Transfer of Us Prison to Afghans Delayed Again


Transfer of Us Prison to Afghans Delayed Again
Vol No 01, Issue 84, Sunday March 10, 2013 – Hoot 20, 1391, 8 Pages Price 15 Afg
Zinat Karzai,
'invisible' first
10 Injured
Neymar: I don't
2 9InDead,
Kabul Suicide
Have a Preference 4
Between Barcelona
& Real Madrid
Materializing the
Verbal Plans
A Tale of Two
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dows 8 Released, 7
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North Korea Rejects U.N. Sanctions, China Calls
for Calm
President Karzai Seeks
Citizens’ Participation in
Making Afghanistan Green
Zinat Karzai is qualified as a doctor and
worked for years in Pakistan before her
marriage. She has been called Afghanistan's invisible first lady. Zinat Karzai,
the 43-year-old wife of Hamid Karzai,
is rarely seen in public, prompting criticism that she is not doing enough to
further the cause of women's rights in
her country. This week she gave a rare
interview to the BBC's Maryam Ghamgusar and Freba Zaher.
Kabul - Ahead of the arrival of the new spring season, President Hamid Karzai asked citizens to focus on the growth
of vegetables, orchards, forests and agricultural lands. He
urged the citizens and farmers to make more efforts in keeping Afghanistan green by planting and preserving plants.
“This year God blessed us with plenty of rain and snow,
and I am hopeful to see a beautiful spring.
(See Page 2)
Board Vote: No
Candidate Elected
Transfer of Us Prison to
Afghans Delayed Again
page 4
Kabul - The long-awaited transfer of the U.S. detention center in Afghanistan was delayed once again Saturday as
a deal struck between the two governments broke down the day before a planned handover ceremony. The delay
suggests that the two sides have yet to resolve thorny issues such as whether Afghans can be held without trial and
whether the U.S. will have the power to block the release of detainees it considers particularly dangerous. It also
throws a pall over ongoing negotiations for a bilateral security agreement that would govern the presence of U.S.
forces in Afghanistan after the current combat mission ends in 2014. As recently as Friday morning, Afghan workers at the Defense Ministry were arranging transport for dignitaries and journalists to attend Saturday's ceremony
at the detention center adjoining the Bagram Air Field, a U.S. base about
(see page 2)
KABUL - Lawmakers Haji Zahir Qadir and Mirwais Yasini
on Saturday failed to receive 50 percent of the vote necessary for election as first vice-chairman of the parliamentary
board. Yasini obtained 99 votes and Qadir 90 from the present 221 house members, falling short of the required 111
mark, 50 percent. Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said the
votes cast included eight blank and 23 invalid and that outspoken parliamentarian Ramazan
(See Page 2)
PM Ashraf Arrives in India
to ‘Open Arms’ Welcome
Jaipur - Prime Minister Raja Pervez
Ashraf arrived in India on Saturday for
a pilgrimage to a revered shrine, with Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid
welcoming him with “open arms”. Khurshid’s warm welcome for Prime Minister
Ashraf – making his first visit to India as
prime minister – comes despite strained
relations between the two countries over
recent border clashes.
“It’s in our culture to welcome our guests
with open arms,” said Khurshid ahead
of a lunch he will host for Ashraf at the
Rambagh Palace, a luxury heritage hotel
in the city of Jaipur in north western India. Khurshid and Prime Minister Ashraf
smiled and shook hands for television
cameras before retreating behind closed
doors for their lunch. An Indian foreign
ministry official told AFP there would be
no “substantive talks” at the meeting.
“India is happy to host a lunch for the
Pakistani prime minister. We are just extending our hospitality,” the senior Indian
foreign ministry official said. Prime Minister Ashraf is the most senior Pakistani to
visit India since last April when President
Asif Ali Zardari made a similar pilgrimage and had lunch with Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh.
Ashraf and his family planned a day-long
private trip to the 13th century shrine of
Sufi saint Hazrat Khwaja Gharib Nawaz
in Ajmer, 130 kilometres from Jaipur.
Tensions spiked between New Delhi
and Islamabad in January and February
as a total of six soldiers were killed in
exchanges along the de facto border in
Kashmir, a region claimed by both countries. Four of the soldiers killed were from
Pakistan while two were from India.
One of the Indians was beheaded allegedly by Pakistanis. India, which has fought
three wars with Pakistan since independence from Britain in 1947, accuses Islamabad of fomenting cross-border militancy – a charge that the Islamic republic
rejects. (Dawn)
U.S. Urges Iran to Help With
Locating Missing FBI Agent
Washington - The U.S. government on
Friday pressed Iran for help to locate a
former agent of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) who went missing
six years ago in the Islamic country. In a
statement on the sixth anniversary of the
disappearance of the agent, Robert Levinson, the White House said that finding
Levinson "remains a high priority for the
United States, and we will continue to do
all that we can to bring him home safely
to his friends and family."
"The Iranian government previously offered assistance in locating Levinson
and we look forward to receiving this
assistance, even as we disagree on other
key issues," the statement said. In order
to find Levinson, who went missing during a business trip to Iran's Kish Island on
March 9, 2007, the FBI offered a 1-mil-
lion-U.S-dollar reward last year for information leading to his safe return.
"This year, we again reaffirm our commitment to bringing him home to those
who love him," the White House added.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also issued a statement on the disappearance of
Levinson, a father to seven children and
a grandfather of two. "The United States
continues to welcome the assistance of
our international partners in this investigation and calls on the government of the
Islamic Republic of Iran to uphold its offer to help find Mr. Levinson and return
him safely to his family," Kerry said.
The top U.S. diplomat said that he met
with Levinson's wife and son on Friday "to reiterate that the U.S. government remains committed to locating Mr.
Levinson and reuniting him safely with
his family. " The United States and Iran
have been facing off over Tehran's nuclear
program, which Washington regards as an
attempt to make nuclear weapons despite
Iran's repeated claim of the peaceful nature of its nuclear initiative.
The Obama administration, which has
imposed crippling economic sanctions
against Iran, refuses to exclude the use of
force to prevent Tehran from acquiring a
nuclear bomb. (Xinhua)
The Afghanistan Express
Vol No 01, Issue 84, Sunday March 10, 2013 – Hoot
20, 1391
9 Dead, 10 Injured
In Kabul Suicide Blast
KABUL - A suicide bomber exploded
his explosives-packed motorbike at the
entrance of the Ministry of Defence
(MoD) in the heavily fortified Kabul city
on Saturday, killing at least nine people,
including military officials and civilians,
an official said. At least 10 more people,
including security guards, were wounded in the attack that took place around
9:15am in the Pul-i-Mehmood Khan locality, a police official of the 2nd police
district said on condition of anonymity.
He said an investigation was underway.
MoD spokesman Gen. Zahir Azeemi told reporters at the blast site that the attacker was riding a motorcycle. The blast inflicted casualties on civilians as many are killed and wounded, Azeemi said, but did
not provide any figures. Taxi driver on the route, Hashmatullah, said his four passengers were injured by
flying glass as the blast occurred near his car. He saw many others lying on the road while bleeding in
front of the defense ministry.
Pajhwok reporter at the scene said Afghan police and Army personnel removed at 11am eight private
vehicles damaged in the explosion. The suicide attack comes as US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is in
Kabul. Hagel was said to in a safe location at an ISAF facility. Claiming responsibility, the Taliban said
the defence ministry was the target and the attack was a kind of message for Hagel.
On his first trip abroad as defense secretary, Hagel arrived in Kabul on Friday to meet US commanders
and troops and hold talks with President Hamid Karzai and Afghan Defense Minister as America's longest
war in Afghanistan enters its final stretch. (PAN)
Taliban Claims Responsibility for Ministry Attack
Afghan defence official Dawlat Waziri said the dead
were civilians, while 14 others, including two security
guards, were wounded.
US defence secretary Chuck Hagel was nowhere near
the explosion, said a spokesman for Afghanistan's NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
The Taliban immediately claimed responsibility for the
attack and said the ministry was the target.
In a statement they said the attack "is a kind of message" for Mr Hagel.
The blast underscored the security challenges facing
Afghanistan as US-led NATO forces prepare to leave
the country by the end of 2014.
Mr Hagel arrived in Afghanistan on Friday for his first
trip abroad as defence secretary, seeking to make his
own assessment of America's longest war as it enters
its final stretch.
He said he would meet US commanders and troops, and
hold talks with president Hamid Karzai, whose recent
orders to curtail US military activity highlights an often tense relationship with the 66,000 American forces
there. (reuters)
US Provides $250,000 to ARCS
KABUL - The foreign affairs ministry on Saturday
said the United States had provided $250,000 to the
Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) in assistance
through the Supreme Master Ching Hai International
In a brief statement, the ministry said the aid would
be distributed to war victims, widowed women, orphans and individuals in need in Afghanistan. The
Afghan Embassy in Washington has requested for
the assistance. (PAN)
Salang Pass Reopens After Storm
CHARIKAR - The Salang highway that connects
Kabul with Northern provinces, is open again on
Saturday after a paralysing snow storm led to its closure for a day in central Parwan province, an official
said. The highway was closed Friday afternoon for
traffic after the storm brought snow to the region,
leaving hundreds of passengers stranded in vehicles
on both sides of the busy pass.
The route reopened at 12pm after the threat of further storm and snow avalanches subsided, the pass
maintenance officer Yawar Samiullah told Pajhwok
Afghan News. (PAN)
Michelle Obama Presents Malalai with Courage Award
ECP Suggests May 9 as Polling Day
Islamabad - The Election Commission of
Pakistan has suggested May 9 as tentative date for the general election. A senior
ECP official told Dawn on Friday that the
proposal had been informally conveyed
to the government through the Ministry
of Law. He said it was flexible between
May 7 and 10. Under the law it is for the
president to announce a date for elections
which is followed by the announcement
of election schedule, but the government
decided to take the ECP on board to work
out feasible dates.
“It is not a law, but it has become a tradition,” the ECP official said. But the
positive aspect of the consultative process
was neutralized by a major development
on Friday. Law Minister Farooq H. Naek
sent to the ECP clause-by-clause objections to the amendments it had proposed
in nomination forms.
The ECP rejected the objections and
said it had proposed the amendments in
line with the spirit of Article 218(3) of
the Constitution as well as directives of
the Supreme Court in the Workers’ Party
case in order to ensure fairness, justness
and credibility of the elections and guard
against corrupt practices.
The commission expressed its inability
to reconsider its proposal already sent to
the law ministry for approval by the president.
“In this respect, you would appreciate that
after approval of the proposed amendments in nomination forms by the president, the same are required to be printed
and distributed among returning officers
across the country for use in the upcoming elections.
For the completion of these activities, very
short time has been left with the Election
Commission. In order to allow us to complete the aforesaid activities well before
time, it is important that the approval of
the president is conveyed to the commission latest by March 11 noons,” it said.
The ECP official said the commission
would have no option but to start printing
of nomination papers on the old pattern if
the approval was not accorded by March
11. (Dawn)
Dozens of Houses Torched as Mob
Attacks Lahore Christian Locality
Lahore - An enraged mob torched dozens
of houses located in a Christian-dominated neighbourhood of Lahore on Saturday,
DawnNews reported. The mob attacked
the houses in Joseph Colony in Badami
Bagh police precincts in the provincial
capital following allegations of blasphemy against a Christian man. The man was
booked under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
It appeared that the man had been falsely
accused of blasphemy but the police was
forced to register a case to placate the
mob, a local police official said. Speaking to a private television channel, Punjab
Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said the accused man was in police custody. Sanaullah said all those involved in the arson
would be arrested, adding that his government would try to rehabilitate the affected
Christian families. Police officer Multan
Khan said the incident started Friday
when a young Muslim man accused the
Christian man of committing blasphemy.
