Category Archives: Political affairs

New Northern Ireland Protocol

Both the EU and Britain agreed that keeping the Northern Ireland/Ireland border open was essential to preserving the 1998 peace deal that ended three decades of sectarian violence, but argued over how to do this after Brexit.

The special arrangement, set out in a protocol, left British-ruled Northern Ireland inside the EU single market for goods, meaning it follows the rules of the bloc in this area, in particular for animal products such as meat and dairy.

As a consequence, paperwork and checks are required for certain goods entering Northern Ireland from mainland Britain, to prevent it becoming a backdoor for British goods such as sausages getting into the EU without checks.

The Northern Irish Assembly can vote after four years on whether to retain the protocol. If a simple majority votes against, it would cease to apply after a further two years.

Pro-British unionists say the protocol undermines peace by dividing them from the rest of the UK with an effective border in the Irish Sea. The discontent helped fuel the worst violence in the region for years in March and April, though there has been little such turmoil since.

At the continent, consumers in the European Union can only hope that this time the leaders of European law will stand their ground and do everything in their power to preserve and fulfil the agreements they have previously obtained.

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Please find also to read: Going the extra mile with proposal over Northern Ireland protocol standoff

EUROPE DIPLOMATIC

Brussels 13.10.2021 The UK Brexit Minister Lord Frost has proposed plans for an entirely new protocol to replace the existing Northern Ireland Protocol. In a speech to diplomats in Portugal on Tuesday, October 12, he described his new legal text as “a better way forward”.

The protocol is the special Brexit deal agreed for Northern Ireland to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland. Unionists argue it undermines Northern Ireland’s constitutional position in the UK and creates a trade barrier.

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Australia could be ‘nuclear war target’ in new Aukus defence pact

Without having discussed the matter of the previous standing contract for submarines, Australia broke the contract with France to arrange a new deal with the United States and Great Britain.

By the security agreement with the US and UK buying nuclear-powered submarines, Australia could become the target of a nuclear strike by China.

According to the Global Times, a daily tabloid newspaper viewed as a mouthpiece of the Communist Party in Beijing, Chinese military experts fear the vessels could be upgraded with a nuclear arsenal, despite assurances they will only carry conventional weapons.

Chinese military experts have supposedly warned of a potential strike on Australia. This is reportedly because it would be relatively easy for Washington and London to equip the vessels with ballistic missiles carrying nuclear warheads.

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Time for world to ‘grow up’ and tackle climate change, says Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson might have had very strange ideas about CoViD and about global warming, sometimes stepping in the footsteps of Donald Trump. But it seems he might have changed after he himself was infected by the coronavirus.

Boris Johnson calls for the world to “grow up” and addresses the threat of climate change to the future of humanity. It looks like the British prime minister, at last, has become convinced mankind has behaved like a reckless teenager with planet Earth, trashing its home in the “infantile” belief it will not have to suffer the consequences.

The UN Cop26 climate change summit which the UK will host in Glasgow in November must be “the turning point for humanity”, when the world must show it can limit temperature rises and prevent the planet becoming uninhabitable.

 

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In Afghanistan and Pakistan can people trust the Taliban and find some good education

In 2015 there was a wave of outrage, crossing Pakistan’s national borders. The Taliban created a bloody rampage in a school in the province’s capital, Peshawar, killing 141 people including 132 uniformed children in what is being billed as the group’s single deadliest attack to date,

In their war against western, secular education, which the group has denounced as “un-Islamic”, the Pakistan Taliban have destroyed over 838 schools between 2009 and 2012, claimed responsibility for the near-fatal shooting of teenaged education advocate Malala Yousafzai who spoke out publicly against the prohibition on the education of girls that was imposed by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP; sometimes called Pakistani Taliban). This Taliban issued numerous edicts against the right of women and girls to receive proper schooling. And today, notwithstanding their promises, it seems they are going to ban again any formal education for girls. Though they say it is only for a short period until they will have found out how to organise an education possibility for female Afghanis.

