PKR World Champion

Some skeptics and naysayers (what can we do without them) are complaining that Saudi Arabia/GCC contribution of $1.5B comes with hidden strings (weapons for Syria). Conspiracies also tied it to the (lack of) progress in the ongoing Musharraf trial (summary: he did not show up).

Most plausible is the explanation that the money is a token of friendship that runs deep between the Saudis and Nawaz Sharif. The gift is being referred to as halal dollars.

Getting to #1 is a significant achievement. Now the only thing to do is to maintain the momentum, and to tell the Taliban (sweetly) to knock it off.
….
Pakistan’s rupee surged 5.2 percent
this week, the best performance among world currencies, as the
nation’s rising foreign reserves and improving economy buoyed
investor confidence.



 
The country’s currency stockpile climbed to $9.52 billion
this week, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said yesterday, from $8.3
billion at the end of 2013. The economy is on course to achieve
the official target of 4.4 percent expansion in the year ending
June 30, he said, after the prior period’s 3.6 percent growth. A
planned global bond offering, an auction of third-generation
mobile-phone licenses and an International Monetary Fund loan
are set to boost fund inflows, according to the central bank.



 
The rupee rallied 7 percent this month to 98.08 per dollar,
according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency, which
touched the strongest level since June of 97.7870 yesterday,
slipped 0.2 percent today. JS Global Capital Ltd., a Karachi-based brokerage, said it raised its year-end forecast for the
rupee yesterday to 106 from 111.



 
“Foreign-exchange reserves have a huge hand in this”
rally, said Muzzammil Aslam, Karachi-based managing director at
research firm Emerging Economics Research. “Expectations for
further inflows are high, including the IMF loan tranche and the
3G auction scheduled for next month.”



 
Pakistan plans to raise as much as $500 million in its
first overseas bond sale since 2007, according to Finance
Minister Dar. The offering is expected to take place by end-March and may be followed with a sukuk issuance, Dar said in
Dubai on Feb. 9.



 
The State Bank of Pakistan may leave its benchmark interest
rate unchanged if the government meets targets under an IMF
program to draw inflows of as much as $3 billion by June, Hamza Ali Malik, director of the monetary policy department at the
central bank, said in a Feb. 17 interview. The rupee may soon stabilize amid concern its rally will
threaten exports, according to Khurram Schehzad, chief
investment officer managing stocks, bonds and commodities worth
$150 million at Karachi-based Lakson Investments.


“Reserves have improved and there is a sentiment shift,”
said Farrah Marwat, head of research in Karachi at JS Global
Capital. “You can see the government has picked up pace on all
the commitments such as the Eurobond, privatization and the 3G
auction.” 

regards

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10 mil millionaires

Dollar millionaires have one advantage over the rest of us: skin color (such as ..ahem, brown) is not that important (though fine distinctions will be made with respect to ownership of second homes, painting collections, antique cars in the garage etc.).

And in the USA alone there are now 10 million of them (58% growth from 2008), suggesting that while many of us will be struggling to get on to the (non-existent) career ladder, they are polishing up on their gangnam routines (and have recovered just fine from the great depression).

The immediate bracket below is doing fine as well, 1.6% growth in 2013 to reach 29 million (10% of the population).

Thus regardless of what skeptics claim, the heart of capitalism (US upper and middle-class) is in pink form. However if you want to afford a top flight university you may have to double up as a porn star. .

….
There was a record 9.63 million households in the U.S. with a net worth of $1 million or more last year, according to new market research. The number of millionaire households surged 58 percent from a dip in
2008, when there were 6.7 million households worth $1 million or more
(not including primary residences). In 2007, there were 9.2 million
households worth that amount, reports market research firm Spectrem
Group. At the wealthiest levels, there were
132,000 households with a net worth of $25 million or more, up from
125,000 in 2007, before the recession.




The number of affluent households worth between $100,000 and $1
million was also up in 2013 from a year earlier. There were 28.97
million households in that category last year, a jump of 500,000 from
2012.

In contrast India has 182,000 dollar millionaires. There are also 180,000 NRI millionaires.

