Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

How would Pakistan fare under Obama?

Senator Barack Obama/Steve MarcusWith Senator Barack Obama looking increasingly confident about winning the Democratic nomination, there have been a new spate of articles on what it would mean for Pakistan if he becomes president.

The most eye-catching, perhaps, was a story in The News  about how President Pervez Musharraf's family in the United States have been giving donations to Obama's campaign.  "President Pervez Musharraf's family members here are supporting and giving donations to a US presidential candidate who strongly opposes the Bush administration policy of supporting and keeping the retired general in the presidency," it says.

The Daily Times, in an analysis by former Pakistani foreign secretary Najmuddin A Shaikh, says there would be little difference between Obama and the Bush administration on the need to hunt out al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan -- if needs be through unilateral U.S. action -- and on keeping its nuclear weapons safe. What the writer sees is a difference in tone,  which would be welcomed in Pakistan:

"What one can expect, however, is that Obama will be less averse - as the candidate for change - to recognising that extremism in the Muslim world flows from causes other than religious injunctions, no matter how this may be portrayed by so-called spokesmen for Islam or misguided scholars in the West," he says. "He certainly will not be talking about crusades nor will he oppose direct talks with adversaries."

from FaithWorld:

Kissinger, Iraq and India’s Muslims – a new domino theory?

Henry Kissinger at the World Economic Forum in Davos, 21 Jan 2008/Wolfgang RattayIs Henry Kissinger trying to update the domino theory to fit what he fears in 2008? He had a "Lunch with the FT" interview in Saturday's Financial Times and surprised his interviewer, historian Stephen Graubard, by linking the war in Iraq and Muslims in India. As Graubard wrote:

He believes the military “surge” is working and says the next question is when to start to move away from an exclusively military option. “This is not a war of states,” Kissinger says. “If we withdraw from Iraq, the radical elements in all the neighbouring Arab countries will be greatly encouraged.” We will, he fears, be unable to maintain ourselves in Afghanistan, or to retain our present position in Pakistan.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pakistan’s peace deals with militants: the march of folly?

SwatDespite the reservations of its principal ally, the United States, Pakistan's new civilian leaders have gone ahead and sued for peace with militants in the Swat valley this week, and by all indications are about to cut another deal, and this with the head of the Taliban in the country.

While the politicians have repeatedly emphasised their independence of action with regard to militants and vowed to pursue a different course from President Pervez Musharraf, can they really see these deals through without the Americans on board?

from Africa News blog:

S.Africa: immigrants under siege

safrica_hate_mob.jpgSouth African police say at least 13 people died over the weekend of May 17 as a wave of xenophobic violence spread to more townships. Local media put the total death toll at around 20 since the violence broke out, fuelled by widespread poverty and social problems more than decade after the end of apartheid. The bloodshed has included the "necklacing" of at least one man who was burnt to death and it has echoes of the brutal violence at the end of apartheid.
 
The immigrants, including millions who have fled from Zimbabwe, are accused of taking jobs and being responsible for the high rate of violent crime. They say they are more likely to be victims than perpetrators. The outbreak of violence is another blow to the policies of President Thabo Mbeki, accused both of spreading the fruits of black rule too slowly to his poor supporters and of failing to broker an end to Zimbabwe's crisis. It is an embarrassment for a country that was once known as one of the most welcoming to immigrants and asylum seekers. Many members of the current African National Congress (ANC) leadership took refuge abroad during the anti-apartheid struggle. Is the rainbow nation losing its unique status as a beacon of liberal attitudes in Africa? Have the South African poor lost patience with Mbeki's government?  What do you think?

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Who will be left standing when the Afghan war ends?

                                                                            U.S. marine in Afghanistan/Goran Tomasevic

"War does not determine who is right -- only who is left." (Or so said the British philosopher and anti-war activist Bertrand Russell.) So who is going to be left standing once U.S. and NATO forces have finished battling it out with the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan?

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Musharraf, “shorthand” for Pakistan?

I finally got around to reading the full text of a speech by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte to the National Endowment for Democracy's Pakistan Forum earlier this month and the following exchange caught my eye:

President Musharraf/file photoQuestion: "Does the Bush Administration still consider President Musharraf an indispensable ally?"

Myanmar: Citizen videos in Cyclone Nargis’ aftermath

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Juliana Rincon is video editor of Global Voices, which monitors citizen media in the developing world. Thomson Reuters is not responsible for the content of this post — the views are the author’s alone.


On May 2nd, 2008, Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar (Burma), generating massive damage and tens of thousands dead or missing. The situation would be considered critical for any country. However, the military government or “junta” has restricted the entrance of aid by requiring all donations to pass through them. The junta has also set up guidelines for journalists on how to report on the cyclone, restricting their communications, particularly on showing dead bodies or reporting about insufficient aid for victims, according to Burma News, a local online news source.

In spite of these restrictions on people carrying cameras and taking pictures, some have gone out to record the extent of the damage. There is anger over the failure of authorities to evacuate the affected villages, even when they were allegedly aware of the impending cyclone and the possible devastation it could cause. The following images, uploaded by YouTube user aungsayapyi may affect sensitive people: they are very graphic, include dead bodies and should be viewed with discretion and an adult’s consent:

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Thinking the unthinkable: visa-free travel between India and Pakistan

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is pushing for visa-free travel with India, and has gone to the extent of saying Islamabad might do it unilaterally  if New Delhi is not prepared to go the distance.

As ideas go, visa-free travel in a globalised world isn't anything remarkable. In the context of the tortured India-Pakistan relationship this, however, would be nothing short of a political masterstroke.

from India Insight:

Timing of Jaipur blasts will raise suspicion of Pakistani hand

Are militants, or even hawks within the Pakistani establishment, trying to undermine the peace process with India, now that President Pervez Musharraf has removed his uniform and civilians are squabbling for power?

A injured man receives treatment after a series of bomb blasts in Jaipur May 13, 2008. REUTERS/Vinay Joashi via You Witness NewsThe dust has scarcely settled on another horrific bomb attack in India, and the investigation has only just begun into the synchronised blasts in Jaipur that killed around 60 people .

PangeaDay: an event lived worldwide

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Juliana Rincon is video editor of Global Voices, which monitors citizen media in the developing world. Thomson Reuters is not responsible for the content of this post — the views are the author’s alone.

PangeaDay LogoPangea Day took place Saturday, and people from different parts of the world got together to watch movies and to be a part of a worldwide event in which movies, speakers and music showed us a bit of life on the other side of the globe, uniting people from all walks of life. It also included a mobile video contest with an international lineup of winners.

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