Tesla Motors’ battery announcement

The 7 Biggest Questions Ahead of Tesla’s Battery Announcement

Tesla Motors Inc. will introduce its line of energy-storage products Thursday night at the company’s design studio in Hawthorne, California. Select Tesla car owners, utility executives and representatives of the solar industry are among those with invitations. The company will announce both a home battery and a “very large utility scale battery,” it said in a note to investors last week. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has been dropping hints for weeks, drumming up intrigue about “The Missing Piece.” Here’s what to look for in the two-part announcement:

1. Who Markets Home Battery?  
Tesla has already installed roughly 300 batteries in California homes through a pilot project with SolarCity Corp., where Musk is chairman. Will SolarCity continue to be the channel to the residential market for Tesla’s home battery? Or will Tesla offer its batteries to other solar companies hoping to pair solar and storage?

2. Big Enough for Utilities?
In the utility market, a 1-megawatt system is widely viewed as the entry point for most storage applications. So what does Tesla mean when it says “very large?” “In the battery industry, 5 megawatts or 10 megawatts is huge,” says Haresh Kamath, the energy storage program manager at the Electric Power Research Institute in Palo Alto, California. “But for a utility, that’s small. If Tesla comes out with a 20-megawatt system, that would be enough to get the utility industry excited.”

Read more » Bloomberg
See more » http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-30/the-7-biggest-questions-ahead-of-tesla-s-big-announcement

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‘Ex-army major, colonel involved in robbery of millions’

BY MOHAMMAD ASGHAR

RAWALPINDI: Local police sent a request to the interior ministry for the names of two former army officers involved in the biggest heist at the airport to be put on the Exit Control List (ECL).

A request was also sent to the Interpol for one of their accomplices in Dubai to be arrested.

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Regional Police Officer Muhammad Wisal Fakhar Sultan Raja said five people involved in the robbery were arrested and Rs30.86 million was recovered and the vehicle used in the heist was also found by the police.

 

Read more: Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2015
Read more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1179078/ex-army-major-colonel-involved-in-robbery-of-millions

Nawaz Sharif calls PM Narendra Modi, appreciates India’s rescue efforts in Nepal

NEW DELHI: Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif on Thursday called up PM Narendra Modi and expressed his condolences on loss of lives in India due to earthquake.

“Got a call from PM Nawaz Sharif. He expressed condolences on the loss of lives in various parts of India due to the earthquake,” PM Modi said in a tweet on Thursday.

The PM added that Sharif appreciated India’s efforts in the rescue operations in Nepal.

“I thank him for his kind words,” Modi said.

Modi said that he suggested to Sharif that “SAARC nations should conduct regular joint exercises on disaster relief and rescue”.

“SAARC nations can come together and hold annual exercises of rescue teams, doctors etc on how we can minimise damage during natural disasters,” he added.

News courtesy: The Times of India
Read more » http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Nawaz-Sharif-calls-PM-Narendra-Modi-appreciates-Indias-rescue-efforts-in-Nepal/articleshow/47105811.cms

– – – – – –

More details » BBC urdu
Read more » http://www.bbc.com/urdu/pakistan/2015/04/150430_nawaz_calls_modi_rwa

Murdered on the streets of Karachi: my friend who dared to believe in free speech

By 

Sabeen Mahmud singlehandedly created a counter-cultural haven for artists, writers and thinkers in her home city. And she paid for it with her life. Those of us left behind can only ask why

“Be careful,” I said to my childhood friend Sabeen Mahmud when I saw her in London in 2013, soon after she’d received a death threat – neither the first nor last. “Someone has to fight them,” she replied.

“Fear is just a line in your head,” Sabeen had once said in an interview with Wired magazine – and she and I lived on different sides of that line. On Friday night, Sabeen was murdered, gunned down in her car in Karachi as she drove home with her mother.

There aren’t too many people from Karachi with a clear conscience. It’s a city of many horrors powered by even more guns, and fear makes most people live in a silence that becomes complicity. But Sabeen was always a woman made of different stuff, thanks in large measure to the two great influences of her life: her mother, Mahnaz (shot twice during the attack), from whom she inherited her socialist tendencies, and her friend and mentor Zaheer Kidvai (Zak) who introduced her to the idea of counterculture, via everything from Abbie Hoffman to revolutionary Urdu poets. While most of us at our elite school in Karachi lived in a fairly apolitical bubble, Sabeen was developing class-consciousness and identifying political heroes. Post-university, when most of her schoolfriends were choosing not to return to an increasingly embattled city, she decided to take another approach.

Continue reading Murdered on the streets of Karachi: my friend who dared to believe in free speech

Real Robocops of Dubai: UAE to introduce police robots ‘within two years’

Police in the wealthy United Arab Emirates plan to introduce interactive patrolling bots by 2017, and says “fully intelligent robots” could be on the force by the end of the decade.

