LAHORE LITERARY FESTIVAL TO DEBUT IN LONDON THIS MONTH London: October 24, 2016

The London debut of the Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) takes place Saturday, Oct. 29.

The daylong LLF in London, at the British Museum’s BP Theatre, presents the robust and unique syncretism universally identified with Lahore�Pakistan’s cultural capital, with its thriving visual arts and popular culture, its books and big ideas.

LLF in London highlights the intellectual curiosity, confidence and openness that are the hallmarks of Lahore’s longstanding traditions, says Razi Ahmed, LLF founder and chief executive. We are proud to feature some of the Pakistan’s finest thinkers and voices in London, to engage with the wider world, across disciplines and borders, to discuss and celebrate tolerance, diversity, and even dissent, in a daylong program of high-octane sessions capped by the inimitable elegance of Zia Mohyeddin’s masterful oratory.

Scheduled speakers at LLF in London include activist and writer Tehmina Durrani, artist Faiza Butt, former Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar, filmmaker and actor Sarmad Khoosat, columnist and art historian F. S. Aijazuddin, Kashmiri writer Mirza Waheed, Turkey’s best-selling fiction writer Elif Safak, Christies’ director Dr. Amin Jaffer, Chatham House’s Dr. Robin Niblett,Desperately Seeking Paradiseauthor Ziauddin Sardar, Kipling biographer Andrew Lycett, and more.

The festival’s London debut will showcase for audiences abroad the vitality and vigor of Pakistan’s intellectual and cultural capital, says Nusrat Jamil, an organiser of the LLF in London. LLF in London is Pakistan beyond Western-world headlines, a representative sampling of all that is good and great about our country.

We are delighted now, after successful editions in Lahore and New York, to present some of Pakistan’s finest in thought-provoking conversations and panel discussions in yet another global capital of ideas, says Aneela Shah, LLF treasurer for overseas initiatives. The tremendous and humbling response of the Pakistani community in the U.K. will ensure that LLF in London becomes a highly anticipated annual tradition.

This will be LLF’s second edition abroad this year. The two-day LLF in New York debuted in May, as part of its three-year collaboration with Asia Society. The free and fourth annual home edition took place in Lahore last February. (India’s Jaipur Literature Festival has been an annual feature at London’s Southbank Centre since 2014.)

LLF in London will run from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and tickets are available online. For additional information, please visitwww.lahorelitfest.com

Since its debut in 2013, LLF has garnered glowing foreign coverage for Pakistan.The New York Timeshas called it a wonder of creativity, eclecticism, ideas and dialogue, and the BBC has cited it as a celebration of a Pakistan open and engaged with the many ideas of many worlds.

END

Source: Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage

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Remarks With Kuwaiti First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah Before Their Meeting

SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning everybody. I’m delighted to welcome my friend, Foreign Minister al-Sabah from Kuwait, to Washington and to this strategic dialogue that we will engage in this morning. The truth is we meet frequently and I want to thank the Amir of Kuwait and the Government of Kuwait for their tremendous commitment to this relationship, for the extraordinary cooperation that we receive on a whole host of issues.

And really now for 25 years since we fought shoulder to shoulder in the war of liberation of Kuwait, there’s just been a clarity of purpose in what we are trying to achieve together. We are engaged in counter-Daesh, counter-ISIL efforts. We’re engaged in regional stabilization efforts. Kuwait has made significant contributions to help deal with the problem of displaced people and refugees � I think about $1.4 billion, the most recent pledge. They are a reliable and constant partner in the effort to counter violent extremism in the region. They share the same interests that we do in trying to bring peace to Yemen, and they’ve hosted talks there for a long period of time and are prepared to continue to do that if we can bring the parties together to try to have a peaceful resolution to that conflict. They are a contributing partner in our efforts with the GCC, which have increasingly been important ever since the Camp David meeting.

So on the security side, there is this full partnership, but also on the side of education, on exchange of students, on trade and investment, we are working extremely closely together. And I want to thank the Amir and his government for their efforts to help counter the proliferation of the DPRK � of North Korea. They have recently taken steps to curb flights and to make sure that revenues from workers are not sustaining any illegal and illegitimate regime in North Korea.

So again, we’re grateful for the many areas of our work together, and I’m delighted that today we’re finally able to achieve what we’ve been working towards for some time, which is getting this strategic dialogue between our countries underway, recognizing the importance of these many issues that we’re working on together.

Thank you, my friend. Good to have you here.

FOREIGN MINISTER AL-SABAH: Thank you. Thank you. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I would like first of all to thank Secretary Kerry for his invitation. I’m so delighted to be here in Washington today to start the strategic dialogue between the state of Kuwait and the United States of America. That reflects the desire of the two countries to promote and enhance the existing relation.

We are ready, as my friend Mr. Kerry just said, to cooperate in military, security, education, and culture. And we have many other fields. We have to explore fresh ideas to promote and enhance the relation. It’s a good opportunity also to touch up on regional issues and combating terrorist group, so-called Daesh, and the situation in Yemen. Operation take place in Iraq now to liberate Mosul, crisis in Syria and of course Libya, and to think together how can we work to resume the peace process in the Middle East.

So we have a lot of challenges. Today we’ll have a good opportunity to discuss all these matters. Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, sir. Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, one question: Do you think � do you see Lebanon as getting closer to having a president?

