Tuesday, July 31, 2007

On Faith: Muslims Speak Out

Bancroft Family to Support Murdoch Bid for Dow Jones

Enough family owners of Dow Jones & Co. have agreed to support Rupert Murdoch's $5 billion bid for their company, which would likely give the global media mogul ownership of the Wall Street Journal -- a prize he has long coveted.

Last King of Afghanistan -- ABC

Former Afghan King Zahir Shah, 86, waits to meet Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini during a meeting with members of the Afghani "Loya Jiirga," the traditional Great Assembly, in Rome in this Jan. 19, 2001 file photo.

Mohammad Zahir Shah was a symbol of struggling democracy.

Last Afghan king dies ABC

Afghans say they won't free prisoners

GHAZNI, Afghanistan - South Korea and relatives of 21 kidnapped Koreans appealed for U.S. help Tuesday, but Afghanistan said for the first time it will not release insurgent prisoners — the Taliban's key demand to free the captives.

Afghan President to visit Untied States

Bush and Brown Are Allies if Not Buddies -- NYTimes

Brown keeps it formal with Bush -- LATimes

The British prime minister chooses to call the 'war on terror' a fight against crime, and says Afghanistan, not Iraq, is the front line.

Brown, Bush show common ground - and a few differences - on Iraq

Brown maintained that "Afghanistan is the front line against terrorism," in contrast to Bush's common refrain the Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. --- The president said the fight against terrorism is a battle of good against evil; he referred to it as struggle over ideology many times. --- Brown steered away from that. "Terrorism is not a cause; it is a crime," he said. "It is a crime against humanity."

AFGHANISTAN: Rights group, UN sceptical about reduced civilian casualties

قانون اساسی افغانستان

ن کامل قانون اساسی افغانستان که در جرگه بزرگ (۲۲ قوس تا ۱۴ جدی ۱۳۸۲خورشیدی) به تصویب رسید

افغانستان با تفسیر قانون اساسی خود مشکل دارد؟

قانونمتن کامل قانون اساسی افغانستان

US and UK: Close but not quite as close

Gates, Rice Meet with Arab Leaders in Egypt

NPR.org, July 31, 2007 · Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were in Egypt on Tuesday to meet with Arab leaders at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik.

Edwards Assails U.S. Arms Sales to Arabs

Retired General Censured in Tillman Case

WASHINGTON July 31, 2007, 5:55 p.m. ET · The Army on Tuesday censured a retired three-star general for a "perfect storm of mistakes, misjudgments and a failure of leadership" after the 2004 friendly-fire death in Afghanistan of Army Ranger Pat Tillman.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Coffee and exercise 'save skin'

A cup of coffee could help protect your skin from the sun, US scientists say.

ولی احمد نوری

چرا مردم افغانستان اعلیحضرت ظاهر شاه را در اعادۀ صلح مؤثر میدانستند؟

پوهاند دکتور محمد قاسم فاضلی

قدم های آشتی و صلح در دولت افغانستان

مصاحبۀ جریدۀ لوموند فرانسه با اعلیحضرت محمد ظاهرشاه پادشاه افغانستان (1933 – 1973)

Supreme Court Chief Suffers a Seizure

Seizures are any "sudden, abnormal electrical activity" in the brain, according to background information posted online by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health.--- "Most seizures last from 30 seconds to two minutes and do not cause lasting harm," the Institute said. "However, it is a medical emergency if seizures last longer than 5 minutes or if a person has many seizures and does not wake up between them."
While seizures can be the result of a brain disorder such as epilepsy, the Institute notes they can also be a consequence of fevers, head injuries or even medication side effects.

Israel Backs U.S. Arms Sale to Saudis

The proposed package comes with a serious sweetener for Israel: a 25 percent rise in U.S. military aid, from an annual $2.4 billion at present to $3 billion a year and guaranteed for 10 years. --- Olmert said the increase in military aid to Israel would guarantee its strategic superiority, irrespective of upgrades to Arab forces in the region. Olmert said the rise was pledged by President Bush during his visit to Washington last year and finalized in White House talks in June.

U.S. Pledges Billions in Arms, Aid to Middle East

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice formally announced today that the United States intends to provide billions of dollars in arms sales and assistance to six Gulf states, Egypt and Israel to boost security against Iran.

Bhutto lays down Pakistan terms

Sectarian bias is a blight on a rare Afghan good news story

Township scheme in Kabul named after Baba-i-Millat

KABUL, July 28 (Pajhwok Afghan News): A new township under construction in Kabul has been named after Father of the Nation Muhammad Zahir Shah in recognition of his services to Afghanistan.

The riddle of Afghan graves -- BBC

Thousands vanished during the four Moscow-backed communist governments, and thousands of others during the infighting among the warring mujahideen factions that led to the Taleban gaining power. Life under the Taleban was even harsher for Afghans. --- I virtually erased the word Afghanistan from my life and memory for 10 years Former 2nd Lt Vladimir Grigoryev, Soviet veteran of Moscow's Afghan War, Moscow's Afghan war: witnesses

Khalilzad, diplomats admire late Zahir Shah

Welcome to Luke Powell Photographs (Afghanistan, 1970s)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Musharraf Holds Secret Talks With Bhutto

Bush Wants Terrorism Law Updated

Mohammad Zahir Shah, 1914-2007 -- NYTimes

U.S. Set to Offer Huge Arms Deal to Saudi Arabia

Thursday, July 26, 2007

BBC--- خاکسپاری ظاهرشاه

جسد ظاهرشاه برای دفن به "تپه مرنجان" در داخل شهر منتقل شد تا در کنار پدرش محمد نادرشاه و همسرش ملکه حمیرا به خاک سپرده شود

