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Thursday, 22 February

01:44

Pakistan Supreme Court Rules Ousted Leader Nawaz Sharif Cannot Lead His Party The Wire

The order overturns a change in the law by Sharifs ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz that allowed the former premier to lead the party despite being legally banned from holding public office.

Pakistans former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad in Pakistan in 2017. Credit: Reuters/Faisal Mahmood

Islamabad: Pakistans Supreme Court ordered on Wednesday that ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif be removed as head of the political party he founded, six months after the court removed him as premier.

The order overturns a change in the law by Sharifs ruling...

01:41

Watch: The Nirav Modi and PNB Scam Explained The Wire

Nirav Modi, the billionaire jeweller, along with his relatives, scammed Punjab National Bank of over Rs 11,400 crores in one of the biggest frauds in Indias banking history. How did this go unnoticed and who is responsible?

The post Watch: The Nirav Modi and PNB Scam Explained appeared first on The Wire.

01:32

From Nirav Modi to Vipul Ambani, India Incs Recent Scams Turn In-Laws into Outlaws The Wire

Marriage arrangements help ensure that control over capital doesnt go out of the community.

The ties that bind.

New Delhi: A recent spate of loan defaults most of which curiously centre around trade finance and buyers credit has shined a spotlight on the close and influential links between some of Indias wealthiest business families.

The world over, it is natural for the sons and daughters of business elite to marry into other family-run corporate empires, even if such alliances are a more pronounced feature of the Indian power elite than of their counterparts in North America or Europe.

Sometimes, business interests coincidentally overlap like when Videocon chief Venugopal Dhoots nephew (Saurabh) married Bhushan Power and Steel chairman Sanjay Singhals daughter (Radhika) in 2010 or when the sister of Reliances Mukesh Ambani (Dipti) married into the Salgaocar family of Goa in the 1980s.

Most times, CEOs and industrialists insist, these marriages merely happen because, they come from similar backgrounds and cultural communities. A classic example of this is TAFEs Mallika Srinivasan marrying the TVS Groups Venu Srinivasan. 

Modi and Ambani

In the last week, Indias public sector banking system has been rocked by a series of defaults...

00:32

Confirmed US Meddling in Thailand's Upcoming Elections Land Destroyer

February 21, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - As the United States intensifies its accusations against Russia for alleged interference in the 2016 US Presidential Elections, the United States itself is found engaged in confirmed political interference worldwide.


This includes in Southeast Asia where Washington is attempting to rush elections in Thailand in hopes of returning their proxy Thaksin Shinawatra and his Pheu Thai Party (PTP) to power.

US efforts to rush elections have included a concerted effort to dismiss those pointing out Shinawatra's continued influence in Thai politics, his continued leadership role over PTP and his intentions to use PTP to return to power.

However, Reuters in an article titled, "Thai ex-PM Thaksin calls for party unity ahead of promised election," would openly admit Shinawatra, a convicted criminal and fugitive, still controlled PTP whose leadership met with him recently in Hong Kong.

The article reported:
Fugitive former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra met lawmakers from his Puea Thai Party in Hong Kong where he called for party unity ahead of an approaching general election, party members said on Monday.
Many are watching to see how Puea Thai Party performs in a vote which the military government has promised to hold in November but which could be delayed.

The necessity of repeated delays of Thai elections is very straightforward.

Thaksin Shinawatra, a convicted criminal and fugitive still seeks to contest them through PTP. Allowing a fugitive to contest elections would be illegal and any election outcome influenced by a convicted criminal and fugitive would be illegitimate. By delaying elections, the current Thai government hopes to continue diminishing Shinawatra's unwarranted influence and wealth as well as that of his political network inside Thailand until both are no longer an obstruction to legal elections. 

Yet despite this straightforward necessity to delay elections, the United States and its European p...

00:29

Confirmed US Meddling in Thailand's Upcoming Elections Alt Thai News Network ATNN

February 21, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - As the United States intensifies its accusations against Russia for alleged interference in the 2016 US Presidential Elections, the United States itself is found engaged in confirmed political interference worldwide.


This includes in Southeast Asia where Washington is attempting to rush elections in Thailand in hopes of returning their proxy Thaksin Shinawatra and his Pheu Thai Party (PTP) to power.

US efforts to rush elections have included a concerted effort to dismiss those pointing out Shinawatra's continued influence in Thai politics, his continued leadership role over PTP and his intentions to use PTP to return to power.

However, Reuters in an article titled, "Thai ex-PM Thaksin calls for party unity ahead of promised election," would openly admit Shinawatra, a convicted criminal and fugitive, still controlled PTP whose leadership met with him recently in Hong Kong.

The article reported:
Fugitive former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra met lawmakers from his Puea Thai Party in Hong Kong where he called for party unity ahead of an approaching general election, party members said on Monday.
Many are watching to see how Puea Thai Party performs in a vote which the military government has promised to hold in November but which could be delayed.

The necessity of repeated delays of Thai elections is very straightforward.

Thaksin Shinawatra, a convicted criminal and fugitive still seeks to contest them through PTP. Allowing a fugitive to contest elections would be illegal and any election outcome influenced by a convicted criminal and fugitive would be illegitimate. By delaying elections, the current Thai government hopes to continue diminishing Shinawatra's unwarranted influence and wealth as well as that of his political network inside Thailand until both are no longer an obstruction to legal elections. 

Yet despite this straightforward necessity to delay elections, the United States and its Europe...

00:29

Human Rights Violators Cover Their Tracks As Forced Disappearances Rise The Wire

In an age of increased scrutiny, violent and repressive states are turning to subtler methods of removing dissidents and opponents.

ICMP International Day of the Disappeared 2012. Credit: YouTube

It seems the global campaign to protect human rights has had an unexpected side-effect: governments are changing their preferred methods of getting rid of political opponents.

Fear of scrutiny has prompted governments to switch from brazenly killing their opponents to forcing them to disappear leaving their fate unclear, and helping leaders avoid accountability for their actions. The majority of disappearance cases go unsolved in the absence of a body, forensic evidence or even eyewitness accounts, the people and groups responsible go unpunished.

Assessing the frequency of forced disappearances is difficult, but the practise seems to be becoming more widespread. Evidence from the Cingranelli and Richards Human Rights Database indicates the number of countries with 50 or more cases of forced disappearance almost doubled from 12 states in 2012 to 19 states in 2015 the most recent year for which we have comparable data.

As of September 2017, the UN Working Group on Enforced or Invo...

00:29

For Space, and ISRO, Frugality Is a Tightrope Walk Not Worth Celebrating The Wire

Saying Chandrayaan 2 is cheaper than Interstellar is pernicious because frugal engineering is not an end unto itself, especially when we seldom celebrate any other aspects of these missions.

A strap-on booster for the PSLV C11 mission, which launched Chandrayaan 1 in 2008, being unloaded at the Vehicle Assembly Building. Credit: ISRO

A strap-on booster for the PSLV C11 mission, which launched Chandrayaan 1 in 2008, being unloaded at the Vehicle Assembly Building. Credit: ISRO

Tis the season of comparing space missions to Hollywood films again! In the last week, a Times of India article described the cost of Indias second mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan 2, expected to be launched in April this year, as being cheaper than Hollywood film Interstellar. A bevy of other publications have, enamoured by this spin, carried it forward in headlines of their own. The same thing happened with the Mars Orbiter Mission, launched in 2014, a technology-demonstrator that, according to many reports, cost less to execute than Hollywoods Gravity.

In the mainstream Indian media, these comparisons are made only when reporting on the countrys space programme. They are both meaningless and, in their own way, pernicious: frugal engineering plays its part but it is not an end unto itself. If it were, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) would have no roo...

00:19

Adityanath Hate CD, Found in Sealed Records a Decade Later, Was Never Sent for Forensics The Wire

The discovery demolishes the BJP governments only basis for denying sanction for the chief ministers prosecution for violence against Muslims in 2007.

File photo of Yogi Adityanath, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. Credit: PTI

Allahabad: Yogi Adityanaths legal fortunes may have turned for the worse. A potentially incriminating CD, which allegedly contains a hate speech by him and whose existence successive Uttar Pradesh governments have refused to acknowledge for a decade, has been found. It was discovered when two judges of the Allahabad High Court no less dramatically opened sealed court records in their courtroom two months ago.

This CD allegedly contains a video of Adityanath making a hate speech against Muslims in Gorakhpur in January 2007. Widespread violence against Muslims in and around Gorakhpur had followed that controversial speech. Adityanath was then a BJP MP from the Lok Sabha constituency of Gorakhpur. He became UP chief minister last March.

In 2007, a Gorakhpur-based journalist, Parvez Parwaz, had filed a criminal complaint with the police against Adityanath for his speech and violence. But for ten years, successive governments of chief ministers Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav failed to prosecute Adityanath. Even the Supreme Court of India cleared the way for his prosecution in 2012 but the case never went to trial.

Dissatisfied with t...

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Wednesday, 21 February

23:51

Russia May Become a Leading LNG Supplier in Asia-Pacific New Eastern Outlook

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The serious environmental problems faced by China in the past decade have forced it to reform its energy industry. One of the main changes has been the large-scale transition from coal to a more eco-friendly type of hydrocarbon fuel natural gas. Chinas decision to shield its atmosphere from the products of coal combustion, replacing it with gas, which burns almost completely without leaving any harmful residues, proved to be beneficial for countries exporting natural gas, including Russia.

The environmental situation in China has long threatened the lives and health of its citizens. Factories and thermal power plants block out the sky of the countrys most industrialized areas with thick smog. It has reached the point where poor visibility on the roads due to smog causes car accidents. In these areas, significant mortality is recorded from diseases associated with failure of the respiratory system and poisoning with harmful substances.

The situation demanded radical action by the Chinese authorities. In March 2017, all the coal stations in Beijing and the surrounding areas were closed. For example, more than 33,000 facilities were withdrawn from operation in Hebei province. Such drastic measures resulted in fuel shortages. To make good the deficit, Chinas energy sector needs huge amounts of natural gas.

China has its own gas fields which it is actively developing. In 2017, China produced more than 147 million cubic meters of gas, which was 8.5% more than the production in 2016. However, this quantity is not enough to meet the demands of Chinas energy sector. Significant volumes have to be bought from abroad.

The cheapest way to supply natural gas from one country to another is via a gas pipeline. However, the construction of pipelines is a complex and expensive task, which can be made even more complicated if the terrain is challenging. In addition, once the pipeline has been built, it can be destroyed by a natural disaster or sabotage, or, in the event of deterioration in relations between the countries through whose territory it passes, it may simply be blocked.

For example, China is now receiving pipeline gas from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Myanmar. Despite friendly relations with these countries, China cannot be absolutely sure that there will be no interruption to supplies. In all the above countries, there is a certain level of terrorist threat associated with the activities of various extremist organizations. A much more reliable...

23:30

Two Recent Taxation Changes Will Likely Boost Investment, So Why Are They Sparking Criticism? The Wire

Some from within the government have also slammed the taxation changes.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley. Credit: PTI

While the recent Union Budget announced a number of changes related to taxation policies like a change in corporate tax rate, a standard deduction of Rs 40,000 for the salaried class, changes in surcharge one of its most noteworthy aspects is a departure from the past policy stance on two areas of taxation. One, an increase in customs duties for a number of products, and two, the reintroduction of long-term capital gains (LTCG) tax.

Both of these changes have attracted considerable attention and wide-ranging comments from a number of stakeholders and commentators. Interestingly, however, some of the criticism of these policies has come from within the government.

The current and previous chairpersons of NITI Aayog, namely Rajiv Kumar and Arvind Panagariya, have both criticised the increases in custom duties; while Surjit Bhalla, a member of economic advisory council to Prime Minister Modi,...

23:05

India Expresses Deep Dismay Over Extension of Emergency in Maldives The Wire

Accepting President Abdulla Yameens recommendation, the Maldivian parliament yesterday extended the state of emergency by another 30 days.

