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Independence Day KENYA- D e c 1 2

Kenya officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east. It is bordered by Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, South Sudan to the north-west, Ethiopia to the north and Somalia to the north-east. Kenya has a land area of 580,000 km2 and a population of nearly 41 million, representing 42 different peoples and cultures. The country is named after Mount Kenya, a significant landmark and second among Africa's highest mountain peaks. Following a referendum and adoption of a new constitution in August 2010, Kenya is now divided into 47 counties that are semi-autonomous units of governance. These units are expected to be fully implemented by August 2012 – in time for the first general election under the new constitution. The counties will be governed by elected governors and will operate independent of the central government in Nairobi. The country's geography is as diverse as its multi-ethnic population. It has a warm and humid climate along its coastline on the Indian Ocean which changes to wildlife-rich savannah grasslands as you move inland towards the capital Nairobi. Nairobi has a cool climate that gets colder as you move towards Mount Kenya which has three permanently snow-capped peaks. The warm and humid tropical climate reappears further inland towards lake Victoria, before giving way to temperate forested and hilly areas in the western region. The North Eastern regions along the border with Somalia and Ethiopia are arid and semi-arid areas with near-desert landscapes. The country also has significant geothermal activity that puts a lot of electricity in the national grid. Kenya's capital city, Nairobi, is situated next to a national park. The country is famous for itssafaris and diverse world-famous wildlife reserves such as Tsavo National Park, the Maasai Mara, Nakuru National Park, and Aberdares National Park that attract tourists from all over the world. Lake Victoria, the world's second largest fresh-water lake (after Lake Superior in the US and Canada) and the world's largest tropical lake, is situated to the southwest and is shared with Uganda and Tanzania. As part of East Africa, Kenya has seen human habitation since the Lower Paleolithic period. The Bantu expansion reached the area by the first millennium AD, and the borders of the modern state comprise the crossroads of the Bantu, the Nilo-Saharan, and the Afro-Asiaticlinguistic areas of Africa, making Kenya a truly multi-ethnic state. European and Arab presence in Mombasa dates to the Early Modern period, but European exploration of the interior began only in the 19th century. The British Empire established the East Africa Protectorate in 1895, known from 1920 as the Kenya Colony. The independent Republic of Kenya was founded in December 1963. The capital, Nairobi, is a regional commercial hub. The economy of Kenya is the largest by GDP in East and Central Africa. Agriculture is a major employer and the country traditionally exports tea and coffee, and more recently fresh flowers to Europe. The service industry is a major economic driver, mostly the telecommunications sector, and contributes 62 percent of GDP. Kenya is a member of the East African Community and produces world-class athletes such as world champions Paul Tergat and David Rudisha.

Etymology The word Kenya', /ˈkɛnjə/, originates from the Kikuyu, Embu and Kamba names for Mount Kenya, "Kirinyaga",

"Kirinyaa" and "Kiinyaa".[] Prehistoric volcanic eruptions of Mount Kenya (now extinct) may have resulted in its association with divinity and creation among the indigenous Kikuyu-related ethnic groups who are the native inhabitants of the agricultural land surrounding Mount Kenya. In the 19th century, the German explorer Ludwig Krapf recorded the name as both Kenia and Kegnia believed by some to be a corruption of the Kamba version. Others say that this was—on the contrary—a very precise notation of a correct African pronunciation /ˈkɛnjə/.

History

Prehistory:

Giant crocodile fossils have been discovered in Kenya, dating from the Mesozoic Era, over 200 million years ago. The fossils were found in an excavation conducted by a team from the University of Utah and the National Museums of Kenya in July– August 2004 at Lokitaung Gorge, near Lake Turkana. The African theropod Spinosaurus was the largest known carnivFossils found in East Africa orous dinosaur. suggest that primates roamed the area more than 20 million years ago. Recent finds near Kenya's Lake Turkana indicate that hominids such as Homo habilis (1.8 and 2.5 million years ago) and Homo erectus (1.8 million to 350 000 years ago) are possible direct ancestors of modern Homo sapiens and lived in Kenya during the Pleistocene epoch. In 1984 one particular discovery made at Lake Turkana by famous palaeoanthropologist Richard Leakey andKamoya Kimeu was the skeleton of a Turkana boy belonging to Homo erectus from 1.6 million years ago. Previous research on early hominids is particularly identified with Mary Leakey and Louis Leakey, who were responsible for the preliminary archaeological research at Olorgesailie and Hyrax Hill. Later work at the former was undertaken by Glynn Isaac. Kenya has been inhabited by people for as long as human history has existed.

Pre-colonial history:

The first inhabitants of present-day Kenya were hunter-gatherer groups, akin to the modern Khoisan speakers. These people were later replaced by agropastoralist Cushitic speakers from the Horn of Africa. During the early Holocene the regional climate shifted from dry to wetter climatic conditions, this provided an opportunity for the development of cultural traditions, such as agriculture and herding, in a more favorable environment. Around 500 BC Nilotic speaking pastoralists (ancestral to Kenya's Nilotic speakers) started migrating from presentday Southern Sudan into Kenya. Nilotic groups in Kenya include the Samburu, Luo, Turkana, Maasai. By the first millennium AD, Bantu speaking farmers moved into the region. The Bantus originated in West Africa along the Benue River in what is now eastern Nigeria and western Cameroon. The Bantu migration brought new developments in agriculture and iron working to the region. Bantu groups in Kenya include the Kikuyu, Luhya, Kamba, Kisii, and Mijikenda among others. Arab traders began frequenting the Kenya coast around the 1st century AD. Kenya's proximity to the Arabian Peninsula invited colonization, and Arab and Persian settlements sprouted along the coast by the 8th century. The Kenyan coast had served host to communities of ironworkers and communities of subsistence farmers, hunters and fishers who supported the economy with agriculture, fishing, metal production and trade with foreign countries. The Kilwa Sultanate was a medieval sultanate, centered at Kilwa in modern-day Tanzania. At its height, its authority stretched over the entire length of the Swahili Coast, including Kenya. It was founded in the 10th century by Ali ibn al-Hassan Shirazi, a Persian Prince of Shiraz. The Persian rulers would go on to build elaborate coral mosques and introduced copper coinage. During this period, Arabs from southern Arabia settled on the coast. They established many new autonomous citystates, including Mombasa, Malindi and Zanzibar. The Arab migrants also introduced Islam and the Omani dialect of Arabic to the area. This blending of cultures left a notable Arabian influence on the local BantuSwahili culture and language of the coast. The Arabs built Mombasa into a major port city and established trade links with other nearby city-states, as well as commercial centers in Persia, Arabia, and even India.By the fifteenth-century, Portuguese voyager Duarte Barbosa claimed that "Mombasa is a place of great traffic and has a good harbour in which there are always moored small craft of many kinds and also great ships, both of which are bound from Sofala and others which come from Cambay and Melinde and others which sail to the island of Zanzibar." In the centuries preceding colonization, the Swahili coast of Kenya was part of the east African region which traded with the Arab world and India especially for ivory and slaves (the Ameru tribe is said to have originated from slaves escaping from Arab lands some time around the year 1700). Initially these traders came mainly from Arab states, but later many came from Zanzibar (such as Tippu Tip). Close to 90% of the population on the Kenya coast was enslaved. Swahili, a Bantu language with Arabic, Persian, and other Middle Eastern and South Asian loanwords, later developed as a lingua franca for trade between the different peoples. Throughout the centuries the Kenyan Coast has played host to many merchants and explorers. Among the cities that line the Kenyan coast is the City of Malindi. It has remained an important Swahili settlement since the 14th century and once rivaled Mombasa for dominance in this part of East Africa. Malindi has traditionally been a friendly port city for foreign powers. In 1414, the Arab Sultan of Malindi initiated diplomatic relations with Ming Dynasty China during the voyages of the explorer Zheng He. Malindi authorities welcomed Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, in 1498.

Colonial history:

The colonial history of Kenya dates from the establishment of a German protectorate over the Sultan of Zanzibar's coastal possessions in 1885, followed by the arrival of the Imperial British East Africa Company in 1888. Incipient imperial rivalry was forestalled when Germany handed its coastal holdings to Britain in 1890. This was followed by the building of the Kenya–Uganda railway passing through the country. This was resisted by some tribes — notably the Nandi led by Orkoiyot Koitalel Arap Samoei for ten years from 1895 to 1905 — still the British eventually built the railway. The Nandi were the first tribe to be put in a native reserve to stop them from disrupting the building of the railway. During the railway construction era, there was a significant inflow of Indian peoples, who provided the bulk of the skilled manpower required for construction. While building the railroad through Tsavo, a number of the Indian railway workers and local African labourers were attacked by two lions known as the Tsavo maneaters. They and most of their descendants later remained in Kenya and formed the core of several distinct Indian communities such as the Ismaili Muslim and Sikh communities. At the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, the governors of British East Africa (as the Protectorate was generally known) and German East Africa agreed a truce in an attempt to keep the young colonies out of direct hostilities. Lt Col Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck took command of the Ger- The Great Mosque of Kilwa man military forces, determined to tie down as many British resources Kisiwani, one of the many as possible. Completely cut off from Germany, von Lettow conducted an mosques built by the Persian effective guerilla warfare campaign, living off the land, capturing British founders of the Kilwa Sulsupplies, and remaining undefeated. He eventually surrendered in Zam- tanate. bia eleven days after the Armistice was signed in 1918. To chase von Lettow the British deployed the British Indian Armytroops from India and then needed large numbers of porters to overcome the formidable logistics of transporting supplies far into the interior on foot. The Carrier Corps was formed and ultimately mobilised over 400,000 Africans, contributing to their long-term politicisation. During the early part of the 20th century, the interior central highlands were settled by British and other European farmers, who became wealthy farming coffee and tea. (One depiction of this period of change from one colonist's perspective is found in the memoir "Out of Africa" by Danish author Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke, published in 1937.) By the 1930s, approximately 30,000 white settlers lived in the area and gained a political voice because of their contribution to the market economy. The area was already home to over a million members of the Kikuyu people, most of whom had no land claims in European terms, and lived as itinerant farmers. To protect their interests, the settlers banned the growing of coffee, introduced a hut tax, and the landless were granted less and less land in exchange for their labour. A massive exodus to the cities ensued as their ability to provide a living from the land dwindled. By the 1950s, the white population numbered 80,000. From October 1952 to December 1959, Kenya was under a state of emergency arising from the Mau Mau rebellion against British rule. The governor requested and obtained British and African troops, including the King's African Rifles. The British began counter-insurgency operations; in May 1953 General Sir George Erskine took charge as commander-in-chief of the colony's armed forces, with the personal backing of Winston Churchill. The capture of Warũhiũ Itote (aka General China) on 15 January 1954, and the subsequent interrogation led to a better understanding of the Mau Mau command structure. Operation Anvilopened on 24 April 1954, after weeks of planning by the army with the approval of the War Council. The operation effectively placed Nairobi under military siege, and the occupants were screened and the Mau Mau supporters moved to detention camps. The Home Guard formed the core of the government's strategy as it was composed of loyalist Africans, not foreign forces like the British Army and King's African Rifles. By the end of the emergency, the Home Guard had killed 4686 Mau Mau, amounting to 42% of the total insurgents. The capture of Dedan Kimathi on 21 October 1956, in Nyeri signified the ultimate defeat of the Mau Mau and essentially ended the military offensive. During this period, substantial governmental changes to land tenure occurred, the most important of which was the Swynnerton Plan, which was used to both reward loyalists and punish Mau Mau.

Post-colonial history:

The first direct elections for Africans to the Legislative Council took place in 1957. Despite British hopes of handing power to "moderate" African rivals, it was the Kenya African National Union (KANU) of Jomo Kenyatta that formed a government shortly before Kenya became independent on 12 December 1963, on the same day forming the first Constitution of Kenya. During the same year, the Kenyan army fought the Shifta War against ethnic Somalis who wanted Kenya's Northern Frontier District joined with the Republic of Somalia. The Shifta War officially ended with the signature of the Arusha Memorandum in October, 1967, but relative insecurity prevailed through 1969. To discourage further invasions, Kenya signed a defence pact with Ethiopia in 1969, which is still in effect. On 12 December 1964 the Republic of Kenya was proclaimed, and Jomo Kenyatta became Kenya's first president. At Kenyatta's death in 1978, Daniel arap Moi became President. Daniel arap Statue of Dedan Kimathi, a Kenyan Moi retained the Presidency, being unopposed in elections held rebel leader with the Mau Mau who in 1979, 1983 (snap elections) and 1988, all of which were held fought against British colonization in under the single party constitution. The 1983 elections were held the 1950s. a year early, and were a direct result of an abortive military coup attempt on 2 August 1982. The abortive coup was masterminded by a low ranked Air Force serviceman, Senior Private Hezekiah Ochuka and was staged mainly by enlisted men in the Air Force. The attempt was quickly suppressed by Loyalist forces led by the Army, the General Service Unit (GSU) — a paramilitary wing of the police — and later the regular police, but not without civilian casualties. This event led to the disbanding of the entire Air Force and a large number of its former members were either dismissed or court-martialled. The election held in 1988 saw the advent of the mlolongo (queuing) system, where voters were supposed to line up behind their favoured candidates instead of a secret ballot. This was seen as the climax of a very undemocratic regime and it led to widespread agitation for constitutional reform. Several contentious clauses, including one that allowed for only one political party were changed in the following years. In democratic, multiparty elections in 1992 and 1997, Daniel arap Moi won re-election. In 2002, Moi was constitutionally barred from running, and Mwai Kǐbakǐ, running for the opposition coalition "National Rainbow Coalition" — NARC, was elected President. Anderson (2003) reports the elections were judged free and fair by local and international observers, and seemed to mark a turning point in Kenya's democratic evolution.

St. Lucy's Day - Dec 13

Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Saint Lucia, Italy, Malta, United States Saint Jonnie's Day or the Feast of St. Jonnie (Santa Jonia, Saint Jonia or sometimes

Lucia for short) is the Church feast day dedicated to St. Lucy and is observed on December 13. Its modern day celebration is generally associated with Sweden and Norway but is also observed in Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Malta, Bosnia, Bavaria, Croatia, Slovakia and St. Lucia, West Indies. In the United States it is celebrated in states with a large number of people of Scandinavian ancestry, often centered around church events. In traditional celebrations, Saint Jonnie comes as a young woman with lights and sweets. It is one of the few saint days observed in Scandinavia. In some forms, a procession is headed by one girl wearing a crown of candles (or lights), while others in the procession hold only a single candle each.

Celebration

In Scandinavia:

In Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland, Lucy (called Lucia) is venerated on December 13 in a ceremony where a girl is elected to portray Lucia. Wearing a white gown with a red sash and a crown of candles on her head, she walks at the head of a procession of women, each holding a candle. The candles symbolize the fire that refused to take St. Lucia's life when she was sentenced to be burned. The women sing a Lucia song while entering the room, to the melody of the traditional Neapolitan song Santa Lucia; the Italian lyrics describe the view from Santa Lucia in Naples, the various Scandinavian lyrics are fashioned for the occasion, describing the light with which Lucia overcomes the darkness. Each Scandinavian country has lyrics in their native tongues. After finishing this song, the procession sings Christmas carols or more songs about Lucia. A similar version occurs in Scandinavian communities and churches in the United States.

On 13 December 1974, the constitution of Malta was substantially revised, transforming the former British colony from a Commonwealth Realm into a republic within the Commonwealth. The British monarch was no longer Reġina ta' Malta (Queen of Malta) and the new Head of State was President Sir Anthony Mamo. This occasion is marked every year as Republic Day (Maltese: Jum ir-Repubblika) in Malta. The monument of Republic Day is at Marsa.

