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Meeting dark clouds

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By Aima Khosa

Alternatives to combat change world leaders do not seem to want to look at

Doha talks on climate change finally came to an end after a 2 week deadlock over the extension of the Koyoto protocol. Nearly 200 delegates from various countries came to an agreement to cut greenhouse emissions in the next eight years. At the same time, US refused to ratify the Kyoto protocol, Russia had objections to it, India and China were excluded from it.

They called it a ‘modest but essential’ step forward. Any person with the faintest notion of the gravity of the situation would tell you that this is no step in any direction. President Barack Obama in his re-election speech seemed to have finally taken a stand on the growing fears of climate change. Less than a month later, not only did his administration fail to submit a decisive treaty to curb carbon emissions, but also refused to increase funding to help developing countries reduce theirs. This is not to say that the United States has not played its role in reducing its carbon emissions at all. According to the International Energy Agency, US emissions have dropped 7.7 percent since 2006 – “the largest reduction of all countries or regions.” But this was countered with China’s increase in greenhouse emissions by 9.3 percent and India’s 8.7 percent. China is the world’s biggest polluter and India ranks as number four.

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Written by rohitkumarsviews

April 10, 2013 at 5:25 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Swiss letter has been sent: Law Minister

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By: Amir Wasim

The government has finally dispatched a letter to Swiss legal authorities in line with the Supreme Court’s order in the NRO case, seeking revival of a graft case which also involves President Asif Ali Zardari.

Law Minister Farooq Naek told Dawn on Wednesday that the letter addressed to the Swiss attorney general had been sent on Nov 5 through the Foreign Office and Pakistan’s embassy in Switzerland.

Mr Naek said no change had been made in the draft approved by a five-judge SC bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa during hearing of the NRO judgment implementation case on Oct 10. He said the Supreme Court would be informed about the dispatch of the letter on Thursday morning.

A copy of the letter and the summary of the prime minister’s authorisation to his ministry for writing it would be submitted in the SC in compliance with its order, he said.

“The letter signed by the law secretary has been sent through the Foreign Office to Pakistan’s ambassador in Switzerland with a covering letter to deliver it to the attorney general in Geneva and send us a receipt of confirmation that the letter has been delivered,” he said.

Mr Naek said the sending of the letter had buried for ever allegations that the PPP government did not respect SC’s orders.

Approving the draft presented to it by the law minister, the Supreme Court had given five weeks to the government to send the letter to the Swiss authorities. The next date of hearing is Nov 14 when the minister is required to inform the court about the status of the letter.

Through the letter signed by Law Secretary Justice (retd) Yasmin Abbasey, the government has sought withdrawal of a letter written by former attorney general Malik Abdul Qayyum to his Swiss counterpart Daniel Zappelli on May 22, 2008, telling him that the Pakistan government was withdrawing the mutual legal assistance in the graft case against President Zardari after the promulgation of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) by military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf.

“This is with reference to the letter dated 22nd May, 2008, addressed by Malik Mohammad Qayyum, the then Attorney General of Pakistan to Mr Daniel Zappelli, Attorney General, Geneva, Switzerland.

“In view of the directions given by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in Paragraph 178 (copy attached as Annex-I) of its judgment dated 16th December, 2009, in the case of Dr Mobashir Hasan, reported as PLD 2010 SC 265, the aforesaid letter is hereby withdrawn and may be treated as never written and, therefore, revival of requests, status and claims, is sought,” says the draft that had been approved by the SC and read out by Justice Khosa in court while dictating the order.

The letter not only asks for reopening of graft cases worth $60 million against the president but also emphasises the legal protection and immunity available to the president without mentioning constitutional provisions.

“This is without prejudice to the legal rights and defences of the presidents/heads of state which may be available under the law, constitution and international law,” it says, highlighting the immunity enjoyed by President Zardari under Article 248 of the Constitution.

It was after 30 painful months that the NRO saga ended for President Zardari when the Supreme Court approved the government’s draft of the letter – after rejecting three previous drafts – it had ordered to be written to the Swiss legal authorities, while hearing the case for the implementation of its verdict in the NRO case.

“We find that the proposed communication conforms to the requirements of paragraph No.178 of the judgment of this court and it also addresses the relevant concerns of the government of Pakistan voiced before this court by the prime minister on Sept 18,” Justice Khosa had observed.

Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani who was disqualified following his conviction on contempt of court charges for not writing the letter told reporters: “I had been stating since the beginning that the president enjoys immunity under the Vienna Convention and Article 248 of the Constitution. Today, the SC has supported my viewpoint.”

