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Monday, 20 November

02:02

The Saudi Purge is a Global Crisis The Corbett Report

The House of Saud is in crisis as MBS consolidates his hold on the kingdom and prepares to transform Saudi Arabia in his image. But what is behind the purge, and how does it relate to the future of the world monetary system. Join James for a classic Corbett Report debriefing on the Saudi purge and the rise of the petroyuan.

01:33

The European Army without the Dictatorship of the USA? New Eastern Outlook

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In response to the USAs request to increase defense expenditures, the European member states of NATO, at the insistence of France and Germany, have suggested establishing the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) within the EU, which may be perceived as the predecessor of the European army. So, though supporting independence from the USA in questions of military policy, EU countries nevertheless keep issues of military cooperation in Europe as priorities for themselves.

The European leaders have already noticed a lack of enthusiasm from President Trump towards NATO and other multilateral organizations. Most likely, they have decided, as the Chancellor of German Angela Merkel said in May, that we Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.

For decades, Europe was able to increase integration in the economic and political spheres, but not in the military field. Matters of European defense were entirely delegated to NATO, behind which there stood the USA.

This is not about the creation of the European army or about the replacement of the NATOs collective security. However it is the first step to an independent European defense with projects of shared property, joint military allocations and over time, perhaps, with the deployment of joint troops. At a time of deficit budgets the nowadays split expenses may also win in efficiency, the French press noted.

Britain, following the USAs instructions (the later being vehemently opposed to the idea), hurried to call this potential and purely European establishment a phantom army, having specifically stressed: The defense of Europe will not be strengthened by weakening the bond with the United States or competing with NATO. To support the position, strategists from London give prominence to the ideas obviously inspired by Washington, such as that the enthusiasm backing PESCO stems only partially from the fear of Russia, but to a greater extent from the desire to shake off pressure by D.Trump in the future. Thus, eventually it may drive wedges between Eastern and Western Europe, between the US and the EU. Great Britain should stand...

00:53

These People: A Consideration of Those Who Serve Us The Wire

For how long can the middle class in India take the servitude of others for granted?

The help. Credit: Abhijit Chendvankar/Flickr. CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

I lost my innocence regarding the entitled exploitation of a vast army of people employed to serve at a pittance in my native India only after I got married and moved to the United States. Back home, everyone except the servants themselves, has a servant or two or three, some permanent, some part time. Here in America, I found, they were conspicuous by their absence. They were missing here, like India, like ones relatives, like the smell of spiced cooking emanating from homes, or the noise of throngs jostling on streets rattled by traffic, and unattended refuse attended by starving cows and the poor who make a living from recycling trash. Here I found myself mostly by myself, except for a just minted husband with whom I was ensconced in a whistle clean gadget-infested, odourless apartment. The incalculable loss of family, food, country and servants, native aromas, all in one fell swoop and in that order, was overwhelming.

When I finally came to, acceptance of altered life swiftly followed: Breakfast would not be on the table, nor lunch, nor dinner, the clothes not washed, bathrooms not cleaned, rooms not swept. None of these would occur thanks to virtually unseen hands. Now I, the stay-at-home housewife, had to do everything, albeit with begrudging help from my working husband on weekends. Worse still, there was no sympathy to be had regarding this tragedy as everyone was in the same situation and seemed to go about it quite normally. I pulled myself togeth...

00:00

Cambodia: The Birth of a Dictator The Wire

The Cambodian government has launched a fierce crackdown on the opposition. For a few months now, politicians, journalist and activists have been harassed to make their work impossible.

Police arrayed in front of the Cambodian Supreme Court. Credit: Pascal Laureyn/IPS

Phnom Penh: The Cambodian government had an almost paranoid fear of protests. A square kilometer around the Supreme Court was barricaded and off limits to the public. In faraway provinces, roadblocks were erected to stop demonstrators. Some opposition members were under temporary house arrest. But it turned out to be unnecessary. Nobody dared to protest.

The Cambodian government has launched a fierce crackdown on the opposition. For a few months now, politicians, journalist and activists have been harassed to make their work impossible. A new low point was reached on Thursday when the Supreme Court dissolved the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) ahead of the elections in 2018. Only the CNRP could have competed with the Cambodian Peoples Party (CPP), which has been in power for more than three decades. Hun Sen is the worlds longest serving prime minister.

The official dissolution of the CNRP was just a formality. The president of the Supreme Court is also a top committee member of de CPP and a longtime ally of Hun Sen. In Cambodia, justice is an auxiliary of the government and the prime minister is pulling all the strings firmly, now more than ever.

I could easily continue for another 10 years, the 65-y...

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Sunday, 19 November

23:45

Exploring the Curious History of the India-Pakistan Relationship The Wire

T.C.A. Raghavan The People Next Door is written with deep personal knowledge and a genuine investment in the India-Pakistan relationship.

Pakistani rangers (wearing black uniforms) and Indian Border Security Force (BSF) officers lower their national flags during a daily parade at the Pakistan-India joint check-post at Wagah border, near Lahore November 3, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Mohsin Raza/Files

Pakistani rangers (wearing black uniforms) and Indian Border Security Force (BSF) officers lower their national flags during a daily parade at the Pakistan-India joint che...

23:00

DFATs White Paper and Modern Reality New Eastern Outlook

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In 2018 the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) will release a new White Paper, setting out possible scenarios for the future conduct of Australias foreign policy. It would be unwise to expect any substantial, let alone radical, departure from the foreign policy format that has prevailed since at least the end of the Second World War.

One clue as to how the policy framework might be formulated may be found in the 2016 Defence White Paper. Not the least of the reasons for expecting a similarity of approach is that it has become increasingly clear that it is the Department of Defence that is the real driver of foreign policy. This has a number of dangers, not least because the mindset of military personnel and their quasi- civilian department, construes the world in a fundamentally different conceptual framework from DFAT, that at least in theory adopts a broader perspective from that of the military.

It is also inescapably the case that DFATs White Paper will have a non-negotiable starting point of the US Alliance being the cornerstone of Australias defence policy. Foreign policy initiatives must therefore be formulated within the context of whether or not what Australia wants is consistent with US geopolitical objectives.

On the practical side that process is already well advanced, with Australian military personnel already integrated into the American military structure. Other manifestations include the US spy base at Pine Gap, an integral part of the US war machine worldwide, and US military bases on Australian soil.

Australia also takes part in joint military exercises such as operation Talisman Sabre, that are clearly directed against China, or other joint military exercises, as with the current exercises that are directed against North Korea.

The fact that these and similar military exercises are directed against Australias largest trading partner and may therefore pose a conflict with Australias economic security is not something likely to be addressed in the White Paper.

To that military support, Australia also gives unwavering political support, in everything from prime ministerial statements about being joined at the hip with the US, to UN voting support for the violent apartheid regime in Tel Aviv, to maintaining a discrete silence about the US and UK supported war by Saudi Arabia against Yemen.

Judging by various public comments by politicians and military personnel in recent months, a fundamental underpinning of the allegia...

21:45

Moscow Vetoes Security Council"s Resolution on Syria: Saving Credibility of United Nations Strategic Culture Foundation

There was no reason for President Assad to use chemical weapons. He was winning the war. The UN-brokered peace talks on Syria were to launch on April 4 - the day of the attack. No way could the Syrian government benefit from the use of CW.

21:35

Making Sense of the BJPs First List of Gujarat Candidates The Wire

Angry over the list, which is full of repeat candidates, Patidars and Congress defectors, at least 30 disgruntled BJP leaders have submitted their resignations.

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. Credit: PTI

Ahmedabad: The composition of the Bharatiya Janata Partys first list of 70 candidates for the upcoming Gujarat assembly polls tells us a lot about the state of play in the most important election to be held between now and 2019 Lok Sabha.

Shelving its no-repeat policy, as many as 49 sitting MLAs have been repeated. New faces to prevent anti-incumbency had been a hallmark of the Narendra Modi-led BJP that won three terms in Gujarat. This time around, the party appears to be playing it safe, at least judging by the first list, with sitting MLAs, Patidars and key Congress defectors dominating the set of names.

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani from Rajkot West seat tops the list. Deputy CM Nitin Patel from Mehsana and state party president Jitu Vaghani will contest from Bhavnagar West.

Noticeably, the BJP has named 15 Patidar leaders. Five turncoat MLAs from Congress Raghavji Patel, MLA from Jamnagar Rural, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja from Jamnagar North, Ramsinh Parmar from Thasra, Mansinh Chauhan from Balasinor, Kheda district and CK Raulji from Godhra get to contest from their current seats.

The prestige seat

Rupani will contest again from Rajkot West, where he is likely to face a to...

21:15

Nikki Haley Rage Strategic Culture Foundation

Current incumbent Nikki Haley is the worst of the lot, an embarrassment to the office she holds, an over-the-top loose cannon, an imperial lunatic, a geopolitical know-nothing, a Russophobic extremist representing Americas ugly face, its ruthless agenda, its imperial madness.

20:40

Top NSA Whistleblower Claims "Russiagate" a Fake to Increase War-Spending Strategic Culture Foundation

No one who is promoting the Russiagate allegations is trying to debate William Binneys allegations. Instead, all of the newsmedia are plastered with allegations of Russias meddling in American democracy.

20:22

On Her Birth Centenary, We Need to Pay Tribute to the Early Indira Gandhi The Wire

The Emergency may be the most controversial part of her legacy but Mrs Gandhis greatest contribution to India was the way she handled the economic, political and foreign policy challenges the country faced after 1966.

