Breaking News: 16 killed in shootout between Somali army, Police

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Fighting between Somali government troops and police killed 16 people in Somalia's capital on Monday, witnesses said, underscoring the weak U.N.-backed government's inability to control its armed forces.
The fighting began when police executed a plainclothes soldier they suspected of being an Islamist insurgent, police officer Ahmed Nur said. The soldier's colleagues arrived at the scene of the shooting in Benadir market and began attacking the police, he said.
An Associated Press reporter saw 16 bodies at Medina hospital in Mogadishu. Some of the victims were wearing uniforms. Three of the victims were women. Hospital director Mohamed Yusuf said 30 people were wounded.
Cleaners tried to mop up blood from the floor as women screamed outside the hospital. Hundreds of people gathered by the gates, seeking their wounded or dead.
"My husband was killed," wept Hasno Ali. "He was just a businessman."
The killings underscore the lack of discipline and command of Somalia's armed forces after 20 years of civil war. There have been several shoot-outs between police and soldiers in recent years and analysts say the Somali armed forces are more like a collection of militiamen than a well-trained, disciplined national force.
Desertion over lack of pay has been a major problem, impeding the government's ability to fight an al-Qaida linked Islamist insurgency.
Islamist suicide bombers have worn military uniforms before in some of its attacks — a common tactic in conflicts throughout the world — one reason why the police may have been overly suspicious.
Currently international donors led by Italy and the U.S. are supposed to pay around 8,000 Somali soldiers. An EU-led program is halfway through training 2,000 Somali government troops but trainers say one of the biggest problems they faced has been the lack of midlevel junior officers whose duty it is to impose discipline and ensure orders are carried out.

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World Shocked on Pakistan Nuclear Production

Pakistan's nuclear arsenal now totals more than 100 deployed weapons, a doubling of its stockpile over the past several years in one of the world's most unstable regions, according to estimates by nongovernment analysts.

The Pakistanis have significantly accelerated production of uranium and plutonium for bombs and developed new weapons to deliver them. After years of approximate weapons parity, experts said, Pakistan has now edged ahead of India, its nuclear-armed rival.

An escalation of the arms race in South Asia poses a dilemmafor the Obama administration, which has worked to improve its economic, political and defense ties with India while seeking to deepen its relationship with Pakistan as a crucial component of its Afghanistan war strategy.

In politically fragile Pakistan, the administration is caught between fears of proliferation or possible terrorist attempts to seize nuclear materials and Pakistani suspicions that the United States aims to control or limit its weapons program and favors India.

Those suspicions were on public display last week at the opening session of U.N. disarmament talks in Geneva, where Pakistani Ambassador Zamir Akram accused the United States and other major powers of "double standards and discrimination" for pushing a global treaty banning all future production of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium.

Adoption of what is known as the "fissile materials cutoff treaty," a key element of President Obama's worldwide nonproliferation agenda, requires international consensus. Pakistan has long been the lone holdout.

While Pakistan has produced more nuclear-armed weapons, India is believed to have larger existing stockpiles of such fissile material for future weapons. That long-term Indian advantage, Pakistan has charged, was further enhanced by a 2008 U.S.-India civil nuclear cooperation agreement. The administration has deflected Pakistan's demands for a similar deal.

Brig. Gen. Nazir Butt, defense attache at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, said the number of Pakistan's weapons and the status of its production facilities were confidential.
"Pakistan lives in a tough neighborhood and will never be oblivious to its security needs," Butt said. "As a nuclear power, we are very confident of our deterrent capabilities."

But the administration's determination to bring the fissile materials ban to completion this year may compel it to confront more directly the issue of proliferation in South Asia. As U.S. arms negotiator Rose Gottemoeller told Bloomberg News at the U.N. conference Thursday: "Patience is running out."

Other nuclear powers have their own interests in the region. China, which sees India as a major regional competitor, has major investments in Pakistan and a commitment to supply it with at least two nuclear-energy reactors.

Russia has increased its cooperation with India and told Pakistan last week that it was "disturbed" about its arms buildup.

"It's a risky path, particularly for a government under pressure," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, fresh from a visit to Islamabad, said in remarks at the Nixon Center on Thursday.

Wary of upsetting Pakistan's always-fragile political balance, the White House rarely mentions the country's arsenal in public except to voice confidence in its strong internal safeguards, with warheads kept separate from delivery vehicles. But the level of U.S. concern was reflected during last month's White House war review, when Pakistan's nuclear security was set as one of two long-term strategy objectives there, along with the defeat of al-Qaeda, according to a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

A publicly released summary of the classified review document made no reference to the nuclear issue, and the White House deflected questions on grounds that it was an intelligence matter. 

