[Tolo News] India's low fare airline Spicejet has announced expansion of its activities by offering flights from its capital city, Delhi, to the Afghan capital, Kabul.
SpiceJet is one of the largest Indian private airline companies to offer flights three times a week to Afghanistan.
A number of private airline company officials in Afghanistan have expressed concern ...meaning the brow was mildly wrinkled, the eyebrows drawn slightly together, and a thoughtful expression assumed, not that anything was actually done or indeed that any thought was actually expended... s over the low fare competition that foreign airlines offer and the effect the competition has on national airlines.
However, Switzerland makes more than cheese... Afghanistan's Transport and Aviation Ministry is optimistic about SpiceJet's new venture into Afghanistan.
The Afghan Minister of Transport and Aviation Daoud Ali Najafi has said that "this is a free market and national airlines should improve services if they would like to compete with international companies."
Other than SpiceJet, there are seven other foreign airline companies that offer flights to Afghanistan.
LONDON - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has no way of leaving his refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London without being arrested, even if Quito grants him asylum shortly, lawyers say. The Australian has been in the embassy for eight weeks since losing a legal battle to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted to stand trial for rape.
I am truly enjoying watching Mr. Assange struggle with the decisions he has made...
Assange denies the accusations made by two female WikiLeaks supporters. He fears Sweden could send him on to the United States, where he believes authorities want to punish him for publishing thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables on WikiLeaks in 2010 in a major embarrassment for Washington.
We wouldn't mind...
President Rafael Correa, who is openly sympathetic to Assange, is expected to decide on his asylum request this week. However, approval would offer no legal protection in Britain where police will arrest him once they get a chance.
"The question of asylum is arguably a red herring," said former British government lawyer Carl Gardner.
Assange, who is also liable to arrest for skipping bail, would still have to find a way of getting from central London to South America without passing through British territory.
"I can't see the UK backing down and just allowing him safe passage out of the country," said Rebecca Niblock, an extradition specialist at London law firm Kingsley Napley. "I think the UK will see their obligations under the European extradition system as overriding any diplomatic relations with Ecuador, who haven't really been considering their diplomatic relations with the UK, apparently."
Assange would be protected from arrest if travelling in a diplomatic car, but the embassy is on the first floor of a building that is being watched by police day and night.
The tall red-brick block just behind the Harrods department store also houses the Colombian embassy and private apartments. A police van was parked outside the main entrance on Wednesday and police officers were patrolling the area in pairs.
The property has several gated entrances and a private car park, but the Ecuadorean embassy is not linked internally with any of them, making the front entrance its only point of exit, a security manager at the building told Reuters.
So long as the Bobbies' don't have the place surrounded 'Saudi style'...
"There is no other exit. He is going to have to come out of the main entrance," said the manager, who asked not to be named. "There is no way to bring a vehicle in because the car park is private and it is not connected in any way to their premises."
He added: "He can climb out of a window, of course, but there are CCTV cameras everywhere."
Even if he somehow managed to get out of the building and into a waiting car unnoticed by police, he would have to leave the vehicle at some point to board a flight out of Britain, offering more opportunities for his arrest.
Other scenarios lawyers are discussing on the Internet include smuggling him out in a diplomatic bag, which would be illegal, or appointing him as an Ecuadorean diplomat to give him immunity. But lawyers and diplomats said neither was realistic.
Even if Assange were willing to try his luck packed in a crate all the way to Quito, a risky plan by any measure, it seems unlikely Ecuador would attempt such a scheme.
Nigeria tried it in 1984, when it had a former minister accused of corruption kidnapped in London and shipped out in a crate, but the plan was foiled and ridicule ensued.
A diplomatic appointment by Ecuador in London would not help either because Britain would have to approve that, and it has no incentive to do so.
The possibility of appointing Assange as an Ecuadorean envoy to the United Nations has been raised, but that would be open to legal challenge.
Assange has not said publicly why he chose to seek refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy. Whatever his motivations, lawyers said his supporters' warnings that he could face the death penalty if sent to the United States were unfounded.
"There may be people in the USA who think he should be tried for capital crimes, convicted, and executed," wrote lawyer Francis FitzGibbon on his blog. "But while he remains in the jurisdiction of the UK or Sweden, that's not going to happen."
Both countries are signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights, which prevents them from extraditing anybody to a country where they would risk the death penalty. The United States would have to give assurances that Assange would not face ill treatment or death in order to obtain his extradition from either London or Stockholm.
If Assange's main motivation is fear of a transfer to the United States, his determination to remain in Britain rather than going to Sweden to defend himself is puzzling.
"Why would the U.S. not just request his extradition from here where it's pretty easy? It's not easier from Sweden," said Niblock.
The British government has said it was determined to fulfil its legal obligation to extradite Assange to Sweden. Britain's Supreme Court has ruled the Swedish arrest warrant was valid and Assange should be sent to Stockholm. Before he went to the embassy, Assange was free on bail pending the outcome of Sweden's extradition request. By holing up in the embassy, he has breached his bail conditions.
A growing number of South Korea Army officers are denouncing the smart phone as the most powerful weapon the North Koreans have. The problem is that nearly all South Korean soldiers own smart phones and will go to great lengths to hang on to them, even when forbidden to carry them while on duty. In many cases, smart phones are not allowed on military bases. All this because smart phones distract soldiers from their work, especially boring chores like guard duty.
This was discovered, with increasing frequency over the last few years as NCOs and officers out, especially at night, checking up on the guards, found the troops engrossed in some smart phone game, or texting or reading an e-book. Despite a growing number of soldiers being punished for having, and misusing, smart phones on duty, troops continue to risk using the devices.
