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Taliban resurgent in Pakistan on enforcement of Sharia law/Interview archive

What is the current situation in the NWFP?

The Pashtun people are or were renowned for their hospitality. Many westerners commented on it. Some with suspicion NOT willing to believe some people so poor could be so generous. It was almost a character flaw. One could travel with out fear of personal danger as long as you followed local protocols. (I would urge you to read Kiplings “East is East & West is West.” one more time, know this time that it is written about the Pashtun people.)

That was the sort of mind set among the people. An ageless paradigm of self satisfaction: This is enshrined in the code of the Pashtuns way of life (see James Spain “The Way of the Pathans”) – called Pashtunwali- in Pashto hospitality is referred to as “maelmastiya”.

The Islamic radicalism is in reality nothing but the Taliban movement. As I said earlier not all Pashtuns are Taliban (obviously) but most Taliban are Pashtun. Of these most belong to the FATA. Of these, most were affected by their cousins from Afghanistan coming over. Mingled with them were Arab-Afghans. Uzbeks and some Tajiks and even Chechens. Some of these married within the tribes and formed a bond with the locals. Marriage bonds go back in history. Again remember the mindset of the people here. Always keep that in mind. To them the scripture in the written word of God, and that includes the Old Testament (called Torat (Torah) and (Injeel = Bible less St. Pauls contributions).

This Talibanization shows itself in the content of the Friday sermons at the mosque. Now it shows in the popularity of growing beards, especially since the MMA – the coalition of religious political party’s – won power. More recently in their showdown with the Pakistan army in N and S Waziristan – where according to my sources, people prefer going to the Taliban for justice rather than the older system of Maliks and Political Agents. The latter are known as corrupt. In Pakistan in general people are sick of the amount of corruption.

And now in Bannu, from where hails the Chief Minister of the NWFP, Mr Durrani, is in Taliban control in the sense that there is a parallel government that they have established and which is functioning quite well and is popular among the people.

Justice in tribal areas of Pakistan has been handled by elders, following a mixture of tribal tradition and Islamic law. Would you say that Taliban influence has caused a stricter intrepretation of Islamic law in the NWFP?

Yes. The Maliks, or tribal elders who consider themselves quite conservatively religious, even so had a laid back attitude towards enforcement of religious doctrine. That is where the difference comes. My opinion is that this is the reason that the Maliks supported the government of Pakistan in South Waziristan, which has recently been in the news having kicked out the militant Uzbek who came as guests in the post-soviet era and started mischief of their own but am not sure what their agenda was to begin with, and I myself have questions about their presence as to why they were not reported earlier, since reporting the presence of any foreigner(s) in the FATA is job one of the Pakistani Political Agents (PA). Why is the presence of the Uzbeks and the Chechen in the area just coming to light? Remember there are seven of these PA’s – one for each FATA. The Taliban emulated the Saudi system of having a department concerned with citizens’ morals, even the name is the same, the department for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, and this department has – as in Saudi Arabia, an enforcement police, called mutawwa’in, a morals law-enforcement agency.

Has there been a shift from tribal elders to clerics, as the main interpreters of law?

Yes there has been a movement in that direction but it has started a power struggle between the clerics who traditionally have been at the lowest strata of the social structure, to now when they have seen a bigger role for themselves first from the Taliban in Afghanistan – but also the government of the MMA in the NWFP who are nothing more than glorified clerics themselves, only a little smarter in exploiting religion politically, and the MMA is largely non-Pashtun which is a source of discontent in that they stand in the way of Pashtun nationalism, such as it is, because it only rears its head when non-Pashtuns start to usurp power over what the Pashtun consider their turf.

The deal made between Pakistani central government and the North and South Waziristan provinces, where tribal leadership was given the pivotal role in dealing with militants and the Taliban, has been criticized as a failure. What caused an initiative by tribal authority to fail?

First off, I don’t agree with the premise of the question, that the “deal” is a “failure” – for the following reasons:

  1. In the first place the Pakistan army (govt – same difference) did not have many options. This was the least worst option they had.
  2. And most importantly, I have said this before, this area is literally in a time warp – which means they proceed at (what seems to us in the west) a glacial pace. I will give an example from the folklore:

    The story goes that a Pashtun had to repay (badal) an enemy for a crime against his family and he waited patiently for 20 years (some say 50 years), after this time, he exacted his revenge – but soon after was depressed because he wondered “Did I act too hastily?”

    So one part of Pashtunwali is to “pay back” – (Badal: literally to exchange) which most people translate as revenge. Yes that is the form that is most visible, but badal is also played out in the exchange of gifts at wedding and other celebrations, and in the exchange of favors like in politics. The rules can be arcane, unwritten and hard to follow — who did what to whom, when, and so on, and what is the proper recompense — this same give and take would occur in a peace process pursued by the Tribal Maliks, who rule by consensus (see Olaf Caroe) and there is no actual leader in the western sense, because all the Maliks, in fact all the others are de facto, so many co-equals (The Way of the Pathans/ People of the Khyber – James Spain pp 129 on.) – it is a mind set, a paradigm foreign to the uninitiated, as is the concept of consensual gay sex to the Wazir in Waziristan.

  3. I wish someone would read the history of this area, it would help in dealing with our expectations and possibly much more. For instance there are two major tribe in N and S Waziristan, the Wazir, and the Mahsud – in the news you hear about the sub tribes; The most famour character of North Waziristan, the equivalent of a Jesse James, was leader called the “Faqir of Ippi” – he died in 1960, the Pakistan govt never was able to capture him, even though he set up a govt of Independent Pashtunistan in cahoots with Kabul. The great uprising of India of 1897 had its roots in Waziristan, as did the Treaty of Razmak. Of all the Pashtun, the Wazir are the most independent minded and the least to be cowed by military action.
  4. So what options did Pakistan have, more military action? It had already lost hundred of their “privates” in action. Allow the US forces to come in, as a matter of fact the ISAF do cross into the Pakistani territory, we just don’t know how deep they go — the rules of engagement, as I understand them are, that if they (the US Army of Marines) are in “hot pursuit” then they cross into Pakistan. In reality they do it more often then that, just that there is no proof of it, who will report it, the Wazir? Or the Pakistan army?
  5. The last part of your question, there are many assumptions, all wrong. The initiative was not from the tribals. There is no single authority amongst the tribal, they would convene a Jirga and decide on a course of action, such as this, to my knowledge no such jirga was called. To save face the Pakistan government might claim it was a tribal initiative, but it seems highly unlikely. The Pak troop’s casualties were so high, and there was talk of hostages being held as well — I tend to believe, that the Governor of the NWFP initiated the talks and the agreement, because he sure as hell is taking all the heat for its “failure”.
  6. That brings me to the last issue, the agreement has not failed, because it has not been given enough time, in Wazir time reference, not American time presidential election cycle controlled. I do not have a crystal ball, but if I did, I would see NATO troops in Afghanistan long after Iraq is over. Afghanistan can be a success ONLY if we accept one thing, the time warp these people live in — by my reckoning its still 1700 CE over there.

If the Talibanization of Pakistan is partly due to a perception of corruption among the older system of Maliks and Political Agents, and Musharraf has critics lining up, who can the U.S. turn to in dispensing with $10 billion in aid monies?

Talibanization has nothing to do with your premise there. Zilch. Nada. The corruption is in the ISI, the Pak army and the Pak system of Political Agents (PA) assigned to these tribal zones (FATA & PATA). These PA have budgets that are much like the CIA in that they are a single line item in the national budget, there is no accountability of where or how the PA spends the money. If one followed the IRS rules and looked at the lifestyles of the PA and compared them with their income, you would soon understand what was going on. Musharraf critics are a larger issue. For eons, Republicans have coddled Pakistan with the belief that “as long as they are pro America” – democracy in Pakistan will come in due course. Democrats have, I think, insisted Democracy first, and then we can discuss the other issues later. For example, pre 9/11, compare how Carter’s administration treated Gen Zia and how Reagan’s administration treated him.

