|IndyWatch Asian News Feed Archiver|
IndyWatch Asian News Feed was generated at World News IndyWatch.
Endless US aggression in Afghanistan has nothing to do with combating terrorism (America supports it), everything to do with controlling the country, using it for oil and gas pipelines, part of encircling Russia and China with US military bases, and plundering vast Afghan mineral riches likely worth trillions of dollars, a prize corporate predators covet.
Morgan Freeman, the Oscar winner and five-time Golden Globe nominee, is featured in a video running on the organization website, encouraging Americans to fight back against Russia's influence. We have been attacked. We are at war, says the movie star, calling on President Trump to address the nation about the attack the United States came under during the presidential election...
Vatican City: The Vaticans first auditor-general, who resigned without explanation in June, has broken his silence, saying he was forced to step down with trumped-up accusations after discovering evidence of possible illegal activity.
Speaking to reporters from four media organisations including Reuters in the office of his lawyers in Rome, Libero Milone also said he believed that some in the Vatican wanted to slow down Pope Franciss efforts at financial reform.
He said he could not give details of the irregularities he had found because of non-disclosure agreements. Reuters was unable to independently verify his assertions, whi...
Mexico City: A magnitude 6.2 aftershock that shook Mexico on Saturday was blamed for five deaths, spreading fear among anxious residents reeling from a string of natural disasters and interrupting the search for survivors from a bigger tremor ea...
New Delhi: Clashes broke out at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) late on Saturday night, after police lathi-charged on women protesting against the alleged inaction and victim-shaming by the university administration.
Videos have emerged showing cops charging towards women as others run to their hostels. No women constables can be seen in the videos. The lathi-charge happened just hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modis visit to Varanasi.
A first-year student, who lives in the university hostel, was allegedly molested and grabbed by three bike-borne men just outside the BHU campus on Thursday evening. According to NDTV, the protesting students were struggling to meet the Vice Chancellor to apprise him of the safety situation and to urge him to take necessary steps. But last night, as they tried to enter his residence, they were stopped by a couple of university guards before the cops intervened and lathicharged to disperse them. Several students got injured in the scuffle.
According to the NDTV report, the students said that the police lathicharg...
Donald Trumps address to the UN General Assembly on September 19 was a harangue of swaggering abuse and arrogant belligerence but his first public utterance, the day before, was not as spiteful and malevolent. Indeed it was greeted with relief and surprise by the many people who had expected a tirade against the United Nations Organisation on the lines of his comment that it was just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time, which was as absurd, insulting and vulgar as so many of his remarks.
China is transforming its sources of energy domestically in a bid to reverse decades of environmental pollution. But the switch to renewable energy has brought about a conundrum: what to do with the jobs and industries that have no future in this new system?
Berlin: Germans began voting in a national election on Sunday that is likely to see Chancellor Angela Merkel win a historic fourth term and a far-right party enter parliament for the first time in more than half a century.
Merkels conservative bloc is on track to rema...
Beyond the stereotypical vulgar song and dance, fun and play, bawdy lavani (folk song) performance, and the rural disorderly spectacle, tamasha (travelling folk theatre), the significant lokakala of Maharashtra, is best understood through the analytical matrix of mobility and migration, access to means of everyday survival, pedagogy of survival and negotiations for work. The Dalit tamasha legend, Vithabai Narayangavkar sang a famous Lavani in the 1960s:
laaj dhara pavana janachi
potasathi nachatey mee parva kunachi
dava dola jhakun khunavu naka ho asa tumhi hinavu naka
aathavan dete mee tarnya panachi
potasathi nachatey mee parva kunachi
(O guest, maintain your shame for others as well as for your self. I am dancing for my everyday sustenance; I do not care for anybody else. Do not make sexual gestures by winking your left eye at me. You are actually mocking me. I provide you a remembrance of your youth. I am dancing for my everyday living. I do not care for anybody else.).
Vithabais daughter, Mangalatai Bansode, sang the famous lavani for me, when I interviewed her in the village of Kada in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra on September 9 and...
On September 22, 2017, Husain Haqqani, former Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States, addressed the Human Rights Commission Session at Geneva with the following words on Balochistan.
I come to this event as a Pakistani friend of Balochistan, in the belief that human rights are universal and their violation should not be ignored out of misplaced patriotism.
Europeans, Americans and Israelis who criticise the violation of human rights by their own governments show moral courage.
The world would be a better place if Indians spoke out when human rights are violated in Kashmir, Myanmars leaders speak up when their army deprives the Rohingya of their life and dignity, and Pakistanis recognise that injustices against the...
Animals do the most amazing things. Read about them in this series by Janaki Lenin.
Ants are the epitome of hard-work and their nests are hives of activity. From dawn to dusk, workers go about their designated jobs forage for food, tend the young, clean the nest and guard against invaders. But some dont do anything at all. Daniel Charbonneau and Anna Dornhaus, University of Arizona, Tucson, discovered that these freeloaders werent just one or two individuals or even in the minority. At least 50% of the workers did nothing, enough to trip the industrious ones as they ran about their tasks.
They really just sit there, Charbonneau said in a press release. And whenever theyre doing anything other than doing nothing, they do chores around the nest, like a bit of brood care here or grooming another worker there.
US President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Saturday, North Koreas Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and leader Kim Jong Un wont be around much longer if Ri echoed the thoughts of Little Rocket Man, an apparent reference to Kim.
Ri told the UN General Assembly earlier on Saturday that targeting the US mainland with its rockets was inevitable after Mr Evil President Trump...
Kutapalong, Bangladesh: The head of the UN refugee agency said on Saturday he was shocked by the terrible violence inflicted on Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar, and said their suffering would last far longer than the time it took to satisfy their basic needs.
More than 420,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since August 25, when attacks by Rohingya militants in Rakhine State triggered a Myanmar crackdown that the UN has branded ethnic cleansing.
During a visit to the sprawling Kutapalong refugee camp in southeastern Bangladesh, close to the Myanmar border, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said Rohingyas had told him their stories.
I was really struck by the fear that these people carry with themselves, what they have gone through and seen back in Myanmar, he told Reuters in the camp, where refugees live under thousands of tarpaulins covering the hills and...
Mumbai: An affiliate of Amazon.com Inc has agreed to buy a 1.79 billion-rupee ($27.6 million) stake in Indian retailer Shoppers Stop Ltd, the Indian company said in a filing.
Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC, a foreign portfolio investor, will subscribe to about 4.4 million shares, equivalent to an about 5% stake, in the Indian retailer at Rs 407.78 a piece on a preferential basis, Shoppers Stop told the stock exchanges late on Saturday.
