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Archive for January 2014

PM David Cameron & President Francois Hollande: The UK & FRANCE Summit

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The summit is being held at RAF, Brize Norton, UK. Prime-Minister David Cameron has been hosting French President Francois Hollande and their aim is to discuss primarily the relationship between the UK and France on issues such as security, reform of the EU, nuclear energy, defence & space collaboration and how to make the EU more competitive.

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The air base of RAF Brize Norton provided many photo opportunities with defence planes as a backdrop.

The PM’s were accompanied by Secretaries and Ministers, such as the Foreign Secretary, Defence Secretary, Energy Secretary and Minister for Science, both the UK and French counterparts made their announcements, of which included many UK-French collaborations, which the No10 have referred to as a further strengthening of co-operation between the two countries.

The outcome of the Summit saw announcements on the UK and France signing a declaration on nuclear energy and agree cooperation on ambitious climate change action, and the two countries agreeing to closer defence co-operation and a £15 million investment which will see a space collaboration between the UK and France.

The EU reforms discussion was the most difficult for the two to work together on, with PM Hollande saying the amendments to the EU reform are “not urgent”.  David Cameron faced the issue of trying to negotiate on the UK’s membership with the EU before a referendum in 2017, President Hollande did not seem to be wanting to rush anything and saying that a treaty change was “not necessary”, although President Hollande did say in the future there could be a reform if it helped with the EU to be “better co-ordinated”.

Prime-minister David Cameron will be able to go ahead with a UK vote on the issue of an in-out EU referendum, if he is re-elected in the 2015 general election, which would see the UK vote take place on the EU referendum in 2017.

The French and the UK also looked at the important issue of the Central African Republic, Libya and Syria, and the issue of radicalisation of French and British citizens, fighting abroad. It was of course President Hollande who intervened with french troops in the Central African republic and the UK have said they will assist in these operations to counter these militants.

Although the two men managed to make some movement on the discussions and agreements, there will be much more to do in making these agreements work and especially on the UK – EU relationship.

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Malala’s launch of book – CANCELLED

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The book was to launch in North West Pakistan in the district of Peshwar.

Malala is the girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban after campaigning for girls education rights.

Malala’s book is entitled “I am Malala” and the words alongside this title read – ‘The girl who stood up for education and was shot by the taliban.’

The book is a memoir and controversy has been ignited from the day it was supposed to launch and was cancelled; which is down to local officials pressurising for the launch to be cancelled on the day of Tuesday 28th January, 2014.

The story has developed since then with the involvement of government and the police, informing the University of Peshwar, with whom the book was to be launched and the University being told on numerous occassions that the launch should be cancelled, and then further urged to cancel the massive event, with concerns for safety being stated.

The organizer’s have protested their view that they saw this cancellation as a political means to cause disruption to their official book launch.

Malala, aged 16, has had her book referred to as controversial and the author herself referred to as fearless in her memoir accounts of shocking events within the book.

Imran Khan the former Pakistani cricketer turned politician said of the incident via tweet On Tuesday morning:  “I am at a loss to understand why Malala’s book launch stopped in Peshawar. PTI believes in freedom of speech/debate, not censorship of ideas”. PTI the party of Imran Khan and also the party that runs the province of Peshwar seemingly were for Malala’s book launch, yet the University have made the public aware that it was down to governmental intervention that stopped the launch.

The district of Peshwar is known to be attacked by taliban militants frequently, and it has been reported that store keepers have been threatened not to stock the book by the taliban.

The organiser of the event was  The Bacha Khan Education Foundation and their director, Khadim Hussain said of the cancellation: “It (cancellation of the launch) is against the spirit of freedom of expression and promotion of education because holding a ceremony in honour of Malala Yousufzai means to scale up awareness about child rights.”

The cancellation even had Adil Ansari, head of the Imran Khan’s party’s social media wing saying that the lauch of the book at the University was in “violation of rules & regulations.”

The social media reaction from the campaigners and fans of Malala has been immense. Former President Asif Ali Zardari’s daughter Aseefa tweeted: “Pathetic of PTI gov to ban #Malala’s book. This is censorship! Where is our freedom of speech and expression?”

Malala Yousafzai’s book was co-written with journalist Christina Lamb, which was published in October 2013 and Malala has been busy, this has been some of her work since July 2013:

July – Malala Addressed United Nations in New York
July – I’m Malala song released
Sep – Malala Opens world’s largest library in Birmingham
Oct – Malala Receives “Raw in War” Award 2013
Oct – I am Malala Book was published!
Oct – Malala was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Oct – Malala met Queen Elizabeth in Buckingham Palace
Oct – Malala Met Barack Obama in USA
Nov – Malala reunited with her school friends in Scotland
Nov – Malala was selected as the “Glamour woman of the year”
Nov – Malala received Europe’s biggest Human rights award Sakharov

Throughout the busy schedule of her’s, Malala managed to get her book published and as for the launch it has unfortunately been postponed, so now it’s a matter of time before the book is out and the next launch will continue to be controversial, although many will be hoping it is not cancelled, next time around.

Has this sought to make Malala’s campaign stronger? And the Taliban’s weaker? What will the government do to ensure she will get her book launch?

Feel free to have your say – Raj Mehta –

Written by Raj

January 31, 2014 at 1:24 am

Ronaldo Ballon Dor by RM Productions

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Written by Raj

January 22, 2014 at 10:30 am

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