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Wednesday, 15 November

01:32

Indias Trade Deficit Widens to Near Three-Year High in October The Wire

A mobile crane carries a container at Thar Dry Port in Sanand in Gujarat, India. Credit: Reuters

A mobile crane carries a container at Thar Dry Port in Sanand in Gujarat. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: Indias trade deficit widened to its highest in nearly three years in October, government data showed on Tuesday, as export growth contracted for the first time after more than a year.

The trade deficit widened to $14.02 billion last month from $8.98 billion in September, data from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry showed.

The trade deficit has widened by more $31 billion in the first seven months of the current financial year to $86.15 billion, which could put pressure on the current account deficit of Asias third largest economy.

Merchandise exports for October fell 1.12% from a year earlier to $23.1 billion, dropping for the first time since August 2016, dragged down by fall in gems, jewelry and textile exports.

A large number of exporters have been unable to meet their export orders despite a revival in global demand as billions of dollars were stuck under the new nationwide tax launched in July, exporters said.

The refund of inputs tax credit under the new Goods and Services Tax system has been stuck since July, hitting exports, Ganesh Kumar Gupta, president of Federation of Indian Export Organisations, said.

Goods imports were up 7.6% from a year earlier to $37.12 billion.

Higher crude oil prices and a more than a quarter jump in v...

00:32

Iran vs Israel: Things Went South New Eastern Outlook

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Its been noted time and time against that an abrupt increase in the level of tensions observed today in the Middle East can be attributed to the steps that Israel and Saudi Arabia have been taking. In addition to the uneasy situation with Lebanon, Tel-Aviv kicked its propaganda efforts into high gear in a bid to sow discord among the opposing parties in Syria.

The other day, while acting on Israels demand, the BBC announced Iran was allegedly building a military camp at the base of the Syrian Armed Forces in the town of Al-Kiswah, less than ten miles south of Damascus. The credibility of this statement is doubtful, especially in the light of the claims that a new transit base Iranian troops is being created, that would allow them to be quickly dispatched in Lebanon. The images of this site bear no trace of such activities. But this did not prevent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from immediately announcing that Israel will not allow Irans military presence along its borders. Its been automatically assumed in Tel-Aviv that Iran wants to gain a foothold within the Golan Heights territory that Israel keeps occupying illegally. One can even come across a number of reports stating that Iran allegedly planning to create a naval base in Syria, which will allow its submarines to patrol the waters in the immediate vicinity of the Israeli coast. The Israelis also claim that Tehran wants to bring ground-to-surface missiles to Syria and Lebanon to able to launch strikes deep inside the Israeli territory.

At the same time, the fact that Israel has repeatedly launched unilateral strikes against Syrian and Lebanese positions deep inside the Syrian territory is deliberately omitted.

At the same time pro-Israeli media sources are trying to show that both Washington and Moscow are somehow supporting the positions of Tel-Aviv. Its allegedly been announced that the issue of Iranian military presence near Israeli borders was discussed with Russias Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu during his recent visit to Israel. Some media sources go as far as to claim that this issue was discussed by Russias President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Tehran on November 1.

In the development of this information campaign of Tel Aviv and Washington, the statement that was issued by US State Department on November 11 looks rather bizarre. It announces...

00:30

Srimonti Sarkar, an Evolutionary Cell Biologist Fascinated With a Peculiar Microorganism The Wire

Cell biologists like Sarkar are fascinated by Giardia, not only because it is pathogenic but also because of the toolkit it uses to go through life.

Srimonti Sarkar

Srimonti Sarkar.

Animals such as mice, monkeys and humans are commonly termed by scientists as higher organisms, owing to their apparent complexity when compared to the lower micro-organisms like bacteria, viruses and protozoa. This is one of Srimonti Sarkars biggest pet peeves. I dont like the term higher; we use it only because those are the systems we are more familiar with, said the evolutionary cell biologist at Bose Institute in Kolkata. Her annoyance is unsurprising.

Giardia  fears and fascination

The small size of microbes makes them anything but inferior. The fact that they are are able to do so many life processes with so little frames, answers the questions behind most of the worlds cell biology research. For example, why does Giardia lamblia, Sarkars organisms of choice, have two nuclei?

Giardia infection is one of the leading causes of protozoa-caused diarrhoea in the world, even more than an amoeba. At any given time, 200 million individuals on Earth are infected, said Sarkar. But cell biologists like Sarkar are fascinated by Giardia, not only because it is pathogenic but also because of the toolkit it uses to go through life. This protozoan is made of just one cell (humans have trillions) and it lacks c...

00:15

Aam Aadmi to Delhi CM: Heady Early Days of Arvind Kejriwal and AAP The Wire

In conversation with Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla, directors of An Insignificant Man, a political documentary that charts the growth of the Aam Aadmi Party in its initial but heady days.

How did the idea to map AAP germinate? How did the filmmakers avoid portraying a uni-dimensional view? How is the film different from the media documentation of AAP? Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla talk about these aspects and much more in this detailed interview with The Wire.

The post Aam Aadmi to Delhi CM: Heady Early Days of Arvind Kejriwal and AAP appeared first on The Wire.

Why India Needs the Left The Wire

The Left alone can provide a way out of the socio-economic and political dead end India is in now since it can provide an agenda transcending neoliberal capitalism.

While hunger has stalked the country, India has been a significant net exporter of food grains to the world market, where such grains are used as feed grains for animals in rich countries. Credit: Reuters/Amit Dave

While hunger has stalked the country, India has been a significant net exporter of food grains to the world market, where such grains are used as feed grains for animals in rich countries. Credit: Reuters/Amit Dave

Since the Left in this country had its origins in the October Revolution, with the collapse of the Soviet Union doubts are often expressed about its future. Such discussions, however, invariably pose the question wrongly. The question is not whether the Left in this country has a future but whether this country has a future without the Left.

Neoliberal capitalism, which India in common with most other countries had adopted of late as its economic regime, has now reached a dead end. Not only is the economic crisis that beg...

00:06

You Are Powerful And We Are Winning The Corbett Report

You are weak! You are powerless! You don't control your own life!...is what the powers-that-shouldn't-be want you to believe. In reality, the thing they are most afraid of is you discovering your own power and taking control of your life. And as a new study shows, even a small number of alternative, non-mainstream sources can redirect the national conversation. So why aren't we using this power to our advantage and setting a new agenda for humanity? The choice is ours. Please support The Corbett Report and the other independent outlets that are helping to do just that.

00:00

Alternative Dreams of the Russian Revolution The Wire

Few talk of the greatness of ideas that sprung in the beginning of the revolution pluralism in literature, poetry, linguistics, mathematics that is sheer genius.

Stalin in 1937. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A hundred years ago, the Russian Revolution changed economic and political configurations across the world. Through a series of articles, The Wire revisits the making of The Soviet Century

The 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, one of the great epics of history, encounters a sense of staleness in India. The narratives are linear, oozing a sense of disdain of an event that has faded. The 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution as an event in India, has become a failure of storytelling. One misses a sense of gossip, the rumour of utopia, a sense of dreams which goes beyond anything Eisenstein portrayed in his great movie October on Leon Trotskys classic book on The History of the Russian Revolution. I remember the sociologist Arthur Stinchcombe commenting that Trotsky, not the pompous Winston Churchill, should have received the Nobel prize for literature. It could have changed the perception people had of him.

...

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Tuesday, 14 November

23:44

Some Birds Have Babysitters but Why Are Babysitters Available in the First Place? The Wire

Surrogate parents of unrelated nestlings could forgo food while incubating eggs and foraging for chicks, and they lose weight. What makes them act in such a generous manner? Are they altruistic?

A surrogate parent feeding a Seychelles warbler chick. Credit: Sjouke Kingma

A surrogate parent feeding a Seychelles warbler chick. Credit: Sjouke Kingma

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

Young male moustached warblers (Acrocephalus melanopogon) are the saviours of single mothers. If the females consorts disappear, these bachelors step in incubating eggs, feeding chicks and chasing predators away. Why do they forgo their chance of breeding and help to raise other males young?

These warblers are by no means exceptional. Other species like fairy-wrens (Malurus spp.) live in groups of relatives and unrelated individuals. Many die so the surviving spouses hook up with others, so...

23:30

Review: What Ambedkar and His Legacy Mean to People Today The Wire

In Contesting Marginalisations, Vidya Bhushan Rawat has brought together different perspectives on what constitutes Ambedkarism and what it has meant to individuals and activists working in various spheres.

B.R. Ambedkar. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

B.R. Ambedkar. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

It is tempting to think of B.R. Ambedkars legacy as a hegemonic one, for today there is no one who contests his ideas and legacy. Just as one was a socialist of one variety or the other in the mid-20th century India (even the Bharatiya Janata Party adhered to Gandhian socialism), everyone now is an Ambedkarite, or at least not opposed to the man and his ideas. However, in the absence of a coherent ideology that could be identified as Ambedkarism, the term has been pulled in many directions, which has both diluted it and, in some ways, allowed a creative efflorescence. It remains, at best, a nebulous concept.

Much before it became an academic rage, Ambedkars thoughts were a beacon for activists in post-independence India. Contesting Marginalisations: Conversations on Ambedkarism and Social Justice, Vidya Bhushan Rawats collection of interviews with the many foot soldiers and friends of what has come to be called the Ambedkarite revolution, attempts to collate what is sometimes left out of academic studies. It brings together many different perspectives on what constitutes Ambedkarism and, more importantly, what it has meant to individuals and activists working in various spheres.

The diverse selection of the individuals interviewed in this book provides a comprehensive picture of what...

23:30

Why We Need to Abandon Target-Driven Welfare The Wire

Based on a militarised notion of targeting, such welfare policies deny citizens the right to basic services.

Homeless children eat food at a slum area on the outskirts of Agartala, capital of Indias northeastern state of Tripura June 22, 2007. Credit: Reuters/Jayanta Dey

In an incisive analysis on anti-poverty and other social security programmes, Professor Amartya Sen astutely asks why the notion of targeting, which is essentially a military concept, is so routinely invoked in analytical discourses on basic welfare rights for the people as well as in policy framing in this respect. Indeed, why would an idiom of combat be deemed apt to conceptualise a social commitment to actualise basic human capabilities? Also, and more importantly, why would a society, committed to its constitutional goal of guaranteeing equal dignity for all, not be keen to make basic welfare rights and services near-...

23:00

CVC Protecting Corrupt Officers in AIIMS, Says Whistleblower, Urges President to Order Probe The Wire

Whistleblower Sanjiv Chaturvedi claims that despite the CBI indicting the accused, the central vigilance commissioner had let the officers off the hook.