It may be strange to our ears to hear several Afghanis now want to cross the Pakistan border to find more safety. But perhaps they do know much better the intentions of the Afghan Taliban than we can ever imagine.

Young girls may also find some possibility to study in Pakistan, where the country isin a better condition than five years ago and where alternatives to terrorism and militancy bore some good fruits.

The Citizens Foundation (TFC), a local non-profit, busied itself with a pledge to build 141 Schools for Peace, one in the name of each person who lost their life on that terrible day.

“We dedicate this effort to the children of Pakistan, their right to education and their dreams of a peaceful future,”

said Syed Asaad Ayub Ahmad, CEO of TCF,  in an email launching the campaign.

“With the formidable challenges facing the nation, we passionately believe that only education has the power to enlighten minds, instil citizenship and unleash the potential of every Pakistani,”

he added.

While armed groups and government forces answer violence with more of the same, the active citizens who comprise TCF want to shift focus away from bloodshed and onto longer-term solutions for the future of this deeply troubled country.

The charity, which began in 1995, has completed 1,000 school ‘units’, typically a primary or secondary institution capable of accommodating up to 180 pupils, all built from scratch in the most impoverished areas of some 100 towns and cities across Pakistan.

The 7,700 teachers employed by the NGO go through a rigorous training programme before placement, and the organisation maintains a strict 50:50 male-female ratio for the 145,000 students who are now benefitting from a free education, according to TCF Vice President Zia Akhter Abbas.

In a country where 25.02 million school-aged children – of which 13.7 million (55 percent) are girls – do not receive any form of education, experts say TCF’s initiative may well act as a game changer in the years to come, especially given that the government spends just 2.1 percent of its GDP on education.

“Our job is to ensure that wherever we have our schools, there are no out-of-school children, especially girls,”

Abbas  said.

“We believe the change in society will come automatically once these educated and enlightened children grow up into responsible adults.”

Of the 25.02 million school-aged children who are not receiving a proper education, 13.7 million, or 55 percent, are girls. {Credit: Zofeen Ebrahim/IPS}

He added that the schools are designed to

“serve as a beacon of light restricting the advance of extremism in our society.”

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We live in hope

September 2, 2021, On the death of the Greek composer, a member of the wartime resistance, his concert music, including seven symphonies, four operas, ballets (including Antigone, 1959), and more than 1,000 songs, will remain deeply engraved in our hearts and echo throughout the world as a sign of the resistance that is always necessary to continue living in freedom of expression.

Theodorakis en el Parlamento

A la muerte del compositor griego, miembro de la resistencia en tiempos de guerra, su música de concierto, que incluye siete sinfonías, cuatro óperas, ballets (entre ellos Antígona, de 1959) y más de 1.000 canciones, quedará profundamente grabada en nuestros corazones y resonará en todo el mundo como signo de la resistencia siempre necesaria para seguir viviendo en libertad de expresión.

Vicky Leandros pays tribute to Mikis Theodorakis, who died today aged 96 - oikotimes

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CrippleCreak

A few days after hearing of the death of Theodorakis.

I lived in Evia, Greece, for a short time, in a small basic house on top of another building. It was on the edge of a town made rich by the lignite factory on its outskirts.

While my little house was on the outskirts the other way, it was convenient for long walks and a semi rural outlook.

The view from my house

I arrived in Greece a few years after the end of the junta, about which I knew next to nothing. I was extraordinarily lucky to discover that the second floor of ‘my’ building was used by a woman who taught after school mathematics. In those days, and perhaps still, Greek children who attended school between 8.30 and 2.30 (I think) also attended frontisterio – private schools like the one I taught at and my new friend owned.

