Archive for the ‘Bhutto’ Category

Pakistan’s Zardari Says Militants Could Start Regional War

December 2, 2008

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has appealed to India not to punish his country for last week’s attacks in Mumbai, saying militants have the power to precipitate a war in the region, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

Zardari, whose wife, Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated by Islamist militants last year, warned that provocation by rogue “non-state actors” posed the danger of a return to war between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

“Even if the militants are linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba, who do you think we are fighting?” asked Zardari in an interview with the Financial Times.

“We live in troubled times where non-state actors have taken us to war before, whether it is the case of those who perpetrated (the) 9/11 (attacks on the United States) or contributed to the escalation of the situation in Iraq,” said Zardari.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani speaks during the ... 
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani speaks during the National Security Conference to discuss ongoing tension between India and Pakistan flared after the last week’s Mumbai attacks, Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008 in Islamabad, Pakistan. Pakistan has proposed a joint investigation of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai after India blamed elements in Pakistan for the bloodshed.(AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

More from Reuters:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/200812
01/ts_nm/us_india_mumbai_1

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From the Financial Times (UK) 
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Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s president, made an urgent appeal to India yesterday not to punish his country for the terror unleashed on Mumbai last week, as Indian officials blamed a Pakistani militant group for the three-day rampage.

As the government in New Delhi faced mounting domestic pressure to respond forcefully to the attacks, Mr Zardari urged Manmohan Singh, India’s prime minister, to resist striking out at his government should investigations show that Pakistani militant groups were responsible.

His appeal came as tensions rose between the two countries. A day after the security forces finally regained control of Mumbai, Indian officials blamed Lashkar-i-tayyaba, a prominent militant group linked to previous attacks against India. Its name translates as Army of the Pure.

Speaking exclusively to the Financial Times, Pakistan’s president warned that provocation by rogue “non-state actors” posed the danger of a return to war between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

“Even if the militants are linked to Lashkar-i-tayyaba, who do you think we are fighting?” asked Mr Zardari, whose country is battling al-Qaeda and Taliban militants on its border with Afghanistan.

But Indian officials last night stepped up the pressure on Pakistan. The ruling Congress party’s general secretary M Veerappa Moily told the FT: “All the terrorists involved in the Mumbai blasts are related to Pakistan-based Lashkar-i-tayyaba. We are seriously concerned and the government won’t let such acts go lightly.”

New Delhi was yesterday facing intense domestic criticism over its response to the attacks which claimed at least 172 lives.

India is not considering taking military action against Pakistan ... 
India is not considering taking military action against Pakistan over the attacks in Mumbai, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Tuesday.(AFP/Raveendran)

Shivraj Patil, the home minister, resigned as criticism intensified over the response of the security forces to the attack on India’s financial capital.

“The Congress government has no moral authority to survive,” said Arun Jaitley, a leader of the opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party, blaming its weakness for collapsed intelligence gathering and a poor security response to the terror strike.

The Mumbai attacks ended on Saturday when commandos killed the last gunmen holed up at the Taj Mahal hotel.

Some of the most stinging criticism of the response of the emergency services came from business. “The police were woefully inadequate in terms of equipment and in terms of being prepared,” said Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group that owns the Taj Mahal hotel. He said fire engines had taken three hours to arrive when the hotel caught alight.

Additional reporting by James Fontanella-Khan in Mumbai

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Another Missile Strike in Pakistan: Target is Militant Leader

October 17, 2008

By Candace Rondeaux and Shaiq Hussain
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, October 17, 2008; Page A21

KABUL, Oct. 16 — A suspected U.S. missile strike near the headquarters of a top Taliban leader in Pakistan’s tribal areas Thursday killed six people and injured five others, according to Pakistani intelligence officials and residents.

The attack occurred late Thursday morning, said Ikramullah Mehsud, a resident, when a U.S. Predator drone fired several missiles on two homes in the town of Ladha, in the tribal area of South Waziristan.

Pakistan

A Pakistani intelligence official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the bombardment had killed at least two extremist commanders believed to be of Arab origin.

“The others killed were most likely local militants, but we don’t have any information about the owners of the two houses that were bombed,” the official said.

The Pentagon had no comment on the strike.

As Pakistani efforts to control the flow of Islamist insurgents across the border into Afghanistan have faltered this year, U.S. missile attacks on insurgents sheltering in Pakistan’s mountainous tribal areas have increased.

