Asylum seeker in Cambodia wants to go home

One of four refugees resettled in Cambodia just three months ago in a multimillion-dollar deal that saw them sent from an Australian-run detention camp on Nauru has decided he wants to go home.


The man, an ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar, said he wanted to give up his refugee status and return to his homeland, according to Cambodian Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak.

The man, who was not named, has contacted Myanmar’s embassy in Cambodia to get permission to return home, but Khieu Sopheak was unaware of the response.

Two Iranian men, an Iranian woman and the Rohingya man came to Cambodia under a $A40 million, four-year agreement aimed at resettling hundreds of asylum seekers who have been living for years in Nauru.

They were the only ones among 677 there who signed up for the package – despite substantial encouragement – and arrived in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh in early June.

Only asylum seekers granted refugee status by the UN’s refugee agency were eligible for the move.

“The agreement of the two countries remains valid, but at the moment we want to see the first pilot refugees that have already arrived here integrate into our society before we accept newcomers,” Khieu Sopheak said by phone.

The deal, part of Australia’s efforts to deter boats of asylum seekers, has been criticised since Australia made the agreement with Cambodia last September. Critics have expressed concerns that Cambodia is too impoverished to handle the new residents and that its poor human rights record would put them at risk.

Khieu Sopheak said that the Rohingya man, who was born in 1990, did not explain why he wanted to return to Myanmar, but that his father had visited him recently in Cambodia and may have sought to reunite his son with their family.

The man’s action comes as many Rohingya, who are Muslims, are expected to take to boats in fresh efforts to leave Myanmar to escape persecution and better their economic prospects.

Many try to head to Malaysia, with which they have a religious affinity, but others try to make the long and dangerous journey to Australia.

Khieu Sopheak said the Cambodian government respected the man’s decision. Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to Ian Rintoul, Sydney-based director of the Australian advocacy group Refugee Action Coalition, none of the four resettled people wants to stay in Cambodia.

He said they expected to get a lump sum of at least $US10,000 ($A14,268.39), but that was not what happened.

“They all went with the idea that they would get the money that they were being told they would get and be able to go somewhere else,” Rintoul said.

“The government has dribbled the money to them. They’ve been kept in a very isolated arrangement and there’s been no prospects for them.”

David Cameron to set out UK refugees plan

British Prime Minister David Cameron is to set out details of the government’s plans to re-settle thousands of refugees fleeing the bloody Syrian civil war.


Officials have been working on the scheme throughout the weekend after the prime minister dramatically dropped his opposition to taking more people seeking sanctuary from the conflict.

Mr Cameron – who will give full details in a Commons statement – was effectively forced to act after harrowing photographs of the body of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Mediterranean beach galvanised public opinion.

He had previously argued taking in refugees would simply encourage more people to risk the hazardous sea crossing to Europe which has already claimed thousands of lives.

Under the proposal, announced on Friday during a visit to Portugal and Spain, Britain will take refugees directly from the camps in countries bordering Syria – avoiding the need for them to put themselves in the hands of people traffickers.

It represents a major expansion of an existing government programme to provide places for the most vulnerable refugees which has so far seen 216 Syrians re-settled in Britain.

Critics have said the plan will do nothing to help the tens of thousands who have already made it across to Europe and are seeking to make their way to the wealthier northern nations, most notably Germany, to claim asylum.

However, Mr Cameron has been adamant Britain will not join a proposed EU scheme to redistribute some 160,000 people among the member states, despite risking alienating key allies like Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Ministers refused to be drawn over the weekend on how many people will be admitted to the UK, although the government is likely to want to appear as generous as possible, prompting speculation that it could be up to 10,000.

Chancellor George Osborne sought to reassure Conservative MPs concerned about the costs, saying funds will be channelled from the international aid budget to local councils to pay for housing and other services.

It forms part of a fundamental re-think of the aid programme in order to support Britain’s national interest, with a big shift of resources to the Middle East to promote stability in the region.

Mr Osborne stressed the refugee programme could only be one element in a wider plan to address the root causes of the refugee crisis, with action to tackle the “evil” regime of President Bashar al-Assad as well as the jihadists of Islamic State (IS).

Ministers are to begin making the case to extend RAF air strikes against IS in Iraq and join the United States and other allies in attacking them in their heartlands inside Syria.

NZ PM rejects vocal campaign to have ‘Red Peak’ flag added to final four

More than 20,000 people have signed a petition for the “Red Peak” flag design to be added to the four selected as possible alternatives.


The petition, on change杭州桑拿按摩,, was launched after the Flag Consideration Panel last week unveiled the final four designs it had chosen from a longlist of 40.

But New Zealand Prime Minister John Key this morning ruled out adding a fifth flag.

“To accept any other flag we would have to change the law and we’re not going back to parliament to change the law,” he said.

Should ‘Red Peak’ be added to the final selection? Vote below

Kiwis are set to vote on their preferred flag design in a public referendum in November. A second referendum – to chose between the preferred alternate and the current flag – will be held in March 2016.

The Flag Consideration Panel has faced significant backlash since it revealed the final four, with many saying Red Peak, by designer Aaron Dustin, should be on the list.

The design features a red triangle in its centre with two white strips on either side. The left and right corners of the flag are black and blue, respectively.

Over the weekend, the petition for John Key to add Red Peak to the list amassed more than 20,000 signatures and large numbers of comments.

“I love this flag,” posted one supporter. “It makes me feel patriotic. It represents the New Zealand I want to live in, one with a deep history and a bright future.”

The hashtag #RedPeak was trending in New Zealand overnight.

In a statement on Sunday, a spokeswoman for the Flag Consideration Panel said there was nothing it could do.

“The panel was appointed by government to select the alternative which it has done and cabinet has approved those alternatives so they will go forward,” she said.

“It’s out of the panel’s mandate and is now part of an official government process.”

The Red Peak design is based around the Maori myth of Ranginui and Papatuanuku, the sky father and earth mother, who were locked together in an embrace before being prised apart by their children.

In Alabama, the problems of mentioning global warming even as waters advance

“There have been naysayers about that particular topic,” said Harrison, the transportation director of the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission, last week.


He has better luck talking about more frequent hurricanes and floods, rather than what might be causing them. “You really have to think about it in terms of extreme weather events,” he said.

Harrison’s burden shows the difficulty America faces in adapting for global warming, which last week’s National Climate Assessment said is being felt from Alaska to New York. According to the report, rising seas may devastate communities such as Mobile, a three-century-old port city in a state where Republicans dominate all branches of government.

Even as politicians and the official Alabama climatologist say global warming is a sham, there’s no dispute that Mobile’s fate is tied inextricably to the bay whose waters lap near streets with names like Dauphin and Conception, reminders of 18th-century French colonists. In coming decades, its port, which serves steel producer ThyssenKrupp and Kleenex maker Kimberly-Clark, would be swamped by the rising Mobile Bay under as much as 25 feet of water, according to federal studies.

Policymakers need to “realize that this is a potential threat,” said Harrison, 44, who safeguards a fragile web of infrastructure binding a three-county community of 650,000 arrayed along beaches, bayous and bays.

“Whether the state adheres to our warnings or not, that’s going to be up to the state,” he said. “That’s about all we can do.”

Alabama, which the U.S. Census Bureau says is the nation’s seventh-poorest state, is especially exposed because of the role that manufacturing plays in its economy. Mobile’s port facilities support more than 127,000 jobs, many at companies such as shipbuilder Austal Ltd. and jetmaker Airbus SAS, according to the Alabama State Port Authority. Cargo cranes dominate the skyline in downtown Mobile, where antebellum mansions and manicured parks lie in flood plains.

Researchers with the U.S. Transportation Department are performing a case study of the area that’s set to be completed this year to document the cost of inaction for highways, rail lines and pipelines.

Among the data already released are maps that forecast sea- level rise and storm surge. Areas including Dauphin Island, a beachfront vacation town, and the port are shaded in deep red. The color reflects a high potential that waist-deep water will flow there more frequently over the next 85 years.

“Several assets are highly vulnerable to multiple climate stressors,” the study found. The port areas flooded in almost every scenario. About five miles away, the plant where Airbus is building A320 jets is also vulnerable to storm surges, Harrison said.

The state must fortify its facilities and consider climate change as it pursues infrastructure projects, Harrison said. While Harrison hasn’t yet determined a price tag, he’s planning to add millions of dollars to his budget request next year.

Whether it’s fulfilled is up to Alabama legislators, including state Sen. Trip Pittman, R, who represents Baldwin County on the east side of Mobile Bay.

Pittman, whose district is also dyed red on the map, called federal research on climate change “bad science” and “fear- mongering.” Spending millions based on such predictions doesn’t make sense, he said.

Alabama was among 12 states that had done nothing to address climate change, according to an April 2012 report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a New York-based nonprofit that supports environmental conservation.