A large crowd from a nearby mosque
went to the Christian man’s home on
Friday night and Khan said police took
the man into custody to try to pacify the
crowd. Fearing for their safety, hundreds
of Christian families fled the area overnight. Khan said the mob returned on
Saturday and began ransacking Christian
homes and setting them on fire.
Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive subject in Pakistan – a nation of 180 million
people, 97 per cent of whom are Muslims,
and those convicted of defaming Islam
or desecrating the Quran can face life
imprisonment or even the death penalty.
Human rights activists claim the laws are
often used to settle personal vendettas and
last year two prominent politicians were
assassinated apparently for speaking out
against the legislation. (Dawn)
Hagel Makes
First Afghan Trip as
Defense Chief
Kabul - Chuck Hagel arrived in Afghanistan
on Friday for his first trip abroad as defense
secretary, seeking to make his own assessment
of America's longest war as it enters its final
stretch. Hagel said he would meet U.S. commanders and troops, and hold talks with Afghan
President Hamid Karzai, whose recent orders to
curtail U.S. military activity underscore an often tense relationship with the 66,000 American
forces there.
Hagel praised the sacrifices of American troops
in Afghanistan. "As I begin my time as secretary of defense, I look forward to hearing from
you, seeing this war from your vantage point
and working to make sure you get what you
need to finish the fight and come home safe," he
said. Hagel said it was his first trip to Afghanistan since a mid-2008 visit with then-Senator
Barack Obama during Obama's campaign for
the presidency. Obama, a Democrat, forged a
close bond with Hagel, a Republican, and remarked later that summer that the two agreed
on almost "every item" of foreign policy.
That included the Iraq war. Hagel was an early
Republican critic of the Iraq war, angering party
allies in the Senate. They fiercely opposed his
nomination to become Obama's defense chief
but lacked the votes to stop it. Hagel was confirmed on February 26 and was sworn into office the next day.
Hagel's advice may help shape some of Obama's
most lasting decisions in Afghanistan, notably
how large a residual mission to keep there once
NATO wraps up its combat mission at the end
of next year and the vast majority of foreign
forces go home.
"I need to better understand what's going on,"
Hagel told reporters as he flew to Kabul on
the unannounced visit, adding his goal was to
"make my own assessment and listen to our
commanders" (Reuters)
Transfer of Us...
an hour outside of the capital. The Parwan
Detention Center houses Afghans and some
foreigners picked up by U.S. forces.
Currently, there is an Afghan administrator
of the prison, but the Americans have power
to veto the release of detainees. The prisoners held under American authority do not have
the right to a trial because the U.S. considers
them detainees held as part of an ongoing conflict. Then on Saturday morning, organizers
told journalists that the ceremony had been
canceled. Afghan officials declined to give a
"The ceremony is not happening today,"
Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi said, without elaborating.
U.S. military officials said the ceremony was
canceled because they could not finalize the
agreement with the Afghans.
"We continue to work out the details on the
transfer of the Detention Facility in Parwan
to the government of the Islamic Republic of
Afghanistan," Jamie Graybeal, a spokesman
for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, said in
an email. He said that the U.S. remains committed to transferring the facility and all Afghan detainees. "We intend to proceed with
the transfer once we have reached full agreement," Graybeal said. (AP)
President Karzai Seeks...
WASHINGTON - US First Lady Michelle Obama on
Friday presented 2nd Lieutenant Malalai Bahaduri of
Afghanistan with the prestigious International Women
of Courage Award at a glittering function held at the
State Department. “For courageous and dedicated service to drug law enforcement and training in Afghanistan as a First Sergeant in the Counter Narcotics Police
of Afghanistan’s National Interdiction Unit, we name
Malalai Bahaduri a woman of courage,” Secretary of
State John Kerry said as he read out the citation before Michelle Obama presented her with the prestigious
Bahaduri was in fact first among nine others to receive
the award. “When the Taliban fell in 2002, Malalai
made a life-changing decision. She left her job as a telecommunications operator in order to undertake a career
in law enforcement. And when her uncle found out, he
broke her nose,” Kerry said.
“Undeterred, she was eventually elected as the first
female member of the Afghan National Interdiction
Unit. And to this day, she endures death threats and
daily discrimination, but she has never let that weaken
her resolve,” he said. “Not only has her persistence inspired other women to join the Narcotics Interdiction
Unit, she is already halfway through a training program
that will allow her to be promoted to an officer – and the
first woman officer in her elite unit,” Kerry said amidst
Before presenting the award, Michelle Obama said
when these women witnessed horrific crimes or the
disregard for basic human rights they spoke up, risking
everything they had to see that justice was done. “When
they saw their communities or their countries were ignoring issues like sexual violence or women’s rights,
they gave those issues a face and a voice. And with
every act of strength and defiance, with every blog post,
with every community meeting, these women have inspired millions to stand with them, and find their own
voices, and work together to achieve real and lasting
change,” she said.
In his address, Kerry said women’s issues are more than
just women’s issues. “They’re families’ issues, they’re
economic issues, they’re security issues, they’re justice
issues. And they matter to all of us, men as well as
women, boys as well as girls, those of us who live in
free countries as well as those of us who don’t,” he said.
“That’s why, including with the work of Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Melanne Verveer, the Obama Administration has put advancing the status of women and
girls right at the center of America’s foreign policy,”
he said.
Congratulating Bahaduri on receiving the prestigious
award, the former Afghan Ambassador to the US, Said
T Jawad, in a statement said for Afghanistan, International Women’s Day is not only a date. “It is a commemoration of the sacrifices that women have made
across our nation for the last decade and for many years
before that,” he said. “If Afghans and our friends in the
International Community are truly committed to peace
and prosperity in Afghanistan, then awareness, education, training, and every development initiative must
include our women,” Jawad said. (PAN)
I expect our farmers to grow more crops and
our gardeners to expand their gardens. I request
every citizen to participate in planting trees to
help make Afghanistan green.”
Lately, the Kabul Municipality made planting
compulsory on the shopkeepers and has warned
them that their omission would result in fines.
Several government and non-governmental organizations have played a role in tree plantation
in Afghanistan in the past decade. However,
President Hamid Karzai said their efforts are insufficient and asked for more steps to be taken.
He emphasized that residential buildings must
not be built on agricultural lands. “Reduction in
forests and agricultural lands has crippled the
economy and has put our environment at stake.
Residential buildings must not be built on agricultural lands.” Meanwhile, some people have
complained that although government officials
plant millions of seedlings every year, they do
not pay attention to the irrigation and protection
of these plants. On the other hand, the officials
urged people to play their part as well in protecting the plants. (
Parliamentary Board...
Bashardost did not participate in the voting.
He announced the parliamentary board's elections did not produce any electee, ruling Qadir and Yasini could not run for the post again.
MPs Ahmad Shah Ramazan secured 27 votes,
Nimatullah 70, Amanullah Piman 61 and
Asadullah Sadat 36 in the run for the board's
second-vice chairman. All failed to secure the
required number of votes. Farhad Azimi from
Balkh, Nilofar Ibrahimi from Badakhshan and
Nazifa Zaki from Kabul were voted for the post
of deputy secretary, but the results are not yet
Under Article 87 of the Constitution, both houses of parliament elect from amongst their members a chairman of the administrative board,
with first and second deputy speakers and two
lawmakers as the board's secretary and deputy
for a year. (PAN)
Vol No 01, Issue 84, Sunday March 10, 2013 –
Hoot 20, 1391
The Afghanistan Express
Neymar: I don't
Have a Preference
Between Barcelona
& Real Madrid
The forward has left the door open for both of the Liga giants to pursue his signature, and feels Lionel Messi is the best player in
the world
Santos attacker Neymar has stated that he would be open to a move to either Barcelona or Real Madrid, but insists that he has not
yet made a decision on his future.
The Brazil international is continually being linked with a move to Europe, but says he is in no rush to wave goodbye to his current
"I have no preference for Barcelona or Real Madrid. They are both great clubs that are respected by everyone. They each have their
own history and fantastic players," Neymar told Cope.
"In the past few years, Barcelona have impressed the entire world with the way they play. They are one of the best teams in the
"Playing in Europe continues to be a dream, but I do not know whether it will happen soon. Only I decide when I'm ready for it.
"I will make the move when I make the decision myself. It's not about anybody else, but solely my call. If I feel I have to go now,
I'll leave now. But if I want to stay for five more years, I'll leave in five years..."
The forward also had his say on Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi and had nothing but praise for the Liga stars.
"They are two amazing players who any team would love to have. You cannot compare them. They each have their own qualities.
"However, if you asked me to vote for the best player in the world, I'd say Messi."
Sri Lanka on Top as
Sangakkara Scores 31st
Test Hundred
Kumar Sangakkara hit his 31st test century to drive
Sri Lanka to a commanding 247 for 2 wickets by tea
on the first day of the first cricket test against Bangladesh, at Galle International Stadium, on Friday.
Playing his first competitive match after 10 weeks,
since breaking a finger in the Boxing Day test, Sangakkara whipped the first ball he faced from Shahadat Hossain to the sweeper cover boundary. The left
handed former skipper looked rock solid with his
trade mark drives through the off and power packed
pulls across mid-wicket region.
His return to test cricket was a treat to watch as his
unbeaten 104 included 12 elegant boundaries and a
six over the bowlers head. Sangakkara equaled Mahela Jayawardene's 31 test hundreds in 22 matches
Dilshan must have regretted throwing away his
wicket after driving into the hands of test debutant
Mominul Haque. The opener looked well set for a
long innings but his penchant for going for big shots
caused his downfall. His 63 ball innings of 54 comprised nine boundaries
Dimuth Karunaratne was hit on his elbow when on
15 and left the field to get treatment, before returning to the crease after the dismissal of Dilshan. He
was later ruled out for 41 by Sohag Gazi, who was
the only Bangladeshi bowler to keep the Sri Lankan
batsmen guessing. Left-handed Kithruwan Vithanage won his test cap on Friday while Bangladesh
introduced two new players into their test side.
Tiger Tied at Top
as McIlroy Struggles
Woods was on his game, and so were most of the
world best golfers Thursday in the Cadillac Championship.
Except for the world’s No. 1 player.
Woods made nine birdies on the Blue Monster at
Doral for a 6-under 66 that put him in a five-way
share of the lead with Masters champion Bubba
Watson, former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, Sergio Garcia and Freddie Jacobson.
This World Golf Championship lived up to its name
with Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker and Hunter Mahan among those one shot behind.
But it was another rough day for Rory McIlroy.
He hit only three fairways and made six bogeys that
kept him at par or worse on a perfect day for scoring. Despite making a 15-foot eagle putt on the par-5
first hole, and lacing a 5-iron over the water for another eagle attempt on the par-5 eighth that narrowly
missed, the best he could manage was a 73.
McIlroy has yet to break par this year.
“It was a bit of a struggle, to be honest,” McIlroy
said to Sky Sports. “Hit some good shots. Hit some
not-so-good shots. As I’ve been saying all week,
this is a work in progress and I’m working at it and
I’m staying patient.” He declined to speak to reporters, grabbing a quick lunch and smiling at screaming fans who wanted his autograph as he headed to
the practice range. McIlroy played alongside Woods
and Luke Donald ― Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in the world ―
and while this essentially is a home game for Woods
having won three times at Doral, the occasional
shouts of “You’re the real No. 1, Tiger” rang true.
