Taliban delegation visits China Tribal elders struggle for reopening
Eye on the News
Truthful, Factual and Unbiased
JULY 31 2016 -Asad 10, 1395 HS
Vol:XI Issue No:08 Price: Afs.15
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AT Monitoring Desk
AT News Report
KABUL: After hours of clashes
with the security forces which
started on Friday night, the Taliban insurgents seized control of
strategically important Khanshin
district in the southern province
of Helmand. Provincial Council
Member Bashir Ahmad Shaker
said that heavy clashes were still
underway between security forces and Taliban militants in the district. He said the district chief’s
office had fallen to insurgents. He
told Afghanistan Times that the
militant group has seized control
of government buildings in the
district. “Several government
buildings including office of the
district chief have fallen to the militants after hours of fierce clash
which started last night [Friday],”
said the provincial council member. Attaullah Afghan, another Provincial Council member, told media that a soldier was killed and
five others were injured in the clash
for control over the district. However, he did not provide further
information. Spokesman to the
provincial governor, Omar Zwak,
told Afghanistan Times that fighting between the security forces and
insurgents started on Friday when
the Taliban launched attacks in dif-
Up to 50pc reduction in trade
deals between Afghanistan
and Pakistan: ACCI
ferent parts of the strategically
“Afghan security forces are
fighting the Taliban in several parts
of Khanshin to clear the district
from insurgents. Clashes between
the security forces and the insurgents are underway,” he said. The
spokesman also assured of comprehensive operation to defeat the
militants in the district.
Other officials in the district,
however, refused the reports of the
district fall to Taliban.
The provincial government in
a statement said that 20 Taliban
insurgents were killed and 15 others were wounded in an airstrike
11 die as bus
on Friday night. According to the
statement the security forces repelled the attack. Reinforcement
was immediately rushed to retake
the district from the Taliban.
Khaama Press reported that
the Special Operations Forces
(commandos), of the Afghan National Army have been deployed
to Khanshin to push the Taliban
out of the district.
Provincial officials had earlier
warned the central government that
the district would fall to the Taliban if additional troops were not
It is worth to mention that on
Friday the US Special Inspector
General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), in its quarterly report to the Congress, said that
the Taliban has gained five percent
more territory this year.
“USFOR-A reports that approximately 65.6% of the country’s districts are under Afghan
government control or influence as
of May 28, 2016, a decrease from
the 70.5% reported as of January
29, 2016. Of the 407 districts within the 34 provinces, 268 districts
were under government control or
influence, 36 districts (8.8%) within 15 provinces were under insurgent control or influence, and 104
districts (25.6 %) were “at risk.”
Of the 36 districts under insurgent
control or influence, nine districts
with a population of 524,072 are
under insurgent control and 27 districts with a population of 1.98
million are under insurgent influence,” the report said.
Based on the local media reports, over 50 (12.3%) of the country’s districts are facing serious
threats from militants, with nine
out of the government’s control as
of June 28, 2016. Those districts
include four in Helmand, two in
Badakhshan, and one each in Ghazni, Sar-e Pul, and Zabul provinces.
Poyan shraes refugees'
problems with Jhagra
AT News Report
There has been an unprecedented
reduction in trade deals between
Afghanistan and Pakistan since
relations between the two countries hit a new low in mid-April
this year. Officials in Afghanistan
Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) have said the trade
deals have been affected by up to
50% in recent months.
A spokesman for ACCI Seyamuddin Pasarle has said the main
reason behind an unprecedented
reduction in trade deals and investments has been the recent political
The remark by the ACCI official comes as reports emerged earlier this month suggesting that the
medical business in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan suffered heavily following the recent
upheavals in political relations between Kabul and Islamabad.
“Since the Torkham incident,
we were getting less than 10 per
cent of the usual number of Afghan patients especially during
Ramzan,” a doctor at a private
AT News Report
KABUL: The National Solidarity Program is due to conclude activities and will be replaced with
another rural reconstruction program with the name of ‘citizenship covenant’, officials in the
ministry of rural rehabilitation and
development announced Saturday.
“The first citizenship covenant program is going to be implemented in more than
third-quarter of districts and
hospital in Peshawar said. “This
is a lot less even for the month of
Ramzan when there is a general
drop in the number of patients by
about 50 per cent.”
Another doctor in Rahman
Medical Institute (RMI) said the
number of patients had gone down
drastically during the last couple
of months, especially since the violent clashes at Torkham.
The reduced number of Afghan
patients visiting the city for treatment has also affected other trades,
including the sale of medicines
while occupancy at guesthouses
and the revenues of transport services have also declined.
Tensions between Kabul and
Islamabad increased following a
series of deadly attacks in Afghanistan and recent clash between Afghan and Pakistani forces in
Torkham. Clashes between the Afghan border guards and Pakistani
forces erupted after the Pakistani
side started work on the construction of a gate along the Durand Line.
villages of the country in October
of the current year,” Akbar Rostami, the ministry’s spokesman said.
“This will be the first interministerial program which gives
the communities major role to
work together in implementation
of development projects in their
The National Solidarity Program began in 2003 in the framework of ministry of rural rehabilitation and development aiming to
develop rural activities.
KABUL: At least 11 passengers
died Saturday as a bus plunged into
the Kukcha River in the north-eastern province of Badakhshan, provincial officials said. “The incident
took place in the area of Khwajah
Abdal of Baharak district at 7:00
pm Friday night,” said district governor Abdul Sami Atiq. He said
that the bus was heading from Baharak to Faizabad city, the provincial capital that suddenly it deviated and sank in the Kukcha River with all its passengers. “Eleven
passengers were killed and one other injured and their bodies are not
yet available,” Atiq added. It is
said the bus passengers were going for sightseeing but their fate
touch with river.
KABUL : The Afghan consul-general has shared problems of refugees in Pakistan with the Khyber
A statement from the Afghan
consulate said Dr. Abdullah Wahid
Poyan met Iqbal Zafar Jhagra at
the governor’s house on Friday.
Matters of mutual interest, with
particular reference to Afghan refugees in the northwestern province and situation in the region,
were discussed. The governor apprised the consul-general about the
steps being taken to ensure the
provision of facilities to legal Afghan refugees.
Visas issued by the Afghan
consulate and prevention of police harassment of refugees also figured at the meeting in Peshawar.
According to another report,
Afghan school principals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa complained of
police harassment during a separate meeting with Poyan. He promised taking up the issue with Pakistani officials. (Pajhwok)
Tribal elders struggle for
reopening schools in Paktika
AT News Report
KABUL: Tribal elders have promised to fight for the reopening
schools in the southeastern province of Paktika. “This is a great
step to make possible to portray a
spontaneous struggle of local villagers for the right of education for
their children in the province,” provincial office said in a statement.
Paktika people also promised to
discuss the reasons behind closing
schools and take steps for the so-
It has been one of the largest
reconstruction programs of the
state and international
community and implemented
in the districts and villages surfaces with the enormous foundation.
According to offered information by the ministry,
the main purpose of the citizenship covenant program is to
community economy and to
support the village development
councils for good governance.
lution. Loya Katawaz tribal elder
Hajji Dogar said that: “We are
ready to reopen the school for our
children at any cost in the province.” Paktika governor voiced
pleasure over people decision for
reopening closed schools, saying
that security and coordination between government and local people will provide the opportunity
to run different projects in the
province. He asked the tribal elders to convince the Taliban to let
children go to school. “It is disgraceful if schools remain closed
in historical area of Katawaz and
children grow up illiterate,” he
added. He urged people to stand
and reopen school ahead of children in the province He also asked
Taliban to join peace process and
not close and torch schools in the
province. According to report tens
of school remained close due to insecurity in different district of Paktika province.
KABUL: A senior member of Taliban group has told Reuters that a
delegation from the group visited
China last week earlier this month
to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
The source said on condition
of anonymity that the delegation
was led by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai, head of Taliban’s
political office in Qatar.
“We have good relations with
different countries of the world and
China is one of them,” the official
Chinese officials did not immediately comment on the issue.
AT Monitoring Desk
KABUL: The National Security
Forces on Saturday started a massive military operation in Raghistan
district of Badakhshan province in
order to eliminate insurgents in the
area, provincial officials said.
Taliban insurgents are making
all out efforts to turn the district as
their strategic stronghold, local official said.
“We launched a large-scale military operation in Raghistan today
(Saturday), and we have succeeded to take control of several areas.
The enemy is fleeing,” provincial
governor Faisal Begzad was quoted by TOLONews, as saying.
However, several provincial
officials, including civil activities
called on the government to maintain peace and stability in the areas
once cleared of insurgents.
“Taliban is focusing on
Raghistan because it has gold
mines. They extract the mineral to
finance their war. They [Taliban]
will vanish and be eliminated if government takes control of the mine
and the district,” TOLONews
quoted Zia-ul-Haq Wasiq, deputy
head of Badakhshan provincial
council, as saying.
A provincial civil society activist, Mamoruddin Kofi termed
public uprising as the only solution to eliminate the Taliban insurgents. He called on government to
put weight behind local militiaman.
Raghistan is located in west of
the province and its strategic location and mineral wealth has lured
This large scale operation is
coming as earlier, Afghan airstrike
targeted terrorist hideout in the
same district of the province, which
resulted at killing of 50 insurgents
and wounding of 12 others.
Ministry of defense said that
the insurgents were involved in dif-
No details shared w ith NationJudicial
had targeted the newly
killed 30 cadets in Arghand i bombers
Afghan graduated cadets buses on
One month ago President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has ordered an
investigation over the attack took
place in Arghandi area of Kabul where
suicide bombers had targeted the
newly graduated Afghan cadets
whom were on the way to Kabul on
Thursday as the result 30 Afghan
cadets were killed and 50 others including the civilians were injured.
Head of the Defense committee in
the upper house of the parliament
have demanded the following case
to be shared with the Nation and
slide side of the cases needs to be
lightened. Meanwhile officials in
Ministry of Interior Affairs have
claimed that the following case has
been finalized and was delivered
with the Afghanistan Justice and
China has been a member of the
quadrilateral group for controversial peace talk’s process of Afghanistan which had contribution in
several meeting in Kabul and Islamabad but never resulted to direct talks with leader of Taliban.
The efforts appeared to break
down definitively when former
Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad
Akhtar Mansour was killed in a
US drone strike in Pakistan.
China has long been concerned
that instability in Afghanistan will
spill over into the violence-prone
far western Chinese region of Xinjiang, where hundreds have died in
recent years in unrest blamed by
Beijing on Islamist extremists.
the way to Kabul in Arghandi area
one month ago where 30 of the
cadets were killed and 50 others
including the civilians were injured, after the attack President
Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has ordered a clear investigation over the
incident, now one month past and
no results has been shared with the
ferent terrorist and subversive activities in the district.
Badakhshan is one of the northern insecure provinces, where beside Afghan Taliban, stranger fighters including Tajik and Chechens
carry out terrorist activities there.
Dr. Noor Mohammad Khawari, a provincial public health director, said that the presence of
foreign insurgents deprived at least
2,000 children from polio vaccination in the Raghistan district.
AT News Report
KABUL: At least 56 Taliban
militants were killed and 35others wounded in different crackdowns across the country conducted by Afghan security forces within past 24 hours, security official said on Saturday.
In a press release issued here,
the Ministry of Defense said
that National Army with the cooperation of the National Police
as well as the National Directorate of Security operatives conducted operations against insurgents in different areas of Nangarhar, Laghman, Paktia, Paktika, Ghazni, Kandahar, Farah,
Jawzjan, Kunduz, Sar-e-Pul,
Badakhshan and Helmand provinces. “In these operations, 56
rebels including 15 Islamic State
fighters were killed and 35 others including 17 Daesh insurgents received injuries,” the statement said. Furthermore, the national army detained three insurgents and handed them over to
judicial organs for further inquiry. The statement furthered that
soldiers discovered and confiscated weapons and ammunition
in the operations. “Unfortunately, seven army soldiers were
killed in the operations.”
SUNDAY JULY 31, 2016
The participation of women in
farming has recently increased in
Bamiyan due to poverty and economic problems among families in
the province, said Bamiyan residents.
According to the residents,
more than 45 percent of women in
Bamiyan are involved in farming –
in addition to working in the home.
They said at least 30 percent
of these women farm singlehandedly – without the help of any men.
One of these women farmers
is Roya, who lives in Dara-e-Foladi area in Bamiyan.
Roya said she cultivates and
farms land on her own and that
she also collects firewood for her
family. "I shoulder all the responsibilities – from farming to cooking and I even collect firewood. I
don't have another option," she
said. Another female farmer in
Bamiyan, Farzana, said: "When
men prepare the land for cultivation, we spray seed on the land
and when they are tired we must
serve them tea." Meanwhile, a
number of male farmers in Bamiyan praised the participation of
women in farming and said that it
helps the business a lot.
"Women in families with a better economy play a lesser role in
agriculture but those who struggle
financially, they try to give women a bigger role in agricultural activities," said Mohammad Mobin,
a farmer in Bamiyan.
However, women farmers said
they are not really supported by
the local men.
They said they do manual labor and help the men but their male
counterparts do not pay attention
to them and they do not share the
income with the women.
"Despite this we do most of
the farming, the income goes into
the men's pockets and we get nothing from selling the products," said
Najiba, a woman farmer in Bamiyan. Meanwhile, the Agriculture
Minister, Asadullah Zamir, who
visited Bamiyan recently said his
ministry will build greenhouses
and cold storage facilities in order
to encourage the women farmers
in the province.
"This year we provided women farmers with cold storage units
for potatoes and we built greenhouses for them in order to encourage them to improve their produce," Zamir said.
According to reports, 85 percent of Bamiyan residents in total
are farmers – with 45 percent being women. (ToloNews)
Residents in Kot district of Nangarhar province have told TOLOnews reporter Karim Amini that
Daesh militants imposed harsh
rules on them during the month
they controlled the area.
These residents have said they
are truly afraid the militant group
According to them, Daesh
fighters beheaded at least 35 residents in the area including children.
They also reportedly took at least
10 women hostage and seized
homes and personal property in
Kot district during this time.
A Kot teenager told TOLOnews that Daesh had recruited him
and trained him in violence and terrorism.
In the initial days after capturing Kot, Daesh closed down
schools and imposed a 10,000 Pakistani rupee fine on those suspected of working with government institutions.
"Daesh was teaching us about
Jihad," said resident of Kot, Habib.
After entering Kot, Daesh fighters
turned all government compounds
and public institutions into operation centers - including the mosques
and hospitals. Residents have
meanwhile expressed concerns
over the existence of corruption in
government and said that some residents in the area are sympathetic
"The Holy Quran has forbidden bribes, but now even a teacher
is not selected without paying
bribes," said another resident in
Kot Gul Hussain.
"They (Daesh) told us that we
are free, but don't go to school, we
don't accept Daesh, we don't endorse the government, and you
(people) shouldn't work with the
government, because they (govt)
are infidels," said Maulavi Subhan,
a teacher in Kot.
Hajji Mohammad Wali is an
elder of Kot who was detained by
Daesh for 35 days. Daesh accused
him of encouraging residents to
cooperate with government. He
said Daesh transferred him to
Achin where he saw Hafiz Saeed,
the commander of Daesh's
According to Wali, he paid two
million Afs ransom to Daesh to
save his life and secure his release.
"Even the Russians did not do
such things, they were searching
the women separately, but they
(Daesh) beheaded and kidnapped
children and their mothers that's
why your fathers and husbands
took arms against us," a village elder in Kot Hajji Mohammad Wali
said. Backed by foreign forces, the
Afghan security forces this week
managed to retake Kot from Daesh.
Clip qand agha, commondar of bri-
gade two of 201 selab army corps
Those who have returned to Kot
after Daesh's defeat in the area say
that the militant group has left
nothing behind for them to live on.
"We have outlined a comprehensive plan of action which
shows how to safeguard the region," said Nangarhar governor
Salim Khan Kundizi.
Residents have asked government to take steps and make sure
that Daesh infiltration is foiled in
the future. (ToloNews)
Afghanistan-based militants slaughter
two Kalash shepherds in Chitral
militants slaughtered two shepherds in Bamburet valley and herded their 300 sheep to the neighbouring country, official and local
sources said on Friday.
Though the identity of the
militants wasn’t known, normally
Pakistani Taliban who fled to Afghanistan after the military operation in Swat and rest of Malakand
division carry out such cross-border attacks. The sources said that
two Kalash shepherds were grazing sheep in Ghari, the summer
pasture in Bamburet when they
were attacked by a group of 30
militants who crossed over to Pakistan from Nuristan province of
Afghanistan. The shepherds reportedly opened fire on the militants and the exchange of firing
took place for a long time. However, the shepherds ran out of ammunition and were overpowered
by the militants. The militants abducted the shepherds and herded
their sheep to Afghanistan. Villagers found the throat-cut bodies of
the shepherds near the border
area.The sources said the militants
were heavily armed. The police and
personnel of the Chitral Levies and
other law-enforcement agencies
rushed to the area after the incident. The slain shepherds were
identified as Noor Ahmed, son of
Krisha Moch, and Khushuli, son
of Khushukhat. Their bodies were
shifted to their native villages
Kalash and Karakal, Bamburet,
Hundreds of shocked and en-
raged Kalash people were making
preparation for final rituals of the
slain shepherds.Local people said
the incident happened some two
kilometres away from the security forces checkpost.
Local sources said the militants had been spotted in the border areas two days back and villagers had talked about their presence in the area.The incident
spread fear among the Kalash people who believed that they were
being specifically targetted by the
militants. The Kalash people said
the militants wanted to eliminate
them and claimed this task couldn’t
be done without the help of local
people.Talking to The News, an
elder of the Kalash people, Saifullah, lamented that the attack took
place despite the presence of a large
number of law-enforcement personnel in the area. He said the security forces didn’t allow the
Kalash people who wanted to rush
to the area to help the shepherds
and as a result the two shepherds
were killed and cattle were lost.A
district council member Imran Kabir Kalash told The News that the
security forces should provide protection to the people. The Kalash
elders said that they would decide
their future line of action after the
final rituals of the two
shepherds.Three years ago, the
militants had killed a shepherd in
the same area and taken away 200
sheep to Afghanistan.
The Afghan security forces foiled
a suicide attack plot by the antigovernment armed militant groups
on a stadium in Badghis province.
The Afghan Intelligence, National Directorate of Security
(NDS), said the terrorist groups
had appointed a 12-year-old boy
for the attack on the stadium in
NDS in a statement said the
terro group of Abdul Aziz was
looking to detonate an Improvised
Explosive Device in the stadium
which was planted in the body of
the young boy. The statement further added that a wrestling match
was organized the terror group was
looking to attack the gathering of
the people by detonating the bodyborne Improvised Explosive Device using a remote control.
