Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
WASHINGTON – After marathon talks, the Obama administration and Democratic leaders appeared near agreement with Nebraska health care legislation.late Friday night to provide the crucial 60th vote needed for Senate passage of
Jim Manley, said in a late-night statement.intends to unveil a final package of changes in the long-debated legislation on Saturday "and is confident that it will prevail," his spokesman,
Nelson, the Senate's most conservative Democrat, has been seeking fresh concessions to restrict access to abortion coverage in the legislation, as well as more money for his home state of Nebraska and other changes.
He told reporters "real progress" had been made, but he offered no details and said nothing final had emerged from the talks.
, D-N.Y., a supporter of the bill who took part in the negotiations, also sounded pleased. "I've been in Harry Reid's office for 13 hours and I'm glad to get out of there," he said. "But I'm particularly glad with what has happened in that office."
With Nelson's vote,would have the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster by Republicans determined to defeat the bill. Without it, the prospect was far less certain, with Reid ready to initiate a series of steps Saturday, culminating in further debate the next day and a critical test vote shortly after midnight Sunday. Democrats hope for final passage before Christmas.
That gave Nelson enormous leverage as he pressed for concessions that included stronger restrictions on abortions to be covered by insurance policies offered in a newly overhauled health care system. Officials said he was also seeking to ease the impact of a proposed insurance industry tax on nonprofit companies, as well as win more federal funds to cover Nebraska's cost of treating patients in Medicaid, the state-federal health care program for the poor. These officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks, said the administration and Democratic leaders had offered concessions on those points.
The Nebraska Democrat has already rejected one proposed offer on abortions as insufficient, and the presence in the talks of, D-Calif., indicated additional changes were on the table.
Boxer has a strong record in favor of abortion rights. She told reporters as she left the Capitol at the end of the evening there had been progress made on the issue of separating personal funds, which may be used to pay for abortions, from federal funds, which may not.
The issue is contentious because the legislation provides federal subsidies to help lower and middle-income families afford insurance and the otherprograms ban the use of government money to pay for abortions.
Nelson said the revised approach "would exclude any kind of federal funds directly or indirectly being used to fund elective abortions, and the question is always how you get them as tight as you can and still be able to get a common understanding and something that you could all agree to." The restrictions would cover all abortions except those involving rape, incest or if the life of the mother was in jeopardy.
An earlier proposed compromise on that issue — which attempted to separate public from private funds for abortion coverage — won the tentative support of Catholic hospitals. But theobjected, dismissing it as an accounting gimmick.
Later Friday, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also rejected the proposal. He said it "does not comply with long-standing ... restrictions on federal funding of elective abortions" that govern other government programs. The bishops played a significant role in drafting an abortion-related provision in the House bill.
If Republicans cared much about the outcome of negotiations, it wasn't apparent.
"This massive piece of legislation that seeks to restructure one-sixth of our economy is being written behind closed doors without input from anyone in an effort to jam it past not only the Senate but the American people before Christmas," saidof Kentucky, the Republican leader.
"They are virtually thumbing their nose at the American people who are virtually screaming at us, don't pass this bill," he added.
show lagging support for the measure, although Democrats argue that will change once legislation passes and consumers see benefits.
Not all liberals saw it that way.
MoveOn.org, which helped fuel Obama's election last year, announced its opposition to the measure, citing its lack of a government-run insurance option. It urged its members to sign a petition saying, "America needs real health care reform — not a massive giveaway to the insurance companies."
The bill is designed to extend coverage to millions who lack it, prohibit the industry from denying insurance on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions and generally slow the rate of growth of medical spending nationwide.
At a cost of nearly $1 trillion over a decade, it includes hundreds of billions of dollars to defray the cost of coverage to individuals and families at lower and middle incomes.
Reid, D-Nev., has been preparing a final series of revisions to the 2,074-page bill, with Senate debate expected to begin on them shortly after they are made public sometime early Saturday.
In addition to the negotiations with Nelson, there were talks with, R-Maine, who voted for an earlier version of the legislation when it cleared the .
Republicans, who have been accused byand others for failing to oppose the legislation vigorously enough, have threatened to force Senate clerks to read the entire text of the proposed changes aloud, a process that could consume eight hours or so.
COPENHAGEN – Two years of laborious negotiations on a climate agreement ended Friday with a political deal brokered by greenhouse gas emissions.with and other emerging powers but denounced by poor countries because it was nonbinding and set no overall target for curbing
Copenhagen Accord grudging acceptance but said she had "mixed feelings" about the outcome and called it only a first step., a leading proponent of strong action to confront , gave the
Obama's day of frenetic diplomacy produced a three-page document promising $30 billion in emergency aid in the next three years and a goal of channeling $100 billion a year by 2020 to developing countries with no guarantees.
The five-nation agreement includes a method for verifying reductions of heat-trapping gases — a key demand by Washington, because China has resisted international efforts to monitor its actions.
The agreement, which also includes India, South Africa and Brazil, requires industrial countries to list their individual targets and developing countries to list the actions they will take to cut by specific amounts. Obama called that an "unprecedented breakthrough."
"We have come a long way, but we have much further to go," he said.
If the countries had waited to reach a full, binding agreement, "then we wouldn't make any progress," Obama said. In that case, he said, "there might be such frustration and cynicism that rather than taking one step forward, we ended up taking two steps back."
A final plenary session began debating the agreement early Saturday morning with the aim of reaching enough consensus that the president of the conference, Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen, could declare the document approved. But that outcome was thrown into question as a string of developing nations began to protest what they called an inadequate and nonbinding text.
The delegate from the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu — which is threatened by rising seas — told the meeting that his country's future was not for sale. Cuba, Bolivia and complained that they had no input into the drafting of the document.
