‘Next time we will pray in Jerusalem’

Sunday, 23 June 2013 / International Solidarity Movement – In the morning of June 22nd, Palestinian, international and Israeli activists marched to the Israeli occupation military checkpoint blocking the West Bank from Jerusalem. Upon reaching the Israeli occupation roadblock, they were stopped by soldiers who violently prevented them from passing through the checkpoint. In reaction, the Palestinian activists prayed at the checkpoint, demonstrating their right to both freedom of movement within their own land, and freedom to worship in Jerusalem.

The activists arrived on the Bethlehem road, driving towards the military checkpoint separating south West Bank from Jerusalem. Around fifty meters from the checkpoint, they exited vehicles and marched towards the occupied land on the other side of the checkpoint manned by Israeli occupation military. The activists wore kuffiyehs and carried Palestinian flags, carrying a sign reading “Our land is our right”, “Free”, “Justice.”

Demonstrators were immediately confronted by Israeli occupation military personnel, who refused them passage through the checkpoint and tried to push them back. Palestinian activists were grabbed violently by soldiers, who pulled at their clothes and shoved them out of the road and away from the area.

However, activists refused to back down and instead chanted slogans and spoke about their right to freely enter occupied Jerusalem. An Israeli occupation police car and several military jeeps arrived to further repress the nonviolent demonstration. The violence from the soldiers continued and escalated when activists were threatened with pepper spray. In reaction to this, the Palestinian protesters began praying on the Bethlehem side of the checkpoint.

Following the prayer, the activists stated that they were leaving, but that they would return soon and that the next time they prayed it would be in Jerusalem.

This demonstration aimed to highlight the human rights abuses that the Palestinian people are subjected to every day because of the occupation. Restriction of movement is widespread across the West Bank, with permission from the Israeli occupation authorities being demanded for Palestinians to be allowed to travel their own land. This permission is granted very rarely, and usually excludes people aged 18-45.

In Islam and Christianity, Jerusalem is one of the primary religious sites. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion…to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” This human right is blatantly denied through acts committed by the Israeli occupation authorities and military every day.

The presence of international and Israeli activists also highlighted the apartheid policies of Israel, as they would have been permitted to pass through the checkpoint and enter Jerusalem, had they not stood in solidarity with their Palestinian friends, who were not allowed passage. During the demonstration, many Israeli colonists’ cars were granted access easily to the stolen Palestinian land.

(Source / 23.06.2013)

Assaf named goodwill UN ambassador

Mohammad Assaf became Palestine’s first Arab Idol on Saturday.
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Mohammad Assaf, the first Palestinian to win the popular Arab Idol TV singing contest, will also become the UN’s first Palestinian goodwill ambassador.

A diplomatic source in Beirut, where MBC’s Arab Idol is filmed, told Ma’an the agreement was signed days ago to make Assaf the first-ever Palestinian refugee to become a goodwill UN ambassador, becoming the Palestine refugee agency UNRWA’s first-ever regional youth ambassador, the source said Saturday.

“A man with a golden voice is going to take the Palestinians’ voice to the universe. At long last, a fantastic story out of Gaza that will touch the hearts of the world,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the ambassadorship had not yet been announced.

“It is is a wonderful day for Palestine and for the UN.”

Thousands of Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza celebrated in the streets late Saturday after the judges announced this year’s winner. They also launched fireworks.

Assaf, a 23-year-old from Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, has become a household name in Palestine.

In an interview as he prepared for the final stages of the show, he thanked his fans in Palestine for their support.

“If I keep thanking you forever it is never enough,” Assaf said, promising to do his best to keep entertaining his fans.

He also thanked Palestinian leaders for their encouragement, particularly those who came to Beirut to watch him perform in the show.

“Their presence gave me more energy to move on and sing better and represent Palestine in its beautiful image,” he said.

As he succeeded in the final stages of the show, Assaf received phone calls from President Mahmoud Abbas and former Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

The president urged Palestinian communities across the world to vote for Assaf, and instructed the PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs to contact embassies to mobilize support for the Arab Idol star.

Assaf said he would first return to his home in the Gaza Strip after the competition and later perform three shows in West Bank cities.

(Source / 23.06.2013)

Palestinian academic Shabaneh’s administrative detention renewed

shabanaPalestinian academic Zainadeen Shabaneh, lecturer at the Polytechnic University of al-Khalil (Hebron), was sentenced to an additional five months of administrative detention on June 23, reported Ahrar centre for Prisoners Studies. He was arrested on February 3, 2013 and has been held under administrative detention since that time at Negev prison.

