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MAY 01 2016 -Saur 12, 1395 HS
Vol:X Issue No:270 Price: Afs.15
www.face afghanistantime s afghanistantimes
Yo u r
h e re
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Taliban sustain heavy
casualties in ‘Shafaq’
The dire security situation in Afghanistan is a vivid example and
consequence of extremism being
used as a geopolitical tool by some
states, former Afghan President
Hamid Karzai told RT in an exclusive interview ahead of the Moscow Conference on International
Security. “Using extremism as a
tool for anybody must not be allowed – any state, no matter who
that state is,” Hamid Karzai told
RT’s Maria Finoshina. Specifically, Karzai noted US interference
in Afghanistan in the Cold War era
as a pretext to wage war against
the rival USSR. At that at the time
countries, such as the US and Pakistan were ”trying to impose radicalism as the best way to fight the
Soviet Union.” The policy has led
to the current spreading of terror
groups, for which the US and Afghanistan are now”paying a heavy
price”. Afghanistan always knew
it was a ”bad idea” and tried to talk
the US out of it, the former president said. ”Even then we thought
it was a bad idea. Even then we
would speak to the United States
as a bad idea that they must not
provide support to extremist forces.” While the Washington “did
achieve a lot” by its post-9/11 intervention, despite initial successes
and ”tremendous
hope”Afghanistan still ”did not
see security the way we should
have,” Karzai said.
“In one area, which was the
most important for us and for the
world, and also about which the
United States spoke as its primary objective: security and an effective campaign against extremism and terrorism, we did not succeed. And we see the increasing
signs, and vulnerability of...(P2)
The US personnel who bombarded a hospital in the Afghan city
Kunduz last year and killed 42
people will not face war crimes
charges, their commander said
Friday. The attack on the Doctors Without Borders trauma center triggered global outrage and
forced President Barack Obama
to make a rare apology on behalf
of the US military still deployed
in war-torn Afghanistan. But General Joseph Votel, the head of US
Central Command, said an investigation has found the troops involved made a series of mistakes
under the stress of battle and had
targeted the facility by mistake.
This, he argued, does not add up
to a war crime, and the 16 personnel found to have failed in their
duties will face administrative
suspensions or reprimands rather than courts martial. "The investigation concluded that certain
personnel failed to comply with
the rules of engagement and the
law of armed conflict," he told
reporters. "The investigation
found that the incident resulted
from a combination of human errors, process errors and equipment failures and that none of the
personnel knew they were strik-
AT News Report
KABUL: Ministry of Defense on
Saturday said that the Shafaq operation was going on successfully
and the Afghan forces imposed
heavy casualties over Taliban
across the country. “Afghan forces are moving forwards in the
Shafaq crackdown and the Taliban
have fled different areas across the
country in the past two weeks,”
said chief of army staff Qadam Shah
Shahim. He said in a press conference that Taliban struggled by conducting attacks on different provinces to capture areas, but they
faced heavy resistance from Afghan forces. He insisted that the
Shafaq operation was on right
path and coordination was on high
alert between Afghan forces. He
highlighted that Taliban sustain
heavy casualties in Kunduz, Her-
Russia view s Afghanistan
as close country: FM
MOSCOW: Russia regards Afghanistan as a close country, the
two countries’ peoples have
friendly feelings towards each
other, Russian Foreign Minister
Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday
at a meeting with former Afghan
President Hamid Karzai. “We are
glad to welcome you in Moscow
again. Russian President Vladimir
Putin has repeatedly said that we
want you to continue to be our
friend in any capacity,” Lavrov
said. “We are glad to have an opportunity to hear your views on
developments in Afghanistan.”
ing a hospital." This argument did
not appease Doctors Without
Borders (MSF), an international
medical relief agency, which has
condemned the strike on its facility as a crime, and has repeatedly
demanded an international inquiry. "Today's briefing amounts to
an admission of an uncontrolled
military operation in a densely
populated urban area, during
which US forces failed to follow
the basic laws of war," MSF president Meinie Nicolai said. "It is incomprehensible that, under the circumstances described by the US,
the attack was not called off." Nicolai argued the threshold for deeming an attack on a hospital a crime
should not be the soldiers' intent
and lamented that the Afghan victims of the strike have no legal recourse against the US military.
"The lack of meaningful accountability sends a worrying signal to
warring parties, and is unlikely to
act as a deterrent against future
violations of the rules of war," she
said. Last year, Obama called MSF
to offer his apologies for the strike,
but on Friday his spokesman Josh
Earnest told reporters that the
president stood by the Pentagon's
investigation. (ToloNews)
“Afghanistan is a country that is very close to us,
our peoples have friendly feelings towards each
other,” he went on to say. “Bygones will be bygones, but friendship lingers on, including in difficult times.” I look forward to a useful conversation,” the minister added. Karzai thanked him for
the reception, adding jokingly that the attitude
towards him in Russia has improved after his
resignation. “That’s a disputable statement,”
Lavrov retorted smiling. “I would like to express
my views on what is happening and will happen
in Afghanistan,” the former president said. “I intend to discuss ways of resolving the situation
and what contribution Russia can make in this
matter.” Karzai noted that Afghanistan would like
Russia to remain a powerful and friendly country. “We will not disappoint you,” Russia’s top
diplomat replied. (TASS)
Taliban deputy
district chief arrested
in Nangarhar
KABUL: National Directorate of Security
(NDS) on Saturday said that Taliban deputy
district chief with his seven colleagues were arrested in eastern Nangarhar province. In a press
statement issued here, NDS said that its operatives succeeded to arrest Taliban deputy district
chief for Rodat district of Nangarhar along with
his seven comrades through an operation in Nangarhar province. The Taliban deputy district
chief for Rodat district identified as Abdulwali,
who is currently under custody, added the statement. The detained rebels were involved in different subversive activities in the district and
further inquiry is going on the case. One PK
machine gun, five AK-47 and one pistol were
discovered and confiscated from the captured
AT News Report
at, Helmand Uruzgan, Ghazni and
Logar provinces, but did not elaborate. Shafaq operation began last
month in different provinces. Shahim termed Taliban’s operation
Omari “only a propaganda”. Deputy of Minister of Interior Abdurahman Rahman, said that Afghan
forces were well prepared to defend the country. Pointing to a
child killed by kidnappers in Kabul, he said that 10 people were arrested on the charge. He said that
police would complete documents
and would hand them over to judiciary. Those police officials who
found guilty in case of kidnapped
child will be suspended, he added.
Deputy Chairman of the National
Security Council Faizullah Zaki,
said that government will seriously monitor the case of killing of
kidnaped child and will punish the
Towards Economic Growth
Consisted of 530 families, the Biloursang village is located in Malistan district of Ghazni province.Most
of the villagers in this community earn their living from agriculture and livestock activities while a number
of them have self-employment such as driving and shop-keeping.
Considering rough and steep terrain, the residents of Biloursang village had a lot of difficulties while
transporting their agricultural productivities to the market before the National Solidarity Programme of
the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD/NSP) extended its coverage to this
area.The lack of a proper road indeed always caused problems, particularly in winter season.
Following the establishment of an independent Community Development Council (CDC) composed
of both elected male and female elected members, most of the problems around the community have
been solved by the people under the supervision of their CDC. As the construction of a road was one
of the community’s priority needs, the CDC in close consultation with the villagers gave top priority to
this project. They have been able to construct a 7,500-meterroad connecting the community with the
district and provincial centers.
Khairullah, a villager revealed: “We could not travel back and forth as there was not any road in the
region in the past. The villagers used to take their patients to health clinics on their backs and donkeys
by accepting a lot of risk. Unfortunately, many patients lost their lives on the way before reaching the
hospital. Thanks to Allah – we are able to bring commodities to our community by vehicles now with the
help of NSP.A Flying Coach van related to the community welfare foundation is also operating between
the village and the district center. This vehicle takes boys and girls to the school and university on a daily
The road project constructed at a sum of AFN 3,000,000 funded by the MRRD/NSP including
10% community contribution directly benefits 1,928 inhabitants residing in Biloursang village.
Encountered, Muhammad Taqi another villager: “Most of our agricultural productivities and fruit
would putrefy before we had access to the road. The fruit mainly produced in our gardens include
grapes and apricot that need a lot of caution after collection from gardens. Due to lack of road, most of
these fruits would usually decay in the past years. Our economy was really affected by certain
losses.Following the implementation of the road project, we have been able to transport our agricultural
productivities at our earliest soon after they have been collected. In comparison with past years, we
could manage to make several times more profit this year from the sale of our crops in the market.”
SUNDAY MAY 01, 2016
A Kunduz w idow,
Bahara is struggling
to feed children
Afghanistan needs its young and
educated people for the country’s
sustainable development and a
prosperous future. This was the
conclusion of a media meeting in
Herat on Tuesday, hosted by the
Social Association of Journalists
in North Afghanistan (SAJNA)
and the Afghan-German cooperation. The meeting raised the question about socio-economic effects
of migration on Afghanistan and if
media actually pays enough attention. A panel of experts gave their
opinions and more than 80 journalists had the opportunity to ask
questions and share their views.
The ensuing panel discussion
was headed by three Afghan experts: Murtaza Rasooli, Director
of Legal Protection Department of
the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR); Bashir Ahmad Besharat, Professor and representative of the Economic Faculty of Herat University; and
Khalil Ahmad Parsa, Coordinator
of civil society organizations in
Western provinces of Afghanistan.
All panelists highlighted that
Afghan media can play a key role
in raising awareness among citizens
about the negative consequences
of migration. Together with the
attending journalists, they agreed
that migration is not the right solution for overcoming Afghanistan’s problems. Additionally, it
negatively affects economic growth
as well as the state’s social welfare.
Murtaza Rasooli clarified the
ministry’s attempts to persuade
Afghans living abroad to come back
home and help rebuilding the country. He said: “In cooperation with
other Afghan ministries and international organizations, we have
been trying to encourage repatriation of Afghan experts. The Afghan government has developed
plans to create jobs and to attract
private investment.” Bashir Ahmad Besharat explained that such
efforts were foiled by the high
number of people emigrating from
Afghanistan. This results in a loss
of human resources, which is contrary to the country’s interests and
Khalil Ahmad Parsa mentioned
further that migration should not
only be looked at from an individual’s perspective: “As a civil activist, I have observed that migration always has a greater effect on
society as a whole. If many people are leaving, it can encourage
others to leave as well. That’s why
we should put such a decision in a
wider perspective. It’s so important to act responsibly.”
When asked about long term
plans of the MoRR, Murtaza
Rasooli replied, “MoRR has prepared a number of short and longterm plans for both migration and
repatriation. This includes a detailed five-year strategic plan
which is available on the MoRR’s
website.” Journalists also wanted
to know more about the economic
effects of last year’s migration from
Afghanistan. Bashir Ahmad Besharat pointed out that migration
has a strong impact on the Afghan
currency. As it is more expensive
for industrial companies to buy
supplies from abroad, this resulted in a decrease of the country’s
productivity and, as a consequence, a decline of employment.
“Media Meetings 2016 – Afghan media for Social Responsibility” are a series of regular events
held by Afghan-German cooperation and SAJNA. The meetings
bring together experts from the
public sector, civil society, development organizations and the media to discuss important development issues.(WADSAM)
....P1 us to that today,” he said.
If the US remains sincerely
determined to fight terror in all its
forms, and its intentions are true,
Karzai believes that Washington
should focus on cutting down extremists’ financial sources and
training grounds. “The war against
terrorism will not succeed unless
we fight it in the sanctuaries, in
the training grounds, in the moti-
vational factors, in the financial
resources to them. The reason the
United States and its allies failed
to provide lasting security to Afghanistan and to do away with extremism and with radicalism is because they began to fight it in Afghan villages, where terrorism
wasn’t there anyway in the first
place. They did not go to the sanctuaries, which were in Pakistan.
They did not go to the motivational
factors, which were in many other
places. They did not go to the financial sources of it, which they
knew were where they were.” “If
this war is genuinely against terrorism, if the United States wants
to succeed, then we know by now
that success will not come unless
you go to the sanctuaries, you go
to the financial sources and all other
factors,” Karzai reiterated.
“And if you cannot do it alone,
then go seek help from Russia,
China and India,” he added. ”In
particular, Russia, in our case, because it is close to us, because it
has a long history with us, and
because it has the means to do it,
together with the rest of the
world.” The US says it has ”done
everything right” in Afghanistan,
admits some shortcomings, which
Karzai said is not enough for a satisfactory explanation of Washington’s failure.
“The United States must explain itself as to why things went
wrong,” he said. ”Therefore, my
suggestion is that the US begins to
seek help, or, if it is not doing that,
it must explain itself to us and to
the rest of the world.”
KUDUZ CITY : A woman, who
lost her husband to recent fighting
in northern Kunduz province, has
been forced to shoulder responsibility for looking after her children.
Living in a rented house in the
2nd police district of Kunduz City,
the widow told Pajhwok Afghan
News her 45-year-old husband
Syed Jan was a property dealer -the only source of the family’s income.
Now that the sole breadwinner is gone for good, the 40 years
old has been struggling hard to feed
her children, concerned about their
future, education and security.
Taliban captured Kunduz
City on Sept. 28, 2015 but the security personnel launched an operation three days later against the
insurgents and recaptured the provincial capital step by step in
about two weeks.
More than 180 civilians were
killed, 330 others wounded and
over 20,000 others displaced from
the province to Kabul, Badakhshan and Takhar provinces.Some
government and private offices
were set afire and valuable looted.
On the fourth day of clashes,
the woman’s family members were
in urgent lead of bread. Her husband was obliged to come out of
his house to bring bread for children, recalled Bahara, the widow
of Syed Jan.
As tears rolled down her
cheeks, she said: “On Oct. 2, security in Kunduz was not good,
but my husband had to go to Bandar-i-Imam Sahib to bring bread
from the only bakery shop there.”
A clash between security forces and militants erupted, wounding her spouse. At around 9am,
relatives evacuated him to a city
hospital.Later, he was shifted to
the Afghan National Army (ANA)
hospital where he died of his serious wounds. Crying uncontrollably, the mother of two teenage
daughters and a son said she had
no option but to work as a cleaner
in a media outlet. However, her
salary cannot meet the basic needs
of her family. Her family was living in harsh economic conditions,
KABUL : Some officials on Saturday ticked off residents for evincing little interest in participating
in municipality-arranged drives to
spruce up the nation’s capital.
The most polluted capital in
the world, Kabul inhabitants’ lack
of enthusiasm to keep the city
clean, vehicular emissionsand an
absence of civic education are the
main reasons behind growing pollution. Nisar Ahmad Habibi Ghori,
head of the cleanliness department
at the municipality, said people
had no interest in voluntarily taking part in cleaning drives. He also
lashed out at the municipality for
failing to motivate citizens.
He explained the municipality
kicked off a cleanliness drive in
every district on Thursdays and
Fridays, but not a single person
came forward to help workers.
Habibi said the municipality
was facing a shortage of vehicles
and other equipment used in cleaning the city. Around 30 to 35 vehicles have developed technical
faults while shifting the garbage out
of the city. Workers of the cleanliness department shifted garbage at
night out of the city, but people
dump trash in wrong places.For
this, the official said, the municipality was unduly panned.
Aziz Ahmad Saleh, director of
the cleanliness branch in the 4th
municipality district, also grumbled about the lack of public interest in cleanliness programmes. He
estimated 650,000 people lived in
the 4rth municipality district and
160 personnel were not enough to
maintain cleanness in the area.
Mohammad Hassan Malikza-
da, the cleanliness department director in the 3rd municipality district, claimed more than 70 percent of people placed garbage at
improper spots.
Residents of some neighbour-
hoods, however, are taking steps
for the removal of rubbish from
their localities. Mehdi Fitrat, a resident of Dasht-i-Barchi, said:
“There is a lot of garbage in our
area and the municipality pays lit-
tle attention to it. We have talked
to a private company for its removal.” Prof. Wafa Rahman, a
Kabul University teacher and environmentalist, said there was need
for a strong campaign to spread
the woman complained. The government recently assisted war victims, but she is yet to receive any
help from the authorities. Mohammad Syed, Bahara’s brother-inlaw, said Jan’s economic situation
was far from satisfactory. But after the death of his brother, Bahara is even poorer, finding it harder
to feed her children. “My economic condition is not stable either and
hence my inability to help the widow of my brother. The government
hasn’t aided the family and we are
disappointedbecause the rulers
could not do anything for themselves. How would they support
families of victims?” Afghanistan
Natural Disaster Management
Authority (ANDMA) DirectorMirAqaItibarsaid the government recently paid 50,000 afghanis to each victim family. However, many families are yet to be assisted. A charitable organisation
had promised supporting the remaining of households, but the
pledge had not been honoured so
far, the director explained.
Just like Bahara, dozens of
other families living in miserable
conditions are worried about their
future and the uncertainty staring
their children in the face. Another
woman, Khadija, also lost her husband in the clashes. She is the only
person earning livelihood for her
three sons and a daughter. Her eldest son is 12 years old, who cannot help his mother, brothers and
Though she has received aid
from government and nongovernmental organisations, yet her family remains in dire need of assistance. Her children cannot work
to eke out a living.
“We have been survivingon
assistancefrom the government
and NGOs, but I don’t know what
the future holds in store for us? I
don’t know how to fund the
schooling of my children, buy
them food or clothes? “My husband was responsible was looking
after the family. But since his
death, we have been grieving his
loss and my children orphans,” she
remarked. (Pajhwok)
awareness about urban life and
protection of the environment.
Keeping the environment clean
was a shared duty of municipality
and citizens, he explained.
