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Sunday, 17 September

02:02

Wide Angle, Episode 02: Is Indias Position on the Rohingya Refugee Crisis Tenable? The Wire

In the second episode of Wide Angle, UN special envoy on Myanmar Vijay Nambiar repeats his request to Aung San Suu Kyi to speak out against atrocities on Rohingya people. Maya Mirchandani also discusses Indias position on not taking in refugees citing security concerns with Amy Kazmin from Financial Times and Kabir Taneja from Observer Research Foundation.

The post Wide Angle, Episode 02: Is Indias Position on the Rohingya Refugee Crisis Tenable? appeared first on The Wire.

01:47

US Seeks to Monopolize Cyberwarfare Land Destroyer

September 16, 2017 (Ulson Gunnar - NEO) - The use of information to enhance martial power goes back to the beginning of human civilization itself, where propaganda and psychological warfare went hand-in-hand with slings, arrows, swords and shields.


The most recent iteration of this takes the form of social media and cyberwarfare where tools are being developed and deployed to influence populations at home and abroad, to manipulate political processes of foreign states and even tap into and exploit global economic forces.

In the beginning of the 21st century, the United States held an uncontested monopoly over the tools of cyberwarfare. Today, this is changing quickly, presenting an increasingly balanced cyberscape where nations are able to defend themselves on near parity with America's ability to attack them.

To reassert America's control over information and the technology used to broker it, Jared Cohen, current Google employee and former US State Department staff, has proposed a US-created and dominated "international" framework regarding cyberconflict.



His op-ed in the New York Times titled, "How to Prevent a Cyberwar," begins by admitting the very pretext the US is using to expand its control over cyberwarfare is baseless, noting that "specifics of Russia's interference in the 2016 America election remain unclear." 

Regardless, Cohen continues by laying out a plan for reasserting American control over cyberwarfare anyway, by claiming:
...

00:44

Vladimir Putin and Russia versus Zionist Fairytales New Eastern Outlook

45324324234Did you read the latest news that Vladimir Putin is rich and evil? Oh, you dont read anymore, more power to you. Fake news has it that the Russian president has a new secret holiday mansion worth untold millions. Furthermore, some of the stories tell of Putin being the worlds richest and most evil man. For those of you who do not believe in fairytales, heres a candid look at what Russians are really up against.

My initial reaction to reading Drone footage shows Putins secret island mansion at 9 News Australia was, So what if the leader of Russia is rich? I would have skimmed the article and moved on but for a familiar name popping up. Ill get to the ousted industrialist shark Bill Browder in a minute, but first its important for readers to understand that Putin actually has little need of money in the traditional sense. Every financial magazine, every expert, and hordes of guessing investigators have tried for years to count Vladimir Putins gold, and to no avail. Some say he is worth more than Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos combined, but nobody can trace down this immense wealth. Amid all the speculation as to why the Panama Papers could not convict Putin, the pointedly obvious shines through. Nobody can trace Putins fortune because there isnt one. But this is fodder for another story, let me move on to the latest Alexei Navalny fairytale and to this Browder character cited in the Australian piece.

I neednt outline the role and the character of Alexei Navalny again here. The blogger who would be kind of Russia was last seen fueling up his drones for another flyby of Sergey Shoygus super secret space station home. Having attempted to label Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev a criminal for the places hes vacationed at, Navalny seems unable to stop himself proving the insignificant. I think the best reason for Russians to ignore Putins biggest detractor is the simple fact he knows nothing of Russian people. Hey Navalny, heads up, Russians dont care if Putin is rich, they only care if he does his job. Sorry, this western poster boy of change in Russia, he just sets me off. What an idiot. But lets move on to another famous profiteer who Putin banished from Russia, the founder of Hermitage Capital Management, Bill Browder.

Its amazing how western mainstream media and the politicians always turn to Putin haters to be experts or to get proof on the Russian leader. Havent you noticed yet how Russi...

00:37

Oldest Litigant from Hindu Side in Ram Janmabhoomi Case Passes Away The Wire

Mahant Bhaskar Das shared good relations with the Muslim community. His death will be a blow to communal harmony in Ayodhya.

Mahant Bhaskar Das with Hashim Ansari

Mahant Bhaskar Das, the oldest litigant in the case from the Hindu side with Hashim Ansari, the oldest litigant from the Muslim side. Credit: Arshad Afzaal Khan

Faizabad: The oldest litigant from the Hindu side in title Babri Masjid/Ram Janmabhoomi suit, Mahant Bhaskar Das (90), suffered a heart attack late Thursday evening and was admitted to a private hospital in critical condition in Faizabad. He passed away early Saturday morning.

Bhaskar Das was the oldest litigant in title suit claiming the Babri Masjid land as the property of Nirmohi Akhara, which he presided over till his death. He moved the civil court in Faizabad in 1956 claiming the land. After this, the mosque was locked and no prayers were performed. Akhara, who claimed the mosque and the land adjacent to it, also sought permission to offer prayers to lord Rama there.

Speaking to the Times of India, Pujari Ram Das, Dass successor, said,...

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Saturday, 16 September

23:35

India Favours Debate on Ending Extreme Forms of Violence at UN General Assembly The Wire

The gravity of the normative concepts at stake requires careful deliberation rather than pre-emptive decision-making, noted the Indian representative to the UN.

A UN logo and flag are seen during the UN General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York September 25, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Eric Thayer

A UN logo and flag are seen during the UN General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York September 25, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Eric Thayer /Files

UN: India has favoured a discussion in the UN General Assembly, the first in 12 years, on Responsibility to Protect and the prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

As many as 113 countries, including India, voted in its favour, while 21 others, including Pakistan, opposed the idea of having a debate. Seventeen countries registered their abstention.

Syed Akbaruddin, Indias permanent representative to the UN, said that the discussions on the concept required open, inclusive a...

23:30

Devastated Caribbean Picks up the Pieces After Irma The Wire

In addition to deaths and injuries, the storm has caused widespread damage to road and electrical infrastructure, housing stock, ports and telecommunications.

Hurricane Irma left significant damage to public infrastructure, housing, tourism, commerce, and the natural environment in the British Virgin Islands. Credit: Kenton X. Chance/IPS

Hurricane Irma left significant damage to public infrastructure, housing, tourism, commerce, and the natural environment in the British Virgin Islands. Credit: Kenton X. Chance/IPS

Road Town, British Virgin Islands: When Hurricane Irma ripped through the British Virgins Islands on 6th September, claiming seven lives, injuring an unknown number of people and destroying built infrastructure as well as significantly damaging the natural environment, the ferocity of the storm shocked many of the islands residents, including 72-year-old Egbert Smith, who has lived through plenty of severe storms.

I seen a lot of hurricanes pass through here, but I never seen none like this. Never! he told IPS from what was left of his home in Sophers Hole, a resort community toward the western end of Tortola, the largest and main island in the BVI.

If you read the...

23:15

In Alwar, the Karwan-E-Mohabbat Aims to Bring Back Sanity and Communal Harmony The Wire

The Karwan, a peaceful yatra promoting love and communal harmony can only travel with police protection, whereas vigilante mobs kill and lynch with impunity.

Karwan e mohabbat Harsh mander

Harsh Mander pays homage near the site where Pehlu Khan was lynched. Credit: Neyaz Farooquee

Most Indian headlines announced the travesty of justice that Pehlu Khans family had to deal with. His murderers were awarded a besmirched, bloodstained, bogus badge of innocence. The announcement hit the headlines just before Harsh Manders Karwan-e-Mohabbat, reached Behrur, Rajasthan, the spot where the hapless dairy farmer was brutally butchered by a vigilante mob posing as cow defenders. The karwans purpose is to spread the message that India cares. Not all of us wish to kill, torture or lynch people not like us. It strives to achieve this through a month-long yatra around India, stopping at spots where violence and murder were perpetrated, mostly with impunity, by hate-mongers.


Also read:...

23:00

NE Dispatch: New Chairperson to Oversee Indian-Bangladesh Border Fence Work, 14 Girls Trafficked from Manipur Rescued The Wire

A roundup of news this week from the northeast.

The Supreme Court. Credit: PTI

Assam: SC appoints new chairperson to oversee ongoing fencing work along India-Bangladesh border

The Supreme Court has appointed a new chairperson of the committee it has formed to oversee the ongoing fencing work along the India-Bangladesh border. The new chairperson, A.K. Mangotra, a former Union secretary (border management), has been appointed as per the suggestion of the Central government after it reportedly told the apex court that it had some issues with the appointment of G.K. Pillai, who had earlier been named by the Supreme Court to head the committee.

Pillai, a retired IAS officer often considered a veteran of Northeast issues, was the joint secretary (northeast) at the ministry of home affairs before becoming the Union home secretary in 2009.

The apex courts appointment of Mangotra on September 14 to the three-member committee, which includes former Border Security Force director general D.K. Pathak and former Gauhati University professor Abdul Mannan, comes in the course of the ongoing hearing of a bunch of petitions related to the tardy or non-implementation of the Assam Accord of 1985. A bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Rohinton Nariman have been hearing these petitions related to not only updating the National Register of Citizens 1951 for Assam as per the 1971 cut-off date decided in the Accord, but also about a clause related to the sealing the porous India-Bangladesh...

22:18

Adityanaths Gift to Uttar Pradesh Farmers Starts with 9 Paise Loan Waiver The Wire

The first phase of the UP governments much-hyped crop loan waiver has turned into another farce for farmers.

Uttar Pradesh loan waiver

UP CM Yogi Adityanath (right) with a farmer. Home minister Rajnath seen at the back. Credit: PTI

Only six months into power and the Adityanath-led BJP government in Uttar Pradesh is already in hot water with a series of controversies emerging one after another.

Facing flak for the deaths of children in a hospital in Gorakhpur last month, as also for the insensitive children die every August remark by state health minister Siddharth Nath Singh, the state government kicked up another storm when the first phase of the much-hyped crop loan waiver scheme turned into a major farce for farmers.

The state government had earlier announced that under the scheme, crop loans up to Rs 1 lakh will be waived off for small and marginal farmers. However, as cabinet ministers ceremoniously distribute loan waiver certificates to farmers across districts, it turns out that many of the beneficiary farmers have received waivers of amounts as petty as Re 1 or Rs 1.50.

A farmer in Etawahs Aheripur village, who took a loan of Rs 28,000, received a waiv...

21:55

British Police Arrest 18-Year-Old in Hunt for London Tube Bomber The Wire

Emergency services attend the scene following a blast on an underground train at Parsons Green tube station in West London, Britain September 15, 2017, in this image taken from social media. Credit: Twitter/@ASolopovas/via Reuters

London: British police hunting those behind a bomb which injured 29 people on a London train on Friday said they had arrested an 18-year-old man in a move described as significant.

We have made a significant arrest in our investigation this morning, Neil Basu, senior national coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, said in a statement. Although we are pleased with the progress made, this investigation continues and the threat level remains at critical.

The man was arrested under the Terrorism Act in the southern port area of Dover.

The post British Police Arrest 18-Year-Old in Hunt for London Tube Bomber appeared first on The Wire.

21:15

Can Thailand Evlove into a Regional Leader? New Eastern Outlook

451322131231It is hard to calculate the cost of the stubborn refusal of the Thai population to learn foreign languages. Some daring estimates, however, calculate that the losses could be in tens of billions of dollars, annually. And the situation is not getting any better.

Bangkok wants to be the center of Southeast Asia, and by many standards it has already achieved this goal. Suvarnabhumi International Airport is the second busiest in the region. Almost all of the international news agencies are here, and not in Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur. Several UN agencies are now located in Bangkok, as well as mega malls and top private medical facilities, catering mostly for people who live in Burma, Cambodia, Laos and as far away as the Middle East.