The Talibanization of Pakistan has more to do with graduates of “Raiwind” a place near Lahore where the “Tablighi Jamaat” conducts brainwashing camps. It was graduates of this place, in my opinion, that are responsible for Britain’s 7/7 attacks as an example. For the Talibanization of the FATA, see Ahmed Rashid’s classic study on the subject wrt to Afghanistan but applicable to Pashtuns in the NWFP equally, in a sense.

Corruption amongst the Maliks is self limiting because of the egalitarian society they live & because of Pashtunwali (see Charles Lindholm, Oxford press).

Who can the US turn to? This is a tough one. The Pakistani national psyche has not progressed the way the Indians have. There are still very much remnants of the Raj visible and present and invisible but Pakistani behavior gives it away – in the way they treat household help, in the way company bosses treat their employees, in the way the government officers often act above the law. For example the NWFP is supposed to be dry – yet the governemt employees consume copious amounts of liquor. There are some that even moonshine at home. (I have pictures I could share taken at “dance” party, more like a stag party.)

I think this last question is best answered in who has been reliable in the past, and assume the past to be an indicator of future behavior.

We know the Pak army will siphon large amounts towards its Nuclear program and the upkeep of its generals.

We know that Nawaz Sharif left the national treasury almost bankrupt when Musharraf took over.

We know that Benazir husband took 10% of all government deals. I believe he has an Interpol warrant for his arrest, although I can’t vouch for it, it does come out in the news, even though it’s puzzling why Interpol has trouble executing the warrant. Now I hear they are withdrawn.

So who does that leave?

The next generation of Politicians who are not beholden to anyone.

In my opinion, the US should insist on the scheduled elections but accede to some genuine Pakistani concerns:

Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto ought to be ineligible to run, BUT other members of the respective party PML (N) and PPP (B) can do so.

Prohibit allocation of emblems to the religious party which they can & have misused.

For example in the last election they asked for and got the symbol of a book, they then went on to advertise the symbol represented the Qur’an and a vote for the book was a vote for the Qur’an – not the candidate but the Qur’an. Well the ploy worked only too well. Imagine a similar vote here where a vote is asked for as a vote for the Bible! You can imagine the results.

What is your take on the Musharraf suspending the judge Iftikhar Chaudhry?

My take:

I believe, and this is widely held belief, that Musharraf has no constituency of his own for his power base. He wanted legitimization from the Supreme Court, and from Mr Choudhry as Chief Justice (their system is not like ours) would not give it.

So Musharraf has had to hang on to his Army Chief of Staff position to get his power from the Army. If some one else were Chief of Staff, that person could refuse to support Musharraf.

The Justice favorable to the general is Justice Iqbal, who was not the next in line for Chief Justice. The next in line is a Hindu. That presented problems of its own for Musharraf. So when the Hindu judge went for a trip to India, Iqbal became the “available” senior most Supreme Court judge, and hence the haste and lack of decorum with which Justice Chaudhry was removed.

Now we have to wait for the other shoe to fall — will Iqbal issue a Judicial ruling which would make it easy for Musharraf to stay on as Chief of Staff – in the meantime, the US has asked him to relinquish this army position.

Needless to say, it was very badly handled, high handed, and the TV was present — the country saw what was being done to the highest member of the court of law, and in their mind, as in mine, the law in Pakistan was being manhandled, handcuffed and sent off packing to jail, so to speak. Something we long suspected, but was confirmed on TV and in the Newspapers. Overseas organizations taking up Chaudhry’s cause, might lead one to belive that Musharraf’s days are numbered, and they would be wrong, because America needs Musharraf – for the time being, anyway – because Iraq has scared America, just as in the post Vietnam era, there is now a fear regarding Muslim countries – the fear of the alternative, will democracy in Muslim country give us more of Ahmedinejad or Al-Maliki, or can we find some Hamid Karzais’? We just don’t know.

Can you tell us what the prevailing sentiment in the region regarding the Pakistani government effort in the provinces and the international effort in Afghanistan to combat Taliban and affiliated militants?

In my dealings and inquires, one thing stood out like a sore thumb – the conspiracy theories vis-à-vis anything having to do with America. I mentioned to one of my close friends that events that were previously ascribed as acts of God were now considered acts of the CIA. Some even believed that the Earthquake in the northern areas was because of some sort of underground secret “bomb” used by the CIA. Lack of evidence is further proof that the CIA did it. I was flabbergasted, and started to give this kind of thinking as an example in speaking to “educated” Pakistani’s – and among these, those that did agree that the earthquake was NOT the work of the CIA, they would start giving other examples, notably the Blow up of the plane carrying Zia ul Haq an ex President of Pakistan, in which the US Ambassador also perished. When I would point this out, the response would be that that is the sort of thing they do to take away suspicion from themselves.

In a nutshell, the impression I came away with is, there is NO war of civilizations going on, what is going on is a war between literacy and illiteracy. I use the latter term in the widest connotation.

Pakistan government efforts: While on the one hand people would decry that the government is not doing enough, in the same breath they would state the government is a puppet of the US and only does what the US tells it to do. In this sense there is very little awareness among the people about what the Pakistani army is doing in the FATA or for that matter in Balochistan. The local newspapers are censored, and if not censored they do not allocate much space to the topics. “Dawn,” which is the highest circulation English language paper, carries more stories about the US than about the local stories, that might appear say in “Newsweek.”

The international effort in Afghanistan is not considered international at all, only American. You could speak till you are blue in the face, and you would not change anyone’s mind. In my case they would simply turn quiet, not wishing to offend a “guest” (see Pashtunwali).

It is commonly agreed that some thing has to be done to curb the religious extremism that has taken root here, while historically these people (Pashtun) are a moderate people (see Olaf Caroe “The Pathans”). In fact some of the reasons the extremism has crept in is that many of the cultural practices were not in accordance with Saudi based “Salafiism” more popularly known as Wahabism. But Mr Wahab dates to the period of Lawrence of Arabia – Salafism dates further back, and is one of the six or seven schools of “Fiqh” or jurisprudence, but the latter fiqh has morphed into a cult like sect.

Taliban are not visible in the areas I visited, but the militants handiwork clearly is – as elsewhere, the common criminals are taking advantage of this situation, and crime is up significantly. One new crime is Cell phone “snatching” – it’s easy and nobody wants to pursue it. If some one is using a Razr phone, he can expect to be hit soon, if he uses it in public. So people have two cell phone (Called mobiles here) one fancy to show off, one for use in public places.

In so far as “foreign” militants are captured and identified, that is to say non-Pashtun (including non Afghan Pashtun or Pak Pashtun) – then the people are obviously in agreement with the government that these people don’t belong here and need to go.

The problem is this:

The foreigners are usually in the FATA and have been there since the Soviet war times. Many of them have taken local wives and now have a family. The local have accepted them into their family. Now for the Pak govt to ask them to kick them out, the locals are thinking what am I doing to my grandchildren’s father, etc. Again the edicts of Pashtunwali also play a role.

What kind of support is there in the area for the positions advocated by the Taliban on matters such as Sharia law, women’s education, role in public affairs, its proscriptions on entertainment such as movies, music ..etc?

In the areas that I visited and the people that I spoke to, which by definition is a very non-random sample, the people are TOTALLY opposed to the Taliban. I do have one nephew who seems to have come under the influence of the Salafi’s but that is a different story. I can address that separately and you can decide if it belongs with this story – not my nephew’s story but the way the Salafi’s have woven themselves into this area — which is historically a “Hanafi” fiqh area, which is much more moderate. Like I said this may be tangential to the main story.

In general, people will say Yes we are Muslim and we are for the Sharia, but in general most people do not know what that entails.

In their mind it entails a more just system, a less corrupt government.

But if you ask them if they want a system like the Taliban the answer is an unequivocal NO.

Women’s education is quite the norm in the non FATA parts of the NWFP. When I visited the earthquake area which is also mostly in the NWFP, (I have photo’s and video) the girl schools were some of the first to spring up. I remember being pleasantly surprised by this at the time.

As far as a role in Public, it gets complicated. Women are in general expected to be docile and compliant, and the same expectation foloows through into Public affairs. But this point of view is not limited to the NWFP – it is the same all over Pakistan, excluding the large cities of Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad etc. yet still applicable to Peshawar.