Shabaneh is a former prisoner who spent over 11 years in occupation prisons, said Fuad al-Khuffash of Ahrar Centre, who pointed out that the targeting of Palestinian academics for administrative detention without charge or trial is an ongoing policy of the occupation. Four other Palestinian university professors are currently held in administrative detention, Dr. Ahmed Qatamesh, Dr. Mohammed Ghazal, Mr. Mustafa Al-Shunnar, and Dr Mohammad. El-Sayyed.

(Source / 23.06.2013)

FSA ADVANCE IN WESTERN DISTRICTS OF ALEPPO AND TRIGGER MASSIVE EXPLOSION AT MENNEGH AIRBASE:

By Peter Clifford

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news“I look forward to your reports like a child waiting for Xmas” – AD

As a new FSA offensive got underway in Aleppo on Friday, Brigadier General Salim Idriss, the head of their Supreme Military Command, put out a message on Twitter saying,  “We assure the Assad regime that the FSA’s military operation’s from this day on will be significantly damaging”.

Despite the usual barrage of seemingly “reassuring” but effectively “meaningless” words coming out of the “Friends of Syria” meeting in Qatar on Saturday, it does seem that delivery of anti-tank missile launchers, and possibly anti-aircraft missile launchers, has been made to the Opposition in Syria.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

M79 Osa Rocket Launcher

Activist reports confirm a delivery of anti-tank weapons (as reported previously – scroll down – see below) from Saudi Arabia and suggest that 400 tons of weapons has recently arrived from Libya by ship,  including rocket propelled grenade launchers and shoulder held anti-aircraft missiles.

The purchase of weapons from armed brigades in Libya has been financed by Qatar and ironically, much of the arms and ammunition is of Russian origin having been formerly supplied to Gaddafi.

The Russians are also annoyed, according to sources, at the appearance  (see videos below) of Konkurs (sometimes known as Concours) anti-tank missiles in Opposition hands, as they, the major supplier of weapons to the Assad regime, manufacture them. 

Some of the defected soldiers fighting for the FSA will be familiar with the weapons and know how to use them.  You can read more in an article from the New York Times (via Syrian Freedom), HERE: 

Other pictures in circulation suggest that a second effective anti-tank weapon in Opposition hands is the M79 Osa. Originally made in Yugoslavia, it is now manufactured in Serbia and Croatia.

Reports from Aleppo say that in an advance the Opposition have taken over a large part of the western district of Al-Rashidin but clashes are ongoing.

They have also captured around 50% of the scientific research complex in the Halab Al Jadida neighborhood of the New Aleppo district, part of the complex being set on fire after shelling.

http://www.peercliffordonline.com/syria-news

Car Bomb Explodes Inside the Mennegh Airbase

Spectacularly, the Opposition have detonated a large bomb, believe to have been hidden in a BMP armoured vehicle, near the officer’s quarters inside the Mennegh airbase, which has been under siege for months. 

The moment of the explosion, at dawn this morning, Sunday, can be seen, HERE: 

This is followed immediately after by renewed heavy firing from the Opposition side, HERE:  and Assad troops seen fleeing from the base, HERE:  

The FSA hope to be in complete control of the base, which has been responsible for shelling many Opposition held areas in Aleppo province, very soon.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

Car Bomb Explodes at Checkpoint South of Aleppo

The Liwa al-Badr Brigade have also detonated a remote-controlled car bomb at a checkpoint south of Aleppo where battles continue to block the main Aleppo to Damascus highway from use by Assad forces trying, so far in vain, to reinforce their remaining units in Aleppo city and to the north by road.

There is spectacular footage of this too, HERE:

Fighting now is also into its fifth day on the highway section that stretches from Idlib to Latakia around Ariha, despite Government airstrikes on Opposition poistions in nearby villages. 

In the Mediterranean port city of Latakia itself, an explosion at an arms depot earlier in the week, which the regime described as “a technical fault” reportedly “wounding” 6 people, is now thought by activist sources yesterday to have killed 57.