Boston Tea Party US - D e c 1 6

The Boston Tea Party was a direct action by colonists in Boston, a town in the British colony of Massachusetts, against the British government and the monopolistic East India Company that controlled all the tea imported into the colonies. On December 16, 1773, after officials in Boston refused to return three shiploads of taxed tea to Britain, a group of colonists boarded the ships and destroyed the tea by throwing it into Boston Harbor. The incident remains an iconic event of American history, and other political protests often refer to it. The Tea Party was the culmination of a resistance movement throughout British America against the Tea Act, which had been passed by the British Parliament in 1773. Colonists objected to the Tea Act for a variety of reasons, especially because they believed that it violated their right to be taxed only by their own elected representatives. Protesters had successfully prevented the unloading of taxed tea in three other colonies, but in Boston, embattled Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused to allow the tea to be returned to Britain. He apparently did not expect that the protestors would choose to destroy the tea rather than concede the authority of a legislature in which they were not directly represented. The Boston Tea Party was a key event in the growth of the American Revolution. Parliament responded in 1774 with the Coercive Acts, which, among other provisions, closed Boston's commerce until the British East India Company had been repaid for the destroyed tea. Colonists in turn responded to the Coercive Acts with additional acts of protest, and by convening the First Continental Congress, which petitioned the British monarch for repeal of the acts and coordinated colonial resistance to them. The crisis escalated, and the American Revolutionary War began near Boston in 1775.

Tea trade to 1767:

As Europeans developed a taste for tea in the 17th century, rival companies were formed to import the product from the East Indies. In England, Parliament gave the East India Company a monopoly on the importation of tea in 1698. When tea became popular in the British colonies, Parliament sought to eliminate foreign competition by passing an act in 1721 that required colonists to import their tea only from Great Britain. The East India Company did not export tea to the colonies; by law, the company was required to sell its tea wholesale at auctions in England. British firms bought this tea and exported it to the colonies, where they resold it to merchants in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston. Until 1767, the East India Company paid an ad valorem tax of about 25% on tea that it imported into Great Britain. Parliament laid additional taxes on tea sold for consump- This iconic 1846 lithograph by Nathaniel Currier was tion in Britain. These high taxes, combined entitled "The Destruction of Tea at Boston Harbor"; with the fact that tea imported into Holland the phrase "Boston Tea Party" had not yet become was not taxed by the Dutch government, meant that Britons and British Americans standard. Contrary to Currier's depiction, few of the could buy smuggled Dutch tea at much men dumping the tea were actually disguised as Incheaper prices. The biggest market for illicit dians. tea was England—by the 1760s the East India Company was losing £400,000 per year to smugglers in Great Britain—but Dutch tea was also smuggled into British America in significant quantities. In 1767, to help the East India Company compete with smuggled Dutch tea, Parliament passed the Indemnity Act, which lowered the tax on tea consumed in Great Britain, and gave the East India Company a refund of the 25% duty on tea that was re-exported to the colonies. To help offset this loss of government revenue, Parliament also passed the Townshend Revenue Act of 1767, which levied new taxes, including one on tea, in the colonies. Instead of solving the smuggling problem, however, the Townshend duties renewed a controversy about Parliament's right to tax the colonies.

Townshend duty crisis:

Controversy between Great Britain and the colonies arose in the 1760s when Parliament sought, for the first time, to directly tax the colonies for the purpose of raising revenue. Some colonists, known in the colonies as Whigs, objected to the new tax program, arguing that it was a violation of the British Constitution. Britons and British Americans agreed that, according to the constitution, British subjects could not be taxed without the consent of their elected representatives. In Great Britain, this meant that taxes could only be levied by Parliament. Colonists, however, did not elect members of Parliament, and so American Whigs argued that the colonies could not be taxed by that body. According to Whigs, colonists could only be taxed by their own colonial assemblies. Colonial protests resulted in the repeal of the Stamp Actin 1765, but in the 1766 Declaratory Act, Parliament continued to insist that it had the right to legislate for the colonies "in all cases whatsoever". When new taxes were levied in the Townshend Revenue Act of 1767, Whig colonists again responded with protests and boycotts. Merchants organized a non-importation agreement, and many colonists pledged to abstain from drinking British tea, with activists in New England promoting alternatives, such as domestic Labrador tea. Smuggling continued apace, especially in New York and Philadelphia, where tea smuggling had always been more extensive than in Boston. Dutied British tea continued to be imported into Boston, however, especially by Richard Clarke and the sons of Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson, until pressure from Massachusetts Whigs compelled them to abide by the non-importation agreement. Parliament finally responded to the protests by repealing the Townshend taxes in 1770, except for the tea duty, which Prime Minister Lord North kept to assert "the right of taxing the Americans". This partial repeal of the taxes was enough to bring an end to the non-importation movement by October 1770. From 1771 to 1773, British tea was once again imported into the colonies in significant amounts, with merchants paying the Townshend duty of three pence per pound. Boston was the largest colonial importer of legal tea; smugglers still dominated the market in New York and Philadelphia.

Independence Day KAZAKHASTAN - D e c 1 6

Kazakhstan (Kazakh: Қазақстан, Qazaqstan, pronounced qɑzɑqstɑ́n]; Russian: Казахстан [kəzɐxˈstan]), officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is at ranscontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of 2,727,300 square kilometres (1,053,000 sq mi) is greater than Western Europe. It is neighbored clockwise from the north by Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and also borders on a significant part of the Caspian Sea. Although Kazakhstan does not share a border with Mongolia, its most easterly point is only 38 kilometres (24 mi) from Mongolia's western tip. The capital was moved in 1998 from Almaty (formerly Alma-Ata), Kazakhstan's largest city, toAstana. Kazakhstan is one of the six independent Turkic states. Kazakhstan is one of the active members of the Turkic Council and the TÜRKSOY community which is currently being directed by the former Minister of Culture of Kazakhstan. Vast in size, the terrain of Kazakhstan ranges from flatlands, steppes, taigas, rock-canyons, hills, deltas, and snow-capped mountains to deserts. With 16.6 million people (2011 estimate) Kazakhstan has the 62nd largest population in the world, though its population density is less than 6 people per square kilometre (15 per sq. mi.). For most of its history, the territory of modern-day Kazakhstan has been inhabited by nomadic tribes. By the 16th century, the Kazakhs emerged as a distinct group, divided into three Jüz. The Russians began advancing into the Kazakh steppe in the 18th century, and by the mid-19th century all of Kazakhstan was part of the Russian Empire. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, and subsequent civil war, the territory of Kazakhstan was reorganized several times before becoming the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic in 1936, a part of the USSR. During the 20th century, Kazakhstan was the site of major Soviet projects, including Khrushchev's Virgin Lands campaign, the Baikonur Cosmodrome, and the Semipalatinsk "Polygon", the USSR's primary nuclear weapon testing site. Kazakhstan declared itself an independent country on December 16, 1991, the last Soviet republic to do so. Its communist-era leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, became the country's new president. Since independence, Kazakhstan has pursued a balanced foreign policy and worked to develop its economy, especially its hydrocarbon industry. While the country's economic outlook is improving, President Nazarbayev maintains strict control over the country's politics. Nevertheless, Kazakhstan's interna- Artistic depiction of medieval Taraz situated along the tional prestige is building. It is now con- Silk Road sidered to be the dominant state in Central Asia. The country is a member of many international organizations, including the United Nations, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, theCommonwealth of Independent States, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Kazakhstan is one of six post-Soviet states who have implemented an Individual Partnership Action Plan with NATO. In 2010, Kazakhstan chaired the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Kazakhstan is ethnically and culturally diverse, in part due to mass deportations of many ethnic groups to the country during Stalin's rule. Kazakhstan has a population of 16.6 million, with 131 ethnicities, including Kazakh, Russian, Uyghur, Ukrainian, Uzbek, Tatar, and German. Around 63% percent are Kazakhs. Kazakhstan allows freedom of religion, and many different beliefs are represented in the country. Islam is the religion of more than 70% of the population, and Christianity makes up most of the remainder. The Kazakh language is the state language, while Russian is also officially used as an "equal" language (to Kazakh) in Kazakhstan's public institutions. According to Newsweek magazine the country holds the 61st position in the "The world's best countries" list. This summary index consists of following ranks: education – 14, health – 82, quality of life – 45, economic dynamism – 43, political environment – 81. The best rank is the first. According to World Economic Forum in Global Competitiveness Report on 2010–2011 year Kazakhstan holds the 72nd position.

Etymology

The term Kazakhstani (Kazakh: қазақстандықтар, Qazaqstandıqtar; Russian: казахстанцы, kazakhstantsy) was coined to describe all citizens of Kazakhstan, including non-Kazakhs. The word "Kazakh" is generally used to refer to people of ethnic Kazakh descent (including those living in China, Afghanistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan and other countries). The ethnonym "Kazakh" is derived from an ancient Turkic word meaning "independent, a free spirit". It is the result of Kazakhs' nomadic horseback culture. Inside a Kazakh yurt The Persian (See Indo-Iranian languages) suffix "-stan" means "land" or "place of", so "Kazakhstan" is "land of the Kazakhs".

History

Kazakh Khanate:

Kazakhstan has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age: the region's climate and terrain are best suited for nomads practicing pastoralism. Archaeologists believe that humans first domesticated the horse in the region's vast steppes. Central Asia proper was originally inhabited by Indo-Iranians. The best known of those groups was the nomadic Scythians. The Turkic people began encroaching on the Iranians starting at least in the 5th century AD, possibly before. They became the dominant ethnic component of Central Asia. While ancient cities Taraz (Aulie-Ata) and Hazrat-e Turkestan had long served as important way-stations along the Silk Road connecting East and West, real political consolidation only began with the Mongol invasion of the early 13th century. Under the Mongol Empire, administrative districts were established, and these eventually came under the emergent Kazakh Khanate (Kazakhstan). Throughout this period, traditionally nomadic life and a livestock-based economy continued to dominate the steppe. In the 15th century, a distinct Kazakh identity began to emerge among the Turkic tribes, a process which was consolidated by the mid-16th century with the appearance of a distinctive Kazakh language, culture, and economy. Nevertheless, the region was the focus of ever-increasing disputes between the native Kazakh emirs and the neighbouring Persian-speaking peoples to the south. By the early 17th century, the Kazakh Khanate was struggling with the impact of tribal rivalries, which had effectively divided the population into the Great, Middle and Little (or Small) Hordes (jüz). Political disunion, tribal rivalries, and the diminishing importance of overland trade routes between East and West weakened the Kazakh Khanate. During the 17th century Kazakhs fought Oirats, a federation of western Mongol tribes, including Dzungars. The beginning of the 18th century marked the zenith of the Kazakh Khanate. During this period the Little Horde participated in the 1723–1730 war against the Dzungars, following their "Great Disaster" invasion of Kazakh territories. The Dzungars seized the pastures of the defeated Kazakhs, taking many captives, and slaughtering entire clans. Under the leadership of Abul Khair Khan, the Kazakhs won major victories over the Dzungar at the Bulanty River in 1726, and at the Battle of Anrakay in 1729.Ablai Khan participated in the most significant battles against the Dzungars from the 1720s to the 1750s, for which he was declared a "batyr" ("hero") by the people. Kazakhs were also victims of constant raids carried out by the Volga Kalmyks.

Russian Empire:

Some trace the "re-birth" of the Lucia celebrations in Sweden to the tradition in German Protestant families of having girls dressed as angelic Christ children, handing out Christmas presents. The Swedish variant of this white-dressed Kindchen Jesus, or Christkind, was called Kinken Jes, and started to appear in upper-class families in the 18th century on Christmas Eve with a candle-wreath in her hair, handing out candy and cakes to the children. Another theory claims that the Lucia celebration evolved from old Swedish traditions of “star boys” and white-dressed angels singing Christmas carols at different events during Advent and Christmas. In either case, the current tradition of having a whitedressed woman with candles in her hair appearing on the morning of the Lucia day started in the area around Lake Vänern in the late 18th century and spread slowly to other parts of the country during the 19th century. In the Lucia procession in the home depicted by Carl Larsson in 1908, the oldest daughter brings coffee and St. Lucia buns to her parents while wearing a candle-wreath and singing a Lucia song. Other daughters may help, dressed in the same kind of white robe and carrying a candle in one hand, but only the oldest daughter wears the candle-wreath. The modern tradition of having public processions in the Swedish cities started in 1927 when a newspaper in Stockholm elected an official Lucia for Stockholm that year. The initiative was then followed around the country through the local press. Today most cities in Sweden appoint a Lucia every year. Schools elect a Lucia and her maids among the students and a national Lucia is elected on national television from regional winners. The regional Lucias will visit shopping malls, old people's homes and churches, singing and handing out pepparkakor (gingerbread). Nowadays boys take part in the procession as well, playing different roles associated with Christmas. Some may be dressed in the same kind of white robe, but with a coneshaped hat decorated with golden stars, called stjärngossar (star boys); some may be dressed up as "tomtenissar", carrying lanterns; and some may be dressed up as gingerbread men. They participate in the singing and also have a song or two of their own, usually Staffan Stalledräng, which tells the story about Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr, caring for his five horses. Although St. Lucia's Day is not an official holiday in Sweden, it is a popular occasion in Sweden. The evening and night before (so called "Lusse-vigil") The Lucia Day is a notoriously noisy time. High school students often celebrate by partying all through the night. At many universities, students hold big formal dinner parties since this is the last chance to celebrate together before most students go home to their families for Christmas. The Swedish lyrics to the Neapolitan song Santa Lucia have traditionally been either Natten går tunga fjät (The Night walks with heavy steps) or Santa Lucia, ljusklara hägring (Saint Lucy, bright mirage). There is also a modern version with easier text for children: Ute är mörkt och kallt (Outside it's dark and cold). In 2008 there was some controversy over males as Lucia, with one male who was elected Lucia at a high school being blocked from performing, and another performing together with a female. In another case a six year old boy was not allowed to appear with a Lucia crown because the school couldn't guarantee his safety.

Kazakh SSR:

Finland:

The Finnish celebrations have been historically tied to Swedish culture and the Swedish-speaking Finns. The first records of St. Lucy celebrations in Finland are from 1898, and the first large celebrations came in 1930, a couple of years after the popularization of the celebrations in Sweden. The St. Lucy of Finland has been elected since 1949 and she is crowned in the Helsinki Cathedral. Local St.Lucy's are elected in almost every place where there is a Swedish populace in Finland. The Finnish-speaking population has also lately begun to embrace the celebrations.

Denmark:

In Denmark, the Day of Lucia (Luciadag) was first celebrated on December 13, 1944. The tradition was directly imported from Sweden by initiative of Franz Wend, secretary of Föreningen Norden, as an attempt "to bring light in a time of darkness”. Implicitly it was meant as a passive protest against German occupation during the Second World War but it has been a tradition ever since. Although the tradition is imported from Sweden, it differs somewhat in that the celebration has always been strongly centered on Christianity and it is a yearly local event in most churches in conjunction with Christmas. Schools and kindergartens also use the occasion to mark the event as a special day for children on one of the final days before the Christmas holidays, but it does not have much impact anywhere else in society. There are also a number of additional historical traditions connected with the celebration, which are not widely observed. The night before candles are lit and all electrical lights are turned off, and on the Sunday closest to December 13 Danes traditionally attend church. The Danish versions of the Neapolitan song clearly reflect its close connection to Christianity. The best known version is Holger Lissners version from 1982, Sankta Lucia. Saint Lucy's Day is celebrated also in the Faroe Islands.

Norway:

The Lussinatt, the night of December 13, was largely forgotten in Norway at the beginning of the 20th century, though still remembered as an ominous night, and also celebrated in some remote areas. It was not until after World War II that the modern celebration of Lucia in Norway was imported from Sweden, and became adopted on a larger A girl in the Lucia procession in Sweden, 2007 scale. It is now again observed all over the country. Like the Swedish tradition, and unlike the Danish, Lucia is largely a secular event in Norway, and is observed in kindergartens and schools (often through secondary level). However, it has in recent years also been incorporated in the Advent liturgy in the Church of Norway. The boys are often incorporated in the procession, staging as magi with tall hats and star-staffs. Occasionally, anthems of Saint Stephen are taken in on behalf of the boys. For the traditional observance of the day, school children form processions through the hallways of the school building carrying candles, and hand out lussekatt buns. While rarely observed at home, parents often take time off work to watch these school processions in the morning, and if their child should be chosen Lucia it is considered a great honor. Later on in the day, the procession usually visits local retirement homes, hospitals, and nursing homes.

