Corruption in Pakistan is widespread, particularly in the government and lower levels of police forces. In 2014, Pakistan scored 126 out of 174 on theCorruption Perceptions Index published by the Transparency International,improving slightly from its previous score of 127 out of 175 in 2013. Pakistan saw a significant improvement in its statistics in 2013 when its ranking improved by 12 indices compared to its previous rankings – 139 out of 174 in 2012,134 out of 182 in 2011, 143 out of 178 in 2010, and 139 out of 180 in 2009.
Corruption has plagued Pakistan from the very moment it came into existence. It was the unrepentant display of plutocracy amongst its powerfulbureaucracy and the West Pakistani Punjabi Muslim landowners that partly led to the secession of East Pakistan into the nation-state of Bangladesh. Later,nationalisation policies prepared under the government of prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto paved the way for the corrupt elites to politicise the nation’s economic planning resulting in a public outcry against corruption. This led the military dictator Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq to draft policies regarding denationalisation of institutions which only ended up benefiting a few rich business magnates such as the future prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, who was also a protégé of the military dictator.
Read more » Wikipedia
See more » https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_in_Pakistan
Switzerland will hold a vote on whether to introduce a basic income for all adults, in a further sign of growing public activism over pay inequality since the financial crisis.
A grassroots committee is calling for all adults in Switzerland to receive an unconditional income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,800) per month from the state, with the aim of providing a financial safety net for the population.
Organizers submitted more than the 100,000 signatures needed to call a referendum on Friday and tipped a truckload of 8 million five-rappen coins outside the parliament building in Berne, one for each person living in Switzerland.
Read more » Switzerland
See more » http://www.reuters.com/article/us-swiss-pay-idUSBRE9930O620131004
Farmers in Karnataka have adopted the digital platform in selling their produce. They go online, check out the quotes of the traders and seal the deal that suits them best and also receive the payments online. This facility has gained quite popularity now and other states like Andhra Pradesh has also come forward to adopt it.
Unified Marketing platform (UMP), a state government initiative launched in 2014 by the Rashtriya e-Market Services (ReMS), provide the farmers an opportunity to interact with the traders online. Thus, they can directly deal with the traders and have the right to reject if the quoted prices are not satisfactory for them.
This facility completely rules out the middlemen, who take away a big share from the farmers’ profit by buying their produce at minimum cost.
Through UMP, farmers now receive SMS alerts from their banks when transactions with traders have been confirmed.
Read more » THE LOGICAL INDIAN
See more » http://thelogicalindian.com/news/karnataka-14-lakh-farmers-are-selling-their-products-online-and-thus-no-middle-men/
“We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery.”
BY MARIA POPOVA
From the same remix artist who brought us yesterday’s Alan Watts meditation on the meaningful life comes “A Message for all of Humanity” — a stirring mashup of Charlie Chaplin’s famous speech from The Great Dictator and scenes of humanity’s most tragic and most hopeful moments in recent history, spanning everything from space exploration to the Occupy protests, with an appropriately epic score by Hans Zimmer.
Read more » BrainPickings
See more » https://www.brainpickings.org/2012/10/11/a-message-for-mankind-charlie-chaplin-great-dictator/
by Chris Matthews
If India can successfully transform its human resources into productive workers, you can expect it to quickly replace China as the economy that both inspires fear and respect among American economy watchers.
Read more » Fortune
See more » http://fortune.com/2016/04/08/india-economy/?xid=for_fb_sh
WASHINGTON — Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The Obama administration has lobbied Congress to block the bill’s passage, according to administration officials and congressional aides from both parties, and the Saudi threats have been the subject of intense discussions in recent weeks between lawmakers and officials from the State Department and the Pentagon. The officials have warned senators of diplomatic and economic fallout from the legislation.
Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, delivered the kingdom’s message personally last month during a trip to Washington, telling lawmakers that Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets in the United States before they could be in danger of being frozen by American courts.
Several outside economists are skeptical that the Saudis will follow through, saying that such a sell-off would be difficult to execute and would end up crippling the kingdom’s economy. But the threat is another sign of the escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United States.
Read more » The New York Times
See more » http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/16/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-warns-ofeconomic-fallout-if-congress-passes-9-11-bill.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0
The biggest-ever leak of secret information involves 11m documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. Here’s how the story is being covered around the world.