The anti-government armed
militant groups have not commented regarding the report so far.
This comes as the Afghan chil-
dren have regularly been recruited
by the militant groups, the Taliban and the Haqqani network for
the terrorist related activities, including suicide attacks.
Madrasas are described as the
main recruitment source for the
militant groups as poor families in
Pakistan and Afghanistan send
their sons to such madrassas for
free education and lodging.
Earlier, a 17-year-old child assigned for a suicide mission was
arrested by the security forces in
Kabul city before he manage to
carry out an attack.
A 12-year-old child assigned
for a suicide mission surrendered
himself to the security forces in
the eastern Nangarhar province of
Afghanistan earlier this year.
According to the local security officials, the child was taken to
Jalalabad city from the neighboring Pakistan for the suicide mission. (KP)
MAZAR-I-SHARIF : The city of Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, has 80 percent changed from development perspective over the past few years, the acting mayor said on Saturday. Jan
Mohammad told Pajhwok Afghan News during an exclusive interview
Mazar-i-Sharif progressed each year and had 80 percent changed from
development angle. He said blacktopping of roads in the city had reached
the third ring road and another 10 roads in the city would be blacktopped during the ongoing year’s first six months. The process of blacktopping roads leftover from the previous year was ongoing this year,
the mayor said, adding 49 kilometres of streets were constructed in the
city’s fourth and seventh districts during the past six months. About
cleanliness, the mayor said daily 400 square feet garbage was removed
and dumped outside the city. He stressed on people’s cooperation with
the municipality in keeping the city clean. Jam Mohammad said tree
plantation drive was carried out each year with the help of local residents, civil society activists and non-governmental organizations. He
said 16000 seedlings were planted this solar year in various parts of the
city to enhance greenery and the young trees were looked after with
people’s cooperation. He said the private sector had been handed over
preservation of the city’s greenery. (Pajhwok)
SUNDAY JULY 31, 2016
US Air Force
climb in air
The number of U.S. air strikes
over Afghanistan increased dramatically in July, following the
Obama administration's decision
the month before to widen the
air war in support of Afghan
troops on the ground.
Strikes against Afghan targets
hit a 2016 high this month, specifically between July 19 and 25,
when more than 70 munitions
were employed, Lt. Col. Chris
Karns, spokesman for U.S. Air
Forces Central, told Air Force
Times on Friday. F-16s, MQ-9s
and B-52s conducted most of the
operations, Karns said.
“This was the first time the
B-52 conducted missions in Afghanistan since arriving in theater
in April. It proved its flexibility
and precision during close-air
support missions,” Karns said in
an email. Prior to that, the Stratofortresses had been carrying out
airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against
Islamic State militants.
American troops wounded
fighting ISIS in Afghanistan as
operations there grow
The U.S. conducts two missions in Afghanistan: a non-combat mission of training, advising
and assisting the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces,
and a counterterrorism mission
to target the Taliban, the remnants of al-Qaida, the Islamic
State group, and other terrorist
groups in the region.
Last week, Air Force fighters, bombers and remotely piloted aircraft zeroed-in on ISIS targets and infrastructure, Karns
In January, President Obama
gave American personnel in Afghanistan legal authority to strike
the fledgling ISIS faction there
under any circumstance. Then in
June, Obama approved U.S. air
strikes and combat support for
the Afghan army’s offensive operations against the Taliban.
Before that U.S. and NATO
airpower in Afghanistan had only
been used to attack validated alQaida targets, to counter specific Taliban individuals or groups
that had previously attacked coalition forces or to directly respond to such attacks.
AIR FORCE TIMES
Air Force F-16s, MQ-1
Predators likely to step up airstrikes in Afghanistan
Just one month into 2016, the
U.S. had released almost 130
weapons in Afghanistan, the
most since 2013, according to
U.S. Air Forces Central Command statistics. Overall, Air
Force data shows 545 weapons
released from January to June,
compared to 298 weapons employed for the same period in
But in the recent, four-day
period of continuous strikes, the
number of bombs dropped rose
sharply. “The number of weapons expended was more than
double the previous week's total,” Karns said. “There is a commitment to ensuring continued
progress in Afghanistan and to
make sure it does not become a
safe haven for terrorists. Airpower is available and doing its part
to ensure this does not occur.”
Almost a week after a suicide attack forged carnage among demonstrators at a mass rally organized
by the Enlightening Movement in
Kabul, members of the movement
have taken to social media to continue their struggle – but this time
for justice for the victims.
It is believed that up to
300,000 messages to date have
been posted to social media platforms by movement activists.
The activists behind the move
have said that it was a spontaneous initiative and that several social media groups were created in-
Family of 8 from Afghanistan left
homeless by large fire in Monterey Park
Members of a family of eight from
Afghanistan are left with little
more than the clothes on their
backs following a large house fire
in Monterey Park on Thursday.
"It was a beautiful house,"
said an emotional Amail Yar while
surveying the damage to his family's home on Costa Mesa Close
N.E. "It's my first house, we love
our house." Crews battle 2-alarm
Monterey Park house fire
Firefighters were called to the
home about 3 p.m. Thursday while
Yar's wife and six children were at
the store. A neighbour saw smoke
pouring from the windows and a
second alarm was called in. Investigators are searching for what
caused the fire.
Yar said he has "only my
phone and my clothes, that's it."
His wife also lost medication
and his children their laptops and
phones. The family came to Calgary in 2008 from Winnipeg, having lived in Montreal for a short
time before that.
"I like Alberta better," said Yar.
They first found accommodation
with Calgary Housing before being able to buy their own home.
Losing the home was a huge blow.
"We really miss our neighbourhood," said Yar. "This was my
first house, we love the house, we
love the neighbourhood, we love
our neighbours. My children have
grown up almost four years here,
they have lots of friends here, we
have family friends."
He will especially miss spending evenings on the patio with his
"Summer nights we just come,
me and my wife, chatting and talking," he said.
"We had a good time."
Northeast Calgary fire
Fire crews get ready to fight
the house fire on Costa Mesa Cl.
N.E. (Justin Pennell/CBC)
Yar met with insurance adjustors Friday and were being put up
in a hotel until Sunday.
After that, he's not sure. A kitten remains missing. (CBC)
Pregnant woman in Afghanistan loses child and is
genitally mutilated by husband in horrific attack
A 21-year-old woman was genitally mutilated by her husband in
a barbaric attack that nearly left
her dead and caused her to lose
her unborn child.
The woman, who was six
months pregnant, is in hospital
after the violent incident, which
took place in the Takhar province
in north Afghanistan.
Her husband hit her with a
large wooden stick, shaved parts
of her head and used scissors to
cut her hair, the victim told the
BBC. Man who allegedly spat at
Muslim woman, called her a terrorist and attempted to drive her
off the road will not be charged
with hate crime Kabul suicide
bombing: Taliban attack kills eleven in Afghan capital during morning rush hour She said she did not
know the reason for the attack, in
which her husband’s mother and
sister helped him to tie her up with
rope and beat her.
Her family members confirmed the nature of her injuries
to the broadcaster and said her
husband had cut part of her genitals.
The victim’s husband “tortured her first and then called us
to tell us: ‘I have killed your
daughter, come and take her’,”
said the victim’s mother, reported Tolo News.
Documented cases of violence
against women in Afghanistan are
increasing, according to a 2015 UK
Foreign Office report into human
rights and democracy in the country. The report said 5,132 cases of
violence had been reported to the
Afghan Independent Human
Rights Commission last year, in-
cluding 241 murders. Afghanistan
passed a law to eliminate violence
against women in 2009, but its
implementation has been poor,
according to Human Rights Watch.
Local police in Takhar said her
husband was on the run, and told
Tolo News the police were searching for three people in connection
to the attack, including the husband.
Two of the suspects could
now be in Kabul, a police spokesperson said. In March 2015, thousands of Afghan people marched
in protest of a brutal mob killing
of a woman named Farkhunda.
side and outside Afghanistan.
They said the aim was to bring the
issue to the attention of people
around the world.
"Through this spontaneous
movement among the youth you
can follow the hashtag of Roshnayee (light) to reflect the pain and
sorrow of those who over the past
few days have not been able to
speak and share their voices to all,"
said Freshta Abbassi, a social media activist.
"By using the hashtag Roshnayee (light) we tried to share all
the stories, pictures, analysis,
views and media reports about the
incident last Saturday so that people are able to see these topics,"
said Hakim Ahmadi, another activist.
"The move has gotten a good
response on Twitter, every minute
there are tweets which are retweeted many times," Fatima, an activist said.
Who is the 'Enlightening Movement'?
The Enlightening Movement
was initially created over a government decision of rerouting a
500 kilovolt electricity project originally supposed to be transferred
through the central Bamiyan province. But the decision drew strong
reaction from the movement and
protestors and two mass rallies
were held in protest against government's decision.
The latest rally was held in
Kabul last Saturday, but a suicide
bombing was carried out, by
Daesh, killing over 80 people and
wounding about 300.
KABUL : The Afghan NSA Mohammad Hanif Atmar left Moscow
at the head of a senior Afghan delegation on the official invitation of
Russian federation NSA Nakoli
During this visit, beside Russian Federation NSA N. Petroshov,
Mr. Atmar had bilateral meetings
with RF foreign, defense and interior ministers. The goal behind this
visit was RF assistance for equipping of ANDSF especially Afghan
Air Forces. They also discussed
further expansion of bilateral security, political relations. Both
sides discussed supply and procurement of Mi17 and Mi35 to
AAF, paving the way of repairing
possibilities of air forces equipment inside Afghanistan as well as
supply of ammunitions to ANSF
available weaponries. The Afghan
government believes that suppressing of common terror threats and
war on poppy cultivation and drug
trafficking require joint AfghanRussia efforts. In the opinion of
Afghan authorities, assistance of
RF and other regional, international
allies for quipping and capacity
building of ANSF would produce
for equipping and capacity building of ANSF would produce positive results in war on terror. In the
last one year, different senior Afghan authorities including NSA,
acting minister of defense, political deputy foreign minister and
etc… have respectively visited
Moscow to attract Moscow cooperation in war on terror and
equipping of ANSF as well as expansion of strategic cooperation.
Fortunately the Afghan officials
managed to convince Moscow and
Russian authorities to continue and
increase their cooperation in the
mentioned fields. The security cooperation’ agreement between
Kabul-Moscow that was recently
signed by both countries military authorities emphasizes on
agreement of bilateral security cooperation. This agreement is a general context for distinguishing of
strategic plans. We hope this agreement would pave the way of subsequent extensive cooperation. Due
to threats of terrorism and drugs
to both sides national security, this
cooperation are substantial needs.
Analysts believe that Afghanistan
must have strategic relations with
the world superpowers to continue good governance and get rid of
current situations. Afghanistan is
an independent country and can
set up relations with every country. Based on its policy, Afghanistan can define quality of its foreign relations with other countries
in the direction of its national interests, doesn’t matter if this countries be US or Moscow or others.
Security in Afghanistan is very
important to Moscow. Because
the central Asian countries that
have common borders with Russia and Afghanistan are vulnerable
and increase of insecurity in northern Afghanistan would jeopardize
Russia’s stability and interests.
100 - 119
Behind Kabul Medical
Pule Bagh-e- Umomi
Indira Gandhi Children
Hospital, Wazir Akbar
Khan, Kabul 2301372
Wazir Akbar Khan
Da Afghanistan Bank
020 22 22 222
New Rumi Restaurant
0796701701 / 0796702702
One US$ =
One Pound Sterling=
One Euro =
1000 Pak Rs =
One US$ =
One Pound Sterling=
1000 Pak Rs= 645
SUNDAY JULY 31, 2016
may not shut
dow n after all
KARACHI/ SUKKUR/ HYDERABAD/ ISLAMABAD: Ambiguity surrounds the future of PakTurk schools in the country. In the
wake of the foiled military coup in
Turkey, the country’s ambassador
to Pakistan has urged for the shutdown of all Pak-Turk schools and
colleges which belong to the alleged
US-based ‘mastermind of the
coup’, Fethullah Gulen. With the
future of 10,000 students enrolled
in the 28 schools and colleges
spread across the country hanging
in the balance, the government has
to make a tough decision and so
far they are employing diplomacy
to steer a safe, prosperous course
Diplomatic solution: Pak-Turk
schools may not be shut down after all
Information Minister Pervaiz
Rashid has already said they will
listen to the Turkish government
and their concerns and no sudden
move will be made. While word
has been received from Islamabad
that there have been talks of a complete staff overhaul along with a
new management setup to keep
the schools running, the ones in
Sindh are already witnessing staff
switches. Start at the top
Since the Turkish government
is certain the schools are being run
by supporters of Gulen, all staff
members are being viewed with
suspicion. At one of the three
schools in Karachi, Gulistan-e-Jauhar campus, Zafer Elen has replaced Yasin Ulucinar as principal
of the school.
Seated in the principal’s office
the two Turkish nationals exchanged worried looks while sorting through some paperwork. “In
order to help our brother country
in education, 20 years back this
project was started,” said Elen, not
particularly pleased with his new
post due to the uncertainty surrounding the future of Pak-Turk
schools. “We don’t have any hidden agenda, and whatever happened in Turkey is also not our
fault,” he added.
The Pak-Turk network has
also officially denied being linked
to any political or religious movement on their website, and Elen
believes there is a zero per cent
chance of the schools being shut
down in Pakistan. “We believe in
our Pakistani brothers. They
know what we are doing here,” he
said confidently and added that
their school is monitored by the
ministry of education and intelligence agencies three times a year.
Pakistan, Turkey likely to revive 2003 road deal On a question
of schools being funded by the
Gulen, Elen responded Gulen is an
‘imam’ (preacher) and he teaches
good things. He said Gulen’s teachings focus on three things: Education, poverty and unity. Meanwhile, Ulucinar said that they have
no connection with the Gulen, but
they do support his ideologies.
Furthermore, Elen clarified the
schools are fully funded by student fees. While Elen is confident
the schools will remain operational, parents are less convinced. According to the school’s administrator Asma Khalid, she has been attending calls non-stop assuring
parents that the school will reopen
as per schedule on August 15. If
the government thinks they can
shut down schools, it is just not
possible, she said. “Students have
paid fees and no one can return
that much amount,” she explained.
The school’s commerce teacher Muhammad Kamran has said
that in case the government “dares”
to shut down the schools, the
teachers will take the streets to
Hopes are high
At the Pak-Turk school in
Jamshoro district, staff has not yet
received word of an overhaul.
Most parents are also confident
that schools will remain open. “We
have been hearing this [demand]
since years. This time I didn’t pay
much attention,” says Anil Kumar
Bhatia, a parent whose children
study at the school.
Inaugurated in 2012, the Jamshoro campus, with an enrollment
of over 400 students, is located on
the premises of Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences. In their Facebook message to
parents and students on July 26,
they stated, “We are committed to
our noble task and will continue to
impart quality education … In future also.”
Sohail Chana, who is a subject
teacher at the school said
Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governments have clarified they will be not be cancelling
licenses of the Pak-Turk schools
in the provinces. “This emboldens our belief that nothing is going
to happen and that Sindh government will do the same,” she said.
An officer in the school’s administration hinged his hope on the
country’s elite class. “More than
10,000 students are enrolled in our
schools across the country. Given
the fee structure, a majority of the
students are children of the elite.
We hope they will defend the
school system because the quality
of education their children receive
is connected with it,” he shared.
At the Pak-Turk school in
Khairpur district, staff is less willing to share their concerns. The
school’s principal sat behind
closed doors conducting interviews
all morning. According to a parent,
Mohammad Afzal, who took his
children out of school due to the
heavy fees, when the building of
Colonel Shah Hostel was handed
over to the administration of PakTurk schools in 2002 by then District Nazim Nafisa Shah, the aim
was to provide poor children with
quality education. Initially, the
admission fee was Rs3,000 and
monthly tuition fee was Rs400,
but, over time, the admission fee
was increased to Rs50,000 and
monthly tuition fee ranged between Rs4,000 and Rs10,000.
Another parent, Nadeem Mughal, whose two children are studying in the school, was reluctant to
comment on the fees. He said, I
don’t remember. A solution on the
cards An official in the Capital Administration and Development
Division which oversees private
schools in Islamabad stated, they
had been told to submit details
about each school, the staff and
related information. “Informally,
we have also been told to discuss
the issue internally and submit a
way out including an overhaul of
the whole setup in the current scenario,” the official said. He was
reluctant to share more information and added, “Let the details
surface, then we will be in position to comment.” Shutting down
schools: enmity towards education
The Turkish embassy in Pakistan
was similarly cautious in its reply.
“The ambassador has already stated during his presser last week that
Turkey has asked all friendly countries to take necessary measures
against the Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation in their territory,” read an email response.
ISLAMABAD: The Election
Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has
clubbed all petitions seeking the
disqualification of Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif and lawmakers from
his family, and fixed them for preliminary hearing on August 3.
the country’s top electoral
body on Friday sent notices to
petitioners to argue the maintainability of the petitions filed by different opposition parties, including the Pakistan Peoples Party and
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Tahirul
Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek
and Sheikh Rashid’s Awami Muslim League also submitted petitions separately.
PTI joins PPP in seeking
PM’s disqualification through ECP
The petitions had been left
pending without any action as
they were filed after June 12, when
the four provincial ECP members
retired. The commission became
functional again this week after the
government appointed new ECP
Decision on maintainability
will set the tone for opposition
parties which have high hopes
from the newly constituted commission. These parties term it a
‘test case’ for the new commission,
though many legal experts dispute
the choice of forum by these parties. They claim ECP is not the
proper forum in such cases.
The petitioners have based
their petitions on the Panama
Leaks revelations. They contend
that the prime minister and his
family had assets abroad but they
never disclosed them in the annual
NEW DELHI: Union defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday
told parliament that India has
sought help from US to check if
their satellites captured any signals from the missing AN-32 aircraft, while noting there was very
little possibility that sabotage
played any role.
Giving clarifications on the
missing aircraft in the Rajya Sabha, the minister said he was "disturbed" at the aircraft's sudden disappearance, and even experts are
"I am also disturbed at such a
sudden disappearance. I spoke
with many air chiefs, other senior
air force personnel, they also are
puzzled by the sudden disappearance," he said.
Assuring the house that the
aircraft had "adequate lifetime",
Mr Parrikar also said that maximum efforts are being made to reduce accidents and also that any
aircraft not fit for flying was not
He said that this aircraft "was
almost at the end of the range of
passive radar. In effect in another
10 minute it would have crossed
the limit of the passive radar and
there is an area around 150-200
nautical miles where there is no
radar coverage either from Chennai or Port Blair."