Indira Gandhi and V.V. Giri receiving General Ne Win from Burma, New Delhi, 1974. Credit: Photo Division, GOI

Indira Gandhi is the most controversial prime minister that India has had. A third of a century after her tragic and untimely death, an older generation of Indians remembers her mainly for Indias victory in the 1971 war, and the Emergency. Scholars have also accused her of undermining democracy by splitting the Congress in 1969, repeatedly sacking chief ministers to concentrate power in her own hands, and splitting the party a second time for the same purpose in January 1978. But the poor of India remember her for her programme of Garibi Hatao and still call her Amma. On the foreign policy side, all of us, without exception, remember with pride the way in which she stood up to Nixon and Kissinger during the run-up to the Bangladesh war. . .

The end of the Nehruvian honeymoon

So vivid is the image we have of the later Indira that very few remember the young and unsure, woman who came to power after the sudden death of Lal Bahadur Shastri in January 1966. Even fewer, therefore, appreciate the difficult circumstances in which she did what she did and her immense contribution to stabilising the nascent India she inherited. For in January 1966, the country was in the grip of a multi-faceted crisis, and did not even know it.

The production of food grain had hit a plateau...

20:15

Trump's New Afghanistan Strategy Isn't Really a Strategy Strategic Culture Foundation

Congress should instead push now for much more comprehensive responses and much more elaborate detail to the Trump omissionseven if in executive sessions. Almost certainly, it will find the new strategy is woefully deficient, no more satisfactory certainly than the plans of Presidents Bush and Obama, which aroused such bitter, sweeping and sarcastic criticism by candidate Donald J. Trump. Congress should insist on a real strategy, author one itself, or else consider getting out of Afghanistan.

19:30

Photo Essay: Where There Are No Sewers The Toilet Cleaners of Lucknow The Wire

On this World Toilet Day, lets turn the spotlight behind the scenes of the sanitation chain, on those who clean out latrines where there are no sewers to carry away the waste.

The toilet cleaners of Lucknow. Credit: C.S. Sharada Prasad

November 19 is World Toilet Day. Enormous progress has been made in the global effort to provide safe and affordable toilets for the worlds poorest citizens since World Toilet Day was first declared in 2001. Significant strides have been made in reinventing toilet designs for low-income, water-short, unsewered urban zones; celebrities like Bill Gates and Matt Damon have brought this once-taboo topic into the open; and the prime minister of India  the country with the highest number of people still practising open defecation has publicly declared that his country needs toilets over temples.

Well over two billion people today lack access to basic sanitation facilities, according to the World Health Organization; about 760 million of them live in India. The goal of this day is to make the global community aware of their right to safe and dignified sanitation and to support public action and public policy to bring this right closer to those who do not enjoy it today. On this World Toilet Day, we focus on the back-end of the sanitation chain, on those who clean out latrines where there is no flush or sewer to carry away the waste. When this work is done without mechanical equipment and without protective clothing, scooping out faeces from dry latrines and overflowing pits, it is called manual scavenging.

Its an ancient profession and...

19:00

Migrants Are Dying in Detention Centres: When Will Canada Act? The Wire

Since 2000, at least 16 people have died while incarcerated in Canadas system of immigration detention, with a shocking four deaths since March 2016.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L) poses with airport staff as they await Syrian refugees to arrive at the Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ontario, December 10, 2015. After months of promises and weeks of preparation, the first planeload of Syrian refugees was headed to Canada on Thursday, aboard a military plane to be met at Toronto's airport by Trudeau. Credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch

Canadas Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L) poses with airport staff as they await Syrian refugees to arrive at the Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ontario, December 10, 2015. After months of promises and weeks of preparation, the first planeload of Syrian refugees was headed to Canada on Thursday, aboard a military plane to be met at Torontos airport by Trudeau. Credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch

Lucia Vega Jimenez, 42, Mexi...

18:50

Not Like Religion Clean and Unclean OrientalReview.org

The discussion of the category of clean versus unclean, sometimes discussed today, cannot be separated from the larger discussion of the abiding relevance of the Jewish Law.

18:30

Decent Toilets for Women and Girls Vital for Gender Equality The Wire

Being denied access to safe, private toilets is particularly dangerous for women and girls, impacting on their health and education, and exposing them to an increased risk of harassment and even attack.

Girls sit inside the Life Line Trust orphanage in Salem in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on June 20, 2013. Credit: Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters

Girls sit inside the Life Line Trust orphanage in Salem in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on June 20, 2013. Credit: Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters

London: This weekend marks World Toilet Day (November 19) and the news is disheartening. One in three people are still waiting for a toilet, still having to face the indignity and often fear of relieving themselves in the open or using unsafe or unhygienic toilets.

It is frustrating that the headline statistics have not made greater progress two years into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), when having a toilet is such a fundamental boost to gender equality, as well as health, education and economic opportunity.

In Out of Order: State of the Worlds Toilets 2017, WaterAids annual analysis based on WHO-UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) data, we show that Ethiopia is now the worst country in the world for having the highest percentage of...

17:36

Anuk Arudpragasam wins DSC Prize for South Asian Literature The Wire

The novel is impressive for its intensity and rich detail, and for exploring the tragic heart of war with such quiet eloquence.

Anuk Arudpragasam receiving the DSC Prize 2017 trophy.

New Delhi: Anuk Arudpragasam was announced winner of the DSC prize for South Asian literature 2017 at the Dhaka Lit Fest in Bangladesh for his debut novel The Story of a Brief Marriage on Saturday, November 18.

The Story of a Brief Marriage, is the story of a young man on the front lines between the Sri Lankan army and the Tamil Tigers. Author and jury chair Ritu Menon, calling it an outstanding novel, said, The novel is impressive for its intensity and rich detail, and for exploring the tragic heart of war with such quiet eloquence. It is also a testament to the redemptive power of love, and to the human spirits capacity for hope.

Arudpragasam, who is from Colombo and writes in English and Tamil, was awarded the $25,000 DSC prize by Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, finance minister of Bangladesh.


Also read: The Story of A Brief Marriage Imagines the Life of Persecuted Tamils in Sri Lanka


The other shortlisted authors this year were Anjali Josephs The Living...

17:26

Raghuram Rajans Note Advising Against Demonetisation Should Be Made Public: Montek Singh Ahluwalia The Wire

Karan Thapar interviews Montek Singh Ahluwalia, former deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, about demonetisation, GST and the overall state of the Indian economy.

Karan Thapar: Hello and welcome to very special interview with the former deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia. Over the next 45 minutes, I should talk to Mr Ahluwalia about the state of the economy, about demonetisation and GST, about the governments plans to recapitalise banks, to boost employment and growth, and of course about Fridays upgrade by Moodys.

Demonetisation

KT: Mr Ahluwalia, lets start with demonetisation, which earlier this month marked its first anniversary on the 8th. In an essay on his blog, put up the night before, the finance minister said this is watershed moment in the history of the Indian economy, and then he added that this has ended Indias traditional chalta hai attitude about corruption. How do you respond to that boost?

Montek Singh Ahluwalia: Well, I mean, you know, the finance minister is obviously keen to present the most positive picture he can think of. I wouldnt have called it quite that dramatic a development.

KT: Not a watershed?

MSA: I dont think so. I mean, np look. Its been highly, its probably been the most discussed initiative of the government, of any government for a very long time. Primarily because it was, in some sense, a very bold move, because after all, youre taking out 86% of the currency, and thats not a marginal change.  But you know, I go along with the general assessment that  its been quite disruptive, probably more disruptive than the government itself imagined. Its had a negative impact, particularly on the informal sector, which was the most cash dependent. The negative effect is probably now over, so whatever the costs, they are behind us. Whether it affected corruption or not, I have my doubts. Because, you know, I dont think that if you just take away a lot of money and hand back new money, that affects corruption. Its very important to affect corruption, but you need to make some systemic changes that will do that.

KT:...

16:39

Otto Warmbier Law and Other Elements of the US Sanction Policy In Respect of the DPRK New Eastern Outlook

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On October 24, 2017, the US Congress House approved the draft law by an overwhelming majority (455 deputies for, and two against) on the introduction of the new anti-North Korean sanctions named after the American student Otto Warmbier, who was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment for an attempt to disrupt the unity of the Korean people after he sneaked into the office of the hotel at night and tore off a propaganda poster from the wall. After 17 months, North Korea extradited him in a state of insensibility to the USA, and the student died 6 days later. Although the coroner did not name the death violent and did not find any traces of torture, the family of the deceased and North Koreas haters are sure that the student was a victim of cruel treatment or torture that leaves no traces.

The draft law stipulates the secondary boycott measures, including the closure of access to the international financial system for foreign financial companies that cooperate with Pyongyang. It also obliges the government administration to strictly perform all the sanction measures.

In addition, the law prescribes the USA to use all the efforts and opportunities (literally their voice and vote) to prohibit the assistance of the World Bank and other international financial institutions to countries that do not follow the anti-North Korean resolutions of the UN Security Council, including other international measures. The companies using the services of the North Korean workers are also subject to the sanctions.

According to the media of the Republic of Korea, the draft law has a peculiar meaning in anticipation of the upcoming visit of the US President Donald Trump to the Asian countries. Trump is expected to persuade China to strengthen the pressure on the DPRK, and Warmbier Law should become instrumental is this issue, as it is primarily aimed at the Chinese companies and banks cooperating with the DPRK. In addition, the US Administration has killed two birds with one stone. Heart-broken relatives and their support group received a visible confirmation that they were not abandoned, and the authorities adopted a very important component of unilateral sanctions enforcing the policy of either you are working with North Korea, or you are working with the United States. This was directly announced by the major sponsor of the law Congressman...

15:30

The Life of Labour: Fishworkers From Over 50 Countries Meet in Delhi, Centre Delays MNREGA Payments The Wire

The Life of Labour, a compilation of important labour developments from around the world, will be delivered to your inbox every Sunday at 10 am. Click here to subscribe.

