Communist China is 60
Osama in Pak tribal belt: US
Emergency was illegal: Pak SC
Indonesia quake toll 467
Nepal govt, Maoists agree to end deadlock
Anti-Americanism on the rise: Study
UK student visa rules get tougher
Shoe hurled at IMF chief
Beijing, October 1
Amid tight security, thousands of troops marched in tight formations. The People’s Liberation Army, the world’s largest military, also unveiled its most sophisticated weaponry including new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) in a patriotic show of force.
Chinese President Hu Jintao, dressed in a gray Mao tunic instead of the Western suit he usually wears, reviewed the troops and hundreds of tanks and other weaponry, shouting “Hello, comrades” while riding in an open-top, Red Flag limousine ‘Made in China’.
“We have triumphed over all sorts of difficulties and setbacks and risks to gain the great achievements evident to the world,” Hu, also General Secretary of the Communist Party said while addressing the nation from atop the Tiananmen gate ahead of the two-hour-plus festivities.
“The development and progress of the new China over the past 60 years fully proved that only socialism can save China, and only reform and opening up can ensure the development of China, socialism and Marxism,” Hu said, amid cheers from the patriotic crowd.
“Today, a socialist China geared towards modernisation, the world and the future towers majestically in the East,” he said. The capital saw an array of celebrations, including a parade at the historic Tiananmen Square, marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Over 10,000 security personnel were deployed in the capital while another 8,00,000 volunteers helped to maintain safety. People living close to the Square were virtually locked inside their homes as the roads were closed.
Venues like the Forbidden City, the Tiananmen Rostrum and the Great Hall of the People were closed for tourists and will be open tomorrow. The mass pageant included performances by close to 2,00,000 people. The highlights of the evening party will include fireworks display, which will last for 33 minutes.
China was proclaimed a People’s Republic on October 1, 1949, by Communist Party of China’s chairman Mao Zedong after a lengthy battle against Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang (KMT) or the Chinese Nationalist Party in the Chinese Civil War. — PTI
Islamabad, October 1
Gerald M Feierstein, Deputy Chief of Mission at the US embassy here, also said that top Taliban leaders operating from the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, including Mullah Omar, are playing a key role in fomenting unrest in Afghanistan.
About bin Laden, he said the world’s most wanted terrorist was alive and based in the tribal region along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
The Al-Qaida chief’s ability to carry out terrorist activities had been “significantly limited” and he did not appear to have day-to-day command over operations by militants, Feierstein told a group of Pakistani journalists.
However, Taliban and Al-Qaida operatives continue to draw inspiration from bin Laden, he said.
Feierstein said the US has information that the “command centre” of the Quetta ‘Shura’ or council of the Taliban, comprising commanders from the erstwhile militant regime that ruled Afghanistan, is based in the suburbs of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province. Mullah Omar is among the Taliban leaders based in Quetta, Feierstein said.
Feierstein’s comments came hours after Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that Mullah Omar was not based in Balochistan.
Malik told reporters that the Pakistan government had informed the US leadership that the Taliban commanders were not operating from Quetta. He also said Pakistan would take action if there was credible information about their presence in the country.
Feierstein said the Pakistan government should act “aggressively” to neutralise the leadership of Taliban’s Quetta Shura.
The militant commanders should be detained and prevented from using Pakistani soil for their activities as this will help improve the situation in Afghanistan, he said.
Though the “locus” of the volatile situation is in Afghanistan, Balochistan and Pakistan’s tribal belt are “part of the problem”. — PTI
Emergency was illegal: Pak SC
The Supreme Court has released its detailed judgment declaring as unconstitutional former military ruler Gen Pervez Mushraff’s imposition of emergency and purge of superior judiciary, triggering fresh debate on Musharraf’s trial on treason charges and reopening of corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari and others.
It also ended speculations that some judges of the 14-member bench that delivered a short order on July 31 last were unwilling to sign the detailed judgment written by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry that caused delay in its release. The petitions of those disagreeing with the judgment are likely to be taken up later this week.
The detailed court ruling terms Musharraf’s act of suspending the Constitution for the second time as “an unpardonable offence” and says that no court could indemnify it. The ruling further lays down that the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) under which Musharraf pardoned corruption cases against President Zardari and others required validation by parliament along with other presidential ordinances in 120 days, failing which these would be reopened.
