Gunmen kill four in sectarian attack in Pakistan

Medical workers move a Hazara man, shot by unknown gunmen at a gas station in Kuchlak, at a civil hospital in Quetta, Pakistan. (Reuters)
Updated 11 September 2017

Gunmen kill four in sectarian attack in Pakistan

QUETTA, Pakistan: Gunmen in southwestern Pakistan killed four members of a Shiite Muslim Hazara family, including a 12-year-old boy, on Sunday, in the latest sectarian attack on the minority community, a senior police official said.
Two men on a motorcycle opened fire on a family of eight while they at a filling station some 30 kilometers (19 miles) north of Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s Baluchistan province.
Aside from those killed, two others were wounded. Two female members of the family were unscathed, having remained in their vehicle.
“This was a sectarian attack,” senior police officer Tanveer Shah told Reuters, adding that no group has claimed responsibility for the shooting.
Hazaras are frequently targeted by Taliban and Daesh militants, and other Sunni Muslim militant groups in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Many Hazaras fled to Pakistan during decades of conflict in neighboring Afghanistan, and nearly half a million now live in and around Quetta.
In 2013, three separate bombings killed over 200 people in Hazara neighborhoods, raising international awareness of the plight of the community.
More than 20 Hazaras have been killed in similar shootings in Baluchistan in the past two years, police say.
The ongoing violence in the province has fueled concern about security for projects in the $57-billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a transport and energy link planned to run from western China to Pakistan’s southern deep-water port of Gwadar.


EU leaders split over $1.2 trillion post-Brexit budget

Updated 18 October 2019

EU leaders split over $1.2 trillion post-Brexit budget

  • Under a proposal prepared by Finland, the next long-term budget should have a financial capacity between 1.03% and 1.08% of the EU GNI, a measure of output
  • After the meeting, some EU leaders and officials described the talks as difficult

BRUSSELS: European Union leaders discussed a new budget plan on Friday that could allow the EU to spend up to 1.1 trillion euros ($1.2 trillion) in the 2021-2027 period, but deep divisions among governments may block a deal for months.
Under a proposal prepared by Finland, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, the next long-term budget should have a financial capacity between 1.03% and 1.08% of the EU gross national income (GNI), a measure of output.
That would allow the EU to spend 1 trillion to 1.1 trillion euros for seven years in its first budget after the departure of Britain, one of the top contributors to EU coffers.
After the meeting, some EU leaders and officials described the talks as difficult.
The Finnish document, seen by Reuters, is less ambitious than proposals put forward by the European Commission, the EU executive, which is seeking a budget worth 1.1% of GNI. The EU parliament called for an even bigger budget, 1.3% of GNI.
But the Finnish proposal moves beyond a 1% cap set by Germany, the largest EU economy. And it has displeased most of the 27 EU states, EU officials said, suggesting long negotiations before a compromise can be reached.
Talks on budgets are usually among the most divisive in an EU increasingly prone to quarrels. The member states are deeply split over economic policies, financial reforms and how to handle migrants.

DEEP SPLIT
The Finnish proposal, which cuts spending on farmers and poorer regions, has managed to unite the divided EU leaders in their criticism.
“The text has caused nearly unanimous dissatisfaction,” a diplomat involved in the talks said.
New, expensive policies, such as protecting its borders and increasing social security, have been enacted, but states are reluctant to pay more.
Germany and other Nordic supporters of a smaller budget argue that because of Brexit, they would pay more into the EU even with a 1% cap because they would need to compensate for the loss of Britain.
Eastern and southern states, who benefit from EU funds on poorer regions and agriculture, want a bigger budget and are not happy with Finland’s proposed cuts on these sectors.
Under the proposal, subsidies to poor regions would drop to less than 30% of the budget from 34% now. Aid to farmers would fall to slightly more than 30% from over 35% of the total.
To complicate matters, the new budget should also include rules that would suspend funding to member states with rule-of-law shortcomings, such as limits on media freedom or curbs on the independence of judges.
This is irking states like Poland and Hungary, which Brussels has accused of breaches in the rule of law after judiciary and media reforms adopted by their right-wing governments.
Friday’s meeting was not supposed to find a compromise, but divisions are so deep that many officials fear a deal may not be reached by a self-imposed December deadline. A later deal would delay the launch of spending programs.
The Finns remained confident, however, and insist their suggested spending range would eventually be backed by EU states. “The fact that almost everybody is against our text shows we have put forward a fair proposal,” one diplomat said.