Saturday, February 14, 2009

Views on the news - 12/2/2009

Britain to launch glossy ads to win Pakistanis over to the West

On Feb 10 2009, The English newspaper The Guardian revealed that Prominent British Muslims were being recruited to star in a UK government-backed advertising campaign aimed at preventing people in Pakistan from engaging in extremist activity, the Guardian has learned. The three-month public relations offensive, called I Am the West, consists of television commercials and high-profile events in regions such as Peshawar and Mirpur. It is being funded by the Foreign Office which is paying up to £400,000 for a pilot project. The campaign has four key aims: to ensure Pakistanis realise the west is not "anti-Islamic", that British society is not "anti-Islam", to demonstrate the extent to which Muslims are integrated into British society and to stimulate and facilitate "constructive debate" on the compatibility of liberal and Muslim values. If the West really wants to show that it is not against Islam and Pakistan , the very least it can do, is: a) stop its military campaign against FATA, b) withdraw its forces from the Afghanistan , c) permanently discontinue its interference in Pakistani politics and d) cede its support to agent rulers.

Obama’s economic plans: Lifeboats for the rich and powerful

It expected that Obama’s $780 billion dollar economic stimulus plan will become law by next week. The stimulus plan includes tax cuts, additional spending on infrastructure and aid to the US states, which are experiencing grave budget difficulties. Only a portion of the stimulus will be spent in 2009, the bulk of the money will be spent by the end of 2010, when supposedly the effects of recession are still likely to be lingering. However, stimulus plan does very little to address the needs of the common man. Worse still is the news that Obama’s treasury secretary is looking to pump $2 trillion dollars to prop up failing banks. The American people must be wondering why almost $3 trillion of tax-payers money—their money— is in effect going to the super rich such as the banks and the big corporation who are going to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure. What the US government is doing is nothing short of daylight robbery— a modern sort of robin hood where the poor are robbed to pay for the life-styles of the rich.

Confusion over ICC’s warrant to arrest Bashir

The International Criminal Court has denied media reports the court's judges have agreed to issue an arrest warrant for Sudanese president Omar al Bashir. According to The New York Times newspaper and the Reuters news agency, diplomats at the United Nations have said International Criminal Court judges have approved an arrest warrant for Sudan President Omar al-Bashir. But the ICC has issued a statement saying that no warrant has been issued and the judges have not made a decision. An official announcement is expected sometime in February. The ICC chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is seeking to charge President al-Bashir with war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide for the Sudanese government's role in the conflict in the western region of Darfur. The reports did not say which charges the judges had agreed to. The ICC is under pressure from Europe to issue a warrant against Bashir for the alleged genocide in Darfur. But American efforts to seek a compromise with Europe over Bashir’s future have so far stalled any such judgement.

Bakiyev ready to sell Kyrgyzstan to the highest bidder

Kyrgyzstan's president accused the United States on Wednesday of refusing to heed repeated calls to pay more rent for its air base in his country but did not say if he would welcome a fresh U.S. offer. President Kurmanbek Bakiyev said last week he would evict U.S. forces from Manas, an important staging post for U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan. He made the announcement in Moscow after securing more than $2 billion in Russian aid and credit. Speaking about the Americans, He said, "Over the last three years I have personally raised this question with (top U.S. officials). I have always said to them: 'We have to review the terms of our agreement. Prices have changed and Kyrgyzstan is in a difficult financial situation'. "And they always replied: 'Okay, Okay, Okay, Okay." They repeated that for years. But how long can one wait? We are a sovereign nation. We must have some respect for ourselves." Indeed, Bakiyev idea of national dignity is to rent out Kyrgyzstan's military assets to the highest bidder and facilitate military occupation of the country by a foreign power.

Holbrooke’s visit brings no reprieve to US bombings in Pakistan

Mr. Holbrooke’s trip to Pakistan, and his four-day tour of Afghanistan, which began on Thursday, was part of a top-to-bottom review of American policy in the region ordered by President Obama. However, Holbrooke’s visit did not bring an end to the American bombing of FATA or an increase in bilateral aid. In fact his silence was further confirmation that there is no difference between the policies pursued by Bush and Obama.

India to make soft drink from cow urine

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, India's leading Hindu cultural group, has developed Gau Jal or Cow Water, at its research centre in the Indian holy city of Haridwar on the River Ganges, and hopes it will be marketed as a 'healthy' alternative to Coke and Pepsi. "We refer to gau ark (cow urine) as gau jal (cow water) as it has immense potential to cure various diseases. We have developed a soft drink formula with gau jal as the base and it has been sent to a laboratory at Lucknow for testing," said director Om Prakash. Hindus worship cows and slaughtering them is illegal in some Indian states. Cow dung is traditionally used as a fuel and disinfectant in villages, while cow urine and dung are often consumed in rituals to "purify" those on the bottom rungs of the Hindu caste system. In some Indian states, cow dung and urine are sold in regular dairy shops alongside milk and yogurt.


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