نگاهی به زندگی ظاهرشاه --- BBC

نظام نوین سیاسی، سه دهه بعد از ظاهر شاه

سالهای ۱۹۶۳ تا ۱۹۷۳ را در افغانستان به نام دهه دموکراسی می شناسند و برخی کارشناسان بر این باورند که در این دوره بود که برای اولین بار بنیان حاکمیت مدرن و دموکراتیک در این کشور گذاشته شد

Mohammed Zahir Shah

THEY put out a red carpet for Mohammed Zahir Shah when he returned home, after 29 years of exile, in April 2002. As he stepped into the bright sun at Kabul airport, flanked by 50 Italian bodyguards, Pushtun elders struggled to touch him and kiss his hand. He whispered that he was glad to see them. And all was as it should have been.

The king is dead: In Afghanistan, a final farewell to the end of a line

Zahir Shah "gave up absolute monarchy in 1964, after which [Afghanistan's] first parliament was established under a new constitution." In time, many observers would regard him "as politically moderate and weak, but he kept his country neutral in [the regional-]bloc politics of the Cold War era, just as he had done [during] the Second World War."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Oxford Under Water as England's Flood Spreads

Europe bakes in summer heatwave

خدا حافظ فرزند صدیق افغانستان

خدا حافظ تو که قاتل نبودی و دزد جنایتکار و وطن فروش نبودی. هر فرد افغان را مانند عضو فامیلت و گاهی بیشتر از آنها دوست میداشتی. راستی تو پادشاه بودی، پادشاهی که مردمت ترا سایه خدا میدانستند. با وفات پدر ملت اعلیحضرت محمد ظاهر شاه خاطراتی بیادم آمد که هر وقت نام پادشاه سابق یاد میشود، مانند صاعقه از مغزم عبور نموده دوران طلایی زنده گی من در صلح و صفای افغانستان بیاد می آید.

گفتگوی اختصاصی با وزیر خارجه بریتانیا

دیوید میلیبند: "من تصمیم گرفتم که نخستین سفر خود را به خارج از اروپا به افغانستان و پاکستان انجام دهم زیرا این منطقه بخشی از جهان است که با برخی از چالش های بزرگ مواجه است. این منطقه برای بریتانیا از اهمیت خاصی برخوردار است. ما نقش کلیدی در حمایت از دولت افغانستان داریم، از جمله در عرصه اقتصادی، اجتماعی، سیاسی و امنیتی که این کشور برای توسعه اش به آن نیاز دارد. ما مصمم هستیم که این نقش را حفظ کنیم

Mohammad Zahir Shah 1914 - 2007 (9 pictures)

July 1963: Mohammad Zahir ShahPhotograph: AP, --- Thumbnail view

Obituaries: Mohammed Zahir Shah: 1914 - 2007 (Afghanistan's last monarch)

Associated Press: Largely benign king, who helped usher in post-Taliban era but stood aside in favor of Hamid Karzai, ruled for 4 decades during a reign remembered for minimal bloo, --- "The people are relying on you and you should not forget them," the monarch told the loya jirga, or grand assembly, which ratified the landmark charter. "I hope you will try your best to maintain peace, stability and the unity of the Afghan people."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

عکسهایی از شاه سابق افغانستان --- BBC

Pictures of Former King of Afghanistan

افغانستان آخرین پادشاهش را به خاک سپرد

پیکر پادشاه پیشین افغانستان، با حضور مقامات افغان و مهمانان بلند پایه خارجی، تحت تدابیر گسترده امنیتی در کابل به خاک سپرده شد. تابوت ظاهرشاه که در پرچم کشورش پیچیده شده بود، ابتدا در محوطه ارگ ریاست جمهوری، جایگاهی که ظاهر شاه چهل سال در آن حکومت کرده بود و در پنج سال گذشته در آن اقامت داشت، گذاشته شده و مراسم رسمی ادای احترام برگزار شد. - الیزابت دوم ملکه بریتانیا در پیام خود به دولت و مردم افغانستان گفته است که "خاطره خوش سفر جلالت مآب ظاهر شاه به بریتانیا در سال1971" .را به یاد می آورد و درگذشت او را، "ضایعه بزرگی برای مردم افغانستان" می داند

سفر ۲۹ ساله: زندگی و فعالیت سیاسی ظاهر شاه در تبعید -- BBC

شاید محمد ظاهر شاه، شاه فقید افغانستان هیج گاه فکر نمی کرد، سفرش به ایتالیا به اقامت ۲۹ ساله در آن کشور بینجامد.

دافغانانوغبرگون:خواخوږى اوروڼ اندى ټولواک

. په دې ماتم کې د گډون لپاره د هيواد له بيلابيلو ولايتونو څخه په زرگونو قومي مشران او مخور خلک کابل ته راغلي دي

پخوانى پاچا خاوروته وسپارل شو- -- BBC

د محمد ظاهرشاه ځنازه چې د افغانستان په ملي بيرغ کې پېچلې وه له ارگ ماڼۍ څخه د عيدگاه جومات ته د جنازې د لمانځۀ لپاره يوړله. له هغۀ ځايه د دۀ مړى د هېواد د ځانگړي گارد د سرتېرو پر اوږو د مرنجان تپې ته د ښخولو لپاره يوړل شو

Historic flooding ravages England

LONDON — The worst flooding to hit England in at least 60 years has put tens of thousands of people to flight, many leaving their homes, cars and possessions to the ravages of rising water and looters. Forecasters warned yesterday that more rain is on the way.

