Pakistan Is Getting Interesting And Obama Might Have Shaken Things

Pakistan Prepares for Former Prime Ministers’ Return New York Times a Supreme Court ruling that threw open the coming parliamentary campaign to all political players. ...... Mr. Sharif’s pending return led another opposition leader and former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, to reschedule her own return ahead of his ..... the overwhelming desire in Pakistan was for democracy and a free choice in elections this fall. ..... the president should sit down with the leaders of the main political parties — which could be as few as five people — and agree on a caretaker government to prepare for parliamentary elections. ..... free and fair elections are the best option for calming the public mood and stemming a drift toward extremism ..... eight years on, the biggest political players challenging General Musharraf are the same as a decade ago: Ms. Bhutto and Mr. Sharif. ....... Ms. Bhutto and Mr. Sharif remain the most popular political leaders by far, and whether or not they are personally tainted, their parties are pragmatic, centrist groupings that are the West’s most natural allies ........ the participation of Mr. Sharif and Ms. Bhutto would draw voters away from the religious parties ....... Mr. Sharif could be expected to campaign on an anti-American, anti-Musharraf platform, and would draw those who would otherwise be attracted to the religious parties, but as one of the country’s richest industrialists, he would lead a government that was pro-business and open to the United States, India and the global economy ...... Mr. Iqbal, the associate of Mr. Sharif, said that the war on terror demands a political solution, and that only a return to democratic rule can make that possible. “There has to be a competing alternate political platform,” he said. “You can only get that through the democratic process.”

Don't quote me on this yet, but I think Barack Obama's recent remarks against Musharraf might have played a small role in this tremendously positive development in Pakistan. Benazir will be back. A strong, smart woman with a clear sense for social justice, a clear commitment to the poor and their upliftment might soon be Prime Minister of Pakistan. In a matter of months.

And Barack is not even president yet. He did not even send in the military to spread democracy in Pakistan. He did not send any money. All he did was as a would be president, he took a clear stand against a Third World dictator. And that dictator is about to be pushed out the door. That is what I am talking about.

The difference between Barack and Bush is with Barack you get Benazir.

A dictator - any dictator - can not be a US ally on the war on terrorism. That applies to Musharraf, that applies to the Saudi king, to Mubarak, that applies to all unelected Arab leaders. If noone elected you, count your days. Count your years. You will be shown the door.

Barack's public berating of Musharraf emboldened the Supreme Court of Pakistan. And the Supreme Court is now making it possible for Pakistan's last two democratically elected Prime Ministers to come back home from exile.

This is what a would be American president with brains can do. This is not the power of the US military. This is not the power of the US dollar. This is the power of the American presidency, the American democracy. Someone elected by the American people can bring about a positive change like this one just by making the right noise. Imagine how much more Barack can do as a president breathing down the necks of small game Third World dictators on world TV. Face to face. Pushing his finger into their chests. Staring them down. Publicly berating them for their lousy human rights records. Publicly saying hello to their dissident opponents who might be working to launch democracy movements.

I have long maintained the only true way to win the War On Terrorism is by ensuring a total spread of democracy in all Arab countries. And Pakistan is well positioned to help with that. Pakistan is huge. It is not as big as India, but it is huge. It is bigger than Britain and France put together. Pakistani democracy is Muslims voting. You want Pakistan to infect all Arab countries.

One Billion Muslims, 10,000 Al Qaeda

There are more than a billion Muslims on the planet. Only 10,000 of them are Al Qaeda. Bush has killed more than 150,000 innocent people in Iraq. If it is wrong for the Al Qaeda to kill 3,000 innocent Americans, it is wrong for America to kill 150,000 innocent Iraqis. The Iraqi people or their leadership had nothing to do with 9/11. The war on Iraq has been a criminal act.

Don't Insult The Intelligence Of The Arab Street

It is not possible for you to be best friends with Musharraf, and the Saudi king, and Mubarak and still have the Arab street believe you are out for democracy.