Central vigilance commissioner K.V. Chowdary. Credit: PTI

Central vigilance commissioner K.V. Chowdary. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Whistleblower Indian Forest Service officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi has in a letter to the president of India sought action against the central vigilance commissioner (CVC) K.V. Chowdary under Section 6 of CVC Act, 2003, for allegedly protecting certain senior officials of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) despite the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) confirming charges of corruption against them.

In the letter, Chaturvedi, who has been awarded the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for exposing corruption in public office, has alleged that the CBI investigation reports in four major corruption cases had confirmed instances of corruption and had recommended action against concerned officials but the cases were subsequently closed on the recommendations of CVC.

Chaturvedi, who had earlier...

22:30

Has Rahul Gandhi Changed or Are We Seeing Him Differently? The Wire

Slowly but surely, the Congress is shuffling back into the game and Rahul, the man who everyone, including his own party, gave up on, is chiefly responsible for that.

Rahul Gandhi. Credit: Facebook/Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi. Credit: Facebook/Rahul Gandhi

In October 2012, Rahul Gandhi said in Chandigarh that seven out of every ten youth in Punjab had a drug problem. It sounded like an outrageous statistic and his claim was met with derision and ridicule. Even the fact that this was probably the first time a national leader had mentioned the subject in public was ignored the very fact that Rahul had said it made it a legitimate subject for not just online trolling but also media criticism. Once again, it was emphasised that the young Gandhi family scion was simply not cut out for politics.

Since then of course Punjabs drug problem has found its way into the political discourse, popular culture and journalistic investigation. We dont now contest that it is a severe one, just what is the true extent of it and what is the solution.

Rahul in those days and for a long time could do no right. He was the object of ridicule, the callow and imm...

21:20

Dalit Rights Group Seeks NHRC Intervention In NSA Charge Against Bhim Armys Chandrashekhar The Wire

The Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch has urged the rights body to address the grave injustice and human rights violation against the Bhim Army chief, in custody since June 8.

Bhim Army supporters. Credit: PTI

Bhim Army supporters. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: The Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch (DSMM) has written to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) requesting the body to urgently intervene and address the grave injustice and human rights violation against Bhim Armys Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan and two others.

In a letter dated November 13 and addressed to NHRC chairperson Justice H.L. Dattu, the Manch  an umbrella group of organisations fighting caste oppression in the country has detailed the alleged false arrest of Chandrashekhar and the charges slapped on the Dalit rights group founder by the Uttar Pradesh government under the National Security Act (NSA).

The organisation has also brought attention to Chandrashekhars deteriorating health when he was kept in Saharanpur jail, which then led to him being admitted to Meerut District Hospital. The DSMM has requested the human rights body to intervene in the case.

In early November, the Allahabad high court had granted bail to Chandrashekhar, who was arrested on June 8 in connection with the Thakur-Dalit clash in UPs Saharanpur distric...

21:15

Behind the Saudi Troublemaking Strategic Culture Foundation

Saudi Arabias monarchy is bombing Yemen, locking up domestic rivals and stirring up trouble in Lebanon, while a slow-burning confrontation continues against Qatar which could split the Gulf Cooperation Council, says Paul Cochrane.

20:45

Russia"s Alleged Meddling in Catalan Vote: Playing the Blame Game Strategic Culture Foundation

Western politicians have been resorting to blame-shifting tactic increasingly often. Each and everything going awry in the world is the fault of Russia. The drive of peoples for independence is a good example. Take Catalonia to illustrate the point.

20:30

How IITs Turned From Nehrus Vision of Technology To Catering Engineers for MNCs The Wire

And while the IITs have been in decline for many years now, some of the MHRDs exclusivist policies are poised to drive them further into the ground.

Collage_Fotor

Representational image. Credit: Wikimedia Commons and whatcouldgowrong/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

The India Institutes of Technology (IITs) often considered by the general masses as the holy cows of technical education in India, and recognised in higher education circles as National Institutes of Importance are in fact premier institutes of the country that have, of late, come under scathing public criticism. This has intensified after they failed to be among the top 100 universities in the QS and the Times Higher Education global rankings. Strangely enough, though they find a place in the top ten institutes in the MHRD-backed India rankings, the IITs have been reprimanded for participating under the engineering category as opposed to their usual practice of participating under the university category in the world rankings.

Within Indian public circles, they are often berated as institutes that utilise public resources to finance graduates whose sole objective is to serve developed countries, thus draining the intellectual and the public capital of the country that produced them...

20:20

We Need More Youthful Dreamers Like You: A Letter to Jawaharlal Nehru The Wire

In the last three years, we have been witness to an unfortunate vilification campaign around you and your ideas about freedom, secularism and socialism.

Jawaharlal Nehru. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Jawaharlal Nehru. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

My dear Jawaharlal ji,

Greetings from an India you loved and which loved you immensely in return. On your 125th birth anniversary, I had written to you narrating the life and times of the nation. I had promised in the closing lines that if the regressive trends then seen in several spheres come to an end, I shall not write to you again. But that was not to be and hence I hereby sit down to write to you again.

Contrary to my fragile hope, in the last three years we have been witness to an unfortunate vilification campaign around you and your ideas about freedom, secularism and socialism. The campaign managers have gone to the extent of putting you perpetually in an adversarial position with your colleague Sardar Patel and are using all kinds of propaganda techniques to convince the New India that this alleged rivalry beset this nation the day Gandhiji chose you over Patel as his political heir. But then I shudder to imagine whether they have the capacity or even the inclination to appreciate the width and depth of the relation you shared with both of them.

The methodical and structured campaign to vilify your legacy and replace it with the more organically patriotic legacy of Sardar Patel is un...

20:15

Trump and Putin: What Comes Next? Strategic Culture Foundation

As the APEC summit drew nearer, it became clear that the Russian president would not bring any agenda to Vietnam that suggested a willingness to reverse course or offer major concessions to U.S. preferences regarding Russian policy on North Korea, Syria, Iran and Ukraine.

19:45

Obama"s Legacy: the Failed State of Libya Strategic Culture Foundation

Thanks to the discordant foreign policy of President Barack Obama and his secretaries of state, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, Libya, once the gem for high-living standards in Africa, is today a failed state.

19:00

In UP, Power Supply Contracts Are Unraveling With Help From the State Electricity Regulator The Wire

The states electricity watchdog  and its acting chairman  do not appear to be acting as an unbiased adjudicator in disputes between discoms and generators.

A woman walks under high-tension power lines leading from a power sub station. Credit: Reuters/Vivek Prakash/File Photo

New Delhi: The BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh government is using strong-arm tactics, such as the unilateral termination of power purchase agreements (PPAs), to get generators to reduce electricity tariffs.

These developments, in Uttar Pradesh and a handful of other states, are in one sense a fallout of Indias shift towards auctions to buy electricity (which have brought tariffs to record lows), prompting state governments to cancel or renegotiate contracts that guaranteed a fixed price to generators for the power they produce.

Over the last few months, the state-owned discom, UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL), has terminated more than half a dozen PPAs including those of Bajaj Energy in its bid to force developers to accept its terms on tariffs.

In this quest, the discom appears to be g...

18:30

Why the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights Matters for India The Wire

The proposed treaty on limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives, educational and research institutions, and for persons with other disabilities is of utmost importance to India.

First day at WIPO for the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) meeting. Credit: Twitter/Hugo Setzer

The 35th Standing Committee on Copyright & Related Rights (SCCR) which is due to take place from November 13 till November 17, 2017 at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, is a turning point for Indias international copyright policy. During the course of the week, the proposed treaty on the protection of rights of broadcasting organisations (the Broadcasters Treaty), limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives, limitations and exceptions for educational and research institutions, and for persons with other disabilities will be deliberated. The SCCR will also discuss the proposal for analysis of copyright related to the digital environment and a proposal on resale rights.

The proposed treaty on limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives, limitations and exceptions for educational and research institutions, and f...

18:04

Boris Johnson Apologises for Remarks on Imprisoned Aid Worker in Iran The Wire

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arrives at a European Union foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels, Belgium, November 13, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Yves Herman

Britains Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arrives at a European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium, November 13, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Yves Herman

London: British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson issued a second, fuller apology on Monday for remarks about an Iranian-British aid worker jailed in Iran that critics said might have prompted Iran to extend her pri...

17:57

As Eighth Lawmaker Falls, Australias Citizenship Crisis Deepens The Wire

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull reviews an honour guard during an anti-terror demonstration of Australian and Philippine soldiers at Camp Aguinaldo, on the sidelines of the Association of South East Asian Nations Summit, in Quezon City, metro Manila, Philippines, November 13, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Dondi Tawatao

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull reviews an honour guard during an anti-terror demonstration of Australian and Philippine soldier...

17:42

Will Fight ISIS in Syria As Long As They Want to Fight, Says James Mattis The Wire

FILE PHOTO - US Secretary of Defense James Mattis attends a joint press conference with Finnish Defence Minister Jussi Niinisto (not pictured) after their bilateral meeting in Helsinki, Finland, November 7, 2017. Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander/via Reuters

FILE PHOTO US Secretary of Defense James Mattis attends a joint press conference with Finnish Defence Minister Jussi Niinisto (not pictured) after their bilateral meeting in Helsinki, Finland, November 7, 2017. Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander/via Reuters

Washington: The US military will fight ISIS...

17:38

Trump Administration Offers Fossil Fuels as Solution to Climate Change The Wire

The attempt was met with protest and walkouts on Monday at UN climate talks in Bonn.

Thousands attend climate protest ahead of the Bonn conference. Credit: Reuters

Thousands attend climate protest ahead of the Bonn conference. Credit: Reuters

Representatives of the fossil fuel industry said they wanted to be part of the conversation and sat through intense questioning and heckling from media and protesters in the room.

The bitterness that has divided the US since the election of Donald Trump arrived in Bonn, when around a hundred mostly American climate protestors disrupted the event, with song, heckling and protest banners.

You claim to be an American, the protesters sang at a panel including George David Banks, president Trumps special energy assistant and moderated by vice president Mike Pences assistant Francis Brooke. Natural gas, coal and nuclear companies were also represented.

As they marched out of the room, they were joined by hundreds of other demonstrators that had not been able to get in.

The panel sat quietly through the protest before launching into a defence of the role of various forms of fossil energy in climate mitigation, in front of a half empty room.

Fossil fuels, including high efficiency coal and carbon capture and storage, were vital to achieving the goals of the Paris deal, said Holly Krutka, vice president of coal generation and emissions technologies from Peabody Energy.

Bank...

17:26

Filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh Resigns from Festival Jury After I&B Ministry Removes Two Films from Selection The Wire

The ministry pulled out Malayalam movie S Durga and Marathi film Nude from the 48th edition of the International Film Festival of India.