The w orld’s top military
brass ponders how.....
...P12 of top UN officials. Their
participation indicates that there are
still some opportunities for dialogue
between Russia and the West on
the problems of European and international security. Regional instability in the Middle East, which has
led to a large-scale refugee crisis, indicates that the current international
anti-terrorism approaches driven
by bloc mentality and national interests do not work very well. Most
of the participants of the conference agree that new approaches,
based on mutual respect and the
active involvement of all states, are
now more relevant. “Current international relations are at a crossroads: The situation will either continue moving towards more chaos
and anarchy or collective work to
resolve the current problems will
dominate,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during the
conference. “To implement this we
should establish sincere and open
dialogue and look for the balance of
interests.” Pakistan’s Defense Minister, Khawaja Asif, agrees. According to him, “People should find solutions to their problems by themselves, solutions must not be
pushed on them from outside.”
Likewise, his Chinese counterpart
Chang Wanquan reiterates that there
should be no interference from outside in the domestic policy of a country, “including under the pretext of
fighting terrorism while pursuing
one’s own goals.” Causes of terrorism and instability One of the main
reasons for the current inability of
the world powers to solve new
challenges is the absence of effective cooperation and dialogue between Russia and NATO, argues
Shoigu. Indeed, with almost zero
collaboration between NATO and
Russia, it is impossible to tackle
the challenge of terrorism. The clear
absence of an equal and open dialogue between Russia and its potential Western partners also contributed greatly to the inability to
fight international terrorism effectively. The former president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, remembers the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan in 1979, using it to explain how disagreements and pursuing one’s own interest can affect
anti-terrorism campaigns. At that
time, a number of Western countries supported radicals – the mujahedeen – to weaken Moscow.
In the end, those who fought
against the Soviet Union became
terrorists. Afghanistan collapsed,
which created a thriving environment for terrorists. Iran’s Defense
Minister, Hossein Dehghan, echoes
Karzai. He warns against using
proxy wars in the Middle East for
achieving one’s interests, because
such an approach nurtures terrorists and hampers both regional and
international security. Russia’s
Chief of the General Staff Valery
Gerasimov expanded on Dehghan’s
points. External interference and
promotion of Western-style de-
mocracy in the Middle East, combined with the poor economic situation in these countries, are
among the major drivers for terrorism, according to Gerasimov.
in Libya and Iraq are a vivid manifestation of the negative effect of
foreign intervention, he believes.
Gerasimov argues that Russia’s
counter-terrorism experience during the 1990s in the North Caucasus can be useful, because it “gave
Russia an opportunity to develop
the solid foundation for the legal
framework and combat practices,”
which has been helpful during the
Russian campaign in Syria. Likewise, Karzai argues that “a stronger Russia is a guarantee of stability in Afghanistan,” and Russia’s
deeper involvement in the fight
against terrorism is essential. Obstacles for a joint anti-terrorism
campaign are still high However,
despite the unanimous recognition
that all stakeholders should unite
in the face of the global terrorism
threat, experts remain skeptical
and point to the obstacles and disagreements that impede any joint
endeavor. “First, there is a disagreement about what is a terrorist group and what is not,” Andrew Tabler, the Martin Gross fellow on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute for Near Eastern
Policy, told Russia Direct. “Second, the U.S. does not see any concessions coming from [Syrian President] Bashar Assad, so I think it
is harder for the U.S. to look at
that and say: ‘OK! Let’s get involved.’ Third, there is the larger
context of poor relations between
Russia and the U.S., especially
concerning Eastern Europe: Recent
incidents inthe Baltics are just the
latest of many signs.” Gross argues that these reasons “generate
the lack of trust between the two
sides.” Russia and the West should
resolve these problems if they are
really serious about fighting terrorism together. Elena Suponina,
the advisor to the director of the
Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, agrees. “How one can fight terrorism effectively when even international mediators cannot agree
on the mechanisms which define
one or another group as terrorist,”
she told Russia Direct. “This is
one of the major obstacles.” Richard Weitz, a senior fellow and director of the Center for PoliticalMilitary Affairs at the Hudson
Institute, believes that one of the
problem stems from what he calls
“an asymmetric interest.” “The
Russian government, as shown by
sending its large military component to Syria, is more concerned
with the outcome than the U.S.,
which so far has not sent any major commitment,” he told Russia
Direct. “The Islamic State issue is
important for the U.S. President
but not as important as many other issues. Therefore, it is not the
Youth empowerment: Refugee handicrafts go on display
PESHAWAR A variety of handicraft products made by Afghan
refugees were showcased at the
Pakistan National Council of the
Arts (PNCA) on Friday.
UNHCR and AikHunarAik
Nagar (AHAN) organised the daylong exhibition as part of youth
empowerment interventions under
the Refugee Affected and Hosting
Areas (RAHA) programme.
The UN refugee agency
through AikHunarAik Nagar
(AHAN) launched a Skill Enhancement and Livelihood Initiative
(SELI) to support skills development and income generation of the
most vulnerable people. People in
Peshawar, Nowshera, Charsadda
and Mardan districts benefitted
from the initiative. Selected beneficiaries received training in block
printing, frame-based weaving,
jewellery making, filling stitch,
leather and crochet embroidery.
UNHCR representative Indrika
Ratwatte, famous Fashion Design-
er Rizwan Beyg and diplomats
from different countries attended
the event.Ratwatte called investment in Pakistani and Afghan youth
investment in peace and sustainable development. Fifty community-based skills centres have been
established in different union coun-
cils, where 727 Pakistanis and 273
Afghan refugees were given skills
training. More than 10.6 million
people (11 per cent Afghan refu-
gees) have benefited from some
3,500 projects implemented across
the country at a cost of approximately $175 million. (Pajhwok)
SUNDAY MAY 01, 2016
SUNDAY MAY 01, 2016
ISLAMABAD: In response to reports the US Congress is withholding 60 per cent of the aid earmarked
for subsidising Pakistan's purchase
of eight F-16 fighter jets, a Pakistani official has said “negotiations
aren’t over yet”.
Tariq Fatemi, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, told BBC Radio in an
interview that bringing Congress
around to the deal is the Obama
administration’s job.
According to a BBC report
published on its Hindi and Urdu
services, a State Department official told the BBC on the condition
of anonymity that Congress will
not subsidise the sale of eight F16 jets to Pakistan at the advice of
Senator Bob Corker, chair of the
Senate Committee for Foreign Relations. As per the earlier arrangement, Pakistan would have paid
$270 million while the US would
grant the remaining $430 million
for the purchase. As a result of this
move, Pakistan may have to foot
the bill of $700 million for the eight
fighter jets. “There is a strong opposition to provide subsidised
arms to other countries in the US
Congress, but the Obama administration’s offer of military aid to
Pakistan still stands,” Fatemi told
BBC Radio. “Pakistan has already
rendered great services in the war
against terror, so its case is strong.”
Fatemi expressed he is hopeful Pakistan will receive the military aid, and revealed the Pakistan
mission in Washington is currently in talks with members of Congress to raise awareness of Islamabad’s views on the matter.
“America understands how
important a role these eight F-16s
can play in the fight against terror,
which is why the request was made
in the first place.” The adviser also
mentioned that Pakistan has spent
Nepal is just 2,870 km away from
the UAE, and with around 300,000
Nepali expats living and working
in the country, the expats feel very
close to home. Yet when it comes
to buying their traditional gold
jewellery during the wedding season, they have to go all the way
back to their home country.
This bothered Roshan Bhusal, an expat in Dubai who is originally from a small village in Nepal.
"So many tourists from Nepal
keep arriving in the UAE looking
for cheap gold and they ask me
where they can find Nepal-style
gold jewellery. I have to shake my
head," said Mr. Bhusan who
moved to Dubai in 2011.
"UAE has something to allure
everyone - with gold designs ranging from heavy Indian forms to
Arabic and Italian creations. But
there's little for expats from my
home country."
That's when Mr. Bhusan decided he will be the first to open a
Nepalese gold store in Dubai. And
since then the orders haven't
stopped coming.
"Even before the inauguration
of the store we received orders
worth Dh200,000," he said as
workers dragged cartons and boxes into the store. Gold matters
Dubai has more than 800 retail stores; each on an average sells
Dh10,000 to Dh30,000 worth of
gold every day.
In Dubai, about 50 per cent of
gold jewellery is bought by the
$2 billion in the last two years fighting against terrorism. ’Working
against us’ Defence Minister Khawaja Asif during a National Assembly briefing in January said that a
deal with the United States for the
procurement of eight F-16 fighter
jets is facing delays due to "some
lobbyists working against us
there". He said an Indian lobby, as
well as Pakistan's former ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani,
are "working against us" and had
Asian community, 25 per cent by
Arabs and the remainder by tourists. The price of gold could go up
above $3,000 per troy ounce in
three years, according to precious
metals experts. Source: Dubai Gold
& Jewellery Group
Yak and Yeti jewellery trading
had a promising start on Friday in
Bur Dubai in the presence of Mr.
Netra Bahadur Tandan from the
Nepalese Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
As an opening offer, they are giving away a free gold coin weighing
250 mg with every purchase of
jewellery worth Dh1500 till May
14, 2016. The manufacturing costs
are also set lower than their competitors to give an initial boost to
their sales.
"We offer jewellery in gold,
silver and diamonds. Among the
Nepalese traditional designs, we
have chandrama, tillhari, jantar, the
naugedi mala and purbeli kantha,"
he added. Out of all the chic, dainty designs and heavy, complex
patterns that are put out on display, 25% are from the Himalayan
country. The remaining items are a
mix of Arabic and Indian designs.
With that Mr. Bhusan not only
wants to woo Nepali expats but
also intends to cash in on the Indian and UAE's local customer base.
He is hopeful that the demand will
soar with the growing number of
Nepali expats in the Gulf. "We
have good tourists, we have GCC
visitors and the Asian community
continues to grow," he added, "An-
approached the US House of Representatives to lobby against the
sale. "Some lobbyists there are
working against us. They have
approached the House of Representatives. The Indian lobby is
there too and the former envoy to
the US from the PPP government
is also working against us, saying
that these F-16s should not be given to us." The $742 million earmarked for American military aid
to Pakistan in the 2016-2017 bud-
other branch is on the cards which
will be launched this year in Meena Bazaar." Also read: Gold heads
for biggest quarterly rise
Dubai's idea of becoming a city
of gold has found a silver lining
over the last few years. The gold
sales in the emirate grew by 5 per
cent to about Dh14 billion last year
from a year earlier. According to
Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group,
get has also been put on hold, but
may be released if Congress changes its mind, the State Department
official had told BBC anonymouslyi, adding that the Obama administration is working with Congress
in this regard. The F-16 sale faced
stiff resistance in the US Congress
earlier this year, when lawmakers
moved resolutions both in the
House and the Senate, seeking to
block the sale. The US Senate in
March blocked a bid to derail the
the sales will further rise by 5 per
cent this year with consumers
buying the metal as a savings product amid economic instability.
With an annual turnover as
high as Dh80 billion, jewellers in
Dubai have the leeway to offer
competitive pricing for a range of
designs and styles that are procured from all over the world. And
Nepal is not an exception anymore.
sale, but Corker had vowed to
block the use of US funds to finance the deal. Corker and other
lawmakers have expressed concern
about Pakistan’s nuclear programme, commitment to fighting
terrorism and cooperation in the
Afghanistan peace process.
The State Department, however, maintained that the sale of
eight F-16s to Pakistan would assist counter- terrorism and
counter-insurgency operations.
BENGALURU: The mood was
buoyant as a crowd of weatherbeaten but enthusiastic Bengalureans boarded South India's first underground metro at Dr BR Ambedkar station on a sultry Friday
evening. The jubilant mood was
palpable even among the dozenodd metro officials who coordinated the event even as train driver
(pilot as some called him) Chetan
Kumar took off. Well, the metro
officials had reason to be happy
and relieved as the underground
stretch of the metro line was completed after a 5-year delay and high
decibels of public ire. The crowd
kept whistling through the 22minute ride between sessions of
selfies and failed attempts to upload pictures on social media. If
they were thrilled about joining the
rest of the crowd in their historic
underground journey, they were as
much disappointed by the fact that
they couldn't upload pictures as
there was no net connectivity underground. The rollout of the MG
Road-Magadi Road stretch takes
a lot of heat off state Chief Minister Siddaramaiah as his government was under continuous attack
over the unusual delay in completing the project. But the politician
in him did not fail to once again
transfer the blame to the presence
of hard rock which prevented tunnelling in the route. He also hoped
that the rest of the Phase I would
be completed by November. The
CM also kindled hopes of citizens
when he said that Rs 9,000 crore
would soon be released by the state
government for Phase II and Rs
8,100 crore would be released in
the next few days. He also announced that Phase III would have
airport connectivity and that
RITES Limited, a Bengaluru based
engineering consultancy company,
had been given the responsibility
for the planning and feasibility report preparation of Phase III. Earlier, Union Minister of Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the 4.8-km stretch before
exhorting citizens to take the metro
as congestion by private vehicles
on the road had the authorities
mulling implementing a congestion
tax. State minister for Bengaluru
Development and Town Planning,
KJ George, echoed similar sentiments when he said that Bengaluru city was fast growing and that
the government had to provide services at a faster pace as the completion of the route had been expected for years. Commuters may
have to wait a while for smooth
mobile connectivity during the
underground journey. Recently, the
Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation
(BMRCL) announced the floating
of a tender for the allotment of
space for installation of cellular
towers for indoor and outdoor coverage. However, if one were to go
by the way such projects are handled, commuters may well be prepared for a long wait.
The wait may not limit just to
that. The promised feeder services from the stations are yet to see
the light of day. One official from
BMRCL admitted as much when
he said that the stretch was yet to
reach its full potential as the absence of feeder services hindered
connectivity for passengers.
emphasises protection
of Bangladesh citizens
The United States wants to see the
government takes every step possible to protect Bangladesh citizens and thorough investigations
into the recent attacks.
"We want to see the government there take every step possible to protect its citizens," said
Mark C Toner, deputy spokesperson of the US state department, at
a regular press briefing in Washington, DC on Friday.
Toner said US secretary of
state John Kerry offered US support for the ongoing investigation
into recent attacks, certainly the
one that killed their own employee and human rights advocate
Xulhaz Manna as well as his friend
and colleague earlier this week.
Kerry did also urge prime minister Sheikh Hasina to ensure thorough investigations into these and
other recent attacks, said the deputy spokesperson.
The US also urged Bangladesh
to "redouble efforts" by law enforcement to protect the individuals who we believe are at risk.
Responding to a question on
so called ISIS and Taliban claims
behind recent attacks, Toner said.
"I'm aware of some of these
claims, and it's - it's a very complex situation on the ground. Look,
I mean, what we're asking for is
that the government conduct, as I
said, an investigation into these
attacks, these brutal attacks and
these brutal murders, that identifies who the perpetrators are,"
Toner said.
The official also said he does
not think they can say with certainty. "We’ve no reason to - not
to believe those claims of responsibility. But what is clear is that
there is a threat on the ground."
Daytime cooking ban in India as heatwave claims 300 lives
With sizzling temperatures claiming more than 300 lives this month
in India, officials have banned daytime cooking in some parts of the
drought-stricken country in a bid
to prevent accidental fires that have
killed nearly 80 more people.
The eastern state of Bihar this
week took the unprecedented step
of forbidding any cooking between
9am and 6pm, after accidental fires
exacerbated by dry, hot and windy
weather swept through shantytowns and thatched-roof houses in
villages and killed 79 people. They
included 10 children and five adults
killed in a fire sparked during a
Hindu prayer ceremony in Bihar’s
Aurangabad district last week.
Hoping to prevent more fires,
officials have also banned the burning of spent crops and religious fire
rituals. Anyone defying the ban
risks up to a year in jail.
“We call this the fire season in
Bihar,” Vyas, a state disaster management official who goes by one
name, said. “Strong, westerly
winds stoke fires which spread
easily and cause great damage.”
Much of India is reeling under
a weeks-long heat wave and severe
drought conditions that have decimated crops, killed livestock and
left at least 330 million Indians
without enough water for their
daily needs.
Rivers, lakes and dams have
dried up in parts of the western
states of Maharashtra and Gujarat, and overall officials say that
groundwater reservoirs are at just
22 percent capacity.
In some areas, the situation is
so bad the government has sent
tankers of water for emergency
relief. Monsoon rains are still
weeks away, expected to start
only in June.
At least 300 people have died
of heat-related illness this month,
including 110 in the state of Orissa, 137 in Telangana and another
45 in Andhra Pradesh where temperatures since the start of April
have been hovering around 44C.
That’s about 4-5C hotter than
normal for April, according to state
meteorological official YK Reddy.
He predicted the situation would
only get worse in May, traditionally the hottest month in India.
The southern state of Andhra
Pradesh is running ads on TV and
in newspapers urging people to
stay indoors during the hottest
hours. Construction and farm laborers are advised to seek shade
when the sun is directly overhead.
Huge numbers of farmers,
meanwhile, have migrated to nearby cities and towns in search of
manual labor, often leaving elderly
and young relatives behind in
parched villages.
This is the second consecutive
year southern India has suffered
from a deadly heat wave, after some
2,500 people died in scorching temperatures last year.
Though heat waves are common during Indian summers, authorities have done little to ensure
water security or prepare urban
populations for the risks.
This year, Orissa’s capital of
Bhubaneshwar and Maharashtra’s
city of Nagpur joined Gujarat’s
Ahmedabad in launching a heat
wave program to educate people
on how to stay cool, provide shelters and train medical workers on
dealing with heat-related illnesses
like sun stroke and dehydration.
