The NewsFuror

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Results of Election 2008 in Pakistan at a Glance

2008 Election Results

2008 Election Results

Final NA Constituency Results by map

ANP 8 0 2 29 2
PML(Q) 31 54 9 6 15
PPPP 62 67 56 17 7
BNP(A) 1 0 0 0 3
MQM 19 0 36 0 0
PML(N) 59 97 4 5 0
MMA 3 2 0 2 4
Others 30 39 7 11 11

Deutsche Post appoints new boss

New Deutsche Post CEO Frank Appel
Mr Appel's predecessor resigned after allegations he evaded taxes
Deutsche Post has named a new chief executive after former boss Klaus Zumwinkel found himself at the centre of a tax evasion scandal.

The firm's board named logistics head Frank Appel as its new chief after accepting Mr Zumwinkel's resignation.

Prosecutors said he was suspected of not paying 1m euros (£750,000) in taxes, by using banks in Lichtenstein.

The allegations are part of a wider tax evasion scandal that has grabbed headlines in Germany.

The finance ministry said its investigation was targeting hundreds of suspects believed to have defrauded tax authorities of hundreds of millions of euros through secret bank transactions.

Tax haven

German leaders said they would discuss financial transparency with Liechtenstein's Prime Minister Otmar Hasler when he visits Berlin later this week.

"I will be evaluating very carefully whether we need further initiatives at a European level to break up tax havens," Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck said.

Mr Zumwinkel is the only suspect to have been named so far. but police raided homes and offices across Germany on Monday.

One of Germany's most influential business figures, Mr Zumwinkel, 63, is credited with transforming the postal service into a logistics giant, as well as developing its retail banking arm, Postbank.

He had been chief executive of Deutsche Post for 18 years.

Mr Appel, 46, joined Deutsche Post in 2000 and had been tipped as a favourite to succeed Mr Zumwinkel.

The German government is a major shareholder in Deutsche Post, which also owns the global delivery firm DHL.

Whistle-blower site taken offline

Interlaken in Switzerland, with the Eiger in the background
The case was brought by lawyers working for a Swiss bank
A controversial website that allows whistle-blowers to anonymously post government and corporate documents has been taken offline in the US.

Wikileaks.org, as it is known, was cut off from the internet following a California court ruling, the site says.

The case was brought by a Swiss bank after "several hundred" documents were posted about its offshore activities.

Other versions of the pages, hosted in countries such as Belgium and India, can still be accessed.

However, the main site was taken offline after the court ordered that Dynadot, which controls the site's domain name, should remove all traces of wikileaks from its servers.

The court also ordered that Dynadot should "prevent the domain name from resolving to the wikileaks.org website or any other website or server other than a blank park page, until further order of this Court."

Other orders included that the domain name be locked "to prevent transfer of the domain name to a different domain registrar" to prevent changes being made to the site.

Wikileaks claimed that the order was "unconstitutional" and said that the site had been "forcibly censored".

Web names

The case was brought by lawyers working for the Swiss banking group Julius Baer. It concerned several documents posted on the site which allegedly reveal that the bank was involved with money laundering and tax evasion.

Wikileaks logo
The site was founded in 2006

The documents were allegedly posted by Rudolf Elmer, former vice president of the bank's Cayman Island's operation.

A spokesperson for Julius Baer said he could not comment on the case because of "pending legal proceedings".

The BBC understands that Julius Baer asked for the documents to be removed because they could have an impact on a separate legal case ongoing in Switzerland.

The court hearing took place last week and Dynadot blocked access from Friday evening.

Wikileaks says it was not represented at the hearing because it was "given only hours notice" via e-mail.

A document signed by Judge Jeffery White, who presided over the case, ordered Dynadot to follow six court orders.

As well as removing all records of the site form its servers, the hosting and domain name firm was ordered to produce "all prior or previous administrative and account records and data for the wikileaks.org domain name and account".

The order also demanded that details of the site's registrant, contacts, payment records and "IP addresses and associated data used by any person...who accessed the account for the domain name" to be handed over.

Wikileaks allows users to post documents anonymously.

Information bank

The site was founded in 2006 by dissidents, journalists, mathematicians and technologists from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa.

It so far claims to have published more than 1.2 million documents.

