Uchek app tests urine for medical issues

By Jane Wakefield, Technology reporter

A smartphone app that uses a phone’s camera to analyse urine and check for a range of medical conditions has been shown off at the TED (Technology, Education and Design) conference in Los Angeles.

Uchek tests for 25 different health issues and could help diagnose and treat diseases in the developing world.

Increasingly mobile health is being talked up as a lifesaver in such areas.

The app is the brainchild of TED fellow Myshkin Ingawale.

“I wanted to get medical health checks into users’ hands,” he told the BBC.

Urine can be tested for the presence of 10 elements – including glucose, proteins and nitrites.

These can be used to pinpoint a range of conditions including diabetes, urinary tract infects, cancers, liver problems as well as being used to keep track of general health.

Users need to collect their urine and dip a standard test strip into it. ….

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21586082

PAKISTAN IS A SLEEPING ECONOMIC GIANT THAT’S READY TO WAKE UP! – An Australian’s REBUTTAL to TIME Magazine’s story on Karachi, Sindh

By Tony Lazaro

The Editor, Time Magazine

Dear Editor,

I recently returned from a charitable trip to Pakistan, whereby I visited both Karachi and Islamabad. I spoke with several universities, key businesses, prominent business leaders and several religious people from all generations…

On the day I returned to the office, someone had placed your magazine (January 16, 2012), on my desk. I read with interest your article on Karachi and the city in doom. For a person to have just returned from the very same place that your magazine described was somewhat bizarre, so I read with great detail your writer (Andrew Marshall’s) account.

Let me begin by saying that I often flick through your magazine and find the articles of great interest, but on this particular day and this particular article, I found certain comments to be both one sided and indeed very negative. I say that because I saw a different Pakistan to what was portrayed in your article. I do not and will not comment on the political or religious problems that the country faces, but I will go so far as to say that not everything is as bad as the image that your magazine paints.

Sure there are deaths in the cities. Please show me a city in the world, that is free from political fighting and unrest. Sure there are differences in the political party opinions. Please show me a country in the world where the political parties agree. Sure the innocent are suffering. Please show me a country in the world where wealth and power is equal and the innocent don’t suffer. Sure corruption is in Pakistan. Please show me a country in the world that is corruption free.

My list could go on, but my point is that Pakistan does have problems…but so does every other country in the world in some way or another. However, in the case of ALL other nations, there are often good things to report and the media goes out of its way to promote these good things across the globe, whenever possible. The ridiculous amount of shootings in the USA are balanced off by the success of Google, Microsoft and Apple. The financial dilemmas of Greece are lost in the marketing of the Greek Islands as a holiday destination of choice. The child slave industry of India, is brushed under the carpet in favour of the nation’s growth in the global software boom. What I am trying to say, is that someone needs to look further into Pakistan and see that there are millions of great stories to write about, which would portray the country in a different light, to that what is being portrayed by your article.

When I was in Pakistan, I visited a towel manufacturing company (Alkaram Towels). They produced some $60million in export in 2011 and are aiming at $85million in 2012. A substantial increase in sales…in a recession I would remind you. The company was started by the current Chairman, Mr. Mehtab Chawla, at the tender age of nine, after his father passed away. Today the very man employs 3000 staff. Now that’s a story.

I visited universities of NED, Hamdard, Karachi, Szabist and NUST. The students are unbelievably intelligent. They spend their spare time developing APPS for android and apple. They are involved in cutting edge technology and no one in the world knows this. Why not send a reporter to Pakistan to look into this. Why not research good things in this nation, rather than just the bad things. At NUST (National Institution for Science and Technology – Islamabad)) there were 38,000 applications for medicine. There are only 83 seats for the medicine course on offer. The competition is unbelievable. In short it pushes the best to be even better. But the world doesn’t know this. Why ? Because no one wants to report on it, or no one knows about it…or both !!

Continue reading PAKISTAN IS A SLEEPING ECONOMIC GIANT THAT’S READY TO WAKE UP! – An Australian’s REBUTTAL to TIME Magazine’s story on Karachi, Sindh

If a Shia, you are on your own

By Ejaz Haider

Let me make it simple: if you are a Shia in Pakistan, you are on your own. This fact I state for the benefit of all those citizens of this country, Shia and Sunni, who are grieving the slow demise of Mr Jinnah’s Pakistan and expecting that the tide could be reversed through state action.

