September 2010

Stuxnet — a cyber “cold start”?

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Ikram Sehgal

 Very recently a security firm in Belarus discovered a “malware” which they called Stuxnet, a worm that spies on and reprograms industrial systems, the very first to successfully target critical industrial infrastructure. Specifically meant to attack “Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition” (SCADA) systems used to control and monitor industrial processes, Stuxnet specifically targets Siemens computers in the network by using infected USB flash drives. A major computer virus attack was made on the Windows computers at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, however it does not seem to have damaged the major systems at the plant.Read More »Stuxnet — a cyber “cold start”?

What do Pakistani generals want?

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By Farrukh Saleem

 ISLAMABAD: It’s the economy, plain and simple. Pakistani generals want Pakistani economy to grow and to grow at the fastest pace possible. Here’s why.
The total length of Pakistan’s boundaries is 6,774 km — India 2,912 km, Afghanistan 2,430 km, China 523 km and Iran 909 km. And, Pak Army gets around $5 billion a year to keep Pakistan’s geographical integrity intact-roughly 3 percent of our $166 billion annual GDP.
Military strategists around the world look at the capacity of their adversaries, not their intentions. In 2009, India jacked up its defence budget by a hefty 24 percent. The same year, an interim defence hike was announced showing an accumulated increase of 55 percent. Read More »What do Pakistani generals want?

Zardari admits he was trapped, vows to fight on

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By Rauf Klasra

 ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari reportedly dropped a bombshell in the PPP parliamentary party meeting the other night when he made the shocking confession that he was betrayed and trapped by top players of the game in the NRO case.
He told the shocked members that he was given certain assurances in exchange for not defending it before the Supreme Court. A top source said the betrayed president had believed in what he was offered.
Read More »Zardari admits he was trapped, vows to fight on

ISLAMABAD: Agricultural scientists working on ‘sugar alternative’

By Ijaz Kakakhel
Researchers and agricultural scientists are experimenting on commercial production of a plant (Stevia) as alternate to sugar at National Agriculture Research Council (NARC), which will enable the country to get rid of sugar crises permanently.

The plant was imported from Canada on experimental basis, which is 300 fold sweeter than sugar, said Dr Shahid Masood Chief Scientific Officer NARC while talking to Daily Times.

It is especially for sugar patients because it has zero calories. At present “Stevia” is planted on about 2 acres area and has about 2000 plants. He said the plant has different species having different types of sweetness.Read More »ISLAMABAD: Agricultural scientists working on ‘sugar alternative’

Islamabad: Electricity production from Thar coal within two years

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Work is initiated on exploiting energy potential of coal reserves of Thar which will start producing electricity within two years, enough for next 40 Years, without any single Second of Load Shedding. These reserves of coal worth US $ 25 trillion can not only cater the electricity requirements of the country for next 100 years but also save almost four billion dollars in staggering oil import bill.Read More »Islamabad: Electricity production from Thar coal within two years

BLACK WATER IN ACTION

ALI SUKHANVER

The western forces have succeeded in depriving Taliban of public support in Pakistan; surely a difficult question to be answered. For the last many years the reality of the Taliban has been a matter of confusions and misunderstandings. Since its beginning, the Taliban movement was simply and purely an ideology-based exercise strongly tinged with the flavour of militancy, but with the passage of time, the ideology vanished and there remained nothing but militancy. More strange is the fact that this militancy proved more fatal and injurious to the Muslims than to the forces eager to crush the Taliban. If we cast a look at the damages caused by the Taliban, we would find a less number of the effected Americans but the list of the targeted Muslim would be unending. The situation gives birth to so many suspicions. Are they really the Taliban who are taking the lives of innocent Muslims including school going children and women shopping in markets and the old men offering their prayers in mosques? Are they really the Taliban who are slaughtering the soldiers and officers of the Pakistan army just to create panic and harassment? No they are not the Taliban because it is against the tradition of the Afghans and the Pathans to deceive and dodge their benefactors; and most of the original Taliban are of the same traditional origin. They could never betray those who had always been favoring and supporting them at the time of need, particularly when the Russian forces were the most determined in wiping them off the scenario.Read More »BLACK WATER IN ACTION

Punjab’s 200 megawatts coal-based power project

ENGR HUSSAIN AHMAD SIDDIQUI

The planners have put in a spanner, as it appears, in the whole process of utilising Punjab’s indigenous large coal reserves for power generation that was launched last year on a fast-track basis. In a major policy shift, the government of Punjab has now announced to develop a 200-MW capacity power project based on “imported” coal.
Read More »Punjab’s 200 megawatts coal-based power project

The Benefit of Doubt-By Qaisar Sultan

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In a criminal case, the jury has to make the judgment of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That is what the defendant’s attorneys do; create doubts in criminal cases. In civil cases, the preponderance of evidence may suffice a judgment against the defendant; based on credible and compelling evidence and its probable truth and accuracy.  Asif Zardari’s murder and kidnapping cases required “beyond reasonable doubt” evidence, almost impossible in Pakistan; to put him away for life- His corruption charges do not demand an air tight proof to show his prowess for embezzlement. The bafflement is due to the number game, how many billions; go and wrangle about few millions here or there.  It is not about this man, Zardari, who represents the illiterate majority that elected him; it is about the conscious of a nation. As Asif Zardari said it so eloquently, “It is not Jinnah’s Pakistan, it is Bhutto’s Pakistan”, meaning that the nation has a new state of mind. God bless our great country! Ibn Khaldun in Muqaddimah suggested that it is the people who are responsible for the bad leadership. It is sad and facetious interpretation throughRead More »The Benefit of Doubt-By Qaisar Sultan

October –By Bushra Zulfiqar

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The news that GHQ was under attack literally shocked everyone in and out of the country. As a child, I was a regular visitor of the venue because at that time it happened to be my father’s office. As someone with so many childhood memories associated with that place, I was completely shattered at the insanity of the violence that had and was still taking place. I remained glued to my television screen pretty much in dis-belief at the mercilessness of the perpetuators of terror. I was completely unable to reach at any understanding of why this was happening, the sole explanation that came from my heart and not head was that it was an early October morning, and heart is a strange organ.Read More »October –By Bushra Zulfiqar