Illustration by Aliza Bakht

Illustration by Aliza Bakht

West Bengals new ration scheme feeds the tea estate management

Subrata Nagchaudhary writes in Scroll.in about how the Trinamool Congress Khadya Sathi scheme under the National Food Security Act is saving crores for tea estate owners with little benefit for the workers. Previously, according to wage agreements between tea gardens and workers, the estate management provided a portion of wages to their workers in kind in the form of subsidised food grains. But since the new act makes the tea estate management the ration dealers to their employees and provides them food grains at subsidised rates, they do not need to buy from the market anymore. Thus, since February, each estate began to save Rs 660 per worker per month. This roughly works out to Rs 80 lakh a year for a tea garden with 1,000 workers. This saving is not being passed down to the worker in the form of cash wages and even their regular wages are delayed. Instead of subsidising the poor plantation workers, the state governm...

15:29

The Passions and Requests of an Earnest Entomophilatelist The Wire

While many countries have been producing postage stamps with insects of bright hues and with thoughtful scientific annotations, India Posts efforts leave much to desire.

Collectors of postage stamps and related items such as envelopes, postmarks and first-day covers are called philatelists. Of them, those who collect topicals, or thematic stamps and related materials that convey a theme, such as stamps with insects on them, are called thematic collectors. Collectors of insect-related stamps are said to practice entomophilately. Insects are endlessly fascinating creatures, creatures most people think of as nuisances or pests. The importance of insects to human welfare transcends the grand battles we fight against them to manage them for our own ends. Though some are bothersome, they are no less interesting to those who will stop and study them.

All too often, the common insects we encounter in our daily lives like houseflies, mosquitoes, cockroaches, ants, etc., turn out to be uninvited guests in our homes, gardens and at our picnics. However, as uncommon philatelic subjects, they should find a ready welcome in almost anyones thematic collection. Most of us hate them, but some of us entomologists and entomophilatelists love them. Insects have been on stamps for a very long time and in great abundance. From the point of view of thematic philately, insects can form a fascinating study and several sub-themes can be chosen.

For the past four decades, I have been collecting insects, with and without a net. My collections are both a pastime and a profession. The net-collected specimens by me and several of my more avid colleagues are tucked away in neat rows in tidy, wooden drawers in the department of entomology at the University of Agricultural S...

15:00

One Bad Turn The Wire

A short story that won a recent competition on the theme of road safety.

A short story competition was held to raise awareness on road safety. Credit: PTI

A short story competition was held to raise awareness on road safety. Credit: PTI

India recorded at least 4,80,652 deaths in road accidents in 2016. According a report compiled by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, as many as 413 people lost their lives every day in accidents last year. Half of those who died were between 18 and 35 years of age.

Aiming to increase public awareness on road safety and thereby help lower such deaths, the National Habitat Preservation Centre, a not-for-profit engaged in the promotion, preservation and conservation of Indian art, culture and heritage, came up with an out-of-the-box initiative in mid 2016 in association with Mahindra Bus and Truck Division. Named #HaveASafeJourney, the campaign held a short story writing competition in English on the theme of road safety.

Eighteen of the best stories chosen by the judges have been compiled into an anthology titled Have a Safe Journey. Brought out by Amarllyis Publishers, the anthology also includes short stories on related themes by writers like Shinie Anthony, Vikram Kapur, Ashwin Sanghi, Pankaj Dubey, Anand Neelakanthan, Kiran Manral and Priyanka Sinha Jha.

...

14:30

Unprecedented, Unconstitutional Action by I&B Ministry to Remove Two Films From IFFI List: S Durga Director The Wire

In conversation with S Durga filmmaker Sanal Kumar Sasidharan about his latest movie, politics and his time as an ABVP worker.

Sanal Kumar Sasidharan. Credit: Facebook

Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, the 40-year-old Malayalam filmmaker is no Marxist, nor does he have any Jihadi connection. He had been the unit secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the BJPs student wing, while a student at the Government Law College in Trivandrum. Even though he parted ways with the organisation over political differences, and now believes that the BJP rule at the Centre is nothing but authoritarian and fascist in nature, Sasidharan did not hesitate to support the idea of demonetisation instantaneously. He had his reasons for it, like he has for making the film Durga, which was sexy till the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) struck off three letters.

The CBFC was the first to train its gun on the film, issuing a U/A certificate, with 21 audio mutes and a change in name from Sexy Durga to Durga. Finally the information and broadcasting ministry removed the movie  which has already bagged nine international awards including the Hivos Tiger Award at Rotterdam  from the screening list of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), along with Ravi Yadavs Marathi film Nude, setting aside the recommendations by a 13-member jury. S...

14:30

Girls in Afghanistan, and Everywhere Else, Need Toilets The Wire

Lack of access to clean, safe, private toilets is a major barrier around the world and its an issue that disproportionately affects girls.

Girls cover their faces to protect themselves from the stench of a filthy and malfunctioning restroom in their school. at this school, girls have no toilets of their own and their only option is to use the ones on the far side of the buildings where the boys study. They do not have locking doors and are several minutes walk from a water point. 2017 Credit: Paula Bronstein for Human Rights Watch

Girls cover their faces to protect themselves from the stench of a filthy and malfunctioning restroom in their school. at this school, girls have no toilets of their own and their only option is to use the ones on the far side of the buildings where the boys study. They do not have locking doors and are several minutes walk from a water point. 2017 Credit: Paula Bronstein for Human Rights Watch

London/Washington: I never come here, just because of boys, Atifa says, pointing at the door of the stall. Theyre opening the door. Atifa, a sixth grader in Kabul, Afghanistan, attends a school of 650 girls. Since they study i...

14:00

By Age 22, Half of the Women in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Stay Home or Are Married: Survey The Wire

By community, Dalits (70%) had the highest share of 22 year olds employed in the states in 2016.

Hyderabad. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Hyderabad. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

While three out of four men headed to work, about one in two women stayed at home by age 22 in undivided Andhra Pradesh, according to the preliminary findings (herehere and here) of an ongoing global longitudinal study of childhood poverty.

Not only were fewer women training themselves for the labour market, far more women were married by age 22 in 2016 than men, according to research by Young Lives India the India chapter of Young Lives, a study of childhood poverty funded by the University of Oxford, UK in undivided Andhra Pradesh since 2002.

These data lend weight to other studies that show Indian women are at a significant and possibly widening disadvantage. Gap between men and women has widened on political empowerment, healthy life expectancy and basic literacy, resulting in India slipping 21 places to 108 in 2017 from 87 in 2016 on the Global Gender Gap Index of the World...

14:00

As India Rushes Towards Digital Money, Are We Doing Enough For the Elderly and Those With Disabilities? The Wire

A recent RBI circular reminds us that digital banking, welcome as it is in the overall context, does not benefit all sections of society equally.

Are the elderly and differently abled being left out of India's digital banking drive? Credit: PTI

Are the elderly and persons with disabilities being left out of Indias digital banking drive? Credit: PTI

In what has been hailed as a major step in stepping up of their standards of banking service towards the elderly and persons with disabilities, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued a circular with instructions to commercial banks.

First and foremost, banks will have to be more sensitive to their needs.Though not original, the RBI has taken off from its fourth bi-monthly credit policy statement in October and compiled a list of dos and donts to meet the obvious requirements of senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

The value of the central bank guidelines lies more in discussing its overall context rather than its individual points. The latter, in any case, are repetitive and merely stating what should have been standard banking practice.

Nevertheless the latest instructions are noteworthy for another reason. Indias financial environment has moved away, as it were, from seniors and people with disabilities. Individual manage...

13:30

Finding the Right Materials for Buildings of the Future The Wire

A civil engineer at IIT Guwahati talks about her research on lightweight concrete.

Indu Siva Ranjani. Credit: The Life of Science

Indu Siva Ranjani. Credit: The Life of Science

It was a sunny but chilly day in Guwahati. Only a week into a new semester, the mood at Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati (IITG) was laid back. At its centre the Serpentine Lake glistened in the winter sun. Its no wonder the sprawling IITG campus is considered one of the most beautiful in the country.

Four years ago, when Indu Siva Ranjani walked into this campus for the first time, everything was completely new and possibly a bit overwhelming. The civil engineer had just taken up a coveted faculty position in the institute; this was the first time she was ever venturing out of her hometown Chennai. Here it is very difficult to survive without Hindi, she told me regretfully, as she hung up on a phone call. Her Hindi had sounded better than mine but as a South Indian who has had Hindi thrust upon her so often, I empathised wholeheartedly.

Ranjani had rebelled with many to come all the way to Guwahati. She had no doubt that the IIT atmosphere would be ideal for her to foster her research. She wasted no time in getting started on her project to develop better building materials for Indian construction.

...

13:30

How Women Bring About Peace and Change in Liberia The Wire

Thousands of Liberian women have banded together to bring about peace and to fight for womens rights. Theyve changed the face of the African nation.

Women wearing their WIPNET T-shirts plan a peace jamboree the day before the Liberian election in October 2017. Credit: Carter Center

Women wearing their WIPNET T-shirts plan a peace jamboree the day before the Liberian election in October 2017. Credit: Carter Center

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the first woman to lead an African country. Her two terms in office ended with elections last month since, like the United States, presidents in Liberia are barred from serving more than two terms.

Affectionately known as Ma Ellen, Sirleaf took office at the end of a 14 year civil war in which an estimated 200,000 Liberians were killed.

Sickened and fatigued by war, thousands of Liberian women, through mass action, brought about an end to the conflict in 2003.

