Sanjeev's Feed
Nov 30, 2010

Euro lower, stocks struggle on euro zone worries

SINGAPORE, Nov 30 (Reuters) – The euro held near a
two-month low on Tuesday and major stock indexes edged lower
as fears that Ireland’s fiscal problems could spread to more
euro zone countries weighed on investor sentiment.

An 85 billion euro rescue package for Dublin and a
permanent debt resolution system, agreed by euro zone
ministers at the weekend, were designed to stop a debt crisis
that has engulfed Greece and Ireland from moving on to
Portugal and, perhaps, Spain.

Nov 21, 2010
via Afghan Journal

Bring on the tanks, they’ll come to like them in Afghanistan

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(File picture of a M1 Abrams tank deployed in Iraq)

The United States is introducing tanks into the fight against the Taliban in the Afghan south for the first time since 2001, but the logic behind the move is still being hotly debated.

One of the reasons advanced is that the arrival of the M1 Abrams tank, propelled by a jet engine and armed with a 120mm gun that can destroy a house  more than a mile away, is going to shake up the battlefield.   “The tanks bring awe, shock and firepower,”  The Washington Post  quoted a senior U.S. officer based in Afghanistan as saying. “It’s pretty significant.”

Nov 18, 2010
via Afghan Journal

Ahead of Lisbon, soul-searching in Pakistan

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For all of former Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf’s faults, the one thing you would have to give him credit for is the emergence of a free press. It’s every bit as fearless, and questioning as its counterpart across the border in India, sometimes even stepping over the line, as some complain.

Indeed east of the Suez, and perhaps all the way to Japan, it would be hard to find a media that is as unrestrained as in India and Pakistan, which is even more remarkable in the case of Pakistan given the threat posed by a deadly militancy.

Nov 14, 2010
via Afghan Journal

Saudi Arabia spot on UN women agency triggers outcry

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The United Nations has set up a new super agency to better fight for the rights of women around the world including Afghanistan. This week UN Women, as the new body is called, held elections to choose countries to sit on the board and the results have triggered a storm of criticism even before the new agency formally comes into being next January. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia were in the running for a seat, and while Iran got displaced at the last minute in the vote, the Saudis are through.

And that has provoked the wrath of rights activists and commentators.  The idea of the conservative desert kingdom, where women cannot drive or take significant decisions without the permission of a male  relative or work as supermarket cashiers, leading a global fight for the promotion of women’s rights is hard to accept, they say. How can you take the UN seriously, asks Greg Scoblete in a short piece on  Real Clear World’s Compass blog headlined  : Saudi Arabia bastion for women’s rights.

Nov 9, 2010
via Afghan Journal

India, U.S. build ties, with an eye on China

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In the end, Pakistan wasn’t the unspoken elephant in the room when U.S. President Barack Obama sat down for talks with Indian leaders. Far from tip-toeing around India’s Pakistan problem which complicates America’s own troubled war there and in Afghanistan, Obama spoke clearly and squarely.

Safe havens for militants in Pakistan wouldn’t be tolerated, he said, in what was music to Indian ears. But he also left nobody in doubt Washington wanted India to improve ties with Pakistan, saying New Delhi had the greatest stake in the troubled neighbour’s stability.

Nov 4, 2010

Qantas engine failure “the scariest thing I’ve seen”

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Passengers on the giant Qantas Airways jet forced to make an emergency landing in Singapore on Thursday said they heard a loud bang and saw pieces of one of the engines fall off soon after take-off for Sydney.

The Airbus A380, which had originated in London and was carrying 459 people, suffered failure of one of its four engines.

Nov 4, 2010

Qantas grounds giant A380s after engine failure

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Qantas Airways suspended flights of its Airbus A380 fleet on Thursday after engine failure triggered an emergency landing in Singapore, one of the most serious incidents for the world’s largest passenger plane in three years of commercial flight.

The Airbus A380, which had originated in London and was carrying 459 people, suffered failure of one of its four engines shortly after it had left the island state en route for Sydney.

Nov 4, 2010

Qantas grounds giant A380s after emergency landing

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Qantas Airways suspended flights of its Airbus A380 fleet on Thursday after engine failure triggered an emergency landing in Singapore, one of the most serious incidents for the world’s largest passenger plane in three years of commercial flight.

The Airbus A380, which had originated in London and was carrying 459 people, suffered failure of one of its four engines shortly after it had left the island state en route for Sydney.

Nov 3, 2010
via Afghan Journal

Lost in translation : the Afghan War

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U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan will have to demonstrate basic proficiency in Dari, the lingua franca of the country, Mother Jones  reports. It’s the latest of the orders issued by commander of U.S. and NATO forces, General David Petraeus, in a late bid to bridge the gulf with citizens. “Even a few phrases really breaks the ice and just shows good intentions,” Petraeus says in an  interview on the U.S. army- run Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System. Here’s the video.

Is it too little, too late ? Some military experts point out that just about half of Afghanistan speaks Dari.  Over a third speak Pashto, followed by Turkic languages including Uzbek and Turkmen and then 30 minor languages according to the CIA’ Factbook.  Are the soldiers going to learn a smattering of these languages too, especially Pashto, the language of the original Afghan Taliban and other Pashtuns who straddle both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border ?