A month later, the Alabama legislature passed a law banning local governments from adopting the United Nations’ environmental sustainability program, called Agenda 21.

“What are the costs of us going on these crusades, these environmental crusades?” said Pittman. “We’ve elevated environmentalism into some kind of religion.”

As chairman of the Senate’s education budget committee, Pittman directed extra money to the University of Alabama in Huntsville to fund research by John Christy, who has testified before Congress denouncing claims of man-made climate change.

More than 97 percent of climate scientists agree that global warming caused by human activity is real, according to a study published last year by the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Christy, Alabama’s official climatologist, said he tells lawmakers the situation isn’t worth fretting over.

“We count the tornadoes, we count hurricanes,” he said. “None of those are increasing. Floods are not increasing.”

President Barack Obama has sought unsuccessfully to persuade Congress to regulate carbon pollution, the main driver of global warming, according to the national assessment. Jeff Sessions, a Republican U.S. senator from Mobile, has accused the president and Democrats of misleading the public.

“There has been a lot of exaggeration, there has been a lot of hype,” Sessions, 67, said on the Senate floor in March. “It’s time for us to be a bit more cautious, to be less alarmist and focus more on the science of the situation.”

Sessions, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, has cited research, including Christy’s, that he says rebuts claims that tornadoes and temperatures are increasing due to global warming.

Jack Bonnikson, a Sessions spokesman, said the senator wouldn’t comment on the climate assessment or the threat to Mobile.

Even as Alabama politicians question the existence of climate change, reality is unavoidable, said Ben Raines, director of Weeks Bay Foundation, a conservation group in Baldwin County.

“People here are already dealing with a more extreme climate and with sea levels that are on the rise inundating properties more and more frequently,” said Raines, citing flash flooding and tornadoes that ravaged parts of the state last month. Politicians “are just going to have to deal with it, whether they like to or not.”

Tricia Kerr, who for 30 years has lived on Dauphin Island, a mile-wide strip of land between the Gulf of Mexico and Mobile Bay, said climate change “scares the heck out of me.”

“Flooding has gotten worse,” she said on May 10 while working the register at the Sand Box, a gift shop she owns. “And the island doesn’t drain very well. The island is saturated.”

The Transportation Department study said surge from future hurricanes will submerge “nearly all” of the barrier island, where residents reach houses on stilts by a single two-lane road a few feet above sea level.

About 50 miles east, flooding last month washed out roads in Perdido Beach. Mayor Patsy Parker, 74, said she’s starting to believe climate change is responsible for recent weather anomalies in her community of 598 residents.

“I have never ever seen an event like we had last week,” she said of the rainfall that produced a storm surge of about six feet. “We have to pay attention now.”

Like Harrison, she said persuading lawmakers to spend money to prepare is the biggest challenge.

Harrison said he will ask lawmakers to consider fortifying an inland bridge that stretches over Montlimar Creek in Mobile, after the Transportation Department study flagged it as vulnerable.

He doubts lawmakers will approve it.

“Are they going to spend the extra probably $10 million to improve that bridge?” Harrison said. “I don’t think so.”

Pittman, the state senator, agrees.

“We’re limited-government people in Alabama,” he said. “People understand the reality and cost and consequences of bad policy.”

_ With assistance from William Selway in Washington.

Builders taking lead on school construction

“We build the schools ahead of time,” said Emile Haddad, chief executive officer of Aliso Viejo, California-based FivePoint, which has permits for about 10,000 homes at Great Park.


“That way we always have them ready.”

Local schools, along with parks and recreation facilities, have long been draws for buyers in new communities. Now, as school districts face tight construction budgets and homebuilders compete to attract families able to qualify for mortgages, developers are taking the lead on school construction instead of waiting for local governments to do the job.

Sales of new single-family homes have trailed the broader housing recovery as buyers balk at high prices or the remote neighborhoods where more-affordable residences are available. New-home purchases fell 14.5 percent in March from February to an annual pace of 384,000, according to the Commerce Department. Transactions, which have averaged about 661,000 a year since 1963, peaked at an annual pace of 1.33 million in March 2005.

In Apollo Beach, Florida, Newland Real Estate donated space so a private Montessori preschool was ready to open in 2012, before the first house sold in its Waterset development.

The private school was included in the plan to attract parents who might be turned off by “test-score issues” at nearby public schools, said Teri Slavik-Tsuyuki, chief marketing officer for San Diego-based Newland, the largest U.S. developer of master-planned communities, with 28 projects in 14 states. Higher grades will probably be added to the Montessori school in the future, she said.

“We don’t do this because there are exactions that the counties are dragging out of us,” Slavik-Tsuyuki said in a telephone interview. “We knew that a school was the right thing for the community and that’s just the cost of doing business.”

At nearby FishHawk Ranch, Newland spent $5 million in 2009, at the bottom of the housing market, for site development of a new high school, almost five years before model homes were ready, she said.

“It was like ‘Field of Dreams,’ ” Slavik-Tsuyuki said, referring to the 1989 Kevin Costner movie about an Iowa farmer who builds a baseball diamond in a cornfield to attract the ghosts of a disgraced team after he hears a disembodied voice saying: “If you build it, he will come.”

“There’s this massive new school in the middle of this vacant, open master-planned community,” Slavik-Tsuyuki said.

Cambay Group, the developer of River Islands in Lathrop, California, opened a charter school in August, about nine months before the first model home opens this month. The River Islands Technology Academy has about 400 students in kindergarten through sixth grade and almost 600 more on a waiting list, according to Susan Dell’Osso, project director of the community 77 miles (124 kilometers) east of San Francisco.

Cambay has 11,000 River Islands residences planned, which will be home to a projected 8,000 students. Many parents with kids on the academy waiting list expect to buy new houses because of the school, Dell’Osso said in a telephone interview.

“It probably adds 10 to 20 percent to home values,” she said. “A good school makes a tremendous difference in a master- planned community.”

There’s a direct correlation between top-performing schools and premium real estate prices, according to Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow Inc., the property-data website firm. The connection is a chicken-or-egg question, he said.

“On the one hand, parents desire good schools, which leads them to bid up home prices in areas with good schools,” Humphries said in an e-mail. “On the other hand, parents in more affluent areas have resources that better arm both their children and their schools to compete in terms of performance.”

Premiums vary by location, he said. In Pennsylvania, homes near schools rated at the top of the 1-10 performance index created by GreatSchools Inc. are more than twice as expensive as homes near schools rated 5 on the index, he said. In Nebraska, buyers pay only a 50 percent premium for a school with a 9 rating, he said.

“A big reason why real estate is all about location, location, location is because school quality makes such a difference in terms of home values but yet varies so widely,” Humphries said.

For many parents, the premium for a house near high-quality public schools seems reasonable compared with the cost of a private education, said FivePoint’s Haddad, whose children attended an Episcopal school where tuition is now more than $22,000 a year.

“If you ask people today why they’re buying a home in Irvine, the No. 1 answer is the school district,” Haddad, who co-owns FivePoint with Lennar Corp., said in an interview at Bloomberg News’s Los Angeles office. Among the five public high schools in the city, 40 miles southwest of Los Angeles, three are rated 10 and two are rated 9 on the GreatSchools index. The Irvine school district has agreed to deliver a new $250 million high school by 2016 on land Haddad set aside in his development.

Irvine’s Jeffrey Trail Middle School, which isn’t rated yet because it opened in September, is accommodating students from Haddad’s Great Park development until his school’s expected completion next year. Parents waiting in the parking lot earlier this month said they are paying a premium for their homes to enroll their kids in the new school.

May Brown, the mother of a Jeffrey Trail seventh-grader, is renting while on the waiting list to buy a new house in Irvine’s Stonegate Village, where she expects to pay $750,000 to $1 million for a four-bedroom, Mediterranean-style home. That’s about three times the cost of comparable homes in Tennessee, where her family lived before returning to their native California last August.

“We moved here because of the schools,” said Brown, whose husband is associate dean of the School of Pharmacology at Chapman University in Orange, California. “In every town, you have to pay a premium to buy a house near good schools.”

Mi Jeong Oh said she and her husband, who was transferred in 2012 from Toronto as an electronics researcher, chose to live in Irvine because they wanted their son, a ninth-grader, and daughter, a seventh-grader, to attend the local schools.

“Irvine is very expensive,” Oh said as she waited for her daughter at Jeffrey Trail. “After they graduate, I’m going to move to another place.”

California, which has about 6.2 million of the 54 million kindergarten-through-12th-grade students in the U.S., has been a leader for developer contributions to new schools since the 1980s, when impact fees were first imposed to fund public improvements after the voter-approved Proposition 13 restricted the ability of local governments to raise taxes.

Last year, the number of new-school projects fell to 120 statewide from a decade peak of 1,147 in 2008, before the impacts of the housing crash hit the economy, according to the California Office of Public School Construction.