Obama met twice with— once privately and once with other leaders present — in hopes of sweeping aside some of the disputes that had blocked progress. The U.S. and China are the world's two largest carbon polluters.
A key moment that led to the deal took place when Obama walked uninvited into a meeting that was already under way with China hosting Brazil, India and South Africa.
Later, a senior Obama administration official said that "the only surprise we had, in all honesty, was ... that in that room wasn't just the Chinese having a meeting ... but in fact all four countries that we had been trying to arrange meetings with were indeed all in the same room. ... The president's viewpoint is, I wanted to see them all and now is our chance."
The official spoke on condition of anonymity in order to be able to talk about the sensitive diplomatic events of the day.
Brazil climate ambassador Sergio Barbosa Serra said Wen was hosting the meeting when it was joined by Obama, and "several important decisions were taken, not a few of them due to Brazilian mediation."
Bangladeshi delegate Quamrul Islam Chowdhari said Obama had won over many of the leaders by personally phoning them in the weeks before the summit and "making them feel important."
The emerging outcome was a disappointment to those who had anticipated the Copenhagen Accord would be turned into a legally binding treaty. Instead, it envisions another year of negotiations and leaves myriad details yet to be decided.
Merkel said "the path toward a new agreement is still a very long one." European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the deal was "clearly below" the 's goal.
"I will not hide my disappointment," he said.
Butsaid the agreement had almost universal support. "Let's remember, a year ago nobody thought this sort of agreement was possible," he said.
Lumumba Di-Aping, the Sudanese ambassador who chairs the bloc of developing countries, called it "extremely flawed."
"A gross violation has been committed today against the poor, against the tradition of transparency and participation of equal footing for all parties of the convention and against common sense," he said, complaining that Obama negotiated the pact in one-on-one meetings and a forum of 25 nations.
The document saidshould be reduced enough to keep the increase in average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), which is stronger than in any previous declaration accepted by the rich countries.
However, environmental groups called it a meaningless aspiration.
"The deal is a triumph of spin over substance. It recognizes the need to keep warming below 2 degrees but does not commit to do so. It kicks back the big decisions on emissions cuts and fudges the issue of climate cash," said Jeremy Hobbs, executive director of Oxfam International, an organization that works with developing countries.
He said the agreement "barely papers over the huge differences between countries which have plagued these talks for two years."
Outside the conference hall, more than 100 protesters chanted, "You're destroying our future." Some carried signs of Obama with the words "climate shame" pasted on his face.
Obama had planned to spend only about nine hours in Copenhagen as the summit wrapped up. But, as an agreement appeared within reach, he extended his stay by more than six hours to attend a series of meetings aimed at brokering a deal. He and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.held talks with European leaders, including Merkel, Brown and
He said there was a "fundamental deadlock in perspectives" between big, industrially developed countries like the United States and poorer, though sometimes large, developing nations. Still he said this week's efforts "will help us begin to meet our responsibilities to leave our children and grandchildren a cleaner planet."
The deal as described by Obama reflects some progress helping poor nations cope with climate change and getting China to disclose its actions to address the warming problem.
He said the world will have to take more aggressive steps to combat developed and developing countries.. The first step, he said, is to build trust between
"It's not what we expected," Brazil's Serra said. "It may still be a way of salvaging something and paving the way for another a meeting or series of meetings next year."
New Zealand's climate change ambassador called it "a modest deal."
"I see Kyoto as a first step," Macey said. "This another first step, a global first step."
More than anything, Macey found the U.N. process on climate change "appalling."
John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, decried that "there are no targets for carbon cuts and no agreement on a legally binding treaty."
The two-week, 193-nation conference has been plagued by growing distrust between rich and poor nations. Each side blamed the other for failing to take ambitious actions to tackle climate change. At one point, African delegates staged a partial boycott of the talks.
"We are ready to get this done today, but there has to be movement on all sides to recognize that it is better for us to act rather than talk," Obama had said in an address to the conference, insisting on a transparent way to monitor each nation's pledges to cut emissions.
As negotiations evolved, new drafts of the document emerged with key clauses being inserted, deleted and reintroduced with new wording.
In a diatribe against the U.S., Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez criticized the conference as undemocratic.
"There is a document that has been moving around, all sorts of documents that have been moving around, there is a real lack of transparency here," he said earlier Friday. "We reject any document that Obama will slip under the door."
, negotiating on behalf of the 27-nation EU, blamed the impasse on the Chinese for "blocking again and again," and on the U.S. for coming too late with an improved offer, a long-range climate aid program announced Thursday by Clinton.
"was not very proactive. He didn't offer anything more," said delegate Thomas Negints of Papua New Guinea. He said his country had hoped for "more on emissions, put more money on the table, take the lead."
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
The chairman Agri Forum Ibrahim Mughal told Geo news government fixed Rs. 750 as the price of one urea fertilizer sack but despite that, the dealers have started black marketing, selling a urea bag at Rs. 850 as the fixed prices are not printed on urea bags.
This black marketing has put additional financial burden on farmers especially in wheat cultivation season, he said.
"Most indicators suggest that financial markets are stabilizing and that the economy is emerging from the recession," Bernanke said.
"Yet our task is far from complete. Far too many Americans are without jobs, and unemployment could remain high for some time even if, as we anticipate, moderate economic growth continues
Pakistan team named for Australia tour, Younis left outPakistan team named for Australia tour, Younis left out
Former captain Younis opted to rest after scoring only 22 runs as Pakistan lost the one-day series against New Zealand 2-1 in the United Arab Emirates last month.
Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board Ijaz Butt had urged Younis to end his hiatus from the national team and play against Australia, but the former captain did not compete in the first class tournament to regain his batting form.
