May 2009

Use of solar energy for preservation of agricultural products

Solar energy has been used for time immemorial by man for his energy needs. The intensity of use of solar energy also increased as human race progressed through the initial ages when sun was put to use not only for warmth, but also for productive applications.

Drying was perhaps the most important of such productive applications. Drying of food grains, fruit and meat for storage, drying of timber and firewood, drying of earthen utensils, etc. were some such productive applications where sun’s energy was put to effective use.

We can say that food drying is a very simple ancient skill. It requires a safe place to spread the food where dry air in large quantities can pass over and beside thin pieces. Sun is often used to provide the hot dry air. Dry, clean air including dry cold air from any source will dehydrate food. Draping food over branches or spreading it on wide shallow baskets on the roof is an old widespread tradition still in use around the world. Many other arrangements have been used to support a thin spread of food pieces. Some options that have been used are to thread the pieces on a cord or a stick and hang it over a fire, wood stove or from the rafter. Or one can bundle herbs or strawflowers and suspend them from bushes or a door knob or nails in rooms with good ventilation. Read More »Use of solar energy for preservation of agricultural products

Stabilising Af-Pak

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Ikram Sehgal

Among the studies for stabilizing this region, the Centre for American Progress’s Report can be singled out as being pragmatic in its analysis and recommendations thereof. The “Partnership for Progress” report came out late last year, things have since changed for the worse. In framing the new policy it remains a good document for reference by the Obama administration.

Among its recommendations, viz (1) Implement policies that recognize regional dimensions of Pakistan’s security challenges, that Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, are inter-linked. (2) Organize integrated international support to assist Pakistan. (as Holbrooke stated in Tokyo after US $5.4 billion was pledged by the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FODP), it was not enough compared to the US $50 billion needed) (3) Broaden and deepen the strategic relationship between the US and Pakistan. (this is difficult when you castigate Pakistan, particularly the Pakistan Army, publicly that not enough is being done) (4) Approach Pakistan’s military establishment in ways that support good governance and economic development. (because of the need for Arab-Israeli peace one can understand the type of “democracy” the US supports in Egypt and Jordan, if eradicating the menace of would terrorism is the priority, then some similar “understanding” for Pakistan may be a pragmatic necessity) (4) Support democratic transition in Pakistan without picking favoured candidates or political parties. (whereas PPP deserves to be the party leading a coalition in the federal governance, the system that has “democratically” elected Karzai and Zardari as presidents in Afghanistan and Pakistan is flawed. Could either of them stand the test of personal popularity and/or integrity that Obama rightfully prides himself on?)Read More »Stabilising Af-Pak

The costs of delayed action-Dr Maleeha Lodhi

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The writer is a former envoy to the US and the UK, and a former editor of The News

After weeks of procrastination in the face of increasingly aggressive actions by militants to extend their influence beyond Swat, the government ordered the army to halt the Taliban advance. The military operation that was launched in Buner is still underway.

This action was taken after an unprecedented public outcry in the country prompted by mounting alarm that the Taliban’s bid to seize control of Buner district, on the back of a controversial peace deal in Swat, would not stop there. International anxiety over the rising tide of the Taliban militancy was reflected in a series of public statements by top US officials, as well as in heightened pressure on Islamabad by Washington to act.Read More »The costs of delayed action-Dr Maleeha Lodhi

Pakistani ICT project wins World Summit Youth Award

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From a total of 612 projects submitted from 102 countries, a Pakistani project of the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication is among winners of the World Summit Youth Award (WSYA), a global initiative that selects and promotes the world’s best e-content and innovative ICT applications.

Funded by the National ICT Research and Development Fund, the Rs26.9 million project is titled ‘Remote patient monitoring system with a focus on antenatal care for rural population,’ and is being executed by a team of researchers of ‘nexGIN RC FAST-NU’ headed by Dr. Mudassar Farooq.Read More »Pakistani ICT project wins World Summit Youth Award

Do we have democracy in Pakistan? —Rasul Bakhsh Rais

The development of democracy has been hampered by the troublesome legacies of the military regimes, including ethnic fragmentation, alienation of the smaller provinces, and concentration of wealth and privilege among the class co-opted by the dictators

People often put this question to us, at intellectual forums or social gatherings. And then, without waiting for comment, answer it themselves: no, we don’t have democracy!