On Friday, Shoppers Stop shares had closed 3% lower at Rs 418.10 on the National Stock Exchange.
The Amazon affiliate will not take a board position, Shoppers Stop, which operates large department stores and other retail outlets, said in the filing.
($1 = 64.7900 Indian rupees)
The post Amazon Affiliate Strikes Share Deal With Shoppers Stop appeared first on...
Why trade unions oppose the new Wage Code Bill
The NDA government has been pushing for changes in the labour law ecosystem by replacing all the labour laws with just four labour codes. The first of which is the Wage Code, that intends to amalgamate four labour laws the Payment of Wages Act, 1936; the Minimum Wages Act, 1948; the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965; and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976. Indian trade unions have come out in opposition to this process as they claim these reforms dilute whatever protections are still left to workers within the law. Newsclick explains the rationale behind this opposition while pointing to the unfulfilled promises such as National Minimum Wage.
Five contract workers killed inhaling poisonous fumes
Five casual workers were killed and two remain in critical condition after inhaling tox...
New Delhi: Former home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi will take over as the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) tomorrow, succeeding Shashi Kant Sharma, officials said today.
Mehrishi, 62, would be administered the oath of office and secrecy by President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan tomorrow.
His appointment has been cleared by the government, the officials said.
Mehrishi, a 1978 batch (retired) Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Rajasthan cadre, completed his two-year fixed term as the home secretary last month.
Sharma, who had taken over as the CAG on May 23, 2013, retired on Friday, the officials said. Sharma was defence secretary prior to his appointment as the CAG.
Mehrishi will have a tenure of about three years. The CAG is appointed for a term of six years or till the incumbent attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
As a constitutional functionary, the CAG is primarily entrusted with the responsibility to audit the accounts of the Union government and of the state governments.
CAG reports are laid before the parliament and legislatures of the states.
Mehrishi, who hails from Rajasthan, holds Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow (...
Cold-War Dog-whistling at the General Assembly
Just as under Barack Obama, US relations with Russia did not improve after Bushs departure, under Trump, the anti-Russian overdrive continues.
In his address to the United Nations General Assembly, Donald Trump did his best to make some nationalist sounding ideological statements. He repeated his beloved phrase America First. Other than a passing comment on Ukraine, he did not directly criticize Russia, but this omission was smoke and mirrors.
Trump singled out a large number of countries for criticism and threats. If Trump were genuinely concerned about human rights and the exporting of terrorism, he could have criticized Saudi Arabia, as he did on the campaign trail. However, he left them free of criticism. If Trump were concerned about the chaos created by drug gangs, he could have criticized the government of Mexico, as he frequently did on the campaign trail. However, he said nothing about them.
As commander-in-chief of the United States, not a non-career politician trying to win votes, Trump singled out exclusively countries that are friendly to, or aligned with Russia.
Trump made false statements about Irans economy, ignoring the huge achievements of the Islamic Republic, and invoked the possibility of revising the historic nuclear agreement. Trump bashed Cuba, ignoring its vast improvements of the country, and its notable reputation for providing medical aid around the world. Trump attacked the government...
United Nations: Hitting out at Pakistan for creating terror groups like LeT, JeM, Hizbul Mujahideen and the Haqqani Network, India on Saturday asked Pakistani leaders to introspect as to why their country is infamous as the pre-eminent export factory for terror.
In her address to the 72nd UN General Assembly session, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj spoke on issues like terrorism, climate change, maritime and cyber security, UN Security Council reforms, poverty and unemployment.
Swaraj accused Pakistan of waging a war against India and said a country that has been the worlds greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity became a champion of hypocrisy by preaching about humanity from this podium.
She was referring to Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasis speech on Thursday wherein he accused India of violating huma...
The women move in a circle as they sing, swaying, facing each other. Now and then one will reach up to adjust the pallu of her sari covering her head. The light of a single bulb, filtered through the foliage of the neem tree above, washes the figures in the circle. The bulb hangs outside the house that belongs to Shanti, the woman hosting the Teej festival party.
I am in the neighbourhood of Nagwa in Varanasi, a five-minute walk from my house. It is a densely built-up area along the Ganga at its southernmost point in the city. The residents here are domestic workers, mechanics, labourers and owners of food stalls and small shops.
The women sing in the genre called Kajri special to the season of sawan. Kajri songs are all about different ways of regarding and responding to this monsoon month of the Hindu calendar they are about the clouds gathering, about putting mehndi on ones hands, about going to ones sasural or in-laws house.
There are no...
The Wire is happy to support this project by Aashima Dogra and Nandita Jayaraj, who are travelling across India to meet some fantastic women scientists.
Indore-based UGC-DAE Consortium for Scientific Research is an institute like no other in the country. The government-financed facility houses a selection of instruments, some of them costing over two crores, that can peer into the deepest aspects of the material world.
As a user-based institute, its doors are open to research groups looking to test their samples with sophisticated machines that are hard to find anywhere else. These machines are a treasure chest for physicists. Imagine the possibilities for research when you can directly look inside molecules on a nanoscale microscope.
The Rahul Collection, housed for the last 80 years in Patna Museum, has been in the news recently, following the decision to shift a part of it to the new Bihar Museum that will be inaugurated at Patna on October 2,, 2017. Along with Rahuljis immediate family, prominent academic scholars and activists are unitedly opposed to the decision.
The Rahul Collection at Patna
The Rahul Collection was a provisional gift made to Patna Museum by Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayana, commencing from 1933, and is the fruit of the four arduous journeys he made to Tibet in 1929, 1934, 1936 and 1938. Items were added to it until 1956. The nucleus of the collection is housed in three separate segments in the historic Patna Museum building. They are:
A: The art collection of Tibetan thanka paintings, reliquary objects and statuary, establish the Bihar-Nepal-Tibet linkages of Buddhism, as well as the lineal descent of Buddhist iconography from the Ajanta/Ellora fresco style to the Tibetan thanka style. The antique thanka paintings also significantly represent the Buddhist periods and personalities, such as the Chaurasi siddhas and some of the legendary acharyas who taught Buddhist logic at Nalanda, Vikramshila and Odantapuri Mahaviharas. The art collection is with the Rahul Gallery at Patna Museum.
B: The second segment has the Narthang and Lhasa edi...
Cycling as a social movement? Sounds far-fetched. Perhaps. But not all that far not to tens of thousands of neo-literate rural women in Pudukkottai district of Tamil Nadu. People find ways, sometimes curious ones, of hitting out at their backwardness, of expressing defiance, of hammering at the fetters that hold them.