If (as some of us wish for) a Chairman Mao like person came along and got rid of all Indians except a couple of million, we can be overnight as prosperous as the United States. Food for thought.

regards

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Another reason to mourn 1971

It would have been nice if this was Made in East Pakistan; I guess Veena Malik now has to step up (or off) to the plate and salvage Pakistan’s honor with a similar montage. The above does seem to confirm Bangladesh’s bountiful nature 🙂

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Made in Bangladesh

Over at The Aerogram there is a post, Made in Bangladesh, which is addressed to the young woman who posed topless in the American Apparel advertisement. I’m rather ambivalent about the whole thing. American Apparel knows how to get publicity, and sells clothes with ads which make Abercrombie & Fitch seem a little less on the pornish side. Additionally, the whole virtue of being made-in-America doesn’t hold much appeal for me when put next to the fact that the textile industry has reshaped the economic possibilities of the less well off female population of Bangladesh.

On the the other hand I found Taz Ahmed’s style to be condescending and self-congratulatory. Perhaps more important the interpretative framework of radical Left politics and Critical Race Theory is so thick and cloying  that the simple and spare critique is almost suffocated by nods to nearly every trope in this mode of analysis. There’s the weird contradiction of celebrating free choice and individual freedom, and then totally removing all agency from the subject of critique, and making implicit accusations of false consciousness. Many of the commenters, who seem to be mostly Bangladeshi, did not react positively to this style of delivery (see this post at Medium).

I think the commenters were a little too harsh, and as uncharitable to her as Taz was being to the model in the advert. Nevertheless, it has to be admitted that of thinking about the economic ramifications of the textile industry and trade, the post made to consider how Cultural Marxism can make anyone seem like a smug narcissist to all those outside of the small core audience of fellow travelers who are also marinated in their private lexicon.

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Tariq Ali recommends Partition # 3

18 September 2014. That is the day when the “Great” (may) disappear from Great Britain.

Tariq Ali is not fond of the “White Commonwealth” model to save the world. In his opinion it is an “union of rogues.” Also “Britain is a vassal state” and should be dismembered.

Having lived through two SAsian partitions already – no comments on the merits of those two (why not?), which many people in Britain will be familiar with-  Mr Ali is now excited and enthusiastic about the third one that is forthcoming.

In doing so he soft-pedals the brutality of the Scots during the wars and their enthusiastic participation in colonial rule. Another sleight of hand is to divide the Scottish population into elites (who were weak and could not resist their vile English overlords) and sub-alterns (who were poor and subjugated). With all due respect this is nonsense on stilts. When a country is a super power the sub-alterns benefit hugely as well.

If Scots were not parochial and actually liberal minded, they would be looking for greater integration (into the EU) and not less (away from Britain). They want to have their cake and eat it too (which is to be fair true for all of us). But that may not yet happen. They may lose the sterling, North Sea oil and gas revenue is trending down, and membership in NATO and EU is not guaranteed.

Once more, Scottish independence will be the final nail in the empire story. Watching the Scots leave, Northern Ireland and Wales are likely to leave as well. England by itself should deserve to lose its UN veto (also France, and one veto awarded to the EU). 

We have a suspicion that Tariq Ali will be a very happy man if all this comes to pass. After all, revenge is a dish best served cold.
…..


Independence is the only way Scotland can realise its full political and
cultural potential in the 21st century. 

This is not always the case when new
states are born – the break-up of Yugoslavia is sometimes cited, and with good
reason, to demonstrate the opposite. But Yugoslavia was wrecked by the IMF with
disastrous consequences: ultra-nationalism, civil war and ethnic cleansings at
home exacerbated by a German intervention to divide the country, followed by the
Nato bombing. A better analogy for Scotland is Norway’s peaceful and
collaborative secession from Sweden in 1905.

Scotland was tricked into the 1707 union with England, sold down the river
by what Robert Burns called its “Parcel o’ Rogues”: What
force or guile could not subdue, through many warlike ages / Is wrought now by
a coward few / for hireling traitor’s wages / The English steel we could disdain
/ secure in valour’s station / But English gold has been our bane / Such a
parcel o’ rogues in a nation.

