Friday, June 26, 2009

Singer Michael Jackson dead at 50

Michael Jackson, the sensationally gifted child star who rose to become the “King of Pop” and the biggest celebrity in the world only to fall from his throne in a freakish series of scandals, died Thursday. He was 50.

Michael suffered a cardiac arrest earlier this afternoon at his Holmby Hills home and paramedics were unable to revive him. We're told when paramedics arrived Jackson had no pulse and they never got a pulse back.

Jackson’s death brought a tragic end to a long, bizarre, sometimes farcical decline from his peak in the 1980s, when he was popular music’s premier all-around performer, a uniter of black and white music who shattered the race barrier on MTV, dominated the charts and dazzled even more on stage.
His 1982 album “Thriller” — which included the blockbuster hits “Beat It,” “Billie Jean” and “Thriller” — is the best-selling album of all time, with an estimated 50 million copies sold worldwide.
The public first knew him in the late 1960s, when as a boy he was the precocious, spinning lead singer of the Jackson 5, the music group he formed with his four older brothers. Among their No. 1 hits were “I Want You Back,” “ABC” and “I’ll Be There.”

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009


An ecosystem is an area on the Earth that is a community of living organisms and their surrounding environment. Every person, animal, plant, rock, stream, and piece of land belongs to one or more ecosystems. For example, imagine an ecosystem made up of a freshwater pond that serves as a home for frogs, lily pads, fish, cattails, dragonflies, algae, and protozoa. Each of these organisms, along with its sources of food, sediments, nutrients, and the water itself, is a part of the pond ecosystem, which functions as a unit or a single community. Ecosystems on Earth are incredibly diverse, both in size and in form-a large city that contains millions of people, their homes, and a built-up landscape is an urban ecosystem, while a small wildlife preserve within that city serves as a natural ecosystem.

Much like a person, an ecosystem has a given level of health. A healthy ecosystem performs many valuable functions, such as flood control, water purification, seed dispersal, pollination, pollutant removal, nutrient cycling, and habitat provision. These functions are beneficial to both humans and other inhabitants of ecosystems. Consider the value of one wetland ecosystem that helps remove toxic substances from drinking water, provides a nursery for baby fish, and supplies shelter for clams and mussels-and these are only a few of the services provided by this ecosystem. Many ecosystems experience the effects of disturbances. These disturbances can be caused by human actions, such as bulldozing a forest to build a highway, or they can be a result of natural events, such as soil erosion from heavy rains. Disturbances often decrease the ability of an ecosystem to provide valuable function, and thereby decrease the health of the ecosystem. A feature of ecosystems, from the smallest backyard to the entire globe, is that they tend to be resilient. Given time, ecosystems can often recover from disturbances, maintain their health, and continue to provide the functions necessary to sustain life on Earth.
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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pakistan Jumps 10 Spots on Attractive Outsourcing Countries Index

Pakistan has been ranked at number 20 on the 2009 A.T. Kearney Global Services Location Index of the most attractive outsourcing destinations in the world. Pakistan went from 30th in 2007 to 20th in 2009 on the report released May 18th. There are plenty of companies in the Middle East, for instance, that outsource work to Pakistan. Even as concerns increase about Pakistan’s stability and the growing displaced population due to ongoing military operations with the Taliban, the country made a significant jump. Yet, cost is a huge motivator for many companies and is one reason that places like Pakistan score so highly. Countries are measured on 43 different attributes related to financial attractiveness, people and skills availability and business environment. In fact, the report says that as a region, the Middle East and North Africa are becoming more attractive in the ever-shifting geography of popular outsourcing places. Both enjoy large, well-educated populations and proximity to Europe. The index ranks the top 50 countries worldwide for locating outsourcing activities including IT services and support, contact centers and back-office support.

Source: PakPositive

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


An Earthquake is in fact the shaking of the ground caused by sudden movements in the earth's The biggest earthquakes are set off by the movement of the geological plates that make up the earth's crust. Some plates slide past each other gently, but others can cause a heavy pressure on the rocks, so they finally crack and slide past each other. By this, vibrations or shock waves are caused, which go through the ground. It is these vibrations or seismic waves which cause an earthquake. The closer to the source of the earthquake (the focus or hypocenter), the more damage occurs. Earthquakes are classified according to the depth of the focus.