But most cities and states lack
such programs.
This week, more than 150 leading Indian economists, rights activists and academics expressed
their “collective anxiety about the
enormous suffering of the rural
poor” in an open letter to prime
minister Narendra Modi.
The letter says the official response to the crisis has been “sadly listless, lacking in both urgency
and compassion,” and urges Modi
to restore funding for a government
program guaranteeing 100 days of
paid work a year for the poor and
While the monsoon is not expected until June, weather experts hope there would be brief spells of light rain sooner.
SUNDAY MAY 01, 2016
Green Zone
Yemen foes begin
direct talks to resolve key issues
Yemen’s warring parties began
face-to-face peace talks on Saturday on “key issues” in a bid
to end the conflict in the impoverished Arab country, the
United Nations said. “All delegations are present. Key issues will be addressed,” Charbel Raji, spokesman for Yemen’s UN envoy Ismail Ould
Cheikh Ahmed, told AFP about
the negotiations taking place in
Kuwait. Most of the meetings
in talks which began April 21
have so far been confined to
encounters between rival delegations and Ould Cheikh
Ahmed. More than 6,800 people have been killed and around
2.8 million displaced in Yemen
since a Saudi-led coalition began operations in March 2015
against Iran-backed Houthi militia, who seized swathes of
territory including the capital
Sanaa. Key issues to navigate
include the withdrawal of
armed groups, a handover of
heavy weapons, the resumption of a political transition and
the release of prisoners. The
new phase of meetings comes
after the government and rebel
delegations each submitted a
framework for a political and
security solution to end the 13month war. The government
delegation said their proposal
is based on implementing UN
Security Council Resolution
2216, which states that the
rebels must withdraw from
seized territories and disarm
before talks can progress.
Six dead as Sudan
army, insurgents
clash in Kordofan:
Russia will not ask the Syrian regime to halt air raids on the warravaged city of Aleppo, because it
believes they are helping to combat jihadist groups, Moscow's foreign ministry said Saturday. “No,
we are not going to put pressure
on (Damascus) because one must
understand that the situation in
Aleppo is part of this fight against
the terrorist threat,” Foreign deputy foreign minister Gennady Gatilov told the Interfax news agency. Nearly 30 air strikes hit rebelheld areas of Syria’s northern city
of Aleppo on Saturday and the
total number of people killed by
the warring sides after nine straight
days of bombardment reached nearly 250, a monitoring group said.
However, a temporary “regime of
calm” announced by the Syrian
army late on Friday appeared to
have taken hold in two other areas
blighted by recent fighting, in the
northwest coastal province Latakia
and outskirts of the capital Damascus. The Syrian government said
the “regime of calm” - from which
a military source said Aleppo had
been exempted - was an attempt
to salvage a wider ceasefire deal
reached in February. The February truce, brokered by Washington and Moscow, has all but collapsed in fighting that has intensified, particularly in and around
Aleppo as peace talks in Geneva
have crumbled. At least five people were killed in Aleppo early on
Saturday in the latest round of air
strikes, which were believed to
have been carried out by Syrian
government warplanes, the Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights
said. The British-based monitoring group put the civilian death toll
in government and rebel bombardments of neighborhoods in Aleppo since April 22 at nearly 250.
This figure included around 140
people killed by governmentaligned forces in air strikes and
shelling of rebel-held areas, including 19 children, it said. Insurgent
shelling of government-held areas
killed 96 people, including 21 children. Aleppo, Syria’s largest city
before the war, has been divided
for years between rebel and government zones. Full control would
be the most important prize for
ern Ghouta, which is under government siege, said shelling appeared to have ceased around the
capital in the hours after the start
of the “regime of calm” at 1 a.m.
(2200 GMT on Friday). “Until
now there has been no military
activity and no sound of bombardments in nearby areas, no sound
of shelling or of warplanes,” the
resident, Maher Abu Jaafar, told
Reuters via internet messenger.
“It’s the opposite of last night,
when there was a lot of bombing
and the sounds of rockets and
shells.” A Friday statement from
the Syrian army did not explain
what military or non-military action a “regime of calm” would entail. It said it would last for 24
hours in Eastern Ghouta and Damascus and for 72 hours in areas of
the northern Latakia countryside.
The United Nations has called on
Moscow and Washington to help
restore the ceasefire to prevent the
complete collapse of talks aimed
at ending a conflict in which more
than 250,000 people have been
killed and millions displaced.
dish militants, security sources said
on Saturday. Twenty jets took off
from Diyarbakir air base late on
Friday and bombed sites used by
Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)
militants for food and weapons
support in Hakurk, Avasin and
Qandil in northern Iraq, the sources said. Two separate rounds of
air bombardments were carried out
in Sirnak province near the Iraq
border after receiving an intelligence tip-off, the sources said.
The Turkish military has frequently carried out air strikes in
the area in recent months after a 21/2-year ceasefire and peace process between the government and
the PKK broke down last summer.
Thousands of militants and
hundreds of civilians and soldiers
have been killed since then and a
handful of cities in the predominantly Kurdish southeast have
been engulfed in the worst violence
since the 1990s.
The government has refused to
return to the negotiating table and
has said it will crush the PKK,
considered a terrorist organization
by Turkey, the European Union
and the United States.
Separately on Saturday, one
Turkish soldier was killed and two
police officers wounded in a rocket attack by PKK militants in
Nusaybin, a town near the Syrian
border, where a round-the-clock
curfew has been in place since midMarch due to army operations.
More than 40,000 people
have been killed in the conflict
since the PKK launched its insurgency in 1984.
An emergency state was declared
in Baghdad after hundreds of supporters of Shiite Muslim cleric
Muqtada al-Sadr on Saturday
stormed the capital’s fortified
Green Zone and some entered the
parliament building.
The protesters stormed the
parliament after lawmakers failed
to convene for a vote on overhauling the government.
The protesters, who had gathered outside the heavily fortified
district housing government buildings and foreign embassies, crossed
a bridge over the Tigris River chanting, “The cowards ran away!” in
apparent reference to lawmakers
leaving parliament, one of the witnesses said.
A guard at a checkpoint said
the protesters had not been
searched before entering. TV footage showed them waving Iraqi flags
and chanting “Peaceful, peaceful!.”
Some were standing on top of concrete blast walls that form the outer barrier to the Green Zone.
The protestors, many of
whom were seen waving Iraq's national flag, were responding to calls
made by Sadr.
This week, lawmakers again
failed to approve new cabinet ministers. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had been seeking to
replace the previous cabinet,
which had been marred by allegations of corruption and patronage.
In a press conference Sadr denounced Iraqi political circles who
are obstructing Abadi’s reforms
that would see current ministers
replaced by technocrats with no
party affiliation to tackle systemic political patronage that has enabled bribery and embezzlement.
Sadr also called for a one-million
man “peaceful” demonstration.
“The political sides want to
suppress the reform movement,”
he said, describing the “reform
movement as having only the interest of people in its core.”
Protestors are seen at the parliament building as they storm
Baghdad's Green Zone after lawmakers failed to convene for a vote
on overhauling the government, in
Iraq April 30, 2016. (Reuters)
He added: “[The reform movement] is for God, the will of people and Sadr has zero interest in
Instead those who are trying
to cling to the status quo are those
who want to keep the “quota system” to keep “their interests intact,” he said.
Observers have criticized
Iraq’s quota system, which divides
power between Shiites, Sunnis and
Kurds. The quota which keeps the
presidency post for a Kurd and
the premiership for a Shiite are
blamed for political corruption, and
weakening the state and its army.
Sadr is so far the main Iraqi
political figure, who is lending his
weight to push for Abadi’s reforms, stressed that the reform
movement’s protests “will continue to be peaceful.”
Last Friday, Sadr warned political party leaders that they
would face street protests if they
obstruct Abadi’s government overhaul to fight corruption.
“You are not staying here! This
is your last day in the Green
Zone,” shouted one protester as
thousands broke into the fortified
area in central Baghdad.
Yemeni government forces backed
by an Arab coalition seized an alQaeda training camp in the southeastern province of Hadramawt
Saturday along with “large
amounts” of weapons, its governor told AFP.
It comes during an offensive
launched last month to recapture
areas in the south overrun by alQaeda and which on Sunday saw
loyalist forces recapture Hadramawt provincial capital Mukalla,
which the militants had occupied
for a year.
“The offensive is continuing
in Qoton to hunt down al-Qaeda
militants,” said Hadramawt governor Major General Ahmed bin
Braik, referring to a town north of
Braik said government forces
overran an al-Qaeda training camp
in the town where they “confiscated large amounts of weapons”
and “arrested eight al-Qaeda militants”.
“Mukalla is now a safe city,”
Braik added.
The capture of the military
camp comes as Yemen’s warring
parties began face-to-face peace
talks on Saturday on “key issues”
in a bid to end the conflict in the
impoverished Arab country.
An AFP reporter there said the
situation had returned to normal
as pro-government forces deployed
across Mukalla with troops from
the Arab coalition securing the
Government troops that seized
the city were backed by special
forces from Saudi Arabia and the
United Arab Emirates, as well as
by coalition air strikes, the alliance
said in a statement.
At least 27 Yemeni soldiers
died in the fight to retake Mukalla,
military officials and medics said.
And while the coalition has
said that more than 800 militants
were killed, al-Qaeda issued a state-
ment on Monday denying the claim
as “lies” and saying its dead “do
not exceed the number of fingers
on both hands”.
The statement addressing
Hadramawt residents and signed
by Ansar al-Sharia, another name
for Al-Qaeda in Yemen, said that
the militants withdrew only to
spare Mukalla the destruction of
“We will fight the battle by our
own rules and ways and not by
those of the enemy,” said the state-
ment, adding that the UAE had
played the biggest role in the fight
for Mukalla.
An officer there had told AFP
that residents of Mukalla, home
to an estimated 200,000 people,
had appealed to the militants to
spare it and pull out.
The Yemen-based al-Qaeda in
the Arabian Peninsula is regarded
by Washington as the network’s
most dangerous branch, and AQAP
militants have come under repeated US air and drone strikes.
President Bashar al-Assad, who
has been fighting to keep hold of
his country throughout a five-year
civil war. ‘A bit quieter’ Observatory director Rami Abdulrahman
said government-held areas of
Aleppo were “a bit quieter today”,
but that shells fired by rebels were
still intermittently hitting. “There
aren’t clashes in Latakia, there
aren’t clashes in Ghouta (Damascus suburbs),” only some lower-level violence between rival rebel
groups outside Damascus, Abdulrahman said. A resident of West-
New fighting has broken out
between Sudanese troops and
rebels in the state of South Kordofan, leaving six insurgents
dead and several wounded, a
rebel group said.
President Omar al-Bashir’s
forces have been battling the
Sudan People’s Liberation
Movement-North (SPLM-N)
in South Kordofan and Blue Nile
since 2011, but in recent months
the two southern states have
seen long periods of calm compared with previous years. The
SPLM-N said clashes began on
Wednesday and continued until
late Friday, with fighting initially
erupting west of the town of
Um Serdiba.
“On our side we lost six
comrades and 18 others were
wounded,” rebel spokesman
Arnu Lodi said in a statement
late on Friday.
He said the rebels had inflicted “heavy casualties” on the
Sudanese troops.
The military spokesman
was unreachable for comment.
Khartoum limits press access to the war-hit border regions, making it nearly impossible to verify the often-contradictory reports from the army
and the SPLM-N about fighting there.
400 German protesters shouting ‘refugees can stay, Nazis
must go’ arrested
Police have detained about 400
leftists who were protesting
against the national convention
of the populist Alternative for
Germany party in Stuttgart.
German news agency dpa reported that protesters were
shouting “refugees can stay,
Nazis must go,” as some 2,000
party members arrived at the
convention center on Saturday
morning. Protesters temporarily blocked a nearby highway and burned tires on another road leading to the convention center. Some 1,000
police officers were on the
scene to prevent violent clashes between far right party
members and demonstrators.
Alternative for Germany, or
AfD, has been growing in political influence as it campaigns
on an anti-refugee and anti-Islam platform. Now polling
around 14 percent, AfD is eyeing entry into the federal parliament in elections next year
after a string of state election
wins. The AfD was formed
only three years ago and has
since gradually shifted its policies to the right, while entering half of Germany’s 16 state
legislatures and the European
parliament. Having initially
railed against bailouts for debthit eurozone economies, it has
changed focus to protest
against mostly-Muslim migrants and refugees, more than
a million of whom sought asylum in Germany last year. The
AfD has loudly protested
against Chancellor Angela
Merkel’s liberal migration.
The Turkish army carried out air
strikes in rural parts of southeast-
ern Turkey and northern Iraq, targeting logistics posts used by Kur-
Rowhani allies
win second
round of Iran
Reformist and moderate politicians allied with Iran's President
Hassan Rowhani won most seats
in second round parliamentary
elections, local media reported Saturday.
Unofficial and incomplete results said that of the 68 seats being contested between 33 and 40
went to the pro-Rowhani List of
Hope, with conservatives gaining
21 more MPs.
The second ballot to complete
a new 290-seat parliament took
place Friday because initial polls
on February 26 did not produce
clear winners in the 68 seats.
According to Fars news agency, close to the conservatives, 33
seats went to the Rowhani allies - 31 reformists and two moderates- while only 21 seats were taken
by the conservative coalition.
The remaining 14 seats went
to independents, the report said.
Another conservative news agency, Tasnim, said pro-Rowhani allies of moderates and reformists
had gained 35 seats so far.
Official results are expected
later Saturday.
Rowhani's allies made huge
gains in the first round of elections,
on February 26, when voters drove
many conservatives out of the parliament. Results from Friday's second ballot will decide who has the
most power when lawmakers are
sworn in next month, opening or
potentially closing a politically
delicate path to even limited social
and cultural change in the Islamic
Tension over the vote's high
stakes was dramatically underlined
by a shooting involving supporters of rival candidates in a southern province. The rare political violence left four people wounded,
a security official said.
Around 17 million citizens
were eligible to vote on Friday in
55 towns and cities. There was no
voting in Tehran as the List of
Hope swept all 30 of the capital's
30 seats in the first round.
SUNDAY MAY 01, 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 and 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 Eighteen: The calendar of the country shall be based on the
flight of the Prophet (PBUH). The basis of work for state offices is the
solar calendar. Fridays and the 28 Asad and the 8 Sawr are public
holidays. Other holidays shall be regulated by law.
There is no denying to the stark reality that Afghan government
is caught between devil and the deep blue see as it had failed to
meet public expectations. Civilian and security forces’ casualties had increased as compared to the past year, though the official reports still to appear on the surface. If the reports were
finalized and made public, these will not be encouraging. The
Taliban and its affiliate militant groups still have the ability to
carry out terror attacks in major cities. The directionless peace
process is at halt. The Taliban have emerged as a parallel government after visit of its delegation to Islamabad where important issues were discussed, by passing the Afghan government.
At the same time, economic indicators are discouraging, though
the government claimed increased in revenues. Poor economic
policies, power shortage and insecurity are the major factors
which is diminishing domestic purchasing power. Many companies across the countries had announced job cuts. It is strange
to notice that the government is claiming of improved economy
but the streets famous for shopping are losing color. Consumers
prefer to buy used items due to economic constraints or low
wages. It had forced many to leave the country for industrial
countries. The brain drain has hit the national economy hard.
The economic growth had been slowed down by the mass immigration of talented Afghans.
On political front the situation is far more worst than what is
said and believed. From farmers to teachers and lawmakers,
most of them are criticizing the government for its failure to
address the outstanding challenges which had not only crippled
the national economy but also the social life. Corruption and
mismanagement are the major reasons which sparked this severe criticism across the country—from the parliament to streets.
However, the hope has not died yet because liberal forces
are challenging the taboos. Educated youth are pondering over
ways to deal with the problems on their own as they have lost
trust over the government. Protest of a 24 years old resident of
Paktia, Khan Wali Adil, is a good epitome to look at the igniting
hope among the young generation. He erected a sit-in camp in
the capital city near the parliament house to protest against the
forced marriages of girls and women to settle disputes. His protest is also about empowerment of women. He wants to see
girls educated and free so they could choose their own destination. People, especially young men and women, are real power.
They can change what is preventing the country from competing
with the modern world.
Others shall also support cause of Wali Adil because preventing girls from education and forcing them into marriage is a
national issue. It is responsibility of all and sundry to play their
role in resolving the problem through mass public awareness.
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By Bianca Jagger
A historic event took place on
Earth Day 2016. It was a decisive
moment for the planet. On Friday,
April 22, around 60 heads of state
gathered at the United Nations in
New York for the signing of the
Paris Climate Agreement. About
175 governments took the first
step of signing onto the deal, and
according to the White House at
least 34 countries representing 49
percent of greenhouse gas emissions have formally ratified the
Paris Agreement. It was “the largest ever single-day turnout for a
signing ceremony,” indicating
“strong international commitment
to deliver on the promises.”
I was at COP21 in Paris when
negotiators finally agreed the Paris Agreement, thefirst legally binding global climate deal. The agreement is the culmination of 21 years
of international negotiation and
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process: a massive global
political mobilization in response
to the looming threat of catastrophic climate change. It scales up ambition from the previous international instrument, the Kyoto Protocol, by placing mitigation and
adaptation obligations on all parties. The agreement includes elements of previous international
agreements and follows on from
the Kyoto Protocol and the
shameful failure of the Copenhagen Accord. The Paris Agreement is an unprecedentedevolution
in both international law and climate change law. We all hope that
it will be enough to save the planet.
