South AsiaStay updated with Business News, Pakistan news, Current world news and latest world news with Business Recorder.., 03 Aug 2015 08:37:10 +0000SRA Framework 2.0en-gbChinese military paper warns a corrupt army does not win wars The Chinese military's official newspaper warned on Sunday that a corrupt army would not win wars, three days after the government announced a former senior officer would be prosecuted for graft.

Serving and retired Chinese military officers as well as state media have questioned whether China's armed forces are too corrupt to fight and win a war.

President Xi Jinping has made weeding out corruption in the armed forces a top goal and several senior officers have been felled, including two of China's most senior former military officers, Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong.

The government said on Thursday that it would prosecute Guo for corruption. Xu died of cancer in March.

"If we allow the growth and spread of corruption, the guns will rust, the pillars will collapse," the People's Liberation Army Daily said in a front-page editorial.

"History has repeatedly proven that if corruption is not eliminated, we will defeat ourselves even before a war."

High-ranking officers such as Xu and Guo affected the morale of the people and had a severe impact on the soldiers' beliefs and convictions, the paper said.

State media had previously focused on how corruption was a key reason for China's defeat to Japan in the waning years of the Qing dynasty.

China stepped up a crackdown on corruption in the military in the late 1990s, banning the People's Liberation Army from engaging in business.

However, analysts have said the military has been involved in commercial dealings in recent years due to a lack of checks and balances.

The buying and selling of senior jobs in the military, an open secret, has worried reformers who say it leads to those with talent being cast aside and damages morale.

Xi's graft crackdown has coincided with increased efforts to modernize forces that are projecting power across the disputed waters of the East and South China Seas, although it has not fought a war in decades.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

]]> (Imaduddin)South AsiaSun, 02 Aug 2015 09:43:34 +0000
Iran plans to buy 80-90 Boeing, Airbus planes a year, post sanctions Iran plans to buy as many as 90 planes per year from Boeing and Airbus to revamp its antiquated fleet once Western sanctions are lifted, its state news agency IRNA quoted a senior aviation official as saying on Sunday.

"Iran will buy a total of 80-90 planes per year from the two aviation giants in the first phase of renovating its air fleet," said Mohammad Khodakarami, the caretaker director of Iran's Civil Aviation Organization, according to IRNA.

Last month's nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers has raised the prospect of banking and trade sanctions on Iran being lifted, perhaps around the end of this year, which would mean a chance to renew a fleet of commercial aircraft whose average age of 23 years is almost twice the international average.

"We will purchase planes from Boeing and Airbus in equal numbers," Khodakarami was quoted as saying, adding that Iran would initially need to add at least 80 planes to its fleet each year. That would mean a total of 300 planes within five years, he added.

Iran will finance the purchases through mechanisms including leasing, foreign loans and state funds, Khodakarami said.

Iranian and Western industry officials had earlier estimated that Iran, a country of 80 million people, would need a total of 400 aircraft in the next decade, assuming implementation of the nuclear deal proceeds smoothly and the sanctions are lifted.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

]]> (Imaduddin)South AsiaSun, 02 Aug 2015 09:40:01 +0000
Malaysia's PM Najib says Qatar, China interested in 1MDB assets LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Qatar and China have expressed an interest in the assets of debt-laden state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), state news agency Bernama reported on Saturday.

1MDB, the centre of several investigations over graft and its management of funds, is seeking to offload assets parked under its power unit Edra Global Energy Bhd, and sell developmental rights in its high-profile property projects.

Najib said Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani had indicated that the Qatar Investment Authority was keen to view 1MDB assets and purchase land in its Bandar Malaysia project.

The two leaders met in Malaysia on Friday.

He also said China's Ambassador to Malaysia had expressed his country's interest.

The fund, whose advisory board is chaired by Najib, is looking to pare down $11 billion of debt. It has 14 power assets which could be worth up to 18 billion ringgit ($4.73 billion), sources told Reuters in June.