District construction regulations and planning processes often frustrate developer efforts to provide schools as fast as they want, said Jeffrey Vincent, deputy director at the Center for Cities and Schools at the University of California, Berkeley.

“I love school districts, but they’re not always quick and nimble,” Vincent said in a telephone interview.

It took more than a decade for Los Angeles Unified School District to design and build a new elementary school in Playa Vista, a planned community for more than 5,800 homes that includes a 4-acre (1.6 hectare) school site dedicated by the owner, said Marc Huffman, vice president of planning and entitlements at Brookfield Residential Properties Inc., the project’s master developer since 2012. Playa Vista also will contribute about $30 million in impact fees for local school construction over the life of the development, Huffman said.

Since the school opened in August 2012, Playa Vista home prices have climbed as much as 20 percent as it attracts families and move-up buyers from the community’s smaller condominiums, Huffman said in a telephone interview.

“The school’s definitely a draw,” he said.

Playa Vista is a rare urban project with space for a new school. While Haddad’s Southern California developments in Irvine and Valencia include land for new schools, he hasn’t been able to shoehorn a campus into a San Francisco project called Hunters Point/Candlestick Park, where he’s building 10,000 homes on a waterfront site south of downtown. It’s an amenity cities need if they expect to attract more than young, single people and empty-nesters, Haddad said.

“We need to start thinking about urban schools — about going vertical,” said Haddad, whose company is overseeing the development of five planned California communities with almost 50,000 homes. “We haven’t won that battle yet, but I haven’t given up.”

Jeb Bush is trying, and failing, to escape his brother’s shadow on Iraq

Under a blazing sun, Bush expressed irritation with what he called “the parlor game” of focusing on Wolfowitz and other past Bush administration advisers who have resurfaced for this Bush campaign.


“If I’m president, we will have a strategy on day one to take out this grave threat to our national security and to the world,” he said. “I promise you that.”

This was supposed to be the week when Bush would finally lay out his own thoughts on how to combat the Islamic State terror group and put Hillary Rodham Clinton on the defensive — and wrest himself away from his family legacy in the process. But over several days, it has become evident that his ideas on the subject are remarkably similar to George W. Bush’s ideas and that he firmly believes Democrats — not his brother — now deserve the blame for the unrest in Iraq and neighboring Syria.

His new struggles with the issue also come as he is fading in polls and being drowned out by the angry outsiders dominating the race.

According to Bush this week, the removal of Saddam Hussein from power “turned out to be a pretty good deal.” The 2007 troop surge was “an extraordinarily effective” strategy. By the time his brother left office, he said, the “mission was accomplished” in Iraq because security had been restored.

Bush also said he won’t rule out waterboarding in the interrogation of terrorism suspects, although he added, “I do think in general that torture is not appropriate.”

Bush faults President Barack Obama for his unwillingness to talk directly about “radical Islamic terrorists” and Clinton for visiting Iraq only once as secretary of state. He said it might be necessary to deploy more U.S. forces to both Iraq and Syria — and that troops already on the ground should be embedded more closely with local forces.

As for questions about advisers, Bush told fairgoers Friday that he has a young team working at his campaign headquarters in Miami. Shrugging his shoulders, Bush said any veteran GOP foreign policy advisers “had to deal with two Republican administrations” run by his brother and father.

“I mean, this is kind of a tough game to be playing, to be honest with you,” he said. “I’m my own person.”

In an interview Friday, radio host Hugh Hewitt asked Bush whether it’s easier or harder for him to talk about national security given his last name. Bush shot back: “It doesn’t matter. I’m the first candidate to have a view on this with enough detail for people to see what the world would look like if I’m president.”

But Democrats are relishing the chance to Bush’s remarks this week to remind voters of his family ties. During a town hall in Dubuque, Iowa, on Friday afternoon, Clinton took aim at Bush’s criticism of her, noting that his brother signed an agreement as president to withdraw combat troops from the country by 2011.

“I do think that it’s a little bit surprising to hear Jeb Bush talk about this,” she said. “He expects the American people to have a collective case of amnesia.”

Later in the town hall, Clinton sought to single out Jeb Bush’s comments on women’s issues, but mistakenly referred to him as “George Bush.”

“I get confused,” she said, seeming to relish her own error. “Oh, well.”

Most Americans still believe the Iraq war was a mistake and are opposed to new military engagement — making Jeb Bush’s approach to national security risky. But polling suggests that his positions are popular among most Republicans, especially if it means raising doubts about Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

“Jeb is going to talk about the threat of radical Islamic terrorism and how to defeat it,” said Tim Miller, Bush’s campaign communications director. “If the Democrats want to talk about the past, that’s their prerogative, but the American people are looking for someone who will address today’s growing terror threat, and they didn’t get it from Obama/Clinton.”

Among his GOP rivals, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has said that “it was a mistake to topple” Hussein, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says it “makes no sense for us to be re-litigating yesterday.”

Businessman Donald Trump has it both ways, blaming George W. Bush for invading the country in the first place and Obama for pulling troops out in 2011. “The war should have never happened,” he told Fox News earlier this year. “Once it did happen, you should have left the troops in. It’s really a double fault.”

In Iowa — where Bush polled seventh in a CNN-ORC poll released this week — there are some Republicans who appreciate his approach and think his dynastic lineage is an attribute.

“He’s gonna be our man because he’s presidential, he knows what’s going on,” said Belinda Schlueter, a 56-year-old housewife. “He comes from a family that actually knows what the country’s all about and how the office runs. We need somebody there that knows what they’re doing.”

Bush launched his discussions of national security Tuesday in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. He faulted Obama and Clinton for their “blind haste” to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq, a “premature” decision and a “fatal error” that disrupted the fragile progress his brother helped forge in Iraq. He did not mention his brother’s role in starting the process for withdrawal.

While there are about 3,500 U.S. support troops in Iraq now, “more may well be needed,” Bush said. He endorsed deploying troops to work more closely with Iraqi forces, including as forward air spotters to help identify targets.”We do not need, and our friends do not ask for, a major commitment of American combat forces,” he said. “But we do need to convey that we are serious, that we are determined to help local forces take back their country.”

In Syria, he called for more active U.S. involvement in the brutal Syrian civil war — including a no-fly zone and the expansion of “safe zones” in the country.

On Thursday, at a national security forum in Davenport, he said “Iraq was fragile but secure” when his brother left office in 2009. He added that the “mission was accomplished in the way that there was security there and it was because of the heroic efforts of the men and women in the United States military that it was so.”

That answer immediately prompted comparisons to George W. Bush’s 2003 “Mission Accomplished” speech on the deck of a U.S. Naval carrier that prematurely declared the end of the Iraqi military campaign.

At the forum, Jeb Bush would not say for certain whether he would preserve the executive order Obama signed banning enhanced interrogation. Later Thursday, he told reporters that he would not rule out using waterboarding during interrogations of terrorism suspects.

Former House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., whose group hosted the forum, credited Bush for presenting “the most nuanced approach to a really hard problem.”

Rogers, who is neutral in the GOP primary, said, “Campaigns now are [so] tapped in to 140 characters and Twitter, it’s very difficult to have a thoughtful conversation about national security.”

Peter Feaver, who advised George W. Bush on Iraq, credited Bush for delivering “a detailed speech” and suggested he represented views “advocated by serious Democrats and Republicans.”

He pointed to a recent Washington Post op-ed co-written by Michèle Flournoy, Obama’s former undersecretary of defense for policy who has been touted as a possible defense secretary for Clinton. Writing with Richard Fontaine, a former foreign policy adviser to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Flournoy advocated a series of proposals similar to what Bush called for: to provide more military aid to Sunni tribes and the Kurdish peshmerga in Iraq; to embed more Special Operations forces with Iraqi security forces; to deploy forward air controllers to identify targets; and to build a stronger global campaign against Islamic State.

In Iowa, after parrying questions lobbed at him by Iowans, Bush donned a red apron and flipped pork chops with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican. Carl Owens, a hog farmer, stood off to the side taking in the scene.

“I don’t know if he’s like his brother and dad or not,” said Owens, 59. “I wasn’t too happy with them. Mr. Bush, the last president, look at the mess he got the United States into over there where we shouldn’t have been. Kind of like the Vietnam War. We shouldn’t have been there.”

– – – –

O’Keefe reported from Washington. Washington Post staff writer Sean Sullivan in Iowa contributed to this report.

Pakistan cracks down on Afghan immigrants, fearing an influx as US leaves Afghanistan

Pakistan and Iran absorbed more than 7 million Afghan refugees after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 touched off years of fighting.


Many of the refugees went home after U.S.-backed Afghan forces dislodged the Taliban in 2001.