For years and decades, Thailand was busy promoting itself, capturing the imagination of millions all over the world.

Some wonder whether it could really do even better than it is already doing. According to Forbes, Bangkok recently became the most visited city on Earth:

According to Mastercards Global Destination Cities Index, the Thai capital had 21.5 million visitors who stayed at least one night in 2016. By comparison, London had 19.9 million overnight visitors last year while Paris had 18 million. The Big Apple was even further down the list with 12.8 million.

32.59 million foreign visitors descended on Thailand in 2016 alone, and the numbers are not subsiding.

Statistics vary, but travel and tourism now account for approximately 20 percent of Thailands GDP. Thats a lot, much more than in other countries of the region.

*

For Thailand, that is all good news, or at least theoretically it is.

But despite its cosmopolitan flair, Bangkok remains a relatively closed and segregated society.

Now, there seems to be more Japanese eateries in the center of Bangkok than traditional Thai restaurants. However, try to order in one of them, for instance, an iced tea in any other language other than Thai, and you will be up with a great surprise. The chances are that, the staff will not speak any foreign languages.

And it gets much more serious than that: people working in banks, at least theoretically catering to foreign customers, hardly speak anything except Thai. Even the tourist police cannot u...

21:00

Catalonia Seeks Dialogue With Spain as Independence Stir Intensifies The Wire

A man shows an Estelada (Catalan separatist flag) during a Catalan pro-independence meeting at Tarraco Arena in Tarragona, south of Barcelona, Spain September 14, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Albert Gea

A man shows an Estelada (Catalan separatist flag) during a Catalan pro-independence meeting at Tarraco Arena in Tarragona, south of Barcelona, Spain September 14, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Albert Gea

Madrid:  Catalonian leaders on Friday appealed to the Spanish government for dialogue to avert an impending political crisis over a planned referendum on independence as Madrid took measures to stop state cash being used to fund the vote.

Police also intervened to stop a meeting organised by a pro-independence Catalan party, the first public police crackdown on the process.

The government of the wealthy northeastern region has pledged to hold a referendum on breaking away from Spain on October 1 in defiance of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who has declared the event illegal and is bringing the weight of the state to bear to prevent it.

In a letter released on Friday, regional president Carles Puigdemont and Barcelona mayor Ada Colau wrote to Rajoy and Spains King Felipe saying the state had mounted an unprecedented repression offensive.

The letter called for political dialogue, based on the legitimacy...

21:00

After Trump Tweets on Terror Attack, May Says Speculation Not Helpful The Wire

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, September 6, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville/File Photo

Britains Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, September 6, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville/File Photo

London:  British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday it was not helpful for anyone to speculate on investigations after US President Donald Trump tweeted that the culprits behind a train bombing had been in the sights of the police.

Soon after 22 people were injured in the attack on a busy underground train in west London, Trump tweeted: Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!

His comments appeared to point the finger at British police. Asked whether Trump knew something Britain did not, May said: I never think its helpful for...

21:00

Trump Is Acting Like a Democratic Globalist at Least for Now Strategic Culture Foundation

After a breakneck beginning to his presidency during which Trump racked up success after success, a toothless new Trump is emerging, one who looks more like Barack Obama than Candidate Trump or Early President Trump.

20:55

Backstory: Gauri Lankeshs Murder and What It Means for Indian Journalism The Wire

A fortnightly column from The Wires public editor.

People hold placards and candles during a vigil for Gauri Lankesh, a senior Indian journalist who according to police was shot dead outside her home on Tuesday by unidentified assailants in southern city of Bengaluru, in Ahmedabad, India, September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Amit Dave

It has been over ten days since Gauri Lankesh, the editor of a Kannada newspaper, was murdered under the garb of darkness. The shock and grief it caused has not receded, even as the enormous significance of this staged brutality grows ever larger. Rarely has the death of...

20:15

Saakashvili Barges into Ukraine: Dexterous Move or Part of Big Political Intrigue? Strategic Culture Foundation

A protest march is a tried-and-true political weapon to pressure, or even topple, the powers that be. Mikheil Saakashvili, former Georgian President and former head of Ukraines Odessa regional administration, plans to arrive in Kiev on September 19 the day Ukraines President Poroshenko will be in New York, preparing for his speech to address the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on September 20. Kiev urgently needs to be saved! Saakashvili says. Poroshenkos trip to the United States will take place against all the odds. Nothing can be changed. The occasion to address the UNGA has been anticipated for a long time. The Ukraines president will meet President Donald Trump during his stay in America.

19:55

Would North Korea Agree to an Iran-Style Nuclear Deal? Strategic Culture Foundation

With the standoff between the United States and North Korea over the latters nuclear weapons program creeping closer and closer to an actual confrontation, the international community could very much use a calm, measured and pragmatic world leader in the middle of the situation. German chancellor Angela Merkel, a stateswoman who has exemplified that kind of pragmatism and restraint on a daily basis over the past twelve years, could be the person to serve that role.

19:33

Madhya Pradesh: Gwalior Municipal Body to Pay Rs 100 Reward Per Photo of Open Defecation The Wire

The order said that the photographs were to be sent to panchayat secretaries who were then to circulate them on social media to shame those defecating in the open.

Open defecation

Local civic bodies in Madhya Pradesh announced a reward of Rs 100 per photograph of people defecating in the open. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: Madhya Pradeshs Gwalior municipal corporation on Friday announced a cash reward of Rs 100 per photograph of people defecating in the open in the region. Officials on Thursday said that the local civic body had declared this rather unique incentive, reported the Asian Age.

The order said that people should go around the municipality to catch those defecating in the open and take their photographs and send them to the secretaries of the panchayats of the respective areas to receive the award money. The panchayat secretaries have been asked to circulate the pictures and videos on different social media platforms to shame the people who defecate in the open instead of using toilets in their houses.

Opposing this, a Congress leader said, The order sounds very strange. The civic body autho...

19:15

The Decomposing Corpse of NATO Strategic Culture Foundation

The UKs Guardian newspaper is rarely supportive of those who like and advocate war, but it is an equitable publication and its strictures on the chaos in Afghanistan have been measured and balanced, as have its comments on the situation in the Korean Peninsula. It was even-handed about the US-NATO aerial blitz on Libya in a campaign that was ostensibly to protect the Libyan people but had more to do with the fact that the Libyan leader, Gaddafi, wouldnt play ball with the oil cartels.

19:08

Pakistani Court Passes Death Sentence for Christian Man for Blasphemy The Wire

A man walks past the Supreme Court building in Islamabad. Credit: Reuters/Faisal Mahmood/Files

A man walks past the Supreme Court building in Islamabad. Credit: Reuters/Faisal Mahmood/Files

Lahore:  A Christian man has been sentenced to death on blasphemy charges by a court in eastern Pakistan after a close friend accused him of sharing anti-Islamic material, the defendants lawyer said on Friday.

Blasphemy is a criminal offence in Muslim-majority Pakistan and insults against the Prophet Mohammad are punishable by death. Most cases are filed against members of minority communities.

Nadeem James, 35, was arrested in July 2016, accused by a friend of sh...

19:06

Kurdish Parliament Approves Independence Referendum, Vote on September 25 The Wire

People celebrate to show their support for the upcoming September 25th independence referendum in Zakho, Iraq September 14, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Ari Jalal

People celebrate to show their support for the upcoming September 25th independence referendum in Zakho, Iraq September 14, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Ari Jalal

Erbil, Iraq: The parliament of Iraqs autonomous Kurdistan region approved a plan on Friday to hold a referendum on independence on September 25, ignoring opposition from Baghdad and the wider region as well as Western concerns that the vote could spark fresh conflict.

Parliament reconvened in Erbil, the seat of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, where an overwhelming majority of the Kurdish lawmakers taking part backed the plan.

Hours after the decision, the White House publicly called for the first time on the KRG to cancel the referendum, warning that the vote was distracting from efforts to defeat ISIS and stabilise the liberated areas.

The US does not support the Kurdistan regional governments intention to hold a referendum later this month, the White House said in a statement. It urged the KRG to enter into serious and sustained dialogue with Baghdad, which the US has repeatedly indicated it is prepared to facilitate.

The regional parliaments decision came despite an intense diplomatic drive by the...

18:50

Seeking Military Equilibrium With US, Says North Korea The Wire

A passerby walks under a TV screen reporting news about North Korea's missile launch in Tokyo, Japan September 15, 2017. Credit:Reuters/Issei Kato

A passerby walks under a TV screen reporting news about North Koreas missile launch in Tokyo, Japan September 15, 2017. Credit:Reuters/Issei Kato

Seoul/UN: North Korea said on Saturday it aims to reach an equilibrium of military force with the US, which earlier signalled its patience for diplomacy is wearing thin after Pyongyang fired a missile over Japan for the second time in under a month.

Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the US and make the US rulers dare not talk about military option, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was quoted as saying by the state news agency, KCNA.

Kim was shown beaming as he watched the missile fly from a moving launcher in photos released by the agency, surrounded by several officials.

The combat efficiency and reliability of Hwasong-12 were thoroughly verified, said Kim as quoted by KCNA. Kim added the Norths goal of completing its nuclear force had nearly reached the terminal.

North Korea has launc...

18:14

The worst thing that happens to you in Singapore is the destruction of your mind Singapore Dissident

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Singapore is a one party dictatorship run formerly by Lee Kuan Yew since his inception and now by his son Lee Hsien Loong of the Lee Family's political party the Peoples Action Party.

There can be no denial that it is a complete dictatorship run today by the Lee family's Lee Hsien Loong. Every organ of state and everyone is controlled by Lee Hsien Loong and the Peoples Action Party. The party controls the courts and all judges are Kangaroos who willingly punish and destroy political opponents. All newspapers are state owned and put out propaganda on a daily basis. Every head of any government department, every police office every soldier and everyone is required to toe the government line. If anyone openly challenges the state apparatus, they face, like in the former Soviet Union, trumped up charges and removed from their positions or jobs. Dissidents and political opponents are shamed and defamed in the state controlled newspapers. Thousands of moles are deployed all over the island to spy on you and ferret out the detractors to be punished. In Singapore, just as in the former Soviet Union or Nazi Germany no one who is critical of the government can succeed or even exist in the island.

This reason for this total subjugation and obedience required of the citizenry is 2 fold. Firstly the Singapore rulers have no intention of relinquishing power. Lee Kuan Yew's son is determined to rule and the only way to make sure of this is to destroy all political opponents. Stalin did this too. They justify it by claiming that only they are best qualified to rule and therefore it is in the interests of the state to punish any critic, naturally a very convenient argument from their viewpoint.

Secondly they argue that as Singapore is a small tiny island without natural resources, the only way to provide jobs is to attract foreign investment. And since foreign investors prefer dictatorships where the citizens workers have no rights, the subjugation, denial of human rights and repression is actually in their own best interests, a very spurious argument indeed. In other words, not having any human rights is actually in your best interests, is what their preposterous argument is!

The sad truth is that all this denial of human rights and submission of political critics is exactly what foreign investors want. Because they have no rights, a foreign company intending to set up a sweat shop assembly line would find Singapore most attractive; you can ill treat the workers as much as you want and get away with it in maximizing your profits.

Until and unless Singaporeans themselves stand up and demand their rights, this sad state of affairs would continue in the island, fueled by foreign industrialists taking advantage of the helpless powerless and weak Singaporean work force.

As you know in Singapore the citizen has no rights at all. The trade unions are all c...

18:00

Supreme Court Issues Directions to Prevent, Compensate for Unnatural Death of Prisoners The Wire

The court also set timelines for the circulation of manuals and guidelines, the constitution of a board of visitors and to tabulate details on juveniles who died an unnatural death.

