ISLAMABAD—Fresh clashes between antigovernment protesters and police broke out in the Pakistani capital’s government quarter on Monday, a day after the military warned the administration of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif against “further use of force” to quell the spreading unrest.
Pakistan’s military also deployed armed soldiers around government buildings, checking the protesters’ advance on the prime minister’s official residence as darkness fell in Islamabad.
The police, which had been at the forefront of resisting the protesters over the weekend, retreated to the edge of the government quarter.
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The renewed violence, which adds to a political crisis that threatens to bring down Mr. Sharif’s government, came as the military denied Monday that it had asked the prime minister to quit or that it was supporting the protesters.
Some Pakistani media had reported that army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif had advised Mr. Sharif to step down at a meeting that took place Monday.
“Army is an apolitical institution and has expressed its unequivocal support for democracy at numerous occasions. It is unfortunate that Army is dragged into such controversies,” the military said. The military’s spokesman said on Twitter that reports the army chief had asked Mr. Sharif to resign were “baseless.” The prime minister’s office also denied that any such message was conveyed.
“The military would never directly tell the prime minister to resign,” said a security adviser familiar with the military’s thinking. “That would allow him to become a political martyr.”
Aides said the prime minister was determined to resist pressure to resign. The government privately believes that the protesters are supported by the military, in a bid to weaken or oust the prime minister.
Mr. Sharif told a meeting of leaders of other political parties that “he will not resign or go on leave under any pressure,” his office said in a statement.
“The constitution is supreme here, and we will not allow its supremacy to be damaged at any cost,” the statement said.
Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and Muslim cleric Tahir ul Qadri led thousands of protesters in a march to Islamabad on Aug. 15 for a sit-in in front of Pakistan’s parliament, demanding Mr. Sharif’s resignation and alleging that the ruling party rigged last year’s elections. Mr. Sharif denied fraud allegations and most court challenges to the election’s results had been unsuccessful.
Mr. Khan is pressing for fresh elections, while Mr. Qadri is calling for “revolution.” As a softer alternative, Mr. Khan has suggested that the prime minister leave his office on a “holiday” for a month, while a promised judicial investigation into the election-rigging allegations takes place.
Many analysts believe that even if the prime minister survives for the time being, his influential brother, Shahbaz Sharif, could be made to resign as chief minister of Punjab, the country’s most populous province. In June, police in Punjab opened fire on Mr. Qadri’s headquarters, killing at least 10 of his followers, an action that first ignited the political turmoil.
The Supreme Court may now emerge as the arbitrator of the crisis, lawyers said, with hearings on the issue due on Tuesday.
Over the weekend, three protesters died and more than 500 were injured in clashes with police using tear gas, rubber bullets and baton charges, as the demonstrators had attempted to march on the prime minister’s house.
Earlier Monday, antigovernment protesters briefly occupied the headquarters of the country’s state television, where they smashed equipment and caused its broadcast to go blank for almost an hour. Armed soldiers and paramilitary Rangers forces arrived at the scene by noon local time, prompting the protesters to leave the building. The soldiers surrounded the compound.
Protesters also made further attempts Monday to move toward the prime minister’s official residence, gaining some ground and leading to fresh casualties among both police and protesters, with hospitals reporting that at least one demonstrator was brought in with rubber-bullet injuries.
Parliament, the prime minister’s residence and office, the president’s office, the Supreme Court and ministries are all located in Islamabad’s government quarter. The police forces that were previously deployed around these buildings were replaced Monday with soldiers. Many embassies, including the U.S. Embassy, are located in the area.
Mr. Sharif came to power after a landslide victory in the May 2013 elections. His previous stint in power was ended by a 1999 military coup, and he has been at loggerheads with the country’s powerful military establishment over a series of issues, including the trial of former dictator Pervez Musharraf on treason charges and the civilian government’s attempts to improve relations with India.
Talat Hussain, a leading political talk-show host, said the military’s aim was to “dilute” Mr. Sharif, either by weakening or ousting him. But Mr. Sharif has refused to be shunted out of office, meaning the military would have to stage an outright takeover to remove him, he said.
“Nawaz Sharif is saying you’ll have to drag me out, and with me will go the parliament and the constitution,” said Talat Hussain, a leading political talk-show host.
The armed forces have directly ruled Pakistan for half its 67-year history. Democracy was restored in 2008, after the latest period of military rule. Analysts believe the military, which is battling Taliban and al Qaeda jihadists in the northwest, doesn’t want to directly assume power at this time. A coup would imperil U.S. aid that Washington pegs at some $3 billion a year, U.S. officials say.