Now officials here worry that the rapid U.S. drawdown and a decline in Western aid could lead to growing violence and desperation in Afghanistan, prompting residents to flee to Pakistan again.

“I believe this influx is already here,” said Mohammed Abbas Khan, a commissioner at Pakistan’s Office of Chief Commissioner for Afghan Refugees. “We are in a very tight situation ourselves, so having this influx is not desirable to anyone in the world.”

There are no firm figures on the number of new arrivals. But in recent weeks, Pakistani officials say, they have been fielding calls from frantic local authorities about new illegal settlements.

To discourage the immigrants, local officials in northwestern Pakistan are implementing policies that could make it harder for Afghans to rent apartments or erect new squatter camps. In the southern city of Karachi, new police squads are tasked with hunting down illegal Afghan immigrants. And along Pakistan’s 1,500-mile border with Afghanistan, federal officials are preparing to implement new screening procedures.

The crackdown is occurring as Iran is increasingly pressuring the 800,000 Afghan refugees there to leave, according to human rights groups.

In Pakistan, the tightening of controls reflects concerns about the fragile situation in Afghanistan and about this country’s own stability. There are about 1.6 million legally registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan, but officials think that 1 to 3 million more are in the country illegally.

“We want them to go back to their own country,” said Sartaj Aziz, the national security and foreign affairs adviser to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Aziz said that the refugees are a burden on the weak economy and that their presence makes it easier for Islamist militants with ties to Afghanistan to operate undetected in this nation.

When Afghans started flooding into Pakistan after 1979, they were greeted as Muslim brothers who shared the goal of driving the Soviets from Afghanistan.

They were housed in sprawling camps near the border. Pakistan worked with countries such as the United States to line up food and other support for the refugees, some of whom would cross back into Afghanistan as mujahideen fighters to battle the Soviets.

But over time, most of the remaining Afghan refugees moved to Pakistani cities in search of jobs. With most new arrivals also flocking to urban areas, friction between Afghans and Pakistanis has intensified.

Many Afghan refugees are Pashtun, an ethnic group whose rapid growth is altering the demographic makeup of a country that had been dominated by ethnic Punjabis. Pashtuns are now Pakistan’s second-largest ethnic group, eclipsing the Sindhis, who primarily reside in southern Pakistan.

The backlash against the Afghan settlers appears to be driven in part by suspicion that they are more tolerant of Pashtun-dominated militant groups, such as the Pakistani Taliban, which have carried out a campaign of terror in recent years.

In a sign of that concern, in early March authorities sent bulldozers to destroy a settlement on the outskirts of Islamabad, the capital, that housed more than 100 Afghan families. Many residents said they had lived there for nearly three decades.

Two days after the operation, several families said they had not found shelter. Children were using cardboard boxes as blankets as men dug through the rubble, hoping to salvage bricks.

“They didn’t give us any warning,” said Parvez, 20, who has only one name and lives with 12 brothers and sisters. “We still have not eaten breakfast because the kitchen was demolished.”

Like all Afghan settlers, Parvez is not eligible for citizenship or public benefits in Pakistan, even though he has lived there his entire life.

Islamabad officials said they were under pressure from the property owner to clear the settlement, which they noted included some non-Afghan families. But officials also said such Afghan-dominated camps are unsightly and pose a growing security risk, so they might dismantle similar ones in coming months.

Nasreen Ghufran, an international relations professor at the University of Peshawar, said that Pakistanis blame Afghan immigrants for “a lack of social order” — in particular, crime and unsanitary conditions.

“Even the common villagers are using abusive language for them,” said Ghufran, who has extensively studied Afghans who have moved to Pakistan. “Previously, they were considered Afghan brothers, Afghan Muslim brothers who we should be ready to give space and give jobs. Now, they want them to leave.”

After an intense national debate last year, Pakistan’s national assembly decided to allow the 1.6 million legally registered Afghans to stay at least until the end of 2015. But Pakistani authorities are afraid that the number of illegal immigrants could jump if violence surges in Afghanistan after most NATO troops leave this year.

An even bigger concern, Pakistani leaders say, is that Afghanistan’s economy could weaken considerably as Western troops and contractors return home, prompting a flood of job-seekers to cross the border.

Already, Afghan refugees seem increasingly wary of going back to their native land.

While 83,000 Afghan residents returned home from Pakistan in 2012, less than half that number made the trip last year, and so far this year fewer than 2,000 have repatriated, said Abbas Khan, the refugee official.

He said that Pakistan will voluntarily accept large numbers of new refugees only in the event of a “humanitarian catastrophe.” Otherwise, Afghans who travel to Pakistan should expect to be subjected to new biometric border-control technologies such as iris and fingerprint scanners, he said.

Aid workers and analysts are divided over whether a large number of Afghans might try to move to Pakistan. Some say that if security greatly deteriorates in Pashtun-dominated areas of eastern Afghanistan, some people could seek to join family members already in Pakistan.

But the International Organization for Migration concluded in a January report that most Afghans forced to flee their homes would simply go to other parts of Afghanistan. Among the reasons: The land routes to Pakistan are far more dangerous than they were in the 1980s and 1990s.

Still, local officials in Pakistan are nervous.

Qaim Ali Shah, the chief minister of Sindh province in southern Pakistan, said at a news conference in February that there were already more than 1 million illegal Afghan immigrants living in Karachi, a rapidly growing city of 22 million people.

In response, he formed a special police unit to monitor Afghan residents. He also directed police to erect checkpoints to keep illegal immigrants from settling in neighborhoods.

Even in northwestern Pakistan, an area dominated by native-born Pashtuns, there are signs that residents have become less tolerant. In March, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly passed a law requiring that people renting apartments have recommendations from two Pakistanis.

Ijah Khan, the police chief in Peshawar, said the law is needed because of the growing threat of terrorism and crime. He said 70 percent of major crimes such as extortion and kidnapping are committed by people of Afghan origin.

“Afghans are very nomadic people,” he said. “They change their houses, residences, very frequently, so if they commit a crime, they just move. People are saying we must do something about this.”

But Afghans say few Pakistanis are willing to vouch for them.

“I am not even thinking of food; I am thinking of seeking and getting two guarantors,” said Ali Khan, 47, who fled to Pakistan with his parents when he was 14 and is now looking for a house in Peshawar for his family.

In Islamabad, Afghans also feel they are being pushed out.

Amid the rubble at the recently bulldozed settlement, Mohammed Haleem, who said he is at least 80 years old, recalled how Afghans used to receive free food and support for their battle against the Soviets.

He bent down and pulled up several rain-soaked tarps covering a mound. His parents were underneath the tarps, sleeping on a flimsy cot. A few feet away, the family cow was tied to a pole and defecating.

“Back then, we were taken care of,” Haleem continued, swatting away the flies buzzing around his parents. “Now, we are not welcomed here.”

Washington Post correspondents Haq Nawaz Khan in Peshawar, Pakistan; Shaiq Hussain in Islamabad, Pakistan; and Nisar Mehdi in Karachi, Pakistan, contributed to this report.

Breakfast isn’t a sport? Zeke, one of the Brothers Emanuel, would beg to differ

The firstborn of the three Emanuel brothers — Rahm is mayor of Chicago, Ari the Hollywood agent who inspired the show “Entourage” — is unhappy about the dearth of healthful and delicious breakfasts in the nation’s capital.


“I have been railing about the terrible breakfasts in Washington, D.C., to everybody I know,” he says. “Some things just really irritate me, and this one in particular.” A long line waiting to get into a lousy brunch joint? Drives him crazy.

The physician and health policy expert, 57, has been threatening for years to open a brunch spot when he retires. His friends have finally forced him to put his menu where his mouth is, which is how he has ended up at the newly opened Masseria restaurant on 4th Street NE on Saturday morning, acting as guest breakfast chef. He’s serving Gruyere omelets, challah French toast, waffles, quail eggs and fresh berries. But no potatoes. He doesn’t like them.

“You can find better things to put on the menu that taste better and have more nutritional value,” he says. He has put zucchini fritters and malanga (a yamlike root vegetable) hash browns on his menu instead, which upset his mother, who thought that he was insulting her Hanukkah latkes.

Although he’s a serious home cook, this is Emanuel’s first time in a professional kitchen — but it’s for just two weekends, including next Saturday and Sunday. As a doctor with a PhD in bioethics, he’s totally unfazed by public speaking and arguing for Obamacare (OK, arguing anything). But he’s pretty nervous about preparing dozens of meals to order.

“Something’s going to go wrong,” he predicted earlier in the week. “How will I handle it when it goes wrong? I have no idea.” Yelling, the default Emanuel family setting, is not an option. Amazingly, calm prevails, and the meals make it to the table without major incident.

Corby Kummer, a food critic and senior editor for the Atlantic, has flown up from Atlanta with his wife just to attend his friend’s professional debut. The two go way back, and Kummer says that he pretty much had to show up.