It provoked controversy when it first appeared on the net with many commentators questioning the motives of the people behind the site.

It recently made available a confidential briefing document relating to the collapse of the UK's Northern Rock bank.

Lawyers working on behalf of the bank attempted to have the documents removed from the site. They can still be accessed.

Dynadot was contacted for this article but have so far not responded to requests for comment.

'Cancer link' to heavy mobile use

Mobile phone user
The majority of studies have not found an increased cancer risk
Heavy mobile phone use may be linked to an increased risk of cancer of the salivary gland, a study suggests.

Researchers looked at 500 Israelis who had developed the condition and compared their mobile phone usage with 1,300 healthy controls.

Those who had used the phone against one side of the head for several hours a day were 50% more likely to have developed a salivary gland tumour.

The research appeared in The American Journal of Epidemiology.

Numerous studies have focused on the risk of tumours among those who use mobile phones, and overwhelmingly found no increased cancer risk.

But researchers at Tel Aviv University say these have tended to focus on brain tumours, and often did not include long-term users.

Cancer of the salivary gland is a very rare condition. Of the 230,000 cases of cancer diagnosed in the UK for instance annually, only 550 relate to this area.

Mixed messages

Dr Siegal Sadetzki, who led the research, said while mobile phone use in Israel was much heavier than in many other parts of the world, this gave an insight into what the long-term, cumulative impact could be.

Precautions should be taken in order to diminish the exposure and lower the risk for health hazards
Dr Siegal Sadetzki
Tel Aviv University

"Compared to other studies, the amount of exposure to radiofrequency radiation we saw here was much higher. If you like, you're seeing what could happen elsewhere 'speeded-up' in Israel," she said.

One of the key findings of the study was that heavy users in rural areas had an even higher risk that those in cities, due, the team suggested, to the fact that mobile phones in areas without strong signals need to emit more radiation to work properly.

But Dr Sadetzki stressed one study was not enough to prove a link, and that further research was needed.

Nonetheless, until more evidence became available, a "precautionary" approach was best, she said, particularly when it comes to children's use of mobile phones.

Despite these latest findings, the largest and longest-running investigation ever to be carried out into mobile phone usage found no increased risk of any sort of cancer.

It followed 420,000 people in Denmark, some of whom had been using a mobile phone for as long as ten years.

There was in fact a lower incidence of cancer than expected in a group of that size, suggesting mobile phones had no impact on the development of tumours.

Last year, the UK's Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme said that while the evidence so far was "reassuring", there was still a need for studies to examine the very long-term impact, and to look at the effect in children.

Ed Yong, of Cancer Research UK, said: "Mobile phones are a relatively recent invention and new research into any possible health risks is welcome.

"However, it's important to remember that the vast majority of studies so far have found that mobile phones do not increase the risk of any type of cancer."

India organ doctor associate held

Jeevan Kumar
Mr Jeevan Kumar went missing with his brother earlier this month
Indian detectives have arrested the brother of a doctor accused of organising illegal organ transplants.

Amit Kumar was held in Nepal and deported to India earlier this month for allegedly heading an illegal kidney transplant ring.

His brother, Jeevan Kumar, whom the police describe as an accomplice in the illegal trade, was arrested in the capital, Delhi, on Sunday.

Mr Amit Kumar has denied the accusations of illegal practices.

India bans trade in live kidneys unless the organ is donated by a blood relative or a spouse, or if two families agree a swap.

But many continue to sell their kidneys to satisfy demand from rich clients, including Westerners, waiting for transplants.

One senior policeman has also been arrested for allegedly receiving bribes from Mr Amit Kumar, officials said.

They say Mr Kumar paid money to some policemen after they had discovered his illegal trade.

In January, police raided an illegal clinic run by Mr Kumar in Delhi's wealthy suburb of Gurgaon after being tipped-off by a victim. Four people were arrested.

The donors were allegedly paid up to $2,500 (£1250).

Mr Kumar was detained in a resort in Nepal on 7 February and deported to India two days later.

Afghan bomb toll 'rises to 100'

The Taleban have carried out numerous attacks in Kandahar
Funerals have been held in the Afghan city of Kandahar for the victims of Sunday's suicide attack that officials now say killed more than 100 people.

