Athens: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras appears confident that the reforms-for-cash debt deal Greece has been seeking for five months with creditors will be reached within 48 hours after Sunday’s referendum regardless of the result.
In an interview with local private television channel ANT1 on Thursday evening, the Leftist leader assured that Grexit was not an option for his government and that the hardships Greek people were suffering these days would soon be over.
Tsipras dismissed criticism that his initiative to call last Saturday, the referendum on the debt deal proposal submitted by creditors on June 25, was the catalyst to the banks’ closure and the introduction of capital controls since this Monday, Xinhua news agency reported.
He put the blame on the hardliners within the Eurogroup who rejected Athens’s request for a new extension of the bailout that expired on Tuesday midnight, when the country failed to repay a loan installment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and was declared in arrears status.
The referendum should have been held five years ago when Greece resorted to the EU/IMF bailouts, the Greek premier argued, so that citizens could decide on the course the country takes.
“Today people should not worry, because we will have a deal within 48 hours after the referendum,” Tsipras said on Thursday when asked whether banks would reopen next Tuesday, as his government has announced, and whether deposits face the spectre of a “haircut”.
“Banks will reopen with a deal soon, regardless of Sunday’s outcome,” he said, noting that on Monday he was ready to travel to Brussels to negotiate and sign an agreement.
“Grexit is not our option,” the Greek leader underlined. He stressed that his government still sought a “viable solution” for the Greek debt crisis within the European framework.
He insisted that a debt restructuring was the only way to ensure the sustainability of the Greek debt burden and subsequently of any deal with creditors, pointing to the IMF report released earlier on Thursday.
According to the IMF, the Greek debt load is unsustainable and Greece needs a debt relief in exchange of reforms and a new 50-billion euro ($5.5 billion) financing package until 2018 to stay afloat.
Tsipras avoided to state clearly on Thursday whether if “Yes” prevails against his government’s line he intended to step down, call general elections and leave another premier resume dialogue with lenders.
On the way to Sunday’s referendum, the risk of a rift within the two-party coalition government and political turmoil next week increased.
Five MPs of the junior Greek coalition partner Independent Greeks (ANEL) party publicly rejected the referendum as divisive for Greek society on Thursday.
One of them who added that he intended to vote “Yes” on Sunday was expelled from ANEL’s parliamentary group.
He eventually resigned from his seat in parliament as asked and immediately replaced so the coalition still controls 161 seats in the 300-member assembly.
Health Minister Panagiotis Kouroumblis has implied that he would quit the government should further cutbacks on expenditure in the health sector were implemented, while government sources rejected media reports that the leader of ANEL and Defence Minister Panos Kammenos has also threatened with resignation if defence cuts materialized.
As Tsipras was speaking on TV on Thursday night, the same government sources were also dismissing reports that one of his closest aides, the government’s General Secretary Spyros Sagias, had already submitted a letter of his resignation due to his objection to the “highly risky” referendum idea.
New York, Nov 5: Undergoing a type of hormone replacement therapy — used for menopausal treatment — may help protect as well as improve working memory for some women as they age, according to a new study.
Hormone replacement therapy uses female hormones – oestrogen and progesterone – to treat common symptoms of menopause and ageing.
The findings showed that women taking oestrogen-only therapy had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and performed better on tests of “working memory” following exposure to stress compared to women taking a placebo.
“Our study suggests that oestrogen treatment after menopause protects the memory that is needed for short-term cognitive tasks from the effects of stress,” said lead author Alexandra Ycaza Herrera, a researcher at the University of Southern California – Davis.
To measure the effect of oestrogen therapy on working memory under stress, the team recruited 42 women with an average age of 66.
Half of the postmenopausal women had been on estradiol — a type of oestrogen therapy — for approximately five years, while the others had received a placebo.
The researchers, in the paper published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, collected saliva to measure the women’s levels of cortisol, oestrogen, and progesterone.
They also ran a test of working memory called a “sentence span task”, in which the women were each given a series and then asked whether each sentence made sense. They also were asked to recall the last word of each one.
While women receiving oestrogen therapy had a smaller increase in cortisol and showed no decrease in working memory function, even after being exposed to stressful situation, those taking the placebo experienced a spike in cortisol levels as well as demonstrated a decrease in working memory function.
Previous studies have pointed to potential health risks — the Ahigher risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke and blood clots — of the treatment.
