Monday, April 16, 2012

BRLF with corpse found of Rs 1000 Cr for tribal

BRLF with corpse found of Rs 1000 Cr for tribal 2012-04-16 04:47:51 - Naresh Kumar Sagar Sagar Media inc: New Delhi: Government reaches out to Corporate India to participate in improving livelihood of tribals through Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundation abbreviated BRLF. The foundation will support developmental activities in the areas of watershed management, dairy, fisheries, agriculture, forestry, skill-development, among others. Rural Development Minister Ramesh clarified that BRLF will not be a government body, and instead run on professional lines, with a Chairman and a full time CEO. “In its structure and composition, it will be similar to the Public Health Foundation of India, chaired by N R Narayan Murthy,” said Mr. Ramesh. Asserting that all the concerned State Governments are already on board, the Minister said the Foundation will focus on strengthening local level institutions, developing adivasi leadership and spreading the Self-Help Group movement. “We have called a meeting on April 27 in New Delhi of all the stake holders, including corporates, civil society organizations and grass root level activists to discuss various aspects of the Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundation” said Mr. Ramesh, during his informal interaction with media in Mumbai today. The Minister said that the BRLF will be set up with a corpus of Rs 1,000 crores. “Government of India will contribute Rs 500 crores, while the rest will come from other partners.”Government reaches out to Corporate India to participate in improving livelihood of tribals. In a first major initiative of involving corporate India in developmental work, the Government of India has sought its partnership in setting up the Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundation (BRLF). Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has written letters to corporates like Tatas, Reliance, Wipro and Infosys to join the Foundation as contributing partners, to improve the livelihood of tribals, mostly living in Central and Eastern India. Public sector NABARD and the National Dairy Development Board have also been roped in.

US called coordinated attacks across Afghanistan ‘cowardly,’

US State Department on Sunday called the wave of coordinated attacks across Afghanistan ‘cowardly,’ and praised the “swift and effective response” of Afghan forces. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the US ambassador to Kabul, Ryan Crocker, to “discuss the cowardly attacks in Kabul and elsewhere in Afghanistan” and to confirm US personnel were safe, the State Department said.Clinton “asked Ambassador Crocker to convey to President Karzai the United States’ appreciation for the swift and effective response of Afghan National Security Forces,” her spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.Clinton “also asked him to convey that her thoughts are with all those affected by the violence.”  The assault, one of the most serious on the capital since U.S.-backed Afghan forces removed the Taliban from power in 2001, highlighted the ability of militants to strike the heavily guarded diplomatic zone even after more than 10 years of war.
 It was also another election-year setback in Afghanistan for U.S. President Barack Obama, who wants to present the long campaign against the Taliban as a success before the departure of most foreign combat troops by the end of 2014.  “These attacks are the beginning of the spring offensive and we had planned them for months,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters. He said the onslaught was revenge for a series of incidents involving American troops in Afghanistan – including the burning of Korans at a NATO base and the massacre of 17 civilians by a U.S. soldier – and vowed that there would be more such attacks.  Heavy fighting erupted again more than five hours after the Taliban first struck, as dusk was falling over the capital and as mosques were issuing calls to prayer.
Taliban said the main targets were the German and British embassies and the headquarters of the NATO-led force. Several Afghan members of parliament joined security forces repelling attackers from a roof near the parliament.  Large explosions shook the diplomatic sector of Kabul. Billows of black smoke rose from embassies while rocket-propelled grenades whizzed overhead. Heavy gunfire could be heard from many directions as Afghan security forces tried to repel Taliban fighters.   Explosions and gunfire rocked the Afghan capital Kabul Sunday as suicide bombers struck across Afghanistan in coordinated attacks claimed by Taliban insurgents as the start of a spring offensive. The US, British, German and Japanese embassy compounds came under fire as militants attacked the city’s diplomatic enclave and tried to storm parliament. Security forces moved President Hamid Karzai to a safe area.  Taliban fighters, some of them dressed in women’s head-to-toe covering burqas, also launched simultaneous assaults in three other provinces of Afghanistan. In the eastern city of Jalalabad, they attacked a foreign force base near a school and a blast went off near the airport.  The Ministry of Interior said 19 insurgents, including suicide bombers, died in the encounters across the country and two were captured. Fourteen police officers and nine civilians were wounded.  U.S. ambassador Ryan Crocker said it was unlikely the Afghan Taliban had the capacity to launch Sunday’s attacks on its own, and speculated that the Haqqani network – whose fighters are based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area – were involved.  “The Taliban are really good at issuing statements. Less good at actually fighting,” he told CNN. “My guess, based on previous experience here, is this is a set of Haqqani network operations out of north Waziristan and the Pakistani tribal areas. Frankly I don’t think the Taliban is good enough.”  Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told Reuters initial findings showed that the Haqqanis were involved in Sunday’s attacks. 
 United States accused Pakistan of having links to the Haqqanis last year after an attack on the U.S. embassy and other targets in Kabul that it blamed on the group.  The Haqqani network is one of the most divisive issues between Washington and Islamabad, whose relations were badly damaged last year by the unilateral American raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani town.  The attacks in Kabul come a month before a NATO summit at which the United States and its allies are supposed to put finishing touches on plans for transition to Afghan security control, and days before a meeting of defense and foreign ministers in Brussels to prepare for the Chicago summit.  The assaults appeared to repeat the tactics of an attack last September when insurgents entered construction sites to use them as positions for rocket and gun attacks.  Witnesses said insurgents entered a multi-storey construction site overlooking the diplomatic triangle and behind a supermarket. There they unleashed rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire, protected from the view of security forces by green protective netting wrapped around the skeleton of the building.  Sunday’s attack took place hours after dozens of Islamist militants stormed a prison in neighboring Pakistan in the dead of night and freed nearly 400 inmates, including one on death row for trying to assassinate former President Pervez Musharraf.  Pakistan’s Taliban movement, which is close to al Qaeda, said it was behind the brazen assault by militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 assault rifles.  Pakistan’s Taliban are closely linked with their Afghan counterparts. They move back and forth across the unmarked border, exchange intelligence, and provide shelter for each other in a region Obama has described as “the most dangerous place in the world”.  Pakistan’s Taliban have said in recent months they would boost cooperation with the Afghan Taliban in their fight against U.S.-led NATO forces.  Both the attacks in Afghanistan and the jailbreak in Pakistan underscore Pakistan’s failure to tackle militancy on both sides of the border eleven years after joining the U.S.-led campaign against Islamist militancy.   Washington has repeatedly urged the Pakistani military to go after the Haqqani network, which is believed to be based in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region on the Afghan border.  Evidence that the Haqqanis were behind the latest attacks in Afghanistan could hamper efforts to patch up U.S.-Pakistan ties between the strategic allies.
 The Taliban said in a statement that “tens of fighters”, armed with heavy and light weapons, and some wearing suicide-bomb vests, carried out the multi-pronged assault.  Taliban spokesman Mujahid said it had been easy to bring fighters into the capital, and they had had inside help to move heavy weapons into place. He did not elaborate.  Afghan security forces, who are responsible for the safety of the capital, scrambled to reinforce areas around the so-called green diplomatic quarter.  Attackers fired a rocket-propelled grenade that landed just outside the front gate of a house used by British diplomats, and two rockets hit a British Embassy guard tower near the Reuters office.  There was fighting at some facilities of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and near the U.S., Russian and German embassies.  Attackers also fired rockets at the parliament building in the west of the city. Most MPs had left the building before it came under attack, said a lawmaker. One of several who fought back from a roof, Naeem Hameedzai, told Reuters: “I’m the representative of my people and I have to defend them.”  Afghan media said fighters stormed the Star Hotel complex near the presidential palace and Iranian embassy. The hotel’s windows were blown out and smoke billowed from the building.