The bombing - believed to be the bloodiest since 2001 - hit a crowd watching a dogfight near the city.

The dead include a local police chief. Officials blamed the Taleban who deny responsibility.

Taleban attacks have risen sharply recently, prompting some members of a Nato force to demand more troops.

Fifteen international troops have been killed in Afghanistan this year, most of them from the US.

Some 40,000 soldiers from Nato countries are deployed in the country, where their tasks include aiding reconstruction, tackling opium cultivation and battling the Taleban.

Governor's 'warning'

Sunday's suicide bombing created a scene of carnage, scattering personal belongings and body parts over a wide area and turning the ground red with blood.

29 Dec 2007: 16 policemen killed in Kandahar
6 Nov 2007: At least 70 die in attack on sugar factory in Baghlan province
29 Sep 2007: At least 30 soldiers killed in bus attack in Kabul
16 Jan 2006: At least 24 people killed in two attacks in Kandahar

Dog-fighting competitions, which were banned under the Taleban regime, are a popular pastime in Afghanistan.

Doctors in Kandahar said they were overwhelmed by the injured.

Kandahar's governor Assadullah Khalid said on Monday that the death toll had risen to more than 100, and more than 100 people had been hurt.

Weeping relatives buried the victims, many of them in graves dug next to each other.

Officials have blamed the Taleban for the attack but a spokesman for the Islamist militia has denied the group was responsible.

The dead included Abdul Hakim Jan, a powerful tribal leader who was a police chief and militia leader opposed to the Taleban.

Kandahar's governor, Asadullah Khalid told mourners at mosque on Monday that he had warned Mr Jan of a possible attempt on his life several weeks ago, the Associated Press news agency reports.

The agency quotes a local police chief as saying 1,500 people participated in Monday's funerals and 35 of the dead were members of Mr Jan's militia.

Southern Afghanistan is a Taleban stronghold and last week the Kandahar governor himself was the target of an attempt on his life.

Taleban influence

The Taleban claim to have influence across most of the country and have extended their area of control from their traditional heartland in the south.

They have a significant presence around Kandahar from where they carry out suicide attacks and roadside bomb blasts.

The militants are also able to operate freely in Wardak province, neighbouring the capital Kabul.

Last year, violence in Afghanistan reached its highest levels since the Taleban were forced from power in 2001, analysts say.

Last November, a suicide bombing in the northern Baghlan province killed 79 people - mostly school pupils - in what was until then the bloodiest bombing since the Taleban were ousted in 2001.

UN appeal for Tajik winter aid

A woman stands in snow in Tajikistan (file photo)
Some Tajiks have had to choose between food and fuel
The UN has issued an appeal for donor aid to help the Central Asian republic of Tajikistan.

A severe energy crisis coupled with an unusually cold winter is affecting the lives of millions of people.

The UN says it needs $25m (£13m) to help Tajikistan deal with the worst energy crisis it has ever experienced.

Much of the country has been left without heat and electricity, and the main hydropower stations do not have enough water to run their turbines.

In many places the temperatures are well below zero, and frozen pipes have left people without drinking water.

Power rationed

As people spend more on fuel and wood to keep warm, they have less money left to feed themselves with.

There are severe food shortages and the UN says additional fuel and food supplies are key.

A man buys good from a shop in Tajikistan (file photo)

But with roads blocked by snow, it will be impossible to deliver those supplies to the tens of thousands of people who have been stranded in mountain villages.

Power supplies to industry are tightly rationed and the government says the crisis has already cost the economy hundreds of millions of dollars - and it could get worse in the spring.

With the snowfall heavier than ever before, there is also a serious threat of spring flooding.

It is a dire situation, and millions of people have already been affected, but the UN says that the effect of this crisis could be minimised if the international community acts quickly.

Bird flu kills central China man

Most people killed by the disease have handled infected poultry
China's health ministry has confirmed that a 22-year-old man has died from bird flu in central Hunan province.

The man, identified only by his family name Li, became ill with a fever and headache on 10 January and died on 24 January, state media said.

Mr Li was the twenty-seventh person to have contracted the H5N1 virus in China and the eighteenth fatality.

Scientists fear that if the virus mutates and spreads between humans it could cause a global pandemic.

WHO notified

A specimen was taken from Mr Li in February and sent to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing, where the H5N1 virus was confirmed.