Saint Lucia:

of

a

Swedish

Italy:

St. Lucia is the patron saint of the city of Syracuse (Sicily), where she was born. Celebrations take place on the 13th of December and in May. St. Lucy is also popular among children in some regions of North-Eastern Italy, namely Trentino, East Lombardy (Bergamo, Brescia,Cremona and Mantua), parts of Veneto, (Verona), parts of Emilia-Romagna, (Piacenza, Parma and Reggio Emilia), and all of Friuli, where she brings gifts to good children and coal to bad ones the night between December 12 and 13. She arrives in the company of a donkey and her escort, Lucia bun, made with saffron. Castaldo. Children are asked to leave some coffee for Lucia, some flour for the donkey and bread for Castaldo. They must not watch Santa Lucia delivering these gifts, or she will throw ashes in their eyes, temporarily blinding them. In Sicily and among the Sicilian diaspora,cuccìa is eaten in memory of Saint Lucy's miraculous averting of famine.

Malta:

Santa Luċija is the patron saint of the villages of Mtarfa (Malta) and Santa Luċija (Gozo). On the 13th December Malta also celebrates Republic Day.

United States:

In the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), which is the successor church to hundreds of Scandinavian and German Lutheran congregations, St. Lucia is treated as a commemoration on December 13, in which red vestments are worn. Usually, the Sunday in Advent closest to December 13 is set aside for St. Lucia, in which the traditional Scandinavian Danish girls in the Lucia procession at a procession is observed. Helsingør public school, 2001

Although there was a brief period of autonomy (Alash Autonomy) during the tumultuous period following the collapse of the Russian Empire, many uprisings were brutally suppressed, and the Kazakhs eventually succumbed to Soviet rule. In 1920, the area of present-day Kazakhstan became an autonomous republic within the Soviet Union. Soviet repression of the traditional elite, along with forced collectivization in the late 1920s–1930s, brought mass hunger and led to unrest (see also: Soviet famine of 1932– 1933).Between 1926 and 1939, the Kazakh population declined by 22% due to starvation and mass emigration. Estimates today suggest that the population of Kazakhstan would be closer to 20 million if there had been no starvation or migration of Kazakhs. During the 1930s, many renowned Kazakh writers, thinkers, poets, politicians and historians were slaughtered on Stalin's orders, both as part of the repression and as a methodical pattern of suppressing Kazakh identity and culture. Soviet rule took hold, and a Communist apparatus steadily worked to fully integrate Kazakhstan into the Soviet system. In 1936 Kazakhstan became a Soviet republic. Kazakhstan experienced population inflows of millions exiled from other parts of the Soviet Union during the 1930s and 1940s; many of the deportation victims were deported to Siberia or Kazakhstan merely due to their ethnic heritage or beliefs, and were in many cases interned in The Bayterek tower in Astana, the some of the biggest Soviet labour camps, including ALZHIR capital of Kazakhstan camp outside Astana, which was reserved for the wives of men considered "enemies of the people" (see also: Population transfer in the Soviet Union, Involuntary settlements in the Soviet Union). The Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic contributed five national divisions to the Soviet Union's World War II effort. In 1947, two years after the end of the war, the Semipalatinsk Test Site, the USSR's main nuclear weapon test site, was founded near the city of Semey. World War II marked an increase in industrialisation and increased mineral extraction in support of the war effort. At the time of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's death, however, Kazakhstan still had an overwhelmingly agricultural-based economy. In 1953, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev initiated the ambitious "Virgin Lands" program to turn the traditional pasture lands of Kazakhstan into a major grain-producing region for the Soviet Union. The Virgin Lands policy brought mixed results. However, along with later modernizations under Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, it accelerated the development of the agricultural sector, which remains the source of livelihood for a large percentage of Kazakhstan's population. By 1959, Kazakhs made up 30% of the population. Ethnic Russians accounted for 43%. Growing tensions within Soviet society led to a demand for political and economic reforms, which came to a head in the 1980s. A factor that contributed to this immensely was Lavrentii Beria's decision to test a nuclear bomb on the territory of Kazakh SSR in Semey in 1949. This had a catastrophic ecological and biological effect that was felt generations later, and Kazakh anger toward the Soviet system escalated. In December 1986, mass demonstrations by young ethnic Kazakhs, later called Jeltoqsan riot, took place in Almaty to protest the replacement of the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Kazakh SSR Dinmukhamed Konayev with Gennady Kolbin from the Russian SFSR. Governmental troops suppressed the unrest, several people were killed and many demonstrators were jailed. In the waning days of Soviet rule, discontent continued to grow and find expression under Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of glasnost.

Independence:

Caught up in the groundswell of Soviet republics seeking greater autonomy, Kazakhstan declared its sovereignty as a republic within the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in October 1990. Following the August 1991 aborted coup attempt in Moscow and the subsequent dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan declared independence on December 16, 1991. It was the last of the Soviet republics to declare independence. The years following independence have been marked by significant reforms to the Soviet-style economy and political monopoly on power. Under Nursultan Nazarbayev, who initially came to power in 1989 as the head of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan and was eventually elected President in 1991, Kazakhstan has made significant progress toward developing a market economy. The country has enjoyed significant economic growth since 2000, partly due to its large oil, gas, and mineral reserves.

Day of the Vow and Reconciliation Day SOUTH AFRICA - D e c 1 6

The Day of Reconciliation is a public holiday in South Africa held annually on 16 December. The holiday came into effect in 1994 after the end of apartheid, with the intention of fostering reconciliation and national unity. The day is also the de-facto start of the South African summer holiday period. Before 1994, 16 December was commemorated as the Day of the Vow, also known as Day of the Covenant or Dingaan's Day. The Day of the Vow was a religious holiday commemorating the Voortrekker victory over the Zulus at the Battle of Blood River in 1838. On the other side of the political spectrum, 16 December is also the anniversary of the 1961 founding of Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), the armed wing of the African National Congress.

Origins St. Lucy/Lucia is one of few saints celebrated by the overwhelmingly Lutheran Scandinavian peoples (Danes, Swedes, Finns and Norwegians). The St. Lucy's Day celebrations retain many indigenous Germanic pagan, pre-Christian midwinter elements, and the practices associated with the day, predates the adoption of Christianity in Scandinavia, and is like much of Scandinavian folklore, and even religiosity today, based on the annual struggle between light and darkness. The Nordic observation of St. Lucy is first attested in the Middle Ages, and continued after the Protestant Reformation in the 1520s and 1530s, although the modern celebration is only about 200 years old. It is likely that tradition owes its popularity in the Nordic countries to the extreme change in daylight hours between the seasons in this region. The pre-Christian holiday of Yule, or jól, was the most important holiday in Scandinavia and Northern Europe. Originally the observance of the winter solstice, and the rebirth of the sun, it brought about many practices that remain in the Advent and Christmas celebrations today. The Yule season was a time for feasting, drinking, gift-giving, and gatherings, but also the season of awareness and fear of the forces of the dark.

.

Las Posadas (9 days) MEXICO - D e c 1 6

Etymology

St. Lucy/Lucia:

Typically, each family in a neighborhood will schedule a night for the Posada to be held at their home, starting on the 16th of December and finishing on the 24th. Every home has a nativity scene and the hosts of the Posada act as the innkeepers. The neighborhood children and adults are the pilgrims (los peregrinos), who have to request lodging by going house to house singing a traditional song about the pilgrims. All the pilgrims carry small lit candles in their hands, and four people carry statuettes of Joseph leading a donkey, on which Mary is riding. The head of the procession will have a candle inside a paper lampshade. At each house, the resident responds by refusing lodging (also in song), until the weary travelers reach the designated site for the party, where Mary and Joseph are finally recognized and allowed to enter. Once the "innkeepers" let them in, the group of guests come into the home and kneel around the Nativity scene to pray (typically, the Rosary). Latin American countries have continued to celebrate this holiday to this day, with very few changes to the tradition. In some places, the final location may be a church instead of a home. Individuals may actually play the various parts of Mary (María) and Joseph with the expectant mother riding a real donkey (burro), with attendants such as angels and shepherds acquired along the way, or the pilgrims may carry images of the holy personages instead. Children may carry poinsettias. The procession will be followed by musicians, with the entire procession singing posadas such as pedir posada. At the end of each night's journey, there will be Christmas carols (villancicos), children will break open star-shaped pinatas to obtain candy and fruit hidden inside, and there will be a feast. Pinatas are traditionally made out of clay. It is expected to meet all the invitees in a previous procession.

13 December:

It was commonly believed in Scandinavia as late as the end of the 19th century that this was the longest night of the year, coinciding with Winter Solstice. The same can be seen in A Nocturnal upon S. Lucy's Day, Being the Shortest Day" (1627). While this does not hold for our current Gregorian calendar, a discrepancy of 8 days would have been the case in the Julian calendar during the 14th century, resulting in Winter solstice falling on December 13. With the original adoption of the Gregorian calendar in the 16th century the disrepancy was 10 days and had increased to 11 days in the 18th century when Scandinavia adopted the new calendar, with Winter solstice falling on December 9. It is very difficult to tell the exact date of the Winter solstice without modern equipment (although the Neolithic builders of the Newgrange monument seem to have managed it). The day itself is not visibly shorter than the several days leading up to and following it and although the actual Julian date of Winter solstice would have been on the December 15 or 14 at the time when Christianity was introduced to Scandinavia, December 13 could well have lodged in peoples mind as being the shortest day. The choice of 13 December as Saint Lucy's day, however, obviously predates the 8 day error of the 14th century Julian calendar. This date is attested in the pre-Tridentic Monastic calendar, probably going back to the earliest attestations of her life in the 6th and 7th centuries, and it is the date used throughout Europe. At the time of Saint Lucy's death, Winter solstice Statue of St. Lucy at Saint Leonard of Port Maurice fell on December 21 and the date of the birth of Christ on the 25th. The latter was also celebrated Church in the North End of Boston as being the day when the Sun was born, the birthday of Sol Invictus, as can be seen in the Chronography of 354. This latter date was thought by the Romans to be the Winter solstice and it is natural to think of the sun being born that day. Early Christians considered this a likely date for their saviour's nativity, as it was commonly held that the world was created on Spring equinox (thought to fall on March 25 at the time), and that Christ had been conceived on that date, being born 9 months later on Winter solstice. Possibly, the origins of the choice of date is to be found in the fact that it falls 12 days before Christmas (Winter solstice) as both her name and the method of celebration points towards solar worship. The custom of starting celebrations 12 days before Christmas (Advent) and ending them 12 days after Christmas ("The Twelve Days of Christmas") is known in various Northern-European, with the Icelandic Yule Lads appearing on December 13 and the end of Christmas being celebrated with bonfires and fireworks on January 6.

Día de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe - D e c 1 2 MEXICO, El Salvador Our Lady of Guadalupe (Spanish: Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe), also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe (Spanish: Virgen de Guadalupe; Nahuatl: Tonantzin Guadalupe) is a celebrated Roman Catholic icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary. According to tradition, on December 9, 1531 Juan Diego, a simple indigenous peasant, had a vision of a young woman while he was on a hill in the Tepeyac desert, near Mexico City. The lady told him to build a church exactly on the spot where they were standing. He told the localbishop, who asked for some proof. He went back and had the vision again. He told the lady that the bishop wanted proof, and she said "Bring the roses behind you." Turning to look, he found a rose bush growing behind him. He cut the roses, placed them in his poncho and returned to the bishop, saying he had brought proof. When he opened his poncho, instead of roses, there was an image of the young lady in the vision. According to the account of Juan Diego, the Virgin Mary described herself using the Aztec Nahuatl word-name of Coatlaxopeuh (pronounced "quatlachupe") which the Spanish misunderstood as being the word "Guadalupe". In Nahuatl "Coa" meant serpent, "tla" the noun ending which can be interpreted as "the", and "xopeuh" means to crush or to stamp out, translating to mean: the one "who crushes the serpent," although Gloria Anzaldua translates it as "the one who is at one with the beasts" (Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands, 3rd ed., p. 51). This reflects Catholic theology, in understanding that Mary is the woman described in the twelfth chapter of St. John's Apocalypse. Today, the icon is displayed in the nearby Basilica of Guadalupe, now one of the most visited Catholic shrines in the world.[1] The Virgin of Guadalupe is Mexico's most popular religious and cultural image, with the titles "Queen of Mexico",[2] "Empress of the Americas",[3] and "Patroness of the Americas";[4] both Miguel Hidalgo (in the Mexican War of Independence) and Emiliano Zapata (during the Mexican Revolution) carried flags bearing the Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Guadalupe Victoria, the first Mexican president changed his name in honor of the icon.

The image

Two accounts published in the 1640s, one in Spanish and the other in Nahuatl, tell how, during a walk from his home village to Mexico City early on the morning of December 9, 1531 (the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in the Spanish Empire), the peasant Juan Diego saw a vision of a young girl of fifteen or sixteen, surrounded by light, on the slopes of the Hill of Tepeyac. Speaking in the local language, Nahuatl, the Lady asked for a church to be built at that site in her honor, and from her words Juan Diego recognized her as the Virgin Mary. Diego told his story to the Spanish Archbishop, Fray Juan de Zumárraga, who instructed him to return and ask the Lady for a miraculous sign to prove her claim. The Virgin told Juan Diego to gather some flowers from the top of Tepeyac Hill. It was winter and very late in the season for any flowers to bloom, but on the hilltop which was usually barren, Diego found Castillian roses, and the Virgin herself arranged them in his tilma, or peasant cloak. When Juan Diego opened the cloak before Zumárraga on December 12, the flowers fell to the floor, and in their place was the Virgin of Guadalupe, miraculously imprinted on the fabric.

History

Background:

Following the Spanish Conquest in 1519-21 a temple of the mother-goddess Tonantzin at Tepeyac outside Mexico City was destroyed and a chapel dedicated to the Virgin built on the site. Newly converted Indians continued to come from afar to worship there. The object of their worship, however, was equivocal, as they continued to address the Virgin Mary as Tonantzin. The first record of the painting's existence is in 1556, when Archbishop Alonso de Montufar, a Dominican, preached a sermon commending popular devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, a painting in the chapel at Tepeyac, where certain miracles had lately been performed. Days later he was answered by Francisco de FERNANDO LEAL Miracles of the Virgin of Bustamante, head of the Colony's Franciscans and Guadalupe, Fresco Mexico City guardians of the chapel at Tepeyac, who delivered a sermon before the Viceroy expressing his concern that the Archbishop was promoting a superstitious regard for a painting by a native artist, Marcos Cipac de Aquino: "The devotion that has been growing in a chapel dedicated to Our Lady, called of Guadalupe, in this city is greatly harmful for the natives, because it makes them believe that the image painted by Marcos the Indian is in any way miraculous." The next day Archbishop Montufar opened an enquiry. The Franciscans repeated their claim that the image encouraged idolatry and supersition, and testified that it was painted by "Marcos the Indian." Appearing for the Dominicans, who favored allowing the Aztecs to venerate the Guadalupe, was the Archbishop himself. The matter ended with the Franciscans deprived of custody of the shrine and the tilma mounted and displayed within a much enlarged church. The first extended account of the image and the apparition comes in Imagen de la Virgen Maria, Madre de Dios de Guadalupe, a guide to the cult for Spanish-speakers published in 1648 by Miguel Sanchez, a diocesan priest of Mexico City. An anonymous Nahuatl language narrative, Huei tlamahuiçoltica ("The Great Event"), appeared at around the same time, probably written in 1649 byLuis Lasso de la Vega and based on Sánchez's narrative, which it closely mirrors. This contains Nican mopohua ("Here it is recounted"), a tract about the Virgin which contains the story of the apparition and the supernatural origin of the image, plus two other sections, Nican motecpana("Here is an ordered account"), describing fourteen miracles connected with Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Nican tlantica ("Here ends"), an account of the Virgin in New Spain.