We are aiming to provide these kinds of services as the population is expanding. This way we can provide better services without hiring more people,” Colonel Khalid Nasser Alrazooqi, who heads the city’s ‘smart’ unit, said during a keynote speech at the Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference, Dubai’s Khaleej Times report.

Read more » http://rt.com/news/253529-police-robot-dubai-robocop/

Obama: ‘No excuse’ for violence in Baltimore

By Eric Bradner, CNN

Washington (CNN)President Barack Obama on Tuesday condemned the “criminals and thugs who tore up” the city of Baltimore on Monday night, after rioting and looting paralyzed the city and overwhelmed local officials.

The sustained outbreak of violence followed the funeral for Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old man who died after he was arrested more than two weeks ago. Cars were set on fire, stores were destroyed, and six officers were seriously injured. It was the first time Obama has commented on the turmoil in Baltimore that has followed Gray’s death.

“There’s no excuse for the kind of violence that we saw yesterday. It is counterproductive,” Obama said at a press conference from the White House. “When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they’re not protesting. They’re not making a statement. They’re stealing. When they burn down a building, they’re committing arson. And they’re destroying and undermining businesses and opportunities in their own communities. That robs jobs and opportunity from people in that area.”

Read more » CNN
See more » http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/28/politics/obama-baltimore-violent-protests/index.html?sr=tw042815obamabaltimore330pVODtopPhoto

Commercial drones are ready for takeoff—if only the government will get out of the way

Amazon delivery drone
Amazon delivery drone

Drone On – The Sky’s the Limit—If the FAA Will 
Get Out of the Way

By Gretchen West

In the beginning, drones were almost exclusively the province of militaries. At first little more than remote-controlled model planes used in the World War I era, military drones advanced steadily over the decades, eventually becoming sophisticated tools that could surveil battlefield enemies from the sky. Today, the terms “drone” and “unmanned aircraft system” denote a vehicle that navigates through the air from point A to point B and is either remotely controlled or flies autonomously. While they vary in size and shape, such vehicles all feature a communications link, intelligent software, sensors or cameras, a power source, and a method of mobility (usually propellers).

Inevitably, drone technology spilled out from the military and into other parts of the public sector. In the United States over the last decade, federal researchers turned to drones for monitoring weather and land, the Department of Homeland Security started relying on them to keep an eye on borders, and police adopted them for search-and-rescue missions. Then came everyday consumers, who took to parks on the weekend with their often homemade creations. Outside government, drones were mostly flown for fun, not profit.

Until recently, that is. In the last several years, a new group of actors has come to embrace drones: private companies. Inspired by the technological progress made in the military and in the massive hobby market, these newcomers have realized that in everything from farming to bridge inspection, drones offer a dramatic improvement over business as usual. The potential for the commercial use of drones is nearly limitless. But in the United States, the growing drone industry faces a major regulatory obstacle: the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued overly restrictive rules that threaten to kill a promising new technology in the cradle.

SERIOUS BUSINESS

In the face of a new and poorly understood technology, the FAA refused to allow drones for commercial purposes.

As more and more actors have invested in drone research and development, the vehicles themselves have become cheaper, simpler, and safer. Perhaps even more exciting are the changes in software, which has advanced at lightning speed, getting smarter and more reliable by the day: now, for example, users can fly drones without any guidance and set up so-called geo-fences to fix boundaries at certain altitudes or around certain areas. The economics are now attractive enough that many industries are looking to drones to perform work traditionally done by humans—or never before done at all.

Rea more » Foreign Affairs
See more » http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/143325/gretchen-west/drone-on

Britain ‘is experiencing same decline as Rome in 100BC’

Dr Jim Penman believes Britons no longer have the genetic temperament that sparked the Industrial Revolution

By , Science Editor

Britain is experiencing the same decline as Rome in 100BC, with the collapse of civilisation inevitable, a scientist has warned.

Dr Jim Penman, of the RMIT University in Melbourne, believes Britons no longer have the genetic temperament to advance because of decades of peace and a high standard of living.

He claims that the huge success of the Victorian era will not be repeated because people in the UK have lost the biological drive for innovation.

Instead, Britain is existing in a period similar to the decades before the fall of the Roman Republic where social tensions were rife, the gap between the rich and poor was increasing and extremism was growing.

And when added to a growing distaste for military action, which has seen huge cuts the armed forces, by the end of the century the UK will no longer have the power, or will, to protect itself against a serious invading force, he predicts.

“There are certainly parallels between 100BC in the Roman Republic where things are starting to get pretty dodgy,” he said.

“It was a time when democracy was moving towards despotism, and in Britain we now see that politics is becoming much more about individuals rather than political parties. It’s about personalities. The two party system has started to break down.

“We live in a golden age where there have been no major wars in Europe for three quarters of a century. But the economy is stagnating and we’re having fewer children.

