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Wednesday, 25 October

02:57

Jan Gan Man Ki Baat, Episode 140: Hasmukh Adhia on GST and Ro-Ro Ferry The Wire

Vinod Dua comments on revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhias statement on the GST and Modis claim that he inaugurated the first Ro-Ro ferry service in India.

The post Jan Gan Man Ki Baat, Episode 140: Hasmukh Adhia on GST and Ro-Ro Ferry appeared first on The Wire.

02:25

What Israel is Fighting for in the Middle-Eastern Mess? New Eastern Outlook

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As forces of the so-called Islamic State terrorist group are pushed across Syria and Iraq, one can clearly see Israels shifting position regarding the situation in Syria, which can be explained by Tel-Avivs desire to reorder the Middle East.

Its clear that Israel has finally realized that its been betting on the wrong side in Syria and is now risks losing all. It goes without saying that once defeated, Israels leadership will be in no position to demand anything from anyone. This includes failing to establish a security zone within the Golan Heights, as well as failed ambitions over controlling the Iraqi-Syrian border which now will likely not come to fruition. In fact, the panic mode that the Netanyahu administration has been in for a while reflects the dramatic changes that are taking place in Syria and across the region. After Israels betting on the losing party for so long, Tel-Aviv has no other choice but to pursue damage control in a desperate bid to save its Jordanian and Kurdish proxies. Its new strategy states that it must draw Iraq and Syria away from Iran and integrate them into the Israeli-American-Saudi alliance.
Over the last six years of conflict in Syria, Israel would try to avoid any direct military confrontation. Only recently Israeli aircraft and artillery have started launching strikes inside Syrian territory. Among their targets included Hezbollah, which is fighting on the side of the Syrian government, but also military facilities of the Syrian Arab Army as well. In particular, the recent bombardment of Israeli artillery targeting Syrian army positions in the Golan Heights, according to Israeli media reports, destroyed three Syrian artillery positions.
Israel has always been deeply involved in the Syrian conflict. Repeated statements by Israeli officials that Tel-Aviv pursues a policy of non-interference in the Syrian civil war have been circulating within Western media sources for years. However, in a recent series of explanations given by Israels Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to European officials, he would acknowledge that Tel-Aviv destroyed dozens of Iranian convoys fighting in the Syrian Arab Republic against ISIS hordes. On June 18, the Wall Street Journal...

01:13

As Opposition Comes Together to Protest on Demonetisation Anniversary, CPI(M) Remains Indecisive The Wire

The CPI(M)s unclear stance on joining the protest reflects a divide within the organisation on whether to align with other parties.

Opposition leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad of Congress, Derek O'Brien of TMC and JD(U) rebel leader Sharad Yadav at a press conference to observe November 8 as Black Day to protest note ban in New Delhi on Tuesday. Credit: PTI

Opposition leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad of Congress, Derek OBrien of TMC and JD(U) rebel leader Sharad Yadav at a press conference announcing that they will observe November 8 as Black Day to protest note ban, in New Delhi on Tuesday. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Confusion prevails over the participation of Left parties in the nation-wide opposition call for observing a Black Day on November 8, the first anniversary of demonetisation.

On Tuesday morning, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, rebel Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav and Trinamool Congress leader Derek O Brien had informed the press that 18 opposition parties, in a meeting of a coordination committee which was formed during the last parliamentary session and of which Left parties are a part, had decided on October 23 to...

00:30

US Is Finally Getting Its Ducks in a Row in Afghanistan-Pakistan, but Is That Enough? The Wire

The US leadership must demand not just the pushing of the Haqqani Network and the Taliban cadres over to the Afghan side, but also for Pakistan to handover their leadership.

US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confer during a working lunch with African leaders during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confer during a working lunch with African leaders during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Several months into office, US President Donald Trump finally announced the countrys new strategy for the Afghanistan-P...

00:30

He Died as He Lived: David Hume, Philosopher and Infidel The Wire

Humes skepticism had earned him a lifetime of abuse and reproach from the pious, including a concerted effort to excommunicate him from the Church of Scotland.

David Hume and St Giles Cathedral, Royal Mile, Edinburgh. Credit:Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

David Hume and St Giles Cathedral, Royal Mile, Edinburgh. Credit:Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

As the Scottish philosopher David Hume lay on his deathbed in the summer of 1776, his passing became a highly anticipated event. Few people in 18th-century Britain were as forthright in their lack of religious faith as Hume was, and his skepticism had earned him a lifetime of abuse and reproach from the pious, including a concerted effort to excommunicate him from the Church of Scotland. Now everyone wanted to know how the notorious infidel would face his end. Would he show remorse or perhaps even recant his skepticism? Would he die in a state of distress, having none of the usual consolations afforded by belief in an afterlife? In the event, Hume died as he had lived, with remarkable good humour and without religion.

The most famous depiction of Humes dying days, at least in our time, comes from James Boswell, who managed to contrive a visit with him on Sunday, July 7, 1776. As his account of their conversation makes plain, the purpose of Boswells visit was less to pay his respects to a dying man, or even to gratify a sense of morbid curiosity, than to try to fortify his own religious convictions by confirming that even Hume could not remain a sincere non-believer to the end. In this, he failed utterly.

Being too late for church, Boswell made...

00:24

Episode 18. How Britain assisted the Soviet Unions fight against Hitler (II) OrientalReview.org

But out of the 34 merchant ships and tankers in the PQ 17 convoy, which set sail out of Hvalfjrur fjord on June 27, 1942, only 13 made it to the shores of the Soviet Union.

00:15

Past Continuous: Will Modis 2014 Mandate Be Wasted, Like Rajiv Gandhis 1984 One? The Wire

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

Rajiv Gandhi campaigning in Amethi in 1981. Credit: Twitter/Youth Congress

Rajiv Gandhi campaigning in Amethi in 1981. Credit: Twitter/Youth Congress

On securing a handsome mandate  bigger than any in recent past  in an election, political leaders have to first resolve whether that victory shall be her or his peak, or if the bar should be further raised. Determination to conquer even higher electoral peaks must necessarily be reflected in humility, as any streak of arrogance or hubris is a guarantee of stumbling sooner or later. In Indian history, Jawaharlal Nehru won three successive elections, not just because the opposition was yet to become a viable project and because his party was considered as the only legatee of the freedom struggle, but also for his politically inclusive qualities. True, he resorted to several questionable steps  like use of Article 356 of the Indian constitution to dismiss state some governments  but by and large, he was open to the voice of reason and often re-examined his prior posture.

Indira Gandhi was overtaken by delusion regarding her eternal stranglehold in the wake of the triumph in the first mid-term Lok Sabha polls in 1971  and the successes in state elections in 1972  along with the Indian military success against Pakistan. Within two years of the 1971 war, winds of unrest began blowing across several parts...

00:09

Hong Kong Democracy Activists Granted Bail The Wire

Student leaders Joshua Wong and Nathan Law arrive at the High Court to face verdict on charges relating to the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement, also known as Occupy Central protests, in Hong Kong, China August 17, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Student leaders Joshua Wong and Nathan Law arrive at the High Court to face verdict on charges relating to the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement, also known as Occupy Central protests, in Hong Kong, China August 17, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Hong Kong: Hong Kongs highest court granted bail to two prominent young pro-democracy activi...

00:08

China Communist Party Enshrines Xi Jinping Thought in Constitution The Wire

Chinese President Xi Jinping (front row, center) and fellow delegates raise their hands as they take a vote at the closing session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, in Beijing, China October 24, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Thomas Peter

Chinese President Xi Jinping (front row, centre) and fellow dele...

00:07

Four Yemeni Soldiers Killed in Suspected Al Qaeda Truck Bombing The Wire

A Yemeni soldier mans a machine gun mounted on a military truck near the Red Sea coast city of al-Mokha, Yemen January 23, 2017. Credit: Reuters

A Yemeni soldier mans a machine gun mounted on a military truck near the Red Sea coast city of al-Mokha, Yemen January 23, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Aden: Suspected Al Qaeda militants attacked a military checkpoint in the southern Yemen province of Abyan on Monday, killing four soldiers and wounding 10, a military official said.

Four men wearing explosive vests emerged from their truck at the checkpoint in the town of Mudia while the driver detonated the vehicle, the official told Reuters.

All five attackers were killed in the explosions, which could be felt throughout the town, he said. Al Qaedas local affiliate in Yemen, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), later claimed responsibility for the attack in a message on its Telegram channel, according to the SITE monitoring centre

The group has taken advantage of a...

00:06

China Aims to Meet Air Quality Standards by 2035, Says Minister The Wire

Chinese Minister of Environmental Protection Li Ganjie attends a news conference during the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, China October 23, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Chinese Minister of Environmental Protection Li Ganjie attends a news conference during the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, China October 23, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Beijing/Shanghai: China will strive to comply fully with its own air quality standards by 2035, the countrys environment minister said on Monday, adding that the long and difficult battle against pollution would eventually benefit the economy.

Speaking on the sidelines of Chinas Communist Party Congress, Minister of En...

00:03

Australia Expands Security Assistance to Philippines to Combat Islamist Militants The Wire

FILE PHOTO: Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne shakes hands with her Filipino counterpart Delfin Lorenzana, before their meeting to discuss military strategy and assistance in the Philippines' fight against Islamist militants in Marawi, at Villamor Air Base in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines, September 8, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Erik De Castro/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne shakes hands with her Filipino counterpart Delfin Lorenzana, before their meeting...

00:01

North Korea Threat Is Critical, Imminent, Says Japan The Wire

A North Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva October 2, 2014. Credit: Reuters

A North Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva October 2, 2014. Credit: Reuters

Clark Freeport Zone, Philippines: The threat from North Korea has grown to a critical and imminent level and the US, Japan and South Korea must address the matter, Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera told his US and South Korean counterparts in talks on Monday.

Onoderas remarks underscored the deep concern in Tokyo after North Korean weapons tests, including test firing missiles over Japan, as Pyongyang seeks to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the US.

His comments broke from more measured language on Monday by US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and South Korean Defence Minister Song Young-Moo, as the three men met on the sidelines of a gathering of Asian defence chiefs in the Philippines....

00:00

Yogis Sarkari Deepawali Has Made Ayodhya Feel as Alone and Abandoned as Sita The Wire

The farcical enactment of  the return of Ram Rajya signals trying times ahead. Seeing Ayodhyas plight, many speak of the curse Sita put on it for abandoning her at a difficult juncture and choosing to belong solely to Rama.

The lit up ghats of Ayodhya for Diwali celebrations organised by the Uttar Pradesh government last Wednesday. Credit: Krishna Pratap Singh

The lit up ghats of Ayodhya for Diwali celebrations organised by the Uttar Pradesh government last Wednesday. Credit: Krishna Pratap Singh

On October 18, 2017, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, presided over a lavish spectacle in Ayodhya, billed as the return of treta yuga (the mythological age in which the events associated with the Ramayana are said to have taken place). The highlights included a shobha yatra (procession) with tableaux depicting the age of the Ramayana; the arrival in Ayodhya, by helicopter, of the victorious Rama with Sita, Lakshmana; the coronation of Lord Rama by the chief minister; and the finale of setting a new world record for lighting diyas, or earthen lamps.

Who knows whether the exercise was a travesty of the meaning attached to diyas or Ayodhya, or was a mockery of both. The Guinness world record for simultaneously lighting the maximum number of diyas was hitherto held by the convicted rapist Gurmeet Ram Rahim of Dera Sachcha Sauda in Sirs...