In this, one of Indias poorest districts, cycling seems the chosen medium for rural women. During the past 18 months, over 100,000 rural women, most of them neo-literates, have taken to bicycling as a symbol of independence, freedom and mobility. If we exclude girls below ten years of age, it would mean that over one-fourth of all rural women in this district have learnt cycling. And over 70,000 of these women have taken part in public exhibition-cum-contests to proudly display their new skills. And still the training camps and desire to learn continue.
In the heart of rural Pudukkottai, young Muslim women from highly conservative backgrounds zip along the roads on their bicycles. Some seem to have abandoned the veil for the wheel. Jameela Bibi, a young Muslim girl who has taken to cycling, told me: Its my right. We can go anywhere. Now I dont have to wait for a bus. I know people made dirty remarks when I star...
It is impossible to follow the news without catching reference to the rise of populism. A once little-used term that denoted a handful of parties in otherwise unconnected political contexts, populism now seems almost definitive of a political moment in time.
It also elicits a wide range of responses from specialists. The most common reaction is a negative recoil against the emergence of forces that seem to threaten democracy. The emergence of far left and far right political forces seems redolent of the 1930s, and look where that left us.
On the other hand, there are influential figures who argue that there is nothing to be afraid of in populism. Far from it: populism represents an appeal to...
At long last, former premier and Pakatan Harapan chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad will be stepping onto Sarawak soil again. He is scheduled to speak at a Pakatan Harapan event in Kuching on Sept 24. Mahathirs visit this time is significant as he is visiting the Hornbill State for the first time as a leader of 
Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak publicity chief Vernon Kedit disagrees with Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah for saying: Most of Sarawaks rights enshrined under Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) were taken away when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was the prime minister. Perhaps, the minister is forgetful or perhaps he 
PKRs Kuala Sepetang state assemblywoman Chua Yee Ling was picked up at a dinner organised by Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) in Miri tonight and directly deported back to Kuala Lumpur by the state Immigration officials. She left Miri Airport on a 9.30pm AirAsia flight, Sarawak PKR Youth deputy head Simon Siah told Malay Mail Online 
The outcome of the fact-finding mission on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) to London will be revealed at the right time. Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg assured that he would pursue his predecessor Tok Nans call that the Sarawaks right contained in MA63 would be given back to Sarawak. That is why I 
The state government is going to replace between 250 and 260 dilapidated schools in Sarawak within two years. Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the construction of new schools is part of a special catch-up plan to improve the quality of education in Sarawak. He said the Ministry of Education, Science and 
Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar has decided not to come here yesterday evening after National Women chief Zuraida Kamaruddin who is also Ampang MP and Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian were refused entry into the state when they arrived here from Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Nurul was scheduled to arrive at 
Most of Sarawaks rights enshrined under Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) were taken away when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was the prime minister. Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, in saying this, said it was good to see the former premier coming back to Sarawak and meet the people 
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is free to enter Sarawak, Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg said today. He said he will not stop the Pakatan Harapan chairman or other Opposition leaders from entering the state, and explained that only extremists such as Umnos Datuk Jamal Yunos and Perkasas Datuk Ibrahim Ali 
The state government has yet to confirm if Pakatan Harapan chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad would be allowed into Sarawak today. The former prime minister is expected to speak during the opposition alliances event here tonight. Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg did not give a clear cut answer on whether the former 
The state government will most likely allow Pakatan Harapan chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to enter Sarawak. The former Prime Minister is expected to attend and give a talk during the Pakatan Harapan Sarawak programme scheduled to be held at the Everrise supermarket carpark at BDC here tomorrow (Sunday) from 7pm to 10.30pm. It will 
Sarawak is hoping for over RM30 billion investment from China this year, with the single biggest investment the RM13 billion in the steel industry in Samalaju Industrial Park in Bintulu.Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said the state government has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with China-based company, Hebei Xinwuan 
A prominent former civil servant has thrown his support behind the call by Bersih 2.0 for the Election Commission (EC) to implement advanced voting for East Malaysian voters living in the peninsula and West Malaysians living in Sabah and Sarawak Ramon Navaratnam, who is chairman of the Asli Center of Public Policy Studies, said such 
Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) has gone on the offensive against Barisan Nasional (BN), to deflect allegations that Dr Mahathir Mohamad was instrumental in eroding the states rights when he was prime minister, ahead of the PH chairmans visit to Kuching. Its publicity chief Vernon Kedit today accused Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), the largest component 
PKR Wanita head Zuraida Kamaruddin said she was denied entry into Sarawak today, hours after Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg vowed not to bar Opposition leaders from the state. Zuraida said she was detained at the Miri airport at about 2pm today, and failed to negotiate her way past Immigration officials. Ha3 I 
Kuala Sepetang assemblyperson Chua Yee Ling has been evicted from Sarawak. Chua was in Miri for a PKR dinner tonight, when Immigration and police officers gatecrashed the event held at the Eastwood Valley Golf & Country Club. Footage streamed from the Perak representatives Facebook page showed her being escorted out of the venue accompanied by the officers. 
PKR vice-president Tian Chua has blasted the Sarawak government for barring three of the partys lawmakers in Peninsular Malaysia from entering the state after they arrived there today. Describing the move as ridiculous and hysterical, he questioned the rationale for the prohibition, saying the trio Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin, Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Hee 
You come to your club, in my case to The Foreign Correspondent Club of Thailand (FCCT), and immediately the long arm of indoctrination begins stretching towards you.
You place yourself on a comfortable couch, and soon after get fully serviced. You get instructed, told what to think and how to formulate or modify your ideas.
You are periodically shown movies about corruption and immorality in China. You get encouraged to participate in some public discussions that are, among other things, trashing the anti-Western president of the Philippines.
Although lately also the Middle East, and particularly Syria, are brought into the spotlight.
Of course almost all that is on offer in such places like FCCT is the Western view, or concretely a set of Western views raging from conservative to liberal. The club is located in Asia, in the heart of Southeast Asia, but very few Asians are invited to speak here, except the few Thais who are well versed in the Western way of thinking. Or Western agents like the Dalai Lama, of course such individuals can come anytime they want! Forget about hearing from the other side youd never stumble here over speakers such as Communist thinkers or writers from Mainland China, or pro-Duterte academics or activists from the Philippines.
Most of the Thais who get spotted at the FCCT are actually those who provide support services for the Western gurus of mainstream media: interpreters, fixers, waiters and as well as some administrative support staff.
This is not a place for Asians to lecture Westerners about Asia; this is where Westerners tell Asians how to think in general, and what to think about their own countries in particular.
