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Saturday, 24 February


What Would an "America First!" Security Policy Look Like? Strategic Culture Foundation

Republicans are hardly the zealous guardians of the public purse they would have Americans believe. While quick to trash their partisan opponents for making free with taxpayers money, they are no less happy to do the same at least when its called national defense.


Five Years Later, Will India Finally Be Getting a Lokpal? Centre Tells SC Yes The Wire

While hearing a petition filed by NGO Common Cause, the government told the Supreme Court that the process to appoint a Lokpal has begun and that a crucial meeting will take place on March 1.

Anna Hazare displays a mock torch to his supporters on the fourth day of his fasting at Ramlila grounds in New Delhi on August 20, 2011. Credit: Reuters/Parivartan Sharma

New Delhi: The long wait that India has undergone in anticipation of a Lokpal may soon be coming to an end. The Centre...


Jan Gan Man Ki Baat Episode 201: Private Hospitals in India Are Making Profits up to 1737% The Wire

Vinod Dua discusses a study conducted by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Agency (NPPA) of the bills of four major private hospitals following several cases of overpricing.

The post Jan Gan Man Ki Baat Episode 201: Private Hospitals in India Are Making Profits up to 1737% appeared first on The Wire.


Land Destroyer

February 23, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - At the end of December 2017 the Western media reported "widespread" protests sweeping Iran. Narratives indistinguishable from the US-engineered "Arab Spring" in 2011 flooded headlines and social media regarding a "popular uprising" spurred first by alleged economic grievances before protesters then began making demands echoing the US State Department regarding Iran's internal domestic affairs as well as its foreign policy.

The protests were in fact so indistinguishable from the now admittedly US-engineered "Arab Spring" that still-fresh disillusionment regarding the fate of nations like Libya and Syria likely played  a role in blunting the efficacy of the protests in Iran.

Western Propaganda Outlived Actual Unrest 

An article in Politico titled, "Why the Iranian Uprising Wont Die," in an attempt to qualify and promote the West's narrative regarding the Iranian protests would claim:
...Iranians were enraged as they struggled to feed their children while their government spent billions on its foreign adventures in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. While Iran was made poor, the regime became richer. While Iranians suffered, the regimes allies became powerful and prosperous.
Yet when Politico published the article on January 7, 2018, written by RAND Corporation analyst Alireza Nader, the protests had already since "died."

Politico's article wasn't the only one published days and even weeks after the protests had already ended - indicating that the Western media had prepared weeks - even months of propaganda to fuel Iranian unrest within information space as US-backed opposition groups attempted to fuel it on the ground.

Despite preparations that US policy papers indicate were years in the making - which included not only the creation of opposition fronts and armed militant groups within and along Iran's borders but the encirclement of Iran itself by US military bases including in...


Democracy vs Regime Change New Eastern Outlook


Frenzy over Russian alleged meddling in the 2016 election has replaced rational discourse in the American media. The emotion displayed is similar to that which would follow a military attack, as if none of those expressing indignation were living on the same planet upon which the US has repeatedly visited such acts.

A senior Democratic congressman, Jerold Nadler, actually compared Russian alleged mischief to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, to the surprise of anchor Chris Hayes, who departed from his usual cool by asking him: Do you really believe that? Nadler shot back that the US is defined as a demo-cratic country, thus Russian meddling was the equivalent of breaking our democracy. To which Hayes felt compelled to admit that it was, after all, an attack on our soil..

Having internalized the myth that the US brings demo-cracy to the world by military means, intelligent Americans now suggest that the activities of a foreign power involving bots and other electronic tools is equivalent to a kinetic attack even though there are no fatalities! (They also appear to have confused the Communist mantra that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun, with the idea that democracy does likewise when the gun is in foreign hands.)

The other complaint regarding Russias meddling is that it has divided Americans and caused them to lose faith in their democratic system. But how can they have faith in the American system when it condemns Americans to being light years behind the rest of the developed world in terms of their security, both military and civilian? After the worst mass school shooting, Paul Ryan, the Republican who runs the House of Representatives ruled out new legislation on guns demanded by the soon-to-be- adult high school students who survived the ordeal.

Progressives wonder why so many low-income voters cast their ballots for the right, as in the election of Donald Trump, discounting the colossal amounts of money devoted to convincing workers of ideas like Trade unions deprive you of your individual rights. An article in the current issue of In These Times, one of the few left-wing publications in the US, goes into excr...


The Modi Government Is Hiding Information About Black Money Inside a Black Hole The Wire

The finance ministry and a national public finance institute under its control have refused to give copies of research reports on black money sought under the RTI.

The SIT on black money must be opened to greater public scrutiny. Credit: Reuters

The SIT on black money must be opened to greater public scrutiny. Credit: Reuters

During his reply on the motion of thanks to the address of the president of India in the Lok Sabha on February 7, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi compared his governments efforts to curb corruption and flush out black money with the...


Mexico Saw 29,000 Murders Last Year Can Soldiers Stop the Bloodshed? The Wire

Exactly 234,966 people have died in Mexicos 11-year drug war. Now the government wants to deploy soldiers to criminal hot spots, a move many fear will just increase violence and weaken the police.

Murder rates in Mexico have spiked since the military was first sent in to fight organized crime in 2006. Credit: Henry Romero/Reuters

Mexicos war on drugs has left 234,966 people dead in the last 11 years. In 2017 alone, the country saw some 29,000 murders, the highest annual tally since such record-keeping began in 1997.

For years, incensed Mexicans have demanded that President Enrique Pea Nieto now in the final stretch of his six-year term take action. Recently, lawmakers from his Revolutionary Institutional Party proposed a controversial solution: Put Mexicos military on the streets to fight crime.



Northern Ireland Abortion Laws Violate Womens Rights, Says UN Body The Wire

A UN committee also found that the UK breaches the rights of women in Northern Ireland by unduly restricting their access to abortion.

Women gather for a protest in support of legal abortion in Northern Ireland in central London in June 2017. Credit: Reuters/Marko Djurica/File Photo

Geneva: The UK violates womens rights in...


Chinas New Anti-Graft Super Ministry Adds to Concerns About Suspects Rights The Wire

In March, to oversee the fight against corruption, Chinas parliament is expected to establish the National Supervision Commission.

A member of security personnel stands guard at headquarters of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China in Beijing on February 10. Credit: Reuters/Jason Lee

Beijing: A new super-ministry set to deepen Chinese President Xi Jinpings war on graft and extend it to all state employees is likely to undermine years of work by Chinese legal re...


Home Ministry, IB Target Kashmirs Singham for Seditious Writings in Media The Wire

The MHA wanted IPS officer Basant Rath disciplined for writing columns dangerously critical of government policy but the J&K government chose to promote him instead.

Inspector General of Police (Traffic) Basant Rath, right, during a traffic inspection in Jammu on Tuesday. Less than a fortnight into his new assignment, Rath has been trying to manage traffic in Jammu that is drawing applause and brickbats for his flamboyant work style, with some comparing him to the wildly popular protagonists in Bollywood movies like Singham and Dabangg. Credit: PTI .

New Delhi: At a time when non-state actors are attacking the freedom of expression of students...


Family of Slain Budgam Faith-Healer Alleges Police Cover-up, Says He Was Not Mentally Challenged The Wire

Had the forces guarding the Air Force station fired warning shots even on his legs, maybe he would have survived, say his sons, who have called for an impartial inquiry.

Habibullahs picture on his sons mobile phone. Credit: Majid Maqbool

Soibugh, Budgam: The family members of 65-year-old Syed Habibullah, a resident of Astanpora, Soibug area of central Kashmirs Budgam district shot dead on the midnight of January 19 outside the Indian Air Force station in Budgam after he crossed the security fence and came close to the station perimeter wall have contested police claims that the elderly man was mentally challenged. Habibullahs sons said their father was mentally stable, except for some general weakness due to old-age related health issues since last year.

As per the police statement released soon after the incident, at around midnight one yet to be identified individual entered the security zone area at Air Force station Budgam. He crossed the security fence and came close to the station perimeter wall, the statement said, adding, despite repeated warning from the sentry the individual did not stop. The sentry fired some warning shots in air but the individual did not stop. The sentry fired towards him.

The police statement went on to add that spot examination revealed that the individual of about 50-55 years of age who appears to be mentally challenged has died in the incident, further pointing put that the person was not...


Neanderthals, Not Modern Humans, Were Europes First Painters The Wire

New analysis from Spain provides the strongest evidence yet that Neanderthals had the cognitive capacity to understand symbolic representation, a central pillar of human culture.

A colour-enhanced hand stencil from the Maltravieso Cave, made by a Neanderthal is seen in Pasiega, Spain in this photo obtained February 21, 2018. Credit: Univeristy of Southampton/Handout via Reuters

London: The worlds oldest known cave paintings were made by Neanderthals, not modern humans, suggesting our extinct cousins were far from being uncultured brutes.

A high-tech analysis of cave art at three Spanish sites, published on Thursday, dates the paintings to at least 64,800 years ago, or 20,000 years before modern humans arrived in Europe from A...


Russia In Lebanon: Anti-Zionist Agenda Or Pro-Israeli Pivot?

There is no way that Russias expanded military-energy presence in Lebanon is against Israels interests, but is actually to its regional advantage in the sense that it seeks to replace Saudi Arabias recently declining role in the country and therefore counterbalance Iranian influence.

The post Russia In Lebanon: Anti-Zionist Agenda Or Pro-Israeli Pivot? appeared first on


Red Flags Over Nirav Modis Firm Shines Spotlight on Rampant Import Over-Invoicing in Diamond Trade The Wire

Indias diamond imports have seen a four-fold jump during April-November 2017. This may have been inflated by at least $4 billion to send black money outside the country.

Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: Indias export revival could well prove to be a bubble. As it turns out, the monthly export figures for much-talked-about gems and jewellery sector, which accounts for Indias third biggest export item, were inflated. The reason? Diamond traders may have blatantly over-invoiced imports to launder black money.

Since imported diamonds are re-exported after cutting and polishing the only value addition done in the country the inflated import price automatically reflects in export value.

