Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Centennial celebrations: ‘Faiz’s revolution yet to come’

A large number of Pashto poets, civil society members and students gathered in Swat Press Club on Sunday to pay tribute to Faiz Ahmad Faiz.

The event was jointly organised by Global Peace Council, Svastu Arts and Culture Association and Socha Likwal as part of their celebrations for the legendary poet’s centennial birth anniversary.

Renowned Islamabad-based poet and writer Tahir Bhatti and Dr Riaz Majeed from Faisalabad participated as special guests.

Professor Waris Khan said, “As the editor of Pakistan Times, Faiz tried to lead the masses towards true democracy and individual freedom. He did not spare any social issue, and that is why the establishment turned against him.”

Svastu Arts and Culture Association Chairperson Usman Ulas Yar said his early days of writing verses lush with love and beauty led him to his greatest works, which highlighted the social and political issues of the day.

“He held up a beacon of light and carried it through the darkness of evils. He was a man of modern approach and will be remembered throughout ages,” Yar added.

Bhatti said, “Though darkness kept changing forms, the light spread by Faiz outshined them all.”

He added, “He will not only be remembered with mere literary programmes but by his thoughts and mission, which will, one day, be implemented in our society.”

Fazal Mahmood Rokhan summed up the discussion and said, “The revolution of Faiz has not come yet. When it does, it will not be this Pakistan but a Pakistan with moderate mentality which will join the queue of the developed nations.”

Dr Majeed said that the gathering is a reflection of the fact that Faiz was not a poet of any single language, area or race. “The social issues highlighted by Faiz were practically experienced by Swati people today. He merged romanticism with revolutionary ideas and proved to be a shield in front of the dictators and did not bow before them.”

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Maine gets first state waiver from healthcare law provision

Maine health insurers are getting a temporary waiver from the health reform law's requirement that they spend at least 80 percent of premiums on care, federal regulators decided Tuesday.

Maine is the first state to get a waiver. Three other states — New Hampshire, Nevada and Kentucky — have pending waiver applications.

The law requires plans in the individual market to meet an 80 percent medical loss ratio threshold or offer rebates to enrollees for the difference. The Maine Bureau of Insurance in December asked to retain its existing 65 percent ratio, arguing that a higher ratio would disrupt its market.

The Department of Health and Human Services agreed with those arguments in a letter sent Tuesday to Superintendent of Insurance Mila Kofman, a supporter of the law. The waiver is good for three years, but the last year is conditional on getting 2012 data that shows a continued need for the waiver.

The decision is "rooted in the particular circumstances of the Maine insurance market," the letter reads.

Specifically, HHS points out that three insurers make up the bulk of Maine's individual insurance market: Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maine (49 percent), MEGA Life and Health Insurance Company (37 percent) and HPHC Insurance Company (13 percent). MEGA had told Maine during preliminary discussions that it "would probably need to withdraw from this market if the minimum loss ratio requirement were increased."