Some military psychologists are describing this attachment to their cell phones as an addiction. South Korea already recognizes addiction to the Internet or computer games as something worthy of serious medical care. All this is compounded by the fact that most South Korean soldiers are conscripts, who don't want to be in the military anyway. During my brief visit to Korea last month, I was surprised to see soldiers with earrings and non-buzzcut hair and such.
Another problem with cell phones in the hands of soldiers is the amount of secret military information that gets leaked via Facebook pages and the Internet in general. South Korean intelligence experts know that North Korea has security analysts who do nothing but monitor the Internet for stuff South Korean soldiers have posted on line. This adds up to a lot of very detailed information (including lots of pictures and videos) on the South Korean military, what it is up to and what it is planning.
China said it would lodge a complaint with Japan after it detained Chinese activists who landed on a disputed island and raised a flag on Wednesday, as tension between Japan and its neighbors escalated on the anniversary of the end of World War Two.
The landing by the activists on an island chain in the East China Sea and their detention by Japan's coastguard came on a day of regional diplomatic jousting, underscoring how history haunts Japan's ties with China and South Korea.
Earlier, South Korea prompted an official protest from Japan after comments by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak which some saw as going too far by insulting Japanese Emperor Akihito.
And in a move likely to add to the anger of Japan's neighbors, two Japanese cabinet ministers paid homage at a controversial Tokyo shrine for the war dead. Chicoms throwing their weight around...again. Videos at link. If you don't want China to claim it, call it something other than the East China Sea...
* CHINESE MILITARY FORUM > [Xinhua]JAPANESE EMPEROR SHOULD APOLOGIZE BEFORE [scheduling or making any] VISIT: LEE MYUNG-BAK, for Japan's alleged abuses + atrocities during its 1910-1945 occupation of Korea.
AMIENS, FRANCE: The French city of Amiens yesterday began a costly cleanup after two nights of rioting that left France again asking itself what to do about marginalized urban neighbourhoods that have regularly erupted into violence in the past decade.
The city's northern quarter was calm overnight, 24 hours after rampaging youts youths torched cars and public buildings, hurled explosives improvised from fireworks and fired buckshot at police.
Still nothing in the press on the specific identity of the youts...
France's Interior Ministry announced yesterday that a heavy police presence would be maintained in the neighbourhood for several days to ensure there was no repeat. Around 250 officers were deployed overnight following clashes in which 16 officers were injured, one of them seriously.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls promised a crackdown on "troublemakers" would be balanced by attempts to foster a partnership between police and the local community in order to avoid further conflict.
Gilles Demailly, the mayor of the city some 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of Paris, said the cost of repairing or rebuilding public buildings that were damaged or destroyed could run to six million euros (about $7.4 million). The scale of the damage -- a sports centre and a primary school suffered extensive fire damage -- made the Amiens riot the most serious incident of its kind since the Villeneuve suburb of Grenoble exploded two years ago.
France's Socialist government has promised a tough response with Valls warning that no amount of social deprivation could excuse firing at police or burning public buildings.
In this case it's quite likely that the youths in question are, at least in part, ethnically French. Amiens was a manufacturing town that went into major decline in the 70s-80s and never quite recovered. Unemployment is quite high due to simple lack of jobs.
The comments from those in France at this blog indicate that the youts are the usual suspects.
Plenty of rust belt towns also went into decline in the US. That did not lead to riots by ethnic Americans. Riots are the result of those who believe they are entitled, powerless victims. Certain ideologies foster the development of such beliefs.
Parti Quebecois candidate Djemila Benhabib drew an outraged response from a local mayor Wednesday for saying the crucifix should be taken down from the Quebec legislature chamber.
Jean Tremblay, mayor of Saguenay, Que., and a professed Catholic, told a Montreal radio program that voters should be wary of Benhabib because she "comes from Algeria."
Tremblay said, "Our Quebec culture ... our Quebec flag -- does she know that it's the Christian cross on there?
"What shocks me ... is to see that we ... soft French Canadians, are being told how to behave, how to respect our culture by a person who comes from Algeria, and we can't even pronounce her name."
Benhabib had broken with the PQ party line in calling for the removal of the cross from the legislature. PQ Leader Pauline Marois says that while she wouldn't ban the crucifix, she would introduce a "secularism charter" that would restrict religious symbolism in the public sector.
Marois also called for an apology from the mayor. He said, "He is completely ignorant about Djemila Benhabib. (She's) been exemplary in her integration into Quebec society."
Benhabib has been Quebec's most outspoken critic of religion in general and Islam in particular. Her book "My life against the Koran" and her frequent criticism of Islamic fundamentalism has made her the target of death threats.
"I do not wish to respond to Mayor Tremblay and I do not want the debate to become focused on me," she said Wednesday in Trois-Rivieres, where she's trying to unseat the incumbent for the governing Liberals.
The district encompasses the town of Herouxville, which made headlines in 2007 when town council passed an "immigrant code of conduct."
That document included a ban on stoning women and the ensuing controversy led to a commission on the integration of immigrants into Quebec society. In an ironic twist, the commission's final report included a recommendation that the crucifix be removed from the Quebec legislature.
An Islamic version of the social networking site Facebook is set to debut in Indonesia in November. 'Salamworld', as it is called, will also have an option that allows users to ensure the content they view is 'Halal' and filter out indecent subject matter, such as pornography or drugs.
Salamworld chairman Abdul-Vakhed Niyazov said, "By filtering out harmful content and ensuring that its pages uphold and respect family values, Salamworld can be described as 'Halal Facebook', the new social networking phenomenon."
Salamworld, currently being tested by about one thousand users worldwide, would be available in eight languages, including English, Arabic, Turkish, Urdu and Russian.
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, is also the second-largest market in the world for Facebook and the third-largest for Twitter.