Karzai, Ghani offer Fatiha for Wasifi


Karzai, Ghani offer Fatiha for Wasifi
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Karzai, Ghani offer Fatiha for Wasifi
AT News Report
KABUL: The ex-President Hamid
Karzai and President Ashraf Ghani
offered Fatiha for the departed soul
of Azizullah Wasifi at Eidgah
mosque in Kabul on Sunday. Hamid Karzai extended his condolences to the bereaved family and
prayed to Allah Almighty to rest
the soul of the deceased in the eternal peace. According to a state-
ment issued by the Presidential
Palace, President Ashraf Ghani also
attended the praying ceremony.
The president expressed his condolences to the bereaved family.
Azizullah Wasifi, was a prominent
national, political, social and culture figure, who passed away early last week. It is worth mentioning that Karzai also attended the
praying ceremony for late Wasifi
in Kandahar province last week.
AT News Report
KABUL: The Croatian President,
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on Sunday called on the Chief Executive
Officer, Abdullah Abdullah. According a press statement issued
by the CEO office, the Croatian
President congratulated Abdullah
on formation of the National Unity Government (NUG), and said
her country wants enhanced ties
with Kabul. “I know Dr. Abdullah
for past several years and I am
happy that I meet him as the CEO
of Afghanistan. I am here to announce support of my country to
Afghanistan,” she said. “There are
good opportunities ahead for Afghanistan’s improvement and we
are ready to help this country in
different sectors,” the Croatian
President added. She thanked the
Croatian troops for their mission
in Afghanistan, and said their cooperation will continue. She also
said that Mufti of Croatia accompanies her in this trip and Muslims of her country support them
in their mission in Afghanistan. The
CEO welcomed the Croatian President and lauded the role of Croatian
troops in NATO’s Resolute Support
mission. “Afghanistan had lost several opportunities in the past. The
NUG is committed to use the remaining opportunities and is eager to
strengthen its ties with international
allies of Afghanistan,” Abdullah said.
Hinting at security situation, the CEO
said spring offensive of militants has
started but the security forces are
defending the national sovereignty in different parts of the country. The two sides termed improvement in media as one of the
main and biggest achievements of
Afghanistan in past 14 years, and
stressed that these achievements
should be maintained. Abdullah
said the NUG is committed to keep
the achievements of the past
years, particularly freedom of expression, and will support media
in this regard.
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MONDAY MAY 11, 2015
Ironically, for a place that exudes such tranquility, Istalif has had a violent past.
Istalif is a small idyllic village perched in the mountains, around 50 km
from Kabul (Source: John Zada of Canada, courtesy: Wikimedia)
Kabulis tend to take their leisure
seriously, and picnics, in particular, are epic in scale and preparation. So, on most Fridays, which
is the weekend in Afghanistan, the
road leading north from the capital
is likely to be choked with traffic
snarls, cars standing bumper-tobumper, families packed in taxis
that have large deghs (pots) of food
in the boot, along with a pile of
toshaks (mattresses) and a few
melons. Some head to the former
king’s summer capital at Paghman,
others to the man-made Qargha
lake to escape the dust and noise.
Many head to Istalif, a small idyllic village perched in the mountains
around 50 km from Kabul. I first
visited the spot (packed in the
approved fashion with Afghan
friends) in 2006, a time of relative
peace. It was spring and the arghawan (Judas) trees that mark
the season were in bloom. As we
drove through the northern, or
“Shumali” plains, their fabled vineyards were touched with a tentative green. Orchards of almonds,
apricots and cherries were bursting into riotous blossom behind
mud walls, and water ran through
reconstructed irrigation ditches. In
some villages, people had stripped
down tanks and jeeps to recast
them as bridges across these
brooks, or as doors for their new
homes. Istalif lies at the edge of
the Koh-e-Daman valley. We took
the road that climbed up the incline to the Takht, or Throne of
Istalif, to take in the view.
Istalif’s historical associations
begin with its very name. In her
book An Historical Guide to Kabul, first published in 1965, historian and writer Nancy Dupree
wrote, “Some say it was named
by the soldiers of Alexander the
Great’s army who camped here in
the 4th century BC and that the
name Istalif is derived from the
Greek word for grape.” Babur, who
conquered Kabul before going on
to establish the Mughal dynasty
in India, was a passionate admirer
of the city and its environs. Istalif
charmed him so much that he created a garden here in the 16th century, and rode over with friends
for drinking sessions that lasted
several days. “Few villages match
Istalif, with vineyards and orchards on either side of its torrent,
its waters cold and pure”, he wrote
in his memoirs. But he was unhappy with the irregular path followed by the stream and got it altered to a straight line. Babur also
described the Takht-e-Istalif,
where “large spreading plane trees
spread their shade, making pleasant sitting places beneath.” Standing at the same spot centuries later, it was easy to see why he had
been so captivated. The valley
spread around us, and below us
flowed a river. The water rushed
with exuberance over boulders, fed
by fresh snow melt from the mountains. There had been rain that
morning, and while the ground
was muddy, the air was clear and
cool, the sunlight dappled on the
tender green around us.
Ironically, for a place that exudes such tranquillity, Istalif has
had a violent past. Its
strategic location near Kabul has
led to its destruction on several
occasions. In 1842, it was destroyed by the British army, in
retaliation for its disastrous retreat
from the capital. “The British left,
the villagers returned, and Istalif
rose again,” wrote Dupree. The
same pattern repeated itself after
the village was on the frontlines of
the Taliban’s push towards Kabul
in 1996. When they gained control, they forced the residents to
leave and razed the buildings. Soon
after 2001, the villagers were back,
trying to revive a skill embedded
in their soil: Istalif’s famous glazed
We walked into the village
market, a street that glinted in
shades of turquoise and green.
Many of the potters, I read later,
had buried their tools before fleeing the Taliban. When they returned, they fired up their kilns
again. Besides bowls, the potters
also make decorative candlestands,
cups, saucers and vases, all of
which glow with a beautiful glaze.
Accounts of how this technique
took root in Istalif vary, but the
blue notes of the pottery call to
the shades found through neighbouring Uzbekistan and further
into central Asia. The revival of
Istalif’s bazaar is a testimony to
the traditional knowledge preserved by the Afghans, despite
decades of war and displacement.
The shops were beautifully displayed and the owners happy to
chat, sharing information about
exchanging gossip about the go-
ings-on in Kabul.
At lunchtime, several families
headed to the riverside, where there
were kabab stalls and space to flop
down on their toshaks. But we
followed Babur’s example and picnicked under a plane tree, enjoying the stunning view. Behind us,
loomed the shell of a large hotel
that had been popular with tourists in the 1970s. A short walk from
the village, atop a hill, is the shrine
of Eshan sahib, which draws large
crowds of devotees from among
the Friday visitors.
Perhaps, because it is
so close to Kabul, there weren’t
many options for guesthouses in
Istalif. On a subsequent trip with
a film crew, we slept in a simple
chaikhana (teahouse) on the edge
of the village. In the evening, we
ate outdoors, our meal lit by a glorious, star-studded sky. But on my
first visit, I left for Kabul the same
afternoon, enraptured by the beauty of the Afghan landscape, and
by a glimpse into its
complex history and culture. On
the drive back, the boot of the car
rattled with the empty deghs, and
the bowls I had bought in the bazaar. I still have a few, and sometimes their undimmed glaze flashes in my home in Mumbai, sparking the memory of sunlight on a
snow-fed river, seen rushing
through a gorge far below.
A Mumbai-based journalist,
the writer has been travelling to
Kabul since 2006. She has worked
closely with Afghan filmmakers
and media persons . (The Indian
A travelling photo
exhibition on a d istinct
trad ing community of
Afghanis in Kolkata
dwells deep into the
com plicated canvas of
belonging, memories
and identity.
HE WORE the loose, soiled clothing of his people, with a tall turban; there was a bag on his back,
and he carried boxes of grapes in
his hand.” This was how Rabindranath Tagore painted the picture
of the Kabuliwala in his iconic short
story of the man from the barren
mountains of Afghanistan who
waded into the multi-layered narrative of Kolkata with a quick wit
and a large heart.
Many, including the five-yearold Mini—Tagore’s literary bridge
with the migrant’s mysterious past
in Kabuliwala—believed the bag
contained two or three kidnapped
children. Unlike the Anglo-Indians, who mixed elegantly with the
rest in the great city of the east,
the Kabuliwalas didn’t offer much
insight into their lives other than
the almonds and raisins in the bags
on their backs. Published in 1892,
Tagore’s poignant story of a Kabuliwala called Abdul Rahman
opened the lid into the curious case
of a community that came to live
in Kolkata nearly two centuries
ago. Two films that followed the
story and going by the same name
Kabuliwala, first by Tapan Sinha
in Bengali in 1957 and Hemen
Gupta four years later in Hindi
with Balraj Sahni, extended the
Tagore’s mystic into mass consciousness.
Now, an attempt to portray
the Kabuliwala of the 21st century has been made more than half a
century later by a journalist-media consultant born in Afghanistan
and raised in India and a writertranslator who came to live in Kolkata from Bardhaman. Moksa Najib and Nazes Afroz, who took the
route of “visual ethnography” to
document the lives of the Kabuliwalas in Kolkata, did so by training cameras on them in their homes
and in streets, markets and parks.
About 50 selected pictures
from their two-year-long photography project were first mounted
for two weeks in an exhibition at
the Afghanistan Centre of the Kabul University until early last
month. Titled From Kabul to Kolkata, the travelling exhibition, which
has just concluded in Dhaka before a show at the Max Mueller
Bhavan in New Delhi, will make
its last appearance in Kolkata between May 16 and 29.
For Najib and Afroz, the inspiration for documenting the story of the Kabuliwalas of Kolkata
was provided by Tagore’s short
story. “We were drawing inspiration from an invented story about
a community but documenting it
as it existed in real life and at a
different period in history,” explains Najib, a former BBC producer and correspondent based in
London like Afroz.
As per Afroz, the Kabuliwalas
they met last year were a closelyknit community of people, who
gradually opened their doors to the
two outsiders wanting to tell their
new story to the world. “We held
several meetings with the leaders
of the community represented by
the Kudai Kismat-Ghar-e-Hindi
(an organisation of Pasthuns in
Kolkata) before we were given access to their homes,” says Afroz.
(The Financial Express)
Baghlan flood victims
want immediate
Baghlan-i-Markazi district of
northern Baghlan province, where
homeless families were in dire need
of food and shelter.
The flood swept through the
area that left one person dead and
10 others wounded, including three
children and two women.
Naseer Ahmad Kahzad, director of Afghanistan Natural Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA), said the survey was being
conducted to assess the losses.
He added tents, food items and
other assistance would be dispatched to flood affected families.
On the other hand, the flood
had damaged the Ajmir canal at five
locations. Sherin Aqa, a tribal elder, said they demanded the deputy governor to repair the canal.
He said if the canal was not
repaired crops on 600 acres of land
would be destroyed due to lack of
water. The elder said recent floods
destroyed crops on 5,000 acres of
land in the province.
Boom in unregistered
vehicles behind
FEROZKOH: A boom in the noncustom paid vehicles in Firozkoh
City, the provincial capital of western Ghor province, has caused surge
in accidents and casualties. The residents complain import of cars without valid documents and lack of
driving license are the reasons behind a spike in traffic accidents.
Majority of these vehicles are righthanded which are not meant for Afghanistan’s roads. Drivers say these
cars are imported with lower prices
and if they processed their documents the expenses would go high.
Khan Mohammad, 45, a resident of
Firozkoh, told Pajhwok Afghan
News he had recently lost his sonin-law in a traffic accident while on
his way home on a motorcycle.
Khan Mohammad claimed his sonin-law had an accident with a truck
and after the accident the driver fled
the scene and police have yet to nab
him. “Drivers’ negligence disobeying of traffic rules on the one hand
and damaged and narrow roads on
the other hand cause such accidents,” he said, adding lack of proper documents, driving licenses and
follow ups of cases by judicial authorities had added to the accidents.
Gul Mohammad, another resident,
said he lost his child while on a
motorcycle and crashing with a
speedy right-handed car. He said
instead of judicial organs it was the
elders who took the matter in their
hands and resolved the case with
the driver. Another resident, driving a four-runner high model vehicle, wishing not to be named, said
he had bought the car from Kandahar’s Wesh city for 700,000 afghanis and if he completed the documents it would cost him more than
750,000 afghanis. He said he also
did not own a driving license but
after paying 5,000 afghanis to a
middleman he got one without going through other formalities. Sayed
Ahmad, another driver, said: “I
don’t have any document. My car
has tinted window and nobody has
stopped me yet.” According to the
provincial hospital, during in the
last two months two people have
been killed and 163 wounded in
traffic accidents. Dr. Juma Gul
Yaqoobi, the hospital director, said
last year three people were killed
and 1,200 others wounded in road
crashes. At least 21 of the wounded were shifted to hospitals outside the province due to their critical condition. Abdul Qayom, an
official at traffic department, said
majority of the private cars in the
province were right-handed and
were owned by powerful figures.
“We have proper figures because
we don’t have power to deal with
powerful individuals,” he added.
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MONDAY MAY 11, 2015
Blood donation campaign kicks
off to support security forces
Our troops are ready to eliminate terrorists before reaching their nefarious designs, says Ulumi
By Farhad Naibkhel
KABUL: In an attempt to honor
sacrifices of the security forces in
war on terror, a number legislators,
civil society members and citizens
donated their blood to Afghan
troops who have sustained injuries in fight against militants.
The blood donation campaign
kicked off in Sardar Mohammad
Daud Khan Hospital by famous
singer and activist Farhad Darya.
‘Your blood our honor soldier’ was
the theme of the campaign.
The Interior Minister Noor-ulHaq Ulumi, the Interior Ministry
spokesman, spokesman for the
Defense Ministry, lawmakers and
civil society members were participants of the event on Sunday.
Lauding the attempt, the Interior Minister told the event that
the enemies of Afghans try to kill
innocent people and disrupt security in the country but the Afghan
National Security Forces (ANSF)
are well capable of defending the
country bravely. “The security
forces are ready to eliminate terrorists before they target the innocent people,” he assured.
Also present at the event, the
Ground Forces Commander, General Murad Ali Murad, said the citizens by launching the blood donation campaign delivered the message to the security forces that they
have strong support of the leader-
Justice Minister
presents 100day action plan
By Akhtar M. Nikzad
inition of friends and foes,” he said.
“I hope the government leaders
pay serious attention in this regard as the nation is not interested
to see their troops sacrificed in a
vague war,” he added. Darya said
peace will not be achieved through
violence; it needs dialogues and
negotiations. “We are the nation
that has been victorious in war
against world powers. But now
this is the time to become peace
Drone strike kills
13 including
Taliban designated
KABUL: Justice Minister, Dr.
Abdul Basir Anwar, on Sunday
presented his 100-day action plan
to the president. According to a
press statement, President Ashraf
Ghani assessed the 100-day action
plan of the Justice Minister in a
meeting at the Presidential Palace.
The statement said that main parts
of the action plan include legislation, legal services, juvenile affairs
and management, which has been
drafted in four parts. In the meantime, President Ghani said the plan
should contain clear message to the
countrymen and the short-term
and mid-term results and changes
should be obvious in it. He also
suggested that brining reforms
should be the top priority of the
Ministry of Justice and this should
be implemented by adopting an
inclusive mechanism. The president said any kind of illegal act
should be immediately stopped
and the laws drafted and assessed
by the ministry should meet the
necessary requirements in a bid to
leave a good legacy for Afghanistan’s future. Based on the statement, the president suggested that
a wide mechanism should be implemented on those who have low
education about their related fields.
KABUL: The Taliban designated
district chief for Lalpoora was
among 13 killed in the NATO
drone strike in eastern Nangarhar
province, said an official on Sunday. Hazrat Hussain Mashriqiwal, spokesman for Nangarhar police, said that the drone strike targeted the militants group in Machmegi area of Lalpoora district the
other day. “The Taliban designated district chief, Gul Agha, was also
among the 13 militants killed in the
strike,” he added.
Mashriqiwal said that the
group of insurgents was involved
in subversive activities in the district.
According to another report,
two policemen sustained minor
injuries when their vehicle struck
a roadside bomb in Surkhrod district of Nangahar.
