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Berlin blames Moscow for Aleppo humanitarian crisis

A spokesman for the German government has criticized Russia's offer of three-hour daily ceasefires in the Syrian city. But Moscow insists longer breaks will only help "terrorists" in the city. The German government on Monday urgently called on Russia and the Syrian government to facilitate humanitarian access to the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Berlin wanted Russia to exert its "great influence on the Syrian president" to enable food, water and medical aid to get through to the people in the northern city, which has been under siege by Russian military and Syrian government forces. He said it depended primarily on Moscow and the Syrian regime "whether the dying continued in Aleppo," and spoke of a letter to Merkel by 30 doctors who had remained in the city, in which they had appealed to her for urgent help. Seibert also criticized Moscow's offer last week of a daily three-hour ceasefire, saying that this did not provide enough time for the necessary aid to be transported into the city. He said the Russian promise was "meant to sound like a concession, but is actually cynicism, since everyone knows that this time is nowhere near enough to really restore supplies to desperate people." 'Catastrophic situation' Seibert's comments were echoed by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Russia. "The humanitarian situation in Aleppo is catastrophic. This cannot and must not continue. Three hours a day is not enough," Steinmeier said in Yekaterinburg, where the meeting took place. He called instead for a complete ceasefire. Lavrov, while admitting that three hours was "insufficient," defended the Russian offer, saying that longer ceasefires would give terrorists time to regroup and replenish supplies. "A result of the pause has been a slight improvement of the humanitarian situation," he said in comments carried by Russian state news agency TASS. "But the main result has been terrorists replenishing their numbers by 7,000 people, not to mention a large quantity of guns and munitions," he added, saying it would be necessary "to resolve issues in the fight against the terrorists" before prolonging the ceasefires. Russia, which has sent troops to help its longtime ally President Bashar al-Assad amid Syria's more than five-year-long civil war, last week announced three-hour humanitarian pauses over three days in Aleppo - a measure immediately slammed by the United Nations as inadequate. Syrian government forces last month captured the last rebel supply route to the city. The UN warned at the time that food supplies would last only until mid-August.

A spokesman for the German government has criticized Russia’s offer of three-hour daily ceasefires in the Syrian city. But Moscow insists longer breaks will only help “terrorists” in the city. The German government on Monday urgently called on Russia and the Syrian government to facilitate humanitarian access to the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Berlin ... Read More »

Would a Trump America walk away from NATO?