He also said that the aircraft
had undergone its first overhaul,
and had already flown for 179
hours after that. The pilot had
flown for over 500 hours on the
"So it is not that something
new was happened," he said.
"Only thing which was recorded was because of a cumulonimbus cloud which normally no aviator will like to enter into because it
is a very charged and heavy cloud...
they (pilots) said we are deviating
to right," Mr Parrikar said, adding
that this happened 7-8 minutes
before the plane went off radar.
"At the time of coming down
it actually tilted to the left and descended very fast from 23,000 feet
in few seconds. Then it disappeared from the radar.
"Two things happened, it was
at the age of radar signal where you
don't get very active radar signal,
you just keep track of it. There is
no SOS, no transmission at any
frequency, it just disappeared...
That is the worrying part," he said.
He also said that no signal from
the emergency beacon locator has
been tracked, but added that that
it was "difficult that it will be actually activated" if the aircraft dives
"In the earlier Coast Guard
case (Dornier crash) also, it had
not activated," he said.
The defence minister also said
there was very little chance of a
"I can't speculate... we are
searching for it but I can say only
this much, though we are checking
all angles, the possibility of a sabotage is comparatively very less.
"They have standard operating procedure, all passengers were
from defence forces."
About search operations, he
said US has been contacted for any
information from their satellites.
"We did not get even a single
signal. We are now contacting US,
if their satellites have picked signals," he said, but added that a satellite may not have picked signals
because of thick cloud cover, and
it also depends on whether a satellite was crossing the area at the
He added that so far, 505 hours
of air sorties have been undertake and 23 different items were noticed. Of the 23 inputs, there were 17 visual
sightings and six transmissions. Indian survey ships are searching the seabed, and submarine Sindhudhwaj,
which had finally located the crashed Dornier, is carrying out an underwater search. "Round the clock air
surveillance is being maintained. There are 10 Navy ships in the area. The depth of water is 3,300 to 4,000
meters. Special vessels have also been summoned," he said. The minister added that he was personally
monitoring the whole operation, and he was getting updates every few hours.
For decades, a kind of cold war
enveloped South Asia mainly because India and Pakistan didn’t get
along and the talk of war never really subsided. Then in 2015-16
something different happened.
Two economic corridors suddenly
sprang into existence, and if they
are meant for trade then this cold
war must come to an end. But funnily, that’s not what most people
in the subcontinent feel or want.
Pakistan’s “strategic thinking”
is that the Chabahar route being
funded by India is part of a nutcracker move against it; many Indians think the China-Pakistan
Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a
Chinese move to encircle India, the
port of Gwadar being another pearl
in the Chinese string of pearls policy that aims to “choke” India with
a “necklace” of bases.
For the first time, Pakistan is
isolated because of the internal disorder that threatens the world.
Under Narendra Modi, India has
reached out successfully to states
west of Pakistan that everyone
thought backed Pakistan. In Pakistan, critics have opened up for
the first time and are questioning
the policies that have caused this
feeling of isolation. Muffled advice
from China has no effect on policymakers who continue to challenge trade as a strategic nutcracker.
But Carnegie India’s C Raja
Mohan thinks differently. In his
recent column in this paper he
wrote: “The Modi government
now has expansive diplomatic leverage and political agency to
broaden relations with all the ma-
jor powers and deepen its engagement with neighbours. After the
entente with America, India must
have the self-assurance to shed its
other ‘hesitations of history’, especially towards China and Pakistan.” Everybody knows in Pakistan, but will not say so, that
Nawaz Sharif too thinks in the
same way as Modi. Sharif can’t
seem to convince a revisionist Pakistan that the time for a paradigm
shift is at hand. And the actual
game-changers are already in place
in the shape of two trade routes.
He got Modi to come to a private
ceremony at his house in Lahore,
emblematically in the company of
his Indian businessman friend, Sajjan Jindal. In her recent book, This
Unquiet Land: Stories from India’s
Fault Lines, Barkha Dutt reveals
the whole Sharif-Modi “conspiracy” to normalise relations through
The 2014 “Kathmandu meeting” hosted by Jindal raised hackles; and such hackles usually imply accusations of treason. But if
Henry Kissinger could travel secretly to Beijing in 1971 to effect a
global paradigm shift there should
be moral forgiveness for what the
two leaders did. Jindal, whom
Dutt counts among “Indian steelmakers who would ferry iron ore
from Afghanistan by road across
Pakistan from where it would be
shipped to ports in western and
southern India”, will be remembered as “the hand of god” if IndoPak relations normalise as a result
of his efforts.
Raja Mohan is not the only
person who has unorthodox
thoughts about India’s foreign policy, especially towards its neighbours, China and Pakistan; but he
is brave when he includes China,
knowing that India is revisionist
about its northern neighbour.
There is another “thinking” person across the border: Pakistan’s
ex-foreign secretary Riaz Muhammad Khan, a maverick like Raja
Mohan. His book, Afghanistan and
Pakistan: Conflict, Extremism and
Resistance to Modernity (2011),
remains the most significant cri-
tique of Pakistan’s foreign policy
by a bureaucrat from the country.
“Its ambition to become a hub of
economic activity would be difficult to realise without the opening
of transit routes to India. When
Pakistan initiated the idea of activating the KKH for commerce with
Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in
early 1993, the two countries were
enthusiastic. The Kazakh minister for transportation convened a
meeting and invited both the Pakistani and Indian ambassadors
based in Alma Ata. He was disappointed to learn that India could
not be included at that time…”
Former Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar recently
stated: “Pakistan cannot conquer
Kashmir through war and the issue can only be handled in an environment of mutual trust…” South
Asia is going to face problems it
can only handle cooperatively.
There is no other course open to
India and Pakistan except that of
At least 31 killed in
statements every lawmaker submits to ECP. ECP unlikely to decide PM disqualification pleas
Apart from Prime Minister
Nawaz, the petitioners have questioned the eligibility of Punjab
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and
his son Hamza Shahbaz, Finance
Minister Ishaq Dar and the premier’s son-in-law Captain (Retd)
Muhammad Safdar. A separate
case against Prime Minister’s son
in law is already being heard by
ECP. Before these petitions were
moved by political parties, Safdar’s opponent from Manshera
had submitted a petition stating
that he had not mentioned assets
of his wife Maryum which have
been disclosed in Panama Leaks.
Bangladesh, long accustomed to
being neglected by the world, is
suddenly under a harsh international spotlight. The reason for this
is the recent terrorist assault on an
upscale bakery in one of the most
fashionable neighbourhoods of the
On the evening of July 1, the
Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s
diplomatic zone was besieged by
half a dozen militants who, after a
short speech on the perilous state
of Islam, separated the non-Muslim diners and butchered them. The
world may not have noticed this
atrocity had it not been for two
facts. First, most those murdered
were not Bangladeshi: among the
victims were Italians and Japanese,
an Indian and an American. Second, the killers transmitted live
images of the massacre. Using the
restaurant’s Wi-Fi network, they
published the images on social
media accounts affiliated with ISIL.
Scarcely had Dhaka come to
grips with the horror than a succession of experts, ensconced in
western think tanks and responding to the demands of instant punditry, began advancing the hysterical claim that Bangladesh – home
to 160 million people – was the
newest staging ground for ISIL
Some argued that the secular
government of prime minister
Sheikh Hasina, in denial about the
depth of radicalisation in her country, wasn’t doing enough to crack
down on militancy. Others declared
that the militancy had, in fact, been
caused by excessive repression by
the Hasina government.
The one point of consensus
seemed to be the one least supported by evidence: that Bangladesh was slipping into the grip
of ISIL. This contention seems
even less persuasive a month later
than it did on the night of the attack.
Bangladeshi authorities, aided
in their investigations by Indian
counterterrorism operatives, have
not found any operational nexus
between ISIL and local militants.
The young men who stormed the
restaurant, far from being driven
to terror by the exhortations of
Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, appear
partly to have been self-radicalised. ISIL was, at best, the syndicate to which they turned to distribute the evidence of their "martyrdom" – and which gladly subsumed their savagery under its banner. To buy into ISIL’s boasts of
its global reach is to become complicit in its own propaganda –
while absolving the native purveyors of extremist ideologies of their
responsibility for the turmoil in
Bangladesh. Some of the most revered members of the Bangladeshi
opposition collaborated with Pakistan’s military dictatorship as it
went about suppressing the Bangladeshi freedom movement in 1971.
Thirteen battalions of mostly Bengali Islamists assisted the Pakistan
army in carrying out some of the
worst crimes ever committed
against a predominantly Muslim
SUNDAY JULY 31, 2016
future for unified
Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan said on Friday he was not optimistic about
the future of Syria.
“I don’t know whether or
not Syria can be put back together again,” Brennan told the
annual Aspen Security Forum.
His comments were a rare public acknowledgement by a top
US official that Syria may not
survive a five-year civil war in
its current state.
A maternity hospital supported by Save the Children was
bombed Friday in an air raid in
Idlib province of northwest Syria, causing casualties and heavy
damage, the Britain-based charity said.
“Save the Children supported maternity hospital in
Idlib bombed, casualties reported - numbers unconfirmed,” it
The Syrian Observatory for
Human Rights also said that the
hospital in the rebel-held town
of Kafar Takharim was heavily
damaged and left barely operational.
The monitoring group did
not specify if the raid was carried out by Syrian regime aircraft or warplanes of its Russian allies.
The Saudi-led coalition supporting legitimacy in Yemen has denied
allegations by international human
rights and aid groups that it was
blocking access to the war-ravaged
country, the Saudi Press Agency
In a statement issued on Friday, the coalition voiced deep regret over media reports quoting
NGOs such as Doctors Without
Borders and Amnesty International, saying such reports only contribute to weakening the coalition’s
“positive role” in the delivery of
humanitarian aid and facilitating
the distribution of relief supplies,
including petroleum products,
The statement said the coalition has not imposed any blockade on any Yemeni territory or has
not started an economic boycott
of any kind. “What it does is performing duties with regard to implementing the United Nations resolutions aimed at preventing smuggling of arms and ammunition,” the
statement said, pointing out that
the coalition had given priority to
health situation in Yemen while
starting the Restoration of Hope
campaign in Yemen. “It spared no
efforts to improve the overall health
condition in the country, the latest
of which was the air drop of more
than 40 tons of medical supplies
to the city of Taiz and then transporting them to hospitals by making use of all available means, including animals.”
The statement added that the
coalition forces, in cooperation
with the Djibouti-based UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen (UNVIM), exerted every effort to facilitate transportation of humanitarian aid as
well as commercial goods and petroleum products to all sections of
the Yemeni people without discrimination. A total of 4,079 permits have been issued to all entry
points in this regard.
The coalition forces have issued permits to all ships engaged
in relief and humanitarian missions
without any delay or inspections
at the Yemeni ports.
Regarding commercial ships,
UNVIM, in cooperation with the
coalition forces and the legitimate
government, issues permits at all
Yemeni ports without discrimination. The number of permits issued so far reached 1,462 and these
include Hodeidah port controlled
by the militias.
The coalition emphasized that
the humanitarian disaster in Yemen
is not because of any blockade on
the shipment of food, petroleum
products or commercial goods, but
is primarily because of rebel forces who occupy the state machin-
ery and manipulate all ports entry, notably the Hodeidah port,
which has become a haven for
“The militias try to create a
black market in Hodeidah port for
petroleum products and relief and
trade materials to finance their
coup as well as for personal gains
of its leaders. They used it for
political bargaining by imposing a
siege and pursuing a policy of systematic starvation in provinces and
cities like Taiz,” the statement said.
UN Syria envoy
corridors ‘to us’
The UN special envoy for Syria on Friday urged Russia to
leave the creation of any humanitarian corridors around the embattled northern Syrian city of
Aleppo to the United Nations
and its partners.
“That’s our job,” said
Staffan de Mistura as he explained his “suggestion” to
Moscow at a press conference
in Geneva, a day after Russia
said its forces and those of the
Syrian government would open
humanitarian corridors outside
Aleppo and offer a way-out for
fighters wanting to surrender.
Earlier on Friday, Syrian
activists said a US-led coalition
targeting a village in northern
Syria held by the ISIS group had
killed 28 civilians the previous
night, including seven children.
In Geneva, de Mistura expressed support “in principle”
for humanitarian corridors “under the right circumstances.” He
said he is awaiting clarification
from Russian authorities about
that plan, noting the urgent situation in the northern city,
wracked by devastating violence
in recent months.
The envoy also warned that
“the clock is ticking for the Aleppo population.”
“How do you expect people to walk through a corridor thousands of them - while there
is shelling, bombing, fighting?”
de Mistura said.
He added that no one should
be forced to leave Aleppo, but
“indeed, some civilians may
want to avail themselves of the
possibility afforded by the corridor and by the Russian initiative. When they do, it is crucial
that they be given the option of
leaving to areas of their own
De Mistura also praised a
statement from the international Red Cross about the Russian
proposal, which said any such
corridors should have the “consent of all parties on all sides.”
ICRC regional director for the
Mideast, Robert Mardini, said
Friday he had no indication all
sides were on board with the
‘Zika is now here’:
spreading virus in US
Mosquitoes have apparently
begun spreading the Zika virus
on the US mainland for the first
time, health officials said Friday,
a long-feared turn in the epidemic that is sweeping Latin America and the Caribbean.
Four recently infected people in the Miami area - one
woman and three men - are believed to have contracted the
virus locally through mosquito
bites, Gov. Rick Scott said. No
mosquitoes in Florida have actually been found to be carrying
Zika, despite the testing of
19,000 by the state lab. But other methods of Zika transmission,
such as travel to a stricken country or sex with an infected person, have been ruled out. “Zika
is now here,” said Dr. Thomas
Frieden, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. Still, US health officials said they do not expect
widespread outbreaks in this
country like those seen in Brazil, in part because of better sanitation, better mosquito control
and wider use of window
screens and air conditioners.
US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said he was
taking the gloves off in his battle
against Democrat Hillary Clinton
in the race for the White House
after taking a scorching from speakers at the Democratic National
Trump wrapped up a fiveday, seven-state campaign swing
in Colorado on Friday, where for a
fifth straight day his supporters
chanted “lock her up” whenever
he brought up Clinton’s name.
Trump supporters say Clinton deserves to be prosecuted for
her handling of US foreign policy
as President Barack Obama’s firstterm secretary of state and for her
use of a private email server while
in that office.
All week Trump has sought
to tamp down the chants by
stressing that his main goal is to
simply beat Clinton in the Nov. 8
But as the crowd chanted the
slogan in Colorado Springs, Trump
“I’m starting to agree with
you, frankly,” he said. “No more
Mr. Nice Guy.”
In Denver later, he changed his
tune when he heard the chant.
“I’ll tell you what I’d rather
do, honestly, is just beat her on
Nov. 8 at the polls. She would be a
disaster,” he said.
Trump was a punching bag at
the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, which wrapped up
Thursday night, as speaker after
speaker - including some Republicans - said he lacked the temperament to be president.
Clinton herself said in her acceptance speech that the election
represented a “moment of reckoning” for the country.
In Colorado Springs, Trump
got sidetracked by a couple of disputes from last year as he tried to
rebut a Clinton campaign ad.
That ad uses video clip from
Trump’s attack on Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly in protest of
her questioning of him at a debate
of Republican presidential contenders last August when he said
afterward that blood was “coming
out of her eyes, coming out of her
“I was talking about her nose,”
Trump said in Colorado Springs.
“I wanted to get back on the issue
of taxes” at the debate.
Trump also brought up the
case of disabled New York Times
reporter Serge Kovaleski, whom
Trump seemed to mock publicly
in video used by the Clinton ad.
Trump said he was depicting
the reporter groveling to him.
“I didn’t know he was disabled. I didn’t know it at all. I had
no idea,” he said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan on Friday told the European Union and United States to
“mind your own business” after
the West expressed alarm over the
growing crackdown against suspected accomplices in the failed
“Some people give us advice.
They say they are worried. Mind
your own business. Look at your
own deeds,” Erdogan said at the
presidential palace, complaining no
senior Western official had visited
Turkey in the wake of the coup.
“Not a single person has come
to give condolences either from the
European Union... or from the
West,” said Erdogan. “And then
they say that ‘Erdogan has got so
angry’,” he fumed.
“Those countries or leaders
who are not worried about Turkey’s democracy, the lives of our
people, its future -- while being so
worried about the fate of the putschists - cannot be our friends.”
Erdogan vowed to take all
steps “within the limits of the law”
as Turkey seeks legal retribution
for the perpetrators of the coup.
The president also announced
that as a gesture of goodwill after
the coup he was dropping hundreds of lawsuits against individuals accused of insulting him.
“I am going to withdraw all the
cases regarding the disrespectful
insults made against me,” said Erdogan.
The authorities had said earlier this year that over 2,000 people
were being prosecuted on charges
of insulting the president.
He said 237 people - not including the coup plotters themselves - had been killed in the coup
attempt, a rise of one from the pre-
vious toll. Turkish authorities
blame the coup on US-based
preacher Fethullah Gulen and are
now seeking to eradicate his influence from all aspects of Turkish
life, especially the military.
Speaking at the same event to
remember the “martyrs” of July
15, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim
said Turkey has succeeded in eradicating all elements linked to Gulen
from the military after sacking nearly half of its generals following the
failed coup. “We have cleaned out
from the military the FETO elements who disguised themselves
as soldiers,” said Yildirim. Turkey
accuses Gulen of running the
Fethullah Terror Organisation
(FETO), charges he denies. “We
are going to make our armed forces
stronger and we are going to work
towards making this country more
Police arrested two men suspected
of planning an attack in Belgium after house searches on Friday
evening, federal prosecutors said on
Saturday. The two, named as 33year-old Nourredine H. and his
brother Hamza H., will appear before a judge on Saturday to determine whether they should be held in
custody beyond an initial 24 hours.
“Based on provisional results from
the investigation, it appears that
there were plans to carry out an attack somewhere in Belgium,” the
federal prosecution office said in a
statement. For the time being there
was no connection with the attacks
at Brussels airport and the metro on
March 22, in which 32 people were
killed, the prosecution office said.
Police carried out seven house searches in the region of Mons and a further house search in Liege. No weapons or explosives were found. Brussels, home to European Union institutions and the headquarters of
NATO, and Belgium in general are
on a security alert level of three out
of a maximum of four, a “serious”
status with a “possible and probable” threat.
The coalition called on international bodies operating in Yemen
to shoulder their responsibilities
toward meeting urgent humanitarian needs of the Yemeni people, in
addition to taking necessary measures to ensure that the aid reaches all areas of Yemen in a fair and
It also issued an urgent call to
lift the blockade on areas besieged
by the forces loyal to the coup leaders and called upon all organizations to verify the facts on the
ground before making statements
to the media.