An official source in eastern
Afghanistan recently termed the
drone strikes as effective in fight
against militants. The source said
that the drone strikes don’t let the
Taliban militants to roam in large
AT News Report
KABUL: The National Directorate of Security (NDS) on Sunday
said that four of its personnel were
injured in an attack on one of its
facilities in Kandahar province. In
a press statement issued here, the
spy agency said that a group of
three suicide attackers targeted a
facility of the NDS in Kandahar.
In the attack four agents of the
agency were injured. According to
the press release, the attack began
when one of the three suicide attackers rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into front gate of the
compound. Soon after the blast,
the two attackers armed with rocket-propelled-grenades and AK-47
opened indiscriminate fire in order
to make way to the compound.
During the retaliation the attackers were killed, the NDS said.
51 militants killed in nationwide operations
AT News Report
KABUL: At least 51 Taliban militants have been killed in countrywide military offensives conducted by Afghan security forces
in the past 24 hours.
A press statement issued by
the Ministry of Interior (MoI)
said that security forces conducted operations in Kunar, Nangarhar, Baghlan, Kunduz, Faryab,
Badakhshan, Sar-e-Pul, Jowzjan,
Uruzgan, Kandahar, Zabul, Logar, Paktia, Ghazni, Herat and
Badghis province. Around 51 militants have been killed and around
15 others wounded, the statement
The statement said police
forces also defused around 23 various types of roadside bombs
placed by the insurgents in Kandahar, Ghazni, Uruzgan, Khost
and Paktika provinces.
Weapons’ supply to Pakistan: US draws IRE OF AFGHANS
From P12
“It seems that the United States
of America is the real murderer of
Afghans as it preferred to support
enemies of Afghans. Grandiose
promises were made to Afghans,
but support was provided to others,” he said. Shamil went on saying that at a time when insurgents
have launched large-scale attacks
in different parts of the country, it
was not suitable for the US to support Islamabad and leave Kabul in
“The US support for Pakistan
means stabbing Afghans in the
back,” said Nisar Haris, a senator
from Kabul. Criticizing the government, he said the authorities
should react seriously as Kabul has
signed Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with Washington but
it is Islamabad that “enjoys the
fruit”. Another senator Haseebullah Kalimzai said the government
should broke its silence and ask
the Obama administration that
why the use weapons were not
Paktika elders demand
Sharan mayor sacked
50 elders from southeastern Paktika province travelled to Kabul on
Sunday to demand sacking of Sharan, the provincial capital’s mayor
for what they alleged his involvement in corruption. Ten of the elders visited Pajhwok Afghan News
main office in Kabul with documented evidence regarding corrupt
practices by Obaidullah Saadat,
the Sharana mayor. Mohammad
Khalid, an elder, the mayor demanded to vacate 30 villages so
that he could implement his strategic master plan. He said people
have been living in the area for
heroes instead of war heroes,” he
added. Representative of civil society organizations, Bari Salam,
said the campaign was launched to
show that civil society members
and the people are standing besides
the security forces and are supporting them. “Our troops are defining the country and our soil by
fighting. We are defending the country by donating our blood to the
soldiers,” he concluded.
KABUL: The primary court on
Sunday postponed the prosecution of 19 policemen, accused of
negligence and failing to rescue
Farkhunda when she came under
attack by an angry mob in Kabul
nearly two months back.
Farkhunda was lynched by a
mob in Kabul in front of policemen on March 19 for allegedly
burning copy of the Holy Qur’an.
The primary court announced
that it will delay its verdict on 19
policemen due to lack of evidence
and incomplete investigation over
dossiers of the police officers.
The court’s last week decision
that sentenced four of the accused
to death and 16 others to long-term
imprisonment faced criticism by
civil society activists and a number of lawyers as they raised their
voices through media and said the
primary court was quick in its decision. They also said the court has
hurried in its verdict on those involved in Farkhunda’s case.
Safiullah Mujaddidi, head of
the primary court, told newsmen
that all decisions of the court were
taken according to the law.
“We held public trial for
Farkhunda’s case, evidences were
presented and the accused had
their defense attorneys. Nothing
injustice has occurred during the
trial,” he said.
He assured that the primary
court will carry on Farkhunda’s
case thoroughly and will announce
its verdict based on Shari’a and
criminal laws.
Hinting at a number of remarks
on the recent decision of the court,
he rejected the remarks by civil
society activists, and said the verdict was just as all principals were
considered during the trial.
Mujaddidi said 18 of the accused were released by the primary court as there was no sufficient
evidence that prove their involvement in Farkhunda’s killing.
“Analysts and activists
should first boost their knowledge
about criminal law and authorities
of the courts and then make viewpoints about our verdicts, otherwise they will be introduced to judiciary if they interfered in the
court’s affairs,” he warned.
He said their decision is primary and the defenders have the
right to appeal in the appellate
court. Farkhunda’s brother, Muhibullah, said he and his family
were not happy with the court’s
verdict. He said four people were
sentenced to death but everyone
knows that more than 40 people
were involved in killing of his sister.
ship and the common masses.
“Military operations are ongoing
against militants countrywide and
our troops are successful in their
mission,” he said.
On the same occasion, Farhad
Darya said giving negative response
to the nation, which is ready to
achieve peace at the value of their
sons’ blood, is against Islam and is
unjust. “We have failed to achieve
peace because there is no clear def-
AT News Report
AT News Report
Farkhunda’s case:
Court delays
prosecution of
years. They have agriculture lands
which could be impossible for
them to vacate. Khalid suggested
that the mayor could easily implement his strategic master plan in a
plain area in eastern part of the
area. Amanullah, another elder, said
then president Hamid Karzai issued a decree banning development
of townships on agricultural lands.
Abdul Qayyum, a businessman,
said he paid 3,000,000 afs to the
mayor few years back for construction of four markets but since
then the mayor had not handed
over the markets. The mayor wanted to sell the markets to other busi-
nessmen, he added. Banaras Nisar,
president of shopkeeper union,
said the mayor increased shop fee
from 250 afs to 5,000 afs. Sharan
municipality had 29 markets in the
city and the mayor had given most
of the shops to influential instead
of poor and deserving.Haji Mohammad Khan, president of unions
of gas stations and mosques, said:
“The population of the town is
less and has over 270 markets
where as economic exchange
growth is also limited hence there
is no need to expend the city to
reconstruct township over agricultural land.” (Pajhwok)
provided to Afghans. Lailuma Ahmadi, a senator from Panjshir, said
that Afghans are questioning importance of the BSA as the law and
order situation is deteriorating and
the US forces are not playing supportive role. The United States is
targeting only those suspected insurgents that are threatening the US
interests. The US forces are not taking action against Daesh, though the
security agreement signed with
Washington says that Kabul would
be supported in the war on terror
and against external threats, she
added. “American forces are living
in highly fortified bases and under
bunkers, but handed over the weapons to Pakistan which is against the
national interests of Afghanistan,”
she reacted to the US decision. Abdullah Qarluq, a senator from Kunduz, said that around 10,000 people left their homes in Kunduz province as Afghan security forces resorted to air strikes against the insurgents. He said that result of the
operations is still unclear. Chair-
man of the Meshrano Jirga, Fazal
Hadi Muslimyar, also expressed
concern over insecurity and said
the security officials should ramp
up security to improve law and
order situation. He commended
the security forces for retaking the
Nawa district of Ghazni from the
Taliban, but was also saddened by
the news of fall of the Jawand district of Badghis province to the insurgents. The chairman asked the
security officials to retake the district from militants.
Govt, partners
join hands to
save lives of
35,000 children
KABUL: Afghanistan’s Ministry
of Public Health, donors and international experts gathered on
Sunday to review the country’s
progress in maternal and child
health, and identify ways to save
over 35,000 lives of children with
cost-effective, high-impact health
interventions by 2020. A statement from the USAID said that
the three-day ‘Call to Action’ conference will include the launch of
major new studies demonstrating
how interventions such as skilled
birth attendance at delivery, care
of newborns, new vaccines to reduce childhood diarrhea and respiratory infections and improving the
nutrition of children can decrease
maternal and child deaths in Afghanistan. “During the past decade significant improvement has
been made in maternal and child
health, which has brought dramatic decrease in maternal mortality
ratio from 1,600 to 327 per
100,000 live births and under five
mortality rate from 257 to 97 per
1,000 live births,” said Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah
Abdullah in his inaugural speech
of the conference. (Pajhwok)
Afghan food
in capital
city of India
The Afghan cuisine is gradually
acquiring popularity among Delhi’s residents and tourists with the
settlement of Afghans in India
which was further supported with
announcement of liberal visa policy by the government of India allowing the Afghan nationals to stay
in the country on a long term basis. India’s home ministry announced last year that the Afghan
nationals would be allowed to stay
in the country on humanitarian
grounds for two years under the
new policy. The Afghan refugees
have opened many new restaurants
in Delhi – the capital city of India,
serving Afghan foods including
Kabuli and Uzbeki Pulao, kebabs
and Mantu are favourites. Food
lovers often flock to South Delhi’s
Saket area to savor authentic Afghani food, according to a report
by Asian News International
(ANI). Afghan Delhi Restaurant is
among the several operated by the
Afghans in Delhi. The restaurant
is operated in Saket area by
Safimullaha who hails from Kandahar. He ensures that people from
his nation do not miss food from
home. “Due to the volatile situation in Afghanistan, we have had
to come to India. In Afghanistan,
there is lot of unemployment and
the war-like situation has forced
us to come to India to earn our
livelihood,” he told ANI news.
Safimullah further added “As a lot
of Afghanis are in India, we decided to open an Afghan restaurant
to serve food to Afghani folk in
India.” Mohammed Ali, who visited India for the first time, was
overwhelmed to taste the authentic Afghani food. “I like both Indian
which includes Kabuli Pulao, Kebabs and Korma,” he said. Afghani
food is also popular with Delhiites with an Afghan cook Syed
Mohammed saying “Customers
from Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq and
the West come here to have Afghani food. Indian customers also
come here regularly. Everyone
likes Afghani food as it is non-spicy
and delicious.”
Peace process must be one in which
Afghans talk to Afghans: UNAMA
KABUL: The head of the United
Nations Assistance Mission in
Afghanistan (UNAMA) has said
on Sunday “war is unaffordable”
for Afghanistan and the country
won’t survive if there isn’t peace.
Nicholas Haysom, who is also the
UN Secretary-General’s Special
Representative for Afghanistan
said this while speaking during a
special interview for the UN’s
Department of Political Affairs.
“War is unaffordable, and the levels of aid which go on to sustain
the security establishment are not
going to be forthcoming forever,”
a statement quoted Haysom as
saying. He added: “It doesn’t
have to be at peace immediately,
but [Afghanistan] is simply not
going to survive if there isn’t peace
in the long-term.” The UNAMA
received a new mandate from the
UN Security Council in March,
which says that UNAMA would
play a role in promoting peace and
stability in Afghanistan and that
an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned
political process is critical to support reconciliation. “A peace process must be one in which Afghans
talk to Afghans, not Afghans talk
to the United Nations. As we say
in Africa, where I come from, the
doctor can’t take medicine on behalf of the patient,” said Haysom,
who comes from South Africa.
UNAMA also helps ensure coor-
dination between the international
community, donors and government of Afghanistan. In addition,
more than 20 UN agencies work in
Afghanistan with many have been
in the country for decades. “As
the international community draws
down, if the UN would precipitously leave Afghanistan, it would
be seen as abandonment,” he added. As part of its core mandate,
the Mission is also working to try
to ensure that women and youth
have an equal right to participation in public life. “Why would
we put such an emphasis on it?”
Haysom said. “Apart from the
question of human rights standards,
apart from the question of the fact
that women constitute 50 per cent
of the population, or that youth
are the country’s future, what we
know is that for effective growth
and development, the participation of women in the public and
economic life of the nation is critical.” ((Pajhwok))
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MONDAY MAY 11 , 2015
BURNPUR: West Bengal: Prime
Minister Narendra Modi today
said West Bengal will help to build
the spirit of 'Team India' that is
needed to take the country forward.
"I am saying that without
'Team India', the country cannot
progress. To take India forward,
this land of Bengal will come to
the country's help," Modi said in
the presence of West Bengal Chief
Minister Mamata Banerjee at the
inauguration of a modernised IISCO Steel Plant in Burnpur.
Prime Minister Narendra
Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during the
dedication ceremon of the Modernized and expanded IISCO Steel
Plant to the nation at Polo Ground
in Asansol on Sunday. PTI Prime
Minister Narendra Modi and West
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata
Banerjee during the dedication ceremon of the Modernized and expanded IISCO Steel Plant to the
nation at Polo Ground in Asansol
on Sunday. PTI
To take India forward in steel
production, the West Bengal government had made this project successful and that, he said, was an
example of the spirit of 'Team India' at work.
The prime minister said that
had the state government not supported the endeavour to modernise the steel plant, the project
would not have been possible.
Referring to the recent Land
Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh, Modi said he was proud
that the states of West Bengal,
Assam and Tripura had worked
with Delhi in addressing the vexed
issue which had been lying unsolved for the past 41 years, since
the time of Mujibur Rahman.
"Mamata's government from
West Bengal, (other governments
from) Assam and Tripura, worked
shoulder-to-shoulder with Delhi to
solve this. For the first time, we
can be proud of the fact that Parliament, whether it is Rajya Sabha
or Lok Sabha showed no opposition (on the issue)," the prime minister said.
"Team India is the Centre and
states working together. If there is
'Team India', then we can solve international issues and internal ones
very easily".
"Earlier, the economic development of India was decided by
the progress made in Bengal... Bengal will have to climb the ladder of
development in the interest of the
nation," the prime minister said.
"Bengal will surely bounce
bank in the coming days and be-
come an important economic power," he averred, adding, "If Bengal
and Kolkata cannot become strong,
then no part of the country can
become strong."
Stating that the second Green
Revolution can be led by the eastern states, Modi said the idea was
to bring the eastern region to be in
tandem with the western part of
the country.
"If we want to make India
strong, farmers' welfare has to be
ensured and, if we want to feed
the country, a second Green Revolution can be started from here
and the economic situation can be
changed," he said.
Bengal, Bihar and the northeastern states have huge potential
as they have fertile land and abundant water, he said.
"You can see a flurry of economic activity in India's western
part, but the eastern region remains
neglected... If one part of India is
ill, the country cannot become
strong and our endeavour is to develop this part of the country," the
prime minister said.
He also said that the coal-bearing states in the eastern region, including West Bengal, would benefit from the proceeds of the coalblock auctions and a foundation
would be created for the welfare
of the tribals living in mining areas.
Earlier, the West Bengal chief
minister said that the Centre and
the states will have to work handin-hand for the nation's development.
"If we can work together, the
country moves ahead. When we
divide, the country is doomed. We
don't want division among people.
Politics will be there and development will also be there.
"The federal and central structure will be there and we will work
together within the ambit of the
Constitution," Banerjee said.
The Asansol-Durgapur industrial belt is adjoining to Bihar and
Jharkhand and "life" has to be infused in this region, she said.
"The workers in the area will
only survive if life is infused in
this area. That will happen when
industry comes," she said.
She urged the prime minister
to take up the modernisation of
the Durgapur steel plant as well
by clearing the Rs 20,000 crore
project for which the state government had given land.
ISLAMABAD: A day after the
bodies of Naltar victims were
flown to Nur Khan base in Rawalpindi, high-level delegations from
Norway, Malaysia, Indonesia and
Philippines arrived on Sunday to
receive the bodies, Express News
A delegation from the Philippines headed by the Under Secretary of Philippines Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, including the
spouse and son of the late ambassador, arrived in Islamabad.
The delegation from Malaysia
consisting of senior officials and
daughter of the Malaysian ambassador also arrived in the federal
capital, as well as one from Indonesia.
“A forensic team from Norway also arrived in the capital on
the request of the government to
assist in DNA sampling,” a Foreign Office statement said.
The team was accompanied by
a delegation to receive the late
Norwegian ambassador’s body.
However, despite earlier reports
of the arrival of the widow of the
late Norwegian ambassador, she did
not come with the delegation, according to Express News.
Norwegian Ambassador Leif
H Larsen, Philippines Ambassa-
dor Domingo D Lucenario Jr,
wives of the Malaysian and Indonesian ambassadors and two pilots – Major Faisal and Major Altamash – as well as a crew member
were killed when an Mi-17 helicopter of the Pakistan Army went
down shortly before landing in
Naltar valley on Friday.
