Monday, 16 March 2009

Obama calls AIG bonuses an ‘outrage’

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama Monday said multi-million-dollar bonuses planned for executives and traders at bailed-out insurance giant AIG were an “outrage” and vowed to pursue a clampdown.

“How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?” he said at the White House, pledging to “pursue every legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole.”

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US lauds restoration of CJ

WASHINGTON: The United States is praising Pakistan’s plan to reinstate a fired Supreme Court chief justice whose supporters had threatened to march on the capital.

State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters Monday that the decision by Pakistan’s leaders had “brought Pakistan back from the brink.”

Wood says Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s calls over the weekend to U.S.-allied President Asif Ali Zardari, who had refused to restore the independent-minded justice, and to opposition leader Nawaz Sharif were meant to signal a concern over the situation and a desire for a nonviolent outcome.

Wood was careful to note that there were no U.S. demands and “no threats at all” in Clinton’s calls.

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Champions Trophy 2009 handed over to South Africa

DUBAI: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday officially named South Africa as the new hosts of the biennial Champions Trophy this year.

The ICC Board had met via teleconference to discuss a recommendation made by the ICC Chief Executives’ Committee to discuss the venue of the Champions Trophy.

The decision was made after concerns were expressed over weather conditions in Colombo during the dates set aside for the tournament, 24 September to 5 October.

With the need to minimise risk and create certainty around the event, the meeting agreed to recommend that Cricket South Africa (CSA) be sought as the alternative host, with Wanderers and Centurion as the venues, provided agreement on the financial arrangements can be reached. Originally planned for Pakistan, the venue for the event had to be shifted due to security concerns.

ICC President David Morgan said: “I think the Board has made a sensible decision that will give the event every chance of success. We now have clarity on the subject and we can make firm plans for what is going to be a great spectacle of ODI cricket.

“With Wanderers and Centurion, Cricket South Africa can provide two world-class venues in what is effectively one location and as we know from the ICC World Twenty20 2007, weather conditions in the area around Johannesburg in September and October are stable and ideal for cricket.

“I would like to thank Sri Lanka Cricket for its commitment to offer an alternative to Pakistan. And also, I want to acknowledge its willingness to step aside in this matter. I’d also like to thank CSA for putting its hand up and offering to host this event.”

The Board also considered expressions of interest from other potential venues. However, in order to attain immediate certainty and clarity, South Africa was identified as the preferred location on this occasion.

The teleconference also unanimously agreed that the dates for next year’s ICC World Twenty20 in the West Indies would be between 30 April and 16 May.

The tournament will take place in St Lucia, Guyana, Barbados and St Kitts with the latter island staging matches in the women’s tournament that will take place at the same time.

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Nawaz praises nation on judges’ restoration

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Mian Nawaz Sharif paid tribute to lawyers, civil society, students, people and the media on their brave show for the restoration of deposed judges.

Speaking at Geo News program ‘Capital Talk’ here on Monday, Nawaz said that this success became possible over determination of the entire nation.

He said: “Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has phoned him and agreed to implement the charter of democracy (CoD).

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Presence of democratic person at presidency proved: Riaz

LAHORE: Pakistan People Party (PPP) Punjab’s Parliamentary Leader Raja Riaz said on Monday that restoration of deposed judges had proved the presence of a democratic person at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.

Speaking to newsmen here, he said that any dictator could not make such decisions.

He said that PPP wanted to reinstate all deposed judges, but could not do so over fears of collision among institutions. Riaz said that restoration of judiciary would strengthen the democracy.

Some elements who want to derail the democracy have failed in their motives, he said.

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Judges’ restoration to burry doctrine of necessity: Iftikhar

PESHAWAR: NWFP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said Monday that restoration of deposed judges by the democratic forces would bury the doctrine of necessity once for all.

In a statement issued here, Hussain welcomed the Prime Minister’s move to reinstate deposed judges and termed it a wise decision.

He said that the decision had prevented the country from a major crisis and now the government could focus the progress and prosperity of the country.

The minister hoped that the doctrine of necessity would be buried once for all.

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Mendis out of hospital after Lahore attacks

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s spin bowler Ajantha Mendis was released from hospital on Monday, two weeks after the squad was attacked by unidentified gunmen in Pakistan, his manager Roshan Abeysinghe said.

