that saw her and senior Obama aides trading barbs over the Afghan conflict.
At a meeting in Aspen, Colorado, Obama officials again accused Pakistan of not doing enough to combat terrorism while the Pakistani envoy insisted that her country was doing all it could but was not getting credit for its sacrifices.

Although the United States and Pakistan agreed recently to renew efforts to rebuild their troubled relationship, the discussion — posted live on the internet — made it amply clear that they still disagreed on all major issues. The discussion precedes a key meeting between US and Pakistani spy chiefs in Washington on Aug 2 in which Pakistan is expected to renew its demands for ending drone strikes and may seek US help to stop cross-border attacks from Afghanistan.

But senior US officials disagreed with Pakistan on both the issues.

“These are critical masses of people that come in; this is not just potshots,” said Ms Rehman while explaining Islamabad’s position on cross-border attacks by Pakistani Taliban groups.

“They come in large numbers, with sophisticated weapons.”

Speaking through a video link from Washington, she said that on 52 different occasions during the last eight months Pakistan had provided to American and Nato commanders in Afghanistan the locations from which the militants were attacking, to no avail.

President Obama’s top adviser on the Afghan conflict Douglas E. Lute, however, rejected her claim. Mr Lute, a retired three-star general, insisted that cross-border infiltrations into Pakistan were less serious than the attacks carried out by the Afghan Taliban from their bases
inside Pakistan.

“There’s no comparison of the Pakistani Taliban’s relatively recent, small-in-scale presence inside Afghanistan…to the decades-long experience and relations between elements of the Pakistani government and the Afghan Taliban. So to compare these is simply, I think, unfair,” Mr Lute said.

Criticising the CIA’s drone strikes in Pakistan, Ms Rehman said it’s time for that sort of ‘robotic warfare’ to end. “The drone strikes now see diminishing returns,” she said, while acknowledging that up to this point they had helped kill dangerous militants. “We will be seeking an end to drone strikes and there will be no compromise on that.”

The drone strikes, she said, whipped up anti-American sentiment and “add to the pool of recruits we’re fighting against,” she said.

Ambassador Rehman pointed out that Pakistan’s old policy of seeking strategic depth in Afghanistan had changed and so had its attitude towards India.

“We are not hedging bets on the Taliban,” she said. But this change was not recognised in Washington nor was Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war against terror, said the ambassador.

Quoting IMF estimates, she said Pakistan had lost almost $78 billion during the conflict that started after the Sept 11, 2011, terrorist attacks in the US. “More than 42,000 Pakistani civilians and soldiers have been killed,” she said. “We are fighting every day and we are taking the hit.”

Pakistan, she said, had taken the responsibility for what happens inside its borders, “we are still paying the price and there should be some strategic sympathy.”

The ambassador noted that the US and Pakistan had experienced “an extraordinarily difficult period” after an American air strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last November, but they were still staunch allies. Mr Lute agreed, saying that the countries shared the vital interests of defeating Al Qaeda and stabilising Afghanistan.

The CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft asked the ambassador if Dr Shakil Afridi’s punishment demonstrated that the Pakistanis “have more loyalty to Osama bin Laden than they do to the United States.”

“In a word, I’d call it outrageous,” said Lt-Gen Karl Eikenberry (retd), who served as US ambassador to Afghanistan from 2009 to 2011.

Ms Rehman rejected the US position, saying that Dr Afridi was convicted by a court in accordance with the country’s law.

“Dr Afridi was contracting with a foreign intelligence agency without any permission. He was contracting with militant groups who were beheading our soldiers,” she said. “He had no clue that he was engaged in a fight against or search for Osama bin Laden.”

His conviction demonstrated that “we are working according to a constitutional norm,” she said.

Ms Rehman referred to President Obama’s statement on the day Bin Laden was killed, noting that he too had acknowledged that this could not have been done without help and support the US had received from Pakistan.

She wrapped up her arguments by urging the Americans to recognise the changes happening in Pakistan. “This is a new Pakistan. Catch up, gentlemen,” she said.
Read more »

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Assam riots toll rises to 32; more than 70,000 flee homes

Assam riots toll rises to 32; more than 70,000 flee homes

With four rioters who defied curfew orders killed in police firing on Tuesday and nine more bodies recovered, the death toll in the five-day-old Bodo-Muslim violence in lower Assam districts rose to 32.
Shoot-at-sight orders remained in effect for the second day in Lower Assam, and Kokrajhar town, an important trade hub, looked deserted. The situation was no different in Chirang's district headquarter, Kajalgaon.

Since Friday, when the orgy of violence began, more than 70,000 people have fled their homes, with at least 60 villages belonging to both Bodos and Muslims in Kokrajhar and Chirang districts reduced to cinders. The spiraling violence led to the cancellation of 11 trains that left around 20,000 passengers stranded in different places in the state.

In relief camps, overcast skies, billowing smoke, and pale faces of hundreds of people huddled in groups spoke of the scale of the human tragedy, inviting comparisons with the last time such killings had occurred, in 2008, when 60 people were butchered and more than one lakh displaced in the violence between rogue elements among Bodos and Muslims. Late Tuesday, inspector-general of police S N Singh confirmed 32 dead but other sources warned the toll could be higher and many wounded by either sickle or knife attacks or bullets could die in hospitals.