“This is a very expensive present for Zeke, even though it’s my birthday,” he says. “He made it clear how irritated he would be if we failed to appear. But he used more colorful language.”

Emanuel can pinpoint the exact moment when he became a foodie: It was his father’s 70th birthday in 1997, when the entire family went to dinner at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago.

“It was just a phenomenal experience,” he remembers. “The food was totally amazing. One of the five best meals of my life.” Even better: Ari paid.

Before that, he hadn’t paid much attention to food. His father was a doctor, and as the eldest son in a high-achieving Jewish family, there really wasn’t any question what Ezekiel would be when he grew up.

“First generation immigrant family, father a doctor, I’m very good at science and was good in school — and the eldest,” he says with a laugh. “Totally overdetermined that I would have to be a doctor.”

Not just a doctor, but a Harvard- and Oxford-educated expert on health care, head of the bioethics center at the National Institutes of Health, White House adviser to President Barack Obama and an architect of the Affordable Care Act. (His 2013 book, “Brothers Emanuel: A Memoir of an American Family,” explores the role that his parents, history and culture played in producing the famous trifecta of boys.)

His time in the kitchen was limited mostly to cooking breakfast for his three daughters when they were growing up and his then-wife, also a doctor, was working as an intern. Those breakfasts became a daily routine.

“My motivation has always been primarily my children,” he says. “Like dinner with the family, it’s a centering moment.” He still makes breakfast from scratch for the now-grown daughters when they’re at his Washington home.

Once he got serious about food, he brought to the kitchen his natural competitiveness and tinkering-in-the-lab tendencies. “I view it a little bit like sports,” he says. “You do it well and you want to do it a little better. You begin tweaking things; you begin learning more.”

And he got more sophisticated, learning at the best restaurants. In 2010, he won a bet with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia — dinner at the restaurant of his choice. The two men met at a fundraiser and bet on the outcome of health-care reform: Scalia believed that it would be overturned and offered a $5 bet. “I don’t bet $5,” Emanuel told him. “I bet dinners.”

He won, and the justice picked up the tab for a very expensive meal at Minibar. The two hit it off: Emanuel took Scalia to Birch and Barley because his son-in- law is a brewer; Scalia invited his new pal to lunch in his chambers, and Emanuel had the justice and his wife over for quail on his patio and then a Shabbat dinner.

“He’s great company,” Emanuel, a lifelong liberal, says. “He’s willing to argue about anything.” And do they disagree about everything? “I won’t say everything, but almost everything.”

This spring, Emanuel hosted a dinner party for Sarah Weiner, head of the Good Food Awards, and friends from Union Market in Northeast. He went off on yet another rant about lousy brunches in the District, and his friends basically dared him to guest-chef a pop-up breakfast at chef Nick Stefanelli’s new restaurant Masseria. “Five minutes later, we had two weekends” planned, Emanuel says.

The menu he designed is simple but full of the healthful ingredients he loves: maple syrup from New Hampshire, jam from Vermont, handcrafted granola, and challah made by one of his professors at Harvard. Emanuel is headed to Boston to learn how to make the braided Jewish bread, a skill that has thus far eluded him because, he says, it requires patience.

“As my kids will say, I’m relentlessly competitive,” he says. “I always like to know, ‘What’s the best? What’s No. 1, 2 and 3?’ ”

For example, he put together gift bags for breakfast guests with samples of his favorite ingredients, including dark chocolate made by a former criminal defense lawyer in Missouri. Missouri? Emanuel just got back from six weeks teaching in Switzerland, which is renowned for its chocolate, and says that the Askinosie Chocolate from Missouri is even better than anything you can find in Geneva or Zurich. “I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate,” he says. “It’s the best chocolate in the world, in my opinion.”

Another Emanuel family trait: having a lot of opinions and no fear of expressing them.

“I’m very certain of my opinions, but I change my mind,” he says. “I’ve changed a lot of my views.”

One that hasn’t changed: His belief that 75 years is a good age to die at. His essay in the Atlantic last fall caused a firestorm when he wrote that he would not make any medical steps to prolong his life after that age. Not suicide, not euthanasia, just a personal decision not to extend his life by any means necessary. People, to put it mildly, freaked out and accused him of attacking all seniors and revived the mythical Obamacare “death panel” spectre.

“This is a 40-year-old philosophy,” he explains. “I’ve been thinking about this for a very long time.” As an expert in end-of-life care, he was urged to put his beliefs in writing. “I think the most important thing that article did — and I’ve heard from many thousands of people — is that it prompted a lot of very important discussion in families and a lot of soul-searching and thinking.”

Emanuel’s daughters, of course, disagree with their very healthy father’s position. His brothers also think he’s wrong. Both his parents are still alive, and his 88-year-old father offered the most persuasive argument for why he may yet change his mind: grandchildren.

For now, Emanuel is busy cooking for friends. Like most home cooks, he wildly underestimated how long it would take to prepare ingredients for 100 people. But he has taken charge of the kitchen and basically gotten most of the dishes ready to send out at the same time — except for the timing of a soft-boiled egg.

“It takes six minutes exactly,” Steffanelli explains. “You can’t change the laws of physics.”

“Five at home,” Emanuel counters as he awkwardly rips the shell off the egg. It isn’t pretty, but it tastes right.

There are a few tiny glitches, but the guest chef gets two thumbs up. The French toast, his buddy Kummer says, is perfect: “It’s very hard to get French toast in a restaurant that’s tender in the middle and crisp on the outside.”

After five hours, Emanuel has survived his first day. “Barely,” he says. Serving 110 meals was much harder than he expected and a humbling experience. But a “total, total blast.”

A refugee riot puts a German town on edge

But like other Germans in a country that has rolled out the welcome mat for Europe’s largest wave of asylum seekers since World War II, residents here are having second thoughts.


That is especially true after the riot. In this quaint municipality of 3,000 inhabitants, the chaos started at lunchtime Sunday when a 19-year-old Albanian cut in the food line at the town’s new tent city, prompting a reprimand from a 43-year-old Pakistani. Pushes degenerated into punches. Soon, 300 migrants wielding pepper spray and metal pipes were attacking each other in rival mobs.

A caravan of ambulances and SWAT team vans careened down streets lined with gawking residents. More than 50 police officers struggled for hours to restore order, with three hospitalized with injuries, according to witnesses and local officials.

“You know, when the refugees started coming, I was one of those who saw people needing help and I thought we have to help,” said Harry Kloska, 46, a shaggy-haired instructor in the skydiving club based at the airport. He and his stunned clients huddled inside his office as the violence flared, Kloska said.

“But it’s been weeks [since the refugee camp opened], and I have a different opinion now,” he said. “I am not sure that we’re going to be able to do this, to help so many people from so many different countries.”

Germany is the single largest destination for the asylum seekers pouring into Europe, taking in more than half a million so far this year.

But as tensions start to bubble up in towns like Calden, Germany is undergoing a national reality check.

Without a doubt, millions of Germans are still welcoming the newcomers, many of them fleeing war in Syria. Classes are being organized to teach the newcomers German. The mega-conglomerate Siemens is offering internships.

But new fears are percolating, perhaps best expressed in the flagging poll numbers for Chancellor Angela Merkel, the European leader seen as most generous toward the asylum seekers. Her approval rating has slipped by three to five percentage points in recent polls, with Stern/RTL showing her at 49 percent – the lowest level this year.

On Wednesday night and early Thursday, violence broke out at two refugee centers in the northern city of Hamburg, including one incident involving 100 migrants wielding wooden planks as weapons, according to Hamburg police.

In Calden, 242 miles southwest of Berlin, the tent-camp riot over the weekend followed another incident in August in which Syrian and Albanian asylum seekers clashed.

Local police say there has been no noticeable increase in overall crime. Nevertheless, nervous residents say they have started locking their doors at night. In town, one mother angrily complained that the newcomers sexually harassed her 17-year old daughter at a bus stop. “Of course we are afraid,” she said.

Mayor Maik Mackewitz said “several young women” have stopped jogging in the nearby woods “because they are afraid of all these groups of men walking around.”

The local Edeka grocery store, meanwhile, has hired security guards for the first time because of concerns that refugees open packages of food without paying, the mayor said. On a recent afternoon, the store’s new guards were unsuccessfully trying to eject six beer-drinking Albanian migrants from a bench in the parking lot as two elderly German women tut-tutted nearby.

“It’s chaos,” Mackewitz, 38, a former officer in the German army, said at the entrance to the refugee camp.

Some in Germany also worry that they are importing ethnic and religious tensions from the refugees’ homelands. German police unions, for instance, are calling for separate housing for asylum seekers along religious or ethnic lines after what officials described as an “attempted lynching” of a 25-year-old Afghan Christian in the central city of Suhl in August. A group of Afghan, Iraqi and Syrian men, officials say, chased the Christian man after he tried to flush pages of the Koran down the toilet at a refugee center. Six police officers were wounded trying to stop the mob.