Representational image. Credit: PTI

Representational image. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: In a landmark judgment that is expected to improve prison conditions and lead to the setting up of mechanisms to lower the number of unnatural deaths in prisons and compensate families of the deceased, the Supreme Court has directed the chief justices of high courts to register a suo motu public interest petition to identify the next of kin of the prisoners who have admittedly died an unnatural death, as revealed by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) between 2012 and 2015, and to award suitable compensation in case it has not been paid.

In its order issued on September 15, the bench comprising Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta, also directed the Centre through the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to ensure the circulation within one month, and at the latest by October 31, of the Model Prison Manual; the monograph prepared by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) titled Suicide in Prison prevention strategy and implication from human rights and legal points of view; communications sent by the NHRC; the compendium of advisories issued by the MHA to the state governments; and the Nelson Mandela Rules and the Guidelines on Investigating Deaths in Custody issued by the International Committee of the Red Cross to the director general or inspector general of police in charge of prisons in...

17:54

Haryana Government to Amend Law on Students Safety in Schools The Wire

Policemen arrive at the Ryan International School in Gurgaon where a 7-year-old boy was found murdered on Friday morning. Credit: PTI

Policemen arrive at the Ryan International School in Gurgaon where a 7-year-old boy was found murdered on Friday morning. Credit: PTI

Gurgaon: With a view to strictly implement the rules and regulations related to the safety of students in schools, the Haryana government yesterday decided to amend the law in this regard in the ensuing Assembly session.

This was informed by state Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma at a press conference in Chandigarh.

He said the murder case of a seven-year old boy in the Ryan International School here had been handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the state government had appointed the deputy commissioner, Gurgaon as the administrator of the school for a period of three months.

Thereafter, the situation would be reviewed and if any loopholes were found, the term of the deputy commissioner as administrator could further be extended, Sharma said.

He said the Manohar Lal Khattar-led Haryana government was committed towards ensuring the safety of students and added that there would be no compromise on...

17:30

Hardik Patel Urges Patidars Not to Vote for BJP, Calls for Other Communities to Join Fight The Wire

Patel said that with the state elections around the corner, the BJP would offer the Patidar community many lollipops in their fight for reservation.

Hardik Patel. Credit: PTI Photo

Hardik Patel. Credit: PTI Photo

New Delhi: Gujarat Patidar leader Hardik Patel has urged Patidars not to vote for the BJP in the state assembly elections in December. Patel was addressing the community on his three-day Sankalp Yatra, which began in Ahmedabad on Thursday.

It is our duty to liberate our community which has been enslaved for the last 25 years. The post-Godhra riots of 2002 were between Hindus and Muslims. But as a matter of fact, 140 Patidars are serving life imprisonment even today. They (the BJP) have only exploited our votes and notes (money) and gave nothing in return, he said, according to a report in the Indian Expres...

17:15

Pakistan Army Pushes for Political Role for Militant-Related Groups The Wire

The foray into politics of the Milli Muslim League party, which is loyal to Hafiz Saeed, is a key step in a military-proposed plan to mainstream militant groups.

Supporters of Islamic charity organization Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), carry signs and chant slogans to condemn the house arrest of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, chief of (JuD), during a protest demonstration in Karachi, Pakistan, February 3, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Akhtar Soomro/Files

Supporters of Islamic charity organization Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), carry signs and chant slogans to condemn the house arrest of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, chief of (JuD), during a protest demonstration in Karachi, Pakistan, February 3, 2017. Credit: Reuters/...

16:51

Amid Refugee Crisis, Bangladesh Warns Myanmar Over Air Space Violation The Wire

Bangladesh said Myanmar drones and helicopters had violated its air space three times in the last week, warning that such provocative acts may lead to unwarranted consequences.

A Rohingya refugee woman interacts with a girl while cooking her meal in a newly built makeshift camp, in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh September 15, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

A Rohingya refugee woman interacts with a girl while cooking her meal in a newly built makeshift camp, in Coxs Bazar, Bangladesh September 15, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

Dhaka:  Bangladesh has accused Myanmar of repeatedly violating its air space and warned that any more provocative acts could have unwarranted consequences, raising the possibility of a deterioration in relations already strained by a refugee crisis.

Nearly 400,000 Rohingya Muslims from western Myanmar have crossed into Bangladesh since 25th August, fleeing a Myanmar government offensive against insurgents that the UN has branded a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.

Bangladesh said Myanmar drones and helicopters had violated its air space three times on September 10th, 12th and 14th and it had called in a top Myanmar embassy official in Dhaka to complain.

&...

16:22

UP Police Conduct 420 Encounters in Six Months, Killing 15 The Wire

Ten of the alleged criminals were killed in the 48 days before September 14.

UP chief minister Adityanath. Credit: PTI

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: In June this year, in an interview on India TV, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath said in response to criticism that the BJP government had failed to check crime in the state since coming to power, Agar apradh karenge toh thok diye jayenge (if they commit crimes, they will be knocked down). Three months later, data shows that this was not an empty threat.

The UP police have conducted 420 encounters with alleged criminals and killed 15 in the less than six months the Adityanath government has been in power, according to official data released on Friday.

In the encounters between March 20 and September 14, 88 police personnel have suffered injuries. Ten of the alleged criminals were killed in the 48 days before September 14.

The statistics released by the director general of police headquarters showed that Jai Prakash Singh, a sub-inspector, died in an encounters with a gang of dacoits in Chitrakoot,...

16:11

The Infowar Attack Against Azerbaijan Is Because Of Geopolitics, Energy, And Israel OrientalReview.org

The US has weaponized so-called leaks in order to craft the perception that Azerbaijan is a rogue state which regularly violates "European norms".

The post The Infowar Attack Against Azerbaijan Is Because Of Geopolitics, Energy, And Israel appeared first on OrientalReview.org.

14:00

The Blue Notes: South Africas First Generation of Free Jazz The Wire

Apartheid restrictions and the defiant, joyful freedom of the groups music meant gigs were scarce and the human tensions of operating in such a climate were corrosive.

South African trumpeter, Marcus Wyatt. Credit: Muntu Vilakazi/Sunday Times

South African trumpeter, Marcus Wyatt. Credit: Muntu Vilakazi/Sunday Times

We were all kind of rebels, drummer Louis Tebogo Moholo-Moholo recalls, so, like birds of a feather, [we] flocked together.

Hes talking about the Blue Notes, a multiracial modern jazz outfit formed in Cape Town in the early 1960s. White composer and pianist Chris McGregor joined forces with some of the most radical young black players on the citys scene: alto saxophonist Dudu Pukwana, tenor saxophonist Nikele Moyake, trumpeter Mongezi Feza, bassist Johnny Mbizo Dyani and Moholo-Moholo, the only original Blue Note still alive and working.

Apartheid restrictions and the defiant, joyful freedom of the groups music meant...

14:00

Will the Indian Way of Seeing Outstare Toxic Hindutva Politics? The Wire

In many everyday contexts, the accusation of hurt religious sentiments does not apply to artistic expression.

Gopal Malakar, son of artisan Tapan Malakar, putting the finishing touches to the devis idol at the penultimate stage, before it gets the final coat of clay. Credit: Revathi Krishnan

Gopal Malakar, son of artisan Tapan Malakar, putting the finishing touches to the devis idol at the penultimate stage, before it gets the final coat of clay. Credit: Revathi Krishnan

Its that time of the year when a small stretch of dusty pavement near our South Delhi neighbourhood gets transformed into an unlikely celestial universe. On most days of the year, the area is an earthly intersection of traffic blues and compulsive honkers, auto repair shops with errant cars and wistful owners, and roadside hawkers surrounded by customers with growling stomachs. Then, one day, the master artisan declares the onset of the Durga Puja season, his season of creation, setting a new cycle of time into motion.

In the last few weeks the pavement has come alive with the presence of the devis idols in different stages of preparation in the beginning is a bamboo armature, which gets a body of straw and mud and finally the skin of clay. Whatever the stage of preparation, the template is unmistakable the stretch of spine, firm breasts, curvaceous waist and hips. Yet, the multitudes of devout Hindus who see the goddesss idol day in and day out never feel hot and bothered that they...

13:45

Democratic Breakthroughs in Africa Are Worthy of Celebration, but Worries Still Linger The Wire

Political repression and economic inequality has increased in Africa, calling into question the extent of the continents democratic gains.

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta flanked by his Deputy William Ruto addresses the nation at State House in Nairobi, Kenya September 1, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Kenyas President Uhuru Kenyatta flanked by his Deputy William Ruto addresses the nation at State House in Nairobi, Kenya September 1, 2017. Credit: Reuters

There is much to celebrate as the world marks International Day of Democracy. The last year has seen important democratic breakthroughs in Africa. In Gambia an entrenched autocrat was forced from power. In Ghana, a sitting president...

13:30

How the Cultural Concept of White People Was Created by a Playwright in 1613 The Wire

In realising that humans were not always categorised by complexion, we can imagine a future where we are no longer classified in such a way, and no longer divided as a result of it either.

White people; Viewing the Performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor in the Globe Theatre (1840) by David Scott. Courtesy: V&A Musuem

The Jacobean playwright Thomas Middleton invented the concept of white people on October 29, 1613, the date that his play The Triumphs of Truth was first performed. The phrase was first uttered by the character of an African king who looks out upon an English audience and declares: I see amazement set upon the faces/Of these white people, wondrings and strange gazes. As far as I, and others, have been able to tell, Middletons play is the earliest printed example of a European author referring to fellow Europeans as white people.

A year later, the English commoner John Rolfe of Jamestown in Virginia took as his bride an Algonquin princess named Matoaka, whom we call Pocahontas. The literary critic Christopher Hodgkins reports that King James I was at first perturbed when he learned of the marriage. But this was not out of fear of miscegenation: Jamess reluctance, Hodgkins explained, was because Rolfe, a commoner, had without his sovereigns permission wed the daughter of a foreign prince. King James was not worried about the pollution of Rolfes line; he was worried about the pollution of Matoakas.

Both examples might seem surprising to contemporary readers, but they serve to prove the historian Nell Irvi...

13:30

The Room I Entered Was a Dream of This Room: Scattered Reflections on the Poetry of John Ashbery The Wire

John Ashbery, a genius of modern poetry and one of the most influential figures of late-20th and early-21st-century American literature, died on September 3 in New York at the age of 90.

John Ashbery. Credit: Reuters

Im quite puzzled by my work too, along with a lot of other people. I was always intrigued by it, but at the same time a little apprehensive and sort of embarrassed about annoying the same critics who are always annoyed by my work. Im kind of sorry that I cause so much grief.
~ John Ashbery (1927-2017), in an interview to Contemporary Authors

A tale is often told about John Ashberys first book of poems, Some Trees (1956), winner of the Yale Younger Poets Prize. W.H. Auden, who judged the competition, had confessed later of not understanding a word of the winning manuscript. Hyperbole this, with more than a grain of truth in it perhaps, but despite some understandable incomprehension of Ashberys sometimes expansive and languorous, often fearsomely cryptic, poetry, Auden had felt, unerringly, the pulse of its urgency. He had sensed in his own poetic gut its standing-apartness, if we will, amid a slew of poets still in the throes of modernist adventurism in the 1950s despite the fact that Ashbery was a poet who grew to stand in contradistinction to the poet-as-editor figure that Auden as well as others like Pound and Eliot then embodied. It is not surprising perhaps that this young poet was largely inaccessible to the older man, nor unthinkable that Ashbery, however, named Auden as one of the earliest, strongest influences on his writing; and it is probably poetic justice that a youthful Ashbery still won his first prize adjud...

13:00

In Indonesia, Secularists and Atheists Live Under the Shadow of Stigma The Wire

Secular people, including atheists, in Indonesia have to assume multiple identities: they step into a religious persona for the religious family and friends, and a real one for trusted peers.