He said every institution was working within constitutional limits.

Worst quarter for India’s economy in 3 years

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India is expected Friday to announce its worst quarterly economic growth figures in three years, with economists saying there is scant hope for a swift turnaround in Asia’s third-biggest economy.

Indian business leaders and industry have been clamouring for coordinated action by the government and the central bank to stimulate growth.

India, which once aspired to double-digit expansion, has been hit hard by declining investor confidence, subdued demand and prolonged political logjam that has stalled key reforms.

“The current slowdown is broad-based, and we see little on the horizon to lift growth from its current path,” said Glenn Levine, senior economist at Moody’s Analytics.

Levine expects growth of 5.2 per cent for the first financial quarter of 2012-13, a shade lower than the consensus market forecast of 5.3 per cent.

The figures for the three months to June, set to be announced at 0530 GMT, were expected to deepen the gloom surrounding the Asian giant.

The projected expansion would be the weakest since the last fiscal quarter of 2008-09 when the economy logged 3.5 per cent growth.

While five per cent-plus expansion would be hailed as strong in Western nations, Indian policymakers say the country needs double-digit growth to create jobs for hundreds of millions of young workers.

The government – damaged by a series of corruption scandals – is struggling to introduce economic reforms in parliament that are seen as key to spurring the economy.

But the legislature has been deadlocked by opposition demands for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to quit over an alleged government giveaway of billions of dollars in coal mining rights to private firms.

India’s once booming industrial sector is in crisis, with output contracting by a shock 1.8 per cent in June. Overseas investor confidence has also tumbled, as shown by figures for foreign direct investment for the quarter to June, which slid year-on-year by 67 per cent to $4.43 billion.

It remains “unclear what the government can do in the next three to six months” to improve the situation, said Siddhartha Sanyal, chief India economist at Barclays Capital.

Global rating agencies have lowered their outlook on India’s investment-grade rating amid rising worries about the government’s deteriorating finances.

The Reserve Bank of India has also warned that prospects are unlikely to improve in the near-term, due to high inflation, the lack of reforms and the impact of weak monsoon rains on farm output.

While other banks globally have been easing rates to revive their troubled economies, India’s policymakers have kept borrowing costs on hold since April – when it cut them for the first time in three years by 50 basis points.

Business leaders and industry have been clamouring for coordinated action by the government and the central bank to stimulate growth.

But the government has no fiscal room to spur the economy and the bank says a cut in subsidies to close India’s gaping deficit and revival of reforms are needed to remove chronic bottlenecks and pave the way for lower rates.

India’s economy is expected to grow by 6.7 per cent in this fiscal year, according to a forecast by an advisory panel to the prime minister, but many economists say that is overly optimistic.

“The mood is downbeat and people have no hope left from the government,” said Jigar Shah, head of research at Kim Eng Securities.

“The only positive (aspect) is that things possibly cannot get worse.”

Lance Armstrong banned from cycling for life

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US Anti-Doping Agency chief executive Travis Tygart says the agency will ban Lance Armstrong from cycling for life and strip him of his seven Tour de France titles for doping.

Armstrong on Thursday night dropped any further challenges to USADA’s allegations that he took performance-enhancing drugs to win cycling’s premier event from 1999-2005.

“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough,'” Armstrong said in a statement posted on his website

“For me, that time is now. I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999,” he said.

Armstrong said USADA did not have the authority to vacate his Tour titles.

However, Tygart told The Associated Press that the USADA could do it.

Tygart called the Armstrong case a “heartbreaking” example of a win-at-all costs approach to sports.

In the statement, Armstrong did not concede having used performance enhancing substances during his celebrated cycling career.

On the contrary, he said he would “jump at the chance” to put the allegations to rest.

But Armstrong said he refused to participate in the USADA process, which he called “one-sided and unfair”.

The Austin American-Statesman reported that Armstrong also alerted the USADA in a letter sent just before a midnight
Thursday deadline that he would not fight the charges through arbitration.

“Today I turn the page. I will no longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances,” he said in the statement.

Forty Million Girls Murdered In One Country!

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This the place where 50,000 unborn girls are aborted every month, where thousands of little girls are either buried alive or abandoned. A place where the female ratio is lowest in the world. A place with the highest number of underage girls married to older men, and the highest number of female infanticide: the practice of burying new born baby girls alive.


Around 40 million women have been aborted, murdered or abandoned in this one nation since 1980.

This is India. Home to the biggest genocide against women on the planet.

