Courtesy: MSNBC » Youtube
Courtesy: MSNBC » Youtube
KARACHI: Pakistan’s leaders love using laughably outrageous metaphors in describing the country’s relationship with China, yet the truth is that this so-called alliance means almost nothing positive for the Pakistani economy.
All of Islamabad – indeed all of Pakistan – appears to be bending over backwards in laying out the red carpet to welcome Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. But the fact of the matter is that China will give Pakistan almost nothing, and this two-day trip is really only being made by the Chinese premier to avoid slapping Islamabad in the face completely, after having made his first trip abroad a three-day visit to India, in a key signal about the real shifts in Chinese foreign policy.
Pakistanis love to proclaim China as our “all-weather friend. In his last visit to China, former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani described the relationship as “higher than mountains, deeper than oceans, stronger than steel and sweeter than honey.”
On this trip, Premier Li described the relationship as “a tree, now exuberant with abundant fruits”.
This was not him being poetic. It was delivering a message that nobody in Pakistan seems to have gotten: that China’s ties with Pakistan are not some eternal alliance of friends, but a strictly utilitarian relationship in which Beijing uses Islamabad occasionally to scare the living daylights out of the United States and India to get what it wants in its negotiations with Washington and New Delhi, and then abandons Pakistan once that transaction is completed.
A look at the numbers suggests that the Islamabad-Beijing relationship has had very little benefit for Pakistan as whole.
In the 12-year period between July 2000 and June 2012, net foreign investment in Pakistan amounted to about $29 billion, according to the State Bank of Pakistan. Of that, just $0.8 billion came from China, and nearly all of that was China Mobile’s investment in Zong.
China’s investment in Pakistan is less than that of tiny Netherlands, which invested $1.4 billion during that time. The supposed “Great Satan” – the United States – invested the most in Pakistan: $7.7 billion, or more than a quarter of all foreign investment in the country. There is only one major Chinese company with actual investments in Pakistan: China Mobile. The number of major US companies investing in Pakistan? More than 30.
Sinking like a rock: Slim chances of recovery for Pakistan’s directionless economy, says ADB
In its Asian Development Outlook, the Manila-based lending agency has painted an extremely bleak picture of Pakistan’s economy that is “directionless” and immediate recovery chances are almost nil amid a worsening balance of payments position.
“A difficult political situation stalled effective policy response to macroeconomic and structural problems, especially regarding energy, and the end of the government’s 5-year term in mid-March limited political scope for major policy or structural reforms,” it said.
The economic developments in this fiscal year are unfolding along broadly similar lines as previous year, but with “deepening concerns about sustainability and the adequacy of forex reserves”.
A missing link in the ADB’s analysis of political failures is the role of bureaucrats in running the affairs of the government who often do not disclose actual extent of problems to the leadership.
Even business journals are recognizing it. Since this piece originates with a business publication, you will obviously find some things that may startle you. If so, disregard..or better, explore and see what the other side thinks. —Eds.
Or so we thought. With the global economy in a protracted crisis, and workers around the world burdened by joblessness, debt and stagnant incomes, Marx’s biting critique of capitalism — that the system is inherently unjust and self-destructive — cannot be so easily dismissed. Marx theorized that the capitalist system would inevitably impoverish the masses as the world’s wealth became concentrated in the hands of a greedy few, causing economic crises and heightened conflict between the rich and working classes. “Accumulation of wealth at one pole is at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole,” Marx wrote.
A growing dossier of evidence suggests that he may have been right. It is sadly all too easy to find statistics that show the rich are getting richer while the middle class and poor are not. A September study from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in Washington noted that the median annual earnings of a full-time, male worker in the U.S. in 2011, at $48,202, were smaller than in 1973. Between 1983 and 2010, 74% of the gains in wealth in the U.S. went to the richest 5%, while the bottom 60% suffered a decline, the EPI calculated. No wonder some have given the 19th century German philosopher a second look. In China, the Marxist country that turned its back on Marx, Yu Rongjun was inspired by world events to pen a musical based on Marx’s classic Das Kapital. “You can find reality matches what is described in the book,” says the playwright.
