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Showing posts from December 23, 2007

2007 marks Manmohan Singh’s Dysfunctional Governance

Source: OFFSTUMPED If the impasse over the Indo-US Nuclear Deal explained the policy paralysis of a delinquent Government at the Center, one must wonder what explains the current spell of dysfunctional governance ? 433 news releases by the Press Information Bureau in the last 30 days. Not one on the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, CCEA. None on the Cabinet Committee on Security, CCS either. None on from any of the myriad Group of Ministers, GoM with anything significant to report. None from any of the many empowered Group of Ministers, eGoM either that Pranab Mukherjee chairs. 34 Press Releases with references to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Almost all of them have to do with the Prime Minister inaugrating some conference. With the exception of the Chief Minister’s Conference which saw some sharp policy differences between the Prime Minister and the rising star of the BJP, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, there was hardly anything substantial that the Pr

Mehsud denies killing Bhutto: Al-Qaida

Agence France-Presse Saturday, December 29, 2007 (Peshawar) An alleged Al-Qaida leader Baitullah Mehsud, blamed by the Pakistan government for killing Benazir Bhutto, denied any involvement in her death, his spokesman said on Saturday. ''He had no involvement in this attack,'' spokesman Maulana Omar said in a telephone call. ''This is a conspiracy of the government, army and intelligence agencies.'' The spokesman said he was calling from Pakistan's Waziristan area, a lawless tribal region where Pakistani government forces have been battling Islamist militants. ''It is against tribal tradition and custom to attack a woman,'' Omar said. He said the transcript released by the government, allegedly of a phone call between Mehsud and a militant discussing Bhutto's death after the killing, was a ''drama'' and expressed sadness over her assassination on Thursday. He said it would have been ''impossible'

Assassination of Opposition Leader Bhutto Leaves Pakistan’s Transition to Democracy in Limbo Benazir Bhutto’s assassination has led to further deterioration in the security situation while leaving the fate of January’s parliamentary elections up in the air. Global Insight Perspective Significance Bhutto’s assassination has led to a surge in violence across the country. The party of opposition leader Nawaz Sharif has decided to boycott January’s parliamentary elections while the government debates whether to postpone the polls. Implications Pakistan’s parliamentary elections, scheduled for 8 January, will probably be delayed, and it is also possible that a state of emergency will be re-imposed if the escalation in violence persists. Outlook Pakistan’s transition to democracy and progress in clamping down on Islamic extremism and political violence has been called into question. Risk Ratings Global Insight has decided to leave Pakistan’s political and security risk ratings unchanged until it becomes clear if

RUSSIA : The Ghost of Administrations Future

Comment by Vladimir Frolov Special to Russia Profile There Are Three Possible Scenarios for Power-Sharing in a Medvedev-Putin Administration A year ago at the ExxonMobil Russia seminar, I predicted that Putin had already chosen his successor and that the chosen one was Dmitri Medvedev. Three weeks before Putin agreed to lead United Russia in the Duma elections and hinted at he might become Prime Minister, I wrote in my Russia Profile column that Putin saw himself as the Russian FDR. He wanted three terms and planned to move from president to prime minister, the only legally acceptable way for him to stay in power and accomplish his mission – making Russia a first-rate world power. Since both predictions came true, it might be foolhardy to try one’s luck any further. After all, the road to analytical glory is littered with predictions and forecasts that never materialize. Still in the spirit of the holiday season (at this time of year, no one reads political columns and your gaffe


DEVELOPMENT OF BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENCE SYSTEM RFP FOR 126 MULTI-ROLE COMBAT AIRCRAFT JOINT DEVELOPMENT OF FIFTH GENERATION FIGHTER AIRCRAFT 15:51 IST YEAR END REVIEW 2007 MINISTRY OF DEFENCE The successful launch of Interceptor Missile (AAD) towards developing a ballistic missile defence system, test flight of Agni-III (A3-02), user trial of Akash Missile by Army and Air Force, Handing over of first batch of land version of BrahMos missile systems to Army and successful conduct of 4th Military World Games were some of the significant events in the Ministry of Defence during the current year. The issue of Request for Proposal (RFP) for the purchase of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft for Indian Air Force, the arrival of first batch of two Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers from UK, Signing of the Agreement with Russia on the Joint Development of 5th Generation Fighter Aircraft, First meeting of Indo-German High Defence Committee, Meeting of the Indo-French High Committee Meeting

Iranian Commander Highlights Army Power

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Threats against our country have not differed in the last 27 years (since the onset of the Islamic Revolution), rather we have grown more powerful, Commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran's army said here on Saturday. Major General Ataollah Salehi reiterated full preparedness of the army's ground, naval and air force to defend Iran against any possible threat, reminding that the army has grown more prepared and powerful in designing, producing and utilizing conventional and modern weaponries. "As regards air defense systems, we are capable of targeting any kind of enemy aircrafts with any range," he added. Enemies Pushed Back by Iranians' Resistance TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- An Iranian lawmaker said here Saturday that resistance of the Iranian nation has contributed a major role in defusing enemies' plots, making them retreat from their belligerent stances against the Islamic Republic. "As regards the coun