Concern Grows over Fate of 'Seriously Ill' German Hostage, (KIDNAPPING CRISIS IN AFGHANISTAN)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has reiterated Germany's commitment to Afghanistan, as concern grows about the fate of a German engineer being held by kidnappers in the country.

Terror support falls in Muslim countries -- FT

Wall St slumps as earnings disappoint

Wall Street was sharply lower in afternoon trading on Tuesday after several companies missed their earnings estimates and the financial services sector came under pressure as credit market jitters escalated.

Afghan King Mohammad Zahir Shah

Mohammad Zahir Shah, 92, the king of Afghanistan who emerged from forced exile in 2002 to become the ceremonial "father of the nation" after the Taliban's retreat, died July 23 in Kabul. He had been ill, but the cause of death was not disclosed.

Afghanistan's Last King Laid to Rest

KABUL, Afghanistan -- An honor guard lowered the body of Afghanistan's last king into a bullet-riddled hillside tomb Tuesday, as dignitaries, lawmakers and relatives said goodbye to the man they call the "Father of the Nation." --- British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, U.S. Ambassador William Wood and U.S. Gen. Dan McNeill, the NATO commander in Afghanistan, were among the mourners.

Afghanistan says goodbye to last king, Mohammad Zahir Shah, at funeral in Kabul

KABUL, Afghanistan - Dignitaries, lawmakers and family members said goodbye Tuesday to Mohammad Zahir Shah, Afghanistan's last king, during a funeral that began at the presidential palace. --- An honor guard carried Zahir Shah's coffin, draped in the Afghan flag, to a viewing stand under the shade of pine trees at the palace grounds before prayers at a mosque and burial next to his wife at a hilltop shrine in Kabul.

Afghanistan buries its last king

The coffin was conveyed to Kabul's main mosque where thousands of mourners had gathered for prayers. --- Zahir Shah was then taken to a hilltop mausoleum overlooking the city where he was laid to rest.

Sad Afghanistan readies for last king's funeral

KABUL (AFP) - Afghanistan prepared Tuesday for the funeral of its last king Mohammed Zahir Shah, as the war-torn country bids farewell to the man known as the "Father of the Nation".

Afghanistan buries its last king

Dignitaries from around the world bade farewell to the man known as the father of the nation. He was buried beside his father and wife on a hill above Kabul. --- A guard of honour carried the former king's coffin draped in the Afghan flag to a viewing stand under a shade of pine trees at the palace grounds in the capital.

Afghanistan's Last King Is Laid to Rest

KABUL (Reuters) - The last king of Afghanistan, Mohammad Zahir Shah, was buried on Tuesday at a state funeral where thousands bid farewell to the monarch remembered for his peaceful reign who became known as the "father of the nation."

د ظاهر شاه واکمنئ ته یوه کتنه

د ظاهر شاه ژوند ته یوه لنډه کتنه

د ظاهرشاه د ژوند لوړې او ژورې

برخليک محمد ظاهر شاه ته دوه ځله په ډېرو کړکېچنو حالاتو کې له اروپا نه خپل هيواد ته د ستنېدو چاره ورترغاړه کړه: يو ځل د تنکي زلمي په توگه د شلمې پېړۍ په سر کې او بل ځل په بوډاتوب کې د يو ويشتمې پېړۍ تر پېلېدو لږ وروسته

Monday, July 23, 2007

UN officials mourn passing of Mohammad Zahir Shah, ‘Father of Afghanistan’

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his senior envoy to Afghanistan today mourned the passing of His Majesty Mohammad Zahir Shah, considered the father of the nation, at the age of 92.

Musharraf, Aziz Condole Death of King Zahir Shah

In the departure of King Zahir Shah, the President said Afghanistan has lost a statesman of great stature, whose commitment and contribution to peace, stability and welfare of Afghanistan and the region will be remembered for long. --- “May Allah Almighty bless his noble soul and give comfort and solace to the bereaved family and the Afghan nation. In this hour of grief, the people and Government of Pakistan, are with the brotherly Afghan nation,” the President said.

حامدکرزی با اعلام خبروفات اعلیحضرت محمد ظاهر بابای ملت از اوبه عنوان زعیم ملی یاد کرد

Afghan King Dies at 92

"He was the servant of his people, the friend of his people," Karzai said. "He believed in the rule of the people and in human rights."

Last king of Afghanistan dies at 92

Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a native of Afghanistan, said: "While his monarchy spanned both prosperous and tumultuous times in Afghanistan, his ideals and visions rightfully earned him the reputation as the Father of the Nation." --- "The best way to honor his memory is to re-commit ourselves to making Afghanistan a safe and prosperous place."

Mohammed Zahir Shah, King of Afghanistan -- From Wikipedia

Last king of Afghanistan, dies at age 92 -- USATODAY

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan's last king, a symbol of unity who oversaw four decades of peace before a 1973 palace coup ousted him and war shattered his country, died Monday. He was 92.

Afghanistan History

Mohammad Zahir Shah: The son of King Nadir Shah of Afghanistan, Muhammad Zahir Shah was born on October 15, 1914, in the capital city of Kabul. Educated in both his native country and France, he was thrust suddenly into power at the age of 19, only hours after his father was assassinated. On November 8, 1933, he replaced his father on the throne of the Durani dynasty, first established in 1747 by Ahmad Shah. The young monarch adopted the title Mutawakkil Ala'llah, Pairaw-I Din-I Matin-I slam ("Confident in God, Follower of the Firm Religion of Islam").