This week, a spokesman said the administration would not respond to inquiries about the size of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor referred to Obama's assurance at last spring's Nuclear Security Summit that he felt "confident about Pakistan's security around its nuclear weapons program." Vietor noted that Obama has encouraged "all nations" to support negotiations on the fissile cutoff treaty.

"The administration is always trying to keep people from talking about this knowledgeably," said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security and a leading analyst on the world's nuclear forces. "They're always trying to downplay" the numbers and insisting that "it's smaller than you think."

"It's hard to say how much the U.S. knows," said Hans M. Kristensen, director of the nuclear information project at the Federation of American Scientists and author of the annual global nuclear weapons inventory published in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. "Probably a fair amount. But it's a mixed bag - Pakistan is an ally, and they can't undercut it with a statement of concern in public."

Beyond intelligence on the ground, U.S. officials assess Pakistan's nuclear weapons program with the same tools used by the outside experts - satellite photos of nuclear-related installations, estimates of fissile-material production and weapons development, and publicly available statements and facts.

Four years ago, the Pakistani arsenal was estimated at 30 to 60 weapons.

"They have been expanding pretty rapidly," Albright said. Based on recently accelerated production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium, "they could have more than doubled in that period," with current estimates of up to 110 weapons.

Kristensen said it was "not unreasonable" to say that Pakistan has now produced at least 100 weapons. Shaun Gregory, director of the Pakistan Security Research Unit at Britain's University of Bradford, put the number at between 100 and 110.

Some Pakistani officials have intimated they have even more. But just as the United States has a vested interest in publicly playing down the total, Pakistan sees advantage in "playing up the number of weapons they've got," Gregory said. "They're at a disadvantage with India with conventional forces," in terms of both weaponry and personnel.

Only three nuclear countries - Pakistan, India and Israel - have never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty. India is estimated to have 60 to 100 weapons; numbers are even less precise for Israel's undeclared program, estimated at up to 200. North Korea, which has conducted nuclear tests and is believed to have produced enough fissile material for at least a half-dozen bombs, withdrew from the treaty in 2003.

Those figures make Pakistan the world's fifth-largest nuclear power, ahead of "legal" powers France and Britain. The vast bulk of nuclear stockpiles are held by the United States and Russia, followed by China.

While Pakistan has no declared nuclear doctrine, it sees its arsenal as a deterrent to an attack by the Indian forces that are heavily deployed near its border. India has vowed no first use of nuclear weapons, but it depends on its second-strike capability to deter the Pakistanis.

The United States imposed nuclear-related sanctions on Pakistan and India after both countries conducted weapons tests in 1998, but lifted them shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. With U.S. guidance and a $100 million assistance program, Pakistan moved to increase international confidence by overhauling its command and control structures.

Revelations in 2004 about an illegal international nuclear procurement network run by Pakistani nuclear official Abdul Qadeer Khan, which supplied nuclear materials to Libya, Iran and North Korea, led to further steps to improve security. 

The 2008 agreement that permits India to purchase nuclear fuel for civilian purposes was a spur to Pakistani weapons production, experts said. Pakistan maintains that the treaty allows India to divert more of its own resources for military use.

As Pakistan sees India becoming a great power, "nuclear weapons become a very attractive psychological equalizer," said George Perkovich, vice president for studies and a nonproliferation specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The 1998 test date is a quasi-holiday in Pakistan, and the test site was once declared a national monument, part of the nuclear chest-thumping that, along with political instability, makes U.S. officials as nervous as the actual number of weapons.

In December 2008, Peter Lavoie, the U.S. national intelligence officer for South Asia, told NATO officials that "despite pending economic catastrophe, Pakistan is producing nuclear weapons at a faster rate than any other country in the world," according to a classified State Department cable released late last year by the Internet site WikiLeaks.

Publication of the document so angered Pakistan's army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, that he told journalists there that the Pakistani people believe that the "real aim of U.S. [war] strategy is to denuclearize Pakistan," according to local media reports.

In 2009, Congress passed a $7.5 billion aid package for Pakistan with the stipulation that the administration provide regular assessments of whether any of the money "directly or indirectly aided the expansion of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program."

While continuing to produce weapons-grade uranium at two sites, Pakistan has sharply increased its production of plutonium, allowing it to make lighter warheads for more mobile delivery systems. Its newest missile, the Shaheen II, has a range of 1,500 miles and is about to go into operational deployment, Kristensen said. Pakistan also has developed nuclear-capable land- and air-launched cruise missiles.


Courtesy: The Washington Post

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Pakistani scholar completes double doctorates from France in Record Time

ISLAMABAD: Higher Education Commision (HEC) scholar Kashif Mehmood has made the nation proud by successfully completing two PhD degrees from France within a period of four years.

He is among those few fortunate researchers in the world who have secured double doctorates in two different disciplines (Business Administration and Computer Science) from two leading universities, says a press release issued here.

Dr. Kashif Mehmood completed following four postgraduate degree within the last five years.  

