Mar 242017
 

Happily married to Mira, and loving his new real life role as a father, actor Shahid Kapoor chose to “get back” when asked about his “secret past” with Kareena Kapoor Khan.

Shahid was at the India Today Woman Summit and Awards when an audience member was keen to know about his “secret past.”

“I have a secret past?” Shahid asked, almost puzzled.

Shahid Kapoor reveals why he doesn’t take pictures with Kareena Kapoor

“How do you know about it? Were you spying on me? I can’t confess to my secret past,” he added.

On being prodded with Kareena’s name, he said, “How is that a secret, madam? It’s a world secret.”

Later, when Shahid was asked to teach one of his dance steps to the audience, he invited the same lady who wanted him to talk about Kareena.

“The lady who said, Kareena Kapoor, I want her on the stage. See, this is karma, life gets back. What goes around comes around and it’s not just Justin Timberlake who said that… it’s true for life,” he quipped.

Shahid and Kareena had one of the most talked about relationships in tinsel town in recent years, and their split courted equal media attention.

Kareena Kapoor lashes out at Indian media

Kareena went on to marry actor-producer Saif Ali Khan, and is now a mother to their first child – a son named Taimur. Shahid went for an arranged marriage with Delhi girl Mira, and they have daughter Misha.

In the midst of the discussion here, when the host said she won’t go into his past relationships, he said, “So kind of you. Shaadi ke baad yeh sab mat kiya karo (Don’t do all this after marriage).”

He spoke about love and arranged relationships.

Asked if love is a prerequisite for a marriage, Shahid said, “Of course, it is, but in an arranged marriage, it’s about companionship and friendship first, and love follows.”

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Mar 242017
 

ISLAMABAD: The parliament passed a climate change bill that officials promise “will fast-track measures needed to implement actions on the ground” in a country that has so far lagged on climate action.

The new law establishes a policy-making Climate Change Council, along with a Climate Change Authority to prepare and supervise the implementation of projects to help Pakistan adapt to climate impacts and hold the line on climate-changing emissions.

The legislation has received cautious backing from climate change experts, who say they welcome its potential but question whether the government should instead be offering more direct support to provinces to implement environmental projects.

Pakistan has earlier passed measures to address climate change, but most have been little implemented, critics charge.

The Senate passed the Climate Change Act 2016 this month, following the bill’s passage in the National Assembly in December.

The legislation is expected to be approved by the president in the coming weeks, a requirement under the Constitution.

Pakistan becomes fifth country in the world to adopt legislation on climate change

Federal Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid called the legislation ‘historic’ and said it would “fast-track measures needed to implement actions on the ground”.

Former government under president Asif Ali Zardari had introduced a comprehensive National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) in 2013 but it languished under the current government.

Upon coming to power in June 2013, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also downgraded the Ministry of Climate Change to a division and slashed its budget by more than 60 per cent.

He later elevated its status back to a federal ministry ahead of the historic climate change conference in Paris in 2015.

Climate expert Qamaruz Zaman Chaudhry, who was the lead author of the NCCP, credits the climate change minister, who also helped draft a national environmental protection act 20 years ago, with pushing ahead the current legislation.

The new bill will help the provinces with adaptation and mitigation strategies and projects, he added.

“The Climate Change Act will also ensure awareness of climate policy at the highest level,” he said, adding, “The climate change council will hopefully expedite action, and the implementation of climate projects will pick up.”

FLOODS TO RISING HEAT

Hamid said that Pakistan today faces major climate-related risks, including glacial melt, variable monsoons, recurrent floods, sea intrusion, higher average temperatures and greater frequency of droughts.

Millions of people across the country have been affected, and major damage has been caused by recurring natural disasters.

Pakistan to become warmer next week

Under a 2010 amendment to the Constitution, handling of environment, food and agriculture issues was largely delegated to the provinces. But “climate change is multi-dimensional in nature and no one province can handle it. We need a federal body to do the necessary coordination among the provinces and to access the available global climate finance,” Hamid said.

The new law establishes a Pakistan Climate Change Council, Pakistan Climate Change Authority and Pakistan Climate Change Fund.

The council will be a decision-making body chaired by either the prime minister or a person nominated by him.

‘Sindh – most vulnerable province to climate change’

The government will appoint federal and provincial ministers, chief ministers and chief secretaries as members of the council. Other members of the body, which will total around 30 people, will be scientists and researchers, representatives of business and industry, and experts from non-governmental organisations concerned with climate change.

The Climate Change Authority will be an autonomous government department, housed in Islamabad and led by scientists, academics, industrialists, agriculturalists and serving and retired government servants, with a chairperson appointed by the prime minister. It will formulate adaptation and mitigation policies and projects designed to meet Pakistan’s obligations under international climate accords like the recent Paris Agreement.