“FRIENDS OF SYRIA” GROUP MAKES “SECRET DECISIONS” TO CHANGE THE CONFLICT SITUATION  – BUT WHAT DOES THIS ACTUALLY MEAN?:

At Saturday’s 11 nation meeting of “Friends of Syria” in Doha, Qatar, in a final communique the group said they had decide to, “provide urgently all the necessary material and equipment to the opposition on the ground, each country in its own way in order to enable them to counter brutal attacks by the regime and its allies and protect the Syrian people”. 

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

US John Kerry & Friends of Syria Meet in Doha

The statement was partly a sop to Germany and Italy who still oppose arming the Syrian Opposition at all, but it does give free rein to other nations to provide whatever they think Opposition fighters need.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, said that the USA was still committed to the “peace process” but that an “imbalance” on the ground in Assad’s favour “needed to be corrected”.

Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, who chaired the meeting said, “secret decisions about practical measures to change the situation on the ground in Syria” have been made, though there was no attempt to detail these, other than to confirm that any weapons would be channeled through the FSA Supreme Military Council.

Al-Thani also joked that Qatar would be willing to put “boots on the ground” in Syria but they don’t have enough people at home (population 1.87 million).  The BBC has a video report, including yet more evasive answers from the UK’s Foreign Minister, William Hague, HERE: 

Jordan also revealed details of the agreement with the US to leave men and equipment in place in their country “until the security situation in the region improves and they are no longer needed”. 700 “combat -ready” US troops have remained in the country following the end of the international war exercises called “Eager Lion” which finished on Thursday.

This is in addition to the 250 specialist US troops that have been in Jordan since last Autumn.

It is not clear exactly what role the troops are meant to play, though some of them will be supporting the 2 Patriot missile batteries that are to remain in Jordan, as well as a squadron of between 12 and 24 F-16 fighter jets.

As much as anything it may be to “threaten” Assad (and the Russians) with the possibility of a Syrian “invasion” or the implementation of a “no-fly-zone”.

Previous reports said that the original batch of US troops had been engaged by the CIA to train batches of Syrian Opposition fighters in combat techniques before sending them back to Syria, but Jordanian officials are denying that any such “training” has ever taken place.

AS REGIME POUNDS OPPOSITION STRONGHOLDS FIGHTERS STRIKE BACK DESTROYING MILITARY INSTALLATONS AND VEHICLES ACROSS THE COUNTRY:

In Damascus today, Sunday, a suicide car-bomb explosion in the Rukn al-Din neighbourhood is reported to have killed 3 people.

The area is adjacent to Barzeh where Government forces have been trying to drive out Opposition fighters for months. Despite constant shelling, Opposition fighters repelled another Government attack on Barzeh yesterday and in fact captured a headquarters used by Hezbollah, capturing Ak 47s, ammunition and a Dushka heavy machine gun.

In Zabadani, the Opposition destroyed a military convoy and targeted a Police Station in Qaboun. Shelling has been particularly heavy on Qaboun and Jobar in recent days, destroying complete residential areas as can be seen in Jobar, HERE: 

On the highway near the Damascus suburb of Erbeen there has been a very intense battle, HERE:  and on the southern section of the capital’s ringroad, Opposition fighters destroyed a BMP armoured vehicle, HERE: 

Activists are also claiming that a Government MIG jet was shot down near Nasiriyah military airport.

In Idlib city, Opposition forces are fighting back strongly and yesterday took control of the SyriaTel mobile phone company building where regime troops have been stationed and also overran a number of checkpoints.

Additionally in the province they hit a regime fuel tanker near the Basanqul checkpoint, HERE:  and are reported to have shot down an Assad helicopter near Khan Sheikhoun. This video shows Idlib fighters destroying a tank with a KonKurs wire-guided anti-tank missile, HERE:

50 bodies of regime soldiers were reported earlier in the week to have been found at the village of Massoud in Hama province, though there is so far no clear explanation of this.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

Syrian Pound Collapsing Against the Dollar

Lastly, in a desperate attempt to boost the flagging morale of Syrian Army personnel, President Assad issued a degree yesterday increasing their pay by as much as 40% for the first 10,000 Syrian Pounds (SP) and by small amounts for subsequent 10,000 SP segments.

He also increased the pay to civil state employees and retired personnel by smaller percentages.

Many see this as an attempt to increase support and to conteract the plunging economy which has resulted in huge increases in the price of even basic commodities.