There have been 12 such attacks in the region since August. Most of the recent strikes have occurred in South and North Waziristan, which are believed to be the main operational bases for top al-Qaeda leaders.

Thursday’s attack in South Waziristan was notable because it marked the first aerial assault in more than a year on a well-known redoubt of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, according to another Pakistani intelligence official.

The official said there was no indication that Mehsud was nearby when the attack occurred. But residents told authorities that several Arab men believed to be allied with the Taliban had recently been seen in the area.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/
2008/10/16/AR2008101601511.html

China and Pakistan’s Strategic Importance: Background

October 15, 2008

China has realized for years that Pakistan is a neighbor of strategic importance.  India is China’s number one regional revial and pakistan is India’s traditional foe.  China has supported Pakistan in its nuclear ambitions and probably assisted Pakistan in nlang range missile development — often using North Korea as a proxy.  China and akistan are also completing the largest seaport in the world at Gwadar, Pakistan….

Tarique Niazi, The Jamestown Foundation, China Brief

Four months after the U.S. ordered its troops into Afghanistan to remove the Taliban regime, China and Pakistan joined hands to break ground in building a Deep Sea Port on the Arabian Sea. The project was sited in an obscure fishing village of Gwadar in Pakistan’s western province of Baluchistan, bordering Afghanistan to the northwest and Iran to the southwest. Gwadar is nautically bounded by the Persian Gulf in the west and the Gulf of Oman in the southwest.Although the Gwadar Port project has been under study since May 2001, the U.S. entrée into Kabul provided an added impetus for its speedy execution. Having set up its bases in Central, South, and West Asian countries, the U.S. virtually brought its military forces at the doorstep of China. Beijing was already wary of the strong U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf, which supplies 60% of its energy needs. It was now alarmed to see the U.S. extend its reach into Asian nations that ring western China. Having no blue water navy to speak of, China feels defenseless in the Persian Gulf against any hostile action to choke off its energy supplies. This vulnerability set Beijing scrambling for alternative safe supply routes for its energy shipments.

Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) and his Pakistani counterpart ... 
Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari stand near their respective country’s flags during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing October 15, 2008. Zardari arrived on Tuesday for his first visit to China as president, and has said he wants his four-day trip “to remind the leadership of the world how close our relationship is”. Pakistan is set to usher in a series of agreements with China during the trip, highlighting Islamabad’s hopes that Beijing will help it through economic and diplomatic troubles.REUTERS/David Gray (CHINA)
Read the rest:
http://www.asianresearch.org/articles/2528.html
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JF-17 testing.jpg
Above: JF-17 Thunder jet is a product of Pakistani and Chinese cooperation.  It is now in service in the Pakistani Air Force.

The Chinese do not easily forget old friends and do pardon some indiscretions on the part of the friend. Beijing gratefully remembers that it was Pakistan which facilitated the secret talks between China and the USA leading to establishment of diplomatic relations. Pakistan is also a security frontier for China in more ways than one.   
GhauriMissile.jpg
Pakistan’s Ghauri missile can strike into India and other neighboring nations….

The China-Pak special relations were built by the leaders of the two countries, especially the anti- India disposition of the Pakistani leaders and army, which filted eminently with China’s South Asia strategy with a common cause. 

The periodic Pak-US alliance has been both useful to Beijing and, at times, an irritant. During the Cold War the three formed an anti-Soviet axis. After the demise of the Soviet Union, China saw the US interest in Pakistan detrimental to its security. During his visit to Pakistan in 1996, Chinese President Jiang Zemin clearly indicated that USA should not meddle in South Asia. The message was clear to Pakistan also. 

Even after removing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharrif, Gen. Musharraf maintained excellent relationship with China. Following the US attack on Taliban in Afghanistan Musharraf is reported to have made a secret visit to Beijing only for a few hours to consult with the Chinese leaders. 

In a rather surprising, but understandable reaction, the China Radio International (CRI)….

 Shaheen 01.jpg
Pakistan’s Shaheen missile

By Bhasker Roy 

Although the Chinese leaders and policymakers have been forced by India’s economic development and vibrant international relations to acknowledge New Delhi’s position in regional and international platforms, Pakistan continues to remain its main centre in South Asia. 

Beijing has invested its most in Pakistan for very pertinent reasons. China is to refer to North Korea relations as “lips to teeth”. Pakistan was its “time tested ally and friend” and an example of relations between two countries. While these expressions have changed along with new post cold war global alliances and dynamics, the importance of Pakistan to China has not diminished. If fact, it has increased in terms of China’s security calculations including energy security. 