Tales of suffering are no less poignant from members of the Bodo community. Durga Basumatary of Malgaon in Kokrajhar ran for safety leaving behind her home and property, all of which is now gutted. She has no one to turn to for help and is disconnected with her family. Her village, Malgaon in Kokrajhar, was set afire by miscreants on Tuesday morning. About 50 houses were destroyed. Durga gasps for breath as she explains what she went through.

"We ran for our lives when our village was set ablaze. I didn't know where I was going when I left my village. My husband went in another direction," Durga wept.

 The Bodos no longer see any joy in their upcoming post-harvest Nangalkrah celebration with their rice cultivation season ruined by the turmoil.

In Kokrajhar, more than 25 villages belonging to both Bodos  have been burnt down since Monday night. Tensions ran high in Sishubari of Chirang district till on Tuesday when miscreants armed with firearms and sharp weapons reached the banks of Huthoti river, which divides the Bodo and Muslim villages. A face-off was averted after both sides assured that they won't enter each other's villages.

Aman fear of attacks, people continued to rush to 116 relief camps in Chirang and Kokrajhar district on Tuesday. People also rushed out of Bodoland Territorial Council for safety. About 600 Bodos have taken shelter in Kajalgaon relief camps.

As the violence continued, saner voices appealed for peace. "We've had enough bloodshed. We want peace among different communities," said Sopra Mushahary of Kokrajhar. ABSU Chirang district president, Shah Toppu Murmu, said, "We want an end to this violence as it helps no one."
Read more »

Sunday, 15 July 2012

In the case of Rinkel Kumari 17 years old girl (Pakistan)

भारतवर्ष- पाकिस्तान
In the case of Rinkel Kumari 17 years old girl (Pakistan)

Honorable Secretary of State, Ms. Clinton: Our Life is a living Hell..

Almost three-quarters of women from Pakistan's Hindu communities have faced sexual harassment while nearly half, complained of religious discrimination at workplaces, educational institutions and neighbourhoods. A report, prepared by the National Commission for Justice and Peace (Pakistan), states that about 74 per cent of the Hindu women faced sexual harassment.
Pakistan was created as an Islamic nation in 1947, and religious minorities are treated as second class citizens under the country’s Islamic laws. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of Hindus have been converted to Islam, and many more have been forced to flee the country. In 1971 alone, the Pakistani Army was blamed for the genocide of over one million of Hindus in erstwhile East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh).
Pakistan Hindu Post requests YOUR support in urging Pakistan, to urgently act to prevent further discrimination and victimization of the Hindu community, especially Hindu women. The slow and steady dissolution of the Hindu minority has to stop.

This petition is addressed to Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, US Department of State.
CC-ed to:
Ambassador Sherry Rehman, Embassy of Pakistan, Washington D.C
Judith E. Golub, Director of Government Relations, USCIRF
Ambassador Suzan D Johnson-Cook, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, U.S. Department of State; Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
Prevent coerced conversion of Hindus in Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Honorable Secretary of State, Ms. Clinton,

Hindus in Pakistan have been subjected to rampant human rights abuses and severe restrictions on their religious freedom since the creation of the Islamic State of Pakistan in 1947. Systematic legal and institutional discrimination, kidnappings, physical attacks and intimidation, rapes, forced conversions to Islam, and forced marriages of Hindu girls to Muslim men have vastly diminished the Hindu population from approximately 25% to 2% in the past 65 years. The recent rise in Islamic fundamentalism throughout Pakistan and the government's inability and/or unwillingness to protect Hindus has created an atmosphere of fear and insecurity, depriving Hindus of their basic right to live in the land of their forefathers.

A quintessential example is the case of Rinkel Kumari, a 17-year old Hindu girl from the town of Mirpur Mathelo who was kidnapped on February 24, 2012. Notably, the man behind Rinkel’s abduction – Mian Abdul Haq – is a Member of the National Assembly from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Her abduction by a member of the ruling PPP demonstrates the government's complicity in such kidnappings.

Furthermore, the judicial system has failed to provide justice to Rinkel or her family, and the Supreme Court has delayed a decision in her case until April 18. She has been ordered to stay in a women's shelter until then, despite her pleas to return to her parents.

The same week Rinkel was kidnapped three other Hindu girls were kidnapped, forcibly converted, and married to Muslim men, including a physician who worked at a well-known hospital in Karachi. The female physician, Dr. Lata, was forcibly married to a Muslim man who previously kidnapped and converted 4 Hindu wives. Since Rinkel was kidnapped just over a month ago dozens of other Hindu girls in Pakistan have been either kidnapped or are reported missing.

According to the Pakistan Hindu Council, a social organization in Pakistan, and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, at least 25 Hindu girls are reported kidnapped and forcible converted to Islam each month in Pakistan. However, when considering the number of cases that go unreported, the actual number of Hindu girls kidnapped every month is significantly higher. This recent increase in brutality toward the Hindu community has caused thousands of Hindus to emigrate from their native land of Pakistan and flee to neighboring India in the last year alone.

Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, recently wrote directly to Pakistan’s President, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, demanding justice for Rinkel Kumari. It is imperative that other U.S. Congressmen and the State Department join Congressman Sherman in exerting pressure on the Pakistani government to provide justice not only to Rinkel, but also to the other young Hindu girls who are routinely kidnapped, subjected to violent torture and intimidation, and forcefully converted to Islam. The religious liberty of these young girls and their families must be protected and their legal rights upheld by the court system without interference from Islamic fundamentalists and gangs threatening them with violence and death.

The U.S. provides billions of dollars in military and economic assistance to Pakistan every year, and must demand that the Pakistani government provide basic fundamental human rights and equal protection under the law to all their citizens.
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$1b credit can be used for Padma bridge: Indian official

$1b credit can be used for Padma bridge: Indian official

Indian officials on Friday said New Delhi does not have any objection to the diversion of its $1 billion credit line for constructing the Padma bridge as the World Bank scraped loan exposing the project to a difficult state.
"We earlier said the credit could be used for any purpose suitable to your need. Bangladesh can use the fund for the Padma bridge project," a senior foreign ministry official told BSS as he was approached for comments about the possible diversion.

But, the official, preferring anonymity, said Padma bridge was a big project requiring more amounts "but you can start with the Indian credit".

The economic relations division officials in Dhaka, however, called the Indian foreign office comment a "difficult proposition" as much of the credit amount was already channelled for different infrastructure projects, mostly in railway sector.

"Moreover, there are some technical aspects which need to be resolved for the diversion," ERD Joint Secretary Asifuzzaman, who deals with the foreign credit affairs of the division, told BSS.

He, however, said Bangladesh so far did not approach India for the fund diversion or received any proposal from New Delhi in this regard.

Indian officials said under the $1 billion credit line, the two countries until now finalised nine projects while ERD officials in Dhaka said process was underway to finalise more projects which would require half of the credit amount.

Dhaka and New Delhi signed the $1 billion loan agreement to finance infrastructure development in Bangladesh two years ago while the amount was the biggest credit package by India to any nation.
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Taliban polio ban puts 0.24m children at risk

Taliban polio ban puts 0.24m children at risk

A Taliban ban on polio vaccinations will put 240,000 children at risk in troubled northwest Pakistan if an inoculation campaign cannot start next week, officials warned on Friday.
Local Taliban and Pakistani warlord Hafiz Gul Bahadur, whose followers are fighting Western troops in Afghanistan, have banned polio vaccinations in the northwestern tribal region of Waziristan to protest against US drone attacks.

They have condemned the immunisation campaign, which is slated to begin on Monday, as a cover for espionage.

“There is possibility that we may have to skip the polio campaign in North and South Waziristan because we are not getting clearance from the army nor is the situation conducive,” a government health official told AFP.

“We have threats from the Taliban. Going to these areas for a polio campaign would be tantamount to putting the lives of our staff in jeopardy,” added the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi was jailed for 33 years in May after helping the CIA find Osama bin Laden using a hepatitis vaccination programme as cover.

Fawad Khan, director of health services in the tribal belt, told AFP that at least 160,000 children in North Waziristan and 80,000 in South Waziristan would be affected if polio drops are not administered.

Talks are ongoing between administrators and the Taliban, but health workers had “not yet received the green light” for going ahead in Waziristan, he added.

But a senior security official said tribal elders would on Monday discuss how to launch the campaign.

In South Waziristan, where the army fought local Taliban in 2009, the official said “it should not be difficult” to vaccinate children “at least in areas where displaced persons have returned”.

The Lancet medical journal has said vaccination problems led last year to Pakistan’s highest number of polio cases in a decade, 198, compared to 144 in 2010.

Polio remains endemic only in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

The highly infectious disease affects mainly the under-fives and can cause paralysis in a matter of hours. Some cases can be fatal.
Read more »

Agni-I successfully test fired again

Agni-I successfully test fired again

India on Friday successfully conducted another test of the 700-km Agni-I nuclear-capable ballistic missile, designed with Pakistan in mind, from Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha.
The 15-metre tall Agni-I was test-fired by the tri-service Strategic Forces Command as part of a "training exercise to ensure preparedness''. "It was a textbook launch that met all mission objectives. The missile reached the target point in the Bay of Bengal following the prescribed trajectory,'' DRDO chief controller (missiles and strategic systems) Avinash Chander said.

The missile test was conducted from a road-mobile launcher system and tracked by radar and telemetry stations located along the coastline. Two naval warships located near the impact point tracked the missile in the terminal phase of its flight.

The armed forces have already inducted Agni-I and Agni-II (2,500-km), which are both basically meant for Pakistan. The 3,000-km Agni-III, which is now under induction, the 3,500-km Agni-IV, tested for the first time last November, and the over 5,000-km Agni-V, tested for the first time in April, are geared towards meeting the threat from China.

The real challenge before the DRDO now is to ensure the country's most ambitious missile, the three-stage Agni-V, which brings the whole of China within its strike envelope and propels India into the super-exclusive ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) club, becomes operational as soon as possible. But it will only be around 2015 that Agni-V will probably be capable of being deployed by the Strategic Forces Command.

India on Friday successfully conducted another test of the 700-km Agni-I nuclear-capable ballistic missile, designed with Pakistan in mind, from Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha.
Read more »

India promises IT Park for Sri Lanka

India promises IT Park for Sri Lanka

Visiting Indian Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh yesterday said the economic cooperation between Sri Lanka and India is at a peak level and the benefits should go to both countries.
He said India is interested in setting up a modern IT park in Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan professionals' service can be obtained for it.