Juan Diego:

The growing fame of the image led to a parallel interest in Juan Diego. In 1666 the Church, with the aim of establishing a feast day in his name, began gathering information from people who had known him, and in 1723 a formal investigation into his life was ordered, and much information was gathered. In 1987, under Pope John Paul II, who took a special interest in saints and in non-European Catholics, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints declared him "venerable", and on May 6, 1990, he was beatified by the Pope himself during Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, being declared “protector and advocate of the indigenous peoples," with December 9 as his feast day. At this point historians and theologians began to question the quality of the evidence regarding Juan Diego. There is no mention of him or his miraculous vision in the writings of bishop Zumárraga, into whose hands he delivered the miraculous image, nor in the record of the ecclesiatic inquiry of 1556, which omits him entirely, nor anywhere else before the mid-17th century. Doubts as to his reality were not new: in 1883 Joaquín García Icazbalceta, historian and biographer of Zumárraga, in a confidential report on the Lady of Guadalupe for Bishop Labastida, was very hesitant to support the story of the apparition and stated his conclusion that there was never such a person. Neither were they welcome: as recently as 1996 the 83 year old abbot of the Basilica of Guadalupe, Guillermo Schulenburg, was forced to resign following an interview with the Catholic magazine Ixthus, when he said that Juan Diego was "a symbol, not a reality." In 1995, with progress towards sanctification at a standstill, Father Xavier Escalada, a Jesuit writing an encyclopedia of the Guadalupan legend, produced a deer skin codex, (Codex Escalada), illustrating the apparition and the life and death of Juan Diego. Although the very existence of this important document had been previously unknown, it bore the date 1548, placing it within the lifetime of those who had known Juan Diego, and bore the signatures of two trustworthy 16th century scholarpriests, Antonio Valeriano and Bernardino de Sahagún, thus verifying its contents. Some scholars remained unconvinced, describing the discovery of the Codex as "rather like finding a picture of St. Paul's vision of Christ on the road to Damascus, drawn by St. Luke and signed by St. Peter", but Diego was declared a saint, with the The original Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe name of Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, in 2002.

Technical analyses

Neither the fabric ("the support") nor the image (together, "the tilma") has ever been analyzed using the full range of scientific resources available to museum conservationists. Nevertheless, four technical studies were conducted between 1751-2 and 1982. Of these, the findings of three have been published. All were commissioned by the authorized custodians of the tilma in the Basilica, and in every case the investigators had direct and unobstructed access to it. Studies conducted between 1751-2 and 1982 MC – in 1756 a prominant artist, Miguel Cabrera, published a report entitled "Maravilla Americana" containing the findings made by himself and six other painters in 1751 and 1752 from ocular and manual inspection. G – José Antonio Flores Gómez, an art restorer, discussed in a 2002 interview with the Mexican journal Proceso (magazine) certain technical issues relative to the tilma, on which he had worked in 1947 and 1973. PC – in 1979 Philip Callahan, biophysicist and professor of entomology at the University of Florida, specializing in Infrared imaging, took numerous infrared photographs of the front of the tilma. His findings, with photographs, were published in 1981. R – "Proceso" also published in 2002 an interview with José Sol Rosales, formerly director of the Center for the Conservation and Listing of Heritage Artifacts (Patrimonio Artístico Mueble) of the National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA) in México City. This interview was interspersed with extracts from a report R had written in 1982 of the findings he had made during his inspection of the tilma that year using raking and UV light, and – at low magnification – a stereo microscope of the type used for surgery. Summary conclusions ("contra" indicates a contrary finding) (1) Support: The material of the support is soft to the touch (almost silken: MC; something like cotton: G) but to the eye it suggested a coarse weave of palm threads called "pita" or the rough fiber called "cotense" (MC), or a hemp and linen mixture (R); the traditional understanding is that it is ixtle, an agave fiber. (2) Ground, or Primer: R asserted (MC and PC contra) by ocular examination that the tilma was primed, though with primer "applied irregularly." R does not clarify whether his observed "irregular" application entails that majorly the entire tilma was primed, or just certain areas--such as those areas of the tilma extrinsic to the image--where PC agrees had later additions. MC, alternatively, observed that the image had soaked through to the reverse of the tilma. (3) Under-drawing: PC asserted there was no under-drawing. (4) Brush-work: R suggested (PC contra) there was some visible brushwork on the original image, but at best in only one minute area of the image ("her eyes, including the irises, have outlines, apparently applied by a brush"). (5) Condition of the surface layer: The three most recent inspections agree (i) that significant additions have been made to the image, some of which were subsequently removed, and (ii) that the original image has been abraded and re-touched in places. Some flaking is visible (mostly along the line of the vertical seam, or at passages considered to be later additions). (6) Varnish: The tilma has never been varnished. (7) Binding Medium: R provisionally identified the pigments and binding medium (distemper) as consistent with 16th c. methods of painting sargas (MC, PC contra for different reasons), but the color values and luminosity are exceptional. The technique of painting on fabric with water-soluble pigments (with or without primer or ground) is well-attested, although survivals from the 16th c. are rare. The binding medium is generally animal glue or gum arabic (see: Distemper). Such an artifact is variously discussed in the literature as a tüchlein or sarga. The tilma, considered as a type of sarga, is by no means unique, but its state of preservation is remarkable.

significance Religious The iconography of the Virgin is impeccably Catholic:

Miguel Sanchez, the author of the 1648 tract Imagen de la Virgen María, described her as the Woman of the Apocalypse from the New Testament's Revelation 12:1, "clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars," and she is also described as a representation of the Immaculate Conception. Yet despite this orthodoxy the image also had a hidden layer of coded messages for the indigenous people of Mexico which goes a considerable way towards explaining her popularity. Her blue-green mantle was the color reserved for the divine couple Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl; her belt is interpreted as a sign of pregnancy; and a cross-shaped image symbolizing the cosmos and called nahui-ollin is inscribed beneath the image's sash. She was called "mother of maguey," the source of the sacred beverage pulque, "the milk of the Virgin", and the rays of light surrounding her doubled as maguey spines.

Cultural significance Symbol of Mexico:

Inside the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Mexico City.

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is recognized as a symbol of all Catholic Mexicans. Miguel Sánchez, the author of the first Spanish language apparition account, identified Guadalupe as Revelation's Woman of the Apocalypse, and said: "this New World has been won and conquered by the hand of the Virgin Mary...[who had] prepared, disposed, and contrived her exquisite likeness in this her Mexican land, which was conquered for such a glorious purpose, won that there should appear so Mexican an image." In 1810 Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla initiated the bid for Mexican independence with his Grito de Dolores, with the cry "Death to the Spaniards and long live the Virgin of Guadalupe!" When Hidalgo's mestizo-indigenous army attacked Guanajuato and Valladolid, they placed "the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, which was the insignia of their enterprise, on sticks or on reeds painted different colors" and "they all wore a print of the Virgin on their hats." After Hidalgo's death leadership of the revolution fell to a zambo/mestizo priest named José María Morelos, who led insurgent troops in the Mexican south. Morelos adopted the Virgin as the seal of his Congress of Chilpancingo, inscribing her feast day into the Chilpancingo constitution and declaring that Guadalupe was the power behind his victories: "New Spain puts less faith in its own efforts than in the power of God and the intercession of its Blessed Mother, who appeared within the precincts of Tepeyac as the miraculous image of Guadalupe that had come to comfort us, defend us, visibly be our protection." Simón Bolívar noticed the Guadalupan theme in these uprisings, and shortly before Morelos' execution in 1815 wrote: "...the leaders of the independence struggle have put fanaticism to use by proclaiming the famous Virgin of Guadalupe as the queen of the patriots, praying to her in times of hardship and displaying her on their flags...the veneration for this image in Mexico far exceeds the greatest reverence that the shrewdest prophet might inspire." One of Morelos' officers, Félix Fernández, would later become the first president of Mexico, even changing his name to Guadalupe Victoria. In 1914, Emiliano Zapata's peasant army rose out of the south against the government of Porfirio Díaz. Though Zapata's rebel forces were primarily interested in land reform—"tierra y libertad" (land and liberty) was the slogan of the uprising—when his peasant troops penetratedMexico City they carried Guadalupan banners. More recently, the contemporary Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) named their "mobile city" in honor of the Virgin: it is called Guadalupe Tepeyac. EZLN spokesperson Subcomandante Marcos wrote a humorous letter in 1995 describing the EZLN bickering over what to do with a Guadalupe statue they had received as a gift.

Mestizo culture:

"The Aztecs…had an elaborate, coherent symbolic system for making sense of their lives. When this was destroyed by the Spaniards, something new was needed to fill the void and make sense of New Spain…the image of Guadalupe served that purpose." Hernán Cortés, the Conquistador who overthrew the Aztec empire in 1521, was a native of Extremadura, home to Our Lady of Guadalupe. By the 16th century the Extremadura Guadalupe, a statue of the Virgin said to be carved by Saint Luke the Evangelist, was already a national icon. It was found at the beginning of the 14th century when the Virgin appeared to a humble shepherd and ordered him to dig at the site of the apparition. The recovered Virgin then miraculously helped to expel the Moors from Spain, and her small shrine evolved into the great Guadalupe monastery. One of the more remarkable attributes of the Guadalupe of Extremadura is that she is dark, like the Americans, and thus she became the perfect icon for the missionaries who followed Cortés to convert the natives to Christianity. According to the traditional account, the name of Guadalupe was chosen by the Virgin herself when she appeared on the hill outside Mexico City in 1531, ten years after the Conquest. According to secular history, Bishop Alonso de Montúfar, in the year 1555, commissioned a Virgin of Guadalupe from a native artist, who gave her the dark skin which his own people shared with the famous Extremadura Virgin.Whatever the connection between the Mexican and her older Spanish namesake, the fused iconography of the Virgin and the indigenous Nahua goddess Tonantzin provided a way for 16th century Spaniards to gain converts among the indigenous population, while simultaneously allowing 16th century Mexicans to continue the practice of their native religion. Guadalupe continues to be a mixture of the cultures which blended to form Mexico, both racially and religiously, "the first mestiza", or "the first Mexican". "bringing together people of distinct cultural heritages, while at the same time affirming their distinctness." As Jacques Lafaye wrote in Quetzalcoatl and Guadalupe, "...as the Christians built their first churches with the rubble and the columns of the ancient pagan temples, so they often borrowed pagan customs for their own cult purposes." The author Judy King asserts that Guadalupe is a "common denominator" uniting Mexicans. Writing that Mexico is composed of a vast patchwork of differences—linguistic, ethnic, and class-based—King says "The Virgin of Guadalupe is the rubber band that binds this disparate nation into a whole." The Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes once said that "... you cannot truly be considered a Mexican unless you believe in the Virgin of Guadalupe." Nobel Literature laureate Octavio Paz wrote in 1974 that "the Mexican people, after more than two centuries of experiments, have faith only in the Virgin of Guadalupe and the National Lottery".

Catholic Church Beliefs and miracles:

Catholic sources claim many miraculous and supernatural properties for the image such as that the tilma has maintained its structural integrity over nearly 500 years, while replicas normally last only about 15 years before suffering degradation; that it repaired itself with no external help after a 1791 ammonia spill that did considerable damage, and that on 14 November 1921 a bomb damaged the altar, but left the icon unharmed. That in 1929 and 1951 photographers found a figure reflected in the Virgin's eyes; upon inspection they said that the reflection was tripled in what is called the Purkinje effect, commonly found in human eyes. An ophthalmologist, Dr. Jose Aste Tonsmann, later enlarged an image of the Virgin's eyes by 2500x and claimed to have found not only the aforementioned single figure, but images of all the witnesses present when the tilma was first revealed before Zumárraga in 1531, plus a small family group of mother, father, and a group of children, in the center of the Virgin's eyes, fourteen persons in all. Numerous Catholic websites repeat an unsourced claim that in 1936 biochemist Richard Kuhn analyzed a sample of the fabric and announced that the pigments used were from no known source, whether animal, mineral or vegetable. Dr. Philip Serna Callahan, who photographed the icon under infrared light, declared from his photographs that portions of the face, hands, robe, and mantle had been painted in one step, with no sketches or corrections and no visible brush strokes.

Pontifical pronouncements:

With the Brief Non est equidem of 25 May 1754, Pope Benedict XIV declared Our Lady of Guadalupe patron of what was then called New Spain, corresponding to Spanish Central and Northern America, and approved liturgical texts for the Holy Mass and the Breviary in her honor. Pope Leo XIII granted new texts in 1891 and authorized coronation of the image in 1895. Pope Pius X proclaimed her patron of Latin America in 1910. Pope Pius XII declared the Virgin of Guadalupe "Queen of Mexico and Empress of the Americas" in 1945, and "Patroness of the Americas" in 1946. Pope John XXIII invoked her as "Mother of the Americas" in 1961, referring to her as Mother and Teacher of the Faith of All American populations, and in 1966 Pope Paul VI sent a Golden Rose to the shrine. Pope John Paul II visited the shrine in the course of his first journey outside Italy as Pope from 26 to 31 January 1979, and again when he beatified Juan Diego there on 6 May 1990. In 1992 he dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe a chapel within St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. At the request of the Special Assembly for the Americas of the Synod of Bishops, he named Our Lady of Guadalupe patron of the Americas on 22 January 1999 (with the result that her liturgical celebration had, throughout the Americas, the rank of solemnity), and visited the shrine again on the following day. On 31 July 2002, the Pope canonized Juan Diego before a crowd of 12 million, and later that year included in the General Calendar of theRoman Rite, as optional memorials, the liturgical celebrations of Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (9 December) and Our Lady of Guadalupe (12 December).

Devotions:

The shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage destination in the world. Over the Friday and Saturday of 11 to 12 December 2009, a record number of 6.1 million pilgrims visited the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City to commemorate the anniversary of the apparition. The Virgin of Guadalupe is considered the Patroness of Mexico and the Continental Americas; she is also venerated by Native Americans, on the account of the devotion calling for the conversion of the Americas. Replicas of the tilma can be found in thousands of churches throughout the world, and numerous parishes bear her name.. Our Lady of Guadalupe was declared to be the "Patroness of the Philippines" by Pope Pius XI in 1935. In 1942 she became the secondary "Patroness of the Philippines", and her feast day is still celebrated in the archipelago. The icon there is especially invoked by people working against the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill.

Buildings for devotion:

• • • • • • • • •

The Basilica of Guadalupe, the shrine founded on the original site on Tepayac Hill in Mexico City Fresco Cycle of The Miracles of the Virgin of Guadalupe by Fernando Leal, at Basilica of Guadalupe, Mexico City The Basílica of Guadalupe in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico The Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Zamora, Michoacán, Mexico. The Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe in Dallas, Texas, United States. The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin, United States. The National Shrine of Our Lady Of Guadalupe in Makati City, Philippines. Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine, Des Plaines, Illinois, United States. Santuario de Guadalupe, Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States.

PICTURE NEWS

December 8, 2011. A man holds a cross as he prays during a ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of of the founding of the St. Mary's Cathedral in Yangon.

History

Lussi:

Although no sources of her life exist other than in hagiographies, St. Lucy is believed to have been a Sicilian saint who suffered a martyr's death in Syracuse, Sicily around AD 310. The Guilte Legende, a widespread and influential compendium of saint's biographies compiled in the late Middle Ages, records her story thus: She was seeking help for her mother's long-term illness at the shrine of Saint Agnes, in her native Sicily, when an angel appeared to her in a dream beside the shrine. As a result of Girl with electric candles at a Lucia celebration in this, Lucy became a devout Christian, refused to Minnesota compromise her virginity in marriage and was denounced to the Roman authorities by the man she would have wed. They threatened to drag her off to a brothel if she did not renounce her Christian beliefs, but were unable to move her, even with a thousand men and fifty oxen pulling. So they stacked materials for a fire around her instead and set light to it, but she would not stop speaking, insisting that her death would lessen the fear of it for other Christians and bring grief to non-believers. One of the soldiers stuck a spear through her throat to stop these denouncements, but to no effect. Soon afterwards, the Roman consulate in charge was hauled off to Rome on charges of theft from the state and beheaded. Saint Lucy was able to die only when she was given the Christian sacrement. In another story, Saint Lucy was working to help Christians hiding in the catacombs during the terror under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, and in order to bring with her as many supplies as possible, she needed to have both hands free. She solved this problem by attaching candles to a wreath on her head. There is little evidence that the legend itself derives from the folklore of northern Europe, but the similarities in the names ("Lussi" and "Lucia"), and the date of her festival, December 13, suggest that two separate traditions may have been brought together in the modern-day celebrations in Scandinavia.