Coming off a pedestrian performance a week ago
at the Honda Classic, Woods looked sharp in most
aspects of his game, except for a few lapses with his
chipping. He wasted two early birdies with a threeputt bogey on the 13th hole and a delicate flop shot
that he flubbed on the 14th, leading to another bogey. His chip up the slope on the third didn’t reach
the green for another bogey.
That’s all that was wrong.
He holed two long birdie putts, including a sliding,
slippery putt from about 40 feet on the par-3 fourth
hole, and missed four reasonable chances inside 15
feet. His final birdie was on the par-5 eighth, when
he had to lay up from a fairway bunker and hit a
wedge that stopped 2 feet from the hole.
Rooney Eyes Barcelona
WAYNE ROONEY has set his sights on a dream move to Barcelona.
The Manchester United striker is facing a losing battle to save his
Old Trafford career and is expected to be sold this summer.
Now the disgruntled star has told pals his heart is set on the Nou
Camp if Sir Alex Ferguson dumps him at the end of this season.
The 27-year-old has been left disillusioned after being axed from
Fergie’s line-up for the Champions League defeat by Real Madrid.
A source told Starsport: “Only time will tell if Wayne leaves United
at the end of this season, but if that happens then he would love to
go to Barcelona.
“He watches them all the time and is a massive fan. He has firsthand experience of how good they are and is a huge admirer of their
brand of football.
“I’m sure he wouldn’t be short of offers, but Barcelona are head and
shoulders above the rest in his eyes.”
Rooney has faced Barca twice in Champions League finals and lost
both times, in Rome in 2009 and two years later at Wembley.
In August his son Kai was pictured wearing a replica Barca shirt. And Nou Camp star Lionel Messi admits he would love to see
Rooney and Gareth Bale join him.
He said: “They are great players and I always want to play with the best.”
But it remains to be seen if Barca bosses are as keen on Rooney as he is on them.
Fergie is set to dump the striker after losing patience with his fading star.
As revealed in Starpsort, the United boss fears Roo has gone stale.
He wants to sell him while he can still get a decent fee for someone whose attitude and long-term fitness have been questioned.
Bayern cannot Afford to
Relax, Says Van Buyten
The Bavarians comfortably sit atop of the
league table, while they meet Wolfsburg
in the semi-finals of the DFB Pokal, and
will defend a 3-1 lead in their Champions
League round of 16 tie against Arsenal
next week. Nevertheless, Van Buyten has
stressed that they have not won anything
yet and has urged his team-mates to keep
pushing in their bid for silverware.
"Everybody now expects us to win every
game. That's rather dangerous. We cannot
afford to relax," Van Buyten was quoted as
saying by Bild.
"We have to remain focused on each
Bundesliga game, ideally two days before
the match even takes place. Or you could
all of a sudden end up playing a very difficult game. "The games against Wolfsburg
and Arsenal will be like finals for them, and
they will approach those matches like that.
We cannot afford to let up." Bayern are currently preparing for their Bundesliga match
against Fortuna Dusseldorf.
South Africa have India's
No 1 ODI Spot in their Sights
India could be dislodged from the top position in the ICC One-day rankings by South
Africa if the Proteas manage to whitewash
Pakistan in a five-match home series starting
on Sunday.
South Africa are currently fourth but can leapfrog India, England and Australia if they win
all five matches of the series.
Graeme Smith and Gary KirstenIf the Proteas
achieve this series result, then the side will
win the ODI Shield as well as $175,000 as the
top three sides have no ODIs scheduled before
the April 1 cut-off date and South Africa's position will be assured.
South Africa have previously won the ODI
Shield twice, first, when it finished as the No
1-ranked ODI side in 2008 and then again in
If South Africa win the series 4-1, then they
will move ahead of England into second position and will collect a cheque of $75,000
to compliment the prestigious mace and
$450,000 which they have already won by
sealing the No 1 position on the Test Championship table. In contrast, sixth-ranked Pakistan can move to as high as the fourth spot.
But for this to happen, they will have to whitewash SA in the ODIs series.
If Pakistan blank out South Africa, then they
will jump from 107 ratings points to 114 ratings points, while South Africa will drop 10
ratings points and plummet to 102 ratings
points. If Pakistan beat South Africa 3-2, then
both sides will be locked at 109 ratings points,
but South Africa will be ranked above when
the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal
Roger Federer Eyes
First Win of 2013 at
Indian Wells
Indian Wells, California: The Indian Wells
come at a better time
for Roger Federer, a
four-time champion
in the California desert who is seeking his
first tournament title
of 2013.
The Swiss great,
seeded second in the
first of the ATP’s elite
Masters events of the
year behind world
number one Novak
Djokovic, missed out
on retaining titles in
Rotterdam and Dubai.
In Rotterdam he fell to France’s Julien Benneteau in the
quarter-finals, while in Dubai he failed to convert three
match points in a semi-final loss to Tomas Berdych.
But Federer didn’t seem to think it was time to panic as he
assessed his season so far on Thursday.
“I think I played really well in Australia,” he said of his
semi-final run in the Australian Open. “Rotterdam, I was
disappointed with. I felt I could have done better.
“Dubai was a bit unfortunate, losing with three match
points and having to explain the loss when you feel you
should be preparing for the final.
“What happened, happened. I’m playing fine. Obviously
I hoped to have won a tournament by now, but I’m happy
with my game.”
Federer’s victory over American John Isner in last year’s
Indian Wells final made him the first to win the men’s title
at this combined WTA and ATP event four times.
In his second-round opener on Saturday, Federer will face
Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan, who defeated Canadian
qualifier Vasek Pospisil 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 on Thursday.
With all 32 seeds in both the men’s and women’s draws
enjoying first-round byes, other first-round winners on
Thursday included former world number one and two-time
Indian Wells champion Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, who
defeated Czech Lukas Rosol 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to book a meeting with Isner.
Fellow Australian Bernard Tomic also reached the second
round, posting a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Thomaz Bellucci.
Federer’s path to a title repeat could include a quarter-final
clash with Rafael Nadal.
Nadal 'not Confident' Ahead
of First Hard-Court Test
Rafael Nadal is not sure how his
injured left knee will respond to
his first hard-court match of the
year at the BNP Paribas Open.
Nadal is a two-time champion and three-time finalist at
this event. He has not played a
match on a hard court in almost
a year and is only a month into
his comeback from a left knee injury that sidelined him for seven
He has played three tournaments since returning, all on clay, and
won titles in Brazil and Mexico, after losing to Horacio Zeballos in
the final in Chile in his first week back.
"The results on clay were positive, especially because the knee was
feeling better and better every week, especially last week," Nadal
said. "Now I'm going to try here on hard (court). I don't know (what
might happen). I cannot say much.
"I'm not confident about what I will be able to do here after one year
of not playing on hard. I will try my best. I don't expect anything in
results here." His first match will be on Saturday, against Ryan Harrison who beat Go Soeda in three sets.
Down the road could be a quarter-final round matchup with No. 2
Roger Federer and a semi-final match against No. 4 David Ferrer,
whom Nadal beat 6-0 6-2 in the Acapulco final.
For that to happen, it would take the same kind of improvement
Nadal saw between his loss to Zeballos and his win over Ferrer.
"The difference is that I was able to compete close to 100 per cent in
Acapulco and I didn't have that chance in Chile," Nadal said while
praising Zeballos for playing a fantastic match. "My tennis level
was much better in Acapulco. "You cannot expect to be back after
seven months and play fantastic. You cannot expect to be back on
hard court and practice two or three days and play a fantastic match
in the first match.
The Afghanistan Express
The Disagreements
over Prison
Zinat Karzai is qualified as a doctor and worked for years in Pakistan before her marriage. She has been called
Afghanistan's invisible first lady. Zinat Karzai, the 43-year-old wife of Hamid Karzai, is rarely seen in public,
prompting criticism that she is not doing enough to further the cause of women's rights in her country. This week
she gave a rare interview to the BBC's Maryam Ghamgusar and Freba Zaher.
"Thank you and welcome," says a smiling Zinat Karzai greeting the BBC
team in her modest, light-filled sitting
room. "I'm very pleased to have you
Afghanistan's first lady lives behind a
formidable barrage of security in the
presidential palace in central Kabul.
It took five security checks, each more
rigorous than the one before, to reach
the ground-floor apartments which are
currently home to her, her husband and
their two young children.
Security constraints
It is clearly a situation which poses big
challenges to everyday family life.
"It's very, very difficult… to be constantly under guard all the time," she
says. "I would prefer it if I could live outside the palace."
The security constraints are one reason why this intelligent
and articulate woman rarely appears in public.
"I have not travelled to anywhere inside Afghanistan," she
says. Instead, people come to her.
"I have lots of contact with ordinary Afghan women… involved in areas like politics, social affairs, education and
healthcare. They often come to see me and share their
Zinat Karzai's lack of visibility has prompted criticism
from some Afghans, especially the younger generation that
she is not doing enough to stand up for women's rights and
to set a positive example.
All the more so, her critics say, because she is a qualified
doctor who before her marriage worked for some years in
"I know [my contribution] is not open and visible in the
media," she says firmly. "But I've done what I can and
what I know it's possible to do given the current circumstances in Afghanistan."
When she talks about current circumstances, Mrs Karzai
is not just talking about security issues.
Her role is clearly also constrained by cultural sensitivities.
She says the country is simply not ready for a high-profile
first lady appearing at her husband's side.
"I think more time is needed," she says. "This country has
suffered from more than 30 years of war. We need to fix
“ All of us went through higher education. It was important for our family”
Zinat Karzai
She numbers Cherie Blair, Laura Bush and Gursharan
Kaur, the wife of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh, among the first ladies she admires. She is also close
to Iranian President Ahmadinejad's wife, Azam al-Sadat
Farahi, whom she speaks to on the telephone.
Zinat and Hamid Karzai have been married for 14 years,
and since she became first lady she has had two children.
Her son Mirwais is now six, and she has a baby daughter
called Malalai.
nternational Women's Day has been observed
since 1900's across the world on March 8. World
Women’s Day is an official holidays in Afghanistan like rest of the world. The tradition sees men
honoring their mothers, wives and colleagues with
flowers and small gifts. The new millennium has witnessed a significant attitudinal shift in both women's
and society's thoughts about women's equality and
Marking International Women’s day, Afghan women
took to streets in almost all the major cities of Afghanistan. Afghan women are caught in a perpetual
state of miseries and challenges, though democracy
has come now and Taliban have gone. In the days
of the Taliban, women saw repressive regime, however since their ouster in 2001, women have been
progressing. Nevertheless their progress is not going
with leaps and bounds rather it is going with a snail
pace. They continue to suffer. Their miseries start
from their very own families. And then the outside
society becomes their enemy when they step out of
the confines of their house-walls. Their challenges are
serious, and it will be injustice if their miseries go
unsung. To unfetter them from different social, cultural, economic and other challenges, it shouldn’t be
only the international community, but the government
By Gul nadim
should also be a driving force for creating awareness
on women’s rights.