On the same floor as the FCCT, right down the narrow carpeted corridor, there are the offices of the BBC, the NBC and several other mainstream Western media outlets. The Penthouse of the Maneeya Center Building in Bangkok is actually a self-sufficient propaganda complex.
And tonight it is offering a free screening (free for us, members) of a U.S. documentary film called Salam Neighbor, about Jordans huge Zaatari refugee camp, which hosts approximately 80,000 refugees just a few miles away from the Syrian border.
On the FCCT flie...
New Delhi: Indias government is considering a plan to loosen its fiscal deficit target to enable it to spend up to Rs 500 billion more to halt an economic slowdown, two government officials with direct knowledge of the plan said on Thursday.
Growth in Asias third-largest economy slowed to a three-year low of 5.7% in the quarter that ended in June, and finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday that the government was looking for ways to speed it up.
The officials, who declined to be named as the measures have not been made public y...
While on the one hand the government is pushing for a two-child norm, on the other it is forcibly precluding certain Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in the country from accessing sterilisation services, thus transgressing their right...
New Delhi: The Indian Railways much-trumpeted multi-crore Make in India programme in Bihar is facing curtains even before taking off.
In November 2015, the rail ministry, then headed by Suresh Prabhu, awarded a Rs 14,000-crore contract to US conglomerate General Electric to set up a diesel electric locomotive factory in Marhowra. Another plant at Madhepura, for modern electric locomotives, was awarded to French major Alstom.
At the time, in the run-up to the Bihar state elections, these projects were billed as the biggest FDI in the rail sector. Massive investments of around Rs 40,000 crore over the next five years were planned for the Bihar projects, according to statements issued by the ministry at the time....
The post Wide Angle, Episode 3: The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations appeared first on The Wire.
A recent editorial put out by The Economic Times (ET) headlined Jaypee Insolvency: Quite A Legal Mess made one sit up. What is jarring that the editorial takes several potshots at the Supreme Court, which in recent times has come to the rescue of over 30,000 hapless homebuyers.
The column begins with a matter-of-fact statement The Supreme Courts intervent...
The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has on two recent occasions referred to Australia being joined at the hip to the United States on its defence and national security policies. That phrasing invited some critical commentary, but conspicuously, there was no demurral from the official Opposition Labor Party. To all practical intents and purposes the Liberal National Coalition and the Labor Party are indistinguishable on matters of defence, foreign policy and national security.
Turnbulls remarks, as with the election of the erratic and clearly unfit Donald Trump as US President, should have presented an opportunity for a critical reappraisal of Australias position viz a viz the United States. It did not happen, not least because a supine mainstream media sees no reason to question the fundamental assumptions underlying Australias defence policies since at least the fall of Singapore to the Japanese in January 1942.
Prior to that seminal event, Australia had never challenged its role as a colonial appendage to the British Empire. That status had led Australia into a series of wars, which in common with just about every other military misadventure before and since had only the vaguest connection with Australias national interest, if any.
Australian troops fought the Russians in the Crimean War of the 1850s (the rich irony of which is lost in the current propaganda war waged against Russia for its annexation of Crimea.) Australian troops were slaughtered in large numbers in World War 1, a war planned at least since the 1890s to counter any German challenge to British imperial supremacy (Docherty & Macgregor Hidden History, 2013)
Although Prime Minister Hughes refused a British request to formally join British forces fighting in the Russian civil war 1917-21 against the Bolsheviks, Australian troops nonetheless joined the North Russia campaign as volunteers. A Royal Australian Destroyer HMAS Swan also undertook intelligence operations in the Black Sea in late 1918 directed against the Bolshevik forces.
With the rout of the British forces in 1941-42 by the Japanese, it was obvious to Australian politicians that a new protector was needed, and the Americans required no encouragement to assume that role. The marriage of convenience that occurred in 1942-45 may have suited Australia in its perception of an imminent Japanese invasion, but then, as now, the brides dowry should have been scrutinized more closely.
A relentless propaganda...
Death, writes Walter Benjamin, is the sanction of everything that the story teller can tell.
No city in India has more to do with death than Kashi, the city of Manikarnika Ghat, of whom it is said the day its perennial pyres go out, the world will end.
For story lovers in our time, here are some gathas a few-thousand-years-old but amazingly contemporary in spirit from the Buddhist jatakas, Jain prabandhas and Vedic scriptures about the Republic of Kashi, the iconoclasm of its ordinary citizens, the wisdom of its scholars, its false swamis, and failed kings who dreamed of making an empire of a republic.
The crows of Varanasi
The crows of Varanasi were a well-fed lot. All pilgrims those who came here to cremate their dead and also those who came to bathe in the holy Ganges offered the crows balls of rice, sesame and ghee, in the name of their ancestors. The gentle, kind-hearted Buddhist and Jain monks who wandered the city also fed the crows tidbits out of their begging bowls. Then came a terrible famine. Free meals even for crows became rare as the priests and pilgrims, the Jain and Buddhist monks and nuns fled the city. So the crows of Kashi held a quick conclave. It was resolved that till such time as the situation improved, the crows would fly west to a coastal town by the sea where their sister, married to a water bird liv...
Erbil, Iraq: Iraqi Kurds are expected to vote for independence in a referendum on Monday that neighbouring countries and Western powers fear could break up the country and stir broader regional ethnic and sectarian conflict.
Kurdish flags a red, white and green tricolour emblazoned with a golden sun adorn cars and buildings across the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, and billboards announce: The time is now say yes to a free Kurdistan!
Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish region since 2005, has resisted calls by the UN, the US and Britain to delay the referendum. Neighbourin...
UN: Seven members of the UN Security Council, including the US and Britain, on Friday asked UN chief Antonio Guterres to publicly brief the 15-member body next week on the violence in Myanmar that he has described as ethnic cleansing.
Sweden, the US, Britain, France, Egypt, Senegal, and Kazakhstan want Ethiopia, president of the council for September, to arrange the briefing for next week, according to the request seen by Reuters.
More than 422,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar since August 25, when attacks by Rohingya militants triggered a military cr...
London: London deemed Uber unfit to run a taxi service on Friday and stripped it of its licence to operate from the end of next week in a major blow to the U.S. firm and 3.5 million users in one of the worlds wealthiest cities.
In a break with the startups usual combative tone, Ubers new Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi asked London to please work with the ride service. He told employees the company needed to act with integrity but that he did not believe Uber had done everything it was accused of in London.
Uber, which has 40,000 drivers working in the capital, also said it would contest the deci...