“Younis wanted to rest but he didn't play in the domestic cricket since the one-day series against New Zealand,'' chief selector Iqbal Qasim told reporters. “He didn't give his
availability to us and therefore we did not select him.''
Pakistan team will fly to Australia directly from New Zealand after playing three Test matches against the Kiwis with the first Test beginning at Melbourne on December 26.
Shahid Afridi, who will lead Pakistan in the only T20 international against Australia, will be Yousuf's deputy in the five-match one-day series. However, wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal was named vice-captain for the three-Test series.
Iqbal Qasim said the team for ODI series against Australia will be named after the second Test ends at Sydney on Jan. 7.
Test squad: Salman Butt, Khurram Manzoor, Imran Farhat, Mohammad Yousuf (captain), Misbah-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik, Fawad Alam, Faisal Iqbal, Kamran Akmal (vice-captain/wk), Danish Kaneria, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Aamir, Abdul Rauf, Umar Akmal.
Benchmark crude for January delivery was up 23 cents to $74.16 at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.54 to settle at $73.93 on Monday.
The dollar, boosted by a better than expected US jobs report last week, helped push oil prices out of a two-month range of between $75 and $82.
Investors have been buying crude as a hedge against inflation as the dollar has slid this year amid massive government stimulus spending and low interest rates. When the dollar rises, traders tend to sell their positions in oil.
"The movement of the dollar has continued to be a leading driver of oil pricing," said Victor Shum, an energy analyst with consultancy Purvin & Gertz in Singapore. "But when the price falls to the mid-$70s, many market participants see that as a buying opportunity."
In Asian trade, the dollar pared some of its recent gains. The euro rose to $1.4834 from $1.4820 in New York late Monday while the dollar fell to 88.90 yen from 89.49.
In other Nymex trading in January contracts, heating oil was steady at $1.96 while gasoline rose 0.54 cent to $1.96. Natural gas jumped 4.6 cents to $5.02 per 1,000 cubic feet.
In London, Brent crude for January delivery rose 37 cents to $76.80 on the ICE Futures exchange.
Two car bombs exploded near the labour and interior ministries and a suicide attacker driving a car struck a police patrol in Dora, in southern Baghdad, causing 15 of the deaths, an interior ministry official said.
The first explosion in central Baghdad was heard at 10.25 am (0725 GMT) with a second blast within seconds and a third one minute later.
Sporadic gunfire then sounded and the sirens of emergency vehicles were also heard, with helicopters taking to the skies soon afterwards.
The interior ministry official said 12 of those killed by the suicide attacker in Dora were students at a nearby technical college. The remaining three victims were policemen working at the checkpoint.
The two remaining car bombs targeted a criminal court building in Mansour, western Baghdad, and a market in Shorjah, in the centre of the city.
Violence across Iraq dropped dramatically last month, with the fewest deaths in attacks since the US-led invasion of 2003. Official figures showed a total of 122 people were killed in November.
However the Baghdad government and the US military have warned of a rise in attacks in the run up to the election, which is expected to take place in February.
The threat of political violence linked to the poll is a major concern after bloody attacks in Baghdad in August and October that killed more than 250 people.
The attacks, including truck bombings outside the finance, foreign and justice ministries, punctured confidence in the Iraqi security forces.
"We believe that there will be an attempt to conduct more attacks between now and the election," General Ray Odierno, the top US commander in Iraq, said in November.
Tuesday's bombings came two days after the war-torn country's parliament passed a law governing the election, which will be the second national ballot since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein from power.
The United Nations on Monday urged Iraq to announce "as soon as possible" the date for the vote after more than two months of delays.
The presidency council, made up of President Jalal Talabani and his two deputies, now has to announce a date for the ballot.
The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) in a statement said that February 27 was "feasible" and it stood ready to give all possible help to bring this about.
US diplomats, most notably Christopher Hill, Washington's ambassador to Baghdad, had pushed MPs to pass the law, seeking to avoid delays to the planned pullout of tens of thousands of American troops in 2010.
The United States has 115,000 soldiers in Iraq, but that figure will drop to 50,000 next year as all of its combat troops are pulled out before a complete withdrawal by the end of 2011.
According to reports, gunmen stormed at a building of a sensitive agency and opened fire on police officials. According to reports, gunmen stormed at a building of a sensitive agency and opened fire on police officials. Later, they blew up a car bomb near the building, which severely damaged the building. A rocket was also fired before the blast.
Dr. Kaleem of Rescue 1122 said four security personnel and eight civilians were killed in the blast and more than 35 including women and children were wounded. The injured were rushed to CMH and Nishtar Hospital where emergency was declared. The blast was so powerful that the windowpanes of the nearby buildings were smashed to pieces. Front of the building has been destroyed completely and several people trapped under the rubble.
According to Civil Defence official Shahid Pervaiz, 500 kg explosive was planted in the car. Rockets and hand grenade were also recovered from the blast site. Security forces have cordoned off the area as helicopters are hovering. Sources said cantt area has been sealed due to possible presence of more terrorists.
These NRO beneficiaries include President Asif Ali Zardari, Rehman Malik, Jahangir Badar, Yousuf Talpur, Ahmed Mukhtar, Pak Ambassador in the US Hussain Haqqani, Haji Nawaz Khokhar, Pir Mukarramul Haq, Brig (rtd) Imtiaz, Usman Farooqi, Salman Farooqi, former President Habib Bank Younus Dalmia, Mirbaz Khetran and Aftab Sherpao.
Former MPAs including Agha Siraj Ahmed, Ghaniur Rehman, Habibullah Kundi are on the list.