The west’s crisis is one of democracy as much as finance
The spirit of dictators like Ceausescu is finding new life in the response of the European elite to pressures in the eurozone
By: Slavoj Žižek
In one of the last interviews before his fall, Nicolae Ceausescu was asked by a western journalist how he justified the fact that Romanian citizens could not travel freely abroad although freedom of movement was guaranteed by the constitution. His answer was in the best tradition of Stalinist sophistry: true, the constitution guarantees freedom of movement, but it also guarantees the right to a safe, prosperous home. So we have here a potential conflict of rights: if Romanian citizens were to be allowed to leave the country, the prosperity of their homeland would be threatened. In this conflict, one has to make a choice, and the right to a prosperous, safe homeland enjoys clear priority …
It seems that this same spirit is alive and well in Slovenia today. Last month the constitutional court found that a referendum on legislation to set up a “bad bank” and a sovereign holding would be unconstitutional – in effect banning a popular vote on the matter. The referendum was proposed by trade unions challenging the government’s neoliberal economic politics, and the proposal got enough signatures to make it obligatory.
Deal that caused Rs4.8 bn loss Lt-Gen Javed Qazi passes the buck to ex-finance minister
By: Rauf Klasra
ISLAMABAD: Former Railways Minister and ex-DG ISI Lt Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi had tried to shift his responsibility to former Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz in a multi-billion rupee scam of leasing out 141 acres of prime land of Pakistan Railways (PR) in the heart of Lahore to a Malaysian firm (Royal Palm & Golf club).
2008: Extremist recruitment on the rise in south Punjab madrassahs
….. jihadi recruitment network had been developed in the Multan, Bahawalpur, and Dera Ghazi Khan Divisions. The network reportedly exploited worsening poverty in these areas of the province to recruit children into the divisions’ growing Deobandi and Ahl-eHadith madrassa network from which they were indoctrinated into jihadi philosophy, deployed to regional training/indoctrination centers, and ultimately sent to terrorist training camps in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Locals believed that charitable activities being carried out by Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith organizations, including Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the Al-Khidmat Foundation, and Jaish-e-Mohammad were further strengthening reliance on extremist groups and minimizing the importance of traditionally moderate Sufi religious leaders in these communities. Government and non-governmental sources claimed that financial support estimated at nearly 100 million USD annually was making its way to Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith clerics in the region from “”missionary”” and “”Islamic charitable”” organizations in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ostensibly with the direct support of those governments. Locals repeatedly requested USG support for socio-economic development and the promotion of moderate religious leaders in the region as a direct counter to the growing extremist threat …..
Read more : DAWN.COM
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China won’t help finance the natural gas pipeline to Pakistan, apparently because of U.S. sanctions on Iran.
By Paul Richter and Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Washington and Islamabad, Pakistan—
China’s largest bank has backed out of a deal to finance a proposed Iran-to-Pakistan gas pipeline that is opposed by the United States, a potential sign of the lengthening reach of U.S. economic sanctions on Iran.
Pakistani officials confirmed Wednesday that Industrial and Commercial Bank of China had withdrawn from plans to head a consortium that would finance the $1.6-billion Pakistani portion of the cross-border pipeline, apparently over concern that the bank could be excluded from the U.S. economy.
SINDH – Karachi: Sindh’s Minister for Finance, Murad Ali Shah, informed the Provincial Assembly of Sindh on Monday that the federal government was tending to unilaterally reduce Sindh’s share in the Gas Development Surcharge (GDS) and had fixed a formula for GDS distribution without consulting the province.
“The Chief Minister of Sindh and the finance department have written, cumulatively, around 20-25 letters to the federal government asking for transparency in the GDS matter,” he said, and added that in the year 2008-09, the federal government had reduced Sindh’s share in the GDS to Rs11, 328 million. “The federal government has not consulted the Sindh government while finalizing estimates for the GDS,” said the finance minister. He observed that Sindh had only started getting GDS since 1991. …
Read more » The News
By Richard Engel and Robert Windrem
Updated: 11:14 a.m. ET — Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran’s leaders.
The group, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, has long been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, accused of killing American servicemen and contractors in the 1970s and supporting the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before breaking with the Iranian mullahs in 1980.
The attacks, which have killed five Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and may have destroyed a missile research and development site, have been carried out in dramatic fashion, with motorcycle-borne assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the victims’ cars.
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct involvement.
