Musharraf’s 1999 coup was premeditated, says ex-officer

Former Pakistan military ruler Pervez Musharraf’s October 1999 coup was premeditated, a former high ranking army officer has revealed. General Ziauddin Butt, who was to take over from Musharraf as the army chief after then PM Nawaz Sharif removed Musharraf from the post, said the former Pakistan president and had started preparing for the coup as soon as he took over in 1998. “The plan to topple the elected government was not a secret in the days leading up to October 12, 1998. We were aware that Musharraf and his cronies would take over,” Butt told a Pakistani newspaper.

Butt said a telephone call from a “reliable source” ahead of Sharif’s visit to Multan on the day of the coup, led to Musharraf’s removal. “To date, Sharif has not disclosed who the caller was,” he said. He held Musharraf, then corps commander General Mahmud Ahmed, chief of general staff General Aziz Khan, vice chief of general staff Maj-Gen Ali Mohammad Jan Orakzai and DGMO Maj-Gen Shahid Aziz responsible for the coup. Butt said the differences between Sharif and the military emerged after the Kargil fiasco and that Musharraf started the conflict without his approval. “Even the corps commanders and principal staff officers were kept in the dark,” he said.

He said the relations between Musharraf and Sharif deteriorated rapidly after the fiasco and that the latter even abused the former PM in private gatherings. “Sharif learnt this because he was given an audio tape in which the chief of army staff was using insulting language against him. IB gave the PM the tape,” he said. The coup ended Butt’s military career and he was detained and kept in a two-year solitary confinement.

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3 win economic Nobel for job market analysis

Two Americans and a British-Cypriot economist won the 2010 Nobel economics prize on Monday for developing a theory that helps explains why many people can remain unemployed despite a large number of job vacancies. Federal Reserve board nominee Peter Diamond was honored along with Dale Mortensen and Christopher Pissarides with the 10 million Swedish Kronars ($1.5 million) prize for their analysis of the obstacles that prevent buyers and sellers from efficiently pairing up in markets.

Diamond, a former mentor to current Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke analyzed the foundations of so-called search markets, while Mortensen and Pissarides expanded the theory and applied it to the labor market. Their work sheds lights on why the classical view of markets, in which prices are set so that buyers and sellers always find each other and all resources are fully utilized, does not always apply to the real world.

One example is the housing market, where buyers can struggle to find new homes even though there are a number of unsold properties is available. “Another is the labor market. Because searching for jobs takes time and resources, it creates friction in the job market, helping explain why there are both job vacancies and unemployment simultaneously,” the academy said.

“The laureates” models help us understand the ways in which unemployment, job vacancies and wages are affected by regulation and economic policy,” the citation said. Their work resulted in the so-called Diamond-Mortensen-Pissarides model, a frequently used tool to estimate how unemployment benefits, interest rates, the efficiency of employment agencies and other factors can affect the labor market.

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Clues to the spread of cancer are ‘discovered’

In what may pave the way for more effective treatment for some of most aggressive cancers, scientists claim to have discovered vital clues to the spread of the disease in the body. An international team, led by University of New South Wales, has found that cancer cells are accompanied by growth-enabling stromal cells when they travel in the bloodstream to new sites in the body. The finding challenges the belief that metastasis is the sole preserve of cancer cells and has implications for all solid tumors, say the scientists.

In fact, the team found that “enabling” pancreatic stellate cells from primary tumors have the ability to invade blood vessels to travel via the bloodstream to distant sites, where they create a hospitable environment for cancer cells to seed and grow, the ‘American Journal of Pathology’ reported. “It has always been presumed that only cancer cells travel in metastasis. But we have shown for the first time that stellate cells also travel in tandem with the cancer cells. It’s like the cancer brings its own luggage with it – the stellate cells – allowing it to settle in a new place more comfortably and more quickly,” said the study’s lead author Prof Minoti Apte.

In the study, the scientists used a gender mismatch approach to investigate whether these enabling cells could migrate. Female mice were injected in the pancreas with a female cancer cell line and male pancreatic stellate cells. After seven weeks, metastatic nodules in all mice showed the presence of Y chromosome positive male cells. “These could only have come from the original tumor and the male pancreatic stellate cells. The challenge now is to stop PSCS from aiding and abetting pancreatic cancer cells – not only in the primary tumor site but also to prevent or diminish cancer growth in distant sites,” Apte said.

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