According to NAB list, former Secretary to PM Ahmed Sadiq, former Chief Secretary Javed Ahmed Qureshi, Syed Zahir Hussain, Former Secretary Trade Aslam Hayat Qureshi, Former Finance Secretary Javed Talat, former Secretary Salman Farooqi, AR Siddiqui, Former Secretary to PM Saeed Mehdi, former DG NHA Iqbal Ahmed, Adnan A Khawaja and Nadeem Imtiaz are included.
Former MNAs Haji Kabeer, Rana Nazeer Ahmed, Sardar Mansoor Leghari and Chaudhry Abdul Hameed are included in the list.
Former MPAs Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, Malik Mushtaq Awan, Mian Rasheed, Tariq Anees, Mian Tariq Mehmood, former DG OGDC Shahid Ahmed, former MD Utility Stores Sadiq Ali Khan, former GM Port Qasim Authority Abdus Sattar Dero, former chairman NDF Maula Bux are included in the list of people who availed of NRO financially.
According to NAB list presented in the SC, there are at least seven abolished references of President Zardari. Among them, Rs1.82 billion in ARY Gold, Rs270 in a tractor project, and there is mention of at least Rs50 million in Polo Ground.
According to the NAB report, there are at least two cases of Interior Minister Rehman Malik.
Monday, December 7, 2009
BUENOS AIRES: Tango lovers, more accustomed to smoky milonga dance halls, took to the streets of the Argentine capital on Saturday (December 05) for the "Great National Milonga."
Street traffic was stopped for the night, and high-heeled tango dancers took over the asphalt for the event, which closed down three blocks of one of the city's historic avenues; the Avenida del Mayo.
"It is really special because there is no dance in the world like tango, where you hold the person in an embrace, with so much passion, love, sensations, sex; it is very sexy, and that attracts everyone because you can't live and feel like that anywhere but here," said tango dancer, Violeta Bianchi.
This is the third time Argentina has held the national event, which is organized by the National Tango Academy and tourism authorities.
Spectators were able to watch some of the country's best tango dancers and listen to groups such as The Buenos Aires Tango Orchestra, Los Reyes de Tango, Gente de Tango, and Sexteto Milonguero with Javier Di Ciriaco.
"Is it really good, I am enjoying it a lot that they put on these kind of shows, because you can go to milongas and pay and it is fine, it is all good, but here so many people have come together just to dance tango, and that is really good," said tango lover Jonathon Fortunato.
The sultry dance was born in South America, and became popular in the late 1800s.
It is distinguished by the close embrace of the dancing couple, who step in time to a two-by-four beat.
JOHANNESBURG: Five candidates of the 2009 Miss World beauty pageant have advanced to the semifinals, after they won in four fast-track events in Johannesburg, South Africa, organizers said.
The five candidates who will be included in the Top 20 are Miss Japan, Eruza Zazaki, who won Miss World Sportsman; Miss Canada Lena Ma, and Miss Sierra Leone, Mariatu Kargbo, tied, Miss World Talent; Miss Gibraltar Kaiane Aldorino, Miss World Beach Beauty; and Miss Mexico Perla Beltran, Miss World Top Model.
The other semifinalists will be announced during the grand finals, which will be held at the Gallagher Convention Center on Saturday, December 12.
Normally, only four contestants advance in the semis. But for the first time, this year, two candidates Misses Canada and Sierra Leone tied in one of the fast-track events. This resulted in five candidates advancing to the semifinals.
Also, Miss Puerto Rico Jennifer Colon, and Beltran, of Mexico appeared to be the early favorites to win the 2009 Miss World crown, based on betting houses.
Observers said that the two candidates continue to switch ranks either No. 1 or No. 2 on a daily basis based on bettors’ lists. The lists, however, are not the basis for judging the winners.
Other early favorites were delegates from France, South Africa, Barbados, Belgium, Jamaica, Panama, Gibraltar, Austria, Norway, Croatia, Philippines, Canada, and Scotland.
STOCKHOLM: One of this year's three Nobel prize winners for medicine said on she hoped their groundbreaking research could help to shed light on common, age-related diseases that AIDS sufferers face at an early stage.
Elizabeth Blackburn was one of the three Americans to win the 10 million crown ($2 million) Nobel prize for revealing the nature of telomerase, an enzyme that helps to prevent the fraying of chromosomes that underlies aging and cancer.
Blackburn told a news conference that HIV treatments, when available, had helped to make it possible for many people who suffer from AIDS to live much longer lives.
This created an opportunity for scientists to examine how the maintenance of telomeres - the small caps on the end of chromosomes that carry the DNA - relates to the underlying biology of those with AIDS.
Blackburn is Stockholm this week along with Carol Greider and British-born Jack Szostak to receive their award at a banquet on Thursday.
Prizes for the sciences and for peace were established in the will of 19th century dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel and have been handed out since 1901.
Forty-seven people are still missing and more than 22,000 people have been displaced after their homes were destroyed or damaged in the November 25 flood, said Jeddah civil defence official Mohammed al-Qarni, quoted by SPA.
On Sunday, officials recovered the bodies of a seven-year-old boy, a woman from Yemen and a Sudanese man, Qarni said, adding that 8,092 homes were heavily damaged and 7,143 cars destroyed in the flood.
King Abdullah has ordered an inquiry into the disaster after thousands of residents expressed outrage that the city's infrastructure could not handle the inundation after billions of riyals were spent.
In a rare public burst of anger, Jeddah residents took to the Internet to demand that top officials of the city and region be sacked for mismanagement and alleged corruption.
The full court comprising 17 judges headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry started hearing ten NRO-related petitions.