Muslims and Christians joined in
Friday prayer at the mosque in the
Normandy town where an elderly
priest was slain this week, with
one imam chastising the extremists as non-Muslims who are “not
part of civilization” or “humanity.”
Muslims came from other
parts of France to be present for
the service shared with Christians.
The killing Tuesday of the 85year-old Rev. Jacques Hamel as he
celebrated morning Mass sent
shockwaves around France, and
deeply touched many among the
nation’s 5 million Muslims. ISIS
claimed responsibility for the attack, as well as the attack in Nice,
where 84 people were killed by a
man who plowed his truck down a
seaside promenade on Bastille
Day. The head of the main Muslim umbrella group, Anouar
Kbibech, who attended Friday’s
gathering, reiterated a call for Muslims to visit churches on Sunday
to show solidarity with Christians
as they pray. But one imam made
a rare direct strike at the killers who
claimed to act in the name of Allah.
“You have the wrong civilization because you are not a part of
civilization. You have the wrong
humanity because you are not a
part of humanity,” said Abdelatif
Hmitou. “You have the wrong idea
about us (Muslims) and we won’t
forgive you for this.”
“How,” he asked, addressing
the extremists, “may the idea reach
your mind that we might loathe
those who helped us ... to pray to
Allah in this town? How could
you think that, mister killer? Mister criminal?”
He was referring to the help
by the St. Therese church adjacent
to the mosque that sold the plot to
the Muslims for a symbolic sum
so they could build a house of
worship. The St. Etienne church
where the attack occurred has been
The two 19-year-old attackers were killed by police as they
left St. Etienne church, where they
had held two nuns and an elderly
couple hostage as they slit the
priest’s throat. A third nun escaped
and gave the alert.
Three people were being held
Friday for questioning in the attack, including a Syrian refugee, a
judicial official said on Friday.
The Syrian was detained on
Thursday in the Allier region of
central France because a photocopy of his passport was found at
the home of one of the attackers,
Adel Kermiche, according to the
official, who was not authorized
to speak publicly about the investigation. Muslim worshippers
hold a minute of silence in front of
the memorial at the Saint Etienne
church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy (Photo: AP)
Also being held was a cousin
of Kermiche’s accomplice, AbdelMalik Nabil Petitjean, on suspicion he was aware of the attack
plan based on information culled
from social networks, the judicial
SUNDAY JULY 31, 2016
We a r e a n a t io n a l in st it u t io n a n d n o t t h e v o ice o f a go v t o r a p r iv a t e o r ga n iza t io n
Editor: Abdul Saboor Sarir
Phone No: +93-772364666
E-mail: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]
Photojournalist: M. Sadiq Yusufi
Advisory editorial board
Saduddin Shpoon, Dr. Sharif Fayez, Dr. Sultana Parvanta, Dr. Sharifa Sharif,
Dr. Omar Zakhilwal, Setara Delawari, Ahmad Takal
Edriss Akbari, Bilal Yusufi
Marketing & Advertising:
Mohammad Parwiz Arian, 0708954626, 0778894038
Mailing address: P.O. Box: 371, Kabul, Afghanistan
Our Bank Accounts: Azizi Bank: 000101100258091 / 000101200895656
Printed at Afghanistan Times Printing Press
The constitution says
Article Ninety: The National Assembly shall have the following duties: 1. Ratification,
modification or abrogation of laws or legislative decrees; 2. Approval of social, cultural,
economic as well as technological development programs; 3. Approval of the state budget
as well as permission to obtain or grant loans; 4. Creation, modification and or abrogation
of administrative units; 5. Ratification of international treaties and agreements, or
abrogation of membership of Afghanistan in them; 6. Other authorities enshrined in this
This summer was recorded as hottest in Kabul City. The capital city
has been famous for heavy snowfall in winter and pleasant weather
with cold breeze in summer. The month of July was known for heavy
and light downpour to purify the air and break the heat. However, in
last December and this January the snow has barely covered the mountain peaks, let alone meadows. The result was hottest summer this
year in the city’s history. Not only Kabul City’s weather has become
unpredictable but of other cities as well. On Wednesday, temperature
in Jalalabad and Peshawar was 25™ while in Kabul it was 32. Meteorologists in the country failed to brief the government and public over
the sudden change in the climate.
Perhaps, they are sitting in poorly equipped weather monitoring
stations. Or maybe, they take the environmental change as a myth.
They have done no or little research in this regard because their research papers have not surfaced in media since fall of the Taliban
regime. If they failed to do research and update the government on
the rapidly changing climate, the country will suffer a lot. Research
work is of utmost importance to device policies. It helps the relevant
authorities to control the damages and prepare mentally. Every year
natural disasters kill and injure scores of people and destroy properties and crops worth millions of Afghanis.
Environmental change is real. We shall acknowledge it as a nation
to take measures so our coming generations would have to deal with
lesser challenges. We should be considered about the future generations. Looking at other countries in this region will do no good. They
are responsible for dealing with their problems. Neither we shall copy
them nor depend on them. The nature of their problems varies from
that of ours. Only learning from their failures and success can help
us. Let the regional countries stew in their own juice because carbon
emission is higher there.
The long and short of this new phenomena which people should
understand is that if they do not take the issue seriously, they would
face numerous challenges. Every individual should take steps to reduce the harms and effects of environmental change such as droughts
and floods. We shall grow more trees because timber mafia is cutting
the forests. Every individual should plant at least five saplings. Local
communities shall not allow timber mafia to cut forests. They should
think of themselves as guardians of the forests which is not only
maintaining the eco-system but the climate as well.
International Organization $200
at your door step
For fast delivery service
Afghanistan Times seeks the
names, addresses of your
organizations and the number of
copies you want.
By Dr. Zia Nezam
Global terrorism has opened
subsidiaries in five continents.
Attacks are now becoming a
tragic routine in the heart of
Europe. In this new chaotic
environment, Afghanistan has
fallen off the radar of media attention. Security today in Afghanistan reflects security tomorrow in other countries. The
global community has work
very hard in the past 15th years
in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, and it would be a
shame to walk away with a job
half-finished, especially when
we are close to success. The
last thing we want is for Afghanistan to follow the footsteps of Iraq.
Next October will mark the
15th year of allied military engagement in Afghanistan. From
2001 to 2014, Operation Enduring Freedom has mobilized
NATO Nations and 43 countries in the ISAF forces. The
coalition has suffered a severe
human toll with 3,518 soldiers
and contractors killed, including 2,282 Americans. After the
withdrawal of our allies, a residual military presence has
been sustained. According to
the official statistics of the coalition, NATO operation Resolute Support is currently deploying about 12,800 troops in
Afghanistan, including some
6,900 Americans. In addition,
2,900 U.S. troops are mobilized
in the mission Freedom’s Sentinel for counterterrorism operations.
Without any doubt, the initial purposes of the coalition
were successfully achieved: alQaeda is not the main enemy
anymore: its leadership was
eliminated, its capacity was
destroyed and its bases of operations were dismantled. The
security situation of Afghanistan has improved from massive violence to sporadic attacks. The transformational
agenda for democracy and reconstruction is still a work in
progress but most Afghan people agree on this positive effort.
However, Afghanistan still
needs the global support before become self-dependent.
Currently, no province can
claim full security and at least
29 of 34 of them are still exposed to terrorism. Terrorists
have changed names, leadership and affiliation. Now relocated on the other side of the
border with Pakistan, they are
waging asymmetric warfare.
Just last Saturday, more than
80 people were killed when suicide bombers attacked a large
demonstration in Kabul.
Moreover, the UN has recently reported that more than
150,000 Afghans have left their
homes in the first six months of
2016 as a result of a surge in
violence. The total number of
the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Afghanistan will
exceed a million this year.
Terrorists are mainly coming from the Haqqani network,
an insurgent group based in
Pakistan. Inspired by Al-Qaeda, this group plans to reverse
the transformation of Afghanistan and to establish a fundamental Islamist regime. The
Haqqani Network doesn’t
claim a global Jihad agenda and
this is a critical point. Widely
considered as a home-grown
organization without global
ambition, the Haqqani network
has benefited from a lower attention from our Western allies
until recently. This was a major
mistake. When it comes to terrorism, there is no minor capacity, no benign influence and no
limited perimeter. Therefore, the
war on terrorism cannot be
won without also dismantling
the Haqqani network.
In a step in the right direction, our American ally has recently changed perspectives
and this is a very positive evolution. U.S. forces are now fo-
cusing with a clear priority on
fighting Taliban and Haqqani
insurgents who are the main
causes of insecurity in Afghanistan. In addition, President
Obama has revised military
plans and announced that 8,400
U.S. troops would remain at the
end of this year. This is a substantial effort considering that
the lower numbers of 5,500
troops were planed previously.
In addition, our allies
should also address the passive support of Pakistan to Islamist insurgents operating in
Afghanistan. As long as terrorists will enjoy sanctuaries on
the other side of the border, our
joint military effort will be vain.
Most security experts are voicing concerns on a situation that
has the potential to destabilize
the wider region. The international community should acknowledge the sad paradox that
Pakistan, a country exposed to
domestic terrorism, has traded
stability with Islamist extremists.
Counter-insurgency operations across Afghanistan have
been undertaken under Afghan
command since 2014. The Afghan forces have achieved impressive progresses in spite of
operational limits. Still, the lessons learnt from the last two
years highlight that further
support is required at combat
unit level. Allied military and
experts are present for routine
training, advising and logistics
assistance. We can only invite
them to increase their assistance and increase the targeted air strikes in Pakistan against
the Haqqani network and Taliban leadership. The job in Afghanistan is not finished but
peace is never a lost cause
when a strong determination
brings allies together against a
The writer is Former Ambassador of Afghanistan to Vienna, Brussels and Rome.
By Abdulrahman al-Rashed
tired of justifications from perpetrators and those covering up for
Electronic recruiters will continue to find people ready to wear
explosive belts as long as inciters
and preachers of extremism and jihad are not stopped
In the beginning they justified
terrorism with poverty, only to be
told that their late leader Osama
bin Laden was a millionaire. They
then claimed ignorance and lack of
education, until they were told that
there are teachers and engineers in
the ranks of extremists, and that
their leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is
a doctor. They blamed political
persecution, yet in their ranks
there are leaders from the free
world, such as the late Anwar alAwlaki, who was American.
They tried to link terrorism to
Israel’s occupation of Palestine,
but no one believed them because
Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq
and Syria (ISIS) and Al-Nusrah
Front have not carried out a single
attack in Israel. They linked terrorism to the U.S.-led invasion of
Iraq, but were told that Al-Qaeda
started its actions seven years prior, and continued them after the
They are now justifying terrorism in Europe with racism and
mistreatment, but millions of Muslims want to come to the continent to escape harsh conditions in
their countries, since Muslim
countries suffer the most from terrorism. Denial is no longer convincing, and cause and effect must be
The killer of the priest in Normandy is 19 years old. Most of
the terrorists are young, and were
kids at the time of the Sept. 11
attacks. They are not the generation of Bin Laden’s videos, but of
Twitter and Facebook. The means
differ but the cause is the same.
Both generations are the prod-
uct of the same extremist thought,
which qualifies them to work for
Al-Qaeda in Yemen, ISIS in Iraq or
Al-Nusrah Front in Syria at a later
stage, or to become an intelligence
officer for Iran. Those brainwashing children and youths should be
held responsible first and foremost.
Some preachers of extremism
probably do not understand what
they have done to their countries,
people or the world. They are
planting exaggeration and extremism into young people’s minds.
Typically, people who carry out
operations join terrorist organizations only after becoming groomed
intellectually. ISIS takes in individuals who have already been incited. Its leadership in Al-Raqqah is
the last stop.
No one really knows who is
sending electronic messages,
whether from Al-Raqqah, Tehran
or elsewhere. However, this does
not matter. Electronic recruiters
will continue to find people ready
to wear explosive belts as long as
inciters and preachers of extremism and jihad are not stopped.
This article was first published
in Asharq al-Awsat on July 29,
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the
former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and
internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief
of the London-based leading Arab
daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he
still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the
editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister
publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with
his articles garnering worldwide
recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential
position it is in today. He tweets
Since last November we have witnessed a series of crimes in Europe, with one perpetrator. That
month, terrorists killed 130 people in the bloodiest attack in Paris since World War II. The city
looked like a battlefield. Terrorists then attacked Brussels, killing more than 30 people and injuring 300.
The most heinous attack,
which spread terror among millions of people, was carried out
by an armed man who killed 84
people and injured hundreds with
a truck in Nice. This month saw
attacks in Germany - including the
stabbing of a pregnant woman,
and the killing of rail passengers then the killing of a priest in a
church in Normandy, France.
The countries attacked are our
friends. France has politically
supported the Syrian people
against the regime of President
Bashar al-Assad more than any
other country, and has supported
Arab countries against Iran. Germany has warmly welcomed a
million refugees, mostly Muslims.
Anger will not fade after the
news bulletins. There will be further political crises, internally and
externally. No one will give importance to weak justifications
and excuses. Why should the
West ignore the identity or religion of a perpetrator? We are facing a widespread terrorist war carried out by one group that claims
to hold the banner of Islam. Instead of explaining an individual
crime here and there, we must
stand by these injured societies.
We face the same tragedy and
suffering, from the same group,
as France, Germany and Belgium.
Together we must track down the
main perpetrators, who are the
preachers and defenders of extremism. We should get past denials and excuses. The world is
Based on f ree compet it ion
Lack of work capacit y
SUNDAY JULY 31, 2016
By Andrew Mitrovica
The world was watching and,
no doubt, cringing.
It would be easy to mock
the four-day-long cavalcade of
near lunacy that was the recently concluded Republican National Convention since, on
parade, was a disparate crew of
D-list celebrities, political alsorans, and at least one confirmed plagiarist.
But the stakes for the future of the United States and,
indeed, the world, are much too
high to take the low road in attempting to decipher the geopolitical implications of the
deeply unsettling metamorphosis of the Republican party from
the supposed "Grand Old Party" to the party of Donald
Political conventions - particularly on the eve of a presidential election - are choreographed pantomimes designed
to elevate and promote the party's standard bearer as a reflection of its defining beliefs and
UpFront - What does the
world really think about a President Donald Trump?
The coronation of a demagogue
By that staid measure, the
Republican party has unquestionably become - with only
pockets of resistance - the institutional embodiment of a reality TV star who takes pride in
his boundless narcissism and
By Mehari Taddele Maru
Since August 2015, the gravest
challenge to the South Sudan transitional process and to the viability of the Transitional Government
of National Unity (TGoNU) is
posed by President Salva Kiir's
recent appointment of General
Taban Deng Gai as first vice president, replacing Riek Machar.
The possibility of the transitional process' collapse comes as
no surprise to close observers of
Rather, there has been a clear
understanding that the peace process was brittle. The agreement
was, at the same time, the least
bad among other bad options that
South Sudanese people have to
Inside Story - What's hampering peace in South Sudan?
The situation on the ground
Lack of progress in implementation of the peace agreement that
was signed a year ago - particularly the delay in the demilitarisation
of Juba - has been the cause of
pervasive suspicion, volatility, and
instability on the ground.
The parties were not genuinely committed to the ceasefire, as
shown by the deliberate introduction of various kinds of obstacles
to undermine the transitional process and the barring of the Joint
Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) from playing its
steering role in the transitional process.
With the unending mutually
assured distrust between the two
blocs, led on one side by President
Kiir and on the other by First Vice
President Riek Machar, the presence of two parallel armies in Juba
outside the designated cantonments signalled a high possibility
of further clashes.
The international community,
and particularly the IGAD and the
AU, need to fight against the col-
lapse of the peace and transitional
process, but more crucially they
need to be prepared for a total state
failure in the already troubled Horn
Triggered by a confrontation
in Juba between disgruntled army
officers loyal to Kiir and those to
bodyguards of Machar - including
around the presidential palace fighting led to the deaths of more
than 300 armed personnel and civilians in the first week of July.
In what have looked like like
revenge attacks, the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army (SPLA) has
been fully involved in the killings.
This indicates that the leadership
of President Kiir is either under
the direct influence of the SPLA,
or unable to exercise effective civilian control over the country's
This has also put Machar and
his supporters in a disadvantaged
position because the SPLA has
sided with the president and killed
many of Machar's closest bodyguards.
Political and armed deadlock
In effect, in Juba, recent clashes leave Machar with only some
bodyguards and Kiir with the entire national army.
Concerned about his personal
security and that of the entire
SPLM-In Opposition (SPLMIO), which backs him, Machar has
demanded the deployment of a regional intervention protection force
as a precondition for his return to
As the guarantors of the peace
agreement met, including the Inter-Government Authority on Development (IGAD), the African
Union and the United Nations Security Council, they condemned
the clashes and the attacks on civilians and the UN personnel and
But more crucially, the guarantors decided to deploy a protection force in Juba. President Kiir
quickly rejected the deployment
of such a protection force, and hurriedly appointed General Deng.
Al Jazeera’s exclusive interview with Riek Machar in South
These two decisions by President Kiir may kill both the Transitional Government and the peace
agreement. Machar's group could
boycott the entire peace process,
undermining the effectiveness of
the peace agreement and taking the
country back to where it was in
2013 when the initial conflict
Deployment of protection
forces without the agreement of the
government is probably not a wise
idea, and thus requires the international community to wait and see
if the transitional process could be
saved without additional troop
If the current crisis remains
unabated, the SPLA's shadow over
politics could be expected to increase.
Rendering the Transitional
Government abortive, recent developments indicate that the government will increasingly fall under the direct influence of the
As a result, the country faces
further fragmentation within the
military and the elite along ethnic
and geographical lines.
For this very reason, one immediate action that needs to be taken is the demilitarisation of Juba.
That would provide a fair and free
platform and establish security for
all the institutions in the transitional process, and protection for
civilians against potential clashes.
However, could Juba be secured and free for all under the
SPLA? In a situation where individual interests clash and bureaucratic institutions are subject to
nepotism, it is highly likely that
the military would align with one
side or the other owing to that partisan political environment.
Hence, the need for deployment of a protection force or
boosting the mandate and force level of the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan becomes a
vital condition for stability in the
capital as well as the functioning
of the Transitional Government
Now, the question remains: Is
it possible to deploy protection
forces when the government and
the key party to the agreement are
Given the ethnic nature of the
clash and the fact that the armed
wing of the opposition still remains
under Machar's leadership, without the full participation of
SPLM-IO, the current crisis to the
transitional process could rapidly
morph into another civil war with
mobilisation of opposing forces,
and lead to a cycle of revenge by
Now, the international community, and particularly the IGAD
and the AU, need to fight against
the collapse of the peace and transitional process, but more crucially they need to be prepared for a
total state failure in the already
troubled Horn of Africa.