Indias diamond imports have seen a fourfold jump during April-November 2017, according to the commerce ministry. According to one industry estimate, the value of diamond imported during the first eight months of the fiscal may have been inflated by at least $4 billion to send black money outside the country.

An internal note of the finance ministry, prepared in the wake of the over Rs 11,000 crore scam in the Punjab National Bank, too has raised the suspicion of diamond import being misused as conduit for money laundering by pointing to related party transactions at inflated prices and high trade r...


Sunjuwan Attack Triggers Communal Tension in Jammu The Wire

The attack on an army camp has fuelled a sense of insecurity around the perceived changes in the areas demographics .

Army officers during the Sunjuwan attack. Credit: PTI

Army officers during the Sunjuwan attack. Credit: PTI

Jammu: Three terrorists who attacked an army camp in Sunjuwan, Jammu city, on February 10 most likely stayed in a shed a few metres from the rear side of the camp, though the police is yet verify this. After the attack, security forces noticed graffiti on the wall of the shed: Go India Go Back.

Such graffiti may pop up in some parts of Kashmir but is unimaginable in Jammu city, which is 300-km south of the Valley and the political and ideological base of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The police was quick to paint over the Gos in black, so the graffiti now r...


Assault on Delhi Chief Secretary: Police Raid Kejriwals Residence to Recover CCTV Footage The Wire

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted asking if the police would similarly raid BJP president Amit Shah in connection with the judge Loya death case.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. Credit: File photo

New Delhi: In its investigation into the alleged assault on Delhi chief secretary Anshu Prakash at chief minister Arvind Kejriwals residence, the Delhi police on Thursday raided his bungalow and seized the CCTV footage of the cameras installed t...


Public Sector Banks Dont Have a Monopoly Over Fraud The Wire

PNB is in the exalted company of some of the most sophisticated private banks worldwide. So to say privatisation will usher in an era of clean banking is the height of ignorance.

In 1995, Barings, a British investment bank that had been around for over 200 years, was brought down by a rogue trader in Singapore, Nick Leeson. The bank had suffered a loss of $1.3 billion in unauthorised trades. In 2008, Societe Generale, a leading French bank, lost over $5 billion in unauthorised positions taken by a trader. In 2011, a rogue trader caused losses of over $2 billion at UBS, the Swiss bank.

What was common to these banks? Well, private ownership. The amount of $1.77 billion involved in the fraud at the government-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) is a large one and a cause for concern. However, in exposing itself to the fraud, PNB is in the exalted company of some of the most sophisticated private banks worldwide. Like road accidents or plane crashes, frauds at banks are unavoidable. They are a cost of doing business, so to speak. The key is to ensure that losses inflicted by fraud stay within reasonable bounds.

In a banking fraud, some employees of a bank or outsiders or the two colluding with each othercause losses to a bank. Often but not always the fraud relates to the sanction of a loan or credit risk. This results in a non-performing as...

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Friday, 23 February


For Many in Rural UP, Ration Cards Are Still Out of Reach The Wire

Miles away from the fancy investors summits and the capital city, the states most basic concern remains as unaddressed as ever.

Credit: Khabar Lahariya

I first went to get my ration quota online in 2015, it was sometime in May. I was told I would get my card by July. Then in 2016, I was told it was cancelled. I was asked to apply for it afresh in May since systems were being transitioned, so I did. Nothing happened through the rest of the year either servers were not working, or something else was wrong.

In a nutshell, Neelam, from Banda towns Bijli Kheda colony in Bundelkhand, describes how the last year panned out for her while navigating through the jungle of red tape that surrounds the making of a ration card. Ab 2018 aa gaya hai, hum phir aa gaye hain. (And now its 2018, and Im back here again), she concludes.

Her need isnt an ordinary one, though if you go by the numbers game, then it is perhaps the most ordinary of all. In India, if you are part of the below poverty line (BPL) population, then your ration needs are meant to be addressed urgently; the government provides it to you at subsidised rates, or free of cost. Your ration card the singular access point to avail the ration, is meant to be processed and issued at once, hassle-free. However, the picture on the ground tells an entirely different story.

As Naniya of Piparhari village in Naraini block of Banda district shares, Ive spent days and days crying and pleading with the pradhan. He asks me, ...


Asphyxiated by Politics, Secularism Gasps for Breath: Can the Supreme Court Rescue It? The Wire

Secularism has been reduced to a prosthetic limb as implicit attacks on it have become more direct and visible with the BJP even calling it the biggest lie played on Indian citizens.

Secularism is intrinsic to Indian constitutional identity. Credit: Reuters

Secularism is gasping for breath and politics is asphyxiating it through peddling of soft Hindutva by Congress and hard Hindutva by BJP. Five days after the Supreme Court heard the Babri Masjid mattera Ram Rajya Rath Yatra backed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) from Ayodhya to Rameshwaram was flagged off to mobilise support for building a grand Ram temple at Ayodhya.


Netanyahus downfall is nothing to celebrate +972 Magazine

Netanyahu needs to go, but progressives are mistaken if they think that the end of his rule will halt Israels rightward march. 

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the opening ceremony of the inauguration of the new emergency ward at the Barzilay hospital, in Ashkeon. February 20, 2018. (FLASH90)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the opening ceremony of the inauguration of the new emergency ward at the Barzilay hospital, in Ashkeon. February 20, 2018. (FLASH90)

The myriad corruption scandals engulfing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have, on a near daily basis, been growing and spreading like cracks in a windshield. True or not, the the question of if King Bibis reign is coming to an end feels like it has officially been supplanted by predictions about when the house of cards will come crashing down.


Even more dizzying is how we are becoming privy to corruption, attempts to corrupt, and general malfeasance in nearly all of the institutions that comprise a democratic state as we know it.

In the past few weeks and months we have learned how politicians, regulators, and oligarchs conspired to shape the news we are fed by the biggest and most influential news outlets, confirming our worst fears about the state of journalism in Israel. Th...


Adityanath Claims UP Govt Gave Farmers Rs 80,000 Cr. Fact: It Gave 1/6th That Amount The Wire

Fact-checking five claims made by the UP CM on direct benefit transfers, ease of doing business, riots, dues paid to sugarcane farmers and hours of power supply to farmers.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath. Credit: PTI

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath. Credit: PTI

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, in a television interview, talked about his governments performance over the last ten months, ahead of the investors summit held on February 21 and 22, 2018. We fact-checked five claims made by the UP chief minister on direct benefit transfer (DBT), ease of doing business rankings, riots, dues paid to sugarcane farmers and hours of power supply to farmers of which two are unclear, one false, one true and one partially true.

1. Claim: In the last ten months, UP government has disbursed over Rs 80,000 crore to farmers via direct benefit transfer.


Pakistan Placed on Terrorist Financing Watchlist by Global Watchdog The Wire

Pakistans last-minute efforts to avoid being placed on the list, which included taking over bodies linked to a powerful Islamist figure, proved insufficient.

A helicopter flies past a Pakistans national flag. Credit: Reuters/Akhtar Soomro/Files

Islamabad: A global money-laundering watchdog has placed Pakistan back on its terrorist financing watchlist, Indian media and a diplomatic source said on Friday, in a likely blow to both Pakistans econo...


Punjab National Banks Move to Have PwC Probe Nirav Modi Scam Sparks Concern The Wire

Questions over the audit firms spotty record in India have been raised in light of the move to have it investigate the Rs 11,000 crore PNB scandal.

The logo of accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: Punjab National Bank, currently reeling from the Rs 11,000 crore Nirav Modi scam, has reportedly tapped audit and consultancy firm PwC to conduct a probe into the fraud.

A report in The Economic Times on Friday notes that the auditor will examine the workings of the alleged fraud and help the bank build a case against jewellers Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi.

According to the report, PwC will specifically look at how th...


The Army Chief Ignored a Crucial Reality: AIUDFs Political Trajectory Has Been on the Decline The Wire

General Bipin Rawat is perhaps not fully aware of the nature of Indian politics, where parties frequently change gear and shift sides.

The general has failed to take into account that AIUDF president Badruddin Ajmal had lost the 2016 assembly election in his own constituency. Credit: PTI

In suggesting a possible link between Assams All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and planned immigration, General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff, has ignored a crucial reality.

The general has failed to take into account that AIUDF president Badruddin Ajmal had lost the 2016 assembly election in his own constituency to Wajid Ali Chaudhary, a Muslim candidate, fielded by the Congress. He has also ignored the fact that that the AIUDF, which performed badly in the 2016 polls, was voted out of power.

The AIUDFs performance stood in contrast to that of the Congress and its 15 Muslim nominees, all of whom won their seats. It should also be noted that the two Muslim candidates fielded by the BJP were also successful in winning their seats that year. The AIUDFs results were somewhat unusual especially considering that the organisation had given tickets to more Muslim candidates than the Congress had.

One should not forget that in 2016, Badruddin Ajmal, the perfume baron-cum-politician lost the Muslim dominated Dhubri seat by a margin of over 14,000 votes. What is more: his constituency falls in the region having a sizeable population of Bengali-speaking Muslims and not Assamese-spea...


Simultaneous Elections or Centralisation of Power? The Wire

The proposal for synchronised polls strikes at the heart of the constitution, as it requires making major changes to the federalism governing Centre-state ties and expanding the powers of the president.

With the new OBC Bill, the authority to grant reservation will rest with parliament. Credit: PTI

The proposed plan for synchronised polls are not important, the sweeping changes that will be required in the Constitution are. Credit: PTI

The prime minister loses no opportunity to speak about the need for simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. The president spoke about it as well in his address to parliament in end January.

With the drumbeats building up, it is time to dissect this proposal. It is a dangerous one. If pushed through, it will tinker with the basic structure of the constitution, alter the balance of Centre-state relations, further centralise powers, give more powers to the president and thereby modify the Indian parliamentary system for the worse.

Elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies were, in...


Moldova Embraces NATO: Fools Rush In Where Angels Fear to Tread Strategic Culture Foundation

Moldova seldom hits media headlines but the situation there is another example of creeping NATO expansion. The US is in the process of establishing its military presence there to make American soldiers and Russian peacekeepers watch each other through gun sights.


