Daily Archives: January 25, 2015

Eying White House, Jindal says America needs spiritual revival


Indian-American Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has called for a “spiritual revival” to “fix” the ailments plaguing America as the rising Republican star courted Christian conservatives in advance of a possible presidential run in 2016 to succeed incumbent Barack Obama.

In a 15-minute speech at a controversial Christian evangelical rally, Jindal said: “We can’t just elect a candidate to fix what ails our country. We can’t just pass a law and fix what ails our country,” he said in Baton Rouge, capital of the US state of Louisiana.

“We need a spiritual revival to fix what ails our country,” Jindal, the 43-year-old leader, said while skipping an Iowa event yesterday that drew a number of Republican presidential hopefuls for the White House.

Jindal, who was raised by Hindu parents, described his conversion to Catholicism in high school, though the self- described “evangelical Catholic” did not reference his denomination as he spoke to the crowd of mostly evangelical Protestants.

Jindal also recalled a girl in high school who said she wanted to grow up to be a Supreme Court justice, so she could “save innocent human lives” from abortion.

It was his second major speech in a week to touch on religion. In London on Monday, he told an Anglo-American think-thank Muslims had established “no-go zones” in a number of European cities. Those comments attracted criticism, though Jindal refused to back down.

Jindal had insisted the day-long evangelical event hosted by the American Family Association on the campus of Louisiana State University was a religious and not political gathering.

But Jindal’s keynote address at the event came as he has been courting Christian conservatives in advance of a possible run for president, meeting with pastors in the early battleground states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Former Texas governor Rick Perry hosted the same event, known as “The Response,” in 2011, just before announcing he was running for president, The Washington Post noted.

“Let’s all go plant those seeds of the gospel,” he said, describing how his conversion would not have occurred without the influence of his friends. “Share the good news with all whom we encounter.”


Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is now the world’s oldest monarch


London : Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is now the world’s oldest monarch following the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

Abdullah (90), who passed away on Friday, was two years older than the Queen, who will be 89 in April this year.

She is one of the eight octogenarian monarchs in the world, the others including the King of Thailand and the Emperor of Japan.

An anecdote has also emerged on Twitter about the Queen’s interaction with the former Saudi monarch based on the memoirs of former Saudi ambassador Sherard Cowper-Coles.

It refers to a visit to the Queen’s Balmoral Castle in Scotland in 1998 when she offered to show the then Crown Prince Abdullah around her Scottish Estate.

“To his surprise, the Queen climbed into the driving seat, turned the ignition and drove off. Women are not — yet — allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, and Abdullah was not used to being driven by a woman, let alone a Queen,” Cowper-Coles writes.

“His nervousness only increased as the Queen, an Army driver in wartime, accelerated the Land Rover along the narrow Scottish estate roads, talking all the time. Through his interpreter, the Crown Prince implored the Queen to slow down and concentrate on the road ahead,” it adds.

The Queen is also the second-longest reigning monarch in British history, behind her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria, whose record she is due to surpass in September 2015.

Lanka Recalls 29 ‘Political’ Ambassadors

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka has recalled 29 non-foreign service envoys in order to lessen the politicization of its diplomatic corps at the top level.

Thirty five out of the country’s 65 missions overseas have been under non-foreign service envoys, many of whom being relatives or supporters of politicians, including former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

They had been appointed without tests or examinations only to serve the political constituencies or the families of the powers-that-be.

Delhi Untouched

However, the envoys in New Delhi and Washington have been left untouched in the current shake-up. While the Lankan Ambassador in Washington, Prasad Kariyawasam, is a retired career diplomat, and is not an outsider as such, the High Commissioner in India, Prof Sudarshan Seneviratne, is expected to continue at his post at least until the completion of two high-level visits in February-March. President Sirisena is to visit India in February, and Prime Minister Narendera Modi is to come to Sri Lanka in March.

Prof Seneviratne and some others could even stay on for a long period because the Lankan government is not thinking of doing away with the practice of appointing non-foreign service persons lock, stock and barrel.

The earlier norm was to give 60 per cent of the posts to career diplomats and 40 per cent to others. The Sirisena government has raised the career diplomats’ share to 70 per cent. This is in reaction to the excessive recruitment of non-foreign service people during the Rajapaksa regime.

At the end of Rajapaksa’s nine year rule, 54 per cent of the envoys were non-career diplomats, a very high share even by the Lankan yardsticks.


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