Three other envoys – Poland’s
Ambassador Andrzej Ananiczolish, Dutch Ambassador Marcel de
Vink and the Indonesian ambassador – were also injured in the incident. According to an official, the
Pakistan Army on Saturday airlifted the casualties to Rawalpindi in
helicopters and a C-130 aircraft.
“Dutch Ambassador Marcel de
Vink will receive further treatment
in his country and an air ambulance will arrive soon to transport
him back,” the statement added.
De Vink suffered major burn
injuries in the crash.
On Saturday, the prime minister’s office said in a statement that
top government officials would
accompany the bodies to their
countries, “The ministers will take
the bodies on special flights as a
gesture of respect and to show the
importance Pakistan attaches [to]
its relations with these countries,”
it added.
Nepali women, girls vulnerable Sri Lanka to begin w ar
crimes probe by September
BANGKOK: International organizations and non-government
groups in Nepal are warning the
devastation caused by the April 25
earthquake has left thousands of
girls and young women vulnerable
to human traffickers.
Anti-trafficking campaigners
said there is a need for greater attention to the protection of girls
and women.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Nepal remain without shelter and possessions, leaving poor
women and girls desperate and
vulnerable to human traffickers,
activists said.
Non-government organizations (NGOs) said the criminal networks are especially targeting Nepal’s rural communities, even using the cover of relief efforts to
kidnap or lure women away.
The United Nations said up
to 15,000 girls are trafficked each
year from Nepal, forced into sex
work as far away as South Korea
and South Africa, although the vast
majorities are lured to India where
thousands work in brothels.
Anuradha Koirala, founder of
anti-trafficking organization Maiti Nepal, said children are especially vulnerable amid the ongoing
attention on relief and rehabilitation.
“All the areas which have been
affected, these are the areas which
have been affected very badly and
where 80 percent of the children
are trafficked,” Koirala explained.
“Very few people are concentrating on this issue. We think these
children are most vulnerable, we
have to save them and we have to
take care of them. We have ourselves have already rescued three
The United Nations Children’s
Fund (UNICEF) is calling for the
creation of temporary places for
learning, noting that almost 1 million children are not able to return
to school due to damaged buildings. An estimated 24,000 classrooms were damaged or destroyed
in the earthquake, the most severe
to hit Nepal in 80 years.
UNICEF said in areas such as
Gorkha, Sindhupalchok and Nuwakot, over 90 percent of schools
were destroyed. In Dhading, 80
percent of school buildings collapsed. Schools in other areas such
as Kathmandu and Bhaktopur are
being used as emergency shelters
for earthquake survivors.
Maiti Nepal’s Koirala said rebuilding schools and raising awareness among rural communities to
the threat posed by traffickers
should be priorities.
“Our focus should be on reconstruction; the reconstruction of
the schools’ first and education
should be free, compulsory. The
full international community, we
should get together and work on
prevention, prevention and protection of girls and children who have
been survivors," she said. "We
should take prevention programs,
awareness programs to the villages because then only people can
be aware and I think we can minimize trafficking."
UNICEF has expressed fear
the recent gains made by Nepal in
raising primary school enrollment
to 95 percent may be lost due to
the consequences of the earthquake.
Sri Lanka said it will have a domestic mechanism with foreign
technical expertise in place by September to address the reconciliation and accountability issues and
investigate the alleged human right
violations during the last stages of
war against terrorism.
Addressing a media briefing at
Sirikotha, the United National Party (UNP) headquarters, Sri Lanka's Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that a domestic mechanism to probe into
the allegations of war crimes will
be in place by the next session of
the UN Human Rights Council
(UNHRC) in Geneva in September.
Foreign Minister's statement
comes days after U.S. Secretary
of State John Kerry urged Sri Lankan leaders to "find truth wherever it may lead."
During his brief visit to Colombo last Saturday (May 02)
when he was briefed on the steps
being taken by the Government to
promote reconciliation and address
post conflict issues including missing persons, detainees and accountability, the top U.S. official
emphasized that Sri Lanka must
find its own solutions to national
issues. Appreciating the many
positive steps that have already
been taken by the Government, the
Secretary offered US technical assistance for the measures, as required. The Secretary expressed
hope that the government will continue to cooperate with the United Nations as it explores the best
way to mount a credible domestic
investigation into allegations of
human rights abuses - an investigation that meets international standards. The Sri Lankan Minister said
the government is working according to a timetable and is confident
of meeting the timeline.
"We promised the people a
domestic mechanism to look into
human rights violations. There is a
timeline for its setting up. We do
have a timeline, we are working
according to a timetable even now.
I think we will be able to meet the
timeline," he said.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena earlier this year as-
sured the diplomatic community
that his government will not hesitate to punish the offenders of
human rights violations said to
have taken place during the war
after the conduct of a credible domestic inquiry through a judicial
process into the allegations.
The President reiterated government's commitment to conduct
an internal investigation into alleged
human rights abuses and to take
legal action if anyone is found
guilty of violating human rights.
However, the President ruled
out the need for the UN war crime
investigators to get involved in the
domestic investigations.
India-China friendship will have on impact
other nations, says Dalai Lama
Cristiano Ronaldo
donates £5m to Nepal aid
fund after earthquake
PALAMPUR: Tibetan spiritual
leader Dalai Lama on Saturday said
that if Indo-Chinese friendship is
based on mutual trust, it will be a
"welcome step" and have impact
not only on relations between the
two nations but many other countries, including Tibet.
"If Indo-Chinese friendship is
based on mutual trust, it will be a
welcome step as this will have
impact not only on relations between India and China but also on
many other countries including
Tibet," he said while replying to a
question after inaugurating a mobile portal launched by a Kangra
business house, 35 km from here.
Earlier, addressing the gathering, the Dalai Lama said that compassion makes a man more humane
and can help check spread of violence and wars. He said knowledge
gathered from various sources
could help an individual have bet-
Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been
no stranger to charitable acts
throughout his career, has donated
£5m to the charity Save the Children to help their aid efforts in
Nepal after the earthquake which
killed more than 8,000 people and
injured another 20,000 last month,
according to reports in France. The
French football magazine So Foot
reports that the 30-year-old Real
Madrid player made the donation
having previously asked his 100m
Facebook followers to support the
charity. The Portugal striker, who
scored in the 2-1 Champions
League semi-final first-leg defeat
at Juventus last week, is no stranger to such acts. Last year he paid
for €60,000 worth of treatments
for a 10-month-old boy with cortical dysplasia. He has also
worked closely with Unicef and
World Vision and in 2004 he flew
ter understanding thus, make him
wiser. India-China friendship will
have on impact other nations, says
Dalai Lama AdTech Ad "If IndoChinese friendship is based on
mutual trust, it will be a welcome
step as this will have impact not
only on relations between India and
China but also on many other countries including Tibet," Dalai Lama
said.#india #china #dalai lama #tibet This will lead to a better world
as well as help check environmental problems. The spiritual leader
appreciated the efforts and hoped
that the mobile portal will help
spread information to more people. At the occasion, Himachal
Urban Development minister Sudhir Sharma lauded the efforts and
hoped that introduction of the new
technology for quick spread of information will go a long way in
making people aware of problems
and help find solutions.
to Indonesia having seen a survivor from the tsunami there wearing a shirt with his name on the
back. Real Madrid face Valencia in
La Liga on Saturday night before
entertaining Juve in the second leg
of their last four tie on Wednesday.
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MONDAY MAY 11 , 2015
sold iers quit
over Ukraine
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh
Shukri said the Arab League is
moving closer to forming a joint
Arab military force, pan-Arab
newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported Saturday.
“Technical teams are already
working to develop a vision to establish a joint Arab force, and this
will be ready within the next four
months,” Shukri said on the sidelines of a state visit to Eritrea.
Speaking about Yemen, the
FM said: “There can be no doubt
that the situation in Yemen requires
serious effort in order to find a
solution to the deteriorating humanitarian situation and the suffering of the Yemeni people. We
need to find a way to return legitimacy and restore stability to Yemen.”
“Egypt is continuing its participation in the alliance and is doing everything in its power to stop
the escalation,” Shukri said.
“We are in contact with our
partners to provide assistance and
help reach a political framework
conducive to securing a ceasefire,
returning Yemen’s legitimate government to power and ensuring
Yemeni security and stability,” he
added. In March, Arab leaders said
during an Arab League summit in
Egypt that they wish to create a
joint military force to help maintain security within the region.
The announcement came in the
wake of the Saudi-led intervention
in Yemen to battle Iranian-backed
Houthi militias.
Syrian troops
battle to free
trapped forces
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah
El-Sisi said Saturday his country
is keen on cooperating with Russia at all levels, the Cairo-based Al
Ahram newspaper reported. Sisi,
which made the statements during
a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, said that
he is aiming for all sorts of collaboration that would benefit both
countries. Putin affirmed Russia’s
support to Sisi and said that his
country will keep on backing the
Egyptian leader “for the good of
your people and your country.”
During the meeting, Sisi also spoke
about Russia’s role in World War II
and said that Egypt understands the
role that Russia has played to combat
fascism. Sisi was in Moscow to take
part in celebrations marking 70 years
since victory over Nazi Germany in
World War II. Cairo has sought to
strengthen its ties with Moscow
against the backdrop of strained
ties with long-time ally Washington since the ouster of Islamist
president Mohammed Mursi in
July 2013. Russia was Sisi’s first
visit to a foreign country since he
was sworn in as president in June
after a landslide victory at the polls.
Renewed violence forces
100,000 to flee in South Sudan
Fighting has escalated in war-torn
South Sudan forcing up to 100,000
people to flee their homes, the
United Nations has said.
Toby Lanzer, the UN's humanitarian coordinator for South
Sudan said up to 100,000 people
had been displaced from their
homes in Unity State, as clashes
intensified between rebels and government troops.
South Sudan: Country of
Dreams (Part 1)
"Since the beginning of May,
military activities south of Bentiu
in Unity State have forced up to
100,000 people from their homes,"
Lanzer said in a statement. "People should never be harmed, and
certainly not targeted or forced to
flee from their homes," he added.
Also on Saturday, two global
aid agencies evacuated their international staff from part of Unity
State fearing clashes.
Doctors Without Borders
(MSF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
said they withdrew from the town
of Leer, Machar's hometown, over
concerns of an "imminent attack".
"Today, we withdraw again
with a heavy heart, because we
know how civilians will suffer
when they are cut off from critical, lifesaving medical care," Paul
Critchley, head of mission at MSF
MSF was previously forced to
abandon Leer in January last year
when fighting over the town made
it too dangerous to stay.
South Sudan: Country of
Dreams (Part 2)
When aid workers were able
to return four months later they
found the hospital burned and looted and vehicles stolen.
Franz Rauchenstein, the head
of the ICRC in South Sudan, urged
the warring sides to respect international law.
"At all times, those who do
not take part in the hostilities must
be spared and the distinction needs
to be made between civilian objectives and military objectives," he
Violence in the world's youngest nation has been characterised
by rape, attacks on civilians and
medical facilities and ethnic massacres.
Tens of thousands of people
are believed to have been killed
since South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011.
Syrian government forces advanced
Saturday towards the rebel-held
town of Jisr al-Shughur, where
around 250 regime force members
and their families are trapped in a
hospital building, a monitor said.
The Syrian Observatory for
Human Rights said government
troops were now within two kilometers (just over a mile) of where
the group has been trapped since
rebels seized Jisr al-Shughur in
northwestern Idlib province two
weeks ago.
“Regime forces and allied fighters are now two kilometers from
the hospital and desperately want
to save the 250 people besieged
inside,” said Observatory director
Rami Abdel Rahman.
He said there was fierce fighting between rebels and army
backed by air strikes as they
sought to approach the hospital
on Jisr al-Shughur’s southeastern
Regime forces inside the hospital have been battling rebels to
keep them from entering the building.
It remains unclear how much
food and ammunition is available
to those trapped, and how many
of the 250 people inside are civilians.
A group of rebels including AlQaeda’s Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra
Front seized Jisr al-Shughur on
April 25, shortly after capturing
the provincial capital of Idlib city.
The loss of the town, strategically located near the border with
rebel-backer Turkey and alongside
the regime stronghold of Latakia
province, was a new setback for
the government.
Since then, the regime has also
lost one of its remaining military
bases in the province.
On Wednesday, President
Bashar al-Assad pledged that the
army would “arrive soon to these
heroes trapped in the Jisr al-Shughur hospital”.
The same day, government
forces began a counteroffensive in
the province.
Elsewhere on Saturday, official news agency SANA said at
least five civilians were killed and
19 others wounded by rebel shelling in northern Aleppo.
The deaths occurred in the
Salaheddin neighborhood of the
government-controlled west of the
city. Once Syria’s economic powerhouse, Aleppo has been ravaged
by the country’s war and is divided between government control in
the west and rebel control in the
east. Regime forces regularly carry out air strikes and drop so-called
barrel bombs on the rebel side, and
opposition fighters often fire rockets into the government side.
More than 220,000 people have
been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with
anti-government protests that spiraled into a war after a regime crackdown.
forces target
Saleh’s house
in Sanaa
Saudi-led forces conducted air
strikes at dawn on Sunday in the
Yemeni capital Sanaa targeting deposed President Ali Abdullah
Saleh’s house, sources in his political party and residents said, according to Reuters news agency.
Three loud explosions were
heard and plumes of smoke were
seen rising from the area where
Saleh’s residence is located in the
capital. Humanitarian ceasefire A
coalition led by Saudi Arabia
launched an air war on Yemen on
March 26 to prevent the Iranianallied Houthis and militias of the
deposed president Saleh from
seizing territory. Saudi Arabia had
said on Friday a five-day humanitarian ceasefire in Yemen would
begin on Tuesday if the Houthi
militia it has been fighting agreed
to the pause. Iranian-allied Houthi
fighters said in a statement they
would deal "positively" with any
efforts to lift the suffering of the
Yemeni people, a sign that they
could accept the five-day humanitarian ceasefire proposed by Saudi Arabia. A statement issued by
the Houthis also asked for a political dialogue under the auspices of the United Nations to resume in order to resolve the conflict.
Over 1,000 flee as typhoon threatens northern Philippines
More than 1,000 people were evacuated from their homes as Typhoon Noul approached the northern Philippines, threatening flash
floods, landslides and tsunami-like
storm surges, government agencies
warned on Sunday.
The storm's movement has
slowed slightly but it has also
strengthened to pack gusts of 205
kilometres (127 miles) per hour and
is still expected to hit the northern
edge of the main island of Luzon
by Sunday afternoon or evening,
according to Esperanza Cayanan,
chief of the government's weather
monitoring division.
As of Sunday morning, it was
about 140 kilometres northeast of
the northern province of Cagayan,
which is expected to feel the brunt
of the typhoon's fury later in the
day, she added. Infographic: Typhoon closes in on Philippines
Over 1,200 people have already been pre-emptively evacuated from the areas expected to be
affected by Noul, said Mina Marasigan, spokeswoman for the government's national disaster monitoring council.
"There are areas which can
have landslides. There are areas
which can have flash floods. There
are coastal areas which can be hit
by storm surges as high as 1.5
metres (five feet)," she told AFP.
Storm surges -- tsunami-like
waves generated by powerful typhoons -- have become a major
concern during storms.
In November 2013 storm surg-
es were the main killers as Super
Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the central Philippines, leaving more than
7,350 people dead or missing.
Several hundred people living
in a farming hamlet below the restive Bulusan volcano on Luzon
have also been evacuated due to
the potential that rain could mix
with volcanic ash accumulated on
the volcano's slopes to form deadly, fast-moving mudflows that
could bury entire houses.
The government has already
suspended ferry services in the
affected areas and some domestic
flights have also been cancelled as
part of safety measures.
About 20 typhoons and
storms hit the Philippines each
year, many of them deadly.
MOSCOW: Some Russian soldiers are quitting the army because
of the conflict in Ukraine, several
soldiers and human rights activists
have told Reuters. Their accounts
call into question the Kremlin's
continued assertions that no Russian soldiers have been sent to
Ukraine, and that any Russians
fighting alongside rebels there are
Evidence for Russians fighting
in Ukraine – Russian army equipment found in the country, testimony from soldiers' families and
from Ukrainians who say they
were captured by Russian paratroopers – is abundant. Associates
of Boris Nemtsov, a prominent
Kremlin critic killed in February,
will soon publish a report which
they say will contain new evidence
of the Russian military presence
in Ukraine.