UN Says 40 Sexual Abuse Accusations Received in Last Quarter of 2017 The Wire

A UN logo is seen on a glass door in the Assembly Building at the UN headquarters in New York City September 18, 2015. Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar/Files

United Nations: Forty allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse were made during the last three months of 2017 against UN peacekeeping missions, agencies, funds and programmes and implementing partners, the world body said on Thursday.

Of the 40 accusations, 15 were reported from peacekeeping operations, 17 came from UN agencies...


Rogue State Strategic Culture Foundation

What is this country we are asked to love? This might once have been an easy question to answer. National identity was built around a range of institutions, considered to represent the national interest. Rebellion against them was characterised as treason. But one by one, these institutions have been subverted from within. Look to the top to see treachery at work.


Rajasthan Farmers Protest Against Rajes Half-Hearted Attempts at Loan Waiver The Wire

Backtracking on earlier assurances of complete loan waivers, the ones announced are only on short-term loans taken by small and marginal farmers from cooperative banks.

A farmer leader addressing the agitating farmers at the Tatiyawas Toll Plaza in Chomu. Credit: Shruti Jain

A farmer leader addressing the agitating farmers at the Tatiyawas Toll Plaza in Chomu. Credit: Shruti Jain

Jaipur: Despite a massive crackdown, thousands of farmers protested against the Vasundhara Raje-led governments budget announcement in various parts of the state capital on Thursday (February 22). The protests were held under the leadership of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS).

In order to deter the agitating farmers from staging a mahapadav (mass sit-in) around the Rajasthan state assembly, the entry points of the capital were sealed and farmers leaders, including veteran Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Amra Ram who was leading the protest were arrested on Tuesday (February 20) under Section 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

On their way to the state capital to stage the protest, about 179 people from Chomu, Kala Dera, Jhunjhunu, Nagaur, Bikaner, Sriganganagar, Hanumangarh...


US Aggression in Syria an Imperialist Blueprint Strategic Culture Foundation

Syrias prolonged conflict and misery going into its eighth year is no accident. It is by design. American imperialist design.


Gujarat Home Minister Continues Hate-Mongering, Says Butchers, Bootleggers Didnt Vote for BJP The Wire

I (will) tell you who did not vote for us. It was those butchers who were angry at us for introducing a tough anti-cow slaughter law.

Gujarat home minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja. Credit: Facebook

New Delhi: Speaking in the Gujarat assembly on Thursday, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja said that the BJPs tally in the state assembly elections last year was restricted to 99 seats because butchers. bootleggers and those opposing the proposed triple talaq bill didnt vote for the party.

In the elections held last December, the BJP retained power for a sixth term in the state, though with a reduced number of seats. The Congress won 77 seats in the 182-member house.

Speaking on the motion of thanks to governor O.P. Kohli on the first day of the Budget session, Jadeja, Gujarats minister of state for home, said, I (will) tell you who did not vote for us. It was those butchers who were angry at us for introducing a tough anti-cow slaughter law. It was bootleggers who were angry because the BJP government has introduced a tough prohibition law.

Many school owners were unhappy because we brought a law to cap their fees. Those who were angry with the BJP gover...


In West UP, Where Dalit Movements Are on the Rise, RSS Plans Mega Meet to Instil National Pride The Wire

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat will address the congregation of about 3.1 lakh swayamsevaks this Sunday in Meerut on 650-acre land owned by the UP Housing Development Board.

Stage under construction for the RSS mega meet in Meerut. Credit: Munish Kumar

The massive stage under construction will have a cut-out, 200 feet in length, 100 feet in width, and 35 feet high, depicting a scene from the epic Mahabharata where Krishna is seen offering advice to Arjuna. Credit: Munish Kumar

On either side of a freshly paved road, heavy land-levelling machines are at work to flatten out 650 acres of land. A massive under-construction stage can be seen in the distance on one side of the road, and an array of saffron flags as far as the eye can see on the other. We are in Meerut. This is the site of Rashtroday, what the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is calling its biggest ever event, to be held on February 25.

The event, according to the RSS, will see a congregation of 3.1 lakh swayamsevaks (RSS volunteers) from the 14 districts that form Meerut pranth (province). The RSS had op...


Moscow Begins Crypto-Elections Testing: Thumbs Nose at US Strategic Culture Foundation

The irony is so thick youd think it was made from ballistic jelly. But, thats exactly whats needed to contain this shot across the election-tampering bow the Russians just pulled off.


Papers of Predatory Journals May Soon Be Available in Indian Languages The Wire

The OMICS Group, a potential, possible or probable predatory publisher, has signed an MoU with the Adityanath government to setup a centre to translate its papers into Indian languages.

The OMICS Group was sued in September 2016 by the US Federal Trade Commission. Credit: Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The OMICS Group was sued in September 2016 by the US Federal Trade Commission. Credit: Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

New Delhi: Predatory journals in India ones that will publish anything in exchange for an often substantial fee  are likely to expand their reach with their papers soon being published in Indian languages as well.

The science editor at The Hindu, R. Prasad, wrote in a blog post on February 22 that Hyderabad-based OMICS Group, which claims to publish over 700 peer-reviewed journals, has collaborated with the Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government to form a 1,000-seat facility at Noida to translate its papers into Indian languages.

According to Prasads post, Srinubabu Gedela, the CEO of OMICS Group, recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Uttar Pradesh government for the same.

The OMICS Group...


Multiple Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Prominent Skeptic Lawrence Krauss Come to Light The Wire

The allegations including trying to force a woman into sex, grabbing a womans breast in public and telling a female employee he will buy her birth control pills so she doesnt go on maternity leave.

Lawrence Krauss. Credit: Arizona State University website

Lawrence Krauss. Credit: Arizona State University website

How many times must a man be accused of sexual harassment before people even begin to believe its true?

Many, many, many, a recent BuzzFeed News article on celebrity rationalist and atheist Lawrence Krauss has shown (again).

Krauss, a theoretical physicist, is a well-known name in the skeptic community a group that rejects all forms of belief that do not rely on science, reason and evidence. A professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, he is also the founder director of the Origins Project, created to explore humankinds most fundamental questions about our origins....


Worlds Last Remaining Wild Horses Arent All That Wild After All The Wire

An examination of the genomes of dozens of ancient and modern horses concluded that Przewalskis horse descended from horses domesticated in northern Kazakhstan some 5,500 years ago.

A herd of endangered Przewalski horses are seen at the Takhin Us National Park in the south-west part of ongolia, July 16, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Petr Josek/Files

Washington: It may come as a disappointment to equine enthusiasts, but a new genetic study has found that no truly wild horses still exist and that a population inhabiting Mongolian grasslands actually is a feral descendant of the earliest-known domesticated horses.

Przewalskis horse, now...


Is the CIA So Bad that Even When It Tells the Truth It Adds-In Lies? Strategic Culture Foundation

The February 17th New York Times article is deceptive not merely on account of its holier-than-thou admission of the CIAs supposedly past history of badness and its presumption of todays Russia being almost as bad as was the Soviet Union. Actually, the article includes several other lies.


Indias System of Cracking Down on Corporate Fraud is Designed to be Self-Defeating The Wire

There is a clear pattern in the way corrupt businessmen and pliant auditors are allowed to go scot free.

Will we ever see the services of some top bankers being terminated and some promoters, auditors, consultants being sent to jail in India? Credit: Wikimedia Commons

We should all be thankful to Punjab National Bank (PNB). It has finally made the elephant dance. While there are attempts to shift the blame to mid-level employees and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), this is largely a part of the bigger game plan for the business to continue as usual while some noise is made in the short-run to allay the publics fears and concerns.

This is a good time to remember that some statistics are more frightening than the size of the PNB scam.

In India, every four hours, one bank staffer is held for fraud. Between April 2013 and December 2016, all commercial banks, including private ones, lost Rs 66,066 crore on account of 17,504 frauds. Between January 2015 and March 2017, 5,200 bank staffers were punished for fraud. The bigge...


New Eastern Outlook


At the end of December 2017 the Western media reported widespread protests sweeping Iran. Narratives indistinguishable from the US-engineered Arab Spring in 2011 flooded headlines and social media regarding a popular uprising spurred first by alleged economic grievances before protesters then began making demands echoing the US State Department regarding Irans internal domestic affairs as well as its foreign policy.

The protests were in fact so indistinguishable from the now admittedly US-engineered Arab Spring that still-fresh disillusionment regarding the fate of nations like Libya and Syria likely played  a role in blunting the efficacy of the protests in Iran.

Western Propaganda Outlived Actual Unrest 

An article in Politico titled, Why the Iranian Uprising Wont Die, in an attempt to qualify and promote the Wests narrative regarding the Iranian protests would claim:

Iranians were enraged as they struggled to feed their children while their government spent billions on its foreign adventures in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. While Iran was made poor, the regime became richer. While Iranians suffered, the regimes allies became powerful and prosperous.

Yet when Politico published the article on January 7, 2018, written by RAND Corporation analyst Alireza Nader, the protests had already since died.

Politicos article wasnt the only one published days and even weeks after the protests had already ended indicating that the Western media had prepared weeks even months of propaganda to fuel Iranian unrest within information space as US-backed opposition groups attempted to fuel it on the ground.

Despite preparations that US policy papers indicate were years in the making which included not only the creation of opposition fronts and armed militant groups within and along Irans borders but the encirclement of Iran itself by U...


My Child Died of Dengue. From PM to CM, Ive Tried Every Government Office for Help The Wire

Amid cases of high costs and deaths in private hospitals like Fortis, Medanta and Max, two fathers have come together to seek accountability.

Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon. Courtesy: PractoFortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon. Courtesy: Practo

Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon. Courtesy: Practo


New Delhi: Vasundhara Raje is considered the bahu of my district Dholpur in Rajasthan. Yet, if we had a proper functioning health facility in our district, we wouldnt have had to go to Gwalior and then to Medanta hospital in Gurgaon, says Gopendra Singh Parmar, father of Shaurya Prathap.

Seven-year-old Prathap died of dengue last November, while admitted to Medanta hospital. His family was handed a bill of Rs 16 lakh.