Now for the longer answer.

There is no doubt about who is killing the Shia. The Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) has repeatedly taken responsibility for it. Its captured terrorists have often stated before courts that they have killed Shias and, given the opportunity, will do it again. The identity of the killers is a settled issue.

Nota Bene: The issue of the proxy war between Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and Iran, the funding to Sunni extremist groups and whatever is left of Shia extremists, and circumstantial evidence of indirect involvement of hostile agencies is important but peripheral to the main issue, i.e., the terrorists are Pakistanis and killing on the basis of centuries-old denominational differences. The current murderous spree, of course, has a modern political and geopolitical context.

A more relevant question is: if the group that is involved in these killings has not only been ID-ed but IDs itself, what is stopping the state from acting against it, and effectively?

This is where the problem begins.

The LeJ was begotten from the dark womb of the Sipah-e Sahaba Pakistan (SSP). The SSP, banned by Pervez Musharraf, has reincarnated itself as the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat. It has a certain political presence. It is technically not the LeJ, even as de facto it is. LeJ terrorists, along with the hardline splinter group of Jaish-e Mohammad (JeM), have over the last five years, come to form the backbone of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) conglomerate. The TTP is an entity that political parties now — the ANP included (in desperation) — want to talk to, even as the state considers the LeJ a terrorist entity.

So while the LeJ is a terrorist organisation providing manpower to the TTP, the state is being pressured to talk to the latter and give it the legitimacy of an insurgent group.

But this is not all. In Punjab, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is in talks over seat adjustment with the ASWJ, the Dr Jekyll to its Edward Hyde, the LeJ. Leaving aside the PML-N’s petty lying about the issue, it is a fact that it wants to placate the LeJ through a dangerous liaison with the ASWJ. The general impression is that this is being done to win votes. That’s only partially true. The primary reason is that the PML-N doesn’t want mayhem in Punjab, its central vote bank, where it wants to win and win big through a lot of development work (even if lopsided) by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

Continue reading If a Shia, you are on your own

Chinese Navy Gets Stealth Frigate Amid Broader Military Advance

By Bloomberg News

China’s navy received the first of its new frigate line as part of a military modernization campaign, the People’s Liberation Daily said, amid a dispute with Japan over East China Sea islands claimed by both sides.

The frigate, delivered in Shanghai yesterday, has stealth capabilities, will be responsible for patrol escort, and can carry out anti-submarine warfare, the PLA Daily said. Admiral Wu Shengli, a member of the Central Military Commission, attended the ceremony. ….

Read more » Bloomberg
Link » http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-26/chinese-navy-gets-stealth-frigate-amid-broader-military-advance.html

SANA is a secular voice of North American Sindhis

President of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) Jamil Daudi said in his statement; SANA is a secular organization to its core, in the true sense of the word, meaning that it doesn’t believe in the discrimination on the basis of one’s faith or lack of faith whatever the case may be. SANA, like Sindh, belongs to all the peace loving Sindhis no matter what religion or faith they believe in.

He said, I would request all the members of SANA and all the SANA-list members to please follow the spirit of Sindh, i.e., tolerance for each other and for all the fellow members of the organization, and all human beings at large. Let’s join hands to do good, as Sindhi, we believe in making the world a safer place to live in & spread love & peace.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, February 25, 2013.

Hon. Brad Sherman on the Sindhi Language

At 49:45 (49 minutes and 45 seconds in) you can see and hear our esteemed US Congressman Brad Sherman mention the Sindhi Language and advocate for Sindhi VOA Programming in today’s Subcommittee Hearing!

More details » Foreign Affairs
http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/rebalance-asia-why-south-asia-matters-part-i

Another February 24

By Amar Sindu

Today is February 24. Last year, on the same date, Rinkle was picked up from her house. Her house was left in a state that suggested that a burglary had occurred and valuables were stolen. Her dupatta and her chappals were left lying on the doorstep.

When she was first presented in a court in Mirpur Mathelo, she requested to be returned to her parents. The court, instead of listening to her, replied that she ‘was confused’ and therefore, should spend time reconsidering the predicament and handed her back to her abductors. It was as if the court was confused itself.

She was presented in court again on Feb 28, where, in her statement, she recited the kalma and became ‘Faryal Bibi’ from Rinkle. The entire process took less than 10 minutes. Her conversion to Islam was greeted by aerial firing by her captors who had brought her to court surrounded by armed guards. This was a new victory for them.

