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Friday, May 3, 2013

Pakistani Prosecutor Investigating Bhutto Assassination Shot Dead

Motorcycle assassins shot and killed Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, a Pakistani prosecutor who was leading the investigations into the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and the 2008 attacks on the city of Mumbai in India. His car was shot as he headed to an anti-terror court in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. France 24′s correspondent in Pakistan, Taha Saddiqui, said the prosecutor was rumoured to be close to revealing new information on the Bhutto assassination. “Because the prosecutor was murdered so brutally in broad daylight, the rest of the investigators and those working on this case will have a fear of being killed also, so the investigation might be halted and there might not be any developments”, said Saddiqui. There was local speculation that Bhutto was the victim of a plot engineered by allies of former Pakistani President Gen Pervez Musharraf, who allegedly did not want Bhutto to return to power.

UKIP Makes Major Gains in English Council Elections

The UK Independence Party (UKIP), which seeks withdrawal from the European Union, has won at least 110 seats and averaged 25 percent of the votes of the wards where its candidates stood in council elections across England. Nigel Farage, the party leader, said that it was a remarkable result. He told the BBC Radio 4′s Today Programme that “the people who vote for us are rejecting the establishment and quite right too. Three parties, three fronts benches who look the same and sound the same and made up of people who basically have never had a job in the real world. But are they voting UKIP just to stick two fingers up and to scream very loudly or are they voting UKIP because we’re offering positive policy alternatives? I don’t think these votes are going away quickly”. Reacting to the results, British Prime Minister David Cameron said that UKIP’s result was a warning to the three major parties. “They want us to do even more to work for hard-working people to sort out the issues they care about,” he said. The prime minister had previously referred to UKIP voters as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”.

France to Slip Into Recession in 2013

The French economy will finish the year in a worse position than that predicted by the country’s government a month ago, according to the European Commission. Its economic forecasters said that France would contract 0.1 percent in 2013, having previously predicted that the French economy would grow 0.1 percent. The EC economists also said that France’s deficit would rise to 4.2 percent of its GDP, missing an agreed target of 3 percent. European Union Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said that it would be “reasonable” to give the government of President François Hollande another two years to meet the target. “France badly needs to unlock its growth potential and create jobs”, said Rehn, adding that Italy, the Netherlands and Spain would also remain in recession this year. Of the larger European countries, only Germany was expected to grow during the year, with a minimal 0.4 percent growth. Referring to the record number of unemployed in the eurozone, over 19 million people, Rehn said the bloc should do “whatever it takes to overcome the crisis”.

Solar Plane Takes Off on US Cross Country Flight

A manned airplane that can fly day or night on solar power took off on Friday on the first leg of a proposed trip across the continental United States. The Solar Impulse, piloted by Bertrand Piccard of Switzerland, left Moffett Airfield in California and was expected to arrive in Phoenix, Arizona, by nightfall. Other stops are planned for Dallas, Texas, and the capital Washington before New York in early July. The Solar Impulse is equipped with four electric motors and its energy is provided by 12,000 solar cells, reaching an altitude of 27,000 feet before gliding downwards during night flights while waiting for the Sun to rise again and begin recharging its batteries. The flight is its first inter-continental trip, but it completed its first intercontinental journey from Europe to Africa in June 2012 while flying from Madrid in Spain to Rabat in Morocco.

Weekend Read: Chasing The Chinese Dream

China’s new leader Xi Jinping has been selling the idea that there is a Chinese Dream, but has left it deliberately vague. Demands for clarity might run the risk of sharpening appetites for change. In the Economist.

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