Parmar is an insurance agent and says the costs have sunk his family into financial distress. He breaks into tears at a press conference in Delhi, and says later that his wife has gone...


Nandan Nilekani to Assist Government on IT Infrastructure for New Health Insurance Scheme The Wire

We have consulted Nilekani, we want to build an Aadhaar-like model for the schemeHe has agreed to help us, a NITI Aayog official said.

Nandan Nilekani. Credit: PTI

Nandan Nilekani. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Tech billionaire Nandan Nilekani will assist the government in developing IT infrastructure for the mega National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), which seeks to cover ten crore families, a senior NITI Aayog official has said.

The IT infrastructure for the healthcare scheme will be of a huge scale, as was required for Aadhaar, and will have to be scaled up gradually in view of the massive range of the programme, the official said.

Former UIDAI chairman Nilekani the brain behind the Aadhaar is also a member of the Goods and Services Tax return simplification committee.

We have consulted Nilekani, we want to build Aadhaar-like model for the scheme (NHPS)He has agreed to help us, the official said.

The premium on insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh for every eligible household under the NHPS has been pegged at around Rs 900-1,000 per family annually, lower than the earlier estimate of Rs 1,000-1,200.

Under the funding arrangement, the Centre will provide 60% funds, while the remaining money would have to come from the states.

In case of spe...


CBI Arrests Rotomac Owner Vikram Kothari, Son The Wire

The agency has said that the two were not cooperating with the investigation into the alleged loan default.

Vikram Kothari. Credit: Facebook

Vikram Kothari. Credit: Facebook

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday arrested Rotomac owner Vikram Kothari and his son Rahul, both directors in the company, for alleged default on loan repayments to the tune of Rs 3,695 crore, officials said here.

Kothari, who was called at the agency headquarters here for questioning, and Rahul were not cooperating in the investigation that led to their arrest, they said.

A consortium of seven nationalised banks has given bank loans worth Rs 2,919 crore from 2008 onwards Rotomac Global Pvt Limited from 2008 onwards, the CBI FIR has alleged.

The amount swelled to Rs 3,695 crore, including the accrued interest, because of repeated defaults on payment, the officials said.

The CBI has initiated the action on the complaint of Bank of Baroda, which was a member of consortium led by Bank of India, which had approached the agency fearing that Kothari may flee the country like Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi.

Meanwhile, the Income Tax Department has issued a show cause notice to the group stating as to why prosecution should not be launched against them for alleged tax evasion.

The principal exposure of the banks...


Amateur Astronomer Points His Camera at the Sky, Stumbles Onto a Supernova The Wire

When Victor Buso was photographing the night sky in September 2016, he had a one in 10 million chance that hed capture a supernova. The universe made sure he took it.

An artist's impression of the star KSN 2011d going supernova. Credit: NASA Ames, STScI/G. Bacon

An artists impression of the star KSN 2011d going supernova. Credit: NASA Ames, STScI/G. Bacon

When a heavy star burns out with a giant explosion, its a supernova. Astronomers have observed supernovae but havent caught many of them in the moment of their birth itself. More specifically, we dont have any records of the first few hours of a type IIb supernova explosion where the progenitor star first loses a large part of its outer layers before blowing up.

Fortune amended this gap in 2016.

On a calm and clear night in September that year, Victor Buso, an amateur astronomer and astrophotographer, was testing a camera he had mounted on his telescope in Rosario, Argentina. He pointed his setup at NGC 613, a spiral galaxy over 65 million lightyears away, and took a series of pictures. Each short had 20 seconds of exposure over 90 minutes, from 1:30 am to 3 am local time. Buso didnt realise what hed managed to get on camera until later: the first ever visible-light images of a supernova shockwave.

The first 20 minutes of Busos observations show a quiet sky to the galaxys south. After 45 minutes and some 40 photos into Busos sequence a supernova erupts i...


Why Its So Difficult to Make Sense of Trumps Foreign Policy The Wire

Donald Trump doesnt have one foreign policy he has several, and they all clash.

Trump actually revels in the chaos his tweets create. Credit: Reuters/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

Under Donald Trump, trying to predict, dissect and understand the USs attitude to the world has become almost impossible not that plenty of observers arent giving it a go. Tellingly, theyre all coming to different conclusions.

Some see a spiral into outright chaos, citing the strain on crucial alliances, Trumps strange embrace of Vladimir Putin, and his reckless rhetoric, which sometimes gets to the point of...


GE14: PKR Baram submits three names as candidate Hornbill Unleashed

The Baram branch of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has submitted three names to its state and federal headquarters to be considered as the partys candidate for Baram in the next parliamentary election. We have three shortlisted candidates (for Baram) for GE14 (14th general election). All names have been submitted to state and national (PKR) leadership, []


Pipe-laying for Sarawak water grid system in two years time, says state minister Hornbill Unleashed

The massive laying of pipes for the state water grid system will begin in two years time, Datuk Seri Stephen Rundie said today. The move will start after the state Ministry of Utilities and State Planning Unit completes fine-tuning the master plan and the desktop study. He said work on the grid system, which is []


Bersih tells govt: Give teeth to MACC to fight graft Hornbill Unleashed

Bersih 2.0, the electoral reforms coalition, has called on the government to give the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) powers to prosecute graft cases. Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah said that MACC had frequently investigated cases of corruption only to hit a dead end as the attorney-general allows the files on his desk to collect dust. []


After five years, activist Adam Adli acquitted of sedition charge Hornbill Unleashed

Social activist Adam Adli has today been freed of a sedition charge over a speech in 2013 in which he was said to have called for a change of government through undemocratic means. A three-man bench in the Court of Appeal acquitted and discharged the case on the grounds of multiple misdirections of the law []


In Shariah trial, Ezra Zaid gets to see books seized six years ago Hornbill Unleashed

Mohd Ezra Mohd Zaid today finally sighted the books that the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) seized six year ago from his publishing company ZI Publications Sdn Bhd.At the first day of his trial at the Shariah courts, Ezra managed to catch a glimpse of the 180 copies of the book published by his firm []


Sabah Bersih: Why are voters registered so far from their homes? Hornbill Unleashed

Sabah Bersih 2.0 has received six complaints from first-time voters who alleged they were registered in areas that are not according to the addresses listed in their MyKad. Sabah Bersih 2.0 vice-chairperson Beverly Joeman told reporters here today that two of the voters found they had been registered to vote in the Api Api state []


Now, PPBM sues the Registrar of Societies Hornbill Unleashed

Yesterday, Pakatan Harapan (PH) took the Registrar of Societies (RoS) to court. Today, PH component party PPBM filed a suit accusing the RoS of failing to exercise its duty under the law with regards to the party. The move is an attempt to preempt any move by the RoS to deregister the party. In the []


Ku Nan: Umnos submitted list of GE14 candidates to PM Hornbill Unleashed

Umno has submitted its list of potential candidates for the 14th General Election (GE14) to party president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, said party secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor. He said Najib and party vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who is also carrying out the duties of deputy party president were []


Interview 1346 New World Next Week with James Evan Pilato The Corbett Report

[audio mp3=""][/audio]This week on the New World Next Week: Florida sheriff calls for power to detain over social media posts; Congo slides back into bloodshed as new mining royalty law comes in; and Lockheed is in the money with another $35 billion from American taxpayers last year.


Assam Up in Arms as Army Chief Wades Into Political Territory The Wire

During a seminar, Rawat hinted at a possible link between the expansion of AIUDF in Assam to a planned immigration  taking place because of proxy war by Pakistan and China.

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat. Credit: Reuters

That statement did not come from a political leader taking the line of jati mati bheti (home, hearth and base) of the indigenous people of Assam during the run-up to the 2...


Does God Exist? Jay Dyer Vs Robert Taylor Debate The Soul of the East

Part 1

Part 2

Roberts Channel PraxGirl is here. 

The knock down secret argument of praxeologist Robert Taylor is here to stump me! I invited him on to let him set up the challenge that its logically impossible for there to be a God. I havent heard his argument but he issued a challenge and we will see what he brings to the table.

Stream or Download Part 1 Audio Here

Stream or Download Part 2 Audio Here 


Purchase my book Here.


Hundreds of asylum seekers march to desert prison to protest deportations +972 Magazine

Hundreds held in Israels desert detention facility march to nearby Saharonim Prison after seven asylum seekers were transferred and imprisoned there indefinitely  for refusing to leave the country. 

By Oren Ziv /

Asylum seekers protest outside Holot against Israel's deportation plan. February 22, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills)

Asylum seekers protest outside Holot against Israels deportation plan. February 22, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills)

Hundreds of asylum seekers detained in Holot, Israels desert detention facility for African asylum seekers, marched to nearby Saharonim Prison on Thursday after seven asylum seekers were imprisoned there for refusing to be sent an unnamed country in Africa, widely presumed to be Rwanda, as part of a voluntary deportation program. The demonstrators chanted We are refugees not criminals, We are human beings, Bring back our brothers, Stop the deportations, and We are not for sale.

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.



Hungary New NGO Bill Aims to Stop Soros New Eastern Outlook


The Hungarian government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban has presented a series of proposed laws that would address the operations of foreign-funded NGOs which support immigration. The new legislative proposals have come under heavy attack from organizations such as the UN as well as from the George Soros-funded Human Rights Watch. Its important to look more closely at what the proposed legislation would do in contrast to what many media are charging. The issue of human refugee flows and how EU nations are allowed to deal with this is the defining issue that will shape the very future notion of Europe. Some actors in this play including the billionaire hedge fund speculator Soros are apparently not being fully honest about their agenda.

On February 13 the Hungarian Parliament received drafts of three bills, popularly referred to in Hungarian media as the Stop Soros bills. They aim at groups working on asylum and migration issues in Hungary. The bills have drawn predictable howls of protest from not only a leading NGO financed by Soros, but also from the EU Commission in Brussels, and from the United Nations. First to the actual content of the proposed laws.

Actual Details

There are three separate bills:

  • one concerns the licensing of the migration NGO organizations;
  • the second concerns a special tax on foreign income received by them,
  • the third concerns a possible restraining order banning access to areas near the border or in certain cases, the entire country.