In the last decade, China helped Pakistan as a stand alone nuclear power, invested $ 2.2 billion in the Gwadar Deep Sea Port (GDSP), and helped it in trying to maintain military parity with India. Traditionally, the Chinese military sales have been at “friendship prices” and out right assistance. The Gwader Port is a gift. The F-17 Thunder advanced fighter aircraft being jointly built and produced at Kamra is basically Chinese mode.

Read the rest:
http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers26%5Cpaper2575.html

China to loan Pakistan $500M

April 18, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — China will offer its close ally Pakistan a low-interest $500 million (315 million euro) loan to help ease its growing financial problems, Pakistan’s foreign minister said.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi made the announcement Thursday after a recent visit to China and after Pakistan hosted a protest-free, security-heavy leg of the Olympic torch relay amid Western criticism of its giant neighbor’s human rights record in Tibet.

Pakistan's nuclear-capable missile, Ghauri, is driven with its ...
Pakistan’s nuclear-capable missile, Ghauri, is driven with its mobile launcher during National Day military parade in Islamabad March 23, 2008.(Mian Khursheed/Reuters)

Qureshi, who accompanied President Pervez Musharraf on the April 10-15 trip, said that it had been “highly successful.”

“If we have any reliable friend, my experience says it is China,” Qureshi said at a news conference in the capital, Islamabad.

Qureshi is a loyalist of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, whose party defeated Musharraf’s political supporters in February elections and now leads a new coalition government.

The government has inherited an ailing economy. It faces yawning budget and balance of payments deficits driven by rising world prices for commodities such as oil.

The World Bank last month urged the new administration to take urgent action or risk a crisis, even though the economy was still growing at an annual rate of more than 6 percent.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/04/17/pakistan.china.ap/
index.html?section=cnn_latest

Pakistan PM candidate to meet anti-Musharraf coalition

March 23, 2008
by Danny Kemp

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AFP) – The man nominated by the party of the late Benazir Bhutto to be Pakistan‘s new premier is Sunday set to meet members of a coalition that has vowed to take on President Pervez Musharraf.

Former parliament speaker Yousuf Raza Gilani was named on Saturday by slain opposition leader Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) as its candidate for prime minister, more than a month after it won the most seats in elections.

The party has agreed to form a coalition government with the party of ex-PM Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted by Musharraf in a coup in 1999, and other smaller groups who trounced the US-backed president’s allies in elections.

Party officials said top coalition members, including Gilani, were set to meet on Sunday ahead of a parliament session on Monday to elect the new prime minister, a vote which Gilani is almost certain to win.

Gilani, 58, a low-key but stalwart aide to Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali Zardari, on Saturday called for unity among Pakistan’s “democratic” parties.

“We have to take all democratic forces along. I will be giving a policy statement and spelling out my priorities on the floor of the house,” Gilani told AFP after he was nominated.

“I am thankful to my party leadership for putting their trust in me,” Gilani said, adding that he missed the party’s “great leader” Bhutto, who was assassinated in a suicide attack at a political rally on December 27.

Gilani spent five years in jail under Musharraf’s regime on corruption charges stemming from his time as speaker — winning….

Read the rest:

Musharraf party to nominate PM candidate

March 22, 2008
By LAUREN FRAYER, Associated Press Writer 

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Allies of President Pervez Musharraf said Saturday they would field another candidate for Pakistan‘s prime minister after withdrawing their original nominee a day earlier.
A combo of recent pictures of Pakistan's front-runners to become ... 
A combo of recent pictures of Pakistan’s front-runners to become Pakistan’s new prime minister from Pakistan’s slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto party, clockwise from top, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Chaudry Ahmed Mukhtar, Makhdoom Amin Fahim and Yousaf Raza Gillani, seen in Islamabad, Pakistan. (AP Photo/B.K.Bangash)

The reversal appeared to be due to a disagreement between the country’s two main pro-Musharraf parties.

One of the parties, Karachi-based Mutahida Qaumi Movement, or MQM, withdrew its candidate as a “good will gesture” to slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto‘s followers, who won the most parliamentary seats in elections last month.

The MQM withdrew Farooq Sattar’s candidacy late Friday after meetings in London and Karachi, said lawmaker Haider Abbas Rizvi.

