Archive for the ‘Oxford’ Category

Iran’s Parliament Impeaches Key Ahmadinejad Ally

November 4, 2008

Iran’s parliament impeached the head of the country’s police and security agencies on Tuesday after he admitted faking a degree from Oxford University, in a vote widely seen as a defeat for hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer

The dismissal of Interior Minister Ali Kordan was the first high-profile confrontation between the new parliament and Ahmadinejad. It was seen a vote of no-confidence in the president and a sign that the deeply unpopular leader may be losing favor even with his conservative allies.

Iranian Interior Minister Ali Kordan delivers a speech, prior ... 
Iranian Interior Minister Ali Kordan delivers a speech, prior to a vote by members of parliament to impeach him, during an open session of parliament, in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. Iran’s parliament impeached the country’s interior minister for deception Tuesday in a vote widely seen as a defeat for hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Parliament’s no-confidence vote for Ali Kordan comes after he admitted he had a fake degree from Oxford University.(AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

The interior minister in Iran is a powerful position, overseeing the police and security agencies, as well as organizing elections.

During Kordan’s confirmation debate, numerous lawmakers argued he was unqualified for the post, some claiming that his Oxford degree was a fake. Kordan was approved Aug. 5 by a relatively slim margin of around 160 of the 269 lawmakers present, a reflection of the concerns.

Kordan initially argued that his degree was real. The Interior Ministry put out a certificate, with an Oxford seal and dated June 2000, meant to prove its authenticity. It was riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes.

Oxford denied it had ever awarded an honorary doctorate of law to the minister, who then admitted the degree was fake.

Ahmadinejad defended Kordan, dismissing degrees in general as “torn paper” not necessary for serving the people.

The president was already under attack from both reformers and conservatives, who brought him to power but now complain he spends too much time on fiery anti-U.S. rhetoric rather than managing the country.

Middle-class Iranians, who have seen their standard of living fall, often speak scornfully of his economic naivete. In July, he predicted oil prices would never fall below $100 per barrel.

Oil prices, however, have plunged during the global financial crisis and hovered Tuesday around $63 a barrel. Tehran’s stock index last week plunged about 12 percent to its lowest close in years. And inflation is estimated at 27 percent or more.

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Benazir Bhutto: ‘Loss of a very great lady’

January 1, 2008

By Harlan Ullman
The Washington Times
January 1, 2008

Shortly before 8 a.m. Dec. 27, while driving from Washington to Norfolk, my cell phone rang. It was a very senior Pakistani official and trusted friend. “Something has happened to Benazir. We are not sure what.” The “what” quickly became tragedy.

Supporters of slain Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto ...
Supporters of slain Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto light candles in Lahore December 31, 2007. Pakistani electoral officials will decide on Tuesday whether to go ahead with a Jan. 8 poll, with expectations it will be delayed by up to two months after Benazir Bhutto’s killing. Picture taken December 31, 2007. (Mohsin Raza/Reuters)

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto had been assassinated. Unwittingly, she had written her own, incomplete epitaph years before. The second sentence of the new edition of her autobiography “Daughter of the East” reads: “Born in Pakistan, my life mirrors its turbulence, its tragedies and its triumphs.” Sadly, she would not live to achieve many of those triumphs. And her life and character reflected the complexities and contradictions of Pakistan.

Born into privilege, she remained a servant of the people. A child of the East, she was educated in the West first at Radcliffe, where I recall we met, and then at Oxford, where she became president of the prestigious Oxford Student Union. The surviving member of a political dynasty, she expressly advised her three teenage children to steer clear of politics. Then she bequeathed the chairmanship of her party to her 19-year-old son, Bilawal, a student at Oxford, as an insurance policy if the worst were to happen.

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I see a new future for Pakistan, says Bhutto

September 9, 2007

In an exclusive interview with Jason Burke, the ex-premier outlines plans to help her ‘nation’s poorest’

Sunday September 9, 2007
The Observer

Benazir Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, vowed yesterday she would go ‘back to basics’ and invoke her late father’s name to win her way back into power in her country.Bhutto, who was exiled from Pakistan eight years ago after two stints in government that both ended amid accusations of incompetence and scandal, said her campaign would be inspired by the old slogan of her Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) – ‘food, clothing, shelter’.

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