The Iranians have no doubt who is responsible – Israel and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, known by various acronyms, including MEK, MKO and PMI. ….
via – Twitter
The Dönmeh: The Middle East’s Most Whispered Secret (Part I)
By Wayne MADSEN
There is a historical “eight hundred pound gorilla” lurking in the background of almost every serious military and diplomatic incident involving Israel, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Greece, Armenia, the Kurds, the Assyrians, and some other players in the Middle East and southeastern Europe. It is a factor that is generally only whispered about at diplomatic receptions, news conferences, and think tank sessions due to the explosiveness and controversial nature of the subject. And it is the secretiveness attached to the subject that has been the reason for so much misunderstanding about the current breakdown in relations between Israel and Turkey, a growing warming of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and increasing enmity between Saudi Arabia and Iran…
Although known to historians and religious experts, the centuries-old political and economic influence of a group known in Turkish as the “Dönmeh” is only beginning to cross the lips of Turks, Arabs, and Israelis who have been reluctant to discuss the presence in Turkey and elsewhere of a sect of Turks descended from a group of Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain during the Spanish Inquisition in the 16th and 17th centuries. These Jewish refugees from Spain were welcomed to settle in the Ottoman Empire and over the years they converted to a mystical sect of Islam that eventually mixed Jewish Kabbala and Islamic Sufi semi-mystical beliefs into a sect that eventually championed secularism in post-Ottoman Turkey. It is interesting that “Dönmeh” not only refers to the Jewish “untrustworthy converts” to Islam in Turkey but it is also a derogatory Turkish word for a transvestite, or someone who is claiming to be someone they are not.
The Donmeh sect of Judaism was founded in the 17th century by Rabbi Sabbatai Zevi, a Kabbalist who believed he was the Messiah but was forced to convert to Islam by Sultan Mehmet IV, the Ottoman ruler. Many of the rabbi’s followers, known as Sabbateans, but also “crypto-Jews,” publicly proclaimed their Islamic faith but secretly practiced their hybrid form of Judaism, which was unrecognized by mainstream Jewish rabbinical authorities. Because it was against their beliefs to marry outside their sect, the Dönmeh created a rather secretive sub-societal clan.
The Dönmeh rise to power in Turkey
Continue reading The Dönmeh heritage, Mustapha Kemal Ataturk & Modern Turkey
– Sliding reserves
By Khurram Husain
In case you missed it, the sign said Caution: steep slope ahead. Next to the sign there was a small picture of a sharp downward slope. It was placed there to warn travelers on this road that they should brace themselves for a steep descent that could test the traction on their tires.
The steep slope ahead is the decline in our foreign exchange reserves that have, in the first quarter of the fiscal year, dropped by more than what our financial managers had bargained for. With our old friend, the current account deficit, back in our lives again and that fair weather mistress — foreign inflows — having reliably and predictably abandoned us one more time, the drop in our reserves should become a serious worry.
Read more » The Express Tribune
via » Twitter » http://twitter.com/#!/mazdaki
– Canadian cities brace for Occupy Wall Street’s weekend shift across the border
By Steve Mertl, Daily Brew
Toronto and other major cities are bracing for the Canadian echo of the Occupy Wall Street protest this weekend.
Thousands of people have been camped out in New York’s financial district for a week, staging marches to protest the growing gap between America’s super rich and the harried middle and working classes. Hundreds have been arrested.
The movement, sparked by an idea in Vancouver-based Adbusters magazine last summer, has since spread to dozens of American cities and now is migrating north. Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, Regina and even sleepy Charlottetown are scheduled to see protests on Saturday.
Toronto will be the main focal point of the Canadian effort. Protesters are expected to converge at King and York Streets in the heart of Canada’s finance and investment centre Saturday morning.
The group OccupyTO’s website raises the spectre of a New York-style long-term action rather than a one-day protest. ….
Read more » Daily Brew » YahooNews
There are only 14 million Jews in the world; seven million in the Americas , five million in Asia, two million in Europe and 100,000 in Africa . For every single Jew in the world there are 100 Muslims. Yet, Jews are more than a hundred times more powerful than all the Muslims put together. Ever wondered why ?
Jesus of Nazareth was Jewish. Albert Einstein, the most influential scientist of all time and TIME magazine’s ‘Person of the Century’ was a Jew; Sigmund Freud — id, ego, and super-ego, the father of psychoanalysis was a Jew; So were Karl Marx, Paul Samuelson and Milton Friedman.
Here are a few other Jews whose intellectual output has enriched the whole humanity:
* Benjamin Rubin gave humanity the vaccinating needle.
* Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine.