Ramesh made these observations when he met Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa at the latter's ministry on Thursday.

The two ministers reviewed the progress of the ongoing development projects initiated with Indian financial assistance and agreed they are progressing and are within the expected time schedule.

They decided to expedite preparatory work on the Sampur power project and complete it within the next few months and start construction in September.

Minister Ramesh communicated the interest of major Indian IT companies to set up an IT park in Sri Lanka, with modern facilities to serve the regional and international markets.

Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa decided to have a special Sri Lanka promotion programme for India. Ramesh proposed Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Hydrabad and Kochin as sites for the promotional programme.

The visiting Indian Minister inquired about the rehabilitation, reconstruction and economic development projects in the North. He requested Sri Lanka to produce exportable agriculture products as India has a big market for them. Minister Rajapaksa said the government has taken steps to develop education in the Northern Province. Eighty nine schools were reconstructed and 70 are under reconstruction.
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Thursday, 12 July 2012

पूर्वोत्तर भारत ३ देशों के साथ रेल सम्पर्क से जुड़ेगा

पूर्वोत्तर भारत ३ देशों के साथ रेल सम्पर्क से जुड़ेगा 
           बंगलादेश,भूटान,म्यांमार,और नेपाल  जल्द ही भारत के पूर्वोत्तर राज्यों के साथ रेल सम्पर्क से जुड़ जायेगा।द्विपक्षीय व्यापार और पर्यटन के विकास को बढ़ावा देने के लिए भारत के पूर्वोत्तर फ्रंटियर रेलवे ने हल में ही रेलवे बोर्ड को एक क्षेत्र सर्वेक्षण रिपोर्ट पेश की है,जिससे त्रिपुरा,मणिपुर,असम, प्.बंगाल और बिहार पड़ोसी देश बंगलादेश,भूटान,म्यांमार,और नेपाल से जुड़ जायेगें।
       जबकि त्रिपुरा की राजधानी अगरत्तला से अखौरा (ब्रह्मनबनिया, बंगलादेश) के बीच रेल लाइन का कम पहले से ही शुरू है। तथा भारतीय केन्द्र सरकार अगरत्तला से अखौरा (बंगलादेश) से जोगबनी (बिहार) से विराटनगर (नेपाल) रेल लाइन बिछाने के कार्य के लिए ४९३.५२ करोड़ रु० स्वीकृत कर चुकी है।
       भारत द्वारा बनाये जा रहे इस १५ किमी लम्बे रेल मार्ग अगरत्तला से अखौरा के निर्माण से इस महत्वपूर्ण जक्शन से बंगलादेश के चटगाव पोर्ट,सिलहट,और ढाका जक्शन जुड़ जायेगें। जो इस वर्ष के रेलवे बजट में है।साथ ही अगरत्तला - अखौरा के बीच सड़क सम्पर्क भी है, जिस पर २००३ में ढाका - अगरत्तला बस सेवा प्रारम्भ की गई थी।
      भूटान के साथ प्रस्तावित रेल सम्पर्क में हांसीमारा (प० बंगाल) से फुन्सिलिंग (भूटान), रंगिया (असम) से समदृपजोंखर (भूटान), बानरहाट (प० बंगाल) से सामची (भूटान) और कोकराझार (असम) से नाम्लांग(भूटान) का है।
    इसके साथ ही न्यू जलपाईगुडी (प० बंगाल) से काकरभिठा (नेपाल) रेल मार्ग भी प्रस्तावित है।
          NFR के एक अधिकारी के अनुसार मोरेह (मणिपुर) से जिरिवाम (म्यांमार) रेल मार्ग का सर्वेक्षण कार्य भी बहुत जल्द पूरा कर लिया जायेगा।  
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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Burma nominates new vice-president Myint Swe

Burma nominates new vice-president Myint Swe

Burma's military has nominated a former general to be one of the country's two vice presidents.
Myint Swe is widely considered to be a hardliner and has close links to the former leader of Burma's military junta, Than Shwe.

Once the appointment is confirmed by parliament, he will replace Tin Aung Myint Oo, who stood down for health reasons.

Correspondents say this is unlikely to shift Burma's current reformist agenda.

The dominance of Burma's military is entrenched in its parliament and political system.

A total of 25% of its MPs are from the armed forces and one of the vice-presidents is always a military nominee.

Like most of the senior members of the cabinet, Myint Swe has a military background and played a full role in what was until recently a highly repressive military dictatorship, says the BBC's Jonah Fisher in Bangkok.

Parliamentary approval of the military's nominee is a formality.
Read more »

Sacrifice of humanity or Comply with the law New 'late-term abortion' row in China's Fujian province

Sacrifice of humanity or Comply with the law

New 'late-term abortion' row in China's Fujian province

New allegations of forced late-term abortion have emerged in China's Fujian province, a lawyer has told the BBC.
Pan Chunyan's pregnancy was terminated at nearly eight months in April because she had violated the one-child policy, Beijing-based lawyer Zhang Kai said.

Her husband sought legal help after hearing about another recent forced late termination in Shaanxi province.

The case of Feng Jianmei caused outrage when photos of her still-born baby circulated on the internet.