These same women took great risks to elect Sirleaf on her promise to sustain peace and make gender equality central to her administrations agenda. Some women hid their sons voter ID cards to prevent them from voting for Sirleafs opponent; others tricked the young men into exchanging their cards for beer; still others managed market stalls while their female owners went to register to vote and watched babies so that mothers could vote on Election Day.

These women, many of whom belong to the Women in Peace Building Network (WIPNET), are identifiable by their white t-shirts with blue WIPNET insignia. They are a powerful, widely respected group for what they have accomplished and continue to fight for.

When Sirleaf came to power in 2005, the world was electrified. On Inauguration Day in January 2006, proud Liberians, world leaders and dignitaries watched as she took the oath of office.

Sirleaf singled out the women in the peace movement, thanking them for their coura...

11:03

Reject Territorial Sea Act 2012 to safeguard Sarawaks territorial integrity See Hornbill Unleashed

The state government must be serious in safeguarding Sarawaks territorial integrity by rejecting the application and enforcement of the Territorial Sea Act 2012 in Sarawak, said Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How. It it is only by claiming the full rights to Sarawaks continental shelf in accordance with the Federal Constitution that the state can []

11:02

Sarawak govt to table comprehensive Land Code changes next May Hornbill Unleashed

A comprehensive amendments to the Sarawak Land Code relating to territorial domain and communal forest reserves will be ready for tabling in the May 2018 sitting of the State Legislative Assembly, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said today. He urged the indigenous communities, Dayak non-governmental organisations and interested individuals should let the []

11:02

Sabah, Swak judicial independence under MA63 breached, says PBS Hornbill Unleashed

Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) says that interference in the court systems of Sabah and Sarawak, has strayed from the guarantees under the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63). In a speech at the PBS delegates conference today, the partys outgoing president Joseph Pairin Kitingan said that under the MA63, Sabah and []

11:01

Najib explains federal government stand on Malaysia Agreement Hornbill Unleashed

Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today the federal government has no intention and right to take anything that rightfully belongs to Sabah and its people as provided for in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63). The Prime Minister said that if anything had been taken inadvertently, it must be returned. This is our struggle. It is []

11:01

Call for DBP to fix bible like salt in wound, says Christian group Hornbill Unleashed

An Islamic councils suggestion for Dewan Bahasa Pustaka to correct Christian bibles in Malay was presumptuous and insulting, said the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF). The group noted that beyond contesting Christians on their right to use the Arabic word for God, the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) was now seeking to dictate how they []

02:05

Revelations of a High-Profile Qatari Official Reveal a Wider anti-Syria Conspiracy New Eastern Outlook

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A few days ago, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar Hamad Bin Jassim in an interview with the BBC announced that his country had been providing all sorts of assistance to the armed opposition groups in Syria through Turkey for years. At the same time, Doha wasnt alone to show its supports to anti-Assad forces, as it was joined by the United States, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE and Turkey itself. All this began back in 2007 after Israel suffered a humiliating defeat in South Lebanon, while being unable to overcome Hezbollahs resistance in 2006. According to the former Qatari Prime Minister, Qatar was in charge of the so-called Syrian Dossier on behalf of the US and Saudi Arabia, adding that he had access to both American and Saudi paperwork on the staging of a so-called Syrian civil war.

Hamad Bin Jassim announced that weapons and equipment was distributed to all sorts of opposition groups via Turkey. This operations were a common routine of American, Turkish and Saudi military personnel in this country. At the same time, the Incirlik Air Force base would host a joint operational headquarters, where intelligence officers from the United States, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Morocco, Jordan, Israel, France and Great Britain would coordinate the course of proxy operations in Syria. Washington has gone as far as to dispatch 6 special reconnaissance satellites for those officers to observe the entire territory of Syria 24 hours a day non-stop. This operational command center was in charge of military operations in the north of Syria. As for the operations in southern parts Syria, to coordinate those Washington created a similar command center at the King Hussein Air Base in Jordan , where officers from Jordan, Israel, the United States, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar would join their efforts in a bid to outsmart Syrias government.

The former Prime Minister of Qatar announced that a total of 137 billion dollars was wasted on the attempts to topple Assads government since the beginning of the war, while some of these funds were stolen by various field commanders that became millionaires overnight. In addition, considerable resources were wasted on the attempts to bribe Syrias military brass, in attempt to persuade them in betraying their country or desert their positions. On average, a Syrian officer would receive from 15 to 30 thousand dollars for betraying his country.

The former Qatari official would announce that the ex-...

01:28

Trumps Asia Tour Sees Chinese Win-Win in Swing New Eastern Outlook

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Regardless of Trumps pre-election anti-China rhetoric, the US presidents maiden visit to Asia has proved that the US relations with China are far from antagonistic. Two things have happened during this visit that clearly point not only to the deepening economic ties between the US and China but also that the US is gradually losing its erstwhile leverage in Asia. Contentious issues like south and east China seas could hardly be seen to have left any impact whatsoever on the trajectory of the US-China relations, or US relations with its allies. On the other hand, these issues seem to have begun to undergo slight normalization. This is pretty evident from what the Chinese PM Li Keqiang said that China and ASEAN are starting talks on the fine print of the code of conduct for the South China Sea. In addition to it, China agreed, setting Philippines concerns to rest, that access to waterways and airspace in the South China Sea would be unbridled and unfettered.

That China is getting more and more traction by the erstwhile US allies such as the Philippines is evident from the way the Philippine leader effectively used the ASEAN summit to advance not the old South China Sea agenda but his own balancing act of diplomacy between the US and China.

What, however, also became clear during the US-Philippines bi-lateral summit, which largely focused on issues like anti-terrorism and anti-narcotics, is that the US has no economic initiative on the table, after killing TPP, to mend the damage that US-Philippines relations have suffered in recent months. This explains why countries like the Philippines are getting eager to improve bilateral ties with Beijing, which has offered massive economic incentives to friendly neighboring states. This eagerness has been compounded by the US inability to counter the rising Chinese influence in the region.

Chinese premier Li Keqiang, accordingly, extended his stay in Manila beyond the summit to further solidify warming bilateral ties, signing major agreements as well as setting the stage for the state visit of President Xi Jinping in February. Lured by Chinas economic carrots, the Filipino leader has also refrained from criticizing China over its massive reclamation activities and militarization of disputed land features in the South China Sea. On the contrary, and to Chinas advantage, he has even put forward the idea to resolve the issue through bi-lateral means, thus revering efforts by external...

00:30

Amidst Calls for a Ban, India Leads the Debate on Lethal Autonomous Weapons The Wire

At a decisive meeting on the future of LAWS, countries such as Pakistan and Cuba have called for a pre-emptive ban, while others like US, Germany and Russia disagree.

As lethal weapons are becoming increasingly automated, new ethical questions are being raised. Credit: Reuters

As lethal weapons are becoming increasingly automated, this is giving rise to a host of new  questions on the ethics of their use. Credit: Reuters

Geneva: There is no such thing as an ethical robot. There wont be one tomorrow or next week or 50 years from now. Robots are not moral beings, and therefore, the ethical responsibility must always lie with humans, said Margaret Boden, research professor of cognitive science at the University of Sussex.

Boden, who has been working at the intersection of computing and philosophy since the early 1960s, was speaking to the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) gathered at the United Nations office in Geneva to discuss the future of lethal autonomous weapons (LAWS).

This week, academics, non-governmental organisations and representatives of over 80 governments gathered at Palais des Nations for a decisive meeting on the future of LAWS. Organised under the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), the meeting was chaired by Amandeep Gill, permanent representative of India to the Conference on Disarmament.

While no formal definition of LAWS exists, they are generally understood as weapons that once activated,...

00:00

Industry Starts Sending Out Warning Signals Over Indias Coal Shortage The Wire

Coal and railway minister Piyush Goyal has remained curiously silent, even though the current crisis has been sparked by the railways failure to transport adequate amounts of coal.

The complexities of India's coal supply chain are kicking off a crisis. Credit: Reuters

The complexities of Indias coal supply chain are kicking off a crisis. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: Coal minister Piyush Goyal, who earlier promised to end Indias dependence on imported coal, has gone strangely silent at a time when Indian industry is in the middle of a fuel crisis.

Media-savvy Goyal, who is usually quite vocal and never misses an opportunity to connect with the industry and consumers, has not come out to reassure various sectors that are reeling from coal shortages.

Indeed, as multiple industry sources told The Wire, pleas for help have been met with silence. It has now fallen upon coal secretary Susheel Kumar to field the medias questions on coal shortages.

We dont wish to import coal from anywhere in the world. We have sufficient coal capacity in our country, Goyal said as early as June 12 this year. But this claim now rings hollow, with the industry being forced to step up coal imports to tide over domestic fuel shortages.

In October, total loading of imported coal by the national tr...

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23:59

To Clean Delhis Air, NTPCs Badarpur Plant Must Be Shut Down The Wire

The NCR must seize the possibilities of reclaiming Badarpur as a public space by shutting down NTPCs worst power plant in terms of meeting emissions standards.

An aerial view of Badarpur thermal power station. Credit: Sumita Roy Dutta/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

An aerial view of Badarpur thermal power station. Credit: Sumita Roy Dutta/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

As the Great Delhi Paddy Souper of 2017 lifts, the citys residents rediscover the still-dull shade of blue that, for many days, they could fine only in Facebook photos of friends in cleaner climes. The authorities have been quick to lift emergency measures that had anyway come several days too late. Among the few long term measures that have been proposed is the mixing of crop residue in coal for use by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), thus building a market for crop residue (to discourage on-field burning) as well as reducing coal use.

As an...

23:45

Wide Angle, Episode 11: Is Chinas Xi Jinping The Strongest Global Leader? The Wire

Ex-Cabinet Secretariat official Jayadeva Ranade, who now heads the Centre for China Analysis and Strategy, analyses in his new book Xi Jinpings China the challenges Xis China poses for India and the world, after his re-appointment as the leader at the Last communist party congress. Will Xis Thought put China on a path of increased assertiveness and aggression?