Prime Minister with President of Maldives, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, in New Delhi. Credit: Ministry of External Affairs.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with President of Maldives, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, in New Delhi. Credit: Ministry of External Affairs

New Delhi: Reacting strongly to the extension of emergency in Maldives, India today said it is deeply dismayed over the development and that the manner in which the 30-day extension was approved by the Majlis in contravention of the Maldivian constitution is also a matter of concern.

Accepting President Abdulla Yameens recommendation, the Maldivian parliament (Majlis) yesterday extended the state of emergency by another 30 days, hours after India had asserted that it was important that the island nation quickly returns to the path of democracy and the rule of law, expecting that there will be no extension.

We are deeply dismayed that the government of Maldives has extended the state of emergency for a further 30 days. The manner in which the extension of the state of emergency was app...

23:00

Ice Age Animal Bones, Ancient Human Remains Found in Giant Mexican Cave The Wire

A group of divers recently connected two underwater caverns in eastern Mexico to reveal what is believed to be the biggest flooded cave on the planet.

Scuba divers tour an authorised area of Sac Aktun underwater cave system as part of the Gran Acuifero Maya Project near Tulum, in Quintana Roo state, Mexico January 24, 2014. Credit: Herbert Mayrl/Courtesy Gran Acuifero Maya Project (GAM)/Handout via Reuters

Mexico City: Archaeologists exploring the words biggest flooded cave in Mexico have discovered ancient human remains at least 9,000 years old and the bones of animals who roamed Earth during the last Ice ...

23:00

Bhanubhais Charred Body Is Proof That Casteism Remains a Burning Issue The Wire

Bhanubhai Vankar died protesting the rampant injustice and apathy that continues against Dalits in broad daylight, re-packaged and marketed as the Gujarat model.

Jignesh Mevani, Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakor meet relatives of Dalit activist Bhanubhai Vankar. Credit: PTI

Jignesh Mevani, Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakor meet relatives of Dalit activist Bhanubhai Vankar. Credit: PTI

Another soldier has given his life at the border. Bhanubhai Vankar. But unlike the deaths at the western front that make decibels in the casteist corridors of corporate media, the border where Bhanubhai fought and died is different. But he too had been a dedicated soldier for 40 years.

He fought against the borders that casteism draws in the heart of our society in every village and every neighbourhood. Borders that segregate, that humiliate, that discriminate, that deny or determine access to land or reso...

22:45

Private Hospitals, Including Fortis, Making Profits up to 1737%: Drug Price Regulators New Study The Wire

The regulators study shows that the major beneficiaries of profits from inflated prices have been hospitals and not patients or manufacturers.

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Agency conducted a study of the bills of four major private hospitals. (Representative image) Credit: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

New Delhi: A study of the bills of four major private hospitals, conducted by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Agency (NPPA) following several cases of overpricing of medical bills, concluded that the hospitals have been making profits up to 1737% on drugs, consumables, medical devices and diagnostics. One of the hospitals they studied is Fortis hospital.

In recent months Delhi/NCR witnessed some unfortunate deaths because of dengue and other ailments in four reputed private hospitals. In each case, NPPA got complaints of overpricing and inflated bills from the relatives of deceased patients, says the study, posted on NPPAs website.

NPPA says they asked for the details of bills from these hospitals, a duty they can legally carry out. They have then analysed these bills for this detailed study.

One of the hospitals they studied is Fortis Hospital that was embroiled in a controversy i...

22:43

Study Finds Pakistan Typhoid Outbreak Caused by Drug-Resistant Superbug Strain The Wire

Researchers who analysed the genetics of the typhoid strain found it had mutated and acquired an extra piece of DNA to become resistant to multiple antibiotics.

Lab technicians testing for the presence of bacteria. Credit: Reuters

London: An outbreak of typhoid fever in Pakistan is being caused by an extensively drug resistant superbug strain, a sign that treatment options for the bacterial disease are running out, scientists said on Tuesday.

Researchers from Britains Wellcome Sanger Institute who analysed the genetics of the typhoid strain found it had mutated and acquired an extra piece of DNA to become resistant to multiple antibiotics.

An outbreak of drug-resistant typhoid that began in Hyderabad in Pakistan in November 2016 is still spreading, according to experts from Aga Khan University who worked with the Sanger team.

Official data on case numbers and deaths are not available, but local Pakistan media reports say health authorities detected more than 800 cases of drug-resistant typhoid in Hyderabad alone in a 10-month period between 2016 and 2017.

The researcher found the bacterial...

22:30

A Country Where Sanskrit Deserves Preservation, But Urdu Doesnt The Wire

Though constitutional guarantees and planned policies say otherwise, Urdu-speaking people in India have had a hard time trying to conserve their language and culture.

A newspaper vendor in Srinagar, Kashmir. Credit: Reuters/Danish Ismail

A newspaper vendor in Srinagar, Kashmir. Credit: Reuters/Danish Ismail

Language is a silent index of culture, and multilingualism is in no way a threat to nationhood. Language has always been an emotive bond in human societies. Languages, not religions, make nations. Thats why the two-nation theory was wrong.

No language can be termed an offshoot of any particular religion, caste, creed or faith. All languages are a product of a given society. One of the major reasons for Nathuram Godses hatred, prompting him to assassinate Mahatma Gandhi (as testified by Godse in court) was Gandhijis love for Urdu and advocacy in favour of Hindustani with Devanagari and Persian script.

The University Grants Commission has now asked universities to celebrate International Mother Language Day on February 21, 2018. In 1999, UNESCO had resolved to celebrate this day to mark the killing of four Bengali students on February 21, 1952 the students wanted to use Bengali in what was then known as East Pakistan. The day is a national holiday in Bangladesh.

UNESCOs Atlas of the Worlds Languages in Danger lists 2,500 endangered languages around the world. If a...

22:27

Trump Jr. Says Missing Out on India Deals Because of Fathers Self-Imposed Curbs The Wire

India, it has been an important market for us, but again there is this opportunity cost of the deals that we are not able to do that dont get discussed, Trump Jr. said.

Donald Trump Jr. gestures during a photo opportunity before a meeting in New Delhi, February 20, 2018. Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

New Delhi: US President Donald Trumps elder son described India as an important market for The Trump Organisation but said the global company will lose out on new deals because of self-imposed restrictions put in place by his father since...

21:45

London Offers to Ink New UK-EU Defense Pact: What"s Behind It? Strategic Culture Foundation

With Great Britain becoming a leading member of this new European alliance, US interests will be well protected while the existence of an independent European force will remain a pipe dream.

21:35

Asylum seekers begin hunger strike to protest deportation deadline +972 Magazine

Hundreds in Israels Holot detention facility start a hunger strike after seven asylum seekers are sent to prison for refusing to leave Israel for Rwanda.

By Yael Marom

African asylum seekers jailed in the Holot detention center protest behind the prison's fence, February 17, 2014. (Photo by Activestills.org)

File photo of African asylum seekers being held in Israels Holot detention center. (Photo by Activestills.org)

Israeli authorities sent seven Eritrean asylum seekers to prison on Tuesday, after they refused to be sent to Rwanda as part of a voluntary deportation program. Israel is giving Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers an impossible choice: leave for a third country where they are not guaranteed any legal status, or be imprisoned in Israel indefinitely.

[tmwinpost]

Some 700 asylum seekers currently detained in Holot have begun a hunger strike in protest.

The seven men, the first to be imprisoned under Israels new deportation scheme, were not allowed to pack up their belongings from the desert detention facility (Holot) where they were being held. Two of them are survivors of torture camps in the Sinai desert, according to the Hotline for Refugees. Israeli authorities had previously stated that victims of torture would be e...

21:29

Supreme Court Stays Criminal Proceedings Against Priya Prakash Varrier The Wire

A still from the song Manikya Malarayi Poovi. Credit: YouTube

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today came to actress Priya Prakash Varriers rescue by staying criminal proceedings initiated against her in various states on grounds that the video of a song from her film allegedly hurt religious sentiments of the Muslim community.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud also extended similar relief to director of the Malayalam movie Oru Addar Love.

Besides staying existing criminal proceedings, the bench restrained all state governments from registering any further FIRs against the actress and the director with regard to the promotional video.

It also issued notice to the Telangana government and others on a petition from 18-year-old Varrier, who shot into the limelight after her wink video went viral on the internet.

Varrier, a B.Com student from a college in Keralas Thrissur district, sought protection from an FIR lodged on complaints alleging that the lyrics of the song Manikya Malarayi Poovi from the movie was offensive and had violated the religious sentiment of a particular community.

The post Supreme Court Stays Criminal Proceedings Against Priya Prakash Varrier appeared first on The...

21:15

Rape Threat Rattles Teachers at Elite Gurgaon School The Wire

Teachers and parents are upset that the management at Pathways, Gurgaon have so far refused to act.

Pathways School, Gurgaon. Credit: pathways.in

New Delhi: Two separate incidents of students threatening  rape and propositioning teachers for sex have rattled parents and staff at Pathways, Gurgaon, considered among Indias elite schools.

In one case, a student issued an open threat to his teacher on Instagram, threatening to rape her and kidnap her daughter and have her raped by someone. The teachers daughter, who also studies in the same school, was shocked and had to be counselled at home. She has not returned to  school. When she wrote to the school asking what action was taken against the student, the school authorities refused to take action or even acknowledge what had happened  and allegedly blamed her for missing classes.

The mother of the girl, who teaches at Pathways, has returned to the school to take classes braving humiliation even as no action has been taken against the erring student of the middle school.

When the teacher approached the school management to complain about the students behaviour, she was met with stoic silence from the management, which offered no help. A senior member of the management told her that no action was taken against the student because his father is travelling and not in town.

She is very, very traumati...

21:15

The UK"s Hidden Role in Assange"s Detention Strategic Culture Foundation

It now emerges that the last four years of Julian Assanges effective imprisonment in the Ecuadorean embassy in London have been entirely unnecessary. In fact, they depended on a legal charade.

21:09

Inhabiting Others: Charmaine Craig on Writing Miss Burma The Wire

In conversation with Craig about her last bookautobiography and fiction, her process in writing, the empathic leap that good literature requires of us and more.

Ethnic Karen children from Myanmar stand behind razor wire of the Mae La camp outside Mae Sot near the Thai-Myanmar border October 14, 2010. Credit: Reuters/Damir Sagolj

The Union of Burma, 1949: in a newly independent nation-state, the Karen people began an armed rebellion against Burmese rule. The British had promised them autonomy, but instead their territory became a part of the Union of Burma. Their struggle became one of the longest civil wars in history, but is one that is little known.

As a writer of fiction, how does one represent oppression and violence in a different place and time? How does one do justice to personal stories while telling a political history? How does one fictionalise the life of ones own mother and family members?

Charmaine Craigs Miss Burma searches for answers to these.

It is a historical epic, tracing 40 years of Burmese history, from British colonialism through World War II, Japanese invasion, the early years of independence, and finally General Ne Wins military dictatorship that began in 1962. But it complicates that national history by telling it through the lives of members of the long-persecuted Kare...

20:45

New Corruption Cases Entangle Benjamin Netanyahu Aides The Wire

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara attend an inauguration ceremony for a fortified emergency room at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, southern Israel, February 20, 2018. Credit: Reuters/Amir Cohen

Jerusalem: Israeli police alleged on Tuesday that Benjamin Netanyahus former spokesman tried to bribe a judge to drop a fraud case against Netanyahus wife, the latest corruptio...

20:45

Overhyping US-Russian Differences Strategic Culture Foundation

The sport of professional ice hockey has a definite egalitarian aspect, lacking in some other situations, like the phony, crony, baloney establishment BS, prevalent within some other circles.

20:38

CBI Court Discharges Former Gujarat DGP P.P. Pandey in Ishrat Jahan Case The Wire

Twice before, the Gujarat high court has rejected his petitions to have the FIR against him quashed.

P.P. Pandey. Credit: PTI

P.P. Pandey. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ahmedabad today discharged former Gujarat DGP P.P. Pandey in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case. Pandey, one of seven policemen and four IB officers accused in the case, is the first to be discharged.

The court has said that it will upload its full order on the discharge by this evening.

Pandey had been named in the original CBI chargesheet in the case, filed on July 3, 2013. Twice before, the Gujarat high court has rejected his petitions to have the FIR against him quashed.