Later Walter Scott enlarged on this theme: “It may be doubted whether
the descendants of the noble lords … who accepted this gratification would be
more shocked at the general fact of their ancestors being corrupted or
scandalized at the paltry amount of the bribe.”

The weakness in traditional Scottish nationalism lay in its own inability to
grasp that identity could not be the only factor in the march to independence.
As the late Stephen
Maxwell, Tom
Nairn and other Scottish intellectuals have pointed out, the union was a
compact between the English bourgeoisie and a weak and desperate Scottish
elite.
The latter obtained entry into English markets and, later, to its
colonies in North America and Asia. Five of the British viceroys who ruled India were members of the Scottish
gentry.
Scottish administrators were a cornerstone of the imperial
bureaucracies in Asia and Africa.

For the latter half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, the
Scottish elites benefited greatly, the subaltern layers less so. (As a
proportion of population, Scottish deaths exceeded English ones in the
inter-imperialist war of 1914-18.)
There were other downsides as well. Scotland’s
political identity was destroyed, and a huge Scottish emigration to North
America followed the brutal Highland clearances. These included every layer of
Scottish society, not just the remnants of the defeated clans. The reasons were
not only economic. Many Scots left a country occupied by redcoats.

Two processes combined to reawaken Scotland. The depression of the 30s left
a deep mark on the country, and the end of empire that followed a decade later
after another war created the basis for new thinking. Until 1945 the Labour party,
born in Scotland, had been pledged to Scottish home rule. Clement
Attlee’s reforms, it was thought, made the idea redundant, and certainly
few in Scotland thought otherwise. But the emergence of a new nationalism was
the result of a democratic deficit.

The bulk of Scotland voted against Margaret Thatcher, and her brutal dismantling
of the 1945 compact shook the union’s foundations. When Tony Blair followed
suit, belittling the Scottish parliament as little more than a local council,
the haemorrhaging of Labour votes began. The real tartan Tories in the Scottish
parliament today are the visionless careerists of New Labour, incapable of
producing a leader with even one-fifth of the qualities that distinguished the
late Donald Dewar. Small wonder that support for independence is strongest
among working people.

The notion that an independent Scotland will be parochial is risible. The
“internationalism” of New Labour and its coalition lookalikes
essentially means subordinating the entire British state to the interests of
the US. They have made Britain a vassal state: on Iraq, on Afghanistan, on the
gathering of intelligence.
An independent Scotland could be far more
internationalist and would benefit a great deal from links to both Scandinavia
and states in other continents.

A campaign of fear, based on dodgy statistics, is under way, with the failed
model of anglo-globalisation presented as the only model.
Scotland’s
sovereignty, honour and dignity are within its grasp for the first time since
1707. It would be a dark day indeed if the parcel o’ rogues triumphed again.

regards

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Twice born @ 41

In India we see people around us who are (as per tradition) twice born or dwija. Here is an example of an actual twice born person.

Sardar Sanjit Singh was dead. For 90 minutes. And he has come back to life. Congratulations. 

One important point about protocol that should not be overlooked. It helped that Sardar-ji was part of the medical community, CPR was continued well beyond the normal 30 min time limit (in India), how about in the west? Dr Tungikar (see below) is recommending a 60 min CPR at least. Food for thought.

….
A 41-year-old Aurangabad man, who was clinically dead
for 90 minutes after suffering a heart attack, was revived with continued cardio-pulmonary
resuscitation (CPR)
that was given to him manually about 100 times.

Medical experts said his rare revival was possible because of his age and
general health. It was also possible because doctors didn’t give up and he got
immediate medical attention.

Sardar Sanjeet Singh, an x-ray technician at the Mahatma Gandhi Mission (MGM)
Charitable Hospital, complained of chest pain, giddiness and sweating while on
duty at the medical institution on February 2. Doctors found he had suffered a
heart attack. His heart rate and blood pressure had dropped when he was
admitted to the casualty ward. A while later, his heart beat stopped.

“On examination, we found he had no pulse or heart beat. He was clinically
dead and the ECG monitor showed single straight lines indicating there was no
heart activity,” said Prashant Udgire, intervention cardiologist with MGM.
Singh was instantly put on mechanical ventilation and a temporary pacer was
inserted to start his heart beat. Since there was no heart activity, doctors
started manual cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by rotation for about 100
times while simultaneously keeping a watch on the blood flow to the brain and
other vital organs. “After a long-drawn effort of 1 hour 30 minutes, the
patient’s heart started beating again,” Udgire said.