The post Wide Angle, Episode 11: Is Chinas Xi Jinping The Strongest Global Leader? appeared first on The Wire.

23:30

The Soldiers Used as Guinea Pigs by the US Military, Then Discarded The Wire

During the Second World War, the government subjected thousands of troops to mustard gas tests and kept it a secret.

The US military experimented on about 60,000 enlisted soldiers to study the effects of mustard gas, exposure that affected the health of veterans for the rest of their lives. Courtesy: United States Library of Congress

The US military experimented on about 60,000 enlisted soldiers to study the effects of mustard gas, exposure that affected the health of veterans for the rest of their lives. Courtesy: United States Library of Congress

When we think of the harm that befalls soldiers during wartime, specific images come to mind. The fallout from scientific experiments especially those carried out by our own government isnt one. But that was the reality of tens of thousands of military men in the 1940s, who were poisoned with mustard gas by the US government to see how their bodies would react. It took decades to bring to light the vast scope of the experiments, and it couldnt have been completed without the work of two NPR journalists.

For years, veterans were sworn to secrecy about the tests, prohibited from even discussing them with doctors. While this curtain was lifted in the 1990s, and Congress and the US Department of Veterans Affairs promised medical care and services, many vets didnt get it. NPR reporter Caitlin Dickerson and research librarian Barbara...

23:29

Why Brexits Impact on Asian Researchers Is a Matter of Concern The Wire

If the UK withdraws from the Horizon 2020 programme as part of Brexit, the resulting funding decline will affect thousands of Indian scientists and engineers in the UK.

Credit: Elionas2/pixabay

Credit: Elionas2/pixabay

Aswin Sekhar is an Indian astrophysicist currently based at CEED, University of Oslo, Norway.

Modern day science and research thrives on national and international collaborations. Many of the best research projects today rely on joint funding from multiple countries across continents. The Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) project is a good example of this concept, where India is also a major player.

Certain projects run on funding from multiple partner countries from the same continent. Notable examples from Europe are the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and CERN. And in the context of joint continental research projects, Horizon 2020, is organised by the European Research Council and the European Commission, is the most prestigious and heavily funded one in the whole world.

It is in this context that Brexit is going to have a crucial impact on joint academic training, research jobs and foreign collaborations. Horizon 2020 is an EUR 80-billion project that aims to integrate and increase academic exchanges between scientists from different countries to make scientific discoveries. Indian scientists, both at senior and junior levels, form a good part of Horizon 2020 as a whole. This will include Indian researchers from the basic sciences, social sciences, medical sciences, technological sciences and so on. Thousands of accomplish...

23:01

Bezos, the WAPO, Edelman and Staying Out of Policy Matters New Eastern Outlook

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I suppose it was inevitable for the technology gurus and digital prostitutes of the world to finally throw in with the technocrats. Events of the last few days prove once and for all, that the deep state and the liberal order are truly all in fighting a total war against moderation and decency. Heres a short story and a caution for all those willing to throw in with the Devil himself.

A decade ago I was one of a handful of technology analysts and bloggers who tested and assessed the function and value of a vast landscape of technical startups. Without launching into a mini-biography here, my job put me at the epicenter of Web 2.0 and later digital developments. Being part of the evangelism of these technologies was enlightening and informative too. But, after a string of rather devastating revelations came to my knowledge, I just got out of the tech space except for the occasional travel technology analysis. Silicon Valley, the whole sub-culture underneath Google, Microsoft, and the social entities, it all began to resemble a rigged numbers game more than a lighthouse on the shore of a hyped sea of entrepreneurship. Excuse my metaphors, but the technocrats and their shenanigans invoke a surreptitious suspicion of darkest evil. Why else would Googles founders tease us with their Do no evil joke? Forget my storytelling here, and just insert He must know a lot about these tech moguls, in the place of this paragraph. Moving forward.

Adam Hirsch is currently an executive vice president at Edelman Digital. Its a great job mostly because Richard Edelman is the most powerful public relations celebrity on Earth. I know Adam from his days with my colleague Pete Cashmore, who founded the tech blog Mashable back in 2005. Adam was the Chief Operating Officer of Mashable from 2007 (when I briefly contributed there) until 2012, but he still advises there. We became friends on Facebook and other social media from 2007. Its not fair to say he and I were real friends, but what happened today demands me profiling him a bit. Onward to the curious case of Edelman PR goes social media political for the Washington Post today.

This morning I was notified by Facebook that Hirsch had waded into the political arena and the anti-Trump fake news area with a post defending Bezos WAPO. So the reader knows, a good many of my technology fans, friends, and colleagues have either unfriended, blocked, or otherwise shunned my digital existence over my political views and my dissent against the globalist narrative now gripping US headlines. I expected...

21:15

Qatar Is at the Center of Today's Arab Tangle Strategic Culture Foundation

In early November, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabias defense forces intercepted a Burkan-2 ballistic missile targeted at Riyadhs King Khalid International Airport. Yemens Houthi-controlled defense ministry has taken the credit for the launchbut given the extent of the Iranian sway over the Houthi military, the real responsibility for the attack lies with Tehran. Since the airport is a civilian installation and, as such, under international humanitarian law, cannot be attacked, the Iranian missile strike is also a war crime.

20:45

Attack on RT Is Another Step Towards Sovietization of American Media Strategic Culture Foundation

This week the US Department of Justice Criminal Division forced the Russian-funded television network RT (formerly Russia Today) to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

20:30

Data on Sexual Assault Reports on Military Bases Disclosed by Pentagon The Wire

The Pentagon is shown in Arlington, Virginia, US, September 11, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts/Files

The Pentagon is shown in Arlington, Virginia, US, September 11, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts/Files

Washington: The US military on Friday disclosed for the first time base-by-base data on sexual assault reports, showing a higher number of reports at big military installations like Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia as well as overseas hubs like South Korea.

Sexual assault in the military, which is defined as anything from groping to rape, is believed to be significantly higher than the number of reports. The Pentagon said it estimates that, in 2016, less than a third of service members who experienced a sexual assault reported it.

Still, that was an improve...

20:30

Trump Adds Five Conservatives to List of Possible Supreme Court Candidates The Wire

US property magnate Donald Trump cuts the ribbon during the inauguration of the Trump Ocean Club in Panama City July 6, 2011. Credit: Reuters/Alberto Lowe/Files

US property magnate Donald Trump cuts the ribbon during the inauguration of the Trump Ocean Club in Panama City July 6, 2011. Credit: Reuters/Alberto Lowe/Files

Washington: In a move certain to please conservatives, President Donald Trump on Friday added five names to his list of candidates for a prospective US Supreme Court vacancy as he presses ahead with a campaign to move the federal judiciary to the right.

Two of them are appellate judges who were nominated by Trump earlier this year and confirmed by the Senate: Am...

20:29

UN Urges Saudi Arabia to End Yemen Blockade The Wire

Children rest on a bed at their family hut at a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of the Red Sea port city of Hodeida, Yemen November 12, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Abduljabbar Zeyad

Children rest on a bed at their family hut at a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of the Red Sea port city of Hodeida, Yemen November 12, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Abduljabbar Zeyad

Geneva: The heads of three UN agencies urged the Saudi-led military coalition on Thursday to lift its blockade of Yemen, warning that untold thousands would die if it stayed in place.

The coalition closed all air, land and sea access to Yemen on November 6 following the interception of a missile fired towards the Saudi capital, saying it had...

20:28

At Least Five Killed in Kenya as Violence Greets Opposition Leader Odingas Return The Wire

Anti-riot police fire tear gas to disperse supporters of Kenyan opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition in Nairobi, Kenya November 17, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Baz Ratner

Anti-riot police fire tear gas to disperse supporters of Kenyan opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition in Nairobi, Kenya November 17, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Baz Ratner

Nairobi: At least five people were killed on Friday as Kenyan police tried to disperse supporters accompanying opposition leader Raila Odinga from the airport to central Nairobi, police said.

Police fired tear gas at the convoy in which Odinga was travelling and used water cannon as they tried to stop it r...

20:25

Pakistan Authorities Issue Last Warning to Islamists Blocking Route Into Islamabad The Wire

Khadim Hussain Rizvi, leader of the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan an Islamist political party, leads members in shouting slogans during a sit-in in Rawalpindi, Pakistan November 13, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Faisal Mahmood

Khadim Hussain Rizvi, leader of the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan an Islamist political party, leads members in shouting slogans during a sit-in in Rawalpindi, Pakistan November 13, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Faisal Mahmood

Islamabad: Pakistani authorities issued a final warning on Friday to members of an Islamist party blocking a main road into the capital, raising fears...

20:24

Madras High Court Questions Centre on Pending Transgender Bill The Wire

Representative image: Transgender people in Delhi celebrate the Supreme Court's NALSA judgment. Credit: Reuters

Representative image: Transgender people in Delhi celebrate the Supreme Courts NALSA judgment. Credit: Reuters

Chennai: Voicing concern over the plight of transgender people, the Madras high court on Friday directed the Centre to inform it whether a follow-up action would be taken to make the transgender Bill pending in the parliament a statute.

Giving the direction on a petition filed by two transgender people, Justice N. Kirubakaran said a decision on the passage of the Bill should be taken at the earliest because people were suffering.

He directed the central government that it has to inform the court whether the follow-up action would be taken to make the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2016 a statute.

He noted that the Lok Sabha referred the bill to the parliamentary standing committee on social justice and empowerment on September 12, 2016, for examination and the committee submitted its report on July 21 this year.