00:00

ISIS Killed More Than 60, Dozens Missing in Syrian Town: Governor The Wire

A baby stroller is pictured near a burnt vehicle in Raqqa, Syria October 18, 2017. Picture taken October 18, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Erik De Castro

A baby stroller is pictured near a burnt vehicle in Raqqa, Syria October 18, 2017. Picture taken October 18, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Erik De Castro

Syrian troops and allied forces regained control of al-Qaryatayn town after eliminating terrorist Daesh (ISIS) groups that had infiltrated it, state media said on Saturday.

A Britain-based war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said ISIS had killed at least 128 people in the town.

Homs province governor Talal Barazi told Reuters on phone that More than 60 were dead, while more than 100 others are...

00:00

Media Bol Episode 20: Hunger in India and Ram Statue The Wire

Urmilesh discusses the problem of hunger in India and the media coverage of the proposed Ram statue in Ayodhya.

The post Media Bol Episode 20: Hunger in India and Ram Statue appeared first on The Wire.

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Tuesday, 24 October

23:59

China is Now Grappling With What It Means to Review Its Constitution The Wire

One of the most significant outcomes of the Communist Party of Chinas 19th congress is the importance given to constitutionality review.

(Front row, L to R) Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress (NPC) Zhang Dejiang, former Chinese President Hu Jintao, Chinese President Xi Jinping, former President Jiang Zemin, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, are seen during the opening of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 18, 2017. REUTER...

23:37

Centre Approves Rs 2.11 Lakh Crore State Bank Recapitalisation Plan The Wire

FILE PHOTO: An India Rupee note is seen in this illustration photo June 1, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Thomas White/Illustration/File Photo

An India Rupee note is seen in this illustration photo June 1, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Thomas White/Illustration/File Photo

The Indian government approved on Tuesday a state bank recapitalisation plan of Rs 2.11 lakh crore ($32.43 billion) over the next two years, in a bid to clean banks books and revive investment in a slowing economy.

Of the planned sum, recapitalisation bonds will account for Rs 1.35 lakh crore, while the rest will come from budgetary support and equity issuance, said Rajiv Kumar, the financial services secretary.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley said the recapitalisation of state banks would be followed by a series of reforms. He did not give details.

While banks remain the main source of funding for Indias companies, the stubborn bad debt problem has eaten into bank profits and choked off new lending, especially to smaller firms, at a time when an economy that depends on them is stalling.

Twenty one state-run banks account for more than two-thirds of Indias banking assets. But they also...

23:30

RTI Plea Seeks to Know If Centre Approved of Draconian Rajasthan Criminal Laws Amendment Bill The Wire

The plea under the Right to Information Act also questioned the delay in the release of information about the ordinance.

Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje. Credit: PTI

A petition filed under the Right to Information Act (RTI) has asked the Centre to clarify whether it had granted prior permission to the Rajasthan government to promulgate the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance, 2017.

The application, filed by lawyer activist Hemant Kumar with the prime ministers office, comes as the state government continues to be in the eye of a storm following the tabling of The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2017 in the state assembly.  The bill has come in for strong protests from the opposition and criticism from legal experts, forcing the government on Tuesday to send the bill to a select committee for further consideration.

However, Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has already said that the Bill was meant to prevent motivated complaints....

23:30

Arrogance and Miscalculations Have Weakened Modis Hand in Kashmir The Wire

The Centres decision to appoint a representative for dialogue with Kashmir comes from a position of self-inflicted weakness.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Credit: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Credit: PTI

The tragic irony is that it is exactly three years to the day since Prime Minister Narendra Modi began to toss away the aces he held with regard to Kashmir. Diwali in 2014 was on October 23. Modi tweeted a few days before saying:


There was a wave of delight, goodwill and expectation (mainly of a relief and rehabilitation package) among people at large. But on October 23 morning, Modi flew to Siachen and then the cantonment in Srinagar. He announced a package of Rs 745 crore to repair six hospitals and rebuild houses substantially less than the Rs 44,000 crore t...

23:04

NAFTA: A Third Failure? New Eastern Outlook

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The most obvious and significant evidence of radical changes in the world order (which began with the ascension of the new administration of the United States) is the effective collapse of two regional partnerships: the Transatlantic and the Trans-Pacific. Both projects served as cornerstones of the former US leaderships plans to strengthen the countrys dominance during the 21st century worldwide. And both of them, on the whim of new president Donald Trump, went belly up without even being born.

But now the fate of the third largest integrated association (which, unlike the first two, has been functioning since 1994) is in question the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which includes the United States, Canada and Mexico.

In January 2017, President Trump announced to renegotiate NAFTA and that he will withdraw the US from it if the partners fail to reach an understanding.

Just like with the two aforementioned failed partnerships, the same problems were voiced, among them financial expenses, as well as the loss of US jobs in favor of the other two NAFTA members, mainly Mexico. According to the German newspaper Welt, bilateral trade between the USA and Mexico ended in 2016 with a trade deficit of $ 70 billion for the former and $30 billion for Canada.

The negotiation process between representatives of the member states was launched in mid-August 2017. As of now, the fourth round of talks has taken place on October 11-17 in the suburbs of Washington, and the participants have departed to Mexico for the fifth round. They were accompanied by a special message from Trump that if the Agreement isnt revised, then itll be terminated and that will be fine.

A statement of the US Department of Commerce on October 6, a week before fourth round of the NAFTA talks, illustrates the gravity of the situation. The statement voiced the intention to satisfy Boeings request for a 300 % in duties on the narrow-body passenger planes of the Canadian company Bombardier, purchased by American air carriers on domestic...

21:58

Washington Forbids Serbia from De-Mining Syria Strategic Culture Foundation

This may be one of the cruelest and most cynical moves of Washington in its entire dark "regime change Syria" chapter. Serbian media sources are reporting, based on quotes from US Embassy Belgrade personnel, that the United States has sought and been given assurances by the Serbian government and military that Serbian de-mining experts will not be deploying to Syria to assist in removing the ubiquitous horrific mines and other explosive devices left behind by a retreating ISIS. 

21:58

Vasundhara Raje Government Sends Criminal Laws Amendment Bill To Select Committee The Wire

Faced with dogged opposition, Rajasthan assembly Speaker said the government would consider the suggestions put forward by the members.

Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje. Credit: vasundhararaje.in

Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje. Credit: vasundhararaje.in

New Delhi: Amidst outcry over the Rajasthan governments Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill seeking to bar the media from naming a public servant until the state government sanctions the investigation, chief minister Vasundhara Raje on Tuesday referred the legislation to a select committee of the assembly. The decision comes on the back of a high-level late night meeting on Monday, where it was decided that the amended bill would be reviewed by a panel.

The government could now rework the most controversial provisions in the bill  media gag and 180-day window for the administration to sanction prosecution against an accused public servant  official sources told the Hindustan Times.

The bill, tabled in the state assembly yesterday by home minister Gulabchand Kataria to replace an ordinance promulgated on S...

21:45

US May Strike North Korea in November Strategic Culture Foundation

If the mission is to prevent the North Korean capability to strike continental USA and an operation is unavoidable, then Donald Trump will have nothing to lose. If it is a question of not if but when, then there is no reason for delay.

21:17

When Alabama Tried to Pull Off a Vasundhara The Wire

To counter the civil rights movement, Alabama had passed a law protecting the reputation of public officials, and the justification given for it was eerily similar to that given by the Rajasthan government.

Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje. Credit: vasundhararaje.in

Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje. Credit: vasundhararaje.in

In 1964, the Supreme Court of the United States was faced with a question that in some shape or form will soon reach the door step of the Rajasthan high court, if it hasnt already.

Alabama had passed a law that said any person who published any statement that injured the reputation of a person in public office or imputed misconduct to him/her would be per se [i.e. automatically] liable for libel. This meant that any aggrieved public official who simply proved that a publication identified him or her and harmed his or her reputation would walk away with a fortune while single-handedly reducing the publisher to insolvency. The only defence available for the publisher was proving that the facts published were true in their entirety, a standard almost impossible, since the slightest unintended error would ruin any defence.

Taking advantage of this law, a city commissioner in Alabama, L.B. S...

21:15

Russia-China Tandem Changes the World Strategic Culture Foundation

The Wests persistent demonization of Russia over the past decade has pushed Moscow into a de facto alliance with China, changing the geopolitical landscape in ways that U.S. pundits still wont admit, writes Gilbert Doctorow.

20:45

Sabotaging the Iran Deal Trump Certifies US Irrelevance Strategic Culture Foundation

Trump's decision will have positive effects in the short term for Washington's relations with Middle-Eastern allies. In the medium to long term, it may signal a parting of ways of European and American foreign policy

20:15

Raqqa Destroyed to Liberate It Strategic Culture Foundation

The so-called Islamic State organization was primarily a bogeyman encouraged by the western powers. Ive been saying this for the last four years.

19:45

Pew Finds Increasing Percentage of Americans Disagree with Religion: US Political Implications Strategic Culture Foundation

No previous Pew poll had found that a majority of Americans believed that no religion (not theirs, nor anyone elses) possesses the authority to define right and wrong.

19:30

In Chandni Begum, a Peek Into a World Not Divided Between Us and Them The Wire

Qurratulain Hyders final novel revolves around how the coexistence of a temple and a mosque on the same piece of property has the potential to flare up into a full-scale conflagration.

Hyders craft as a natural storyteller made her an unparalleled writer in the world of Urdu literature, and in Chandni Begum, she summons all the gifts at her disposal. Representative image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Hyders craft as a natural storyteller made her an unparalleled writer in the world of Urdu literature, and in Chandni Begum, she summons all the gifts at her disposal. Representative image credit: Wikimedia Commons

When Qurratulain Hyder wrote Chandni Begum, her last novel, in 1989, L.K. Advanis rath yatra was still a year away, the Ram Janmabhoomi movement was just about taking off and the first BJP government under the prime ministership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee was still years away.

Of course the mandir-masjid issue at Ayodhya had been simmering for years. Hyder understood how land could be a contentious issue and how the unremarkable coexistence of a temple and a mosque on the same piece of property had the potential to flare up into a full-scale conflagration.

Chandni Begum traverses a vast terrain over generations and its emotional centre is not just the intertwined live...

19:07

How the Supreme Court Almost Recalled Its Order on Playing the National Anthem in Theatres The Wire

Ultimately, the bench decided to leave it to the government to decide whether its order needs to be diluted or further cemented.

The Supreme Court. Credit: PTI

The Supreme Court. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: If recent history suggests that governments prefer complex and intractable issues of governance to be sorted out by the judiciary, thereby abdicating their own responsibilities, the Supreme Courts decision on Monday in the national anthem case bucks this trend. After an unusually long hearing on an application to recall its November 2016 order forcing movie-goers to stand up for the national anthem before the start of every film show, the court has decided to let the government decide whether any dilution is needed.

The bench of the Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and A.M. Khanwilkar displayed a remarkable sense of openness in listening to the criticism that its interim order, paving the way for coercive demonstration of patriotism in cinema halls, was an example of judicial legislation.

Ironically, towards the end of the hearing, the Central government (through the attorney general) and the bench agreed that the element of coercion in the order could be diluted by replacing the word shall with may, so that theatre ow...

18:45

India Will Not Cross Red Lines on Generic Drugs in RCEP, but Stay Vigilant, Say Officials The Wire

Healthcare watchers are calling on India to resist the free trade agreements provisions which could compromise Indias ability to keep supplying cheaper generic drugs to the world.

India supplies cheap generic medicines to large parts of the world. Credit: PTI

Hundreds of government officials and activists huddle separately in South Korea this week over the Regional Cooperation on Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations. They are deliberating the free trade agreement (FTA) which covers issues like pharmaceuticals, agriculture, fisheries, dairy, e-commerce and the service sector. Their decisions will impact nearly 45% of the world, creating the worlds largest free trade bloc.

