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Wednesday, 22 November

20:45

Who Is Jared Kushner: Trump Loyalist or 'Deep State' Kissinger Protege? Strategic Culture Foundation

Never before in the annals of US politics has a top presidential adviser had more of an inside track for influencing the White House than Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner. And this could be just the ticket the Deep State ordered.

20:30

The Fleeting Nature of Memory The Wire

Patrick Modianos recently translated Sundays in August and Such Fine Boys are poles apart in their themes, but are shrouded in mystery and manage to successfully build a sense of place.

<em>Sundays in August</em> is set in Nice. Credit: CHEN.Zhenyu/Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Sundays in August is set in Nice. Credit: CHEN.Zhenyu/Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In its citation, the Nobel Committee, when awarding French writer Patrick Modiano the literature prize in 2014, commended him for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation. A prolific writer in French, Modianos novels in their English translations were at first sparsely available but following the Nobel, these have appeared in a steady and welcome stream.

One of his first works made available in translation, Dora Bruder (translated by Joanna Kilmartin) is part memoir, part fiction. Modianos ten-year quest for the 15-year-old Dora, who was reported missing in 1941, began in 1988. It was a search that formally ended in a small official record Dora, who had run away from the convent where she boarded, was listed among those Jews deported from Paris to Auschwitz in September of 1942. Looking for Dora...

20:12

The Real Winner in America's Russia Crisis Is China Strategic Culture Foundation

The current demonization of Russia as a global threat to American interests and values, and of President Putin as the worlds leading arch-villain, can be explained as an extension of the Cold War, of auto-piloting a foreign-policy paradigm that Republicans and Democrats feel comfortable with. But that is intellectually dishonest, considering American partnerships with mass-murderers like Stalin and Mao, and runs contrary to U.S. interests.

19:50

Water Confirmed Seeping Into Control Room At Bengoh Dam Hornbill Unleashed

Water is now visibly pouring from several points on the lower face of the newly completed Bengoh Dam, according to dramatic footagecaptured over the last few days and provided to Sarawak Report. The public have been barred from inspecting the site, since concerns about a large damp patch on the dams outside wall were raised earlier []

19:45

Washington"s Wars Strategic Culture Foundation

The marching bands play on, although often the buglers play Taps at military funerals, and most American citizens seem content to accept expansion of Washingtons wars, which will continue to destabilise the regions in which they are waged.

19:44

SimplyInfo.Org: Fukushima Update November 22, 2017

A group of businesses and doctors from Fukushima prefecture are suing GE in US court over the negligence of their

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19:35

Modis Bank Recap Plan is Not Enough to Kick-Start Lending The Wire

The recapitalisation package of Rs 2.11 trillion is not sufficient to cover additional capital of Rs 2.82 trillion required by public sector banks, let alone providing them headroom to grow their advances.

A cashier displays the new 2000 Indian rupee banknotes inside a bank in Jammu, November 15, 2016. Credit: Reuters

A cashier displays the new Rs 2000 banknotes inside a bank. Credit: Reuters

Bank credit to the economy has slowed down. In 2016-17 (year-on-year as at September), overall bank credit grew at 4.2%, compared to 11.5% in 2015-16. Credit to industry has been stagnant for the last two years. It contracted by -0.4% in 2016-17, and grew only at 0.8% in the previous year. For an economy where banks account for more than...

19:31

The Crucial 48 Hours Before the Vote That Changed Everything The Wire

In some ways Indias victory at the International Court of Justice is a reflection of change at the UN, however small.

File photo of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands. Credit: Reuters

File photo of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands. Credit: Reuters

Washington: Indias successful campaign to win the last seat on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is arguably its biggest victory in a multilateral contest ever. Given the number of players and shifting alliances, its significance cant be overstated.

It is also the first time the...

19:29

The Ram Sethu Canal Must Be Scrapped for Scientific Reasons The Wire

There are plenty of reasons to scrap the Sethusamudram project: we dont know how sediments behave within the canal, how cyclones will affect it and how its marine environment will be wrecked.

The location of Palk Bay. Credit: Google Maps

The location of Palk Bay. Credit: Google Maps

Ever since the UPA government mooted the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP) in 2004, it has been a target of criticism from environmental advocates as well as religious enthusiasts. The project envisages excavating the shallow sea between the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar to create a narrow shipping passage, linking the east and west coasts of India and obviating the current hassle of circumnavigating Sri Lanka to reach the eastern coast of India (and vice-versa).

The total length of the channel is estimated to be 152.2 km. Creating it will require two phases of dredging (or even blasting, depending on the nature of the substratum) the 20-km-long coral-reef platform known as Adams Bridge or Ram Sethu, as some like to call it, and the 54-km long Bay of Bengal segments. The third segment falls in the Palk Bay, with a total length of 78 km and which reportedly requires no dredging as this area has a clearance depth of 12 m.

Sethusamudram, as the name suggests, is that part of the ocean being constantly bridged by natural sedimentation processes. Like the Great Barrier Reef off of the northeast coast of Australia, Ram Sethu is a continuous stretch of limestone shoals that runs from the Pamban island near Rameswaram to Mannar Island off of the northern coast of Sri Lanka. Because the ocean floor is shallow in this...

18:38

Government Considers Making Triple Talaq a Punishable Offence The Wire

Sources claim that a Bill to end the practice will be introduced in the winter session of the parliament.

Muslim brides wait for the start of their mass marriage ceremony in Mumbai May 11, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui/Files

A Bill making triple talaq a criminal offence is likely to be tabled in the winter session of the parliament. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: Three months after the Supreme Court ruled set aside instant triple talaq, the central government is contemplating steps towards making the practice a criminal offence. While delivering the ruling in August, the Supreme Court had asked why when Islamic co...

18:24

Youth Congresss Classist Chaiwala Modi Meme Triggers Huge Backlash The Wire

Though the meme was removed soon after it was put out, BJP leaders lost no time in demanding to know if the move had the partys leaderships support.

The meme tweeted by the Yuva Congress, which was later removed.

New Delhi: In a self-goal ahead of the Gujarat polls, the Congresss youth wing on Tuesday circulated a meme about Prime Minister Narendra Modis chaiwala past, provoking a backlash from the BJP, and prompting a red-faced Congress to distance itself from it.

The meme that unleashed a political storm had a photograph of Modi, US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May engaged in a conversation. It shows Modi telling the two leaders about the oppositions memes targeting him, Aap logon ne dekha vipaksh mere kaise kaise maimai banvata hai (Have you seen the kind of maimai the opposition makes of me)? Trump corrects him, saying the word meme is pronounced meem, Usse maimai nahin, meem kehta hain (That is not called maimai  but meem). May tells Modi to sell tea, Tu chai bech (You sell tea).

Though the tweet with the meme was removed soon after it was put out, the Congress faced a huge backlash from the BJP and others who criticised the opposition party for targeting the prime ministers socio-economic background. The BJP questioned whether the classist meme had the party leaderships approval. This blatantly classist and anti-poor Tweet by the Youth Congress shows their...

18:20

Health Ministry Demands Probe Into Fortis Overcharging Family of Seven-Year-Old Who Died of Dengue The Wire

Gurugrams Fortis Hospital has denied allegations of medical negligence and overcharging.

Fortis Hospital in Gurugram.

New Delhi: The Union health secretary has written to the Haryana government following outcry about overcharging and medical negligence at Fortis Hospital in Gurugram. This follows a brief tweet by the Union health minister on November 19 that the government would take all necessary action in the case of death of seven-year-old Adya Singh who had dengue.

The case came to light after an anonymous Twitter account posted a string of tweets, including copies of Fortis Hospitals bills totaling Rs 1,57,932 that were given to the family of the girl who spent 15 days in the hospital and finally died in September.

The child had an initial diagn...

18:11

As Citizenship Crisis Widens, Ninth Australian Lawmaker Quits The Wire

Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) Senator Skye Kakoschke-Moore announces her resignation at a NEWs conference at her office in Adelaide, November 22, 2017. AAP/David Mariuz/via Reuters

Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) Senator Skye Kakoschke-Moore announces her resignation at a NEWs conference at her office in Adelaide, November 22, 2017. AAP/David Mariuz/via Reuters

Sydney: A ninth Australian lawmaker quit parliament on Wednesday after discovering she was a dual national, the latest casualty in a widening constitutional crisis that has already cost the government its majority.

The resignation of Skye Kakoschke-Moore, one of three senators in the centre-right Nick Xenophon Team, over the surprise revelation that she wa...

18:08

China Probes Ex-Internet Regulator Chief Over Alleged Corruption The Wire

FILE PHOTO: Lu Wei, director of Cyberspace Administration of China, speaks at the closing ceremony of the second annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen town of Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China, December 18, 2015. Credit: Reuters/Stringer/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Lu Wei, director of Cyberspace Administration of China, speaks at the closing ceremony of the second annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen town of Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China, December 18, 2015. Credit: Reuters/Stringer/File Photo

Beijing: The former head of Chinas powerful int...

18:02

Pakistans ASGA Strategy For The Afro-Pacific OrientalReview.org

One of the driving motivations behind Chinas One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity is to stave off socio-economic challenges caused by the countrys overproduction crisis.

17:57

Search for Missing Argentine Submarine Continues as Clock Ticks The Wire

A man stands in front of signs in support of the 44 crew members of the ARA San Juan submarine missing at sea, placed on a fence outside the Argentine Naval Base where the submarine sailed from, in Mar del Plata, Argentina November 20, 2017. Reuters/Marcos Brindicci

A man stands in front of signs in support of the 44 crew members of the ARA San Juan submarine missing at sea, placed on a fence outside the Argentine Naval Base where the submarine sailed from, in Mar del Plata, Argentina November 20, 2017. Reuters/Marcos Brindicci

Mar del Plata, Argentina: The search for a missing Argentine submarin...

17:54

Australia Defends Alternative Accommodation for Asylum Seekers Against UN Criticism The Wire

An undated image released November 13, 2017 shows detainees staging a protest inside the compound at the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea. Refugee Action Coalition/Handout via Reuters

An undated image released November 13, 2017 shows detainees staging a protest inside the compound at the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea. Refugee Action Coalition/Handout via Reuters

Sydney/Geneva: Australias foreign minister said on Wednesday that asylum seekers occupying an abandoned Australian-run detention camp in Papua New Guinea (PNG) can relocate to...