* Alert Sab in developed the improved live polio vaccine.
* Gertrude Elion gave us a leukaemia fighting drug.
* Baruch Blumberg developed the vaccination for Hepatitis B.
* Paul Ehrlich discovered a treatment for syphilis.
* Elie Metchnikoff won a Nobel Prize in infectious diseases.
* Bernard Katz won a Nobel Prize in neuromuscular transmission.
* Andrew Schally won a Nobel in endocrinology (disorders of the endocrine system; diabetes, hyperthyroidism. Aaron Beck founded Cognitive Therapy (psychotherapy to treat mental disorders, depression and phobias).
* Gregory Pincus developed the first oral contraceptive pill.
* George Wald won a Nobel for furthering our understanding of the human eye.
* StanleyCohen won a Nobel in embryology (study of embryos and their development) .
* Willem Kolff came up with the kidney dialysis machine.
Over the past 105 years, 14 million Jews have won 15-dozen Nobel Prizes while only three Nobel Prizes have been won by 1.4 billion Muslims (other than Peace Prizes).
Stanley Mezor invented the first micro-processing chip. Leo Szilard developed the first nuclear chain reactor. Peter Schultz, optical fibre cable; Charles Adler, traffic lights; Benno Strauss, Stainless steel; Isador Kisee, sound movies; Emile Berliner, telephone microphone and Charles Ginsburg, videotape recorder.
Famous financiers in the business world who belong to Jewish faith include Ralph Lauren (Polo), Levis Strauss (Levi’s Jeans), Howard Schultz (Starbuck’s) , Sergey Brin (Google), Michael Dell (Dell Computers), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Donna Karan (DKNY), Irv Robbins (Baskin & Robbins) and Bill Rosenberg (Dunkin Donuts).
Richard Levin, President of Yale University, is a Jew. So are Henry Kissinger (American secretary of state), Alan Greenspan (fed chairman under Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush), Joseph Lieberman, Madeleine Albright (American secretary of state), Maxim Litvinov (USSR foreign Minister), David Marshal (Singapore’s first chief minister), Isaac Isaacs (governor-general of Australia), Benjamin Disraeli (British statesman and author), Yevgeny Primakov (Russian PM), Jorge Sampaio (president of Portugal), Herb Gray (Canadian deputy PM), Pierre Mendes (French PM), Michael Howard (British home secretary), Bruno Kreisky (chancellor of Austria) and Robert Rubin (former American secretary of treasury).
In the media, famous Jews include Wolf Blitzer (CNN), Barbara Walters (ABC News), Eugene Meyer (Washington Post), Henry Grunwald (editor-in-chief Time), Katherine Graham (publisher of The Washington Post), Joseph Lelyyeld (Executive editor, The New York Times), and Max Frankel (New York Times).
Can you name the most beneficent philanthropist in the history of the world ? The name is George Soros, a Jew, who has so far donated a colossal $4 billion most of which has gone as aid to scientists and universities around the world. Second to George Soros is Walter Annenberg, another Jew, who has built a hundred libraries by donating an estimated $2 billion.
At the Olympics, Mark Spitz set a record of sorts by winning seven gold medals. Lenny Krayzelburg is a three- time Olympic gold medallist. Spitz, Krayzelburg and Boris Becker are all Jewish.
Did you know that Harrison Ford, George Burns, Tony Curtis, Charles Bronson, Sandra Bullock, Billy Crystal, Woody Allen, Paul Newman, Peter Sellers, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Douglas, Ben Kingsley, Kirk Douglas, William Shatner, Jerry Lewis and Peter Falk are all Jewish?
As a matter of fact, Hollywood itself was founded by a Jew. Among directors and producers, Steven Spielberg, Mel Brooks, Oliver Stone, Aaron Spelling (Beverly Hills 90210), Neil Simon (The Odd Couple), Andrew Vaina (Rambo 1/2/3), Michael Man (Starsky and Hutch), Milos Forman (One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest), Douglas Fairbanks (The thief of Baghdad) and Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters) are all Jewish.
To be certain, Washington is the capital that matters and in Washington the lobby that matters is The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. Washington knows that if PM Ehud Olmert were to discover that the earth is flat, AIPAC will make the 109th Congress pass a resolution congratulating Olmert on his discovery.
William James Sidis, with an IQ of 250-300, is the brightest human who ever existed. Guess what faith did he belong to?
So, why are Jews so powerful ?