They (transgender people) are unable to even use public facilities like washroom for their convenience. If any right is given under the proposed Act, it will definitely address this problem also, the judge said.

The judge also directed the Centre to inform the court why it introduced its own bill in the Lok Sabha when already a private member Bill The Right...

20:20

Venezuela Opposition Leader Antonio Ledezma Flees to Colombia The Wire

Antonio Ledezma, Venezuelan opposition leader, gestures during his arrival in Bogota, Colombia November 17, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Jaime Saldarriaga

Antonio Ledezma, Venezuelan opposition leader, gestures during his arrival in Bogota, Colombia November 17, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Jaime Saldarriaga

Caracas/Bogota: Veteran Venezuelan opposition leader Antonio Ledezma, under house arrest since 2015 for alleged coup plotting, escaped across the border to Colombia on Friday.

Ledezma, the best-known detained opponent of leftist President Nicolas Maduro after Leopoldo Lopez, said he had gone past 29 police and army controls during a clandestine, overland journey that he kept secret from his loved ones.

I ask my wife and daughters to understand. They have suffered long hours of anguish without knowing where I was, he t...

20:16

Farmers Groups Plan National Campaign to Demand Release of Assamese Activist Akhil Gogoi The Wire

Gogoi has been in jail since September 13 and has been charged under the National Security Act.

File photo of Akhil Gogoi. Credit: PTI

File photo of Akhil Gogoi. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: The All India Kishan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), a platform of over 150 farmers organisations from across the country, is set to take up a nation-level campaign to demand the immediate release of Assamese farmers rights activist Akhil Gogoi from detention.

Gogoi, who leads the popular peasants rights organisation Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) in Assam, has been lodged in that states Dibrugarh Central Jail since September 13. He was first picked up by the police on charges of sedition after he made a speech at a public rally in Moran, where he allegedly advocated the need for taking up guns to protect the rights of the indigenous people of the state. On September 25, he was rearrested under the National Security Act (NSA) while on his way to a local court for the hearing of his bail application. As many as 12 cases, most of which are old, had been included in the fresh allegations under the NSA.

AIKSCC national convener Sunilam, addressing a press meet in New Delhi on November 16, said a signature campaign would be carried out to demand Gogois immediate release. He said on November 20, a campaign committee called Release Akhil Gogoi would be formed on the sidelines of a national-level meeting to be held in New Delhi for land, forest and prison rights.

On November 19, a resolution on this would also be...

20:15

Russia-gate Spreads to Europe Strategic Culture Foundation

The Russia-gate hysteria has jumped the Atlantic with Europeans blaming Russia for Brexit and Catalonian discontent. But what about Israeli influence operations or, for that matter, American ones, asks Robert Parry.

19:50

Interview: Why Its Not Surprising That Harvey Weinstein Hired Israeli Spies to Silence His Victims The Wire

The disgraced film producer contracted the Israeli firm Black Cube to spy on his accusers.

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author whose articles and video documentaries have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Daily Beast, The Nation, The Guardian, The Independent Film Channel, The Huffington PostSalon.com, Al Jazeera English and many other publications. His most recent book is Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. His other book, Republican Gomorrah: Inside The Movement That Shattered The Party, is a New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller. The Real News interviewed him on Harvey Weinsteins Israel connection.

Aaron Mat: Its The Real News. Im Aaron Mat. Just a few weeks before he was outed as a rapist and sexual predator, the film producer Harvey Weinstein was asked about his affinity for Israel.

Interviewer: Does Israel advocacy play any role in your life, in supporting it at all?

Harvey Weinstein: Im an Israeli in my heart and mind. I love that country. I love what it stands for, Im proud to be Jewish.

AM: It turns out Weinstein has a closer Israeli connection than he let on. A recent piece in the New Yorker revealed that as part of his campaign to cover up for his crimes and abuses, Weinstein hired a private Israeli intelligence firm called Black Cube to spy on his accusers. A female Black Cube operative posed as a womens rights advocate to meet with Weinstein victim Rose McGowan. The same operative also posed as one of Weinsteins accusers to get a meeting with a journalist who was reporting a story on the allegations.

Im joined now by Max Blumenthal, senior editor of Alternets Gray Zone Project, and the award-winning author of the books, Goliath, Republican Gomorrah and 51 Day War. He is cohost of the podcast Moderate Rebels, and his new piece for Alternet is called Why Harvey Weinstein Turned to Israels Intelligence Services to Suppress His Sex Abuse Accusers.

Max, welcome. LetR...

19:40

Unless Infosys Solves Its Succession Bug, It Will Continue Fighting With One Hand Tied Behind Its Back The Wire

Apart from recovering value, Infosys has to prove that it doesnt have to keep running to its founders to sort things out as soon as the going gets tough.

An employee of Infosys stands at the front desk of its headquarters in Bengaluru, India, April 15, 2016. Credit: Reuters

An employee of Infosys stands at the front desk of its headquarters in Bengaluru, India, April 15, 2016. Credit: Reuters

The bruising controversies plaguing Infosys, Indias second largest software company and until recently a bellwether, through this year can be expected to end with the person taking a lead in initiating them, founder chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy, signalling peace.

He has told the media, Absolutely, all is well. Now that Nandan Nilekani is the chairman, we can all sleep well. Also, as a sort of promise that he would not rock the boat again in the near future, let us all keep quiet so that he (Nilekani) does his job well.

The first and most obvious point that comes to mind is that the same Murthy, who...

19:09

Shabana Azmi Calls for Boycott of IFFI to Protest Threats Against Padmavati Stars, Director The Wire

The actor criticised the government for not condemning those making open threats of violence.

Information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani has been silent on the threats faced by Deepika Padukone and Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Credit: PTI/Kamal Kishore

Information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani has been silent on the threats faced by Deepika Padukone and Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Credit: PTI/Kamal Kishore

New Delhi: Actor Shabana Azmi has called on all of the Indian Film Industry to boycott the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) to protest the threats to Deepika Padukone, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and others involved with the film Padmavati. In a tweet, Azmi said that Union information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani was able to organise IFFI only because the film industry brings so much acclaim to the country, yet the government says nothing when film stars and makers are openly threatened with violence.

19:00

Paradise Papers Another Example of Power of Collaboration in Investigative Journalism The Wire

Established media organisations are collaborating across borders and with new media to break big stories such as global tax avoidance by the rich and powerful.

The ICIJ is not the only organisation involved in large-scale investigations. Credit: Bandi/Flick CC BY 2.0

The ICIJ is not the only organisation involved in large-scale investigations. Credit: Bandi/Flick CC BY 2.0

The recent publication of the Paradise Papers is another strong indication of the rising importance of global collaboration for investigative journalism.

In April 2016, a consortium of news organisations published the Panama Papers the first major leak revealing the scale of tax avoidance by companies and high-profile individuals. It was a huge logistical operation, co-ordinated by the International Consortium for Investigative Journalism (ICIJ), which ha...

18:30

Latin American History Suggests Zimbabwes Military Coup Will Turn Violent The Wire

Some observers think Mugabes overthrow by the army might be a good thing for Zimbabwe. An Argentinean expert on Latin Americas bloody military dictatorships disagrees.

17:52

Beautiful visitor Chrysopelea paradisi variabilis News from the Philippines

A beautiful visitor yesterday enriched our daily life.

Shortly after our usual morning coffee break around 9 a.m., we discovered a beautiful visitor a snake in our garden. I fetched my camera and could take some photos before our gardener arrived and ended the life of the beauty.

Kill such a beautiful visitor?

For me this is a difficult question! On the one side these animals are beautiful and surely important in the nutrition chain. On the other side we did not know whether this snake is poisonous or not. A bite from the wrong snake might be fatal. We dont know if the hospital on our remote island has a antidotes for the venomous snakes. Anyway, I had no decision to take. Danilo our gardener, assisted by Pups, our dog, did the job.

snake 2017-11-17
...

17:22

Last ISIS-Held Town Recaptured by Iraqi Forces The Wire

Iraqi forces are seen after they captured Rawa town, the last remaining town under Islamic State control, Iraq November 17, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Stringer

Iraqi forces are seen after they captured Rawa town, the last remaining town under Islamic State control, Iraq November 17, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Stringer

Baghdad: Iraqi forces on Friday captured the border town of Rawa, the last remaining town under ISIS control, signalling the collapse of the groups self-proclaimed caliphate.

Rawas capture marks the end of ISISs era of territorial rule over a so-called caliphate that it proclaimed in 2014 across vast swathes of Iraq and Syria.

Iraqi forces liberated Rawa entirely, and raised the Iraqi flag over its buildings, Lieutenant General Abdul Ameer Rasheed Yarallah s...

17:20

Syria Toxic Gas Inquiry to End After Russia Blocks Renewal at UN Again The Wire

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya addresses the United Nations Security Council about an international inquiry into chemical weapons attacks in Syria, during a meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York, US, November 17, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Neben...

16:43

Interview: Bringing Compassion Into Education, So That Children Help Each Other The Wire

In conversation with educationist Geeta Dharmarajan about the ambitious multi-NGO-led national campaign to help 150 million school children who can read teach the 150 million who cant.

About half the school children across the country cant read. Credit: Katha.org

New Delhi: While Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other are talking about a New India, research-based knowledge has thrown up a challenge that may well be a spanner in the works of this great Indian dream. About half of the school children across the country  who are going to comprise the workforce of New India cant read.

Alongside this failure of the Indian schooling system is a nation-wide attempt by NGOs at course correction. Titled Each One Teach One, the campaign is the brainchild of Geeta Dharmarajan, Delhi-based educationist and founder of the NGO Katha.