W Writes A Book On Vietnam
Let Me Get This Straight
Engaging Third World Dictators
What Obama Said On Pakistan
Flatten It Out
The McCain Doctrine: Keep The Swamp, Keep The Mosquitoes
The Exchange

Presidential Primary Reform
MyDD :: Primary Reform and the California Plan ..... This system features a schedule consisting of ten two-week intervals, during which randomly selected states may hold their primaries. This 20-week schedule is the approximate length of the traditional primary season....... In the first interval, a randomly determined combination of states with a combined total of eight congressional districts would hold their primaries, caucuses or convention. This is approximately equal to the total number of congressional district in Iowa (5) and New Hampshire (2), thus preserving door-to-door "retail politicking." ...... Any state or combination of states amounting to a total of eight congressional districts could be in the first round of primaries and caucuses. This could include such ethnically diverse jurisdictions as American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Arizona, and Maryland....... The widest possible political debate would be fostered by this system

In The News

Dem Rivals Rap Clinton on Terror Comment Washington Post her comment that a terror attack before the election would help the Republicans. .... I think I am better able to handle things I have no control over .... Bill Richardson said in a statement, "We shouldn't be thinking about terrorism in terms of its domestic political consequences, we should be protecting the country from terrorists." ...... Clinton campaign spokeswoman Kathleen Strand said Friday night, "Senator Clinton was making clear that she has the strength and experience to keep the country safe."
Clinton: Best to Deal With Terror Attacks New York Times
Clinton: Terrorist attack would help GOP CNN
Controversy Continues Over US Troop Levels in Iraq
Voice of America
Democrats set to crack down on Florida bid for early primary Chicago Tribune only a few select states are allowed to hold their events before early February ... States that don't follow the rules could lose some or all of their delegates ..... Florida Democrats ... Jan. 29 .... Leading Democrats in that state on Thursday suggested that the sanctions might violate state or federal law, making it plain that they don't plan to accept a knuckle-rapping without a fight. ..... All over the country, states are eyeing the primary calendar and wondering why their voters shouldn't also have a stronger voice in deciding who the Democratic and Republican candidates are. .... Just this week, state lawmakers in Michigan began the process of moving their primary date to the middle of January. ..... "It's like we're operating in a banana republic," said David Plouffe .... we don't know which states, which dates, what rules." ..... Unsure of which order the primaries and caucuses will take place, the presidential campaigns aren't sure how to allocate their resources—or even where to send their candidate on a given day.
Brzezinski Grants Obama the "Upper Hand" Washington Post Zbigniew Brzezinski. The 79-year-old former national security adviser announced today on Bloomberg Television's "Political Capital with Al Hunt" that he was supporting the junior senator from Illinois for president. .... Obama "recognizes that the challenge is a new face, a new sense of direction, a new definition of America's role in the world" ..... rejected the notion that Hillary Clinton is more experienced in foreign affairs than Obama. "Being a former first lady doesn't prepare you to be president .... "What's the hang-up about negotiating with the Syrians or with the Iranians?" Brzezinski said. "What it in effect means" is "that you only talk to people who agree with you." .... "There is a need for a fundamental rethinking of how we conduct world affairs. And Obama seems to me to have both the guts and the intelligence to address that issue and to change the nature of America's relationship with the world." ...... Obama already had the support of former Clinton national security adviser Anthony Lake.
Brzezinski Offers Support for Obama New York Times
Brzezinksi Tells Bloomberg TV: Obama Would Be a Better President
Edwards denies slam on 'insiders' is directed at Clinton CNN
Nepal Rules Out Maoist-UML Unification Prospects
Himalayan Times
Hanoi fires salvo at Bush's comments
MSNBC an assertion many Vietnamese see as a gross oversimplification of the region's complex and tragic history ...... Vietnam was "an unjustified and a wrong war in the first place so to start analysing things only from the withdrawal of US troops is really puzzling", she said. "The root of the problem is not the withdrawal, it's the very fact of starting up the war in the first place." ...... As Asia's second-fastest growing economy, Vietnam is today a powerful magnet for foreign investment, with the US its largest single trading partner and a focus for growing bilateral co-operation. ...... Ms Ninh believes the US has failed to learn the lessons of Vietnam. .... "I think the US has no choice [in Iraq] but to withdraw – what good can itdo by staying longer?" she said.