Under the new proposals the Hungarian government would require mandatory registration by the NGO to receive a special license from the Minister of the Interior as an organization dealing with migration issues. NGOs that refuse could be subject to a court determination that could formally dissolve organizations without this special license. To get a license the NGO must submit its books to a state tax audit to show funding sources.

The bills targetpro-immigration NGOs that:

  • attempt to influence the legal practices of authorities and courts,
  • organize the monitoring of Hungarys borders,
  • organize the preparation of certain information materials
  • build networks and/or organizing volunteers,


Jan Gan Man Ki Baat Episode 200: AAP vs Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash The Wire

Vinod Dua discusses Delhi chief secretary Anshu Prakashs allegations of assault by Aam Aadmi Party MLAs at chief minister Arvind Kejriwals residence during a meeting held late night on February 19.

The post Jan Gan Man Ki Baat Episode 200: AAP vs Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash appeared first on The Wire.


Palestinian man dies following beating by IDF soldiers +972 Magazine

A video published Thursday shows soldiers beating 33-year-old Yasin al-Saradih during a raid in the West Bank city of Jericho. Military sources say the beating was likely the cause of death.

Video published on social media Thursday appears to show IDF soldiers beating to death a Palestinian man during an arrest raid in the Palestinian city of Jericho, which according to the Oslo Accords is supposed to be under full Palestinian security control.

The video shows the man, 33-year-old Yasin al-Saradih, running in the direction of soldiers while holding an object resembling a lamp or a stool, before one soldier appears around a corner and attempts to shoot at him. More and more soldiers then appear and beat Saradih, which continues as they drag him away which can be seen on another camera feed.


The army initially accused Saradih of attempting to steal the soldiers weapon, but changed its story after video of the incident was published. Several reports in the Israeli media, citing military sources, say that an autopsy pointed toward the beating as the cause of Saradihs death and that he had not suffered any gunshot wounds.

The scene is reminiscent in many ways of the case of Elor Azaria, who was convicted of executing a disarmed and incapacitated Palestinian attacker in the Palestinian city of Hebron in March 2016. In that case, the initial reporting was simply Soldier stabbed, assailants killed. Everything changed a few hours later when video of the execution-style killing was published by BTselem volunteer Imad Abu Shamsiyeh.

In 2014, not even video of the sniper execution of two Palestinian teens at a protest in the West Bank town of Beitunia was enough to convince the Israeli establishment that a murder had taken place. It took several more camera angles, an autopsy, and a forensic examination of the bullet that killed Nadeem Nawara before his killer, Ben Deri, was put on trial. And even then, Deri was ultimately allowed a plea deal for negligent manslaughter.



Play Glorifying Gandhi Killer Godse Triggers Controversy at BHU The Wire

The students objected to a play performed on campus justifying the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

The entrance of Banaras Hindu University. Credit: File photo

New Delhi: Several students of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) have written a letter to the police to complain against the organisers of the Sanskriti 2018 cultural festival held on the campus between February 19 and 21, claiming that a play which was performed glorified Mahatma Gandhis assassin Nathuram Godse.

According to a report in the Indian Express, students alleged that the play, which is based on the controversial Marathi play Me Nathuram Godse Boltoy (I, Nathuram Godse Speaking), portrayed Mahatma Gandhi in poor light, held him responsible for Partition, and justified his assassination.

How did a programme, which hurts the countrys constitutional values be allowed? This is indicative of a larger conspiracy. Sentenced to death by the courts, terrorist Godses glorifying portrayal amounts to hurting the unity and pride of India and this is nothing less than deshdroh. We demand an inquiry into this, the protesting students said in the complaint.



Chief Minister Parrikar Presents Rs 17,123 Crore Goa Budget The Wire

With a stress on education and job creation, the allocation for capital account expenditure has been increased by 10.70% against the revised estimate for the last year, which stood at Rs 3,808 crore.

Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar. Credit: PTI

Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar. Credit: PTI

Panaji: Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar today presented in the state assembly a Rs 17,123-crore budget for 2018-19, an increase of 6.84% over the ongoing fiscal, with a stress on education and job creation.

Parrikar, who was undergoing treatment at a Mumbai hospital for a pancreatic ailment, returned here this afternoon.

The chief minister was present in the assembly complex for half an hour, during which he chaired a meeting of his cabinet, tabled the budget and witnessed the passage of vote-on-account for five months.

The budget session was curtailed to four days owing to Parrikars ill-health.

In his speech in the House which lasted only five minutes, Parrikar said he could not present an elaborate budget because of his ill-health but would make a supplementary statement before the end of the current financial year.

The gross total budgetary expenditure is Rs 17,123.28 crore for the coming fiscal as against Rs 16,027.01 crore for 2017-18, an increase of 6.84%.

The total estimated expenditure on revenue account is Rs 11,795.40 crore, while that on capital account is Rs 4,218.25 crore.



Jaspal Atwal No Longer in Home Ministrys Blacklist of Sikh Extremists The Wire

Names of nearly 150 wanted terrorists and their associates were removed from the blacklist over the last few years.

Jaspal Atwal. Credit: ANI

New Delhi: Jaspal Atwal, a convicted Khalistani terrorist, whose invitation to a dinner in honour of visiting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was rescinded following a controversy, no longer figures in the Home Ministrys blacklist of Sikh extremists, officials said.

From time-to-time, the central government reviews the blacklist of Sikh extremists taking into account intelligence inputs and activities of the persons concerned, a home ministry official said.

Names of nearly 150 wanted terrorists and their associates were removed from the blacklist in the last few years, the official said.

Atwals name no longer figures in the current blacklist, the official said.

The review of the blacklist is always done in consultation with the Punjab government and central security agencies.

Most of the persons whose names have been deleted from the wanted list are believed to be currently based in countries like Pakistan, US, Canada, Norway, France and Germany.

After the government removes them from the blacklist, they may move freely around the world and even return to India.

As Atwals name was taken off, he arrived in India and subsequently got the invitation to the dinner being hosted in honour of Trudeau by the High Commissioner of Canada Nadir Patel, the official said. It is not...


Indias Ranking in Global Corruption Perception Index Slides to 81 from 79 The Wire

The 2017 index also singled out India as one of the worst offenders in the Asia-Pacific region.

A silent protest against corruption scandal in New Delhi. Credit: Reuters/Parivartan Sharma

New Delhi: India has been ranked 81st in the global corruption perception index for 2017, released by Transparency International, which named the country among the worst offenders in terms of graft and press freedom in the Asia Pacific region.

The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, placed India at 81. In 2016, India was at 79 among 176 countries.

The index uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is hi...


Trudeau Will Take Back an Important Lesson: Sikhs in Canada and Punjab Dont Think Alike The Wire

If separatism is anathema for a majority of Sikhs in Punjab today, the situation is very different in  Canada, where politicians are caught in the throes of a resurgent movement for a separate Sikh state.

Justin Trudeau and his family at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Credit: Twitter/Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau and his family at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Credit: Twitter/Justin Trudeau

Chandigarh: Sikh politics has always revolved around identity issues, and political parties have worked on these issues in different ways, often with success and sometimes not. The movement for a separate Sikh state Khalistan was one such expression, but the decade-long violent phase of terrorism which resulted in pain, loss and suffering has caused the average Sikh in Punjab to turn her back on it.

This is not to say that the ideology has been vanquished along with the terrorists. On the contrary, remnants of it are very much alive in present-day Punjab, but receive little traction from the public whenever people attempt to exploit it politically. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), misguided by a clutch of closet hardliners in its ran...


Special Public Prosecutor Anand Grover Asks SC to Relieve Him From 2G Case The Wire

Decision to do so comes on the back of two recent government notifications that were aimed at removing him from the appeals process.

Credit: PTI

Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Senior advocate Anand Grover, who was appointed by the Supreme Court as the special public prosecutor (SPP) for the 2G spectrum scam cases in 2014, has filed an application with the apex court asking it to relieve him of his responsibilities.

The Wire has learnt that Grovers application, which was filed and registered on Thursday, is likely to be mentioned and taken up by the court in the next two weeks. His decision to do so comes on the back of two notifications in the last two weeks by the Modi government that were aimed at removing him from the appeals process.

In his application, a copy of which is with The Wire, Grover indicates that there is not much of a role for him as special public prosecutor after the recent appointment of additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta also as SPP.

On February 8, 2018, a government notification appointed Mehta as the SPP for conducting prosecution, appeals/revision or other proceedings arising out of the cases related to 2G spectrum investigated by the Delhi Spec...


Canadas Troubling Indifference to the 1985 Air India Bombing The Wire

It was Canadas worst mass murder, yet it is barely remembered in the country.

A commemorative plaque presented to the citizens of Bantry, Ireland by the government of Canada for the residents kindness and compassion to the families of the victims of Air India Flight 182. Credit: Wikipedia

Rattan Singh Kalsi kept photos of all his grown children in his room at the seniors home, but one of them towered over the rest.

The photo anchored a kind of shrine to his daughter, Indira, who had died more than 30 years earlier, just as she was entering adulthood.

Indira had grown up in Canada and Rattan had bought her a plane ticket so she could see India, the country their family had come from, and spend time with the relatives she might not get to see once the responsibilities of work and adult life set in.

Naturally, Rattan, who had been middle-aged at the time of Indiras death, was heartbroken when she was killed in the bombing of the plane. He never recovered. He was not responsible for what had happened, but he blamed himself and lived in quiet anguish for the rest of his life.

Not long before he died, he shared his story. I was there to record it, and it was unbearably sad for both of us.

Rattan had left behind a request to scatter his and his wifes ashes (she had died some yea...

Thursday, 22 February


A bizarre end to the trial of Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour +972 Magazine

By the time a verdict is handed down in her case, Dareen Tatour will have lost over two-and-a-half years of her life to prison and house arrest.

By Yoav Haifawi

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour (left) and her supporters speak to Attorney Gaby Lasky inside the Nazareth court, February 18, 2018. (Yoav Haifawi)

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour (left) and her supporters speak to Attorney Gaby Lasky inside the Nazareth court, February 18, 2018. (Yoav Haifawi)

Like a cartoon character who runs over a cliff but continues to run in the air, or Achilles who thought he could pass the tortoise easily, but each time he got close, the turtle moved a bit further away, so is the trial of Dareen Tatour, a poet who has been detained since October 2015 defying gravity, looking like it will never end.

