Oct 042017
Amnesty International Urges Halt to Afghan Refugee Returns

KABUL The human rights group Amnesty International urged European nations on Thursday to stop sending Afghans who do not qualify for asylum back to their deeply unsafe home country, saying the policy risked causing serious harm to those affected.The call comes after a steady rise in violence over recent years as the Taliban has gained ground across the country and cities including the capital Kabul have been hit by a wave of suicide attacks.Amnesty International is calling on all European countries to implement a moratorium on returns to Afghanistan until they can take place in safety and dignity, the group said in a report issued on Thursday.Sharp increase in return of refugeesIt said the Afghan government should not cooperate with sending people back, despite its dependence on foreign aid.The report follows a sharp increase in the number of Afghans returned from Europe, either as a result of forced deportation or assisted voluntary return. It said the total almost tripled from 3,290 to 9,460 between 2015 and 2016.In their determination to increase the number of deportations, European governments are implementing a policy that is reckless and unlawful, said Anna Shea, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Refugee and Migrant Rights.She said governments were being wilfully blind to evidence that violence was at a record high.Afghans have been among the main groups of asylum seekers in Europe, with 108,455 first time asylum seekers registered in the European Union in the 12 months to the end of June, second only to Syrians, according to EU [Read More…]

Sep 092017

ANKARA: Turkish security forces have killed 99 Kurdish militants, including a high-ranking one, in operations in southeast Turkey over the last two weeks, the armed forces said on Saturday. Security forces targeted outposts and caves used by the militants for shelter and storage in the southeastern provinces of Sirnak and Hakkari, near the Iraqi border, the military said in a statement. “Ninety-nine terrorists have been neutralised. One is in the so-called leading ranks,” it said. Turkey seeks Pakistan’s help against PKK, IS The outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), considered a terrorist organisation by the United States, Turkey and the European Union, has waged a more than three-decade-long insurgency against the state. The PKK, which seeks autonomy for the largely Kurdish southeast, has bases in the mountains on both sides of the Turkey-Iraq border and is frequently targeted by Turkish security forces. The operations, which were carried out between August 24 and September 7, led to the seizure of 420 kg (925 lbs) of ammonium nitrate, used to make explosives, as well as bombs, guns and rifles, the military said. The post 99 Kurdish militants killed in latest operations: Turkish military appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Jun 172017
Murray talks up Bonding experience in traumatic times

LONDON: Iconic British secret agent James Bond’s ability to unite the British people is required now more than ever, tennis star Andy Murray said in a candid interview with The Times on Saturday. The 30-year-old defending Wimbledon champion was speaking about unity after a year in which the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union and suffered three deadly terror attacks as well as this week’s devastating fire in London. Murray, talking ahead of the key Wimbledon warm-up event at Queen’s which gets underway on Monday in London, told The Times: “Every time a new James Bond movie comes out everyone’s so pumped for it and we start comparing the Bonds. “People know James Bond as being a British icon. “With everything that’s happened over the last year, the country has a decision to make. “Does it divide us or does it bring us together. The closer together we become, the better it is for the country,” said Murray, who came out in support of a pro Scottish independence vote  in 2014. Murray, whose mother Judy joined him in being honoured by Queen Elizabeth II on Friday, said unlike Bond he craves to go unrecognised. “I don’t like being the centre of attention and obviously when you lose a match and there are lots of people around, you just want to go unnoticed,” he said. Murray has been promoting this weekend’s ‘The Great Get Together’ to honour the politician Jo Cox who was murdered a year ago. He agreed [Read More…]

May 312017
Modi urges Spanish firms to invest in India

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday urged Spanish firms to invest in India, saying the fast-growing country offered “many opportunities” in areas ranging from tourism to energy. “India is an enormous country and it offers many opportunities to Spanish firms in all sectors,” he said in Hindi as he arrived at Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's official residence in Madrid for talks. “I invite Spanish firms to participate in our development,” he added. Modi, who arrived in Spain late on Tuesday from Germany, his first stop on a four-nation Europe tour, was scheduled to meet with King Felipe VI later on Wednesday. He was also to meet Spanish business leaders as part of his push to drum up more foreign investment in India, the world's fastest-growing major economy. “Spanish firms are global leaders in sectors that are a priority for us. We want to attract tourism, infrastructure, energy and defence firms,” Modi said in an interview published in Spanish business daily Expansion. Spain is India's seventh largest trading partner in the European Union. Two-way trade totalled 4.72 billion euros ($5.27 billion) in 2016, an 8.5 percent increase over the previous year, of which Spanish exports made up nearly 1.26 billion euros. The number of Spanish firms that operate in India has risen to over 230 currently from just 70 in 2008. “Our bilateral relations are becoming more and more intense. I hope this visit spurs deeper ties between our two countries,” Rajoy said. It is the first visit by [Read More…]

May 212017
Voice of the majority

Fata is strategically an important region with an area of 27,220 kms and a population between 5 and 10 millions. Any decision regarding Fata should be taken by asking the people of Fata through referendum. Inclusion of KP (former NWFP) with Pakistan was done through a referendum. The UK’s decision to withdraw from the European Union was done through a referendum, although Britain had an elected government at that time. Referendum in Fata about the future status of the area by its people will end this debate once for all. Dr Ziauddin Peshawar Click for detailed story