Washington: Wisconsin, Ohio, California and ten other states said on Friday they were among 21 states that Russian government hackers targeted in an effort to sway the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald Trump though no votes were changed.
The Department of Homeland Security confirmed it had notified the states of the activity but declined to identify them. Russia has denied election meddling, and President Trump has denied any collusion with Russia.
Mumbai: A two-month-old cyber crime case has now taken a political turn after the Mumbai crime branch reportedly issued over 20 notices to journalists and activists across Maharashtra, asking them to appear before it for an inquiry. While police officials claimed the journalists were summoned only as witnesses, images and messages circulated widely on social media platforms on Friday claimed that the police have especially targeted those who have been critical of the state government.
A cyber crime case was registered in June by Nidhi Kamdar, an officer on special duty (OSD) with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, after her fake profile was allegedly created on Facebook. One Mahadev Balgude, 31, a Baramati resident was arrested on August 19 in this case. According to Kamdars complaint, Balgude, who operated a Facebook profile using the fake identity Dev Gaikwad, had created another account in Kamdars name. Balgude had allegedly faked some conversation between these two fake profiles, where he discussed money deals, referring to them being initiated at the...
In a press note issued on Saturday, the noted human rights activist and former IAS officer has questioned the timing of an income tax notice to the Centre for Equity Studies, a think-tank that he helps run, and asked whether it is being targeted because of the work Harsh Mander and others are doing to show solidarity with the victims of communal violence across India.
The press note is published below in its entirety.
A number of independent individuals, organisations and social movements collaborated to take out through many parts of the country a Karwan-e-Mohabbat, as a journey of atonement, solidarity, healing, conscience and justice with people living with hate violence. This was an entirely crowd funded Karwan, and the funds for this were received by Aman Biradari Trust, which does not have an FCRA.
On September 15, 2017, the Karwan was scheduled to stop at Behror at the site at which Pehlu Khan had been lynched, to pay tribute to his memory by placing a few flowers there. But a day before this, the Hindu Jag...
The Russian T-72B3 tanks have been tested during Zapad 2017 Russian-Belarussian strategic exercise. This is the first time the tanks were tested in a large-scale training event. The first batch of 20 upgraded vehicles entered service with the Western Military District of the Russian Army in February.
New Delhi: The Ministry of Women and Child Development has said there is no plan of replacing hot cooked meals, which the government currently provides to children between the ages of three and six years, by either uncooked food such as nutrient packets, ready-to-cook food or cash.
There has been a lot of discussion on this. But there is no plan to remove hot cooked meals. It is a part of the National Food Security Act, said women and child development ministry secretary Rakesh Srivastava. The role of anganwadis in cooking hot meals for children and women is specified in Section 5 and 6 of the Act. The central ministry provides only guidelines to the states. But states cannot violate the Act. If they do, they can be taken to court, he said.
This clarification follows reports that the government was in fact moving towards this. The indications on this came from...
The receding specters of a war involving North Korea and a US-Russia confrontation in Syria. The sound of cracking ice in the frozen conflict in Ukraine. Russia and the United States bidding farewell to tits-for-tat. Is this the dawn of a brave new world?
A senior Syrian opposition activist and her daughter were found dead in their apartment in Istanbul.
Orouba Barakat, an opponent of the ruling Baath party since the 1980s, and her only child, journalist Halla Barakat, were found dead in the early hours of this morning with stab wounds to their necks.
Friends raised the alarm after being unable to reach them by telephone. Turkish police then arrived at their apartment in the Uskudar district on the Asian side of Istanbul to find them dead.
The more people there are who ignore facts that contradict their beliefs, the likelier a dictatorship will emerge within a given country. Here is how aristocracies, throughout the Ages, have controlled the masses, by taking advantage of this widespread tendency people have, to ignore contrary facts...
Apart from its fiery masalas and its functional chappals, Kolhapur evokes images of prosperous sugar farmers and an economy known for its record-setting purchases of Mercedes cars. This is a different Kolhapur.
Vilas Patil lives in Karandewadi, in the Karveer taluka of Kolhapur district. He has three acres of rainfed land, not all of which is cultivable. Even of the good land, he manages to plant only on a portion because he can no longer afford the inputs. In a good monsoon, the land provides rice and ragi enough to feed his family for a part of the year. There is never any surplus to sell in the market. Patil makes ends meet in the employment of a brick merchant. He is bonded by his debt to this brick merchant for many years now. His financial year begins with the sowing season, when the merchant lends him the money to sow his crops. The most recent instalment of this loan was...
In the early 20th century, the worlds dominant superpower looked warily on the rise of a competitor to its supremacy. The machinations of the British to contain the rise of Germany led inexorably to the First World War. Once again in the early 21st century, the worlds dominant superpower is looking warily on the rise of a competitor. Will the American Empires machinations to contain the rise of China lead to the Third World War? Or is the American/Chinese conflict another engineered conflict for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many? Join James Corbett as he presents "Echoes of World War I" to the Open Mind Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Khimber (Jammu and Kashmir): Hassan Sheikh struggled to control his emotions as he talked about the sufferings and harassment faced by Rohingya Muslims in Jammu.
We were given a ten days ultimatum to leave Jammu earlier this month, Sheikh told The Wire. Then, he said, the police raided their shanties in the Bathinda area one evening and whisked away several men on frivolous charges.
Indias most prestigious science award, the annual Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize, was first given in 1958, but it was only in 1960 that its chemical sciences category was introduced. And it just took one year for the prize to go to its first female recipient, Asima Chatterjee, for her achievements in phytomedicine the study of plant extracts for therapy. It was a long wait, about 14 years, before another woman would be awarded the same prize, and an astounding 48 years before a woman would win it for the chemical sciences category again.
As much as the many barriers she broke should be celebrated, Chatterjee was a scientist and the best way of honouring her is to honour her science.
As Asish De has elucidated, being a natural products chemist in those days was no joke. While for centuries plants have been used for their medicinal properties, the biological mechanisms u...
New Delhi: A Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Amitava Roy and A.M. Khanwilkar has directed that two students suffering from congenital colour vision deficiency (CCVD) be admitted to the MBBS course run by the Tripura Medical College and Dr.B.R. Ambedkar Memorial Teaching Hospital, West Tripura, for the academic year 2018-19, reducing the quota from the year by two seats.
The students, Pranay Kumar Poddar and Sagar Bhowmik, had secured 112 and 140 ranks respectively in the all India entrance test conducted by the Tripura government in the pre-NEET era. Both the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the college had objected to their admission now, as they had not cleared the NEET. The Supreme Court, however, overruled their objections, saying they need not clear the NEET test to secure their admissions, in view of their ranks earlier.