A Padma Shri recipient for her contributions to holistic methods of education, Dharmarajan is aiming to make the 150 million children who can read teach the other 150 million, who cant  so the anomaly can be corrected. The final aim behind her project is also to integrate learning with schooling so that it goes beyond its present marks-based framework and helps produce skills required in the 21st century, like creativity and innovation.

In an interview to The Wire, she talks not only about the whys and hows of the campaign, which will be taken to government and private schools in many states along with partne...

16:35

Donald Trumps Visit to China New Eastern Outlook

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November 8-9 marked Donald Trumps visit to the PRC, which was his first trip there since his inauguration. We reiterate that Beijing became a central point for all stops over Donald Trumps almost two-week long Asian tour.

However, it was already the second official meeting between the leaders of the two world powers. The first one took place in early April on US territory at Donald Trumps estate in Florida.

Before his arrival to China, Donald Trump had visited Japan and South Korea to deal with various issues. In the capital of the USAs key ally in the Asia-Pacific region, Tokyo, the parties were mainly busy with the time check regarding the decision-making strategy for the once again relevant issue of the DPRKs nuclear program, whereas in the Republic of Korea, the politicians assessed the situations on the ground.

Beijing is, firstly, an important party involved in that issue, and secondly, holds the key to its solution. However, unlike Washington, it has been acting in both of these roles indirectly rather than directly.

The nuclear missile program (NMP) of the DPRK is a problem which has recently become the second most important issue in the general agenda of the US-China relations. Another equally important situation (in Washingtons opinion, at least) is economic relations. We remind the reader that the latter was the focus of Donald Trumps election campaign rhetoric, as he touched upon the issue of relations with the USAs main geopolitical opponent.

However, it should be pointed out that the two aforementioned issues dont only revolve around the content and agenda of the relations between the two world global powers. Its essence is the recent trend of transforming the PRC into the second global power, which is a reality right now.

Moreover, the recent 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) (which declared, among other things, the further centralisation and consolidation of the state governance system and the position of Xi Jinping within that system) established a policy aimed at securing a global leading position by the mid-21stcentury.

At all stages of human history, an influential leader would always...

14:30

Things You Wanted to Know About Marwaris and Didnt Know Who to Ask The Wire

Sujit Sarafs Harilal & Sons sticks to a personalised account of the protagonists life, but from it, we discern the larger Marwari experience.

It was during the colonial period that the heterogeneous Marwaris came to form a community under the colonial state. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

It is said that there are no Marwaris as such in Rajasthan; the migrant trading community  a conglomeration of Rajasthani Vaishyas  become Marwaris only when they leave. Marwari is an umbrella term to classify both Hindus and Jains. The Marwaris originate from Eastern Rajasthan and the term was used as an ethnographic classification in the 1901 census. It described a trader from Rajputana and included primary groups like Agarwals, Maheswaris, Oswals, and Seraogis. It later included other Rajasthani trading castes like Khandelwals and Porwals. Most Marwaris do not come from the district of Marwar but the generic use of Marwar could be a reference to the older Marwar kingdom.

It was during the colonial period that the heterogeneous Marwaris came to form a community under the colonial state. Anne Hardgroves study, Community and Public Culture, credits their rise as a trading class as facilitated by the changing nature of the colonial economy, commercialisation of agriculture, changing land policies, and the payment of regular tax. The Marwaris as a caste group were able to build a credit and trading network across a large part of colonial India through marriage and kinship ties....

14:30

Nehru, the Patron Saint of Soviet Sexual Liberation? The Wire

In the early 1950s, urban social life in the Soviet Union was constrained, with few opportunities for young people to meet and date. But that changed after Jawaharlal Nehrus visit in 1955.

Photograph from the Moscow Youth Festival of 1957. Credit: Novosti

Something delightful happened on a day in June 1955 that changed the lives of tens of millions of Soviet citizens: public parks, which were a precious escape from peoples drab urban existence, opened up free of charge.

The entrance fee had amounted to the cost of a loaf of bread, not a sum to be sneezed at in a country that was still impoverished by the Second World War. But that day in June, word spread rapidly over that land of 11 time-zones: Thank Jawaharlal Nehru! The prime minister of India was then visiting the Soviet Union, and he became an instant an unwitting hero for young Soviet men and women. For many of them, now in their 70s and 80s, he remains a sentimental memory.

The story told around the country, but never officially reported, went like this: Among the numerous showcases of socialist progress to which the Soviet leaders took Nehru, the giant central park in Moscow was one. The leader of the Soviet Union, Nikita S. Khrushchev, his second-in-command, Prime Minister Nikolai A. Bulganin, and a host of lesser lights, including the mayor of Moscow, accompanied Nehru to the grand entrance to the central park. Nehru suddenly noticed something his hosts had never paid attention to and had taken for gr...

14:00

What Explains the Increase in Missing Persons in Sindh? The Wire

Between January and August, around 110 nationalist activists and human rights defenders in Sindh have disappeared.

Punhal Sario, who went missing in August 2017, returned home mid-October 2017 | Photo taken from twiiter/@bilalfqi

Punhal Sario, who went missing in August 2017, returned home mid-October 2017 | Photo taken from twiiter/@bilalfqi

GM Syeds birthday was coming up but he was under pressure from the government to call off public celebrations. Pakistan was under General Ziaul Haqs military dictatorship. No political activity could be allowed not even a celebratory event. Syed called a meeting of his senior comrades in his Sindhi nationalist movement at his native town of Sann to seek their views. Everyone favoured the cancellation. Everyone except Mohammad Rahimoon. He stood up and made a passionate argument in favour of holding the event. I know a GM Syed who has always stood up to authority. I do not know a GM Syed who is willing to make a compromise, he said. Syed had to let the celebrations proceed.

That was 32 years ago.

On February 25, 2017, Rahimoon appeared before the media in Golarchi town of Badin district to announce that he had quit politics. This was also his first appearance in public after he had gone missing on November 22, 2016. He sounded bitter, according to a report in daily Dawn. The practitioners of Sindhi nati...

14:00

The Curious Case of the Indian Biological Diversity Act The Wire

The two main ambiguities in the Acts regulatory mechanism are what is regulated and who are obligated to share benefits under the Act.

The Bengal Tiger. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Bengal Tiger. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 (BD Act), that was enacted to meet Indias international obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity, has introduced two new concepts into the legal and normative framework governing biodiversity in India access and benefit sharing. It regulates access to Indias biological resources and associated knowledge and makes provision for sharing of benefits arising out of their utilisation. However, this vital piece of legislation, which is the cornerstone of biodiversity governance in the country, especially on the fronts of sustainability and equity, unfortunately suffers from serious ambiguities in its regulatory as well as punitive mechanisms despite it being in existence for almost a decade and a dozen of cases having been brought under it before various dispute resolution forums.

Ambiguities in regulatory provisions

The two main ambiguities in the Acts regulatory mechanism are: (a) what is regulated; and (b) who are obligated to share benefits under the Act. These two issues have been brought before various adjudicatory forums by the user companies who have challenged the legality of the show-cause notic...

13:30

As Australians Say Yes to Marriage Equality, Legal Fight Over Human Rights Takes Centre Stage The Wire

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is confident that parliament will legislate to permit same-sex marriage before it breaks in December.

People carry banners and signs as they participate in a marriage equality march in Melbourne, Australia, August 26, 2017. AAP/David Crosling/via Reuters

People carry banners and signs as they participate in a marriage equality march in Melbourne, Australia, August 26, 2017. AAP/David Crosling/via REUTERS

The results of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey are in. Despite the voluntary nature of the survey, 12,727,920 (79.5%) eligible Australians voted.

By a margin of 61.6% to 38.4%, Australians have said yes to the proposition:

Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is confident that parliament will...

13:30

When a Greek God Brought Wine to India The Wire

An ancient epic poem recounts the Indian war of Dionysus.

Detail of papyrus codex showing Dionysiaca 15. 8490. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Detail of papyrus codex showing Dionysiaca 15. 8490. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Alexander the Great spent only a few years in the Indian subcontinent and his conquests there were short-lived. After campaigning along the Indus river and its tributaries from 327 to 325 BCE, he left the region, never to return. But the impact of the encounter between Alexanders Greek army and the Indian world was enormous. From the Greco-Bactrian kingdom of Central Asia to the legends of Alexanders dialogue with a Brahmin, the Macedonian leaders campaign shaped politics and culture across the ancient world for centuries to come. One of the strangest and most striking products of that legacy emerged several hundred years later, in the form of ancient Greek literatures last and longest epic poem: the Dionysiaca. Written just as the worship of the Greek gods was about to disappear in favour of Christianity, the Dionysiaca sprawls over more than 20,000 lines (almost as long as The Iliad and The Odyssey put together). Its author, Nonnus of Panopolis...

12:30

Tell Hindu Girls That Muslim Men are Terrorists, and Other Lessons from an RSS-backed Hindu Fair The Wire

Jaipurs district education office made it compulsory for lakhs of children from government schools to attend the event where Hindutva outfits spread propaganda about love jihad and gau raksha.

Bajrang Dal stall at the HSSF fair had a detailed manual on love jihad. Credit: Shruti Jain

The Bajrang Dal stall at the HSSF fair had a detailed manual on love jihad. Credit: Shruti Jain

Jaipur: On paper, the five-day fair organised by the Hindu Spiritual and Service Foundation (HSSF) which got underway here on Thursday aims to philosophically explain and practically expound how Hindu spirituality and traditional Hindu lifestyle provide a solution to contemporary challenges family and human values, womens honour, patriotism, environment, ecology and pollution.

Judging by some of the solutions on offer, however, the event seems to have served as a platform for Hindutva outfits to share their toxic wares on unsuspecting visitors including lakhs of students from local government schools, for whom attendance was made compulsory.