The petitioners including Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)’s former leader Dr Mubashshir Hasan, former Bureaucrat Roedad Khan and former Jamaat Islami (JI) Chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed.
During the hearing, the Acting Attorney General Shah Khaver told the judiciary that Government of Pakistan reiterates that the 17th Amendment has affected the basic contours of the Constitution, adding the government believes in the supremacy of the Constitution of 73.
The court gave remarks that the issue being heard is not 17th Amendment; rather, it is the NRO. On this, Acting AG said the government will not defend the NRO.
Similarly, the Advocate Generals of four provinces and the NAB prosecutor said they would not defend the Ordinance either.
Supreme Court queried about the repercussions if the government is determined on not defending the Ordinance.
The judiciary also directed to submit the discussion over the NRO in the Parliament and National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Law.
Later on, the petitioner Dr Mubashshir Hasan’s counsel commenced the arguments against the Ordinance.
DSP bomb disposal squad Tanveer said a suicide bomber blew himself near gate of session court. The head of the bomber has been found from the blast site. He said 6-7 kg explosive used in the blast and parts of suicide jacket, nut screws and bolts and bearings have been recovered.
Several vehicles caught fire after the blast. Security officials, fire brigade and ambulances reached the blast site and started rescue operation. Forty-nine injured shifted to Lady Reading Hospital. Senior Minister Bashir Bilaur and CCPO Liaquat Ali also visited the incident site. Link
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Soldier martyred as operation continues in South Waziristan
RAWALPINDI: Security forces continued to conduct search operation in South Waziristan, in which they cleared Barwand, Dashkai Algad, Barhka, Tauda China Khula East and Haider Killi areas, according to a statement released by the ISPR today (Saturday).
Besides, security forces found two tunnels and recovered huge cache of arms and ammunition. While clearance of Khaisura valley is under progress, the ISPR said.
During the operation Rah-e-Nijat, a soldier embraced martyrdom over indiscriminate firing of militants at Ladha.
They also conducted search and clearance operation at Behar near Shalpin, Nawe Kale and Fatehpur and apprehended 6 terrorists in Operation Rah-e-Rast.
While four suspects surrendered themselves to security forces at Main Killi and Naranjpura.
6 militants killed, security man martyred in SWA clashes
WANA: Six militants were killed and a security man martyred during clashes between security forces and militants in different parts of South Waziristan Agency (SWA) as operation Rah-e-Nijat is on in the area.
According to sources, fresh clashes occurred in Asman Manza and Ladha areas in which a security official was martyred and six militants were killed. Eight militants and two security personnel were injured in the clashes.
Forces also continued operation in Orkazai Agency, Hangu and Kurram Agency against militants reaching there from South Waziristan.
It's an extraordinary honor for me to do so here at West Point, where so many men and women have prepared to stand up for our security and to represent what is finest about our country.
To address these important issues, it's important to recall why America and our allies were compelled to fight a war in Afghanistan in the first place.
We did not ask for this fight. On September 11, 2001, 19 men hijacked four airplanes and used them to murder nearly 3,000 people. They struck at our military and economic nerve centers. They took the lives of innocent men, women, and children without regard to their faith or race or station.
Were it not for the heroic actions of passengers on board one of those flights, they could have also struck at one of the great symbols of our democracy in Washington and killed many more.
As we know, these men belonged to al-Qaeda, a group of extremists who have distorted and defiled Islam, one of the world's great religions, to justify the slaughter of innocents. al-Qaeda's base of operations was in Afghanistan, where they were harbored by the Taliban, a ruthless, repressive and radical movement that seized control of that country after it was ravaged by years of Soviet occupation and civil war and after the attention of America and our friends had turned elsewhere.
Just days after 9/11, Congress authorized the use of force against al-Qaeda and those who harbored them, an authorization that continues to this day. The vote in the Senate was 98-0; the vote in the House was 420-1.
For the first time in its history, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization invoked Article 5, the commitment that says an attack on one member nation is an attack on all. And the United Nations Security Council endorsed the use of all necessary steps to respond to the 9/11 attacks. America, our allies, and the world were acting as one to destroy al-Qaeda's terrorist network and to protect our common security.
Under the banner of this domestic unity and international legitimacy -- and only after the Taliban refused to turn over Osama bin Laden -- we sent our troops into Afghanistan.
Within a matter of months, al-Qaeda was scattered and many of its operatives were killed. The Taliban was driven from power and pushed back on its heels. A place that had known decades of fear now had reason to hope.
At a conference convened by the U.N., a provisional government was established under President Hamid Karzai. And an International Security Assistance Force was established to help bring a lasting peace to a war-torn country.
Then, in early 2003, the decision was made to wage a second war in Iraq. The wrenching debate over the Iraq war is well-known and need not be repeated here. It's enough to say that, for the next six years, the Iraq war drew the dominant share of our troops, our resources, our diplomacy, and our national attention, and that the decision to go into Iraq caused substantial rifts between America and much of the world.
Today, after extraordinary costs, we are bringing the Iraq war to a responsible end. We will remove our combat brigades from Iraq by the end of next summer and all of our troops by the end of 2011. That we are doing so is a testament to the character of the men and women in uniform.
Thanks to their courage, grit and perseverance, we have given Iraqis a chance to shape their future, and we are successfully leaving Iraq to its people.
But while we have achieved hard-earned milestones in Iraq, the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated. After escaping across the border into Pakistan in 2001 and 2002, al-Qaeda's leadership established a safe haven there. Although a legitimate government was elected by the Afghan people, it's been hampered by corruption, the drug trade, an under-developed economy, and insufficient security forces.