As the saying goes, one can
lead a horse to water but cannot
make it drink. Therefore, South
Sudanese political and economic
elites, and the population at large,
need to keep the transitional process alive by putting pressure on
the warring parties to work closely with the international community and Pan-African institutions.
Mehari Taddele Maru is adjunct assistant professor at Addis
Ababa University and a member
of the African Union High Level
The views expressed in this
article are the author's own and do
not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
I would like to extend my and Baloch nation’s best wishes to Afghan nation on 10th anniversary of Afghanistan
Times. Afghanistan is at war with forces of darkness where upholding fair journalism is a daunting task itself. The
team of Afghanistan Times deserves the admiration for maintaining objective journalism amid great difficulties.
We Baloch are especially thankful to Afghanistan Times for giving fair coverage to Balochistan’s volatile situation, particularly the carnage that Pakistan has been committing over the last 15 years with blanket impunity. We
wish you continued success for many years to come.
Letter to editor will be edited for policy, content and clarity. All letters must
have the writer’s name and address. You may send your letters to:
The views and opinions expressed in the articles are those of the author(s)
and do not reflect the views or opinions of the Afghanistan Times.
By Hisham Melhem
It was the best of times, it was the
worst of times, it was the age of
wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it
was the epoch of incredulity, it
was the season of Light, it was
the season of Darkness, it was the
spring of hope, it was the winter
of despair… Charles Dickens
After a bruising, long, tedious
and toxic primary campaign, the
Republican and Democratic parties, held their modern equivalents
of Bread and Circuses spectacles
of antiquity, also known as the
national conventions, with their
uniquely American rituals of color, sound and fury and selected
Donald J. Trump the thuggish
scoundrel native of New York,
and Hillary R. Clinton, the most
untrustworthy and calculating
candidate in recent years, a New
Yorker by choice. Watching and
listening to scores of speakers –
and yes cheap political performers, particularly among the Republicans- engaging in boundless selfrighteousness and moral and political excesses, summoning up fear
and trepidation as their primary
tools of recruitment, I was reminded of that old Arab proverb describing the dilemma of choosing,
when all your options are noxious,
and then you realize that your
sweetest option is very bitter.
Morning in America, or darkness at noon?
What we saw and heard in
Cleveland and Philadelphia was
beyond a tale of two cities, or two
contrarian narratives; it was a tale
of two universes about to collide.
Is America a shining city on a hill
as President Obama and candidate
Clinton assured us, or merely a
dark and foreboding crime scene
as candidate Trump warned us?
Is it “morning in America” or
“darkness at noon”? Are we gliding through the best of times, or
slouching through the worst of
times? In Cleveland, Clinton was
accused of cavorting with Lucifer,
and like the spectators in ancient
Rome’s spectacles, the ravenous
delegates/spectators wanted raw
meat, hence the chant “luck her
up”. Those angry Republicans
have no sympathy for the Devil.
But in Philadelphia, the City of
Brotherly Love, naturally the
Democrats took the virtual moral
high ground and shouted “love
It was a novel idea to invoke
love in a political convention, except that this expression of strange
love came in the context of scaring
the country from the horrors of a
Trump presidency, an outcome we
have to admit is truly horrifying.
The Republicans told us that
the country can become great again
if we elect Trump since he is the
self-ordained sole and true savior
of the realm.
The Democrats would have
none of this since the country in
their tattered book is already great.
At a time of social and economic
uncertainty at home, with disturbing and rising racial overtones marring the political discourse, with
Republicans saying in their convention that Blue Lives Matter,
In this context, it's not surprising that speaker after
speaker - including Trump's
children - took turns channelling his noxious rhetoric and,
in so doing, demonstrated that
many Republicans continue to
prefer fear over understanding,
hyperbole over fact, cartoonish displays of patriotism over
authenticity, apologists over
Of course, the denouement
of this marathon of acrimony
was the coronation of a demagogue who, arguably, doesn't
simply flirt with fascism but
embraces it, and, presumably,
considers it a tactical advantage to winning the White
House come November.
Incredibly, if recent opinion
polls are a reliable gauge,
Trump may well prevail - a prediction that would have been
considered inconceivable not
too long ago.
Trump understands and satiates the need of corporate
media for conflict and drama
and he delivers it in unrelenting doses in person and via
That, historically, a bare
plurality of Americans - many
of whom know or care little
about the world beyond their
parochial borders - will likely
determine that outcome is also
Still, rather than encouraging more Americans to vote,
equally parochial politicians
and Democrats responding in their
convention that Black Lives Matter and at a time when the world is
yearning for strong American leadership, our two parties are engaged
Failure of leadership
The two conventions were
mostly oblivious to the rest of the
world, with only few fleeting proforma references to the indispensability of the United States. The
Europeans, who are almost helpless watching Russia’s Putin chipping away at Eastern Ukraine,
while intimidating the Baltic
States, and using the refugee crisis
to extract concessions regarding the
Syrian crisis, are still looking for
American leadership. The “Islamic State” will likely be dealt a serious blow in 2017, but it will give
birth to more deformed children,
in a region that was partially broken when Obama inherited it from
George W. Bush in 2009, but that
Obama, because of his failed leadership there, will bequeath a disintegrating Middle East to his hapless successor, particularly if that
successor is the ignoramus and
obtuse Trump. In the face of assertive and belligerent states,
which are willing to use force and
coercion directly or by proxy as
foreign policy tools, such as Iran,
Russia and China in their respective regions, the U.S. is still the
only outside power capable of
applying effective deterrence.
Hillary Clinton’s vision of
America’s immediate future is essentially a third Obama term without even the minimum excitement
It should be stated here, that
President Obama’s failure to deter
and check the predatory behavior
of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Europe, and Putin’s complicity and direct contribution to the
campaign of terror and mass murder that the Assad regime, with
assistance and direct participation
of Iran and its proxies have been
waging against the Syrian people,
and Obama’s tolerant view of
Iran’s destructive rampages in Iraq,
Syria, Yemen and Lebanon, have
provided Trump with ample ammunition to use against him and
against candidate Clinton. Obama’s
failed leadership in Europe, particularly extracting a heavy price
from Moscow after its occupation
of Crimea and its irredentist belligerent moves in Eastern Ukraine,
his initial lax and shocking view of
ISIS’ threat to the Middle East region and the world, and his abominable response to Syria’s tragedy,
are among the many reasons that
explain the rise of Trump the home
made demagogue. Thus, candidate
Clinton is partially responsible for
her current tormentor.
Bitter options Hillary Clinton’s convention speech was conventional. Her vision of America’s
immediate future, to the extent that
she has such a vision, is essentially a third Obama term without
even the minimum excitement.
Maintaining the status quo in uncertain and fearful times is hardly
innovative, reassuring or promising. Her speech seemed as if it was
written by a village and not by a
leader or a visionary.
conspire, cynically, to enact
laws designed to suppress voter turnout.
In any event, Trump's insular "America First" message
continues to resonate with and,
alternatively, repulse Americans who view the shockingly
ill-informed neophyte as either
the country's messianic salvation or its impending damnation.
But whatever side of the political ledger they're on, Americans can exercise their franchise - whether they choose to
Powerless to influence
We outsiders, on the other
hand, can only watch from a
distance, powerless to influence the US' increasingly toxic
political landscape beyond expressing - publicly or privately
- dismay at the prospect that a
churlish, impulsive egoist may
be poised to become president.
Trump speaks on the last
day of the Republican National Convention on July 21 [AFP]
Trump's popularity is no
fluke. His ascendancy is the inevitable, even natural consequence, in part, of the corporate media's all-consuming fascination with celebrity at the
expense of meaningful discourse about matters that matter such as the fact that 47 million Americans, including millions of children, continue to
live in grinding, soul-sapping
And, despite the mythology commonly associated with
the "American dream", they are
likely to endure debilitating
poverty for generations to
Having fully abdicated its
role as a counterweight on
power and the powerful, much
of the US' consumer press enthusiastically plays courier to
personalities-turned-politicians such as Trump, trumpeting meaningless "exclusives"
with the human "brand" inside
his opulent Manhattan home,
private jet or, ubiquitously, by
Rather than challenge
Trump's lies and overt racism,
they gently chide his "eccentricities" or coddle him and his
calls to build a wall, deport
Mexican-Americans en masse
and bar and register Muslims,
lest they fall out of favour with
the ratings bonanza and risk
Trump understands and satiates the need of corporate
media for conflict and drama
and he delivers it in unrelenting doses in person and via
social media. The result: The
caravan of mendacity gathers
momentum and converts along
A result to affect all
Meanwhile, we outsiders
observe with deepening anxiety how a globe, already
scarred by perpetual war, rampant inequality, and environmental suicide, could possibly
become the playground of a
petulant, Twitter-happy manchild. It is a harrowing prescription for disaster.
In contrast, Democrats - despite their many grievous faults
- displayed a degree of maturity, diversity and even civility
during their convention to
nominate the first female candidate for president.
Setting aside this laudable
history-making and the customary effusive testimonials,
it's folly to believe that, given
her lengthy and instructive history of championing war over
peace and defending the interests of the few at the top over
the many at the bottom, a Hillary Clinton presidency would
offer little more than the depressing status quo at home
Whichever way the political pendulum swings in the US
on November 8, the rest of the
world will be reduced to absorbing the prelude and, ultimately,
the result, as attentive, if not
The real, lasting, and potentially catastrophic impact of
that much anticipated election
will, however, in due time, be
keenly felt - to one degree or
another - by us all.
Andrew Mitrovica is an
reporter and journalism instructor. The views expressed in this
article are the author's own and
do not necessarily reflect Al
Jazeera's editorial policy.
SUNDAY JULY 31, 2016
Dhiban, Jordan - In the Jordanian
town of Dhiban, tension boils beneath the temporarily calm surface.
Over the past couple of
months, clashes have erupted between police and protesters, with
military tanks rolling along the
town's winding roads. Young men
set up a tent where they demonstrated for weeks while negotiating with officials and tribal leaders
in the hope of securing jobs. The
protest camp was stormed last
month, with Jordanian forces firing tear gas to disperse demonstrators; 28 men were reportedly arrested.
While the tent is now gone,
frustration is still boiling among the
young men of Dhiban.
"We are tired of living like the
dead after working so hard to study
and learn," protest spokesman Sabri Mashaaleh told Al Jazeera. The
29-year-old holds a bachelor's degree in counselling from the University of Jordan, but five years
after graduating, he has still not
secured a full-time job.
Arab Spring protests erupted
in Dhiban back in 2011, and to this
day the town remains a barometer
of Jordanians' frustrations over the
worsening economic climate in the
country and rising youth unemployment. According to a 2014
study by the International Labour
Organization, the unemployment
rate in Jordan had surpassed 30
"Dhiban is only the beginning.
We will see more tension as unemployment and poverty remain unsolved problems," Jordanian
freelance blogger and commentator Mohammad Munir told Al
Unemployment is even higher
among Jordanians with university
degrees. According to Jordan's
Department of Statistics, 21 percent of Jordanian men with a bachelor's degree or higher are unemployed - a number that jumps to
71 percent for women.
Oraib Rantawi, director of the
Amman-based Al-Quds Center for
Political Studies, warned of the
dangers facing what he called the
"We have a generation of young
people who graduate from university and spend eight to 10 years
waiting to get a job and start a family," Rantawi told Al Jazeera. "This
group is a very good target for extremist groups, or may be driven
to any kind of violence due to their
frustration." Officials with Jor-
dan's interior and labour ministries
did not respond to Al Jazeera's requests for comment, but in official
statements the Jordanian government has referred to the Dhiban
protesters as "outlaws" and said
that they had been "directed to get
jobs in the private sector".
However, protesters say the
main private-sector jobs available
include work in two factories in
the cities of Madaba and Sahab,
which pay an average monthly salary of 190 Jordanian dinars ($270)
- barely enough to pay for transportation to and from the workplace.
They worked on silencing us
and demolishing the [protest] tent
more than working to find a solution for our situation. We will keep
building our tent, regardless of how
many times they demolish it.
Sabri Mashaaleh, protester
Mashaaleh said he quit his job
as a receptionist at a medical centre in Amman after just two years,
because the salary was hardly
enough to cover his rent and living
expenses in Amman, which is about
70km from Dhiban.
Another protester with a bachelor's degree in business administration said he had a similar experience while working a service job
at a hotel in Amman.
"We would work for the sake
of serving the employers, but could
not move one step towards building our future," said the 28-yearold protester, who spoke to Al
Jazeera on condition of anonymity.
Many residents of Dhiban,
with no direct public transportation options to Amman, work in
the army or in public-sector jobs,
such as government hospitals or
operational offices. And like most
rural towns in Jordan, Dhiban has
not benefited from the country's
various development projects,
with its poor infrastructure repelling private-sector investment.
According to the Department
Massachusetts, United States - It
is the fourth time that Tiffany
Drew has lived in the Starlight
Motel, and the third time she has
been pregnant here.?
Today, like every time she is
pregnant, she has a migraine.?
"I'm hoping if I take some Tylenol it will feel better," she says.
She is almost translucently
pale. The motel room five-yearold Sofiya shares with her mother
and father is cramped and strewn
with toys, but it is home and Sofiya
and her half brother Colby do not
seem to see their lives as any different from those of their peers at
school [Carolyn Bick/Al Jazeera]
Tiffany and her fiancee Mark
Maraccini have been living in the
Starlight Motel in Wareham, Massachusetts, on and off since 2009.
Their current stint started in the
summer of 2015. Their daughter,
Sofiya, who was born in 2011,
lives with them.
Like many considered homeless by the government, the family lives in a motel because - at $200
a week - it is cheaper than a normal apartment, and they have bad
The rooms are an average of
about 13sq ft by 13sq ft, with one
bathroom and no kitchen. Some
residents, such as Tiffany, make
do with microwaves.
Like most motels, the Starlight
wasn't built for long--term stays.?
But all the rooms at the Starlight,
and the other motels in Wareham,
are filled by homeless occupants.
Most consider this preferable to
the other options available to them:
"tent cities" in the woods or homeless shelters.
No one knows exactly how
many homeless people there are
in Wareham because the state
doesn't have any accurate data for
the town. They rely on the information homeless shelters and charitable organisations are able to gather. But Thomas Fitzpatrick of
Turning Point, a homeless outreach organisation based in Wareham, says: "We always have the
rule of thumb that if there are 25
people [we know about], there are
always 25 you don't know about."
The stigma attached to home-
lessness leaves many feeling uncomfortable asking for help and
means their homelessness is often
hidden from the official statistics.
Although cramped, the motel
is home to Tiffany and her family.
And while she'd rather be living in
a real apartment, she says she
knows that isn't an option considering their "horrible credit".
Tiffany picks Sofiya up from
the side of the busy highway that
runs alongside the motel. She takes
the bus to and from school [Carolyn Bick/Al Jazeera]
The school bus drops Sofiya
at the side of the busy highway
that runs past the Starlight. Tiffany meets her there and leads her
back to the relative safety of the
motel as cars rush by.
Then she watches as five-yearold Sofiya rides the scooter she
shares with her half brother Colby, Mark's son from another relationship who stays with them at
the weekends, around the small
motel parking lot.
She looks down at her stomach. She is 13 weeks pregnant and
anxious about bringing the child to
Tiffany lost her unborn baby,
Mya, in July 2015 at 38 weeks,
due to a detached placenta. ?"She
basically suffocated," she says.
"When the placenta came out, half
of it was black and shrivelled.
"I was all prepared for Mya. I
had everything I needed, and things
went bad at the last second, and
now ... could be anything," Tiffany says.?
She couldn't bring herself to
get rid of everything she'd bought
for Mya. Now, she is glad she
didn't sell the crib. "If I had done
that, now where would I be?" she
asks with a laugh.
Sofiya, who is watching,
chimes in. "We had Mya, and now
we have another baby," she says.
"And where is Mya?" Tiffany asks her.?
"In Heaveeeen," she says,
drawing out the word and rolling
her eyes at her mother's question
before scooting across the parking
lot to her grandparents' motel room.
Tiffany shows the necklace
that reminds her of her late daugh-
of Statistics, 87 percent of the jobs
created in Jordan last year - both
private and public-sector - were
based in three major governorates:
Amman, Zarqa and Irbid.
COUNTING THE COST:
The state of Jordan's economy
among unemployed young people
has reached critical levels, with
several high-profile suicide attempts by young Jordanians over
the past four months. In May, a
group of unemployed men from
Ajloun governorate planned to
jump off a building near the interior ministry in Amman, but they
were talked down by police.
Jordan's newly appointed cabinet has announced a series of measures to alleviate unemployment,
starting with replacing foreign migrant workers - who are estimated
to number up to one million - with
Jordanians. But some analysts
question whether Jordanians
would want such jobs, most of
which are in the construction and
"Shame is not an issue, but the
issue is that this sector is not organised and does not provide stability, insurance or social security to
Jordanians," Rantawi said.
The Jordanian government has
also allocated 25 million Jordanian
dinars ($35m) for unemployed
Jordanians to use as loans to start
their own projects, particularly in
rural areas where jobs are limited.
While residents welcomed the idea
in theory, some questioned its practicality.
"In a place like Dhiban where
people could only buy their bread,
what income-generating project
could you set up here?"
"We are not giving up," he added. "They worked on silencing us
and demolishing the [protest] tent
more than working to find a solution for our situation. We will keep
building our tent, regardless of how
many times they demolish it."
Mithila, Nepal - Like many women in the Maithil community in
Nepal, Manjula Thakur found her
life severely restricted and controlled by the male members of her
family. The community follows
deeply entrenched patriarchal traditions.
"I used to stay at home all the
time, with my head covered, doing
the cooking and other household
chores," says the 56-year-old.
Once known as the kingdom
of Videha, with its capital in Janakpur in Nepal, the historical region of Maithila encompasses
some 13 districts in southeastern
Nepal, as well as most of North
Bihar province in India.
Maithila is home to approximately three million people in
Nepal alone, making Maithili the
second most widely spoken language in the country. The Maithil
community is divided into castes,
as are other communities in Nepal
- and the successes and challenges
of overcoming this system have
largely stayed under the radar.
"What I have seen in my family, and in all other families [in the
Maithil community], how you
raise your son is different to how
you raise your daughter," says
Dollie Sah, a Maithil woman and
one of the founders of Nepal Lending Hands, a non-governmental
organisation that helps women in
the community. "It does not matter if your father is a doctor or an
engineer: it's just different."
The NGO was launched just a
few months ago, out of frustration,
she says, at seeing this cycle repeat itself year after year in her
Yet over the past several decades, Maithil women, such as
Shah and Thakur, have been making strides to gain independence,
helped by projects aimed at providing them with income-earning
opportunities outside the home.