  • PhD in Computer Science
  • PhD in Business Administration
  • M.Phil in Business Administration
  • MS in Computer Science

He was awarded HEC scholarship under Overseas Scholarship Scheme for PhD in Selected Fields (Phase-1) in 2004.
Based on his education and experience, he secured admission in MS programme at the University Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC) that is ranked among the best universities in the world.

During his research internship, Dr. Kashif impressed his supervisor with his technical, analytical and managerial skills for which he was offered a PhD thesis in Computer Science.

After starting PhD in Computer Science, Dr. Kashif applied for an M.Phil (Business Administration) in a leading French business school, ESSEC Business School. Getting into ESSEC was a difficult task and securing full fees waiver (worth 10,000 Euros/Year) was almost impossible.

But Dr. Kashif secured an admission along with a full fees waiver for the first year (renewable each year). He completed his MPhil (Business Administration) within two years along with working on his Computer Science thesis. After MPhil, he was offered to continue towards PhD in Business Administration from ESSEC.

Dr. Kashif defended both of his PhDs in front of a jury consisting of eight senior and eminent professors/researchers. Dr. Kashif received exceptionally good reviews for his dissertation and was highly praised during his defense presentation.

He was offered a full-time tenure track position in a leading university in Canada that he turned down to return to Pakistan and serve his country.

Selfless intellectuals like Dr. Kashif Mehmood are a true inspiration to our youth and a pride to our nation.

Source: Dawn

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16 Year girl along with women of Pakistan summited 6,050 meters Mingligh Sar peak | Geo Pakistani Youth !

Eight young Shimshali girls added a new chapter in Pakistan’s  history of mountaineering when they summitted the 6,050 meters Mingligh Sar peak on January 3, traversing  1,750 meters on a windy day when winter temperatures dipped 38 degrees below zero. The peak straddles the Shimshal Pass bordering China.

Qudrat Ali and Shaheen Baig, two renowned climbers who led the ascent said that it was challenging for the girls, who trained at Shimshal Mountaineering School, to do the winter climb.

The eight women mountaineers who embarked on the first-ever winter expedition to the peak on December 29 were Dur Begum, 30, Farzana Faisal, 22, Tokht Bika, 23, Shakila Numa, 25, Mera Jabeen 21, Gohar Nigar 22, Hafiza Bano, 16, and Hamida Bibi, 18. They made it to the summit on January 3 along with instructors Qudrat Ali, Shaheen Baig, Wahab Ali Shah and Rehmatullah Baig. Their fellow Shimshali girl Samina Baig, in an earlier expedition on the same mountain, was unlucky in her attempt. The tough weather and lack of proper gear (down suit) forced her back just 150 meters short from the summit.

Hafiza Bano at 16 became the youngest Pakistani girl to climb Mingligh Sar in winter, Qudrat Ali said, who has also scaled four of the five 8000ers in Pakistan, except K2.

Among the students Farzana Faisal was the first girl who made it to the summit in 2006 during summer followed by Dur Begum in 2007, he said.

The summit push was made after a first acclimatisation night in clear weather but in 30km per hour winds. “None of the girls had altitude-related problems; we were concerned about Hafiza, who’s only 16, but she performed confidently,” Shaheen Baig said, who has climbed K2, the world’s second highest peak, Gasherbrum-II, Mustaghata in China, and nine 7000ers in the Karakorum and Himalaya ranges in Gilgit-Baltistan. He also attempted with Simone Moro on two winter expeditions on Broad Peak (BP) in 2007 and 2009 together with Qudrat Ali. In 1997, Qudrat Ali and Shaheen Baig scaled an unclimbed peak, Chashken Sar in winter expedition. In 2006, they organised the first local expedition to K2, to prove that the mountaineers from Gilgit-Baltistan are second to none.

Summit day was reportedly cold and quite technical. All climbers were in top shape; the push took off at 6:30am from base camp in good weather. It took four hours to high camp and only another 40 minutes from there to the summit. “The girls climbed in Alpine style and no ropes were fixed in spite of the icy surface,” Ali said.

The members climbed 1,750 meters altitude in one day which is a record of sorts for women in winter. According to Ali, GPS readings from the top showed the wind was flowing at a speed of 45 km/h and the temperatures at minus 38ÂșC.

The original plan for a double-header expedition including the 6030-meter high Vulyo Sar, was scrubbed for lack of porters. “Many refused to join the expedition due to heavy snowfall at the time of departure from Shimshal, which left the team with inadequate supplies,” Baig told this scribe. “Otherwise the climbers would have been ready and willing to storm up their second target also.”

Samina Baig forced back at 5,900 meters.