Indonesian women stand in front of the Syuhada mosque as they watch a man being publicly caned for having gay sex, in Banda Aceh, Aceh province, Indonesia. Credit: Reuters

Indonesian women stand in front of the Syuhada mosque as they watch a man being publicly caned for having gay sex, in Banda Aceh, Aceh province, Indonesia. Credit: Reuters

Citra, 25, an Indonesian medical school student, assumes two cyber identities. In the morning she posts a picture of herself wearing an Islamic headscarf; in the afternoon she posts, in her other social media account, a philosophical essay, discussing an argument that God doesnt exist.

Due to her different accounts, she gets different reactions to her posts. One peer grou...

13:00

Six Charts Illustrate How the World Has Changed Since the 2007-08 Financial Crisis The Wire

The 2007-08 financial crisis affected the worlds advanced economies in profound ways and the ripple effects continue to today.

A traffic sign is pictured in front of the skyline of the the Canary Wharf financial district in London October 21, 2010. Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

A traffic sign is pictured in front of the skyline of the the Canary Wharf financial district in London October 21, 2010. Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

Ten years ago, fretting depositors formed lengthy queues in front of Northern Rock bank branches across the UK after news broke that it needed support from the Bank of England. The countrys fifth-largest mortgage lender, it was in real danger of running out of cash. People were anxious to withdraw their money. They all managed to do so. But not without the intervention of the Bank of England, the UKs central bank and lender of last resort,...

10:32

Celebrating Malaysia Day meaningless without state rights, PBDS Baru says Hornbill Unleashed

Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS Baru) said today celebrating Malaysia Day has little meaning unless Putrajaya returns all state rights back to Sarawak and Sabah. Partys president Cobbold John Lusoi said the two Borneo states lost their rights, mostly through legislations tabled in Parliament, since the formation of Malaysia in 1963. These rights include over []

10:32

Students deserve safe learning environment, Suhakam says after tahfiz school fire Hornbill Unleashed

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has called for the children to be offered a safe learning environment, amid concerns over the dismal condition of religious tahfiz schools. After a pre-dawn blaze that killed 21 students and two of their teachers yesterday, Suhakam expressed its shock that the school was allowed to operate even []

10:32

Sarawak wants fire safety standards upheld at kindergartens and nurseries Hornbill Unleashed

A Sarawak minister reminded kindergarten and nursery operators today to comply with fire safety standards, after a fire razed a religious school in Kuala Lumpur, killing 23. We dont want to put the lives of our young children unnecessarily at risk as what was happening, Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian []

02:31

Jan Gan Man Ki Baat, Episode 119: Bullet Trains and Indian Economy The Wire

Vinod Dua discusses if the bullet train project really is free as Prime Minister Narendra Modi claims and also delves into the current state of the Indian economy.

The post Jan Gan Man Ki Baat, Episode 119: Bullet Trains and Indian Economy appeared first on The Wire.

02:23

As Police Clear Accused, Pehlu Khan Case to be Raised Before Supreme Court The Wire

Lawyers in a separate cow vigilantism case will urge the court to transfer the case outside the state and monitor it closely.

Pehlu Khan's mother (R). Credit: Murali Krishnan

Pehlu Khans mother (R). Credit: Murali Krishnan

New Delhi: The petitioners in a case against cow vigilantism Tehseen Poonawalla and Shehzad Poonawalla on Friday stated that they would raise the plight of the family members of murdered dairy farmer Pehlu Khan before the Supreme Court on September 22. 

On Thursday, the Rajasthan police cleared six men who were named and identified by Khan before his death. Khan was lynched last April when transporting cattle with his sons from Nuh to Jaipur.

Accusing the BJP-led state government of shielding the culprits, the lawyer-activist duo, who have been associated with the Congress party, stated that they would raise the matter before the apex court on September 22 and demand among other things that the case be transferred out of Rajasthan. They will also demand that the court monitor the investigation. 

Even convictions can be based on dying declaration

At a press conference organised at senior Congre...

01:12

Indias Current Account Deficit Widens to Four-Year High The Wire

The widening of the year-on-year deficit was primarily due to a larger increase in merchandise imports relative to exports, the RBI said in its release.

Indias export slump has also contributed to a widening CAD. Credit: Reuters 

New Delhi: Indias April-June current account deficit widened to its highest in four years as imports surged, but strong capital inflows comfortably financed the gap, data from the Reserve Bank of India showed on Friday.

The current account deficit widened to 2.4% of gross domestic product, or $14.3 billion, as imports pushed the trade deficit to $41.2 billion from $23.8 billion in the same period a year ago.

In the quarter ending in June last year, the current account deficit was 0.1% or $401 million. It is now at its highest level since the June quarter of 2013.

The widening of the year-on-year deficit was primarily due to a larger increase in merchandise imports relative to exports, the RBI said in its release.

While imports rose, some export-oriented sectors also slowed after India imposed its new goods and services tax (GST) in July, adding to the current account gap, analysts said.

Analysts expect the current account deficit to narrow as exports pick up, but capital flows are likely to slow as the foreign investment limits for debt have been...

00:27

India Has Asked Myanmar to End Rohingya Persecution, Claims Bangladesh The Wire

Bangladeshi media says that Indias modified policy towards the Rohingya crisis came through a Thursday phone call between Sushma Swaraj and Sheikh Hasina.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj. Credit: PTI

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: India has apparently told Bangladesh that it will pressurise Myanmar into ending the security crackdown in Rakhine and into taking back the Rohingya refugees.

This was allegedly conveyed to Bangladesh Prime minister Sheikh Hasina during a phone conversation with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday.

The phone call took place on Thursday night and was announced by the Bangladesh government. However, as of Friday evening, the ministry of external affairs did not announce or provide a readout of the call.

Bangladeshi news agency UNB quoted Bangladesh Prime Ministers deputy press secretary, Nazrul Islam, who informed the local media that Swaraj had expressed full support to Bangladesh with regard to...

00:00

US Seeks to Monopolize Cyberwarfare New Eastern Outlook

7112 Journal NEO Collage

The use of information to enhance martial power goes back to the beginning of human civilization itself, where propaganda and psychological warfare went hand-in-hand with slings, arrows, swords and shields.

The most recent iteration of this takes the form of social media and cyberwarfare where tools are being developed and deployed to influence populations at home and abroad, to manipulate political processes of foreign states and even tap into and exploit global economic forces.

In the beginning of the 21st century, the United States held an uncontested monopoly over the tools of cyberwarfare. Today, this is changing quickly, presenting an increasingly balanced cyberscape where nations are able to defend themselves on near parity with Americas ability to attack them.

To reassert Americas control over information and the technology used to broker it, Jared Cohen, current Google employee and former US State Department staff, has proposed a US-created and dominated international framework regarding cyberconflict.

His op-ed in the New York Times titled, How to Prevent a Cyberwar, begins by admitting the very pretext the US is using to expand its control over cyberwarfare is baseless, noting that specifics of Russias interference in the 2016 America election remain unclear.

Regardless, Cohen continues by laying out a plan for reasserting American control over cyberwarfare anyway, by claiming:

Cyberweapons wont go away and their spread cant be controlled. Instead, as weve done for other destructive technologies, the world needs to establish a set of principles to determine the proper conduct of governments regarding cyberconflict. They would dictate how to properly attribute cyberattacks, so that we know with confidence who is responsible, and they would guide how countries should respond.

Cohen, unsurprisingly, nominates the US to lead and direct these efforts:

The United States is uniquely positioned to lead this effort and point the world toward a goal of an enforceable cyberwarfare treaty...

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Friday, 15 September

23:51

Hail and Farewell, Cassini The Wire

Cassini has been humankinds proxy-visit to Saturn, a diminutive, polite and empathetic ambassador dispatched to learn more about a tremendous planet.

Click to view slideshow.
Its hard to write this without tearing up. We all realise the absurdity of thinking of machines like we think of people, and to be plunged into sadness when those machines fight to stay alive, beating back desperately and futilely against the forces that will eventually send them careening into oblivion. Machines and robots are many things, but theyre not alive.

Fortunately, its easy to extricate Cassini from this calculating way of thinking because it was the effort of a team of people working decades to send it a van-sized assemblage of metal and glass on a 1.5-billion-km journey across space, to observe a giant planet, its resplendent rings and its regalia of over three score moons. Almost everything we know about Saturn today was either discovered or rediscovered by Cassini. Our textbooks are filled with what Cassini saw, heard, registered. Many generations of physicists, astronomers and astrobiologists are going to be fascinated by Saturn because of Cassini.

When our conception of an entire planet and its harmonies is thanks to one probe, it sure as hell is not just a machine. Cassini has been humankinds proxy-visit to Saturn, a diminutive, polite and empathetic ambassador dispatched to learn more about a tremendous planet orbiting the same star we are, a veritable jewel of our neighbourhood. And through Cassini, whatever fog of epistemic darkness that had settled on Saturn and its moons was pushed back. The ringed giant still holds many mysteries that ambassadors of the future will set out to explore, but its just as important to acknowledge now that weve come a long, long way.

Now, for the brass tacks: Cassini was launched by NASA, ESA and the Italian Space Agency in 1997, reached Saturn in 2004 and has been studying the Saturnian system since. Among its most famous discoveries is that the moon Enceladus, a ball of ice about 500 km wide, houses an ocean of liquid water about 10 km thick beneath its crust. Because weve found life wherever weve found water on Earth, astronomers think the same could hold for Enceladus as well.

This awakened widespread and sustained interest in a category of planetary bodies called ocean worlds, as well as seeded the not-so-crazy idea that the first alien lifeforms we find could be on a moon orbiting Saturn.

On September 15, Cassinis mission technically its second extension ended. Leaving it to drift around Saturn, like two old friends chilling together unto eternity, was no longer an option because Cassini could contaminate the life on Enceladus if it accidentally c...

23:41

Simran Tries to Do Too Many Things, But Kangana Ranaut Keeps You Hooked The Wire

Simran may not have the most gripping plot and may stretch at times, but is entertaining throughout, thanks to its star.

If youre going with the intention to watch Ranaut be good at what she does, then youre sure to get it. Credit: YouTube

If youre going with the intention to watch Ranaut be good at what she does, then youre sure to get it. Credit: YouTube

Can you make a funny movie about the flip side of the American Dream? Definitely. Is Simran it? Not really. 

At the beginning, Praful Patel (Kangana Ranaut) is a 30-year-old Indian woman who lives with her parents in their tidy suburban home somewhere in Atlanta. She works in the hotel industry in the housekeeping department, and the driving purpose of Patels life is to have a house of her own. Shes got the perfect place in mind, she knows she can afford it under the minority quota and shes even pre-approved for a loan. 

Then it all goes south for Praful.

After a nasty argument with her parents, Praful takes off to Las Vegas for a weekend with her affluent cousin. There, she not only discovers the addictive thrill of gambling (James Bonds preferred baccarat, no less) but also manages to lose a significant chunk of her life savings....

23:35

Critics, Indias Bullet Train Project Could Be the Path to the Future The Wire

The only question that remains with regard to the bullet train project is whether the new team lead by Piyush Goyal and Ashwani Lohani can deliver.

Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe look at a model of the bullet train. Credit: Twitter/@RailMinIndia

Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe look at a model of the bullet train. Credit: Twitter/@RailMinIndia

The bullet train project is finally on. The project is estimated to cost Rs 1.1 lakh crore, and will cover a distance of over 500 km from Mumbai to Ahmedabad in about two hours. The train is expected to be completed in 2022 to commemorate the 75th year of our independence. But does India need a bullet train now?

