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Fri 20/08/2010 15:33

Dear All,

Please find attached this week’s News Summary. The weekly summary is intended to provide background
information to topical news stories and issues that may resonate in communities. The weekly summary also
includes links to interesting news articles that people may wish to circulate further.

This week’s summary includes coverage of:

 Floods in Pakistan
 Afghanistan elections

We encourage you to share this unrestricted document with your contacts.

As ever, we would appreciate your feedback on the format, content, and timing of this document, as well as
suggestions on issues you would like it to cover.

Kind regards,


Naomi Line
Strategic Communications Advisor
RICU (Research, Information and Communications Unit)
Office for Security and Counter Terrorism
Home Office, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF
Tel: 0207 035 0236

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Weekly News Summary
Friday 20th August 2010
Key Issues

Continued devastation from floods in Pakistan

This week Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell and Minister without Portfolio
Baroness Warsi visited Pakistan to see how UK aid is helping those affected by the flooding. The ministers
travelled to the village of Pir Sabak, destroyed by the floods – which at their peak were five metres high -
and visited a displaced persons camp where many villagers are now living. A fifth of the country is now
underwater, with more heavy rains expected.
Andrew Mitchell has announced that the UK intends to double its aid contribution for the floods in
Pakistan, but will only release money to partners, such as NGO’s and UN agencies, who are able to show
they can deliver the right results for the people of Pakistan.

Speaking from New York on August 19th, Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew
Mitchell, said:
"I've come to New York directly from Pakistan, where I saw the dire need for more help. Yesterday I saw
the sheer and shocking magnitude of this catastrophe. It is clear that unless more aid is delivered now,
many more people will die from disease and malnutrition. It is deeply depressing that the international
community is only now waking up to the true scale of this disaster.
The UK is already helping more than three million people in flood-affected areas. This doubling of our aid
should now provide water and sanitation to 500,000 people; shelter to 170,000 people; help meet the
nutritional needs of 380,000 people and provide enough health services to cover a population of 2.4 million
This additional support will help millions more secure the aid they need not only to survive, but to begin
rebuilding their lives. I am in New York to urge the rest of the world to follow the example of those countries
that have increased their support in recent days. The wealthiest nations - especially those in the G8 - have
a duty to step up their response dramatically."
Key Points:
These are the most severe monsoon rains Pakistan has ever seen in its history: the area affected is
greater than the size of England.
Ten million people critically affected and nearly 900,000 houses destroyed or damaged.
The UK was one of first countries to respond; life-saving assistance to at least one and a half million
people, providing safe drinking water, toilets, health care, emergency shelter, and other essential
UK aid announced so far has provided help for around one and half million people in Pakistan
affected by the floods, including provide vital shelter for more than 62,000 people.
The UN Pakistan appeal launched last week. Immediately the UK government announced four
further plane loads of aid and help for half a million malnourished children and
pregnant/breastfeeding women.
The UK Government has earmarked up to £31million in response to the UN Pakistan appeal, with
£16.25million so far allocated.
The UK Government has also accelerated a £10million project to provide new bridges to replace
some of those washed away by the floods; our engineers are on the ground already identifying
priorities sites.
As well as the UK Government response, British people have donated about £24million directly out
of their pockets.
The UK Government is ready to continue helping the people of Pakistan in any way it can.

Associated articles:
Please email
with comments or if you would like to subscribe
DFID - Information on Britain’s response to the Pakistan floods
Charity commission - people who want to donate should check the charity is registered.
BBC - Baroness Warsi shocked by Pakistan floods

Final list of Afghanistan polling stations announced for upcoming election

On August 18th, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) in Afghanistan held a press conference and
announced the final list of polling centres for next month’s parliamentary election. The final list consists of
5897 polling centres and in 9 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces all polling centres will open. Voter registration
officially closed on 12th August. In total 376,081 voters have been registered in this year's top-up exercise.
152,147 of them were female and 16,920 Kuchis (Afghan Pashtun nomads). The IEC has proved that it is
running an efficient and courageous operation.
However electoral officials in Afghanistan have also decided not to open nearly 900 polling stations in the
most violent districts in an attempt to prevent the level of fraud that occurred in last year’s elections. Afghan
security chiefs and Nato commanders announced that parts of the country are too dangerous for voting to
take place. The decision was taken after President Hamid Karzai and General David Petraeus, the
commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, reviewed the proposed list of polling stations which led to an
additional 100 stations that the security forces had said were safe.
Key Points
The process of holding the first Parliamentary elections to be run by Afghans since the 1960s is a
mark of significant progress in the country’s path towards taking a lead in its own affairs, as outlined
at the Kabul Conference in July.
Improvements have been made to the process and institutions since Presidential elections last year,
including: the barring of six thousand individuals suspected of or found to have engaged in fraud in
last year’s elections, the rotation of provincial-level officials to prevent undue influence;
improvements to ballot papers and materials to enhance security; improvements to the procedures
for running the ballot, polling stations and polling centres, the tracking of ballot papers during
transfer and the tally process, to prevent fraud and tampering; and increased levels of observation
by observer groups and candidate agents, at different stages of the election/polling process.

Associated articles: - The main problem for these elections is security

The Guardian – Polling stations shut after security fears

Other News Stories from this Week

The following are interesting news items that we think people may want to circulate further:

President Obama defends Mosque near Ground Zero - President Barack Obama has come under fire over his
defence of a developer's right to build a mosque blocks from Ground Zero in New York. At a White House
dinner celebrating Ramadan on Friday, Mr Obama vigorously defended the developers' right to put the
mosque there "in accordance with local laws and ordinances". Muslims "have the same right to practice
their religion as anyone else in this country", the president said. On Saturday, Mr Obama said he was
backing the rights of the developers, not the "wisdom" of the project.

Final American Combat Troops Leave Iraq - The last US combat troops in Iraq have left the country
seven years after the invasion. In January 2009. His administration is on target to reduce troop levels to
50,000 by August 31, ending the combat mission and leaving those who remain to train Iraqi armed forces
and police units.

‘Not in My Game’ takes a stand against terrorist attacks on sports. As part of the campaign a number of
community cricket matches are being organised to ensure cricket continues to be played wherever and
whenever possible. The first match took place in Birmingham earlier this month and was covered by BBC
Asian Network, Birmingham Mail, Sunraise Radio, Daily Jang, Asian Today and The Sun.

Please email

with comments or if you would like to subscribe