Why do people think we don’t have democracy, when we have held elections, have representative governments at the centre and in the provinces, and Pervez Musharraf is no longer our president?Read More »Do we have democracy in Pakistan? —Rasul Bakhsh Rais

Pak nuke projects expanding’

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Pakistan continues to expand its nuclear facilities despite growing international concerns, US experts and former officials say. According to the Guardian, David Albright, previously a weapons inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has said commercial satellite photos show two plutonium-producing reactors nearing completion at Khushab. “In the current climate, with Pakistan’s leadership under duress from daily acts of violence by insurgent Taliban forces and organised political opposition, the security of any nuclear material produced in these reactors is in question,” Albright has said in a report issued by the independent Institute for Science and International Security in Washington. Albright warned of a potential nuclear arms race with India. Another threat to nuclear security, he said, arose from territorial advances by indigenous Taliban. Besides the Khushab reactors, the report alleges, the Gadwal uranium enrichment plant is a vulnerable sit considering a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the Kamra complex in December 2007.Read More »Pak nuke projects expanding’

THE SIN AND THE CRIME

ALI SUKHANVER

 

Our American friends have always been warning us in a complaining tone, “We are doing more and more, you are doing less and less; if you don’t do more, we shall start doing less”. But very strange is the fact that their words have never been harsh and ruthless. It seems they never intend to be really hard on us but they desire us to come up to their expectations. They know that a strong and stable Pakistan is in favour of the USA. In the past few years the increasing extremism has given birth to militancy in some of the tribal areas of Pakistan .this unpleasant situation has naturally generated some very serious type of fears in the hearts of the US policy makers. We are lucky enough that these fears could not mar the very close relationship between the two countries based on the hope of good days. However we should try to analyze the factors which are behind these fears and apprehensions.Read More »THE SIN AND THE CRIME

INTERVIEW WITH HONORABLE RODOLFO J. MARTIN-SARAVIA AMBASSADOR OF ARGENTINA IN PAKISTAN

Mehmood-Ul-Hassan Khan

President Cristina Fernánde

1. What are the volumes of bilateral trade between the two countries

Pakistan is an attractive destination for foreign investors and Argentina investors are taking keen interest to invest in this country. In 2006-07, total trade between Pakistan and Argentina stood at US$ 106.398 million out of which Pakistan’s exports were US$ 42.07 million and imports from Argentina were US$ 64.328 million showing a trade balance in favor of Argentina of US$ 22.258 million. Things are moving in the right direction and we hope that with the passage of time and the help of institution like the different Chambers of Commerce of the main cities of Pakistan the bilateral trade volumes would increase in different fields and sectors.

2. How the volumes of bilateral trade can be increased? Read More »INTERVIEW WITH HONORABLE RODOLFO J. MARTIN-SARAVIA AMBASSADOR OF ARGENTINA IN PAKISTAN

Cell phone radiation may cause brain tumour

Cell phone use in Pakistan has grown amid potential health risks, including cancer, through radiofrequency (RF) energy emissions from cell phones. Up till now most studies have focused on whether RF energy can cause malignant brain tumors. The experts are of the opinion that cell phone users are exposed to RF energy, a non-ionising form of radiation, emitted by the cell phones and there is concern about the health implications due to widespread cell phone use. “The experiments investigating the effects of RF exposure characteristics of cell phones on animals have suggested low levels of RF could accelerate the development of cancer. Read More »Cell phone radiation may cause brain tumour

In search of a new financial architecture

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PROFESSOR DOCTOR KHAWAJA AMJAD SAEED

Traditionally speaking, the study of economics was divided into five constituents namely; consumption, production, exchange, distribution and public finance. In recent years, public finance has sprung into prominence. Resource mobilisation has assumed a high importance. Its utilisation has become a critical factor in developing countries, which are generally faced with the problem of deficit finance.

Consequently, reliance on foreign loans has been growing. Today’s world is caught up in financial crisis and the whole world is in search of a new financial architecture, which may provide financial defence. Accordingly, need for developing a sound system for public expenditure and financial accountability is the crying need of today. Therefore, this paper addresses basic issues in respect of the above subject.Read More »In search of a new financial architecture