The US has long warned its European partners it was losing patience with paying the majority of NATO's bills. The nomination of Donald Trump has made the threats of a US withdrawal from NATO seem real and present. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has made US dissatisfaction with NATO's resource and funding gap a major campaign issue for the first time, coupling stark reprimands against European allies who don't devote the NATO-prescribed minimum 2 percent of GDP to military spending with blunt threats to walk away from mutual defense responsibilities enshrined in Article V of the NATO treaty. Trump says "NATO is obsolete and extremely expensive to the US, disproportionately so, and we should readjust NATO." He pledges if he becomes president, US participation in an Article V operation would depend on whether the ally under attack had "fulfilled their obligations" to the US. It's unclear whether Trump believes other NATO countries owe money directly to the US for military reassurance, as he also said recently that European allies "don't pay us what they should be paying" and that he "want[s] them to pay." Former US ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker, a prominent Republican voice on foreign policy, agrees the gap between American and European defense spending is a neuralgic problem that needs to be addressed. "The question is," Volker says, "what do you do about it? And to threaten to blow up NATO might be a negotiating tactic that somebody might want to try out, but I don't think it's a good idea to threaten that, because you're sending the wrong signal to people like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, who have invaded their neighbors, who have threatened NATO countries, who buzzed our warships. They've threatened to attack Denmark with nuclear weapons." While Volker notes "there are a lot of institutional checks and balances that will kick in if [Trump] actually does get elected president, you don't really know" how much of the campaign bluster he would try to carry through to policy. 'Trump makes no sense' Even Republican party stalwarts have found Trump's views so disturbing they are deserting him to publicly endorse his opponent Hillary Clinton. Among them is Reuel Marc Gerecht, a prominent neo-conservative commentator and former CIA officer, who's written an open letter raising alarm about Trump's foreign-policy positions. Gerecht shakes his head in disappointment at where he - and the GOP - find themselves today. "If you'd asked me 18 months ago whether I could envision voting for Clinton, the answer would have been no, I could not." But he's openly supporting her now and concluding his own party has imploded. "Mr. Trump makes no sense," Gerecht says, and while he disagrees with many Clinton positions, he feels she is at least "within the realm of normal." As for whether Trump really would or could pull the US out of NATO, Gerecht speculates a Trump presidency might mean there won't even be a NATO to quit. "Any president has within his powers as commander-in-chief to effectively gut NATO," he says. "And certainly by simple statements that he's already made, if he were to make them again after becoming president, that he would not honor Article V, then NATO is de facto defunct." Constanze Stelzenmüller, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution and frequent commentator on her native Germany, says even if Trump doesn't win and cut off US support for NATO, damage has been done. "The reality is that in politics, just talking about this kind of thing, as a candidate who isn't even elected yet, already has an impact on people's expectations and on the relationship in the 'now' as opposed to in November or in January," she says. "It is damaging the transatlantic relationship which is based on trust and the assumption that we have a broad commonality of interests and values now because Europeans understand that Trump is not a singular phenomenon, he is a symptom of a broader mood." That mood sees Americans turning away not just from NATO but from other international involvement as well. Erik Brattberg, a Swedish senior fellow with the McCain Institute on International Leadership, believes the transatlantic free-trade deal known as TTIP, already struggling under a supportive President Obama, would face certain doom under Trump. But Brattberg says there would be bigger things to worry about in that case, such as "what does the West actually stand for anymore?" Brattberg says it's no longer clear whether the US worldview is "liberalism, openness and globalization" or "nationalism, protectionism and religion." "These are fundamental questions that I think both American and European citizens are going to face," he says. "And the elections, both here and other elections coming up in Europe, are going to be pivotal for how we respond to them." Islamophobia mainstreamed Growing Islamophobia around the world, fueled by Islamist-inspired attacks particularly in Europe, is one of those challenges that will consume increasing time in European political campaigns as it has in the American one. Shahed Amanullah, a former advisor to the US State Department on Muslim outreach, is a co-founder of Affinis Labs, which helps launch Muslim-founded startups around the world. Amanullah worries that the popularity of Trump's views - for example, his pledge to ban Muslims from coming to America - is "normalizing" what he calls "structural Islamophobia" that he says has previously been more accepted in Europe, but not in the US. That's "empowering those people in Europe who are now feeling that because America is starting to adopt some of this that they're now validated," Amanullah says. "We all need to band together to help fix some of these problems that are a forest fire raging around the world and not put gas on it," Amanullah adds. "I think Trump doesn't realize that he will be putting gas on a fire that's going to make things worse for conflict in the Middle East. It's going to make things worse for integration in Europe. It's going to make things worse in terms of racial and ethnic tensions at home. I think the rest of us see it. I don't think he does." Trump cabinet? But a growing number of Republicans are declaring themselves unwilling to be part of a Trump government. Former Ambassador Volker says he and his counterparts with deep experience look at each other and say "I don't want to [serve in a Trump administration], but I want YOU to do it" - he chuckles - "because we want sane people, good people who know policy, who know what they're doing." It's unclear who might be left to ask. Last week, 50 more former officials went public with their opposition to Trump. In an open letter described as "unprecedented" for its big names and fervent views, a list of prominent Republicans who "served in senior national security and/or foreign policy positions in Republican Administrations from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush" laid out the reasons to stop Trump. The letter states the candidate "has little understanding of America's vital national interests, its complex diplomatic challenges, its indispensable alliances, and the democratic values on which US foreign policy must be based. At the same time, he persistently compliments our adversaries and threatens our allies and friends. Unlike previous presidents who had limited experience in foreign affairs, Mr. Trump has shown no interest in educating himself." Trump would be, they warn, the "most reckless president in American history." The Trump campaign responded to the letter by thanking the group for "coming forward so everyone in this country knows who deserves the blame for making the world such a dangerous place."