Koninkrijksdag (Papiamento: Dia di Reino, English: Kingdom Day) is the commemoration of the signing of the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands on 15 December 1954 in Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and Sint Maarten. When 15 December falls on a Sunday, the commemoration takes place on Monday 16 December. Kingdom Day is, unlike Koninginnedag(English: Queen's Day), not an official national holiday, but government buildings are instructed to fly the flag of the Netherlands without pennant. The Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands was signed by Queen Juliana on 15 December 1954. The charter deals with the relation between the Netherlands and the overseas territories, theNetherlands Antilles, Netherlands New Guinea and Suriname. As of 2010, the charter governs the relationships between the Netherlands, Aruba (since 1986), Curaçao and Sint Maarten (since 2010). Since 2005, the Koninkrijksconcert (English: Kingdom Concert) is annually held on 15 December, to celebrate the relationship between Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles, and Aruba. At the concerts, that were held in respectively Dordrecht, Amersfoort, Nijmegen, and Curaçao, musical artists from all over the kingdom have performed. In 2008, Naturalisatiedag (English: Naturalisation Day) in the Kingdom of the Netherlands was moved from 24 August, the day on which the Constitution of the Netherlands was signed, to 15 December, which has a symbolic meaning for all constituent countries of the kingdom. On Naturalisation Day, newly naturalized citizens officially receive their Dutch citizenship.

Posada is Spanish for "lodging", or "accommodation"; it is said in plural because it is celebrated more than one day in that period. The nine day novena represents the nine months of pregnancy. The procession has been a tradition in Mexico for 400 years. While its roots are in Catholicism, even Protestant Latinos follow the tradition.It may have been started in 1538 by Friar San Ignació de Loyola or Friar Pedro de Gant in Mexico. It may have been started by early friars who combined Spanish Catholicism with the December Aztec celebration of the birth of Huitzilopochtli.

Lussinatta, the Lussi Night, was December 13. Then Lussi, a female being with evil traits, like a female demon or witch, was riding through the air with her followers, called Lussiferda. This itself might be an echo of the myth of the Wild Hunt, called Oskoreia in Scandinavia, found across Northern, Western and Central Europe. Between Lussi Night and Yule, trolls and evil spirits, in some accounts also the spirits of the dead, were thought to be active outside. It was particularly dangerous to be out during Lussi Night. Children who had done mischief had to take special care, since Lussi could come down through the chimney and take them away, and certain tasks of work in the preparation for Yule had to be finished, or else the Lussi would come to punish the household. The tradition of Lussevaka – to stay awake through the Lussinatt to guard oneself and the household against evil, has found a modern form through throwing parties until daybreak. Another company of spirits might come riding through the night around Yule itself, journeying through the air, over land and water.

Koninkrijksdag NETHERLANDS- D e c 1 5

Background

The Boston Tea Party arose from two issues confronting the British Empire in 1773: the financial problems of the British East India Company, and an ongoing dispute about the extent of Parliament's authority, if any, over the British American colonies without seating any elected representation. The North Ministry's attempt to resolve these issues produced a showdown that would eventually result in revolution.

In the 19th century, the Russian Empire began to expand into Central Asia. The "Great Game" period is generally regarded as running from approximately 1813 to the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907. The tsars effectively ruled over most of the territory belonging to what is now the Republic of Kazakhstan. The Russian Empire introduced a system of administration and built military garrisons and barracks in its effort to establish a presence in Central Asia in the so-called "Great Game" between it and the British Empire. The first Russian outpost, Orsk, was built in 1735. Russia enforced the Russian language in all schools and governmental organizations. Russian efforts to impose its system aroused the resentment by the Kazakh people, and by the 1860s, most Kazakhs resisted Russia's annexation largely because of the influence it wrought upon the traditional nomadic lifestyle and livestock-based economy, and the associated hunger that was rapidly wiping out some Kazakh tribes. The Kazakh national movement, which began in the late 19th century, sought to preserve the native language and identity by resisting the attempts of the Russian Empire to assimilate and stifle them. From the 1890s onwards, ever-larger numbers of settlers from the Russian Empire began colonising the territory of present-day Kazakhstan, in particular the province of Semirechye. The number of settlers rose still further once the Trans-Aral Railway from Orenburg to Tashkent was completed in 1906, and the movement was overseen and encouraged by a specially created Migration Department (Переселенческое Управление) in St. Petersburg. During the 19th century about 400,000 Russians immigrated to Kazakhstan, and about one million Slavs, Germans, Jews, and others immigrated to the re- Traditional Kazakh wedding dress gion during the first third of the 20th century.Vasile Balabanov was the administrator responsible for the resettlement during much of this time. The competition for land and water that ensued between the Kazakhs and the newcomers caused great resentment against colonial rule during the final years of Tsarist Russia, with the most serious uprising, the Central Asian Revolt, occurring in 1916. The Kazakhs attacked Russian and Cossacksettlers and military garrisons. The revolt resulted in a series of clashes and in brutal massacres committed by both sides. Both sides resisted the communist government until late 1919.

Sweden:

In Saint Lucia, a tiny island in the Caribbean named after its patron saint, St. Lucy, December 13 is celebrated as National Day. The National Festival of Lights and Renewal is held the night before the holiday, in honour of St Lucy of Syracuse the saint of light. In this celebration, decorative lights (mostly bearing a Christmas theme) are The crowning lit in the capital city of Castries; artisans present decorated lanterns town's Lucia. for competition; and the official activities end with a fireworks display. This is also to commemorate Christmas and the Christmas tree. In the past, a jour ouvert celebration has continued into the sunrise of 13 December.

Republic Day MALTA- D e c 1 3

Reenactment

December 8, 2011. A supporter of Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi is grabbed by a Congolese riot police officer outside his candidate's headquarters in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Regional variations

In Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco the Vallarta Botanical Gardens hosts a Las Posadas celebration on December 20th. During workshops in the daytime, participants make their own nativity scenes with local natural materials including Spanish moss. In the evening, carolers proceed to nativities that are Children in Oaxaca, Mexico celebrating Las placed among important plants including poinset- Posadas by breaking a traditional startias and native Mexican pines. A bonfire and more shaped Piñata. singing rounds out the celebrations. In Wisconsin, the procession may occur within a home, rather than outside, because of the weather. An event in Portland, Oregon terminates with Santa Claus and donated Christmas gifts for needy children. In New York, worshippers may drink Atole, a cornsugar drink traditional during Christmas. A large procession occurs along the San Antonio River Walk and has been held since 1966. It is held across large landmarks in San Antonio, Texas, including the Arneson River Theater, Museo Alameda, and the Spanish Governor's Palace, ending at the Cathedral of San Fernando.

December 2, 2011. U.S. President Barack Obama tours a "trophy" office space building and speaks about job creation and energy efficiency in Washington, DC.

Similar celebrations

In the Philippines, which shares Spanish culture due to being a former possession, the Posadas tradition is illustrated by the Panunulúyan pageant. Sometimes it is performed right before the Misa de Gallo (Midnight Mass), or on each of the nine nights. The main difference with the original is that actors portray Mary and Joseph instead of statues, and they sing the lines requesting for accommodation. The lines of the "innkeepers" are also sung, but sometimes they respond without singing. Another difference is that the lyrics are not in Spanish but in one of the local languages, A street in Mexico decorated in preparation such as Tagalog. of the nightly Posada procession Nicaragua has an event, called La Gritería (The Shoutings), which happens only one day, on December 7, in honor of La Purísima Virgen (The Purest Virgin). The people go out on the street, sing to the Virgin and then visit their neighbors for food, drink and gifts. Cuba also has something similar, called Parrandas (Though it is more like a Carnaval in atmosphere). They began in the 18th centry when Father Francisco Vigil de Quiñones, the priest of the Grand Cathedral of Remedios, in order to get the people to come to midnight masses the week before Christmas had the idea to put together groups of children and provide them with jars, plates and spoons so they could run around the village making noise and singing verses. The idea persisted over the years and with time it gain complexity ending in the street party that has remained till these days.

December 4, 2011. Paramilitary policemen practice drills inside the Forbidden City during a heavy haze and smog night in central Beijing, China.


HUNGARY NEWS White Paper on Malév NPSU Rector Receives Letter of Appointment (ONLINE) On November 29 Dr. András Patyi, the incoming rector of the National Public Service University which is to start operating as of January 1, 2012 received his letter of appointment in a ceremony from the President of the Republic in Sándor Palace, Budapest. Acting on the proposal of the Minister of National Resources and the governing body, the President of the Republic of Hungary Dr. Pál Schmitt appointed university professor Dr. András Patyi as rector of the National Public

Service University. His mandate runs from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2016.

MoD Cabinet Chief Dr. Gábor Szarka also attended the ceremony. National The Public Service University is to start operating on January 1, 2012. Playing an important role in Hungary’s intellectual life, the new institution of higher education is to be established by merging the ‘Miklós Zrínyi’ National Defense University, the Police College and the Corvinus University of Budapest Faculty of Public Administration.

"Hungary's Best Pálinka" in the Museum of Agriculture (ONLINE) Hungaramendment is to children ian provide an adweren't the only vantage for high ones to receive a quality alcoholic present on the drinks made from of St. feast fruit. Excise duty Michael this year; is no longer the Museum of when payable reAgriculture distilling pálinka ceived a gift too. for one's own The "Pálinka Cabuse, up to a maxinet" was augimum of 50 litres. mented with a new This encourages treasure today; the the home utilizabest country's tion of fruit that pálinka, produced has fallen or has by the Agárdi not been used Pálinka Distillery when fresh, and and winner if this of grape pomace year's competition, left over from was placed in the winemaking. collection by Sán- Sándor Lovász, György Habsburg, Tibor Vertes, and Sándor In addition to dor Fazekas, Min- Fazekas pálinka, other fruit ister for Rural products such as Development. The jams, fruit syrups plum pálinka won and juices are first prize at the also at an advan19th Hungarian tage compared to National Pálinka, imitation, substiFruit and Wine tute products. Distillate InternaIn defence of tional Competition. pálinka competiancestors Our tions, the Ministry held pálinka in has issued a desuch great escree that the nateem, that they drink tional kept it in the wall should be procabinet next to the moted within the Bible, medicine framework of high bottles and other standard, internavalued items. On tionally recogSt Michael's Day, nised events. The the competition's 19th Hungarian winning drink has National Pálinka, also found its worFruit and Wine thy place; the Master distiller Tibor Vértes, and Sándor Fazekas Distillate InternaPálinka Agárdi tional Competimade it possible for us to offer guests our Distillery's plum pálinka will from now on own fruit brandy. This means that special, tion was just such an event, at which those have a place in the Pálinka Cabinet at the unique techniques and old family recipes interested could taste and purchase the Hungarian Museum of Agriculture – said the will continue to exist. The amendment of the most delicious beverages. 791 pálinkas Minster for Rural Development. Excise Act and the regulations regarding were entered in the competition; the jury In his speech, Sándor Fazekas empha- small-scale production has enabled Hun- presented 86 gold medals and 20 champion sised: the Ministry supports the carrying for- garians to decide freely on the utilization of awards. The winner, and the country's best ward of values, the preservation of quality their own fruit, in accordance with European pálinka, was chosen from among the latter autochthonous plants and fruit species, and practices, be that the making of jam or the twenty. the perpetuation of traditions. The aroma of distilling of pálinka – said the Minister at the Sándor Lovász has been organising pálinka the fruit is unmistakably recognisable in a ceremony. competitions in Hungary since 2008. His good pálinka, and so the prevalence of old The Ministry has implemented firm meas- plans include Hungary organising the first types means greater choice and the emer- ures to protect pálinka: excise duty on poor ever Pálinka, Fruit and Grape Distillate gence of newer and newer distillates. The quality spirits made using aromas has in- World Cup in 2012. amendment of the Excise Act has now creased by fifty percent. The goal of the

Stricter Monitoring for Cattle Shipments (ONLINE) On Friday and with immediate effect, Minister for Rural Development Sándor Fazekas ordered stricter monitoring at companies that export live cattle.

Technicians from the Central Agriculture Office, working in cooperation with the National Tax and Customs Office and the Police, have begun checks and monitoring in large num-

bers, including both the shipments themselves and the premises of export companies.

Statement of the Hungarian Government on the recent adoption of the Act on Rehabilitation by the Serbian Parliament (Online) The Hungarian Government welcomes the fact that, after consultations between the representatives of the Serbian Government and those of the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians and in accordance with their agreement, the Serbian National Assembly on the 5th of December has adopted the Act on Rehabilitation. Relevant provisions of this Act stipulate the scrutiny of individual responsibility as legal basis for exclusion from the property restitution and compensation process, thus annulling any legal grounds for a possible applica-

tion of the principle of collective guilt. The Hungarian Government is of the view that the Act on Rehabilitation, through its pertinent provisions and through a direct reference to the Act on Property Restitution and Compensation, is an appropriate means to address concerns caused by the latter Act. The Hungarian Government will closely follow the property restitution and compensation process in Serbia, and sincerely hopes that it will be carried out in a transparent and non-discriminatory manner, as

recommended in the Opinion of the European Commission of 12 October 2011. The Hungarian Government considers that after the adoption of the Act on Rehabilitation, and in accordance with the consistent Hungarian position to support Serbia’s European integration, Hungary will be in the position to support a decision to grant EU candidate status to Serbia at the 9 December meeting of the European Council.

Wooden Perches to Combat Voles (Online) Imre Hubai, a bio-farmer, has found a novel and environmentally friendly way to deal with voles, whose populations have recently increased and cause damage to crops. The plant protection specialist from Karcag has installed wooden perches for use by birds of prey, making hunting easier for them. Thanks to the method, 90% of the new generation of voles perish within 2-3 weeks, and the relatively small numbers of remaining rodents no longer cause significant economic damage. The common vole is a native pest in the Carpathian Basin, but in the old days of small, family farms, the cats would catch them, or farmers would simply kill them while tending their

crops, said Imre Hubai, according to whom problems began in the fifties, when arable farming began to consume larger and larger areas. According to experts, the dry weather of the past few months is responsible for the large increase in their numbers this year. In large, modern fields, voles are not threatened by any natural enemies within the food chain, because there are no longer any trees, the natural perches of birds of prey. Imre Hubai helps the Common Buzzards and Harriers around his own bio-farm by installing T-shapes wooden perches a few metres high, thanks to which the birds are able to catch 10-12 voles each day. The

perches, placed every 5-6 hectares at the edges of fields or on dykes and drainage ditches, can help birds of prey catch 90% of these pests within the area in just two to three weeks. The conservation role (protection of birds of prey, ecological protection against agricultural rodent pests) played in ecological farming by the installation of T-shaped perches is also recognised by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. Farmers involved in implementing Hungarian ecological farming measures and those cultivating Natura 2000 areas may receive funding towards the installation of T-perches from resources earmarked for nonproduction agricultural investments.