Skeptics and cynics say this move is leading to a waste of resources that can be put to better use for the poor of the country more subsidised schools, hospitals, child nutrition and so on. They say this project has only a show-off value, which is a cruel joke in a country so miserably poor. This is indeed a strong argument against according priority to bullet trains in the circumstances India is facing currently.

In The Brown Sahib, noted Sri Lankan journalist Tarzie Vittachi wrote about a demonstration he witnessed of revolutionary tyre wheels for bullock carts, promoted vigorously by an Ahmedabad institute in a village. He inquired of a bystander who seemed like he would avail the cheap loan to buy the cart; the fellow pointed to Vittachis old Austin car standing by the roadside and said he would rather go for the car if Vittachi put it up. Vittachi somberly concluded the nets on the Raisina hill have no clue about what folk...

23:21

Is Israel turning its Bedouin citizens into a stateless people? +972 Magazine

Israel has been systematically revoking citizenship from its Bedouin citizens without as much as telling them. Is this a harbinger of things to come?

Bedouin women collect their belongings from the ruins of their demolished homes in the village of Umm al-Hiran, Negev desert, January 18, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Bedouin women collect their belongings from the ruins of their demolished homes in the village of Umm al-Hiran, Negev desert, January 18, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

In Israels relentless war against its Arab citizens, there are few things that can still leave us surprised. Jack Khourys article in Haaretz a few weeks ago, however, did just that. Khoury revealed how the Interior Ministry has been revoking citizenship from hundreds of Bedouin in the Negev. Bedouin citizens would arrive at the Ministry to take care of some bureaucratic procedure such as to apply for a new passport and would leave with a new status: a non-citizen resident whose presence in the country is now dependent on the good will of the regime.

[tmwinpost]

It turns out it has been in place for years.

I have been wor...

23:15

Supreme Court Petitioners Must Be Made to Expunge Their Bigotry Against the Rohingya The Wire

Sweeping assertions filled with vitriol against the Rohingya have now entered the formal pleadings. The court should not allow unfiltered communal speech.

Rohingya refugees collecting relief supplies. Credit: Reuters/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

For a long time, the Sangh parivar has engaged in dog-whistle politics targeted against religious minorities, especially Muslims. The simple policy of the rising stars amongst the saffron brigade has been to provoke and polarise through statements that are seemingly benign but whose real import is to paint religious minorities as inferior, second class citizens. Hence the comments about kutte ke bacche,...

23:00

Dont Breathe: Travelling Unreserved on the Indian Railways The Wire

Board a train, thrust your way through the crowd to some messy corner of a general compartment and you start losing your identity.

The apparition of these faces in the crowd,
Petals on a wet, black bough.
Ezra Pound, In a Station of the Metro

The inexorable spell of these two lines by Ezra Pound weighs upon me whenever I catch sight of a typically Indian scene crammed with people. The lines recycle themselves into visuals as I scratch around for the right frame to showcase my perception of the Indian reality, particularly when my camera chances upon the mess one finds so frequently in the unreserved general compartments of a railway carriage.

It is needless to remind ourselves that the lines have nothing characteristically Indian about them. Ostensibly, though, they depict the crowd in a station of the metro. The pen-picture of the Petals on a wet, black bough speaks clearly of a different clime. The apparition of these faces in the crowd of the first line, on the other hand, keeps haunting you even as you try to escape.

Travel the length of the country. Board a train, thrust your way through the crowd to some messy corner of a general compartment and you start losing your identity. One can safely predict a traumatic journey to the destination of absolute facelessness.

Ruthlessly robbed of your right to breathe, you are already there, sharing with the hapless masses...

21:45

The Day of the Generals: Winning Armageddon New Eastern Outlook

8821 Journal NEO Collage

In a room, somewhere deep inside the Pentagon generals and admirals met recently in order to prepare an assessment for the United States Senate Armed Services Committee. Present at the metering were General Mark Milley, the U.S. Armys Chief of Staff, the Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson, the Commandant of the Marine Corps General Robert Neller, and U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein. At such a meeting theres no doubt that Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford attended seeing hes the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The agenda for this meeting was serious as a heart attack Americas most brilliant and powerful military men gathered that day to discuss Armageddon.

The minutes of this fateful meeting are top secret. Only a handful of people will ever know what was discussed. But the end result of the strategy session was revealed on September 15, 2017 before the people of the United States. The top generals of the most powerful nation on Earth advised congress that America could in fact win an all-out war with Russia and China. It must have been a scene right out of Director Stanley Kubricks classic Cold War film, Dr. Strangelove. I was not there, so I can only imagine the gathering of war hawks, the stoic expertise and military intellect, and the obtuse arrogance being conveyed across the congressional forum that day. The vision makes me wonder, Who in the hell ordered such an assessment in the first place? But I think we all know the answer.

General Milley expressed his only concern over World War III by citing the U.S. Armys lack of resources and training to execute Americas national security strategy without high military risk. Admiral Richardson agreed with Milley, but his level of confidence in the U.S. Navys dominance seemed somehow higher. Milley told committee:

I concur with Gen. Milley. If we get into one of those conflicts, well win, but it going to take a lot longer than wed like and its going to cost a lot more in terms of dollars and in casualties.

Marine General Neller parroted these opinions, only with a typical Jar Head obtuseness and psychosomatic bravado proclaiming Americas current force array is effective against counterinsurgent forces around the world. I am assumin...

21:42

Rahul Can Become Congress President Through Internal Election Next Month, Says Veerappa Moily The Wire

The internal election process in states is due to be completed this month and this will be followed by elections at the AICC level.

File photo of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. Credit: PTIdh

Hyderabad: Senior Congress leader M. Veerappa Moily on Friday said Rahul Gandhi would like to emerge as the party president through an internal election process and hinted that he may assume the charge as early as next month. The Gandhi scion had recently said that he was absolutely ready to take up an executive responsibility if the party asked him to do so. The former Union minister said that Rahuls taking over would be a game-changer for the party. He (Rahul) should immediately take over as Congress president. Thats good for the party, good for the country, Moily told reporters.

Everybody (in Congress) feels it is (his elevation) delayed. Now, he (Rahul) is waiting for organisation elections. He would like to emerge as the president of AICC only out of the election process, he said. The internal election process in states is expected to be completed this month, which would be followed by the one at the AICC level, the former chief minister of Karnataka said.

Asked if he expected Rahul to take over next month, Moily said, Possibly yes. On what needs to be done to boost the prospects of the Congress, he said, Rahul Gandhi is doing it. We will have to address the issues in respect of each of the state, because each state is different from the rest. So, that requires state-wise strategies not...

21:15

Liberals Don"t Respect a Nation"s Sovereignty Strategic Culture Foundation

When the United States and some of its allies in 2003 invaded and destroyed Iraq on false pretenses and without Iraq having ever invaded (much less destroyed) any of the invading countries this was actually within the scope of the invaders being liberal countries, because a nations sovereignty isnt at all respected in traditional liberal thought. This also is the reason why some of the same nations invaded and destroyed Libya in 2011, and Syria since 2012.

21:06

Infants Are Dying in Nashik and Theres a Host of Systemic Issues to Blame The Wire

From inadequate infrastructure in local hospitals to accredited social health activists workers not reaching women in the tribal belt, the health system in the area is full of gaps.

Three babies in an incubator at the Nashik Civil Hospital. Credit: Varsha Torgalkar

Three babies in an incubator at the Nashik Civil Hospital. Credit: Varsha Torgalkar

Nashik, Maharashtra: Twenty-year-old Manisha Jadhav from Peth, a tribal taluka in Nashik district, gave birth to a premature baby girl in the seventh month of her pregnancy. The baby, who weighs less than a kilo, is now kept in an incubator at the hospital. Manisha, who is extremely undernourished, lives with her husband and in laws in a two-room mud hut, and said she toiled on her family farm well into her pregnancy. She was totally unaware that she could access government-sponsored medical care and nourishing food during her pregnancy.

It is because of cases like Manishas that when 55 newborn infants died in the hospital in August, neither the doctors nor administration were surprised or shocked. Infrastructure at the hospital is insufficient to meet the needs of the high number of newborns admitted in a critical condition. Add to that is the lack of awareness in the area and poor nutrition among mothers. The results can be devastating...

21:03

Jamia, IIT Madras Criticised for Cancelling Student-Organised Events The Wire

While Jamia students were told they cant invite speakers from outside, IIT Madras said the speakers invited were controversial.

The auditorium at Jamia Millia Islamia. Credit: Facebook/Jamia Millia Islamia

The auditorium at Jamia Millia Islamia. Credit: Facebook/Jamia Millia Islamia

New Delhi: Both Jamia Millia Islamia and IIT Madras have recently come under the scanner for cancelling events for questionable reasons.

In Jamia, students have alleged that the university has denied permission for an event titled Shrinking Democratic Spaces in Universities. Permission had been granted at first and students were even asked to reschedule the event for Thursday (September 14). However, soon after, permission was withdrawn and students were told they cant invite speakers from outside Jamia, Indian Express reported.

The university administration said that there is no reason for them to deny permission for events if students follow the proper protocol. There are protocols which students are aware of and need to follow. They could come to the department head or directly go to the Dean Students Welfare office Jamia as an institution has never been stringent on these matters, Saima Syed, Jamia public relations officer, told the newspaper.

Howe...

20:51

Pakistan Supreme Court Dismisses Challenges to Removal of Ex-PM Sharif The Wire

It remains unclear whether the Sharifs will be disqualified for a fixed time, perhaps several years, or be barred from office forever.

Pakistan's disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Credit: Reuters

Pakistans disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Credit: Reuters

Islamabad: Pakistans Supreme Court on Friday rejected petitions seeking a review of its July 28 ruling that disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office, upholding a verdict likely to influence the next general election, due in mid-2018.

After an investigation into the Sharif familys wealth, the Supreme Court employed a little-used constitutional provision to rule Sharif unfit to hold office because he did not declare a small source of income, which he has disputed receiving.

The countrys top co...

20:45

Nikki Haley at the UN: Agree With Us or We Go It Alone Strategic Culture Foundation

When Nikki Haley, now the United States ambassador to the United Nations, was questioned by senators at her confirmation hearing in January about how she would deal with Donald Trumps dismissive view of internationalism, she said confidently, I will show him that the UN matters.

20:34

Several Injured in Terrorist Incident on London Underground Train The Wire

The Metro newspaper reported that passengers had suffered facial burns from a blast and others had been hurt in a subsequent stampede.

Emergency services attend the scene following a blast on an underground train at Parsons Green tube station in West London, Britain September 15, 2017, in this image taken from social media. Credit: Reuters

Emergency services attend the scene following a blast on an underground train at Parsons Green tube station in West London, Britain September 15, 2017, in this image taken from social media. Credit: Reuters

London: Several people were injured at a London underground station on Friday after witnesses reported a blast on a packed rush-hour commuter train which police were treating as a terrorism incident.

Emergency services said they had been called to rep...

20:15

The West"s Quest to "Save the World Through Degeneracy" Strategic Culture Foundation

Analysts of world affairs tend to fall into certain traps concerning the motivations and behavior of political actors. We consistently look at politicians electoral support, states access to resources, lines of offense or defense, traditional alliances and enmities, the profits of empowered interests, geography, demography, and many other objective factors.

20:01

Russias New Thinking Towards Armenia And Azerbaijan: An Obstructionist vs. An Integrationalist OrientalReview.org

Russia endeavors to be the supreme balancing force in 21st-century Eurasia, seeking to wipe the slate clean in its relations with non-traditionl partners.

The post Russias New Thinking Towards Armenia And Azerbaijan: An Obstructionist vs. An Integrationalist appeared first on OrientalReview.org.

