Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari is expected to extend an invitation to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a brief visit to India.
According to Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit, Zardari is to formally invite Singh to Pakistan during his visit on Sunday.
Basit added that the brief visit was important because it is expected to “help translate the President’s vision of regional cooperation and connectivity”.
Although no particular agenda has been specified, Zardari and Singh are expected to hold talks on all bilateral and regional issues at the Prime Minister’s Race Course Road in New Delhi.
The Pakistani president’s visit has been scheduled for after his return from the 13th century shrine of Khawaja Ghareeb Nawaz in the city of Ajmer in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan.
The visit will be the first made to India by a Pakistani leader since former President Pervez Musharraf made an official visit to New Delhi in 2005.
Palestinian community leader Raed Salah today won his appeal against the British government’s attempts to deport him from the United Kingdom. More than 2 months since the latest of a number of legal hearings, the Vice President of the Upper Immigration Tribunal has ruled that “the Secretary of State’s decision… appears to have been entirely unnecessary” and that Sheikh Raed’s appeal against the deportation order “succeeds on all grounds”.
In his judgement, Mr Justice Ockelton senior immigration judge and vice president of the Upper Tribunal said that the Home Secretary, Theresa May, “was misled” and “under a misapprehension as to the facts”. He added that “there is no evidence that the danger perceived by the Secretary of State is perceived by any of the other countries where the appellant has been, nor, save for the very tardy indictment, is there any evidence that even Israel sees the danger that the Secretary of State sees.”
Sheikh Raed, an Israeli citizen, came to London at the invitation of Middle East Monitor (MEMO) in June last year for a 10-day speaking tour, primarily to speak to parliamentarians at Westminster. His programme was publicised well in advance but attracted no interest from security officials, the UK Border Agency or the Home Office. Two days into the tour, the Home Office claimed that a banning order had been placed on the Sheikh, although neither he nor his representatives in Israel or the UK were given copies, and he was arrested at his hotel in London. Following an initial spell in custody, Sheikh Raed has been living in London under a curfew having opted to stay in Britain to clear his name. He has had to report to a local police station on a daily basis and restrictions were in place to prevent him from speaking in public.
It is understood that the Home Secretary acted initially on an email from the Community Security Trust and started the legal procedure which has resulted in humiliation for the government. Mrs. May’s reliance on pro-Israel Jewish community groups who provided the “evidence” which formed the basis of her case against Sheikh Raed is totally discredited by the judgement.
According to Dr. Daud Abdullah, the Director of MEMO, Mr. Justice Ockelton’s decision is a landmark for freedom of speech as well the rights of Palestinians to campaign against injustice at home and abroad.
“Mr. Justice Ockelton said that freedom of speech is ‘entitled to general protection’ and that is what this case is all about,” said Dr. Abdullah. “Sheikh Raed Salah is an outspoken critic of his government’s discriminatory policies in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, and it is entirely appropriate that a leading law officer in Britain has seen through the propaganda and stated clearly that someone, a group or an individual, has ‘misled’ the Home Secretary on such an important matter.”
Sheikh Raed will now return to his home in Israel having seen his faith in Britain’s justice system rewarded; he goes home with no stain on his character or against his name.
For further information please contact Dr Daud Abdullah on +44 (0) 78 1448 9531
Twitter hash tag for this news: #RaedSalah
At least three African-Americans have been killed and two others injured in separate shootings in the US state of Oklahoma in what is perceived as a racially-motivated attack.
The shooting spree happened in north Tulsa, Oklahoma early Friday morning, AP reported.
All five victims were out walking when they were shot, homicide detective Sgt. Dave Walker said.
He added that police think the shootings are linked because they happened around the same time in the same general area.
Police do not believe the victims knew one another and are trying to determine the circumstances behind the killings.
The Tulsa Police Department named the victims as Dannaer Fields, 49, Bobby Clarke, 54, and 31-year-old William Allen.
Detectives are searching for a white pickup truck that a white male was driving around the area at the time of the shootings.
Meanwhile, Tulsa police spokesman Capt. Jonathan Brooks said investigators were looking into whether the shootings may have been possible hate crimes.
The murder of a young African-American in Florida brought to light the case of hate crimes in the US.
The unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in February.