Until now, however, it has been
extremely rare to find Russian soldiers who have fought there and
are willing to talk. It is even rarer
to find soldiers who have quit the
army. Five soldiers who recently
quit, including two who said they
left rather than serve in Ukraine,
have told Reuters of their experiences.
One of the five, from Moscow,
said he was sent on exercises in
southern Russia last year but ended up going into Ukraine in an armored convoy.
"After we crossed the border,
a lieutenant colonel said we could
be sent to jail if we didn't fulfil
orders. Some soldiers refused to
stay there," said the soldier, who
served with the elite Russian
Kantemirovskaya tank division.
He gave Reuters his full name but
spoke on condition of anonymity,
saying he feared reprisals.
He said he knew two soldiers
who refused to stay. "They were
taken somewhere. The lieutenant
colonel said criminal cases were
opened against them but in reality
– we called them afterwards – they
were at home. They just quit."
Russia's President Vladimir
Putin has repeatedly denied that
Moscow has sent any military
forces to help rebels in eastern
Ukraine, where clashes and casualties persist despite a ceasefire
struck in February. Putin's spokesman has derided such allegations
by NATO, Western governments
and Kiev. Officials say that any
Russian soldiers fighting in
Ukraine are "volunteers," helping
the rebels of their own free will.
The former Russian soldiers
who spoke to Reuters, as well as
human rights activists, said some
soldiers were fearful of being sent
to Ukraine, were pressured into
going, or disgruntled at the way
they were treated after fighting
The former tank soldier from
Moscow said he would not have
gone to Ukraine voluntarily. "No,
what for? That's not our war. If
our troops were officially there it
would be a different story."
He said he had been sent to
fight in Ukraine last summer and
returned to Russia in September
when the first peace talks took
place. His crew operated a modernized Russian T-72B3 tank, he
said. "(Back in Russia) we were
lined up and told that everyone
would get a daily allowance, extras for fighting and medals," he
said. But he said that they did not
get the extras they expected. "We
decided to quit. There were 14 of
The names of nine soldiers
who quit the Kantemirovskaya
division are mentioned in an exchange of letters between Viktor
Miskovets, the head of the human
resources department of Russia's
Western Military District, and
Valentina Melnikova, who runs the
Alliance of Soldiers' Mothers
Committees, a group based in
In the letters, seen by Reuters,
human rights workers asked Miskovets to approve the soldiers' resignations – which one soldier told
Reuters the military had been unwilling to do. The letters do not
mention service in Ukraine.
The soldiers left the service on
Dec. 12, according to a letter signed
by Miskovets. He and his deputy
did not answer calls.
Three soldiers from the list,
contacted by Reuters, confirmed
they had quit the service recently
but declined to discuss Ukraine.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence declined to comment on soldiers quitting the tank
unit or being sent to Ukraine. In
Russia, all men aged between 18
and 27 have to serve 12 months in
the military. By law, these conscripts cannot be sent abroad. But
according to human rights activists, military officials have been
promising conscripts financial incentives to sign contracts that
make them professional soldiers.
The officials then push the soldiers into going to Ukraine. Sergei
Krivenko, head of a rights group
called "Citizen. Army. Rights" and
a member of a human rights council created by the Kremlin, has
dealt with soldiers' rights since the
early 2000s. He said military commanders are trying to find more
people who will go to Ukraine
voluntarily, "but this is still 'volunteers' in quotation marks, because there is harsh pressure."
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MONDAY MAY 11, 2015
We a r e a n a t io n a l in st it u t io n a n d n o t t h e v o ice o f a go v t o r a p r iv a t e o r ga n iza t io n
Editor: Abdul Saboor Sarir
Phone No: +93-772364666
E-mail: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]
Photojournalist: M. Sadiq Yusufi
Advisory editorial board
Saduddin Shpoon, Dr. Sharif Fayez, Dr. Sultana Parvanta, Dr. Sharifa Sharif,
Dr. Omar Zakhilwal, Setara Delawari, Ahmad Takal
Mansoor Faizy and Edriss Akbari
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Mailing address: P.O. Box: 371, Kabul, Afghanistan
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Printed at Afghanistan Times Printing Press
The constitution says
Article 134:
Discovery of crimes shall be the duty of police, and investigation and filing the case against the accused in the
court shall be the responsibility of the Attorney’s Office, in accordance with the provisions of the law. The
Attorney’s Office shall be part of the Executive organ and shall be independent in its performance. The
organization, authority as well as method of work of the Attorney’s Office shall be regulated by law. Special
law shall regulate discovery and investigation of crimes of duty by the armed forces, police and officials of
national security.
Improving healthcare
Ministry of Public Health came up against a lot of criticism in the past for
its poor performance. Lack of comprehensive policies vitiated the health
sector in the over past decade. However, optimism is gaining ground as the
change in leadership at the ministry is proving good omen for the public. In
a move to assure the common men of better healthcare services, the ministry has sealed nine private hospitals, cancelled licenses of 159 medicines
importers. Twenty-three hospitals got a chance to improve their services;
otherwise, would be shut down for not adhering to the regulations.
The decision has been highly celebrated by public as private hospitals in
the country are busy in fleecing patients under one or the other pretext.
Blacklisting of the medicine importers and private hospitals speak volumes
about quality of the healthcare services in the country. Recent assessment
of the health ministry should be taken as warning sign that means it’s not
frivolous to trust the private hospitals trying to catch attention of public
through catchy advertisements. Poor healthcare services provided by the
private hospitals and unprofessional doctors are an implied threat to public
Corruption and nepotism are the major barriers in front of the honest
officials to overcome outstanding problems in the health sector. It would
not be easy to get rid of the rampant corruption which has permeated so
deeply in the system, but without eliminating it, there would be no improvement. It is the culture of graft which allows people with desire to use
hospital solely for business purpose rather than serving public to get license and play with people’s lives. Many people having relatives at key
positions in the administration and enjoy a kind of impunity because the
health teams could not seal hospitals owned by them. The issue not only
afflicts honest officials but general public as well.
Moreover, the drawn-out legislative procedure is another factor that has
tied hands of the authorities to monitor and take action against hospitals
that do not adhere to the standards. Flawless laws are essential to deal with
the existing challenges in the health sector. Once brief and coherent laws
are drafted and approved, officials would be able to ensure public has access to quality health services. Sadly, people having influence get license
with flying colors to open hospital. Poor patients banking on the private
hospitals are often disappointed when the diseases are not diagnosed despite spending huge amount. Therefore, the government should show no
soft corner and clamp down on the enterprises that are importing spurious
drugs or the private hospitals that lack professional doctors and facilities
but perform surgeries. Besides blacklisting, people involved in import of
substandard medicines should be introduced to the Attorney General Office for prosecution. In a nutshell, those who are playing with lives of
people should be challenged aggressively by the government. Favoritism
should not prevent the authorities from taking action against elements whose
sole purpose is to bag money rather than playing a constructive role. The
officials should be adamant on standing their ground against such mafias.
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By Aimal Faizi
Afghanistan is experiencing an unprecedented level of increased violence and armed conflict by the
Taliban and foreign fighters, further deteriorating the alre6ady fragile stability and security of the
Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser, Hanif Atmar, warned
this week that Afghanistan is facing “serious security threats” from
foreign terrorist groups such as alQaeda, ISIL, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba,
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan,
East Turkestan Islamic Movement
and Ansarullah of Tajikistan.
Atmar also said that the Islamic
State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)
is seeking to “get access to the
drugs market in Afghanistan” to
finance its activities and infiltrate
Central Asia.
The sharp degradation of the
security situation and the current
state and nature of armed conflict
in Afghanistan is no doubt preparing the ground for the US to continue its military presence and its
unfinished war in the country beyond 2017.
Prolonged US presence
From Kabul’s perspective, US
financial support to the Afghan
national security forces and the
increasing insecurity and level of
threats from “foreign terrorist
groups” such as ISIL are the main
factors behind the need for a prolonged US military presence in
Since the establishment of the
new government in Afghanistan,
President Ashraf Ghani and other
senior officials have repeatedly
expressed their wish to Washington to have more “flexibility” regarding the withdrawal of US
troops from Afghanistan.
Atmar recently said that “Afghanistan is satisfied with the security pact” signed with the US.
The bestselling argument in defence of the Bilateral Security
Agreement - as this senior Afghan
official puts it - is that “the US
provides $12m to the Afghan security forces on a daily basis”,
that’s an annual aid of $4bn.
However, it creates a complete
state of dependency. The US has
intentionally failed to equip Afghan national security forces with
modern weapons.
The Afghan president and his
national security adviser have both
stuck to their narrative about the
growing threat of “international
terrorism”, in particular, the presence of ISIL in Afghanistan.
But in Afghanistan, is ISIL a
myth or reality?
Myth or reality?
Ghani has stated on a number
of occasions both to a domestic
audience and on the international
stage that ISIL is worse than alQaeda and poses a serious threat
to Afghanistan.
In his recent address to a gathering of the country’s political and
religious leaders, Ghani said “international terrorism wants to deny
Afghanistan a stable future, and is
attempting to disrupt the state
system in the region, and the
Such statements on the escalation of insecurity in the country
from the leadership of the National Unity Government are alarming
for public opinion, both inside
Afghanistan and also in the West.
On the other hand, despite the
US administration’s statements
about the end of its combat mission in Afghanistan, US forces have
continued to carry out regular missions against the Taliban and other
terrorist groups said to be
threate000ning US troops and the
Afghan government.
US jets and bombers are supporting Afghan national security
forces in their combat missions.
The ongoing military operations in
Kunduz province of Afghanistan
are a good example.
Since January, there have also
been more drone and air strikes as
well as operations by special forces as part of the US-led counterterrorism mission named “Freedom
Sentinel” in Afghanistan.
Furthermore, the US and its
NATO allies have not decided on
a plausible end date for their ongoing mission in Afghanistan. The
wide-ranging goals for the US-led
foreign military presence in Afghanistan, as declared, include “stability, fighting terrorism, training
Afghan National Security Forces,
protecting the population and the
country from outside attacks”, etc.
Current military strategy
None of the above US-NATO
goals in Afghanistan seem to be
achievable with the current military strategy.
With around 9,800 US troops
and tens of thousands of military
contractors, the US military mission in Afghanistan is going to be
an open-ended war for years to
come. It is actually much broader
and well beyond the scope and
nature of what was agreed in the
Bilateral Security Agreement between Kabul and Washington.
The rapid deterioration of the
security situation caused by new
and old brands of terrorists groups
in Afghanistan and the alarming
political messages of the current
Afghan leadership are making the
ground smoother for the US determination to stay in Afghanistan for
its own geopolitical interests.
But the National Unity government of Afghanistan must attain a countrywide consensus in
this regard.
Afghan MPs have already
started a series of heated debates
in parliament and on TV talkshows criticising the security agreement with the US and demanding
Afghan government “reconsider
and review” the pact. They stress
that ISIL is not an indigenous force
in Afghanistan but “an intelligence
project”. If the US administration
foresees a longer stay, it must find
ways to end the growing suspicion about its objectives in Afghanistan among Afghans. Afghans
would not oppose an extended US
military presence in Afghanistan
but only so long as it brings them
peace and stability.
Peace t alks
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MONDAY MAY 11 , 2015
may prove
port of call
for Ind ia
By David Lepeska
Seems like every day we hear
about another fatal migrant incident on the Mediterranean. Already this year, nearly 2,000 people have died attempting to cross
to Europe, an exponential increase
from 2014.
The reasons behind the surge
are clear. The Norwegian Refugee
Council says an average of 30,000
people were forced from their
homes every day last year due to
conflict, bringing the global total
to 38 million. Combined with figures from the United Nations' refugee agency, that means some 55
million people are now living a long
way from home - the greatest displacement crisis the world has seen
in 70 years.
"We are at a dangerous tipping
point," Antonio Guterres, UN
High Commissioner for Refugees,
said last week in Kuwait during a
humanitarian pledging conference
for Syria.
We met the Syrian refugees living in Istanbul's ruins
Few have responded more admirably than Turkey, which has
spent $5.6bn to provide for its
Syrian guests. Turkey is not only
hosting the most Syrian refugees 1.7 million according to official figures; around 2 million unofficially
- it's hosting more refugees than
any country in the world. Greece
grasps this better than most: It's
on pace to double the 33,000 migrants that arrived last year.
Ankara's challenges
As the desperate continue to
stream into Turkey, with many
travelling further in search of opportunity, the challenges facing
Ankara are of global concern. And
they're getting worse.
With the lira falling and unemployment and inflation on the rise,
Ankara will be hard-pressed in the
months ahead to continue its generosity. A mass public brawl involving some 200 people in Sanliurfa last week highlighted the simmering tensions between Syrians
snatching up cheap housing and
blue-collar jobs and the residents
of southeast Turkish cities in
which refugees are thick on the
And with the Islamic State of
Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) increasing instability across northern Syria and Iraq, the number of refugees
in Turkey is set to increase to 2.5
million this year, according to
Helen Clark, the administrator of
the UN Development Program.
With ISIL increasing instability across northern Syria and Iraq,
the number of refugees in Turkey
is set to increase to 2.5 million this
Three recent reports take up
the issue of Syrian refugees in Turkey. The first, from the main op-
By Syed Mudassir Ali Shah
INDIA and Iran concluded a longawaited port deal in Tehran on
Wednesday, lending a big boost to
efforts for promoting regional
trade. The Chabahar port near the
Iranian border with Balochistan
reflects Prime Minister Narendra
Modi’s keen interest in forging robust trade links with Central Asia,
including landlocked Afghanistan.
In 2003, the two sides had
agreed to execute the project, bypassing Pakistan, but the venture
made slow progress due to Western curbs on Iran over its controversial nuclear programme. The
port’s expansion is expected to
whittle down transport costs and
cut freight time from India to Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.
Chabahar provides India an
easier land-sea route to Afghanistan, where it has fostered close
security cooperation and economic interests over the years. New
Delhi has already spent $100 million on building a 220-kilometre
road in the Nimroz province of
Afghanistan. The road will be extended to Chabahar.
Afghanistan is expected to sign
By Mir Ayoob Ali Khan
position Republican People's Party, argues that the Syria and Iraq
policies of the ruling Justice and
Development Party (AK party)
have cost Turkey some $16.5bn
in spending on refugees and lost
export and tourism revenues. That
number may not be far off.
Last year, Turkish economist
Suleyman Yasar put Turkey's cost
for the Syrian war at $12.5bn,
while the World Bank estimated
the conflict had cost Syria, Iraq,
Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon some $35bn in total.
But blaming the ruling party a
month before parliamentary elections seems a bit disingenuous. No
AK party policy decision in recent years would have suddenly
made southeast Turkey, in the
shadow of Syria's civil war, a vacationer's paradise, or transformed
war-torn Syria and Iraq into thriving, export-hungry economies.
Spending on refugees
As I argued a year ago, the one
element under Ankara's control spending on refugees - has been
one of its few foreign policy bright
spots. Everyone from the New
York Times to British parliamentarians and UN officials has raved
about the conditions of its refugee
Finally, the CHP report recommends that Syrians be registered into a national database so
a tripartite transit trade agreement
on using the port as an alternative
route, which could jack up bilateral trade to $3 billion from $700800 million.
The project’s strategic nature
is illustrated by its location along
the coast from the Chinese-funded Gwadar port in Balochistan.
Noting the prospect of sanctions
on Iran being lifted or eased, India
plans to fast-track the plan.
Modi’s sense of urgency in
concluding trade pacts with Iran
and other Persian Gulf nations is
apparently driven by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signing of $46bn
energy and infrastructure development agreements with Pakistan last
During his daylong visit to Tehran, India’s shipping minister
inked with his Iranian counterpart
Abbas Ahmad Akhoundi a memorandum of understanding on developing the port on the Gulf of
Oman. Both sides overruled America’s call for India and other countries not to rush into doing business with Iran. The US has expressed its concern that India is
moving too fast and could undermine the sanctions regime.
that cities with more refugees receive a greater allocation of government funds. In fact, Turkey
began registering Syrian refugees
in October, with a new law that
also granted free access to healthcare and education.