20:00

Its About Time We Got Smarter About Monitoring Our Air Pollution The Wire

A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that it will cost Rs 12.5 crore per city per year for 10 years to report air pollution and its severity in real time.

Mumbai at dawn. Credit: tawheedmanzoor/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Mumbai at dawn. Credit: tawheedmanzoor/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Sarath Guttikunda, is the director of Urban Emissions (India), an independent research group on air pollution, disseminating air quality forecasts for 640 districts in the country.

The quality of air in India is bad and is becoming a serious public health issue with huge repercussions to our quality of life and economy. We know this through anecdotal evidence and through the little data on monitoring that trickles down to the public. This limited information is not enough to formulate policy, to understand seasonal and diurnal variations, to tease out patterns or to calibrate forecasting models. It is the right of any citizen to have access to information on the quality of air she is breathing monitoring data that is real-time, reliable and accessible to any citizen.

At present, the only study that estimates particulate pollution for all cities in India is the global burden of disease (GBD)...

19:50

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train Is Many Things, But Its Not Free The Wire

Over 50 years, the loan repayment value will be much higher based on the inflation differential, which is bound to persist between Japan and India.

narendra modi, bullet train, shinzo abe

Despite what our prime minister says, the train isnt virtually free of cost. Credit: Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has claimed the bullet train offered to India by Japan is virtually free of cost. A 50-year yen loan amounting to Rs 88,000 crore at 0.1 % interest is being described by the prime minister as free of cost. This is patently absurd.

India can have as many bullet trains as it wants on these terms from the Japanese, but nobody should be misled into believing it is free. For one, India may have to repay much more than Rs 88,000 crore over a 50-year period because the rupee will most likely depreciate against the Japanese yen over a long period.

Why is this? Simply put, its because the exchange rate between the currencies of two countries is determined by their inflation differential. If Indias inflation rate is average 3% over the next two decades and Japans inflation rate is zero, as is widely anticipated, then it stands to reason that the rupee must d...

19:45

Deplorable American Values Strategic Culture Foundation

So-called American values have done more harm to more people worldwide over a longer duration than any other nation in world history a legacy of endless wars of aggression, predatory corporate empowerment and post-9/11 tyranny, nothing to be proud of.

19:00

Before We Fixate on Blue Whale, Lets Remember the Real Monsters Out There The Wire

Banning the game will not take away the many psychological issues that young teens are susceptible to just the way banning heavy metal is not going to stop spree or serial killings.

A Rammstein concern in progress. Credit: mollenborg/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

A Rammstein concern in progress. Credit: mollenborg/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Note: On September 15, 2017, the Supreme Court of India issued a notice to the Centre following a petition to have Blue Whale banned in India.

Not knowing how to put the brakes on a spate of suicides among teenagers allegedly playing the game known as Blue Whale, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani has said his government will create a law to ban it. Anything to keep parents and other community elders from having honest conversations with their children, eh?

Blue Whale is an online game built among others by Philipp Budeikin, a Russian student. The game requires players to commit to a series of tasks over a 50-day period, given to them by the games anonymous administra...

19:00

Bulgaria"s Government Adopts Hostile Attitude Towards Russia Strategic Culture Foundation

A national security report adopted by Bulgarias cabinet has just been sent to lawmakers for consideration. It is yet to be debated by the parliaments committee and in plenary. The document named Russia as one of the main foreign policy risks. This is the first time a Bulgarian government openly calls Russia a threat to the countrys national security. According to the document signed by PM Boyko Borisov, the actions of Russia as a source of regional instability also threaten our basic goal of a united, free and peaceful Europe. Russias increased naval presence is considered a matter of special concern. The opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party as well as many MPs from other parties do not agree with that conclusion. They say the government is...

18:50

Iraq Kurd Leaders Asked to Shelve Independence Vote by Western Powers, Offered Alternative Plan The Wire

 

People celebrate to show their support for the upcoming September 25th independence referendum in Zakho, Iraq September 14, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Ari Jalal

People celebrate to show their support for the upcoming September 25th independence referendum in Zakho, Iraq September 14, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Ari Jalal

Erbil/Kirkuk: The US and Western allies pressed Iraqi Kurdish leaders to ditch a very risky independence vote on Thursday, presenting an alternative plan in an attempt to avoid conflict between the oil rich region and central government in Baghdad.

The referendum, slated for 25th September, has become a potential flashpoint in the region, with Western powers concerned it could ignite conflict with Baghdad and divert attention from the war against ISIS militants.

Heading into a referendum for 25th September, there is no prospect for international legitimacy, Brett McGurk, a US special envoy, told reporters after a delegation also including the UN and Britain met Kurdish President Massoud Barzani.

This is a very risky process.

McGurk said he was encouraged that Kurdish leaders could embrace an alternative plan focusing on dialogue between the Kurdistan region and Baghdad and a delay in the referendum. He refused to give details.

The...

18:46

Fellowship Invitation to Chelsea Manning Withdrawn by Harvard University The Wire

Chelsea Manning, the transgender U.S. Army soldier responsible for a massive leak of classified material, poses in a photo of herself for the first time since she was released from prison and post to social media on May 18, 2017. Credit:Reuters

Chelsea Manning, the transgender US Army soldier responsible for a massive leak of classified material, poses in a photo of herself for the first time since she was released from prison and post to social media on May 18, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Harvard University on Friday withdrew a fellowship invitation to Chelsea Manning, the transgender US Army soldier who was convicted of leaking classified data, after two top intelligence experts distanced themselves from the school over the invite.

Manning, 29, was released in May from a US military prison in Kansas where she had been ser...

18:31

Dreamer Application Fees to Get Funding From Facebook Backed Group The Wire

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, arrives for a keynote speech during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain February 22, 2016. Credit: Reuters

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, arrives for a keynote speech during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain February 22, 2016. Credit: Reuters

US: FWD.us, a pro-immigration group co-founded by Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, is raising funds to help undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children reapply for a program that shields them from deportation.

President Donald Trump on September 5 moved to rescind in March the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which protects immigrants brought into the country illegally by their parents.

Such immigrants, known as Dreamers, who have work permits that expire before March can apply to renew them for another two years, if they do so before October 5.

But the $495 application fee is an extraordinary and...

18:29

Despair and Desolation: Life in a Rohingya Refugee Camp in Delhi The Wire

What is our country, where are we from, where will we go; that is what I have to ask your people.

Noor Shahida was born in 2013 at the camp and has been granted a UN refugee card. Pregnant women are either taken to the hospital or a nurse comes to the camp to assist with the births. Credit:Hina Fathima

Noor Shahida was born in 2013 at the camp in Kalindi Kunj, New Delhi and has been granted a UN refugee card. Pregnant women are either taken to the hospital or a nurse comes to the camp to assist with the births. Credit:Hina Fathima

As part of Operation Insaniyat, the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday sent relief aid to Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh following fresh violence in Rakhine State, which the UN says has led to the exodus of over 3,80,000 refugees from Myanmar.

Indias relief measure comes after Bangladesh put pressure on the government following Prime Minister Narendra Modis lukewarm response to the Rohingya crisis during his recent visit to Myanmar.

Although Modi talked about...

18:12

Malaysian Fire Sparks Outrage Over Unregulated Tahfiz Schools The Wire

Family members wait for news of their loved ones outside religious school Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah after a fire broke out in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia September 14, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Lai Seng Sin

Family members wait for news of their loved ones outside religious school Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah after a fire broke out in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia September 14, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Lai Seng Sin

Kuala Lumpur:  Malaysia faced mounting calls for stronger regulation of religious schools following a horrific fire at an Islamic boarding school that killed 23 victims, most of them teenage boys trapped behind the barred windows of their dormitory.

The fire broke out at a tahfiz school where students learn to memorise the Koran. Malaysian officials said there had been 31 similar fire incidents in the past but Thursdays fire was the worst seen in 20 years.

But media reports said the numbers were much higher. National daily The Star said 1,034 fires occurred in registered and unregistered religious schools from August 2015 to August 2017. Of these 211 were burnt to the ground, the newspaper said quoting data from the fire department.

Family members of Mohamad Haikal Abdullah, a 12-year-old who died in the blaze, were furious after reports emerged that the only door at the schools dor...

18:06

US Extends Some Iran Sanctions Relief Under Nuclear Deal The Wire

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 28, 2017. Credit: Reuters

US President Donald Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto at the White House in Washington, US, August 28, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Washington: The US on Thursday extended some sanctions relief for Iran under the 2015 nuclear deal but said it has yet to decide whether to preserve the deal itself, the State Department said.

President Donald Trump, who must make a decision by mid-October that could undermine the agreement, said Iran is violating the spirit of the 2015 deal under which Iran got sanctions relief in return for curbing its nuclear program.

In a sign of Trumps desire to put pressure on...

17:36

Indian-American Doctor Stabbed to Death by Patient in US The Wire

Credit: Twitter

Credit: Twitter

Washington: A 57-year-old Indian-American doctor has been stabbed to death allegedly by an Indian-origin patient near his clinic in the Wichita city of Kansas.

Psychiatrist Achutha Reddy, who hailed from Telangana, was found dead with multiple knife wounds in an alley behind his clinic in East Wichita on Wednesday, police said.

One of his patients, 21-year-old Umar Rashid Dutt, also an Indian-American, has been arrested and charged with first degree murder.

Reddy was pronounced dead on the scene by the police, Lt Todd Ojile, section commander of the homicide division at the Wichita Police Department, told reporters at a news conference yesterday.

The incident happened on Wednesday evening. The police received the call around 7.20 pm.

The accused man was found at a country club after a security guard reported a suspicious person sitting in a car in the parking lot with blood on his clothes.

During the investigation, we learned that the 21-year- old suspect was a client of Dr Reddy and had been at the office. The suspect was in the business for a short time. He left and then later came back with Dr Reddy and they went into an office there, Ojile said.

After going to an office, a disturbance was heard. An office manager entered into the office and observed the suspect assaulting Dr ready. She attempted to stop the assault which allowed the doctor to flee the office, he said.

Umar chased the doctor out of his office, and stabbed him multiple times, Ojile said, adding that the reason for the murder has not been ascertained yet.

Umar has been he...

17:21

Sixty Killed in Suicide Attacks in Southern Iraq The Wire

Iraqi security forces inspect the site of a bomb attack at a police checkpoint on a highway near the southern Iraqi city of Nassiriya, Iraq, September 14, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Iraqi security forces inspect the site of a bomb attack at a police checkpoint on a highway near the southern Iraqi city of Nassiriya, Iraq, September 14, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Baghdad: Three suicide attacks claimed by Islamic State killed at least 60 people in southern Iraq on Thursday, a health official and police sources said, suggesting a shift in the ultra-hardline groups tactics since it lost control of its stronghold in Mosul.

Iraqi and Kurdish security officials say the Sunni militants are likely to wage a guerrilla war in Iraq after their self-proclaimed caliphate in Mosul collapsed.

ISIS is also under siege in the Syrian city of Raqqa...

17:13

Under Pressure, Guatemala Congress to Withdraw Contested Graft Reforms The Wire

Anti-goverment protesters take part in a protest against the new penal law approved by the congress in Guatemala City, Guatemala September 14, 2017. Placard reads "Everyone get out" Credit:Reuters/ Fabricio Alonso

Anti-goverment protesters take part in a protest against the new penal law approved by the congress in Guatemala City, Guatemala September 14, 2017. Placard reads Everyone get out. Credit: Reuters/ Fabricio Alonso

Guatemala City: Guatemalas Congress announced on Thursday that it will withdraw controversial reforms that critics had described as a serious setback in the countrys fight against political corruption.

On Wednesday, Guatemalas Congress approved a national emergency decree to curb penalties for illegal election financing after President Jimmy Morales was linked to suspected irregularities during his 2015 election campaign.