0-43 miles (0-70 km) below ground → Shallow Earthquakes
43-186 miles (70-300 km) below ground → Intermediate Earthquakes
Deeper than 186 miles (300 km) below ground → Deep Earthquakes

The closer the focus to the surface, the heavier the earthquake. The earthquake is always the most intense on the surface directly above the focus (Epicenter). In general big earthquakes begin with light vibrations (foreshocks). These are the initial fractures in the rocks. After the main shock, there may be minor aftershocks, most of the time for months. This occurs as the rocks settle down.

Plate Tectonic

Geologists came to the conclusion in the 1960's that the Earth's rigid outer layer (crust and outer, rigid layer of the mantle) was not a single piece, but was broken up into about 12 large pieces called plates. There are three types of plate boundaries divided on the basis of their movement during an earthquake.

Convergent boundaries - two plates collide to form mountains or a subduction zone.

Divergent boundary - two plates are moving in opposite directions as in a mid-ocean ridge.

Transform boundary - two plates are sliding past each other as in the San Andreas fault of California. A transform boundary is like a tear in the Earth's crust. These plates move very slowly across the surface of the Earth as though they were on a conveyor belt. The convection currents in the much hotter mantle continually move the plates about 1/2 to 4 inches per year.

When the plates move they collide or spread apart allowing the very hot molten material called lava to escape from the mantle. When collisions occur they produce mountains, deep underwater valleys called trenches, and volcanoes. As mountains and valleys are being formed natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic activity can occur which has affected humans for thousands of years.


Seismology is the study of earthquakes and seismic waves that move through and around the earth. A seismologist is a scientist who studies earthquakes and seismic waves.

Seismic Waves

Seismic waves are the waves of energy caused by the sudden breaking of rock within the earth or by an explosion. It is the energy that travels through the earth and is recorded on seismographs.

Types of Seismic Waves

There are several different kinds of seismic waves, and they all move in different ways. The two main types of waves are body waves and surface waves. Body waves can travel through the earth's inner layers, but surface waves can only move along the surface of the planet like ripples on water. Earthquakes radiate seismic energy as both body and surface waves.

P Waves

The first kind of body wave is the P wave or primary wave. This is the fastest kind of seismic wave. The P wave can move through solid rock and fluids, like water or the liquid layers of the earth. It pushes and pulls the rock it moves through just like sound waves push and pull the air. Have you ever heard a big clap of thunder and heard the windows rattle at the same time? The windows rattle because the sound waves were pushing and pulling on the window glass much like P waves push and pull on rock. Sometimes animals can hear the P waves of an earthquake. Usually we only feel the bump and rattle of these waves.

S Waves

The second type of body wave is the S wave or secondary wave, which is the second wave you feel in an earthquake. An S wave is slower than a P wave and can only move through solid rock. This wave moves rock up and down, or side-to-side.

Richter Magnitude Scale

The Richter magnitude scale was developed in 1935 by Charles F. Richter of the California Institute of Technology as a mathematical device to compare the size of earthquakes. The magnitude of an earthquake is determined from the logarithm of the amplitude of waves recorded by seismographs. Adjustments are included for the variation in the distance between the various seismographs and the epicenter of the earthquakes. On the Richter Scale, magnitude is expressed in whole numbers and decimal fractions. For example, a magnitude 5.3 might be computed for a moderate earthquake, and a strong earthquake might be rated as magnitude 6.3. Because of the logarithmic basis of the scale, each whole number increase in magnitude represents a tenfold increase in measured amplitude; as an estimate of energy, each whole number step in the magnitude scale corresponds to the release of about 31 times more energy than the amount associated with the preceding whole number value.

At first, the Richter Scale could be applied only to the records from instruments of identical manufacture. Now, instruments are carefully calibrated with respect to each other. Thus, magnitude can be computed from the record of any calibrated seismograph.

The Richter Scale has no upper limit. Recently, another scale called the moment magnitude scale has been devised for more precise study of great earthquakes.

