World View: Police Crackdown Tries to Control Exploding Violence in Karachi, Pakistan
This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Police crackdown tries to control exploding violence in Karachi, Pakistan
- The cost of Obamacare
- UK throws out 30% of all the food it grows
Police crackdown tries to control exploding violence in Karachi, Pakistan
Paramilitary soldiers arrest suspects in a residential area in Karachi (AFP)
Officials are bragging that they've arrested or killed over 5,000
"criminals" (killers, extortionists and kidnappers) in Karachi,
Pakistan, in a massive operation that was launched last month on
September 7. In addition, the police recovered 1,209 arms
and 52 bombs.
The police operation was launched because of an explosion of
violence in the last few years. Last year there were 2,124
people killed on the streets. This year there were 2,058
murders just till the end of September, but "only" 155
of those were in September, indicating that the police
crackdown is having some effect.
Karachi is the economic center of Pakistan, and contains highly
volatile mix of different ethnic and religious groups, many of
whom openly hate each other, and others of whom just hate
There are the Mohajirs, who are Urdu�speaking migrants from northern
India who came to Pakistan following Partition, the 1947 partitioning
of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan, leading to a
horrific war between Hindus and Muslims. There are the Pashtuns, a
major ethnic group mainly in northwest Pakistan, but which in recent
years has been moving south into Karachi in order to escape the
Taliban violence. To pursue their territorial, economic and political
interests, both the Awami National Party (ANP), which represents the
Pashtuns, and the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), which represents
Mohajirs, are increasingly turning to violence through proxy forces.
If that isn't bad enough, Karachi is increasingly the home of
terrorists from Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP, the Pakistan Taliban).
Dawn (Pakistan) and South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) and The Diplomat
The cost of Obamacare
The facts and figures about the Obamacare web site just keep pouring
out in gruesome detail. It's like watching a traffic accident. You
have to slow down, and you can't take your eyes off of it, despite the
horror of it.
According to one analyst I heard on tv on Monday, Healthcare.gov cost
$300 million to develop, much higher than the $93.7 million that we
heard last week. According to that analyst, that means 1.5 million
man-hours at $200 per hour. Can I get one of those jobs?
The NY Times is quoting one analyst as follows:
"One specialist said that as many as five million
lines of software code may need to be rewritten before the Web
site runs properly."
Given that 1.5 million man-hours have already been spent on this
project, the figure of 5 million lines of code needing rewriting is
As I've said several times in the last few days, I've had a lot of
personal experience with IT disasters, and this is easily the worst
I've seen. ( "15-Oct-13 World View -- Aetna CEO predicts Obamacare IT failures until 2017")
The prediction by Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini may be optimistic, in the
sense that this web site may never work. Slate
UK throws out 30% of all the food it grows
UK food waste figures (BBC/Getty)
According to a survey conducted by the UK supermarket chain Tesco,
every family in the UK wastes an estimated $1,200 per year, throwing
away food. Tesco found that 68% of salad sold in bags is thrown out,
50% of bakery items, 40% of apples, 25% of grapes, and 20% of bananas.
I've seen stories like this before. The Tesco study only covers food
that reached Tesco's shelves, but I saw a story last year that claimed
that if you add in the amount of food that's thrown out by farmers and
distributors, then 30-40% of all food grown in the UK is thrown out.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that
one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted
- around 1.3 billion tons per year.
My reaction to this story is: What the hell is going on? Can't some
of this food be shipped to starving people in Africa and Asia? Or
starving people in Europe, for that matter.
Every now and then I do a story on how food prices have been rising
fairly steadily since the 1990s. (See, for example "21-Nov-10 News -- Food prices skyrocket to 2008 crisis levels" from 2010.) My conclusion is
that rising food prices is destabilizing populations, especially in
megacities, where children have to search through garbage dumps to
find food for their families to eat.
And the obvious question is this: Why are people starving when
one-third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted? Why
doesn't some smart entrepreneur start a business shipping wasted food
from UK to Africa?
The answer, unfortunately, is that food is cheap only when you can
grow it yourself, or it's grown nearby. Food is horrendously
expensive when it has to be shipped somewhere. Grown food is very
heavy, since a lot of it is mostly water, so shipping costs are high.
And most grown food has to be refrigerated if it's not going to be
eaten right away, which makes shipping costs astronomical. And if an
apple is shipped for a long time, it's not going to look very good, so
the entrepreneur won't make any money charging higher prices.
So, unfortunately, food prices are going to continue to go up, and the
starvation problem is only going to grow worse, especially in
megacities, where food has to be shipped in from long distances.
BBC and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
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