At least on pharmaceuticals, however, multiple Indian government officials told The Wire that India will not cross red lines on intellectual property rights which could affect its position as the supplier of cheap generic medicines to large parts of the world. This has been one of the major apprehensions of public health watchers, who have been asking India to resist pressure.

Indias red lines on intellectual property and pharmaceuticals at the RCEP

We know our red lines. We are under no pressure to give in, a government official said. The demands on patent enforcement in the RCEP is a red line fo...

18:34

Central Pollution Control Board Eases Norms for Sewage Treatment Plants The Wire

Sewage treatment plants coming up after June 2019 except in major state capitals and metropolitan cities need to only conform to 30 mg/litre of biochemical oxygen demand.

A notification by the Union Ministry of Environment this month abandoned the governments 2015 proposal of a 10 mg/litre limit for oxygen demand (Bod), a marker for organic pollutants, in treated water. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has relaxed standards for upcoming sewage treatment plants (STPs), including those to come up on extremely polluted stretches of the Ganga.

A notification by the Union Ministry of Environment this month abandoned the governments 2015 proposal of a 10 mg/litre limit for biochemical oxygen demand (BoD), a marker for organic pollutants, in treated water.

The notification states that STPs coming up after June 2019  except in major state capitals and metropolitan cities need to only conform to 30 mg/litre of BoD, reported the Hindu.

These include proposed STPs to treat sewage in stretches of the river downstream of Haridwar, including Kanpur and Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, the Hindu reported.

However, new STPs at state capitals have to cap BoD at 20 mg/litre.

Plants in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Andaman and Nicobar islands, Daman & Diu, Lakshwadeep and Dadra...

18:30

The History of Dialogue in Kashmir Does Not Inspire Confidence in Delhis Latest Move The Wire

Many previous interlocutors failed because they had neither a clear-cut mandate, nor the authority to deliver anything to anyone.

Stone pelters clash with police during disturbances in Srinagar, Kashmir, India May 17, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

Stone pelters clash with police during disturbances in Srinagar, Kashmir, India May 17, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

You could draw very wrong conclusions from the fact that the Narendra Modi government has appointed former Intelligence Bureau director Dineshwar Sharma as the interlocutor  for Jammu and Kashmir. You could, for example, believe that the government is bent on securitising what is essentially a political issue, or that the government will only repose its trust on someone like Sharma who comes from the deep end of the deep state.

For the record, Sharma served in J&K in the early 1990s and has since also headed the Kashmir desk in the Intelligence Bureau, and, of course, dealt with Ka...

18:05

Haryana Governments Recruitment Exam Asks Candidates About Baba Ramdev, Other Babas The Wire

Defending the questions, BJP spokesperson says these are related to the social fabric of the state that should be known by the aspirants of government jobs.

Baba Ramdev

Baba Ramdev. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in Haryana in 2014, candidates aspiring for government jobs have had to spruce up their knowledge about Baba Ramdev and other such cult-like figures. Here are some sample questions that have figured in the general knowledge category of the states competitive exams for government recruitment:

  1. Where is the dera of Kali Kamali Baba located in Haryana? (For Shift Attendant, 2016)
    Answer: Kurukshetra
  2. Who is the guru of Baba Ramdev? (For Haryana Parwari Exam, 2016)
    Answer: Acharya Baldev
  3. On which part of the body is the ornament chalkada worn? (For Haryana Police Constable, 2016)
    Answer: Leg
  4. Which occasion is also know as Basodha? (For Police Constable, 2016)
    Answer: Nirjala Ekadashi
  5. Which place in Haryana is related to Kapil Muni? (For Haryana Statistical Assistant, 2016)
    Answer: Kalayat

Not surprisingly, candidates appearing for these exams, as well as social activists, are questioning the logic behind these questions.

Alok Kumar, who took the exam in the category of police constables and bus conductors this year said, We dont find some of these questions in any book. But after coming across such questions repeatedly in the...

18:04

Tillerson Urges Iraq, Kurds to Resolve Conflict Through Dialogue The Wire

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (2-L) listens as Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (R) speaks during their meeting in Baghdad, Iraq October 23, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Alex Brandon/Pool

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (2-L) listens as Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (R) speaks during their meeting in Baghdad, Iraq October 23, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Alex Brandon/Pool

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan region on Monday to resolve their conflict over Kurdish self-determination and disputed territories through ...

18:02

UK Certain Iran Nuclear Deal to Be Preserved as US Remains Committed to its Stance The Wire

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson at a press conference with Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray in London, England, October 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Britains Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson at a press conference with Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray in London, England, October 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters

London: There is absolutely no doubt that a deal between Western powers andIran to curb its nuclear programme will survive despite the US decision not to recertify the deal, Britains foreign minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.

Johnson was giving a speech on foreign affairs in London.

US President Donald Trump broke ranks with other major powers earlier this month by refusing to formally certify that Tehran is complying with the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), even thou...

17:39

States Seeking to Restore Obamacare Payments in US Questioned by Judge The Wire

US President Donald Trump smiles after signing an Executive Order to make it easier for Americans to buy bare-bone health insurance plans and circumvent Obamacare rules at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 12, 2017. Credit: Reuters

US President Donald Trump smiles after signing an Executive Order to make it easier for Americans to buy bare-bone health insurance plans and circumvent Obamacare rules at the White House in Washington, US, October 12, 2017. Credit: Reuters

San Francisco: A US judge on Monday appeared skeptical toward a request from several states that want him to order the administration of Republican President Donald Trump to continue payments to health insurers under Obamacare.

At a hearing in S...

17:19

US-Mexico Border Wall Prototypes a First Small Step on Trump Campaign Promise The Wire

Prototypes for U.S. President Donald Trump's border wall with Mexico are shown near completion behind the current border fence, in this picture taken from the Mexican side of the border, in Tijuana, Mexico, October 23, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Jorge Duenes

Prototypes for U.S. President Donald Trumps border wall with Mexico are shown near completion behind the current border fence, in this picture taken from the Mexican side of the border, in Tijuana, Mexico, October 23, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Jorge Duen...

17:14

JNU Teachers Body Holds Public Inquiry Against VC The Wire

The teachers body, exercising its powers under the JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA) constitution, set a three-day deadline for the VC to submit his defence. Credit: JNUTA

The teachers body, exercising its powers under the JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA) constitution, set a three-day deadline for the VC to submit his defence. Credit: JNUTA

New Delhi: The JNU teachers association today conducted a public inquiry against vice chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar and a five-member jury unanimously held him guilty of violating statutory provisions and academic norms.

The jury recommended an inquiry by the president of India the ex-officio visitor to JNU against Kumar.

The jury held him prima facie guilty and unfit to be the VC of JNU. We recommend a visitorial enquiry into the charges and his removal from the office of VC, the jury said.

Members of the jury were JNU professors Prabhat Patnaik (emeritus), P.K. Yadav, Delhi University professors Nandita Narain and Apoorvanand and senior journalist Akshaya Mukul.

Some of the allegations included undermining the integrity of faculty selection process, violation of reservation policy, harassing teachers, denying their legitimate dues, undermining sexual harassment watchdog GSCASH and callous attitude in missing student Najeebs case.

All the democtatic institutions in all levels including GSCASH are being undermined for a specific agenda. The agenda is not an academic agenda but a dest...

17:03

India Mimics America And Hints At A Russian Twitter Troll Conspiracy OrientalReview.org

The recent appointment of master strategist Nikolai Kudashev as the new Russian Ambassador to India will be very useful in helping Moscow navigate this uncertain period of relations with New Delhi.

17:01

Sri Lankas Delay in Post-War Reconciliation Involves Risks, Says UN The Wire

Pablo de Greiff, UN special rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation, and guarantees of non-recurrence, speaks during a news conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka October 23, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Pablo de Greiff, UN special rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation, and guarantees of non-recurrence, speaks during a news conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka October 23, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Colombo: Long delays in Sri Lankas post-war reconciliation is not without cost, and its government should implement measures to resolve outstanding issues, the UN said on Monday.

President Maithripala Sirisenas government in 2015 agreed with...

17:00

The Alt Right and the Arithmetic of Race New Eastern Outlook

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This past week one of the leaders of the Alt-Right, Richard Spencer was scheduled to give a speech at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and I wondered why the only reports stated that the governor of Florida had called a state of emergency beforehand and that shots were fired afterwards. When the Los Angeles Times wrote that Spencer gave a two-hour speech, I watched a video of the event on-line. In fact, Spencer was systematically prevented from giving a speech by well-organized protesters that made up most of the audience. During more that an hour he tried to convince them to desist, alternately appealing to their democratic convictions and taunting them, until finally a few people broke from the crowd to question him.

Spencer emotionally made the point that whites in the US are increasingly treated as a minority, preference for education and jobs often given deliberately to non-whites who have been discriminated against for centuries. Those facts are correct, but Spencer failed to note that this is not a specifically American problem: white people, known as Caucasians, constitute only 16% of the worlds population.

For years I have been writing that the Caucasians best policy is to cooperate with the 74% rather than try to dominate it, and Europes migration crisis graphically illustrates what happens when dark-skinned people show up amongst white people who have not done the math. But Spencers attitude is at worst a childish Im not going to play with you anymore, and at best unrealistic.

Spencer and his followers want to create a white ethno-state after peacefully transferring non-whites to their countries of origin: Latinos to the southern hemisphere, black people presumably shipped back to Africa. (As Muslims become the dominant population on the old continent, would Europeans who want to live in a white ethno-state be welcome in North America? Probably only if they qualify as truly white, like Germans or Scandinavians.

...

16:45

US Says It Is Considering Sanctions Over Myanmars Treatment of Rohingya The Wire

 

Rohingya refugees line up to receive humanitarian aid in Kutupalong refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, October 23, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Hannah McKay

Rohingya refugees line up to receive humanitarian aid in Kutupalong refugee camp near Coxs Bazar, Bangladesh, October 23, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Hannah McKay

The United States is taking steps and considering a range of further actions over Myanmars treatment of its Rohingya Muslim minority, including targeted sanctions under its Global Magnitsky law, the State Department said on Monday.

We express our gravest concern with recent events in Myanmars Rakhine state and the violent, traumatic abuses...

16:44

Gehlot Claims Gujarat Police, IB Searched Hotel Rooms Where He Met Hardik, Jignesh Mevani The Wire

Authorities at the hotel have confirmed sharing the CCTV footage with the police for security reasons.

Senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot. Credit: PTI

Senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: As the crucial Gujarat assembly polls inch closer, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Partys troubles seems to be multiplying by the day. Adding to the partys headache of countering more and more political opposition, the BJP has now run into fresh controversy over allegations of snooping. Senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot has claimed that officials from the Intelligence Bureau and the Gujarat police carried out searches at hotel rooms where he met Hardik Patel, who had spearheaded a militant agitation by the influential Patidar community, as well as the firebrand Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani on Monday, October 23. Digging in their heels, both these leaders have taken to a warpath against the BJP in the forthcoming assembly polls in December.

Ahead of the assembly polls, the Congress received a major boost on October 21, when OBC leader Alpesh Thakor announced his plans of joining the party after meeting the Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.

...

16:40

Trump to Press Xi Jinping on North Korea, Trade on Beijing Visit The Wire

US President Donald Trump (L) and China's President Xi Jinping shake hands while walking at Mar-a-Lago estate after a bilateral meeting in Palm Beach, Florida, US., April 7, 2017. Credit: Reuters

US President Donald Trump (L) and Chinas President Xi Jinping shake hands while walking at Mar-a-Lago estate after a bilateral meeting in Palm Beach, Florida, US., April 7, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Washington: US President Donald Trump will urge President Xi Jinping to make good on his commitments to pressure North Korea when he visits China next month, a senior White House official said on Monday, stepping up a strategy to have Beijing help rein in Pyongyang.

