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Saturday, 17 February


A Reporters Account of Illegal Mining in Bundelkhands Mahoba The Wire

If you have power and reach, there is very little you cant get away with in the district.

Representative image.

Im Suneeta and I live in Kabrai, Mahoba. Ive been reporting here for the past five years.

Ever since Ive known, Mahoba has been under the spotlight in terms of mining legal or illegal. Its hard to ignore the quarry dust which fills the towns, villages and streets. I have been a part of this environment all my life and have experienced it closely. I was born here and have worked here since I was a child. The people who do mining here are powerful and influential. They generally have leases assigned to them or bribed for by them, to run the quarries. Usually, these people are not locals, but from cities like Banda, Kanpur, Allahabad. They then get local contractors to do the mining for them: people who operate by paying hafta at the small police posts at the sites of mining, right up to the district magistrates offices for procuring illegitimate leases.

On the night of January 7, a few farmers in the Srinagar area of Mahoba, along the banks of the Urmil river, which divides Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, gathered to protest the passage of overloaded trucks that were bringing sand from the river and using their fields as a thoroughfare. Their fields were being destroyed approximately 50 trees on th...


Maharashtra: Controversy Over Obscene Texts in Primary School Books The Wire

The states ministry of education and department of education are sparring over who appointed the committee and selected the experts who shortlisted the books with objectionable content.

Bal Nachiketa (left), a Marathi paper with the controversial passages. Credit: Varsha Torgalkar

Pune: There are many examples in mythology to show that rishis and gods have had sexual intercourse and have a desire to have sex. But, Ramkrishna and Saradamata were in married relationship still they kept their desire to sex away. How will todays generation understand this?

Saradmata by Mohan Joshi, published by Bhartiya Vichar Sadhana

The rishi starts to feel the body of Matsyagandha, the daughter of a fisherman and expresses his wish for intercourse. The girl asks, will anyone accept me after I lose my virginity?

Bhagwan Ved Vyas by Prasad Dorle, published by Bhartiya Vichar Sadhana

These are examples of text from books on mythological and historical figures that are available in bookshops in Maharashtra. Selected for supplementary reading by a committee of experts, these may now find their way into government schools.

An expert committee of school teachers has identified these, and other books, to be distributed in school libraries free of cost. They will be available by the end of February.

The content of these books however has...

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Friday, 16 February


Will the 2018 Tripura Elections Be 2008 All Over Again? The Wire

The BJP in its current campaign seems to be raising the issues that were raised by the Congress in 2008. The difference is the intensity in the BJPs ongoing campaign.

Crowds gathered for PM Modis rally in Tripura on Thursday. Credit: Twitter/PMO

Agartala (Tripura): On February 18, 2008, 60-year-old Tarun Das saw the then Congress president Sonia Gandhi for the first  and the only  time.

She was addressing an election rally in the state capital Agartala, not very far from where Das home is Barjala.

In that rally, Das recalled, Sonia Gandhi accused the Manik Sarkar-led Left Front government of siphoning central funds for narrow political interests, not utilising Rs 500 crore central funds, failing to provide safety to women and children and employment to the youth. Among the promises she made to the voters were salaries to the state government employees as per Sixth Pay Commission recommendations. The Left Front government was then paying them Fourth Pay Commission salaries.

According to the media reports then, she asked the electorate, How long will you tolerate (this)? Endurance also has a limit and I think the only one alternative is to defeat the Left Front government in the coming elections.

In the run-up to the 2008 assembly elections in Tripura, besides Sonia Gandhis two rallies (the other one was in Dharmanagar), then prime minister Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi, who was then learning the ropes of  national politics, also addressed meetings. After a...


Are Americas Hawks Any Good Against Chinas Dragons? New Eastern Outlook


The recent publication of the notorious Kremlin list that is to become the basis of yet another list of anti-Russian punitive measures being planned in the White House, was empowered by the Countering Americas Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. This law proclaims Russia to be an official enemy of Washington, along with North Korea and Iran.

However, various political figures in Washington are declaring China yet another enemy of the United States, in addition to the above mentioned three states. Additionally, this notion can be found in the latest revision of the National Security Strategy that was signed by President Trump at the end of the last year. In this paper China is accused of using allegedly predatory economic practices and belicose actions in the South China Sea that are designed as a means of intimidation of its neighbors. Curiously enough, Washington is convinced or at least pretends to be convinced that Russia and China are the revisionist states want to challenge the existing status quo that suits American insterests, as stated in the NSS.

Similar notions were voiced by the sitting US President during his annual State of the Union Address, in which he would describe both Russia and China as rivals who challenge the interests and values of the United States.

The Director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo was even more straightforward in his assessments, highlighting the fact that the Peoples Republic of China is the principal threat to his country on the international arena. It is unlikely that Pompeos straightforwardness was proposed by the recent detention of a Chinese American, Jerry Chun Shing Lee was was employed by the CIA until 2007. The CIA believes that Lee could be responsible for numerous disappearances and murders of US agents in China in 2010-2012 and could rat out entire American intelligence networks in China and Russia to their respective governments.

Therefore, the ongoing investigation by the Congress and the FBI has a clear goal of representing Chinas posture in the world as dangerous, as this country can be characterized by its constantly growing wealth and power, as its been noted by The Washington Post. Its been noted that a join group of US intelligence agencies agents are sutdying ChinaR...


Inside Nirav Modis Potemkin World The Wire

The billionaire jeweller to the worlds rich and famous was doing well for himself. His troubles, however, grew along with his blinding success.

Nirav Modi

Nirav Modi. Credit: Nirav Modi Jewels/Facebook

New Delhi: Businessmen in Indias multi-billion dollar diamond industry it exports cut and polished diamonds worth $35 billion dollars are known for two things: the extremely low profile they keep and the tight networks they maintain.

Even the biggest players, with offices all over the world and turnovers running into thousands of crores, remain discreet and low-key, rarely giving interviews or appearing in the press.

In this world, mainly populated by Palanpuri Jains, Nirav Modi was a stand-out. He came from a dealer background and became a retailer, not a path followed by many. What is more, he personally became the companys brand, putting his face (and that of several glamorous celebrities from all over the world) up front.

That was not just vanity it was part of a business strategy to emerge as a strong, international brand, on par with the Harry Winstons of the world. He wanted to set up stores in the smartest parts of international cities, and he did. In September 2016, when his eponymous store opened in Bond Street in London, it was in the presence of several top local celebs, including his British brand ambassador actor and Bond girl Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. The New York store is on 5th Avenue, and there are stores in Hong Kong and Macau. One guest at the London launch said, it was a glittering party, and to tell you the truth, I felt proud to see an Indian name there.

But these grand or more a...


Why Israel is so worried about Qatari outreach to American Jews +972 Magazine

Qatar has been focusing on prominent American Jewish leaders as the isolated Gulf state seeks to repair its image. Why American Jews? Its about Saudi Arabia.

By Mitchell Plitnick

A file photo of Alan Dershowitz. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

A file photo of Alan Dershowitz. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

On January 31, the Israeli embassy in the United States stated that Israel did not approve of several right wing, pro-Israel American Jewish leaders meeting with senior officials, including the emir, of Qatar. We oppose this outreach effort in the Jewish and pro-Israel community, said embassy spokesman Itai Bar Dov.

It was an unusual, and in some ways bizarre, statement. What was Israel so worried about?


There is nothing wrong with analysts and intellectuals traveling to Qatar to learn about the situation there, explains Jonathan Schanzer, the vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. The problem is that during those visits, theyre not hearing the other side of the story. They are getting the government line and then they...


Whispers of an Unwinnable War With Pakistan Are Only Growing Louder The Wire

We have unwittingly created a war-hysteria and are now bent upon closing all our escape routes.

The right-wing social media sites are brimming with talk of usefulness of a limited conflict. Credit: Reuters

The right-wing social media sites are brimming with talk of usefulness of a limited conflict. Credit: Reuters

The Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir is suddenly sizzling. Too much heavy firing, and too many jawans and civilians getting killed. And, then, those damn terrorists manage to sneak in and attack an army base; and, two days later a CRPF camp faces a fidayeen assault. More soldiers get martyred.

On Monday, the raksha mantri (defence minister) found herself compelled to visit Jammu after the Sunjuwan military base was attacked. She was reported to have categorically declared: I wouldnt certainly state a timeline [for action against Pakistan]. But will say...


Goa Has a Unique Culture, Hindutva Wont Work Here: BJP MLA Francis DSouza The Wire

The five-time MLA underlines why alcohol and beef can never be banned in the state and why its wrong for a party to terrorise people in the name of religion.

Credit: PTI

Francis DSouza, the Bharatiya Janata Partys Urban Development Minister in the Manohar Parrikar government in Goa, does not mince words when he says that alcohol and beef can never be banned in the state. The five-time MLA from Mapusa, and former deputy chief minister in the last BJP government, is proud that it is the Goan-Portuguese heritage that gives his state its liberal, inclusive outlook. Dismissive of his partys attempts to bring Hindutva into the state, DSouza says that it will be rejected outright by the people.

Though Dsouza once claimed that he was a Christian Hindu, he does wince when reminded about how his party bypassed him to make his Hindu colleague the chief minister even though he was next in line for the job.

Sitting at his residence atop a hill overlooking Mapusa town, Dsouza is candid about the fate of Goas uniqueness in the face of Hindutva onslaught, and about outsiders swamping the state. Excerpts:

Do you believe Parrikars fear of girls drinking beer is misplaced?

I dont think Parrikar was being critical of...


360 Video: Migratory Birds In Delhi The Wire

Every year, the Yamuna wetlands play host to over 250 species of migratory birds. The Siberian Seagulls find their way to Delhi every November and stay till March, before returning home.

The post 360 Video: Migratory Birds In Delhi appeared first on The Wire.


Exacerbation of Tensions in Syria: Who Stands to Gain? Strategic Culture Foundation

The illegal presence of the US in Syria has become more complicated and fraught with many dangers. The need to fight the Islamic State became a flimsy pretext after the jihadist groups defeat. Now the alleged threat coming from Iran is being used to justify US military operations in a faraway country.


Want to Be a Journalist? The NIA Will Now Tell You How The Wire

The counter-terror agency claims detained Kashmiri photojournalist Kamran Yusuf is not a real journalist because he did not cover development projects.

Kamran Yusuf. Credit: Twitter

Kamran Yusuf. Credit: Twitter

New Delhi: The National Investigative Agencys chargesheet against Kashmiri photojournalist Kamran Yusuf has claimed that he is not a real journalist. Why? Because a real journalist should have been covering the governments development projects in the area. That, according to the agency, is a journalists moral duty.

The irony is that though Yusufs work was largely based on the conflict in Kashmir, his cameras and computers did in fact yield lots of photographs of precisely such development projects, his lawyer, Warisha Farishat told The Wire on Friday.

The journalist was detained without charge in September last year, and then booked as a stone-pelter in a fresh chargesheet filed on January 18. The chargesheet also accuses him of conspiring to wage war against the Government of India by carrying out terrorist and secessionist activities in Jammu and Kashmir. On Thursday, the NIA submitted documents to the additional sessions court in Delhi to...


Unpublished Data Show Indias Fraud Problems Extend Far Beyond Punjab National Bank The Wire

Reserve Bank of India data show state-run banks have reported 8,670 loan fraud cases totalling Rs 612.6 billion over the last five financial years.

A man talks on a phone as he walks past a Nirav Modi showroom during a raid by the Enforcement Directorate, a government agency that fights financial crime, in New Delhi, India, February 15, 2018. Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

New Delhi/Mumbai: Investors may have been shocked when one of Indias biggest banks disclosed a $1.77 billion fraud by a billionaire jeweller, but the central bank has recorded data that shows the problem runs far deeper and...


Why America Shouldn't Try to Influence Iran's Future Strategic Culture Foundation

Washington should tread very carefully in its statements and actions given that recent reports indicate that there are an increasing number of deaths and continued detentions across dozens of Iranian cities. It must scrupulously avoid the temptation to make the protests about American policy or desired outcomes.


Poll Candidates Must Disclose Source of Income: SC The Wire

A bench headed by justice J. Chelameswar said the candidates have to disclose their own, their spouses and dependent childrens source of income when filing nomination.

Supreme Court of India. Credit: PTI

Supreme Court of India. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday directed that all candidates contesting elections must disclose their sources of income, including those of their spouse and dependent children.

In a landmark judgment, a bench headed by justice J. Chelameswar said the candidate has to disclose his, his wifes and dependent childrens source of income when they file nomination for elections.