Projects are to be implemented by the provinces. The Climate Change Fund will support adaptation and mitigation schemes, and other measures including research.

ENFORCEMENT THIS TIME?

Hammad Naqi Khan, director-general of WWF-Pakistan, one of the country’s oldest environmental NGOs, questioned whether the new bodies would have regulatory teeth.

“While I appreciate the fact that we now have new legislation in place to address issues related to climate change, the fact remains that we have policies for everything but where is the enforcement?” he asked.

He pointed out the earlier example of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Council, set up under the 1997 Environmental Protection Act.

Ejaz Ahmad, an environmentalist who recently retired from WWF-Pakistan, argued that the government needs to support the provinces in implementing climate change policy, rather than creating new federal bodies.

“I don’t understand the need to add another layer of responsibilities to those who don’t have the capacity to deliver. Perhaps it would have been better to strengthen existing policies and fill the gaps,” he said.

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Mar 242017
 

MUMBAI, INDIA: The Indian government is giving industrial projects a chance to clear regulatory hurdles they had previously failed to do, in a move analysts say legitimises projects destroying forests and water sources, and hurting communities dependent on them. India’s environment ministry last week offered industries that had not previously obtained environmental clearance a period of six months to become compliant with the law, rather than leave them “unregulated and unchecked”. This gives violating industries a free pass, allowing them to bypass safeguards and public hearings otherwise required for such a clearance, said Kanchi Kohli, an analyst at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi. “These violations have caused large-scale public harm,” she said, adding that the ministry opening a “back door” for those who do not comply sets a bad precedent. “This scheme takes our environment regulation several steps back.” India willing to build ties with Pakistan in a terror-free environment: Mukherjee India has enacted several laws to protect its forests, coasts and rivers, but they are rarely enforced. Illegal mining and industrial pollution have devastated vast tracts of land and bodies of water, harming communities dependent on them. The environment ministry said that projects applying for clearance in the next six months will be appraised by a committee, and that the regulatory process will be “stringent and punitive”. As more land and resources are sought for industrial projects in one of the fastest growing economies in the world, these violations are becoming more common, analysts say. Pakistan offers [Read More…]

Mar 232017
 
Lahore Qalandars edge past Birmingham Bears in Emirates T20 cup

DUBAI: The rising stars of Lahore Qalandars provided a perfect Pakistan day gift to the nation with a six runs win against Birmingham Bears in Emirates T20 cup on Thursday in Dubai. Batting first, after the captain Usman Qadir won the toss, Lahore posted 144/7 in 20 overs. Awais Zia smashed three sixes and stroked two boundaries to score 34 off 19 deliveries. Nauman Anwar played 35 deliveries to score 34 with the help of three boundaries and one sixer. Ameer Hamza and Bilawal Bhatti smashed some good shots towards the end of innings to help Lahore post a defendable total after some middle order hiccup. Hamza stroked three boundaries for 14-ball-22 while Bhatti smashed one six and one four to score 11 off 3 deliveries. Sukhjit Singh got four wickets for Birmingham Bears (the T20 name for the Warwickshire county). After a decent batting show, Lahore Qalandars showcased disciplined bowling to restrict Birmingham Bears, who was led by England’s Ian Bell, to 138/6. Raza Ali Dar bowled superbly and took two wickets, conceding just 20 runs form four overs. Captain Usman Qadir conceded just 13 from four overs and took one wicket. Lahore Qalandars will now play Lancashire Lightning in the morning season on Friday and the winner of match will qualify for the final of Emirates T20 from the group. Click for detailed story

Mar 232017
 
For the elite

The recent announcement by the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa government to develop the so-called biggest and modern park of the province in Peshawar is not a wise idea as far as the location of the planned recreation spot is concerned. The provincial government is requested to review the site for the park which would be spread over the 154 kanal of land and located in the posh Hayatabad area. A major portion of the population in Peshawar does not live in Hayatabad which already has 13 parks. There is no logic behind developing another one there. Instead of Phase-7 of Hayatabad, the government should select a suitable site on the Grand Trunk Road for building a park. Any site on the GT Road which is easily accessible to the majority of the inhabitants, especially those from the middle class would be suitable for a park. Faraz Awan Peshawar ***** Around two months have passed since the renovation of the DMS Central Cafeteria at the University of Karachi. The cafe has been turned into a nice comfortable place with good hygienic condition. However, the price menu hints that the canteen has been opened up for a specific place. The prices of food items are higher than the items sold at other canteens within the university. The university has students from all social classes. Some cannot afford food items at higher prices. Education institutions should not be involved in any sort of discrimination. The infrastructure should be, if not same, identical for all departments. [Read More…]