Reports from the Foundation
for Political, Economic and Social
Research (SETA) and the Migration Policy Institute, both DCbased think-tanks, call for Turkey
to shift its policy towards integration, as return will not be an option for refugees for a number of
years. Since refugees began arriving in mid-2011, Turkey has largely taken a catch-as-catch-can approach, responding generously but
Today more than four out of
five Syrian refugees in Turkey fend
for themselves outside the camps,
struggling to find work and housing.
A Syrian child living in a refugee camp in Gaziantep, Turkey
The MPI report urges Turkey
to change its 1951 Geneva Convention obligations, which stipulate that only European asylum
seekers can be granted refugee status. That October law allowed
Syrian refugees to stay until their
safe return to Syria can be ensured,
but failed to provide full refugee
After a commercial accord is
reached on implementing the pact,
Indian firms will, according to the
Indian government, “lease two existing berths at the port and operationalise them as container and
multi-purpose cargo terminals”,
providing Afghanis-tan with access to the sea and reducing its substantial reliance on Pakistan.
The signing ceremony came on
the heels of a warning from the US
ambassador to India, who said
countries engaging with Iran must
wait for the outcome of Tehran’s
discussions with the P5+1 group
— the US, Russia, China, France,
Britain and Germany.
With the next round of talks
scheduled for May 12 at Geneva,
the European Union and the rest
of the partners will join the negotiations three days later. As the
negotiators seek to wrap up the
process by June 30, there is cautious optimism of a breakthrough.
For its part, the Modi administration insists the development
of the port in no way violates sanctions and that it is not bound to
enforce Washington’s decisions.
The port will enable Iran to open
up to the Western world once the
Future opportunities
Billions of American dollars poured into the country in past 13 years. Several opportunities were created for
Afghans to step towards a prosperous future. Freedom of expression, women’s rights, improvement of
education, telecommunication services, development of Afghanistan’s ties with the international community and its neighbors are main achievements of the past more than a decade under the ex-President Hamid
Karzai’s tenure.
People thought that the new government will save the achievements and will use the remaining opportunities for going towards a brighter future. But after formation of the new government, the international aid
dwindled and the country’s economy faced a challenging phase. The future opportunities include mineral
resources, major trade and economic agreements recently signed between Kabul and other countries, and
water resources of Afghanistan.
The National Unity Government (NUG) should leave no stone unturned in using the opportunities
thoroughly. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah on Sunday said the NUG was committed to maintain past years’ achievements, including freedom of media. He also said that the NUG will make
all out efforts to use the existing opportunities for development of Afghanistan in
different sectors. Hope these remarks and promises not remain mere-lip service.
Jamal Khan Ayubi, Qala-i-Zaman Khan, Kabul
Letter to editor will be edited for policy, content and clarity. All letters must
have the writer’s name and address. You may send your letters to:
[email protected]
rights. Both reports call for workforce integration. Turkey's parliament will soon consider a bill enabling refugees to work in certain
sectors, with quotas.
"This plan is to be implemented in a phased manner so as not to
disturb the 'social peace' and generate tension," says the SETA report, which acknowledges the June
elections seem to be delaying passage of this legislation.
The AK party smartly figures
that a government decision to give
work permits to Syrian refugees
and potentially put them on the
path to citizenship is unlikely to
be well-received by its many
working class supporters.
Once electoral politicking has
past, Turkey needs to give its Syrian visitors work permits. It also
needs to look abroad for assistance.
"A truly effective and forwardlooking response will require more
extensive cooperation and support
from the international community," writes Ahmet Icduygu, for
MPI. The best solution would be
for wealthier states to open their
doors to more refugees.
New arrivals
Recent studies from the European Commission and the Organization for Economic Co-operation
and Development found that migrants have not harmed local workers but have contributed to gov-
ernment revenues. New arrivals
also tend to be entrepreneurial: In
2014, Syrian refugees started more
than a thousand businesses in Turkey.
But if they prefer to keep their
doors shut, rich countries should
at least be willing to increase their
aid spending. The US pledged
$507m last week in Kuwait, to
help Syrians, while the host
pledged $500m. But other Gulf
states have failed to pull their
weight. Riyadh committed $60m
at the conference, down from
$78m last year. Consider, too, that
the US economy is 20 times as
large as Turkey's, with a GDP of
$16.8 trillion, yet the US has spent
about 42 percent less on Syrian
aid than Turkey - $3.2bn since the
conflict began.
Total aid for Syria has held
steady over the past year. This
might be a result of disaster fatigue,
particularly after the devastating
earthquake in Nepal.
There's also the issue of ISIL.
Since last summer, Western leaders looking at Syria have tended to
focus on the terror group. But if
the moral obligation of helping
millions of desperate people provides inadequate motivation, the
international community might
view the refugee crisis as a security issue.
This week in Turkey, the US
began training some 15,000 rebels
to fight in Syria, part of the USled coalition plan to degrade and
destroy ISIL. While it's in the area,
coalition advisers would be wise
to also help build schools and train
teachers to educate some of the
450,000 Syrian refugee children
out of school in Turkey. The UN
has documented several instances
of refugee children joining radical
armed groups, with ISIL making
child recruitment a key element of
its strategy.
Refugees from Syria and other
conflict zones aren't shoehorning
themselves on to listing boats or
signing up for jihad out of boredom. They're doing so because
they see so little means of providing for their family and building
useful, prosperous lives.
The less frustration, insecurity, and hopelessness among Syrian refugees in Turkey, the fewer
we'll see dying on the high seas
and taking up with the likes of ISIL.
David Lepeska, a freelance
journalist based in Istanbul, has
written for The New York Times,
The Atlantic, The Guardian, The
Financial Times and other outlets.
His work focuses on Turkey and
the Middle East.
The views expressed in this
article are the author's own and do
not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's
editorial policy.
sanctions are lifted. India had also
expressed its interest in developing a key oilfield, but Iran refused
to give it gas marketing rights.
INDIA and Iran concluded a
long-awaited port deal in Tehran
on Wednesday, lending a big boost
to efforts for promoting regional
trade. The Chabahar port near the
Iranian border with Balochistan
reflects Prime Minister Narendra
Modi’s keen interest in forging robust trade links with Central Asia,
including landlocked Afghanistan.
In 2003, the two sides had
agreed to execute the project, bypassing Pakistan, but the venture
made slow progress due to Western curbs on Iran over its controversial nuclear programme. The
port’s expansion is expected to
whittle down transport costs and
cut freight time from India to Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.
Chabahar provides India an
easier land-sea route to Afghanistan, where it has fostered close
security cooperation and economic interests over the years. New
Delhi has already spent $100 million on building a 220-kilometre
road in the Nimroz province of Afghanistan. The road will be extended to Chabahar.
Afghanistan is expected to sign
a tripartite transit trade agreement
on using the port as an alternative
route, which could jack up bilateral trade to $3 billion from $700800 million.
The project’s strategic nature
is illustrated by its location along
the coast from the Chinese-funded Gwadar port in Balochistan.
Noting the prospect of sanctions
on Iran being lifted or eased, India
plans to fast-track the plan.
Modi’s sense of urgency in
concluding trade pacts with Iran
and other Persian Gulf nations is
apparently driven by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signing of $46bn
energy and infrastructure development agreements with Pakistan last
During his daylong visit to
Tehran, India’s shipping minister
inked with his Iranian counterpart
Abbas Ahmad Akhoundi a memorandum of understanding on developing the port on the Gulf of
Oman. Both sides overruled America’s call for India and other countries not to rush into doing business with Iran. The US has expressed its concern that India is
moving too fast and could undermine the sanctions regime.
After a commercial accord is
reached on implementing the pact,
Indian firms will, according to the
Indian government, “lease two existing berths at the port and operationalise them as container and
multi-purpose cargo terminals”,
providing Afghanis-tan with access to the sea and reducing its substantial reliance on Pakistan.
The signing ceremony came on
the heels of a warning from the US
ambassador to India, who said
countries engaging with Iran must
wait for the outcome of Tehran’s
discussions with the P5+1 group
— the US, Russia, China, France,
Britain and Germany.
With the next round of talks
scheduled for May 12 at Geneva,
the European Union and the rest
of the partners will join the negotiations three days later. As the
negotiators seek to wrap up the
process by June 30, there is cautious optimism of a breakthrough.
For its part, the Modi administration insists the development
of the port in no way violates sanctions and that it is not bound to
enforce Washington’s decisions.
The port will enable Iran to open
up to the Western world once the
sanctions are lifted. India had also
expressed its interest in develop-
ing a key oilfield, but Iran refused
to give it gas marketing rights.
During the government of expremier Atal Behari Vajpayee, India slashed oil imports from Iran,
a move that left the two countries
running into rough weather. The
situation worsened in 2014 when
Iran hiked import duty on Indian
rice from 10pc to 45pc, worrying
traders and farmers from Punjab,
Haryana and UP.
While eyeing a larger role in
Wes-tern Asia, Delhi’s regional
diplomatic status will see a huge
surge with the development of the
port. Iran, meanwhile, wants India to help create a free trade zone
near Chabahar, some 70km from
Gwadar where the Chinese Overseas Ports Holding Company has
agreed to help Pakistan establish a
free economic zone.
Islamabad’s constant refusal to
provide a land route for Indian
shipments to Afghanistan via Wagah has frustrated Delhi’s efforts
to engage with Kabul economically and strategically. India has
pledged $100m for laying railway
lines connecting Afghanistan with
Central Asia. In order to ensure
the launch of trade activities at
Chabahar, India may enter into discussions with the US for seeking a
sanctions waiver. Once the nuclear deal is sealed, New Delhi will
invest $85m in the purchase of
equipment to set up and run a container terminal and a multi-purpose
berth at the port, whose operation
is estimated to cost India $22.95m
annually. Officially designated as
a free trade and industrial zone by
the Iranian government, Chabahar
has acquired increased significance
in terms of an international trade
hub. Poised to connect business
growth centres in South Asia, the
Middle East and Afghanistan, the
free trade area is being connected
to Iran’s main rail network.—
(Dawn) The writer is a Kabulbased Pakistani journalist.
Given the unpredictable situation
in West Asia, India’s decision to
develop Iran’s Chabahar Port
could not have come at a more appropriate time. It could prove to
be a major turning point in DelhiTehran relations and lead the way
for fresh equations and realignments in the Indian sub-continent
and West Asia. On May 6, India
and Iran broke the 12-year-old jinx
by signing a MoU to develop the
port, located in the SistanBalochistan province of Iran bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Chabahar is a county with a port
on Iran’s south-eastern coast. Sistan-Balochistan Province where the
Sunni Muslims are in majority is
one of the most underdeveloped
among the country’s 31 states. It
is of strategic importance to India
as well as Afghanistan. India has
been trying to get sea-land access
route to Afghanistan bypassing
Pakistan. India has already built a
220 km road worth about $100
million in western Afghanistan,
only to create a link with Chabahar Port. The port-county could
also provide connectivity to India
to Central Asia, the Caucasus and
Eastern Europe via railway. With
this signing of the MoU, the road
is now clear for Indian firms to
lease two existing berths at the port
and make them operational as container and multi-purpose cargo terminals. The terminals would provide Afghanistan alternate access
to the sea port, which in turn will
earn connectivity to the regional
global market. Chabahar Port will
also help India export more to the
Commonwealth of Independent
States (CIS). It should also be noted that Chabahar is along the coast
from Gwadar port in Pakistan that
is being developed with help from
China. The MoU is timely because
experts from Iran and the P5+1
group of countries (the US, Russia, Germany, France, Britain and
China) are working out a draft agreement over the controversial nuclear programme of Iran. According
to reports, an agreement over the
most ticklish issue plaguing the
region for long could become a reality by end of June. Though the
nuclear deal is almost a reality, the
US has been warning countries,
including India, against rushing to
Iran and signing agreements. India
of course, hasn’t paid any heed as
it has sensed, and rightly so, that
the signing of the nuclear deal could
draw would-be global investors to
grab the market in Iran that has
been reeling under international
sanctions for years. In such a scenario, it would be unwise on India’s part to not sign the MoU.
Also, India is aware that China has
warmed up to Pakistan. In fact,
during his recent visit to Islamabad, President Xi Jinping signed
energy and infrastructure agreements worth $46 billion with that
country. Incidentally, Chabahar is
just along the coast from Gwadar
port in Pakistan that is being developed with China’s help. With
West Asia on the verge of another
round of flaring up of old disputes,
India has to give priority to its
national interest. West Asia, led by
Saudi Arabia, is the biggest supplier of oil to India. But in recent
times, India has begun to import
more oil from Iran. However, Iran
remains the seventh biggest supplier of oil to India. Iraq, where
Iran is playing a crucial role, has
not recovered from the US invasion and the debacle of Saddam
Hussain. Iraq’s neighbour Syria is
embroiled in an insurgency that is
refusing to die down for over three
years. The instability in Iraq and
Syria has led to the creation of the
ISIS that is growing by the day
and choosing its targets far and
beyond. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia
has got nvolved in an immensely
avoidable war with Yemen. The
war there has taken a Sunni-Shia
colour with Iran reportedly backing Shia Houthi rebels who have
gained an upper hand in Sanaa.
Though Pakistan has withstood
Saudi pressure for now to send its
troops to the war zone, the question is, how long will this prevail?
India which has significantly improved its relations with Saudi
Arabia in the recent past is nervously watching what’s unfolding
in Yemen. It soon has to take a
stand there. Meanwhile, India has
no intentions of backing out from
Afghanistan. It would like to consolidate its relations with Kabul
mainly through developmental activity. But it has to watch its back
as Pakistan becomes more edgy
over New Delhi’s role in Kabul.
Against this backdrop of commotion in the region, Iran could prove
to be a dependable friend. Tehran
is extending a hand of friendship
and offering to open its market to
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MONDAY MAY 11, 2015
Turkey, US to
start training,
Syrian rebels
Opposition critics say May 24 elections w ill not be free and fair, but the government praises the democratic climate.
Registration complaints
According to Ethiopia's National Electoral Board, 47 parties
and 5,819 candidates are contesting the ballot for the national parliament and the regional councils.
The ruling party has fielded
501 candidates for the 547-seat
parliament, followed by the Ethiopia Federal Democratic Union
Form (MEDREK) and the Blue
Party with 270 and 139 candidates,
Opposition members complain that navigating the political
landscape ahead of the election has
proven difficult.
"We are more consolidated and
better positioned compared to previous elections, but the space is
more closed," Professor Beyene
Petros, chair of the centre-left
MEDREK, told Al Jazeera.
Both MEDREK and the Blue
Party have also cited difficulties
registering candidates.
Blue Party chairman Yilkal
Getent [Simona Foltyn/Al Jazeera]
The Blue Party's chairman
said more than half of the party's
380 registered candidates were removed from the party list in February on administrative grounds.
"This is politically motivated
to hinder Blue Party activities. The
electoral board is not independent," Yilkal Getent told Al
The cancellation of candidates,
Getent said, has thwarted the party's ability to mobilise voters
through ongoing political debates
aired on state media, as time allocations are determined based on the
number of candidates.
The Blue Party considers itself centre-right and wants to appeal to the country's young electorate, but government officials
dismiss it as a far-right movement.
The government also accused
the Blue Party of inciting violence
last month at a government-organised rally in Addis Ababa following the killing of Ethiopian migrants in Libya by ISIL - allegations the party's leaders dismissed.
'Dilute the vote'
Despite the large number of
parties registered, the opposition
alleges many are allied with the
ruling party.
"No more than two to three
parties are real opposition parties.
The others don't run to win, their
role is to dilute the vote for the
opposition," Merera Gudina, associate professor of political sci-
ence at Addis Ababa University and
a leading opposition figure, told Al
Jazeera. Merera Gudina [Simona
Some also criticised the voter
registration process that ended in
February, allegedly covering more
than 80 percent of the eligible electorate.
Selam Gebrehiwot, a 19-yearold philosophy student, said the
government is pressuring voters by
tying registration to government
"The officials came to my
house to give me the registration
card although I didn't ask for it. I
was scared, so I took the card."
The deputy chairman of the
National Election Board, Addisu
Gebreigzabhier, denied such allegations.
"We are just doing civic education," Gebreigzabhier said. "The
high voter registration is a result
of the electorate's desire to exercise their democratic rights."
The pre-election process, he
added, has been professionally run
according to the country's electoral laws and has been "to the satisfaction of all parties".
Development first, democracy later Yohannis Getachew, a 32-
year-old taxi driver in Addis Ababa, has been following the ongoing
political debates on the radio. He
said the opposition has failed to
present a convincing alternative.