Najib said the government has a plan to reduce 1MDB's debt, but needs six months.

"We have a programme to reduce the debts of 1MDB, and the programme is viable. We have to give it time. I would say we need about six months," he was quoted as saying at an event on Saturday.

Tenaga, Malaysia's national power firm, said last month that it had submitted an indicative non-binding proposal to acquire the five domestic and eight international power assets of 1MDB's power firm Edra Global.

Malaysian police raided 1MDB's office in July, following a report that claimed investigators looking into the firm found nearly $700 million had been transferred to the prime minister's bank account.

Najib has denied taking any money for personal gain and said the corruption allegations are part of a campaign to force him out of office.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

]]> (Imaduddin)South AsiaSat, 01 Aug 2015 13:22:38 +0000
One dead as gunmen open fire at Sri Lanka election rally Unidentified gunmen opened fire at an election campaign rally in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo on Friday, killing a woman and wounding at least 12 people, police said.

The attackers sprayed bullets into the crowd just after Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake left the venue, marking the first major violence ahead of the August 17 parliamentary elections.

"The gunmen travelled in two vehicles and escaped in the same vehicles after the shooting spree," police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera told AFP.

"A woman was killed and 12 wounded persons have been admitted to the Colombo National hospital."

Election monitors expressed surprise at the shooting in Colombo, where security is tight and campaigning had been mostly peaceful.

"We are puzzled by this latest turn of events in Colombo because so far it has been relatively calm and even the level of violence in other areas has been very low," said Keerthi Tennakoon, head of the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE).

The CaFFE said there had been about 55 incidences of clashes since President Maithripala Sirisena sacked parliament on June 26 and called general elections nearly a year ahead of schedule.

Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has said he will strictly enforce poll laws and has pledged to ensure a free and fair election in August.

Next month's election will be the first vote since a recent constitutional amendment that gave more powers to Deshapriya to run the process independently.

Police said they had launched an operation to track down the gunmen behind the attack.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Parvez Jabri)South AsiaFri, 31 Jul 2015 09:34:34 +0000
Iran launches charm offensive among wary Gulf Arabs Iran's foreign minister began a charm offensive in the Gulf on Sunday to defend a nuclear deal seen by some Arab states as heralding greater Iranian support for armed groups and governments opposed to the hereditary monarchies.

Most Gulf Arab states are worried that Iran's July 14 accord with world powers will hasten detente between Tehran and Washington, emboldening Tehran to increase backing for Middle Eastern allies at odds with Gulf Arab countries.

The minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, began a one-day, three-country tour by visiting Kuwait. He was due to go on to Qatar and then Iraq.

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, accompanying Zarif, said the goal of this visit was "strengthening ties and developing cooperation is all the fields" with Iran's neighbours.

"The fight against extremism and violence as well as strengthening regional ties are a fundamental necessity to achieve sustainable development and security in the region," Amir-Abdollahian told Iran's state news broadcaster.

Most Sunni Muslim-ruled Gulf Arab states have long accused Tehran of interference in Arab affairs, alleging financial or armed support for political movements in countries including Bahrain, Yemen and Lebanon.

Shi'ite power Iran denies interference but says the nuclear deal will not change its policies in the region.


Ahead of his Gulf visit, Zarif said in a statement posted on his ministry's website late on Friday that Tehran would continue supporting its allies in Syria and Iraq to fight against militant group Islamic State.

Echoing that message in a speech on Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on a visit to Iran's Kurdistan Province: "The Iranian nation supports all oppressed nations."

"If it wasn't for Iran, Erbil and Baghdad would have also fallen to the terrorists (of Islamic State) ... Just as we defended Dahuk, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah (in Iraqi Kurdistan), if any country in the whole region is a victim of aggression, the Iranian nation will defend the oppressed," Rouhani added.

Bahrain said on Saturday it had foiled an arms smuggling plot by two Bahrainis with ties to Iran and announced the recall of the Gulf island kingdom's ambassador to Tehran for consultations after what it said were repeated hostile Iranian statements.

