Pakistan Observer


Palestinian killed in Israeli raid

Ramallah, (West Bank)—Israeli soldiers on Tuesday shot and killed a Palestinian during an arrest raid in a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, the military and Palestinian witnesses said. ... Wednesday, December 17, 2014 Details

Getting diplomacy down-to-earth

AT the first press conference days after her appointment as foreign minister, Retno LP Marsudi coined a new term: down-to-earth diplomacy. The term has also been repeatedly mentioned on several other occasions. Generally speaking, down-to-earth diplomacy is defined as foreign policy that is oriented for the benefit of the people. By such a definition, the work of diplomacy must bring concrete and immediate advantages to the people. Amid public perception that diplomacy is an elite exercise, the challenge for the Foreign Ministry is therefore to redefine its work and move from exercising an “elite” diplomacy to one that fits the style of Indonesia’s current leadership. ... Wednesday, December 17, 2014 Details

Two of 17 Aussie hostages killed in Sydney

Sydney—Tearful Australians laid mounds of flowers at the site where two of 17 hostages were killed Tuesday when police swooped into a cafe to rescue them from a gunman — an Iranian-born self-styled cleric described by the prime minister as a deeply disturbed person carrying out a “sick fantasy.” ... Wednesday, December 17, 2014 Details

The CIA and the lack of political morality

EFFICIENCY was once a precious American virtue. America is great because America is good, in the words once credited to Alexis de Tocqueville, and when America is no longer good it will no longer be great. Whether he actually said them or not, the words are true. That goes double for the virtue of efficiency. America is great because it works. When it becomes as inefficient as much of the rest of the world, America won’t any longer work. And then what? ... Monday, December 15, 2014 Details

UK MPs want access to missed parts of CIA torture report

London—A parliamentary committee investigating possible British links to torture will request access to blacked out parts of a US Senate report on CIA treatment of Al-Qaeda suspects, its chairman said Sunday. The news comes amid growing questions in Britain about whether its intelligence services made use of information extracted by the CIA using brutal and unauthorised tactics in the years after the 9/11 attacks. ... Monday, December 15, 2014 Details

Abe re-elected despite low turnout in polls

Tokyo—Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won comfortable re-election Sunday in a snap poll he had billed as a referendum on his economic policies after early success faded into a recession. But a low turnout from unenthusiastic voters beset by a heavy snowfall could cast doubt on the endorsement he will claim for “Abenomics” — his signature plan to fix the country’s flaccid economy. ... Monday, December 15, 2014 Details

Israel vote puts PM, centre-left on clashing course

Jerusalem—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces a growing threat from centre-left rivals who have joined forces to try to oust the rightwing leader in snap elections, experts say. The challenge will come from an alliance between Isaac Herzog’s Labour party and the centrist HaTnuah of former justice minister Tzipi Livni, whom Netanyahu dismissed along with finance minister Yair Lapid. ... Sunday, December 14, 2014 Details

Australia looking less prepared for future

AS ECONOMISTS debate whether Prime Minister Shinzo Abe can end Japan’s long funk, I can’t help but wonder if another wealthy, seemingly world-beating economy isn’t headed for its own lost decade: Australia. This mere suggestion will strike many as hyperbolic. The economy Down Under has avoided recession for more than two decades. The government enjoys a fiscal position that inspires envy in Washington and Tokyo. There remain vast resource deposits underground, while new infrastructure is coming online to extract and ship that treasure to China and elsewhere. ... Sunday, December 14, 2014 Details

Air strikes, clashes near two Libyan oil ports

Benghazi (Libya)—Forces loyal to Libya’s recognized government conducted air strikes on targets on Saturday near the eastern oil ports of Ras Lanuf and Es-Sider to stop an advance by a rival force toward the facilities, officials said. The oil ports, two of Libya’s biggest, accounting for more than 300,000 barrels a day of exports, were working normally, an oil official said. ... Sunday, December 14, 2014 Details

No sign North Korea wants to reopen talks

Beijing—Despite North Korea’s recent freeing of three American captives, the hardline communist state’s leadership appears no closer to reopening a dialogue with the outside, the chief U.S. envoy for North Korea said Friday. Ambassador Sung Kim said the U.S. and others still believe that six-nation talks on ending North Korea’s nuclear programs are the best way to proceed. Kim said the U.S. would also welcome talking directly with North Korea if there was a possibility of substantive discussions. ... Saturday, December 13, 2014 Details

French parliament readies new end-of-life legislation

Paris—French parliament will debate from January a draft law that would move a step closer to euthanasia by allowing a right to “deep and ongoing sedation” until death for terminally ill patients who request it, President Francois Hollande said. Apart from Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland, few countries in the world explicitly permit euthanasia or assisted suicide, sometimes called mercy killings. ... Saturday, December 13, 2014 Details

Russia Is Using the Past to Explain the Present

IN his address to the Federal Assembly last week, President Vladimir Putin turned again to his favorite “historical” method of reasoning to explain to the Russian people what is happening in the country and the world. In his opinion, Russia has a “right” to Crimea because it has “historically” been part of “sacred” Russian soil, and the West has “always” pursued a policy of containment against Russia. ... Saturday, December 13, 2014 Details

Cash-strapped Iraq seeks Kuwait war reparation delay

Baghdad—Iraq is seeking to postpone a final $4.6 billion installment of reparations for its 1990-91 occupation of Kuwait, Finance Minister Hoshiyar Zebari told Reuters, as it faces a cash crisis caused by falling oil prices and war with Islamic State. Since Iraq was first allowed to resume oil sales nearly two decades ago it has paid funds into a United Nations body overseeing compensation for looting and damage inflicted during Saddam Hussein’s seven-month occupation of Kuwait. ... Saturday, December 13, 2014 Details

US House okays $1.1 trn spending bill, averts shutdown

Washibgton—Facing intense pressure to avoid a government shutdown, the US House of Representatives narrowly passed a $1.1 trillion federal spending bill Thursday, sending it to the Senate after it was ushered through barely two hours before a midnight deadline. The 219-206 vote followed a bruising day of arm-twisting by the White House after dozens of Democrats revolted over pro-Wall Street and campaign-finance riders in the bill, dramatically splitting with President Barack Obama over the legislation that funds most federal operations through September. ... Saturday, December 13, 2014 Details

Racism and war in America and beyond

AMERICA’S ruling elites are blatant in their intentions of maintaining “white privilege” at home and economic dominance by military means abroad. Their “democracy” in both of these regions is a ruse, and it is yet to deliver any degree of social justice and equality to the millions of disadvantaged Americans, mostly comprising black and Latino communities. The unequal distribution of wealth in the US is simply staggering. In fact, 75.4 per cent of all wealth in the US is owned by the richest 10 per cent, according to the authoritative Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook (2013). ... Thursday, December 11, 2014 Details