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Not an Afghan thing, it’s a humanitarian crisis

Waving Afghan flags and holding signs reading “Your 9/11 is our 24/7” and “Free Afghanistan,” several dozen people took to the steps of the Manitoba legislative building Saturday afternoon to raise awareness of the crisis unfolding in that country.

Several dozen people took to the steps of the Manitoba legislative building Saturday afternoon to raise awareness of the crisis unfolding in Afghanistan. Matt Purchase / Global News

Winnipegger Bashir Faqiri who put on the event says he has several family members stranded in Afghanistan after the Taliban largely took control in a lightning offensive.

“It’s not an Afghan thing, it’s a humanitarian crisis,”

said Faqiri.

“The whole reason I started was because anytime I spoke to anybody outside of the Afghan community that didn’t have family there they were kind of confused about what was happening.”

Faqiri’s goal has since shifted from words to action, saying he’s encouraging people to press their government representatives to do more to help those facing a dire situation in his home country.

Since becoming a semi-public figure in his efforts to raise awareness about the crisis, Faqiri says he’s been receiving messages through social media from people asking how they can get family members out of Afghanistan, and he has in turn been providing information on immigration resources.

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National Heroes Day Message of Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda

Normally we consider a hero as someone who has done something brave, new, or good, and who is therefore greatly admired by a lot of people, but we have also the little heroes near us, people who are not known by others but have done something special for someone.

Let us also not forget those whose bravery or effort is not noticed or recognised and the many people in anonymity who save others

 

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Next:  Healthcare Workers: Heroes of the modern world???

Celebrity World Ph

As we remember today the greatness of our heroes who had a vision of a better, progressive, free, and independent nation, let us also celebrate our heroes of today who continue to strive for the betterment of our people and our country amid numerous challenges.

Let us recognize and honor our present-day heroes, those who continue to sacrifice their lives and safety for the welfare of our people.  These are our country’s frontliners who have the same quality of selfless devotion and unparalleled contribution to the national cause of keeping this thriving country healthy and strong amid our fight against COVID-19. They are our healthcare professionals and workers, policemen and members of the armed forces, teachers, the utility staff, supermarket staff, food and cargo delivery drivers, fisherfolk and farmers, market vendors, journalists, local and national government employees who continue to courageously perform their duties to provide essential services to our…

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Afghan mums throw their babies over barbed wire fences and beg British soldiers to take them to safety

On 2021 August 19 the first rescue mission by the UK government carrying Afghan evacuees has landed safely in the UK after escaping the Taliban even as thousands remain trapped in Kabul and fearing for their lives.

The first flight of British nationals and embassy staff arrived at the base on Sunday night, and more flights carrying Afghan interpreters and other eligible locals are expected in the coming days.

Royal Navy Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key told Sky News:

‘How long have we got to do it? We don’t really know, so every day we are working as hard as we can to bring as many forward into this pipeline as we possibly can.

There are new disturbing reports that the Taliban has been beating Afghans trying to flee Kabul.

The airport in the capital city is the only way out of the country.

Although the US has secured the airport itself, the Taliban control the road to it and have set up numerous checkpoints in Kabul’s north.

Geez Liberia

Desperate Afghan mums have been filmed throwing their babies over barbed wire fences at the Kabul airportand begging British paratroopers to take them to safety.

Violent scenes have unfolded at one of the routes to Hamid Karzai International as people try to escape a future under the Taliban militant group.

The entrance to the Baron hotel has become the focal point where Afghans seeking refuge in the UK have been gathering in the hope of being able to escape the Taliban.

It is guarded by Parachute Regiment troops.

One officer told the Independent: “The mothers were desperate, they were getting beaten by the Taliban.

Afghan mums throw their babies over barbed wire fences and beg British soldiers to take them to safety

“They shouted, ‘save my baby’and threw the babies at us.

“Some of the babies fell on the barbed wire. It was awful what happened.

“By the end of the night there wasn’t one man among us who was not crying.”