“This has been a big shock,” said Fred Jaeger, the Suhl police spokesman. “Never before have our police been physically attacked like this.”

Such acts are playing into the hands of the German far right, including neo-Nazi groups and the extreme National Democratic Party. As the number of newcomers has surged, so too has the frequency of xenophobic incidents targeting refugees, ranging from verbal abuse to arson. Last year, there were 198 such incidents; this year there were 437 as of Sept. 21. They have been most prevalent in the poorer, former communist east.

In and around the eastern city of Greiz, for instance, the far right has organized at least 10 protests recently.

In July, four Syrian men were brutally beaten in the town square by a group of Germans. The refugees said they had merely asked for the number of a local taxi company.

“After what happened to us, I feel that we are not wanted here, or welcome here,” said Alaa Odi, a 24-year-old Syrian interior designer and one of the four men attacked. Two of them required hospitalization.

Steffen Arlt, who runs the refugee center where the beaten men live, echoed the fears of residents who insist that the newcomers will never find jobs or adapt to German society. He also claimed that some of the men in his care were Islamist radicals, although he offered no proof.

“I do not have any skilled workers living here,” Arlt complained. “When I hear Merkel talk about this, it makes me sick. I know the labor market in this region; it is not so simple to find work here.”

Towns farther west in Germany generally have been more accepting, but even that is beginning to change.

Frank Himmelmann, 50, pastor at the Johannes church in Calden, said the townspeople didn’t really have time to prepare for the refugees’ arrival. Authorities announced in July that the asylum seekers were coming; two days later, state officials arrived to set up the tent city.

Even before the riot this week, he added, concern was rising that out-of-town shoppers were no longer coming to the historic town center or its grocery store because of the tent city.

At the camp – a complex of large white tents and aluminum structures packed with asylum seekers from 20 nations – residents blamed poor conditions, overcrowding and a lack of security for the tensions that allowed a small incident in the food line to ignite a full-fledged riot. There are, for instance, only 40 showers in a camp initially designed for 1,000 people but housing far more. There is not enough hot water for everyone.

“There is no security, no safety here; nobody knows what’s happening or who to ask for what,” complained Salim Firas Shafeeq al Omari, a 40-year-old Iraqi who said he sheltered two Pakistani youths in his tent during the riot to save them from gangs of Albanians going tent to tent. “Of course there are going to be problems.”

– – –

Stephanie Kirchner in Berlin contributed to this report.

Technology could unleash India’s full potential



Smartphones: A great equalizer.

Note how mobile phones transformed India within a decade: from being objects of luxury, they became a basic necessity. Landlines were once scarce, and phone service was unreliable and unaffordable. Now, India has amongst the best and cheapest phone connections in the world and has a billion cellphones.

Tremendous possibilities are opening up as cellphones evolve into smartphones “” and as tablet computers become as cheap as cell phones. Most of India now has affordable 3G or 4G data connections. This means that India’s masses will soon have access to the same tools and knowledge as the elite of Silicon Valley: they can watch YouTube videos, visit websites, download apps, connect to sensor-based devices, and can network with people from all over the world. They can crowdsource solutions to problems and accelerate social change.

2. A path toward bureaucratic transparency.

Corruption has eroded India’s fabric, and can be eradicated only from the ground up. India spends tens of billions of dollars every year on social programs, but most of this is siphoned off. The key to eliminating corruption is to automate procurement processes, cut out the middlemen; reduce bureaucracy; and eliminate the information gap between the government and public.

To facilitate the recording and reporting of corruption, there need to be government-supported, but privately managed, websites such as Ipaidabribe杭州桑拿会所, as well as smartphone apps. E-governance needs to be implemented across the board, both national and at a state level. All government tenders and procurement, budget reporting and status monitoring need to be transparent, the data being immediately available to the public via the Internet. Data-analytics technologies, such as those being developed by Calcutta-based Quantta, can be used to monitor public data and to independently report on corruption and abuse.

3. A health care revolution.

India lacks knowledge of disease prevention and cure. But an ocean of such information is freely available on the Internet. Using smartphones or Internet-connected tablets, anyone can read about the latest medical advances, visit online health-discussion forums, and learn from others who have the same symptoms and provide each other with support. Villagers in remote parts of India can seek help from doctors anywhere in the world via two-way video and email.

Over the last few years, sensor devices that can monitor things such as movement, temperature, humidity, gas and pressure have increased exponentially in capability and fallen dramatically in price “” and in size. There have been similar advances in micro- and nanofluidics, which use small computer chips to test for disease.

Smartphones already contain a wide assortment of sensors, including an accelerometer, GPS and a high-definition camera. These can be connected to external sensors to record electrocardiograms and measure blood pressure, blood glucose, blood oxygen and breathing. The Public Health Foundation of India, for example, has built a device that can perform 33 diagnostic procedures, including measurements of blood pressure, sugar and hemoglobin; ECGs; and tests for pregnancy, dengue and malaria. The device retails for $600, but in high volumes can be produced for less than $100.

This means that even the poorest communities can gain access to sophisticated medical care.

4. Fix education: A laptop and digital tutor for every child.

Tens of millions of children in India receive substandard education or none at all. It will take years to train new teachers and build schools, and an entire generation will be left out. The only practical solution is to roll out digital tutors with the help of NGOs so that communities can uplift themselves.

To transform its education system, Uruguay started an ambitious project in 2008 to give a laptop to every child. According to Miguel Brechner, who heads this program, it has turned a privilege “” Internet access and a computer “” into a right. It has enabled every child to get a basic education “” even in regions where teachers are in scarce supply. Children across Uruguay have become computer literate and are teaching their parents. They are writing computer code and creating apps. This is what could happen in India “” and could leap even further forward.

India’s $35 tablet, Aakash, had a rocky start, but led to the production of inexpensive tablets that are being used today even by children in California’s Silicon Valley. These tablets were first tested by students in the elite Palo Alto High School and then given away in two hackathons to poor children. Newer generations of them, with the same specs as the original iPad, can be produced in high volumes in India for less than $50, according to DataWind, the maker of the original Aakash tablets. Prices will continue to fall, capabilities will increase, and there will be many suppliers.

There are thousands of apps available today that can teach subjects such as history, geography, music, mathematics, and science. Adaptive learning platforms will tailor the learning path to the needs of the student. For example, if a child likes reading books, the digital tutor can teach mathematics and science in a traditional way. If that doesn’t work, the tutor can try videos. If that’s too boring, it can switch to games or puzzles. The digital tutor of the future will take students into holographic simulations to teach history, culture and geography. It will provide equally good education to all children, rich and poor.

5. Clean up water sanitation.

The leading causes of disease in India and the developing world are waterborne viruses. Affluent Indians spend billions of dollars annually on bottled water, but this isn’t always safe. A technology from Chile could help solve this problem. The Advanced Innovation Center (AIC) has developed a system that converts water into a plasma state through a high-intensity electrical field and eliminates microbiological content through electroporation, oxidation, ionization, UV and IR radiation, and shockwaves. It was tested in a Santiago slum in mid-2011 and has worked flawlessly ever since. After visiting Chile and seeing this in operation, I had AIC founder Alfredo Zolezzi bring the technology to the United States. Tested for conformance to EPA guidelines by leading U.S. authority NSF International, it exceeded NSF’s highest standards. It killed 100 percent of all bacteria and viruses in the 24 heavily tainted samples that NSF tested.

Village-sized units of the plasma-based water-sanitization technology “” which consume less energy than a hair-dryer “” will cost around $500 when mass produced. This technology is being rolled out in South America later this year and could be brought to India. Where there is no electricity infrastructure, it can be powered by diesel generators or solar cells.

6. Agricultural automation, believe in it!

There are also great possibilities in agriculture. Sensors can be used to monitor soil humidity and optimize watering. Aquaculture can be optimized with on-farm diagnostic technologies. Dairy and farm production can be automated through CRM-like systems.

7. Let’s harness the impressive talents of the young.

Schoolchildren should be provided with 3D printers, robot-building kits and sensor components. They can be building robots that automate manufacturing; designing innovative new consumer products; and customizing 3D designs for global consumers. They can be developing sensor-based systems for diverse industries; smart-city technologies; and new home-monitoring and -automation systems.

There is nothing to prevent India’s entrepreneurs from taking the lead in developing products for India “” and the world “” that are as innovative as those from Silicon Valley. The playing field has leveled, and the same technology advances that are propelling American innovation are available to India. The incoming government has to give priority to removing the obstacles and to providing the technology infrastructure to let India reinvent itself.