China's one-child family planning policy aims to control the country's population, which now stands at around 1.3bn.

Rights groups say the law has meant women being coerced into abortions, which Beijing denies.
'Fine paid'

Ms Pan and her husband, Wu Liangjie, live in a village in Xianyou county. They already have two children, reports Hong Kong's South China Morning Post.

Mr Wu sought legal assistance last week after being inspired by Feng Jianmei's case, said lawyer Zhang Kai who is also representing Ms Feng's family.

He said the Fujian couple had been fined for breaching the one-child policy.

"They already paid a penalty but the pregnancy was still terminated forcibly," Mr Zhang told the BBC. He said Mr and Mrs Wu's violation of the one-child policy did not give officials the right to terminate the pregnancy.

In an open letter published by US-based aid group China Aid, Mr Wu said "a group of people" took his wife "forcefully" to a local hospital on 6 April after a brief detention, where she was given an injection.

Ms Pan had a still birth two days later.

Local government officials have said nothing so far, said the lawyer. A call by the BBC to the family planning bureau of Xianyou county on Tuesday went unanswered.

Meanwhile, Zhang Kai also confirmed to the BBC that officials in Shaanxi have reached a compensation deal with Deng Jiyuan, Feng Jianmei's husband. Mr Zhang declined to discuss further details.

Officials there were punished for having "violated the laws of central and local government on family planning", China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported last month.
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Maldweep- Home Minister repeats call to halt BCS project


Home Minister repeats call to halt BCS project

Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed has reiterated the order to halt the installation of the border control system (BCS) by Immigration Department through Malaysia's Nexbis Limited which has been laden with allegations of corruption over its awarding.
This would be the second time Home Minister has ordered the halt of the work on the border control system project.

In response to a question from Haveeru, Home Minister last night claimed that a letter had been forwarded to the Immigration Controller Dr Mohamed Ali asking to halt the project. Jameel expressed his view that the project can only be continued in compliance with the actions recommended by the Attorney General Aishath Azima Shakoor and the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC).

“The government is also of the same view pertaining to the continuation of the project. We urge the project be taken forward with the recommendations of the AG and the ACC. As far as I’m aware, it is the stand of the government,” Home Minister detailed.

When asked why the Immigration Department has so far ignored the repeated orders to halt the work on the project, Home Minister responded with another question.

“I don’t know why the project is being continued. The government has always maintained a single stand. That is to adhere to the recommendations of the AG and ACC,” he said.

While Home Minister has ordered the halt of the BCS project, Immigration Controller Dr Mohamed Ali last week claimed that the project was near completion.

AG Azima Shakoor has earlier stressed that the government should back the ACC’s order to halt the project as it involved allegations of corruption.
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Eco- Tourism in Bhutan

Eco- Tourism in Bhutan

Local services underused

Merak and Sakteng gewog officials said benefits to the two communities from tourism were insignificant if tour operators from Thimphu continued not using local services.
Official of the two gewogs said the communities had very minimal benefits to show from eco-tourism.

That, they said defied the very term “eco-tourism” attached with the two nomadic communities of the east, if they refused to use the services the communities provided.

Merak mangmi Jurmey said the community had very little improvements from eco-tourism to show because, save of porter and pony, rest of the services like trained local chefs and guides were underutilised.

He said tour operators brought their own chefs and guides.

Sakteng geowg administrative officer Pema Tenzin also said that except of porter and pony tshogpa (committee) none of the other service providers in Sakteng benefited from tourism.

Tourism in Merak and Sakteng began since September 1, 2010 solely to elevate the community economically.

The government deliberately left the road connectivity to these gewogs halfway so local communities could benefits from eco-tourism.

Since these communities were opened to tourism, about 71 tourists visited Merak and Sakteng until 2011. Around eight more visited until June 2012. More are expected to visit this autumn.

A comparative analysis by end of 2012 will basically show whether eco-tourism in Merak and Sakteng actually picked up and if the communities prospered.

Before the two gewogs opened up to tourism, herders form both Merak and Sakteng were trained as chefs and guides to cater to the tourists.

“The objective of training locals was to maximise benefits to the community,” gewog officials said. “Well so far, we have been unable to reap all that benefits.”

Pema Tenzin said tour operators refused to use local services despite gewogs officials’ repeated pleas.

“They say it involved excessive expenses in hiring local chefs and guides,” he said.

Merak gup Gaydhen said that just training local chefs and guides was of no benefit to the communities unless their services are used.

The gewogs officials said they also urged tour operators to come in national dress while visiting the two communities of Merak and Sakteng, which stood as an embodiment of country’s efforts towards promoting its unique culture.

“Tourist guides claiming trekking in gho or kira inappropriate and uncomfortable is lame,” Pema Tenzin said. “Even senior civil servants and politicians trek to the communities in national dress.”

Gewog officials said while their plea fell on tour operators’ deaf ears tourism council ought should intervene.

“They should urge the tour operators to use only local guides and chefs while visiting Merak and Sakteng,” gup Gaydhen said. “The council must ensure that tour operators avail our services while they are in our communities.”