The military said the army chief met with his top commanders late Sunday. Afterward, the military advised the government to go back into talks with protest leaders.
“While reaffirming support to democracy, the conference reviewed with serious concern the existing political crisis and the violent turn it has taken, resulting in large-scale injuries and loss of lives,” a statement from the military said. “It was once again reiterated that the situation should be resolved politically without wasting any time and without recourse to violent means.”
EDMONTON – Powel Crosley was lost after his wife died of a rare form of ovarian cancer. But he felt compelled to carry on her fight somehow against the disease and to help find a treatment for others — so … Continue Reading
VANCOUVER – It’s back to class today for students across most of Canada — the exception being British Columbia where the teacher’s strike will extend the summer vacations of some half a million public school kids. The long-running labour feud … Continue Reading
OTTAWA – Oxidized copper is no longer the only cause of green rooftops around Parliament Hill. The parliamentary precinct got its first live green roof last week. Hundreds of sprigs of stonecrop, a low-growing, low-maintenance ground cover, were planted on … Continue Reading
OTTAWA – The number of Canadian firms applying for lucrative medical marijuana licences has topped 1,000, as a so-called “greenrush” continues to overwhelm Health Canada. So far, only two new licences have been approved this summer even as the department … Continue Reading
Two Kuwaiti lawmakers have called for revoking the passports of any Kuwaiti who harms the country’s reputation abroad amid embarrassing reports about Kuwaiti travelers making a nuisance and a spectacle of themselves in public.
In a news item appearing in a Gulf paper, Nabeel al-Fadl was quoted as saying that the interior minister should look seriously at those Kuwaitis tarnishing the country’s image abroad. Another member of parliament, Abdul Hamid Dashti, also called for a debate on this subject.
Social media has brought to our attention various types of behavior best described as not in harmony with Islamic or Arab traditions. Though only a minority may be involved, their actions grab the attention of the press in foreign countries and cast a blanket accusation against all.
Among the issues brought up in the Kuwaiti case, which by the way are applicable to other Gulf states, are examples of a Kuwaiti female tourist using flip flop sandals to hit her children in public, young people tampering with fountains and people throwing empty plastic bags and cans and other litter everywhere they go…
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Western countries are only now just barely speaking of revoking passports for the head-choppers. In a globalized world, old concepts of “freedom” may eventually become out of date.
AmaWaterways will christen two ships next year, the AmaSerena and the AmaVista. Both 164-passenger vessels will cruise the Danube, and Main and Rhine rivers. These ships are sisters of the AmaSonata, which I had the pleasure of sailing on a […]
The 29-year-old working for a firm subcontracted by energy giant EDF had been granted access to nuclear installations as part of his job throughout 2012 and 2013.
But in March 2014 the man, who cannot be named according to French law, had his pass to enter the Nogent-sur-Seine nuclear power station revoked.
Officials said he had links with a jihadist terrorist group and that he was in touch with an imam involved in recruiting youngsters to fight in Iraq.
A court in the north-eastern town of Chalons-en-Champagne upheld the ban saying the management could prevent those “undergoing a process of political and religious radicalisation” from accessing sensitive sites…
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Milos Raonic was eliminated from the U.S. Open by Japan’s Kei Nishikori in five sets early Tuesday. The 10th-seeded Nishikori prevailed 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the quarter-finals after a match … Continue Reading
ART-HOUSE THRILLS Night Moves: Four stars out of five — It’s the sense of alienation that lingers. Like a morning haze that never burns off, Kelly Reichardt’s latest movie Night Moves hangs over you with a slightly icy chill. It’s […]
Somehow, I’m beginning to suspect that Justice is carried out differently in Scotland than anywhere else in the civilized world.
|“I never killed anyone who didn’t need killing.”|
|I REALLY Needed Killing!|
I find it perversely weird, in what is so obviously an open and shut case of self-defense, could ever have been prosecuted as a murder, and then a knuckle headed judge makes the victim serve six years!
Patrick Bradley most assuredly needed killing.
He really DID! The world is a better place because he’s not in it! The sun will shine slightly brighter tomorrow because it’s not shining on him.
Maybe England isn’t sleeping, but she is instead in a full blown coma?
More at the Daily Mail
The judge’s own words: “It’s clear you were prepared to be met with violence, or at least the threat of violence, and went armed to meet it.”
And so? Your point would be… what… hishonor?
Beijing has warned pro-democracy campaigners in Hong Kong that anyone striving for independence or a deviation from socialist values “will not have a political future”.