– – –

Wadhwa is a fellow at Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University, director of Research at Duke University, and distinguished scholar at Singularity and Emory universities. His past appointments include Harvard Law School and University of California Berkeley. This piece reflects his opinion.

Trump campaign fires staffer over allegedly racist Facebook posts

Donald Trump’s campaign fired a staffer Sunday for what it said were racially offensive Facebook posts.


“Effective immediately, Sam Nunberg, a low-level political adviser, is no longer associated with the Donald Trump For President campaign,” Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said in an interview.

The firing, first reported by CNN, followed a report on Friday by Business Insider that Nunberg had posted slurs and other offensive content on his private Facebook page in entries dating to 2007.

In one post, Nunberg allegedly called the Rev. Al Sharpton’s daughter a “n—–.” In another, he allegedly called President Barack Obama a “Socialist Marxist Islamo Fascist Nazi Appeaser” and mocked Obama’s proposal for “Kenyan” health-care reform, Business Insider reported. The posts have apparently been removed, although Nunberg’s Facebook account remained active on Sunday.

Nunberg’s current profile picture is a skull with the words “Keep Calm and Take Revenge,” but an earlier version with his likeness is below.

Nunberg denied to CNN that he had written the posts, but Lewandowski said on Sunday that “independent verification showed . . . they were on his account.”

Trump “does not condone” the Facebook messages, Lewandowski said. “We have no tolerance for that in a presidential campaign,” the campaign manager said.

Nunberg had told CNN on Friday that “anything that was posted under my name does not mean I posted it.”

This is the second time that Trump has fired Nunberg. He was dismissed as a Trump aide last year, reportedly for facilitating an unflattering BuzzFeed profile of Trump.

New FDA ad aims to keep ‘hip-hop’ teens from smoking

That’s the goal of a new ad campaign from the Food and Drug Administration, which aims to embrace the attitude and style of “hip-hop culture” in an effort to dissuade young African Americans, Hispanics and other minority teenagers from smoking.


The $128 million “Fresh Empire” campaign, funded by fees on the tobacco industry, will include television ads, local outreach efforts and events featuring DJs and musicians – all intended to curb smoking among minority teenagers. The first ads will air nationally in conjunction with the 2015 BET Hip-Hop Awards on Oct. 13. They will continue in 36 U.S. markets for at least two years, officials said.

Young people in minority groups traditionally have been at higher risk of becoming addicted to cigarettes and disproportionately suffer the health consequences later in life, said Jonca Bull, the FDA’s assistant commissioner for minority health. That’s why finding creative ways to reach such teens “is imperative,” she said.

FDA officials said that because tobacco use almost always begins during adolescence – nearly 90 percent of smokers tried their first cigarette by age 18 – early intervention is critical. The agency said more than 2,600 youth under age 18 try their first cigarette each day in the United States, and nearly 600 become routine smokers. They said research shows an estimated 4.4. million “multicultural” youth are either open to smoking or already experimenting with tobacco.

The trick lies in finding an effective way to counter the lure of smoking. The “hip-hop peer group” is “often hard to reach,” said Mitch Zeller, the FDA’s top tobacco official, who oversaw the hard-hitting anti-tobacco “Truth” campaign during his tenure at the American Legacy Foundation in the early 2000s.

Zeller said the “Fresh Empire” campaign tries to break through those barriers by reflecting the swagger, launguage and ideals of hip-hop culture. The messengers in the ads also mirror the target audience – young, multicultural artists, athletes and students.

“We know from our research that remaining in control is an important pillar of hip-hop culture. But smoking represents a loss of control, so tobacco use is actually in conflict with that priority,” Zeller said, adding that the new campaign “underscores that important message.”

“Fresh Empire” marks the second in a series of efforts by the FDA to educate young people about the dangers of tobacco use, from rural kids to gay teens. A similar campaign aimed at a broader group of at-risk youth, called “The Real Cost,” began in February 2014.

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, with cigarette smoking responsible for an estimated 480,000 deaths per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Rand Paul’s ideological heritage is his greatest asset – and his biggest challenge

“Do we have any lovers of liberty in here?” the 52-year-old freshman senator from Kentucky asked Wednesday as he took the stage, and the “Stand with Rand” supporters standing all around him cheered affirmatively.


“When the founders of New Hampshire came up with the motto ‘Live Free or Die,’ they didn’t leave a lot of wiggle room,” Paul said. “I came to New Hampshire to announce that I will fight for your right to be left alone.”

The Pauls are the other political dynasty in presidential politics, and if they’re not quite the Bushes or Clintons, they’re still a recognizable brand, one crackling with intensity and quirky appeal.

Rand Paul’s ability to sell himself as the most libertarian of the presidential candidates — defending civil liberties at home and opposing military adventurism and nation-building abroad — is what can set him apart from his rivals. But those unconventional ideas could also box him in. Libertarians don’t win national elections, unless you count Thomas Jefferson in 1800 and 1804.

Still, Rand Paul’s greatest asset is the ideological jet fuel that helped his father get more than 2 million votes in the last set of Republican primaries. The son wants to convert that stuff to something less volatile and explosive. In his hands, it’s ideological kerosene.

Rand Paul is a more nimble, less predictable, more pragmatic politician than his father, who said “nay” so often in Congress that he was known as “Dr. No.” The younger Paul is an ophthalmologist who has won just one primary and general election and is still growing into his identity as a politician. But it’s clear he has been shifting closer to mainstream Republican positions, particularly on national defense, going so far as to call for a bigger Pentagon budget.

He’s even hedged on the “libertarian” label. In a recent tweet he wrote: “I’m a constitutional conservative. Libertarianish. Have a foot in both camps.”

This is an aspiring commander in chief walking a very fine line.

In Rand Paul’s universe, there is always further reading. This has been the case since he was a kid. His father delivered babies by day and read books by night, devouring libertarian classics such as Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged” — he had a valuable first edition on his shelf — and Friedrich Hayek’s treatise on totalitarianism, “The Road to Serfdom.”

Randal Paul, known as Randy, was the middle of five children and the kid most interested in his father’s ideas. “He read every book his father had,” says Mary Jane Smith, a former campaign manager for Ron Paul.

The son, who declined to be interviewed for this article, knew exactly what his father perceived as significant in those books: “Ron doesn’t like to lend any of his books, because he underlines them,” says Rand’s mother, Carol Paul.

Ron Paul ran for Congress the first time in 1974, and young Rand, 11, knocked on doors to try to help his dad get elected. He’d listen to his father’s side of radio interviews over the phone. When people came to the house to talk politics, “I was always very comfortable with the adult conversation,” he later recounted. He traveled with his family to the rowdy 1976 Republican National Convention in Kansas City and got a delicious taste of national politics.

“From the age of eleven, I followed my father everywhere. I listened to every speech and interview, thousands of them. Are individualists born or nurtured? I think I was both,” Rand Paul wrote in the dedication of his book “Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans Are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Feds.”

By his own account, he cut his intellectual teeth on Ayn Rand, then moved on to Dostoevsky, and then the free-market fundamentalism of the Austrian school of economics represented by Hayek, Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard — his father’s favorites, too.

These authors became lifelong intellectual guides. At the end of his book “The Tea Party Goes to Washington,” he lists five “must-read classics in the cause of liberty”: Rand’s “Atlas,” Hayek’s “Road,” von Mises’s “Human Action,” Rothbard’s “Conceived in Liberty” and Barry Goldwater’s “The Conscience of a Conservative.”

The Paul political brand is not personality-based. It’s all about the ideas. And the key idea is that liberty cannot easily coexist with big government.

Rand Paul grew up in Lake Jackson, Texas, in a part of the world where the libertarian philosophy is second nature for a lot of people. “This is Texas, my dear,” Mary Jane Smith says. “Get out of my life, get out of my house, get out of my pocketbook.”

Lake Jackson is a company town. The company was Dow, which arrived at the dawn of World War II to build chemical plants along the Brazos River as it slithers into the gulf.

Architect Alden Dow, the son of the founder of the company, scratched out a town amid a hardwood forest at a remove from the heavy industry of the chemical plant. The core of Lake Jackson has small-town charm, with curving streets, tidy housing subdivisions and a precious little downtown retail district, where you might find yourself at the intersection of This Way and That Way.

The Pauls moved to Lake Jackson in 1968, raising their five kids in a comfortable home on Blossom Street in a neighborhood shaded by live oaks draped in Spanish moss. The kids could ride their bikes to school.

In high school, Rand was a varsity swimmer and played two years of football. But he wasn’t very big, and his mother remembers coaches saying, “We’re waiting for him to grow.”

Marc Monical, Rand’s close friend since elementary school, says: “We weren’t the tallest guys in the group, so you had to be scrappy. Rand was very competitive.”

All the Paul kids became libertarians, according to Rand’s older brother, Ronnie Paul: “Nobody strayed in our family. Nobody believes the government’s going to help you.”