The bench issued its order on September 12, despite serious objections from the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the college, by invoking its powers under Article 142 of the...
From September 14 to September 15, Astana held its sixth round of talks on Syria, in which the delegations of the guarantor countries Russia, Turkey and Iran, the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Syrian opposition, as well as the UN Secretary General Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, took part. The United States and Jordan were present as observers.
Following the outcome of the meeting, Russia, Turkey and Iran adopted a Joint Statement and four documents on deescalation zones: the mandate on deployment in the deescalation zones, rules of engagement of military forces, the procedure for managing checkpoints, and the provision for a joint coordinating center. The guarantor countries announced the establishment of four deescalation zones in Syria: in eastern Ghouta near Damascus, in the northern part of the Homs province, in the province of Idlib and in certain parts of the neighboring provinces of Latakia, Hama and Aleppo, as well as in some areas in southern Syria. These are intended to be a temporary measure with an initial validity of six months. A joint Iran-Russian-Turkish coordination centre is being established to coordinate the activities of the control forces in the deescalation zones.
Three of the four zones are currently operational: in the south-west of Syria, in eastern Ghouta and in the Homs area. The participants of the Astana talks stated that the establishment of deescalation zones shall not undermine the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. At the same time, the guarantor countries have not yet agreed on the distribution of control forces in the deescalation zone in Idlib.
The Syrian government and the opposition are in favor of the establishment of four deescalation zones. President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoan, has noted that Ankara and Moscow have no quarrel over the situation in Syria, nor did they have any disagreements in Astana during the meeting with Iran. However, since September 18, Turkey has been concentrating its forces on the border with the SAR in the Idlib region, sending military contingents that already amount to close to 8,000 service-persons. This included the support of artillery, armored vehicles and helicopters.
According to the Russian and Turkish parts of the representative office of the Russian-Turkish joint commission on the review of issues related to violations of the Single Ceasefire Agreement,...
Florence: Prime Minister Theresa May set out a plan on Friday to retain full access to the EUs single market for two years after Brexit to try to reassure business and reset the tone of stalled negotiations with Brussels.
But her proposals for such a transition, for meeting Britains financial obligations and for protecting EU citizens rights, fell short of what the EU wanted.
EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier praised the speech for its constructive spirit but asked for more detail. Another official said it had left him even more concerned.
Lahore: Ousted Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday (September 22) suffered a major setback after the countrys anti-graft body froze the bank accounts and seized properties belonging to him and his family members facing corruption and money laundering charges in the Panama Papers scandal.
Nawaz, 67, stepped down after the Supreme Court disqualified him on July 28 from continuing in his office for dishonesty and ruled that corruption cases be filed against him and his children.
The Accountability Court in Islamabad, which is hearing the corruption cases against the Sharif family, on Friday summoned Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar to appear before it on September 26.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) pasted the summonses and property attachment notices on the Sharifs residence in Raiwind on the outskirts of Lahore.
Sharif, along with his children, is in London to be with his ailing wife Kulsoom Sharif, who is undergoing treatment for throat cancer.
There is speculation in the Pakistani media that the Sharif family may not return to face the NAB corruption cases.
The ruling PML-N party, however, insists that Nawaz would return once his wifes health improves.
We have written to the State Bank of Pakistan (...
New Delhi: India has stepped up security along its largely porous eastern border with Bangladesh and is using chilli and stun grenades to block the entry of Rohingya Muslims fleeing from violence in their homeland of Myanmar, officials said on Friday.
Border forces in India, which wants to deport around 40,000 Rohingya already living in the country, citing security risks, have been authorised to use rude and crude methods to stop any attempts by...
New Delhi: Students from Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi held a large protest on Friday (September 22) against the university administrations alleged victim shaming after one of them reported an incident of molestation,
A first-year student, who lives in the university hostel, was allegedly molested and grabbed by three bike-borne men just outside the BHU campus at around 6:20 pm on Thursday evening. However, according to students, when she yelled for help, the university guards ignored her. She then went inside to report the matter to her warden and the chief proctor, but they too were less than sympathetic, students say.
When the student was molested last evening at 6, she shouted for help but the guards sitting there did not come forward or chase the bike. She went and complained to her warden and the chief proctor but they began shaming her. They asked her why she was out so late. They told students that the hostel curfew timings will be shifted from 7 pm to 6 pm, a female student at the protest...
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Saturday (September 22) asked the chief Secretaries of 22 states to file compliance reports in pursuance of its order on September 6 laying down a mechanism to sternly deal with cow vigilante groups, saying nobody can wash off their hands.
The bench added that states were under an obligation to pay compensation to victims of vigilante action, without the need for any judicial order. We do not have to say that. All states are under an obligation to compensate victims of cow vigilante violence. At the same time, law and order has to have primacy and anyone violating it must be dealt with sternly,...
On the night of September 8, police in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, picked up two boys and two girls from a central part in the city a little after midnight. The boys were Muslims, the girls Hindus. All four were from Kirtinagar, a town in the Tehri Garhwal district. At the station, the police were informed by the Kirtinagar police that the girls had been reported missing. The girls were returned to Kirtinagar and the boys arrested, though it isnt clear what they were charged with.
According to a report in Amar Ujala, the next day, unnamed Hindu organisations attacked and broke the shops owned by the boys families in Kirtinagar. The report quotes local traders saying they had no involvement in the attack on the shops, and that those who did so were brought in from outside. The police are now deployed in the town and the circle officer has announced that he will be remaining there for the near future.
Since the BJP came to power in Uttarakhand in March, incidents like this are being reported continuously fr...
The village square is bustling with activity. Women are seated along the stone wall boundary of the exquisitely wood carved temple. In the centre is a huddle of local men, and emerging from it is a golden umbrella, under it a wooden bust of the local devta or deity, sitting on a palanquin resting on the shoulders of two men. As the sounds of drum beats and gigantic shehnais fill the air, the palanquins dolled up in fineries, sway gently from side to side. Two more palanquins join in and together head to the sacred forest. The deities, whose receptacles these palanquins are, belong to three adjacent villages in Kullus quaint Parvati Valley Tosh, Barsheini and Tahuk. The congregation of gods has been organised in Tosh, tucked away at almost the end of the valley, to seek blessings, and appease the gods who might have been angered or disappointed by the wrongdoings of the community. When tragedy befalls a family or the entire village, the devtas are called upon, to guide the collective conscience of the community.