It’s always interesting when information like this leaks because it reminds people who are up to no good how fragile and how vulnerable they make themselves by indulging in this kind of activity.
We’ve got an anti-corruption summit here in May. This is a key agenda for the prime minister. We’re working with many countries around the world including Panama – I had a meeting with the Panamanian vice-president just a few weeks ago on this issue. We are making significant progress.
Read more » TheGuardian
See more » http://www.theguardian.com/news/live/2016/apr/04/panama-papers-global-reaction-to-huge-leak-of-offshore-tax-files-live?page=with%3Ablock-570246b8e4b0fde262ff62d9#liveblog-navigation
In fact, taken collectively, Hawking’s numerous warnings are aimed directly at the careless hubris of the ruling elites and their tendency to act in favor of profit — in a variety of fields — without consideration given to long-term consequences resulting from such hastily implemented projects.
Despite the numerous cautionary scenarios Hawking has proffered, he claims society will likely discover the means to cope.
“We are not going to stop making progress, or reverse it, so we have to recognize the dangers and control them,” he stated. “I’m an optimist, and I believe we can.
“It’s important to ensure that these changes are heading in the right directions. In a democratic society, this means that everyone needs to have a basic understanding of science to make informed decisions about the future.
“So communicate plainly what you are trying to do in science, and who knows, you might even end up understanding it yourself.”
Read more » Anonymous
See more » http://anonhq.com/stephen-hawking-warns-humanity-leave-earth-before-the-ruling-class-destroys-it/
by Brian Resnick
In October, a Reddit user asked Stephen Hawking if he thinks robots are coming to take all of our jobs.
“In particular, do you foresee a world where people work less because so much work is automated?” the user asked the renowned physicist on an Ask Me Anything thread.
The question isn’t crazy. Computers are getting smarter and more efficient all the time. It’s conceivable that we one day will reach a point where machines’ output is simply much more valuable than humans’.
Hawking didn’t discount the notion that machines may replace us. But he said whether this is good or bad depends on how the wealth produced by machines is distributed. That is, Hawking is more concerned about capitalism than he is about robots. He wrote:
..Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.
We could be headed toward a work-free utopia where machine-produced goods and services are cheap and plentiful for all. Or, as Hawking suggests, the coming robot age will just exaggerate the income inequality that’s rampant across the globe. (Hawking is generally ambivalent on the advent of artificial intelligence. “We are facing potentially the best or worst thing to happen to humanity in history,” he has said.)
Read more » Vox
See more » http://www.vox.com/2016/2/27/11119804/stephen-hawking-robots
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan formally lifted sanctions on Iran on Friday, a move which is expected to open a new era of cooperation between the two countries in the areas of banking, trade and energy.
“Pursuant to UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution of 2231, Pakistan has decided to lift sanctions against Iran,” read a finance ministry announcement. The modalities for the restrictions sanctions were finalised in an inter-ministerial meeting, it said.
Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/1050792/pakistan-lifts-sanctions-on-iran-2/
ISLAMABAD: A new train service between Asia and Europe is on the cards. The service will enable Pakistani exports to reach Turkey via Iran in 15 days.
Pakistani exports to Turkey include: rice, sesame seeds, leather, textiles, fabrics, sports’ goods and medical equipment. Turkey’s exports to Pakistan are wheat, chickpeas, lentils, diesel, chemicals, transport vehicles, machinery and energy products.
Read more » Customs Today
See more » http://www.customstoday.com.pk/train-service-between-pakistan-and-turkey-on-the-cards/
More detials: BBC urdu
Canada’s Finning International Inc, the world’s biggest dealer of Caterpillar Inc equipment, posted a lower-than-expected quarterly profit and said it would cut more jobs.
The company, which cut 13 per cent of its global work force last year, said it would cut another 400-500 jobs by mid-2016.
Finning had about 14,500 employees as of Dec. 31, 2014.
Shares of the Vancouver-based company were down 7.4 per cent at $17.29 in early trade.
Caterpillar, the world’s largest maker of construction and mining equipment, has been hit by weak mining, drilling and construction activity around the world.
Finning in November shut 11 facilities in Western Canada, in addition to previously announced 16 closures, to cut costs.
Read more » The Globe And Mail
See more » http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/finning-swings-to-loss-to-cut-400-500-more-jobs/article28794252/
By BERTRAND MAROTTE
MONTREAL — The Globe and Mail – Bombardier Inc. chief executive officer Alain Bellemare is vowing that 2016 will be a “year of transition” for the Montreal-based plane and train maker after significant rounds of cost cutting last year.