17:50

US Diplomats Accuse Rex Tillerson of Breaking Child Soldiers Law The Wire

FILE PHOTO: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson answers questions during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S. on November 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria/File PhotoFILE PHOTO: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson answers questions during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S. on November 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson answers questions during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, US on November 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria/File Photo

Washington: A group of about a dozen US State Department officials have taken the unusual step of formally accusing Secretary of State Rex...

17:16

Hold Those Responsible for Rohingya Crisis Accountable: Dhaka Lit Fest Statement The Wire

The participants in the Dhaka Lit Fest express sympathy for the refugees, and wish to keep the news of this unfolding situation at the forefront of global consciousness.

Rohingya refugees who crossed the border from Myanmar a day before, wait to receive permission from the Bangladeshi army to continue their way to the refugee camps, in Palang Khali, Bangladesh October 17, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Rohingya refugees who crossed the border from Myanmar a day before, wait to receive permission from...

16:43

Zimbabwe: All Eyes Now on Emmerson Crocodile Mnangagwa After Mugabes Exit The Wire

FILE PHOTO - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe watches a video presentation during the summit of the Southern African Development Community in Johannesburg, August 2008. Credit: Reuters/Mike Hutchings

FILE PHOTO Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe watches a video presentation during the summit of the Southern African Development Community in Johannesburg, August 2008. Credit: Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Harare: When Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe sacked his vice president in front of 12,000 baying party members in 2014, Emmerson Mnangagwa sat quietly in the crowd, a green baseball cap pulled low over his eyes.

The man who stood to gain most from the dismissal betrayed nothing through his expression and gentle clapping a survival tacti...

14:46

The Huge Implications of Russias Northern Sea Route New Eastern Outlook

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In terms of dealing with some of the worlds harshest weather conditions no country comes close compared with Russia. Now Russia has made it a highest priority to develop a Northern Sea Route along the Russian Arctic coast to enable LNG and container freight shipments between Asia and Europe that will cut shipping time almost in half and bypass the increasingly risky Suez Canal. China is fully engaged and has now formally incorporated it into its new Silk Road Belt, Road Initiative infrastructure.

Before attending the Hamburg G20 Summit in July, Chinas President Xi Jinping made a stopover in Moscow where he and Russias President Vladimir Putin signed the China-Russia Joint Declaration on Further Strengthening Comprehensive, Strategic and Cooperative Partnership. The declaration includes the Northern Sea Route as a strategic area of cooperation between China and Russia, as a formal part of Chinas Belt, Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure. For its part, Russia is investing major resources in development of new LNG ports and infrastructure along the route to service a growing maritime traffic passing through its Arctic territorial waters.

The Russian Federation, under the direct supervision of President Putin is building up the economic infrastructure that will create an alternative to the Suez Canal for container and LNG shipping between Europe and Asia. In addition, the developments are opening up huge new undeveloped resources including oil, gas, diamonds and other minerals along the Russian Exclusive Economic Zone,transversing its northernmost Siberian coastline.

Officially Russian legislation defines the Northern Sea Route as the territorial waters along the Russian Arctic coast east of Novaya Zemlya in Russias Arkhangelsk Oblast, from the Kara Sea across Siberia, to the Bering Straitthat runs between far eastern Russia and Alaska. The entire route lies in Arctic waters and within Russias Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Preliminary geophysical studies confirm that vast oil and gas reserves exist below the sea floor along the Northern Sea Route of Russias EEZ waters, increasing interest of the Chinese government in joint resource development with Russia, in addition to the potentially shorter shipping times to and from Europe.For China, which sees increasing threats to its oil supply lines by sea from the Persian Gulf and via the Straits of Malacca, the Russian No...

14:30

Bangladesh Academic Mubashar Hasan Held by Military Intelligence Agency The Wire

The Directorate General of Forces Intelligence allegedly picked up Hasan soon after he attended a meeting at the UN headquarters in Dhaka on November 7. The reason for his detention remains unclear.

Academic Mubashar Hasan. Credit: Twitter

Academic Mubashar Hasan. Credit: Twitter

Bangladeshs military intelligence agency, the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), is secretly detaining academic Mubashar Hasan, security and political sources have told The Wire.

According to the sources, the DGFI picked up Hasan, who works as an assistant professor at North South University (NSU) in Dhaka, soon after he attended a meeting at the United Nations headquarters in the city on November 7.

This information, which contradicts pro-government media who have sought to portray Hasan as a militant who went into hiding, confirms the fear widely held by his colleagues and friends that he had become another victim of the increasingly widespread practice in Bangladesh of enforced disappearances.

Matt Nelson, a reader in politics at SOAS, who had worked with Hasan as part of the Resolve Network, a US-funded initiative researching the drivers of violent terrorism, said last week that his colleagues in Bangladesh were leaning toward Mubashar being a victim of an enfo...

13:30

Germany Enters Political No-Mans Land as Angela Merkel Wrestles With Election Fallout The Wire

The German chancellor is running out of options to form a viable government.

Angela Merkel. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Angela Merkel. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Angela Merkel is in trouble. Serious trouble. Negotiations to form the next German government have collapsed dramatically. Quite where the chancellor, and indeed Germany, go from here is anything but certain.

It wasnt meant to be like this. Although the Christian Democrats (CDU) performed poorly in the federal election of September 24 (gaining just 32.9% of the vote), the post-election expectations were nonetheless clear. Merkel would get representatives from the CDUs sister party in Bavaria (CSU) and two smaller parties (the liberal FDP and the Greens) around a table and, over time and at their own pace, they would knuckle down and form Germanys first Jamaica Coalition so-named as the parties colours are the same as those on the Caribbean islands flag.

Those expectations have now gone up in smoke. The FDP walked out. Christian Lindner, the FDPs leader, claimed that there simply wasnt enough common ground for the parties to draw up a coalition agreement that...

13:30

Modi Should Explain How Rafale Deal Went From 95% Complete to Zero in Two Weeks The Wire

Days before the PM replaced the deal with one that would eventually exclude HAL, the Dassault CEO had said contract finalisation and signature could come very soon. So what changed?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Credit: Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Credit: Reuters

The manner in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi bypassed a number of relevant institutional mechanisms to announce the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets during his official visit to France in 2015 is being re-examined with greater focus.

A look at the events preceding Modis visit in April 2015 by itself suggests a startling lack of transparency.

The main questions revolve around how the prime minister took such a big call on cancelling and revamping the Rafale deal  a subject closely related to national security and the public exchequer before relevant approval or inter-ministerial discussion. And why did defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman beat around the bush last week by insisting that all due procedures were followed?

As defence journalists...

11:03

NCR issues should not be politicised Hornbill Unleashed

READING the statement by the Assemblyman for Ba Kelalan, Baru Bian convinces me more than ever that issues relating to Native Customary laws and rights to customary rights to land should not be politicised. It would be even better if these issues are not articulated by politicians especially, if they have a political agenda. Politicians []

11:02

ACS alarmed by fed govts stand on usage of Allah Hornbill Unleashed

The Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) is deeply concerned with the stand of the federal government on the issue involving a Bumiputera Christian of Sarawak during her travel at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Sepang. According to a statement issued to The Borneo Post, the case of Jill Ireland involves the wrongful []

11:02

Maria: End of year-old case over Bersih shows Sosma detention was baseless Hornbill Unleashed

Bersih 2.0s Maria Chin Abdullah claimed the polices decision to close a year-old case against the polls reform group showed that her detention without trial was baseless. Maria, who chairs Bersih 2.0, said police also decided to return all items seized from Bersih 2.0, at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters today. Bukit Aman police []

11:01

RoS denies delaying Pakatan Harapan registration, says must do due diligence Hornbill Unleashed

The Registrar of Societies (RoS) said it was carefully scrutinising Pakatan Harapans application to be an official coalition as it must ensure no aspect of the pact contradicts existing laws and norms. Responding to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamads claim that the agency was intentionally delaying the process, RoS director-general Suriyati Ibrahim reiterated that the matter []

11:01

Sabah churches laud states religious tolerance Hornbill Unleashed

Non-Muslims in Sabah can continue to practice their faiths without interference thanks to a religiously tolerant government, Sabah Council of Churches (SCC) president Bishop Melter Jiki Tais said today. Tais said Sabahs non-Muslim community was fortunate that the state government has been supportive of the practice of other faiths through yearly allocations. This is because []

06:46

Family of Deceased Judge Claims He Was Offered Rs 100 Crore for Favourable Order in Amit Shah Case The Wire

The late judges sister says in an interview to Caravan magazine that the then chief justice of the Bombay high court also offered her brother a house in Mumbai.

BJP chief Amit Shah and the late judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya. Credit: PTI/Caravan

BJP chief Amit Shah and the late judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya. Credit: PTI/Caravan

New Delhi: In the months leading up to his sudden death three years ago, the judge who was hearing the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case in which BJP chief Amit Shah was the prime accused was allegedly offered a bribe of Rs 100 crore for a favourable judgment.

The sister of Brijgopal Harkishan Loya who presided over the CBI special court in the matter till his death on December 1, 2014  told The Caravan that some weeks before his death, the judge had confided in her about the bribe offer which she alleged had been made by the then chief justice of the Bombay high court, Mohit Shah. This, she said, had also been confirmed to her by Loyas father Harkishan. Shah, she says, also allegedly offered Loya a house in Mumbai. Caravan magazine says it reached out to Mohit Shah for his reaction to this accusation but did not...

04:20

Robert Mugabe Resigns, Ending Four Decades of Rule Over Zimbabwe The Wire

FILE PHOTO - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe addressing the inaugural session of the World Summit in Geneva, Switzerland December 10, 2003. Credit: Reuters

FILE PHOTO Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe addressing the inaugural session of the World Summit in Geneva, Switzerland December 10, 2003. Credit: Reuters

Harare: Robert Mugabe resigned as Zimbabwes president on Tuesday a week after the army and his former political allies moved against him, ending four decades of rule by a man who turned from independence hero to archetypal strongman.

The 93-year-old had clung on for a week after an army takeover and expulsion from his own ruling ZANU-PF party, but resigned shortly after parliament began an impeachment process seen as the only legal way to force him out.

Wi...

03:42

Will the INF Treaty Be Kept Beyond Its 30th Anniversary? OrientalReview.org

As a result of the INF Treaty , by May 28, 1991, 2,692 intermediate- and shorter-range missiles were destroyed: the Soviet Union destroyed 1,846, and the US - 846.

