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Afgan-Pak: Why China is Playing Mediator

By Fanny Ragot Recently, a new strategic dialogue was held between Pakistan and Afghanistan and the Taliban leadership in the hill city of Murree, Pakistan. These negotiations were coordinated by China, illustrating Beijing’s recent commitment to support Kabul in pacifying its country. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, elected in mid-2014, has been reaffirming his willingness to set the wheels of negotiations in motion. It implies engaging in negotiations with Pakistan to resolve the problem of Pakistan’s support for the Taliban, across the Durand Line. While the dialogue is still new, China appears to be brokering these discussions. That Beijing is evidently involving itself in shaping the future of Afghanistan and Pakistan ...

August 15, 2015 at 10:54 am | News Desk

The Iran Nuclear Deal: Securing President Obama’s legacy

History shows us that America must lead not just with our might, but with our principles. It shows we are stronger not when we are alone, but when we bring the world together."  ~President Barack Obama The historic and monumental Iran Nuclear Talks have finally concluded successfully on July 14, 2015. This is a highly significant factor which lays the foundation in establishing President Obama's legacy. [caption id="attachment_6253" align="aligncenter" width="500"] U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif before a meeting in Geneva January 14, 2015. Zarif said on Wednesday that his meeting with Kerry was important to see if progress could be made in narrowing differences on hi...

August 14, 2015 at 3:18 pm | News Desk

World Bank, IMF launch joint initiative to strengthen tax collection

WASHINGTON: The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are launching a new initiative to help developing countries strengthen their tax systems, says an official announcement. Analysis associated with the two institutions suggests that many lower-income countries have the potential to increase their tax ratios by at least 2 to 4 per cent of their GDPs, without compromising fairness or growth. Raising additional revenues will allow developing countries to fill financing gaps and to promote development. Pakistan is top on the list of the countries that need to reform their tax systems. In a recent statement, the IMF mission chief in Pakistan urged the rulers to broaden the country’s tax base. The country’s tax-to-GDP rati...

August 14, 2015 at 3:07 pm | News Desk

The right lessons from Greece

THE implosion of the Greek economy, the rise of Syriza and the implicit blaming of Greece’s creditors for the country’s woes present important lessons that should be drawn upon. The danger is that many people, including in Pakistan, are preparing to draw the wrong set of lessons. Greece got itself into a mess by not taxing sufficiently its richest elites, and by overspending on a bloated, overpaid and underworked public sector. Poor choices by politicians for decades, fully supported by a complicit populace that was only too happy to condone the perpetual postponement of serious structural reform, have finally caught up. Despite the massive and heartrending current suffering of ordinary Greeks, the foregoing is the sorry story of the...

August 14, 2015 at 2:59 pm | News Desk

Encroaching sea levels endanger Pakistan’s Indus Delta

By Amar Guriro KARACHI, Pakistan, July 6 (News Lens Pakistan) -- From its start in the Himalayas, the Indus River flows almost 2,000 miles to the Arabian Sea, ensuring there is fertile land for farmers along the way and sustenance for Pakistan's wildlife. The river is in trouble, though. Its 17 major creeks, which in the past helped push seawater back, have almost dried up, allowing the Arabian Sea to flow upstream, poisoning the Indus River Delta with salt water and fouling farmland. Meanwhile, sea levels are rising, swamping entire villages along the river and threatening a way of life for thousands of families.  "There were many villages in our area, which are now completely submerged and the residents had moved somewhere el...

July 6, 2015 at 3:25 pm | News Desk

Pakistan, India to join China security bloc

BEIJING (Reuters) - Nuclear-armed rivals Pakistan and India will start the process of joining a security bloc led by China and Russia at a summit in Russia later this week, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Monday, the first time the grouping has expanded since it was set up in 2001. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) groups China, Russia and the former Soviet republics of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, while India, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Mongolia are observers. "As the influence of the SCO's development has expanded, more and more countries in the region have brought up joining the SCO," Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping told a news briefing."...India and Pakistan's admission to the SCO...

July 6, 2015 at 3:17 pm | News Desk

Greece enters uncharted territory after referendum ‘no’ vote

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece lurched into uncharted territory and an uncertain future in Europe's common currency Sunday after voters overwhelmingly rejected demands by international creditors for more austerity measures in exchange for a bailout of its bankrupt economy. Results showed about 61 percent voted "no," compared with 39 percent for "yes," with 100 percent of the vote counted. The referendum — Greece's first in more than four decades — came amid severe restrictions on financial transactions in the country, imposed last week to stem a bank run that accelerated after the vote was called. Thousands of jubilant government supporters celebrated in Syntagma Square in front of Parliament, waving Greek flags and chanting "No, ...

July 6, 2015 at 2:57 pm | News Desk

F-35, Most Expensive Fighter Jet Ever, Can’t Dogfight Well

The makers of one of the most expensive weapons programs in history went on the defensive today, saying a recent report on the F-35 fighter jet’s failures in old-school dogfighting against a decades-old, much cheaper legacy fighter “does not tell the whole story.”The report in question, posted on the national security news website War Is Boring, was based on an internal five-page brief in which an F-35 test pilot wrote a scathing criticism of the next-generation jet’s abilities in a January dogfight with an F-16, one of the planes the F-35 is designed to replace. Essentially, the pilot reportedly wrote, the F-35 was no match for the F-16 in close-up, high maneuvering fighting -- whether the F-35 was trying to get the F-16 in its si...

July 2, 2015 at 3:49 pm | News Desk

Swedish woman gets $18M in sex harassment suit

NEW YORK (AP) — A young Swedish woman who sued her former Wall Street executive boss over lurid allegations of sexual conquest, betrayal and stalking was awarded $18 million by a federal jury Monday. Hanna Bouveng, 25, accused Benjamin Wey in an $850 million lawsuit of using his power as owner of New York Global Group to coerce her into four sexual encounters before firing her after discovering she had a boyfriend. The jury in federal court in Manhattan awarded her $2 million in compensatory damages plus $16 million in punitive damages on sexual harassment, retaliation and defamation claims. It rejected a claim of assault and battery. Bouveng, who was raised in Vetlanda, Sweden, testified that soon after Wey hired her at New York...

July 2, 2015 at 3:43 pm | News Desk

Southeast Asia to set up fund to help boat people

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Southeast Asian countries will establish a humanitarian fund to help boatloads of Rohingya Muslim and Bangladeshi immigrants who have recently landed in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand, a Malaysian minister said Thursday. Singapore has pledged $200,000 to the fund, Malaysian Home Affairs Minister Zahid Hamidi told a news conference after chairing a special regional meeting on the refugee crisis. Since early May, more than 4,600 boat people from Myanmar and Bangladesh have come ashore in Southeast Asian waters, after human smugglers abandoned their boats amid a regional crackdown. Some are Bangladeshis who left their impoverished homeland in hope of finding jobs abroad. But many are Rohingya...

July 2, 2015 at 3:35 pm | News Desk

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