Stories published in November, 2014

Chagharzai and other valleys: An epiphany in itself

Every now and then, we hear someone singing odes to the beauty of Pakistan’s North-West regions. Be it by one of those recent sing-along tourism promos running on nearly every news network these days, after a prolonged wave of violence in Malakand Division, or some bunch of local yahoos who’d just returned from a trip from any of the numerous valleys and lakes. The fact remains that the actual beauty and splendour of these areas is still quite underrated, despite all such praises. Even though the last few years’ armed conflicts have labelled the entire region as a no-go zone, ...

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‘Mission Kashmir’ and BJP’s election agenda

While riding high on the Modi wave, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept the 2014 Indian general elections (parliamentary and Lok Sabha polls) and formed a stable government in New Delhi. But quite amusingly, the saffron brigade has now set its aggressive eyes on ‘Mission Kashmir’. Not only does the party intend to secure victory in improbable 44 assembly segments out of a total of 87, it also has a plan to install a Hindu chief minister in Muslim-dominated Jammu and Kashmir. The five-phased assembly elections in the disputed Himalayan region are scheduled to commence from November 25, 2014. Just weeks after the ...

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Google, making it sweet with Lollipop

Google unveiled its new 5.0 also known as Lollipop at its I/O in July, this year. The reception was amazing and like many others I could not wait to give it a hands-on trial. Finally on November 2, Google released the source code for Lollipop and so began the race between Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to roll-out updates. As most OEMs would take three months to rollout the update, Nexus and Google Play edition devices have the edge of being first in line and receiving the update within days. I have been using Lollipop for a few days now and it’s amazing. Google has ...

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After Ajmal, Hafeez takes a hit – will Pakistan be able to bounce back?

And so the ICC’s purge against off-spinners continues, with Mohammad Hafeez being the latest victim. It has come as no surprise given the recent suspensions of off-spinners globally and the warning Hafeez himself received when he was reported during the Champions League T20 in September with Hafeez due to be tested at Loughborough on November 24, 2014. In fact, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) itself has been pro-active in this matter, forming a five-member committee which included ICC Elite Panel Umpire Aleem Dar and Pakistan’s spin bowling coach, Mushtaq Ahmad, to weed out suspect actions before they reach the international stage. However, the news of Hafeez ...

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Fatal amoebas: Up your nose and into your brain

Just reading the title makes one assume that this is a story out of some cheap sci-fi movie: a unicellular organism killing mankind, one brain at a time. When, in reality, this amoeba does exist and it’s called Naegleria Fowleri. This organism is thermophilic and lives in fresh water like lakes, ponds as well as polluted water systems such as sewage and dirty canals. All the amoeba needs is a passage to enter the brain, and that usually happens when people swim in such waters, when the possibility of water entering the nose is high. Since the nose is the quickest ...

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The Shaukeens – One of the most entertaining remakes of its Bollywood classic

It doesn’t come as a surprise for the audience when they get to watch remakes of classic movies of the 70s and 80s. Many filmmakers, directors and actors have started this trend of remaking movies and this time we have The Shaukeens, a remake of the 1982 rib tickling comedy Shaukeen. Just like the original version, The Shaukeens is based on ‘almost’ the same plot and characters. However, there are a few changes in the storyline which will appeal to today’s audiences more. It is a tale of three childhood friends, Lalchand (Anupam Kher), KD (Annu Kapoor) and Pinky (Piyush Mishra), who are in their early ...

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Don’t write off Obama just yet!

Despite severe opposition from the Republicans, President Barack Obama finally did what he should have done years ago – he announced a plan to stop deportation of almost five million undocumented migrants from the US.  Faced with a crisis of confidence and a defeat in the November mid-term elections, Obama, a Democrat, recently lashed out at the Grand Old Party (GOP), a republican party, and said, “They have the ability to fix the system. What they don’t have the ability to do is to expect me to stand by with a broken system in perpetuity.” Immigration reform has been ‘way overdue’. The president’s announcement does not, ...

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Can the Red Devils strike down the Gunners?

The two fierce rivals are to see each other tomorrow, Saturday, November 22, at the Emirates Stadium in London, following the raucous international break in the world of football. The Barclays Premier League has come to the progression by the tempestuous breeze of fixtures as the match day sees Arsenal against Manchester United in the race to the three points. Following a slow start by Louis Van Gaal’s side, they have managed to bag two wins, one loss and two draws in their last five fixtures in the tournament. Arsenal, however, have a better record so far with three wins, a draw and one loss to ...

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Round one: Imran Khan versus Asma Jahangir

When a minor political disagreement turns into an acrimonious battle of nerves, the stage is set for a senseless blame game. Beyond this point, the purpose is no longer to find a solution to the issue at hand. On the contrary, it becomes a matter of settling scores and, at best, winning. The war of words between PTI chief, Imran Khan, and prominent lawyer and former Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president, Asma Jahangir, last week offers a glaring testament of this belief. Unfortunately, not all battles can be won through veiled assaults and criticism. Silent tussle The conflict brewed against the backdrop ...

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Is cheating only physical?

Cheating on a partner or having an affair whilst being in a steady, committed relationship has been an area of interest to people for as long as one can trace back the history of humankind. Since the last decade, social scientists have been trying to understand the phenomenon of online affairs or ‘digital cheating’. Several studies focus on what they call the ‘AAA engine’ of online affairs – Affordability, Accessibility and Anonymity. Social media makes it more comfortable for people to share their fantasies and problems while sitting in the protection of their home or workplace. Several studies also show ...

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