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Showing posts from May 9, 2010

Will high gold price dampen Akshaya Tritiya spirit?

http://beta.thehindu.com/business/article429991.ece Believe it or not, the crisis in Greece has hit the bullion market hard and the price of the yellow metal has breached its all time peak. It opened at $1,248.95 on Friday, well above the all time high of $1,126 that was set in March 2007. The continuing climb in the world gold price has created a scare in the minds of the trade in India, which has been pinning its hopes high on account of the Akshaya Tritiya on Sunday. Industry sources say that after the trade and the jewellery industry went into recession last year, there was a significant rebound in the first quarter of 2010. The trade was hoping to cash in on the festive season revolving around the Tritiya on May 16 and even built up a substantial inventory. But “the Greek tragedy has hit us hard. Over the past two days, the bookings or orders have waned, though we still hope that families will throng the shops on Sunday,'' says G. Kasturirangan, manager of a leading jewe

Iran Establishes Its First Soft War Camp

http://www.persia-house.com/node/1145 in Headliner Security Issues Vol. 34 Iranian Government Expands Efforts to Protect Citizens from Alleged Western Cultural Assault Alef - Summary translation by Persia House May 5, 2010 Mehdi Esmaili, the Governor of Isfahan’s Political-Security Deputy said today, “Considering the [Ahmadinejad] administration’s approach to cultural issues, and [with the aim of making] optimum use of the allocated budget, a joint secretariat has been created, so that the efforts of provincial cultural councils are not duplicated.” According to a Majlis-ratified article, 100 billion tomans [~ $100 million] of the cultural budget has been allocated to Isfahan, where, Esmaili reported, the first soft war camp in Iran began operation yesterday, May 4.

India asks US for help in manned space programme

http://news.rediff.com/report/2010/may/15/india-seeks-us-help-on-manned-space-flight.htm May 15, 2010 04:30 IST Tags: Indian Space Research Organisation, Boeing Defence, US, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Vehicle Health Monitoring System Here at Cape Canaveral, Florida [ Images ], the ongoing countdown to the 132nd space shuttle launch is also counting towards the end of this iconic space programme. Washington has decreed that the Atlanta, which is scheduled to blast off on Friday, will be the third last shuttle mission ever. With a follow-on programme nowhere in sight, America's space shuttle pioneers stare at an uncertain future. President Barack Obama [ Images ] has decided that it is wasteful and risky to continue using the space shuttle for transporting US astronauts and stores to and from the International Space Station [ Images ]; instead, this low-tech, "near-earth" task should be farmed out to commercial agencies. The cutting-edge capabili

Americans un-united on Pakistan postmarked terror

S Rajagopalan http://www.dailypioneer.com/255949/Americans-un-united-on-Pakistan-postmarked-terror.html One had expected that the Times Square incident would reinvigorate the lost spirit of 9/11 and lead to Pakistan emerging as the new Afghanistan in the hurt American worldview. But no, it was back to placatory postures. An axiom still to be disproved in the generally rocky US-Pakistan relationship is that it is Islamabad which stands to benefit from every crisis of its making. So it has been over the past couple of weeks since the botched bid to bomb New York’s Times Square was traced to a Pakistani American, trained by the Pakistani Taliban in the art of bomb-making in a Pakistani lair in the lawless tribal tracts of North Waziristan. No less a personage than the US Secretary of State has had to virtually eat her words after some tongue-lashing at Islamabad following the conclusion of US agencies that the Pakistani Taliban was behind the Times Square plot. With Pakistani lawmak

Why the Gorkhas could solve the Afghan imbroglio

May 13, 2010 20:59 IST Leaving Afghanistan to the tender mercies of the Taliban [ Images ] and the Pakistan army [ Images ] could mean another 9/11-like attack -- only this time with nuclear weapons, writes Colonel Dr Anil Athale (retd). http://news.rediff.com/column/2010/may/12/why-the-gorkhas-could-solve-the-afghan-imbroglio.htm Even as Afghan President Hamid Karzai [ Images ] met US President Barack Obama [ Images ] in Washington on Thursday, the Americans continue their search for a way out of Af-Pak quagmire. Unfortunately the whole Af-Pak debate is so stuck in economical truth and selective memory that a clear understanding of the problem is necessary before we think of an out of box solution. While the problem that the US faces is tough, it must be clearly understood that it is India that will face the repercussions of an adverse outcome in Afghanistan. The US went into Afghanistan in 2001 to destroy Al Qaeda [ Images ] and dethrone the Taliban who sheltered them. Taliban