After the last witness testified back in April 2017, Judge Adi Bambiliya-Einstein decided that the parties should submit written summaries within three months. In September, Tatours defense attorney, Gaby Lasky, asked to present new evidence, and the issue was brought before the judge on November 15. On that occasion, the judge accepted a request by prosecutor Attorney Alina Hardak to supplement the written summaries with oral closing arguments. After several postponements, the court scheduled the hearing for Sunday, February 18.

The prosecutions extra show

The prosecution submitted 43 pages of written summaries....


Political Breakthrough Possible on the Korean Peninsula New Eastern Outlook


On February 10 of the current year, the reception of the delegation of DPRK (the most representative one since the Korean War) by the South Korean President, as well as the subsequent negotiations of the parties became one of the most significant events of regional and world policy of the last few years.

Future historians will only marginally report the cause for it to be a certain event from the sphere of show business entitled The Olympic Games. For the process launched in Seoul may well lead to (under favorable circumstances) the healing of one of the oldest and dangerous wounds on the body of modern global politics.

This process definitely far outweighs the professional sports show, which is today taking on the role of gladiatorial combats during the declining period of the Roman Empire.

However, the positive developments on the Korean Peninsula can only be expected if the main external participants remain sidelined until the North and South Koreans reach some sort of resolution on various issues, which together form one common Korean problem.

It is obvious that such a (hypothetical) resolution should more or less satisfy the above mentioned external participants. These include the United States, China, Russia, and Japan, which together with both the Korean countries constitute the format of Six-Party Talks that were interrupted in 2008.

This seems to be an ideal continuation of the process started on February 10 in Seoul, which certainly will not be implemented as some of the external participants are very much interested in their own vision of the situation on the Korean Peninsula and precisely will not step aside.

First of all, this holds true for the United States and Japan, for whom (and it is the most important moment), not the Korean problem but the North Korean missile and nuclear program is relevant. It should be noted that for such an approach to the situation on the Korean Peninsula, they have formal grounds in the form of the UN Security Council resolutions, which are undoubtedly violated by the DPRK.

At the same time, Washington and Tokyo do not take account of the fact that North Korean missile and nuclear program itself is a consequence of the unsettled Korean problem. The initial joint position of the US and Japan is as follows: firstly, it is necessary to start t...


Despite Hate Speech, Allahabad HC Backs Adityanaths Decision Not to Prosecute Himself The Wire

The case pertains to the UP chief ministers alleged involvement in the 2007 Gorakhpur communal riots.

UP chief minister Adityanath. Credit: PTI

UP chief minister Adityanath. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: The Allahabad high court on Thursday dismissed a plea to overturn the state governments decision to deny sanction to prosecute the Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Adityanath, in a 2007 hate speech case. The HC order will be yet another shot in the arm for the Hindutva firebrand who says he has restored the rule of law in the state even as he withdrew as many as 20,000 cases against political leaders, including himself.

There were two prayers in front of the HC, both of which were rejected. We had sought a fresh independent enquiry by an agency other than crime branch, CID, which was handling the case until now. Secondly, we questioned the state governments decision to refuse sanction to the CB-CID to prosecute Adityanath and four other BJP leaders. The court said that it found no material irregularity committed by the state in investigation as well as while refusing to grant sanction for prosecution, Syed Farman Naqvi, counsel for the petitioners Asad Ha...


Kamal Haasan Says His Party Will Be Free of Games of Caste and Religion The Wire

Kamal Hassan. Credit: PTI

Madurai: Launching his political party, actor Kamal Haasan said yesterday his outfit was committed to politics free from games of caste and religion and would focus on good governance.

In his launch address, Haasan touched upon key issues concerning Tamil Nadu including the Cauvery river water dispute, alleged corruption and vote for money.

Haasan christened his party Makkal Needhi Mayyam and unfurled its flag that symbolises the strength of unity.

On the symbolism behind the flag, he said: If you look closer you can find the map of south India map in it, the six hands refer to six southern states The star at the centre refers to the people

The partys name roughly translates to Centre for Peoples Justice.

Outlining his partys policies, he said his outfit was committed to quality education for all sections of people and good governance sans corruptio...


Brexit Is UKs Chance to Get Rid of the Illogical Ban on Human Cloning The Wire

There is a common misunderstanding that human cloning is the replication of people. Rather, cloning is the replication of gene sets, analogous to when people produce twins.

File 20180221 132647 xfzym0.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Credit: Barandash Karandashich

According to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, human cloning should be illegal because everyone has the right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity. The UKs laws have to be in line with this but only until Brexit. Fifteen years to the month since the death of Dolly the sheep in Edinburgh, its time to take this opportunity to reconsider the law.

The relevant UK legislation is the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (2008). Section three stipulates that it is a crime to place a human embryo in a woman unless it was created by the fertilisation of an egg from the ovaries of a woman by sperm from the testes of a man. Since human cloning creates embryos in a different way replacing the nucleus of a human egg cell by DNA from a somatic cell, for instance it is outlawed.

The EU charters concerns about peoples mental and physical integrity are not the only supposed justifications for criminalising human cloning. The European parliamentary resolution on human cloning from 1997 says it must be outlawed for being:

contrary to the principle of equality of human beings as it permits a eugenic and racist selection of the human race, it offends against human dignity [And] each individual has a right to his or her own genetic identity

There is a common misunderstanding that human cloning is the replication of people. This goes to the heart of why it is seen as abhorrent. Rather, cloning is the replication of gene sets. It is analogous to when people produce twins, where the fertilised egg splits to create two embryos with the same, or virtually the same, DNA.



Delhi HC Vacates Gag Order Against The Caravan on 2011 Cover Story on Arindam Chaudhuri The Wire

The court order a major success for those who believe in good, bold journalism, the magazine has said.

Arindam Chaudhuri. Source: YouTube Screengrab

Arindam Chaudhuri. Source: YouTube Screengrab

New Delhi: The Delhi high court has vacated a gag order against The Caravan magazine in a Rs 50-crore civil defamation suit filed by Arindam Chaudhuri, founder of the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM), against an article published in 2011.

Terming the order passed by Justice Manmohan on February 16 as a major victory towards upholding freedom of press, The Caravan said in a statement that it was publishing the article again on Thursday after seven years.

Chaudhari had filed the case after the magazine published an article titled Sweet smell of success How Ar...


Exam Question Asks Students to Explain Why HRD Minister Was Wrong on Darwin The Wire

It is to the credit of those who framed the question that they believed Satyapal Singhs comment was so wrong that calling it out was worth two marks only.

Will you pass the exam, minister? Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Not looking pleased, minister? Credit: Wikimedia Commons

At an examination conducted recently at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, students were confronted with an unexpected question. For two marks, it asked the following:

The minister of state for Human Resource Development [MHRD] in India recently claimed that the Darwinian theory of evolution is wrong because Nobody, including our ancestors, in writing or orally, have said they saw an ape turning into a man. What is wrong with this argument? NOTE: This question is NOT asking why biologists believe evolution to be correct. It is asking why the quoted argument cannot be correct in terms of disproving the Darwinian theory of evolution.

The minister in question is Satyapal Singh, and the comment he made was to an audience in Maharashtra on January 20. Singh followed it up with a threat to remove the study of evolution from school curricula and a proposal that th...


Deluge of Support For Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash From Associations of Public Servants The Wire

Most associations termed the alleged assault as an attack by the political executive on the bureaucracy in a bid to intimidate it.

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

New Delhi: While the three main associations representing civil servants in Delhi the IAS Association, DANICS Association and DASS Association had come out in support of chief secretary Anshu Prakash following an alleged assault on him at chief minister Arvind Kejriwals residence, there has been an outpouring of support from various other associations of public servants across the country, with almost all of them terming it as political intimidation of bureaucracy.

In a message, the Indian Forest Service Association (Central Unit) has termed the incident of February 19 as highly disturbing, outrageous, shocking and highly deplorable, while expressing its solidarity with the officer and seeking immediate arrest of all the perpetrators and conspirators...


Demographic time bomb ticks down on Singapore Nile Bowie

A fast aging population threatens to stall the economy, test social cohesion and strain national finances

It is being called a demographic time bomb. The impact of a shrinking workforce coupled with a greying population will be among the toughest economic and social challenges Singapore faces in the decades ahead.

Already the oldest society in Southeast Asia measured by median age, the wealthy city-state is now seeking coping strategies for the economic and social impacts to come of a rapidly aging population.

While aging populations affect much of the Asia-Pacific, the expected decline in Singapores working-age population will be among the regions most acute.

Indeed, this year marks the first time in modern Singapores history when the share of the population that is 65 years old and over will match that of those under 15 years old, according to a UOB report published last year.

UOB economist Francis Tan predicted in the research that demographic change will stall the city-states economic growth and raise substantially future healthcare costs.

Other data suggests that Singapores percentage of seniors will reach 27% by 2030, while the percentage of juniors under 15 will decrease to 10.8%, leading in a worst-case scenario to a nearly 1:1 dependency ratio, with one working-age adult supporting a child or elderly person.

Read the full story at Asia Times.

Nile Bowie is a writer and journalist...


North Korea to Send Delegation to Meet South Koreas Moon at Olympics Closing Ceremony The Wire

The delegation to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in will be led by Kim Yong Chol, vice-chairman of North Koreas Party Central Committee.

People wearing traditional costumes pose with Olympic rings and 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics mascot Bandabi in front of the main train station in Gangneung in South Korea on February 19. Credit: Reuters/Murad Sezer

Seoul: North Korea will send anothe...


Drought-Hit Cape Town Dreads Day Zero When Taps Will Run Dry The Wire

A tough water-saving regime and the generosity of farmers have helped push back the dreaded Day Zero.

A plant grows between cracked mud in a normally submerged area at Theewaterskloof dam near Cape Town on January 21. Credit: Reuters/Mike Hutchings/Files

Cape Town: A tough water-saving regime and the generosity of farmers have given South Africas main tourist hub welcome respite from a severe drought and helped push back a dreaded Day Zero when Cape Towns taps are expected to run dry.

