Tuesday, 31 August 2010




FRIDAY, AUGUST 27, 2010 AT 1:00 P.M. EDT

MODERATOR: Good afternoon and welcome to the Washington Foreign Press Center. We’re very pleased to have with us today USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah. He’s going to discuss his recent trip to Pakistan and provide us with an update on U.S. flood relief efforts and assistance in Pakistan.

ADMINISTRATOR SHAH: Thank you, and thank you for having me here. I’d like to start just by sharing with you the purpose of my trip. My recent trip to Pakistan was, in fact, to oversee the U.S. support for the flood response effort. And as you all know, and certainly getting a chance to be there and see the tragedy firsthand, the scale and the scope of this natural disaster is astronomical.

There are more than 20 million Pakistanis that are affected from the floods throughout the country. We estimate that more than 8-, perhaps more than 9 million people are in need of immediate support, whether food, clean drinking water, medicines, a safe place to stay, shelter for children and for families. And if you just pause to reflect on that size and scope in terms of the humanitarian needs and the fact that it is spread out over a landmass that is larger than the country of Italy, it gives you a sense of the some of the logistics and operational challenges that will be confronting – that are confronting and will continue to confront the overall relief effort.

In addition to the humanitarian consequences, which of course are tragic, the economic and social impact of this flood is going to be felt for a significant amount of time and also represents an area where there are urgent needs. Pakistan relies heavily on its agriculture to both feed itself and to provide employment to more than 60 percent of all Pakistanis. And the flood, based on the Indus River floodplain, which is the most productive part of Pakistani agriculture, has submerged 4.3 million acres of productive cropland, which represents 23 percent of the productive capacity of Pakistani agriculture.

Given the scale of this tragedy, the President of the United States and Secretary Clinton have instructed us to mount a strong and effective response in cooperation with the people of Pakistan, the Government of Pakistan, and the international humanitarian community. The U.S. Government has been at the forefront of that response from an international perspective. With the additional announced $50 million of flood relief support that I announced while in Pakistan, it brings our total commitment for the immediate relief and early recovery to $200 million. And it’s important to note that right now the expenditure of these resources is generating real results. We always wish we could do more, but we are noting that in terms of food distributions, we’re now reaching 1.9 million people with a 30-day ration of food and food commodities.

We know that access to clean drinking water, ironically, in a flood is often critically needed, and we now have water production units in Pakistan that have been provided by the United States that are providing clean drinking water to more than a quarter of a million people on a daily basis, with many more of these LMS units that each provides support for 20,000 people on the way.

We are, of course, concerned about waterborne illness. In floods, both as waters rise and as waters recede, the risk of waterborne illness goes up. And in an environment where not everybody had access to safe sanitation to begin with, this is of acute concern to the entire international community and to the Government of Pakistan. We’re proud of the fact that USAID has worked with Pakistan preceding the flood and for many years to create a disease early warning system. And that disease early warning system is today producing real results.

The few identified cases of cholera, for instance, were identified through this system and we were able to provide immediate mobile medical support to communities where we thought there was an acute risk of the spread of cholera. We’re also expanding our support for diarrheal treatment centers and, in fact, we’re seeing an increase in acute diarrhea amongst children. And so the risk of continued waterborne illness and its disproportionate challenge that children will face is something we’re acutely concerned about and expanding our efforts in relation to.

As part of this, we’re also expanding our work in hygiene, which now has reached more than a million Pakistanis with hygiene kits and hygiene information. These kits contain soap, towels, basic hygiene materials, but also, through SMS texting, radio messaging, and other forms of door-to-door or settlement-to-settlement messaging, we’re able to provide information to people about how to protect themselves from the risk of disease.

Our shelter efforts are now reaching more than 150,000 people. This is small compared to what is needed in aggregate, but it is important that we do more and get more effective every day.

And of particular importance, frankly, prior to this particular tragedy, USAID has worked with the Government of Pakistan to create a National Disaster Medical – Management Authority. This is the first natural disaster in which Pakistani leadership is actually setting the strategic direction and leading the operational response through the NDMA. And I was happy to spend time with General Nadeem, who has experience working to support the earthquake response in 2005 and the person who has set up the NDMA, together with USAID support, who is leading that effort.

My trip allowed me to visit specific areas that have been affected. We – General Nadeem and I traveled north through the Swat Valley to Kalam and saw the tragedy firsthand, as much of the infrastructure in that area, including bridge after bridge and the main arteries and main roads were destroyed through the floods.

It’s important to note that the U.S. support, the helicopter and evacuation support, has evacuated more than 6,000 individuals. In that northwest – in that northern Swat Valley area alone, the Pakistani military, under the direction of the NDMA, evacuated 16,000 Pakistanis and saved untold number of lives through that effort.

I also had the chance to visit Sukkur and to visit a settlement that had just been set up along with the WFP food distribution site and to talk with people who have suffered from tremendous losses. When you do that, you get a very personal sense of the scale and impact of the tragedy.

I met a man in the first site who – whose family had been – had lost their possessions and lost their farm and who is actually living by the roadside, and then he had lost one of his children in an accident with a vehicle that happened while he was on the roadside. I met with women who talked about losing everything they had and trying – giving everything they have to feed their children in an environment where more and more of their children were reporting tummy aches and diarrhea, and we all know that that has tremendous risks for child survival.

I had the chance to meet with General Nadeem, as I mentioned, of the NDMA, and observe his strong leadership, and also to spend time with Foreign Minister Qureshi and with President Zardari and Ambassador Haqqani to discuss their efforts on the relief, their planning for the transition from relief to recovery to reconstruction, and their thoughts on building accountability and transparency mechanisms into the large-scale reconstruction that we all know will be necessary.

And we also had the chance to talk about what the long-term needs will look like. We know that when the flood waters recede, some of the disaster needs assessments that are going to take place and have already begun in certain areas, in the north in particular, will have much more information about what’s needed to mount an effective reconstruction. We’ve noted that this will require significant resources and a significant partnership with the international community, and we’ve highlighted the need for transparency and accountability in how those resources are spent so that taxpayers around the world, including those in Pakistan, are both making commitments to this effort and knowing that those commitments are achieving real results for the Pakistani people.

And while it’s hard at this time of tragedy and when you see the scale of this disaster to fully internalize the concept that we can, in fact, build back a better and more resilient economy and society in areas that have been affected, it’s worth noting a particular example from the earthquake response that USAID conducted together with the people of Pakistan. This earthquake in 2005 ended up killing more than 79,000 Pakistanis and it was a tragedy of significant proportion at that time.

USAID worked for many years afterwards to mount a significant relief, recovery, and reconstruction effort. And in just one example, in education, we helped, together with Pakistan, build 56 schools back to a higher than usual earthquake and seismic standard that has currently provided an effective education of more than 20,000 Pakistani children, and has also actually helped set up local construction firms that can meet earthquake construction standards to build a more resilient and disaster-proof environment. So while it’s hard to imagine that those things are possible, it is possible to build back better, and that will be a big part of the focus for the ongoing recovery and reconstruction.

So with that, I’m happy to take questions and appreciate your being here. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Just a reminder that please wait for the microphone on either side of the hall. Dr. Shah has a limited amount of time, but we will start off, so please limit yourself to one question. And we’ll start right here with APP Pakistan.

QUESTION: Thank you for the opportunity. Ali Imram from Associated Press of Pakistan. You have talked about the humanitarian crisis and you visited camps and met with people. Can you tell us what is the spirit of people, the morale of people facing such a huge catastrophe and do they look forward to recovering? And what was their feel – response to U.S. assistance and that has been done so far?