Pakistan parliament approves resolution on US ties

Pakistan’s parliament has unanimously approved a resolution for resetting the country’s troubled relations with the US, calling for an “immediate cessation” of American drone strikes and an apology for the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a NATO air strike.
A joint sitting of the National Assembly and Senate on Thursday adopted a resolution containing 14 recommendations made by the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PNCS) for ties with the US and overall foreign policy.
Observers said the move is expected to pave the way for reopening NATO supply routes to Afghanistan that were closed after last year’s NATO air strike.
Though most of the recommendations were related to Pakistan’s ties with the US, NATO and ISAF, some focussed on the relationship with India and regional issues.
The resolution noted that the US-India civil nuclear agreement had “significantly altered the strategic balance in the region” and called for Pakistan to seek from the US and other countries a similar facility.
The resolution further said Pakistan’s strategic position vis-a-vis India on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty “must not be compromised and this principle be kept in view in negotiations”.
It further said the dialogue process with India “should be continued in a purposeful and result-oriented manner on the basis of mutual respect and mutual interest” and efforts should be made to resolve the Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN resolutions.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani assured parliament that his government will ensure the implementation of the resolution on new rules of engagement with the US.
“Today’s resolution will enrich your respect and dignity. I assure you that we will get these enforced in letter and spirit,” Gilani said.
He contended that “real and substantive oversight and democratic accountability” had been introduced to the foreign and security policy for the first time.
The government had ordered a parliamentary review of relations with the US after the NATO air strike.
Pakistan also closed all NATO supply routes and forced American personnel to vacate Shamsi airbase, considered a hub for CIA-operated drones.
Pakistan-US relations stalled while the review was underway. Explaining the reasons behind the review, Gilani said: “Our partnership cannot be at the cost of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan.”
The country is committed to work with the world community to achieve common objectives, he added.
The resolution reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to the elimination of terrorism but demanded a review of what it described as the “US footprint” in the country.
It demanded the “immediate cessation of drone attacks” inside Pakistani territory and “cessation of infiltration into Pakistani territory on any pretext, including hot pursuit”.
Pakistani territory and airspace would not be used for transporting arms and ammunition to Afghanistan, the resolution said.
This left the way clear for resumption of non-lethal supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan, experts said.
The resolution further said there would no compromise on Pakistan’s nuclear programme and assets.
The resolution demanded an unconditional apology from the US for the NATO air strike and said those responsible for the incident should be brought to justice.
Pakistan should be given assurances that such attacks or any other acts impinging on Pakistan’s sovereignty would not recur, the resolution said.
The Defence Ministry and air force should formulate new flying rules for areas contiguous to the border with Afghanistan, it said.
No private security contractors and intelligence operatives will be allowed into Pakistan and the country’s territory will not be provided for establishing any foreign bases, it added.
Referring to Afghanistan, the resolution said there could be no military solution to the Afghan conflict and “efforts must be undertaken to promote a genuine national reconciliation in an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process”.
The joint session of the parliament was prorogued after the adoption of the resolution.Media agencies

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