Obituary: Ex-king Zahir Shah -- BBC

During Mohammad Zahir Shah's 40-year rule of Afghanistan, the country was transformed into a modern democracy. In 2002, the ex-king returned home after nearly three decades in exile, to become a unifying symbol of peace and freedom among his former people.

Embassy of Afghanistan Expresses Condolences to the Afghan People upon the Passing of Father of the Nation Mohammad Zahir Shah

Obituary: Muhammad Zahir Shah, last king of Afghanistan

"Zahir Shah was beloved by many people," said Abdul Hamid Mubarez, one of Afghanistan's best-known journalists. "For them, he was a mixture of Afghan and Western culture. He was educated in France and had a chance to observe the democratic system there. He brought back some very progressive ideas."

President and Mrs. Bush Saddened by Death of Mohammad Zahir Shah

Laura and I are saddened by the death of Mohammad Zahir Shah, who was King of Afghanistan from 1933 to 1973. --- His presence in Afghanistan as a private citizen and "Father of the Nation" for the past several years has been an important factor in rebuilding Afghanistan. --- On behalf of the American people, Laura and I extend our condolences to Mohammad Zahir Shah's family and to the people of Afghanistan.

محمد ظاهر پادشاه سابق افغانستان درگذشت -- BBC

ظاهر شاه: هفت دهه حضور سياسی پيدا و پنهان --- BBCPsersian

Afghanistan's former king dead at age 92

KABUL (AFP) - Afghanistan's former king Mohammed Zahir Shah, the last monarch of the troubled nation, died on Monday at the age of 92 at his Kabul residence, President Hamid Karzai said. --- The president declared three days of mourning for the "father of the nation", whose four-decade rule is remembered as a time of peace and stability in the central Asian country.

Afghanistan's former King dies aged 92

KABUL (Reuters) - "With paramount grief, I would like to inform my countrymen that ... Mohammad Zahir Shah has bid farewell to this mortal world," President Hamid Karzai told reporters at the presidential palace. ---- State television interrupted its normal broadcast and a woman dressed black with a black headscarf announced Zahir Shah had died. Prayers and recitals from the Koran followed.

Last King of Afghanistan Dies at 92

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Mohammad Zahir Shah, the last king of Afghanistan who returned from three decades of exile to bless his war-battered country's fragile course toward democracy, has died, President Hamid Karzai said Monday. He was 92. --- "The people are relying on you and you should not forget them," the monarch told the loya jirga, or grand assembly, which ratified the charter. "I hope you will try your best to maintain peace, stability and the unity of the Afghan people."

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Former Afghan king Mohammad Zahir Shah dies -- CNN

Mohammad Zahir Shah, Former Afghan King, Dies

Zahir Shah ruled Afghanistan from 1933 until he was deposed by his cousin in 1973. He lived in exile Italy before returning home as an ordinary citizen in 2002. --- Born in Kabul on October 15, 1914, Zahir Shah received part of his education in France and returned to Kabul for military training. He ascended the throne in 1933 after his father was assassinated by a deranged student.

Former king of Afghanistan dies --- BBC

Zahir Shah was deposed in 1973 and went into exile, but returned to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taleban in 2002. --- "It gives me great pleasure to come back, great pleasure," the monarch said on returning to his country. ---- Many Afghans had a deep love and respect for Zahir Shah, whose lengthy reign was associated with peace, security and modest political reform. --- His 40-year reign saw women receiving education and voting in elections, and a free press. --- After World War II, in which he succeeded in maintaining both Afghanistan's neutrality and its borders, the king recognised the need for modernisation. ---- Mr Shah died at his Kabul residence in the presidential palace compound.

Turkey re-elects governing party

Supporters of Turkey's governing AK Party are celebrating after the country's prime minister claimed a comprehensive general election victory.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Afghans primed for mortgage revolution

Some 20km north-east of Kabul, a unique experiment in housing and city planning in Afghanistan's history is under way. --- The government is building 20,000 homes - a mixture of apartments, row houses and commercial property - which it plans to mortgage to people. The 2,500-acre township will be called New Kabul.

Kabul doubts German killing claim

The Afghan government says it does not believe Taleban claims that the militant group has killed two Germans it abducted near Kabul this week.

First female president for India

Pratibha Patil is to become India's first woman president after winning a comprehensive election victory, Indian officials say.

Experts: Get Colonoscopies After Age 50

Patients Should Be Checked Every 10 Years or Less, Says ABC News Medical Editor Dr. Timothy Johnson

What is a Colonoscopy?

The word colonoscopy means looking inside the colon. It is carried out by a gastroenterologist, a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating people with diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, the stomach, and the intestines.

Jude Law in Afghanistan to promote Peace Day

"This is a country I'd always wanted to visit," Law said. "It was a situation that I found intriguing. I felt that if it was safe for Jeremy it must be safe for me," he said.

Friday, July 20, 2007

US: Mandatory Deportation Laws Harm American Families, (Legal Residents Often Deported for Minor Crimes)

(Washington, DC, July 18, 2007) – The mandatory deportation of legal immigrants convicted of a crime, even a minor one, has separated an estimated 1.6 million children and adults, including US citizens and lawful permanent residents, from their non-citizen family members, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

Foreign Affairs - The Art of Peace: Bringing Diplomacy Back to Washington

Summary: Washington has abandoned diplomacy in favor of military power. In Statecraft, Dennis Ross urges U.S. officials to resurrect the United States' peacemaking tradition and restore its international reputation.