Medvedev brands to help promote products

15:30 | 29/ 12/ 2007 MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti economic commentator Vlad Grinkevich) - Russian food producers have shown as much political awareness as politicians lately: they are seriously concerned about the next president who could be a useful advertising tool. The moment Vladimir Putin named Dmitry Medvedev his chosen successor, the Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks (Rospatent) received numerous bids to register "presidential" brands, [all of them having to do with bears since "medved" is Russian for "bear"]. It probably won't be long before grocery store shelves become specked with vodka Volodya i Medvedi (Vladimir and Bears), Medvedevka, or chocolates Tsar Medved (The Bear King). Russians are known for their unfailing trust in a good and fair tsar. Russian market experts cite this belief as the key reason why playing with the name of the current head of state always gives a brand some competitive advantage.


"The Congress has committed the sin of turning India into a soft state against terrorism for the sake of its vote-bank politics. It has refused to hang Afzal Guru, removed POTA, compromised with Naxalites in Andhra Pradesh and with ULFA in Assam for the sake of votes. The war against terror can’t be selective. The need of the hour is to bring all human forces on one platform against terrorism " -- Narendra Modi

Orissa Violence - Incendiary Entitlement not Communalism

Source: OFFSTUMPED If the recent violence in Orissa’s Kandhamal District was all about Hindutva Goons hounding Christian Missionaries why did Orissa Steel and Mines Minister Padmanabha Behera, who hails from the violence-hit Kandhamal district, resign from his post ? In the answer to this question lies the disingenuous template the media has applied in reporting recent events in Orissa. It is amazing how the lexicon on the controversy changed from what it was before Christmas and what it became after Christmas. Dig these 3 news stories from October and September. Sep 22nd Communal trouble brewing up in Kandhmal dist . - No mention of VHP, Hindutva or violence against christians Oct 9th Communal tension in Kandhamal - again no mention Oct 15th Kui tribals up in arms in Kandhamal district - no mention In fact the first time the Christian angle emerges is on Dec 23rd when Christian organizations led by 15-member delegation led by Fr Bijay Naik, Bishop Rt Rev BK Naik and Bishop

Indian Blogosphere in 2007 - An Offstumped Retrospective

Source: Offstumped When the year 2007 started Offstumped had speculated if 2007 will go down as the year that ended the Monopoly of the Mainstream Media in selling a Single Version of Truth little did we know then that an innoccuous post on the costs of a Ceremonial Presidency would ring true many months later with this Indian Express today editorial titled “They the privileged” that said “a system that accords unaccounted privileges to VIPs will end up undermining us, the people” It is symbolic that as the Year 2007 winds down, the mainstream media is catching up on an issue that the Indian Blogosphere lead the charge on during 2007. On 16th June when Congress President Sonia Gandhi foisted on this Nation her choice for nominee of President Pratibha Patil to succeed President APJ Abdul Kalam the mainstream media went gaga over the prospect of the first woman President. The blogosphere on the other hand was the first to set aside Gender Correctness aside to take a close an

'The UPA will disintegrate' - Narendra Modi

December 28, 2007 December 28, 2007 Chief Minister Narendra Modi says the BJP's impressive win in Gujarat is just the beginning of the end of the UPA government at the Centre. India Today Associate Editor Uday Mahurkar spoke to Modi soon after his swearing-in. Q: So who has won? Moditva or Hindutva? A: The term Moditva has been coined by enemies of our ideology after they failed to defeat Hindutva. There is no such thing as Moditva. No leader can rise without the help of party workers. Q: But now you are seen as someone who is bigger than the party. A: Absolutely false. Those who see me as bigger than the party fail to see the shoulders of the lakhs of BJP workers that I stand on. Is politics so cruel that it asks a son whether he is taller than his mother? Q: Pundits now say your move to Delhi is not far away and that’s why your party nominated L.K. Advani as its prime ministerial candidate on the eve of the elections. A: I am a m

Bhutto killing: Time to dissolve Pakistan

An Analysis Dec. 27,2007 By Ahmar Mustikhan It’s not nice to be a prophet of doom. But that’s exactly what I am feeling today on the death of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. I had very clearly predicted in a message two months ago when she returned to Pakistan, that Bhutto’s dayswere numbered. On October 19, on news regarding Bhutto’s return to Pakistan I had written on the emailing list—the largest emailing list of the Baluch diaspora—that she was: "Forgetting what happened to her dad and brother." I had also said, "But seems like she is in a hurry to meet her late dad and brother." Bhutto’s death signals to the world that the failed state of Pakistan—not a very legitimate organization in itself--, is dying and any attempts to resuscitate it would further endanger the security of free world, in particular the United States. The best course for the world is to have Pakistan dissolved, without any further delay and set free Baluchistan and S

Remembering Benazir Bhutto : A Conversation With Benazir Bhutto

Aug 15th, 2007 Council on Foreign Relations - New York, NY Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister of Pakistan, discusses terrorism, foreign aid, democratic reforms, and the military situation in Pakistan with Richard Haass at the Council on Foreign Relations.

