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Say what you will, but the Chinese are clearly the fastest builders in the world, though sometimes quick haste makes to waste. A while ago, I wrote about how a Chinese company wants to build the tallest skyscraper in the world in just 90 days. Really crazy stuff, but now another Chinese company, with many years of experience working with 3D printers, plan to revolutionize the way fast constructions are being made. To demonstrate their concept, the Suzhou-based construction materials firm Winsun built 10 homes, albeit modest looking, in only a day using a massive, specially design 3D printer.
Cost of Arctic patrol ships’ design sparks warning of another procurement ‘fiasco’
A CBC News investigation has uncovered a $250-million mystery at the heart of Canada’s ambitious shipbuilding program.
Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose and Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced March 7 in Halifax that Ottawa will pay Irving Shipbuilding $288 million just to design — not build — a fleet of new Arctic offshore patrol ships.
Irving will then build the ships under a separate contract.
However, a survey of similar patrol ships bought by other countries shows they paid a fraction of that $288 million to actually build the ships — and paid less than a tenth as much for the design.
In addition, the design of Canada’s new ships is based upon a Norwegian vessel whose design Ottawa has already bought for just $5 million.
The Norwegian ship, the Svalbard, was designed and built for less than $100 million in 2002.
Experts say the design price is normally 10-20 per cent of the total cost of the ships.
Another country with Arctic interests, Denmark, acquired two patrol ships for $105 million in 2007.
They have modest ice-breaking capability, similar to the Canadian project, which allows for the ships to crunch through “summer ice” – about one-metre thick.
The Irish navy now is building two offshore patrol ships for $125 million.
In all cases, these prices include the design.
Ambrose, MacKay and Public Works officials running the Canadian project were not able to explain why Canada would pay so much more to get so much less: shelling out more than twice as much merely to produce a blueprint for similar ships, without building any.
The first of two reactors being constructed in the Punjab region of Pakistan by Chinese companies has passed a significant milestone with the emplacement of its dome.
The operation to fit the dome was completed on 6 March, China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Company (SNPTC) reported. Two 340 MWe pressurised water reactors (PWRs) are under construction at the site, which has China Zhongyuan Engineering as the general contractor and China Nuclear Industry No.5 Construction Company as installer. The reactor design was provided by the Shanghai Nuclear Engineering and Research Design Institute.
Chashma 3 and Chashma 4 are expected to begin commercial operation in 2016 and 2017 respectively, although SNPTC said that the unit 3 dome lift was carried out ahead of schedule. The new units will add to the generation already provided by Chashma 1 and 2 – 300 MWe PWRs also supplied by China. Only one other power reactor operates in the country, a 125 MWe pressurised heavy water reactor at Karachi (Kanupp). All units are owned and operated by the state-owned Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission.
The Save Sindh committee (SSC), an alliance of nationalist parties in Sindh has called for shutter down in Sindh today (Monday) after Qaim Ali Shah government in Sindh showed its intention to present controversial local government ordinance in the provincial assembly for making it a permanent law.
With the ordinance which drew severe criticism in Sindh, the government restored 18 Towns of Karachi and a notification in this regard was issued on Saturday.
The system as its opponents claim replicates the one introduced by military dictator Gen Musharraf with a malicious design of dividing Sindh into two parts.
The SSC convener Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah said it was a huge plot to divide Sindh and, they would never allow it to be implemented. Mr. Shah and his committee leaders including Dr. Qadir Magsi were in Thatto in connection to their campaign against the local government law. They appealed to the people of Sindh to observe strike today.
After the SSC’s call, reports said, the workers of the SSC parties staged protest demonstrations in various cities and towns of the province.
Also, there were reports that they besieged the house of a PPP MPA Dr. Magsi announced they would put siege around the houses of the members of Sindh Assembly today. The strike call is also supported by the PML – N, JI and other parties. The PML – F and its allies including the PML – Q and NPP have announced that they would severely protest in the assembly. They have their members in the assembly who have already sought separate seats on opposition benches in the house. KARACHI: TP Report, October 1, 2012
Courtesy: The Point
Tensions rise after Mohajir Suba rhetoric, Nationalists demand action against patrons of division, Ten nationalist parties warn taking action if govt. fails
Urdu-speaking people should not support evil design
Sindh’s nationalist parties on Sunday demanded of the government to take stern action against those responsible for organizing rallies, putting up billboards and banners and graffiti in different parts of Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur for carving out a new province out of Sindh.