Isolating North Korea further over its nuclear and ballistic missile tests is a key goal for Trump on what will be his longest foreign trip to date.

Trump will call on Xi to fully imp...

14:30

Men Must Stop Being Quiet Spectators of Sexual Assault The Wire

A critical mass is growing that proves how much goes wrong when people can act with impunity in a culture of silence.

 Actress Alyssa Milano attends a protest in Times Square, New York City, New York, U.S., July 26, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Actress Alyssa Milano attends a protest in Times Square, New York City, New York, US, July 26, 2017. Credit: Reuters

UN: The pain and anger of more than a million people who tweeted #MeToo in the last week have crowded social media with personal stories of sexual harassment or assault.

This virtual march of solidarity marks both the urgency of finding a shared voice and the hidden scale of assault that did not previously have a register. When women are almost invisible, when they are not really seen, it seems that people do not have to care what happens to them.

This online outcry is important because it is giving voice to acts that are public, but that are silenced and neutralised by convention. It is a cruel privilege to be able to harass a girl or a woman with impunity, but in so many cases this is the norm.

What we are seeing currently, as women build and r...

14:29

Analysis: How Implicit Biases Hamper Womens Participation in Science The Wire

Despite well-meaning government programmes, true gender equality cannot be achieved if career options for girls are limited by implicit gender biases.

Wonder Woman. Source: Warner Bros.

Wonder Woman. Source: Warner Bros.

Aneree Parekh and Arathy Puthillam are research assistants at the Department of Psychology, Monk Prayogshala, Mumbai.

In early August, an engineer at Google named James Damore was fired for sending out a company-wide 3,000-word memo questioning his employers diversity policy. Damore claimed that it was steered by a need to be politically correct over a need to be productive, and that it was womens biology that makes them less able than men to work in technology jobs. He concluded that there were objective, evidence-backed reasons for the unequal representation of women in science- and technology-related fields. Damores memo stated that women were cited to be more interested in people, and men in things; women were more prone to anxiety while men had a high drive for status; and women on average were more cooperative, which is why they could not negotiate for better positions and salaries.

While the arguments in the memo were supposedly backed by evidence (particularly the...

14:15

The Uneasiness of Self-Appointed Messiahs With Historical Facts The Wire

Why do the facts of the past make some uncomfortable? What are the influences and affects of the discipline of history that fill some people with so much hatred?

Let us pause and remember that the muse of history has gentle handmaidens and her pages are full of instances of the self-righteous afflicted by hubris. Credit: YouTube

Let us pause and remember that the muse of history has gentle handmaidens and her pages are full of instances of the self-righteous afflicted by hubris. Credit: YouTube

nothing that has ever happened should be regarded as lost for history.         

Walter Benjamin, Theses On the Philosophy of History

Recently, Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Sangeet Som called the Taj Mahal a blot on Indian culture. His discordant notes should prod us to reflect why a tribute to love should suddenly assume such significance in the speeches of self-appointed messiahs and defenders of Indian culture. Why do the facts of the past make some uncomfortable? What are the influences and affects of the discipline of history that fill some people with so much hatred?

If history has a muse, it is diminutive in size. The muse lives in the nooks and crannies of small, supposedly insignificant objects and details that one can easily overlook: the frayed edges of a map, the yellowing pages of an old manuscript, the blurred figures on a coin, the stumbling speech of a survivor, the prow of a catamaran, the glitter o...

14:00

A Tale of Trons: The 20th Century Suffix That Tells the Story of Modern Science The Wire

Tron began to attain wider cultural recognition around 1933 with the cyclotron, a machine that accelerated charged particles through a magnetic field.

Gravitron. Credit: Daniel X O'Neill

Gravitron. Credit: Flickr/Daniel X ONeill

If you grew up in the United States in the 1980s, chances are youll remember riding the Gravitron at the local fair, or struggling to get past level one of the video game Robotron: 2084 at the arcade downtown. That would be after you got up early to watch five cartoon robots form the defender Voltron on the eponymous TV series, and stayed up late to see Woody Allens emergence from the Orgasmatron in Sleeper (1973). Throughout middle school, the cool kids got out their Celestron telescopes, while the sadder cases played with their Radio Shack Armatrons but all of us suffered through the automatic test-grading of Scantron Corp and enjoyed a round at the Golf-O-Tron indoor driving range. I know I rushed out to see Disneys 1982 film Tron, as well as the 2010 sequel Tron: Legacy.

As a teenager, I was witness to the last gasps of a 20th-century lexical leitmotif. The suffix -tron, along with -matic and -stat, are what the historian Robert Proctor at Stanford University calls embodied symbols. Like the heraldic shields of ancient knights, these morphemes were painted onto the names of scientific technologies to proclaim ones hist...

14:00

The University: An Idea under Siege The Wire

Only when our universities become the centre of consciousness and conscience, will we be equipped to realise the humane and noble aspirations envisioned by our nations founding fathers.

In the wake of globalisation, the new mantra of progress and development did not leave the university untouched. Credit: Wikimedia

Where words come out from the depth of truth
                    Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
        Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
                              Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit.

Rabindranath Tagore

I

The modern idea of the university as an institution encouraging research to be an essential complement to academic engagement with modes of knowledge originated in the first decade of the 19th century in Germany. The German educationist Wilhelm von Humboldt is considered as responsible for pioneering this concept of institution by establishing the University of Berlin in 1809, which subsequently served as a model for the European and Western universities of the time. As a consequence of Humboldts insistence that the university teaching ought to arise from independent and unbiased research, ideas about academic freedom became the core of modern universities. After this, intellectual freedom driven by humanistic ideals and sincere seeking of knowledge rooted in empiricism and rationality were to be the cornerstone of university education, in contrast to the earlie...

13:45

Modis RoRo Is Already a Go Go For Both Indians and India Inc The Wire

Modi, while inaugurating a RoRo ferry service in Gujarat, said it was the first of its kind. But RoRo vessels have been used by companies to move goods and by a handful of state governments to move normal passengers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi performing puja at Ghogha Sea Ferry Point to mark the inauguration of Ghogha-Dahej Ro-Ro ferry service, in Bhavnagar, Gujarat on Sunday. Credit: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the Rs 600 crore roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) Ghogha-Dahej ferry service as the first of its kind, not only for India but also for Southeast Asia, while inaugurating the project during his recent visit to Gujarat.

This surprised many as RoRo vessels are already being used by companies to move cars, coal and fertiliser across the country. All key ports in the country provide RoRo shipping service.

The only difference is that the Ghogha-Dahej route carries passenger traffic too, unlike others which are exclusively being used for transporting goods. However, even here, much smaller ferries in Goa, Kerala and Andaman transport passengers too. In Maharashtra, ferry services are available between Alibaug and Mumbai (Gateway of India). In fact, the fastest and cheapest way to travel between the two places is ferry.

...

13:30

I Made My Students Turn Off Their Phones. This Is What Happened The Wire

My goal with this experiment was to get students thinking about their habits, rather than to necessarily change them.

A student demonstrates how to use the mobile virtual reality app. Credit: Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

A student demonstrates how to use the mobile virtual reality app. Credit: Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND)

As a teacher who has long witnessed and worried about the impacts of technology in the classroom, I constantly struggle to devise effective classroom policies for smartphones. I used to make students sing or dance if their phones interrupted class, and although this led to some memorable moments, it also turned inappropriate tech use into a joke. Given the myriad deleterious effects of phones addiction, decline of face-to-face socialisation, deskilling and endless distraction, for starters I want students to think carefully about their phone habits, rather than to mindlessly follow (or not follow) a rule.

After reading my Aeon essay on the topic, a representative from a San Francisco startup called YONDR contacted me. YONDR makes special pouches that keep audiences from using their phones at shows. You silence your phone, slide it into the pouch and lock it at the top. After the performance, or if access is necessary before then, you can unlock the case in the lobby by touching the...

13:30

First Draft of New National Minerals Policy Opts for Tweaks Over Structural Changes The Wire

While the draft does include new paragraphs on illegal mining and sustainable development, experts question whether it will be, as the Supreme Court recently put it, effective, meaningful and implementable.

A truck passes through an open pit of the Bedara Bhommanahalli (BBH) iron ore mines at Chitradurga in Karnataka November 9, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

A truck passes through an open pit of the Bedara Bhommanahalli (BBH) iron ore mines at Chitradurga in Karnataka. Credit: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui/Files

New Delhi: The first draft of a government committees effort to revamp Indias national minerals policy mandated as part of a recent Supreme Court judgement...

11:03

Pakatan Harapan reaches agreement on seats in Northern Sarawak Hornbill Unleashed

PKR will be contesting in Limbang, Miri and Baram while DAP will be contesting in Lawas and Bintulu for the Northern Sarawak region. Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian in disclosing this said: We are following the Pakatan Harapan agreement in the 13th General election and the status quo remains the same. We do have some []

11:02

DPM: Notice seeking Jho Lows whereabouts sent to Interpol, no info as yet Hornbill Unleashed

A notice seeking the whereabouts of Malaysian millionaire Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, has already been sent to the International Police Organisation (Interpol), Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today. The home minister said that however, there have been no details as yet about Low. With regards to that case, we []

11:02

DPM: Police investigation on Jho Low closed Hornbill Unleashed

The police have closed their investigation into Malaysian millionaire Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today. In a statement prepared by the DPMs office, he said that the issue of seeking Interpols assistance to locate the businessman did not arise as the case was closed. The []

06:29

The young Arab women on Israels hasbara dream team +972 Magazine

A young Arab woman on a propaganda delegation to the United States sparks a storm in the Arab world with an interview in which she praises Israels democracy, which she says liberates Arab women from their primitive society, and which 90 percent of Arabs pray to live under.

Dema Taya is a young Arab Muslim woman from the village of Qalansuwa in central Israel, who recently traveled to the United States as part of a delegation belonging to the Israeli hasbara group, Reservists on Duty. An  interview with Taya on the Arabic television channel Musawa has more than two million views and led to a barrage of responses, parodies, and discussions in Israel and across the world.

[tmwinpost]

So what is this young womans story, and why did her interview arouse such anger?

Taya is one of six people chosen to represent Israel on a 12-campus tour across the United States. The main goal of the tour was to combat BDS, bring about a change in the way students think about Israel, and prove that it is not an apartheid state. A young, sweet Arab woman who praises the state is a good way to whitewash the occupation and the racism that so bothers American Jewish liberals.

I am not sure Taya regrets the interview, in which she made every possible mistake from her choice of words to actually knowing the facts, including about the Arab world and Arab society. If that were not enough, she also made a few mistakes in her native language, leaving no room for doubt that she learned to recite a few key sentences, the kind we hear from every Jewish Israeli who takes part in hasbara.

I dont talk politics

Taya insisted on telling the interviewer, Ramzi Hakim, that she was not there to talk politics. The Arab minority in Israel has nothing to do with politics, she said, I dont care about occupation and the territories. Apparently, as long as there is work for Arabs as doctors, lawyers, and teachers Israel is a democracy. Arabs have the right to vote, thats enough. Taya is a member of the Zionist enterprise dream team, traveling the world to speak out against boycotts and in favor of true democracy in Israel, yet she does not believe she is talking politics.

Her stern response to the question of whether Israeli is an apartheid state makes me think that perhaps she was told that apartheid is some kind of disease, or at the very l...

02:43

Centre Picks Ex-IB Chief for Kashmir Talks, Fails to Meet Time-Frame Demand of Civil Rights Group The Wire

The move has come within weeks of former Union minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha demanding that the Centre initiate peace talks in the Valley.