And it continues as we speak.

“It’s the obliteration of a whole class, race, of human beings. It’s half the population of India,” said women’s rights activist Ruchira Gupta of Apne Aap Women Worldwide.

If a baby girl survives abortion or being buried alive in India, she is forced into prostitution.

It is a crime in India to use an ultrasound to determine the sex of a child and it is also illegal to perform an abortion based on gender, but the laws are rarely enforced.

The Indian government has the resources to spend on stopping this massive ill-treatment of women but it prefers to spend billions on weapons.

India is on a quest for superpower status and is spending its resources on the military. It has already spent $2 billion in Afghanistan to contain Pakistan, and billions more to counter China.

But can the Indian government really stop this mistreatment of Indian women?

It can. The Indian government had $264 billion in its savings account in 2009. This figure has jumped to $307 billion in the first week of December 2011.

So India basically has a rich government that refuses to share wealth with India’s poor, who happen to be largest single block of poverty anywhere in the world.

Two women, one India and the other American, brought this silent genocide to world’s attention this month. Gita Aravamudan is the author of the book, ‘Disappearing Daughters’. And Mindy McReady is a journalist working for ABC television in the United States.

Together they have produced a compelling documentary, titled, ‘India’s Deadly Secret: Why an estimated 40 million girls have gone missing in India?’

Sadly, the Indian police and judiciary are corrupt and their silence can be bought. Even worse, the policemen and the judges are, after all, Indian men who don’t see much wrong in getting rid of female babies.

“The very people who have to implement the law – the police and the judiciary – also believe that having too many girls is a burden on the family,” Gupta said. “They never implement the laws because they believe in the same thing, and sometimes actually do the same thing.”

The real issue here is Hinduism, the majority Indian religion. It attaches a very low status to women, and thousands of years of practice has entrenched the anti-girl bias in Indian psyche. Today, there are thousands of Indian villages that push their girls into prostitution, if they survive abortion and infanticide.

In September 2011, Catholic Online wrote in a report quoting an Indian charity that “Young girls are pushed into the sex business by their own fathers and brothers, who see nothing wrong with it. They claim it is a tradition that has been passed down through generations. Under the devdasi (“servant of God”) culture, girls were dedicated to a life of sex work in the name of religion.”

Halloween 31 October, Kashmir Black Day on 27th

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Kashmiris on both sides of the Cease Fire Line (CFL) and all across the world will observe A Black Day on October 27, to convey to India that despite state terrorism they reject its illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir.

It was on October 27 in 1947 when Indian troops invaded Kashmir in clear violation of the partition plan of the Sub-continent and against the Kashmiris’ aspirations.

Call for the observance of the Day has been given by the All Parties Hurriyat Conference Chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

The day will be marked with total shutdown in Occupied State of Jammu & Kashmir (OSJK) and a march towards the United Nations Observers’ Office in Srinagar to draw the world attention towards the fact that India continues to deny the Kashmiri people their inalienable right of Self-Determination. Rallies in support of Kashmiris’ liberation struggle will be held in Muzaffarabad and the world capitals.

Indian Tea Exporters await MFN status to wipe out local market

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KOLKATA: Reeling under the onslaught of fierce competition from Kenya and Sri Lanka, Indian tea planters are waiting for Pakistan to grant most favoured nation (MFN) status to boost exports across the border.

“We are keenly waiting for Pakistan to grant MFN status to boost exports across the Wagah border as our tea will have a price advantage over competitors with zero import tariff and lower overheads,” said state-run Tea Board Executive Director R Ambalavanan told IANS news service.

“We are keenly waiting for Pakistan to grant MFN status to boost exports across the Wagah border as our tea will have a price advantage over competitors with zero import tariff and lower overheads,” said state-run Tea Board Executive Director R Ambalavanan told IANS news service.

Though Indian exports to Pakistan more than doubled to 18.9 million kg in 2010 from 7.5 million kg in 2009 and to 10.6 million kg in first six months (Jan- June) of 2011 from 9.5 million kg in same period in 2010, a substantial quantity of the beverage is unofficially shipped or smuggled into the neighbourhood through third countries Dubai & Afghanistan.

“MFN status will immensely benefit growers as well as exporters by avoiding middlemen and availing of 10% tariff exemption Pakistan levies on tea imports. Shipments through Wagah border will also reduce logistics costs,” official said.

Pakistan buys more tea from Kenya and Sri Lanka than from India, which is the second largest producer and consumer after China of aromatic beverage.