MEND warns FG over detention of colleague

Vanguard , Nigeria Written by EmmaAmaize Wednesday, 26 December 2007 MILITANTS and close associates of one of the leaders of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND), Mr. Henry Okah who was taken into custody, September 3, by security agents in Angola have called for his release, saying that the allegations of gun-running against him were fabricated and his continued detention would spell calamity for the Federal Government in the Niger-Delta region in 2008. They said that the mandatory 106 days, which the government of Angola is authorized to keep a person in detention without bail had expired and the Nigerian government should step in and secure the release of the suspect, adding that he could be re-arrested if anything criminal was found on him but must be treated as innocent until found guilty. Mr. Okah who is also a businessman had been held by the Angolan authorities at the Departemento de Investigaeac Nacional and Criminal without bail sinc

Gunmen attack American vessel in Niger Delta, wound 3 crew members

Panapress Lagos, Nigeria - Unknown gunmen on Thursday attacked an American vessel ferrying supplies to a facility of the US oil giant Mobil at Bonny Island, Rivers state in Nigeria's oil producing Niger Delta region, injuring three crew members, according to state police spokesperson Ireju Barasua. Barasua said the attack was carried out as the vessel sailed along the Bonny River. She said the injured crew members were now being treated at an undisclosed hospital in the state, but did not say if their injuries were life threatening. The vessel, which could not proceed on its journey, is now anchored at the Onne Port in the state. Barasua said the police had launched an investigation into the incident, which comes two days after several gunmen stormed a police station in the state, killing three policemen and injuring others. Also, a recent attack on a jetty operated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Okrika, also in the state, left several persons dead.

Who killed Benazir?

BHUTTO'S FEARS CAME TRUE Their fears regarding the second scenario centred on four individuals: Lt.Gen. (retd) Hamid Gul, former Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), who was removed from the post by Benazir during her first tenure as the Prime Minister (1988-90); Brig (retd)Ejaz Shah, the present Director-General of the IB, which was responsible for her protection; Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, the present Chief Minister of Punjab; and Mr.Ejaz-ul-Haq, the Minister for Religious Affairs in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.Pervez Elahi is the son of Zehur Elahi, a close associate of Zia-ul-Haq, who was allegedly killed when Zia-ul-Haq was alive by the Al Zulfiqar, a militant organisation headed by Murtaza Bhutto, the brother of Benazir, to avenge the arrest, trial and execution of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, their father, by Zia and his associates. Ejaz is the son of Zia, who suspected that his father was also killed by Al Zulfiqar and not by an angry Shia airman, a

Remains of ancient civilization discovered on the bottom of a lake

16:35 | 27/ 12/ 2007 MOSCOW. (Nikolai Lukashov for RIA Novosti) - An international archeological expedition to Lake Issyk Kul, high in the Kyrgyz mountains, proves the existence of an advanced civilization 25 centuries ago, equal in development to the Hellenic civilizations of the northern coast of the Pontus Euxinus (Black Sea) and the Mediterranean coast of Egypt. The expedition resulted in sensational finds, including the discovery of major settlements, presently buried underwater. The data and artefacts obtained, which are currently under study, apply the finishing touches to the many years of exploration in the lake, made by seven previous expeditions. The addition of a previously unknown culture to the treasury of history extends the idea of the patterns and regularities of human development. Kyrgyz historians, led by Vladimir Ploskikh, vice president of the Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences, worked side-by-side with Russian colleagues, lead by historian Svetlana Lukashova and my

Clinton Outlines Five Steps Needed To Address Pakistan

Clinton Outlines Five Steps Needed To Address Pakistan in Wake of Bhutto Assassination In an interview today with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Hillary Clinton outlined five steps she believes must be taken to address Pakistan in the wake of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Clinton called for an independent, international investigation, reiterated the need for free and fair elections, proposed the appointment of a special envoy, discussed revamping U.S. foreign aid, and a renewed commitment to a stabilized India-Pakistan relationship. The following is a full transcript of Hillary Clinton’s interview: Wolf Blitzer: There are conflicting reports coming in from the Pakistani government right now about the cause of death, who may have been responsible; perhaps al Qaeda, maybe not. The bottom line: do you trust the Pakistani government right now to conduct a fair and full investigation so that all of us around the world will know who killed this woman and how she was killed? Hillary Cli