In a statement, the health ministry said that everyone who had been in close contact with Mr Li had been examined and that no "abnormal conditions" had yet been discovered.

The ministry said that the World Health Organization and other foreign government authorities had been informed, Reuters reported.

More than 200 people around the world have died of bird flu since the outbreak began over five years ago.

Although there have been suspected cases of human-to-human transmission, most people victims had worked and lived in close contact with poultry.

China inflation hits 11-year high

Chinese customers buy pork at a market in Beijing in January
Food prices are rising due to rising demand and inadequate supply
Chinese inflation hit an 11-year high in January after rising price pressures were exaggerated by fierce snow storms, official figures show.

Soaring food prices were largely blamed for pushing consumer inflation up to 7.1% last month, from 6.5% in December.

Inflation in China continues to rise despite higher interest rates and other measures by Beijing to keep the economy from overheating.

The worst winter for decades hit food supplies, sending food costs up 18%.

Massive snowfalls wrecked crops and killed millions of livestock.

But analysts cautioned that the severe weather was not the only factor behind rising food costs, and warned that prices could still increase further.


January's inflation rate of 7.1% was the highest figure since September 1996, when consumer price inflation hit 7.4%.

Non-food inflation rose only slowly, hitting an annual rate of 1.5%, the figures showed.

Chinese leaders have been under pressure to control spiralling food costs, the biggest factor behind historical periods of social unrest in a country where according to the World Bank 300 million people live in poverty.

Measures taken by the government include giving farmers incentives to rear more pigs.

Last year, the government also raised interest rates six times in an attempt to keep inflation under control.

Analysts said in light of the latest figures they expected further interest rate rises.

Bush salutes Kosovo independence

Protest against Kosovo's declaration of independence in Belgrade, Serbia, on Monday
Kosovo's declaration met protests in Belgrade and in parts of Kosovo
US President George W Bush has said history will prove the independence of Kosovo to be justified.

In a speech in Tanzania, Mr Bush said the US would soon establish full diplomatic relations with Kosovo.

Serbia earlier withdrew its envoy to Washington in protest. It says Kosovo's declaration of independence on Sunday violates international law.

The UN Security Council is divided over how to respond to Kosovo's move, and it has failed to agree any action.

Russia and China supported Serbian President Boris Tadic when he made an impassioned appeal to the Council at Tuesday's meeting.

But Britain's representative said that with no prospect of agreement between Belgrade and Pristina the only way forward was supervised independence for Kosovo.

Britain, France, Germany and Italy have all recognised the new state but others have not.


In his speech, Mr Bush said there was "a disagreement but we believe as many other nations do that history will prove this to be the correct move".

The president, who was speaking during a tour of Africa, said the US supported Kosovo's independence because "we believe it will bring peace".

Earlier, in a letter to Kosovo's President Fatmir Sejdiu, Mr Bush offered friendship to Kosovo, and said he supported "your embrace of multi-ethnicity as a principle of good governance".

On Monday, the Serbian parliament passed a resolution condemning Kosovo's declaration of independence.

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci with the new Kosovo flag
Population about two million
Majority ethnic Albanian; 10% Serb
Under UN control since Nato drove out Serb forces in 1999
2,000-strong EU staff to take over from UN after independence
Nato to stay to provide security

The resolution also formally annulled the acts of the government in Pristina, saying Belgrade's sovereignty over Kosovo was guaranteed by the UN and international law.

In a separate move, Serbia recalled its ambassadors to the US, France and Turkey because those countries had recognised Kosovo's independence.

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica has threatened to withdraw envoys from other countries which backed the territory's secession.

At a meeting in Brussels, the European Union set aside differences over the recognition of Kosovo's independence, by stressing that the breakaway Serbian province was not a precedent for separatists elsewhere.

All 27 EU foreign ministers agreed to leave recognition up to each member state.

Spain and several other member states have withheld recognition because of concerns about separatist movements within their own borders.

Protest rallies

Serbia's interior ministry has filed criminal charges against Kosovo Albanian leaders instrumental in proclaiming independence, accusing them of proclaiming a "false state" on Serbian territory.

In Belgrade, about 10,000 students marched in protest at the independence declaration, and Serb enclaves inside Kosovo also saw big anti-independence rallies.