May 072017

PARIS: Pro-European centrist Emmanuel Macron resoundingly won France’s landmark presidential election on Sunday, first estimates showed, defeating far-right leader Marine Le Pen in a pivotal vote for the future of the divided country and Europe. At 39, the former investment banker will be the country’s youngest-ever leader and faces a huge challenge to heal a fractured and demoralised country. The vicious election campaign has exposed deep economic and social divisions, as well as tensions around identity and immigration. “A new chapter in our long history begins tonight. I want it to be one of hope and renewed confidence,” Macron told AFP in a call shortly after results were released. ‘Macronleaks’: Hackers find flaw in French cyber-fortress Initial estimates showed Macron winning between 65 per cent and 66.1 per cent of the ballots — a higher than expected score – and Le Pen scoring between 33.9 per cent and 35 per cent. Unknown three years ago, Macron is now poised to become one of Europe’s most powerful leaders, bringing with him a hugely ambitious agenda of political and economic reform for France and the European Union. The result will resonate worldwide and particularly in Brussels and Berlin where leaders will breathe a sigh of relief that Le Pen’s anti-EU, anti-globalisation programme has been defeated. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said it was a “victory for a strong and united Europe”, while EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said French voters had chosen a “European future.” The jittery French elections After Britain’s vote last [Read More…]

May 042017

BRUSSELS: The EU opened a new ‘House of European History’ museum in Brussels on Thursday, focusing on the past with a nod to the future after Britain’s vote to leave. The 55-million-euro museum features badges from the successful “Leave” and doomed “Remain” campaigns along with a ballot from last June’s Brexit referendum. But they form only a tiny part of a collection that stretches back through the turbulent history of the continent, focusing mainly on the 20th century. Exhibits cover the two world wars and the Holocaust through the Cold War and the formation of the European Union, to the present day. May takes tough Brexit stance as UK holds local elections Opening the museum, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani rejected suggestions that the museum was propaganda for the 28-nation – soon to be 27-nation – bloc at a time of crisis. “Here we do not have a line to take. There are many different messages, our history and our heritage is here, our problems and disasters too,” he told a news conference. “But by studying the past we can have a better future.” Museum board of trustees chief Hans-Gert Pottering, himself a former EU parliament head, said the exhibition celebrated European “values” at a time when growing populism and instability calls them into question. “In politics and especially in the European Union, everything is in danger. And if we do not defend the European Union it might have a very difficult future,” he said. Pottering said the decision to include [Read More…]

Mar 222017

ANKARA, TURKEY: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Wednesday that Europeans risk being unsafe on the world’s streets, as a crisis between Ankara and the EU showed no signs of abating. “If you continue to behave like this, tomorrow in no part of the world, no European, no westerner will be able to take steps on the street safely and peacefully,” Erdogan said during a speech in Ankara. Erdogan did not expand on what he meant by his comments but appeared to imply that Europeans risked receiving the same treatment that, he says, is endured by Turks and Muslims in Europe. Relations between Turkey and Europe have been severely strained since Turkish ministers were thwarted from campaigning on the continent for a ‘yes’ vote in next month’s referendum on expanding Erdogan’s powers. Ankara has said such behaviour was reminiscent of Nazi Germany and also raised alarm over what it sees as rising racism and Islamophobia. Erdogan warned Europe that Turkey was “not a country to push, to prod, to play with its honour, to shove its ministers out of the door, drag its citizens on the floor.” He said the world was watching Europe’s actions “very closely”, adding: “We as Turkey urge Europe to respect democracy, human rights, freedoms.” His repeated comparisons with Nazi Germany have been strongly condemned by the European Union as well as Berlin and the Hague, precipitating a crisis that has raised doubts over the viability of Turkey’s EU bid. Germany says Erdogan has ‘gone too far’ [Read More…]

Feb 022017

VALLETTA:  European Union leaders will try to rally together to revive the beleaguered bloc at a special summit in Malta on Friday in the face of “threats” from migration, Brexit and Donald Trump. It is the latest in a series of crisis meetings since Britain voted to leave the EU last June, but fears about the new US president have strengthened the sense that the bloc is now at a decisive moment in its history. The first part of the meeting, which all 28 leaders will attend, will focus on the migration crisis amid warnings of a new surge in people making the dangerous sea crossing from Libya. “Our main goal for the Malta summit is to stem the flow of irregular migration from Libya to Europe. This is the only way to stop people dying in the deserts and at sea,” EU President Donald Tusk said in Valletta on Thursday. Yemenis pray, protest in NY against Trump travel ban British premier Theresa May will miss the second part when the other 27 discuss the way ahead after Brexit, including a flagship summit in Rome in March to mark the EU’s 60th anniversary. With doubts growing over the Trump administration’s commitment to the transatlantic alliance with Europe, the leaders will also discuss “international issues” facing the union.  ‘Highly unpredictable’  Tusk, who will chair the summit, warned this week that Trump was a “threat” to the EU along with Russian aggression, an increasingly assertive China and domestic populism. In a letter [Read More…]

Jan 162017
A mega project

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has successfully acknowledged itself as a promising and viable mega economic trade project among the international community. After Russia’s interest in the project, it is reported that several European Union countries are also looking for their possible attachment with the project. It is important to note that internationally acclaimed economists across the world have testified the positive implications of the CPEC on not only bilateral and regional trade volume but also on the international trade. This facilitative trade route is a welcome sign for all the emerging economies of the world because their trade exchange with China and Pakistan will now reach their countries at a lesser travelling cost. The CPEC, when completed and fully operational, will hopefully establish Pakistan as a stable economy in the world with equally developed provinces. An active progress towards this vital project is no doubt a commendable step of the government. Maria Rashid Lahore Click for detailed story

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