The US has long warned its European partners it was losing patience with paying the majority of NATO’s bills. The nomination of Donald Trump has made the threats of a US withdrawal from NATO seem real and present. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has made US dissatisfaction with NATO’s resource and funding gap a major campaign issue for the first ... Read More »

WWII anniversary – Japanese PM vows to safeguard peace

With geopolitical tensions running high in the Asia-Pacific region, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes a controversial ritual offering to Tokyo's equally contentious Yasukuni Shrine. Julian Ryall reports. Against a backdrop of growing geopolitical tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, the Japanese prime minister and Emperor Akihito on Monday marked the 71st anniversary of the nation's surrender at the end of World War II with renewed commitments to peace. Speaking at a commemorative event at the Nippon Budokan Hall in central Tokyo attended by some 5,000 relatives of Japan's war dead, Prime Minister Abe vowed that the nation would never again repeat the horrors of war. "We will contribute to world peace and prosperity by humbly facing history," Abe said, adding that he intends to "open a way to the future that is full of hope." The prime minister avoided mentioning Japan's invasions and brutal occupations of large parts of mainland Asia and Pacific nations in the early decades of the last century, however, with China quick to seize on the perceived slight. Abe "shied away from mentioning Japan's wartime aggression or the suffering Japan inflicted upon other countries before and during World War II," China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported. No mention of 'reflection' "This is the fourth consecutive year for Abe to fail to mention 'reflection' at the annual memorial service," Xinhua commented. "It raised increasing concerns over Japan's possible shifting away from a pacifist stance, with the newly enacted security laws allowing Japan's self-defense forces to fight wars abroad and Abe attempting to revise Japan's pacifist constitution." An aide to the prime minister also visited nearby Yasukuni Shrine earlier in the day to make a ritual offering on Abe's behalf, while a number of members of his cabinet - including Olympics Minister Tamayo Marukawa and Internal Affairs Minister Sanae Takaichi - visited the controversial shrine to pay their respects to the nation's war dead. Yasukuni is considered the last resting place of more than 2.46 million Japanese who died during the nation's wars since the mid-1800s. Controversy surrounds the fact that more than 1,000 of that total were convicted of war crimes during World War II and 14 were condemned to death by the Allies as Class-A war criminals, guilty of "crimes against peace." A minute's silence Abe and the emperor spoke shortly before the traditional minute's silence at midday, the moment when Emperor Hirohito, the current emperor's father, addressed the Japanese people over the radio in 1945 to urge them to "endure the unendurable" and to inform them that Japan was surrendering. At Yasukuni, thousands of people paying their respects stopped and bowed as the emperor's words were relayed over loudspeakers. A bugle sounded at the end of his speech. Inevitably, there were fewer veterans attending this year's event, with only a small number of old soldiers queuing up to bow and clap their hands together in prayer in front of the shinto shrine's "haiden," or hall of worship. Instead, there seemed to be more right-wing groups, most affecting a quasi-uniform of overalls bearing militaristic insignia, rising sun badges and long boots. Others were wearing the wartime uniforms of officers, regular soldiers, sailors and airmen. Offerings of beer, water and flowers have been left in front of the life-size statue of a pilot that is dedicated to the men of the kamikaze squadrons, while origami folded paper cranes have been left before the statue for the widows and children of the dead servicemen. Growing nationalism Toru Kawamoto, a 57-year-old engineer from Osaka, was standing with a knot of 30-something men wearing the uniforms of infantrymen of the 1930s Imperial Japanese Army, although the bayonets and rifles are dummies. Instead of wearing a Japanese uniform, however, Kawamoto is wearing the field grey of the German army in World War II, including a badge with a silver eagle holding a swastika emblem above his chest pocket. He says he knows it is illegal to display the swastika in Germany, but that it is not banned in Japan. "I am here to remember our comrades, our wartime allies in Germany," Kawamoto told DW. Kawamoto says he feels Prime Minister Abe should defy international pressure to pay his respects at Yasukuni each year. "I know it is difficult for him because of the intimidation from China and South Korea but I believe - and everyone here believes - that the prime minister should be here on August 15 each year," he said.