The court verdict came on a petition filed by NGO, Lok Prahari, which has sought the inclusion of a column in the nomination form seeking details of income sources.

The petitioner has claimed that the candidates, while filing their nomination papers were disclosing their assets, assets of their spouse, children and other dependents, but they were not revealing the sources of income.

As per the law, at present a candidate is required to disclose details of assets and liabilities for themselves, spouse and three dependents while filing nomination paper but not their source of income.

Earlier, dur...


Falsehoods and Lies: Inciting War Is a War Crime Strategic Culture Foundation

The relentless propagation of lies by the West is an appalling incitement to tensions, conflict and war. Engaging in war fever is not only irresponsible. It is in fact a war crime, according to Nuremberg legal standards.


The BJP Will Make Sure I Never Leave Prison: Chandrashekhar Azad The Wire

A friend and comrade of the Bhim Army leader writes about visiting him in jail.

Bhim Army supporters hold a protest at Jantar Mantar. Credit: PTI

Bhim Army supporters hold a protest at Jantar Mantar. Credit: PTI

I am writing this article about a Dalit rights movement knowing that the section of society it pertains to will mostly not be able to read it. This is so because buying a phone or computer is not within the means of every poor person to this day. Even if it were, the state of education is such that rather than read something, a considerable section prefers to watch baseless primetime television shows.

Our friendship in struggle began after May 9, 2017. On June 8, 2017, Chandrashekhar Azad was put behind bars. From that time on, I have been meeting him almost every month. What transpired in Saharanpur was nothing new for the Dalits; it was merely one more episode in a long history where the houses that are set ablaze happen to be of Dalits, and those who are sent to prison also happen to be Dalits.

When I first visited Shekhar it is how I address Chandrashekhar Azad in the Saharanpur jail...


China"s "New Silk Roads" Reach Latin America Strategic Culture Foundation

The Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, told his audience that the worlds second-largest economy and Latin America should join efforts to support free trade. This was about opposing protectionism and working for an open world economy, he said.


At Home and Abroad, Indias Recent Import Duty Hikes Draw Criticism and Confusion The Wire

With Make in India struggling to make headway, the Modi government has fallen back on hiking import duty in the latest Budget. Will Indias trading partners retaliate?

The Modi government has resorted to import duty hikes on products ranging from mobile phones to auto parts to fruit juice in the latest Union Budget. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: With the Make in India programme struggling to make headway, the Narendra Modi government has resorted to import duty hikes on products ranging from mobile phones and auto parts to fruit juice, in the latest Union Budget. The governments knee-jerk reaction has left trade diplomats and prime ministers top economic advisers puzzled.

As the US President Donald Trump has pointed out, Indias average tariff for industrial products is still much higher compared to developed countries where, after several rounds of trade liberalisation, import duties for these items have come down to zero or close to zero.

During his discussion with Congress members about  the steel industry on Thursday, Trump criticised India for slapping high import duty on the iconic Harley-Davidson motorcycle...


US Senate Rejects Immigration Bills, Leaves Dreamers in Limbo The Wire

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walks to the Senate floor before a series of votes on immigration reform on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, February 15, 2018. Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts

Washington: The US Senate rejected a series of bills to protect Dreamer immigrants on Thursday, leaving in limbo the future of 1.8 million young adults brought to the US illegally as children.

The Senate failed to get the 60 votes needed to move forward on four separate proposals, including one backed by US President Donald...


Why BJP Is Capturing the Imagination of Tripuras Young Voters The Wire

The Left Front government has been in power in the state for the past 25 years and just the possibility of change seems exciting to many young people.

BJP and CPI(M) flags can be seen lining roads across Tripura. Credit: Akhil Kumar

BJP and CPI(M) flags can be seen lining roads across Tripura. Credit: Akhil Kumar

Agartala: In what is perhaps the first direct electoral fight between the Left and the Right in the country, the Bharatiya Janata Partys aggressive chalo paltai (lets flip it) campaign in Tripura has managed to seduce the states sizeable young electorate with the promise of jobs, free smartphones and poriborton (change). Opinions are sharply split as the Communist Party of India (Marxist) seems to have found its match in cadre-based organising for the first time.

Tripura has 3.6 million people spread across 60 constituencies, with a growing population of literate but unemployed youth. Ironically, it tops the list of Indian states in both literacy and unemployment rates. In multiple interviews with The Wire across the state, many young and first-time voters said tha...


Borneo Records Startling Decline in Orangutan Population The Wire

Hunting, habitation destruction by industries and deforestation have led to a drop of about 50% in the orangutan population on the island of Borneo from 1999 to 2015.

An orangutan holds its baby at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center in the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo island on January 11, 2004. Credit: Reuters/Bazuki Muhammad/File Photo

Washington: Hunting by people and habitation destruction by oil palm, paper, logging and mining industries helped drive a startling drop of about 50% in the orangutan population on the island of Borneo from 1999 to 2015, scientists said on Thursday.

The researchers calculated a population decrease of about 148,500 durin...


Smriti Iranis Expensive Picks for Top Editorial Jobs at Prasar Bharati Nixed By Board The Wire

The public broadcaster which runs DD and AIR baulked at the high salaries the I&B ministry proposed, which was way out of line with current levels.

Left: I&B minister Smriti Irani; Right: Prasar Bharati chairman A. Surya Prakash. Credit: Reuters/PTI

New Delhi: In a rare display of the autonomy it is officially deemed to possess, the countrys public service broadcaster on Thursday turned down a proposal by the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry to hire two senior journalists on top editorial posts at Prasar Bharati.

Journalists Siddharth Zarabi and Abhijit Majumder had been shortlisted for the position of head of TV news in Doordarshan News and chief editor at the Prasar Bharati News Service respectively, reported Indian Express.

While, Zarabi is the executive editor of Business TV India and Majumder a vocal supporter of the current government who was recently called out for sharing fake news about the Kasganj violence  is the managing editor of Mail Today newspaper.

The board refused to clear their appointment because of the unjustifiable compensation suggested by the I&B ministry, a member of the...


Review: The Dispossessed and the Possessed The Wire

Anand Vivek Tanejas Jinneaology seamlessly links Delhis past to its present, and its spirit-life to its modern disenchantments.

Firoz Shah Kotla. Credit: Anand Vivek Kumar

Firoz Shah Kotla. Credit: Anand Vivek Kumar

I grew up with stories about Jinn Mamu whom we never addressed without the suffix of uncle, because they were very jalali, or easy to anger. But a mamu is fond of their nieces and nephews and will try and fulfil their desires, and never harm them. That is the spirit that prevails among the jinn-saints of Firoz Shah Kotla, except here they are father figures.

In the Quran, the Jinns are mentioned as very akin to humans, except where humans were made of clay, the Jinns had been created out of smokeless fire and can take on any form they wanted, animal or other. Just as there were good and bad human beings, there were good and bad jinns.



The Systemic Issues that Enabled the Punjab National Bank Scam Were Flagged in 2013 The Wire

The gaping holes in Nostro account monitoring and the SWIFT messaging system were well-known. It just needed Nirav Modi to come along and exploit them.

Investigation agencies are saying that the size of the Nirav Modi scam may be bigger than Rs 11,000 crore. Credit: Reuters

Investigation agencies are saying that the size of the Nirav Modi scam may be bigger than Rs 11,000 crore. Credit: Reuters

In early 2013, a clutch of public sector banks formally made a representation to the RBI expressing a lot of difficulty in either eliminating or reconciling the proliferating number of entries in their accumulating Nostro accounts after a lapse of time.

A Nostro account is typically opened by a domestic bank, in this case Punjab National Bank (PNB), with overseas banks and the account is used to make payment to overseas parties for imports, such as for rough diamonds in the present instance. A domestic bank typically facilitates creation of such Nostro accounts with overseas banks so that it is able to pay dollars from the overseas account for imports by its local client.

So, when banks told the RBI in 2013 that it was becoming difficult to eliminate or reconcile the burgeoning Nostro accounts, the central bank specifically advised that public sector banks should minimise the number of Nostro accounts to have a better control over reconciliation.

The RBI also instructed banks to put in place a system of fas...


Aiyaary Is a Straightforward Thriller, Needlessly Convoluted The Wire

Like his previous films, Neeraj Pandeys Aiyaary is a spy thriller, with the heart of a family drama.

A scene from Aiyaary. Credit: Youtube

A Neeraj Pandey film over the last few years has largely come to denote a bunch of things: national security, spies, and covert operations. These films, Baby, Naam Shabana (which Pandey wrote and produced), and his latest release, Aiyaary, also share actors, such as Manoj Bajpai, Taapsee Pannu and Anupam Kher. Theyve also
been sprawling fares, clocking around 160 minutes  long films emerging from thin, simple stories.

Debuting with A Wednesday!, a troubling and populist thriller, Pandey has shown a penchant for violent, quick fix solutions. This helps him in multiple ways. At one level, it allows him to tell the stories that interest him, and at the other, it gives him a ready made audience, which often sees justice, or national security, as a soda dispensing machine, stripped of 8all its complexity, executed at the press of a button. Moreover, these films, centred on secret agents who must break the law to maintain law, have a conventional cinematic appeal, revolving around risky operations, encounters, and smart deceits. A complacent filmmaker finding his interest, promising a large audience, often results in a formula. Pandey has certainly found his.

In Aiyaary though, that formula is served with a twist. Major Jai Bakshi (Sidharth Malhotra), part of a secret seven-member team called Design and System Diagnostics, helmed by Colonel Abhay Singh (Bajpai), has defected. Once an integral part of the group, sa...


Pulling up Bombay HC Over Remark in Mohsin Shaikh Case, SC Says Religion Not an Excuse for Murder The Wire

Granting bail to the three accused in the case, the high court had observed that the fault of the deceased was only that he belonged to another religion.

Mohsin Shaikh, Supreme Court of India. Credit: Twitter/Reuters

Mohsin Shaikh, Supreme Court of India. Credit: Twitter/Reuters

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has pulled up the Bombay high court for its observations in the June 2014 murder case of Pune techie Mohsin Shaikh. The courts observations seemed to suggest that the three accused had been provoked to commit the act of violence in the name of religion.

The high courts remark in the order that the fault of the deceased was only that he belonged to another religion was made while granting bail to the accused.

On February 8, the apex court quashed the Bombay high courts order pertaining to the three accused in the case  Vijay Gambhire, Ganesh Yadav and Ajay Lalge who, according to a Hindustan Times report, are part of the right-wing group Hindu Rashtra Sena.

The three among 21 from the Sena who were booked in connection with the murder reportedly attended an inflammatory meeting just before they accosted and killed Shaikh. The meeting was held in the background of communal clashes in Pune....


The Munich Security Report: once again, no solution to arms-control issues

It's quite alarming to think that the upcoming 54th Munich Security Conference will once again be unlikely to offer the world any effective arms-control solutions or the establishment of a security system that would be in the interests of all the countries involved.

The post The Munich Security Report: once again, no solution to arms-control issues appeared first on


Cauvery Dispute: Supreme Court Increases Karnatakas Share of Water, Reduces Tamil Nadus The Wire

Karnataka will now have an enhanced share of 14.75 tmcft water per year while Tamil Nadu will get 404.25 tmcft, 14.75 tmcft less than what was allotted by the tribunal in 2007.

Credit: Reuters

Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today directed the Karnataka government to release 177.25 tmcft of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu from its inter-state Biligundlu dam.

The judgement clarified that Karnataka will now have an enhanced share of 14.75 tmcft water per year while Tamil Nadu will get 404.25 tmcft, which will be 14.75 tmcft less than what was allotted by the tribunal in 2007.

Earlier, in accordance with the 2007 award of the Cauvery water dispute tribunal, Karnataka had a share of 270 tmcft of Cauvery water. This will now increase to 284.75 tmcft.

The much-awaited judgement was pronounced by a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Amitava Roy and A.M. Khanwilkar, which had on September 20 last year reserved the verdict on the appeals filed by Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala against the 2007 award of the tribunal.

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The War in Syria is now 7 years old New Eastern Outlook


In March this year it will be seven years since the Syrian Arab Republic was flung into a difficult, intense and drawn-out crisis. The waves of the so-called Arab Spring or Arab Revolution that plunged Tunisia, Egypt and Libya into chaos and shook up other countries in the region reached Syria and disrupted normal life in what had once been, by Middle East standards, a prosperous and stable country.