Pakistan rejects U.S. action on militants on its soil

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan insisted on Friday that only its own troops can carry out counter-terrorism actions on its soil, rejecting a Washington statement that U.S. forces kept all options open in striking at al Qaeda or the Taliban.

Bush Order Governs CIA Interrogation Techniques

President Bush today signed an executive order governing the interrogation of terrorism suspects by the CIA and barring torture, degrading treatment and serious acts of violence, the White House announced.

Jude Law makes Afghan peace visit

Oscar-nominated film star Jude Law is in war-torn Afghanistan to promote the UN's annual Peace Day on 21 September. --- Mr Law told the BBC: "Across the board we have met with incredible positive response. My overall impression of this country is one of great hope."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pakistan's Musharraf Faces Growing Pressure

Morning Edition, July 19, 2007 · As deadly violence continues to expose potential instability in Pakistan, the nation's military ruler, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, is coming under increasing political pressure.

Leak at Japan Nuclear Plant Went Undetected

All Things Considered, July 19, 2007 · In Japan, radioactive material leaked from a nuclear plant, undetected for days — even as the utility company assured the public that there was no danger after Monday's powerful earthquake. The world's largest nuclear power plant was forced to shut down indefinitely.

Bush Defends His Immigration Proposals

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- President Bush sharply challenged critics of his stalled immigration-overhaul efforts on Thursday, suggesting that failure to pass a guest-worker program could trigger a labor shortage in the United States.

Afghan Rebel Leader Denies Declaring Ceasefire

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan rebel leader and al Qaeda ally Gulbuddin Hekmatyar on Thursday denied he had declared a ceasefire in his battle against Afghanistan's government, a spokesman said.

Asia.view: Politics by other means

Russia expels four embassy staff

Russia is to expel four UK embassy staff in the row over Moscow's refusal to extradite the man suspected of Alexander Litvinenko's murder.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Foreign Policy: The Failed States Index 2007

The world’s weakest states aren’t just a danger to themselves. They can threaten the progress and stability of countries half a world away. In the third annual Failed States Index, FOREIGN POLICY and The Fund for Peace rank the countries where the risk of failure is running high.

Powell: Thinning U.S. Resources Will Require Pullout

Bush Forms Cabinet Committee to Study Safety of U.S. Imports

Nation: Homeland Security Grants Spur New Complaints

All Things Considered, July 18, 2007 · The Homeland Security Department on Wednesday announced almost $3 billion in grants to help state and local communities prepare for a possible terrorist attack. The awards come amid new warnings that the country is facing an increased risk of attack by al-Qaida.

NPR : Report: Al-Qaida Is Persistent, Evolving Threat

A declassified version of the findings was released Tuesday. It specifies a number of groups that pose a "persistent and evolving threat" to the U.S. over the next three years.

NATO forces in Afghanistan insufficient: Canada

OTTAWA (Reuters) - NATO does not have enough troops in Afghanistan to accomplish the "daunting challenge" of stabilizing the impoverished nation, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Wednesday.

Nato faces Afghanistan 'problems'

Defence Secretary Des Browne has said UK-led Nato forces are facing "problems" in Afghanistan but there was no question of troops being pulled out. --- He warned it would be a "potential nightmare" for the west if Afghanistan was allowed to become a terrorist "training ground" as it was before.

Bush tackles scares over imports

US President George W Bush has set up a panel to look at the safety of food and other products imported into the US.

Fed chief acknowledges credit fears

Bernanke: Housing woes may last

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has told Congress the U.S. economy will grow gradually this year and gain steam in 2008, but warned there are many risks to the outlook and stressed the U.S. central bank is on guard against inflation. --- But Bernanke warned that a slowdown in the U.S. housing market may last longer than anticipated, and said that further hikes in energy and commodity prices could spark inflation and push closely watched core inflation up.

Comment is free: Power, politics and poppies -- Robert Fox

To paraphrase JF Kennedy's inaugural, it is not a question of what Afghanistan can do for Nato (coherence, identity, future purpose, etc) but what Nato, its parts, its nations and peoples, can do for Afghanistan. ---- The central issue for the British in Afghanistan is whether their current mission, and the concept of operations for pursuing it, makes sense. The stated purposes of the Blair-Brown administration for Afghanistan is fourfold: to sustain an independent pluriform government in Kabul, to whack the Taliban insurgents, to beat the drugs business and to stop a resurgence of al-Qaida. ---- The problem with the first job, to sustain a new pluriform government in Kabul, is that too much is riding on Hamid Karzai. He won't be there forever, for three years more at maximum, and the outside world musty prepare for what comes next.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Musharraf faces big decision

Afghanistan's Opium Wars

U.S.: Afghanistan to Break Opium Record

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghanistan's heroin-producing poppy crop set another record this season, despite intensified eradication efforts, the American ambassador said Tuesday.

U.S. says Iran knows its weapons reaching Taliban

KABUL (Reuters) - Iranian arms are entering Afghanistan and reaching Taliban insurgents in such quality and quantity that the Tehran government must know about it, the U.S. ambassador to Kabul said on Tuesday.

Afghan war responsible for extremism:

WASHINGTON: Munir Akram, Pakistan’s permanent representative at the United Nations, has said that Islamic extremism has not grown during President Musharraf’s term of office, arguing that its origins lie in the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan 25 years ago. ---- The origin of the problem of extremism lies in the use of jihadis against the Soviets, he pointed out in a CNN interview over the weekend.