On Tuesday, the city of four million moved its estimate for &...


Russia Resists Western Bid to Condemn Iran Over Yemen Arms at UN The Wire

The US has been lobbying for months for Iran to be held accountable at the UN. A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by Russia, China, the US, France or Britain to pass.

Houthi militants take part in a parade held to mark 1,000 days of the Saudi-led military intervention in the Yemeni conflict in Sanaa, Yemen, on December 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Khaled Abdullah/Files

United Nations: The United Nations Security Council should not condemn Iran in a resolution to renew sanctions on Yemen,...


With a No-Fly List and Promotion Ban, China a Step Ahead of India in Penalising Bank Loan Defaulters The Wire

Chinas Supreme Peoples Court has blacklisted 6.73 million bank defaulters and restricted them from travelling by plane, getting promoted or applying for loans and credit cards.

The Supreme Peoples Courts deterrent has already proven to be effective with nearly 1 million defaulters voluntarily fulfilling the courts orders. Credit: Reuters

Even as India is reeling as a result of various bank frauds coming to light and the loan defaulters packing their bags and bidding goodbye to their problems by fleeing abroad such as Nirav Modi for the alleged Rs 11,400-crore involving Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Vijay Malla of Kingfisher fame China has taken strict measures to ensure the same doesnt happen.

In a massive crackdown, Chinas Supreme Peoples Court (SPC) has blacklisted 6.73 million bank defaulters and restricted them from travelling by plane, applying for loans and credit cards or getting promoted, reported Reuters.



ABVP Members Allegedly Disrupt Event in Delhis Satyawati College; Abuse, Harass Teachers, Students The Wire

ABVP members were reportedly unhappy with one of the panelists, Kawalpreet Kaur, a member of the All India Students Association.

Satyawati College. Credit: College website

Satyawati College. Credit: College website

New Delhi: Students and teachers at Delhi Universitys Satyawati College have alleged that an event organised on campus was disrupted by students affiliated to the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the RSS, on Thursday (February 22). The event, which included a panel discussion on womens safety, was organised by She the People TV, Google and the Family Counselling Centre of Satyawati College.

One of the speakers on the panel was Kawalpreet Kaur, a student at DUs Faculty of Law and a member of the All India Students Association (AISA), the student wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist). &...


Israel and Iran: Inching Toward Armed Conflict Strategic Culture Foundation

A conflict between Israel and pro-Iranian forces would douse the light at the end of the tunnel so recently kindled as a result of the diplomatic initiatives in Syria by Russia, Turkey, and Iran. Once the shooting starts, all that work will go down the drain.


Mueller's Comic Book Indictment: How to Prosecute a Great Big Nothingburger Strategic Culture Foundation

We have always heard that a determined government prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich, and now we know it's true. After 38 years in the prosecution racket, Robert Mueller just made his biggest score ever---that is, he nailed a great big Nothingburger.


US Students Protest Over Gun Laws, Trump Considers Arming Teachers The Wire

US President Donald Trump speaks next Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Carson Abt, as the president hosts a listening session with high school students and teachers to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, US, February 21, 2018. Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Washington/Tallahassee: Students in the US galvanised by the deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school confronted lawmakers on Wednesday with demands to restrict sales of assault rifles, while President Donald Tr...


When Will Congress Investigate All Interference in Elections? Strategic Culture Foundation

When will Mueller and the several congressional committees that are investigating the Russians move on to the topic of Israel and Saudi Arabia to find out what really effective foreign influencing operations looks like?


America"s Election Meddling Would Indeed Justify Other Countries Retaliating In Kind Strategic Culture Foundation

There is still no clear proof that the Russian government interfered with the 2016 US elections in any meaningful way. Which is weird, because Russia and every other country on earth would be perfectly justified in doing so.


Floating Island: New Home for Rohingya Refugees Emerges in Bay of Bengal The Wire

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said putting Rohingya on the low-lying island would be a temporary arrangement to ease congestion at the camps in Coxs Bazar.

A dredging machine is seen near the Vashan Char, previously known as Thengar Char island, in the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh February 14, 2018. Credit: Reuters/Stringer

Dhaka/Bhasan Char/Coxs Bazar: Bangladesh is racing to turn an uninhabited and muddy Bay of Bengal island into home for 100,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled a military crackdown in Myanmar, amid...


Comrades" Trump and Corbyn? Cold War Mania Relapse Strategic Culture Foundation

Today, Donald Trump and Jeremy Corbyn have nothing in common politically with each other or with the Kremlin. All they have in common is the absurd smear of being comrades of an illusory foreign enemy.


Former Swiss Diplomat Deserves Apology From Swaraj For Unceremonious Deportation: Civil Society The Wire

Kurt Vgele was deported by the Ahmedabad immigration officials on January 22 despite having a valid passport and visa.

Former Swiss diplomat Kurt Vgele. Credit: Facebook

Former Swiss diplomat Kurt Vgele. Credit: Facebook

New Delhi: With a month having passed without the Centre providing any explanation as to why it unceremoniously detained and deported former Swiss diplomat Kurt Vgele, despite his arriving in the country on a valid passport and visa and being known as a longtime friend of India, a group of 45 civil society leaders, academics and professionals have written to foreign minister Sushma Swaraj to protest against the governments action.

Stating that the government owes and explanation to Vgele for being blacklisted without any prior intimation, the group has also demanded that the blacklisting be revoked forthwith, and as a gracious gesture the government of India should invite him to visit India in the early future. They also pointed out to the MEA that 75-year-old Vgele deserved an apology for the treatment meted out to him.

The Wire had earlier reported how Vgele had protested the denial of visa in a letter to the Ambassador of India in Switzerland. The letter recalls how the incident had taken place at Ahmedabad airport on Jan...


EPFO Cuts Interest Rate on Employees Provident Fund to 8.55% for 2017-18 The Wire

All units employing 20 or more employees are mandatorily covered under the social security schemes run by the Employees Provident Fund Organisation.

The EPFO served over six crore subscribers. Credit: EPFO official website

The EPFO served over six crore subscribers. Credit: EPFO official website

New Delhi: Retirement fund body EPFO on Wednesday lowered the rate of interest on employees provident fund to 8.55% for its over six crore subscribers for 2017-18, from 8.65% in the previous fiscal.

It is difficult to evaluate about future in view of present economic scenario. We paid 8.65% last fiscal, which left a surplus of Rs 695 crore. This year, we have decided to recommend 8.55% for 2017-18, which will leave a surplus of Rs 586 crore, labour minister Santosh Gangwar told reporters after the Employees Provident Fund Organisations (EPFO) trustees meet.

Gangwar, who also heads EPFOs apex decision making body Central Board of Trustees (CBT), said he expects the finance ministry to give concurrence to the 8.55% rate of interest decided today at the CBT meeting.

After the CBTs decision on interest rate, the proposal is vetted by the finance ministry. Once approved by the finance ministry, th...


Trumplandia: Can a Social Media Addict Run a State? New Eastern Outlook


Upon taking power in Russia a hundred years ago, the head of the Bolsheviks, Vladimir Lenin, in his article Can the Bolsheviks Retain State Power? noted that We (the Bolsheviks) are not utopians. We know that an unskilled labourer or a cook cannot immediately get on with the job of state administration.

Which brings the rationale of the ruling Western elites into question, since one cannot help but wonder are they clueless enough to assume that a social media addict can successfully rule a state, especially a state so big and powerful as the United States.

Its pretty much given that Trump has a soft spot for Twitter, yet he spends more time tweeting that consulting his advisors. In fact, Trump has made his social activities his main occupation in a bid to persuade each and every single one of his followers that hes not just capable of ruling the country, but the whole world as well.

This approach, no matter how unorthodox it is, cannot be approved, as its been noted by the New York Times. This media has gone as far as to make a list of people, media sources, and politicians the sitting US President chose to insult on the social media since his inauguration. The better amount of Trumps hatred was aimed at the American media, which Trump described as dishonest, deceitful, corrupt, unfair, and spiteful. He awarded the CBS network with the title of an enemy of the American people, CNN, Trump believes, is engaged in junk journalism, and Facebook, according to the sitting US President, is always anti-Tramp.

Clearly Trump didnt feel shy enough to keep his impression of Hillary Clinton to himself, as he went to assess her features publicly, repeatedly referring to her a...


Maldives: Prosecutor Calls Extension of State of Emergency Unconstitutional The Wire

Maldivian Police officers push back opposition supporters near the main opposition Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) headquarters during a protest demanding the government to release jailed opposition leaders, including former Presidents Mohamed Nasheed and Maumoon...


PNB Fraud Case: Firestar Diamond CFO Vipul Ambani, Five Others in CBI Custody Till March 5 The Wire

Punjab National Bank has also decided to adopt strict SWIFT controls after the alleged fraud involving diamantaire Nirav Modi.

A man tries to remove a notice pasted on the wall of a Punjab National Bank branch after it was sealed by India's federal police in Mumbai, India, February 19, 2018. Credit: Reuters/Francis Mascarenhas

A man tries to remove a notice pasted on th...


Rough Edges: Long Arm of the Law Falls Short When It Comes to the Rich and Famous The Wire

Never before has the establishment been so publicly audacious in preaching one thing and practicing another. Even as all the big scammers run amok, the BJP has been increasingly vigilant in monitoring dissenters.

If Manmohan Singh was accused of falling asleep at the wheel, then the Modi government seems to be indulging in selective somnolence. Nirav Modi (top left), Vijay Mallya (top right), Chandrashekhar Azad (lower left) and Kanhaiya Kumar (lower right). Credit: The Wire

In the early days of the Narendra Modi government, Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai was stopped from boarding a flight to London. Pillai was scheduled to speak before a group of United Kingdom parliamentarians on Madhya Pradeshs Mahan coal project and the violation of forest rights of tribals. The activist was later told that her name figured in a database of people who had been barred from leaving the country. The central point in the governments argument was that Pillais views on the Mahan coal project would have lowered Indias image at an international forum, besides hurting the countrys investment prospects.