"At least the government is
building roads and railways. I think
that's good. I don't know what the
opposition would do," said
Addisu Gebreigzabhier [Simona Foltyn]
The ruling party's growth and
transformation plan has resulted
in double-digit economic growth
over the past five years.
Government officials often cite
EPRDF's economic track record as
its main source of voter support.
"It's very difficult for any party to come up with an idea that
can match an 11 percent growth
rate," said Ganenu Asefa, a political adviser at the Government Office for Communication Affairs.
Opposition parties, however,
say that growth has benefited only
a small elite aligned with the ruling
"The so-called growth agenda
has been impressing the foreigners, not the citizens," Professor
Gudina, whose Oromo Federalist
Congress party runs under MEDREK's ticket, told Al Jazeera.
"Development without democracy is very difficult to sustain," he added.
The government Growth and
Transformation Plan (GTP) - characterised by state intervention in
the economy as well as massive
public investments in infrastructure - aims to turn Ethiopia into a
middle-income country by 2025.
International institutions have
largely praised the EPRDF's
growth agenda.
"The targets they set in the
GTP were very ambitious, and
even if they achieve 75 percent of
those targets, it will be a tremendous achievement for a country
coming from such a low base," said
the World Bank's country director
for Ethiopia, Guang Z Chen.
Chen said in order to sustain
strong growth going forward, the
government will need to make policy adjustments so as to stimulate
the industrial sector, which currently contributes only 12 percent
to the GDP.
With urbanisation advancing at
twice the rate of overall population growth, job creation for Ethiopia's idle urban youth is another
Analysts say although the
government has recognised the
need for structural reform, corruption and insufficient technical capacity could hamper its ability to
manage the process.
Addis Ababa: If Ethiopians ever
possessed a strong desire to express their political views through
the ballot, that sentiment seems to
have dwindled in the run-up to
national elections on May 24.
One 28-year-old student, who
requested anonymity fearing reprisals, shrugged at the thought of
the upcoming vote.
"To say we have elections,
there have to be real alternatives,"
he said. "This election is just so
we can tell Western governments
we are a democratic country," the
finance and accounting master's
degree student told Al Jazeera at
Addis Ababa University's Siddist
Kilo campus.
Such views are not uncommon
among the electorate and opposition members in the capital, many
of whom have dismissed the upcoming vote as a formality.
The results of the 2010 election left the opposition with a single seat in the 547-seat parliament,
and afterwards the EU said Ethiopia's electoral process failed to create "a level playing field for political parties".
It wasn't always this way.
In 2005, the then high-school
student took part in political ral-
lies in support of the Oromo National Congress Party running under one of the main opposition
coalitions, the United Ethiopian
Democratic Front.
Back then, he said, the opposition was strong and united, and
people thought supporting it
would bear fruit.
In the election that year - preceded by a relatively open political climate - the opposition surprised the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic
Front (EPRDF) by taking 31 percent of parliamentary seats.
Professor Beyene Beyene
Petros [Simona Foltyn/Al Jazeera]
However, the aftermath of the
vote was marked by mass arrests
of student protesters and opposition leaders.
The student told Al Jazeera he
was detained for months, a fate he
shared with thousands of students
who took to the streets.
The country's controversial
2009 anti-terrorism proclamation
has been criticised for its broad
application to journalists and opposition members in the run-up to
this year's vote, including six
"Zone9" bloggers currently on trial for terrorism-related charges.
“I want to see the whole world
take action in the conflict in Syria.
All of the world: Europe, Africa
and the U.S. against Bashar Assad,” said Ahdorf, a Syrian refugee
and restaurant owner in the Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian
The 39-year-old refugee expressed that he can make no distinction between the bombings of
Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria
and the actions of extremist terrorist organization, ISIS.
“They are the same thing.
They both kill and do the same
things. There is no difference between them. I won’t forget that
Europe and America did nothing.
During the revolution in Libya,
Europe and America got involved
and even in Egypt – but in Syria,
nothing like that. When ISIS was
created Europe and America directly got together with NATO and
entered into Syria. But for three
years Assad massacred his people.
And no one moved. Why?” Ahdorf told the UK’s The Independent.
“No one in Syria will forget
this fact, because no one helped
the Syrians, they’ve only helped
Assad,” Ahdorf said.
Syria has been in crisis for over
four years forcing 3.8 million people to flee the country, and leaving
over 220,000 dead. This week the
United Nations is meeting to further discuss international efforts
and hopefully find a diplomatic
solution to the Syrian conflict.
Refugees in the Zaatari camp
told The Independent that they
want their message to reach the
international community, and that
they are in desperate need of aid
against Assad so that they can return to their home country.
“Please finish the war in Syria
and please finish Assad. He is the
reason for everything that has gone
wrong in this part of the world. If
this man is finished, everything will
be better,” Amar Zwedani, a 30year-old refugee said.
Saudi Arabia and Turkey seem to agree with the refugees, after reportedly joining forces this week in the fight against Assad. They have allegedly vowed to aid Syrian rebels, such
as the al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra, in their attempts to overthrow the president. (Al Arabiya )
Turkey will start training and
equipping moderate Syrian rebels
from May 9 at a military base in
central Kirsehir province, Turkish
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu told Yeni Safak newspaper.
A group of 300 rebels will benefit from the first stage of the program, and will be followed by a
second group of 300 fighters. In
total, 2,000 rebels are expected to
be trained by the end of the year.
On Feb. 19, Turkey signed a
deal with the United States to take
part in the program, which was
originally due to begin in March.
The program will be conducted under the guidance of the Turkish Armed Forces. Ankara and
Washington will provide an equal
number of trainers, according to
the bilateral agreement.
In the second phase, they will
be trained in the southern province of Hatay in the use of equipment such as anti-tank weapons
and machine guns, before being
fully battle-ready in Syria.
Trained rebels are expected to
fight both the Islamic State of Iraq
and Syria (ISIS) and the Syrian
army, Çavusoglu said.
The establishment of a safe
zone inside Syria would be necessary for the rebels to fight in a secure way, he added, dismissing
claims that Turkey would send its
own troops to Syria.
Metin Gurcan, a security policy researcher at Ankara’s Bilkent
University and a former specialforces officer, is cautiously optimistic about Turkey’s decision to
train and equip Syrian rebels.
“The real picture on the ground
makes me cautious. However, further initiatives to adopt a comprehensive defensive military strategy would render me optimistic in
the long run,” Gurcan told Al Arabiya News.
He said Turkey would train
rebels to enable them to protect
their villages and neighborhoods
against ISIS.
“But in order to be sustainable and effective, this training
should involve conventional military tactics such as armored operations for attacking targets, as well
as guerilla strategies such as hitand-run and improvised explosive
devices,” he said.
“It’s also a must to provide
some degree of sound logistical
support to protect the fighters
against ISIS attacks.”
Gurcan underlined the importance of coaching and training potential leaders among Syrian rebels
to increase the sustainability of the
Since Nov. 2014, Turkish soldiers have been training Kurdish
peshmerga forces in northern Iraq
as part of the fight against ISIS.
Ufuk Ulutas, director of foreign policy research at the Ankara-based SETA Foundation, said
countries that support the Syrian
opposition, including Turkey and
the United States, face two options: put boots on the ground to
oust President Bashar al-Assad, or
substantively help rebels already
on the ground to achieve that.
The program, “with its all
shortcomings, basically aims to
achieve the second option,” Ulutas told Al Arabiya News.
“Turkey, as a neighboring
country that has been suffering
from spillover for more than four
years now, has been advocating the
second option for a long time.”
Ulutas said since Turkey borders the strategic northern front,
which includes the rebel stronghold
and Syria’s largest city Aleppo,
Ankara’s involvement in the program has geographical advantages.
“Besides that, Turkey - having the second-largest army in
NATO, well-known military professionalism and cultural affinity
with Syrians, is in a unique position in terms of training opposition fighters.”
Ulutas said to improve stability and living conditions in Syria,
and to prepare the ground for a
political solution, the program
must “increase the number of trainees to a level that would quantitatively mean something on the
ground. The rumored numbers of
trainees are too low, and wouldn’t
have the desired impact.”
Experts emphasized to Al Arabiya News the need to establish
no-fly-zones for the Syrian opposition to defeat the Assad regime
and ensure stability.
“Rebels are doing quite well
on the ground, but don’t have the
means to counter the regime’s aerial attacks. A major portion of human loss in Syria is caused by the
regime’s indiscriminate use of its
air force, including the use of barrel bombs and chemical weapons,”
Ulutas said.
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MONDAY MAY 11, 2015
China cuts interest rates for third time
since November as economy sputters
BEIJING: China's central bank cut
its benchmark interest rate on Sunday for the third time since November, as economic growth cools
to levels not seen since the global
financial crisis.
The People's Bank of China
(PBOC) lowered its benchmark
lending rate by 25 basis points
(bps) to 5.1 percent, and its
one-year benchmark deposit
rates by the same amount to 2.25
percent, adding that the reductions
would be effective from May 11.
The central bank said in a
statement on its website that the
move would support the healthy
development of the economy.
Economists had said it was not
a matter of if, but when China eased
policy again after economic growth
in the first quarter cooled to 7 percent, the slowest pace since 2009.
Some market watchers had
even said the central bank was risking falling behind the curve in responding to rapidly deteriorating
Initial indicators and industry
surveys for April released over the
last few weeks had pointed to a
further loss of momentum heading
into the second quarter.
"Currently, the pace of domestic economic restructuring is quickening and the fluctuation of external demand is relatively big. China's economy is still facing relatively big downward pressure," the
central bank said.
Liquidity in the banking system is generally adequate and market interest rates are falling, providing a good window to open up
the upper limit for deposit rates,
it said.
The central bank has now cut
Digital health is on the cusp of a
revolution similar to that witnessed
when the personal computer went
mainstream, according to the
former chief executive of Apple
and Pepsi-Cola.
John Sculley, the marketing
maven who famously clashed with
the legendary Apple founder Steve
Jobs, who died in 2011, says the
use of technology in medicine has
“extraordinary” promise.
Sculley, who joined Apple in
1983 and in his decade-long tenure
saw annual sales increase to $8 billion from $800 million, said digital-health – which includes wireless devices that track health and
highly personalized drugs – is the
interest rates and relaxed banks' reserve requirements five times in six months, and many economists expect more easing measures over the course
of the year as the world's second-largest economy is weighed down by a weak property market and slackening growth in manufacturing and
investment. “This is not a surprise. The consumer inflation reading for April was lower than expected and employment faces downward
pressures," said Lin Hu, an economist at Guosen Securities in Beijing. "But the effectiveness of the rate cut won’t be very big, it may (only) help
stabilize expectations. Fiscal policy should be stepped up and there will be further monetary policy easing if economic data continues to
underwhelm. We expect the worst could be over after the second quarter and growth may stabilize in the third or fourth quarters as the property
sector recovers.”
next industry to watch.
He was a keynote speaker at
Digital Health Live in Dubai,
which organizers called the
world’s first interactive digitalhealth event.
“The promise for [digital
health] is just extraordinary,” Sculley said at the three-day event.
“We’re just at the early days
today… like what it was like in
the tech industry when personal
computers were becoming practical and functional and [people said]
‘gee, they really are going to be
While the U.S. spends around
$3 trillion on healthcare annually,
currently only about $2 billion of
that is earmarked for digital healthcare, he said.
However, things like the U.S.
Affordable Care Act, also known
as ObamaCare, are forcing people
to think about different and cheaper ways of health-service delivery,
given employers are now required
to help insure staff.
“It’s a very exciting time to be
involved in healthcare, especially
digital health,” said Sculley, who
presided over Pepsi-Cola for 15
years before joining Apple.
“It’s opening people’s eyes to
things like tele-health,” he added.
“People are starting to realize there
are other ways you can get information… you can get all different
types of highly valued medical
advice, consultations that can be
done digitally, over smartphones
or video calls.”
Digital Health Live included
displays of devices such as a
‘smart fridge’ that gives nutritional advice and recommends recipes
based on its contents.
Sculley praised the 26-yearold Emirati twin brothers Omran
and Erfan Al Hashemi, whose
company Nuviun organised the
He said advances would come
rapidly in the healthcare industry,
with customers able to drive
change. “Consumerization has
moved into so many other indus-
tries, from how music and newspapers and magazines and television are being completely reinvented around the customer,” he said.
Exponential increases in cloud
and analytics technology has led
to a power shift from “large incumbent companies in industry”
to customers the world over, Sculley added. Sculley on Steve Jobs
Sculley also recounted his experiences working with Steve Jobs at
Apple, in mostly reverential
tones. The two executives are said
to have fallen out over management
style and strategy when working
He said one of the major
themes of his recent entrepreneurial book Moonshot!, described by
conference chair and Goolge Health
Advisory Board Member John
Nosta as a user’s manual for becoming a millionaire, was ‘zooming’ – a trick he learned from Jobs.
“Steve didn’t like to sit in his
office much. We’d walk the Stanford campus and the hills above
Silicon Valley, talking about ideas.
Steve called this zooming. What
he meant by that was you have to
zoom out and connect the dots and
look at different domains that do
not seem like they have obvious
connection points with each other.” For example, he said Jobs was
able to combine his interest in calligraphy with the seemingly unconnected world of computing and
create computer typefaces the
world had never seen, but that
Apple is now renowned for.
LONDON: It may only account
for 2 percent of the eurozone economy but Greece has a habit of
punching above its weight when it
comes to bruising the currency
And there are fears it could be
once again posing a threat to an
otherwise burgeoning recovery.
Official figures on Wednesday
are expected to show that the 19country eurozone grew by 0.4 percent in the first quarter of 2015
from the previous three-month
period. That's up from the 0.3 percent recorded in last quarter of
2014 and would be the eurozone's
highest growth rate since the second quarter of 2013, when it
emerged from its longest-ever recession.
In the first quarter, Germany,
Europe's biggest economy, is expected to have led the way, its export-heavy economy prospering
from the fall in the value of the
euro — Europe's single currency
has fallen to near a decade-low
against the dollar in the wake of
the European Central Bank's decision to launch a 1.1 trillion-euro
($1.2 trillion) monetary stimulus.
Low oil prices, less stringent budgetary policies around Europe are
also helping to shore up the recovery.
Other bright lights include
Spain, one of the countries at the
forefront of the region's debt crisis
over the past few years that has
gained plaudits from European
policymakers for reforming its
economy, particularly the labor
market. Economists think those
efforts are now bearing fruit.
"We think that if you look at
the current situation in the eurozone it is about as close to being
the dream scenario backdrop as
anyone could have realistically
hoped a year or more ago to help
to kick-start a meaningful recovery," said Ben May, leading eurozone economist at Oxford Economics. May is predicting growth of
0.8 percent, which would be a
four-year high and easily outpace
levels recorded in the U.S. or Britain, two of the top-performing
developed economies over the past
Beyond the first quarter, however, May concedes that Greece's
crisis, on top of slower global
growth, could mean this is another
"false dawn" for the eurozone.
Recent reports suggest that's
Fudged wheat
figures feed Pak GDP
LAHORE: With around 84 per
cent of the harvesting and 75 per
cent threshing completed, the Punjab is still debating the final size of
its wheat crop -- its latest estimates now range between 18 million tonnes and 19.10 million
Lately, Punjab tried to revise
its expected yield down to 18 million tonnes (down from 19.50 million tonnes) but was very heavily
snubbed by the federal government
for bringing the national production figures down by 1.5 million
tonnes, or, in monitory terms, a
loss of Rs45 billion – grossly affecting the GDP.
The Punjab bureaucracy is
now sticking to 19.10 million
tonnes, to feed right signals to the
market – keeping prices stable because of less production – and save
the federal wrath for causing a
GDP disaster. Though, unofficially, it still insists that actual figures
might not go beyond 18 million
“The crop, on average, lost 100
to 125 sunshine hours in the province,” explains an official of the
Punjab Agriculture Department.
Against normal 950 sunshine
hours, it received only 825 hours.
This cloudy weather, coupled with
heavy downpour in certain areas
gave excessive vegetative growth
to the crop in many areas, hitting
the grain filling process.