Li Fei, secretary-general of the body that sits at the top of China’s parliament, issued the warning after Beijing announced that it, and not Hong Kong islanders, would choose the candidates for the 2017 election of chief executive of the former British colony.
Members of the legislative council and protesters heckled, waved anti-Beijing placards and were eventually removed from the hall where Mr Li was speaking. Despite the dissent, he did not shy away from underlining Beijing’s resistance to loosening its grip. Anyone who aspired to “Hong Kong becoming an independent political entity or [to] change the socialist system will not have a political future”, he said.
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He was met with chants of: “The central government broke its promise. Shameless.” Protesters were escorted out. Demonstrators tried to force their way into the hall, with police using pepper spray on at least four of them. There was also a brief clash between pro-Beijing and pro-democracy supporters.
Mr Li was addressing Hong Kong officials following Sunday’s announcement about the format of the 2017 chief executive election. The holder of the post is effectively prime minister of the island. Hopes of a democratic election were crushed, with Beijing insisting that candidates would need to be approved by at least half of a largely pro-party committee.
The protests took place the day after activists in Hong Kong declared an “era of civil disobedience”. The protest group Occupy Central, which organised a pro-democracy rally in Hong Kong on July 1 attended by about 500,000 people, has promised to occupy the financial district soon in response to Beijing’s stubbornness.
Benny Tai Yui-ting, its leader, speaking to thousands of supporters at a rally on Sunday, promised “wave after wave” of protest. The group said its occupation would take place within weeks.
Lee Cheuk-yan, a Labour party politician , said that there would be a “full-scale fight” against Beijing’s decision, with other members of the legislative council saying they would attempt to veto it.
Another protest, organised by students, is to take place this month outside government buildings in Hong Kong’s Admiral area.
Alex Chow, head of the Federation of Students and one of the protesters removed from the hall yesterday, said that 11 colleges would be represented at the protest. “If we go out on the street, [Beijing] can either crack down on us or change its proposal to give us real democracy,” he said.
Go to TSN.ca for details. #TSN
PHILADELPHIA – Busloads of tourists line up every day in Philadelphia to take photos with a statue of Rocky Balboa, the fictional heavyweight fighter made famous by Sylvester Stallone. Will they line up for pictures with a sculpture of real … Continue Reading
This absurd idea is based on the British government’s fundamental and unshakable assumption that Islam is a Religion of Peace, and that jihad terrorists are misunderstanding and misinterpreting it. So all that needs to be done is teach them the true, peaceful Islam, and all will be well, right?
B.C. public school classrooms are as empty as the bargaining table between the province and BC Teachers’ Federation this week as no deal been struck nor future meetings set. This weekend, negotiations between the province and teachers’ union came to … Continue Reading
(Reuters) – A Swedish anti-immigration party is likely to score its best ever general election result this month, as a growing number of voters question the cost of the country’s open door asylum policy.
Opinion polls show that a majority in Sweden, where 16% of the population is foreign-born, still backs the liberal regime which over the decades has welcomed refugees from Chile and Yugoslavia to Somalia and Syria.
An absolute political consensus in support of the policy, however, is no more in a nation divided over record numbers of asylum seekers as Sweden’s cradle-to-grave welfare system comes under strain.
A decade ago questioning the policy of granting refuge to those fleeing oppression and war was almost taboo, even though a sizeable number of Swedes have long believed that it is too lenient. Now high unemployment, declining welfare and worsening standards in schools have helped to put the debate center stage in the election campaign.
In August, center-right Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, facing defeat in the Sept. 14 vote, broke an unwritten rule among mainstream parties of supporting the policy unreservedly. The cost of receiving new asylum seekers, he said, would leave little room for more spending on boosting jobs and improving schools.
“The Prime Minister has confirmed it – the election is a choice between mass immigration and welfare. You choose on Sept. 14,” Jimmie Akesson, leader of the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, immediately tweeted after Reinfeldt’s speech.
Opinion polls give the Sweden Democrats around 10% support – almost double their showing four years ago – and they could become the third biggest party in parliament behind the favorites, the center-left Social Democrats, and Reinfeldt’s struggling Moderates…
Follow along as Andrew takes an intriguing person out for a night on the town, visiting some of Toronto’s newest hot spots and offering tips on how you can create your own date night. This year Colin Geddes will be … Continue Reading
“We’re closely following the events on the Golan Heights where al-Nusra [Front] terrorists have kidnapped UN peacekeepers,” Netanyahu told Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), according to a statement released by the Government Press Office.
Al-Nusra Front fighters took control of the Quneitra crossing between Israel and Syria last week and subsequently took Fijian peacekeepers hostage, and attacked Philippine UNDOF soldiers.
