Both Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday condemned an anti-Islam film that has sparked riots in Egypt, Yemen, and Libya, where Ambassador Christopher Steven was killed by rocket fire from well-organized protesters on Tuesday night (NYT, AFP, AFP). President Karzai, however, differed from his Pakistani counterpart by making no mention of the violent protests or the killing of the U.S. diplomat.
The Afghan government blocked access to the video hosting site YouTube on Wednesday to prevent Afghans from watching the offensive film, likely in an attempt to head off any potentially violent demonstrations (Reuters, AFP). Pakistan Telecommunication Authority officials said they, too, had blocked the video on the orders of the Ministry of Information Technology (ET).
Dealing with the consequences
Pakistani police have filed murder charges against the owners and managers of a garment factory in Karachi where at least 258 people perished yesterday in a fire that most could not escape because all but one exit had been locked to prevent workers from leaving before their shift was over (AFP, AP).
A-Qaeda on Wednesday released a video of Warren Weinstein, the 71-year-old aid worker kidnapped in Pakistan last year, who asks for Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for help freeing him "as one Jew to another," saying President Barack Obama and the American people had "shown no interest in my case" (AP, CNN, AFP).
Wealthy Afghans are increasingly looking to the oil-rich Emirate of Dubai as an investment and escape opprtunity, as fears grow over a potential civil war after NATO withdraws combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 (Reuters). Afghans spent 20 million dirhams (U.S. $5.4 million) on property in the first six months of this year, a 27 percent increase over their real estate expenditures in Dubai during the same time period last year.
-- Jennifer Rowland