At that time, in 2010-11, there were -and even now there remain- a lot of unanswered questions about the background to those unexpected political convulsions. Now the most prevalent view of those events is that they were originally spontaneous demonstrations, a popular outbreak of anger against unacceptable corruption and against leaders robbing their people, feelings of powerlessness, hopelessness and despair which overflowed the limits of what people could tolerate. The Arab Spring appeared out of the blue, because it concerned strategically important regions. But, Western capitals the policymakers quickly got their bearings and found levers that they could use to direct that simmering popular dissatisfaction in the direction they needed.

In Syria, certain forces that were unhappy with Bashar Assads rule rode on the crest of the wave of discontent that was sweeping across the Arab world. That country, with its strategically very important position on the Eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, and its historic influence in the Arab and Moslem worlds was the focus of attention of a number of leading countries in both the West and in the Persian Gulf region. A number of foreign powers started to intervene in the worsening internal conflict. The Syrian opposition were generously provided with arms, and dollars, which triggered the civil war.

At the same time, militants from the DAESH terrorist group entered Syria. DAESH was formed following the US invasion of Iraq and the subsequent overthrow of Saddam Husseins regime in 2003. In 2009 DAESH declared war on Syria and in 2014 it announced the formation of a Global Islamic Caliphate in the parts of Syria they had taken over- a considerable area of the country from Aleppo to the Diyala in the East of Iraq.

In Summer 2015, groups of armed DAESH militants, provided with information and military, financial and material support by the West and by a number of Persian Gulf states, very nearly reached Damascus. By September 2015 there was a very real risk of Syria ceasing to exi...


Emergency Will Be Lifted as Scheduled Once Judicial Deadlock Is Resolved: Maldives Envoy to India The Wire

In a meeting, India had asked the Maldives whether the emergency will end on February 20 as planned and sought clarifications on discussions between the island country and China.

Ambassador Ahmed Mohamed hoisting the Maldivian flag at the embassy in Delhi. Credit: Twitter/Ahmed Mohamed/Files

Ambassador Ahmed Mohamed hoisting the Maldivian flag at the embassy in Delhi. Credit: Twitter/Ahmed Mohamed/Files

New Delhi: Even as India inquired from the Maldives about plans for lifting the state of emergency, the Maldivian ambassador to India said his government intends to end the current state as scheduled on February 20, once the judicial deadlock is resolved.

His Indian counterpart in Maldives had on Thursday (February 15) asked the Maldivian foreign secretary whether the emergency would end as declared within 15 days.

The state of emergency will come to an end, when the judicial deadlock is resolved. Government is hoping that within the 15 days still five days remaining the government will be able to get out of the messy situation, Ambassador Ahmed Mohamed told The Wire on Thursday evening.

Just a few hours before speaking to The Wire in New Delhi, Indias ambassador to the Maldives, Akhilesh Mishra, had met with the Maldivian foreign secretary Ahmed Sareer in Mal. The meeting had apparently been so...


Interview 1345 Fake News Breakdown on Financial Survival The Corbett Report

[audio mp3=""][/audio]James joins Dave Allen (taking over for the retired Alfred Adask) for his bi-monthly appearance on Financial Survival. This time they discuss the latest drama on the Korean peninsula, James' fake news awards, and the Japanese government's attempts to alter its pacifist constitution.


Netanyahu Bribed, Oxfam Scandal, Smart TVs New World Next Week The Corbett Report

This week on the New World Next Week: Israeli police recommend charging Netanyahu for bribery scandal; Oxfam feels the heat over sex-for-aid scandal; and your smart TV is a privacy dumpster fire.


CBI Court to Rule on Discharge of Former Gujarat DGP, IB Men in Ishrat Jahan Case The Wire

P.P. Pandeys earlier attempts to have the FIR against him quashed were rejected by the Gujarat high court.

A file photo of Ishrat Jahan

New Delhi: A special CBI court will rule on Friday (February 16) on the discharge petition filed by former Gujarat DGP P.P. Pandey and two Intelligence Bureau officers accused in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case.

Pandey, named in the original CBI chargesheet, said in his discharge petition filed in January 2017 that the case is based on circumstantial evidence and the chain of events have not been established prima facie and there is no material on record to show what could be the motive of the Applicant/accused to be a part of the so-called conspiracy.

The Gujarat high court had previously twice dismissed Pandeys petitions that the FIR against him be quashed.

Pandeys application has also alleged that the CBI has concocted the evidence by fabricating the statements of witnesses to somehow implicate the Applicant/accused for political reasons. It also says that Pandeys involvement in the incident is based merely on suspicion.



Independent Seven Million Jobs Study Was Carried out With Government Help The Wire

The EPFO data for the Ghosh and Ghosh study was given by the Niti Aayog, which in turn was tasked by the Prime Ministers Office to give quick indicators for direct reflections on employment data.

The two economists worked out of the Niti Aayog office because EPFO data could not be taken out. Credit: Reuters

The two economists worked out of the Niti Aayog office because EPFO data could not be taken out. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: The study that claimed 7 million people would be added to the payroll in 2017-18 was triggered by the Prime Ministers Office (PMO), which had asked the Niti Aayog last October to give quick indicators for direct or indirect reflections on employment data to be able to arrive at desired trends in employment at the earliest.

The Niti Aayog, in turn, helped the authors of the study Towards a Payroll Reporting in India to gain access to data of around 80 million Employees Provident Fund (EPF) subscribers.

Since this database is not in the public domain, the government think-tank acquired the data from the Employees Provident Fund Organisations (EPFOs) national data centre office in Hyderabad and passed it onto the autho...


Even in These Crucial Times, Financial Allocations for the Environment Remain an Afterthought The Wire

The allocations for various environment protection schemes have either remained stagnant or declined from previous years in Budget 2018.

People cross the road in Delhi, India, November 7, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Saumya Khandelwal

Amid rapidly growing concerns over climate change, a significant increase in allocations for environment protection was certainly needed. However, if we look at the allocations for various environment protection schemes in the latest Union Budget, the overall conclusion is one of acute disappointment.

The allocation for the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. at Rs 2,675 crore, remains unchanged compared to either the budget estimate or the revised estimate for the previous year. This means that even inflation impact has not been provided for and there has been a decline in real terms for the al...


The US Led Liberal International Order Is in Crisis The Wire

There is little room for soft power in Trumps foreign policy; diplomacy has been side-lined in favour of military solutions.

The Lower Manhattan skyline, One World Trade Center and Manhattan Bridge are seen in the background as a ferry with a US flag cruises along the East River in New York. Credit: Reuters/Darren Ornitz

One year into President Donald Trumps administration, serious questions are being asked about the nature and extent of the crisis of the US-led liberal order, and its hegemonic state. The most fervent proponents of that order liberal internationalists are in varying states of despair. According to their Whiggish narratives, the order was supposed to be open, universal, prosperous for most, and in...


In JNU, an Attempt to Enforce Surveillance Over Students and Teachers Alike The Wire

Outdoor classes in JNU as part of the compulsory attendance boycott. Credit: Special arrangement

Outdoor classes in JNU as part of the compulsory attendance boycott. Credit: Special arrangement

The problem in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is not about attending classes; it is about registering compulsory attendance in classes. This is not merely a semantic nicety, for in these two issues lies the crux of what has now brought JNU to a boil. Let me explain. Students attend lectures, seminars, discussions and presentations because they want to, not because they must. The latter has nothing to do with some misunderstood and misinformed self-arrogated right of not attending lectures, now being imputed to them in the public domain.

The fact is that students in JNU are expected to attend; and they do. In fact, students spilling out of classrooms, sitting on floors, or standing during lectures because all seats are occupied by their colleagues is a common sight in the campus. Come to any seminar or conference, and the most enthusiastic and informed partici...


Rough Edges: Bhagwat is Not Insulting the Army, He is Boosting the Cult of Militarisation The Wire

The public has largely missed the most sinister thing that Bhagwats comments alluded to the increasing militarisation of society where conformists drive dissenters into the shadows.

The Sangh parivar has always been a militarised organisation, ready at the heels to spring into combat. Credit: Reuters

Dystopic worlds consistently fire the imaginations of artists and writers. Worlds fraught and frayed by continued wars, major and minor, where a dominant elite hunts down or represses minorities and others who dont fit in. It is the marginalised who then emerge as the ideological dissenters of the day challenging the order. In the grey and grainy universes of science fiction, the endless game between the establishment and those banished from it creates a world that embraces and nurtures war. A world that lauds and advocates militarisation of life.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwats recent remarks conjure images of just such a society. A gateway to future dystopia, nourished by civil war between communities that have split society down the middle, stoking differences of religion, caste, ideology. A universe where puffed up by supremacist zeal conformists chase dissenters, driving them into the shadows.

If accused of indulging a wild imagination, I could point people to the RSSs ideological roots, its political crucible. The Sangh parivar has always been a militarised organisation, ready at the heels to spring into combat. But never since 1947 perh...


Khaleda Zias Conviction Will Only Add to Bangladeshs Internal Political Chaos The Wire

The verdict will likely push the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party into further crisis, clearing the way for the Awami League to form government in Dhaka again.

Former Prime Minister of Bangladesh Khaleda Zia. Credit: Reuters

Former Prime Minister of Bangladesh Khaleda Zia. Credit: Reuters

In a landmark judgment, the anti-corruption court in Dhaka on February 8 convicted Khaleda Zia, the former prime minister, current president of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and opposition leader, to five years imprisonment for corruption.

The court found Zia guilty of misappropriating 21 million takas ($252,000) in foreign donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust during her premiership between 2001 and 2006. The court also convicted Zias son, Tarique Rahman, and four others to ten years in prison in the same case. Rahman is currently living in exile in London. There are also other criminal conspiracy charges pending against him in Bangladesh.

BNP response

The verdict aroused anger a...


US Wants ISIS Sponsors to Rebuild Iraq Land Destroyer

February 16, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Like a local mafia that breaks car windows by night and repairs them by day, the United States has enlisted its Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) partners - namely Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates - to "rebuild" in Iraq in the wake of the defeated, self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) these same states sponsored.

Reuters in an article titled, "Coalition members must help Iraq rebuild, Tillerson says," would report (emphasis added):
The U.S. leads the coalition and hopes that after a three-year fight to defeat the militants it can count in large part on Gulf allies to shoulder the burden of rebuilding Iraq and on a Saudi-Iraqi rapprochement to weaken Irans influence in the country, which is run by a Shiite led government. 
The article also reports (emphasis added): 
Donors and investors have gathered in Kuwait this week to discuss efforts to rebuild Iraqs economy and infrastructure as it emerges from a devastating conflict with the hardline militants who seized almost a third of the country.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would be quoted by Reuters as claiming: 
If communities in Iraq and Syria cannot return to normal life, we risk the return of conditions that allowed ISIS to take and control vast territory.
Yet even a causal student of history, military affairs, or modern warfare knows that armies tens of thousands strong, with regional, even global recruiting, training, and logistical networks do not spring up out of poverty or economic ruination. The operation capacity demonstrated by ISIS is only possible with significant state sponsorship.

US Enlists Those Who Sponsored ISIS to Rebuild Iraq 

Mention of Kuwait serving as a venue for "donors and investors" seeking to "reconstruct" Iraq is particularly ironic for...


Jan Gan Man Ki Baat Episode 196: Punjab National Bank Scam The Wire

Vinod Dua discusses the recent Punjab National Bank Scam and how two of the banks employees pulled off one of Indias biggest banking con jobs.

Also read: Explained: Punjab National Banks $1.8 Billion Fraud

The post Jan Gan Man Ki Baat Episode 196: Punjab National Bank Scam appeared first on The Wire.


Chinas New World: Energy Markets, Sci-Fi Novels & Rational Progress New Eastern Outlook


The rise of China is the largest geopolitical gamechange of the epoch. Never in history has a country so rapidly shifted its status, from one of the poorest countries on earth to the planets second largest economy. The impact of this dramatic shift cannot be under-estimated. The energy markets are changing, international relations are changing, but the ultimate results could be much deeper. A new political concept is developing.

Western Politics Rejects Progress

Observing the prevalant political atmosphere in the US, Harvard Psychology Professor Steven Pinker observed For all their disagreements, the left and right concurs on one thing: the world is getting worse. Pinker isnt the only one to observe that the western world seems to have universally embraced pessimism.

The roots of the term left and right during the opening stages of the French Revolution were tied in with the concept of historical progress. The left were progressive and revolutionary forces that sought to march forward, while the right-wing were the reactionaries and conservatives who sought to preserve or restore the existing power.

However, beginning with the 1960s New Left, both wings of western politics took on a completely different character. The 1960s radicals emphasized individuality and cultural hedonism. They replaced the Marxist goal of constructing a rationally planned socialist society with a call to do your own thing.