The government should also implement the “the
Elimination of Violence against Women Law” with
letter and spirit. But the problem is that many of
their problems have gone unaddressed and in certain
cases media cannot dare to report on honor-killing
cases. At times it seems that neither have we brought
awareness in masses nor satisfactory reforms in the
administrative, political and judicial systems. We
have become a directionless mob, as a mob has no
mind while nations know how to make their ways
out of challenges. We are a nation whose prisons are
filled with outnumbering prisoners and whose papers
are filled with just lick-and-service words. The fate of
International Women’s Day is not different from others that were observed in the country. Organizations
having labels of ‘non-profit’ and for ‘women’s rights’
arrange seminars and organize a so-called awareness
walk. Government officials give a yet-to-be-confirmed
list of projects aimed to enhance livelihood and safeguard rights of womenfolk in Afghanistan. On this
very day the government and NGOs try to make
some points so they could grab more and more money
from donor agencies.
Every month several women are killed, tortured and
Ahmad Yama, Isar
[email protected] All views expressed in opinions and other articles are solely
Shamsullah Shams
those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of
Ab. Maruf Ghiasee
the Afghanistan Express daily.
Zaki Daryabi
The Afghanistan Express only accepts responsibility of the
Abdul Ahad Bahrami
The Afghanistan Express invites interested reporters and opinion
Hamid Fidel, Hadi Daryabi, Samim and Samiullah
writers to contribute in writing and preparing reports for the
Afghanistan Express.
Setara-e-Talash Printing Press 0796600009
Contact us: [email protected]
News Advisor:
Vice Editor-in-Chief:
 Lab-e Jar Square, Khair Khana Maina, KBL, Afghanistan
everything gradually, and work in line with our culture and
Those traditions include the belief still held by many conservative Afghan men that it is shameful for their wives to
be seen by other men.
In fact, her own husband has been accused of having just
such concerns. But she says it is her decision, not his, to
keep out of sight.
"He and I both know our country's culture, traditions and
the current state of affairs," she says tactfully. "We need to
take this into account and to work in accordance with this."
Despite being out of the public eye, Zinat Karzai has met
a number of other visiting first ladies.
Continue reading the main story
She says President Karzai dotes on
the children, although he struggles to
make time in his packed schedule to
spend time with them.
"Sometimes, perhaps on Fridays, he
might be free for an hour or so," she
says, "so he will go for a walk with
me and the children. We all go out
together - once in a while."
President Karzai has in the past spoken emotionally about the kind of Afghanistan he hopes his son will grow
up in.
For many Afghan families, a daughter is seen as less valuable, but Zinat
says President Karzai is equally ambitious and hopeful for his daughter.
Fashion conscious
"For us… there is no difference between a boy and a girl,"
she says. "A daughter is the best gift from God."
Like her husband, Zinat Karzai has a keen eye for clothes
and has cultivated what she calls an Afghan style of dress.
For the BBC interview she was wearing a light green long
dress and matching head scarf.
While for many outsiders the burka is a symbol of the lack
of freedom many Afghan women still experience, Mrs
Karzai maintains that it is not actually part of Afghan tradition at all.
"The burka… is imported from abroad," she says. "In rural areas the majority of women just wear a big headscarf.
This is Afghan dress."
Looking back to her own childhood, Zinat Karzai remembers with affection her father who worked in the education
ministry and pushed all his daughters to study.
"My parents… made sure that me and my sisters all got an
education and went to university," she says. "All of us went
through higher education. It was important for our family."
Although she feels unable to play a greater role in public
life, Mrs Karzai says she is keen for both her children to
be educated in Afghanistan, and maybe, if they are interested, even to go into politics.
"Their father has done so much for this country," she says.
"It would be good if they could also serve their country."
Maryam Ghamgusar and Freba Zaher is BBC’s reporter
in Afghanistan.
Unfettering women in Afghanistan
Zinat Karzai, Afghanistan's
'invisible' first lady
planned program for handing over of
the Bagram prison from US control
to Afghan government has been
cancelled. US officials has said that the plan
was cancelled because the agreements between
the government of Afghanistan and the US has
not been finalized. The delay occurs when the
US defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the new
US defense chief who is going to oversee the
US withdrawal from Afghanistan, is visiting
Kabul. In recent months, the Afghan and the
US officials made progresses for transferring
control of the prison to the Afghans and it was
partially handed over to the Afghans last year.
As the final stage of the process, it was set that
the US forces completely handover the prison to
the Afghan government.
The prison handover to Afghan control have
always been a bone of contention between
Kabul and Washington which time and again
strained relations between the two capitals. The
Afghan government has insisted that the US
should transfer the prisoners to the government
of Afghanistan as it is a matter of national
sovereignty for the country. But the US officials
are concerned that the Afghan security and
intelligence agencies may not be fully capable
of handling the prisons as there are dangerous
elements which are considered potential threats.
The US fears that the Afghan government may
release such elements which would be back in
frontline of the ongoing insurgency across the
The delay indicates that there are still serious
differences among US and Afghan officials
over the conditions and details of the agreement
for transferring control of the notorious prison.
One of the disagreements is the authority and
decision-making process for releasing prisoners.
In his parliament address on March 6, President
Karzai said he would free the innocent citizens
prisoned in Bagram after the handover of
the Prison set for this week. US officials are
bargaining to keep authority for blocking release
of the prisoners who are considered as potential
threat, something that is very difficult for the
government of Afghanistan to accept it.
Another issue that the two sides have
disagreements on is detaining enemy combatants
and suspects by the US forces in the ongoing war.
The government of Afghanistan of Afghanistan
believes the US will have no right to detain
Afghans and to put them in jails without trial.
On the other hand, US military considers
detaining suspects and terrorist suspects and
putting them behind the bars the right thing
in the midst of the ongoing anti-insurgency
campaign in Afghanistan.
The ongoing bargaining over control of the
prisoners is in some way related to the security
agreement which the two countriesare going
to reach in next months. Considering the
significance of US security role in post-2014
Afghanistan, any deal on control of the prisoners
would affect the security cooperation between the
two countries. Thus it is crucial for Kabul and
Washington to reach an agreement that cements
future partnership. As US Defense Secretary
Chuck Hagel is visiting Kabul, it is hoped that
the top-level negotiations would pay off for
ending the disagreements and strengthening
future partnerships.
Vol No 01, Issue 84, Sunday March 10, 2013 – Hoot
20, 1391
raped. Early and forced marriages are considered as
part of the obsolete custom. In remote parts of the
country girls even cannot attend schools while women are often barred from visiting hospitals. Maternal
mortality rate is too high in Afghanistan and specialized women hospitals are almost invisible.
In politics only the women who belong to well-off
families could take part. Employment and political
opportunities are mostly for those who live in Kabul
city. For a women living in remote area it is very difficult to raise voice for change or take step.
Moreover, seminars are arranged mostly in few major cities of the country. NGOs and the government
should organize such seminars and awareness campaigns in remote parts of the country where womenfolk is more prone to violence and had poor access to
basic facilities such as education, health and employment. Women from remote parts should be taken on
board while making decisions that are related to them
or could affect them.
Special schools, universities, vocational training centers, hospitals and community centers should be built
for women in all parts of the country. Such steps
could yield better results—while changing the status
quo. Otherwise just observing international days if as
if one is churning water for butter.
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The Afghanistan Express
A Tale of Two Chávezes
For those who loved and reviled Venezuela's president in equal
measure, El Commandant leaves behind two very different legacies.
Hundreds of thousands of citizens, and more than a
score of world leaders, gathered Friday, March 8, in the
Venezuelan capital to bid farewell to fallen President
Hugo Chávez.
People openly wept as the president was eulogized, with
many saying that Chávez would live forever in people's
memories. Ana Rodriguez and Nora Albas say they will
remember El Comandante as long as they live.
Their reasons, however, are quite different.
Albas, 32, is the wife of a farmer in the central state
of Aragua. She's an admitted rojo rojito (reddest of the
red), or a super-Chavista. Thanks to various government
loans, Albas and her husband have been able to expand
their small 6-acre farm, which is mostly planted in tomatoes and peppers.
The couple said that they have received various farm
tools for free and have access to discounted fertilizers
and seeds when they are available. Her consejo comunal,
or government commune, also paved the lane leading to
their farm. She admits that she doesn't understand that
much about socialism, but says it is far superior to the
capitalism that preceded it.
"Chávez has made a huge difference in our lives," said
Albas, who looks younger than her age. "Thanks to El
Comandante, we have much more now than we did before. Our children have more of a future. And now I have
a voice in what happens."
Such optimism isn't shared by Rodriguez, a 30-yearold doctor in the central industrial city of Maracay. She
claims that Chávez, who died March 5 after a two-year
bout with cancer, has destroyed the country, both politically and economically.
"My family owned a farm in Guárico [a central agricultural state] for years. We weren't rich but we had a comfortable life -- but we worked for it. Seven years ago, the
government expropriated our farm," she said. "My father
gave his life to it, and now he has nothing. They haven't
given us any re-compensation at all. My father used to
spend all of his time there. Now his day consists of sitting
in front of the computer and playing hearts online."Her
one brother had to emigrate, thanks to Chávez's policies,
Rodriguez said.
"He is a petroleum engineer, and when Chávez nationalized oil operations here, he lost his job at the U.S. company that employed him. He's bright and hardworking,
but he couldn't work for Petróleos de Venezuela [PDVSA, the state oil company] because he signed the recall
petition against Chávez in 2004. If you signed the petition, you're automatically blacklisted from all government
More than 2.7 million people signed the petition, or
roughly 10 percent of the population. Many subsequently lost their jobs in the resulting witch hunt to root out
Chávez's critics.
"I work in a state hospital and I love my work, but crime
is horrible," said Rodriguez. "We've had gang members
come into the emergency room, hoping to kill people they
had shot and had been taken to us. I can't leave the hospital at night because we have so much crime. And people
just assume I have money as I am a doctor."
The two women's stories hint at what may be El Commandant’s ultimate gift to his country: extreme polarization. Before Chávez was elected in 1998, Venezuelans
were politically apathetic. That's no longer the case.
"Chávez's election shattered the institutional political
arrangements by which Venezuela had been governed,"
said Miguel Tinker Salas, a professor at Pomona College. "He directed popular discontent into the electoral
arena and recast the Venezuelan state as an advocate of
those who felt excluded."
Their inclusion, however, has come at a cost, said other
"Chávez brought in the poor, who were formerly excluded, into the country's political process. There was a
social/economic redistribution of wealth. The downside
was the political polarization that occurred
under him," said Risa
Grais-Targow, an analyst with the Eurasia
Group political-risk
consultancy. "He excluded large parts
of society, especially
those who disagreed
with him."
Albas had little to do
with politics before
Chávez was elected.
Today, she is a member of Chávez's United Socialist Party of
Venezuela and goes
door to door before
elections, urging her
neighbors to get out
and vote.She is active in her commune, and she and her
husband have taken an active role in the village where
they live. Since Chávez's death was announced, she has
been playing Chavista music and old speeches of El Comandante at full blast so her neighbors can hear.
"Chávez gave us a better life, and we have to continue
fighting to improve it," she said.The government's social
and economic programs -- embodied in Chávez's so-called
missions -- have had a marked impact on Venezuela, said
Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Washington-based
Center for Economic and Policy Research."Poverty
has been reduced by half, and extreme poverty by twothirds," Weisbrot said.
Government programs have concentrated on health,
education, and food. Misión Barrio Adentro, for example, started thousands of clinics in low-income areas,
often staffed by Cuban medical personnel. Misión Mercal created a chain of government stores that sell basic
foodstuffs at a discount.But even Albas admitted that
Chávez's revolution has a long way to go.