In his petition to the CBI court, Pandey had said that the case is based on circumstantial evidence and the chain of events have not been established prima facie and there is no material on record to show what could be the motive of the Applicant/accused to be a part of the so-called conspiracy. He had also claimed the CBI has concocted the evidence by fabricating the statements of witnesses to somehow implicate the Applicant/accused for political reasons and that statements on his involvement are based merely on suspicion.

His discharge petition had been opposed by both the CBI and Shamima Kauser, Ishrat Jahans mother. The CBI had said, As explained in the chargesheet, it was disclosed during the investigation that deceased persons were in prior illegal custody and they were killed in a fake en...

20:30

Gilead Wins Reversal of $2.54 Billion Hepatitis C Drug Patent Verdict The Wire

The logo of Gilead Sciences Inc is pictured during a news conference in New Delhi September 15, 2014. Picture taken September 15, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee

A federal judge in Delaware has overturned a jurys verdict requiring Gilead Sciences Inc. to pay a record $2.54 billion because its hepatitis C drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni infringed a patent held by rival Merck & Co Inc.

The verdict had been the largest ever in a US patent case but US District judge Leonard Stark in Wilmington, Delaware, on Friday ruled Mercks...

20:15

Munich Did Nothing to Appease Cold War 2.0 Fears Strategic Culture Foundation

The Munich Security Conference is supposed to be an annual lofty gathering of global politicians, and military and intelligence experts. Theoretically, they discuss serious security matters under a cool professional eye in an informed setting.

19:21

How Cape Town Is Trying to Keep Tourism Flowing While Saving Water The Wire

If South Africa falls off the tourism radar screen globally, to get it back on will take so much attention and focus.

Residents walk past a leaking communal tap in Khayelitsha township, near Cape Town, South Africa, December 12, 2017. Picture taken December 12, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Mike Hutchings

London: When Markus Rohner flew into Cape Towns airport this month, he found an unexpected line at the mens washroom.

With the city facing an unprecedented water shortage, airport authorities had turned off all the sink taps but one, leaving visitors to wait in line to wash their hands, under the watchful eye of a bathroom attendant.

In Johannesburg, there were a lot of jokes about the situation. People were saying to each other: Lets go to Cape Town for a dirty weekend, said Rohner, who visited both cities recently for his job as a sales and marketing director for a Swiss machinery manuf...

18:58

SC Allows Centre to Withdraw Forces From Darjeeling Hills The Wire

Credit: PTI

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today allowed the Centre to withdraw the remaining four companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) from West Bengals violence-hit Darjeeling area after March 8.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra considered Attorney General K.K. Venugopals submission that the deployment of the central armed forces fell under the central governments administrative domain and allowed it to withdraw the remaining CAPF companies from Darjeeling area.

The apex court also set aside the Calcutta high court order that had restrained the Centre from withdrawing CAPF from the states hill regions on the ground that normalcy had not returned.

The apex court had earlier permitted the Centre to withdraw four of the eight CAPF companies from Darjeeling and Kalimpong. Before that, the Centre was allowed to withdraw seven of the 15 companies of CAPF from Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts for deployment along the borders of Jammu and Kashmir and in the northeastern states and to the poll-bound states of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

The Calcutta high court had stayed the withdrawal of CAPF from Darjeeling hills, the scene of unrest over the statehood demand, till October 27 last year after the state government approached it, opposing the Centres decision.

The post...

18:50

Railways to Propose Building Ayodhya Railway Station as Ram Temple Replica: Manoj Sinha The Wire

The government is concerned about connecting Ayodhya through rail to the entire country so that Ram bhakts may visit the place, he said.

Junior railways minister Manoj Sinha. Credit: PTI/File

Ayodhya: Union minister Manoj Sinha today said the the Railways Ministry would submit a proposal to the Union cabinet to re-construct the Ayodhya railway station as a replica of the Ram temple.

The minister of state for railways made the announcement after laying the foundation stone for projects worth more than Rs 200 crore, including Rs 80 crore for the reconstruction of the railway station.

He said the proposal for the reconstruction of Ayodhya railway station as the replica of the Ram temple would be submitted by the railways ministry to the Union cabinet.

The government is concerned about connecting Ayodhya through rail to the entire country so that Ram...

18:30

Coal India to Feel the Heat as Modi Government Throws Open the Doors for Commercial Mining The Wire

Will CIL sink like BSNL and MTNL or rise to the occasion? And what will it mean for its bulging employee base?

India had nationalised its coal sector in 1973. Credit: Reuters

India had nationalised its coal sector in 1973. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: Nearly 44 years after India nationalised its coal sector, the industry has been thrown open for participation by private players, in a move that would bring in competition for state-owned Coal India (CIL), which has till now enjoyed a monopoly over the business.

India nationalised its coal sector in 1973 as the private sector had messed up the industry, starving it of investment. Safety standards were poor and the lives of the miners miserable.

The restrictions of nationalisation then slowly started being removed from the early 1990s. As the first step, private players were allowed to mine coal for captive consumption. Although the public sector coal producer has been gearing up to face private competition ever since the Modi government introduced an enabling provision via the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act to end its exclusive right to sell coal, it could still feel the heat.

Private pla...

17:39

Kamal Haasan Visits APJ Abdul Kalams House in Rameswaram Ahead of Party Launch The Wire

Actor Kamal Haasan being greeted by his supporters upon arrival at the airport in Madurai on Tuesday. Credit: PTI

Ramanathapuram: Hours before launching his political party, veteran actor Kamal Haasan today visited the residence of former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam here, and interacted with his family members.

Haasan visited Kalam House at Rameswaram in the district, and was warmly received by the family members of the former president.

The actor briefly interacted with Kalams brother Mohammed Muthumeera Lebbai Maraikkayar while being flanked by other close relatives of the former President.

The actor slightly tweaked his schedule for the day, canceling his visit to a school, after the local administration reportedly denied him permission to visit it.

The actor is all set to take the political plunge later today, as he will unveil his party...

17:03

India Must Put Pressure on Myanmar for Repatriation, Safety of Rohingya Refugees: Sheikh Hasina The Wire

Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a repatriation agreement in November last year, but there has been considerable delay in the repatriation of refugees.

Sheikh Hasina interacting with Indian journalists in Dhaka. Credit: Devirupa Mitra

Sheikh Hasina interacting with Indian journalists in Dhaka. Credit: Devirupa Mitra

Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said  she expects India to put pressure on Myanmar to ensure the quick repatriation of Rohingya refugees, and their safety once they go back.

We want India to put pressure on Myanmar so that they can take back the refugees quickly, the Bangladeshi premier told a group of visiting Indian journalists during an interaction at her official residence, Gana Bhawan, on Tuesday evening.

As per UN figures, 688,000 refugees have crossed over from Myanmar since August 25, 2017, following a security crackdown by the Myanmarese army triggered by an attack by a Rohingya militant group.

While visiting Myanmar in the first week of September 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had blamed extremist violence for the loss of lives. The joint statement signed by the two countries only acknowledged that security personnel had been killed.

With over 300,000 refugees already in Coxs Bazaar, there had been rising resentment in Dhaka that India, as the...

16:30

Maldives Parliament Approves 30-Day Extension of Emergency The Wire

A Maldives National Defence Force soldier walks past the presidents office building in Male, Maldives February 6, 2018. Credit: Reuters/Stringer

Male: Parliament in the Maldives on Tuesday approved a 30-day extension of a state of emergency sought by President Abdulla Yameen who cited an ongoing national security threat and constitutional crisis.

Countries including the US, India and Canada along with the UN have urged Yameen to lift the emergency and restore normalcy.

Tour operators say hundreds of hotel bookings have been cancelled daily since the 15-day emergency...

16:09

Pakistan Given Three-Month Reprieve Over Terrorist Financing Watchlist, Says Minister The Wire

Pakistani foreign minister Khawaja Asif attends a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia February 20, 2018. Credit: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

Pakistani foreign minister Khawaja Asif attends a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia February 20, 2018. Credit: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

Islamabad: Pakistan has been given a three-month reprieve by a global watchdog over a US-led motion to put the South Asian country on a terrorist financing watchlist, Pakistans foreign minister Khawaja Asif said late on Tuesday.

Pakistan has been scrambling in recent months to avoid being added to a list of countries deemed non-compliant with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a measure that officials fear could hurt its economy.

FATF member states have been meeting this week in Paris, where it w...

16:09

Confirmed US Meddling in Thailands Upcoming Elections New Eastern Outlook

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As the United States intensifies its accusations against Russia for alleged interference in the 2016 US Presidential Elections, the United States itself is found engaged in confirmed political interference worldwide.

This includes in Southeast Asia where Washington is attempting to rush elections in Thailand in hopes of returning their proxy Thaksin Shinawatra and his Pheu Thai Party (PTP) to power.

US efforts to rush elections have included a concerted effort to dismiss those pointing out Shinawatras continued influence in Thai politics, his continued leadership role over PTP and his intentions to use PTP to return to power.

However, Reuters in an article titled, Thai ex-PM Thaksin calls for party unity ahead of promised election, would openly admit Shinawatra, a convicted criminal and fugitive, still controlled PTP whose leadership met with him recently in Hong Kong.

The article reported:

Fugitive former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra met lawmakers from his Puea Thai Party in Hong Kong where he called for party unity ahead of an approaching general election, party members said on Monday.

Many are watching to see how Puea Thai Party performs in a vote which the military government has promised to hold in November but which could be delayed.

The necessity of repeated delays of Thai elections is very straightforward.

Thaksin Shinawatra, a convicted criminal and fugitive still seeks to contest them through PTP. Allowing a fugitive to contest elections would be illegal and any election outcome influenced by a convicted criminal and fugitive would be illegitimate. By delaying elections, the current Thai government hopes to continue diminishing Shinawatras unwarranted influence and wealth as well as that of his political network inside Thailand until both are no longer an obstruction to legal elections.
Yet despite this straightforward necessity to delay elections, the United States and its European partners have repeatedly demanded rushed elections. Additionally, the US and its European partn...

14:59

Review: What the Best Urdu Stories Tell Us The Wire

The Greatest Urdu Stories Ever Told sheds light on the intellectual movements within a culture and the speakers of a language who were imaginative, rebellious and progressive, not enslaved to an identity.

In the introduction, the translator Memom maps the world of Urdu literature. Credit: Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In the introduction, the translator Memom maps the world of Urdu literature. Credit: Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Everything that is restricted to us as children, whether by our own abilities or by an external force, becomes an object of fascination. This is what happened to me with Urdu literature. Till today, the dwindling weeks of summer vacations in my grandparents house are etched in my memory. And with it, the frustration at my own deplorable Urdu reading skills, which ensured I could read a page if I concentrated hard, but never use to fluidly read books one after the other.

My grandfather was a professor of History, deeply entrenched in his university life. My grandmother was a more nuanced personality. She was a devoted mother and an introverted housewife by day. But she had been the reformer in her family, fighting for her own education, taking a stance against the burqa and ensuring her daughters were raised exactly as her sons.

It was only as an adult that I found out that she had also been a secret radi...

14:30

Elon Musk Is Not the Future The Wire

Tech CEOs are out for themselves, not the public good.

Elon Musks Tesla Roadster, with Earth in background, on February 6, 2018. Credit: SpaceX/Flickr

Silicon Valley has no shortage of big ideas for transportation. In their vision of the future, well hail driverless pods to go short distances we may even be whisked into a network of underground tunnels that will supposedly get us to our destinations more quickly and for intercity travel, well switch to pods in vacuum tubes that will shoot us to our destination at 760 miles (1,220 km) per hour.

However, these fantasies of wealthy tech CEOs are just that: fantasies. None of these technologies will come to fruition in the way they promise if they ever become a reality at all. The truth is that the technologies we need to transform our transportation networks already exist, but Americans have been stuck with a dated, auto-dependent system for so long while being denied the technology of the present let alone the future by politicians who are in the pockets of the fossil fuel lobby and addicted to a damaging free market ideology that theyll believe any snake oil salesmanor wealthy entrepreneur who comes along with a solution.

