Stories published in January, 2018

8 times McDreamy was actually a McNightmare!

These days, it seems like every day you wake up to a different scandal which makes you sort of hate a celebrity you once used to love. There is, of course, Matt Damon, the perfect example of a celebrity whose tendency to put his foot in his mouth made us question what seemed to be a “nice guy” façade. This time, the outrage is directed at the revelation by Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo, that her co-star, Patrick Dempsey, did not support her when it came to negotiating her pay. Pompeo rightly felt that she deserved to be paid ...

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Silly, zany and utterly delightful, Paddington 2 is a masterclass of children films

It has been over half a century – 61 years to be precise – since Michael Bond found a lone teddy bear on a shelf in a store near Paddington Station on Christmas Eve. The lovable stuffed toy went on to inspire one of the most celebrated children’s book series of all time (starting with a volume in 1958 and ending in 2017 with the author’s death). His stories have now led to a delightful film series that proves Paddington’s adventures remain as relevant as ever. The latest big screen instalment in the series, Paddington 2 – the sequel to ...

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Kumrat: Pakistan’s magical valley that will keep a part of you, until you return again

Kumrat is a newly explored valley in Upper Dir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), which became a popular tourist destination after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader, Imran Khan, showed up there to boost tourism in the province. While a group of friends and I were chalking out a plan to explore the northern areas of the country this summer, we too decided to visit Kumrat in light of its growing popularity. Our journey started from Mansehra, and we travelled through Battagram and Shangla to reach Swat. Given our arduous itinerary due to the time spent in Mansehra, Malam Jabba and Kalam, ...

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#PAKvsNZ: 3 reasons why the Kiwis whitewashed the Men in Green with ease

When Pakistan first stepped onto Kiwi shores, the probability of a fairly close contest was higher than Pakistan’s previous tours, but as things panned out, that was not the case. While the series defeat was not necessarily a bolt out of the blue, the more startling aspect was the enormous regression of the state of our team. By the time Pakistan looked towards getting a win in the series – they came close in the last two ODIs – it was too late as New Zealand already had an unassailable lead in the series. New Zealand pose with the series trophy, 5th ODI, ...

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While Saudi Arabia was busy pointing fingers at Iran, it didn’t see its own looming doom

Saudi Arabia has viewed the recent protests in Iran as no less than a geopolitical opportunity as the Kingdom is currently locked in a regional power struggle against the Islamic Republic. Saudi commentators have publicly lambasted Iran, calling the protests a “fierce blow to the heart of Khomeinism” and stating that the protests had “made Iran boil like it’s on a crater of a volcano”. Some commentators warned “collapse” would be next. Apparently, Saudi Arabia has forgotten that not too long ago, it launched a crackdown of its own (something Iran initially tried to avoid doing in response to the protestors, believe it or not). While at ...

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Bitcoin, the magic money, and why I chose to risk it for the biscuit

The Bitcoin saga has been one of mad fanfare, terminological jargon, ridiculous price jumps, and scathing criticism from banking establishments. There is a plethora of information available on how Bitcoin works, and the original proof-of-work paper is available to read on the currency’s organisational website. Yet, despite all the countless articles that detail the schematics of the Bitcoin system, it remains mired in controversy, especially of late as it makes the news on a regular basis for its volatility. Let’s take a look at some of the myths surrounding Bitcoin, and attempt to disentangle this nascent cryptocurrency from the confusion that surrounds ...

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I wanted to earn the ‘Lashari’ surname, and studying abroad in HEC Paris helped me achieve just that!

“Are you related to ‘the’ Lasharis?” This is an inquiry that follows the moment anyone is introduced to my full name. What I am really being asked is if I am in any way related to Kamran Lashari – my father, and arguably one of the most popular and respected bureaucrats in Pakistan, known for bringing innovation and zing to city development. Or perhaps they mean my eldest brother, Bilal Lashari, the country’s most successful and celebrated film director. Or do they mean Omar Lashari, my Cornell educated, financial analyst brother? This would always be a source of pride, if only ...

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Michael Wolff’s ‘Fire and Fury’ represents “anti-news”, only highlighting the dumb things Donald Trump did

When I was asked if I wanted to write about Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury:  Inside the Trump White House, my a priori response was, No! My curiosity does not extend to the contents of Wolff’s book, not to mention penning a whole blog on the topic. Thus I responded half tongue-in-cheek, “no thanks, but I’d be willing to scrawl a self-indulgent piece on why not to read the book.” The Express Tribune Blogs called my bluff, and thus here goes. There are readers, editors and writers that prioritise tabloid phenomena. Wolff’s book represents “anti-news,” a big ball of “nothing we haven’t heard before”. ...

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Actually, General Bipin Rawat, nuclear weapons CAN deter war; a deterrence our countries are all too familiar with

Indian army chiefs rarely make policy statements. Thus, on the rare occasion when they do choose to partake in diplomatic posturing, it is taken very seriously. This is exactly why the DG ISPR and the Defence Minister took very stern notice of General Bipin Rawat’s press statement on January 12th, where he said that his force was ready to call out Pakistan’s “nuclear bluff” and carry out cross-border operations if need be. It must be fun to engage in high-level brinkmanship. Otherwise, it must get tiring to have so much authority and yet not be able to do anything with ...

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History, politics, drama, scandals – The Crown has it all and will make you google ‘did that really happen?’

Netflix has set a landmark when it comes to creating original series, but anyone who has seen The Crown will agree that it surpasses even Netflix’s high standards. The series is based on the life of Queen Elizabeth II, with the focus on her life as England’s longest reigning monarch and her relationship with eminent members of the royal family. The show is riveting and manages to hold on to the audiences’ attention, despite everyone already being aware of the real-life outcomes. Just like its predecessor, the second season focuses on events and scandals in England’s recent history, especially ...

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