International Latest News

Why people need to marry: Malala stirs hornet’s nest

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai’s views on whether marriage is necessary for two people in a relationship has invited an avalanche of criticism in Pakistan, where she has long gained a reputation as controversy’s favorite child with her outspokenness.
In an interview published in the British Vogue magazine, Malala responded to a question on the institution of marriage by wondering why a relationship could not be just a “partnership.”

“Thinking about relationships, you know, on social media, everyone’s sharing their relationship stories, and you get worried…if you can trust someone or not, and how can you be sure,” she said. “I still don’t understand why people have to get married. If you want to have a person in your life, why do you have to sign marriage papers; why can’t it just be a partnership?” she says in the chatty tail end of the article, which covers a range of topics, from how she coped with graduating from Oxford during a pandemic to her desire eventually to move out of home. (She still lives with her parents in Birmingham, England.)

The interviewer writes, “Her mother – like most mothers – disagrees. “My mum is like,” Yousafzai laughs, ” ‘Don’t you dare say anything like that! You have to get married, marriage is beautiful.’ “

And even though she also said in the interview that she hangs out in pubs with friends and that wearing a headscarf is cultural, the comments on marriage were the ones that brought the backlash.

The remarks immediately landed her in hot waters in Pakistan, with lawmakers, clerics, academicians as well a section of the citizenry accusing her of peddling a western narrative. Most viewed her statements as suggestive of negating the concept of having a family with a “legitimate partner.”

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Latest News USA

Kushner nominated for Nobel Peace Prize over Israel deals

Washington: Jared Kushner, the White House adviser under former President Trump, was nominated Sunday for the Nobel Peace Prize over his efforts in negotiating deals between Israel, the UAE and other countries in the region over a hectic four-month period last year.

Reuters reported that Kushner and Avi Berkowitz, his former deputy, were nominated by Alan Dershowitz, the professor emeritus of Harvard Law School. Reuters called the deals the “most significant diplomatic breakthroughs in the Middle East in 25 years,” and many Trump supporters believe the media downplayed their magnitude in order to hurt his chances at reelection.

The Trump administration brokered peace agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. Kushner told Fox News in October that there have been “people in Washington for 30, 40 years” who were “never able to work on a single foreign transaction.”

Bahrain joined the UAE at a festive White House ceremony in the fall marking the “Abraham Accords,” a pair of U.S.-brokered diplomatic pacts with Israel. While the UAE’s deal with Israel formally established ties, the agreement with Bahrain was less detailed and included a mutual pledge to follow suit.

The Palestinians severed ties with the Trump White House, accusing it of being unfairly biased toward Israel. U.S. officials have in turn cultivated ties between Israel and Arab states, hoping to increase pressure on the Palestinians to reduce past demands in peace talks.

The Reuters report said that President Biden is in the process of reviewing Trump’s deals and mentioned that it is unclear if Trump’s exit from the White House will hurt Kushner’s chances of receiving the prize.

Voting rights activist in Georgia Stacey Abrams, Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, WHO and  climate activist Greta Thunberg have also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this year.

Thousands of people, from members of parliaments worldwide to former winners, are eligible to propose candidates, and a nomination does not imply an endorsement from the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo.

The 2021 laureate will be announced in October.

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International Latest News

UN’s World Food Programme wins 2020 Peace Nobel

The World Food Programme (WFP) has won the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to combat hunger and to improve conditions for peace in conflict areas.

The chairwoman of the Norwegian Nobel committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen, revealed the 2020 laureate at the Nobel Institute in Oslo last week.

Reiss-Andersen said the committee gave the award to the WFP because it wanted to “turn the eyes of the world to the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger”. Hunger, she said, was used as a “weapon of war and conflict”.

The award was also a call to the international community to fund the UN agency adequately and to ensure people were not starving, she said. She said the WFP would have been a worthy recipient of the prize without the coronavirus pandemic. But the virus had strengthened the reasons for giving it to the WFP, including the need for “multilateralism” in a time of global crisis.

“It’s a very important UN organization. The UN plays a key role in upholding human rights,” she said, adding: “Food is one of our most basic needs.”

In its citation, the committee praised the WFP for its “efforts for combating hunger” and its “contribution to creating peace in conflicted-affected areas”. The agency acted “as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict”, it said.

This year, 318 nominees were known to be under consideration, 211 individuals and 107 organizations.

Other figures who were considered in the running for this year’s prize included the 17-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, the Russian dissident and opposition leader Alexei Navalny, recovering from a nerve agent attack he blames on the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and the World Health Organization for its role in addressing the coronavirus pandemic.

The US president, Donald Trump, has said he should have won last year’s peace prize, which went to Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed after he forged a peace deal with Eritrea.

Trump has been nominated for the 2021 prize, the White House says, for brokering an accord that resulted in the UAE and Bahrain normalizing relations with Israel.

Reiss-Andersen, who arrived at the ceremony in Oslo city hall on crutches, made no mention of Trump. But she said the UN’s “universalism” and its work for human rights everywhere was in contrast to the “populism” and “nationalistic politics” prevalent in some countries.

One hundred Nobel peace prizes have been awarded since 1901, to individuals and 24 organizations. While the other Nobel prize laureates are announced in Stockholm, the peace prize is awarded in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

Along with enormous prestige, the prize comes with a 10m kronor (£870,000) cash award and a gold medal to be handed out at a ceremony in Oslo on 10 December, the anniversary of the prize founder, Alfred Nobel’s death. This year’s ceremony will be scaled down due to the pandemic.