ADMINISTRATOR SHAH: Yeah. Well, I have to tell you, I was just absolutely struck by how resilient people were. Even the gentleman who told me about losing his child also talked about wanting to get back to work, back into agriculture and farming. Of course, millions of Pakistani farmers have lost their seed stock, they’ve lost – their land may or may not be waterlogged for some time, it may or may not drain efficiently and effectively.

And my personal sense is people have been through unbelievable tragedy and loss, but they are far more resilient than most people realize and that they are eager to get back to work. They’re eager to have access to cash and to restart local economies. They’re eager to be part of the solution. And so even as we mount an aggressive and hopefully effective humanitarian effort, we have to do things like track local market prices of food commodities to make sure we’re not creating disincentives for farmers to produce.

We have to make sure, as we provide health services, we’re doing that in a way that allows a local health service sector to reemerge and take on those responsibilities of primary care and public health. And we have to get kids back into school. It’s just – it’s amazing to see and talk to these children, some of whom – because I saw them in settings where they were getting food and water, were noting that they were getting enough food and water, but clearly they need to be in school as soon as possible. So I would just observe that the resilience of the Pakistani people comes through in a really powerful way, even in a very tragic circumstance.

QUESTION: And your response to the U.S. assistance?

ADMINISTRATOR SHAH: Oh, I sensed an absolute gratefulness, and at the same time, people are suffering acutely. Even when you have people that you’re providing food and water, they are often ill, they need medicine, they’re often wondering when they will get back to getting their lives on track. And I think, rightly, their primary focus is on that. But I sense that they were certainly happy to be visited by a U.S. delegation and they certainly valued the immediate shelter, food, and water that was being provided that was helping them survive in a very, very difficult environment.

MODERATOR: Okay. We’ll go to the young lady here.

QUESTION: Sue Pleming from Reuters. Well, you mentioned accountability and transparency. Are you looking at setting up a special sort of mechanism for international funds to go into, much like the Palestinians have the temporary international mechanism, or the TIM, as it was finally called, something like that? And are you – how are you going to program the Kerry-Lugar funds? Did you get any further in working on that?

And then I – sorry, I just have one little thing. You visited a camp which was apparently run by – or extremist charities – I’ll call them extremist or charities – or links to extremists had donated some food. Were you aware of that, and what were the circumstances of that? Because there were some conflicting reports on that.

ADMINISTRATOR SHAH: Sure. Let me address all three. Remind me the first one.

QUESTION: The first one was: Are you looking at having some kind of special mechanism so that there’s transparency?

ADMINISTRATOR SHAH: Oh, the mechanism, yeah. So, that’s a great question and thank you for asking that. As you look around the world, and we obviously have a huge amount of experience, from Haiti to Indonesia to the Palestinian Authority to any number of other situations, there are many different models for creating a mechanism that allows for improved transparency and accountability and country ownership in the process of reconstruction and funds management in reconstruction. I think it’s important to always connect those two.

It’s easy for the international community to focus on accountability and transparency. Just as important, these mechanisms should be a vehicle that allow countries to say this is our plan for reconstruction and building back, and we’re going to insist that partners work in a cooperative way to do that, in a way that’s transparent and in partnership.

This was very much the subject of my conversations with government leadership, and they all indicated a strong willingness to put in place the right type of structure and mechanism. So I expect we will hear more about that in the future as they work through exactly what structure is most appropriate. But I do think something like that would be helpful and I am glad that the Pakistani Government has been also very focused on learning from different examples so that they can move in that direction.

The second question was?

QUESTION: Kerry-Lugar-Berman.

ADMINISTRATOR SHAH: Oh, Kerry-Lugar, right.

QUESTION: The Kerry-Lugar-Berman and --

ADMINISTRATOR SHAH: Well, I want to thank Senator Kerry specifically. While I was out there, he sent a message that we should do whatever gets the highest returns on investment of U.S. tax dollars in terms of improving human economic and social outcomes and be willing to consider reprogramming of those resources.

I announced an initial $50 million of reprogramming, but that’s really an initial step within a larger frame. There’s some areas where reprogramming will be somewhat obvious. We had been focusing on drip irrigation, for example, which may not be the immediate priority given the amount of water and waterlogging. And if you think of the goal not as the mechanism of getting there, but improving productive agriculture in a way that allows for sustainable livelihoods, you may do some things differently.

So our mission team in the Embassy is looking pretty broadly at how to best move forward with a real focus on doing those things that generate the highest rates of return, some of which will require further reprogrammings, and we’ll be prepared to do so. Another example is sort of replenishing seed stocks for farmers, for example, that have lost the seed that they saved to plant for the winter wheat season and for subsequent planting seasons.

And the third question I am glad you asked; it is important and I’d like the chance to clarify. First, I think it’s important to step back and note the purpose of the trip was to oversee and manage and do everything we can to mount the most effective humanitarian response possible and that we carry out that moral mission because we are committed to saving lives that are in danger and alleviating extraordinary suffering when it occurs.

I had the chance – you’re referring to a site in Sukkur – I had the chance to visit a World Food Program food distribution. It is, in fact, a World Food Program distribution and to note that it is the first structured 30-day ration – the first structured distribution of 30-day rations being conducted in that area. So I felt it was important to highlight that as an important part of the solution, an important part of protecting people from starvation.

While there, I had the chance to meet with aid workers from WFP and from our implementing partner. I also had the chance to talk directly with women who were standing in line. And these were the people who pointed out to me that they didn’t have shoes because they had lost all of their possessions. They barely had clothing. Their children were malnourished and ill. One woman had her child in a hospital somewhere and wasn’t exactly sure what was happening to her child. It just – it’s such a tragedy of such immense proportion, and I really did want to listen to the people standing in line and learn about how we, together with our partners, can mount the most effective response on their behalf. I had hoped to spend more time talking to people in line, but within a few minutes of being there, our Diplomatic Security detail informed me that there were some suspicious individuals in the area and we needed to leave. So we tried to make as graceful and appropriate an exit as possible.

It’s important to note that USAID and the World Food Program and all of our implementing partners only support and work with absolutely validated organizations. We’re sometimes criticized for moving too slowly in providing resources to local groups without doing – because we have to do careful auditing and compliance. But the fact that we do that auditing and compliance ensures that I’m able to stand here and say that I know, with certainty, that we work with only partners that are validated.

I understand in this situation, and perhaps in others, the TTP and others have actually been threatening aid relief workers and international aid relief workers. I can’t tell you how disappointed and inappropriate that feels when you’ve been there and you’ve talked to people who have literally lost everything and are just trying to survive.

The fact that suspicious individuals had been in this site – in part because they knew I was coming, and the day before, our security folks who had gone out there, of course, hadn’t seen any signs of them – is an indication these are open sites. People can get there. The whole point is to have people who are in urgent need come and get food. So it’s just – it’s deeply saddening that others would choose to use these environments to propagate themselves or to threaten international aid workers.

But I’m happy that I had the chance to talk to a few women. I would have liked to talk to more. I think the stories you learn from them really motivate and provide information that can help us do a better job. And our goal right now is just to make sure we’re feeding and saving as many people as possible.

MODERATOR: Let’s go to Aziz.

QUESTION: Raj, good to see you.


QUESTION: Yeah. Piggybacking on Sue’s last question, on a broader level, how do you avoid running into these situations? Because there is no denying the Taliban, the Jamaat ud-Daawa and groups like that are also very active in terms of trying to alleviate the suffering of these people because they’ve got these charitable arms, too. So how do you avoid running into such situations and also sort of the seepage of USAID money and other funding that goes into these?