03:37

Jan Gan Man Ki Baat Episode 153: Dynastic Politics in India and Workers Protests The Wire

Vinod Dua discusses dynastic politics across parties in India and protests by workers and farmers against the Modi government.

The post Jan Gan Man Ki Baat Episode 153: Dynastic Politics in India and Workers Protests appeared first on The Wire.

03:14

Dr. Bethunes Children Hidden Harmonies China Blog

Living in the West has the advantage of access to everything from good to bad as long as you have money, but one disadvantage is being somewhat cut off from Chinese literary scene. Thus I was excited when NYT recently talked about a Chinese living in Montreal having his novel translated to English published. His name is Xue Yiwei. He immigrated from China to Canada on a skill visa 15 years ago. He published about 13 works, with 10 in China, and is very popular in China but little known in the West. The recently translated book is called Dr. Bethunes Children, and it excites literary world in the West. While no publisher in China after 7 years of effort dare to publish it because it deals with 2 taboo subjects of CR and TAM, I do hope China will allow it to be published soon. It is time to revisit those events 50 and 38 years later to show confidence and draw lessons from history.
After I read the article, I immediately downloaded the book from Amazon and finished reading it in 1 weekend. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in China or Chinese literature. Unable to get the Chinese edition here in New York, I ordered it from Hong Kong by mail, hopefully I can read it soon.
The author was asked by publisher in China to write a biography of Dr. Bethune as he has access to archives in Montreal. After studying the archives he was unable to write it, but instead wrote a series of letters to Dr. Bethune as one of his millions of children from China. The questions he asked deal with life and death, tragedy and comedy, public persona and private anguish, parents and children, sex and emotion, in other words, philosophical questions eternally asked by philosophers. He constructed 2 characters both ended tragically to symbolize the 2 events, yet he didnt really blame the government directly but treated them as historically inevitable, just as Dr. Bethune must go to China and died there. He skillfully interwoven events and interactions from China to Canada, from 1938 to 1976 to make you feel real. The juxtaposition of his personal struggle against loneliness and Dr. Bethunes loneliness makes it unforgettable. For I, Mr. Xue, and even President Xi are all Dr. Bethunes children, and by inference also Maos children.
Nobel Prize for Literature has been very much a political game. I think only about 10% of the winners in last 60 years since WW2 are worthy the prize, certainly not the Chinese winners. After reading only one book by Xue Yiwei, I think he may truly deserve one.

02:53

Interview 1325 The Indo-Pacific Region on Howe Street Radio The Corbett Report

[audio mp3="http://www.corbettreport.com/mp3/2017-11-21%20Howe%20Street.mp3"][/audio]James joins Jim Goddard on HoweStreet.com Radio for his bi-monthly round-up of economic, financial and geopolitical stories from around the world. This time around they discuss the new, US-less Zombie TPP; China's shadow banking crackdown; and the US' new penchant for calling the Asia-Pacific the Indo-Pacific.

01:14

Russias Difficult Decision in Syria is to be Discussed with Ankara and Tehran New Eastern Outlook

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Its been reported that leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran will meet in Sochi on November 22 to discuss the Syrian conflict, and specifically, settlement matters. This meeting is in no way connected with the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, which is going to be held in the future, even though the exact date remains unannounced.

The upcoming trilateral meeting involves Moscow informing Ankara and Tehran of its new position on the Syrian settlement. This shift became noticeable after the summit in Da Nang, where US President Donald Trump refused to hold a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But the foreign ministers of Russia and the US agreed to issue a joint statement on the situation in Syria, which had no mention of the Astana talks in it. However, Russia, Turkey and Iran have been sponsors of the peace talks that were being held in the capital of Kazakhstan.

But the Russian-American statement says a lot about the Geneva process and the withdrawal of foreign troops from Syria. Namely, Russian, Iranian and Turkish troops. Washington has no intention to leave, even though its troops never had permission to enter Syrias territory, so theyve been operating inside Syria illegally. The only excuse they could have had to be in Syria could be provided by a UN resolution, yet no such resolution has been passed. It must also be remembered that on November 15 the United States announced its intention to create a military base in Syria in territory controlled by the SDF, following the assumption that all of Syrias oil fields will fall under the control of Kurdish militants Washington has been sponsoring.

Its no wonder that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan communicated with President Putin for four hours during his visit to Sochi in mid-November in a bid to clarify the joint US-Russian statement on Syria, asking questions about the stay of Russia troops and the motivation behind Damascus six year resistance against foreign sponsored militants.

Theres yet another aspect of the upcoming meeting economic. While ISIS is on its last legs, the process of rebuilding Syrias economy and infrastructure has started, but there is the question of who will ultimately finance it all.

Where could Russia find...

00:58

Bhopal Gas Disaster Survivors to Use Portraits of Missing Modi, CM in Campaign for Demands The Wire

Through the campaign, survivors are making five demands to Prime Minister Modi and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Children with disabilities sit in front of cutouts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

New Delhi: Survivors of the Bhopal gas leak from the Union Carbide factory today (November 21) launched Paanch guhar  a campaign to draw the attention of the prime minister and Madhya Pradesh chief minister to five most urgent issues of rehabilitation, justice and compensation.

The demands include: medical care, social and economic rehabilitation, adequate compensation, punishment of culprits, clean up of lingering poisons in soil and groundwater.

The campaign began with children with congenital malformations born to gas-affected parents sitting in front of cut-outs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Bhopal. These photographs of them seated in front of the portraits was then sent to the two leaders via Twitter, a statement said.

The two portraits of Modi and Chouhan will be carried to different parts of the city that were affected by the December 1984 gas disaster  where the groundwater was poisoned with hazardous waste from the Union Carbide factory. The campaign will continue till the 33rd anniversary of the disaster on December 3.

A large demonstration has been planned for November 30 in Nigam Park in the city, where widows of the...

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Tuesday, 21 November

23:30

Indias Universities Are Falling Terribly Short on Addressing Caste Discrimination The Wire

Physical exclusion and indifference of the faculty towards the plight of marginisalised students is pushing many to suicide, and despite measures being in place, administrations are doing little to address the issues.

A view of the JNU campus. Credit: PTI

A view of the JNU campus. Credit: PTI

On March 13, 27-year-old Dalit student Muthukrishnan Jeevanantham took his own life in a friends room at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus in New Delhi, much in the same way his friend and Dalit scholar, Rohith Vemula, had done in January 2016.

Rajini Krish, as his friends knew him, had documented on Facebook the stories of his struggle as a student facing discrimination. Just a few days before his death, in his last public post, he wrote: There is no Equality in M.phil/phd Admission, there is no equality in vivavoce, there is only denial of equality

The prevalence of caste-based discrimination in Indian universities has been an open secret for decades. While some Dalit student...

22:49

Another Journalist Shot Dead in Tripura The Wire

Sudip Datta Bhaumik. Credit: Facebook

Sudip Datta Bhaumik. Credit: Facebook

Agartala: A journalist was shot dead on Tuesday (November 21) by a Tripura State Rifles (TSR) trooper during an altercation in Bodhjung Nagar in Tripura, police said.

Sudip Datta Bhaumik, a senior journalist with my newspaper, had gone to meet the commandant of the Second TSR at R.K. Nagar after obtaining due appointment from him. But when he reached there he had an altercation with a PSO of the commandant outside the latters office, during which the PSO shot him. Sudip died on the spot, Subal Dey, the editor of Syandan Patrika, told The Indian Express over the telephone.

The body of Bhowmik, a reporter of Syandan Patrika and local television channel Venguard, was brought to Gobinda Ballav Panth Medical College and Hospital for postmortem.

On September 20, a television journalist, Santanu Bhowmik, 28, was killed allegedly by some activists of a party in Mandai, 35 km from here.

(With IANS inputs)

The post Another Journalist Shot Dead in Tripura appeared first on The Wire.

22:30

Confrontation is Not the Best Way to Deal With the Danger of Judicial Misconduct The Wire

Do we really want a scenario where sitting judges are ordering investigations against their fellow judges?

Supreme Court. Credit: PTI

Supreme Court. Credit: PTI

A lot has been said and written in the last week on the crisis at the Supreme Court of India after a petition was filed before it by the Campaign for Judicial Accountability & Reform (CJAR) demanding a court-monitored investigation into the Chief Justice of India (CJI). The petitioners justified their request on the grounds that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered a criminal case and arrested certain people who had allegedly convinced certain litigants that they could manage their case, being heard by a bench headed by the CJI.

While most of the criticism has been directed against the conduct of the judges, it is perhaps also time to speak about the petitioners, their brinksmanship and how they almost opened the door to sitting judges ordering investigations against other sitting judges, in a country where judges already appoint each other.

The CJAR and its role

The CJAR has for long led a fire and brimstone campaign against corruption, lack of transparency and other assorted ills plaguing the higher levels of the Indian judiciary. Thanks partially to the CJARs efforts, it is now possible to at least discuss the issue of corruption publicly.

This is a far cry from the days when certain elements in the higher judiciary would initiate contempt proceedings against anybody who publicly spoke about corruption in the higher judiciary. For example, in 2001,...

22:22

UN General Assembly Against Glorification of Nazism New Eastern Outlook

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The Third Committee of the UN General Assembly met on November 16 this year and adopted the resolution on combating glorification of Nazim, racial discrimination and xenophobia, as introduced by Russia, with the support of 125 states. The importance of this international paper has only increased recently. In it, the war on fighting with monuments to honour the fighters against Nazism is contemptable, as declared in separate European countries, which in several states for the past year acquired the nature of a national policy, as well as annual marches to honour the Nazi and their collaborationists. It is noteworthy that only the USA and the Ukraine voted against this international resolution, having demonstrated by this their true attitude to the problem of glorification of Nazism.

In the said resolution, the question is not only about the tales of the past, but about the alarming rise of various extremist groups, resorting to acts of violence against people of a different race, of different religions, immigrants and national minorities, about the modern and very dangerous manifestations of racism, which should be opposed both at the national and international level.

Unfortunately, during recent years in Europe, where the fascist plague was most prolific, attempts and actions became frequent aimed at vandalising and destroying the monuments erected to those who were fighting against the Nazism during World War II, as well as unlawful exhumation and transfer of the remains of such people. The spread of racist and extremist ideas is more and more often justified by the reasons of freedom of expression, which contradicts the responsibilities of the states regarding the main international agreements on human rights, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Glorification of the Nazi movement and the former members of SS organisations cannot be acceptable, including the Waffen-SS declared as criminal by the Nuremberg trials.