Thus, Herrera noted that “hormone replacement therapy may not be right for every woman, but women need to be able to have the conversation with their doctors”.(IANS)
Even after 70 years of Pakistan’s creation, Balochistan refuses to associate itself as a part of the country
Pakistan’s military occupation of Balochistan began in 1948 before which the province had existed as an independent state
The insurgency in Balochistan traces its roots in ethnic nationalism along with feelings of political and economic exclusion
Balochistan, August 31, 2017 : Located in the South West of Pakistan, the Balochistan province of Pakistan constitutes nearly 45 per cent of the country’s territory. However, even after 70 years of Pakistan’s creation, the people of the province refuse to associate themselves with Pakistan or its framework of a nation state. They believe they have been Balochis for over three thousand years, who have now been invaded.
“It is freedom struggle,” believes activist Naela Quadri Baloch like many other Baloch nationalists. According to her, Balochistan had been occupied by Pakistan in 1948 and “ever since we have been fighting against Pakistan to free ourselves”, she believes.
What can I say on the day of #EnforcedDisappearance. I have lived a witness of the sufferings of my people waiting days, months and years.
In 2016 during an interview with The Times of India, the women’s leader and activist Naela Quadri Baloch had asserted that Pakistan is not interested in Kashmiris but specifically in the territory of Jammu and Kashmir for its desire to control the Indus river system. Similarly, it is also not interested in the Balochis, but the land of the state for its strategic location and mineral reserves.
Baloch nationalists assert that Pakistan’s economy is dependent on loans from the IMF, World Bank and the Western countries that are allegedly taken on the pretext of Balochistan’s rich mineral resources. They further claim that Pakistan’s strategic importance is also due to Balochistan coast. Pakistan would not be able to survive, which is why it does not want Balochistan to emerge as an independent state.
While the world views it as an insurgency movement, Balochis address their protests as a freedom struggle to liberate and unify their people and land from control of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.
They maintain that Balochistan was never a part of India or Pakistan and it had always been an independent country.
Balochistan At The Time Of Partition
Balochistan comprises of four erstwhile princely states – Kalat, Kharan, Lasbela and Makran, that had been unified by Naseer Khan, the Khan of Kalat.
During the British rule, the province was divided into British Balochistan (25 per cent) and Native Balochistan, occupying 75 per cent of the total territory with people pledging adherence to Naseer Khan.
Immediately following partition and the creation of Pakistan, Khan’s descendant, Mir Ahmed Yaar Khan was faced with three options – independence, or accession to either India or Pakistan. He decided upon independence, following which a communiqué was released on August 11, 1947 giving independent sovereign status to Kalat.
However, by October 1947, Mohammad Ali Jinnah mooted Kalat to formally join the state of Pakistan. The Khan of Kalat did not agree to the accession which was followed by a standstill between the two leaders upon the status of present-day Balochistan.
Becoming A Part Of Pakistan
By April 1948, the Pakistan army moved into the province and captured Kalat. The Khans’ attempts of an armed campaign against the Pakistan army went futile and the province was merged with Pakistan by June 1948.
At the center of Balochistan’s forced accession was Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who had previously been hired by the Khans for his legal services to negotiate Kalat’s independent status with the Britishers.
Before partition, Jinnah had successfully mooted an ‘Independent Status’ of Kalat for which he was graciously awarded with gold. But, Balochistan breathed as a free country only from August 1947 to March 1948, after which Jinnah breached trust and betrayed the Khan, forcing the Pakistani invasion and eventual accession of Kalat.
Surprisingly, during the struggle and annexation of present-day Balochistan, the Indian Congressmen, Mahatma Gandhi or the then-Governor General Lord Mountbatten made no attempts to hinder in the remonstration. This indifference can be attributed to the Indian leaders’ failure to realize the strategic implication of a sovereign Balochistan at the time.
A Growing Ethnic Nationalism
Following the formation of Pakistan, distorted power relations existed among different Muslim ethnicities. Additionally, unchallenged power was exercised by Punjabis who comprised of about 56 per cent population of the state.
In 1954, the One Unit scheme was launched by the federal government of Pakistan to merge the four existing provinces of West Pakistan (Khyber-Pakhtunkawa, Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab) to form a homogeneous, united political entity in an attempt to,
Forge national unity on basis of Islam and geography
Reduce gross expenditure
Help eliminate ethnic prejudices.
The move triggered violence throughout the country and especially in Balochistan, wherein this was interpreted as a strategy to establish Punjabi domination.
Balochistan rose against the move, which came to an end in 1970 with the overthrow of the One Unit scheme.
However, following the rebellion, a strong sense of nationalism, propounding larger political autonomy and a separate state for Balochistan broke a full-fledged insurgency from 1973 to 1977; over 80,000 personnel were deployed to quell the rebellion.
Armed struggle to achieve separation from Pakistan lasted throughout the 1970s, in which 3,300 army personnel and 5,300 Balochis were killed. However, the Pakistani government successfully compressed the movement.
