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Excerpts from an interview with Pervez Musharraf where he accepted that he'd suspected Dr. Khan's nuclear proliferation but also added that the US hadn't supplied him with convincing proof.
Cmon Pervez, get off the high horse. Should the US provide you with proof that your nuclear weapons programme chief was smuggling technology with the connivance of the top brass in the military and political establishments? If Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state, as you (and other PMs in the past) have stated often, why didn't you have enough checks in place? Now any attempt by other countries to question the entire proliferation issue or the pardon given to Dr. Khan is brushed off as being an internal matter of Pakistan. Perhaps the US providing proof is also an internal issue? Musharraf brazenly claims that they had no idea this was going on since the 1980s. India has been shouting itself hoarse for the last 15 years about Pakistan's clandestine nuclear weapons programme and the proliferation to other rogue countries in exchange for missile technology. Yet, when the cat is out of the bag, does it make sense for the Indian government to strangely not go at full throttle, just because there is a thaw in Indo-Pak relations currently? Would staying silent help? Would the full details of Pakistan's nuclear programme be made public for the world to see? No. Then why not put pressure on Pakistan?
Musharraf proudly claims "We nipped the proliferation in the bud, we stopped the proliferation," he said of Dr. Khan's removal. "That is the important part.". No it isn't dear Pervez. The horse had bolted and the barn door was shut much later. Its like an Australian captain saying that when his bowlers and fielders sledged opposition batsmen, there was no need for the ICC to step in because they would handle it internally by imposing a fine that the sledger would buy beer for the team.
Cut to the US State Department daily briefing where spokesman Richard Boucher puts a few spokes in the wheel of the Pakistani government's claims (see above) that they weren't informed early enough about possible proliferation by Dr. Khan and his cohorts.
Pakistan's fingerprints continue to be found all over the international terrorist network. The Washington Times reports that Islamic radicals are being trained at terrorist camps in Pakistan and Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir as part of a conspiracy to send hundreds of operatives to "sleeper cells" in the USA.
With Democrat Presidential hopeful John Kerry, a Vietnam veteran, asking US President Bush to come clear on his military record, the White House had a press briefing resulting in the usual round-about answers.
With Murli Manohar Joshi poking his nose into the IIMs by directing them to reduce their annual fees from Rs. 1.5 lakhs to Rs. 30,000, there is a raging debate on whether management education should be subsidized or not. The problem is that the government wants a subsidized high quality education at the engineering and management level while the real focus should be on ensuring quality primary education for all. It is a simple case of playing to the gallery and the votebank when it is election time. Dr. UR Rao, whose report was used as a justification for the decision to cut the IIM's fees is aghast at the whole direction his report has taken. Rasheeda Bhagat feels that the educational institutions must make it clear that they don't require grants from the government to escape from its clutches.
Oh, and whose money is being used to subsidize IIM education? Yours and mine (well, if you pay taxes in India, that is!).
Mike Marqusee, who wrote a book War minus the shooting: Journey through South Asia during cricket's World Cup, comments on the India-Pakistan Test series which could still not happen!
Link of the day
What if a telephone system could figure out that you were getting angrier waiting for the customer care operator to attend to you and instead of providing an automated menu or soothing music, urgently transfer you to the operator? That is exactly what Prof. Shrikanth Narayanan and his team in the Speech Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory at the University of Southern California have been working on. As is normal with a research project, it has a zany title: Rapid Development of Mission-Oriented Communication Skills.
Media & Technology
Just as we go to press, news comes in that Comcast Communications has proposed a merger with The Walt Disney Company and valued Disney at $66 billion. Slides of the proposal presented to the Comcast board on Feb 1, 2004.
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