Afghan mums throw their babies over barbed wire fences and beg British soldiers to take them to safety

Another senior military officer spoke about…

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The Fall of Kabul: The Return of the Taliban

To remember:

  • Mohammed Omar Afghan mullah (cleric) and mujahid commander who led the Taliban and founded the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in 1996.
  • Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second largest city after Kabul, located in the south of the country on the Arghandab River, at an elevation of 1,010 m (3,310 ft).
  • 2001 destruction of two giant Buddhas in Bamiyan by the all male group Taliban = lack of respect by the Taliban for historical &  cultural heritage of Afghanistan.
  • February 2020, Trump administration + Taliban signed historic deal in Doha, Qatar > 14-month timetable for America & NATO allies to withdraw all of its forces from Afghanistan. > Taliban agreed not to allow al-Qaeda or any extremist group to operate in the areas they control.
  • Since 2001 the war forced 2.7 million Afghans to flee their homes mostly to Iran, Pakistan and Europe.
  • United States of America Defense Department states > war- fighting costs over the years in Afghanistan total $815.7 billion; from food for troops to fuel; to Humvees, weapons and ammunition; from tanks to amoured vehicles to aircraft carriers to airstrikes.
  • Taliban = not strong in area of human rights or women’s right. impose strict limitations on women’s bodies & their human rights + women treated as possession of men
  • women are not allowed to dance in public, => bachas (boys), as young as 12, usually orphans or from very poor families, can be made to dance in women’s clothing + they are often sexually abused = bachabaze = playing with boys
  • Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) = second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations, + collective voice of Muslim world to ensure & safeguard their interest on economic socio and political areas

waykam

“Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.”- John F. Kennedy.

We have all seen the stunning and alarming images on our television; hundreds of Afghans both men and women running alongside a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane as it moves down a runway of the Hamid Karzai International airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. The script was not supposed to end like this. The Taliban have moved with fighting speed to control Afghanistan. The United States of American trained Afghan security forces hardly resisted the Taliban. This military maneuvering by the Taliban has led many to wonder whether or not the United States and her allies miscalculated the capacity and capabilities of the Taliban. Many will view the surrender of Kabul as well as the other provinces in Afghanistan with some suspicion especially since the former president Ashraf Ghani fled before Kabul fell to the Taliban. A significant…

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Afghanistan — What It Tells You

We may not forget that the ultraconservative political and religious faction that emerged in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s following the withdrawal of Soviet troops, protected and hid Osama Bin Laden, who was responsible for the 9/11 attack on the U.S.A.. Them also enforcing a strict interpretation of Sharia, or Islamic law, and wanting to have that Sharia being practised all over the world, they were a threat to the entire Western democratic world.

The Taliban already gave our Western world a picture of what would happen when they would govern all the world. During their rule from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban and their allies committed massacres against Afghan civilians, denied UN food supplies to 160,000 starving civilians and conducted a policy of scorched earth, burning vast areas of fertile land and destroying tens of thousands of homes. In several countries where those conservative Islamists take power, we can witness how they banned activities and media including paintings, photography, and movies if they showed people or other living things (?!?), and prohibited music using instruments. In all countries where those religious activists took power, women were oppressed and could not study or take a proper job. Except in the medical field because male doctors were prohibited from seeing women, and therefore a few women were allowed to treat females under certain circumstances.

The whole affair is not a comedy of errors, but more a tragedy of errors.

Henry's Views

What the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban tells you about the limits of American power is that we can’t change the ethos of other countries — that is well beyond our capability. We can’t take a deeply conservative, male-oriented, and archly Islamic country and make it over into our image of a Western democracy with equal rights for everyone and freedom of religion. And we shouldn’t try to. It’s bound to fail.

They are all now blaming Biden for this defeat, but, to be honest, he was a very late player in this comedy of errors. The initial error was to expand our enemies list from al-Qaeda to the Taliban. The Taliban never attacked the US; al-Qaeda did.

Another Vietnam?

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