In Peshawar you do get to see more girls getting jobs as tellers in a bank and some other non traditional jobs, whereas previously the only jobs were either teachers to young kids, teachers to older girls, nurses and doctors – for the most part.

Movies in the NWFP in the Theaters are for the lower socio economic men only. The reason is other than Talibanization. The easy availability of pirated, good quality DVD’s of Indian and Hollywood movies (From China thru the land route over the Karakorum Highway) – it cost Rs120 ($2/-) for the whole family to watch a movie in the comfort of their home. Travelling to a theater might cost that much in gas. The inconvience. The crowds. The men gawking at the women and last but definitely not least, some bombs exploding in the theater some years back, put a comllete stop to the middle class from going out to see movies.

Paashtuns love music. So even though I hear that some bus drivers have been fined for playing their cassettes, I doubt this is going to stop them from playing their music. Some thing far worse has to happen – I think the drivers may start carrying guns and having it out with who ever is tring to stop them from their favorite music.

What is not being reported and what the Taliban could do effectively is to cut up cable tv cables. Most cable companies string their cable ABOVE ground to save cost and take it along the electric poles, below the electricity wires. Since these are exposed there have been many (several) instances of the cables being cut up. Luckiliy there is no market for coaxial cable, or more cable would be lost to druggies doing the cutting. The latter is a serious problem that you don’t hear about. One person that I knew told me that he was building his house and had poured conrete and reinforcements for the pillars. The next day he found the reinforcement bars to have been cut up flush with the ground slab leaving him to figure out how to do the rebar of the rest of the pillar.

To what degree does this support stem from fear and intimidation?

The Taliban are Pashtun, and the populace is Pashtun. The Pashtun do not scare easy. They are not intimidated easily. They might comply for the moment and then come back with a vengeance, so to speak. The women folk are more susceptible to intimidation, as was evidenced by the closure of the schools, because the mothers decided that they were not going to take a chance that their kids might get injured.

How about the “political positions” of the insurgent movement – resistance to foreign troops, and the Karzai government? Is there a separatist or nationalist component to the movement?

Karzai is not popular among the Pashtun’s who are loyal to Pakistan in the NWFP, those are the one I met mostly. They think that Karzai is opportunistic in that he is fleecing the government of the US whereas he himself is little more than the mayor of Kabul. They point to his American bodyguards as proof that he is disliked by his own people, that the moment the American leave Karzai is a dead man.

I can not speak to the separatist movement. I have seen no evidence of it. There is widespread resentment that the Federal government refuses to give a name to the province, a name of the people’s liking – there have been recently articles in Dawn about this, I will try and find them for you.

Nationalism is alive and well on the other hand, all over Pakistan – in all its four provinces. Everybody hates the Punjabi’s – almost to the man.

It is my opinion that were it not for US aid, Pakistan will go the route of Yugoslavia. With lots of bloodshed.

Resistance to foreign troops is like the national pastime among the Pashtun. Even today they collect in the evenings and will tell tales, vastly glorified of the way their grandfather fought against the British.

In other parts of the NWFP, like Charsadda and Mardan where Abdul Ghaffar Khan (the frontier Gandhi) was popular you have old “khudai khidmatgars” telling their stories of how they kicked out the British.

The only thing that Unites the Pashtun, are foreign troops on their soil. Other than that “Pashtun Unity” is almost an oxymoron.

What do you think the U.S., the international community and Pakistan should do to ease the problems in the region?

In my opinion, based on my conversations with individuals in positions to know these things, plus a little bit of plain common sense, plus knowing the history of the people and of the area: The ONE thing that will NOT work is direct military action. We know this from history. We know that the Pashtuns love to fight. We know that the Talibanization has brought the Jihadi’s into the picture, who like nothing better than to be martyred. So we need to keep this in mind, of what NOT to do. Having said that, what I am going to say next may appear like a paradox.

Because the Pashtun do not like to deal with what they believe are wus or weak people, we do need to have a strong PRESENCE there, and a strong “show of force” – invite a “Jirga” to like a demonstration of what the US air force is capable of doing – just to show them, – the reason is that their paradigm is the 14th century, if you simply told them that we can do this to you, they will simply think you are lying, because that is what they do, they lie to show off.

But if you drop a daisy cutter and tell them before hand what it is capable of, or a stealth bomber, these technologies are outsides their mind-set; we have to get them to believe that we have these capabilities, like the Drone. Or spy satellites.

From this position of strength, and always reminding them that we are raring to use our forces in that like them we also love to shoot our guns at every opportunity, but then not actually do it ( in this sense we had achieved all out objectives with Saddam prior to invading Iraq IMHO invading Iraq was redundant) – so the next step would be:

  1. Education
  2. Development meaning providing a means of livelihood so they do not have to become military mercenaries to make a living.
  3. Gradually replacing their madrassas with our own madrassas, except in the latter, the Mullah is an educated individual who knows comparative religion, and they teach other subjects including Biology, anthropology, measuring the age of the earth by carbon dating etc. and astronomy to learn the age of the Universe, black holes, quasars Relativity concepts, quantum mechanic concepts (not the mathematics, the simple concepts behind them, and how these ideas are behind some of today’s everyday electronic devices)
  4. Leisure activity, starting with traditional leisure activity, i.e. not TV and cable and Internet, but ultimately making these available
  5. Introduce these “NEW” technologies through a religious mode. Transmit a Qur’anic recital competition to begin with, as an example instead of beginning with MTV.
  6. Making water available. Drinking water is an everyday necessity, for cooking etc, and not available in most of the FATA.
  7. Food grain. Wheat flour etc, keep the prices the same as in Peshawar – these people are not traders, they are easily exploited, and like porn they couldn’t tell you what exploitation is, but they can tell you when they see it.

What makes the North-West Frontier Province competent to administer any monies?

This is the central question. Much like California has taken a separate initiative on stem cell research – as an analogy – the NWFP is central to the war on terror, not Pakistan.

The NWFP was central to the fight and aid to the Afghans during the Soviet occupation, not Pakistan.

This small distinction is lost on Washington, and it is the main reason, in my opinion, why so much of the Aid was “lost in transit was because the Punjabi army officers could not bring themselves to dispense such large sums to an ethnic group which it considers anti-Pakistani (You would have to read the history of the Indian partition, in particular that the NWFP was a “Indian Congress Party” controlled province where as the “Muslim League” of Jinnah was trying to show the Brits that all the area was FOR the creation of Pakistan).

All the FATA is contiguous to the NWFP. The Taliban and Al-Qaeda are holed up somewhere either in the FATA, or across the Durand Line in Afghanistan, the Durand Line has never been recognized by the locals as an international boundary. Even today, the Pashtun travel from Peshawar to Kabul by road with out a passport or visa, and it has been like that for eons.

(Especially for the nomadic Pashtun tribe of Ghilzai’s who travel by caravan and conduct trade.)

The present governor of the NWFP belongs to the Orakzai tribe (he spells his name Aorakzai) and it is my opinion that that he was picked partly because he belongs to one of the FATA as well as he is a retired General of the Pak Army.

The Frontier Constabulary (FC) is a force which primarily recruits from the FATA. All or most of its forces are from the various tribes. In the eyes of the tribes this is a bona fide force and service with the FC is considered an honorable thing. The US has already allocated some funds for increasing recruitment, but far less than what it would take to counter the Taliban and far less than what the economic need is. [The US] spends a thousand times more on a battalions sent to monitor activity over there. Plus why endanger the lives of our troops and spread our forces thin when a more effective job can be done by the FC. The FC has over history shown that they will attack and use force against the tribes that create trouble. There have been no instances of insubordination or mutiny.

Even the US Embassy is protected by a contingent of the FC! That goes to show their trustworthiness & discipline.

My second proposal is that there is a common phenomenon for Pashtun men to go to the Gulf States for jobs.

The “tribal” Pashtuns ( All Pashtuns are tribal, in that Pashtun form the largest tribal society in the world in terms of numbers) wrt the FATA are not educated or trained and hence not employable right now. I propose that we fund directly the Director of Emigrants (Mr Azhar Arbab) in Islamabad to set up training facilities in Concrete laying, iron work, pipe work, welding etc, which would then qualify these tribesmen to obtain jobs in the Gulf. As such we would remove them from the scene altogether. They would not be available in the labor pool to the Taliban or anyone else. I might add here, that a number of these individuals have very high innate intelligence, which is one reason they make formidable foes.