In the aftermath of the cold-war leftism continued to deviate into complete absurdity. With the absence of Marxism, an atmosphere where discourse is facilitated by well-funded NGOs and foundations has overseen the degeneration of leftism into a kind of victimology. The post-modern leftist sees the world as lacking fairness, and cultivates a kind of group therapy atmosphere. The talk of class struggle revolution and dictatorship of the proletariat that once defined Leftism is now far to male,  to white, and to serious.  In an atmosphere obsessed with personal identity, sexual and gender issues become primary, while economics is deemed to be almost irrelevant. Activists learn to feel ashamed for their own privilege and wrangle on a journey of self-discovery about their own internalized oppression.

The right-wing of western politics took a similar turn in the later part of the 20th Century. Mccarthyism and the Cold War defined opposition to any notion of socialism or communism as central for rightist po...


The end of Israels enlightened occupation +972 Magazine

A decision to apply Israels higher education law to the West Bank exposes as a ruse Israels claims that it administers the occupied Palestinian territories according to international law.

By Michal Luft

Border police officers stand in front of Palestinians as they wait to cross from Qalandiya checkpoint outside Ramallah, West Bank, into Jerusalem to attend the second Friday Ramadan prayers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, July 26, 2013. (Photo:

Border police officers stand in front of Palestinians as they wait to cross from Qalandiya checkpoint outside Ramallah, West Bank, into Jerusalem to attend the second Friday Ramadan prayers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, July 26, 2013. (Photo:

For years, Israel nurtured its image as an enlightened occupier in the Palestinian territories. It not only insisted on portraying itself to the world as an occupying power that rules over the territories according to the laws of belligerent occupation, it also prided itself on how it administered those territories. That job was given to the IDFs regional commander, who was portrayed as someone whose job requires him to work in an extremely complex reality, while advancing the rights and welfare of both the Palestinians and Israeli settlers who live there.


The military commander derives his authority from the laws of occupation not Israeli law. The latter does not fully apply to the West Bank, in accordance with international law.

Israel has used the facade of administering the occupied territories according to international law in its diplomatic relations with European countries, as well as in the High Court of Justice, which has been asked time and time again to rule on issues related to legislation in the occupied territories. The High Court, over the years, has adopted a position (whose relationship to reality was itself always somewhat tenuous) according to which the territories are in fact occupied, and that the Israeli military commander is its temporary sovereign, and thus the legislator in the region, for both Palestinians and Israeli settlers.

Until recently, that position also applied to the Council for Higher Education (CHE), the state body responsible for determining Israels higher education policy. The state decided to establish universities and other academic institutions for settlers in the West Bank, yet it did not apply the Higher Education Law 5718-1958 which gives the Council its statutory powers, and which apply to academic institutions inside the Green Line to those same institution. D...


Ghalib and the Art of Conversion The Wire

On the 149th death anniversary of the renowned Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib, a look at how the poet breathed new meaning into the old.

Credit: Wikimedia

This is Ghalibs 149th death anniversary. His poetry has not rusted with time, unlike the daggers of kings kept in museums of history. His lines can still stir ones blood without spilling it. Ghalib, after all, weighed blood most deeply as tears.

Picking up a couplet by Mir Taqi Mir Ashk aankhon mein kab nahi aata/Lahu aata hai jab nahi aata Ghalib made it more exquisite and memorable: Rago me daudte phirne ke ham nah qaail/Jab aakh h se na Tapk to phir lah ky hai.

This was in tune with the tradition of Urdu poetry, where you took a line or couplet by an older master and turned it around, to grant it new meanings. This tradition fascinated many but especially the Kashmiri poet, Agha Shahid Ali, who often used the same technique in his English ghazals, playing with and remembering, lines by Rainer Maria Rilke, Yehuda Amichai, Yiannis Ritsos, T.S. Eliot, Faiz Ahmad Faiz and others.

Another pattern of this inspired style of borrowing is what is called the hum-radeef ghazal. It involves having the same radeef, or the repeating pattern of the rhyming word. A famous example is the ghazal by Amiir Miinaai, the poet from Lucknow who was a contemporary of Ghalib, who wrote: Uski Hasrat hai jise dil se mita bhi na sakun/Dhoondhne usko chala huun jise paa bhi na sakun. It is as if in reply to Miinaiis couplet that Ghalib wrote (the ghazal), Meherbaan hoke bula lo mujhe chahe jis waqt/M...


WATCH: Soldiers arrest Palestinian children for throwing stones without proof +972 Magazine

Israeli soldiers arrest two Palestinian boys for allegedly throwing stones even though the only soldier who could identify them admits that he cant identify them.

By Yael Marom

There should be nothing normal about holding Palestinian children in detention for hours on end, simply because they were seen in an area where stones were thrown. But that is precisely what Israeli soldiers did this past weekend in the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank.


The incident, captured on film by Israeli human rights group BTselem, took place last Sunday in Hebrons Al-Hariqa neighborhood, adjacent to the settlement of Kiryat Arba. Soldiers in the area said they saw two Palestinian children throw stones at the fence surrounding the settlement, but could not identify them. Nevertheless, they came across two brothers, aged 12 and 13, who happened to be in the area at the time. The soldiers are seen on the video detaining the two, while discussing among themselves whether or not to arrest them admittedly without any evidence that they are indeed responsible for the stone throwing.

The video then shows the soldiers being asked by their commander whether or not the two boys were the culprits. The soldiers respond that they did not actually see the boys faces. Not important. An IDF officer arrives on the scene, and decides to send the boys to the local police station for interrogation anyway.

Meanwhile, an uncle of one the boys, who was in the area, is seen pleading with the soldiers in Arabic, which none of the soldiers seem to speak  that they had detained the wrong boys. The soldiers continue to respond in Hebrew. The only phrases they seem to know in Arabic are give me your ID and what is your name?

The officer then tells the uncle that should he see anyone throwing stones in the area, he would go to his house and turn it upside down.

Ill take these two boys awayfor a week. If I get another stone here, just one, Im going straight to him, he is seen saying.

The soldiers are well aware that they are being filmed. At a certain point, one of them asks another soldier whether he can strike with a club the female Palestinian BTselem volunteer. No bro, the other responds, you cant hit her.

According to BTselem, as of the end of December 2017, Israel was holding 352 Palestinian minors in its prisons. According to Palestinian human rights organization Addameer, which works to s...


Cash-Scarce Venezuela Witnesses Boom in Online Payment Apps The Wire

Despite some of the worlds lowest internet speeds and a significant fraction of the population without bank accounts and cellphones, cash is falling out of favour in Venezuela.

Information for Vippo app is seen in a fruit and vegetables stall at Chacao Municipal Market in Caracas, Venezuela, on January 19. Credit: Reuters/Marco Bello

Caracas: Widerven Villegas and his brother wash some 30 cars a day at a parking lot in Caracas. Despite charging less than 50 cents, nobody pays them in cash.

In tech hubs from San Francisco to Tokyo, payment is conveniently made through software on phones and watches on a routine basis. Amid a dire economic crisis in Venezuel...


South Africas Great Negotiator Ramaphosa Takes the Top Job The Wire

Deputy president since 2014, Cyril Ramaphosa has been the countrys dominant politician since he replaced Zuma as leader of the ruling African National Congress in December.

Cyril Ramaphosa addresses a rally to commemorate Nelson Mandelas centenary year in Cape Town, South Africa, on February 11, 2018. Credit: Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Johannesburg: After weeks of tortuous discussions to convince scandal-plagued Jacob Zuma to step down as head of state, South Africas great negotiator, Cyril Ramaphosa, has fulfilled his long-held ambition to lead the count...


Average Dalit Woman Dies 14.6 Years Younger Than Women From Higher Castes, Finds UN Report The Wire

The study has also found that the intersection of gender with other forms of discrimination caste, race/ethnicity, religion etc is what further marginalises women and girls from poor and deprived sections of the society.

Representative image. Credit: Thessaly La Force/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Representative image. Credit: Thessaly La Force/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

New Delhi: Not only are women poorer, more hungry and more discriminated against than men in India, but the average Dalit woman in the country also dies 14.6 years younger than those from higher castes, according to a new report released by the UN on Wednesday night.

Titled Turning promises into action: gender equality in the 2030 Agenda, the study by UN Women finds that the increase in exposure to mortality of lower-caste women stems from poor sanitation as well as an inadequate supply of water and healthcare.

Those left furthest behind in society are often women and girls who experience multiple forms of disadvantage based on gender and other inequalities, the report states. This, according to the study, can result in clustered deprivations whe...


Interview 1344 New World Next Week with James Evan Pilato The Corbett Report

[audio mp3=""][/audio]This week on the New World Next Week: Israeli police recommend charging Netanyahu for bribery scandal; Oxfam feels the heat over sex-for-aid scandal; and your smart TV is a privacy dumpster fire.


The Onus is on CPI(M) To Put an End to Competitive Political Violence in Kerala The Wire

The recent murder of a Congress party worker has raised serious questions about the violent political games the CPI(M), the RSS, and other parties are involved in in Kerala.

Protests against violence in Kerala. (Representative image) Credit: PTI

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) needs to answer the charge of its involvement in the murder of S.P. Shuaib, a 30-year-old man, also a youth leader of the Congress party in Kannur. By merely condemning it and claiming that it had nothing to do with the killing does not wash. It will have to face the question raised by Shuaibs father, Muhammad,Why did they kill my son over a destroyed flag in a school? What crime did my son do to die with 37 wounds on his legs?

Who is this they Muhammad is talking about? Is it true that a band of CPI(M) workers faced resistance from Shuaib and his party colleagues when the office of the Congress was raided by it? Is the media lying when it reports that following the scuffle, CPI(M) workers took out a violent procession predicting death for Shuaib? Is it only a coincidence that after this open threat, Shuaib was attacked and hacked to death?

The CPI(M) knows that what it is saying now is simply not true. Kannur has been a battlefield in Keral...

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Muslim Women Speak About Sexual Harassment in Holiest City of Mecca The Wire

Hundreds of Muslim women used the hashtag #MosqueMeToo to talk about sexual harassment they faced while visiting Mecca.

Many women who spoke out said that the problem persists because there are few avenues to hold offenders to account. Credit: Twitter

It started with revelations by victims of sexual assault and harassment in Hollywood. Now, Muslim women are speaking up about their experience of assault during the Umrah and Hajj pilgrimages to Mecca.

Ive experienced it [sexual harassment in Mecca] twice, Salma Omar, a 33-year-old teacher and mother of triplets from Cairo, told Middle East Eye. The first time I was in my early twenties, and while doing Umrah, a guy started touching me from behind.

Such revelations follow testimonies emerging from American celebrities, with some Muslim women using the hashtag #MosqueMeToo to talk about sexual assault while in Mecca.

The second time was during the Hajj a few years later, Omar continued. When I was doing the Tawaf around the Kaaba, a guy kept following me and rubbing up against me. At first, I thought it was a mistake especially given the context.

It was so crowded, I couldnt turn around to see who it was at first, but when eventually I did, I saw a guy staring right into my eyes and smili...


Sohrabuddin Trial: Truth the Casualty in Face-Off Between Powerful Accused, Helpless Witnesses The Wire

The absence of any effort by the CBI to protect and reassure their witnesses is leading to the mass retraction of earlier statements made before a magistrate that had incriminated the accused.

Mumbai: On February 11, Justice Revati Mohite-Dere of the Bombay high court asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to explain what concrete steps were taken to ensure the security of witnesses in the case of the extrajudicial killings of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kausar-bi and associate Tulsiram Prajapati.

The judge had raised concerns over the fact that 30 of the 45 witnesses had turned hostile before the CBIs trial court. Each of these witnesses had failed to recall their earlier statements recorded over the course of the investigations, which began in 2005. Some witnesses had retracted their original statements recorded on oath before a magistrate, even when they stand a high chance of being hauled up for perjury.

This change in their testimony cannot be attributed just to the inordinate delay in the commencement of the trial, and the many twists and turns that the investigations went through. Given the nature of the crime and the influential positions that most of the accused come from, and, on the other hand, the working-class backgrounds of most of the witnesses, the U-turns in court raise serious concerns over their security while deposing in the court.

Twenty-two persons, including policemen from Gujarat, Rajast...


Fact Check: Centres Claim That There Is No Proven Technology to Reduce Toxic Gas in Power Plants The Wire

Indigenous technology developed by a private firm yielded excellent results as far back as in June 2012.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

New Delhi: In November 2017, the environment ministry urged the Supreme Court to push a deadline to cut emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) from thermal power plants to 2022, saying there is no proven technology available for emission control. But indigenous technology developed by a private firm yielded excellent results as far back as in June 2012, according to a FactChecker investigation.