Former IB chief Dineshwar Sharma. Credit: Twitter/ANI

New Delhi: Union home minister Rajnath Singhs announcement appointing former Intelligence Bureau director Dineshwar Sharma as its special representative in Kashmir, comes within weeks of senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha demanding that the Centre initiate talks in the Valley. The home ministry that said the move was to start a sustained dialogue process with all stakeholders, has however overlooked Sinhas key demand that the process be made time-bound, otherwise it would not evince the kind of interest it should.

Sinha has been at the forefront of engaging all stakeholders in the state and led several delegations of civil society representatives there since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani led to a major uprising in July 2016. Sinha had categorically demanded that any dialogue process that the Centre undertakes should be time bound or else it will not encourage people of the state to participate actively.

Earlier, in an interview to The Wire, Sinha had also explained...

02:00

Rigging Elections in Georgia, Russia and the United States? New Eastern Outlook

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Sometimes this attempt to influence takes absurd forms. At the 2008 US Presidential election Mikheil Saakashvili and his cronies in Georgia were openly canvassing for John McCain, and putting McCain bumper stickers on their cars. Very few Georgian citizens are able to vote in US elections, and those who can are not likely to be swayed by the antics of some other countrys president. Then when McCain lost, Saakashvili said how much Barack Obama had supported Georgia and spent three months running round the US trying to force him to meet him, while Obamas agents tracked his movements and shepherded their boss out of any place Saakashvili turned up.

But for over two centuries it was Russia, not Georgia, which was thought to be the world leader in vote rigging. The classic example of a country influencing anothers election was held to be the Russian army surrounding the Polish nobles who were electing their new king in 1764. Though the Russians didnt actually surround the field as depicted, this behaviour resulted in an association being made in the public mind between Russia and rigged elections. The long years of Russian domination of Eastern Europe under the Soviet system only magnified this perception.

So perhaps it is surprising that the Russia-hating West is only now accusing The Kremlin of rigging a Western election, despite the hundreds we have seen in Western Europe since then. As a result of the allegations against Donald Trump, and the widespread desire to pin anything on him which might remove him from office, the hand of Russia is now being seen everywhere: for example, links have been alleged between The Kremlin and Robert Mercers Cambridge Analytica, which has targeted articles in this journal, even though Mercers poli...

01:50

Amit Shah, Son Jay Shah Flout Supreme Court Guidelines at Cricket Body The Wire

Despite the Lodha Committee norms clearly saying both must quit, the Shah dynasty rules the Gujarat Cricket Association.

From left to right: Gujarat Cricket Association president Amit Shah, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Parimal Nathwani and Jay Shah. Credit: GCA

New Delhi: It has been over a year since the Lodha committee recommendations were given legal backing by the Supreme Court but Gujarat Cricket Association president Amit Shah and joint secretary Jay Amit Shah, among others, continue to stay in office despite falling foul of norms that are meant to cleanse cricketing bodies of the powerful cliques that have run them for years.

The Supreme Courts July 2016 order clearly states that all office-bearers must vacate their position for a three year cooling off period after completing a three-year term.

Amit Shah has been an office-bearer since 2009 (2009-14, vice president; 2014-now, president) while his son was elevated to the post of joint secretary in 2013. Elections were supposed to be held at the GCA last year but have been put on hold following the Supreme Court order. If due electoral process had been followed in 2016, Amit Shah and Jay Amit Shah would not have been eligible for the posts they now occupy.

In the case of Amit Shah, an additional disqualification might just have kicked in when he was elected to the Rajya Sabha in August, since MPs come under the definition of public servants  a ca...

01:45

New Kashmir Interlocutor is Already Busy Running Three Peace Talks in the Northeast The Wire

The Union home ministry today appointed former IB chief Dineshwar Sharma the Centres representative for dialogue with stakeholders to reach a political solution in Kashmir.

Dineshwar Sharma Rajnath Singh

Former IB chief Dineshwar Sharma meets Union home minister Rajnath Singh after being appointed as Centres representative in Jammu and Kashmir. Credit: Twitter/PIBHomeAffairs

New Delhi: Former Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief Dineshwar Sharma, who has been appointed the Centres representative for a sustained dialogue with all stakeholders for a political solution to the Kashmir issue, is also leading three other peace talks as the Central interlocutor all in the Northeast.

While this past June, Sharma, a 1979 batch IPS officer, had been named the new Central interlocutor for the ongoing peace talks with the Arabinda Rajkhowa-led faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) in Assam for a years term, on August 9 he had also been named interlocutor for the ongoing talks with the United Peoples Front (UPF) and Kuki Nationalist Organisation (KNO) from Manipur by the ministry of home affairs (MHA).

Sharma, who served as the IB chief from January 2015 to December 31 2016, took over as the interlocutor for the ULFA and NDFB peace talks after a gap of over one and a half years since the last interlocutor P. C. Halders term ended, the UPF/KNO got its...

00:43

Kyrgyzstan Rejecting Kazakhstans $100 Million Aid Package EurasiaNet.org - Inside the Cocoon

In the latest fit of pique in a seemingly unending diplomatic row, Kyrgyzstan is going through the motions of formally rejecting a $100 million aid package offered to it by Kazakhstan.

Speaking to the parliaments budget and finances committee, Kyrgyz deputy prime minister Duishenbek Zilaliyev said on October 23 that Kazakhstan had long delayed the promised payment and that the funds were no longer needed.

We planned to build veterinary labs with this money. But we didnt wait around and went ahead and built 18 laboratories with funds from our own budget, Zilaliyev said, adding that further facilities would also be completed without Kazakhstans help. Of course it will be hard, but if we dont respect ourselves, then nobody will respect us, so we have decided to scrap the [aid] agreement.

The intention to turn down the aid package was flagged up by outgoing President Almazbek Atambayev, who has for weeks been engaged in a war of words with Kazakhstani officials over claims that the government in Astana was backing a candidate opposed to his own preferred man in the October 15 presidential election.

They are rebuking me about the fact that the Kazakhs are giving us $100 million. But this [aid] agreement was signed in 2007. And in 2014, I told [Kazakhstans President Nursultan Nazarbayev]: You probably wont give us this money, why dont you give us equipment instead? Atambayev said last week. And they went on for three years like this, until we ran into problems with them. To be honest, we can do without this kind of help.

The budget and finances committee has backed the decision to annul the aid package, but definitive cancellation will require approval from parliament.

read more

00:37

How Arabic became a threat to social cohesion in Israel +972 Magazine

The absurd arrest of a Palestinian worker who was mistranslated by the police is a reminder that Arabic has been turned into a tool to oppress the native population in this country.

A Palestinian artist puts the final touches on a graffiti on a wall in Gaza City, May 8, 2010. The phrase is Arabic reads 'we will definitely come back.' (Wissam Nassar/Flash90)

A Palestinian artist puts the final touches on a graffiti on a wall in Gaza City, May 8, 2010. The phrase is Arabic reads we will definitely come back. (Wissam Nassar/Flash90)

Israelis read Sunday morning that Israeli police had mistakenly arrested a Palestinian worker after relying on a Facebook translation of a post he had written a week earlier. The worker had uploaded a photo of himself standing next to a bulldozer with the caption, good morning, which the police then misinterpreted to say, attack them, leading to his arrest for incitement to violence.

[tmwinpost]

The incident exemplifies something about the Israeli complex vis-a-vis the Arabic language. One may wonder how the hell it is possible that a language used by nearly half the people living in this land, which is spoken by millions across the region, has become so esoteric and exotic t...

00:30

Kashmirs Forgotten Womens Militia The Wire

The womens militia was a consequence of the turbulence which followed the end of the British Raj in August 1947 and the independence achieved by India and Pakistan.

Jawaharlal Nehru inspecting the womens militia, Srinagar, 1948. Photo courtesy of India Picture. Courtesy: History Workshop

Jawaharlal Nehru inspecting the womens militia, Srinagar, 1948. Courtesy: India Picture/History Workshop

Seventy years ago this autumn, the parks and open spaces of the Kashmiri capital, Srinagar, were taken over by groups of women who practised military-style drilling and learned how to fire rifles. These were members of Kashmirs womens militia, hastily recruited at the initiative of left-wingers in the face of an invading force which imperilled the city. There was next-to-no military tradition in Kashmir and the sight of Kashmiri women bearing arms was, for many, arresting and startling. It was a moment of political empowerment just at the eruption of the still unresolved Kashmir conflict, so often seen as a territorial contest between India and Pakistan.

For the first time on the soil of India, declared the communist Peoples Age in December 1947, is there being built an army of women, trained to use the rifle and other modern weapons of war. On its front page, the weekly journal published photographs of women in Srinagar holding rifles inexpertly, but with a clear sense of pride and purpose. The women of Kashmir are the first in India to build an army of...

00:00

Why Universal Basic Income Is Not a Perfect Substitute for Existing Subsidy Schemes The Wire

While the aim of all subsidy schemes is to increase the income of beneficiary households so that they can meet their requirements, replacing them with the UBI will also mean losing some of the other benefits of these schemes.

Should the UBI be universal or targeted? Credit: Reuters

Should the UBI be universal or targeted? Credit: Reuters

In India, many subsidy schemes are being implemented to improve the living conditions of the vulnerable segments of the population. However, these schemes are plagued by various problems like leakages in the delivery system, misidentification of beneficiaries  exclusion of deserving households as well as inadequate and untimely assistance to the beneficiaries. Measures to overcome these deficiencies have engaged the minds of academicians, policymakers and social activists. In the recent past, the universal basic income (UBI) scheme has been proposed as an alternative to the existing subsidy schemes. This proposal has generated interesting debate among the academicians.

Proponents of the UBI scheme argue that the ultimate aim of all the subsidy schemes is to increase the income of the beneficiary households so that they can meet their requirements. Therefore, they argue that subsidy schemes are a roundabout method of helping the poor while the UBI scheme is a direct method of aiding the beneficiaries, minus the limitations associated with the subsidy schemes.

Unanswered questions surrounding UBI

This debate r...

00:00

Dont touch my flowers! (or else!!!) China Hope Live

Literally right around the corner from our door:no_picking_my_flowersPlucking flowers is plucking your lifespan*. Please watch yourself!!!

(snap life) is a phrase meaning to have ones life shortened, usually by indulging in excesses.

Signs like this pop up every once in a while. I even have some myself! For example:

Monday, 23 October

23:45

CIC Asks Nitish Government to Clear Stand on Bringing Lohar Community Under SC/ST Category The Wire

The Bihar government issued a notification last year saying the Lohar community would be issued ST certificates. But the Supreme Court later rejected the modification of SC/ST lists.

CIC, Nitish

The Central Information Commission headquarters, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. Credit: CIC website, PTI

New Delhi: In an order that is expected to bring greater clarity on bringing the Lohar community under the scheduled tribe (ST) category in Bihar, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Nitish Kumar government in the state to clarify its stand on whether people belonging to the community of Lohar fall under the category of ST or not.

The order was issued by Central Information Commissioner M. Sridhar Acharyulu after a plea was filed by Gorakhanandan Vishwakarma. Vishwakarma has sought information on the Bihar governments proposal to include the community in the states ST list. His plea noted that the government of India had approved the modalities for determining the claims for inclusion, exclusion and modification to lists of STs.

In his order, Acharyulu said:

As per the order of the Supreme Court and the constitutional scheme, it is the duty of the state of Bihar to take a stand, initiate the process and make formal recommendation on the issue as to whether the state of Bihar has any substantive role to play in inclusion of Lohar community in SC/ST list or not.

Bihar CMO/CS directed to clear their stand

The CIC therefore directed the office of the chief mini...

23:30

Reliance Jios Free Data Comes Full Circle for Indias Taxpayers and Consumers The Wire

Indias taxpayer has won in a war on corruption, but may well be losing an equivalent money again as a consumer, or likely, as a taxpayer.