Leaders of almost ten nationalist parties also warned that Sindhi people would themselves take action against such people if the government failed in stopping them.
The parties included Sindh National Movement, Jeay Sindh Tehreek, Awami Jamhori Party, Sindh United Party, Awami Tehreek, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, Sindh National Party, Jeay Sindh Mahaz, Sindh Dost Democratic Party and Karachi Sindh Shehri Ittehad.
The leaders warned of serious consequences if any attempt was made to divide the province or to carve out another province out of Sindh.
They said Urdu-speaking community should not support any evil design of dividing Sindh adding they (Urdu-speaking people) are their brothers but if they continue to demand a separate homeland here or support anti-Sindh elements, they are advised and warned to leave Sindh.
Another report adds: They said that a conspiracy was being hatched for the last couple of months. “We did not take any action fearing bloodshed but enough is enough. We are peaceful people but know how to fight for our motherland,” said Ameer Bhanbhro.
“Our elders welcomed Mohajirs at the time of partition and Urdu-speaking people enjoy all kinds of rights and privileges in Sindh today. They were elected as Nazims in major cities and are members of the national and provincial assemblies and governors as well. On the contrary, Sindhis are not given entry in the educational institutions and are denied jobs in Karachi,” said Elahi Bux Bikik.
It merits mentioning that Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party (STPP) on Saturday issued a 72-hour ultimatum to the Sindh government to remove the wall chalking, posters, banners and posters carrying maps of Mohajir Suba (Refugees Province) from all parts of Sindh. In case of failure, the party declared to its workers would do it in every city from Karachi to Larkano.
Courtesy: The Point
Every objective analyst who follows Pakistan has come to the same conclusion – Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry is becoming a serious threat not only to the country, but also to the entire democratic system that is already under tremendous stress. In fact, it is pretty much established that some behind the scene players in Pakistan are interested in seeing ‘favorable’ people take over the government and these forces are perhaps using the Chief Justice as a tool to achieve their nauseating objective.
As pointed out by Wajid Ali Syed, It is indeed a sad commentary on Pakistan that when an army chief is asked to leave, he refuses and instead launches a coup. When the chief justice is sacked for his alleged corruption, he refuses to accept the decision of the government that appointed him and instead comes out on the streets with thugs (dressed as lawyers) and only calms down when he gets his way. Where is the law of the land? Why can’t an elected Prime Minister or an elected President appoint or dismiss people based on the facts that are before them? Why is everything in Pakistan political? We talk about chaos in Taliban controled areas, but our own people are responsible for the current mess because they refuse to accept anything coming from others – everyone wants to get his way at every cost. Isn’t it pathetic? Yes, it is.
Looking at Pakistan’s political landscape, one doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to know what is going on between Iftikhar Chaudhry, Ashfaq Kiyani, GEO TV and Nawaz/Shahbaz Sharif and regretfully, I also know that it is not good for the country. The current government, which was elected democratically, is the target of pro-Taliban hate mongers and unfortunately for Pakistan, these forces of darkness and mayhem have found an willing ally in Iftikhar Chaudhry. But, any effort to destabilize the government would be considered an act of war, disguised asl activism by the majority, especially in smaller provices. And it doesn’t matter who is pulling the strings behind the scene– it is time to break the vicious cycle of musical chair that has been going on thanks to successive, but unnecessary ‘interventions’ by generals in Pakistan for decades. Otherwise, Pakistan would continue to be considered a failed state, a corrupt state, and a state which is not capable of producing competent generals or judges.