US Bomb Kills 3 British Soldiers in Afghanistan New York Times
Pushing for a New Leader in Iraq
ABC News President Bush's former envoy to Iraq, Ambassador Robert Blackwill, is running a major behind-the-scenes lobbying push for former Iraqi interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi — who seeks to remove and replace current Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. ...... Allawi, who lived in exile for decades in London, was essentially appointed interim prime minister by the Bush administration, though he was defeated in the 2005 Iraqi elections. ...... Allawi was, until recently, funded by the CIA .... an open question in this tale of Beltway intrigue what Allawi is getting for that money
Bank of China Reports Heavy Exposure to Subprime Crisis New York Times holds almost $9.7 billion of securities backed by U.S. subprime loans, the most of any Asian company. ....... The collapse in securities backed by subprime mortgages has caused losses at lenders around the world ..... Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (OOTC:IDCBF) , the world's largest bank by market value ..... Defaults on home loans to people with poor credit soared this year, prompting a sell-off of debt-backed securities that spread to wider credit markets and wiped more than $5.5 trillion off the value of equities worldwide. ...... collateralized debt obligations backed by loans to borrowers with poor credit histories. ..... Banks from Germany to Japan have been touched by the subprime meltdown. Germany's government had to bail out Dusseldorf-based IKB Deutsche Industriebank AG because of potential subprime-linked losses of as much as 3.5 billion euros ($4.7 billion).
China Gets Internet Companies to Sign 'Self-Discipline' AgreementVoice of America At least 20 leading blog service providers in China, including U.S.-based Internet giants Yahoo and MSN, have signed an agreement that will help the government censor and identify bloggers. ...... "encourages" blog service providers to list contact information and register users under their real names before letting them post blogs. ..... The companies are also asked to delete "illegal and bad information in a timely manner," and to "protect the interests of the State and Party." .... The companies argue that they must comply with Chinese laws to continue operating there.
Press Watchdog Blasts China's Blogging Policy PC World
Microsoft Agrees to Strict Blogging Rules in China IT Business Edge
Ruling expected today on Noriega's future CNN International
Is The Google Phone Ready To Launch In India In Two Weeks? InformationWeek Talks are believed to be taking place with Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar, respectively India's first and third largest mobile telephony operators, and state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam. ...... Google plans to invest $7-8 billion for its global telephony foray. ..... The prospect of Google owning spectrum and offering cell phones is too tempting to pass up. ...... assuming the device is sold for a relatively low-cost, it could give Google a means to spreading smartphone-like functionality in developing markets -- all powered by Google's software and services ...... Think of the Google Phone as the cell phone equivalent of the Trojan Horse (the ancient Greek myth, not the virus).
Google Phone: Revolutionary Or Evolutionary? InformationWeek In 2005, Google acquired both Android, a mobile technology startup, and Dodgeball, a mobile social networking service. ..... Reqwireless, a mobile e-mail and browser developer, and Skia, a developer of mobile-friendly graphics software ..... possible that Google could help handset makers deliver mobile phones that surpass the iPhone in terms of design aesthetics, user interface, and ease of use, it seems more likely that the Gphone will be noteworthy not as spiffy hardware but as a utilitarian device designed to lower or eliminate mobile phone bills by subsidizing network operators' costs with revenue sharing from Google's online services. ....... If Google emerges with spectrum rights, that's when the fun begins.
Will mobile WiMax transform wireless working? ZDNet UK mobile WiMax has variously been pitched as a potential usurper of 4G — the successor to curren-day 3G cellular networks — and as a rival to Wi-Fi wireless technology, into which operators have sunk a lot of money already. ...... Where mobile WiMax is expected to garner particular interest, however, is in developing countries that currently have only a limited wired infrastructure in place. This is because the costs involved in installing WiMax stations to complement existing cellular towers are likely to be lower than introducing fixed pipes from scratch, particularly in areas of low population density where the terrain is flat. ........ touting mobile WiMax as a means of increasing bandwidth for data-intensive applications such as multimedia ..... Sprint Nextel announced in 2006 that it would spend $3bn (£1.5bn) on building a US-based WiMax network operating at 2.5GHz, which would start roll out by the end of this year and provide services to at least 100 million people by the end of 2008. ..... telcos such as BT or Colt will look at mobile WiMax as a means of providing customers with mobile access "under their own steam without having to do deals with mobile operators" ...... Google may also try and get a slice of the action to obtain a fresh channel for providing content ...... as we move to a more converged fixed and mobile world ..... WiMax tends not to work indoors as well as rival technologies such as Wi-Fi, because its radio waves are at higher frequency and so tend to be absorbed by walls, people and the like more easily. ...... there is no uniform globally licensed spectrum for WiMax, whereas there is one for 3G networks. This means that roaming either now or in the future will be impossible ....... although UK operators may go for the 2.6GHz frequency band next year, the US has already opted for 2.5GHz today, and some countries in Asia such as Indian and Vietnam are expected to plump for 3.3GHz in the future. ...... a technology looking for a market" ..... WiMax .. has been pitched variously by vendors over the past few years as a rival to fixed broadband technologies such as cable and DSL, an alternative to Wi-Fi public hotspots, and a high-bandwidth backhaul for internet or cellular phone traffic from remote areas to an internet or T1/E1 data network backbone...... really it's just an alternative pipe .... "There may be a way of using pico and femtocells to reduce this ..... "I can see it emerging as a mechanism for connecting wireless laptops and other data devices at speeds that are higher than current Wi-Fi networks and over ranges that are more comparable with cellular ....... not so much hotspots, as hot zones .... deliver wireless campuses is somewhat more unclear, but in the end this all boils down, not so much to the technology, but to commercial models, and it's still just too early to say how it will pan out
The Road To WiMAX BusinessWeek a telephone company executive told him it would cost $1,100 per home just to replace landscaping and sidewalks if the industry installed fiber-optic cabling and brought superfast broadband Internet access to every single-family home in America. .... create a nationwide hot spot with superfast phone and Web-surfing capability ..... what was in 2002 an obscure wireless broadband technology only a few hundred engineers had heard of ..... he has rounded up a remarkable coalition of chip, PC, consumer electronics, networking, and software companies in an effort to radically reshape the future of broadband with what's now called WiMAX. ....... Intel faced withering criticism from tech analysts when it first cast its lot with WiMAX .... dozens of wireless telecom operators around the globe have also placed bets on WiMAX and plan to spend $13 billion over the next few years to build 300 such networks ....... Already the first transmitters are appearing on light poles and towers in Chicago and Washington, test markets expected to begin service early next year. Major rollouts are planned everywhere from Pakistan to Australia to China by 2009. ...... WiMAX will be poised to deliver video entertainment and voice telephone services that will compete with traditional telecom and cable-television services. It also will extend the range of wireless e-mail and Web-surfing services in mobile computers. Beginning next year, stores will stock new laptop computers equipped with Intel's WiMAX-capable chips, code-named Echo Peak. ....... Intel's role as head WiMAX cheerleader ..... high-profile schemes for blanketing whole cities with cheap or free Wi-Fi networks aren't working out. ..... WiMAX provides superfast connections for up to 30 miles. You could stroll from your house conducting a conference call, pause to exchange hefty data files, and later dial in to your TiVo to download an episode of CSI. WiMAX avoids digital traffic jams by using licensed radio waves that guarantee each customer a certain level of service. ..... grew out of work in the 1990s by engineers at dozens of companies. ..... Intel .. Sprint .. Nokia ... Samsung .. The interests of these four companies resulted in a pooling of patents and money to create the WiMAX phenomenon. ..... Maloney had his revelation about the potential of wireless broadband in 2002 ..... Martin Cooper, considered the father of the cell phone .... Intel and allies could create a standard technology for long-range wireless transmissions, much as Intel and Microsoft (MSFT ) had created the so-called Wintel standard for the personal computer. ...... Intel would build tiny radios into laptops that could connect easily to a worldwide WiMAX network. ..... a mammoth WiMAX ecosystem by investing more than $1 billion in carriers and other companies. .....In developing countries, WiMAX seemed like a sure winner... a cheap, powerful wireless infrastructure was just what they needed ..... Maloney later obtained key technology by purchasing a company called Iospan Wireless from Stanford University engineering professor Arogyaswami Paulraj. ..... the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers (IEEE). ...... "a classically disruptive technology." ..... On Aug. 9, Vodafone Group PLC (VOD ), the world's largest wireless company, signed up. Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin had warned in a speech in February that WiMAX and other new technologies threatened "to eat our lunch." ..... the IEEE .... its chairman, Jerry Upton, who was a paid Qualcomm consultant. ..... Clearwire, the biggest holder worldwide of spectrum that could be used for WiMAX. ..... Qualcomm Chief Operating Officer Sanjay Jha ...... an industry that sees big ideas come and go with dizzying speed