Sujoy Ghosh. Credit: Facebook

Sujoy Ghosh. Credit: Facebook

Mumbai: Filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh says he has resigned as head of the jury of the International Film Festival of Indias (IFFIs) Indian Panorama section following the controversy over the removal of two films from the final selection.

Overruling the recommendation of the 13-member jury, the central Ministry of Information and Broadcasting pulled out Malayalam movie S Durga and Marathi film Nude from the 48th edition of the film festival, to be held in Goa from November 20-28.

Asked if he has resigned as jury head in the wake of the controversy, Ghosh told PTI, Yes, but I cant say anything more than that right now.

Several jury members expressed their displeasure over the ministrys move to drop the films from the list they submitted. It was an unprecedented move, a jury member said on the condition of anonymity.

The jury submitted its list to the ministry on September 20-21, but the line-up was made public only recently and without the names of the two films, a member disclosed. The ministry did not respond to the reports.

S Durga, which was earlier titled Sexy Durga, is a road movie that follows the horrifying experience of two hitchhikers, a man and a woman, at the hands of two men. It won the Hivos Tiger Award in the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2017.

Nude depicts the struggle of a woman secret...

17:16

Stalemate Over Syria Chemical Weapons Inquiry Between Russia and US The Wire

A fighter of Syrian Democratic Forces stands amidst the ruins of buildings near the Clock Square in Raqqa, Syria October 18, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Erik De Castro/Files

A fighter of Syrian Democratic Forces stands amidst the ruins of buildings near the Clock Square in Raqqa, Syria October 18, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Erik De Castro/Files

United Nations: Russia said on Monday it was talking to the United States about the UN Security Council renewing an international inquiry into chemical weapons attacks in Syria, but Washington countered that Moscow had refused to engage on a US-drafted resolution.

The mandate for the joint inquiry by the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of...

17:09

Secularism Is the Biggest Lie Being Told to India: Adityanath The Wire

The chief minister also said that distorting history is akin to sedition and that Pakistan is used as an abuse in Europe, as is Paki.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath. Credit: PTI

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Speaking in Raipur on Monday (November 13), Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath said that the word secular has damaged India and is the biggest lie being told to the country since independence.

According to the Indian Express, Adityanath was responding to a question on secularism and communalism when he said, Mera maanna hai ki azadi ke baad Bharat mein sabse bada jhooth dharmnirpeksh shabd hai. Nagrikon ke saath, Bharat ke logon ke saath un logon ko maafi maangni chahiye, jinhone is shabd ko janm diya aur jo yeh shabd istemaal karte hai koi vyavastha dharmnirpeksh nahin ho sakti. Rajneetik vyavastha panthnirpeksh ho sakti hai. Agar koi humse kahega ki shasan us upasna vidhi se chalni chahiye, toh nahin chal sakti. UP ke andar dekhunga to 22 crore logon ko dekhna hoga. Mein in logon ke suraksha ke prati, unki bhavnaon ke prati javabdeh hoon. Lekin ek samuday ka dushtikaran karne ke liye bhi nahin baitha hoon. Panthnirpeksh ho lekin dharmnirpeksh nahin ho sakta. (I believe that the word secular is the biggest lie since independence....

17:01

Myanmar Denies Alleged Atrocities Against Rohingya The Wire

Rohingya refugees walk after crossing the Naf River with an improvised raft to reach to Bangladesh in Teknaf, Bangladesh, November 12, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

Rohingya refugees walk after crossing the Naf River with an improvised raft to reach to Bangladesh in Teknaf, Bangladesh, November 12, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

Yangon: Myanmars army released a report on Monday denying all allegations of rape and killings by security forces, having days earlier replaced the general in charge of the operation that drove more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh.

No reason was given for Major General Maung Maung Soe being transferred from his post as the head of Western Command in Rakhine state, where Myanma...

16:41

US Neglects the Safety of Nuclear Power Plants in Europe New Eastern Outlook

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Nuclear power is now going through a difficult time and the world community is becoming more and more concerned by it. After the tragic events of 1986 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, as well as at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant (where an anthropogenic accident occurred in 2011 due to an earthquake and tsunami), the safety of the operation of nuclear power plants in all countries has been receiving increasingly more attention. The European Union even convened an emergency meeting in Brussels to discuss the safety standards for nuclear reactors operating on the European continent.

According to a study by the European Commission, nuclear power generates 27% of electricity in the EU. According to the European Nuclear Society (ENS), about 200 nuclear power units are currently operating or are being constructed in Europe. Strict monitoring measures are applied to all operating and developing NPPs not only from the countries that build these facilities, but also from international organizations.

Unfortunately, despite these measures, today information campaigns conducted by individual countries against the use of nuclear power plants often appear and are clearly aimed not at strengthening security measures in the nuclear energy sector, but at narrowly self-serving politicized goals.

A striking example of this, in particular, is the campaign launched by Lithuania against the construction of the Ostrovets nuclear power plant in Belarus. The main reason for the campaign is the desire of the Lithuanian conservatives to please Washington by using anti-Russian sentiments to reduce the influence of Russia and its closest ally, Belarus, in the European energy market. Its no secret that Lithuania itself wanted to build its own nuclear power plant in Visaginas with the help of Japanese and American corporations. For a long time, Lithuania expected that the project would include its neighbors Latvia, Estonia and Poland, but the funds for the implementation of this project were lacking.

It is noteworthy in this respect that, while artificially inflating the Russian threat in the field of nuclear power, many European states prefer to keep silent about the real danger for Europe which stems from the actions of the United States in this sphere.

In 2012, the head of the US Department of State Hillary Clinton went to the Czech Republic, where she heavily lobbied the US company West...

14:30

Past Continuous: Twenty-Five Years on, Tremors of Babri Masjid Demolition Continue to Be Felt The Wire

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

A violent mob mobilised by the Bharatiya Janata Party and Sangh parivar demolished the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.

Twenty-five years ago, India was in a ferment of a different kind. The backdrop was provided by the Congress under P.V. Narasimha Rao, who was running its first minority government. The BJP had emerged as the principal opposition for the first time and its new-found stature provided credibility to L.K. Advanis claim that his party was the government-in-waiting.

But while one priority sector of the government was the economy, with liberalisation having been ushered in and globalisation on the anvil, on another critical issue that necessitated dedicated attention, Raos approach was apathetic, to say the least. He allowed the communal tiger to not just raise its head but also consume India in a gory round of violence which was soon met with a response.

The BJP fought the 1991 polls without major alliance partners and yet emerged as the second-largest party. For a party which had just two members in the Lok Sabha before the 1989 elections, this astonishing growth had come on the back of the several-years-long Ram janmabhoomi agitation to build a Ram temple at Ayodhya after demolishing the Babri Masjid. Polls for the tenth Lok Sabha were called early in 1991 because of the temple imbroglio and consequently, Rao was aware it required immediate a...

13:30

WIPO Report Downplays Patent Barriers to Vaccine Access The Wire

As a traditional public health intervention, vaccines have been costing more money in recent years when a couple of newer generation of products are exhausting governments budgets.

A recent report published by Medicins sans Frontieres (MSF) suggests that new generation of vaccines are prone to high concentration of patent evergreening. Credit: Pan America Health Organisation/Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

A recent report published by Medicins sans Frontieres (MSF) suggests that new generation of vaccines are prone to a high concentration of patent evergreening. Credit: Pan America Health Organisation/Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

Advocates of access to medicines movement would not feel unfamiliar with the issue of patent evergreening on chemical medicines while monopoly could get prolonged through applying for multiple patents on small changes of the same medicine. The similar tricks have also been practised on other medical products, such as vaccines. As a traditional public health intervention, vaccines have been costing more money in recent years when a couple of newer generation of products are exhausting governments budgets largely due to their monopoly situations. Recent researches have suggested that patent thicket and evergreening, among...

11:02

About 1,000 attend NCR rally at Old Courthouse compound Hornbill Unleashed

Some 1,000 people congregated at the Old Courthouse near the Kuching Waterfront yesterday for the peaceful native customary rights (NCR) land rally aimed at creating greater public awareness of the frustration of the natives of Sarawak over the alleged exploitation of their native land. Organised by Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia), several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) []

Protesters give Sarawak three months to amend land code Hornbill Unleashed

The organisers of a rally here today gave the Sarawak state government three months to respond to calls for amendments to the Sarawak Land Code relating to native customary rights land issues. They demanded Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah, who is also the NCR land state task force chairman, to be seen doing []

11:02

Crack on Bengoh dam actually contraction joint, minister explains Hornbill Unleashed

The RM310 million Bengoh Dam is stable and safe, Sarawaks Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundie Utom said in response to pictures circulating online of water seepage at the base of the structure. What was seen on site was actually a designed contraction joint, and not a crack as alleged (in the social media), []

11:02

Respect NCR and Sarawaks rights under MA63 Hornbill Unleashed

AS the season of Advent approaches, we note with great sadness and concern a number of tragedies and disasters that occurred recently, from the recent fatal Church shooting in Texas, USA to the massive flood in Penang. The recent Federal Court decision (involving Masa Nangkai and his fellow villagers in Pantu) concerning the loss of []

11:02

Government will never take away peoples land Uggah Hornbill Unleashed

The government will never rob the people of their land as it is its duty to take care of the welfare of its citizens who have elected it. Thus, such question should not arise at all, Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas []

11:02

Stay calm, be patient as govt finds a holistic solution to Pemakai Menoa, Pulau Galau issue Hornbill Unleashed

The Dayak community have been urged to stay calm and be patient as the special committee formed to look into the Pemakai Menoa and Pulau Galau issue is working tirelessly to find a holistic solution to solve the problem as mandated by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg. In stating this, Deputy Chief []

11:02

Baru glad that more people are aware of NCR land issues Hornbill Unleashed

Ba Kalalan assemblyman Baru Bian is happy that the people on the ground are aware of the native customary rights (NCR) land issues, which shows how important the matter is. I am very glad that all the representatives of all the races all over Sarawak turned up for the rally today. These people can only []

11:02

No cause for alarm Hornbill Unleashed

Utilities Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom has assured all that the Bengoh Dam is technically and structurally sound and stable, and not leaking as alleged by PKR to the media recently. He said the design and construction of the dam involved the input of experienced international dam specialists from United Kingdom (UK) and []

11:02

Present education system too burdensome for students Hornbill Unleashed

THE national education syllabus, which is 100 per cent examination-based, has placed excessive and unnecessary pressure on young students. Irene Chang (DAP-Bukit Assek), in her debate speech on the state budget, said the syllabus is affecting the mental health of students, exposing them to the risks of having mental breakdowns. There may have been efforts []

05:10

Kyrgyzstan: Losing Presidential Candidate Ditches Party Leadership EurasiaNet.org - Inside the Cocoon

The main losing candidate in the recent presidential election in Kyrgyzstan has relinquished leadership of his political party in the wake of a criminal investigation being opened against him.