Read more » The Telegraph
See more » http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11562374/Britain-is-experiencing-same-decline-as-Rome-in-100BC.html

India to sign deal with Iran on Chabahar port project soon

India is moving closer to finalizing a crucial plan to invest in Iran’s southern Chabahar port – a project that would open a new economic corridor rival to what China plans to do in Pakistan’s Gwadar port. 

India’s Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari is expected in Tehran within the next few days to formalize a deal for the project, the New Delhi-based Business Standard newspaper reported.

India is also likely to engage in discussions with the US to secure a waiver of sanctions on activities at Chabahar, the report added.

“Talks about the proposed speed and manner in which the US government plans to free up the sanctions might also be on the cards, so that India does not run the risk of attracting punitive sanctions,” it said.

Read more » Press Tv
See more » http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/04/25/408007/Iran-India-Chabahar-Corridor-Trade-economy-sanctions-washington-zarif-kerry

Pakistan sends relief goods for quake victims in Nepal

BY DAWN.COM | IRFAN HAIDER

KATHMANDU: Four Pakistan Air Force (PAF) aircraft carrying rescue and relief assistance, including a 30-bed mobile hospital, for Nepal left for the earthquake-devastated country Nepal on Sunday.

Two C-130 aircrafts have landed at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu and two more are expected to reach Kathmandu on April 27.

In line with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s directive, the two C-130s which reached Kathmandu today are carrying a medical team of doctors and paramedics, a 30-bed hospital, medicines, tents, water, dry food, and a search and rescue team with equipment

The relief team and equipment have been put together with the collaboration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan Army, PAF, National Disaster Management Authority of Pakistan, the embassy of Pakistan in Kathmandu, the embassy of Nepal in Islamabad, and the Nepalese authorities.

The Pakistani ambassador and other embassy officials were present at the airport to facilitate and extend logistical support to Pakistan relief assistance team.

Courtesy: DAWN
Read more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1178334/pakistan-sends-relief-goods-for-quake-victims-in-nepal

Tax cuts for top earners fail because the theory is broken

by Ha-Joon Chang

Tax breaks for the wealthy were meant to trickle through society to benefit all. It didn’t work and inequality just got worse, says an economist

ADVOCATES of trickle-down economics argue that, when the rich get extra income, they invest it and create more jobs – and a higher income – for others. Those people, in turn, spend their extra money. Eventually the effect trickles down the whole system, making everyone better off, in absolute terms.

So, what seems like a moral outrage – giving more to people who already have more – is in theory a socially benign action.

The trouble is it hasn’t worked. In the past three decades, states with pro-rich policies have seen economic growth slow, except in countries like China and Vietnam that needed to jump-start socialist economies.

In the UK, upward income redistribution since 1980 has seen the share of the top 1 per cent rise from 5 per cent of national income to over 10 per cent. Yet the annual growth rate of income per person has fallen from 2.5 per cent between 1960 and 1980 to 1.8 per cent between 1980 and 2013.

One reason is that the rich have not kept their end of the bargain – they didn’t invest more; and inequality, linked to poorer health and societal damage, worsened. Investment as a share of GDP used to be 18 to 22 per cent in the 1960s and 1970s but since then has been 14 to 18 per cent, except for a few years at the end of the 1980s.

Moreover, concentration of income at the top has boosted the political influence of the super-rich, allowing them to push for policies that benefit themselves but create harm in the long run. For example, the UK financial sector successfully lobbied for “light-touch regulation”, which enabled it to earn a lot but led to the 2008 financial crisis.

It is well established that a less equal society has lower social mobility. When talented people from less privileged backgrounds cannot move up the social ladder, the economy’s long-term dynamism suffers. An increasing number of studies show that, above a certain level, higher inequality harms growth. Some are by the International Monetary Fund and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which didn’t use to be concerned about inequality.

Despite these failings, some politicians still back measures that benefit the wealthy, often citing trickle-down economics. In the UK, the Conservatives cut taxes for the top earners while in government. They want to slash inheritance tax for wealthier estates and cut the numbers paying higher-rate tax. The UK Independence Party has a similar stance on higher-rate tax and wants zero inheritance tax.

The 35-year experiment with trickle down economics has failed for most people. Unfortunately, there is too much money and power at stake for its true beneficiaries to accept this reality and end this approach.

This article appeared in print under the headline “Defying gravity”

Ha-Joon Chang is an economist at the University of Cambridge. His latest book is Economics: The user’s guide (Pelican)

Courtesy: Newscientist
Read more » http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22630182.500-tax-cuts-for-top-earners-fail-because-the-theory-is-broken.html?utm_source=NSNS&utm_medium=SOC&utm_campaign=hoot&cmpid=SOC%257CNSNS%257C2015-GLOBAL-hoot#.VTwzliFVhHw

Australia – Regional unemployment hits 12-year high

By 

The unemployment rate in regional Australia has risen to 7.3 per cent, a 12-year high, as job demand shifts increasingly to major cities with the winding down of the mining construction boom.