NOx is a toxic gas that can cause respiratory infections and sicken or kill people after it takes the form of PM 2.5 airborne particles 30 times finer than a human hair that enter their lungs.

Thermal power plants were expected to cut their NOx emissions by December 7, 2017, according to a 2015 law, but they did not, as IndiaSpend reported on December 21, 2017. Justifying the delay, the Centre claimed that there is no proven techno...


Donald Lynden-Bell: A Legacy of Astronomical Excellence The Wire

He is best known for his work on the idea that galaxies contain massive black holes at their centres.

Donald Lynden-Bell. Source: Twitter

Donald Lynden-Bell. Source: Twitter

On February 5, Donald Lynden-Bell, a household name in the circles of theoretical astrophysics, passed away, aged 82. Though his work encompassed diverse areas of study, he is probably known for his work on the idea that galaxies contain massive black holes at their centres, and that such black holes are the principal sources of energy in quasars. Lynden-Bell had suffered a stroke before Christmas 2017 and never fully recovered. He is survived by Ruth Lynden-Bell, an eminent chemist and a fellow of the Royal Society, and two children.

He was also a member of a group of astronomers known as the Seven Samurai, who postulated the existence of concentrated clumps of matter in certain regions of the cosmos whose presence could explain the peculiar motion of some galaxies.

Lynden-Bell was born in Dover in 1935. He studied astrophysics at the University of Cambridge and spent his entire personal and professional life there.

Many scientists and colleagues in the astrophysics community remember him as a man of high intellect with a grounded personality, and taking great pleasure in interacting with younger students and scientists. He was the first director of the Institute of Astronomy at the...


Zuma Finally Falls, but Not Before Threatening to Take the House Down With Him The Wire

Zuma appeared to be threatening instability in the organisation that he has served his whole life a last roll of the dice for a politician for whom the usual rules of political engagement never seemed to apply.

File 20180215 124893 so8kl9.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Jacob Zuma leaves after announcing his resignation at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Credit: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

The Zuma years are over. He kept fighting almost to the very end. But South Africas scandal-ridden President Jacob Zuma finally accepted the inevitability of his political fate late last night when he resigned with immediate effect. By doing so he cut short his second and final term as president of Africas largest economy with over a year still to run.

Even then he toyed with his audience. In a 30-minute address that began close to 10.30 pm local time, Zuma appeared to be veering towards requiring the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to use its majority in parliament to remove him by way of a no confidence motion.

With an ardent defence of the constitution ironic given the many findings of constitutional transgression made by the courts in recent years against him Zuma argued that the most appropriate way for a president to be removed from office would be by one of the two constitutional mechanisms a vote of no confidence pursuant to section 102 or impeachment under section 89 rather than by his party.

But the implication that to bend to his partys will would represent a subjugation of the will of the people was a typical example of Zumas misrepresentation or misunderstanding of South Africas system of government. While the head of government is the president, the system is essentially a parliamentary one. The president is elected by parliament and not directly by the electorate.

So this was not regime change as Zuma implied. It was a palace coup, very similar to the one Zuma had overseen when Thabo Mbeki was removed from office ten years ago in September 2008.

Last throw of the dice

At the start of a dramatic week in South African politics, on Monday the...


Explained: Punjab National Banks $1.8 Billion Fraud The Wire

The latest scam uses an age-old method employed to defraud the banking system.

In what may turn out to be one of the biggest scams in the countrys corporate history, Delhi-based Punjab National Bank (PNB) said on Wednesday it had been defrauded of about Rs 114 billion by jeweller Nirav Modi, his maternal uncle Mehul Chinubhai Choksi, and other relatives through a clutch of companies they own.

The countrys second-largest public sector bank (PSB) said two of its employees were involved in the scam, where the banks core banking system was bypassed to raise payment notes to overseas branches of other Indian banks, including Allahabad Bank, Axis Bank, and Union Bank of India, using the international financial communication system, SWIFT.

Three jewellers Gitanjali Gems and its subsidiaries Gili and Nakshatra are also under the scanner of investigation agencies.Executives in other banks said they were insulated against the fraud, as the payment request was raised by PNB (irrespective of who raised that in the bank), and therefore, the payment would have to be met by the Delhi-based bank.

PNB had overdues slated to be paid on January 25 and subsequently on February 5, which were in default, said Usha Ananthasubramanian, chief executive officer (CEO), Allahabad Bank.We do have exposure to PNB, but it is on the bank, and not on the client. The exposure is roughly in the range of Rs 20-22 billion, Ananthasubramanian said.

However, PNB in a letter to banks, indicated clearly that it was in no mood to pay back and alleged connivance of employees at the foreig...


As Fallout of PNB Scam Continues, Questions Raised over Repayment and Nirav Modis Whereabouts The Wire

The CBI has issued a look-out circular for the billionaire jeweller while the Punjab National Bank chief has said that Modi has been asked to come and submit a repayment plan in person.

New Delhi: The Punjab National Bank (PNB) likely discovered the true extent of its Rs 11,000 crore fraudulent transactions scam in the same week that billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi  whose companies play a key role in the controversy was part of the Indian CEO contingent in Davos for the World Economic Forum.

Early morning news reports on Thursday indicated that the jeweller-CEO had fled the country before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed its first FIR in the last week of January, 2018.

PTI quoted anonymous officials and reported that Nirav Modi had left the country on January 1, while his wife and business partner (Mehul Choksi, the promoter of the Gitanjali jewellery chain) departed on January 6.

The news agency also pointed out that Indian enforcement agencies, including the CBI, had issued a look-out circular to inform them about the movement of the accused.

This news prompted multiple people to point out on Twitter that the billionaire jeweller was part of the Indian CEO meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and key Indian bureaucracy at the Davos summit on January 23, just days before the first F...


Civil Society from Both Sides of Kashmir Border Urge India, Pakistan to Talk to Each Other The Wire

If current tension at the borders is allowed to prolong, it will jeopardise the stability of the region and might escalate into an all-out war.

Signatories of the petition include several senior political leaders, poets, authors, journalists, civil society activists, former civil servants, ex-diplomats and army personnel, as well as people from academia. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Signatories of the petition include several senior political leaders, poets, authors, journalists, civil society activists, former civil servants, ex-diplomats and army personnel, as well as people from academia. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

New Delhi: The clamour for holding talks with Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue has been growing and now over 130 eminent citizens from both sides of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir have urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to resume ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and begin the process of dialogue.

The development comes close on the heels of state chief minister...


Dutch Lies Over Putin"s "Aggression" Expose NATO War Agenda Strategic Culture Foundation

Whatever the explanation about the timing, the admission of Dutch government lying about Russian aggression in Europe is nevertheless an illuminating and appalling insight into how Russophobia and war is being fomented by the US and its European NATO allies.


Review: Of Dissent, Independence Movements and the Fight for Identity by Minority Societies in China The Wire

Drawing liberally from Chinese sources, Debashish Chaudhuris book is a noteworthy event in the annals of Chinese studies in India.

Hundreds of people have been killed in Xinjiang in the past few years in violence between Uighurs, a mostly Muslim people who speak a Turkic language, and ethnic majority Han Chinese, blamed by Beijing on Islamist extremists. Credit: Reuters

Xinjiang also known as Eastern Turkestan occupying one-sixth of China and bordered by eight countries, including our disputed Aksai Chin, is an area of great importance, but very few Indian scholars have looked at it seriously. That itself makes the publication of Debashish Chaudhuris book Xinjiang and the Chinese State: Violence in the Reform Era a noteworthy event in the annals of Chinese studies in India. What lends the book even greater importance is that it draws liberally from Chinese language sources.

The author tells us in the preface that his main argument is that the use of indiscriminate and excessive state coercion, coupled with rapid modernisation and deprivation in actual and relative sense, has complicated the situation in Xinjiang even more during the reform period.

Beginning with a very informative historical background, the author proceeds to look at the various dimensions of the problem. This inevitably means that he goes forward and backward in time, which occasionally could confuse a reader. He even gives us a chapter on theoretical aspects. He makes rapid references to the contrasting approaches to functionalism and conflict theory of main Western...


A Dangerous Turn in US Foreign Policy Strategic Culture Foundation

The Trump administrations new National Defense Strategy is being touted as a sea change in U.S. foreign policy, a shift from the war on terrorism to great power competition, a line that would not be out of place in the years leading up to World War I. But is the shift really a major course change, or a re-statement of policies followed by the last four administrations?


Political risis in the Maldives New Eastern Outlook


It seems as if the political temperature in the Indian Ocean region is not going to settle down, as we predicted a week ago, but has already started to rise. That is demonstrated by the worsening situation in the Maldives, which is taking on the character of an internal political crisis, although in this case there has been an external element in this crisis right from the beginning.

The external element in question is the increasing competition between India and China (the two main regional powers) in the Indian Ocean region as a whole. Incidentally, on the horizon of the events in the Maldives we can also see the leading world power- the USA- and there is little doubt whose side it is on.

The reason the Maldives have attracted so much attention is clear. This country, which has been independent since 1965 and has a population of approximately 400, 000 and which is made up of several hundred coral islands spread out from North to South over a thousand kilometers, is located right in the path of one of the main global transport arteries.

Control over that transport route is vitally important to both China and India (and also to Japan, a potential ally of the former). This is because the route provides these countries with hydrocarbons the life blood of any modern economy. Whoever controls the Maldives has their finger on the pulse of hydrocarbon transport, and, if necessary, can exert pressure on their geopolitical opponent.

That is why it is inevitable that two camps have developed in the very modest political arena of the Republic of the Maldives. One of these, the Pro-Chinese camp, is led by the current president, Abdulla Yameen, who has been in office since September 2013. The other one, the Pro-Indian camp, is led by Mohamed Nasheed, the president from 2008-2012.

In October this year the next presidential elections are due to take place, and, according to certain forecasts, Mohamed Nasheed has a good chance of winning. It looks as if that why the current president has decided to take preventative measures. On February 6 a number of Mohamed Nasheeds supporters were arrested, including the senior judge of the Supreme Court and his deputy, and the Supreme Court itself was disbanded.

These steps were a response to the Supreme Courts unanimous ruling of February 1, which invalid...


China Voices Firm Opposition to Modis Arunachal Pradesh Visit The Wire

The Chinese government has never recognised the so-called Arunachal Pradesh and is firmly opposed to the Indian leaders visit to the disputed area.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

Beijing: China today voiced its firm opposition to the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Arunachal Pradesh, which it claims as part of South Tibet, and said it would lodge a diplomatic protest with India.

Chinas position on the China-India boundary question is consistent and clear-cut, said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang in response to reports that Modi visited Arunachal Pradesh today.

The Chinese government has never recognised the so-called Arunachal Pradesh and is firmly opposed to the Indian leaders visit to the disputed area, Geng was quo...


When Former Spies Turn into TV 'Experts' Strategic Culture Foundation

Once upon a time in the United States there was a general perception that organizations like the FBI and the CIA were both apolitical and high-minded, existing only to calmly and professionally promote the safety and security of the nation. But the relative respectability of Americas national security agencies largely vanished in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist incidents.


Pentagon: No Evidence Assad Used Poison Gas on His People Strategic Culture Foundation

Compare that with thousands upon thousands of articles throughout the Western press just parroting American officials statements, including President Trumps when he found it appropriate in April 2017 to attack Syria with cruise missiles to teach the regime and its dictator a lesson for its alleged attack on Khan Seykhoun, stating that there can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons.


Israeli Police Name Ratan Tata in Case Against Benjamin Netanyahu The Wire

Tatas office has dismissed the Israeli media report, that says his name figures, as grossly incorrect in its references to him.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left), industrialist Rata Tata. Credit: Reuters

Jerusalem: The name of Ratan Tata figures in the Israeli police recommendations seeking to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on graft charges, according to an Israeli media report, which was on Wednesday dismissed by the Indian industrialists office as grossly incorrect in its references about him.

In the so-called Case 1000, in which Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, are suspected of receiving illicit gifts from billionaire benefactors, Israeli-born Hollywood producer Milchan and Australian resort owner James Packer, the Indian industrialist is also said to be a part of a project that Netanyahu tried to push forward to help Milchan.

According to the police, the most glaring example of Netanyahu working against Israels interests to benefit Milchan was his efforts (to) promote a free trade zone on the Israel-Jordan border, a project the Hollywood producer sought to promote as part of his partnership with Indian Industrialist Ratan Naval Tata, Ynetnews reported.

