Pervez MusharrafFormer President Pervez Musharraf, of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, has vacated the presidential home of Aiwan-e-Sadr after stepping down from the office of President. On Monday Fahmida Mirza, Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, signed and accepted the resignation of President Musharraf.

Pakistan's President Musharraf resigns; new elections to be held
For 44 years I have safeguarded the country and will continue to do so.
Pakistan's President Musharraf resigns; new elections to be held

—Pervez Musharraf

He was accorded a guard of honour before leaving the President’s House. President Musharraf resigned after remaining in power for nine years.

He had been facing impeachment on charges of violating the constitution and gross misconduct. The movement to impeach Pervez Musharraf was an August 2008 attempt by the Pakistan Peoples Party, the Pakistan Muslim League, Awami National Party, and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam to force Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf out of office.

Pervez Musharraf announced his resignation at 13:00 Local time (07:00 UTC) in a televised address to avoid impeachment. In it, Pervez Musharraf explained in Urdu language his reasons for resigning.

“If I was doing this just for myself, I might have chosen a different course,” Musharraf said, early in the speech. “But I put Pakistan first, as always,” he continued. “Whether I win or lose the impeachment, the dignity of the nation would be damaged, the office of the president harmed.”

Just three days ago, the chief spokesperson for Pervez Musharraf denied reports that came out 14 August, 2008 indicating that the president would step down within days.

Before departing, President Pervez Musharraf met with many important figures including General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, the Chief of the Army Staff, and Air Marshal Tanvir Mehmoodand, Chief of Air Staff. President Musharraf says he has no plans to leave the country and will remain with his family in Islamabad.

Chairman of the Senate of Pakistan, Muhammad Mian Soomro, took over as Acting President of Pakistan after the departure of President Pervez Musharraf’s.

The Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan, Kanwar Dilshad, announced on August 22, 2008 that the presidential election will be held on September 06, 2008. The Central Executive Committee of Pakistan People’s Party has nominated the Pakistan People’s Party Co-chairman, Asif Ali Zardari for the post of president of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Source : wikinews

Pastor Rick Warren

United States Presidential candidates Senators Barack Obama and John McCain each participated in a live forum broadcast from Saddleback Church in Lake Forest. The forum, moderated by pastor Rick Warren, was scheduled to showcase the candidates to an evangelical segment of the population, who account for 26.3% of the American public.

During the forum the candidates were each individually asked a series of identical questions by the pastor, with Senator Barack Obama going first and Senator John McCain taking his turn after being held in a soundproof room as Obama was interviewed. On some questions the candidates differed in their interpretations.

When asked whom they believed were the three wisest people to rely on as president, Obama answered that his wife and grandmother were at the top of his list along with a mix of Republican and Democratic Senators. McCain comprised his list of a range of people: the architect of the troop surge in Iraq, General David Petraeus; Democratic Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis; and the former CEO of eBay, Meg Whitman.

In response to being questioned about their toughest decisions in life, Obama answered that deciding to oppose the Iraq War in 2002 was his toughest, while McCain cited his refusal to leave his men behind in a POW camp in Vietnam when given the chance.

On some philosophical questions the candidates differed in their moral stances. When asked when they believed individuals should be given human rights, Obama responded that the question was “above [his] pay grade” while McCain decisively replied that he believed it should occur “at the moment of conception.” On the concept of evil, Obama related it to the situation in Darfur and on America’s streets. McCain related it to radical Islamic extremism relaying that he believed evil should be “defeated.” He then promised that as president he would hunt Osama bin Laden to the “gates of hell.”

On a few questions the candidates had similar responses. They both answered that the biggest moral dilemmas in their lives were personal mistakes they had made when they were younger. For Obama, it was his drug use, for McCain it was his failed first marriage.

Both candidates were on the stage together briefly between the interviews and shook hands and hugged in a moment symbolic of Warren’s call for civility at the beginning and end of the forum.

Source : wikinews

Alexander Kozulin (file photo)

Alexander Kozulin, Belarus’ highest profile political prisoner has left jail , his daughter said, as an unconfirmed news agency report said he had been given a presidential pardon.

“We don’t know what has happened and under what conditions he has been released, but he is definitely coming home and I hope he is coming home for a long time,” Ms Kozulina said.

Mr Kozulin would on Monday attend the funeral of his father-in-law, after which he would give a press conference, his press service said.

Interfax news agency quoted an unnamed official as saying Kozulin, a former presidential candidate, had been pardoned by President Alexander Lukashenko on Friday.

The president’s office declined to comment, as did the prison where Kozulin was being held.

Mr Kozulin was jailed in 2006 after leading a protest against the heavily criticised election victory of Mr Lukashenko, dubbed by Washington “Europe’s last dictator.”

His release has been a key demand by Western powers, including the United States, which has imposed economic sanctions against Mr Lukashenko’s leadership.

Belarus is preparing for a parliamentary election on September 28 and diplomats say Mr Lukashenko is seeking a mould-breaking positive appraisal from Western election observers.

Mr Lukashenko is accused by critics of suppressing opposition democracy campaigners and illegally changing the constitution to prolong his 14-year rule.

The US has welcomed the release.

“The United States welcomes the release today of Belarus political opposition figure Alexander Kozulin,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement.

“We look forward to other positive steps from the Belarusian authorities that could open the possibility of a significant improvement in relations between the United States and Belarus,” Mr McCormack said.

On a visit to Latvia in May 2005, US President George W Bush described Belarus as “the last remaining dictatorship in Europe.”

source : abc.net.au

pinguino k.

American celebutante and businesswoman Paris Hilton has bashed a recent presidential campaign ad by 2008 U.S. presidential hopeful John McCain in which he compared his rival Barack Obama to celebrities such as Hilton and Britney Spears. In McCain’s TV ad, it was stated that Obama was “the biggest celebrity in the world.”

Hilton recorded and uploaded a video to comedy website Funny or Die, in which she mocked McCain by calling him a “wrinkly white-haired guy.”

“Hey America. I am Paris Hilton, and I am a celebrity too,” she states at the beginning of the video, but not before images of the Star Wars character Yoda and the cast of The Golden Girls are paraded across the screen apparently comparing the characters to McCain.

United States Senate.

“Only I am not from the olden days, and I am not promising change like ‘that other guy’. I’m just hot,” remarked Hilton, adding, “I guess I am running for president,” since McCain’s TV ad showed her.

McCain’s advertisement, released early this week, states, “Is the biggest celebrity in the world ready to help your family?” According to the Boston Globe and video displayed on its website, the narrator then points out that “the real Obama promises higher taxes, more government spending. So, fewer jobs.”

Bill Burton, a spokesman for Obama, responded to the ad: “Is the biggest proponent of George Bush’s tired, failed policies ready to bring about change? Another day brings another dishonest attack from John McCain. While Senator McCain knows that Senator Obama has proposed cutting taxes for 95% of American families, what he’s not telling us is that he wants to give $4 billion in tax breaks to the oil companies, continue giving tax breaks to corporations that ship our job overseas, and provide no direct tax relief for more than 100 million middle-class families.”

Hilton appears in good spirits in her video and even thanks McCain for endorsing her. “So thanks for the endorsement white-haired dude. And I want America to know, that I am like totally ready to lead.”

Source : wikinews