With geopolitical tensions running high in the Asia-Pacific region, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes a controversial ritual offering to Tokyo’s equally contentious Yasukuni Shrine. Julian Ryall reports. Against a backdrop of growing geopolitical tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, the Japanese prime minister and Emperor Akihito on Monday marked the 71st anniversary of the nation’s surrender at the end of ... Read More »

Pakistan’s Edhi: A ‘failed state’ and a ‘messiah’

جہاں پاکستان کی ریاست اور حکومتیں عوام کی جانب اپنی ذمے داریاں پوری کرنے میں ناکام ہوئیں، وہاں فلاحی کارکن عبدالستار ایدھی نے چھ دہائیوں تک لوگوں کی خدمت کر کے اس خلا کو پُر کیا۔ ڈی ڈبلیو کی کشور مصطفیٰ کا تبصرہ۔ پاکستان ایک ایسا ملک ہے جہاں شہری اور عسکری بیوروکریسی انتہائی وسیع ہے۔ ملک میں بے شمار سرکاری شعبے ہیں، وزارتیں ہیں اور لاتعداد وزیر بھی ہیں۔ پاکستان کے سن انیس سو سینتالیس میں انگریز حکم رانوں سے آزادی کے باوجود اب تک ریاست اپنے شہریوں کو بنیادی سہولیات فراہم کرنے سے قاصر رہی ہے۔ 'پاکستان کے مدر ٹیریسا‘ کہلائے جانے والے عبدالستار ایدھی نہ سیاست دان تھے اور نہ ہی امیر بزنس مین، مگر عوامی فلاح و بہبود کے لیے ان کی لگن اور ان تھک محنت نے پاکستان کے غریب افراد کو وہ کچھ دیا جو ریاست نہ دے سکی۔ جب ایدھی کو یہ اندازہ ہوا کہ ریاست اپنی ذمے داریاں پوری نہیں کر رہی تو انہوں نے اپنے طور پر عوام کی فلاح کا بیڑا اٹھا لیا اور ایدھی فاؤنڈیشن کو قائم کیا۔ ابتدا میں یہ صرف لوگوں کو عارضی مدد فراہم کرنے والا ادارہ تھا، تاہم جب پاکستان میں انیس سو اسی اور انیسی سو نوے کی دہائیوں میں سکیورٹی کی حالت ابتر ہوتی گئی تو ایدھی نے اپنے مشن کو وسیع کرتے ہوئے دہشت گردی کا نشانہ بننے والے افراد کی بھی مدد کرنا شروع کی۔ ایدھی ایک بہت مشکل کام حکومت کی کسی بھی مدد کے بغیر کر رہے تھے۔ اور انہوں نے یہ کام اس قدر عاجزی اور سنجیدگی کے ساتھ کیا کہ پاکستان کے عوام نے اس کی مثال اس سے پہلے کبھی نہیں دیکھی تھی۔ انہوں نے اپنی زندگی سادگی سے گزاری اور اپنی زندگی میں ہی ان کو ایک ’درویش‘ کا درجہ حاصل ہو گیا۔ آج ایدھی فاؤنڈیشن کے پاس جنوبی ایشیا میں ایمبولینسوں کا سب سے بڑا نیٹ ورک ہے۔ وہ ’عوامی باورچی خانے‘ بھی چلاتی ہے جہاں سے ہر روز ہزاروں بھوکے افراد کو کھانا ملتا ہے۔ ایدھی کا فلاحی ادارہ ’دارالاطفال‘ بھی چلاتا ہے، جہاں وہ بچے لائے جاتے ہیں جن کا کوئی کفیل نہیں ہوتا۔ اسی طرح ایدھی فاؤنڈیشن گھریلو تشدد کا شکار خواتین کے لیے درالامان بھی چلاتی ہے۔ عبدالستار ایدھی کی زندگی، ان کی جدوجہد اور ان کا فلسفہء حیات ان لوگوں کو متاثر کرتا رہے گا جو انسانیت کی خدمت کرنا چاہتے ہیں۔ ان کی وراثت ثابت کرتی ہے کہ انسانیت کسی بھی قومی، لسانی اور مذہبی وابستگی سے بالاتر ہے۔ لاکھوں کی تعداد میں غریب افراد ایدھی صاحب کے بنائے ان اداروں سے مستفید ہوتے رہیں گے۔ اس عظیم فلاحی کارکن کو نو جولائی کو پاکستانی ریاست کی جانب سے پورے اعزازات کے ساتھ دفنا دیا گیا۔ فوجی اور سویلین قیادت نے ایدھی کی سماج کے لیے خدمات پر انہیں سیلوٹ بھی پیش کیا۔ تاہم ایدھی کو کسی ریاستی اعزاز کی ضرورت نہیں تھی۔ ان کی جدوجہد اس بات کو ظاہر کرتی تھی کہ ریاستی رہنما اپنی ذمے داری پوری نہیں کر رہے تھے۔ جو محبت اور عزت انہیں پاکستان کے عوام سے ملی وہی ان کے لیے سب سے بڑا اعزاز تھا۔