An emergency coronary angiography conducted immediately showed one of the main
arteries was totally blocked. The blood clot was removed using a special
thrombus extraction device known as export catheter. Subsequently, coronary
angioplasty with one stent was performed.

“Singh regained full consciousness after four days and was taken off the
ventilator. Fortunately, he showed remarkable recovery without any neurological
damage. This is a rare case of successful revival of a heart attack patient
through cardio-pulmonary resuscitation for one-and-half-hours. The recovery was
without any neurological deficit,” the doctor said.

Singh recalled, “I had collapsed while on duty. I came to know much later
from relatives and friends about the serious condition I was in. I’ve got a
fresh lease of life.”

Independent medical experts said such a revival was not impossible.
Cardiologist Anand Deodhar said the doctors were able to diagnose the cardiac
condition and begin treatment immediately while maintaining the constant flow
of blood and oxygen to brain and vital organs, which led to Singh’s revival.

Former cardiologist at Government Medical College and Hospital, Sudhir
Tungikar, observed, “This was a case of witnessed arrest. In such cases,
cardiologists should make an effort for more than an hour to revive the
patient. They should not give up in 30 minutes, which is the usual
practice.”

regards

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Total Siyaapa

I went to see this film where Indo-Pak romance meets Meet the Parents. It was quite silly and obviously set up for a part /2 (he got to meet her side, but she still hasn’t met his side and then both sides have to meet).

It was nice to see images of London but some are quite disconcerting as the shots are all over the city where the characters could have in way traversed them as they did (London remains after all a city of 32 villages/boroughs).
The Indo-Pak angle wasn’t really touched upon and frankly the movie could have been far more interesting (lucrative) if it had taken a few creative leaps. Instead it was a tired formula and also tried to make it a national dichotomy (Indo-Pak) instead of a religious one. I think a Pakistani non-Muslim remains a more preferable match than an Indian Muslim for an average Indian Hindu family.
Other than that it was pure “time-pass” as they say (a concept completely unknown in London) and other than that I was actually meant to see Shaadi ke Side effect but I would have been the only person (Thursday 10pm is not a popular time for films in Kampala). Incidentally 3 other strangers were with me in the theatre watching total Siyaapa with me but by the end of it I was the only one left. Says it all I imagine.
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The Chandi of Chandigarh

Daughter of Lt Gen (retd) HD Panag and grand-daughter of Colonel Shamsher Singh (that is how you are introduced in India, no?).

Now Gul Panag plans to be an Aam Aurat from Chandigarh. In order to slay the (corruption) demon you need a Shakti (to bloody him) but also a Mohini (to dazzle him). Strongly recommended.

regards

PS Dr Omar may want to comment about Colonel Shamsher Singh. After all the top military elites on both sides knew of each other quite intimately. This is what came up in a quick search.

Colonel Shamsher Singh was born during the First World War on July 8,
1916 in the Panag family of Mahadian village, Fatehgarh Sahib district.
After his schooling, he enrolled in the Mohindra College, Patiala, and
then began his career as an enlisted soldier with the Patiala State
Forces. Soon thereafter, he was selected for training at the Indian
Military Academy and was commissioned into 1st Patiala Lancers. As part
of the 1st Patiala Lancers, he participated in military operations in
the North West Frontier Province and World War II.

In 1946, he was transferred to 1st Patiala Rajindra Sikhs
Infantry Battalion. In March 1948, Col Shamsher Singh (a Major at that
time), then second-in-command, was made responsible for defence of Zoji
La and Gumri heights with a garrison of two companies. In spite of the
intense pressure from Pakistani troops who were desperate to capture
Zoji La so as to gain access to Srinagar and the valley, the Zoji La
garrison stalled the enemy advance and successfully defended the pass
from May to October 1948, after which the Indian Army re-grouped and
employed tanks of the 7th Cavalry to push the enemy back and open the
route to Kargil and Leh. The Sikh troops under Major Shamsher Singh
advanced to Kargil and picketed the surrounding heights thereafter.