Mendis, who had shrapnel extracted from his head and back, said he was delighted to go home.

Thilan Samaraweera, who had a bullet removed from his left thigh, remained under observation at a private hospital, doctor Geethanjana Mendis said.

Tharanga Paranavitana, who had a bullet taken out of his chest, and British assistant coach Paul Farbrace were discharged over the weekend.

The convoy of players, officials and coaches on their way to the second Test match in Lahore on March 3 was ambushed by gunmen firing automatic weapons, grenades and a rocket launcher.

Seven Sri Lankan players and Farbrace were injured, and the squad was flown home immediately. Eight Pakistanis were killed by the attackers, who escaped capture.

Mendis said psychologists hired to counsel the team were due to wrap up their programme this week.

“The medical team handling their post-trauma side say the players are a bit shaken up, but those not injured can resume training next week,” he said.

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Miliband hails Zardari, Nawaz to defuse crisis

LONDON: Britain welcomed Monday the reinstatement of Pakistan’s deposed top judge and the cancellation of an opposition march as signs of “real political leadership” to defuse a threatened crisis.

“The steps taken to defuse the political crisis in Pakistan show real political leadership by all concerned,” said Foreign Secretary David Miliband in a statement.

President Asif Ali Zardari’s decision to reinstate Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and former premier Nawaz Sharif’s response in calling off the Long March “demonstrate that both men are willing to put the interests of Pakistan first.

“I hope that all parties will now quickly come together around a common agenda to consolidate the political steps made, and to agree measures that will strengthen democracy and impartial justice in Pakistan,” Miliband said.

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Sunday, 15 March 2009

MQM struggling for real democracy: Altaf Hussain

LONDON: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain has said that his party is struggling for the real democracy in the country. He said this at a three-day convention in a telephonic address to mark the party’s silver jubilee in Virginia. A large number of MQM activists belonging to different cities of US attended the convention. In his address, MQM chief said that on the name of democracy, feudocracy is being practiced in the country. “This democracy is by the feudal for the feudal,” he commented. He hoped that MQM would eliminate feudalism from the country to restore a just system.

Nawaz-led long march reaches GPO Chowk

LAHORE: The long march led by Pakistan Muslim League-N Chief Nawaz Sharif has reached GPO Chowk, Lahore.

The long march comprises thousands of participants including lawyers, political workers and members of civil society.

Police tried to block the way of caravan led by Nawaz Sharif who came out of his house in spite of the government orders of detention served to him. However, the police retreated after a little while giving way to the caravan.

At GPO Road, clash broke out between enraged protesters and police which used heavy shelling to disperse the protestors.

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No reports of channel blockade in country: Kaira

ISLAMABAD: Federal Information Minister Qamar-uz-Zaman Kaira has said that the government has not received any report about blockade of TV channel anywhere in the country.

He said that some cable operators had readjusted the placements of channels.
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OPEC calls for end to overproduction

VIENNA: OPEC ministers have called for an end to overproduction by some members as they sought to slice nearly a million barrels per day from world supply and boost prices but without further shocking the anemic global economy.

Their comments suggested that Sunday’s oil ministers’ meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries might opt for a call on all members to honor production quotas, instead of deciding to slash output outright.

Most members of the 12-nation organization had been clear in favoring reduced output in the days preceeding Sunday’s full meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Still they had left open whether they want to lower output quotas or if they favor a solution less likely to hurt the struggling global economy by simply seeking to end overproduction by some nations above levels allotted to them.

Algerian energy and mines minister Chakib Khelil called for both on Saturday.

“Comply and cut,” he told reporters asking what he preferred. But recognition that direct cuts could backfire appeared to prevail on the eve of the meeting.

While slashing production could raise prices in the short term, it could also lead to further depressing demand, as strugglingeconomies cut back on pricey crude they cannot afford. Pushing forfull quota compliance instead would be less harmful.

OPEC cuts agreed on since September were meant to take a daily 4.2 million barrels off the market. But the 11 members underproduction quotas are still overshooting their joint daily target level of just under 25 million barrels by about 800,000 barrels a day.
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