Over the last several years, the Taliban has maintained common cause with al-Qaeda, as they both seek an overthrow of the Afghan government. Gradually, the Taliban has begun to control additional swaths of territory in Afghanistan, while engaging in increasingly brazen and devastating acts of terrorism against the Pakistani people.
Now, throughout this period, our troop levels in Afghanistan remained a fraction of what they were in Iraq. When I took office, we had just over 32,000 Americans serving in Afghanistan compared to 160,000 in Iraq at the peak of the war.
Commanders in Afghanistan repeatedly asked for support to deal with the reemergence of the Taliban, but these reinforcements did not arrive. And that's why, shortly after taking office, I approved a long-standing request for more troops.
After consultations with our allies, I then announced a strategy recognizing the fundamental connection between our war effort in Afghanistan and the extremist safe havens in Pakistan. I set a goal that was narrowly defined as disrupting, dismantling, and defeating al-Qaeda and its extremist allies, and pledged to better coordinate our military and civilian efforts.
Since then, we've made progress on some important objectives. High-ranking al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders have been killed, and we've stepped up the pressure on al-Qaeda worldwide.
In Pakistan, that nation's army has gone on its largest offensive in years. In Afghanistan, we and our allies prevented the Taliban from stopping a presidential election, and although it was marred by fraud, that election produced a government that is consistent with Afghanistan's laws and constitution.
Yet huge challenges remain: Afghanistan is not lost, but for several years, it has moved backwards. There's no imminent threat of the government being overthrown, but the Taliban has gained momentum. Al-Qaeda has not reemerged in Afghanistan in the same numbers as before 9/11, but they retain their safe havens along the border. And our forces lack the full support they need to effectively train and partner with Afghan security forces and better secure the population.
Our new commander in Afghanistan, General McChrystal, has reported that the security situation is more serious than he anticipated. In short, the status quo is not sustainable.
As cadets, you volunteered for service during this time of danger. Some of you have fought in Afghanistan. Some of you will deploy there. As your commander-in-chief, I owe you a mission that is clearly defined and worthy of your service.
And that's why, after the Afghan voting was completed, I insisted on a thorough review of our strategy.
Now, let me be clear: There has never been an option before me that called for troop deployments before 2010, so there has been no delay or denial of resources necessary for the conduct of the war during this review period. Instead, the review has allowed me to ask the hard questions and to explore all the different options, along with my national security team, our military, and civilian leadership in Afghanistan, and our key partners.
And given the stakes involved, I owed the American people and our troops no less.
This review is now complete. And as commander-in-chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan.
After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home. These are the resources that we need to seize the initiative, while building the Afghan capacity that can allow for a responsible transition of our forces out of Afghanistan.
I do not make this decision lightly. I opposed the war in Iraq precisely because I believe that we must exercise restraint in the use of military force and always consider the long-term consequences of our actions.
We have been at war now for eight years, at enormous cost in lives and resources. Years of debate over Iraq and terrorism have left our unity on national security issues in tatters and created a highly polarized and partisan backdrop for this effort. And having just experienced the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the American people are understandably focused on rebuilding our economy and putting people to work here at home.
Most of all, I know that this decision asks even more of you, a military that, along with your families, has already borne the heaviest of all burdens.
As president, I have signed a letter of condolence to the family of each American who gives their life in these wars. I have read the letters from the parents and spouses of those who deployed. I've visited our courageous wounded warriors at Walter Reed. I've traveled to Dover to meet the flag-draped caskets of 18 Americans returning home to their final resting place.
I see firsthand the terrible wages of war. If I did not think that the security of the United States and the safety of the American people were at stake in Afghanistan, I would gladly order every single one of our troops home tomorrow.
So, no, I do not make this decision lightly. I make this decision because I am convinced that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is the epicenter of violent extremism practiced by al-Qaeda. It is from here that we were attacked on 9/11, and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted as I speak.
This is no idle danger, no hypothetical threat. In the last few months alone, we have apprehended extremists within our borders who were sent here from the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan to commit new acts of terror. And this danger will only grow if the region slides backwards and al-Qaeda can operate with impunity.
We must keep the pressure on al-Qaeda. And to do that, we must increase the stability and capacity of our partners in the region.
Of course, this burden is not ours alone to bear. This is not just America's war. Since 9/11, al-Qaeda's safe havens have been the source of attacks against London and Amman and Bali. The people and governments of both Afghanistan and Pakistan are endangered. And the stakes are even higher within a nuclear-armed Pakistan, because we know that al-Qaeda and other extremists seek nuclear weapons, and we have every reason to believe that they would use them.
These facts compel us to act along with our friends and allies. Our overarching goal remains the same: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan and to prevent its capacity to threaten America and our allies in the future.
To meet that goal, we will pursue the following objectives within Afghanistan. We must deny al-Qaeda a safe haven. We must reverse the Taliban's momentum and deny it the ability to overthrow the government. And we must strengthen the capacity of Afghanistan's security forces and government, so that they can take lead responsibility for Afghanistan's future.
We will meet these objectives in three ways. First, we will pursue a military strategy that will break the Taliban's momentum and increase Afghanistan's capacity over the next 18 months.
The 30,000 additional troops that I'm announcing tonight will deploy in the first part of 2010, the fastest possible pace, so that they can target the insurgency and secure key population centers. They'll increase our ability to train competent Afghan security forces and to partner with them so that more Afghans can get into the fight. And they will help create the conditions for the United States to transfer responsibility to the Afghans.
Because this is an international effort, I've asked that our commitment be joined by contributions from our allies. Some have already provided additional troops, and we're confident that there will be further contributions in the days and weeks ahead.
Our friends have fought and bled and died alongside us in Afghanistan. And now we must come together to end this war successfully. For what's at stake is not simply a test of NATO's credibility; what's at stake is the security of our allies and the common security of the world.