The NRO lapsed on February 5, 2008. President Zardari and several top figures in the present government benefited from the NRO between March and May, 2008, after it had already lapsed.
Former law minister Khalid Ranjha said President Zardari enjoyed immunity from any prosecution while in office. Others said a criminal case could be instituted against the president, but action would be taken after he relinquished the office.
The court upheld the contention that provincial chief ministers must be consulted before the appointment of judges in their respective high courts and the Prime Minister in case of judges of the Supreme Court. Original recommendations, however, must come from the chief justices of those courts.
The court held as illegal the elevation of Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar to the office of chief justice after promulgation of the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) on November 3, 2007. Judges who took oath of office under the PCO or were appointed on the recommendation of Justice Dogar have been ousted after the ruling. Dogar and some other judges have indicated they would move the Supreme Court for a review of the judgment.
The PCO judges say they were not heard by the Supreme Court. One of them claimed in Lahore on Tuesday that the release of detailed judgment was being delayed because some judges had refused to sign that. A review petition was normally filed after the detailed judgment was released.Two of the 14 judges on the bench had also written additional comments while endorsing the main judgment.
The Supreme Court did not discuss the NRO in isolation but set the same principle for all ordinances that were covered under Musharraf’s PCO, now declared unconstitutional and asked for referring all those to parliament for revalidation within 120 days.
Indonesia quake toll 467
Padang, October 1 The death toll from yesterday’s undersea quake of 7.6 magnitude was expected to rise further after rescuers dig through the rubble in heavily populated towns of Sumatra island. The second, 6.8 magnitude quake damaged additional buildings today. Padang, a coastal city of 9,00,000 and capital of West Sumatra province, became the immediate focus of relief workers. At least 500 buildings in Padang collapsed or were badly damaged in the Wednesday evening quake, which also set off fires, said Disaster Management Agency spokesman Priyadi Kardono. A total of 467 persons were confirmed dead and 421 seriously injured, said Tugiyo Bisri of the Social Affairs Ministry’s crisis centre.
Padang, October 1
The death toll from yesterday’s undersea quake of 7.6 magnitude was expected to rise further after rescuers dig through the rubble in heavily populated towns of Sumatra island. The second, 6.8 magnitude quake damaged additional buildings today.
Padang, a coastal city of 9,00,000 and capital of West Sumatra province, became the immediate focus of relief workers.
At least 500 buildings in Padang collapsed or were badly damaged in the Wednesday evening quake, which also set off fires, said Disaster Management Agency spokesman Priyadi Kardono.
A total of 467 persons were confirmed dead and 421 seriously injured, said Tugiyo Bisri of the Social Affairs Ministry’s crisis centre. —AP
Nepal govt, Maoists agree to end deadlock
In a major breakthrough, Nepal’s ruling alliance and opposition Maoists on Thursday agreed to end the political deadlock in the country, paving the way for lifting over four-month-long blockade of Parliament by the former rebels who have been demanding restoration of “civilian supremacy”.
Top leaders of the ruling CPN-UML, its main coalition partner Nepali Congress (NC) and opposition Unified CPN-Maoist met at the former rebels’ party office at Koteshwor and agreed to resolve their differences.
Arjun Narsingh KC, Congress spokesperson, said leaders of three political parties have agreed for a common resolution to be tabled in Parliament and end the longstanding political stalemate. “Today’s meeting ended with an agreement to produce our own proposals separately for discussion on Friday and try to finalise it that will be acceptable to all political parties,” he said.
He, however, said his party was ready to address all concerns raised by the Maoists excluding the contentious issue related to President Dr Ram Baran Yadav’s move to retain the sacked chief of army staff Rookmangud Katawal in May 4.
Earlier, Maoists leaders had asked the Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, including the UML and NC leaders, to bring out their views regarding the Maoists demands and find an amicable solution.
According to leaders, the resolution motion will define the rights and jurisdiction of the President while it will remain mum of previous actions taken by Dr Yadav. Surprisingly, in a bid to end the surfaced political deadlock, the UCPN-M chairman and former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, alias Prachanda, conferred with the President Yadav on Wednesday evening.
Political analysts claim that Prachanda’s meeting with President Yadav may help in finding political solution. Earlier, the Maoists, which have been carrying out protests in and outside Parliament, had announced to boycott the President Yadav and government officials until and unless Yadav’s move was corrected to uphold the “civilian supremacy”.