The Richter Scale is not used to express damage. An earthquake in a densely populated area which results in many deaths and considerable damage may have the same magnitude as a shock in a remote area that does nothing more than frighten the wildlife. Large-magnitude earthquakes that occur beneath the oceans may not even be felt by humans.

Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act (PEACE)

A general description of the performance goals established under section 302 of the legislation, includes:

(C) An evaluation of efforts undertaken by the government of Pakistan to —
(i) disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other extremist and terrorist groups in the Fata and settled areas;
(ii) close terrorist camps, including those of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Jaish-e-Mohammed;
(iii) cease all support for extremist and terrorist groups;
(iv) prevent cross-border attacks;
(v) increase oversight over curriculum in madressahs, including closing madressahs with direct links to the Taliban or other extremist and terrorist groups; and
(vi) improve counter-terrorism financing and anti-money laundering laws, apply for observer status for the Financial Action Task Force, and steps taken to adhere to the United Nations International Convention for the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism.

(D) A detailed description of Pakistan’s efforts to prevent proliferation of nuclear-related material and expertise.

(E) An assessment of whether assistance provided to Pakistan pursuant to this Act has directly or indirectly aided the expansion of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme, whether by the diversion of US assistance or the reallocation of Pakistan financial resources that would otherwise be spent for programmes and activities unrelated to its nuclear weapons programme.

(F) A description of the transfer or purchase of military equipment pursuant to title II of this Act, including: (i) a list of equipment provided; and (ii) a detailed description of the extent to which funds obligated and expended pursuant to section 203(b) meet the requirements of such section.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Failure of Democracy in Pakistan

Almost 150 years ago, Abraham Lincoln defined democracy as a Government of the people, by the people and for the people. Democracy is a form of government in which the authority of government is based on the will of masses. Democracy aims at defining the relationship between the ruler and the masses in such a manner that primacy is assigned to the latter. After sixty years of its existence as an independent country democracy has remained an elusive dream in Pakistan. Let us try to dig deep into the factors which have hampered the growth of democracy in our country. First of all, the overdeveloped rule of military institution has remained an impediment in the way of the development of democracy. Once a military general comes in power he has no mood to go back. In this way the dictatorial rule for a long time results in the atrophy of democratic forces. Dr. Hassan Askari rightly pointed out in his book. The Military and Politics in Pakistan that initially after the inception of Pakistan the civilian governments were confronting a host of problems including communal riots, poor law and order situation, problem of refugees etc. which they were unable to solve through the civilian administration so they kept on inviting military to solve internal and external problems. This inability of political forces led to an increased military role in the process of decision making. After the assassination of Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan in 1951, military emerged as a strong institution and it was in the position to assume powers through the imposition of Martial Law in 1958. Since then military forged a partnership with bureaucracy to run the country. During last 60 years our military has become addicted to power and no amount of sermonizing will cure it. The second obstacle in the way of democracy is the culture of feudalism. Democracy cannot develop in the suffocating atmosphere of feudalism. The history of feudalism in the subcontinent is not very old. It owes its origin to the war of independence 1857, when different people were awarded large swathes of land by the British government because of their treacherous cooperation with the latter. Those feudal families joined Muslim League when they saw that Pakistan was going to be a reality and inherited power after the death of founding father. Feudalism has now become a severe migraine for the nation. Democracy and feudalism are incompatible. Change of faces at the wheel has not served any purpose. There is a crying need to bring some structural changes in order to strengthen the political system. Industrialization has also played a significant role in the strengthening of democracy across the world. Great Britain is considered as the mother of democracies on this planet. Some analysts are of the view that democracy has its origin from Magna Carta, Bill of Rights and Habeas Corpus etc. But even after these developments very mighty rulers have ruled Great Britain. In fact the invention of steam engine led towards industrial revolution which eradicated the roots of feudalism and evil of absolute monarchy. All this resulted in the development of democracy. In Pakistan there is everything from adult franchise to separation of powers between the three organs of government but no plan for that kind of industrial revolution. An active civil society has a significant role towards the success of democracy in a country. A civil society is a law governed society where the citizens are politically conscious of their rights and they are organized in multifarious institutions. There is no gainsaying the fact that the presence of a well-aware civil society helps in the development of social capital in a country. A civil society is not mere an association of people. It refers to the presence of democratic culture where tolerance is the most prominent feature. There is hardly any doubt that in Pakistan the civil society has remained deficient, insignificant or absent from the scratch. Lack of education has remained an important impediment to the democratization of countries. This is not just a problem of Pakistan but of the whole Third world. Laski, a famous political thinker, said that education is the backbone of democracy. Democracy is a system of governance in which the people choose their representatives through elections. Their strength lies in the ballot box. If people are not vigilant and educated enough to make a better choice, the democracy will not flourish in that country. This is the main reason that even in the countries apparently practicing democracy but with majority of uneducated people are among the under-developed nations. Masses in Pakistan have not found ways of compelling their rulers to be mindful of their duty. Their failures in this regard results from insufficiency of experience and training in operating modern democratic politics. Democracy puts the highest premium on constitutionalism, which is possible only with the predominant majority of people. Pakistan’s democracy can neither improve nor become viable as long as the majority of population remains uneducated. Judiciary is one of the most important pillars of a state and a country where judiciary is not imparting justice, democracy cannot develop. During Second World War someone asked British Prime Minister Winston Churchill whether the British would win the war. The Prime Minister laughed and replied that if the British courts were dispensing justice, no one would trounce the United Kingdom. In Pakistan since 1954 judiciary has remained docile to the wishes of executive. As Shelley says. If the winter comes; can spring be far behind. There is always light at the end of tunnel. However recently a landmark step has been taken by the lawyers and political forces of Pakistan towards the restoration of judiciary but more efforts are needed to be taken towards the independence of judiciary in order to make democracy successful in Pakistan. The challenge that we face today is that how to make the fragile plant of our nascent democracy grow into a full-blown tree of real participatory democracy. We must pay heed to Benjamin Franklin’s advice at the time of signing the Declaration of Independence. We must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly, we shall hang separately.