Maithil women take a break
for lunch on the grounds of the
Janakpur Women's Development
Centre where they work near Janakpur, Nepal [Omar Havana/Al
Jazeera]Traditional roles Traditionally, women from the Maithil
community have almost never
worked in official positions or in
the formal economy. Coralynn
Davis, an associate professor of
women's and gender studies at
Bucknell University, who has been
researching women's rights in the
Maithil community for decades,
says that although many of the issues faced by Maithil women are
similar to those faced by other
communities in Nepal, she has
found through her research that
"Maithil women are generally economic dependants in their families
- first as daughters, then as wives
and mothers, and often as widows". "[T]raditionally and for the
most part still today, Maithil women do not hold [nor can they pass
down] significant property, nor
retain control over their own incomes if they have incomes. Their
labour is in service to their husbands' families," Davis says. Davis
further notes that "women's sexuality is closely controlled, first as
unmarried virgins and then [upon
marriage arranged by senior kin]
as wives who must reproduce for
their husband's lineage. In order to
ensure such control, women's
movements, communications, and
bodily exposure are tightly regulated". It is this control of women's lives that has resulted in a culture where women have largely
stayed in the home. Maithil women paint traditional art on to canvasses in a workshop inside the
Janakpur Women's Development
Centre, where up to 40 Maithil
women work [Omar Havana/Al
Jazeera] Art and opportunity This
home-centric culture has also resulted in the development of a rich
artistic culture, passed down from
generation to generation, from
mother to daughter. Maithil homes
are often decorated with extensive
wall paintings, which depict religious scenes and motifs, especially in the lead-up to religious festivals and other important occasions,
such as weddings. Despite its origins, it is this culture that is enabling the empowerment of Maithil
women today. Maithil women are
increasingly finding opportunities
to capitalise on this art outside
their traditional community, opportunities which are helping them
find independence and a voice of
their own. One of these is the Janakpur Women's Development
Centre (JWDC), which pioneered
the commercialisation of Maithil
art. Founded by Claire Burkert in
1989, the centre today employs
dozens of Maithil women in a variety of crafts, the produce of
which are then sold in shops in
Nepal's tourism hotspots of Kathmandu, Chitwan and Phokara, and
abroad, including in the United
States, the Netherlands, India,
France, the UK and Japan, among
other places. Burkert explains that
starting up the centre was difficult
at first. "Some of the women ...
wouldn't speak. They always had
to have a male chaperone with
them; now they just hop on the
bus and have learned to read a little bit, and I think those changes
were in large part due to the centre," Burkert says. "These women
broke the ground; now there's been
some societal changes and more
women are gaining independence,
but these women really had to
fight at the beginning; it wasn't an
easy thing," she adds. Today, the
mood at the centre is bright, and
the women currently working
there - although there are far fewer
of them now than in the beginning
- agree with the founder's analysis
of the changes that have been created. Maithil women sew traditional motifs on to cloth in the JWDC
worskhop [Omar Havana/Al
Jazeera] "Since I've started to earn
money, the opinion of my family
and my community has started to
change," says Manjula Thakur,
who has been working at JWDC
since the centre opened. "With the
money I've earned, I've been able
to send my children to school, build
a toilet and even support my husband to buy a small plot of land,"
she adds with pride. Beyond the
Janakpur Women's Development
Centre, Maithil women are increasingly finding employment outside
of the home.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO), for instance,
employs Maithil women in its road
reconstruction projects in the region - jobs that not only provide
economic independence for the
women they employ but that also
contribute to breaking gender stereotypes in Nepalese society.
A group of Maithil women
clear grass from the sides of a rural
road where they work as road maintenance staff [Omar Havana/Al
A brighter future?
Although JWDC and other
similar initiatives have undoubtedly improved the lives of many
women and helped create change
within the community, most agree
that there has yet to be a radical
change in the community.
Davis says that change has
been a mixed bag, with improvements in some areas but only for
"Access to education and employment is greatest for those from
better off families. Things have
changed least for the lowest castes.
Still very few Maithil families educate their girls beyond secondary
school," she says.
Dollie Sah agrees.
"Since 2006 [the end of Nepal's civil war], a lot of things have
changed; people have been more
and more aware [of these issues],
but what has been holding progress
back is the caste system and poverty: people not having a choice."
ter. The bee holds her daughter's
ashes, while the other charm has
small designs of her daughter's
footprints [Carolyn Bick/Al
Mark's parents are also living
at the Starlight.
Before their most recent stay
at the motel started, Tiffany, Sofiya
and Mark used to share a small
apartment with Mark's parents.
Tiffany says she couldn't stand it.
"Mark's dad doesn't know how
to mind his own business," she
says. "They have a frickin' police
scanner to frickin' listen to people."
The scanner, a radio set that
picks up emergency broadcasts,
would go off "all the time", she
Even in the motel, she says
they are "nosy".
"Any time they hear a knock
out here, or a car, or anything like
that, they go sticking their head
out the window."
But they may soon have to
move in with them again.
Sofiya plays in the parking lot
of the motel as her mother, Tiffany, keeps watch. She wants to
play with her eight-year-old half
brother Colby, but he has homework to do [Carolyn B/Al Jazeera]
In November 2015, the town's
Board of Health announced that it
would start imposing a three-week
limit on stays in hotels and motels
in the area. The Board hopes this
will force hotel and motel owners
to upgrade their rooms so that they
can once again host long-term residents.
While the Board has not said
that it will actively kick out hotel
and motel residents, the chairman
of the town's Board of Selectmen,
which is essentially the executive
branch of the town, Patrick Tropeano, said in an email that it may
impose daily fines on hotel and
motel owners, "usually $100 per
day per offence".
The Board has said it will help
place residents elsewhere, but Tiffany isn't convinced.
"No one is getting placed ...
But people with bad credit, they
can't even get a place."
She crinkles her brow in frus-
tration. "This is all I can afford.
Unless you want to find a place
and pay my rent for me - that's
what I pretty much told them,
Although Tiffany and a few
other motel residents are under the
impression that the Board will pay
their first month's rent, last month's
rent and security deposit elsewhere, Tropeano said that from
what he understands, the Board of
Health "has no money to give anyone".
The chair of the Board of
Health, Amy Weigandt, did not
respond to multiple requests for
comment, but Robert Ethier, a
health agent at the Board of Health,
confirmed that the Board does not
have the funding to help the residents. They are working with a
local pastor, David Shaw, and the
Wareham Housing Authority to
place them elsewhere, he said.
Tiffany checks Colby's homework, telling him to "write it so I
can read it, because if I can't read
it, she [the teacher] can't either"
[Carolyn Bick/Al Jazeera]
At the moment, Tiffany and
Mark barely manage to scrape together their motel rent each week.
It isn't easy as, until a couple of
weeks ago, Tiffany was the family's sole breadwinner. Since they
have been together, Mark has lost
his job more than once.
The first time, he was fired
from the KFC where Tiffany
works for taking small amounts of
money, she says, so that he could
save the money he made for his
family instead of spending it. But
the sums were noticeable, she
says, and the manager caught him
doing it on camera.
"I understand he was trying to
help and feed the family, because
we couldn't pay the bills. We
couldn't pay the electric or the gas.
The gas got shut off, and the electric got shut off," Tiffany says.?
Then, he got a job at Walmart,
but he lost that too. Soon after,
the couple lost Mya, and then
moved back into the motel, where
they celebrated Sofiya's fifth birthday.
"He lost his job at KFC. He
lost his job at Walmart. We lost
our apartment. We lost Mya," Tiffany says. "What else could go
"I've always asked that, every
time bad things have happened. I'm
like, 'Isn't it supposed to be threes?
Why am I getting, like, four, five
things, before I get something
Mark has now found some
work with a local company whose
owner was desperate for help.
He works "whenever they
need him", Tiffany says, which
means she sometimes doesn't see
him until late at night. "It gets a
little lonely," she admits.
Sofiya and Colby play in the
motel parking lot [Carolyn Bick/
Scott Richert has been living
at the Starlight Motel for two years
but insists it's just temporary,
while he saves enough for a place
of his own [Carolyn Bick/Al
Scott Richert: 'There aren't the
best class of people in this place.'
When we first meet, 52-yearold Scott Richert assures me he is
only a temporary resident at the
He's been telling himself that
for the past two years - but he still
keeps the walls of his room completely bare, because he plans to
"I lived here years and years
and years ago, for a couple
months, and it was enough for me
then," Scott says of his comparatively brief stay at the motel in the
Although the bathroom is
messy, the bedroom area is immaculate. The floor is spotless. There
are no clothes anywhere. The bed
is tidy. And, yet, Scott still apologises for the mess.
The only signs of his personality come from his collection of
videos and DVDs - movies such
as Braveheart, Goodfellas, and The
Betsy (his favourite, he says).
"Talk about actors and actresses, huh?" Scott says of The Betsy,
grinning. "It's got a whole slew of
Scott's collection of videos and
DVDs are the only way in which
he has personalised his motel room
[Carolyn Bick/Al Jazeera]
The state of the room is a
strange contrast to Scott himself.
An old, paint-covered T-shirt that
might once have been a dark blue
hangs on his burly 6ft 3in frame.
He wears sweatpants of the same
colour, and no shoes, as he lowers
his bulk onto the bed, and begins
to explain how he was forced to
move into the motel in 2014.
As a shellfisherman, Scott
must live in the town in which he
works. But ever-increasing rents
mean he can't afford a place of his
He believes some residents,
and some motel owners, will find
a way around the new law banning
people from staying in motels for
more than three weeks.
"From what I understand, the
motel managers are gonna just start
swapping names around, see if
they can get away with it," he says,
shrugging his shoulders.
He says they might also ask
people to move out for three days,
and then move back in.
It's not that Scott doesn't make
enough money. He pulls out a
crumpled receipt that shows earnings of $137 for a few hours of
work, and says that this is small
compared with the prime shellfish
season, which is coming up soon.
"Right now, I am making about
$55 an hour. During the winter, I
can average about $25-$30 an
hour," he says. "So, I make about
$500, $600 in a week in the winter, but about $1,200, $1,300
Scott makes good money as
a shellfisherman, but it can be an
expensive business to be involved
in [Carolyn Bick/Al Jazeera]
But Scott doesn't have a bank
account. He gets paid for his work
Scott contends that between
the cost of renewing his shellfishing licence, and the excise taxes he
has to pay for his boat and car, he
hasn't been able to save any money, until recently.
He says he can't move towns,
either, because, under the laws of
the various towns in which he has
thought about living, he has to have
a year's residency before he may
begin shellfishing. Wareham is the
only town he has found that
doesn't require that. "That's why I
am still here," he says.
"Like I said, I don't have
$3,000 for first, last and security
[rent payments]. But I am working on it," he says.
Scott suffered a heart attack
almost two years ago, when he was
helping the daughter of the Starlight Motel manager, Sam Smith,
As Scott remembers it, it was
the middle of summer. He was helping her move from one third-floor
apartment to another third-floor
one in a different building - neither
had an elevator. Then suddenly,
"[I] felt like my fricking heart was
going to blow out of my chest," he
Not that he went to the doctor
"Don't be ridiculous," Scott
says, laughing and giving one of
his thighs a jovial slap.
SUNDAY JULY 31, 2016
Big data integrator
Talend pops 54pc
in Nasdaq debut,
Libya’s UN-backed government
has signed a deal with an armed
brigade controlling the major Ras
Lanuf and Es Sider oil ports to end
a blockade and restart exports from
the terminals shut down since December 2014.
Reopening the ports would be
a huge step for the North African
state, which since the 2011 fall of
Muammar Qaddafi has slipped
into chaos that has cut its oil out-
put to less than a quarter of pre2011 levels of 1.6 million barrels
per day. No specific date was set
for restarting exports, but swift resumption would be hampered by
technical damage from militant attacks and by opposition from the
state-run National Oil Corporation, which objected to paying cash
to reopen the ports. Libyan Presidential Council deputy Mousa
Alkouni signed the agreement late
on Thursday with Ibrahim al-Jathran, commander of the Petroleum
Facilities Guards, one of Libya’s
many armed brigades that has controlled the terminals. “I think the
resumption depends now on technical part ... and I think also it will
happen from within a week to two
weeks, but not more,” Alkouni told
Reuters by telephone.
He said the agreement included paying an unspecified amount
in salaries to Jathran’s forces.
He said they had not been paid
wages for 26 months. Their role is
protecting the oil ports, though
critics have said they used it to
extort money from Tripoli.
In a statement issued later on
Friday, Alkouni said there was “absolutely no truth to rumors that
the resumption of oil exports was
the result of extortion or deals”.
Rival governments and a com-
plex network of armed groups who
once fought against Qaddafi and
have quasi-official status are vying for power and control of the
country’s oil wealth, closing down
pipelines and battling over export
Ali Hassi, a spokesman for
Jathran’s PFG brigade, said no date
had been decided for reopening the
ports because that would depend
on the National Oil Corporation.
But he confirmed an agreement had been signed between the
council and Jathran.
Jathran’s brigades led blockades of the ports starting in 2013,
saying he was trying to prevent
corruption in oil sales, though others disputed his motives.
He has also called for more
autonomy for his eastern region.
Opening Ras Lanuf and Es Sider would add a potential 600,000
barrels per day of capacity to Libya’s crude exports, though experts
estimate damage from fighting and
the long stoppage must be repaired
before shipments are at full capacity again.
The NOC has said damage
from recent attacks by ISIS, which
expanded in the country’s chaos,
meant the ports would struggle to
get beyond 100,000 bpd in the near
Beyond technical problems,
NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla
has also objected to any deal with
Jathran, saying it was a mistake to
reward the brigade commander by
paying to end his blockade of the
Sanalla said a deal including
payments would encourage other
groups to disrupt oil operations in
the hope of a similar payout.
The NOC has also threatened
to withdraw its recognition of the
Eurasia Group analyst Riccardo Fabiani said the agreement was
likely to stick, unlike previous attempts to reopen the ports, because both sides had an interest in
making it work.
Facing resistance from hardliners and protests over living conditions, the presidential council
needs oil revenues to improve services and economic stability as a
way of bolstering its legitimacy.
Jathran is also increasingly
politically isolated and has decided to side with the council.
WASHINGTON : Fears about
China, shrunken oil prices and turbulent markets held the U.S. economy to a sluggish pace at the start
of the year. But the gloom seems
to have lifted.
Economists think that the
gross domestic product — the
broadest gauge of economic activity — rebounded in the spring to
more than twice the growth rate of
the first three months of the year.
GDP grew at a scant 1.1 percent annual pace in the JanuaryMarch quarter but is thought to
have accelerated to a 2.6 percent
rate in the April-June quarter, according to economists surveyed by
data firm FactSet.
On Friday, the Commerce Department will provide its first of
three estimates of GDP growth for
the April-June quarter.
The big driver for the rebound
is believed to have been consumer
spending. The pace of that spending had slowed to its weakest pace
in two years during the JanuaryMarch quarter. Analysts have forecast that it accelerated sharply in
the spring, possibly to its fastest
pace in a decade. Because consumers account for more than twothirds of economic activity, a rebound in their spending has an
outsize effect on GDP growth.
The consumer gain will be offset somewhat by a slowdown by
stockpiling by businesses — an
area of the economy that has held
back growth the past three quarters. Business investment, which
has also weakened because of cutbacks by energy companies, is
thought to have increased slightly
last quarter. But government
spending to expected to have been
a drag on growth.
The new GDP report may be
used by both Democrats and Republicans to try to score political
points. Republicans contend that
GDP over the past seven years has
grown at the weakest pace of any
post-World War II recovery and
blame the Obama administration's
policies. Democrats point instead
to structural changes in the U.S.
economy and to obstructionism by
Republican leaders in Congress
who have blocked spending initiatives.
Analysts predict that the economy will grow at an annual rate
slightly above 2 percent in the second half of the year — a modest
pace in line with the pattern that's
existed since the recovery began in
June 2009. Still, even tepid growth
would be preferable to the possible recession that some had feared
might be nearing after the economy's woeful start to the year.
After stabilizing in February,
markets went into a second nosedive in June after Britain voted to
leave the European Union, an unexpected outcome that raised fears
that the already weak global economy might slide further.
On top of that, job growth in
the United States slowed sharply
in April and May. But the job market came roaring back with
287,000 additional jobs in June,
the biggest monthly gain since
"It is amazing how resilient the
U.S. economy has been in the face
of all these uncertainties and
shocks," said Mark Zandi, chief
economist at Moody's Analytics.
"The job market is just incredible,
and those gains will boost incomes
and support stronger consumer
spending in the second half of the
The Federal Reserve took note
of the improving economy after it
ended its latest policy meeting this
week, saying "near-term risks to
the economic outlook have dimin-
ished." Though the Fed kept interest rates unchanged, economists
said the central bank's brighter outlook might clear the way for a rate
increase as soon as September. But
most see only one modest Fed rate
hike this year, which would be
unlikely to slow the economy.
French-American big data startup
Talend made its debut as a public
company today with a pop. After
pricing its shares at $18 last night
(above the expected range of $15$17), the company began trading
on Nasdaq under the ticker TLND
at $27.66, up 54 percent on its IPO
price, giving the company an implied valuation of $537 million.
However, in the immediate
hour after opening, the stock declined about 14 percentage points
and it closed at $25.50.
The offering at $18/share the
night before raised $94.5 million
and was above the company’s expected range of $15-17 and raise
of $86.3 million.
Talend’s debut is encouraging
news for those who have been
wondering about the health of the
tech IPO market. There have been
very few listings this year, and
while Twilio had a strong entry
(and continues to pick up speed),
Talend — which provides a platform for Hadoop or Spark integration and data management services, disrupting more traditional and
costly data warehousing services
— could be a sign of more positive
reception for IPOs to come, particularly in the area of enterprise
services. Some of the hopefuls that
we’ve heard might be eyeing up
public listings soon include Dropbox, Okta and Puppet Labs.
There seems to be an appetite
for more if the metrics are right. In
an interview after the stock opened
for trading, CEO Mike Tuchen
said that part of the reason the
company priced above its estimated range was because after the road
show, Talend’s bankers said they’d
seen much more interest than they
had expected. “The fact that we’re
cash-flow positive, and our market differentiation,” were two reasons for the positive reception, he
Talend’s listing is also positive
news for those who wonder about
how international startups might
fare in U.S. markets at the moment.
As a startup, Talend raised just
over $100 million from the likes of
Silver Lake but also a strong slate
of French and European investors
like Bpifrance, Balderton, Idinvest,
and Iris Capital Partners. It was
founded in France in 2005, and now
has two headquarters: in Suresnes
in the outskirts of Paris and Redwood City, California.