But Musharraf’s own party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, said Saturday that it planned to field a candidate to be announced Sunday. Party chairman and president Chaudry Shujaat Hussain said the Sattar’s withdrawal did not reflect the will of all pro-Musharraf lawmakers.

“We will contest the election. We have made this decision,” Hussain told reporters Saturday in Islamabad.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080322/ap_on_re_as/
pakistan_politics;_ylt=AjhM6jS9u
1G72KifQSD2ROqs0NUE

Pakistan: New PM To Be Named Tonight

March 22, 2008

By Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas, Pakistan
March 22, 2008

Political games being played in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan have entered a decisive phase. According to a report, the husband of PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto, who was gunned by terrorists before the elections, Asif Ali Zardari has chosen a person from Pubjab province to become the prime minister.
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There are also reports of serious differences that have erupted in Pakistan People’s Party as most of the members of National Assembly think that Amir Fahim, president of Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians is the right person to lead Pakistan at this critical time.
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Reports said that Pakistan Peoples Party would likely to nominate Yousuf Raza Gillani as the new prime minister of the country, sources said.
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According to Geo News, PPP has completed consultations with coalition partners about the prime minister and the allies have endorsed the nomination.
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The formal announcement of the name of prime minister is expected tonight. Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari would announce the name.

Bhutto’s party to nominate Pakistan PM at weekend

March 21, 2008

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – The party of Pakistan‘s slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto will name its candidate for the post of prime minister at the weekend, a spokesman said Friday.

 Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, seen here in January 2008. ...

President Pervez Musharraf has summoned the new parliament on Monday to elect a prime minister, which will clear the way for a coalition government hostile to him to start business.

“We will announce our candidate for prime minister on late Saturday or early Sunday,” Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) spokesman Farhatullah Babar told AFP.

The names of the contesting candidates have to be filed before Sunday afternoon for Monday’s vote, he added.

Bhutto’s teenage son and successor as chairman of the party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, returned to Pakistan from London this week to personally announce the candidate.

The PPP emerged as the largest party from general elections on February 18 but has struggled to settle on a candidate amid a power vacuum left by the charismatic Bhutto’s assassination. 

Muhammad Reports From Pakistan, 21 March 2008

March 21, 2008

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir,

I hope you and your team at the Peace and Freedom will be alright. I have been passing through a severe depression as I have been seeing with my own eyes that officials of Pakistani administration has been providing protection to terrorists.
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The terrorists have been given free hand to kill the soldiers and innocent people. Like me thousands of tribesmen have been losing the hope. Officials of the United States posted in Pakistan may be aware of the situation, but they have also been keeping complete mum.
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Terrorists and Taliban have destroyed schools in the tribal areas, but the officials are taking no action. They are just sitting in their offices enjoying the life.

Believe me Sir, sometime my heart tells me to take up the arms and kill all these terrorists who have been playing havoc with the lives and properties of the masses. But I can do nothing as I am helpless. Terrorists have been abusing and threatening me, but I can do nothing. I want to kill all these evil forces.

You are my brother you will certainly help me.

I have been talking in this way as I have already told you that I am depression. Political situation in Pakistan is also fluid.

President Musharraf has summoned the National Assembly to elect prime minister on March 24. I just placing a report of a newspaper for keeping update you and your readers.

President Pervez Musharraf on Thursday called a special session of the new National Assembly for Monday to let his political opponents elect their first prime minister after eight-and-a-half years as a parliamentary momentum seemed to leave his own office at their mercy.

An apparently swift action on a proposal from caretaker Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro came only a day after the National Assembly elected its first woman speaker and her deputy by more than two-thirds majorities, which showed the anti-Musharraf camp could muster enough numbers in a joint session of the two houses of parliament to impeach the president if they so wanted.

The announcement came also when the country waited with bated breath for the majority coalition of the winners of Feb 18 election to name their candidate for prime minister to end a bitter controversy that has robbed a historic transition of some of its lustre.

The candidate, under the coalition agreement, must be from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which has added a high drama to a prolonged suspense by calling its boy chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari from a studies break in Britain to name the person for the office that his mother, Benazir Bhutto, would have taken without question for a historic third term if she had not been assassinated in a gun-and-bomb attack in Rawalpindi on Dec 27 soon after she addressed a campaign rally.

