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December 2011

Gaddafi, the man who came to dinner

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Published in The Nation on 9-Dec-2011

John Swinton, the doyen of the New York press corps, upon his retirement, made the following speech:
 There is no such thing, at this stage of the world’s history in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dare write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my papers, before twenty four hours, my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalist is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting of an independent press? We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes. I do understand that you have to eat like all of us and therefore must keep your mouth shut. You are Jewish and so am I. (Sephardic).Read More »Gaddafi, the man who came to dinner

Pakistan’s Imran Khan: playboy cricketer to PM?

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Former cricketer Imran Khan reckons he could end militancy and corruption in 90 days if elected prime minister in a show of confidence which has helped make him Pakistan’s most popular politician.
He drew at least 100,000 people to the streets of Karachi on Sunday in a massive rally that increases pressure on the government and cements his standing as the new political force.
After 15 years as an aside to Pakistan politics, he is riding a wave of dissatisfaction with the government of President Asif Ali Zardari, who co-chairs the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and is facing challenges from the military, the Supreme Court and political opponents after a year of cascading crises.Read More »Pakistan’s Imran Khan: playboy cricketer to PM?

US prepares for a curtailed relationship with Pakistan

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* US officials believe tied with Pakistan have been seriously damaged and an alliance can survive only in a limited form


WASHINGTON: US officials believe the country’s relationship with Pakistan has been seriously damaged and a counterterrorism alliance can survive only in a limited form, The New York Times reported late Sunday.


Citing unnamed US and Pakistani officials, the newspaper said that officials acknowledge this deterioration will complicate the ability to launch attacks against extremists in Pakistan and move supplies into Afghanistan.

 Read More »US prepares for a curtailed relationship with Pakistan


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In the second week of December 2011, theUScongress agreed on a defense bill that includes a provision to freeze some $700 million in assistance untilPakistancomes up with a strategy to deal with improvised explosive devices.  According to CBSNEWS, the fertilizer smuggled intoAfghanistanis being used in creating explosives and through this defense bill Congress is specifically trying to urgePakistanto take more action against this smuggling. Commenting on the billChairman,U.S.House Armed Services Committee Rep. Buck McKeon said, “The U.S. wants assurances thatPakistanis countering improvised explosive devices in their country that are targeting our coalition forces inAfghanistan”. It is yet to be decided whether this suggested bill is a sincere effort to counter terrorism in the region or simply a reaction to the rapidly uneasy relationship between theUnited StatesandPakistan. The U.S. military sources blame that around 80 percent of Afghan bombs are created with the fertilizer that becomes a powerful explosive when mixed with fuel oil and the primary ingredient in all of the homemade bombs is fertilizer produced by a single company in Pakistan; the Pak-Arab Fertilizers Ltd. Multan. According to theUSarmy sources only in the period of one year the Pak-Arab Fertilizers Ltd legally produced calcium ammonium nitrate fertilizer enough for making of at least 140,000 bombs. Is Pak-Arab Fertilizers Ltd. Multan manufacturing fertilizers for the terrorists or the farmers; no doubt a very important question.Pakistan, being an agricultural country requires a lot of fertilizers for its crops. It is amongst the countries having acutest shortage of water. This scarcity of water is growing serious day by day asIndiais building dams on the rivers flowing towardsPakistanin violation of the Indus Water Treaty. The water scarcity whichPakistanhad been facing in 1950 was 5000 m3 and it will reach below 1000 m3 by 2035. Furthermore the lack of energy resources, the foreign supported terrorist activities and the economic instability, no doubt, a result of theUSwar on terror; all these factors have joined hands together to givePakistanreally a tough time.


Rupee hits record low at Rs 90 to US dollar on 21st December 2011

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KARACHI: The Pakistani rupee traded at a record low on Wednesday hurt by import payments and a bleak economic outlook for the country.

According to the interbank rate, the rupee was trading at Rs 90 to a US dollar.

Tuesday, 20th December

The dollar recorded growth against the rupee in the interbank market, dealers said Tuesday. It initiated the day’s trading at Rs 89.8 for buying, Read More »Rupee hits record low at Rs 90 to US dollar on 21st December 2011

Mobile app to help Indian women fight sex assault

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NEW DELHI: A smartphone app launched Wednesday in the Indian capital Delhi aims to fight a rise in sexual assault cases by enabling
women to immediately alert friends or family if they feel at risk.

The “Fight Back” app created by Indian non-profit Whypoll will — at the press of a single key — send an SOS message via text message, email and Facebook.

Once the SOS is activated, recipients will be able to track the sender’s
location via GPS and come to her aid.Read More »Mobile app to help Indian women fight sex assault