The BBC has a video report on the Syrian economic situation, suggesting the conflict has cost the country so far $85 billion, HERE:

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

Syrian Imports Ruin Economy

(Source: http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-2 / 23.06.2013)

Obama support for Palestinian state mere lip service

US President Barack Obama (C) watches Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shake hands at a trilateral meeting at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City on September 22, 2009.

US President Barack Obama (C) watches Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shake hands at a trilateral meeting at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City on September 22, 2009.
“No, for the Palestinians to one day have a nation, it will take the courage of their leaders, and that of the world community. Why President Abbas has not yet sought to take Israel to the International Criminal Court would be a mystery, if his compliance with Israel’s demands were not so well-known. But even he seems to have his limits; he did, after all, finally petition the United Nation for elevated status. The people he purports to lead desperately need him to take the next step. Doing so should not be held hostage by the US and Israel.”
One wonders when, if ever, the nonsense that spews forth from the mouths of the US elected so-called representatives ceases. Less than five months after his victory over a truly frightening opponent, President Barack Obama went to the Middle East to dance to the tune of his puppet-master, Israel, and, while there, to throw a worthless bone to the Palestinians.

Mr. Obama reiterated the US support for Israel’s security, as if Israel was some vulnerable, Third World country surrounded by powerful enemies. Israel is, and for years has been, the beneficiary of the United States’ most generous largess, amounting to a total of USD 8,500,000.00 per day in military aid alone, for a staggering total of USD 3,102,500,000 in 2012. Compare this to the amount of military aid that the US gives to Israel’s mortal enemy, Palestine: USD 0.

The US president, when meeting with the [acting] Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said this: “Palestinians deserve a future of hope. Palestinians deserve a state of their own.” [There are] pretty words, indeed, but as meaningless as all Mr. Obama’s half-hearted and ineffectual efforts on behalf of the Palestinian people. He once again urged direct talks, without preconditions, with Israel.

As has been pointed out repeatedly, Israel has no interest in negotiations. Real negotiations can only occur between two parties, each of which has something the other wants and each of which must surrender something, in order to obtain from the other, what is wanted. Israel is free to take from the Palestinians whatever it wants, without consequences. Israel daily arrests Palestinians, including children, and holds them indefinitely, without charge.

The international community, and certainly the US, says nothing. Palestinians in Israel jails are tortured. The response from the international community, including that self-proclaimed bastion of human rights, the US, is silence. Israel, in violation of several United Nations resolutions, controls all Palestine’s borders, including land, air and sea.

Hundreds of checkpoints and arbitrary road closures, ostensibly designed to prevent mythical powerful Palestinian terrorists from threatening equally mythical poor, vulnerable, Israel, force Palestinians to travel hours to work their own land, which should require only a few minutes’ walk. Palestinians seeking emergency medical aid in Israel, unavailable in Palestine because Israel will not allow the import of medical supplies and equipment, often wait hours at checkpoints, for no other reason than the arrogance and cruelty of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on duty. This unfair, unjust and arbitrary waiting includes women in labor, causing many to give birth at the checkpoint. In the last few years, at least seventy Palestinian babies have died at checkpoints, being forbidden needed care by IDF soldiers.

Israel builds modern roads on Palestinian land that the Palestinians are forbidden to use. If a new Israel road bisects a Palestinian road, Palestinians cannot cross the intersection. Palestinian famers bringing their produce to market are often stopped at checkpoints and forced to wait days, until the produce has spoiled.

And this is the entity that Mr. Obama wants Palestine to negotiate with, without preconditions. What, one asks, is to be gained, other than the perception by a shrinking number of people, most of whom are in the US Congress and are owned by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), that Israel is acting in good faith?

In the past few years, Palestine has been the target of the wrath of many US members of Congress. Palestine has been threatened with all kinds of sanctions, including the withholding of the minimal aid (none of it military) that the US provides. And what has Palestine done to deserve this anger? There were two things the US simply couldn’t countenance:

1) Palestine applied for, and became a member of, UNESCO, the United Nations Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Winning approval by a vote of 107 to 14, Palestine and the United Nations could not escape US punishment. The US withdrew all US funding of UNESCO, which comprises about 22% of that organization’s budget.