Airtel swallowed up Tata Teleservices in the latest episode of industry consolidation, even as Idea Cellular's shareholders formally approved its acquisition of Vodafone. Credit: Reuters

Airtel swallowed up Tata Teleservices in the latest episode of industry consolidation, even as Idea Cellulars shareholders formally approved its acquisition of Vodafone. Credit: Reuters

We wish Indias telecom saga would be a Bollywood movie, with a happy ending. But what we have witnessed since the May of 1994, when India began slowly easing the state grip on telecoms to usher in everything from private players to mobile phones to the Internet, is a long-winding soap opera. In line with the spirit of the saas-bahu nation, we can announce that Reliance Jio is the much loved and hated new bahu (daughter-in-law) in this opera, impressing everyone and upsetting the older order.

If you are looking not for entertaining conflicts but deep wisdom, it is this: Indias taxpayer has won in a war on corruption, but may well be losing an equivalent money again as a consumer, or likely, as a taxpayer.

Does it matter if someone picks your right pocket instead of left to take out the same amount of money?

Last fortnight was eventfully momentous....

23:15

Bangladesh Calls Rohingya Arrivals Untenable as Thousands Arrive Daily The Wire

Some 600,000 people have crossed the border since August 25, when insurgent attacks on security posts were met by a ferocious counter-offensive by the Myanmar army.

Rohingya refugees are seen on a boat as they are crossing border through the Naf river in Teknaf, Bangladesh, September 7, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Rohingya refugees are seen on a boat as they are crossing border through the Naf river in Teknaf, Bangladesh, September 7, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Geneva: Nearly one million Rohingya refugees have fled violence in Myanmar, an untenable situation for neighbour Bangladesh, the countrys UN envoy said on Monday, calling on Myanmar to let them return.

Some 600,000 people have crossed the border since August 25, when insurgent attacks on security posts were met by a ferocious counter-offensive by the Myanmar a...

23:01

Will Media and Mafioso Breadcrumbs Crumble Russiagate? New Eastern Outlook

33232

What do Wikipedia, notorious Russian mafioso, nincompoop Putin adversaries, dissident Russian business TV, CNN, CNBC, Facebook, Google, Twitter and the United States Senate have in common? Well, Jimmy Wales Wikipedia once had nothing much to do with fake news and globalist propaganda, but the rest of these share the stain of obvious wickedness that comes from pursuing malicious skulduggery. This is a good story, read on.

This story begins with a CNN article entitled Exclusive: Putins chef, the man behind the troll factory, which attempted to resuscitate an urban legend and implicate the Russian president in election meddling. On first reading the Russiagate fairytale from the fake news network, I almost believed the authors Tim Lister, Jim Sciutto and Mary Ilyushina. The trio slung together a seemingly viable string of connections between a Russian businessman named Yevgeny Prigozhin, who the CNN writers styled a chef and tried to tie to Russiagate as a financier funding an army of Russky trolls. Then I dug down into the fabrication.

Looking for the source of CNNs story I ended up at the dissident Russian business broadcasting network RBC, which had previously implicated an entity called the Internet Research Agency as a Kremlin troll farm. According to CNN, citing an article at Moscow Times, Prigozhins companies funded the same agency New York Times writer Adrian Chen sold as a St. Petersburg troll farm in his article The Agency in...

22:38

Why Isnt Narendra Modi Talking About the Gujarat Model Anymore? The Wire

The prime minister, who now spends several days a week campaigning in Gujarat, is reduced to blaming the Congress party, who he says did not allow development.

BJP, Narendra Modi, Gujarat, Gujarat polls, Gujarat elections

A photo of crowds at PM Narendra Modis rally in Gujarat. Credit: Narendra Modi/Facebook

Narendra Modi, as three-time Gujarat chief minister, won the Bharatiya Janata Party an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha on the basis of his vikas (development) track record and the mega publicised Gujarat model. Isnt it perplexing, then, that Modi, who by no means can be described as modest, is not fighting the Gujarat elections on that same record?

The BJP has been in power in Gujarat for an unbroken 22 years and in the Centre for three and a half years. But for some reason, Modi, who now spends five days a week campaigning in Gujarat, is reduced to blaming the Congress party, who he says did not allow development. How exactly a party not in government stopped the Modi development juggernaut is a puzzle. Instead of proudly running on his track record and boasting of what he has achieved for both Gujarat and India, Modi now makes personal attacks on the Gandhi family, saying that they always had a problem with Gujarat and Gujaratis the old Modi Gujarat asmita (pride) being put in to play.

Modi, in a rally in Gujarat, even...

22:29

Episode 18. How Britain assisted the Soviet Unions fight against Hitler (I) OrientalReview.org

In previous installments of the Episodes, we have frequently described the obvious examples of British diplomatic maneuvering in regard to Hitler immediately prior to and at the beginning of World War II (please read, for example, the chapters Poland Betrayed and Who Signed the Death Sentence for France in 1940?) []

22:05

Rajasthan Government Tables Criminal Laws Amendment Bill, Editors Guild Demands Withdrawal The Wire

The bill amends CrPC and bars media from naming a public servant until Rajasthan government sanctions the investigation

Vasundhara Raje

Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Riding roughshod over protests, the Vasundhara Raje-led Rajasthan government, on the opening day of its state assembly session on Monday, tabled the controversial Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill. The move was met with opposition by the Congress party.

On Saturday, news reports drew attention to the Rajasthan governments decision to bring the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance 2017, amending the Criminal Code of Procedure (CrPC), 1973, and restricting the media from naming a public servant until the Rajasthan government sanctions the investigation.

Under Section 197 of the CrPC, public servants, judges and magistrates across India currently enjoy immunity from prosecution without prior government permission. The Rajasthan government has now enhanced the levels of impunity, adding two more layers. According to the new rules, no investigation can be ordered by the police under Section 156 or a magistrate under Section 190 into allegations against public servants, judges and magistrates. Significantl...

21:45

US Targets Russian Nord Stream-2 Gas Project: Dj Vu Story Strategic Culture Foundation

Europe badly needs the stable supplies, if it wants to achieve economic progress. To protect its vital interests it has to defy the United States. The history appears to repeat itself.

21:30

Panic Grips the Valley After Vigilante Groups Target Innocents Over Braid Chopping Incidents The Wire

Failure of the government and police to put an end to the braid-chopping incidents have forced vigilantes to take the matter into their own hands.

Protest against the growing incidents of braid chopping in the Valley. Credit: PTI

Protest against the growing incidents of braid chopping in the Valley. Credit: PTI

Srinagar: The vigilantism sparked by the rising incidents of braid chopping in Kashmir is quickly worsening. On Friday, October 20, a mob tried to set on fire a man with a mental illness in Sopore town of north Kashmir on suspicion of being a braid chopper. In Srinagar, a crowd attempted to drown a youth in the Dal Lake, mistaking him as an invader.

These worrying incidents have left people in a state of shock and they are now questioning the government for failing to perform it...

21:24

In a Controversial Campaign, Police in Indore Go After Criminals and Also Their Families The Wire

Over 100 houses have been demolished under the Gunda Dhar-pakad Abhiyaan to control crime in the city.

Workers clearing debris at from Sultanabi Shaikhs house which was demolished in the drive. Credit: The Wire

Workers clearing debris at Sultanabi Shaikhs house which was demolished in the drive. Credit: Sukanya Shantha

Indore: In August 2016, the Indore police arrested twenty-seven-year-old Bawar Shaikh on charges of selling country liquor in the city without a license. After spending nearly a year in Indore central jail, he was acquitted and finally released on July 27, 2017.

But two days before his release, the Indore Municipal Corporation demolished his mother Sultanabis two-storey house in Kajarana region of the city. Shaikhs family house had become a target of Indores much touted Gunda Dhar-pakad Abhiyaan (campaign to nab criminals)  an initiative started by the deputy inspector general (DIG) Harinarayan Chari Mishra in collaboration with the civic body to control alleged hoodlums in the city by going after their families.

Though Sultanabi was the owner of the house, the notice was issued on her son Bawars name, asking the family to vacate the house. The house belongs to me and not my son. But the notice had his (Bawars) name on it. I refused to accept it. And even before we could have moved the court, our house was demolished on July 25, said 60-year-old Sultanabi, a cancer survivor, who, with her five family members, is now living in the kitchen are...

21:15

Clinton, Assange and the War on Truth Strategic Culture Foundation

On 16 October, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation aired an interview with Hillary Clinton: one of many to promote her score-settling book about why she was not elected President of the United States.

21:04

After Strong Election Win, Japans Abe to Push Pacifist Constitution Reform The Wire

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is also ruling Liberal Democratic Party leader, attends an election campaign rally in Fukushima, Japan, October 10, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Japans Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is also ruling Liberal Democratic Party leader, attends an election campaign rally in Fukushima, Japan, October 10, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Tokyo: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, buoyed by a huge election win for lawmakers who favour revising Japans post-war, pacifist constitution, signalled a push towards his long-held goal on Monday but will need to convince a divided public to succeed.

Parties in favour of amending the US-drafted charter won nearly 80% of the seats in Sundays lower house election, media counts showed. Four seats remain to be called and final figures are expected later on Monday.

That lef...

21:01

Main Opposition Party Will Be Dissolved, Says Cambodian PM The Wire

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen attends a plenary session at the National Assembly of Cambodia in central Phnom Penh, October 16, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Cambodias Prime Minister Hun Sen attends a plenary session at the National Assembly of Cambodia in central Phnom Penh, October 16, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Phnom Penh: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Monday it was a fact that the main opposition party would be dissolved as he spoke on the anniversary of the peace agreement that established multiparty democracy.

More than 50 rights groups called on the countries that signed the Paris Peace Agreements in 1991 to reconvene urgently because of the threat to democracy in the Southeast Asian country.

Hun Sens government has asked the supreme court to dissolve the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) after its leader, Kem Sokha, was arrested on September 3 and charged with treason. The court has yet to rule on whether the CNRP will be dissolved.

...

20:45

Enter the Dragon, Exit the Turkey (Formerly American Eagle) Strategic Culture Foundation

Chinas Xi Jinping and Russias Vladimir Putin are showing some responsibility and awareness of what real world leadership requires. Even the sniping Western media are beginning to catch on to the reality.

19:45

In Rajasthan, Rape Survivors and Officers Under Investigation Now Have the Same Privacy Rights The Wire

Investigations into accusations of public officials corruption need to be sanctioned by the government before they begin, a new state ordinance says.

Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje. Credit: vasundhararaje.in

Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje. Credit: vasundhararaje.in

Jaipur: A new ordinance from the Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government in Rajasthan, tabled in the state assembly on Monday (October 23), restricts any investigation against a judge or a magistrate or a public servant with respect to the act done by them while acting or purporting to act in discharge of their official duties without prior sanction from the government, which may take up to six months. The ordinance has also given public servants under investigation the same privacy rights as survivors of sexual violence their names and other identity-related details cannot be made public. The protection offered to victims of rape under IPC Section 228a is now offered to public servants, under Section 228b.

As reported by The Wire earlier, the ordinance stops the media from reporting on accusations against a public servant until the government allows it.

Connotations of replacing cognisance with investigation

...

19:45

India Needs to Calm Down Strategic Culture Foundation

India under the Government of the extreme Hindu Nationalist Narendra Modi has been getting itself quite worked up over the past year, Matthew Jamison writes.

19:30

Possible Solutions to Crop Residue Burning The Wire

By raising funds from the Green Climate Fund board, the government can help farmers meet partially or fully the cost of clearing their farms of crop residue by means other than burning it.