And at a philosophical level, when you came into this job, you were going to do a lot of development projects in Afghanistan-Pakistan in terms of reaching the hearts and minds of those people. And then you were beset with these two huge natural disasters, first in Haiti and now in Pakistan. How do you cope with this, and has this put back a lot of the development work that USAID was going to do in these areas?

ADMINISTRATOR SHAH: Well, thank you for both of those. On the first part of the question, Aziz, we have systems that allow us to track our food, our commodities, and our dollars very carefully. If other people show up at sites either to intimidate or in some cases to help, my sense is – or to just be visible and try to take credit for what other people are doing – those are things that happen and this is a fluid response environment and the people we work with are just – share our commitment to service and saving lives and feeding the hungry. So I think it’s a fluid environment and it’s difficult. But certainly, on behalf of the U.S. tax dollars and tax payers, we can track our money and our commodities quite closely because we work with a set of validated implementing partners that are providing direct services to people in critical needs.

On the second part of your question, I appreciate that also. A former USAID administrator told me that you’ll be surprised at how much time you spend on disasters, and he told me that on, I think, January 3rd. And I thought that he’s probably wrong about that in my case, because I’m going to be very focused.

But in some ways, the tragedy in Haiti and the tragedy here and our ability to provide humanitarian assistance elsewhere in the world, in my mind showcases both to me, to the agency, and to the rest of the world what USAID can do when we need to move fast, when people – our people need to be creative and entrepreneurial. I love seeing the excellence of our team on the ground. We have a 16-person disaster assistance response team based in the embassy, working hand-in-glove with General Nadeem and the National Disaster Management Authority. They use data to make decisions. They have focused on waterborne illness because they know from case history that that’s the most acute need. And they’re very smart about structuring transition from relief to early recovery to reconstruction so that development can happen.

And there’s going to be case after case, where we are able to actually leapfrog the previous development picture and build back to a better standard, whether if we’re distributing seed to farmers who have lost their seed stocks, you can distribute improved varieties and improve the core production system that they’re putting in place.

If you’re building back schools or physical structures that have been destroyed, you can build back to higher standards, and you can do that using local materials and training local construction workers and masons.

If you’re putting in place health assets to provide immediate needs, either in a disease early warning system or these diarrheal treatment centers that will provide oral rehydration therapy and do basic diagnostics and manage fluids for children who otherwise would die from acute diarrhea. You can then use those – that infrastructure as a way to build out, over the long term, a health system that has more outreach into rural communities and affected communities.

So it’s very, very tough at this point in time to be optimistic about the future. But our teams have enough experience to see those opportunities, and we try to do the relief work in a way that sets up for that kind of success over time.

MODERATOR: Okay. We will go in the back to the gentleman with the green tie.

QUESTION: Hi, I’d like to know today – like China and many countries already send --

MODERATOR: Can you say your name and news organization?

QUESTION: Okay. I’m a Phoenix TV reporter. My name is Ching-Yi Chang. And I’d like to know, like China and many country already send the international aid to their country, how the U.S. Government see the international effort helping Pakistan?


QUESTION: Thank you.

ADMINISTRATOR SHAH: Well, thank you for that question. There is no question that right now more can be done, and that resources spent on the immediate relief will save lives, feed people who need food, and help keep children from experiencing sort of long-term morbidity from diarrhea and a range of other illnesses.

So my trip only validates a point that I had tried to make last week at the United Nations where Secretary Clinton gave a powerful statement to the world about how the world needed to come together and provide support to the people who are suffering right now. This is a core global humanitarian imperative and we need more international support.

I’m pleased that after last week’s meeting at the United Nations there appears to be a significant increase in pledges and commitments. Certainly, I was on airfields and able to see commodities come in in a more effective and aggressive way. But when you look at the scope of what needs to be done here, you have more than 8 million people – probably more than that – who need acute services in order to survive and to start to think about building back their lives and livelihoods, and we need more resources and support from inside Pakistan and outside of Pakistan in order to be successful with that. So that’s going to be true through recovery and reconstruction as well, and I’m glad you asked the question.

MODERATOR: We’ll go here, VOA.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. Dr. Shah, I’m Iftikhar Hussain. I work for Voice of America Pashtu to the border region service. We broadcast through the region you visited which is most affected by the floods.

My first question is: Looking beyond the immediate relief activities, how the USAID is looking for involvement, particularly in the agricultural sector. And the second question is: We are hearing from the people and also from the government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, which is (inaudible) with the most affected region, that aid coming from the international community, including the USAID, it is not reaching out to them and have you shared any ideas on the mechanism that making sure that USAID help goes equally to all the people there?

Thank you very much.

ADMINISTRATOR SHAH: Thank you. Let me address your first question first. This Administration, under President Obama and Secretary Clinton, has from the beginning of our Administration been very committed to establishing an effective, diverse, and long-term commitment to the people of Pakistan in partnership with Pakistan. As a result of that, we’ve conducted the Strategic Dialogue and we have 13 working groups that have been taking forward partnerships in areas like energy and agriculture, water management and irrigation, for example, and health, education, and other social services.

In that context, we will continue our long-term commitment. This flood only intensifies our immediate response and our commitment to that long-term process. And specifically in agriculture, we will have to look at and reprioritize what we were planning to do in that sector. We’re doing that directly with the ministries and leadership of the Government of Pakistan and with so many of the non-profit partners that we’re already working with in that sector. But with 23 percent of cropland under water, they’re going to need a real strategy in agriculture.

And I would note that in the 1970s, it was USAID that worked with the government and people of Pakistan to bring about a green revolution, based on improved wheat varieties and improved production technologies that saved countless people from starvation and acute famine. So we have some history of working with Pakistan in agriculture and we’re going to have to re-intensify that particular sector and our partnership in that area.

In terms of the region you spoke of, in terms of KPK, we actually have more distribution capability in those areas than we do right now in the south, and that’s because we’ve been working in those areas with – for a range of other programs: protecting IDPs, providing services in certain areas. And so we need to intensify that effort and we’re trying to get – I was just on the phone with some of my counterparts from other countries talking about how we all need to do more in that area and also in the south. We need to get more of our international NGO leadership out there so that there’s greater capacity for a larger humanitarian response, and we have to encourage our partners in Pakistan to do more across the board there. But I would also note that in the south, the tragedy is still unfolding, and the flooding is reaching new communities.

And while people are being evacuated, the tremendous kind of acute needs in the south are also going to be very important; in particular, the waterborne illness concerns in the south with potentially slower drainage there for a variety of reasons, from soil type to everything else. It means we have to stay vigilant about protection in that environment as well.

Thank you.

MODERATOR: We’re out of time. Thank you, Dr. Shah.


MODERATOR: Thank you for coming.


Monday, 30 August 2010

Leadership Awards
Responsible leaders channel their passion and energy into their work. They demonstrate vision and perseverance in the face of obstacles and provide inspiration to us all.
The Leadership Awards 2010 organised by the Leadership Magazine
The Award is given to individuals whose leadership and commitment has resulted in change and improvement , and who have inspired other organisations to take action

Lola cycles solo from London to Africa for African Kids
Click to sponsor Lola at www.justgiving.com/London-Africa2010 / www.possibleiam.com

Lola Odujinrin is facing a challenge of a lifetime as he gears up to cycle from London Trafalgar Square to Morocco in Northern Africa.