But many investors, analysts and observers were disappointed by worse-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and surprised by the magnitude of a new wave of cost cutting – 7,000 jobs to be slashed over the next two years –
Read more » The Globe And Mail
See more » http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/bombardier-to-slash-7000-jobs/article28779506/
Tehran (AFP) – The first train to connect China and Iran arrived in Tehran on Monday loaded with Chinese goods, reviving the ancient Silk Road, the Iranian railway company said.
The train, carrying 32 containers of commercial products from eastern Zhejiang province, took 14 days to make the 9,500-kilometre (5,900-mile) journey through Kazakstan and Turkmenistan.
“The arrival of this train in less than 14 days is unprecedented,” said the head of the Iranian railway company, Mohsen Pourseyed Aqayi.
“The revival of the Silk Road is crucial for the countries on its route,” he said at a ceremony at Tehran’s rail station attended by the ambassadors of China and Turkmenistan.
The journey was 30 days shorter than the sea voyage from Shanghai to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, according to Aqayi.
The railway will not stop in Tehran “as we are planning to extend the railway to Europe in future,” generating more income for Iran from passing trains, he added.
Read more » Yahoo News
See more » http://news.yahoo.com/first-silk-road-train-arrives-tehran-china-134703954.html
By Faseeh Mangi, Divya Patil
Bets are rising that Pakistan will default on its debt just as it starts to revive investor interest with a reduction in terrorist attacks.
Credit default swaps protecting the nation’s debt against non-payment for five years surged 56 basis points last week to 620 points amid the global market sell-off, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the highest since January 2015 and the steepest jump after Greece, Venezuela and Portugal among more than 50 sovereigns tracked by Bloomberg.
About 40 percent of Pakistan’s outstanding debt — both local and foreign — is due to mature in 2016, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s roughly $45 billion, of which about 4.3 trillion rupees ($41 billion) is in local currency.
Read more » Bloomberg
See more » http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-14/pakistan-default-risk-surges-as-50-billion-debt-bill-coming-due
LAHORE: A delegation of investors group of Turkey met Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Wednesday and announced to invest in transport sector in Punjab.
Read more » Daily Times
See more » http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/punjab/11-Feb-2016/turk-investors-interested-in-punjab-s-transport-sector
BY AMIN AHMED
ISLAMABAD: Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, who is the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, said here on Tuesday that Pakistan had built one of the strongest foundations for financial inclusion in the world.
She was speaking at the launching ceremony of the Universal Financial Access initiative of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
The queen said new regulations had supported the emergence of branchless banking, a growing microfinance sector, effective payments systems and a more constructive approach to customer identification.
Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1238590/
Calgary-based Husky Energy said it has laid off workers on Tuesday but declined to provide specific numbers or details on the jobs lost.
“These are difficult decisions and we will continue to take the steps necessary to ensure the company’s resilience through this cycle and beyond,” spokesperson Mel Duvall wrote in a statement.
Duvall said the job cuts were across the company’s operations.
Posts on social media and tips sent to Global News from people claiming to be employees suggested as many as 500 positions had been eliminated.
Read more » Global News
See more » http://globalnews.ca/news/2507657/husky-energy-lays-off-workers-across-companys-operations/
By Chris Hedges
Karl Marx exposed the peculiar dynamics of capitalism, or what he called “the bourgeois mode of production.” He foresaw that capitalism had built within it the seeds of its own destruction. He knew that reigning ideologies—think neoliberalism—were created to serve the interests of the elites and in particular the economic elites, since “the class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production” and “the ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships … the relationships which make one class the ruling one.” He saw that there would come a day when capitalism would exhaust its potential and collapse. He did not know when that day would come. Marx, as Meghnad Desai wrote, was “an astronomer of history, not an astrologer.” Marx was keenly aware of capitalism’s ability to innovate and adapt. But he also knew that capitalist expansion was not eternally sustainable. And as we witness the denouement of capitalism and the disintegration of globalism, Karl Marx is vindicated as capitalism’s most prescient and important critic.