Credit: Reuters

Conflict between a large number of farmers and the government of Punjab over burning of paddy straw in the fields has been reported from various places. The government has declared burning of paddy residue in the fields illegal and any farmer resorting to it is liable to action. The defiant attitude of various factions of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) has made this as an issue of civil conflict which could threaten peace. In the interest of the environment and the health of people of all sections, it needs a solution. Crop residue burning must stop to keep soil health as also save the health of people, animals and plants. The insistence to burn it speaks of the low level of conscientiousness of BKU leaders. They must come forward with viable solutions and for those solutions, they can organise struggles and also enlist the support of civil society organisations.

NGT direction

The intervention of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has added to the complexity of the problem. The directions of the NGT to the Punjab government issued two years ago in 2015 to come up with an action plan for at least one district in the state to prevent burning of crop residue in a bid to check air pollution, has put the state government in dock. Except for declarin...

19:00

The Technology Bug That Indias Economic Advisory Council Must Tackle The Wire

As much as 90% of increases in per capita income come from technological innovation. The Economic Advisory Council should look for a strategy that will make technology inclusive.

Bibek Debroy, chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) with members Ratan P. Watal, Rathin Roy, Surjit Bhalla and Ashima Goyal during a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday. Credit: PTI/Subhav Shukla

The recently appointed Economic Advisory Council (EAC) led by economist Bibek Debroy has a tough job in hand to propel economic growth in a fashion that will create jobs. During the first quarter of 2017-18, Indias growth rate has slumped to 5.7%, a three-year low. The mainstream media has...

18:45

Kerala High Courts Ban on Student Protests Poses Serious Threat to Democracy The Wire

The court order arbitrarily deprives students as a class the fundamental right to hold peaceful forms of protest.

Members of ABVP take part in a protest. Credit: PTI

Members of ABVP take part in a protest. Credit: PTI

An order passed by Chief Justice Navaniti Prasad Singh and Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan of the Kerala high court in a case concerning M.E.S College, Ponnani states that dharnas, hunger strikes and other practices like satyagraha have no place in a constitutional democracy, and recommends expulsion or rustication for any student participating in such forms of protest.

Such an order has serious implications not only for student movements and campuses but for Indias democracy in general.

The entire tone and tenor of the order is that of moral chastisement and castigation rather than an assessment of constitutionality. The order begins by declar...

18:44

Chinas Recyclers Eye Looming Electric Vehicle Battery Mountain The Wire

The Chinese government is trying to transform the countrys recycling system and large-scale battery makers are being pressed to establish their own recycling facilities.

Batteries for electric vehicles are manufactured at a factory in Dongguan, China September 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Batteries for electric vehicles are manufactured at a factory in Dongguan, China September 20, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Shanghai: After years of dismantling discarded televisions and laptops, a Shanghai recycling plant is readying itself for a new wave of waste: piles of exhausted batteries from the surge of electric vehicles hitting Chinas streets.

The plant has secured licences and is undergoing upgrades to handle a fast-growing mountain of battery waste, said Li Yingzhe, a manager at the facility, run by the state-owned Shanghai Jinqiao Group.

We believe there will be so much growth in the number of electric vehicles in the future, he said.

Shanghai Jinqiao will be entering a market that includes Chinese companies like Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium and GEM Co. Ltd, whose share prices have rise...

18:22

US Mercenaries, Iraqi Highways and the Mystery of the Never-Ending ISIS Hordes Land Destroyer

October 23, 2017 (Ulson Gunnar - NEO) - While the US and European media provided little explanation as to how militants from the self-titled Islamic State (IS) managed to appear, expand and then fight for years against the combined military power of Iraq, Syria, Iran and Russia, it was abundantly clear to many analysts that the IS organization was not only receiving state sponsorship, but it was receiving reinforcements, weapons and supplies from far beyond Syria's and Iraq's borders.


Maps of the conflict stretching over the last several years show clear corridors used to reinforce IS positions, leading primarily from Turkey's southern border and to a lesser extent, from Jordan's borders.

However, another possible vector may be desert highways in Iraq's western Anbar province where US military contractors are allegedly to "provide security" as well as build gas stations and rest areas. These highways contributed to the current conflict and still serve as a hotbed for state sponsored terrorism. Whether these US-controlled and improved highways pose a significant threat for a reorganized effort by the US and its regional allies to divide and destroy Iraq and Syria seems all but inevitable.

US Mercenaries "Guarding" Iraqi Highways 

Al Monitor in an April 2017 article titled, "How Iraq is planning to secure key border road," would claim:
 Due to the imminent threats to the road, which is one of Iraqs vital economic lines as it connects Basra in the south to Jordan in the west, Iraq commissioned an American company to secure and rebuild the road. The contract also included reconstructing bridges, 36 of which are destroyed.  
The article would elaborate, stating:
A security source from the Iraqi intelligence service told Al-Monitor, The American company will only secure the two roads reaching Terbil from Basra and Baghdad and will build gas stations and rest areas, in addition to building bridges and cordoning off the roads with barbed wires, as per distances...

18:18

Modi Inaugurates Slew of New Projects in Poll-Bound Gujarat, Says Economy on Right Track The Wire

Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the previous UPA government of using the environment plea to halt development along the Gujarat coastline.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with the children during his maiden voyage on the Ghogha-Dahej Ro-Ro ferry service in Bhavnagar, Gujarat on Sunday. Credit: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with the children during his maiden voyage on the Ghogha-Dahej ro-ro ferry service in Bhavnagar, Gujarat on Sunday. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday inaugurated and laid foundation stones for a host of projects worth more than Rs 1,600 in poll-bound Gujarat.

Declaring that the Indian economy was on the right track, Modi vowed to continue to walk the path of economic reforms. He defended his governments major and controversial financial policies such as demonetisation launched last year and the goods and services tax this year reported the Hindustan Times. Both policies had come in for criticism from several quarters.

Besides the much publicised ferry service between Ghogha and Dahej, the othe...

18:05

Australia to Spend up to $195 Million Housing Refugees After PNG Detention Centre Closes The Wire

Protesters from the Refugee Action Coalition hold placards during a demonstration outside the offices of the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection in Sydney, Australia, April 29, 2016. Credit: Reuters/David Gray

Protesters from the Refugee Action Coalition hold placards during a demonstration outside the offices of the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection in Sydney, Australia, April 29, 2016. Credit: Reuters/David Gray

...

18:05

Zimbabwes Mugabe Removed as WHO Goodwill Envoy The Wire

Uruguay's President Tabare Vazquez meets his Zimbabwe counterpart Robert Mugabe at Uruguayan presidential building in Montevideo, October 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Uruguays President Tabare Vazquez meets his Zimbabwe counterpart Robert Mugabe at Uruguayan presidential building in Montevideo, October 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Geneva/London: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has been removed as a goodwill ambassador, the WHO said on Sunday, following outrage among Western donors and rights groups at his appointment.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus named Mugabe to the largely ceremonial post at a meeting on Wednesday in Uruguay on chronic diseases attended by both men.

At the time, Tedros praised Zimbabwe as a country that places universal health coverage and health promotion at the centre of its policies to provide healthcare to all.

But...

18:00

Putin Critic Released From Jail, Resumes Presidential Campaign The Wire

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny attends an appeal against his jail for repeatedly violating laws governing the organisation of public meetings and rallies, at Moscow city court in Moscow, Russia October 6, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny attends an appeal against his jail for repeatedly violating laws governing the organisation of public meetings and rallies, at Moscow city court in Moscow, Russia October 6, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Moscow: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny held a political rally on Sunday, hours after being released from jai...

18:00

BJP Has Revealed Its Hypocrisy on One Nation, One Poll The Wire

While the party has been relentlessly campaigning for simultaneous elections to parliament and state assemblies, it has not expressed unhappiness with the decision not to align Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with BJP president Amit Shah during the BJP rally in Gandhinagar. Credit: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with BJP president Amit Shah during the BJP rally in Gandhinagar. Credit: PTI

For the past year and a half, the Bharatiya Janata Party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself have unceasingly campaigned for One Nation, One Poll, making Indias regular polls appear as the biggest stumbling block in development. In the backdrop of the Elections Commissions (ECs) explanation, lacking in conviction, that elections to the Gujarat assembly have not been called to shorten the period of the model code of conduct being in force, it is worthwhile to examine the BJPs seriousness to its cause.

The baton was picked up from th...

17:55

Bilkis Bano Case: Supreme Court Questions Gujarat on Punishment for Guilty Cops, Doctors The Wire

The Supreme Court also said that Bilkis Bano can seek higher compensation from the state government by filing a special leave petition in a lower court.

Bilkis Bano. Credit: PTI

Bilkis Bano. Credit: PTI

Bilkis Yakub Rasool was gangraped during the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat. Fourteen of her family members were killed, including her three-and-a-half-year-old daughter. She has been fighting for justice ever since, despite the threats and intimidation that came along the way. On Monday, October 23, the Supreme Court said that Bilkis Bano can seek higher compensation from the government by filing a special leave petition in a lower court. The apex court also questioned the Gujarat government on whether any departmental action had been taken against the five police personnel and two doctors who were found guilty of dereliction of duty and evidence tampering, and asked the state to submit a detailed reply within four weeks, ANI reported.

Bilkis Banos lawyer had earlier said in court that while she was seeking higher compensation, the policemen found guilty in the case were already back at work, Hindustan Times reported.

The Bom...

17:40

Typhoon Lan Leaves Three Dead in Japan as It Heads out to Sea The Wire

Children wearing rain suits walk in a heavy rain as Typhoon Lan approaches Japan's mainland, in Tokyo, Japan, October 22, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Children wearing rain suits walk in a heavy rain as Typhoon Lan approaches Japans mainland, in Tokyo, Japan, October 22, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Tokyo: A rapidly weakening typhoon Lan made landfall in Japan on Monday, setting off landslides and flooding that prompted evacuation orders for tens of thousands of people, but then headed out to sea after largely sparing the capital, Tokyo.

Three people were reported killed, hundreds of plane flights cancelled, and train services disrupted in the wake of Lan, which had maintained intense strength until virtually the time it made landfall west of Tokyo in the early hours of Monday.

At least three people were killed, one a man in his 60s who was passing a building site when scaffolding collapsed on top of him and another a fisherman tending to his boat. The third was killed when a landslide engulfed his home, media said.

Two other...

17:34

UGC Decision Could Reduce Reservations for SC, ST and OBC Teachers at Universities The Wire

Instead of calculating the number of reserved seats based on the total number of faculty members at a university, the UGC wants the calculation to be department-wise.

Jawaharlal Nehru University campus. Credit: PTI

Jawaharlal Nehru University campus. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has reportedly yet again made a controversial decision on faculty reservations that could reduce the number of SC, ST and OBC teaching positions. This decision is now waiting for concurrence from the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, Indian Express reported.

Reservations for SC, ST and OBC teachers should be calculated department-wise and not based on the aggregate posts in a university, the UGC has decided. Indian Express quoted former secretary to the central government P.S. Krishnan, an expert on the subject, as saying that this change would reduce the number of seats reserved for marginalised candidates.

The UGCs decision is based on an Allahabad high court order from this April. In the course of hearing a case on teachers recruitment at Banaras Hindu University, the court said that each department, rather than the whole university, should be treated as the unit on which reservations are based. The court was unhappy with the UGCs policy of implementing reservations in...

16:44

US Environmental Protection Agency Cancels Scientists Appearance at Climate Change Conference The Wire

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has repeatedly expressed doubts about climate change and the agency has moved to undo dozens of Obama-era climate regulations.

Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt stands after the swearing-in ceremony for US Ambassador to Canada Kelly Knight Craft in Washington, U.S., September 26, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt stands after the swearing-in ceremony for US Ambassador to Canada Kelly Knight Craft in Washington, US, September 26, 2017. Credit: Reuters

New York: The US Environmental Protection Agency has cancelled plans for three of its scientists to speak on climate change at a conference in Rhode Island on Monday, an official said on Sunday....