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Thanks Whats App

Sometimes we worry that the generation that is growing up is turning out to be a bit more aggressive and insensitive than previously. Partly it comes from being chained to the (3) screens. Children nowadays barely have time to talk to older people- tech dinosaurs who dont really get what an app is.

BTW aggression is good if put to good use and in today’s world displaying the right amount of aggro is crucial. If you are seen to be a softy too many (cruel, ambitious) people will run over you.

But then how about civility? Should we not worry about teaching youngsters to be civil to others?  Bullying is a serious concern, lives are scarred (sometimes permanently) because of bullying.

My fear is that we are targeting the wrong crowd. It is the grown-ups..ourselves.. who need to be cautioned about our behavior, to lead (and demonstrate) by example. 

If children are found to be behaving thuggishly, focus on the vicious parents and penalize them. Leave the kids alone, let them watch and (hopefully) learn.

Finally, banning mobiles in school will be counter-productive. It is sufficient if mobiles are seen but not heard.
……
A day after a video showing two class VI students from Modern school, Vasant Vihar
(Delhi) bullying their senior had gone viral on social media,
the school
management on Thursday said that the offenders had been asked to
withdraw from the school.

“Those two students, who were the
aggressors, have now withdrawn from the school. They were asked to
leave. As we did not want to hamper the future of the children, we asked
their parents to kindly withdraw them,” said Ashok Pratap Singh,
Trustee of Modern School, Vasant Vihar.

A video showing the two
class VI students bullying and attacking one class VII student, while
two others were seen cheering them had gone viral on mobile messaging
application ‘Whats App’, leading to demands of strict action against
them by shocked parents.

Subsequently, in an open house meeting
of parents and school management today, it was announced that the two
students have been asked to withdraw from the school. Moreover, the two
other students who were seen cheering in the video have been given
strict warning.

Incidentally, students are banned from using mobile phones in the school campus.
 
regards

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Spy Games

The news from the durbar is not pleasant these days (barbarians in the outer reaches are behaving despicably). But deep in the belly of the beast things are not so calm either.

The CIA is spying on Congress (shock horror), the Congress is spying back (fainted, pass the smelling salts), the White House is silent (as befits the leading from behind strategy). What possibly can go wrong?
….
The
digital pile was unwieldy, with no index or structure. Investigators
organized their searches around names of CIA prisoners, scanning for any
references to Khalid Sheik Mohammed and others who had been held at the secret CIA sites.

Precisely
how the committee obtained that document remains unclear. Feinstein
said it was found on the shared database using a search tool provided by
the agency. “The committee staff did not hack into CIA computers to
obtain these documents,” she said.

“The firewall was breached,” said a U.S. official briefed on the matter. “They figured out a work-around.” If
true, that would represent an embarrassing lapse in security in the
computer system assembled by the agency. But, to agency officials, such a
breach and a concern about getting caught would explain why the
committee last year began asking for documents it already had. Committee officials flatly deny that the files were obtained through surreptitious means. The
dispute has exposed a thicket of potential conflicts. Among them is the
fact that the CIA’s acting general counsel, who Feinstein said is named
in the report more than 1,600 times, made the criminal referral about
committee staff to the Justice Department.

The fallout has also
focused attention on Feinstein and Brennan, revealing a deep rupture
between two of the most powerful figures in the U.S. intelligence
community that has the potential to spill into other areas where spy
agencies rely on Feinstein as an ally. Feinstein has been among
the most ardent backers of the CIA’s drone campaign, for example, citing
a deep confidence in the information that she and her staff have
gleaned from frequent and detailed briefings provided by the same agency
she has now accused of a pattern of misconduct and deception. Brennan
is widely respected for his integrity and deep experience in
intelligence work. But some congressional officials this week questioned
whether his indignation at the committee’s charges — and a tendency to
dig in his heels when challenged — had worsened the conflict.

“How
this will be resolved will show whether the intelligence committee can
be effective in monitoring and investigating our nation’s intelligence
activities,” Feinstein said, “or whether our work can be thwarted by
those we oversee.”

regards

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