Rand took that belief with him to Baylor University, where he joined a group called Young Conservatives of Texas.

“I joined YCT because it was an ideological group,” he writes in “The Tea Party Goes to Washington.” “They believed in limited, constitutional government regardless of party affiliation. My conservatism was, and is, more philosophical in nature than partisan, and I am a Republican precisely because I believe my party is supposed to stand for particular principles rooted in liberty.”

He traced his father’s path, going to medical school at Duke. When he was a surgical resident in Atlanta, his friends called him “Doogie Howser” because he still looked like a teenager.

Unlike his four siblings, he made a life for himself far from Texas. Rand and his wife, Kelley — who originally became interested in him at a party in 1989 when she overheard him discussing Dostoevsky — settled in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in Kelley’s home state, where they’ve raised three sons.

Kelley was the one who decided that “Randy” should have the more grown-up name of “Rand.”

“We used to sit around the pool with our wives and friends, and we would be reading Sports Illustrated, debating on who would be the number-one draft choice, and Rand would be reading a book by Thomas Jefferson,” says his friend Rob Porter, a banker in Bowling Green. “Rand’s a very engaging guy, but he’s not going to be the life of a cocktail party.”

Paul, Porter and two other friends, Greg Stivers and John Grise, both of whom are judges, often golfed together at Bowling Green Country Club.

“The only time I’ve seen him get upset is when he can’t keep the ball in the fairway,” says Grise, a state circuit court judge.

Paul became an anti-tax activist in the quiet college town of Bowling Green, but he was a long way from the nexus of Kentucky political power and didn’t seem interested in running for political office. He served as an adviser to his father when Ron Paul, who had been out of Congress for more than a decade, ran successfully in 1996 for his old congressional seat.

A decade later, Ron Paul ran for president and became a phenomenon as he talked about anti-American sentiment abroad being “blowback” from aggressive American military actions. That tapped into the anti-war libertarian streak in the electorate, and suddenly the campaign was awash in cash and drawing big crowds. Rand would often introduce his father.

“I’d like to welcome you, the sons and daughters of liberty, to the revolution,” the younger Paul said at a “second Boston Tea Party” event in December 2007. Suddenly, he was becoming his father’s ideological heir.

In 2009, Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., announced he would not seek reelection, and with the anti-tax tea party movement surging, Rand Paul abruptly decided to take his shot. That would mean challenging the Kentucky establishment, including the powerful Mitch McConnell, the then-Senate minority leader who was backing state official Trey Grayson.

But Paul won the endorsement of Sarah Palin and rode the tea party wave to a runaway victory in the GOP primary, then the general election.

Even then, he was beginning to distance himself — a little — from the “libertarian” label, writing in USA Today that it “has become an emotionally charged, and often misunderstood, word in our current political climate.” But he went on: “The libertarian principles of limited government, self-reliance and respect for the Constitution are embedded within my constitutional conservatism. . . . Our Founding Fathers were clearly libertarians.”

Like his father, Rand Paul can go into lecture mode, but he’s less likely to ramble. He’s not the smoothest politician ever to come down the pike — he would probably rather be riding his lawn mower back in Kentucky than glad-handing political contributors — but he’s built for the long haul. He’s a fitness buff, with a full head of curly, sandy-blond hair and a youthful face.

In August 2012, just up the road from where the Republican National Convention was about to convene in Tampa, Rand Paul introduced his father at a massive, raucous political rally on the campus of the University of South Florida. Ron Paul had been denied an opportunity to speak at the convention, but he was going to make his voice heard anyway. Though Rand was giving the stage over to Ron, everyone in that crowd understood that the father would soon be passing the revolution to the son.

In his introduction, Rand joked about the gropings of TSA airport screeners. If you mention the “Ron Paul Revolution,” he said, “you can get a free colonoscopy.”

He posed with arms raised, emulating the posture of someone waiting for the security scanner to take an image. The next time you do this, he said, you should ask yourself, “Is this the pose of a free man?”

His message, again and again, is that liberty is precious, and it is in peril. When he addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference this year, he declared, “We must rise as free men and free women and reclaim our birthright!”

His most famous maneuver in the Senate may have been his marathon filibuster of the nomination of John Brennan as director of the CIA. Paul wanted the Obama administration to rule out using drones to kill American citizens on U.S. soil.

“I will speak today until the president responds and says: ‘No, we won’t kill Americans in cafes. No, we won’t kill you at home in your bed at night. No, we won’t drop bombs on restaurants,’ ” Paul said.

As he spoke, he started trending on Twitter: #StandwithRand. He kept talking — and talking, and talking, for nearly 13 hours, an unscripted downloading of his intellectual legacy.

He mentioned Hayek repeatedly — just the one name, as if everyone listening knew who “Hayek” was — and threw in references to Patrick Henry, James Madison, the German hyperinflation of 1923 and the election of Adolf Hitler.

“Alarm bells should go off,” he said, “when people tell you that the battlefield’s in America. Why? Because when the battlefield’s in America, we don’t have due process. . . . Another way to put it is to call it martial law.”

This was Paul channeling the apocalyptic edge of libertarian thinking: The government doesn’t just want the power to tax you. It wants the power to kill you.

His book “Government Bullies” is a compendium of horror stories of the government abusing and imprisoning people for seemingly trivial infractions against government regulations — such as a person who moves some dirt on his land and gets thrown in prison for violating laws protecting wetlands. (Back in his home town of Lake Jackson, one of the biggest environmental controversies in recent years involved a proposed golf course in a wetlands area. Golf won.)

This is a philosophy that abounds in slippery slopes, at the bottom of which is some kind of totalitarian dystopia. Paul, like his father, draws support from those who think the dystopia is already here.

At the formal launch of his campaign, in Louisville, Paul didn’t throw the word “libertarian” around much, but he said the word “liberty” 11 times.

It was a strikingly decorous, clean-cut event in which no one was allowed to wave a sign that was off message. You needed a ticket to get in. No one wore a tri-corner hat or looked as though he’d just rode in with the Hells Angels to demand the legalization of heroin. No one wore an “End the Fed” T-shirt, as they did at his father’s rallies.

Ron Paul’s demand to “End the Fed” has become Rand Paul’s milder demand to “Audit the Fed.”

That shift toward pragmatism has alienated some hard-core libertarians, who accuse Rand Paul of selling out.

“He won’t get the purists,” says Steve Munisteri, a former Texas GOP chairman who has known Rand since college.

The senator can afford to lose the true believers if he wins over new constituencies. He has reached across the aisle on social issues that appeal to libertarians and liberal Democrats, such as ending harsh sentences for nonviolent drug crimes. He went to Ferguson, Missouri, and objected to the militarization of police.

He’s aiming at younger voters, courting them on Twitter and Snapchat. He recently went to Austin for the South by Southwest Interactive Festival — techie heaven — and described building a new coalition, with people who don’t fit into the Republican or Democratic label and who are looking for “somebody who took a little bit from each.”

“Rand was never a 100 percent absolutist,” says Jesse Benton, a Kentucky political consultant who has worked for both Pauls. “Ron believed that if you gave up one ounce of principle, then you compromised the whole thing.” Rand, he said, “is okay with pragmatic gradualism.”

In his announcement speech, Rand Paul acknowledged his mother and father jointly and asked them to stand up. He said they helped him go to medical school and become a doctor. He didn’t make any reference to his father’s campaigns, or being the heir to a revolution.

In Louisville and then again here in New Hampshire, he delivered a stump speech that was relatively light on red-meat rhetoric, at least by Republican-primary standards. He didn’t mention Hillary Rodham Clinton and took relatively tame shots at President Barack Obama. His favored targets tend to be abstractions: career politicians, special interests, the Washington “machine.”

The senator is not particularly emotive or charismatic on the stump, and without a big personality or rhetorical virtuosity he will rely on the power of his ideas to fill up a room — just like his father. Among his most animated moments in Milford on Wednesday came when he described foreign aid going to countries where “mobs” burn American flags. Waving a finger dramatically, he said, “I say not one more penny to these haters of America!” Huge roar from the crowd.

But even when he raises his voice to make a thunderous point, he sounds a bit like he’s imitating an orator, and turning up the volume because that’s what he’s supposed to do. He doesn’t really lean into it. He’s a calm person. Self-contained. Cerebral. He can be prickly in interviews. But his friends and family describe him as a man without airs.

“He’s not a self-promoter,” said Lucian Newman, an old friend from surgical residency in Atlanta. “He’s never been a self-promoter.”

But he’s running for president as a man of ideas. To hear him talk this week, you would indeed describe those ideas as libertarianish.

So here’s the Rand Paul battle plan: Keep the “lovers of liberty” fired up. Gather new, disengaged or disenfranchised supporters. And ease the whole operation toward the political mainstream — while counting on the mainstream to drift inexorably his way.