‘Faryal Bibi’ was then taken to Dargah Bharchondi’s seat-bearer and PPP’s Mian Mithu, while the gunfire echoed across the town. She was his guest and was taken to and from court surrounded by his guards. Actually, this victory was not the only feather in the dargah’s cap. The dargah’s deeds, ranging from the Manzalgah mosque that became famous for its role during the pre-Partition communal riots in Sindh to the assassination of the singer Bhagat Kunwar Ram of the Hindu faith, were oft repeated. The dargah commonly converted non-Muslims to Islam before the Partition and this exercise continues steadily today.

Continue reading Another February 24

When a state is dysfunctional

By: Abbas Nasir

WHO knows what a failed state is? Such definitions are for the academics and experts. But what one can easily ascertain is a state that is dysfunctional.

For what would you call a state that has neither the power to generate resources and tax those who need to be taxed, nor the system or even the need to ensure that it accounts for what it spends? It can keep piling up a huge deficit without question and have nothing to show for it.

What would you call a state that cannot deliver the very least: the safety of life and limb to its citizens? Where if you particularly happened to be in the smaller provinces the only thing you could get by on is your faith. Yes, God remains the only recourse.

Continue reading When a state is dysfunctional

Insight: Spiral of Karachi killings widens Pakistan’s sectarian divide

By Matthew Green, KARACHI

(Reuters) – When Aurangzeb Farooqi survived an attempt on his life that left six of his bodyguards dead and a six-inch bullet wound in his thigh, the Pakistani cleric lost little time in turning the narrow escape to his advantage.

Recovering in hospital after the ambush on his convoy in Karachi, Pakistan’s commercial capital, the radical Sunni Muslim ideologue was composed enough to exhort his followers to close ranks against the city’s Shi’ites.

“Enemies should listen to this: my task now is Sunni awakening,” Farooqi said in remarks captured on video shortly after a dozen gunmen opened fire on his double-cabin pick-up truck on December 25.

“I will make Sunnis so powerful against Shi’ites that no Sunni will even want to shake hands with a Shi’ite,” he said, propped up in bed on emergency-room pillows. “They will die their own deaths, we won’t have to kill them.”

Such is the kind of speech that chills members of Pakistan’s Shi’ite minority, braced for a new chapter of persecution following a series of bombings that have killed almost 200 people in the city of Quetta since the beginning of the year.

Continue reading Insight: Spiral of Karachi killings widens Pakistan’s sectarian divide

A political economy of communalism in south Asia

Hyderbad: “You Strike & We will Strike back”.

The message of ‘21/2 Hyderabad serial terror attack

By Feroze Mithiborwala

The strategic& political target of the terror attack, is the historic 2-day Strike of the Working classes, where more than 12 core or 120 million workers both from the organized & unorganized sectors participated & brought India to a halt.

This working class strike surmounted all calculations due to the scale at which the enraged working classes participated. This strike has shaken up the corporate-political elite & that is why they have struck back with a serial terror attack, where now more than 15 citizens have died & 50 grievously injured. The terror attack was orchestrated in Dilsukh Nagar, where there is a busy market & many cinema halls.

If the working class unrest takes the proportions which we witness in many nations across the world such as Greece & Spain, the ruling elite will witness a massive crisis, due to the growing burdens of price-rise, decreasing wages, increasing scams, spiraling inflation, the growing insecurity of the peasantry, workers& laboring classes, as well as the ever-widening rich-poor divide.

Continue reading A political economy of communalism in south Asia

Pakistan accuses ambassador to U.S. of blasphemy

Pakistani man accuses ambassador to U.S. of blasphemy

By Asim Tanveer, MULTAN, Pakistan

(Reuters) – Pakistani police registered an accusation from a businessman on Thursday that the country’s ambassador to the United States had committed blasphemy, a crime that carries the death penalty, in connection with a 2010 TV talk show.

The accusation against Ambassador Sherry Rehman is the latest in a string of controversial blasphemy cases in Pakistan, a largely Muslim nation whose name translates as Land of the Pure.

According to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, anyone found to have uttered words derogatory to the Prophet Muhammad can be put to death. Those who are accused are sometimes lynched by mobs even before they reach court.