The program for the opening
ceremony included messages from
civil society, a UN messenger for
peace, participation of schoolchildren and a performance by the Julliard Quintet. The ceremony itself
was preceded by a high-level debate on climate change and sustainability. These are perceived as
hopeful signs that the Paris Agreement will be inclusive and fulfill
the needs of all, including the most
vulnerable. “At the ceremony Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, an Indigenous women’s leader from Chad
called on countries to follow
through on their promises. Temperatures in her country were already a blistering 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees Fahrenheit), she
said, and climate change threatened
to obliterate billions spent on development aid over recent decades.”
I welcome the commitments of
the Paris Agreement, which
“aims... to strengthen the global
response to the threat of climate
change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to
eradicate poverty ... to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels.” The agreement commits
to “adapt to the adverse impacts
of climate change and foster climate resilience,” to “[m]aking finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas
emissions and climate resilient development,” all “implemented to
reflect equity and the principle of
common but differentiated responsibilities.” These pledges are a great
step forward in the race against
catastrophic climate change.
I am very concerned, however, about the agreement’s provision to hold “the increase in the
global average temperature to well
below 2 °C above pre-industrial
levels.” This is a dangerous equivocation. By now we all know that
a 2-degree Celsuis target is woefully inadequate.
The 1.5 Degree Celsius Target
Some critics have been skeptical about the Paris Agreement, and
expressed doubts that governments have either the intention or
the ability to live up to their promises. I share their doubts. NASA
climate scientist Professor James
Hansen, one of the world’s foremost authorities on climate change,
said of the agreement, “It’s a fraud
really, a fake... It’s just bullshit for
them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C
warming target and then try to do
a little better every five years.’ It’s
just worthless words. There is no
action, just promises.’” George
Monbiot writes of the Paris Agreement, “By comparison to what it
could have been, it’s a miracle. By
comparison to what it should have
been, it’s a disaster.”
Scientists at MIT say that
under the current Intended Nationally Determined Contributions
(INDCs) the global average temperature will soar by as much as
3.7 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels by 2100. This is far
above the 1.5 degree Celsius target, which, as French President
François Hollande memorably stated at the opening of COP21 in
Paris, is the “absolute ceiling” for
global temperature rise if we are to
prevent climate catastrophe. Anything above 1.5 degrees Celsius is
a death sentence for us and for the
A new report released in the
Earth Systems Dynamics Journal
this month maps the different consequences between a 1.5 and a 2
degree Celsius warmer world. Unsurprisingly, the 2 degree scenario
is apocalyptic: extreme weather
events, water scarcity, reduced
crop yields, coral reef degradation
and sea-level rise. We are already
well on our way to creating this
future. The year 2014 saw recordbreakingtemperatures, and 2015
was the hottest year on record.
This year has already surpassed
previous temperature highs: In
February, the global temperature
was 1.34 degrees Celsius above the
average from 1951-1980, according to NASA data.
We have now arrived at the tipping point. There is no more time
for procrastination or half-measures. The time is now, and there
is no “Plan B.”
Political Will
Enforcing the Paris Agreement
will need world leaders’ commitment for many years to come. The
agreement is vulnerable because it
is subject to the vagaries of political will and to changes in administration. President Obama has, to
date, been more committed to combating climate change than any other US President in recent history,
and is a key supporter of the agreement.
What happens, it has been
asked, when Obama’s administration comes to its end? What if the
unthinkable happens and Donald
Trump takes the White House?
Would Trump feel bound by the
Paris Agreement and continue the
US’ current trajectory toward decarbonization and lowering emissions? Not bloody likely. Hopefully the US will escape the fate of
a Trump administration. The only
hope is that Hillary Clinton, if she
becomes the next president of the
US, will demonstrate the same or
greater commitment as President
Obama has done to the Paris Agreement.
The Renewable Energy Revolution In order for the Paris Agreement to keep the warming of the
world below the 1.5-degree-Celsius target, governments must commit to reducing CO2 emissions “in
accordance with best available science.” They must commit to halt
the burning of fossil fuels, which
have already formed a toxic “blanket” around the Earth. They must
“leave it in the ground.” On April
22, at the signing ceremony, more
than 170 countries vowed to put
an end to the age of fossil fuels.
These are fine words, but they will
remain only words if countries
don’t commit to eradicating fossil
fuels from our energy systems.
They must embark upon a renewable energy revolution now.
The transition to renewable
energy is urgent and necessary, and
it is already bringing great economic benefit across the world. The
International Energy Agency has
forecast that renewables will produce more power than coal within
15 years. In July 2015, on a windy
day, Denmark’s wind farms produced between 116 and 140 percent of the national electricity requirements. Mexican energy firm
TAU has saved so much through
use of renewable energy, that they
provide their customers with as
much free electricity as they wish
between 9 pm and 6 am. “A network of land-based 2.5 MW wind
turbines... operating at as little as
20% of their rated capacity, could
supply more than 40 times current worldwide consumption of
electricity, more than 5 times total
global use of energy in all forms,”
according to Harvard University.
If solar’s current rate of growth
continues, its output could match
world power demand in just 18
years time. Big banks like UBS and
Citigroup are investing heavily in
solar, a market Deutsche Bank estimates will be worth a staggering
$5 trillion in 2035. “The sun has
become mainstream, and... promises to democratise energy generation,” writes Leonie Greene in The
CO2 emissions reductions that
meet the ambition of the Paris
Agreement can only be achieved if
a transition occurs from fossil fuels to renewables and if the 196
countries that gathered in Paris
implement what the agreement
sets out on sequestration and decarbonisation. Article 4.1 of the
agreement states that, “In order to
achieve the long-term temperature
goal ... Parties aim to reach global
peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible ... and to
undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with best available science, so as to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by
sinks of greenhouse gases in the
second half of this century...”
One of the highlights of COP21
was Al Gore’s speech, “Impacts
and Solutions to the Climate Crisis.” Before a packed crowd of
more than 2,000 people, he sounded the death knell for fossil fuels
with a sobering and powerful address, in which he championed the
viability of renewable energy.
However, not everyone has
seen the (solar-powered) light. Oil
and gas are currently the cheapest
they have been for many years,
and this is a dangerous incentive
for energy corporations. “A critical point is that while the world’s
governments have signed on the
dotted line, the world’s companies
have not... As long as fossil fuel
energy is cheaper than renewables,
oil gas and coal will be dispensed
by the energy companies and
burned by us all in vast quantities.” Herbert Girardet writes in
his article “COP-out in Paris,” in
Resurgence and Ecologist magazine’s May and June 2016 issue.
China, India and Indonesia are in-
vesting as heavily as ever in coalpowered electricity generation.
Here in Great Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron has enthusiastically adopted fracking, touting
it as the solution for energy independence for the UK despite the
irrefutable evidence that fracking
causes earthquakes, contamination
of aquifers, leakage of toxic chemicals into the ground, air pollution,
increased road traffic and significantly contributes to climate
change. Each well drilled requires
millions of liters of water, which
places an immense strain on resources.
Extreme Weather Events
In his speech, Gore mentioned
the Weather Disasters report from
the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR),
released a week before COP21 got
underway, which details how 90
percent of the natural disasters
during the last 20 years have been
caused by extreme weather events.
The report records 6,457 floods,
storms, heat waves, droughts and
other weather-related disasters,
claiming the lives of 606,000 people, an average of some 30,000 per
year, with an additional 4.1 billion
people injured, left homeless or in
need of emergency assistance. Gore
said, “This is the acceleration of
the climate crisis ... It’s like a nature hike through the book of Revelations.”
The figures in the report for
this year end in August 2015, but
— needless to say — weather-related disasters continue to ravage
the world. In the whole of 2015,
earthquakes, floods, heat waves
and landslides left 22,773 people
dead, affected 98.6 million others
and caused $66.5 billion (£47 billion) of economic damage. In December 2015, a powerful winter
cyclone left devastation across the
globe, leading to two tornado outbreaks in the United States and
disastrous river flooding, driving
temperatures in the North Pole up
to 50 degrees above average. On
13 January this year, a huge, dry
electrical storm set more than 70
fires rampaging across the island
of Tasmania, destroying most of
the island’s UNESCO world heritage sites, which contained unique,
ancient and irreplaceable ecosystems, including many trees that
were more than a thousand years
old. This month devastating floods
killed 53 people in Pakistan alone.
Forest Landscape Restoration
and the Bonn Challenge
In order to preserve the planet
and combat climate change, we
must preserve the forests. Between
now and 2020 alone, we stand to
lose 1,460,000,000 acres of tropical forest and 273,750 species. We
must also restore degraded and
deforested land to purpose. There
are 2 billion hectares of degraded
and deforested land across the
world with potential for restoration. Restoration of degraded and
deforested lands is not simply
about planting trees. People and
communities are at the heart of the
restoration effort, which transforms barren or degraded areas of
land into healthy, fertile working
landscapes. Restored land can be
put to a mosaic of uses such as
agriculture, protected wildlife reserves, ecological corridors, regenerated forests, managed plantations, agroforestry systems and
river or lakeside plantings to protect waterways. The Bonn Challenge was established by the German Government and the International Union for the Conservation
of Nature (IUCN) at a ministerial
roundtable in September 2011.
(To be concluded )
Kabul st reet s
SUNDAY MAY 01, 2016
What will be the longer-term effects of the new Tunisian government's sacrifices to ensure great security?
By James Denselow
Tunisia may be getting a grip
on the holes in its domestic
security, but emergency
powers becoming permanent pose a challenge to the
ideals that underpinned the
country's 2011 revolution.
After the intoxicating excitement of the revolution
and a moment when Tunisia
claimed to be the only success story of the Arab
Spring came the cold, hard
reality of the threat of modern terrorism.
The brutal attacks at the
Bardo museum in the heart
of Tunis last March, followed
in June by a lone gunman
killing of dozens of tourists
in the resort city of Sousse,
were a sucker punch to the
emerging post-revolution
body politic.
Confronting ISIL in Tunisia
It's no fault of the Tunisians that their emergence
into the sunlight of a postauthoritarian era coincided
with a civil war and the state
collapse of their Libyan
neighbour to the east as well
as the rise and rise of ISIL.
Tunisians are cited as
having the largest number of
foreign fighters operating
under the black flag, with
some 5,000 estimated to
have travelled to Syria and
Iraq. Tunisian economy Yet
with tourism such a huge
part of the Tunisian economy, comprising 8 percent of
GDP directly but much more
in associated industries, it
has been a priority for the
country to be seen as safe
again for the cruise ship passengers and the package holiday tourists to return to enjoy the country's beautiful
beaches, ancient ruins and
hospitable people.
On a recent trip to the
country I saw first hand
what this effort looks like.
Bag scanners in every hotel
lounge, CCTV everywhere,
police with automatic weapons guarding tourist sites and
military humvees on resort
town roundabouts.
Officials from the Tunisian Ministry of Tourism admit that traditions around
welcoming guests and hospitality were unsuited for the
security challenges of the
modern day.
A huge amount of resources has been rushed into
equipment and training for
the security forces. The
country's army - the smallest in the region at some
45,000 active soldiers - is
being invested in and saw
action in March with fierce
clashes with ISIL (also
known as ISIS) that resulted in 50 of their fighters being killed.
Officials from the Tunisian Ministry of Tourism admit that traditions around
welcoming guests and hospitality were unsuited for the
security challenges of the
modern day. The gun attacks in Sousse lasted for
hours, pointing to shortfalls
in coordination among the
security forces that the new
governor of the city claims
have been addressed.
His manpower has been
doubled and the restoration
of power and influence by
the Ministry of Interior
means there is far more intelligence available to thwart
Tunisia expects to attract
5.5 million visitors this year
- the same as last year - as
it increasingly believes that
it has taken the necessary
measures to protect tourists
from harm.
'Further attacks remain
likely' However British Foreign Office Travel advice
continues to warn its nationals against all but essential
travel to the country.
Despite the wide-ranging steps that the government
has taken to improve security, the British government
advice currently states that
"further attacks remain likely". Tunisian soldiers patrol
Ben Gardane a day after
clashes with ISIL fighters
near the border with Libya
This advice, powerful
enough to ward off most
British tourists on its own,
also affects their ability to
get travel insurance, which
has led the larger British tour
operators to cancel trips to
the country for now, with the
obvious knock-on effect for
the tourism industry in a
country where youth unemployment remains a big issue. Ironically, Tunisia's 5.5
million visitor number target
has been helped with in-
creasing numbers of Russian
tourists travelling to the
country after Turkey's dropping off their agenda for political reasons and Egypt's
suffering following the attack on a passenger plane in
What this shows is how
the short-term picture is in
such a flux against the backdrop of such an unpredictable security situation. What
is perhaps a more important
debate for the longer term
is what sacrifices the new
Tunisian government makes
to ensure great security.
A state of emergency is
currently in effect in the
country after a suicide attack
against the police in November. This has been extended
a number of times with the
latest pushing it to late June
of this year.
According to Human
Rights Watch, the new
counterterrorism laws "imperil human rights and lack
adequate safeguards against
Yet the governor of
Sousse told me that Tunisians value "security above
freedom" and his beliefs
were backed up by the recent Arab Youth Survey
which showed that 58 percent of responders from
North Africa agreed with
the statement that "given the
current circumstances in the
Middle East, promoting stability in the region is more
important than promoting
The overall picture highlights again the incredible
impact that a handful of highprofile terrorist attacks can
have on the direction of a
It seems that despite the
fires burning in Libya, Tunisia has make significant
strides in making the country a safer place. However,
whether this trade-off with
political freedoms is worth it
in the longer term remains
to be seen.
James Denselow is a
writer on Middle East politics and security issues and
a research associate at the
Foreign Policy Centre.
The views expressed in
this article are the author's
own and do not necessarily
reflect Al Jazeera's editorial
By Omar Ashour
"[Multinational Force and Observers soldiers] are outgunned by the terrorists [Sinai
Province or SP] right now, and
it's a dangerous mission," said
retired Lieutenant General Mark
Hertling. "They [SP insurgents] have mortars and artillery that they have been firing
on the base camps."
The statement came after
Defense Secretary Ash Carter
formally notified Egypt and Israel that the United States was
considering reconfiguring its
mission in Sinai by increasing
reliance on remote sensing
technology and therefore was
withdrawing US troops away
from the restive North. The reason?
It is Sinai Province. The organisation gave an oath of loyalty to the so-called Islamic
State of Iraq and the Levant
(ISIL, also known as ISIS) in
November 2014. Egypt in 'a
state of war'? "It is a situation
there that has risk," said Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff
Davis, referring to the Sinaian
insurgency. The US saw "the
risk" coming a while ago. In
2005, a senior Egyptian security official in Sinai told a US official delegation that the "only
good Sinaian bedouin is the
dead Sinaian bedouin". Cairo's
security policies More than a
decade ago, US security officials and other independent
security experts warned that
Cairo's security policies in Sinai are both immoral and ineffective; more likely to aggravate an existing problem than
resolve it. The pulling of troops
from the MFO owing to an insurgency is the first development of its kind since the peacekeepers were deployed in January 1982. The MFO is composed of about 1,700 soldiers
and 200 employees from 13
countries, including 700 Americans. And the risk they face is
More than a decade ago,
US security officials and other
independent security experts
warned that Cairo's security
policies in Sinai are both immoral and ineffective...
SP is the strongest armed
organisation in Egypt's modern
history, even compared to the
Extraction of mines is key to development
Afghanistan owns huge amount of untapped mineral deposits. According to a survey by an American
organization, Afghanistan set on untapped mineral resources, worth of around three trillion dollars.
The natural resources, if extracted, can lead the country towards development and prosperity.
It is the time that the related organs including the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum and the Ministry of Commerce and Industries to convince both domestic and foreign investors to invest in mining
sector of Afghanistan. Extraction of mines will also create thousands of jobs for Afghans. Security
organizations should also ensure foreign investors that they are capable of taking foolproof security
of mines.
Ehsanullah, Khairkhana, Kabul
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: [email protected]
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.
insurgents of the 1950s and the
1990s. Like other IS provinces,
SP publishes its military metrics both monthly and annually.
In January-February 2016
(corresponds to the Lunar
month of Rabi' Thani in the
1437 Hijri year), SP issued its
monthly "harvest of military
operations", declaring the alleged destruction of 25 armoured vehicles (including
tanks, minesweepers, and bulldozers) and the alleged killing
of more than 100 soldiers.
According to SP, this was
done via an overwhelming reliance on improvised explosive
devices, or IEDs (59 percent of
the operations), followed by
guerilla attacks (20 percent),
and then by snipers (12 percent).
The rest of the deaths were
due to close-quarter assassinations of military/security commanders and informants (9 percent). Limited targeting? When
it comes to targeting the MFO,
there are some significant nuances that ought to be highlighted.
Since the brutal escalation
of the military operations in Sinai in September 2013, about 90
percent of SP attacks targeted
state security and military forces as well as alleged informants
and tribesmen working for
Attacks on other targets
such as Israel and tourists diminished significantly in quantity, but not necessity in the
level of damage inflicted, as
demonstrated by the case of
Russian Metrojet Airbus.
An Egyptian soldier at a
checkpoint in Al Arish city, in
the troubled northern part of
the Sinai peninsula [Reuters]
The attacks on the MFO were
also limited. About 10 were recorded since August 2005. Six
of them were conducted by improvised explosive devices
(IEDs) and mines.