Anti-Americanism on the rise: Study
The Obama administration on Wednesday moved another step closer to tripling financial aid to Pakistan even as a new survey found anti-Americanism soaring in the US ally.
The House of Representatives passed legislation to increase US aid to Pakistan to $1.5 billion a year between 2010 and 2014. The legislation was based on a compromise between bills passed earlier by the Senate and House and imposes strict accountability riders that limit military assistance principally to help Pakistan with its counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism efforts. The Senate passed a similar bill last week.
Meanwhile, the survey conducted by the International Republican Institute in Pakistan between July 15 and August 7 found 80 per cent of the respondents were opposed to US assistance in Pakistan’s fight against terrorism. This was up 19 points from a survey conducted by the institute in March. US officials have been taken aback by this soaring anti-US sentiment. Richard Holbrooke, President Obama's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, recently acknowledged this trend saying, “We recognise that Pakistani public opinion on the United States is still surprisingly low given the tremendous effort the US is making to lead in the international coalition in support of Pakistan.”
Seventy-six per cent of the respondents in the IRI survey said they were opposed to Pakistan partnering with the United States on Predator drone attacks against extremist suspects. The poll was conducted in Pakistan’s provinces other than the North-West Frontier Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, two provinces that are Taliban and Al-Qaida strongholds and where anti-Americanism is likely to be even more rampant.
Republican Congressman Ed Royce said he was concerned about “establishing too big a footprint in Pakistan, in other words, the so-called 'diplomatic surge'.” He added: “The fact is that if the US isn’t welcome in much of Pakistan, it may not be the case that this addition of personnel on the ground is helpful.” Democratic Congressman Gary Ackerman was worried that the US was, once again, “choosing to be Pakistan's patron rather than its partner. In the end, Pakistan will absorb what we offer and remain the same Pakistan and worst of all they will claim once again that we have failed them. But we have no choice but to pass this bill.”
Democratic Congressman Howard Berman said the US needed to “forge a true strategic partnership with Pakistan and its people, strengthen its democratic government, and work to make Pakistan a source of stability in a volatile region.”
The Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act (S. 1701) authorises military assistance to help Pakistan disrupt and defeat Al- Qaida and other insurgent elements, and requires that such assistance be focused principally on helping Pakistan with its critical counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism efforts. It further establishes accountability measures for military assistance, including a requirement that the government of Pakistan has demonstrated a sustained effort to combating terrorist groups and has made significant efforts towards that end, as committed to by the government of Pakistan.
London/Washington, October 1
These rules for foreign students under Tier 4 of the points-based system will come into force from today.
According to the UK Border Agency, foreign students need to prove that they have unconditional offer of a seat at a licensed college, university or school under the new visa requirements introduced from March this year.
The students also need to show all details and evidence provided to educational institution to secure admission.
The students need to prove that they can financially support themselves and their dependents for at least nine months.
From October 5, a voluntary trial period for the sponsorship management system under Tier 4 will start. The students should also prove that they can financially support themselves and their dependents for at least nine months.
The end of the 28-day period must not be more than one month before the date of the visa application. Applicants must show bank statements or other evidence specified in the official Tier 4 guidance, the agency said.
Meanwhile, reflecting the dire straits of the job market and strict regulations imposed by the US Congress, more than one-fourth of the H-1B, once the most sought after visas, is yet to be grabbed.
According to the latest figure update by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), approximately 46,700 of the H-1B visas in the general category were filled up by September 25, against a Congressional mandated figure of 65,000. — PTI
Istanbul, October 1
The protester, a young man dressed in jeans, a T-shirt and a sleeveless jacket, shouted “IMF, get out of Turkey!” as he ran towards the stage and threw the white sports shoe that fell about a metre in front of Strauss-Kahn, an AFP correspondent witnessed.
The shoe-throwing tactic was famously first used in Iraq last year against US President George W Bush and there have been several copycat protests since.
The protester was immediately overpowered and escorted out by security guards. The International Monetary Fund head, who was answering questions at the end of his speech, remained calm throughout the incident. As the shoe-thrower was being taken out of the conference hall at Bilgi University, another protester attempted to unfurl a banner, but was quickly overpowered by the security guards.
Both protesters were taken into police custody, the Anatolia news agency said.