Rehman has already faced death threats from militants after calling for reforms to the country’s anti-blasphemy law, according to court documents. Two politicians who suggested reforming the law were assassinated.

Continue reading Pakistan accuses ambassador to U.S. of blasphemy

“INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY AND LINGUISTIC ISSUE IN PAKISTAN”

By Dr. Ali Gul Metlo

The linguistic issue has been haunting Pakistan since its very beginning. The grave error was made by none other than the founder of the country Quaid-e-Azam M.A. Jinnah himself by declaring Urdu as the national language before a very charged Bengali audience in Dhaka. Ignoring all the native languages over an alien language to the newly formed realm of Pakistan. He and the rulers after him failed to comprehend the very strong Bengali sentiment and other ethnicities sentiments for their mother tongues and their cultural affinities. The edifice which was built on wrong foundations only made further divisions with the time. Instead of heeding to the demands for rightful status of native languages, the biased and visionless rulers of the newborn country were aiming to appease the Indians who were considering Urdu to be just an alias of their Hindi language with a different script. With this background a sane voice was made aloud.

In 1999 UNESCO declared February 21 as International Mother Language Day.

On 9th February 1951, Sir Sultan Agha Khan while addressing a session of Motamer al-Alam-al-Islamiyya in Karachi, said ‘’Your choice in Pakistan of Urdu will in no way ameliorate or help your relations with your neighbour, nor will it help the Muslim minorities there in any conceivable way. Howsoever you may add Arabic and Persian words to Urdu, there is no denying the fact that the syntax, the form, the fundamentals of the language are derived from Hindi and not from Arabic.’’

He further argued: ‘’Is it a natural and national language of the present population of Pakistan? Is it the language of Bengal where the majority of Muslims live? Is it what you hear in the streets of Dacca or Chittagong? Is it the language of the North West Frontier? Is it the language of Sindh? Is it the language of the Punjab? Certainly after the fall of the Moghal Empire, the Muslims and Hindus of certain areas found in it a common bond. But now today other forms of bridges must be found for mutual understanding.’’

Pointing to its history Sir Agha Khan said: ‘’Who were the creators of Urdu? What are the origins of Urdu? Where did it come from? The camp followers, the vast Hindi-speaking population attached to the Imperial Court who adapted, as they went along, more Arabic and Persian words into the syntax of their own language just as in later days the English words such as glass and cup became part of a new form of Urdu called Hindustani. Are you going to make the language of the Camp, or of the Court, the national language of your new-born realm?’’

The Agha Khan’s advice fell on deaf ears and visionless rulers who were unable to take its notice. However the language movement in Bengal grew steadily. Instead of correcting the policy the government outlawed the protests and resorted to violence in Bengal. It was 21 February, 1952 when the peaceful protesters in Dhaka University were fired upon resulting in numerous killings. The sacrifices made by Dhaka University students became an icon not only for the Bengali language but also for the disadvantaged languages of the whole world with the passage of time. The February 21, was ultimately proclaimed to be as the International Mother Language Day in November 1999 by UN.

The day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. Learning from the 21 February 1952 incident in Dhaka, the world made it a point to ameliorate the linguistic problems globally, whereas in Pakistan the situation went worse with the time and lead to disaster after disaster, the biggest one world witnessed was on 16 December 1971 in the breakup of the country.

In Sindh where Sindhi language was in very well advanced position as compared to other languages of West Pakistan suffered the most. Long before the partition, Sindhi was the official language and medium of education. Historically very rich and having literally dynamic traditions. These were the very reasons Sindhi was targeted ruthlessly as soon as Pakistan came to being. Its cities which were booming with cultural and economic activities were vacated through state sponsored violence and imposing black laws. City of Karachi was detached from Sindh. Capital of Sindh was shifted to Hyderabad.

Hundreds of Sindhi medium schools were closed, its use in offices and courts was banned, radio Pakistan stopped broadcasting Sindhi music and other programmes in Sindhi etc. Then came the one unit in 1955 when Sindhi was completely declared an outcaste. Sindhi literary activities and publications were declared anti state. Even postal letters bearing word Sindh were not delivered. Sindh striked back and reacted with extreme anger and full vigour in 1960s, by abruptly challenging the multiple socio-cultural, linguistic, political and economic blows and shocks of last two decades. Resulting in the birth and rapid rise of modern Sindhi patriotism.