Lola, 32, is usually seen a petrol head by his friends but on September 18th he will be donning his gear and cycling 105 miles per day for 12 days in aid of Children in Africa to raise money for Stepping Stones Nigeria (SSN) Charity which we have all recently seen on Channel 4 and CNN News.

When asked about his preparation, he says “I've never cycled more than 10 miles at a time before. The last time I (completed any serious exercise was over 10 years ago) got any serious exercise done was over 10 years ago. Now I'm spending up to 4 hours and up to 5 days a week in the gym to prepare for this feat. Friends have been asking me what I think the road condition and surface would be like and my only response is that I will soon find out. The only one thing absolutely clear right now is that there is no going back, the only way is forward and that is to Morocco.”

The hard work will all be worthwhile for me if Lola succeeds in raising £5,000 for Stepping Stones Charity. “My bum will get sore, I will sweat and feel a lot of pain but this will never be close to what these innocent kids go through daily. I will have to be reminding myself constantly of what these kids go through to keep my motivation on this trip. Unlike, these kids, I will be privileged to have mixed emotions like climbing high the mountains and being out of breath and coasting down a mountain effortlessly with stunning scenery all around me. I cannot wait!”

Why SSN? Following the recent documentary on British TV and more recently on CNN, Lola was appalled, shocked and moved that he asked himself so (many) much questions as to what can be done to eradicate these problems in our modern day. To then see this act being performed in Nigeria was even more worrying to him and he was determined to do his bit to stop such cruelty to children. “That bit is raising some money for the likes of Stepping Stones based in Leicester, UK who put their lives on the line to rescue these innocent kids. I have a little girl whom I love dearly with all my heart, and I cannot comprehend anybody hurting my child such as these kids are being subjected to. I hope these guys will keep doing what they do as it is just simply remarkable.”


My family, friends, colleagues and local gym have been very generous and I hope other people will sponsor me for what I see to be a worthy cause.

Every pound given towards stopping these dastardly acts will go a long way and mean the likes of Stepping Stones Nigeria can continue their invaluable work of supporting innocent lives.

You can sponsor me by visiting my website or online fundraising page on www.justgiving.com/London-Africa2010 or www.possibleiam.com where you will also see a link to my Just Giving page. You can pay by credit or debit card, and the money will go directly to The Charity Stepping Stones Nigeria. Where supporters are UK taxpayers, the charity will automatically receive 28% extra in Gift Aid, which makes Justgiving the most efficient way of sponsoring me.

Notes to Editors

For further information or to arrange a photo call please contact Lola Odujinrin on 07984 412 535.

For further information and photos on Stepping Stones Nigeria please contact Natalie Collin on 0845 313 8391.

For further information on Justgiving.com, please contact Mike Wells on 0845 021 2110.

Kind Regards

Lola Odujinrin

On Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 9:50 PM, Ayoub Mzee wrote:

hello ola
it was nice to talk to you and thanks for the good work on Nigeria . Her at Ben tv We are proud of you
.keep my number 07960811614
ayoub mzee
ben tv


Project Team Contacts

Lola Odujinrin: 07984 412 535 1man1plane@googlemail.com
Yomi Babatunde: 07939 847 648 doboy@hotmail.com
0207 645 3722
Cynthia Odujinrin: 07985 215 696 c_akanoh@hotmail.com

Web Address: www.possibleiam.com
Email Address: 1man1plane@gmail.com

Possible I AM


Sunday, 29 August 2010


The Nigeria Arise Award is an inititative recognising Nigerians at Home and Abroad who have excelled and are contributing to the nation's developments as well as made an inpact in the Nigeria's spirit. www.nigeriaarise.com

Watanzania Wote,

Tunapenda kuwapa habari nzuri kuwa Jumuiya yetu hapa Reading imepata Ofisi kwa ajili ya shughuli za Jumuiya.

Anuani ni 35-39 London Street
Office No 4
Second Floor
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Tungependa kuwashukuru wote walioshiriki katika kufanikisha upatikanaji wa ofisi hii.

Wote mnakaribishwa.

TA Timu Reading & Berkshire
Jumuiya Ya Watanzania Reading-UK
Blog :http://www.tanzaniaassociation-reading.blogspot.com/
Tel No: +447865673756

Friday, 27 August 2010

August 25, 2010


- Interview: Robert Gates by Fred Kaplan, Foreign Policy Magazine, August 16, 2010 – web link: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/08/13/robert_gates

- Iraq: ‘Mission Accomplished’ Mark II by Anthony Cordesman, Center for Strategic & International Studies, August 20, 2010 – web link: http://csis.org/publication/iraq-mission-accomplished-mark-ii

- New Strategy Can Overcome Old, Failed Policies by James Carafano, Heritage Foundation, August 19, 2010 – web link: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Commentary/2010/08/New-strategy-can-overcome-old-failed-policies

- Nuclear Suppliers Group and the IAEA Additional Protocol by Mark Hibbs, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, August 18, 2010 – web link: http://carnegieendowment.org/publications/index.cfm?fa=view&id=41393

- Obama Is on Track with Iraqi Withdrawal by Lawrence J. Korb and Laura Conley, Center for American Progress, August 19, 2010 – web link: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/08/obama_troop_withdrawal.html


- The Fed Has Done Much, Can Do More For the Economy by Karen Dynan, Brookings Institution, August 20, 2010 – web link: http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2010/0820_fed_dynan.aspx

- Jobs Are the Answer to Low Public Approval by David Midland and Hannah Walton, Center for American Progress, August 18, 2010 – web link: http://www.americanprogress.org//issues/2010/08/public_approval.html

- When Economic Policy Became Social Policy by Peter J. Wallison, The American: The Journal of the American Enterprise Institute, August 21, 2010 – web link: http://www.american.com/archive/2010/august/when-economic-policy-became-social-policy

- Why Small Business Aren’t Hiring by Scott Shane, The American: The Journal of the American Enterprise Institute, August 24, 2010 – web link: http://www.american.com/archive/2010/august/why-small-businesses-arent-hiring


- Beyond Petroleum: The Broader Effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill by Nathan Hultman, Brookings Institution, August 24, 2010 – web link: http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2010/0824_bp_oil_spill_hultman.aspx

- Climate Change is Bad for Business by Rebecca Lefton and Richard W. Caperton, Center for American Progress, August 20, 2010 – web link: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/08/climate_change_business.html

- It’s Easy Being Green: The Big Green Easy – Center for American Progress, August 25, 2010 – web link: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/08/ebg_082510.html


- The Failed States Index 2010 – Foreign Policy Magazine, July/August 2010 – web link: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/06/21/the_failed_states_index_2010

- The Global Cities Index 2010 – Foreign Policy Magazine, August 16, 2010 – web link: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/08/11/the_global_cities_index_2010

- Visa Waiver as an Effective Public Diplomacy Tool by Helle Dale, Heritage Foundation, August 23, 2010 – web link: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/08/Visa-Waiver-as-an-Effective-Public-Diplomacy-Tool


- Developing a Strong Border and Immigration Policy – Heritage Foundation, August 17, 2010 – web link: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/08/Developing-a-Strong-Border-and-Immigration-Policy

- Fighting Back Against Copycat Immigration Laws Like Arizona’s by Henry Fernandez, Center for American Progress, August 24, 2010 – web link: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/08/fernandez_arizona_copycat.html

- The Fading Glory of the Television and Telephone by Paul Taylor and Wendy Wang, Pew Research Center, August 19, 2010 – web link: http://pewsocialtrends.org/pubs/762/fading-glory-television-telephone-luxury-necessity#prc-jump