Regional Australia has not experienced unemployment rates this high since March 2003, with regional NSW recording the largest increase in jobless rates in the past three months, particularly in the Hunter Valley and Newcastle – big coal-producing regions.

Regional Australia Institute (RAI) says analysis of this week’s Bureau of Statistics quarterly employment data shows the unemployment rate in regional Australia, in non-seasonally adjusted terms, remains structurally higher than in capital cities.

Read more » The Age
See more » http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/regional-unemployment-hits-12year-high-20150424-1msjaq.html

Devastation in Nepal after huge earthquake

A huge earthquake has shattered Nepal on Saturday, causing widespread destruction and loss of life.

People covered in debris are being dragged from under crumpled buildings, and ancient temples have morphed into piles of rubble. As night fell the death toll has already hit 700 people, with the magnitude 7.8 quake also causing deaths in neighboring countries.

Strangers in the poor nation came together to search for survivors in the destruction, as they braced for news of a possible death toll in the thousands.

Read more » Mashable
See more » http://mashable.com/2015/04/25/nepal-earthquake-photos/#:eyJzIjoidCIsImkiOiJfbG5ieHk4am80cmV4ZmJzbSJ9

Sabeen, the one who never backed down

By HASSAN BELAL ZAIDI

The fingers type, but I don’t feel them moving. The ears sense a commotion, but I cannot hear. The eyes fight back tears, but it’s futile to resist.

How can you feel, how can you react, how can you respond, when the news ofa friend’s death hits you, right between the eyes?

But Sabeen was far more than a friend, she was a beacon; an island of calm in a sea of madness.

The Second Floor, conceived and modelled in her own image, was the physical embodiment of her intangible love for all things; food, the arts, knowledge and ideas, and, of course, people.

As bleeding heart liberals go, Sabeen’s was the bloodiest heart I have ever come across. Sabeen did a lot more than just help people. She championed causes, thought outside the box and wanted, with every breath, to make a difference.

Also read: Sabeen Mahmud — a profile

A leading light of the #PakistanForAll and #ReclaimYourMosque campaigns, she was usually the first to hit the streets and the last to go home.

When they came for the Shias of Alamdar Road, she was at Numaish from the very beginning to the bitter end.

When they came for the Christians of Peshawar, she was right there at the heart of the human chains that protected churches on Sunday mass.

Always one to challenge convention, always one to take the unpopular stand, always one to side with the underdog; Sabeen Mahmud never backed down from a fight.

Continue reading Sabeen, the one who never backed down

Director T2F Sabeen Mahmud shot dead in Karachi

BY DAWN.COM

KARACHI: The director of The Second Floor (T2F), Sabeen Mahmud, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Karachi on Friday.

Sabeen, accompanied by her mother, left T2F after 9pm on Friday evening and was on her way home when she was shot by unidentified gunmen in Defence Phase-II, sources confirmed. She died on her way to the hospital. Doctors said they retrieved five bullets from her body, which has now been shifted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre.

Her mother also sustained bullet wounds and is currently being treated at a hospital; she is said to be in critical condition.

T2F had on Friday organised a talk on Balochistan: ‘Unsilencing Balochistan Take 2: In Conversation with Mama Qadeer, Farzana Baloch & Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur.’

Sabeen had left T2F after attending the session, when she was targeted.

T2F, described as a community space for open dialogue, was Sabeen’s brainchild. In an interview with Aurora, she referred to it as “an inclusive space where different kinds of people can be comfortable.”

Conceived as a bookstore and café patterned after the old coffeehouse culture of Lahore and Karachi, The Second Floor — or T2F, as everyone calls it — says on its website that it was born out of a desire to enact transformational change in urban Pakistani society.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Nasreen Jalil, while talking to DawnNews, condemned Sabeen Mahmud’s killing and demanded the government to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, taking notice of the incident, has asked the Additional Inspector-General Karachi Police to submit a report on the brutal murder, DawnNews reported.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1177956/director-t2f-sabeen-mahmud-shot-dead

Punjab: Did you hear what the Chinese president said?

BY MUSHTAQ SOOFI

Would the prime minister, the cabinet ministers, the members of the National Assembly, the senators and other power wielders pause for a moment and ponder over what the president of the People’s Republic of China said in the beginning of his address to the joint session of Parliament held this week in Islamabad.

He described Pakistan as a country ‘young and ancient’. In the euphoria created by a huge pile of MOUs (which definitely would have economic bearings on our future) no one would care to understand the implied suggestion this apparently simple statement carried. But anyone who knows how Chinese are subtle in the matters of statecraft, politics and diplomacy will not miss how significant is the unsaid in what he said.