And investors are willing to
invest in tech companies that are
not immediately profitable. Talend
competes against the likes of other public companies like Splunk
and Hortonworks, but also privately held businesses like Apatar
and Jitterbit. It posted a net loss
of $22 million last year on revenues of $76 million. Notably, that
loss was level with the year before, while revenues were up from
$62.6 million, meaning the company is growing and improving,
Late last night, Tuchen pointed out that the company was still
in its “early days.”
“Today is an important milestone which became possible, in
part, because of our singular focus
on enabling organizations of all
types to become data driven – an
increasingly necessary skill in a
world where data has become a
strategic asset,” he said in a statement. “As notable as today’s milestone is though, we are still in the
early days of our journey. We’re
looking forward to maximizing the
opportunity we have in front of
us and building our business for
Pakistan likely to turn down Japan’s offer to finance new Lakhra power plant
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan may decline Japan’s offer to finance a new
650-megawatt supercritical coalfired power plant at Lakhra to replace an out-dated 150MW unit
due to the preoccupation of Pakistan Railways with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
projects and higher power generation cost.
Japan is keen to provide a loan
of $1.7 billion for construction of
the new power plant at Lakhra.
The loan is linked with the purchase of machinery and plant from
Japan expresses interest in
Lakhra coal projects
The government on Friday reviewed Japan’s offer during a meeting chaired by Finance Minister
Ishaq Dar. Senior officials of the
Ministry of Finance, Ministry of
Water and Power, Pakistan Railways and Economic Affairs Division (EAD) participated in the
Dar did not take a final decision on whether to accept or reject
the offer and another meeting
would be held early next week,
government officials said. Pakistan
would give a formal response after
holding the next meeting, they said.
Dar convened the meeting of
stakeholders following Japanese
ambassador’s talk with him, who
expressed the desire to fund the
Lakhra power plant, according to
officials of the Ministry of Water
Tokyo is keen to invest in the
project and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has
already completed a feasibility
study for installation of the plant.
World moves away, Pakistan
goes towards coal
Sources said officials of the
Pakistan Railways, EAD and Ministry of Water and Power did not
support the proposal to set up a
supercritical coal-fired power
plant. The officials of the Ministry of Railways did not give a firm
commitment to providing logistical support for transporting coal
to the site.
The Pakistan Railways is already preoccupied with the CPEC
projects and sparing freight wagons for coal supply to yet another
power project is not immediately
Another reason for opposing
the project was the expected high
cost of power generation when
compared with the Asian Development Bank (ADB)-funded Jamshoro coal-fired power plant, said
The site of the project, which
was less than 40 kilometres from
the Jamshoro power plant, was
another reason for opposing the
The existing Lakhra power
plant has a generation capacity of
150MW but the output is very
low due to the out-dated technology and high cost of generation.
The project was also on the active
list of privatisation.
Last year, financial advisers did
not come forward after the Privatisation Commission sought expressions of interest.
Govt to import gas exclusively for power plants
This project had also remained
in the news for all the bad reasons
and the Supreme Court struck
down the plant’s lease deal, which
the Pervez Musharraf-led government signed in 2006 for 20 years
without open bidding.
The government’s reluctance
to accept Japan’s offer came amid
reports that the Ministry of Water and Power had decided to stop
issuing fresh Letters of Intent and
Letters of Support for imported
fuel-based power plants to be set
up by the private sector.
According to media reports,
the ministry informed the Private
Power and Infrastructure Board
that new 2,632MW hydroelectric
power plants, 3,960MW coalbased power plants (both local and
imported) and other renewable
energy projects already under construction will bring 13,207MW of
new generation capacity by the
end of 2018.
According to a statement issued by the finance ministry after
the meeting, Dar reviewed the financial aspects of coal-based power projects and expressed his satisfaction over the progress.
We said every effort must be
made to complete the projects
within the approved timeframe as
well as within the approved budgets.
SUNDAY JULY 31, 2016
‘I don’t take
success to head
release in 2018:
Since Sajnay Dutt’s been out of
jail, the star has been working on
multiple projects. On the occasion
of his 57th birthday, Sanjay announced that Munnabhai will hit
the theaters in 2018.
Sanjay Dutt to return as
“My movie with (Vidhu)
Vinod Chopra sahab will start in
November, it is called Marco. And
after that, I am doing a film with
Mahesh Manjrekar, it is a remake
of De Dhakka, and then there is a
good line-up of movies,” Indian Express quoted him as saying. The
Khalnayak star was asked about
Munnabhai’s release to which he
replied, “2018”. When asked about
the delay, he said, “You should ask
Raju Hirani and Vinod sir. Even I
am waiting for Munnabhai.” Sanjay
Dutt breaks silence on tiff with
Sanjay also disclosed his routine post his jail term. “I have
started working out, I do martial
arts. I spend four hours in the gym
in a day. I have quit drinking. You
should not drink alcohol. There is
a very strict diet for me, grilled fish,
grilled chicken and you have to eat
what you eat in the hospital.”
His biopic is also in the works
with Ranbir Kapoor playing the
lead. Sanjay is expected to make a
short appearance in the movie.
Have something to add to this
story? Share it in the comments.
up to Hrithik
Not so long ago, Shah Rukh Khan
took everyone’s breath away when
snaps of his 8-pack abs for Happy New Year hit the Internet. It
turns out, he owes it all to Hrithik
While the Greek God, as he is
sometimes called, makes many
women go weak in the knees with
his toned physique, his workout
routine has inspired many men
within Bollywood and outside to
hit the gym.
Read: What makes Shah Rukh
Khan a marketing genius When
King Khan recently went live on
fame, he revealed interesting things
about his fitness regimes, especially the one where he took a leaf out
of the 42-year-old actor’s book.
Read: I am not good enough to
work internationally, says Shah
The 50-year-old Fan actor,
who was all praise for his Kabhi
Khushi Kabhie Gham co-star’s
chiseled body, said, “I used to
work out seeing Hrithik Roshan’s
picture in my gym. This was nearly twenty years ago. We had a picture of Hrithik standing pulling over
his suspenders, this was from
Dabboo Ratnani’s shoot. We used
to keep his picture.” Watch: Shah
Rukh Khan in Raees teaser
On the work front, Hrithik is
currently juggling between the promotions of Ashutosh Gowariker’s
period drama Mohenjo Daro,
which will hit the theatres on August 12, and shooting of his upcoming film, Kaabil, while SRK is
going to have as many as three releases in 2017 - Raees, Imtiaz Ali’s
next film starring Aunshka Sharma
and Aanand L Rai’s next movie.
Warner Bros just dropped the
full cast list for Suicide
Squad and it turns out,
Batman won’t be the only
hero to add a pinch of Justice
League-ism to the movie.
Ezra Miller’s Flash will also
be making a surprise cameo!
The news was revealed in
Suicide Squad press notes
from critics screenings that
the studio has been holding,
While the notes don’t give
any specifics about The
Flash’s cameo, it is being
said that the 23-year-old
actor likely filmed the spot
during Suicide Squad’s
reshoots.Miller’s take on the
Flash debuted in two brief
scenes in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which
bowed March 25 in North
America. You can catch
Suicide Squad, which stars
Will Smith, Margot Robbie,
Jai Courtney and many more,
in theatres on August 5,
Alicia Vikan de r is a o n ce -in -a-ge n e ratio n s tar: Matt D am o n
Actor Matt Damon says his Jason Bourne co-star Alicia Vikander
is the current favourite of Hollywood and everyone wants her in
their film. The 45-year-old actor
praised the Oscar-winner saying
they are lucky to have her in the
movie, reported People magazine.
“We were lucky to get her. Every-
'Madaari' is the moving tale of a
distraught common man, a single
father Nirmal Kumar (Irrfan) who
has lost his son under tragic circumstances, owing to negligence
and corruption in the system.
How he resorts to a desperate
measure to make his voice heard,
in a bid to seek justice, forms the
crux of the film. Exposing the malaise of deep-seated corruption,
government apathy and the power of social media in reaching out
to people, the film is both, disturbing and hard-hitting. It is a reality check for the electorate and
sends out a strong message that
the "ideal voter" in India will perhaps no longer tolerate government
indifference and demands accountability. Unlike, other political satires, "Madaari" takes the route of
a strong emotionally-packed narrative, well-told. And that, is what
perhaps pierces your heart, making you connect immediately. You
empathise with the father, even
not having experienced his predicament. Irrfan, as the anguished father, is brilliant. His eyes, with
their vacant expression, convey his
pain and frustration, with ease. As
an actor, he is in absolute command, reliving the grief effortlessly. His pain is palpable. The last
scene where he finally severs physical ties with his son's belongings,
is heart-wrenching. Vishal Bansal,
as the Home Minister's son, Rohan, is a treat to watch. A combination of spontaneity and restraint, the child exudes a maturity as an actor, far beyond his years.
Their bond which builds, gradually, is heart-warming.
one in Hollywood is trying to get
Alicia in their movie right now,”
Damon said. Read The Danish Girl
review: Why did Eddie Redmayne
get an Oscar nod? The Martian star
feels the Swedish actress’ talent has
no boundaries and she is versatile
enough to surprise people with her
choice of roles in the future as well.
“I just think of these once-in-ageneration actresses who kind of
explode onto the scene and what
strikes me about her is I can’t see
where her limits are. Read:?What
brought Michael Fassbender and
Alicia Vikander together?
Watch Jason Bourne trailer:
Matt Damon’s reborn Bourne’s
acceptable. Besides, Noor has given me a fake cheque that obviously bounced,” revealed Sangeeta.
Flanked by Pakistan Film Distrib-
few lines Matt Damon has in Jason Bourne
When asked if there is anything
people should know about Vikander, 27, but are not aware of
yet, the actor said with a laugh, “If
I knew something that people
don’t know, then they shouldn’t
hear it from me.”
Believe it or not, Meryl Streep once
feared she wouldn’t get more work
Oscar-winning actor Meryl Streep
used to fear that every film would
be her last. The 67-year-old’s biggest concern was that she wouldn’t
be cast in any more movies. But
she says she is proud that she still
boasts a successful career 27 years
later, reports femalefirst.co.uk.
Read: Watch Meryl Streep ape
Donald Trump: Let’s give her an
Oscar for this too
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal magazine about her fears for
the future, Streep said: “And if
you’re lucky you can keep working. But everybody has troughs and
dismal times - every single person.” “I remember as I was hovering around 40, I thought each movie
would be my last, really. And all
the evidence of other 40-year-old
women at that time - this is 27
years ago - would lead you to believe it was over.”
Streep further shared that she
would have been “unhappy” if her
acting career had come to an end
because of her age. Read:?Meryl
Streep talks about her affairs in her
biography “On a certain level you
don’t have any choice - you’re
unhappy if you’re not doing it, so
you’re compelled in a certain
way,” she said. Streep recently
signed on to co-star opposite
Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel
Miranda in the upcoming Mary
Taiwanese actor dropped from Chinese
film on ‘independence issue’
This may be hard to believe but is
true. A renowned Taiwanese actor
has been taken off the lead part in a
Chinese film reportedly because he
spoke for the independence of his
country. What is even harder to digest is that the entire movie shoot
was completed in June. The action
indicates the kind of doggedness
which China has towards the arts.
The Chinese film, No Other Love,
is a romantic comedy helmed by the
commercially sought-after Zhao Wei,
and a statement from the producers
-- who fired the Taiwanese star, Leon
Dai -- closed the issue by submitting an apology that read: “Sorry for
hiring the wrong person... After
multiple communications with Dai,
his stance was still unclear. Therefore, the director and all investors
unanimously agreed to remove Dai
from his leading role… The director
and the entire crew dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to China.
We are all Chinese, and we firmly
support the one China policy. Our
country’s interests are our top priorities… Any ambiguous stance
Sangeeta wants to teach Noor a lesson
Ishq Positive may have hit screens
already, but the production is yet
to escape the cloud of negativity
that has surrounded it right from
day one. The film may have failed
to impress on the box office, its
cast and crew members, both current and former, have been making
headlines for quite a while now.
The film’s former maker Sangeeta addressed a media conference
at Lahore Press Club, firing a
broadside at the film’s new director Noor Bukhari. What started out
as a financial dispute has turned
into a rather ugly falling-out. “I
worked on Ishq Positive for about
22 days and it was decided that
Noor would pay me Rs500,000 in
exchange for my services. But I
have received only Rs200,000,”
said Sangeeta. “She would also disturb my work and ask me to change
the script a lot. I left the film due
to the behaviour of Noor and Wali
Hamid Ali Khan, which was not
more like Liam Neeson
“There’s been six or seven (recent) performances and they’re all
really different and they’re all going in different places and I don’t
see the boundaries yet. I’m really
excited to see what she does next,”
Read: You’ll never believe how
utors Association Chairperson
Chaudhary Ejaz Kamran, director
Joni Malik and screenwriter Pervaiz Kalim, Sangeeta said never in
her life has she compromised on
the quality of her work. “I warned
Noor and Wali against what they
were doing but of course, it fell on
deaf ears.” According to Sangeeta,
it is now high time that she is remunerated for her participation in
Ishq Positive . “I completed most
parts of the film and even recorded the songs but Noor is refusing
to pay me,” she claimed. “I am
seriously ill and still committed to
the film. In fact, I was the one who
introduced Noor to the film industry in the first place! She should
remember that and respect her seniors,” added Sangeeta. Disheartened by Noor’s alleged behaviour,
Sangeeta has naturally taken the
matter to heart. “I have spent almost 45 years of my life working
in the Pakistani film industry. I
have introduced so many actors
and artists and I find it so insulting
that some of them are working
against me,” she said.
over the country and national identity is intolerable.” Read: Jude
Law’s The Young Pope to premiere at Venice film fest Leon Dai
with actor Michelle Yeoh in The
Assassin. Dai has been a support-
er of Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement -- which is against closer links
between mainland China and Taiwan. He, however, said also in a
statement that he was “against oppression and respects the views of
other people, but is not a member
of any political party and is not a
supporter of Taiwan independence”. Dai’s dismissal comes at a
time when there is a strong nationalist sentiment sweeping across
China that has been provoked by a
United Nations ruling on South
China Sea in support of The Philippines’ claim to the disputed region. A number of Chinese celebrities have been sending messages
claiming loyalty to Beijing. Recently, Dai appeared in Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien’s martial arts
movie, The Assassin (which won
the Best Director Palm d’Or at
Cannes in 2015) -- set in the final
years of the Tang Dynasty in 8th
NEW DELHI: In her eight-yearlong journey in the Indian film industry, Anushka Sharma has tasted success with commercial hits
such as Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, PK
and the latest, Sultan. While she
has also faced failure with Bombay Velvet and Matru Ki Bijlee Ka
Mandola, the actor-producer says
neither success nor failure affects
“Bombay Velvet was a big disaster I have faced. But the kind of
person I am, I don’t take success
to my head or failure to my heart.
I feel that is important because I
feel in an industry which is so fickle, you realise that soon,” Anushka said in an interview. “I feel because of this reason, I have managed to stay above the surface. It
is important to have that sense of
reality that you will have successes and you will have failures and
you will have to lie somewhere in
between,” she added.
Anushka is currently riding
high on the success of Sultan, which
saw her share screen space with
superstar Salman Khan. While she
made her film debut with the Shah
Rukh Khan starrer Rab Ne Bana
Di Jodi and later worked with
Aamir Khan in PK, Salman is the
third big Khan of Bollywood that
Anushka has worked with. Speaking about this achievement, she
shared, “I have never really thought
about all these things happening
to me. I never thought about I’ll
get to work with all the three
Khans. It really wasn’t something
that ever occurred to me in my
mind. But I feel humbled and happy… The contributions that I have
had in these films are what make it
special for me.”
She also feels fortunate because they are huge superstars of
the country and have phenomenal
reach, which helps her work to get
through to other people. “Their
reach is phenomenal and because
of their reach and their fan following, my work gets through to so
many other people.”
Anushka has also worked
with some formidable directors
during her career. From being a part
of late legend Yash Chopra’s last
film Jab Tak Hain Jaan to working
with Karan Johar in the forthcoming Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, she has
also worked under the direction of
names such as Rajkumar Hirani,
Zoya Akhtar and Ali Abbas Zafar.
However, Anushka mentioned
her journey has always been about
her own choices, whether it means
producing a film at the age of 25 or
it means not doing that many films
in a year. According to her, whatever she does, she follows her gut.
“Somewhere in my life, I have always been a bit of risk-taker in
that I have never listened to things
people have told me or what other
female actors are doing. I have not
paid much attention to those
things,” she stated. “I feel sometimes when you follow your gut
and instinct and you don’t feel
afraid, I think God blesses you. It
is said that luck follows those who
follow their instincts and I have
just followed my instincts.”
Hailing from an army background, Anushka had absolutely no
Bollywood backing. However, she
credits film-maker Aditya Chopra
for making her one of the top female actors today. Being an outsider turned out to be an advantage for Anushka; because she feels
she did not join the industry with
any pre-conceived notions about
the way things need to be done.
Throwback: The struggles of Matt Damon
Matt Damon’s career breakout
came opposite Robin Williams in
1997’s Good Will Hunting, but
years earlier Damon found himself
falling just short of working with
the late actor.
During a recent SiriusXM
Town Hall interview, Damon was
discussing what he learned early
in his career while fighting for roles
that he ended up not getting. When
asked if there was one that was
particularly heartbreaking to miss
out on, he revealed, “Well, Dead
Poets Society. Ben and I got called
back on that.”
Not only did Damon and Affleck fail to get their first big break
with roles in the Academy Awardnominated film — even though
they did go on to win their own
Best Original Screenplay Oscar
together for Good Will Hunting —
but the pain on missing out on it
soon became much worse for the
best friends and future collaborators. “When it came out, Ben and I
worked at a movie theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the one
movie they played all summer was
Dead Poets Society,” laughed Damon. “And we had to sit there in
our black pants, white shirt, maroon vest, black bow tie, sit there,
tearing tickets, serving popcorn,
and then watch people bawling
their eyes out as they came out.
And we’re like, ‘That could have
The Jason Bourne star feels
like the unsuccessful experiences
helped shape both of their careers.
“There are the experiences that
they either crush you or they inure you to the realities of this business, and for us it made us more
SUNDAY JULY 31, 2016
Ge rm an GP, Practice 3 : N ico
Ro s be rg fas te s t again bu t gap s clo s e
Nico Rosberg stayed ahead of
Lewis Hamilton in final practice
for the German GP, but Mercedes'
advantage over Red Bull and Ferrari shrunk to a tenth of a second.