Federal Budget 2009-2010

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

President confers Hilal-e-Shujaat on veteran politician

ISLAMABAD, June 10 (APP) ‑ President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday conferred Hilal‑i‑Shujaat on veteran politician and former federal and provincial minister from NWFP Muhammad Afzal Khan Lala at a special investiture ceremony held at Aiwan e Sadr on Wednesday. The investiture ceremony was attended among others by Chairman ANP Asfandyar Wali Khan, Governor NWFP Owais Ahmad Ghani, Cabinet members, provincial ministers, parliamentarians and other high officials.
Hilal‑i‑Shujaat has been conferred on Muhammad Afzal Khan Lala in recognition of the great courage and steadfastness demonstrated by him in the war against militants in Swat region.
The citation read out on the occasion also said “With granite determination he refused to abandon his village and inspired his people to stand up to bigotry, fanaticism and extremists.
Talking to media, Spokesman for President former Senator Farhatullah Babar said about three months ago, the provincial assembly of NWFP adopted a unanimous resolution urging the President to immediately confer Hilal‑i‑Shujaat on the “courageous and respectable Pukhtoon leader Muhammad Afzal Khan Lala for courage in fighting against militancy and for the survival of Pakistan”.
Afzal Khan fondly called Lala in Frontier belongs to village Drush Khela in Swat. When the victims of militants’ brutalities were streaming out of Swat for safety, the 78 years old Afzal Khan stood up against the militants and refused to abandon his ancestral home for fear of life, he said.
Afzal Khan stood like a rock against the militants and refused to heed the advice to migrate to a safer place. He miraculously survived several attempts on his life by militants who wanted to eliminate him to remove from the scene a symbol of defiance and courage. He and his nephew were seriously wounded in the attack. In another attack his two grandsons were assassinated and body guards seriously injured.
The conferment of Hilal‑i‑Shujaat on Afzal Khan also signifies determination of the President to honour symbols of courage in the fight against militants and to assure the victims that the state will not abdicate its duty to protect them.

Global Warming

Global Warming is the increase in the average temperature of the Earth's near-surface and oceans.

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