In some of these cases, it
was unclear if the MFO was the
actual target or not. In others,
it was clear. In September 2012,
armed militants stormed MFO's
North Camp, destroyed and
took away equipment, and exchanged fire with the Forces,
wounding four soldiers. In
June 2015, the MFO-operated
El-Gora airport was attacked
with a mortar shell and a Grad
rocket. But compared to the intensity, complexity, and sustainability of the attacks on the
regime's military, the attacks on
the MFO are relatively of low
The attacks on the regime's
forces usually feature sustained shelling, series of vehicle-born IEDs followed by small
commando units cleansing
what is left of the soldiers. This
has not been SP's modus operandi when it came to attacking
the MFO. This is a puzzle per
se. ISIL suffered most of its
casualities from US-led bombardment. The organisation
and its predecessors were, and
are still, in a brutal war with the
United States in Iraq, Syria,
Libya and elsewhere. But the
organisation's Egyptian branch
does not seem to prioritise attacking US military personnel,
who are based in their main
area of operations (Northeast
Part of the explanation has
to do with SP's local calculations.
Recruitment and local legitimacy
"Locals take refuge near the
MFO North Camp when the
army starts its indiscriminate
bombardment. If SP keeps on
attacking the MFO, that safe
haven will be gone in no time,"
explains a local activist on condition of anonymity.
By doing that, SP wants to
send a message to local Bedouins: "Unlike the army, we do
care about your safety."
For recruitment and local legitimacy, this strategy does not
hurt. SP still needs to show loyalty to ISIL by attacking the
MFO every now and then.
But, there is more to this
saga. Earlier this month, two
artillery shells landed in the
gym of the MFO’s North Camp
near El-Gora village at around
3am. Another mortar shell landed a few days later, destroyed
a vehicle and injured a soldier.
The US was able to work
out the coordinates of the
source of the shelling and it
turned out to be the positions
of the regular army. Apparently, it was "friendly fire" or a mistake. But the list of mistakes
committed by trigger-happy,
legally immune and highly incompetent military is too long.
The victims and potential
victims included Mexican tourists, the passengers of a British Thomson flight, and more
recently the MFO. This in addition to thousands of Sinaians, and other Egyptians,
whose tragic deaths rarely
make international headlines.
Omar Ashour is Senior Lecturer in Security Studies at the
Institute of Arab
and Islamic Studies at the
University of Exeter and an
Associate Fellow at Chatham
The views expressed in this
article are the author's own and
do not necessarily reflect Al
Jazeera's editorial policy.
How long can Aleppo
endure destruction?
By Abdulrahman al-Rashed
The Syrian regime is deliberately choosing their targets for
airstrikes. Hospitals and civilian neighborhoods have been
bombed violently and residents have been left defenseless due to the international
Repeated bombardments
in recent days have exhausted rescue workers who have
been continuously digging
through debris in search of
survivors under bombed
buildings. The victims include
doctors, nurses, aid workers,
residents of neighborhoods,
most of them women and children who cannot even escape.
The bombings have been
going on for several days and
hundreds of civilians have
died in the city of Aleppo.
They have been left at the
mercy of Assad’s regime, its
militias and the Russian forces. No one in the international
community is doing anything
even though Syria, especially
Aleppo , is supposed to be
under the truce agreement negotiated under the United Nations’ umbrella!
How is it possible that
massacres are allowed to be
committed every day and parties sponsoring the Geneva
negotiations aren’t moved to
taking action beyond releasing worthless statements,
such as calling for ‘the regime
of silence?’
The massacres in the days
of the truce have exceeded the
massacres in the days of the
Abdulrahman al-Rashed
What is happening in Aleppo is terrifying; it is supposed
to drive the opposition to reject the false truce, and theatrical negotiations, as massive
destruction strikes the nation
that have struggled through
years of war and the sectarian
It is inconceivable for the
Gulf states to stay quiet and to
compromise on what we see as
a dangerous and incomparable
escalation never witnessed before. Nothing is left for the Syrian people after being abandoned by the Turks, and the
West which defines the misfortune of 24 million Syrians only
with the existence of ISIS.
The city of Aleppo, since
the involvement of the Russians in the war, have been the
object of destruction. Aleppo
is one of the largest cities in
Syria and most severely targeted by the regime’s airstrikes
and by the Russians. While the
bombing are also continuing in
the Ghouta region of Damascus, the countryside of
Latakia and other cities the international community’s only
sending more military reinforcements to the areas under
the control of ISIS.
The United States has sent
one 150 military to Hasaka, and
the Turks are threatening to
enter the border to hunt down
Kurdish rebels and the Syrian
people are left alone to face the
regime forces that carries out
destruction of what remains in
the neighborhoods of major cities. Aleppo is already isolated
and faces shortage of relief
supplies. It has blocked roads
in front of people who are trying to escape to the Turkish
borders in the north.
The United Nations did not
respect its pledge that the negotiations will take place alongside the ceasefire, allowing aid
workers to deliver the needed
assistance to the victims.
The massacres in the days
of the truce have exceeded the
massacres in the days of the
war. This confirms that the negotiations are not only supporting the Syrian regime,
which has been revived by Iranian and Russian allies, but also
dashing hopes of peace on the
ground. This article was first
published in Asharq al-Awsat
on April 30, 2016.
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 Londonbased 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 @aalrashed
SUNDAY MAY 01, 2016
For the second y ear in a row , a Ham as-aligned
group has w on student council elections at
Palestine's oldest university .
Birzeit, occupied West Bank Hundreds of women waved Hamas
flags, handed out sweets and
chanted slogans along the streets
of the typically sleepy Birzeit village this week, celebrating the victory of a Hamas-aligned group in
student council elections at Birzeit
University for the second year in
a row.
"We thank the students for
their confidence in us, and we will
do all we can to help them through
their next academic year," Jihad
Arman, a spokesperson for the
Hamas student group, promised
after the vote. The Hamas leadership in Gaza subsequently released
a statement saying the victory
"demonstrates people's support
for the Jerusalem [uprising] and
their allegiance to the path of resistance".
Student council elections at
Birzeit, Palestine's oldest university, are widely considered to be a
barometer for national politics,
considering it has been a decade
since the last national election was
held in 2006. In this week's vote,
the Hamas-aligned student group
claimed 25 of 51 available seats,
narrowly edging out the Fatahaligned group, which won 21 seats
- a tighter margin than last year.
The remaining seats went to a
party aligned with the Popular
Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Analysts say the repeat victory of the Hamas-aligned group
reveals continuing public dissatisfaction with the Ramallah-based
Palestinian Authority (PA). READ
MORE: Hamas victory in student
vote reflects shifting mood "[As]
the last general elections took place
over a decade ago, student elections
take on extra significance as the
only discernible manifestation of
democratic participation," said
Grant Rumley, a research fellow
focusing on Palestinian politics at
the Foundation for Defense of
Democracies, a Washington-based
think-tank. Al Jazeera World - Palestine Divided "In the past few
years, we've seen an increasingly
autocratic Palestinian Authority
under [Palestinian President
Mahmoud] Abbas clamp down on
journalists, trade unions, teachers
and political rivals," Rumley told
Al Jazeera. "Political debates look
few and far between in Palestinian
politics, and university elections
look to be one last stronghold ...
Hamas' second straight victory at
the oldest Palestinian university is
likely to only further dissuade PA
and Fatah officials from preparing
for elections in the foreseeable future." Despite its repeat win, the
Hamas-aligned group lost one seat
over the last year, while the Fatahaligned group gained two, narrowing the gap. A European Union official with close ties to Palestinian
policymakers, who spoke to Al
Jazeera on condition of anonymity, said an outright victory for the
Fatah-aligned group would have
been brushed off as evidence of the
party's ability to exert influence
on the political sphere in the West
Bank. "The victory at Birzeit
should be of little comfort to
Hamas," the official added. "Polls
show that a large proportion of
young Palestinians have given up
on the two main political parties,
Fatah and Hamas." A spokesperson for the Fatah-aligned party did
not immediately respond to Al
Jazeera's request for comment. The
day before Wednesday's vote, students held an hours-long public
debate in the scorching midday sun
on Birzeit's campus, with dominant issues including women's political participation and the longstanding rivalry between Hamas
and Fatah, the ruling party of
Abbas. More than three-quarters
of the nearly 10,000 eligible students cast a ballot this year [Eloise
Bollack/Al Jazeera]
"The university administration
always hopes that students will
pay more attention to student life,
students' needs, requirements
[and] achievements during election
campaigns," Birzeit University
Vice President Ghassan Khatib
told Al Jazeera. "But student leaders tend to address political issues
during campaigns, and this comes
at the expense of university or student affairs."
Ahmad Azem Hamad, the chair
of Birzeit's Palestine and Arabic
Studies programme, described the
elections as a "national event" in
which "everyone intervenes".
"Leaders from different parties
outside the university are very interested in the results and intervene by giving students aligned
with their parties moral and material support," Hamad told Al
Similar to last year, turnout in
the election was high, with more
than three-quarters of the nearly
10,000 eligible students casting a
ballot. Among those who did not
vote was economics student Dina
Elayyam, 19, of Jerusalem.
"The political groups on campus are more concerned with
implementing the ideas of their factions and leaders off campus than
they are with improving student
life," noted Elayyam, who says she
cast a ballot for the Hamas-aligned
group last year because they had
"worked hard" to make improvements on the university campus,
including buying an ambulance car
and installing benches. Now, however, it feels like "a political war, a
cold war, between the two parties".
READ MORE: Birzeit Uni-
versity rises up against Israel's arrests There is also a broader security risk attached to participation
in student politics in the West
After the Hamas-aligned
group had swept Birzeit's student
elections last year, 25 students affiliated with opposition student
groups were summoned for interrogation or detained by PA security forces, according to Human
Rights Watch. Jihad Salem, a member of the Hamas-aligned group,
said he was beaten, held in stress
positions and denied legal repre-
sentation during a 24-hour detention that followed the election results. Human Rights Watch called
the developments "deeply worrying". Samia al-Botmeh, an economics professor at Birzeit who coordinates the Right to Education campaign, a students' rights group, told
Al Jazeera that 77 Birzeit students
and two staff were currently in
Israeli detention, including the student council's last elected president, Hamas supporter Seif al-Islam Daghlas. Five Birzeit students
are currently being detained by the
PA after being arrested in relation
to their affiliation with opposition
student groups, she added.
"It is hugely concerning for us
as administrators and educators
that the PA is also detaining students who voice political ideas that
are either different or opposing the
PA ... The fact that a faction wins
the election that is not aligned with
the PA doesn't mean the PA will
collapse," Botmeh added. "It's a
very healthy challenge to the status quo, and students should be
encouraged to have a multitude of
opinions and political practices."
Al Jazeera
Ale p p o o n s lau gh t: ‘Eve ry- Th e fo rgo tte n ch ild p ris o n e rs o f Sie rra
o n e e xp e cts it to ge t w o rs e ’ Le o n e
Fighting in Aleppo has killed m ore than 240 people in just ov er a w eek of renew ed v iolence [Al Jazeera]
he Syrian government has
carried out more than a
dozen fresh air strikes in
Aleppo as the death toll from more
than a week of escalating violence
continues to soar, according to local sources.
The strikes hit residential
neighbourhoods across the opposition-controlled eastern part of the
city on Saturday morning, though
no immediate information about the
number of deaths and injuries was
Is Syria's army gearing up for
all-out Aleppo assault?
"As I'm talking to you, we can
hear air strikes," Zouhir Al Shimale,
a local journalist, told Al Jazeera
by telephone, adding that Saturday morning's strikes hit the areas
of Bustan al-Qasr, Zobdia, Ansare,
Jazmate and Kalasa.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates that at least 244 civilians,
including 43 children and 27
women, were killed since violence
between government forces and
rebel groups flared on April 22.
On Friday night, government
forces carried out air strikes in the
eastern part of the city, while rebels
fired mortars into residential areas
into the western, government-controlled side.
On Thursday and Friday
alone, at least 44 civilians died in
the tit-for-tat attacks, the Syrian
Observatory said.
READ MORE: Death rains
down on Syria as ceasefire wobbles
While the Syrian government
on Friday announced temporary
truces in Damascus and the coastal
city of Latakia, a support base for
President Bashar al-Assad,
Aleppo has been excluded from
any cessation of hostilities.
Sharif Nashashibi, a Londonbased analyst of Middle Eastern
politics, explained that Aleppo is
a key city in the ongoing conflict
in Syria.
"Aleppo is the biggest city, it's
an economic hub, it's close to the
border with Turkey - there are a
range of symbolic and practical
reasons why it's so important," he
told Al Jazeera, adding that neither side has been able to fully control since the conflict's outset.
"With the support it's receiving from Iran, Hezbollah and particularly Russia, the regime feels
that it is now able to do that,"
Nashashibi added.
"The issue beyond that is the
regime's inability to keep territory.
Since Russia's intervention and
before, the regime has been unable
to keep hold of territory it has recaptured without help from foreign forces."
Locals and rescue workers have
struggled to evacuate civilians from
the sites of air strikes
[Abdalrhman Ismail/Reuters]
'Hiding in their homes'
Shimale described the streets
as empty as most people stay indoors.
"People are doing nothing other
than hiding in their homes," he said.
"They rush in the morning to
buy food and get home as quickly
as possible so they aren't outside
when the strikes start. There has
been a lot of damage to buildings
and cars."
While some residents have
packed their bags and fled, most
have not because "the main streets
out of Aleppo have been targeted
and shelled heavily", he said.
Several medical facilities have
been destroyed in opposition-controlled districts. Among those was
the al-Quds hospital, where more
than 50 people were killed when
government air strikes hit the hospital and the nearby Sukkari
neighbourhood earlier this week.
The al-Quds hospital was supported by Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which announced that
at least 14 staff and patients were
killed in that attack.
Al Shimale said there are still a
few clinics in the city that offer
basic medical services.
Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN
high commissioner for human
rights, said in a statement on Friday that "violence is soaring back
to the levels we saw before the
cessation of hostilities", referring
to a partial ceasefire that was
implemented in late February.
IN PHOTOS: Syria Civil War
- Inside the bomb shelter
That partial truce fell apart
throughout the last week as widespread fighting surged in many regions and opposition negotiators
withdrew from talks with the government in Geneva.
Referring to Aleppo, alHussein said: "There are deeply
disturbing reports of military buildups indicating preparations for a
lethal escalation."
As the air strikes continue to
rain down on the city, local residents are also preparing for more
"Everyone expects it to get
much worse," Shimale said. "We
expect more attacks and strikes on
the city in the [coming] days."
Aleppo was Syria's commercial hub before the war broke out
five years ago, home to some two
million people.
Freetown, Sierra Leone - Sorie's*
last day of freedom was a few
weeks before his 14th birthday,
when the well-to-do father of a girl
he liked got word that his daughter
had been hanging around with a
street boy. The girl's father had him
arrested for "conspiracy to commit sexual penetration", and after
a brief stay in the local jailhouse,
Sorie was transferred to
Freetown's Remand Home, the
pretrial destination for most of Sierra Leone's juvenile detainees.
That was more than three years
ago and Sorie has spent every day
since living in a cell with 13 other
boys, despite having never been
formally charged with a crime.
"Her family never came to court
and the magistrate never called for
me again," he says, sitting on the
edge of the tattered foam mattress
he shares with two other inmates.
Orphaned by Sierra Leone's 11year civil war, Sorie is one of dozens of Sierra Leonean children left
to languish in juvenile detention,
living in perpetual fear of their 18th
birthday and transfer to the
country's only adult penitentiary.
But even those who are lucky
enough to have been convicted and
sent to the Approved School, face
unreasonably long sentences for
minor crimes. With a debilitating
lack of resources, Sierra Leone's
Ministry of Social Welfare says it
is unable to improve upon a system that development partners,
civil society and human rights
groups say compromises the basic rights of the very children it is
supposed to rehabilitate. "It's an
open secret that we aren't even
meeting our own national standards
for juvenile detention, let alone international standards," said
Mambo Feika, director of Prison
Watch Sierra Leone, who has
worked with the country's incarcerated children for more than 15
years. "The biggest problem here
is a misplacement of priorities and
a complete neglect for the wellbeing
of these kids at the highest level of
government. There is no protection for the rights of juvenile detainees in this country." Many juvenile detainees languish in prison,
awaiting a trial that may never
come [Cooper Inveen/Al Jazeera]
Children accused of a crime in Sierra Leone have no right to due
process, despite the country having ratified various international
treaties that guarantee such protections. As a result, they are often considered guilty until proved
innocent, with detention being the
first resort for all offences, regardless of their nature. "Their problems all start with the police, because they are their first contact
with the law," said Mariatu
Bangura, the deputy chief of social services at the Ministry of
Social Welfare. "The officer will get
violent with them or say a child is
lying about his age. Below age 14
you can't be criminally liable and
these police are supposed to be a
filter, but they're not doing their
jobs. We've written and distributed
age-assessment guidelines, but they
don't use them. The Remand Home
is more crowded than it has ever
been, and that's not because children are committing more crimes."