The orders (for government schools to bring their students) were given so that the students can be exposed to our rich Hindu culture. What else could be the motive? Ratan Singh, district education officer, told The Wire.

The Chennai-based HSSF describes itself as an independent organisation. In reality, it is linked to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its affiliate, the Rashtriya...

11:02

Sarawak top contributor to national agriculture sector in 2016, DCM says Hornbill Unleashed

Sarawaks contribution to the national agriculture sector has improved to be the highest among states in 2016 from its third ranking in 2010, the State Legislative Assembly was told today. Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the states contribution rose []

11:02

MA63 still intact Hornbill Unleashed

The federal government cannot amend the Malaysia Agreement 1963 on its own because it is an international treaty signed by four parties Malaya, Sarawak, Sabah and the United Kingdom (Singapore, the other signatory, opted out of Malaysia in 1965) . Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg stressed that since MA63 has not []

Sarawak government wants DPM to lead task force on special rights Hornbill Unleashed

The Sarawak government wants Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to lead a federal task force to negotiate matters relating to the states special rights and constitutional safeguards. The other side should be headed by the deputy prime minister or a very senior minister who has the authority, Sarawak chief minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg []

11:02

Sarawak govt to table comprehensive Land Code changes next May Hornbill Unleashed

A comprehensive amendments to the Sarawak Land Code relating to territorial domain and communal forest reserves will be ready for tabling in the May 2018 sitting of the State Legislative Assembly, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said today. He urged the indigenous communities, Dayak non-governmental organisations and interested individuals should let the []

11:02

Land identified for Communal Reserve Hornbill Unleashed

THE state identified 804,826 hectares to be gazetted as Communal Reserve for agriculture under Section 6 of the State Land Code. Minister of Urban Development and Natural Resources Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said out of the figure, 643,017 hectares have been gazetted under the new Native Customary Rights (NCR) initiative. The second phase []

11:02

Flexing muscle, Sarawak CM tells Petronas to get licenses to operate in state territory Hornbill Unleashed

National oil corporation Petronas must obtain the necessary licenses or leases from the Sarawak government to operate within its territory, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said today. The power of the state to issue mining leases remains in the State List of the Federal Constitution. We must exert our mining rights, he said []

04:08

Dean of Diplomatic Corps Flags Concern Over Delhi Pollution The Wire

With reports of foreign diplomats having left Delhi trickling in, the Dominican Republics ambassador to India met with MEA officials on Friday to share the diplomatic communitys concerns.

Vendors selling drinks stand beside vehicles near the India Gate war memorial on a smoggy day in New Delhi February 1, 2013. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Files

Last month, the Costa Rican envoy to India left Delhi because of the pollution and temporarily relocated to Karnakata. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: With smog continuing to smother Delhi, the head of the capitals large diplomatic community met with the external affairs ministry to convey concerns from his colleagues about the impact of the pollution on operations.

Air purifiers at office and home have been a fixture of diplomats in Delhi for the last few years, but the continuous grey blanket enveloping the city...

03:55

Jaccuse! The Demand For Injustice New Eastern Outlook

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Jaccuse! The phrase of Emil Zola, that shook a nation because it demanded justice for a falsely accused man, the phrase that will ever be remembered, as will the man who wrote it, is a phrase now used to condemn people, without trial, without fair hearing, without right of reply, without justice. The phrase I accuse is now not a demand for justice but is considered proof of any accusation that follows it; it has become a demand for injustice.

I accuse X of this. A accuses B of that.

The Media (suitably horrified) calls out, Horror! Horror! The social fabric is coming apart. Hang him. Hang her. Hang them all!

The consumers of this information, the mass of the people who have been robbed of their reason and can react only as unthinking automatons, dutifully react,

Did you hear that? She accuses him of this! Terrible. Terrible. He should be shot and quartered.

Did you hear that the Russians did that? My God, they should be taught whos who.

Did you hear that John Doe did this to .? He has to be punished. Ruin him. Throw him in jail! as shouts of derision resound.

The lynch mob is back, this time tapping out their calls for punishment on the keys of their computers and the social media. The rumour mills are working overtime. The vigilantes are out everywhere, the watch committees, the informers, the armchair lawyers and judges, the salivating scavengers of other peoples lives who lust for revenge, for someone, somewhere, to be punished, for something.

It can be an accusation of a sexual nature from decades before. It can be a political accusation from the present. It can be a campaign of rumours spread through the media, never confirmed, but spread with great indignation accompanied by looks of disgust for anyone who asks, But is it true? But is there proof? What really happened? How do you know this? If true, what was the context? What is to be learned? Such people are themselves accused of defending the crime the accused is accused of. And so it goes. Prejudice breeds hatred. Hatred calls for blood. And we call ourselves humane, civilised, reasoned, and good.

The first to join the mob, to call for the immediate revenge are those that consider themselves the most righteous, the most liberal, the most dedica...

03:32

As Sitharaman Defends Rafale Deal, Congress Asks BJP to Properly Refute Allegations The Wire

The defence minister clarified that not a single procedure was violated during the purchase and that when the Modi government came to power, the situation was grim and that it had to move forward fast.

Defence minister Niramala Sitharaman addressing a press conference on the Rafale deal. Credit: Twitter

Defence minister Niramala Sitharaman addressing a press conference on the Rafale deal. Credit: Twitter

New Delhi: Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday rejected recent allegations made by the Congress with regard to the 2016 Rafale fighter jet deal.

According to a NDTV report, she said the the decision to buy the fighter jets was taken by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government. Curiously, she added that the Congress could not finalise the deal over the next decade.

The Congress had sealed the deal with...

03:12

Tajikistan Partially Bans Combat Sports EurasiaNet.org - Inside the Cocoon

Authorities in Tajikistan have imposed a de facto ban on multiple types of combat sports and are instead proposing popularizing gushtingiri, a national marital art. 

The highly confusing list of proscribed sports, as listed on the the State Committee for Youth and Sport website, comprises professional boxing, submission wrestling, unifight, K-1, various forms of mixed martial arts, arm-wrestling, something called new full contact, and pankration. 

As the committee explained, while private clubs will be permitted to continue practicing the sports and participating in competitions, so long as they can raise their own funds, the disciplines will not be allowed in clubs funded by the government. There are 85 such premises across Tajikistan.

The reasoning provided for this partial prohibition is that the sports in question could cause physical harm to its younger practitioners. 

Gushtingiri trainer Mahmadovud Odinayev, who supports the initiative, claimed in making his case that Tajikistan's Health Ministry had data showing that 816 children were rendered disabled by participating in combat sports. He did not provide any specifics.

Their trainers didnt go through the traditional sports channels. They learned combat sports somewhere abroad and returned with their belts and opened their own schools. They get children off the streets and teach them to hit one another. It would be preferable to develop national and Olympic sports, Odinayev said.

read more

03:02

No One Has the Right to Breach Your Privacy: Jignesh Mevani Backs Hardik Patel The Wire

In an open letter, Mevani has alleged that the controversy was a conspiracy against Patel, a strong challenger to the BJP government in Gujarat.

Patidar leader Hardik Patel. Credit: PTI

Patidar leader Hardik Patel. Credit: Facebook

New Delhi: Gujarats Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani has come out strongly in defence of Hardik Patel, who earlier this week was thrust into the centre of a controversy after a video allegedly showing the Patidar leader in the company of a woman was released.

The video clip has sparked debate over whether it should be treated as a sex scandal or a matter of illegal surveillance.

In an open letter, Mevani alleged that the controversy was a conspiracy against Patel, who has been the one of the strongest challengers to the BJP government in Gujarat. Although he refrained from naming BJP, he said that not just Patidars, but half of the six crore people of Gujarat know who can directly benefit from such a conspiracy.

Even as political parties continue to maintain a conspicuous silence on the i...

02:59

Jan Gan Man Ki Baat, Episode 152: Moodys Upgrade and Media Freedom The Wire

Vinod Dua discusses the politics of ratings and PM Modis statement on the National Press Day.

The post Jan Gan Man Ki Baat, Episode 152: Moodys Upgrade and Media Freedom appeared first on The Wire.

02:59

Episode 323 The Saudi Purge is a Global Crisis The Corbett Report

[audio mp3="https://www.corbettreport.com/mp3/episode323-lq.mp3"][/audio]The House of Saud is in crisis as MBS consolidates his hold on the kingdom and prepares to transform Saudi Arabia in his image. But what is behind the purge, and how does it relate to the future of the world monetary system. Join James for a classic Corbett Report debriefing on the Saudi purge and the rise of the petroyuan.

00:35

There is no moral occupation: Why I refuse to serve +972 Magazine

Mattan Helman was supposed to serve in the Nahal Brigrade in the occupied territories. Instead, he will refuse to enlist as a conscientious objector, a decision that will land him in jail.

Friday, 17 November

21:23

How to deal with modern anti-Semitism? The Jewish Left is leading the way +972 Magazine

For too long, the Right has claimed a monopoly on fighting antisemitism, especially when it relates to Israel.

IfNotNow protesters demonstrating at the Zionist Organization of America gala, New York, November 12, 2017. (Gili Getz)

IfNotNow protesters demonstrating at the Zionist Organization of America gala, New York, November 12, 2017. (Gili Getz)

Its been a fraught year for the American Jewish Left. Anti-Semitism continues to be stoked by the president and his inner and outer circles; the institutional Jewish community is openly courting anti-Semites; and verbal and legislative assaults from the Israeli and American right on traitorous Jewish anti-occupation and BDS advocates continue to rack up. Meanwhile, Congress recently hosted a debate about anti-Semitism on U.S. college campuses, largely geared toward making criticism of Israel a part of Title VIs definition of anti-Semitism.

[tmwinpost]

Moreover, a number of...

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