Should CIOs Take Google Seriously?
InformationWeek young people are enamored of the potential of online services, like those from,, or Google, which recently introduced its Google Apps Premier Edition, a set of software-as-a-service offerings that includes e-mail, calendar, word processing, and spreadsheet capabilities, among others. ..... the next-generation communication and collaboration tools they need to manage electronic communications, share and publish information, and stay connected while on the go ..... the potential efficiencies and cost savings implicit in the software-as-a-service model.
'Hi, I am Amitabh' Times of India Amitabh has an unmistakable charisma ... the impact hits you when you see others around you reacting ..... At the recently concluded Filmfare awards (south), even though he entered with Abhishek and Aishwarya, the Big B was the cynosure of all eyes. Amitabh comes across as a witty, articulate, courteous , protocol-conscious , charming man, but he can also be edgy and excessively protective of his private space. .... a very hungry Amitabh. He ate as we spoke. ..... I am at an age when roles don't come by easily. I don't get lead roles, only character roles. It's nice when some people want to experiment, with movies like Nishabd. It gives me the opportunity to test myself. Gabbar's impression is insurmountable ; but I am not pressured. ....... Perhaps, it's not the dialogue, but the visual, the moment, the music that's become more important. ..... And if I may say a little immodestly, I pioneered some of these concerts that have taken a huge form from the time I went out in 1981-82 . I've been on stage and performed live, which no one does now. It's all pre-recorded with lovely costumes but I used to sing live, enact scenes from my films. ...... I think far too much emphasis is being laid on age - why are you working so much, how are you working?- If my body is responding to what is being asked of it, then what's the problem? ...... Is that a problem? .... One is my screen image and the other is me. I come from a middle-class home and success does not change values. ... I am fortunate that my children have imbibed those values well.
David Beckham urged to slow down by Galaxy LA Galaxy chief executive Alexei Lalas is pondering the wisdom of the 32-year-old continuing to make himself available for England's friendly fixtures. ..... Beckham is expected to rack up a nearly staggering 78,000 air miles over the next three months to honour his club and country commitments .... Despite flying back to Los Angeles in time to play a full 90 minutes against Chivas, Beckham could not prevent Galaxy from falling to a 3-0 defeat against their local rivals. He was also involved in an ugly spat with Jesse Marsch following a late challenge by the Chivas midfielder. ..... With Beckham clearly struggling to overcome the ankle injury that has dogged him since his move to California, Galaxy coach Frank Yallop was forced to admit that the former Manchester United midfielder should not have been selected. .... "At the end, he looked a bit hobbled and he should have been rested."
Bollywood Bachchan says wife Aishwarya comes first Washington Post Rai, 33, and Bachchan, 31, have worked together in at least five films. Rai was crowned Miss World in 1994.
Amitabh Bachchan is going bald for his Hollywood movie… India Target Amitabh Bachchan will be seen in a bald look in Hollywood movie Shantaram . .... The film's shooting is likely to begin before this yearend. It will be shot in Australia , India and China .... Johnny Depp is playing a lead role in the movie, and Amitabh Bachchan plays underworld don Kadar bhai . Meera Nair wanted Kadar bhai to look nasty, that's why he wanted him in a bald look ..... The movie is based on the book written by an Aussie with the same title 'Shantaram' which is an autobiographical account of an escaped Australian convict who travels through continents and ends up in Mumbai's underworld.
BofA throws Countrywide $2-billion lifeline Los Angeles Times expected the housing downturn to lead the U.S. economy into recession. ..... cash-starved sub-prime mortgage lenders across Southern California announced more than 4,000 layoffs nationwide. ..... BofA, the sixth-largest U.S. home lender in 2006, recognizes that "once the dust settles the survivors [in the mortgage industry] will have much less competition and will thrive" ...... the credit crunch ravaging the mortgage industry ..... a wave of defaults on sub-prime mortgages -- loans made to people with poor credit ..... Since the start of the year, more than 40,000 workers have lost their jobs at mortgage lending institutions
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