Not many tourists showed up in early spring though.
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Putting the claws of the Taliban in Pakistan Killings, kidnappings rock Balochistan

Putting the claws of the Taliban in Pakistan

Killings, kidnappings rock Balochistan

The ongoing wave of violence continues unabated across Balochistan as a number of people were killed, kidnapped and bullet-riddled bodies found in different parts of the province on Tuesday.
A schoolteacher was gunned down in the Shamsabad area of Mastung district. According to sources, a teacher of a government high school was on his way when some unidentified armed men opened fire on him in front of his school. Resultantly, he died on the spot. The deceased was shifted to the Civil Hospital. He was identified as Rasheed.

In a separate incident, two people were killed in the Iskalku area of Kalat district, some 160 kilometres from the provincial capital. Unidentified armed men on a motorcycle opened fire on the two men, killing them on the spot. The victims were taken to the District Headquarters Hospital. They were identified as Mohammad Shafique and Khair Jan.

In another incident, two people were gunned down in the Eastern Bypass area of Quetta. According to police, unidentified armed men killed two men and dumped the bodies in the Eastern Bypass area. The bodies were shifted to the Civil Hospital. The deceased were identified as Khan Mohammad and Khalid Dad of the Marri tribe, residents of New Kahan. “The cause of the killings could be some personel dispute,” sources said. A case was registered and investigation was underway.

Meanwhile, Levies Force recovered a bullet-riddled body from Gidar Valley near the Surab area of Kalat district.

Another body was recovered from the Khuzdar area of the province, police said. "On a tip-off, a police team reached an area near the Customs House in the Khuzdar district and recovered a dead body dumped by the road,” police said, adding that the body had been shifted to hospital for identification. Further investigation was underway.

In Quetta, unidentified armed men abducted Jamia Salfiya principal near the Airport Road area. According to police, Habibullah was on his way to the Jamia Salfiya when unidentified gunmen intercepted him and took him away to some undisclosed location.

Separately, a shopkeeper was abducted from his shop in the Khuzdar district. According to police, Nasrullah was at his shop when armed men took him away to some undisclosed destination. Another man was kidnapped by unidentified armed men from the Gwadar district. Police said the victim was on his way when some unidentified men kidnapped him. A case was registered and police had started efforts for his recovery.
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Democracy still ‘preferable’ in Muslim nations: survey But why should not Pakistan?

Democracy still ‘preferable’ in Muslim nations: survey

But why should not Pakistan?

Democracy is still popular in six Muslim-majority countries, over a year after the Arab Spring, and the majority in some countries favors laws based on the Quran, according to a poll published Tuesday.
The first two Muslim-majority nations to overthrow a dictator still “desire” democracy, with some 67 per cent of Egyptians and 63 per cent of Tunisians saying “democracy is preferable,” according to the survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in recent months.

In the rest of the region, 84 per cent of Lebanese and 71 per cent of Turks say “democracy is preferable,” but Jordanians and Pakistanis are less enthusiastic, at 61 and 42 per cent respectively.

Forty-five per cent of Tunisians say the country has improved without ousted 23-year president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, and 42 per cent disagree. Tunisians are still optimistic about the future of their country, with 75 per cent saying the nation’s flailing economy will improve.

Aside from Lebanon, which boasts a large Christian minority, a majority of poll participants across the surveyed Muslim nations feel Islam does and should play a central role in government. Points of view differ across the countries regarding the degree to which Islam should affect policy.

In Pakistan, 82 per cent of participants feel “laws should strictly follow the teachings of the Quran.” In the rest of the Muslim world, only 72 per cent of Jordanians, 60 per cent of Egyptians, 23 per cent of Tunisians and 17 per cent of Turks and Lebanese agreed.

A majority of poll participants believe women should have the same rights as men. Lebanese led the pack with 93 per cent believing in gender equality.

Only 74 per cent of Tunisians and 58 per cent of Egyptians support equal rights for women. Some 67 per cent of Tunisian women say that equal gender rights are very important, whereas only 50 per cent of men agree.

The overwhelming majority of most poll participants opposed extremists, even if al Qaeda is seen as favorable by 19 per cent of Egyptians, 16 per cent of Tunisians and 13 per cent of Pakistanis.

The polls were conducted in March and April, with a sample of 1,000 participants per country and a margin of error ranging from more or less than 3.9 to 5.2 points across the different countries.
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Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Undue political interference between two Jnwa heart-दो जंवा दिल के बीच राजनीति का हस्तक्षेप अनुचित

Undue political interference between two Jnwa heart-दो जंवा दिल के बीच राजनीति का हस्तक्षेप अनुचित

Party suspends Dahal's son for 'adultery'

UCPN (Maoist) has suspended Prakash Dahal, son of the party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, amidst controversy surrounding his alleged illicit relationship with a student leader of the party.
A decision to this effect, taken by the party´s office bearers´ meeting on disciplinary ground, was announced during a politburo meeting of the party held on Monday. "The party suspended Prakash to investigate the allegations from various quarters of breach of discipline," said Shakti Basnet, politburo member and secretary of party headquarters.

"It is still not clear what actually transpired. But he has been out of contact for the past three-four days," said Basnet. Prakash has also deactivated all of his three different facebook accounts.

The sources claimed that Prakash is in an illicit relationship with Bina Magar, who is Free Student Union (FSU) president at Saraswoti Campus and a central committee member of All Nepal National Independent Students Union (Revolutionary). As Bina has also gone out of contact for the past few days, it has been rumored that they are together.