The selection of the candidate, to be made by the 19-year-old Bilawal’s father and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, has led to an unprecedented controversy in the party after one of its senior-most figures, Makhdoom Amin Fahim, who is also the president of its electoral arm PPP Parliamentarians, found his candidacy being blocked by a mysterious propaganda campaign against him and the talk of an alternative being sought from the most populous Punjab province rather than from the hopeful’s Sindh.

The National Assembly secretariat said in a statement the session for what the Constitution calls “ascertainment of the member who commands the confidence of majority of the members of the assembly” would begin at 4pm on Monday, while it would remain open on Sunday to receive nominations of candidates by 2pm and their scrutiny by the Speaker at 3pm.The election will be held through what is called division” in parliamentary parlance, in which members go to different lobbies to record their votes for candidates in accordance with the direction of their respective parties as required by an anti-defection clause of the Political Parties Act that forbids floor-crossing.It will be the fourth prime ministerial election in a little more than five years and the first time President Musharraf will find himself unable to stop an opponent from taking that office since he seized power in an Oct 12, 1999 coup that toppled then prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

After the previous October 2002 election, the president kept the anti-defection law suspended to inspire defections mainly from the PPP to help his hand-picked Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali of the formerly ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML) get elected prime minister in November by only a one-vote majority for a tenure that lasted only 20 months.Mr Jamali’s two successors to complete the remainder of his five-year term — PML president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain for a transitional two months and Shaukat Aziz for more than three years — were elected with comfortable majorities.

Now, whoever is nominated as the PPP candidate, possibly on Saturday or Sunday, will face only a token contest from Mr Farooq Sattar of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement as the joint candidate of the new PML-led opposition alliance.

Wednesday’s election of Dr Fehmida Mirza as the first woman to become the National Assembly speaker and Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi, both of the PPP, by more than two-thirds majorities of the 342-seat house — securing 249-70 and 246-68 votes respectively against the opposition rivals — served as a stark warning to a strong but an isolated president whom his opponents want to be out of their way to restore full parliamentary democracy.

The vote, which at least two of its members missed, showed the coalition could impeach the president on the oft-repeated charge of violating the Constitution as well as “gross misconduct” as it would have the required two-thirds majority in a joint sitting of the 342-seat National Assembly and 100-seat Senate with the help of a six-member anti-Musharraf “like-minded” group formed in the Senate last month and independents.

The Senate is presently left with 96 members because three members have opted to take National Assembly seats they won on Feb 18 and the death of one PML member from Balochistan.

While the coalition can hope to bag all these four seats to be filled through by-elections, the present Senate strength leaves the pro-Musharraf camp with 50 members (minus the six rebels) and his opponents with 46, whose addition to its 251 supporters in the National Assembly takes the total to 297, which will be one vote more than the 296-vote two-thirds majority of the total 443 members of both houses needed for the passage of an impeachment resolution.But the new would-be ruling coalition, which had dismissed an impeachment move against the president in the recent past on the ground of not having the required numbers, does not seem to be seeking such a course immediately in order to allow itself to settle down in power.

It still remains short of a two-thirds majority in the Senate to be able to pass constitutional amendments passed by a two-thirds majority in each house, such as one to clip the president of his controversial powers to sack a prime minister, dissolve the National Assembly and appoint provincial governors and armed forces chiefs at his discretion.

Dear Sir, just pray for our safety. You are nice brother and a honest and lovely man.

Thank you very much,

Yours sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas, Pakistan

Pakistan Elects 1st Female Speaker

March 20, 2008

(ISLAMABAD, Pakistan) — Legislators elected Pakistan’s first female speaker of parliament Wednesday, seating a follower — and lookalike — of assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Newly elected speaker of Pakistan's National Assembly Fehmida ...
Newly elected speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly Fehmida Mirza presides over a session after her election at Parliament House in Islamabad March 19, 2008. Pakistan’s National Assembly elected its first woman speaker on Wednesday, a member of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) which won the elections last month.REUTERS/Stringer (PAKISTAN)

Fehmida Mirza’s elevation reflected the air of liberalism blowing through the country’s politics since voters delivered a resounding defeat to backers of President Pervez Musharraf, the former general who has been a close U.S. ally.

However, many Pakistanis are warily watching the victorious elitist parties, worried over whether politicians whose civilian governments in the 1990s were tainted by corruption and ineptitude will be able to deal with Islamic militants and economic hardships.

In a first sign of trouble, the new leaders are struggling to agree on who should be prime minister. There was less of a problem in picking the speaker.

Read the rest:
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1723872,00.html?xid=rss-topstories