In a preface to “The Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy” Marx wrote:
Read more » truthdig
See more » http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/karl_marx_was_right_20150531
Malaysian airline plans Pakistan operations
LAHORE: A Malaysian airline is going to start its operations in Pakistan from March, Malaysian High Commissioner to Pakistan Hasrul Sani Mujtabar disclosed on Monday, as part of increased people-to-people and business-to-business contacts between two countries.
Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1238240/
GWADAR: A heavy police presence, guarded convoys, new checkpoints and troop reinforcements have turned parts of the southern port city of Gwadar into a fortress, as Pakistan’s military seeks to protect billions of dollars of Chinese investment.
Securing the planned $46 billion economic corridor of roads, railways and pipelines from northwest China to the country’s Arabian Sea coast is a huge challenge in a country where militants and separatist gunmen are a constant menace.
Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1238167/
BY KAROLIN SCHAPS AND RON BOUSSO
LONDON — Reuters: BP slumped to its biggest annual loss last year and announced thousands more job cuts on Tuesday, showing that even one of the nimblest oil producers is struggling in the worst market downturn in over a decade.
Read more » The Globe and Mail
See more » http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/international-business/european-business/bp-posts-worst-annual-loss-in-20-years-to-cut-7000-more-jobs/article28505561/
ISLAMABAD: A Chinese manufacturer will launch its mobile handset manufacturing and assembling unit in April (Pakistan’s first), a senior official at Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication said on Monday.
The manufacturer — China’s Haier — is already operating in the country and has established a laptop manufacturing unit in Lahore.
The move would help in reducing the import bill as smartphones are in demand and also bring good investment as well as creating job opportunities, the official said.
The government had announced tax incentive package for manufacturing of mobile phones in budget 2015-16. These included income tax exemption for five years, zero per cent depreciation allowance for plants, machinery and production line equipment used for manufacturing of mobile phones certified by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in the first year.
In the wake of new government policy facilitating local manufacturing/assembling of mobile handsets, a delegation led by Haier Groups CEO, Zeeshan Qureshi met with Minister of State for IT and Telecom, Anusha Rahman.
Mr Qureshi said Haier considers Pakistan a very lucrative and flourishing market for mobile handset manufacturing/assembling particularly with uptake of 3G/4G services in the country.
Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1236875/
Pakistan’s finance sector is dominated by men but the country’s most successful investment banker is a woman. Maheen Rahman ranks fifth in Forbes ‘Top 40 under 40’. Pakistan correspondent Shaimaa Khalil went to meet her.
Read more » BBC + Youtube
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35468487
BY ZOFEEN T. EBRAHIM
Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region is frequently in the news these days, but not necessarily for its mouth-watering cherries and dried apricots. The much touted US $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will pass through this beautiful province in the north to reach Chinese-operated Gwadar port in the country’s south. While there is hope it will transform the economy and help bridge Pakistan’s power shortfall, CPEC has also triggered concerns that the local people might be left out of the gains.
Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1236159/
This is the first shipment of the planned 450 coaches that will be exported to Australia over two-and-a-half year period
The government on Friday said maiden consignment of six metro coaches made in India were shipped to Australia from Mumbai port.
“The maiden consignment of six metro coaches built in Baroda for export to the Australian government were shipped from Mumbai Port,” a statement from Ministry of Shipping said.
Read more » DNA India
See more » http://www.dnaindia.com/money/report-government-ships-450-maiden-made-in-india-metro-coaches-to-australia-2171566
By Randall Palmer and Allison Lampert
OTTAWA/MONTREAL (Reuters) – Canada confirmed for the first time on Tuesday that it plans to lift its sanctions on Tehran and said that if Airbus is allowed to sell to Iran, then its aircraft maker Bombardier Inc should be allowed to export there as well.
“If Airbus is able to do it, why (will) Bombardier not be able to do it? In which way (is it) helping Canada, or the Iranian people, or Israel, or anyone, that Canada is hurting its own industry?” Dion said in an exchange with reporters.
Read more » Reuters
See more » http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCAKCN0V42IL
BY THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO — Rogers Media has told employees that the company’s workforce will be reduced by 4%, affecting 200 jobs in television, radio, publishing and administration.
The Toronto-based company says the cuts are part of efficiency efforts at Rogers Communications, one of Canada’s largest telecom companies.
A memo to Rogers Media staff says the job cuts will begin in February and will conclude as soon as possible.
Read more » Calgary Sun
See more » http://www.calgarysun.com/2016/01/25/rogers-media-to-cut-200-jobs