We all know we are a young country. The president reminded us that though a young country we have been a product of a brilliant ancient society spanned over thousands of years. What prompted him to iterate that is obvious? Our attitude towards the past and what it offers! Our past and what it offers constitutes ‘ancient’.

It’s precisely this very ‘historical mess’ that we abhor and are scared of, thus exposing an unbridgeable gulf between our being ‘young’ and ‘ancient’. So far we have tried though not successfully to build everything around the fact of our being young in search of ideology driven utopia that has landed us in a grey zone of historical dis-orientation.

With the emergence of Pakistan in 1947 our ruling elite strengthened the faith-based narrative, exclusive and monolithic, which was and is still being touted as a raison deter of the new state. Such an unnatural and a historical thinking caused an almost complete rupture with our long past especially the shared one spread over at least five thousand years.

In our world of make-belief we thought as if we came into being out of thin air of abstraction forgetting that we are what we have been and what we have been belongs to the irretrievable, the past. One can interpret and re-interpret the past but cannot change it.

It does not in way mean that humans are mere prisoners of history. On the one hand they are product of history and on the other they are capable of making history. However it is to be remembered that though ‘men make their own history they do not make it as they please. They do not make it under the circumstances chosen by themselves but under the circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past’. Our elders made history by creating a new state but they did this under the circumstances created by history itself which made the peaceful co-existence of Hindu and Muslim communities a distant dream cherished by many.

The new state while endeavouring to realize a different and secure future for its citizens suffered from a fatal fallacy. That is that the past can be declared an alien territory having no presence in the collective conscious and subconscious of people and hence one can have absolutely clean break with it.

The past, to the dismay of ideologues, is not something completely solid that can be demolished and buried under the debris of intellectual claptrap. What is most tangible about the past is its ever present intangibility as submerged experience at subterranean level that refuses to fade out from the psychic space.

Pakistani state and the elite with a deep sense of insecurity have been trying to build an exclusive national identity based on the denial of the past that we shared and still share with India.

The irony is that what is conceived as Indian and debunked is the cultural and intellectual manifestation of our ancient culture. What is the Indian civilization san Indus valley?

Can you imagine Indian civilization without Harappa and Mohenjo Daro, Rig-Veda (composed by Rishis at the banks of river Ravi), Gandhara and Taxila? Can you write the history the political science ignoring the Chanakya Kautilya’s Arthshastra, the first book on statecraft and art of politics?

Continue reading Punjab: Did you hear what the Chinese president said?

Australians’ living standards face the greatest threat in a generation: report

By 

Australians’ living standards face the greatest threat in a generation, with no signs of strong wage growth, longer unpaid commuting times and a rise in workforce casualisation putting more pressure on middle- and lower-income households than they have faced in 20 years.

A new report from Per Capita, an independent think tank, also shows the split of national income between labour and capital is continuing to worsen in Australia, with wages’ share of national income dropping from 65.5 per cent at the turn of the century to 59.7 per cent in 2012.

It says this has occurred at the same time as the bulk of productivity improvements have come from labour rather than capital in recent years.

The report, “Paradise Lost? The race to maintain Australian living standards”, says Australians’ living standards are under threat due to slowing productivity, rising unemployment and slowing wages growth.

It warns Australians face an “inevitable correction” in their income and wages levels – with real wages set to fall markedly to reflect the country’s changed economic circumstances and lack of reform over the last decade – if nothing is done about it.

David Hetherington, Per Capita’s director, warned Australian governments they must re-start the reform process now to arrest the worrying trends, saying the benefit of the economic reforms of the 1980s and ’90s had run their course.

“Australia must either reform once again or face a dramatic downwards adjustment in wage levels and living standards,” Mr Hetherington said.

“To continue to lift labour productivity, we must lift our investment in hard infrastructure like transport and broadband, as well as soft infrastructure like skills and education.

Courtesy: The Age
Read more » http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australians-living-standards-face-the-greatest-threat-in-a-generation-report-20150423-1mrppz.html

I am a cook in the US Senate but I still need food stamps to feed my children

By 

I work 70 hours a week doing two jobs but cannot make ends meet. Presidential hopefuls must make profitable federal contractors pay living wages

Every day, I serve food to some of the most powerful people on earth, including many of the senators who are running for president: I’m a cook for the federal contractor that runs the US Senate cafeteria. But today, they’ll have to get their meals from someone else’s hands, because I’m on strike.

I am walking off my job because I want the presidential hopefuls to know that I live in poverty. Many senators canvas the country giving speeches about creating “opportunity” for workers and helping our kids achieve the “American dream” – most don’t seem to notice or care that workers in their own building are struggling to survive.