As the Pakistani state failed to fulfill its responsibilities towards its people, the philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi filled the vacuum and helped the destitute for over six decades. What legacy does he leave behind? Pakistan is a country with a huge civilian and military bureaucracy, many state departments and ministries and countless ministers. Yet, the state has failed to deliver ... Read More »

Human Rights Watch urges Yemen rebels to allow aid to besieged city

Human Rights Watch has accused Yemen's Houthi rebels of preventing vital aid from entering the besieged western city of Taiz. The watchdog said it was a "serious violation of international humanitarian law." In a statement released on Sunday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the Iranian-backed insurgents to allow access into Yemen's third-largest city and "immediately end the unlawful confiscation of goods intended for the civilian population and permit full access by aid agencies." The organization claimed that rebel guards at checkpoints have confiscated water, food, cooking gas and medical supplies that residents have tried to carry into besieged areas since September. "Seizing property from civilians is alreaady unlawful, but taking their food and medical supplies is simply cruel," said HRW Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Joe Stork. International relief agencies are also facing difficulties bringing in food and medicine to the city. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it was able to deliver essential medical supplies to hospitals in Taiz in early January, in the first such "significant" shipment in five months. According to UN figures, the population of Taiz has plummeted from around 600,000 to no more than 200,000 after many fled the fighting. More than 5,800 people have been killed in Yemen since March. Civilians made up about half of the deaths. Saudi-led airstrikes Yemen's conflict, which intensified last spring, has pitted the rebels and army units loyal to former President Ali Abdulla Saleh against forces of the internationally recognized government of current President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. Hadi's government is backed by a Saudi-led coalition, which has carried out air and ground operations in Yemen since March, in a bid to support local forces fight against the rebels and their allies. Fighting in Yemen has been exacerbated, however, by the presence of al Qaeda and "Islamic State" militants. The groups have carried out several deadly attacks and in attempted land grabs.

Human Rights Watch has accused Yemen’s Houthi rebels of preventing vital aid from entering the besieged western city of Taiz. The watchdog said it was a “serious violation of international humanitarian law.” In a statement released on Sunday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the Iranian-backed insurgents to allow access into Yemen’s third-largest city and “immediately end the unlawful confiscation of ... Read More »