Now, taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011. Just as we have done in Iraq, we will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground.
We'll continue to advise and assist Afghanistan's security forces to ensure that they can succeed over the long haul. But it will be clear to the Afghan government -- and, more importantly, to the Afghan people -- that they will ultimately be responsible for their own country.
Second, we will work with our partners, the United Nations, and the Afghan people to pursue a more effective civilian strategy so that the government can take advantage of improved security. This effort must be based on performance. The days of providing a blank check are over.
President Karzai's inauguration speech sent the right message about moving in a new direction. And going forward, we will be clear about what we expect from those who receive our assistance.
We'll support Afghan ministries, governors, and local leaders that combat corruption and deliver for the people. We expect those who are ineffective or corrupt to be held accountable. And we will also focus our assistance in areas such as agriculture that can make an immediate impact in the lives of the Afghan people.
Now, the people of Afghanistan have endured violence for decades. They've been confronted with occupation by the Soviet Union, and then by foreign al-Qaeda fighters who used Afghan land for their own purposes.
So tonight, I want the Afghan people to understand: America seeks an end to this era of war and suffering. We have no interest in occupying your country. We will support efforts by the Afghan government to open the door to those Taliban who abandon violence and respect the human rights of their fellow citizens. And we will seek a partnership with Afghanistan grounded in mutual respect, to isolate those who destroy, to strengthen those who build, to hasten the day when our troops will leave, and to forge a lasting friendship in which America is your partner and never your patron.
Third, we will act with the full recognition that our success in Afghanistan is inextricably linked to our partnership with Pakistan. We're in Afghanistan to prevent a cancer from once again spreading through that country. But this same cancer has also taken root in the border region of Pakistan. And that's why we need a strategy that works on both sides of the border.
In the past, there have been those in Pakistan who've argued that the struggle against extremism is not their fight and that Pakistan is better off doing little or seeking accommodation with those who use violence.
But in recent years, as innocents have been killed from Karachi to Islamabad, it has become clear that it is the Pakistani people who are the most endangered by extremism. Public opinion has turned. The Pakistani army has waged an offensive in Swat and South Waziristan, and there is no doubt that the United States and Pakistan share a common enemy.
In the past, we too often defined our relationship with Pakistan narrowly. And those days are over.
Moving forward, we are committed to a partnership with Pakistan that is built on a foundation of mutual interest, mutual respect, and mutual trust. We will strengthen Pakistan's capacity to target those groups that threaten our countries and have made it clear that we cannot tolerate a safe haven for terrorists whose location is known and whose intentions are clear.
America is also providing substantial resources to support Pakistan's democracy and development. We are the largest international supporter for those Pakistanis displaced by the fighting. And going forward, the Pakistan people must know: America will remain a strong supporter of Pakistan's security and prosperity long after the guns have fallen silent so that the great potential of its people can be unleashed.
These are the three core elements of our strategy: a military effort to create the conditions for a transition; a civilian surge that reinforces positive action; and an effective partnership with Pakistan.
And I recognize there are a range of concerns about our approach. So let me briefly address a few of the more prominent arguments that I've heard and which I take very seriously.
First, there are those who suggest that Afghanistan is another Vietnam. They argue that it cannot be stabilized and we're better off cutting our losses and rapidly withdrawing. I believe this argument depends on a false reading of history.
Unlike Vietnam, we are joined by a broad coalition of 43 nations that recognizes the legitimacy of our action. Unlike Vietnam, we are not facing a broad-based popular insurgency. And most importantly, unlike Vietnam, the American people were viciously attacked from Afghanistan and remain a target for those same extremists who are plotting along its border.
To abandon this area now and to rely only on efforts against al-Qaeda from a distance would significantly hamper our ability to keep the pressure on al-Qaeda and create an unacceptable risk of additional attacks on our homeland and our allies.
Second, there are those who acknowledge that we can't leave Afghanistan in its current state, but suggest that we go forward with the troops that we already have, but this would simply maintain a status quo in which we muddle through and permit a slow deterioration of conditions there. It would ultimately prove more costly and prolong our stay in Afghanistan, because we would never be able to generate the conditions needed to train Afghan security forces and give them the space to take over.
Finally, there are those who oppose identifying a timeframe for our transition to Afghan responsibility. Indeed, some call for a more dramatic and open-ended escalation of our war effort, one that would commit us to a nation-building project of up to a decade. I reject this course because it sets goals that are beyond what can be achieved at a reasonable cost and what we need to achieve to secure our interests.
Furthermore, the absence of a timeframe for transition would deny us any sense of urgency in working with the Afghan government. It must be clear that Afghans will have to take responsibility for their security and that America has no interest in fighting an endless war in Afghanistan.
As president, I refuse to set goals that go beyond our responsibility, our means, or our interests. And I must weigh all of the challenges that our nation faces. I don't have the luxury of committing to just one.
Indeed, I'm mindful of the words of President Eisenhower, who, in discussing our national security, said, "Each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs."
Over the past several years, we have lost that balance. We failed to appreciate the connection between our national security and our economy. In the wake of an economic crisis, too many of our neighbors and friends are out of work and struggle to pay the bills. Too many Americans are worried about the future facing our children.
Meanwhile, competition within the global economy has grown more fierce, so we can't simply afford to ignore the price of these wars.
All told, by the time I took office, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan approached a trillion dollars. And going forward, I am committed to addressing these costs openly and honestly. Our new approach in Afghanistan is likely to cost us roughly $30 billion for the military this year, and I'll work closely with Congress to address these costs as we work to bring down our deficit.
