Monday, December 10, 2012

Terminal renovation to make way for more big birds

Another terminal at Bush Intercontinental Airport is in for a major rejuvenation, including new gates designed to service the world's largest commercial passenger jet.

Sometime in the first three months of next year, the Houston Airport System will bid out the design for an overhaul of the international Terminal D, which it will pay for with a combination of its own revenue and federal grants.

Last year, the city of Houston and the Airport System announced a partnership with United Continental Holdings, the parent company of United Airlines, for a $1 billion renovation of Terminal B at Intercontinental, the city's largest airport.

The Terminal D project calls for revamping 11 gates, including three to handle the double-decker Airbus A380, which German carrier Lufthansa brought to Bush Intercontinental for the first time in August to fly its daily nonstop between Houston and Frankfurt.

The airport system hustled earlier this year to revamp Terminal D's Gate 12 to prepare for the Lufthansa jumbo jet's arrival. That involved installing a special jet bridge to reach the A380's full-length upper and lower decks.

Three other foreign airlines with service at Bush - Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Air France - also own A380s. British Airways and Qatar Airways have the big planes on order. But none has announced A380 service to Houston or Texas - yet.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Civil society praises govt for renaming squares after heroes from history

Civil society organisations have praised the City District Government Lahore for renaming different streets and squares in the city after renowned personalities of history.

Civil society organisations, which met under Abdullah Malik, said renaming Fawara Chowk in Shadman after freedom fighter Bhagat Singh was a positive step.

They said Bhagat Singh had struggled hard to safeguard human rights, adding that citizens had equal rights in Pakistan and the state was responsible to protect them.

“Bhagat Singh’s fight for freedom was free of any discrimination of race, religion and sect. His struggle aimed at liberating people of the region,” said participants of the meeting.

They said they were against all those elements which discriminate against freedom heroes on the basis of their religion.

“An enlightened society calls for giving equal rights to citizens and we are, therefore, against all sorts of reactionary movements,” they said.

Abdullah Malik said they would move court to seek justice.

Salman Abid, Mumtaz Mughal, Iftikhar Butt, Amna, Idrees, Akmal Awais and representatives of Bhagat Singh Foundation, Arman Welfare Foundation, Policy Dialogue Forum, HRCP, Aurat Foundation, Sangat Foundation and Tanzeemul Fajr attended the session. pr

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pakistan expected to add 5-60 million to its urban population by 2030

Urban planners, environmentalists and development experts have stressed on the need for developing viable plans for well-planned towns and cities so as to make them sustainable engines for economic growth.

Experts pointed out that expanding towns and cities due to urbanisation are posing serious risks to the existing infrastructures in urban centres. It has become a daunting challenge for urban planners to ameliorate the ailing infrastructures and make them climate-resilient to survive future possible climate change-induced natural disasters.

They were addressing members of civil society organisations and officials of government departments and ministries on the occasion of the World Habitat Day 2012. The Federal Ministry of Climate Change, in collaboration with the UN-Habitat, marked the event under the theme of ‘Changing Cities, Building Opportunities’.

The United Nations has designated the first Monday of October every year as the World Habitat Day (WHD). This year, the day was celebrated on October 1 throughout the world, including Pakistan, by the UN-Habitat.

Addressing the participants, Federal Ministry of Climate Change Secretary Mahmood Alam said that cities are growing at a fast pace and aspirations of the nations are visible in large metropolitan cities.

The cities have emerged to be the hub of production of goods, services, trade and business as well as technological advancement. However, it has become palpable that modern trends in economies and information technologies are steering cities towards sites of innovative production and knowledge, he remarked.

He said, “Urban enterprises, industries and transport sector are the key sources of greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions of poisonous gases in the atmosphere have contributed in rapid temperature rise and become cause of torrential rainfalls with increasing intensity during the last two decades.”

The federal secretary told participants that Pakistan by 2030 would have approximately 55 to 60 million population added to its urban areas. And, the growing urbanisation would lead the cities to play exceeding important role in the national uplift. Given the realisation, it is felt that surging urbanisation and industrialisation will place urban environments under virulent pressures.