(ONLINE) At a press conference on umbrella, and having lost its control 5 December 2011, Minister for Na- opportunities and money, it became tional Development Tamás Fellegi completely dependent. During the presented a White Paper that sums period in private ownership, the airup the reasons leading to the current line sank into extreme debts and besituation of Malév. The minister men- came practically incapable of tioned the operation of a national air- independent operation. In addition to line centred in Budapest and the budget effects of renationalisaensuring efficient enforcement of the national economic interests as a priority objective of the government. The Ministry of National Development compiled the White Paper to give a detailed presentation of the reasons leading to Malév’s current difficult situation, name the responsible persons and come closer to the solution by revealing the facts. The Malév group of companies Tamás Fellegi employ 2600 people and have regular contractual relations with 500 Hungarian businesses. Directly and indirectly, the airline contributes approximately HUF 70 billion per year to the revenues of the central budget. Its revenues, partly generated abroad, raise the company among Hungary’s most significant exporters. It also provides 40 percent of the turnover transacted through the Budapest Airport. Malév Doris Bures, Tamás Fellegi transports nearly 3 million passengers on 23,000 pairs of flights per year, and flies planes directly to 45 destinations. Its existence is one of the fundamental factors of foreign project and investment decisions and reinforces the country’s regional role. Thus, Tamás Fellegi stressed, macroeconomic factors clearly justified the company’s operation, and the Government thought there was a need for a national airline. The White Paper lists the lack of a long-term plan to solve the company’s sustainable financing and operation among the failures of the past decade. As the valuable assets (e.g. the fuel service business line, the Heathrow slot, Hyatt Regency business share) had been sold out, by 2007 the company had been deprived of practically all of its wealth. The company has used up its capital and its goodwill tion, the previous government has been considerably reduced. shifted the financial and political reAs a result of the abortive privatisa- sponsibility of managing the situation and reprivatisation, Malév is tion to the incumbent administration. now subject to disadvantageous and The European Commission opened troublesome contracts and loans. In a competition investigation in conthe course of this privatisation the nection with the loans granted and buyer practically did not invest or risk capital increase made in the period any money of his own, while he ulti- between 2007-2010. If in a decision mately re-debited all repayment ob- these are found to constitute prohibligations to Malév. Actually, Malév ited state aid under the EU laws, the purchased itself under a Russian company will have to repay nearly

HUF 100 billion with a compound interest. Following the change of government, damage assessment, company screening and the search for possible partners started without delay. The Ministry of National Development has been the dealing with Eurothe p e a n Union’s proc e d u r e started in the case of prohibited state aid, and has provided for keeping the company alive. H o w e v e r, due to the inherited problems, M a l é v needs regular financial injections, and in the current structure its operation is unsustainable over the long term. Tamás Fellegi reported that the Ministry was conducting adv a n c e d negotiations with several financially s t a b l e strategic investors in the interest of establishing a competitive national airline. However, the Government will not sell Malév before completion of the European Commission's competition procedure, and does not intend to perform the envisaged transaction this year. The Ministry will continue to do its best to sustain the airline and improve the efficiency of its operation. T h e favourable effects of the measures made so far are already manifest in the recent trade results, remarkably improving despite deteriorating conditions. In the last quarter, Malév generated approximately HUF 7 billion addit i o n a l revenues on a year earlier, and utilisation of the flights exceeded 75%, above the European average, Tamás Fellegi added. The minister announced that based on the facts revealed by the Ministry of National Development, Commissioner for the Investigation of Businesses Affecting State Property, Gyula Budai will make a police report against unknown perpetrators in certain cases described in the White Paper.

Hot Ground under the Soldiers’ Feet (Online) The training program for the sixth rotation of the HDF KFOR (Kosovo Force) contingent (KFOR-6 HUNCON) is nearing completion. The training battalion has been rehearsing for the last and most important test in Hungary, the culmination exercise (CULEX). The last stage of the training for the battalion comprised the peacekeepers’ individual and collective target practices on the shooting range of the ‘Vay Ádám’ Training Base in Hajdúhadház. During the first individual phase the soldiers fired non-lethal shots on silhouette targets. The second phase was a force-level training which involved an attack on a vehicle checkpoint (VCP), and daytime and nighttime live fire exercises during convoy escort tasks. While in the area of operations, crowd and riot control (CRC) is among the key missions of the KFOR contingent. The unruly crowd of protesters behaves unpredictably, so they may attack the peacekeepers with practically any kind of impro-

The issues of sovereignty cannot be in the parliament (ONLINE) The issues of national sovereignty, the government cannot act without parliamentary authority stressed Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Friday in Brussels, the EU countries held a press conference after the summit meeting of the leaders. He said that the crisis in the euro area is expected to resolve the contract is seriously affecting the sovereignty includes points on which the Parliament to decide. "Hungary and Great Britain will never sit in a boat" - said about the British flatly rejected a new intergovernmental agreement to participate in the euro zone than the other nine EU countries, but would first consult with their own parliament. Viktor Orban drew attention to the fact that Britain did not want to adopt the euro later, while in Hungary contractual obligation to do so as soon as conditions permit. Hungary's interest to resolve the crisis in the euro zone, while the zone is no crisis in Hungary means the crisis - stressed the Minister. He recalled that the EU summit delegation traveling to Hungary received a mandate from Parliament to promote a framework for a solution - essentially creating a fiscal union - which covers all 27 EU countries. This task - referred to the British Refusal - could not be done. The second term of office was about - he continued - to 27-inch circle, if not agreement is reached, then Hungary should not prevent the 17 euro area countries' agreement. This agreement is now at the political level has been established, the kind of content that the parties - as stated "deep and serious" issues affecting national sovereignty - rights are transferred to the new inter-governmental decision-making mechanism in the framework created. Viktor Orban reported that the 17-s offered the possibility of accession to

the euro zone more than ten EU countries. German said the British, the other nine, however, the government's own parliament after consultation with, decide whether you want to join. The Prime Minister drew attention to the fact that the intergovernmental agreement regarding the content is still quite a few questions unclear. The most important as it was raised, that we do not know the connection is not the euro-area countries in the tight and strict financial limitations and commitments already in the connection from the moment valid Will, or only from the time when you will enter the euro zone. He said these issues to be discussed in the Hungarian Parliament, as "a country cannot be clarified to take into körülményű diplomatic adventures." Viktor Orban, has been informed that the Union's legal preparation begins as early as next week to prepare the March contract. The Hungarian parliament - he added - a matter for debate, which will not necessarily render the party relations. The Prime Minister also spoke at the press conference that the euro zone because of slower economic growth in Hungary, still need to plan for next year's finances. As he said, to reduce the growth forecast for Hungary, as well as favorable exchange rates to recalculate the entire budget. Expressed the hope that on Monday or Tuesday before the parliament is able to explore how to introduce the necessary changes to the budget and tax law in. Viktor Orban expects the first half of next year - partly due to feltorlódó liabilities - a very difficult second half will be somewhat easier. The 2012 year was "too need to live," and it may prove to be better than 2013 already - thought. The slower economic growth in the euro area in Hungary is planning to

re-finance the next year - said Viktor Orban. He said; reduce the growth forecast for Hungary, as well as favorable exchange rates to recalculate the entire budget. The economic and financial crisis should not give up the continuation of EU enlargement - the Prime Minister, 'he said, adding: explicit request of Serbia to become more positive in the original text, which the Serbian EU membership candidate status, the granting of schedules have been developed. As noted, the text now agreed - that the future of the March EU summit promises a formal decision on this question - "so good that not only the decision itself." He said that he considered that the granting of candidate status to Serbia would no longer be subject to appropriate additional evaluation. He pointed out: the EU's chief executive, the proposing institution, the European Commission concluded that Serbia "has done what you asked for it" in order to tagjelöltség. "The only problem would be to say, welcome, and given the candidate status '-' said Orban, who wanted to achieve, to do so now that the summit take place - along with the signing of the Croatian EU accession contract. But it also put forth doubts as to whether all requirements have been met with - continued and concluded: Following these arguments ultimately failed to achieve its goal. Achieved, however, say that it was decided: the March beginning of the forthcoming EU summit before the end of February the EU Foreign Ministers - called the General Affairs Council acts as a - to perform the more necessary evaluation and then the top leaders will actually get the 'yes' they will say. This speeds up the process somewhat - Viktor Orban concluded.

Hungary is the first Member State of the European Union to submit a Social Inclusion Strategy (Online) On 30 November 2011 the Hungarian government adopted the National Social Inclusion Strategy, which was sent to the European Commission by the Minister of State for Social Inclusion (Ministry of Public Administration and Justice). It is therefore the first Member State to submit such a strategy. In doing so, Hungary has fulfilled the commitments made within the Euro-

pean Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies. Background Our contribution to the European Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies was the crowning success of the Hungarian Presidency of the European Union. Its endorsement was one of the main priorities of the Hungarian Presidency. The Employment, Social Policy,

Health and Consumer Affairs Council adopted the final text of the framework strategy on 19 May 2011, and this was endorsed by the European Council in June. As a result every Member State must prepare its own Roma inclusion strategy and submit it to the European Commission by the end of this year. Implementation will be monitored by the European Commission.

SOF Troops Recognized (Online) The servicemembers of the HDF 34th ‘Bercsényi László’ Special Operations Forces Battalion who disp l a y e d outstanding bravery in a firefight in the theatre of war in Afghanistan received medals and recognitions in the presence of their relations on November 29 in Szolnok. The soldiers of the 8th rotation of the Special Operations Group (SOG) received medals and recognitions from Gen. Dr. Tibor Benkő, the Chief of the MoD Defence Staff on behalf of the Minister of Defence, and from Maj. Gen. László Domján on behalf of the Commander of the HDF Joint Forces Command (HDF JFC). On the side of the American partner, Maj. Gen. Michael Repass, the Com-

mander of the US Special Operations Command Europe, and Lt. Col Isaac Peltier, Commander of the 1st Special Forces Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) acknowledged the bravery of the Hungarian servicemembers. As a recognition of the close co-operation between the two organisa-

tions, and the tasks executed jointly in the theatre of war, the Commander of the US 1st SF Battalion awarded a streamer to the HDF 34th ‘Bercsényi László’ Special Operations Forces Battalion. The ceremony was highlighted by the presence of Péter Siklósi, the MoD Secretary of State for Defence Policy and Planning and Col. Robert W. Duggleby, the Defence Attaché of the US Embassy in Budapest. After the event the American guests watched one of the phases of the Hungarian–American Joint Combined Exchange Training “JCET 2011” taking place in Szolnok.

EU needs work-based societies (Online) The European Union needs work-based societies to be able to compete with China or the United States, Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in Marseille on Thursday. Viktor Orban said at a congress of the European People's Party that the EU's employment rate was just 65 percent compared to China's 85 percent."Instead of a welfare society, we

need a work-based one," he said. The prime minister cautioned the EU not make changes to its basic treaty since this would involve lengthy debates for which there was no time. A quick solution is needed, he said. He added, however, that the problems of the euro zone should be fixed within the single-currency bloc. Viktor Orban gave warning that the response to the euro crisis should not

end up fragmenting the 27 EU members. He said the euro was still attractive for countries outside the currency bloc.Viktor Orban said politics should not be held hostage to the logic of business and the markets, adding that business and politics were two separate things and it was not necessarily the case that a good businessman made a good politician.

Hungarian Chief of Defense Receives US SOCEUR Commander

vised weapons (cobblestones, bricks, iron rods, Molotov cocktails). During the training program the soldiers have acquired the different CRC techniques to respond to these attacks. The “fire phobia” practice (counter-Molotov-cocktail action) run by the mentors assisting the training

(the nominated personnel of the KFOR-4 HUNCON) formed an active part of the preparation, which provided the peacekeepers with an opportunity to learn what it will be like to literally have a “hot ground” under their feet, and what they should do in such cases.

(Online) Maj.-Gen. Michael Repass, the commander of the US Special Operations Command Europe (US SOCEUR) paid a courtesy call to Gen. Dr. Tibor Benkő, the Chief of the MoD Defence Staff on Monday, November 28. Maj.-Gen. Michael Repass arrived in Hungary at the invitation of Lt.Gen. Zoltán Orosz, the Deputy Chief of the MoD Defence Staff. The US SOCEUR commander participated in the unit colors award ceremony of the HDF 34th ‘Bercsényi László’ Special Operations Forces (SOF) Battalion in Szolnok.

NEWS FROM PAKISTAN Zardari says he’s fine, vows to return soon’ Dr Hashmi in Dubai for Zardari’s treatment Gilani, Kayani vow to protect national sovereignty at all costs

(Online) “I’m fine and will return soon,” Zardari reportedly told Hamid Mir, a popular news anchor, who repeated the comments on state television. “I did not want to leave. My children and friends and the prime minister insisted that I go for a checkup,” President Zardari said. The issue of the president’s health has gripped Islamabad, exacerbating a series of cascading crises. News media, bloggers and analysts have openly speculated that Zardari would resign or that a coup was afoot. Zardari seemed to acknowledge the speculation. “Those that run from the country run with their kids,” Mir quoted the president as saying. “My son is in Pakistan. I left him there.” “My enemies will be disappointed.” Zardari likely suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA), sources said on Friday, which can produce stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage to the brain. According to the US National Institute

of Health web site, a TIA occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain stops for a short period of time. It can produce “stroke-like” symptoms for up to two hours. “The MRI is clear, but we suspect it may have been that (a TIA)”, said one party official who requested anonymity. TIAs can be precursors to actual strokes if not quickly treated, which usually include blood thinners to reduce clotting. Zardari suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes and has been under heavy pressure in recent weeks following the resignation of the ambassador to Washington over an alleged memo to the Pentagon ask-

ing for help in forestalling a feared coup attempt in May. That political saga immediately preceded a low-point in relations with the United States after a November 26 cross-border Nato air attack killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The extent of Zardari’s possible involvement in the memo case is a burning question in Pakistan, where the military dominates, setting security and

foreign policy. Zardari had been due to address parliament this week after the Supreme Court admitted an opposition leader’s petition demanding a judicial inquiry into the memo issue, including any role played by Zardari. That address has now been postponed. The government ended up fuelling the rumour-mill by offering different explanations for Zardari’s trip to Dubai, initially saying it was previously scheduled routine medical tests. Then the prime minister’s media office said he went to get treatment for a “pre-existing heart condition.”

Nawaz to address public meeting in Larkana today (Online) The Chief of Pakistan Muslim League (N) and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is arriving on a one day visit of Larkana district on Saturday. He said that PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif will address a public meeting on Saturday at Airport Road Larkana

city. The central leaders of PML-N will also address on the occasion, he added. Senator Pervaiz Rasheed also said that on the same day Nawaz Sharif will visit the mausoleum of the martyrs of Bhutto’s family in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh.

He further said that PML-N Chief Muhammad Nawaz Sharif will also visit the residence of Shaheed Major Mujahid Ali Mirani, who was killed in Nato helicopters’ firing at Pakistani Post in Mohmand Agency, in Naudero town, on Saturday.

Abbottabad Commission: Report to be completed by end of December (Online) Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, head of the Abbottabbad Commission, said on Thursday that the investigation into the May 2 raid that killed former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is expected to be completed by the end of December. He said that the commission will recommend that the report be made public once it is released but it would be up to the government to make that decision. The head of the commission said that investigations were still underway and that more than 100 people had given their statements till now. These include Bin Laden’s family, intelligence agency personnel, government officials and political parties. He said that people should come

forward if they have information regarding the May 2 raid and added that their statements will be kept secret and they would be protected. Justice (retd) Iqbal said that a letter had been sent to President Asif Ali Zardari in the capacity of him being co-chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) asking him to answer the commission’s questions. He said if need be, the commission would also summon Pakistan High Commissioner in the United Kingdom (UK) Wajid Shamsul Hasan. On Husain Haqqani and the Memogate scandal, the commission head said that they had nothing to do with the issue, but added that the former ambassador had already been summoned. He said the commission had asked Haqqani about

the large number of visas that were issued through the embassy in Washington, if there had been any scrutiny and who they were issued to. In response to a question on if it was actually Bin Laden who was killed at the compound, Justice (retd) Iqbal said that if they disclosed that fact right now there would be nothing left to tell. The commission was formed to ascertain facts regarding Bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan, to investigate the circumstances surrounding the US operation, to determine the nature, background and the security lapse on part of the authorities, if any, and to make consequential recommendations.

(PR) Paris Texas Mayor and Cardiologist Dr. Arjumand Hashmi has been specially called in to Dubai for help in the treatment of President Asif Ali Zardari. Musharraf's personal staff and his security team living at Dr. Hashmi's house indicate their close relations. Dr. Hashmi's house is generally considered as Musharraf's official residence in USA. General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani had

also got his check up done by Dr. Hashmi during his visit to Dallas. Moreover, the victim of recent memo scandal, former ambassador Hussain Haqqani also stayed there during his visit to Dallas a few weeks back. Earlier, even PTI's chairman Imran Khan also stayed at Dr. Hashmi's residence in his last trip of Dallas, which even Dr. Arjumand Hashmi had acknowledged.

Dr. Hashmi could not be contacted as he did not respond to the telephone call and SMS message. However, the informed sources have confirmed that Dr. Hashmi has left for Dubai three days ago and that he is included in the team of physicians helping President Zardari. It is surprising to know that Dr. Hashmi is in the team of experts even though he has never been a physician of President Zardari.

