Is the United States bankrolling its own enemies in Afghanistan? According to a new report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the answer may very well be yes.
“Since 2002,” the report opens, “Congress has appropriated more than $70 billion to implement security and development assistance projects in Afghanistan, with some of those funds converted into cash and flowing through the Afghan economy.” But where has that cash gone? No one in the U.S. government knows for sure, and the Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai seems none too eager to assist Washington in finding out.
Mohammed Sultan is a very successful businessman in India. He cherishes his daughter and so, when she recently married, Sultan decided to throw a big wedding for her guests. Five hundred people showed up and they were treated to a 30-course meal, which included Kashmiri dishes which reflect the rich culinary tradition of northern India. Who in the world could think that a man who worked hard his whole life did not have the right to treat his beloved child to a sumptuous wedding dinner? And when his guests had eaten all they wanted, Sultan threw what was left into the garbage, which prompted a controversy of sorts.
Taliban forces are reportedly taking credit for the assassination of Ahmad Wali Karzai (left), Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s half-brother, who was shot in the head by the long-time chief of his own security detail on July 12.
Police are still investigating and said an internal dispute, not politics, could have been the motive. The BBC suggested rival criminals could have been to blame. But the Taliban resistance sent a message to Al Jazeera boasting of their role in the murder and warning all government officials to resign or be killed - anywhere at any time.
Archeologists are hoping to piece together from ancient remains the history of one of the Bible's great antagonists: Goliath. Most of the excavating has taken place at the remains of what the team believes is the Philistine city of Gath, Goliath's hometown, where scholars are hoping to garner a better understanding of these fierce biblical enemies of the Israelites.
Problem loans at China’s banks are significantly worse than initially thought, according to Moody’s Investors Service’s news release on July 4th. This raises concerns already expressed about China’s continued ability to grow its economy at annual rates approaching double-digits. The weakness is so pervasive that Moody’s “views the credit outlook for the Chinese banking system as potentially turning to negative. ” It added:
We assume that the majority of loans [by the banks] to local governments are of good quality, but based on our assessment of the loan classifications and risk characteristics, as provided by the NAO [China’s National Audit Office] and other Chinese agencies, we conclude that the banks’ exposure to local government borrowers is greater than we anticipated…