Criminal refugees to be deported to third countries

Germany plans to allow the deportation of refugees convicted of crimes to third countries if they cannot be safely returned to their country of origin. It is unclear, however, how far-reaching the new rules might be. Germany's head of the Chancellery, Peter Altmaier, told the weekly mass-market newspaper "Bild am Sonntag" that the government was working on plans to allow for the deportation of criminal refugees to nations other than their countries of origin, if their home countries were deemed unsafe to return to. Altmaier, who is also in charge of coordinating Germany's refugee crisis response , said the government's plans would mostly affect migrants who came from countries ravished by war. He said convicted migrants would be sent to the country "from which they had originally entered the EU." "We are in negotiating with Turkey and with other countries and discussing ways for them to take back refugees from other countries," he told "Bild am Sonntag." He added that in the future even minor transgressions could lead to refugees being sent out of Germany. The new guidelines could potentially extend to people who might face persecution, torture and capital punishment in their countries of origin. German asylum laws currently do not permit the deportation of people to countries where they face such threats to their personal freedom and lives. Reducing migration Altmaier highlighted in the interview with the newspaper that 50,000 refugees had been deported from Germany since the beginning of 2015, with many of them originating from the Balkans. Deportations to Balkan nations are generally less legally taxing for German authorities as the countries have been declared safe countries of origin. Altmaier also told "Bild am Sonntag" that Germany's policy of sending migrants back to safe countries of origin would likely be extended to those arriving from Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco. "We will be sending unequivocal signals, as we did in the case of the Balkans, telling Algerians, Tunisians and Moroccans that it is not worth coming to Germany," Altmaier said. Altmaier further explained that German authorities had started to measure changes in migrant movements. He said the number of asylum-seekers arriving in Germany via Turkey had decreased significantly by 60 percent. However, the paper challenged Altmaier on that statistic, saying that the harsh conditions during winter would be the main reason for this, which the minister conceded could be regarded as part of the reason. Merkel to 'win elections again' Recent polls revealed that German Chancellor Angela Merkel's popularity had fallen to an all-time low , but Altmaier remained confident that the chancellor would successfully weather the refugee crisis. "We will deal with all the challenges posed by the refugee issue and remain the strongest party and win elections again," he said. Merkel, meanwhile, announced that she expected most refugees to understand their stay in Germany was temporary , underscoring that the majority of arrivals in Germany had fled violence from the self-declared "Islamic State" (IS) in Syria and Iraq. "We expect that you will return to your homes when peace returns to Syria and when IS is finally defeated in Iraq," she said at a party meeting in the federal state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Germany plans to allow the deportation of refugees convicted of crimes to third countries if they cannot be safely returned to their country of origin. It is unclear, however, how far-reaching the new rules might be. Germany’s head of the Chancellery, Peter Altmaier, told the weekly mass-market newspaper “Bild am Sonntag” that the government was working on plans to allow ... Read More »