- Atlantic: The Point of No Return by Jeffrey Goldberg, Council on Foreign Relations, September 1, 2010 – web link: http://www.cfr.org/publication/22813/atlantic.html?breadcrumb=%2Fregion%2F397%2Fmiddle_east

- The Daunting Prospects of Mideast Talks by Robert Danin, Council on Foreign Relations, August 20, 2010 – web link: http://www.cfr.org/publication/22824/daunting_prospects_for_mideast_talks.html

- Direct Palestinian-Israeli Negotiations: The Looming Risks of a Necessary Step by Shibley Telhami, Brookings Institution, August 23, 2010 – web link: http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2010/0823_middle_east_telhami.aspx

- Don’t Cut Off Lebanon’s Aid by Paul Salem, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, August 19, 2010 – web link: http://carnegieendowment.org/publications/index.cfm?fa=view&id=41406

- The Gulf War at 20 by Richard N. Haass, Council on Foreign Relations, August 18, 2010 – web link: http://www.cfr.org/publication/22826/gulf_war_at_20.html

- Iran’s Reactor Fuels Hopes and Fears by Deborah Jerome, Council on Foreign Relations, August 23, 2010 – web link: http://www.cfr.org/publication/22827/irans_reactor_fuels_hopes_and_fears.html

- Palestinian – Israeli Direct Talks: The Case for a Regional Approach by Marwan Muasher, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, August 24, 2010 – web link: http://carnegieendowment.org/publications/index.cfm?fa=view&id=41421


- Pakistan’s Flood Catastrophe and International Response – Video with Elizabeth Ferris, Brookings Institution, August 20, 2010 – web link: http://www.brookings.edu/multimedia/video/2010/0820_pakistan_ferris.aspx

- Torrent of Challenges for U.S. in Pakistan – Interview with Daniel Markey, Council on Foreign Relations, August 20, 2010 – web link: http://www.cfr.org/publication/22821/torrent_of_challenges_for_us_in_pakistan.html


- GOP Maintains Edge in Midterm Voting Preferences by Jeffrey M. Jones, Gallup, August 23, 2010 – web site: http://www.gallup.com/poll/142652/GOP-Maintains-Edge-Midterm-Voting-Preferences.aspx

- How We’re Doing Ahead of the November Elections by Darrell M. West and William J. Antholis, Brookings Institution, August 22, 2010 – web link: http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2010/0822_recovery_renewal.aspx

- Redistricting Could Prolong the Democrat’s Pain by Michael Barone, American Enterprise Institute, August 25, 2010 – web link: http://www.aei.org/article/102451

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Today I was part of a media team that was briefed by the CO19 unit which is the branch name given to the Specialist Firearm Command branch of the Metropolitan Police Service that provides firearms-related support to their unarmed colleagues. The branch is comprised of a small number of officers who are highly trained and motivated in dealing with all aspects of the criminal use of firearms. Operationally, the branch is there to provide armed support to allow the vast majority of policing activities throughout London to be conducted in the traditional manner by unarmed officers

These officers are the first 'Armed officers' to arrive on the scene and in serious cases can call for the support of specialist firearms teams.
Each Armed Response Vehicle (ARV) is crewed by three officers in police uniform who patrol specific areas of London to ensure the fastest response. Each member of the crew has specific functions whilst responding to calls. The 'driver' is responsible for getting the crew to the scene in the fastest, safest way possible having regard to the public presence on the roads. The 'operator' is responsible for the many in-car communications and extracting the maximum amount of information prior to their arrival. The 'observer' in the rear of the vehicle has a London map book and provides the driver with a suitable route

When the officers first arrive they will make an immediate assessment. If an armed containment is deemed necessary to isolate an armed suspect from the public, then two of the crew will deploy leaving one to control the incident, calling for further armed support and liasing with the local senior police officer. All these officers are personally armed with 'Glock' 17 self-loading pistols and two of the officers have access to 'Heckler and Koch' MP5 carbines as shown here.

Supervising officers from the firearms department also patrol in marked police vehicles and attend incidents as they develop. They take charge of the armed officers present and give the local senior officer tactical advice on how to resolve these incidents in the safest possible way. They carry additional equipment, which may have to be used particularly if force is needed to gain entry to premises
We also had a chance to use imitation firearms in a video game

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

' Broken legs and arms, many suspended above their beds, was the only testimony about the dangers of making that quick ride on a boda boda'.Uganda 's mode of transport

The following new Congressional Research Reports (CRS) were added to the FPC's "Newest CRS Reports" page at:


- Sudan: The Crisis in Darfur and Status of the North-South Peace Agreement, August 5, 2010 – web link: http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/146412.pdf

- Security and the Environment in Pakistan, August 3, 2010 - web link: http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/146411.pdf

Monday, 23 August 2010

Dear OBV supporter,

In the first of a series of interviews with the candidates for the Labour party leadership OBV's director Simon Woolley talks to former Foreign Secretary David Miliband MP.

During their conversation David Miliband talks about this early childhood, attending a north London comprehensive school, being at the heart of British politics, and delivering on race equality.

You can view the first part here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xK4ZKpkZPk

Log on to OBV's blog for discussion about this and other topics: http://operationblackvote.wordpress.com/

Follow us on: https://twitter.com/OpBlackVote

Join us on Facebook: search for Operation Black Vote


Sorry! Look away becasue the Pictures You are going to see may be disturbing

This is what happened when Torrorists struck the capital of Uganda -Kampala

I had arrived in Kampala Uganda to attend the AU summit just 3 days after Ugandans were burying loved ones cut to shreds by terrorist bombs in the morning of their promising young lives .It was quite a sombre and disturbing moment. The Uganda president had declared a war on terrorism that week and pledged to increase the number of Uganda troops in Mogadishu in order to disterbalise Al shabaab in their neighbourhood and their Al Qaeda sponsors. But before i left London, i was amazed at the level of response from a few members of the opposition in the Uganda UK Diaspora and a few Somali friends at my local internet cafe in East London. They could not understand why Uganda WAS in Somalia in the first place . Some said they deserved it .Some of the questions i was asked were like: Is Uganda the most powerful African country to sustain an intervention in Somalia ? do they have popular support in Somalia? How peaceful is Uganda to make peace in another country? Does Uganda have any interests in Somalia? Is Uganda protecting Somalis or One person in the name of TFG?

I did explain to them that Uganda did not enter Somalia spoiling for a fight with Al shabaab or the locals , that Uganda contingent went to carry out the mandate of the African Union mission in Somalia(AMISOM).That while facing daily ‘wahala’ from the militants and several loss of lives , Uganda troops have acted with extreme restraint in protecting the loss of Somali lives , property and government institutions, while providing humanitarian assistance like providing medical care .These friends of mine in London could take none of that.

As i reached Kampala , security was tight not only because of the terrorist attack , but also the fact that delegates for the AU summit had started arriving. It took me another 2 days to get clearance from the police headquarters and the Local Police in Kabalagala, Uganda media Centre in the President’s office to be allowed to visit the Bomb sites. I even met and spoke to the lady of the Ethiopian joint that was bombed in Kabalagala .This is when the scale of what had happened hit me .I met and spoke to lots of journalist friends that i know in town from Aljazeera, CNN, New vision , Bukeede, The new times of Rwanda , BBC,etc and the view was the same ,Uganda should stay in Somalia .

