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Showing posts from December, 2018

BBC latest report on the results from Bangladesh election

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has secured her third consecutive term with a landslide victory in Bangladesh's national election. Her party and its allies won almost all of the 300 parliamentary seats contested, in its best ever result.
But the opposition alliance, which won just seven seats, condemned the vote as "farcical", marred by violence, intimidation and vote rigging claims.
Election authorities said there could be no re-run.
Although the election commission earlier said it had heard vote-rigging allegations from "across the country" and would investigate, the commissioner said voting had been held in a peaceful manner and hence there would be no new vote.
Bangladesh's parliament has 350 seats in total, 50 of which are reserved for women and allotted proportional to the overall vote.
"We urge the election commission to void this farcical result immediately," opposition leader Kamal Hossain said on Sunday.
"We are demanding that a fres…

BBC report on Bangladesh election

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Bangladesh's opposition has condemned what it has called a "farcical" election and demanded a new vote. PM Sheikh Hasina is heading for a fourth term with a huge majority that continues to grow as results come in.
But there have been claims of vote-rigging, and a BBC correspondent saw filled ballot boxes at a polling centre before polls opened.
"We urge the election commission to void this farcical result immediately," opposition leader Kamal Hossain said.
"We are demanding that a fresh election is held under a neutral government as early as possible."
The Bangladesh Election Commission told Reuters news agency that it had heard vote-rigging allegations from "across the country" and would investigate.
At least 17 people have been killed in clashes between ruling party supporters and the opposition.
What are the allegations? Sheikh Hasina's Awami League has run Bangladesh since 2009, but one of the leading opposition parties has accused…

The Guardina report on Bangladesh election

The leader of Bangladesh’s opposition alliance has described Sunday’s general election as farcical, saying any outcome would be rejected and demanding that a new vote be held.
At least 17 people were killed during voting in the country’s first contested elections in a decade. Dozens of candidates pulled out of the contest on the day, claiming the ruling Awami League had rigged the vote to secure a record third consecutive term for the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina.
“We call upon the election commission to declare this farcical election void and demand a fresh election under a neutral government,” said Kamal Hossain, who coordinates an alliance of opposition parties that was hoping to unseat Hasina.
The opposition alliance would hold a meeting on Monday to decide its next move, Hossain said at a news conference a few hours after voting closed. Early results showed Hasina’s party heading for a large majority.
Members of opposing parties clashed throughout election day, which followed a v…

Al Jazeera report on Bangladesh Election

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Dhaka, Bangladesh - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League (AL) party won Sunday's parliamentary election, according to unofficial results reported by local media, after the main opposition alliance rejected the violence-marred polls. Within hours of the counting of the votes, Bangladesh's ruling party surged ahead - an outcome the opposition alliance had feared. In a hurriedly called news conference on Sunday night, the leader of the Jatiya Oikya Front - the main opposition alliance - dubbed the election "farcical". READ MORE Ten years of Sheikh Hasina: 'Development minus democracy' "We reject the farcical election and want the election commission to hold a fresh election under a non-partisan administration," said Kamal Hossain, an 82-year-old jurist who wrote the country's secular constitution.
According to unofficial results reported by local TV networks, the ruling party had won 281 seats. A party needs 151 seats to form a government…

Being Mindful and Getting Focused in a Hyper-Connected World

By Habib Siddiqui

Today we live in a hyper-connected world where we are continuously distracted by our thoughts and technological comforts. It is rare for one to have their mind in the present 100% of the time. In fact, on average we spend 41% of our time with our mind lost in our thoughts – thinking about the future and the past – but rarely the current moment. Additionally, the social-feed gadgets we have – from our cell phones and computers to the television(s) we keep in our living rooms and bedrooms add to distract us from focusing on the present. Do you know that a single distraction can take more than 21 minutes to delink its effect from the immediate task at hand? This continuous bombardment of information or distraction hinders us from being productive and getting the most out of each moment.

How can we be more in control over our wandering minds and be focused? How can we become more mindful in all aspects of our lives - spiritual and temporal? That is where the practice of e…

Muslim man: Yemeni Americans suing Trump

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Muslim Ban: Meet the Yemeni Americans Suing Trump in an Attempt to Reunite with Loved Ones
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Trump vs. Mattis: Beware When Men of War Come to the Rescue

By Robert Fisk
When a general popularly known as James “Mad Dog” Mattis abandons a really mad American president, you know something has fallen off the edge in Washington. Since the Roman empire, formerly loyal military chiefs have fled crackpot leaders, and Mattis’s retreat from the White House might have the smell of de Gaulle and Petain about it.
De Gaulle was confronted by an immensely powerful hero of the people – the Lion of Verdun – who was, in his dotage, about to shrug off the sacred alliance with Britain for Nazi collaboration (for which, I suppose, read Putin’s Russia). The decision was made to have nothing to do with Petain, or what Mattis now refers to as “malign actors”. De Gaulle would lead Free France instead.
Mattis has no such ambitions – not yet, at any rate – although there are plenty of Lavals and Weygands waiting to see if Trump chooses one of them for his next secretary of defence. Besides, history should not grant Trump and Mattis such an epic panorama.
After a…