March alone brought over 300
millimeters rains, together with
wind and hailstorms, in some parts
of the central Punjab. This explains
grain shriveling in certain parts of
the province and drop in grain
weight. These conditions seem to
have driven almost a million tonnes
hole in overall figures. The Punjab
is finalising field trial to firm up
the final figures, but debate within
the official circles is intense - how
to justify the figures it is hoping
for, without attracting the federal
The weather problem hit progressive growers, who had kept
their crop well fed, both with fertiliser and water, says another official. Once this crop got additional rains, its vegetative growth became hugely excessive, eating into
grains’ health. Small farmers, who
could not afford the luxury of full
dose of fertiliser, actually gained
out of rains. This, the progressive
growers lost of production and
smaller ones gained. But the field
formations still say that the Punjab would not, in any way, go
down 19 million tonnes. The arrival of around 200,000 tonnes at
the Food Department centres and
dispersal of over 150,000 tonnes
gunny bags testify to these claims.
But since the issue has become
sensitive for the Punjab government, everyone is keeping a mum
on it. It is typical case of caught
between devil and deep blue sea:
The Punjab does not want to give
a healthy figures for the fear of
wheat price; millers and traders are
going slow on purchase knowing
that massive quantity is still in the
pipeline. The province cannot
project a lower figure for fear of
the federal government, cut in
GDP and lenders later questioning
growth figures. However, the situation should clear itself in the next
few days as the Punjab has to release final figures, which it hopefully would do when the impact
of announcement on market is estimated to be minimum, he concluded.
Dubai reveals timeline
for build ing Expo
2020 metro line
Dubai’s transport authority has
outlined the timeline for building
an extension of its metro system
to serve the site of the upcoming
Expo 2020.
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) says the winning
bidder to build the 15km line,
which includes seven stations, will
be announced on Jan. 28 2016.
The so-called Route 2020
project comprises an extension of
the Dubai Metro’s Red Line from
Nakheel Harbour & Tower Station
to the planned site of the Expo.
Around 4km of the track and
two of the stations will be underground, the RTA said. A future plan
is in place to construct an additional three stations to serve the
new Al Maktoum International
The RTA says it will start receiving requests for pre-qualification from potential bidders from
May 31, and the shortlist of consortiums qualified to undertake the
project construction will be selected on June 30.
It plans to release tender documents on July 2, and on Dec. 6
says it will start receiving proposals, before announcing the winning
consortium on Jan. 28 2016.
“Construction works on [the]
‘Route 2020’ project will start
once the contract is awarded in the
first quarter of 2016, and the
project is set to be accomplished
in the first quarter of 2020 such
that it will be up-and-running to
serve visitors of Expo 2020,” said
Mattar Al Tayer, chairman and
executive director of the RTA, in a
statement. The RTA recently held
a gathering to highlight details of
the project, which it says was attended by representatives of more
than 100 rail contractors as well as
suppliers of trains and rail systems. “The intense presence of international firms is a great start of
this project which is set to provide safe and smooth transport to
visitors of Expo and several districts of Dubai as well. It will also
act as a vital link between various
areas of Dubai and Al Maktoum
International Airport in future,”
said Al Tayer.
Business confidence and retail
sales across the eurozone have taken a dent, while surveys of managers suggest business activity has
peaked, meaning growth in the rest
of the year may not pick up as
much as hoped.
"While it is encouraging that
the recovery is becoming more
broad-based across the euro area,
there are clearly still pockets of
vulnerability, with Greece an obvious source of concern," said
Timo del Carpio, European economist at RBC Capital Markets,
who is forecasting eurozone
growth of 0.5 percent in the first
The headline growth rate,
whatever it is, will mask the likely
fall back into recession of Greece
barely a year after it emerged from
one of the developed world's deepest downturn since World War II.
Last week, the European Union
slashed its projection for Greek
growth this year to just 0.5 percent from 2.5 percent previously
— assuming Greece secures a deal
with creditors that will help it pay
off debts.
The main reason behind
Greece's renewed crisis is the new
left-wing government's pledge to
end the hated budget austerity that
creditors from the eurozone and
International Monetary Fund have
insisted upon.
For over three months, talks
have dragged on as the Greek government tries to come up with a
series of economic and budget reforms that will convince the creditors to pay out 7.2 billion euros
($8 billion) of bailout cash. With
every passing day, the uncertainty has sharpened, to the detriment
of the Greek economy. Greeks
have been pulling money out of
banks and investors have shied
away from the country.
If the bailout talks fail, the
country could default on its debts,
have to put limits on the free flow
of money and eventually even exit
the euro.
Most economists think that
would cause a massive recession
in Greece for at least a year as the
country tries to adjust to a new,
weaker currency.
Though the eurozone has
shored up its defenses against such
a worst-case scenario, a Greek exit
would stoke jitters in the markets
about which country could be
headed for the door next.
Pierre Moscovici, the Europe-
an Commission's top economy
official, admitted as much last
week. "Once you have one country leaving, the next question is
who's next, so you lose status and
you lose force," he said.
The repercussions of a socalled Grexit could be far and wide
— a hit to confidence could limit
investment and consumer spending.
Moody's Investor Services,
which last month cut Greece's credit rating further into junk status,
said the risks to the eurozone
should not be underestimated.
"The direct impact might be
limited because of Greece's limited trade links and lower financial
market exposure to Greece in other euro area countries, but its exit
could nevertheless cause a confidence shock and disrupt government debt markets," said Alastair
Wilson, Moody's managing director for global sovereign risk.
But we're not there yet.
And if officials from Greece
and the creditors are to be believed,
progress is being made. Whether
there's enough to secure a deal at a
meeting Monday of eurozone finance ministers remains an open
Saudi Arabia’s
Dammam airport to
w elcome 9m
passengers this year
King Fahd International Airport
(KFIA) said it handled in 2014
more than 8.49 million passengers,
a growth rate of 12 percent, beating competitor airports in the region for the second consecutive
year. In the same year international traffic increased by 10 percent
and now accounts for more than
half of KFIA’s passenger traffic,
with the addition of new airlines
or increased services from existing
airlines such as Lufthansa, Philippine Airlines and Jet Airways to
Europe, southeast Asia and south
Asia. During the first quarter of
2015, KFIA said international traffic grew by over 16 percent as the
airport continues to introduce more
direct flight connections to Asia
and Europe. Yousef Al-Dhahri, director-general of KFIA, said: “The
momentum continues to accelerate and in the first quarter of 2015
KFIA achieved a growth rate of
18.5 percent, handling over 2.4
million passengers. “This is the
highest number of passengers handled in a single quarter in KFIA’s
history and the airport is on track
to welcome more than 9 million
passengers this year. “KFIA and
the General Authority of Civil
Aviation (GACA) are working together to further improve connectivity in KFIA to respond to the
growing traffic with the support
of the Eastern Province Municipality and leading Saudi businesses in the region.” The airport continues to grow from strength to
strength, anchored by a management and operational partnership
with the General Authority of Civil
Aviation (GACA) and Changi Airports International (CAI). This
cooperation enabled KFIA to
achieve growth in the number of
airlines, passenger traffic and city
links. KFIA is served by 35 airlines and has added 15 new destinations since 2008 to develop a
global network of 65 cities. To
improve its air cargo services,
KFIA inaugurated the new multimodal Cargo Village facility on Apr.
6, with DHL Express, NAQEL,
SMSA Express, TNT and UPS
operating as anchor tenants. Additional capacity is coming online
and will assist airlines operating
into the Kingdom. Located 20 kilometers northwest of Dammam,
KFIA serves the entire eastern region of the Kingdom, mainly Dammam, Dhahran.
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MONDAY MAY 11, 2015
Salman extends
‘Shukriya’ to
MUMBAI: Salman Khan’s conviction and five-year sentence saw
the film fraternity expressing overwhelming solidarity with the actor. But on Friday, when the sentence in a 2002 hit-and-run case
was suspended, B-Towners
seemed to express “relief” in muted and measured ways.
Later on Friday evening, the
superstar took to Twitter to thank
his fans. “All those who prayed
for and supported me, thank you,
meherbani, shukriya,” Salman
tweeted. The 49-year-old’s sister
Arpita Khan Sharma also thanked
her brother’s die-hard fans for their
relentless support.
wouldn’t have been possible without all your love, support &
prayers. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” Arpita tweeted. Hours after the sentence was
suspended on Friday, the actor received a hero’s welcome from fans
outside the Khan’s Bandra residence. The fans were singing songs,
dancing and even bursting crackers to celebrate his homecoming.
Dressed in a white shirt, Salman came out on the balcony of
his apartment, and waved to his
fans as a gesture of his gratefulness for their ceaseless support
during his film journey as well as
trying times. Also seen with Salman were his father and prolific
writer Salim, mother Salma, brother Arbaaz and sister Arpita — all
of whom have stood by his side in
the case.
Salma, who fell ill on Wednesday when the five-year jail term
was announced for the actor, stood
with her son, looking relieved and
at peace.
On Wednesday, popular
names like Subhash Ghai, Riteish
Deshmukh, Bipasha Basu, Dia
Mirza, Varun Dhawan, Sonakshi
Sinha, Kunal Kohli, Arjun Kapoor,
Alia Bhatt, Wajid Khan and Farah
Khan Ali said they “stand” by Salman, who according to most of
them, is the “nicest human being
in this business”. To many critics,
this unceasing support of the Bollywood fraternity seemed skewed
and unjust as most names ignored
the plight of the victims.
Many even said he didn’t ‘deserve’ the conviction. But after
jewellery designer Farah Khan Ali,
singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya and
actor Ajaz Khan came under attack for distasteful remarks for the
victims of the hit-and-run case,
most top actors and filmmakers
chose to keep their opinion at bay
on Twitter. Hours after the Bombay High Court granted Salman
regular bail, only a few celebrities
tweeted about the case.
“@BeingSalmanKhan Bollywood, fans and his critics will all
have to agree with this … Salman
rules Fridays … I’m very happy
for the Khan family,” tweeted Sajid Khan.
Jumme ki raat hitmaker Mika
Singh, shared, “My best wishes
to big brother @BeingSalmanKhan
and I’m 200% sure God will help
the man who always helps others.
Keep praying.”
The Wanted star is also facing
trial in a Rajasthan court for hunting a black buck during the shooting of 1999 film Hum Saath Saath
Actress Lindsay Lohan reportedly has fallen "woefully short" of
completing her community service,
logging less than 20 hours since
February. The "Mean Girls" star
was ordered by a court in February to complete a further 125
hours of voluntary work by the
end of this month. This, after a
Los Angeles judge criticised certain tasks she had counted as part
of her punishment. A progress
hearing was scheduled to take place
on Thrusday, in which she should
have confirmed the sentence is
close to completion, reports
tmz.com. However, a community
service organisation here has told
prosecutors Lohan has completed
fewer than 20 hours. A prosecutor
told the website that they will be
asking for a warrant to be issued
for the actress' arrest. However, if
Lohan stays in London, she won't
be arrested as there is no extradition for a misdemeanour offence.
Lohan posted on Instagram, earlier this week, an image of her surrounded by files, claiming she was
undertaking community service.
However, even if she works hard
from now until the deadline, she
may find it tough to complete the
sentence as a previous hearing stated she could only undertake four
hours of voluntary work a day.Her
probation stems from a reckless
driving charge relating to an accident in June 2012, for which she
was sentenced to community service, psychotherapy and lockdown rehabilitation.
For Imran marriage
means equal partnership ‘Quantico’ gets
picked up by ABC
ctor Imran Khan believes
that to make marriage work,
couples need to share responsibilities.
"In India, it is taken that washing clothes, and things like this is a
woman's job, and not what men
do, which is an unhealthy attitude... a thought process which is
not conducive for a healthy relationship.
"Both need to take on equal
responsibilities to make their relationship work," the "Matru Ki
Bijlee Ka Mandola" star, who is
currently promoting detergent
brand Ariel's 'Share the Load' movement, told IANS.
The 32-year-old, also a father
to daughter Imara Malik Khan,
believes that "once you become a
parent, so many of our priorities
get re-aligned in life".
"You start to realise that there
are so many things that you used
to earlier care about are completely unimportant now. Everything
becomes about your relationship,
your child, about your responsibilities towards your family," said
the actor, who tied the knot with
Avantika Malik in 2011.
.American TV show "Quantico",
the pilot of which was shot with
Bollywood actress Priyanka
Chopra essaying the female lead,
has been picked for telecast by TV
network ABC. It will air in fall season. Confirming the news, an excited Priyanka took to micro-blogging website Twitter and shared:
"And it's happened #QuanticoABC will air this fall @ABCNetwork @anjulaacharia @tracybrennan007 @kcslee God Bless!yay!
(sic)" The 32-year-old actress also
shared a photograph of the cast of
the show along with her tweet.
Priyanka, who is the first Bollywood actress to star in a pilot at
ABC and has made her space in
the West with her singing talent,
plays Alex Parrish, a half-Caucasian, half-Indian FBI trainee with
a haunting past. The show centres on a diverse group of recruits
who have arrived at the FBI Quantico Base for training. Being the
best and brightest of the lot, it
seems impossible that one of them
is suspected of masterminding the
biggest attack on New York City
since 9/11, according to
deadline.com. "Quantico" also
stars Dougray Scott as Liam, Jake
McLaughlin as Ryan, Aunjanue
Ellis as Miranda, Yasmine Al Massri as Nimah, Johanna Braddy as
Shelby, Tate Ellington as Simon
Asher and Graham Rogers as
Caleb Haas.
One Direction to make first aw ard
Deepika Padukone on
show appearance as four-piece
Tw itter, says he is not biased
British boyband One Direction
will make their first awards show
appearance as a four-piece band at
2015 Billboard Music Awards
The band will be among presenters at the event, which will be
held at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 17, reports aceshowbiz.com.
This will be Harry Styles, Niall
Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Liam
Payne's first appearance at an
awards show as a four-piece after,
Zayn Malik exited the group back
in March to be "a normal 22-yearold". The 2015 Billboard Music
Awards is set to be hosted by rapper Ludacris and model Chrissy
Teigen. Singers like Mariah Carey,
Britney Spears, Iggy Azalea, Ed
Sheeran, Meghan Trainor, John
Legend, Kelly Clarkson, Wiz Khalifa and Sam Smith are among stars
lined up to perform.
Imran Abbas’s film
'Abdullah' makes
it to Cannes
MUMBAI: Bollywood heartthrob
Ranveer Singh is going gaga over
his rumoured ladylove Deepika
Padukone’s “magical performance”
in Piku.
The actor went as far as to say
that it is her best performance to
He further praised the work
of director Shoojit Sircar by tweeting about the tremendous job he
did. Deepika did not share the same
excitement as Ranveer. When asked
about his tweet she laughed and
said, “I think I take it in the same
way as hundred other people have
tweeted it, so you should ask me
about those also.” The film deals
with a cab driver (Irrfan Khan)
caught between a dysfunctional
father (Amitabh Bachchan) and
daughter (Deepika Padukone) as
he drives them to Calcutta.
Ranveer isn’t the only one in
B-town who publicly praised his
rumoured love’s film performance.
The first to start this trend were
couple Indian cricketer Virat Kohli
and Bollywood actress Anushka
Sharma. The two attracted a lot of
media attention and finally confirmed rumours of their relationship.
2015 is certainly turning out to be a great year for Pakistani
cinema. More and more Pakistani films are hitting the theaters and two films have already made it to the Cannes Film
Festival. Now it seems as if Cannes will feature a third
Pakistani film.
According to the Imran Abbas official Facebook page,
the actor’s film Abdullah has been selected for the 68th
Cannes Film Festival scheduled to be held from May 15 to
May 21.
The story of Abdullah revolves around the tragic Quetta incidents of 2011 in which five Russian citizens, allegedly suicide bombers, were killed at a checkpost of frontier
If the news is true, this will be the third Pakistani film
to feature at Cannes this year after Saffan Qadir’s Holiday
in December and Rayika Choudhri’s Baat Cheet.
A search for the film Abdullah on the official website of
the Cannes Film Festival did not yield any result. The
website does, however, feature Baat Cheet and Holiday in
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MONDAY MAY 11, 2015
Lew is Hamilton
pred icts allMercedes duel for
Spanish GP w in
World champion has a hunch that
Ferrari won't challenge on Sunday;
Third-placed Vettel concedes it will
be "difficult" to topple Merc
Pablo Zabaleta expects changes at
Manchester City this summer after admitting that finishing second
is not good enough.