I’m a single father and I only make $12 an hour; I had to take a second job at a grocery store to make ends meet. But even though I work seven days a week – putting in 70 hours between my two jobs – I can’t manage to pay the rent, buy school supplies for my kids or even put food on the table. I hate to admit it, but I have to use food stamps so that my kids don’t go to bed hungry.

I’ve done everything that politicians say you need to do to get ahead and stay ahead: I work hard and play by the rules; I even graduated from college and worked as a substitute teacher for five years. But I got laid-off and I now I’m stuck trying to make ends meet with dead-end service jobs.

Continue reading I am a cook in the US Senate but I still need food stamps to feed my children

Pakistan: Bahawalpur to have $1.5bn world’s largest solar power plant

BY KHALEEQ KIANI

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has awarded $1.5 billion contract for its largest solar power project of 900MW in Bahawalpur to a Chinese company which has the biggest solar power plant of only 170MW back home.

After concluding a final round of meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Water and Power Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif on Wednesday, Zonergy Company Ltd President Yu Yong told journalists that his company had a total portfolio of 1,200MW of solar plants in China and the largest one was 170MW plant in Xinjiang.

He said the company had an association of over 17 years with Pakistan. Previously, it had been engaged in telecommunication sector through another company ZTE since 1998.

Read: Pakistan plans huge desert solar park to fight energy crisis

He explained that Zonergy was not a subsidiary of the ZTE, but one of the largest shareholders in the ZTE was also the largest shareholder in Zonergy.

Continue reading Pakistan: Bahawalpur to have $1.5bn world’s largest solar power plant

Smart Money to Follow China’s Massive Investment in Pakistan

This (China’s $46 billion investment in Pakistan) can not be purely politically driven. Beijing is commercial: CEO’s, not think tank intellectuals, travel with politicians. Barron’s Asia

Spurred by Chinese investment, the smart money is taking notice of Pakistan as an attractive investment destination. The investors are looking at the fact that Pakistani stocks have been outperforming both emerging and frontier markets for several years. The benchmark index of the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE100) is up more than 20% in the last 12 months, according to NASDAQ.com.

Pakistani Shares in 2015: After a dismal March, MSCI Pakistan rebounded strongly this month, returning 9.1% so far. In April, the iShares MSCI Frontier 100 ETF (FM) rose 4.3%, the WisdomTree India Earnings Fund (EPI) dropped 1.2%, the iShares MSCI India ETF (INDA) fell 1.9%, according to Barron’s Asia.

KSE-100 Performance: In 2014, the KSE-100 Index gained 6,870 points thereby generating a handsome return of 27% (31% return in US$ terms), making Pakistan’s KSE world’s third best performing market. Total offerings in the year 2014 reached 9 as compared to 3 in the year 2013. After a gap of seven years, Rs 73 billion were raised through offerings in 2014 as compared to a meager Rs 4 billion raised in 2013. Foreign investors, that hold US$ 6.1 billion worth of Pakistani shares -which is 33% of the free-float (9% of market capitalization)-remained net buyers in 2014.

Read more » http://www.riazhaq.com/2015/04/smart-money-to-follow-chinas-massive.html

Karachi’s Avatar

Karachi, Sindh has been home to a long, red history of communists, Avatar Hangal is one of them. Akhtar Balouch, Blogger

BY AKHTAR BALOUCH

Every time the generous people at Dawn publish one of my blogs, I start receiving phone calls from friends in the dozens. Write about this, one would say, as another would insist on a different topic.

Many complain: why haven’t you written about this or that so far? Why did you miss this or that great personality from Karachi?

It always pleases me to receive these messages and calls, while at the same time I am saddened by the limitation of resources. But as our dear Hasrat Mohani said:

Hai mashq-e-sukhan jaarii aur chakkii kii mushaqqat bhi
[As the pen’s labour continues, so does the labour to survive.]

A senior journalist and a serious human rights activist Zaman Khan phoned me from Lahore, asking me to write about A.K Hangal. He was also kind enough to forward me an interview with Mr Hangal.

The name might not be as well-known in Pakistan, but the face would certainly look familiar to many. Hangal was seen in more than 300 Bollywood films, playing supporting roles. Apart from being an actor, Hangal was also a staunch communist.

He wished to see India transform into a communist state after the Partition. Because of his views, he had to spend two years in jail in Karachi. He also spent some time in the Hyderabad Central Jail, Sindh.

Continue reading Karachi’s Avatar

Russia to invest $2 billion to build natural gas pipeline in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Russia will invest a whopping $2 billion in Pakistan to build a 1,100-kilometre pipeline from southern port city of Karachi to Lahore to transport liquefied natural gas.

“Pakistan and Russia have finalized an LNG pipeline deal in a recent meeting in Moscow and the two countries will sign a government-to-government basis deal next month,” petroleum minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.

Abbasi said that in return for the investment, Russian companies will be awarded the contract to build the pipeline.