And what of UNESCO? What radical, terrorism-fostering program is this? As stated on that organization’s website, “UNESCO works to create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values.” Far too radical, apparently, for the US

2) In November of 2012, Palestine applied to the U.N. General Assembly to upgrade its status to ‘non-member observer state.’ This passed by a vote of 138-9. In an unusual show of bipartisanship, the US Senate proposed a complete cutoff of all US aid to Palestine if that nation brought charges against Israel in the International Criminal Court, and the eviction of Palestine’s representatives from Washington D.C., unless the Palestinians enter into ‘meaningful’ negotiations with Israel. Senator Lindsey Graham said this: “We will not use American taxpayer dollars to support a Palestinian entity whose primary goal, if they file a complaint in the ICC, is to marginalize the Israel rather than live in peace with the people of Israel.” Why he thinks Palestine’s goal is to ‘marginalize’ Israel, and not to obtain redress from the horrific crimes Israel perpetrates on the Palestinian people on a daily basis, he did not bother to explain.

Where will it end? What will it take for the US to stop playing lip-service to supporting human rights around the world, and actually take action?

One is naïve indeed, if one thinks the US will ever take such action. That would require courage and statesmanship, something with which the US elected officials have no experience. It would mean standing up to powerful interest groups, stating obvious truths, and looking at reality through a lens uncolored by the green of lobbyists’ money. It would mean renouncing greed and the desire for the self-aggrandizement that are so much a part of the US political process.

No, for the Palestinians to one day have a nation, it will take the courage of their leaders, and that of the world community. Why President Abbas has not yet sought to take Israel to the International Criminal Court would be a mystery, if his compliance with Israel’s demands were not so well-known. But even he seems to have his limits; he did, after all, finally petition the United Nation for elevated status. The people he purports to lead desperately need him to take the next step. Doing so should not be held hostage by the US and Israel.

(Source / 23.06.2013)

De kamster van de dochter van Farao

By Marianna Laarif

Assalamoe Alaikoem wa RahmatoeAllah,
Eén van de grootste voorbeelden van geduld om gehoorzaam te blijven Allah en om te strijden voor Zijn zaak is de geschiedenis van de kamster van de dochter van fir3awn (farao)
Vandaag de dag heet dit beroep kapster.
Op een keer toen ze het haar van de dochter van fir3awn aan het kammen was, viel de kam op de grond. Toen zei ze: ‘bismillah’ oftewel ‘in de naam van Allah’ (ze vergiste zich, ze had haar geloof namelijk verborgen gehouden, maar zo gedraagt een gelovige zich nu eenmaal).
Toen merkte de dochter van fir3awn op: ‘Mijn vader is toch God?’
De kamster zei: ‘Mijn Heer en jouw Heer en de Heer van jouw vader is Allah’
Het meisje zei: ‘dus jij hebt een god buiten mijn vader om?’
De kamster zei toen: ‘Mijn Heer en jouw Heer en de Heer van jouw vader is Allah’
Toen zei het meisje: ‘dat ga ik absoluut aan mijn vader vertellen.’
En dat deed ze.
Fir3awn vroeg de kamster toen: ‘ heb jij dan nog een Heer die gelijk aan mij is?’
Ze antwoordde: ‘mijn Heer en jouw Heer is Allah.’
Toen vroeg hij aan zijn bedienden: ‘heeft ze kinderen?’
Ze zeiden: ‘ja, 4 kinderen, waaronder een baby.’
Toen zei hij: ‘ breng ze bij mij en breng een koperen koe en steek deze aan met vuur zodat het smelt…’
((probeer je nu voor te stellen wat er zou gaan gebeuren. Probeer eens in de schoenen te staan van de kamster))
Eerst nam fir3awn de oudste zoon en zei toen tegen haar: ‘Heb jij dan nog een heer die gelijk aan mij is?’ ze antwoordde: ‘Mijn Heer en jouw Heer is Allah’
Toen pakten ze de jongen beet en smeten hem voor haar ogen in de vlammenzee.
De jongen zette het op een schreeuwen, totdat hij verkoolde en verdween.
Toen nam hij de 2e en de 3e, maar haar antwoord was eensluidend:
‘Mijn Heer en jouw Heer is Allah’
En met hen gebeurde precies hetzelfde als wat er met hun broer gebeurd was en dat allemaal voor haar ogen.
Daarna was het de beurt van de zuigeling en de moeder was hevig overstuur.
Ze hield de baby stevig vast maar toen sprak de baby, hij zei: ‘heb geduld mama, want jij hebt gelijk.’ Toen werden moeder en kind samen in het vuur geworpen.
Allahu Akbar wa Allahu Akbar wa la ilaha ila Llah!!!!!!!!
De profeet Mohamed saws zei tijdens de reis van al-Israae wa al-Mi3raadj (de hemelse nachtreis waarin Mohamed saws vanuit Jeruzalem de 7 hemelen bezocht) :
“Toen ik opsteeg naar de hemel, rook ik een aangename geur die ik nooit eerder geroken had. Ik vroeg toen: Jibriel, wat is dat voor een geur?” Jibriel antwoordde: “Dat is de geur van de kamster van de dochter van fir3awn en haar 4 kinderen.”
Hier laat je tranen van verdriet, maar van vreugde tegelijk!
Ik hoop dat je hier je lering uit kunt trekken en het vervolgens ook daadwerkelijk toepast in jouw leven, want geduld is immers de sleutel van het bestaan.