In August in Estonia, as the website BaltNews.ee. informs us, with the assistance of the Estonian authorities, the so-called Erna Raid was held for the eighteenth time already, aimed to commemorate the actions of the Nazi long-range reconnaissance group Erna formed by the military intelligence of the Nazi Germany  the Abwehr and acting on the territory of Estonia in August 1941, responsible for the death of thousands of fighters agai...

21:45

Germany"s Government Impasse: End of Merkel Era Is Within Sight Strategic Culture Foundation

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has suffered a crushing defeat. On Nov.20, she informed the president of her failure to form a coalition government. This is a shock for Germany with its postwar record of government stability and political consensus and the entire Europe as well.

21:38

Sanjay Leela Bhansali No Less Guilty Than Those Threatening Him: Adityanath on Padmavati The Wire

Adityanath claimed the filmmaker was in the habit of playing with public sentiments.

UP chief minister Adityanath. Credit: PTI

UP chief minister Adityanath. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath today alleged that Padmavati director Sanjay Leela Bhansali is no less guilty than those issuing threats to actors and others involved with the film and asserted that if there is any action, it will be against both the sides.

Lashing out at the filmmaker, he said Bhansali was in the habit of playing with public sentiments.

The state government has said it would not allow the movies release till certain controversial portions are removed.

No one has the right to take the law into own hands, whether it is Sanjay Leela Bhansali or anyone else, the chief minister said.


Also read: BJP Leader Adds to Open Threats Against Bhansali, Padukone; Producers Delay Release of Padmavati


I feel that if those threatening (the actors of the film) are guilty, Bhansali is no less guilty, he told reporters here. The chief minister said if there is any action, it will be against both the sides. On threats being issued to eliminate actors, Adityanath said, Everyone should respect the feeling...

21:15

The Saudi System and Why Its Change May Fail Strategic Culture Foundation

The Saudi response to the competition of the Iranian system is a move towards more authoritarian rule. This is hoped to allow for more agile policies and responses. But the move breaks the traditional ruling system. It removes the sensible impediments to impulsive foreign policies. It creates the contitions for its very failure.

20:53

Kerala High Court Says IFFI Must Include S Durga in Schedule The Wire

The information broadcasting ministry had earlier removed S Durga, as well as Nude, from the festivals line up despite the jury choosing them.

<em>S Durga</em> director and poster. Credit: Facebook

S Durga director and poster. Credit: Facebook

New Delhi: The Kerala high court has told the organisers of the International Film Festival of India, to be held in Goa between November 20 and 28, that they must include the film S Durga in the line up at the festival. The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had earlier pulled out both S Durga and Nude from the schedule, even though the festival jury had chosen them.

20:45

US Military Fraud Endemic in Overseas Operations Strategic Culture Foundation

When it comes to the US military operating in its overseas locations, the Latin phrase popularized by the Roman poet Juvenal, perhaps wise to the corruption of the Praetorian Guard of his time, comes to mind. Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who watches the watchmen?

20:15

Doomsday Scenarios: the UK"s Hair-Raising Admissions About the Prospect of Nuclear War and Accident Strategic Culture Foundation

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has published several reports over the last few years. They discuss geopolitics and related themes, one of which is the likelihood of nuclear war or accident, including what it means for long-term survival.

19:54

White House Asks US Supreme Court to Allow Full Travel Ban The Wire

FILE PHOTO: A man exits the transit area after clearing immigration and customs on arrival at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, U.S., September 24, 2017. Credit: Reuters/James Lawler Duggan/File Photo

A man exits the transit area after clearing immigration and customs on arrival at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, US, September 24, 2017. Credit: Reuters/James Lawler Duggan/File Photo

Washington: The White House asked the US Supreme Court on Monday to allow President Donald Trumps latest travel ...

19:45

The Theresa May Brexit Showdown Strategic Culture Foundation

Mrs. May's survival as UK Prime Minister is to a large extent predicated upon her being able to secure a good divorce deal and transition agreement that satisfies both the Remain and Leave wings of her Party as well as its ardently hard-line Leave grassroots.

19:43

WhatsApp Earnings Leak Shows SEBI Must Monitor Insider Trading on Social Media The Wire

This new technology presents a challenge but the problem of insider trading is hardly new. The regulator must rise to this new challenge if it is to maintain its reputation for efficiency.

Messages were being circulated in private Whatsapp groups frequented by equity traders. Credit: Reuters

The Securities and Exchange Board of India will investigate possible leaks of company earnings in social media chatrooms after a Reuters investigation documented at least 12 cases of prescient messages about major Indian companies being posted in private WhatsApp groups. This author explains why SEBI should try to create means of observing this medium and others like it.

A recent Reuters news report identifies a dozen messages that accurately predicted Q2 earnings patterns (and a bonus announcement in one case) for specific listed stocks. In each case, the messages were being passed around, just before the results were officially announced. These messages were being circulated in private Whatsapp groups frequented by equity traders. These were all big companies in fact, more than half of the stock concerned are members of the Nifty-50.

WhatsApp, an instant messaging service owned by Facebook, is a popular platform for all sorts of sensitive communications. It is encrypted end-to-end, making it impossible for even the service provider to monitor content.

There are many p...

19:15

In Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtras Sugar Alliance, a Sweet Mixture of Politics and Business The Wire

The two BJP-ruled states working together will give it greater lobbying power and comes at a time when the industry is looking to end volatile, bi-annual supply and demand crises.

Parubai Govind Pawar, a 55-year-old female worker cuts sugarcane in a field in Degaon village in Solapur, in the western state of Maharashtra. Credit: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui/File photo

Two sugar giants the states of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Maharashtra have struck an alliance in a major development on the farm front that is expected to give a better deal to cane growers and mills.

Although the broad contours of such an alliance are still being worked out, government and industry officials say that is likely that the combined voice will give both states greater leverage when it comes to influencing policy-making at the Centre.

The decision of the two BJP-ruled states, which account for a majority of Indias production of sugar large amount of sugar in the country, to work together for the common cause has come amid projections that the next two years would witness a record production of the sweetener.

UP and Maharashtra are key political...

19:02

To Discuss Brexit Divorce Bill Offer, Theresa May Meets Senior Ministers The Wire

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, November 1, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville /File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Britains Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, November 1, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville /File Photo

London: Prime Minister Theresa May met with senior members of her ministerial team on Monday to discuss their response to European Union demands for more detail on how much Britain is willing to pay as part of its Brexit divorce package.

The EU told May on Friday that there was more work to be done to unlock the Brexit talks, repeating its...

19:01

Chinese Rights Lawyer Sentenced to Two Years in Jail for Inciting Subversion The Wire

FILE PHOTO - Police react in front of disbarred lawyer Jiang Tianyong's portrait, during a demonstration, outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong, China December 23, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

FILE PHOTO Police react in front of disbarred lawyer Jiang Tianyongs portrait, during a demonstration, outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong, China December 23, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

Beijing: A prominent Chinese rights lawyer was sentenced to two...

18:42

BJP Received 82% of Donations to National Parties in Gujarat: ADR Report The Wire

The saffron party received Rs 80.45 crore as donations in the state between 2011-12 and 2015-16.

Donations the BJP received in Gujarat were also far higher than what the party got in other states. Credit: PTI

Donations the BJP received in Gujarat were also far higher than what the party got in other states. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: A report from the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Gujarat Election Watch has shown that between 2011-12 and 2015-16 in Gujarat, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has received more than four times as many donations from the public as all the other national parties put together.

Donations the BJP received in Gujarat were also far higher than what the party got in other states, the report said, with 10.04% of all donations the party got in that period (a total of Rs 801.675 crore) coming from the state.

18:32

After Military Takeover, Zimbabwes Mugabe Faces Impeachment The Wire

Residents attend a prayer meeting called to celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader of the ruling ZANU-PF's central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

Residents attend a prayer meeting called to celebrate after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was dismissed as party leader of the ruling ZANU-PFs central committee in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

Harare: Zimbabwean President Robert Muga...

18:30

HC Pulls up Delhi Government for Discriminating Against Women Inmates The Wire

The Delhi high court asked the state government to reveal the reason behind denying open and semi-open jail facilities to women prisoners.

Sunetra Choudhury profiles the incarceration of 13 people who are either in jail or were at one point of time. Credit: Pixabay

It was pointed out that only Yerwada jail in Maharashtra and some jails in Rajasthan were extending the benefit of semi-open and open prisons to their women prisoners. Credit: Pixabay

New Delhi: In a stark case of gender discrimination, the Delhi high court has pulled up the Delhi government for not extending the benefits of the semi-open and open prison to women inmates in prisons in the capital.

Hearing the matter this past week, the court, which had earlier issued show cause notices to lieutenant governor and principal secretary (home) of Delhi government as also the director general of prisons, Delhi, on a petition questioning deprivation of women convicts from the benefits of these reformist prison systems, questioned the Delhi government counsel about why no reply had been filed in the matter in the stipulated four week period it had allowed.

When the matter was listed in August, the court had directed the Delhi government to explain how and why the discrimination was being allowed to be carried out against the women prisoners. The petitioner, Sunil Kumar Gupta, who now practices in the high court after ser...

18:18

Trump Declares North Korea State Sponsor of Terrorism, Triggers Sanctions The Wire

FILE PHOTOS: A combination photo shows US President Donald Trump in New York, US September 21, 2017 and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, September 4, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque, KCNA/Handout via Reuters/File Photos

FILE PHOTOS: A combination photo shows US President Donald Trump in New York, US September 21, 2017 and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in this undated photo released by North Koreas Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, September 4, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque, KCNA/Handout via Reuters/...

18:16

Myanmar Hopes to Strike a Deal With Bangladesh to Solve Rohingya Refugee Crisis The Wire

Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi attends the 13th Asia Europe Foreign Ministers Meeting (ASEM) in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, November 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Stringer

Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi attends the 13th Asia Europe Foreign Ministers Meeting (ASEM) in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, November 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Stringer

Naypyitaw: Myanmars de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Tuesday she hopes talks with Bangladesh this week will result in a memorandum of understanding on the safe return of Rohingya Muslims who fled to Bangladesh in the past three months.

A military clearance operation launched in...

17:41

P-5 Privileges Breached as Britain Blinks and Indian Judge is Elected to International Court of Justice The Wire

The UK withdraws its candidate, leaving the field clear for Dalveer Bhandari, who had the overwhelming support of the UN General Assembly.