Now the central reason why the NWFP ought to do this is because they are themselves most affected by the scourge of Talibanization. They are highly motivated in carrying out these policies because it is to their own benefit.

One has to be convinced on this last point, and for that I urge you research the sentiments amongst the people of the province, such as I am willing to provide, and which you can corroborate from other sources as well.

For instance, after Malik Saad was murdered, there were people, whom I heard myself, that expressed the feeling (admittedly stunned with grief) “If this is Islam then fuck such Islam” (I paraphrase, obviously, the Pashto is not directly translatable) – moreover, Mr Saad’s posters are competing with Osama’s in the Bazaar’s as a spontaneous gesture from the public. We can’t afford to let this good-will to be lost.

An Associated Press report on MSNBC dated March 15, 2007 and headlined “Arrest of al-Qaida’s ‘best’ reflects changing role” stated, “A senior Western diplomat in Islamabad, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the Taliban resurgence had not necessarily led to the re-emergence of al-Qaida training camps in Pakistan – a key U.S. ally in the war on terror – but had “created the environment for whatever is left of al-Qaida to feel more comfortable.” What does that mean?

A senior western diplomat usually means a Political Officer in the US Embassy, which most people know is a CIA agent, OR it could be some other Embassy official –

First there is a big difference between Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Al Qaeda is mostly composed of Arabs, they do not trust any one else. While they might use others as couriers or in lowly position as servants, for second rate Al Qaeda officials, the Top guys ONLY deal with Arabs and are served by Arabs.

The Taliban are mostly Pashtun tribesmen. Mostly they are graduates of madrassa’s.

Mostly illiterate by any world standards. The better educated among them will know how to speak a few words of English, such as their Information minister. There might be one or two notable exception of which I am not aware, I had heard Yale had admitted a Taliban, but never followed up on the story.

However while Al Qaeda does not trust the Taliban, the Taliban look up to Al Qaeda top leadership. We saw this situation in Iraq where initially Al Zarqawi had no direct link with Qaeda but was keen to form one. It would be conjecture on my part to state that in the end he did indeed succeed in forming that connection. In the press at least that impression was prevalent.

So the lines of interest proceed ONE way, like one way traffic. Extremist want to be affiliated with Qaeda, IMHO, while the latter does not, again, in my opinion want to – so as to maintain its hideout.

Now we come to the statement below:

The Taliban resurgence is not connected directly to the Qaeda.


(al in Arabic = the; Qaeda means the base, or the foundation e.g. in kg school here you are asked “did you learn your “abc’s” – in the Muslim world one is asked in an equivalent kg “did you learn your qaeda”?)


The Qaeda supply lines are hampered, new recruits would have to be Arabs, and they would have to travel a long way through tight Pakistani security to reach here, or suffer hardship over a long and arduous land route through Balochistan and the Tribal area’s – NOT all of which are accommodating.

So as is becoming clear, Qaeda is having trouble replacing people they loose meaning those that were captured or died. They only trust Arabs, and that also a certain type of Arabs, (not all Arabs are the same, not all Arabic is the same – for example they would never trust a Syrian, in fact Qaeda folks consider Syrian brand of Islam an apostasy – but that is another story).

Okay so now we can understand the statement, that whatever remains of the Qaeda, are not in a position to set up training camps, since they are in a survival mode. The Taliban resurgence helps them get a little warm and fuzzy in this survival mode, since they feel a little bit more secure with their partners-in-arms doing some evil stuff, blowing up people and causing mayhem.

How many men does the FC field currently?

The FC currently has about 23000 men in total.

How much do they get paid?

They are paid the equivalent of $60 per month per person -Pak Rupees 3665, where Rs61= $1. They do have some fringe benefits but life is very spartan for these soldiers.

What the US could get in return is a huge bang for a buck, no pun intended.

I think we ought to double the number of these soldiers with one proviso that the FC maintains its high standards of recruits.

Compare this with our costs in the War against Terror; just Halliburton’s bills will have you reeling. I think that it would be foolish, NOT to do this.

Again to reinforce the reasons:

The Frontier Constabulary is an Institution with a long and glorious history within the Frontier Province.

The recruits come strictly from the tribes of the various FATA and so they are very familiar with the people, the bad guys the terrain etc.

They speak the Pashto dialect of the locals. The Pashto language has many dialects, and you can tell where someone is from based on which dialect he speaks. So if you do not speak the correct dialect, you are immediately identified as an outsider. This is one reason why these tribes are impossible to penetrate, there are other reasons as well, that are beyond the scope of the current discussion.

How can the FC help prevent attacks like the suicide bombing attempt on Sherpao in Charsadda last weekend?

In essence your question is how can anyone prevent a suicide attack? And frankly if I knew the answer to that I think the US military – and several other groups – would be knocking on my door. I think the Israeli Army has had the most experience with this sort of thing. The suicide bombing as a tactical weapon was invented by the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, and even today in terms of statistics they use it in far greater numbers.

So to summarize neither the FC nor anyone else can prevent a suicide bombing. We could attempt to improve our intelligence to find out about an imminent attack, but so far these have not been very successful in Pakistan. In the Lal Masjid Case the government avoided a suicide killing by negotiating with those two Mullah brothers – but I don’t know if that counts. But it does make for an interesting story. Both Washington, DC and Islamabad now have Madams threatening to publish the list of their clients unless they are given protection. Who would have thunk?Going back to your question:In my opinion what ought to be done is to make a Policy change, and address the issues that are producing these suicide bombers, that is the only way to stop this phenomenon.In this part of the world this is relatively new because prior to 9/11, suicide bombing was unheard of. Moreover it is not the FC’s job to provide security to the Minister of the Interior, that is the job of the Police force, because this Ministry is equivalent to the Department of Homeland Security.You don’t expect Border patrol to provide body guard duty to the Secretary of the department of Homeland Security. I am making these analogies so the American readers would relate to what is happening, and understand the difference in nomenclature.–RHakeem 20:13, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

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Aerosmith sued over late cancellation of gig in Maui, Hawaii

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Aerosmith sued over late cancellation of gig in Maui, Hawaii
July 5th, 2019 | Uncategorized |

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fans of the American hard rock band Aerosmith have launched legal action against the band in response to a late cancellation of a scheduled concert on the Hawaiian Island of Maui.

Attorney Brandee Faria filed a class action suit in Hawaii Circuit Court on October 19. The suit alleges that the band’s cancellation cost fans between US$500,000 (€349,944) and $3 million (€2.1 million) in travel and accommodation costs, as well as other related expenses.

The sold-out September 26 Maui concert – originally planned months before as the final show of a world tour that began in Brazil in April – was canceled by the band on the basis that they could not make it to the island in time after a September 24 concert in Chicago. The Chicago concert, which attracted 18,000 people, was rescheduled at the last minute after the original September 10 concert date had been postponed due to illness.

The band canceled the show at Maui’s War Memorial Stadium, which was set to be attended by 9,000 people, and apologized to fans. The band’s management company, HK Management Inc., gave no initial reason when they canceled on September 20, but blamed logistical reasons by the next day.

However, just days later, on September 29, the band traveled to the neighbor island of Oahu to play a corporate event in Honolulu for Toyota car dealers and private guests. An audience of 6,000 people celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Japanese automobile manufacturer at the University of Hawaii, with Toyota paying $500,000 (€349,944) to hire the campus. Aerosmith received $1 million (€700,000) to perform at the event. Faria alleges that Aerosmith abandoned the scheduled public concert on Maui in favor of the more lucrative corporate event on Oahu.

“…Defendants simply canceled the only public performance by Aerosmith in favor of the larger Chicago venue and the lucrative, private concert for the Toyota car dealers,” the complaint states.

Local officials had hoped the concert would attract other big names to the island.