Omurbek Babanov said in a statement on November that he will no longer head the Respublika/Ata-Jurt group, which constitutes the largest force in parliament opposing the government.

As Babanov is currently outside the country presumed to be in Russia the resignation was announced by his associate, Talant Mamytov. The explanation for the decision was not explicitly linked to the criminal investigation, however, but explained by Babanov as a desire to see Respublika/Ata-Jurt pursue more intensive legislative efforts in parliament.

Babanov was the only viable rival to the ultimate winner of the October 15 presidential election, ruling party candidate Soronbai Jeenbekov. In the end, however, Babanovs well-funded and high-visibility campaign failed to force a runoff vote, as Jeenebekov managed to garner almost 55 percent of the vote, well over the 50 percent threshold needed. Babanov got around 34 percent of the ballots cast.

Defying the expectations of some political observers, Babanov declined to confront the authorities directly over the outcome of an election that independent monitors said was marred by irregularities and the use of government resources to aid Jeenbekovs chances. Instead, the multimillionaire businessmen quietly conceded his defeat, making it all the more surprising when prosecutors revealed in early November that they were investigating Babanov for purportedly fomenting ethnic tension during a campaign stump speech in a largely Uzbek community in the southern city of Osh.

read more

02:31

Israels threats could push it into unnecessary war with Iran +972 Magazine

Endless threats and the inclination toward a preventative strike are likely to push Israel into an arms race and a much wider and unnecessary war of attrition with Iran.

By Shemuel Meir

President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands after giving final remarks at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem before Trump's departure, May 23, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands after giving final remarks at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem before Trumps departure, May 23, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu are striving together to cancel the JCPOA nuclear agreement with Iran. Even Netanyahus new mantra, that he only wants to fix the deal, is actually mean to bring about its cancelation in a slightly more roundabout way. Subjecting Iran to new conditions would lead it to abandon the deal, thereby causing its collapse.

[tmwinpost]

Alongside the attempts to kill the agreement, however, an old threat has reappeared on the horizon: preventative war against Iran.

Netanyahu gave the first sign in his...

02:09

And it Begins: Are Waves of EU Bond Migrants about to Inundate Georgian Villages? New Eastern Outlook

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There is always a price to pay for gaining the benefits of EU membership, and even the hope of eventual EU membership. When Spain first applied in the early 1980s it was obliged to cut agricultural production but only given a short time to make industry catch up to make up the shortfall. Somehow it muddled through, but the message was clear We are the club, and new members have to jump through hoops if they want to join.

Despite the UKs attempt to leave the EU, or perhaps because its mishandling of this is rapidly making the UK an international laughing stock, there are still many aspirant countries who want to join this powerful politico-economic union. Many of these countries come from Eastern Europe, and think the EU offers them a new identity as a Western country. To obtain this identity they are prepared to do almost anything, and the EU is taking full advantage of this.

The EU is always claiming it has a migrant crisis, when in fact it has failed to address the domestic problems arising from factors such as globalisation, greater automation and the transition from industry to services. Rather than admit its failure, the EU has encouraged its member states to blame migrants for the resulting problems. In any democracy, those who cant vote are the easiest target, so a snowballing anti-immigrant rhetoric has emerged, which domestic governments have been keen to take advantage of to keep themselves in power.

Therefore the EU has to be seen to be taking action over migrants, despite all the services and industries which depend on them. Unsurprisingly, there is evidence that they have become the latest hoop new members have to jump through to gain any benefits from the EU. The new message is, You can join if you have European values, and that means we are going to dump our migrants in your country to suit ourselves and tell you how you have to be inclusive. But the EU itself, knowing this is a lie, cant even come out and openly speak-it-to-the-people-who should-be-hearing.

Tell it to someone else

The European Commission is funding a programme in Georgia which w...

01:49

Human rights groups tell the truth. It is we who refuse to listen +972 Magazine

We refuse to listen to what human rights groups say about the West Bank and Gaza Strip because we do not want to admit we are ultimately responsible.

By Assaf David

Palestinian boys study by candlelight during a power outage in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip on March 14, 2015. (Abed Rahim Khatib /Flash90)

Palestinian boys study by candlelight during a power outage in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip on March 14, 2015. (Abed Rahim Khatib /Flash90)

How does Israel, its institutions, its academy, and its mainstream media, understand the goings on the Palestinian side? Through the crosshairs, of course.

[tmwinpost]

This is not new, but these crosshairs are located in the wider context of Israels political institutions. This aspect deserves a closer analysis, since the discourse surrounding these institutions contains a kind of knowledge that molds our consciousness, while erasing knowledge of a different kind.

Are Fatah and Hamas reconciling? Hoards of academics and media figures will analyze every statement, every personality, every move, trying to place them in their political, tactical, or strategi...

01:08

After Pehlu Khan, Umar Mohammed, Transporting Pet Cows, Shot Dead in Alwar The Wire

Mohammeds family and social activists have alleged the involvement of cow vigilantes from right wing outfits.

Thiry-five year old Umar Mohammed was shot dead on November 10. Credit: Reuters

Jaipur: Months after a 55-year-old dairy farmer, Pehlu Khan, was assaulted by self-styled cow vigilantes for illegally transporting cattle in Rajasthans Alwar district, another dairy farmer in the state, Umar Mohammed (35), was allegedly shot dead and later thrown on railway tracks by cow vigilantes in Bharatpur on November 10. He was transporting cows to his home in Ghatmeeka in Pahar...

00:33

Sitaram Yechury: Demonetisation Was a Shattering Blow to the Economy The Wire

In an interview with Karan Thapar for The Wire, Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), criticises demonetisation and argues that it failed to achieve all the objectives that were promised by the government.

The post Sitaram Yechury: Demonetisation Was a Shattering Blow to the Economy appeared first on The Wire.

00:30

For Africans, Americas Pledge Is About More Than Pollution The Wire

US mayors and governors want to show the world they stand by US commitments, but to their African counterparts solidarity means cash.

"We can't get [climate finance]," says Clestine Ketcha Courts, mayor of Bangangt in Cameroon. Credit: UN Climate Change

We cant get [climate finance], says Clestine Ketcha Courts, mayor of Bangangt in Cameroon. Credit: UN Climate Change

The presence of US cities and states at UN climate talks in Bonn has been big, brash and supercharged with billionaire cash.

In a bouncy castle-like dome on Saturday night, mayors, governors and activists repeated their mantra we are still in. Branded Americas Pledge, the sideshow is an attempt to convince the world that the US will stand by its commitments to the Paris climate deal.

House music, champagne and confidence  paid for by Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer and others flowed in equally neurotic proportion.

Sunday morning, 9 am, back to reality. Climate Home News is drinking black coffee with Solly Msimanga, the mayor of Tshwane the municipal region that contains the South Africas administrative capital Pretoria.

Msimanga is standing on the lip of one of the great demographic shifts happening on earth, the urbanisation of Africa.

From...

00:00

Delhi Smog Reveals Global Failures to Deal With Climate Change The Wire

Visibility has plummeted, a health emergency has been declared, schools shut down and various regional level governments are quarrelling with each other.

Taken by NASAs Goddard satellite on October 20, this picture shows the huge crop burning fires across the Indian states surrounding Delhi.

Taken by NASAs Goddard satellite on October 20, this picture shows the huge crop burning fires across the Indian states surrounding Delhi.

From the beginning of COP23, the issue of loss and damage has cast a shadow over proceedings as developing countries argue for pre-2020 actions to be included. At present, a much more visible gloom hangs over Delhi air pollution.

Visibility has plummeted, a health emergency has been declared, and schools have been shut down. Various regional governments are quarrelling with each other, and with central government agencies. But the solutions seem elusive.

The problem of Delhis air pollution has an obvious  but expensive  fix. Up to 90% of the pollution in northern India is caused by farmers burning stubble to clear fields in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana. The Indian government had a plan to deal with the issue, but it fell apart as the states concerned...

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Monday, 13 November

23:30

Driven By China, Global Carbon Emissions Rise in 2017 The Wire

The projected 2% increase in carbon dioxide emissions comes from growth in Chinas smokestack industries and jeopardises the Paris climate agreement goals, say experts.

The projected 2% increase in carbon dioxide emissions comes from growth in Chinas smokestack industries and jeopardises the Paris climate agreement goals, say experts. Credit: Wikipedia

The projected 2% increase in carbon dioxide emissions comes from growth in Chinas smokestack industries and jeopardises the Paris climate agreement goals, say experts. Credit: Wikipedia

Bonn: Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry are expected to rise 2% in 2017, mainly driven by increases in China and other developing countries.

That was the key finding of an analysis by the Global Carbon Project, published in three journal papers on Monday. The increase follows three years of flat emissions.

The slowdown in emissions growth from 2014 to 2016 was always a delicate balance, and the likely 2% increase in 2017 clearly demonstrates that we cant take the recent slowdown for granted, said Robbie Andrew, a senior researcher at Cicero in Oslo and co-author of the studies.

The research comes as negotiators at UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany, work on a rulebook for implementing the Paris cl...

23:29

The Curious Disappearance of the Ennore Creek The Wire

Along with the fate of the creek and that of the users, keepers and makers of Ennores place-words, lies our fate. Our language and our gaze make them invisible to us.

Credit: Bhavani Raman

Credit: Bhavani Raman

Bhavani Raman teaches at the history department at the University of Toronto.

Before landscapes die, they first vanish in the imagination.

The Ennore (or Ennur) Creek in north Chennai began to disappear in the 1980s. Things accelerated in the 2000s when, contrary to laws passed to protect coastal zones, large portions of the wetlands were given over to thermal power plants and the Ennore port. Now, rivers of fly ash and intolerable levels of untreated pollutants are killing the wetlands and dispossessing those who live intimately with the sea, the creeks and canals.

But the creek has already disappeared entirely from the imagination. The Coastal Research Centre released an official map they received in response to an RTI filed earlier this year in which a full 6,569 acres of the creek are missing. The map is an effort to cover up an astounding crime. The Government of India, aided by the agencies of Tamil Nadu, is undertaking the greatest possible violation of the law protecting our wetlands. The map is an effort to wipe out this illegal encroachment. It disappears...

22:43

India Seeks Hefty Dividends From State Firms as Its Revenues Falter The Wire

The demand has been made following a finance ministry assessment on October 25 of the financial health of 14 state companies, including top miner NMDC Ltd and trading firm MMTC Ltd.