News courtesy: THE TIMES OF INDIA
Read more » http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/international-business/Russia-to-invest-2-billion-to-build-natural-gas-pipeline-in-Pakistan/articleshow/46970624.cms

US warship heads to Yemeni waters; could block Iran weapons

Associated Press – By LOLITA C. BALDOR

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a stepped-up response to Iranian backing of Shiite rebels in Yemen, the Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is steaming toward the waters off Yemen to beef up security and join other American ships that are prepared to intercept any Iranian vessels carrying weapons to the Houthi rebels.

The deployment comes after a U.N. Security Council resolution approved last week imposed an arms embargo on leaders of the Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi rebels. The resolution passed in a 14-0 vote with Russia abstaining.

Navy officials said Monday that the Roosevelt was moving through the Arabian Sea. A massive ship that carries F/A-18 fighter jets, the Roosevelt is seen more of a deterrent and show of force in the region.

The U.S. Navy has been beefing up its presence in the Gulf of Aden and the southern Arabian Sea in response to reports that a convoy of about eight Iranian ships is heading toward Yemen and possibly carrying arms for the Houthis. Navy officials said there are about nine U.S. warships in the region, including cruisers and destroyers carrying teams that can board and search other vessels.

Read more » Yahoo News
See more » http://news.yahoo.com/us-warship-heads-yemeni-waters-block-iranian-weapons-182036698–politics.html

Investing with confidence: Chinese say their money is safe in Pakistan

By Shahram Haq

ISLAMABAD: Chinese businessmen have said investments they are putting in Pakistan are safe as both the countries enjoy excellent relations at government and public level.

“The global investments we make in any country depend on the nature of relationships between China and the particular country,” said Orient Evertrust Capital Group’s Chairman Jiang Xue Ming, while talking with The Express Tribune.

“Since Pakistan and China have excellent relationships, so we feel our investments in this country are completely safe,” he added.

A group of Chinese investors is currently in Islamabad as the Chinese president is arriving in Pakistan today (Monday) to sign some 50 different accords worth $46 billion, majority of which are energy based.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/872766/investing-with-confidence-chinese-say-their-money-is-safe-in-pakistan/

Slaughter on the beach: ISIS behead and shoot Ethiopian Christians in sickening new propaganda video

Video seems to show militants in Libya holding one group of at least 16 captive on a beach and 12 others in a desert
Before the killings a masked fighter in black brandishes a pistol as he vows to kill Christians if they do not convert
Ethiopia unable to confirm its citizens were killed by militants in the footage but condemned the ‘atrocious act’
It comes two months after 21 Egyptian Christians were beheaded by extremists in a similar video from Libya

By LYDIA WILLGRESS FOR MAILONLINE

A shocking new video appearing to show at least 30 Christians being beheaded and shot by ISIS in Libya has been released.

The 29-minute video, titled ‘Until It Came To Them – Clear Evidence’, shows dozens of militants holding two separate groups captive, thought to be in the south and the west of the country.

At least 16 men, described by Islamic State as the ‘followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church’, are lined up and shot in a desert area while 12 others are filmed being forced to walk down a beach before being beheaded.

This follows another video in February of the beheading of a group of 21 Coptic Christians on the beach in Libya, though that terrain was rockier than the one shown in the latest film.

It raises fears that ISIS is consolidating its presence on the ‘doorstep of Europe’, as Libya is just a few hundred miles from the coast of Italy.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3045711/Slaughter-beach-ISIS-behead-shoot-Ethiopian-Christians-sickening-new-propaganda-video.html#ixzz3XnCSUvBO

China Readies $46 Billion for Pakistan Trade Route

Beijing plans to pour $46 billion into infrastructure projects, open new trade routes

By SAEED SHAH in Islamabad and JEREMY PAGE in Beijing

Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to unveil a $46 billion infrastructure spending plan in Pakistan that is a centerpiece of Beijing’s ambitions to open new trade and transport routes across Asia and challenge the U.S. as the dominant regional power.

The plan, known as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, draws on a newly expansive Chinese foreign policy and pressing economic and security concerns at home for Mr. Xi, who is expected to arrive in Pakistan on Monday. Many details had yet to be announced publicly.

“This is going to be a game-changer for Pakistan,” said Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan’s planning minister, who said his country could link China with markets in Central Asia and South Asia.

“If we become the bridge between these three engines of growth, we will be able to carve out a large economic bloc of about 3 billion living in this part of the world…nearly half the planet.”