The current tension in Pakistan between Zardari and judiciary is the direct result of unconstitutional judicial activism and aggression by Iftikhar Chaudhry. And, sadly, the chief justice seems to believe that once he carries out the illegal, unethical, and unconstitutional orders of his masked masters (of removing Zardari), he (he the chief justice) will continue to be important, and relevant, (his desire to be the president of Pakistan is the worst kept secret in the county) but little does he know the history of Pakistan’s political establishment’s ability to use and dispose important figures. But, we all live and learn and he too will regret his current actions, but then, it will be too late.
So, where does Pakistan go from here, especially if Zardari, who is the democratically elected president of Pakistan, is removed from Pakistan? Well, nothing earth shattering is going to happen instantly, but according to Pakistan watchers, the winds of tragedy that are currently blowing in Baluchistan will not only gain momentum, but they will also engulf Sindh and N.W.F.P. As it is, Canadian and other Western military planners believe that by 2016, Pakistan as we know it won’t be there. I hope and pray that these people are wrong. At the same time, I also hope and pray that military, mullah, media and judiciary in Pakistan would realize the catastrophic impact of their current strategy of demonizing Zardari and his allies, and by extension, creating an environment in which people prefer to have stability over democracy. The scare tactics currently used by the evil nexus in Pakistan to overthrow the government could also force people, especially in smaller provinces to realize that their future with Pakistan is nothing but humiliation and slavery. Once this notion got going in smaller provinces, it would be hard to un-prove it. Remember Bangladesh?
Courtesy: » Foreign Policy Blogs
– By Azfar-ul-Ashfaque
…. The gist of the press conference was that Western powers were plotting the dismemberment of Pakistan, but the Muttahida had resolved to foil the design.
Repeated assurances were made to the armed forces, the Inter-Services Intelligence as well as the nation that the MQM was against conspiracies being hatched against the country.
Mr Hussain chose not to answer the serious allegations levelled by former Sindh home minister Dr Zulfikar Mirza against him and his party over the past fortnight, parrying a number of questions by reporters.
He concentrated on showing documents, maps and reports from the international media to strengthen his contention that international powers were working for the break-up of Pakistan.
Although he refused to pinpoint the international powers he was referring to, an allusion left no doubt: “The country which has the biggest influence in Pakistan is behind such conspiracies”. The MQM cannot fight such powers alone, Mr Hussain added. “There would have been no super power had the army, the ISI and the MQM got united.”
The MQM supremo accused the leadership of the Awami National Party of “misleading the Pukhtoons living in Karachi and Peshawar”. He even went to the extent of claiming that the United States had given millions of dollars to Asfandyar Wali for contesting the 2008 general election. ….
Read more → DAWN.COM
– Rapprochement is possible
By Abrar Kazi & Zulfiqar Halepoto
ONCE again, differences between the PPP and MQM have translated into a Sindhi-Mohajir confrontation. In fact, the reasons for this are inherent in the politics of both parties.
The politics of PPP which it calls ‘the politics of reconciliation’ is in fact politics without principles that negates its manifesto. For example, the party promised to undo the Musharraf-era division of Hyderabad district and the clubbing together of Karachi’s five districts, which Benazir Bhutto criticised as an administrative division imposed by a dictator. But the promise was never fulfilled.
The PPP’s major fault is, however, to take the support of Sindhis for granted. It has failed to recognise that the Sindhi people’s love for their motherland transcends party lines, all sacrifices rendered by the PPP or any other party notwithstanding, and that their unity of thought on major issues is phenomenal.
The MQM’s politics appears to be based on the ethnic sentiments of its voters, which when exploited, have the damaging effect of causing dislike for those who do not speak Urdu. The journey from ‘Mohajir’ to ‘Muttahida’ was considered a policy shift towards the integration of MQM supporters with the rest of Sindh. But it turned out to be more a change of strategy than of heart.
Such politics tend to paint all Urdu-speaking people with the same brush although most are progressive and liberal and desire peace and integration. Pakistan’s security establishment, the guardians of the ‘ideological and geographical frontiers’ of the country, have contributed their own bit to this confrontation so that the province has reached its present status of seemingly insurmountable problems.