Credit: Reuters

The ministry asked 12 of the companies to payout between 30% and as much as 100% of their 2016-17 or 2017-18 net profit in dividends, share buybacks or bonus shares. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: India is demanding millions of dollars in dividends from 12 reluctant state companies to make up for an expected tax revenue shortfall this fiscal year, as a slump in economic growth risks New Delhi overshooting its fiscal deficit target.

The demand has been made following a finance ministry assessment on October 25 of the financial health of 14 state companies, including top miner NMDC Ltd and trading firm MMTC Ltd, according to a government document reviewed by Reuters.

The ministry asked 12 of the companies to payout between 30% and as much as 100% of their 2016-17 or 2017-18 net profit in dividends, share buybacks or bonus shares. The other two companies were exempted.

All state companies evaluated by the government sought ex...

22:39

Tripura: ATTF Chief Ranjit Debbarma Held on Sedition Charges The Wire

Representative image. Credit: Twitter

Representative image. Credit: Twitter

Agartala: Insurgent group All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) chief Ranjit Debbarma was arrested from West Tripura district on charges of sedition on November 12, police said.

He was arrested from his ancestral house at Sidhai late at night, West district superintendent of police Abhijit Saptarshi told reporters.

Debbarma, who was pushed back from Bangladesh four years ago, allegedly delivered a seditious statement at a public meeting last week at Teliamura in Khowai district, S.P. Krishnendu Chakraborty said.

He also attempted to form a new insurgent outfit with surrendered insurgents of ATTF and National Liberation Front of Tripura, Chakraborty alleged.

A Khowai court remanded Debbarma to police custody for four days.

After he was pushed back by Bangladesh authorities in 2012 at Dawki border in Meghalaya, the ATTF chief was arrested and brought to Tripura. He was granted bail by a court here in 2015.

The post Tripura: ATTF Chief Ranjit Debbarma Held on Sedition Charges appeared first on The Wire.

22:39

Russia-India changing relationship: time to reboot OrientalReview.org

Latest bi-lateral upswing This year- 2017- Russia and India are celebrating their 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations. Both countries are organizing host of cultural programmes, film festivals and exchange visits among top officials to commemorate this historic event. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi []

22:31

Jon Huntsman Jr. and Why America-Russia Relations Will Remain Stuck? New Eastern Outlook

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If you want to know just how sorry relations in between Russia and the United States have become, look for the current Ambassador to Russia. Americas closest connect with Moscow via appointment by President Donald Trump, Jon Huntsman Jr. is the son of billionaire businessman Jon Huntsman Sr. of the Huntsman Corporation. Ill wager very few reading this will have ever heard of Huntsman. So, let me introduce you to U.S. dtente in the Trump era.

has a pedigree that reads like the All-American boy. An Eagle Scout in the BSA, a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity in college, Huntsman was even a Mormon missionary in Taiwan for a spell. The former Governor of Utah (2005-2009), the billionaires son has served in the administrations of five U.S. presidents. He was even a presidential candidate, some of you will remember. Interestingly, for all his high level positions and connections, Huntsman Jr. has not made much of a splash. The only reason this analyst even paid him notice at all is for his connection to a dreadful Washington think tank and the foreign policy numb sculls at the Atlantic Council. There are several reasons this facet is significant.

First and foremost, the key people of the Atlantic Council as former President Barack Obama took office, they soon migrated to key positions in that (notorious) administration. The names James L. Jones, Chuck Hagel, Susan Rice, Brent Scowcroft, and Anne-Marie Slaughter should ring bells for those tuned in to U.S. regime change and covert ops. Now President Trumps administration is filling up with the same brand of people who have ruined international relations for the last thirty years. But Huntsmans associations with murderous policymakers goes all the way back to the Nixon administration when his father was in the game. Henry Kissinger was an early influence according to some, and

The Atlantic Council is a front organization bent on twisting foreign nations to fall in line with the globalist doctrine. Funded by an array of corporate and foreign interests, the think tank also gets contributions from 102 corporations (PDF), 16 foreign nations in some form of conflict with Russia, and NATO. The list of Atlantic Council corporate and state donors can also be found here, via the councils honor roll of funding sources here, and a c...

21:45

Drums of Big War Heard in Middle East Strategic Culture Foundation

Summing up the recent events in the Middle East leads to the conclusion that the threat of a Saudi-Iranian war is looking increasingly credible as tensions rise in the Middle East.

21:30

Credibility of Supreme Court Has Come Under Serious Threat The Wire

The Chief Justice of Indias actions reflect a complete neglect of the rule of law and have put the acceptability and respect the highest court of justice commands in jeopardy.

Supreme Court of India. Credit: Reuters

Supreme Court of India. Credit: Reuters

Chief Justice Warren E. Burger of the US Supreme Court made a profound statement that A sense of confidence in the courts is essential to maintain the fabric of ordered liberty for a fr...

21:15

Ominous Russophobia in America Strategic Culture Foundation

...Intense anti-Russian sentiment in America risks the unthinkable possible catastrophic nuclear war, humanitys survival at stake.

21:12

First Group of Refugees Evacuated From Libya to Niger by UN The Wire

In June 2015, Royal Navy ship HMS Enterprise replaced HMS Bulwark in the mission to rescue migrants crossing the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy. Credit: Wikipedia

In June 2015, Royal Navy ship HMS Enterprise replaced HMS Bulwark in the mission to rescue migrants crossing the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy. Credit: Wikipedia

Tunis: A group of 25 refugees have been evacuated from Libya to Niger to have resettlement claims processed, in the first operation of its kind from the North African country, the United Nations said on Sunday.

The move is part of efforts to provide protection for refugees and other vulnerable migrants who travel to Libya, often intending to attempt the dangerous sea crossing to Italy.

Many are trapped in smuggling networks or detention centres where they are exposed to a range of abuses including rape and torture that have been widely documented by human rights organisations and UN agencies.

About 43,000 refugees and asylum seekers registered by...

21:07

Saudi Arabia Begins System Reform New Eastern Outlook

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On November 4, 11 princes of the royal Al Saud Family, 38 active and retired ministers, as well as several dozen senior officials, were arrested in Saudi Arabia. This was formally done under the guise of fighting corruption. In reality, however, this action is part of a purge of the ruling circles in the run-up to the transfer of power from the sick and elderly King Salman to his 32-year-old son and Defense Minister Mohammad Bin Salman. As not everyone in the ruling family supports this, the Sudairi Clan, to which the king and the Crown Prince belong, have decided to strike a preemptive blow to their potential rivals. This is the first time that this kind of mass purges has been carried out. And it is possible that this will further weaken the already fragile situation in the country, which has been undermined by the war in Yemen, the rendering of assistance to extremist organizations in Syria and the low oil prices.

The action taken to combat corruption is, of course, very distant to these realities. It is simply a convenient way to execute some political maneuvers and reprisals under a specious pretext. The detentions and arrests are most directly related to the struggle that took place years ago under King Abdullah to replace the principle of succession to the throne. The former principle introduced by the founder of the kingdom abdel-Aziz Al Saud, where the power was handed over from brother to brother, has exhausted itself; Salman is actually the last of the first generation of the descendants of abdel-Aziz who can occupy the throne, followed by younger generations. The essence of such a system of succession to the throne is directly related to the patchwork nature of the Saudi Arabian assembly, where the different regions of the peninsula and the different clans ruling in these areas were granted access to power in the kingdom through the family hierarchy of the Al-Saud dynasty. To this end, abdel-Aziz arranged several of his own political marriages with representatives of other clans whose descendants were also entitled to the crown. Such a system only works in the first generation, and then is followed by mixing both blood and interests, such that in the future, the ladder to the crown becomes more likely the cause of the growing contradictions than the mechanism for their resolution.

King Salman and his son Muhammad belong to the Sudairi clan, which is the largest, although even the other clans do not appear weak, and also have clan interests and groups. The arrested prince al-Waleed bin Syrian Talal, the...

20:45

The Arctic Silk Road: A Huge Leap Forward for China and Russia Strategic Culture Foundation

The Silk Road, renamed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is developing infrastructure along land and sea trade routes. However, little is known about Chinas initiative in the Arctic Circle, which represents a new route that Beijing is now able to develop thanks to technology together with the strategic partnership with Russia.

20:41

Two Years After Paris Attacks, France Frets Over Internal Threat The Wire

French CRS policemen patrol as tourists walk past in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France August 20, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

French CRS policemen patrol as tourists walk past in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France August 20, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

Paris: Two years after militants killed 130 people in coordinated attacks across Paris, French officials say there remains an unprecedented level of internal threat from both within and outside the country.

With ISIS losing ground in Iraq and Syria, hundreds of French citizens and in some cases their children have started to return to France, leaving the government in a quandary over how...

20:37

Texas Church Reopens as Solemn Memorial to Victims of Mass Shooting The Wire

People wait to tour the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs where 26 people were killed last week in a shooting attack, as the church was opened to the public as a memorial to those killed, in Sutherland Springs, Texas, US November 12, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking

People wait to tour the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs where 26 people were killed last week in a shooting attack, as the church was opened to the public as a memorial to those killed, in Sutherland Springs, Texas, US November 12, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking

Sutherland Springs, Texas: The modest Texas church where a gunman massacred more than...

20:34

Why are Niger and Malis Cattle Herders Turning to Jihad? The Wire

A Fulani cattle herder walks with his cows outside the city of Tillaberi, southwest Niger, about 100km south of the Mali border, Niger November 1, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Stringer

A Fulani cattle herder walks with his cows outside the city of Tillaberi, southwest Niger, about 100km south of the Mali border, Niger November 1, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Stringer

Niamey/Nairobi: When Doundou Chefou first took up arms as a youth a decade ago, it was for the same reason as many other ethnic Fulani herders along the Niger-Mali border: to protect his livestock.

He had nothing against the Republic of Niger, let alone the United States of America. His quarrel was with rival Tuareg cattle raiders.

Yet on October 4 this year, he led dozens of militants allied to ISIS in a deadly assault against allied US-Niger forces, killing four soldiers from each nation and demons...

20:15

Why Niger Proves America's Counterterrorism Tactics Are Failing Strategic Culture Foundation

The United States cannot do much capacity building in nations such as Niger. The countrys military forces will fight ISIS once they have a firsthand experience of what that is like, in their own ways.

20:05

Turkmenistan: Iran, Saudis Dangle Exits from Energy Cul-de-Sac EurasiaNet.org - Sifting the Karakum

In these lean times, Turkmenistan has been seeking out potential clients and partners for its energy industry, only for two to present themselves at the same time. Sort of. As chance would have it, they are sworn rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The overture from the Saudis was admittedly very noncommittal and came during last weeks Turkmen-Saudi Joint Committee for Economic and Trade Cooperation, which was convening for its fifth session. 