Remand Home staff estimate that
two current inmates are aged between 8 and 10, and say they were
physically abused by an officer who
arrested them for street fighting and
reported them as being 14 years old
after they told him they didn't know
their ages. There are also four inmates who were mistakenly sent
to the adult prison after their arresting officers wrote down different ages than those the children gave
after they could not produce birth
certificates. "It was the most terrible time," said 16-year-old Anthony*, who after spending 11
months at the adult prison was discovered by Italian NGO Don Bosco
and transferred to the Remand
Home in November 2015. "I had to
sleep on the floor with no room to
move, I had no clothes but my
shorts and older prisoners always
harassed me … I don't think anyone would have come for me if
[Don Bosco] didn't find me." Anthony began court proceedings after his transfer to the youth facility, but his trial has been adjourned
six times for reasons ranging from
there being no fuel in the Remand
Home court vehicle, to prosecuting
attorneys calling in sick. His case
was recently adjourned for another
month after the judge determined
that, without a birth certificate, they
have no proof that he was underage
at the time of his arrest, and that
the case can't be pursued in juvenile court until one is produced. Of
the 49 children currently housed at
the Remand Home, an all-time high,
40 have never been indicted. While
a handful are recent arrivals, most
are held indefinitely, either awaiting trial or unable to make bail. The
majority of the detainees were either homeless or living in unstable
conditions before their arrests and
Ian Leigh, the logistics officer for
Defence for Children International's
Sierra Leone office, says a child's
social background has a direct effect on how quickly they move
through the justice system. "You
do not find wealthy kids in these
facilities, but rather children who
are already very vulnerable," Leigh
said. "When you check their backgrounds, most of these kids were
picked up off the streets … Some
of them have been committed for
years .., sometimes as high as four
or five years, for simple offences
like larceny, all because they have
no one to advocate for them on the
outside." The Remand Home is a
dead end for a child's schooling, with
no educational or technical training
options available to them. Inmates
are confined to their cells 16 hours
a day and are not permitted to leave
the cell block, although a dozen of
the most well-behaved inmates are
let out for two hours on Saturdays
to play a game of football. Beyond
that, their whole lives are lived
within their cells where, without
access to bathroom facilities, children must relieve themselves in plastic bags to be collected and disposed
of by staff the following day. David
Conteh, the social worker in charge
of the facility, calls it a "dark world"
where children don't know their legal status and all requests for funding that could improve their circumstances are routinely ignored by the
Ministry of Social Welfare. "The
government does provide basic food
but medical, clothing, for those we
must depend on NGOs," Conteh
said. "We don't have the resources
to provide the kids with an education. They can't pay for materials,
can't pay instructors. We used to
offer a tailoring course but that social worker has been reassigned so
that was the end of that." Despite
the harsh realities of the Remand
Home, there is a silver lining for
those lucky enough to be convicted
before their 18th birthdays. The long
delays at the Remand Home have
created an abundance of space at the
Approved School across town, the
country's only long-term youth detention facility that, with the help
of volunteers and NGOs, provides
a significant improvement to a juvenile inmate's standard of living.
There are no cells at the Approved
School, but rather two gender-specific dormitories with individual
beds and access to pit latrine toilets. While confined to the dormitory during the evenings, the
facility's 18 inmates spend their
days in class, technical training sessions or meandering around the
multi-acre compound, where a multitude of different fruits and vegetables are free to pick during harvest season. Still, the facility has its
problems. Two of the campus' three
wells have been unusable for years,
and a broken seal on the third renders the water undrinkable, so water is retrieved from a well in the
surrounding community. Four kids
currently sleep on concrete beds
without mattresses, despite a storage room on the campus being filled
with hundreds of brand-new mattresses the Ministry of Social Welfare says are being saved for distribution to Ebola survivors. "We can
accommodate 60 kids here, which
makes things easier, but we still have
challenges," said Bashiru Rogers, the
facility's Officer in Charge. "We
don't have the requisite resources
for many things, including getting
these children home after their release and often have to keep them
here until we can get assistance.
"Those with long sentences - like a
boy we have here given 10 years for
stealing a speaker set from his church
- we strain to give them psychosocial counselling to prepare them for
going to the adult prison, because
we will eventually have to send
them there." The relatively better
conditions at the Approved School
can be largely accredited to volunteers and a small number of devel-
opment partners. Tailoring, agriculture and carpentry classes are taught
daily by volunteers, while basic education is mostly provided by the
Italian Ravera Centre for Rehabilitation of Children, which also provides weekly medical assistance
alongside the Irish NGO Goal. "Life
is simple here, very different from
the Remand Home," said Matthew*,
a 17-year-old inmate nearing the end
of his sentence. "We're very fortunate the staff care about us here,
because the government thinks we're
useless. But we're not useless. We
could be the future of this country if
only they would give us the chance."
To help give children that chance,
Prison Watch established a
programme in 2012 that allows Approved School detainees to take their
primary and basic education exams,
with the possibility of their sentences being shortened if they pass.
It has resulted in the early release of
roughly two children a year since its
inception. "My parents come from
a very poor background so without
coming here I never would have gotten an education," said Bobson
Bangura, a former inmate who was
released last year after scoring top
marks in his exams. He and Joseph
Gbla, another former inmate who
scored just as high on his test, are
now enrolled in secondary school,
living together in a one-room apartment paid for by Karim Mansary,
the facility's longest-serving volunteer. Mansary has been at the Approved School for six years and was
eventually given his own room at
the facility by Rogers' predecessor
so he wouldn't have to worry about
paying rent elsewhere. He does contract work for Prison Watch in the
afternoons to pay for Joseph and
Bobson's rent and school fees. "You
want to do everything for these kids,
because so often they have nobody
else, but there is only so much you
can do," Mansary said. "You think
of them like your children, which
also hurts when you can't help everybody. I'm happy to help [Bobson
and Joseph] but they'll have to find
their own way when they reach university level." While some, like
Bobson and Joseph, leave juvenile
detention with newfound opportunity, they are the exception to the
rule. For every child to come out the
other side with an education, there
are dozens more who are robbed of
theirs by years of neglect and isolation, often ending up back in the
system after their release. Children
such as Sorie have have given up
hope and Feika says the country is
at risk of raising a "lost generation".
"If we continue to criminalise our
children, making life-long criminals
out of the next generation, we will
end up with a failed state," Feika
said. "The threat of war or conflict
will always loom as long as we are
denying children a place in society.
Don't be surprised if they one day
want to reject it, given how it has
rejected them."
*The names of current inmates
have been changed to protect their
identities. Al Jazeera
SUNDAY MAY 01, 2016
Fran ch is e s flo ck
to D u bai, as d e m an d s tru ggle s
to ke e p u p
il prices pulled back a tick
Friday from 2016 peaks,
capping a fourth straight
week of gains as the market pushed
higher supported in part by a
weaker dollar.
Traders seemed bent on looking past the global supply glut and
media reports of higher OPEC
production in favor of optimism
that eventually the market will find
a balance that would stabilize prices, which have slid from mid-2014
peaks above $100 a barrel.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) slipped 11 cents
to $45.92 a barrel on the New York
Mercantile Exchange.
In London, Brent North Sea
crude for delivery in June, the Eu-
ropean benchmark, lost only one
cent at $48.13 a barrel.
Over the course of the week,
WTI rose 5.0 percent and Brent
6.7 percent, pushing the month’s
gains to around 20 percent for both.
“The supply situation is still
a factor in terms of oversupply and
I think we rallied as much as we
can on the hopes of a rebalancing
coming at the end of the year,” said
John Kilduff of Again Capital.
Also underpinning the market
was the dollar’s weakness after the
Federal Reserve indicated Wednesday it was in no hurry to raise interest rates and the Bank of Japan’s rejection of more stimulus
the next day, which sent the yen
soaring, analysts said.
Ch in a’s e co n o m y w ill
o ve rtake th e U S in 2 0 18
Each country measures economic
growth by its gross domestic product or GDP. Negative or positive
GDP indicates whether the
economy is contracting or expanding. When you combine the total
economic output of each country,
the result is global GDP. In this
article, we will reveal how
America’s contribution to global
GDP has been falling while China’s
has been rising. The Conference
Board estimates that by 2018,
China’s contribution to global
GDP will surpass that of the U.S.
In other words, China’s economy
will become more significant than
America’s. How is this possible?
Is the golden era of “Made in
America” in our rearview mirror?
Is China entering a modern-day
economic dynasty? To find the
answer, we will examine the period beginning in 1970 and the forecast through 2025. The Standard
Chartered Bank building, center,
HSBC Holdings Plc headquarters
building, center right, and other
buildings standing illuminated and
shrouded in clouds are seen from
Victoria Peak at night in Hong
Kong, China, on Wednesday, April
6, 2016. Cash is pouring into Hong
Kong stocks from across the mainland border. Photographer: Justin
Chin/Bloomberg As the chart below indicates, the U.S. contributed
21.2% of total global economic
output in 1970. This remained
consistent until the year 2000. In
every year since, with one exception, America’s percentage of the
world’s economic output has declined. In 2015, the U.S. contributed 16.7% of the world’s
economy. By 2025, this is expected
to fall to 14.9%. Equally noteworthy is the exceptional rise in
China’s economy. In 1970, China
was responsible for a mere 4.1%
of the total. This rose to 15.6% in
2015. In 2025, China’s contribution to the global economy is projected to be 17.2%. Since 1990,
China’s percentage of total global
output has risen every year with
one exception (1998), when it fell
by one percent. The vertical blackdotted line on the chart denotes
the year (2018) that China’s economic contribution is projected to
surpass the U.S. There are some
other notable conclusions we can
make from the chart. Europe’s economic contribution to global GDP
is rapidly declining. India is gain-
ing economic influence but still has
a long way to go. In 2015, India’s
contribution to global GDP was
6.7%. This is expected to rise to
8.7% by 2025. One of the most
significant observations is that large
developed economies are becoming less significant while smaller,
emerging economies are gaining
power. This is not a complete surprise as smaller economies are
much more nimble than large ones.
How has China become such a
dominant economic power? Part
of the reason is its booming auto
industry. To illustrate, the total
number of autos sold last year in
China was 24.6 million.
This dwarfs total auto sales in
the U.S. last year, which hit a
record 17.5 million cars and trucks.
In addition, SUV sales in China increased a whopping 52% in 2015.
China’s auto industry is thriving
and should provide stiff competition for U.S. auto manufacturers
in the years ahead. Unless the U.S.
government levies high tariffs on
imports to equalize prices between
Chinese autos and those made in
It is important to remember
that the cost of production (labor
included) is much lower in China.
The world’s economy is changing
and globalization is alive and well.
There will likely be a large number
of new trade agreements in the
months ahead as well as an increase
in U.S. based companies deriving
revenue overseas. Gone are the
days when it was sufficient for
investment analysts to analyze
trends in the U.S., to the exclusion
of foreign markets. In the current
“global” climate, we must recognize how foreign companies will
compete with U.S. corporations.
Rising globalization should result
in greater competition. If the federal government does not levy new
and increased tariffs on imported
goods, the added competition will
result in lower prices for the consumer. However, I wouldn’t get
too optimistic about a lack of tariffs. The federal government will
likely view this as a source of revenue and a way to help its constituents rather than allow cheap
imports to flood the U.S. Perhaps
Americans will be buying more
goods online, directly from foreign
companies. Does UPS or FedEx
FDX -0.33% deliver cars? It could
EU re d tap e is s u ffo catin g U K
e co n o m y, Bre xit can s e t u s fre e
110 business leaders have supported exiting the EU
For those business people who
believe both in remaining in the EU
and in free markets, these are difficult times.
In recent weeks, the government has made two major, possibly even historic, concessions to
the left, making it harder for Remainers to argue that their position is the pro-capitalist one.
First there was George Osborne’s shocking Treasury propaganda booklet on the supposed
costs of leaving the EU.
One of the key assumptions
in the book was that our regulations were just fine: there isn’t too
much red tape, it asserted, and the
Government would not want to
reduce any even if it had the right
to do so. In that moment, 20 years
of Tory rearguard warfare against
over-regulation finally came to an
The big argument is that, according to one measure from the
OECD, the UK already has the
“second least restrictive regulatory regime among all advanced economies after the Netherlands”.
The status quo, it turns out, is
more or less perfect; all those small
businesses that have spent the past
decade or two complaining about
the cost of red tape were clearly
utterly misguided.
The Treasury’s document
goes on to cite the fact that the
UK is ranked sixth in the world by
the World Bank’s Doing Business
Index, above the US, and that we
are tenth out of 140 countries according to the World Economic
Forum. The Treasury clearly
agrees with LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance, approvingly
citing its claim that “it is unclear
whether there are substantial regulatory benefits from Brexit”. Hurrah: it’s a case of job done, and
how dare anybody possibly dis-
agree. If you are an entrepreneur,
dear reader, and cannot believe that
all of this nonsense comes from a
Tory Chancellor, then I’m afraid
that I must disappoint you. Apparently, “domestic priorities”
mean that nothing must change and
that the current state of affairs,
after years of Labour and coalition
governments, just happens to be
right. Of course, what matters is
not relative regulatory burdens but
absolute ones. In an imaginary
world where everybody had a minimum wage of £20 an hour, and
20pc unemployment, the fact that
we had one of £19 and 19pc unemployment would hardly be
something to boast about. The reality is that the UK is now saddled with far greater amounts of
red tape – forcing up energy costs
and making industry uncompetitive, for example – than used to be
the case. The fact that other economies have made the same mistakes
(in many cases because of the EU)
is immaterial. It is terrifying that a
Tory Treasury no longer sees this.
The Government’s second major
concession was far more public.
David Cameron has done a deal
with trade unions to back the EU
In an astonishing u-turn, the Prime
Minister has done a deal with the
trade unions to ensure that they
back his Remain campaign.
Many of the proposed reforms
to their power – contained clearly
in the Tory manifesto – will no
longer happen. Despite this, it remains hard for business leaders to
come out in favour of Brexit; the
majority of those who have declared, and almost all business lobby groups, have backed Remain.
The peer pressure is all one, with
endless utterly implausible scare
stories on trade in particular.
A weak dollar makes oil, priced
in the US currency, more affordable for buyers.
“The declining US oil production and a weaker US dollar are
giving tailwind to prices, whereas
the ongoing oversupply and
record-high US crude oil stocks are
being ignored,” said Commerzbank
analysts in a client note Friday.
e co n o m y is
As Abenom ics stalls, Prim e
Minister Abe is turning his
focus to a m ajor econom ic
drag: Japan’s labor m arket
TOKYO: Kei Matsushita’s struggles illustrate why Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe has turned his attention to Japan’s labor market and
the ways it is hobbling the economy. Like many his age, Mr. Matsushita thinks about getting married and having children, about being the kind of “dynamically engaged” citizen Mr. Abe talks about
empowering. But at 32, he still
lives with his parents. Having never
landed a permanent position since
graduating with an economics degree in 2007, he is now a less attractive job candidate and faces the
prospect of a lifetime in lowerpaying, temporary work.
After three years, the prime
minister’s Abenomics revival plan
is stalling, with growth and inflation both around zero. The nation’s labor market is a big reason
why. It feeds a range of the country’s core problems: weak wage
growth, low productivity and investment—even low rates of marriage and births.
“I believe reforming our way
of working will be the biggest challenge of the next three years,” Mr.
Abe told The Wall Street Journal
in an interview this week. “It will
be the key to enabling the Japanese economy to grow in a sustainable manner.” He said he wants
to ensure equal pay for equal
work, lifting wages for workers
without permanent jobs. He is
pushing to get help for workers,
mostly women, who have to balance their jobs with caring for children and elderly relatives. Those
initiatives include more child- and
elder-care facilities and broadening
eligibility for child-care leave.
After Japan’s asset bubble
burst in the early 1990s, companies sought more flexibility in hiring and firing, increasingly turning
to nonregular workers. Japan Inc.,
saddled with overcapacity and
debt, faced a choice: cut jobs or
cut pay. It chose the latter, reflecting the view in Japan that big companies are public institutions with
a responsibility to provide employment. But protecting permanent employees led to the expansion of a second tier of nonregular
workers as companies, through
years of economic stagnation and
falling prices, hired more workers
they could more easily dismiss in
bad times. Workers in the first tier
are still essentially guaranteed lifetime employment. Workers in the
other, now accounting for 38% of
nonexecutive employees, earn far
less, even for doing the same job
as permanent workers. They receive little formal training, aren’t
represented by unions and flit from
posting to posting, blocked from
advancement by permanent workers.
“If you’ve had only irregular
jobs, by the time you are in your
30s, you aren't an attractive employee,” said Richard Katz, editor
of the Oriental Economist Report.
That is where Mr. Matsushita
finds himself. “In Japan, being a
‘fresh graduate’ is important,” he
said. “If you fail to land in a regular post upon graduation, then you
get stuck with a nonregular post.”
Lululemon, Old Navy, Abercrombie & Fitch, All Saints and Five
Guys are just a few of the new
faces on Dubai’s ever-expanding
retail scene.
With franchise brands projected to double within the next
seven years and mall space ballooning, retailers worry whether
consumer demand can keep pace.
Retailers are already suffering
from such challenges as high rents
at prime locations, a decrease in
Russian tourists, a weakness in the
exchange rate and an increase in
Retail mall space in Dubai is
expected to increase 19 percent
over the next two years to reach
around 3.5 million square metres,
according to a report by real estate
consultancy firm Jones Lang LaSalle MENA. Currently demand
is still outstripping supply with
occupancy close to 100 percent.
The average rent in the larger
malls increased by three percent
last year, but retailers say lease
renewals in prime locations increased by as much as 50 percent.
Top shopping centres, like Dubai
Mall, which has an average footfall of 250,000 people per day,
demand rents of up to $270 (1,000
AED) per square foot.
Meanwhile, Russian tourists,
who traditionally have been among
the top five spenders, have decreased due to the collapse of the
rouble. Spending by Russian tourists plummeted by 57 percent in
the first three quarters of 2015,
compared to the same period in
2014, according to a study by regional payment solutions provider Network International.
To top it off, because the
dirham is pegged to the strong US
dollar, European tourists also have
much less spending power.