Monday, July 16, 2007

IMF says Afghanistan qualifies for interim debt relief

(Pajhwok Afghan News): Afghanistan has taken the necessary measures to enter the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) and qualify for interim debt relief, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank said on Monday.

After the Red Mosque Bloodbath: Are Musharraf's Days in Power Numbered? - International - SPIEGEL

Sarkozy Wrestles with Merkel for European Dominance

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is challenging German Chancellor Angela Merkel for leadership of Europe. But she's hoping to slow down France's hyperactive new leader to ensure German influence on the Continent -- while avoiding an open confrontation between Paris and Berlin.

What the arrest of former PM means

Pakistani Government Seeks to Salvage Peace Deal

Bangladeshi Ex-Premier Faces Extortion Charges

DHAKA, Bangladesh -- Police arrested former prime minister Sheikh Hasina on extortion charges Monday, and she was ordered jailed pending trial, her attorney said.

Dow Jones, Murdoch Reach a Deal

Executives from Dow Jones have agreed to the major terms of a deal to sell the company to News Corp., a move that would give Rupert Murdoch long-sought control the Wall Street Journal, the nation's preeminent financial newspaper, according to a source familiar with the talks.

Bush Proposes New Mideast Peace Talks

Former Bangladesh Prime Minister Arrested

Hasina is the leader of the Awami League, one of two political dynasties that have dominated Bangladesh since 1991. The other is headed by her bitter rival, former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, who also faces corruption charges.

How to Size Up Your Hospital -- Wall Street Journal

The best-known source for hospital data may be Hospital Compare (www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov), set up jointly by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, hospitals and other groups. The site lets consumers search by city, state or other criteria, and look up a variety of statistics comparing more than 5,000 hospitals against one another and to state and federal averages.

Health Care: Choosing with Care: How to Select the Right Hospital

Talk of the Nation, July 16, 2007 · The latest rankings of U.S. hospitals are out, but some doctors warn that you need more than a top ten list to find the best medical care. Surgeon Mehmet Oz and Wall Street Journal reporter Theo Francis discuss the key factors patients should consider before choosing a hospital.

Trip to NGO reveals true depth of Afghan poverty, desperation

These kids can be seen everywhere in Afghanistan, doing whatever they can to get money — from begging to selling packs of gum or hand-made, beaded bracelets. At Global Point, they are educated and learn real trades and skills so they can contribute financially to their families.

Grapefruit link to breast cancer

Eating grapefruit every day could raise the risk of developing breast cancer by almost a third, US scientists say. --- A study of 50,000 post-menopausal women found eating just a quarter of a grapefruit daily raised the risk by up to 30%. ---- The fruit is thought to boost levels of oestrogen - the hormone associated with a higher risk of the disease, the British Journal of Cancer reported.

Experts probe Afghan mass grave

Some government sources, however, believe the mass grave may date from the more recent civil war of the early 1990s. --- Human rights workers say more than twenty mass graves have so far been unearthed around Afghanistan, covering all periods of the country's conflict.

Afghanistan : 'Bin Ladin probably dead', -- Lefigaro.fr

Commentary by political analyst Gerard Chaliand

Bush to host Afghan president at Camp David

The War in Afghanistan: Drugs, Money Laundering and the Banking System, --Global Research

The landlocked state of Afghanistan sits at the crossroads of Central Asia, the Indian sub-continent, and the Middle East. It is geo-strategically and economically important for a number of reasons. ---- Firstly, Afghanistan is a major geo-strategic hub that conveniently flanks Iran, the former Soviet Union, and China. Afghanistan’s location has always been significant. For most of its history, the geographic area has been a frontier between Iran, India, and China. Later, since its Independence from Iran, it has acted as a buffer state between Iran, Tsarist Russia succeeded by the Soviet Union, and India under British colonial rule—later succeeded by the Republic of India and Pakistan. Afghanistan is an ideal place to create a wedge between the major Eurasian powers and to establish a permanent military presence for future operations in Eurasia.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Failure in Afghanistan risks rise in terror, say generals

Britain's most senior generals have issued a blunt warning to Downing Street that the military campaign in Afghanistan is facing a catastrophic failure, a development that could lead to an Islamist government seizing power in neighbouring Pakistan. ---- 'The consequences of failure in Afghanistan are far greater than in Iraq,' he said. 'If we fail in Afghanistan then Pakistan goes down. The security problems for Britain would be massively multiplied. I think you could not then stop a widening regional war that would start off in warlordism but it would become essentially a war in the end between Sunni and Shia right across the Middle East.'

The Frustrations of Rebuilding

The U.S.-led coalition is spending hundreds of millions of dollars constructing roads, bridges and buildings across Afghanistan. For the troops on the ground, it can be a frustrating and delicate job.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Afghanistan: The Other Lost War

"Information Clearing House" -- -- In his important new book Freedom Next Time, dealing with "empire, its facades and the enduring struggle of people for their freedom," John Pilger has a chapter on Afghanistan. In it he says that "Through all the humanitarian crises in living memory, no country has been abused and suffered more, and none has been helped less than Afghanistan." He goes on to describe what he sees as something more like a moonscape than a functioning nation. In the capitol, Kabul, there are "contours of rubble rather than streets, where people live in collapsed buildings, like earthquake victims waiting for rescue....(with) no light or heat." It seems like it's always been that way for these beleaguered people who've had a long history of conflict and suffering with little relief. ----- In the 19th century, the Afghan people were victimized by the "Great Game" struggle pitting the British empire against Tsarist Russia for control of that part of the world. More recently in the 1980s, it paid dearly again when a US recruited mujahideen guerrilla army battled against a Soviet occupation. It forced the occupiers out but at the cost of a ravaged country and one forced to endure still more suffering and destruction from the brutal civil war in the 1990s that followed the Soviet withdrawal. Then came 9/11, the US attack, invasion, occupation and further devastation that's ongoing with no end in sight and now intensifying in ferocity.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

US stocks surge to record highs

Wall Street stocks surged on Thursday, and the S&P 500 and blue chips entered record territory, boosted by a big deal in the mining sector and better-than-expected sales at Wal-Mart in June.