The Filipinos, occupying two UN camps, fought the rebels on Saturday. A first group of 35 peacekeepers was then successfully escorted out of one camp by Irish and Filipino forces in armored vehicles.
The remaining 40 peacekeepers were besieged at the second camp by more than 100 gunmen who rammed the camp’s gates with their trucks and fired mortar rounds. The Filipinos returned fire in self-defense, Philippine military officials said.
“What we see is that al-Nusra, Hamas, Hezbollah — backed by Iran, al-Qaeda and these other terrorists groups are basically defying all international norms, breaking them whether in Lebanon, in Syria or in Gaza,” Netanyahu said…
I don’t generally use my bike on Ottawa’s multipurpose pathways. Because I heard somewhere that you’re only supposed to do 20km/h on them. I prefer to ride faster than that. Once, while cycling on Colonel By (not five feet from one of said pathways) I had a motorist yell at me to get off the road and use the pathway.
From the first notes of the national anthem, it was clear this performance was about something more than music.
In a city besieged by barbarian hordes, who view musical instruments as blasphemy and concerts as profane, listening to Iraq’s National Symphony Orchestra was an act of dignified defiance.
For more than 850 people, who packed the National Theatre in Baghdad, the sounds of Elgar, Liszt and Stravinsky were a chance to forget the daily drumbeat of car bombs and suicide attacks, which have once again become the city’s unwelcome soundtrack.
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“This is the only way we can breathe,” said Naji Hassan, an art student, who was ten years old when the US-led invasion, in 2003, unleashed a decade of violence on Iraq.
Today, it is Islamic State militants who have captured huge swathes of the country’s north and are threatening Iraq with another civil war.
“These concerts make us think we are people, not just numbers and statistics and casualties of war,” said Dr Mustafa Saleh, a dentist from Mansour, an upmarket suburb in the west of the city.
“We are not barbarians,” he added. “The situation is overwhelming. Events are smothering us. This is the only release we have.”
Islamic State militants captured Mosul in June, executing at least 670 prisoners in one night and forcing hundreds of thousands Shias, Christians and members of the Yazidi faith to flee.
They beheaded the American journalist James Foley last month.
Yet on stage, in Baghdad, Sunnis, Shias, Kurds and Christians played in poignant harmony — the antithesis of Islamic State’s vision.
“Music is not limited to entertainment,” said the orchestra’s director and conductor Karim Wasfi. “It is also very therapeutic.” When the national anthem reached its climax, the audience cheered and whistled through their applause. “Iraq is not only Isis,” said Abdu Hussein al-Hakim, an adviser at the country’s agriculture ministry. “We have symphonies and culture too.”
He took his wife and daughter. They sat beside students clad in skinny jeans and T-shirts who filmed the concert on their phones. Some men sat in the aisles, others stood at the back.
Children sat with parents and parents with politicians. Some women wore veils, others not. “Music has always been important to Iraq,” said Shirouk Alabayachi, a secular MP and human rights activist. “Even in 2006 and 2007, when the threat was at its height, the barbarian groups were surrounding this building, we still used to have concerts. This is part of our life.”
The orchestra has performed around the world but it has not been spared the violence that plagues its birthplace. Two of their performers died in separate attacks during the worst excesses of a sectarian civil war, Mr Wasfi said.
“Even my own colleagues were questioning the reasons we were still performing,” he said. “But civilisation is not about having new cars and buildings in Baghdad. Civilisation is standing for rights, and fighting back against extremism. We have an obligation to carry on performing.” There were moments when his defiance seemed to echo of the Titanic, whose band kept playing as she sank in the Atlantic.
At one point the musicians tuned their instruments in the dark, during one of the recurrent power cuts, which are regarded as a legacy of the US-led invasion.
“I chose to react to the impending doom by sharing music with others,” Mr Wasfi said. “There may be rocky times ahead, but the only way to face it is to do what we do best: keep playing.”
