Wednesday, June 17, 2009

a day in the life of... Pakistan..

It is close to 9 am on Thursday the 18th of June that I start writing this. Power has just been restored to my locality after an outage of some 8.5 hours. Many areas in Karachi remain blacked out. Well, not so much since the night has passed and the sun is up but you know what I mean.

Usually I don't get up this early, I sleep at around 6 or 7 am and wake up sometime in the afternoon and on occasion, in the evening. Practicing to be a rockstar, you see. Since however, there was no power all night, there wasn't much for me to do while staying up hence I pseudo-slept the night away. I woke up at around 8am and started looking for things to do when I spied the newspaper lying at my door. Feeling this would be a good way to while away some time while I waited for the KESC, WAPDA and GOD..I mean, God, to concentrate their efforts in a way that power is returned, I thought I'd look throught it.

Depression ensued.

The following is a list of notable reports and excerpts as taken from the Dawn website.

Storm robs Karachi of electricity for hours:

All but entire Karachi plunged into darkness for several hours on Wednesday evening after a thunderstorm hit Pepco’s Jamshoro-Dadu and Jamshoro-Hub lines.

All generating units of the KESC, IPPs and KANUPP collapsed, disabling the city’s link with the national grid.

...According to KESC sources, the tripping in transmission lines at about 6.30pm robbed the system of about 600MW fed by Pepco’s network, crippling the entire generation, transmission and distribution network.

All units of Bin Qasim thermal power station, Korangi thermal power plants, Korangi gas turbines, independent power producers and the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant stuttered to a halt.

..The Bin Qasim plant generates over 1,000MW at a de-rated capacity while Wapda supplies about 700MW to KESC daily. The shortfall in KESC system was 1500MW late on Wednesday night.

The sudden power failure brought work at the Karachi Airport and major hospitals to a halt. Vehicular traffic faced gridlocks and congestions on major arteries of the city as traffic signals stopped working.

With maximum temperature at 35.9 degree centigrade and humidity at 62 per cent on Wednesday, people in various areas suffered at least two spells of loadshedding till evening.

Government announces phase-wise increase in power tarriff

ISLAMABAD: The government announced on Wednesday that till the end of the next fiscal year, electricity tariff would be increased in phases by at least 17 per cent as part of a condition in the IMF bailout package.

During a post-budget briefing to Senate’s standing committee on finance, Finance Secretary Salman Sadiq said: ‘We will take up the issue of allowing subsidy on electricity for lifeline consumers with officials of the International Monetary Fund in a meeting in Dubai on June 28.’

Governor State Bank Saleem Raza hinted that mark-up rates might be reduced in the wake of a reduction in inflation. The decision is likely to be announced in July along with the monetary policy.

However, he warned that low interest rates, ‘huge allocations for development projects and increase in wages’ might spur demand, leading to an increase in inflation. The annual inflation is expected to come down to 12.5 per cent by the end June 2009.

Govt, opposition spar on budget in NA

ISLAMABAD: The Opposition in the National Assembly on Wednesday blasted the government for making budget ‘overly dependent on foreign aid’, and lawmakers from treasury benches defended the government’s economic policies.

Abdul Qadir Patel from Karachi said: ‘If none of the critics can say that the next year’s budget is worse than the one for outgoing fiscal year, it means there is an improvement in government’s performance’.

He prompted desk thumping by his party colleagues when he denied allegations of corruption and said that he had never encountered anyone who was trying to ‘sell any ministry’.

Khurram Dastagir Khan of PML-N said: ‘If previous government was a failure in achieving self-reliance in economy, this government is worse.’

He said: ‘In a country where 123.4 million people live below poverty line on less than $2 a day, provision of Rs1,000 under the Benazir Income Support Programme to 50 million people will not work wonders.’

Mr Khan said heavy increases in prices of gas, electricity and petroleum products had hiked prices of all essential items and food inflation had reached 34.4 per cent.

He alleged that Wapda had used only Rs31 billion out of Rs62 billion earmarked for it in the current year’s PSDP, negating the government’s claims that it wanted to resolve power shortage. He also criticised the government of sparing the agriculture sector from direct taxation.

Police, power distribution depts most corrupt

KARACHI: The money Pakistanis spend on bribes has increased from Rs45 billion in 2002 to Rs195 billion in 2009, according to a survey carried out by the Transparency International Pakistan.

The survey report entitled ‘National Corruption Perception Survey 2009’ —indicates that police and power supply departments maintain their position as the two most corrupt sectors in the country.