Lady Bird Johnson Gave America A Big Bouquet

A First Lady's Natural Beauty

Immigration Law 'Hits Turks Below the Belt'

The boycott by four major organizations representing the Turkish community in Germany of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's much-vaunted integration summit (more...) threatened to overshadow the event as it took shape on Thursday. ---- Their main bone of contention is a new immigration law which contains measures they consider discriminatory -- for example, a stipulation that future spouses can only come to Germany if they can prove knowledge of German, a rule that does not apply to Americans, Japanese or European Union citizens and seems to have been created with Turks in mind. "That is discrimination," said Kenan Kolat, chairman of the Turkish Community in Germany (TGD) organization.

Berlin integration plan attacked

Afghan president backs Pakistan mosque assault

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday supported Pakistan for attacking Taliban-style militants dug-in at a mosque and urged his neighbour to crack down on all radical religious groups there.

European Court of Human Rights: Ban on torture is absolute and universal

Amnesty International, the AIRE Centre, The International Commission of JURISTs, Interights and REDRESS are warning that, in a hearing today, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights is being asked to reconsider the absolute ban on torture and other ill-treatment. ---- The prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment is absolute for good reason. Torture is a grave violation of personal dignity and bodily integrity. Its effect is also corrosive on the rule of law and the moral authority of the state itself. For these and other reasons, the practice of torture has been repeatedly condemned by international and national courts. Its absolute prohibition has attained the highest status of international law, it is fundamental, peremptory and intransgressible.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wall St rallies but subprime fears remain

US stocks rallied on Wednesday, but worries over the subprime mortgage market remained the main talking point among investors.

Turkey: No justice for victims of torture and killings by law enforcement officials - Amnesty International

Dollar keeps falling against euro

The euro has risen to new highs against the dollar, near the $1.38 mark, amid lingering worries about the US economy. --- With investors fearful the US housing slump will hit the wider economy, the euro rose as high as $1.3784 before pulling back slightly to $1.3742.

Afghan president calls militants cowards

KABUL, Afghanistan - Calling militant attacks "cowardly work," President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday deplored a suicide bombing that killed 12 children and accused the fighters of running from battle by donning women's clothing.

Afghan civilian casualties: a battle of tolls

Pashtun Genocide in Afghanistan and How to stop it

To make matters worse, the US-backed anti-Pashtun warlords of the Northern Alliance are in an endless wrangle to keep a firm clout in Kabul, despite the fact that Mr Karzai expelled some of these militia leaders from his cabinet. Their clinging to power continues to derail the process of national reconciliation. The Pashtuns see Karzai as a masquerade for these predatory warlords. Like swashbuckling pirates who threaten anyone who stands in their way of illegal and sectarian campaigns. The militia of the Northern Alliance, propelled to power by the American led invasion, use the Western presence as an insurance policy for their subsequent sectarian agenda, prolonging their control of the loin share of the state bureaucracy. The minority-dominated government in Kabul helps the Taliban to manipulate the current Pashtun marginalisation and growing apathy that are mostly living in the south, east and west of Afghanistan. The equilibrium of political power is maintained by NATO and the American forces. This left most of the Pashtuns in the country side with no choice but to turn against the Americans and NATO.

Afghanistan Freedom and Security Support Act Will Provide Country with Crucial Resources for Reconstruction and to Fight Terrorism

The Afghanistan Freedom and Security Support Act (AFSSA) passed in the House of Representatives on June 6. A Senate bill is now being drafted, pending approval in the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. The Embassy has been actively involved in interacting with key members of the US Congress to help in supporting Afghanistan’s interests in the development and drafting of the AFSSA legislation.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Women don’t actually speak more than men!

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Men talk every bit as much as women do, U.S. researchers said after painstakingly counting every word that 400 volunteers spoke. --- "Women and men both use on average about 16,000 words per day, with very large individual differences around this mean," the researchers, led by psychologist Matthias Mehl of the University of Arizona, wrote.

100 militants killed in Afghanistan --Associated Press Writer

KABUL, Afghanistan - More than 1,000 people were killed in insurgency-related violence in June alone, including 700 militants and 200 civilians. More than 3,100 people have been killed in Afghanistan this year, according to an Associated Press count based on information from Western and Afghan officials. Around 4,000 people died in violence last year.

Afghan army far from prepared: German FM

BERLIN (AFP) - The international community has failed to deliver on its promise to rehabilitate the Afghan army which is still far from able to secure the country, Germany's foreign minister has said.

Errant Afghan civilian deaths surge -- By Laura King, Times Staff Writer

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN —U.S. and NATO troops killed more noncombatants in the last six months than did Taliban insurgents, several tallies indicate. --- Why? Why?" Reza asked. "They are supposed to protect us, not kill us." --- In a communal society such as Afghanistan, "no death is isolated," said Hekmat Karzai, who runs a security think tank in Kabul and is a cousin of the president. "When one person dies, it affects a whole village or clan or tribe. Ultimately, it affects everyone, and there's no escaping that."