Prakash and Bina were part of the Maoist Everest Expedition team that made it to the top of the Mt Everest some two months ago.

Prakash, who is a party state committee member, is married to Srijana Tripathi and has a son from her. Likewise, Bina is married with Shankar Adhikari, a Maoist youth leader from Bhaktapur.

While Bina is a supporter of the Maoist party led by Dahal, her husband Adhikari supports CPN (Maoist) led by Baidya. After the split of UCPN (Maoist), Adhikari is in the newly formed party CPN-Maoist.
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Cabinet endorses Padma Bridge with own funds

*DU to collect money for Padma Bridge

*Japan hopeful of new framework

Cabinet endorses Padma Bridge with own funds

The cabinet on Monday endorsed the prime minister’s proposal for beginning construction of the Padma Multi-purpose Bridge with self-finance without delay.
The government’s decision to construct the Padma Bridge with domestic funding came after global lender World Bank had cancelled its $1.2 billion credit for the mega project over corruption allegations in selection of consultants for supervising the construction work. 
Presiding over the weekly cabinet meeting at the secretariat, the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, asked the finance division and the economic relations division to work out how much money would be required in foreign and local currencies and explore their possible sources for implementation of the $ 2.9 billion project. 
‘The cabinet has decided not to approach World Bank any further for review of its decision,’ cabinet secretary Mohammad Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan told reporters after the meeting.
He said that the prime minister had directed all ministries to prioritise development projects and set aside funds for the Padma Bridge construction. The projects not much necessary now could be omitted from the current fiscal after scrutiny for saving funds for the bridge, Musharraf added. 
All cabinet members, the secretary said, backed the prime minister’s proposal for mobilising domestic funds to implement the Awami League government’s priority project to construct the 6.1 kilometres rail-cum-road bridge over the River Padma. 
‘We can discuss the matter again only if the World Bank realises its mistake. We will not initiate any talks on our own,’ the secretary said, referring to the cabinet decision. 
He said that a number of ministers had talked about the Padma Bridge issue and WB’s decision to scrap its funds for the project as the 2012-13 budget implementation strategy was placed in the cabinet for discussion. They termed arbitrary the WB’s decision to scrap the credit. 
On June 30, the World Bank cancelled its credit for the Padma Bridge saying it had proof of ‘corruption conspiracy’ involving Bangladeshi officials, executives of Canadian firm SNC- Lavalin and individuals. In September, the global lending agency withheld disbursement of the credit following allegations of corruption in the bidding process halting the implementation of the project.
Monday’s cabinet meeting, however, decided to appoint British company Halcrow, the second lowest bidder after Lavalin, for supervising implementation of the project, a senior minister told New Age. 
The prime minister also asked the bridge division for steps to begin construction of the main structure of the bridge soon. 
The cabinet was told that a total of $275 million was required in the current fiscal for the project. 
Finance minister AMA Muhith assured the cabinet that Bangladesh Bank alone could provide $1billion from its $13 billion reserve while the National Board of Revenue could raise its revenue target and thereby contribute to the project. 
The cabinet secretary said patriotic people, including expatriates, were willing to contribute to the project.
He said funds would be mobilised from domestic sources, including banks and insurances after examining their possible implications on the country’s overall economy. 
The government would continue negotiations with three co-financers – Asian Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and Japan International Cooperation Agency – for funding the project, he said.
The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, on Sunday rolled out a road map for construction of the Padma bridge and told parliament that work on the mega project would begin soon by mobilising internal resources and with assistance from the people of the country.
In her closing speech at the 13th session of parliament, she said the government would spend a total of Tk 22.55 thousand crore on the project. 
Hasina also blamed the World Bank for wasting time over the Padma Bridge project and asked the finance minister to explore ways for realising compensation from the bank for delaying the project by more than one and a half years.
She said the government might be forced to drop some other development projects to build the bridge that would connect the south-west and central regions with capital Dhaka and the port city of Chittagong.

DU to collect money for Padma Bridge

Dhaka University authorities would collect money from its teachers, students and officers for the Padma Bridge project, the vice chancellor AAMS Arefin Siddique said on Monday.
‘We will soon hold a meeting to collect money from the teachers, students and officers according to their capacity,’ the vice chancellor told New Age.
‘We want to play as role in the Padma Bridge construction,’ he said.
He said that DU always played a role during difficult times facing the nation.
‘It’s a big challenge for the nation to build the bridge,’ he said.
Earlier in the day, 
the students of the management department donated Tk 6,500, they had collected, to the vice-chancellor.
Inspired by a teacher in the class room, they collected the money instantly.
Quoting from a speech of the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Management Department professor 
Md Ataur Rahman, had urged the students of 16th batch to contribute to the project.
Business Faculty dean Jamal Uddin Ahmed, management professors Ataur Rahman and Hashibur Rashid and soil, water and environment professor SM Enamul Kabir, among others, were present at the occasion.

Japan hopeful of new framework

Japan thinks the Padma bridge project could be undertaken under a new framework of donor arrangement now that the World Bank has cancelled its funding commitment in the project.
Japan's Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada conveyed the message when Foreign Minister Dipu Moni called on him in Tokyo yesterday.

Okada further assured that Japan would pursue the donor groups including the Asian Development Bank to embark on a negotiated settlement in respect of the project, said a foreign ministry press release from Tokyo.