The linguistic issue in Pakistan has been intricately knotted with the cultural, socio economic and democratic rights of the people. Languages bring people closer and bring about socio economic and political harmony. This natural cementing element was callously suppressed to serve and to further the vested interest of an insignificant alien minority. Without acknowledging linguistic rights economic, political and human rights are inconceivable. Under the cover of making Urdu as so called national language the jobs, politico-economic and cultural rights were usurped with a trickery and fraud by this well established and experienced clique. The struggle continued against these excesses by the deprived and excluded sections of masses. One Unit was undone. Bengalis achieved independence at the cost of massive human tragedy.

Continue reading “INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY AND LINGUISTIC ISSUE IN PAKISTAN”

Sindh Assembly withdraws controversial, apartheid, notorious black law SPLGO 2012

Sindh Assembly adopts bill to withdraw SPLGO 2012

KARACHI – SINDH: The Sindh Assembly has adopted a bill to withdraw the Sindh Peoples Local Government Ordinance (SPLGO) 2012 and reinstate the local government act of 1979, Geo News reported. The bill, pertaining to the withdrawal of SPLGO 2012 and restoration of the Local Government Act 1979, was presented by Sindh Law Minister Ayaz Soomro amidst protest from Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) MPA’s. Later, the MQM members staged a walk out from the provincial assembly in protest against withdrawal of the local government ordinance 2012.

Courtesy: The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-89024-Sindh-Assembly-restores-Local-Government-Act-of-1979–

21st February is an ‘International Mother Language Day’- MITHRI ABANI BOLI SINDHI ABANI BOLI

[“Language is as old as the Humanity and Civilisation itself. The Cradle of Civilisation which is my Motherland, Sindh, has always had its OWN sweet language and culture! Sindhi is a glorious, grand and secular sufi NATION and Sindhi is the bright, brilliant and sweet language of mother Sindh! Please ‘n kindly – I urge, I implore ye, O Sindhis, to speak, read and write in our Mother Language, SINDHI!” — Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom]

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, February 21, 2013 » YouTube

Canadian PM unveils religious freedom office

Andrew Bennett named to head Office of Religious Freedom

Ambassador for religious freedom is a Catholic dean and former civil servant

By CBC News

Andrew Bennett has been named ambassador for Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today. “Around the world, violations of religious freedom are widespread and they are increasing,” Harper said In a speech at the Ahmadiyya Muslim community centre and mosque in Vaughan, Ont. ….

Read more » – CBC

Link – http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/02/19/pol-ambassdor-office-religious-freedom-announced.html

In Memory of Sindhi writer Siraj

Larkano: Arts Council of Larkano held a condolence reference in memory of Sirajul Haque Memon. It was presided over by Prof. Mukhtiar Samo who speaking on the occasion said that people of caliber of Siraj take birth in the centuries but during their stay in this world they leave indelible mark on it through their outstanding performance and valuable contribution in its reformation. He said Siraj was a committed Sindhi writer who did not come to terms with political and social injustice during whole of his lifetime. He refused to bow down before the negative forces and fought against them through the help of his pen. He will long be remembered for his undeterred struggle through his writings for the rights of the people of Sindh. Prof. Saleem Korai said that Siraj introduced new trends of reporting and editorial writing in Sindhi newspaper. His editorials and columns brought him closer to the masses who saw the true representation of their troubles and problems in his writings. Dr. Baduruddin Dhamrah said that the novels of Siraj were like a living commentary on the history of Sindh. He said that Argun and Tarkhan invaders erased the libraries and seats of leanings in Thatto so as to destroy the history of sindh but latter Siraj recorded their atrocious actions in his novels for the appraisal of coming generations.

Continue reading In Memory of Sindhi writer Siraj

Pressure mounts on Israel over Palestinian prisoner fast

By Noah Browning

RAMALLAH, West Bank – (Reuters) – Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails declared a one-day fast on Tuesday in solidarity with four inmates whose hunger strike has fuelled anti-Israel protests in the occupied West Bank.

Samer al-Issawi, one of the four Palestinians who have been on hunger strike, has been refusing food, intermittently, for more than 200 days. His lawyer says his health has deteriorated.

Gaunt and wheelchair-bound, Issawi appeared on Tuesday before a Jerusalem civil court, which deferred releasing him for at least another month.

The prisoners’ campaign for better conditions and against detention without trial has touched off violent protests over the past several weeks outside an Israeli military prison and in West Bank towns.

