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Showing posts from January, 2010

Food Prices - Problems Ahead

A few weeks ago Rahul Gandhi, General Secretary of the Congress Party, raised the issue of rising food prices with the Prime Minister. Mr Gandhi was justifiably anxious as to the political repercussions of rocketing inflation, its impact on poorer sections of society and effectively on his party’s political constituency. Apparently, the Prime Minister assured him that his government would examine this matter with the utmost urgency, but little in the form of a fitting response to a potential political nightmare, seems as yet evident. Ministries continue to haggle and blame each other, in a now familiar buck-passing phenomenon. Prices of food articles rose 20% in December 2009, with sugar taking the lead through a 54% hike, pulses 42% and potatoes 125%. The WPI, a key indicator of inflation, rose 7.4% in December. Alarmingly, Pronab Sen, the Government’s Chief Statistician believes this will touch double digits in a matter of months, unless the issue is tackled with paranoiac concern.

Further Turmoil

The previous year, even by liberal benchmarks, was appalling for Pakistan. The offensive against the Taliban under American pressure led to the dislocation of hundreds upon thousands of people in Waziristan and the North West Frontier Province, and to severe internal strife. The retaliations that followed created havoc in cities with death and destruction, leading to a state of near anarchy. Now the political bickering between the Presidency, Judiciary and Army Headquarters promises to deepen and will lead Pakistan into further turmoil. Twelve months ago, an unsteady peace seemed to have been brokered amongst political parties and the Army. A consensus, however fragile, was agreed on national security issues between Parliament and General Head Quarters (GHQ) which translated into a clear message to militants that Pakistan’s establishment would no longer encourage or even tolerate their actions across the border in Afghanistan. But increasingly this consensus seems to be cracking. Over

Futile Debate

The Earth has warmed and cooled in succession for millions of years. This was largely the outcome of natural cycles created by geological changes, some of which scientists have understood but several that remain largely unrecognised. There is therefore the line of thought which suggests that the debate on climate change is perhaps marginal in the context of the several geological factors that contribute to the formation of long term weather patterns. The prominent natural causes include continental drifts. The surface of the planet looked vastly different 275 million years ago and comprised of one large land mass. As plates shift, continents are formed. With such movements of the earth’s surface, oceans and seas are created and destroyed which in turn affects the earth’s climate. The Himalayas yet continue to rise slowly as the Sub-continent inches forward each year. Volcanic eruptions too affect weather patterns. Ash and sulphur are thrown up into the atmosphere together with large a