Read more : Ibnmahadi’s blog
India’s government has unveiled its annual budget, saying that the economy is expected to grow at 9% in 2012.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the growth rate for the current fiscal year was projected at 8.5%.
He said inflation would decrease over the next fiscal year – the current rate is 8.4%. But food price inflation, at 17%, “remains a concern”.
Mr Mukherjee promised action on food security and pledged an increase in social spending. …
Read more : BBC
Indo-Asian News Service – London: Militants often use the annual Haj pilgrimage for laundering money and cash from pilgrims was used to finance the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, a confidential US embassy cable published by whistle-blower websitse WikiLeaks says. A Sky News report cites the New York Times as detailing a long list of possible methods terrorists might have been using to fund their activities. One memo claims militants often used the annual Haj pilgrimage for laundering money and cash from pilgrims was used to finance the Mumbai bombings.
Other documents have claimed the US believes donors from Saudi Arabia are “the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide”. A memo sent by the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton in December 2009 referred to the kingdom as a “cash machine” for Al Qaeda.
Other countries in the region have also come under fire.
In the leaked cables, the United Arab Emirates is described as having a “strategic gap” that terrorists could exploit, Qatar is seen as “the worst in the region” on counter-terrorism and Kuwait is labelled “a key transit point”.
Some confidential cables listed a few infrastructure facilites in the world as “critical” for US security, if attacked by terrorists.
The document details hundreds of pipelines, cables and industrial sites around the world that America deems crucial to securing its interests. Loss of those locations could “critically impact” US security. …
Read more : hindustantimes
PAC denied information about Rs5.5bn paid to ISI
By Khawar Ghumman
ISLAMABAD: Eyebrows were raised on Tuesday when finance officials informed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly about an unaccounted-for, one-time release of Rs5.55 billion to Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) during 2007-08 for its operations.
When pressed for details, Finance Secretary Salman Siddique opted to keep quiet. “This is highly sensitive information and hence I can’t talk about it at an open forum.”
According to information provided by the finance division to the PAC, the amount was paid to the ISI as a supplementary grant.
Despite repeated questions and light-hearted taunts by members of the committee, Mr Siddique refused to share any details. …
Read more >> DAWN
Economy: on the verge of collapse?
Finance Minister Hafeez Sheikh’s warning to officials of the state, delivered in a sombre meeting late last month, could not be clearer: the government, federal and provincial, is on the verge of financial collapse. So dire is the state of affairs that the government may not have money to pay salaries in a few months. Lest this be dismissed as hyperbole, Mr Sheikh’s comments have been echoed privately by many economists and experts familiar with state finances in recent weeks. In fact, if anything the finance minister’s comments are on the more optimistic side of dire.
The basic problem is clear: the Pakistani state, all tiers of government, spends twice as much as revenue generated, while neither is expenditure being curtailed nor are revenues being meaningfully increased. At the level of the citizenry, the immediate impact is felt in the form of rising inflation (sustained budget deficits of the kind Pakistan has had over the last few years are highly inflationary in nature) while in the long term it will be felt in terms of debt servicing crowding out investments in development and infrastructure.
The blame must be shared by everyone. …
Read more >> Dawn Editorial
In order to foster national unity and stabilize the democratic system of government in Pakistan, a great and plausible decision was agreed upon on 30th December 2009 at Gawadar by the representatives of all provinces duly signed by the Prime Minister on the 7th NFC award but it is indecent and shocking on the part of the concerned Secretary Ministry of Finance Govt. of Pakistan who became successful to dodge his superiors and the top rulers of the Government of Pakistan, the Prime Minister and the President of Pakistan to get issued a deceitful, violated and defective presidential order on the mutually agreed 7th NFC Award. From this Presidential order, two basic sections/decisions providing financial benefits particularly to the Sindh province have been scratched out. They were (i)General Sales Taxes on services to be transferred to provinces and (ii)Financial resources to be distributed to provinces according to the multidimensional method of distribution of financial resources.
by David Adam Stott
Concerned about the sustainability of its oil and gas reserves, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been taking steps to diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on natural resource exports. The most eye-catching of these changes has been the rapid development of Dubai as a finance, services and travel hub in the last decade. A further plank in this strategy has recently been revealed: UAE plans to embark upon a nuclear power programme. Emphasising transparency and close cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it hopes to have the first of its reactors on line by 2017.