Global News Journal
from Afghan Journal:
One of the first things that U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates did during his trip to India last week was to assure Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the United States did not intend to cut and run from Afghanistan. America was committed to Afghanistan for the long-term, he said, trying to calm Indian concerns over the Obama administration's stated plans to begin withdrawing troops from July 2011.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
What is the U.S. policy towards Pakistan and India, and in particular over how to deal with their rivalry over Afghanistan which complicates U.S. efforts to bring stability there? I've been trying to find an answer for weeks now amid a raft of contradictory signals and statements coming from different U.S. officials.
Edwin Paraison, Haiti’s new Minister for Haitians Living Abroad, was working in his office on Tuesday, Jan. 12, when the walls started shaking and the building fell down. The doors were blocked, but he and his assistants escaped through broken windows as Haiti’s capital was torn apart by an earthquake feared to have killed as many as 200,000 people.
They then spent four hours working to free two colleagues trapped inside the ruined building. “The four of us, we got a pickup truck, and tied a rope, and used it to pull off the rubble,” the minister said.
Since then, Paraison has been working non-stop. As the man responsible for relations with Haitians living outside their country, Paraison, who is also an Anglican priest, has served as an essential conduit for information about friends and relatives for thousands and thousands of expatriates frantic for information about loved ones.
“All I was doing was helping people, helping people,” he said. “As a priest that is what I should have done.”
But like the other government ministers, who have been reduced to holding meetings on sidewalk, Paraison has been working without an office or even a desk. But he said he felt lucky because the Minister of Finance lost his son, and the Minister of Tourism lost his mother and father.
“My office is my laptop,” he said ruefully on Saturday, during a stop at a partially collapsed hotel in the capital, Port-au-Prince. “I came here because I heard that there is Internet here and it is free.”
Paraison said he started his job two months –- to the day -– before the quake struck, after 26 years living in the Dominican Republic, first within the church, later as Haiti’s consul general and finally as a consultant.
“The prime minister, who is a good friend, called me, and asked me to please take the position,” he said, adding that he has no regrets about the timing.
“All of us who are here are writing a new history, and I feel, as a result of the tragedy, the chaos, will be a new life for those who were saved by God,” he said. “And I feel a commitment to the reconstruction.”
Photo Credit: A young Haitian girl waits at a makeshift refugee camp as her country struggles to rebuild for a powerful earthquake believed to have killed 100,000 to 200,000 people. Reuters/Eliana Aponte
Spain’s Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos recalled this week that it had been said of the previous U.S. administration that what American diplomacy needed was “regime change”. Europeans, meanwhile, he said, simply needed “a regime”.
Everybody who knew French Canadian U.N. staffer Alexandra Duguay loved her. She was attractive, energetic and extremely intelligent. I got to know her well when she worked behind the media counter at U.N. headquarters. She was always eager to make sure we reporters had the latest resolutions, U.N. reports and speeches. And in the evening she enjoyed a glass of wine or beer at the Delegates Lounge. But she was bored with her job and wanted more adventure. One morning last spring she had an unusual twinkle in her eye. I asked her if something was up and she said yes. “I’m going to Haiti.” A few months later she had her going-away party at the U.N. Correspondents Association room. She and her boyfriend prepared for their imminent deployment to Haiti, where Alex was to be a spokeswoman and media coordinator for U.N. operations in the Western hemisphere’s poorest nation.