Worse still, the government slapped its favourite anti-national tag on Pillai.

That was back in January 2015, just six months after Modi rode to a triumphant victory at the Centre. Since then, a lot of water has passed under the bridge. The political landscape of the country has drastically changed. Dissenters like Pillai ha...


North Koreas Emerging Criminal Cyberthreat The Wire

North Koreas cyber army is closely controlled by the ruling regime a key difference from other countries cyberattack and espionage groups.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Credit: Reuters/KCNA

The countries posing the greatest cyberthreats to the US are Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. Like its counterparts, Kim Jong Uns regime engages in substantial cyber espionage. And like Russia and Iran, it launches damaging cyberattacks that wipe data from computer disks and shut down online services.

But the North Korean cyberthreat is different in two ways. First, the regimes online power did not grow out of groups of independent ha...


Red Century: the Russian Revolution and Its Powerful Imprint on Language and Aesthetics in Films The Wire

From Sergei Eisenstein and Dziga Vertov, there is little doubt that the filmmakers of the time literally took the world by storm.

The posters for Battleship PotemkinIvan the Terrible 1 and October: Ten Days That Shook the World. Credit: IMDB/Wikipedia

Epic historical events have a way of leaving their powerful imprint on artistic works. The Russian Revolution of 1917 remains, for the 20th century, a moment of great utopian force that changed not just the geopolitical landscape of the world but crucially transformed theatre, film, art and literature. While the political culture of the revolution, its subsequent transformation into a powerful bureaucratic apparatus, and its afterlife following the collapse of socialist regimes in Eastern Europe, has been a much debated subject, the creative flowering of ideas in the immediate aftermath of the revolution has continued to remain an enduring legacy.

The rise of the Russian avant-garde is now a well documented story in the histories of European modernism. This emerged in the period just before and after the revolution of 1917 and became one of the great art movements of the last century. The philosophical and aesthetic dimension of this movement influenced painting, theatre, sculpture, film, photography, the decorative arts, architecture, literature and poster design.

With a future oriented vision, a boldness of purpose, a disdain for the past and an attraction for the machine age, the Russian avant-garde inserted itself firmly in the revolutionary fervour of the moment. Experimentation, formal innovation, and a graphic po...


Planets Not Sole Cause of Unique Dust Patterns Around Stars: Study The Wire

Saturns moons create gaps in the planets rings; by studying them, astronomers can discern the presence of the moon. But when this happens around stars, a new force enters the picture.

An artist's impression of a protoplanetary disc, composed of rocks, gas and dust, around a young star. Under certain conditions, the material in the disc condenses out to form planets. Credit: skeeze/pixabay

An artists impression of a protoplanetary disc, composed of rocks, gas and dust, around a young star. Under certain conditions, the material in the disc condenses out to form planets. Credit: skeeze/pixabay

Over two decades ago, scientists confirmed the first-ever detection of a planet outside the Solar System an exoplanet. With it, the possibility of finding more potentially habitable worlds catapulted the planet-hunting endeavour into the public imagination. Meanwhile, astronomers kept discovering one exoplanet after another, all of them within the Milky Way.

It was splendid to realise that our host galaxy itself was home to so many worlds of interest, but whether other galaxies also housed such worlds has remained a matter of theory. Recently, however, this speculation was called up when astronomers...


Step up efforts in containing rabies, improve medical facilities Hornbill Unleashed

The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee and Sarawak State Health Department are urged to step up their efforts in containing rabies in Sarawak and to improve medical facilities to combat rabies and other infectious diseases. In making the call, Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How noted that since July 1 last year, 30 localities in five []


See calls on authorities to step up efforts in containing rabies Hornbill Unleashed

The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee and state Health Department have been urged to step up their efforts in containing rabies in Sarawak and to improve the states medical facilities to combat rabies and other infectious diseases in hospitals. In making the call, Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How noted that since July 1 last year, []


Court allows ECs bid to halt lawsuit over voters in uncompleted army camp Hornbill Unleashed

The Election Commission (EC) today succeeded in effectively putting a stop to a lawsuit challenging the registration of 949 voters at an allegedly uncompleted army camp in Segamat. Court of Appeal judge Tan Sri Idrus Harun said the appellate court decided to reverse a High Court ruling last month that allowed 48 Segamat voters to []


Ex-judge: Court not using power it has over EC Hornbill Unleashed

A retired judge said the courts can act to remedy an injustice to voters if the Election Commission (EC) has exceeded its authority. Gopal Sri Ram said the EC was a creation of the Federal Constitution and the Federal Court had overlooked the wide powers conferred on courts by Paragraph 1 of the Schedule to []


Pakatan leaders file lawsuit against RoS over registration application Hornbill Unleashed

Five Pakatan Harapan leaders today filed a civil suit to compel the courts to instruct the Registrar of Society (RoS) to respond to the coalitions registration application Speaking to reporters at the Kuala Lumpur High Court today, DAPs Gobind Singh Deo said that the Opposition pact has given more than enough time for the RoS []


PH files order against RoS, wants early hearing Hornbill Unleashed

Pakatan Harapan has filed an application for various orders against the Registrar of Societies (RoS) in a bid to compel the agency to respond to PH on its registration application. DAP deputy chairman Gobind Singh said the order was filed by PH chief secretary Saifuddin Abdullah, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution, []


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 []


Bersih condemns EC for adding 9 new categories of postal voters Hornbill Unleashed

Electoral reforms coalition Bersih 2.0 has questioned the addition of nine categories of postal voters, accusing the authorities of quietly gazetting them last year without justifying why they are considered eligible to vote remotely. Bersih said the latest move by the Election Commission (EC) is also a step back from the target of abolishing postal []


Claiming abuse, Bersih 2.0 wants domestic postal votes abolished Hornbill Unleashed

The Election Commissions (EC) decision to open postal voting domestically to a select group of civil servants has been condemned by the polls watchdog Bersih 2.0 today. The group then demanded for the outright abolishment of the postal voting, presenting six reasons behind their stance, one of it being the lack of monitoring and transparency []


Pakatan Harapan denies seat swap Hornbill Unleashed

Pakatan Harapan has denied that there will be a swap between PKR and DAP on the Miri and Stampin parliamentary seats. It also said seat allocation is under the prerogative of its state leaders, Chong Chieng Jen (DAP), Baru Bian (PKR) and Fidzuan Zaidi (Amanah). As far as I am concerned, DAP has stated clearly []


Check before spreading fake news on social media, says Prime Ministers Office Hornbill Unleashed

The Prime Ministers Office (PMO) has urged the public to check the authenticity of news they received through social media before spreading it to other people. The spreading of fake news is a social ill that could be detrimental not only to individuals, but also to the nation as a whole, according to the statement []


Amnesty International: Fahmi Rezas guilty verdict a violation of human rights Hornbill Unleashed

Amnesty International Malaysia today questioned the Ipoh Sessions Courts decision to punish graphic artist Fahmi Reza for posting a clown sketch of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak online, calling it another crackdown on dissent by the authorities. Amnesty International Malaysia is deeply concerned by the Ipoh Sessions Courts verdict yesterday on Fahmi Rezas case. []


Pakatan Harapan Youth submit memorandum to RoS Hornbill Unleashed

The Pakatan Harapan Youth today submitted a memorandum to the Registrar of Societies (RoS) regarding issues faced by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) as well as to request the approval for registering the Pakatan Harapan coalition. PPBM Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said the memorandum was submitted because PPBM and Pakatan Harapan did []


PH to take RoS to court over registration delay Hornbill Unleashed

Pakatan Harapan (PH) said it would take the Registrar of Societies (RoS) to court this Thursday, close to seven months after the coalition applied to become a legal entity. PH chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the legal action would compel RoS to respond on the status of its application submitted on July 24 last year. []


Russia, Pakistan edge closer in new cold war conditions

The articulations from both sides regarding the talks in Moscow on Tuesday suggest that Russia and Pakistan intend to work closely together to coordinate their approaches to the Afghan situation.

The post Russia, Pakistan edge closer in new cold war conditions appeared first on


NASAs $1 Billion Leaning Launch Tower Likely to Bite the Dust After Just One Use The Wire

The mobile launcher for the Space Launch System rocket, initially meant for the launch of Ares 1, will likely only be used once despite its expensive price tag.

A tower that it took the agency two years to build has essentially taken eight years to modify. Credit: NASA

With a price tag of $1 billion, a mobile launcher built by NASA to be used for the launch of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket isnt at all likely to live long and prosper. According to a report on, the expensive tower is leaning and bending northwards, and will probably only ever be used once.

However, NASA insists it is structurally sound and does not require modifications, the report says. Initially, the construction for the mobile launcher had begun for the Ares 1 rocket, but the structure has over time been going structural modifications for the SLS.

For now, NASA says, the lean is not sufficient enough to require corrective action, but it is developing contingency plans in case the lean angle becomes steeper, reports Ars Technica.

In fact, it is entirely possible that the launch tower may serve only for the maiden flight of the SLS rocket in 2020 and then be cast aside. This would represent a significant...


My father was jailed for believing Palestine must be free +972 Magazine

The Israeli occupation thinks that my father, non-violent organizer Munther Amirah, is a threat to its apartheid system because he radiates hope to our community.

By Ghaida Amirah

Israeli forces arrest Munther Amira during a demonstration in support of Nariman and Ahed Tamimi. Bethlehem, West Bank, December 27, 2017.

Israeli forces arrest Munther Amira during a demonstration in support of Nariman and Ahed Tamimi. Bethlehem, West Bank, December 27, 2017. (Courtesy of PSCC)

I was born at a time when people believed the Israeli occupation would soon be over. Following the signing of the Oslo agreement, my father was confident there would be no Israeli occupation by the time I entered school. Long years went by. I am 23 years old now and just recently graduated as a lawyer. But my father, Munther Amirah, is now in an Israeli prison.


My father serves as the coordinator of the Popular Struggle Committee and was the former secretary general of the Palestinian Union of Social Workers and Psychologists. Israeli soldiers arrested him over a month ago in Bethlehem for demonstrating against the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israels capital. Since then, an Israeli military court has been keeping my father in prison, even though they could not prove any of the baseless charge...

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