Turkmen deputy prime minister Maksat Babayev led a 40-person team to Saudi Arabia for a five-day trip intended, in part, to build on agreements finalized during President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedovs own visit in May 2016.

At the time, Berdymukhamedov suggested in a meeting with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud that Saudi companies consider investing in the trans-Afghanistan gas pipeline TAPI for short, as in Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. This energy route will bring warmth to homes of brother-neighbor nations and provide them with great opportunities for further economic development, increase their peoples wellbeing and create jobs, Berdymukhamedov said.

The pipeline is designed to transport 33 billion cubic meters of gas annually for a period of three decades. 

read more

19:46

British Ministers Rally Around Boris Johnson Over Iran Remarks The Wire

Soccer Football - The Best FIFA Football Awards - London Palladium, London, Britain - October 23, 2017 Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaks during the awards. Credit: Reuters/Eddie Keogh

Soccer Football The Best FIFA Football Awards London Palladium, London, Britain October 23, 2017 Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaks during the awards. Credit: Reuters/Eddie Keogh

London: British ministers rallied around Boris Johnson on Sunday, saying the foreign secretary was doing a great job and had no reason to resign over remarks that critics say may prompt Iran to extend the prison sentence of a jailed aid worker.

The coordinated defence is part of attempts to shore up the g...

19:45

How Runaway Inequality Creates Runaway Global Warming Strategic Culture Foundation

The bottom half of humans own next to nothing, but they own as much as the worlds richest 80 individuals do, because though the bottom half are poor, there are 3.79 billion of them.

19:40

Iran-Iraq Earthquake: At Least 332 People Killed, 2,500 Injured The Wire

A damaged storefront is seen after an earthquake in Halabja, Iraq, November 12, 2017. Credit: Twitter via Reuters

A damaged storefront is seen after an earthquake in Halabja, Iraq, November 12, 2017. Credit: Twitter via Reuters

Baghdad/Ankara: At least 332 people were killed in Iran and Iraq when a magnitude 7.3 earthquake jolted the region on Sunday, state media in the two countries said, and rescuers were searching for dozens trapped under rubble in the mountainous area.

State television said more than 328 people were killed in Iran and at least 2,500 were injured. Local officials said the death toll would rise as search and rescue teams reached remote areas of Iran.

The earthquake was felt in several western provinces of Iran but the hardest hit province was Kermanshah, which announced three days of mourning. More than 236 of the victims were in Sarpol-e Zahab county in Kermanshah province, about 15 km (10 miles) from the Iraq border.

Iranian state televisio...

19:36

Hariri Says Will Return to Lebanon Soon, Warns of Arab Sanctions Risk The Wire

FILE PHOTO: Lebanon's prime minister Saad al-Hariri gestures during a press conference in parliament building at downtown Beirut, Lebanon October 9, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Mohamed Azakir/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Lebanons prime minister Saad al-Hariri gestures during a press conference in parliament building at downtown Beirut, Lebanon October 9, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Mohamed Azakir/File Photo

Beirut: Saad al-Hariri warned on Sunday that Lebanon was at risk of Gulf Arab sanctions because of the Shiite group Hezbollahs regional meddling and said he would return to Lebanon within...

19:00

The Fall of the House of Saud The Wire

We can expect the worst in the Middle East in the next few months after the purge in the Saudi royal family.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Credit: Reuters

Saudi Arabias King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Credit: Reuters

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmans apparent purge of royal cousins, high-ranking officials and prominent businessmen over corruption allegations opens a new chapter in the political history of the house of Saud. The arrests come in the wake of a wave of other recent arrests, including of clerics, human rights activists and intellectuals.

It was said that the November 4 decree was created due to the exploitation of some weaklings who followed their own interests rather than the public interest, who attacked public money without regard for religion, conscience, morals, or patriotism. The decree reported that the committee  composed of the crown prince, the head of the Control and Investigation Board, the head of the Natio...

18:53

Former Intelligence Officials Say Trump Is Being Manipulated by Putin The Wire

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a briefing for reporters at the end of the APEC summit in Danang, Vietnam November 11, 2017. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via Credit: Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a briefing for reporters at the end of the APEC summit in Danang, Vietnam November 11, 2017. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via Credit: Reuters

Washington: Two former top US intelligence officials said on Sunday they fear President Donald Trump is being manipulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin after Trump said he believed Putin was sincere in denying Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Former CIA Director John Brennan and e...

18:49

Child Exploitation Rife in Rohingya Refugee Camps The Wire

About 450,000 children, or 55% of the refugee population, live in teeming settlements near the border with Myanmar, after fleeing the destruction of villages and alleged murder, looting and rape by security forces and Buddhist mobs.

18:48

Nirmala Sitharaman Not Concerned With Chinas Opinion on Her Arunachal Pradesh Visit The Wire

China had said before that the Indian defence ministers tour of the disputed area is not conducive to peace and tranquillity in the region.

New defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Credit: PTI

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Credit: PTI

Rebuffing Chinas objection to her visit to Arunachal Pradesh, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday (November 11) said the northeastern state is an Indian territory and the country is not concerned about someone elses opinion on it.

On Monday, China had objected to Sitharamans first visit to the border state on Saturday and Sunday, saying her tour of the disputed area was not conducive to peace in the region.

India had rejected Beijings objection and asserted that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of the country. What is the problem? There is no problem. It is our territory, we will go there, she said in a reply to a query on Chinas reaction on her visit to Arunachal Pradesh. We are not concerned with someone elses opinion on this, the minister, who is campaigning for the BJP in poll-bound Gujarat, said in a press conference in Ahmedabad.

Sitharaman had visited forward army posts in the remote Anjaw district of the state bordering China to take stock of defence preparedness. The minister had visited the Nathu...

18:30

Wheels in Motion: In Kolkata, the Cycle Rickshaw Is Being Reinvented The Wire

Rickshaw wallas who can afford it are moving to the more expensive and less labour-intensive electric rickshaws.

One electric rickshaw costs around Rs 65,000. Representative image courtesy: Twitter/India CSR/K. Asifa

One electric rickshaw costs around Rs 65,000. Representative image courtesy: Twitter/India CSR/K. Asifa

Kolkata used to be known around the world as a place with abject poverty, where humans performed the demeaning task of hand-pulling other humans on rickshaws. These rickshaws are now all but gone.

What has survived though, in the citys outskirts, is the regular cycle rickshaw, the sort that you see in every Indian habitat of any size. But now a quiet revolution is taking place in this hitherto unchanging corner at the bottom of the pyramid.

The timeless cycle rickshaw is getting a makeover. It is becoming battery operated, the batteries housed in a box beneath the passenger seat. Instead of the jingle of the regular bicycle bell you can now hear a squeaky electrical horn and come nightfall, the rickshaw in its new avatar is lit by multi-coloured little twinkling lights.

I spotted the first of these a couple of months ago, but in the short span of time since then, over half of the cycle rickshaws in my neighbourhood have become battery driven. These are turning many traditional notions about the cycle rickshaw upside down.

The cycle rickshaw was the first point of entry into the job market for the...

18:29

Are Conservation Organisations Complicit in Ethnic Discrimination? The Wire

Answering this question with an example of blatantly racist and coercive imagery endorsed and propagated by two large players in the conservation world, both internationally and in India.

The main entrance to Manas national park. Credit: Sougata Sinha Roy/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0

The main entrance to Manas national park. Credit: Sougata Sinha Roy/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0

Trishant Simlai, doctoral candidate in geography at the University of Cambridge, is interested in the links between armed conflict, militarisation and conservation in India. Raza Kazmi, a Jharkhand-based conservationist, is interested in conservation militarisation, intersection of forest rights and conservation needs, and conservation in Indias conflict-ridden Red Corridor landscape.

Global wildlife conservation efforts have advocated the exclusion of local people from parks and areas considered to be of great value to biodiversity, often supporting coercive means to achieve this goal. Among the coercive measures often suggested, some dont shy away from even recommending violence towards offenders.

Governments, conservation agencies and aid donors have further legitimised this exclusion by frequently invoking the narrative of an expanding human population destroying pristine landscapes, often ignoring the role of over-consumption by urban actors or of states and corporate interests extracting resources. Such coercive conservation measures often base the...

17:57

Asmara Anarchy: Regime Change Riots Or Fake News Fabrication? OrientalReview.org

Conflicting reports have sprung up about a supposedly violent riot in the Eritrean capital of Asmara that allegedly took place late last week. All thats known for certain is that a crowd gathered to unsuccessfully protest the closing down of an Islamist school over the weekend that had long flouted []

16:41

Two Assam Rifles Jawans Killed, Six Injured in IED Blast in Manipur The Wire

File photo of Assam Rifles jawans. Credit: PTI

File photo of Assam Rifles jawans. Credit: PTI

Imphal: Two Assam Rifles jawans were killed and six injured when a suspected improvised explosive device (IED) exploded early this morning (November 13) at Chandel town in Manipurs Chandel district, police said.

The IED exploded when an Assam Rifles team was patrolling Maha Mani village of Chandel town, about 64 km from the state capital.

One jawan died on the spot while seven others were injured in the blast. An injured jawan succumbed to his injuries on way to the hospital, the police said.

The deceased were identified as riflemen Indra Singh and Sohan Lan. The injured were N. Shyam Kumar, S. Sarkar, Tirendra Nath Das, Ram Govind Singh, Nirmal Roy and Lalnunpuia, the police said.

The post Two Assam Rifles Jawans Killed, Six Injured in IED Blast in Manipur appeared first on The Wire.

16:30

SC to Hear Plea to Curb Rising Pollution in Delhi-NCR The Wire

The plea is set to be heard on Monday, November 13. Credit: Reuters

The plea is set to be heard on Monday, November 13. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: The Supreme Court agreed to hear today (November 13) itself a fresh plea seeking to curb rising pollution in Delhi and the national capital region (NCR).

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A. M. Khanwilkar and D. Y. Chandrachud considered the submission of lawyer R. K. Kapoor that rise in dust particles on roads and stubble burning in Delhis neighbouring states like Haryana and Punjab have led to an alarming rise in pollution levels in the NCR and its adjoining areas.

We cannot ignore the pollution, the bench said adding that it will hear the plea today itself after finishing the matters listed on its board.

The fresh plea seeks direction to the Centre and the states concerned to take measures on curbing road dust and stubble burning.

It also seeks effective implementation of the odd-even car rationing scheme.

The post SC to Hear Plea to Curb Rising Pollution in Delhi-NCR appeared first on The Wire.