Talking about government’s sensitivity to this grim foreseeable scenario, Mahmood Alam said that the government has hammered out the ‘New Growth Strategy’, which stresses on creative cities as places of culture, learning, harmony, productivity, efficiency, creativity and equity for ensuring sustainable development.

The National Climate Change Policy, which has been approved by the federal cabinet on September 26 this year, provides recommendations for sustainable urbanisation and measures to tackle with emerging climate challenges, he recounted.

He further said, “The federal cabinet, while approving the policy, has desired to create Islamabad as climate change-resilient model city and this initiative will help other cities of the country to follow suit.”

Planning Commission of Pakistan Deputy Chairman Dr. Nadeem said the cities are increasingly becoming places of attraction and meeting places for industrialists, scientists, technologists, traders and businessmen to share their problems and discuss possible solutions to their common socio-economic problems.

He underlined the need to build new cities and manage them in way that they would be climate-resilient, centres of equal socio-economic opportunities for every one and brim with sound basic life amenities.

Ministry of Climate Change Director-General (Environment) Jawaid Ali Khan urged the business leaders, corporate sector to join hands with the government to improve basic life amenities and services in cities.

Those who also spoke on the occasion included Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Pakistan, Timo Pakkala, Country Programme Management of the UN-Habitat in Pakistan Siamak Moghaddam, former Senator Saadia Abbasi, Peshawar University Regional Planning Department Chairman Dr Amir Khan and Heritage Foundation Chairperson Yasmeen Lari.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Teachers launch massive rally against SU VC, education minister

The Sindh University Teachers Association (SUTA) with joint support of Sindh Chapter of Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA), Sindh Professors & Lecturers Association (SPLA), Government School Teachers Association (GSTA), Primary Teachers Association (PTA), Sindh University Shadow Student Union, Sindh Chapter of Pakistan Medication Association (PMA) and Center for Peace & Civil Society (CPCS) arranged a rally from Sindh University Old Campus to Press Club Hyderabad.

In the protest program leaders, activists and supporters of many political parties including Sindh Taraqi Passand Party (STP), Awami Jhamoori Party (AJP), Labor Party Sindh, Communist Party and some other people’s organizations took part actively.

Participants of the rally gathered at Sindh University Old Campus at 12 noon and marched towards Hyderabad Press Club raising the slogans demanding immediate replacement of controversial SU VC Nazir Mughul, arrest of the killers of Prof Channar, restoration of student unions and immediate deweaponization of the campus.

The rally was addressed by leaders of teaches associations including Prof Muhammad Usman Keerio, Dr Azhar Ali Shah, Dr Arfana Mallah, Prof Suresh Kumar, Prof Liaqat Aziz, Mr Zameer Ahmed and Mr Rafqiue Ahmed Jarwar. On behalf of civil society organizations, renowned intellectual Mr Jami Chandio and representatives of the above organizations also shared their views.

The speakers criticized the role of Sindh Education Minister Mr Pir Mazharul Haq in becoming the party of the controversial VC Nazir Mughul and issuing threats to academics that are raising voice against the injustice. They said by doing so Pir Mazhar is not only insulting the university teaching community, students and employees but the civil society, the intelligentsia, the socio-political parties and all the people of Sindh in general who are supporting teachers demands aimed at the betterment of the educational environment at the University of Sindh.

The speakers strongly condemned the atrocities of controversial VC Nazir Mughul inflicted on university teachers by using police and Rangers. They said since a couple of days, Nazir Mughul had ordered police mobiles to be parked at the main gate of the administration block (AC-II) where teachers used to observe their peaceful protest. The police are deliberately confronting the teachers and resisting them from observing the protest. They warned that the voice of Sindh University Teachers and their representatives can’t be suppressed by use of any force; however, these tactics played by Nazir Mughul will tremendously tarnish the image and reputation of the University of Sindh as the protest will further grow at the massive level across Sindh and Pakistan with the joint support of all the participants of today’s rally.