But as we end the war in Iraq and transition to Afghan responsibility, we must rebuild our strength here at home. Our prosperity provides a foundation for our power. It pays for our military; it underwrites our diplomacy; it taps the potential of our people and allows investment in new industry; and it will allow us to compete in this century as successfully as we did in the last.
That's why our troop commitment in Afghanistan cannot be open- ended: because the nation that I'm most interested in building is our own.
Now, let me be clear. None of this will be easy. The struggle against violent extremism will not be finished quickly, and it extends well beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan. It will be an enduring test of our free society and our leadership in the world. And unlike the great power conflicts and clear lines of division that defined the 20th century, our effort will involve disorderly regions, failed states, diffuse enemies.
So as a result, America will have to show our strength in the way that we end wars and prevent conflict, not just how we wage wars. We'll have to be nimble and precise in our use of military power. Where Al Qaida and its allies attempt to establish a foothold -- whether in Somalia or Yemen or elsewhere -- they must be confronted by growing pressure and strong partnerships.
And we can't count on military might alone. We have to invest in our homeland security, because we can't capture or kill every violent extremist abroad. We have to improve and better coordinate our intelligence so that we stay one step ahead of shadowy networks.
We will have to take away the tools of mass destruction. And that's why I've made it a central pillar of my foreign policy to secure loose nuclear materials from terrorists, to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and to pursue the goal of a world without them, because every nation must understand that true security will never come from an endless race for ever more destructive weapons. True security will come for those who reject them.
We'll have to use diplomacy, because no one nation can meet the challenges of an interconnected world acting alone. I've spent this year renewing our alliances and forging new partnerships. And we have forged a new beginning between America and the Muslim world, one that recognizes our mutual interest in breaking a cycle of conflict and that promises a future in which those who kill innocents are isolated by those who stand up for peace and prosperity and human dignity.
And, finally, we must draw on the strength of our values, for the challenges that we face may have changed, but the things that we believe in must not. That's why we must promote our values by living them at home, which is why I've prohibited torture and will close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.
And we must make it clear to every man, woman and child around the world who lives under the dark cloud of tyranny that America will speak out on behalf of their human rights and tend for the light of freedom and justice and opportunity and respect for the dignity of all peoples. That is who we are; that is the source, the moral source of America's authority.
Since the days of Franklin Roosevelt and the service and sacrifice of our grandparents and great-grandparents, our country has borne a special burden in global affairs. We have spilled American blood in many countries on multiple continents. We have spent our revenue to help others rebuild from rubble and develop their own economies. We have joined with others to develop an architecture of institutions -- from the United Nations to NATO to the World Bank -- that provide for the common security and prosperity of human beings.
We have not always been thanked for these efforts, and we have at times made mistakes. But more than any other nation, the United States of America has underwritten global security for over six decades, a time that, for all its problems, has seen walls come down, and markets open, and billions lifted from poverty, unparalleled scientific progress, and advancing frontiers of human liberty.
For unlike the great powers of old, we have not sought world domination. Our union was founded in resistance to oppression. We do not seek to occupy other nations. We will not claim another nation's resources or target other peoples because their faith or ethnicity is different from ours.
What we have fought for, what we continue to fight for is a better future for our children and grandchildren. And we believe that their lives will be better if other peoples' children and grandchildren can live in freedom and access opportunity.
As a country, we're not as young -- and perhaps not as innocent -- as we were when Roosevelt was president. Yet we are still heirs to a noble struggle for freedom. And now we must summon all of our might and moral suasion to meet the challenges of a new age.
In the end, our security and leadership does not come solely from the strength of our arms. It derives from our people, from the workers and businesses who will rebuild our economy; from the entrepreneurs and researchers who will pioneer new industries; from the teachers that will educate our children and the service of those who work in our communities at home; from the diplomats and Peace Corps volunteers who spread hope abroad; and from the men and women in uniform who are part of an unbroken line of sacrifice that has made government of the people, by the people, and for the people a reality on this Earth.
This vast and diverse citizenry will not always agree on every issue, nor should we. But I also know that we as a country cannot sustain our leadership nor navigate the momentous challenges of our time if we allow ourselves to be split asunder by the same rancor and cynicism and partisanship that has in recent times poisoned our national discourse.
It's easy to forget that, when this war began, we were united, bound together by the fresh memory of a horrific attack and by the determination to defend our homeland and the values we hold dear. I refuse to accept the notion that we cannot summon that unity again. I believe...
I believe with every fiber of my being that we, as Americans, can still come together behind a common purpose, for our values are not simply words written into parchment. They are a creed that calls us together and that has carried us through the darkest of storms as one nation, as one people.
America, we are passing through a time of great trial. And the message that we send in the midst of these storms must be clear: that our cause is just, our resolve unwavering. We will go forward with the confidence that right makes might and with the commitment to forge an America that is safer, a world that is more secure, and a future that represents not the deepest of fears but the highest of hopes.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.
Thank you very much.
WANA: One militant was killed while 13 suspected militants held as security forces carried out search operation in parts of South Waziristan, according to a statement released by ISPR today (Sunday).
The ISPR said that security forces conducted search operation in Jandola and apprehended six suspected people.
In addition, they cleared area around Abbas Khel Tsappara Ghundai, Waspass Kalle, Ospana Raghazai, Darakai, Spin Kai near Nanu, Barwand and Ospana Raghazai, Kudwam, Shinsar near Tiarza, Kudiwarn, Kund Sarai and Imar Khan Killi in Shakai sector.
During operation in Shewa are, the forces killed one militants and arrested seven other suspected people. The terrorists fired rockets and small arms at Green Top which was effectively engaged.
Meanwhile, during operation Rah-e-Rast in Swat and Malakand, 19 militants were held while 13 others surrendered.