Her village is plagued by constant power outages, and
her husband often has to spend days trying to locate
hard-to-find fertilizers, seeds, and insecticides -- all of
which have skyrocketed in price.
"Crime is horrible," she confirmed, noting that in her village of 2,000 inhabitants there have been four murders
in the last year and two kidnappings. "The police do
nothing, and the value of a human life means nothing
these days. Young people don't want to work for what
they have. They prefer to steal it."
One of her daughters used to go to an elementary school,
but it has been closed since September because of heavy
rains that compromised its structural integrity. Classes
are now being held in a private home that has no running
water or electricity. Her other daughter had to transfer to
another high school because of constant gunfire outside.
The nearest government health clinic has no supplies,
said Alba, and she doesn't trust the Cuban doctors who
man a health center in a nearby village.
"We took our daughter to the government health center in
an emergency, and they had nothing, absolutely nothing,
in the way of drugs," she said. "We had to go looking for
the drug they prescribed from pharmacy to pharmacy at
6 a.m. It was horrible. And the drug was something commonly prescribed. They just had nothing." Corruption is
also a fact of life in her consejo comunal, where money
is constantly being lost. But Albas never blames Chávez
for the problems.
"Chávez was honest and cared for us," she said. "His
people are another matter. Many of them only mouth
support while stealing from the country."
Rodriguez and Albas at least agree about that. "My boss
at the state clinic claims to be a socialist, a revolutionary,"
said Rodriguez. "But I think his commitment to the revolution goes only as deep as his wearing a red Izod shirt
to work. He has used his position to enrich himself. Our
health center has little in supplies."
As food supplies have dwindled this winter, absenteeism
among food company employees now runs at about 14
percent, according to officials at the country's Federation
of Chambers of Commerce. Labor laws make it near impossible to fire workers, and many have taken advantage of
the rulings to sit home and not show up to work.
"Every Sunday it's the same thing," said Rodriguez. "People come to the center asking me to write them excuses so
they don't have to work on Monday."
Rodriguez often thinks that she should join her brother
in seeking a life overseas, but she is reluctant to leave her
parents, especially her father who is now overweight, suffering from high blood pressure and high blood sugar. He
has stopped trying to get his farm back.
"It's producing very little now in any case," said Rodriguez. "The people who took it over are basically subsistence farmers. They killed most of the livestock, and they
haven't planted much because they are supposedly waiting
for government loans."
Rodriguez is bitter, she admits. She notes, acridly, that
food supplies have dwindled thanks to the government's
agricultural policies. Basic foodstuffs such as sugar, cornmeal, cooking oil, coffee, and chicken -- which were never
in short supply -- are now difficult to find.
The government's foreign exchange policies, which include a fixed rate for the bolívar and limited access to hard
currency, have resulted in shortages of many medicines as
well. February's 32 percent devaluation has only made it
"But still the poor support the government," she said,
shaking her head. "Chávez is popular now because he
bought support with his various programs and giveaways.
But at what cost? Today, we have a country where no
one wants to work, and the government has become the
chief employer. If we didn't have oil, this would all come
crashing down."
It's hard to argue that Venezuela's fiscal situation hasn't
markedly worsened under Chávez.
The national debt, including that of state oil company
PDVSA, which funds many government programs, has
more than quadrupled to $140 billion in the last seven
years, as Chávez and his government borrowed heavily to
fund social spending, especially in election years. But few
Venezuelans seem to care, especially as the country has
the world's largest oil reserves. Meanwhile, Venezuela’s
oil output has fallen 25 percent since Chávez took office.
Albas admitted that she is worried about the future.
"I support the revolution, but sometimes I just wonder if
we're really ready, really prepared for self-government, for
socialism," she said. "I just wonder."
Peter Wilson is a journalist who has lived in Venezuela
since 1992. The Caracas bureau chief for Bloomberg
News for nearly 11 years, Wilson is writing a book on
Hugo Chávez and his revolution.
By Charles Krauthammer
$250 million. (A tenth of which would
cover about 25 years of White House
tours, no longer affordable under sequestration. Says the administration.)
Nonetheless, we should not cut off aid to
Egypt. It’s not that we must blindly support unfriendly regimes. It is perfectly
reasonable to cut off aid to governments
that are intrinsically hostile and beyond
our influence. Subsidizing enemies is
merely stupid.
But Egypt is not an enemy, certainly
not yet. It may no longer be our strongest Arab ally, but it is still in play. The
Brotherhood aims to establish an Islamist dictatorship. Yet it remains a considerable distance from having done so.
Precisely why we should remain engaged. And engagement means using
our economic leverage.
Morsi has significant opposition. Six
weeks ago, powerful anti-Brotherhood
demonstrations broke out in major cit-
China’s new leader has consolidated his power. So
what is he going to do with it?
By Mari Skare
Why we give foreign aid?
equestration is not the best time to
be doling out foreign aid, surely
the most unpopular item in the
federal budget. Especially when the recipient is President Mohamed Morsi of
Morsi is intent on getting the release
of Omar Abdel-Rahman (the Blind
Sheik), serving a life sentence for masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center attack that killed six and wounded
more than a thousand.
Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood is openly
anti-Christian, anti-Semitic and otherwise prolifically intolerant. Just three
years ago, Morsi called on Egyptians to
nurse their children and grandchildren
on hatred for Jews, whom he has called
“the descendants of apes and pigs.”
Not exactly Albert Schweitzer. Or even
Anwar Sadat. Which left a bad taste
when Secretary of State John Kerry,
traveling to Cairo, handed Morsi a cool
What Have We Learned
About Xi Jinping?
ies and have continued sporadically ever
since. The presidential election that Morsi won was decided quite narrowly —
three points, despite the Brotherhood’s
advantage of superior organization and a
history of social service.
Moreover, having forever been in opposition, on Election Day the Islamists
escaped any blame for the state of the
country. Now in power, they begin to
bear responsibility for Egypt’s miserable
conditions — a collapsing economy, rising crime, social instability. Their aura is
already dissipating.
There is nothing inevitable about Brotherhood rule. The problem is that the
secular democratic parties are fractured,
disorganized and lacking in leadership.
And are repressed by the increasingly authoritarian Morsi.
His partisans have attacked demonstrators in Cairo. His security forces killed
more than 40 in Port Said. He’s been ha-
Xi Jinping is already far better understood than his predecessor, Hu Jintao. By the time
he ascended to the presidency on March 5, completing the trifecta of the three most
important roles in China (he's also the chairman of the Communist Party and chair of
the Central Military Commission), foreign observers had long known where Xi was
born and when his father died -- all things that remain unclear about Hu, the son of an
unsuccessful tea merchant.
Xi's father, by contrast, possessed immense moral authority. If there is a bright side to
Chinese Communist Party history in the last few decades, then former vice-premier
Xi Zhongxun is central to it -- promoter of key economic reforms in the early 1980s,
supposed opponent of the crackdown in Tiananmen Square in 1989, and maintainer
of dignified silence about the subsequent internal squabbles among the party elite until
his death in 2002.
Xi inherits this mantle and the moral and political authority it bestows. Xi and his
colleagues in the Politburo Standing Committee, China's top decision-making body,
are less a "team of rivals" and more a "band of relatives." With two possible exceptions,
the seven standing committee members are related, directly or through marriage, to
interlocked strands of party aristocracy.
It is within that context that Xi should be understood. He might resemble a party
apparatchik who spent decades climbing through the Soviet-style bureaucracy, but he
is to the manor born: an emperor with a common touch. Unlike the wooden Hu, who
never departed from officialese, Xi speaks clear, standard Mandarin, moves with regal
stateliness and has an orator's sense of delivery and timing. They call them princelings
for a reason. He comes with a celebrity wife (although she has taken the back stage
since his elevation as heir apparent in 2007), a family worth hundreds of millions of
dollars, according to a June 2012 Bloomberg report, and a daughter at Harvard. (Hu's
surviving family members are mostly officials in a township in Jiangsu, and his wife is
almost completely unknown in China.)
Since he assumed power in November, Xi's most visible policy has been his anticorruption drive. It's an easy target. But the populist Xi went for the visible things first
-- the huge banquets, the "tigers" and "flies," (powerful leaders and lowly bureaucrats),
the provincial official who had accrued 47 mistresses.
Xi also called for the "great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation" during a speech at a
military base in December. China is haunted by this figment of a golden age -- when it
had the world's largest economy and looked posed to region over Asia in the early 17th
century. What was the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympics, which Xi
managed, but a pageant of these accepted symbols of China's glorious past?
In late February, at a talk at the Central Party School, the Communist Party's most elite
educational institution, Xi said that the party needed to live up to its responsibilities,
continue to cut down on waste, and speak clearly to people. The decade in which Hu
ruled, despite the roaring economic growth, did not foster an ideology that people could
believe in. Part of this is because China's experience of political idealism under Mao
Zedong had been a wounding one. But Hu also never managed to communicate that
the party cared about people's daily concerns -- speaking to the people was a job left to
his premier, Wen Jiabao. In trying to restore a more wholesome image, Xi must work to
change the perception of the party as a fiefdom serving a self-protecting elite.
The Chinese people assume (probably accurately) that Xi received his position as a
result of backroom dealings among those same elite. Xi will need to make the case that
he can, as the communist cliché has it, "serve the people." In this sense, paradoxically,
his background is an asset. He's not the state, but he represents it and stands at its center.
He possesses extensive networks and links to disparate factions of the party world. In
this milieu of densely interlinked networks, personal, family, tribal, institutional, Xi has
the most to lose if the party begins to crumble. And from what he has shown in the last
few months, he has no intention of wearing that mantle lightly.
Kerry Brown is professor of Chinese politics and director of the China Studies Center
at the University of Sydney and team leader of the Europe China Research and Advice
rassing journalists, suppressing freedom of speech, infiltrating the military and trying to subjugate the courts. He’s already rammed through
an Islamist constitution. He is now trying to tilt, even rig, parliamentary elections to the point that the opposition called for a boycott and
an administrative court has just declared a suspension of the vote.
Any foreign aid we give Egypt should be contingent upon a reversal
of this repression and a granting of space to secular, democratic, proWestern elements.
That’s where Kerry committed his mistake. Not in trying to use dollar
diplomacy to leverage Egyptian behavior, but by exercising that leverage almost exclusively for economic, rather than political, reform.
Kerry’s major objective was getting Morsi to apply for a $4.8 billion
loan from the International Monetary Fund.
Considering that some of this $4.8 billion ultimately comes from us,
there’s a certain comic circularity to this demand. What kind of concession is it when a foreign government is coerced into . . . taking yet more
of our money?
We have no particular stake in Egypt’s economy. Our stake is in its
politics. Yes, we would like to see a strong economy. But in a country
ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood?
Our interest is in a non-Islamist, nonrepressive, nonsectarian Egypt,
ruled as democratically as possible. Why should we want a vibrant
economy that maintains the Brotherhood in power? Our concern is
Egypt’s policies, foreign and domestic.
If we’re going to give foreign aid, it should be for political concessions
— on unfettered speech, on an opposition free of repression, on alterations to the Islamist constitution, on open and fair elections.
We give foreign aid for two reasons: (a) to support allies who share
our values and our interests, and (b) to extract from less-than-friendly
regimes concessions that either bring their policies more in line with
ours or strengthen competing actors more favorably inclined toward
American objectives.