The Shimshal Mountaineering School has created the love for this sport among the youth of Shimshal, known as “valley of mountaineers”. Over a dozen mountaineers including Rajab Shah, Mehrban Shah, Subedar Yousuf Khan, Mohammedullah, Qurban Mohammed, Wahab Ali Shah, Sarwar Ali, Aziz Baig, and others have scaled most of the five highest peaks in Pakistan. The expedition was part of the training programme of the school.

Before heading for the expedition, the school organised three-day acclimatisation and training session in which they attempted the famous Ice Wall and the 4500 meters Shefkateen Sar peak.

Dur Begum who was the woman leader having climbed the peak earlier said that this first-ever women winter expedition would promote women mountaineering in the country.

“We wanted to set an example for the women of Pakistan that they can also adopt mountaineering as a sport like women in other parts of the world.
The women of Pakistan are not behind anyone else,
” said Farzana Faisal, deputy leader of the expedition.

About establishing the mountaineering school, Ali and Baig considered it imperative to provide basic training to the younger generation, particularly women, and provide them opportunities to enhance their potential in the field of mountaineering.

“Setting up a climbing school in such a remote area was not easy, but we worked hard and used our own resources to establish the school. Simone Moro donated the equipment and visited Shimshal to train the students on different climbing techniques,” Ali said.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

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Link Fixed: 17 Year Pakistani risked his life to save unknown children | Young Pakistan !

In September 2007, six-year-old Komal and her younger sister, three-year-old Kalsoom, fell into the fast-flowing river from a bridge that was suspended about 200 feet above the water.
The girls had happened to be on the narrow Konodas Bridge when two cars collided on the narrow passageway.
The drivers of the cars got out of their vehicles and started arguing with each other, and the two girls were somehow pushed over the bridge in the ensuing fray.
Abrar Ahmed Ghazi was only 17 years old on that fateful day, and immediately jumped into the river to save the two girls. He towed them to safety at great risk to his own life.
Recently Ghazi was awarded the Tamgah-e-Imtiaz by President Asif Ali Zardari as a reward for his act of bravery. Pakistan International Airlines also offered him a job.
“I only remember that someone pushed me and I fell from the bridge,” said Komal, who is now a sixth-grader at a private school in Gilgit.
“When I gained consciousness I was on a hospital bed,” she told The Express Tribune.
Originally hailing from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Kalsoom and Komal’s parents are settled in Gilgit. “If Ghazi hadn’t put his own life in danger, my daughters would not be alive today,” said the girls’ mother.
She said that she couldn’t find the words to thank Ghazi for rescuing her daughters.

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Question Mark on Middle East Future ! Climate Changing in Favor of Revolution ?

An Egyptian Army soldier greets protesters as he stands atop an armoured vehicle in Cairo, January 29, 2011. REUTERS/ Goran Tomasevic

Egyptian demonstrators demanding the resignation of President Mubarak carry the body of a dead protestor past army tanks.

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Syria Reported to be Shutting Internet Down After Revolt

With social wildfire that has gone from Tunis to Algeria to Libya and now into Egypt, other countries in the Middle East must be feeling a bit of pressure. To ensure that revolts don’t break out, Syria is reported to have shut down the Internet in their country as well as what Egypt did earlier today.
Syria is definitely a country that could promote a rebellion. It is one of the actual tyrants in the Middle East where people have no rights, a smart, young population and a general fear of the Internet.
Despite these reports, Reuters claims that Internet hasn’t been blocked at the ISP level. Instead, what Syria has done is tightened its Internet rules. They’ve banned programs like eBuddy and Nimbuzz which allow Facebook chat on mobile phones.
However, there are some people in the country who are still obviously talking to people still on Facebook.
This has some believing that Syria is beginning to cut the Internet, but hasn’t completed the job yet. In other words, they are beginning to remove programs from their servers and make it near impossible to use the Internet.
With so many countries revolting in the Arab world, it is anticipated that these countries will do things. However, how the people are going to respond to having even more of their rights restricted is unsure.
As David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer said to the New York Times, the Internet is “a fundamental right, and it’s very sad if it’s denied to citizens of Egypt or any country.”
He might just be right.
Another point to be noted is that if this revolt bring any change in climate on that region that can directly effect the situation of Gaza illegal siege or may result in end of Gaza, illegal siege - INSHALLAH !

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17 Year Old, Height 7.9'' Still Growing | Pakistani Youth Breaking Records !

BAHAWALPUR: Haq Nawaz, a 17-year-old boy from Bahawalpur, may be one of the tallest persons in Pakistan but his height is proving to be a problem for him.

At about seven feet nine inches tall and still growing taller, Nawaz, an orphan from a poor family, thinks of his height as a curse.

His bones are gradually becoming deformed due to a medical condition and he also cannot afford to buy food for his growing appetite.

The boy’s family and village representatives have appealed to the government for financial help, saying his name should be registered with the Guinness Book of World Records.

If government help him, he can be another Pakistani world record holder.

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