In the Gaza Strip, the Islamic Jihad group said a truce with Israel that ended eight days of fighting in November could unravel if any hunger striker died. ….

Read more » Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/19/us-israel-palestinians-prisoners-idUSBRE91I0MK20130219

How the Sri Lankan Army killed the 12-year old son of LTTE leader Prabakaran, in cold blood

The killing of a young boy

New photographs of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabakaran’s son just before he was shot dead, obtained by Channel 4 TV, leave more questions for Sri Lanka to answer about war crimes

It is a war that has produced some truly terrible images, but this one is particularly disturbing. A young boy sits looking distressed, like a child who has been lost in a supermarket. He has been given a biscuit or some kind of snack. In the second photograph, he is looking anxiously up, as though hoping to see someone he recognises.

The boy is Balachandran Prabakaran, the 12-year-old son of Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabakaran.

These photographs, which we are releasing today, form part of the new evidence in the forthcoming feature documentary “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka,” the culmination of three years of research which will be shown for the first time next month in Geneva, to coincide with the U.N. Human Rights Council meeting. The new evidence in the film is certain to increase pressure on the Indian government not only to support a resolution on Sri Lanka and accountability, but also to ensure that it is robustly worded, and that it outlines an effective plan for international action to end impunity in Sri Lanka.

The new photographs tell a chilling story. This child is not been lost of course: he has been captured and is being held in a sandbag bunker, apparently guarded by a Sri Lankan Army soldier. In less than two hours he will be taken, executed in cold blood — and then photographed again.

Continue reading How the Sri Lankan Army killed the 12-year old son of LTTE leader Prabakaran, in cold blood

Pakistan from a secular to theocratic state – India is also going the same way albeit at a slower pace!

BAAGHI: Giving peace a chance? Thanks, but no thanks!

By Marvi Sirmed

What all these peace agreements achieved was a temporary hiatus in terrorist attacks on Pakistanis, and an immense opportunity for the militant organisations to consolidate and organise themselves as well as enjoying impunity and freedom

Pakistan’s ‘government’, it seems, is well on its way to ‘give peace a chance’ in compliance with the declaration of an unelected All-Parties Conference (APC) convened by the prime minister in September this year. The otherwise ‘hawks’ when it comes to relations with India, were all adamant to invoke John Lennon — the one from the ‘oh-so-bad-west’ — on the Taliban of Waziristan. A non-corrupt Punjabi Khan and a patriotic think-tanker succeeded in getting a lease of life for the militants continually battling with the Pakistan Army and persistently attacking the people of Pakistan and abetting attacks on the people of Afghanistan. The attempts towards ‘peace’ thus started with a new vigour, permanently sedating common as well as a basic sense of history.

Continue reading Pakistan from a secular to theocratic state – India is also going the same way albeit at a slower pace!

Chinese takeover of Gwadar port

President Zardari announces Chinese takeover of Gwadar port

By:

ISLAMABAD: China took control of Pakistan’s Gwadar port on Monday as part of its drive to secure energy and maritime routes that also gives it a potential Arabian Sea naval base, sparking Indian concern. ….

Read more » DAWN

Link – http://dawn.com/2013/02/18/president-zardari-announces-chinese-takeover-of-gwadar-port/

Sindh, Balochistan mourn over Quetta killing

QUETTA: The governments of Sindh and Balochistan are observing a day of mourning over the killing of 80 people in Quetta on Saturday. The national flag will remain half-mast in both provinces.

Meanwhile, Hazara Democratic Party has appealed for shutter down strike in Quetta against the blast. Political and religious parties have supported it.

Karachi Goods Transporters Association and Oil Tankers Association have also announced to halt supply of goods across the country.

President Asif Ali Zardari telephoned Governor Balochistan Zulfiqar Magsi and directed him to monitor relief operation himself besides providing security to the Hazara community.

Courtesy: The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-88407-Sindh,-Balochistan-mourn-over-Quetta-killing

US scientists turn bags into batteries

The US is investing millions of dollars in a new centre designed to recycle used plastic bags, turning them into batteries that can power everything from smartphones to electric cars. Al Jazeera’s John Hendren spent a day at the government laboratory near Chicago where scientists have made a breakthrough in green technology.