And, out of all of them, Elon Musk is...

14:00

How Saddam Husseins Old Ideology May Have Contributed to the Modern Islamic State The Wire

Was the early conception of IS a branching-out of the old Baath party? Or was it, as some argue, completely separate with no connection at all? Reality is probably a bit of a mix of both.

Members of the Iraqi police forces sit outside a building in the city of Fallujah on June 30, 2016 after theyve recaptured the city from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. Credit: Reuters

In an interrogation video broadcast by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on January 10, 2018, French jihadist Thomas Barnouin accused the Islamic State (IS) or Daesh, which he had previously joined, of being the criminal creation of former Baath party members, aided by Western intelligence services.

While his allegations sounded like a familiar conspiracy account and were noticeably the result of manipulation by his Kurdish jailers, they once again revived the old controversy of the ties between Iraqs former Baathist regime and IS, under scrutiny since at least 2015.

On April 18 that year, German journalist Christoph Reuter published in Der Spiegel an investigation dissecting the life of the so-called Haji Bakr, Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi.

A former colonel in the Iraqi forces who maintained an association with the intelligence, al-Khlifawi was presented by Reuter as the agent of a cynical attempt, through his IS allegiance, to...

14:00

Chittor and Thoa Khalsa, Padmaavat and Rajkahini: Expanding The Patriarchal Context for Jauhar The Wire

Its about time we Indians seriously thought about what constitutes honour and where it should be located.

Padmaavat. Credit: Twitter

History repeats itself

1303, Chittor, Rajasthan:

Alauddin Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi, attacks the fort of Chittor, in a bid to snatch away by force what he couldnt by persuasion the beautiful Rani Padmavati, wife of Rana Rawal Singh. When Khiljis victory is imminent, the Rani thwarts it by performing jauhar  immolating herself in a ceremonial pyre along with thousands of other Rajput women.

March 1947, Thoa Khalsa, Punjab:

Violence has come to the Punjab months before the Partition of India, at the end of a long retaliatory relay between Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. Starting from Calcutta in August 1946, it has first moved eastwards to Noakhali, and then westwards to Bihar, UP and finally Punjab in the spring of 1947. One incident during that month stands out. It is in Thoa Khalsa, a small village in the district of Rawalpindi, which witnessed unabated violence in the week of March 6-13, 1947. There is a Muslim attack on the (predominantly Sikh) village which the Sikhs try to stave off during the first wave of the attack one evening. But the next day, some thousands come. When it becomes imminent that they would be butchered, it is decided that the women would drown themselves in the village well. Some 90 women gather together and jump one by one, some with babies. Towards the end, there is not much water left to drown themselves in and some try repeatedly without success.

...

13:30

In LAffaire Nirav Modi, Echoes of Jatin Mehtas Winsome Diamonds Where a Dead-End Is Looming The Wire

A Sharjah court order means the CBI and ED are unlikely to receive help from the UAE government on the Jatin Mehta case. What will happen to the nearly Rs 7,000 crore of public money that was lost?

Jatin Mehta. Credit: Winsome website

Jatin Mehta. Credit: Winsome Diamonds website

Over the last week, Indias investigative agencies have never looked better. They have rushed en masse to the offices and glittery showrooms of diamond czar Nirav Modi across the country in search of answers. If one goes by figures leaked to the media,  these agencies have already recovered almost half the money Modi owes to the banks.

The Nirav Modi scam has also given to revisit the history of banking scams in India everything from Vijay Mallya to the Harshad Mehta scandal.

Curiously, there has been less attention focused on the case of diamond merchant Jatin Mehta.

Mehta, who is the main person associated with Winsome Diamonds and other group companies, is likely the second largest defaulter (nearly Rs 7,000 crore) after Mallya in India Incs corporate history. Modi and his uncle have now replaced him.

Modi and Mehta have more in common than one might think. They are both Palanpur merchants from Gujarat, both diamond merchants that walked the same path of precarious funding to reach their ultimate destination as defaulters.

Both of them raised massive loans through letters of credit from public sector banks before making a quick exit from the country. Strangely, in both cases, Punjab National Bank has also been left red-faced, holding the tragically short end of the...

13:30

Review: Sedition and the Quick Leap From Dissent to Deshdroh The Wire

Anushka Singhs Sedition in Liberal Democracies delves into the impact of being slapped with a sedition case, whether real or politically-motivated, and the stigma the taint of being anti-national that it carries with it.

Singh argues how the states use of the law through its mechanisms such as FIRs and chargesheets leads to overrated notions of what constitutes sedition. Credit: Shutterstock

Sedition may be an archaic law, but it is certainly not out of fashion. Anushka Singhs recently released book, Sedition in Liberal Democracies, has to be seen in the context of the continuing use of the sedition law in India to stifle free speech and different stripes of dissent. The book is an excellent addition to the existing material around sedition in India, bringing together legal, political, historical and anthropological perspectives on the theme, and includes a section dealing with comparative developments in the United Kingdom, United States and Australia.

Singhs detailed account helps us think through the narrower legal category of sedition as laid down in section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and judicial interpretations of this law, in relation to a broader discursive category that has emerged that encompasses other laws such as waging war against the state, and anti-terror laws such as the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), as well as popular understanding of deshdroh or those who are disloyal to the nation.

This wider category, according to Singh, who is an assistant professor at the School of La...

13:30

Arcelormittal, Numetal Bids for Essar Steel Fail Eligibility Test The Wire

Matter could land in higher courts, as stakes for both Mittal and Ruias are high; bankers to call for fresh bids.

Credit: Reuters/Francois Lenoir/Files

The bids of both Numetal, a VTB Bank majority company with Ruias as minority partner, and ArcelorMittal for Essar Steel have failed the eligibility test of the legal advisors appointed by the resolution professional as both bidders had connections to non-performing assets (NPAs) in India. The committee of lenders is expected to meet the next few days to take a call on the fate of the company.

As per the IBC procedures, the final decision will be taken by the...

12:42

Petitioner in Loya Case Pokes Holes In Maharashtras Discreet Inquiry The Wire

Dushyant Dave also questioned the courts reluctance to force the Maharashtra government to submit an affidavit on the death of the judge.

Supreme Court. Credit: Wikimedia/Pinakpani

New Delhi: The ongoing Supreme Court hearings on the death of Judge B.H. Loyas in the early hours of December 1, 2014, took an interesting turn on Monday, with Dushyant Dave, counsel for the Bombay Lawyers Association invoking facts, logic and the public interest to pick apart the Maharashtra governments attribution of  political motives to the petitioners.

The Maharashtra governments senior counsel, Mukul Rohatgi, repeatedly questioned the timing of the Caravan story which triggered the filing of the writ petitions, attributing it to the dismissal in the Supreme Court of Harsh Manders petition against the discharge of Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin murder case.

Dave, in his response, asked whether the state government was fair in attributing political motives to the BLA, a professional body, when the issue of Loyas death, and the need for an independent probe, was raised by none other than the four senior judges, occupying the court rooms 2, 3 and 5 adjacent to court No.1, where the hearing was taking place.

Daves reference to the January 12 press conference addressed by the four judges where Justice Ranjan Gogoi admitted that the listing of the Loya matter before a j...

12:00

BJP MP in Jammu Accused of Using Taxpayer Funds for Brahmin-Only Facility The Wire

Despite a crematorium barely 20 steps away, Jugal Kishore Sharma has reportedly built the new shed under pressure from local brahmins.

A view of the existing cremation shed, with the new upper caste shed coming up in the background. Credit: Bivek Mathur

Jammu: As the debate around caste rages in all corners of India, a BJP Member of Parliament from Jammu  has used local area development (MPLAD) funds to construct an upper caste only community cremation shed in Jammus Bishnah tehsil, Dalit villagers say.

The new crematorium in Jumian Brahamana village has been built for Rs 3 lakh and lies just 20 steps away from an already existing cremation shed, where both upper caste and lower caste community members have jointly performed last rites for their dead relatives.

Of the 120 families who live in the village, around half are upper caste and the other half belong to the Scheduled Caste community.

On February 18, in order to set the idea in stone that the new cremation shed is only meant to be used by upper caste villagers, the Brahmins of the village cremated one of their own a former numberdar, Tilak Raj at the under-construction shed.

...

11:30

Nirav Modi Scam: Jaitley Wants Banks, Auditors to Introspect But Not FinMin, PMO The Wire

The finance minister suggested the fraud represented a failure of public sector bank managements to use their autonomy responsibly.

File photo of finance minister Arun Jaitley. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: When the Rs 11,400 crore Nirav Modi case broke a week ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and finance minister Arun Jaitley stayed silent even as they fielded ministers and party spokespersons to blame the opposition Congress for the scam. On Tuesday, Jaitley broke his silence, choosing this time a new set of targets   the management of the Punjab National Bank, its internal and external auditors, chartered accountants and unnamed supervisory agencies.

Though the Reserve Bank of India arguably comes under the last category, Jaitley refrained from naming the central bank whose leadership has spent the bulk of the past year and a half firefighting on the demonetisation front.  Nor did he mention his own ministry, which has nodal responsibility for banking, or the prime ministers office, which received early warning about the scam underway back in 2016.

Addressing the annual meeting of the Association of Development Financial Institutions in Asia and Pacific upon his return from a two day visit to Saudi Arabia, Jaitley said that his government would chase down...

11:02

Abang Johari: Dont let outside political parties decide Sarawaks future Hornbill Unleashed

No political party from outside Sarawak, including Umno, can determine the future of the state, said Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg. He said only the state-based parties led by Sarawakians themselves could decide and set the direction as to where the state would head to. We must be united. Only Sarawak leaders can determine the []

11:02

DAP and PKR to swap Miri and Stampin? Hornbill Unleashed

Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak is targeting to win at least eight parliamentary seats in the coming general election (GE14), with marginal seats of Baram and Saratok high on the wanted list. We have six in the bag; realistically our target is getting two more from Sarawak to deliver eight for Pakatan Harapan. Sabah can deliver []

11:02

CM: Sarawak BN must win Opposition seats to push for state rights Hornbill Unleashed

Sarawak Barisan Nasional component parties must try to at least recapture a few seats from the Opposition if not all the 31 parliamentary seats in the coming 14th General Election. This is to enable the state government to exert its power in asserting Sarawaks right in oil and gas, part of the states effort to []

11:01

EC to provide better facilities for disabled Hornbill Unleashed

Election Commission (EC) will provide better facilities for the disabled during the 14th general election (GE14) so that they can cast their votes with confidence and transparency. EC chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah said among the improvements included allowing family members or reliable persons to help them during polling. He said election staff would []

10:46

Shut Up, Burglary Theorist! The Corbett Report

What?! You believe in burglaries?! Oh no, you're just another crackpot, tinfoil hat-wearing nutjob, aren't you? You're a burglary theorist!

02:58

After Tussle With Top Bureaucrat Over Denial of Rations, Delhi Govt Drops Aadhar Link The Wire

While Anshu Prakash claims the meeting was called to discuss advertisements, AAP said it was called to discuss denial of rations on 2.5 lakh cards in January. Data now reveals that number to be much higher, at around four lakh.

Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: In the wake of Delhi chief secretary Anshu Prakashs complaint that he was abused and assaulted by Aam Aadmi Party MLAs at a meeting called at chief minister Arvind Kejriwals residence to discuss the issue of difficulty in release of certain television advertisements relating to completion of three years of current government of Delhi, the ruling party had contended that he was lying as the meeting had nothing to do with the issue of advertisements and had instead been called to discuss the public interest issue of denial of rations to 2.5 lakh card holders.

By evening, the Delhi government announced that Aadhaar identification would no longer be mandatory for the capitals poor to access subsidised food through the public distribution system. We decided today to put on hold the old decision to allow the distribution of ration through Aadhaar card. Therefore, it will go back to the old system for some time now. Aadhaar card will not be mandatory, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia...