The judiciary’s ranking has improved in the period under review. It ranked seventh in 2009, third in 2006 and fourth in 2002.

Customs and taxation departments have also improved their rankings since 2006. Work on the survey, involving responses from 5,200 people, began in February and ended in April of this year.

According to the report, people believed that health and land departments were also quite corrupt. Sixty-six per cent of the respondents said the existing local government system was more corrupt than the system it replaced.

About 60 per cent of the respondents said government functionaries and armed forces personnel should not be involved in commercial activities.

According to its findings, Defence Purchase Division, Military Engineering Services and Defence Housing Authorities were largest violators of rules under the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority Ordinance of 2002, which in itself was not performing its statutory obligations.

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, the privatisation ministry and the State Bank refuse to be governed under PPRA Ordinance.

Petroleum products, CNG to become costlier

ISLAMABAD: Amid the rising trend on international markets, the local petroleum rates would be revised upward by over 10 per cent after the ‘carbon surcharge’ goes effective from July 1 after the budget 2009-10 is approved by the National Assembly. Compressed natural gas (CNG) would also become dearer.

Informed sources in the finance ministry told Dawn on Wednesday that the petroleum ministry had already calculated the new petrol price at around Rs62 per litre, high speed diesel at Rs60 per litre, HOBC at Rs78 per litre.

The prices of kerosene and light diesel oil (LDO) will also go up, sources in the petroleum ministry said, adding the CNG would be selling at Rs55 per kg.

Cell firms to withdraw SMS offers

LAHORE, June 17: After imposition of 20-paisa tax per SMS, the cellular companies are likely to withdraw their discount packages from July 1.

“It will not be possible for us to continue with the bundle package offers in the wake of fresh tax,” a representative of a cellular company told Dawn on Wednesday.

He said though the government in the federal budget 2009-10 had reduced the general sales tax and SIM activation charges from 21 per cent to 19 per cent and Rs500 to Rs250, respectively, 20-paisa increase on per SMS would not only burden subscribers but also affect the business of such companies that had introduced packages at cheaper rates.”

“At the end of the day it will be clear that the government has not provided us with any relief,” an official of another company said.

It is learnt that the cellular companies are joining hands against tax on SMS and will register their protest with the government shortly.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has welcomed the concessions given to the telecom industry.

“We do not see any major impact of SMS tax on the industry. However, we will conduct a study in this regard after a certain period,” PTA chairman Dr Muhammad Yasin told this reporter.

“It will be premature to say that 20-paisa per SMS tax has negative impact on the industry,” he said.

Though the cellular companies are perturbed over the new tax but they can only register their concern with the respective quarters through PTA.

The cellular industry had generated a revenue of Rs278 billion in 2007-08.

The previous taxation rate on the cellular services (15 per cent) was already one of the highest in the region.

Owing to stiff competition among the cellular operators in the country, lower tariff had been introduced to attract maximum number of subscribers. Telecom sector, according to PTA, has attracted more than US$5.6 billion foreign direct investment during the last four years.

During 2007-08, the telecom sector attracted a sum of US$1.4 billion foreign direct investment which is about 30 per cent of the total FDI in the country. During 2007-08, the telecom industry ranked second after financial sector as major FDI recipient in Pakistan.

Swat residents are ‘short of everything’, warns ICRC

GENEVA: Civilians in the Swat valley are ‘short of everything,’ the International Committee of the Red Cross said Wednesday.

The ICRC, which claims to be the only international humanitarian agency currently operating in Swat and nearby Dir, said it was starting to distribute food for some 40,000 people in and around Swat’s main city, Mingora.

It cautioned that its ability to deliver food would depend on the security situation, AFP reports.

‘They are short of everything and will need help until the situation stabilises,’ he added in an information note.

Fighting has been continuing in Swat and Lower Dir districts, where Pakistani security forces launched an anti-Taliban offensive in late April.

About two million people have fled their homes and escaped to safer parts of Pakistan since the offensive began in the Northwest Frontier Province.


Pakistan zindabad.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Evolution of Dance.

A way to shirk blogging duties further. Who cares anyway?