Faria said that “I’ve had people contact me being out of pocket at much as $800 or $900,” adding that if the cancellation is found to be deceptive ticket holders may be eligible for a minimum of $1,000 each. The complaint also says that those aged 62 or over should receive at least $5,000 each. Currently about a dozen ticket holders are involved with the suit. If the action is approved by a judge, steps will be taken to contact everyone who purchased a ticket.

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Reflections, Lichtenstein, two new exhibitions at Edinburgh’s Modern One

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Reflections, Lichtenstein, two new exhibitions at Edinburgh’s Modern One
June 29th, 2019 | Uncategorized |

Saturday, March 14, 2015

This weekend saw the opening of two new exhibitions at Edinburgh’s National Gallery of Modern Art. Wikinews attended Thursday’s press preview for the event where a full contingent of the capital’s press turned out to see the striking collection of paintings, photographs, and other works. Presented below are a selection of images captured at the preview.

REFLECTIONS: A Series of Changing Displays of Contemporary Art, billed as a showcase of a “diverse range of internationally-renowned contemporary and modern artists” is to display major works from the Gallery’s permanent collection, alongside important loans. Alongside this broad range of works, a three-room display of pieces on-loan from the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation — with a dramatic painted steel relief, ‘borrowed’ from the Tate in London — runs from March 14 through to January 10 next year.

Admission to both exhibitions is free; being located in Dean, to the north-west of Edinburgh’s city centre, a free Gallery bus service is available.

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Third explosion at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant">
Third explosion at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant

June 28th, 2019 | Uncategorized |

Monday, March 14, 2011

An explosion was reported at 0610 local time Tuesday morning at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant’s second reactor. The blast is feared to have breached the pressure chamber.

The explosion is thought to have been in the reactor’s “pressure suppression room” — part of the cooling system. It damaged the area that contains water to cool the reactor, but it is not yet clear whether it affected the containment structure near the core.

Government officials have said that there was limited damage as a result of the explosion, and efforts to cool the reactor would go on, but nuclear industry executives in Japan have said that the situation is far worse, and other unnamed officials said the containment structure had been damaged, but did not say to what extent. In the wake of the explosion, officials at the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the plant’s operator, said for the first time a partial meltdown could be taking place within the reactor.

After the explosion, radiation levels near the facility rose from 1,941 to 8,712 microsieverts, a level still short of that required to cause immediate health effects, and radiation decreased again some time after the explosion. The legal limit for radiation in one year is a thousand microseiverts, but radiation sickness does not occur until a million microseiverts.

Prior to the explosion the fuel rods in the reactor reported to again be exposed after the pressure valve closed at 11pm local time, preventing pumping in cooling water.

“The reactor containment vessel, which is the last line of defence to contain the radiation, this may have experienced some damage…it seems that there are damages at several different places of these walls around radioactive substances.” [excerpted from live translation transcription by CNN of NHK coverage of press conference, stream]

According to TEPCO, all but 50 employees of the plant were evacuated after the incident.

Workers at the 40-year old plant have been struggling to deal with the aftermath of Friday’s massive earthquake and tsunami. On Saturday, a hydrogen explosion occurred at the number one reactor, followed by a second explosion on Sunday to the number three reactor. The number two reactor was reported to be overheating, with exposed fuel rods, earlier today. Nearly 185,000 people have been evacuated from the 20 km zone around the plant.

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James Bond star Roger Moore, 89, dies">
James Bond star Roger Moore, 89, dies

June 21st, 2019 | Uncategorized |

Thursday, May 25, 2017

It is the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated.

On Tuesday, British actor Roger Moore, best known for portraying Simon Templar of the 1960s series The Saint and the spy character James Bond, died in Switzerland at the age of 89.

Before his death, Moore fought recently diagnosed cancer. His family confirmed his death on Twitter saying, “It is the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated.”

Other stars paid tribute to Roger Moore via Twitter, including Russell Crowe, Michael Ball, Mia Farrow, Boy George, and Duran Duran, who sang the eponymous theme song for Bond film A View to a Kill featuring Moore as Bond.

Moore was born in Stockwell, South London an only child to his working-class parents on October 14, 1927. During World War II, he and his mother mostly stayed in Amersham, 25 miles from London. Moore left grammar school in 1943 to work.

Moore’s father, a detective sergeant, came to the home of film director Brian Desmond Hurst that had been robbed. Moore was introduced by his father to Hurst and then started his acting career in summer 1944 as an extra in the film Caesar and Cleopatra. Impressed, Hurst helped Moore gain extra parts in two other films and then paid for Moore’s acting studies at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Moore was assigned to the National Service in 1945 and then, after training, was ranked captain. Afterwards, he appeared in modeling engagements, like appearance in Women’s Own magazine.

Moore arrived in the United States in 1953 and then signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) for mainly supporting roles. He portrayed the male lead in 1956 film Diane. He first appeared on television as the titular character of the late-1950s ITV series Ivanhoe. He later appeared in some western series, like Maverick from 1960 to 1961, replacing James Garner as the lead of the series.

Moore then portrayed Simon Templar, stealing from rich antagonists, in the ITV series The Saint. The series ran 118 episodes from 1962 to 1969. Due to his contract for The Saint, Moore was prevented from being cast as James Bond for the 1962 film Dr. No, which stars Sean Connery, the first actor to portray Bond.

Moore eventually became the third actor to portray Bond, and his first Bond film was the 1973 film Live and Let Die. He would appear again as Bond in six more films: The Man with the Golden Gun, 1974; The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977; Moonraker, 1979; For Your Eyes Only, 1981; Octopussy, 1983; and A View to a Kill, 1985.

In 1991 Moore became a UNICEF goodwill ambassador. His UNICEF work earned him Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the late 1990s. He was knighted in 2003 for that.

Throughout 2000s, Moore performed voiceovers in mostly animated films and made appearances in some other live-action films, like the 2002 film Boat Trip, portraying a gay man resembling Bond. Then he wrote his 2008 autobiography My Word Is My Bond and other books, including memoir One Lucky Bastard and Bond on Bond.

Moore married four times, to four different women. He was survived by his fourth wife, Danish-Swedish multimillionaire Kristina “Kiki” Tholstrup, and his three children.

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Wikinews interviews Irene Villa">
Wikinews interviews Irene Villa

June 20th, 2019 | Uncategorized |

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Yesterday evening in La Molina, Spain, Wikinews sat down and talked with Irene Villa to discuss para-alpine skiing, disability sport, women’s sport, and her own sporting career. Villa was in town as part of activities taking place around the 2013 IPC Alpine World Championships, where one of her skiing club teammates is competing as a member of the Spanish team. Her high profile in Spain has brought additional interest to para-alpine skiing and disability sport in general.

((Wikinews)) : Hi we are interviewing Irene Villa, who is a disability skier from Spain and professional author, social figure, journalist, and psychologist. You are most well known for being a terrorist survivor, but you’re here because of the [2013 Alpine Skiing] World Championships. ((es))Spanish language: ?Hola estamos entrevistando a Irene Villa, esquiadora española, escritora, figura política, psicóloga y periodista. Aunque se le conoce más por haber sobrevivido a un atentado, se encuentra aquí por el Campeonato del Mundo [de Esquí Adaptado 2013].

Irene Villa: I’m here because I love sitting ski, I practice and I compete, but since I got pregnant and my son was born I stopped competing. But before I had my son I competed against the people who will run tomorrow, the Germans who win, and I wanted to be here. I haven’t raced in the World Cup, but I did race in the European Cup. And well, I’m also here to support paralympic sports. ((es))Spanish language: ?Estoy aquí porque me encanta el esquí en silla, lo practico y he competido, pero desde que nació mi hijo dejé de competir, porque me quedé embarazada, pero antes de tener a mi hijo competí contra las que mañana corren, las alemanas que ganan, y quería estar aquí. Nunca Copa del Mundo, he corrido Copa de Europa. Y bueno, para apoyar al deporte paralímpico.

((WN)) : In 2009 you said you were trying to make the 2010 Winter Paralympics. After giving birth are you going to continue with the sport and hope to make 2018? ((es))Spanish language: ?En 2009 dijo que quería clasificarse para los Juegos Paralímpicos de Invierno de 2010. Tras dar a luz, ¿va a continuar con el deporte e intentar llegar a 2018?