Read more » Al Jazeera
http://www.aljazeera.com/video/americas/2013/02/2013218111949627594.html

Detained: Egyptian sheikh who said it is ‘halal’ to rape female protesters

By Al Arabiya with AFP

Egypt has issued an arrest warrant on Sunday against the Salafi preacher, who recently said it was “halal” (permissible) to rape female protestors, charging him with the defamation of religion, an Al Arabiya correspondent reported. …..

Read more » Al Arabiya
http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2013/02/17/266857.html

Steal bread, go to jail, steal a billion $, get bailed out

*Bank of America Bombshell: Whistleblowers Reveal Orchestrated Coverup and Massive Borrower Harm

Obama promised justice to abused American homeowners. Have they gotten it?

By Yves Smith

Editor’s Note:  In his 2012 State of The Union address, President Obama spoke of American homeowners abused by unscrupulous banks and financial institutions. Have they gotten justice? What follows is the first in a new series examining foreclosure settlements and the disturbing patterns of incomptency, malfeasance, and conflicts of interest which have marked their execution. Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism takes a deep dive into the mire of America’s mortage industry and investigates the continued suffering of the public at the hands of greedy predators.

On January 7, 2013, ten servicers entered into an $8.5 billion settlement with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve, terminating a foreclosure review process which was set forth in consent orders issued in April 2010. Borrowers who had had foreclosures that were pending or had completed foreclosure sales in 2009 and 2010 could request an investigation by independent reviewers, selected and paid for by the servicers but subject to approval by the OCC.

Continue reading Steal bread, go to jail, steal a billion $, get bailed out

Bangladesh government passed a bill to convict the war criminals and ban Islamist’s in politics.

Bangladesh amends war crimes law, mulls banning Islamists

By Anis Ahmed

DHAKA (Reuters): Bangladesh’s parliament, meeting the demands of protesters thronging the capital, amended a law on Sunday allowing the state to appeal any verdict in war crimes trials it deems inadequate and out of step with public opinion.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators jamming central Shahbag Square for the 13th day burst into cheers amid driving rain as the assembly approved the changes.

The protesters have been demanding the death penalty for war crimes after a tribunal this month sentenced a prominent Islamist to life in prison in connection with Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.

The life sentence pronounced on Abdul Quader Mollah, assistant Secretary General of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, for murder, rape and torture had stunned many Bangaldeshis.

The amendment will “empower the tribunals to try and punish any organizations, including Jamaat-e-Islami, for committing crimes during country’s liberation war in 1971”, Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said after the change was approved. ….

Read more » Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/17/us-bangladesh-protest-idUSBRE91G05W20130217

Shia Genocide: connect the dots

Omar AliBy: Omar

…… Pakistan has to become secularized to survive as a multi-religious state. Otherwise, the plan is clear. It is to become a Sunni Jihadi state. And everyone else has to live under those rules, or will face their wrath.

The army and the police cannot control these people while supporting and using their ideology. They cannot give up that ideology until they suppress/forget/ignore the dream of a pure Islamic state and its international jihadi armies.

They lack the will and the ability. The will more than the ability.

Courtesy: Brown Pundits

Link – http://www.brownpundits.com/2013/02/16/shia-genocide-connect-the-dots/

The fading soul of Pakistan’s diversity – By Zeba T.Hashmi

Around the Lahore Central Railway Station, narrow alleys are like a maze, with hotels and restaurants for passengers coming in from across the country. The visitors from Cholistan were staying in one such building. Their common attire said nothing about their significance. The assertiveness is in their eyes spoke of the hardships they face in the middle of the uninhabited deserts. Through the music they make, they bring their world to life with songs of love, mysticism and sad partings.

A group of singers from the Bheel community were my hosts in one of the rundown hotels where they were staying. A few moments after I entered the room and greeted them, there was music all around, the sadness of the room shattered by the elaborate melodies they made from the stringed Yaktara and the colorful Raanti instruments. Such was the beauty I found in that tiny, unfamiliar room that came to life with music and lively stories, in spite of interruptions by the hotel manager who kept asking us to tone it down.

The members of the Hindu Bheel community are mostly landless, and they are known for their melodies and beautiful traditional musical instruments, ornamented by elaborately embroidered bright colored fabrics. They make their stringed instruments with animal hides and wood, hollowed pipes that are magic for the ear. They are known for their distinctive voice quality and the art of story-telling. Their women wear glass bangles all over their arms and wear colorful Cholis and Ghagharas.

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