Consciously or unconsciously, a large segment of the Urdu-speaking intelligentsia, civil society and media have either kept quiet or are perceived as supporting such an ethnic viewpoint thereby increasing the rift. Pervez Musharraf’s dictatorship further widened the gulf through deliberate design to give control of Sindh’s urban centres to the MQM as independent administrative units through the district government system. The LGO 2001 appeared to dovetail with the thinking of those who supported the idea of a Mohajir province in Sindh. This resulted in causing suspicion among Sindhis, who despite the numerous merits of the local government system, rejected the change as an attempt to divide Sindh.
Sindhis voted for the PPP and its manifesto which promised to undo all Musharraf’s actions including the local government system of 2001. Since then, there have been incessant demands for the promised actions.
One point must be noted here. Since 1988, the MQM and the PPP have shared power in Sindh three times. Without going into the deeper factors, the general acceptance of the power-sharing by the masses is indicative that by and large the voters and also the people are fundamentally in favour of coexistence between the Sindh- and Urdu-speaking-sindhis of the province.
Another point worth noting is that the ‘Sindh card’ often played by the PPP whenever it has been in trouble is in effect dead from this point on.
Rather than acting on people’s aspirations, the PPP government has resorted to unprincipled politics, refusing to understand the larger issues involved in the present controversy and thus further aggravating the Sindhi-Urdu (Mohajir) divide.
The angry reaction of Sindhis against the PPP and MQM must be seen against this backdrop. It is not about a few nationalist leaders, intellectuals and members of civil society agitating the people. Neither is it about the present district government controversy. It is the pent-up frustration and anger of many decades of authoritarian and military rule in Pakistan, especially in Sindh. It is about what is seen as the plunder of Sindh’s resources without corresponding benefits to Sindh.
It is about the ownership of two prosperous cities of Sindh, established and developed by a competent and dedicated mercantile and cosmopolitan Sindhi Hindu and Muslim class that flourished much before Pakistan came into existence. It is about the humiliation of seeing a provincial assembly passing a resolution to in effect put a ban on Sindhis getting admission in public-sector professional institutions and employment in the multinational companies. It is also about the frustration at the unending cycle of blood on the streets.This constant confrontation between Sindhis and Mohajirs (urdu-speaking-sindhis0 is a source of great loss to Pakistan and still greater loss to Sindh. Despite being secular and progressive, Sindh lags behind in terms of economic and social development because of the albatross of PPP and MQM policies. Sindh is a prosperous and resource-rich province. It is also a land of secular and liberal people who have given strong political leadership to Pakistan from Jinnah to Benazir Bhutto.
It presented the incumbent PPP government an unmatched opportunity to correct all the wrongs done to the country by the civil and military establishment of Pakistan. A strong democratic and plural society, could have been created to tackle terrorism, the sectarian and ethnic divide and violence in politics but the opportunity was lost by the PPP. The MQM’s alignment with the security establishment further damaged the cause.
There is still hope though. The present revolt against the PPP indicates that Sindhis can reject their own elected government if they fear a division of the province. This raises the opportunity for progressive Urdu-speaking Sindhis to join hands with the Sindhis to make the province an ideal homeland setting an example of peaceful coexistence and democracy.
Shabnam Virmani is a filmmaker and artist in residence at the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore, India. 7 years ago she started travelling with folk singers in Malwa, Rajasthan and Pakistan in a quest for the spiritual and socio-political resonances of the 15th century mystic poet Kabir in our contemporary worlds. Among the tangible outcomes of these journeys were a series of 4 musical documentary films, several music CDs and books of the poetry in translation (www.kabirproject.org). Inspired by the inclusive spirit of folk music, she has begun to play the tambura and sing folk songs of Kabir herself. Currently she is working on co-creating a web-museum of Kabir poetry & music with folk singer communities in India and developing ideas for taking mystic poetry and folk music to school classrooms. She continues to journey to new areas such as Kutch, Gujarat and draw inspiration not only from Kabir, but also other mystic poets of the sub-continent [such as Shah Abdul Latif] and the oral folk traditions that carry them to us. Her earlier work consisted of several video and radio programs created in close partnership with grassroots women’s groups in India.
– You Tube