Baloch nationalists have repeatedly argued that they are yet to receive any benefit from the development projects that have been initiated by the government in Balochistan.
Reportedly, the Sui Gas Field in Balochistan caters to most urban households in the country. Despite producing about 45 per cent of gas for Pakistan, the province gets to consume a mere 17 per cent. Additionally, the Balochis get a nominal amount of Pakistani Rupees 6 for a 24-hour supply.
The Pakistani government, in collaboration with China, initiated the development of the Gwadar port in the province, with an aim to better trade ties with Asia, Europe, and US. However, a large number of Punjabis and non-Baloch people were hired for the project, leaving an increasing population of Baloch engineers and technicians unemployed.
Balochistan has one of the world’s richest reserves of copper and gold. However, as much as 16 kgs of gold is seized everyday by the Chinese under an arrangement with the government, which robs the Balochis of major economic benefits.
Despite being one of the country’s key providing areas,
80 per cent population of Balochistan continue to live in the absence of safe drinking water
80 per cent people do not have access to electricity
70 per cent children have never been to school
63 per cent of Balochis live below the poverty line
It frustrates me to see d natives of Gwadar dying of thirst. No drinking water for locals thanks to all being spent on so-called CPEC scam.
While ethnic nationalist interests continue to worry Balochistan, a primary demand has also been about better control over the economic resources of the region.
However, the Pakistani government blames the nationalist struggle in the region for impeding the developmental process.
Political Subjugation By Islamabad
Balochistan makes up nearly 45 per cent of Pakistan’s territory but the Balochs comprise only 5 per cent of the total population, making them a minority in Pakistan.
Their representation in the National Assembly of Pakistan is also negligible (17 out of 342) which reveals that the Balochis have lost their say in policy formulations and are forced to adhere to laws that have been put in place for them by power honchos sitting in Islamabad.
Additionally, the Pakistan government centered in Islamabad has eradicated most of the Baloch activists and nationalists, calling them ‘foreign agents against the state’. This can be supplemented with the murder of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti who was an ex chief minister of Balochistan.
Ever since the creation of Pakistan, it has been evident that the Pakistan government is more concerned with occupying the physical territory of Balochistan, with meager interest in its indigenous population.
The Pakistan army, on command of the government has employed every possible armory against its own people of Balochistan, in an attempt to contain the province within its seizure. Furthermore, army cantonments have been established at Dera, Gwadar, Bugti and Kohlu to gauge activity and movement of the Baloch people.
Additionally, despite occupying 45 per cent of Pakistan’s territory, the budget allocated to Balochistan is minuscule in comparison to its vast landmass.
In 2002, General Pervez Musharraf had striked a deal with China over the Gwadar port development as part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Baloch people condemned the allocation of land to the rich businessmen of Punjab and Karachi and further lamented the unemployment stemming from the project. The move also instigated further violence in the region.
As of now, according to report, all 22 districts of Balochistan continue to suffer at the hands of the enduring insurgency with the tally of displaced people now crossing over 2 lacs.
In more recent times, the Pakistan army took aid of suicide bombers to tackle the ongoing insurgency. On August 8, 2017, as many as 54 lawyers became victims of a suicide attack, which is being touted as a State-funded action as the group included several Baloch activists who had been vocal about Pakistan army’s interference in state affairs.
According to a report published in Dawn,prince of the now redundant Kalat state, Prince Mohyuddin Baloch who is now the Baloch Rabita Ittefaq Tehreek chief, had said that Balochis are not looking to wage wars. Until now, Balochis have not once attacked Pakistan, but only defended themselves.
He said the objective of their protests has been to draw the government’s attention. However, regretfully, no one is paying any heed to their cries.
Dr. Aasim Sajjad Akhtar had rightly quoted in an article in the Economic and Political Weekly that the “ethnic difference remains the single biggest fault line in Pakistani politics.”
The Balochistan insurgency thus, traces its roots in a ripe ethnic nationalism along with feelings of political and economic exclusion. This animosity among the country will continue unless Pakistan accepts its non-Muslim history.
NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. Click here- www.newsgram.com/donate
The most active people, according to the research, are the Chinese and mainly the ones in Hong Kong. Other notably active people are from Ukraine and Japan. The people in these countries walk more than 6,000 steps daily, mentioned ANI report.
With a daily average of just 3,513 steps, the Indonesians ranked as the laziest people in the world. Other laziest countries include Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. These countries have an average of fewer than 3,900 steps.
The researchers at Stanford University installed step-counters in smartphones and used that information for the research. 700,000 people from 46 different countries were part of the research, which has been published in the journal called Nature.
– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394