The project, which police noted went against the recommendations of the defence establishment, would have generated Milchan and Tata...


Academics, Activists Condemn Police, RSS Outfit Violence Against Dalits in Keralas Vadayampady The Wire

Dalits have been fighting against a caste wall built around the community space in their neighbourhood in Vadyampady for over a year now.

Representative image. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Around 50 academics and activists on Thursday released a statement condemning the police and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-sponsored  violence against Dalits in Vadayampady in Kerala.

For over a year now, Dalits have been fighting against a caste wall built around the community space in their neighbourhood in Vadyampady, east of Kochi.

On February 6, 2018, six RSS activists were arrested for allegedly threatening noted Malayalam poet Kureepuzha Sreekumar in Kollam district when he was returning after addressing a gathering at a function on February 5 night. Sreekumar had expressed his solidarity with Dalit protestors.

The issue was raised in the Kerala assembly on Tuesday, and chief minister Pinarayi Vijayans office dir...


The West Attacks Russia on the Eve of the Munich Security Conference: Blind to the Truth Strategic Culture Foundation

In theory, the Munich conference is the right forum for sharing fresh ideas and making new proposals. It would be fruitful for NATO and Russia to steer the conversation toward something constructive instead of merely hurling mutual recriminations.


Bhagwat, Togadia and MPs Representing Soldiers Should Spend at Least One Week at the LoC The Wire

The mindless advocacy of war and operational readiness is dangerous, and confirms how little the political class and so-called cultural organisations like RSS know and understand national defence and security.

Recent events have confirmed how little the political class, and so-called cultural organisations like the RSS, know and understand national defence and security. Credit: Shome Basu

The last time I heard about the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) seeking an image makeover was when a friend reported that fashion designer Ritu Beri was involved in designing long trousers for the Sangh, instead of the Second World War vintage khaki shorts associated with them.

In what seemed like another such exercise, my attention was drawn recently to an amusing news report quoting RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, suggesting that his cadres could be fully combat-ready at the borders in just three days, when the Army took five to seven months. This confirmed how little the political class, and so-called cultural organisations like the RSS, know and understand national...


Why Women Are Not Likely to Be Better off at the End of This Fiscal The Wire

In the gender Budget, the Modi government has not done much more than pay lip service to policies that impact women.

A cursory look at the overall gender Budget shows that the governments commitment to women has been underwhelming at best. Credit: Reuters

A cursory look at the overall gender Budget shows that the governments commitment to women has been underwhelming at best. Credit: Reuters

Soon after the Union Budget was presented, the PMO tweeted Modi as saying: Special emphasis has been given on women empowerment in the Budget.

A high-voltage communication campaign followed highlighting key proposals for women, including...


New Citizen Science Initiative to Report Animals Killed by Speeding Vehicles The Wire

Biodiversity decline is a big enough problem with multiple underlying causes, such as habitat fragmentation, climate change, poaching and human-animal conflicts, without one more threat.

Credit: Anish Andheria/WCT

Credit: Anish Andheria/WCT

On December 29, 2017, on a highway in Maharashtra, an adult male tiger was found dead. Dead not because of poachers, a fight with another animal or a group of angry villagers threatened by the big cats existence it was dead thanks to a speeding vehicle. In forests and wildlife reserves, roadkills claim the lives of innocent, unsuspecting animals that are unaware of the dangers that lie on the roads and railway tracks that run through their habitat. It is possible to address this problem through proper mitigation, but then a question arises: where do we target our efforts?

Roadkills, a citizen science initiative brought out by the Wildlife Conservation Trust, addresses this very question. Using a database that can help planners decide where to build roads and railways, the trust aims to ensure free passage for the movement of animals in a way that can reduce animal mortality.

Unplanned development of roads and railway lines is the major cause of wildlife roadkills. We hope that the information from the Roadkills Citizen Science Campaign will help in planning our infrastructure needs in a better way and devising win-win solutions for wildlife an...


Though Without Toilets, Chhattisgarhs Maoist-Affected Areas Are Declared Open Defecation Free The Wire

The government has declared Chhattisgarh open defecation free even though many gram panchayats in the state remain inaccessible.

Swachh Bharat Mission data for January 2018 for Bijapur declares 84 of the 169 gram panchayats inaccessible, and the rest have been declared ODF. (Representative image) Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: In December 2017, the government declared Chhattisgarhs Bijapur, Kondagaon and Dantewada arguably the worst Maoist affected districts in the country open defecation free (ODF). Documents accessed by the Indian Express however indicate that this claim may only be partially true as half the villages in two of these districts have remained completely inaccessible for the government and its functionaries.

Swachh Bharat Mission data for January 2018 for Bijapur has declared 84 of the 169 gram panchayats inaccessible, and the rest have been declared ODF. According to government data collected in October 2017, 49 out of 146 gram panchayats in Sukma district, 30 out of 83 in Dantewada and 15 out of 99 in Kondagaon remain inaccessible to the government.

The number of people defecating in the open in rural India had...


DNA From Britains Oldest Skeleton Says the Man Had Dark Skin, Blue Eyes The Wire

The finding challenges the assumption that Britishers were always pale-skinned and that later events like colonisation led to the influx of dark-skinned populations.

Cheddar Man's facial reconstruction. Credit: Channel 4

Cheddar Mans facial reconstruction. Credit: Channel 4

Cheddar Man, a 10,000-year-old Mesolithic hunter-gatherer, has provided the first clues to the appearance of humans of those times. His skeleton, first discovered in 1903 in Goughs Cave in Somerset, is the oldest complete skeleton to have been found in England.

New research conducted by scientists at the National History Museum and University College, London, on Cheddar Mans DNA using pioneering genetic sequencing methods has revealed he was dark-skinned, had curly hair and blue eyes. They attribute this discovery to a stroke of luck by which they found scraps of DNA in his ear, reports The Telegraph.

The pigmentation genes extracted from Cheddar Mans DNA were discovered to be most similar to residents of sub-Saharan Africa, implying that he and other early Britons were dark-skinned. Bio-archaeologist Tom Booth said tha...


Jacob Zuma Resigns as President of South Africa The Wire

South Africas President Jacob Zuma speaks at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa, February 14, 2018. Credit: Reuters /Siphiwe Sibeko

Johannesburg: Jacob Zuma resigned as president of South Africa on Wednesday, reluctantly heeding orders by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to bring an end to his nine scandal-plagued years in power.

In a 30-minute farewell address to the nation, 75-year-old Zuma said he disagreed with the way the ANC had shoved him toward an early exit after the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as party president in December, but would accept its orders.

I have therefore come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect, Zuma said.

Even though I disagree with the decision of the leadership of my organisation, I have always been a disciplined member of the ANC, he said.

The ruling party had said it would vote him out on Thursday.

No life should be lost in my name. And also the ANC should not be divided in my name, Zuma said.

His resignation came just hours after police raided the l...


Former Student Arrested After 17 Shot Dead, Several Wounded at Florida High School The Wire

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland ranked as the second-deadliest act of gun violence ever on a US public school campus.

Students are evacuated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during a shooting incident in Parkland, Florida, US February 14, 2018 in a still image from video. Credit: via Reuters

Parkland, Florida: A 19-year-old gunman returning to a Florida high school where he had once been expelled opened fire with an assault rifle on Wednesday, killing 17 people and wounding more than a dozen others before he was arrested, authorities said.

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, a placid, middle-class community about 45 miles (72 km) north of Miami, ranked as the second-deadliest act of gun violence ever on a US public school campus.

The attack began shortly before the schools dismissal.

Television footage showed images, increasingly familiar in the US, of bewildered students streaming...


Chandrashekhar Azads Release Is Becoming a Rallying Point for Dalit-Muslim Unity The Wire

Dalit and Muslim organisations gathered this week in Meerut to demand the release of the Bhim Army leader, who has been languishing in jail after the Adityanath government slapped charges against him under the National Security Act. 

The protest meeting in Chaudhary Charan Singh park in Meerut. Credit: Munish Kumar

Meerut: On a cold, damp, and windy Monday afternoon in Meerut, Jignesh Mevani, recently elected MLA from Vadgam in Gujarat, demanded the release of Bhim Army leader, Chandrashekhar Azad, who has been languishing in jail since June 2017. Mevani, speaking to a large crowd gathered outside the Meerut divisional commissioners office, termed Azads continuing detention politically motivated. It is only because Chandrashekhar has raised real issues that he is behind bars. He has asked questions that Yogi (Adityanath, Uttar Pradesh CM) and (PM Narendra) Modi dont have answers to, he said to a receptive and loud audience.

You must vow that if Chandrashekhar is not released before April 1, you will stop Yogis convoy and not let him touch Baba Sahebs (Bhim Rao Ambedkars) statue on April 14 (Ambedkars birth anniversary), Mevani said amidst loud chants of Jai Bhim...


US Wants ISIS Sponsors to Rebuild Iraq New Eastern Outlook


Like a local mafia that breaks car windows by night and repairs them by day, the United States has enlisted its Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) partners namely Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates to rebuild in Iraq in the wake of the defeated, self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) these same states sponsored. 

Reuters in an article titled, Coalition members must help Iraq rebuild, Tillerson says, would report (emphasis added):

The U.S. leads the coalition and hopes that after a three-year fight to defeat the militants it can count in large part on Gulf allies to shoulder the burden of rebuilding Iraq and on a Saudi-Iraqi rapprochement to weaken Irans influence in the country, which is run by a Shiite led government. 

The article also reports (emphasis added):

Donors and investors have gathered in Kuwait this week to discuss efforts to rebuild Iraqs economy and infrastructure as it emerges from a devastating conflict with the hardline militants who seized almost a third of the country.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would be quoted by Reuters as claiming:

If communities in Iraq and Syria cannot return to normal life, we risk the return of conditions that allowed ISIS to take and control vast territory.

Yet even a causal student of history, military affairs, or modern warfare knows that armies tens of thousands strong, with regional, even global recruiting, training, and logistical networks do not spring up out of poverty or economic ruination. The operation capacity demonstrated by ISIS is only possible with significant state sponsorsh...


In an Attempt to Appease Modi Fans, Mainstream Media Makes a Fool of Itself (Again) The Wire

Fake news about the UAE crown prince chanting Jai Siya Ram was used by TV channels to hard-sell Modis image to his domestic constituency. But such misreporting is likely to rebound on India.

Left: Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi; Right: Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi.

New Delhi: Just because the prime minister isnt in the country, doesnt mean his cheerleaders get to take some time off.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi toured West Asia, a section of the mainstream media continued doing what it does best spin every piece of news to make it sound like an achievement for the pradhan sevak.

Over the last weekend, desktop journalists from Times Now and Zee News picked up a viral video showing the crown prince of Abu Dhabi chanting Jai Siya Ram before delivering a speech at a Ram Katha programme in the United Arab Emirates.

As Abu Dhabi gears to welcome PM Modi today, a video of its Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is being re-circulated on the social media, gushed Times Now.



New Holocaust Law Highlights Crisis in Polands National Identity The Wire

Seventy years after the end of World War II, a battle is taking place over Polish collective memory.

Anti-Semitism is treatable a banner at a Warsaw demonstration. Credit: Reuters/Agencja Gazeta

On January 26, the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Polish parliament voted in favor of a bill making it illegal to accuse Poland of complicity in Nazi crimes.

This caused immediate outrage around the world and nowhere more so than in a country that has been, until now, a close ally of Poland: Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the bill as distortion of the truth, the rewriting of history and the denial of the Holocaust.

And yet, 10 days later, Polands president, Andrzej Duda, signed the bill into law retorting that the historic truth is that there was no systematic institutionalised participation...


Not Hindutva: the Joy of Being a Transcendent Hindu The Wire

On mastering the spiritual and political strength required as a Hindu to resist the ugliness that goes on in the name of Hindu honour in contemporary India.

My heroes are not Golwalkar, Savarkar and Narendra Modi; my positive reference group consists of the likes of Nachiketa and Mira, Ramakrishna and Surdas. Credit: Reuters

In the midst of death, life persists; in the midst of untruth, truth persists; in the midst of darkness, light persists. Hence, I gather that God is Life, Truth, and Light. He is Love. He is the Supreme Good.


Is there anything good and life affirming in what is being loosely regarded as Hindu tradition its religious/spiritual practices, its ideals and earthly activities? I know that I am posing this question at a time which is not particularly conducive to the cultivation of the positive spirit of being a Hindu.

The manifestations of a terribly politicised Hindutva have already polluted the cultural milieu; moreover, the continuity of hierarchical caste practices and the rapidly growing industry of celebrity gurus and fake babas seem to have destroyed the confidence of seeing anything good in Hindu traditions. Yet, I keep asking this question, and for me, it is not merely academic, it is existential.