Part of my schedule was to go to Northern Uganda after the summit, as i was driving along the Kampala – Masindi road , i kept asking myself , when Al Qaeda killed and maimed hundreds of innocent people in the streets of Nairobi and Dar es salaam in 1998, did any east African country have any troops in Somalia? No!. Did any of the innocent lives lost challenged their ideology then ? No!. By the time i had reached Paraa safari Lodge in Murchison National park whre i spent a night , i had come to the conclusion in my mind that this war is NOT a Ugandan Vs Al shabab war. It is a war against all of us within the region. Today , it might be Uganda , and tomorrow somewhere else , because the kind of ideology that Al shabaab carries is not territorial, its about bringing a new order in the international system along the lines ...you are either with us or with them.... and they wont stop killing!

As i boarded British Airways back to London , it now dawned on me that July 11 attacks in Uganda presents a dawn of new reality in East Africa .Life as we knew it had changed and that the first line of defence will be individual persons. The decisions to send more boots to defend the rights of our Somali brothers and sisters is both a duty to them and also in our own national security interest. But as for Uganda as a country , they need to rethink about their strategy in Somalia .Is it worth the price they are paying for protecting the air port and presidential palace ? critics are yet convinced .They say that Uganda forces contribution could be highly invisible and relevant , if the Somalia issue was treated as a global problem than a Ugandan one .

Lastly , we should all remember that had it not been the interevetion of Tanzania forces in Uganda , we could still be having the likes of Idd amin around terrorising their own people

e v e n t
Memorial vigil for Sean Rigg
5:00pm, 21 August 2010 --- The second memorial vigil for Sean Rigg, who died in police custody at Brixton Police Station in 2008.

e v e n t
Seminar for medico-legal report writers
5:00pm, 7 September 2010 --- A seminar offering practical advice on writing medico-legal reports for immigration matters.

The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment has published a new report examining the impact of the quality of local green spaces on the health and wellbeing of people in six deprived and ethnically diverse areas.
Download the report at:
http://www.cabe.org.uk/files/community-green-full-report.pdf (pdf file, 1.17mb

Sunday, 22 August 2010


As-salaamu Alaikum Wa'rahmatullahi Wa'barakatuh

Ramadhan Mubarak, the Month of Quran, the month of Mercy has returned to us once again!

Praise be to Allaah.

Many people misunderstand the true nature of fasting, and they make it an occasion for eating and drinking, making special sweets and staying up late at night and watching shows on satellite TV. They make such preparations long before Ramadaan, lest they miss out on some food bargains before food prices go up. They prepare by buying food, preparing drinks and looking at the satellite TV guide so they can choose which shows to follow and which to ignore. They are truly unaware of the real nature of fasting in Ramadaan; they take worship and piety out of the month and make it a month to fill up their bellies and keeping themselves busy with worldly entertainments. May Allah protect us from this, ameen.

As for the others (inshaa Allah you and I) - they are aware of the real nature of fasting in the month of Ramadaan, so they start to prepare from Sha'baan, and some of them even start before that. If one has not done so already - do not worry, it is never to late, we are still in the early days of Ramadaan.

Among the best ways of preparing for the month of Ramadaan are (most are still applicable for us):

1 –Sincere repentance

This is obligatory at all times, but in relation to this great and blessed month of Ramadaan, it is even more important to hasten to repent from sins between you and your Lord, and between you and other people by giving them their rights, so as we step in this blessed month we may busy ourselves with the many acts of worship with a clean heart and peace of mind.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And all of you beg Allaah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful” [al-Noor 24:31]

It was narrated from al-Agharr ibn Yasaar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O people, repent to Allaah for I repent to Him one hundred times each day.” Narrated by Muslim (2702).

2 –Du'aa' (supplication)

It was narrated from some of the salaf that they used to pray to Allaah for six months that they would live until Ramadaan, then they would pray for five months afterwards that He would accept it from them!

The Muslim should ask his Lord to let him live until Ramadaan with a strong religious commitment and good physical health, and he should ask Him to help him obey Him during the month, and ask Him to accept his good deeds from Him.

3 – Rejoicing at the approach of the blessed month

The arrival of Ramadaan is one of the great blessings that Allaah bestows upon His Muslim slave, because Ramadaan is one of the occasions of good in which the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed. It is the month of the Qur'aan and it is in this month of Ramadaan decisive battles in the history of our religion took place.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Say: ‘In the Bounty of Allaah, and in His Mercy (i.e. Islam and the Qur'aan); —therein let them rejoice.' That is better than what (the wealth) they amass” [Yoonus 10:58]

4 – Discharging the duty of any outstanding obligatory fasts

It was narrated that Abu Salamah said: I heard ‘Aa'ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) say: I would owe fasts from the previous Ramadaan and I would not be able to make them up except in Sha'baan. Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1849) and Muslim (1146).

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

From her keenness to do that in Sha'baan it may be understood that it is not permissible to delay making them up until another Ramadaan begins. Fath al-Baari (4/191).

5 – Seeking knowledge in order to be able to follow the rulings on fasting and to understand the virtues of Ramadaan.

6 – Hastening to complete any tasks that may distract the Muslim from doing acts of worship.

7 – Sitting with one's family members – wife and children – to tell them of the rulings on fasting and encourage the young ones to fast.

8 – Preparing authentic books based on Qur'aan and hadith which can be read at home or given to the imam of the masjid to read to the people during Ramadaan.

9 – Fasting some of the month of Sha'baan in preparation for fasting Ramadaan.

It was narrated that ‘Aa'ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said:

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to fast until we said: He will not break his fast, and he used not to fast until we said: He will not fast. And I never saw the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) complete a month of fasting except Ramadaan, and I never saw him fast more in any month than in Sha'baan. Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1868) and Muslim (1156).

It was narrated that Usaamah ibn Zayd said: I said:

O Messenger of Allaah, I do not see you fasting in any month as you fast in Sha'baan? He said: “That is a month that people neglect between Rajab and Ramadaan, but it is a month in which people's deeds are taken up to the Lord of the Worlds and I would like my deeds to be taken up when I am fasting.” Narrated by al-Nasaa'i (2357); classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa'i.

These aHadeeth explain the wisdom behind fasting in Sha'baan, which is that it is a month in which deeds are taken up (to Allaah). Some of the scholars mentioned another reason, which is that this fasting is like Sunnah prayers offered beforehand in relation to the obligatory prayer; they prepare the soul for performing the obligatory action, and the same may be said of fasting Sha'baan before Ramadaan.

10 – Reading Qur'aan

The month of Rajab is the month for planting, the month of Sha'baan is the month of irrigating the crops, and the month of Ramadaan is the month of harvesting the crops.

The likeness of the month of Rajab is that of the wind, the likeness of Sha'baan is that of the clouds and the likeness of Ramadaan is that of the rain; whoever does not plant and sow in Rajab, and does not irrigate in Sha'baan, how can he reap in Ramadaan?

Now Rajab has passed, and with it so has Sha'baan - and we have entered into the blessed month of Ramadaan. Let us follow in the footsteps of our Prophet and the early generations of the ummah as they strove hard this blessed month seeking Allah's pleasure.

So, this leads me to ask you and myself - what good will we do this Ramadaan?

And Allaah is the Source of strength.