Nominations can be made by a select group, including national lawmakers, heads of state and certain international institutions.


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Articles Latest News

Amnesty’s exit erodes Indian democracy

By Karan Thapar

Do you recall the pride with which Narendra Modi used to refer to India as the world’s largest democracy? He said it frequently in his early years as prime minister. No one could refute the adjective. It’s indisputably correct. The noun, however, can be questioned. India holds regular elections and frequently changes governments. We believe we have an independent judiciary and parts of the press are free and fearless. But these are the outward trappings of democracy. At its heart is respect for human rights.

A lot has happened in the last six years to question our government’s respect for this democratic core. Amnesty was often the loudest voice to speak out. Not just the crackdown in Jammu and Kashmir or the police handling of the February riots in Delhi, Amnesty also raised its voice against abuses by the security forces, the anti-terror and sedition laws often used to suppress dissent, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, the Sikh massacre of 1984 and, of course, for freedom of speech. It was a thorn in the side of the government and proud of it. But it was also the champion of the people and, therefore, won our gratitude.

Now I can’t comment on the veracity of the charges brought against Amnesty. It’s accused of circumventing India’s laws and receiving money under dubious justifications. Amnesty has strenuously denied this. The Modi government says even its Manmohan Singh-led predecessor was forced to act against Amnesty. That proves this is not partisan or political. Amnesty is guilty of deliberate defiance of India’s laws. But Amnesty says this is a vendetta. The government is infuriated by Amnesty’s exposures and wants to get rid of it.

Now I have a simple point to make. Even if, for argument’s sake, you accept Amnesty is in the wrong, a wise democracy would think carefully about what steps it should take. Why? Because any action that forces Amnesty to shut shop and leave “the world’s largest democracy” can only be to our detriment and, indeed, our ultimate shame. Amnesty may need to be admonished but the punishment should never shut the door on the invaluable, actually, irreplaceable, work it does.

It’s no tribute to India that Amnesty has decided to withdraw from “the world’s largest democracy”. This places India in the dubious company of countries where Amnesty cannot function like Pakistan and China. Now we appear no better than them.

At this point, let’s return to the boast about being the world’s largest democracy. It’s not something we say to ourselves. Many of us are gullible enough to believe it. It’s said to the rest of the world in the hope of convincing them. But does the world believe we’ve treated Amnesty fairly and properly? Or do they accept Amnesty has been punished for repeatedly exposing the increasing hollowness of India’s democracy?

On the issue of human rights, Amnesty’s standing is far higher than that of the Government of India. I’m not just referring to the Modi government but all its predecessors and, in particular, that of Indira Gandhi. I concede that Amnesty has its flaws. After all, its founder, Peter Benenson, resigned from the organisation claiming in 1966 it had been infiltrated by the British Foreign Office and MI-6. But few believed him and in 1977 Amnesty won the Nobel Peace Prize. The citation called it “A light in the darkness”. For tens of thousands of prisoners of conscience, this was the truth.

Now that light is going out of our lives. The first time this happened was in 1948. Gandhi’s assassination deprived newly-independent India of its conscience. Amnesty’s departure would mean a voice that reminds us how frequently we fall short of our values will be silenced. It was often an irritating voice, but always a necessary one. The fact it could be heard was reassuring proof our democracy, though at times limping, was moving forward. If we no longer hear it, will the silence comfort “the world’s largest democracy”?

(The opinion piece appeared in The Hindustan Times)

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International Latest News

Afghan woman leader in Nobel frontrunner list

Oslo: Norwegian Peace Council added the name of former parliament member and current peace negotiations member in Qatar, Fawzia Koofi among 5 Nobel Peace Prize favorites for 2020.

She was listed among the 5 favorites due to her efforts for women’s rights and ongoing peace negotiations.

Besides being a delegation member in ongoing peace negotiations in Qatar, Fawzia Koofi also leads the Movement for Change Party.

‘There are 318 candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020, of which 211 are individuals and 107 are organizations, 318 is the fourth-highest number of candidates ever. The current record of 376 candidates was reached in 2016’, the Nobel Prize organization states.

Reporters Without Borders, American lawyer Benjamin Ferencz, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, and the Equal Justice Initiative organization have also been shortlisted for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. (MENAFN)

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Latest News USA

Trump nominated for Nobel Prize after Israel-UAE accord

by The SATimes News Service  

Washington: President Trump has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for helping broker a peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, according to a report.

Christian Tybring-Gjedde, a member of the Norwegian Parliament and chairman of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, submitted the nomination, Fox News reported.

“For his merit, I think he has done more trying to create peace between nations than most other Peace Prize nominees,” Tybring-Gjedde told Fox News.

In his letter to the Nobel Committee, Tybring-Gjedde wrote that the Trump administration has played a key role in the establishment of relations between the two nations.

“As it is expected other Middle Eastern countries will follow in the footsteps of the UAE, this agreement could be a game-changer that will turn the Middle East into a region of cooperation and prosperity,” he wrote.


Tybring-Gjedde also cited Trump’s “key role in facilitating contact between conflicting parties and … creating new dynamics in other protracted conflicts, such as the Kashmir border dispute between India and Pakistan, and the conflict between North and South Korea, as well as dealing with the nuclear capabilities of North Korea.”


“Indeed, Trump has broken a 39-year-old streak of American Presidents either starting a war or bringing the United States into an international armed conflict. The last president to avoid doing so was Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter,” he wrote.

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