Tag Archives: cell

Preying on Poverty: How Government and Corporations Use the Poor as Piggy Banks

by Barbara Ehrenreich
Individually the poor are not too tempting to thieves, for obvious reasons. Mug a banker and you might score a wallet containing a month’s rent. Mug a janitor and you will be lucky to get away with bus fare to flee the crime scene. But as Business Week helpfully pointed out in 2007, the poor in aggregate provide a juicy target for anyone depraved enough to make a business of stealing from them.

The trick is to rob them in ways that are systematic, impersonal, and almost impossible to trace to individual perpetrators. Employers, for example, can simply program their computers to shave a few dollars off each paycheck, or they can require workers to show up 30 minutes or more before the time clock starts ticking.

Lenders, including major credit companies as well as payday lenders, have taken over the traditional role of the street-corner loan shark, charging the poor insanely high rates of interest. When supplemented with late fees (themselves subject to interest), the resulting effective interest rate can be as high as 600% a year, which is perfectly legal in many states.

It’s not just the private sector that’s preying on the poor. Local governments are discovering that they can partially make up for declining tax revenues through fines, fees, and other costs imposed on indigent defendants, often for crimes no more dastardly than driving with a suspended license. And if that seems like an inefficient way to make money, given the high cost of locking people up, a growing number of jurisdictions have taken to charging defendants for their court costs and even the price of occupying a jail cell. ….

Read more » Common Dreams

New gift for Balochistan on Pakistan Day!

Security: Cell phone services in Balochistan suspended on Pakistan Day

By Zahid Gishkori

ISLAMBAD: The government shut down cell phone services in Balochistan on Pakistan Day, an action that some officials claimed was taken to keep a check on militants in the province.

“Cellular services were suspended from 8am to 12am in Balochistan in an order to implement national security policy,” said Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Chairman Dr Mohammad Yasin. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

Memogate – WHEN reality is so distorted, how does the record get set straight?

A sceptic’s guide to memogate

By Cyril Almeida

Excerpt;

WHEN reality is so distorted, how does the record get set straight?

Memogate — the alleged plea by Husain Haqqani/Asif Zardari to save the civilian government from an army coup after May 2 in return for sacking military principals and disbanding a shadowy cell of the ISI that manages links to militant groups — was less startling than preposterous.

While this is Pakistan and anything is possible, some things are still more possible than others. …

… Perhaps the most puzzling aspect of memogate is Mike Mullen`s denial and then clarification of his denial and an outright admission.

We`re talking here about an administration that doesn`t officially acknowledge drone strikes or the 14-page memo Kayani handed Obama. That a recently retired top-ranking officer will through a spokesperson speak on the record to a reporter about such stuff is, quite frankly, astonishing.

Sure, Mullen denied he acted on the memo or that he took it seriously, but this two-term chairman of the joints chiefs of staff knows the media worldwide, even the Pakistani media, enough to be aware of his statement`s implications for Haqqani and the media pressure it would pile on Zardari in an already lopsided civil-military relationship that the Americans presumably have some interest in rectifying.

So yes, memogate is finally genuinely intriguing. Not because it implies games are afoot inside Pakistan, which they always are, but because Mullen has seen it fit to throw Haqqani, and possibly Zardari, under the bus.

It`s a tantalising question, based admittedly on flimsy evidence, but have the Americans soured on Zardari?

Read more » DAWN.COM

Eight Beheadings on Justice Square

By Jalal Alamgir, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts Boston

Excerpt;

It’s Friday, the holy day of the week. The Kingdom’s law enforcers gather up eight Bangladeshi migrant workers from their prison cells and bring them to Justice Square in the capital, Riyadh.

Blindfolded, they are led to the center of the square, and made to kneel down. A small crowd forms in anticipation. At 9 am, a robed man walks up and slowly raises a sword, four feet long and shining. Ambulances wait, stretchers ready.

The sword sweeps down.

The sleek expanse of Justice Square is patterned with beautiful granite. There is no stage, no unnecessary equipment, no fanfare. Underneath runs an efficient drainage system, with a receptacle the size of a pizza box at the center.

Regardless, the head often rolls in unexpected directions. It’s collected and laid alongside the body before being taken away on stretchers. Some of the blood spilled on the granite drains quickly, and the rest is hosed down. Those spraying the water are themselves migrant workers.

This is justice, square and fair in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one of the most backward regimes in the world. Here, hands are chopped, bodies are decapitated. Torture is common in extracting confessions. The accused have little protection.

And racism is stark: Arabs get away with a lot more than dark-skinned migrant laborers do. ….

….. The Kingdom, buttressed by its special relationships, does not waste any opportunity to show who the boss is. A public execution is just such an opportunity. The beheading of the eight was a shameful shock-and-awe tactic, a warning to the millions of other workers to remain submissive, however back-breaking their life may be. The message is clear: obey, and keep your head.

To read complete article » The Huffington Post

Rs30m demanded for Taseer’s son release

– By: Jam Sajjad Hussain

LAHORE – Commander Arif of Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is holding the fate of Shahbaz Taseer, son of slain Governor Punjab Salman Taseer, demanding Rs 30 million as ransom money for his safe return, The Nation has learnt reliably.

Shahbaz Taseer, has been hidden somewhere in the provincial capital since his abduction, whereas his cell phone is being used by his abductors from Razmak, which is one of the three sub-divisions of North Waziristan Agency. ….

