The new National Assembly, whatever its composition, faces enormous challenges... The biggest task will be to push the democratic process forward with restraint, wisdom and foresight. It would be a tragedy if partisan politics made the MNAs (members of the National Assembly) lose sight of the one immediate aim before them—to give stability to Pakistan by forming a government that would be truly representative...the assembly should focus on doing away with the several amendments that have altered the 1973 Constitution’s parliamentary character... All the powers have been concentrated in the hands of the head of state, the most important of being Article 58-2b, which gives him the power to dissolve the assembly and sack the prime minister even if he enjoys the House’s confidence... If the Constitution is to be restored...all the newly elected MNAs must unite irrespective of party affiliations to forge a two-thirds majority to strike those amendments down.
Rules for sovereign wealth
The timing looks suspicious. Australia may well have been looking at how to deal with sovereign wealth funds before this month’s $14 billion dawn raid by the Chinese mining company, Chinalco, on shares in Rio Tinto, the Anglo-Australian mining group. But the six principles set out by Canberra for subjecting state-controlled investors to greater scrutiny are as much a result of its desire to protect strategic assets as...a model of corporate governance. The emergence of sovereign wealth funds...has been beneficial for the target companies... But the political influence these could wield...raises valid concerns. Especially when so few funds publish even management structures or investment objectives. For Australia, whose economic boom is founded on strong Asian demand for its natural resources, this lack of transparency is a problem... But it is also in (its) interest to be seen to behave fairly... A much better course is to draw up a global code of conduct.
Recycling fluorescent lights
(INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE)
Across the world, consumers are being urged to stop buying dated incandescent light bulbs and switch to new spiral fluorescent bulbs, which use about 25% of the energy and last 10 times longer. In Britain, there is a “Ban the Bulb” movement. China is encouraging the change. And the US Congress has set new energy efficiency standards that will make Edison’s magical invention obsolete by the year 2014. The question is how to dispose of these fluorescent bulbs once they break or quit working. Unlike traditional bulbs, each of these has a tiny bit of a dangerous toxin—around 5mg of mercury... Almost 300 million compact fluorescents were sold in the US last year. That is already a lot of mercury to throw... Even when warned, public officials are never great at planning. The Environmental Protection Agency focuses mostly on the disposal of one bulb at a time. Interestingly...these bulbs are still better for the environment than the old ones.
Access to brilliant insights
(THE BOSTON GLOBE)
Harvard’s arts and sciences professors have decided to give the world a look at their research...for free... Proposed by computer science professor Stuart M. Shieber, the policy presumes that the mission of academic publishing is not to make money, but to create, preserve, and share knowledge... Faculty members will have the right to opt out, publishing the article exclusively with professional journals and not putting it in the (Harvard) repository. But the hope is that most scholars will want...to be read and cited as widely as possible... The move will also let the arts and sciences faculty reclaim the right to use their published work from journals that have traditionally restricted (this)... Other schools such as the University of Oregon have digital repositories. But...they don’t require faculty to participate or deliberately opt out. The Internet offers the means to free knowledge. The world’s knowledge brokers have to provide the will and the ways.