Morales, whose immunity from prosecution was reinforced by Congress earlier this week, had said he would veto the reforms if they were found to be harmful to the nation.

And as the public outcry mounted, leaders of the principal parties in Congress agreed to vote on Friday to cancel the measures,...

17:03

J&K Human Rights Commission Grants Rs 35 Lakh to Terror Victims Kin The Wire

The amount went to a man who lost seven members of his family in a terror attack 18 years ago, with the rights body saying the delay amounted to a glaring violation of human rights.

The State Human Rights Commission awarded 35 lakh as compensation to terror victims' kin. File photo of Handwara, Kashmir. Credit: PTI

The State Human Rights Commission awarded 35 lakh as compensation to terror victims kin. File photo of Handwara, Kashmir. Credit: PTI

Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission has directed the state government to give compensation of Rs 35 lakh to a man who lost seven members of his family in a terror attack 18 years ago, saying the delay amounted to glaring violation of human rights.

Roop Lal, a resident of Mendhar in Poonch district, had lodged a complaint with the J&K State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) saying seven members of his family were killed by militants during an attack on his house on July 2, 1999, and he had received ex gratia compensation of just Rs one lakh from the state.

After carefully scrutiny of material available on record, the commission is satisfied that t...

17:01

Brazils President Faces New Graft Charges Over JBS Testimony The Wire

Brazil's President Michel Temer reacts during a meeting with government leaders of the Brazilian federal senate, at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil May 9, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Brazils President Michel Temer reacts during a meeting with government leaders of the Brazilian federal senate, at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil May 9, 2017. Credit: Reuters

Brasilia: Brazilian President Michel Temer was charged with obstruction of justice and racketeering on Thursday, according to a statement posted on the prosecutor generals office website, threatening to delay the governments economic reform agenda in Congress.

It is the second set of criminal charges filed against the president based on the plea-bargain testimony of the owners of the world...

16:41

Communal Tensions High in Ladakh After Opposition to Inter-Faith Marriage The Wire

The Ladakh Buddhist Association issued an ultimatum asking all those from Kargil working in Ladakh to leave by Thursday.

A lunar new year celebration organised by the Ladakh Buddhist Organisation in 2014. Credit: Twitter/Richen Tundup

A lunar new year celebration organised by the Ladakh Buddhist Organisation in 2014. Credit: Twitter/Richen Tundup

New Delhi: An inter-faith marriage in Ladakh has given rise to communal tensions, with the Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) issuing an ultimatum asking all people from Kargil to leave the area. The deadline the group had given was Thursday (September 14).

According to the Indian Express, the LBA is a self-styled welfare group that works towards safeguarding the interests of what they call a religious micro-minority in the Ladakh region of Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir. Communal tensions have built up in the area over the last week after news broke of a woman, who had converted from Buddhism to Islam in 2015, marrying a Muslim man from Kargil.

The marriage took place last year, but tensions around it are much more recent. On September 7, the LBA wrote to chief minister Mehbooba Mufti asking that the marriage between 30-year-old Shifah (formerly Stanzin Saldon) and 32-year-old Murtaza Aga be annulled. Young girl...

16:38

Regional Tensions Deepen as North Korea Fires Another Missile Over Japan The Wire

A passerby walks under a TV screen reporting news about North Korea's missile launch in Tokyo, Japan September 15, 2017. Credit:Reuters/Issei Kato

A passerby walks under a TV screen reporting news about North Koreas missile launch in Tokyo, Japan September 15, 2017. Credit:Reuters/Issei Kato

Seoul/Tokyo: North Korea fired a missile that flew over Japans northern Hokkaido far out into the Pacific Ocean on Friday, South Korean and Japanese officials said, deepening tensions after Pyongyangs recent test of its most powerful nuclear bomb.

The missile flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific about 2,000 km (1,240 miles) east of Hokkaido, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

Warning announcements about the missile blared around 7 am (2200 GMT Thursday) in parts of northern Japan, while many residents received alerts on their mobile phones or saw warnings on TV telling them to seek refuge.

US secretary of defence Jim Mattis said the launch put millions of Japanese into duck and cover, although residents in northern Japan appeared calm and went about their business as normal after the second such launch in less than a month.

The missile reached an altitude of about 770 km and flew for about 19 minutes over a distance of about 3,700 km, according to South Koreas military far enough to reach the US Pacific territory of...

16:31

Bangladesh Fishermen Rescue Rohingya, for a Price The Wire

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

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

Shamlapur, Bangladesh: For tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims, an informal fleet of small wooden fishing boats has meant deliverance from what they say is an indiscriminate assault on their villages by the Myanmar army.

Deliverance, however, comes at a price. Some refugees told Reuters they paid as much as 10,000 taka ($122) per adult to boatmen to make the five-hour crossing from Myanmars coast to ports in southern Bangladesh.

While the fishermen say they have a moral obligation to help desperate fellow Muslims escaping persecution, Bangladeshi officia...

16:29

How Come Trump is So Inclined Now to Finally Put ISIS to Rest New Eastern Outlook

Who are you aiming at, Mr President?

Who are you aiming at, Mr President?

A number of public statements recently released by the White House about the so-called new plan aimed at destroying ISIS has repeatedly stressed that the top priority of the Trump administration is the destruction of this terrorist group, with a particular emphasis being placed on Syria.

But how come Washington is so determined to cast a crashing blow to ISIS in Syria? both analysts and media people in American wonder.

Those who have been following events on the ground closely must remember that no less than three years ago the United States along with a total of 21 countries would announce Operation Inherent Resolve aimed against ISIS, which implied both an extensive use of military aircraft along with an extensive training assistance that was to be provided to the so-called moderate forces both in Iraq and Syria.

However, nobody explicitly specified back then that the US operation was not aimed at the actual destruction of ISIS, since its intended goal was to weaken ISIS enough to allow its opponents (primarily in Iraq) to resist it effectively. Yet, one shouldnt be surprised by such an approach since Washington has a track record of leading allied forces from behind, as weve seen during the US intervention in Vietnam under Kennedy, the Afghan campaign of 2001, and then in Libyan in 2011.

In addition, Washington restrained position in its fight against ISIS can largely be attributed to the fact that ISIS is a purely Sunni entity, so it would be used by Washington to prevent Iran from strengthening its positions in the region, numerous analysts note.

As a result of this lighthearted approach to the so-called War on Terror, in recent years, in spite of a number of high-profile terrorist attacks, ISIS hasnt actually inflicted any damage to Americas interests across the world, even though the propaganda campaign that this terrorist group launched has nearly triggered a mass hysteria across the United States.

However, the situation looks drastically different in the Middle East, where all the major regional player that are capable to prevent the spread of radical ideology are pretty determined to suffo...

15:17

Interview 1300 Music Theory to Conspiracy Theory on The Ripple Effect The Corbett Report

[audio mp3="http://www.corbettreport.com/mp3/2017-09-14%20Ripple%20Effect.mp3"][/audio]James returns to The Ripple Effect Podcast as a co-host, to help Ricky interview Vinnie, as we discuss everything from Music Theory to Conspiracy Theories.

14:30

Modis Digital Payment Push is Struggling to Take Off in Rural India, Reveals Audit The Wire

An internal NCPI-commissioned study shows that adoption of BHIM and BHIM-Aadhaar are being hindered by implementation and design issues in semi-urban and rural areas.

narendra modi, digital india

File photo: PM Narendra Modi at launch of Digital India week. Courtesy: Digital India/Facebook

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi governments pet digital payment projects the mobile money transfer application BHIM and the Aadhaar-based merchant payment system BHIM-Aadhaar will need rejigging and a more thoughtful implementation process if rural mass adoption is to be achieved.

An internal study commissioned by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), a public sector bank-controlled entity involved in floating and managing the payment system, has revealed that poor awareness and a flawed user experience has resulted in a high number of rural users who have either deleted the application or are inactive.

In the months after demonetisation, the Centre has embarked on an aggressive digitisation push that, as The Wire has reported, has been aggressive if not wholly effective.

In December 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launche...

14:00

Despite Internal and External Pressure, IIM Ahmedabad Is Ignoring Its Social Diversity Problem The Wire

IIM Ahmedabad responded to an RTI request asking for minutes of board meetings saying that [i]information sought by [us] has no relationship to any public activity or interest and hence cannot be provided.

IIM Ahmedabad. Courtesy: IIM Ahmedabad

IIM Ahmedabad. Courtesy: IIM Ahmedabad

The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), the preeminent management institutes in the country, are at the cusp of being granted a level of functional autonomy that is unprecedented for public institutions of higher education in India. The Lok Sabha has already passed the IIM Bill, 2017, and it is widely expected that the Rajya Sabha will follow suit. Will Indian society at large be able to hold IIMs accountable once the new IIM Bill becomes a law? The recent track record at these institutions and especially at IIM Ahmedabad (IIMA), the crown jewel among IIMs, suggests that IIMs, emboldened by the autonomy on offer, will further abdicate their responsibilities as public institutions.

As has been widely reported in various news outlets including The Wire, IIMs suffer from a grave social diversity deficit of the 512 IIM faculty members where data is available, only two belong to the SC group, and IIMs currently do not have anybody from the ST group on their faculty.  Further, with only 13 OBC representations among the remaining 510 faculty members, IIMs are an exclusive preserve of faculty members drawn from the upper...

13:40

Explaining the Social Smuggling That Has Angered Arya Vysyas in Two States The Wire

Kancha Ilaiah Shepherds terming of upper-caste traders as smugglers who do not have any empathy for the lower-caste poor has not gone down well with the Arya Vysyas of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Arya Vysya community protests against Kancha Ilaiah's Samajika Smugglers-Komatollu. Credit: YouTube

Arya Vysya community protests against Kancha Ilaiahs Samajika Smugglers-Komatollu. Credit: YouTube

The concept of social smuggling that I coined in my book Post-Hindu India has generated a law and order issue created by the Arya Vysya organisations of the two Telugu states.

The Vysya associations have issued a death threat to me for applying this concept to the Vysya model of caste-based business, historically leading to a massive amount of wealth being hidden underground called guptha dhana.

The chapter titled Social Smugglers, which was first translated by Msco Publishers in the whole, was published by a small local book seller with the title...

13:20

Laws Prohibiting Cow Slaughter Are Creating Both Vigilantes and Victims The Wire

Law creates the legal and institutional backdrop within which gau rakshaks and lynch mobs can operate with impunity.

The air of illegality surrounding all things cow, dead or alive, play an important part in the making of vigilante violence Credit: Reuters/Kamal Kishore

The air of illegality surrounding all things cow, dead or alive, play an important part in the making of vigilante violence Credit: Reuters/Kamal Kishore

Hafizul Sheikh and Anwar Hussain are the recent additions to the growing list of victims of cow vigilantism or, as some have called it, gautankvad (roughly translating to cow terrorism). It was a typical lynching based on rumours of cattle smuggling, two 19-year-old boys were...

13:00

In Persecution of Ahmadis, Evidence of Growing Religious Intolerance in Algeria The Wire

The troubled lives of Algerias minorities reflect a deeper struggle within the heartlands of Islam to accommodate and secure the religious liberties of groups and communities who exist outside of the Muslim majority.

Members of Algeria's Ahmadi community. Credit: Twitter/@hrw

Members of Algerias Ahmadi community. Credit: Twitter/@hrw

The arrest of Mohamed Fali by the Algerian authorities has in the recent weeks puts focus on the rapidly intensifying persecution of the countrys minority Ahmadi community.

Fali, who is the national head of the community in Algeria, was arrested on August 28 on the basis of an absentia judgment that sentenced him to three years in prison. Critics claim his sentencing is rooted in the growing religious intolerance of the sect.