Novak Djokovic beats Andy Murray to win Australian Open

سرب کھلاڑی نوواک جوکووچ نے آسٹریلین اوپن ٹینس ٹورنامنٹ کے فائنل میں برطانوی اسٹار اینڈی مرے کو شکست دے دی ہے۔ جوکووچ اپنے ٹائٹل کا دفاع کر رہے تھے۔ ٹینس کی عالمی درجہ بندی میں جوکووچ سرفہرست ہیں۔ نوواک جوکووچ نے اینڈی مرے کو چھ ایک، سات پانچ اور سات چھ سے شکست دی۔ ان دونوں کھلاڑیوں کے مابین یہ مقابلہ تقریباً تین گھنٹوں تک جاری رہا۔ اس طرح جوکووچ نے چھ مرتبہ یہ ٹورنامنٹ جیتنے کا آسٹریلوی کھلاڑی روئے ایمرسن کا ریکارڈ بھی برابر کر دیا ہے۔ روئے نے 1961ء سے 1967ء کے درمیان یہ کارنامہ انجام دیا تھا۔ اپنی فتح کے بعد جوکووچ نے مرے کو مخاطب کرتے ہوئے کہا ’’ اینڈی آج قسمت تم پر مہربان نہیں تھی۔ تم ایک بڑے کھلاڑی، اچھے دوست اور عظیم انسان ہو۔‘‘ عالمی نمبر ایک جوکووچ نے پہلی مرتبہ 2008ء میں یہ ٹائٹل حاصل کیا تھا۔ اس کے بعد وہ 2012ء میں اس ٹورنامنٹ کے فاتح قرار پائے اور پھر وہ 2011ء ،2013ء، 2015ء اور 2016ء میں آسٹریلین اوپن کے چیمپن بننے۔ یہ اس سرب کھلاڑی کا گیارہواں گرینڈ سلیم تھا اور اس طرح وہ ماضی کے عظیم ٹینس کھلاڑیوں روڈ لیوَر اور بیورن بورگ کی صف میں کھڑے ہو گئے ہیں۔ اس فہرست میں سوئس کھلاڑی راجر فیڈرر سب سے آگے ہیں۔ وہ ابھی تک سترہ مرتبہ گرینڈ سلیم جیت چکے ہیں۔ یہ پانچویں مرتبہ تھا جب اینڈی مرے نے آسٹریلین اوپن کے فائنل میں شکست کھائی ہے۔ تقریب تقسیم انعامات کے دوران جب مرے نے اپنی حاملہ اہلیہ کا شکریہ ادا کیا تو ان کی آنکھوں میں آنسو تھے۔ ’’ تمہارے تعاون کا شکریہ اور اب میرا اگلا پروگرام میرا گھر ہے۔‘‘۔ اینڈے مرے اگلے چند ہفتوں کے دوران باپ بننے والے ہیں۔ جوکووچ نے ابھی حال ہی میں قطری دارالحکومت دوہا میں اسپین کے رافائل نادال کو شکست دی تھی جبکہ وہ آسٹریلین اوپن کے فائنل میں سوئس کھلاڑی راجر فیڈر کو شکست دے کر پہنچے تھے۔ ٹینس کی دنیا میں ایک سال میں چار گرینڈ سلیم مقابلے ہوتے ہیں۔ ان میں آسٹریلین اوپن پہلا، اس کے بعد مئی جون میں فرانسیسی دارالحکومت پیرس کا فرنچ اوپن پھر جون جولائی میں برطانوی شہر لندن میں کھیلا جانے والا ومبلڈن اور پھر سال کا آخری گرینڈ سلیم یو ایس اوپن اگست ستمبر میں نیو یارک میں کھیلا جاتا ہے۔

Novak Djokovic continued his perfect streak in six Australian Open finals on Sunday. He beat Andy Murray 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 (3), handing the Scottish player his fifth defeat in championship deciders at Melbourne Park. Novak Djokovic on Sunday defended his Australian Open title, defeating the same man he beat last year, Andy Murray – only this time it was easier. ... Read More »

‘New chapter’ in Tehran’s EU relations, says Rouhani in Paris

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has said his trip to Europe signals a turning point in his country's relationship with the bloc. His visit comes soon after western countries lifted sanctions after the nuclear deal. "A new chapter has begun in Tehran's relations with the EU, including France," Iran's ISNA news agency quoted Rouhani as saying on his arrival in Paris on Wednesday. The president was also due to sign a deal with French carmaker Peugeot, which is planning to return to the Iranian market with its partner Citroen, French news agency AFP quoted a source as saying. The two would work with Iran's Khodro to produce 200,000 vehicles a year using parts manufactured in Iran and the first vehicles were to roll out in 2017, AFP said. Peugeot pulled out of Iran in 2012 after western sanctions were imposed on the country over its nuclear program. Rouhani arrived in Paris after a trip to Rome earlier this week. At a press conference in the Italian capital, Rouhani insisted his country was open to work with the US. "If American investors and the heads of the American economy want to come to Iran and invest in my country, there are no problems from our point of view," he said. The president signed 14 agreements worth billions of euros in areas such as energy, industrial machinery, shipbuilding and transportation with Italy. On Tuesday, Rouhani met Pope Francis and discussed the need for religious leaders to speak out against terrorism and extremism. Freedom of expression "doesn't mean offending that which is sacred to other people's faith," he said in an apparent reference to the French magazine "Charlie Hebdo." "All religions are to be respected, their books and the millions of people who follow the faith," Rouhani said, adding that insulting them "creates division and doesn't help anyone." The pope had issued similar statements last year in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, saying that if somebody were to insult something sacred to him, like his mother, then they could expect a slap from him.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has said his trip to Europe signals a turning point in his country’s relationship with the bloc. His visit comes soon after western countries lifted sanctions after the nuclear deal. “A new chapter has begun in Tehran’s relations with the EU, including France,” Iran’s ISNA news agency quoted Rouhani as saying on his arrival in Paris ... Read More »

