Pakistan Observer


Russia, Europe in a race to the bottom

AS EUROPE and Russia head into another round of sanctions, economic data are driving home an important point: Nobody stands to win in this tit-for-tat battle. The International Energy Agency’s September Oil Market Report offered bad news for Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling a recent slowdown in oil demand growth “nothing short of remarkable.” The IEA noted that the pace of growth was at a 30-month low in the second quarter and cut its 2014 and 2015 forecasts, blaming economic weakness in Europe and deceleration in China. ... Tuesday, September 23, 2014 Details

The Scot ‘no’ which changed the UK

With results from the 32 councils declared, the ‘no’ voters of Scotland carried referendum day and opted to stay in the union, that is, the United Kingdom. The margin — 55% ‘no’ to 45% ‘yes’ — still means that every other Scot wants independence of some sort from the UK and its London-centric Westminster government. ... Tuesday, September 23, 2014 Details

Convert tragedy into opportunity

WHEN Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi played the Rambo in his previous avatar as the chief political executive of Gujarat and supposedly rescued 15,000 people in just 48 hours during the devastating Uttarakhand flood last year, the country was mesmerized by his apparently incredible micromanagement skills. ... Tuesday, September 23, 2014 Details

UAE world’s third most attractive infrastructure investment market

abu dhabi—The UAE is the third most attractive market in the world for investment in infrastructure, according to EC Harris, the global asset consultancy company. The UAE ranked third globally and second regionally for its strong business environment, healthy pipeline of development work and growing economy, making it an attractive country for investors including pension funds and banks. ... Tuesday, September 23, 2014 Details

Sri Lanka president suffers political blow in vote test

Colombo—Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse suffered a political blow Sunday when his ruling party’s popularity dropped in a local election seen as a gauge for snap presidential polls. Although Rajapakse’s United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) won the election in the island’s southeastern province, its popularity plummeted by up to 22.98 percentage points from the last polls there in 2009, results showed. ... Tuesday, September 23, 2014 Details

Air France offers to postpone low-cost project to end strike

paris—The head of Air France-KLM offered on Monday to postpone roll-out of its European low-cost operation until the end of the year in a bid to end a week-long pilots’ strike costing it millions of euros a day. Setting out what he called a “final proposal”, Alexandre de Juniac told Le Monde daily the aim was to buy time for detailed negotiations with pilot representatives on the plan. ... Tuesday, September 23, 2014 Details

IS jihadists urge killing of citizens from US-led coalition

baghdad—The Islamic State group called on Muslims to kill citizens of all countries taking part in the US-led anti-jihadist coalition by any available means, in a statement posted online Monday. “If you can kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian or any other disbeliever... including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him,” said Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, the group’s spokesman. ... Tuesday, September 23, 2014 Details

Yemen government signs peace deal with Shiites

Sanaa (Yemen)—Yemeni government officials and Shiite rebels signed a peace agreement on Sunday following days of violence that left more than 140 people dead and sent thousands fleeing their homes, state media said, although major rebel advances earlier in the day deepened a sense of uncertainty in the country. ... Tuesday, September 23, 2014 Details

Christianity in Iraq is finished ?

IN the part of his Sept. 10 speech on confronting the Islamic State that probably drew the least attention, President Obama mentioned the need to help Christians and other minorities, expelled from cities and villages in northern Iraq, return from where they came. “We cannot allow these communities to be driven from their ancient homeland,” he said. Obama got that wrong. Christians, of whom around 120,000 have taken refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan, will not be going home even if their tormentors suddenly disappear. I spent 10 days talking with Christian refugees in Irbil, the capital of the northern autonomous region of Kurdistan, this month, and they are adamant they will not be returning to Mosul and nearby towns on what is known as the Nineveh Plain. ... Monday, September 22, 2014 Details

Obama’s ‘stupid stuff’ turned upside down

I’ve been rovin’ around Europe for a while and the star of the show is definitely The Caliph. Former Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has totally outstripped Vladimir Putin as Doctor Evil of the hour. Where’s a good ol’ Cold War 2.0 when you need it? Well, upstaged by the Pentagon’s “long war” - our familiar GWOT (Global War on Terror). ... Monday, September 22, 2014 Details

Is another Quebec in the making?

A week ago, the “Kurdistan Times” warned “the British are exercising the old colonialist tongue to control the minds and dampen the aspirations of Scottish people who want to vote Yes (to independence).” And lo! It came to pass just as the Kurdistan Times predicted. The silver-tongued colonialists lured the Scots into voting No, and by a fairly healthy margin, too: 55 percent No, 45 percent Yes. ... Monday, September 22, 2014 Details

Ukraine: ceasefire violations hold up creation of buffer zone

Kiev—The Ukrainian military accused separatists and Russian troops on Sunday of continuing to shoot at government forces despite a Sept. 5 ceasefire and said Kiev would not go ahead with setting up a proposed buffer zone until the truce violations stopped. Ukraine’s warring sides agreed on Friday to withdraw artillery and other heavy weapons to the outer limits of a 30 km (19 mile) buffer zone, building on the ceasefire in a conflict in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 3,000 people. ... Monday, September 22, 2014 Details

Pope denounces perversion of religion for violence

Tirana—Pope Francis denounced that extremists around the world are “perverting” religion to justify violence as he arrived Sunday in Albania, a Balkan nation where Christians and Muslims endured brutal religious oppression under communism but today live and work together peacefully. ... Monday, September 22, 2014 Details

UK hostage’s wife issues plea to militants

London—The wife of a British aid worker held hostage by the Islamic State group has issued a statement pleading for the militants to release him and respond to her messages “before it is too late.” The Islamic State group, which has released online videos showing the beheading of two American journalists and another British aid worker, has threatened to kill former taxi driver Alan Henning next. Henning, 47, was kidnapped in December in Syria, shortly after crossing into the country from Turkey in an aid convoy. His wife, Barbara, implored the militants to “see it in their hearts” to release him in a statement released by Britain’s Foreign Office late Saturday. ... Monday, September 22, 2014 Details

Last king of Nepal suffers heart attack

Katmandu—Doctors say Nepal’s former king has suffered a heart attack and has been hospitalized. Dr Bharat Rawat at the Norvic Hospital in Katmandu said Gyanendra Shah was brought to the hospital Saturday night. He was recovering in the intensive care unit and was out of danger. ... Monday, September 22, 2014 Details


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