Read more → The Nation

The rise of people’s media

– By Manzoor Chandio, Karachi, Sindh

A piece of news or information is no more the property of the so-called ministries of information or media barons. New technologies have set free the information from official controls and ‘mainstream media’ newsrooms.

Often called liberating technologies, the cell phone, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. have assumed the role of new modes of disseminating information. They have allowed every citizen to become a publisher or a journalist. Today the first source of information is a mobile, instead of newspapers or TV channels, where one receives breaking news. ….

Read more → Manzoor Chandio’s Blog

First time in the democratic history of Pakistan – Public Accounts Committee calls for report against three retired generals

PAC calls for report against three retired generals

By Kalbe Ali

ISLAMABAD: For the first time in the country’s democratic history, the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly has directed the defence ministry and the GHQ to submit a report on corruption charges against three retired generals.

The generals were allegedly involved in misadventures in the stock exchange which caused a loss of about Rs2 billion to the National Logistics Cell (NLC).

A meeting of the PAC held here on Saturday also took notice of the killing by Rangers personnel of an unarmed youth in Karachi and officials of the interior ministry informed the committee that activities of Rangers were being monitored.

The meeting, presided over by Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan of the PML-N, asked the defence ministry to submit the report on NLC scam to the PAC Secretariat by June 30.

Saeed Zafar, a member of the PAC, said the committee had been waiting for the past seven months, but the GHQ was to submit its report on the scam to the committee.

The defence ministry officials said the GHQ had already completed its inquiry into the scam and would soon forward a report to the ministry.

“The three retired army general and a bureaucrat need to be brought to justice,” Chaudhry Nisar said, adding: “I have also told the army chief that the inquiry has to be in light of three audit reports already conducted into the NLC affairs.”

The NLC is a subsidiary of the Planning Commission but has traditionally been dominated by the army. It is being headed by a serving major general and various army officers are working as his subordinates.

According to an audit report, the NLC management had obtained illegal and unauthorised loans of Rs4.3 billion between 2004 and 2008 for investment in the volatile stock market and suffered a loss of Rs1.84.

The PAC chairman told the defence ministry officials that obtaining the report from the GHQ would not be a problem. “Gen Ashfaq Kayani has already assured me,” he said.

At an earlier meeting of the committee, NLC Director General Maj-Gen Junaid Rehmat had said the NLC was paying Rs2.7 million per day as mark-up on the loans illegally obtained for investment in the stock market.

SC BUDGET AUDIT: The PAC was informed by its secretariat that it had written to the Supreme Court chief justice a letter complaining that despite repeated requests the court registrar was not appearing before the committee to inform it about the audit of SC budget.

The PAC has been asking the Supreme Court to get its audit done as per regulations. ….

Read more: → DAWN.COM

New York Times: Seized Cell phone Suggests Bin Laden Link to Pakistani Intelligence

– Seized Phone Offers Clues to Bin Laden’s Pakistani Links

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The cellphone of Osama bin Laden’s trusted courier, which was recovered in the raid that killed both men in Pakistan last month, contained contacts to a militant group that is a longtime asset of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, senior American officials who have been briefed on the findings say.

The discovery indicates that Bin Laden used the group, Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen, as part of his support network inside the country, the officials and others said. But it also raised tantalizing questions about whether the group and others like it helped shelter and support Bin Laden on behalf of Pakistan’s spy agency, given that it had mentored Harakat and allowed it to operate in Pakistan for at least 20 years, the officials and analysts said.

In tracing the calls on the cellphone, American analysts have determined that Harakat commanders had called Pakistani intelligence officials, the senior American officials said. ….

Read more: The New York Times

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More details: BBC urdu

INFO ABOUT CHOLESTROL

Cholesterol is a type of fat made in the liver and found in animal foods. CHOLESTEROL IS NEEDED FOR IMPORTANT BODY FUNCTIONS. Such as; Building cell walls, Protecting nerves, Making hormones. THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF CHOLESTEROL : THE GOOD. (HDL), THE BAD (LDL)

A higher level of HDL is needed to carry LDL from the BLOOD back to the LIVER to be ELIMINATED from the body. If there is a higher level of LDL cholesterol in the BLOOD it may cause: high blood pressure!, Raise risk of heart attack! Raise your risk of stroke! and the kidneys problems!

The main danger of high blood cholesterol (LDL, low density lipid) is that fatty plaques may form which will decrease the diameter of blood vessels. This leads to a restriction of the flow of blood and oxygen to the tissues of the body.

– If an artery supplying blood to the HEART becomes blocked you may have a heart attack!

– If an artery supplying blood to the BRAIN becomes blocked you may have a Stroke!

– If an artery supplying blood to the kidney becomes blocked you may suffer kidney failure.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO LOWER YOUR CHOLESTEROL?

Eat less, avoid fried fast foods, avoid saturated fats, Avoid carbohydrates, sugar, cookies, cakes, pastries and candies.

Do exercise (Walking is good), avoid smoking, drink 8 to 12 crystal clear fresh glasses of water every day. Take multi-vitamins.

STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT IF AN AVERAGE PERSON CAN REDUCE HIS/ HER BLOOD CHOLESTEROL (LDL) BY ONLY 10% HE/ SHE CAN REDUCE HIS RISK OF HEART ATTACK BY UP TO 50%!!