Ahmadis have borne the painful burden of persecution almost since their inception. Established in 1889 in Qadian in India, the community believes its founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was the messiah and Mahdi long awaited by the Muslim world, and, in this capacity, a subordinate prophet to the Prophet Muhammad. The majority of Muslims, who hold that Muhammad was the final messenger of God, view any such tenet as heresy and an insult to Islam, one that has long made Ahmadis a target of hate, discrimination and violence.

The movement arrived in Algeria in the 1970s where for a long time little animosity was shown towards its adherents. Many in Algeria did not even know of...

13:00

The Striking Feature of Manila That Makes It an Emblematic Global City The Wire

For the residents of this city of nearly two million, informality is an all-encompassing, defining feature of everyday life in the capital.

Relaxing on a Manila rooftop. Photo Credit: John Christian Fjellestad/Flickr

Relaxing on a Manila rooftop. Photo Credit: John Christian Fjellestad/Flickr

Tokyo, London, New York, Paris, Manila. Few would think of Manila atop a list of the 21st centurys premiere cities. Nor would most think of the Philippine capital as a critical node in the global economy. Yet Manila is indisputably at the centre of some of the most important urban trends of the past half century: it is the worlds most densely populated city and continues to grow at an exponential pace. It serves as the headquarters to one of the fastest growing economies in the world (10th in 2017, according to the World Bank). Filipinos, especially residents of Manila, travel all over the world as nurses, nannies, construction workers and sailors. They provide the mass labour fuelling the global service economy.

In our urbanising world, Manila, and a few other rapidly growing world cities are not only just helpful in understanding how global cities work; they are indispensable.

Manila has long served as a hub connecting regional, colonial and global economies. The city sits on the coast of Manila Bay at the mouth of the Pasig River; it is low-lying, fairly flat in topography and woven through with estuaries. Not surprising given seasonal monsoons and tropical cyclones, Manilans often have to cope with devastat...

13:00

How the Rohingya Crisis Has Revealed Erdogans Ambitions to Be a Global Muslim Leader The Wire

How else are we to explain Turkeys ambition to take the lead in the current crisis and champion the voice of the Rohingya Muslims internationally?

Rohingya

Children recycle goods from the ruins of a market which was set on fire at a Rohingya village outside Maugndaw in Rakhine state, Myanmar, October 27, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun

The emerging humanitarian crisis that has been rocking Myanmar where an estimated 370,000 Rohingya have been forced out of the country  has prompted broad international condemnation. But so far it has translated into...

10:33

See Chee How concerned about part of Jalan Stephen Yong bypass not tar-sealed Hornbill Unleashed

Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How is calling on the Public Works Department (JKR) to immediately tar-seal a 100-metre stretch of Jalan Stephen Yong bypass which has been left out from the reconstruction and widening works on the road. Motorists are delighted with the reconstruction and widening of this important carriageway, but there is a []

10:33

Talks with Putrajaya yet to show results See Chee How Hornbill Unleashed

Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How has urged Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and the state government to step up efforts in the talk with Putrajaya on the devolution of powers for the 13 key subject matters which had been promised to Sarawakians and said to be ongoing more than a year []

10:33

Wheres your priority, Sarawak PKR asks Najib Hornbill Unleashed

A Sarawak PKR leader has questioned Putrajayas priorities in managing the countrys financial resources following the offer made by Prime Minister Najib Razak to United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday. Sarawak PKR vice-chairman See Chee How criticised what he called the hypocrisy of the federal government for not seeing to the needs of Malaysians []

10:32

PKR appeals for straight fight in Baram Hornbill Unleashed

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has appealed to those who oppose Barisan Nasional (BN) to allow PKR to contest in a straight fight in Baram during the next parliamentary election. During the last parliamentary election, there was a three-cornered fight in Baram between BNs Anyi Ngau, PKRs Roland Engan, and independent candidate Patrick Sibat. Anyi defeated []

10:32

Sarawak rep accepts state decision not to accept Rohingya refugees Hornbill Unleashed

Muara Tuang state assemblyman Datuk Idris Buang said he accepted the decision by the state government to not accept Rohingya refugees. I accept the decision especially that of the Chief Minister and his cabinet members, said Idris who had suggested that Rohingya refugees be given temporary shelter (refugee camp) in Sarawak with tight security. However, []

10:32

Siah: PRS Youth info chief using dud ammo in target practice Hornbill Unleashed

PRS Youth information chief Andy Lawrence should use some logic in the attempted defence of his party chief, otherwise he is merely shooting blanks, leaving him and his boss no better off than when they started. According to PKR deputy youth chief Simon Siah the state PKR chairman and Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian had []

10:32

Two Sarawak MPs freed from illegal rally charge Hornbill Unleashed

The Sessions Court here today discharged and acquitted two DAP MPs of taking part in an illegal street procession without calling for their defence. Judge Steve Ritikos, in his ruling, said he was not satisfied that the 2015 procession was illegal as defined under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012. The two are Bandar Kuching MP []

10:32

Bankruptcy cases involve 294,000 Malaysians a year, says minister Hornbill Unleashed

A total of 294,000 Malaysians are involved in bankruptcy cases due to their failure to settle hire purchase loans, credit card loans, personal loans, housing loans and social guarantor debts (due to errant debtors) in a year, said the Department of Insolvency director-general Datuk Abdul Rahman Putra Taha today. He said according to the departments []

10:31

Minister: Why does Malaysias trade with the US shock the Opposition? Hornbill Unleashed

Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan has taken Opposition leaders to task today for expressing shock over Malaysias contribution to trade and investment in the United States. The minister in the Prime Ministers Department also described Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak as a shrewd diplomat, after the latter was criticised following his official trip to the []

05:15

U.S. Complains of Current Account Deficit and China Appetite for Western Technologies A Self Inflicted Wound? Hidden Harmonies China Blog

The current world order is grossly unfair historians of an enlightened future may come back to view our times as the dark ages when humans remain bonded to and oppressed by Western hegemony and ideology.

The pure hypocrisy of the world is never ending.  And here is just one other small case study

China is often accused by U.S. and Europe and Japan of over-protecting its economy from foreigners.  The foreigners want more access but Chinese are greedy; they disregard any concerns of China of over dependence on foreign nations for critical sectors of technology.If the Wet is right, what should China make of Japans fear-mongering over Foxconns offer to buy Toshibas chip subsidiary or Trumps direct executive order to block a Chinese firms offer to buy  Lattice Semiconductor?

In both cases, concerns are being raised about Chinese firms getting access to technology or the assets enriching Chinese know-how.  But if they are concerned about Chinese access to technology on national security grounds, why should they not accept Chinese concerns about ceding its markets to dominance by foreign tech companies?

Russia has recently announced that Russian companies should move away u.s. software over fears of national security.  China for years has known that U.S. consulting companies often conducts espionage against China.

We known IBM, Google, Apple, Cisco all have cozy relations with the U.S. government.  Wikileaks Vault 7 shows just reveals some of the ways how U.S. espionage and cyber warfare conducted through them might look like

But we dont need leaked document to see why relying on U.S., Western and Japanese companies is dangerous.  Just look at how they use overt sanction...

03:47

Tajikistan: Airport Director Killed By Presidents Helicopter EurasiaNet.org - Inside the Cocoon

The director of an airport in Tajikistans Pamir Mountains was killed on September 13 after being blown off his feet by the downwash from a helicopter carrying the countrys president.

A source in the Interior Ministry told EurasiaNet.org that Dildor Maksudshoyev, 60, was stood at the end of a red carpet, seemingly too close to the landing aircraft carrying President Emomali Rahmon, at the time of the accident. The strong gust of air lifted up the carpet, throwing Maksudshoyev off his feet. Maksudshoyev banged his head on impact and later died as he was being taken to the hospital.

Rahmon was visiting Darvaz to lay the founding stone for a new $46 million road being funded by the Islamic Development Bank, the Saudi Fund for Development, OPEC Fund for International Development and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

In characteristic fashion for visits by the president and esteemed foreign guests, when their arriving helicopter flew in, a red carpet was rolled to ensure none of the dignitaries was required to walk on the ground.

The police are treating the death as an unfortunate accident and say that there will be no effort to establish if there were any guilty parties.

As if the drive the point home, the head of the Darvaz district told RFE/RLs Tajik service, Radio Ozodi, that Maksudshoyev, who was the director of the airport in the Pamirs city of Khorog, suffered from a weak heart.

"I would bring to your attention that Maksudshoyev suffered from chronic heart disease and twice suffered a heart attack. He had previously had to have a damaged heart valve replaced. So his death has nothing to do with the visit by the head of state, the official, Saudburhon Abdurahmonzoda, told Radio Ozodi.

This is hardly wholly accurate.

read more

03:07

Israels top court rules human rights arent controversial. What about the occupation? +972 Magazine

As the pro-peace camp has shrunk into oblivion, human rights groups have become the only real anti-occupation force in Israel today. That has made them uncomfortably political.

Breaking the Silence director Yuli Novak speaks during a protest against right-wing incitement, central Tel Aviv, December 19, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Breaking the Silence director Yuli Novak speaks during a protest against right-wing incitement, central Tel Aviv, December 19, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israels High Court of Justice on Wednesday ruled that equality and human rights are not, or should not be, controversial in Israel.

[It is difficult to accept] the idea that a commercial promoting human rights could be socially or politically controversial, wrote Justice Anat Baron. The recognition of and commitment to human rights are intrinsically linked to the very existence of a democratic society.

[tmwinpost]

The honorable justice must have missed Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shakeds speech to the Israel Bar Association a couple of weeks earlier, in which she decried and called for and end to, the system of individual rights interpreted in a universal way.

The Supreme Court justices who declared human rights uncontroversia...

02:39

Modi-Abe Meet: India, Japan Drop Mention of South China Sea in Joint Statement The Wire

The statement dropped an explicit reference to the South China Sea, even as both sides made an indirect criticism of Chinas Belt and Road Initiative.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. Credit: Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: Even as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid out the red carpet for his Japanese counterpart, the joint statement released after their talks dropped an explicit reference to the South China Sea, even as both sides made an indirect criticism of Chinas Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). With North Korea having recently conducted missile and nuclear tests, there was a strong call for maximising pressure against the hermit state.

Shinzo Abe and his wife got a taste of Gujarats culture on Wednesday, but on Thursday, they got down to the substantive part of their visit.

They laid the foundation for the first bullet train project in Ahmedabad...

02:08

Jan Gan Man Ki Baat: Indian Youths Growing Disillusionment With Modi The Wire

Vinod Dua discusses why students and youth of India are getting increasingly disillusioned with PM Modi and BJP.

The post Jan Gan Man Ki Baat: Indian Youths Growing Disillusionment With Modi appeared first on The Wire.

Thursday, 14 September

23:37

Why young Jews dont trust what their institutions say about Israel +972 Magazine

Growing up, I found that the Conservative movement embraced nuanced approaches to Torah, yet that critical approach never extended to discussions of Israel. Questioning Zionism was verboten. 

By Eliana Fishman

A pro-Israel rally, Washington D.C, July 18, 2014 (photo: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

A pro-Israel rally, Washington D.C, July 18, 2014 (photo: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

It was the summer before eighth grade at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, a Jewish summer camp affiliated with the Conservative Movement. I was 12 years old. Each camper was handed a copy of Mitchell Bards Myths and Facts, long considered a foundational hasbara textbook, and we were told that the author would be coming to speak to us.

[tmwinpost]

Most campers ignored the book and didnt pay much attention to Bards presentation. One particularly precocious camper, who actually read through the book, took the time to highlight misleading arguments and logical inconsistencies, and challenged the author during his lecture. Bard made light of the critiques and brushed them aside, insisting that every accusation against Israe...

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