Merkel, Cameron pledge progress on EU reform deal

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK PM David Cameron have agreed that "more work" is needed to strike a deal on governance and immigration in the European Union ahead of the UK's in/out referendum on EU membership. According to a statement from Cameron's office, the UK prime minister said he wanted to land a deal on four key reforms with his fellow EU leaders at next month's European Council summit. "On the UK renegotiation, they agreed that there had been progress since December's European Council and that there was genuine good will across the EU to address the British people's concerns in all four areas," said the statement. "Both concluded that there was more work to do ahead of the February European Council to find the right solutions." The two leaders, who spoke by phone on Monday, also said a strong external European border was vital to dealing with the ongoing migrant crisis. Cameron has promised British voters an in/out referendum on EU membership by the end of 2017. He's vowed to secure reform and campaign for the UK to remain in the 28-nation bloc. The vote could be held as early as June, amid realistic worries of a British exit, or Brexit. Previously, Germany has said the UK's exit from the EU would be a "disaster." Fair deal for the UK? Cameron has highlighted economic governance, competitiveness, immigration and sovereignty as key areas for reform in the EU. As Brussels moves towards a greater financial union, London wants to ensure that those countries remaining outside the eurozone are not disadvantaged. Cameron has also lobbied for tougher social security criteria for new migrants to the UK coming from within the EU, who would only receive welfare after four years. London is also against greater political union and seeks increased powers to block EU legislation, when required. Polls are giving mixed signals about voters' willingness to stay part of the EU. Last week, an ORB poll for "The Independent" newspaper found 52 percent believe Britain should remain in the EU. But similar surveys have shown a majority of voters desire a Brexit. EU leaders are due to hold the next European Council summit on February 18 and 19.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK PM David Cameron have agreed that “more work” is needed to strike a deal on governance and immigration in the European Union ahead of the UK’s in/out referendum on EU membership. According to a statement from Cameron’s office, the UK prime minister said he wanted to land a deal on four key reforms with ... Read More »

China releases jailed Swedish human rights activist

China has deported Peter Dahlin, a human rights activist who was seen giving a confession on Chinese state television last week. President Xi Jinping has recently made moves to crack down on foreign NGOs. The Swedish Foreign Ministry confirmed on Monday that Dahlin had been released. "I welcome the fact that Peter Dahlin can now be reunited with his family in Sweden. This is the result of close contacts between the Swedish Foreign Ministry and Chinese representatives," Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said in a statement. Dahlin, who was accused by Beijing of illegally training lawyers critical of the government, was immediately deported to his home country. The Swedish human rights activist, co-founder of a non-governmental organization called the Chinese Urgent Action Working Group, disappeared earlier this month while trying to leave China. NGO crackdown Last week, a dazed-looking Dahlin appeared on state broadcaster CCTV, where he apparently admitted to his alleged crimes. The episode was seen as yet another instance in which the Chinese government, led by Xi Jinping, has sought to crack down on dissent. The country is currently considering a new law that could tighten controls on foreign NGOs operating within China. Another Swedish national, the Chinese-born bookseller Gui Minhai, disappeared last year only to reappear on Chinese television in a similar incident. The Swedish government said it is working with Beijing to clarify the charges leveled against both men.

China has deported Peter Dahlin, a human rights activist who was seen giving a confession on Chinese state television last week. President Xi Jinping has recently made moves to crack down on foreign NGOs. The Swedish Foreign Ministry confirmed on Monday that Dahlin had been released. “I welcome the fact that Peter Dahlin can now be reunited with his family ... Read More »

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