Zimmerman claimed that he had acted in self-defense, saying that the victim slammed his head into the pavement repeatedly before he fired the gunshot. He has not been charged with any crime.
Last month, the 22-year-old African-American Rekia Boyd was fatally shot by an off-duty Chicago police officer.
The issue of hate crimes is one of the most controversial topics in the Unites States, and has sparked demonstrations across the country.
- Tulsa Gay Teen Savagely Beaten At Party By Guests Yelling Anti-Gay Slurs (queerty.com)
- Man Arrested for Hate Crime and Assault (lapdblog.typepad.com)
Within the span of two weeks Mali experienced a military coup followed by a declaration of independence by the Tuareg in the north, leaving regional and international powers divided over who to support.
Tuareg revolutionaries claimed they had complete control of north Mali from Kidal to Gao last week, including the capital of their historical homeland Azawad and Timbuktu.
The general secretary of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), Bilal Ag Acherif, announced the creation of the “independent state of Azawad” yesterday.
The president of its politburo Mahmoud Ag Ali spoke to Al-Akhbar after they had captured the lands populated by a majority of Tuareg and Arabs in the north on Thursday.
He said that “the announcement of the independent state of Azawad is ready. Its capital will be the historical city of Timbuktu that celebrated its third millennium two years ago.”
He added that “the Tuareg revolutionaries will put an end to military operations after the liberation of the north is complete.” They will then focus on “establishing and building the state.”
He refuted claims in the Western media that the Tuareg rebels intend to continue their military campaign, in conjunction with the Sahara branch of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic West, until the fall of the capital Bamako.
The independence announcement surprised many observers and became an obvious embarrassment to international and regional powers.
The governments of West Africa are still trying to decide how to deal with the military junta in the country that toppled the country’s president in March.
Should the military rebels be pressured to return to their barracks and hand over power to the “legitimate” government, or should they be given more time and indirect support in order to recapture the areas held by the Tuareg revolutionaries?
On the surface there seems to be a consensus among the “international community” to reject the announcement of Azawad independence.
The US, for example, has already announced its categorical rejection of the separatists’ demands.
The French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said that the declaration of independence is “null and of no value.”
For her part, EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said that “the EU has made clear throughout the crisis that it respects the territorial integrity of Mali.”
African Union President Jean Ping expressed the bloc’s “total rejection” of the Tuareg declaration of a homeland in the north and condemned this announcement in a statement saying it was “null and of no value whatsoever.”
Nevertheless, negotiations between African and Western diplomats are heating up.
On one side of the debate over how to deal with the situation in Mali there is the majority of West African countries, in addition to Algeria, Niger, and Cote d’Ivoire, who are supported by the US. They favor the new regime in Mali, hoping that it can put an end to the Tuareg secession.
They want the new junta to sign on a “declaration of principles” for a return to constitutional legitimacy and hand power back to a civilian government immediately. At the same time, they want to negotiate with Tuareg activists to form a national unity government and give the north extensive autonomy.
On the other side, there are those who call for supporting the Tuareg separatists, on the condition that they commit to fighting Al-Qaeda and expel the militant Islamist group from territories under MNLA control.
They include Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, and Burkina Faso and are supported by a strong current in the French foreign ministry.
“Dealing with the current situation cannot only be through good intentions and a declaration of principles,” a French diplomat in Paris told Al-Akhbar on Friday.
“Until now, all Western and regional efforts have failed against Al-Qaeda’s activities on the African coast, although they only have 500 armed men,” he said.
The French diplomat also explained that “for years, Tuareg activists have been expressing opinions…they are the only power that can expel Al-Qaeda from their lands if they are given the necessary political and military support…But this option was always rejected by the regional powers, who fear that the Tuareg will exploit such support to arm themselves and call for an independent state.”
He added that, “after the declaration of independence, regional and international powers have two choices. They can support the independence of Azawad on the condition that the Tuareg fight and expel Al-Qaeda or they can stand against the independent state…The second choice will push the Tuareg activists to ally themselves with Al-Qaeda against foreign intervention.”
Western powers fear that any reconsideration of borders inherited from colonialism could set a precedent that would launch an “African Spring” of secessionist movements in neighboring countries such as Libya, Niger, Algeria, and others.