That’s the point of foreign aid. It’s particularly important in countries
like Egypt, whose fate is in the balance. But it will only work if we
remain clear-eyed about why we give all that money in the first place.
Krauthammer writes a politics column for Washington post
Vol No 01, Issue 84, Sunday March 10, 2013 – Hoot
20, 1391
The Afghanistan Express
Picasa HD for Windows 8
Released, Download Now
While Google confirmed that it has no intention to release any other Windows 8 apps,
third-party developers are hard at work to
release unofficial clients that could access
Google’s services.
Picasa HD is the living proof that such apps
could perfectly release an official piece of
software, as it features not only an eye-candy
interface, but also a great feature package.
The tool allows users to browse and display
Picasa albums, while also providing zoom
options, slideshow support with fade and
zoom effects, and detailed information for
each picture. Live tile support is also available, and so is Charm integration to quickly
search or share specific photos or albums.
Picasa HD comes with full support for touchscreen devices, so beside x86 and x64 Windows 8 builds, it also works quite nicely on
Windows RT devices.
YouTube’s Show Me the Money Problem
The big picture for YouTube looks good. The
world’s biggest video site keeps getting bigger,
generating more video views and more ad dollars.
Things are fuzzier for some of YouTube’s biggest programming partners. Their views are also
increasing. But the ad revenue YouTube generates
for their stuff isn’t keeping pace.
In the near term, that’s pushing many big YouTube networks and partners to look hard for
new sources of revenue. The bigger question is
whether YouTube will be able to generate enough
ad money for content-makers to support the “premium” programming it has been trying to attract
so it can compete with traditional TV. “It’s hard
given YouTube’s low [revenue-sharing] numbers
and lack of marketing infrastructure to make the
unit economics for premium programming work,”
says Steve Raymond, who runs Big Frame, a YouTube network/programmer that says it has generated 3.2 billion views.
The dollars programmers earn from YouTube’s
ad-selling efforts range widely. But many big publishers say that after YouTube takes its 45 percent
cut of the ads it sells, they frequently end up keeping about $2.50 for every 1,000 views their clips
generate — that is, if their video generates a million views, they get $2,500. Other publishers say
their split can be as high as $10 per 1,000.
Those rates were supposed to improve in the last
year, in part because of YouTube’s splashy effort
to create advertising-friendly “channels”, by advancing programmers like Big Frame millions of
dollars to make exclusive shows for the site. Last
May it hosted a glitzy “Brandcast” event in New
York, where it brought out stars like Jay-Z to sell
marketers on the idea that YouTube should command TV-like dollars.
Instead, according to people in and outside of
YouTube, last year the site ended up with a glut
of inventory, which put even more pressure on ad
rates. Last fall YouTube invited top programmers
for a sneak peek at YouTube Space, a glitzy new
production studio it built in Los Angeles; at the
event many of them took the occasion to gripe
about the site. “Every single person in the entertainment group complained to [YouTube content executive] Alex Carloss: ‘We’re not making
enough money’,” says an attendee.
Late last year, Machinima, a video-game focused
network that generates billions of YouTube views
a month, reworked contracts for many of video
contributors it represents, and let others go completely. The problem, according to people familiar
with the programmer, was that it had guaranteed
video-makers a pay-per-view rate that was higher
than the payouts it was getting from YouTube.
Now Machinima, like other big YouTube programmers, is looking to augment its YouTube ad
dollars by selling some of its shows via subscriptions, according to people familiar with its plans.
Maker Studios, another big “multi channel network”, is looking to boost revenue via alternate
streams like iTunes soundtrack sales, among other
Many big programmers are also concentrating on
selling their own “integrations” with advertisers,
where stars talk about or use marketers’ products,
since they don’t have to split those deals with YouTube.
Some, like Vice Media, try to find backers like Intel to pay for their videos before they ever make
it to YouTube. “It’s a difficult space to get to scale
and to monetize it at the same time,” says Vice
Media CEO Shane Smith, whose advertising/production company has plans to run 12 channels for
YouTube this year; it recently announced that it
has 1 million subscribers on the site. Relying on
YouTube-generated advertising is “not going to be
our monetization strategy,” Smith says.
Others are working to direct traffic from YouTube
to their own sites. Last year Freddy Wong, whose
amateur special effects clips have won him millions of fans on YouTube, launched RocketJump,
a portal he and his backers created to capture
more money from his movies. Video-makers who
control their own sites say they are often able to
generate much bigger payouts than YouTube provides, and frequently cite CPMs, or ad rates, of
$20 per thousand views.
That’s partly because they can offer advertisers
bells and whistles that aren’t available on YouTube, like Web site “skins” featuring advertisers’
logos. But YouTube critics say standalone sites
can also outperform YouTube because Google
doesn’t have its own YouTube sales force; instead
the site is pitched by all of Google’s sellers, alongside other products like search ads.
“They don’t have dedicated, 100-percent focused,
100 percent trained people on these sales teams
who live and breath video. It’s that simple,” says
a video industry executive. “There isn’t a single
person within YouTube that thinks this is the right
way to sell video.”
YouTube programmers also complain that the
Google’s sellers aren’t directed to sell individual
shows and networks, but instead focus on broad
“audience” buys. That’s good for Google’s top
line but not for individual shows. It’s also a turnoff for some advertisers, says Mark Pavia, who
oversees digital at media shop Starcom USA,
which handles more than $10 billion in annual ad
spending. ”They tried a model that just wouldn’t
work for advertisers,” says Pavia.
Google executives say they don’t have any plans
to overhaul their YouTube sales approach. But
they do predict that things will get better.
Up until last fall, for instance, YouTube made almost no money from videos watched on mobile
phones, which now account for 25 percent of the
site’s views. Now, after reclaiming YouTube’s
app from Apple and overhauling its Android app,
some of those views now generate ad dollars. International traffic, which also represents many of
YouTube’s views but often generates tiny ad dollars or none at all, will take longer to improve.
Here’s a statement from YouTube content head
Robert Kyncl, who has pushed the site’s “funded
channel” strategy: A key part of growing the platform is opening up inventory, which enables more
partners to succeed by monetizing their content.
This can lead CPMs to fluctuate in the short-term,
but it’s good for the partner ecosystem long-term.
Taiwan's top smartphone maker HTC said on Saturday a German court had dismissed two patent
infringement complaints brought against the company by Finnish phone giant Nokia.
The District Court of Mannheim in southwest
Germany dismissed the two complaints on Friday
and awarded the HTC its legal costs, the company
said in a statement. HTC said it believed "Nokia
has exaggerated the scope of its patent in order
to extract unwarranted licensing royalties from
Android handset manufacturers", adding: "We are
gratified that the court apparently shares HTC's
One of the complaints from Nokia alleged that
HTC infringed a part of its patent on "a method for
using services offered by a telecommunications
network, a telecommunications system, and a ter-
minal for it", HTC said, in a case reportedly involving distribution of the Google Play app store.
In a separate judgment the court rejected Nokia's
complaint that claimed HTC infringed a patent for
lightening and dimming the smartphone display.
Technology giants have taken to routinely pounding one another with patent lawsuits. Apple has
accused HTC and other smartphone makers using
Google's Android mobile operating system of infringing on Apple-held patents.
HTC and Apple were locked in more than 20 cases
worldwide until they reached a global settlement
late last year to end all outstanding litigation between them.
HTC sells its own smartphones and also makes
handsets for a number of leading US companies,
including Google's Nexus One.
Court Dismisses Nokia
Patent Claims against HTC
IMF Boss Says Germany
must do more to help our
CHRISTINE Lagarde used her first visit here
as head of the IMF to tell Germany to do more
to help Ireland and other countries struggling
with debt.
In an interview with the Irish Independent, the
managing director of the International Monetary Fund said the Irish have shown tremendous "tenacity and resilience" by sticking to
the bailout programme and praised what she
described as a turnaround in the economy.
"While it has been very hard there is clearly
good news on the horizon," she said.
The former French finance minister said the
IMF had been on the side of Ireland "through
the toughest times" and would "stay available
and on call" in the years ahead.
In some of her most outspoken comments on
the policy differences between the IMF and
Berlin on how best to rebuild Europe's shattered economies, Ms Lagarde said "countries
like Germany" should encourage inflation and
wage growth in their own economies to help
countries like Ireland which would then become relatively more productive.
"This too is an aspect of pan-European solidar-
ity," she added.
On International Women's Day, Ms Lagarde made a point of saying that she supported quotas to help
women. She added that the position of Irish women was better than in some other places in the eurozone
but said she was worried about salaries and participation rates.
Ms Lagarde, who has championed the cause of women in many different countries over the years, later
hosted a lunch for Irish women yesterday afternoon.
She told young women to "assume that you can do just as well as everybody else, including boys. If
people don't respect you or accept you, leave them to it, they don't deserve you."
During a visit that highlighted the friendly relations between the Government and the IMF, Finance
Minister Michael Noonan thanked Ms Lagarde for her help when she was a finance minister and he was
an "inexperienced" counterpart.
He blushed during a press conference when Ms Lagarde turned to Mr Noonan and said: "I know that
this gentleman respects the views of women."
Obama: Economy has 'Momentum'
WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday he is seeking compromise
with Republicans because keeping the economy's momentum
going "has to be our driving focus."
In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president noted
there had been positive signs of
growth this week, including a
Labor Department report that the
economy added 236,000 jobs in
February and the unemployment
rate reached 7.7 percent -- "still
too high, but now lower than it
was when I took office."
"Our businesses have created
jobs every month for three years
straight -- nearly 6.4 million new
jobs in all," he said. "Our manufacturers are bringing jobs back
to America. Our stock market has
rebounded. New homes are being
built and sold at a faster pace."
Obama said the nation needs to
"do everything we can to keep
that momentum going."
"That has to be our driving focus
-- our North Star," the president
said. "And at a time when our
businesses are gaining a little
more traction, the last thing we
should do is allow Washington
politics to get in the way."
He said that is why he has been
meeting with congressional Republicans, and has more meetings planned with Republicans
and Democrats "to see if we can
untangle some of the gridlock."
Obama said his meetings with
Republicans this week were
"open and honest," focusing not
only on the economy but also on
immigration reform and gun violence.
"As Democrats and Republicans,
we may disagree on the best way
to achieve our goals, but I'm
confident we can agree on what
those goals should be," the presi-
dent said. "A strong and vibrant
middle class. An economy that
allows businesses to grow and
thrive. An education system that
gives more Americans the skills
they need to compete for the jobs
of the future.
An immigration system that actually works for families and
businesses. Stronger communi-
ties and safer streets for our children."
Obama said progress on tough issues "won't be easy."
"But I still believe that compromise is possible," he said. "I still
believe we can come together to
do big things. And I know there
are leaders on the other side who
share that belief." (UPI)
More Reforms Needed to Boost China Economy
China has successfully accelerated its growth to become the
world's second largest economy
that "will help to rebalance an
unipolar world". But, new leaders have to further improve political, social and economic reforms, a French sinologist said
Friday. In an exclusive interview
with Xinhua, Pierre Picquart
hailed Chinese 2008 recovery
plan that offered an opportunity
to "have a qualified policy of
exports as they have fallen for
some time ... and in particular to
develop domestic consumption."
"China had benefited from its
difficulties by modernizing the
country, encouraging its development and by modernizing many
areas such as new technologies,"
the expert said.
"China has become a great global
economic power and it will help
rebalance the world, which has
been, at least in recent years,
unipolar and dominated by the
American politics," he added.