Dalveer Bhandari and Nawaf salam on Lebanon, both now judges of the ICJ (left); Christopher Greenwood of the UK, whose withdrawal from the race on Monday ended the deadlock between the Security Council and General Assembly. Credit: Nawaf Salam/ICJ

New Delhi: In a last-minute move at the United Nations on Monday afternoon EST, Britain withdrew its candidate for the International Court of Justice, leaving the field clear for Indian candidate Dalveer Bhandari to win the requisite majority in both the UN General Assembly and Security Council and be re-elected to the UNs principal judicial organ.

This marks the first time that the UK has not been part of the ICJ since its inception in 1946 and breaks an unwritten rule taken for granted by the big powers and the rest of the world that the five permanent members of the Security Council (the P-5) are guaranteed a seat at the world court.

The news of Bhandaris victory was broken on Twitter almost immediately by Syed Akbaruddin, Indian ambassador to the UN and principal coordinator of Indias ICJ campaign.

17:31

Hands Raised Against Modi Will Be Chopped off, Says Bihar BJP Chief Nityanand Rai The Wire

Rai asked everyone to be proud of Modis achievements.

Nityanand Rai (second from left), with Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Modi at the event. Credit: Twitter/@nityanandraibjp

New Delhi: Bihar BJP president Nityanand Rai, who was speaking at a  function organised by the Vaishya and Kanu (OBC) communities in Patna, said Prime Minister Narendra Modis achievements should be a matter of pride for everybody. He further warned that any finger or hand raised against Modi would be broken or chopped off, reported the Indian Express.

Rai, who is a Lok Sabha member of parliament from Ujiyarpur, spoke of Modis humble background and his journey of becoming prime minister. He said   that everyone should be proud and respect him for this.

Rai said, Unki or uthne waali ungali ko, uthne waale haath kohum sub milkeya to tod dein, zaroorat pari to kaat dein (Any finger or hand raised against the PM, we should get together to either break it or, if need be, chop it off).

When the Indian Express spoke to him regarding his statement, Rai said it was an off-the-cuff statement, something that was not intended to target individuals or opposition parties, &#822...

16:21

Gangsterism, Mob Rule and War New Eastern Outlook

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Criminal gangs that run our governments, control our corporations, fabricate our news, invent and reinvent out history and lull us into slavery do so believing humanity to be a form of cattle, no more.  Denying this is insanity.

Their prime methodology is war, this is what gangs do.

Ask anyone across the Middle East and they will say war is coming to Lebanon.  However, there is one problem with this, no one is certain who will be fighting whom?  The divided politics of Lebanon, though puzzling to outsiders and a daily concern to the Lebanese themselves are not a factor.  No one in Lebanon wants war.  Only Saudi Arabia and Israel want war, or so we are told.

Stranger still, classified briefings to key American congressional committees, blame Lebanons Hezbollah for backing ISIS across Africa and even in Afghanistan and Pakistan, notwithstanding the fact that Hezbollah has up to 20,000 fighters engaged in war against ISIS and its US backed surrogates at this time.

Saudi Arabia is blaming Iran for shooting missiles at them from heavily blockaded Yemen, and even more insane is the unending effort to accuse Syria of use of chemical weapons.

The world was supposed to learn a lesson after Bush 43 and Blair cooked up a war on terror after 9/11, might we well say conveniently after 9/11.  Fabricating war crimes, false flag terrorism, staged videos, actors as victims, all of this is not only standard fare, it is and has been the rule of the day.

Thus, we expect the now suspected 60-year marriage of love or marriage of convenience, the jury is out on which applies, between Saudi Arabia and their besties in Israel, to garner their assets, their paid-off politicians in America and Europe, their media assets, and their intelligence agencies, long suspected of backing ISIS and al Qaeda.

We can only wait for what they do next, will it be more staged gas attacks or a mass murder somewhere, anywhere, blamed on Iran or Syria or Hezbollah or perhaps Russia?

As American humorist, Jim W. Dean so often says, You just cant make this stuff up.

Background

Before assigning blame, usually attributed to the halls of power, most often governments or boardrooms, we must take a moment.  Events since 9/11 have identified a flaw in typical causalities normally attributed to events and trends.  Reso...

15:40

Singaporeans will never achieve democracy Singapore Dissident

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The common but erroneous perception is that with more education and higher standard of living, a society would become more democratic. The belief was totalitarianism and societal advancements work in opposites. Unfortunately this is not true as history shows, and point proven by Singapore. Since independence no doubt the island has progressed economically, but as for democracy, it not only did not take root, and as far as democracy is concerned, it has regressed, not progressed.

And the reasons are obvious. A people cannot want what they do not know. And Singaporeans thanks to their dictators carefully shielding them from any mention of democracy have become today totally ignorant of what democracy even is. The ordinary Singaporean just as another Iraqi or Syrian or Afghan wants a job, food to eat and roof over the heads.  As for democracy, he hasn't heard of it, and as long as he is left alone, quite happy not to have it.

And this is exactly the state of affairs the islands dictators want. Singaporeans have no real rights as an American would have. Singapore police can arrest anyone anytime. But usually they only harass political opponents and criminals. If you are not a criminal or a political dissident, you have no problems at all.

Singapore does have a constitution which is almost the same as that of United States, replete with the rights of man, human rights, free speech and the entire litany. But unlike the United States all that is ignored and the police do whatever they want. But since the police and the Kangaroo judges placed by the rulers only punish anyone who is a critic or a criminal, people don't care whether they have rule or law or not since it doesn't affect them personally.

As a result Singapore today is a very repressive society with no rule of law. But the repression is only used against political opponents. The rule is, as long as you allow the rulers to be as corrupt as they want, you have no complaint of the lack of a free press, or lack of any freedoms, then you can go on with your life uneventfully and quiet. Since the aspirations of the average Singaporean only extends up to his daily upkeep and daily material needs, the dictators can continue in power for another 100 years as long as you accept your humble state.

Unlike the ordinary Singapore who lives this way, there are those, only a handful who may know that a free and independent life without having to live under Big Brother is much more meaningful and rewarding. So the handful, such as Chee Soon Juan and the late JB Jeyaretnam or myself have stuck our necks out to challenge this totalitarian regime for which we have suffered great punishment. And then there are the other handful who are aware but do not think it worthwhile to openly question authority. These people simply leave the island for se...

15:30

Seeking Babasaheb Among His People The Wire

Where can one find Ambedkar? Does it make sense to look for him in the hallowed grounds of academia or in political ideologues?

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

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

Our memories are like objects stashed away in an old storehouse, in the hope that they can always be retrieved in the future. Any act of remembering is akin to going through ones accumulated belongings of many years, where the frustration of being unable to locate the intended object is matched by a commensurate joy in making a serendipitous discovery. Reading Ambedkar: The Attendant Details put together by Salim Yusufji at Navayana evokes a similar feeling.

The B.R. Ambedkar we meet here is a collage of multitudinous images refracted through the prism of those whose lives he touched in one way or another: men and women who saw him in the flesh and knew him in many little ways. Like the Tamil writer Bama says in the introduction to this volume, We learn of his love for books, his speed in reading, his fortitude to bear sorrows, and his unceasing hard work. While the many voi...

14:00

Rediscovering Abdus Salam Through a Visit to His Childhood Home The Wire

The home of Nobel laureate Abdus Salam may have been designated a monument by Pakistan, yet he remains alien to the land.

Abdus Salams childhood home. Credit: Aown Ali

Jhang (Pakistan): Tucked away in a quiet narrow street of Mohalla Chain Pura inside the Bab-e-Muhammad neighborhood of Jhang, a small 400 square foot house is designated as a national monument of Pakistan. This is the family house of Muhammad Abdus Salam, the Nobel Laureate theoretical physicist, and where he was born in January 1926.

The gated locality of Bab-e-Muhammad is known as Jhang city. In fact it is the old city of Jhang, which, like old neighborhoods in many other cities of Punjab, is gated and has its particular architecture and lifestyle.

Bab-e-Muhammad leads into a straight lane called Bazaar Noor Shah. Walking a few steps in this cluster of shops, looking over the true picture of life in old Jhang you could ask some passersby or a shopkeeper about Salams house. Turning a left at a Y-junction and walking a few more steps in this direction one arrives at a small house with a tiny inscription on the brown colour main door. The house looks no different than any of the other houses in the area, but it is from this house that a series of knowledge starts, a new page of science begins and the whereabouts of Salam are found.

...

13:30

As Critiques of UN Peacekeeping Missions Grow, Africa Seeks Peace on Its Own Terms The Wire

Indian military doctors attend to a child in Kiwanja, the Democratic Republic of Congo via The Blue Berets. CC BY-SA 2.0

Indian military doctors attend to a child in Kiwanja, the Democratic Republic of Congo via The Blue Berets. CC BY-SA 2.0

United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions are ubiquitous on the African continent despite growing critiques of inefficacy. Peacekeepers work in cooperation with African military troops with increasingly broad mandates including civilian protection, counterinsurgency operations, and counterterrorism, among others. UN peacekeeping missions in places like Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Cte dIvoire have been hailed as successes, yet UN troops ground activities on the ground have been heavily questioned.

Since the first mission in 1948...