Part 1

# Hound Dog - Elvis Presley Elvis Presley - Hound Dog - Hound Dog

# The Twist - Chubby Checker Chubby Checker - Chubby Checker Classics - The Twist

# Stayin' Alive - The Bee Gees The Bee Gees Tribute Band - Smooth Sax Tribute to the Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive

# Y.M.C.A. - The Village People Village People - Disco Gold - Y.M.C.A.

# Kung Fu Fighting - Carl Douglas Carl Douglas - The Soul of the Kung Fu Fighter - Kung Fu Fighting

# Keep On - The Brady Bunch The Brady Bunch - Man With a Movie Camera - Keep On

# Greased Lightnin' - John Travolta John Travolta - Grease - Deluxe Edition - Greased Lightnin'

# You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC AC/DC Tribute Band - Hip-Hop Tribute to AC/DC - You Shook Me All Night Long

# Billie Jean - Michael Jackson Michael Jackson - The Essential Michael Jackson - Billie Jean

# Thriller - Michael Jackson Michael Jackson - The Essential Michael Jackson - Thriller

# Oompa Loompa - Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Harry Connick, Jr. - Songs I Heard - Oompa Loompa (not the EOD version)

# Mr. Roboto - Styx Styx - Styx: Greatest Hits - Mr. Roboto

# Break Dance (Electric Boogie) - West Street Mob West Street Mob - The Sugar Hill Records Story - Break Dance (Electric Boogie)

# Walk Like An Egyptian - The Bangles The Bangles - The Essential Bangles - Walk Like an Egyptian

# The Chicken Dance - Bob Kames Bob Kames and The Happy Organ - The Chicken Dance (Dance Little Bird) - The Chicken Dance (Dance Little Bird) [Instrumental]

# Mony Mony - Billy Idol Billy Idol - Billy Idol: Greatest Hits - Mony Mony

# Ice Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice Vanilla Ice - To the Extreme - Ice Ice Baby

# U Can't Touch This - MC Hammer M.C. Hammer - M.C. Hammer: Greatest Hits - U Can't Touch This

# Love Shack - The B-52's The B-52's - Nude on the Moon - The B-52's Anthology - Love Shack

# Apache - The Sugarhill Gang The Sugarhill Gang - The Essentials: The Sugarhill Gang - Apache

# Jump Around - House of Pain House Of Pain - The Best of House of Pain and Everlast: Shamrocks & Shenanigans - Jump Around

# Baby Got Back - Sir Mix-A-Lot Sir Mix-a-Lot - Mack Daddy - Baby Got Back

# Tubthumping - Chumbawamba Chumbawamba - Tubthumper - Tubthumping

# What Is Love - Haddaway Haddaway - Haddaway - What Is Love

# Cotton Eye Joe - Rednex Rednex - Malcolm In the Middle - Cotton Eye Joe

# Macarena - Los Del Rio Los Del Rio - Fiesta Macarena - Macarena

# Bye Bye Bye - N'Sync *NSYNC - *NSYNC: Greatest Hits - Bye Bye Bye

# Lose Yourself - Eminem Eminem - 8 Mile - Lose Yourself

# Hey Ya! - Outkast OutKast - Now That's What I Call Music!: #1's - Hey Ya!

# Dirt Off Your Shoulder - Jay-Z Jay-Z Tribute Band - Tribute to Jay-Z - Dirt Off Your Shoulder

# Ice Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice ("Yo, let's get outta here. Word to your mother") Vanilla Ice - To the Extreme - Ice Ice Baby

# Bye Bye Bye - N'Sync ("Bye, bye, bye")

Part 2

0:00 Ryan Dalton - Introduction
0:10 James Brown - "I Got You (I Feel Good)"
0:31 The Temptations - "My Girl"
0:40 Ike and Tina Turner - "Proud Mary"
0:50 Van McCoy - "The Hustle"
0:55 The Hit Crew - "Hokey Pokey"
1:09 Otis Day and the Knights - "Shout" (originally by The Isley Brothers)
1:21 The Champs - "Tequila"
1:31 The Proclaimers - "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"
1:39 Technotronic - "Pump Up The Jam"
1:57 Right Said Fred - "I'm Too Sexy"
2:12 Marcia Griffiths - "Electric Boogie"
2:33 En Vogue - "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)"
2:43 69 Boyz - "Tootsee Roll"
2:57 DJ Slide - "Cha Cha Slide"
3:17 Terror Squad - "Lean Back" (featuring Fat Joe and Remy Martin)
3:24 OK GO - "Here It Goes Again"
3:33 Fergie - "London Bridge"
3:43 Soulja Boy Tell 'Em - "Crank That (Soulja Boy)"
4:00 Otis Day and the Knights - "Shout" (originally by The Isley Brothers)
4:02 Right Said Fred - "I'm Too Sexy"