Adapted from: www.islamqa.com

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Mwenyekiti wa DP, Mchungaji Christopher Mtikila(Pichani), ambaye alichukua fomu kugombea urais wa Tanzania, ameondolewa kwenye orodha ya wagombea urais. Tume ya Taifa ya Uchaguzi (NEC) imesema kwamba Mtikila alikosa sifa. Hakupata wadhamini kutoka mikoa 10 kama sheria inavyotamka. Mtikila aliwasili ofisi za NEC saa 10 jioni, kwa mbwembwe, kabla ya kupata habari mbaya, ambazo hata hivyo, kwa kuwa hakuwa amepata wadhamamini alizitarajia. Katika picha hii, Mtikila alikuwa anahutubia 'umati' ulikusanyika kumsikiliza katika viwanja vya Jangwani, Dar es Salaam, mwaka 2005 alipogombea urais. Wagombea mwingine ambao hawakutimiza masharti ni Paul Kyara wa SAU na wa Jahazi Asilia na Demokrasia Makini. Mgombea wa Demokrasia Makini na wa NRA hawakutokea kabisa kurejesha fomu.

Wagombea urais waliobaki hadi sasa ni Dk. Willibrod Slaa (CHADEMA); Prof. Ibrahim Lipumba (CUF); Jakaya Kikwete (CCM); Hashim Rungwe (NCCR-Mageuzi); Mutamwega Mgaywa (TLP); Sahma Dovutwa (UPDP); na Peter Kuga Mziray (APPT-Maendeleo).

The Daily Telegraph


•COVER STORY: 'Banks add £1,700 a year to mortgages'
Homeowners are paying £1,700 more for fixed-rate mortgages as banks enjoy record profit margins. High street lenders are refusing to pass on the full benefit of historically low interest rates to customers, figures show. (Link)
•'MP banned for driving offence just days after she was elected' P.10
Yasmin Qureshi, the new MP for Bolton South East, has been banned from driving for six months following an offence committed just days after being elected. Qureshi was seen talking on her mobile phone while driving and was later found to have no car insurance.
•'US insists Iraq 'ready' as it pulls out troops' P.16
The last brigade of front line US soldiers crossed the Iraqi border into Kuwait yesterday, marking the end of American combat operations. This move comes despite increasing violence and the lack of a functioning government in the country. (Link)
•'Britain tells Libyans not to celebrate anniversary of Lockerbie bomber's return' P.16

Britain has warned the Libyan government not to celebrate publicly today's anniversary of Lockerbie bomber al-Megrahi's release from prison. (Link)

• 'Floods are Pakistan's tsunami, says UN' P.17

Pakistan's floods are a 'slow-motion tsunami', UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon claims. He has urged countries to allocate more aid to Pakistan. (Link)

• 'Obama is Muslim, says quarter of US' P.18

An increasing number of Americans wrongly believe that President Obama is a Muslim, with almost 1 in 4 saying he is a follower of Islam, according to a recent poll. The results come after Obama intervened in the dispute over controversial plans to build a mosque close to Ground Zero. (Link)

• 'Woman must take off burka to give evidence, judge rules' P.18

An Australian court has ruled that a Muslim woman must remove her burka in public, for the first time in 19 years, while she gives evidence so that the jury can assess her facial expressions. (Link)

The Guardian


•COVER STORY: 'From shock and awe to a quiet exit - US troops pull out of Iraq'

For the men and women of US combat brigades, seven years and five months of war in Iraq is now over. The overall American combat mission in the country has ended 12 days earlier than the official end of operations. (Link)

•'US officials face uphill task without troops' P.3

Thousands of American civilian officials poised to take over from the US military in Iraq next month face a daunting range of obstacles in nation-building that include reduced security, cutbacks in their budget and the continued failure of the Iraqis to form a government. (Link)

•'Do not celebrate anniversary of Megrahi's release, UK warns Libya' P.17

Britain has warned Libya not to hold celebrations to mark today's first anniversary of the return home of the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, amid suggestions from Tripoli that he could live for up to seven more years. al-Megrahi, the only person convicted over the 1988 atrocity in which 270 people died, was released from his Scottish prison on 20 August last year after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. (Link)

•'Lawyer wants new inquiry into 1988 blast' P.17

A senior human rights lawyer has called for an independent inquiry into the Lockerbie bombing as controversy intensifies over the convicted bomber's early release on medical grounds. Professor Alan Miller, head of the Scottish human rights commission, said there were still significant doubts about the guilt of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi after an independent investigation uncovered new evidence that undermined the conviction. (Link)

•'Saudi judge asks doctors if they could paralyse man as punishment' P.19

A Saudi judge has asked several hospitals whether they would be willing to damage a man's spinal cord as punishment, after he was convicted of attacking another man with a cleaver and paralysing him, local newspapers reported yesterday. (Link)

•'UN Chief: Pakistan flood like a slow-moving tsunami' P.22

The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has appealed for swifter aid to provide immediate relief in food, shelter and clean water for the millions affected by the worst monsoon rains on record. (Link)

•'Obama is a Muslim, say one fifth of Americans' P.22

One in five Americans believe Barack Obama is secretly a Muslim and nearly half question his claim to be a Christian, according to a new opinion poll. (Link)

•'Judge orders witness to remove niqab in court' P.22

A Muslim witness in an Australian fraud trial must remove her full veil while giving evidence, a judge has ruled. Western Australia district court judge Shauna Deane said it would be inappropriate for the woman to testify with her face covered by the niqab but did not specify what she could wear. (Link)

The Times


•COVER STORY: 'Universities swamped in mad dash for places'

A desperate scramble for university places was under way last night as an unprecedented number of A-level students competed to snap up a rapidly diminishing number of vacancies.

•'Still no explanation of the events surrounding al-Megrahi’s release' P.14
Critics say the freeing of the Libyan had less to do with compassion than the threat of a successful - and embarrassing - appeal.
•'Oil company gives up hope of a lucrative drilling deal in Libya' P.15
One of Britain’s biggest oil companies is ready to pull out of Libya. BG Group, Britain’s third largest oil company after BP and Royal Dutch Shell, told The Times that it was seeking to leave Libya after a botched five-year drilling campaign failed to discover a single barrel of oil.

•'Ground Zero Islamic centre site chosen by teenage TV star' P.32

The row over the proposed Islamic centre near Ground Zero took a bizarre twist yesterday when it emerged that the site was originally picked by teenager, Francisco Patino, who got the job because he appeared on a reality TV show, American Inventor with his quirky design for a bicycle.

•'Quarter of Americans think Obama is Muslim' P.33

The White House went out of its way yesterday to remind Americans that their President is a Christian who prays every day. A spokesman felt compelled to make the announcement after polls found that almost a quarter of Americans thought President Obama was a Muslim.

•'Provide more aid or militants will fill the vacuum, warns Pakistan' P.35

Hillary Clinton pledged a further $60 million in emergency aid for flood victims in Pakistan yesterday and called on other countries to do the same as Islamabad warned of the dire consequences of the disaster for its battle against extremism.

•'Seven dead as Uighur on a tricycle throws bomb into crowd' P.36

A man from China’s Muslim ethnic Uighur minority hurled an explosive device into a crowd, including a team of security officers, yesterday, killing seven people and wounding 14 in the country’s restive far West.
A spokeswoman for the Xinjiang regional government, declined to comment on whether the attack was an act of terrorism – possibly motivated by tension between the Uighurs and ethnic Han Chinese.

•'Restorative justice' P.36

A Saudi Arabian judge has asked several hospitals if they would operate to damage a man's spinal cord as punishment after he was convicted of paralysing another man in an axe attack. One hospital is known to have refused.

•'Cartoon controversy' P.36

A Dutch Muslim group was fined 2,500 euros for publishing a cartoon suggesting the Holocaust was made up by Jews. An appeal court called the cartoon 'unnecessarily hurtful'.