16:20

Will Move Court Against Infosys for GST Network Glitches, Says Traders Body The Wire

Infosys has said that the Confederation of All India Traders allegations are completely inaccurate.

An employee is seen behind an Infosys logo at the company's campus in the southern city of Bangalore, India, September 23, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Abhishek Chinnappa/File Photo

An employee is seen behind an Infosys logo at the companys campus in the southern city of Bangalore, India, September 23, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Abhishek Chinnappa/File Photo

New Delhi: Traders body CAIT (Confederation of All India Traders), which has blamed Infosys for glitches in the GST Network, on Sunday said if no action is taken against the company, it will have no other option left but to take shelter of the court of law.

In a statement, CAIT said the GST portal has brought much harassment and mental agony to traders by its non-smooth functioning and has proved a major roadblock in success of a good taxation system like GST.

The traders body said that i...

16:11

PNG to Begin Forceable Removal of Asylum Seekers From Manus Island Camp The Wire

Asylum seekers protest on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, in this picture taken from social media November 6, 2017. Credit: Social Media/Handout via Reuters

Asylum seekers protest on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, in this picture taken from social media November 6, 2017. Credit: Social Media/Handout via Reuters

Sydney: Papua New Guinea immigration minister Petrus Thomas said authorities would take steps on Monday to forcibly remove around 450 men who remain in an abandoned Australian detention centre without food or running water.

Hundreds of men have barricaded themselves into the Manus Island centre for more than 13 days without regular food or water supplies, defying attempts by Australia and Papua New Guinea to close the facility.

We will be taking steps with relevant authorities to move the residents based on serious exposure to health risk for the food of everyone that is remaining, Thomas said in a statement issued late on Sunday.

The timetable stokes fears of a potential clash...

16:02

ASEAN Summit Draft Statement Skips Over Rohingya Crisis The Wire

Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi attends the opening session of the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila, Philippines, November 13, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi attends the opening session of the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila, Philippines, November 13, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Manila: A draft of the statement to be issued after a Southeast Asian summit makes no mention of the exodus of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmars Rakhine state following a military crackdown that has been described by the United Nations as ethnic cleansing.

One paragraph of the communique, seen by Reuters on Monday, mentions the importance of humanitarian relief provided for victims of natural disasters in Vietnam and a recent urban battle with Islamist militants in the Philippines, as well as affected communities in northern Rakhine state.

The statement was drawn up by the Philippines, current chair of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which includes Myanmar whose leaders met for a plenary session in Manila on Monday.

...

15:50

South East Asian Nations Not Taking South China Sea Thaw for Granted, Draft Statement Says The Wire

From left, Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak, Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen, Indonesia President Joko Widodo and Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, smile during a family photo before the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila, Philippines on Monday Nov. 13, 2017. Credit: Reuters

From left, Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak, Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Si...

15:31

Why India Should Be Wary of the Quad The Wire

Like it or not, the term Indo Pacific seems to be a means of including India in the military calculations of US strategy in the Pacific.

Narendra Modi, Shinzo Abe and Donald Trump

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Donald Trump, Japanese Prime Shinzo Abe and other world leaders at an ASEAN Summit dinner in Manila on Sunday. Credit: PTI

The second coming of the Quadrilateral alliance of the US, Australia, Japan and India to confront China in the Asia-Pacific may not be the proverbial farce, but it is close enough.

The first time around it collapsed when two of its members found it inconvenient to go ahead. And now, after a decade, in which China has militarily consolidated itself in the very region that the Quad had hoped to challenge, the chimera is once again being chased.

Mooted as an alliance of democracies, it seeks to upend everything we know about international relations, where the drivers are national interests, rather than values. Even that titanic struggle against evil in World War II, pitted a partial democracy (the US), an empire (the UK) and the communist Soviet...

14:00

Evaluating the Success of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan The Wire

The success of such cleanliness programmes cannot be measured through factors like waste disposal and no open defecation alone; its role in reducing epidemic outbreak is equally important.

The SBA is one of the largest cleanliness drives in the world, with a workforce of three million government employees who are directly or indirectly attached to the programme. Credit: PTI

October 2, 2017, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, also marked the third anniversary of the Modis governments flagship scheme, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA). The SBA is one of the largest cleanliness drives in the world, with a workforce of three million government employees who are directly or indirectly attached to the programme. With the SBA now completing three years, it is imperative to evaluate its achievements.

The Swachh Survekshan 2017 was undertaken by the Quality Council of India to check the progress and impact of SBA. The parameters of evaluation included waste collection (sweeping and transportation), municipal solid waste processing and disposal, open defecation and toilets, capacity building and information, and education and behaviour change. For a programme as diverse in impact as the SBA, these parameters will give us an idea of how it has been implemented but to think that they can tell us how the programme has done within a community is illogical.

Simple logic tells us that the single most important impact of the SBA should be on the health of the community. From the era of English physician John Snow, we kno...

14:00

Time for Costly Medicine Monopolies to Go From TPP Trade Talks The Wire

The latest plan to get the controversial trade deal up and running again after the withdrawal of the United States involves freezing some of its controversial rules.

New research in the Australian Health Review shows biologic drugs cost Australias PBS over A$2 billion in the year 2015-2016 alone. Credit: e-Magazine Art/Flickr CC BY 2.0

New research in the Australian Health Review shows biologic drugs cost Australias PBS over A$2 billion in the year 2015-2016 alone. Credit: e-Magazine Art/Flickr CC BY 2.0

Negotiators from 11 countries have been racing to resurrect the near-dead Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit this weekend.

The latest plan to get the controversial trade deal up and running again after the withdrawal of the United States involves freezing some of its controversial rules. These include rules for biologic drugs, an expensive class of medicines often used to treat conditions such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.

The market monopoly

Biologic drugs are ...

13:30

GST Plunges UPs Saharanpur Wood Carving Craft in New Crisis The Wire

Apart from the high taxation rate, what is creating a lot of problems is that people in the trade are unable to understand the working of the new system.

Credit: Reena Mehta

The famous wood carving craft of Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh had barely started recovering from the severe problems created by demonetisation when it was plunged into a second crisis created by the high rates of GST and the various uncertainties and confusions involving the new tax regime.

13:30

Ladakhs Pathways to the Clouds Built by Migrant Labourers The Wire

Many of the labourers who build the mountainous roads in Ladakh are migrants from Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand they brave the extreme weather and risky work because of few livelihood options back home.

Pema brings her three-year-old son Ngodup to work. They live near Lukung village, close to Pangong Tso lake in eastern Ladakh. A few Ladakhi families also work along with the migrants to build the roads.

Pema brings her three-year-old son Ngodup to work. They live near Lukung village, close to Pangong Tso lake in eastern Ladakh. A few Ladakhi families also work along with the migrants to build the roads. Credit: Ritayan Mukherjee

It is possible to travel across Ladakh because of a network of high-altitude roads in this immense region, most of them projects of the Border Roads Organisation. Many of the labourers who build these long mountain roads are migrants from Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. They come here from May to mid-October every year, ensuring ever-more connectivity for the military to transport supplies, for tourists, and for the people of Ladakh.

I went to Chilling, around 55 kilometres from Leh city, a few weeks ago. The under-construction Leh-Padum highway, which will provide year-long access to the Zanskar...

11:55

Finance and Administration Coordinator News and Events

EngageMedia is looking for a Finance and Administration Coordinator to be based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

The Finance and Administration Coordinator supports EngageMedias Southeast Asia program activities and works closely with EngageMedias Accountant and Operations Manager to ensure the organisation financial and administrative needs are to the highest standard.

Position Aims

  • Provide high-quality financial and administrative support to programs
  • Ensure Southeast Asia administration and office function effectively
  • Ensure the financial integrity of the organisation

Roles and Responsibilities

Finance

  • Bookkeeping track, enter and record all expenses
  • Maintain Indonesian banking and assist with Australian banking
  • Complete monthly account reconciliations
  • Oversee the Administration Assistant to prepare payment requests and track cash advances/petty cash
  • Work with the Administration Assistant to process invoices and receipts, ensuring all  are properly documented and recorded
  • Lead the monthly payroll process
  • Working with Operations and Grants Manager to prepare budgets for grant applications, and with grant reporting
  • Track and maintain a variety of budgets
  • Contribute to and uphold financial policies and procedures

Administration

  • Be responsible for maintenance of the office including payment of utilities
  • Oversee flight tickets purchasing, accommodation booking and other travel needs
  • Assist with logistics for events and face to face meetings
  • File materials on the EngageMedia intranet
  • Participate in weekly staff and finance team meetings

Selection Criteria

  • Experience with online, cloud-based accounting systems such as https://xero.com
  • Excellent English and Bahasa Indonesia
  • At least 5 years experience in finance and administration
  • Extensive experience with office software
  • Advance bookkeeping
  • Experience in an organisation with large amounts of travel and international communications
  • Open minded with an ability to work across cultures
  • Analytical and problem solving skills
  • Excellent time management skills


Start Date and Remuneration

The position starts as soon as possible. An initial 12 month full time contract will be offered with extensions based on the completion of performance reviews.

A competitive NGO wage, attuned to cost of living in the positions location, will be offered. A monthly commun...

11:02

Rally for Sarawak native lands to be held today Hornbill Unleashed

Over 10,000 people are expected to rally at the Kuching Waterfront here today to call for an amendment to the Sarawak Land Code relating to native customary rights (NCR) land, organisers said today. Spokesman Peter John Jaban said protesters would consist of native landowners, community leaders, non-governmental organisations and supporters of political parties, coming from []

11:02

Probe case of EPF account shared with unknown male contributor, urges Voon Hornbill Unleashed

The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) must look into a recently highlighted case of a man who found out that his wifes EPF account was being shared with an unknown male contributor. In making the call, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Women national vice chief Voon Shiak Ni said although EPF has refuted the claim by saying []

11:01

Report: Dual Language Programme shows results Hornbill Unleashed

Dual Language Programme shows resgramme (DLP) has improved school students English proficiency after it was launched in January 2016. Sunday Star reported that based on Education Ministry statistics, between 18 per cent and 95 per cent of students in over 1,200 primary and secondary schools which implemented the DLP, a programme that allows the teaching []

08:28

As SC Hears Bribery Petition on Monday, Further Improprieties Come to the Fore The Wire

All three judges on the bench hearing the matter ought to have recused themselves, going by the Supreme Courts own judgments and precedents.

File photo of the Supreme Court. credit: Reuters

New Delhi: On Monday, November 13, a three-judge bench set up by Chief Justice Dipak Misra is scheduled to hear Kamini Jaiswals petition for an independent and impartial probe into the attempt to bribe Supreme Court judges in the medical college recognition matter.