TODAY IN HISTORY

23 June
2004
Three Palestinian civilians were killed and several others were wounded, by Israeli Occupation Forces in the northern Gaza Strip city of Beit Hanoun.

2002
Israeli forces reoccupy Qalqilya, impose a curfew, shell and raid dozens of homes.
2002
The Israeli cabinet approves by a vote of 25-1 a “security concept,” including the apartheid wall, a 20-km buffer zone west of the Jordan River, and the continued presence of IOF troops in the West Bank.

2000
The target date for the completion of the third Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories – including three villages near Jerusalem – and the release of 230 Palestinian prisoners passes unobserved.

1998
Five Palestinian houses are destroyed in the Hebron region and 30 Bedouin families evicted, bringing to 81 the total number of houses demolished this year in the West Bank.

1995
Occupied Palestinian Territories observe a general strike in solidarity with prisoners.

(Facebook / 23.06.2013)

A brief history of the evolution of the State Bank of Pakistan

 

File photo of the State Bank of Pakistan.

In a standard setting, a central bank performs the unique function of regulating the financial system. It plays the crucial role of designing and implementing monetary and fiscal policies. Any absence of, or weakness in these policies can cost a financial system its stability.

Every action or inaction on part of the central bank influences interactions between the different players in a financial market, and hence affects their individual and collective vulnerability to crisis. In fact, the role of a central bank is further highlighted especially after the onset of a global financial crisis.

Today, post the 2008 global financial crisis, calls for financial reform have centred on rethinking the role of central banks and taking full stock of the events that led to their historical evolution. In our part of the world, the State Bank of Pakistan and the Bangladesh Bank trace their legal foundations to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act, 1935. Let us step back in history and see how central banks evolved as an institution in the subcontinent.

Winston Churchill once said:  “We shape our buildings; thereafter, our buildings shape us.” Knowing history is important if we wish to comprehend where we are coming from and how we can further improve the state of the world we live in today. Having outlined the history of central banks for the subcontinent, understanding how sacred it is for the stability of all respective economies concerned is imperative for policymakers, who should work towards continuously reforming it with the changing times.

Early Indian Financial system

Indigenous  Money Lenders

These included the Shroffs, Marwaris and the Banias

Presidency  Banks

Bank of Bengal: established 1806
Bank of Bombay: established 1840
Bank of Madras: established 1843

These banks were initially constituted as quasi-state institutions and had the privilege of being the banker’s banks.

However, by 1876, they evolved more as private concerns, following the collapse of the Bank of Bombay eight years earlier in 1868. Even after becoming private concerns, the Presidency Banks retained a semblance of their official character – they published a weekly statement of affairs, and other banks kept a certain part of their cash deposits with them.

Indian Joint  Stock Banks

The second constituent of the financial system were the Exchange Banks. These banks had access to the London Money Market and dealt in foreign exchange.

Exchange  Banks

The third important foundation of banking in India comprised the Indian Joint Stock Banks. The impetus to the formation of joint stock banks was given in 1813, when an Act was passed removing several of the restrictions regarding the settlement of Europeans in India. Joint stock banking entered a boom in India in 1906 due to the Swadeshi movement, when numerous indigenous banks were created following the partition of Bengal.

Given this financial structure, how did the Indian financial system move to the creation of the Reserve Bank of India?

The financial structure as present at that time had many flaws. For one, the Presidency Banks acted as private concerns as well as banker’s banks. This created an anomaly in the system, as they did not minimise the information asymmetry between different financial market players, nor did they operate on the non-profit principal.