02:36

On the American Inability to Turn Turkey Around New Eastern Outlook

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While last two weeks have seen the erstwhileand currentNATO allies, the US and Turkey, exchanging serious words of warning over Turkeys ground and air operations against the US-backed Kurdish militias, Turkey doesnt seem to be deterred, nor does it appear that it will abandon its strategic goals. While such a situation is nothing short of a serious embarrassment for the US, as we pointed out in one of our recent pieces, past two weeks have only proved that the crisis is not going to just die down. On the contrary, with every step that Turkey takes towards eliminating its Kurdish threat, the US ability to manipulate the ground situation in Syria becomes weaker, thus speedifying the near permanent departure of the US from the Middle East and a potential end of Pax Americana. They many changes the Syrian war has brought to the region has triggered a wave of geo-political upheavals, particularly the ascendance of Iran and then Russia, which have made the US concede the Middle East, a region that has been at the receiving end of occidental manipulations since the end of World War One; hence, the US inability to turn Turkey around the Kurdish question and prevent it from forcing them out of the territories under their control in Syria.

Despite the US warnings to the contrary, Turkey isnt stopping short of clearing Manbij, after Afrin, of Kurdish elements. Speaking to the members of his party in the Turkish Parliament, Turkeys Erdogan said, pointing his words sharply at the US, They tell us, Dont come to Manbij. We will come to hand over these territories to their rightful owners. Who are the rightful owners? Of course, it is the Syrians. But where does this emphasis on handing over Manbij to the rightful owners place Turkey in the regional geo-political matrix?

To locate Turkey in the regional matrix, we first have to understand what other major regional actors are striving to achieve in and through Syria. In other words, lets see what the matrix is.

The Regional Matrix

First of all, Turkeys operation Oliver Branch could not have been possible without direct and indirect support from the Russians, who are currently controlling the entire Syr...

02:21

Jan Gan Man Ki Baat Episode 198: Nirav Modi and the Rafale Deal The Wire

Vinod Dua discusses Nirav Modis response to allegations of fraud against him and the Rafale deal.

The post Jan Gan Man Ki Baat Episode 198: Nirav Modi and the Rafale Deal appeared first on The Wire.

01:42

I Embraced Islam, Married of My Own Free Will, Says Hadiya in Affidavit Before SC The Wire

Rejecting allegations that she has links to the Islamic State and is not mentally sound, Hadiya said she wishes to live and die as an Indian citizen.

Credit: PTI

New Delhi: No love story has made so many headlines in the past few years as Hadiyas. In the latest, Hadiya, alias Akhila, on Tuesday filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court seeking its permission to live with her husband Shafin Jahan.

Stating that she had embraced Islam and married on her own free will, Hadiya also stated that she is a Muslim and intends to stay a Muslim. Hadiya also asked the apex court to appoint Jahan as her guardian.

...

01:37

Syrias Afrin Move: Artful Assistance To Allies Or Armageddon In The Making? OrientalReview.org

A larger war could break out at any time due to even the slightest miscalculation by the Syrian side, thus leaving the whole world watching with bated breath to see what happens next.

The post Syrias Afrin Move: Artful Assistance To Allies Or Armageddon In The Making? appeared first on OrientalReview.org.

01:08

Watch: Karan Thapar Interviews Former Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran The Wire

Karan Thapar interviews former foreign secretary Shyam Sharan about the rising tension at the border with Pakistan, Indo-China relations and how the Modi government is handling foreign policy.

The post Watch: Karan Thapar Interviews Former Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran appeared first on The Wire.

00:30

The Red and Green Specialists: Why Human Colour Vision Is Different The Wire

Most mammals rely on scent rather than sight, but there is something particularly unusual about the vision of humans, apes and monkeys that requires an explanation.

Illustration of the distribution of cone cells in the fovea of an individual with normal color vision (left), and a color blind (protanopic) retina. Credit: Wikipedia

Most mammals rely on scent rather than sight. Look at a dogs eyes, for example: theyre usually on the sides of its face, not close together and forward-facing like ours. Having eyes on the side is good for creating a broad field of vision, but bad for depth perception and accurately judging distances in front. Instead of having good vision, dogs, horses, mice, antelope in fact, most mammals generally have long damp snouts that they use to sniff things with. It is we humans, and apes and monkeys, who are different. And, as we will see, there is something particularly unusual about our vision that requires an explanation.

Over time, perhaps as primates came to occupy more diurnal niches with lots of light to see, we somehow evolved to be less reliant on smell and more reliant on vision. We lost our wet noses and snouts, our eyes moved to the front of our faces, and closer together, which improved our ability to judge distances (developing improved stereoscopy, or binocular vision). In addition, Old World monkeys and apes (called catarrhines) evolved trichromacy: red-, green- and blue-colour vision. Most other mammals have two different types of colour photoreceptors (cones) in their eyes, but...

00:19

Maldives Crisis: Hope the Government Doesnt Extend the State of Emergency, Says India The Wire

The statement, which was released by MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, said that India hopes the government will resume the political process with immediate effect.

Maldivian Police officers push back the opposition supporters near the main opposition Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) headquarter. Credit: Reuters

The Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday released a statement on their views regarding the state of emergency imposed in Maldives.

The statement, which was released by MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, said, It is our expectation that the Government of Maldives will not be seeking the extension of the State of Emergency and resume the political process with immediate effect.

00:00

Fali Mistry, the Cinematographer Who Taught Bollywood the Importance of Cameramen The Wire

Fali Mistry was known for the imaginative imagery he created out of a dramatic interplay between light and shade.

Fali Mistry (extreme R) with Dev Anand and Vijay Anand in New York. Credit: Special arrangement

Fali Mistry (extreme R) with Dev Anand and Vijay Anand in New York. Credit: Special arrangement

Even the hard to please Baburao Patel, in his Filmindia review of the Nargis-Dilip Kumar-Munawar Sultana starrer Babul (1950), had to concede, Babul is a rich and pleasant picture with maddeningly beautiful photography. Fali Mistry, the cameraman, has turned the camera into a painters brush and make every frame a canvas of art and beauty. If Hollywood can improve on this work of Fali, we would like to see it being done.

Born in Bombay to a Parsi family on February 17, 1917, Fali became one of Indian cinemas greatest cameramen. Along with fellow cinematographer and younger brother Jal Mistry, he was among the early cinematographers who brought into sharp focus the importance of...

00:00

Rediscovering Ancient Nubia in Sudan Before Its Too Late The Wire

Long ignored by white archaeologists as a mere footnote, modern scientists are now racing to document whats left of the ancient African civilisation.

Temple of Amun at Naqa, Nubia (North Sudan), c.1-20 AD. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

In 1905, British archaeologists descended on a sliver of eastern Africa, aiming to uncover and extract artefacts from 3,000-year-old temples. They left mostly with photographs, discouraged by the ever-shifting sand dunes that blanketed the land. We sank up to the knees at every step, Wallis Budge, the British Egyptologist and philologist, wrote at the time, adding: [We] made several trial diggings in other parts of the site, but we found nothing worth carrying away.

For the next century, the region known as Nubia home to civilisations older than the dynastic Egyptians, skirting the Nile River in what is today northern Sudan and southern Egypt was paid relatively little attention. The land was inhospitable, and some archaeologists of the era subtly or explicitly dismissed the notion that black Africans were capable of creating art, technology, and metropolises like those from Egypt or Rome. Modern textbooks still treat ancient Nubia like a mere annex to Egypt: a few paragraphs on black pharaohs, at most.

Today, archaeologists are realising how wrong their predecessors were and how little time they have left to uncover and fully understand Nubias historical significance.

This is one of...

Tuesday, 20 February

23:48

Delhi Chief Secretary Alleges Assault by Some MLAs at Kejriwals residence, AAP Denies Charge The Wire

Yet another Delhi-Centre face-off builds up as civil servants stop work in protest. Chief secretary Anshu Prakash meets Lt governor and home minister; AAP accuses him of using casteist slur.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal (left), Delhi chief secretary Anshu Prakash. Credit: PTI/Twitter

New Delhi: The capital plunged into a constitutional crisis on Tuesday as a large number of civil servants stopped work in protest against an alleged assault by some Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators on Delhi chief secretary Anshu Prakash at chief minister Arvind Kejriwals residence past midnight. Prakash was assaulted after he reportedly refused to answer why more money was not being spent on issuing advertisements. As the incident turned into a political slugfest, the AAP, in turn, accused Prakash of using casteist language against its MLA who were questioning him about problems in doorstep delivery of rations and exclusion of 2.5 lakh people from the delivery system.

23:30

Russia Is More of a Skilled Strategic Spoiler Than a (Re)Rising Superpower The Wire

Russia is a major global power in outlook and reach, locked in a values-based confrontation with the West. But it still lacks all elements of a developed superpower.

Much of the interest in Russia centres around its experienced and skilled political leader in Vladimir Putin, speaking here with Donald Trump. Credit: Reuters

Russia keeps posing a massive intelligence puzzle to the West: it is never as weak as we may want it to be, nor is it as strong as we fear it may be.

So, how can we classify Russia as an international power? It is not the Soviet Union reincarnated, so it is not a reborn counterpoint to US global supremacy. Nor does it intend to be. But it remains a major strategic spoiler of the US ambitions to retain its rules-based global order.

Moscow is trying to strengthen its relationship with like-minded major powers. China is one of Russias comrades-in-arms, although not a formal ally. China and Russia are not forming any sort of anti-Western/anti-US alliance; both great powers have their own national agendas.

Over the past ten years, Russia and China have developed very close military ties, but their economic relationship remains uneven and quite low on the common strategic agenda. They are de facto engaged in soft competition across Central Asia and the Asia-Pacific.

But their intention to change the status quo in support of their ambitions aligns with their security and strategic agendas, at least for now. Just like China, Russia seeks to maximise its strategic autonomy by aggressive...

23:25

Palestinian youth in Nablus: Unite and stop with the division +972 Magazine

Palestinian youth demonstrate in Nablus, demanding peace and calling for non-violent opposition to the occupation. 

By +972 Magazine Staff

Palestinian youth protest in the West Bank city of Nablus. February 19, 2018. (Courtesy of Zimam)

Palestinian youth protest in the West Bank city of Nablus. February 19, 2018. (Courtesy of Zimam)

Palestinian youth from across the West Bank demonstrated near Al Najah University in Nablus on Monday. The demonstrators held a long banner bearing slogans calling for peace, supporting non-violent struggle, and thanking the countries that opposed U.S. President Donald Trumps recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The demonstration was organised by Zimam, a Palestinian grassroots movement.

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Samer Makhlouf, CEO of Zimam, said that the demonstration was intended not only to provide Palestinian youth with a platform to express their anger and frustration in a constructive way, but also to fight extremism and promote unity within Palestinian society.

We believe in justice, in international law, and we are trying to encourage the community to adopt nonviolence in order to accomplish our goals, Makhlouf told me by phone on Monday. We need to unite behind one strategy and stop with the division.

We want to build a Palestinian society that is democratic, tolerant, secular, Makhlouf added. We see this as an important step as we approach statehood and independence.

...

23:00

Aadhaar Alone Will Do Little to Improve Womens Financial Inclusion in India The Wire

Governments and banks must first tackle issues such as corruption, low informal sector wages and female illiteracy.

We first have to ask what prevents women from holding bank accounts. Credit: Reuters

We first have to ask what prevents women from holding bank accounts. Credit: Reuters

If we want women to have the same economic opportunities as men, we need to improve financial inclusion. That means giving women equal access to the formal banking system and offering them services to manage their money that are more affordable than more casual arrangements.

India, with its well-known comparative advantage in IT services, has been attempting to boost financial inclusion by linking its digital unique identification (UID) scheme, Aadhaar, with access to bank accounts. But will it actually succeed in increasing womens participation in the formal financial sector? The answer is not obvious.

To judge the potential for UID systems to improve financial inclusion, we first have to ask what prevents women (mostly in South Asian economies) from holding bank accounts.

A tentative answer comes from the Global Findex Database maintained by the World Bank. The data clearly shows lower participat...

22:57

The Munich Security Conference, the Good, Bad and the Ugly New Eastern Outlook

886

The secret of politics? Make a good treaty with Russia. Otto von Bismark, first Chancellor of the German Empire (1871 to 1890)

I had been planning to do a follow up on the Syrian battle of Idlib, but the siren song of the Munich conference called out to me. Big time geopolitics and standup comedians are a show not to be missed, and this one was full of both.