The speakers demanded the Sindh Chief Minister, the Chancellor, the Chairperson HEC, the Prime Minister and the President of Pakistan to take serious note of the worsening situation at the University of Sindh owing to record maladministration, corruption, nepotism, cronyism, mismanagement and inefficiency of the incumbent retired controversial Vice-Chancellor Nazir Mughul coupled with undue and illegal interference of Pir Mazharul Haq. Immediate action must be taken for removal of Nazir Mughul and appointment of a person with sound integrity and academic excellence as new vice-chancellor as per HEC criteria besides the implementation of other demands. Any delay in this regard could further disturb the academic activities in the public sector institutes of education from primary schools to University level across Sindh.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The BMW M3 Coupe Lime Rock Park Edition

BMW of North America today announced the 2013 M3 Coupe Lime Rock Park Edition, of which 200 copies will be built this summer. Priced from $70,995 including $895 Destination and Handling, the M3 Coupe Lime Rock Park Edition will be “…a classic car for a classic track,” as described by Skip Barber, owner of the historic Lime Rock Park racing circuit located in northwestern Connecticut.

BMW and Lime Rock Park have collaborated on the M3 Coupe Lime Rock Park Edition to celebrate the longstanding relationship between BMW automobiles, the famed Lime Rock Park racing circuit, and the thousands of passionate drivers and fans who join them together. Deliveries are planned to begin this September.

The BMW M3 Coupe Lime Rock Park Edition will be constructed on the foundation of the iconic BMW M3 Coupe, now in its fourth generation, with enhancements selected through collaboration with Skip Barber and Lime Rock Park. Each car will be painted in rare Fire Orange and features Anthracite and Black cloth seating with Nappa leather trim. The popular Competition Package is fitted, and the M3’s signature carbon fiber composite roof panel will be retained on all copies produced. Also in the standard equipment profile will be a lightweight inconel-titanium exhaust muffler, carbon fiber front and rear aerodynamic aids, and an Anthracite Alcantara-covered, flat-bottom steering wheel. Finally, each M3 Coupe Lime Rock Park Edition will be quickly identified by a numbered plaque located on the center console, a unique decal on the left-rear quarter window, and a certificate of authenticity.

California-based racing driver Bill Auberlen, whose career has been synonymous with the BMW brand in America for 17 years and includes over 300 professional races in BMW cars, joined Skip Barber and Lime Rock Park management on July 3rd, 2012 to evaluate the prototype of the M3 Coupe Lime Rock Park Edition on the famed 1.5-mile circuit. Just a few days before starting his 100th American Le Mans Series race at Lime Rock Park, Auberlen remarked, “A race car is never allowed to be perfect. It’s the job of the driver to constantly suggest improvements and find more speed. But the M3 Lime Rock Park Edition may be as close to perfect as you can get, right off the production line. From its great color to the flawless manners it showed on the track, for the first time I can say I might not change a thing.”

The balanced, linear driving dynamics of the BMW M3 Coupe are often described as a perfect match for the challenging Lime Rock Park circuit. As described by track owner Skip Barber:

“A newcomer looks at the track map and thinks, ‘Oh, this is easy.’ It’s not. Lime Rock is an extremely difficult track to drive quickly. It has three of what many drivers think are some of the most challenging corners in North America: The Uphill, West Bend and The Downhill,” Barber said. “There are tricky cambers, extreme elevation changes, very high speeds… all Lime Rock signatures since it opened 55 years ago. And the BMW M3 Coupe Lime Rock Park Edition, when equipped with the six-speed manual, is geared perfectly – and I mean perfectly – for the track. I agree with Bill: I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Lime Rock Park is one of America’s most recognized road racing venues and has been continuously operated since its opening in 1957. Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places by the National Park Service, the track is 1.5 miles in length, encompassing seven corners and more than seven stories of elevation change. The track is considered one of the most beautiful –and challenging to drive – in the world, constructed in a natural valley in the Berkshire Mountains of extreme northwest Connecticut. More information can be found at