It is an established fact that a central bank is necessary to act as a lender of last resort in order to minimise the cost of information asymmetry in the market. Moreover, central banks cannot be operated on the principle of profit maximisation, as this would lead to a conflict of interest between it and other players in the financial system. Moreover, historians have noted that due to nearly all components of the financial system being purely ‘private’ or ‘market’ players, a lack of cooperation existed between the Indian Banks themselves, or between them and the English Banks. Due to the absence of any regulator or state functionary, there was an overarching presence of a market in which all players were fighting to retain business for their survival. As a case in point, the Exchange Banks were against the Presidency Banks, for fear of the latter’s dealing in foreign exchange. The inherent flaws in this system invited a crisis. This was accurately predicted by John Maynard Keynes in 1913, during his tenure at The Royal Commission of Indian Currency and Finance. The crisis was triggered by the failure of The People’s Bank of India, Lahore, which led to a major contagion that resulted in the collapse of 88 banks during 1913-1917.

The failure of these banks and the wiping out of a significant amount of capital, especially of Indian Joint Stock banks, led to the widespread opinion that a proper institutional framework was needed as a panacea for the problems of the financial sector. This eventually led to the merger of the three Presidency Banks into the Imperial Bank of India in 1920. The Imperial Bank of India was proposed as an institution with overall – as opposed to territorial – presence in India.

From its inception, the Imperial Bank of India had the status of a quasi-central bank, which undertook banking functions and managed the rupee debt of the government until the formation of the RBI in 1935. After the creation of RBI, the Imperial Bank acted as its agent – a structure still followed after the partition of India, before the State Bank of Pakistan was finally formed in 1948.

(Source / 23.06.2013)

Jihad member dies after shootout with Gaza police

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Islamic Jihad’s military wing on Sunday condemned the death of one of their members, a day after a shootout with police in the Gaza Strip.

The Al-Quds Brigades sent their condolences to the family of Raed Qassim and said the police were fully responsible for his death.

On Saturday, police went to an address in Gaza City to deliver a summons order to a member of the Jundeyeih family. Members of the family opened fire at the police officers as they approached the property and Qassim was injured in the ensuing gun fight.

He died from his injuries on Sunday.

“Police went directly to arrest him, which led to a problem,” the Al-Quds Brigade said, criticizing the lack of communication with the group in sensitive matters such as summons orders.

(Source / 23.06.2013)

US began training Syrian rebels last year: report

Syrian-Kurdish refugees walk along a dirt road at the Domiz refugee camp in Iraq on 19 June 2013.

The CIA and US special operations forces have been training Syrian rebels for months, since long before President Barack Obama announced plans to arm the opposition, the Los Angeles Times reportedFriday.

Training for rebel forces covers the use of anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons and has been carried out at bases in Jordan and Turkey since late last year, the newspaper said, citing unnamed US officials and rebel commanders.

The two-week courses, for about 20 to 45 fighters at a time, began last November at a new US base in the desert in southwest Jordan, it said.

The report came days after the Obama administration announced it had approved the arming of Syrian rebels, though analysts said the United States likely would avoid providing sophisticated guided anti-tank or anti-aircraft weapons.

The Central Intelligence Agency typically leads covert training and arming of fighters in foreign conflicts, while military special operations forces can be assigned to covert missions overseen by the spy agency.

The CIA and the White House declined to comment on the report.

Rebels from the Free Syrian Army were being trained on Russian-designed 14.5-millimeter anti-tank rifles, anti-tank missiles, and 23-millimeter anti-aircraft weapons, according the report, citing an unnamed rebel commander in the Syrian province of Daraa helping with weapons acquisitions.

“Those from the CIA, we would sit and talk with them during breaks from training and afterward, they would try to get information on the situation,” the commander was quoted as saying.

US special operations troops selected the rebels to be trained as the American military was setting up supply lines in the region to channel non-lethal items, such as uniforms and radios, to the opposition forces.

The rebels were promised powerful anti-tank weapons and other arms but shipments from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states took months to arrive and failed to live up to the expectations of the opposition, the commander told the paper.

But on Friday a rebel spokesman said the opposition fighters have received new types of weapons that could “change the course of the battle.”

The announcement came a day before a meeting in Qatar of the so called “Friends of Syria” group of nations that support the rebels battling to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

“We’ve received quantities of new types of weapons, including some that we asked for and that we believe will change the course of the battle on the ground,” Free Syrian Army spokesman Louay Muqdad told AFP.

(Source / 23.06.2013)