The stars this year were the Three Stooges, Joe Biden, Netanyahu, and Mike Pence, with an honorable mention for John McCain. Joe Biden won the Losing your mind award, for the best senior statesman who demonstrates he has just about everything wrong.

Good ole Joe, as he is affectionately called here, put on quite a Russophobia show with a long list of Red Horde Horrendous tales. Russia is a nation in decline, its network of partnerships is maintained solely through coercion, the population is aging and shrinking, and of course it is undermining democratic ideals, which frankly, I thought the US had taken over that mission.

While Russia has suffered under the Western sanctions, there has been a silver lining to the pain. It is much more resilient now from Western economic pressure. It has cranked up domestic production to replace Western food imports and found non-EU sources for others.

Western credit card companies are out, and a new international settlements payment structure is being tested now. Growth is positive, the deficit cut; and over all, foreign debt reduced while continuing to build its gold reserves, as is China.

As for coercing neighbors, the new Ukraine, the creation of the US-NATO-EU violent coup is an economic basket case, looted and pillaged by its ruthless oligarchs, who had done the same to Russia during Yeltsins day as foreign predators.

Meanwhile, Crimea, which was able to dodge the bullet, is weathering the storm with living conditions that are the envy of most in Ukraine.

Russia now has two long term bases in Syria, paid for with blood and treasure for saving Syria from what everybody knows would have been a takeover by ISIS. That would have set the stage for NATO and the Gulf States to turn on their ISIS proxies to come into Syria to save it, and announce themselves Balkanization heroes.

The aging population smear was a low blow. During WWII the US had 350,000 KIA...

22:55

Chinese Warships Enter East Indian Ocean Amid Maldives Tensions The Wire

A fleet of destroyers, at least one frigate, a 30,000-tone amphibious transport dock and three support tankers entered the Indian Ocean, a Chinese news portal said.

Representative image. Credit: YouTube

Shanghai: Eleven Chinese warships sailed into the East Indian Ocean this month, a Chinese news portal said, amid a constitutional crisis in the tiny tropical island chain of the Maldives now under a state of emergency.

A fleet of destroyers, at least one frigate, a 30,000-tone amphibious transport dock and three support tankers entered the Indian Ocean, news portal Sina.com.cn said, without linking the deployment to the crisis in the Maldives or giving a reason.

If you look at warships and other equipment, the gap between the Indian and Chinese navy is not large, Sina.com.cn said on Sunday.

It did not say when the fleet was deployed or for how long.

Rivalry between old foes India and China for influence in the Maldives became evident after President Abdulla Yameen signed up to Beijings Belt and Road initiative to build trade and transport links across Asia and beyond.

India, which has had longstanding political and security ties to the islands about 400 km (250 miles) away, has sought to push back against Chinas expanding presence in the overwhelmingly Muslim country of 400,000 people. Maldivian opposition leaders have urged New Delhi to intervene in the crisis.

Chinas Ministry of D...

22:50

Trudeaus India Visit a Great Opportunity to Bury the Lingering Ghosts of Blue Star The Wire

The Khalistan issue got a fresh lease of life after the advent of the Trudeau government, his liberal party benefiting from strong Sikh support.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Credit: Reuters

The visit of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to India has aroused keen public interest and not just because of his personal charisma. Son of his famous, though distant, predecessor Pierre Trudeau, he has established himself as a liberal, modern and youthful leader brimming with energy and initiative. He has weathered with deftness the threats emanating from US President Donald Trump about re-writing trade and investment relations with Canada by undoing the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Indo-Canadian relations have been on an upswing since the two visits by Stephen Harper to India in 2009 and 2012. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in Canada, mainly for the G20 meeting in 2010 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled there in 2015. There used be two irritants in bilateral relations from the 1970s. One was sanctions on Indias nuclear programme after Indias peaceful...

22:01

Government Opens Commercial Coal Mining to Private Companies, Coal India Monopoly to End The Wire

Following nationalisation by late Indira Gandhi in 1973, only state-owned CIL was allowed to sell coal. The state-owned entity currently accounts for over 80% of domestic coal output.

 

West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh are the major coal-bearing states. Credit: Special Arrangement

New Delhi: In a major reform in the coal sector since its nationalisation in 1973, the government on Tuesday allowed private companies to mine the fossil fuel for commercial use, ending the monopoly of state-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL). Currently, private sector is allowed coal mining for captive use only.

The opening up of commercial coal mining for the private sector is the most ambitious coal sector reform since the nationalisation of this sector, Coal and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said while briefing the media on the decision taken in the Cabinet meeting, adding that big, medium as well as small mines would be offered to private companies for mining.

The reform, Goyal said, was likely to bring efficiency into the coal sector by moving away from the era of monopoly (of CIL) to competition and lower power tariffs. He said the move will lead to higher investments and create lakhs of direct and indirect jobs.

It...

21:54

Israel is helping Rwanda rewrite the history of genocide +972 Magazine

Israel, which has supplied numerous despotic regimes with advanced weaponry, is now helping the Rwandan government rewrite the narrative of the 1994 genocide. So much for the lessons of the Holocaust.

By Eitay Mack

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with President of Rwanda Paul Kagame, at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on July 10, 2017. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with President of Rwanda Paul Kagame, at the Prime Ministers Office in Jerusalem on July 10, 2017. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Israel was the only Western state to endorse the Rwandan dictatorships scandalous proposal in January to change the factual and legal international consensus about the genocide that took place there in 1994. The Rwandan government seeks to create a new narrative that deletes from memory the murder of moderate Hutus who supported a compromise with the Tutsis. Following the resolutions adoption, Noa Furman, Israels deputy ambassador to the UN, delivered a passionate speech justifying Israels support for the proposal with the claim that Israel, after the Holocaust, understands the global responsibility to remember human historys darkest episodes.

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Israels support for the Rwandan governments proposal to rewrite its history h...

21:45

2018 Russia"s Middle East Policy Gets Off to a Strong Start Strategic Culture Foundation

Like it or not, Russias influence in the Middle East is growing by leaps and bounds. Once you piece together the facts, the picture becomes clear - Russias clout is on the rise, making it the go-to nation for the countries of the region.

21:15

Taiwan Running Out of Friends As Vatican Prepares to Defect Strategic Culture Foundation

The number of countries that recognise Taiwan fell to 20 in 2017. With the Vatican about to switch to China, its last European ally will have gone.

20:45

Deep State and the FBI Federal Blackmail Investigation Strategic Culture Foundation

Its hilariously naive how mainstream American news media feign an air of disdain concerning accusations of impropriety by the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the last presidential elections.

20:42

Ready to Bring No-Confidence Motion Against Centre as Last Resort: Chandrababu Naidu The Wire

Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. Credit: PTI

Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has said he is ready to move a no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government with the support of other parties to get justice for the southern state.

However, he said such a move will be the last resort.

Earlier in the day, Naidu had dismissed the demands made by the opposition YSR Congress and Jana Sena to consider bringing a no-trust motion.

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) sources had said Naidu, who heads the TDP, was planning to convene an all-party meeting soon to discuss ways to build pressure on the Centre to secure the states rightful due.

Ties between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and TDP came under severe strain after the southern party accused the Centre of making insufficient allocations for Andhra Pradesh in the Budget 2018-19.

But, a no-confidence motion should be the last resort. We will continue our fight for justice to Andhra Pradesh. If that doesnt happen, we will muster support from other parties and move the no-trust motion, the TDP president announced at meeting of Madiga Reservation Porata Samiti in Vijayawada last night.

The TDP is a key constituent from south India in the BJP-led NDA dispensation.

Naidu said protecting the...

20:22

The First Encounter Between Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and The Beatles The Wire

An excerpt from Ajoy Boses Across the Universe: The Beatles in India that traces the path The Beatles took to India and their stay at the Himalayan ashram in 1968.

A group photo of The Beatles and their partners with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at his ashram in Rishikesh in 1968. Credit and copyright: Paul Saltzman

As the heiress grew closer to the Maharishi, she rented a house near where he stayed. Nancy moved in with her so that they could continue with their joint meditation sessions. Some months later, the Maharishi and the rest of his American followers were overjoyed by a contribution to their Spiritual Regeneration Movement of a whopping 1,00,000 dollars from a Doris Duke owned charitable trust. It was the highest donation the Maharishi had received so far, fulfilling a cherished dream a new ashram at Rishikesh, including a grand bungalow for his personal use.

The only problem was that the news leaked, although Doris had insisted her donation be kept a secret. On a subsequent visit to India, she was pestered for similar largesse by other Indian monks known to her. In a fit of pique, the angry heiress cut off all contact with her guru and Nancy, refusing to have anything more to do with his movement. Nancy later recalled how the Maharishi would go on urging her to somehow get Doris back into the fold but her efforts were to no avail. She, however, had impressed the monk with her contacts in high society and moved closer and closer to him. A few years later, the Maharishi would choose Nancy to look after the Beatles and other international celebrities when they c...

20:15

Indictments by Mueller Very Embarrassing for Democratic Party Strategic Culture Foundation

The AP reported on Saturday, February 17th, that the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, achieved on Friday, indictments of Russian-Government or affiliated organizations that used deceptive practices in order to send out to Americas Blacks and Muslims social-media messages to persuade them not to vote. CBS news had reported on Friday the following examples:

20:00

Past Continuous: How Bardoli Satyagraha Became a Turning Point in the Indian Nationalist Struggle The Wire

A fortnightly column reflecting on chapters of Indias political past that are relevant today.

Gandhi and Sardar Patel during the Bardoli Satyagraha in 1928. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

And littleness united
Is become inevitable.

Mathew Arnold

Universally, in history, small or ginger steps taken in unison with peers and masses often became forerunners of momentous occurrences which not only altered lives of people who catalysed the united littleness that the 19th-century British poet and cultural critic referred to in the couplet above, but also shaped the destiny of nations.

The Bardoli satyagraha, launched 90 years ago in February 1928, is one such episode in Indias national movement which not just elevated Sardar Vallabhai Patel to a new pinnacle of glory and greatness, but also revived the sagging morale of Mahatma Gandhi, undeniably still in recovery mode after the setback of withdrawing the non-cooperation movement after the Chauri Chaura violence.

The Bardoli satyagraha, where ordinary peasants of this taluq...

19:54

Bangladesh to Meet With Myanmar on Rohingya Trapped at Border The Wire

A Rohingya refugee child, carrying another child, walks along a bridge from no-mans land to Bangladesh, at the Bangladesh-Myanmar border near Coxs Bazar, Bangladesh January 12, 2018. Credit: Reuters/Tyrone Siu

Dhaka: Representatives from Bangladesh and Myanmar will meet on Tuesday to discuss the repatriation to Myanmar of mor...

19:42

Like Congress, the BJP Too Turned a Blind Eye to Goas Illegal Mining The Wire

A recent Supreme Court order just goes to show how the BJP, not unlike the Congress, bent the rules for the big guns in the mining trade.

Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar. Credit: Reuters

Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar. Credit: Reuters

Panaji: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Goa, which was delivered a convincing mandate in 2012 on the promise of bringing the mining industry to heel and ending corruption, has shown it is no better than the Congress politicians who abetted the brazen illegalities of the iron ore export business that was allowed a free run from 2007 to 2012.

The Supreme Court on February 7 cancelled 88 mining leases in the state while observing that the renewal of a mining lease was hasty and illegal and ordered their shutdown by March 16. This paints an unflattering picture of the role of the political establishment, especially the two back-to-back BJP governments that flouted laws to benefit private companies.

The State ignored the fact that every single mining lease holder had committed some illegality or the other in varying degrees. It was clear, the court said, that the considerations that weighed with the State were not for the people of Goa but were for the min...

19:15

Venezuelas Opposition Coalition Likely to Boycott Presidential Election The Wire

Venezuelas President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a meeting with ministers in Caracas, Venezuela February 16, 2018. Credit: Miraflores Palace/Handout via Reuters

Caracas: Leaders of Venezuelas opposition coalition appeared likely on Monday to decide on a boycott of the April presidential election, believing authorities have rigged it for President Nicolas Maduro and his ruling socialists.