“It’s a very tough market,” said
Ahmad Al Khayyat, managing director of Al Khayyat Investments,
which operates several franchises
in Dubai, including BurgerFuel and
Superdry. “The retail market was
very weak last year and this year
we expect it to be even weaker.”
Rent increases have proved unsustainable for some businesses. Apple Seeds, a New York-based children’s edutainment centre, was
forced to close in early March after property developer Emaar increased its rent by 50 percent.
Reem Farah, who is partner at both
Apple Seeds Dubai and Flywheel
Middle East, said rent increased
by 25 percent at Flywheel’s two
spinning studio locations as well,
but they chose to stay put.
“At the end of the day it’s
obviously better for us to stay in
our current location than to close
the business for four, five months
and look for a new one and fit out
somewhere new,” she said.
As rents eat up revenues and
the retail market expands, sales
growth is slowing. Euromonitor
International has projected that the
value of the United Arab Emirates’
retail market will be $53.7 billion
in 2016, a 7 percent rise on last
year, compared to an 8 percent rise
from 2014 to 2015.
“We’re expecting the [retail]
market to soften further, reaching
the bottom in 2017,” said Craig
Plumb, head of research at JLL
Analysts say the dip in the
market will only recover when new
tourist attractions open later this
year and next year, such as Legoland, the Dubai Water Canal, and
the world’s largest Ferris wheel
Dubai Eye.
Brands seem to be betting on
long term success. Dubai comes in
second worldwide as the city with
the most international brands after London, according to the 2015
“How Global is the Business of
Retail?” report by US-based real
estate consultancy firm CBRE.
With a presence of 55.7 percent of
global retailers, Dubai beat out
Shanghai, New York and Singapore.
There are currently around 800
franchise brands in the UAE, and
that number is set to double in the
next seven years. Franchisors are
attracted by its business-friendly,
tax-free environment and, with the
seventh highest GDP per capita in
the world, its affluent consumer
base. Dubai is particularly alluring
as a booming tourist destination
with 13 million visitors last year
and targeting 20 million by 2020.
It is also an ideal launch point
to the rest of the region. Shake
Shack opened its first international location in Dubai in 2011 and
now has 24 outlets in the Middle
East. Lululemon has already
opened three stores in Dubai since
September and plans to expand to
several other Gulf countries.
If you asked the average company that has already made some
solid foundations what are their
target markets, Dubai is there 90
percent of the time,” said Professor Roy Seaman, founder and
managing director of UK-based
consultancy firm Franchise Development Services .
Righ t jo bs , righ t s kills
ke y to tran s fo rm in g
Sin gapo re ’s e co n o m y,
says PM Lee
SINGAPORE: To transform its
economy, Singapore needs to ensure that it offers the right jobs, its
workers have the right skills, and
there is a good match between the
two, Prime Minister Lee Hsien
Loong said in his May Day message. “Tripartism is key to achieving this goal. Employers must envision the future of their business
and work with Government and
the Labour Movement to redesign
jobs and develop their talent with
this vision in mind. Workers must
actively partner with employers
to upgrade their skills, and stay
relevant for the future,” he said.
Singapore’s economy grew by 2.1
per cent last year – the slowest
pace since the 2009 financial crisis, Mr Lee said, adding that growth
is expected to remain at between 1
and 3 per cent this year. To stay
competitive, Singaporeans must
become more productive, innovative and adaptable, and constantly
develop new and better ways of
doing things, he said. “These are
not easy tasks, and can only be
achieved if Government, businesses and workers work together,” he
said. “The Government is committed to this transformation process,
and to supporting those ready and
willing to make the effort.” This is
why the recent Budget focused on
new economic measures, including
partnering with industry players
to develop sectoral transformation
roadmaps and investing more in
research and development and technology, Mr Lee said. “While these
programmes are not narrowly targeted at workers, they will benefit
workers, and all Singaporeans, by
helping to keep our economy
strong and creating good jobs.” PM
Lee also called on workers to participate in SkillsFuture, to take
charge of their learning, upgrade
their skills and be ready for the
jobs that are being created. The
new “Adapt and Grow” initiative
will also help mid-career and retrenched workers adapt to changing demands in the labour market,
and renew their skills to meet
them, he said. This is not the first
time Singapore has had to reinvent
its economy, he noted. “We succeeded in the past because Government, employers and the Labour Movement came together to
realise the shared vision of improving lives for all. I am confident that
we will succeed again if we stay
united, and work resolutely and
patiently at this goal.
Big Question: Will brand Kangana take
a hit after legal battle with Hrithik?
nown for her acting stints
in TV serials such as Tho
da Sa Aasmaan and Aankh
Macholi, Pakistani star Neelam
Munir will soon be seen playing
the female lead in upcoming movie, Chuppan Chuppai. Talking to
The Express Tribune the actor divulged details about the Mohsin
Ali directorial.
“We have wrapped up shooting for Chuppan Chuppai but the
songs have not been completed as
yet and a lot of work still needs to
be done,” said Neelam. Without
giving away too much about her
character, the actor shared that she
thoroughly enjoyed being a part
of the team. Singing praises about
the writer and director, she stated
“He really knows how to bring out
the best in an actor.”
As of now, Neelam has two
projects on hold. She has been offered another Pakistani film, but is
unsure whether she will take up
the project. She has even been offered a Bollywood film but has not
been handed the script yet. Hence,
she has no clue whether she will
be venturing across the border any
time soon.
Ahsan Khan to tickle your funny bone in ‘Chupan Chupai’
This week, Neelam will be seen
in singer Abrar Ul Haq’s new video song titled Ithe Rakh. “He will
be performing at a grand concert in
Lahore and will also releasing his
new album after nine years.”
Neelam will also be present at the
“The video was shot in freezing Lahori winter about three
months ago,” Neelam mentioned.
Besides her, two other notable
names included in the video are
Jawad Bashir and Adeel Hashmi.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2016.
Kangana Ranaut's ugly legal battle with Hrithik Roshan comes at a time when she has
become the top pick for various ad filmmakers. Will her brand value take a beating? Only
time will tell Kangana Ranaut's professional achievements have over time made her the top
pick for various ad filmmakers. At the moment, from cold creams and fashion labels to
mobile phones and hair oils, the actress has several brands in her kitty. However, with the
legal battle with Hrithik Roshan getting uglier by the day, will her brand value take a
beating? Says a source, "Kangana charges Rs 4-5 crore for a deal, but with the ongoing
battle there is a possibility that it will affect certain brands as they cater to a particular
audience." Ad guru Prahlad Kakkar opines that any publicity it good publicity for actors. "I
don't think that the legal case will affect Kangana's brand value. On the contrary, it will
increase the brand value of both the actress and Hrithik and they will bag more deals." Ad
filmmaker and director Vinil Mathew says, "It the controversy continues for some more time,
it will have an impact on both parties. Brands would not want to deal with controversies for
a long period of time. Having said that, both Hrithik and Kangana have a huge brand value
and controversies will not easily hamper their value in the market."
I don’t think
about awards:
Kalki Koechlin
Sylvester Stallone is
making TV debut w ith
Mario Puzo’s Omerta
Robert Downey Jr. is changing his
tune after hinting in March that
another Iron Man film is not on
the cards. Feeling that he was getting too old to play Tony Stark, he
had said, “I will be turning 50 by
the time I promote the movie.”
However, during a recent visit
to the Captain America: Civil War
sets, the actor shared that another
Iron Man film is not entirely off
the table, reported Entertainment
Weekly. “I feel like I could do one
more,” he said.
Downey appears in Civil War
as Tony Stark, a role he has now
played for nearly a decade (the first
film in Marvel’s Iron Man series
was released in 2008). Combined,
the three Iron Man films have
grossed $2.4 billion worldwide.
Civil War star Chris Evans
added that Downey’s portrayal of
Stark in the upcoming film is darker
than what fans are used to. “He
[Stark] always danced to the beat
of his own drum but [now] he’s
feeling a little guilty of the actions
the Avengers have taken, and the
collateral damage we have caused.
He feels he is responsible,” Evans
Captain America: Civil War
opens in theaters on May 6. The
film’s cast includes actors Scarlett
Johansson, Chadwick Boseman,
Tom Holland, Elizabeth Olsen and
Sebastian Stan among others.
Abrar Ul Haq More trouble for DC: The Flash
is back with director Seth Grahame-Smith drops out
a bangra
Seth Grahame-Smith has reported-
After getting nominated for an
Oscar with Creed last year, Hollywood star Sylvester Stallone is
all set to make his TV debut with a
mafia drama series called Omerta,
based on a novel written by The
Godfather’s Mario Puzo. The 69year-old actor is expected to portray a mob boss in Antoine Fuqua’s television series. Omerta is
the final novel in the Puzo’s mafia
trilogy that started with The Godfather and The Last Don. Stallone
is set to work with The Equalizer
director Antoine Fuqua for the
project. The news comes just
weeks after Fuqua signed a multiyear TV deal with Weinstein Co.
The director is now gearing up for
the release of his new movie The
Magnificent Seven starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt.
Read: Sylvester Stallone’s
brother goes crazy on Twitter after Oscar snub Meanwhile, Stallone is expected to reprise his iconic role as Rocky Balboa in Creed 2
after he won a Golden Globe and
received an Oscar nomination,
thanks to the first movie. His other films include Ratchet & Clank
and Animal Crackers
Funnyman Stephen Merchant
joins Hugh Jackman in Wolverine 3
is the latest name to join the cast
of the X-Men spin off, reported
Read: Final X-Men: Apocalypse trailer sidelines Professor X,
teases Wolverine
The Office co-creator Stephen
Merchant has joined the cast of
Wolverine 3, the final movie in
which Hugh Jackman will star as
Read:?Hugh Jackman reveals
Wolverine 3’s first teaser image
The British comedian, known
for his work with Ricky Gervais,
Few details about Merchant’s
role have been released. Richard E
Grant has also signed up to play a
“villainous mad-scientist type” in
the new instalment.
Narcos star Boyd Holbrook,
34, will also portray a bad guy,
while franchise regular Patrick
Stewart will return as X-Men leader Professor X.
For more than two decades, Abrar
Ul Haq has reigned over the
Punjabi bhangra scene of Pakistan,
giving hits like Nach Punjaban,
Preeto and Kudiyan Lahore Diyan.
These songs not only became anthems of their time, but also made
waves across the border. Following a hiatus of nine years, the
singer-turned-politician has come
full circle with the release of his
latest album, Ithe Rakh. Abrar’s
eighth studio album will be
launched at a ceremony in Lahore
on Saturday (today).
Abrar formally stepped into
the limelight in 1995 with the release of his first album, Billo De
Gar, which sold over 16 million
copies nationwide. From that
point on, the singer started releasing one single after another, treating fans with his colloquial take on
Punjabi culture and catchy melodies. The albums that followed included Majajani, Bay Ja Cycle
Tay, Nach Punjaban, Assan Jana
Mall-o-Mall, Nachan Main
Audhay Naal, and Nara Sada Isqh
Aey. His latest album however is
slightly different from the rest and
has more to offer to his loyal fans.
Speaking to The Express Tribune,
Abrar opens up about why he decided to release another album after nearly a decade.
ly dropped out of directing Warner
Bros’ The Flash over “creative differences.” The superhero film will
star Ezra Miller in the titular role,
who was teased in March’s Batman
v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Read:?Seth Grahame-Smith zips and
zooms his way to direct The Flash
Grahame-Smith, the author and
screenwriter of such works as Pride
and Prejudice and Zombies and
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,
was to have made his directorial debut on the project based on the iconic
DC superheroo, said The Hollywood Reporter. The project will retain Grahame-Smith’s script, which
he wrote working off of a treatment
by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the Lego Movie duo who once
were eyeing it as a possible directing vehicle. The Flash already has a
release date, March 16, 2018, and
Miller is portraying the classic hero
known as “the fastest man alive.”
Read:?Is the solo Flash movie with
Ezra Miller also going to feature
Cyborg? Miller’s Flash, aka Barry
Allen, was introduced in a cameo
appearance in Batman v Superman:
Dawn of Justice, and is now shooting The Justice League Part One,
which will be released in the fall of
2017. Ezra Miller’s Flash delivered
an ominous message in Batman v
Superman: Dawn of Justice. (Twitter) Grahame-Smith still remains involved in other Warner’s projects.
He is a writer on the studio’s Lego
Batman Movie and is working on
Beetlejuice 2.
Aks h ay Ku m ar s ays s o rry
afte r bo d ygu ard p u n ch e s fan
Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar
posted an apology on Twitter a
day after his bodyguard punched
a fan for trying to take selfie with
the star. Akshay termed the bodyguard’s act “unfortunate” and offered his sincere apologies to the
fan. The actor was walking with
his bodyguards at the Mumbai airport on Thursday when a fan approached him and tried to take a
selfie. One of his bodyguards
punched the man.
The 48-year-old actor, who
has been trending on Twitter on
Saturday with the tag ‘We Love
Akshay Kumar,’ also wrote that
such unfortunate incidents are “always upsetting.”
Read: Twinkle Khanna reveals
5 reasons why Akshay Kumar’s
her bae
His statement read: “What
happened that day was unfortunate and uncalled for. I was at the
airport and I heard a commotion
which made me turn around, I
didn’t notice anything wrong so I
walked on. It was later brought to
my notice that my bodyguard had
punched a fan. I have reprimanded
him and given him a strict warning
for the same. My sincere apology
to the fan who was hurt. I hold my
fans in the highest regard and such
incidents are always upsetting. I
will ensure such a scenario is avoided in the future.”
NEW DELHI: Indian actor Kalki
Koechlin shared she doesn’t like
to think about awards all the time,
adding that she lives for work rather
than honours. A Special Jury
Award went to Kalki earlier this
year at the Indian National Film
Awards for her performance as a
young woman afflicted with cerebral palsy in Margarita, with a
Straw. Come May 27, and will she
charm audiences once again with
her act in the upcoming film, Waiting.
Asked whether she is anticipating another round of laurels and
awards, Kalki said, “I don’t want
to think about awards because it
should be a happy surprise and
not a disappointment that ‘Oh I
didn’t get an award!’. I can’t live
for awards. I need to live for work.
My award is work. If I get more
work from this film, then that’s
the biggest award.” The former
wife of director Anurag Kashyap
said, “It’s important that the movie
does well on the box office because
that will allow more faith in studios to put money into these kinds
of scripts.”
The trailer of the Anu Menon
directorial, shows Kalki and veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah come
together due to painful circumstances. It also depicts how Shah’s
character remains aloof from social media unlike Kalki’s character.
And so, was she successful in convincing the veteran actor to join
social networking sites for his role
in the film? “I haven’t managed to
convince him off-screen either to
get on Twitter. He has fake accounts, so he is very upset. We’ve
had funny conversations about
social media,” said the Yeh Jawaani
Hai Deewani star.
Speaking about the baggage
that comes with stardom, Kalki
stated, “I am lucky enough to have
a good balance. I am not so famous
that I can’t walk on the streets. I
can still go and buy some tomatoes on the road … maybe, two or
three selfie requests but that’s
From playing a school girlturned-prostitute in her debut
movie Dev.D to a mentally disturbed character in Shaitaan and to
an interior designer in the Hrithik
Roshan-starrer Zindagi Na Milegi
Dobara, Kalki has tried her hands
at various roles. Sticking to her label of being a ‘versatile actor’,
Kalki mentioned after Waiting, she
will be seen in A Death In The Ganj,
a film set in the 1970s.
On the other hand, despite
doing well in Bollywood, she is
still in love with acting on stage. “I
always loved theatre. For me as an
actor, it’s a place to practice your
art. It’s like muscle. Some people
need to go to the gym to make
muscles bigger, I go to theatre to
make my acting better,” she
laughed, adding that she is looking
forward to flying to the US in July
for a play.
SUNDAY MAY 01, 2016
Bo xe r Vije n d e r
Sin gh clas h e s
w ith Fre n ch o p p o n e n t at w e igh -in
Anthony Martial snatched a lastgasp winner to send Louis van
Gaal's Manchester United into the
FA Cup final following a 2-1 victory over Everton at Wembley.
With Saturday's semi-final
heading for extra-time after a 75thminute Chris Smalling own-goal
had cancelled out Marouane Fellaini's first-half strike for United,
Martial was on target in injury
Everton, with manager Roberto Martinez under fire and out of
favour with the fans, could have
levelled in the 57th minute when
Timothy Fosu-Mensah felled
Ross Barkley but David de Gea's
superb diving save denied Romelu
Lukaku from the penalty spot.
Leicester on path to achieve
ultimate football fairytale
United, who will face Crystal
Palace in the final, had their own
penalty appeal turned down nine
minutes later when Fellaini's shot
was blocked by Phil Jagielka's arm.
Dutchman Van Gaal has faced
endless debate about his United
future, with media speculation that
Jose Mourinho is waiting in the
wings, after crashing out of Europe
and poor performances in the Premier League.
The final, with United on
course to lift the trophy for the
first time since 2004, would be a
silver lining even if there are no
guarantees that he will still be manager next season.
Elsewhere, in the Premier
League, Manchester City moved
up to third while Newcastle United boosted their hopes of survival
by coming back from two goals
down at Liverpool to draw 2-2 and
secure a precious point.
On an afternoon that reaped
19 goals from four matches, last
season's Player of the Year Eden
Hazard finally opened his league
account for the season with two in
Chelsea's 4-1 win at Bournemouth.
Manchester City's bid for a
top-three finish picked up extra
momentum, a 4-0 demolition of
Stoke City at the Etihad Stadium
lifting them a point clear of fourthplaced Arsenal with 64 points
from 35 matches.