Elections Don’t Make Israel a Democracy

byAriel Gold
It’s official, Israel is racing towards early elections. But no one is talking about who can vote in them. New elections were nearly called in November 2017 after Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned in protest of Israel not going to war with Gaza and right-wing leader Naftali Bennett threatened to pull his party from the coalition if he was not given the defense portfolio. However, Netanyahu outfoxed Bennett by claiming that it was too dangerous a time to go to elections and retained the defense portfolio for himself (Netanyahu is now Israel’s prime minister, defence minister, and foreign minister), utilizing a slim 51% ruling majority. Until last week it looked like the coalition would hold together with its small majority. But following the Knesset’s inability to reach agreement on a bill dealing with military conscription of the ultra-orthodox, and, much more importantly, leaked information that the ministry of justice was recommending Netanyahu’s indictment on…

Palestine slams Israel for destroying two-state solution

From Xinhua Agency
RAMALLAH, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian Foreign Ministry on Thursday accused Israel of destroying the two-state solution with continued settlement expansion.
The ministry made the comments in a statement in response to the Israeli government's approval of the construction of around 1,500 new settlement units in the West Bank.
Israel's escalation of settlement activity in the Palestinian territory has threatened the peace, and has become a "systematic approach" to destroy the two-state solution, said the ministry.
Israeli daily Haaretz reported Thursday that the Israeli Civil Administration has approved the construction of 1,450 settlement units in the West Bank, while at least 13 other new construction plans are pending.
Israeli settlement activity is considered as one of the thorniest issues that have hindered the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks stalled since 2014.
The two-state solution, supported by the United Nations, envisages that Israe…

Israel vows to block Palestinian bid to become full UN member

United Nations (United States) (AFP) - Israel has vowed to work with the United States to block a bid by the Palestinians for full membership in the United Nations, a move that would confer international recognition of Palestinian statehood. Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said Wednesday that he will submit a request next month to the Security Council for full UN membership, according to the official Wafa Palestinian news agency. "We are preparing to stop the initiative," said Israel's UN ambassador Danny Danon in a statement. "The Palestinians pay terrorists and encourage violence yet seek to become a member state of the United Nations." Danon accused Palestinian leaders of engaging in "destructive policies that have encouraged recent terror attacks" and said he was gearing up to block the initiative "in cooperation with the United States delegation." Any move by the Palestinians to seek full UN membership will face …

Saudi reshuffle

Riyadh (AFP) King Salman of Saudi Arabia ordered a major government reshuffle Thursday, replacing the ministers of foreign affairs and information, a royal decree said.
The shake up comes as the kingdom grapples with international outrage over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a scandal that has tipped Riyadh into one of its worst international crises.
Ibrahim al-Assaf, a former finance minister, will replace Adel al-Jubeir as foreign minister, the decree said.
Jubeir was demoted to minister of state for foreign affairs, it added.
Turki al-Shabanah was appointed as the new minister of information, replacing Awwad al-Awwad -- who was named as an advisor to the royal court.
Turki al-Sheikh, a close aide to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was removed as the head of the kingdom's sports commission and named entertainment authority chief.
The fallout over Khashoggi's murder is widely seen as the kingdom's worst diplomatic crisis since the September 11, 2001 terrorist…

Iraqi MPs Demand Withdrawal of US Troops

Jason Ditz
President Trump’s surprise visit to Iraq has brought the issue of a continued, long-term US military presence in the country back into focus, and Iraqi MPs have rallied in an unusual show of unity against the US troops.

MPs from both ruling and opposition blocs in parliament are united in calls for an extraordinary session to debate the matter, saying that the question of US violations of Iraqi sovereignty must be answered.

While a lot of the immediate backlash seems to be related to Trump cancelling his visit with the Iraqi PM over a disagreement on location, the ruling bloc and its leader Moqtada al-Sadr have long spoken out about the need for Iraq to get out from under the domination of foreign powers and seek a more independent future.

Qais Khazali, the head of the power Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia, expressed confidence that parliament would vote to expel US forces from Iraq. Failing that, he warned, the militias would force them out “by other means.”

Trump’s Big Pullout

byChandra Muzaffar
It is significant that US President Donald Trump has decided to withdraw his troops from Syria. The 14thDecember decision was followed immediately by another announcement by the President to pull out a sizeable number of soldiers from Afghanistan where the US has been involved in a war for the last 17 years — the longest war in its history.
Both the decisions, especially the one on Syria, have been condemned by a lot of US Senators and Members of the House of Representatives. They feel that the decisions undermine the US’s role as a global power. US allies such as Britain and France have also criticised the pull-outs. By getting out of Syria in particular, the US has made it easier for certain powers from within and without the region to exert even more influence over the politics of that country and that of its neighbours to the detriment of the West. Most of the international media argue that US success in fighting the terrorists in Syria which Trump cited as the …