A Mississauga father of two has drowned after trying to save his 7-year-old son from a powerful current in Lake Huron over the long weekend. Tomasz Gladkowski, 39, was at the main beach in Port Albert, Ont. on Sunday afternoon … Continue Reading
Go to TSN.ca for details. #TSN
One of Edmonton’s public school trustees is calling on the province to help with rising transportation costs after it cut funding last year, forcing the board to increase bus fees. Trustee Nathan Ip said he’ll be presenting a notice of … Continue Reading
WASHINGTON — U.S. military forces targeted the Islamic extremist al-Shabab network in an operation Monday in Somalia, the Pentagon said. Spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said the U.S. was assessing the results and would provide more information when appropriate. No […]
Tehran wants to dominate the area to protect its influence in Baghdad
We must not underestimate the significance of the Iranian government’s initiative to provide military help to Iraq’s Kurds who suddenly found themselves confronting the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Before analyzing the Iranian stance and the motives behind it, we must re-narrate what happened after the Iraqi city of Mosul fell into the hands of ISIS and after alarm bells were sounded following news that it appeared that ISIS forces, not the Baathists, defeated the troops of outgoing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Meanwhile, as Baghdad fortified its defenses in preparation for the battle, ISIS surprised everyone by heading north towards the country’s Kurdistan region! The second surprise was the defeat of the Peshmerga forces, known as a traditionally strong militia.
It turned out that years of Kurdish relaxation, particularly following the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime 10 years ago, affected these Peshmerga forces as they are no longer as competent as they used to be. If it hadn’t been for the U.S. military’s quick air force intervention, terrorists may have succeeded in seizing major Kurdish cities…
Related news: Iranians play role in breaking IS siege of Iraqi town: (Reuters) – Kurdish peshmerga fighters and Shi’ite militiamen paraded through Amerli on Monday, a day after breaking the two-month siege of the northern town by Sunni Islamist militants.
The scenes in Amerli and the surrounding area of Suleiman Beg offered a window into the teamwork among Kurdish fighters, the Iraqi army and Shi’ite militias and into Iran’s role in directly assisting their campaign against Islamic State (IS) forces.
An Iranian adviser to Iraqi police was spotted on the road near Amerli and Kurdish officers spoke of Iranians advising Iraqi fighters on targeting the Islamists…
For two millennia, great artists set the standard for beauty. Now those standards are gone. Modern Art is a competition between the ugly and the twisted; the most shocking wins. What happened? How did the beautiful come to be reviled and bad taste come…
Taxi drivers are saying that they are risking their lives to pick up and drop off passengers outside the new high rises on King Street north of University Ave. The problem is that the buildings have no pull-in area so cabs have to stop on busy King St…
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A man suspected of killing two unemployment-office workers and seriously wounding a third in a South Island town was charged Tuesday with murder. John Tully was arrested Monday evening following a seven-hour manhunt that kept a town […]
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ALAMEDA, Calif. — Oakland rookie Derek Carr will start the season opener against the New York Jets, becoming the first Raiders quarterback to start the first game of his rookie season. Coach Dennis Allen announced Monday that Carr would be […]
I know, it’s not all just tasty taco recipes and reasonably priced 16-year-old hookers.Sometimes there is a downside to Mexican immigration. This time it’s serious!Court Docs: Texas Democrats Accused of Using Cocaine to Buy VotesOver the course of…
The new paperback edition of my book, “The Four Walls of My Freedom: Lessons I’ve Learned From a Life of Caregiving” (The House of Anansi Press, 2014) is available as of today in the USA at all major booksellers!
Here’s a short interview that aired a few months ago on a national morning TV show in Canada. It will give you a sense of the book. Here’s the link – sorry, I couldn’t find a way to embed it.
Once vibrant and diverse, black culture has devolved into something disturbingly conformist and stunted. Despite criticism from his “brederin,” England’s Don Letts has always stepped over the artificial racial boundaries drawn around music, film, fashi…
Saudi Arabia has stopped granting visas to workers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the countries worst-hit by the deadly Ebola virus, the labour ministry announced Monday.
The “preventive measure” is based on “directives from the foreign and health ministries to avoid” the spread of Ebola to the kingdom, the official news agency SPA reported.
The virus, for which there is no treatment or vaccine, has claimed 1,552 lives out of 3,069 reported cases — 694 in Liberia, 430 in Guinea, 422 in Sierra Leon and six in Nigeria, according to latest figures from the World Health Organisation.
Saudi Arabia made a similar decision in April when it announced the suspension of visas for Muslim pilgrims from Guinea and Liberia.
The hajj annual pilgrimage, the world’s biggest Muslim gathering, draws two million people to Saudi Arabia each year, including many from the West African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. This year it falls in October…
CANBERRA, Australia — An Australian man has been charged with sexually abusing twin girls he fathered several years ago to a Thai surrogate mother, media reported late Monday. The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was charged in an […]
OTTAWA—Canada will be asked to contribute troops and equipment to a new NATO rapid response force as the military alliance beefs up its readiness in the face of increasing Russian aggression. With Russia stepping up its military engagement in Ukraine, … Continue Reading