Irene Villa: I would love to. The thing is that you need a certain amount of IPCAS points. I’m now competing, on top of that I have an injury, tomorrow and the next day I will be training, and I don’t know if I’ll have enough time to make it. Sochi [Winter Paralympic Games of 2014] is right around the corner, next year, so it depends on how many point you’ve got. 2018? For sure. ((es))Spanish language: ?Me encantaría. Lo que pasa que bueno, eso no se sabe, porque tienes que tener unos puntos IPCAS determinados y yo ahora estoy compitiendo, encima me he lesionado, y mañana y pasado voy a estar esquiando, y no sé si van a dar los tiempos para llegar… Es que Sochi [Juegos Paralímpicos de 2014] está aquí al lado. Son el año que viene. Entonces depende de los puntos IPCAS que tengas. ¿2018? Seguro que sí.

((WN)) : You compete in a lot of national competitions, and with disability sport in general, classification is a big issue. Competing in national competitions, does classification come into play, especially when there is so few women skiers in your group? ((es))Spanish language: ?Participa en muchas competiciones nacionales, y en el deporte con discapacidad en general, las clasificaciones son un un tema polémico. En la competición nacional, ¿es la clasificación un factor tan determinante, especialmente cuando hay tan pocas esquiadoras en tu grupo?

Irene Villa: Yes, certainly. You see, I have an advantage because I have buttocks, I have abs. I have an advantage over a teammate who has a spinal injury here [points to the high part of the back] and also competes. So of course classification is very important because we cannot have an advantage. I believe in competing in equal fairness, and disabilities vary so much that you need a good classification. Issues because of classification? Well, I think we are pretty well classified. For example, my fingers [shows hand where she lost three fingers] are not taken into account in classification, there’s always going to be a small detail that they don’t count. This is a disadvantage when holding the outrigger, and yet I’m classified like someone who is missing half a leg, for example. I’m missing both legs and three fingers. But, it’s really complicated to finetune it… Because then we would need to have twenty thousand classifications. This is what we have. ((es))Spanish language: ?Sí, claro que sí. Porque claro, yo tengo ventaja por ejemplo al tener glúteos, al tener abdominales, tengo ventaja sobre una compañera de mi equipo que tiene una lesión medular desde aquí [señala principio de la espalda] y también compite, así que por supuesto la clasificación es muy importante porque no podemos tener ventaja. Creo que tenemos que estar en igualdad de condiciones, y las discapacidades son tan distintas que tienes que tener una buena clasificación. ¿Problemas porque no te clasifican bien? Hombre pues yo creo que nosotras estamos bien clasificadas. Por ejemplo, a mi estos dedos [muestra mano en la que perdió tres dedos] no me los cuentan en la clasificación, claro, siempre va a haber algo pequeño que no te cuentan. Esto es una desventaja al coger el estabilo, y sin embargo estoy clasificada igual que una a la que le falta media pierna, por ejemplo. A mi me faltan las dos y tres dedos. Pero es que claro, es muy dificil dar justo… Porque entonces tendríamos que tener veintemil clasificaciones. Es lo que hay.

((WN)) : Some of the skiers I’ve talked to in the mens’ side, not in Spain, but from other countries, have complained about the quality of womens’ skiing, and that there’s not enough high quality competition. That’s why I was interested in if classification was impacting women’s skiing because there is so few women skiers, that classes seem they’d make it harder to find competitors in classes that are making the sport equitable and fair. ((es))Spanish language: ?Algunos de los esquiadores de otros países con los que he hablado se quejaban de la calidad del esquí femenino, y la escasa calidad de la competición. Por eso me interesaba saber si la clasificación incidía en el esquí femenino al haber tan pocas esquiadoras, que las clases parece que hacen más dificil encontrar competidoras en clases que hacen el deporte más equitativo y justo.

Irene Villa: Of course. In the case of the women, it is really hard to get a woman skiing, to have her compete in sit-ski. In fact, in Spain we exist thanks to Fundación También, which insisted in there being a female category. There was no female category, no women who dared. And we’re the same who started out in 2007. There has been no new blood because women don’t dare, because it is a tough sport, that requires sponsors —that do not exist—, or your own money, and it also demands courage and withstanding bad moments. I’ve suffered cold and injuries, and had some really tough times. You take away the best with you, but it is very hard, and men resist the cold better. ((es))Spanish language: ?Claro. Es que en las mujeres cuesta muchísimo que una mujer se ponga a esquiar, a competir en silla. De hecho en España estamos gracias a la Fundación También, que es la que se empeñó en que hubiese categoría femenina. No existía la categoría femenina, no había mujeres que se atrevieran. Y de hecho somos las mismas que empezamos en el 2007. No se ha renovado porque no se atreven, es un deporte duro, que además requiere sponsors, que no hay, o dinero de tu bolsillo, y además requiere valentía y malos ratos. Yo he pasado mucho frío y muchas caidas, y lo he pasado muy mal. La verdad es que te quedas siempre con lo bueno, pero es muy duro, y es cierto que los hombres son más fuertes para el frío.

((WN)) : Your personal experiences have adequately prepared you to hurl yourself down the mountain at high speed? ((es))Spanish language: ?¿Sus experiencias personales le han preparado adecuadamente para lanzarse pendiente abajo a máxima velocidad?

Irene Villa: At the beginning, it was very scary. The first times were very hard: falls, injuries… I even dislocated my vertebra and got a prothesis for the neck because of a hernia, one teammate broke her clavicle, another her femur… It has a lot of risks, but the truth is, speed hooks you! Once you learn to plant the ski pole, angle yourself, learn the position you must use, which is like a motorcycle rider’s, once you see you can run a lot and not fall, speed is addictive and you want to go faster. ((es))Spanish language: ?Al principio, mucho miedo. Los comienzos fueron muy duros: caidas, lesiones… A mi incluso se me salió el disco del cuello, me tuvieron que poner una prótesis en el cuello por una hernia que tenía, otra se rompió la clavícula, otra el femur, en fin… Tiene mucho riesgo, pero la verdad que la velocidad engancha. Una vez que aprendes a clavar el canto, a angular, la posición en la que tienes que ir, que es como la de un motorista, una vez que ves que puedes correr mucho y no te caes, sí que engancha la velocidad y quieres ir cada vez más rápido.

((WN)) : Most of the ski team looks like they come from the Madrid area? From the Fundación También? ((es))Spanish language: ?¿La mayor parte del equipo parece que vienen de Madrid? ¿De la Fundación También?

Irene Villa: In my team we are from everywhere in Spain. Even Nathalie Carpanedo is from France. ((es))Spanish language: ?En el equipo somos de todas partes de España. Incluso Nathalie [Carpanedo] es de Francia.

((WN)) : How does a Frenchwoman become a Spanish skier? ((es))Spanish language: ?¿Cómo se convierte una francesa en una esquiadora española?

Irene Villa: Because she lives in Madrid. She has the Spanish nationality. Then we have another woman from the South of Spain, in Andalusia, from Tarragona in Catalonia, from Galicia… We are from all parts of Spain. ((es))Spanish language: ?Porque vive en Madrid. Tiene la nacionalidad española. También tenemos a una mujer del sur de España, de Andalucía, otra de Tarragona en Cataluña, de Galicia… Las chicas venimos de todas las partes de España.

((WN)) : So there’s a national ski culture. People think of Spain as a place with beaches and no snow. ((es))Spanish language: ?Así pues hay una cultura de esquí a nivel nacional. La gente piensa de España como un lugar con playas y nada de nieve.

Irene Villa: There’s not too much tradition of paralympic skiing, to be true. There’s less. But we do have Sierra Nevada and the Pyrenees. ((es))Spanish language: ?Del esquí adaptado no hay tanta cultura, eso es cierto. Hay menos. Pero bueno, tenemos Sierra Nevada y tenemos el Pirineo catalán, aragonés…

((WN)) : The Paralympics in Spain are supported by the Plan ADO Paralímpico. Do they provide enough support to women and to winter sports in general? ((es))Spanish language: ?Los deportistas paralímpicos reciben apoyo gracias al Plan ADO Paralímpico. ¿Proporcionan suficiente apoyo para las mujeres y los deportes de invierno en general?