11:03

Uggah ill-advised on statement govt will never take peoples land Baru Hornbill Unleashed

State Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chairman Baru Bian says Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who he claims to be new to native customary rights (NCR) land issue, may have been ill-advised when he recently said the government will never take the peoples lands from them. From the natives perspective, thousands of acres []

11:02

Sarawaks Penan mapping their way to land rights recognition Hornbill Unleashed

SARAWAKS last nomadic tribe, the Penan, have again pressed the state government to recognise their customary rights to land and a forest sanctuary they want called Baram Heritage Forest, by presenting to the government a detailed community map 15 years in the making. A group of nine Penan chiefs, led by Ajeng Kiew, a penghulu []

11:02

Penans want Baram Heritage Forest to be established Hornbill Unleashed

A call has been made for Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to continue his predecessor the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satems effort to establish the Baram Heritage Forest (BHF). In making this call yesterday, Komeok Joe, who is Keruan Association coordinator, said this was the wish of the Penan communities in Ulu []

11:01

Tell Pakatan earlier of any problems, Dr M says after Zahid snub Hornbill Unleashed

The government should have informed Pakatan Harapan (PH) of any problems dragging its registration so it could be resolved earlier on, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad urged today. The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman had attempted to see Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi earlier today, but was directed to secretary-general Datuk Seri Alwi []

11:01

No need to table 1MDBs financial statements, Putrajaya tells Parliament Hornbill Unleashed

The financial statements of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) does not need to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat, Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today in a written reply. Najib said the audited statements of 1MDB between 2009 and 2014 had been filed with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM), while []

11:01

Citing sacred patrimony, churches reject unauthorised DBP translation of Bibles Hornbill Unleashed

The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) expressed today its outrage that the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) can provide an official translation of its holy book in Bahasa Malaysia (BM) which forms part of the sacred patrimony for its adherents.The umbrella organisation representing 90 per cent of churches nationwide condemned the proposal by a legal []

11:01

No need to follow Sarawaks route on rights, Sabah minister says Hornbill Unleashed

A Sabah minister has cautioned his state against copying Sarawaks approach to restore state rights that has been taken away by Putrajaya. Instead, Minister of Special Tasks and chairman of the State Rights Committee Datuk Seri Panglima Teo Chee Kang welcomed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razaks commitment to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63). We []

11:01

Putrajaya to act if petrol, diesel price exceeds RM2.50 for three months Hornbill Unleashed

The government will intervene if pump prices for RON95 petrol and diesel remain above RM2.50 per litre for three consecutive months, the Finance Ministry said today. RON95 and RON97 petrol are currently RM2.38 per litre and RM2.66 per litre, while diesel is retailing at RM2.25 per litre. The ministry said the federal government understood the []

11:01

Deborah Henry: School syllabus needs to be revamped Hornbill Unleashed

The Malaysian education system must improve to allow better opportunities for children to succeed in life, said Fugee School co-founder Deborah Priya Henry. She said her wish during Universal Childrens Day was for children to be given equal opportunities to reach their full potential. Henry said the Malaysian school syllabus needed to be revamped for []

11:01

Zahid: Pakatan needs to resolve DAP, PPBM problems before registration Hornbill Unleashed

Pakatan Harapan (PH) needs to resolve issues with the DAP and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) before it can be approved as a formal coalition, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today. The deputy prime minister said among the issues that the Opposition coalition needs to address includes the final report of the []

11:01

Minister: Putrajaya needs more support for English-medium schools return Hornbill Unleashed

A federal minister said today he backs calls for English-medium schools to be reinstated, but said the federal government will need more support to realise the policy. Minister in the Prime Ministers Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan said he personally believes English schools are vital for human capital growth but feared that the issue []

11:01

With absent MPs, BN almost loses Budget 2018 vote Hornbill Unleashed

The government narrowly won, by just one vote, the debate on a part of Budget 2018 in the Dewan Rakyat today as few Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs were in the House. Media reports said G. Manivanan (PKR-Kapar) called for a division vote when the government was wrapping up the debate on the Supply Bills portion []

07:06

No institution is safe from the corrupting power of occupation +972 Magazine

The persecution of Breaking the Silences spokesperson is further proof that the states investigative bodies are not only deeply politicized, they are simply uninterested in doing their job.

Illustrative photo of Israeli soldiers arresting a Palestinian man in the Dheisheh Refugee Camp near the West Bank city of Bethlehem. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Illustrative photo of Israeli soldiers arresting a Palestinian man in the Dheisheh Refugee Camp near the West Bank city of Bethlehem. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Between the years 2013 and 2016, Israeli anti-occupation group Yesh Din tracked the polices response to 289 cases of ideological crimes against Palestinians in the West Bank. In each of those cases, the Palestinians filed a complaint with the police; some of them included photographic material, video, and testimonies provided by Israeli civilians or soldiers. And yet, only 20 cases led to indictments. In no less than 183 of them, the police were unable to locate the criminals or find evidence; more often than not, they never truly carried out a real investigation. Of the 45 cases that were opened between 2012-2014 following...

04:31

How Modern Empire Uses "Awards" to Keep Servants Loyal Land Destroyer

November 21, 2017 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Nineteenth century French military and political leader Napolon Bonaparte once said, "a soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured ribbon," recognising a fundamental aspect of human nature he readily exploited to bolster his now famous campaigns of European conquest.



Human beings value recognition. Today, it drives the addictive nature of social media platforms. Facebook co-founder Sean Parker recently admitted that the ubiquitous social network platform was designed intentionally to exploit this and become "addictive."

In the Guardian's report titled, "Ex-Facebook president Sean Parker: site made to exploit human 'vulnerability'," Sean Parker would describe what he called a "social-validation feedback loop," explaining that:
How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible? It was this mindset that led to the creation of features such as the like button that would give users a little dopamine hit to encourage them to upload more content. 

Its a social-validation feedback loop exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because youre exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.

This social-validation feedback loop utilising the "like" button is merely the most recent innovation in social engineering, and the latest iteration of Bonaparte's "bit of coloured ribbon." 

Keeping Servants Eager and Loyal 

Combining traditional methods and modern innovations in social engineering, modern day empires extend their influence through media, activist, political and business circles around the globe. In addition to boosting modern social media accounts of their handpicked proxies, facilitators and agents, they also maintain an impressive network of organisations that both manage and direct "soft power" efforts as well as reward eager and loyal functionaries.


A relevant and recent example of this was provided by t...

04:19

How Modern Empire Uses "Awards" to Keep Servants Loyal Alt Thai News Network ATNN

November 21, 2017 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Nineteenth century French military and political leader Napolon Bonaparte once said, "a soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured ribbon," recognising a fundamental aspect of human nature he readily exploited to bolster his now famous campaigns of European conquest.



Human beings value recognition. Today, it drives the addictive nature of social media platforms. Facebook co-founder Sean Parker recently admitted that the ubiquitous social network platform was designed intentionally to exploit this and become "addictive."

In the Guardian's report titled, "Ex-Facebook president Sean Parker: site made to exploit human 'vulnerability'," Sean Parker would describe what he called a "social-validation feedback loop," explaining that:
How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible? It was this mindset that led to the creation of features such as the like button that would give users a little dopamine hit to encourage them to upload more content. 

Its a social-validation feedback loop exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because youre exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.
This social-validation feedback loop utilising the "like" button is merely the most recent innovation in social engineering, and the latest iteration of Bonaparte's "bit of coloured ribbon." 

Keeping Servants Eager and Loyal 

Combining traditional methods and modern innovations in social engineering, modern day empires extend their influence through media, activist, political and business circles around the globe. In addition to boosting modern social media accounts of their handpicked proxies, facilitators and agents, they also maintain an impressive network of organisations that both manage and direct "soft power" efforts as well as reward eager and loyal functionaries.


A relevant and recent example of this was...

04:00

The Middle East: the Decline of American Might New Eastern Outlook

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The Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that the cooperation between Moscow and Tehran and the refusal of mutual payments in US dollars could isolate the USA and repel the American sanctions. The Supreme Leader added, It is possible to cooperate with Russia in dealing with large-scale issues requiring commitment and determination, and to cooperate with it logistically.

In this context, we should not forget that China, a large oil buyer, is the key player in the crackdown on petrodollars. Beijing has already presented a new oil benchmark in CHY (right now, two benchmark contracts for crude oil, WTI and Brent, are traded in USD) and will issue the first South-African future contract by the end of this year. Interestingly, it was announced that any oil exporter who will accept payment in CHY will be able to convert them into gold at the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SHGE) and hedge the currency value of gold at the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE). That is why China needs physical gold and it has been recently buying it on a large scale.

Undoubtedly, all oil exporters, and especially those who have poor political relations with the USA, will profit from this segregation of the Chinese future market. Because any decrease of USD influence diminishes seriously the ability of Washington to wage an economic war on select states. The introduction of the oil future traded in CHY will enable oil exporters, for example Russia, Iran and Venezuela, to avoid sanctions on their oil trade.

Thus, a plan is being commissioned to ruin the United States of America right before our eyes. Reportedly, the dollar, which is a worldwide currency (but not industry or agriculture), constitutes the foundation of American power. It is this world currency that enables the USA to rob the whole world, making its peoples to pay for the overly ambitious desires of Washington. Some time ago, the USD was secured with the gold equivalent, which was later abolished, and now the dollar is, in fact, left without safeguards. The United States forced an agreement upon Saudi Arabia which provided for the USAs military aid to the Kingdom and the protection of its oil fields, though it isnt clear against whom. In exchange, the Saudis committed themselves to executing all their oil sales in USD and to investing their profits in US debt securities. By 1975, all oil-producing OPEC members were forced, under pressure from Washington, to follow suit. Consequently, the world plunged into the quagmire of petrodollars.

...

03:00

Will More Youth Follow Suit After Majid Khans Surrender? The Wire

The government believes that the return of the footballer, who was emerging as militancys new poster boy, will lead to more surrenders as it mulls a new rehabilitation policy, seeks suggestions from Jammu and Kashmir police.

Majid Khan, 20-year-old ace footballer, who had joined the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, surrendered and returned within a week. Credit: Twitter/ANI

Srinagar: The long-implemented take no prisoners policy in Kashmir is set to be replaced by a new surrender policy for militants.

The arrest of three local militants after a deadly encounter and the surrender of 20-year-old ace footballer Majid Khan, who had joined the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, but returned within a week, is seen as part of the governments initiative for a new rehabilitation policy for militants who want to return to the mainstream.

We are for saving lives, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Munir Khan told media, as he shared the details of the operation in Kund village in Kulgam district. One soldier and one militant were killed in the gun-battle.

The security forces believe these arrests are vital as these youth were fast-emerging as militancys poster boys in South Kashmirs Anantnag d...

02:10

Watch: Mass Anger Against Imposition of NSA on Chandrashekhar The Wire

Massive anger witnessed in several places after NSA was imposed on Bhim Armys founder Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan on November 3. Protests varied from street demonstrations to hunger strikes as people from across the country expressed their solidarity with Bhim Army.

The post Watch: Mass Anger Against Imposition of NSA on Chandrashekhar appeared first on The Wire.

01:29

Mizoram Chief Minister Accused of Not Disclosing His Kolkata Plot in Affidavit to Contest 2013 Assembly Polls The Wire

LalThanhwala owns land in HIDCOs New Town through chairmans quota.

Mizoram chief minister Lal Thanhawla. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Mizoram chief minister LalThanhawla found himself in a controversy with a voter from his constituency, Serchhip, writing to the Election Commission of India (ECI) seeking action against the veteran Congress leader for deliberately submitting a false affidavit about his unmovable assets in the run-up to the last assembly polls.