SECRETARY KERRY: We obviously hope that Lebanon will move, but I’m not certain what the outcomes will be from the support that Saad Hariri is offering. I don’t know what the result will be yet, but we’re very hopeful. This stalemate on the issue of a presidency is hurting Lebanon, it hurts the region, and it � we hope they can move forward. Thank you.

Source: U.S Department of State

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Hungary Media Freedom

The United States shares the concerns of global press freedom advocates, international organizations, and Hungarian citizens, over the steady decline of media freedom in Hungary.

We are following closely the reported ban of an independent website from the parliament building on October 19 and the sudden closure of Hungary’s largest independent newspaper, Nepszabadsag, on October 8. The loss of this paper � regardless of the reason � is a blow to media pluralism in Hungary.

As a friend and ally, we encourage the Hungarian government to ensure an open media environment that exposes citizens to a diversity of viewpoints and opinions, a key component of our shared democratic values. We urge Hungary to work closely with the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and other experts towards this end.

Source: U.S. State Department

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Years Later, Obama’s Peace Prize Still Tangled in War Debates

Seven years ago this week, when a young American president learned he’d been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize barely nine months into his first term � arguably before he’d made any peace � a somewhat embarrassed Barack Obama asked his aides to write an acceptance speech that addressed the awkwardness of the award.

But by the time his speechwriters delivered a draft, Obama’s focus had shifted to another source of tension in his upcoming moment in Oslo: He would deliver this speech about peace just days after he planned to order 30,000 more American troops into battle in Afghanistan.

The president all but scrapped the draft and wrote his own version.

The speech Obama delivered � a Nobel Peace Prize lecture about the necessity of waging war � now looks like an early sign that the American president would not be the sort of peacemaker the European intellectuals of the Nobel committee had anticipated.

On matters of war and peace, Obama has proven to be a confounding and contradictory figure, one who stands to leave behind both devastating and pressing failures, as well as a set of fresh accomplishments whose impact could resonate for decades.

He is the erstwhile anti-war candidate, now engaged in more theaters of war than his predecessor. He is the commander-in-chief who pulled more than a hundred thousand U.S. troops out of harm’s way in Iraq, but also began a slow trickle back in. He recoiled against full-scale, conventional war, while embracing the brave new world of drone attacks and proxy battles. He has championed diplomacy on climate change and nuclear proliferation and has torn down walls to Cuba and Myanmar, but also has failed repeatedly to broker a lasting pause to more than six years of slaughter in Syria.

No consensus

If there was consensus Obama had not yet earned his Nobel Peace Prize when he received it in 2009, there’s little such agreement on whether he deserves it today.

I don’t think he would have been in the speculation of the Nobel committee now, in 2016, even if he had not already won,” said Kristian Berg Harpviken, director of the Peace Research Institute of Oslo, and a close watcher of the Nobel committee. Harpviken said he views Obama’s foreign policy as more conventional and limited than he expected, particularly when it comes to using multilateral cooperation and institutions.

When it comes to finding new instruments for peace, he said, Obama has been stuck in the old paradigm.

In many respects, Obama’s tenure has been a seven-year debate over whether the president has used the tools of war to try to make peace too much or little.

Obama has been sharply criticized for his refusal to use force to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, cripple his air force or more aggressively engage in diplomatic efforts to end the fighting. Many view Obama’s policies as an unfortunate overcorrection from the George W. Bush-era Iraq war.

The president correctly wanted to move away from the maximalist approach of the previous administration, but in doing so he went to a minimalist, gradualist and proxy approach that is prolonging the war. Where is the justice in that?” said Ret. Lt. Gen. Jim Dubik, a senior fellow at the Institute for the Study of War and the author of the book, Just War Reconsider. Obama should have worked harder to rally a coalition around a shared vision of a stable Middle East, he said.

Part of the requirement of leadership, Dubik said, is to operate in that space between where the world is and where the world ought to go.

Limited force, limited objectives

The president’s advisers dismiss such critiques as a misguided presumption that more force yields more peace. Cold-eyed assessments of the options in Syria show no certainty of outcomes.

In Syria, there is no international basis to go to war against the Assad regime. Similarly, there’s no clearly articulable objective as to how it would play out. What is the end that we’re seeking militarily? said deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes. The president doesn’t believe you can impose order through military force alone.

But Obama has in many other cases been willing to use limited force to achieve limited objectives, even risking unintended consequences.

He has ordered drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Syria, actions that that have killed civilians and sparked tension in those countries and across the international community. What began as a secret program has become more transparent, and Obama has aimed to leave legal limits for his predecessor on the use of unmanned warplanes.

But he has left unanswered the question of how or when those actions will lead to peace, some argued.

Looking back on his Nobel speech, that dilemma was already there, said Jon Alterman, a Middle East expert and former State Department official.

What’s strikes me most is how different our concept of war was seven years ago, he said. We are engaged in a whole series of infinitely sustainable, low-level actions that have no logical endpoint. When do we stop doing drone attacks in Yemen and Pakistan? What level of terrorism is acceptable? … We’re engaged in battles with a whole range of groups that are never going to surrender, so how do you decide to stop it? How do you decide what winning looks like?

Source: Voice of America

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