16:29

Congress Relaxes One Family One Ticket Norm in Himachal Pradesh, Nominates CMs Son The Wire

The party fielded Virbhadra Singhs son Vikramaditya Singh from Shimla Rural constituency and state minister Kaul Singh Thakurs daughter Champa Thakur from Mandi.

Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: The Congress on Sunday cleared the nominations of chief minister Virbhadra Singhs son from Shimla Rural and minister Kaul Singh Thakurs daughter from Mandi for the Himachal Pradesh assembly polls, relaxing its one family, one ticket formula.

Just a day before the filing of nomination for the November 9 election comes to an end, the party announced its final list of nine candidates.

The party fielded Himachal Pradesh Youth Congress president and Virbhadra Singhs son Vikramaditya Singh from the prestigious Shimla Rural constituency, earlier held by his father, and state minister Kaul Singh Thakurs daughter Champa Thakur from Mandi (Sadar).

The Congress had initially dithered over fielding Vikramaditya Singh and Champa Thakur, but gave in to pressure at the last minute, party sources said.

According to the party sources, the Congress was taking its one family, one ticket formula, whereby only one member of a family would be made party candidate, seriously and this was the reason for the delay in declaring the candidates for Shimla Rural and Mandi seats.

Earlier on Sunday, the party released its second list of seven candidates, withholding the names of its nominees for just two seats Shimla Rural and Mandi (Sadar).

About an hour later, the party, however, cleared the nominations of Vikramaditya Singh and Champa Thakur.

Virbhadra Singh had earlier publicly...

16:24

Macris Coalition Sweeps Argentinas Mid-Term Vote The Wire

Argentina's President Mauricio Macri speaks to journalists after casting his vote in Buenos Aires, Argentina October 22, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Argentinas President Mauricio Macri speaks to journalists after casting his vote in Buenos Aires, Argentina October 22, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Buenos Aires: Candidates allied with Argentine President Mauricio Macri enjoyed sweeping victories in Sundays mid-term election, strengthening his position in Congress while dimming prospects for a political comeback by his predecessor Cristina Fernandez.

A free-spending populist who nearly bankrupted the country during her 2007-2015 rule, Fernandez came in a distant second in her race for the Senate representing Buenos Aires, Argentinas most populous province.

With 98% of ballots counted by the interior ministry, Macris former education minister, Esteban Bullrich, had 41.34% versus 37.27% for Fernandez in the province that is home to nearly 40% of Argentine voters....

16:12

India, China, and the USA: the Situation around Mauritius New Eastern Outlook

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An island state, the Republic of Mauritius is not a frequent news item. The republic consists of the two large islands Mauritius and Rodriguez, and a number of small islands and reefs in the Indian Ocean, 900 km east of the island of Madagascar. The state is well known as one of the best resorts in the world. However, in addition to its perfect climate, Mauritius is strategically located on the Asia-Africa sea route. This makes it quite attractive to China, which hopes to turn Mauritius into an important point on its 21-st Century Maritime Silk Road, which is the sea sub-project of the One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR). However, the major traditional partner of Mauritius is India, which does not welcome the growing Chinese dominance and does not approve of the OBOR. Quite possibly, the island state could become the next arena of the Indian-Chinese confrontation.

In June 2017, for the first time during quite a long period, Mauritius attracted the attention of the media by submitting territorial claims to Great Britain. These concerned the Chagos Archipelago located in the Indian Ocean halfway between Africa and Indonesia. In 1965, Great Britain separated the archipelago from its colony in the Indian Ocean, which included Mauritius. Thus, when Mauritius gained independence in 1968, the Chagos Islands remained in British possession. According to Mauritius authorities, this was a violation of the UN Declaration No. 1514 On the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Nations accepted in 1960, which prohibited the partitioning of colonies before their independence. All the indigenous citizens of the islands that remained the property of Great Britain were deported. In 1971, a strategic air base of the United States was placed on Diego Garcia Island, one of the largest islands on the Chagos Archipelago.

As a result of the claims by Mauritius, the situation with the Chagos Islands was considered by the UNO in June 2017. During the voting in the UN General Assembly, 94 countries out of 184 supported the desire of Mauritius to address the Hague International Court to establish the legal status of the archipelago.

As expected, the USA, its ally Japan, and South Korea opposed this decision and supported the right of Great Britain.

The air base in the center of the Indian Ocean is vitally important for...

14:29

Scorpions Are Not One-Hit Wonders They Have Venoms for All Occasions The Wire

An individual scorpion can change its internal physiology in response to what it is experiencing in its environment  and concoct a deadlier sting.

An Australian rainforest scorpion. Credit: David Wilson

An Australian rainforest scorpion. Credit: David Wilson

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

Scorpions, like many other venomous creatures, use venom to overpower prey and ward off their enemies. Although most scorpions eat insects and spiders, mammals have a lot of fear from their stings. Stings of most species are not life-threatening to humans, but they can be painful or cause numbness and swelling at the site. In severe cases, patients can have difficulty breathing, high blood pressure, involuntary muscle twitching and nausea. Why do invertebrate-eating creatures have such a dramatic effect on mammals such as humans? After all the physiology of insects and mammals are different. How does scorpion venom manage to bring grief to predator and prey?

Scorpions grasp their prey with their pincers calle...

14:00

Dapu Khan Merasi, the Voice of the Jaisalmer Fort The Wire

Dapu, a living heritage, is the only singer who has been singing from within the bustling fort premises for the last 25 years.

Dapu Khan Merasi

Dapu Khan Merasi. Credit: Shaheen Ahmed

We have almost become numb to the many lynchings that happen on a regular basis in India these days, especially of Muslim citizens. But, the lynching of a Manganiyar musician was almost like a personal affront. I have had a memorable encounter with the Manganiyar or Merasi community in 2014 and I always wanted to write about them. I never knew of their caste structures and hierarchies till I visited them in their village. There is now a renewed interest in this community post this lynching. I am just going to write here about this Merasi musician, Dapu Khan, and my encounter with him. The Merasis are the voice of the desert, they have been and will remain so.

14:00

Adanis Australia Story: Why Thousands of People Are Protesting a $16-Billion Coal Mine The Wire

From environmentalists to politicians to indigenous groups, there is strong local opposition to the Adani project in Queensland. The Wire examines the factors at play and how the Adani Group is responding.

Protestors wear masks of Gautam Adani and Malcolm Turnbull, depicting the unpopular billion dollar government subsidy. Credit: Stop Adani Alliance

Protestors wear masks of Gautam Adani and Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull, depicting the unpopular billion dollar government subsidy. Credit: Stop Adani Alliance

Note: This is the second story in a five-part series that will examine how the Adani and Carmichael coal mine has divided the Australian public and in the process, sparked fierce debate on issues...

13:30

How the Venezuela Crisis Is the Hidden Consequence of Saudi Arabias Oil Price War The Wire

Whats going on in Venezuela is the unintended consequence of Saudi Arabias policy of keeping oil prices deliberately low for political reasons.

A Venezuelan petroleum worker processes crude oil at a government-run centre.

A Venezuelan petroleum worker processes crude oil at a government-run centre. Credit: Reuters

Venezuela has sunk ever deep into a political and economic calamity. Inflation was above 700% and GDP more than a third below 2013 levels in August this year. The country with the worlds largest proven oil reserves is now the worlds most indebted country no other nation has a larger public external debt as a share of GDP or of exports. Living standards have truly collapsed.

Many factors have contributed to Venezuelas current crisis including mismanagement of oil wealth by former president Hugo Chavez and the current leader, Nicols Maduro, and criminality, lawlessness and the...

13:29

Modi in Kedarnath After the Deluge, the Delusion The Wire

The 2013 deluge came as a windfall for him. The media was too ready to build and hand over to the country, a strong man, a Rambo, a rescuer. We clung to him. From the heights of Kedarnath thus began the fall of this nation.

PM Modi in Kedarnath. Twitter/PMO

PM Modi in Kedarnath on October 20, 2017. Twitter/PMO

The media has been full of stories recently about Prime Minister Narendra Modi claiming that he was prevented from helping with the reconstruction of the Kedarnath temple  damaged in the cloudburst and deluge of June 2013  and about his resolve to reconstruct the shrine this time.

We can only hope that the Supreme Court is awake  to tell him that he cannot reconstruct a shrine or a pilgrimage site belonging to a particular religion using taxpayer money. The court has only recently used the secular principle of statecraft to say that mosques, rozas, khankahs and dargahs damaged by rioting mobs in 2002 cannot be reconstructed using the public exchequer.

We can only hope that the court acts. But first, a look at what the man himself said:

I had expressed my wish to carry out reconstruction work at Kedarnath to the then chief minister of the state who had agreed in principle. In my excitement I shared the development with the media and within an hour TV channels flashed it, causing a storm in New Delhi.

...

12:30

Opposition Mocks Shah-Zada Jay Amit Shahs Attempt to Gag The Wire The Wire

Comments range from seeing it as an attack on media freedom to an attempt to keep information hidden from the public.

Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi, Smriti Irani, Sitaram Yechury, Arvind Kejriwal (L-R). Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Ever since an Ahmedabad rural court last week granted BJP leader Amit Shahs son Jay Shah an ex-parte ad-interim injunction seeking to prevent The Wire from publishing any further stories on the business dealings of his two companies, the opposition as well as free speech proponents have seen in the cases that have been filed an attempt by the BJP machinery to muzzle critical media.

The injunction follows a report in The Wire on the spurt in activity the two companies recorded in the year after Narendra Modi became prime minister.

For the opposition, the support the BJP has extended to Jay Shah two ministers came forward to plead his case before the media and permission has been granted to the additional solicitor general to represent the BJP president&#821...

05:20

At Bijbehara, Site of 1993 Massacre, the Killing of 43 Kashmiris is Still a Raw Wound The Wire

On the afternoon of October 22, 1993, jawans from the Border Security Force opened fire in Bijbehara town, killing 43 civilians. No one was ever punished for the crime.

A collage of images of the victims of the Bijbehara incident in which 43 civilians lost their lives after the BSF troops opened fire on Oct 22, 1993. Credit: Khalid Gul

Bijbehara (Jammu and Kashmir): On the afternoon of October 22, 1993, Ghulam Qadir Rah, 50, a wood cutter by profession, came out on the main road in south Kashmirs Bijbehara town after his Friday prayers. He joined many others who had assembled on the highway to protest against the military siege of the Hazratbal shrine in Srina...

02:46

In the crosshairs: Israels war of attrition on political dissent +972 Magazine

The attempt to outlaw Israeli human rights organizations means the Jewish state may soon be forced to shed its image of a liberal democratic state. Are Israelis ready for that?

Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev walks behind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset during the opening of the winter session, Jerusalem, October 31, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev walks behind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset during the opening of the winter session, Jerusalem, October 31, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The war of attrition against Israels human rights community took a dark turn last week. Hardly anyone noticed.

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According to reports, Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin is currently working on a new bill that would outlaw Israeli anti-occupation NGO Breaking the Silence, along with any other organization that harms IDF soldiers or promotes boycotts of the Jewish state. The bill reportedly has the full backing of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who will review it for approval ahead of voting.

Breaking the Silence, an organization made up of former Israeli soldiers that collects and publishes testimonies of IDF transgres...

02:00

Russia"s Argus Armored Vehicle Provides Artillery with Precision Strike Capability Strategic Culture Foundation

Caterpillar-tracked armored vehicles become irreplaceable to enable artillery-delivered high-precision strikes. No surprise Uralvagonzavod design engineers have received state decoration for the development of Argus.

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