Mar 232017
 
Water talks

This refers to the editorial ‘Back to talking’ (Mar 22). The water talks with India have been an exercise in futility. The two sides at best agreed to disagree. The proposed secretary-level talks in Washington are also not expected to produce results. For Pakistan, the handicap is that there is dearth of water experts and legal professionals in the field who can put up a convincing case before the international community. The bureaucrats who have no understanding of the complex issue are usually associated with the discussions and attend the meetings. The Indus Water Commission is denuded of highly qualified personnel in the field as bureaucracy has overshadowed the organization and politicized. As a result, there has been a great deal of procrastination in taking up the water issue while India is on a building spree to construct dams/hydroelectric projects and deny Pakistan its fair share of water. Instead of administrators and bureaucrats, the country needs the expertise of foreign qualified specialists in the field in the Water Commission to counter Indian experts. Arif Karachi Click for detailed story

Mar 232017
 
Four years for degree

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) in consultation with experts has come up with certain recommendations to phase out the existing two years BA/BSc and MA/MSc programmes by 2018 and 2020 respectively. In this regard, a mechanism is being worked out to accommodate the students currently enrolled in the above-mentioned degree programmes. It’s being said that these steps are in continuation with the objectives envisioned over a decade ago. The question arises: Are we prepared for the process? There is still lack of collaboration between the HEC and the provincial government because of which achieving the desired results seems like a far cry. The above mentioned recommendations have also created shadows of uncertainty over the mechanism being followed by colleges across the country. Almost every college is offering two-year degree programmes and it is most likely that they do not have enough resources to entertain semester-based four-year degree programmes. Other mandatory facilities apart, faculty at colleges has never been provided with the privilege to go for higher studies. Isn’t it a kind of discrimination? A college teacher is granted study leave on the bases of a rotten ‘half average pay’ formula, whereas university teachers enjoy fully-funded foreign scholarships along with perks and privileges. Furthermore, we need to introduce education reforms to improve the current situation. We need to have a practical and futuristic approach towards education. It’s high time for the central and provincial governments to sit together and come with an umbrella policy covering all levels of education, with special [Read More…]

Mar 232017
 
Chevron-DHA Open rolls into action today

KARACHI: Pakistan’s top professionals were on Thursday seen flexing their muscles as they prepared for the Chevron-DHA Karachi Cup All Pakistan Open Golf Championship which tees off here at the Defence Authority Country and Golf Club from Friday (today). Spearheaded by Shabbir Iqbal, the defending champion and reigning Pakistan No. 1, the championship features a stellar cast from all over the country. The Rs1.8 million Chevron-DHA Open Championship is counted among the most prestigious events on the national golf calendar.Over 200 golfers are participating in the championship in which the main contests will feature professionals, amateurs, senior professionals and junior professionals. Other events include seniors, veterans, ladies, juniors and masters. On Thursday, various subsidiary events of the Chevron-DHA Open took place at the DACGC. The course looked in pristine condition with lush-green fairways and true greens.The main contest will begin on Friday which will see the country’s top professionals in action as they lock horns for a lucrative prize basket. One of the most coveted prize at stake in the competition will be a brand new Toyota Corolla which will go to the golfer who makes the first hole-in-one during the championship. Click for detailed story

Mar 232017
 
Pakistan claims third gold medal in Special Olympics

KARACHI: Pakistan on Thursday added to its gold tally when it lifted gold medal in the women’s snowshoeing 4x100m relay event of the Special Olympics World Winter Games being held in Austria.Pakistan’s relay squad, that achieved the milestone, had Murree-born Sabahat Tariq, Rimsha Naeem, Farah Ehsan and Fatima Amir.This was the third gold for Pakistan in the competitions. Sabahat Tariq lifted gold in the 100m race the other day and Huzaifa Qazi captured gold in the 200m race. Click for detailed story

Mar 232017
 
Emotional Day quits Match Play to be with ailing mother

MIAMI, Florida: An emotional Jason Day abruptly pulled out of his opening match at the WGC-Dell Match Play on Wednesday to be with his mother, who has been diagnosed with lung cancer and is having surgery on Friday. “Hard to comprehend being on the golf course right now, with what she’s going through,” said a tearful Day, who struggled to maintain his composure as he met with reporters after conceding his match at the Austin Country Club. Day, who was three down to Pat Perez after six holes when he conceded, did not say how long he would be away from the game or whether he would be at the April 6-9 Masters. “As of now, I am going to be back with my mom,” said Day, who had tears streaming down his face. “It’s been a very, very hard time for me to be even thinking about playing golf.” Day, 29, said his mother, Adenil “Dening” Day, was given 12 months to live at the start of the year after being diagnosed in Australia. She is in the United States for treatment, and the golfer said the prognosis appears to be better. Day lost his father, Alvyn, to cancer when he was just 12 years old. “I’ve already gone through it once with my dad,” the Australian said. “And I know how it feels. And it’s hard enough to see another one go through it, as well. “So as of now, I’m going to try to be back there [Read More…]

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