Commenting on the allegation, Iranian deputy foreign minister Hassan Ghashghavi noted Bahrain's government disagreed with Iran's "support of oppressed people in their country".

"However we will continue doing so and we insist that the oppressed people of Bahrain need attention," he said.

Copyright Reuters, 2015
]]> (Imaduddin)South AsiaSun, 26 Jul 2015 10:43:57 +0000
India PM promises billions to Bihar as elections loom Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday took his political campaign to the impoverished state of Bihar, promising billions of dollars for infrastructure projects as he seeks to win support ahead of crucial elections there.

Modi committed to allocate funds amounting to some $5.8 billion over five years to help develop the eastern state, as he addressed a gathering in state capital Patna.

The Hindu nationalist premier also launched railway, highway, gas and energy projects, already approved by the central government, before inaugurating a premier engineering college. The state goes to polls in November.

"We believe that states must progress. The gas pipeline and rail projects would lead to development and improve the quality of life of the people in the state," he said.

Modi's right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept to power last May, pledging to reform and revive a flagging economy.

While the BJP has a majority in the lower house of the parliament, it has only about a quarter of the 245 members in the upper house, where seats are distributed based on the strength of political parties in state assemblies.

That has allowed the opposition parties to block the government's critical land, taxation and other legislative reforms needed to overhaul the economy.

Bihar, India's third-most populous state, has never been ruled by BJP on its own with elections being traditionally won by regional parties and alliances.

Two powerful local leaders in Bihar -- Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav -- recently buried their differences to take on the BJP in the elections.

Taking a swipe at his rivals, Modi, 64, said development in Bihar should not be held hostage by petty politics.

"We have seen how much politics can harm development work. It's only the common people who suffer. Nothing should come in the way of development," he said.

Security was tight at the events that Modi attended in view of the bomb blasts that had killed six people during his public rally in Patna in 2013 shortly before he took the stage.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Imaduddin)South AsiaSat, 25 Jul 2015 13:57:51 +0000
Maldives sacks vice-president for 'treason' The Maldives parliament has sacked the country's vice-president and accused him of treason, as international concern mounts over the state of democracy on the honeymoon islands.

Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday evening to oust Mohamed Jameel, who was the running mate of President Abdulla Yameen in a controversial 2013 election but has now fallen out with him.

The 45-year-old, who was abroad at the time of the vote, was also accused of colluding with the opposition, although the precise nature of the charge remains unclear.

Yameen's defence minister has also been jailed on charges of trying to topple the government.

Yameen already faces international criticism for the jailing of the country's main opposition leader and former president Mohamed Nasheed for 13 years on charges of terrorism.

The United Nations said the trial of Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected leader, was "vastly unfair", while US Secretary of State John Kerry warned that democracy was under threat.

Jameel had fallen out with Yameen, the half-brother of former Maldivian strongman Maumoon Abdul Gayoom who ruled for three decades till 2008.

The former vice-president, who was not allowed to defend himself in parliament, accused Yameen of undermining the rule of law.

"This is a testament to the state of the rule of law in the Maldives," he said in a statement quoted by the local Minivan News service.

"Every act was planned at driving a wedge between myself and the people who elected me. My reputation was threatened and finally I started receiving threats to my life."

The image of the Maldives as an upmarket tourist destination has been dented by political unrest since the toppling of Nasheed in February 2012.

Yameen came to power in 2013 after a run-off vote that had been delayed on the orders of the supreme court following a first-round election led by Nasheed.

Jameel is tipped to be replaced by tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb, a strong supporter of the president.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Parvez Jabri)South AsiaWed, 22 Jul 2015 08:19:01 +0000
27 crushed to death in India holy river stampede A stampede on the banks of a holy river killed at least 27 pilgrims Tuesday in southern India, signalling a tragic beginning to a religious festival season, officials said.