While Hamilton closed down his
0.3-second Friday deficit to Rosberg to just 0.057s heading into
qualifying, Mercedes' rivals wiped
out most of their half-second deficit to the Silver Arrows. Mercedes
and Hamilton were also placed
under investigation by stewards
for an alleged unsafe release when
his car exited his garage into the
path of Romain Grosjean's oncoming Haas. Daniel Ricciardo moved
Red Bull back ahead of Ferrari to
take third place, just 0.099s behind Rosberg, with Kimi
Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel
fourth and fifth for the Scuderia
respectively. Both Williams cars
made the top 10 to take over as
'best of the rest' behind the top three
teams from McLaren, who were
ninth with Fernando Alonso. But
Jenson Button endured a torrid session with balance and grip problems
in his McLaren and wound up 19th.
I’m taking Leo’s title: Fram pton Can
helsea striker Diego Cos
ta is struggling with a
back injury and will not
play against Real Madrid
on Saturday, head coach Antonio
Conte has confirmed.
The Spain international took
no part in the Blues' 1-0 win over
Liverpool in the International
Champions Cup in Los Angeles on
Wednesday, with the new Premier
League season now just two weeks
And Conte, speaking in a press
conference ahead of their next
friendly in Michigan, insisted he
will never pick a player who has
not trained, no matter what their
status in the club.
"I have to see the players in
training. If I cannot see them in the
training session, I cannot put them
in a game," he said.
International Champions Cup
guide Who's playing when and
where and how to watch with Sky
Sports "I want to see my players
in training, doing the work. If someone is injured or there is some problems and I don't see the player,
then it's impossible for me to think
about putting him in the starting
eleven or on the bench.
"This is normal, for me. In the
last few days, Diego had pain in
his back. So he didn't train, and for
this reason he didn't play."
Michy Batshuayi is expected
to feature in Diego Costa's place
Michy Batshuayi is expected
to feature in Diego Costa's place
Conte said he will start with
Asmir Begovic in goal but Thibaut
Courtois and Eden Hazard, who
recently returned to training after
their post-Euro 2016 breaks, will
both begin the second half.
And he expects some tiredness
in his players' legs, stating it is "not
easy" to play just two days after
their win over Liverpool.
Highlights of Chelsea's 1-0 win
over Liverpool in the International Champions Cup on Wednesday
Highlights of Chelsea's 1-0 win
over Liverpool in the International Champions Cup on Wednesday
"The game against Liverpool
was a physical game that both
teams fought to win," he said. "We
had only one training session to
prepare, but we have to work in
"I hope to use our minds tomorrow. When you are tired, it's
important to use the head, stay
concentrated and play good football, despite being tired."
H e rath five -w icke t
h au l s e als Sri
Lan ka Au s s ie w in
PALLEKELE: Sri Lankan spinner
Rangana Herath backed up centurion Kusal Mendis' superlative effort to stun top-ranked Australia
by 106 runs in the rain-affected
first Test in Pallekele on Saturday.
Herath finished with impressive match figures of 9-103 to help
the hosts bundle out Australia for
161 on the fifth and final day.
The visitors, who made 203 in
their first innings, had been chasing a challenging 268.
Read: Test No. 1 slot beckons
Pakistan for first time since start
of rankings Australian skipper
Steven Smith provided some resistance with a gritty half-century
before Steve O'Keefe and Peter
Nevill frustrated Sri Lanka with a
Herath bagged the last Australian wicket to fall by cleaning up
O'Keefe, triggering wild celebrations in the Sri Lankan camp.
This was only Sri Lanka's second Test win against Australia in
It was batsman Mendis (176)
who set up the unlikely win for
Sri Lanka with his superb maiden
ton in his team's second innings
after the hosts overcame an 86-run
Sri Lanka lead the three-match
series 1-0 as the action shifts to
Galle for the second Test beginning August 4.
arl Frampton has vowed
to prove he is the best
featherweight in the
world by beating Leo
Santa Cruz and becoming WBA
champion in New York on Saturday night.
The Jackal (22-0-0-KO14) has
stepped up from super-bantamweight to meet undefeated California-based Mexican Santa Cruz (320-1-KO18) as he bids to become a
two-weight world champion.
Watch the weigh-in between
Santa Cruz and Frampton Watch
the weigh-in between Santa Cruz
and Frampton But Frampton is
not fazed by the prospect of meeting a fighter of Santa Cruz's calibre
and promised his fans at Friday's
weigh-in that he will return home
to Belfast victorious.I wanted a
guy like Santa Cruz because I want
to prove myself," Frampton said
at the weigh-in, ahead of Saturday's
showdown at Brooklyn's Barclays
Center. "I know I can deal with
these guys at featherweight - I can
beat any of them. When I hit them
hard on the chin, it could be game
Frampton celebrates beating
Scott Quigg in his last fight
Frampton celebrates beating Scott
Quigg in his last fight "I'm looking
forward to the fight. We've got a
game plan, we're not going to give
it away but we'll do whatever it
takes to get the win."
Frampton, who tipped the
scales at 125.25lbs for the contest
- 0.25lbs less than Santa Cruz says making the weight for this
fight was no issue for him, insisting he is in the best shape of his
"I'm a natural featherweight,"
the Tiger's Bay fighter said.
Frampton challenges WBA
champion Santa Cruz on Saturday
night (Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment) Frampton challenges WBA
champion Santa Cruz on Saturday
night (Ed Diller/DiBella Entertain-
w o rld
N o 1?
ment) "I grew out of super bantamweight a year-and-a-half ago. I
was making it because I was the
champion but I was killing myself
trying to make the weight.
"This is the easiest I have made
the weight in five or six years. This
is the best I have ever felt and I am
coming home with the title."
Frampton will follow in the
footsteps of mentor Barry
McGuigan if he is successful in his
WBA title quest but the Clones
Cyclone says Frampton must treat
the Santa Cruz contest just like
any other bout.
"People are talking about sentimentality and all that nonsense,
but we just don't go for that,"
"This is another fight Carl has
to be in the best shape that he can
be in, use the right tactics that
Shane [McGuigan's son and
Frampton's trainer] and him have
worked on very hard, and win.
"So forget about the sentimentality, forget about it being the
WBA title; it's just we have got to
go out there and perform and win."
Brian Ellison believes Baraweez
will "take all the beating " as he
bids for a third successive victory
in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF
"Ahonoora" Handicap at Galway
The six-year-old has for the
past two seasons finished placed
in the BMW Mile on the second
night of the Festival before turning out just five days later to win
this lucrative prize.
Ellison has again followed the
same route, with Baraweez running with credit to finish fifth from
a wide draw earlier the week.
The Norton-based trainer
could not be happier with how his
charge has recovered from those
exertions. He said: "When he won
the race last year he was lame from
the Tuesday until the Saturday and
he still came out and won. "This
year he came out of the Tuesday
race absolutely bouncing, so I think
he'll take all the beating." Baraweez
spearheads a four-pronged Ellison
assault on the seven-furlong contest. Fast, secure racing tickets: Exclusive racing offers near you Top
Notch Tonto and Stipulate finished
second and fourth in the BMW
Mile, while Dream Walker was
third in an extended one-mile handicap on Thursday. "They've all run
well already this week and deserve
to take their chance," said Ellison.
"With the ground drying up, that
will probably suit Baraweez and
Stipulate best. "On faster ground,
seven furlongs might just be sharp
enough for Top Notch Tonto.
"Dream Walker ran well on Thursday so he'd have his chance, as
well, but Baraweez might be the
one." The Alistair Whillans-trained
Pintura is another dangerous challenger from Britain. The nine-yearold won this race four years ago
and was runner-up in 2013 and 12
months ago. Pintura's former trainer Kevin Ryan is represented by
Kelinni, with Pat Smullen a positive jockey booking. Canary Row
was fourth in last year's renewal
for Patrick Prendergast. The sixyear-old returns to Ballybrit in
good form following a Limerick win
and three consecutive placed efforts so far this season. "He's back
on a rating he's fairly nailed at,
which is why Killian Leonard is
riding him to take 7lb off his back,"
"But he was fourth in the race
last year, he's been running consistently well all season and I'm
sure he'll run a good race.
"Any drop of rain they get will
be a help to him."
Sis te rs s e t fo r
Ellis o n e ye s a
bike s h o w d o w n Galw ay tre ble
The Garner gene is quite something
when it comes to a pair of wheels
and going very fast.
The 21-year-old Lucy Garner,
Sky Academy Sports Scholar and
in her first season with Wiggle
High5, may not have made the Rio
Olympics but she is tipped for
huge things in road racing.
Hot on her heels is Grace, two
years younger than her sister. She
rides for Podium Ambition, who
also boast Paralympic legend Dame
Sarah Storey, and will go up against
Lucy at this weekend's RideLondon Classique. So what do the Garner siblings make of each other as
they prepare for battle? Grace:
Lucy is a selfless person so she
will always commit 100 per cent
to her team-mates. Lucy: Grace is
very dedicated on and off the bike
and knows what she wants. Grace
and Lucy: They are both very
proud of us. If we finished first or
last it doesn't matter to them. Our
grandparents both raced and my
dad liked riding his bike. We actually both rode old fashioned bikes
like penny farthings and tandems
and then we thought we'd move
on to modern bikes!
Grace: We haven't really raced
each other yet but I like to have
Lucy in the race with me because
she always looks out for me. We
both have different goals and goals
with in our teams.
Lucy: We used to be a lot more
competitive until I moved away
to Holland. Now we are really
close and support each other.
Grace: If it was a road race
Lucy would probably win both.
In a timed event it could be quite
close. Lucy: I'd say the same as
Grace. I have a bit more experience in the peloton at the moment
but Grace is pretty quick in timed
events. Grace is another rising star
in cycling from the Garner family
Grace is another rising star in
cycling from the Garner family
Grace: Yes. However, I've not beaten Lucy yet so I'm not sure what
will happen when I do!
Lucy: Always. As an athlete
you always have good and bad
days. We both know that because
we are both sprinters. Sometimes
Grace will beat me and I will beat
her. Grace: We try not to talk about
it all the time. But it is our life so
we do talk about it a lot. Lucy: I
don't really like to talk about cycling all the time so when I am, I
like to know what they have been
As Andy Murray sits out the start
of the American hard-court season,
we ask whether his target of becoming the world No 1 is a realistic one. The Scot boosted his
chances by racking up 2,000 ranking points to Djokovic's meagre 90
at Wimbledon on the back of his
best-ever showing on the European clay, but remains 4,845 behind
in the world rankings. That deficit
is set to increase after he decided
not to defend his Rogers Cup title,
meaning he will slip further behind
if the Serb prevails from a field also
missing Roger Federer and Rafael
Nadal. Will Djokovic dominate in
Toronto? Find Sky Bet's odds here.
The alternative option of playing
in the Olympics is a detrimental
one to his chances, given that there
will be no rankings points available at the showcase event this
year. The ATP 'Singles Race' provides for more encouraging reading for Murray, with less than 800
points between the two in 2016,
although that also means he has
still got to improve on what many
consider to be the best form of his
career. Murray handled the pressure of being favourite at Wimbledon following Novak Djokovic's
early loss Murray handled the pressure of being favourite at Wimbledon following Novak Djokovic's
early loss More specifically, he is
going to have to improve on an unfavorable head-to-head record
against the Serb, having lost 13 of
their last 15 meetings. The latter
sections of the campaign also take
us back on to the world No 1's
stronghold - the hard-courts - a
surface on which Djokovic's only
'loss' of 2016 came due to an eye
problem. Indeed, it is the surface
that Djokovic is rated the greatest
of all time on, according to ATP
Performance Zone, winning 84 per
cent of all matches - a greater ratio
than Rod Laver, Jimmy Connors
or Roger Federer. Murray, on the
other hand, suffered last-32 losses
to Federico Delbonis and Grigor
Dimitrov in Indian Wells and Miami earlier this year, after yet another Australian Open final loss
to DjokovicHis 2015 Rogers Cup
also represents his only success
on the surface in Masters or Grand
Slam events in the last three years.
That's one title out of 27, if we
include the indoor events in Paris
and London. Djokovic has won 18
of them. It remains to be seen how
the SW19 outcome will impact the
pair but ultimately the measure of
the Serb's shock exit is his supreme
consistency. In a year of great
sporting upsets, Djokovic's thirdround loss to Sam Querrey was
right up there. Plenty have questioned the reasoning behind the
Serb's shock loss, with suggestions
of conspiracy theories even floated, such was the scrambling for
logic caused by his relentless success during his 106-week stranglehold on the No 1 ranking.
He will now be looking to
prove that his Wimbledon loss was
the exception that proves the rule,
with recent history suggesting further evidence will be forthcoming.
Djokovic has lost relatively
early in two other events this season, in the quarter-finals to Feliciano Lopez in Dubai and to Jiri
Vesely in Monte Carlo, only to
respond by winning the following
titles, the Indian Wells and the
JALALABAD: When Afghan
troops pushed into Kot, a district
close to the border with Pakistan,
this week, they found many of the
houses empty, with posters plastered on the walls and black flags
left by departing Islamic State fighters. Backed by U.S. special forces
troops and airstrikes that authorities say have killed hundreds of
Islamic State fighters in recent
weeks, the Afghan army has
launched an offensive against the
movement, which is now believed
to be confined to three or four districts in eastern Afghanistan.
Afghan commanders said they
faced little resistance as they
pushed into Kot after a heavy air
and artillery bombardment as
fighters pulled out into nearby
"We have already destroyed
their training camps in Kot district
and the operations will expand to
other districts too," said Shereen
One killed, six injured in Herat blast
AT News Report
KABUL: At least one person was
killed and six others injured as the
result of an explosion that shook
the capital city of Herat province
on Saturday, provincial officials
Provincial security officials
told media that the explosive device was placed in a cart aiming at
to target the police personal.
The bomb blew up at 10:30
am in the area of Imam Fakhr-eRazi. The injured persons were
shifted to the nearby hospitals and
two persons’ state reported critical. No militant group claimed
Commander among 3 rebels
killed by ow n bomb in Logar
A blast killed a Taliban commander along with his two accomplices
in central Logar province while
another rebel commander was arrested in eastern of Laghman province, sources said on Saturday.
Salim Saleh, the Logar governor’s spokesman, told Pajhwok
Afghan New Awal Khan, a Taliban commander, and his men were
planting landmines in Dwobandi
area of Khoshi district when one
of the explosive devices went off,
killing the commander and two
Separately, a group leader of
Rahmani faction of Taliban and six
others were arrested with ammunition in different areas of Mehtarlam, the capital of Laghman prov-
ince, during an operation, the National Directorate of Security said
in a statement.
The operation involved personnel from the intelligence service, Afghan National Army
(ANA) and police, the statement
It also said intelligence operatives a person with 29 kilograms
of opium from a car in the province. (Pajhwok)
Agha, an Afghan army spokesman.
Provincial government spokesman Attahullah Khogyani said 78
Daesh fighters had been killed in
the operation and many bodies had
been concealed inside houses to
hide the number of fatalities they
Five U.S. special forces troops,
fighting alongside Afghan special
forces, were injured in the fighting.
Involving both regular army
and special forces, the operation
in Nangarhar, dubbed "Wrath of
the Storm", coincided with last
week's suicide bombing in Kabul
that killed at least 80 people and
wounded more than 230 more.
The operation, the Afghan army's first major strategic offensive
of the summer, was planned well
before the attack on a demonstration by mainly Shi'ite Hazara people in Kabul. (Reuters)
JULY 31 2016-Asad 10, 1395 H.S
Vol:XI Issue No:08 Price: Afs.15
The Envoy: From Kabul to the
White House, My Journey
Through a Turbulent World
KANDAHAR CITY/ASADABAD : Two children were killed
in an Improvised Explosive Device (IEC) blast in eastern Kunar
province while a policeman lost
his life in a clash in southern Kanadahar province, officials said on
Saturday. Kunar police chief,
Brig. Gen. Abdul Habib Syedkhel, told Pajhwok Afghan News
that the IED exploded in the Sikandar area of Sarkano district
late on Friday. Two children were
killed and three others including
a girl injured in the incident. The
victims were aged between five
and 10 years, he said, adding the
condition of the injured was stable.
Separately, a policeman was
killed and six others were wounded in a clash with insurgents in
Kandahar. The governor ’s
spokesmansaid the clash took
place when militants stormed
Afghan Local Police (ALP) posts.
A colleague gave me the name of
one of Khomeini’s aides, Ebrahim
Yazdi. We didn’t have a street address but it didn’t matter. As soon
as we stepped off the train in Neauphle-le-Chateau, all we had to do
was follow a parade of Iranians
streaming in the same direction.
One of them, assuming I was Iranian and a fellow Khomini enthusiast started chatting with me in
Farsi. Once we arrived at a nondescript little suburban house, I was
led directly to Yazdi. I introduced
myself as a visiting academic and
we sat down to talk. I asked Yazdi
why as a technocrat and moderate, he was working for a religious
Yazdi assured me that Khomeini
was only a symbolic figurehead.
After the revolution Iran would
undergo a period of normalization,
and the clerics would return to their
own domain. Yazdi showed me
into a waiting room decorated with
lush Iranian carpets, portraits of
religious figures and on one wall, a
European cuckoo clock seemingly
left behind by a previous occupant.
I was interviewed in what seemed
to be an informal vetting process.
I came back the next day to see
Khomeini in an adjacent villa. In
full clerical robes, Khomeini sat
cross-legged on the floor, polite but
unsmiling. Not knowing that I understood Persian, one of his aides
advised him, “Tell the American
professor that we want democracy and rights for women—this is
what Americans like to hear.” I
asked Khomeini about his political vision for Iran and how he
planned to govern the county.
Khomeini maintained only fleeting eye contact, stocking his beard
on occasion. But he still managed
to appear engaged and interested,
perhaps even charismatic. The
shah’s regime, he began, was illegitimate for it was not a government grounded in Islamic law. It
did not matter how prosperous the
nation became. Due to his secularism and domestic repression, the
shah had lost touch with the people. He referred to Plato’s Republic as a model. In the Islamic Republic power would have to be
excised by those who knew Islamic law—the clerics.
I asked Khomeini how he reconciled a clerical-led concept with the
practical demands of governing.
Clerics, Khomeini maintained,
would provide the administrative
skills necessary to implement the
fundamentalist program. At the
end of our conversation, Khomeini
directed his aide to give me large
stack of books, papers, and tapes
of his lectures. Once I had studied
all of that, we could meet again. I
came away perturbed.
I realized that Khomeini had a clear
set of totalitarian ideas and an intricate plan to implement them.
The reading material included vicious and sometimes bogus propaganda about the shah. One book,
as evidence that the shah was an
“agent of Zionism,” printed a photograph of a cordial meeting with
“Shimon Peres,” the Israeli leader.
Noting something odd about the
photo, I looked more closely—it
wasn’t Shimon Peres of Israel at
all but, rather, President Perez of
Venezuela at an OPEC summit.
TO BE CONTINUED