Last week, the case shook the court because the petitioner sought the recusal of the chief justice, both judicially and administratively, in hearing the matter himself or in deciding which judges would hear it.   This was because the chief justice headed the bench which heard and disposed of the case which was allegedly sought to be influenced by the bribe-givers.

Although Chief Justice Misra is not part of the new three-judge bench which is to hear the matter on Monday, the presence of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, besides Justices R.K. Agrawal and Arun Mishra on the bench, is likely to be controversial. For Justice Khanwilkar was part of the three-judge bench which disposed of the civil writ petition (797 of 2017) filed by the Prasad Education Trust on September 18. The alleged bribery was to influence the outcome of this case. The other two judges were the chief justice himself, and justice D.Y. Chandrachud. If Chief Justice Misras...

08:25

Chevening "Scholarships" and Modern Day Imperialism Land Destroyer

November 13, 2017 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - In 1983 the British government created Chevening as an international award scheme aimed at developing what it calls "global leaders." It is funded and directed by the United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and includes both scholarships and fellowships for individuals selected by British embassies around the world.


The Chevening website itself states:
Chevening offers a unique opportunity for future leaders, influencers, and decision-makers from all over the world to develop professionally and academically, network extensively, experience UK culture, and build lasting positive relationships with the UK.
The website also states that (our emphasis):
Chevening Awards are an important element in Britains public diplomacy effort and bring professionals, who have already displayed outstanding leadership talents, to study in the UK. The objective of Chevening is to support foreign policy priorities and achieve FCO objectives by creating lasting positive relationships with future leaders, influencers, and decision-makers.
In other, simpler and more frank terms, Chevening is a means of producing agents of British influence through the indoctrination of foreigners involved in their respective nation's media, politics, policy making and analysis.

And while Chevening has only been around since 1983, the tool of imperialism it represents is quite ancient.

Roman historian Tacitus (c. AD 56 after 117) would adeptly describe the systematic manner in which Rome pacified foreign peoples and the manner in which it would extend its sociocultural and institutional influence over conquered lands.

Far from simple military conquest, the Romans engaged in sophisticated cultural colonisation.

In chapter 21 of his book Agricola, named so after his father-in-law whose methods of conquest were the subject of the text, Tacitus would explain:
His object was to accustom them to a life of peace and quiet by the provision of amenities. He therefore gave official assistance to the building of temples, public squares and good houses. He educated the sons o...

08:24

Chevening "Scholarships" and Modern Day Imperialism Alt Thai News Network ATNN

November 13, 2017 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - In 1983 the British government created Chevening as an international award scheme aimed at developing what it calls "global leaders." It is funded and directed by the United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and includes both scholarships and fellowships for individuals selected by British embassies around the world.


The Chevening website itself states:
Chevening offers a unique opportunity for future leaders, influencers, and decision-makers from all over the world to develop professionally and academically, network extensively, experience UK culture, and build lasting positive relationships with the UK.
The website also states that (our emphasis):
Chevening Awards are an important element in Britains public diplomacy effort and bring professionals, who have already displayed outstanding leadership talents, to study in the UK. The objective of Chevening is to support foreign policy priorities and achieve FCO objectives by creating lasting positive relationships with future leaders, influencers, and decision-makers.
In other, simpler and more frank terms, Chevening is a means of producing agents of British influence through the indoctrination of foreigners involved in their respective nation's media, politics, policy making and analysis.

And while Chevening has only been around since 1983, the tool of imperialism it represents is quite ancient.

Roman historian Tacitus (c. AD 56 after 117) would adeptly describe the systematic manner in which Rome pacified foreign peoples and the manner in which it would extend its sociocultural and institutional influence over conquered lands.

Far from simple military conquest, the Romans engaged in sophisticated cultural colonisation.

In chapter 21 of his book Agricola, named so after his father-in-law whose methods of conquest were the subject of the text, Tacitus would explain:
His object was to accustom them to a life of peace and quiet by the provision of amenities. He therefore gave official assistance to the building of temples, public squares and good houses. He educa...

04:00

Mass Shootings, Terrorism & Western Values New Eastern Outlook

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While the two profiles of mass murderers across the western world in recent years seem totally different from each other, they seem to share a common theme. While the angry white men and ISIS inspired Lone Wolves have different world views, backgrounds, and perspectives, it is in the psychological underpinnings driving of these killers where we can find common ground.

At this point the perpetrators of brutal acts of violence claiming sometimes scores of innocent lives can be divided into two major categories. The first are usually younger American men of European heritage. Devin Kelley who shot up the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs Texas on November 5th, Adam Lanza who mercilessly killed a room of children at Sandy Hook Elementary, James Holmes who gunned down movie goers in Colorado, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold of the 1999 Columbine Massacre all fit this profile. While Stephen Craig Paddock, who recently shot down country Music fans in Nevada was much older than other mass murderers, he can still certainly be considered an angry white man.

The second group, the ISIS inspired lone wolf killers, who are usually designated as terrorists due their religious statements, are younger men as well. However, they tend be from immigrant families, though many of them are born in the western country they eventually attack. Omar Mateen who shot up the Pulse night club, New Jersey bomber Ahmed Rahami, Salman Abedi who bombed the Manchester concert, the Tzarnev Brothers who attacked the Boston Marathon, all fit this category of ISIS or Al-Qaeda inspired, lone wolf killers.

The Motivations of Mass Murderers

So, what drives these people to take the lives of random innocent people? Lets begin with the lone wolves inspired by Wahabbi extremists.

When examining such people, a rational person will ask: Who could be possibly be inspired by an ISIS video? A normal person watches clips of inhumane brutality and is disgusted. They see a person being burned alive, or drowned in a cage, and they are overwhelmed with empathy for the person being subjected to such cruelty. They see a person suffering so horrifically, and feel empathy for the victim, while seeing the perpetrators as cruel and heartless. However, there is a rare type of person who has a different reaction to such films. These deranged individuals, the kind who have tortured animals as children, see such a video, and rather than feeling empathy for the victim, become...

03:01

India, US, Japan, Australia Meet Together for First Time in Ten Years The Wire

The last meeting of officials of the four countries took place in May 2007 in the Filipino capital on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum.

Narendra Modi, Shinzo Abe and Donald Trump

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Donald Trump, Japanese Prime Shinzo Abe and other world leaders at an ASEAN Summit dinner in Manila on Sunday. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: After a gap of ten years, senior officials from India, Japan, Australia and United States met in Manila and agreed that a free and open Indo-Pacific was in their common interest.

The meeting happened less than a month after the Japanese foreign minister Taro Kano revealed the consultations had already begun for a top-level dialogue between the four countries.

The last meeting of officials of the four countries took place in May 2007 in the Filipino capital on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum. That same year, all four countries, as well as Singapore, took part in the Malabar exercises in September. However, the initia...

01:58

Threshold of a Nuclear Conflict in South Asia New Eastern Outlook

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In recent months, the whole world has witnessed a campaign launched by the United States and its allies in South-East Asia and NATO against the DPRK because of the nuclear threat from the Pyongyang.

At the United States initiative, in August, the UN Security Council voted for using sanctions on North Korea. On September 12, the UN Security Council Resolution No. 2375 imposed new sanctions on the DPRK in response to the sixth nuclear test conducted by the country, elevating the sanctions regime against the DPRK to an unprecedented severity in order to deprive Pyongyang of the means to continue its nuclear program. On November 1, Democratic and Republican Senators of the US Congress reached an agreement on a bill aimed at further limiting the ability of the DPRK to carry out operations in the US banking sector through third parties. On October 28 US Defense Secretary James Mattis voiced a sharply critical statement about North Koreas desire to become a nuclear power, stating, Washington will never take the nuclear status of the DPRK for granted.

Undoubtedly, the recognition of North Korea as a nuclear power puts an end to the nuclear weapons non-proliferation system, significantly undermines the authority of the United Nations and may lead to very serious consequences for the reputation of American Government and domestic policy.

However, we should not forget that it was the US decision to tame its opponents with aggressive militaristic policies abroad (particularly in Iraq, Libya and a number of other countries) which prompted Pyongyangs active deployment of its nuclear program as a means of defense against the real aggressor as they consider Washington to be. Unfortunately, Washington had already used nuclear weapons once in Japan and American politicians repeatedly threatened the Soviet Union with the usage of nuclear assault, and it is unknown what would have happened in the middle of the previous century had Moscow not created its own nuclear shield from the United States that had served to defend not only the USSR, but also its allies.

One cannot ignore the dual policy of Washington regarding to whom they allow to have nuclear aspirations, and against whom they raise international dudgeon and impose sanctions. We should also remember that today, the threat of nuclear confrontation is exacerbated in five different regions, the least noticeable of which in many publications of American and Western media is South Asia.

It is generally accepted that there are, in fact, nine nuclear pow...

01:56

The danger of ignoring Arab opinion: 100 years since Balfour +972 Magazine

Following the Balfour Declaration, two academics set out to understand what the people of Palestine wanted for their own future. What comes across from their report is the recognition that local, in this case largely Arab, opinions mattered. The British and French were undeterred.

By James J. Zogby

Palestinian men carry black flags at a protest marking 100 years since the Balfour Declaration outside the British Consulate in East Jerusalem, November 2, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Palestinian men carry black flags at a protest marking 100 years since the Balfour Declaration outside the British Consulate in East Jerusalem, November 2, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In 1919, following the first World War, the victorious Allied Powers met in Paris to remake the world. The prime ministers of Italy, France, and Great Britain as well as U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, collectively known as The Big Four, were the decisive diplomatic players at the meeting. Under their leadership, the lands of the defeated Central Powers were picked apart. The Austro-Hungarian Empire was dis...

01:39

Love Is Love: Delhi Hosts Its Tenth Queer Pride Parade The Wire

We are expressing our right to live with dignity. The attitude of the society towards us has to change.

delhi, pride parade, LGBTQ rights, delhi pride parade

Photo: Karnika Kohli/The Wire

New Delhi: On Sunday, hundreds defied the smog to gather in Delhi with colourful costumes, balloons, flags, posters and placards for the tenth annual Delhi queer pride parade.

The crowd sang, danced and celebrated as people from all walks of life, identifying with different sexual orientations and genders got together at Delhis Barakhamba metro station to march till Jantar Mantar.

For me this is a celebration. It means being able to hold my girlfriends hand and not feel weird, said Tanya, as participants shouted slogans I am gay, Its OK, Hey hey ho ho homophobia has to go, Hum honge kamiyaab.

...

Sunday, 12 November

20:15

Putin and Trump at APEC Summit Strategic Culture Foundation

On Friday they met, shock hands, chatted briefly, and stood side-by-side, posing for the traditional family photo at the Danang, Vietnam APEC summit.

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