Irene Villa: The people in the national squad, like Úrsula Pueyo, would know that. If Plan ADO helps someone, it’s the people in the national team, those who dedicate their lives to the sport. They offered it to me when I was at my peak, in 2010, when I won my first gold medals and wasn’t yet married. They offered me to move to Baqueira, where Úrsula lives, with Nathalie, and with a Catalan girl too, but I declined, because when you have a life, a daily job, events, conferences, travels…. you can’t leave it all for the sport. But I think the Plan does help the people who dedicate themselves to the sport, like Úrsula. ((es))Spanish language: ?Eso lo saben los que están en el equipo nacional, como Úrsula Pueyo. Si el Plan ADO ayuda a alguien es a quienes están en el equipo nacional, a quienes dejan su vida por el deporte. A mi por ejemplo me lo plantearon cuando yo estaba en mi mejor momento, que fue en el 2010, que gané mis primeros oros y no estaba casada. Me plantearon irme a vivir a Baqueira donde vive Úrsula, con Nathalie, y con otra chica catalana, pero dije que no porque cuando tienes una vida, un trabajo diario, eventos, congresos, viajes… no podía dejarlo todo por el deporte. Pero creo que a la gente que sí que se dedica a ello sí le ayuda. Como a Úrsula.

((WN)) : When I’ve read about disability skiing in Spain for women, they talk about you and they talk about Teresa Silva. Is there a way to get more attention for women skiers on that level, outside of using you and Teresa Silva as a vehicle? Not that you are not great for drawing attention! But how do you draw more attention to women’s sports and high quality that women are capable of doing? ((es))Spanish language: ?Cuando he leído sobre el esquí adaptado en España, suelen hablar de usted y Teresa Silva. ¿Existe alguna forma de atraer más atención a las esquiadoras, más allá de usarlas a ustedes como reclamo? ¡No es que no sean fantásticas para atraer atención! ¿Pero cómo se incrementa la atención al deporte femenino y a la alta calidad que las mujeres son capaces de lograr?

Irene Villa: Oh, I would like that more people would join this sport or any other disability sport, that they practised it. And what we do is try to encourage them through the media, interviews, conferences… Teresa is the director of Fundación También, and she has access to talk with many people. As a speaker in motivation conferences and the like, I make people aware of it too. But it is difficult, because people try it out and love it, but will not race. Because racing is very risky and, well, you saw the slopes yesterday, sometimes they are hard, like a wall, and falling can be awful. But when we get the chance, we promote the sport and try to attract people that way, encouraging them to join this adventure that is sport. ((es))Spanish language: ?Eso es lo que a mi me encantaría, que cada vez más gente se apuntase a este deporte o a cualquier deporte, que hiciese deporte con discapacidad. Y nosotros lo que hacemos es intentar a través de los medios de comunicación, a través de entrevistas, a través de congresos… Teresa es la directora de la Fundación, y tiene acceso a hablar a mucha gente. Yo como ponente de conferencias, de motivación y tal, también lo doy a conocer. Pero es dificil, como digo, porque la gente lo prueba y le encanta, pero dicen que no a la carrera. Porque la carrera tiene muchos riesgos y porque, bueno ya visteis la pista ayer, que es complicada, a veces es muy dura, es un marmol, y las caidas son muy jorobadas. Pero sí que en cuanto podemos y tenemos la oportunidad, lo damos a conocer e intentamos atraer a la gente de esa forma, animándola a que se unan a esta aventura del deporte.

((WN)) : As an outsider from, not Spain, I know you are a political figure. Has that gotten in the way of your ability to be a sportswoman? ((es))Spanish language: ?Como alguien que no es de España, entiendo que usted es una figura política. ¿Ha sido eso un obstáculo a la hora de ser una deportista?

Irene Villa: No… Besides, that part about me being a political figure… I have nothing to do with politics. I don’t know why people always… Why? Because of what happened to me. I was a kid. A 12 year old has nothing to do with politics. We know too that ETA has attacked people who had nothing to do with politics as well. My mother was a police director. What may have interfered is the fact that since I was a known figure I’ve tried that other people…. Let’s see, for example I started doing sport so other people would know you could do sport. So it is true that the fact of being known has pushed me to do more things that I would’ve probably not have done. Because I wanted to show people that you could ski. And I ended up hooked. I only did it for a tv reportage. “Okay okay, a reportage and let’s have people know that yes, we can”. In fact, my book is titled “Knowing that you can” [Saber que se puede, in Spanish]. Later I got hooked. But the fact of being known motivates you to show other people a path that could be very beneficial to them, and at the end you get addicted to it. ((es))Spanish language: ?No… Es que además, lo de política me suena a que… yo no tengo nada que ver con la política. No sé por qué la gente siempre… ¿Por qué? Porque me pasó lo que me pasó. Era una niña. Una persona que tiene 12 años no puede tener nada que ver con la política. ETA ya sabemos que ha atentado contra gente que no tenía que ver con la política. Mi madre era funcionaria de policía. El caso es que lo que quizás ha podido interferir es que el hecho de ser una persona conocida he tratado de intentar que otras personas… A ver, yo empecé por ejemplo a hacer deporte para que otras personas supieran que se podía hacer deporte. Así que sí que es verdad que el hecho de ser conocida me ha impulsado a hacer más cosas de las que hubiese hecho seguramente. Porque yo quería mostrar a la gente que se podía esquiar. Y acabé enganchándome yo. Lo hice simplemente por un reportaje. “Venga venga, un reportaje y que la gente sepa que se puede”. De hecho mi libro se llama Saber que se puede. Luego me enganché. Pero el hecho de ser relevante o conocida te impulsa a mostrar a otras personas un camino que puede ser muy beneficioso para ellos, y al final acabas tú enganchada.

((WN)) : When all is said and done, what do you kind of want your legacy to be? Do you want to be known as Irene Villa, disability sport advocate figure? Do you want to be known like Jon Santacana, or do you want to be known as somebody who has pushed the boundaries in other areas? ((es))Spanish language: ?Al final del día, ¿qué clase de herencia desea dejar? ¿Ser conocida como Irene Villa, deportista y defensora del deporte discapacitado? ¿Ser conocida como Jon Santacana, o como alguien que ha forzado los límites en otras áreas?

Irene Villa: As something more. I’d like my testimony to go beyond sport, which is what I try to do around the world, besides telling people you can do it. It’s about the capacity of a person to make herself, to be happy, to overcome resentment, to love herself, and to love others. I think that is the most important thing. And that’s the basis. I think sport is something that completes your life, mentally and physically. It’s very important. But my message is forgiveness, happiness and hope. ((es))Spanish language: ?Algo más. A mi me gustaría, que es lo que hago por todo el mundo, aparte de decir a la gente que se puede, que mi testimonio vaya más allá del deporte. Es la capacidad de una persona de hacerse a sí misma, de ser feliz, de superar el rencor, de amarse, y de amar a los demás. Yo creo que eso es lo más importante. Y esa es la base. Creo que el deporte es algo que completa tu vida, te complementa mentalmente, físicamente. Es muy importante. Pero mi mensaje es perdón, alegría y esperanza.

((WN)) : Thank you very much! ((es))Spanish language: ?¡Muchísimas gracias!

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Surprise demolition of partially collapsed building in Buffalo, New York met with opposition">
Surprise demolition of partially collapsed building in Buffalo, New York met with opposition

June 20th, 2019 | Uncategorized |

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Buffalo, New York —Wikinews has learned that, in a surprising turn of events, the city of Buffalo located in New York, has ordered and begun an emergency demolition on a three story 19th century stable which partially collapsed on Wednesday June 11 causing at least five homes to be evacuated. Residents are not happy, and despite the short notice of the demolition, nearly 30 people showed up to protest it. Demolition was not supposed to begin until Monday June 16.

At about 2:30 p.m. (eastern time) on June 13, demolition crew arrived at the stable located at 428 Jersey Avenue and began to unload heavy equipment which will be used to demolish the building. This came as a surprise to residents, as demolition was not supposed to start until Monday June 16.

