Stories about japan

Agriculture is our golden goose; don’t kill her, my dear Industrialists

The projection of economic growth as something evil, that benefits only the rich, is wrong. Even so, equally erroneous is taking the GDP number for a sacrosanct symbol of sure-fire prosperity for all. Praise is due to the government’s economic team for various improvements in the macro-economy: five per cent growth in first quarter (Q1), about 10 per cent appreciation in the rupee within three months, and excellent performance of the stock market – all reflect recovery. Yet, how these gains are shared with the neediest of the needy remains to be seen – and only this should be taken as being an encompassing yardstick of success. Historically, Pakistan’s ...

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Say no to dolphin shows in Pakistan

Imagine a seventeen-year-old, full of energy, vigour and liveliness, always ready to get up and do something. Now, imagine confining these young, vivacious teenagers to a closet and training them to perform and entertain an audience. Does that make sense? This is exactly what we do to dolphins. A dolphin is a mammal just like us and the brain activity of a mature dolphin is second only to humans. They love to swim at 140 nautical miles a day, they migrate in social groups known as pods, hunt for live fish and help each other nurse their young. Moreover, as most of us have ...

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It is Iran’s right to develop nuclear energy, America!

Hiroshima and Nagasaki – two words that evoke nothing but the destructive horror which ensued after the United States attacked Japan. There is not much to say apart from the fact that the results from the explosion can still be seen today. Those who survived diseases from the blast produced offspring with mutations. Humanity was killed that day as the radioactive footprint was embedded on Japanese soil. While the US may, arguably, be the most powerful state in the world, it had no right to engage in nuclear war. Some might say that it was, in fact, a ‘war’. Very well, but ...

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No Dr Hoodbhoy, Karachi is not headed towards nuclear doom

Recently, in an article published in Dawn, a few respected academics argued that, with the proposed construction of two new nuclear power plants in Karachi:  ‘20 million people (of the city) are being used as subjects in a giant nuclear safety experiment’. This is an outrageous claim and the following is my attempt to deconstruct and counter the authors’ argument. First, the proposed plants are of the ACP-1000 variety. This is a pressurised water reactor, the sort that constitutes the vast majority of western nuclear plants and is based on an extension of Westinghouse Electric Company’s AP-1000 model. It is designed by the Chinese National Nuclear ...

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Will Pakistan be able to handle possible failure at nuclear plants?

On March 11, 2011, something stirred within the earth’s surface, deep under the waters of the North Pacific Ocean. The people who were preparing for their weekend on Hokkaido, Japan’s second-largest island, had no idea that they were about to be hit by one of the biggest earthquakes ever to be recorded in human history. The calamity, now known as the Tohoku undersea megathrust earthquake, struck at 2:15 p.m. Japan Standard Time. Its hypocenter was 70 kilometres off-shore and it registered a magnitude of 9.0 on the Richter scale. A few moments later, a tsunami followed the earthquake. With wave heights ...

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Chicken teriyaki: A burst of authentic Japanese flavours

Contrary to the much prevailing opinion that Japanese food looks so exquisite to eat and too difficult to cook, numerous dishes can be prepared easily without following any hard and fast rule. I have learned during my Japanese cooking classes that some flavours, tapestry of textures, colour, and methods distinguish Japanese cooking from other exotic cuisines. Strong-tasting seasoning and highly-flavoured sauces are not mostly used; still dishes look extravagant and taste sensational. Apart from sushi and tempura, ‘teriyaki chicken’ is another very popular dish among non-Japanese cultures. However, the fact is most people still don’t fully understand the term ‘teriyaki style’. Teriyaki is ...

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The truth about Agha Waqar’s water car kit

Our social media and our mainstream media are known for publishing news irresponsibly and without verification. I was compelled to write this blog which is aimed at highlighting another instance of unverified reporting by the media. Some days ago, my friends told me about a certain episode of Hamid Mir’s programme “Capital Talk” on Geo TV. This episode was about a man called Agha Waqar – a proud Pakistani who claimed to have invented something called a ‘water car kit’. Obviously, the first thing that I said upon seeing this was “Bravo!”, as ...

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How golden was Ayub Khan’s era?

The numbers do not lie: in terms of economic growth, former President Ayub Khan was not the best ruler Pakistan ever had. Admittedly, he is in second place and beaten only very narrowly by former President Ziaul Haq: Ayub averaged 5.82% growth during his eleven years in office compared to Zia’s 5.88%. Still, the myth of Ayub’s “Decade of Development” persists and so it is worth examining (on what would have been his 105th birthday), what his record was and how he compared to the rest of Pakistan’s rulers. Perhaps the single biggest reason people remember Ayub’s era fondly is because ...

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Lessons from the Japanese tsunami

At exactly 2:46 pm on March 11, one year to the Japanese tsunami, sirens wailed through the skies to mark the first anniversary of the events of the horrible day. Trains stopped, work stopped briefly as mourners bowed their heads in prayer for the victims. Measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale, it was the strongest ever recorded earthquake in Japanese history, claiming approximately 19,000 lives, with thousands still missing. A year later, as reconstruction work continues and debris is removed from the cities — giving the Japanese landscape some semblance of normalcy — things are still not near or close to ...

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Iran and the oil embargo

When it comes to the face off between the United States and Iran over Iran’s nuclear program, there are signs that things could escalate into something that neither country will be able to handle. Is it wise to challenge one another at a time like this and threaten each other’s security and resources? Global powers are not what they once used to be. Is this stand-off supposed to result in something, or is it an indication that we cannot stop playing games with one another? Recently, the European Union finally approved an oil embargo on Iran, which prohibits any EU member ...

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