Maduro, the 55-year-old successor of Hugo Chavez, is seeking re-election in the April 22 vote despite his unpopularity and a crushing economic crisis. But critics say the election is a farce, with Maduro...

19:13

Alumni Take Up IIM Ahmedabad Reservation Issue With Partner Institute, Harvard School of Business The Wire

As a leading global institution with exemplary focus on diversity and inclusion, we urge you to write to IIMA requesting them to implement reservations in their FPM programme.

The campus at IIM Ahmedabad. Courtesy: insideIIM.com

The campus at IIM Ahmedabad. Courtesy: insideIIM.com

New Delhi: The Global IIM Alumni Network a group of people who graduated from the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have written to the dean of Harvard Business School about the lack of social diversity at IIM Ahmedabad and the institutes unwillingness to do anything about it.

Harvard Business School and IIM Ahmedabad are partner institutes.

Recent research carried out by Siddharth Joshi and Deepak Malghan, a fellow and faculty member at IIM Bangalore respectively, has brought to the fore the fact that 97% of faculty members in IIMs were from dominant sections of society which account for only about 10% of the population. Based on this research, the Global IIM Alumni Network, along with Joshi and Malghan, have been writing to various IIMs and the government of India, urging them to address the issue. The Global IIM Alumni Network also recently decided to take IIM Ahmedabad to court for not implementing the constitutionally-mandated reservation policy in their doctoral...

18:30

Labour Market: Economic Surveys, Budget Legitimise Short-Term Illusory Gains The Wire

The governments strategy regarding labour welfare in general and jobs in particular quite clearly projects that temporary jobs and current higher income are good enough.

Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) members at the protest. Credit: Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta/The Wire

Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) members at the protest in November 2017. Credit: Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta/The Wire

The biggest challenge the NDA government faces is the fulfilment of its poll promise of huge employment growth.

In the absence of a credible comprehensive database on employment, it is difficult to argue success or failure, though micro-level stories and the general sense is that employment generation has been a policy failure. Further, it is rather curious that the Economic Surveys for both 2016-17 and 2017-18 provided data on employment in the organised sector only up to 2012 (Tables below). The data deficits on employment are disturbing.

However, the governments strategy regarding labour welfare in general and jobs in particular as can be gauged from the pronouncements relating to labour in the Union Budget 2018, the thinking projected in the Economic Surveys of the last two years and the recent labour market reforms of the government quite clearly project its myopic approach to the labour market, i.e. that temporary jobs and current higher income ar...

18:19

When JFK Had Good Things to Say About Communist Kerala The Wire

The former US president also had words of praise for the Communist chief minister E.M.S. Namboodiripad.

John F. Kennedy. Credit: U.S. Embassy New Delhi/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

John F. Kennedy. Credit: U.S. Embassy New Delhi/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

New Delhi: While John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the US, cast himself as a staunch opponent of communism throughout his political career, a 1957 speech by the then Democratic senator suggested that he did not always believe communism to be evil and worth nothing.

The two-page typed speech, dated and titled New York Herald Tribune Excerpt Oct. 29, 1957 on Communist Situation in Kerala, focuses on the impoverished situation in the Indian state. It notes that despite a literacy rate of around 40%, the unemployment rate was high and more importantly, the wages were abysmal . .. more than 1,250,000 of Keralas people are chronically unemployed, the speech notes.

Wages are miserable, the former president wrote, with a school teacher receiving a monthly salary of about $12-24 and an unskilled labourer receiving 32 cents a day. He further notes that given these issues, and due to the presence of the Congress party in the state which at the time had been discredited by corruption, nepotism and inefficiency...

17:36

Meerut: Dalits Protest RSS Use of Untouchable for Saint-Poets in Hoardings The Wire

The RSS was advertising its Rashtrodya Samagam meet to be held in the city.

B.R. Ambedkar. Credit: Ajay Tallam/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

B.R. Ambedkar. (Representative image) Credit: Ajay Tallam/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

New Delhi: Members of the Dalit community have taken down hoardings put up by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), describing three saint-poets from the community as untouchables. Mounted across the city, the hoardings advertised the RSS-sponsored Rashtrodya Samagam (Nation Awakening Meet) scheduled for February 25, in Meerut.

Dalit leaders led a march to protest against a particular line in the hoarding that read: Hindu dharma ki jaise pratishtha Vashishth jaise Brahmin, Krishna jaise Kshatriya, Harsh jaise Vaishya aur Tukaram jaise shudra ne ki hai, vaise hi Valmiki, Chokhamela aur Ravidas jaise asparshon ne bhi ki hai (Just as the likes of Vashishth, a Brahmin; Krishna, a Kshatriya; Harsh, a Vaishya and Tukaram, a shudra have increased the prestige and status of Hinduism, in a similar way untouchables like Valmiki, Chokhamela and Ravidas have increased the prestige of Hindiusm), reported the Times of India.

Valmiki, the fifth century saint, was the author of the Ramayana; Chokhamela was a 14th century saint from...

17:31

PNB Scam: Banks Board Bureau May Wind up in March After Vinod Rais Exit The Wire

It is unlikely the government will look for a successor to Rai, sources familiar with the developments said.

Vinod Rai. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Hard on the heels of the Nirav Modi fraud case, which has shaken public trust in state-owned banks, the Banks Board Bureau (BBB), set up by the government as a makeover platform for these banks, will effectively close down in March.

The term of BBB Chairman Vinod Rai, who was tasked with advising the government on enforcing a code of conduct and ethics for managerial personnel in these banks, will expire at the end of March. It is unlikely the government will look for a successor to Rai, sources familiar with the developments said.

The BBB has not been able to live up to expectations that it will improve the quality of human resources in state-owned banks from the boardroom down to entry-level probationary officers. Over the weekend, as Punjab National Bank (PNB) moved its general manager (human resources) out of his r...

17:19

India 12th Worst for Newborns Among 52 Low-Income Countries: UNICEF Report The Wire

While its neonatal mortality rate stands at 25.4, the country has managed a 66% reduction in under-five deaths between 1990 to 2015.

Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan account for 57% of Indias neonatal deaths.

Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan account for 57% of Indias neonatal deaths.

New Delhi: With over six lakh children dying within the first month of their birth in 2016, India has found itself among the riskiest countries for newborns.

According to a new UNICEF report released on Tuesday, the countrys neonatal mortality rate at 25.4 deaths per 1,000 live births makes it 12th worst among 52 lower middle-income countries that pose risk for newborns. India is also the only major country in the world to have a higher mortality for girls than boys.

Within the country as well, disparities are highly significant. While Kerala and Goa have neonatal mortality rates of ten per 1,000 live births, the figure for Bihar and Uttarakhand stands at 44 per 1,000.

Additionally, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan account for 46% of all births and 57% of Indias neonatal deaths.

India is currently not on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goal target for neonatal mortality of 12 by 2030, the report...

16:46

Where is Ukraine? OrientalReview.org

From the current perspective of the Ukrainian crisis and in general from the point of solving the Ukrainian Question it has to be noticed that a part of the present-day East Ukraine became legally incorporated into the Russian Empire in 1654.

The post Where is Ukraine? appeared first on OrientalReview.org.

15:50

After Criticism, Rajasthan Withdraws Bill to Gag Media and Shield Judges, Government Servants The Wire

Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje. Credit: PTI

Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje. Credit: PTI

Jaipur: Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje on Monday (February 19) announced withdrawal of a controversial Bill that sought to protect serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants from being investigated for on-duty action without government sanction.

The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2017, which was tabled in the assembly last year by state home minister Gulab Chand Kataria, had invited sharp criticism and protest from the opposition, rights groups and others.

It also barred the media from reporting on accusations of such wrongdoings till the government sanctions a probe.

We referred the Bill to the Select Committee, we allowed the ordinance to get lapsed and when it is not a law yet, then what should we withdraw? However, we are taking the Bill back from the Select Committee, Raje said in the House amid an uproar by members of the opposition.

The Bill was referred to the Select Committee in the assemblys last session following an uproar by the Congress. BJP MLA Ghanshyam Tiwari had termed it kala kanoon.

The ordinance was promulgated by the Rajasthan government on September 6, 2017, and the Bill was introduced in the assembly on October 23, 2017.

On October 24, amid sharp criticism from all corners, the Bill was referred to the Select Committee for review. The ordinance, after the Bill...

15:37

Nirav Modi Blames PNBs Haste for Fiasco, Claims Amount Owed is Much Less The Wire

In a letter to the bank, the diamond merchant says that there has been no default on the credit facility that his companies have used over the last several years.

Nirav Modi. Credit: Facebook/Nirav Modi

Mumbai: Nirav Modi, the billionaire jeweler at the centre of what may be the largest banking scam in the countrys history, has alleged that Punjab National Banks over-zealousness has shut the doors on his ability to clear the dues, which he claims is much lower than what the bank has gone public with.

In a letter Nirav Modi wrote on February 15 to the banks management, a copy of which PTI has seen, he pegged the amount his companies owes to the bank under Rs 5,000 crore.

The erroneously cited liability resulted in a media frenzy which led to immediate search and seizure of operations, and which in turn resulted in Firestar International and Firestar Diamond International effectively ceasing to be going-concerns. This thereby jeopardised our ability to discharge the dues of the group to the banks, Nirav Modi, who left the country along with his family in the first week of January, wrote in the letter.

In the anxiety to...

15:29

Searching for the Abominable: Is It a Man? Is It an Ape? Its a Bear? The Wire

According to a new study, the Abominable Snowman is a brown bear. According to an older hypothesis, the creature is a polar bear. Yet another says it could be a human species thought extinct. Which one is it?

Across the Himalaya, from Ladakh to Bhutan and beyond into the Tibetan Plateau, inhabitants have various names for the enigmatic beast. 'Yeti' itself is a Sherpa word meaning 'man of the rock'.Credit: Mohan K. Duwal/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Across the Himalaya, from Ladakh to Bhutan and beyond into the Tibetan Plateau, inhabitants have various names for the enigmatic beast. Yeti itself is a Sherpa word meaning man of the rock. Credit: Mohan K. Duwal/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

This article was originally published on December 17, 2017, and was republished on February 20, 2018, with some new information.

The large shaggy beast terrorised generations of mountain people. Around campfires in the Himalaya, residents shared stories of the yetis shenanigans. It stinks, they said, and it walks on two legs. It attacks livestock and people. Its an animal; its a man. Ever since mountaineers and travellers through these remote areas returned with these stories in the 19th century, the yeti has gripped t...

14:30

Stop Mythologising the Amazon It Just Excuses Rampant Commercial Exploitation The Wire

The history of the rubber boom demonstrates how such mythologising plays into the hands of non-Amazonian interests, rather than Amazonian constituents.

Credit: Gustavo Frazao/Shutterstock.com

The Amazon, perhaps more than any other region of the globe, has consistently been idealised and mythologised. This is true both of its societies, often envisioned as lost tribes in the forest, and the raw green hell of its environment. Although it has been incorporated into the modern world system since the 16th century, Amazonia is still widely regarded as a lush, beckoning frontier of untapped natural resources.

This matters because stereotypical images effect how the region continues to be treated in terms of international politics, commercial ventures, environmentalist interventions and developmental prescriptions. The modern reassertion of Amazonia as untapped nature, also currently wrapped in a globalist eco-package lungs of the Earth, bio-diversity, carbon sink offers license for rapacious commercial exploitation.

One of the implications of the frontier still to be conquered is that Amazonia offers the comparative advantage of cheap nature and is not seen as a social landscape. This is an idea that is captured in the subtitle of the archaeologist Betty Meggars influential book...

13:30

Despite Resistance, Fear of Social Boycott Is Keeping Virginity Tests Alive The Wire

Such customs are needed to keep women within a certain boundary.

Kanjarbhat lore says the custom was established centuries ago during the nomadic days to protect girls from prying eyes. Representative image. Credit: Reuters

Kanjarbhat lore says the custom was established centuries ago during the nomadic days to protect girls from prying eyes. Representative image credit: Reuters

For the past few months, the Kanjarbhat community in Maharashtra has been engaged in a battle that pits tradition against education and fundamental rights against dogged customs.