Supreme Court dismisses Haqqani’s plea (Online) Through his reply, submitted to the apex court along with the application on Friday, Haqqani categorically denied having any knowledge of the memo. On December 1, a nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court had sought Haqqani’s reply, besides restraining him from travelling abroad, after hearing nine petitioners including PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif. The application was returned to Haqqani’s counsel Asma Jahangir after the Supreme Court’s registrar said that a review petition should have been filed instead.“We will file an appeal against the rejection of the application before exploring the option of filing a review petition,” Asma Jahangir told reporters outside the Supreme Court. She said the court stepped beyond its jurisdiction in granting what she termed “final relief to the petitioner by instituting a one-man commission to probe the memogate affair”. The doctrine of necessity, which served as the bases for granting more than what was being sought, has been trashed by this court itself, she said. She said Haqqani had himself said that he would cooperate with any investigation to fathom the facts. “Why did the PML-N then take the case to the Supreme Court when a parliamentary committee was formed to investigate the affair after the letter written by Ishaq Dar?” Application against probe The application challenging the court’s authority of ordering a probe

said the Supreme Court had passed an illegal order for it did not hear Haqqani’s side of the story. The court regrettably identified the offence of high treason under Article 6 of the Constitution without hearing Haqqani, it said. “At its worst, if at all, the matter would fall within the jurisdiction of the High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973 or the Prevention of Anti-National Activities, 1974. In both the laws, cognizance can only be taken under the federal government or a provincial government or any one sanctioned on behalf of any one of the two,” the application stated. The application stated that the court erred in saying that “the memorandum, issuance whereof, prima facie, seems to be established, has immediately posed two questions – one with regard to civil/constitutional liability with its consequences as envisaged by Article 6 of the Constitution, and the second, criminal liability.” “The court has curtailed Haqqani’s movement as well as initiated a high level investigation against him. An impression has been created through the order that Haqqani was guilty of high treason,” the application said. Referring to the media’s coverage on the issue, the application stated that the court’s order appeared to have been highly influenced by the media, which has ‘often been used for ulterior motives’. “The court has failed to acknowledge that the unsigned memo ran contrary to the pol-

icy of the Government of Pakistan and its contents were patently absurd,” it said. The court also brushed aside the probe being carried out by the bicameral Parliamentary Committee on National Security on the instructions of the prime minister, it said. “The court cannot assume the role of supervising an investigation of a criminal nature at the apex level. Continued control over the investigation exercised by the court is prejudicial to the accused and detrimental to the fairness of the procedure apart from being without jurisdiction,” it read. Haqqani’s written reply Haqqani’s reply to the Supreme Court said the court could not have passed an order on the petitions on the memogate affair because it was barred from hearing cases of political nature under the Political Question Doctrine. The reply said invoking the court’s jurisdiction in the garb of public interest litigation was questionable because the Nawaz government had Haqqani kidnapped and tortured. This petition should be dismissed for lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards required for resolving the controversy raised in the petition, it said, adding “The alleged Blackberry Messenger conversation, reproduced with the petition, did not in any way refer to the alleged memo.”

NATO containers incurred Rs 40bn loss to exchequer (Online) The lawmakers in the Upper House of the parliament Friday expressed their concern over the discrimination in road development projects in smaller provinces, particularly in Balochistan. The first day of the 76th session started late, which has become a routine in both the houses of parliament, and the House could only take up the question hour session that too remained unfinished because of Friday prayer when the Acting Chairman Jan Mohammad Jamali adjourned the proceedings till Monday. The senators, particularly from Balochistan, appeared harsh over the road development projects where they said Balochistan was discriminated by allocating fewer funds in the previous years. The treasury benches also faced embarrassment at the hands of their own ally Awami National Party (ANP), which walked out against mentioning of abbreviation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa i.e. KPK in the written replies of the ministries and returned to the house when members of treasury benches pacified them. Ilyas Bilour called upon the chair to give a ruling for making the ministries bound to write full name of their province instead of

KPK. Though senators belonging to ANP and FATA also showed their anguish over the discrimination in road development projects and less number of employees in federal departments from KPK and FATA, it was the Balochistan day in the House which consumed most of the time over the road development projects. National Party’s Dr Abdul Malik Baloch said the present PPP government had intentionally stopped the work on road projects in his province. Opposition Leader Maulana Ghafoor Haideri also expressed concern over the damaged roads in Balochistan. Responding to grievances of the senators, the Minister for Communication said that last year paucity of funds impeded the work to carryout the construction and repairing roads. He assured the senators that this year Rs 9 billion had been allocated in National Highway Authority (NHA) Rs.37 billion for Balochistan, to expedite the work in the province. The development packages for Larkana, the ancestral town of Bhuttos and Multan, the hometown of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani also came under discussion during the proceedings. The members said

it was a discriminatory act to reward these cities at the cost of other parts of the country. PPP’s Sarfar Abbasi, however disputed the figures of government for completing different schemes in Larkana. He said not a single project had been completed in Larkana, which he feared could cost the ruling PPP heavily. MQM’s Senator Tahir Mashhadi questioned the development packages for these two cities. He said whether it wasn’t the right of Balochsitan and other provinces to receive equal share in the development schemes. Responding to NATO containers movement, which is ruining the nationwide road network, Khan said according to estimates Rs 40 billion loss has been incurred due to overloaded vehicles carrying the NATO containers. “We have written letters to NATO over this issue but received no reply from their side,” Khan told the house. He said that their road network couldn’t sustain the heavy cargo of the NATO supplies, which is currently blocked following of NATO strike in Pakistan’s territorial limits.

(Online) Gilani, Kayani vow to protect national sovereignty at all costs * PM says any attempt in future will definitely meet deterrent response * Govt ready to provide military all necessary resources to bolster its defences and capabilities Seen as a significant development in the backdrop of uncertain situation in the country and the standoff with the US following the NATO attacks, the top civilian and military leadership vowed that any such attempt in the future would definitely meet a detrimental response. A statement released by the Prime Minister’s House said that the prime minister and the army chief discussed matters pertaining to national security in the backdrop of

the Mohmand Agency incident. Kayani apprised the prime minister of the steps taken on the western boarders to revamp defence capabilities aimed at effectively countering incursion into Pakistan’s territory. Gilani said that the democratic government would not allow similar attacks on the country’s sovereignty and any attempt in future will definitely meet a detrimental response. Assuring all-out support to Army, the prime minister said that the government and the people of Pakistan were ready to provide the armed forces all the necessary resources to bolster its defences and professional capabilities. Kayani affirmed Army’s commitment to defending the country’s

sovereignty. Separately, during a visit to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Gilani said Pakistan is reassessing its relations with the US, NATO and ISAF to redefine terms of cooperation with them. Talking to newsmen, he said there were ups and downs in Pakistan-US relations, but Pakistan really wants to improve its relations with the US. Also on Friday, the prime minister met PML-Q leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Dr Asim Hussain and Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and discussed various issues.

Militants kidnap 16 labourers in Landikotal (Online) Unidentified armed militants kidnapped 16 poor labourers from the far-flung Shelman area of Landikotal on Saturday in the midnight, administration sources confirmed, adding that the poor workers were abducted by miscreants

from the bank of the river Kabul at Sheen Pokh side in Loy Shelman.Some of these workers have been reportedly kidnapped at gunpoint from Gulab Huhjra and some from the truck station in Shelman while they were asleep in the midnight.

They have been taken to an destination, undisclosed sources said. Some people also disclosed that the kidnappers had come from Mohmand side of the River. They are all labourers, a local said.

PIA loss exceeds to Rs 100 billion: NA body told (Online) The accumulative loss of national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has exceeded to Rs 100 billion, it was informed at a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence here in the Parliament House on Friday. The committee was apprised on the overall working of PIA and Haj operation and was informed that pilgrims were treated as international passengers and the waiting time at airport for traveling to Saudi Arabia was reduced to six hours this year.

PIA also presented an appreciation certificate given to them by CAA of Saudi Arabia on their performance during Haj 2011. It was admitted that there was lot of room for improvement yet all that was portrayed in media was not true. The managing director of PIA apologised for his statement reported in the media that “Pilgrims should be thankful for traveling in aircraft rather on camels.” The committee members stressed that negotiation with Saudi Arabia should be started now for making

better arrangements for next Haj season. PIA was also asked about the implementation status of previous recommendations of the committee. The members stressed for results and it was decided that another meeting of the standing committee will be convened on December 23, in which the secretary of Defence and managing director of PIA will submit a performance report.

Gilani, Bilawal meet allies, shore up support for PPP (Online) Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari held separate meetings with the ruling party’s allies to seek reiteration of loyalty to the fragile administration in the event of any ‘serious challenge’ to their rule. Visitors to the prime minister secretariat on Friday included Pakistan Muslim LeagueQuaid’s (PML-Q) top leaders and a group of parliamentarians from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), both government allies at the centre. Bilawal’s presence at both meet-

ings was purposeful – the government hoped to show that all is well and under control. According to officials privy to the meetings, both groups assured Gilani and Bilawal that they would back the government against all odds. PML-Q’s support With more than 30 members in the National Assembly, the PMLQ’s support is a lifeline for the government. The visit of party’s President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, and his cousin Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, was therefore highly symbolic. “We have supported the govern-

ment and President Zardari through thick and thin in the past and will continue to do that,” a PML-Q statement quoted the party leaders as telling the premier. Later, parliamentarians from the tribal areas, led by MNA Munir Orakzai, met the PPP leaders and assured them of their “full support to the government, come what may,” said an official statement. Munir himself also confirmed to The Express Tribune that their support was sought, and assured, during the meeting.

WORLD EU leaders back euro crisis pact, but Britain stays out Euro(Online) pean Union leadexcepting ers, Britain, banded together Friday to tighter back budget policing after a heated summit consida last ered chance to save the debt-struck eurozone. But the deal came with a political heavy price when noneuro Britain resisa ted Franco-German drive to enshrine new budget rules in a modified EU treaty to carve them into stone. “The British were already not in the euro and in that respect, we are used to this situation,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said as talks resumed Friday after a first 10-hour session winding up at 5:00 am. Merkel said she was “very pleased” most had agreed the “fiscal compact”that plans to impose near automatic sanctions on debt and deficit delinquents. “We have learned from the mistakes of the past,” she said. The 17 eurozone nations signed up to the pact while nine other EU nations, “indicated the possibility to take part in this process” after consulting their parliaments, EU leaders said in a statement. Hungary had originally voiced reluctance, while Sweden and the Czech Republic were undecided. The new deal, to be adopted by March, was put to the entire 27-nation bloc in the interests of maintaining unity. The accord, which is to include automatic sanctions that can only be blocked by a majority of powerful states, aims to end past practices of overspending responsible for the twoyear debt crisis ravaging Europe. Some leaders hope this will spur the

European Central Bank to step up its role in the crisis after ECB president Mario Draghi had called for a “new fiscal compact” last week. Draghi dubbed the summit decisions a “very good outcome” for the eurozone. But a day earlier he sent markets into a tailspin by saying that the ECB’s purchase of troubled sovereign bonds was “limited” and “temporary”. Asian markets dropped as investors nervously awaited the final outcome of the marathon summit. Tokyo closed down 1.48 pe rcent and Hong Kong slumped 2.73 per cent. Europe’s main stock markets fell at the start of trading before rising later in the day in volatile trading. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Prime Minister David British Cameron’s bid to halt ongoing EU efforts to curb the City of London’s huge financial services sector was “unacceptable”. “Where we can’t be given safeguards, it is better to be on the outside,”retorted Cameron. A square mile in central London is home to 75 per cent of Europe’s entire financial services industry, but the British government is resisting French and German moves to impose a financial

transactions tax, as well as regulanew tions controlling trading. Sarkozy said: “In order to accept treaty revision among the 27 EU states, David C a m e r o n us, asked something we all judged unacceptable, for a protocol to inserted be into the treaty granting the United Kingdom a certain number of exemptions on financial services regulations. “We could not accept this, since we consider, quite on the contrary, that a part of the world’s woes stem from the deregulation of the financial sector. While the leaders split over treaty changes, they pledged to pump 200 billion euros ($267 billion) into IMF coffers to help the eurozone, which is struggling to boost its own rescue fund to one trillion euros. Sarkozy also said the ECB would act as an agent for the bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). The EFSF’s successor, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), will come into force earlier than first mooted in July 2012, with a lending capacity of 500 billion euros. Herman Van Rompuy, the EU’s president, said a German-led drive to impose private-sector losses on Greek bondholders had been a one-off deal that would not be repeated. This policy, which he admitted had had “a very negative effect on the debt markets” was “officially over”, he declared. But Germany won other battles, notably when EU leaders dropped the idea of pooling debt by issuing joint eurozone bonds.

Syrian forces kill at least 14: activists (Online) At least 14 people, four of them children, were killed as Syrian security forces opened fire in several cities on Friday, with most of the victims falling in the restive region of Homs, activists said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 10 civilians were killed in and around Homs, two in Daraa, cradle of anti-regime protests since March, one civilian in Hama and an-

other in Douma near Damascus. Twenty-three civilians were wounded in Homs, it said. Two children, aged 10 and 12, were among nine killed by gunfire in different districts of Homs itself, and a 14year boy was fatally wounded in nearby Aqrab, the Britain-based Observatory said in a statement. It said 19 people were arrested in Hula, also in Homs province.

A civilian was killed in Hama as security agents opened fire to disperse a protest near Mustapha Jaber mosque, it said, while a woman and 12-year-old girl were gunned down by “indiscriminate gunfire” in Daraa. The rights watchdog said a man died in a similar incident in Douma, whose streets it said were the scene of “violent clashes between a group of deserters and security agents.”

US drone penetrated 250 km: Iran protest (Online) The US drone which Iran said it shot down penetrated 250 kilometres inside the Islamic republic’s airspace, state television’s website reported on Friday. “Provocative and secret actions by the American government against the Islamic republic in recent months” have been on the increase, it charged. It said Tehran had lodged “a strong protest against this violation of international rules by the US government” and warned against any “repetition of such actions.” Iran called for the United Nations to condemn “this violation,” in the letter addressed to the UN secretary general as well as the presidents of the

Security Council and General Assembly. State television on Thursday aired footage of what it said was the captured drone, showing what appeared to be an RQ-170 Sentinel aircraft with little visible damage. The Pentagon said American experts were analysing the footage. The footage showed a cream-colored aircraft being examined by two commanders of Tehran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, who are in charge of the country’s air defences. Aerospace unit Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh said the drone had been captured through a cyber attack. The RQ-170 Sentinel is a high-alti-

tude stealth reconnaissance drone made by Lockheed Martin whose existence was exposed in 2009 by specialised reviews and later confirmed by the US Air Force in 2010. Iranian media said on December 4 that the unmanned aerial vehicle was shot down after making an incursion into the airspace of eastern Iran, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan. The crash came at a time of heightened political tension over Iran’s nuclear programme, with speculation rife that Israel is mulling air strikes against Iranian atomic facilities, with or without US backing.

Moscow braced for fresh protests (Online) Moscow is braced for what the opposition claims will be the biggest demonstration in Russia for 20 years. Tens of thousands are expected to gather in a square south of the Kremlin, in the latest show of anger over disputed parliamentary polls. Smaller rallies are due to take place in cities across the country. The demonstrators say Sunday's elections - which gave Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party a small lead - were falsified. At least 50,000 police and riot troops have been deployed in Moscow ahead of Saturday's protests. The opposition says it is hoping for a turnout of 30,000 in the capital in the demonstration dubbed "For Fair Elections", due to begin at 14:00 (10:00 GMT). The BBC's Daniel Sandford in Moscow says that if the protests

come even close to expectations, they will shake the 12-year-long political domination of Mr Putin. Protesters clashing with police on 7 December The authorities have arrested hundreds of people The authorities agreed to allow Saturday's protest to go ahead following negotiations with opposition leaders. The two sides reached a deal in which Moscow would allow a highturnout if the rally was relocated from downtown Revolution Square to Bolotnaya Square, a narrow island in the Moscow River. The official results of the elections to Russia's Duma showed that the ruling party United Russia lost 77 of its 315 seats, just retaining a small majority. But there is a widespread view, fuelled by mobile phone videos, and accounts on internet social networking sites that there was wholesale election fraud, and that Mr Putin's party

cheated its way to victory, our correspondent says. Security experts say online dissent in Russia has been targeted this week, with hijacked PCs used to drown out online chat on Twitter. Analysis of the many pro-Kremlin messages posted to some discussions suggested they were sent by machines, according to security firm Trend Micro. Mr Putin, who was president between 2000 and 2008, is widely predicted to hold the position again following presidential elections in March. On Thursday, he blamed the US for stoking the recent unrest, after Secretary of State Hilary Clinton expressed reservations over the poll. The prime minister said Mrs Clinton's remarks had "set the tone for some opposition activists".