This is no Iron Lady

Ajey Lele http://www.dailypioneer.com/255963/This-is-no-Iron-Lady.html Hillary Clinton’s ‘tough’ posture vis-a-vis Pakistan in the wake of last fortnight’s failed Times Square bombing comes with a ring of déjà vu. But the ‘trust deficit’ in US-Pak relations is now open knowledge. On July 15, India’s External Affairs Minister, SM Krishna, would be holding talks at Islamabad with his Pakistani counterpart, SM Qureshi. These talks are the fallout of the meeting between Manmohan Singh and Yousuf Raza Gilani at the SAARC summit in Thimphu in April and are intended to bridge the ‘trust deficit’ between both the countries. Interestingly, the so-called ‘trust deficit’ is also growing between the two partners in the fight against global terrorism — namely the US and Pakistan. The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is livid with the Pakistani establishment particularly after it has been established that the man arrested in connection with last week’s failed car-bomb strike in New York

WARNING SIGNALS FROM POK

B.RAMAN Quoting local political sources in Jammu & Kashmir, the British Broadcasting Corporation reported in its web site on May 14,2010, that terrorists ( it calls them as always militants) have regrouped in Pakistan-Occupied KasHmir (POK). 2.It quoted Mr.Arif Shahid, Secretary-General of the All Parties National Alliance (APNA), as saying as follows: " Jihadi activities have been restarted during the last few weeks.Most of the activities are concentrated in the Neelum Valley along the Line of Control.Militants were based there in large numbers and have set up camps in the area. The men are not locals - they have long hair and beards. Most do not speak the local language." 3.The BBC added that local citizens in the Neelum Valley told it much the same thing. It quoted a local resident as saying: "We are scared.The armed men are moving around the area and are trying to cross the border. We can make out from their appearances and languages they are not from an

PAKISTAN: QUO VADIS?

B.RAMAN Till 1971, Pakistan’s internal security threats arose from India in its Eastern wing and from Afghanistan in its Western wing. After the birth of Bangladesh in 1971, it no longer faces any internal security threats from India even though its army and intelligence agencies imagine without basis that it still does. 2.The traumatic effect of the Indian role in the birth of Bangladesh, which continues to influence the thinking and assessment of the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment, makes them see an Indian hand in every internal security problem they face----whether in Balochistan or in Sindh or in Khyber-Pakhtoonwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province NWFP). 3.Its internal security fears from Afghanistan arise from the strong feelings of Islamic and ethnic solidarity between the Pashtuns on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. While the Pakistan Army feels confident that it will be able to crush separatist movements in Balochistan and

Reuters Busted for Indecent Exposure: The Automobile Industry in Venezuela

By RAMÓN SANTIAGO - AXIS OF LOGIC , May 13th 2010 http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/5357 In their report, “ANALYSIS-Venezuela car industry gridlock as dollars run out,” Reuters pays another shill to tell another half-story about Venezuelan affairs. In this “analysis” they shamelessly expose their indecency as a major news broker in western media. I'm writing this critique for Axis of Logic to call Reuters on what they pass off as journalism and help clarify what is really happening in the auto industry in Venezuela. In 2009 there were approximately 5.6 million vehicles in Venezuela. From 2005 to 2007 new car sales were 1.15 million units with a further 350,000 being sold in 2008/2009. Thus, the number of vehicles on Venezuela’s roads increased at least by 30% in five years, even allowing for cars being put out of service. This is the reason for heavy traffic congestion in the cities and not necessarily due to cheap gasoline. The consumption boom in all sectors from 2004 – 2008 w

The case against Pakistan

By Rafia Zakaria A policeman searches a car at a checkpoint in Karachi. Security has been increased across Pakistan since the arrest of Pakistani origin 30-year-old naturalized American Faisal Shahzad in connection to a failed May 1 terror plot against New York's Times Square. –AFP Photo/Asif Hassan The days since Faisal Shahzad’s arrest over the attempted Times Square bombing have been a delicate tightrope act for Pakistan’s relations with the United States. As details continue to emerge, the Obama administration appears to be building a case that would support the expansion of US military presence into Pakistan. http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/ connect/dawn-content-library/ dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/ rafia-zakaria-the-case- against-pakistan-250 This past Sunday John Brennan, the Obama administration’s chief counter-terrorism advisor, told a major television network that all of Shahzad’s connections are pointing towards the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. Similar sentiments were exp

China, US jostle in Middle East

By Richard Javad Heydarian http://www.atimes.com/atimes/ China_Business/LE14Cb01.html This century has witnessed China's emergence as the main challenger to the superpower status of the United States. In dramatic fashion, China is beginning to establish its foothold in the highly strategic, energy-rich region of the Middle East by forging strong ties with regional powers and gradually challenging US-Israel regional dominance. Thanks to decades of double-digit economic growth and accelerating military modernization, China now has both the need for and the capability of engaging the Middle East. Confined to the sidelines during the Cold War, the Chinese leadership finally found a window of opportunity to enter the region's politics and expand its military exports. During the 1980s, China increasingly criticized Soviet disinterest in assisting regional "revisionist powers" such as Syria against US allies. Subsequently, it sought regional influence through forging str