Mizoram went to polls in end 2013 and is due for elections in the second half of 2018.

LalThanhawla, who has been the chief minister of the Northeastern state since 2008, filed the affidavit  as per the Supreme Courts 2002 directive to the ECI for any candidate filing nomination papers to contest an election  on November 8, 2013.

In the letter to the ECI, written on November 13, Hriatrenga Chhangte, a Kolkata-based Central government employee and a native of Serchhip, said, the chief minister was allotted a plot of land in Kolkatas New Town prior to filing the election affidavit, but didnt disclose the property in it, thereby attracting section 125A of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951. As per the section, a candidate who, either himself or through his proposer, furnishes false information in his nominat...

01:26

Kashmir The Independence Movement Much More Dangerous Than Catalonias New Eastern Outlook

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At the moment everyone is pitching in on the situation in Catalonia as the real story. Having held a referendum on independence, in defiance of the Spanish constitution, the Catalan regional parliament must have expected Madrid to defend that constitution by not recognising the result, re-imposing direct rule to prevent it being enacted and jailing people who advocated doing so. So much can be said in retrospect for self-determination, and so-called European values, as all that is but a moot point by now.

However unsavoury these measures, it is the Spanish governments claimed Constitutional Duty to take them, as was the case in Georgia in 2008. But of course the Central government is spurring separatist sentiment all over Europe and beyond, in countries where such votes can be legally held and then respected with greater ease. We can expect a number of other regions which identify themselves as separate, whether ethnically, politically or historically, to regard the Catalans as martyrs and go down the same path.

Catalonia as a convenient distraction

However Catalonia is also a convenient distraction. Another occupied region is demanding independence Kashmir . If Catalan independence is becoming a hornets nest of problems, these pale into insignificance beside those of Kashmir. This conflict has all the potential to surpass the US-North Korea standoff as a potential disaster you dont want to think about.

Kashmir has been used for years as a means of retaining the regional balance to prevent those problems. But that is precisely why there is now a push to independence. Trapped between regional enemies and great power rivals, it has nothing to lose by trying to go it alone. The only questions are who will decide to support it, whether Kashmir wants that support or not and what harm its nuclear-armed neighbours will do to each other, and the rest of the world, because the locals in this remote region are sick and tired of all of them.

Too many truths to be true

Kashmir is the one place on a political map with lines across it. It is claimed by both India...

00:45

Flagship Governance Programmes: Who Did it Better, UPA-II or Modi Government? The Wire

A recent article claimed that the Modi government has significantly improved or tweaked the implementation of various schemes started by the UPA-II administration. But the numbers quoted need to be questioned.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh. Credit: PTI

Note: This is the second part in a five-series rebuttal and examination of how well the Modi governments flagship governance schemes have functioned so far. Read the first part here.

The Wire recently published an article titled Modi May Have Repackaged 23 UPA Schemes But Most of them Are Working Better Now. The authors main thesis is that even if the names of the government schemes have been changed or have been slightly repackaged, the Narendra Modi government is implementing the programmes much more efficiently than the previous government.

Towards the end of the article, the authors chart out a comparison of the performance of various schemes and projects. However, there are deep flaws with this analysis, as pointed out in...

00:29

How Do Birds Survive at High Altitudes? The Wire

The bar-headed gooses adaptations work well for occasionally spending short periods of time at high altitudes, but these may have high energy costs.

A bar-headed goose. Credit: Mprasannak/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

A bar-headed goose. Credit: Mprasannak/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Animals do the most amazing things. Read about them in this series by Janaki Lenin.

Bar-headed geese fly at elevations that would defeat most other birds. They raise goslings in Mongolia and Tibet and, come autumn, they soar high over the Himalayas into the Indian subcontinent. Although they take this the steepest migratory flight of any bird in stages, they cross the lofty mountain range at night in one marathon flight lasting seven hours. Its easier to keep going once you are at that height than to land and take-off again and again. If humans did something similar, go from low to high elevations without a break, theyd suffer from altitude sickness and might even die.

Although it may seem effortless, flying sucks ten- to twenty-times more oxygen than resting. Flying birds gulp air, deriving oxygen to fuel their hard-working muscles. But this critical element is in short supply at high elevations, with only one-third to half the oxygen levels at sea level. Such a low oxygen conditi...

00:29

Family Questions Suspicious Death of Judge Who Heard Sohrabuddin Fake Encounter Case The Wire

Judge who took over the case discharged BJP president Amit Shah without a trial and the CBI has yet to appeal that order.

The late judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi, and BJP president Amit Shah. Credit: Caravan/Facebook/PTI

Mumbai: Three years after the sudden death of 48-year old Brijgopal Harkishan Loya the special Central Bureau of Investigation judge presiding over the trial of BJP president Amit Shah and several top Gujarat police officers for the encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi  his family has spoken up on the suspicious circumstances in which he died in Nagpur.

Citing interviews with Loyas relatives, an investigative report by Niranjan Takle in the Caravan on Monday has pointed to glaring inconsistencies in the cardiac arrest story. These include:

  • large variations in the precise time of his death
  • the absence of any prior medical history suggesting the possibility of a heart attack
  • why he was taken to hospital in an auto-rickshaw in the early hours of the day
  • the mysterious signature...

00:25

5 Unbelievably Stupid Ideas Governments Actually Tried The Corbett Report

Ask anyone who's ever worked in the public sector: With a never-ending stream of taxpayer money and no competition in sight, governments are a breeding ground for stupid ideas.<br /> <br /> In fact, coming up with a list of all the idiocy that governments have inflicted on the world would be an impossible task, so let's just narrow it down to five really stupid government ideas.

00:04

At Upcoming WTO Meet, India and Other Developing Countries to Try and Keep Focus on Doha Agenda The Wire

Developed countries want to include new issues like e-commerce, investment facilitation and government procurement in the discussion.

WTO headquarters in Geneva. Credit: Reuters

WTO headquarters in Geneva. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: Battle lines have been drawn between developed and developing countries over the agenda for the forthcoming WTO ministerial conference at Buenos Aires, with India saying it will oppose discussion on new issues like e-commerce, investment facilitation and government procurement.

If India remains firm on its stand, the upcoming ministerial, to be held from December 10-13, could fail to produce any substantive outcome. But it remains to be seen how far India can fend off the developed worlds pressure on inclusion of new issues in the ministerial agenda.

The experience of the previous WTO Ministerial Conference, Nairobi in 2015, does not inspire much confidence that India would be able to thwart moves to push new issues onto the WTO agenda. There was no unambiguous affirmation on sticking to the Doha agenda at Nairobi, despite India strongly pitching for it.

The ministerial is the highest decision-making body of the WTO and meets at least once every two years to give political direction to the organisation.

As a priority, India wants the WTO to focus discussion on the Doha development agenda, without being distracted by new issues.

The Doha round of WTO negotiations was launched in the wake of the September 11 attack on the twin towers in the US by the Al Qaeda. The exigency of building a wider political consensus for...

00:03

Imphal Newspapers Publish Blank Editorial to Protest BJPs Burning of Daily The Wire

Members of BJPs youth wing set ablaze copies of Poknapham newspaper for publishing disparaging content against the prime minister.

Credit: poknapham.in

Credit: poknapham.in

Imphal: Prominent Imphal-based newspapers, including the daily that was burned down by alleged members of the BJPs youth wing, left their editorial columns blank today in protest.

Copies of vernacular newspaper Poknapham were set on fire by unidentified miscreants in front of BJPs party office at Nityapat Chuthek here on Saturday over alleged disparaging content against the prime minister.

The editorial column has been left blank today in protest against burning of an Imphal-based newspaper by BJP youth wing, the editor of Sangai Express said.

The president of the All Manipur Working Journalists Union (AMWJU), W. Shyamjai, condemning Saturdays incident, told reporters that the act of burning the paper amounts to promulgation of mob culture.

If the parties involved are unable to settle the matter at the level of AMWJU, they can approach the court, he said.

The BJP Manipur Pradesh Yuva Morcha did not discuss the matter with the editors and the publishers of Poknapham, Shyamjai added.

Echoing similar sentiments, A. Mobi, the president of Editors Guild...

00:00

Rohingya Christians Fear the Worst as Police Undertake Verification Drive on MHA Orders The Wire

The exercise runs counter to the spirit of the SCs directions where it had advised the government to ensure there are no contingencies while the case was pending.

In the Rohingya camp at Madanpur Khader, Delhi.

In the Rohingya camp at Madanpur Khader, Delhi.

New Delhi: Despite the Supreme court putting the Centres plans to deport the Rohingyas to Myanmar on hold, the Delhi police has been going ahead with a verification drive to identify various categories of Myanmarese nationals in accordance with an advisory issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on August 8. The action runs counter to the spirit of the SCs directions in the last hearing where it had advised the government to ensure there are no contingencies while the case was pending.

As part of the exercise, the police have been conducting verification of various Myanmarese nationals since November 3, the date that orders for the drive reached the capitals police stations.

In Vikas Puri in West Delhi, at a camp which houses...

Monday, 20 November

23:55

Tajikistan: Marriage Folds Northern Elite Into Presidential Family EurasiaNet.org - Inside the Cocoon

Given the highly regionalized nature of power dynamics in Tajikistan, this weekends marriage between a granddaughter of the president and the son of an influential northern family is worthy of note.

Sources in the northern city of Khujand told EurasiaNet.org that the marriage took place on November 19 between President Emomali Rahmons oldest granddaughter and the grandson of the governor of the Sughd region, Adburahmon Kodiri. In another seemingly symbolic gesture, the ceremony was held at the Arbob Cultural Palace, where Rahmon was in effect first appointed head of state, almost exactly 25 years ago, on November 16, 1992.

On the brides side, the parents are one of Rahmons daughters, Firuza, and Mahmadzoir Sohibov.

Because of the outsized role played by localism in Tajikistan, such marriages between powerful families from different regions are almost unheard of. Most of Rahmons in-laws are from his native south. Indeed, the inexorable post-civil war ascendancy of Rahmons regional kinfolk to positions of power has even given a rise to a Russian neologism coined from the name of the Kulob, a city and district in south namely, Kulyabizatsiya.

This is the first known occasion in recent times in which the presidential family has married such a visible representative of a northern clan.