After several years of studying brown bear ecology on Alaskas Kodiak Island, I grew used to walking up streams into scenes of carnage. Where bears had killed and eaten spawning sockeye salmon, stream beds were littered with fish heads, jaws and whole carcasses, and plants on the stream banks were flattened. But at the peak of the stream spawning run in 2014, I was puzzled to find no bears or salmon parts. Salmon were dying naturally after spawning and piling up in streams, intact.
Ive spent the last three years trying to solve this ecological puzzle. After extensive field and lab work along with researchers from Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, Flathead Lake Biological Station and Oregon State University, we arrived at a fascinating conclusion.
In warm years, another favourite bear food red elderberries ripened early enough to overlap with the salmon season. This forced bears to choose between the foods. Surprisingly, almost all bears opted for berries over salmon. This choice has likely altered food webs, and will become increasingly common with expected climate warming.
Our team was struck by the bears seemingly counterintuitive switch. Why would bears stop eating a high-protein food loaded with energy? Quickly, though, we realized that our work was an example of a more global concern: What happens when climate change alters natures schedule?
Aurangabad: Ten months after currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 were scrapped on November 8 last year, the ghost of demonetisation continues to haunt Deepak Badavne.
In early November, Badavne had harvested 31 quintals of cotton from his 2.5 acre farm. He expected good returns on it. The trader arranged for the truck and loaded the cotton from my house, he says. But just then, the demonetisation-induced cash crunch hit the farm sector. The payment for Deepaks cotton didnt materialise. The trader is now saying he will pay by Diwali [by mid-October 2017], he says.
The trader owes Badavne Rs 178,483 for his cotton yield. A cheque he received for this amount on March 24 bounced thrice. I am not the only one, says Deepak, 31, sitting under a tree in Karajgaon village on the outskirts of Aurangabad city in Marathwada, Maharashtra. There are others in my village who have been similarly duped.
Badavne, who lives in a joint family and has two children, has gath...
Cyber warfare no longer remains a figment of science fiction but a proximate reality that states need to grapple with when framing geo-strategic policy. The quagmire lies in reigning in the use of this sphere, which has rapidly proliferated into becoming an essential part of human existence today. The main barrier to cohesive normative regulation has been posed first, by its global ubiquity, which has prevented the development of universal consensus from states with differing economic and political ambitions and second by its inherent nature, as a non-physical conception, which has made the task of applying traditional principles of international law a challenge.
The failure of the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts (UN-GGE) earlier this year to agree upon a universal set of norms to govern the use of cyberspace is therefore, disappointing, given the initial progress made by the same body in recent y...
On a double-decker bus from Dublin airport to Drumcondra early one June morning, a young lad stretched out on the back seat and started to rap. What he lacked in talent he made up for in gusto. I was with a dozen of my students who were travelling from DePaul University in Chicago on a study abroad trip and this was their very first impression of Ireland. I cringed and tried to ignore the atonal reveller. Their response, it turned out, was at odds with mine. Thats American rap! one of them chortled. Why is he rapping Kendrick? The oddity of the situation entertained them, and they discussed it with a fervour typically reserved for matters of greater significance.
One thing Ive noticed over the years of bringing my students to Ireland my homeland is that they pay rapt attention to the little things. This heightened and delighted attention to the ordinary, which manifests in someone new to a place, does not seem to have a name. So I have given it one: allokataplixis (from the Greek allo meaning other, and katapliktikomeaning wonder). In Modern Greek katapliktiko and the related wordkatataplixie can be used to register astonishment. Admittedly, in Ancient Greek the family of words surrounding kataplxis sometimes signified terror and panic. It is, however, the note of pure amazement and fascination present i...
North Korea is once again the big, bad, boogey man of Asia, a convenient villain Washington will use to fuel a spanking new arms race. If all-out war does not follow Donald Trumps insane policies aimed at Pyongyang, something miraculous will have to take place soon. The American hegemony turns once again to the Far East, in a redux of the 2000 North Korean sanctions negotiations.
Ill wager that very few people reading this remember the 1999 missile tests over Japan that North Korea used to negotiate sanctions reductions. Yes, its true and not fake news, as the New York Times reported from 2000, South Korea Plans to Begin Rocket Program. What, you expected ingenuity and creativity from the Trump administration and the US Congress? Not a chance of that, I say. The elites that run the globalist narrative never divert from what works, I tell you. If young and old Americans were fearful Japan would go up in a mushroom cloud in 1999, then the new generation of willing idiots are all the more capable of apathetic abandon. Trump and Co. are just doing Korea or Vietnam II, since those ventures proved financially profitable for the military industrialists and the economy overall. Do you feel like youve been duped yet? Okay, read on.
Once again, the New York Times is the soap box from which the hegemons preach to the waiting and fearful masses about the Pyongyang boogeyman, only this time its Kim Jong-un, and not his venerable supreme leader father Kim Jong-il whos center stage in the Armageddon drama. But the headlines this time around are far more creative. A story this week entitled The Rare, Potent Fuel Powering North Koreas Weapons, brings to mind 007 and James Bond, super-duper-secret rockets from Dr. No or Austin Powers as Dr. Evil, I can no longer discern. Once again American journalists take advantage of the fact most people dont know beans about much of anything anymore. Let me frame the latest bullshit from Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Juniors venerable newspaper. The rare and potent fuel it took not one but two award winning journalists to invent is known as UDMH, or Unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine. Now I am fairly sure that William J. Broad and David E. Sanger both know UDMH is about as rare in the world of rockets as pointy nose cones or ignition sequences. But the North Koreans and the story sound much more ominous and deadly with spy thriller lingo deployed. Just so you know Im not slinging BS, the rare and poten...
New Delhi: In a significant judgment, the Supreme Court bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta today set aside the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order directing state governments to reconsider appointments to the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) and laying down guidelines for such appointments. According to the apex court, the NGT does not have the jurisdiction to make this decision.
However, the bench agreed with the NGT that such appointments should not be made casu...
The post Jan Gan Man Ki Baat, Episode 123: Cyber Crimes and JNU appeared first on The Wire.
Tropical timber has earned a bad reputation.
When we think of timber from lush, tropical forests, it conjures up images of valuable old-growth trees pillaged by logging companies and illegal timber mafias, ignoring the plight of wildlife and local communities.
But tropical timber does not have to be bad, some experts say.
Tropical wood forms an integral part of many of our daily-use products, like furniture, toilet paper, flooring, construction, and packaging material. And this important resource can be harvested from forests responsibly and sustainably, experts say, ensuring that we meet our future wood needs while conserving forests.