Read more » THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
See more » http://www.wsj.com/articles/china-to-unveil-billions-of-dollars-in-pakistan-investment-1429214705?mod=e2fb

China to build Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline: report

ISLAMABAD: In an attempt to curtail Pakistan’s severe energy shortage, China has agreed to build a pipeline bringing natural gas from Iran to Pakistan. The final deal is to be signed during the long-sought visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping to Islamabad in April, Pakistani officials said.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/866893/china-to-build-pakistan-iran-gas-pipeline-report/

The State Department Just Okayed $1 Billion in Helicopters and Missiles to Pakistan

BY

As social media erupted earlier this week with news that Hillary Clinton was spotted at a Chipotle, the department she used to head quietly approved a massive weapons sale to a U.S. ally whose military has a long record of human rights abuses. On April 6th, the State Department green-lit a nearly $1 billion arms sale to the government of Pakistan. The proposed deal includes 15 Viper attack helicopters, 1,000 Hellfire missiles and all the technology and training needed to operate them.

But some observers worry that the Pakistani military’s dismal humanitarian record – including in ongoing operations – should raise red flags for the U.S. In June 2014, Pakistan launched a massive operation purportedly to clear militant groups from North Waziristan, an impoverished tribal region where the central government has little control and offers few services. Although Pakistan has prohibited journalists from entering combat areas, many observers say the military has done nothing to limit civilian casualties.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-state-department-just-okayed-1-billion-in-helicopters-and-missiles-to-pakistan-20150417#ixzz3Xfcp5oCz

Borderlands – India’s Great Wall

ALL NATIONAL BORDERS ARE IMAGINARY. But some are more imaginary than others. And perhaps some nations are more imaginative too. Somewhere in the labyrinths of the New Delhi bureaucracy, tucked within the recesses of the Ministry of Home Affairs, is a bureau called the Department of Border Management. The DBM, sometimes with just the flourish of an ink pen, conjures the sinuous, unsteady line that separates the triangle of the subcontinent from the mass of Asia. India’s shortest border, according to the department, is its ninety-nine mile border with Afghanistan. This one is especially imaginary, since it’s been in Pakistani hands for the past seventy years. India’s longest border is the 2,545 mile line that encircles Bangladesh. This one is being drawn right now, with steel and electric light.

Travel along the border districts of the east and you will see it unfurling slowly through the simmering green farmlands of Bengal, turning the territory into a map at last. It is an improbable structure: a double fence, eight feet high, consisting of two parallel rows of black columns made of sturdy angle iron and topped with overhanging beams. The two rows of columns are draped in a tapestry of barbed wire, with spools of concertina wire sandwiched between them.
This imposing national installation is still a work in progress. It has been under construction since 1989; 1700 miles have now been erected, at a cost of approximately $600 million. There have been many delays and cost overruns, but when it is complete it will render precisely 2042 miles of the invisible border an impenetrable barrier, a gigantic machine for processing bodies—designed, in the words of the DBM, to prevent “illegal immigration and other anti-national activities from across the border.”

Whether this is an appropriate or proportionate response to India’s perceived problem with its smaller neighbor is less certain. The issue of Bangladeshi migration into India has become part of the background chatter of Indian political discourse in the quarter century since work began on the fence, though in times of political turmoil it has been amplified into obtrusive static. Both the partition of India in 1947 and the 1971 war that led to Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan occasioned a massive influx of refugees into India. But migrants of these generations are now generally accepted as naturalized Indians. While the number of subsequent migrants is presumed to be significant, the figures most commonly cited are wildly divergent and unverifiable. In 2000 the Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina famously asserted there were no illegal Bangladeshi migrants in India at all, while three years later India’s Intelligence Bureau pegged the figure at 16 million. The Indian press routinely cites more sensational figures, which expand impressively each year. The unlikely sum of 60 million was a popular estimate a couple of years ago.

Just last year, during his election campaign tour of Bengal, Narendra Modi promised to send all illegal migrants “back to Bangladesh”—although, he reassured his audience, those who worshipped the Hindu goddess Durga would be “welcomed as sons of Mother India.” Nobody knows, of course, what proportion of the unknown number of Bangladeshi migrants are Hindu. Like all the other numbers, it is likely to be impressive. But it seems doubtful that the extravagant net that India is casting around Bangladesh will be up to the task of sieving Muslims from Hindus.

Continue reading Borderlands – India’s Great Wall

Toyota to move Corolla production from Canada to Mexico to cut costs

Toyota to move Corolla production to Mexico to cut costs

(Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T, the world’s biggest automaker, plans to move production of its Corolla compact cars to a new factory in Mexico from Canada to benefit from lower costs, the Globe and Mail reported, citing sources familiar with the situation.

Costs at Toyota’s assembly plants at Cambridge and Woodstock in Ontario are higher than at its U.S. factories and it makes sense to produce the more expensive vehicles in Canada, the newspaper quoted sources familiar with the matter as saying.

Sources told Reuters that Toyota will spend $1 billion to build a car factory in Mexico, which is expected to begin functioning from the summer of 2019, ending a self-imposed three-year freeze on new investments. Toyota also plans to announce a new car factory in Guangzhou, China, this week.

Continue reading Toyota to move Corolla production from Canada to Mexico to cut costs