In Kosovo's divided city of Mitrovica, three cars were damaged in Tuesday's grenade attack near the office of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The incident was the latest in a string of hand-grenade attacks on property of international missions in Kosovo and government offices.

Serbian security forces were driven out of Kosovo in 1999 after a Nato bombing campaign aimed at halting the violent repression of ethnic Albanian separatists.

The province has been under UN administration and Nato protection since then.

Map showing distribution of ethnic Albanians and Serbs

Musharraf party 'lagging in poll'

PPP supporters celebrate upon hearing preliminary results in Karachi, 18 February, 2008
The gunfire in Karachi on Monday night was celebratory
Pakistani opposition parties are well ahead in the country's elections, President Musharraf's allies say.

The ruling PML-Q would be consigned to the opposition if provisional results - from more than half of seats - were confirmed, said spokesman Tariq Azeem.

Supporters of opposition parties including Nawaz Sharif's PML-N and the PPP of the late Benazir Bhutto have been celebrating in the streets.

Mr Musharraf insists he will accept the result, regardless of who wins.

He is not standing in the parliamentary election himself, but a clear defeat of his supporters could herald struggles over his presidency, analysts suggest.

The poll took place on Monday, having been delayed following Ms Bhutto's assassination on 27 December.

High-profile victims

Unofficial and provisional results showed big gains for Mr Sharif and Ms Bhutto's parties.

The latest figures appeared to give both parties about 30% of the vote and more than 50 seats each, with Ms Bhutto's party slightly ahead.

The PML-Q was trailing a distant third, while smaller parties and independents also picked up seats.

Whosoever wins we should accept it - that includes myself
President Musharraf

"If the results are confirmed we will play the part of the opposition as effectively as we can," Mr Azeem told the AFP news agency.

Most official counts will not be declared until later on Tuesday.

But high-profile victims of the poll were reported to include party president Chaudry Shujaat Hussain and his close ally, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid.

They were among the PML-Q losses in Punjab, the country's most populous province and a key electoral battleground.

Pakistani newspapers spoke of a "rout" of Mr Musharraf's allies, with The News proclaiming: "Democracy takes revenge."

"The result will be the voice of the nation and whosoever wins we should accept it - that includes myself," said Mr Musharraf.


Celebrations were continuing in the streets of cities including Lahore, Rapalwindi and Karachi as news of early results trickled out.

At least 20 people are reported to have died in election-day violence, with the PPP reporting 15 of its members killed.

Vote counting in Pakistan, 18 February 2008
Most counts will be completed by Tuesday morning

There were also reports of missing ballot boxes.

But there was also widespread relief that there were none of the major bomb attacks which had marred the run-up to the election.

Fears of violence had dissuaded many of the country's 80 million eligible voters from leaving their homes, and voter turnout was estimated to be less than 40%. Close to half a million security personnel, including about 80,000 soldiers, had been deployed to quell any outbreak of fighting.

The wait for news of the next government is the start of fresh uncertainty in Pakistan, says the BBC's Jill McGivering in Karachi.

Even once the election results are clear, there will still be plenty of behind-the-scenes bargaining to come, she says.

Future in the balance

Polls suggest a fair vote is likely to result in a hung parliament, with none of the three biggest parties winning a majority, analysts suggest.

Attention will then turn on the PPP, and whether it chooses to join forces with pro-Musharraf parties, or with Mr Sharif's party.

Mr Sharif is staunchly opposed to the president, and if the two opposition parties jointly gain two-thirds of the seats, they may try to impeach Mr Musharraf, correspondents say.

Mr Musharraf stepped down as army chief late last year. He has ruled the country since seizing power in a coup in 1999.

Fidel Castro announces retirement

Cuba's ailing leader, Fidel Castro has announced he will not return to the presidency in a letter published by official Communist Party paper, Granma.

"I neither will aspire to nor will I accept, the position of president of the Council of state and commander in chief," he wrote in the letter.

Mr Castro handed over power temporarily to his brother, Raul, in July 2006 when he underwent intestinal surgery.

The 81-year-old has ruled Cuba since leading a communist revolution in 1959.

In December, Mr Castro indicated that he could possibly step down in favour of a younger generation.