When you speak about tropical forests with anybody, my mom or whoever, its always corruption, its always blood, its always stealing, its always dirty. Nobody wants tropical timber anymore, Paolo Cerutti, a senior scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) who has been working on sustainable forest management in sub-Saharan Africa, told Mongabay. But that is bad because we can harvest the forest in a way that is clean and proper and sustainable.
It is this need for clean timber that gave birth to the...
New Delhi: Eleven years ago, on this day, the Supreme Court had issued directions to the Centre and state governments to transform their police forces into professional, accountable and efficient service units. However, a recent report shows that compliance remains far from satisfactory with none of the governments enacting laws to adhere to the guidelines.
In fact, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, a non-profit organisation working in the areas of access to justice (police and prison reforms) and access to information for over two decades, has pointed out that while 18 states enacted new police acts and 11 issued executive orders, ostensibly to comply w...
US President Trumps address to the United Nations General Assembly signaled little fundamental change in the USs imperial stance towards the world, despite the America First rhetoric derided by establishment critics as isolationist during and after the 2016 election campaign, including...
Many honest, busy analysts outside established media circles in the United States and Europe are plagued by mythologies stemming from once pseudo-truths they simply lack the time or energy to dig into and finally correct.
Among them are enduring myths about the Southeast Asian state of Thailand and its relationship with the United States. These myths stem from its role during the Vietnam War and are now not only outdated, they are destructive to the truth to a point where they aid rather than impede the very special interests upon Wall Street and in Washington many of these analysts seek to expose and confront.
US-Thai Relations During the Vietnam War
During the Vietnam War, Thailand hosted US forces on its territory. It contributed a number of its own troops in supporting roles throughout Southeast Asia and conducted its own military campaign domestically against heavily armed Communist militants. It is easy to conclude that Thailand was an eager ally then, and easy to see why many analysts assume this is still the case today.
However, in reality, the history of Thailand is of the only nation in Southeast Asia to avoid Western colonisation. It is also the story of a nation that survived the World Wars by expertly aligning itself amid greater powers, neither significantly contributing to nor suffering from contests of powers between more powerful nations.
During the Second World War, Thailand tenuously aligned with the Japanese. It played no significant role in a war the Japanese ultimately lost. Upon Japans defeat, Thailand would once again balance its relationships evenly among its Asian neighbours and the Western victors of the war.
The Vietnam War was likewise a regional war started by foreign powers. It devastated not only Vietnam itself, but neighbouring Laos and Cambodia as well. Despite escaping the worst of the fighting, Thailand lost over a thousand soldiers and police amid security operations within its own borders. It fought allegedly Communist fighters, based primarily in Udon Thani, coincidentally where the US maintained its intelligence apparatus.
In hindsight of the current so-called War on Terror, where the US uses terrorism both as a proxy force aga...
The new regulation on interconnection usage charges (IUCs), slashing termination rates by 57%, will have far-reaching consequences on the telecom sector. It will help in bringing down tariff, improving quality of services and in replacing inefficient 2G networks with the latest 4G technology that will help in taking the benefits of the digital economy to the masses. A high IUC disincentivises operators from investing in new technologies, as they earn good revenue just by receiving calls o...
Just weeks after the historic ouster of Nawaz Sharif from the Prime Ministers Office through a court decision, it already looks like a non-event. The new prime minister was calmly elected and governance became business as usual in no time. There had been no party defections, no noisy internecine fights and no experts revised their assessments of the prospects of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) in the coming general elections. The anxieties about the impending dangers to democracy and the live broadcast hysteria about the system being derailed once again have dissipated too.
So has the PMLN transcended Nawaz Sharif?
The party was a test-tube baby born in the Pakistani establishments political laboratory. It was invested with the best of genes from the rightist ideologues and the rising Punjabi civil business class. It was designed to serve as the antidote to the leftist populist politics of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). And it did serve the purpose. But then it refused to limit its existence to that purpose alone: in the process, it got its own personality.
Sharifs person stood to symbolise the interests of a particular Punjabi class. He was progressive in his role as he wanted those interest...
Editors note: Gold imports from South Korea surged to $339 million between July 1, 2017, and August 3, 2017. In the same period last year, gold imports from the country were only $70.5 million.
So this story is worth a tell.
India has had this major problem with gold imports. So they introduce a 10% import duty on gold. But then, India also has free trade agreements (FTA) with some countries notably, South Korea. Where they make some refinements to gold, and then export it everywhere.
A free trade agreement means no customs duty. But you cant have zero import duty from South Korea, and then 10% from everywhere else, because then everyone in India will simply import gold from South Korea.
So, India had to do something. What it did was to introduce a 12.5% excise duty on gold. When you import something that has an excise duty there is a countervailing duty (CVD) that applies even if you have no customs duty. This is simple if...
New Delhi: SpiceJet boss Ajay Singh, a politically-connected entrepreneur who has worked for and closely supported the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the last two decades, is reportedly considering buying a majority stake in NDTV, an Indian Express report stated on Friday.
New Delhi: A fact-finding team looking into the death of 30-year-old Munfaid in an alleged police encounter has not just said that the police is trying to cover up the details of the case, but also that as many as 11 police encounter cases with 15 victims, all Muslim men have been identified in the area since 2010. Munfaid was killed on September 16.
Munfaid had been accused in a rape case and was frequently called by the police to do some work for them, promising to dismiss the case in return, his family has said. On the night before his death, he reportedly told his father and father-in-law that the police had asked him to come Rewari to meet them for some work. His family encouraged him to go, they told the fact-finding team from the Citizens Against Hate collective, hoping the police would stop harassing them. Munfaid mentioned the names of four Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) officers he was going to meet Vikrant, Shakti Singh, Satish and Siddharth. The next day, the family was told that Munfaid had been killed.
According to the team, residents of village Rozkemeo said that Munfaid wasnt alone when he was killed he was accompanied by three friends, who saw him get shot by the police and then fled the scene fearing for their own lives. They have not given...
The British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to make a historic speech on the post-Exit relationship between the UK and EU. Of all the places to make such an important and profound speech the choice of Italy, home to one of the most powerful (and deeply corrupted) Christian religions in human history, alongside its peculiar relationship and history with Mussolini's Fascists and the organised crime syndicate of the Mafia is a flamboyant if not very strange and disturbing choice. It was also strange regarding the surprise announcement from 10 Downing Street (during the tussle over the Foreign Secretary's piece in the Daily Telegraph preceded the day before by the Parsons Green terror attack...
Contrary to a barrage of spin, the P5+1 meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to assess implementation of the Iran nuclear deal did not go especially well, as diplomats confirmed to Asia Times.
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