Sohibov, the father of the bride, does not formally hold a government position, but he is widely believed to wield considerable political influence as an informal senior advisor to Rahmon on key personnel issues and on the allocation of business-related favors. He is also said to have financially lucrative tobacco and jewelry interests of his own. 

read more

23:30

Bas Ab Bahut Ho Gaya Challenging Regressive Attitudes Towards Women The Wire

A movement mobilising youth to address issues to end gender-based violence, particularly violence against women and girls.

Awareness needs to be created about government initiatives that provide care and support for the survivors of violence. Credit: basabbahuthogaya.in

For generations women were alone in their struggle for the right to live a life of dignity and respect, but the movement for change has grown worldwide. We now have a global community of women and men who are calling out harassment, sexism and violence against women and girls (VAWG). While it may seem like incidents of VAWG have shown an increasing trend over the years in India, this is also an indicator of more crimes being reported. Of the total cases registered by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) under crimes against women in 2015, 34% were registered against husband and relatives, 25% against sexual harassment, while 10% were rape cases. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) IV shows the pervasiveness of domestic violence, where over half of men (51%) and women (54%) agreed with one or more reasons that justified wife beating.

VAWG is not only a violation of a womans body and rights but should be seen as a public health concern. Almost 900 girls a day 3,30,000 a year are never born in India because they are not boys. The discrimination against girls is so deeply ingrained that it is a continuum of a life-cycle of violence from sex-selective abortions before birth and neglect during infancy, to being victims of abuse and malnutrition as children. As adolescents they are trafficked or forced int...

23:30

How Long Can Indias Farmers Subsidise the Nation? The Wire

The farmers have done their job. The nation has failed to deliver them a decent income in return.

Ravindra Kumar. Courtesy: Author

Ravindra Kumar. Courtesy: Author

Farmers are coming onto the streets across the country in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and now from all states into Delhi. As the agitations intensify and take a national character, it is necessary for the nation to understand what is driving them. Are they asking for the sky, simply for what is due to them?

Take Ravindra Kumar, a bajra farmer from Rewari, Haryana. He produced a good crop of bajra of 20 quintals. As per the governments own estimates, the cost of production is Rs 1,278 per quintal. The government announced a minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1,425 per quintal. This means that a two-and-a-half acre farmer growing 20 quintals would get a net income of only Rs 2,940 for a whole seasons effort. From this, the government expects him to support an entire households expenses for at least half a year. The story only gets worse. When he sold his crop in early November, Ravindra got a price of only Rs 1,138 per quintal. Not only is this much lower than the governments MSP, it is also lower than the cost of production. So he has a net loss of Rs 2,800 to show for his efforts.

If you think this is outrageous, you are right. What is more outrageous is that the scenario is similar for most crops across the country. Lalithamma, a groundnut farmer from...

23:21

Congress Leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi Passes Away at 72 The Wire

 Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi

Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, who was in a coma since 2008, today passed away at a hospital here.

He was 72.

He had been critically ill since the past one month and succumbed to the illness at 12:10 pm. His family members including wife Deepa Dasmunsi and their son were at his bedside at that time, Apollo hospital authorities said.

The former Union minister had suffered a stroke in 2008 and was hospitalised since then.

Dasmunsi was heading the All India Football Federation when he was taken ill.

The post Congress Leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi Passes Away at 72 appeared first on The Wire.

23:17

Government Set to Re-Introduce Transgender Persons Rights Bill, Ignoring Key Recommendations The Wire

A House panel had called out the government on its flawed understanding of transgender persons and asked it to promote and safeguard the rights of the marginalised community.

The social justice and empowerment ministry will re-introduce the Bill in the winter session of the parliament. Credit: Reuters

The social justice and empowerment ministry will re-introduce the Bill in the winter session of the parliament. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: The central government has decided to discard the recommendations of a parliamentary committee report that slammed it on the very definition of transgender used in the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, claiming it was against global norms and violates the right to self-determined gender identity.

The...

22:30

Bihars People Are the Ones Paying for Its Rudderless Government The Wire

Nitish Kumars political flip-flops and rash policy implementation have dragged the state back to pre-2005 days.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. Credit: Reuters

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. Credit: Reuters

Things are virtually back to where they were before Nitish Kumar came to power in Bihar more than a decade ago. On November 24, 2005, Nitish was voted to power with the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The slogan that then caught the imagination of the electorate pushing the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) government out of power was Nitishs assurance of developing Bihar. Yet today, the state has regressed to the situation that existed prior to Nitish taking charge. In fact, it can even be argued that the prevailing situation at least in some respects is far worse than what it was 12 years ago.

If on the one hand there is political uncertainty and arm-twisting by the BJP, there is also the no less worrisome precarious economic situation with a slide in investment. Lets consider the political instability. For the last four years, for apparently no valid reason, Bihar has witnessed political volatility at the top with frequent changes in government. This has contributed to a virtual policy paralysis in the state. No doubt, Nitishs own vulnerability too has increased. Unlike in the past, when the chief minister was comfortably calling...

22:30

Supreme Court Judgment in Medical College Bribery Case Will Remain Under a Cloud The Wire

The court has suggested that any complaint against a judge and investigation by the CBI should not be given publicity, ignoring the fact that public functionaries act under public scrutiny.

Justice Dipak Misra. Credit: Twitter

Justice Dipak Misra. Credit: Twitter

After the days of the Emergency, last week is perhaps the most the Supreme Court of India has been in the public gaze. While the propriety of the Chief Justice of India is being debated, the impropriety of the PIL litigants, Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) and Kamini Jaiswal, has also been widely questioned. Now that the Supreme Court has delivered its judgment on the PIL filed by Jaiswal, one can assess the whole episode with equanimity.

The judgment, in paras 9 and 30, has given justification for the hurried constitution of the constitution bench on November 10. It states that there was variance between the orders passed by the two division benches, which necessitated settling of the law. In the CJAR case, the direction was passed requesting the CJI to constitute an appropriate bench for hearing the matter. The only question that was before the CJI on administrative side was what would be the appropriate bench when a similar case, in the PIL filed by Jaiswal, had been directed to a constitution bench. Had the CJI desired to respect the judicial order of Court No. 2 instead of asserting his administrative authority, there was no constitutional question that needed to be answered. The CJAR matter could have been listed before the bench hearing the similar matter.

It is worth noting that even after the settling of the law by the constitution bench, th...

22:29

What Do You Do When Palaeontology Itself Is Endangered in India? The Wire

There are few researchers and fewer teachers studying vertebrate and invertebrate palaeontology leading some to wonder if Indias story of the evolution of life will continue to be written for long.

A field photograph of the excavated ichthyosaur skeleton in the Katrol Formation near Lodai village, Gujarat. Caption and source: PLOS

A field photograph of the excavated ichthyosaur skeleton in the Katrol Formation near Lodai village, Gujarat. Caption and source: PLOS

There was a lot of excitement when a big fossil was recently discovered in the Kutch region of Gujarat by a team of Indian researchers. However, the very science of palaeontology the study of fossils to trace the evolution of life on Earth could be dying in India. Veterans in the field are concerned that there may not be many fossils being unearthed in the future as there are hardly any openings for a palaeontologist in Indian universities, while the number of students signing up for the subject has also been on the decline.

According to Mahendra Pal Singh, the secretary of the Palaeontological Society of India, about 150 to 200 students pursue a postgraduate degree in palaeontology every year in the country. As for research, only about 15-20...

22:04

Hundreds of Palestinians on the brink of expulsion: We just want to live +972 Magazine

Three hundred Palestinians have been ordered to leave their homes and take with them all their belongings within the next eight days. Where are they supposed to go? The military order provides no answers. In the meantime, they wait for the rain that refuses to come.

By Keren Manor / Activestills.org

Members of the Daragma family stand next to a cinder block built outside their tent, which declares the area an open-fire zone, and this is forbidden for entry. (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Members of the Daragma family stand next to a cinder block built outside their tent, which declares the area an open-fire zone, and this is forbidden for entry. (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

They are about to be expelled from their homes but every person I met on our visit to the community of Ein al-Hilweh in the Jordan Valley asked us if there was news of rain. The farmers and shepherds in Ein al-Hilweh and in the neighboring village of Umm Jamal are worried. It is the middle of November, and without water, their herds of cattle, sheep, chicken and other animals are beginning to die of hunger. There is no water to drink. The dry earth does not provide food for pasture. The small community, which is not connected to running water, depends on rain to grow the crops that provide the little food off of which they and their livestock survive....

21:45

President Trump Faces Creeping Coup Strategic Culture Foundation

With economy on the rise and the US not dragged into a costly military conflict, President Trump has a good chance at winning a second term in the 2020 presidential election, sending hostile political operatives and the critical news media into a meltdown.

21:15

How Syrian-Nuke Evidence Was Faked Strategic Culture Foundation

In joining Israel and the White House selling military intervention in Syria, the CIA and international inspectors hid key evidence that would undermine the case, says Gareth Porter in a second part of a two-part series.

21:06

Kenya: Supreme Court Upholds Presidential Poll Result The Wire

Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks after he was announced winner of the repeat presidential election at the IEBC National Tallying centre at the Bomas of Kenya, in Nairobi, Kenya October 30, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Thomas Mukoya/Files

Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks after he was announced winner of the repeat presidential election at the IEBC National Tallying centre at the Bomas of Kenya, in Nairobi, Kenya October 30, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Thomas Mukoya/Files

Nairobi: Kenyas Supreme ...

21:00

Is Rahul Gandhi Finally Set to Become Congress President? The Wire

The Congresss organisational poll results will be declared on December 19, a day after Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh poll outcomes come in.

Rahul Gandhi. Credit: Reuters

Rahul Gandhi. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: The Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Monday formally initiated the process to elect the next party chief.

According to an article in the Indian Express: Announcing the dates for the election at a press conference in New Delhi, the party said the poll notification will be issued on December 1 and the nomination and scrutiny process will be completed by December 5. The last date for withdrawal of nomination is December 11. Voting, if needed, will be held on December 16 and results will be declared on December 19, the party said.

While reports first said that a CWC unanimously passed a resolution supporting Rahul Gandhi for the post, party members clarified later that no such resolution was past.

Rahul will likely take over the party organisations reins from his mother Sonia, the longest-serving president of the Congress. Sonia was elected to the top post in 1998. Currently a Lok Sabha member from Amethi, Rahul was appointed general secretary of the Congress on September 24, 2007. He was elevated to the post of the partys vice-president in 2013.

The Congresss organisational poll results will be declared on December 19, a day after Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh poll outcomes come in.


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