Meanwhile, Picquart noted that
the new leaders have to act in
many fields with the first challenge consisted in increasing
incomes enough "to reduce inequalities between the richest
provinces and the poorest ones."
The expert also saw the need to
improve urbanization as part of
infrastructure development and
reviving the poorest areas by setting education and health policies.
"(With all that), the bet will be
successful," he stressed.
Asked about the corruption issue
against which the Chinese government is determined to fight,
Picquart acknowledged that "it
World Bank Group President
Jim Kim to Visit India
The World Bank President will be
coming to India and meeting government leaders to discuss development challenges and seeing the
possibilities of more investment in
the country.
World Bank Group President
Jim Yong Kim will visit India on
March 11-13 to see firsthand some
of the development challenges
India faces, as well as the opportunities it could exploit to achieve
faster economic growth and a
quicker reduction in poverty. This
will be Kim’s first visit to India after taking over as President of the
World Bank Group last July.
While in India, Kim will discuss
India’s major initiatives to foster
equitable growth at his meetings
with leaders in government, the
private sector, and civil society.
He will meet with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance
Minister P. Chidambaram in New
Delhi, and will also visit Lucknow
and Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh to
meet Chief Minister Akhilesh
Yadav and see development challenges in the state, which is home
to the largest number of India’s
“India has vast and valuable development experience, and I am
eager to learn about its success
stories to see how they could provide lessons for other countries,”
said Kim.
“I also look forward to the opportunity to find out what the World
Bank Group can do to work with
India in ending extreme poverty
and boosting shared prosperity
throughout the country.”
The World Bank Group President
visits India at a time when it is rapidly urbanising, with 10 million
Indians moving every year into
towns and cities from the rural
hinterland. Kim will visit a village
in Uttar Pradesh to gain insights
into the realities of rural life that
might compel migration to towns
and cities. He will then visit Kanpur, one of Uttar Pradesh’s largest
cities, to experience firsthand the
challenges in managing increasing
“India’s historic transformation
provides a great opportunity to
lift millions out of poverty, but it
also poses enormous challenges
in providing jobs, housing and basic services to people,” Kim said.
“A quarter of urban India already
lives in slums, with limited access
is a problem in China" which
needs a "highly strict regulation
... (and) a complete transparency
in the Chinese government," according to the French sinologist.
Speaking about the climate challenge, Picquart said "we must
continue to fight against the
emission of greenhouse and protect the environment with also
other areas such as working conditions," calling for "more transparency in decisions."
As to the Sino-French cooperation, the expert described as
"capital" the cooperation between Paris and Beijing "because
there are many conflicts in the
world today".
In order to deal with the international issues, "we must move
towards diplomacy to try to promote world peace and respect for
people," he said.
He also noted that the investment in both sides was keeping
an increasing trend, in a sign that
business ties between the two
countries had been reinforced.
to clean drinking water, proper
sanitation, electricity or public
transportation. I am here to see
how the World Bank Group can
support India as it strives to turn
its urban centers into clean, livable cities for its people.”
India is the largest client of the
World Bank Group. Between 2009
and 2013, the Group lent around $
25.5 billion to India. This includes
$ 12 billion from the International
Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), $ 8.3 billion
from the International Development Association (IDA) and a further $ 5.2 billion in investments
from the International Finance
Corporation (IFC).
As of January 2013, total IBRD
and IDA net commitments stood
at $23.1 billion (IBRD $13.2 billion, IDA $9.9 billion) across 77
projects. At the end of January
2013, IFC’s portfolio contained
219 projects, amounting to committed and disbursed exposure of
Vol No 01, Issue 84, Sunday March 10, 2013 –
Hoot 20, 1391
Egypt Court Confirms
Death Sentences in
Flashpoint Soccer
Riot Cases
Cairo - An Egyptian court confirmed on
Saturday death sentences handed down
to 21 soccer fans for their role in a stadium riot which killed dozens of people in
Port Said last year, a case which has provoked violent protests in the Suez Canal
city. The court also jailed two senior police officers for 15 years for their role in
the riot in February 2012, in which more
than 70 people died.
Unrest has plagued Port Said since the
death sentences were first announced
on January 26, with local residents who
want the fans spared fighting pitched
battles with police. At least eight people
have been killed this week, including
three policemen. The case has highlighted worsening law and order in much of
Egypt since the overthrow of former
President Hosni Mubarak two years ago.
The Islamist government of President
Mohamed Mursi is struggling to halt the
slide in security, hampered by a strike by
some police in protests that are likely to
be fuelled by Saturday's jail sentences
for the senior officers. Listing the names
of the 21 fans, the judge said the Cairo
court had confirmed "the death penalty
by hanging". In a ruling on live TV, the
court also sentenced five more people to
life in jail for the riot and acquitted 28.
Others out of a total of 73 defendants received shorter jail sentences.
Central Port Said was quiet following
the court ruling, with the army maintaining security after the government
pulled out police, who have been hated
by many Egyptians since the Mubarak
era, to ease tensions. The stadium riot
erupted at the end of a match between
Cairo's Al-Ahly team and Al-Masry, the
local side.
Spectators were crushed when panicked
crowds tried to escape from the stadium
after a pitch invasion by supporters of
Al-Masry. Others fell or were thrown
from terraces. Many fans of the Cairo
side were happy with the ruling on Saturday confirming the death sentences.
"This is a just verdict and has calmed
us all down. Our martyrs have been vindicated," Said Sayyid, 21, told Reuters.
Rights Groups:
Zimbabwe Police
Intensify Threats
Harare - Rights groups say police
in Zimbabwe have increased threats
against civic groups a week away from
a referendum on a new constitution
and crucial elections to end the nation's
shaky coalition later this year. An alliance of 15 human rights, pro-democracy
and labor groups said Saturday police
mounted "a sustained and escalating assault" on activists to discredit their organizations ahead of polling. The state
Electoral Commission announced Friday that groups under police investigation or leaders facing any charges will
not be allowed to observe the referendum vote next Saturday.
At least three main groups, including the
independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network, are so far affected after
police raids on their offices this year.
The alliance said most civic groups are
facing "vague and generalized search
warrants, arrests, persecution and prosecution." (AP)
23. Snack
24. Hard glossy
1. Plateaux
26. Garments of
6. Streetcar
goat hair
10. Overtake
30. Prompt
14. Cancel
15. Indian music drink
16. Adjoin
32. Broad valley
17. Not tight
33. The products
18. Decorative of human crecase
19. Arid
35. 2nd planet
20. Entwined
39. Incapacitate
22. Epic
41. Oblivious
The Afghanistan Express
North Korea Rejects
U.N. Sanctions, China Calls for Calm
Pyongyang - North Korea formally rejected
a U.N. Security Council resolution on Saturday that demands an end to its nuclear arms
program, as China called for calm, saying
sanctions were not the "fundamental" way
to resolve tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Pyongyang said it would pursue its goal of becoming a full-fledged nuclear weapons state,
despite the sanctions which were unanimously imposed on Friday by the Security Council.
The sanctions aim to tighten financial restrictions and crack down on North Korea's attempts to transport banned cargo. The resolution, the fifth since 2006 aimed at stopping the
North's nuclear and ballistic missile program,
coincides with a sharp escalation of security
tensions on the Korean peninsula after Pyongyang's third nuclear test on February 12.
"The DPRK, as it did in the past, vehemently
denounces and totally rejects the 'resolution
on sanctions' against the DPRK, a product of
the U.S. hostile policy toward it," the North's
foreign ministry spokesman said in a state-
ment. DPRK is short for the North's official
name, the Democratic People's Republic of
"The world will clearly see what permanent
position the DPRK will reinforce as a nuclear
weapons state and satellite launcher as a result
of the U.S. attitude of prodding the UNSC into
cooking up the 'resolution.'"
The North's sole major ally China has said it
wants sanctions fully implemented, but Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told a news
conference on Saturday the best way to resolve the problem was still through dialogue.
"We always believe that sanctions are not
the end of Security Council actions, nor are
sanctions the fundamental way to resolve the
relevant issues," Yang said, urging all sides to
exercise calm and restraint.
"The only right way to resolve the issue is to
take a holistic approach and resolve the concerns of all parties involved in a comprehensive and balanced manner through dialogue
and consultations." (Reuters)
U.N. Convoy to Retrieve Golan
Peacekeepers Delayed: Rebel
Damascus - A U.N. convoy sent to
retrieve 21 Filipino peacekeepers
captured by rebels in a southern Syrian village three days ago has been
held up after one of its vehicles
broke down, a Syrian rebel source
said on Saturday. But he said a
ceasefire around the village of Jamla
appeared to be holding and the convoy of seven U.N. vehicles, held up
about 6 km (4 miles) northeast of
Jamla, would still be able to collect
the peacekeepers once it was mobile
"The U.N. convoy has reached the
village of Ain Dhakar but has halted there because of technical difficulties," Abu Essam Taseel, from
the media office of the Martyrs of
Yarmouk brigade, told Reuters by
Skype. The peacekeepers - part of
the U.N. Disengagement Observer
Force (UNDOF) that has been monitoring a ceasefire line between Syria
and Israel in the Golan Heights since
1974 - were seized by the Martyrs of
Yarmouk rebel brigade on Wednesday.
They have been held in Jamla, a village one mile from the Israeli-occupied Golan. After their capture, insurgents described them as "guests"
and said they would be freed once
President Bashar al-Assad's forces
China's Xi to
Visit Africa As
U.S. Frets over
Beijing Influence
43. Leaf opening
44. Sexual assault
46. Dogfish
47. South southeast
49. Health resort
50. 365 days
51. A Christian
54. Harbor
56. Winglike
57. Eclipse
63. Donate
64. Soil
65. Run away to
66. Dregs
67. If not
68. Melodies
69. Terminates
70. Bambi was
71. Catkin
pull back from around Jamla and stop
shelling. A brief truce was agreed on
Saturday morning to allow for the
peacekeepers' retrieval. Although
the two-hour window of that ceasefire passed at midday (1000 GMT)
before they could be extracted, the
rebels said relative calm prevailed.
Taseel said the area around Jamla
was quiet apart from some "limited
clashes" to the south which he said
would not impede the peacekeepers' recovery. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said fighters
from the Martyrs of Yarmouk and
other brigades took control of a military position in the village of Abdin,
about 2 km (1.2 miles) south of Jamla on Saturday.
A rescue effort on Friday was delayed by heavy bombardment and
abandoned after nightfall, U.N.
peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous
said. "(Jamla) is subject to intense
shelling by the Syrian armed forces,"
he told reporters after briefing the
U.N. Security Council on the situation. (Reuters)
Beijing - Incoming Chinese president Xi
Jinping's first trip as head of state will
take him to Africa, the government said
on Saturday, as China seeks to cement
a growing trade and energy relationship
that has caused alarm bells to ring in
Washington. Chinese Foreign Minister
Yang Jiechi said that Xi, scheduled to
take over formally from Hu Jintao as
11. Perpendicular
to the keel
12. A sudden
1. French Sudan
forceful flow
2. Black, in poetry
13. Pilfer
3. Lampblack
Neighbor4. Backside
5. Strict
25. Exploded star
6. Financial officer
26. Contributes
27. Entice
28. As well
8. Chills and fever
29. Dressmaker
9. An unmarried girl
34. Admirer
10. Corridor
Election for New Pope
to Begin on Tuesday
Vatican - Roman Catholic cardinals will begin electing a new pope on 12 March, the Vatican has announced after 115 cardinals gathered for talks. Pope Benedict XVI stepped down
last month after nearly eight years in office, becoming the first pontiff to resign in 600 years.