Meanwhile in Dhaka, the cabinet yesterday decided that the government would not request the WB to reconsider its decision to cancel the Padma bridge loan. However, it would be open to talks if the global lender realised its mistake and wanted to review its decision.

“The government firmly believes it did not make any mistake. The World Bank has made an unjustified decision. Discussions can take place if it realises its mistake and intends to review its decision, but the government will not make any request to it at this moment,” Cabinet Secretary Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan told journalists after a cabinet meeting.

At the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the cabinet also decided to mobilise both internal and external resources for the multipurpose bridge.

Mosharraf said the government would welcome the co-financers -- ADB, Jica and Islamic Development Bank -- if they showed interest in financing the project. “We hope to get positive response from them.”

The WB cancelled its $1.2 billion credit for Padma bridge project on June 29, claiming it has proof of a corruption conspiracy involving Bangladeshi officials, executives of Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin and individuals.

In Japan to attend the international conference on Afghanistan, the Bangladesh foreign minister also met her Japanese counterpart Koichiro Gemba and Jica President Akihiko Tanaka separately.

At the meeting with Gemba, Dipu Moni reiterated Dhaka's firm resolve to initiate the Padma bridge project on its own and sought Tokyo's support in this regard as a "trusted friend and partner".

Highlighting the measures taken by the government to ensure absolute transparency in the project, she said the government was ready to undertake the project with its own resources, but it would appreciate if countries like Japan could extend their support.

In response, Gemba confirmed that the Japan government understands the feelings of the people of Bangladesh with respect to the significance of the Padma bridge project.

He reaffirmed that Japan would pursue the possibility of funding the project along with other bilateral and multilateral donor agencies.

Later, meeting top Jica officials, Dipu Moni explained Bangladesh's position regarding the WB's cancellation of the Padma bridge loan. She told them that the bank neither followed the due process nor gave any credible evidence about alleged corruption in the project.

Apart from Jica President Akihiko Tanaka, the meeting was attended by Jica Director General Nakahara Masataka, Jica Chief Representative in Bangladesh Toda Takao and Jica Director for South Asia Division Ichiguchi Tomohide.

Dipu Moni said that the government was determined to start work of the Padma bridge without further delay, and that it would ensure "zero tolerance" for corruption in executing the project.

The foreign minister urged the Japan government to remain "steadfast in its pledge for continuation of the project".

The Jica president expressed regret over the WB's decision.

He said they were satisfied with Dhaka's firm determination to go ahead with the project and commitment to ensuring transparency and accountability in the process.

Tanaka also mentioned that Jica, as the implementing agency, would consult all other government agencies in Japan to further discuss the possibilities of "continuation of funding the project" under the new framework of arrangements.

The Padma bridge issue dominated the cabinet meeting, though it was not on the day's agenda.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith made a presentation on the project.

Cabinet Secretary Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said the bridge's construction would start primarily with the country's own resources, and then the government would start looking for other sources.

“The prime minister has instructed the ministries to be selective in implementing projects. She said not all allocations are needed at once to implement the projects. In this way, we can save some money this year and channel those to the Padma bridge project,” he said.

Mosharraf said people from all walks of life had shown interest in contributing to the project and the cabinet decided to explore all options available.

“Since we have to import construction materials with foreign currency, we need to mobilise resources in terms of foreign exchange. Many expatriate Bangladeshis have expressed their willingness to contribute to the project. We can get a large chunk of their remittance.”

He said $275 million would be required this year to start the construction work.

“The prime minister said $1 billion can easily be used from the foreign exchange reserve.” The government can also issue some bonds, said Mosharraf.

On mobilisation of external resources, he said the National Board of Revenue can also take steps in this regard.

He said the Finance Division and the Economic Relations Division will work out how much foreign exchange will be required for the project.

Wishing anonymity, a minister told The Daily Star the government had got some proposals for loans at 4 percent interest. Officials were now at talks to bring down the interest rate to 3 percent.
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आफगानिस्तान के आज का सच -Afganistan the truth today Local residents clash with Taliban in eastern Afghanistan

आफगानिस्तान के आज का सच -Afganistan the truth today

Local residents clash with Taliban in eastern Afghanistan

According to local authorities in eastern Paktiya and Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan local residents resisted against hundreds of Taliban militants and forced to pull back from these provinces.
Paktiya deputy provincial governor Abdul Rahman Mangal said around 400 Taliban militants attacked Mirazka district in this province early Monday morning around 2 am.

Mr. Mangal further added the assailant militants wanted to destroy district compound however Afghan security forces backed by local residents resisted the Taliban fighters.

He also said Taliban militants have left the district and at least 1 Afghan police and 2 Taliban militants were killed following clashes.

In the meantime local residents in eastern Nuristan province said local residents resisted and clashed with the Taliban fighters in this province.

Mawlawi Ahmadullah Mohid Afghan parliament member representing easern Nuristan province said Taliban militants were looking to close schools and religious Madrasas after NATO troops carried out airstrike against militants safe havens in this province.

This comes as local residents in Andar district of eastern Ghazni province resisted and clashed with the Taliban militants to reopen the schools and health clinics in this province.

Earlier local residents in northern Faryab province resisted against the Taliban militants at Almar district.
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