City were expected to challenge Chelsea for the Premier
League title but instead find themselves in a battle to finish as runners-up behind the newly-crowned
While Zabaleta says it would
be important to finish second rather than third, he acknowledges they
still should be doing better.
“This is a Manchester City
side that want to win trophies,
every season,” he told Sky Sports.
“The expectations and ambi-
tions are really big and that’s why
now we are a little disappointed
about the season because we are
out of the cups and Chelsea have
won the title with four or five
games to go.
“We know that is not enough
(to finish second) because when
you look at the players we have in
the team we expect to win something, but we want to win all three
games and then in the summer see
if there are any changes in the club
and be ready for changes because
always in big clubs players come
in and go.
“I always expect change. Big
clubs are very ambitious and want
Anthony Joshua
knocks out Raphael
Zumbano Love to
continue Kevin
Johnson preparations
Anthony Joshua knocked out
Raphael Zumbano Love and then
came face-to face with next opponent Kevin Johnson.
The heavyweight prospect
improved his career record to 12-0
after thrilling the Birmingham
crowd with a trademark finish in
the second round before coming
face-to-face with upcoming foe
Kevin Johnson.
Joshua was fully in control of
the bout but ended it with frightening ferocity - a right hand flew
past Love's guard and bludgeoned
him. The Brazilian visitor was left
floundering on the floor with no
possibility of returning to his feet.
The opening round saw Joshua
establish control with a jab, with
Love's pawings attempts to return
fire doing no damage.
Joshua seemed content to hear
the first bell despite backing Love
onto the ropes and ripping body
shots on a couple of occasions. In
the second, the Brazilian audaciously smiled as a jab snapped
his head back - a sign of confidence
that Joshua immediately extinguished with another vicious
"I don't know how long the
first chapter will be," Joshua said
when asked if would seek tougher
tests. "I'm feeling more confident
with each fight that goes on."
He will meet Johnson on May
30 at the O2 Arena in London on
the undercard to Kell Brook v
Frankie Gavin - and the American
climbed into the ring after Joshua's
win in Birmingham.
"Whether me and Kevin go 10
rounds, or 8, 6, 4 or 2 - it doesn't
bother me," Joshua insisted.
His American counterpart, to
a chorus of boos, said: "I've got
the antidote for this guy. I know
what I've got to do to stop this
guy. This will be the meanest fight
anyone has seen." However,
Joshua was given the final word
when asked what would happen
when the pair meet later this
month. “Two fighters that are hungry, that believe they are going to
put on a show on, get the stoppage, are going to come out and
we’re going to clash.
“May the best man win, but
I’m sure everyone in here knows
who the best man is out of me and
him – it’s easy work for me.”
Lewis Hamilton suspects the battle for victory in Sunday’s Spanish GP will be an exclusive duel
between himself and pole-sitting
Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg. For the third time this season, the two Silver Arrows will line
up alongside each other on the
front-row of the grid. However,
for the first time since last year it
is Rosberg who holds the advantage after ending Hamilton’s 100
per cent pole record in 2015.
Sebastian Vettel starts third
for Ferrari and the SF15-T has consistently shown stronger relative
pace to the Mercedes W06 in race
conditions this year. On this occasion, however, Hamilton has a
hunch that the narrative that dominated 2014 is going to be repeated
on Sunday.
“I’d be guessing, but I think
the race is between me and Nico,”
Hamilton told Sky Sports F1.
In Friday’s race simulations on
the medium tyre – the compound
which is set to prove the one of
choice for the front-runners in the
race – Mercedes appeared to hold
a clear advantage over Ferrari, with
Rosberg’s pace looking particularly strong.
Vettel, the race victor in Malaysia, acknowledges that beating
either W06 is going to be an uphill
Lewis Hamilton believes the
Spanish GP will be fought between
himself and Mercedes team-mate
Nico Rosberg after discounting the
Ferrari drivers
Lewis Hamilton believes the
Spanish GP will be fought between
himself and Mercedes team-mate
Nico Rosberg after discounting the
Ferrari drivers “Being realistic,
they are quick. They are not on
pole and second, the first row, by
chance,” the Ferrari driver said.
“They showed I think in every single session this weekend
that they are very competitive with
either tyre. So I expect them to be
very strong. “But, of course I hope
that we can be a bit closer. The
past races we were a bit closer on
race pace but, as I said, being realistic it will be difficult to beat
them.” Hamilton's challenge to
Rosberg in qualifying was stymied
by an unbalanced W06, the world
champion having failed to find the
set-up sweet-spot on his car this
Although the Circuit de Catalunya is a track not famous for its
overtaking, the run to the first corner from the start is one of the longest of the season and been the scene
of numerous bold passes in the
early stages of races.
But with the same car as Rosberg, Hamilton is targeting an electric initial getaway when the lights
go out. Lewis Hamilton looks at
Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari Lewis
Hamilton looks at Kimi
Raikkonen's Ferrari “We’ve both
got the exact same clutches, so naturally we should have the same
start,” he said on Saturday night.
“If I’m fresher tomorrow and
have slightly better reaction time,
it might make a difference by Turn
One. So that’ll be a goal.”
Giro d’Italia: Orica-GreenEdge w in
stage one as Simon Gerrans leads
Peter Moores
sacking by
England is the
right call, says
Nick Knight
to sign big players. City are one of
those clubs that wants to win trophies next season and that is why
you can expect some change.”
City host QPR on Super Sunday before finishing their season
with a trip to Swansea and a home
match against Southampton.
It is almost three years since
City scored twice in stoppage time
against QPR to win the Premier
League title in dramatic fashion and
Zabaleta, who netted the opener
in the 3-2 victory, has fond memories of the clash.
Pablo Zabaleta celebrates scoring the opening goal against QPR
in May 2012 Pablo Zabaleta cele-
Alberto Contador made early gains
on his rivals for overall victory at
the Giro Italia after his TinkoffSaxo team finished second to Orica-GreenEdge on the opening
stage’s team time trial.
Orica-GreenEdge stopped the
clock on a 17.6km course from San
Lorenzo al Mare to San Remo on
the Mediterranean coast in a time
of 19min 26sec, which was seven
seconds faster than Tinkoff-Saxo
and 13 seconds ahead of thirdplaced Astana.
Simon Gerrans was OricaGreenEdge’s first rider over the finish line and consequently becomes
the first wearer of the leader’s pink
jersey in this year’s race.
Team Sky could only finish 27
seconds down in ninth place,
which means team leader Richie
Porte is 20 seconds behind Contador in the general classification.
Rigoberto Uran’s Etixx –
Quick-Step were fourth on the day,
19 seconds down, which leaves the
Colombian 12 seconds down on
Simon Gerrans became the first
leader of this year's race
Simon Gerrans became the first
leader of this year's race
Contador, however, did not
look comfortable and was momentarily distanced by his teammates, who subsequently had to
slow down in order to allow him
brates scoring the opening goal
against QPR in May 2012 “I don’t
score too many but that one was
in a special game, in a game that
we were playing for the title,” he
said. “I know people will forgot
about my goal, everyone will remember Sergio’s (Aguero) in the
last minute but every time we play
QPR it is a great memory from that
game. Now it is a different story,
another game, but we need to play
with the same spirit.
"When you cannot win the
league it is important for the club
to finish as high as you can... and
come back next season even stronger." We take a trip back to May
to catch back up.
It was the second year in succession that Orica-GreenEdge have
won the Giro’s team time trial and
with the next three stages all poised
to finish in some form of sprint,
they are looking to keep the pink
jersey until Wednesday's mountainous fifth stage.
Gerrans said: “What an honour
2012 as Manchester City clinched
the title in dramatic fashion
We take a trip back to May
2012 as Manchester City clinched
the title in dramatic fashion Asked
about how Aguero compares to his
Argentina team-mate Lionel Messi, Zabaleta said: “Messi is just
out of this world, he is the best
player in the world and that’s why
he is so good and in all important
games he always make a difference
with great goals.
“Aguero is one of the best
strikers in the world without
doubt, they are both great but I
would say Messi is from a different planet.”
to have the pink jersey. All my victories are due to fantastic teamwork and none more so than this
jersey. We have a few guys who
are specialists in the team.
They really drove the pace and
everybody fully committed to the
Orica-GreenEdge general manager Matt White added: "It's real-
ly great for the team because the
pressure is gone. Our No 1 objective was to win today, and now
we go on the hunt for stages. Simon has had a horrible year with
injuries but he is in very good shape
and it's only fitting that he has the
maglia rosa today. I would like to
keep the pink jersey to Abetone
[on stage five]."
Pierce buzzer-beater lifts Wizards past Hawks
Forward Paul Pierce banked in the
winning jumper at the buzzer as
the Washington Wizards beat the
Atlanta Hawks 103-101 in Game
Three of their Eastern Conference
semi-final play-off series on Saturday. Guard Bradley Beal and forwards Nene and Otto Porter each
scored 17 points as the shorthanded Wizards survived a furious comeback by the Hawks to
take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven NBA series against the top seed
in the East. Game Four is in Washington on Monday.
Washington played their second straight game without injured
All-Star guard John Wall and won
at home despite blowing a 21point fourth-quarter lead.
Sparked by their second unit,
Atlanta stormed back with a 21-3
run, including 17 straight points,
to get within three points with 3:12
Forward Mike Muscala's
three-pointer tied the score with
14.1 seconds left. Pierce, defended by Hawks guard Dennis Schroder, hit a step-back jumper just
inside the three-point arc as the
buzzer sounded. He finished with
13 points.
Even without Wall, who suffered five non-displaced fractures
in his left wrist and hand in Game
One, Washington led comfortably
throughout and were up 91-70 with
9:54 remaining.
Schroder and guard Jeff Teague
each scored 18 points for the
Hawks, who trailed by double digits for most of the game.
Forward DeMarre Carroll
scored 14 points, snapping a streak
of six games with at least 20. Atlanta forward Paul Millsap (flulike symptoms) came off the bench
and had eight points.
Forward Kyle Korver, the
only starter to play during the final minutes, had six points.
In the other play-off match on
Saturday night, the Memphis Grizzlies held off a late charge by the
Golden State Warriors at FedExForum for a 99-89 victory and a 21 lead in the NBA Western Conference play-off semi-finals.
Grizzlies power forward Zach
Randolph scored 22 points and
center Marc Gasol posted a double-double with 21 points and 15
rebounds. Gasol did most of his
work in the first half, but he hit a
jumper that beat the shot clock
with 2:06 left to hike the Grizzlies'
lead to 93-85. Gasol fouled out
with 1:45 left. Golden State, who
trailed by 19 points early in the
fourth quarter, got to within four
at 88-84 with 3:15 to play on a
Harrison Barnes layup (16 points,
six rebounds). But Memphis
closed on an 11-5 run to seal the
victory.Warriors guard and NBA
Most Valuable Player Stephen
Curry finished with 23 points and
six assists. But Curry was just 8
of 21 from the floor and 2 of 10
from 3-point range.
Warriors guard Klay Thompson scored 20 points, going 8 of
13 from the field and 3 of 6 from
behind the arc.
After making 20 turnovers in
the Game 2 loss, Golden State
committed 17 more turnovers in
Game 3 that led to 22 Memphis
The Grizzlies had their largest
lead with 10:38 left in the fourth
quarter when Randolph knocked
down a step-back jumper for an
83-64 lead.
Grizzlies point guard Mike
Conley, who again played with a
mask because of a facial injury, had
11 points and five assists. Guard
Courtney Lee finished with 11
points and four assists.
Peter Moores lacked the international pedigree necessary as England head coach says Sky Sports’
Nick Knight.
Moores’ second spell in charge
of the national team ended in the
same way as his first, with news
that he was sacked on Sunday.
Knight believes it was the right
move, but feels some sympathy
for Moores who he’d still like to
see have a role in the England setup. “I’m not surprised the decision has been made to go in a different direction”, said Knight.
“The last six to eight months have
not gone well in terms of results.
Tim Abraham looks back at
Peter Moores' time as England
head coach Tim Abraham looks
back at Peter Moores' time as England head coach “From the outside looking in, perhaps he lacked
that international pedigree necessary at the highest level and I think
that’s one of the possible reasons
why he’s been moved aside.
“He has developed some players within the side – that is one of
his great skills and I would be very
keen to still have Peter involved in
the set-up, identifying younger
players and bringing them through
the system – but unfortunately the
team as a whole hasn’t moved in
the right direction.” The move to
part with Moores was made shortly after the announcement of Andrew Strauss as the new Director
of England cricket. Former England
captain Andrew Strauss has been
named as Director of England
Cricket Former England captain
Andrew Strauss has been named
as Director of England Cricket
Knight thinks it’s a brilliant appointment and understands why
Strauss was eager to start with his
own man in charge. “The buck
stops with Andrew Strauss,” said
Knight. “It is why he has been
appointed, to get these decisions
right. “He will do whatever he
thinks will be for the betterment
of the England set-up. He’s passionate about the England team.”
“He didn’t have to take on this
job, but he has taken it because he
feels he can make a difference.
“He’ll have his own ideas and he
has the strength of character to
stand by his decisions, as we’ve
seen with the sacking of Moores.
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2015 -Sawr 21, 1394 H.S
Vol:IX Issue No:275 Price: Afs.15
Weapons’ supply to
Pakistan: US draws
Abdul Zuhoor Qayomi
ABUL: Reacting to the United States’ deci
sion to provide used weapons to Pakistan,
the Obama administration drew ire of Afghans as the Meshrano Jirga on Sunday termed the
US “a foe in friend’s guise”. Provoked by the recent
report of the Congressional Research Center that
the United States of America has decided to provide used weapons, including 14 combat aircrafts,
59 military trainer jets and 374 armored personnel
carriers to Pakistan, the senators said that Afghans
were expecting these weapons. According to the
report, the weapons supplied to Pakistan were earlier used by the US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Expressing serious concerns over insecurity and sincerity of the US, the senators said the international
partners of the Afghan government should have made
Afghanistan the first choice rather than Pakistan.
They said that the used military hardware could
have helped the Afghan security forces a lot in improving security. Urging the government to prevent militants from posing threats in northern and
eastern provinces of the country, the senators said
that Washington has deceived Kabul while favoring
Islamabad in deals. They said that supply of the
used weapons to Pakistan indicated that the US
was a “murderer of Afghans”. Afzal Shamil, a senator, said that it was believed that the US would
hand over the weapons to Kabul as a key alley in
the ongoing war against terrorism..... see P3
Suicide blast kills
3 staffers of
AGO, wounds 18
others in Kabul
AT News Report
KABUL: At least three people have been killed and
18 others wounded when a suicide bomber attacked
a vehicle of the Attorney General Office (AGO) on
Sunday in Kabul, said an official source.
The Director of the 119 department at the Ministry of Interior (MoI), Humayun Ainee, said that
incident took place around 4:00 pm on Sunday in
Sanatorium area, 6th district of Kabul city. All the
victims of the blast were staffers of the AGO. He
said that staffers of the AGO were on their way to
home when they were attacked.
The Taliban accepted the responsibility of the
blast and claimed that they have killed 18 attorneys
and wounded seven others. It is worth mentioning
that a suicide bomber attacked vehicle of the AGO
in the same area last week, which led to killing of
two persons and wounded 15 others.
Jaw and district of Badghis FALLS TO TALIBAN
AT Monitoring Desk
KABUL: Officials in Badghis province has confirmed
that Jawand district of the province has fallen under the
Taliban control. Bahauddin Qudsi, the chairman of
Badghis Provincial Council, said that Jawand district of
the province is currently under the Taliban’s control.
“The militants have surrounded district chief and po-
lice chief of the district,” Radio
Azadi quoted Qudsi as saying.
Mirwais Mirzakwal, the spokesman for the provincial governor
office said that national army commandos along with other security
forces are trying their best to clear
the district from the presence of
militants. “Though the exact number of casualties is not clear, reports say that at least six Afghan
soldiers have been killed in the
clashes,” he added. Mirzakwal
said that a swarm of militants,
numbering around 600 fighters,
storm Jawand district the other
night. He added that foreign militants
were also among the Taliban insurgents. Safia Aymaq, a parliamentarian from Badghis, described the security situation in Jawand district
as fragile and said that she has discussed the issue with the government officials several times in the
past, but they took the threat lightly. She said, due of lack of enough
security forces, the Taliban militants frequently attack the remote
district. She said that the current
clashes between security forces
and the Taliban have forced tens
of families to leave their houses.
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