The 85-year-old blamed his failing health for his inability to carry on.
Under the rules of the secret ballot, or conclave, cardinals will vote until one achieves a
two-thirds majority. Correspondents say no one candidate stands out as Benedict XVI's
likely successor. The vote will be preceded by Mass on Tuesday morning, with the first
ballot due in the afternoon, the Vatican press office said.
Vatican staff have been preparing the Sistine Chapel, where the conclave will take place,
installing the two stoves that will produce white smoke from burnt ballot papers when a
new pope is elected. The last election in 2005 took three days, and correspondents say the
number of meetings this time is being seen as a reflection of the many challenges facing the
Church. Despite the vows of secrecy, Italian newspapers have been publishing what they
say are leaked details of debate among cardinals on problems faced by the Church. Reform
of the Vatican's bureaucracy - known as the Curia - and the Vatican bank have both been on
the agenda, the reports say. (BBC)
national leader next week, would visit
South Africa, Tanzania and Republic of
Congo, as well as Russia, though he provided no exact dates.
"China and Africa are good brothers,
good friends and good partners. The
visit by China's new national chairman
to Africa fully shows the importance we
attach to Sino-African ties," Yang told a
36. What a person
is called
37. Murres
38. Char
40. Headquarters
42. Approaches
45. Bad-mouth
48. Worn away
52. Extraterrestrial
53. Rescued
55. 8th Greek letter
58. Wicked
59. Astringent
61. Not closed
62. Toward sunset
Yesterday’s Puzzle Solution
news conference at China's annual parliament meeting. While in South Africa
Xi will attend a summit of BRICS nations -- made up of Brazil, Russia, India,
China and South Africa -- which will be
held in Durban at the end of March, he
China has courted Africa for decades,
but its efforts have kicked into high gear
in recent years as Beijing seeks to satisfy growing demand for raw materials
and energy for its booming economy,
now the world's second largest. Last
year Hu offered $20 billion in loans to
African countries over the coming three
years, part of what China says is a nostrings-attached aid policy widely appreciated in Africa. (Reuters)
Somali Pirate’s Free
Chemical Tanker Hijacked a Year Ago
Somali pirates have released a chemical
tanker they hijacked a year ago with about
20 crew on board after receiving a ransom,
the pirates and a minister from the semiautonomous Puntland region said on Saturday. The pirates said they had abandoned the
UAE-owned MV Royal Grace, which was
seized off Oman on March 2 last year. "We
got off the vessel late last night. We happily
divided the cash among ourselves," a pirate
who identified himself only as Ismail told
Reuters by telephone.
The European Union's anti-piracy taskforce,
EU Navfor, said its flagship, ESPS Mendez
Nunez, had sighted the Royal Grace during
a counter-piracy patrol 20 nautical miles off
the northern Somali coast. The tanker was
sailing north from its pirate anchorage at a
speed of 4 knots. "Shortly afterwards, ESPS
Mendez Nunez received a radio call from
the master of the MV Royal Grace, who confirmed that his ship was now free of pirates,"
EU Navfor said.
A medical team boarded the tanker with food
and water. The crew were checked over,
with two being given medical treatment,
the taskforce said in a statement. It said the
Royal Grace was now sailing to Muscat under escort from another EU Navfor warship,
ESPS Rayo. Civil war after the fall of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 left Somalia without effective central government
and full of weapons. The turmoil opened the
doors for piracy to flourish in the Gulf of
Aden and deeper into the Indian Ocean.
Said Mohamed Rage, minister of ports and
anti-piracy for Puntland - a region in northeast Somalia - confirmed the ransom and
the release of the Panama-registered Royal
Grace. (Reuters)
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Vol No 01, Issue 84, Sunday March 10, 2013 – Hoot 20, 1391, 8 Pages Price 15 Afg
Maduro Sworn
in As Venezuela
Acting President
Caracas - Venezuela's vice president has been sworn in as
interim president, just hours after hundreds of thousands
of mourners attended the state funeral of late President
Hugo Chavez. Nicolas Maduro’s swearing-in on Friday
took place at the National Assembly in the capital Caracas. It had earlier been set to be staged in the same military academy where the funeral - attended by more than 30
heads of state - was held.
"I swear by the most absolute loyalty to comrade Hugo
Chavez that we will fulfill and see that it's fulfilled the
constitution ... with the iron fist of a people ready to be
free," Maduro, 50, said at his swearing-in. Venezuela's
opposition coalition had announced through spokesman
Angel Medina that it would boycott the inauguration of
Chavez's hand-picked successor, calling it "fraudulent".
Henrique Capriles, tipped as the opposition's candidate in
upcoming elections, said: "Nicolas, nobody elected you
president. The people didn't vote for you, kid".
Capriles, who lost to Chavez in the October presidential
election, argued that the constitution requires the vice
president to step down from his post in order to run for
president. He also said Maduro had used the funeral earlier in the day to campaign for the presidency. The country's Supreme Court has ruled that Maduro could become
acting president while polls were called within 30 days.
Kenyatta Declared Winner
of Kenya's Presidential Vote
Nairobi - Uhuru Kenyatta, indicted for crimes against humanity, was declared winner of Kenya's presidential election on
Saturday with a tiny margin, just enough to avoid a run-off
after a race that has divided the nation along tribal lines. Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's founding president, faces trial after
the disputed 2007 presidential vote that unleashed a wave of
tribal blood-letting.
With the 51-year-old in the top job, Kenya will become the
second African country after Sudan to have a sitting president indicted by the International Criminal Court. The United
States and other Western powers, big donors to the east African nation, said before the vote that a Kenyatta win would
complicate diplomatic ties with a nation viewed as a vital ally
in the regional battle against militant Islam.
After saying Kenyatta secured 50.07 percent of the votes, just
achieving the more than 50 percent needed to avoid a second round, the chairman of the Independent Electoral and
Boundaries Commission, Issack Hassan, announced: "I therefore declare Uhuru Kenyatta the duly elected president of the
Republic of Kenya," he said. Shortly afterwards he handed
a certificate of the results to Kenyatta, who had arrived after the declaration. Kenyatta thanked him. Many in the election center cheered, although celebrations started in the early
hours of Saturday after provisional results showed Kenyatta's
victory. Supporters thronged the streets of Nairobi and his
tribal strongholds, lighting fluorescent flares and waving tree
branches and chanting "Uhuru, Uhuru". (Reuters)
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Lo: 1˚c
Hi: 5˚c
Lo: -3˚c
Hi: 19˚c
Lo: 8˚c
Egypt Raises Alert Level
in Sinai over Jihadist Fears
Cairo – Egypt's Interior Ministry told police in the Sinai Peninsula to raise a state of emergency after obtaining intelligence that jihadists might attack their forces
there, state news agency MENA reported. Officials
have expressed growing worries about security in the
desert region which borders Israel and is home to a
number of tourist resorts.
"The Minister of Interior has raised the level of emergency in North and South Sinai after receiving information that jihadist groups intend to attack police buildings there," Interior Ministry official General Osama
Ismail said, according to MENA. In August last year
Islamist militant gunmen killed at least 15 Egyptian po-
licemen in an assault on a police station at the border
between Egypt and Israel, before seizing two military
vehicles and attempting to storm the border.
It was the deadliest incident in Egypt's tense Sinai border region in decades. Israel has accused Palestinian
militants in Gaza of involvement in militant activity in
Sinai, where insecurity has grown since Hosni Mubarak
was toppled in Egypt's 2011 revolution. President Mohamed Musri has pledged to get a grip on security in
Egypt but struggled to assert control over an entrenched
security establishment. Last week thousands of riot police and conscripts across the country went on strike
over a variety of grievances. (Reuters)
Abu Qatada Arrested in Britain for Breaching Bail Terms
London - Radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada has been arrested
in London for breaching his bail terms, days before the British
government begins an appeal against a court decision blocking his deportation to Jordan. Accused by the British authorities of posing a security risk and being a spiritual inspiration
for one of the 9/11 hijackers, Qatada is wanted in his native
Jordan to face terrorism charges.
Successive British governments have tried for years to get rid
of the cleric, who has been in and out of jail since first being
arrested in 2001 and is on bail under tight restrictions including a 16-hour curfew. In the latest of a series of legal blocks
to his deportation, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) ruled in his favor in November last year. Qatada
says a trial in Jordan might be skewed by evidence obtained
using torture.
"The UK Border Agency arrested a 52-year-old man from
north London for alleged breaches of his bail conditions imposed by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission," a
spokesman for the Home Office, or interior ministry, said on
Saturday. In line with the usual practice of the British authorities, the spokesman declined to confirm the man was Abu Qatada, but did not deny media reports identifying the cleric.
The spokesman said the arrest took place on Friday and that
the breach of bail terms would be considered by Siac at the
earliest opportunity.
Qatada's successful appeal to Siac in November was a setback
for Home Secretary Theresa May, who has denounced the repeated legal obstacles to his deportation.
The government's appeal against the Siac decision is scheduled to be heard in the Court of Appeal on Monday. It was
not clear whether there was any connection between Qatada's
arrest and the looming appeal. (Reuters)
North Korean Nuclear Test, War Threats
"Unacceptable": U.N.'S Ban Ki-Moon
New York - North Korea's third nuclear test and threats of
military action are "completely unacceptable", U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in remarks published
on Saturday, urging Pyongyang to feed its people and seek
peace with South Korea. North Korea threatened the United
States on Thursday with a pre-emptive nuclear strike and has
scrapped the armistice with Washington that ended hostilities
in the 1950-53 Korean War. That followed its third nuclear
test on February 12, in defiance of U.N. resolutions, drawing
further U.N. Security Council sanctions against the reclusive
East Asian state. Asked by Austria's Profile magazine about
North Korea's nuclear test, military exercises and threats, Ban,
a former South Korean foreign minister, said: "I find this completely unacceptable and it is also a challenge for the international community." He said in an interview with Profile that he
had urged the North Korean leadership to focus on the welfare
of its own people in the face of serious economic problems.
"There is a serious humanitarian crisis in North Korea. Many
people suffer from malnutrition," he said, calling for dialogue
and peaceful exchanges with South Korea.
"(South) Korea has just elected a new president. That would
be good timing for the leadership of the two parties to the
conflict to discuss seriously how to encourage national recon-
ciliation and to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula, also
in view of a possible reunification of the country."
North Korea formally rejected a U.N. Security Council resolution on Saturday demanding an end to its nuclear arms program and China called for calm, saying sanctions were not
the "fundamental" way to resolve tensions. Pyongyang said
it would pursue its goal of becoming a full-fledged nuclear
weapons state, despite the sanctions which were unanimously
imposed on Friday by the Security Council.
Turning to a separate dispute, Ban said he had urged Iran to
address international concerns that its nuclear program could
have a military dimension, something Tehran denies. Ban said
he found it positive that talks between Iran and world powers
in Kazakhstan last week had produced an agreement to meet
again, first at an expert level.
"But I have made it clear to the leadership in Iran that the
Iranian government must do everything possible to convince
the international community and to establish confidence about
the nuclear program," he said. "There are still concerns about
whether the nuclear program is really only for peaceful purposes. I told Foreign Minister (Ali Akbar) Salehi that it is the
responsibility of Iran to restore trust about it." The two met in
Vienna last week at a U.N. conference. (Reuters)
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