During the early afternoon hours on June 11, the Buffalo Fire Department was called to scene after residents called 9-1-1 stating that part of the building had collapsed. Material from the building fell into the yards of at least three neighboring houses. Some of the bricks landed inside the building, while some fell into the yards of some houses behind homes on Richmond Avenue, leaving a ‘V’ shape.

At about 3:30 p.m. crews began to demolish a small portion of the stable located behind Joe Murray’s home, a resident who lives behind a portion of the building on Jersey and Richmond avenues. While demolition was taking place, the section collapsed into Murray’s backyard, prompting a call to police. Some residents who own home surrounding the building were inside Murray’s house holding a neighborhood meeting when demolition began. No one was injured when the section collapsed.

“[The building] can come down any minute,” stated Donna Berry of the Buffalo Police Department who also added that when police arrived on scene, they immediately put a stop to demolition, fearing the safety of surrounding residents and pedestrians.

“So many [of the] people [living around the building] are at risk, it makes me want to cry,” added Berry.

Police, local politicians and area residents are concerned that demolition crews and the city are not taking the proper precautions to ensure the safety of residents during demolition.

“[There is] no protection for neighbors. [This is] appalling and beyond negligence,” stated Tim Tielman, Executive Director of the Campaign for Buffalo who was referring to the negligence of the demolition crew.

“[In order to stop demolition] citizens must demonstrate direct harm to themselves,” added Tielman.

The city’s preservation board held an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss the issue. Wikinews has learned that the owner of the building, Bob Freudenheim, gave the city permission to demolish the building because he would not be “rehabilitating the building anytime soon.” Freudenheim was part-owner of the Hotel Lenox at 140 North Street in Buffalo and was also an advocate to stop the Elmwood Village Hotel from being built on the corners of Forest and Elmwood Avenues in 2006 and 2007, which Wikinews extensively covered. He also financially supported a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the hotel from being built. Though it is not known exactly how long Freudenheim has owned the stable, Wikinews has learned that he was the owner while fighting to stop the hotel from being built.

Tielman states that he was in contact with Freudenheim this morning. Tielman states that Freudenheim “is not spending a dime” to have the building renovated. Tielman states that Freudenheim has offered to sell the building to any interested party for only one US dollar, but that he “flip flops [his decision] constantly,” sometimes wanting hundreds of thousands of dollars for the building. Wikinews has attempted to contact Freudenheim, but so far has been unsuccessful.

City building inspectors were also on scene evaluating the building and ensuring the safety of residents. Donald Grezebielucina states that “some people are on notice to vacate their properties”, but also stated that no other precautions were being taken other than placing “tires and scaffolding” onto the side of 430 Jersey, which sits less than eight feet from the buildings East side.

“The gas has been shut off in case we lost the building, so there would be no explosions or anything like that. It’s so unstable, the structural integrity is gone. The chemical composite of the trusses has changed dramatically and dry rotted. There are three vehicles in the basement which totally disappeared,” stated Grezebielucina to the press while protesters yelled “save our building, save our neighborhood.”

Wikinews has also learned that local residents have consulted a lawyer regarding the issue, and hope to petition the New York State Supreme court to issue an injunction to stop demolition. They states that Freudenheim should be “100% responsible” for his actions, and many are afraid that once the building is demolished, Freudenheim’s charges of neglect will be abolished. Freudenheim is facing housing violations for neglecting the building. Though residents are fighting, Tielman states that “an injunction is unlikely.”

“We had a letter of violation against him. He was supposed to have started work to stabilize the brick this Monday. We all hope this building could be saved. But we’ve got five houses evacuated and we cannot tolerate any further delay. We’ve got to get people back into their homes in a safe condition,” said Richard Tobe, Commissioner of the city’s Permit and Inspection Services.

Demolition is set to resume at 8:00 a.m.in the morning of Saturday June 14.

Mike Lombardo, the Commissioner for the Buffalo Fire Department, believes that the building was built in 1812 or 1814, making it nearly 200 years old. It is one of only three stables still standing in the city.

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A Look Into The Various Types Of Wall Hangings

June 12th, 2019 | Crafts |

A Look Into The Various Types Of Wall Hangings

by

Charli Jhonson

Wall hangings have been around since ancient times and have been a part of arts and crafts culture since at least the Middle Ages. Among the most popular original wall hangings in the world are the Bayeux tapestries, which contain a series of scenes portraying the events of England’s infamous battle with Norman invaders, called the Battle of Hastings; and the Acts of the Apostles tapestries that Raphael worked with in the sixteenth century, which brought tapestry weaving to a new level of intricacy, color, and attention to detail.

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Back during the Medieval and Renaissance eras, only high members of society were able to afford wall hangings. This was largely due to the fact that tapestries were hand woven at the time, and dyes were extracted from natural sources such as wood and fruit, meaning materials were scarce. This changed shortly after the introduction of the Jacquard loom, which sparked the implementation of weaving factories all across the European continent. While tapestries were still somewhat expensive, mass production allowed for more Europeans to own one. The fact that they were once so hard to come by contributes to their popularity today. Back then, wall hangings were generally large in size, especially those used in castles as they also insulated the walls. Most designs at the time were religious, mythological, or murals honouring the royalty for whom they are made and were often laced with fine silks, gold, and silver threads. Today, wall hangings literally come in all shapes and sizes and are made mainly with cotton and wool fibres. The range of designs is rather limitless, especially with the ability to easily import wall hangings from around the world. Considering the history behind wall hangings, it’s no wonder the range of themes is unending and ever expanding. No matter what your taste in art, you will find something you like in the form of a wall hanging as almost any and every type of image has or can be woven into a tapestry. Among the most popular kinds of wall hangings are reproductions of original tapestries and paintings from between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. If you prefer more modern art, you can purchase a wall hanging of a cityscape or even an abstract piece. Advanced computer technology even allows for most photographs to be made into an original wall hanging, transforming an average picture into a timeless piece of art. Silk screens are also now used in modern tapestry weaving, making it possible to add character to wall hangings such as antiquing. Wall hangings are the perfect addition to any wall, whether it’s in your living room, above the fire place, in the hallway, or right in the front foyer of your home. Choose a classic European design, a colourful Asian style, a fine Belgian piece, or use your personal photograph collection to create your very own work of wall art; either way, wall hangings have an uncontrollable tendency to be the most elegant and discussed item in any home.

Looking for the perfect

wall art

for your home? saveontapestries.com has the widest selection of tapestry

wall hangings

from leading manufacturers all across the globe.

Article Source:

ArticleRich.com

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Category:Sports">
Category:Sports

June 12th, 2019 | Uncategorized |

This is the category for sports.

Refresh this list to see the latest articles.

  • 6 November 2018: Ross Edgley swims around Great Britain for first time in history
  • 9 August 2018: Real Madrid agrees with Chelsea FC to sign goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois
  • 8 August 2018: Football: Manchester City beats Chelsea 2-0 to win English Community Shield
  • 6 August 2018: Brazilian footballer Gabriel Jesus signs contract extension with Manchester City
  • 6 August 2018: Spanish football: Sevilla signs Aleix Vidal from FC Barcelona
  • 5 August 2018: FC Barcelona signs Chilean footballer Arturo Vidal from Bayern
  • 4 August 2018: French footballer Lucas Digne joins Everton FC on five-year contract
  • 25 July 2018: German footballer Mesut Özil announces retirement from international football over ‘racism’
  • 16 July 2018: France beats Croatia 4-2 to win 2018 FIFA World Cup
  • 16 July 2018: FIFA World Cup 2018: Belgium beats England 2-0 to claim third place finish
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Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Green candidate Martin Hyde, Ottawa West-Nepean">
Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Green candidate Martin Hyde, Ottawa West-Nepean

June 8th, 2019 | Uncategorized |

Monday, September 24, 2007

Martin Hyde is running for the Green Party of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the Ottawa West-Nepean riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

Note that he did not answer the question “Of the decisions made by Ontario’s 38th Legislative Assembly, which was the most beneficial to your electoral district? To the province as a whole? Which was least beneficial, or even harmful, to this riding? To the province as a whole?”

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

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