N ad al be ats N is h iko ri W ild be ats Garn e r
to w in Barce lo n a Op e n in Yo rks h ire
Rafael Nadal maintained his ominous clay court form by seizing
back the Barcelona Open title from
Kei Nishikori with a 6-4 7-5 victory, matching Guillermo Vilas'
record title haul on the surface.
A week after reclaiming the
Monte Carlo crown, the 29-yearold Spaniard returned to another
of his favourite hunting grounds
to end Nishikori's two-year hold
on the trophy and take his tally in
the Catalan capital to nine.
"It's a very special week playing in my homeland," said Nadal.
"This is a very important and historic tournament on the calendar."
Playing with the kind of authority
that once made him almost
unplayable on European clay,
Nadal looked poised for a comfort-
able victory until Nishikori broke
back in the second set to make
Nadal dig deep. He would not be
denied, though, sealing victory after two hours when Nishikori
slapped a forehand into the net.
Nadal moves into second place in
the 2016 point race to the World
Tour Finals in London. He earned
his first back-to-back titles in successive weeks since Toronto and
Cincinnati in August 2013. Nadal,
who will target a 10th French
Open title next month, and former
Argentine great Vilas have both
won 49 clay court titles and Nadal
will be confident of edging ahead
when he moves on to Madrid and
Rome before Roland Garros.
Nishikori, Asia's best player, last
lost at the event in 2013 when he
went down to Spain's Albert
Ramos in the third round. "It's
been a great three years for me,
even if I lost today," Nishikori said.
"I feel very comfortable here. Every year I feel excited to come back
to play." The victory denied
Nishikori the chance to join Nadal
and Mats Wilander as the only men
to have lifted the trophy at the Real
Club de Tenis over three consecutive years. The match marked the
first time since 2008 that the top
two seeds played in the Barcelona
final. Nadal defeated David Ferrer
that year.
Spain's king of clay now stands
9-0 in Barcelona finals and has
won nine titles in three events:
Monte Carlo, Roland Garros and
The Netherlands' Kirsten Wild
outsprinted Britain's Lucy Garner
to win the inaugural edition of the
Asda Women's Tour de Yorkshire.
The 135.5km race, from Otley
to Doncaster, ended in a bunch finish after a three-rider attack led by
world champion Lizzie Armitstead
was caught inside the final 3km.
Wild (Hitec Products) then
beat Garner (Wiggle-High5) by a
bike's length, with Floortje
Mackaij (Liv-Plantur) crossing the
line in third.
Armitstead had escaped from
the peloton alongside Leah
Kirchmann (Liv-Plantur) with
about 35km to go and they subsequently joined up with Doris
Schweizer (Cyclance), who had
mounted a lone breakaway earlier
in the race.
The trio built up a lead of a
minute, but the sprint teams in the
peloton chased them down to set
up the bunch finish.
Armitstead said: "I kind of got
involved in the attack by accident,
around Conisbrough Castle. I knew
I had to keep it going down the
descent, there was a little bit of a
kicker. I thought I'll stick it here
and see what happens. Then I
looked behind me and there was
two of us, so it wasn't exactly
"It was worth just giving it a
go. I wouldn't have bet on me in
the sprint, so I thought at least try
to make it an interesting race.
The Asda Women's Tour de
Yorkshire was being held for the
first time (Picture:
The Asda Women's Tour de
Yorkshire was being held for the
first time (Picture:
"When I saw the lead go from
a minute to 30 seconds quickly,
that's when I knew the race was
run. It was windy too, on those
open roads we knew they were
bearing down on us." Wild received
£15,000 for her victory, which is
more than will be awarded to the
winner of the men's race. She said:
"Thank you to the team for bringing back the break just in time.
When it came down to the sprint,
it was good for me, and I am happy
to have won.
"It was a great opportunity for
women's cycling and it has been
really good to race here, in front of
enthusiastic crowds."
Sw e d e n : A fo o tball fam ily fo r ch ild re fu ge e s
Gothenburg, Sweden: Under floodlights on a synthetic grass pitch,
teenage boys brave biting cold
winds to hone their football skills
- dribbling, passing, showing off
fancy footwork and lining up to
have a shot at goal.
From a distance, it looks like
any football practice. But one thing
is absent: doting parents who drop
off their children for training and
who will have dinner ready for
them when they come back home.
The parents of the players of
Sandarna Team C are thousands of
miles away from Gothenburg, or,
in some cases, dead. These teenagers have fled wars and hardship,
arriving in Sweden on their own.
Rushing into training late but
bursting with warmth and energy
is Matilda Brinck-Larsen, a social
worker and refugee advocateturned-football coach.
She is welcomed with a hug
by an Afghan boy who tells her
not to listen to the "bad words".
Matilda is confused at first,
but soon she understands what he
is talking about: a few days earlier
she had published an op-ed in the
local newspaper, urging Swedes to
team up to help integrate unaccompanied refugee children.
This, as well as other recent
media appearances in which she
has spoken out in favour of a welcoming policy towards refugees,
has led to a barrage of online hate
and threatening anonymous phone
"Don't listen to them. We're
proud of you," the boy tells her.
"Remember that most of the
people don't think like that," she
responds. "It's only a small clique."
Matilda Brinck-Larsen is convinced that Sweden can manage to
integrate many more immigrants if
Swedes team up to help [Jan Soja/
Al Jazeera]
Sweden received 35,000 unaccompanied minors last year - almost five times more than the
number expected. Housing facilities for the children have been filled
beyond capacity and Team C is
clearly feeling the strain. Nearly
200 boys are now registered with
the team, up from some 30 play-
ers when training started in 2013.
Most of them come from Afghanistan, Syria and Somalia.
For Matilda, it is a given that
she should stand up for the refugee children and do all that she can
to give them the best start possible in their new lives in Sweden.
What if her own children ended up
in a foreign country on their own,
she asks herself. Of course she
would want someone to take care
of them.
Beyond the football pitch,
Matilda is involved in organising
Gothenburg's handling of the new
arrivals, including the opening of
new lodging facilities for refugee
children waiting to have their asylum claims processed.
The side career as a football
coach started by accident after she
got involved in a summer tournament organised by the local municipality.
She was then asked by some
refugee boys if she could set up a
team especially for them. Initially
she was sceptical. What would
that do for integration, she asked.
Why couldn't they join any of
Gothenburg's 160 existing teams?
But the boys told her that was
impossible, saying they felt stupid when they tried playing with
"normal" teams.
Most of the players come from
Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia and
Eritrea [Jan Soja/Al Jazeera]
"Most of these guys have
played a lot of football but not
organised football," says Matilda.
"They never played with a
backline, midfielders, and
frontmen. So I thought setting up
a team wasn't a bad idea after all,
to teach them the basics and then
steer them to other clubs."
She stops herself in the middle
of a sentence, shouting to the boys
who are playing a game in the drizzling rain. "Where are the defenders?" she shouts. "Help the goalkeeper! Come on, yalla!"
Sparks flew thick and fast between
Indian boxing sensation Vijender
Singh and his French opponent
Matiouze Royer during Friday’s
official weigh-in at Stratford’s
Copper Box Arena.
Vijender has promised another knockout show but the Indian
boxing star’s unbeaten run will be
put through a tough challenge
when he squares off against the
experienced Frenchman in a super
middleweight contest here tomorrow. Royer, 29, is Vijender’s most
experienced opponent to date.
Vijender has won all his four bouts
via Technical Knockouts in under
three rounds.
The tall pugilist from Bayonne
in South West France got embroiled
in a confrontation with Vijender
after the pair had weighed in. Despite the massive showdown being little more than 24 hours away,
Royer couldn’t wait to get his
hands on the Indian.
Both men were forced away
from each other by officials as tempers threatened to boil over. Royer is a veteran of 44 fights, claiming 3 of his 14 wins via knockout
and is promising to spoil the Indian party.
“I know I’ve got the beating
of Vijender already; I saw it in his
eyes. He looked scared to me.
There’s no doubt in my mind I’ll
knock him out tomorrow night.
There’s a lot of hype around this
guy and I can’t wait to be the one
to put him in his place,” said Royer.
He added: “I’m the more experienced fighter and I’ll show it
tomorrow. There’s no way I’m letting this guy beat me; he’s only
had four professional fights. He
won’t have a reply for anything I
throw at him and once I start landing it will be game over for India’s
golden boy.”
Vijender looked in impressive
condition as he hit the scales at 11
stone 13lbs while Royer came in
at 11 stone 13lbs.
If Vijender carries on his impressive knockout streak, he may
be rewarded with a mega-fight
with British boxing star Amir
Khan, a two-time former
world champion, has a glitterring
career which includes 31 wins,
three losses and 19 knockouts. He
is expected to face one of the biggest challenges of his career when
he steps up in weight to take on
Mexican boxer Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in what could be a career
defining fight.
The Bolton hero has said that
he would love to take on fellow
Olympic star Vijender in a blockbuster showdown in India in the
“That’s good, I’m very interested in that fight. I’d accept the
challenge 100 percent. Obviously
there’s the difference in weight but
I’m sure we could get that sorted
somewhere down the line if I carry on progressing. It would be absolutely huge in India,” Vijender
News from Qipco 2000 Guineas
day at Newmarket where George
Wood secured a valuable success
aboard Knight Owl in the opener.
Knight Owl gifted young rider
George Wood his biggest career
victory to date when making a winning return to action in the Suffolk
Stakes at Newmarket. Despite being the apparent second string of
trainer James Fanshawe, who also
saddled Arthenus, the six-year-old
improved on last year's fourth in
the one-mile-one-furlong race
when triumphing under the 7lb
claimer. Aaving tracked the early
pace, the 20/1 shot was sent on
between the final two furlongs, and
although he faced several late challengers close to the line, he was
not to be denied with him holding
on to victory by half a length from
Examiner. Fanshawe said: "George
has been with me two years. He
works very hard and his riding has
improved. He rode him beautifully. "I think when things go right
for him he can go forward. He
wants cut in the ground but I
feared the extra furlong. He was
out in front for a while but they
were not going to get past him. "I've
not thought any further, but he
might get in the Hunt Cup." According to anther news: Air Force
Blue faces the "acid test" of his
Classic credentials in the Qipco
2000 Guineas at Newmarket on
Saturday. The Aidan O'Brientrained son of War Front enjoyed
a spectacular juvenile campaign,
winning four of his five starts including a hat-trick of Group One
triumphs to ensure he was
crowned the season's champion
two-year-old. His spectacular performance in October's Dewhurst
Stakes confirmed he would head
into the winter as hot favourite for
the first Classic of 2016 on the
Rowley Mile and his price has continued to contract in recent weeks,
to the stage where he is now oddson across the board.
O'Brien, who saddled a jointrecord seventh Guineas winner
when Gleneagles struck gold 12
months ago, has never made any
secret of the regard in which he
holds the latest Ballydoyle superstar, but admits only time will tell
whether the stiff mile at Headquarters will be within his compass.
"He's always been very quick
and has a lot of natural speed, that's
why we are hoping he gets a mile,"
said O'Brien, whose charge has
eased slightly in some places after
rain turned the Rowley Mile good
to soft on Friday morning.
"Obviously this will be the acid
test as it's his first run over a mile,
we'll probably learn a lot about him.
"Those seven-furlong two-year-old
races are like enhanced sprints and
it is a searching mile at Newmarket.
You'd have to be hopeful that he
will get it, but you can never be
sure until they do it on the day.
"He's a good, fast horse. He's a horse
who loves his work, enjoys his
work and wants to please all the
time. He's a very easy horse to train
and I suppose the problem we have
with him is over-training him. "So
far everything has gone well. Everyone saw last year he's a good
traveller who quickens well. "He's
very relaxed and not influenced by
anything at home, he's a nice independent thinker and is not a heavybodied horse. He covers the ground
easily and economically. "He really
is a joy to train." While Air Force
Blue is very much the number one
hope for the O'Brien-Coolmore
team, they are also represented by
Air Vice Marshal, who has not been
seen since finishing second in Newmarket's Superlative Stakes last
MAY 01 2016-Saur 12, 1395 H.S
Vol:X Issue No:270 Price: Afs.15
The world’s top military
brass ponders how to
respond to global terrorism
MOSCOW : He also called for a
new regional security arrangement
that would see more cooperation
between Russia, Afghanistan, China, India, the United States and its
allies. “Russia and Afghanistan
must engage more closely with one
another economically, politically
and strategically,” he added. “A
stronger and more affirmative Russia is a guarantor of stability and
safety in Afghanistan,” Karzai said
at the 5th Moscow conference
on international security. Strengthening of Russian positions
in Central Asia will contribute
to the stability in the region and
Afghanistan, Karzai said. “When
Russia was strong, Afghanistan
was stable. That’s why today –
that’s my very clear opinion – that
stronger Russia, resurgent Russia
in our
with Afghanistan politically and
economically, training Afghan forces, giving us the knowledge they
have will bring stability back
to Afghanistan and vice versa
to Russia. So that should we do
today and that I’m working on,”
Karzai told the RT broadcaster. He
added that Moscow’s weakening
that had taken place following the
collapse of the Soviet Union had
also weakened Kabul, adding that
the Soviet Union had significantly
contributed to the Afghan stability. Afghanistan is in a state
of political and social turmoil,
with the long-standing Taliban insurgency continuing in the country, while other extremist groups
have expanded their activities there
also. (Sputnik)
Azizi Bank meets the Sarai
money exchangers
Azizi Bank conducted its first customer meet of the year involving
the money exchangers of Sarai
Shahzada at the Kabul Star Hotel
on 20th April 2016. The evening
was graced by the presence of the
President of the Money Exchang-
Military officials and experts from
around the world came to Moscow this week to discuss how to
deal with the most pressing global security challenges, including
global terrorism. Global terrorism
was the main item on the agenda
of the Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS) that
took place on Apr. 27-28. Organized by Russia’s Defense Ministry, it brought together top military officials, experts and diplomats to address current international security challenges and
“The world has not become a
safer and easier place to live,”
Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei
Shoigu said during the conference.
“This is why military cooperation between states is more important than ever.”
The tragic events of 2015 and
2016 - including the downing of
the Russian plane over
Sinai, deadly terror attacks in
Europe and throughout the Middle East, and the spread ofthe Islamic State of Iraq and the Greater Syria (ISIS) in Yemen, Libya
er’s Association Mr. Haji Khan
Mohammad Baz.
In his speech to the Bank officials & the money exchangers, he
appreciated the initiative of Azizi
Bank and expressed his best wishes.
and Central Asia – provided the
geopolitical context for this year’s
conference. For global stakeholders, these events have become a
signal to team up and create a
broader anti-terror coalition under the UN umbrella.
Among the attendees of the
conference were more than 500
representatives from over 80
countries, including those that
perennially are the largest targets
of terrorism: Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Egypt.
At the same time, the lack of top
European and U.S. military officials at the conference indicates
that mistrust between Russia and
the West is still a problem that
hampers joint anti-terrorism initiatives.
However, several officials
from key multilateral institutions
did attend the conference. In attendance were Lamberto Zannier,
the general secretary of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); Yves
Daccord, general director of the
International Committee of the
Red Cross; and a number...(P2)
Protestors call for justice for Abaseen
Family members and a number of
activists called for justice on Saturday during a protest rally over
the kidnapping and murder of
Abaseen, a teenager from Kabul.
Abaseen's family members said
that they themselves will take action, if the government fails to do
so. The protesters were chanting
slogans of 'the government should
put an end to the culture of impunity' and 'we want justice'. They
urged the government to execute
the kidnappers in public. "We
want justice to be done and want
Abaseen's murderers to be publicly executed," said Andeshman
Zazai, one of the protestors. "If
justice is not forthcoming, we want
to tell the government we ourselves will take action and then
government can't say we hadn't
warned them," said Mohammad
Zazai, Abaseen's uncle.
The protestors said that they
will be concerned about their own
and their family's safety, if justice
is not carried out.
"Today, we see our sister, our
brother and other relatives in
By Akhtar M. Nikzad
KABUL: Ahmad Zia Massoud,
special representative for the president in good governance says that
abduction is hampering the trend
of investment in the country.
“The businessmen are not
willing to invest in the country due
to insecurity and abduction cases
that left majority of our youth
unemployed,” Massoud addressed a gathering Saturday in
He asked the government to
Abaseen's face. If justice is not
done, possibly one of us will be in
the same position next," said Hasib Habib, one of the protestors.
"Abaseen's murderers have been
arrested. We want justice to be
The murderers should be exe-
cuted in public and reforms should
be brought to the judicial system,"
said Humaira Saqib, chairperson of
Afghan Women Network.
eliminate kidnapping and amend
criminal law, augmenting death
penalty for those who commit abducting crime.
“As President Ghani recently
ordered the judiciary organs to
hang the terrorists and Taliban,
it is a necessity to execute the
abductors in public for their heavy
crimes to be an example for others.”
“If the government hangs 10
abductors in public, there would
not be any kidnapping case,” he
The remarks come three days
after a group of armed men wearing military uniforms stormed in
DACAAR compound in Jalalabad
the provincial capital of Nangarhar province and took an Australian female employee.
A few months ago, a teenager
boy named Abasseen was kidnapped from Kabul city for ransom.
The kidnappers cut his finger
off and sent it to his family. After
they did not receive money they
killed him.
The National Directorate of
Security (NDS) earlier said in a
statement that five people have
been arrested in connection with
the boy’s kidnapping and murder.
The arrested people confessed
to Abaseen’s murder during preliminary investigations, the NDS
said in a statement.
So far many businessmen are
concern about insecurity and abdicating cases and they urged government to keep their security and
put to death the abductors.

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