The Kanjarbhats, a denotified tribe from Maharashtra, practice a custom called gun jiti. As per the custom, a brides virginity is tested by looking for blood stains on a white sheet after the wedding night. The sheet is checked by the family and the groom has to declare before the elders whether the bride is a virgin.

Kanjarbhat lore says the custom was established centuries ago during the nomadic days to protect girls from prying eyes. Its application in 2018, with much of the community living in urban areas like Pimpri-Chinchwad in Pune, Ambernath near Mumbai and Kolhapur remains contentious.

An outdated tradition?

Community elders proudly claim the custom has existed for 400 years. Advocate Moorchand Bhat, the former chairperson of the All Indi...

13:30

All but Forgotten: Choudhary Rahmat Ali, the Inventor and First Champion of Pakistan The Wire

How Rahmat Ali, who styled himself as founder, Pakistan National Movement and was the first to coin the name Pakistan, fell from grace.

Credit: Faisal Mahmood/Reuters

On February 20, 1951, the master of Emmanuel College at Cambridge, Edward Welbourne, very graciously arranged a burial for one of his former students at the Newmarket Road Cemetery, Cambridge. The man in question was insolvent and had died more than two weeks previously on February 3. It was just as well therefore, that due to the influence of Welbourne, the dead mans former college bore all the funeral and medical expenses as well.

This was perhaps not how it was supposed to end. Choudhary Rahmat Ali should have had at least partaken some of the glory that his late, lamented countryman, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who had passed away a little more than two years ago in September 1948 had been bestowed with. But that was not to be and the end came rather quietly.

Almost 18 years to the day before his death on January 28, 1933 Ali had released a pamphlet entitled Now or Never: Are we to live or perish for ever?.

It was accompanied by a letter which ran as follows:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am enclosing herewith an appeal on behalf of the thirty million Muslims of PAKISTAN, who live in t...

11:03

DCM calls for all-out support for MA63 talks Hornbill Unleashed

All parties from both political divides in Sarawak should join forces to gain the full-house support to get better deals for greater autonomy under Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63). Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing, who is also Parti Rakyat Sarawak president, said a strong voice from all 31 parliamentary seats []

11:03

EC must do much more to eliminate electoral fraud See Hornbill Unleashed

The Election Commission (EC) must do much more than the finger massage procedure to avoid and eliminate electoral fraud. In pointing this out, Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How said the irregularities and improprieties in the conducts of the EC had yielded a negative public perception on the coming general election despite the recent clarification []

11:03

Do more than just finger massage, See urges EC Hornbill Unleashed

The Election Commission (EC) must consult organisations that act as election watchdogs before submitting the constituency delineation proposal to Parliament for approval. Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How, who pointed this out yesterday, said the EC must engage more efforts than the finger massage procedure to ensure every election is conducted in a clean and []

11:02

Sesco: Attempted cable theft caused 20-minute power outage in Sarawak Hornbill Unleashed

Investigations by Syarikat Sesco Bhd, the Sarawak Energys operations arm, found that the 20-minute power outage in several parts of Petrajaya here last Friday was caused by attempted cable theft that resulted in severely damaged cables. Sarawak Energy in a statement said two 33kV underground cables from Matang to Astana 33kV substation, near Bulatan Datuk []

05:32

Rajasthan Issues Form for BJP Leaders to Seek Transfer for Relatives The Wire

Teacher transfers are an extremely sensitive issue in Rajasthan. The BJP governments move is being seen as a ploy to placate disgruntled party workers after the loss in the recent by-polls.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje spends time with students on the occasion of Teachers Day in Jaipur on Monday. PTI Photo

Jaipur: A curious order issued by the Rajasthan government addressing BJP workers in the state has drawn sharp reactions from the opposition as well as teachers associations who have accused the government of bringing politics into policy decisions.

The order seeks transfer requests from party workers of their relatives in the education department.

Dated February 16, the order asks all MLAs and district party presidents to email any transfer requests they have for themselves or their relatives in the state education department. It even includes a meticulously drafted proforma for party workers desirous of such transfers.

Any (existing or former) party office bearers or senior workers in your assembly constituency area who want a transfer for themselves or members of their family, should email the details in the format given below, the order states.

Smarting...

04:47

Faced With Criminal Complaints Over Song From Oru Adaar Love, Priya Prakash Varrier Moves SC The Wire

The petition also says that the original song has been part of local culture in Kerala since the 1970s and questions why sentiments have been suddenly offended.

A still from the song Manikya Malarayi Poovi. Credit: YouTube

With outrage over Malayalam film Oru Adaar Loves song Manikya Malaraya Poovi reaching peak levels, actress Priya Prakash Varrier, as well as the producer and the director of the film, have been forced to approach the Supreme Court to seek an order quashing the criminal complaints made against them in Telangana and Maharashtra, Bar and Bench reported.

Since the song was released on YouTube, one FIR was registered at a Hyderabad police station by a person claiming that the song had hurt his religious sentiments. To top it, In Mumbai, a number of criminal complaints were filed by persons and organisations in Mumbai. The complainants have alleged that the songs video insults Prophet Mohammad. Varrier is seen winking at a male student in the video.

The films director, Omar Lulu, has earlier told Scroll.in that the songs title, Manikya Malaraya Poovi, means a pearl flower that is very precious. He added that the song is about the love story of the Prophet Mohammad and his first wife.

Oru Adaar Love is due to be released in June on...

04:10

Rotomac Bank Fraud Bloats to Rs 3,695 Crore From Earlier Estimate of Rs 800 Crore The Wire

The CBI has registered a case against Rotomac Pens promoter Vikram Kothari and his family in connection with a case relating to the alleged swindling of Rs 3,695 crore of bank loan funds.

Credit: Twitter

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case against Rotomac pen promoter Vikram Kothari and his family in connection with a case related to the alleged swindling of Rs 3,695 crore of bank loan funds, officials said here on Monday. The scam was earlier estimated at around Rs 800 crore.

The case against Kanpur-based Rotomac Global Pvt. ltd, its director Vikram Kothari, his wife Sadhana Kothari, and son Rahul Kothari and unidentified bank officials was filed on a complaint received from Bank of Baroda, they said.

The agency searched three locations in Kanpur, including Kotharis residence and office premises. There have been no arrests in the case yet, CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal categorically said. He said Kothari, his wife and his son are being examined by the CBI, which is conducting the searches.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has also registered a money laundering case against Kothari and his family members in connection with the alleged bank loan fraud of Rs3,695 crore, officials said. The case was filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), after studying the CBI FIR that was registered yesterday.

The banks involved in Rotomacs case, in which the CBI as well as the ED have registered separate cases, with the defaulted loan amount in brackets were Bank of Baroda (Rs 456.53 core), Bank of India (Rs 754....

03:47

Why an Iraq War Inquiry is More Necessary Than Ever New Eastern Outlook

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There has been a flurry of activity caused by the comments made by Greens parliamentarians Adam Bandt and Richard di Natale over recently installed Liberal Senator Jim Molan. The facts relate to the Australian situation, but the issue has wider ramifications.

The ostensible reason for the attack on Molan was his sharing of two videos originating from a Neo Nazi far right group in the United Kingdom.

Bandt, who later withdrew his remarks, called Molan a coward and said that Molan should be prosecuted for his service in the Iraq war. In the Senate di Natale accused Molan of overseeing a humanitarian catastrophe nearly 15 years ago during the assault on Fallujah, Iraq.

Di Natale said that there was a question that needs to be answered, and the only way with answer that is through an enquiry.

Liberal politicians, from the Prime Minister downward, came to Molans defence, claiming that he was a great Australian soldier who stood up for freedom.

Lost among all the expostulations and threats of legal action were two key issues behind the remarks of both Bandt and Di Natale: were there war crimes committed in Iraq by Australian forces; and whether or not there should be an enquiry (as has happened in Canada, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom) into the precise circumstances surrounding Australias involvement in that disastrous war.

Instead we have seen sustained attempts two divert from legitimate questions surrounding this issue. It has been variously suggested that Molan is not racist; that it is somehow scurrilous to question the conduct of Australias servicemen; and that Bandt and Di Natale had a view that anyone who goes to war is a war criminal. That simply does not address the real issues.

To answer the first of those questions one needs to go no further then the assaults on Fallujah, the first of which occurred in April 2004 and the second, codenamed Operation Phantom Fury, in October 2004.

Before the second attack began, citizens were instructed to leave, but that did not extend to men aged 15-45 who were prohibited from leaving. Once the bombing began, all exits from the city were sealed off. According to the Washington Post, electricity and water were also cut off. The Red Cross and other agencies were denied access to the city to deliver humanitarian aid and render medical assistance.

A United...

03:38

BJP Wins 47 Municipalities In Gujarat, Down From 59 in 2013 The Wire

The Congress improved its tally to 16 seats this time from winning 13 in the 2013 elections.

Credit: Reuters

Ahmedabad: The BJP continued its winning performance in Gujarat by bagging 47 out of 75 municipalities today. The main opposition, Congress, won 16 municipalities, while the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) emerged victorious on one each.

Voting for the 75 municipalities was held on last Saturday and the results were declared today.

The BJP has won 47 municipalities, the Congress 16, the NCP and BSP one each. While Independent candidates won four municipalities, six others remained hung as no party gained a clear majority, State Election Commissioner Varesh Sinha said.

In December last year, the BJP had registered a sixth straight victory in the Gujarat assembly polls by winning 99 seats while the Congress secured 77 seats in the 182-member house.

Three of the six municipalities that delivered a hung verdict are Khedbhramaha in Sabarkantha district, Gariadhar in Bhavnagar district and Pardi in Valsad district, where both the BJP and the Congress won 14 seats each.

Of the total 2,060 seats in these 75 municipalities spread across 24 districts, the BJP won 1,167, Congress 630, NCP 28 and BSP 15 seats. Other small political parties won 18 seats, while Independent candidates emerged winners on 202 seats, Sinha said.

The vote-counting process was peaceful, he added.

In Prime Minister Narendra Modis home town Vadnagar in Mehsana...

02:38

Civil Society Members Sign Letter Calling for Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azads Release The Wire

The violent crackdown on the legitimate work of the Bhim Army bodes ill for our democracy, reads the statement in support of the Dalit leader.

Credit: File photo

Several civil society members and organisations in Mumbai on Sunday signed a statement calling for the release of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad from a jail in Uttar Pradesh.

The leader, who was booked after caste-related violence broke out in Saharanpur in May 2017, was granted bail by the Allahabad high court in November 2017, the court said the charges were clearly politically motivated. Yet just a day after the bail order, the Uttar Pradesh government booked Azad under the draconian National Security Act (NSA), using which the state can place any citizen under preventive detention without legal recourse.

Since then,...

02:31

Ruling gives a drop of hope for asylum seekers facing deportation in Israel +972 Magazine

An appeals tribunal recognizes an Eritrean mans refugee status on the grounds that he fled the Eritrean army, rejecting a policy that has resulted in one of the lowest refugee recognition rates in the world. Attorney Elad Cahana, who worked on the case, speaks to +972 Magazine about its implications for the thousands of asylum seekers Israel is planning to deport.

Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers line up hoping to file asylum claims, renew visas at Israeli Interior Ministry in Bnei Brak. February 18, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers line up hoping to file asylum claims, renew visas at Israeli Interior Ministry in Bnei Brak. February 18, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

A Justice Ministry appeals tribunal last week handed down what many are hoping will be a groundbreaking ruling for Eritrean asylum seekers in Israel. A judge ruled that desertion from the Eritrean army, which forms at least part of the basis of a great number of Eritrean nationals asylum applications, is a valid basis for refugee status. Up until now, the Interior Ministry has refused to recognize desertion as a basis for refugee status in asylum claims.

[tmwinpost]

Under the ministrys existing...

02:16

There is no justice in our world OrientalReview.org

Since Iraq, one if the Arab worlds most developed countries, was laid waste by US bombing, and since the war was deemed a big mistake, who is responsible for trying to repair Iraq to its pre-war condition?

The post There is no justice in our world appeared first on OrientalReview.org.

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