I cannot escape the fact that my Hindu upbringing has made me familiar with its symbolism and ideals say, growing up with the imageries of Ramakrishna and Vivekananda, the mythologies of the puranas , the revelations of the epics, and the wisdom of the Upanishads.



The 15th Finance Commission May Split Open Demographic Fault Lines Between South and North India The Wire

It is becoming almost untenable for Tamil Nadu and Kerala to thrive in the Indian union as rational, self-interested sub-units.

The 15th Finance Commission chairman N.K. Singh. Credit: PTI

The 15th Finance Commission chairman N.K. Singh. Credit: Twitter

The 15th Finance Commission was constituted late last year under the chairmanship of N.K. Singh. The finance commissions most telling role, as readers may recall, is to come up with the ratio in which the tax money that the central government raises gets divided among the states. This is ordinarily a boring task that few people are interested in.

In the case of the 15th Finance Commission, however, the stakes are so high that the future of the Indian union may well unravel based on its decisions.

The commission recently released a public notice in all newspapers, seeking suggestions from individuals and organisations. This was done with such little fanfare and in fonts so tiny that it made one wonder if those who sought it wanted no one to take notice. Buried in that notice was the reason, namely, a statement from the terms of reference that read: the Commission shall use the population data of 2011 while making its recommendations.

The decision to use Census 2011 entirely as the basis for population...


Be a good watchdog to guard autonomous rights and power See Hornbill Unleashed

The Year of the Dog should inspire all Sarawakians to be a good watchdog in guarding our autonomous rights and power even more zealously, said Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How. See, who is state PKR vice chairman, said the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has made a good start by citing []


Taib: Chinese community plays role to prosper Sarawak Hornbill Unleashed

The Chinese community has been playing its role in the development of country through hard work and cooperation with the other races coupled with good policy guidance from the government. The Yang Dipertua of Sarawak, Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud said the community has been able to harness the various economic activities in the country with []


EC introduces finger massage procedure to avoid fraud in GE14 Hornbill Unleashed

The Election Commission (EC) will introduce a finger massage procedure in the 14th General Election to avoid any fraud during the polls. EC General Election Academy Registrar, Nik Aminudin Nik Shahar Shah said through the new procedure, clerks working at the polling station would examine voters fingers more carefully to ensure they did not wear []


Gong Xi Fa Chai!!! Hornbill Unleashed

When we were young, we ate and gossiped our way through as many Chinese New Year (CNY) open houses and collected as many ang-pows as possible. Today, age and health problems have crept up with us, and we must restrict our eating and drinking to reasonable levels. Gone are the days of yam senging till []


Who is burying the Olympic movement and why?

There is indeed a conspiracy at the heart of the Russian doping scandal, but its quite a different one than what the global media has so fervidly described so far...

The post Who is burying the Olympic movement and why? appeared first on


Will Lebanon Be the Next Energy War? New Eastern Outlook


A new geopolitical confrontation is shaping up in the Middle East, and not only between Israel and Syria or Iran. Like most conflicts there, it involves a fight for hydrocarbon resourcesoil and gas. The new focus is a dispute between Israel and Lebanon over the precise demarcation of the Exclusive Economic Zone between the two countries. The prime actors at present, in addition to the governments of Israel and Lebanon include Russia, the Lebanese Hezbollah, Syria, Iran and the US in the shadows. The latest Israeli attacks on alleged Iranian bases or Hezbollah camps inside Syria are closely tied to the Israeli aim to prevent a land link from Iran through Syria to the Hezbollah home-base infrastructure in Lebanon. The whole situation has the potential to lead to an ugly wider war nobody wants, at least almost nobody.

In 2010 the oil and gas geopolitics of the Mediterranean changed profoundly. That was when a Texas oil company, Noble Energy, discovered a huge deposit of natural gas offshore Israel in the Eastern Mediterranean, the so-called Leviathan Field, one of the worlds largest gas field discoveries in over a decade. The same Texas company later confirmed significant gas resources offshore in Cyprus waters near the Israeli Leviathan, called Aphrodite. Until recently, political paralysis inside Lebanon and the war in Syria had prevented Lebanon from actively exploring its offshore gas and oil potential. Now thats changing. With the change, the tensions between Israel and Lebanon are escalating, and Russia is engaging in Lebanon in a bold way.

At a formal ceremony in Beirut on February 9, together with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, the heads of Total, ENI and Russias Novatek signed the first agreements to drill for oil and gas in the offshore sector claimed as part of Lebanons Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The event drew a sharp attack from Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman who called Lebanons exploration tender very provocative, declaring Lebanon had put out invitations for bids from international groups for a gas field which is by all accounts ours.

The energy tenders from Lebanon take place amid a backdrop of dramatic new defense relations between Russia and Lebanon, creating an entirely new political calculus in the Mediterranean region.

The Riches of Levant Basin...


As Kejriwal Govt in Delhi Completes Three Years in Office, AAP and Congress Trade Barbs The Wire

At a function to celebrate three years of good governance, Kejriwal highlighted the good works undertaken despite having to fight through numerous roadblocks put up by the Centre.

Credit: Delhi government

New Delhi: Having completed three years in office, the Aam Aadmi Party government led by Arvind Kejriwal today recounted its achievements, especially in the fields of education and health. The Delhi chief minister pinned the blame for the delay in certain developmental works on the deliberate attempts by the central government to not let it function properly; and claimed that it had provided a corruption-free administration to Delhi, unlike the previous Sheila Dikshit government of the Congress which had also delivered much less in its 15-year rule.

The claims by Kejriwal at a function organised to celebrate three years of good governance at the NDMC Convention Hall here brought in a sharp rebuttal from the Congress, as Dikshit and state party president Ajay Maken came together to accused the AAP government of all round failure and merely parroting false data. The Congress also released a booklet, authored by former President Pranab Mukherjees daughter and Delhi Mahila Congress head, Sharmistha Mukherjee, detailing the failures and unfulfilled promises of the Kejriwal regime.

But a closer look at the claims of both Kejriwal and Maken made for an interesting reading as they showed how truths, half-truths and lies are dished out to the masses.

AAPs coming to power was a new experiment

In his address, Kejriwal spoke about how thre...


India Today Editor Fired for Tweeting Against Fake News Hints at Legal Action The Wire

What began with a tweet must also end with a tweet.

New Delhi: Angshukanta Chakraborty, the DailyO political editor fired for a tweet by the websites parent company, the India Today Group, issued a statement on Wednesday slamming the organisation for unlawfully terminating her contract.

The tweet for which she was sacked was posted on February 4. It was a general comment on media organisations shielding journalists spreading fake news, Chakraborty told The Wire.

Responding to The Wires questions, India Todays social media head Prerna Mishra on Tuesday had claimed that Chakravortys services were terminated due to breach of editorial conduct and claimed that she was counselled multiple times prior to taking any action. She also said that an internal panel was formed to look in to the matter.

Chakravorty says that she was never asked for any explanation by any internal panel and neither was she aware that such a panel existed.

In her letter to the India Today Group, a copy of which she also tweeted on Wednesday, Chakraborty shared her ordeal in detail. The Wire is reproducing the full text of the letter below:

It is with deep regret that I, Angshukanta Chakraborty, wish to put it on record that on February 12, 2018, I was served a termination notice as per clause 20 of my service agreement with India Today, and that its unacceptable and unlawful on the part o...


A Netanyahu indictment wont save Israeli democracy +972 Magazine

In Netanyahus Israel, checks and balances are irrelevant or corrupt, accountability is conspiracy, and a watchdog media is a national saboteur. Tough times are ahead.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, January 3, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Ministers Office in Jerusalem, January 3, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

There has been no shortage of people who were thrilled by the announcement Tuesday night that Israeli police recommend indicting Benjamin Netanyahu in two corruption cases. A Haaretz headline crowed that Netanyahus countdown has begun. Opposition figures such as Labor chairman Avi Gabbay said, the Netanyahu era has ended.


But in Netanyahus defiant speech moments following the publication of the police recommendations, he insisted that his government would last its full term through November 2019.

Netanyahus total dismissal of the idea of resigning which he hardly seemed to consider long enough to reject it is only one of the deep offenses to democracy that investigations have come to represent. What should be an enviable display of independent law enforcement agencies holding public representatives accountable, is turning into a showcase and possibly a harbinger of the erosion of democratic norms...


India in the Race for Military Bases New Eastern Outlook


In late January 2018, the media reported that India is finalizing a document with France (apparently it would become official in early March during a visit by French President E. Macron to Delhi) on military logistics similar to the USA of August 2016, according to which the Indian fleet can use military installations in both Diego Garcia and Guam, as well as other bases in different regions of the world. It was signed after 10 years of difficult negotiations. And it seems to be contagious the agreements with Paris will also open doors of French bases to the Navy ships of the Republic, especially in the Indian Ocean.

But admittedly, this decision of the French side is not so genuine. A few months after the signing of the agreement between Washington and Delhi in April 2017, India received a similar proposal from Australia, which even presented a draft of a future document and has an accumulated long-term experience of implementing such agreement with the United States. Today, this step was prompted by the growing concern over the marked intensification of the Chinese fleet in the Pacific and Indian oceans, especially at their junction, and in waters near the fifth continent.

Thus, the Executive Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) Peter Jennings drew the attention of experts to the appearance of not individual Chinese diesel submarines, but several flotillas with different types of military vessels. This fact was confirmed by air photographs taken on January 2, 2017. And the senior analyst of the same institute, E. Berger, noted that the Chinese, having opened a first full-scale overseas base in Djibouti in August 2017, intends to create the same near the modernized port of Gwadar soon, which can also be easily transformed into a military base that is logical in connection with the objectives of the One Belt, One Road Initiative.

Controversy is evoked concerning active collection of intelligence on the possibilities of participants in various sea maneuvers (e.g. RIMPAC), which is carried out not only by Chinese warships but also by the research vessels. The latter are increasingly dispatched by Beijing to study the bottom of Antarctica as well. And this could mean the close coordination of the Chinese military with the State Oceanic Administration, as well as their greater involvement in the Antarctic, a seemingly peaceful program.

Apparently, a lengthy discussion, not devoid of slyness, about whether or not to have foreign bases conclud...


Irans President Rouhani Seeks Indian Investment Amid US Pressure The Wire

The two sides are expected to sign an agreement allowing India to run operations in the first phase of the Chabahar port project during Rouhanis visit to India this week.

Irans President Hassan Rouhani (right) meets Indias Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Tehran on May 23, 2016. Credit: via Reuters/Files

New Delhi: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will be seeking billions of dollars of Indian investment during a visit to New Delhi, diplomats said, a trip that comes amid US pressure to review a 2015 international nuclear deal and re-impose sanctions on Ira...


Afghan Taliban Say They Want to Solve War Through Healthy Politics and Dialogue The Wire

The terror group clarified that this statement doesnt mean they are exhausted and that their armed campaign would be sustained no matter what opposition it faces.

Smoke rises from the site of a blast and gunfire between Taliban and Afghan forces in Kabul on March 1, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Mohammad Ismail/Files

Kabul: The Taliban said they want to end Afghanistans war through dialogue on Wednesday but warned that their willingness to find peace did not mean they were exhausted and that their armed campaign would be sustained no matter how powerful the US opposition.


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Wednesday, 14 February


Police Case Against Viral Song From Oru Adaar Love for Hurting Religious Sentiments The Wire

According to the complainants, the song Manikya Malaraya Poovi contains an objectionable reference to Prophet Muhammads wife.

A still from the music video.

A still from the music video.

Hyderabad: Police today registered a case against the director of a forthcoming Malayalam film over a complaint that the lyrics of a song in Oru Adaar Love hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims.

The complainants alleged that the song Manikya Malaraya Poovi in the film written and directed by Omar Lulu had an objectionable reference to Prophet Muhammads wife.

The complaint was filed at the Falaknuma police station here by businessman Zaheer Ali Khan, engineering student Muqeeth Khan and others.

Zaheer Khan alleged that the songs lyrics hurt the sentiments of Muslims and demanded that either the song be removed from the film or its words be changed.

A clip from the song, featuring actor Priya Prakash Varrier, has gone viral on social media sites.

The complainants, however, said they had not mentioned the actors name in their representation before the police.

We dont have any objection against the actors, Zaheer Khan said.

The police said it had registered a case.

Following the complaint, we took legal opinion and subsequently a case under IPC section 295A (hurting religious sentiments) has been registered against the film&#8217...