انجینیر کریم عطائی ---- روز سیاه هفت ثور یک پارچه منحوس از تاریخ افغانستان

نگاهی به اولین جمهوریت افغانستان ,---- چرا سردار محمد داود از وظیفه صدارت کنار رفت

پارلمان افغانستان منحل گردد --- ولی احمد نوری

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Afghan prison bodies discovered

At least 15 underground rooms full of human remains were uncoveredAn underground prison containing hundreds of bodies has been discovered in Afghanistan. --- "There are at least 15 rooms full of dead bodies," Gen Ali Shah Paktiwal, police chief

Afghan, Turkmen leaders discuss trans-Afghan natural gas pipeline

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan: The leaders of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan on Thursday discussed prospects for a pipeline that would carry natural gas from energy-rich Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India via Afghanistan. --- Reaching out to Turkmenistan's violence-plagued southern neighbor in talks with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai, new President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov also promised to provide Afghanistan with electric power worth US$300,000 (€220,000) at no cost.

U.N., U.S. Actions Sometimes at Odds On Afghan Policy

The Foundation of Home Sales Has Been Weakened By The Sub-Prime Mess

PAUL KANGAS: As Suzanne noted, Wall Street has grown concerned in recent months about continued weakness in housing sales. One of the main worries is that the rising number of defaults on sub-prime mortgages could put even more homes on the market. And as Stephanie Dhue reports, that's already happening in some places.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Nation celebrates 4th of July

New Museum Pays Respect to Europe's Emigrants

Everyone knows that millions of European emigrants ended up at Ellis Island in New York. But where did they come from? A new museum in Hamburg documents the millions who began their journey across the Atlantic from the shores of Germany.

Tornados in Afghanistan, Political Twisters in Germany

Germany's highest court has rejected a petition from a left-wing party to have reconnaissance jets withdrawn from Afghanistan. Editorialists, however, fear the court, while making the right decision, may have given the government overly broad freedom for NATO missions abroad.

ANALYSIS-German coalition headed for clash on Afghan mandate

BERLIN, July 3 (Reuters) - Germany's governing parties may be headed for a major clash over the German military's mandate in Afghanistan as civilian deaths mount and a resurgent Taliban appears to grow stronger.

Rome conference pledges US$360 million to rebuild Afghan justice system

ROME: Officials at an international conference in Rome pledged US$360 million (€265 million) in new funds Tuesday to train judges, build infrastructure and take other measures to strengthen Afghanistan's justice system. --- The pledge ended a two-day conference on rule of law in Afghanistan that was largely overshadowed by concerns over civilian casualties by NATO forces in the country.

Afghanistan’s ‘long night of injustice’ nearing its end – Ban Ki-moon

3 July 2007 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged Afghanistan’s partners to join hands with the fledgling democracy as it attempts to establish the foundations of law and order following decades of conflict, declaring that the country’s “long night of injustice is nearing its end.” --- “Now we must herald the rule of law, and the era of the Afghan citizen,” Mr. Ban stated in his address to an international conference on justice and rule of law in Afghanistan taking place in Rome.

Muslims in America: Coverage by Andrea Elliott

Monday, July 02, 2007

Afghanistan Begins Campaign to Cut Smoking

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan may be the world's largest producer of heroin, but the government has taken the first step towards to a ban on smoking in public places.

US regrets Afghan civilian deaths

Afghanistan is moving backward

KABUL - The Afghan government and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies are struggling to bring stability to Afghanistan as NATO's stabilizing efforts are being undermined by bad governance. --- Reforming government institutions and rebuilding vital economic infrastructures should have been the priority since the collapse of the Taliban regime in 2001. In fact, during the past three decades of continuous conflicts and civil wars and the Taliban's assumption of power in 1996, Afghanistan's administration and economic system became paralyzed and dysfunctional. --- The country has not seen economic progress since the Soviet invasion in 1979. The middle class disappeared, the best-educated people left the country, and all signs of modern education and government institutions were replaced by a traditional, not to say archaic or "backward", system. --- Despite international attention and the presence of NATO forces, as well as billions of US dollars in aid, nothing substantial in terms of reconstruction has been accomplished. Even in relatively peaceful provinces, popular frustration over government ineptitude is mounting. --- Ordinary Afghans believe that some of the corrupt high officials are implicitly protected by powerful NATO countries. NATO ends up bearing the brunt of the blame in part because the Afghan Parliament does not have the capacity to monitor the government's activities.

US: Afghan Civilian Deaths 'Unfortunate'

ROME -- The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said Monday it was "unfortunate" that civilians have been caught up in the NATO-led military operation in Afghanistan, calling war an imperfect science. --- Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad spoke to reporters in Rome, where he was attending a two-day conference to map out a strategy for strengthening Afghanistan's police, legal and justice systems.

Princes host Diana birthday concert

William tells Wembley crowd show reflects ‘all that my mother loved in life’

Princes host concert for Diana

Princes mark Diana’s birthday with concert

LONDON - Waving their arms in the air with 70,000 fans at Wembley Stadium, princes William and Harry celebrated the life of their mother, Princess Diana, on what would have been her 46th birthday Sunday at a concert they organized.

Bill Clinton joins wife’s campaign for first time

Bush, Putin project united front on Iran