•OBITUARIES: 'Ghazi al-Gosaibi' P.65

Ghazi al-Gosaibi was a leading, and sometimes controversial, Saudi politician and diplomat over the course of four decades.
A technocrat, he consistently argued the case for political and economic reform, albeit in a gradual fashion suited to Saudi Arabia.

The Independent


•COVER STORY: 'Goodbye to Iraq'

Robert Fisk discusses the mark America has left on Iraq, including the torture of prisoners, corruption and civil war after seven-and-a-half years of war. (Link)

•'At night and in secret, the last US combat troops depart' P.4

American troops officially left Iraq yesterday, two weeks ahead of schedule and without any grand farewell. The timing was kept confidential in an attempt to avoid insurgent attacks on the vulnerable departing column. (Link)

•'UK doubles Pakistan aid to £60m' P.14

Britain is to more than double the amount of aid it is giving to Pakistan to cope with the devastation wreaked by the recent flooding, the International Development Secretary told the United Nations last night. (Link)

•'Britain's most influential Muslim - and it was all down to a peach' P.16

Timothy Winter or Sheikh Abdul-Hakim Murad as he is known by his colleagues, is considered more significant within Islam than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In this feature, he tells The Independent about his process of conversion and departure from the material world. (Link)

•'Israel and Palestinians poised for direct talks' P.24

The first direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations for more than 18 months were in prospect last night after successful diplomatic efforts to find a formula designed to allow the talks to start.(Link)

•'One in five Americans believes Obama is a Muslim, says poll' P.28

Nearly one-fifth of Americans believe Barack Obama is Muslim, according to a poll conducted even before the President waded into a row over the building of a faith centre and mosque near Ground Zero in New York. (Link)

•'Saudi Arabia: Judge asks hospitals to paralyse criminal' P.30

A Saudi judge has asked several hospitals in the country whether they could damage a man's spinal cord as punishment after he was convicted of attacking another man with a cleaver; leaving the victim paralysed. (Link)

Al Jazeera


•COVER STORY: 'UN appeals for more Pakistan aid'

The United Nations has issued an urgent appeal asking donors to 'open their wallets' for more aid to help rebuild Pakistan, which has been devastated by the worst flooding in the country's history. The US has called the disaster bigger than the 2004 Asian tsunami, the 2005 Pakistani earthquake and this year's Haiti earthquake - but it has attracted far less in donations. (Link)

•'Last US combat brigade leaves Iraq'

The last US combat brigade has withdrawn from Iraq, more than seven years after the US-led coalition invaded the country in a war that has claimed the lives of more than 4,000 US troops. (Link)

•'Germany drops Kunduz raid probe'

Germany's military has said it will not pursue disciplinary action against a German commander who called in an air raid that killed dozens of civilians in northern Afghanistan last year. A preliminary investigation found no evidence that a breach of discipline had taken place following the order by Colonel George Klein for US aircraft to bomb two fuel tankers stolen by the Taliban near the city of Kunduz. (Link)

•'Al-Qaeda 'claims' Baghdad attack'

An al-Qaeda affiliated group, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), has apparently claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Baghdad earlier this week - the deadliest attack in Iraq this year. (Link)

•'Kyrgyzstan forces 'aided' violence'

Kyrgyzstan's armed forces may have actively taken part in violence by ethnic Kyrgyz mobs against the minority ethnic Uzbek community which killed at least 370 people two months ago, a New York-based rights group has said. Many witnesses reported seeing individuals in camouflage attacking ethnic Uzbeks and using armoured military vehicles to remove improvised roadblocks barring entry into Uzbek neighbourhoods, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report on Monday. (Link)

•'Caracas to continue Iran gas export'

Venezuela will continue to supply Iran with gasoline despite the threat of international sanctions. David Velasquez, Venezuela's ambassador to Tehran, said on Thursday that his government would not be 'bullied' into halting gasoline shipments. (Link)

•'Many Americans say Obama is Muslim'

One-fifth of Americans have said they believe Barack Obama, the US president, is a Muslim, according to a new opinion poll. Time poll, published on Thursday, also suggested that almost a third of Americans said Muslims should be barred from running for president or serving on the US Supreme Court. (Link)

The Daily Mail


•LEAD STORY: 'We won! And we brought democracy, U.S. soldier hollers as the last combat troops quit Iraq after 7 years' P.2

US fighting forces finally left Iraq yesterday, 7 years after invading the country in 2003. (Link)

•'Weapons expert was allowed to see secrets far outside his brief' P.4

A Ministry of Defence clearance form has revealed that David Kelly had permission to access all relevant intelligence documents of British or American origin marked ''Top Secret.'

•'Lockerbie bomber may live until 2017' P.19

A year after being released from A Scottish prison, medical sources in Tripoli have revealed that Abdelbaset al-Megrahi may live for another seven years.(Link)

•'Taliban hire sniper to hit troops at 600 yards' P.20

The Taliban have hired a mercenary sniper to kill British soldiers, it was revealed yesterday. The sniper has been blamed for the recent death of Darren Foster, a British soldier in Afghanistan. (Link)

•'One in four Americans think Obama is Muslim' P.19

Nearly one in four Americans are convinced that Barack Obama is a Muslim according to a poll, despite the fact that he is a Christian. (Link)

The Evening Standard (19th)


•COVER STORY: '40 seconds from disaster on tube'

Tube passengers were 40 seconds from a major disaster when a runaway trained careered down a line. (Link)

•'A farewell to arms...last US combat troops roll out of Iraq' P.24

The Evening Standard profiles a a staff sergeant who entered Iraq when he was 18 and left when he was 25, proud that he had survived the violence that took place during those seven-and-a-half years. (Link)

•'US raises Pakistan flood aid to $150m' P.24

The US is raising its aid to flood victims in Pakistan to $150 million, an increase of $60 million. (Link)

•'Take off burka, says Australian court' P.24

A Muslim witness was today ordered to remove her burka while giving evidence in an Australian fraud trial. (Link)

The Metro


•LEAD STORY: 'Cheers as combat troops leave Iraq' P.14

Soldiers in the last US combat brigade to leave Iraq cheered as they left Iraq for the first time since invading in 2003.

•'Crowds mourn 3 fallen sappers' P.14

Hundreds of mourners paid a silent tribute yesterday to two soldiers whose bodies returned from Afghanistan. Darren Foster and Ishwor Gurung are the most recent British fatalities in Afghanistan.

•'Aid doubled as terror fears rise' P.15

Britain is to double its aid for flood ravaged Pakistan, it was announced last night. Andrew Mitchell, the international development secretary told the United Nations general assembly in New York that the international community should have done more to help the situation.

•'Muslim witness told to remove her niqab' P.16

A Muslim woman in Australia has been told she must remove her niqab when giving evidence in court. A judge ruled that covering her face would affect the jury's ability to judge her.

The Sun


•LEAD STORY: 'Uproar at Lockerbie party plan' P.2 and P.8

Plans for a day of celebrations to mark the anniversary of Lockerbie bomber al-Megrahi's release have sparked fury in Britain, as the Foreign Office branded them 'tasteless and offensive,' Page 8 features a comment piece by Lorraine Kelly on the issue. (Link)

•'US men quit Iraq' P.4

The last US combat troops left Iraq yesterday, just two days after a suicide bomber killed 59 people in Baghdad.

•'Disney in Muslim worker's hijab row' P.9

A Muslim woman, Imane Boudlal, claims she was banned from wearing a hijab at the Disney restaurant where she works because the headscarf did not fit the company's image.