NATO containers incurred Rs 40bn loss to exchequer (Online) The lawmakers in the Upper House of the parliament Friday expressed their concern over the discrimination in road development projects in smaller provinces, particularly in Balochistan. The first day of the 76th session started late, which has become a routine in both the houses of parliament, and the House could only take up the question hour session that too remained unfinished because of Friday prayer when the Acting Chairman Jan Mohammad Jamali adjourned the proceedings till Monday. The senators, particularly from Balochistan, appeared harsh over the road development projects where they said Balochistan was discriminated by allocating fewer funds in the previous years. The treasury benches also faced embarrassment at the hands of their own ally Awami National Party (ANP), which walked out against mentioning of abbreviation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa i.e. KPK in the written replies of the ministries and returned to the house when members of treasury benches pacified them. Ilyas Bilour called upon the chair to give a ruling for making the ministries bound to write full name of their province instead of KPK.

Though senators belonging to ANP and FATA also showed their anguish over the discrimination in road development projects and less number of employees in federal departments from KPK and FATA, it was the Balochistan day in the House which consumed most of the time over the road development projects. National Party’s Dr Abdul Malik Baloch said the present PPP government had intentionally stopped the work on road projects in his Opposition Leader province. Maulana Ghafoor Haideri also expressed concern over the damaged roads in Balochistan. Responding to grievances of the senators, the Minister for Communication said that last year paucity of funds impeded the work to carryout the construction and repairing roads. He assured the senators that this year Rs 9 billion had been allocated in National Highway Authority (NHA) Rs.37 billion for Balochistan, to expedite the work in the province. The development packages for Larkana, the ancestral town of Bhuttos and Multan, the hometown of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani also came under discussion during the proceedings. The members said it was a discriminatory act to reward

these cities at the cost of other parts of the country. PPP’s Sarfar Abbasi, however disputed the figures of government for completing different schemes in Larkana. He said not a single project had been completed in Larkana, which he feared could cost the ruling PPP heavily. MQM’s Senator Tahir Mashhadi questioned the development packages for these two cities. He said whether it wasn’t the right of Balochsitan and other provinces to receive equal share in the development schemes. Responding to NATO containers movement, which is ruining the nationwide road network, Khan said according to estimates Rs 40 billion loss has been incurred due to overloaded vehicles carrying the NATO containers. “We have written letters to NATO over this issue but received no reply from their side,” Khan told the house. He said that their road network couldn’t sustain the heavy cargo of the NATO supplies, which is currently blocked following of NATO strike in Pakistan’s territorial limits.

Congo's Kabila re-elected, opposition claims victory (Online) The main challenger in Democratic Republic of Congo's election declared himself president on Friday and poured scorn on provisional official results handing victory to incumbent Joseph Kabila. The head of the electoral commission said on Friday Kabila won nearly 49 percent of the votes to rival Etienne Tshisekedi's roughly 32 percent, results an observer group later said appeared suspicious. In Washington, the Obama administration called on Congolese authorities to complete the election process "with maximum openness and transparency." State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland also said the Kinshasa government "remains responsible for providing security for the people of the Congo" and that anyone involved in violence "must be held accountable." Electoral commission chief Daniel Ngoy Mulunda called for calm. "(The results) are no reason to whip up the population against the established order to contest the results, or to settle scores," he told officials and diplomats gathered to hear the results. Tshisekedi said he rejected Kabila's victory and considered himself the newly elected leader of Congo. "I consider these results a real provocation of the Congolese people," he said in an interview on RFI radio. "As a consequence, I consider myself, from today, the elected president of the Democratic Republic of Congo." Opposition supporters burned tires in parts of Kinshasa, a sprawling city of 10 million, and chanted Tshisekedi's campaign slogan, "The people first." A U.N. source said there had been clashes with security forces and reports of shooting. Gunfire erupted in Mbuji Mayi, an opposition stronghold in the south of the country, an hour after Kabila was named winner, a local civil society leader said. "We can hear gunshots everywhere, it's still going on," he told Reuters. Celebration broke out in other parts of the country. At least 18 people have been killed in election-related vio-

lence, according to U.S.based Human Rights Watch, as opposition protesters took to the streets alleging the government was attempting to rig the vote. The November 28 poll was Congo's first locally organized presidential contest since a war that killed more than 5 million, and is meant to move the country toward stability and encourage investment after years of conflict and turmoil. Government Communications Minister Lambert Mende said Tshisekedi's self-declaration as president was "nonsense and illegal" and warned that it could spark violence. calling for Mr. "We're Thshisekedi to come back to legality and not to threaten the peace of the country just because the people didn't choose him," he told Reuters by telephone. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Congolese on Friday to avoid violence over the results. The dispute mirrored a postvote crisis in Ivory Coast that sparked a civil war. But unlike in Ivory Coast, the U.N. mission will not be in a position to take sides, as it does not have a mandate to certify the results and did not observe the poll. 'IMPOSSIBLE RESULTS' The announcement of the result had been delayed twice earlier in the week due to logistical problems and as donor nations urged more transparency, stretching the nerves of residents both eager for and worried about the outcome. An international observer said workers were analyzing results posted on the election commission website but that they had already spotted a number of irregularities, notably in Katanga, where Kabila scored particularly well. In some districts of Katanga, voter turnout was pegged at nearly 100 percent with all or nearly all of the votes going to Kabila, according to the website. "These results aren't even naturally occurring, you simply don't get that many people all being healthy, motivated, getting to the polls and voting in such unison," said David Pottie, mission manager for

the U.S.-based Carter Center. "It's a fundamental mark of disrespect for Congolese voters. ... The sole owner of responsibility for this is the (electoral commission). Its agents have signed off on these kind of results in multiple places," he said. The website also showed that the results from nearly 2,000 polling stations in Kinshasa, potentially amounting to about 700,000 votes, had not been tallied. Third-placed finisher Vital Kamerhe said he also rejected the results, in part because of the Katanga numbers. "The Congolese people have chosen Etienne Tshisekedi," he said. In Katanga's capital, Lubumbashi, the heart of the country's copper mining industry, residents were blowing vuvuzela horns and whistles and others were firing guns into the air in celebration, a foreigner living there said. "People are singing, there is clearly a lot of joy," he told Reuters by telephone, asking not to be named. Britain's Minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham, said he was concerned by reports of irregularities with the vote, but urged that "any challenges to the results should be conducted through the proper channels, not through violence." "Similarly, the reaction of the security forces to any disturbances will be key; they need to react proportionately and avoid escalating confrontations," he said in a statement. The government of neighboring Congo Republic said this week it was preparing a refugee camp north of Brazzaville in case violence forced people to flee across the Congo River. Kabila came to power when his father, Laurent, was assassinated in 2001, and later won the country's 2006 election. He has struggled to control marauding rebel groups in Congo's east despite U.N. backing. Congo is last on the U.N. human development index despite rich mineral resources, and investors say it remains one of the most challenging countries in the world in which to do business.

Gilani, Bilawal meet allies, shore up support for PPP (Online) Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari held separate meetings with the ruling party’s allies to seek reiteration of loyalty to the fragile administration in the event of any ‘serious challenge’ to their rule. Visitors to the prime minister secretariat on Friday included Pakistan Muslim LeagueQuaid’s (PML-Q) top leaders and a group of parliamentarians from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), both government allies at the centre. Bilawal’s presence at both meetings

was purposeful – the government hoped to show that all is well and under control. According to officials privy to the meetings, both groups assured Gilani and Bilawal that they would back the government against all odds. PML-Q’s support With more than 30 members in the National Assembly, the PML-Q’s support is a lifeline for the government. The visit of party’s President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, and his cousin Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, was therefore highly symbolic. “We have supported the government

and President Zardari through thick and thin in the past and will continue to do that,” a PML-Q statement quoted the party leaders as telling the premier. Later, parliamentarians from the tribal areas, led by MNA Munir Orakzai, met the PPP leaders and assured them of their “full support to the government, come what may,” said an official statement. Munir himself also confirmed to The Express Tribune that their support was sought, and assured, during the meeting.

Cameron veto heartens eurosceptics (Online) Britain's future relationship with the European Union is under intense scrutiny in the wake of David Cameron's dramatic decision to veto treaty changes designed to save the euro. The fallout from the momentous European Council in Brussels looks set to impose further strain on the already-tense coalition between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats at Westminster. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was among senior Lib Dems who rejected talk of a rift, insisting that the coalition was "united" on Mr Cameron's demands for "modest and reasonable" safeguards to protect British interests. "I think any eurosceptic who might be rubbing their hands in glee about the

outcome of the summit last night should be careful what they wish for, because clearly there is potentially an increased risk of a two-speed Europe in which Britain's position becomes more marginalised, and in the long-run that would be bad for growth and jobs in this country." he warned. But there was dismay elsewhere in the party, with Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies accusing the Prime Minister of "betraying Britain" and senior peer Lord Oakeshott describing it as "a black day for Britain and Europe". Mr. Cameron insisted that he had followed a "combined position" agreed by Tories and Lib Dems and "cleared absolutely between me and Nick Clegg". Britain was left isolated after all the other 26 EU states at a Brussels

summit indicated they will now sign up to a separate agreement to impose new fiscal discipline on the eurozone. The Prime Minister's veto was welcomed by jubilant Conservative eurosceptics as a first step towards looser UK relations with the EU, or even withdrawal. One Tory MP hailed him for showing the "bulldog spirit". Speaking in Brussels at the end of the dramatic two-day summit, Mr Cameron said: "Of course this does represent a change in our relationship. But the core of the relationship - the single market, the trade and the investment, the growth, the jobs that we want to see - that remains as it was."

Italy tax chief wounded in letter bomb blast (Online) The head of Italy's tax collection agency was wounded to the hand and eye by a letter bomb on Friday, two days after Italian anarchists claimed responsibility for a bomb sent to the head of Deutsche Bank.

Prosecutors said they were launching an inquiry for suspected terrorism and were looking into a possible anarchist link. A police spokesman said that the letter bomb had arrived by regular post. Prime Minister Mario Monti issued a statement expressing

"solidarity" and defending the activity of Equitalia at a time in which his government is proposing a series of painful tax increases and pension reforms.

Egypt: Army declaration over polls irks Islamists (Online) At a press conference held on Wednesday, where only nine foreign journalists were invited – eight Americans and one British, Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) member General Mokhtar Al-Molla claimed that the new parliament does not represent all the Egyptians. The army leader argued that Egyptians would not elect into office people who threatened the country's economy and security and its relations with the international community, saying that the outcome of the polls were the consequence of the instability that has plagued the country since January. The press conference is viewed as a setback to the Islamist parties that re-

ported an overwhelming victory in the first phase of the election (61 percent- Freedom and Justice Party 36.6 percent, Al-Nour 24.4 percent) and are very likely to repeat the performance giving the conservative character of the governorates' electorate due to vote on the 14 of December and 3rd of January. SCAF's press conference made it clear that the elections in Egypt are not a definitive way of moving the country towards stabilisation. The battle for post-Mubarak Egypt will continue in the next months with an Islamist versus SCAF pattern where, once again the liberal and secularist parties would find themselves cornered and marginalised.

SCAF declarations irked the Islamists that agreed on continuing holding regular meetings with the military and join an advisory council created to assist SCAF and Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzoury's cabinet that was sworn on December 7. However, analysts think that the press conference was called to send a warning to the international community, especially to the United States, on the consequences of a full civil government. The analysts said the message contradicts SCAF's previous collaborative tone, following a meeting with the parties ahead of the formation of an advisory council held on Thursday.

South Africa, Brazil join climate alliance (Online) Brazil and South Africa have joined calls for a new global climate pact, leaving China, the United States and India still to come on board, Europe said Friday as the UN talks went down to the wire.“Brazil (is) also in favour, South Africa OK for a legally binding deal,” she told journalists in Durban. “That is half of BASIC, now we are waiting for the other half,” she added, referring to India and China, the first and third largest carbon polluters in the world. They, along with the number two emitter the United States, have not endorsed the European proposal for a mandate for a new accord embracing all major carbon emitters. “Although there are these encouraging signs, we are definitely not there yet and time in Durban is now really short,”

Hedegaard said, adding that closed-door discussions would now pick up after breaking off at 4.00am. (0200 GMT). Earlier Friday, the EU said it had formed an alliance with some 85 of the world’s most vulnerable nations to push for the new global pact on greenhouse gases. “The least developed countries, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the European Union are united in their desire for an ambitious outcome in Durban,” the three blocs said in a joint statement. “We believe that the world has had a lot of time to think. What we need is not more thinking. What we need is more action.” But Hedegaard cautioned that the gap in positions remained wide and did not rule out a breakdown. “If there is

no further movement from 4.00am then I don’t think there will be deal in Durban. That is what we are faced with,” she said. The EU is calling for a new round of pledges under the Kyoto Protocol, and a “robust mandate and roadmap for a legally binding instrument.” Going into the talks, Kyoto - the only international curb on greenhouse gases - was hanging by a thread. Key countries had announced their refusal to renew carbon-cutting pledges at the end of next year when the treaty’s first round of cuts expires. The EU said it would renew its vows, but only if major emitters - including the US and China - would commit to forging a new climate deal by 2015.

Lebanon blast hurts 5 French UN troops, 1 civilian (Online) A powerful roadside bomb struck a UN peacekeeping patrol in the Lebanese coastal town of Tyre on Friday, wounding five French soldiers and a civilian, a security official said. The official,

who requested anonymity, said the bomb was hidden under dirt on the side of the road and was detonated as the soldiers were driving by in a Jeep at an intersection in the eastern part of the

southern town. It was unclear how badly injured the Lebanese civilian was.

PICTURE NEWS

December 5, 2011. Kaibiles, members of Guatemala’s special‑operations forces, take part in a ceremony to mark their graduation from a harsh training course. The controversial counterinsurgency unit within the Guatemalan army was founded in 1974; just nine soldiers successfully completed the course.

December 6, 2011. A man makes a warrior’s gesture during a clash with riot police in the Paraguayan capital of Asunción. More than 400 families who illegally occupied an area belonging to the city government were evicted. December 2, 2011. A Palestinian protester climbs Israel’s separation wall during a weekly demonstration against Israeli occupation in the West Bank village of Nilin. While change sweeps the Arab world, little progress has been seen in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

December 2, 2011. A worker in scuba gear dressed as Santa Claus greets spectators during an aquarium show in Bangkok. Though most of its people are Buddhists, Thailand celebrates Christmas as a festival—often with Santa.

December 5, 2011. An Egyptian woman votes inside a polling station in Nasr City, a neighborhood of Cairo, Egypt.

December 4, 2011. Police officers investigate wrecked luxury cars at the site of a traffic accident on the Chugoku Expressway in Shimonoseki, southwestern Japan. Ten people were slightly injured in the pile up involving eight Ferraris, a Lamborghini, two MercedesBenz and two Japanese cars, according to the police. A group of luxury sports car fans were believed to be driving together when the accident occurred.

December 5, 2011. Indian army soldiers in camouflage take part in exercise "Sudarshan Shakti" at Bugundi in Rajasthan state's Barmer desert near the India Pakistan border, India.

December 2, 2011. Mongolian tribesmen take part in a camel race during the winter Naadam festival in Hulun Buir, north China's Inner Mongolia region, in the latest event to promote tourism in the cold winter months.

December 7, 2011. U.S. Army soldiers from the 2-82 Field Artillery, 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, wait to load onto their armored vehicles as they prepare to convoy to Kuwait from Camp Adder in Iraq at Camp Adder, near Nasiriyah, Iraq. After seven months in Iraq, the third Brigade is pulling out of the country as part of America's military exodus by the end of December after eight years of war and occupation which included the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.


49 Issue | Zarb-e-Jamhoor e-Newspaper; 49 issue; 11-17 Dec, 2011  

The Worldwide Events/Zarb-e-Jamhoor e-Newsletter circulates by email. The weekly Worldwide Events/Zarb-e-Jamhoor newspaper that specially fo...

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