The stampede broke out at around 8:00 am (0230 GMT) in Rajahmundry, on the border of the twin states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, about two hours after the start of the Maha Pushkaralu festival which sees thousands of people bathe in the waters of the Godavari river.

"Twenty-seven people have now been confirmed dead in the stampede and another 29 are injured," a spokesman for Andhra Pradesh's Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu said after police earlier put the number of dead at five.

"At least two of the 29 injured are critical," the spokesman Parakala Prabhakar told AFP.

While the identities of all the victims had yet to become clear, a senior police officer said the dead included at least four women and a 15-year-old girl.

"The incident happened as the first set of worshippers were coming out of the river after taking a dip and then got in the way of others who wanted to be in the water at an auspicious time," A. Srinivasan Rao, a deputy superintendent of police in Andhra Pradesh, told AFP.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Parvez Jabri)South AsiaTue, 14 Jul 2015 08:06:55 +0000
Roadside bombs kill 12 civilians in Afghanistan: officials At least 12 civilians were killed in twin roadside bomb blasts in Afghanistan, officials said Sunday, blaming the attacks on the Taliban as the militants intensify their summer offensive.

A roadside bomb ripped through a passenger van on Saturday in Tagab district of Kapisa, an often restive province in the mountains east of the Afghan capital Kabul, killing 10 civilians and wounding six others, provincial officials said.

"A civilian van travelling from Kabul to Alasay district of Kapisa hit a roadside bomb planted by the Taliban," Qais Qaderi, a spokesman for the provincial governor, told AFP.

"Ten civilians, all men, were killed. Three children and three women were wounded," he said.

Abdul Karim Fayeq, the provincial police chief, confirmed the incident and blamed the Taliban for the blast.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack but roadside bombs have been the Taliban's weapon of choice in their war against foreign and Afghan security forces, now in its 14th year.

The bombs also increasingly kill and wound civilians.

Mohammad Hussain Sanjari, head of the provincial council of Kapisa, said the wounded civilians were taken to a local hospital for treatment.

In another incident, at least two civilians were killed and four civilians and two police were wounded when a police vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Kunduz city on Sunday, provincial police spokesman Sayed Sarwar Husseini told AFP.

The insurgents launched a countrywide offensive in late April, stepping up attacks on government and foreign targets in what is expected to be the bloodiest fighting season in a decade.

The Taliban, who promised to "safeguard" civilian lives during their offensive, are known to distance themselves from attacks that result in high civilian casualties.

The surge in insurgents attacks has taken a heavy toll on ordinary Afghans, according to the UN mission in Afghanistan.

Almost 1,000 civilians were killed during the first four months of this year, a sharp jump from the same period last year, the UN said.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Imaduddin)South AsiaSun, 12 Jul 2015 15:47:37 +0000
Bomb kills three children in south Afghanistan: officials Three children were killed on Saturday when a bomb exploded in the restive southern Afghan city of Kandahar, officials said.

The victims, all under the age of 10, had entered an empty shop to shelter from the hot summer sun when a bomb hidden inside went off, killing three and wounding six other children, according to provincial police spokesman Zia Durani.

"The explosives had been hidden in the shop and went off as the kids, all students of a nearby madrassa, tried to get rest in it," Durani said.

A spokesman for the provincial governor confirmed the blast, blaming the Taliban, who have been waging a bloody insurgency since late-2001.

The insurgents launched a countrywide offensive in late April, stepping up attacks on government and foreign targets in what is expected to be the bloodiest fighting season in a decade.

The Taliban, who promised to "safeguard" civilian lives during their offensive, are known to distance themselves from attacks that result in high civilian casualties.

The surge in insurgents attacks has taken a heavy toll on ordinary Afghans, according to the UN mission in Afghanistan.

Almost 1,000 civilians were killed during the first four months of this year, a sharp jump from the same period last year, it said.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Imaduddin)South AsiaSat, 11 Jul 2015 15:08:36 +0000