A Professors Mission to Question, Examine and Improve Forest Management The Wire

Prof. Rekha Singhal, a senior faculty member at IIFM Bhopal, on her journey so far and how Indian families could be stifling scientific thinking in girls.

Rekha Singhal. Credit: The Life of Science

As the state attempts to govern Indian forests and the largely disconnected communities living in them, a band of scientists from the capital of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal, are on a mission to question, examine and inform our countrys forest policy. One of them is Rekha Singhal, a human resource management professor at Indian Institute of Forest Management.

IIFM is a premier management training institute; research from here often informs policies at the national and international level. Being an autonomous sectoral management institute of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, IIFM provides input to the ministry and other organisations through research, consulting and training, Singhal said introducing her institute.

Singhal is the most senior faculty at IIFM she joined in 1988. She has been dean and in the absence of a ministry-appointed director, she took charge as acting director from 2011 to 2013. In her long career, she has advised establishments as global as the United nations and the Government of India to Madhya Pradesh police and the smallest of NGOs based on her findings from the forest.

I met Singhal in the faculty blocks crowning the sixty-five hectare hilltop campus of the IIFM situated in the ou...


VHP, Bajrang Dal Members Detained for Threatening Couples in Gujarat The Wire

Bajrang Dal activists take out a protest rally against Valentine's Day celebration. Credit: IANS

Bajrang Dal activists take out a protest rally against Valentines Day celebration. Credit: IANS

Ahmedabad: Nearly ten activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and its affiliate Bajrang Dal were detained today after they allegedly tried to chase away young couples who had gathered at the Sabarmati Riverfront here on Valentines Day.

The VHP claimed it only asked the couples to leave the spot, a popular hangout place for youngsters, and that its members did not attack anyone.

On getting information about the action of the right-wing outfits at the riverfront, the police rushed to the spot and took into custody those who were threatening the couples and asking them to leave.

An official at the zone-1 police here said they detained around ten people from the spot.

We have detained some people, and deployed adequate police force at the spot to prevent any untoward incident during the day, Sabarmati Riverfront police station inspector S. J. Baloch said.

In some videos recorded by passers-by purportedly of the incident, several people carrying saffron flags and wielding sticks could be seen threatening couples to leave the spot.

The activists were also seen chasing away some frightened couples, who either ran away to save themselves or drove off in a hurry on their two-wheelers.

The city unit of the VHP yesterday said it would stage prote...


South Africas Parliament to Hold No-Confidence Motion Against Zuma on Thursday The Wire

President Jacob Zuma. Credit: Reuters / Sumaya Hisham

Johannesburg: South Africas parliament will hold a no-confidence vote against President Jacob Zuma on Thursday, speaker Baleka Mbete said, piling more pressure on Zuma, who has been ordered by the ruling ANC to quit as head of state.

 The motion, brought the left-wing opposition Economic Freedom Fighters, has been brought forward from February 22. The African National Congress said it would back the motion by adding amendments giving its own reasons for removing Zuma.

The post South Africas Parliament to Hold No-Confidence Motion Against Zuma on Thursday appeared first on The Wire.


Despite Evidence, SC Dismisses Plea for Probe Into Chhattisgarh Chopper Scam The Wire

The apex court judgment, which also gives a clean chit to the Chhattisgarh chief ministers son, has raised several questions.

Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh. Credit: PTI

Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: A Supreme Court bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Uday Umesh Lalit on Tuesday dismissed three writ petitions seeking an impartial and independent probe by a special investigation team (SIT) into what is known as the Chhattisgarh chopper scam.

The scam involves the purchase of an Agusta 109 Power E helicopter by the Chhattisgarh government in 2007, resulting in payment of $1.57 million (approximately 30% of the total cost of the helicopter) on the basis of a spurious global tender issued in May that year for the purchase of a specific model of a specific company Agusta despite several other manufacturers making helicopters with similar specifications.

The petitioners also sought an inquiry into the alleged offshore accounts of Abhishek Singh, son of Raman Singh, the chief minister of Chhattisgarh, a few months after the alleged scam in the purchase of Agusta helicopter for VIP use. It was alleged that Abhishek had links with some companies in the British Virgin Islands, and that these companies received kickbacks from Sharp Ocean Investments Limited (SOIL), Hong Kon...


Why the Classic Story of the Dutch Financial Mania for Tulip Bulbs Is Mostly Wrong The Wire

Bitcoin, according some sceptics, is tulip mania 2.0, the Dutch financial craze for tulip bulbs in the 1630s.

File 20180209 51700 kamjgb.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Floraes Mallewagen (Floras wagon of fools): Hendrik Gerritsz Pot, c1640. Credit: Laura Blanchard, CC BY-SA

Right now, its Bitcoin. But in the past weve had dotcom stocks, the 1929 crash, 19th-century railways and the South Sea Bubble of 1720. All these were compared by contemporaries to tulip mania, the Dutch financial craze for tulip bulbs in the 1630s. Bitcoin, according some sceptics, is tulip mania 2.0.

Why this lasting fixation on tulip mania? It certainly makes an exciting story, one that has become a byword for insanity in the markets. The same aspects of it are constantly repeated, whether by casual tweeters or in widely read economics textbooks by luminaries such as John Kenneth Galbraith.

Tulip mania was irrational, the story goes. Tulip mania was a frenzy. Everyone in the Netherlands was involved, from chimney-sweeps to aristocrats. The same tulip bulb, or rather tulip future, was traded sometimes 10 times a day. No one wanted the bulbs, only the profits it was a phenomenon of pure greed. Tulips were sold for crazy prices the price of houses and fortunes were won and lost. It was the foolishness of newcomers to the market that set off the crash in February 1637. Desperate bankrupts threw themselves in canals. The government finally stepped in and ceased the trade, but not before the economy of Holland was ruined.

Yes, it makes an exciting story. The trouble is, most of it is untrue.

My years of research in Dutch archives while working on a book, Tulipmania: Money, Honor and Knowledge in the Dutch Golden Age, told me a different story. It was just as illuminating, but it was different.



A Matter of Trust, Not Honour The Wire

The most beautiful possibility between Hindus and Muslims lies in their men and women falling in love with each other.

A couple sits along the seafront promenade at dusk in Mumbai's suburbs May 16, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Vivek Prakash

A couple sits along the seafront promenade at dusk in Mumbais suburbs May 16, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Vivek Prakash

There is a heartbreaking similarity in the way Ankit Saxena, a 23-year-old Hindu amateur photographer, was killed on February 1, 2018, by his Muslim girlfriends family in west Delhi, and Mohammad Afrazul, a 48-year-old-migrant, Bengali Muslim labourer, was murdered on December 6, 2017, in Rajasthan by a 38-year-old Hindu vigilante, Shambhulal Regar. Both victims, till they were attacked, did not anticipate the fate their murderers had in store for them. Afrazul and Saxena were trusting individuals. They trusted their attackers. But their attackers were consumed by hate.

As they walked through the woods, Afrazul was led to believe that Regar was offering him work. Instead, he was attacked by Regar from behind, with a pixie axe. Afrazul pleaded with his assailant in Hindi...


Say No to Hindus for Trump: India Civil Watch Tears into the Bigotry of US Hindus Supporting Trump The Wire

Even as Hindus for Trump rally behind the US presidents policies on immigration and his infamous border wall, others part of the Indian diaspora slam the groups policies for being bigoted and vindictive.

Credit: Facebook

With the world witnessing the rise of a new generation of nationalist leaders who sprung up from the sidelines to win power in various countries, including in India and the United States, it wasnt particularly surprising in 2016 when a certain section of the Indian diaspora in the US the Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC) threw its weight behind Donald Trump, vocally supporting the key issues of Trumps platform.

In a statement released this week, members of India Civil Watch (ICW), a civil society collective of Indian-Americans committed to furthering progressive politics in the US and India slammed the group Hindus for Trump (HFT) for their offer to pay for President Trumps proposed wall at the Mexican border, claiming it stank of unequivocally the rank opportunism.

In fact, just last week, the RHC...


As corruption cases close in, Netanyahu will move further right to survive +972 Magazine

Netanyahu is already painting the police recommendation to indict him as a political witch hunt. That will have significant consequences on how the attorney general proceeds, and what Israels second-longest serving prime minister does to survive.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a cabinet meeting, January 21, 2018. (Alex Kolomoisky/POOL)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a cabinet meeting, January 21, 2018. (Alex Kolomoisky/POOL)

The Israeli police on Tuesday recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in two corruption cases, referred to as Case 1000 and Case 2000. In Case 1000, Netanyahu is suspected of trying to advance the interests of Israeli tycoon Arnon Milchen in exchange for lavish gifts he and his wife demanded; in Case 2000, Netanyahu was recorded plotting to pursue regulatory changes that would have assisted the daily paper Yedioth Ahronoth in exchange for indefinite positive coverage, as promised by the papers publisher, Arnon Mozes. Netanyahu is suspected of receiving or being offered bribes in both cases.


Netanyahu doesnt deny the facts, only the polices interpretation of them. In a live message Tuesday evening, he tried to rally his base by claiming (as he has in the past) that he is the victim of politically motivated attacks. He also vowed not to resign. Tuesdays big ne...


Journalists, diplomats kicked out of Ahed Tamimis trial +972 Magazine

Despite Ahed Tamimis request for her trial to be open to the public, military judge rules that it will take place behind closed doors.

By Oren Ziv

Ahed Tamimi during the first hearing of her trial at the Ofer prison military court. February 13, 2018. (Oren Ziv/

Ahed Tamimi during the first hearing of her trial at the Ofer prison military court. February 13, 2018. (Oren Ziv/

Dozens of diplomats, journalists, photographers, and supporters arrived at the Ofer Military prison Tuesday morning for the opening hearing in the trial of Ahed Tamimi, the 17 year old from Nabi Saleh. The judge, however, ruled that the trial would take place behind closed doors to protect Aheds interests, ordering everyone in the courtroom, except for Aheds family members to leave.


Tamimi was arrested on December 19 when the army raided her home in the middle of the night, following the publication of a video showing her attempting to push armed Israeli soldiers off of her familys porch. She has been imprisoned since then. A military court denied bail to Ahed and her mother, Nariman, who was also arrested, ruling that they would remain in prison until the end of their trials.

Nariman was arrested the day after Ahed and is charged with incitement for livestreaming the video, which later went viral...


Take a look around. This is what annexation looks like +972 Magazine

The annexation of Palestine will not come one day, it is happening every day, and this is what it looks like: legislating mundane changes about higher education councils.

Jewish residents of the illegal outpost Amona, November 17, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Jewish residents of the illegal outpost Amona, November 17, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

There will be no definitive moment, event or a point in history, when we can say that annexation happened. Israels annexation is a process a deliberate process which has been carefully planned, began a long time ago, and which will continue for years to come.


It is hard to get too excited over small steps toward annexation, such as a law that moves a university from the jurisdiction of one council of higher education to another. The international community will not raise a storm. The UN Security Council will not hold an emergency session. The EU will not threaten sanctions. Yet this is precisely what the annexation of Palestine will look like.

The Knesset on Monday passed a law that places Israeli universities in the occupied Palestinian territories under the aegis of the Israeli Council for Higher Education, a civilian body created by Israeli law to oversee universities and colleges in Israel. Settlement colleges and universities were previous supervised by the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria, a military body created specifically because the civilian councils jurisdiction did not extend beyo...

Tuesday, 13 February


Arab woman MK attacked by Hebrew media for criticizing army policy +972 Magazine

MK Aida Touma-Suleiman, a female legislator from the Arab-Jewish socialist party, criticized the Israeli armys policy toward Syria, warning that it could escalate to a war that would endanger civilians. In response, one veteran male television news analyst ordered her to sit down and be quiet.

MK AIda Touma-Suleiman and news anchor Roni Daniel on Israeli TV following the downing of an Israeli jet on February 10.

MK AIda Touma-Suleiman and news anchor Roni Daniel on Israeli TV following the downing of an Israeli jet on February 10.

The Israeli air force has carried out more than 100 bombing incursions deep inside Syrian territory over the past few years, with little acknowledgement from the Israeli media and without suffering any military or diplomatic repercussions.  Meanwhile, Russia and Iran have deployed military forces in Syria, ostensibly to eliminate the Islamic State but in fact to increase their sphere of influence at the cost of the starving Syrian people.

Israel did open a field hospital for wounded Syrians in the Golan, an act for which it sought and received  substantial international media coverage that portrayed the country in a very positive light. But this act of magnanimity to Syrian civilians should not be used as a means of distracting attention from the fact t...

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